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The Obama Timeline

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Harconen
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« Reply #105 on: July 28, 2009, 09:59:33 pm »

            The New York Times distorts poll results in an attempt to drum up support for Obama’s policies. Its February 24 edition states that Obama is benefiting from “remarkably high levels of optimism and confidence among Americans about his leadership.” The article is critical of Republicans for offering tax cuts as an alternative to Obama’s spending plans, but neglects to mention that its own poll shows more Americans supporting tax cuts (50 per cent) than government spending (41 per cent) to stimulate the economy. [1371]

            On February 24, a user adds a paragraph to Obama’s biography on the Web site Wikipedia.com that reads, “There have been some doubts about whether Obama was born in the U.S. after the politician refused to release to the public a copy of his birth certificate and amid claims from his relatives he may have been born in Kenya. Numerous lawsuits have been filed petitioning Obama to release his birth certificate, but most suits have been thrown out by the courts.” Within minutes, the entry is deleted and the submitting user is blocked from additional entries to the site. Wikipedia argues that the information violates its policies against “fringe” material, despite everything in the paragraph being factual and the issue having been covered (if only minimally) by newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune. Wikipedia.com administrators keep the Obama information positive and complementary and quickly delete additions that are negative in tone and content. (There are no references to Reverend Jeremiah Wright or William Ayers, for example, despite their significance to Obama’s life and his election campaign.) [1602]

            Immigration officers raid Yamato Engine Specialists, an auto parts plant in Bellingham, Washington, and find 28 illegal immigrants. One illegal is allegedly deported; the remaining 27 are not. Instead of deporting the illegals, the Obama administration gives them legal work permits, a major departure from the policies of the Bush administration. (Typically, illegals arrested in immigration raids are jailed until deportation hearings are scheduled.) A spokesman for the Federation of American Immigration Reform argues that the easing up on illegals sends a signal that “…if you can get here, you’re pretty much home free.” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is purportedly annoyed that the raid even took place, and the Obama administration has requested a freeze on immigrant arrests. A spokesman states that Napolitano was “…not happy about it because it’s inconsistent with her position, and the President’s position on these matters.” The implication is that the position of Obama and Napolitano is not to arrest and deport illegals. (Even ACORN would be unable to register them to vote if they are returned to Mexico.) [1395, 2117, 2118]

            Walid Phares, an expert on global terrorism, states that Obama’s decision to send 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan could lead to a Vietnam-like quagmire, and closing the detainee facility at Guantanamo will create an “awkward situation.” Rather than just talking with the Iranian leaders, who have pledged to destroy Israel, Phares argues that the United States should talk to the Iranian people and encourage “Iranian democratic opposition to put pressure on the government.” [1394]

            Houston’s city council reverses its plan to give $3,000 grants to individuals who are trying to increase their credit scores enough to qualify for mortgages. The Obama-like plan was hatched in order to encourage people to purchase homes in a poor area of the city, but when word of the action spread the mayor and council members were understandably inundated with complaints. “I do not understand how we can ever justify spending taxpayer dollars to pay somebody’s credit card,” said Councilwoman Pam Holm. “I don’t understand how it can be even considered to come up. I am truly embarrassed. I think it shows poor leadership.” Councilwoman Anne Clutterbuck adds, “Giving people the ability to increase their credit score artificially because we’re allowing them to pay off their credit cards is exactly what got us into this (national economic) crisis in the first place.” Angry responses from Houston residents echo national criticism of Obama’s mortgage bailout plans: “This proposal is a slap in the face for the average Joe who is trying to get ahead,” “The government should not punish taxpayers and bail out those who cannot buy homes,” and “If you can’t afford it, and you can’t qualify, then you shouldn’t have it.” [1378]

            Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen joins the growing list of governors who are reluctant to have their states accept all of Obama’s stimulus funds because of the expensive strings attached. By accepting $141 million in funds for unemployment insurance, for instance, the state of Tennessee would be required by the federal government to expand the program permanently (with looser eligibility rules and more generous benefits), which would in turn increase state costs long after the federal money runs out. Bredesen is a Democrat. [1379]
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« Reply #106 on: July 28, 2009, 10:00:17 pm »

            By a vote of 83 to 13 the Oklahoma House of Representatives passes a state sovereignty resolution, resolving “That the State of Oklahoma hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States,” and advising the federal government to “…cease and desist, effectively immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.” Observers predict the resolution will also pass in the Oklahoma Senate and will be signed by the governor, even though he is a Democrat. If additional states pass such measures, the act of state defiance may place pressure on Obama, Pelosi, and Reid to roll back their plans for expanding federal power to unprecedented levels. [1381]

            Montana becomes the 21st state to introduce a sovereignty resolution (along with Arizona, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington). The Montana resolution ends with:  “(22) That if any act of Congress becomes law or if an Executive Order or Judicial Order is put into force related to the reservations expressed in this resolution, Montana’s ‘Compact With the United States’ is breached and all powers previously delegated to the United States by the federal Constitution and Bill of Rights revert to the states individually. (23) That any future government of the United States shall require ratification of three-fourths of the states seeking to form a government and shall not be binding upon any state not seeking to form a government. (24) That the Secretary of State send copies of this resolution to the President of the United States and to each member of the United States Congress.” [1387, 1388, 1454, 1575]

            Carroll D. Childers, Major General (retired), becomes a plaintiff in the Orly Taitz lawsuit that challenges Obama’s eligibility to serve as president. [1416]

            On February 24, Obama addresses a joint session of Congress where he outlines his domestic and foreign policy plans. When Obama remarks that he asked for the stimulus bill “not because I believe in bigger government—I don’t,” there are quiet titters but most in the audience are too polite to laugh aloud. When Obama says, “Now, I’m proud that we passed a recovery plan free of earmarks,” many in the chamber roar with laughter. Obama’s speech provides a broad outline of a considerably larger government, but without providing details, prompting criticisms of a “stirring speech with no substance.” The next day Ben Willis of VDM Institutional Brokerage remarks, “Evidently the people on Wall Street are not as joyful as Ms. Pelosi was yesterday jumping up 60 times (to applaud),” and “There was nothing in it (the speech). Wall Street hates uncertainty. We keep being told by this administration ‘it’s coming, we’re gonna give you the details, we’re gonna give you the details,’ and when they don’t come we demonstrate our disappointment by taking the stocks lower.” [1391, 1439, 1554]

            In Obama’s address, he states his administration has “…begun to go line by line through the federal budget in order to eliminate wasteful and ineffective programs” and says, “we have already identified $2 trillion in savings over the next decade.” The Washington Post quickly follows up on the unlikely figure and learns that the $2 trillion “saved” amount was not really “saved.” It was arrived at by including more than $1 trillion in tax hikes, and from assuming first that Iraq expenditures would continue until 2019 and then considering that money “saved” by deciding troops would not, in fact, remain until 2019. (Using that logic, Obama could plan a $10 trillion mission to land a man on Mars and then “save” that $10 trillion by immediately canceling the project.) In other words, Obama did not identify $2 trillion in savings by eliminating programs; he lied. [1524, 1559]

            In his speech Obama states, “…our economy did not fall into decline overnight,” and then makes the incredible charge that the recession was caused by a failure to find new sources of energy, the cost of health care, and inadequate schools—when the recession was the result of a bursting housing bubble, reckless spending, unsound investments in mortgage-backed securities, house-flippers, na´ve homebuyers, and incredibly unsound decisions by the Federal Reserve Board. Obama improperly identifies his three “pet” causes of the recession only to justify his desire to spend trillions of tax dollars in those areas and to further his radical political agenda. [1560]

            Although many media commentators, as expected, give Obama’s speech high marks, few, if any, ask the key questions posed by economist and author Thomas Sowell: “How much will it cost?” “Who pays for it?” and “Will it work?” [1413]

            After Obama’s address, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal gives the Republican response. As Jindal approaches his microphone, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews mockingly moans “Oh God,” while others laugh in the background. [1392]

            Alarmed by the massive federal spending and the waste-filled stimulus bill, Senator James DeMint (R-NC) tells the Augusta Chronicle, “I would think it’s time to start thinking about peaceful demonstrations”, and calls the stimulus bill the worst legislation since the adoption of the federal income tax. “Freedom is in our hands; it always has been. We’ve entrusted it to people in Washington, and increasingly they have picked our pockets and pulled power from us. We’re just going to have to take it back.” Aware that Congress won’t stop spending unless it hears from the voters, DeMint states “It’s just whether or not the American people are going to stand up and say enough is enough. It’s the people’s government, and the people are going to have to take it back. They can do it with their voices and with their votes—and they may have to do it with their legs. People are going to have to show that they’re not going to take it anymore.” He observes that legislators might think twice “…if they had several hundred people standing outside one of their state offices asking, ‘What in the world are you thinking?’” [1358, 2043]
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« Reply #107 on: July 28, 2009, 10:00:54 pm »

            Obama’s third pick for Commerce Secretary (after the withdrawals of Bill Richardson and Judd Gregg) is Gary Faye Locke, former Democrat Governor of Washington and a lawyer for an international firm that specializes in China. Locke, an American with Chinese ancestry, has connections to and has received campaign contributions from John Huang. Huang, who worked in Bill Clinton’s Commerce Department, pleaded guilty in 1999 to felony conspiracy charges for violating campaign finance laws. Locke eventually returned some of Huang’s contributions. The New York Times reports that Locke has a “largely scandal-free resume.” (Apparently, the Times does not feel that Americans deserve completely scandal-free cabinet members.) Locke received almost $14,000 in campaign contributions from monks and nuns at a Redmond, Washington Buddhist temple, many of whom gave $1,000 but could not recall making the donations; some of them were not even sure they were U.S. citizens. (The assumption is that someone illegally gave the cash to the monks and nuns for them to donate to Locke’s campaign.) [1398, 1399, 1417, 1420]

            Heritage Foundation budget expert Brian M. Riedl states that the $410 billion spending bill likely breaks all records for the most wasteful earmarks in any legislation. It includes $1.8 million to research pig odor and manure management, $41.5 million to upgrade the presidential libraries of Democrats Roosevelt, Johnson, and Kennedy, $2.9 million for shrimp-breeding studies, $209,000 to improve blueberry production, and $6.6 million for Formosan subterranean termites. Also included in the bill are $1.7 million for a honeybee laboratory, $1,049,000 for the study of crop-eating crickets, $333,000 for an aviation museum, $199,000 for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, $75,000 for a “Totally Teen Zone” in Albany, New York, $400,000 to combat bullying in schools, and $150,000 for lobster research. [1543]

            Obama will not veto the wasteful spending bill, despite a campaign promise to end earmarks. (In a September 2008 debate with John McCain, Obama said, “Absolutely we need earmark reform, and when I am president we will go line by line to make sure we’re not spending money unwisely.”) Riedl estimates the number of identified earmarks at 9,287, costing the taxpayers $14.3 billion. Obama tries to place the blame on former President Bush, saying the earmarks are carryovers from the prior administration—but they were carried over precisely because President Bush refused to sign a bill that contained them. If signed into law now, Obama cannot rightly disown responsibility for them… but he will try. [1543]

            The spending bill also includes $238,000 for the Polynesian Voyaging Society in Honolulu, $500,000 for fruit fly control in Hawaii, $650,000 for beaver management, $150,000 for a rodeo museum, $95,000 for Hawaii public radio, $118,750 for an aircraft display, and $380,000 for Maine lighthouses—all of which Obama apparently believes are justified expenditures even though the nation is enduring a severe recession. [1554]

            Although Obama railed against Congressional earmarks during the campaign, the $410 billion spending bill includes projects he himself (and others in the new administration) proposed before the inauguration, including $7.7 million for a Tribally Controlled Postsecondary Vocational Institution. (That item was sponsored by then-Senator Obama and co-sponsored by then-Senators Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton.) Other earmarks in the bill include projects costing $94.9 million requested by Biden, $5.4 million from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, $31.2 million from Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, $3.9 million from Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, $38.4 million from Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, and $109 million from Hillary Clinton. [1457]

            The stock market, unimpressed by Obama’s big-government, high-cost solutions to problems (real, exaggerated, and imagined), and unsure what Washington will do next, drops 1.1 percent, or 80.05 points. [1401]

            On February 25, the House of Representatives passes the $410 billion spending bill—on top of the $787 billion spending in the recently passed stimulus bill. The vote is 245–178, with 16 Republicans voting for the bill and 20 Democrats voting against it. The bill includes a provision eliminating the $14 million DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. The cancellation of the popular school voucher program comes despite an American Legislative Exchange Council ranking of public schools in the 50 states and Washington, D.C. which places the nation’s capitol dead last—and certainly in need of the improvement a voucher program prompts. Obama and the Democrats claim the bill has no wasteful earmarks; others claim there are about 9,000. While eliminating the popular school program in D.C., the bill includes $9 million for the nation’s largest provider of abortions, Planned Parenthood, and $50 million for the United Nations Population Fund (which is involved in forced sterilization in China). The bill provides for $22 million for an addition to the JFK Library, $200,000 for tattoo removals, $473,000 for the Hispanic lobbying group LaRaza (which advocates amnesty for illegal immigrants), and $5.8 million for an Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate. Other earmarks include $819,000 million for the study of the catfish genome, and $800,000 for oyster rehabilitation. (Washington, D.C. parents may be less than pleased to learn that the education of their children is less important than catfish genetics and “oyster rehabilitation.”) [1397, 1406, 1412, 1421, 1433, 1542, 1582, 1750]

            Washington, D.C. parents are discouraged and angered by the decision to cancel the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. Virginia Walden Ford, executive director of the DC Parents for School Choice, states “We are empowering parents to tell their stories to Congress in order to save the program. We are writing letters to the editor… parents are calling the congressmen’s offices, they’re e-mailing, we are preparing parents to go up and speak with Congress members.” Ford complains that “…Obama chose the school that was in the best interest of his child(ren), and our message to him would be, ‘Give us the same opportunity.’” (Obama will not give them that opportunity, because he receives more in donations from teachers unions than from struggling D.C. parents.) [1479]
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« Reply #108 on: July 28, 2009, 10:01:33 pm »

            Obama proposes his $3.6 trillion budget, which will, over 10 years, increase taxes on individuals by at least $636 billion and on businesses by at least $353 billion. The tax increases include the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, eliminating itemized deductions for high-income Americans, raising the capital gains tax, and various tax increases on the oil industry (which will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices). Obama advisor Robert Reich (who was Clinton’s Secretary of Labor) admits unashamedly to the New York Times that Obama’s budget represents “the biggest redistribution of income from the wealthy to the middle class and poor this nation has seen in more than 40 years.” Marking a return to old liberal tax-and-spend philosophies, Reich adds, “It is the boldest budget we have seen since the Reagan administration, and drives a nail in the coffin of Reaganomics. We can basically say goodbye to the philosophy espoused by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.” (In the first 45 days of the Obama administration, more debt spending has been authorized than in the entire eight years of the Reagan administration.) [1402, 1414, 1460, 2070]

            Most media members, aligned as they are to the left, find it impossible to be objective about Obama’s budget, its blatant liberal agenda, the inflation it will cause, and the incredible debt it will impose on future generations of Americans. The Associated Press states, “Breathtaking in its scope and ambition, President Barack Obama’s agenda for the economy, health care and energy now goes to a Congress unaccustomed to resolving knotty issues and buffeted by powerful interests that oppose parts of his plan.” Afraid to use the word “liberal,” Obama’s budget is instead called a plan “to undo major elements of Ronald Reagan’s conservative movement.” The Washington Post declares that Obama “…transformed the domestic political landscape with a breathtakingly bold budget plan,” and “President Obama’s budget is so ambitious, with vast new spending on health care, energy independence, and services for veterans, that experts say he will need to hire tens of thousands of government workers to realize his goals.” (The Heritage Foundation estimates more than 250,000 new federal employees will be hired.) President Bush’s $450+ billion deficit was (rightly) called a “deficit disaster” by the media, but Obama’s projected deficit of $1.75 trillion—almost four times as much—is somehow “breathtakingly bold.” [1808]

            Federal spending in 2009 will approach $4 trillion, or 28 per cent of the gross domestic product of the United States. That is a one-third increase in the size of government—in one year. The estimated $1.75 trillion deficit is larger than the last five Bush deficits combined. Obama’s budget contains $1.4 trillion in tax increases, increases that will ultimately affect all Americans because of higher prices passed on to consumers. The $646 billion energy tax hike (which the Obama administration calls “climate revenue”) will be passed on by industry, businesses, and utility companies to all customers, not just those earning at least $250,000 per year. Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget represents the largest (non-war) federal expansion since Roosevelt’s largely unconstitutional New Deal. According to the Heritage Foundation, “domestic discretionary spending (including the stimulus funds) has been hiked by nearly 80 per cent over 2008 levels.” [1431, 1489, 1806]

            Obama’s budget projections are based on incredibly unlikely gross domestic product (GDP) growth projections of 3.2 per cent in 2010, 4.0 per cent in 2011, 4.6 per cent in 2012, and 4.2 per cent in 2013. Growth of 2–3 per cent is more likely, according to many economists, which will mean even higher federal deficits than Obama projects. [1436]

            The Wall Street Journal points out that even if the IRS taxed all Americans earning over $250,000 at 100 per cent (rather than the 39.6 per cent Obama is demanding), the government would still collect nowhere near enough in taxes to fund Obama’s massive programs. Obama’s “two per cent illusion,” that the top two per cent of income earners can fund everything the other 98 per cent want, is just that—an illusion. Obama’s spending must therefore be paid for either by increasing taxes on Americans at lower income levels, or printing money—and that will lead to hyperinflation. Rising inflation, the devaluation of the dollar, and interest rates kept artificially low by the Federal Reserve Board will lead individuals (and nations) to liquidate their Treasury Bonds and look elsewhere for a better return on their money. That will further collapse the debt market. [1415]

            Obama’s budget increases tax revenue partly by ending the deferral of U.S. taxes on some income earned by multinational corporations overseas. The United States has the world’s second-highest corporate tax rate (35 per cent), and operating a subsidiary in Europe currently allows American corporations to defer some U.S. taxes. By eliminating that tax deferral, Obama will also eliminate the ability of many American companies to compete at all, forcing them out of business or encouraging them to relocate overseas in their entirety. [1622]

            Critics of the budget will spend considerable time attacking specific congressional earmarks, which, although they certainly deserve criticism, represent only a tiny portion of the budget. The real problem is the overwhelming size of the federal government, which will absorb approximately one-third of the nation’s entire Gross Domestic Product. (Add state and local government costs to that percentage and total government spending exceeds more than 40 per cent of the nation’s GDP.)

            Obama sneaks a footnote into his budget (page 127, footnote 1) which states the “estate tax is maintained at its 2009 parameters.” The estate tax (often referred to as the death tax because it taxes assets a person leaves in his will upon his death) was scheduled to be repealed for one year in 2010, and Republicans have been trying to repeal it permanently for the last eight years. Obama’s footnote (assuming his budget is approved as is) will leave the death tax at a permanent 45 per cent. The high estate tax increases the likelihood that when the owner of a small business or family farm dies, his heirs will be forced to sell that business or farm in order to raise enough money to pay the tax; that will result in job losses. (One study suggests that the death tax is responsible for lowering employment figures by 1.5 million.) Sneaking his estate tax into the budget via a footnote suggests that Obama knows he might have a difficult time getting its extension approved on its own merits. [1708]
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« Reply #109 on: July 28, 2009, 10:02:07 pm »

            Prompted by CNBC analyst Rick Santelli’s remarks that were critical of Obama’s homeowner-bailout program, at least 40 tea party tax protests are scheduled across the nation. Many of the groups will gather on February 27 and April 15 to protest both high taxes and irresponsible federal deficit spending. (As a sign of the times, the demonstrations likely will not involve the actual dumping of tea in any body of water, lest the Environmental Protection Agency fine the protesters for acts of pollution.) [1403, 1424]

            Obama’s Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, blames banks for America’s loss of confidence in the economy, saying, “They’ve created a deep hole of public distrust and anger which is enormously damaging, and they have a huge obligation to try to restore that basic trust and confidence. And we’re going to make sure they do it by making sure that our assistance comes with conditions.” Geithner refuses to acknowledge the federal government’s role in the economic crisis, or explain that banks made tens of thousands of subprime loans at the insistence of Congress. At the same time, White House economic advisor Paul Volcker calls for more banking regulations, when it was federal regulations that forced banks to make risky substandard loans in the first place. (Obama, Geithner, and Volcker expect bankers to cooperate at the same time they are castigating them.) [1410, 1411]

            Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meets with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga (Obama’s cousin) to discuss “mutual interests.” [1450, 1451]

On February 26, Obama’s Middle East envoy George Mitchell arrives in Israel, likely to attempt to persuade the government to remove Israelis from Judea and Samaria. Mitchell will probably also try to get the new Netanyahu government to accept a combined Fatah-Hamas government in Gaza, which the Bush administration had rejected but which Obama would accept in order to pressure Israel to give up even more land to the Palestinians. Supporting a combined Fatah-Hamas government means the Obama administration is officially legitimatizing the terrorist group Hamas. Mitchell’s activities, on behalf of Obama, start out in a generally anti-Israel direction. [1447]

            A complaint is filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on February 26, alleging that Obama received illegal foreign campaign contributions by virtue of accommodations and security provided to him by the city of Berlin when he gave a public speech there on July 24, 2008. [1409]

            At the Conservative Political Action Conference on February 26, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) warns that Obama and his fellow Democrats are seeking a “Europeanized economy” with greater government control of the energy and health care industries. Ryan criticizes Obama’s mortgage bailout program, saying, “…if you acted responsibly, if you saved your money and you kept paying your mortgage like 93 per cent of the rest of Americans do, you’re out of luck. You’re not getting a lower house payment, and the government will force you to sacrifice even more through higher taxes to bail out reckless lenders and irresponsible borrowers.” Ryan remarks that Obama is re-writing Karl Marx’s famous saying, “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs,” to “from the suckers who followed the rules, to those who borrowed beyond their means.” [1422]

            At the Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune, North Carolina on February 27, Obama commits to removing all combat troops out of Iraq by August 31, 2010. Obama has however committed to keeping 35,000 to 50,000 troops in Iraq indefinitely in support and training positions, and for “limited” counterterrorism efforts. (Rather than “combat troops,” they will be referred to as “Advisory Training Brigades” or “Advisory Assistance Brigades.”) Setting a withdrawal date signals to the terrorists that they may have a freer rein after that date, and tells al-Qaeda when it will be safe for more of them to re-enter Iraq. Obama’s dilemma is that if he quickly withdraws troops from Iraq and declares a victory he will necessarily be giving the credit to former President Bush, because Obama will have done nothing to contribute to that victory. (If democracy in Iraq succeeds, Obama will have had no part in establishing it.) If Obama quickly pulls out all troops and a disaster ensues, he will be held responsible. (Most withdrawn troops will likely be sent to Afghanistan, not back to the United States.) If Obama stays the course and continues the Bush policies, he will alienate the liberals who elected him to get the troops out of Iraq immediately, and who certainly do not want to see 50,000 left behind. During the campaign, Obama had promised to withdraw all troops within 16 months. (That was not from any expert strategy position on his part, but simply because there were then 16 brigades in Iraq and military experts warned that removing more than one brigade per month was unwise.) [1423, 1452, 1463]

            As Obama enters the room to deliver his speech at Camp Lejeune, none of the Marines applauds. The only applause comes from a few officers seated on the podium. (That contrasts dramatically with the strong applause President Bush always received when introduced to the troops.) One CNN anchor reluctantly notes the “tepid response” received by Obama. [1573]

            Although Obama pledged to remove all combat troops from Iraq by August 31, 2010, he left himself substantial wiggle room, with advisors reminding the media that his withdrawal plan is subject to “conditions on the ground.” Congressman John McHugh, ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, was “assured” by Obama that he will “revisit the tempo of the withdrawal, or he will revisit the withdrawal plan if the situation on the ground dictates it,” and that there is a “Plan B.” According to NBC Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski, “Military commanders… are already making plans for a significant number of American troops to remain in Iraq… and one senior military commander told us (NBC) that he expects large numbers of American troops to be in Iraq for the next 15 to 20 years.” [1580]

            A tea party protesting Obama’s massive tax and spending increases held in San Diego attracts about 600 people. One protestor’s sign reads, “Repeal the pork or your bacon is cooked.” At a protest in North Carolina, a young child wears a shirt with the words, “Obama, get your hands out of my piggy bank!” About 600 people protest in Nashville, and about one hundred of them march to Democrat Jim Cooper’s office to complain about his stimulus bill vote. “Free markets, not free loaders” reads one sign. In Cleveland, a young child holds a sign that charges “I read as much of the stimulus bill as my Congressman.” A protestor in Washington, D.C., wearing a Revolutionary War uniform, holds a sign with “Give me liberty or give me debt.” [1425, 1426]
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« Reply #110 on: July 28, 2009, 10:02:43 pm »

            After weeks of revelations that several Obama appointees have failed to properly pay their income taxes, White Counsel Gregory Craig takes control of the vetting process. It is then (barely) reported that Craig’s wife, Derry Noyes, runs a business, Noyes Graphics, out of their Washington, D.C. home—without required business permits or registration with the city’s division of corporations. [1429]

            By a vote of 87–11, the Senate approves Senator DeMint’s Broadcaster Freedom Amendment, which would prohibit the FCC from reinstating the Fairness Doctrine. That is quickly followed by an amendment from Illinois Senator Dick Durbin to encourage the FCC to promote “diverse media ownership.” Durbin’s amendment, which passes 57–41 (along party lines), essentially renders DeMint’s useless because federally mandated affirmative action among radio station owners can also be used by Democrats to reduce the influence of conservative radio talk show commentators. [1483, 1526]

            CNBC’s Lawrence Kudlow writes that Obama’s budget essentially is a declaration of war on “investors, entrepreneurs, small businesses, large corporations, and private-equity and venture-capital funds.” In essence, Obama’s plans will work to destroy the engine of capitalism and expand the size of government to almost 30 per cent of gross domestic product—nearly double the percentage when conservative Republicans last balanced the budget in the 1990s. Kudlow warns that any middle-class tax cuts will be more than offset by higher prices on energy caused by Obama’s punishing cap-and-trade regulations, while Obama’s “tax hikes will generate lower growth and fewer revenues” and his “…rosy scenario of four per cent recovery growth… is not likely to occur.” [1430]

            Obama’s budget will raise the 33 per cent tax bracket to 36, and the 36 per cent bracket to 39.6. Capital gains and dividends taxes will rise from 15 to 20 per cent for upper-income earners. Itemized deductions would be reduced as well. Opposition to Obama’s tax increases will likely grow steadily as the legislation heads to the House of Representatives. Congressman Jeb Hensarling warns, “You cannot help the job-seeker by punishing the job creator.” The top 20 per cent of taxpayers currently pay 80 per cent of all income taxes, while 40 per cent of American households pay no income tax at all. Obama’s plan will increase those numbers to 90 per cent and almost 50 per cent. The Heritage Foundation’s Brian M. Riedl warns, “…Obama is offering a free lunch to a lot of Americans on the backs of five per cent of the taxpayers. That can be called class warfare. I think a lot of Americans believe that even the rich should not face tax rates that add up to about 50 per cent.” Reidl adds, “You can only increase taxes on the rich so much before they stop working, saving and investing, and that reduces economic growth for everybody.” Dustin Stamper, a tax analyst at Grant Thornton LLP, charges that Obama is “being so generous at the lower-income level that making $200,000 is going to be like falling off a cliff. Say what you want about the Bush tax cuts favoring the rich, but this (Obama’s tax plan) is just becoming punitive.” If people making $200,000–$500,000 stop spending, the economy will slow to a halt. [1486, 1487]

            Obama’s budget includes a doubling of foreign aid, to about $50 billion, and an approximate 10 per cent increase in the State Department’s budget, to $51.7 billion. Nations receiving foreign aid include Israel, Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, Kenya, South Africa, and Mexico. An estimated $8 billion will go to the International Monetary Fund. Additional funds will also go to international global warming schemes. [1506]

            Sales of Ayn Rand’s monumental novel Atlas Shrugged almost triple over the first seven weeks of 2009, compared with 2008 sales. The increase is likely the result of the similarities of the “producers versus parasites” plot line of the book compared with the Obama/Democrat “redistribute the wealth” policies and actions to increase the size and power of the federal government at the expense of the individual. “Who is John Galt?” placards are displayed at events protesting Obama’s policies, repeating the opening words of the novel. (Colony 14, by the author of this timeline, is another novel which many readers remark contains ominous parallels to current events. Sales of Colony 14 have also increased.) Gun sales have skyrocketed, with many Americans worried that Obama and Holder will soon make it difficult, if not impossible, to purchase weapons and ammunition. [1432]

            Attorney General Eric “nation of cowards” Holder tours the terrorist detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay, inadvertently emphasizing a conflict of interest with his presence. If Holder reports that detainees are treated favorably, that works against the interests of his former law firm (Covington and Burling), which is representing several prisoners who have alleged torture and mistreatment. Although Holder is no longer with the firm, he still has ties with his former partners and is due a substantial amount of severance pay, and it is in the interests of the law firm for Holder to suggest that there has been abuse and mistreatment of prisoners. [1464]

            On February 27 the DJIA closes at 7,062.93, its lowest level in 12 years, and a drop of over 1,200 points since Obama’s inauguration. [1238]

            Attorney General Holder intentionally keeps silent about a Justice Department victory in a Voting Rights Act lawsuit against the Noxubee, Mississippi Democrat Party chairman, Ike Brown. The Fifth Circuit Court issues its decision on February 27, saying that the defendants had “…intentionally discriminated against the county’s… voters in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act,” “engaged in improper, and in some instances fraudulent conduct,” and “committed blatant violations of state election laws… for the purpose of diluting… voting strength.” Although the Justice Department normally issues a press release to announce court victories, it did not do so with this case—despite it having been about one of the worst cases of intentional voting discrimination in 40 years. It appears the reason for Holder’s silence is that the defendants were black, and the blatant discrimination that took place was against white voters. [1888]

            The Internet site msn.careerbuilder.com posts a smarmy article suggesting that employees can “accelerate” their careers or simply “hang onto” the jobs they have by emulating Obama. The article states, “The president stands out not only for his political talent, but because he knows how to share credit, accept blame, be self-deprecating, talk straight and make sure that both senior and junior colleagues stand out. Whether you’re a senior executive, a manager or an intern, you can learn lessons from President Obama that will make you great on the job.” [1683]

            Economists point out that the Obama budget and tax plan will have a disastrous impact on Americans earning between $250,000 and $500,000 because of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and changes to reduce the amount of deductions that can be itemized. Although Obama pledged that their tax rates would merely go back to levels that were in place under the Clinton administration, his pledge apparently applied only to the rate of income taxes. By also imposing limitations on itemized deductions (primarily mortgage interest and charitable deductions), Obama will be forcing many taxpayers into higher brackets. Add increases in capital gains and dividends taxes, and total taxes will rise sharply for people earning more than $250,000—significantly more than they may have anticipated on election day. [1435]

            Conservative talk radio commentator Rush Limbaugh gives a nationally televised speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in which he defends conservative principles and his previous comment that he hoped Obama would fail. Limbaugh states, “This notion that I want the president to fail, folks, this shows you a sign of the problem we’ve got. That’s nothing more than common sense and to not be able to say it, why in the world do I want what we just described, rampant government growth indebtedness, wealth that’s not even being created yet that is being spent, what is in this?  What possibly is in this that anybody of us wants to succeed?” and “So what is so strange about being honest to say that I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation?  Why would I want that to succeed?” [1461]

            Although many liberals in the media make a tremendous fuss over Limbaugh’s comment that he wants Obama to fail (in implementing his leftist policies), Fox News reports that on the morning of September 11, 2001 Democrat strategist James Carville met with a group of Washington reporters and told them, “I don’t care if people like him (President Bush) or not, just so they don’t vote for him and his party. That’s all I care about. I hope he doesn’t succeed, but I am a partisan Democrat.” (Carville’s comments were not reported by the media at the time because, minutes later, the World Trade Centers were struck by hijacked airliners.) [1650, 1666]

            Liberals are as annoyed by Limbaugh’s speech as conservatives are encouraged. Hugh Hewitt writes afterward, “Rush gave a speech… that will be talked about for years and even decades,” while liberals described the speech as “angry” and alienating to “moderate voters.” [1477]

            Quick-witted and sharp-tongued columnist and author Ann Coulter also appears at CPAC, remarking, “it’s amazing the media keeps comparing Obama to Lincoln and Reagan. The press apparently can’t think of a Democrat worthy enough to compare him to.” Coulter downplays Obama’s election victory with only 53 per cent of the vote, saying that beating McCain is “the equivalent of George Foreman in his prime beating Helen Thomas in the twelfth round on a technical knockout.” [1468, 1473]

            A panel discussion at CPAC discusses the influence of the activist group ACORN, to which Obama and the Democrats had just funneled tens of millions of dollars via the stimulus bill. Heather S. Heidelbaugh, vice-president of the Republican National Lawyers Association, remarks that ACORN’s “antics include embezzlement, cover-ups, document destruction, misuse of taxpayer funds for political purposes, voter fraud, campaign finance violations, and non-profits abuse.” She charges that while many people believe “ACORN is all about trying to conduct massive voter register drives,” that is “just a ruse. What ACORN is trying to do is change the very core of what America is. And they’re using poor people and people of color to do it.” [1469]

            It is reported on February 27 that Obama may not send representatives to the Durban II conference. Israel and Canada had already decided to boycott the meetings due to their likely anti-Semitic bias, and some Jewish groups in the United States have been pushing for a boycott. [1448]
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« Reply #111 on: July 28, 2009, 10:03:19 pm »

            The Obama administration files a brief relating to the court case Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation et al. v. Obama, et al. The plaintiffs charged that their conversations were illegally intercepted by the National Security Agency, and asked for a review of a classified document that allegedly would prove illegal eavesdropping. Obama’s brief argues that the court has no right to request the document, and a refusal to release it is at “…the discretion of the Executive Branch, and is not subject to judicial review” and “the Court does not have independent power… to order the Government to grant counsel access to classified information when the Executive Branch denied them such access.” The brief essentially argues that anything Obama wants to keep secret can be kept secret, no court can order its release, and his decision is final. (As a Senator and candidate, Obama criticized President Bush for similar claims of executive privilege.) [1490, 1491]

            Word spreads that Obama will pick Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to be his Secretary of Health and Human Services (in place of Tom Daschle, who withdrew because of controversy over his failure to pay income taxes). Because of Sebelius’ pro-abortion stance (Kansas has been “the place to go” for late-term abortions because of her efforts to prevent enforcement of abortion restrictions), her nomination will result in immediate criticism and opposition. Critics point to a 2007 event at the governor’s residence attended by abortionist George Tiller, who was then under investigation by the Attorney General, and who had donated to Sebelius’ campaigns. (Tiller, who donated $35,450 to Sebelius campaigns between 1994 and 2002, went on trial in March 2009 on 19 charges of violating Kansas’ restrictions on late-term abortions; he was acquitted of all charges. Tiller still risks the loss of his medical license for violations of the Healing Arts Act, for “performing an abortion on a fetus that was viable without having a documented referral from another physician not legally or financially affiliated with him.”) Many argue that the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services should be filled by a person with executive experience from the private sector, not a career politician with none of the skills required to run an enormous bureaucracy. [1437, 1746, 2020, 2083, 2319, 2508]

            Obama moves to rescind a Bush administration rule that helps protect the jobs of doctors and nurses who, on moral grounds, refuse to perform or participate in abortions. The Bush guidelines require that institutions receiving federal funds certify that they are complying with anti-discrimination rules. Obama’s action prompts the Christian Medical Association’s (CMA) CEO, David Stevens, to warn that infringing on the right to practice medicine according to life-affirming ethical standards will force physicians and nurses to leave the profession and lead to the shutting down of hospitals and clinics. Stevens states that four out of ten of the CMA’s members have reported “being pressured to violate ethical standards,” and states that physicians lose positions and promotions and residents lose training privileges because they refuse to perform abortions, and some students decide against a career in obstetrics because they do not want to be forced to perform abortions. The president of the Catholic Health Association, Sister Carol Keehan, charges, “We have seen a variety of efforts to force Catholic and other health care providers to perform or refer for abortions and sterilizations.” Stevens adds, “The move to rescind the health care provider conscience regulation imperils women’s health care access, threatens health care professionals’ freedom to practice medicine according to ethical standards, and exposes the myth of moderation in Obama’s abortion policy.” [1438, 1444, 1759, 1935]

            Obama’s pro-abortion stance is typically justified with the standard but illogical Democrat line that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.” That statement prompts the questions, “If there is nothing inherently wrong or immoral with the procedure, why does it need to be rare?” and “If abortion is inherently wrong or immoral, then why must it always be legal and unrestricted?” Obama tries to sound sympathetic and understanding by saying that choosing abortion is a “difficult decision,” but if the procedure is merely to remove and discard unwanted “tissue” that is not yet a human being, nothing about the decision should be agonizing. Abortion advocates like Obama never say they are “pro-abortion,” of course, they say they are “pro-choice” and support “reproductive freedom.” But while Obama talks about making the practice rare, his legislative record has been one of removing every obstacle standing in the way of abortions—even partial birth abortions. He can hardly lecture anyone on the need to make abortions “rare” when he is eagerly promoting the practice. (The lunacy of the leftist language is obvious when transferred to something other than abortion. Author and columnist Ann Coulter writes, “It would be as if gun owners refused to use the word ‘gun’ and the NRA’s motto were, ‘Let’s all work together to keep hunting safe, legal and rare.’”) [2678]

            On February 28, a Rasmussen poll places Obama’s approval index at +10, with 39 per cent strongly approving his job performance and 29 per cent strongly disapproving (a new high for disapprovals). Americans sees deficit reduction as the most important issue outlined in Obama’s speech to Congress on the 24th, but also view it as the least likely to be achieved. [1441, 1442]

            Despite cold, windy weather, over one thousand people gather at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis to protest Obama’s tax-and-spend policies. Radio host Dana Loesch rallies the crowd and emcees the event. “We are mad as Hell and we need to stay mad as Hell. Don’t let up,” says Jackie Smith (former tight end for the St. Louis Cardinals football team). [1462]

            It is reported that Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, endorses the concept of embedding radio chips (radio frequency ID, or RFID) in driver’s licenses. The “enhanced driver’s license” could be read by a remote reading unit even if the license remains in the individual’s wallet or purse. The potential for abuse is enormous. For example, the government could know the identity of every individual present at an event (such as an abortion protest, anti-government rally, gun show, etc.) simply by having an agent with an inconspicuous reader present in the crowd. (Such a move would likely prompt the manufacture and sale of lead-lined wallets to block the radio signals.) [1443]
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« Reply #112 on: July 28, 2009, 10:03:51 pm »

            The Arkansas legislature passes a ban on partial-birth abortions. The legislation is expected to be signed into law by Governor Mike Beebe, putting the rule on a collision course with the ill-named Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). The FOCA seeks to eliminate virtually all state limits on abortions, but would be in direct violation of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. Challenges to the FOCA, which would also force hospitals and health programs with maternity services to provide abortions, will be taken to the Supreme Court if the legislation passes and is signed into law by Obama. [1445, 1759]

            In a video message on February 28, Obama delivers the tenth annual State of the Black Union address to a gathering of black politicians and entertainers in Los Angeles. Obama brags that he had done “more in these past 30 days to bring about progressive change than we have in the past many years.” (To most politically aware blacks and far-left Democrats, “progressive” is a code word for “socialist.”) He adds that his policies are “…closing the gap between the nation we are and the nation we can be.” [1458]

            Obama appears willing to make the United States party to the International Criminal Court (ICC). In February, his ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, supported the ICC in a closed-door meeting of the U.N. Security Council, saying it “looks to become an important and credible instrument for trying to hold accountable the senior leadership responsible for atrocities committed in the Congo, Uganda and Darfur.” Being signatory to the ICC would also however allow members of the U.S. military to be charged with crimes and prosecuted for atrocities by the ICC. (Most would assume that an American soldier captured in Iraq or Afghanistan and arraigned on possibly trumped-up charges would get less-than-friendly treatment by a U.N. court.) [1613]

            Sometime in February, a five-man negotiating team from Iran arrives in Washington to meet with members the State Department. The group, headed by Ahmad Samavati, offers to turn over dozens of top al-Qaeda operatives, some of whom are on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list. Two of the men on the list, Saif al-Adel and Ahmed Mughassil, were indicted for the 1996 bombing of a U.S. military barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and a U.S. intelligence official states, “The U.S. intelligence community would very much like to see them taken off the streets. After all, they’re hardened terrorists.” Nevertheless, the Obama administration turns down Iran’s offer to hand over the radicals. The State Department will not provide justification for the refusal, but the explanation may be related to not having any place to incarcerate the terrorists if Obama continues with this plan to close the detainee facility at Guantanamo. Samavati’s trip was purportedly the third of five secret meetings between representatives of Iran and the United States. (The first allegedly took place in December of 2008, when Iranian presidential advisor Mohammad Nahavandian met with members of Obama’s transition team. Because Obama had not yet been sworn in as president, but had already resigned his Senate seat, he was at that time a private citizen. He and his advisors had no legal authority to negotiate with a foreign government on behalf of the United States. It is, in fact, a felony under the Logan Act, punishable with up to three years imprisonment.) [1017, 2608, 2613]

 

 
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« Reply #113 on: July 28, 2009, 10:05:32 pm »

March

 

The War on Capitalism

 

A March 1 Rasmussen poll places Obama’s approval index at +8, with 38 per cent strongly approving his job performance and 30 per cent strongly disapproving. [1459]

            Obama considers canceling the production of additional F-22 Raptor fighter jets. The decision could cost as many as 95,000 American jobs. [1668]

            Sources report that American International Group, Inc. (AIG) will receive another $30 billion in federal bailout funds, on top of the $150 billion in loans already provided by the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). [1480]

            The White House releases a statement claiming that Obama’s stimulus bill was responsible for the reopening of Republic Windows and Doors, a Chicago company that had closed down in late 2008. No stimulus money, in fact, had gone to that company; it had simply been bought by a California business that was able to negotiate a good purchase price because of its closing. [1485]

            Obama’s cap-and-trade tax proposal for dealing with global warming causes concern for a number of House and Senate Democrats. Some legislators want a portion of the “climate revenue” to be given to their states while others, especially in the industrial and coal-producing states, justifiably fear that Obama-caused job losses and higher utility costs will anger voters. (Cap-and-trade legislation will lead to higher prices for every American who drives a car, turns on the furnace or air conditioner, or flips a light switch… not just those who earn more than $250,000.) James Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy Corp., predicts that Obama’s plan would “increase electricity bills by as much as 40 per cent in some U.S. states,” and Obama is “not talking cap-and-trade, he’s talking cap-and-tax.” Some opponents of the cap-and-trade scheme believe that Obama’s ambitious plans will ultimately work against him. “We want to thank the administration for killing all industry support for cap-and-trade. President Obama has consolidated the opposition,” said William Kovacs, an energy specialist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And while NASA’s chief (and increasingly discredited) climate scientist James Hansen leads a March 2 global warming protest in Washington, D.C., the Northeast is hit with a blizzard that dumps as much as 14 inches of snow in some areas. [1474, 1475, 1476, 1532, 1533]

            On March 2, Adolfo Carrion becomes Obama’s director of the White House Office on Urban Policy. Carrion, the just-resigned former president of New York’s Bronx borough, received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from developers whose projects he advocated or sponsored, or for which he approved zoning changes. Carrion received more than $70,000 in donations from Boricua College employees and the Atlantic Development Group, which did construction work for the school. Carrion, in return, sponsored at least $7.5 million in taxpayer funds for the projects. Carrion agreed to support construction of the new Yankee Stadium only if some local contractors like Tri-Line Construction received some of the work. Tri-Line raised $83,700 for Carrion. [1478]

            Computerworld reports that classified information relating to Marine One (the presidential helicopter) was leaked in the summer of 2008. The information was found in a publicly shared folder on a computer in Tehran, Iran. Other classified documents were found on the computer. The data appears to have originally come from a military contractor in Bethesda, Maryland. [2329]

            Obama continues to have difficulty finding Democrats who properly pay their income taxes. It is reported that Obama’s nominee for U.S. Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, owes approximately $10,000 in back taxes. Kirk neglected to report speaking fees as taxable income, and he improperly deducted the cost of season tickets to the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. [1484]

            On March 2, in an intentional effort to embarrass the Bush administration, Obama releases several classified White House documents relating to anti-terrorist policies considered after the September 11 attacks. One memorandum showed that the administration was contemplating ways to use wiretaps without first obtaining warrants. By releasing personal memoranda and discussion notes, however, Obama may inadvertently be setting a watered-down “executive privilege” precedent that may make it easier for others to obtain documents from his own administration. [1492, 1505]

            Obama sends a private letter to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev offering to consider discontinuing the planned defensive missile system for Poland and a radar installation in the Czech Republic if Russia agrees to help stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons. Medvedev quickly gains an advantage over and humiliates Obama by making the offer public, and by stating he will gladly accept Obama’s plans to drop the defensive missile program but there is no need to use Iran to haggle about it. The blunder by Obama (who had previously signaled that he might be willing to cancel the planned Eastern European installations) suggests he is certainly not a skilled poker player. A letter from to Obama from dozens of Congressmen had warned him “…it is unwise and premature to offer such a concession”—and suggested that Russia could not be trusted with such a deal anyway. [1493, 1504, 1840]

            Obama embarrasses Great Britain’s Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, by meeting with him in the White House but refusing to hold the traditional Rose Garden joint press conference afterward. Obama also decides not to have any British flags on display when they meet. The snub is a result of ineptitude, or perhaps an indication that Obama does not want to share the limelight for any economic recovery that may take place or give Brown credit for his proposed “Global New Deal.” (Obama had recently annoyed and insulted Great Britain by returning the bust of Winston Churchill that had been displayed in the Oval Office.) [1494]

            During his visit, Prime Minister Brown presents Obama with a signed, first-edition seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill, by Randolph Churchill and Sir Martin Gilbert. Obama gives Brown a set of 25 DVDs, purportedly from the American Film Institute’s list of the top one hundred American films. (The DVDs presented to Brown are not playable in Great Britain, where different region codes make the American discs unusable. Further, Brown is blind in one eye and his sight is failing in the other.) Brown also presents Obama with a pen holder crafted from the wood of the British ship H.M.S. Gannet (the first British ship to fight slave trade, and the sister ship of the famous British warship, H.M.S. Resolute—which was stuck in the ice in the Arctic, abandoned by the British, and later retrieved by Americans and returned to England). The pens are meant by Brown to symbolize the friendship between the United States and the United Kingdom and match a presidential desk made from the Resolute that had previously been presented to the United States. (It is unclear what Obama’s DVDs are meant to symbolize, or whether Obama will “re-gift” the penholder or the Churchill books. Critics of Obama’s gift giving should note, however, that he does not give gifts to his children at Christmas, so he may have relatively little experience with the practice.) [357, 161, 1566, 1611, 1626, 1729]
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« Reply #114 on: July 29, 2009, 02:34:00 pm »

            Although Obama insisted during the campaign that he would improve relations with other nations (which he argued President Bush had caused to deteriorate), his initial meeting with Prime Minister Brown suggests Obama and his staff have a lot to learn about foreign relations. Obama is excoriated in the British press for his treatment of Brown. One report remarks “The Prime Minister was given a humiliatingly low key reception at the White House at the hands of a new U.S. Administration that seems to care little for the Anglo-American alliance or even the basics of international diplomacy.” The London Daily Telegraph writes, “Obama has been rudeness personified toward Britain.” Despite Brown’s unpopularity in England its citizens still expect him to be treated with dignity, prompting the media comment, “No British leader in modern times has been greeted with less decorum by his American counterpart, and the amateur reception he received was more fitting for the arrival of a Third World potentate than the leader of America’s closest ally.” One Obama staffer allegedly told the Brits, “There’s nothing special about Britain. You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn’t expect special treatment.” That remark may prompt Great Britain to re-think treatment it might give Obama in the future. [1587, 1729, 2007]

            On the Senate floor on March 2, John McCain lambastes Obama for reneging on his campaign promises, saying, “If it seems like I’m angry, it’s because I am.” McCain quotes Obama’s words from one of their three debates, “‘We need earmark reform and when I’m president, I will go line by line to make sure we’re not spending money unwisely.’ That’s the quote, the promise of the President of the United States made to the American people in a debate with me in Oxford, Mississippi. So what is brought to the floor today—9,000 earmarks. So much for change.” [1495]

            In the face of a continuing economic downturn and with the stock market in a continuing decline, Obama turns his attention to a massive health care program and education spending, when the federal government does not have the revenue for either. To many observers, Obama seems indifferent to the plunging stock market. His overall lack of a plan or strategy and the impractical tax-and-spend policies he has proposed work to create uncertainty and a shortage of confidence on Wall Street—precisely what needs to be avoided to get out of a recession. [1496, 1497]

            In a videotaped message, Obama promises more than one hundred labor officials that the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) will be passed. The stealth-named legislation (which might better be called the “Employee No Choice Act”) is supported by organized labor, ACORN, and MoveOn.org, and will allow unions to organize workforces without secret ballots, enabling them to use pressure tactics to gain more power in the workplace. The resulting forced unionization will, at the very least, cause targeted businesses to raise prices and, at the worst, force more companies overseas or out of business. (Even liberal former Senator George McGovern opposes the bill, calling it a “disturbing and undemocratic overreach, not in the interest of either management or labor,” and saying that the concept runs “counter to ideals that were once at the core of the labor movement.”) Republican Congressman Tom Price calls the bill the “union worker intimidation act.” In defense of the right to a secret ballot, Price, along with Congressman John Kline (R-MN), introduce the Secret Ballot Protection Act. (Kline warns that independent studies show passage of EFCA would cause the loss of at least 600,000 jobs.) The EFCA has passed in the House previously, but Democrats could safely vote for it and placate organized labor because they knew President Bush would veto the bill. The equation changes with Obama, who has promised to sign the EFCA. If Democrats now vote against the bill, they will anger organized labor (which gives them incredibly generous campaign donations). If Democrats vote for the bill, they will be responsible for the resulting higher prices and unemployment (for which they will certainly be blamed in Republican campaign commercials). Democrats would also anger the voters, who overwhelmingly support the right to a secret ballot. (Statistics show that roughly one-third of the workers who originally agree to a union organizing vote end up voting against the union when protected by a secret ballot. That difference reflects the union and co-worker pressure placed on employees to sign up for membership in which they are not in fact interested.) [1534, 1535, 1695, 1997, 2352]

            After visiting Egypt, where she pledges $900 million in U.S. aid to Gaza reconstruction, Secretary of State Clinton meets with Israel’s President, Shimon Peres. She later remarks, “During the conference (in Egypt), I emphasized President Obama’s and my commitment to working to achieve a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and our support for the Palestinian Authority.” Clinton’s words were no doubt carefully weighed by Israel’s prime minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu, who will form a government that is likely to bristle at demands from Obama and Clinton for Israel to give up more land to the Palestinians. Clinton also states she is “very doubtful” that diplomacy alone can persuade Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions. (On the campaign trail, Obama led voters to believe he would accomplish that). [1498, 1499]
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« Reply #115 on: July 29, 2009, 02:34:44 pm »

            While Hillary Clinton, on Obama’s behalf, plans an “aggressive” pursuit of peace in the Middle East (at Israel’s expense), Binyamin Netanyahu argues that weakening Iran is the key to ending Middle East conflict. An aide to Netanyahu says, “Iran’s growing power and intransigence give great advantage to the radical elements among Palestinians and in Lebanon,” and “Any progress in the Middle East peace talks will require Hamas’ weakening which can be achieved only if Iran is seen as weakened.” Although Israel supports peaceful international efforts to resolve the problem of Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon, it refuses to rule out military action as a last resort if negotiations or sanctions fail. If Israel sends bombers to take out Iran’s nuclear facilities, it will have to cross Iraqi airspace to do so. (Other routes would require too much fuel, and Israel does not have the in-flight refueling capabilities of the U.S. military.) It remains to be seen whether Obama would allow Israel to fly over Iraq on its mission, or what actions he might take to prevent it from doing so. [1684]

            Although Clinton argues that none of the $900 million in aid to Gaza relief operations will end up in the hands of the terrorist group Hamas, only $300 million of the amount is designated for humanitarian aid. Money will go to the Palestinian Authority (PA), nongovernmental organizations, and the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNWRA). Israeli critics argue that aid to Gaza necessarily helps Hamas, and that corruption will likely lead to Hamas getting some of the cash (just as Yasser Arafat was able to amass a personal fortune from funds given to the PA). The UNRWA’s reputation for corruption prompts Congressman Mark Kirk (R-IL) to warn, “To route $900 million to this area, and let’s say Hamas was only able to steal ten per cent of that, we would still become Hamas’ second-largest funder after Iran. If it goes thru UNRWA, which has not had an outside audit, then there’s going to be grave concern.” The UNRWA has used the state-owned Commercial Bank of Syria for fund-raising. The U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on that bank for laundering money in the United Nations’ scandalous Iraqi oil for food program, and the bank has also handled transactions that involved terrorist financing. Clinton does not provide details as to how the $900 million would be properly protected and safely distributed. (Hamas has been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government and cannot legally be given American aid.) [1502, 1508, 1516, 1584, 2675]

            While Obama is giving $900 million in aid to Gaza with few restrictions, the United States is cutting back on its financial and military aid to Israel. In an effort to push Israel toward accepting Obama’s demands to appease the Palestinians, Pentagon guidelines will now require a detailed accounting of how the Israeli Defense Forces uses every single item purchased with U.S. funds. In the meantime, unprovoked Palestinian rocket attacks against Israel have returned to levels that preceded Operation Cast Lead, and Iran and Syria have continued to supply Hamas with weapons and ammunition. [1517]

            Their ears still ringing from listening to constituent complaints about the $787 billion stimulus bill, some Democrats appear less than eager to support Obama’s $410 billion spending bill and $3.6 trillion budget. Congressman Harry E. Mitchell of Arizona states, “I don’t agree with the administration about letting all those tax cuts expire for upper-income families.” Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, also of Arizona, remarks, “A lot needs to be done to help people keep their homes. But I’m just not sure about this (mortgage bailout) bill,” and “…I could not vote for the omnibus $410 billion spending bill.” One fomenting problem is that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi allows almost no time for debate or amendments and expects all Democrats to simply fall into line and vote as she demands. Connecticut’s John B. Larson comments, “Everything’s coming at them fast and furious. The more that people get an opportunity to go back and forth… the greater the comfort level they will have.” [1500]

            ABC News reports on taxpayers who are working on ways to reduce their incomes to just under the $250,000 level to avoid the substantial tax increases in Obama’s proposed budget. “We are going to try to figure out how to make our income $249,999,” states an attorney in Lafayette, Louisiana. “We have to find a way out where we can make just what we need to (stay) just under the line so we can benefit from Obama’s tax plan. Why kill yourself working if you’re going to give it all away to people who aren’t working as hard?” Boulder, Colorado dentist Sharon Poczatek remarks, “The motivation for a lot of people like me—dentists, entrepreneurs, lawyers—is that the more you work the more money you make. But if I’m going to be working just to give it back to the government… it’s de-motivating and demoralizing.” [1503]

            Alaskan State Senator Kim Elton resigns from his seat to accept a job as Director of Alaska Affairs for the Department of the Interior. The job is considered by some a reward from Obama for Elton’s role in pushing the investigation of Governor Sarah Palin, who wanted a state trooper fired for various incidents (which included drinking on the job, hunting without a permit, and “tasering” his step-son—who happened to be Palin’s nephew). [1514]

            The New York Times prints an opinion piece by self-proclaimed political “moderate” David Brooks, in which he expresses amazement that Obama is a leftist. Brooks writes that he is “…forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was. His words are responsible; his character is inspiring. But his actions betray a transformational liberalism that should put every centrist on notice. As Obama admirer Clive Crook wrote in the Financial Times, the Obama budget ‘contains no trace of compromise. It makes no gesture, however small, however costless to its larger agenda, of a bipartisan approach to the great questions it addresses. It is a liberal’s dream of a new New Deal.’” It is unclear why Brooks is surprised by Obama’s actions, which are entirely consistent with his history and someone who is, as columnist Laura Hollis describes him, “…an ultra-left ideologue who is going to spend the country into oblivion in order to try to achieve his Marxist coup d’etat.” [1522, 1539]

            Dick Morris, political commentator and former Bill Clinton advisor, charges that Obama is engaging in a “War on Prosperity” in order to achieve his own ideological agenda of wealth redistribution. Morris states that Obama “…is the enemy of prosperity. He, literally, favors redistribution of income as being more important—and more a function of the president—than the creation of wealth.” Morris argues that with his spending and tax plans Obama is essentially telling people, “Spend a lot of money now, invest a lot now, and don’t worry about it. In two years, I’m going to cut your head off.” Morris charges that by over-taxing the top income earners—the economy’s job-creators—Obama is “…dooming his administration to worse and worse economic data.” Those who, like Obama, ridicule the concept of “trickle down” economics will be in for a rude awakening when they learn that any significant reduction in spending by the top five per cent of the nation’s taxpayers will have a devastating effect on the bottom 95 per cent. [1507]
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« Reply #116 on: July 29, 2009, 02:35:28 pm »

            Although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insured that the stimulus legislation was as far left a bill as possible, she nevertheless manages to anger the far left of the Democrat party by not doing more to get troops immediately withdrawn from Iraq. Ironically, a blizzard keeps Pelosi from attending a global warming rally on March 2, but her critics are there to level a few barbs. Code Pink Women for Peace activist Leslie Angeline says, “I don’t believe in her (Pelosi) at all. I’m a constituent. I am from San Francisco and she has failed us in every way. She didn’t get us out of the war. She knew about torture before it started happening and she did nothing to stop it. I mean, the woman is a farce.” Activist Jamie Henn warns, “Pelosi needs to know that we are behind her if she is bold but we are also willing to vote her out of office if she doesn’t take action.” [1511]

            Tim Geithner, Obama’s Secretary of the Treasury, tells the House Ways and Means Committee on March 3 that Obama will propose legislation to limit the ability of U.S. companies to shelter foreign earnings from U.S. taxes, and will try to limit the use of tax havens by wealthy Americans. (Geithner does not indicate whether the Kennedy family, which shelters a large portion of its wealth in trusts in Fiji, would be exempted from the new rules.) After hearing criticism that the Obama budget will raise taxes during a recession, Geithner responds that the budget reflects “a deep moral imperative to make our society more just.” Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI) warns, “This massive hidden (cap-and-trade) energy tax is going to work its way through every aspect of American life. How we light our homes, heat our homes and pay for the gas in our cars, in every phase of our daily lives, we will be paying higher costs.” Obama’s budget director Peter Orszag reluctantly admits to the committee that Obama’s energy proposals would increase costs for consumers. (The Capitol Power Plant, which relies on coal and is the largest single source of air pollution in Washington, D.C., heats the Capitol building.) [1510, 1513, 2009, 2679]

            Aware that Obama is planning to close the terrorist detainee facility at Guantanamo without any concrete plans on what to do with the prisoners, Congressman John Shadegg (R-AZ) introduces a bill preventing any of the approximate 250 detainees from being allowed into the United States. Says Shadegg, “No American family should ever have to worry about their own government placing a terrorist in their community,” The bill will be up for a vote only if it can get through the House Judiciary Committee, which is controlled by Democrats. [1512]

            Although the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged to 6,763 on March 2 (its lowest close since April 25, 1967) and millions of Americans have lost hundreds of billions in retirement assets as a result, Obama says on March 3 that he doesn’t look at “the day-to-day gyrations of the stock market,” but follows whether businesses are investing and the unemployed are going back to work. He adds that, “The stock market is sort of like a tracking poll in politics. It bobs up and down day-to-day. And if you spend all your time worrying about that, then you’re probably going to get the long-term strategy wrong,” but he seems not to have noticed that the “bobbing” has been going only down, and businesses are not investing and the unemployed are not going back to work. Obama continues, “What you’re now seeing is… is, uh… profit and earning ratios are… are starting to, uh, get to the point where buying stocks is a potentially good deal if you’ve got a long term perspective on it.” His remark may not instill much confidence in those who were planning on retirement in the near future (four out of every seven American families experienced stock losses, realized or unrealized, of at least $100,000 during the current bear market, according to Kiplinger’s, BTN Research), or those who understand that “P and E” stands for “price to earnings” ratio, not “profit and earning ratio.” If Obama does not understand the price to earnings ratio, he may perhaps not even realize that money is made in the stock market in only two ways: capital gains and dividends—and he is raising taxes on both. [1515, 1527]

            The Senate votes 63–32, mostly along party lines, against an attempt by John McCain (R-AZ) to remove 8,500 earmarks totaling about $2 billion from the $410 billion spending bill. The bill will therefore retain $1.7 million for pig odor research, $2 million for the promotion of astronomy, $6.6 million for termite research, and $2.1 million for the Center for Grape Genetics. [1519]

            Two Democrat and two Republican Congressmen introduce a bill to make the Census Bureau an independent agency, under the control of neither the Commerce Department nor the president. The move is an attempt to prevent Obama from placing the 2010 census under the control of Rahm Emanuel, who would be expected to manipulate the data so that the results favor Democrats. [1520]

            CNBC host Jim Cramer calls Obama’s budget a “radical agenda” and says, “This is the greatest wealth destruction I’ve (ever) seen by a president.” Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, having no legitimate defense for the charge instead ridicules the ratings of CNBC, remarking, “If you turn on a certain program it’s geared to a very small audience. No offense to my good friends, our friends at CNBC. But the President has to look out for the broader economy and the broader population.” Cramer had at one time been a supporter of Obama. [1523]

            At least one of the soldiers who is a plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging Obama’s eligibility to serve as president is ordered by his commanding officer not to speak with the media. [1525]
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« Reply #117 on: July 29, 2009, 02:36:00 pm »

            Republicans are quick to come out publicly in opposition to Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget, but even some prominent Democrats have some problems with it. Charles Rangel (D-NY), powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, expresses a reluctance to go along with Obama’s plan to reduce the tax deductibility of charitable contributions, saying “I would never want to adversely affect anything that is charitable or good.” Secretary of the Treasury Geithner admits that consumers would face higher utility bills because of Obama’s “greenhouse gas fees,” saying, “…if people don’t change how they use energy, then they will face higher costs for energy.” [1529]

            Harvard University economics professor and researcher Robert Barro estimates the odds of the United States falling into a depression are one in five. “If we are lucky,” says Barro, “the current downturn will also be moderate, though likely worse than the other U.S. post-World War II recessions, including 1982.” Barro is not confident that the Obama administration is doing the right things, however, and states, “I think it more likely that the economy will eventually recover despite these policies, rather than because of them.” Investment guru Jim Rogers echoes Barro’s sentiments, and criticizes the government for not allowing businesses to go bankrupt, saying “None of (this) does much for the economy down the road. It’s trying to postpone some pain we’re going to have to take.” [1531]

            Democrat Senators Birch Bayh (D-IN) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) sharply criticize Obama’s $410 billion spending bill and say they will vote against it. Bayh slams the bill, calling it “a sprawling, $410 billion compilation of nine spending measures that lacks the slightest hint of austerity from the federal government or the recipients of its largess.” Feingold tells RollCall.com, “I’m going to vote against it. I’m not going to vote on this.” [1536]

            Obama nominates Julius Genachowski as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Attorney Genachowski graduated from Harvard Law School in 1991 and clerked for Supreme Court Justices William Brennan and David Souter. Conservative criticism over Democrat plans to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine forced Obama to say he will not do so, but it is believed the FCC will attempt to reduce the influence of conservative talk radio by using legal technicalities to yank broadcast licenses from some radio stations; those licenses would then be turned over to minority broadcasters who would remove commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity from their schedules. Legally, the Fairness Doctrine can be reinstated by the FCC; the action does not require an act of Congress or the signing of a bill by Obama. It can therefore be reinstated while he maintains that he is in opposition to it. [1547, 1548]

            The administration unveils a new emblem to identify stimulus projects from the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The symbol consists of white stars on a blue field with the URL recovery.org, an outline of leaves on a green background, and cogged wheels. All are contained with a large “O” to continually remind the public that Obama is responsible for the project (something that may work against Obama when Americans see taxpayer-funded work crews standing around doing nothing on a construction site). [1590]

            Stephanie Miller, host of a barely-listened-to liberal radio talk show, calls CNN’s Larry King talk show on March 3 and states that for daring to criticize Obama and hoping that his policies fail, conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh “…should be executed for treason.” King does not challenge Miller’s remark. [1553]

            At a press conference in Israel on March 3, Secretary of State Clinton announces that Obama will be sending senior envoys to Damascus to begin “preliminary conversations” on improving U.S. ties with Syria. The next day U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), George Schulte, charges at its Board of Governor’s meeting that Syria has been hiding its nuclear weapons activities and blocking U.N. inspectors from four suspected nuclear sites. Hours later, Senator John Kerry, who had just returned from a trip to Syria, tells the Brookings Institution that the United States is attempting to appease Syria’s President Bashar Assad. Obama is apparently willing to loosen sanctions on Syria for its help in pressuring Israel to surrender territory to the Palestinians. Israel will be the loser in the deal, while the United States would seem to be gaining nothing. The Obama administration appears to be working more toward sacrificing Israel for the sake of Palestinian statehood than preventing Iran and Syria from obtaining nuclear weapons. [1583]
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« Reply #118 on: July 29, 2009, 02:36:37 pm »

            Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY) warns Treasury Secretary Geithner about bonuses to AIG executives at a March 3 hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee. “Just last month AIG paid 343 employees of AIG FP, their Financial Products division that created the financial hole that AIG is in, and in turn a multibillion-dollar bill for American taxpayers—$56 million in bonuses and are slated to pay an additional $162 million in bonuses to 393 participants in the coming weeks. There’s more,” lectured Crowley. “Further bonus payments totaling approximately $230 million are due to 407 participants at AIG’s Financial Products division in March 2010. This makes no sense to my constituency.” (Despite having attended this hearing, Geithner later claims he was not aware of the payment of AIG bonuses until March 10 and did not inform Obama until March 12.) [1901]

            On March 4, conservative talk show giant Rush Limbaugh, responding to Democrat attempts to paint him as the de facto head of the Republican Party, challenges Obama to a debate on his radio program. Limbaugh says, “If these guys are so impressed with themselves, and if they are so sure of their correctness, why doesn’t President Obama come on my show? We will do a one-on-one debate of ideas and policies.” He then adds, “I am offering President Obama to come on this program—without staffers, without a teleprompter, without note cards—to debate me on the issues. Let’s talk about free markets versus government control. Let’s talk about nationalizing health care and raising taxes on small business… Let’s talk about the New Deal versus Reaganomics… Let’s talk about closing Guantanamo Bay, and let’s talk about sending $900 million to Hamas. Let’s talk about illegal immigration and the lawlessness on the borders. Let’s talk about massive deficits and the destroying of opportunities of future generations…” [1537, 1563]

            Business competitors of insurance AIG complain to Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke that the massive amount of federal bailout funds given to AIG has allowed it to lower prices on policies and unfairly undercut its competition. The government is therefore helping AIG gain new customers and increase market share at the same time it is arguing that taxpayers must bail out the company because it is “too big to fail.” [1926]

            Odds increase that Israel will take military action against Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons. Influencing the state of affairs is Russia’s pledge to supply Iran with its S-300 surface-to-air missile system, and Israel’s perception that it will have to go it alone with little or no support from the Obama administration. Israel has certainly taken note of the fact that Obama is trying to “play nice” with Iran. Talks with no pre-conditions would serve to legitimize the theocracy of Iran, which the majority of the Iranian people likely do not accept as legitimate. Iran’s regime reportedly has the highest rate of executions per capita, yet Obama is willing to engage in discussions with no preconditions. It is unclear what he expects to get from Iran, but it is clear that Iran wants economic sanctions lifted, an end to terrorism lawsuits (some still continue from the 444-day American Embassy siege that humiliated Jimmy Carter 30 years ago), and being allowed to continue its nuclear program. [1538, 2613]

            Billionaire investor Warren Buffet says in a letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, “We’re certain… that the economy will be in shambles throughout 2009—and, for that matter, probably well beyond. But that conclusion does not tell us whether the stock market will rise or fall.” [1540]

            Fifteen Republican legislators in Missouri propose an amendment to their state constitution that would require presidential candidates to provide official copies of their birth certificates to confirm that they are natural born citizens. The proposal is an attempt to keep Obama off the November 2012 ballot, in the belief that he is not a natural born citizen eligible to serve as president. [1593]

            Former Secretary Treasurer James Baker says in the Financial Times that failing banks should not be rescued but allowed to fail. “We should divide the banks into three groups: the healthy, the hopeless, and the needy. Leave the healthy alone and quickly close the hopeless. The needy should be reorganized and recapitalized, preferably through private investment or debt-to-equity swaps but, if necessary, through public funds.” Chairman and CEO of WL Ross and Company, Wilbur Ross, argues against nationalization of any banks, telling CNBC that “…if you also make the big commercial banks government-owned, it will be that the government is the only place where you can get a loan and if you nationalize a few government banks, why would a big depositor deposit his money anywhere but a government bank?” [1540, 1541]

            On March 5, Obama’s friend William Ayers appears with controversial professor Ward Churchill at a student rally for academic freedom in Boulder, Colorado. Churchill, who was fired from his Colorado University teaching job on charges of plagiarism, is infamous for calling the victims of the World Trade Center attacks “little Eichmanns,” while Ayers’ history includes terrorist bombings and spending years hiding from the FBI. [1544]
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« Reply #119 on: July 29, 2009, 02:37:06 pm »

            In a staged photo op, Michelle Obama dishes food at Miriam’s Kitchen, a soup kitchen not far from the White House, to show that “she cares” and to encourage others to volunteer to help the less fortunate. At the scene, a homeless man waiting in line to be served by the First Lady takes her picture with his cell phone camera. She does not ask how he can afford cell phone service if he is unemployed, where his cell phone bill is mailed if he is homeless, or whether he owns a computer for downloading and printing photographs. (But she does support her husband’s $3.6 trillion budget, which calls for a substantial increase in welfare spending over the prior year’s federal budget.) [2123]

            A “Geithner motion” is filed in federal District Court to dismiss the case United States v. David Jacquot (Case Cr 080-1171) on the basis that Jacquot was not treated in the same manner as politically prominent persons. Jacquot intends to subpoena Secretary Treasurer Timothy Geithner and Congressman Charles Rangel who, because of their political connections and “elite status” escaped prosecution for failure to pay proper income taxes. Jacquot claims the IRS harassed him because of his successful defense of clients against the federal tax agency. (One judge sided with Jacquot and awarded his clients hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees for having to defend themselves against a bogus case brought against them by the government.) Jacquot’s corporate law firm tax returns were investigated four years in a row and it was ultimately decided that not only had he not underpaid taxes he had reported too much income. [1703, 1704, 1705]

            The Washington Times reports that Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board includes big campaign donors, a union official who pleaded the Fifth Amendment rather than testify in a federal investigation (Richard L. Trumka, who helped to illegally divert $150,000 in union funds for the re-election of Teamster president Ron Carey in 1996), and a billionaire friend who led her Chicago bank to failure because of its approval of subprime mortgages (Penny Pritzker). Obama says the group brings “…a diverse set of perspectives and voices… to bear in the formulation and evaluation of economic policy.” (It is unclear why Obama believes someone whose bank failed should be involved in shaping the nation’s economic policy.) Other members of Obama’s economic advisory board include Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric (which has received federal bailout funds), Mark Gallogly (director of Dana Holding Corp., who raised $200,000 for Obama), and Robert Wolf (who raised $370,000 for Obama and who is head of the American branch of UBS Investment Bank, which is infamous for helping wealthy Americans shelter income in Switzerland to avoid taxes). [1544, 1594]

            Sweden’s Social Democratic Workers’ Party (a leftist-Marxist party that is often referred to as simply the Social Democrats) engages Thomas Gensemer and his company, Blue State Digital, to help it win elections in 2010. Blue State Digital was used by Obama to drum up early support and to collect tens of millions in Internet campaign contributions (many of which were poorly documented and may have been illegal foreign contributions). [1546]

            It is reported that Syria is building a new chemical weapons factory adjacent to a long-range missile base and hiding evidence of a nuclear weapons program. Syria receives funding for the projects from Iran. Obama, rather than getting tougher on Syria is doing the opposite, having approved the export of repair parts for Syria’s Boeing 747 aircraft fleet (which has been used to deliver weapons from Iran to Hizbullah terrorists in Lebanon). Over the last six years Syria’s weapons budget has grown from $100 million to $3 billion, largely through the help of Iran. (In the event of an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, Iran will expect help from Syria if it retaliates.) [1549]

            On March 5, the stock market’s DJIA closes down 281 points, dropping 4.1 per cent for the day. Since Obama was inaugurated investors have lost an estimated $2.5 trillion dollars, and the Dow has lost 20.4 per cent since his swearing in ceremony. The stock market is understandably reacting negatively to Obama’s $787 billion stimulus bill, pending $410 billion spending bill, $3.6 trillion budget, $634 billion health care plan, and $1 trillion (or more) in tax increases; it sees no end in sight to his massive deficit spending that will be a monumental drag on the economy. [1550]

            The Federal Reserve Board states that over the previous five months the U.S. money supply has almost tripled, increasing by 271 per cent. The eventual release of that cash into the consumer economy will result in price increases, because the amount of money will have increased while the amount of goods and services has remained relatively static (or has even been reduced, by virtue of a decline in the Gross Domestic Product). More money chasing fewer goods and services necessarily results in inflated prices, the result of the increase in the money supply by the Federal Reserve Board. The incredible deficit spending of the Obama administration will continue into the future, forcing additional increases in the money supply. The eventual resulting inflation is likely to be the highest Americans have experienced since Jimmy Carter was president in the 1970s. The problem faced by Obama and the Federal Reserve Board’s Ben Bernanke is that they have “no more bullets left in their gun”—there are no other policies to which they can turn. Either the massive deficit spending will adequately “prime the pump” and get the economy moving again or it will not. Even if their policies work, inflation will necessarily appear somewhere down the line. (Never in the history of the world has a government inflated the money supply without causing price increases.) If their policies do not work (which many economists say is likely), the nation will be faced with both a struggling economy and inflation. [1775]
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