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Posted by kenmeer livermaile (Member # 2243) on :
 
I bought a pony. it was beautiful, miraculous. A real live pony! In the White House!

Dang thing just pisses and ****s everywhere.
 
Posted by Daruma28 (Member # 1388) on :
 
ITYS

No schadenfreude here. I "bought" the same "pony" back in '00 &'04.

[FootInMouth]
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
Obama has exceeded my expectations so far, and I supported him more than any candidate in my adult life. Look at the alternatives:

Nixon
Ford
Carter
Reagan
Bush I
Clinton
Bush II

Who can make an argument that any of these would have handled the economic crisis better?

Facing two wars, Obama re-oriented our position against the real threat of an Islamic government with nuclear weapons that was working with the Taliban: Pakistan. Who would have made that important pivot faster?

Delivering on a major campaign promise to deliver health care reform (you may oppose this on policy grounds, but it was a Democratic priority for 60 years and Obama got it passed).

Obama has had to deal with more vitriol, crap and obstructionism from the elected leadership of the opposition party in his first two years than any President in that list, and he has responded with a level courtesy and decency that I am not sure that the Republicans deserve, but which certainly sets an example for the rest of us.


He also has real-life flaws, but exactly how high were your expectations>
 
Posted by Daruma28 (Member # 1388) on :
 
Obama has had to deal with more vitriol, crap and obstructionism from the elected leadership of the opposition party in his first two years

ROTFLMAO

You cannot be serious? Bush II, Nixon, Clinton and Carter have all dealt with far more vitriol than Obama has...it's not even close.

Who can make an argument that any of these would have handled the economic crisis better?

In which Greg, you miss the point in it's entirety. This is like saying a **** sandwich is not so bad, at least it's not the vomit sandwiches we've been eating.

Obama ran on "CHANGE."

The only change has been the superficial - the image on your TV screen - a BLACK man "in power."

But the reality is he's the same old, same old corporate puppet like all the other previous presidents you listed.

Fiat wars on foreign shores.

Banker bailouts.
Renditions.
Guanatanamo's still open.
PATRIOT ACT and Homeland Security violating citizen's Constitutional rights.
War in Afghanistan re-escalating.
Possible invasion of Pakistan.
Maybe Iran.
NOT "Universal Healthcare," but a Government-enforced insurance industry granted cartel.

Bailouts for banks "too big to fail."

Your revisionist history and dogged defense is rather astounding.

He's not the guy you think he is...no matter how much you want it to be so.
 
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
 
quote:
I don't expect my love affairs to last for long
Never fool myself that my dreams will come true
Being used to trouble I anticipate it
But all the same I hate it -- wouldn't you?
So what happens now?


 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
quote:
Bush II, Nixon, Clinton and Carter have all dealt with far more vitriol than Obama has...it's not even close.
Provide a quantitative measurement to this bogus claim. How many filibuster threats did they face in the first two years? How many had heckling from the opposition party during the State of the Union? Show me the comparative data that indicates "it's not even close" or acknowledge you make stuff up.

And if you acknowledge that Obama handled the economic crisis better than any President of the past 40 years, but is still seems like a " **** sandwich", maybe you ought to focus responsibility on those responsible for the problem and not the President responsible for cleaning it up.

I am most disappointed in Obama's policies on rendition and Guantanamo (and not prosecuting potential former war crimes), but I can also see how the rabid animosity of the right wing (and more than the average share of major problems to address) has created political impediments to moving on those important issues as well.

As for the bailouts for banks that was passed under the Bush Administration, all the Obama Administration has done is taken a sketchy and ill-defined program and it appears like they have managed it so that most or all of the $700B will be paid back to the taxpayers (I'd wager that's a feat beyond all of our expectations - any possibility of Obama getting credit for avoiding the cheap political points by demogoguing the banks when he took over and instead getting private institutions to take much of the risk buying questionable assets, which has resulting in the $600B+ recovery of funds?)
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
Rabid animosity of the right wing? [Roll Eyes]

Your partisanship blinds you to the rabid animosity of BOTH right and left. If you would look closely with an open mind, you'd see all the MSM "rabid animosity" is just theater, and the real animosity is directed at us regular folks.

Other than that, ditto to all D said.

[ July 08, 2010, 09:30 AM: Message edited by: Colin JM0397 ]
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
quote:
Your partisanship blinds you to the rabid animosity of BOTH right and left
Daruma made an unsubstantiated claim that I believe is factually false. Does that make my disagreement with your beliefs "partisanship"? If he is right and I am wrong, show me. But I do not accept the fact that you feel he is right as adequate substantiation.
 
Posted by aupton15 (Member # 1771) on :
 
I remember seeing an interview in which Bill Kristol said that he expected Obama to be a conventional center-left president. I think Obama has basically held to that standard, though not necessarily to his more idealistic campaign language. I think he has shown some pragmatism in trying to accomplish things in the system as it is rather than trying to change the system on the fly. I would by no means give him an A+, but I can only understand extreme disappointment by those who hold him to his idealistic standard with no regard for the limitations of our political system.
 
Posted by G2 (Member # 2942) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Obama has exceeded my expectations so far, and I supported him more than any candidate in my adult life.

Have you decided if you want to be Greg Davidson-Obama or will you go traditional and just be Greg Obama? [Razz]
 
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by aupton15:
I remember seeing an interview in which Bill Kristol said that he expected Obama to be a conventional center-left president. I think Obama has basically held to that standard, though not necessarily to his more idealistic campaign language.

Quite true. In some respects, that comes as a relief; in others, a dissapointment.
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
Greg, you are a textbook case of a partisan leftist, and you demonstrate that regularly. Not that I find anything particularly wrong with that personally, but it does, as I said, make you quite blind to the vitriol and jackassity of your own "side".

Like other hard-core partisans (of any flavor), it's not your opinions that are aggravating, it's the idea that your opinions are superior and those who disagree are idiots, simpletons, morons, etc. Granted you do temper your assumed superiority much better than others here, but it is still there lurking behind much of what you post.

If you are happy with Obama, you are certainly entitled to your opinion.

-------------------------------------

This sums it all up nicely: http://www.infowars.com/celente-says-populists-will-break-the-false-left-right-political-paradigm/
quote:
Understandably, the red-blooded Americans in the Liberty Movement are as equally angry as true Progressives, but many are still playing partisan politics with “Obama this” and “Bush that.” Granted, it is easy to blame the party in power for the country’s current woes; and God knows Bush dragged the Republican brand to a new low during his eight infamous years. However, it is now becoming more imperative by the day that this anger be channeled and targeted at the proper perpetrators, while offering proper solutions in order to restore America. Admittedly, it can be difficult to find common ground among the thunderous noise of Limbaugh, Maddow, and the rest of the pundits.

Certainly there is enough blame to go around between the do-nothing, bought-and-paid-for Congress, to the puppet president who has clearly been doing more for Wall Street and Big Oil than for the people who elected him. Amid the perpetual blame-game, both Republicans and Democrats are equally controlled by the same multinational corporate interests whose agenda always moves forward. As George Carlin famously quipped: “It’s one big club, and you ain’t in it.”

...Americans can no longer allow the machine to define us by the shallow, false Left-Right debate. In fact, we don’t stand a chance against the current system if we don’t form a coalition with what is most important for us politically. Even if we do agree and get organized, some powerhouse Independents like Jesse Ventura fear that a “legit” third party may have to stoop to the same corrupt level to compete with the “two-headed monster,” because the system seems damaged beyond political redemption. Assuming our Republic can be wrestled back from the multinational corporations and banksters through the political process, it is best to stick to defining principles.



[ July 08, 2010, 12:08 PM: Message edited by: Colin JM0397 ]
 
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
 
Greg did not attack any Ornerian on this thread; he was laying out his own point of view. In that light, I ask his antagonists to lay off the unsolicited psychoanalysis and personal inferences. Save the nastiness for folks that are dishing it out.
 
Posted by stayne (Member # 1944) on :
 
IMO, Clinton definitely would have handled the financial crisis much better, and probably Reagan as well. Both had the "I got **** under control, it's all good" relationship with the common folks. That seems to me what is needed. In the end, 'The Economy' is in large part what people think it is.

Clinton and Reagan were much better leaders than the others, regardless of what one might think of their policies.
 
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
 
For that to be true, one would have to assume that Reagan = Ronald Reagan + Peggy Noonam + the rest of Reagan's scripters and handlers. [Razz]
 
Posted by stayne (Member # 1944) on :
 
Even so. Darth Vader is a combination of Dave Prowse and James Earl Jones, plus script writers. We still view him as a single entity. [Big Grin]

Vader would fix things with a quickness, I hasten to add.
 
Posted by Michelle (Member # 3237) on :
 
Ken? Why are you unhappy with your pony?
 
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by stayne:
Even so. Darth Vader is a combination of Dave Prowse and James Earl Jones, plus script writers. We still view him as a single entity. [Big Grin]

Yes, and a fictional single entity, so your analogy is apt. [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
quote:
MO, Clinton definitely would have handled the financial crisis much better, and probably Reagan as well. Both had the "I got **** under control, it's all good" relationship with the common folks. That seems to me what is needed. In the end, 'The Economy' is in large part what people think it is.
Thanks, I was hoping someone would take the challenge. My understanding is that the economic crisis of 2008 was the worst since the Great Depression, and at least somewhat worse than the economic problems at the beginning of the Reagan Administration. Clinton (and his team) deserve some credit for their quick and effective response to an international debt crisis around 1998-1999, but that was a smaller problem and they really were not tested by anything much larger. If you assert that Reagan's policies were able to turn around the economy in his era,then it is also important to note that his policies worked slowly, with the severity of economic problems reaching their peak 2.5 years after his inauguration. If Reagan were better able to handle problems than Obama, why did it take so long for the turn-around?
 
Posted by edgmatt (Member # 6449) on :
 
I personally an not criticizing President Obama for his policies taking too long to help the economy, I am criticizing him for doing things that hurt the economy.

How long it took President Reagan to "fix" the economy shouldn't be used to compare the two Presidents on their ability to handle problems. For one President Obama hasn't "fixed" it yet. For two, I don't believe he is doing anything to fix or even help it.

President Reagan did things to help the economy, and that took time to get it done. I am criticizing President Obama for hurting the economy, not for taking too long to fix it.
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
quote:
Greg, you are a textbook case of a partisan leftist, and you demonstrate that regularly. Not that I find anything particularly wrong with that personally, but it does, as I said, make you quite blind to the vitriol and jackassity of your own "side".

1) to quote Jim Carrey, "Is there really a textbook for that?" [Wink]
2) Interesting assertion, that I am "blind to the vitriol and jackassity of your own 'side'". Can you provide an example of me demonstrating this blindness (other than me disagreeing with assertions that are not substantiated by evidence?). I have often acknowledged that there are extremists on all sides who demonstrate "jackassity". A few percent of extremists live in every party, and you will not find me making points on that basis. I do think it becomes relevant when the extremists get to be 20% or more of a movement, and I think it is highly relevant when the extremists are members of Congress, the President, or the Vice President. I believe that the level of "jackassity" among the Republicans currently in Congress is significantly higher than that of the Democrats who are in Congress now or during the previous Administration (admittedly, we haven't defined "jackassity" and so I am not comparing the mundane political hypocrites/fence-straddlers, I am using that term to describe stronger sentiments)
 
Posted by edgmatt (Member # 6449) on :
 
If John built a bike in 3 hours, and Mike was in the process of building one, and people watching Mike build the bike claimed that John was better at building bikes, and that Mike was actually taking the bike apart, how could you even answer the question "If John is a better bike builder than Mike, why did it take him so long to build one?"

Take him so long compared to whom? How long it took Mike to attempt to break one? How can those two things even be compared?
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
quote:
Like other hard-core partisans (of any flavor), it's not your opinions that are aggravating, it's the idea that your opinions are superior and those who disagree are idiots, simpletons, morons, etc.
I find it interesting that you have a mental picture of me imagining that those I am talking with are morons. Through 1600+ posts I have never used any of those terms, I have never called someone stupid, I have never implied that issues of intelligence have anything to do with any disagreement that we may have. When I assert an opinion, I usually characterize it as an opinion and invite conflicting opinions or refuting facts.

So given all this, I would genuinely like to understand why you might make those judgments about me. I would value your insight, Colin.

Is it because of my writing style? I will acknowledge that my writing style (which is all you really ever see of me) is careful and a bit pedantic, so is it that you are generalizing about me and my attitudes because of my writing style?

Is it because of my opinions? Have you had experience with other people expressing the same opinions as me and in those cases the people actually did believe that anyone opposing them was a moron?

If not these causes, can you say what it was that made you feel as if I was not respecting those whose opinions I was disagreeing with?
 
Posted by edgmatt (Member # 6449) on :
 
Save it for a different thread. Jeez Louise, every single thread turns into this your a *****! How am i a ****? Look at this, see your a ****, thats not my being a ****** your just a *****. How am I a *****?

Can we please stay on topic?
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
quote:
President Reagan did things to help the economy, and that took time to get it done. I am criticizing President Obama for hurting the economy, not for taking too long to fix it.
On what basis do you make the claim that the policies that Obama is enacting are harming the economy? We've only seen the evidence of 1.5 years since he was elected, and over that period of time the economy has recovered better than it recovered under the first 1.5 years under Reagan.

The only basis for arguing that Obama is hurting the economy at this point is theoretical. And if you want to talk about the validity of alternative economic theories, we can go there. But at this point in time, I don't believe there is evidence that Obama is hurting the economy at all, let alone there's no evidence that he's not at least as effective as Reagan in helping turn around the economy.
 
Posted by stayne (Member # 1944) on :
 
Greg, it's not really possible to compare the situations, IMO. I am speaking purely on a basis of good leadership, and their ability to get large portions of the citizenry to feel good about the nation. It seems to me that this is what is needed now.

Personally, I think deep analysis is perhaps part of the problem. One can have a great knowledge of economic theory and fail at making it work from a leadership position. In fact, focusing on it can make matters worse. Many people either do not understand or don't want to deal with the minutiae. There is a large segment of people who feel, simply, this is what we paid you to do, so why are you bothering us with it? It must be really bad, or you must suck, and either way, we're going to be cautious.

Conversely, a good leader can lack such knowledge (or not bother trying to communicate it to the masses) and simply use charisma to convince people that all is well and actually go a long way in making it so. Those people who don't want to deal with or can't understand the minutiae WANT simpler answers. They are not economists. They want to believe that their leaders have things in hand, and all will be well, so they can focus on their own tasks.

It's the same for pretty much any organization. My boss does not want to hear every technical detail of my coding. He wants to know if the feature is ready or not, and when it will be. He is not a programmer, he is a businessman, and neither understands nor overmuch cares about the details except for the end result, which he will then try to sell to someone.

For all the mathematics and theory of economy that exist, there is also one simple factor that makes a huge difference, and that is the mentality of the consumers themselves. Clinton and Reagan were capable of allaying people's fears of hard times. The others you list, including Obama, either lacked that capacity or chose not to use it. Personally, I think they never have it to start with, or they would have used it.

I boils down to this: Obama has made some attempts to do these things, and failed. He hasn't been very convincing. Compare with Reagan, who convinced people who knew nothing of Iran Contra, or Clinton, who sold people that he did not have sexual relations with that woman.

They were men people WANTED to believe in, even when they knew better. Obama may have many fine qualities, but that one, he lacks, and it is telling in a crisis, just as it was with Carter and Bush Senior.
 
Posted by Al Wessex (Member # 6541) on :
 
You're probably at least half right, which bothers me greatly. Basically, it's better to deceive people and make them feel good than tell them the truth if it makes them feel less good.

I read about a study recently that found that happy people don't have as good an understanding of factual reality as unhappy people. That doesn't mean that things are worse than you imagine if you're feeling good, just that in order to be happy people will ignore unwelcome facts that are staring them in the face.

Yes, Reagan was a great Communicator, but he was also a great Fabricator, more like an Actor in Chief. Personally, I'd rather hear the facts and make up my own mind than take two pills of ignorance and let it roll on by. Obama may fail as a President, not because he failed to appreciate the reality he was faced with, but because he failed to make people feel good about the problems that were confronting them. Unfortunate for him and too bad for us all.
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
I understand the different point that you are making, stayne, and that is measuring the quality of Presidential leadership by how the American population feels.

In part, this measure can be influenced not only by the behavior of a President, but also by the behavior of the opposition party. For example, if opposition partisans make a large effort to communicate that the President is anti-American (as my be measured by the percentage of their own followers who believe he wasn't born in the country, is a socialist, and may be the anti-christ), then his ratings might decline somewhat.

But putting that aside, Reagan's popularity ratings went down to something like 39% in his first two years. How might you square this data with your assertion that Reagan had a quality that Obama lacks? I actually agree that my perception is that Reagan and Clinton were better than Obama in interacting emotionally with the public in some ways, but I am not sure that there is compelling evidence that Obama's combinations of characteristics (calm, polite, steady) will not be as successful as those of Reagan in the long run.
 
Posted by cherrypoptart (Member # 3942) on :
 
> stayne

> Clinton and Reagan were capable of allaying people's fears of hard times. The others you list, including Obama, either lacked that capacity or chose not to use it. Personally, I think they never have it to start with, or they would have used it.

It seems like his campaign and now his presidency are run on making the people afraid. If people felt good about things they wouldn't be so ready to change them. Instead, make them afraid, very afraid. Then offer hope. Then make the changes you couldn't get through without a crisis and fear to make them seem necessary.

The sad thing is that the more these changes make things worse, the more we're going to be told that we need to change things even more. And the extra sad thing is that every successive failure can be met with the refrain that even though things are getting worse, they would have been even more terrible had we not done what we did. It's basically a never ending cycle and permanent template for doing whatever he wants to do, no matter the consequences.
 
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Can you provide an example of me demonstrating this blindness (other than me disagreeing with assertions that are not substantiated by evidence?).

If you want a flaming jackass test, please join us on the Black Panthers thread.
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
quote:
It seems like his campaign and now his presidency are run on making the people afraid. If people felt good about things they wouldn't be so ready to change them. Instead, make them afraid, very afraid
Where did you get that impression about Obama in particular? There has been a lot of rhetoric in the past few years about existential threats to our country, but the majority of it has tended to be coming from the conservative pundits, Republicans and Tea Party followers.

In what way was Obama's campaign more about creating fear than the Republican political ads of the past 8 years that have used references to 9/11?
 
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
 
Campaign was not about fear at all.

This new Eric Holder stuff emphasizing unequal protection in hate crime laws, coddling armed black panthers outside polling places ... that's problematic, and could definitely lead to a climate of fear.
 
Posted by cherrypoptart (Member # 3942) on :
 
> Greg Davidson


> Where did you get that impression about Obama in particular?

I'll grant you this, but sometimes it takes seeing the other guy do it to really appreciate how annoying it is. President Obama didn't even event the "well, it could have been a lot worse" excuse, as I remember saying the exact same thing regarding our invasion of Iraq and letting that festering sore go "untreated". The irritating thing about that approach to failure is that there is never any learning from it, or changing direction to stop making things deteriorate further. I remember President Obama saying that if we didn't do what he wanted unemployment could go to 8%. Now it's above 9%, so does that mean that if we'd done nothing we would be better off? It would seem so by his own words used in his own prognostication. I also remember noting that the most dangerous thing would be to not be able to recognize or admit when a policy is not working, and that seems to be where we find ourselves today.
 
Posted by yossarian22c (Member # 1779) on :
 
Cherry simple question. Do you think the economy be better or worse today with or without the stimulus or parts of the stimulus?

Tax cuts. About 1/3 of the stimulus was tax cuts.

Aid to state governments. This prevented the lay off of lots of police, firemen and teachers. Would paying those people unemployment instead of a salary helped the economy?

Various infrastructure and other projects. While being spent fairly slowly this money has helped to provide jobs in the construction sector which has otherwise been decimated in this recession.

[ July 09, 2010, 08:49 AM: Message edited by: yossarian22c ]
 
Posted by yossarian22c (Member # 1779) on :
 
Before I'm accused of drinking the cool aid let me post how I am disappointed in Obama. I borrowed from D's list.

Renditions.
Guanatanamo's still open.
PATRIOT ACT and Homeland Security violating citizen's Constitutional rights.
War in Afghanistan re-escalating.
NOT "Universal Healthcare," but a Government-enforced insurance industry granted cartel.

The first three I consider an extraordinary cowardly act. Obama ran against those policies but once in office made the political calculation that if he really ended them and another attack happened he would be blamed. He chickened out and kept abusing the constitution. This is one of the big reasons I would consider voting for the republican's candidate if they nominate someone decent.

[ July 09, 2010, 08:58 AM: Message edited by: yossarian22c ]
 
Posted by cherrypoptart (Member # 3942) on :
 
> yossarian22c

> Cherry simple question. Do you think the economy be better or worse today with or without the stimulus or parts of the stimulus?

I think an awful lot of the stimulus was squandered as political payback to favorites of the administration.

> Tax cuts. About 1/3 of the stimulus was tax cuts.

I don't consider tax cuts in this way. Yes, it is stimulus, but the good kind. Instead of taking money and wasting the redistributive bureaucratic cut in the process of deciding who deserves it more and how much to give back, we let it be spent the way the people who earned it want to spend it. The whole stimulus could have been tax cuts as far as I'm concerned. Instead of bail outs, just cut their taxes if it's necessary to save them. Although that goes against my principles of letting the failures fail, it's better than giving them our cash and then charging us the interest we need to pay to borrow it. Maybe make up for the tax cuts later after they've recovered.

> Aid to state governments. This prevented the lay off of lots of police, firemen and teachers. Would paying those people unemployment instead of a salary helped the economy?

Again, cutting taxes could have served the same purpose. Going into debt on this massive scale with the interest payments that will haunt us for years to come was not the answer.

> Various infrastructure and other projects. While being spent fairly slowly this money has helped to provide jobs in the construction sector which has otherwise been decimated in this recession.

A lot of our infrastructure is deteriorating and needs this maintenance, but if it's just make-work it's wasting money.

I think more money was just wasted than ever in the history of the world. Even worse than wasted because if we had simply flushed it down the toilet that would have been okay compared to borrowing from future generations. President Obama went to Vegas with our tax dollars and bet it all, lost it all, then bet the farm, the pink slip to the car, the house, and the kitchen sink too. And lost again. Now we're thinking about another stimulus? From the beginning we should have been thinking about cutting costs instead of borrowing to pay for the largess of local governments and unions with cushy pensions to pay them back for the last election and buy their votes in the next one.

And this might make me a bad guy but the harsh reality is that extending unemployment benefits probably hurt the economy also, both in borrowing to pay for those benefits as well as causing a disincentive to employment. I understand Pelosi even said that paying unemployment benefits is stimulating to the economy, and that doesn’t even make any sense but is a pretty good example of the deficiency of business acumen liberal spendthrifts in our government apparently have with our money. It’s almost like their on a shopping spree with a stolen credit card, buying gifts for their friends and doing whatever makes them feel good without a care in the world about when the bill comes due.
 
Posted by cherrypoptart (Member # 3942) on :
 
On the other hand, I'm not really that mad about Obama keeping Gitmo open and a few of the other things he's doing for our national security such as continuing the renditions. If someone is a citizen of another country and they are a suspected criminal they should be returned to that country even if we don’t agree with their punishments as long as the guilty won’t simply be set free. I know I don’t like it when Mexico let’s people who murdered cops in America just walk free because they don’t believe in the death penalty. I don't trust this government's lust for power though and am very concerned about their over-reach for purposes not of national security but for establishing their permanency. I just finished reading 1984 for the first time and it's all just too familiar now. But it was nice to see that some things aren't over-rated, and that work deserved it's rep. I'm even impressed by the possibility that it's accuracy helps us to stave off the predictions because every time we start to see them people can jump up and point and shout "1984!" and that works as a nice hue and cry.
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
quote:
Again, cutting taxes could have served the same purpose. Going into debt on this massive scale with the interest payments that will haunt us for years to come was not the answer.
Tax cuts don't pay the bills for one person, never mind, say, a family of four when you're unemployed. Unless you're suggesting a negative income tax including a guaranteed minimum income across the board, in which case I'd fully agree that that would be a better system than our current hodgepodge.

quote:
I understand Pelosi even said that paying unemployment benefits is stimulating to the economy, and that doesn’t even make any sense
You don't see, on the most basic level, how people getting enough money to pay their bills and feed themselves until jobs become available is better for the economy than dumping them on the streets and taking that revenue away from the people who supply those basic needs?

quote:
It’s almost like their on a shopping spree with a stolen credit card, buying gifts for their friends and doing whatever makes them feel good without a care in the world about when the bill comes due.

 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
Perhaps I went a little too far yesterday. Greg, I’m not trying to pick a fight but your bias does get on my nerves on occasion. Of course, I’m sure I do the same to others…

I will not provide substantiation – 1 because I don’t care to take the time, and 2 because it very likely won’t matter.

You are an ideologue because you go after “the right” no-holds-barred, and – if you even call them on anything – you treat “the left” with kid gloves. You do this naturally and without noticing it because you agree with most of what the leftists do. There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself; however, it is an obvious bias, and it comes through in what you say (and don't say).

For example, I do not understand one bit how a proper progressive, leftist, – whatever you want to call it - can remain silent on things such as:
-As CINC, Obama has allowed a private multinational (BP) some level of control over the Coast Guard.

-Safety measures for BP were waived by his administration- why?

-EPA mandates to BP are being ignored by BP (still using the toxic dispersant they were ordered to stop using) – we can’t do anything about that?

-Has increased our war spending and is rattling the saber for even more wars of aggression on foreign soil. We are supporting record Afghan opium production while making up no ground. No plan for withdrawal, no plan to “win” – we are stuck there. We remain in Iraq why?

-Post election, dumped his economic team and reloaded with mostly Goldman Sachs connected people. Progressives and leftists complain a lot about big business influence and corruption of the government process (rightfully so), yet you become silent when your “side” does it? It’s things like this that get you the blinded by your own bias label.

-Has placed private industry (mostly from Monsanto) insiders into key FDA positions – virtually a carbon copy of Bush’s placement of Oil industry insiders into government positions, which got the left all stirred up (rightfully so). How is this any different?

-Health care. Massive shift of power and funds to private corporations when he promised a proper national plan. (this one baffles me the most that any good progressive could possibly support this plan). So he “made good on his promise”, but it is nothing like anyone thought it should be. The common refrain of “better than nothing, this is just the first step” is ridiculously naive. Once that private cartel parasite is dug that deep into the economy, they will not be dug out and replaced with real socialized care.

-Then Daruma’s list – those are good things? At about every turn he’s supported the corporate welfare state over progressive/liberal ideals.

From the BS “war on terror”, to corporate welfare, we might as well call him the Bush IV administration.

[ July 09, 2010, 09:58 AM: Message edited by: Colin JM0397 ]
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
Colin, interesting question on the difference between bias and plain disagreement. Bias is a pejorative term, do you mean it as judging equivalent actions by a different standard, or by inappropriately comparing very different actions against the same standard, or by a disproportionate focus on some issues vs. others. Or do you just find that I consistently disagree with you on a series of positions?
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
My initial points on Obama were about the biggest things: economic collapse, strategic direction regarding two wars, health care reform.

Your counter-arguments are a level down in importance, but let me discuss them.

I'll start with what I agree with you on: Renditions, the PATRIOT ACT and Homeland Security violating citizen's Constitutional rights, and I will add, the absence of prosecution for torture. This really does both me, and the Administration is wrong. Stopping torture from this point forward is a positive, and I give a slight pass with respect to Guantanamo; the Obama Administration did a poor job of political and administrative preparation and thus was unable to overcome political fear-mongering (rejecting funding for imprisoning Al Qaeda in the United States because that was somehow too scary). But overall I have been most disappointed in this area.

Questions regarding a subset of interaction with BP (Coast Guard interactions, safety waivers, EPA mandate on dispersants). I have been following events somewhat (there is a poster on Dailykos from the oil industry using the moniker "fishgrease" who has been quite critical of the response, more of BP than the Administration but still with criticism for both, and he has been quite accurate in predicting steps that were likely to fail). Why am I not highly critical of the actions you mention? First, I want to be sure of the facts of what was done - lot's of accusations flow in these circumstances, but they are not always accurate. I do accept that the Obama Administration's MMS continued to grant safety waivers, and that it was wrong not to clean out the culture that they inherited. But I also understand several real constraints that the Administration has to operate under (1. they need to be careful not to let BP escape liability by over-stepping their bounds - with many billions of dollars at stake, if BP is acting as an economically rational actor they will be trying to entrap the government into taking actions that BP can later use in Court to reduce the compensation they must pay), and 2. the government does not have expertise in the issues associated with deep sea drilling, and 3. there may not be legislative/Constitutional grounds for the government to intervene with a private corporation under these circumstances).

Wars - Wars are not easy to get out of - but the efforts to reduce forces from Iraq have been fair-to-good. As for Afghanistan, the reason why Obama insisted on 3 months of analysis to determine the US policy is because all of the options suck. They believed that there was less than a 50/50 chance of the selected strategy succeeding in stabilizing the Karzai government(see Jonathan Alter's book), so they are also attempting to work separate relationships with the various ethnic groups. Obama felt complied to try this aggressive escalation in Afghanistan because of the risk in Pakistan of the Taliban getting control of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Obama has always focused on the importance of Pakistan in this conflict, unlike the rest of the foreign policy establishment (including both Republicans and Democrats), and in order to get Pakistan to take aggressive military action against the Taliban within their own country it was judged that the US needed to be aggressive in Afghanistan. Which, by the way, was fairly consistent with what he said during the campaign. It's an ugly situation, but the approach has been more insightful than any alternatives that I have heard.

Goldman Sachs appointees - given the dire nature of the economic collapse in November-December 2008 and the importance of addressing the panic in the world-wide financial markets, the Obama campaign team believed that the value of stability by retaining familiar faces was paramount. And the net result was a stabilization of financial markets that was a good as anyone could hope for (go read the tone of our Ornery discussions on the economic collapse in Oct-Dec 2008 - how many of us were predicting that the markets would stabilize by March 2009 and and at least $600B of the $700B of bail-out would be recovered by the government? I believe that no one had predictions as optimistic as what actually occurred under the Obama policies). I disagree with Obama on economics in some places where I believe that he is too conservative - the tax cuts in the stimulus were political and ineffective in addressing the root cause of the problem.

Insiders at FDA from Monsanto - this sounds like a legitimate concern (I didn't know anything about it), but not at the scale of the wars or the economy.

Health Care - it's a messy political compromise, adopting approaches that were advocated by 1990's Republicans (among others). Probably not the ideal way to go, but our political system has its limits. The bill has real flaws, but it also has features much better than status quo. To not make improvements because that might impede "real socialized care" (assuming that's a good thing) is to barter with the suffering of people today in pursuit of something "better" tomorrow.
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
And here's an article on the Iraqi troop withdrawal.

quote:
U.S. Forces Drawing Down In Iraq
U.S. forces are scheduled to draw down to 50,000 by September 1, 2010 following President Obama’s withdrawal plan. It’s hardly been noticed, but U.S. troops are almost at that level already.

Since 2009 over 60,000 U.S. soldiers have been pulled out of Iraq. In January 2009 when Obama first took office, there were 142,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. After that, several thousand were withdrawn every couple months, going down to 140,000 in February, 137,000 in March, 134,000 in May, 130,000 in June, etc. According to the spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq, there are currently 77,500 U.S. personnel in Iraq as of July 2010.



 
Posted by stayne (Member # 1944) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Al Wessex:
[You're probably at least half right, which bothers me greatly. Basically, it's better to deceive people and make them feel good than tell them the truth if it makes them feel less good.

This bothers me a bit as well, but I should point out that one need not lie. Being a good liar probably helps, but genuinely believing what you say is not precluded here. Often, confidence, or the appearance of such, is in and of itself a major factor in leadership.

Consider asking a woman out for a date. You might know you're a good guy, and yet still feel, internally, inadequate and nervous about the possibility of rejection. Is it lying if you try to present a confident and friendly demeanor while you get to know her and she you? Or is it simply part and parcel to taking the initiative?
 
Posted by Al Wessex (Member # 6541) on :
 
True, but do you want to be seduced by your President or served by him instead? Presidents in the modern age deceive in service of their agenda, which is bad enough, but it is unforgivable when they reject truth for the same reason. Obama may be doing the former, but Bush certainly did both. Politics and governance are both partisan in this country, so it isn't all their fault, of course, however the opposition here isn't as much loyal as self-serving. The Republican Party simply wants Obama to fail regardless of his aims, and he has to use every trick in the book to thwart them.
 
Posted by stayne (Member # 1944) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
In part, this measure can be influenced not only by the behavior of a President, but also by the behavior of the opposition party. For example, if opposition partisans make a large effort to communicate that the President is anti-American (as my be measured by the percentage of their own followers who believe he wasn't born in the country, is a socialist, and may be the anti-christ), then his ratings might decline somewhat.

I think most presidents are saddling with similar things. Consider Bush II's opposition. Clinton was accused of all sorts of chicanery and underhandedness, as was Reagan. The latter two simply stood better against the slings and arrows, IMO.

quote:

But putting that aside, Reagan's popularity ratings went down to something like 39% in his first two years. How might you square this data with your assertion that Reagan had a quality that Obama lacks? I actually agree that my perception is that Reagan and Clinton were better than Obama in interacting emotionally with the public in some ways, but I am not sure that there is compelling evidence that Obama's combinations of characteristics (calm, polite, steady) will not be as successful as those of Reagan in the long run.

I'll risk venturing into fiction a bit, just to illustrate the point, because we have a very relevant piece of common ground to work from in the Ender series. It's the difference between Peter and Ender. Ender was the better leader because he related to people better and got them to love him. Peter may well have been smarter, but he lacked that capacity, and so his leadership was as you describe Obama's: calm, polite, steady.

Obviously, we cannot know the future, but we can consider history and human nature. Great leaders don't really need to be the smartest. They need to be smart ENOUGH, but their chief qualifications are organizing people, cheerleading and chastising, and being able to digest what their advisers tell them in order to make decisions. Bill Gates is not the best programmer. Eisenhower was not the best fighter in the army, and probably not the best strategist, either. Such men try to FIND the best, the smartest, determine if their advice is good, and then they make decisions based on it. How effective they are at this, and how well they communicate this digested information are key to their success.

This is something I notice about many on the left: they seem to expect a leader to be the smartest. IMO, this is not the best qualification to lead. Really smart people tend to want ever more data, to have time to think and consider all the possibilities. It leads them to hesitate in the breach. Patton noted that "A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week."

What do we see in the oil spill crisis? Agonizing over the possible impact that some of the amelioration efforts might have, collection efforts being held up for 'safety inspections', etc. I think Reagan, Clinton, Patton et al, would have acted sooner, taken calculated risks, etc., that Obama has not done. I think Carter, likewise, would have gotten mired down trying to work out a perfect plan.

But time will tell.
 
Posted by edgmatt (Member # 6449) on :
 
quote:
The Republican Party simply wants Obama to fail regardless of his aims
I don't think that is accurate. I think the Republican party presumes to know what his aims are, and want him to fail based on those presumptions.
 
Posted by edgmatt (Member # 6449) on :
 
Stayne - sorry I interrupted there, that was a very accurate and thoughtful post, and I don't want it to be disregarded just cause I had something to say too.
 
Posted by stayne (Member # 1944) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Al Wessex:
True, but do you want to be seduced by your President or served by him instead? Presidents in the modern age deceive in service of their agenda, which is bad enough, but it is unforgivable when they reject truth for the same reason. Obama may be doing the former, but Bush certainly did both. Politics and governance are both partisan in this country, so it isn't all their fault, of course, however the opposition here isn't as much loyal as self-serving. The Republican Party simply wants Obama to fail regardless of his aims, and he has to use every trick in the book to thwart them.

In this particular case, however, we are not really discussing deception so much as 'the power of positive thought'. If you believe that things will be fine as long as people remain calm, it is not deception to tell them all is in hand and things will be fine. I suppose if you don't actually believe it, then you would be lying, but presidents don't tend to be the sort of men who expect to fail. They expect to win.

There is also the matter of how much the populace really WANTS to hear. As I noted earlier, a detailed analysis of the finer points of economics is of very little interest to most people, even very smart people. Unless one has the time to devote to the study of economics, the only information that can really be useful is whether or not the situation is being handled. If someone failed, they are being replaced, etc.

Again, I'll use my own field as an example. My boss does not want to hear the specifics relating to memory corruption causing a display error, or my concise plan for reducing texture use use to fit within limits. He simply wants a very general explanation of the issue, whether I can fix it or not, and how long it will take. He is not a programmer, and does not aspire to be. Even if he were a programmer, he hired ME to handle this so that he can do other things.

When I tell him, "I have the graphics problem under control, it will be fixed by the end of the week", I am not deceiving him. I am simply not wasting his time with useless data that makes him question my professionalism. If I throw a bunch of technobabble at him, he might reasonably think I am trying to baffle him with bull****, because a professional programmer knows that too much detail is detrimental to communicating the pertinent facts to management.

The same is true of a president. We're the management in this case. Few of us aspire to be leaders, and fewer still ARE leaders. We hire people to do that job so we have time to do ours. Too much detail does not inspire confidence to most people. It makes them concerned that they are being played, or worse, that the decision making is being put on them rather than the person whose job it is to make that decision. In either case, many will lose confidence.
 
Posted by flydye (Member # 6554) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
quote:
President Reagan did things to help the economy, and that took time to get it done. I am criticizing President Obama for hurting the economy, not for taking too long to fix it.
On what basis do you make the claim that the policies that Obama is enacting are harming the economy? We've only seen the evidence of 1.5 years since he was elected, and over that period of time the economy has recovered better than it recovered under the first 1.5 years under Reagan.

The only basis for arguing that Obama is hurting the economy at this point is theoretical. And if you want to talk about the validity of alternative economic theories, we can go there. But at this point in time, I don't believe there is evidence that Obama is hurting the economy at all, let alone there's no evidence that he's not at least as effective as Reagan in helping turn around the economy.

This is based upon one faith based meme: That absent Obama's profligate spending, things would be much worse. Where are the 'facts' to back that up? Obama and Geithener saying so? It is impossible to prove a negative or a hypothetical, but that seems to be the basis of your statement. If we go by plain unemployment numbers, this does not seem to be the case. Every report of jobless claims is bad or not improving (yes, I know it's supposed to be a lagging indicator).

As far as how Obama damaged the economy, it is pretty clear to me. He has put a tremendous amount of uncertainty into the market. His Healthcare putsch...I mean push had every employer out there wondering what the hell he would have to pay for benefits. The bill kept changing.

As far as other aspects of the market, the GM bailout IMO INCREDIBLY damaged his credibility with investors. By telling the bondholders to shove it, he now sent a clear message that his administration valued political connections over law and custom. If he had followed the law, a court would have essentially done the same thing, albeit with the unions taking their share of a haircut. Obama likes them to have long hair.

Obama has not particularly been forthcoming on taxes, so businesses anticipating their tax bill next year are not hiring or adding improvements.

Other bits of legislation also have their effect. Cap and Trade etc.

These are factual choices he's made and many market analysts have said the same thing. This is IMO much more persuasive then 'if it wasn't for Obama, people would be selling apples'.

Do you deny it is possible that absent Obama's actions, things might still have been this bad?
 
Posted by kenmeer livermaile (Member # 2243) on :
 
"Ken? Why are you unhappy with your pony?"

Extraordinary rendition continues as well as torture of detainees on US military compounds.

Presidential order can now order the assassination of a US citizen anywhere in the world without due process.

Numerous other actions & decrees, largely through the Dept of Justice, that steadily erode civil liberties in a way that Bush/Cheney would have been proud of, since they pushed so much in that direction during their terms. But Obama just keeps on pushing that same direction.
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
quote:
This is based upon one faith based meme: That absent Obama's profligate spending, things would be much worse. Where are the 'facts' to back that up?
First of all (and this is a slight tangent questioning your terminology), the phrase "Obama's profligate spending" appears to inaccurately reflect the fact that the inherited deficit when he took the oath of Office was $1.2 trillion dollars (there was $10 trillion in inherited debt, a $1.2 trillion deficit planned for 2010, and non-discretionary expenditures required by law that drove the deficit towards $1T in 2011). Perhaps you could clarify: if Obama's spending is "profligate", what adjective do you use to describe the rest of this spending and who do you hold responsible for it? But, on a much smaller scale, there was $0.4T of spending in the stimulus (the $0.3T of tax cuts I would almost hesitate to call expenditure, it was not a relevant stimulus for the given economic conditions).

Second, is it a "faith-based meme" that stimulus spending makes things better or worse during an economic collapse such as we experienced in 2008 - this is a valid question. How do we compare the results from alternate economic policies when, unlike a hard science such as chemistry, there is no way to run a controlled experiment twice (if, you can't have : experiment # 1 - Obama elected and implements policy #1, experiment #2 - Obama elected and implements policy #2).

I have discussed the analytical and quantitative basis for a Post Keynesian approach on a number of prior threads (at length in the Austrian economics vs. Keynes Death Match). To discuss in brief, an economic model based on Keynes provides more accurate predictions of conditions such as occurred in 2008 than free-market/conservative/Austrian economic models. This is because models which include the assumptions that the free market will make rational resource allocation decisions are unable to generate a scenario such as actually occurred in 2008. If there is a collapse in equity prices, a free market model would have at least some entrepreneurs recognize the bargains and quickly start buying assets cheap. A free market model could not have an entire financial industry irrationally acquire excessively risky mortgage derivatives in a way that could bring all of them to collapse. And free market models cannot account for a credit freeze such as occurred in the Fall of 2008. On the other hand, Keynes' theories do accommodate this kind of event as a natural function of the behavior of firms under certain economic conditions. If there is a market shock (and Keynes includes the possibility that there can be wide-spread irrationality, as with the dot-com bubble, mortgage-based derivatives in 2008, or even the Dutch Tulip Bulb economy in the 17th century), and aggregate demand is plummeting, then rational entrepreneurs will see the demand for their goods and services shrinking, and they will cut back on expenditures. For most firms, that means reducing labor, which creates even higher unemployment. Those additional unemployed people will also start to consume less, which drives aggregate demand down even further. Based on the rational behavior of firms in a downward spiral economy, the free market cannot readily recover from a severe shock. It is in those circumstances that Keynes would call for government to generate additional demand in the marketplace, so that more people are working (and thus they have more income to spend, increasing demand for all the things that they purchase). The economic collapse is costing trillions of dollars in reduced tax revenues and increased non-discretionary expenditures; the actually portion of the economic stimulus spent of goods and services was $0.4T, which most liberal economists thought was too small to fully right an economy with a GDP of $16T/year (the consensus figure was about $1.2T of spending). Thus, the expectation of liberal economists (and I believe I said this in several threads when it was being passed) was that the Obama stimulus would mitigate the fall, but provide a slow recovery.

Sorry for the long answer.
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
quote:
As far as how Obama damaged the economy, it is pretty clear to me. He has put a tremendous amount of uncertainty into the market. His Healthcare putsch...I mean push had every employer out there wondering what the hell he would have to pay for benefits. The bill kept changing.
It turns out there is a test for this assumption, and it fails utterly. If Obama has damaged the economy by creating uncertainty, then investors would reflect that damage in terms of the prices that they are willing to pay for stocks. Unfortunately for your theory, stock market prices indicate that investors believe that things have gotten substantially better since Obama's policies have been put into place.

The market has not responded as much with respect to health care reform only, I agree with you that there is uncertainty over how that will work (although there was also uncertainty over what would have happened without reform; health care costs have been a major driver of business for the past 5-10 years prior to HCR).
 
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
And here's an article on the Iraqi troop withdrawal.

quote:
U.S. Forces Drawing Down In Iraq
U.S. forces are scheduled to draw down to 50,000 by September 1, 2010 following President Obama’s withdrawal plan. It’s hardly been noticed, but U.S. troops are almost at that level already.

Since 2009 over 60,000 U.S. soldiers have been pulled out of Iraq. In January 2009 when Obama first took office, there were 142,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. After that, several thousand were withdrawn every couple months, going down to 140,000 in February, 137,000 in March, 134,000 in May, 130,000 in June, etc. According to the spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq, there are currently 77,500 U.S. personnel in Iraq as of July 2010.



It's a good thing that he supported the surge after he opposed it. [Wink] But seriously, if he pulls this off, and Iraq doesn't collapse into another Bosnia, then I'll be very happy to congradulate him for sticking by ... well not his guns perhaps, but someone's.

[ July 10, 2010, 12:25 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]
 
Posted by G2 (Member # 2942) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Second, is it a "faith-based meme" that stimulus spending makes things better or worse during an economic collapse such as we experienced in 2008 - this is a valid question. How do we compare the results from alternate economic policies when, unlike a hard science such as chemistry, there is no way to run a controlled experiment twice ...

We don't have to, we can compare to countries that did not blindly throw money at the problem ... like Canada:
quote:
Employment has been on an upward trend since July 2009, increasing by 403,000 (+2.4%). These gains offset nearly all the employment losses observed during the labour market downturn which began in the fall of 2008.
Canada took a little less beating that we did but they still took one like everyone else. With no massive government stimulus spending, they're employment situation has recovered while the US' continues to trend down.
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
If the United States had the same level of government regulation of our financial industry as Canada did, your comparison might be valid. Much of the market failure that was permitted under the lax regulatory regime in the United States was precluded by more stringent Canadian regulation of their own financial sector.
 
Posted by flydye (Member # 6554) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
quote:
As far as how Obama damaged the economy, it is pretty clear to me. He has put a tremendous amount of uncertainty into the market. His Healthcare putsch...I mean push had every employer out there wondering what the hell he would have to pay for benefits. The bill kept changing.
It turns out there is a test for this assumption, and it fails utterly. If Obama has damaged the economy by creating uncertainty, then investors would reflect that damage in terms of the prices that they are willing to pay for stocks. Unfortunately for your theory, stock market prices indicate that investors believe that things have gotten substantially better since Obama's policies have been put into place.

The market has not responded as much with respect to health care reform only, I agree with you that there is uncertainty over how that will work (although there was also uncertainty over what would have happened without reform; health care costs have been a major driver of business for the past 5-10 years prior to HCR).

Allow me to use an analogy: You can sleep with a whore with syphilis or a whore with HIV. Guess where the money goes? The flight FROM risk lead the money HERE. Which is a sad commentary on the rest of the world because we can see how sick 'HERE' is.

[ July 10, 2010, 07:38 PM: Message edited by: flydye ]
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
quote:
Allow me to use an analogy: You can sleep with a whore with syphilis or a whore with HIV. Guess where the money goes? The flight FROM risk lead the money HERE. Which is a sad commentary on the rest of the world because we can see how sick 'HERE' is.
I am confused by what you are inferring with your analogy, every way I try to interpret it carries serious self-contradiction, so I think I must be missing your real meaning - please re-explain to me.

Here are all of the interpretations I can figure out, and none of them appear to be making a point in your argument:

Are you asserting that this indicates that the Obama Administration has the best economic policy in the world? I doubt you believe that. But you just asserted that Obama was damaging the US economy through his policies. And if you try to assert that the US economy has intrinsic goodness that overrides what you believe to be Obama's damaging policies? If so, how did that intrinsically good economy crash so badly prior to the imposition of Obama's policies?
 
Posted by flydye (Member # 6554) on :
 
I mean that as bad as our economy is (syphilis...with a large strain of Obamareah), it is STILL considered safer then most of the local economies (HIV. See PIIGS). If anyone really trusted China's autocrats, they would go there. If they believed in the legislature of India and had faith in their infrastructure, they would be THERE. They don't.

Obama is not enough to destroy the American economy, but his (IMO) flouting of the rule of law and BIG BAD AGENDAS is scary enough to make things recover much slower. He is a drag on the economy, not a killer.

[ July 10, 2010, 11:17 PM: Message edited by: flydye ]
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
What you say is illogical: things got worse under 8 years of Bush policies, to the worst they have been in 70 years. The economy has recovered under Obama's policies. How do you twist that into evidence that Obama's policies are more harmful to the economy than Bush's?
 
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
 
As some may ascertain from the Black Panther thread, I'm no Obamaniac. But as for the socialist charge, right now Al and Greg clearly seem to have the better argument.

Bush did a big spending stim package when we were faced with a much milder racession than we're facing now, and IIRC, no one called him a socialist. By the same principles (and if they are socialist principles then why isn't Bush a socialist) it would stand to reason that bigger crisis - bigger stim package. Isn't this just basic Keynsian economics?

Is there a better conservative argument in the house, or have I failed to read something?
 
Posted by yossarian22c (Member # 1779) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by flydye:
This is based upon one faith based meme: That absent Obama's profligate spending, things would be much worse. Where are the 'facts' to back that up? Obama and Geithener saying so? It is impossible to prove a negative or a hypothetical, but that seems to be the basis of your statement. If we go by plain unemployment numbers, this does not seem to be the case. Every report of jobless claims is bad or not improving (yes, I know it's supposed to be a lagging indicator).

As far as how Obama damaged the economy, it is pretty clear to me. He has put a tremendous amount of uncertainty into the market. His Healthcare putsch...I mean push had every employer out there wondering what the hell he would have to pay for benefits. The bill kept changing.

As far as other aspects of the market, the GM bailout IMO INCREDIBLY damaged his credibility with investors. By telling the bondholders to shove it, he now sent a clear message that his administration valued political connections over law and custom. If he had followed the law, a court would have essentially done the same thing, albeit with the unions taking their share of a haircut. Obama likes them to have long hair.

Obama has not particularly been forthcoming on taxes, so businesses anticipating their tax bill next year are not hiring or adding improvements.

Other bits of legislation also have their effect. Cap and Trade etc.

These are factual choices he's made and many market analysts have said the same thing. This is IMO much more persuasive then 'if it wasn't for Obama, people would be selling apples'.

Do you deny it is possible that absent Obama's actions, things might still have been this bad?

So the effect of stimulus is unknowable but the effect of "uncertainty" is clear to you?
 
Posted by cherrypoptart (Member # 3942) on :
 
> Pete at Home


> Bush did a big spending stim package when we were faced with a much milder recession than we're facing now, and IIRC, no one called him a socialist. By the same principles (and if they are socialist principles then why isn't Bush a socialist) it would stand to reason that bigger crisis - bigger stim package. Isn't this just basic Keynsian economics?

> Is there a better conservative argument in the house, or have I failed to read something?

That makes a better argument for Bush being a socialist than for Obama not being one. Bush did some things that a lot of people who oppose socialism disagreed with, and the huge bailouts for failures and gamblers was one of them. That said, there is a difference between a supposed one time deal because of a crisis and making that deal a way of life. President Obama isn't just responding as necessary to a crisis. He's using a crisis as an excuse to follow his natural inclinations, and Raum made that clear when he mentioned that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.

-----------------------------------------------

I was thinking that President Obama might actually be proud to admit he's a socialist if he was asked and if he was honest, so that made me curious about any self-admitted socialist Congress people. Perhaps one of them could shed some light on the subject.

http://www.democracynow.org/2006/11/8/vermonts_bernie_sanders_becomes_first_socialist

> AMY GOODMAN: And if people ask, "What do you mean, 'socialist'?" what would you say?

> REP. BERNIE SANDERS: Well, I think it means the government has got to play a very important role in making sure that as a right of citizenship, all of our people have healthcare; that as a right, all of our kids, regardless of income, have quality childcare, are able to go to college without going deeply into debt; that it means we do not allow large corporations and moneyed interests to destroy our environment; that we create a government in which it is not dominated by big money interest. I mean, to me, it means democracy, frankly. That’s all it means. And we are living in an increasingly undemocratic society in which decisions are made by people who have huge sums of money. And that’s the goal that we have to achieve.

-------------------------------------------

I guess I'll point out that I don't even disagree with all of this, especially about protecting the environment. A key part of it is alluded to at the end there and that is the hostility of socialists to rich people. Going back to "1984", in the end it's all about power and rich people are a threat to socialists. The best way to tackle that threat is to tax the power out of them, and that's why to socialists it doesn't even matter what you spend the tax dollars on. The important thing is to take that money away from your rivals for power. Intent may be important here.

A little earlier in the interview:

> AMY GOODMAN: This weekend, I went to Vermont, and I spoke to Bernie Sanders in the cafeteria of the local Montpelier high school, where he was having a pre-victory rally. Hundreds turned out for the free meal. I asked him what it meant to be the first socialist senator.

> In terms of socialism, I think there is a lot to be learned from Scandinavia and from some of the work, very good work that people have done in Europe. In countries like Finland, Norway, Denmark, poverty has almost been eliminated. All people have healthcare as a right of citizenship. College education is available to all people, regardless of income, virtually free. I have been very aggressive in trying to move to sustainable energy. They have a lot of political participation, high voter turnouts. I think there is a lot to be learned from countries that have created more egalitarian societies than has the United States of America.

-----------------------------------------------

Another aspect of many forms of socialism that distinguish it from communism and our own brand of kinder, gentler capitalism in my estimation is that under socialism you don't have to work if you don't want to, under communism everyone works whether they want to or not, and under our gentle capitalism we provide people a safety net if they absolutely cannot work or if they need to get back on their feet, but we don't find two nicely spaced shade trees to set up the socialists' hammock for the lazy.

One thing that we can expect from socialism is a massive decline in productivity as the incentive for effort and vitality is sucked out of people and our society.
 
Posted by cherrypoptart (Member # 3942) on :
 
> Pete at Home


> Bush did a big spending stim package when we were faced with a much milder recession than we're facing now, and IIRC, no one called him a socialist. By the same principles (and if they are socialist principles then why isn't Bush a socialist) it would stand to reason that bigger crisis - bigger stim package. Isn't this just basic Keynsian economics?

> Is there a better conservative argument in the house, or have I failed to read something?

That makes a better argument for Bush being a socialist than for Obama not being one. Bush did some things that a lot of people who oppose socialism disagreed with, and the huge bailouts for failures and gamblers was one of them. That said, there is a difference between a supposed one time deal because of a crisis and making that deal a way of life. President Obama isn't just responding as necessary to a crisis. He's using a crisis as an excuse to follow his natural inclinations, and Raum made that clear when he mentioned that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.

-----------------------------------------------

I was thinking that President Obama might actually be proud to admit he's a socialist if he was asked and if he was honest, so that made me curious about any self-admitted socialist Congress
 
Posted by Al Wessex (Member # 6541) on :
 
==>"One thing that we can expect from socialism is a massive decline in productivity as the incentive for effort and vitality is sucked out of people and our society."

But productivity has been steadily increasing over the past decade or so, mainly due to modernization of the workplace. Some questions for you about "socialist" programs in our state/federal systems. It's a long list so I'll be pleased if you choose to answer any of them.

How should the government deal with chronic and increasing private sector unemployment?
. Would you extend/increase or cut back on state/federal unemployment?
. Would you increase or decrease food assistance programs for people who can't afford food?
. Would you increase or decrease funding and reach for medical assistance programs for people who can't afford health insurance?

How should the government deal with the housing mortgage crisis?
. Would you increase or decrease regulation to prevent predatory lending practices? Bear in mind that regulation is direct interference in private enterprise.
. Would you increase or decrease penalties for unscrupulous business practices by insurance and financial services firms?

How should the government deal with the growth of health care related costs for insurance and treatment?
. Should the government scale back oversight and regulation in order to reduce costs?
. Should the government provide assistance and financial support to make sure that everyone has access to affordable health care?

How should the government deal with crime and personal safety?
. Should the government help guarantee that citizens are protected from personal crime by increasing funding for municipal police?
. Since everyone has a right to own a gun and guns are used for private protection, should the government help ensure that every citizen owns a gun?

Lastly, since the Bill of Rights extends authority to States rather than to individuals, isn't our country founded on Socialist principles that the States have the authority to control the behavior of its citizens as long as they don't violate provisions of the Constitution?
. Has Obama violated the Constitution?
. Did Bush violate the Constitution?
. If the state or federal government requires you to do anything (e.g., personal income taxes, car registration, serve in the military...) or limits anything you can do by law or regulation, isn't that government Socialist?
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
"Lastly, since the Bill of Rights extends authority to States rather than to individuals,"

Wrong, wrong, and wrong; wanting it to be so doesn't make it so.
[Roll Eyes]

How do you get state authority from things such as:
1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

2. ...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

3. ...quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner

4. The right of the people to be secure in their persons...

5. No person shall be held to answer for any capital...

And most important:
9. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Only here do we see the first mention of the states, but still things are reserved ultimately to THE PEOPLE:
10. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

That sort of garbage statement is why we have jackasses in both the Bush and Obama administrations trampling our rights. Christ, this is the foundation of western common law and the foundation of the US system of government - rights are inherent and never derive or extended from any state or government entity.

If you can't see that, you are truly illogically blind and obtuse.
 
Posted by Al Wessex (Member # 6541) on :
 
==>"But productivity has been steadily increasing over the past decade or so, mainly due to modernization of the workplace."

Rereading this, I realize that I stopped short of making the point I was thinking. Basically, industry productivity increases are themselves the reason for much of decreasing need for skilled labor. One example, though not exactly "skilled" to a high degree, is the prevalence of robot answering machines in broad use that are programmed to do everything possible to prevent you from actually talking to a person. The sole purpose of those answering systems is to reduce the need to employ people to do that job. It's not the government's fault that you're not needed to answer the phone. Farming those jobs out to other countries is a compounding factor, but is secondary to the productivity gains implicit in "mechanical service units".

That idea could be developed much farther, but just considering that worker productivity defines the ratio of workers to production, the economy has to grow faster than productivity increases in order for the workforce contingent to remain at a given level. With increases in population there is even greater need for GDP and overall economic expansion for employment to remain stable.

With the economy in recession there is a direct correlation to a reduction in the workforce, meaning unemployment will grow and the private sector will do nothing to deal with it, except perhaps to hire workers at lower salaries and/or lower benefits. That in turn lowers the overall standard of living in the country. Again, this is not the government's fault. Reduced standard of living leads to reduced consumption of goods and services. That leads to reduced sales, which then in turn completes the circle by driving companies to increase their productivity.

The area that confounds worker productivity increases is the cost of goods and services. Inflation is generally still pretty low (unaccountably, IMO), with certain exceptions. The biggest exceptions are the costs of health insurance and health care, which are growing at a rate of 4-5 times inflation. Insurance companies have an obligation to maintain profits, and doctors have the right to receive compensation commensurate to their performance. Hospitals are the biggest losers in all this, since their costs are directly tied to those two financial factors.

That means that available health care *must* decline in the coming years. Fewer hospitals serving patients with less ability to pay for treatment. Fewer people with health insurance, and more people with more expensive health insurance premiums for which they are provided fewer services.

The marketplace won't address this, since the only business commercial enterprises are in is the production of profit. The government has to step in or death panels which already exist at the insurance and hospital level will exist at the family level as well.

So we have a set of contradictory forces that will not converge or resolve themselves in the marketplace if left alone. How do *you* resolve this if not through some sort of government intervention? Or do you let the "marketplace decide"?

[ July 11, 2010, 12:50 PM: Message edited by: Al Wessex ]
 
Posted by Al Wessex (Member # 6541) on :
 
==>"If you can't see that, you are truly illogically blind and obtuse. "

OK, you mean logically blind, but I'll let that go. FWIW, I've most often argued your side of that position, but I'm taking a challenging position to provoke answers to my questions. You didn't answer any of them, btw. Given your strong view, how about tackling:
quote:

. Has Obama violated the Constitution?
. Did Bush violate the Constitution?
. If the state or federal government requires you to do anything (e.g., personal income taxes, car registration, serve in the military...) or limits anything you can do by law or regulation, isn't that government Socialist?



[ July 11, 2010, 12:30 PM: Message edited by: Al Wessex ]
 
Posted by flydye (Member # 6554) on :
 
I think the uncertainty is very provable. AMERICAN businesses are holding on to piles of cash and looking at private job hiring practices, you see that almost no one is hiring. Why?

There could be any number of factors but I certainly think that there is a more direct correlation to uncertainty then any correlation to the stimulus. The Dow and it's investments are based on fungible money. There is no telling the motives of the people investing in America. Are Greek and Spanish elites hiding their money here in the hopes of avoiding a Euro melt down? Are the Chinese desperately trying to prop up the Great Consumer Maw that is America? Do the American people believe that we're starting to do just fine?

Well, if you cherrypick just the Dow, you can pretend support for that last. If you check consumer confidence indexes, or look at private company jobs numbers, it does not support the idea that the stimulus did anything.

But lets look at the outlays

quote:
The recovery.gov Web site, launched by the Obama administration to track the distribution of the $787 billion slated for distribution through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, shows that $398.7 billion has been paid out as of May 21. That means 50.6 percent of the funds has actually been injected into the economy through grants, loans, contracts, entitlements and tax benefits.

Staff at the White House Recovery Office, however, told CNSNews.com that the measurement it uses to come up with the total output includes the amount of dollars already “obligated” for future projects.

According to the Recovery Office, as of May 18, $391 billion, or about 78 percent of the $499 billion in the stimulus plan for grants, contracts, loans and entitlements, had been “obligated,” but only 47 percent, or $233 billion, had been paid out.

It is natural to say that it would be better to spend the money wisely, but then you are essentially saying that the cash has NOT been actually ACTING on the economy. I will however, posit that it might have a stabilizing effect on confidence, and outside the tax cuts, is probably the most effect upon the economy.

But as we saw from unemployment, job creation, and consumer confidence...not doing THAT well.
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
Al,
logically blind - yes [Cool]

Otherwise, yes, yes, and depends on the what... But I didn't address it b/c I don't care to bother with that. It's all a sidetrack from what I see as the facts:

Very little to no discernable difference between Bush and Obama - or even Clinton, for that matter.
Our government is a sham which works for a small, secretive group of multinationals and banking cartels. The man in office is only a puppet for those multinationals and banking cartels. The best conspiracies are those that are right in our face yet the majority of folks wants to remain delusional to what is sitting right there in front of us.
 
Posted by flydye (Member # 6554) on :
 
The conspiracy works for the vast majority of people and is providing a good standard of living. The question is how much sand can get into the gears. Bush, Clinton and Obama all had their shovels.
 
Posted by flydye (Member # 6554) on :
 
IIRC, the Bush critics spent a lot of time lambasting his unemployment figures, stating that his 5.3 percent didn't include this vast uncounted group who stopped looking for work.

I note this kind of sharp eyes, green eyeshade bit of opinion has suddenly become unfashionable, else we'd be discussing 12-15% unemployment.

As I said with Bush, stay with what we can count. Yes it's wrong, but as long as it's wrong the same way, we can use it as a barometer. But I note the hypocrisy.
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
Yes, the 9.5% unemployment today would equate to something like ~14% if measured to the same standards that had 33% unemployment in the 1930's.

However, the change in measurements was not made by the Obama Administration.

What hypocrisy?
 
Posted by Al Wessex (Member # 6541) on :
 
==>"Colin: Our government is a sham which works for a small, secretive group of multinationals and banking cartels. The man in office is only a puppet for those multinationals and banking cartels."

=>"Flydye: The conspiracy works for the vast majority of people and is providing a good standard of living. The question is how much sand can get into the gears. Bush, Clinton and Obama all had their shovels. "

It's good that you're able to dispense with the sham of this is about patriotism or Constitutionality or love of country. You, like everyone else, are willing to live within a greedy multinational conspiracy as long as it gives you the level of comfort to which you are accustomed. I guess Obama is not a Socialist, he's a corruption fighter, and he's upsetting the applecart. That makes him especially dangerous.
 
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Al Wessex:
==>"Colin: Our government is a sham which works for a small, secretive group of multinationals and banking cartels. The man in office is only a puppet for those multinationals and banking cartels."

=>"Flydye: The conspiracy works for the vast majority of people and is providing a good standard of living. The question is how much sand can get into the gears. Bush, Clinton and Obama all had their shovels. "

It's good that you're able to dispense with the sham of this is about patriotism or Constitutionality or love of country. You, like everyone else, are willing to live within a greedy multinational conspiracy as long as it gives you the level of comfort to which you are accustomed. I guess Obama is not a Socialist, he's a corruption fighter, and he's upsetting the applecart. That makes him especially dangerous.

Point, but point taken too far. For example, most of the killings of drug lords and their associates in Northern Mexico aren't being carried out by folks opposed to drugs.
 
Posted by flydye (Member # 6554) on :
 
Bullsh*t and the fact you characterize him like that pretty much destroys your credibility, at least with me.
 
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
 
I'm sorry, Al, Flydye's universal translator is broken. I think what he meant to say was this:


Al, could you give a specific example of Obama bringing down a "corrupt" figure or corporation?

IIRC, Obama is BP's biggest US campaign recipient, he bailed out the bank ... can you point to any of these rah power to the people moments that one might expect of a corruption fighter?

I mean, he's more powerful than Bobby Kennedy ever was, so I'd expect Obama the corruption fighter to have at least as many notches on his belt as Bobby did, right?

 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
quote:
I think the uncertainty is very provable. AMERICAN businesses are holding on to piles of cash and looking at private job hiring practices, you see that almost no one is hiring. Why?

There could be any number of factors but I certainly think that there is a more direct correlation to uncertainty then any correlation to the stimulus. The Dow and it's investments are based on fungible money. There is no telling the motives of the people investing in America. Are Greek and Spanish elites hiding their money here in the hopes of avoiding a Euro melt down? Are the Chinese desperately trying to prop up the Great Consumer Maw that is America? Do the American people believe that we're starting to do just fine?

And nothing to do with the fact that they're over-producing as compared to demand as it is, and thus there's no economic incentive to hire in the first place?

There's no need to appeal to uncertainty here. There is a simple certainty that is perfectly clear- not enough money is being spent to require production to meet it, and what demand does exist is easier to meet by squeezing additional productivity out of existing workers while using the threat of layoff to justify not extending additional compensation, or even reducing compensation at the same time.

Uncertainty of the type being discussed only becomes an issue when businesses aren't expanding when there's pressure for them to expand. Right now, there's active pressure for them to shrink in response to falling demand, and as they shrink, that demand drops further because less income translates to even less revenue. Uncertainty is rendered moot, when it's overridden by a far larger certainty.
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
quote:
It is natural to say that it would be better to spend the money wisely, but then you are essentially saying that the cash has NOT been actually ACTING on the economy. I will however, posit that it might have a stabilizing effect on confidence, and outside the tax cuts, is probably the most effect upon the economy.
The problem though, is that that money only just matches what the state governments are having to chop out of their budgets, since most funding to hold them over was cut out of the package. The net result is that everything has stalled- it's halted the decline by matching what's been cut, but it hasn't actually put anything back in to push for positive results.

The only real notable exception here is North Dakota. Someone there, a while back, had the bright idea of setting up a state bank. So when economy dropped, it just borrowed the difference from itself (interest free) and kept the lights on, so it had a tight year and then was back on track since federal money that came in actually amounted to a net positive, not just a smaller cut to outlays.
 
Posted by Al Wessex (Member # 6541) on :
 
==>"Bullsh*t and the fact you characterize him like that pretty much destroys your credibility, at least with me. "

Read your words again and tell me that I didn't respond to what you said, which was an extension of Colin's comment. I quoted you both exactly. If you're just being glib, it cuts too close to your argument that Obama is trying to slip our Constitutional Democracy out from under us and replace it with a Socialist form of government that is something like what you consider the Socialist governments of Europe to be. I'm not being generous or sympathetic with your perspective because I think you mean it but you don't really know what it would be like if he had done/not done what you want instead, whatever that is. As bad as things seem, I can't imagine we'd be anywhere near as well off as we are now.

==>"Al, could you give a specific example of Obama bringing down a "corrupt" figure or corporation?"

Well said, italic Fly. No, I can't. But I agree with the Socialist label chuckers at least on the basic facts. The common ground is that he is looking to government to change how things work in the financial industry, health industry, and is trying to reregulate industries that have caused many of the problems we now face because of their practices over the past decades. In my opinion, he *is* acting a little like a cop on the beat who's shaking up the old mob, aka the multinational conspiracy. More power to him, but we can already see that he won't get half as far as he intended or promised, because like the Sergeant said, It's dangerous out there.
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
quote:
The problem though, is that that money only just matches what the state governments are having to chop out of their budgets, since most funding to hold them over was cut out of the package.
Note that the cut to state aid wasn't an accident, it was a policy priority for the Republicans in Congress. Note that they are not taking responsibility for their actions.
 
Posted by flydye (Member # 6554) on :
 
I get tired of conspiracy theories regarding government. Don't hold much truck with them. Even if I decide to stipulate that such a conspiracy exists, so what?

Obama does want to push more toward a redistributive worldview onto the American public. He is getting a lot of pushback. There are multiple ways he could deal with these hiccups in the market. All of them involve more government intrustion and aggrandizing governmental power. There are other options.

And I turned the F#$%+@ translator off because I don't care.

I find it interesting that instead of characterizing the fiscal market or healthcare as inefficient, or mistaken, or even odd, you consider it corrupt. Telling.
 
Posted by Al Wessex (Member # 6541) on :
 
You don't think the confluence of interests and collusion of lobbying and influence positions amounts to corruption? Not to mention that the industries that profit the most, like insurance and financial services, tend to be the least efficient, highly error prone and follow odd idiosyncratic professional practices.

As you Conservatives love to point out, it is a corrupt system. I'm not sure why it bothers you for me to agree with you, except perhaps that I'm also agreeing with you that many of the perks we little people receive also flow from the corruption. Shocked, shocked!
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
Fly - I get tired of people ignoring the obvious.

On another note, Cindy Sheehan takes so-called peace party Democrats to task for perpetuating the fraud:
http://cindysheehanssoapbox.blogspot.com/2010/07/requiem-for-antiwar-movement-by-cindy.html

Funny how she was only the media darling when she pointed out how Bush's poop stunk. Now she's pointing out Obama has the same stinky poo, she's persona non grata.

I give the old girl props for keeping on after getting chewed up and spit out by the war party (as she calls it) Democrats she thought were her friends.
quote:
This article and these observations are going to piss some people off—but oh well. You will be angry with me, even though I am not the one who is ordering more war, paying for more war, torturing people and imprisoning them without due process, destroying the economy and the environment, blah, blah, blah...

Last week, the Democratically controlled House of Representatives voted to give Barack Obama 33 billion more dollars to prosecute two idiotic and ill-advised wars. Of course they did—it wasn’t the first time since 2007 that a Democratic Congress voted to fund wars, and it won’t be the last—do you all know why? BECAUSE THE DEMOCRATS DON’T WANT PEACE—THEY ARE JUST ONE-HALF OF THE “WAR PARTY.”

Why else did the Democrats vote for more war, more death and more destruction? If you are a Democrat and voted for one of these scum—did you vote for them hoping that you would get more war? Did you vote for Obama hoping that he would dig this country into a deeper hole, and do you still believe that ****ing things up even more is the way to solve problems?

Do you all know what else? The wars that were begun in the Bush presidency and fully funded and increased during the Obama regime belong to everyone who voted for Obama, too. If you listened to what Obama said, and not just how he said it, then you would have heard him promise you that he was going to SEND MORE TROOPS TO AFGHANISTAN. You would have heard him say that nothing was “off the table” for dealing with Iran...



[ July 13, 2010, 10:29 AM: Message edited by: Colin JM0397 ]
 
Posted by Brian (Member # 588) on :
 
quote:
...If you listened to what Obama said, and not just how he said it, then you would have heard him promise you that he was going to SEND MORE TROOPS TO AFGHANISTAN. You would have heard him say that nothing was “off the table” for dealing with Iran...
This is possibly the single most annoying thing about the whole situation. Did anybody actually listen to what Obama was saying during the campaign? Or did they just assume that naturally, as a Democrat, he must be against war?

He was lambasted in the national media for suggesting that overrunning Pakistan's border was justified during 'hot pursuit'. Not exactly a pacifist position.

He promised to draw down Iraq - on a timetable, not immediately. (Do we even have enough airlift to pull out 130,000 troops at once?)

He promised to escalate the war in Afghanistan, precisely so we could then draw down those troops as well, hoping for another Awakening.


I guess people should actually research the candidate they plan to vote for, eh?
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
Exactly.
However, with thick enough hope & change glasses, that warhorse does look like a cute and friendly pony.

Putting on my old Psyop hat, I marvel at the effectiveness of the hope & change campaign he used to win. It was, IMO, the most brilliant and effective propaganda campaign in modern times.

You disillusioned dems need to quit poking fun at the teabaggers. It’s only through those two groups – the po’ed Dems/progressives and the po’ed Rep/libertarians/teabaggers – that we’ll have a chance to unseat the war party/parties.

There is some good progress being made IMO.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
quote:
I guess people should actually research the candidate they plan to vote for, eh?
Well, for my part, I figured he was more likely than McCain to get us out of the Middle East quickly, and he'd certainly voiced concerns about the privacy issues I found most worrisome (and which McCain laughed off.) My preferred candidate didn't make it out of the primary -- and, really, even the ones who made it into the primary were less than ideal -- but I figured I'd give Obama a shot given his competition.
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
Guys, did you read my quote cited above?
quote:
U.S. Forces Drawing Down In Iraq
U.S. forces are scheduled to draw down to 50,000 by September 1, 2010 following President Obama’s withdrawal plan. It’s hardly been noticed, but U.S. troops are almost at that level already.

Since 2009 over 60,000 U.S. soldiers have been pulled out of Iraq. In January 2009 when Obama first took office, there were 142,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. After that, several thousand were withdrawn every couple months, going down to 140,000 in February, 137,000 in March, 134,000 in May, 130,000 in June, etc. According to the spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq, there are currently 77,500 U.S. personnel in Iraq as of July 2010.

Obama said that he would pull us out of Iraq and he's on schedule to do so. I am not sure why that gets such a ho-hum response, I seem to remember a fairly high level of skepticism in 2008 that this could be accomplished. Obama said he would shift the focus to Pakistan and escalate in Afghanistan (even prior to the situation regarding the Taliban degrading sharply prior to his election). He also said he would start to pull troops out of Afghanistan in July 2011. I hear a great deal of skepticism about the Afghan withdrawal as well(even worse on DailyKos than here, no surprise), but given the track record to-date in Iraq, I believe we need to seriously consider the possibility that he will once again do what he said with regards to troop levels.

And for everyone who wants to chime in with their skepticism, at least before you do, tell me if in January 2009 you thought that Obama would have cut troop levels almost in half in Iraq after 16 months in office.

(and it's not like he hasn't had anything else to work on during this time, etiher)

[ July 13, 2010, 11:08 PM: Message edited by: Greg Davidson ]
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Obama said that he would pull us out of Iraq and he's on schedule to do so. I am not sure why that gets such a ho-hum response, I seem to remember a fairly high level of skepticism in 2008 that this could be accomplished.

You're right Greg, we should definitely be more upset that Obama has broken another campaign promise, but he's broken so many so far it's hard to keep track.

quote:

Barack Obama Campaign Promise No. 126:
Begin removing combat brigades from Iraq

"Barack Obama will work with military commanders on the ground in Iraq and in consultation with the Iraqi government to end the war safely and responsibly within 16 months."

Well April passed and we still had at least 77,500 troops by your count.

Oh wait, shortly after taking office he modified his promise to the following:

quote:
Obama sets date for withdrawal of troops from Iraq

Updated: Friday, February 27th, 2009 | By Robert Farley

"Today, I have come to speak to you about how the war in Iraq will end," President Obama said in a formal announcement of a new Iraq strategy at Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base in North Carolina, on Feb. 27.

Under the new plan, Obama said, the United States will remove all combat troops by Aug. 31, 2010.

Source

Hmmm, it doesn't look like that plan is going to happen either. Yep, your right Obama purposely made untenable campaign promises during the election, but hey it got him elected and his supporters will rationalize his lies anyway, so no harm done right?


In a side note, PolitiFact continues to exhibit a very strong pro-Obama bias. Instead of classifying the above campaign promise as, at best a "half-truth" they list it as "in the works". I had hoped they would become a non-partisan site, but instead they've veered to the left.
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
You're confusing two different scales. This should ultimately get a "compromise" rating, given that the overall intent is certainly being accomplished, but the specific deadline had to be negotiated.

It might qualify for stalled right now, given the ongoing uncertainty in forming a new leadership coalition and the delay that it's putting on the overall withdrawal.
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
You're confusing two different scales. This should ultimately get a "compromise" rating, given that the overall intent is certainly being accomplished, but the specific deadline had to be negotiated.

It might qualify for stalled right now, given the ongoing uncertainty in forming a new leadership coalition and the delay that it's putting on the overall withdrawal.

Yes, I didn't realize there were two different scales.

Apparently there is an Obameter scale just for Barack Obama's campaign promises and a Truth-O-Meter for the world at large.

However, explicitly stating a specific date
(particularly a blatantly unrealistic date) and not meeting it (nor even being close) is the definition of a broken promise.

[ July 14, 2010, 03:33 PM: Message edited by: JWatts ]
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
Obama can show up on the Truth-O-Meter as well- it's just a different metric because it's evaluating a completely different kind of statement.
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
The promise was to withdraw the troops, doing so but having to negotiate on the deadline is the definition of a compromise.
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
The promise was to withdraw the troops, doing so but having to negotiate on the deadline is the definition of a compromise.

Negotiate with who?
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
The promise was to withdraw the troops, doing so but having to negotiate on the deadline is the definition of a compromise.

Negotiate with who?
Military Commanders. The Iraqi Government. The General Public. Physical Reality.

[ July 14, 2010, 04:43 PM: Message edited by: Pyrtolin ]
 
Posted by Al Wessex (Member # 6541) on :
 
==>"On another note, Cindy Sheehan takes so-called peace party Democrats to task for perpetuating the fraud:"

The war in Afghanistan, now 8 years old, is not winnable if it is waged against the Taliban. The limited mission that Obama laid out was to capture/kill bin Laden. The war in Iraq is still ongoing, but thankfully, we are not nearly as engaged in sustaining it as we once were. Iraq is and forever will be Bush's legacy. Afghanistan will become Obama's legacy if he doesn't focus on the original mission and bring it to a conclusion. It looks like he is losing that focus.
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
The promise was to withdraw the troops, doing so but having to negotiate on the deadline is the definition of a compromise.

Negotiate with who?
Military Commanders. The Iraqi Government. The General Public. Physical Reality.
So Barack Obama compromised with Reality.

Back to my original premise. Barack Obama made a completely unrealistic time line for withdrawing troops from Iraq, that no rational person found plausible, but when it's proven untenable, the promise is considered a Compromise. [Eek!]
 
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
 
JWatts, would you admit the same to "read my lips no new taxes"
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
JWatts, would you admit the same to "read my lips no new taxes"

Would I admit that "read my lips no new taxes" was a broken promise? Absolutely. And Bush was fired over that broken promise.
 
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
 
Bush was beaten by one of the most skilled campaigners of the 20th century.
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
quote:
"Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end."

While that will effectively end the combat mission, Obama said, he plans to keep 35,000 to 50,000 military personnel in Iraq through 2011 for the purpose of "training, equipping, and advising Iraqi Security Forces as long as they remain nonsectarian; conducting targeted counterterrorism missions; and protecting our ongoing civilian and military efforts within Iraq."

And the Administration is on target to get to the 50,000 military personnel by September 1st.
 
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
 
conducting targeted counterterrorism missions =/= combat?

protecting our ongoing civilian and military efforts within Iraq =/= combat?
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
He said in advance what he planned to do and he is on track to do what he said, by the time he said he would do it.

And it's a really difficult thing to achieve, something that most of us would have said was extremely unlikely as of February 2009.

So how does this represent a gross breach of promise?
 
Posted by cherrypoptart (Member # 3942) on :
 
May as well add this to the list of Obama disappointments:

Obama Administration Approves First Direct Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Through New High-Risk Insurance Pools

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/69384

> (CNSNews.com) - If you want proof that President Obama's Executive Order on taxpayer-funded abortion was a sham, look no further than Pennsylvania, says House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio).

> Boehner and other Republicans point to reports that the Health and Human Services Department is giving Pennsylvania $160 million to set up a new high-risk insurance pool that will cover any abortion that is legal in the state.

> "The fact that the high-risk pool insurance program in Pennsylvania will use federal taxpayer dollars to fund abortions is unconscionable," Boehner said in a statement on Tuesday.

-------------------------------------------

Can you have disappointment without surprise?
 
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
He said in advance what he planned to do and he is on track to do what he said, by the time he said he would do it.

And it's a really difficult thing to achieve, something that most of us would have said was extremely unlikely as of February 2009.

So how does this represent a gross breach of promise?

He said that before? If so, no broken promises, just clever campaign use of small print. Otherwise where do all the dissapointed lefties come from?
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
If I didn't make it clear, all I did was read the 4 paragraphs in JWatts source above and the specific quote from Feb 2009 indicating that Obama is being consistent with what he said at that time was there.

I must admit, I do find it mildly puzzling that the attacks are not even addressing the specific information that refutes them. I just keep pointing something out, and then about ten posts later someone goes back to the original claim (expressed as a certainty, which for some reason bothers me more) and then I put in the refuting information all over again. Repeat cycle.

Something odd is going on here.
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cherrypoptart:
May as well add this to the list of Obama disappointments:

Obama Administration Approves First Direct Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Through New High-Risk Insurance Pools

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/69384

> (CNSNews.com) - If you want proof that President Obama's Executive Order on taxpayer-funded abortion was a sham, look no further than Pennsylvania, says House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio).

> Boehner and other Republicans point to reports that the Health and Human Services Department is giving Pennsylvania $160 million to set up a new high-risk insurance pool that will cover any abortion that is legal in the state.

> "The fact that the high-risk pool insurance program in Pennsylvania will use federal taxpayer dollars to fund abortions is unconscionable," Boehner said in a statement on Tuesday.

-------------------------------------------

Can you have disappointment without surprise?

Except that that's completely inaccurate. The PA rules explicitly exclude elective abortions. And even aside from that, this claim fails on the implicit suggestion that there won't be private money in the form of premiums paid by the people subscribing to the plans to use to fund abortions when they are necessary.

http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2010/07/14/hrp-abortion-2/

[ July 15, 2010, 03:06 AM: Message edited by: Pyrtolin ]
 
Posted by Al Wessex (Member # 6541) on :
 
==>"Something odd is going on here. "

To a committed Con those are twisted words, not facts. What's a fact is that it sucks to have a Democrat running the country.
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
I find those approving/applauding all the Wall St. collusion to be quite irritating. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad - and dangerous for our collective future.

How can you justify any of this as "good for the country"?

Webster Tarpley on the Dem's sellout*: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZObHXWbWlk&feature=player_embedded

In the first 2 minutes he rattles off all the good ideas that were deleted/shot down.

*I only wish he didn't only take the Dems to task; it's all a game and virtually none are working for us. He did point out there appears to be only 1 senator working for the people – Sen Feingold.

[ July 15, 2010, 12:53 PM: Message edited by: Colin JM0397 ]
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
Colin, you can count votes in the Senate, can't you? The same Republicans who fought tooth and nail against a cap on compensation for the Wall Street types when they were getting bailed out are those who are fighting even these reforms. And in our system, the swing votes (used to be those needed to get to 50, but with the current unprecedented use of the filibuster, it's now those around 60) work to weaken the impact of legislation.

But it's good to know that you are still in favor unregulated derivatives
 
Posted by Daruma28 (Member # 1388) on :
 
I get tired of conspiracy theories regarding government. Don't hold much truck with them. Even if I decide to stipulate that such a conspiracy exists, so what?

Oh, me too fly. I'm tired of pointing out the vast wasteland of corruption that embodies the entire institution of the Government - Corporate - Media behemoth...and people simply ignore it as "conspiracy theory."

It 'aint a theory. It's right out there in the open.

Greg - What can I say...you see what you want to see, and your view of Obama is certainly through rose-tinted glasses.

To even think that Obama has suffered the same sort of media/cultural "persecution" that either Dubya or Clinton endured is utterly laughable.
 
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
 
Clinton suffered a very different sort of media/cultural persecution than the type generally shared by Dubya and Obama. But there were more kooks saying that W was illigitimate than there have been on Obama, and for less reason.
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
Greg, where, exactly, did you hear/see/read me say anything about unregulated derivatives?
You didn't, so bite me.

As D points out, you only see what you want to see, and make up things you want to hear.

I take you to task for your support of the (left side of) the machine, so you seem to think I support the jackmonkey right side of the machine. I do not.

It's obvious that you can't wrap your mind around the fact that some folks don't support any of them. They are all jackmonkeys, and they are all selling us out, period.

As a frighteningly few of us keep pointing out, the back'n forth in the House and Senate is nothing more than Kabuki theater. If the seats were reversed, we'd see the same damn bill with 60 Repubs for and 40 Dems against.

-They killed the effort to really audit the fed.
-They refuse to resurrect any of the post-1920’s crash reforms and regulations that served us so well until they were stripped.
-They refuse to end “too big to fail”
-They refuse to hold the banks or the Fed accountable – instead they are giving them more power.
-They refuse to ban or regulate naked short selling.
-And, above all, they refuse to listen to the people and what we demand. (TARP approved when 95%+ of the people were against it, for example).
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
He said in advance what he planned to do and he is on track to do what he said, by the time he said he would do it.

And it's a really difficult thing to achieve, something that most of us would have said was extremely unlikely as of February 2009.

So how does this represent a gross breach of promise?

[Roll Eyes] Don't be ridiculous. He campaigned on being out of Iraq within 16 months. After getting elected he modified his statements to reflect reality.

You don't get to modify your statements after the election and count it as keeping your campaign promise. [Mad]

To be clear, I posted the second Obama comments as proof he was self-admittedly breaking his previous campaign promises. If a politician is allowed to modify his campaign promises after the fact then they weren't promises. Instead they were just propaganda to the faithful.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
quote:
But there were more kooks saying that W was illigitimate than there have been on Obama, and for less reason.
I wouldn't say there's less reason, necessarily. I do think they're both just manifestations of the grief process.
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
It's all in the semantics, and his supporters are ridiculously forgiving (ditto for GWB's "victory" BS).

Same thing happened in the 90's with Clinton. He promised to end the Bosnia mission after 1 year, so in late 1996 we simply ended one operational name and substituted another...
I remember it quite well - we had to replace the big IFOR on all our vehicles with SFOR. The big joke was next we would go with WHATFOR.

10 more years in Iraq and Afghanistan - but not to worry, they are “pulling out the combat brigades”:
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/07/10/gen-casey-america-may-be-in-iraq-and-afghanistan-for-another-decade/?fbid=Ufca2_GVaSb
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
My apologies to Greg.
However, you - and many others here - need to please try and understand that some of us are not into the partisan politics. Just because I take the Dems to task (because they appear to be in control right now), does not mean I therefore support anything the Repubs do or don’t do.

I am not asking anyone to even agree with or support anything I say; I'm merely asking the partisan folks to try and open your minds a little bit and look at things from a different place. To me, you all look very much the same.

I am disgusted and frustrated that we are all in this together, that I see a clear adversary/adversaries out there, and it IS NOT my fellow people who are in the same situation I am.

For those that know the movie Pulp Fiction, the scene where Marsalis and Bruce Wills' character are tied up and gagged by the hillbilly weirdoes - that's us. We're tied up together, yet many of you insist on attacking the guy tied up next to you instead of those who tied you up.

Beware the hillbilly rapists who fancy themselves in control of this situation.

As George Carlin said "it's a small club, and you ain't in it".
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Colin JM0397:
Greg, where, exactly, did you hear/see/read me say anything about unregulated derivatives?
You didn't, so bite me.

As D points out, you only see what you want to see, and make up things you want to hear.

I take you to task for your support of the (left side of) the machine, so you seem to think I support the jackmonkey right side of the machine. I do not.

It's obvious that you can't wrap your mind around the fact that some folks don't support any of them. They are all jackmonkeys, and they are all selling us out, period.

As a frighteningly few of us keep pointing out, the back'n forth in the House and Senate is nothing more than Kabuki theater. If the seats were reversed, we'd see the same damn bill with 60 Repubs for and 40 Dems against.

-They killed the effort to really audit the fed.
-They refuse to resurrect any of the post-1920’s crash reforms and regulations that served us so well until they were stripped.
-They refuse to end “too big to fail”
-They refuse to hold the banks or the Fed accountable – instead they are giving them more power.
-They refuse to ban or regulate naked short selling.
-And, above all, they refuse to listen to the people and what we demand. (TARP approved when 95%+ of the people were against it, for example).

I don't know how much "refuse" plays in there. I agree on the final outcome, but most of the things you list were put forward, but failed because they only got a bit more than half of the votes.

As far as the last one- doing what the majority want at any given time, that's not what they're there for, and specifically part why they have terms in office rather than being subject to instant replacement. That's a fundamental part of how a representative republic should work, judge based on the overall results- not how well they map to short term popularity.
 
Posted by Al Wessex (Member # 6541) on :
 
Some of us you label as partisan are also trying to beat down what appear to be slanted opinions. I'm frustrated by Obama, but I think he's trying to solve some incredibly difficult and even intractable problems. For instance, saying he's merely breaking a campaign promise by reacting to changing circumstances is one such slanted way to characterize the situation.

The biggest difference between those trying to defend and clarify his positions vs those whose bad opinions of him are being confirmed is that his failings are still in trying to solve those very difficult problems. I don't know who could be succeeding better, and I haven't heard many counter-suggestions that weren't essentially oppositional in nature.

FWIW, I'm not a Democrat, either. I *am* a liberal (or progressive in today's acceptable jargon), and I will support policies from any candidate that I agree with. It's rare that a Libertarian or Republican says anything these days that I would support.
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
Py, and why do you think those motions failed?
[DOH]
That is the whole point - as I said Kubuki theater.

From Ron Paul this week: http://news.goldseek.com/RonPaul/1278522806.php
quote:
Last week I was pleased to see my Republican colleagues take up the cause to fully and completely audit the Federal Reserve by including my language from the Federal Reserve Transparency Act in a Motion to Recommit the financial regulation reform bill. Although this effort was defeated by the Democrat majority, there were many good reasons to support it.

The Federal Reserve Transparency Act would eliminate restrictions on GAO audits of the Federal Reserve and open Fed operations to Congressional oversight. Additionally, audits could include discount window operations, open market operations, and agreements with foreign central banks, such as the ongoing dollar swap operations with European central banks...

...The broader reasons for supporting this entire financial regulatory reform bill are just as sinister. This is not about cracking down on big banks as some claim. Rather, this is about not wasting a crisis. This is about using a traumatic event to increase government power and control over the economy. If it was really about addressing the causes of this recession, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would have been dealt with, or abolished. Failed companies would just fail, rather than being bailed out. Instead, a permanent bailout mechanism is being established. The Fed, and its ability to control interest rates and create cheap money, would be reformed or better yet, abolished. But instead its power is being increased and this Congress refuses to even fully audit it!

So yet again in the midst of a crisis, government insists on acting, and in ways far outside the scope of the Constitution, hoping that the crisis gives them cover. The truth is that in crises is when we need Constitutional limitations the most.


 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Colin JM0397:
Py, and why do you think those motions failed?

Are you suggesting that they would have failed if a simple majority would have been enough to pass them; that at least 10% of the votes that those measures got wouldn't have been there if procedural measures weren't used to block them? And even that they were offered in bad faith b Kaufmann, Cantwell, Sanders, Feingold, etc...

I'll fully agree that the measure that was passed, while it has some good qualities, is tepid, at beast, and doesn't nearly do enough to address the issue. But unless the basic procedural issues are addressed, it's impossible to say just how much of that is due to disingenuity and how much was because the system is flat out broken.

The measures were offered. They even got most of the vote- it certainly wasn't for a lack of trying that they didn't make the final version.
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Al Wessex:
Some of us you label as partisan are also trying to beat down what appear to be slanted opinions. I'm frustrated by Obama, but I think he's trying to solve some incredibly difficult and even intractable problems. For instance, saying he's merely breaking a campaign promise by reacting to changing circumstances is one such slanted way to characterize the situation.

Sugar coating the side you support, when they screw up is the definition of partisanship.

I have no problem with a President amending a campaign promise when changing circumstances make that a logical choice. I have a huge problem when the original campaign promise was completely unrealistic, designed to buy votes and then discarded as soon as the election is finished.

This is true in both the "Read my lips, no new taxes" and the "Troops out of Iraq in 16 months" pledges.

There was no significant change in circumstances in either case. The promises were just disingenuous bull**** fed to the faithful.
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
If you enter a situation knowing that you're going to have to negotiate and give up ground, then starting from a realistic end point only means that you'll be pulled past it more easily in the process.

Even if 16 months probably wasn't going to be achievable, starting from there and accepting a 25% slip comes out to a better timeline than starting from 20 months and accepting a similar 25% slip.

More importantly, you seem to be trying to make the timeline itself the essential part of the promise, rather than the fundamental goal of "I'll get the troops out of Iraq".
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
More importantly, you seem to be trying to make the timeline itself the essential part of the promise, rather than the fundamental goal of "I'll get the troops out of Iraq".

Yes, words matter.
 
Posted by Al Wessex (Member # 6541) on :
 
You have the right to choose which words matter to you. If utter chaos had broken out in Iraq in the meantime, would you still have accused Obama of breaking a promise? How about if the Empire State Building was blown up and AQ in Iraq took credit. If we then went after them with a vengeance, would that still be a broken promise?

How about if they just pledged to hold national elections early this year, but the outcome left the country with no new government and terrorists saw that as an opportunity to destabilize the country again?
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Al Wessex:
You have the right to choose which words matter to you. If utter chaos had broken out in Iraq in the meantime, would you still have accused Obama of breaking a promise?

[DOH]

Would it trouble you terribly to actually read my post before asking your questions?

My previous comment:
quote:
I have no problem with a President amending a campaign promise when changing circumstances make that a logical choice. I have a huge problem when the original campaign promise was completely unrealistic, designed to buy votes and then discarded as soon as the election is finished.

 
Posted by Al Wessex (Member # 6541) on :
 
So, my question is rhetorical. I don't think the campaign "promise" was disingenuous, circumstances have changed: They held national elections early this year, but the outcome left the country with no new government and terrorists saw that as an opportunity to destabilize the country again.
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Al Wessex:
So, my question is rhetorical. I don't think the campaign "promise" was disingenuous, circumstances have changed: They held national elections early this year, but the outcome left the country with no new government and terrorists saw that as an opportunity to destabilize the country again

Perhaps circumstances have changed this year, but President Obama modified his campaign promise in February of 2009.

Once he was in office he immediately discarded the fiction that was the original pledge. It was never a realistic promise in the first place and McCain said so at the time.

However, it was a very useful promise to buy the votes of the Peace crowd who were sucked in by the whole "Hope and Change" rhetoric. Once the election was done he could and immediately did dispense with pretense.

He also dropped the pretense that closing Guantanamo within 90 days was realistic, that he could double the size of the Peace Corp, that he would double funding for after school programs, that he would support a manned mission to the moon, reduce earmarks to 1994 levels, Negotiate health care reform in public sessions televised on C-SPAN, etc.

He made a lot of promises that no rational person believed could be met.
 
Posted by Al Wessex (Member # 6541) on :
 
I guess I'm not entirely rational, but I liked the direction he was pointing. If I ask myself even with the disappointments that have happened if I would have been happier with McCain, the answer is still a very strong No.
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
I will acknowledge that 16 months deadline for Iraq from the moment of the Oath of Office is an aspect of the promise that literally will not be fulfilled. Obama never said that every single American military service member would be gone from Iraq, so that's a rather tough and arbitrary standard to hold him to. If Obama gets down to 50,000 military personnel (remember, those include logistics etc. not just soldiers) in 18 months rather than 16 months, and they are not going on combat missions, that's pretty good progress by my standards.

I think I would judge a President by the same set of standards. For example:

quote:
"There are 43 million uninsured Americans – 4 million more than when the current administration took office. George W. Bush will reverse this trend by making health insurance affordable for hard-working, low-income families." [Source: Bush-Cheney 2000 website]
If the Bush Administration had instituted policies that addressed health insurance affordability even if it had only slowed down the growth in health care costs, I would have given partial credit.

quote:
[B]y far the vast majority of my tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum." [Source: George W. Bush, 2/15/00]

"Governor Bush's income tax cuts will benefit all Americans, but they are especially focused on low and moderate income families."

[Source: Bush-Cheney 2000 – Taxes website]

If the cuts had even slightly tilted towards lower and moderate income families, I would have given credit. Instead, the top 20 percent of earners received 70 percent of President Bush's tax cuts.

quote:
"As President, Governor Bush will pay the debt down to a historically low level."

[Source: Bush-Cheney 2000 website]

$1 less than what inherited would have gotten at least an absence of complaint on this account
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
How many of us on this site support a political party and are willing to accept responsibility for the effects that our votes have on eventually outcomes?

It is a very comfortable debating position to say that no side represents you, and that your unique positions (if ever they were implemented) would bring unique peace and prosperity to the world. But the reality is that politics is not about Gandalf or Ender solving all of our problems, it is about men and women making decisions under considerable uncertainty. Motives are not always pure; usually they are complex, involving both a sense of what politicians think is right, a sense of what is tactically feasible, differing beliefs as to how the world works, and even personal feelings towards other major actors. Democracy was designed to respect the fallibility of any individual, and our democracy in particular provides checks and balances that results in messy, incremental legislative solutions that reflect the will of many different men and women.

Right now Obama is grappling with major problems this country faces with more intelligence, decency, and collaboration than did Bush II, Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, or Carter. He is not perfect, but he's the best I've seen in my adult life. He is limited by a Republican Congress who have behaved absolutely disingenuously (it's right out of Orwell's 1984 to assert that the stimulus did not create any jobs - the only way you can get to such a conclusion is by asserting that those words don't mean what they used to mean before it became politically convenient to twist them).

I am proud to support Obama - not because of who he is, but because of what he has done and what he continues to do. It's easier to criticize my position as blind loyalty than it is to criticize someone who stays within the safe confines of a cynicism that decries the world is ending. It is the easy way out to always be a cynic - you can never have your hopes disappointed if you always assume everything is done with ill intent. Ultimately, the truth of the matter is not based on the ease of criticism but rather on its accuracy.

SO let's get on with that debate
 
Posted by Al Wessex (Member # 6541) on :
 
I confess I'm surprised nobody followed up on an earlier post of mine or picked up the challenge I made.
quote:
...
That means that available health care *must* decline in the coming years. Fewer hospitals serving patients with less ability to pay for treatment. Fewer people with health insurance, and more people with more expensive health insurance premiums for which they are provided fewer services.

The marketplace won't address this, since the only business commercial enterprises are in is the production of profit. The government has to step in or death panels which already exist at the insurance and hospital level will exist at the family level as well.

So we have a set of contradictory forces that will not converge or resolve themselves in the marketplace if left alone. How do *you* resolve this if not through some sort of government intervention? Or do you let the "marketplace decide"?


 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
Let me again volunteer my observation that I am damn proud of having Feingold as my senator.
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
Can we clone him? Maybe a love child with he and Ron Paul for our representative clone army?

------------
Greg says: "He is limited by a Republican Congress"
Funny, last time I checked there is a Democrat majority in both houses.

Otherwise, that was the most rational (hence irrational) well-thought out opinion on why one should support the current left/right paradigm that I've heard in a long time.

Yet we've ceased to be a representative republic in anything but name for quite a while now. I completely reject the assertion that one must "pick your poison" with the Republicans or Democrats. That's faulty thinking at its worse because it is so rational and well-thought sounding. I don’t throw the term “corptocracy” and “fascist system” around very lightly, and that’s what I see from my POV.

And we're not sitting on the sidelines and sniping from our holier-than-thou positions. There is a tide of anger and activism that, finally, is threatening the machine.

Go find Z. Brzezinski’s recent comments to his boys at the CFR on that issue. There is an awakening going on, and many of us are quite groggy and po'ed after our long slumbers.

[ July 17, 2010, 02:24 PM: Message edited by: Colin JM0397 ]
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
quote:
Greg says: "He is limited by a Republican Congress"
Funny, last time I checked there is a Democrat majority in both houses.

That is how the system is supposed to work, but the Senate has a rule that allows a minority of 40% to prevent almost any action. From Jan-Apr 2009 the Democrats had 56 Senators and two independents (Sen. Franken was not in office due to Republican delaying tactics, and Spector became a Democrat at the end of April). From Jul-Dec 2009 they had 58+2 (with a one month gap from late August to late September when Sen. Kirk was named as Sen. Kennedy's interim replacement was named). Then in January, Sen. Brown was elected and the Democrats went back to 57+2.

It is arguable that the Democrats did not make good use of the 5 months that they had 58+2 votes; in those months they were battling with renegade Democrats (and one independent, Lieberman) who all considered themselves "the 60th vote" and so were trying to extract personal gain for themselves and their constituents out of their potential control of legislation.

Even though the Democrats won significant majorities in both chambers, due to the nature of the Senate, their legislative control has been on the razor's edge, which is why I have been relatively impressed with their legislative accomplishments, and why I am not at all surprised that those pieces of legislation reflect the degree of compromise and incrementalism that they do.
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
quote:
And we're not sitting on the sidelines and sniping from our holier-than-thou positions. There is a tide of anger and activism that, finally, is threatening the machine.
Anger is an important motivating force, and it can be quite justified under certain circumstances. However, when unleashing anger it is very important to target that rage appropriately. Much of the strategy of professional politics is channeling anger not on the root cause of the relevant problems, but on targets that are politically expedient to scapegoat.

I am very suspicious of anger against "the machine" or "the government" because that view of the world is just not realistic. "The government" includes a very wide range of people, some of them financially corrupt, some of them blinded by their profession, some of them immersed in professional cultures that are harmful to the majority of the American people. But "the government" also includes men and women who are brilliant, courageous, and dedicated, and they help serve, protect and make this country a better place. The same goes for people in corporations, there's some good and some bad in any large group of people. Where there are systematic flaws that produce certain types of outcomes, then fundamental changes can be necessary, but we better have a pretty good idea of the root cause of problems before we implement fixes. Otherwise, we are at risk of producing iatrogenous* outcomes

* one of my favorite words - they actually taught us this in grad school in public policy - iatrogenous refers to disease caused by a doctor in the treatment of another ailment.
 
Posted by flydye (Member # 6554) on :
 
Confidence:

quote:
But one unfortunate pattern that has emerged in the last 18 months is to lay all the blame for our difficulties only on the business community and the financial world. This quite ignores the role of Congress in many areas, but most glaringly in forcing Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration to back loans to people who could not afford them. And not to mention the role of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which in 2004 sanctioned higher levels of leverage for financial firms, from 12 times equity to over 30 times equity.

This predilection to blame business is manifest in the unnecessary and provocative anti-business sentiment revealed by President Obama in a recent speech that was supposed to be seeking the support of the business community for a doubling of exports over the next five years. "In the absence of sound oversight," he said, "responsible businesses are forced to compete against unscrupulous and underhanded businesses, who are unencumbered by any restrictions on activities that might harm the environment, or take advantage of middle-class families, or threaten to bring down the entire financial system." This kind of gratuitous and overstated demonization of business is exactly the wrong approach. It ignores the disappointment of a stimulus program that was ill-designed to produce the jobs the president promised—that famous 8 percent unemployment ceiling.

But it's not just the rhetoric that undermines the confidence the business community needs to find if it is to invest. Consider the new generation of regulatory rules, increased bureaucracy, and higher taxes created by the Obama administration. For example, the new financial regulation bill includes nearly 500 "rule-makings," studies, and reports, compared with just 14 in total for the controversial Sarbanes-Oxley bill, passed after the financial scandals of Enron and WorldCom. The disillusionment has spread to the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), which represents small businesses that normally account for roughly 60 percent of job creation.

The chief economist of the NFIB, William Dunkelberg, put it clearly: Small business owners "do not trust the economic policies in place or proposed." He also said, "The U.S. economy faces hurricane force headwinds and the government is at the center of the storm, making an economic recovery very difficult."


I guess I'm just making s*** up. This has less to do with Zuckerman's Saul of Tarsus moment then the opinions of the three business groups whom all have publically come after Obama's policies. Are ALL of the Republicans?

web page
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
Zuckerman's article seems to be early 20th century jingoism updated by a century, but no more accurate than it was 100 years ago.

The truth is that we tried moving the country in the direction advocated by anti-regulation free marketeers, and the net results were disastrous. Because many of the loudest voices speaking for the free market philosophy are incapable of taking responsibility for the economic harm caused by their flawed theories, we keep getting these weak attempts to somehow wish and dream that the economic collapse of 2008 was all the fault of Congress or government agencies. The problem with a faith-based system of belief is that any contrary facts have to be attributed to the pre-defined villains regardless of what really occurred.

I will give "partial" credit for candor to self-proclaimed "lifetime libertarian Republican" Alan Greenspan for his testimony to Congress on October 23, 2008
quote:
Greenspan acknowledged that he was "partially" wrong in opposing regulation and stated "Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholder's equity — myself especially — are in a state of shocked disbelief."[37] Referring to his free-market ideology, Greenspan said: “I have found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I have been very distressed by that fact.” Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) then pressed him to clarify his words. “In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working,” Waxman said. “Absolutely, precisely,” Greenspan replied. “You know, that’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.”[65] Greenspan admitted fault[66] in opposing regulation of derivatives and acknowledged that financial institutions didn't protect shareholders and investments as well as he expected.
Once upon a time, Greenspan was the nation's foremost voice for free-market economics, but pf course since he has admitted that his theories are flawed, I am sure that the true-believers will now pay zero attention to his words and instead cling fervently to their original faith.
 
Posted by flydye (Member # 6554) on :
 
How you can characterize the regulations and incentives forced by Dems and Republicans in this current mess as 'free market' is mindboggling to me. There are three references that you neglect to address at all in the article. Fannie, Freddie, SEC. All had more then their share of blame. Was that 'free market'?

There is a Conservative propensity to equate all regulation as bad. As you have shown, there is another side of the coin...
 
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
 
http://www.newsweek.com/2010/07/18/we-re-not-winning-it-s-not-worth-it.html

quote:
The first thing we need to recognize is that fighting this kind of war is in fact a choice, not a necessity. The United States went to war in October 2001 to oust the Taliban government, which had allowed Al Qaeda to operate freely out of Afghanistan and mount the 9/11 attacks. The Taliban were routed; members of Al Qaeda were captured or killed, or escaped to Pakistan. But that was a very different war, a necessary one carried out in self-defense. It was essential that Afghanistan not continue to be a sanctuary for terrorists who could again attack the American homeland or U.S. interests around the world.

 
Posted by kenmeer livermaile (Member # 2243) on :
 
If... if invading Afghanistan in '01 was necessary. Saying it was don't make it so.
 
Posted by kenmeer livermaile (Member # 2243) on :
 
Greenspan, in those remarks, didn't say "free market", did he? He cited "self interest". Not that "free makett" means anything. Markets, by nature, are regulated. read the history of markets. They have to be regulated. Only when they become immense and virtual can we think of them in abstract ideal terms while ignoring what history has shown time and again.
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
Greenspan did not say "free market". The slippery part is trying accountability out of those who believe in the anti-government, anti-regulation, "market forces invariably produce the most efficient solution" economy theory. So that is short hand. But the point he was making is that all of these conservative economic theories have as a fundamental premise that the entire market-place cannot make irrational choices.
 
Posted by flydye (Member # 6554) on :
 
Crap. Markets make mistakes and irrational choices all the time. It is that there is a correcting mechanism. After hitting one's hand so many times with a hammer, you stop.

However, as Freddie and Fannie have shown us, that is NOT the true of regulation. They can double down on their old mistakes, returning like a dog to his vomit.
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
I believe that you attribute excessive causality to Freddie and Fannie because by labeling them as the primary culprits you can maintain your faith in the market economy. Trading in financially fraudulent derivatives was a far greater cause.
 
Posted by Al Wessex (Member # 6541) on :
 
==>"If... if invading Afghanistan in '01 was necessary. Saying it was don't make it so."

We responded to a horrific crime with a full-blown war rather than a concerted and focused police action. We basically penalized an entire nation for the actions of a few who were protected (but not abetted) by their repressive religio-fascist government. It would be like Germany invading the US because a skinhead in Idaho slipped across to Europe and blew up the Reichstag Building in Berlin (the equivalent of our Capitol Building).
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
"...direction advocated by anti-regulation free marketeers"

I do tire of this refrain. When enough people repeat it, it starts to sound true, doesn't it.
[Roll Eyes]

Excessive laws, loopholes, and so-called "regulations" that benefit a few at the cost of the many IS NOT a free market. It's corporate cronyism, fraud, and an unnatural conglomeration that ends up tanking the markets.

I don't know what a real free market looks like because we don't have one! This is not to say the free market is the/an answer (as the knee-jerk hyperbolists try to attack anytime anyone points this out). However, statists and control freaks continue to repeat this BS refrain as an excuse to clamp down further. More cronyism, more so-called regulations, and more collusion mean us regular folks keep getting screwed. As that monstrosity passed last week will show, more of the same gets us more of the same.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss… but worse.

If the government would do it's job and quit winking at all these monopolistic entities while taking their money and benefits, then we might actually get somewhere. In other words, regulate the GD industry as it is supposed to!

Too big to fail????!!!!
Holy sh!t, that's why we used to have laws against monopolies!

[ July 19, 2010, 08:58 AM: Message edited by: Colin JM0397 ]
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Much of the strategy of professional politics is channeling anger not on the root cause of the relevant problems, but on targets that are politically expedient to scapegoat.

For example, Obama demonizing the health insurers when the root cause of health care problems is a system that is too expensive. But demonizing the Doctors, hospitals and health care workers would have been political suicide, so a scape goat was chosen.
 
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
 
And you think that health insurers aren't a major cause of the increasing costs?
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
And you think that health insurers aren't a major cause of the increasing costs?

Not directly, no. Insurance companies pay the bills, add a surcharge and pass the cost to the customer. They don't have any significant responsibility for the 5-10% average annual increases.
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
And you think that health insurers aren't a major cause of the increasing costs?

Not directly, no. Insurance companies pay the bills, add a surcharge and pass the cost to the customer. They don't have any significant responsibility for the 5-10% average annual increases.
If not the insurance companies, who else has the leverage to negotiate against those price increases? If the surcharges that the insurance companies are adding on amount to 15-25% of their revenue, and they're working actively to find ways to avoid paying for services to boost that profit margin, then they're not only doing their duty to their customers in pushing back against the problem, but they're actively selling their customers out in favor of profits and returns to their investors.

Are providers charging too much? Sure. But by basic market principles, that's because their biggest direct consumers- the insurance companies- aren't pushing back against them to keep rates down, but instead using the escalating prices to drive their own profits, since their customers don't have the leverage to push back against them in turn.
 
Posted by Al Wessex (Member # 6541) on :
 
Like any business, insurance companies are most importantly dependent on what their customers are willing to pay. So as long as companies with insurance benefits are willing to pay the increases in premiums, the insurers will pass along "necessary" provider cost increases to them without protest.

The cycle extends to medical care consumers, and ultimately we decide how much we're willing to pay. Since we pressure the insurers about our insurance premium costs and not our doctors about what they agree to be paid by the insurers, the insurers can deal with our anger either by pushing back against the providers or by providing fewer services for the amount of money they charge. Guess who loses.

They have been taking the path of least resistance all along with HMO's that limit patient access to providers, and now are coming up with "custom" and creative "insurance plans" that give you less for as much more as you're willing to tolerate. Their greatest asset is our certain consumer knowledge that insurance premiums will go up year after year. They depend on our lack of real understanding of what we get for what we pay.
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
The Obama Deception - 2 hrs. I triple-dog dare you to watch it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAaQNACwaLw
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
And you think that health insurers aren't a major cause of the increasing costs?

Not directly, no. Insurance companies pay the bills, add a surcharge and pass the cost to the customer. They don't have any significant responsibility for the 5-10% average annual increases.
If not the insurance companies, who else has the leverage to negotiate against those price increases?
So you don't dispute the premise, but you insist that insurance companies should be held responsible for lowering costs.

What should their approach be:
1) Rationing care
2) Refusing to pay hospitals, doctors and health care workers as much
3) Other

I'm not opposed to any approach as long as it's rational and across the board. No favoring special groups.

And yes insurers are worried about making a profit, so is the government (it's profit (votes) is just measured a different way). So passing this over to the Federal government doesn't change the underlying cost issue. Tax payers aren't going to pay for unlimited care from the government to any greater degree than they did from private insurance agencies.

Demonizing the insurance companies remains a cheap, rhetorical trick.
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Colin JM0397:
The Obama Deception - 2 hrs. I triple-dog dare you to watch it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAaQNACwaLw

quote:
The Obama phenomenon is a hoax carefully crafted by the captains of the New World Order. He is being pushed as savior in an attempt to con the American people into accepting global slavery.
Captains?? I want to hear what the Generals are crafting. And didn't Steve Jackson Games trademark that phrase "New World Order". [Razz]


Link
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
What should their approach be:
1) Rationing care

This is what they currently do, but they do it to maximize investor benefit rather than customer benefit because they can screw their customers with impunity.

quote:
2) Refusing to pay hospitals, doctors and health care workers as much
This is a big one- they should be actively using their buying power to negotiate reasonable prices rather than blithely passing costs along. Their active goal should be to ensure that all of their customers needs are met at the lowest cost possible, and their profits should come from what's left after that is done.

It's worth looking at what Maryland did here- it, as a state, took over this responsibility because the healthcare companies weren't doing it, and set a rate system for services ( including Medicaid/Medicare) that accounts for type and location of hospital as well as other similar considerations, and the result was not just stopping the escalation of costs, but solid profitability for the hospitals and care providers as well.

quote:
And yes insurers are worried about making a profit,
Making a profit isn't a problem in and of itself. The problem is treating profit as the overriding goal, instead of as the natural result of putting priorities on customers and products (and employees, but that's not germane to the context). Instead they choose to focus on short term profits at the expense of those, because they have rigged the system and taken advantage of mortal need such that their customers can't walk away, even if they realize that they're being scammed.
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
And- to add- yes, government profit can be seen as votes, but those votes are also its customers, investors, and employees all wrapped up into one, so it's down to just gaining votes based on the apparent quality of its product, which is about how it should be, as long as it's kept honest on that count.
 
Posted by LetterRip (Member # 310) on :
 
Rather than watching the film, here is the summary version

http://www.cynicsunlimited.com/2009/03/17/movie-review-the-obama-deception/

Sounds like a reasonably objective summary.
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
What should their approach be:
1) Rationing care

This is what they currently do, but they do it to maximize investor benefit rather than customer benefit because they can screw their customers with impunity.

A) The industries profits aren't that high (US avg = 6.2%), so clearly they aren't making excessive profits. Link

B) No they can't screw their customers with impunity, because customers can and do switch health insurers when they are mistreated. Usually on a company basis (I do support health portability requirements).

And somehow allowing the government to take over is going to increase customer service? I doubt it. When the government takes over an industry you can't choose someone else.

quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
2) Refusing to pay hospitals, doctors and health care workers as much
This is a big one- they should be actively using their buying power to negotiate reasonable prices rather than blithely passing costs along. Their active goal should be to ensure that all of their customers needs are met at the lowest cost possible, and their profits should come from what's left after that is done.

Again their current profits are 6.2% per year.

quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
It's worth looking at what Maryland did here- it, as a state, took over this responsibility because the healthcare companies weren't doing it, and set a rate system for services ( including Medicaid/Medicare) that accounts for type and location of hospital as well as other similar considerations, and the result was not just stopping the escalation of costs, but solid profitability for the hospitals and care providers as well.

I don't have a problem with state negotiating across the board rates. That's working to fix the root cause, not trying to imagine that we can save the system by demonizing health insurance companies. If individual insurers try to fix the rates and ration care they would be excoriated, but the government can get away with it much easier.
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
A) The industries profits aren't that high (US avg = 6.2%), so clearly they aren't making excessive profits.



That's ROI, not net profit (revenue-expenses). Citing that stat at all as a measure of the company's profit margin is trying to pretend that their investors are their primary customers.

quote:
B) No they can't screw their customers with impunity, because customers can and do switch health insurers when they are mistreated. Usually on a company basis (I do support health portability requirements).


Individual customers are actively blocked from switching by adverse pricing schemes, and are extremely vulnerable to rescissions, since they have no bargaining power. Some company customers have the ability to switch between multiple plans, but even then, their choices are limited by the company's selections, and the actual cost to them is hidden because they don't see how much potential pay is being allocated as insurance payments behind the scenes. And since the market is so segmented, what leverage a larger company can apply to get better rates results in costs that are absorbed by other customers instead of being pushed back to any significant degree to the providers.

quote:
And somehow allowing the government to take over is going to increase customer service? I doubt it. When the government takes over an industry you can't choose someone else.
That's a flat out false argument. From specific example- PA's Medicaid/Medical Assistance program is a single payer system. But the actual mechanism for it is a number of insurance companies who act as customer advocates to the state to qualify recipients for care and pay providers for services rendered. Since their income depends on the coverage that their customers get and not direct premiums, their service level far exceeds that of private healthcare companies, because it's in their best interest to actively identify and suggest coverage options that their customers are qualified for, and since they have to pay the provider services under that coverage, they have a strong motivation to push back on fraud and improper billing, as well as costs of service in general, since that eats away from the pool of money that they're allocated to pay for such services.

So not only does choice absolutely still exist under proper implementations, but it's a choice among companies competing to provide the best service possible rather than ones that are colluding to extract as much money for the least services possible.

quote:
I don't have a problem with state negotiating across the board rates. That's working to fix the root cause, not trying to imagine that we can save the system by demonizing health insurance companies. If individual insurers try to fix the rates and ration care they would be excoriated, but the government can get away with it much easier.
I fully agree there- it would have been a far better solution to implement the MD plan across the board, or at least the inclusion of the public option, which would have set a competition baseline that did effectively the same thing, but that's a much harder sell than one that tries to use market forces with only private companies to achieve the same results.
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
LR - that is a good synopsis. I was expecting the standard hit piece, but that is well-thought and, IMO, fair criticism where it’s due.
From the end:
quote:
Hence, the Obama Deception is not the smear job some political partisans may have hoped for; instead, it is a discomforting launch point for discussion about the impotence of American democracy. If viewers come away from this film with one question, it is hopefully be why such readily available facts and inconsistencies must be highlighted in fringe films and not the so-called free press (from the Huffington Post to FOX News) that shapes the vast majority of public opinion and has been supposedly liberated by the internet.
IMO, that was the point. It was kind of Trojan horse to get a lot of Republicans to see the illusion of the right-left political theater. They think they are getting an Obama hit piece, and 2 hrs later they've just had a much bigger point drilled into them.

Of course, the answer to that question is in the film itself - the vast majority of the MSM is owned/controlled by a small number of key multinationals, which are also tied into the banks and such.
 
Posted by stayne (Member # 1944) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by Colin JM0397:
The Obama Deception - 2 hrs. I triple-dog dare you to watch it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAaQNACwaLw

quote:
The Obama phenomenon is a hoax carefully crafted by the captains of the New World Order. He is being pushed as savior in an attempt to con the American people into accepting global slavery.
Captains?? I want to hear what the Generals are crafting. And didn't Steve Jackson Games trademark that phrase "New World Order". [Razz]


Link

When the Servants destroy that eighth group, none of this is going to matter anyway.
 
Posted by kenmeer livermaile (Member # 2243) on :
 
And let's not forget Mr. Biggles.
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Colin JM0397:
IMO, that was the point. It was kind of Trojan horse to get a lot of Republicans to see the illusion of the right-left political theater. They think they are getting an Obama hit piece, and 2 hrs later they've just had a much bigger point drilled into them.

Open Left, this far, has been pretty good about making similar points from the other side of the field:

http://www.openleft.com/diary/19487/regulatory-repurposing-the-conservativethird-way-convergence-in-action

As an example of a recent posting on the subject.

quote:
Regardless, if we look at the pattern of how Obama has governed so far, we see much more of a continuity with Bush, rather than a break, and a return to more public-protecting practices. The most recent example noted here on the front page of Open Left was David's diary last week, Obama Hires Fmr. Wellpoint Exec to Implement Health Care Law, focusing attention on Liz Fowler, who was Max Baucus's point person on "health reform" after leaving Wellpoint.
I'm still holding out a bit of hope that Elizabeth Warren gets the nod for the CFPA; she invented the idea, has been a thorn in the Treasury's side over TARP demanding some degree of transparency and accountability. Heck, since it's practically impossible for Obama to replace Geithner (assuming that he'd want to do it) it would be nice just as a small sign that he's got some little bit of a spine.
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
Interesting site - I'll put it in my reading list.

On a side note, what is kind of funny is look at their About & Contact page: http://www.openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=21

They are as lily-white as the Tea Parties! Very much 20 - 30-something white academics, probably predominately from the coastal areas... How can you have a proper progressive site with zero diversity? Isn't that an oxymoron?
[Wink]

Nevertheless, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. However, they are still locked in the left-right BS:
"...just the tip of the iceberg of a sweeping conservative attack on regulatory and scientific integrity..."

I’ve been considering the "third way" at a lot lately. What I'd like to see is the government out of the services business and focusing on the citizen advocacy and hammering corruption.

------------------------
quote:
It's one thing to claim that private entities and tough regulation can do the job as well as government-run programs. But once you see the actual performance, and see how well it serves corporate special interests, normalizing what it pretends to oppose, the Third Way/neo-liberal claim crumbles into dust.
Completely disagree with this assertion. The "Third way" has yet to be even properly tried. Tough regulation is a primary pillar, yet what we have is weakened regulation - pretty much across the board from business, scientific, medical, and environmental. Therefore, to call what we have today a failed experiment is BS. Strong regulation does work. In a proper 3rd way, Glass-Stegal would have been strengthened, not eviscerated, for example... It’s sort of like trying to blame our current woes on “the free market”.

[ July 20, 2010, 09:49 AM: Message edited by: Colin JM0397 ]
 
Posted by Al Wessex (Member # 6541) on :
 
==>"How can you have a proper progressive site with zero diversity? Isn't that an oxymoron?"

Besides fighting racism, their "manifesto" (which has a picture of MLK at the top of the page) includes a pretty impressive list of issues they are involved in. Included in it is support for animal rights, but no animals are represented on the page, either. Overall, not bad for a small bunch of over-educated whiteys.
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
quote:
The "Third way" has yet to be even properly tried.
If you think about the "why"s for that you might get an idea of why they consider it as simply another ploy in establishing corporate control.

It would be nice if it were properly implemented, but appeals to the concept are generally used to create more holes than they fill.
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
Al - but it is funny for how stereotypical it is; not to take anything away from the over-educated whiteys.

Py,
Just as ways 1 and 2 are. Going back to the video, again, the problem is in the system we have today. Until we the people can put our heads together and correct that, then any "new way" the same old players come out with will continue to have the same results. The more things change, the more they stay the same; meet the old boss, same as the new boss.

For example, from that site: http://www.openleft.com/diary/19500/cspan-as-red-pill-camera-catches-senate-vote-switching-to-protect-credit-card-usury
quote:
As the Denver Post reports, C-Span caught on camera Colorado Democratic senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall appearing to switch their votes on a key measure back in May to crack down on credit card profiteering. Specifically, during a vote on an amendment capping credit card interest rates at 15 percent, both senators at first voted "no" on the idea when the outcome was uncertain, but then, when they were confident the measure would go down by a comfortable margin, both senators changed their vote to "yes."

...This is the kind of thing that makes people hate politicians and - worse specifically for the progressive agenda - government itself. And when, as Bennet and Udall are now doing, the politicians caught trying to trick voters then refuse to even try to explain themselves or offer a substantive (if post-facto) defense of their actions, it only reiterates that the whole American legislative process has become kabuki theater - no more legitimate than a banana republic's politburo.

Exactly; that's why the status quo cheerleaders (from either side) are a big problem.
 
Posted by Al Wessex (Member # 6541) on :
 
==>"Al - but it is funny for how stereotypical it is; not to take anything away from the over-educated whiteys."

Yeah, I'm not disagreeing, but I'm one of them whiteys who was part of a very Liberal student organization in my nearly all-whitey university days. We revered MLK and some of us (though not me) went down south in the summers to help out.

If a committed Conservative is a Liberal who's been mugged, then many of us lifelong Liberals were quiet people whose families had been discriminated against. All the guys in the pictures on that page look like me or my ilk, and this whitey can only muster a wry smile as I think about what was and probably won't be again.

[ July 20, 2010, 10:56 AM: Message edited by: Al Wessex ]
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
Colin,
I was going to try to put that link up last night as evidence toward the "Maybe some of the good reforms may not have even gotten a majority if the votes actually counted" side of the debate.

I do fully agree that the system itself needs to be changed, and I think that's part of why the Third Way fails; it still tries to work through the current legislative system, which is already corrupted. And it's only going to et worse now that the SC has pulled out what little protection there was on the campaign side of matters.
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Colin JM0397:
I’ve been considering the "third way" at a lot lately. What I'd like to see is the government out of the services business and focusing on the citizen advocacy and hammering corruption.

And standards. One of governments most important functions is development, propagation and enforcement of standards.

Historically, the US has been strong in some areas, currency for example and weak in other, education for example.
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
On the "conspiracy" stuff, it is interesting how things that don't seem to make sense (as to why certain policies are enacted and such) until you know where to look. The info has been around for years and years:
If you've never heard of him, meet one of Bill Clinton's mentors, Dr Carroll Quigley:
http://www.robodoon.com/carol_quigley.htm
quote:
"The powers of financial capitalism had another far reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements, arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the worlds' central banks which were themselves private corporations. The growth of financial capitalism made possible a centralization of world economic control and use of this power for the direct benefit of financiers and the indirect injury of all other economic groups." Tragedy and Hope: A History of The World in Our Time (Macmillan Company, 1966,) Professor Carroll Quigley of Georgetown University

"The Council on Foreign Relations is the American branch of a society which originated in England ... [and] ... believes national boundaries should be obliterated and one-world rule established." Dr. Carroll Quigley

"I know of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years in the early 1960s to examine its papers and secret records. I have no aversion to it or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments. I have objected, both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies ... but in general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known."

"The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can throw the rascals out at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies."

Quotes from Dr. Carroll Quigley's book "Tragedy and Hope"



[ July 20, 2010, 04:43 PM: Message edited by: Colin JM0397 ]
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
The problem with conspiracy theories is that they are usually premised on a level of competence within the cabal of bad guys that is unrealistic. If you look closely at what actually happened to cause the Wall Street melt down, it's that an entire industry played games with financial instruments that were complex frauds. I can see institutional factors leading to certain behaviors, and players within the scene trying to shape the environment to their advantage, but not broad, far-reaching conspiracies.
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
quote:
On the "conspiracy" stuff, it is interesting how things that don't seem to make sense (as to why certain policies are enacted and such)
Another problem is with this assertion when there are far simpler reasons, such as basic human nature, that make equal sense, and thus better pass a test from Occam's razor.
 
Posted by TommySama (Member # 2780) on :
 
quote:
there are far simpler reasons, such as basic human nature
?? Like what?
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TommySama:
quote:
there are far simpler reasons, such as basic human nature
?? Like what?
Confirmation bias, herd mentality, rose glasses, greed, etc...

Trying to claim that there has been a deliberate, coordinate 100+ year attempt to create financial collapses like the current one, when nothing that happened requires anything more than an appeal to a list of simpler direct causes just doesn't hold muster.

The claim that something here doesn't on its face, make sense is an unproven assertion in and of itself; the only way you can even begin to say that it doesn't is if you don't leave room for basic human error and assume that there couldn't have been mistakes and thus bad ideas or policies must have been intentional.
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
Yet what else can we call it but a "conspiracy" (go look up the definition if you must) when a small group of players in industry and government coordinated to dismantle the safety measures, and then the overseeing private group that we are not allowed to audit gives away trillions upon trillions (that us taxpayers are going to then pay off) to their fellow private banks to shore up the "too big to fails"?

They won't tell us where a lot of that money went, and there was obvious collusion between regulators, congress, and private industry for the gain of a few at the expense of many.

Now we have "new regulation" with, IIRC, 12 new federal agencies who will work with the very guilty parties to form up the new rules and regulations. 1000's of pages of garbage when all they had to do was restore some of the aforementioned dismantled laws/regulations.

If you don't think that's a conspiracy by a few to solidify control of banking and finance, then you're hopeless.

Of course the jackals took what they could when they could, but the feeding frenzy wasn't the primary cause, it was a predictable effect.

Another good historical quote, from Baron Rothschild back when "If I control the money, I care not who makes the laws." (paraphrasing)

[ July 21, 2010, 08:22 AM: Message edited by: Colin JM0397 ]
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
You got it in your second sentence, leaving aside factually wrong information in the first- that's collusion- working together toward obvious ends that you'd expect them to be working toward. No one there is taking seemingly innocuous actions tangential to their interests or deliberately acting against their own normal interests as part of a pre-planned plot to increase the power or profit of the others.

Compare, which is the simpler explanation:

Goldman-Sachs (and other big banks) lobbies and/or bribes congress and regulators to lift restrictions that they see blocking pathways to more profitable investments, because they're convinced that they can make more money and thing they're smart enough to avoid the risks. The risks catch up with them and the exact kind of collapse that those restrictions had existed to prevent catches up with them. Wash, Rinse, Repeat, several times over the past three decades.

to

The banks hatch a plot with congress and the regulators over 30 years to deliberately cause a series of economic meltdowns so that they can secretly profit from taxpayer bailout funds and Federal Reserve monetary policy.

The first is simple greed and a bit of collusion, the second is conspiracy, and requires a much larger leap of faith in believing that the banks and everyone else along the way, would deliberately act against their own interest in hopes of a bigger long term payoff. And it holds up even less well because it requires outright lies about the nature and function of the Federal Reserve to hold itself together. I think that the Fed has a lot to learn from the Bank of North Dakota in how to actually manage itself overall, but that's more a symptom of hyperfocus on the banking end of the Fed's responsibilities and being hung up on certain conservative economic ideals that don't actually well work than anything, particularly a misplaced understanding and fear of hyperinflation and its causes. Yellen's appointment to the Board of Governors is promising, but it would have been far better to put her in as the Chairman instead of Bernanke, as she's long been pushing policies based on increasing overall employment.

(If the Fed issues money or loans to banks, the tax payers aren't on the hook for it because tax revenue doesn't flow into the Fed to begin with;

whatever profit that the fed does make goes directly into the Treasury, not to its member banks, so even if it does make out well on loans or investments that it makes, its member banks still only get the same 6% return on the reserves that they have deposited with it;

the Fed is subject to audit, there are just four specific areas that require an explicit congressional act to look at the specific details to help protect overall fiscal policy from short term political interests.)
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
[Roll Eyes]
Collusion, done in secret is... what, exactly?

None of the above to your simpleton strawmen.

Players in certain powerful positions get the ball rolling, and let greed and lack of oversight do the heavy lifting for them. A few years down the road they swoop in to "fix" what they broke.

Then chucklehead apologists try to convince us that a pile of sh!t is really a pretty flower.
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
What was done in secret? Everything that happened occurred out in the open and followed the path of obvious interests. Would you expect the banks to not lobby against and try to work around regulations that they thought were blocking them from profiting?

What need is there to appeal to some secret super-explanation, when the obvious ones work just as well, if not better?
 
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
 
Even ‘Obama girl’ has lost her crush on the president
 
Posted by RickyB (Member # 1464) on :
 
"Yet what else can we call it but a "conspiracy" (go look up the definition if you must) when a small group of players in industry and government coordinated to dismantle the safety measures, "

Um, us unrealistic meddling leftists were screaming about Gramm-Leach-Biley as it happened. Just for the record and all.
 
Posted by Colin JM0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
Most conspiracies are not secret, they simply require enough people to ignore/deny that they exist. (or to bicker about BS partisan cause/effects when the stink of it all encompasses the entire system). What we have today is conspiracy in plain view. The corruption is so all-encompassing, no one is moving to fix it lest the entire thing falls.

Need I remind anyone there were over 1000 criminal convictions in the 80's savings & loan scandal, and ZERO convictions for our current mess?

So what we have is collusion between banking, government, and media to keep the lid on this.

If all the MSM talking heads would talk openly about the things that are plainly obvious, like what Matt Taibbi, for one example, is writing about, then it would all come crashing down: Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That is Breaking America
quote:
Matt Taibbi's unsparing and authoritative reporting on the financial crisis has produced a series of memorable Rolling Stone features. He showed us how Goldman Sachs, that "great vampire squid", played a central role in creating not only the housing bubble but four other big speculative booms that filled its coffers while wrecking the American economy. He explained how Wall Street banks cooked up schemes that helped decimate municipal budgets and cost countless jobs, and how Wall Street lobbying led to a financial reform bill that won't prevent another meltdown. Taibbi builds on that eye-opening work in his new book, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That is Breaking America...
His latest in Rolling Stone has some very good info as to the mechanics at play with the securitized mortgages collapsing the system, and the banks scrambling to stem their bleeding (while shafting individuals and the economy in general): Courts helping Banks Screw over Homeowners
quote:
The foreclosure lawyers down in Jacksonville had warned me, but I was skeptical. They told me the state of Florida had created a special super-high-speed housing court with a specific mandate to rubber-stamp the legally dicey foreclosures by corporate mortgage pushers like Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan Chase. This "rocket docket," as it is called in town, is presided over by retired judges who seem to have no clue about the insanely complex financial instruments they are ruling on — securitized mortgages and laby­rinthine derivative deals of a type that didn't even exist when most of them were active members of the bench. Their stated mission isn't to decide right and wrong, but to clear cases and blast human beings out of their homes with ultimate velocity. They certainly have no incentive to penetrate the profound criminal mysteries of the great American mortgage bubble of the 2000s, perhaps the most complex Ponzi scheme in human history — an epic mountain range of corporate fraud in which Wall Street megabanks conspired first to collect huge numbers of subprime mortgages, then to unload them on unsuspecting third parties like pensions, trade unions and insurance companies (and, ultimately, you and me, as taxpayers) in the guise of AAA-rated investments. Selling lead as gold, **** as Chanel No. 5, was the essence of the booming international fraud scheme that created most all of these now-failing home mortgages.


[ November 15, 2010, 08:48 AM: Message edited by: Colin JM0397 ]
 


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