Obama Now Blames You
"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." - Plato
When the DOE’s stimulus-funded clean-energy loan guarantee program expires at the end of the fiscal year Friday, the agency will have signed onto at least 24 projects and more than $16 billion in loan guarantees, including Solyndra. DOE doesn’t actually lend the money, but the guarantees help the companies get financing elsewhere by promising that taxpayers will make up the loss if a project fails.
At the beginning of the month, DOE was considering more than a dozen applications. As of late Thursday, the department still had six projects in its queue.
Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric and an alleged terror suspect with links to al Qaeda in Yemen, has been killed, a senior administration official confirmed to POLITICO.
“The terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed along with some of his companions,” the Yemeni defense ministry said in a statement.
The experiment supposedly employed two separate thermometers. But after analyzing the split-screen scene, I realized that the only difference between the thermometer on the left and the thermometer on the right is their fluid levels. In fact, I found nine uncanny similarities between the “two” thermometers.
Reagan: Up 14.9 percentage points
George H.W. Bush : Up 7.1 percentage points
Clinton : Down 13.4 percentage points
George W. Bush : Up 5.6 percentage points
Obama : Up 21.9 percentage points (through December 2010 only)
So by this measurement -- potentially a more important one -- Obama is the undisputed debt king of the last five presidents, rather than the guy who added a piddling amount to the debt, as Pelosi’s chart suggested. Of course, all this goes to show that statistics can be used -- and misused -- to bolster almost any argument.
After we presented our research to Pelosi's office, a spokesman acknowledged that the office had erred in assembling and posting the chart and that it was in the process of reposting it. The updated version – which corrects the mathematical error but not what we consider to be the three additional design flaws – can be found here.
That's a step in the right direction, but it doesn't change our rating since it only occurred as a result of our fact-checking. We find so much wrong with this chart that we don’t think it contains any significant approximation of the truth. It made a major calculation error that dramatically skewed the debt increase away from Obama and toward George W. Bush. It glossed over significant variations in time served in office. It cherry-picked the measurement that was favorable to its cause. And it is contradicted by statistics for GDP-adjusted debt, which show Obama to be the most, rather than the least, debt-creating president of the last five. None of this suggests that Obama can’t turn things around as the economy improves (and Democrats can also take some solace in the fact that Bill Clinton did remarkably well in all of our measurements). But in communicating which administrations contributed the most to growth of the debt, this chart is a failure. We rate it Pants on Fire.
Two men of Bangladeshi origin were caught by Customs and Border Protection illegally crossing the US-Mexico border last June and admitted they were members of a terrorist organization that allied with Bin Laden against America.
Now, it appears at least one of those men is free after posting bail and claiming asylum. And the Department of Homeland security has no idea where he is.
One man is primarily responsible for the disappearance of civil liberties from the national debate, and he is Barack Obama. While many are reluctant to admit it, Obama has proved a disaster not just for specific civil liberties but the civil liberties cause in the United States.
Civil libertarians have long had a dysfunctional relationship with the Democratic Party, which treats them as a captive voting bloc with nowhere else to turn in elections. Not even this history, however, prepared civil libertarians for Obama.
Janeane Garofalo: "Herman Cain is probably well liked by some of the Republicans because it hides the racist elements of the Republican party. Conservative movement and tea party movement, one in the same.
"People like Karl Rove liked to keep the racism very covert. And so Herman Cain provides this great opportunity say you can say 'Look, this is not a racist, anti-immigrant, anti-female, anti-gay movement. Look we have a black man.'"
Moody's credit rating agency last week downgraded Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo, judging that if any of these banks failed, the probability of a federal bailout "is lower than it was during the financial crisis." Good news, right? But then there was this passage: "Moody's continues to see the probability of support for highly interconnected, systemically important institutions in the United States to be very high. ..."
In other words, a bailout has gone from certain to only very likely. Regarding Citigroup, Moody's wrote, "The holding company's long-term senior debt ratings now incorporate two notches of uplift due to systemic support, down from three notches previously." Translated: Citi's big lenders are still charging lower interest rates because they're still counting on a taxpayer bailout if Citi falters. Citi, then, is still profiting from a presumptive bailout. Moody's judgment was similar for Bank of America and Wells Fargo.
The law, bitterly opposed by organized labor in the state and across the nation, limits the collective bargaining powers of some public employees. And it just happens that the Hartland-Lakeside teachers' collective bargaining agreement expired on June 30. So now, freed from the expensive WEA Trust deal, the school district has changed insurers.
"It's going to save us about $690,000 in 2011-2012," says Schilling. Insurance costs that had been about $2.5 million a year will now be around $1.8 million. What union leaders said would be a catastrophe will in fact be a boon to teachers and students.
The Obama administration has been such a policy disaster that little attention has been devoted to its scandals. But scandals there are, especially in Eric Holder’s Department of Justice. Pajamas Media has produced a 12-part (so far) series on Holder’s discriminatory hiring practices.
“I heard people being beaten, so I ran outside,” said Emmanuel Cyicyima, 33. “The houses were being burnt down.”
Other villagers described gun-toting soldiers and an 8-year-old child burning to death when his home was set ablaze by security officers.
But in this case, the government and the company said the settlers were illegal and evicted for a good cause: to protect the environment and help fight global warming.
The case twists around an emerging multibillion-dollar market trading carbon-credits under the Kyoto Protocol, which contains mechanisms for outsourcing environmental protection to developing nations.
The company involved, New Forests Company, grows forests in African countries with the purpose of selling credits from the carbon-dioxide its trees soak up to polluters abroad. Its investors include the World Bank, through its private investment arm, and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, HSBC.
In 2005, the Ugandan government granted New Forests a 50-year license to grow pine and eucalyptus forests in three districts, and the company has applied to the United Nations to trade under the mechanism. The company expects that it could earn up to $1.8 million a year.
written before about Obama’s deep, almost desperate, need to portray himself as the opposite of what he is, to conceive of himself in a way that is at odds with reality. We have seen it in all sorts of areas, including claiming himself to be a voice of civility, portraying himself as a champion of bi-partisanship, lecturing others about profligate spending, and saying he is the only responsible “adult” in Washington. Now we see this habit in a new arena – this time, the president as Obama the Stoic, a man so committed to “pressing on” for the cause of social justice he just doesn’t have time to feel sorry for himself. Indeed, he has now decided to sermonize to others not to complain, not to grumble, and to “stop crying.”
This is akin to John Edwards hosting a weekend seminar on the importance of marital fidelity.
" 'We got you, you white mother-------!' " LaVelle said he heard someone yell in the "mob" of black and Hispanic youths.
Inside his house, LaVelle, 37, called to his wife, Kim, 30, to go to their bedroom with their twin 13-month-old boys, Mark and Mason, and to call police. He also ordered his two other sons, 11 and 17, and his nephew, 7, to stay upstairs.
With the two teens hiding in the house, LaVelle, 5 feet 10, 220 pounds, a well-known sports-league organizer and coach in the community, went outside to try to calm the angry mob.
They were standing on his steps. One shouted, " 'Something's going to happen now!' " LaVelle recalled in an interview Friday at his house. LaVelle got nervous and went back inside, locking his door with a deadbolt.
But the attackers pounded on his front windows and kicked his wooden door so hard, it flew open and some of them entered his house.
"The first guy hits me with a pipe. The second guy knocks me in the face. All I'm hearing is my wife and kids screaming," said LaVelle, who feared that the next time they saw him, he would be in a casket.
LaVelle said that the next day the mother of the juvenile came back with some other people, banging on his door, screaming. LaVelle, who was at a charity sports event, was called back to the house by one of his sons.Of course, these people might want to apply for a job at Washington State University's ethnic studies department. They have the appropriate vocabulary
When he got home, LaVelle said, the mother yelled at him, " 'You white mother------, you got my kid locked up! You got my son locked up because he's black, you're white!' " The mother claimed that her son had been "a witness," not an attacker. To that, LaVelle said if that were true, it would come out in court.
But the mother, according to LaVelle, then yelled: " 'If you make it to court! I know where you live!' "
"I urge all of you to watch some of these Republican debates. It's a different vision about who we are, who we stand for," Obama told about 120 Hollywood supporters at Los Angeles' Fig & Olive restaurant. Guests paid $17,900 each to attend.
The American people want a "bold and generous" vision of America, Obama said, not the "cramped" one he said the Republicans are offering. "That's what this election is about. It's about values, it's about character, it's about who we are."
But on Aug. 31 the company, whose major owner was also a major fundraising bundler for the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign, filed for bankruptcy and eliminated most of its 1,100 jobs.
In a detailed story posted overnight, The Times' Tom Hamburg, Kim Geiger and Matea Gold outline the danger signals set off in October 2010 when secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner and chief economic advisor Lawrence Summers warned the president that Energy's vetting process was not stringent enough to weed out troubled applicants in advance.
Energy Secy. Steven Chu, who like Obama holds a Nobel Prize, was eager to push through applications by 30 companies for the program's $17 billion. He wanted even less oversight from Treasury.
The story has developed legs for two reasons:
One, it hints at possible high-level political favoritism using taxpayer dollars in risky ventures with well-connected business people, what some have labeled "crony capitalism."
And, two, it's a classic example of the fundamental ongoing D.C. debate over government's proper role in the economy and the financial dangers to taxpayer funds inherent when officials and bureaucrats, not free market forces, pick corporate winners and losers.
Are we witnessing a crack-up within the key demographic President Obama must count on to have any hope of re-election? Al Sharpton has come out firing at Maxine Waters and other black Dems for their criticism of President Obama's perceived indifference to black unemployment. Last month, long-time congresswoman Waters told the audience at a Congressional Black Caucus event that she and other black leaders were ready to attack President Obama as soon as African-Americans "tell us it's all right and you unleash us."
On his MSNBC show last night, Sharpton accused those who spoke of "unleash us" of being "hypocrites." According to Sharpton, such people didn't make a peep when Bill Clinton implemented the reinstitution of the federal death penalty and welfare reform. Sharpton issued a blunt warning: "I'm not telling you to shut up. I'm telling you don't make some of us have to speak up."
[I]n a fortuitous call to Reid’s office Saturday, the Obama administration signaled that FEMA could stretch out its drained resources through Thursday, which coincided with the end of the fiscal year.It was not an insignificant bit of information: The fight over the proposed offsets rested on the funding for the rest of the current fiscal year. If FEMA no longer needed $1 billion for the current fiscal year, Congress could forego that fight and push forward $2.65 billion for the agency for the next fiscal year, which begins Saturday. Republicans were not demanding offsets for the $2.65 billion level since it fell under the overall budget agreement Congress reached in August to raise the national debt ceiling.
The Justice Department is forbidden by federal law from hiring employees based on political affiliation. Yet the resumes revealed the following ideological breakdown among the new hires:
Leftist lawyers: 113
Moderate, non-ideological, or conservative lawyers: 0.
That represents the basest headline for the series, the matter-of-fact evidence that should lead any reasonable observer to believe the DOJ has employed an illegal political litmus test during the interview process. But the “Every Single One” series has provided additional benefits: the results present the inherent flaw in leftism’s perversion of the term “civil rights,” while providing a real world example of the flawed belief actualized. Additionally, the “Every Single One” series presents ramifications that reach far beyond the individuals most directly affected by DOJ activity.
he hopes, his reelection campaign.
Obama opened the speech by mentioning the Biblical story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, three captive Jews who were thrown into a fiery furnace because they would not worship a golden idol. Obama quoted a pastor who referred to the three men as "good crazy" for having that faith. He added that the pastor had attributed the same "good crazy" to him when he decided to run for president.
Obama continued that analogy, equating the Jews' "faith in the things not seen" to the more mundane "belief that if you persevere a better day lies ahead."
"From the moment I took office what we've seen is a constant ideological pushback against any kind of sensible reforms that would make our economy work better and give people more opportunity," the president said at an intimate brunch fundraiser at the Medina, Wash., home of former Microsoft executive Jon Shirley, where about 65 guests were paying $35,800 per couple to listen to Obama.Somehow, that's not how I remember it. For the first two years of his administration, he had supermajorities in both houses of Congress and most of our problems since then are a consequence of him getting everything he wanted.
President Obama and White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe have adopted contradictory rhetoric regarding President Obama's proposed tax increases, which the president has touted as "tax reform."
Plouffe defended the tax increases during an interview on Fox News Sunday, when Chris Wallace asked Plouffe how the president's plan can be reconciled with Obama's statement two years ago that "you don't raise taxes during a recession." Plouffe responded that "the president would like to do tax reform . . . But absent tax reform, the president believes the right way to get our fiscal house in order is to ask the wealthy to pay their fair share."
Plouffe's recognition that tax increases on the wealthy do not amount to "tax reform" seem to put him at odds with Obama's defense of the tax increases as an example of tax reform:
Now, the Republicans say they’re in favor of tax reform. Let’s go. Let’s reform this tax code. And let’s reform it based on a very simple principle: Warren Buffett’s secretary should not be paying a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett. It’s a simple principle.Wallace pointed out to Plouffe that "the top 10 percent pay 70 percent of federal income taxes. Meanwhile, 46 percent of households pay no federal income tax at all." Plouffe countered that "you can manipulate the statistics in any way you want," and also said that "they are making a ton of money" while "we have inequities," presumably in the tax code. And then Plouffe offered what would qualify as an argument for tax reform, except that Plouffe is admittedly not pushing for tax reform:
The Energy Department has not disclosed any lobbying by the embattled solar energy company Solyndra, despite its K Street firm indicating it had contacted the department regarding the stimulus package.
Under a policy first issued by the White House in 2009, federal agencies were required to disclose lobbying for stimulus funds. McBee Strategic Consulting, a lobby firm then under contract with Solyndra, said it had contacted the Energy Department in the first and third quarters of 2009 regarding the Recovery Act, according to records filed under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA).
Yet a review by The Hill of the more than 40 lobbyist contact disclosure forms regarding the stimulus posted online by the Energy Department reveals no contact between the department and Solyndra's lobbyists.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s risky decision to wait until the 11th hour to hold a vote on a must-pass budget bill relies on the support of a handful of Republicans who previously backed a Democratic plan approving billions in federal disaster aid
It’s not clear whether it’ll work.
Republicans appear well-positioned to prevent the Democratic leader’s hardball tactics from succeeding, a dispute that pushes the budget of the cash-strapped Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the brink and puts the entire federal government on the cusp of a partial shutdown by the end of Friday.
Anyway, what Klein finds is what concerns most people he met are not the contested social issues like abortion, evolution or immigration. Instead, he writes, the talk was “all about too much government: too much governing regulation, too many people dependent on government.” One of the mayors complains to Klein about Social Security disability payment, which he says is giving drug addicts and drunks “three times the amount my father-in-law does on Social Security retirement.” And another person tells him that children with ADD can get Social Security disability payments also. Says the woman: “I don’t believe we have any legal or moral obligation to pay any money to people too drunk to work or lazy to work.”
Another gripe was the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, which one builder explained prevented him from receiving bank loans he always used to be able to get, known as “character loans,” since he had a good repayment record. Now, a deal fell through because he needed a quick loan, and Dodd-Frank prohibited him from moving on the process for a six week period. By then it was too late. Similarly, another businessman told Klein how for similar reasons, he could not expand his nursing home business. He even heard the same complaint from a banker who is the mayor of Hope, Bill Clinton’s home town. Not a Tea Party supporter like the people in Texarkana, this banker explained how impossible it was to give anyone home loans anymore.
The campaign for Democratic Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren said Friday she had been paid $192,722 for serving as chairman of a congressional committee that monitored the 2008 federal bank bailout, three times as much as had originally been acknowledged.
The Warren campaign revised the figure following a POLITICO report on Thursday highlighting the fact that the Congressional Oversight Panel, which oversaw the TARP program, has not publicly disclosed exactly how it spent $10.5 million on salaries, travel, consultants and other expenses. Warren said she now supports public access to the oversight panel’s records, though her campaign wouldn’t say if she plans to actively push to open up the records.
“Cool off a little bit. Work this through. There’s a compromise here,” Mr. Reid said Friday, minutes after the Senate blocked back a bill drafted by House Republicans that would have replenished the disaster fund accounts through Nov. 18.
Without an agreement, the government could shut down in a week, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency could run out of money even before then.
The House, on the strength of Republican votes, passed a bill early Friday morning that directs an additional $3.65 billion to FEMA, with some of the spending offset by cuts to a clean-energy program popular with Democrats and the Obama administration.
President Barack Obama will raise money in early October with a Missouri businessman whose company benefited from a $107 million federal tax credit to develop a wind power facility in his state.
Tom Carnahan, a scion of Missouri’s most prominent Democratic political family, is listed on Obama’s campaign website as a host of a $25,000-per-person fundraiser to be held in St. Louis on October 4.
His energy development firm, Wind Capital Group, was helped by a sizable credit authorized in the stimulus, for an energy project in northwest Missouri.Republicans argue that it’s inappropriate for the Obama campaign to raise money from a donor who has benefited directly from the Recovery Act.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says that as an engineer he's sure the twin towers were not brought down by jetliners.
Ahmadinejad, in an interview with The Associated Press, says it would have been impossible for two jetliners to bring down the towers simply by hitting them. he says some kind of planned explosion must have taken place.
Ahmadinejad stopped short of saying the United States staged the disaster 10 years ago. But he says there are questions the world should resolve, and noted there are doubters in the United States as well.
"We’re the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad," Barack Obama.That's what the president of the United States flat-out said Thursday during what was supposed to be a photo op to sell his jobs plan next to an allegedly deteriorating highway bridge.
A railroad between continents? A railroad from, say, New York City all the way across the Atlantic to France? Now, THAT would be a bridge!
It's yet another humorous gaffe by the Harvard graduate, overlooked by most media for whatever reason. Like Obama saying Abraham-Come-Lately Lincoln was the founder of the Republican Party. Or Navy corpseman. Or the Austrian language. Fifty-seven states. The president of Canada. Etc.
The majority of Americans still do not have confidence in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. The 44% of Americans who have a great deal or fair amount of trust and the 55% who have little or no trust remain among the most negative views Gallup has measured.
Thus–as Random House lawyers are already pointing out to me–nothing I can cite other than my own reporting rises above the level of tawdry gossip. The proof is always just around the corner, but that’s a corner nobody has been able to turn. Maybe Jeff Dunn has, in which case I’ll be the first to congratulate him. But frankly, at this point, I’m tired of it, and I’ve run out of time.
No one has ever provided factual evidence that:
a) Todd had sex with a hooker, or with anyone else outside his marriage.
b) Sarah had an affair with Brad Hanson, or anyone else.
c) Track was a druggie who enlisted in the army to avoid a jail term. Or that he vandalized Wasilla school buses.
d) Willow was involved in the vandalism of the empty house in Meadow Lakes. Or that Sarah rushed back from Hawaii to put the lid on that.
e) Trig is not Sarah’s natural born child.
f) Bristol was promiscuous as a high schooler and drank and used drugs, or became pregnant again after Tripp’s birth.
For years, Arkansas historians have searched for a valuable lunar rock from the Apollo 17 mission, one of the moon rocks NASA presented to each state in the 1970s.
While other states also continue to dig for the rocks that came to be known as the Goodwill Moon Rocks, the mystery in Arkansas was solved Wednesday -- sort of -- when an archivist discovered it in former President Bill Clinton's gubernatorial papers.
Still up in the air is how the moon rock got there.
While the idea of recapturing the House in 2012 has always been something of a long shot in the wake of the massive losses House Democrats suffered in 2010, the consensus is that the odds have never been longer.
“I’m glad the election’s not today,” said Democratic pollster Keith Frederick, a veteran of House races. “Every poll shows independents losing their patience for the president. These House elections tend to get nationalized, and there’s no doubt right now that as a referendum on Barack Obama, House Democrats lose.”
Reporting on President Obama speaking at the United Nations for Wednesday's NBC Today, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell sympathetically declared: "Preparing for today's speech, the President was all smiles for the class photo, but while hoping to run a victory lap as the new Libyan government officially joined the United Nations....Everywhere else, trouble loomed."
Referring to the Palestinian push for statehood recognition from the UN, Mitchell described how Obama was "grappling with the same problem that has trapped American presidents for more than half a century, the Middle East." Later in the report, Mitchell cautioned: "The President could end up paying a heavy political price for supporting Palestinian rights in the past, even as he is losing support around the world for standing by Israel this week at the UN."
Mitchell herself avoided criticizing the President's Middle East policy, but did note that, "Republican presidential front-runner Texas Governor Rick Perry showed up in New York only blocks away, surrounded by pro-Israel supporters, to slam the President for his past pressure on Israel."
As Republican lawmakers begin to dig into the White House's cozy relationship with a startup wireless company and the wealthy Democratic donor who owns it, a new character has appeared on the story's edges: liberal superdonor, conservative bete noire and controversial investor George Soros.
Soros reportedly invested in the telecom company LightSquared through a hedge fund, and many of the nonprofits he finances have backed LightSquared in regulatory and policy disputes.
If President Obama really wants to see the "Buffett Rule" in action, he should look at California's tax system. The state has been plagued by it for years.
The revenue stream is unstable and the state budget has been a deficit disaster.
Soaking the rich — relying heavily on them for income taxes — has resulted in a precarious revenue roller coaster ride. It's either boom or bust in Sacramento, depending on how the wealthy are faring in the stock market and their other investments.
A new factory built with public money boasted a gleaming conference room with glass walls that, with the flip of a switch, turned a smoky gray to conceal the room’s occupants. Hastily purchased state-of-the-art equipment ended up being sold for pennies on the dollar, still in its plastic wrap, employees said.
"The guy got dealt a bad hand," said a top environmental consultant. "But he's played a bad hand very badly."
It's an emerging consensus coming from the left and the right: While Obama was once viewed as a victim of things he can't control — faulty blowout preventers, a tsunami, gas prices, the tea party — critics on both sides of the aisle say his administration has made matters worse.
"If you've got an agenda bouncing along with no vision and things happen, you look reactive, and they are," said Doug Holtz-Eakin, a former economic adviser to John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign.
With Solyndra and the lost $535 million loan guarantee, Obama's entire renewable energy portfolio is likely to be on a permanent state of defense thanks to administration missteps in how it handed out stimulus money.
The first time I noticed something was awry, I was flipping through the White House Flickr album from Obama’s first 100 days in office. About halfway through, I realized something was missing. Shot after shot showed Oval Office meetings filled with men in dark suits. But apart from occasional appearances by Hillary Clinton and Valerie Jarrett–and one photo of an Oval Office meeting that included Jarrett and several other female advisers–women were mostly absent from the workplace shots.
I knew the problem wasn’t a lack of women on staff at the White House. A 2009 analysis of White House salary data did find that while women outnumbered men in the lowest salary brackets, there were only 58 women in the 142 highest senior staff positions at the Obama White House. But those 58 were still a huge leap over the 32 highly-paid women in George W. Bush’s White House in 2007. Even so, it didn’t matter how many senior women were on staff if they weren’t in the room with the boss when it mattered. There, a comparison with Bush’s White House is also instructive. Valerie Jarrett is obviously a key member of Obama’s inner circle, but her role is largely a personal one, to protect Obama’s brand. For the most part, she does not fill the same position of political or policy guru that Karen Hughes and Condi Rice respectively did in Bush’s brain trust.
When I first saw this headline, I assumed that the Democrats were registering voters again.
Curry began the interview with Suskind, author of "Confidence Men," by touting White House claims that the Pulitzer Prize winner plagiarized some background information in the book from Wikipedia: "Did you or did you not lift that passage from Wikipedia?...How do you account it for being so similar?"
“We were in a position of legislative compromise by necessity. That phase is behind us.”
The Obama administration is assembling a constellation of secret drone bases for counterterrorism operations in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula as part of a newly aggressive campaign to attack al-Qaeda affiliates in Somalia and Yemen, U.S. officials said.
One of the installations is being established in Ethiopia, a U.S. ally in the fight against al-Shabab, the Somali militant group that controls much of that country. Another base is in the Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, where a small fleet of “hunter-killer” drones resumed operations this month after an experimental mission demonstrated that the unmanned aircraft could effectively patrol Somalia from there.
Taxpayers across the nation spend millions of dollars annually to pay the salaries and benefits of government employees to work exclusively for labor unions, an investigation by the Arizona-based Goldwater Institute has found.
The practice is called "official time" in federal law, or "release" time in local labor agreements reviewed by the Institute. At the federal level, it cost taxpayers more than $129 million in 2009, the last year for which figures are available, according to a report from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Similar provisions have become standard in labor agreements between unions and governments at the state and local level. Finding the total cost would require analyzing every government union contract in every state, county, city and school district in the country, a monumental task that those who have studied the issue say has not been done.
But one example exposed by the Goldwater Institute's investigation shows the City of Phoenix spent about $3.7 million to pay its employees to do union work last fiscal year, which ended in June.
Meeting over dinner at the Bombay Club one night, [Lawrence] Summers told [Peter] Orszag that “we’re really home alone,” according to the book. “I mean it,” Summers said. “We’re home alone. There’s no adult in charge. Clinton would never have made these mistakes.”
Photo in context here.
The moderate elite isn’t, by definition, an angry bunch but President Barack Obama’s pivot from calibrated centrism to soak-the-rich liberal populism has tapped a vein of middle-of-the-road rage and centrist angst.
Over the past two weeks, Obama has convincingly channeled FDR, winning over suspicious liberals, even if many suspect he will eventually return to his old, compromising ways.
Yet to a small, but influential cadre of moderates, it’s political apostasy — an Obama-led return to the bad old days of the 1970s and 1980s, when tax-hiking liberals drove the Democratic Party to the powerless margins of politics.
[I]ndependent budget experts said the blueprint that Obama unveiled Monday — which White House officials say would save more than $4 trillion when added to earlier budget deals this year — appears to fall short of his target. The plan also relies on an array of well-worn budget ploys that do little to advance the cause of bipartisan cooperation in taming the nation’s spiraling debt, the experts said...
...The latest Obama plan “doesn’t produce any more in realistic savings than the plan they offered in April,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “They’ve filled in details, repackaged it and replaced one gimmick with another. They don't even stabilize the debt. This is just not enough.”
The most disheartening development, MacGuineas and others said, is Obama’s decision to count $1.1 trillion in savings from the drawdown of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan toward his debt-reduction total. Because Obama has no intention of continuing war spending at last year’s elevated levels, that $1.1 trillion would never have been spent.
When President Barack Obama laid out his deficit plan Monday, he wasn’t just trying to sell a policy. When he pressed for tax hikes on the rich and announced, “This is not class warfare,” he was trying to exorcise a demon that has bedeviled the Democratic Party for decades and in the process deprive the Republicans of one of their trustiest weapons.
The reaction from the right was swift and sure: “Class warfare!”
The idea that tax hikes on the wealthy represent a Marxist pitting of the classes against one another is a political trope that over the years has crippled a central element of the Democratic agenda - using a progressive tax system to pay for government programs intended to create a fairer society.Obama has gambled that he can get out in front of this attack by confronting the idea more directly than Democrats have in the past. In an email to supporters Monday night, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina made it clear the president intended to take the issue head-on, describing the charges of “class warfare” by Republicans as “their rhetorical smokescreen for providing millionaires and billionaires special treatment.”
The president’s latest stimulus plan is a $447 billion smorgasbord of perks for Democratic leaders and their private-sector clients, but some its fanciest items are hidden behind the main spending proposals.
The 155-page menu offers a $30 billion program for construction at schools and $50 billion for highway construction, but it also provides a sweet tax break for building contractors who stay on good terms with city governments.
Also included is $49 billion in funding for more unemployment benefits, but also a tasty new opportunity for trial lawyers eager to sue states and companies that don’t hire enough candidates who are unemployed.
The bill includes a $35 billion project to keep state and city employees on public payrolls, and a smaller $10 billion fund that would give the federal government even more sway over the construction industry.
“As former congressman Rahm Emanuel says, ‘Never let a crisis go to waste,’” said Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert. “Here we have a a crisis, the economy needs a boost, so this is their chance to get more government, more control,” he said.