Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Question To The President

Andrew Sullivan: Talking Like A True Conservative

Official photographic portrait of US President...Image via WikipediaThe Daily Beast: Andrew Sullivan: How Obama's Long Game Will Outsmart His Critics
When Obama took office, the United States was losing around 750,000 jobs a month. The last quarter of 2008 saw an annualized drop in growth approaching 9 percent. This was the most serious downturn since the 1930s, there was a real chance of a systemic collapse of the entire global financial system, and unemployment and debt—lagging indicators—were about to soar even further. No fair person can blame Obama for the wreckage of the next 12 months, as the financial crisis cut a swath through employment. Economies take time to shift course. ...... Obama did several things at once: he continued the bank bailout begun by George W. Bush, he initiated a bailout of the auto industry, and he worked to pass a huge stimulus package of $787 billion. ....... The job collapse bottomed out at the beginning of 2010, as the stimulus took effect. Since then, the U.S. has added 2.4 million jobs. ...... In 2011 alone, 1.9 million private-sector jobs were created, while a net 280,000 government jobs were lost. Overall government employment has declined 2.6 percent over the past 3 years. (That compares with a drop of 2.2 percent during the early years of the Reagan administration.) ....... the stimulus did exactly what it was supposed to do. It put a bottom under the free fall. It is not an exaggeration to say it prevented a spiral downward that could have led to the Second Great Depression. ....... Not only did he agree not to sunset the Bush tax cuts for his entire first term, he has aggressively lowered taxes on most Americans. A third of the stimulus was tax cuts, affecting 95 percent of taxpayers; he has cut the payroll tax, and recently had to fight to keep it cut against Republican opposition. ....... Under Bush, new policies on taxes and spending cost the taxpayer a total of $5.07 trillion. Under Obama’s budgets both past and projected, he will have added $1.4 trillion in two terms. Under Bush and the GOP, nondefense discretionary spending grew by twice as much as under Obama. ........ Obamacare .. will reduce the deficit ...... based on the individual mandate, an idea pioneered by the archconservative Heritage Foundation, Newt Gingrich, and, of course, Mitt Romney, in the past. ...... Like Obama’s Race to the Top education initiative, it sets standards, grants incentives, and then allows individual states to experiment. Embedded in it are also a slew of cost-reduction pilot schemes to slow health-care spending. Yes, it crosses the Rubicon of universal access to private health care. But since federal law mandates that hospitals accept all emergency-room cases requiring treatment anyway, we already obey that socialist principle—but in the most inefficient way possible. Making 44 million current free-riders pay into the system is not fiscally reckless; it is fiscally prudent. ......... Obama reversed Bush’s policy of ignoring Osama bin Laden, immediately setting a course that eventually led to his capture and death. And when the moment for decision came, the president overruled both his secretary of state and vice president in ordering the riskiest—but most ambitious—plan on the table. He even personally ordered the extra helicopters that saved the mission. It was a triumph, not only in killing America’s primary global enemy, but in getting a massive trove of intelligence to undermine al Qaeda even further. ........ where Bush talked tough and acted counterproductively, Obama has simply, quietly, relentlessly decimated our real enemies, while winning the broader propaganda war. Since he took office, al Qaeda’s popularity in the Muslim world has plummeted. ........ By hanging back a little, by “leading from behind” in Libya and elsewhere, Obama has made other countries actively seek America’s help and reappreciate our role. As an antidote to the bad feelings of the Iraq War, it has worked close to perfectly. ....... From the start, liberals projected onto Obama absurd notions of what a president can actually do in a polarized country, where anything requires 60 Senate votes even to stand a chance of making it into law. ....... A depression was averted. The bail-out of the auto industry was—amazingly—successful. Even the bank bailouts have been repaid to a great extent by a recovering banking sector. The Iraq War—the issue that made Obama the nominee—has been ended on time and, vitally, with no troops left behind. Defense is being cut steadily, even as Obama has moved his own party away from a Pelosi-style reflexive defense of all federal entitlements. Under Obama, support for marriage equality and marijuana legalization has crested to record levels. Under Obama, a crucial state, New York, made marriage equality for gays an irreversible fact of American life. Gays now openly serve in the military, and the Defense of Marriage Act is dying in the courts, undefended by the Obama Justice Department. Vast government money has been poured into noncarbon energy investments, via the stimulus. Fuel-emission standards have been drastically increased. Torture was ended. Two moderately liberal women replaced men on the Supreme Court. Oh, yes, and the liberal holy grail that eluded Johnson and Carter and Clinton, nearly universal health care, has been set into law. Politifact recently noted that of 508 specific promises, a third had been fulfilled and only two have not had some action taken on them. To have done all this while simultaneously battling an economic hurricane makes Obama about as honest a follow-through artist as anyone can expect from a politician. ......... the slow and deliberate and unprovocative manner in which it was accomplished made the changes more durable. ....... there are long stretches when Obama seems incapable of defending himself, or willing to let others to define him, or simply weak ........... remember whose strategy won out in the end. ...... This is where the left is truly deluded. By misunderstanding Obama’s strategy and temperament and persistence, by grandstanding on one issue after another, by projecting unrealistic fantasies onto a candidate who never pledged a liberal revolution, they have failed to notice that from the very beginning, Obama was playing a long game. He did this with his own party over health-care reform. He has done it with the Republicans over the debt. He has done it with the Israeli government over stopping the settlements on the West Bank—and with the Iranian regime, by not playing into their hands during the Green Revolution, even as they gunned innocents down in the streets. Nothing in his first term—including the complicated multiyear rollout of universal health care—can be understood if you do not realize that Obama was always planning for eight years, not four. ....... excising the cancer of torture from military detention and military justice ....... We’ve already elected the nation’s first black president and replaced a tongue-tied dauphin with a man of peerless eloquence. ....... Obama has steadfastly refrained from waging the culture war ...... the only way out of that deadlock is an electoral rout of the GOP, since the language of victory and defeat seems to be the only thing it understands. ........ a president who has conducted himself with grace and calm under incredible pressure, who has had to manage crises not seen since the Second World War and the Depression, and who as yet has not had a single significant scandal to his name
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Monday, January 23, 2012

Gonna Find Out The State Of The Union

Going to find out the state of the union tomorrow. http://t.co/Zu2RP6T1 Riviera Cafe (225 West 4th St.) 7:30 - 11:00 pm
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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Barack Obama's Missed Trip To The Moon

MoonImage by penguinbush via FlickrJFK famously sent a man to the moon. When George W Bush became president he imitated JFK. He said he wanted to send a man to Mars. Like Texas were the earth, the moon was Louisiana, and Mars perhaps was Alabama. Not so.

Barack Obama ratcheted it down a little. He said maybe not Mars, maybe an asteroid.

That was a mistake. In an era when countries are struggling to even occupy the space between the moon and the earth, a manned mission to Mars is an out of place metaphor.

The mission to the Moon was less about the mission to the moon. It was more about the technological fallouts that benefitted the population at large.

The mission to the moon today would be to take gigabit broadband to every human being on earth. That goal should have been the centerpiece of the stimulus bill of 2009. And it is still not too late. Maybe there will be a push for it in 2013.

Be it global finance, or global warming, or global poverty, or lifelong education or universal health, or global terrorism, universal gigabit broadband touches them all.

America, Europe and Japan might have to pitch in 100 billion dollars each. And that is money that will get paid back in spades. So this is not a foreign aid concept. This is an investment with great returns.
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Republican Porridge

One guy won in Iowa. Another won in New Hampshire. A third won in South Carolina. The guy who won in New Hampshire has more money and a better ground operation than the guy who won in South Carolina.

I think I just decided Barack Obama does not need my help in his re-election bid. The opposition is in major disarray. I never doubted the possibility of a second term for Barack Obama, but now I am doubly sure.

I am going to take it easy. Or maybe not. The Occupy movement will herald an American Spring. Let winter pass. The Occupy movement is an unprecedented opportunity to enact a muscular progressive agenda, in this country and across the world. You ain't seen nothing yet. Let winter pass.

The Democratic Party will have a choice to make. Almost all Mayors that expressed physical hostility to the Occupiers across the country were Democratic. That is just a shame.

What the Occupy movement needs is red carpet treatment. You should be able to - come spring - provide a public space in your city where 100-200 Occupiers can camp out 24/7. It is for the Democratic Mayors to arrange for toilets, and public wifi, and police protection. It is for them to pick up the garbage. If not there is going to be rebellion in the ranks.

Occupy was the word of 2011. The Occupier was Time magazine's Person Of The Year. Liverpool had the Beatles. New York City has the Occupiers. Mayor Bloomberg is going to have to measure up. His entire legacy is at stake, come spring.
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