Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

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Unions Protected in Obamacare. Others? Not so much...

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:33 pm

In the continuing debate over what, exactly, the Obamacare law does to help (certain) people:

The Seattle Times (9/14, Gates) reports, "Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Jim Albaugh told employees in an internal e-mail Monday that 'beginning in 2011, nonunion employees will be asked to pay a greater share of their health care costs.'" Albaugh also noted costs for union members would be "discussed" when new contracts are due. "The announcement ensures that health-plan costs will be a contentious issue in Boeing's separate contract talks in 2012 with the International Association of Machinists (IAM) and with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA)."


http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/b ... lth14.html

So this amounts to evidence that Obama lied when he said he was going to get rid of the special interests in DC. The reality we have now uncovered is that he really only meant to replace the special interests of the former POTUS with his own special interests... in this case, unions.

Having once worked for Boeing, and maintaing a lot of friends there who are not part of the unions, the union workers have ALWAYS paid less than the salaried workers for their health care. Hence, when you look at it from the entire perspective of the corporation, the skilled workers (i.e. those who went to college and got a degree) have always been subsidizing the fat health care plans received by those who decided college was too hard. And now, they will subsidize them even more.

Albaugh said the Health Care Reform Law passed earlier this year will add to the company's costs over the next several years. He added that the law "in 2018, could subject Boeing to a substantial tax on health care plans exceeding a certain threshold."


I call that "trickle down taxation." And proponents of the Obamacare prescription will try to say that "those taxes only apply to the real Cadillac health insurance programs." But, of course, what defines a program as "Cadillac" is highly subjective. Best for them just to stick to the rhetoric, and not address the real details... because they will find it it is not so much a Cadillac, as it is a Chevy.

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Re: Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Thu Sep 16, 2010 2:46 pm

Nation:

The Democrats are now sending the message very clearly. They are scared and will resort to “rebranding” to try and help their chances. But what is truly interesting are the implications of their re-branding:

http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/ ... ion-season

(And if you don’t want to believe FOX, just go look at the Dems’ own website and note their tag line at the top)

http://www.democrats.org/

So all during the Obama campaign, one of his catchy slogans beyond the one-word “HOPE” and “CHANGE” monikers was: “Change we can believe in.”

And now we see the Dems change (?) to: “Change that matters”

The message is clear: They realize that no one believes in them (or their brand of change) anymore. And so they must now resort to emphatic statements of authority. Even if you no longer believe in their change, they are in charge, and it is because they are smarter than you, and therefore they are telling you that the change they have in mind is all that matters. Cuz they say so.

Unfortunately, did anyone bother to tell the economy? Because their change is certainly not mattering to the economy!
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Blame Bush? How About Blame Kennedy!

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:07 pm

I know the favorite sport of Democrats is to blame Bush for everything...and the lead Dem cheerleader (Obama) does it better than anyone. But let's take a look at someone else to blame, specifically about health care reform that could have happened, but didn't.

Que Jimmy Carter!

Carter Blames Kennedy For No Health Care Reform

OMG!!!! What will Obama do now?????? I KNOW! BLAME BUSH! ;)
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Re: Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

Postby murnut » Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:24 am

Los Angeles Comptroller Discloses $111 Million in Stimulus Creates 55 Jobs, Yet Defends the Program

Wendy Greuel, City Controller of Los Angeles, tells the Huffington Post that an Audit of Federal Stimulus Funds in Los Angeles Shows $111 Million in ARRA Grants Has Only Created 55 Jobs

I released two very disappointing audits today of how the City of Los Angeles has used American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. The audits looked at the how the two departments that have received the largest amount of ARRA funding so far - the Department of Transportation (LADOT) and the Department of Public Works (DPW) - have used those funds and how many jobs were created. Los Angeles has become the largest City in America to conduct an audit of how ARRA funds have been expended.

DPW has received $70.65 million and created or retained 45.46 jobs, though they are expected to create 238 jobs overall (the fraction of a job created or retained correlates to the number of actual hours works). LADOT has been awarded $40.8 million and created or retained 9 jobs, though they are expected to create 26 jobs overall. Overall, the Departments have received $111 million in federal stimulus funds out of the $594 million the City has been awarded so far and created or retained 54.46 jobs.

I'm disappointed that we've only created or retained 55 jobs after receiving $111 million in ARRA funds. With our local unemployment rate over 12% we need to do a better job cutting the red tape and putting Angelenos back to work.


An Audit of ARRA Please?

Wendy Greuel goes on to defend president Obama and makes a claim "3.3 million jobs nationwide that have been saved or created because of ARRA".

This is one of those stories likely to go viral, not for her misguided defense of Obama, but rather the silliness of the situation in LA. However, the truth of the matter is stimulus efforts don't create any lasting jobs anywhere, and the claim "3.3 million jobs were saved or created because of ARRA" is simply preposterous.

As soon as the stimulus is cutoff every job "saved" will vanish into thin air, not to mention that the number 3.3 million is absurd from the start, even on a temporary basis.

Can I have a legitimate accounting of "ARRA" please? I bet the findings would be as bad as the City Controller of Los Angeles discovered.

On second thought, please cancel that audit request. It will be impossible to get anything close to a legitimate audit.

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Re: Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:52 am

Holy crap. Good find, Mur. And while I live in Orange County, not LA County, that hits too close to home! :shock:

So now let's do some very simple apportionment mathematics on these numbers: $111 Million and 55 jobs.

Let's be generous and give somewhat of a benefit of the doubt, and let's say this grant was intended to "save/create" jobs for a minimum period of 3 years. That boils down to $37 Million per year. Divide that up over 55 people whose jobs were created/saved, and what do we get?

$672,727.00 per person per year.

Now before someone yells at me: Yes, I fully realize that not all this money can realistically go to someone's salary. For example, for most jobs it is not just the people labor, but also the purchase of materials to do a job. For example, there is no doubt LADOT does road repair work. So they need to buy concrete, asphault, tools, etc. But even if you assume those material cost are rolled into that $672K number above, it just does not work out, especially if you assign a generous average salary for a skilled LADOT worker of (say) $80,000/year. That leaves a good $592,000 per year....for materials??????? I think not.

Someone is skimming. Given how many people were up in arms about Wall Street firms giving out bonuses with GOV money, I just can't help but wonder if some of this money was used to give out some pretty hefty bonuses to LA GOV workers in LADOT and DPW?

This is absolute, unequivocal proof that GOV can NEVER EVER be as efficient as the private sector in spending money to get things done. I really WOULD like a detailed accounting of where every dollar of that money went. But what do you want to bet they do not, or can not, track it?

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Pelosi the Joke

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:33 am

BREAKING NEWS!!!!

Democrats have finally found something they won't blame on Bush:

"What I believe the American people deserve is a tax cut for the middle class," Pelosi said during her weekly press briefing. "And without getting into procedure and timing and process, what we're going to do is to say at the end of the day, the extension of the Obama middle-income tax cuts will take place, and that's what I have to say on the subject."


Yes, they are so honest and open, that Nancy has decided she will not blame Bush for those terrible tax cuts that did nothing to help the economy after 9/11. She is more than happy to give all that "blame" to Obama.

Beam me up, Scotty. They are so f---- desperate to get votes that they stoop to this? REALLY?

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Re: Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:00 pm

So let us take some time to not only investigate incomplete propaganda about a non-health related issue that was snuck into the health care law, but let us also look at the dishonest and disingenuous ways that our politicians (yes, of BOTH flavors) craft new laws:

First, let us look at the text of a viral email going around about one of the "stealth provisions":

Propaganda Email wrote:Did you know that if you sell your house after 2012 you will pay a 3.8% sales tax on it?

That's $3,800 on a $100,000 home etc.

When did this happen? It's in the healthcare bill. Just thought you should know.

SALES TAX TO GO INTO EFFECT 2013 (Part of HC Bill)

REAL ESTATE SALES TAX

So, this is "change you can believe in"?

Under the new health care bill - did you know that all real estate transactions will be subject to a 3.8% Sales Tax? The bulk of these new taxes don't kick in until 2013 (presumably after obama's re-election). You can thank Nancy, Harry and Barack and your local Democrat Congressman for this one. If you sell your $400,000 home, there will be a $15,200 tax. This bill is set to screw the retiring generation who often downsize their homes. Is this Hope & Change great or what? Does this stuff makes your November and 2012 votes more important?

Oh, you weren't aware this was in the obamacare bill? Guess what, you aren't alone. There are more than a few members of Congress that aren't aware of it either (result of clandestine midnight voting for huge bills they've never read). AND, there are a few other surprises lurking.


OK, so that's the hype and propaganda. And as usual, it is partially true, but does not tell the whole story. When you go to Politifact, you can read:

Politifact wrote:Q: Does the new health care law impose a 3.8 percent tax on profits from selling your home?

A: No, with very few exceptions. The first $250,000 in profit from the sale of a personal residence won’t be taxed, or the first $500,000 in the case of a married couple. The tax falls on relatively few — those with high incomes from other sources.


So it is true, but the propaganda email left out some important points. Points that some would say make it acceptable, but I would not go that far. I just say it is less burdensome than the propaganda says it is. But look further in the Politifact article and you will see what I wish to point out:

Politifact wrote:We can understand how this misconception got started. The law itself is couched in highly technical language that only a qualified tax expert can fully grasp. (This provision begins on page 33 of the reconciliation bill that was passed and signed into law.) And it does say the tax falls on "net gain … attributable to the disposition of property." That would include the sale of a home. But the bill also says the tax falls only on that portion of any gain that is "taken into account in computing taxable income" under the existing tax code. And the fact is, the first $250,000 in profit on the sale of a primary residence (or $500,000 in the case of a married couple) is excluded from taxable income already. (That exclusion doesn’t apply to vacation homes or rental properties.)


So before I address the underhanded ways our politicians craft the verbiage of laws, let us just look at the burden of this tax:

1) It has NOTHING TO DO WITH health care (except taxing SOME people even more to try and pay for it).
2) It is targeting a market that is already on life support, and which has been the primary cause of our current recession, and this market shows no real signs of recovery, with a very real risk of further home devaluations.
3) This tax is in addition to the existing capital gains taxes one already pays on proceeds from a home sale (double dipping).
4) Since the exclusion is not laid out in this law, but rather indirectly related via another law, all one has to do is change the exclusion in the other (capital gains) law, and one can get away with a second "stealth tax". Understand what I just said: Politicians can come along after 2013 (or even before) and decide to take away the exclusion dollar amount for capital gains on home sales. And at that point, without many people realizing it, it would cause ALL home sales to be subject to this 3.8% tax on ALL net gains....no exclusion allowed.

But now pay attention to the part I underlined in the Politifact passage from above. This is the part that makes me want to revolt against out system and the politicians who game it. If a reasonable person, with a reasonable level of literacy, cannot plainly, easily, and CORRECTLY interpret the words of a law, but must, instead, hire someone and pay them money to tell them what the law really means to them... then is this not enough evidence that we have a "ruling elite class" who is actively trying to keep us from understanding what they are doing to us?"

Answer: Of course this is such evidence. And it is, definitely, the stuff that revolutions are made of. And it makes my blood boil!!! :evil:

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This pretty much says it all...

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:48 pm

Which city has the highest median income?

Washington, D.C.'s workers enjoy the highest salaries of any major U.S. city., with a median household income of $85,198.

snip

While D.C.'s income was essentially flat from 2008 to 2009, nearly every other major metro area suffered a drop in income.


But I am sure someone will come up with some apologetics to claim that this is in no way indicative that government takes too much of taxpayer's money...

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Midterm Elections: Time to CHANGE the rhetoric!

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:28 am

Now this is both highly odd, and extremely funny (from my POV):

Local Democrats' Campaign Ad Strategy: BLAME OBAMA!

And longtime Texas Democrat Chet Edwards, also up for reelection to the House, ran an ad in which the announcer intones, "When President Obama and Nancy Pelosi pressured Chet Edwards, Chet stood up to them and voted no against their trillion dollar health care bill, and no to Cap and Trade."


Sounds like some of these Dems are getting pretty desperate...time to throw OBAMA under the bus! :lol: Good to see that the CHANGE rhetoric is still in the air.

It has now been almost two years since the hype surrounding Obama whisked him into the power of a job he had no training for, no experience in, and was, flat out, not ready for. Ryan started this thread to keep an eye on Obama and his power mongers (Pelosi & Reid). I can think of no better time than now to really reflect...and kick this thread into high gear....

So be it,
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Midterm Reflections - So Who Was Right?

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:51 am

It is time to call out the roll call....or call out names, as it were.

Ryan & AD:

The debates, arguments, sniping, and sometimes fun of this thread, and its predecessor thread which ended with Obama getting elected, are all there to document how we got here. But it seems BOTH of you have been awfully silent as Obama's term unfolded. While there were others, you two were the biggest cheerleaders for Obama in these two threads.

Forgive me for giving the appearance of being smug or gloating... but it seems pretty clear that I was right, and you were wrong. Obama was clearly the wrong guy, and much of what I warned would happen has come to pass. People on the left loved to point out how inexperienced Palin was (who was only the Veep candidate). But she had executive experience, while Obama had none. Meanwhile, when people like me pointed out the odd nature of the focus on Palin, due to Obama's lack of experience, no one here would even ADMIT to me that it was at least as troublesome as Palins, if not moreso. You simply ignored the hyporisy of the whole affair, and kept defending the guy you were going to, and I assume did, vote for. The evidence of Obama's Senate term and his prior work in Illinois government was clear: He was NOT a person to EVER reach across the aisle. But in his campaign he SAID he was that guy, and gosh darned it, he gave such good speech, that it would be silly not to believe him....even if the FACTS from his past history said differently. Sure enough, he did NOT reach across the aisle.

Now, I am sure you will want to come back and do the typical political thing: Blame the other party. Hell, it is what the guy you voted for does best! He is a one-trick, "Blame Bush" pony. Like most people on the far left, personal responsibility is not his strong suit. And yes, you will likely dredge-up the DEM talking mantra of how the Republicans are "the party of no." But all you need to do is go back and look at JUST HOW MANY Republican-suggested amendments to Obama/Pelosi/Reid legislation ever even saw the light of day (i.e. put to a vote on the floor) in Pelosi's House. The facts will show just WHO was "the party of no".

Now, I don't really expect either of you to come forward and admit that he wasn't the right guy to vote for, or even admit that he hasn't NEAR lived up to even a small fraction of the hype of his campaign. But the facts are pretty clear: Obama's first two years cannot reasonably be considered even a "50% success" judged by many factors. And the most important factor is what a plurality of We The People seem to think about his work and policies.

And to restate my real concern for America: I really do not think the Repubs are going to be much better, EVEN IF they capture back both the House and Senate. The best I think we can hope for is that their power neutralizes Obama from trying to do anything more harmful than what he has already done. A government that does NOTHING has at least the benefit of not finding new and novel ways to spend more of our money that they do not yet have in their greedy little hands.

It is halftime, folks, and your team is down, looking tired, and just about out of it.
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Re: Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

Postby Access Denied » Fri Oct 08, 2010 6:51 am

Ray, allow me to refresh your memory…

Access Denied on Sat Jun 28, 2008 6:43 pm wrote:Will he [Obama] be able to pay for ANY of his broad sweeping social programs? No.

Will he be able end to the war in Iraq? Not right away.

Will he be able to stop Global Warming? What global warming?

Will he be able to significantly raise taxes? Depends on how many Republicans get elected to Congress in lieu of a viable Republican presidential candidate. [hint]

Will he be able to change Washington in four years? Not much if at all.

Will he be able to change anything for the better? Maybe.

Will McCain be able to change anything for the better? Business as usual.

Does McCain represent me as a conservative? No.

You were saying?
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Re: Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:42 pm

Access Denied wrote:
Access Denied on Sat Jun 28, 2008 6:43 pm wrote:Will he [Obama] be able to pay for ANY of his broad sweeping social programs? No.

Will he be able end to the war in Iraq? Not right away.

Will he be able to stop Global Warming? What global warming?

Will he be able to significantly raise taxes? Depends on how many Republicans get elected to Congress in lieu of a viable Republican presidential candidate. [hint]

Will he be able to change Washington in four years? Not much if at all.

Will he be able to change anything for the better? Maybe.

Will McCain be able to change anything for the better? Business as usual.

Does McCain represent me as a conservative? No.

You were saying?


Sure, yeah, I remember that. But I also remember plenty of rhetoric from you that pretty much amounted to your belief he was the right guy for the job. Still believe that? Because clearly he was not, and is not.

This is what I love:

Obama wrote:"Right here in Illinois, in this Senate race, two groups funded and advised by Karl Rove have outspent the Democratic Party two to one in an attempt to beat Alexi -- two to one. Funded and advised by Karl Rove. Just this week, we learned that one of the largest groups paying for these ads regularly takes in money from foreign sources. So the question for the people of Illinois is, are you going to let special interests from Wall Street and Washington and maybe places beyond our shores come to this state and tell us who our senator should be? That's not just a threat to Democrats. That's a threat to our democracy."

-- President Obama at a campaign event in Chicago, Oct. 7, 2010.


1) Not only is he still campaigning against Bush, but now also an ex-chief of staff. This is what he is doing with his party's power base in jeapordy???
2) On the subject of "secret funds"... I guess it doesn't matter that we still have absolutely NO idea who funded Obama's pricey education? That and plenty of other secrets about Obama's past that he, and his handlers, have conveniently kept from us...and that the liberal news media never raised issues about.

As I said all along, he's just another pol, and not a terribly bright one. Sure, he can deliver a good speech, as long as there is a teleprompter. But that does not a leader make.
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Re: Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:39 am

This is Obama's biggest failure as leader of this country:



And it is also why I refuse to repsect Obama when he chooses non-citizens over citizens.

This president, more than any other, has earned my disrespect.
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Re: Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:17 am

As we now begin to hear in the news just how much more money Fannie and Freddie are going to require to keep them propped-up, let us make no mistake who really brought us here. Note: This was clearly NOT Bush's fault. You will see whose fault it was in the video...


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Re: Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

Postby murnut » Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:26 pm

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/barach ... -president



Barack Obama: The Oligarch's PresidentSubmitted by williambanzai7 on 10/27/2010 12:12 -0500



I just read an excellent editorial comment written by Charles Ferguson, the director of "Inside Job", Barack Obama: The Oligarch's President. He does a superb job of encapsulating all that has gone terribly wrong with the Obama Presidency vis-a-vis Wall Street.

I am constantly asked why my attitude about President Obama changed 180 degrees. Instead of answering that question myself, I can now hand out and forward this piece, at least until Election Day.

Here are a few choice quotes:

"When I first decided to make a documentary about the financial crisis, in late 2008, my biggest question was how to handle Barack Obama. Alas, the answer rapidly became all too clear, as my film "Inside Job" shows in painful detail."

"When Barack Obama was elected, he had an unprecedented opportunity to shape American history by bringing the country's new financial oligarchy under control. Elected on a platform of change and renewal by a nation in crisis and with strong majorities in both houses of Congress, his election celebrated throughout the world, Obama could have done great things. Instead, he gave us more of the same. America will be paying for his decision for a very long time."

"And now, nearly two years later, the Obama administration has established a clear record. Beginning almost immediately, the president consistently opposed any effort to control financial industry compensation -- even for firms receiving federal aid, as most were in 2009. Then came a long period of total inaction, followed by the toothless Wall Street reform bill passed this summer and the appointment of a former Fannie Mae lobbyist, Tom Donilon, as the new national security advisor. There was no action on the foreclosure crisis and no serious attempt to investigate the causes of the crisis. The SEC has brought only a handful of civil cases ending in trivial fines, with neither firms nor individuals required to admit any wrongdoing.

Most tellingly, there has not been a single criminal prosecution of any firm or any individual senior financial executive -- literally zero -- and, of course, no appointment of a special prosecutor. While we can debate the extent to which fraud caused the crisis, and precisely how much fraud was committed, the answer is clearly not zero. We already know that Lehman and other firms used fake accounting to hide liabilities and inflate assets; that lenders and securitizers frequently knew that the loans they sold and packaged were fraudulent or defective; and, of course, we also now know that Goldman Sachs and other investment banks sold securities they knew to be defective (they were often sold to pension funds for low-paid government employees, by the way) -- and that they designed many of these securities so that they could profit by betting against them after they were sold. Stunningly, this last practice was not ipso facto illegal; but as a practical matter, it’s pretty hard to do if you’re telling the truth. Yet nobody has been prosecuted, and only a very few individuals have even been sued in civil cases.

It is, in short, overwhelmingly clear that President Obama and his administration decided to side with the oligarchs -- or at least not to challenge them."



I don't think anyone could have said it any better. He makes other perceptive political observations regarding our two party duopoly and how it perpetuates this sorry state of affairs.

Here is a link to the full piece as published on Salon.com:
http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_ ... all_street

(SNIP)

Happy Election Day Mr. President

WB7

ADDENDUM:

I am reading everyone's comments and feel inspired to make a point that I feel very strongly about.

It is very easy for us all to get lured into a discussion about what could have/should have been done, who should have been convicted, the inequity of rewarding common thieves etc.

Here is what I think is the most important point: These people, I mean the Wall Street financiers and their Washington puppets, have done very serious damage to our country.

We are more vulnerable than we have ever been. We are competing with serious rivals who are playing for keeps. Instead of re-channeling ourselves as a nation and making the necessary changes and recalibrations for the benefit of future generations, we have lined the pockets of mortgage pimps, quantitative card sharpers and two bit structured finance artists.

I consider this to be an unforgivable offense.

We obsess about terrorists, as we should, but shouldn't we also devote equal attention to those who continue to commit acts of financial terrorism against our economic homeland?

This is the point that needs to be driven over the backfield fence.

WB7

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