The 44th president is proposing to add more to the national debt than the first 43 presidents combined, doubling it in the next six years, and tripling it within the decade. But to talk about it in percentages of this and trillions of that misses the point. It’s not about bookkeeping, it’s about government annexation of the economy, and thus of life: government supervision, government regulation, government control. No matter how small your small business is — plumbing, hairdressing, maple sugaring — the state will be burdening you with more permits, more paperwork, more bureaucracy.
The Telegraph gives us some insights into how Obama is perceived overseas.
While the troop surge in Iraq that Mr Obama so vehemently opposed has succeeded beyond his imaginings, the "good war" he championed in Afghanistan is spiralling downwards and there are dark mutterings on the Left about it becoming his Vietnam.
Mr Obama's demands for more European boots on the ground in Afghanistan have already been rejected by the French and Germans.
The leak-proof, supremely well-organised campaign and the post-election transition that was hailed as being one of the smoothest in history are over. They have given way to an at times stumbling administration that struggles to fill the cabinet, botches its message and has all but abandoned the bipartisanship candidate Mr Obama promised.
Far from changing the world, Mr Obama has barely looked over his shoulder at it.
During his first, chaotic weeks in power, Mr Obama's focus has been almost entirely domestic.
Gordon Brown's visit to Washington earlier this month was a public relations fiasco. Minutes before his meeting with Mr Obama in the Oval Office, British officials were still negotiating details with reluctant White House aides.
For some in Europe, the reality of a President Obama may disappoint.
World's most alienating airport:
Welcome to the Democrats' utopia...a nightmarishly impersonal and bureaucratic world.
Imagine working 14-hour days — for a year — on a $1 salary with the understanding that at the end of the year, you would receive a financial reward for your hard work. Then imagine how you would react if Congress, angry mobs and a state Attorney General decided to take it all away. This is the other side of the AIG story.
The following is from a letter sent on Tuesday by Jake DeSantis, an executive vice president of the American International Group’s financial products unit, to Edward M. Liddy, the chief executive of A.I.G.
It is with deep regret that I submit my notice of resignation from A.I.G. Financial Products. I hope you take the time to read this entire letter. Before describing the details of my decision, I want to offer some context:
I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in — or responsible for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage.
After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.
I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down.
If the public threatens the safety of their families, the Attorney General threatens to prosecute them, and Congress threatens to take the money away they got paid for not seeking employment elsewhere, why should they stay? And here’s an even better question: why should anyone take their place? Would you work for $1 a year just so you could put your children in the gunsights of lunatics doing bus tours past your house and have the state’s top prosecutor pledging to come after you with all the tools at his disposal? [snip]
This is what mob hysteria produces, and we can thank Congress and our “shaking with outrage” President for fomenting it. They’ve put people in danger who had little to do with the actual wrongdoing, and deliberately encouraged the drooling, mindless reaction around the nation. They’ve probably kneecapped any possibility of getting our money back out of AIG. I hope people enjoyed their outrage parties, because we just paid $150 billion for them.
Obama has been working himself to the point of exhaustion trying to ensure that our economic crisis does not go to waste. If he can't get our country on the path to European-style socialism now, he might never have a better opportunity. Thus the sense of urgency.
With all the hand waving, grandstanding and parochialism that has been on display lately, let's not forget that there is at least one issue that is more important than our current economic woes: national defense.
While campaigning, Obama made several promises regarding national defense:
I will cut tens of billions of dollars in spending.
I will cut investments in missile defense systems.
I will not weaponize space.
I will slow our development of future combat systems.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that we live in a world that is as dangerous as it has ever been, Obama has provided every indication that he intends to keep these promises.
In the short time Obama has been president, he has shown that he does not take seriously the threats we face. He continues to insist that we can reason with madmen who have nuclear ambitions; he has begun to formulate serious plans to make significant cuts in defense spending, he has taken steps to halt the development of missile defense systems; and on the domestic front, Obama threatened to make cuts in support for military service-related medical care. These are not the actions I would expect from a commander-in-chief who understands the reality of the post 9-11 world.
The Heritage Foundation has produced an excellent documentary that exposes the life-threatening myths about defending America. 33 Minutes: Protecting America in the New Missile Age tells the story of the very real threat foreign enemies pose to every one us. The truth is brutal.
33 Minutes is the definitive documentary exposing the untold vulnerability we all face and the action plan necessary to revive a defense system that America uniquely can develop, maintain, and employ for its own defense and the peace-loving world's security.
33 Minutes: Protecting America in the New Missile Age
Pelosi and friends thought they could help the economy by using stimulus money to pay for contraceptives, thereby keeping the population under control. Regarding the other end of life's spectrum, do you think Obama and Pelosi might be interested in utilizing physician assisted suicide as a cost-saving measure in their plans for a Socialized Health Care system? The debate over physician assisted suicide might be coming soon:
In November, 57.8 percent of Washington voters said yes to a ballot initiative that permits physicians to offer terminally ill patients prescriptions for a lethal dose of barbiturates, which patients may self-administer to end their own lives.
The state's "Death with Dignity" law took effect March 5. Supporters and critics agree that if the law works without documented problems, as it has in Oregon since a similar law was enacted in 1997, it could boost support in other states. Supporters say they would target states that have narrowly rejected physician-assisted suicide: California, Vermont, Maine, and Hawaii. In Montana, a judge in December ruled that physician-assisted suicide is legal in that state, holding that the state constitution's right to privacy allows it. The state has appealed the ruling to the Montana Supreme Court.
Besides arguing against the morality of patients taking their own lives, opponents contend that older, disabled, and depressed patients are vulnerable to being pressured to kill themselves.
"It lowers the barrier for suicide among people who are depressed and feel they are a burden—particularly seniors, who are classically underdiagnosed for depression," says Geller of the Coalition Against Assisted Suicide.
Think your tax dollars should be used for this practice?
Off With Their Heads
We have an anti-capitalist Democrat party working with a president who thinks that America's greatness is based in government, together with no small number of Republican sycophants, spending this country into oblivion ... and looking for ways to distract your attention in the process.
Is this the end of America?
The AIG bonus firestorm is a diversion from real issues , but it puts the ghastly political classes who make U. S. law on display for what they are: ageing self-serving demagogues who have spent decades warping the U. S. political system for their own ends. We see the system up close, law-making that is riddled with slap-dash, incompetence and gamesmanship.
Obama pushes US budget despite alarm
Obama's policies would cause government spending to swell above historic levels even after the costly programs to alleviate the recession and shore up the financial system have ended. The result, the CBO said, was that by 2019 the US national debt would be about 82% of GDP...
Right now, Washington is telling the planet: In our America, there are no rules. Got a legally binding contract? We’ll tear it up. Refuse to surrender the dough? We’ll pass a law targeted at you, yes, you, Mr. Beau Nuss of 27 Plutocrat Gardens, Fatcatville. If you want a banana republic on steroids, this is great news. So cheer on thuggish grandstanding by incompetent legislators-for-life like Barney Frank if you wish.
Ouch!... 60 Minutes Reporter Asks Giggly Obama: "Are You Punch-Drunk?"
It was about halfway through a friendly and respectful 90-minute interview with 60 minutes, a programme much favoured by the White House, that President Barack Obama's interlocutor exclaimed: 'Are you punch drunk?'
Non-surprise of the day: Warren Buffett gets thrown under the Obamabus. It's very sad, because Obama and Buffett were once dear friends...
Buffett and Obama became fast friends when they first met in 2005. "I've got a conviction about him that I don't get very often," he told the Tribune at the time. "He has as much potential as anyone I've seen to have an important impact over his lifetime on the course that America takes."
Buffett endorsed Obama, and in turn, Obama anointed Buffett as one of his top economic advisers and showered him with praise:
"Not only am I a less successful investor, but my jokes aren't as funny," Obama said, later calling Buffett "an example of what's best in this country."
While Obamaphiles bemoan the thought of the rich getting richer, they were quite proud that the world's richest person was one of their own. They hit him with every kind of flattery they could think of:
"He's the absolute right commander in chief. That— you know, that's another thing the American people seem to do, occasionally, is that we elect people that are right for the times. You know, whether it was Lincoln, Roosevelt. And I would say Obama— you couldn't have anybody better in charge."
"Well, he's smart, he's got the right values, but he also— he understands economics very well. He's cool. He's analytical. But then, when he gets it all thought through, and he's fast— he can convey to the American people what needs to be done. Not to expect miracles. That it's gonna take time. But that we're gonna get to the other end. And I don't think there's anybody better for the job than the president-elect."
"He'll use his team, he'll use them very effectively. He'll synthesize, he'll analyze. But, in the end, it'll be his decision."
That was then. Now that he's lost several billion dollars in the Obama economy, our shining example of what's best in this country has some tough words for his commander in chief:
"If you're in a war, and we really are in an economic war, there's a obligation to the majority to behave in ways to not go around inflaming the minority. If on Dec. 8, or maybe it was Dec. 7, when Roosevelt convened Congress to vote on the war. He didn't say, ‘I'm throwing in about ten of my pet projects,'" Buffett said.
Taking aim at one such issue, interviewer Joe Kernen replied: "You might not have fixed global warming the day after - the day after D-Day, Warren."
"Absolutely," Buffett declared. He also told Kernen that the Republicans should provide general support for the administration, but that the Democrats should not be pushing "contentious" policies that are not related to solving the nation's economic woes.
"Job one is to win the economic war. Job two is to win the economic war and job three...and you can't expect people to unite behind you if you're trying to jam a whole bunch of things down their throats. So I would absolutely say, for the interim until we get this one solved, I would not be pushing a lot of things that, that you know are contentious."
On Sunday, on 60 Minutes, Obama returned the fire:
Your Treasury Secretary's plan... Geithner's plan, and— your plan really— for solving the banking crisis— was met with very, very, very tepid response... I know you're coming out with something— next week on this. But these criticisms were coming from people like Warren Buffett, people who had supported you, and you had counted as being your—
And— and— and— and Warren still does support me. But I think that, understand Warren's also a big player in the financial markets who's a major owner of Wells Fargo. And so he's got a perspective from the perspective of somebody who— is part owner of a bank.
Translation: "Buffett is a turncoat Wall Street fat-cat. You can't trust him; his opinion is worthless."
When you're in a hole, the first order of business is to stop digging.
Last week I reached out to the president, asking for a federal waiver from restrictions on stimulus money. I got a most unusual response. Before I even received an acknowledgment of the request from the White House, I got word that the Democratic National Committee was launching campaign-style TV attack-ads against me for making it.
Is this the new brand of politics we were promised? Instead of engaging with me and other governors on the merits of our dissent, I am to be attacked in television ads? In the end, I just don't believe a problem created by too much debt will be solved by piling on more debt. This doesn't strike me as an unreasonable or extremist position.
SHAMED: 15 Of Top 20 AIG Bonus Recipients Returned The Money, Says NY Attorney General Cuomo... Some Have Refused... Holdouts May End Up Being Publicly Named... Less Than Half The Bonuses Went To Americans (Huff Post)
Cuomo strong-armed AIG for details on the millions paid to dozens of executives. (Politico)
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says that more than $30 million in bonus cash has been returned so far. (CNN)
Are Democrat donors bearish on their party's future?
The Democratic National Committee raised $3.2 million in February, a strikingly low take for a financial juggernaut led by President Barack Obama and his legions of grass-roots supporters who helped him shatter campaign fundraising records.
Even the committee's Republican counterpart raised more — $5.1 million — last month and did so under more difficult circumstances. The GOP was coming off of a disastrous election in which it lost the White House and saw its numbers in Congress shrink further. New GOP chairman Michael Steele also had a rocky start.
Overall, monthly reports being filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission show the Republican National Committee in healthier shape than the Democrats as both parties start raising money for special congressional elections and governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey this year, as well as congressional elections in 2010.
The DNC reported $8.6 million on hand and $7 million in debt, while the RNC reported $24 million in the bank and no debt.
You see, taxes matter. They hugely impact economic behavior. The whole economic system is run on incentives to work, invest and take risks. And it must pay, after tax, to ignite the entrepreneurial activity that really drives the economy. Like it or not, our free-market capitalist system is driven by the economic activist, provided he or she is properly rewarded.
Maria Shriver: Obama Special Olympics 'joke' hurts
Maria Shriver says the reaction to Obama's joke shows there is still more work to do. She says laughing at such comments "hurts millions of people throughout the world."