Katrina in slow motion - Obama's photo op
A comment of a friend just made on Facebook:
Speaking truth to old-stream media bias.
A comment of a friend just made on Facebook:
I just read this from one of my Facebook contacts, a professor at CMU...
Ha ha ha, what a jerk when the tables are turned...
Obama is so inept, it is beyond compare. Bush was an order of magnitude better.
Do something, baby, do something: That's the cry from Obama supporters and opponents alike as the oil keeps gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.
The political firestorm kept growing yesterday, with supporter James Carville ranting that the administraion has been "lackadaisical" and "naive" in its response to the disaster. He urged it to rapidly "move to Plan B."
But that suggests there was ever a Plan A.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is so frustrated with the lack of response to his plan to stop the slick with sand barriers that yesterday he called on the White House and BP to either "stop the oil spill or get out of the way."
"Plug the damn hole," President Obama reportedly barked at staffers in frustration after the explosion. That's right up there with "Heckuva job, Brownie" in terms of clueless statements uttered by presidents in the midst of nationally televised disasters.
Meanwhile, White House regret over Obama's politically expedient embrace of the "Drill, baby, drill" trope is growing faster than the vast oil slick.
Back on March 31, Obama announced -- to the horror of many of his supporters -- that he was expanding offshore drilling along the coastlines of the south and mid-Atlantic and in the Gulf of Mexico. Worse, he painted a (too) rosy scenario of offshore drilling being eminently safe.
True, it is rare that a full-blown environmental catastrophe results from an offshore oil well. But it can happen -- and a Democratic president who's embracing drilling ought to know the risks, and be prepared for the worst. But rather than planning for a spill, Obama parroted McCain-Palin talking points about how safe offshore drilling is.
Turns out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration back in 1994 drafted plans for responding to a major Gulf oil spill, a response called "In-Situ Burn."
Ron Gourget, a former federal oil-spill-response coordinator and one author of the draft, told the Times of London: "The whole reason the plan was created was so that we could pull the trigger right away." The idea was to use barriers called "fire booms" to collect and contain the spill at sea -- then burn it off. He believes this could have captured 95 percent of the oil from this spill.
But at the time of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the federal government didn't have a single fire boom on hand. Nor is there any evidence that the government required BP to have any clear plan to deal with a massive spill. How is this OK?
The administration's chief response so far was to send out Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to do his best impersonation of a totalitarian thug, proclaiming that the government would "have its boot on the throat of BP."
(Fun fact: While in the Senate, Salazar backed an increase in oil and gas leases in the Gulf Coast region by promoting and voting for the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006.)
Since the "blame BP" strategy isn't working, Obama will today announce tougher safety requirements and more rigorous inspections for offshore drilling operations. Sounds nice -- except the problem isn't a lack of safety requirements, it's that the experts at the US Minerals Management Service ignored the existing requirements.
In fact, it was under Salazar's reign that the MMS approved BP's drilling without getting the permits required by law for drilling that might harm endangered species. The agency routinely overruled warnings regarding the safety and environmental impact of drilling proposals in the Gulf.
None of this was a secret.
It also shouldn't be a secret that no matter how many inspections and safety requirements you have, you can't ever completely prevent disasters like this one. If you're going to permit offshore drilling, be prepared to respond to a spill.
If he promised us anything, Obama promised us competence. Instead, we've gotten the Keystone Cops.
Obama's schedule of late reads like a self-indulgent narcissist's dream come true:
That's leadership for you!
Gee, ya think?
The American public is losing its patience with President Obama over his handling of the Gulf Coast oil spill.
In the five weeks since an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig sent hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, Obama had largely escaped political fallout. But as BP attempts yet again to seal the leak, a new USA Today/Gallup Poll finds a majority of Americans unhappy with Obama's handling of the spill. According to the poll, 53 percent rate Obama's handling "poor" or "very poor"; 43 percent believe Obama is doing a good job.
It's time to impeach Obama!
the White House lawyer behind the Sestak stonewall: Bob Bauer — a familiar figure if you've been reading this blog closely. He's the hubby of former White House Fox-basher-in-chief Anita Dunn and a veteran Democrat legal fixer.
In related news, here's a new video contrasting Sestak's accusations with Team Obama's blubbering denials:
Look who's behind the White House/Sestak stonewall
by Michelle Malkin
After three months of zipped lips and feigned ignorance, the Obama White House is finally taking real heat over Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak's consistent claims that the administration offered him a job to drop his Senate bid. Now it's time to redirect the spotlight where it belongs: on the top counsel behind the Washington stonewall, Bob "The Silencer" Bauer.
On Sunday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs glibly asserted that "lawyers in the White House and others have looked into conversations that were had with Congressman Sestak. And nothing inappropriate happened." With whom were these conversations had? Gibbs won't say. Neither will Attorney General Eric Holder, who dismissed "hypotheticals" when questioned about Sestak's allegations last week on Capitol Hill by GOP Rep. Darrell Issa of California. Holder is simply taking his cue from the commander-in-chief's personal lawyer and Democratic Party legal boss.
You see, on March 10, Issa also sent a letter to Bauer, the White House counsel to the president, requesting specifics: Did White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel contact Sestak? Did White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina (whom another Democrat, U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff, has accused of offering a cabinet position in exchange for his withdrawal)? How about the White House Office of Political Affairs? Any other individuals? What position(s) was/were offered in exchange for Sestak's withdrawal? And what, if any, steps did Bauer take to investigate possible criminal activity?
Bauer's answers? Zip. Nada. Zilch. While the veteran attorney ducked under a table with the president, Gibbs stalled publicly as long as he could — deferring inquiries about the allegations one week by claiming he had been "on the road" and had "not had a chance to delve into this," and then admitting the next week that he had "not made any progress on that," refusing the week after that to deny or admit the scheme, and then urging reporters to drop it because "whatever happened is in the past."
But the laws governing such public corruption are still on the books. And unlike Gibbs, the U.S. code governing bribery, graft and conflicts of interest is rather straightforward: "Whoever solicits or receives … any … thing of value, in consideration of the promise of support or use of influence in obtaining for any person any appointive office or place under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both."
Bauer is intimately familiar with electoral law, Barack Obama, ethics violations and government job-trading allegations. And he's an old hand at keeping critics and inquisitors at bay.
A partner at the prestigious law firm Perkins Coie, Bauer served as counsel to the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Obama for America. He also served as legal counsel to the George Soros-funded 527 organization America Coming Together during the 2004 campaign. That get-out-the-vote outfit, helmed by Patrick Gaspard (the former Service Employees International Union heavy turned Obama domestic policy chief), employed convicted felons as canvassers and committed campaign finance violations that led to a $775,000 fine by the Federal Election Commission under Bauer's watch.
As I've reported previously, it was Bauer who lobbied the Justice Department unsuccessfully in 2008 to pursue a criminal probe ofAmerican Issues Project (AIP), an independent group that sought to run an ad spotlighting Obama's ties to Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. It was Bauer who attempted to sic the Justice Department on AIP funder Harold Simmons and who sought his prosecution for funding the ad. And it was Bauer who tried to bully television stations across the country to compel them to pull the spot. All on Obama's behalf.
More significantly, Bauer has served as Obama's personal attorney, navigating the corrupted waters of former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich's pay-for-play scandals in Illinois. Bauer accompaniedObama to an interview with federal investigators in Chicago. And he's got his hands full fighting Blago's motion to subpoena Obama in the Senate-seat-for-sale trial — a subpoena that included references to a secret phone call between Obama and Blagojevich; an allegation that Emanuel floated his own suggested replacement for Obama's seat; an allegation that Obama told a "certain labor union official" that he would support (now-White House senior adviser) Valerie Jarrett to fill his old seat; and a bombshell allegation that Obama might have lied about conversations with convicted briber and fraudster Tony Rezko.
With not one, not two, but three Democrats (Sestak, Romanoff and Blagojevich) all implicating the agent of Hope and Change in dirty backroom schemes, "Trust Us" ain't gonna cut it. Neither will "Shut Up and Go Away."
What did Bob "The Silencer" Bauer know, when did he know it, and how long does the Most Transparent Administration Ever plan to play dodgeball with the public?
The president walked into a remarkably contentious 80-minute session Tuesday in which GOP senators accused him of duplicity, audacity and unbending partisanship. Lawmakers said the testy exchange left legislative logjams intact, and one GOP leader said nothing is likely to change before the November elections.
"I told him I thought there was a degree of audacity in him even showing up today after what happened with financial regulation," Corker told reporters. "I just wanted him to tell me how, when he wakes up in the morning, comes over to a luncheon like ours today, how does he reconcile that duplicity?"
Four people who were in the room said Obama bristled and defended his administration's handling of negotiations. On the way out, Corker said, Obama approached him and both men repeated their main points.
"I told him there was a tremendous disconnect from his words and the actions of his administration," Corker said.
The senators applauded Obama, who had requested the luncheon, when he entered and left the room. Obama told reporters as he departed, "It was a good, frank discussion about a whole range of issues."
Some Republicans were less kind.
"He needs to take a Valium before he comes in and talks to Republicans," Sen.Pat Roberts, R-Kan., told reporters. "He's pretty thin-skinned."
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said he addressed Obama, "trying to demand overdue action" on the giant oil spill damaging Gulf coast states. He said got "no specific response" except Obama's pledge to have an authoritative White House official call him within hours.
Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Obama's 2008 presidential opponent, said he pressed the president on immigration issues. McCain said he told Obama "we need to secure the border first" before taking other steps. "The president didn't agree," he said.
McCain said he defended his state's pending immigration law, which Obama says could lead to discrimination. It directs police, when questioning people about possible law violations, to ask about their immigration status if there is "reasonable suspicion" they're in the country illegally.
At the luncheon, McCain said, "I pointed out that members of his administration who have not read the law have mischaracterized the law—a very egregious act on their part."
Burton said Obama told McCain that he has read the Arizona law himself, and his concerns remain.
After the luncheon, no one suggested the two parties were even a smidgen closer to resolving differences over energy, immigration and other issues that Obama has said he wants to act on this year.
"We simply have a large difference of opinion that's not likely to be settled until November about taxes, spending and the debt," said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.
If Obama ever goes to Louisiana, they can arrest him for making false promises...
Senate Majority Comes Closer
Another word for it: "YOU LIE!" Yup, the Democrats and Obama consistently lie to the American public.
Do you think our leftist congress will heed this negative example ?
the euro has also undermined the sustainability of the European standard of social welfare, built by left-leaning governments since the end of World War II.
Europeans have boasted about their social model, with its generous vacations and early retirements, its national health care systems and extensive welfare benefits, contrasting it with the comparative harshness of American capitalism.
Europeans have benefited from low military spending, protected by NATO and the American nuclear umbrella. They have also translated higher taxes into a cradle-to-grave safety net. "The Europe that protects" is a slogan of the European Union.
But all over Europe governments with big budgets, falling tax revenues and aging populations are experiencing rising deficits, with more bad news ahead.
With low growth, low birthrates and longer life expectancies, Europe can no longer afford its comfortable lifestyle, at least not without a period of austerity and significant changes. The countries are trying to reassure investors by cutting salaries, raising legal retirement ages, increasing work hours and reducing health benefits and pensions.
"We're now in rescue mode," said Carl Bildt, Sweden's foreign minister. "But we need to transition to the reform mode very soon. The 'reform deficit' is the real problem," he said, pointing to the need for structural change.
The reaction so far to government efforts to cut spending has been pessimism and anger, with an understanding that the current system is unsustainable.
In Athens, Aris Iordanidis, 25, an economics graduate working in a bookstore, resents paying high taxes to finance Greece's bloated state sector and its employees. "They sit there for years drinking coffee and chatting on the telephone and then retire at 50 with nice fat pensions," he said. "As for us, the way things are going we'll have to work until we're 70."
In Rome, Aldo Cimaglia is 52 and teaches photography, and he is deeply pessimistic about his pension. "It's going to go belly-up because no one will be around to fill the pension coffers," he said. "It's not just me; this country has no future."
Changes have now become urgent. Europe's population is aging quickly as birthrates decline. Unemployment has risen as traditional industries have shifted to Asia. And the region lacks competitiveness in world markets.
According to the European Commission, by 2050 the percentage of Europeans older than 65 will nearly double. In the 1950s there were seven workers for every retiree in advanced economies. By 2050, the ratio in the European Union will drop to 1.3 to 1.
"The easy days are over for countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain, but for us, too," said Laurent Cohen-Tanugi, a French lawyer who did a study of Europe in the global economy for the French government. "A lot of Europeans would not like the issue cast in these terms, but that is the storm we're facing. We can no longer afford the old social model, and there is a real need for structural reform."
In Paris, Malka Braniste, 88, lives on the pension of her deceased husband. "I'm worried for the next generations," she said at lunch with her daughter-in-law, Dominique Alcan, 49. "People who don't put money aside won't get anything."
Ms. Alcan expects to have to work longer as a traveling saleswoman. "But I'm afraid I'll never reach the same level of comfort," she said. "I won't be able to do my job at 63; being a saleswoman requires a lot of energy."
Gustave Brun d'Arre, 18, is still in high school. "The only thing we're told is that we will have to pay for the others," he said, sipping a beer at a cafe. The waiter interrupted, discussing plans to alter the French pension system. "It will be a mess," the waiter said. "We'll have to work harder and longer in our jobs."
Figures show the severity of the problem. Gross public social expenditures in the European Union increased from 16 percent of gross domestic product in 1980 to 21 percent in 2005, compared with 15.9 percent in the United States. In France, the figure now is 31 percent, the highest in Europe, with state pensions making up more than 44 percent of the total and health care, 30 percent.
The challenge is particularly daunting in France, which has done less to reduce the state's obligations than some of its neighbors. In Sweden and Switzerland, 7 of 10 people work past 50. In France, only half do. The legal retirement age in France is 60, while Germany recently raised it to 67 for those born after 1963.
With the retirement of the baby boomers, the number of pensioners will rise 47 percent in France between now and 2050, while the number under 60 will remain stagnant. The French call it "du baby boom au papy boom," and the costs, if unchanged, are unsustainable. The French state pension system today is running a deficit of 11 billion euros, or about $13.8 billion; by 2050, it will be 103 billion euros, or $129.5 billion, about 2.6 percent of projected economic output.