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Author Topic: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness  (Read 167635 times)
Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #50 on: November 13, 2008, 11:04:38 AM »

Quote
That's more than Bush ever did with our deficit

Wow, speaking of Glib Cognitive Dissonance, are you really conflating how the national debt is handled with how the DNC handles its debt? I realize Bush it the root of all evil and controls sundry nefarious plots that would put the Illuminati to shame, but last time I looked Congress held a purse string or two.

The absurdity doesn't end there. By reneging on his promise to accept federal campaign funds BHO managed to outspend McCain several times over. By what factor is hard to pin down as the act of reneging removed BHO from oversight. McCain, on the other hand, snared himself both by accepting federal funds and then by being forced to abide by McCain Feingold. Don't get me wrong, I think that latter piece of legislation is an utter abomination that directly impinges on First Amendment freedoms, and it's amusing to watch the resulting petard hoist, but imagine the media narrative if the roles were reversed: filthy rich Republicans break promise and bludgeon honorable black guy who played by the rules to defeat by grossly outspending him. Guess the standards don't apply the same way when your guy wins.
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JDN
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« Reply #51 on: November 13, 2008, 11:42:55 AM »

I concede it was a bit glib  smiley  and "boilerplate".  Sorry, you are right, but he is leaving soon and who will I have  grin

I also concede your point; Congress (both sides of the aisle) is at fault.
The "glib" comment however was in response to the implication in the posted article that deficit spending by the DNC
on their campaign means that they will not be fiscally responsible.  My point in response was that the Republican side as well led by Bush these
past 8 years has not been fiscally responsible with my tax dollars; I don't care about voluntary contributions.

My primary point was that BOTH sides of the campaign often overspend and the winner recoups his money after victory; period.

And no, in politics when you win (again on both sides of the aisle) the same standards don't apply.  To some degree, (unfortunately) I think that
when you win the same standards (versus the loser) don't apply to most things in life.


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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #52 on: November 13, 2008, 12:22:35 PM »

Quote
My point in response was that the Republican side as well led by Bush these past 8 years has not been fiscally responsible with my tax dollars; I don't care about voluntary contributions.

Ha! Fiscally responsible legislators. Next you'll be demanding sober Vicars.

Quote
And no, in politics when you win (again on both sides of the aisle) the same standards don't apply.  To some degree, (unfortunately) I think that
when you win the same standards (versus the loser) don't apply to most things in life.

Alas, these days when vying for the win the same standards don't apply, witness the various mea culpas emerging as media outlets deconstruct their coverage of Palin et al.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #53 on: November 13, 2008, 12:46:10 PM »

As bad as a spender as Bush was, it is deranged and disingenuous for Dems to point the finger on this-- for their complaint about him was always that he wasn't spending enough-- not to mention that when they control the House of Representatives control over spending is theirs.
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JDN
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« Reply #54 on: November 13, 2008, 01:31:22 PM »


Ha! Fiscally responsible legislators. Next you'll be demanding sober Vicars.


Isn't "responsible legislator" an oxymoron?

And "sober Vicars"; well, that too could be an oxymoron but at least the ones I have drank with (one in particular)
are sincere and honest.  More than I can say for many legislators.   

As for blaming Bush, I think there is plenty of blame to go around and yes, while the House is Democrat, it has
not always been that way.  I just wish Bush, i.e. the republican party had been more fiscally responsible.  I mean
democrats are suppose to spend  grin  but republicans are suppose to keep a tight purse.  Look at the mess we
are in when the both team up and spend and print money.

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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #55 on: November 13, 2008, 02:55:17 PM »

Quote
I just wish Bush, i.e. the republican party had been more fiscally responsible.  I mean
democrats are suppose to spend    but republicans are suppose to keep a tight purse.  Look at the mess we
are in when the both team up and spend and print money.

No debate at all there. Indeed, as everyone writes myopic op eds about how the Repubs are now doomed I'm hoping this last election serves to prune the party of it's non-fiscally conservative and non-libertarian impulses. It'll be interesting to see how the God Squad side of the party influences the recovery.

On the flip side, across the aisle certainly doesn't have much call to become anything but more of the same. It'll be interesting to see how they handle their "mandate." Already a bunch of rumblings from the Bush loathers that investigations pend; think that impulse has big backfire potential.
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G M
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« Reply #56 on: November 13, 2008, 03:25:52 PM »

The smartest thing Obama could do is be very centrist and curb the worst impulses of the left. The Kossacks will gurantee he's a one term president if he continues to pander to them now.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #57 on: November 13, 2008, 05:07:46 PM »

"I just wish Bush, i.e. the republican party had been more fiscally responsible.  I mean
democrats are suppose to spend    but republicans are suppose to keep a tight purse.  Look at the mess we
are in when the both team up and spend and print money."

Mostly amen to that!  Worth noting though is that it is a mistake for Reps to allow Dems to maneuver them into being "the tax collector for the nanny state."  Part of Reagan's genius was that he knew how to avoid this trap.
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ccp
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« Reply #58 on: November 14, 2008, 09:21:44 AM »

Well I am not sure this is in the right thread.  My reasoning is that the "end of the empire" tone summarizes the attitude of the left.  The US has spread around the world like an empire and with it forcing on the world it's toxic mix of capatalizism, and democracy for the benefit of course of white men of European origin.  This is I think the thesis of BO and his supporters and the root how they will see to it that our country will now be relegated to bac seat status.  They claim that we should lead the world away from this.  Basically BO will bring the rest of the world to the front of the bus and the US can move to towrds the back of the bus.  so I feel the piece belings here as the left plans on making us into a weakened state equal to all others.  And I really do beleive BO has hated America every bit as much as MMoore.

****Michael Moore to tackle economy
Next doc to have an end-of-the-empire tone, sources say
By Steven Zeitchik

Nov 13, 2008, 01:00 AM ET

Updated: Nov 13, 2008, 02:33 PM ET

Michael Moore (Getty Images photo)
 
When Paramount Vantage and Overture announced Michael Moore's long-gestating follow-up to "Fahrenheit 9/11" in May, executives stressed the film's foreign-policy scope. "This is going to tackle what's going on in the world and America's place in it," Paramount Vantage chief Nick Meyer said.

But as the political winds shifted in the months before the election -- and gusted after it -- Moore subtly began reorienting his movie. Instead of foreign policy, the film's focus now is more on the global financial crisis and the U.S. economy.

The untitled movie will contain an end-of-the-empire tone, say those familiar with the project, and Moore no doubt hopes that this will give it a more general feel that will untether it from a specific political moment.

But some political and entertainment experts wonder how much Moore's incredulousness and occasional pessimism about the state of U.S. policy, which served the filmmaker well during the George W. Bush years, will play in the current hopeful climate brought on President-elect Barack Obama.

"If Moore offers a prescription for how to improve things, he may indeed find an audience that at this moment is eager for change," said Craig Minassian, an entertainment consultant and former Bill Clinton aide. "But it's going to be hard for him. What this election shows is what's right with America, and sometimes what Michael Moore does is highlight what's wrong with America."

In the meantime, a focus on the collapsing markets brings its own risk, Minassian said. "The problem with the financial crisis is that it's changing so quickly. I'm not sure how relevant is going to be in six months, and I'm not sure if people want to hear it; my sense is they already have a pretty good idea of a lot of the people who are to blame for it."

An election favoring the Democrats would remove some of the factors that put Moore in vogue both in the U.S. and abroad during the Bush years -- and pushed his three theatrical movies during that time to more than $300 million in worldwide boxoffice.

It's worth noting that Moore famously shoots a lot of footage and makes many critical decisions later in the production process, so the tone could still shift; it's tricky to know what any Moore movie will ultimately look like before he completes the film.

Overture and Vantage declined comment.

Still, Moore is feverishly shooting, and the movie is expected to come out as early as this spring, with Vantage and Overture hoping to capitalize on the current high levels of political awareness.

Moore has also said that in some ways he sees the movie less as a sequel to the Middle East-themed "Fahrenheit 9/11" than as a bookend to "Roger & Me," the director's breakthrough nearly two decades ago. That movie featured the U.S. economy and the auto industry at its center, and that, if nothing else, could again prove a timely theme.
Michael Moore to tackle economy
Next doc to have an end-of-the-empire tone, sources say
By Steven Zeitchik

Nov 13, 2008, 01:00 AM ET

Updated: Nov 13, 2008, 02:33 PM ET

When Paramount Vantage and Overture announced Michael Moore's long-gestating follow-up to "Fahrenheit 9/11" in May, executives stressed the film's foreign-policy scope. "This is going to tackle what's going on in the world and America's place in it," Paramount Vantage chief Nick Meyer said.

But as the political winds shifted in the months before the election -- and gusted after it -- Moore subtly began reorienting his movie. Instead of foreign policy, the film's focus now is more on the global financial crisis and the U.S. economy.

The untitled movie will contain an end-of-the-empire tone, say those familiar with the project, and Moore no doubt hopes that this will give it a more general feel that will untether it from a specific political moment.

But some political and entertainment experts wonder how much Moore's incredulousness and occasional pessimism about the state of U.S. policy, which served the filmmaker well during the George W. Bush years, will play in the current hopeful climate brought on President-elect Barack Obama.

"If Moore offers a prescription for how to improve things, he may indeed find an audience that at this moment is eager for change," said Craig Minassian, an entertainment consultant and former Bill Clinton aide. "But it's going to be hard for him. What this election shows is what's right with America, and sometimes what Michael Moore does is highlight what's wrong with America."

In the meantime, a focus on the collapsing markets brings its own risk, Minassian said. "The problem with the financial crisis is that it's changing so quickly. I'm not sure how relevant is going to be in six months, and I'm not sure if people want to hear it; my sense is they already have a pretty good idea of a lot of the people who are to blame for it."

An election favoring the Democrats would remove some of the factors that put Moore in vogue both in the U.S. and abroad during the Bush years -- and pushed his three theatrical movies during that time to more than $300 million in worldwide boxoffice.

It's worth noting that Moore famously shoots a lot of footage and makes many critical decisions later in the production process, so the tone could still shift; it's tricky to know what any Moore movie will ultimately look like before he completes the film.

Overture and Vantage declined comment.

Still, Moore is feverishly shooting, and the movie is expected to come out as early as this spring, with Vantage and Overture hoping to capitalize on the current high levels of political awareness.

Moore has also said that in some ways he sees the movie less as a sequel to the Middle East-themed "Fahrenheit 9/11" than as a bookend to "Roger & Me," the director's breakthrough nearly two decades ago. That movie featured the U.S. economy and the auto industry at its center, and that, if nothing else, could again prove a timely theme.****


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G M
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« Reply #59 on: November 14, 2008, 09:27:27 AM »

The only time the nations of the world howl louder than when they scream their hatred for us, is when they need us to rescue them.
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ccp
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« Reply #60 on: November 14, 2008, 10:31:15 AM »

My post on the coming of the next M Moore movie with a reported theme about the economy but in the context that America as an "empire" is over is on line with how BO thinks.  Both people have a deep resentment of our country and feel that American capitalism and democracy spreading around the globe is imperialism or emipire like.  And as those on this board know they will be sure to put a stop to that.
The 50 states of the union will become the US is one of the 195 states of the world.
I don't get why the US has to lead the world in a way that contributes to its own shrinking.

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G M
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« Reply #61 on: November 16, 2008, 09:24:19 AM »

- Pajamas Media - http://pajamasmedia.com -

Obama’s Very Bad Start
Posted By Stephen Green On November 14, 2008 @ 12:00 am In . Most Popular 05, . Positioning, Elections 2008, Gun Control, Opinion, Politics, US News | 220 Comments

Monday, our own Jennifer Rubin wrote a column called “[1] The GOP Gets Off to a Bad Start.” Let’s take a look at the other side of the issue. It seems like our president-elect is keeping himself busy picking unnecessary fights. Is this the way Obama will conduct business with Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, or is it just a case of a new president finding his footing?

Obama vs. Pelosi/Green Machine vs. Jobs

On the Detroit bailout, Obama has hinted that he wants to make sure the money goes to retooling for [2] clean, fuel efficient cars. Just like the original $25 billion Department of Energy bill was supposed to do. Nancy Pelosi is most worried about the UAW and jobs and would probably pump fresh blood into an entire city of the dead to save a single union job. So it looks like Obama and Pelosi are going to clash — and soon. Some reports indicate that GM will be down to its minimum operating cash before the end of the year — and that would make Chapter 11 all but a foregone conclusion. Detroit needs cash, but for what? The Obama Plan or the Pelosi Plan?

Obama vs. Southern Democrats on Guns

Obama is also gearing up for a fight with southern Democrats. After being mostly silent on guns during the campaign, Obama’s Web site has recently added or restored language indicating the return of the “[3] assault weapons ban” on scary-looking rifles. Southern Democrats paid with their jobs for Clinton’s ban back in 1994. You might expect the new Blue Dog Dems to join hands and sing Kumbaya with House and Senate Republicans to block a new Scary Looking Rifles Law.

Obama vs. Republicans

OK, so maybe this item is no real shocker, but it still seems a little early in the game for Mr. Post Partisan to be dissing Republicans. And yet, Obama has already soiled relations with the GOP, thanks to [4] leaks from his meeting with President Bush on Monday. Obama might just give us the most ethical administration ever — I mean, anything can happen. But it’s already shaping up to be the most indiscrete. If Obama wants to reach across the aisle, that’s great. He just shouldn’t do so with a joy buzzer in his hand.

Obama vs. Europe

Speaking of indiscretion, Obama doesn’t seem to have a clue on how to treat American allies. During the primary race, he threatened to crack down on major threats like Canada — a position he probably/maybe/sort of backed off from in backdoor talks with the Canadian government. In Europe, Obama is already to the left of most every major EU leader. Then last week, Obama [5] told Poland one thing about missile defense in private and told Russia quite another thing in public. In other words, he’s doing his best to spoil relations with Poland, which will have repercussions throughout Eastern Europe, too. Our allies have got to wonder where Obama stands. I think we all do.


Obama vs. Everybody (Eventually) on Taxes

Obama promised to raise taxes only on the lower-upper class on up. Then we got hints that taxes would go up for the upper middle class, too. And now we’re learning that Team Obama has plans to raise taxes on people who do evil things like [6] own cars. Or just drive them. Which by my count is … pretty much everybody.

More ominously, unless we get middle class entitlement reform out of the Democrats, then eventually everybody’s taxes are going up. Way up. And “eventually” comes closer every year, as the Baby Boomers have begun to retire and place new financial strains on our retirement and health care transfer-payment systems. Alternately, Washington can give us a big round of inflation — a hidden tax which will do for your 401(k)… what Washington has already done to your 401(k).

So it’s true — Obama really is bringing people together. He’s bringing them together … against Barack Obama. While it’s true that Republicans got off on the wrong foot this week and last, so did Obama. And if he keeps it up, then the Republicans might not be the minority party for too very much longer.

Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/obamas-very-bad-start/

URLs in this post:
[1] The GOP Gets Off to a Bad Start: http://pajamasmedia.com//pajamasmedia.com/blog/the-gop-gets-off-to-a-bad-start/
[2] clean, fuel efficient: http://pajamasmedia.com//www.thetruthaboutcars.com/between-the-lines-barack-obamas-shot-across-detro
its-bow/”

[3] assault weapons ban: http://pajamasmedia.com//www.nraila.org/Legislation/Read.aspx?ID=4227
[4] leaks from his meeting: http://pajamasmedia.com//www.usnews.com/usnews/politics/bulletin/bulletin_081112.htm
[5] told Poland one thing about missile defense in private and told Russia quite another thing in public: http://pajamasmedia.com//news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7717669.stm
[6] own cars: http://pajamasmedia.com//www.thenewspaper.com/news/25/2594.asp
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #62 on: November 18, 2008, 12:00:33 AM »

A German friend asked me what I thought of the election.  Here's my response:

> Hello Marc
>
> I'm very, very impressed how honourably Republicans are handling the
> setback.

Forgive me the crankiness, but note the contrast with the Dems over the two
Bush victories.

>I was impressed with Senator McCain's strength restraining the audience to
>boo during his last speech.

What a frustrating candidate McCain was!  So many mediocrities, so many
hesitations, so many failures to get the analysis right, so many failures to
spot and capitalize on weaknesses, , , , and then moments of sheer class and
quality-- like his concession speech.

> What is your personal opinion on Obama's victory?

The most hopeful thing I can say is that it is really hard to say who he is
or what he truly stands for.

I greatly fear that he will legalize some 10-20 million illegal Mexicans and
enable them to easily become citizens via low meaningless standards and
enable them to bring multiples of their numbers into the US.  Apart from the
economic questions raised by this, there is the matter that these tens of
millions will mostly vote Democrat and the political landscape will change
America from center-right to center-left and we then will head down the road
towards Europe.

IF he goes with the liberal left twaddle on the economy, then we are
seriously fcuked.  If he turns the American tax code into a welfare program,
then it may not be possible to undo the damage for it will become
untouchable. He does not seem to grasp that taxing business drives it
off-shore.  He thinks that global warming is both real and man-made and
looks to try to impose central control of the economy in the name of
stopping it.  Profoundly foolish and damaging!

OTOH if he goes with serious, somber people like Volcker or Summers at
Treasury, it will be a good sign that the adults are in charge of some
aspects of his economic policy.  His chief of staff selection can be
interpreted as preparing himself to deal with the Demogogue wing of his
party.

I greatly fear for BO's desire to give away US sovereignty to international
organizations (UN et al)

If he goes with the Bambi (a nice gentle deer in children's stories)
approach to foreign affairs, then the world is fcuked.   His weakness on
Iraq leaves him little bargaining leverage with Iran.  As Iran goes nuke, I
fear terrible consequences.

He has made bellicose noises about Pak-Afg, but IMHO no one has a coherent
strategy there for us.  I am better informed than most (I think) but I
cannot say what our strategy is.  As it is, we fear to take on the opium
because of its economic importance to the people there and as long as it is
there, much of the money/power goes to the enemy.  There is no win in this
circle for us and with no win, we lose.

Bush has left a mess with Russia and now, given Euro spinelessness, we have
no good options.    Bush's stupidity in recognizing Kosovo has enabled
Russia to take the two provinces in Georgia; the larger point of which is to
make clear that it can take the pipeline any time it wants.  The true issue
is access to central Asian gas and oil-- as we have discussed.  I like Jack
Wheeler's idea of building a pipeline from central Asia through Afg-Pak and
thus create a form of wealth generation that gives us true leverage in
Afg-Pak as well as undercutting Russia's chokehold on Euro energy.

OTOH the man seems unusually calm and centered and capable of extraordinary
changes in his position without his groupies caring or noticing.

THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES!!!

Marc
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ccp
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« Reply #63 on: November 18, 2008, 09:02:36 AM »

***Bush has left a mess with Russia and now, given Euro spinelessness, we have
no good options.    Bush's stupidity in recognizing Kosovo has enabled
Russia to take the two provinces in Georgia; the larger point of which is to
make clear that it can take the pipeline any time it wants.  The true issue
is access to central Asian gas and oil-- as we have discussed.  I like Jack
Wheeler's idea of building a pipeline from central Asia through Afg-Pak and
thus create a form of wealth generation that gives us true leverage in
Afg-Pak as well as undercutting Russia's chokehold on Euro energy.***

Crafty,

I like the parts about your fears of BO. Mine too.   I suspect BO is RADICAL left and is prepared to go as far left as he can get away with.  He might test the waters but he would obviously love going towards Pelosi et al.  He has hung around with many US hating raidcals and he occasionally slpis and lets out his tru feelings which include his resentment of America and what it has always stood for.  He will have us all driving electric minicars, he will run from Iraq ASAP, Iran will have nucs (though there IS NO political will in the US to stop this so its not totally BOs fault. etc.

With regards to the above could you expand on what W did wrong with Kosovo, Russia and what is this pipeline all about and how would expanding a pipeline through a dangerous part of the world help us?  Shouldn't we be drilling off our shores and get off foriegn oil?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #64 on: November 18, 2008, 12:19:49 PM »

Well, drifting briefly outsdie the parameters of this thread:

As best as I can tell, our support of Kosovo breaking away is a break from the understandings of international law.   Redrawing international boundaries is a true Pandora's box.  Due to its many border regions where ethnic Russians are a small minority, the priniciples enunciated by the US in supporting the breakaway of Kosovo can readily be applied to various situations which would challenge the territorial integrity of Russia itself.  Russia was EXTREMELY emphatic that Kosovo should not breakaway and basically we laughed and said "Watcha gonna do about it?"  -- so Russia was delighted to hoist us on our own petard when it applied them to the two regions of Georgia where ethnic Russians are in the majority.

(In dealing with Russia IMHO at all times we need to keep our eye on the demographic ball-- Russian birth rates are FAR below replacement levels. Every day Russia has fewer Russians, and the ones they have are older.  This makes the Russians in their "near abroad" e.g. Ukraine, doubly important to them.)

Concerning the pipeline issues:  Europe, especially Germany, gets a lot of gas from western Russia and Russia gets a lot of gas from central Asia-- without which it could not export its western gas to Europe.   Supplying Europe gives Russia huge leverage over Europe.

There is a lot of gas and oil in central Asia.  If that oil and gas could reach world markets through pipelines not controlled by Russia, it would help get Europe from under the Russian thumb.  One such pipeline currently exists-- and it runs through Georgia.   Russia's conquest of northern Georgia has made clear that there is nothing that the US or Europe will do about it (see e.g. the Russia-Europe thread entry of this morning) and hence that the pipeline which runs through Georgia does so at Russian whim.  Thus plans for additional pipelines are being mothballed.  What private company would invest now the tens of billions of $$$ required?

Outside the box thinker Jack Wheeler (google him, he is an interesting guy) suggests building a pipeline from central Asiaa though Afg and Pak.  This he thinks would give Afg and Pak some skin in the game for productive activities (at present what does Afg have except for opium?) AND foil Russian attempts to control Europe's energy supplies.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #65 on: November 19, 2008, 08:53:28 AM »

His friends advise Barack Obama to launch a "New" New Deal. Maybe that's because the old New Deal is sinking fast.

Mr. Obama's one deeply false note during the campaign was his harping on "deregulation" as if that were the source of current troubles. His real problem is the crack-up of the world FDR built.

 
AP
Barack Obama gets taken for a ride by the UAW.
Fannie Mae was a New Deal creation, subsidizing the securitization of mortgage debt. FDR's successors piled on the subsidies for housing debt and incentives directed at low-income borrowers. Kaboom.

Then there's the UAW, born in 1935. For decades the UAW steadily traded away domestic auto market-share to imports and transplants to keep its aging membership toiling away toward their golden pensions and collecting wages and benefits twice those of their competitors. It worked for a while . . .

Mr. Obama must be looking around and beginning to suspect he will be pouring his political capital, along with considerable taxpayer capital, down bottomless holes for the next four years. He won't be building a legacy as the new FDR, but cleaning up after the last one.

Fannie and its twin, Freddie Mac, have already come back for a second helping of taxpayer money as their once-profitable business model devolves into a politically directed subsidy machine for propping up home prices and delaying foreclosures. Their next meltdown, in government hands, is all but written in the cards.

AIG, an otherwise healthy insurance company that went bust betting on housing debt, has already consumed taxpayer loans and capital injections nearly as big as AIG's $200 billion market cap when it was one of the world's most admired firms. AIG still has a valuable insurance business, but ignoramuses in Congress and the press are busy destroying it. The company sells many of its products through busy independent agents. It uses lush "seminars" to encourage them to sit still for pitches about why AIG should still be trusted despite AIG's purgatory in the headlines. But these seminars only produce more outraged grandstanding from the political commentariat.

It will take years for the government to get AIG off its hands, and there likely won't be much value left for taxpayers when it finally does.

But the really giant sucking sound is the auto sector, getting ready to gobble up whatever hopes Mr. Obama might have had for an ambitious, forward-looking presidency.

He and Nancy Pelosi naturally insist that any "bailout" must hit multiple bogies. They want UAW jobs to be preserved. They want the shibboleth of energy independence advanced. They want "green" cars to please the Tom Friedmans of the world. They want to tell taxpayers they're getting more for their money than just a bailout of Detroit.

All this makes sense to a politician, but not to any practical person, who knows that multiple bogies are bound to be conflicting bogies. You could just barely envision a bailout that wouldn't necessarily be a disastrous waste of money, one that would help Detroit create a competitive cost structure in pursuit of building products that are competitive in the marketplace. But this is just the opposite of what Mr. Obama and his Democrats have in mind.

Prepare to witness, then, the awesome capacity of an unreformed Detroit to consume taxpayer billions with nothing to show for it.

That Mr. Obama had been sent by history to assuage the insecurities of the middle class with a "New" New Deal was always a tad detached from reality anyway. The reason is those giant legacies of existing New Dealism known as Social Security and Medicare, about which he was careful to say nothing intelligible during the campaign. These programs worked for a while too, but now their expected revenues are (in present value) about $99.2 trillion short of the expected outlays required to assure present and future workers their promised comfort in retirement.

Then again, Mr. Obama did say something in his campaign about tax rebates for all these payroll taxpayers. He also said something about government matching contributions to incentivize today's low- and middle-income workers to save for their own retirement.

Voilŕ, personal accounts funded by payroll-tax givebacks -- strangely similar to the solution our current president promoted to help workers escape the impending insolvency of the government retirement programs. Mr. Obama envisioned himself extending FDR's work. He may end up finishing George Bush's.
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G M
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« Reply #66 on: November 19, 2008, 09:01:14 AM »

I listened to that miserable c-sucker, Barney Frank on National People's Radio this morning, flacking for the UAW bailout. Not satisfied with burdening taxpayers with the Fannie/Freddie mess he helped create, now he's getting ready to saddle us with this mess. F-ing wonderful.  rolleyes
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #67 on: November 24, 2008, 01:43:45 AM »

Barack Obama's widely leaked selection of Timothy Geithner as his Treasury Secretary is certainly a sign of the financial times: About Mr. Geithner's views on taxes and economics, the world knows very little. His specialty at the Clinton Treasury and as President of the New York Federal Reserve has been negotiating bailouts and otherwise navigating through financial panics.

 
AP
Timothy Geithner with Ben Bernanke.
His first and primary task, in other words, will be to serve as Secretary of Bailouts. For that job, Mr. Geithner is probably the best choice short of Paul Volcker, and he guarantees the smoothest transition from the current Treasury team. He won't have to be introduced to the various Wall Street and Federal Reserve players, and he knows as well as anyone which banks are vulnerable and likely to threaten the larger financial system.

This continuity is especially important given that the credit markets have taken a major step backward since Barack Obama's election. Stocks are off some 15%, credit spreads have widened again, and bear raids are once more targeting Citigroup and other financial companies. The uncertainty over Mr. Obama's team and its direction has itself been fueling the lack of confidence, so we're glad to see the President-elect getting on with the show.

Mr. Geithner's political style is to listen first, which by itself makes him a better choice than Harvard economist Larry Summers, who would find a way to condescend to Albert Einstein. Mr. Summers is reportedly slated to run Mr. Obama's National Economic Council in the White House. The Treasury Secretary has typically been the most prominent Administration voice on the economy, but Mr. Summers is not the sort merely to play honest broker. Mr. Geithner, who once worked for Mr. Summers, will have to work to avoid being seen as second fiddle.

Mr. Obama's political adviser, David Axelrod, also sent a useful signal yesterday by hinting on "Fox News Sunday" that an immediate tax increase may be off the table. In his Saturday radio address, Mr. Obama said that his first priority will be a huge new spending and middle-class tax cut "stimulus" -- perhaps as large as $500 billion. "The main thing right now is to get this economic recovery package on the road, to get money in the pockets of the middle class, to get these projects going, to get America working again, and that's where we're going to be focused in January," added Mr. Axelrod.

The prospect of a tax hike during a recession has been a prominent source of investor anxiety. The President-elect would be smarter still if he announced that he won't allow the lower Bush tax rates to expire after 2010 as they are scheduled to do. The last thing frightened investors want to see now is a lower after-tax return on risk-taking and investment.

What Mr. Geithner thinks about taxes is something of a mystery -- and that's not the only one. As a protégé of Mr. Summers and Robert Rubin, the 47-year-old may share their view that tax rates don't matter much to investment choices. On the other hand, he hasn't declared himself in public on the issue as far as we know.

In today's Opinion Journal
REVIEW & OUTLOOK

Secretary of BailoutsJindal's MedicineThe Sidwell Choice

TODAY'S COLUMNISTS

The Americas: Election Fraud in Nicaragua
– Mary Anastasia O'GradyInformation Age: When Even Good News Worsens a Panic
– L. Gordon Crovitz

COMMENTARY

The Fed Is Out of Ammunition
– Christopher WoodWhat a Single Nuclear Warhead Could Do
– Brian T. KennedyChange Our Public Schools Need
– Terry M. MoeBush Does the Right Thing for Darfur
– Kenneth RothFor that matter, most of his work in public life has been done in backrooms or as a loyal Sancho Panza. During the Clinton years, he assisted Mr. Summers on various international bailouts. And during the current panic, he has properly deferred in public to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke or Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. Now Mr. Geithner will have to become the Administration's chief financial spokesman, so it will be useful for the Senate to sound him out during confirmation hearings.

All the more so because some of his bailout decisions have been less than successful. Mr. Geithner was the driving force behind the government takeover of insurance giant AIG -- a "rescue" that has itself twice had to be rescued with more taxpayer capital. The most frustrating part of the AIG episode has been the New York Fed's lack of transparency, both about the nature of the "systemic risk" that required the takeover and why it was superior to bankruptcy. This is another subject worthy of confirmation scrutiny, not least as an indication of Mr. Geithner's standards for future interventions.

Mr. Geithner was also on the Fed's Open Market Committee when it made its fateful decisions to keep real interest rates negative for so long, fueling the credit mania that has since turned to panic. Those monetary decisions are typically led by the Fed Chairman, but Mr. Geithner never dissented. While a Treasury Secretary doesn't directly make monetary policy, his private advice can be critical to Fed decisions. This is another area ripe for Senate exploration.

We suppose in that sense there is some rough justice in Mr. Geithner's nomination. Having been present at the creation of the current mess, he can help clean it up by avoiding some of the same mistakes.

 
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DougMacG
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« Reply #68 on: November 24, 2008, 11:34:24 PM »

A 3rd Bush term is what  Obama called a McCain Presidency.  But if Obama wants to delay all tax cuts and delay all tax increases, isn't he saying that the current Bush tax rates are JUST RIGHT!  Let's see what his new team says...  - Doug
-----

Obama’s Pro-Growth Economic Team?
A liberal-conservative consensus?

By Larry Kudlow

When President-elect Obama had a chance to squash the tax-hike threat once and for all at his news conference Monday, he took a pass and let the question linger for another day. But his new economic cabinet appointments strongly suggest there will be no tax hikes next year.

Stocks, for one, like what they’re seeing from Obama’s latest cabinet selections. On Friday, Obama announced Tim Geithner will be his Treasury man, and on Monday he made Larry Summers his White House economics tsar and named Christine Romer to the top spot in the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). Stocks rallied 900 points across this stretch. That’s not the end of the stock story. Markets also like the new super-TARP government plan to bailout Citigroup, which effectively guarantees the banking system with a massive insurance-like policy. But markets may also sense a little pro-growth good news in the Obama policy mix.

When asked about tax hikes on Monday, Obama said the debate is between repeal and not-renewal. In other words, repeal the Bush tax cuts in 2009, thereby raising tax rates on capital gains and successful earners, or wait until the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of 2010. Investors want to hear the latter, and Mr. Obama said his team will make a recommendation.

Here’s my thought on his team. Summers, Geithner, and Romer will all recommend no tax hikes in a recession. Maybe for Keynesian reasons; maybe a nod to supply-siders. Obama talked about a liberal-conservative consensus. But what’s especially encouraging is the appointment of Ms. Romer, who easily could serve as CEA head in a Republican administration (just like Geithner could have been McCain’s Treasury man).

About a year and half ago economist Don Luskin sent me a long article about taxes by Christine and her husband David Romer, who were writing for the National Bureau of Economic Research. From the introduction: “The resulting estimates indicate that tax increases are highly contractionary. . . . The large effect stems in considerable part form a powerful negative effect of tax increases on investment.”

Later in the article, the Romers write: “In short, tax increases appear to have a very large, sustained, and highly significant negative impact on output.”

That’s what makes the Romer appointment so interesting. In fact, there is no question that Obama’s economic team is right of center. All three are market-oriented. They’re also pro-free-trade. Hopefully Summers and Geithner maintain the Robert Rubin King Dollar policy of the Clinton years. And if Ms. Romer can stop tax hikes, that will help the greenback even more.

At a minimum, both Romer and Geithner could have served under Gerald Ford or George H. W. Bush. But they may be more pro-growth than that. Romer’s study of the damage of tax hikes on the economy and her emphasis on investment are right on target. In a New York Times story, a former Treasury colleague of Geithner’s says, “he’s no liberal.” As for Summers, while he has been mau-maued by Democratic feminists and some of the unions, he is a tough, clear-headed thinker who has for years tried to merge Keynesian and supply-side policies. No mean feat.

Now here’s the rub: all this talk about a $700 billion stimulus package. I hate to be the one to pull the plug, but government cannot spend our way into prosperity. The wish list of Democratic spending initiatives includes short-term tax rebates, massive new transportation bills, even more education money, exotic green-technology spending, a big-government embrace of health care, and heaps of cash for UAW-Detroit carmakers. None of that will stimulate economic growth.

Economist Paul Hoffmeister has it right: We need to invigorate incentives to produce and invest. Let me take it even further. We need to revive the dormant animal spirits, which have been beaten down by a brutal bear market in stocks, the ongoing housing slump, and all the myriad blockages to credit availability. A bunch of new spending won’t do the trick. Lower tax rates will.

Government policy must make it clear that new successes will be handsomely rewarded. This will be Obama’s greatest challenge. While he may not raise taxes in 2009 — a good thing — he hasn’t yet come up with a new bolt of electricity that will hardwire the serious risk-taking that lies at the heart of free-market capitalism. Right now, the missing electric bolt is lower tax rates and greater rewards for new risk investment by investors, successful earners, and business.

On the plus side, however, Mr. Obama talks optimistically. That’s good. He says he’s hopeful about our future. And he says he is confident that American spirits will be resilient in this difficult time. That’s Reagansesque, Kennedyesque, and FDResque. But while FDR’s big-spending and regulating prevented economic recovery, Kennedy and Reagan opted for across-the-board supply-side tax-rate reductions to get America moving again.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #69 on: December 02, 2008, 09:09:49 AM »

Barack Obama's choice of Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State is either a political master stroke, or a classic illustration of the signature self-confidence that will come back to haunt him. We're inclined toward the latter view, but then Mr. Obama is the one who has to live with her -- and her husband.

 
APThe President-elect's political calculation seems clear enough: Better to have the Clinton machine as allies than as critics on the outside of his Administration. His early choices are loaded with Clintonians of various stripes, from John Podesta to run his transition team, Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff, Eric Holder at Justice, and now the former first lady herself as chief diplomat.

This is startling for a candidate who explicitly promised Democrats in the primaries that he offered an escape from the Clinton political method. But perhaps Mr. Obama figures any disillusion will be minor and that this will unite the Democratic Party behind him. Much as retaining Robert Gates at the Pentagon may mute attacks from some Republicans, the choice of Mrs. Clinton will help to insulate Mr. Obama from attacks by fellow Democrats. He also disarms the Clinton campaign and fund-raising machinery for any potential challenge in 2012.

These political calculations must be predominant, because Mrs. Clinton brings no special policy expertise to the job. Her best attribute may be her undeniable work ethic. She has focused on foreign policy in her Senate committee assignments, but without much notable influence on policy or events. Her criticism of the Bush foreign policy has echoed the conventional view that the Administration wasn't diligent enough in trying to talk to the Iranians, the North Koreans and other hard cases. In other words, Mrs. Clinton is likely to pick right up where Condoleezza Rice and Nick Burns left off trying to negotiate with these enemies in the second Bush term.

It's also strange if Mr. Obama is trying to invoke the Clinton Presidency as a foreign-policy golden age. We recall it mostly as an era of illusory peace as problems festered with too little U.S. attention. Al Qaeda was left unchecked, Saddam Hussein banished U.N. inspectors and exploited Oil for Food, North Korea embarked on a secret nuclear program, Russia's post-Cold War spring faded, and Pakistan's A.Q. Khan spread nuclear-bomb technology around the world.

Mr. Obama's biggest gamble is associating his Presidency with the Clinton political circus. At least as Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton will have a specific role, as opposed to the ill-defined mandate of a Vice President. (Speaking of the Veep-elect, with Mr. Gates and the Clintons around, what's left for Joe Biden to do? State was the job he's long wanted, and he must be dying inside trying to abide by Team Obama's gag order.)

Flashback: Clinton's Foreign Funders
The Riady Connection – 07/21/00Mr. Gore's Scandal – 03/03/00The Obstruction of Justice Department? – 09/30/99Clinton's Johnny – 04/06/99But that still leaves Bill Clinton and his gift both of irrepressible gab and for inevitable controversy. His post-Presidency has been more or less a vast fund-raising operation -- for himself, his library and legacy, and his charitable causes. Mr. Obama said yesterday that Mr. Clinton has agreed to disclose the 200,000 or so donors to his foundation, and what a list it is likely to be. Look for Arab sheikhs, Latin American monopolists and assorted dubious characters.

The potential for blatant conflicts of interest with Mrs. Clinton's new role is great, and in appointing her Mr. Obama seems to be betting that the disclosure will diminish the problem. Given the Clinton history with the Riadys of Indonesia, Johnny Chung, the Lippo Group and Arkansas compadre Thomas "Mack" McLarty's business travels through the Americas, we hope the President-elect knows what he's getting into. The Senate has an obligation to inspect and make public the Clinton global fund-raising machine check by check, with names, dates and precise amounts.

In today's Opinion Journal
 

REVIEW & OUTLOOK

Travels With HillaryMumbai and ObamaMore Immigration Losers

TODAY'S COLUMNISTS

Global View: Media Narratives Feed Terrorist Fantasies
– Bret StephensMain Street: What's Good for GM Could Be Good for America
– William McGurn

COMMENTARY

Georgia Acted in Self-Defense
– Mikheil SaakashviliAIG Needs a New Deal
– Maurice R. GreenbergGovernors Against State Bailouts
– Rick Perry and Mark SanfordIn choosing Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama is also hiring someone he can't easily fire. This is usually a mistake, as President Bush learned with Colin Powell. The ability to let an adviser take the blame for a policy blunder is crucial to protecting Presidential credibility. But if Mr. Obama tries to let Mrs. Clinton go, he will be taking on the entire Clinton entourage -- not just Bill, but Carville, Begala, Ickes, Blumenthal, McAuliffe and so on. That same chorus will work to burnish her reputation via media leaks at the expense of her colleagues -- and the President -- when there is a mistake to explain.

Perhaps Mr. Obama will prove to be crafty enough to manage all of this and the other egos he is assembling. One good sign is that his choice as his National Security Adviser, former Marine General James Jones, is a commanding enough presence to mediate bureaucratic disputes. Mr. Bush and Ms. Rice never adequately did that in their first term.

On the other hand, the transition spin that Mr. Obama's Cabinet choices are inspired by Abraham Lincoln's "Team of Rivals" also suggest more than a little hubris. Honest Abe had to deal with jealous advisers and treacherous generals to win the Civil War. We're not sure even that would be adequate preparation for the raucous, uncontrollable political entitlement that has always driven the Clintons.
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ccp
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« Reply #70 on: December 02, 2008, 09:26:31 AM »

And bill's reported interest in the hill's senate seat is obviously designed to hold her seat for her as backup.  If politically advangeous for her to quit or be fired as sos she can always return to her seat that the bill is holding for her and launch her run for 2012 from there.

The Clinton's have BO surrounded. Time will tell.

And this whole idea of hill being painted as some sort of centrist is bull.  How the clinton team spins and the msm falls for it hook line and sinker. 

Does anyone in their right mind actually think that the clintons want BO to be successful?

How can anyone think it is good for us by having a sos whose sole reason d'etere is to promote her own career?
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DougMacG
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« Reply #71 on: December 02, 2008, 09:45:41 AM »

"Barack Obama's choice of Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State is either a political master stroke, or a classic illustration of the signature self-confidence that will come back to haunt him. We're inclined toward the latter view, but then Mr. Obama is the one who has to live with her -- and her husband."

I think it was VDH who wrote before the election that the only people you see with this much confidence are Ivy League Sophomores, certainly not someone who has ever run a business.

I noticed in his Hillary intro that he took the opportunity to trivialize the sincerity of anything either may have uttered in the context of a contested campaign.  Don't confuse marketing with governing.  Saying what needed to be said to win votes doesn't mean he meant any of it.  Shame on the voters who thought otherwise.
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ccp
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« Reply #72 on: December 02, 2008, 10:39:05 AM »

And anyone could wonder why Americans are not cynical or skeptical of our leaders?
IS he really picking the most qualified candidate as the clintonites suggest or picking one for  political reasons which is NOT in our nation's best interests as much as his own.

His own words suggest the latter:

Obama Disputed Hillary Clinton’s Credentials Before He Applauded Them
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
By Matthew Cover

President-elect Obama names Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) to be his secretary of state.(AP photo)(CNSNews.com) – President-elect Barack Obama designated Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) to be his next secretary of state Monday, despite having spent much of the previous two years questioning her foreign-policy credentials.

During the campaign for the Democratic nomination, Obama mocked Clinton’s primary claim that she possessed the necessary foreign policy experience to be president.

“What exactly is this foreign policy expertise?” Obama said to reporters in March, while flying from a campaign event in Texas. “Was she negotiating treaties? Was she handling crises? The answer is no.”

In spite of these doubts, Obama praised Clinton’s credentials Monday, saying she would be able to advance America’s interests due to her knowledge of world affairs and familiarity with world leaders.

“She is an American of tremendous stature who will have my complete confidence, who knows many of the world's leaders, who will command respect in every capital, and who will clearly have the ability to advance our interests around the world,” he said.

Obama said that his new foreign policy team, which will be led by Clinton, would change America’s foreign policy for the better.

“I am confident that this is the team that we need to make a new beginning for American national security,” he told reporters at the announcement.

However, Obama had expressed exactly the opposite view of Clinton during the primary campaign.

“It’s what’s wrong with politics today. Hillary Clinton will say anything to get elected,” Obama said in a January radio ad. “Hillary Clinton. She’ll say anything and change nothing.”

Obama also said Monday that he picked Clinton for her intelligence, toughness and work ethic, noting that his new team would need to pursue a new strategy around the globe.

“She possesses an extraordinary intelligence and toughness, and a remarkable work ethic,” the president-elect said of Clinton.

He added that his new team must “pursue a new strategy that skillfully uses, balances, and integrates all elements of American power: our military and diplomacy, our intelligence and law enforcement, our economy and the power of our moral example.”

But last year, Obama’s campaign specifically said that the candidate didn’t need the advice of someone like Clinton, “someone whose ideas were more in line with those of President George W. Bush” than with Obama’s.

“Barack Obama doesn’t need lectures in political courage from someone who followed George Bush to war in Iraq,” the campaign said in a December 2007 statement.

A few months later, Obama reinforced the sentiments of his campaign, saying that Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy wasn’t the change Americans wanted.

“Real change isn’t voting for George Bush’s war in Iraq and then telling the American people it was actually voting for more diplomacy,” he said in March.

In his introduction of Clinton on Monday, however, Obama also seemed to contradict the prior statements of two of his top incoming advisors; both of whom said that Clinton had never been involved in foreign policy issues before.

Greg Craig, incoming chief counsel, said of Clinton in a March conference call: “There’s no evidence that she participated or asserted herself in any of the crises that took place during the eight years of the Clinton presidency. White House records show that she was consistently absent when critical decisions were being made and that her trips abroad were largely ceremonial.”

Susan Rice, Obama’s choice to become U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, meanwhile, said that a First Lady doesn’t deal with international issues.
 
“There is no crisis to be dealt with or managed when you are First Lady,”  Rice said in March. “You don't get that kind of experience by being married to a commander-in-chief.”
 
In the most hotly debated dust-up of the primary season – over Clinton’s famous “3 a.m.” ad asking which candidate would better handle a crisis call at three in the morning -- Obama himself said Clinton had already failed the foreign policy test.
 
“The question is, what kind of judgment will you exercise when you pick up that phone,” Obama said. “In fact, we’ve had a red-phone moment. It was the decision to invade Iraq. Sen. Clinton gave the wrong answer.”
 
On Monday, meanwhile, Obama called Clinton “a friend, a colleague, a source of counsel.”
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #73 on: December 02, 2008, 12:00:14 PM »

Don't hire whom you can't fire cheesy
----
WSJ

Barack Obama's choice of Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State is either a political master stroke, or a classic illustration of the signature self-confidence that will come back to haunt him. We're inclined toward the latter view, but then Mr. Obama is the one who has to live with her -- and her husband.

 
APThe President-elect's political calculation seems clear enough: Better to have the Clinton machine as allies than as critics on the outside of his Administration. His early choices are loaded with Clintonians of various stripes, from John Podesta to run his transition team, Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff, Eric Holder at Justice, and now the former first lady herself as chief diplomat.

This is startling for a candidate who explicitly promised Democrats in the primaries that he offered an escape from the Clinton political method. But perhaps Mr. Obama figures any disillusion will be minor and that this will unite the Democratic Party behind him. Much as retaining Robert Gates at the Pentagon may mute attacks from some Republicans, the choice of Mrs. Clinton will help to insulate Mr. Obama from attacks by fellow Democrats. He also disarms the Clinton campaign and fund-raising machinery for any potential challenge in 2012.

These political calculations must be predominant, because Mrs. Clinton brings no special policy expertise to the job. Her best attribute may be her undeniable work ethic. She has focused on foreign policy in her Senate committee assignments, but without much notable influence on policy or events. Her criticism of the Bush foreign policy has echoed the conventional view that the Administration wasn't diligent enough in trying to talk to the Iranians, the North Koreans and other hard cases. In other words, Mrs. Clinton is likely to pick right up where Condoleezza Rice and Nick Burns left off trying to negotiate with these enemies in the second Bush term.

It's also strange if Mr. Obama is trying to invoke the Clinton Presidency as a foreign-policy golden age. We recall it mostly as an era of illusory peace as problems festered with too little U.S. attention. Al Qaeda was left unchecked, Saddam Hussein banished U.N. inspectors and exploited Oil for Food, North Korea embarked on a secret nuclear program, Russia's post-Cold War spring faded, and Pakistan's A.Q. Khan spread nuclear-bomb technology around the world.

Mr. Obama's biggest gamble is associating his Presidency with the Clinton political circus. At least as Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton will have a specific role, as opposed to the ill-defined mandate of a Vice President. (Speaking of the Veep-elect, with Mr. Gates and the Clintons around, what's left for Joe Biden to do? State was the job he's long wanted, and he must be dying inside trying to abide by Team Obama's gag order.)

Flashback: Clinton's Foreign Funders
The Riady Connection – 07/21/00Mr. Gore's Scandal – 03/03/00The Obstruction of Justice Department? – 09/30/99Clinton's Johnny – 04/06/99But that still leaves Bill Clinton and his gift both of irrepressible gab and for inevitable controversy. His post-Presidency has been more or less a vast fund-raising operation -- for himself, his library and legacy, and his charitable causes. Mr. Obama said yesterday that Mr. Clinton has agreed to disclose the 200,000 or so donors to his foundation, and what a list it is likely to be. Look for Arab sheikhs, Latin American monopolists and assorted dubious characters.

The potential for blatant conflicts of interest with Mrs. Clinton's new role is great, and in appointing her Mr. Obama seems to be betting that the disclosure will diminish the problem. Given the Clinton history with the Riadys of Indonesia, Johnny Chung, the Lippo Group and Arkansas compadre Thomas "Mack" McLarty's business travels through the Americas, we hope the President-elect knows what he's getting into. The Senate has an obligation to inspect and make public the Clinton global fund-raising machine check by check, with names, dates and precise amounts.

In today's Opinion Journal
 

REVIEW & OUTLOOK

Travels With HillaryMumbai and ObamaMore Immigration Losers

TODAY'S COLUMNISTS

Global View: Media Narratives Feed Terrorist Fantasies
– Bret StephensMain Street: What's Good for GM Could Be Good for America
– William McGurn

COMMENTARY

Georgia Acted in Self-Defense
– Mikheil SaakashviliAIG Needs a New Deal
– Maurice R. GreenbergGovernors Against State Bailouts
– Rick Perry and Mark SanfordIn choosing Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama is also hiring someone he can't easily fire. This is usually a mistake, as President Bush learned with Colin Powell. The ability to let an adviser take the blame for a policy blunder is crucial to protecting Presidential credibility. But if Mr. Obama tries to let Mrs. Clinton go, he will be taking on the entire Clinton entourage -- not just Bill, but Carville, Begala, Ickes, Blumenthal, McAuliffe and so on. That same chorus will work to burnish her reputation via media leaks at the expense of her colleagues -- and the President -- when there is a mistake to explain.

Perhaps Mr. Obama will prove to be crafty enough to manage all of this and the other egos he is assembling. One good sign is that his choice as his National Security Adviser, former Marine General James Jones, is a commanding enough presence to mediate bureaucratic disputes. Mr. Bush and Ms. Rice never adequately did that in their first term.

On the other hand, the transition spin that Mr. Obama's Cabinet choices are inspired by Abraham Lincoln's "Team of Rivals" also suggest more than a little hubris. Honest Abe had to deal with jealous advisers and treacherous generals to win the Civil War. We're not sure even that would be adequate preparation for the raucous, uncontrollable political entitlement that has always driven the Clintons.


-------------------------------
PD WSJ
President-elect Barack Obama said yesterday that Eric Holder, his nominee for attorney general, "has the combination of toughness and independence" needed for the job.

The key questions here are "toughness" about what and "independence" from whom?

Certainly Mr. Holder was tough during his time as No. 2 official in the Clinton Justice Department. He overrode the recommendations of career prosecutors and consistently carried out Attorney General Janet Reno's "see no evil "approach to the burgeoning Clinton scandals, whether they involved illegal Asian fundraising during the 1996 campaign or Al Gore's "no controlling legal authority" meeting at the Buddhist temple in Los Angeles. In every case, Ms. Reno and her department declined to appoint independent counsels to investigate matters.

As for "independence," Mr. Holder didn't exercise much in the last hours of the Clinton White House, when he was caught up in the pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich, who had been convicted of oil trading with the radical Islamic regime in Iran. Pressing for a pardon for Mr. Rich was his lawyer, Jack Quinn, a former White House counsel.

After the pardon was granted, it became clear that Mr. Rich didn't even qualify. Under Justice Department guidelines, pardons are supposed to be requested no sooner than five years after the completion of a sentence in a criminal case. As a fugitive, Mr. Rich wasn't eligible since he didn't serve his sentence, but the prosecutors in his case were never consulted about the pardon decision.

Mr. Holder later testified that he told White House counsel Beth Nolan the day before the pardon was issued that he was "neutral, leaning toward favorable" on the matter. The Associated Press also discovered that "to make matters worse, Holder had asked Quinn for his help in becoming attorney general in the event then-Vice President Al Gore won the 2000 election."

Mr. Holder told Congress that with hindsight he wouldn't have supported the pardon, saying he never learned the details of the case amid the flurry of last-minute pardons issued by the White House. Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen suggests the pardon episode tells us Mr. Holder "could not say no to power. The Rich pardon request had power written all over it." This is "independence"?

Critics of the pardon spanned party lines, including not only Clinton confidant Lanny Davis but Rep. Henry Waxman, then ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee, who called the pardon an end-run around the judicial process. In the press, it was widely noted that Mr. Rich's former wife, Denise, has contributed $450,000 to Mr. Clinton's presidential library, $1.1 million to the Democratic Party and at least $109,000 to Hillary Clinton's Senate candidacy.

All in all, Mr. Holder seems an odd choice to bring "real change" and the new ethical tone that President-elect Obama promised during the campaign. Here's hoping Senators don't give the charming but slippery Mr. Holder a pass during his confirmation hearings.

-- John Fund

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #74 on: December 03, 2008, 06:07:52 AM »

 
By NEIL KING JR.
WASHINGTON -- James Jones, President-elect Barack Obama's new national security adviser, said a U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan will work only if other changes take hold there, including a strengthening of the judiciary and national police force.

Retired Marine Gen. James Jones, President-elect Barack Obama's pick for national-security adviser, says that a troop surge in Afghanistan will work only if an effort is also made to bolster the government.

In an interview Tuesday, the retired Marine Corps general said Mr. Obama's campaign pledge to move as many as 10,000 U.S. troops from Iraq to Afghanistan must mesh with a concentrated international effort to bolster government and eradicate the vast heroin trade.

"You can always put more troops into Afghanistan," he said. "But if that's all you do, you will just be prolonging the problem."

Gen. Jones's prescription for what ails Afghanistan offers a glimpse at the role he will likely play as Mr. Obama's right-hand man on national security and the top foreign-policy referee within the White House.

In announcing Gen. Jones this week as his pick to head the National Security Council, Mr. Obama emphasized the general's military and diplomatic experience. "He has commanded a platoon in battle, served as supreme allied commander in a time of war, and worked on behalf of peace in the Middle East," Mr. Obama said Monday.

More
WSJ's Neil King talked with James Jones, Obama's new national security adviser. Read some excerpts from their interview.
Gen. Jones will have to mediate between the likes of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Sen. Hillary Clinton, who was nominated as secretary of state. The Obama White House also will teem with such strong personalities as Rep. Rahm Emanuel, named as chief of staff, and Larry Summers, the incoming head of the National Economic Council.

For his part, Gen. Jones tends toward the sober and methodical. He said he has "every reason to believe" the team can work together. "We have a serious boatload of problems facing us and the only way out of it is for us all to pull on the same oar," he said. Gen. Jones's friends say that despite 40 years in the Marines Corps, his conversations are profanity-free. The general has a penchant for words like "holistic" and "embryonic."

Mr. Obama has often mentioned the need to turn more U.S. military attention toward Afghanistan, and describes South Asia as the biggest menace to U.S. security.

The Jones pick met with approval from European diplomats, many of whom know the general from his years in Belgium as the military head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. But Gen. Jones put much of the blame for Afghanistan's deepening woes on NATO's military effort that he said "has let too many things slip through the cracks."

An internationalist at heart, Gen. Jones said the incoming administration is eager to enlist the support of Europe and the rest of the world to grapple with the challenge of Iran and its nuclear program. He said it was too early to talk specifics on Iran policy.

Gen. Jones brings an unusual resume to the White House post. He spoke English and French as a child in Paris, where his father was an International Harvester executive. He played basketball at Georgetown University, where he graduated from the School of Foreign Service before joining the Marine Corps. He commanded a platoon for two years in Vietnam. In the early 1980s, he served as a Marine liaison to the Senate. His boss was the future Sen. John McCain.

Obama's Advisers
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See some of the people expected to join the new administration.
He also has nurtured close ties to the Democrats, serving as a senior military assistant in the Clinton Pentagon, and then as Marine commandant. Under President Bush, he became the military head of NATO in 2003 and took charge of all U.S. forces in Europe.

Gen. Jones spent most of the last two years running an energy task force at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a job that he said reinforced his conviction that the U.S. "urgently needs a comprehensive energy strategy." He intends to make that quest a key part of his new job, and to enlarge the National Security Council to include a top energy adviser.

Gen. Jones also hit on a key foreign-policy theme of the incoming administration: that the U.S. must be judicious in its use of hard power. "There is power and then there is influence," he said. "If we say what we mean and do what we say, that will help forgo the classic use of power in the military sense."

The international fascination with this year's presidential election, Gen. Jones said, reinforced his view that U.S. influence isn't waning as rapidly as some critics say. "I am not ready to concede yet that American era is behind us," he said.
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ccp
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« Reply #75 on: December 04, 2008, 07:57:11 PM »

I think Dick makes good points but I still think the he/cans don't quite get it.  I am really attracted to BO's analytic approach.  I personally like the idea of dealing with our country's problems by getting all the ideas on the table and finding the best course of action. BO learns all points of view and then tries to find something that connects the dots.  The cans do not have many intellectuals pols who seem to look at all points of view and make a logical rational analytic argument as to why their way is best.
They just yell the usual slogans, freedom, less government, less taxes yada yada yada.  Explain to me how our country is going to deal with the problems we face today with just these slogans.  Where are any intellectuals from the right telling us why the left is wrong - if they are.  Sarah Palin cannot do this (at least not yet).  And that is why she will not win one independent of left person over.

<<<< OBAMA-HILLARY COALITIONGEORGIA RESULTS POINT OUT STRATEGY FOR FUTURE
By Dick Morris And Eileen McGann 12.4.2008 We have written before that the message of the November election results for us is simple: Conservatism and the free enterprise system are too important to leave their protection to the morons who run the Republican Party! So when even the ability to filibuster seemed on the verge of being taken from the forces of conservative government, we decided to act directly by helping to raise funds for independent expenditure groups who willing to run the kind of ads and do the sort of cyber-roots campaigning that it seemed to us was essential to stop the slide in conservative fortunes and to guarantee that the Democrats would not get the elusive but crucial 60th vote in the Senate. The challenge presented itself on Election Day when Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss failed to win the 50% of the vote necessary to avoid a runoff. In the runoff, won by Chambliss this past Tuesday, the Democrats had their final shot at getting the 60 votes they will need in the Senate to cut off debate and jam through any legislation they wish.

Over the past four weeks, we have reached out to you and to the Fox News audience for donations to independent expenditure groups to finance their independent expenditure in the Georgia Senate race. We didn’t ask anyone’s permission or co-ordinate with any of the powers-that-be. These organizations grasped the essential point that the way to appeal to Georgia voters was to explain the Senate rules and to underscore that Obama might be able to pass his most radical agenda — unchecked — if the Democrats won in the Georgia Senate runoff which pitted Chambliss against Democratic challenger Jim Martin.

The geniuses who run the Republican Party, as always, had it wrong. The conventional wisdom was that Chambliss should stress his record and Martin’s liberalism as if the national balance in the Senate were not on the line. But we insisted that the essential point that it was the fact that Chambliss was the potential 60th seat that would impel Georgians to flock to the polls. Independent expenditure groups ran almost a million dollars of ads in Georgia (a huge amount for a medium sized state) emphasizing the need to stop Obama from getting a super majority in the Senate.

And it worked. Where most polls had projected a narrow Chambliss victor of two to four points, he won with a resounding fourteen point margin. Rather than being trampled by a rush of Democratic voters, the Republican candidate was propelled to a big victory by a huge conservative turnout, no doubt impelled and catalyzed by the efforts of media and internet campaigning financed by independent expenditure groups!

Now, even if the Democrats cheat Minnesota out of the services of Senator Norm Coleman and put Al Franken in his place, the filibuster will be safe, a weapon to defend our freedom.

This is the second time that this strategy of using independent expenditure groups to get out the right message has worked. When McCain disdained any media which attacked Obama’s relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, independent expenditure groups jumped in and aired ads exposing the relationship. The result was that instead of Obama cruising to the predicted ten to twelve point victory forecast in most polls, the undecided vote all broke against him and he won by only six points – not enough to win the supermajority he coveted in the Senate. And this week, his efforts were frustrated again by the Chambliss win in Georgia.

So this sets the pattern for resistance to Obama’s socialist agenda over the next four years. When a crucial test is underway, we will appeal for your donations to independent expenditure groups to wage the battle with no holds barred. And, together, maybe we can do a lot to save the country!>>>>





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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #76 on: December 04, 2008, 08:13:31 PM »

"I am really attracted to BO's analytic approach."

His temperament/disposition seem quite good.

"I personally like the idea of dealing with our country's problems by getting all the ideas on the table and finding the best course of action."

And this is exactly what worries me.  It is simply another variation of "the best and the brightest" approach that has been tried before and left disasters in its wake.  There ARE certain Facts of Life that governmental edict cannot fcuk with.  It cannot repeal the law of gravity and it cannot repeal the law of supply and demand (e.g. taxes and regulations on productivity) or repeal certain Darwinian realities.  Ultimately it is Hayek's "fatal conceit" that the best and the birghtest are better than the Invisible Hand of the Tao (a.k.a. "the Market")

"BO learns all points of view and then tries to find something that connects the dots."   

And this too concerns me.  I worry that the man's gift for glibness leaves him deluding himself as much as it does others into believing that all conflict can be finessed.   It is no accident that this thread's name includes the term "cognitive dissonance"  evil cheesy  I hope he is not our next Jimmy Carter.

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ccp
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« Reply #77 on: December 05, 2008, 09:05:00 AM »

Crafty,

I do not say you are wrong.  You may be right.

But how about proving it to me?

Simply saying the Dems are wrong is what bothers me and the majority of Americans.  We have other countries that are now moving up to our economic level and competing with us.  We have issues and problems the free markets may not be able to address.

And actually one idea to always be on the table is DO NOTHING.
This should be on the table.  But it is Cans *responsibility* to explain in a thoughtful way why this is best.  I am convinced we shouldn't have big government.  I am also convinced we can't have total dregulation and allow greed to go unchecked.  There has to be a balance.  Both are needed.  You have the left that wants a nanny governmnet that soves everything and you have the right saying government is for military, law and order and that's about it.  Both are wrong.  The answer is in the middle.  And that is where the majority of Americans lie.  Why can't any cans address this?Huh

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DougMacG
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« Reply #78 on: December 05, 2008, 11:34:50 AM »

I also look forward to more from Crafty and others on this.  Especially for CCP to offer specific ideas of what middle ground we can find between free enterprise and a centrally planned, social engineering based model.

The answer I believe to runaway profits and greed is competition. There isn't a problem with people acting in the best interest of themselves, their family or their business until we build artificial barriers for new competition.  I would be hard-pressed to point out obscene wealth without finding some form of government imposed barriers to competition.

You might recall the books by Harvard Prof. Clayton Christensen regarding creative destruction.  Technological monopolies are temporary and the one who holds the monopoly is in the worst position to develop and introduce the new, disrupting technology of the next cycle.

Same with heirs and second generations of wealth.  Which Rockefellers for example now control new business sectors with risk taking and new innovation or are they all just in the business of giving it away?

Obscene profits from energy and oil come from anti-supply legislation.  Drilling restrictions would seem to hurt the suppliers, but as OPEC knows so well is that anything that artificially restricts supply and locks out competition actually boosts the profits of those who already have supply.  Just like minimum wage laws mostly boost those who already have a job.

In auto manufacturing, no one but a UAW member with the exact same contract can work any particular job.  There is zero competition and zero incentive for innovation. 

Yet look at freer industries and you sees products improve faster, prices fall faster and new products overtake old one faster.

CCP: "it is [Republi]Cans *responsibility* to explain in a thoughtful way why this (freedom in markets) is best."

Absolutely, that is the key IMO.  Very few can explain the benefits of free markets and certainly not in soundbites. Also it is next to impossible in the context of your opponent running millions of dollars of simplified soundbites, e.g. 'my opponent voted against the minimum wage' or supported 'tax cuts for the wealthy'. Explaining that the alternative would involve choosing government at the federal level to establish private sector wages at the local levels, and to explain the oddity that real tax cuts necessarily go to those who pay the taxes just isn't that easy.

Rightsizing government involves getting the public sector to do what it does best and the private sector to do what it does best, a question that never seems to get asked.  We need to stop the blending and overlap of private and public, GSEs, fannie Mae, and governments picking winners and propping up losers.  It isn't that we don't have or need investigators and regulators like the SEC, Justice Dept. and Senate Banking Committee. It's that they need to get focused and up to speed with stopping frauds and the anti-competitive schemes of our time.

On the other extreme, Obama could not even put someone into his administration from the private sector to head "Commerce" and has no one on his economic team that ever started a business.
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Freki
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« Reply #79 on: December 05, 2008, 11:53:13 AM »

There is a posting on the political economics thread that is pertinate to the discusion of free markets in this thread.  It was a real eye opener for me and should be referenced here.  It is number 138 by Sb MIG.  I am not sure how to link to it here but here is an attempt.,http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1467.msg23266#msg23266

The gist I took away was we do not have free markets and big business does not want free markets.  When liberals say free markets don't work IMHO  they are referring to the markets we have now and not true free markets.  Just stirring the pot have a look at Sb Mig's post.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #80 on: December 05, 2008, 11:54:20 AM »

Much agreement with what Doug just said.

"the right saying government is for military, law and order and that's about it."

IF ONLY THIS WERE TRUE OF THE REPUBLICANS THESE PAST EIGHT YEARS!!  As Freki's post comments just now, the Republican Party is often the Patrician Party of the Pachyderms of Big Business.

There ARE people with the the Republican Party who can do this-- first and foremost IMHO is Newt Gingrich.  Unfortunately he allowed the Fred Thompson boomlet, which I suspect he was as appealing to the same constituencies as he would, to deter him from running.  Fred also can be an articulate advocate (see e.g. the URL of the clip of him I posted the other day on the Meltdown on , , , I think it was Political Rants) but by being a lazy fcuk during the campaign, he wasted the oportunity for Newt.

A busy day ahead of me.  This is all the comment I have time for at the moment.  I will close by commenting that if you want what I believe to be some rather good advocacy, then in this forum you have come to the right place  grin

Speaking of which, if we want to continue on this particular point, may I suggest that the Political Economics thread is where we do it?

TAC!



« Last Edit: December 05, 2008, 12:01:00 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #81 on: December 17, 2008, 05:53:52 PM »

Paul Moreno
Obama and the "Second Bill of Rights"

Have we given up not just the Constitution, but the Declaration of Independence as well? An Obama presidency, with an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress, could go a long way toward the completion of a European-style social welfare state that was begun in the New Deal.

In a 2001 interview on Chicago public radio, Obama lamented that “the Supreme Court never ventured into the issue of the redistribution of wealth.” The problem, he said, was that the court “didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution… that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberty.”

In this perhaps unguarded moment, Obama became one of the few liberal politicians candid enough to admit that the Constitution poses a fundamental obstacle to their agenda.

This is a popular theory in academic circles. It is the fundamental argument of Cass Sunstein, a colleague of Obama’s at the University of Chicago Law School (now on his way to Harvard), who is often mentioned as an Obama adviser and potential Supreme Court nominee, and the author of The Second Bill of Rights: FDR’s Unfinished Revolution and Why We need it More than Ever.

The second bill of rights idea derived from two famous speeches that Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave—one at the San Francisco Commonwealth Club during the 1932 campaign and his 1944 annual message to Congress. In the Commonwealth Club address, he spoke of the advent of “enlightened administration,” which would redistribute resources in accordance with an “economic declaration of rights.” In his 1944 message to Congress, Roosevelt said that “our rights to life and liberty”—the negative liberty to which Obama referred, had “proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.” He claimed that “In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights.” This bill of rights included the right to a job, the right to food and recreation, the right to adequate farm prices, the right to a decent home, the right to medical care, and the right to a good education.

Of course, these are not “rights” at all—not in the sense that the framers and ratifiers of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution used the term--but entitlements. From the founding until the twentieth century, the American regime assumed that government’s purpose was to secure pre-existing natural rights—such life, liberty, property, or association. Everyone can exercise such rights simultaneously; nobody’s exercise of his own rights limits anyone else’s similar exercise. Your right to life or to work or to vote does not take anything away from anyone else. We can all pursue happiness at once. Entitlements, on the other hand, require someone else to provide me with the substantive good that the exercise of rights pursues. The right to work, for example, is fundamentally different from the right (entitlement) to a job; the right to marry does not entitle me to a spouse; the right to free speech does not entitle me to an audience.

The New Deal is often described as a “constitutional revolution.” In fact, it was much more than that. It involved a rejection not just of the structure and principles of the Constitution, but those of the theory of natural rights in the Declaration of Independence—that, as Jefferson put it, governments are instituted in order to secure our rights. Roosevelt envisioned not a new constitution, but a new idea of what Sunstein calls “a nation’s constitutive commitments.”

As to this problem, Sunstein says that “The best response to those who believe that the second bill of rights does not protect rights at all is just this: unembarrassed evasion.”

Roosevelt anticipated no constitutional problem for the New Deal, for “Our Constitution is so simple and practical that it is possible always to meet extraordinary needs by changes in emphasis and arrangement without loss of essential form.”

Of course, there were severe constitutional problems with the New Deal, and Roosevelt ended up in a nasty campaign to “pack” the Supreme Court, the political reaction to which effectively ended the New Deal.

The economic bill of rights agenda has proceeded in fits and starts ever since, under the labels Fair Deal, Great Society and, it may be, whatever slogan will attach to “spreading the wealth around.”

Obama and academic liberals lament that the Supreme Court, once under the control of liberals in the Warren years, didn’t do more to advance economic equality. And most observers think that Obama will only have the chance to replace retiring liberals with new liberals on the current Court. The larger point is that liberals won’t need the court to implement the economic bill of rights, so complete will their majority be in the political branches.

Thus the real “change” for the American people, as Obama so candidly put it, is whether we want to repeal not just the Constitution, but the Declaration of Independence, in order to establish an entitlement state, or not.

http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/58356.html

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #82 on: December 17, 2008, 07:58:40 PM »

Exactly so. 

I am in most hearty agreement with BBG about the primal importance of what is at stake here.
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« Reply #83 on: December 17, 2008, 08:12:55 PM »

http://www.reason.com/news/show/130594.html


We Are the Green Team

Will Obama's environmental advisors spearhead a new global warming treaty by next year?

Ronald Bailey | December 16, 2008

On Monday, President-elect Barack Obama revealed the "Green Team" that will guide his energy and climate change policies. Its members include Nobel physicist Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy; former New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection chief Lisa Jackson as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency; and Carol Browner, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Bill Clinton, as the White House's "energy/climate czar," a position tasked with leading the Obama administration's battle against man-made global warming.

Their nominations came just after the United Nations' annual climate change conference sputtered to an indecisive close at Poznań, Poland last week. Climate negotiators from nearly 190 countries made little headway toward a new global warming treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012. At the Bali climate change conference in 2007, negotiators promised that the world would adopt binding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions limits at the 2009 Copenhagen conference.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, industrialized nations are supposed to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases—chiefly carbon dioxide—by an average of 5 percent below the levels emitted in 1990. According to the latest United Nations data, the emissions from former Soviet Bloc Kyoto Protocol signatories fell 37 percent, largely due to the collapse of their economies. On the other hand, emissions from modern industrialized Kyoto signatories rose by 3.7 percent. For example, between 1990 and 2004, Canada's emissions increased 27 percent, Australia's 25 percent, Japan's 6.5 percent, Italy's 12 percent, Turkey's 72 percent, and Spain's 49 percent. Emissions from non-Kyoto parties rose steeply from 1990 levels as well, including China's by 47 percent, India's by 55 percent, and the United States' by 16 percent. China is now the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases. In fact, global emissions grew by 28 percent during this decade, three times faster than the 9 percent increase that occurred in the 1990s.

Turning these global emissions trends around may be much harder than United Nations analysts previously thought. A sobering new study in the journal Climate Research by researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of Colorado, for instance, suggests that it is unlikely that most developing countries will be able to afford new low-carbon energy technologies on their own. "There is simply no evidence that developing countries will somehow become wealthier and be in a position to install more environmentally friendly technologies," says Patricia Romero Lankao, an NCAR sociologist who is the lead author of the study. The study projects that the economic growth of many poor countries will overwhelm increases in energy efficiency, resulting in ever higher emissions of greenhouse gases.

During the negotiations at Poznań, representatives of the developing countries pointed out that rich countries have loaded up the atmosphere with extra carbon dioxide as their economies grew. They argued that as a matter of climate justice, poor countries can either use cheap carbon-based energy to lift their people out of poverty or else rich countries can agree to install more expensive low-carbon energy production technologies in their countries. As part of a new global climate treaty, poor countries want rich countries to pay $50 to $80 billion per year into a climate adaptation fund to finance their energy transformation. Why this form of foreign aid would be any more effective than the massive failed programs of the past is not addressed.

For years, the United States has been cast as the villain in the global warming negotiations, contrasted against the ecological saints that make up the European Union. However, during the Poznań conference, EU leaders squabbled over a plan to reduce the EU's emissions by 20 percent below their 1990 levels by 2020. Disappointed environmental activists argue that this commitment is a "mirage," and that the EU will actually cut its emissions by around 4 percent.

Meanwhile, the world waits to see what Barack Obama will do. During the campaign, Obama pledged to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020—which implies a decrease of 16 percent from current emissions. In order to do this, Obama wants to impose a cap-and-auction system that would ration the amount of greenhouse gases that businesses would be allowed to emit. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), who opposes carbon emissions limits, has dubbed Obama's proposal a "cap-and-tax" scheme. Each year, under Obama's plan, the feds would set the number of tons of greenhouse gases that could be emitted and then auction that number of permits to the companies and organizations that need to emit them. Thus the auction functions as a variable tax on carbon.

Besides raising revenue for the government, the goal of such a rationing scheme is to increase the price of energy produced by burning fossil fuels, thus spuring the development of low-carbon and no-carbon energy supplies. At his press conference introducing his new Green Team, Obama promised to address the "long-term threat of climate change" with "a 21st-century economic recovery plan that puts Americans to work building wind farms, solar panels, and fuel-efficient cars." But will the Obama administration be ready to cut a deal on a new global climate change treaty at Copenhagen one year from now?

Some political progressives don't think so. For example, Eileen Claussen, the president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, told the Associated Press, "The U.S. won't be in a position to negotiate with specific targets and timetables in 2009." Why? Because she thinks that the new Obama administration won't have time to finish domestic climate change legislation by next December. In addition, Joseph Romm, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, noted at his ClimateProgress blog, "It is all but inconceivable that Obama can deliver the 67 votes in the Senate needed to ratify a global climate treaty—no matter what happens in the 12 months between Poznań and Copenhagen."

Inconceivable? Well, yes. As Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Obama's emissary at the Poznań talks, explained to Reuters, "What's important is that we go to Copenhagen understanding that no treaty is going to pass the U.S. Senate unless it is a global solution. China, India, Russia—all countries have to be part of the solution." The big, rapidly growing developing countries must make some kind of commitment to rein in their greenhouse gas emissions, or it's a no-go in the U.S. Senate. On Monday, President-elect Obama also stated, "Just as we work to reduce our own emissions, we must forge international solutions to ensure that every nation is doing its part." Recall that back in 1997, the U.S. Senate voted 95 to 0 for a resolution opposing any global warming treaty that did not include emissions reduction commitments from developing countries. As a result, President Bill Clinton never bothered to submit the Kyoto Protocol to the Senate for ratification.

President-elect Obama and his Green Team have their work cut out for them if they plan to meet the Copenhagen deadline. They must persuade not just American citizens but citizens of both rich and poor countries that they will have to start paying substantially more to heat and cool their homes, drive their cars, and run their factories in order to avert the indeterminate threat of man-made global warming.

Ronald Bailey is reason's science correspondent. His book Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution is now available from Prometheus Books.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #84 on: December 22, 2008, 08:29:36 PM »

NOAA's Ark

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Monday, December 22, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Transition: President-elect Obama chooses as his science adviser and head of our weather research agency two global warming activists who believe your SUV is driving us over a climate cliff.

Personnel is policy, the political cliche goes, and on Saturday the Obama administration's policy on global warming became clear.

He nominated Harvard physicist John Holden to be his science adviser as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology, and marine biologist Jane Lubchenco to head to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Both are global warming true believers. "Global warming is a misnomer," Holden said a year ago in a speech at Harvard. "It implies something gradual, something uniform, something quite possibly benign, and what we're experiencing is none of those. There is already widespread harm . . . occurring from climate change. This is not just a problem for our children and grandchildren."

There is indeed widespread harm being done by changes in the weather as the nation is gripped by subzero cold and record snowfalls that have reached spots like Las Vegas and Malibu, Calif. The earth is cooling and has been for the last decade due to a decline in solar activity and changes in Pacific Ocean currents.

Holden's proposed cures to warming are, well, interesting. In that Harvard speech last November, he presented a "top 10" list of options. No. 1 was "limiting population," as if man was a plague upon the Earth, a major tenet of green dogma.

Never mind that with more bodies come more minds and more ideas for cleaner and more efficient technology. He does not say how we would do that. Adopt China's one-child policy perhaps?

Second on his list was reducing per capita GDP. Holden's long term goal is "equal per-capita emissions rights," meaning that a country may only emit an amount of carbon commensurate to the number of its persons, not on the basis of its production.

For example, the U.S. would be allowed to release only about 20 times as much carbon as Ecuador, although the U.S. produces 144 times the goods and services.
Interestingly, he puts nuclear power at No. 7, calling it a risky waste-producing option that includes the danger of proliferation. Never mind that here and around the world nuclear power has reduced the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by billions of tons. France gets 80% of its electricity from the atom, recycles its waste, and no one in the City of Lights glows in the dark.

And after the U.S. economy tanks, he says America and the rest of the developed world must pay "the up-front costs, offering assistance to developing countries," as they move to the new, green economy. This would be a global redistribution of wealth, but we have to spread the green around.

As for Lubchenco, she has warned that even if the world abruptly shifts away from fossil fuels, the oceans will continue to soak up carbon dioxide and become more acidic. She recommends protecting marine life by reducing overfishing, cutting back on nutrient runoff and creating marine reserves to protect marine ecosystems.

The irony here is that offshore oil platforms have been demonstrably good for marine life by serving as artificial reefs. Louisiana fishing tours head right for the offshore rigs where fish feed and congregate.

Much of the nutrient runoff she mentions is caused by the increased planting of crops for biofuels such as ethanol to replace petroleum. This has created dead zones for marine life in places like Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico while raising food prices around the globe.

This is change and advice we'd be wise to ignore.

http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=314842335792193
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #85 on: December 23, 2008, 02:06:22 PM »

This could be filed a lot of places, but with a trillion dollar trough planned, there will be a lot of swine emerging.

Corruption's cost, beyond Blagojevich

'Rent-seeking' hurts society and perverts the work of government.

By Donald J. Boudreaux

from the December 23, 2008 edition

Fairfax, Va. - Gordon Tullock is not a household name. It's a shame that he's not. In contrast, disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is a household name. It's a shame that he is.
These two men have little in common except that Mr. Tullock, an eminent economist, is the first scholar who systematically grasped and explained why the actions of politicians such as Mr. Blagojevich are so harmful to the rest of us.

It takes no genius to understand why Blagojevich sought to enrich his purse and enlarge his power by allegedly trying to sell a US Senate seat. Four-year-old children understand self-interest and aren't shocked by it. And all sensible adults understand that politicians are no less self-interested than are bankers or beauty queens. As H.L. Mencken observed long ago about homo politicus: "...it is to his interest to augment his powers at all hazards, and to make his compensation all the traffic will bear."

Understanding just how actions such as Blagojevich's create widespread harm, however, is more involved than it appears.

Obviously, a governor who uses his appointment powers to feather his own nest is a scoundrel. And such ill-begotten appointees are likely to be inferior, so the public suffers.
But this is only the tip of the antisocial iceberg. As Tullock first recognized (in a paper published in 1967), enormous amounts of resources – including human talent – are wasted in the pursuit of government privileges.

The income derived from possessing a special privilege is called "rent" (which, by the way, has nothing to do with the monthly payments that tenants make to landlords). Rents themselves are just a transfer of value from some people to others. So, for example, when each American pays an extra $10 annually for sugar because of the special protections that Uncle Sam gives to American sugar farmers, that $10 winds up in the hands of sugar farmers. Each of us who doesn't grow sugar is worse off by $10, while those who do grow it are better off by the sum total.

Sugar consumers' losses are balanced by sugar farmers' gains. On net, then, it appears that society comes out even.

But that's not the case. Tullock's insight is that the very ability of government to create lucrative special privileges diverts resources from socially productive pursuits into wasteful ones.
Knowing that government is willing and able to impose tariffs that will protect them from foreign competition – and knowing that such protection will raise their incomes – sugar farmers understandably spend some of their resources farming government rather than farming their land.

Such lobbying can reap advantages worth millions. So it's understandable that companies spend considerable effort courting politicians who can bestow such privileges. That's wasteful. Time, energy, and other materials that could be used to expand the output or improve the quality of goods and services are instead used to lobby government for narrow benefits that may harm society at large. And the larger the potential gain from being granted such a privilege – that is, the larger the rents – the more intense will be rent-seekers' incentives to chase after them. That puts tremendous pressure on – and gives tremendous leverage to – politicians.

It's easy to look at the Blagojevich case and see a failure of personal ethics. It is about character. But it's also about how government itself creates the very conditions for corruption. Think of all the special privileges governors can bestow: subsidies for stadiums, public-works contracts, special taxes and fees, not to mention myriad regulations with myriad loopholes. Chief executives – mayors, governors, and presidents – are supposed to be the chief enforcers of the law. Today, though, they are also chief bestowers of privileges. As such, the trading of favors is intense, leaving little bandwidth for actual public service. Society loses.

He didn't use the phrase "rent seeking," but Blagojevich captured the toll it takes in an interview he gave in 2005: "There's a loneliness and a certain sadness [to this job] because you have to isolate yourself to some extent. There are so many people who want so many different things from you." He was more right than he knew. Blagojevich's shenanigans – though probably illegal in ways that grants of other special privileges aren't – are nevertheless appropriately seen as a product of the rent-seeking culture that today's increasingly unconstrained government engenders.

During the campaign, both Barack Obama and John McCain pledged to limit the influence of lobbyists and special interests. But you can't stop politics as usual when government grows. And as Washington embarks on a trillion-dollar-plus shopping spree, the conditions that cultivate rent-seeking – and thus corruption – are sure to grow, too.
The antidotes for this poison are integrity and constitutionally limited government. The need for them has never been greater.

• Donald J. Boudreaux, a professor of economics at George Mason University, is the author of "Globalization."
 
 
Find this article at:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/1223/p09s01-coop.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #86 on: December 27, 2008, 01:58:39 AM »

The most thoughtful and interesting debate of the two-year-long presidential campaign occurred last August at Saddleback Church between John McCain and Barack Obama, moderated by Saddleback pastor Rick Warren. So it is notable that President-elect Obama's choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at his Inauguration next month has brought forth hyperpartisan invective from the Democratic left. It has spent the past week conveying to the world its disappointment and disgust with the choice of Pastor Warren because he opposes gay marriage and abortion.

 
APJoe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said that "By inviting Rick Warren to your Inauguration, you have tarnished the view that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender [LGBT] Americans have a place at your table."

The head of People for the American Way, Kathryn Kolbert, is "deeply disappointed." She says Mr. Obama should have picked someone with "consistent mainstream American values."

Perhaps the most telling comment came from a "very disappointed" Rep. Barney Frank, who pointed out that during the campaign Senator Obama's "stated commitment to LGBT rights won him the strong support of the great majority of those who support that cause." Mr. Frank is putting down a marker; the left will monitor whether the new President deserves their continued support after the Warren-blessed Inauguration.

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During the famous and corrosive Culture Wars, both sides accused the other of unremitting intolerance. Our own longstanding view has been that conferring protected legal status on the most politicized issues in those disputes, such as abortion and gay marriage, properly belongs inside the political system of the states, where diverse populations can work toward a political settlement.

Californians did so in November when they voted to pass Prop. 8, in effect disapproving of legal status for gay marriage. Rick Warren, an evangelical minister, as well as the Mormon Church worked for Prop. 8's passage. It won by about 52% to 47%.

Afterwards, some gay leaders said their side would have to work harder to make more voters understand their arguments. More publicized, though, were the acts of retribution taken by gay activists in California against individuals whom campaign-contributions showed to have supported Prop. 8. Some were forced out of their jobs.

For about a generation, many on the left have believed that active and unapologetic intolerance of the right was justified because its views on matters such as abortion and gay rights were simply unacceptable. This moral somersault may work for them, but to the average American voter, a full-throated assault on the likes of Rick Warren for being "wrong" on two of many issues looks like simple intolerance.

The person in this drama for whom the leftwing Democratic habit of moralized intolerance could be a problem is Barack Obama. The left loaded up heavily in its support of candidate Obama, first against the Clinton machine -- always thought to be too willing to compromise with the center -- and then in the general campaign. These elements in the Democratic Party know what they want Barack Obama to deliver on judges, the environment, global warming and lifestyle rights litigation.

Mr. Obama's choice of Rick Warren for the Inaugural's invocation suggests that he is intent on using the momentum of his remarkable victory to build a governing coalition for the long haul. The silver lining for Republicans may be that the left won't let him do that.
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ccp
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« Reply #87 on: December 27, 2008, 09:07:11 AM »

I admit I was a bit surprised at the level of intensity of anger leveled at BO particularly on MSNBC,
Yet I question what the choice of Rick Warren means since it is purely and solely a symbolic gesture and PR move rather than anything of substance.  I am suspect that this is a superficial ploy to lull the right into complacency while the choices that matter with regard to real policy change will be as left as BO can get away with.

Others have posed this thought as well.
I don't yet believe BO is forming any kind of coalition between right and left for the "long haul".  We shall see.
Why is it gays think they have to scream their arguments at us even louder as though that will be effective?  It is simply annoying me more as probably with many other people.
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« Reply #88 on: December 27, 2008, 03:47:22 PM »

Arguably it IS effective-- at least some are intimidated.
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« Reply #89 on: January 01, 2009, 04:43:22 PM »

Warning: the author has conservative views on some subjects, and disclosure: I omitted the last part of the column where she went on to criticize the chance that Obama will favor free trade... one of the few things that Bill Clinton got right.

Comments about the UN came up here recently on a different subject.  Same goes for Law of the Sea Treaty - don't join organizations where countries like Cuba have an equal vote to that of the U.S.  Even if they gave us 50 votes we should stay away from treaties that lead to international taxation and-or loss of freedom and sovereignty.     - Doug
----------------

Obama's Plan to Rejoin the World Community
by Phyllis Schlafly
http://townhall.com/columnists/PhyllisSchlafly/2008/12/23/obamas_plan_to_rejoin_the_world_community?page=full&comments=true

When Candidate Barack Obama declared himself a "citizen of the world" before thousands of cheering German socialists, and later pledged to "rejoin the World Community," those weren't just his usual platitudes about "change." Those words sounded the trumpet for his specific and far-reaching globalist agenda.

Obama plans to use his presidential power to get the Democratic-majority Senate to ratify a series of treaties that would take us a long way toward global rule over our money, our laws, our military, our courts, our customs, our trade and even our use of energy. Here are the treaties he says he wants.

The U.N. Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), which Ronald Reagan rejected in 1982, is high on Obama's list. LOST has already created the International Seabed Authority (ISA) in Jamaica and given it total regulatory jurisdiction over all the world's oceans and all the riches on the ocean floor.

Corrupt foreign dictators dominate LOST's global bureaucracy, and the United States would have the same vote as Cuba. Likewise for LOST's International Tribunal in Hamburg, Germany, which has the power to decide all disputes.

Even worse, LOST gives the ISA the power to levy international taxes. The real purpose of the taxing power is to compel the United States to spend billions of private-enterprise dollars to mine the ocean floor and then let ISA bureaucrats transfer our wealth to socialist, anti-American nations.

Next on Obama's list is the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which was signed by Bill Clinton but rejected by the Senate in 1999. It would prohibit all nuclear explosive testing and thereby allow our nuclear arsenal to deteriorate until the American people are defenseless against rogue regimes such as Iran and North Korea.

A new Global Warming Treaty is starting to be written at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Poland in order to replace the Kyoto Agreement, which George W. Bush and our Senate refused to ratify. The new treaty would force dramatic reductions in our use of energy -- i.e., our standard of living -- and impose the "strong international norms" that Obama seeks.

Obama is toadying to his feminist friends by pushing ratification of the U.N. Treaty on Women, known as CEDAW. It was signed by Jimmy Carter in 1980 and persistently promoted by Hillary Clinton, but the Senate has so far had the good judgment to refuse to ratify it.

This treaty would require us "to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women," to follow U.N. dictates about "family education," to revise our textbooks to conform to feminist ideology in order to ensure "the elimination of any stereotyped concept of the roles of men and women" and to set up a federal "network of child-care facilities."

Article 16 would require us to allow women "to decide number and spacing of their children." Everyone recognizes this as feminist jargon for a U.N. obligation to allow abortion on demand.

Like all U.N. treaties, the U.N. Treaty on Women creates a monitoring commission of so-called "experts" to ensure compliance. The monitors of the Treaty on Women have already singled out Mother's Day as a stereotype that must be eliminated.

Another U.N. Treaty on the list is the U.N. Treaty on the Rights of the Child, which was signed in 1995 by Bill Clinton but wisely never ratified by our Senate. This is a pet project of the people who believe that the "village" (i.e., the government or U.N. "experts") should raise children rather than their parents.

This treaty would give children rights against their parents and society to express their own views "freely in all matters," to receive information of all kinds through "media of the child's choice," to use their "own language," and to have the right to "rest and leisure." This treaty even orders our schools to teach respect for "the Charter of the United Nations."
« Last Edit: January 01, 2009, 04:48:56 PM by DougMacG » Logged
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« Reply #90 on: January 05, 2009, 12:30:21 PM »

As we complete the appointment of Democrats to the senate in 5 states: MN, DE, CO, IL and NY - to make 59 Democrats joining however many RINO's that share no show no affinity to principles of conservatism or constitutional limits, on a positive note I wanted to point out that 'control' of the senate requires 67 votes, not 51 or 60 as commonly quoted.  Major changes require 2/3 of the senate including ratifying treaties, starting the amendment process and convicting the impeached.

Don't let them hide those types of changes, Kyoto for example or new government powers, in ordinary bills.
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« Reply #91 on: January 06, 2009, 01:51:34 AM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/01/05/obama-names-clinton-crony-whos-never-worked-in-intelligence-to-head-cia/

Ok, so now the empty suit places another empty suit in charge of the CIA. What could possibly go wrong?  rolleyes
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« Reply #92 on: January 06, 2009, 01:57:07 AM »

http://formerspook.blogspot.com/

Monday, January 05, 2009
The Wrong Choice

More than a few spooks, current and former, are shaking their heads over the appointment of Leon Panetta as the next CIA Director.

Mr. Panetta is the consummate Washington insider who is best know as Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff during the Monica Lewinsky episode. Before that, he was Clinton's first Director of the Office of Management and Budget and a Democratic Congressman from California for 16 years, serving primarily on the Budget and Agriculture Committees.

In the early days of his political life, Panetta was actually a Republican, working as an aide to California Senator Thomas Kuchel before joining the Nixon Administration. During his first stint in Washington, Panetta served as assistant to the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare and later ran the Office for Civil Rights. He left the administration--and the GOP--in 1971, accusing the White House of being "soft" on enforcement of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.

Readers will note a common theme in Panetta's professional life: the wholesale lack of intelligence experience. While Mr. Panetta is certainly acquainted with the intel community and his capabilities, he has never served (let alone, led) an intelligence organization, or served on a Congressional panel charged with its oversight.

To be fair, many CIA Directors have come from outside the intelligence community. And, some of them, such as John McCone, who served during the Kennedy Administration, have performed admirably. At the other extreme, some of the career intelligence officers (or those with prior intel experience) have been miserable failures. So, Panetta's limited exposure to the intelligence community doesn't disqualify him for the CIA post, or predict failure during his tenure.

But these are critical days for our intelligence apparatus, including the agency that Mr. Panetta will lead. When the Bush Administration entered office eight years ago, it inherited a CIA that was dysfunctional, highly politicized and woefully inept at its critical missions of intelligence collection and analysis.

Since then, three different men--George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden--have tried to reform the agency, with varying degrees of success. During their respective tenures, the CIA has added thousands of new operatives and analysts, and there is some evidence that the new hires (and their more experienced colleagues) are making a difference. After all, there hasn't been a terrorist attack on American soil since 9-11, and the CIA deserves some credit for that remarkable record.

Still, the agency is far from healthy. Elements within the CIA have pursued a strident, anti-administration agenda, under-cutting President Bush's policies on Iran's nuclear program and other issues. Case in point: the intelligence community's infamous 2007 assessment of Tehran's nuclear ambitions--largely based on CIA analysts--which effectively ended any chances for U.S. military action against Iran. The long-term consequences of that analytical power play have yet to be determined.

To advance the reform agenda at Langley, the CIA clearly needs an experienced hand. But there are more compelling reasons to put a career intelligence officer in charge of the agency. The threat facing our nation remains very real; a recent study suggests that terrorists will stage a chemical or biological attack inside the United States during the next five years. Meeting that challenge requires a leader who doesn't need on the job training, and will hold his organization to the highest standards of tradecraft and professional conduct.

Mr. Panetta is a capable administrator and experienced political operative, but he's the wrong man to lead the CIA at this critical juncture. His nomination also reflects badly on President-elect Barack Obama and his transition team. Most of his national security team was announced last month. Delaying the CIA announcement until the New Year suggests that the appointment was something of an afterthought, or that the job was rejected by more qualified candidates.

Obviously, the job of CIA Director doesn't carry the power it once did. The agency chief now works for the Director of National Intelligence, who oversees the functions of 16 organizations that form our intel system. But in a community of "equals" some agencies are more important than others, and the Central Intelligence Agency clearly falls in that former category.

The next CIA chief faces three herculean challenges: keeping the agency fully engaged in the war on terror; reigning in political elements that want to dictate U.S. policy, and avoiding another intelligence debacle like the one that preceded the 9-11 attacks. It's a tall order for any director, but those tasks are made more difficult by today's economic uncertainly, which may result in budget cutbacks for the intelligence community.

As a former OMB Director, Mr. Panetta is a veteran of federal budget wars. But even if he preserves the CIA's share of the intel pie, there is no evidence that he has the background or expertise to employ those assets in the most effective manner. Just one more reason that the Panetta nomination is so disappointing--and potentially dangerous.

***

ADDENDUM: Mr. Obama is entitled to the CIA Director of his choice. But the selection of Leon Panetta is a reflection of the next commander-in-chief and his own, limited intelligence experience. A few weeks ago, the president-elect named retired Navy Admiral Dennis Blair as the new Director of National Intelligence. Like Mr. Panetta, Admiral Blair has a long resume as a leader and administrator. But in terms of intel, his only experience is as a consumer.

The big-picture view is even more disturbing. President-elect Obama, a man who is decidedly short on national security experience, has appointed a pair of neophytes to fill our most important intelligence positions. Those men, in turn, are supposed to advise him on the most critical (and sensitive) intel and national security issues. That planned "arrangement" doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

And, for what it's worth, California Senator Diane Feinstein, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, isn't exactly pleased with the Panetta nomination.

Others have suggested that Panetta may be a sop to liberal bloggers and activists who torpedoed John Brennan, the CIA veteran said to be Mr. Obama's first choice to run the agency. Brennan was unacceptable to those elements of the Obama coalition because of his support for the "forceful" interrogation of suspected terrorists.

If Panetta is a peace offering to the moon-bat brigade, it's all the more reason to oppose his confirmation as CIA Director.
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« Reply #93 on: January 06, 2009, 10:10:52 AM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/01/06/what-the-panetta-appointment-means/

What the Panetta appointment means
posted at 10:57 am on January 6, 2009 by Ed Morrissey   


Barack Obama sent a message with the selection of Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, but apparently didn’t think enough people understood it.  He sent a stronger message yesterday with his choice of Leon Panetta for Director of CIA, and this time, it’s unmistakable.  Political considerations will trump competence and experience, even in the most critical roles Obama has to fill:

President-elect Barack Obama stunned the national intelligence community by selecting Clinton White House chief of staff Leon E. Panetta, a longtime Washington insider with little intelligence experience, to serve as the next head of the CIA.

The decision — which was also met with wariness on Capitol Hill — reflects a desire to change the intelligence power structure, officials close to the selection said yesterday. Obama has chosen retired Navy Adm. Dennis C. Blair as the director of national intelligence, a job he intends to reinforce as the “lead horse” on intelligence issues, an official close to the selection process said.

Panetta, 70, is widely regarded as a good manager who knows the government bureaucracy well. Panetta, a former eight-term member of Congress who has run a think tank in California for the past decade, has no significant ties to the agency that Obama has criticized for using harsh interrogation methods. Panetta has openly objected to the use of such methods, writing in an essay last year that the United States “must not use torture under any circumstances.” Obama had trouble filling the CIA slot in part because other candidates were perceived as tainted for having supported aspects of the Bush administration’s interrogation and intelligence programs.

Yet Panetta, who also served as director of President Bill Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget, has no institutional memory of the intelligence agency and no hands-on experience with its thorniest challenges, including the collection of human intelligence overseas. His lack of experience drew immediate questions, most notably from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the incoming chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who said she was not briefed on his selection and learned about it from news accounts.

The US is currently fighting an asymmetrical war on two hot fronts, but more to the point, in every corner of the world.  We need our best people at the helm at Defense and in the intelligence arenas, people with insight into the problems and challenges facing America at war.  Barack Obama either doesn’t understand that or cares less about security than he does about politics.

Leon Panetta only has indirect experience with intelligence. As budget director in the Clinton administration, Panetta has familiarity with their funding, and Panetta also served on the Iraq Study Group for several months, which looked at the role that intelligence failures played in our invasion and during the occupation.  There must be thousands of people more qualified to run the CIA from an experience and competence standpoint, including several members of Congress, notably Jane Harman, who should have chaired the House Intelligence Committee in the last session of Congress but ran afoul of Nancy Pelosi.

Even the notion of “change” doesn’t apply here.  Obama has no executive experience in government, and neither does Panetta, but Panetta hardly represents a breath of fresh air in Washington.  He’s another Clinton-era retread, only in this case, put in charge of an organization about which he knows nothing.  He’s there to exercise Obama’s political will and nothing more.

Obama deserves the benefit of the doubt on his political appointments, but this is one selection that should get a lot of scrutiny from Congress.  If Obama wants a political hatchet man in a high-level appointment, have Panetta run OMB — or Commerce, where there’s a late opening.  America deserves the benefit of experience and wisdom in the position of CIA director.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #94 on: January 07, 2009, 10:49:54 PM »

Done appointing moderates? Yasser Arafat was a "peace partner"Huh
---------------------------------------
Dennis Ross and diplomacy-derangement syndrome

January 7, 2009  Paul Mirengoff http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2009/01/022493.php

Marc Ambinder reports that Barack Obama will make Dennis Ross his "chief emissary" to Iran. This strikes me as bad, though hardly surprising, news.

Ross' presents himself as reasonable and moderate in his writings and television appearances. But in social settings, when the cameras are off, he can come across quite differently. In such a setting, I heard him say of Hurricane Katrina that people already think we don't care about the rest of the world and now it turns out that we don't care about our own people either. This kind of vicious, stupid remark is the stuff of left-wing bloggers, not U.S. "emissaries."

But my main objection to Ross isn't Bush-derangement syndrome, but rather diplomacy-derangement syndrome. By this I mean boundless faith in diplomacy which, when possessed by a diplomat, probably reflects boundless faith in himself.

For roughly a decade, Ross persisted against all the evidence in believing that Yasser Arafat was a "peace partner" with whom Israel and the U.S. should negotiate and to whom Israel should make concessions. If Ross could believe this, the odds aren't terribly long that he believes, or will come to believe, that negotiations with, and concessions to, Ahmadinejad (as evil as Arafat and even more dangerous) and the Iranian regime are just what the doctor ordered.

At that point, for diplomats with diplomacy-derangement syndrome, "getting to yes" can easily become an imperative, without serious regard to the cost of getting there or what (if any) the actual benefits of "yes" may be. The resulting mischief is likely to be great, as was the case for Israel the last time Ross was an "emissary."
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G M
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« Reply #95 on: January 08, 2009, 05:04:37 AM »

Intelligence Failure   
By Ralph Peters
New York Post | Thursday, January 08, 2009

WOULD you ask your accountant to perform brain surgery on your child? That's the closest analogy I can find to the choice of Democratic Party hack Leon Panetta to head the CIA.

Earth to President-elect Obama: Intelligence is serious. And infernally complicated. When we politicize it - as we have for 16 years - we get 9/11. Or, yes, Iraq.

The extreme left, to which Panetta's nomination panders, howled that Bush and Cheney corrupted the intelligence system. Well, I worked in the intel world in the mid 1990s and saw how the Clinton team undermined the system's integrity.

Al Qaeda a serious threat? The Clinton White House didn't want to hear it. Clinton was the pioneer in corrupting intelligence. Bush was just a follow-on homesteader.

Now we've fallen so low that left-wing cadres can applaud the nomination of a CIA chief whose sole qualification is that he's a party loyalist, untainted by experience.

The director's job at the CIA isn't a party favor. This is potentially a matter of life and death for thousands of Americans. But the choice of Panetta tells us all that Barack Obama doesn't take intelligence seriously.

Mark my words: It'll bite him in the butt.

After the military, the intel community is the most complex arm of government. You can't do on-the-job training at the top. While a CIA boss needn't be a career intelligence professional, he or she does need a deep familiarity with the purposes, capabilities, limitations and intricacies of intelligence.

Oh, and you'd better understand the intelligence bureaucracy.

Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), who was blindsided - and appalled - by the Obama mafia's choice, has the essential knowledge of how the system works. She, or a similar expert, should have gotten this nod. But the president-elect wanted a clean-slate yes-man, not a person of knowledge and integrity.

We're witnessing the initial costs of Obama's career-long lack of interest in foreign policy, the military and intelligence. He doesn't think the top job at the CIA's important and just wants political cover on that flank. (Guess we got Panetta because Caroline Kennedy has another engagement.)

Forget a "team of rivals." Obama's creating a campaign staff for 2012.

Of course, he's reeling from the shrill rage of the Moveon.org crowd over his nomination of grown-ups to be his national-security adviser, director of national intelligence, administrator of veterans' affairs and, yes, secretary of state. (By the way, how could Hillary be dumb enough to accept a job where success is impossible?)

Panetta's appointment is a sop to the hard left, a signal that intelligence will be emasculated for the next four - or eight - years.

Think morale's been bad at the CIA? Just wait.

Conservatives played into this scenario by insisting that any CIA analysis that didn't match the Bush administration's positions perfectly amounted to an attack on the White House. Well, sorry. The intelligence community's job isn't to make anybody feel good - its core mission is to provide nonpartisan analysis to our leaders.

To be a qualified D-CIA, a man or woman needs a sophisticated grasp of three things: The intel system, foreign-policy challenges and the Pentagon (which owns most of our intelligence personnel and hardware). Panetta has no background - none - in any of these areas. He was never interested.

If you handed Leon Panetta a blank map of Asia, I'd bet my life he couldn't plot Baghdad, Kabul or Beijing within 500 miles of their actual locations. (Maybe he can see China from his California think tank?)

This shameless hack appointment is the first action by the incoming administration that seriously worries me. Get intelligence wrong and you get dead Americans.
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« Reply #96 on: January 08, 2009, 09:09:19 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/01/08/oh-my-three-sources-tell-guardian-obama-plans-to-talk-to-hamas/

Three sources tell Guardian Obama plans to talk to Hamas
posted at 7:30 pm on January 8, 2009 by Allahpundit   


Barack Obama, April 2008:

“We must not negotiate with a terrorist group intent on Israel’s destruction. We should only sit down with Hamas if they renounce terrorism, recognize Israel’s right to exist and abide by past agreements.”

“Hamas is not a state. Hamas is a terrorist organization,” he said.

The Guardian, tonight:

The Guardian has spoken to three people with knowledge of the discussions in the Obama camp.

There is no talk of Obama approving direct diplomatic negotiations with Hamas early on in his administration, but he is being urged by advisers to initiate low-level or clandestine approaches, and there is growing recognition in Washington that the policy of ostracising Hamas is counter-productive.

Richard Haass, a diplomat under both presidents Bush who was named by a number of news organisations this week as Obama’s choice for Middle East envoy, supports low level contacts with Hamas provided there is a ceasefire in place and a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation emerges…

Bruce Hoffman, a counterterrorism expert at the Georgetown school of foreign service, said it was unlikely Obama would move to initiate contacts with Hamas unless the radical faction in Damascus was crippled by the conflict in Gaza. “This would really be dependent on Hamas’s military wing having suffered a real, almost decisive, drubbing.”

I bet they feel silly now for unendorsing him.

What’s changed in nine months? For one thing, the ceasefire’s come and gone per Hamas’s choosing, reminding the world yet again that they can’t be ignored. Terrorism works, as Alan Dershowitz likes to say, and never more so than here if the crisis they provoked succeeds in landing them a seat at The One’s table. Beyond that, with the election over, Obama no longer needs Hamas as a fig leaf for his policy of dialogue with Iran. I wrote about this endlessly during the campaign: The three reasons he gave in April for not chatting with them — terrorism, rejectionism, and dealbreaking — apply equally well to Iran, but meeting with Iran is the cornerstone of the foreign policy Change he promised. How then to prove his Zionist credentials to pro-Israel voters? Simple — draw a meaningless artificial distinction between Iran and Hamas based on the fact that one’s a sovereign state and the other isn’t. He’ll talk to terrorist states threatening Israel with nuclear weapons, but terrorist groups threatening them with Qassam rockets? Why, he’s far too much of a Likudnik for that. Except of course he’s not, which is why that meaningless artificial distinction is now reportedly — and quietly — being discarded.

Exit question one: Anyone heard recently from our new Secretary of State? She seemed quite troubled during the campaign by the thought of listening to Hamas. Exit question two: Second look at this report from November? Exit question three: He’s not going to try to spin this as okay because it wouldn’t involve “direct presidential diplomacy,” is he? I.e., “When I said I wouldn’t talk to Hamas, I meant *I* wouldn’t talk to Hamas. Hillary, on the other hand…”
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« Reply #97 on: January 09, 2009, 11:13:54 AM »

http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=6587400

Arrogant Conceit: Obama Thinks He Can Reform The Economy
Obama's Interventionist Reforms Go in Precisely the Wrong Direction

Opinion By JOHN STOSSEL
Dec. 24, 2008—


Barack Obama wants to use the recession to remake the U.S. economy.

"Painful crisis also provides us with an opportunity to transform our economy to improve the lives of ordinary people," Obama said.

His designated chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is more direct: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste" (http://tinyurl.com/5n8u58).

So, they will "transform our economy." Obama's nearly trillion-dollar plan will not merely repair bridges, fill potholes and fix up schools; it will also impose a utopian vision based on the belief that an economy is a thing to be planned from above. But this is an arrogant conceit. No one can possibly know enough to redesign something as complex as "an economy," which really is people engaging in exchanges to achieve their goals. Planning it means planning them.

Obama and Emanuel want us to believe that their blueprint for reform will bring recovery from the recession.

Yet, we have recovered from past recessions without undertaking a radical social and economic transformation.

In fact, reform would impede recovery.

This is not the first time a president chose reform over recovery. Franklin Roosevelt did it with his New Deal, and the result was long years of depression and deprivation. Roosevelt's priorities were criticized not just by opponents of big government but by none other than John Maynard Keynes, the British economist whose theories rationalized big government. Before FDR had been in office a year, Keynes wrote him an open letter, which was printed in The New York Times:

"You are engaged on a double task, Recovery and Reform; -- recovery from the slump and the passage of those business and social reforms which are long overdue. For the first, speed and quick results are essential. The second may be urgent, too; but haste will be injurious. ... [E]ven wise and necessary Reform may, in some respects, impede and complicate Recovery. For it will upset the confidence of the business world and weaken their existing motives to action. ... Now I am not clear, looking back over the last nine months, that the order of urgency between measures of Recovery and measures of Reform has been duly observed, or that the latter has not sometimes been mistaken for the former."

Note Keynes's concern. Government interventions, such as the cartelizing of industry through the National Recovery Administration, "will upset the confidence of the business world and weaken their existing motives to action." In other words, investors will not take the risks necessary for recovery if their profits and freedom are subject to unpredictable government action. Economic historian Roberts Higgs calls this phenomenon "regime uncertainty."

Keynes's letter apparently had little influence on Roosevelt, who stuck to his plan. In his second inaugural address a few years later, FDR feared that signs of recovery had jeopardized his reform plans by removing the sense of emergency: "To hold to progress today, however, is more difficult. Dulled conscience, irresponsibility and ruthless self-interest already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster! Prosperity already tests the persistence of our progressive purpose."

What a shame. Free people enjoying their lives make it harder for the administration to forcibly impose its utopian vision on them.

Obama wants to act quickly. In the name of stimulating the economy, he plans to spend hundreds of billions of dollars the government does not have to convert the economy from carbon-based fuels to "green" alternatives. Even if that were a good idea -- and it's definitely not -- it would not bring recovery. Any money the government spends must be taxed, borrowed or conjured out of thin air by the Federal Reserve, and that will reduce sound private investment.

Obama has no real wealth to inject into the economy. He can only move around existing money while inflation robs us of purchasing power. Meanwhile, private investors who might have produced a better engine, battery, computer, cancer treatment or other wealth-creating and life-enhancing innovations, hold back for fear that big government will undermine productive efforts.

The way to a lasting recovery is to greatly lighten the burdens of government. Then free Americans will save and invest.

Grand interventionist reforms go in precisely the wrong direction.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #98 on: January 09, 2009, 02:05:39 PM »

The original is at http://scottgrannis.blogspot.com/  so if there is any problem with the formatting here, then go there.

=======================================

Obama's fatal conceit

Obama gave a dire speech today at George Mason University. It sounded impressive, but only if you take it at face value and fail to check the facts or question the logic. He was in full-blown Keynesian mode, arguing that massive government spending is the only thing that can save the day. Here are some key quotes, followed by my rebuttals:

We start 2009 in the midst of a crisis unlike any we have seen in our lifetime - a crisis that has only deepened over the last few weeks.

As I've been pointing out for some time, the economic and financial fundamentals have actually been improving over the last few weeks.

Manufacturing has hit a twenty-eight year low.
He's evidently referring to the ISM manufacturing index. But that index does not measure manufacturing activity, it only measures the percent of respondents who see things getting worse or better; it's a diffusion index, not a level index. Industrial production, as measured by the Fed, is down only 6% from its all-time high, and is 83% above the level of 28 years ago. This is a gross misrepresentation of reality. Shame on all those intelligent economic advisors who let him get away with such a blatant twisting of the statistics.

Many businesses cannot borrow or make payroll.
The economy is not suffering from a shortage of credit, as I've noted repeatedly. All measures of lending to U.S. businesses show rising trends. Bank lending is at or near all-time highs.

We arrived at this point due to an era of profound irresponsibility that stretched from corporate boardrooms to the halls of power in Washington, DC.

Corporate boardrooms had very little to do with this crisis. The principal causes of the crisis stretch back to the creation by Congress of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, unique for-profit enterprises that were encouraged to take on increasing levels of risk that were ultimately guaranteed by taxpayers. It was not for lack of regulation that everything came tumbling down—there were plenty of rules in place and plenty of regulatory bodies, but they either failed to act or were discouraged from acting by politicians. Congress bears a heavy burden of the responsibility for the crisis, yet Congress is now being put in charge of fixing the mess.

We cannot depend on government alone to create jobs or long-term growth, but at this particular moment, only government ... can break the vicious cycles that are crippling our economy - where a lack of spending leads to lost jobs which leads to even less spending; where an inability to lend and borrow stops growth and leads to even less credit.

The first clause is absolutely correct, but then he suspends disbelief and reverts to flawed Keynesian thinking and contradicts himself. Spending is not the source of economic growth; were it so we could simply spend our way to prosperity. We can only consume what we produce. Recovery efforts should be directed at increasing work, investment, and production, not at trying to stimulate consumer spending
We need to put money in the pockets of the American people, create new jobs, and invest in our future.

Every dollar the government puts in the pockets of the people is a dollar that comes from the pocket of someone else; how can that result in a bigger or stronger economy? How can the government create jobs that are better or more productive than those created by the private sector? How can government decide what investments are going to produce attractive returns for our future?

We will modernize more than 75% of federal buildings and improve the energy efficiency of two million American homes, saving consumers and taxpayers billions on our energy bills.

Is "modernizing" federal buildings going to produce a return on investment superior to what the private sector could get if its money were not appropriated? I doubt it. Is improving the energy efficiency of a small sector of our economy going to make any difference at all to the planet Earth?

To get people spending again, 95% of working families will receive a $1,000 tax cut.
The majority of working families pay little or no income tax, so this is not a tax cut he's talking about, it's a handout. This is likely to restrain the economy's ability to grow, since it rewards those who aren't producing a lot and punishes those who are (since they won't receive the handout and will have to foot the bill for it). And besides, we've tried rebates before and the results have been dismal. It's almost as bad as throwing money down the drain.

We'll continue the bipartisan extensions of unemployment insurance.
This will only delay the onset of recovery, since it reduces the incentive of the unemployed to find work. We've done this every time the economy slows down, and the main result is to simply increase the ranks of the unemployed. It's a nice humanitarian gesture, but like every government action, it leads in many cases to unintended consequences.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan won't just throw money at our problems - we'll invest in what works.

The fatal conceit of politicians is on display here: how in the world are government bureaucrats going to decide "what works?" A handful of people are going to be making multi-billion dollar decisions using taxpayer money. The potential for waste, fraud, and inefficiency is staggering.

I could go on, but for now, 'nuff said.
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rachelg
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« Reply #99 on: January 10, 2009, 12:22:25 PM »

Gm-- This is the third or fourth time you have posted a poorly sources smear regarding  Obama and Israel .   If you do it again I think you should have to make a donation to your local food pantry or something grin.   Just to be clear  and I have said it before it would be bad if Obama talks to Hamas. I really don't see that happening

Obama won't deal with Hamas, 'Post' told
Jan. 10, 2009
Jerusalem Post staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

The incoming Obama administration will not abandon US President George W. Bush's doctrine of isolating Hamas, the chief national security spokesperson of the Obama transition team has told The Jerusalem Post.

US President-elect Barack Obama "has repeatedly stated that he believes that Hamas is a terrorist organization dedicated to Israel's destruction, and that we should not deal with them until they recognize Israel, renounce violence, and abide by past agreements," said Brooke Anderson in a statement to the Post.

Those conditions match the international Quartet's longstanding demands from Hamas, shared by Israel.

The Obama spokesperson was responding to an article in Britain's Guardian daily on Friday, which asserted that three people with knowledge of discussions held in the Obama camp said that while the president-elect will not approve direct diplomatic negotiations with Hamas early on, his advisers are urging him to initiate low-level or clandestine approaches, in light of the growing recognition in Washington that ostracizing the terror group is counter-productive policy.

"The president elect's repeated statements [about not dealing with Hamas] are accurate," Anderson said. "This unsourced story is not."

The US state department designated Hamas a terrorist organization, and in 2006 Congress passed a law banning US financial aid to the group.

"Secret envoys, multilateral six-party talk-like approaches. The total isolation of Hamas that we promulgated under Bush is going to end," Steve Clemons, the director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, was quoted by the Guardian as saying.

"You could do something through the Europeans. You could invent a structure that is multilateral. It is going to be hard for the neocons to swallow," he said. "I think it is going to happen."
This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com /servlet/Satellite?cid=1231424907657&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
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