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President Obama Mirrors What The American People Think About Him: “That is not a way to run a government”

By Joseph Klein On April 6, 2011





President Obama summed up yesterday what many Americans have concluded about his own administration and about the Congress, which for the first two years of his term was run entirely by Obama’s friends in the Democratic majority:

      That is not a way to run a government.

Yes, Mr. President, you are right. But whose fault is that? Just look in the mirror. You have been in charge.
     For the current fiscal year 2011, which ends Sept. 30, the Obama budget projects a deficit of more than $1.6 trillion. This comes to nearly 11 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, making it the largest shortfall since the end of World War II. In the first 19 months of the Obama administration, the federal debt held by the public increased by $2.5260 trillion, which beats the total of the national debt held by the public that was racked up by all U.S. presidents from George Washington through Ronald Reagan. Obama’s 10-year budget plan would increase the national debt by $7.2 trillion over 10 years, avoiding the difficult issue of entitlement reforms. Yet, the economy is still a mess even though Obama got the stimulus package he asked for very early in his administration.

     Obviously Obama’s ”not a way to run a government” complaint yesterday was not about his own stewardship. It concerned the threat of an imminent government shutdown this Friday at midnight if a deal cannot be reached on spending cuts to the 2011 fiscal year federal budget. To date, the government has been running under a series of continuing budget resolutions.

   But the Democrats in Congress created the problem in the first place when they refused to approve the budget by the beginning of the 2011 fiscal year last October. They were then in total charge by vast majorities in both the House and Senate. Even now, with control of the White House and Senate, the Democrats are holding up final approval over a few billion dollars out of a $3.8 trillion budget and a $1.6+ trillion deficit.

   The Republicans won control of the House as a result of the 2010 midterm elections, after campaigning on a pledge to cut $100 billion from the current budget. They prorated their original $100 billion reduction target to the lower amount of $61 billion, in order to account for the several months that had already elapsed in the fiscal year.

    With six months to go until the end of the 2011 fiscal year, pro-rating the original $100 billion reduction target would mean a cut of $50 billion. House Speaker John Boehner has indicated that he could accept even less than this already trimmed amount in reductions, with a $40 billion cut. In other words, the Republicans have already shown willingness to compromise significantly from their original $100 billion deficit reduction target pledge.

     President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate, under Majority Leader Harry Reid, have said no. In fact, Obama won’t even agree to another short term continuing resolution offered by the Republicans to keep the government running while negotiations continue. Nevertheless, in its usual Obama-fawning ideological fervor, the New York Times lead editorial today falsely claims that it is the Republicans who are maneuvering to bring about a shutdown.

    Senator Reid said the following, before a meeting with Speaker Boehner yesterday to try and reach an agreement on a budget deal:

I hope the Republicans do what the country needs, not what the Tea Party wants

    Lest anyone wonder how Senator Reid defines what the country needs, consider his impassioned plea for preserving taxpayer funding for cowboy poets:

   The mean-spirited bill, H.R. 1, eliminates National Public Broadcasting. Now, that is really saying a lot, madam president. It eliminates the National Endowment of the Humanities, National Endowment of the Arts. These programs create jobs. The National Endowment of the Humanities is the reason we have in northern Nevada every January a cowboy poetry festival.  Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist.

    To Senator Reid and his fellow Democrats, subsidizing wasteful programs like cowboy poetry festivals is how they choose to run the government. They have yet to get the message the American people sent loud and clear last November that they are wrong.

    Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam

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Budget Battle or Class-Warfare?

Posted By Michelle Malkin On April 7, 2011 In Daily Mailer,FrontPage |


As the budget stalemate in Washington continues, Democrats are ratcheting up their class-warfare caterwauling. Time to bring out your earplugs and hypocrisy meters:

     Liberal political strategist Donna Brazile took to Twitter to assail fiscal conservatives for “taking medicine from seniors” and cutting taxes for “the rich and their corporate donors.”

    Do-nothing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi attacked Republicans for paving a “path to poverty for America’s seniors and children and a road to riches for big oil.”

    The left-wing activist group Campaign for America’s Future bemoaned GOP Rep. Paul Ryan’s “corrupt” budget plan for catering to “the wealthiest Americans that finance campaigns, the powerful corporate lobbies that have deep pockets for politicians in and out of office.”

    But as I’ve said many times, people who live in fat cat-infested houses shouldn’t throw stones. The left’s overheated rhetoric about pandering to overpaid executives comes just as an independent inspector general has exposed the lavish, out-of-control compensation packages for politically connected Fannie Mae and Freddie Macmortgage finance bureaucrats.

    According to government watchdogs at the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the chief executives of Fannie and Freddie raked in a combined $17 million in 2009-2010 — the period when the government-sponsored entities were handed over completely to federal conservators. The top six executives at the two institutions pulled in a combined $35 million over the past two years.

    In a little-noticed report released late last week, FHFA Inspector General Steve Linick wrote: “F.H.F.A. has a responsibility to Congress and taxpayers to efficiently, consistently and reliably ensure that the compensation paid to Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s senior executives is reasonable. This is especially true when you realize that the U.S. Treasury has invested close to $154 billion to stabilize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

   The “U.S. Treasury” equals taxpayers, of course. And the “investment” has been a futile bailout that may reach nearly $400 billion if the plug isn’t pulled. Linick found an appalling “lack of standardized evaluation criteria, documentation of management procedures and internal controls” over the Fannie/Freddie fat cats’ salaries.


   In other words: crony government business as usual.

Political appointees to the companies’ boards have pocketed millions in stock options to bolster support on Capitol Hill.

     Clinton-era-appointed board members at Fannie Mae include Jack Quinn (lawyer for pardoned billionaire fugitive Marc Rich) and Jamie Gorelick (Janet Reno’s lieutenant at the Justice Department and a potential Obama CIA director nominee). Obama adviser James Johnson made off with $21 million. Former Obama chief of staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel “earned” at least $320,000 for a brief 14-month gig at Freddie Mac. Clinton Fannie Mae head and Obama economic confidante Franklin Raines bagged some $90 million in pay and stock options.

     With his ill-gotten gains, Raines went on to purchase a luxurious three-bedroom, seven-bath penthouse condominium a few years ago in the District of Columbia’s Ritz-Carlton Residences for $4.9 million — complete with rooftop terrace with hot tub, a butler’s pantry and three parking spaces. Nearly half of the $90 million he earned over five years at Fannie “was tied to bonus targets that were reached by manipulating accounting,” regulators told The New York Times.

     Brazile, Pelosi, the leftist ground troops and Obama’s own pay czar have plenty to say about private executives and corporate wealth. But they remain radio silent about the mother of all financial scandals and the moral hazard-perpetuating government executives at Fannie and Freddie who were in charge of engineering the mortgage meltdown.

     Not everyone’s looking the other way. Citizens Against Government Waste President Tom Schatz noted: “In their halcyon days, Fannie and Freddie were notorious for their lavish executive salaries and perks. Old habits die hard; but taxpayers should no longer be forced to foot the bill” for the Fannie and Freddie managements’ “swanky lifestyles.”

     While Pelosi demagogues Republican budget cuts for depriving kids and seniors of their meals, the Beltway-sponsored Fannie and Freddie behemoths have been devouring taxpayers’ lunches for years. For Fannie and Freddie lobbyists and leeches, the path to prosperity has been paved with a Democratic friends and fat cats protection plan that epitomizes Washington’s culture of corruption.

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Las elecciones en Wisconsin fueron un referendum sobre Walker

By Matthew Rothschild, April 6, 2011


Tuvimos elección en Wisconsin el martes.

La participación fue enorme para las elecciones de primavera, y todos los ojos estaban puestos en la carrera de la corte suprema estatal, que enfrentó a la justicia correspondiente, el conservador David Prosser, que está estrechamente vinculado con el Gobernador Walker, en contra de JoAnne Kloppenburg, una vieja amiga y vecina mía. Ella es una persona inteligente y amable y una experimentada asistente de AG, pero todavía no tenía algún reconocimiento.


Sorprendentemente, la carrera fue de cuello a cuello durante toda la noche e incluso mientras habló el ganador final no es muy claro y parece casi seguro que habrá un recuento.


Pero no se equivoquen: Se trata de un referéndum sobre el asalto de Walker sobre los trabajadores. lo mostrado en  Kloppenburg   debe dar a todos los manifestantes en Wisconsin una inyección enorme . Si no fuera por su activismo, Prosser habría dormido cómodamente en sus "laureles"  en la noche de elecciones.

Kloppenburg fue ayudado también por una carrera competitiva en Madison a la alcaldía entre dos liberales: El  alcalde Dave Cieslewicz y el legendario alcalde Pablo Soglin, que perdió ante Cieslewicz hace ocho años. El suyo era un contraste de estilos: Cieslewicz es más relajado, y cuenta con un maravilloso sentido  autocrítico del humor; Soglin es más intenso, menos modesto, pero con tremenda pasión por la lucha contra la pobreza y el funcionamiento del gobierno de la ciudad. Y mientras Cieslewicz respondió rápidamente al asalto de Walker sobre los trabajadores públicos, y mientras el alcalde hábilmente renovó los contratos de la unión antes de que Bill Walker podrían entrar en vigor, muchos en el Madison pudieron haber sentido que necesitaban a alguien más agresivo, incluso más irascible que el alcalde Dave para tomar acción contra  Walker, los Fitzgerald, y los hermanos Koch. El intenso debate  cara a cara entre Cieslewicz y Soglin motivó la participación en el problema  de Madison a un 54 por ciento de la población.


Walker debería tener cuidado. Kloppenburg recibió un total de 738.000 votos en el estado. Y allí sólo necesitan 540 mil firmas en una petición para remover a  Walker.

Estoy seguro de que Walker y sus seguidores pueden hacer las cuentas.:burlon:

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Obama Issues Veto Threat As Government Shutdown Looms


Washington. -- President Obama promised on Thursday to veto a House Republican bill that would keep the government open for one extra week and cut $12 billion in spending, while also funding the military through the remainder of the fiscal year.

Obama had dismissed the gesture in private meetings and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called the measure a "fantasy" and a "non-starter," but Thursday's veto threat was the president's clearest signal that the House Republican stopgap is doomed.


House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) criticized Obama's veto threat, saying in a statement, "I urge the President revisit his decision and work with us."

A government shutdown is looking increasingly likely, Reid warned Thursday morning, charging that Republicans are holding up a deal over ideological issues.

He also mocked a would-be stopgap measure moving through the House as a "fantasy" and a "non-starter."

"The numbers are basically there," Reid (D-Nev.) said in a Senate floor statement. "But I am not nearly as optimistic -- and that's an understatement -- as I was 11 hours ago."

Story continues below

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on Thursday that negotiators are not as close to reaching a budget deal as he thought last night, when he attended a meeting at the White House.


The Hill's Jordan Fabian reports on Twitter that the following GOP representatives voted against the stopgap measure, which would keep the government running for an additional week:

Justin Amash (Miss.) Michele Bachmann (Minn.) Ron Paul (Texas) Mick Mulvaney (S.C.)

Joe Barton (Texas)

CNN reports that federal workers have begun to receive the first round of furlough notices, detailing whether they are considered "essential" or "non-essential" and therefore whether they would be expected to report to work in the event of a government shutdown.



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OBAMA’S Drilling Moratorium is Treason -DRILL CASTRO DRILL

Drill, Cuba, Drill

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- Lawrence Sellin
Friday, April 8, 2011

    Will the rule of law be dictated by the whims of the political elite and the MSM or by the Constitution?

    Politics has recently replaced the Constitution as the basis for the rule of law in the United States. It is a recipe for chaos, if permitted to continue.

    More and more Americans are beginning to realize that Barack Obama is an illegal President and/or has a potentially damaging personal history.  The desperation now being displayed by Obama sycophants is proof positive.

      The race card is increasingly being played. Expect much more of it.

      Donald Trump is the earthquake. A tsunami of revelations will soon follow, which will have a yet unforeseen impact on the legitimacy of our political system and the integrity of the main stream media (MSM).

    Having largely dismissed Constitutional considerations since 2008, the political elite and the MSM, perhaps not now, but ultimately will find politics a poor substitute as the final arbitrator of our national discourse.

       I will provide a libretto for the political comic opera now underway.

     The Democratic left-wing will continue to support Obama. Moderate Democrats, behind the scenes, are already seeking an alternative. The Clinton machine is waiting for an opportunity to make its move.

     The Republicans smell electoral blood and consider Obama the most vulnerable of the probable Democratic Presidential candidates. For that reason, they would prefer revelations about a damaging personal history rather than an illegal Presidency.

     The MSM are in a win-win situation. They will continue to back Obama until he is replaced by a potentially stronger Democratic candidate. If that happens, expect a ruthless assault describing Republicans as racists and haters, who hounded poor Barack Obama out of office. In that case, the MSM will also help re-energize the Democratic faithful for the new standard-bearer.

    The Constitutional questions raised by the election of Barack Obama will be ignored, either forever or as long as possible, because the political elite and the MSM were likely either complicit in or acquiesced to its infringement.

The breach created in the Constitution sets a precedent for its further erosion. Regrettably, many of our political elite favor a situation, where the Constitutional rights guaranteed to Americans become negotiable according to the political caprice of party leaders.

    The debate about Barack Obama’s eligibility to serve as President is over. It is his responsibility to establish his eligibility for office, not the task of ordinary Americans to prove that he is not.

    The content and intent of the Constitution are clear. The Founders did not use the word “citizen” but the term “natural born citizen” to describe eligibility for the Presidency.

    The authors of the Constitution no doubt based their understanding of the term “natural born citizen,” on the 1758 book “The Law of Nations” written by Swiss philosopher and diplomat Emerich de Vattel, who wrote:

“… natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens. … children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights. … The country of the fathers is therefore that of the children…”

    That is, someone who is born in the US of citizen parents at the time of birth is a natural born citizen.

    In the early days of our country, it was specifically designed to prevent a British usurper from gaining office and undermining American independence.

    Accordingly, Barack Obama is a priori ineligible. In that regard, it does not matter where he was born or if we ever see a real birth certificate.

      It does not mean, however, that Obama should not show his birth certificate to prove that he was born in Hawaii as he claims. Unfortunately for him, the Certification of Live Birth, which has been posted on the internet, is not sufficient proof. In addition, it has never been legally validated by the State of Hawaii and may even be a forgery.

     Another shibboleth used by Obama defenders is the newspaper clipping announcing his birth. Seriously? Just try using a newspaper clipping to get a driver’s license. What’s next, Monopoly money to pay down the national debt?

     Barack Obama should step down or be Constitutionally removed from office.

     The American people are now faced with an urgent and critical choice.

     Will the rule of law be dictated by the whims of the political elite and the MSM or by the Constitution?

      I choose the latter.




Obama fails to qualify under Article II AND fails tests of the 12th, 20th, and 25th Amendments


drkatesview ^ | 04/03/2011 | drkate

Fact - The natural born citizenship clause of the Constitution requires both parents to be American citizens at the time of a child’s birth in order for that child to be eligible for the Presidency. Mr. Obama has already admitted that at birth he had dual citizenship from his father, a British subject, and his mother, an American citizen. This is irrespective of birth place. A dual citizens’ allegiance is inherently divided. The Constitution requires singular allegiance to the United States at birth.


Fact - Mr. Obama admits he was adopted by an Indonesian national and became an Indonesian citizen in order to attend school there. No record exists as to whether Mr. Obama renounced this Indonesian citizenship or was naturalized as an American citizen when he returned to the United States. Even if he did renounce his Indonesian citizenship, Mr. Obama fails the singular allegiance test of the Constitution as a result of his dual allegiance at birth. As further disqualification then, Mr. Obama has multiple citizenships: British, Kenyan, Indonesian, with his American citizenship confirmed as soon as he releases his naturalization papers. The Constitution requires singular allegiance to the United States. A Citizen of the United States by naturalization is not a natural born citizen.

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It looks like Waterloo in Wisconsin for government unions..

WSJ 4/9/2011

    “The candidate on the losing end of Wisconsin’s hotly contested state Supreme Court race has started raising money for a recount,” the Associated Press reports in a dispatch this morning that could have been written any time in the past 2½ days. The AP buries the lead in a shallow grave, the second paragraph:

     JoAnne Kloppenburg’s campaign manager, Melissa Mulliken, said Friday that fundraising efforts for a recount have begun, but she stopped short of saying the candidate would request one.
    Huh? Didn’t Kloppenburg declare victory Wednesday, sitting atop a lead of more than 200 votes (out of some 1.5 million)? Didn’t’s Steve Hughes confirm this in an email yesterday? Yes, he did:

      We just had a HUGE win!!
I’m literally breathless. I’m witnessing history. Incumbent candidates for the Wisconsin Supreme Court generally get re-elected in a landslide. But in the general election yesterday, progressive JoAnne Kloppenburg closed the gap and, with 100% of precincts reporting, has beating [sic] conservative justice David Prosser!
     We’ll bet Hughes has taking a HUGE breath now. Literally!!

Associated Press

       Dewey defeats Prosser.
.So has, or is, Mark Miller, minority leader of the Wisconsin Senate, who yesterday sent out an email, forwarded to us by reader Tom Werlein, peddling T-shirts in honor of—we’re not making this up—the “14 brave Senators from Wisconsin [who] left the state” in a “heroic effort” (albeit an unsuccessful one) to thwart Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to reform state government by precluding a legislative quorum.

     “Two nights ago,” Miller crows, “Walker’s good friend Supreme Court Justice David Prosser was defeated in his re-election effort—despite leading in initial polls by over 30%! Clearly the people of Wisconsin are standing up and rejecting Scott Walker’s agenda.”

     Clearly! Well, that is, if by “the people of Wisconsin” you mean all of them except the 40,000 or so who live in the Milwaukee suburb of Brookfield. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, the Waukesha County clerk announced yesterday that she had erroneously omitted the Brookfield results from the unofficial returns she reported to the media Tuesday night. She caught the error during canvassing, a routine double-checking of vote totals. “The new totals give 10,859 more votes to Prosser and 3,456 more to Kloppenburg,” the paper reports.

     There were also some minor adjustments in other counties, but the bottom line is that Prosser now leads by some 7,500 votes, or roughly 0.5%. Our headline exaggerates slightly, but assuming there isn’t a comparable gain for Kloppenburg in Milwaukee, where canvassing is still under way, such a margin should be easily recount-proof.

       “Scott Walker Struggles to Downplay Wisconsin Election That His Allies Built Up as a Referendum” reads the headline of a Puffington Host post yesterday. But today’s Puffington Host Daily Brief, an email newsletter, carries the neutral headline “New Twists in Wisconsin Supreme Court Election” on a story by the same blogress (though the headline on the site reveals that it’s about Prosser taking the lead).

        In truth, it was Wisconsin’s government employee unions, whose privileges are endangered by Gov. Walker’s reforms, that built the election up as a referendum, aided by their allies in the Democratic Party, the media and the liberal left. Assuming that Prosser has indeed won, this is a crushing defeat for them.

    There were two reasons to think they might succeed in defeating Prosser. First, they were organized and motivated, providing a big advantage in what is typically a low-turnout election. (In the Feb. 15 jungle primary, in which Prosser bested Kloppenburg by 55% to 25%, only 420,000 people voted. That was approximately 48 hours before the debate over the Walker reforms reached the boiling point.)

      Second, public opinion had supposedly shifted decisively against Walker and the GOP as the result of what even some conservatives feared was an ObamaCare-sstyle overreach. “The recent fight has cost Republicans support, strengthened unions, polarized the issue, and swung critical independents, who were essential to the Republicans’ 2010 electoral victory, toward sympathizing with the unions,” wrote Heather Higgins of the Independent Women’s Forum two weeks ago, reporting on an IWF-commissioned Wisconsin poll. “As it stands now, Republicans could not only lose, but lose badly,” she warned, referring not only to the Prosser-Kloppenburg tilt but also recall efforts against GOP senators that aim to flip control of the chamber.

    It must be acknowledged that the pro-union left succeeded in making this campaign into a referendum on Walker. Had it not, it’s likely that turnout would have been much lower and Prosser’s margin of victory much wider, as in the primary.    But they lost the referendum. With Prosser proffered as a proxy for Walker (we dare you to say that 10 times fast), the justice’s approximately 50.5% of the vote is a swing of less than 2% away from Walker, elected last November with 52.3%.

      “What does this change in Wisconsin?” asks Slate’s Dave Weigel, who answers:

     It’s now likely that conservatives will retain their advantage on the court. Democrats can turn their guns on the recall efforts, with new vigor that’s going to be informed by a sense—spread pretty widely on Twitter—that Kloppenburg was robbed.
     Weigel certainly gives new meaning to the word “informed.” But whereas we thought Kloppenburg had a real chance of beating Prosser, we’ve always been skeptical to the point of incredulity about the prospects for recalling Republican senators. That’s because under Wisconsin law, an official has to have served for a year before being subject to recall.

   That shields both Walker and all Republican lawmakers who replaced Democrats in last year’s election. As Wisconsin senators serve four-year terms, only those who survived the Democratic sweep of 2006 or 2008 can be recalled.

     It only gets worse for Wisconsin Democrats. Kloppenburg’s campaign implied—though in her “victory” press conference she robotically denied—that she would provide the deciding vote on the court to overturn Walker’s reforms. Her defeat means that those reforms will soon take effect unless they have an actual legal defect.

   One of the most important reforms is that union dues will become voluntary. State and local government will no longer take money out of their employees’ paychecks and hand it over to the unions.   This is likely to be the last Wisconsin election in which the Democrats have the advantage of support from organizations with the power to raise campaign funds coercively.

     The unions’ show of muscle in this week’s election was not unimpressive, even though it was insufficient to the task at hand. Starved of the nourishment of forcibly collected dues, they may look like a 98-pound weakling by 2012.



Can ‘Diversity’ Save Obama?
National Journal’s Ronald Brownstein reports that a new Pew Research Center poll “underscores how slender a beachhead President Obama has established among whites more than two years into his presidency”:

    In his 2008 election, Obama ran well only among two groups of whites—young people and white women with at least a four year college education, two groups that are generally receptive to government activism. In the 2010 GOP landslide, those groups stuck with Democrats relatively more loyally than the rest of the white electorate, but the party’s support tumbled even among them.
   Aside from schooled women, “the rest of the white electorate remains deeply cool to Obama.” (We were deeply cool to Obama before being deeply cool to Obama was cool.) “Almost as troubling for Obama is his showing among Hispanics in the poll,” Brownstein notes:

     Just 54 percent of Hispanics in the Pew survey said they approved of his performance, a finding that echoes the results in recent Gallup polls. Given Obama’s persistent difficulties in the white community, he can’t afford much softening among Hispanics, who gave him two-thirds of their votes last time.
  We noted the Gallup poll yesterday, which also found a drop-off in black support, to 85% from over 90%, although that may be an outlier.

     Despite the poor Hispanic showing, Brownstein predicts that “Obama will benefit from a wave of diversity that has increased the minority share of the population in every state since 2000, according to recently released results from the 2010 Census.” To elaborate this claim, Brownstein links to a week-old article of his:

Last week’s release of national totals from the 2010 census showed that the minority share of the population increased over the past decade in every state, reaching levels higher than demographers anticipated almost everywhere, and in the nation as a whole

  . If President Obama and Democrats can convert that growth into new voters in 2012, they can get a critical boost in many of the most hotly contested states and also seriously compete for some highly diverse states such as Arizona and Georgia that until now have been reliably red.
     Do you see the problem with this logic? Obama was elected not in 2000 but in 2008, when most of the prospective “new voters” were already available. The census is a leading indicator for the allocation of electoral votes and congressional seats, but a lagging indicator of voter demographics. It’s surprising that a pro like Brownstein would miss such an elementary point.

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Big government on the brink

 By Robert J. Samuelson, Sunday, April 10, 2011

      We in America have created suicidal government; the threatened federal shutdown and stubborn budget deficits are but symptoms.      By suicidal, I mean that government has promised more than it can realistically deliver and, as a result, repeatedly disappoints by providing less than people expect or jeopardizing what they already have. But government can’t easily correct its excesses, because Americans depend on it for so much that any effort to change the status arouses a firestorm of opposition that virtually ensures defeat. Government’s very expansion has brought it into disrepute, paralyzed politics and impeded it from acting in the national interest.

     Few Americans realize the extent of their dependency. The Census Bureau reports that in 2009 almost half (46.2 percent) of the 300 million Americans received at least one federal benefit: 46.5 million, Social Security; 42.6 million, Medicare; 42.4 million, Medicaid; 36.1 million, food stamps; 3.2 million, veterans’ benefits; 12.4 million, housing subsidies. The census list doesn’t include tax breaks. Counting those, perhaps three-quarters or more of Americans receive some sizable government benefit. For example, about 22 percent of taxpayers benefit from the home mortgage interest deduction and 43 percent from the preferential treatment of employer-provided health insurance, says the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

      “Once politics was about only a few things; today, it is about nearly everything,” writes the eminent political scientist James Q. Wilson in a recent collection of essays (“American Politics, Then and Now”). The concept of “vital national interest” is stretched. We deploy government casually to satisfy any mass desire, correct any perceived social shortcoming or remedy any market deficiency. What has abetted this political sprawl, notes Wilson, is the rising influence of “action intellectuals” — professors, pundits, “experts” — who provide respectable rationales for various political agendas.

     The consequence is political overload: The system can no longer make choices, especially unpleasant choices, for the good of the nation as a whole. Public opinion is hopelessly muddled. Polls by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago consistently show Americans want more spending for education (74 percent), health care (60 percent), Social Security (57 percent) and, indeed, almost everything. By the same polls, between half and two-thirds of Americans regularly feel their taxes are too high; in 2010, a paltry 2 percent thought them too low. Big budget deficits follow logically; but of course, most Americans want those trimmed, too.

    The trouble is that, despite superficial support for “deficit reduction” or “tax reform,” few Americans would surrender their own benefits, subsidies and tax breaks — a precondition for success. As a practical matter, most federal programs and tax breaks fall into one of two categories, each resistant to change.

    The first includes big items (Social Security, the mortgage interest deduction) whose benefits are so large that any hint of cuts prompts massive opposition — or its specter. Practical politicians retreat. The second encompasses smaller programs (Amtrak, ethanol subsidies) that, though having a tiny budget effect, inspire fanatical devotion from their supporters. Just recently, for example, the documentary filmmaker Ken Burns defended culture subsidies (“an infinitesimally small fraction of the deficit”) in The Post. Politicians retreat; meager budget gains aren’t worth the disproportionate public vilification.

    Well, if you can’t change big programs or small programs, what can you do? Not much.

    If deficits were temporary — they were certainly justified to temper the recession — or small, they would be less worrisome. That was true for many years. No more. An aging population and uncontrolled health costs now create an ongoing and massive mismatch between spending and revenue, even at “full employment.” The great threat is a future debt crisis, with investors balking at buying all the Treasury bonds the government requires to operate. So President Obama and Congress face a dilemma: The more they seek to defuse the economic problem of too much debt, the greater the political risks they assume by cutting spending or raising taxes.

   The package to prevent a shutdown barely touches the prevailing stalemate. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s proposed 2012 budget forthrightly addresses health spending but doesn’t make any cuts in Social Security. Ryan’s plan would ultimately gut defense and some valuable domestic programs; it wouldn’t reach balance until about 2040. Compared with Democrats, however, Ryan is a model of intellectual rigor and political courage.  

     Obama would run huge deficits from now to eternity; the Congressional Budget Office has projected about $12 trillion of added debt from 2010 to 2021 under his policies. Obama urges an “adult” conversation and acts like a child, denying the unappealing choices.

    Government is suicidal because it breeds expectations that cannot be met. All the partisan skirmishing over who gets credit for averting a shutdown misses the larger issue: whether we can restore government as an instrument of progress or whether it remains — as it is now — a threat.

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[ Editado ]

Obama's Problem as 'The Smartest Person in the Room'

By Larrey Anderson

December 21, 2010


      Since Obama first stepped on the national stage, pundits have fallen all over each other in a race to declare that Obama is special type of genius.  Tom Shales of the WaPo recently called Obama "the smartest kid in the class."  Billionaire Julian Robertson claimed, "Obama, from all I read, thinks that on every occasion that he is the smartest person in the room.  And I think he often probably is. ..."

Robertson may be half-right.  Obama apparently does consider himself the smartest person in every room.  According to Peter Baker of the NYT, "One prominent Democratic lawmaker told me Obama's problem is that he is not insecure -- he always believes he is the smartest person in any room and never feels the sense of panic. ... [Emphasis added.]"

How do Shales, Robertson, and even Obama know that the president is the smartest kid in the class or the smartest guy in the room?  There is an interesting and little-discussed quandary (in logic it is called an aporia) in the assertion that person X, whoever that might be, is the smartest person in the room.

Before we examine this problem, let's set down some parameters.  What do these people mean by "smartest"?  Since the discussion is about politics, it is fairly safe to assume that "smartest" does not refer to some standard test for intelligence.

Thinking it through, Obama's admirers cannot be referring to his IQ.  In terms of IQ, Obama is clearly not the smartest person in any room he enters.  The fact of the matter is that Obama's IQ scores have not been made public. Guesses by enthusiasts of his IQ range from 140 to 170 [i].  Obama's detractors calculate a much lower IQ.  Even conceding the highest score of 170, Obama will not always be the smartest person in any room.  He would rarely be the smartest person at a local MENSA convention and never be the smartest person at a meeting of the ISPE.

Perhaps "smartest" denotes "having the greatest overall knowledge" -- i.e., real-world smart.  Is Obama the most knowledgeable person in any room?  This too seems unlikely.  Imagine a party attended by a physicist, a historian, a neuroscientist, an English professor, and President Obama.  Let's assume they all have roughly the same IQ.  The smartest person in the room (in terms of knowledge) will depend on what topics are discussed.  If the subjects are plasma energy, Thucydides, synapse firings, and the proper use of the gerund, Obama will not be the smartest man in the room.  Keep in mind that prior to becoming a politician, Obama's claim to real-world intellectual status was as an instructor in, not a professor of, constitutional law.

There is another possible definition of "smartest."  Obama could have the most "street smarts."  This kind of intelligence would entail being the most cunning and devious person in any room.  Let's call this "Machiavellian smart."  Here, Obama might take the prize.  As we will see below, no one except Obama would know, and be able to truthfully assert, that Obama is the "Machiavellian smartest" person in the room.  That would spoil the scam.

As Machiavelli said, "It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver."  Of course, this "double" deceiver must not be caught in the act of deception.  If by "smartest" Shales and Robertson (and everyone else -- except Obama -- who makes such a claim) mean that Obama is the "Machiavellian smartest," they would be willing dupes to an ongoing hustle.  Machiavelli described such associations this way: "One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived" [ii].

I am not implying that Shales and Robertson have been bamboozled -- although they are clearly gushing in their praise of Obama's "smarts," whatever those might be.  I am asserting that they do not and cannot know what they are talking about when they claim that Obama is the smartest person in any room.

A claim by Y that "X is the smartest person in the room" depends on how "smartest" is defined and on whether or not Y is in the room with X [iii].  Consider, once again, a room containing a physicist, a historian, a neuroscientist, and an English professor.  Y agrees to tell us who is the smartest person in the room.  (In this example, "smartest" means "highest overall knowledge.")

If Y is smart enough to accurately establish which of the four people in the room has the best grasp of a variety of topics, Y must have an even better understanding of those subjects than the people in the room.  Inside the room after his interviews are completed, if Y is honest and capable of making the determination, Y will say, "I am the smartest person in the room."  If Y conducts the survey outside the room (say, through a conference call), then Y can truthfully and objectively report which of the four people is the smartest in the room.  In either event, Y must be smarter than all the people in the room to inform us of the name of the smartest person therein.

A room full of outstanding con artists (or politicians) presents Y with an entirely different scenario.  "Machiavellian" became an adjective defined as "cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous, especially in politics or in advancing one's career" for a reason.  Moral person Y will be hard-pressed to detect the greatest Machiavellian "double deceiver" in a room filled with them.

Note that it will be impossible for those of us outside of the room to determine whether or not Y is part of some greater deception if Y identifies X as the "smartest person in this room," where "smartest" means most devious.  If Y is "smart" enough to detect the "smartest" con artist, it is highly likely that Y is either the biggest of the swindlers -- or  that Y is covering for the greatest con man in the room.  In either event in this scenario, if Y claims that "X is the Machiavellian smartest person in the room" there are reasons to doubt Y's conclusion.

Getting back to the quote from the NYT, notice that the unnamed Democrat source says that Obama "always believes he is the smartest person in any room."  There is something creepy about this claim -- if it is true.

Everyone reading this essay has been, at one time or another, the smartest person in a room.  We knew it at the time.  But what kind of narcissism and/or Machiavellian cunning must reside in the heart of a person who "always believes he is the smartest person in any room"?

A friend of Socrates named Chaerephon asked the oracle at Delphi if anyone was wiser than Socrates.  The priestess for the oracle replied there was no one.  Socrates did not relish the proclamation that he was, in effect, the smartest person in any room.  In fact, Socrates challenged the pronouncement:

"It seemed to me ... that the people with the greatest reputations [for wisdom] were almost entirely deficient, while others who were supposed to be their inferiors were much better qualified in practical intelligence." [iv]

This is called "humility."  The smartest person in one room fully understands that he may not be the smartest person in the next.  That's a large part of what it takes to be "the smartest person in the room."

Larrey Anderson is a writer, a philosopher, and Senior Editor for American Thinker.  He is the author of the award-winning novel The Order of the Beloved and the memoir Underground.  He is working on a new book called The Death of Culture.

[i] The website that claimed Obama's IQ was 170 (give or take a few points) offered this irrational defense of why Obama had not released his test scores: "Obama's campaign is apparently NOT HAPPY about The Washington Post preparing to disclose this [a purported high IQ score], because they fear it adds to his reputation as not an 'everyman' and being too 'elitist.'"  This explanation assumes that a highly intelligent person is, ipso facto, an elitist -- whatever "elitist" might mean.  It seems evident that most people would respect, and even desire, an intelligent president.  One would think that WaPo would rush to publish such an IQ score if it were verifiable.  Which is more likely: not revealing an IQ score because it proves the president's intelligence is "average" or because it shows the president is a genius?  (Hint: one does not have to be the smartest person in the room to answer that question.)

[ii] Take the three definitions of "smart" I have presented in the reverse order: (1) street smart, (2) knowledgeable, and (3) high IQ.  Now think of them in the context of this quote from Machiavelli:

There are three kinds of intelligence: one kind understands things for itself, the other appreciates what others can understand, the third understands neither for itself nor through others.  This first kind is excellent, the second good, and the third kind useless.
[iii] For the remainder of this discussion, I have dispensed with the notion of IQ as equivalent to "smartest."  Obama would have to have an IQ well over 200 to be the smartest person in any room.  Such is clearly not the case.

[iv] Apology, 23a.




Revaluating Barack Obama’s IQ

Monday, October 5, 2009
    Even amongst the HBD community, it was widely accepted that Barack Obama had a much higher than average IQ. HalfSigma estimated Obama’s IQ to be around 150. Such a score would put him comfortably amongst the foremost cognitive elite.

    Yet with Obama’s early floundering as President and some leftist pundits openly questioning his knowledge of the issues, I think it’s suitable to reconsider just how smart Obama actually is.

We have several pieces of evidence to consider in making this assessment.

1) Attended both Occidental College and Columbia for undergraduate

We know absolutely nothing of his grades, transcripts, published writing, or testing scores from this era of Obama’s life. We know he was accepted to Columbia, but under the suspicion of affirmative action and given the range of scores at even elite colleges, this basically means nothing.

2) Attended Harvard Law school: Law Review Editor and graduated Magna ******* Laude

    Again, this means nothing under the suspicion of affirmative action. Obama refuses to release his test scores, so I give his acceptance essentially no weight in supporting high intelligence. His pposition as Law Review Editor was probably garnered due to high status on campus and being a congenial fellow amongst his classmates. And surely, his white liberal and black classmates couldn’t contain themselves in electing Mr. Post-Racial as Editor.

Yet, Obama is the only editor in the history of the Harvard Law Review to not publish an article. He did graduate Magna ******* Laude, but given this writing sample, I find even that accomplishment suspicious. His writing sample is actually written quite well and I’m somewhat impressed by his word choice and sentence structure (surely better than his wife’s). However, his argument lacks any original thought and he commits the exact kind of errors a high-scoring LSAT student would have mastered. Here he uses personal anecdote as a counterargument (a type of error tested for on every LSAT):

    I respect Mr. Chen’s personal concern over the possible stigmatizing effects of affirmative action...however, I have not personally felt stigmatized
     He continues, outright admitting he’s an affirmative action admit:

     I must say, however, that as someone who has undoubtedly benefited from affirmative action programs during my academic career, and as someone who may have benefited from the Law Review’s affirmative action policy when I was selected to join the Review last year
3) Wrote Dreams of My Father

I had considered this as sufficient evidence for asserting Obama had an extremely high intelligence. The author of Dreams is a masterful writer with a solid grasp of metaphor and prose. The inner ruminations of the Dreams Obama implies an intellectually gifted individual eager to understand his own psyche and how it relates to the larger world. Yet, given Jack Cashill’s investigations on the matter, I highly doubt Obama penned the more impressive parts of this book. Thus, I discount this as concrete evidence for Obama’s purported brilliance.

4) Law School Professor at University of Chicago for ten years

Another empty suit.  Never published an article in ten years as a professor.

5) Great speaker (with teleprompter)

This video says it all (@ 0:13). The great orator is merely parroting a scrolling script:

In my estimation, taking into account his rather expansive vocabulary, penchant for stringing together good sentences, and being at the very top end of blacks, Obama’s likely around 125. He would excel at a large state school, but not at an elite one. Where would you put him on the Bell Curve?


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Dollar plunges to 2½-year low
By Peter Garnham

 April 21 2011

     The dollar dropped to its lowest level in more than two-and-a-half years on Thursday as buoyant risk appetite prompted investors to sell the currency to fund carry trades.

    Analysts said robust corporate earnings figures had boosted hopes over global growth, while the prospect that US interest rates would remain at ultra-low levels was fuelling demand for carry trades, in which low-yielding currencies such as the dollar are sold to finance the purchase of riskier, higher-yielding assets elsewhere.

    Market rumour that the People’s Bank of China was poised to implement of substantial, one-off revaluation of the renminbi also weighed on the US currency.

     The dollar index, which tracks its progress against a basket of six leading currencies, fell 0.8 per cent to 73.785, its weakest level since August 2008. Traders said the stage could now be set for the index to target the record low of 70.698 it hit in March 2008.

    The dollar also dropped 0.9 per cent to a 16-month low of $1.4641 against the euro, fell 1 per cent to a 16-month trough of $1.6560 against the pound, lost 0.8 per cent to a record low of SFr0.8817 against the Swiss franc and plunged 0.7 per cent lower to Y81.93 against the yen.

    The Australian dollar, which with its relatively high yield and commodity-linked status has been a favourite target for carry trade investors, surged to a fresh 29-year high against the dollar, rising 0.6 per cent to $1.0758.

   Lee Hardman at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ said dollar weakness continued to be mainly driven by widening expectations of monetary policy divergence between the Federal Reserve and other major central banks.

    He said the downgrade of the outlook of US sovereign debt by rating agency Standard & Poor’s on Monday had reinforced this dynamic by increasing expectations that the Fed would have to keep interest rates at ultra-low levels for longer to offset the negative impact from the expected fiscal tightening.

    Mr Hardman added, however, that while near-term concerns over monetary policy divergence and heightened US fiscal concerns were genuine, he believed there was a strong case that current dollar weakness was overextending.

     “With market liquidity thinning heading into the Easter holidays, it provides the ideal conditions for a dollar undershoot relative to fundamentals,” he said.

     “Indeed, while there is a notable risk that the near-term dollar sell-off extends further, it appears only a matter before a correction takes place.”

BRICS Make Move to Shove Dollar Aside
by David Marsh
Monday, April 18, 2011

Commentary: Beijing won't push the renminbi too fast


      China and four other leading high-growth economies have taken landmark steps toward lowering the importance of the dollar in international financial transactions — part of a seminal shift in the move towards a multicurrency reserve and trading system.

    Mind you, you wouldn't get an idea of anything dramatic from reading the official Chinese press on the conclusion of a summit meeting of the so-called BRICS economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in the southern resort twin of Sanya in southern China last week.

     "Leaders call for peace and prosperity" was the front-page headline in the China Daily. Stirring stiff. Even more striking was the prominent story the previous day that China's President Hu Jintao and visiting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff had agreed to quicken trade procedures for "gelatin, corn, tobacco leaf, bovine embryos and semen." At least we know there's no holding back the Chinese rhetorical flourishes on these issues.

    Leave aside the whimsical acronyms. Addition of South Africa to the former BRICS format seems to have galvanized the grouping. The five countries agreed to expand use of their own currencies in trade with each other — an important step toward putting the dollar into a new downsized place. One key influence is the annual expansion of China's trade volume with other core countries by 40% in 2010 — and the buoyancy looks set to continue.

    The BRICS' state development banks, including the China Development Bank, agreed to use their own currencies instead of the dollar in issuing credit or grants to each other — and they will also phase out the dollar in overall settlements and lending among each other.

Chinese officials at the annual Boao Forum at the end of last week voiced cautious optimism about the possibilities for far-reaching international monetary reform proposals taking a step forward when the G-20 meet in Cannes in November at the behest of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Chief among these is for enhancing the special drawing right of the International Monetary Fund through the inclusion of emerging market currencies.

    Speaking in Boao, Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, refused to get carried away by any of this. He gave a cautious welcome to bringing the renminbi in to the SDR but admitted it had to be part of a planned move to full convertibility of the Chinese currency as well a shift to a flexible exchange rate.

     Fresh signs of a disturbing lack of equilibrium in the Chinese economy, above all the latest annual rise in the consumer price index in March to 5.4% — have heightened speculation that China will speed up a rise in the renminbi to lower import prices. Governor Zhou, while not yet wishing to confirm any details, delivered a strong hint that he was prepared for such a course.

    If the renminbi were to become a fully fledged reserve currency, of course, it would have to go down as well as up — marking enormous risks along the journey for the renminbi to assume a greater international role. For all of these reasons, Beijing will proceed with utmost caution in relaxing its restrictions for the currency to circulate freely overseas.

     The last few days, make no mistake about it, mark an important step along this path — but there is a long way to go still.


David Marsh is co-chairman of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions





Real Wages Fall For 5th Straight Month, Bad News For Obama
By Ed Carson
Fri., April 15, 2011

Tags: Economy - Income - Inflation - Obama - Elections

Real earnings fell for a fifth straight month as wages fail to keep up with soaring gasoline prices and other costs. Inflation-adjusted earnings for all private workers dropped 0.5% in March, the worst monthly drop since July 2008, according to Labor Department data. Nominal wages were flat while consumer prices climbed more than 0.5% for a second straight month.

    Year over year, inflation-adjusted weekly pay sank 0.4%. That’s the first drop in a year and down from a 2.2% gain in October.

    Since October, real weekly wages have dropped at a 3.8% annual rate — matching the decline set in July 2008, when oil prices peaked above $147 a barrel.

    (Meanwhile, real hourly wages fell 0.6% vs. Feb. and 1% vs. a year earlier.)

   The 2 percentage point temporary cut in payroll taxes has offset much of the recent decline in wages. But prices at the pump are taking their toll on consumers’ pocketbooks and psyche. Retail sales ex gasoline rose just 0.1% last month. The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index dived to a 33-month low in April, losing more than 20% in the last three months.

    Overall consumer inflation was 2.7% in March, the highest since the end of 2009. Core inflation was 1.2%, the highest since the start of 2010 but still moderate. However, overall and core inflation should continue to trend higher for the next few months, if only because of easy year-earlier comparisons.

   Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is betting that commodity prices will have only a temporary impact on U.S. inflation. We’ll see.

    It’s not just inflation. Nominal weekly wages were flat in March. The yearly gain slowed from 3.4% in October to 2.3% in March.

    Wage woes are bad news for President Obama’s re-election hopes. As James Pethokoukis has pointed out, income is the biggest variable on national elections.


Skunk picture

The skunk has replaced the Eagle as the new symbol

of the American Presidency.

It is half black, half white, and everything it does stinks!