Category Archives: President Obama

Politics and the “Last Call” Theory of Public Opinion

Thursday, February 16, 2012

President Obama and his crew are very excited by recent polls showing that 50% of the people have a favorable opinion of his performance as President. Only in the wacky world of politics would a 50% approval rating seem like good news. Put another way, the other 50% of the American people think the President sucks at his job. ..Okay, “sucks” may be too strong a term, but I’m trying to make a point. It’s the old half full, half empty dilemma. How would you feel if your employer or lover gave you a 50% favorable rating?

The sad news is that the President may actually think that he’s gaining popularity in recent polls because the economy is getting better, and that it’s getting better because of his programs. Really? Careful, Mr. President, that you don’t succumb to the tendency of all politicians to believe their own hype.
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How pathetic: Nitpicking President Obama

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The other day, Mitt Romney made a comment about his not caring about poor people. His words were not only taken out of context in the literal sense, they were stripped bare of any technical or intellectual content and subsequently refashioned into something he did not mean or actually say.

Mitt’s words – the specific words about the poor that were excised from his statement – got lots of airtime, not because they were significant or meaningful, but because the media has lots of airtime to fill and it costs more to do real reporting than to ride the sound bite of the day until that wave hits the beach and another big one shows up on the horizon. (That, “Dude,” was as surfing analogy, for those of you who didn’t get it.) Likewise, Mitt’s competitors for the nomination, and President Obama, have so little real stuff to talk about they made a big deal about it too. The media and politicians tend to play off each other that way in a mutually self-serving love-hate-love relationship that we, the people who watch and read all this stuff, really need to do something about.
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Things We Can Do For Free To Put People Back To Work

Wednesday, August 8, 2011

Hi. While spending money to put everyone back to work may be necessary – although our President and Congress haven’t a clue how to do that – there are some things that we can do immediately that won’t cost anyone a dime.
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Subprime Country

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Well, it’s official. Despite and perhaps because of the remarkable debt limit legislation our President and Congress have just completed, Standard & Poors has lowered our credit rating, our national FICO score, from AAA to AA+. We, the United States of America, are now a subprime country.

Apparently, S&P wasn’t so much worried that we wouldn’t increase the debt ceiling as that we’d do it without taking any significant, short-term steps to reverse our long-term tendency to borrow ourselves into financial oblivion. When a lender – and that is their perspective – is evaluating a borrower, whether personal, corporate or government, one of the most important components of that evaluation is recent behavior history. Poop happens, to be sure, but has the prospective borrower shown maturity, commitment and intelligence in how it has dealt with adversity and managed its resources? Does management – whether we’re talking about a household, corporate executives or the President and Congress – seem competent? To what degree can that entity be counted upon to protect and return, with interest, money that is loaned to it?

How depressing. Don’t blame S&P. Blame the President and Congress who have certainly done everything possible to discourage confidence in their leadership. These people, the President included, are clueless and wouldn’t recognize real solutions to our national financial and other problems if they tripped over them. And they have, tripped over them, that is.

The really good news is that we (our government) can now enjoy all the advantages subprime people do. We can now pay higher interest rates to borrow money on which we can’t afford to make the payments anyway, so who cares? Our military and other branches of government can now buy weapons, bullets and other stuff at places that advertise, “No credit, no problem!” Instead of driving shinny new limos, our President and Congressional leaders can drive themselves around in older, higher mileage used cars. This is great.

I see only one real problem. Do you remember how our government squandered hundreds of billions of dollars saving commercial and investment banks whose executives were making money hand over fist by recklessly lending to subprime customers, and how we gave them all that money on the condition that they promise to never, ever do that again? And to their credit, no pun intended, they’ve tightened up their underwriting and haven’t been lending any real money to anyone since then. They’re not going to help. Europe’s up the creek. Japan’s got it’s own problems to worry about. And borrowing more from China has too many strings attached.

So who’s going to bail us out now that we’re broke?

-wf

Question of the Day: Exactly whose war is McChrystal fighting?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The question isn’t whether or not General McChrystal and his high ranking aids should have criticized the President and other national security senior players in public. His remarks, however accurate and commonly held within the military, were entirely inappropriate. He deserves to be fired. The President has no choice but to make an example of him and those of his staff who were unable to keep their opinions to themselves, on the record or not, in the presence of a Rolling Stone reporter.

The question is not even whether or not the General’s comments were accurate and, if so, what their implications might be for our foreign policy and politics.

The question is, given the considerable differences between the General and the President and our civilian national security management, whose war has the General been fighting? The one the President, our elected leader, has instructed him to fight, or the one General McChrystal believes he should be fighting?

The question of the day is, “Who’s in charge?” Has General McChrystal honored his Constitutional obligation to the maximum extent of his abilities, regardless of his personal opinions of the quality and direction of elected decision-making, or has he allowed those personal opinions to affect the course of our military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan?

-wf

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Implausible Deniability: Who is President Obama kidding?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.”

Two questions:

1. Would any of us who believed in and voted for President Obama thought that he would have allowed or even endorsed the deals struck by Senator Harry Reid to procure the votes of hold-out Democrats for the Senate’s healthcare legislation?

Exempting Nebraska from paying its share of expanded Medicaid… forever …for Senator Ben Nelson’s vote, saving Nebraska an estimated $45 million over the next 10 years.

$10 billion (with a “b”) for community health centers in Vermont for Senator Bernie Sander’s vote.

A $300 million increase in Medicaid for Louisiana for Senator Mary Landrieu’s vote.

Not to mention the deal President Obama, himself, struck with representatives of American pharmaceutical manufacturers earlier this year, the price of which was the failure of Senate Democrats to approve the importation of prescription drugs from Canada – this from a candidate, now President who has persistently denounced the influence of lobbyists.

2. Do any of us really believe that President Obama was, in fact, unaware of these deals being struck? …that Senator Reid made these arrangements – the first 3 I’ve listed above, among others – without the prior knowledge of key Administration insiders, including the President to whom those insiders report?

-wf


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Healthcare Legislation: Blowing Off 15 Million Americans

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

“In the beginning…” Sounds biblical, doesn’t it? In the beginning, going way back to January 20 of this year, the day Barack Obama took office, there were two reasons for healthcare reform legislation. They were, in no particular order: (1) Because the costs of healthcare are spiraling out of control; and (2) Because there are an estimated 46 million Americans who have no medical insurance at all and who, because they can’t afford it, are not receiving adequate healthcare. This piece is about the second of these reasons, the need for universal healthcare, for a system, a program that would ensure that all Americans would have access to the quality healthcare they need.

To his credit, President Obama wasted no time telling Congress to get its collective ass in gear to devise and pass healthcare reform legislation of, once again, biblical proportions. Easier said than done.
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