Archive for the ‘unions’ Category

‘Card check’ bill loses key supporters

March 28, 2009
With Sens. Specter and Feinstein withdrawing their support, and the threat of a Republican filibuster, backers of the pro-union provision may have to consider less divisive alternatives.
By James Oliphant
The Lost Angeles Times
March 28, 2009

Reporting from Washington — Whether you label it the “card check” bill or the Employee Free Choice Act, you can also call it something else — in deep trouble.

Key senators this week appeared to cripple prospects for passing the highly polarizing measure, the labor movement’s top priority in Congress, which is aimed at making it easier for workers to join unions.

The latest hurdle came Friday, when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she would seek alternative legislation that was less divisive. Feinstein, a past sponsor of the act, cited the flailing economy as a reason; other critics of the bill have said it would drive up operating costs for businesses at a perilous time.

“This is an extraordinarily difficult economy, and feelings are very strong on both sides of the issue,” Feinstein said in a statement. “I would hope there is some way to find common ground that would be agreeable to both business and labor.”

Feinstein’s words came days after Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) declared that he would not support the bill. Specter too had supported the act in the past, and his announcement was viewed as eliminating any chance that Democrats could muster enough votes to break a promised Republican filibuster.

The card-check bill would bypass the traditional union election process and allow workers to be certified as a bargaining unit if a majority signed cards indicating their support for a union. The proposal played a leading role in congressional campaigns across the country, with voters bombarded by televised ads applauding and demonizing the bill.

Now its supporters are scrambling to figure out their next move. It appears clear that if the legislation has a future, it will not be in its present form.

“We knew all along that this bill would be amended. It seems clear now we’ll have to look at some changes to get to the floor,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), a cosponsor of the legislation.

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworl
d/nation/la-na-card-check28-2009mar28
,0,4048410.story

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Obama, Economy: So Much Uncertainty Spins Off More…. Uncertainty

March 25, 2009

Barack Obama seem prepared to chage everything about everything.

Just today he set out to reform the tax code at the IRS.  Since Tim Geithner is busy and was never good at taxes anyway, Paul Volker will head a commission.

But Geithner added uncertainty of his own today saying it was OK by him if China replaced the dollar with something else as a reserve currency.  When the dollar pitched downward, Geithner had to ‘clarify’ his first statement to get markets going again.

But it is just part of an ever swirling vortex of change, tinkering and tampering that makes businesses and investors shudder.

We’ll provide health care to all, we’ll reform education, we’ll take care of climate change, we’ll do away with gas and oil and coal, we’ll….well it looks like we’ll do everything.  We’ll use embrionic stem cells to cure Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and then we’ll cure cancer.

And what will it all cost?  Who cares, really.  It isn’t our money……

Well, people do care like China, the nation that holds most of our debt….

Just today 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.

The Dow was way up today and then way down.  Why?  In one word?  Uncertainty.

Today on the Dow: uncertainty

“A weaker interest or wider spread in a Treasury deal today could certainly cause some angst,” said Warren Koontz, chief investment officer for large-company value stocks at Loomis Sayles & Co., which manages $106 billion in Boston. “As anxious as the market is after the run we’ve had here, it gives people an excuse to step back.”

Late on Wednesday the Associated press said this about the stock market today: “Trading was extremely erratic….Analysts said weak demand during an auction of government debt stirred up worries about how easily Washington will be able to raise money to fund its economic rescue program. The fear in the market is that the government might not be able to easily raise the hundreds of billions of dollars it needs.”

Anxious, cautious, uncertain, confidence: they are all part of the stew that’s boiling; which might be good and might not.

The economic recession gave us uncertainty enough.  Now the president has himself compounded the problem.

If the United States was an aircrft, Obama has already touched every dial and lever in the cockpit.  And what does that mean?  Only one thing for sure: Uncertainty.  And a lack of confidence.  That’s why businesses are not yet rehiring and people are holding on to their money.

First Obama said we were in a crisis and he was all gloom and doom.  Then he spoke of confidence and Biden even mentioned the “Obama factor” when the markets went up.  Last night he exhibited neither confidence nor gloom; but instead a kind of boredom.

The president is overexposed and not helping.  This is a time to lower uncertainty and emphasize confidence: and do the hard work necessary to move the nation forward.  Enough of the media events, press conferences and fake bipartisanship.  Get to work already.

Primum non nocere

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The uncertainty that the president has mentioned himself,  just a little, is what militay people call the “unknown unknowns.”  While we have so much economic uncertainty compounded by self imposed uncertainty, we should have some money saved for a rainy day like an new war on terror, a troop deployment to the border with Mexico or some other really far out scenario…..Putin and Hu Jintao like American uncertainty and they aren’t the only ones…..We live in an uncertain world and we have added to the uncertainty since January….

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FedEx Corp is threatening to cancel the purchase of billions of dollars worth of new Boeing Co cargo planes if Congress passes a law that would make it easier for unions to organize at the package-delivery company, the Wall Street Journal said.

FedEx may cancel plans to buy as many as 30 new Boeing planes should Congress pass a bill that would remove truck drivers, couriers and other employees at FedEx’s Express unit from the jurisdiction of the federal Railway Labor Act of 1926, the paper cited the company spokesman as saying.

In January, FedEx said its express unit exercised options to buy 15 more Boeing 777 freighters, worth $3.75 billion at list prices.

However, the company deferred delivery of some of the planes as the U.S. economy faces a bleak outlook.

FedEx’s actions raise the stakes in an increasingly bitter battle involving chief rival, United Parcel Service Inc, and the Teamsters union, which has been trying for years to organize at FedEx, the Journal said.

FedEx and Boeing could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters.

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Bloomberg

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sent the dollar tumbling with comments about China’s ideas for overhauling the global monetary system, only to drive it back up by affirming that it should remain the world’s reserve currency.

Geithner was initially asked at a Council on Foreign Relations event in New York about proposals from People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan for a new international reserve currency. He said “as I understand his proposal, it’s a proposal designed to increase the use of the IMF’s special drawing rights. And we’re actually quite open to that.”

The dollar slid as much as 1.3 percent against the euro within 10 minutes of news accounts of Geithner’s remarks. The U.S. currency was down 0.6 percent at $1.3553 as of 12:31 p.m. in New York.

Roger Altman, who worked with Geithner as deputy Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration, later asked Geithner whether he wanted to “clarify” his remarks.

“I’d like to ask one final question, in effect on behalf of the market,” said Altman, founder of Evercore Partners Inc. “Let me ask the question this way. Do you see any change over the foreseeable future in the basic role of the dollar as the world’s key reserve currency?”

‘Strong’ Dollar

Geithner responded by saying that “I think the dollar remains the world’s dominant reserve currency.” In an interview with CNBC broadcast after the event, the Treasury chief said that a “strong dollar” is in “America’s interest.”

In his earlier response, Geithner said an increased use of SDRs should be “rather evolutionary, building on the current architecture, rather than moving us to global monetary union.”

Those remarks don’t indicate Geithner favors moving to a system with the SDR as a reserve currency, strategist Lee Hardman at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Ltd. wrote in a note.

“That was the big concern amongst the confusion,” London- based Hardman said. “A move to an SDR-linked system away from the dollar would naturally lead to a reduction in the dollar’s share of global reserves.”

Geithner, a former Treasury undersecretary for international affairs and president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which carries out U.S. interventions in currency markets, also said that “we will do what’s necessary to make sure we’re sustaining confidence in our financial markets.”

Bernanke, Obama

Geithner and Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke both told lawmakers yesterday that they expected the dollar to remain the most important global currency. President Barack Obama said at a news conference late yesterday that “the dollar is extraordinarily strong” because investors are confident in the ability of the U.S. to lead a worldwide recovery, and also rejected calls for a new global currency.

China is the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasuries, and Premier Wen Jiabao earlier this month expressed concern about the value of its investment. Central bank governor Zhou this week advocated a “super-sovereign reserve currency” that’s disconnected from any individual nation.

Zhou said, in an essay posted on the PBOC’s Web site, that the IMF’s special drawing rights, a unit of account at the fund used for member countries’ reserves with the IMF, offer “light in the tunnel for the reform of the international monetary system.” He said the SDR has yet to be “put into full play due to limitations on its allocation and the scope of its uses.”

Geithner said in his interview with CNBC that “China is playing a very important stabilizing role in this financial crisis we’re seeing globally.” U.S. officials are “working very, very closely with them. I think they have a lot of confidence in the policies we’re pursuing,” he also said.

See Michelle Malkin:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/0
3/25/wonderboy-strikes-again/

Stimulus: Way Fewer Jobs Than You Thought

March 16, 2009

State governments that contract jobs paid for with stimulus money will be required to pay workers on construction projects union wages rather than market rates — good news for workers but good news for not as many of them. 

The Office of Management and Budget included in the $787 billion stimulus bill the Davis-Bacon provision, a 1931 law typically only used on federal highway projects. But under the new spending plan, Davis-Bacon will apply to all state and local jobs on energy, housing, agriculture or construction.

Fox News

Higher costs per project mean fewer projects completed, especially since some “shovel ready” projects were bid as non-union jobs. Some local officials and economists say the union wage mandate means taxpayer dollars won’t be stretched as far as otherwise was planned.

“All this recovery money being spent, you have a lot of hands out,” said economist Jack Kyser. “And so people have said OK, this has to conform to Davis Bacon, which means prevailing wage. And so you get hung up. So as I say, you’re going to have projects, but you’re not going to have the money go as far as you’d wanted it to go.”

Los Angeles County officials who received $8 million in Community Development Block Grant money to weatherize homes for low-income people said they typically bid the job low and pay about $15 an hour for a worker to caulk windows. However, under union scale, that job pays $25 an hour and $5 in benefits, so instead of repairing 100 homes, they might do 50 homes for the same price.

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/first100da
ys/2009/03/16/union-wage-rule-means-fe
wer-projects-completed-stimulus-cash/

Card Check May Fail; Lawmakers Vote In Public View

March 10, 2009

Democrats on Tuesday introduced controversial labor legislation making it easier for workers to organize, formally kicking off the biggest lobbying fight between business and labor in decades.

The Hill

The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), also known as card-check, was introduced with 223 co-sponsors in the House and 40 in the Senate. That is less support than it attracted in the last Congress, even though Democrats now hold more seats in both chambers. In 2007, EFCA had 230 co-sponsors on its day of introduction in the House and 46 in the Senate.

“The labor movement is not part of the problem. It is a big part of the solution,” Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) said in introducing the bill. He said Democrats were trying to make sure organized labor would be a part of turning the economy around.

 

Republicans pounced, arguing the bill is a gift to labor unions that campaigned for Democrats last fall and helped them win the presidency, a larger House majority and a 58-seat majority in the Senate that improves the chances of moving labor legislation.  

“The card-check bill is not about the economy, and it is not about restoring the middle class. Card-check is all about giving a gift to labor bosses at the expense of both the economy and the middle class,” said Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.).

Miller and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) indicated Democrats are likely to start the bill in the Senate, where it faces a tougher path to President Obama’s desk.

Last Congress, the bill passed the House easily but stalled in the Senate, gaining only 51 votes for cloture, with Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) the only Republican to join Democrats in support of the procedural move.

Democrats now hold 58 seats in the Senate, but it is unclear whether some centrist Democrats will support the legislation this year, when a vote for cloture would likely mean it would become law.

Last year, business opponents could count on President Bush to veto the bill. This year, President Obama has indicated he’ll sign it.

Union officials are confident they’ll have the 60 votes necessary to move the bill out of the Senate. But that has been disputed by lawmakers, with Harkin and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) both saying the legislation doesn’t have the votes for now.

“By the time we bring it up, we will have 60 votes,” Harkin said at Tuesday’s press conference.

Read the rest:
http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/democrat
s-introduce-card-check-vow-to-move-it-200
9-03-10.html

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Spineless Democrats, a Senate specialty

At least six Senators who have voted to move forward with the so-called card-check proposal, including one Republican, now say they are opposed or not sure — an indication that Senate Democratic leaders are short of the 60 votes they need for approval…

The legislation is divisive and distracting, said Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln in an interview Monday. The Democratic lawmaker, who was previously seen as a supporter, said the Senate should focus on creating jobs and improving the U.S. economy. “I have 90,000 Arkansans who need a job, that’s my No. 1 priority,” she said. The legislation, she said, would be “divisive and we don’t need that right now.”

Read:
http://leisureguy.wordpress.com/2009/0
3/10/spineless-democrats-a-senate-specialty/

Obama on Education: What’s Good For You Is Wrong for Sasha, Malia

March 10, 2009

Obama on Education:

1.  My kids get to go to private schools.

2.  Vouchers for federal school choice program for low-income families in Washington, D.C. are wrong.

Do we hear correctly?

Hope turned into hypocrocy (a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess).

Related:
Republicans: If You Can’t Agree On Core Values Now, Commit Harakiri

 Obama’s Schools Will Have To Follow Federal Rules, Like Socialist, Communist Schools

File:Michelle, Malia and Sasha Obama at DNC.jpg
A few people with school choice you may not have.  Thanks to you, the taxpayer….

See:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/10/
how-sincere-is-obama-about-education-reform/

http://eideard.wordpress.com/2009/03/
10/president-obama-speaks-about-education/

Also: as anyone who understands the schools of Washington DC can attest: money spent on education sometimes means nothing in terms of better student performance.  Two years ago, the Law School of the University of the District of Columbia spent more per student than any other law school in the nation.  The success rate at passing the bar the first time was the nation’s worst….

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If you add up the stimulus bill, Obama’s proposed foreclosure fix, and the omnibus spending bill House Democrats are preparing, the administration is kicking off its tenure by spending a whopping $1.4 trillion.

There’s money for green golf carts. There’s money for ACORN. There’s money for weatherizing galore!

But there are some things the Democrat-controlled Congress will not countenance spending money on. Namely, Sakeithia, 12, Rashawn, 16, Paul, 11, Dominique, 14, Breanna, 9, Jordan, 17, Fransoir, 12, and De’Andre, 9.

They’re all Washington, D.C. kids attending private schools thanks in part to a federally funded school-voucher program. The program was enacted five years ago after a heated battle in the Senate, and supporters say it’s unlikely it will be reauthorized by the Democratic Congress unless they’re lobbied something fierce.

 

The fiscal 2009 omnibus Appropriations bill (HR 1105) would require that the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program — known as the D.C. voucher program — be reauthorized by Congress and then approved by the D.C. government in order for the program to receive federal funding after the 2009-2010 academic year.

But Republicans and advocates say the program is unlikely to be reauthorized with Democrats controlling Congress.

“It would certainly be a steep hill for supporters of the program to climb given the slim margins this program passed with back when conservatives controlled the Congress,” said Dan Lips, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation. The D.C. government may be more willing to support the program, he said.

The D.C. voucher program — the first to provide federally funded vouchers to students — was launched as a five-year pilot program through the 2004 omnibus appropriations law (PL 108-199).

 

Nancy Pelosi’s office offered a “wait-and-see” soundbite on the program, but the language in the bill is more clear about its fate:

Read the rest from the Weekly Standard:
http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblo
gs/TWSFP/2009/02/democrat_omnibu
s_spending_bill.asp

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By Philip Elliott, AP

President Barack Obama on Tuesday embraced a new approach to public education that adds up to merit pay for the better teachers and longer days and school years for students.

These proposals, which constitute the new president’s vision of an education system that meets 21st century challenges, were sure to generate loud criticism, particularly from teachers’ union.

Educators oppose charter schools because they divert tax dollars away from traditional public schools. Merit-based systems for teachers have been anathema to teachers’ unions, a powerful force in Obama’s Democratic Party.

Obama acknowledged this in his talk to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“Too many supporters of my party have resisted the idea of rewarding excellence in teaching with extra pay, even though we know it can make a difference in the classroom,” he said, delivering the first major education speech of his presidency. “Too many in the Republican Party have opposed new investments in early education, despite compelling evidence of its importance.”

But he argued that a far-reaching overhaul of the nation’s education system is an economic imperative that can’t wait, despite the urgency of the financial crisis and other pressing issues.

“Despite resources that are unmatched anywhere in the world, we have let our grades slip, our schools crumble, our teacher quality fall short, and other nations outpace us,” Obama said. “The relative decline of American education is untenable for our economy, unsustainable for our democracy, and unacceptable for our children. We cannot afford to let it continue. What is at stake is nothing less than the American dream.”

The ideas the president promoted were nearly all elements of his campaign platform last year. He only barely mentioned the reauthorization of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind Act, which introduced sweeping reforms that schools are struggling to meet without the funding to match. Obama said his administration would “later this year” ensure that schools get the funding they need and that the money is conditioned on results.

Among the principles Obama laid out were:

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009031
0/ap_on_go_pr_wh/obama_education

Transparency? Biden Appears At Union Event But Cameras Not Allowed

March 5, 2009

Gaffe-prone Vice President of the United States Joe Biden appeared before a union meeting today that did not permit the prying eyes of media cameras and microphones.

The Veep, who is well known for his ramblings and stupid remarks, has been coached repeatedly to stay on message and to adhere rigorously to prepared remarks as they scroll across the telepromter.  Now maybe he can escape a public event without putting his foot in his mouth by simply not allowing the media to record his outings.

Vice President Joe Biden addressed the nation’s largest union groups today as Congress is considering the heavily union-supported Employee Free Choice Act.

The AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting and newly appointed Labor Secretary Hilda Solis are both in Miami this week drumming up support for the bill that would give workers the option of unionizing by getting a majority of the workers to sign cards or a petition instead of holding secret ballot elections.

Biden addressed union members Thursday morning before heading to the Miami Intermodal Center, a transportation project funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Know why nobody listens to Joe Biden?  Because he says stupid stuff, or isn’t recorded at all and certainly doesn’t have Obama’s ear….

Nobody listens to Joe Biden because he isn’t worth hearing….

Toby Hardin of the Telegraph in London wrote about an Obama news conference on February 10:

As reporters started giggling, Obama came close to conceding that Biden was indeed a joke. “You know, I don’t remember exactly what Joe was referring to, not surprisingly.”

Related:
Obama Confirms: Nobody Listens To Joe Biden

US Vice President Joe Biden gestures while US President Barack ... 
US Vice President Joe Biden gestures while US President Barack Obama signs an Executive Order in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building January 21 in Washington, DC. That day the Veep made fun of the Chief justice for his inabiklity to recite the oath of office; which Biden flubbed himself despite a cue card….(AFP/Getty Images/Brendan Smialowski)

From Fox News:

Vice President Joe Biden’s office said Thursday it is honoring the wishes of the union to not have the press attend, which the AFL-CIO acknowledged after previously telling FOX News it was the vice president’s decision….

So much for transparency, but who’s messing with Joe?

Cameras have been banned from Vice President Biden’s address to AFL-CIO leaders in Miami Thursday. 

The vice president’s office said Thursday it is honoring the wishes of the union to have press cameras barred.

“Traditionally, the AFL-CIO Executive Council meetings are closed press. Each of its sessions this week have been closed press,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander said in a statement. 

The AFL-CIO acknowledged Thursday that it was its choice to ban cameras after telling FOX News a day earlier it was the vice president’s decision. Alexander said the veep tried to change the rule but was denied.

“As part of its unprecedented commitment to transparency, Vice President Biden’s office asked that a change to the policy be made so that a pool of print reporters would be allowed to cover the speech and a full transcript of the vice president’s remarks will be sent out this afternoon.”

President Barack Obama doesn’t go anywhere without his TelePrompter:
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/19663.html

Rush Limbaugh never uses a teleprompter….

Obama adviser: Auto industry must restructure

February 15, 2009

President Barack Obama‘s senior adviser said Sunday that any plan to shore up the auto industry will need to require sacrifice by all involved, from auto workers and industry executives to shareholders and creditors.

By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL, Associated Press Writer

General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC are expected to submit plans to the government by a Tuesday deadline to show how they can repay billions in loans and become viable in spite of a drop in auto sales not seen for a generation.

“We need an auto industry in this country. There are millions of lives, livelihoods that depend on it,” White House adviser David Axelrod said on “Meet the Press” on NBC. “We have a real interest in seeing the auto industry survive, but it’s going to require a major restructuring of the auto industry.”

Asked if the U.S. economy could withstand a bankruptcy at GM, Axelrod didn’t respond directly. Executives at the two automakers have said bankruptcy would not benefit their companies because consumers would be reluctant to buy cars from an automaker that might go out of business.

“How that restructuring comes is something that has to be determined,” he said. “But it’s going to be something that’s going to require sacrifice not just from the auto workers but also from creditors, from shareholders and the executives who run the company. And everyone’s going to have to get together here to build companies that can compete in the future.”

Axelrod wouldn’t say whether the administration would offer the auto industry more bailout money. GM already has borrowed $9.4 billion to stay in business, and it would receive an addition $4 billion if the Treasury Department approves its viability plan. Chrysler wants $3 billion more on top of the $4 billion it has already borrowed.

“We need to see what it is that they come up with this week,” he said.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090215/ap_o
n_go_pr_wh/obama_autos

Stimulus: “Buy American” Retained; Sure To Anger International Partners

February 14, 2009

Congress approved protectionist measures in a $789 billion stimulus bill Friday that U.S. trading partners have warned could spark a trade war.

Associated Press

The bill, however, left the Obama administration some room to maneuver to appease other countries who say it will benefit U.S. companies unfairly.

The stimulus bill was approved by the House Friday afternoon and by the Senate later in the evening. It now goes to President Barack Obama who is expected to sign into law quickly.

Major partners, including the European Union and Canada, say the legislation favoring U.S. steel, iron and manufactured goods for government projects could undermine pledges by the leaders of major economies not to resort to perfectionism during the world economic downturn.

Requirements known as “Buy American” were softened as the bill progressed through Congress and after strong criticism from abroad. Senate and House negotiators agreed to a version that would require the government not to violate trade agreements when implementing the law.

The bill also allows the Obama administration and state governments to waive requirements to favor U.S. companies if they deem it in the U.S. public interest and if they publish a justification.

The dispute has put Obama in a difficult position. While campaigning last year, he raised questions whether U.S. trade agreements contained sufficient protection for labor and environmental standards. He has warned recently, however, about antagonizing trading partners and has made clear that passage of the overall stimulus bill is needed urgently to mend the U.S. economy.

In several television interviews last week, he said the stimulus package should not include protectionist language that could trigger a trade war. But now that it does, he is likely to sign it anyway. The measures appear, however, to give the administration discretion about how to implement spending decisions, given the requirement of meeting trade obligations.

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/elections/2009/
02/13/congress-approves-protectionist-measure-
spark-trade-war/

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President Obama visited the Caterpillar factory in East Peoria, Illinois this last week.

Caterpillar says it pays $100,000 in tariffs on each piece of heavy equipment it exports to Columbia, because the U.S. Congresss has failed to pass the free trade agreement….

Now with this “buy American” provision in the stimulus it is likely the U.S. will find trouble with other trading partners…

Related:
 Pastor Obama Continues With Holy Stimulus, But The Congregation Isn’t Buying

Why Europe No Longer In Obama Camp Over Stimulus
.
China’s leader Hu Jintao cautioned President Obama about the “buy American” provision in the economic stimulus plan during a phone conversation.

Related:
CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITIC
S/02/05/senate.buy.american/index.html

 “Buy American” Sounds Good; Carries An Unbearable Down Side

Obama Caught Between World Leaders, Congress, U.S. Voters on “Buy American”

 Dallas Federal Reserve Chief, China, Germany All Call Protectionism “Death”

China announced that President Hu Jintao, seen here in 2008, ...
President Hu Jintao of China (AFP/File/Louisa Gouliamaki)

Made in china.jpg

Stimulus: “truly responsible government only a distant echo of our forgotten ancestors”

January 29, 2009

I love this. The new kind of politics of hope. Eight hours of debate in the HR to pass a bill spending $820 billion, or roughly $102 billion per hour of debate.

Only ten per cent of the “stimulus” to be spent on 2009.

By Ben Stein
The American Spectator

Close to half goes to entities that sponsor or employ or both members of the Service Employees International Union, federal, state, and municipal employee unions, or other Democrat-controlled unions.

This bill is sent to Congress after Obama has been in office for seven days. It is 680 pages long. According to my calculations, not one member of Congress read the entire bill before this vote. Obviously, it would have been impossible, given his schedule, for President Obama to have read the entire bill.

For the amount spent we could have given every unemployed person in the United States roughly $75,000.

We could give every person who had lost a job and is now passing through long-term unemployment of six months or longer roughly $300,000.

There has been pork barrel politics since there has been politics. The scale of this pork is beyond what had ever been imagined before — and no one can be sure it will actually do much stimulation.

Further, no one can be sure that we are not already at the trough/inflection point of the recession such that this money will be spent mostly after the recovery is well under way.

How long until the debt incurred under this program is so immense that it causes a downgrade in the sovereign debt of the USA? What happens to us then?

This has been a punch in the solar plexus to the kind of responsible, far-seeing, mature government processes that are needed to protect America. This is more than the pork barrel. This is a coup for the constituencies of the party in power and against the idea of a responsible government itself. A bleak day.

Unfortunately, it is only the latest in a long series of such days stretching across decades of rule by both parties, to the point where truly responsible government is only a distant echo of our forgotten ancestors.

Related:
More Ideas on Stimulus, Bipartisanship from Rush Limbaugh in the Wall Street Journal

Obama’s Bipartisanship Lost In Nancy Pelosi’s Office; Now President Tries Senate GOP For Help with Recovery Bill

Chinese Premier Blames Recession on U.S. Actions; Beijing Rethinks Some of Its American Investments

What we don’t know about Obama

January 22, 2009

We know a lot more about Barack Obama than we did on Election Day. He wastes little time making big decisions. He was serious about surrounding himself with seasoned people, even if they are outsized personalities likely to jostle one another and unlikely to salute on command. He intends to move quickly to put his personal stamp on government and national life. 

By Jim VandeHei, John F. Harris
Politico

Yet much about how the 44th president will govern remains a mystery—perhaps even to Obama himself.
 
The stirring rhetoric witnessed on the campaign trail and in Tuesday’s inaugural address is laced with spacious language — flexible enough to support conflicting conclusions about what he really believes.
Only decisions, not words, can clarify what Obama stands for. Those are coming soon enough. 

Until then, here are the questions still left hanging as the Obama administration begins:

DOES HE REALLY THINK AFGHANISTAN IS WINNABLE?

The new president has strongly signaled that he thinks the answer is yes. But neither his rhetoric nor his policy proposals so far have fully reckoned with the implications….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/200901
22/pl_politico/17769

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Does Obama Really Believe in Transparency?

Ed Henry
CNN

What a long, strange trip Barack Obama’s first full day as president turned out to be.

He began the day pushing for more transparency in government, only to end it by keeping TV cameras out when Chief Justice John Roberts re-administered the oath of the presidency.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/