Tag Archives: zBarack Obama

That Didn't Work Out Exactly as Planned

So, the Obama administrations latest attempt to “Talk and Communicate” with the world’s bad guys closed another chapter:

Iranian lawmakers have rejected Sen. John Kerry’s request to visit their country, saying the United States needs to change its policies toward Iran before such talks can be effective, according to Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency.

I have always maintained that discussing things like health care, the economy and terrorism are subjects that lend themselves to public debate.  While there is some gamesmanship going on to be sure, there is no real “statecraft” going on.

When it comes to international diplomacy, there is a need to be purposefully subtle about our intentions.  At times, out right deceitful.  To that end, the government can not be expected to be completely transparent when it comes to things of this nature.

It’s why I have always suspected that we invaded Iraq for reasons that none of us have even debated.  I’m pretty sure it had nothing to do with oil, WMD, terror or revenge.  Maybe it had something to do with Iran?

How Cities Benefit by Labor Unions

How does a public pension fund respond after losing more than $70 billion of its $260 billion fund?

“It is important for you to know that the current credit crisis does not directly affect your retirement benefits, which are securely protected by law, or our ability to pay benefits.”

Translation: Not to worry; the taxpayers will have to bail us out.


And what does it mean to tax payers when said fund loses more than $70 billion of its $260 billion fund?

In the end, taxpayers stand to pay plenty for all this, either through increased taxes or diminished public services — closed libraries and shelters for battered women, fewer trash pickups, shuttered courts, slower police and fire response times, more potholes, early county jail prisoner releases and much more — if local governments see layoffs and furloughs as their only way out.

This is your bed, California.  I really REALLY hope that only YOU have to lie in it.

Government Regulation at Work

As the Obama administration becomes more and more involved in the day-to-day business of more and more businesses, you have to wonder what his real goal is?  If it is to drive the best and brightest from the industry in question, well, then this should be seen as a sign of success:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A top executive at American International Group Inc has resigned because of pay curbs imposed by the Obama Administration’s pay czar, the insurer said on Wednesday.

Anastasia Kelly, AIG’s vice chairman for legal, human resources, corporate affairs and corporate communications, resigned effective December 30 for “good reason” and is eligible for severance pay under the terms of the company’s executive severance plan, the insurer said.

Kelly stands to be paid about $2.8 million in severance, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Kelly’s resignation comes after Kenneth Feinberg, who is charged with monitoring pay levels at companies that received taxpayer funds, imposed pay caps for AIG’s top executives.

Earlier this month, Feinberg set the compensation structures for the 26th through 100th highest-paid employees at four firms, including AIG, limiting most cash salaries to $500,000.

And she’s not the only one.  Apparently there are other top execs ready to walk:

She was among five executives reported by The Wall Street Journal to have notified the insurer that they were prepared to resign and collect severance benefits if their pay was cut sharply by Feinberg. Chief Executive Robert Benmosche separately also had considered quitting because of the pay constraints, the Journal has reported.

And the impact to the bank:

Cornelius Hurley, director of the Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law at Boston University, said no AIG employee was irreplaceable.

“We have been duped into thinking that these AIG employees have some kind of secret code that no other employee could discover if they were hired to replace them and therefore they are able to basically hold the company ransom,” Hurley said.

Imagine if the government bailed out the Minnesota Vikings.  And then, in order to make them competitive, demanded that the team could only pay their QB $500,000.  Brett Favre walks.  The Vikes finish 3-13.  As it stands today, they are the number 2 seed and a decent bet at playing in their 5th Super Bowl.

Hope for Change.

Profile: Who's In and Who's Out

We are spending a lot of time talking about profiling.  Who should be profiled and who shouldn’t.  There’s even talk about NOT profiling at all.

I have to wonder why.  Why would we NOT use all the information we have?

For example, without even talking about nationality, race, religion or sex we could profile on:

  1. One way ticket purchases bought day of.
  2. One way ticket purchases bought with cash.
  3. Passengers boarding without either checked or carry on luggage.
  4. People who are on ANY watch list.
  5. Passengers who board International flights WITHOUT passports.
  6. If the age of the passenger is between 17 and 40, bump up suspicion quotient.
  7. If the passenger is boarding without family, bump up suspicion quotient.

Then, after building a list of who we SHOULD profile, we could build a list of people we could rule OUT:

  1. Anyone aged 65 or more.
  2. Anyone aged 18 or less.
  3. Women traveling with children.

There is a LOT more that we can do.  There is more we SHOULD do.

War on Terror

Brad and Britt opened the New Year with an interesting question this morning:

Is President Obama serious about the War on Terror?

Good question.

My take and short answer?

I don’t think that he thinks this is a War.  I think that he views this as a criminal matter.  As such, he feels that the method or path to resolution is diplomacy first and foremost with any type of military action secondary; if even secondary.

My reasoning for this?  The fact that he prohibits the term “War on Terror”.  He won’t even call it war.

Further, I think that Obama is more of a Social ills kinda guy.  I think the things that keep him awake at night, and hold his interest, are things like reducing homeless, fighting poverty and extending rights to all people regardless of color, race, religion……

I don’t think that international diplomacy, national defense and terrorism are in his natural DNA.

Is this bad?  I dunno.  Is it good?  Again, I dunno.

All I DO know is that Obama doesn’t think that we are at war and he doesn’t think this is as important as I wish he would.

"This One Time…..In Band Camp…"

I’m relatively new to really REALLY watching politics.  I guess, in the past, I didn’t care.  Mostly I was single, renting and didn’t make enough money to care about taxes.  The last decade has seen that ALL change.  I am no longer single, I have children, own a home, make more money and am seriously considering starting my own business.  I also spend more time at home than I used to spend before all the changes aforementioned.   Combine this with the very compelling story of last year’s election; first time in many years that a  President or Vice President wasn’t running, and you have good drama.  AND we would have the opportunity to see America’s first woman or black Presidential candidate.  All good political drama.

Back to my point.  I am really pretty new to political theater.  So, maybe as I say this, it’s really not so unusual.  Could even be par for the course.  But to me, this is absolutely stunning.  Not only in the hypocrisy of it all, but in the sheer ignorance of any semblance of economic thinking.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration pledged on Thursday to back beleaguered mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac no matter how big their losses may be in the next three years.

Serious?  Banks are paying BACK their TARP funds and these guys are asking for, and getting, more money?  At least they’ll have to be smart in their use of it, right?

It also jettisoned a demand that the two companies cut the size of their mortgage-related investment portfolios next year, allowing them to provide even more support in the near term for a housing market recovering from its worst slump in decades.

Nope.  Business as usual; continue to sell money to people who can’t afford it.

So, how is it that some businesses are capped and controlled and can’t WAIT to get out from under government control while others seem unable to even WANT to get out?  Is it political or is it simply a way of life?  Is it really possible that the Obama administration is giving political favors to supporters or, perhaps, does he simply think that a fascist* banking system is the most effective method by which to establish financial systems?

The Treasury’s announcement came just hours after the companies said their chief executives would be paid up to $6 million on an annualized basis for 2009.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are congressionally chartered companies that buy up mortgages from banks and other originators to keep mortgage markets liquid. Some of the debt is repackaged as securities and sold off to investors, and the government has been buying an increasing share.

Sadly, for Liberty loving people, it would seem that the answer is “Both”.  Obama is both paying political favors, $6 million to the CEOs, AND feels that economic fascism is the preferred method of financial systems.

Like I said, I am new to this.  Maybe this is business as usual.  But from the cheap seats, this is ugly.

*   From wiki:  Fascists promoted their ideology as a “Third Position” between capitalism and communism.  Italian Fascism involved corporatism, a political system in which the economy is collectively managed by employers, workers and state officials by formal mechanisms at national level.  Fascists advocated a new national class-based economic system, variously termed “national corporatism”, “national socialism” or “national syndicalism”.  The common aim of all fascist movements was elimination of the autonomy or, in some cases, the existence of large-scale capitalism.

Fascist governments exercised control over private property but did not nationalise it. They pursued economic policies to strengthen state power and spread ideology, such as consolidating trade unions to be state or party-controlled.

Chinese Pander Bear

In a stunning display of economic brilliance, the Obama Administration announced today:

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. government is imposing new duties on imports of steel pipes from China…

The U.S. International Trade Commission voted Wednesday to impose duties between 10.36 percent and 15.78 percent on the pipes

Once again, our administration is trying to stifle and regulate trade when no such need is required.  If a product or service is introduced into the market at a price the seller is willing to sell, a buyer should be able to enter into contract with that seller if he wants.  Right now, the administration is needlessly preventing such an arrangement at the price being offered.  This will have the effect of punishing the purchasing party and raising the costs of that parties goods.  Further, the demand for that product will be artificially lowered causing an imbalance in the allocation of scare resources which have alternative uses.

On the other hand, we must never forget that the business of politics is inherently, ahh, political.  And if we read a little deeper we see:

The move is in response to a complaint filed in April by U.S. Steel and six other steel manufacturers, as well as the United Steelworkers’ union.

Ahh, I see.  One of the largest group of Obama supporters would like the United States government to intervene on its behalf in order to make their product more cost competitive in the market place.  Interesting.  But surely, there must be a group whose interests are HURT by the rising cost of Chinese steel?

The U.S. International Trade Commission voted Wednesday to impose duties between 10.36 percent and 15.78 percent on the pipes, which are mostly used in the oil and gas industries.

Masterful stroke.  With one stone, Obama gets two birds; assistance for his Union thugs and a penalty to the dirty nasty oil and gas industries.

The Logical End

When we begin to teach our children that it’s okay to grow up to depend on other to provide for us, this is what happens.

Que Pasa

It would appear that ruling is much much different than campaigning.  Mr. Obama has failed to deliver on many of the promises that he made while he was on the trail.  However, ones concerning International Diplomacy make me giggle the most.

See, things like the economy and health care, these are things that can be “seen”.  That is, they are not secret, kept under tabs or otherwise covered up.  But this diplomacy thing?  Please.  It’s ALL secret.  And he should have know that.  Which either make him naive or those who voted for him naive.  I mean, just look at Cuba:

Rebuffed this month by skeptical lawmakers when it sought finances to buy a prison in rural Illinois, the Obama administration is struggling to come up with the money to replace the Guantanamo Bay prison.

Officials now believe that they are unlikely to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transfer its population of terrorism suspects until 2011 at the earliest.

I mean, come on.  This man RAN on promises and hope.  What else Ought we expect.  He didn’t run on a body of work that he could call upon and say “I have done this and that, so therefore it is reasonable that you can count on me.”  No.  He ran on HOPE.  And it is becoming more and more clear that we can only hope.  Hope for change.  This guy is a disaster.

It's That Time of Year

Actually, you could say it’s that time of Decade [ you would be wrong, of course, the decade doesn’t end until December 31, 2010 ] but the point is this.  At around this time of year we begin looking for the “Best of” stuff.  Best movie, book TV or whatever.

I think that I have the “Best Quote”.  This idea is really Coyote’s, but I just HAD to post it here:

From the outset, the White House’s core claim was that reform would reduce health costs for individuals and businesses, and they’re sticking to that story. “Anyone who says otherwise simply hasn’t read the bills,” Mr. Obama said over the weekend. This is so utterly disingenuous that we doubt the President really believes it.

This is hilarious.  Not only had few people been able to slog through the old 2000+ page bill, but Harry Reid threw the whole thing out and substituted a double secret replacement bill on Saturday the NO ONE has read, Obama included.  So this statement is technically true, but reverse statement is also equally true – “anyone who agrees with the President simply hasn’t read the bill, either.”

Truly amazing.

Hope and Change people, Hope and Change.