Archive for the ‘politcs’ Category

Obama Stimulus Job Numbers for Massachusetts “Manufactured in Washington DC”

March 27, 2009

“The question to me was, ‘How in God’s name did Obama’s guys come up with these job numbers for us?’  So, being a good accountant I dove into it.”

“I think they used a ouija board.”

That’s from my friend in Massachusetts speaking about the number of jobs that would be saved there as estimated by team Obama.  The people in Massachusetts have no idea how they can ever save that number of jobs, we were told….

“They must have just manufactured these numbers in Washington DC….”

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By STEVE LeBLANC, Associated Press Writer

State officials overseeing the federal economic stimulus program in Massachusetts say they have no idea how the White House came up with one key pledge — the promise to save or create 79,000 jobs in the state.

They say they’re not even sure how to measure saved jobs — and fear the jobs figure sets an unrealistic yardstick against which the success or failure of the program will be measured.

“The federal estimate of 79,000, we really don’t know what’s behind that, we just plain don’t,” Jeffrey Simon, Director of Infrastructure Investment in Massachusetts, told The Associated Press.

“I’m not saying it’s not 79,000, but I just don’t have any way of knowing that,” he said.

Simon and his counterparts overseeing the distribution of stimulus funds in Massachusetts said concerns about the state jobs numbers were raised at a meeting earlier this month in Washington between state and federal leaders.

Massachusetts Undersecretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez also attended the Washington meeting and said other states complained that issuing job estimates undercut the administration’s vow of transparency because it was unclear where the estimates came from.

Gonzalez said he was asked at one point how he might come up with a jobs estimate and pointed federal officials to a state task force report, but cautioned them the estimate was very rough and came with “qualifications all over it.”

He said he was surprised when the state was presented with the estimate of 79,000.

“We have no idea where that number came from and now we’re going to be measured against it,” Gonzalez told the AP. “They haven’t even decided yet how they are going to require that we measure new and retained jobs.”

Job creation has been a key selling point of the $787 billion federal stimulus package. The Obama administration said they stimulus package will save or create 3.5 million nationwide.

Critics say the numbers are fuzzy, particularly when it comes to saved jobs.

In a one-page explanation on the federal stimulus Web site, the administration said it arrived at the state numbers by using an average of three different methods of estimating job growth.

The first looks at the total working-age population of each state. (If a state accounted for 10 percent of the country’s total working age population, it was allotted 10 percent of the national job impact of the stimulus package.) The second uses a similar method based on 2007 employment records, before the beginning of the current recession.

The administration said the two methods are reasonable because states with larger populations will get a proportionately larger share of tax cuts, education spending and fiscal relief from the stimulus package.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090
327/ap_on_re_us/stimulus_mass_jobs_2

Related:
Obama’s end of the beginning and possibly the beginning of the end

Stimulus: Example of More Wise Spending on “Infrastructure”?

Obama Stimulus; Fewer Jobs, Real Growth Industry is Government Counting, Regulating Jobs (Go Figure)

Stimulus: Way Fewer Jobs Than You Thought

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

 President Tries To Harness Public Anger To Move His Budget

Obama Dead Wrong On Stimulus, Caterpillar Company Jobs, Recovery

 Stumulus: Obama and Congress Sold Us A Lot Of Useless Swampland; Ready To Buy More?

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/27/no
w-they-tell-us-pt-ii-ap-really-catching-on-t
o-obama-math/

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Because of Obama, Our enemies sense weakness

March 24, 2009

President Obama‘s stewardship of the national security portfolio to date amounts to a wrecking operation, a set of policies he must understand will not only weaken the United States but embolden our foes. After all, the communist agitator Saul Alinsky, a formative influence in Mr. Obama’s early years as a “community organizer,” made the following Rule No. 1 in his 1971 book “Rules for Radicals” — “Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.”

By Frank J. Gaffney Jr.
the Washington Times

According to this logic, the various steps Mr. Obama is taking with respect to the armed forces, the foreign battlefields in which they are engaged, our allies as well as our adversaries will not only diminish our power. They will encourage our enemies to perceive us as less powerful – with ominous implications. Consider some illustrative examples:

• The Obama administration is cutting the defense budget by 10 percent. The result will preclude much, if not virtually all, of the modernization that will be required to prepare the U.S. military to contend with tomorrow’s wars. Most of what the Pentagon spends goes to fixed – and growing – personnel-related costs (pay, bonuses, health care, etc.) and operations. As a result, at Obama funding levels, there will not be much available even to “reset” today’s forces by refurbishing the equipment being used up in present conflicts.

• The president is on a path to denuclearizing the United States by refusing to modernize the arsenal or even to fund fully the steps necessary to assure the viability of the weapons we have. He hopes to dress up this act of unilateral disarmament by seeking to resume arms-control negotiations with Russia, as though such throwbacks to the old Cold War and its bipolar power structure apply today – let alone that there are grounds for believing the Kremlin would adhere to new treaties any better than the previous ones it systematically violated.

• For good measure, Mr. Obama is mounting a frontal assault on the armed forces. The president plans to repeal the law prohibiting gays from serving in the military. It is absolutely predictable that significant numbers of servicemen and -women – including many of the most experienced commissioned and noncommissioned officers – will retire rather than serve in conditions of forced intimacy with individuals who may find them sexually attractive. The effect will be to break the all-volunteer force.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/new
s/2009/mar/24/our-enemies-sense-w
eakness/

Forbes Pleads For Bank Bailout, “Banks Are the Heart of the Financial System”

February 1, 2009

Steve Forbes said on Sunday that getting American banks lending is much more important than the current economic stimulus bill.

Forbes appeared on “Meet the Press” on NBC with David Gregory.

Forbes said that Japan used eight different stimulus packages in the 1990s and couldn’t solve their economic problems without solving the bank lending dilemma.

“And that’s why they have a high debt and still a stagnant economy,” Forbes said.

“The banks are like the heart of the financial system,” Forbes said.  “You can have a strong head and strong muscles but without the heart you have nothing.”

Erin Burnett of CNBC said the “New American Economy” will provide a lower standard of living to most Americans.

“And that means likely a lower standard of living.  So you may return to vigorous growth, but likely that debt-fueled expansion, you’re not going to have that.  And that’s a tough message to tell people, your standard of living is going to be lower for a long time.”

David Gregory pointed out a Heritage Foundation release this week that said:  “The combination of current law programs plus the stimulus–and without any additional borrowings for additional financial market interventions or other new spending–suggests at least another $1.6 trillion of new government debt, bringing the total of publicly traded federal debt to $9.9 trillion by the end of 2010…[and] the debt-to-GDP ratio will have reached 67.9 percent for a two-year increase of 23 percentage” points.

Forbes said, “You’ve got to ….  and I hope the Senate will do this, is work more on the tax side; like, say, having the payroll tax for two years.  That lowers the price of hiring people, also….  Payroll tax holiday.  That way people get more money and it’s cheaper to hire labor.  Reduce the capital gains levee for a couple of years, positive things like that.  And then get back–again, the banking system, Japan did not fix their banking system, which is why they stagnated.  We have to fix ours, starting by one of the most boring subjects in the world but devastating banks today, get rid of this mark-to-market accounting, which is destroying banks.”

Read the Meet The Press transcript:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28964188/

Steve Forbes, Chairman and CEO of Forbes Media, participates ... 
Steve Forbes, Chairman and CEO of Forbes Media, participates in a plenary session the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009.(AP Photo/Keystone, Alessandro Della Bella)

http://www.bigbook.eu/senators-q
uestion-daschles-late-tax-filing

Obama’s White House Land of the Big Ego; “Addicted to Czars”

January 28, 2009

President Barack Obama is building a White House staff so loaded with big names and overlapping duties that it could collapse into chaos unless managed with a juggler’s skill.

It’s an administration that seems “addicted to czars,” says one longtime observer of government organization.

By CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press Writer

Obama has installed a White House health czar who doubles as secretary of Health and Human Services. The State Department now has “special envoys” for the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and for climate change — areas already overseen by other officials.

Just for the environment, along with the new climate envoy Obama has an energy secretary, an Environmental Protection Agency director and a chief of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Hovering over them all is Carol Browner, a high-profile former EPA administrator in a newly created role some call “climate czarina.”

The economic team is perhaps the most multilayered and ego-driven of all. Former college professor Christina Romer heads Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers. Timothy Geithner, a former top Federal Reserve official, is treasury secretary. Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker is heading the newly formed Economic Recovery Advisory Board. And Peter Orszag, former head of the Congressional Budget Office, is the budget director.

Coordinating and perhaps overshadowing all of them is Lawrence Summers, the brainy and sometimes….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090128/
ap_on_go_pr_wh/obama_team_of_czars

Obama: Election Day to Inauguration Day Has Been Exciting; And It Isn’t Over Yet

January 4, 2009

His U.S. Senate seat may have been for sale by his home state Governor.  His “replacement” is under siege and may not be seated.

His Commerce Secretary pick is exiting amid a grand jury investigation.

Related:
Obama: Nation’s Hopes Never Higher, Times Seldom Tougher, Give Us Your Highest Vision

And his plans for a new Middle East policy may  have to be changed yet again a few times before the inauguration.

His domestic team has to be in some turmoil too: the auto company bailout isn’t comlete, there is some growing dismay at all the money thrown around by the Treasury while trying to get the economy jump started and his own “stimulus” may top $1 Trillion.

Even his choice of  Rick Warren to pray the invocation was not heard with gaiety….

For Barack Obama, just getting from Election Day to Inauguration Day has been exciting.

Hopes for a new American President have never been higher at home and internationally.

But there have never been so many roadblocks in the way of a smooth ride either.

Rocket Attacks Into Israel Have Already Killed Land For Peace Policy

December 31, 2008

As Arab rockets reach ever deeper into Israel, they may be weakening what for years has been a cornerstone of Mideast peace efforts — an exchange of land for peace.

Israeli hard-liners have long warned that any territories Israel vacates will be used to attack it. They can now point to the Hamas missile that slammed into a bus stop in this port city Monday, killing a 39-year-old woman. It was fired from the Gaza Strip, which Israel gave up in 2005 and is now ruled by Hamas militants who reject the very existence of the Jewish state.

Even in the midst of the war, many Israelis still argue that a peace deal with the Palestinians, which would require a withdrawal from virtually all the West Bank, is Israel’s only real security guarantee.

By ARON HELLER and MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Writers
Hamas rocket hits Israeli house

Above: Aftermath of Hamas rocket hitting an Israeli house

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, in defending the Gaza offensive in a speech to parliament Monday, said Israel remains committed to the idea of a Palestinian state alongside it.

Yet the missile that hit Ashdod, a city of 200,000 people, drove home a grim new reality for Alin Ben-Yosef, 32, who fled to Tel Aviv for the night with her two young daughters after Ashdod was struck.

“Tel Aviv is the safest place we have,” said Ben-Yosef, who works at a clothing store. “But it is starting to feel as if there are no safe places anymore.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081231/ap_on_re_mi_e
a/ml_israel_rockets__reach;_ylt=An44CHiIaS
O3BzS5.UszJQRvaA8F

Oprah, Worth $1.5 Billion or More, Fails To Do Her Work

December 30, 2008

Oprah is starting to remind me of the scum of Wall Street that got away with huge money while the customer got screwed.

In Oprah’s case, the customer is you and me.  Oprah’s work is to check out and bring us good things to read and watch.

Because of her poor research, Oprah got taken.  Then she took us all for a ride.

More precisely, Oprah allowed herself to be taken.

Again.

Oprah, like many of us, often fails to do her homework.

But the lesson of credibility, often learned once some or all credibility is lost, is that to remain in high esteem in the kind of work Oprah Winfrey has chosen, one must be right most of the time.

And that means even the Queen of daytime TV has to do her homework — or just make sure her staff does theirs.

Oprah gets paid handsomely for doing her homework.  She just doesn’t always do it.

Related:
Oprah’s Literary Liars Club: Who Is Responsible?

Forbes reported during 2007 that Oprah’s yearly pay was $260 Million — and that she was worth $1.5 Billion

Oprah was, frankly, taken in by a fraud when she discovered Herman Rosenblat’s memoir, “Angel at the Fence.”

By dubbing a fraud “the single greatest love story” ever featured by Oprah, the megastar calls into question her exact criteria for greatness.

Just as Oprah was shocked to find evil behavior at her girls’ school in Africa, Oprah got a black eye on a book because she never really investigated its lineage.

The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls had Oprah’s money and Oprah’s prestige and Oprah’s cachet but none of Oprah’s supervision, direction or involvement.

And Oprah cried when she found out what was going on at her school.

Cha-ching.

Well, the buck stops here.

Oprah is a fraud.

We hope Oprah has enough sense (and time) to sort all this out and do her homework with more diligence.

People trust you, Oprah, which brings certain responsibility…..You have all the money anyone could want: now how about trying to be real.  Honest.  A semi-journalist.
 


Photo: Getty Images 

By Richard Rusher
Peace and Freedom

Related:
http://princesimon.wordpress.com/2008/
12/30/oprah-winfrey-duped-again-holoc
aust-greatest-love-story-is-fake/

http://hillbuzz.wordpress.com/2008/12
/29/why-is-oprah-so-damn-stupid/?refe
rer=sphere_related_content/

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Professor Ken Waltzer, the director of Michigan State University’s Jewish Studies program, said the book “Angel at the Fence,” “was at the far end of implausibility, yet until yesterday, no one connected with packaging, promoting, and disseminating it asked questions about or investigated it. Some actively resisted such investigation and tried to shut mine down.”

By Emily Friedman
ABC News

Unfortunately for Oprah Winfrey, some stories really are too good to be true.

Herman Rosenblat’s memoir, “Angel at the Fence,” deemed by Winfrey as “the single greatest love story” she’s ever featured on her show, may now be coined by some as the single phoniest love story, after the author admitted he fabricated the story of how he and his wife met at a Nazi concentration camp.

They did not, as Rosenblat falsely wrote in the book, meet at a concentration camp during World War II, where Rosenblat claimed his wife had thrown him apples and bread over the barbed-wire fence that separated them.

In reality, Rosenblat and his wife, Roma, were set up on a blind date in New York years after the war was over.

Read the rest:
http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/story?id=6543206&page=1

Related from CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/12/30/
holocaust.hoax.love.story/index.html

What Sustains Us In Times of Crisis?

December 24, 2008

Who will teach us to deal with these previously unknown trials?

While the challenges of Mother Teresa’s life may seem to have little to do with us in 21st Century America, this may be less and less the case in years to come, as the many-sided specter of crisis looms over our nation and world.

Who will teach us to deal with these previously unknown trials? What solutions will there be for us–besides escape, the hollow promises of a prosperity gospel, or the secret of “attracting abundance”? Mother Teresa’s secret was quite another: more robust, reliable, and real; born of the most powerful force in the universe–the only One to have faced death and overcome it forever. The God-man whose light shines still gentle and strong in our collective night.

As the years go by, Mother Teresa’s challenges may seem less foreign and her solutions more meaningful, even vital. Our common human plight has become our bond with her.

She would tell us that we are each equipped by God to not only survive our personal Calcutta, but to serve there–to contribute to those around us whose personal night intersects our own. If she could face the worst of human suffering, all the while bearing her own pain, then we can do the same in the lesser Calcutta that is ours.

She has taught us the divine alchemy that turns our personal hardships into compassion for others, our lack of material goods into wealth of spirit, and, should it come to that, the loss of our standard of living into the chance to become what ease and abundance would never have allowed us to be.

Mother Teresa’s lessons will prepare us, as no political or economic programs can, to live through our trials with grace, and to turn them into blessings for others. If this simple, humanly un-extraordinary woman could have filled Calcutta’s slums with such love and energy and ingenuity, then we can learn to do the same in our life, no matter what may come.

By Fr. Joseph Langford, the co-founder of the Missionaries of Charity Fathers, with Mother Teresa. He is the author of the new book “Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire.”

Read the rest:
http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guest
voices/2008/12/what_mother_teresa_would_do.html

China’s Slowing Growth, Unemployment Leads Toward Social Unrest

December 23, 2008

Eight is an important number in China. Its association with good fortune makes it a big hit for license plates and mobile phone numbers. It’s no accident that the Beijing Olympic Games opened on the eighth day of the eighth month in 2008. But the number may have another meaning. If economic growth falls below 8 percent, some say, China’s masses will turn the country into a simmering cauldron of unrest.

That thesis has been bandied about by politicians and economists for years. It could soon be put to the test. In 2009, China’s growth is expected to fall to 7.8 percent, according to HSBC, from almost 12 percent in 2007, driven down by the collapse in China’s exports to the crisis-wracked developed world.

Social unrest is a rising threat in China. Recorded incidents increased almost eightfold from 1994 to 2005, after which the government stopped releasing comparable data. When growth fell to 4 percent, from 11 percent, in 1989, ugly protests erupted. While the state has been tolerant of recent peaceful sit-ins by factory workers, coordinated action might leave only two options: impose order the hard way, or renegotiate the terms of government.

Fortunately, the “theory of eight” is probably wrong. What really matters isn’t how much China’s growth falls, but what happens to unemployment. The two aren’t perfectly linked. A collapse in capital-intensive industries, for example, would have less of an effect on jobs than a more modest decline in lower-value, labor-intensive work. Besides, unemployment isn’t the only reason the masses complain. As they become more prosperous, they are more likely to protest about noneconomic issues like pollution and corruption.

What’s certain is that unemployment is rising. Urban joblessness is already at 9.4 percent, according to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The real figure may be higher, and the official national unemployment figure of 4 percent is almost certainly too low. Export sectors alone account for around 50 million employees, and around 4 million have been laid off this year.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/23/business/23views.html

Related:
China plans crackdown as economic crisis spurs crime

China’s Migrant Unemployment Sparks New Effort

China Faces Social Unrest As Up To 150 Million Migrants Go Home Without Work

OPEC Cuts Production 2.2 Million Barrels Per Day

December 17, 2008

OPEC says it is cutting 2.2 million barrels a day from its output — the largest ever at one time — to stem crude prices that have plummeted over 70 percent from summer highs of nearly $150.

An OPEC statement says its latest announcements means it is taking 4.2 million barrels a day off the market compared to September levels. The 4.2 million figure includes more than 500,000 barrels of overproduction OPEC said in September it would eliminate and a formal cut of 1.5 million barrels a day that it agreed on last month.

That amounts to a new reduction of 2.2 million barrels announced Wednesday.

In practice, “it’s 2.2” said OPEC President Chakib Khelil.

Members among the 13-nation organization were officially producing a daily 29.045 million barrels in September.

–Associated Press