Answering some myths about Sarah Palin

The Washington Post has an interesting op-ed about Palin here. Personally, I thought that the piece could have been stronger and it should have definitely dealt with the myth that Palin isn't smart.

1. Palin cost McCain the 2008 election.
2. Resigning as governor was rash.
3. Palin and the tea party are destroying the GOP.
4. Palin is extreme.
5. Palin is unelectable.


The strategy for repealing Obama's health care law

The Economist magazine has this:

An outright repeal is impossible, as Mr Obama could simply veto any such bill. So Republicans are planning instead a strategy of “defunding” the new health law. Even Tom Daschle, a prominent Democratic former senator, thinks this is the Republicans’ best weapon. In “Getting It Done”, a new book published this week, he declares “It would be all too easy to kill the reform effort not by repealing it, but by starving it.” The bill will need over $100 billion in around 100 new authorisations over the next decade, all of which will require approval from Congress. Besides that, the Republicans could attach provisions to vital bills, such as the budget, that would forbid federal workers (say, at the Internal Revenue Service) from implementing the law. Congressman Paul Ryan, an influential Republican from Wisconsin, insists that “We’ll try every angle, from defunding to budget reconciliation.”

Another strategy is to challenge the unpopular “individual mandate”, which requires everyone to buy health insurance. Coalitions of states are pursuing several different lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of this mandate. A federal judge in Michigan ruled in favour of the Obama administration earlier this month in one of the suits, but the matter is likely to be fought all the way to the Supreme Court.

The most promising mode of attack for the right may be state-led obstructionism. Republican leaders in many states, most notably Utah and Alaska, have suggested they will simply not implement Obamacare. Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota has ordered state officials not to co-operate with the reforms, even turning down grant money. He insists states have the right to decide whether they want to implement the laws slowly or quickly. He vows to fight the “federal power grab” until a repeal bill can be signed in 2013 by a new Republican president—perhaps, he hopes, even himself. . . .

The Economist agues that letting the health care bill fall by its own unpopular weight over the next couple of years might be the best approach for Republicans politically, but waiting will do real damage to health care. The problem is that Democrats will blame Republicans for everything that goes wrong with the plan. Right now Democrats get the clear blame.


Number Three House Democrat talks about pushing government health care next year

For those who thought that the Democrats might have been chastened over voter opposition to their health care regulations. "Reelect me, keep Democrats on the field. And when we come back next year, maybe we will get to the public option," Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) said on a radio show this past week. Many other leading Democrats keep pushing the line that voters will eventually love all the new government regulations.

On this optimistic note:

“The danger is that the critics of reform will kill it before it ever has a chance to take hold,” former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle writes of the health reform law in his new book, “Getting It Done,” out Tuesday.
“Opponents in state government could undermine it at every turn, or simply say they cannot do what the law requires,” Daschle adds. . . .
The vast majority of states have applied for initial rounds of grants, but several have remained notably obstinate.
Alaska and Minnesota were the only states not to apply for health exchange planning grants. Three others — Wyoming, Iowa and Georgia — joined them in not pursuing an additional $1 million grant for rate reviews, released in the summer.
Most recently, Utah has become active in opposing more federal regulation of insurance markets. With Massachusetts, Utah is one of the few states that already operate a health exchange. State officials fear that new regulations could diverge greatly from the marketplace they know and like. In a letter last week, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert admonished U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to “resist the temptation to expand federal authority over state exchanges.” . . .

In the above interview, Daschle does suggest that he still thinks that Obamacare won't be derailed.

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Google and Music Piracy

Google's lack of support for property rights may impact its ability to get contracts to sell music. The music labels are worried that when people use Google to search for music they will be directed to pirate sites. Google is offering to charge the music labels for helping them stop these pirate sites. This has generally been Google's attitude for books also.

Here is the problem. In any other case, if a television or radio station took on ads to help sell stolen material, I would think that they would face a lot of trouble. Google benefits from carrying these pirate sites because those sites appeal to people to who want pirated music.

Last month, executives from two music-industry trade groups, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), asked Google if it could provide a means to help them track down pirated material more efficiently. Typically, copyright owners are responsible for finding pirated links and alerting Google, which is required by law to quickly remove the links.
But Google's response raised eyebrows at some of the labels.
James Pond, a Google manager, wrote in a letter dated September 20, that Google would be happy to help--for a price, according to a source who had seen letter. . . .
A music industry source estimated that such charges could add up to several million dollars a year.
Google confirmed the authenticity of the letter. A representative said Google fully complies with copyright law and wanted to make it clear that the company does not charge to remove links to pirated material.
"As always, Google honors valid legal removal requests," the representative said in an e-mail to CNET. "We don't charge for removals and have no plans to. We have a great relationship with the music industry and have worked consistently with them to advance their interests through services like YouTube ContentID, our music search feature, and our developer tools."
According to one music industry insider, few in the music industry will find comfort knowing Google isn't charging them to take down pirated links but does charge them to search for the links.
Does Google bankroll piracy?
Google's often contentious relationship with the entertainment industry doesn't end with the music business. There's plenty of grumbling going on in Hollywood about ads from Google and other online services found at numerous pirate sites. . . . . .
"From my point of view, Google fences stolen goods," said Ellen Seidler, an independent filmmaker, who last month told CNET that piracy cost her money when her small-budget film, "And Then Came Lola," was distributed illegally online. "These [pirate] sites...want to drive traffic to their site and they do it by pirating films. They are paid for the ads on their site by Google and others. What we need to do is force Google to be more vigilant in preventing filmmakers from getting ripped off." . . .

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Adrian Fenty and Michelle Rhee Respond to what the DC primary election results mean for education

It is pretty obvious to everyone that Adrian Fenty lost the DC primary to Vincent Gray because of the public teacher unions. Now their response only talks in the most general terms of what they did to make public schools better (e.g., they use the term that they were motivated by what was best for students without mentioning teachers, since they fired a lot of unionized teachers). It would have been nice if they had mentioned all the poorly performing teachers that they fired.

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2010 Deficit number is in: $1.3 trillion

Here is how the AP discusses the numbers officially released on Friday:

The Obama administration said Friday the federal deficit hit a near-record $1.3 trillion for the just-completed budget year.

That means the government had to borrow 37 cents out of every dollar it spent as tax revenues continued to lag while spending on food stamps and unemployment benefits went up as joblessness neared double-digit levels in a struggling economy.

While expected, the eye-popping deficit numbers provide Republican critics of President Barack Obama's fiscal stewardship with fresh ammunition less than three weeks ahead of the midterm congressional elections. The deficit was $122 billion less than last year, a modest improvement. . . .

Outside of the bailout, the federal budget went up by 9 percent in the 2010 budget year to $3.5 trillion, the Congressional Budget Office reported last week. Food stamp payments rose 27 percent as record numbers of people took advantage of the programs, while unemployment benefits rose 34 percent as Congress extended benefits for the long-term jobless. . . . .

So if the Federal government spending hadn't grown by 9 percent this past year, the deficit would have come in at almost exactly a trillion dollars, $300 billion less than it did.

Over the last two years, the increase in spending has been 21.4 percent (excluding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, deposit insurance, and TARP). Excluding those expenditures, the government spending has been:

Spending rolled in for the year that ended September 30 at $3.45 trillion, second only to 2009's $3.52 trillion in the record books.

Biden says that "GOP on deficits is like an arsonist becoming fire marshal"

Vice President Joe Biden said at a fundraiser Friday night that Republicans have "zero, zero, zero" credibility on reducing the deficit, and such talk from the GOP was "like making an arsonist the fire marshal." . . .
“These guys are not for real … They have zero, zero, zero credibility on deficits," he said. "The last guy to balance a budget was William Jefferson Clinton … These guys talking about deficits is like making an arsonist the fire marshal.” . . .

OK, so let's look at the deficit over the last few years, starting with the 2001 Budget under Clinton (B-78).

Republican control of Congress, Democrat President
2001 +128.2 billion

Split control of Congress, Republican President
2002 -157.8 billion
2003 -377.6 billion

Republican control of Congress, Republican President
2004 -412.7 billion
2005 -318.3 billion
2006 -248.2 billion
2007 -160.7 billion

Democrat control of Congress, Republican President
2008 -458.6 billion
Democrat control of Congress, Republican and Democrat President signing spending bill
2009 -1.412.7 billion


Total Democrat and Republican campaign spending fairly evenly matched

Given how many more Democratic incumbents there are, this result is actually pretty surprising.

The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics said the Democratic Party and candidates had raised a total of $1.25 billion so far for the election. The comparable GOP figure is $1.1 billion.


Openly homosexual troops in the military?: About 95 percent of Marines say "no"

The problem of having homosexuals in a fighting force is that it creates the potential of romantic relationships and jealousy -- this could lead to problems in soldiers trusting the actions of others. Would a soldier follow orders and abandon someone they are romantically involved with if they were ordered to do so? Just the possibility of doubt can raise problems when lives are on the line. The head of the Marine Corps has his concerns. The current rules don't stop homosexuals from serving in the military, the rules just stop them from serving openly.

As many as 95 percent of Marines would be uncomfortable serving alongside openly gay troops, the retiring commandant of the Marine Corps told Fox News in an exclusive interview.

Gen. James Conway told Fox News' Jennifer Griffin that a majority of his men and women think a repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy barring gays from serving openly will be problematic, so he has to believe that, too.

"When we take a survey of our Marines, by and large, they say that they are concerned that it will cause potential problems with regard to their order and discipline -- that it will impact their sense of unit cohesion," Conway said.

Gen. Conway was the first member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to speak out against a repeal earlier this year after Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen publicly endorsed President Obama's desire to change the law.

Conway plans to retire Oct. 22 after 40 years of service with the Marines. . . . . And wartime, he said, is "probably not the time" to change the military's policy on gays. . . . .

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The state of the economy

The value of the dollar is falling, bank shares are collapsing, consumer sentiment is falling, deficit comes in at $1.3 trillion, and unemployment is going to keep going up.


Jenny Wade gun owner, more on guns getting cool

Thanks to Lorien Johnson for suggesting this.


On the left attacking News Corp for some of its political donations

The Politico found yet another of their news stories from Media Matters. Some left wingers who own a very small amount of stock in News Corp used a shareholder meeting to push their political agenda. Just out of curiosity, given that employees at Fox and all the other media outlets give more money to Democrats, I wonder if these groups have ever asked about the balance in employees at different news organizations. Surely this "news" analysis piece didn't mention that point.

Murdoch began by pointing out that News Corp.’s PAC gave more money to Democrats than Republicans, and then addressed the two, much larger donations directly from the company’s coffers to organizations aggressively campaigning against Democrats this election cycle.

“We believe it certainly is in the interest of the country, and the shareholders and the prosperity that there be a fair amount of change in Washington,” he said.

Others speaking on behalf of the foundation pressed Murdoch on the risks associated with such a large donation to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, considering the controversy around the organization in the news. Murdoch insisted “there are no scandals, there are only allegations” about the Chamber, . . .

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Hasn't Bernanke learned anything about the false trade-off between inflation and unemployment

Inflation only lowers unemployment by temporarily tricking people into think that they are getting better wage offers than they actually are. When people learn that they have made a mistake, they go back to being unemployed again. In the mean time they are doing work that they regret taking.

Inflation the last two months has been going at a 2.8 percent annual rate over the last three months. That seems like a fairly normal inflation rate for the last couple of decades.

Here is what Bernanke said (see also here):

The longer-run inflation projections in the SEP indicate that FOMC participants generally judge the mandate-consistent inflation rate to be about 2 percent or a bit below. In contrast, as I noted earlier, recent readings on underlying inflation have been approximately 1 percent. Thus, in effect, inflation is running at rates that are too low relative to the levels that the Committee judges to be most consistent with the Federal Reserve's dual mandate in the longer run. In particular, at current rates of inflation, the constraint imposed by the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates is too tight (the short-term real interest rate is too high, given the state of the economy), and the risk of deflation is higher than desirable. . . .

As of June, the longer-run unemployment projections in the SEP had a central tendency of about 5 to 5-1/4 percent--about 1/4 percentage point higher than a year earlier--and a couple of participants' projections were even higher at around 6 to 6-1/4 percent. The evolution of these projections and the diversity of views reflect the characteristics that I noted earlier: The sustainable rate of unemployment may vary over time, and estimates of its value are subject to considerable uncertainty. Nonetheless, with an actual unemployment rate of nearly 10 percent, unemployment is clearly too high relative to estimates of its sustainable rate. Moreover, with output growth over the next year expected to be only modestly above its longer-term trend, high unemployment is currently forecast to persist for some time. . . ..

Bernanke is right that the economy is growing "too slowly to bring down unemployment." The objection is how Bernanke and Obama is trying to fix the problem. Bernanke may need that he feels that he needs to do more extreme measures because the Obama administration is creating so many disincentives, but that doesn't justify Bernanke doing things wrong also.

The fall in the value of the dollar likely signifies two things: that few want to invest in the US and that inflation is going to increase.

The dollar tumbled against most major currencies on Thursday, prompting warnings that the weakness of the world’s reserve currency could destabilise the global economy and push other countries into retaliatory devaluations to underwrite their exports.

Increasing expectations the Federal Reserve will pump more money into the US economy next month under a policy known as quantitative easing sent the dollar to new lows against the Chinese renminbi, Swiss franc and Australian dollar. It dropped to a 15-year low against the yen and an eight-month low against the euro. . . . .

As the WSJ notes, Bernanke is only concentrating on unemployment, and he should be honest, rather than the bizarre comment that a 2 percent inflation rate is "too low."

Mr. Bernanke broke no new ground in explaining why he believes inflation at less than 2% is too low and why the Fed must encourage greater inflation to reduce the 9.6% jobless rate. "Inflation is running at rates that are too low [his emphasis] relative to the levels that the [Fed Open Market] Committee judges to be most consistent with the Federal Reserve's dual mandate in the longer run," he said. That dual mandate is to maintain stable prices and low unemployment, and Mr. Bernanke's message couldn't be clearer that cutting the U.S. jobless rate is now Job One at the Fed.

We were more struck by what Mr. Bernanke didn't say. In a nearly 4,000-word speech about inflation, the Fed chief never once mentioned the value of the dollar. He never mentioned exchange rates, despite the turmoil in world currency markets as the dollar has fallen in anticipation of further Fed easing. . . . .

Another piece is here.

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A nice synopsis of why businesses are fearful of the Obama administration

Here is part of an excellent piece by Steve Huntley at the Chicago Sun-Times:

Democrats talk a good game about small business, but actions speak louder than words. Obama and the Democrats are pushing a tax increase that would hit 50 percent of small enterprise income and their massive health-care law saddles business with a flood of tax-filing paperwork for expenditures as low as $601.

Such government meddling in the economy and the threat of more have injected so much uncertainty into economic planning that businesses small and large are hesitant to invest until they get a clearer picture of the tax and regulatory environment. Democratic policies haven't reduced unemployment. Their stimulus did more to protect government jobs than lay the foundation for robust private-sector job creation.

It's no wonder that an alarmed business community is pushing back this election cycle, funneling campaign contributions to candidates and independent groups rallying around a pro-growth and jobs-creation agenda.

The White House response has been again to demonize its opponents. Obama accused the U.S. Chamber of Commerce of using foreign money to fund campaign activities -- a criminal act. The basis for this accusation? An unsubstantiated allegation on a left-wing blog. Recall how Democrats lambasted Republicans for taking their lead from Rush Limbaugh? Well, here's the president of the United States passing along an outrageous, unfounded bit of Internet character assassination. . . .

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"Deer-Car Collisions Soar"

This data is national data. Your chance of a car collision with a deer in West Virginia is 1 in 42, though that is the state with the highest risk. The clip from the CBS show is here.


Did Michelle Obama Break Law by Campaigning in Polling Place?

I assume that virtually everyone knows that it is agains the law to campaign in a polling place. Anyone who has voted knows that those pushing for candidates are not allowed to get very to where voting is taking place. One would especially think that a Harvard educated lawyer and, even more importantly, someone intimately involved in politics would know the rules. But apparently it doesn't matter for Michelle Obama. From the Drudge Report:

First lady Michelle Obama appears to have violated Illinois law -- when she engaged in political discussion at a polling place!

The drama began after Mrs. Obama stopped off at the Martin Luther King Center on the south side of Chicago to cast an early vote.

After finishing at the machine, Obama went back to the desk and handed in her voting key.

She let voters including electrician Dennis Campbell, 56, take some photos.

"She was telling me how important it was to vote to keep her husband's agenda going," Campbell said.

According to a pool reporter from the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES at the scene, the conversation took place INSIDE the voting center, not far from the booths.

Illinois state law -- Sec. 17-29 (a) -- states: "No judge of election, pollwatcher, or other person shall, at any primary or election, do any electioneering or soliciting of votes or engage in any political discussion within any polling place [or] within 100 feet of any polling place."

A top Ilinois State Board of Elections official tells the DRUDGE REPORT that Mrs. Obama -- a Harvard-educated lawyer -- may have simply been ignorant of the law and thus violated it unintentionally.

"You kind of have to drop the standard for the first lady, right?" the official explained late Thursday. "I mean, she's pretty well liked and probably doesn't know what she's doing."


When questioned about the brazen nature of Mrs. Obama's campaigning, press secretary Robert Gibbs defended the action.

"I don't think it would be much to imagine, the First Lady might support her husband's agenda," Gibbs smiled.

Fox News defends Michelle Obama here.

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Barney Frank Finally Being Called on the Carpet for protecting Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae

This story gets some of the historical facts wrong about the mortgage crisis. For example, it fails to note that Barney Frank's statement was in response to the Bush Administration's attempt to curtail Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae's risky behavior. Still it is about time that Barney Frank is being called to task for his actions in creating the financial mess.

Remarks about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., during a 2003 committee hearing have become a campaign issue in 2010.

Frank said then that the two government enterprises were strong enough to withstand any threats -- and that if they did get into trouble they would not get a government bailout. Sean Bielat, the Republican seeking Frank's seat, has a clip from 2003 on his campaign Web site, "Retire Barney," and Frank has been struggling to explain himself, The Boston Globe reports.

Frank acknowledges what he said in 2003 was "wrong on both counts." He said he was defending Fannie and Freddie because he was afraid the Bush administration wanted to shut them down. . . .

Conservative Michael Graham has this piece in the Boston Herald:

Has any congressman ever wreaked so much economic damage on his nation?

Even Frank admits that he had “ideological blinders” about Freddie/Fannie. His push to put the taxpayer on the hook for high-risk loans to special-interest borrowers was done in the name of liberal politics, not economic rationality.

He now claims he just didn’t know any better. But everybody knew better in the summer of 2008 when Frank claimed “Freddie and Fannie are not in danger.”

Two months later they were bankrupt.

Here’s just one frightening phrase from a memo in Frank’s congressional committee: Fannie and Freddie participated in transactions “that would not normally be considered to be economically viable.”

“Not considered economically viable” could be Frank’s campaign motto. From opposing Reaganomics to opposing welfare reform to opposing the Bush tax cuts, Frank’s been wrong on nearly every major issue since taking office in 1980.

Then there’s Frank’s (ahem) winning personality. Voters looking for a shaken hand or a well-kissed baby shouldn’t count on Barney. He’s branded himself as the “congressman most likely to scream at you as if he forgot to take his meds.”

Many voters remember Frank insulting a Lyndon LaRouche fan at a town hall (“Talking to you is like talking to a dining room table!”). But not long after he attacked the intelligence of a Harvard law student for asking legitimate questions about Frank’s role in the financial meltdown.

Cruel, cutting and cranky - is there really a political market for this? . . . .

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Trust in Government's Ability to Handle Domestic Problems at Lowest Point Ever Recorded

Probably not what Democrats want to hear right before the election.

the percentage trusting Washington to handle domestic problems, now at a record-low 46%.

Trust in the government's handling of domestic matters has generally tracked below public trust on international matters but has mostly followed the same trajectory. In the last several years as the economy has struggled, fewer than half of Americans have trusted the government's handling of domestic problems (with only one exception).

The vast majority of Democrats today have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in the federal government on both policy dimensions, no doubt because the Democrats continue to control the White House and both houses of Congress. Accordingly, there has been little change in Democrats' views over the past year. A slight majority of independents express confidence in the government on international problems, while 40% have confidence in the government on domestic problems, also similar to 2009 in each case. By contrast, fewer than 4 in 10 Republicans today are confident in the government on either issue, with a 12 percentage-point drop since 2009 in their confidence on international problems. . . .

Gallup also finds that people's views of the two parties is very similar to what they were in 1994.

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May be guns are getting cool

Something from the popular culture can be viewed here. "The 'Gossip Girl' actress comes out guns blazing in a sexy striptease shoot! Find out which celeb inspired her pistol packing photo spread."


Words and deeds on education reform

John Fund has this at the WSJ's Political Diary:

The White House wants to have it both ways on education reform. This week, President Obama hosted an Oval Office meeting with the young students featured in the popular education reform documentary "Waiting for Superman." The film follows five young people as they struggle to escape failing public schools by winning a lottery for seats in better-performing charter schools. Politics Daily reported that the meeting "was, perhaps, tacit approval of the film's message," which "lays much of the blame for the country's underperforming schools squarely on teachers."

But just two days after the White House meeting came news that Michelle Rhee is resigning as head of Washington D.C.'s public school system. For three years, Ms. Rhee has shaken up the dysfunctional system by firing incompetent teachers, closing failing schools and forcing a more performance-based work contract on local teacher's unions. The union didn't forget, and when D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, who had appointed Ms. Rhee, ran for re-election this year, they poured over $1 million into the race to defeat him. Last month, Mr. Fenty narrowly lost the Democratic primary to Vincent Gray, a union-backed candidate, making Ms. Rhee's departure a fait accompli.

Though President Obama had spoken highly of Ms. Rhee and Mr. Fenty, who was one of his earliest supporters in 2008, the president was notably AWOL while Mr. Fenty was fighting for his political life. Despite public pleas from Mr. Fenty, Mr. Obama didn't even offer his endorsement much less campaign for his friend. Andrew Rotherham, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, said the decision was "a pretty deliberate move" by the Obama White House. "There was a calculation that they wouldn't get involved in the race" regardless of the high stakes for the nation's most visible effort to fix a moribund public school system.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs dismissed questions this week about whether President Obama had any second thoughts about his failure to support Mr. Fenty. "I don't think the president has any regrets about not getting involved in a mayoral race," he told Politics Daily. "The important work of Michelle Rhee and Arne Duncan and others has to continue, regardless of the outcome of elections." . . .

Does anyone really think that the pressure on unionized teachers will continue?

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"Obama's Long and Evolving Enemies List"

For a long list of people attacked by the Obama administration see this piece by Fox News.

Since taking office President Obama and his team have been through a litany of Republican targets before the current crusade against Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Going back to the early weeks of the Obama administration, Power Play can detect a shifting and sometimes obscure demonology of the president's political foes. . . .


Obama thrashing around for a theme

Last week Obama was saying that if Republicans won, it would mean "hand-to-hand combat" on Capitol Hill for the next two years. Now in an interview with the NY Times Obama says:

“It may be that regardless of what happens after this election, they feel more responsible either because they didn’t do as well as they anticipated, and so the strategy of just saying no to everything and sitting on the sidelines and throwing bombs didn’t work for them, or they did reasonably well, in which case the American people are going to be looking to them to offer serious proposals and work with me in a serious way.”

Meanwhile Mark Halperin writes for Time Magazine that the Obama administration isn't exactly the best at dealing with others:

With the exception of core Obama Administration loyalists, most politically engaged elites have reached the same conclusions: the White House is in over its head, isolated, insular, arrogant and clueless about how to get along with or persuade members of Congress, the media, the business community or working-class voters. This view is held by Fox News pundits, executives and anchors at the major old-media outlets, reporters who cover the White House, Democratic and Republican congressional leaders and governors, many Democratic business people and lawyers who raised big money for Obama in 2008, and even some members of the Administration just beyond the inner circle. . . .

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What Obama now says that he would have done differently

This is part of what Obama told the NY Times this week.

He let himself look too much like “the same old tax-and-spend liberal Democrat.” He realized too late that “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects” when it comes to public works. Perhaps he should not have proposed tax breaks as part of his stimulus and instead “let the Republicans insist on the tax cuts” so it could be seen as a bipartisan compromise. . . .

Well, Obama has set massive records on spending, overseeing a 21.4 percent increase in Federal spending over two years. This sounds like a very temporary election conversion. As to the taxes that he pushed, it wasn't the type of taxes that Republicans like. His large deductions that are then phased out as income increases raises the marginal tax rate and actually reduces the return to people working. Here are the violins:

“we probably spent much more time trying to get the policy right than trying to get the politics right. There is probably a perverse pride in my administration — and I take responsibility for this; this was blowing from the top — that we were going to do the right thing, even if short-term it was unpopular. And I think anybody who’s occupied this office has to remember that success is determined by an intersection in policy and politics and that you can’t be neglecting of marketing and P.R. and public opinion.” . . .

But if Obama really thought that these were the right things to do, why didn't he campaign on what he was going to do? Don't the people at the NY Times remember that he clearly promised to cut government spending after he became president. Take the third debate (though he also made this promise very clearly in the second debate).

But there is no doubt that we've been living beyond our means and we're going to have to make some adjustments. Now, what I've done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut. I haven't made a promise about . . . . What I want to emphasize, though, is that I have been a strong proponent of pay-as- you-go. Every dollar that I've proposed, I've proposed an additional cut so that it matches. . . .

The consistency here is that Obama walks away from what he really believes when he faces the voters.



Newest Fox News piece: The Worst Recovery on Record

My newest Fox News piece starts this way:

For the last couple of years, President Obama keeps claiming that the recession was the "worst economy since the Great Depression." But this is not correct. This is the worst "recovery" since the Great Depression. Why? Because the unemployment rate has remained at least at 9.5 percent for 14 months. Astoundingly, the unemployment rate during the 15 months of "recovery" averages over three full percentage points higher than the average unemployment rate during the recession. There is no comparable "recovery" on record since the Great Depression. . . .

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Wow, do you really think that there is any connection here?

Take these two stories. First that virtually everyone thinks that the Fed is going to increase the money supply.

Following Friday’s disappointing jobs report, market participants are now virtually certain that the Federal Reserve will announce that it will resume buying assets at the conclusion of its November meeting and do so in a sizeable way, according to an exclusive CNBC Fed Survey.

Nearly 93 percent of the 70 respondents, including economists, fund managers and traders, believe the Fed will boost the size of its portfolio, up from 69 percent in the survey two weeks ago. . . .

The second that the dollar's value is plunging:

The dollar fell against the euro and yen on Monday after the world's top finance officials failed to reach a consensus on measures to head off what some see as a looming "currency war", analysts said.
The euro reached 1.40 dollars, while the US unit hit a fresh 15-year low against the yen amid growing expectation that the Federal Reserve will pump more money to bolster the struggling US economy, they added. . . . .

Printing up more dollars and the value of the dollar plunging? It seems like a pretty obvious relationship to me. Someone thinks that there is going to be increased inflation in the future.


Insider Trading Washington Style

Whoever said that working for the government was a financial sacrifice? Given the amount of money given out by the Federal government, stock prices must be hugely affected. From the WSJ:

Chris Miller nearly doubled his $3,500 stock investment in a renewable-energy firm in 2008. It was a perfectly legal bet, but he's no ordinary investor.

Miller is the top energy-policy adviser to Nevada Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who helped pass legislation that wound up benefiting the firm.

Jim Manley, a spokesman for Reid's office, initially defended Miller's purchase of shares in the company, Energy Conversion Devices Inc. He said the aide had no influence over tax incentives for renewable-energy firms, and that other factors boosted the stock.

But on Sunday, Manley added: "Mr. Miller showed poor judgment and Senator Reid has made it very clear to Chris and all his staff that their actions must not only follow the law, but must meet the higher standards the public has a right to expect from elected officials and their staffs."

Miller isn't the only Congressional staffer making such stock bets. At least 72 aides on both sides of the aisle traded shares of companies that their bosses help oversee, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of more than 3,000 disclosure forms covering trading activity by Capitol Hill staffers for 2008 and 2009. . . .

A few lawmakers proposed a bill that would prevent members and employees of Congress from trading securities based on nonpublic information they obtain. The legislation has languished since 2006. . . .

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Mixed signals from Obama on whether election is a referendum on the job that he is doing

So can the president now claim after the election that it wasn't a referendum on him?

The White House has hesitated to cast the midterm elections as a referendum on President Barack Obama, except when it comes to one key constituency: African-American voters.

As Obama has steadily increased his outreach to African American voters over the past month. With interviews and campaign stops targeted at the black community – “our community,” as the president likes to say – he has sent a clear signal that this election is about him and his record.

“Two years ago you defied the conventional wisdom in Washington,” Obama told thousands of screaming supporters Sunday at a campaign rally in a predominantly black area of Philadelphia. “They said, ‘No you can’t.’”

“’No you can’t elect a skinny guy with a funny game to the presidency of the United States,’” he added. “What’d you say?”

“Yes we can!” the crowd, waving “VOTE 2010” signs featuring the Obama 2008 campaign logo, replied.

His voice hoarse, the president pleaded with the Philadelphia audience to defy Washington conventional wisdom again. Head to your beauty shops and your barber shops, and spread the word, he said. But most of all, he said, head to the polls three weeks from now, even though he is not on the ticket.

“They think, ‘Oh Obama’s name’s not on the ballot, maybe they’re not going to turn out,” he said. “You’ve got to prove them wrong.”

The message echoed the one Obama delivered last week at a historically black college in Maryland. “Don’t make me look bad, now,” he said, urging the mostly African-American audience to vote. . . . .

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US Physics Professor resigns from American Physical Society saying that Global Warming is a Hoax

A copy of the letter from Hal Lewis at the University of California, Santa Barbara to the head of the American Physical Society:

When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago). Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence---it was World War II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists. As recently as thirty-five years ago, when I chaired the first APS study of a contentious social/scientific issue, The Reactor Safety Study, though there were zealots aplenty on the outside there was no hint of inordinate pressure on us as physicists. We were therefore able to produce what I believe was and is an honest appraisal of the situation at that time. We were further enabled by the presence of an oversight committee consisting of Pief Panofsky, Vicki Weisskopf, and Hans Bethe, all towering physicists beyond reproach. I was proud of what we did in a charged atmosphere. In the end the oversight committee, in its report to the APS President, noted the complete independence in which we did the job, and predicted that the report would be attacked from both sides. What greater tribute could there be? . . .

It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford's book organizes the facts very well.) I don't believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist. . . .

The letter has gotten some coverage at the UK Telegraph and the SF Chronicle. Debra Saunders at the SF Chronicle has this:

Dissenting physicists urged members to contact APS biggies, who reviewed input from members. According to APS, some "63 percent of respondents supported the existing statement with little or no change, while 37 percent said they opposed the current statement and wanted either no statement or the alternate statement adopted."

Interesting. In his book, "Earth in the Balance," Al Gore asserted that 98 percent of scientists believe in global warming. Just last week, a Senate staffer told me that 99 percent of scientists share Gores' take. Then how could it be at more than a third of APS respondents aren't on board with the doomsday scenario -- even though all the money and prestige and political pressure are on the global-warming alarmist side? . . .

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Is Obama lying about Foreign donations being used by Republicans to fund their campaigns?

The NY Times says that the claim is false:

“Just this week, we learned that one of the largest groups paying for these ads regularly takes in money from foreign corporations,” Mr. Obama said. “So groups that receive foreign money are spending huge sums to influence American elections.”

But a closer examination shows that there is little evidence that what the chamber does in collecting overseas dues is improper or even unusual, according to both liberal and conservative election-law lawyers and campaign finance documents. . . .

Michael Barone has this note:

it’s well documented that the 2008 Obama campaign did not put in place address verification software that would have routinely prevented most foreign donations. In effect they were encouraging donations by foreign nationals. Here’s the Washington Post on this back in October 2008: "Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor’s identity, campaign officials confirmed. Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged.” . . .

UPDATE: On Sunday fuzzed up his claims about foreign donors.

Obama Scales Back Campaign Finance Criticism After Claims Decried as 'Baseless'

President Obama on Sunday scaled back his claim that Republicans are taking foreign money for their campaigns, using slightly more ambiguous language at a rally in Philadelphia after GOP strategists warned Democrats against telling "baseless" lies to win votes.

Democrats had been directing their criticism at the Chamber of Commerce and other GOP-supporting groups. But after the latest Democratic National Committee ad outright claimed "it appears they're even taking secret foreign money to influence our elections," White House senior adviser David Axelrod acknowledged that "no one knows" where the money is coming from.

Obama, speaking at a Philadelphia rally Sunday, hammered the campaign finance theme but left open the question of whether anybody is violating U.S. law by using foreign money.

"There's no question the other side sees a chance to get back in the driver's seat," Obama said. "They are being helped along this year by special interest groups that are spending unlimited amounts of money on attack ads ... just attacking people without ever disclosing who's behind all these attack ads. You don't know. It could be the oil industry. It could be the insurance industry. It could even be foreign-owned corporations. You don't know because they don't have to disclose."

The president had left less wiggle room during a rally in Maryland Thursday, when he referenced the Chamber of Commerce, saying it was paying for ads against Democrats while taking money from "foreign corporations." . . .

UPDATE 2: From Politico:

Democrats enter the homestretch of the 2010 elections complaining vocally about the flood of Republican money, much of it anonymous, pounding their candidates.

But as the White House points the finger at outside Republican groups, many Democrats point the finger back at the White House, which dismantled the Democratic Party's own outside infrastructure in 2008 and never tried to rebuild it.
The blame certainly isn't President Barack Obama's alone. The rich Democrats who would traditionally give to such groups are — like Democrats at large — demoralized, particularly by the defeat of climate change legislation. They're disheartened by the conservative revival. And they're resigned to a Republican victory in November.

But it's also easy to underestimate the president's ability to increase the flow of cash to Democrat-friendly groups had he chosen to do so. Instead, Obama's choice has been unilateral disarmament.

To the White House, that posture is a mark of the purity of the presidential brand and of Obama's consistency. "Throughout his 2008 campaign, the president vowed to change business as usual in Washington and take on some of the tough challenges that politicians in Washington had put off for too long," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. "We're pleased to have made so much progress on these priorities — from Wall Street reform to health care reform — while staying true to the values and vision that earned the enthusiastic support of so many Democrats and Republicans during the campaign."

But to some of its more practical-minded allies, the White House is protecting the brand at a very real cost to the party. . . .

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Remember Obama's promise: "no lobbyists will work in my White House."

Now comes Tom Donilon, Obama's new National Security Adviser. Not only doesn't he have any foreign policy background prior to coming to the Obama administration, but it turns out that he also was a lobbyist.

He was a registered lobbyist from 1999 through 2005, and his sole client was Fannie Mae. ... His brother is Michael C. Donilon, a counselor to Vice President Joseph R. Biden. His wife, Cathy Russell, is Jill Biden's chief of staff. . . .


The Chicago Tribune of all places delivers a strong endorsement of the Republican Gubernatorial Candidate and Smashes the Democrat Nominee

To say that this level of an attack on Democrats by the Chicago Tribune is shocking is an understatement. This hasn't been Col. McCormick's paper for a long time. This editorial not only scathingly attacks the Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, it also calls for the Democrats to lose their majorities in the state House and Senate. It is definitely worth the read here. While your there you might consider giving the editorial a "five star" rating.