Archive for the ‘Gordon Brown’ Category

The Great Give Away of Taxpayer Money By Bigger and Bigger Government

March 26, 2009

An eager 20 year old student asked me yesterday, “Uncle, who really pays for all this spending?”

“Well, your children and grandchildren, Dear,  I thought you knew,” I said.

This needs time to think in and sink in — since she hasn’t yet started a family….

This is a developing essay that is not yet complete….

So we’ve been wondering about all this Obama spending: what it is and what it means.

The president basically spent $1 billion per day in his first 50 days.

I wonder why we need paid “volunteers” so badly that we now have to pay for them?
 Federal Government Paying “Volunteers” To Teach Liberal Values

“You cannot carry on for ever squeezing the productive bit of the economy in order to fund an unprecedented engorgement of the unproductive bit. You cannot spend your way out of recession or borrow your way out of debt.”  This rings true for Americans even though it wan an admonishment to Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Warning to American Politicians, Via MEP Daniel Hannan to Gordon Brow

I wonder if the crisis in Mexico will mean a huge migration of Mexicans into the states…I mean way huger than ALREADY…and what will that cost?
 Mexico: “under sustained assault”; Could “collapse” — U.S. Military

“Worst-case scenario, Mexico becomes the Western hemisphere’s equivalent of Somalia, with mass violence, mass chaos,” said Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president for defense and foreign policy at the Cato Institute, a Washington-based think tank. “That would clearly require a military response from the United States.”
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0
,2933,491964,00.html

I wonder why the Pentagon can no longer refer to the “war on terror” and is already trying to figure out how to cut many billions from its budget; while Russia and China rearm?
China boosts military, cyberwarfare capabilities
.
 Gates readies big cuts in weapons
.
 Russia Pressing “Reset,” Medvedev Orders Military To Re-Arm
.
I wonder why ACORN, which gets federal taxpayers money, is hiring protesters with that money to go to the homes of AIG executives?
Did ACORN Organize Protests At Homes of AIG Execs?
.
ACORN Protesters At Homes of AIG Execs Similar To Lawlessness For UK Bank Exec?

When we make it much more simple to unionize through programs like card check, how will that impact the economy?  Well, FedEx might scrap plans to buy new jets from Boeing and the stimulus might hire many fewer workers….
Stimulus: Way Fewer Jobs Than You Thought

Just Wednesday FedEx said it might back off on billions of dollars of aircraft sales planned to go to Boeing.  The reason?  Card check.  FedEx is worried that fast unionization of its work force will dramatically change its bottom line.

Who benefits from all this U.S. debt?  Who buys our debt and who gets our interest payment?  The answer in one word is China.  The U.S. bailed out Freddie and Fannie with Taxperer money and now China is even buying the houses we once owned…
Chinese find opportunity in U.S. real-estate slump

I wonder how we will pay for “unknown unknowns” like 9-11 and Katrina?  Well, we’ll print more money…..
 Obama, Economy: So Much Uncertainty Spins Off More…. Uncertainty

There are still issues as yet untackled by Obama like immigration.  How will we deal with the vast numbers of illegals ou there?
What do I tell my legal immigrant family and friends?
.
Obama Believers Thought They’d Hear More On Immigration By Now

Immigration embers could turn into political fire for Obama

La Raza has a new best friend at Justice

I wonder how much our government will grow, what the government will cost us all and what freedoms we’ll lose in this Obama shake up?

There is a mind-set here that Americans can have eveything they want and now and without consequences.

Didn’t that thinking spark this “economic downturn”?

Read Michelle Malkin:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/2
6/now-they-tell-us-ap-admits-that-po
rkulus-numbers-are-bs/

http://newworldliberty.wordpress.c
om/2009/03/25/maxine-waters-
proves-obama-is-a-fraud/

Related:
Obama Talks About “Making Hard choices,” But Budget Is “Have It All Now”

Warning to American Politicians, Via MEP Daniel Hannan to Gordon Brown

March 26, 2009

I don’t normally delve into the politics of the European Parliament, but this video of Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan stripping the bark off British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is worth noting. (“The devalued prime minister of a devalued government.”) Many American politicians might be hearing the same criticisms next year if the U.S. economy is still depressed even as the national debt soars. Here is a transcript:

Prime Minister, I see you’ve already mastered the essential craft of the European politician, namely the ability to say one thing in this chamber and a very different thing to your home electorate. You’ve spoken here about free trade, and amen to that. Who would have guessed, listening to you just now, that you were the author of the phrase ‘British jobs for British workers’ and that you have subsidised, where you have not nationalised outright, swathes of our economy, including the car industry and many of the banks? Perhaps you would have more moral authority in this house if your actions matched your words? Perhaps you would have more legitimacy in the councils of the world if the United Kingdom were not going into this recession in the worst condition of any G20 country?

The truth, Prime Minister, is that you have run out of our money. The country as a whole is now in negative equity. Every British child is born owing around £20,000. Servicing the interest on that debt is going to cost more than educating the child. Now, once again today you try to spread the blame around; you spoke about an international recession, international crisis. Well, it is true that we are all sailing together into the squalls. But not every vessel in the convoy is in the same dilapidated condition. Other ships used the good years to caulk their hulls and clear their rigging; in other words – to pay off debt. But you used the good years to raise borrowing yet further. As a consequence, under your captaincy, our hull is pressed deep into the water line under the accumulated weight of your debt We are now running a deficit that touches 10% of GDP, an almost unbelievable figure. More than Pakistan, more than Hungary; countries where the IMF have already been called in. Now, it’s not that you’re not apologising; like everyone else I have long accepted that you’re pathologically incapable of accepting responsibility for these things. It’s that you’re carrying on, wilfully worsening our situation, wantonly spending what little we have left. Last year – in the last twelve months – a hundred thousand private sector jobs have been lost and yet you created thirty thousand public sector jobs.

Prime Minister, you cannot carry on for ever squeezing the productive bit of the economy in order to fund an unprecedented engorgement of the unproductive bit. You cannot spend your way out of recession or borrow your way out of debt. And when you repeat, in that wooden and perfunctory way, that our situation is better than others, that we’re ‘well-placed to weather the storm’, I have to tell you that you sound like a Brezhnev-era apparatchik giving the party line. You know, and we know, and you know that we know that it’s nonsense! Everyone knows that Britain is worse off than any other country as we go into these hard times. The IMF has said so; the European Commission has said so; the markets have said so – which is why our currency has devalued by thirty percent. And soon the voters too will get their chance to say so. They can see what the markets have already seen: that you are the devalued Prime Minister of a devalued government.

Video:
Here is how Gordon Brown faced the heat at the EU:
http://www.youtube.com/wa
tch?v=94lW6Y4tBXs

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown reacts,  as he listens to ... 
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown reacts, as he listens to the debates, Tuesday March 24, 2009 at the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, eastern France. Brown called for global standards of financial regulation and insists every continent must pour enough funds into their economies to beat the crisis.(AP Photo/Christian Lutz)

White House, State Dept Overuse of Political Advisors, Ignoring Experts is “Crazy, Dangerous”

March 24, 2009

Both Barack Obama and his inner staff of advisors and Hillary Clinton and hers, have already exhibited a tendency to rely heavily on political advisors instead of seasoned policy professionals and staff specialized in various nuances of national and international work.

President Obama’s repeated “talking down the economy,” including stressing the word ‘crisis’ and claiming that without the stimulus the nation faced ‘catastrophe,’ drew criticism from no less than Warren Buffett.

Then he switched course and urged confidence; but then he fueled the AIG lynching by expressing “outrage” which morphed into a disastrous House effort to levy a 90% tax on the AIG bonus recipients.

Senator Judd Gregg deadpanned today, “Americans started a revolution because a far off king abused his tax authority….”

Obama’s gift to Gordon Brown of the UK, a box of CD movies including “Star Wars,” was considered an insult by many in Britain.  When the PM tried to actually watch one of the flicks, his DVD player announced “Wrong Geographic Area.”

The White House didn’t even know or care that DVDs in Europe don’t use the same format as U.S. machines….

Hillary’s “Reset” button is another example.  Her political guys translated the word and got it wrong while real language and other experts at State were not consulted.  Why?

We question the entire “reset” line of thought.  Are we resetting to the Soviet era?

So beware the leaders so focused on politics and TV and without knowledge of the finer arts that experts bring….

A friend of ours in the State Department said, “Ignoring all our experts is crazy.  It’s dangerous.  It’s crazy-dangerous.”

Was it Joe Biden, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton that thought it was a good idea to encourage Russia to just hit the “reset” button?  Well, whoever….This is why we have experts in our government….

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a red button marked "reset" in English and "overload" in Russian.
Coffrini/Getty

*****************

From Politico

Hillary Clinton’s departure for the State Department was meant to end the era of Clinton drama, and to leave the turmoil of her campaign behind. But one former Clinton aide, now a senior adviser to Secretary Clinton, has brought at least some of that drama along with him.

State Department reporters and observers have been buzzing about the brewing conflict since her second foreign trip, earlier this month, to Europe and the Middle East. On that trip, her longtime Senate press secretary Philippe Reines – one of the combatants in Hillaryland’s long civil wars – took over as the political staffer charged with handling the press.

The trip was marked by tussles over information and access, but it became known for a high-profile blunder in Geneva on March 6. There, Clinton met Sergei Lavrov, the dour Russian Foreign Minister, and cheerily presented him with a large red button in a yellow case, with the words “Reset” and “Peregruzka” written on it.

“We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” Clinton asked.

“You got it wrong,” said Lavrov.

The error appalled some in the State Department, because the button – which was inscribed in Latin script, not Cyrillic – hadn’t been assembled with the help of State’s cadre of Russian speakers and professional translators, but rather by Clinton’s small political team. The day of the event, people involved said, Reines showed the finished product to officials who spoke Russian, but who weren’t native, or up-to-date enough to catch the error in a word out of computer terminology.

Read the rest:
http://www.politico.com/news/st
ories/0309/20404.html

Related:
 Russia Pressing “Reset,” Medvedev Orders Military To Re-Arm

 Barack, Hillary: Moronic “Reset” Idea for Relations With Russia

 Russian Relations With U.S., Europe Improve: But Putin, Medvedev Understand Strength, Power More than Diplomacy

Obama, State Department, White House Staff, Hillary “Unaware,” “Overwhelmed” by Expectations
.
Obama And The Fine Art of Political Nuances
.
Fine Art Of Protocol, International Relations Lost On Obama?

Protocol: Brit Media Furious At Obama 

In The White House, Protocol Not Just For Computers
.
Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

 Obama Forges New Path in Protocol

 Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

Treasury might not be up to the job of fighting recession

March 10, 2009

The Treasury might not be “up to the job” of spearheading the British Government’s response to the recession, according to the IPPR, one of Labour’s favourite think tanks. Britains worry…

By Christopher Hope
The Telegraph (UK)
Senior officials from the IPPR, the Institute of Public Policy Research, also questioned whether Gordon Brown’s policy of appointing former bankers as ministers was appropriate in dealing with “problems that banks have caused themselves”.

The Treasury was “not in good shape” to cope with the pressures of becoming a more interventionist Government while keeping a right rein on public spending, the IPPR said.

Guy Lodge and Tony Dolphin from the Institute said: “The lights are on in the Treasury but who is minding the tills? After hiving off so much responsibility for fiscal and monetary policy, the department is not in good shape to tackle the biggest economic crash for decades.”

They said part of the problem was that, when Mr Brown was Chancellor between 1997 and 2007, the Treasury spread itself too thinly and became a “Department for the Domestic Front”, wrapping its “tentacles” around large swathes of policy including welfare reform and child poverty.

This has meant that when the economy went downhill, the Treasury lost its core skills of keeping a check on the public finances and lost touch with its “conventional role of saying ‘no'” to more public spending.

In article in this week’s edition of ‘Public Finance’, the pair said: “Genuine doubts have been raised about whether the Treasury has the people it needs to face all these challenges simultaneously.

“The ‘Alistair and Mervyn’ show might be about to hit the road. It remains to be seen whether Treasury staff are well placed to support such a ‘show’.”

The departments suffers from “ridiculously high turnover rate in posts”, they said, adding: “Treasury officials rarely spend more than a year in post before moving on. This weakens the department’s skills base and deprives it of specialist expertise.”

Staff numbers have been cut by 17 per cent over the past four years. More cuts are planned by 2011. To make matters worse, the Treasury has also had problems filling policy posts. A recruitment drive last year was “only partially successful in plugging the skills gap”, leaving the Treasury short of vital skills.

They said: “One consequence of these changes is that today’s Treasury has few staff with experience of fighting a recession or dealing with a major economic calamity.”

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/rec
ession/4967743/Treasury-might-not-be-up-to-the-jo
b-of-fighting-recession-warns-IPPR.html

And other than Turbo Tax manipulation, what is U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s experience in dealing with recession?

Obama Throws Britain Under the Bus: Relationship “Reset” and “Regime Change”

March 10, 2009

Remember when Donald Rumsfeld made the remark about “Old Europe”?  Eeryone howlded, including Democrats.  Now Barack Obama has thrown Britain under the bus and nobody has said a thing….There is real “regime change” ongoing….at the White House…..What’s next?  A “special relationship” with Hamas and the Taliban?

Our fear here that barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel and others just don’t get it….In their haste to change everything about everything since moving into the White House, Team Obama may be doing irreparable harm to U.S. foreign policy, strategic alliances, along with the economy and everything else….

Primum non nocere

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/10/am
ericans-apologizing-to-british-pm-gordon-brown/

Donald Rumsfeld

By Frank Geffney
The Washington Times
.
The British are understandably mystified. Long accustomed to a “special relationship” with the United States, they are trying to figure out why the latter’s likable new president would go to such lengths to distance himself from the country that has for generations been America’s closest ally.

First, there was Barack Obama‘s decision to return the Churchill bust that had graced the Oval Office since then-Prime Minister Tony Blair gave it to George W. Bush as a post-Sept. 11, 2001, gesture of solidarity. Then, there were the successive affronts during the visit by Mr. Blair’s successor, Gordon Brown, to Washington last week: A seemingly thoughtless official gift (a set of DVDs of popular American films); a painfully chilly and brief press availability before the start of the two men’s private meeting; and no formal joint press conference of the kind George Bush afforded Mr. Blair on all but one of numerous visits to Washington (the exception a hastily arranged trip right after the September 11 attacks).

The British press has offered several face-saving explanations for these serial rudenesses. Perhaps Mr. Obama is “exhausted.” Alternatively, he is simply “focused elsewhere” in the midst of cratering capital markets, collapsing automakers and skyrocketing unemployment.

The real answer, however, was supplied by an unnamed State Department official whom London’s Sunday Telegraph reported on March 8 “reacted with fury” when asked by the paper why the Brown visit was so, er, “low-key.” According to the Telegraph, “The official dismissed any notion of the special relationship. ‘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.’ ”

Such a comment by a representative of the State Department – an institution that never saw a foreign government it wanted to offend – is a sign of how serious Team Obama is about “resetting” the U.S.-U.K. relationship. Of course, as that term applies to friendly Britain, it means something very different than when used to describe the administration’s desire for improved ties with America’s enemies, actual or potential, like Russia, Iran and “Palestine.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news
/2009/mar/10/farewell-to-britain/

Related:
Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

Obama’s First Major Foreign Crisis Brewing?
.
Protocol: Brit Media Furious At Obama

Czech President Says Obama Views “Unknown” On Key Foreign Policy Issues

White House: U.S. Will Not Shoot North Korean Missile

Obama, State Department, White House Staff, Hillary “Unaware,” “Overwhelmed” by Expectations
.
Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

 Obama Forges New Path in Protocol

 Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”
(Now we can add stupid….)

*******

Obama has little reason to fall in with the G20

March 8, 2009

“REDUCED cost of government, adequate government income, and ability to service government debts are all so important to ultimate stability . . . The United States seeks the kind of dollar which a generation hence will have the same purchasing and debt-paying power . . . Our broad purpose is the permanent stabilisation of every nation’s currency.”

By Irwin Stelzer
The Times (UK)

So wired Franklin D Roosevelt to the representatives of the 66 nations attending the London Economic Conference on July 3, 1933. Sailing on his yacht at the time, the president decided to torpedo prime minister Ramsay MacDonald’s plan for international action to deal with war debts and currency stabilisation.

Gordon Brown is less concerned about maintaining the value of his currency than that old dissimulator FDR professed to be. He needs a successful, or at least big and glitzy international conference for other reasons, not least for the political uplift that a sprinkle of Obama stardust might provide. But enough cynicism. Equally important is the prime minister’s belief in the need for international co-ordination and a strong stand against protectionism.

So he is relieved to have avoided MacDonald’s fate: the American president will attend the April 2 London conference of the G20 nations.

The important question is whether the conference can achieve its goal of a co-ordinated response to the world recession. There are reasons to doubt it.

The first is that Brown’s plea to a joint session of Congress to avoid “a protectionism that . . . in the end protects no one” fell on deaf ears. The White House and the Congress have assured their trade-union funders that Doha is dead, and there will be no more trade-opening measures. Indeed, existing agreements are to be tightened. Washington has more in common with French president Nicolas Sarkozy than with Brown when it comes to trade.

The second obstacle to close co-operation was made clear by the president in a press conference with the prime minister. Brown talked of grand bargains, a global new deal. Obama spoke vaguely of better co-ordination of financial regulation, and expressed no enthusiasm for co-ordinating American recovery efforts with those of the EU, except to call on Britain and Europe to do more. The president faces a bailout-weary Congress, and one that wants any additional borrow-and-spend directed at the plight of America’s homeowners. Indeed, even when it comes to regulation, the White House and key congressional figures let it be known that America has no intention of ceding any of its powers to an international body.

Perhaps the only area of solid agreement was a distaste for “tax havens” — those places to which over-taxed individuals and companies can legally flee. Nothing appeals to the leaders of nations such as high-tax Britain and soon-to-be-high-tax America as the possibility of a cartel that can impose its policies by disciplining “cheaters”.

The third obstacle in the path of a Brown triumph at the conference is money. The prime minister wants a larger role to be assigned to international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. But that would mean a larger contribution from cash-strapped Obama, which is not on the cards, especially since America is already under-represented at the IMF and the administration is taken with the scathing criticism of the IMF from economists it respects, such as Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz.

Fourth, Obama has no sentimental attachment to Britain or to Europe. He has a broadly leftist ideology, but other than that he is a “whatever works” sort of guy, to borrow from Tony Blair. Which is why his primary attention is on Asia, where Japan and China must continue to purchase Treasury IOUs if the Obama domestic programme is to be financed.

It is no surprise that Japan’s prime minister Taro Aso beat Brown for the prize of first foreign leader to be granted access to the Obama Oval Office. Or that Hillary Clinton slid over the little matter of China’s human-rights violations when she visited the regime’s leaders.

Finally, Obama knows that his presidency is doomed if there is another attack on the homeland that George Bush kept safe for seven years. That is why he has felt it necessary to make the war in Afghanistan, home of plotters aiming to do harm to America, Obama’s War. So he wants more troops from his European allies. And troops that will fight, not merely “reconstruct”, or patrol peaceful areas, or remain in barracks at night. But the Europeans are having none of it, which Obama — who already knows this — will have officially confirmed to him at the Nato meetings to which he will fly after the G20 session.

Read the rest:
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/busine
ss/columnists/article5864579.ece

Obama And The Fine Art of Political Nuances

March 7, 2009

We expected more from Barack Obama, maybe because he told us we could and should expect more.  And the media got behind him like nobody before, building expectations to astronomical heights.

Obama reiterated remarks from his presidential campaign just last week, saying:

“Given this reality, we’ll have to be more vigilant than ever in eliminating the programs we don’t need in order to make room for the investments we do need,” Obama said. “I promised to do this by going through the federal budget page by page, and line by line.  That is a process we have already begun, and I am pleased to say that we’ve already identified two trillion dollars worth of deficit-reductions over the next decade.”

Page by page and line by line: except for the 9,000 some earmarks in the omnibus spending bill now stalled in Congress.

This is not nuanced at all: it is a lie.  An Obama lie.  A Presidential lie.

It is brazen, as the Washington Post chose to label Obama for a Charles Krauthammer op-ed on Friday.

About as nuanced as Roland Burris and Rod Blagojevich.

Brazen is the opposite of nuanced.

But the media, enamored with Obama, has mostly elected to ignore such brazen language and conduct.

Bill Clinton was slightly more nuanced: “I did not have sex with that woman.”  Of course, that depended upon what one’s definition of sex is.

“That depends on what your defition of is is.”

Slightly more nuanced than Obama, anyway.

http://dcapritto.wordpress.com/
2009/03/07/72/

Monica Lewinsky?

International relations is the arena of understanding different peoples and cultures and one might expect that Barack Obama, with his wide ranging international background, along with America’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with her vast international experience, might understand international nuance.

Yet on Hillary’s first outing with one of America’s most difficult adversaries, she delivered a gift bearing an incorrect translation: an insult because it represents a lack of proper care in even properly translating one word.

What do we pay that big crowd at the State Department for, anyway?  Too expensive and porky, if they can’t get one word properly translated.  But I’m picky.

Barack Obama made a similar gaffe with America’s top ally, Britain, by presenting Gordon Brown at the White House with gifts not deemed suitable for the international stage.

Barack gave Gordon CDs, including the movie “Star Wars.”

Then, instead of a formal head of state side-by-side news conference with Gordon Brown, an event the Brits really desperately wanted, President Obama provided a very less formal (and some say demeaning to the Brits) sit down chat with Mr. Brown and the media.

This was a kind of White House bait and switch for Mr. Brown and his countrymen.

You can bet that at the top of the UK government, behind closed doors, someone said something like “That black Yank doesn’t get it.”

Which means he is too arrogant and brazen and not really nuanced at all.

Which is not al all helpful in international relations….

Good nuanced protocol and honesty costs nothing.  But casting them aside often has very real costs….

Related:
Brit View of Obama on Inauguration Day

President Barack Obama meets with British Prime Minister Gordon ... 
President Barack Obama meets with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 3, 2009.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Related:
http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/obama-
budget-reflects-campaign-promises-2009
-02-28.html

Fine Art Of Protocol, International Relations Lost On Obama?

Protocol: Brit Media Furious At Obama 

In The White House, Protocol Not Just For Computers
.
Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

 Obama Forges New Path in Protocol

 Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”
(Now we can add stupid….)

Hot Air:
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/03/07/grea
t-news-obama-fumbled-brown-visit-because-he
s-in-over-his-head/

Charles Krauthammer called President Obama’s explanation of the current economic “catastrophe,” a word Obama himself coined, “the greatest non sequitur ever foisted upon the American people. ”

The “day of reckoning” has arrived. And because “it is only by understanding how we arrived at this moment that we’ll be able to lift ourselves out of this predicament,” Obama has come to redeem us with his far-seeing program of universal, heavily nationalized health care; a cap-and-trade tax on energy; and a major federalization of education with universal access to college as the goal.

Amazing. As an explanation of our current economic difficulties, this is total fantasy. As a cure for rapidly growing joblessness, a massive destruction of wealth, a deepening worldwide recession, this is perhaps the greatest non sequitur ever foisted upon the American people.

At the very center of our economic near-depression is a credit bubble, a housing collapse and a systemic failure of the banking industry.

Read the rest:
Obama’s Brazen Deception: Why The Stock Market Won’t Recover Soon

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior ... 
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior to the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, in Washington, January 20, 2009. White House nuance….(Jim Young – UNITED STATES/Reuters)

Fine Art Of Protocol, International Relations Lost On Obama?

March 7, 2009

When Rod Stewart visited Elton John for Christmas, he bought his fellow rock star an ice bucket. It was quite a nice ice bucket. It cost him £27 from Harrods. He wrapped it up and put it beside him as the two men settled down in the piano man’s lounge.

By Daniel Finkelstein
Times (UK)

“Rod,” announced Elton, while Stewart was waiting to hand over the bucket, “I’ve bought you a Christmas present.” And he handed Stewart his gift. “It’s a Rembrandt.”

This week, the difficult job of choosing a gift for a friend fell to Gordon Brown when he dropped in on President Obama.

Related:
Obama And The Fine Art of Political Nuances

It is customary for politicians to bear gifts when they pay a visit to their peers overseas. It’s always hard to choose. Winston Churchill gave his own pictures to Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower. Mr Obama might not have greeted a landscape by Gordon Brown with similar rapture. On the other hand, he might have been more pleased with that than Mr Brown himself was to receive a leather bomber jacket from George Bush.

So Mr Brown settled on a pencil holder. This was not as Pooterish a selection as it sounds (or as Pooterish as the six wine glasses Harold Wilson gave Lyndon Johnson). For the holder was made of timber from HMS Gannet and will sit on Obama’s desk – a desk given to President Rutherford Hayes by Queen Victoria and made from the wood of a sister ship. How well did he do?

In his (wonderful, incidentally) book Influence, the leading social psychologist Professor Robert Cialdini considers why people give each other small gifts. It is to unlock our instinct to reciprocate favours. He provides an example. Hare Krishna followers at airports hand out free heather, pressing it on those who initially refuse. The heather is actually a nuisance to those who accept it and many sprigs are thrown in the bin, from which they are then retrieved by the Hare Krishna team and given to someone else. Extraordinarily, however, having accepted heather they don’t want and will dispose of immediately, travellers are far more likely to donate to the Hare Krishna group.

The conclusion from this is that the timing of the gift and of the requested reciprocation are more important than the gift itself. Cialdini often expresses his bewilderment at restaurants where mints are left for you at the exit, after you have already paid your bill and left your tip.

The professor does, however, have a further thought on gifts from the social psychology literature. One of the aims should be to establish that you and the recipient are very similar to each other, that you are like each other, that your experiences are similar. You might, therefore, buy someone who has moved from dry Chicago to wet Washington a very British umbrella.

The Brown present doesn’t do too badly. It does, after all, remind the President of the common history of Americans and Britons. And it does so daily, sitting on Mr Obama’s desk as a reminder of a favour done. Better than a bomber jacket, anyway.

Bankers aren’t the only profession whose confidence has been shaken by the credit crunch. Economists are looking a nervous group too. It isn’t so much a feeling that they should have been able to predict the crisis that gnaws at them. It is more concern that economics isn’t properly able to describe what has happened.

The result of this concern will surely be a surge of creativity as economists begin rethinking their ideas. The publication of an important new book – Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy and Why it Matters for Global Capitalism – suggests that this is under way. The Nobel economist George Akerlof has teamed up with Professor Robert Shiller to argue that the fact that we are story-telling animals is central to understanding what went wrong. We told ourselves that what was in fact a price bubble was really the result of our own efforts and that rising house prices were a result of land shortages. We tenaciously stuck to those stories, as social psychologists would expect us to.

As intriguing, however, as the authors’ application of psychology to economic problems is what the book was missing. The authors seem – rather brilliantly – to have worked out some of the key psychological ideas from first principles. They don’t seem to have drawn all that much from the huge existing psychology literature. As a result there are some odd omissions. And the gaps emphasise that there is still a long way to go before the science of behaviour and the science of economies come together. As surely they must .

Comment from a yank:

There no mention of the paltry gift from Obama to the Prime Minister. As an American, I feel the US President showed disrespect for the US citizens as he is our current face abroad. He infered that we Americans do not respect the PM, which is false.

Jon Tinsley, Milton, Florida, USA

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/com
ment/columnists/daniel_finkelstein/a
rticle5857191.ece

Related:
Protocol: Brit Media Furious At Obama 

In The White House, Protocol Not Just For Computers
.
Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

 Obama Forges New Path in Protocol

Protocol: Brit Media Furious At Obama

March 7, 2009

President Barack Obama’s gift of a set of DVDs to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown appalled the British media, furious about the lack of traditional protocol afforded to Brown while he was in Washington.

Iain Martin, a columnist and blogger for the Daily Telegraph, wrote that he found Obama to be rudeness personified toward Britain.

Martin tells NPR’s Robert Siegel that Britons are used to a full news conference when their prime minister is in town.

“Only at the last moment was it agreed that there would be a small press conference, and, I think, it was read as a metaphor for the concern that Obama really just didn’t like having the Brits in town,” Martin says. “Yes, he’s dealing with the biggest global crisis in 70 years.

“Still, it would have been nice if he could have welcomed Brown with just a hint more enthusiasm.”

From NPR:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s
tory.php?storyId=101561670&ft=1&f=1004

In The White House, Protocol Not Just For Computers

A lot of people get paid a lot of money to prevent the kind of gaffe just made this week by President Obama and Hillary Clinton, America’s top two representatives to the world.  Usually they work in an office called “protocol.”

Protocol and dacorum are the opposite of awkward and foolish rolled into disrespectful and inappropriate.
.
There have been awkward moments before at the White House and in presidential administrations and sometimes they cause pain and embarrassment to visiting dignitaries.  Sometimes they detract from years of great diplomacy.

Just ask Hu Jintao, President of China, after he was introduced at the White House during a Bush hosted ceremony as the President of the “Republic of China,” which most of us know as Taiwan.  President Bush added to the lack of protocol and decorum that day by manhandling President Hu toward the exit to the stage, a “touching” just not allowed  — except maybe for children.

Related:
Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

 Obama Forges New Path in Protocol

Retirement plans of millions at risk after bank action

March 7, 2009

The retirement plans of millions of Britons have been put at risk after the Bank of England’s controversial plan to create money tore an unprecedented hole in pension schemes.

By Edmund Conway Economics Editor
The Telegraph (UK)
.
In a mere 24 hours the size of the pension deficits facing some of Britain’s biggest companies has jumped by around £100 billion to a record £390 billion – the equivalent of over £150,000 for every member of a final salary scheme.

The increase is a direct result of the Bank’s announcement this week to create £150 billion and pour it directly into the financial system, experts said.

The ballooning deficits sharply increase the chance that a swathe of companies shut down their pension schemes – not only for future employees but for those already paying into them.

It sparked further criticism of the authorities for endangering the financial future of Britons’ savers in their efforts to bring the financial crisis to an end. The Government and Bank have already been accused of obliterating the incentive to save by slashing interest rates on savings accounts and visibly attempting to stoke up high inflation in the years to come.

The Bank was accused of hammering the final nail into the coffin for Britain’s final salary pension schemes, which have seen their deficits climb in recent years, partly as a result of Gordon Brown’s decision as Chancellor to levy a £6 billion tax raid on pension funds’ dividends.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/pens
ions/4950466/Retirement-plans-of-millions-of-Britons-a
t-risk-after-Bank-of-England-prints-money.html