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Shameful, President Obama

Obama’s Top Five Broken Promises

By Phil Kerpen
Director of Policy, Americans for Prosperity

Promise #5: Sunlight Before Signing

What he said:

“Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.” (BarackObama.com campaign Web site)

What he did:

Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter bill, the SCHIP/cigarette tax hike, and the stimulus bill all with far less than a five-day waiting period that he promised–and continues to promise–on his campaign Web site.

Promise #4: Lobbyist Revolving Door

What he said:

“No political appointees in an Obama-Biden administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years. And no political appointee will be able to lobby the executive branch after leaving government service during the remainder of the administration.” (BarackObama.com campaign Web site)

What he did:

Obama appointed Goldman Sachs lobbyists Mark Patterson chief of staff at the Treasury Department, where he directly oversees his former employer, a recipient of $10 billion of taxpayer funds from the TARP. Obama also appointed Raytheon lobbyist William Lynn to be an undersecretary of Defense.

Promise #3: No Tax Hikes on the Poor

What he said first:

“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” (September 12, 2008, Dover, N.H.)

What he did first:

By signing H.R. 2 into law, Obama happily signed onto the idea that smokers should pay for a $35 billion expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan (SCHIP). Cigarette taxes are going up 61 cents a pack starting April 1. Obama signed this bill knowing that the majority of smokers in the United States are working poor, and one in four lives below the federal poverty line.

What he said next:

“If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime.” (February 24th, 2009, Address to a Joint Session of Congress)

What he did next:

Ignored the already-hiked cigarette tax at the time of the statement and then this restated promise was broken just two days later, when the Obama’s budget proposal was released. His new budget raises 45 percent of its revenue from energy taxes that will be paid by everyone who fills a gas tank, pays an electric bill, or buys anything that was grown, shipped, or manufactured.

Promise #2: Pork Barrel Earmark Reform

What he said:

“The system is broken. We can no longer accept a process that doles out earmarks based on a member of Congress’ seniority, rather than the merit of the project. We can no longer accept an earmarks process that has become so complicated to navigate that a municipality or non-profit group has to hire high-priced D.C. lobbyists to do it. And we can no longer accept an earmarks process in which many of the projects being funded fail to address the real needs of our country.”

(Statement on Earmarks, March 10, 2008)

What he is expected to do:

The White House has signaled that it intends to sign the $410 billion Omnibus Appropriations bill, which according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, contains 8,570 earmarks totaling $7.7 billion, including dozens of wasteful pork-barrel projects. These earmarks were awarded based on seniority, not on merit, and were mostly the result of high-priced lobbying, precisely the process that Obama promised to end. When the omnibus reaches his desk later this week or next week, we’ll find out if this is one more broken promise.

Promise #1: Big Government

OK, so this one is more of a statement than a promise, but it’s the biggest whopper of all.

What he said:

“Not because I believe in bigger government — I don’t.” (February 24, 2009, Joint Address to Congress)

What he did:

Obama proposed a budget that is breathtaking in scope, a blueprint for the biggest permanent expansion of government in history right on the heels of a sweeping trillion dollar stimulus plan. The budget lays the foundation for a government takeover of the health care and energy sectors and dramatically increasing spending across the board, other than defense weapons programs. Spending as a percentage of the economy under this budget will reach the historic level of 27.7 percent this year. The deficit as a percent of the economy, at 12.3 percent, is set to be the biggest in the entire history of the country outside of the four peak years of World War II. Anyone who offers such a budget can only fairly be described as a believer in bigger government.

Phil Kerpen is director of policy for Americans for Prosperity.

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President Obama’s Fearmongering

Of course we should not, in ostrich-like behavior, go searching for a thick mound of sand in which to burrow our bewildered heads, ostrich-743207nor must we dash to the corner eyeglass shop and there select the rosiest lenses to make up the spectacles we will perch atop our inquisitive noses. Without question we must stay informed, even to the acknowledgment of gloomy and dismal statistics that bombard our senses: With courage and judiciousness must we tackle the problems that face our country and our world. Indeed, our situation is dire, but no one need exaggerate its grim significance, nor needlessly swipe our minds optimismpreviewwith gloomy and pessimistic brush, certainly not in the hope of thereby obtaining some political advantage. In recent days, President Obama has been accused of such action, and in response Mr.Bradley Shiller has written an excellent piece for the Opinion Journal. Read it, and be hopeful.

President Barack Obama has turned fearmongering into an art form. He has repeatedly raised the specter of another Great Depression. First, he did so to win votes in the November election. He has done so again recently to sway congressional votes for his stimulus package.

In his remarks, every gloomy statistic on the economy becomes a harbinger of doom. As he tells it, today’s economy is the worst since the Great Depression. Without his Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he says, the economy will fall back into that abyss and may never recover.

This fearmongering may be good politics, but it is bad history and bad economics. It is bad history because our current economic woes don’t come close to those of the 1930s. At worst, a comparison to the 1981-82 recession might be appropriate. Consider the job losses that Mr. Obama always cites. In the last year, the U.S. economy shed 3.4 million jobs. That’s a grim statistic for sure, but represents just 2.2% of the labor force. From November 1981 to October 1982, 2.4 million jobs were lost — fewer in number than today, but the labor force was smaller. So 1981-82 job losses totaled 2.2% of the labor force, the same as now.

Job losses in the Great Depression were of an entirely different magnitude. In 1930, the economy shed 4.8% of the labor force. In 1931, 6.5%. And then in 1932, another 7.1%. Jobs were being lost at double or triple the rate of 2008-09 or 1981-82.

This was reflected in unemployment rates. The latest survey pegs U.S. unemployment at 7.6%. That’s more than three percentage points below the 1982 peak (10.8%) and not even a third of the peak in 1932 (25.2%). You simply can’t equate 7.6% unemployment with the Great Depression.

Other economic statistics also dispel any analogy between today’s economic woes and the Great Depression. Real gross domestic product (GDP) rose in 2008, despite a bad fourth quarter. The Congressional Budget Office projects a GDP decline of 2% in 2009. That’s comparable to 1982, when GDP contracted by 1.9%. It is nothing like 1930, when GDP fell by 9%, or 1931, when GDP contracted by another 8%, or 1932, when it fell yet another 13%.

Auto production last year declined by roughly 25%. That looks good compared to 1932, when production shriveled by 90%. The failure of a couple of dozen banks in 2008 just doesn’t compare to over 10,000 bank failures in 1933, or even the 3,000-plus bank (Savings & Loan) failures in 1987-88. Stockholders can take some solace from the fact that the recent stock market debacle doesn’t come close to the 90% devaluation of the early 1930s.

Mr. Obama’s analogies to the Great Depression are not only historically inaccurate, they’re also dangerous. Repeated warnings from the White House about a coming economic apocalypse aren’t likely to raise consumer and investor expectations for the future. In fact, they have contributed to the continuing decline in consumer confidence that is restraining a spending pickup. Beyond that, fearmongering can trigger a political stampede to embrace a “recovery” package that delivers a lot less than it promises. A more cool-headed assessment of the economy’s woes might produce better policies.

Mr. Schiller, an economics professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, is the author of “The Economy Today” (McGraw-Hill, 2007).

Source: Wallstreet Journal online

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America Culture Political insight

No Trillion Dollar Deposit

As one of my church jobs, this morning I counted and readied for banking the money we received in church offerings yesterday. It didn’t take long. Later in the day, a business man came by the church office, and the conversation turned to how God has blessed him with lots of work, even during these days of economic crisis. He spoke of cash flow challenges that commonly arise, even in a prospering business, and when he casually mentioned an amount that would float during a month, I was aghast, snickered a bit, walked around the desk and read aloud the amount of today’s deposit for the church. It was funny.

Though it startled me, the figure the businessman spoke of today was not a trillion dollars; I assure you it definitely was not. But every day I hear that amount referenced on the radio, gaze at the strange word on my computer screen and see the rare figure slated in black newsprint. A trillion dollars! Do you know how much a trillion dollars is? I can hardly wrap my mind around such a number, nor grasp its gorged significance.

How about 2, 3 or 4 trillion…how about $9.7 trillion? How about it? Some have calculated the stimulus package the U. S. Congress is completing would raise the government’s involvement in the financial crisis to such an amount; nearly ten trillion dollars.

The $9.7 trillion in pledges would be enough to send a $1,430 check to every man, woman and child alive in the world. It’s 13 times what the U.S. has spent so far on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Congressional Budget Office data, and is almost enough to pay off every home mortgage loan in the U.S., calculated at $10.5 trillion by the Federal Reserve.

Source: Mark Pittman and Bob Ivry at Bloomberg.com

I don’t get it. Just don’t understand why we must spend that amount of money. But then, what do I know? I know this, though; it will be a long time before our church deposit slip will need anywhere near the string of zeros that’s required to designate 10,000,000,000,000 dollars!

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America Political insight Uncategorized

It’s Obama Time!

There are two kinds of presidents; foxes and hedgehogs. President Obama appears to be a fox. So says Allan Lichtman, a political history professor at American University.

“Foxes know a little about everything. They have their fingers in every pie. … Hedgehogs only know a few things and know it well and leave the details to others. Clinton was a classic fox. Bush was a classic hedgehog.”

And Obama? He appears to be a fox, too, Lichtman said.

What called forth this anaylsis–this interesting comparing of hedgehogs and foxes? The answer lies with President Obama’s often being late to important meetings.

WASHINGTON — There’s a new time zone in the nation’s capital: Obama Time.

Barely two weeks into his presidency, Barack Obama has made a clean break from George W. Bush in several high-profile moves, including reversing a number of the 43rd president’s policies.

He’s also reversed an unwritten but much-noticed Bush policy: Be on time, all the time.

Obama has been routinely late to events and news conferences, including the ones at which he reversed Bush’s orders. This has led to an already familiar refrain from the Obama camp: “He’s running late.”

The president was nearly 30 minutes late Wednesday for the ceremony at which he signed a bill to expand children’s health care. He was 10 minutes late Thursday to a memo signing at the Energy Department.

Even before the inauguration, Obama wasn’t a punctual sort; he arrived late to a Jan. 8 news conference on the economy that was aired live by broadcast and cable networks.

“To me, being tardy, it’s got to be one of two things,” said presidential historian Doug Wead, who advised both Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush. “Bad organization that can be corrected, or it’s arrogance. It sounds to me like this is arrogance.”

Mark Lindsay, a Democratic consultant and former senior White House adviser to Bill Clinton, disagreed, explaining that Clinton was late sometimes because he was making accommodations for logistics or average citizens.

“I would make the opposite observation,” Lindsay said. “I would say that taking time to accommodate your schedule to regular citizens is not an act of arrogance. It’s an act of humility.”

Allan Lichtman, a political history professor at American University, had a different explanation for Clinton’s tardiness.

“President Clinton was always late because he wasn’t very disciplined in general,” he said. “This was a man who marched to the beat of his own drummer, who liked to talk, liked intellectual discussions, had his finger in every pie.”

Source: Stephen Clark Fox News

What do you think? Does it matter whether or not we are late for appointments? Is consistently being late a type of arrogance? Have you had problems with tardiness? Did you overcome it? How?

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Nancy Pelosi: Birth Control Will Stimulate the Economy

Have we gone stark raving mad?

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Political insight

Another Inaugural “Do-Over”?

Somehow thousands of people holding purple and blue tickets for the inauguration on Tuesday were swept into the Third Street tunnel and were not able to see President Obama take the oath of office. Now one of his organizers Gabe Cohen, from Denver, has put together a swearing-in do-over.

The word of the do-over was distributed through Facebook. On Saturday, those purple and blue ticket holders gathered at the front of the Capitol, having with them their photo_servletIpods and laptops to which they had downloaded President Obama taking the oath of office. They donned their earphones, readied themselves, and at high noon–altogether now–they waved their tickets in the air. President Obama had again been inaugurated.

Wait a minute: That makes three times that President Obama has been duly sworn. Does that mean he is to be our president for three terms? (Just asking…just asking…)

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America Culture Humor Life Political insight

President Obama Sworn in Twice!

I wonder if they were grinning when Chief Justice and President Obama took another (successful one this time) stab at the oath of office.

In a rare do-over, President Obama took the oath of office for a second time Wednesday after Chief Justice John Roberts and the new president had stumbled slightly over the oath’s language on Inauguration Day.

Some constitutional scholars had suggested that Obama re-take the oath just to be on the safe side. Obama did not substantively change any language on Tuesday, but after Roberts flubbed some of the wording the new president used language different from that prescribed in the Constitution.

The chief justice and the president handled the matter privately in the Map Room on Wednesday night. It took 25 seconds, and when Obama repeated the oath Roberts told him, “Congratulations, again.”

The oath as written is: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States….”

But on Tuesday Roberts said, “I will execute the office of President to the United States faithfully.” When Obama stumbled in repeating the line, it may have been because he knew the way it was supposed to be said.

White House counsel Greg Craig said Obama took the oath again merely out of caution.

“We believe that the oath of office was administered effectively and that the president was sworn in appropriately yesterday. But the oath appears in the Constitution itself,” he said in a written statement. “And out of an abundance of caution, because there was one word out of sequence, Chief Justice Roberts administered the oath a second time.”

from Fox News Politics

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An Apology to President Obama

Immediately after the inauguration yesterday, I posted a few of my thoughts about the glorious affair. I wrongly fingered our new president as having botched his oath. Turns out it was the chief justice who did the dastardly deed. I apologize Mr. President.

Here’s the oath as it appears in the Constitution:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Not exactly a tongue twister. And yet . . .

1) Roberts begins: “Are you prepared to take the oath, Senator?”

That’s a mistake. Obama was already President at this point. The oath is a prerequisite to the new President’s “Execution of his Office,” per Article II, Section 1, but Obama became President at noon sharp (while the musicians were playing), per the 20th Amendment, Section 1. But we can excuse the Chief Justice for not consulting his wristwatch.

2) “I Barack Hussein Obama,” Roberts begins, at which point Obama follows him, but Roberts is continuing, “do solemnly swear,” requiring Obama to start again. Let’s say they share the blame for this one, for having failed to come up with a game plan during the rehearsal dinner.

3) Roberts: “that I will execute the office of President to the United States faithfully.”

Ouch! First of all, in the Constitution, the “faithfully” immediately precedes “execute.”
And President to the United States?!

4) Then Obama is either surprised at what Roberts had just said because that’s not how Obama practiced it, or he can’t remember everything Roberts has said, so he says “that I will execute” and stops, waiting for help from Roberts.

5) Whereupon Roberts stumbles again: “The off . . . faithfully the Pres . . . the office of President of the United States.” Obama continues “the office of President of the United States faithfully.” I.e., he too now puts the “faithfully” in the wrong place.

6) Now they both seem to recover a bit. Roberts correctly says “And will to the best of my ability, ” which Obama repeats, although he appears to drop the “the.”

7) Both the former Managing Editor of the Harvard Law Review and the former President of the Harvard Law Review, each now heading a branch of the federal government, flawlessly recite “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

8) Roberts then asks whether Obama wants God’s help, to which which Obama says yes.

From Dorf on Law

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Quick Thoughts on the Inauguration

Was happy that in the invocation Rev. Warren distinctly invoked the name of Jesus.

Love 21 gun salutes.

Surprised President Obama flubbed the oath…as did Chief Justice, John Roberts, Jr.

Think President Obama’s speech was moderate. Expected something more soaring and memorable. He is an eloquent speaker.

Thought the first parts of the benediction were beautiful: the last, pitiful and insulting, not at all appropriate for prayer at the inauguration of our president.

“We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to give back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right,” Rev. Lowery said.

Was saddened to hear that ex-president Bush was jeered as he mounted the platform. Must we show such little class?

Barack Obama is now my president. I wish him success in honorably and faithfully leading our country.

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An Inauguration Love Story

At home in Crestline, I was buzzing about the kitchen, hearing in the background conservative talk show host, Mike Gallagher, when my attention was grabbed by his saying something about having a Democratic wife and a Democratic son. Whoa! What’s this? I thought. For though I am not terribly familiar with Mr. Gallagher, over a number of years, I have heard him occasionally and know him to have conservative leanings; I’m quite sure he is not a Democrat.

I knew too that some time during the past few months his wife, Denise, had died of cancer.

On the radio this morning, Mike continued with his friendly, upbeat manner, describing how his son Matthew–following in the steps of his mother–adored President-elect Obama, and how that Santa Claus had provided hotel arrangements and money for transportation to Washington D. C. for Matthew and some of his friends. Soon Mike had Matthew on the air, where they spoke in light-hearted manners of the trip and the excitement of the scene in Washington on this the day before the inauguration of our 44th president.

Before I finish this post, please read the following which I took from Mike Gallagher’s website.

Mike’s proudest achievement is his family. On the morning of June 29, 2008, the love of his life, his wife Denise, died at home after a valiant and dignified year-long battle with endometrial cancer. She passed away the day before her 52nd birthday. Mike was holding her when she died, their four boys — Bryan, Trevor, Matthew, and Micah — all present as well, which is just how Denise wanted it. Two of the Gallagher sons live in South Carolina, and the other two live near Mike, which is a great comfort to him. As he promised to Denise, Mike is sleeping each night with beloved beagle Buster and puggle Rory, who constantly shadowed her every move but now seem quite content to take care of him.

On the radio this morning, I heard a love story. I listened in as Mike Gallagher told his son. “I sprinkled your mother’s ashes over Washington D.C a few hours ago, Matthew.” He paused, then added. “I think she would have liked that.”