Third Party & Independents Archives

Four Integrity Tests for President Obama

A great smile does not make a truth teller. A talker of change does not define a reformer. Make no mistake, for the good of the nation I want President Obama to succeed in getting us out of the scandalous economic meltdown we are immersed in. But I do not like many of his actions, policies and strategies for accomplishing this, nor does the stock market.

I always had my doubts that he was a true agent of change and reformer when it came to the structure of the political and government system. He took an awful lot of money from the very rich and powerful in his campaign. Sure, with his superb speaking skills he has the capacity to win public approval, but most Americans are not deep, critical thinkers, nor do most have the best detailed information. What if he is just another untrustworthy politician? What if he does not keep his promises? With these questions in mind, I have examined four areas where I find President Obama’s behavior disappointing.

Most distressing is that he put people in power who failed to prevent the economic disaster, notably the Treasury Secretary. As someone with significant experience in government, I was appalled that President Obama has selected so many experienced people for his cabinet and high level White House positions who previously had powerful positions in government or the financial sector but failed to prevent the economic meltdown that is still worsening. Or even sound loud alarms about what was profoundly wrong with economic system. Why not look hard for people that had been criticizing various aspects of the mortgage and financial areas? People from the academic world, watch dog groups and public interest organizations that might have worked previously in government could bring more creativity to the problems. For someone who made a big campaign deal of being against politics as usual, Obama has shown precious little evidence that he wants true outsiders to steer his administration. His chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is the epitome of a protector of the status quo political system. Rather than selecting many big name Democrats and a few Republicans, why not seek out independents, whistle blowers and reformers to fix the economic meltdown?

Accepting a huge spending bill loaded with pork earmarks it starkly contradictory to what Obama promised during the campaign. During the campaign this is what candidate Obama said: “We need earmark reform. And when I’m president, I will go line by line to make sure we’re not spending money unwisely.” He has talked repeatedly about fiscal responsibility and real change in politics. Talk is cheap. This spending bill is not. Not with over 9,000 earmarks totaling some $12 billion. It is sheer nonsense for him and his supporters to say shamelessly that the spending bill is something left over from the Bush administration. Well, so is the Iraq war, but Obama certainly was ready to make changes with it. Why not have the integrity and courage to veto this spending bill and send it back to Congress with the mandate to cut out the pork? Why should we believe promises to wait until he cuts earmarks from future spending bills when clearly Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, are not willing to give up earmarks. And why won’t they? Simple, they create earmarks as part of the legal corruption that allows campaign contributors to get the earmarks they want.

Consider this example. Representative Anthony Weiner, Democrat, New York, received more than $160,000 in campaign contributions from for the Sephardic Addiction and Family Education (SAFE) Foundation in Brooklyn, New York, which has an earmark from him for $238,000. He was also sole sponsor on a $300,000 earmark for Brooklyn's Ohel Children's Home and Family Services, whose board members and employees have also given him money; its director has personally given $6,240. And the bill includes 14 earmarks requested by lawmakers for projects sought by PMA Group, a lobbying company used by all sorts of entities to get earmarks, which is at the center of a federal corruption investigation.

And consider this: Not supporting congressional efforts to form a truth commission to look into Bush administration misdeeds, such as allowing torture of supposed terrorists, secret detention, and domestic spying, is also hard to fathom. Obama keeps up the malarkey about wanting to look forward, not backward. But the pursuit of justice and discovering how our Constitution has been flagrantly violated by President George W. Bush and others are imperative tasks for a real democracy. "Nothing has done more damage to America's place in the world than the revelation that this nation stretched the law and the bounds of executive power to authorize torture and cruel treatment. Such a commission of inquiry would shed light on what mistakes were made so that we can learn from those errors and not repeat them,” said Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the chief advocate for a commission.

Significantly, a USA Today/Gallup poll in February found that 62 percent of Americans favor a criminal investigation or an independent panel to look into the use of torture, illegal wiretapping, and other alleged abuses of power by the Bush administration. So how can we understand why Obama does not passionately support doing this? I like what Georgetown University professor David Cole said: “in the face of credible evidence that high-level Bush administration officials authorized torture, a crime against humanity, the least we should do is undertake a serious, independent investigation.” What is scary is that perhaps Obama fears one day facing something similar for his misdeeds as president. It all comes down to this simple but profoundly important idea that Americans are supposed to embrace: absolutely no one should be above the law.

That President Obama has expressed no interest in a new 9/11 investigation reveals a lack of truth-seeking by someone who surely knows just how corrupt, unethical and dishonest the Bush administration was. The nationwide 9/11 truth movement is alive and well, because the vast majority of Americans still have many doubts about the official stories of what happened on 9/11, especially when it comes to the sudden collapse of three World Trade Center buildings, one of which was not even hit by an airplane. Countless scientists, engineers and architects have seriously examined mountains of data and evidence and come to the disheartening conclusion that something besides the official story must explain what happened. We are still paying an insane price in money and blood for the unjustified Iraq war that was largely justified by Bush because of 9/11. Searching for the truth about 9/11 is not about conspiracy theories; it is all about discovering if our government somehow had a hand in causing 9/11 in a so-called false flag operation. If it did, then the way to prevent any future such government action requires discovering the truth about 9/11. Why wouldn’t President Obama support this?

Posted by Joel S. Hirschhorn at March 8, 2009 11:00 AM
Comments
Comment #277088
That President Obama has expressed no interest in a new 9/11 investigation reveals a lack of truth-seeking by someone who surely knows just how corrupt, unethical and dishonest the Bush administration was

Nah, it means that he’s in touch with reality.

The investigations have been done. Every single peer-reviewed article and study on the issue has essentially agreed with the common understanding, and none support the conspiracy theory.

I, for one, am very glad that our new President is not only sensible enough to understand and respect the science and engineering reviews of the matter to accept them, but also fiscally responsible enough not to waste time and money on yet another investigation that would find what we’ve already discovered but wouldn’t convince anyone obsessed with pseudoscientific conspiracy.

Posted by: LawnBoy at March 8, 2009 11:20 AM
Comment #277091
Accepting a huge spending bill loaded with pork earmarks it starkly contradictory to what Obama promised during the campaign. During the campaign this is what candidate Obama said: “We need earmark reform. And when I’m president, I will go line by line to make sure we’re not spending money unwisely.” He [Obama] has talked repeatedly about fiscal responsibility and real change in politics.
What “pork earmarks”?

Yet, another (sort of) “Read my lips” moment, eh?

Besides. Haven’t you heard?
The definition of pork-barrel has changed.
It’s not pork-barrel anymore, if it comes out of the 111th Congress.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 8, 2009 12:10 PM
Comment #277092

Any investigation by Obama, or this congress, might lead to further evidence, or new evidence, that what some believe to be true … is not true. He/they is/are smart to not investigate, giving these individuals complaints in perpetuity. Always casting a shadow on these issues. Never answering them completely. Making it easy to place blame. Essentially allowing us to have another reason to fear government.

Posted by: Edge at March 8, 2009 1:09 PM
Comment #277094

What do you Know the Party in Power in congress is now a little more Corrupt and spends more money Science. “”“It’s not pork-barrel anymore, if it comes out of the 111th Congress”“” Said d.a.n. They need it now Dan and not before Right! :)

Posted by: Rodney Brown at March 8, 2009 1:37 PM
Comment #277096

In this site we have about the same number of entries in three columns, i.e., Liberal (left), Conservative (right), and Questionable (center).

My question is:

How could the man possibly please/satisfy/appease even the few who post here, let alone the rest of America? All we can really expect is for him to surround himself with good, intelligent people, make the best decisions he can, and hope for the best…if you feel strongly that he needs to lean more in a direction you would recommend, and I think the same thing, and Lee and Jim M and Stephen and David and….

Posted by: Marysdude at March 8, 2009 3:03 PM
Comment #277099

Joel, the stock market serves its own ends, NOT the nation’s, or the economy’s. It is a grave mistake to issue policy to the likes of those on Wall Street. Greed and conspicuous consumption are the masters of Wall Street. And most Americans have the good sense to recognize that these masters should not be in charge of government, as is the case in Venezuela or local governments in Mexico.

The American people in a majority recognize that Obama’s changing his 16 month promise for ending combat in Iraq to 19 months is not a broken promise, but, keeping the promise while considering all the new and relevant information that bears on such a decision.

The president, whomever that may be, must constantly update and adjust their positions in accordance with reality and changes in information relevant to that reality. Obama shows signs of doing just that.

Many want to blast him for acceding to the earmarks in last years unfinished appropriations omnibus bill. True enough, he is not holding the line on earmarks as he said he would in this particular instance. However, now that he is the president and not a candidate, he must consider how he is going to get HIS first fiscal budget coming up to pass through Congress with a minimum of earmarks. And further, how to get the 3 following budgets in his term of office through Congress as well with little or no earmarks, a beloved tradition of Congress.

Obama is enjoining the art of compromise. Congress gets its way with earmarks on last year’s appropriations, in exchange for Obama keeping his promise on earmarks for his next 4 budget proposals. That compromise, if successful, will save tax payers 10’s of billions of dollars and permit Obama to keep his campaign promise to cut wasteful spending in his term as president.

An inflexible president is not what voters wanted after GW Bush.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 8, 2009 3:34 PM
Comment #277103

Joel, I knew who wrote the article after I read the first couple of sentences. Great rticle that will find the Independents, a majority, very receptive. Obama is just plain lucky in many ways. He can take about any tact he wants with government and use the excuse, for the most of his first term, that the recession made him do it.
I guess I’m known around here as a conspiracy theorist but I can’t buy into your last para on a 9/11 conspiracy. It was allowed to happen exactly the same way the bombings of a number of our embassies happened. The State Dept’s wild eyed liberals who thought we should always keep the doors open an be handing out daisies could not bear to put up a bullet proof facade on buildings to protect the workers inside. Likewise, those same bleeding heart liberals, disguised as free traders (or maybe its the other way around) chose to ‘keep the doors open’ to this country, never check to see if ‘went home’, give them all the tickets they need such as drivers licenses, and God forbid ask any questions about ‘where they came from or why they are here’. And, now we have the same folks, but this time I’m sure I’ve got it right when I say they are free traders disguised as wild eyed liberals, touting their open border policy never mind that a war is being waged there, etc. An American citizen was beheaded in one of the border towns this week. No conspiracy there Joel, just plain unadulterated free trader stupidity, not ignorance, just free trader stupidity with a little wild eyed liberalism thrown into the mix.

Otherewise, we have the NAU we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 8, 2009 4:36 PM
Comment #277105

“Obama is just plain lucky in many ways. He can take about any tact he wants with government and use the excuse, for the most of his first term, that the recession made him do it.”

Luck,he was lucky? Next it will be the dems planned this crisis back in ‘02 so Obama could be elected and set the stage for WWIII. OK maybe a bit of a stretch there Roy but please, lucky to walk into the biggest economic crisis, global in scope, in decades? The Country losing jobs by the millions, the people indebted as never before due to the power of the financial institutions, Our military embroiled in occupying a foreign country for the past 5 years, Our military sorta kinda fighting a war in Afghanistan, Our Country in disrepair due to malfeasance in the previous administration and he was lucky? The people of the Country sharply divided, The business sector against him and his policies, His own appointee’s dropping out of the running and he is lucky?

The fact is Roy that he did not create this mini depression and should not have to accept the blame for it. But lucky, No matter which way he goes he is wrong. The repubs offered only tax cuts cuts as a solution, the independents offered nothing as a solution except criticism. His solutions are watered down in order to gain acceptance and will probably not work as well as we would wish them to, yet when they do work then he has to fix the problems caused by the solution, which will more than likely include raising taxes. No I wouldn’t call him lucky at all.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 8, 2009 5:33 PM
Comment #277107

“Most distressing is that he put people in power who failed to prevent the economic disaster, notably the Treasury Secretary….”

I agree Joel, I too found that to be the main exception I have taken to his administration to date. There have been several people that have been right in predicting this financial crisis yet they do not appear to have a place in the administration. D.A.N has mentioned Mr. Walker, a former comptroller as one that has been outspoken and correct for some time know. I can only suppose that he has illegals as maids or didn’t pay taxes sometime in his past, but I don’t know why we have ended up with those that are part of the problem instead of those that were correct beforehand.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 8, 2009 5:47 PM
Comment #277109

j2t2 and Joel, you might want to catch up on current events. Obama could not have prevented this economic disaster, it occurred BEFORE he became president.

Joel is disressed by Obama’s failure to put people in power to prevent the economic disaster? Get a grip! Obama’s treasury secretary was not in power to prevent the economic crisis upon and neither was Obama.

Unless I am completely overlooking something here, you both seem to be agreeing on a circumstance which never existed, while assuming it did.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 8, 2009 6:03 PM
Comment #277113

“j2t2 and Joel, you might want to catch up on current events. Obama could not have prevented this economic disaster, it occurred BEFORE he became president.”

David I understand that the economic collapse and the activities that lead up to and caused it occurred prior to the election of Obama as president. I don’t believe that is what Joel is saying. The staff that Obama picked after becoming president included those that held positions that could have helped to prevent the to big to fail banks from becoming to big to fail, as an example. I speak of Summers of course. In other words they held positions in the Clinton cabinet, were protege’s of Rubin and complacent in causing the problem. True they are some of the best and brightest but they did not fore see the unintended consequences of actions they were involved in and favored.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 8, 2009 7:15 PM
Comment #277114

j2t2: Yeah, left a real big hole in my defenses there. If I wrap some more words around it then it doesn’t sound so bad. A correction of sorts if you will. Obama is lucky in that he is being given the opportunity rarely if ever afforded to an incoming President to tackle hard problems and initiate new programs. At the same time it is hard to critize him with any effect on any issue as he can rightfully use the existing recession to deflect such criticism. In other words, we can throw darts at Obama for the next three years but none will hit their target no matter which way the recession goes. But, for year four stand back, he will own the recession/ercovery at that point.
Thanks j2t2 for the opportunity to get straight on that one.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 8, 2009 7:28 PM
Comment #277118
j2t2 and Joel, you might want to catch up on current events. Obama could not have prevented this economic disaster, it occurred BEFORE he became president.
Yet, another expert demonstration of stating the obvious. Come on David. Is that fair?

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 8, 2009 7:56 PM
Comment #277128

Another civics lesson is in order apparently. IT IS THE JOB OF CONGRESS TO SPEND MONEY! That is their onstituional function. Deciding on what and how much to spend it on is part of the process. Congresspersons know ,or should know, what the need of their districts are better than the executive branch. That is why the founders gave them the power of the purse. The alternative is for the executive branch to pick all the spending choices. Its a big country. You may not care about protecting sea turtles on Guam or immunizing school children in Oregon but someone else does and people have every right in the world to support representitives that share their views and support programs they favor.Outside of public financing the best we can do is insist on openess.

Posted by: bills at March 8, 2009 10:23 PM
Comment #277132

Marysdud said:

“How could the man possibly please/satisfy/appease even the few who post here, let alone the rest of America? All we can really expect is for him to surround himself with good, intelligent people, make the best decisions he can, and hope for the best…if you feel strongly that he needs to lean more in a direction you would recommend, and I think the same thing, and Lee and Jim M and Stephen and David and….”

He has surrounded himself with the same Clinton crooks. Well, anyway the ones who were able to pass the “Tax Test”, and I mean by that, the ones who paid their taxes on time. The dems drop like fies when it comes to forgetting to pay their taxes.

Integrety is a word foreign to BHO, he is a Chicago thug and has surrounded himself with the same. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t say to my wife, this government of BHO’s is a circus. I love it.


Posted by: Oldguy at March 8, 2009 11:14 PM
Comment #277133
Integrety is a word foreign to BHO

I think that’s a word foreign to all English speakers.

Posted by: LawnBoy at March 8, 2009 11:23 PM
Comment #277135

””“IT IS THE JOB OF CONGRESS TO SPEND MONEY! That is their onstituional function. Deciding on what and how much to spend it on is part of the process.”“” Yes it sure is and always has been Regardless of the excess waste and Abuse and fraud, Indenpendent’s like d.a.n. and Roy and many many others even I have brought the subject up Regardless of who is in power Thousands of times on this site just look at the archives.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at March 9, 2009 12:05 AM
Comment #277143

I must agree; at the very least, it LOOKS bad for Obama to go back on his promise to eliminate pork spending. Hardly anyone supported Obama more than me, but a promise is a promise.

Posted by: steve miller at March 9, 2009 7:40 AM
Comment #277148

steve miller, GW Bush was a president who, once a decision was made, no amount of information, reality, or feedback could get him to reverse course regardless of how bad the original decision was.

Obama promised to fight pork spending. And he will. He did not promise he would fight pork spending to the exclusion of getting anything else accomplished.

As explained above, it is very likely a deal is being struck in which Rep’s and Dem’s get their earmarks in this Omnibus from last year’s budget process, in exchange for Obama getting Dem support for dramatically reducing pork spending for the next 4 years budgets.

Frankly, if that is the deal being struck, I am all for the earmarks in this Omnibus bill totalling 7.7 billion while the pork in the range of 50 to 100 billion is cut from the budgets over the next 4 years and without much ado in the way of conflict between the Congress and White House. That is a win-win proposition for everyone, including us tax payers. If spending $7.70 cents today will bring 50 to $100 back to me over the next 4 years, it’s a helluva deal.

Especially given the love Congress persons have for their beloved earmarks. Rep. King (R) stood squarely in favor of earmark spending this week on TV. He will keep fighting for earmark spending for the next 4 years. If Dem’s won’t, Obama’s promise is realistically kept by such a bargain struck with Cong. Dem’s on last year’s appropriations.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 9, 2009 10:13 AM
Comment #277150

d.a.n said: “Yet, another expert demonstration of stating the obvious. Come on David. Is that fair?”

May be obvious to you and I, but j2t2 and Joel were stating the exact opposite of what is obvious, as if it were true. Tyrants rise to power on the basis of failures to question errors, logic, and correct misinformation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 9, 2009 10:17 AM
Comment #277152

I’m supporting Obama Like I’ve said many times before My BEEF Is with the congress, Just a thought After 9/11 Bush was almost giving full Carte Blanche for a good Year. http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/090309/buffett_economy.html

Posted by: Rodney Brown at March 9, 2009 11:26 AM
Comment #277165
Rodney Brown wrote: I’m supporting Obama Like I’ve said many times before. My BEEF Is with the congress.
Yes, Congress (as usual) is a large part of the problem. Yet, our illustrious Congress must think its doin’ a fine job though, since it just gave itself its 10th raise in 12 years, and $93,000 per Congress person for petty cash and expenses. At a time like this, that definitely raises questions as to whether Congress “gets it” ? Realistically, to say Congress has its head way, way, way up its butt is probably an understatement.

Voters are the other part of the problem, for repeatedly rewarding Congress with 85%-to-90% re-election rates.

However, I have to agree with steve miller who wrote:

steve miller wrote: I must agree; at the very least, it LOOKS bad for Obama to go back on his promise to eliminate pork spending. Hardly anyone supported Obama more than me, but a promise is a promise.

Yes. A promise is a promise.

“When I become president” does not equate to “After a year or so after I become president”.
While Congress is apparently addicted to pork-barrel, I’m not convinced that Congress needed or should be allowed one last, last, “last fix” of pork barrel

David R. Remer wrote: The omnibus bill laden with pork belongs to last year’s budget and to Congress. By letting Congress have their last fix on this bill, Obama can upon addressing the first fiscal budget of his Administration, take Congress to the mat on the pork, and turn to the Americ people and point to that Omnibus bill from last year’s budget as both the justification for his veto d his good will gesture to Congress, extending to them every possible consideration.

David R. Remer wrote: May be obvious to you and I, but j2t2 and Joel were stating the exact opposite of what is obvious, as if it [i.e. j2t2 and Joel, you might want to catch up on current events. Obama could not have prevented this economic disaster, it occurred BEFORE he became president] were true.
But j2t2 wrote …
j2t2 wrote: … he [Obama] did not create this mini depression and should not have to accept the blame for it.

I didn’t see anything that implied that Obama could have prevented this economic disaster. As j2t2 pointed out, some of Obama’s appointments were people who didn’t see this economic crisis approaching. And that’s not good. No one needed a crystal ball nor needed to be clairvoyant to see this economic crisis approaching for many years. There were some people who were warning us, but they were ignored, and they were called pessimists, “Chicken Little”, and/or “Dr. Doom”.

However, as a member of Congress, Obama is slightly responsible too (having sponsored some pork-barrel too), along with all members of the current and some previous Congresses, and some previous administrations. And voters are culpable too.

What looks bad is how so many in Congress, the administration, and the Federal Reserve were surprised and unprepared for the economic collapse. It certainly makes one wonder if any of them know what they are doing?

Any way, based on these 20 reasons, Obama and Congress might now make things worse if they try to solve a massive, untenable debt-pyramid with more untenable debt, borrowing, money-printing, and irresponsible spending; which would most likely lead to inflation, and eventually hyperinflation, and succeed in making a bad situation much worse by debauching the currency and destroying all savings, pensions, 401Ks, entitlements, and wages.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 9, 2009 12:51 PM
Comment #277170

d.a.n said: “Yes. A promise is a promise.”

No offense, but, that is a pretty idealistic remark, don’t you think?

I promise my daughter to take her to DisneyLand on March 28. She falls ill on Mar. 26 and has to be hospitalized for surgery to occur on Mar. 26. I subsequently do not take my daughter to DisneyLand on Mar. 28. Is this a broken promise? No. It is a reordering of priorities in lieu of a changing situation. I still have the choice of keeping the promise, but that would such a stringent adherence to a promise as to render the act of keeping it irresponsible in the extreme.

Obama may be able to save tax payers 10’s of billions MORE in pork spending by striking an agreement with Democrats in Congress, as I outlined in previous comments, here. If that is the case, then Obama is living up to his promise, not breaking one, just as a parent is not breaking their promise on DisneyLand to attend the medical requirement.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 9, 2009 1:09 PM
Comment #277180


The next time you here a presidential candidate say they will end pork spending, use some common sense.

Most campaign promises are just feel good comments made to please the morons.

Clinton promised that trade agreements would not cost American jobs. The American job market has been down hill since the agreements took hold.

Clinton signed the banking deregulation act with much fanfare and great promise for the future. We are experiencing that future now. One can argue that Bush made things worse because of his irresponsible tax and fiscal policies but, Bush and the Republicans were able to do all with nothing but token retoric from the Democrats because they bought off the Democrats with pork.

Bush promised no foreign entanglments even though he, Cheney and Rumsfeld were already planning the invasion of Iraq.

What I find hard to believe is that there are people who actually believed Obama when he made his campaign promises.

Posted by: jlw at March 9, 2009 2:19 PM
Comment #277199
David R. Remer wrote:
  • d.a.n said: “Yes. A promise is a promise.”
No offense, but, that is a pretty idealistic remark, don’t you think?
No offense, but, no.
David R. Remer wrote: I promise my daughter to take her to DisneyLand on March 28. She falls ill on Mar. 26 and has to be hospitalized for surgery to occur on Mar. 26. I subsequently do not take my daughter to DisneyLand on Mar. 28. Is this a broken promise? No.
Speaking of silly. That analogy is weak to say the least.
David R. Remer wrote: It is a reordering of priorities in lieu of a changing situation. I still have the choice of keeping the promise, but that would such a stringent adherence to a promise as to render the act of keeping it irresponsible in the extreme.
Such weak rationalizations are getting to be a habit.

Pork barrel is no longer pork-barrel.
Promises aren’t promises.
Takin’ money from lobbyist bundlers isn’t takin’ money from lobbyists.
Being against gun ownership for D.C. residents isn’t a voilation of the 2nd amendment.
“When I become president” really means “After a year or so after I become president”.
And there were no earmarks in the 17-FEB-2009 Stimulus BILL (that got a lot of laughs in Congress).

David R. Remer wrote: Obama may be able to save tax payers 10’s of billions MORE in pork spending by striking an agreement with Democrats in Congress, as I outlined in previous comments, here. If that is the case, then Obama is living up to his promise, not breaking one, just as a parent is not breaking their promise on DisneyLand to attend the medical requirement.
It is a broken promise.

Despite Congress’ addiction to pork-barrel, Obama’s failure to keep a promise isn’t rationalized or explained away as Congress’ need for one last, last, “last fix” of pork barrel

David R. Remer wrote: The omnibus bill laden with pork belongs to last year’s budget and to Congress. By letting Congress have their last fix on this bill, Obama can upon addressing the first fiscal budget of his Administration, take Congress to the mat on the pork, and turn to the Americ people and point to that Omnibus bill from last year’s budget as both the justification for his veto d his good will gesture to Congress, extending to them every possible consideration.

Now, it was OK to not veto the pork-barrel, because Congress needed a last, last, “last fix” of pork-barrel?

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 9, 2009 4:06 PM
Comment #277203

d.a.n, you used the term silly, I didn’t. So, when you say, “speaking of silly”, you must be referring to your introduction of the word. Which renders this part of the debate no longer productive.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 9, 2009 4:34 PM
Comment #277205

d.a.n said: “Pork barrel is no longer pork-barrel.”

So, again I ask you, define pork barrel? You rejected the definition I provided, but have not offered a logical and functional one in the context of our Congressional appropriations process.

Pork barrel must be in the eye of the beholder, since you seem to define it in whatever way you choose for the sake of your generalized arguments.

And if it is in the eye of the beholder, then how is Congress to ever agree on what is pork to be excluded as opposed to necessary and essential spending?

Sorry, d.a.n, but, one must have a functional definition, which Congress can, in a majority, agree upon, in order pose any argument that Congress’ appropriation on this or that, is pork barrel spending.

The problem with the word pork barrel lies in the very construction of the Legislative body and its responsibilities as set down in the Constitution. One can make the Constitutional argument that the President’s proposal of a budget defines, from the executive branch’s perspective, what is essential and necessary spending for the people as the elected representative of the people at large, where there is no discord between the popular and electoral college election result.

However, such an argument quickly runs into conflict with the Constitutional provision of the Legislature as the deliberative appropriations branch of government.

So, again, aside from pork-barrel as defined by d.a.n, do you have some other definition that might be subscribed to by a consensus of more than one?

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 9, 2009 4:47 PM
Comment #277207

“he put people in power who failed to prevent the economic disaster, notably the Treasury Secretary”

I think you’re mixing up the previous occupant of the position with this one. The guy before had a grudge against Lehman Bros, and friends at Bear Sterns.

Posted by: bugger at March 9, 2009 4:53 PM
Comment #277208

d.a.n said: “Now, it was OK to not veto the pork-barrel, because Congress needed a last, last, “last fix” of pork-barrel?”

If, Obama is able extract from that non-veto, savings to the tax payers of 10’s of billions of unnecessary and wasteful spending over the course of the next 4 budget bills during his term, YES, it was OK, from my perspective.

Because the voters and tax payers come out way ahead of the deal, compared to Congress fighting Obama every inch of the way for the next 4 years to continue their wasteful and unnecessary spending ways of the past.

Your argument reminds me of typical answers to the question, is there a god? Most people answer either yes, no, or I don’t know. One wise and intelligent answer begins with the question, what do you mean by the word ‘god’.

If Obama is successful in saving tax payers 10’s of billions in earmarks and wasteful spending, over the next 4 years appropriations bills, would he not have kept his promise? I venture most Americans would answer, yes, he did, and not get hung up on the pedantic of whether or not vetoing last year’s appropriations constitutes a broken promise to cut Congress’ wasteful earmark spending. That was the promise after all.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 9, 2009 4:59 PM
Comment #277218
David R. Remer wrote: d.a.n, you used the term silly, I didn’t. So, when you say, “speaking of silly”, you must be referring to your introduction of the word. Which renders this debate no longer productive.
It’s a Forrest Gumpism: Silly is as silly does.
David R. Remer wrote:
  • d.a.n said: “Pork barrel is no longer pork-barrel.”
So, again I ask you, define pork barrel?
NOOOOooo … no, no, no …

Not again.
I already did that about half a dozen times.
OK, here it is again.
Cut and paste it, print it out, and tape it to your monitor for future reference.

Definition of pork-barrel:

  • (1) Requested by only one chamber of Congress;

  • (2) Not specifically authorized;

  • (3) Not competitively awarded;

  • (4) Not requested by the President;

  • (5) Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;

  • (6) Not the subject of congressional hearings; or

  • (7) Serves only a local or special interest.

  • (8) Any BILL Congress didn’t even bother to read.

  • (9) Any BILL containing spending that takes money and resources away from items of higher priority.

(1),…,(7) above are criteria used by Citizens Against Government Waste (www.CAGW.org), and almost always, 2 of those criteria are usually met.

Usually, Tax Payers For CommonSense (TaxPayer.net), Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW.Org), the OMB, EnvironmentalWorking Group (EWG.Org), Project On Political Oversight (Pogo.org), the SunlightFoundation (SunlightFoundation.com), and dozens of other organizations and watchdog groups usually have similar lists of what they consider pork-barrel.

David R. Remer wrote: You rejected the definition I provided, but have not offered a logical and functional one in the context of our Congressional appropriations process.
Not true.

You agreed with some of those CAGW.ORG criteria above.
Some you disagreed with.

David R. Remer wrote: Pork barrel must be in the eye of the beholder, since you seem to define it in whatever way you choose for the sake of your generalized arguments.
Not true.

I gave you the criteria (see above) many times.
Don’t you remember?
In addition, I also listed hundreds of examples of pork-barrel, yet you never admitted to any of it being pork-barrel, wrote the following …

David R. Remer wrote: Now, how do you define pork {Again, see 9 criteria above}?

David R. Remer wrote: OK, YOU are not in Congress {no kiddin’ , Sherlock}.

David R. Remer wrote: Who in Congress defines ‘unnecessary’ and by who else’s criteria {hard to say when Congress lacks common-sense, integrity, honesty, and the ability to prioritize}?

David R. Remer wrote: You continue to assume that pork spending is some simple thing everyone can agree on and define. That assumption could not be more wrong. {Yes, it is all so very confusing. Perhaps we need to create a Congressional Committee to look into searching for the real meing of pork-barrel, then create 10 sub-committees to assist, then give all involved another raise and $93,000 for petty cash and expenses, and then perhaps spend a few hundred Billion dollars to perform independent research, and then perhaps provide some tax breaks to the corporations performing the research, and then reconvene after a few years, to determine if they should start the process all over again?}

David R. Remer wrote: One person’s pork is another person’s livlihood. {Oh! Well! In that case, whatever any Congress person wants must be OK, eh? Perhaps Congress should also give themselves another raise?}

David R. Remer wrote: I am not trying to be cute, here. These questions are the very ones that plague the Congressional process in coming to a consensus on what constitutes pork and what does not. {And they always will until there’s some common-sense, integrity, honesty, and a system of prioritization; something one would think should have been created a long, long time ago. Unfortunately, there’s no lack of good, common-sense ideas. Unfortunately, Congress is where all good ideas and solutions go to die.}

David R. Remer wrote: In the real world of federal appropriations, defining pork has no consensus, and no definition exists which Congress can agree upon. {Many organizations, including Citizens Against Government Waste, have provided some criteria. But that would make too much sense. Congress won’t allow anything that migh possibly reduce their power, opportunities for self-gain, or the security of their cu$hy, coveted incumbencies. Cha Ching!}

David R. Remer wrote: In other words, barking up the ‘pork’ tree as a solution to what ails Congressional spending is futile. {Ohhhh … very well. We should all just give up trying then, eh? Just resign to the futility of the status quo, eh?}

… and Stephen Daugherty had a similar response, who wrote …
Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n - I don’t see pork barrel there, little projects just meant to appeal to a base back home.

Funny how it’s not pork-barrel anymore, after the 4-NOV-2008 election.

And even if it is, Congress needed one last, last, “last fix” of pork barrel

David R. Remer wrote: The omnibus bill laden with pork belongs to last year’s budget and to Congress. By letting Congress have their last fix on this bill, Obama can upon addressing the first fiscal budget of his Administration, take Congress to the mat on the pork, and turn to the Americ people and point to that Omnibus bill from last year’s budget as both the justification for his veto and his good will gesture to Congress, extending to them every possible consideration.

That last year’s budget belonging to Congress is about as credible as Congress needing its last, last, “last fix” of pork-barrel.

David R. Remer wrote: And if it is in the eye of the beholder, then how is Congress to ever agree on what is pork to be excluded as opposed to necessary and essential spending?
Yes, of course. Very well. We should all just give up trying then, eh? Just resign to the futility of the status quo, eh?
David R. Remer wrote: Sorry, d.a.n, but, one must have a functional definition, which Congress can, in a majority, agree upon, in order pose any argument that Congress’ appropriation on this or that, is pork barrel spending.
I did provide a definition.

So have several organizations who have similar criteria and/or definitions.
The thing is, I don’t think the sudden interest in the need of a definition of pork-barrel is they real problem.
That is, even if a definition existed, it wouldn’t matter.
Some would still find a way to rationalize pork-barrel, and a number of other things.
Nothing much is likley to ever work very well without some common-sense, integrity, and honesty.
Congress can’t police its own ranks.
Therefore, it’s now up to the voters.
The voters will most likely figure it out when failing to do so finally becomes too painful.

David R. Remer wrote: The problem with the word pork barrel lies in the very construction of the Legislative body and its responsibilities as set down in the Constitution. One can make the Constitutional argument that the President’s proposal of a budget defines, from the executive branch’s perspective, what is essential and necessary spending for the people as the elected representative of the people at large, where there is no discord between the popular and electoral college election result.
Again, nothing much is likley to ever work very well without some common-sense, integrity, and honesty.

When there’s a widespread lack of common-sense, integrity, and honesty, there’s a lack of checks-and-balances, and no definitions are likely to help much.

David R. Remer wrote: However, such an argument quickly runs into conflict with the Constitutional provision of the Legislature as the deliberative appropriations branch of government.
Excuses, excuses, excuses.

Even a One-Purpose-Per-BILL and a system of prioritization of spending wouldn’t resolve the lack of common-sense, integrity, and honesty in Congress.
Most incumbent politicians in Congress are out-of-control, FOR-SALE, incompetent, irresponsible, and corrupt.
And Congress just rewarded itself for it with their 10th raise in 12 years, and $93,000 per Congress person for petty cash and expenses. Cha Ching!
The real solution to this problem most likely can only be solved by the voters.
I’m confident that voters will someday, most likely, hold their government accountable, when failing to do so finally becomes too painful.

David R. Remer wrote: So, again, aside from pork-barrel as defined by d.a.n, do you have some other definition that might be subscribed to by a consensus of more than one?
I already addressed that, and provided a list of criteria above and elsewhere several times.

Getting forgetful?
Might want to try some Memantine HCl or Cholinesterase Inhibitors for that condition?

David R. Remer wrote:
  • d.a.n said: “Now, it was OK to not veto the pork-barrel, because Congress needed a last, last, “last fix” of pork-barrel?”
If, Obama is able extract from that non-veto, savings to the tax payers of 10’s of billions of unnecessary and wasteful spending over the course of the next 4 budget bills during his term, YES, it was OK, from my perspective.
“If” a frog had wings it wouldn’t bump its ass on the ground.

Besides, the savings from less wasteful spending could have, and should have started when Obama said it would: “When I become president …”
He probably wasted some political capital by breaking that promise.

David R. Remer wrote: Because the voters and tax payers come out way ahead of the deal, compared to Congress fighting Obama every inch of the way for the next 4 years to continue their wasteful and unnecessary spending ways of the past.
How do voters come out with more pork-barrel and wasteful spending?

Obama had better stop putting it off, and start working on Congress’ addiction to pork-barrel as soon as possible.

David R. Remer wrote: Your argument reminds me of typical answers to the question, is there a god? Most people answer either yes, no, or I don’t know. One wise and intelligent answer begins with the question, what do you mean by the word ‘god’.
Strange. I got the very same impression from the repeated question (despite numerous responses) …
David R. Remer wrote: “So, again I ask you, define pork barrel?
David R. Remer wrote: If Obama is successful in saving tax payers 10’s of billions in earmarks and wasteful spending, over the next 4 years appropriations bills, would he not have kept his promise?
No. A promise was made, and it has now been broken. No rationalizations or excuses will change it.
David R. Remer wrote: I venture most Americans would answer, yes, he did, and not get hung up on the pedantic of whether or not vetoing last year’s appropriations constitutes a broken promise to cut Congress’ wasteful earmark spending. That was the promise after all.
We will see. Seems to be a lot of wishful thinking, rationalizations, and excuses lately.

Besides, there appears to be some who voted for Obama (such as steve miller above in this very thread) also see it as a broken promise …

steve miller wrote: I must agree; at the very least, it LOOKS bad for Obama to go back on his promise to eliminate pork spending. Hardly anyone supported Obama more than me, but a promise is a promise.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 9, 2009 6:45 PM
Comment #277273

d.a.n said: ““If” a frog had wings it wouldn’t bump its ass on the ground.”

Frogs don’t have wings. Obama may cut wasteful spending in his next 4 annual budgets. Non-sequitur.

d.a.n said: “We will see. Seems to be a lot of wishful thinking, rationalizations, and excuses lately.”

Yes, we will see. But, the proposition that Obama would vow to the American people to remove wasteful earmarks and special interest appropriations which don’t fulfill federal objectives during his term as president, and then abdicate that effort entirely, is highly unlikely from what we have witnessed from Obama so far.

And he never made the promise to eradicate ALL wasteful spending. Which of course would be a logical impossibility as wasteful spending is structurally built in to the Congress IF one uses national spending requirements as the measure, by virtue of the Congress elected officials also serving the local spending interests.

Technically, if I am not mistaken, he indicated he would line by line through the budget seeking wasteful spending to be removed. Since, as president, he proposes the budget to Congress, and his proposal is absent wasteful spending, he has kept his promise. What Congress does with his proposal is another matter.

But, that’s only if one wishes to argue the literal and narrowest meaning of Obama’s promise. I expect Obama to exercise the power of a veto threat to shed wasteful spending. That is what, I think most Americans expect.

To eliminate all wasteful spending, Obama would have to suspend the legislature’s participation in that process entirely, and that is NOT, obviously, what the American expect of Obama, aside from being unconstitutional in a GW Bushian way.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 10, 2009 6:45 AM
Comment #277275

responding to d.a.n:

David R. Remer wrote: You rejected the definition I provided, but have not offered a logical and functional one in the context of our Congressional appropriations process.

Not true.

You agreed with some of those CAGW.ORG criteria above. Some you disagreed with.

CAGW’s definition which I disagreed with and countered, rendered their definition as quite incomplete and insufficient, from my perspective. I am still awaiting a functional and effective definition which Congress and the voters can agree upon. For without that consensus on a definition, a definition is rendered non-functional and ineffective (or, as I like to refer to it: Pork barrel spending is in the eye of the beholder, office holder, state, or district constituent who may, or may not, benefit from the proposed spending in question).

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 10, 2009 6:55 AM
Comment #277284
David R. Remer wrote:
  • d.a.n said: ““If” a frog had wings it wouldn’t bump its ass on the ground.”
Frogs don’t have wings. Obama may cut wasteful spending in his next 4 annual budgets. Non-sequitur.
“May cut wasteful spending”?

Too bad Obama already failed to jump on the opportunity to cut wasteful spending.
But then, he “may” have been worried about Congress’ addiction to pork-barrel, eh?
That is, as you wrote above, Obma decided Congress needed a last, last, “last fix” of pork-barrel?

David R. Remer wrote: The omnibus bill laden with pork belongs to last year’s budget and to Congress. By letting Congress have their last fix on this bill, …

David R. Remer wrote:
  • d.a.n said: “We will see. Seems to be a lot of wishful thinking, rationalizations, and excuses lately.”
Yes, we will see. But, the proposition that Obama would vow to the American people to remove wasteful earmarks and special interest appropriations which don’t fulfill federal objectives during his term as president, and then abdicate that effort entirely, is highly unlikely from what we have witnessed from Obama so far.
Like steve miller, wrote …
steve miller wrote: I must agree; at the very least, it LOOKS bad for Obama to go back on his promise to eliminate pork spending. Hardly anyone supported Obama more than me, but a promise is a promise.
Sorry Steve, but Congress apparently must be weaned off of their pathetic addiction to pork-barrel.

OHHHHhhhhh … wait.
I forget.
There is no longer anything such as pork-barrel. For example:

David R. Remer wrote: Since, as president, he proposes the budget to Congress, and his proposal is absent wasteful spending, he has kept his promise.

See? The president’s budget “is absent” of pork-barrel.

Right. And if you believe that, I’ve got some beach-front property for-sale in Arizona.

David R. Remer wrote: And he never made the promise to eradicate ALL wasteful spending.
No. But as steve miller wrote, Obama already failed to even try to veto pork barrel …
steve miller wrote: I must agree; at the very least, it LOOKS bad for Obama to go back on his promise to eliminate pork spending. Hardly anyone supported Obama more than me, but a promise is a promise.
… because Congress apparently needed a last, last, “last fix” of pork-barrel.
David R. Remer wrote: Which of course would be a logical impossibility as wasteful spending is structurally built in to the Congress IF one uses national spending requirements as the measure, by virtue of the Congress elected officials also serving the local spending interests.
More excuses. Ever heard of something called the “presidential veto” ? Yet, no attempt or even a hint of a veto.
David R. Remer wrote: Technically, if I am not mistaken, he indicated he would line by line through the budget seeking wasteful spending to be removed. Since, as president, he proposes the budget to Congress, and his proposal is absent wasteful spending, he has kept his promise. What Congress does with his proposal is another matter.
More excuses. The president can veto wasteful spending.

Unfortunately, since 4-NOV-2008, there appears that there is no longer any such thing as wasteful spending.

David R. Remer wrote: But, that’s only if one wishes to argue the literal and narrowest meaning of Obama’s promise.
Just keep diggin’ that hole deeper and deeper.
David R. Remer wrote: I expect Obama to exercise the power of a veto threat to shed wasteful spending. That is what, I think most Americans expect.
Unfortunately, Obama has already missed a golden opportunity to do that, because (a)Congress apparently needed a last, last, “last fix” of pork-barrel, and (b)it’s the previous Congress/Administration’s BILL. It’s no wonder even people who voted for Obama write …
steve miller wrote: I must agree; at the very least, it LOOKS bad for Obama to go back on his promise to eliminate pork spending. Hardly anyone supported Obama more than me, but a promise is a promise.
If it looks like a pork-barrel, sounds like pork-barrel, and stinks like pork-barrel, it must pork-barrel.
David R. Remer wrote: To eliminate all wasteful spending, Obama would have to suspend the legislature’s participation in that process entirely, and that is NOT, obviously, what the American expect of Obama, aside from being unconstitutional in a GW Bushian way.
Not true. Ever heard of something called the “presidential veto” ?
David R. Remer wrote: You rejected the definition I provided, but have not offered a logical and functional one in the context of our Congressional appropriations process.
What’s the point?

Either pork-barrel is no longer pork-barrel, the definition of pork-barrel is now a moving target, promises aren’t really promises, the presidential veto no longer exists, Congress needs another last, last, “last fix” of pork-barrel, and there’s nothing that Obama and the 111th Congress can do that can’t be rationalized or explained away.

David R. Remer wrote: CAGW’s definition which I disagreed with and countered, rendered their definition as quite incomplete and insufficient, from my perspective.
Fine. The following don’t know nothin’ , eh?
  • Tax Payers For CommonSense (TaxPayer.net)
  • Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW.Org),
  • EnvironmentalWorking Group (EWG.Org),
  • Project On Political Oversight (Pogo.org),
  • SunlightFoundation (SunlightFoundation.com),
  • dozens of other organizations and watchdog groups with similar lists of what they consider pork-barrel,
  • and steve miller who wrote:
    steve miller wrote: I must agree; at the very least, it LOOKS bad for Obama to go back on his promise to eliminate pork spending. Hardly anyone supported Obama more than me, but a promise is a promise.
What good is trying to forumlate ANY definition of pork-barrel, when it is now a moving target (or non-existent)?

There is no substitute for common-sense, integrity, and honesty.
Anyone who can’t see pork-barrel and waste doesn’t want to see it, and obviously will make create ANY number of rationalizations and excuses to deny the existence of pork-barrel.
Congress is FOR-SALE, and obviously can not police their own ranks.
Congress is obviously unable to identify pork-barrel.
Congress persons criticize pork-barrel, but most (if not all) in Congress wallow in the pork-barrel.
Their hypocrisy knows no bounds.
Congress thinks its doin’ a fine job, as evidenced by Congress givin’ themselves their 10th raise in 12 years, and $93,000 per Congress person for petty cash and expenses. Cha Ching!

David R. Remer wrote: I am still awaiting a functional and effective definition which Congress and the voters can agree upon.
Well, don’t hold your breath, since pork-barrel apparently no longer exists, and if it does, no one seems able to identify it.
David R. Remer wrote: For without that consensus on a definition, a definition is rendered non-functional and ineffective (or, as I like to refer to it: Pork barrel spending is in the eye of the beholder, office holder, state, or district constituent who may, or may not, benefit from the proposed spending in question).
Yes, yes. Of course. It is all so very confusing. Perhaps we need to create a Congressional Committee to look into searching for the real meing of pork-barrel, then create 10 sub-committees to assist, then give all involved another raise and $93,000 for petty cash and expenses, and then perhaps spend a few hundred Billion dollars to perform independent research, and then perhaps provide some tax breaks to the corporations performing the research, and then reconvene after a few years, to determine if they should start the process all over again?

The bottom line is this.
Congress doesn’t “get it”.
Obama missed an opportunity to send a loud and clear message to Congress (regarding pork-barrel).
As a result, many (justifiably) voters ain’t happy about it, and Obama/Democrat loyalists are tryin’ their best to explain it away.
At this time, with such a huge (most likely untenable) federal and nation-wide debt problem, wasteful pork-barrel spending is not only irresponsible, but despicable.
The evidence of a Congress that doesn’t “get it” (which is a major understatement) would fill volumes.

Another despicable example that Congress doesn’t “get it” (e.g. Harry Reid) is the undermining of E-Verify (again):

    A Zogby poll found that it is difficult to locate anybody in Nevada who doesn’t support the E-Verify program to keep illegal foreign workers out of jobs. Yet, Nevada Sen. Reid has been blocking a long-term reauthorization of E-Verify for months. Friday, he finally gave in and said the Senate can vote on the program, but insiders say to watch out for a parliamentary trick that will block the vote at the last minute on Tuesday.
    The recently released Zogby poll was taken just before Senate Majority Leader Reid pulled a parliamentary stunt on the Stimulus bill and killed a requirement that all Stimulus jobs be run through E-Verify to ensure that illegal aliens don’t get them.
    Zogby found that 77.7% of Nevada voters wanted E-Verify in the Stimulus bill.
    But Reid pulled it out. You have to wonder just who Sen. Reid is working for. Frankly, it looks like some powerful force is holding something sinister over Reid’s head because his consistent support for illegal immigration is so unpopular with voters who he will ask to re-elect him next year.

Of course, there’s no doubt that many partisan loyalists will also over-look this despicable practice of pitting of American citizens and illegal aliens against each other for votes and profits, disguised as compassion (serverely misplaced compassion at best). The federal government is also still importing 1.5 Million foreign H-1B workers, when there are 12.2-to-28.7 Million unemployed American citizens.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 10, 2009 12:09 PM
Comment #277339

jlw your right. Based on our history and our political education over the last 100 years or so, one has learned to take campaign speeches with a spoon of salt and a shot of tequila, lemon optional. On the other hand, because of the recession Obama will remain above the fray no matter how bad his performance. I suspect along about the end of year three he will start to own the legacy of the recession.
So, where do you turn with your frustrations? Reading in today’s Wash Post that State’s are giving ‘reflief’ to insurance companies. “
State regulators trying to help insurance companies cope with the financial crisis have granted $6B of relief from requirements meant to insure financial stability.” Further ” Relief came in the form of accounting changes that allowed companies to pad their financial cushions, in effect making them appear stronger than they otherwise would.” Well, whan then does that do to a company that got no ‘padding’? Gonna make them appear weaker would you think? Just more democracy in action, government making winners and losers. The article doesn’t suggest that the companies are not already well padded. Just that they don’t want their credit rating downgraded or raise capital from investors. Some State regulators have stated that “they wanted to nake sure their home-state companies weren’t at a competetive disadvantage.”
Well, all i can suggest is that you support a 3rd party, Republic Sentry and work to help put accountability into the political equation.

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 10, 2009 8:51 PM
Comment #277346

Roy Ellis, I believe the way things are going, it will give rise to a third party.

We need a third party that represents the real majority (i.e. there are almost as many (if not more) independents, than Republicans or Democrats); not the two extremes and their followers who keep rewarding existing incumbent politicians with 85%-to-90% re-election rates, despite the voters’ dismally low 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 10, 2009 11:17 PM
Comment #277371

d.a.n., DRR,

Actually what the campaigner-for-President said was that he would stop needless spending added to bills, by exposing it every time. I expect there will be no more sneaking something in at the last minute and quietly going about their business, because Obama will publish what the spending is and who added it to the bill. That will not automatically or immediately stop all wasteful spending, but it will become ‘transparent’. d.a.n. should like that as it will make it easier for him to tabulate for future posts and voters may actually pay some attention and ‘vote out them buggers what wastefully spend’.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 11, 2009 7:48 AM
Comment #277406

Obama said today that he was going to sign the bill as presented…then he explained in great detail those things that he intends to do to cause future bills to be less used for nefarious purposes. He explained why he was signing the bill, even though it had some bad stuff in it, and mentioned how little bad stuff was actually there. He indicated that since the bill had been written prior, and it would require too much of his political capital to try to get the changes that should be made, the trade-offs were just too costly. He also ran down some of the changes that have already been made to the process, and indicated that even if he did nothing more things were already better, and would continue to get better with time. Transparency is the best axe at times.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 11, 2009 1:37 PM
Comment #277413

””“We need a third party that represents the real majority (i.e. there are almost as many (if not more) independents, than Republicans or Democrats); not the two extremes and their followers who keep rewarding existing incumbent politicians with 85%-to-90% re-election rates, despite the voters’ dismally low 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress.”“”” Said d.a.n. I’d Like to see that More of a Centrist Party that uses both good Ideas and Ideals From the Right and Left in Moderation When Necessary And Being Progressive with a flat Tax and Term Limits A good balance of Labor and business …… Fair Trade .

Posted by: Rodney Brown at March 11, 2009 2:10 PM
Comment #277431

Rodney Brown, Yes. A party that focuses on the most major issues and abuses, and avoids the hot-button/extreme issues, would probably do well.

And that will most likely happen when the pain and misery of failing to do so finally becomes too painful.

Regarding the flat tax, I assume you mean a flat income tax on all types of income above the poverty level, with all tax loop-holes eliminated. Something like this?

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect, and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 11, 2009 4:09 PM
Comment #277449

d.a.n and Rodney, I do believe you are talking about The Republic Sentry Party. The first name choice was to be Jacksonian Populist or Republic Centrist but since so many seem to treat ‘Ole Hickory’, our first populist who threw the Brits out of La. and the Spaniards out of Fl., as a racist we settled on Republic Sentry. Guardian of the Republic, an Independent Populist movement, we are taking the middle ground leaving the dem’s and rep’s to shout at each other across a great divide. Should be a small effort to outst the duopoly as there are far more Independents than lefties or righties.

And, beware… Newt Gingrich is gearing up for 2012. Our choice from the duopoly will likely be Obama and Gingrich. You can register at www.repdems.com.
And, Rodney, that’s the only way we will ever get a flat tax or fair trade. All in the VISIONUSA page. Check it out.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 11, 2009 5:13 PM
Comment #277465

“17% Flat Income Tax Percentage” Yes d.a.n. like that!The IRS and a few million tax preparers and software companies Might not like it, and the very Rich but even Buffett admits he’s getting away with… And Roy thank you I will.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at March 11, 2009 6:39 PM
Comment #277473

One down and millions to go!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 11, 2009 8:23 PM
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