Monday, February 23, 2009

Obama and Co. keep talking, economy keeps tanking

I'll say one thing about this administration: it's consistent. Every time someone in the Messiah's camp starts talking, the stock market starts to drop.

"Urging strict future restraint even as current spending soars, President Barack Obama pledged on Monday to dramatically slash the skyrocketing annual budget deficit as he started to dole out the record $787 billion economic stimulus package he signed last week.
'If we confront this crisis without also confronting the deficits that helped cause it, we risk sinking into another crisis down the road,' the president warned, promising to cut the yearly deficit in half by the end of his four-year term. 'We cannot simply spend as we please and defer the consequences
.' "

Why not, Obama? You didn't seem to have a problem with it when you signed that gargantuan spending bill, I meant stimulus. Note: confronting the crisis without also confronting the deficits that helped cause it is another codeword for Blame the Republicans...

"He said he would reinstitute a pay-as-you-go rule that calls for spending reductions to match increases and would shun what he said were the past few years' 'casual dishonesty of hiding irresponsible spending with clever accounting tricks.' He called the long-term solvency of Social Security 'the single most pressing fiscal challenge we face by far' and said reforming health care, including burgeoning entitlement programs, was a huge priority."

Ah, clever accounting tricks, such as...oh I don't know...a shitload of pork in a stimulus package??? Again, the past few years part is another codeword for Blame the Republicans...
He's right about one thing. Social Security does need to be reformed and soon. Otherwise the GenXers and Millenials will pretty much mortgage their future (they already are, but it could get even worse). Can't wait to see how much Health Care reform will cost us...

"Wall Street seemed unimpressed by all the talk. The Dow Jones industrials dropped 251 points for the day."

There's a reason for this. If people who really know the economy don't have a lot of confidence in this guy, why should folks like me have it? An interesting little tidbit of info: Since Obama was inaugurated, the market has dropped about 1100 points in a little over 4 weeks.

"Obama goes before Congress and the nation Tuesday night to make the case for his agenda and his budget plans, which the White House is to release in more detail on Thursday.
On Monday, he sought to prepare people for tough choices ahead

You mean, the Messiah goes before the Democrats on Tuesday night. Somehow, the party hasn't really been paying attention to either Republicans or people in general up to this point. I have a feeling that the stock market will plummet even more on Wednesday and Thursday.

"He summoned allies, adversaries and outside experts to what the White House characterized as a summit on the nation's future financial health one week after triumphantly putting his signature on the gargantuan spending-and-tax-cut measure designed to stop the country's economic free fall and, ultimately, reverse the recession now months into its second year."

Yeah, because these "experts" have done so awesome so far. Didn't the media go ga-ga over a supposed crack economic team that the Chosen One put together during the transition period? What happened to them, by the way?

"At the same time, federal regulators announced a revamped program to shore up the nation's banks that could give the government increasing ownership. It was the administration's latest attempt to bolster the severely weakened banking system without nationalizing any institutions, which the White House has said it does not intend to do."

Newsflash...this information is what caused the stock market to go down. The market is scared shitless that the government will nationalize the banks. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and given this administrations track record so far with saying one thing and doing the opposite, I'd bet good money that you'll see some sort of nationalization before this is through.

"Obama said there would be another summit next week on health care reform. "It's not that I've got summititis here," he added wryly."

No, but it does look like you have no handle on any situation whatsoever...

"By the president's account, the administration inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit for the current fiscal year from the Bush administration — that's the figure Obama says he'll cut in half — and the stimulus law, coupled with rescue efforts for ailing automakers, the financial industry and beleaguered homeowners will raise this year's red ink to $1.5 trillion.
The administration hopes to trim the deficit by scaling back Iraq war spending, raising taxes on the wealthiest and streamlining government.

'We are paying the price for these deficits right now,' Obama said, estimating the country spends $250 billion — one in every ten dollars of taxpayer money — in interest on the national debt. 'I refuse to leave our children with a debt that they cannot repay.' "

Ah yes, more references to Bush. Hey, Messiah, he's gone. Deal with the problem already. You're beating a dead horse. How is it all of those extra freebies add only $200 billion to the $1.3 trillion? I sense a slight of hand here, maybe some of that accounting bullshit he talked about above...

But how is he going to cut this deficit in half? By getting out of Iraq (goodbye Middle East...can't wait to see what the market does when that region goes up in flames), raising taxes on the wealthy (which will pretty much guarantee a stifling of job growth and continued recession) and... streamlining government??? Did I see that correctly? Is he serious? Did Porkulus mean anything to this guy? Ok, I can see where the streamlining will be: the military. He's going to gut it like a Thanksgiving turkey!

Oh yeah, Chosen One? My prediction is that the children will indeed pay, along several dimensions, for the nonsense you're putting out now.

"As an example of a purchasing process 'gone amok,' the president said he had ordered a thorough review of his new fleet of Marine One helicopters, now far over budget. He was asked about the fleet by former presidential rival John McCain at the end of the White House meeting.
'The helicopter I have now seems perfectly adequate to me,' Obama said, to laughter. 'Of course, I've never had a helicopter before. So, you know, maybe I've been deprived and I didn't know it
.' "

Ok, I'm really curious to know how much that helicopter fleet is costing Obama. My guess is, relatively speaking, a drop in the bucket.

"Earlier, Obama met with Republican and Democratic governors who are poised to benefit from his unprecedented emergency economic package. He told the chief executives, attending a three-day National Governors Association meeting in Washington, that he would begin distributing $15 billion to their states within two days to help them with Medicaid payments to the poor.
The recession has strapped state budgets, in particular in regard to the Medicaid program that is jointly underwritten by states and the federal government. In total, states will eventually receive $90 billion for Medicaid from the new law
." about pissing money away. My guess is that these people will unfortunately remain poor because they won't be able to find jobs in a stagnant or dwindling job market. Which means that the rest of us will have to keep paying for them. Which means more government spending, which means more tax dollars, which means little to no job growth, which means...oh hell, what's the use? I'm beating a dead horse at this point...

"One month into office as the economy continues its downward spiral, Obama is seeking to balance twin priorities: turning around dismal conditions with a huge injection of spending while lowering huge budget deficits. With his re-election race just a few years away, he also has an interest in avoiding being labeled as a big-government, big-spending Democrat."

Soooo...Porkulus, Health Care "reform" and nationalizing banks isn't big-government or big-spending? Only a leftist journalist could write this silly nonsense. Newsflash Ms. Sidotti, Porkulus was a huge injection of spending. I don't know what realm of reality you're in...

"The White House meetings opened a jam-packed White House week that includes a State-of-the-Union-style address to Congress Tuesday night and the president's first budget proposal on Thursday. A common thread: addressing current economic turmoil while controlling the country's long-term costs.
'This will not be easy,' Obama told his White House audience, which included congressional leaders, 2008 GOP presidential nominee McCain, and Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, who recently backed out as Obama's commerce secretary

Well, putting your foot in your mouth every time you talk isn't exactly helping the economy nor is it making things easier. Maybe a little more of doing than talking would make things better. Or more likely make things worse.

"After Obama spoke, attendees broke into five groups to brainstorm how to address costly areas including military weapons, Social Security, health care and tax reform.
During one, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said, 'Our deficit really cannot be controlled until we figure out how to deal with health care costs.' At another, House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio proposed raising the Social Security retirement age to 70 over a number of years

Hooray, more brainstorming bullshit. Note that little thing about costly military weapons. I can imagine that soldiers in the field will fail to get updated equipment in the near future. But remember that Democrats love the military. Don't question their patriotism...

"Afterward, Obama emphasized areas where he said there was agreement and consensus on moving forward in a bipartisan way, including that the country must ensure people have retirement security, that the tax process must be simplified and that the existing budgeting process isn't working. He also directed his team to pull together a final report from the sessions in 30 days."

Ugh, more of that bipartisan shit. Cuz' there was so much consensus last time the One started this nonsense. Yeah, I can pretty much chalk this paragraph into the category of "dream on."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Obama signs Porkulus, Stock Market thanks his deified efforts by tanking...again

Wow, with all of these "bold" initiatives we're getting from the Messiah and Co., I'm wondering if we'll have an economy left by the end of the year...

"President Obama on Tuesday signed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law.
But he's far from being able to declare "mission accomplished."
"Today does not mark the end of our economic troubles," Obama said before signing the bill at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. "But it does mark the beginning of the end - the beginning of what we need to do to create jobs for Americans scrambling in the wake of layoffs; to provide relief for families worried they won't be able to pay next month's bills; and to set our economy on a firmer foundation
.' "

First part is a prize understatement. The second part...well he's right about one thing. It is probably the beginning of the end. So spending gobs of money on pork will create jobs, how? As for relief, my question is how these "families" got into the financial messes that they did? Once again, are the responsible going to pay for the chronically irresponsible? I wouldn't bet against it. As for setting it on a firmer foundation, the stock market dropped 298 points today and has not recovered since Pretty Boy Geithner had his infamous "I dunno" speech last week. So where is this crack economic team that the media gushed about only a couple months before?

"Indeed, even though debate over the legislation was fraught with partisan fighting and what some characterize as strategic missteps by the nascent administration, getting the law passed was the easy part."

Ok, let's break CNN's brilliance down on this part. It was "fraught with partisan fighting", which sounds an awful lot like "those asshole Republicans wouldn't play ball, so it screwed things up." It might be me, but perhaps the Republicans (who recently found their balls now that they've pretty much lost control of the government) saw a whole lotta stuff in this package that was utter bullshit and decided that they wanted no part of it. A lot of it also revolved around this strange good cop/bad cop strategy by the Messiah, Speaker Bimbette and Senator Dirty Harry. One moment, they're pining for unity and bipartisanship to the public and the next they're telling Republicans that they don't matter (which, I hate to say is largely true). The Democrats wanted the Republicans to provide cover for them in case this blew up in their faces and the latter rightly called it for what it was and refused to play ball.

"Far more difficult will be gauging whether the legislation's trademark initiatives - which include improving physical infrastructure, investing in energy projects and providing financial relief for families by way of tax cuts and increased government benefits -- are really doing the trick.
The first step is to stem the recession in the near term. In the longer term it will be to put the economy on a path to sustained growth and greater efficiencies in energy production, health care and other areas.
So how will we know if it's working? What will be the signs? The president and economists say the biggest marker will be an improvement in the jobs picture.
"That's bottom-line number one, because if people are working, then they've got enough confidence to make purchases, to make investments," Obama said last week before the bill's passage. "Businesses start seeing that consumers are out there with a little more confidence, and they start making investments, which means they start hiring workers. So step number one, job creation
.' "

Well, depending on what one reads, the recession could end at the end of this year, early next year or keep on going. If it ends in a year or so, the Democrats will take the credit whether they earned it or not (I say, hell no). However, it's one thing to simply end a recession. It's quite another thing for the economy to grow. If the economy simply stagnates, that's not going to help much either. However, many economic experts also thought that the bottom of the market would be about 8,000. As of today it's under 7,600, not really a good sign (though it can bounce back). I'll be interested to see how the market does tomorrow.

Can it work? I'm not a big advocate of hiking up taxes (which will happen) or printing tons of money to create inflation (which will also happen). My guess is that it might do a little good, but more likely it'll be a colossal waste of money (just like the bailout package, and how much money from that was lost again?...). But hey, we Americans keep falling for this nonsense, so it's our own damn fault.

On the bright side, GM & Chrysler need only another $21.6 billion to keep shoring up their disaster. I wonder how much all of these little payments will add up to in a couple of years?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Republican Judd Gregg withdraws from the Obama cabinet

Hmmm...this isn't really all that surprising...

"Saying, 'I made a mistake,' Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire abruptly withdrew as commerce secretary nominee on Thursday and drew a testy reaction from the White House, suddenly coping with the third Cabinet withdrawal of Barack Obama's young presidency.
Gregg cited 'irresolvable conflicts' with Obama's handling of the economic stimulus and 2010 census in a statement released without warning by his Senate office.
Later, at a news conference in the Capitol, he sounded more contrite.
'The president asked me to do it,' he said of the job offer. 'I said, 'Yes.' That was my mistake.'

Yeah, I think Gregg did make a big mistake in trying out for that position. He should have known better than to trust the Democrats. However, at least he figured that out before he took the office.

"Obama offered a somewhat different account from Gregg.
'It comes as something of a surprise, because the truth, you know, Mr. Gregg approached us with interest and seemed enthusiastic,' Obama said in an interview with the Springfield (Ill.) Journal-Register. 'But ultimately, I think, we're going to just keep on making efforts to build the kind of bipartisan consensus around important issues that I think the American people are looking for.'

Let's face it, both sides got their hands caught in the cookie jar. My guess is that Obamessiah wanted a Republican and asked Gregg, and the latter was eager for it. Think about it. It's a position that's guaranteed for four years, whereas Gregg could have been knocked out of the Senate in 2010. I also think Gregg was being a bit naive in thinking that his opinion would be genuinely accepted by the Chosen One's administration. It's obvious that Obama would not trust him with any real power after he decided to take over the Census, which clearly falls under the Commerce Department. If Obama can't trust Gregg with that, then I would say that he's absolutely not interested in any kind of bipartisanship and the Democrats need to abandon this nonsense once and for all.

"White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said once it became clear Gregg was not going to support some of Obama's top economic priorities, it became necessary for Gregg and the administration 'to part ways,' Gibbs said. 'We regret that he has had a change of heart.'
Gregg said he'd always been a strong fiscal conservative. 'It really wasn't a good pick.' When the Senate voted on the president's massive stimulus plan earlier this week, Gregg did not vote. The bill passed with all Democratic votes and just three Republican votes.
The unexpected withdrawal marked the latest setback for Obama in his attempt to build a Cabinet. It came as the new president expended political capital in Washington — and around the country — for his economic package

Ok, so reading between the lines seems that Gregg had some serious issues with the way Obama was handling the situation, and was vocal about it. Far from getting the pliant yes-man, the Obama administration decided to get rid of him. As I said before, though Gregg said it wasn't a great pairing, he should have known better. As soon as this stimulus package was underway, Gregg, a fiscal conservative, should have seen the financial handwriting on the wall. I would hardly say it was unexpected. Gregg's position as Commerce Sercretary would have had little actual power.

Nor am I sure that it was a real setback for Obama. I truly believe people keep underestimating this individual (and yes, I have all sorts of pet names for him). Let's go through the list of people that have gone against him, either directly or indirectly through the campaign and now. First, there was Clinton and Biden. Both of them are moderate in the sense that they were not left wing loonies. Obama showed some craftiness by adding them to his administration. Instead of having a potential moderate enemy in the Senate in Joe Biden, he's been relegated to Vice-President, a position that has little real value in and of itself. The Democrats have enough control of the Senate that his tiebreaker ability should not come into play for at least two years. His Senate position is now under his aide, Edward Kaufman, who is 69 and has no desire to continue after two years. That means that the seat (which will probably but not certainly go to a Democrat) could be replaced with a freshman more pliable to Obama's wishes.

Hillary Clinton left her Senate position to become the Secretary of State. It was clear that Obama wanted Caroline Kennedy to replace Clinton. That meant that a very pro-Obama senator would have replaced a lukewarm supporter. However, Governor David Patterson nixed that because he absolutely did not want Kennedy as Senator (which surprised me because I didn't think Patterson had the balls for that kind of confrontation). Instead, the governor chose Kirsten Gillibrand, a relative centrist, for the position. Although Gillibrand won both of her elections fairly handily (53%-47% in 2006 and 62%-38% in 2008) as a Representative, she has two years to make a name for herself as a Senator. A much more left-leaning Representative, Carolyn McCarthy, has voiced desires of taking that Senate seat. McCarthy, a Representative since 1997, has also won big in all of her elections. This would set up an interesting Democratic primary in 2010 should McCarthy opt to face off against Gillibrand. Given New York State's penchant for liberals, McCarthy could get in and become a much more reliable supporter of Obama.

This leads to Judd Gregg. As this article states, Gregg probably will not run in 2010. This means that another Republican Senate seat is vulnerable to Democrats (and New Hampshire isn't exactly a red state either). This means that at least three seats can be given to very liberal Democrats in two years, if everything falls into place.

Is this paranoia? Perhaps, but let's look at the situation. Obama is clearly a leftist, as is the Pelosi-run House. Getting the votes for whatever Obama wants will not be a problem there (although getting more leftists over Blue Dogs will unquestionably help). The question is the Senate, with the filibuster rule. Right now, the Democrats are teetering on a filibuster-proof Senate in two years. The more moderate Senators that are kicked out and replaced with freshmen (and perhaps more liberal), the better for Obama, particularly if he wins in 2012 (horrors of horrors).

Is it at least possible that there is some sort of game plan by the Obama administration in particular and the radical portion of the Democratic Party in general for consolidating their already considerable power base for the future? I think it foolish to dismiss it out of hand. After all, the Democrats are on the verge of passing a stimulus package that is loaded with leftist goodies and it gained virtually all of their party's support. The Republicans need to be absolutely on their guard and have to rebuild very quickly if they want to stop this. Let us hope that RNC Chairman Michael Steele is up to the challenge.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Last couple of days: Geithner talks, stocks tank; Senate passes stimulus bill; House/Senate agreement to compromise "cut"

It's old news, but Geithner's "I dunno" speech yesterday tanked the stock market well below the 8,000 point level, considered by many economists as the bottom for the stock market. This simply showed that the bottom has not been reached yet.

The Senate, unsurprisingly, passed their version of the stimulus bill by a 61-37 vote. It went pretty much by party line with the exception of three Republicans: Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins (both from Maine) and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Quick question: Why do any of these three even bother calling themselves Republican? And what's the deal with Maine sending these turncoats to the Senate? Can't they even figure out the difference between a liberal and a conservative up there? Is there even a true Republican party structure in that state? A bit of advice for those three: change your designation from (R) to (D) fast. In fact, Mr. Steele, who is now the head of the Republican Party, should just chuck these three jackasses (literally and figuratively) to the curb. They want to be Independents, fine. But they should not even bother calling themselves Republicans after this little episode.

And now onto today's action:

Apparently, a compromise ($789 billion) was reached between the Senate and the House over the stimulus package today. And so quickly too. My question was whether the Republicans were even included in the "compromise" process?

"Negotiators have resolved the differences between the House and Senate versions of the stimulus bill, Sen. Harry Reid said Wednesday. 'The bills were really quite similar, and I'm please to announce that we've been able to bridge those differences,' said Reid, the Senate majority leader.
'Like any negotiation, this involved give and take, and if you don't mind my saying so, that's an understatement,' he said.

Yeah, you should definitely be patting yourself on the back for this one, Harry. The fact that the bills are roughly similar seems to suggest, without any other data, that not much was negotiated on at all. I can't possibly believe that the Republicans were even consulted over this, since the compromise was so quick. But please, by all means, wipe your brow of all the sweat you went through.

" Negotiators worked late into the night to iron out differences between the two versions of the stimulus bill.
President Obama said he wanted the bill on his desk by Presidents Day, which is next Monday

It sure sounds like you guys went to the turf on this one. But look at the bright side: the bill will
make the Messiah's timetable by Monday. That's what was truly important, right? Like Senator Schmuck Schumer said yesterday, Americans don't really mind the pork...

"Reid praised the three 'brave' GOP senators who broke ranks to the support the bill: Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.
Of the 219 Republicans in Congress, they were the only three to back the bill.
'Today we have shown that, working together, we can address the enormous economic crisis facing our country,' Collins said.
Collins said the agreement has a price tag of $789 billion, less than both the House and Senate versions.
Reid said this middle ground creates more jobs than original Senate bill, and spends less than the original House bill
. "

Yeah, the first part speaks volumes. Like I said before, those three should be chucked out of the Republican Party, like yesterday. Oh yeah, Collins, don't be too proud of this monstrosity that you so love. It's only $30 billion less than the House and $51 billion less than the Senate. Let's look at that percentagewise: that's less than 4% off both the House and Senate bills. In other words, Collins' idea of cutting is a miniscule percentage of what will now be passed. That's the middle ground???!!! That's waste cutting you can believe in.

"Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, summed up the bill as a 'jobs bill.'
'Today you might call us the 'jobs squad,' said Nelson, one of the key negotiators. 'Because that's what we're attempting to do: to make sure that people will have the opportunity to hang on to their jobs that they have today, and they'll be able to get jobs if they lose their jobs.'
Multiple Democratic sources had offered details on topics that had to be worked out:

35 percent of the bill would be tax cuts; 65 percent would be spending.
Tax breaks for workers that had been set at $1,000 per family or $500 per individual would be scaled back to $800 per family and $400 per individual.
$44 billion in aid to states, including money for education and other services.
More funding to help people buy health insurance through the federal COBRA program.
$6 billion to $9 billion for modernizing and repairing schools.
The funding for schools is intended to assuage House Democrats who are upset that the Senate cut $20 billion for school construction
. "

Yeah, Ben, that's just what I was thinking when I saw this bill. Try calling yourselves the "pork squad" and it'll be a tad more accurate. So let me postulate this argument: In order to save jobs, we're going to tax the crap out of businesses, so they have even less of a profit margin than before. Therefore in order to be competitive (and to keep prices low so that consumers, at least those who have jobs, can actually buy those items or services at a reasonable price) they cut jobs to keep those margins up. Those people that you're trying to save will no longer have jobs. Now, if this happens to enough businesses, how are they going to find another job if none are available? It's a vicious cycle. It's clear that logic and politicians do not mix well at all.

So essentially, those 35% tax cuts will be dwarfed by the 65% spending, since that extra money will have to come from somewhere (and I can pretty much guess how that'll come about). Tax breaks have been scaled back so the people will have less money to spend. The education money for the states will be pissed away (much like the previous bailout package). Ok, $6-9 billion could produce construction jobs, but that's a drop in the bucket (less than 1% of the bailout). Umm...

I'm sorry, I'm drawing a blank. How is this insanity going to produce jobs again?

"Democrats in the Senate must hold on to at least two Republican votes in order to get the 60 votes needed to pass the bill. Not a single Republican voted in support of the House version of the bill, but the House Democrats have a large enough majority that they were still able to pass it.
The three Republican senators who voted in favor of the package indicated Wednesday that they were pleased with the agreement.
'As I said, unless the bill remained virtually intact from what the agreement was last Friday, my support would be conditional on that, and we got there," Specter said. 'I think it is an important component of putting America back on its feet.'

Ah, so here we come to the crux of the compromise, which was essentially no compromise at all (at least in the true sense). Translation: The House Republicans are irrelevant so they don't need to be consulted and the Democrats need to hold onto at least two of the three RINOs who voted for it before. And from what I can see, I don't think that will be much of a problem. So much for the spirit of bipartisanship and unity that the Democrats puked out for several weeks after the inauguration.

"Specter said earlier Wednesday that he's aware of the political danger he's putting himself in but that action is needed to pump up the ailing economy. 'I understand the peril, but I didn't run for the United States Senate to further my own political interests,' he said on CNN's 'American Morning.'
When asked about the possible political backlash from his vote supporting the bill, Specter said. 'It's a good plan, not a perfect plan. But a good plan, and I'll take my chances.'

Ok, I truly believe that Specter is a bit of a dipshit. Who else could come up with the Magic Bullet theory that followed JFK's assassination (yes, he advocated that)? However, I seriously doubt that his political career is in much jeopardy. I mean, we're talking about Pennsylvania and that's basically a blue state (I don't see how this battleground state nonsense keeps cropping up every election). I predict that he'll be voted back in next election because he's essentially a closet Democrat.

Overall, I cannot say I'm surprised by the outcome of this package. There was little to no chance that the Republicans could really stop it from passing, barring a total revolt from the Democratic congresspeople. Yes, a few did switch over to vote against it in the House, but it was not enough. As for the Senate, I figured that a couple of RINOs would side with the Democrats on this and sure enough, that happened (though I admit that less did so than I imagined). I still believe that the Republicans should vote against it, so that there is no real showing of bipartisanship. I believe that this bill will ultimately fail and if there is fallout, then let the Democrats reap the whirlwind (though they'll probably just blame it on the Republicans and most Americans will accept that).

As for the RINOs, I think we now have a clear idea who the real turncoats are and they should be driven from the Republican Party. It makes no logical sense for the Party to keep these people on if they will continuously spit in its face when they are needed most. They should not be made welcome in a Party they clearly do not believe in.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

CNN reports that 'Biden promises 'new tone' in U.S. foreign affairs' presumably by putting his foot in his mouth whenever possible

So, Ole' Hoof in Mouth Biden is promising a new foreign policy for America. I'm kinda curious as to what he means by new...

"Vice President Joe Biden emphasized a "new tone" in Washington and around the world as he delivered his first major speech Saturday in Munich, Germany. Biden told delegates at a security conference that the United States will work "preventively, not pre-emptively" whenever possible to avoid conflict, and will at the same time "vigorously defend" the nation's security."

Awesome, more doublespeak bullshit. Hey Hoof in Mouth, when you pre-empt someone or something, you're making an attempt to prevent it. As for avoiding conflict, how can one avoid conflict whenever possible while at the same time vigorously defend our security. Let's break this down. Vigorously defending implies being aggressive, going on the offensive. Avoiding conflict as much as possible means that one cannot be aggressive, but rather passive. Let's create an example, say, Iran and nukes. Iran's developing nukes and says that it's going to blow us off the map (hey, anything's possible with the Democlowns). We can vigorously defend ourselves, mainly by blasting Iran before it has a chance to attack us. We could also vigorously avoid conflict and wait until Iran attacks. See what I mean?

"He also said the United States will do everything possible to end the threat posed by extremists.
'We reject as false the choice between our safety and ideals,' Biden told the Munich
Security Conference audience, which included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. "America will vigorously defend our security and our values, and in doing so we will all be more secure.' "

Yeah, because Merkel and Sarkozy have been backing us to the hilt up to this point. But enough of the Eurotrash. The focus is on Biden. If the United States will do everything possible to end the threat, then there has to be, by logical definition, at least some choice between safety and our ideals. I mean, if al qaeda sets off a bomb in this country, are we really going to sit back and tell ourselves "well, we just got pasted, but at least we believed in our ideals..." I say utter horseshit. We may have to scale back on freedoms. I'm not saying I like it, I'm not even advocating it. However, does one honestly think that if terrorists set off an NBC weapon(s) in this country, then we won't change in some profound way? I can almost guarantee you'd have martial law in this country very quickly to offset the nationwide panic. Martial law tends to put a little bit of a dampener on freedoms, you know? Hoof in Mouth is playing a very dangerous game with words here.

"That policy will be in force at Guantanamo Bay detention camp, the U.S. prison that the Obama administration intends to close, Biden said. 'America will not torture. We will uphold the rights of those we bring to justice,' Biden said."

Ok, so it seems that Hoof in Mouth is willing to grant full Constitutional rights to fanatical thugs trying to annhilate us. Talk about being naive...I can see every slick lawyer drooling over the chance to make a name for him/herself by defending these dirtbags. And if you don't believe me, remember OJ...
If they are found guilty, then what? Throw them into already super overcrowded prisons? Create a temptation for a prison breakout (which, incidentally did happen with Taliban prisoners in Afghanistan last year)? Better yet, a chance for these hardened killer fanatics to gain converts in the system? Are we really comprehending the long-term consequences of this? Methinks not.

"The vice president emphasized cooperation with allies and to extend a hand to others. He asked for shared responsibility for security and fighting extremism. 'America will do more. That's the good news,' Biden said. 'The bad news is, America will ask from more from our partners as well.'
Obama's administration doesn't believe international alliances or organizations will diminish American power, Biden said. In fact, he said, such alliances do the opposite -- as long as they are "credible and effective

Yeah, because the Europeans and others have been falling over themselves to help us up to this point. America may or may not do more to fight this war. Given the rhetoric of the left, I somehow doubt it. But it's pretty much a given that Europe, far from expanding its role in the war, wants to wind it down as quickly as possible because their governments are under far more pressure from their leftists than we are here. And that is the crux of the argument for Hoof in Mouth regarding alliances. He's right in that sense. An effective alliance is one that works. However, I'd say that NATO, as a fighting force, is becoming less and less credible. In order to project any kind of power, it must rely on American transport, it still very much relies on American firepower for support, and it doesn't have the political will (it's far worse in Europe than here) to back their soldiers up. Time will tell, but history hasn't been very optimistic.

"He said nations working together can help persuade Iran to forgo the development of nuclear weapons, an 'illicit' program that Biden said is not conducive to peace.
'Our administration is reviewing our policy toward Iran, but this much is clear: We'll be willing to talk,' Biden said. 'We'll be willing to talk to Iran and to offer a very clear choice: Continue down the current course and there will be pressure and isolation; abandon the illicit nuclear program and your support for terrorism and there will be meaningful incentives
.' "

Hasn't there been international pressure to force Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program for some time now? If it didn't work before, how is it going to work now? Iran stated recently that the US will have to apologize before it will enter talks. Obviously this is a move expressly designed for our country to lose face. The Democrats may even be stupid enough to go along with it. So here's what it seems like what Hoof in Mouth is saying to Iran (once he gets this awesome support from the rest of the world): Keep developing the weapons and we'll do nothing (economic sanctions are useless) and you'll be as isolated as you have been since the 80's (again, that's been a winning approach so far) or give it up and we'll give you goodies that we can't afford to give because our economy is in the toilet. Yeah, some deal...

"By acting preventively to avoid conflict, Biden said, the United States can start to recapture its strength.
Biden stressed a commitment to reach peace in the Middle East and draw down U.S. forces in Iraq. He also said the United States will continue to work for a stable Afghanistan.
'We look forward to sharing that commitment with the government and people of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and with all of our allies and partners, because a deteriorating situation in the region poses a security threat not just to the United States, but I would suggest, somewhat presumptively, to every one of you assembled in this room,' Biden said

While it is possible to regain strength by curtailing constant military conflict (hell, even Sun Tzu says as much), I cannot help but wonder if this is a Democratic catchphrase which essentially says they'll let the world walk all over us. Unfortunately, Iraq is still not completely stabilized and the consequences of a pullout there could be disastrous. And if that happens, then are we going to simply ignore it and concentrate on Afghanistan, or will we split things up like we did before?

"Obama ordered a strategic review of U.S. policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan and is soliciting input from allies, Biden said.
'We are sincere in seeking your counsel,' Biden said. 'As we undertake this review, there's a lot at stake. The result must be a comprehensive strategy for which we all take responsibility.'
The United States also aims to increase foreign assistance to ease poverty, boost education, cancel the debts of poor countries, and launch a 'green revolution' that produces sustainable supplies of food.
"We also are determined to build a sustainable future for our planet," Biden said. "We are prepared to once again lead by example

So, we're going to curtail military activities but we're going to solve the food, education and financial problems of the world??? I would love to know who's going to pay for that one. I can guess, but I suspect it won't be the tax-evading Democrats. And we're going to start the Green Revolution to boot! Woo Hoo! We'll fight al qaeda with Greenpeace...Super awesome.

So essentially, we won't just be creating give-away programs for those in our country, but for the entire world! That'll be the underpinnings of the next massive porkulus/spendulus/stimulus package (and I can't wait to see how much that one will cost) next year. Anyway, I thought we were fighting the Muslims. How did 9/11 turn into a fight to have a sustainable planet? Are we recruiting Captain Planet to fight our glorious crusade?

"On the issue of a U.S. missile shield in Eastern Europe -- a bone of contention with Russia -- Biden said the United States will remain firm in defending against the nuclear threat, and he said Washington aims to work together with Moscow.
'We will not agree with Russia on everything,' he said. 'For example, the United States will not -- will not -- recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. We will not recognize any nation having a sphere of influence.'
But, Biden added, 'the United States and Russia can disagree and still work together where our interests coincide, and they coincide in many places.' Deputy Russian Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov had started off the day Saturday by proposing a ban on deployment of strategic offensive weapons outside a country's borders, Russia's Interfax news agency reported

Russia already outflanked us on the missile shield, so it's irrelevant. They tweaked our noses on that and they go what they wanted. As for South Ossetia and Abkhazia, they are Russian satellites and there's very little to nothing that we can do about that for the forseeable future. As for spheres of influences, that's an absolute guarantee that we'll end up in some sort of conflict. International political reality is that there are spheres of influence around strong nations. To cite some examples, China's sphere of influence is around West Asia. Russia's is in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Ours is the Western Hemisphere and wherever we can project force. That's just a reality that one quaint sentence from Hoof in Mouth cannot erase.

"Biden also promised that America will 'act aggressively against climate change.' "

That'll be the third porkulus package coming our way. But then, that's the Democrat way: spend, spend and spend until we bleed ourselves white.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Obama: Pass Porkulus or Western Civilization will fall...

Didn't I hear this several months ago after the first financial crisis broke?

"President Barack Obama warned on Thursday that failure to pass an economic recovery package could plunge the nation into an even longer, perhaps irreversible recession, as senators searched for compromises to whittle down the enormous bill."

I see. So if we don't give permission for the Democrats to tax us into bankruptcy, then we're all screwed. Awesome logic. Somehow, I don't think backing ACORN financially is going to cause the country's collapse, but I could be wrong.

"Senate moderates gathered behind closed doors in an effort to find at least $50 billion in spending reductions that might make the $900 billion-plus package more palatable to centrists. Democratic leaders hoped to pass the legislation by Friday at the latest.
Obama painted a bleak picture if lawmakers do nothing

Once again, I fail to understand how bumping an $820 billion package up to over $900 billion, then taking $50 billion off is saving money. Even with the cut, it's still at least $30 billion more than the House bill. Am I the only person who smells a sackload of shit with all this political maneuvering? As for lawmakers doing nothing, last time I checked, the bill passed the House. If the Senate pushes it through with slight changes, it's still passing through. That means that the bill will pass. How does that necessitate failure on the part of the Messiah?

Once again, I must reiterate that the Democrats are much more unsure of this monstrosity than they're letting on. They can pass it through without any Republican support if they really want to. The only thing they need the Republicans for is to help cushion the political fallout if (and in my opinion, it's a matter of when) this package fails. In my mind, that's a fantastic reason for the Republicans not to get on board. Of course, you'll have some dingleberry RINOs back it and everyone will pretend that the package was awesomely "bi-partisan" (I can't even begin to tell people how I detest this word).

"In an op-ed piece in The Washington Post, the president argued that each day without his stimulus package, Americans lose more jobs, savings and homes. His message came as congressional leaders struggle to control the huge stimulus bill that's been growing larger by the day in the Senate. The addition of a new tax break for homebuyers Wednesday evening sent the price tag well past $900 billion.
'This recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse,' Obama wrote in the newspaper piece

THERE'S NO TIME TO WASTE! WE HAVE NO TIME FOR DELAY! Actually, I have to say that trying to panic the populace into backing this shit worked pretty well for Paulson & Co. a few months back. It may very well work again (something about P.T. Barnum's quote on there being a sucker born every minute), especially since it's the Messiah who's backing it, not that big ole' meany Bush Jr. I can guarantee you that if this package is passed, then you will have a lingering recession. Massive government spending on stupid shit generally does that. Let's face it, this country, in general, got itself into this position by spending way, way, way more than it had (this goes for both government and people). So how exactly is spending a huge crapola of money on useless projects that have nothing to do with economic stimulating going to help?

"He rejected the argument that more tax cuts are needed in the plan and that piecemeal measures would be sufficient. His latest plea came on the same day the economy dealt with another dose of bad news: A big jump in jobless claims and another round of weak retail sales."

God forbid that we have tax cuts or anything. That would involve believing that people know how to spend their money better than a bloated and out of control government. As heartless as this sounds, recessions and boom times come and go: Just look at American history (though I forgot that they don't really teach that in schools anymore) and look at the periods of prosperity or financial drought. We even had a real doozy in the 1930's known as the Great Depression.

" For their part, Senate Republicans signaled they would persist in their efforts to reduce spending in the measure, to add tax cuts and reduce the cost of mortgages for millions of homeowners.
Officials figures were unavailable, but it appeared that the measure carried a price tag of more than $920 billion, making it bigger than the financial industry bailout that passed last year and as large as any measure in memory

And by all means, the Republicans should endeavor to push the tax cuts and reduce this bill. Of course, they should have been doing this all along, not just when they are out of power. And finally...

"Despite bipartisan concerns about the cost, Republicans failed in a series of attempts on Wednesday to cut back the bill's size."

I think this sentence speaks volumes. First of all, according to the Mr. Espo of the AP, there are "bi-partisan concerns." However, "Republicans failed in a series of attempts (note that this reads plural) on Wednesday to cut back the bill's size." Well, there doesn't seem to be as much unity spirit as the politicians like to claim when Republicans are rebuffed at every attempt to give their input. Which pretty much means that the bi-partisan concerns weren't really such a big deal. This one sentence summed up the idea of bi-partisanship for the Democrats. They are willing to listen to the Republicans, but only if the latter thinks Democratically. Being conservative doesn't count for bi-partisanship. So if those pesky Republicans just put away their Rush Limbaugh hats and start thinking like Democrats, why, there would be no problems at all! Why even bother having political parties? Hell, why stop there...why even bother having a representative government, since the Democrats have everything figured out? It's gonna be a long four years...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Much has happened in the last few days...

So several Obama candidates had to withdraw because they forgot to pay their taxes. Awesome. It seems to me that the Democrats love to hike the taxes up, but hate actually paying them. It's all for the greater good though, right?
I won't go into too much detail on this because it's old news. However...

The Chosen One still pushing for the stimulus package. I'm not really sure what his point is, since it'll pass with or without Republican support.

"Polite yet pointed, President Barack Obama pushed back against Republican critics of the U.S. economic stimulus legislation making its way through Congress on Wednesday at the same time he reached across party lines to consider changes in the bill.
'Let's not make the perfect the enemy of the essential,' Obama said as Senate Republicans stepped up their criticism of the bill's spending and pressed for additional tax cuts and relief for homeowners. He warned that failure to act quickly "will turn crisis into a catastrophe and guarantee a longer recession.'

I thought that he "won" already and didn't need to listen to Republicans? As for acting quickly, I'd rather see a well-reasoned and thought-out stimulus plan than one rushed through, like the last one. Again, I don't see what's stopping the Democrats. They have the Presidency, the have total control of the House and an almost-filibuster proof Senate. Why is this a problem for them?
You guys wanted the power, so act already.

"Democratic leaders have pledged to have legislation ready for Obama's signature by the end of next week, and they concede privately they will have to accept some spending reductions along the way. 'This bill needs to be cut down,' Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor. He cited $524 million for a State Department program that he said envisions creating 388 jobs. 'That comes to $1.35 million per job,' he added.
Republicans readied numerous attempts to reduce the cost of the $900 billion measure, which includes tax cuts and new spending designed to ignite recovery from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 193os

This package wasn't dubbed Porkulus for nothing. And it's even bigger than before: over $900 billion. Fantastic. Once again, AP seems to have a flair for the dramatics regarding the economy. While there is an economic crisis, it is still not as bad as the one during the late 70's/early 80's, when we had over 10% unemployment. Until it gets that bad, I don't want to hear anything in comparison to the Great Depression.

"But after days of absorbing rhetorical attacks, Obama and Senate Democrats mounted a counteroffensive against Republicans who say tax cuts alone can cure the economy.
Obama said the criticisms he has heard 'echo the very same failed economic theories that led us into this crisis in the first place, the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems.'
'I reject those theories, and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change,' said the president, who was elected by a wide margin and enjoys high public approval ratings at the outset of his term

Tax cuts alone won't do it. There will have to be deficit spending as well. However, tax cuts will increase money flow into the economy because it's keeping income with the people rather than the government (which always pisses it away on stupid shit). Tax cuts are a damn sight better than going on one of the biggest government spending sprees in American history. Actually, the 'failed economic theories' had nothing to do with economics, but mostly with the notion that government should get involved with the market (i.e. telling banks that they should loan out to schmucks who cannot pay them back). As for approval ratings, those can change very quickly. In fact, most Americans oppose the stimulus package as it is, which is really why the Democrats are treading carefully. It has nothing to do with Republican opposition so much as there is the real possibility that this stimulus package could fuck up the American economy. If there wasn't that wee little problem, the Democrats would be spending like there's no tomorrow without a care in the world.

"The president softened the partisan impact of his comments by meeting at the White House with Sen. OIympia Snowe, a moderate Republican lawmaker who periodically parts company with her party.
"The bill should not be an open invitation to spending in perpetuity, and I'm hopeful that we can address these issues during the Senate's amendment process," she said in a statement released by her office. She did not say whether she presented any specific recommendations to the president.
Separately, Sens. Susan Collins, a Republican, and Ben Nelson, a Democrat, have been working on a list of possible spending cuts totaling roughly $50 billion, although they have yet to make details public

As far as I'm concerned, this is simply another attempt by the Messiah to split the Republican opposition by catering to the weak links (i.e. RINOS). Ok, so we're going to cut $50 billion. That's fine, but since the bill that went from the House to the Senate went up by $80 billion (820-900 billion), how exactly is that cutting it? It's still an increase of $30 billion. I smell a rat.

"The House approved its own version of the stimulus bill last week on a party line vote, but the political environment in the Senate is far different.
Democrats hold a comfortable 58-41 majority. But because the legislation would increase the federal deficit, any lawmaker can insist that 60 votes be required to add to its cost.
While the 60-vote threshold can impose a check on Democrats, it can also illuminate the cross-pressures at work on Republicans

Translation: the Democrats can work on a few RINOs, like Snowe & Collins and get the package delivered more or less intact. God, I hate Northeastern Republicans...

"A Democratic attempt on Tuesday to add $25 billion for public works projects failed when it gained only 58 votes, two short of the total needed.
But a few hours later, a proposed $11 billion tax break for new car buyers attracted 72 votes, including several from Republicans. One, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, later issued a statement applauding the provision. 'The car tax deduction amendment will make the purchase of a new car more affordable and encourage more people to buy a car,' he said

Ok, if you're currently unemployed, how exactly are you going to get the money to buy a new car? Trust me, in these economic times, I'm far more concerned with keeping a roof over my head and getting food. Buying a new car is one of the lower priorities at this point.

Overall, this is how I see it: The Democrats have the power, but it's tenuous. They have a monstrosity porkulus package that will probably not work (I've heard that only 25% of it is actually stimulus). They have the votes in Congress and a President that's willing to push it though. So why the misgivings? Do they really want this to be "bi-partisan?"

Of course not. They want to take credit for it if it succeeds (since the Republican yes votes are pretty much meaningless). However, should it fail, they want political cover (i.e. they want the Republicans to fall with them). So far, the Republicans are calling their bluff. It'll be interesting to see what the Republican senators do. It has nothing to do with conservatives wanting this to fail. This package is total pork bullshit and both sides know it. The Democrats are trying to weasel the Republicans by pushing the 'conscience' factor ("how can you hurt the people this way?"). The problem is that this package can hurt Americans because it's going to either raise taxes through the roof or it'll force the government to print a ton of more money, which'll increase inflation.

The gamble, far from it being Republican, is with the Democrats. They're savvy enough to know that it may not work (from my point of view, it's much simpler, since it definitely will not). In the last week, the Republicans found their spines. Let's hope that they keep it for a while longer.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Obama proves that he loves the military by proposing to cut it by over 10%

And this while we're in the middle of a war. It's kinda akin to a hyothetical situation in World War II where FDR just decides in 1944 that the Pacific campaign doesn't really need a couple of extra Marine Divisions to help island-hopping operations or if the US Army doesn't really need those 15-20 divisions to expand the Normandy beachhead (Armored divisions? Who needs armored divisions?).

I can't really say that I'm all that surprised by this. The New ultra-left (now twice as cuddly to national enemies!!!) Democrats are going to gut the military any way they can and American soldiers' blood will be on their hands (though the Left won't see it that way). But hey, it's much better if our own side's suffering casualties, just so long as we keep our enemy's losses down, right? For the Democrats, there's always a silver lining to brighten their day.

They have always blamed the war on the Republicans rather than where it really lies. They couldn't come out and say it while Bush was around because they were still vulnerable to a backlash (note the reaction to Harry Reid's "we're losing the war" a couple years back). Now that they are comfortably in the seat of power for the next two years, their true colors will and are already starting to come out. But don't question their patriotism...