06 Feb 2014

No matter how you try and spin it, there has been a gigantic shift in what candidate Obama claimed to be for when he ran for office, and what president Obama done since taking the reigns of power – on a great number of issues. The latest move to use the powers of the Executive Branch to their fullest abilities, to get around Congressional logjams, is just one more example of this. It's also another in a long line of expansions of executive powers (over the last couple decades - not just during Obama's administration, or even Bush '43's). I was one of the people who were duped into supporting Obama during his first campaign. There were a number of reasons I did that Obama has reversed himself on since, but among them was his stance on reduction of executive powers. I very much agreed with candidate Obama that the power of the executive branch of our government had grown too large, and wasn’t checked enough – mostly by Congress / the legislative...

01 Aug 2011

I've been very lucky to have been spending quite a bit of my regularly blocked out time for blogging focused on building a new website the last couple weeks. The news has been so frustrating, so roller coaster like, and so depressingly tilted towards extremists that I've wanted to just put on my headphones and bury myself in HTML and CSS. I took a break from this around 1:30am on Monday, and saw that we've finally got a deal that looks like it will pass. This is certainly better than nothing, and lets hope this is enough to keep the credit rating agencies from downgrading us. This is all assuming that the grumbling on the left doesn't result in a large block of Democrats who don't vote for this deal after all, or the Tea Party right wingers manage to scuttle this somehow. Thank heaven we can move on to other things now, right? Like, you know, the two major parties arguing about who won, and who this will help politically... because that'll help....

12 May 2011

Anyone who thinks the Obama people are stupid are fooling themselves. Several years ago they saw the threat of a moderate Republican Jon Huntsman candidacy and appear to have nakedly (and probably successfully) attempted to mitigate it by hiring him to be our ambassador to China - a job which he took. They saw his rising star, saw how he could cut into Obama's appeal to swing voters and they just plain see that, if he manages to somehow eek out the GOP nomination, they've got a really damn tough fight on their hands. They also saw the writing on the wall of rising blind partisan tribalism in American politics - especially on the right. Having worked for the Obama administration makes him an enemy to knee-jerk tribal Republicans, and makes the already narrow path to the presidency for a moderate Republican that much less likely. ABC News is reporting that this is the buzz among "top democrats" as well: Top Democrats in and outside the White...

05 May 2011

Bravo to the Project on Government Oversight for catching this. Open government groups have been frustrated with the Obama administration, after promising campaign rhetoric and some early moves by the President that he deserves praise for led to a plateau. Some of this may be explained with some comments that the woman he had in charge of his "Open Government Directive" made recently. From the Project on Open Government: I thought "open government" was such a simple concept—that the "what" and the "why" were not really complicated. We want to see what the government is doing so that we can make sure it is doing it well and doing it for the right reasons. Boy was I wrong. In fact, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is quite a different perception not only of what open government means, but also of why we want it and how to get it. And it looks like at least some of the people on the inside who have been calling the shots have an e...

23 Apr 2011

One of the major arguments of the health care bill Obama and the democrats pushed through was how it was going to push healthcare costs down. I doubted this would materialize as much as they said it would (along with a lot of people) and surprise surprise... President Obama is already undercutting portions of the health care reforms that would work to cut costs. Bravo to Tim, at Tim's Cogitorium, for catching this: The Obama administration announced it was kicking in $6.7 billion to head off cuts to Medicare Advantage—cuts put in place by Obamacare. These were some of the cuts put in place to reduce the excessive spending on health care.  They were a key part of the package Democrats fought tooth and nail to get passed last year.  They are essential for the new health care reform bill to achieve its projected savings.  And now they are flip-flopping on them. Are you as shocked as I am, that Obama would make such a giant flip-flop like this? ...

23 Apr 2011

I've been writing about this for a while now, but the pattern of behavior continues to get more and more clear. From a recent post of mine at WNYC's It's a Free Country: His supporters want to explain away his hesitation to act decisively as him being deliberative. This just doesn't hold up when you see that the way Obama goes about things has been the same on every major issue since he's taken office. Namely that he'll wait and see, do some prodding behind the scenes, then wait and see some more... and when other people have gotten close to making a deal, he jumps in and helps push it over the line. Obama's tack is a near mirror opposite of George W. Bush, given his penchant for constantly throwing the full weight of the White House behind his legislative agenda. I was among those that thought President Bush went too far in that respect, but going as far as Obama has in the opposite direction has its downsides as well. While it may seem b...

23 Apr 2011

Just so you know - Jack is reporting from a vacation in Scotland. - SK Things are not always what they appear to be.  Here in Scotland there is scant news of the American crisis around the deficit.  It turns out that the UK has its own budget and debt difficulties.  The one advantage of being in Scotland is to pause and think about the American political crisis without all the Washington or media 7/24 spin. Upon reflection, I had hoped that the Democratic and GOP deficit reduction plans would be much more than what they appear to be.  Silly me. The GOP “Paul Ryan” plan is bold (at least a little bit) but shameful.  It slashes discretionary spending and tackles Medicare/Medicaid.  For no apparently good reason, however, it heaps the costs of tax breaks for the wealthy upon the middle class.  It is doubly shameful because it will drive the middle class and the most vulnerable to skimp on medical care because they might not be able to afford i...

22 Apr 2011

Besides the obvious scaring off of sane people, some polling shows there is a serious danger even inside of the GOP's own tent that could seriously hinder their chances against Obama. From The Daily Beast: ...there are clear signs that some Republicans take birtherism very seriously indeed. In the PPP poll, 23 percent of Republican voters said they wouldn’t support a candidate “who stated clearly that Obama was born in the U.S.” Thirty-nine percent weren’t sure if they would. And Donald Trump’s vocal birtherism has clearly rocketed him to the forefront of the Republican pack. “Among the hardcore birthers, Trump leads with 37 percent, almost three times as much support as anyone else,” another PPP survey found.For even moderately serious conservatives, this is a problem, because they know it makes their movement look nuts. “Within our party, we’ve got to be very careful about allowing these people who are the birthers and the 9/11-deniers to get ...

20 Apr 2011

Several major news outlets are reporting that David Cameron's Britain has decided to send some limited forces into Libya to train rebel forces and to help protect humanitarian efforts. Other reports have said that Cameron has already had communications equipment and things like body armor sent to help the rebels in their efforts. I've talked a lot about this since this conflict began. Just about everything I've hoped to see from Obama, in response to the events in Libya, I've seen from Cameron or France's Sarkozy. Obama taking a back seat in this conflict is much better than going in guns blazing and alone, or unilaterally sending in the Marines, half cocked. But, putting our money where our collective mouths are on promoting Democracy requires we help the people of Libya free themselves from tyranny. What needs to be done is getting done, albeit slower than would be more effective as Britain goes through the proper NATO and UN channels. Maybe...

17 Apr 2011

Even if a majority of this post didn't say almost exactly the same thing that I said in a post a few months ago, this would still be one of the best posts I read all week. It goes into more about his foreign policy, which I'm not as versed in, but his analysis of Obama's political stance is the same as mine has been since last year - that Obama is a liberal, although by no means a left winger, and a pragmatic minded compromiser, as opposed to a unbending ideologue. Here are some good examples of this from tha article: Pragmatism may sound cheap and valueless, but compared to inaction in the face of urgent issues it's not so bad. Many of Obama's policy choices are compromises. Some are between him and the right, some are between him and the hawks in his administration, some are between him and our European allies, some are between him and the left and no doubt many are between him and his conscience or his own aspirations. This makes idealists...