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Friday Talking Points [127] -- Letting A Crisis Go To Waste

[ Posted Friday, June 11th, 2010 – 17:28 PDT ]

President Barack Obama's administration was supposed to follow a basic premise: never let a crisis go to waste. That was according to one of his own advisors, shortly after Obama took office. But so far, their track record on doing so has been decidedly mixed.

When Obama took office, there certainly was no shortage of crises awaiting them. To their credit, they moved swiftly on their stimulus package, which stopped the hemorrhaging of jobs to the point where last month was deemed a "bad" month, because only 40,000 private-sector jobs were created (along with 400,000 temporary Census jobs). That's a long way from when he took office, when 750,000 jobs were being lost each and every month -- an 800,000 jobs-per-month difference, in fact. Obama also used this crisis to pass his healthcare reform measure, which all but consumed an entire year for him and for Congress.

But Wall Street is still operating under the same rules they were when our economy almost collapsed. It's been almost a year and a half, and we have not changed the rules of the road for Wall Street (or Main Street, for that matter). On this issue, significant progress has at least been made. The House and Senate have named the membership of the conference committee which will hash out final language between the Wall Street reform bills which have already passed both houses. Obama says he wants a bill to sign by the Fourth of July, which may be optimistic but is certainly possible if the committee doesn't get bogged down. So we may not have all that long to wait before the financial crisis can truly have been said not to have "gone to waste" for Obama and Democrats in Congress.

Now, even though it may not seem like it, the current crisis in the Gulf of Mexico should have come with perfect timing for Obama. Nothing can minimize the disaster the Gulf region is facing, so forgive me for even discussing the political ramifications here. But Barack Obama has (so far) all but wasted this crisis, at least in political terms.

One of Obama's major agenda items -- on a par with healthcare reform -- was setting a new energy policy for this country's future. It has stalled, due in large part to the petulance of Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. Graham co-wrote an energy bill with Democrats, but now won't support the bill he himself helped write, because he's still miffed at how Democrats passed healthcare reform, or that they'd dare bring up immigration reform, or whatever else put his knickers in a twist.

But that's all kind of beside the point. Because whether it take the form of pushing an energy bill, or pushing Congress to immediately change the safety rules for offshore drilling, or to call for the removal of the liability cap, or to completely clean house at all mining and oil regulatory agencies, or to call for a jobs program to clean up the Gulf, or to send FEMA in to help people deal with getting compensated by BP, or any number of other ideas to somehow make sure that this sort of thing never happens again (or, if it does, that we're a lot better prepared to deal with it) -- I simply have not heard President Obama out there strongly making any of these cases.

Compare the speed with which the PATRIOT ACT (sorry for the all-caps "shouting" but it's properly an acronym) sped through Congress under President Bush. I'm not a big fan of this legislation or anything, but Bush used a national crisis to get exactly what he wanted from Congress because at that point he could really have gotten anything he asked for (which he realized). While I'm not comparing the scale of 9/11 to the oil spill here, the country's mood from the start of this has been unified in the same sort of way -- this is a threat to the nation's security (although with a very different definition of "security").

Obama's basic political problem from the Gulf spill is how reactive he looks. It is not (no matter what the mainstream media tells you) that he's not emotional enough or even that the spill is being counted as "Day XX," just as the media did during (as many have pointed out) Jimmy Carter's Iran hostage situation. The real problem for Obama is that he was very slow to adequately react, and that reacting is seemingly all he's done since. I haven't heard a whole lot of proactive comments from Obama, in other words.

So this week, we're turning over the Friday Talking Points part of the program to suggestions as to what Obama could say at this point to show America that he truly is in full control of what is going on, and that BP's ass (as Obama himself put it this week) has been thoroughly and resoundingly kicked.

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

This week has been unusual in one respect, at least for us here at the Friday Talking Points Award Council. This is because three contenders achieved a singular distinction this week -- they were simultaneously both impressive and disappointing.

In recognition of this feat, we're going to strike a special Scales In The Balance medallion for each of these three folks. Like Lady Justice (or Saint Peter, or Fate, if you prefer) measuring your life with the grand scales, when the scales quiver between sinking and rising until they strike an uneasy balance; the SITB award should be seen as neither a good thing nor bad, rather that future acts are required to tip the result to either side of the equation. Because they achieved both good and bad this week, all three will be mentioned both here and in the next award segment.

The first to receive her SITB is Senator Blanche Lincoln. Lincoln won a primary runoff race in Arkansas which many expected her to lose. The polls showed her down a few points heading into the election, but when the votes were counted, she had pulled off an impressively unexpected victory, to remain the Democratic nominee in the fall's race (which she has a good chance of losing to the Republican).

The second to gain the SITB award is Lincoln's challenger, Bill Halter. Halter ran an impressive campaign, and forced Lincoln into the runoff in the first place by his impressive showing in the primary. Much more importantly, though, Halter forced Blanche Lincoln to the left during the campaign itself -- something which would not have happened if Lincoln had faced no serious competitor. Whether this was a campaign ploy or not on Lincoln's part remains to be seen, but the fact is that without Bill Halter's campaign, we simply wouldn't have Lincoln's very tough derivatives reform language in the Wall Street reform bill currently in conference committee. For this impressive achievement, Bill Halter has to be recognized.

And the third SITB award, with special boot-shaped "Waiting For The Other Shoe To Drop clusters, goes to Alvin Greene of South Carolina. Greene managed to win the Democratic nomination for Senate in his state, even though nobody has a clue who the man is or why he was even in the race (see Thursday's column for more details). Various theories have been put forth for how an unemployed man with $114 in the bank could have managed to run a race where the only money or time Greene spent was to write a check for $10,400 when he filed his campaign papers. Our guess here is that, so far, the media has largely been ignoring one possible reason for Greene's stunning victory (with 59 percent of the vote) -- South Carolina has an "open primary" system, and Republican Senator Jim DeMint didn't face a primary fight of his own. Meaning Republicans could have asked for Democratic ballots last Tuesday (legal, under open primary laws), and had themselves a bit of a joke at the Democrats' expense. But this is all rampant speculation on our part, with absolutely nothing to back it up, we have to admit. But for the simple fact of his victory (and his victory margin) alone, Alvin Greene at least deserves to be recognized.

This week, however, the real winner of the coveted Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award is none other than the website Salon.com. Now, technically, Salon is a journalistic entity, but we're going to bend the rules enough to allow them to be named anyway. Since we're changing awards around this week anyway, we'll call it the Most Impressive Democratically-Leaning Entity Of The Week award, just to satisfy the purists.

Salon this week exhibited a gold standard of internet journalism, although it was pointedly snubbed by the mainstream media when it came time for giving credit. Salon has, for about the past year, been doggedly following a story that isn't even a "lefty" type of story, and as a direct result, has gotten the Pentagon to admit error and change their ways and fire some people. Since we are talking about the Pentagon here, this should be big news.

But in all the stories you may have seen over the past week on the subject of gross mismanagement at Arlington National Cemetery, it's as if Salon didn't even exist. The mainstream media stories typically begin "After conducting a review, the Pentagon announced today...."

But when does the Pentagon voluntarily launch a review of anything it does? Answer: not very freakin' often. The Pentagon launched the review in the first place because Salon kept uncovering more and writing more stories about the shameful abuses, shameful lapses, and shameful all-around state of Arlington's records -- which are not even computerized. Slips of paper from the 1860s are stunningly more accurate than anything Arlington's got in place today to tell which exact soldier lies in which exact grave, and what exactly the headstone above those remains says.

This week, the results of the official Pentagon investigation were made public. And some people rightly got fired. And all of it was a direct result in a year-long stellar example of internet journalism -- which (of course) was simply not acknowledged in any way whatsoever by the mainstream media, who prefers to label anyone writing online as "pajama-clad bloggers living in their mothers' basements."

Because this snub was so blatant, and because Salon deserves a lot better for their extensive series of articles which brought all of this to light in the first place, we hereby award them this week's MIDLEOTW award.

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

First, let's quickly run through the disappointment from our three SITB award winners, then we'll get to the main event.

This week, Blanche Lincoln pretty much showed why everyone is so suspicious that she'll return to her corporatist ways now that the primary election is over, by voting (yet again) with the Republicans on an effort by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Drill, Baby, Drill) to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its power to, you know, protect the environment. Luckily, Murkowski's bill failed, but certainly not due to Democrats like Lincoln. This sort of thing is why a lot of people are nervous that Lincoln (even though she's on the conference committee) may abandon her support of the strong derivatives language she herself fought for. In other words, Arkansans (and the rest of us) should look forward to more disappointment from Blanche Lincoln, as her vote this week so blatantly showed.

Bill Halter, while certainly impressive for the reasons stated above, lost. This disappointed a lot of folks on the Left -- and the Unions in particular. Both the Left and the Unions can comfort themselves by saying "well, we made our point," but the point would have been made a lot stronger if Halter had actually won against Lincoln.

Alvin Greene, it was revealed the day after he won his stunning primary upset, was arrested for allegedly showing a young woman pornography without her consent. Worse news, there is (although it has yet to surface) a videotape of this encounter. There is also, as noted earlier, the "other shoe to drop" at some point with Greene. Because of his arrest, he was appointed a public defender. But you only get a public defender if you can prove you have no assets. A few months later, Greene plunked down over ten grand to file his candidacy. A few months after that -- this week -- as he painfully proved he is not ready to be interviewed by the press, Greene stated he only had a little over a hundred bucks in the bank. Something about all of that simply does not add up -- which is why we're all waiting for that second shoe to hit the floor.

But the really disappointing thing this week was the support shown Lincoln by the White House and establishment Democrats (most notably, Bill Clinton). Glenn Greenwald, over at Salon, scathingly exposes (his whole article is well worth reading and highly recommended) this blatant hypocrisy (emphasis in original, but links removed):

What happened in this race also gives the lie to the insufferable excuse we've been hearing for the last 18 months from countless Obama defenders: namely, if the Senate doesn't have 60 votes to pass good legislation, it's not Obama's fault because he has no leverage over these conservative Senators. It was always obvious what an absurd joke that claim was; the very idea of The Impotent, Helpless President, presiding over a vast government and party apparatus, was laughable. But now, in light of Arkansas, nobody should ever be willing to utter that again with a straight face. Back when Lincoln was threatening to filibuster health care if it included a public option, the White House could obviously have said to her: if you don't support a public option, not only will we not support your re-election bid, but we'll support a primary challenger against you. Obama's support for Lincoln did not merely help; it was arguably decisive....

In other words, Obama exploited the trust that African-American voters place in him to tell them something that is just absurd: that Blanche Lincoln, one of the most corporatist members of Congress, works for their interests. Bill Clinton did the same with the Arkansas voters who still trust him. In light of all this, the next time some "conservative" Democrat such as Lincoln plays the Villain Rotation game and opposes some Good, Progressive Bill which the White House pretends to support -- but, gosh darn it, just can't get the 60 votes for -- are we going to have to endure the excuse from Obama loyalists that Obama has no leverage over Democratic members of Congress?

What's going on here couldn't be clearer if the DNC produced neon signs explaining it. Blanche Lincoln and her corporatist/centrist Senate-friends aren't some unfortunate outliers in the Democratic Party. They are the Democratic Party. The outliers are the progressives. The reason the Obama White House did nothing when Lincoln sabotaged the public option isn't because they had no leverage to punish her if she was doing things they disliked. It was because she was doing exactly what the White House and the Party wanted. The same is true when she voted for Bush/Cheney Terrorism policies, serves every corporate interest around, and impedes progressive legislation. Lincoln doesn't prevent the Democratic Party from doing and being what it wishes it could do and be. She enables the Party to do and be exactly what it is, what it wants to be, what serves its interests most. That's why they support her so vigorously and ensured her victory: the Blanche Lincolns of the world are the heart, soul and face of the national Democratic Party.

But the actual Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award goes to the unnamed (cough, cough... Rahm Emanuel... cough) "senior White House official" who responded to Lincoln's win with: "Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members' money down the toilet on a pointless exercise. If even half that total had been well-targeted and applied in key House races across this country, that could have made a real difference in November."

Way to rally the base, heading into a midterm election! Way to fire up the loyal Democratic troops! Nothing like telling groups with lots of political money to spend that they should ask the White House how to spend it before they dare to do so!

For, once again, annoying the snot out of a major portion of the Democratic base, the unnamed senior (cough, cough... Rahm...) White House official (cough... Emanuel... cough, cough) is our Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week.

[Contact the White House on their official contact page, to let them know what you think of their actions.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 127 (6/11/10)

This week, the news media went on a spree of "Day XX," as I mentioned. So, in keeping with mindless media herd mentality, I declare this "Day 7 of Week 127" of the Friday Talking Points.

Sigh.

Last week, of course, the media was obsessing over how Obama spoke about the Gulf. Obama obliged them a bit with his "whose ass to kick" statement midweek. But the real problem is not Obama's level of emotion, it's the actual content of what he's saying. And that content needs to get a whole lot stronger very quickly, or else he's going to be seen as standing on the sidelines of the entire problem.

So this week, rather than discrete talking points, I present a speech I'd like to see Obama give. Pre-empt some silly summer television season for a 20-minute speech from the Oval Office, and speak directly to the nation. If Obama said even a tiny portion of the following, it would do him some real good at this point.

But whatever he says, he simply has got to break out of his reactive passivity, and in some way or another grasp the reins of the situation. No, he can't personally swim down and plug the leak, but he sure could be doing a lot of other things at this point, to float ideas on what to do next.

So, with all due respect, here's what I would like to hear from Obama at this point:

 

I'd like to talk to you tonight about what is going on down in the Gulf of Mexico, and what we are proposing to do about cleaning up the mess. So far, BP's response has been lacking, so tonight I'd like to let everyone know what we think are the appropriate next steps to take here.

I am calling on Congress to remove the corporate welfare of letting oil companies who drill in dangerous places have any sort of 'liability cap' at all. This is government interference in the free market, and it has to stop. Just like any other business, we think that oil exploration companies should have to buy insurance which covers any accident that might happen -- fully. If that means smaller companies won't be able to afford to drill in certain places, well that is just the free market working to protect America's risk. Because imagine if it weren't BP facing this disaster right now, but some tiny oil drilling company instead. That company would quickly go bankrupt, and you know who would be footing the entire bill for cleanup, and the entire cost of the ruined Gulf Coast economy right now? It would be you -- the American taxpayer. I don't think that's right, but that's exactly what people arguing against a cap are saying -- that you should be on the hook if a disaster like this happens to a smaller company. I don't think that's right, and I want Congress to immediately pass a bill removing all such liability caps and put it on my desk by the end of the week. So far, Republicans have been preventing this legislation from even being debated upon, and that is just wrong. I call on Republicans to remove your "holds" from this legislation, so that we can get it passed quickly, for the good of the country.

The next thing I am demanding from Congress is that they, within the next two weeks, pass a bill to revive the Depression Era "Civilian Conservation Corps." This will not cost the taxpayers one red cent, because the entire cost of this operation will be billed directly to BP. The CCC, back in the 1930s, constructed many projects across this land, some of which we still enjoy today. But the 2010 version of the CCC will concentrate solely on the Gulf oil disaster. We will hire thousands of people to clean the beaches, to save wildlife, to deploy booms and barriers, and to help in all other ways to clean up this spill. The first people who will be considered for these jobs are those whose livelihoods have been devastated in the region, as a direct result of BP's disaster. They will be paid a decent wage, and we will train them quickly and deploy them wherever the oil shows up on our beaches. We need to put the Americans whose financial lives have been destroyed back to work cleaning it up, and we need to do it now. These jobs will be temporary, and will end when the disaster ends, when everyone can get back to doing what they were doing before the spill happened. And BP is going to pay the entire cost of doing so.

I also call on Congress to immediately pass a law stating that anyone whose claims BP cannot address in a two-week period will have their claims automatically paid out by FEMA, who will then turn around and charge BP for every penny. The cash flow situation by people and businesses in the region is in crisis, and BP simply has to move faster on these claims. Anyone whose claim is rejected by BP will also be allowed to appeal to FEMA in order to be compensated. If it is found BP wrongly rejected the claim, then FEMA will pay it and charge BP triple what the claim amount was. This should provide a little incentive for them to speed up their claims-processing abilities.

Last week, I was widely quoted saying I was going to find out whose ass to kick in this situation. I now have a list. Dominating this list, of course, is BP. This oil spill is their responsibility to clean up and make right. Other than BP, though, I have a few more keisters to kick. We are going to review all federal regulatory agencies which deal with our natural resources, and we are going to clean house. This will result in rules separating regulators from the industries they regulate. We simply cannot afford to continue the Republican tradition of allowing industries to basically regulate themselves, because we've all seen what that leads to. So we are going to sweep these agencies clean with a new broom of ethics rules that will put an end to the revolving doors between regulators and the businesses they're supposed to be watching over. We've got to stop the foxes from guarding the henhouse of responsibly dealing with America's natural resources.

What astonishes me personally is that here we are, almost two months in to this disaster, and Congress is bickering. Republicans are blocking anything from getting done. Well, you know what? This is a national emergency. It is time to put away partisanship on the issue of what to do about BP, what to do about the Gulf, and what to do about making sure this never happens again.

Contrary to my political opponents' caricature of Democrats, I do not want to "take over" BP with some "big government bailout." Instead, I want the free market to work. But that means when you cause someone else's business or job harm, you have to pay them restitution. That is a core tenet of the free market -- you pay for damage your company has done. BP has done a massive amount of damage, not just to the Gulf's pristine waters, but to the environment, to the financial health of thousands of people, and to our economy. We are going to hold BP responsible for what they have done. This is a company that can afford to do so. The entire cost of this cleanup, with all associated costs, is likely going to be less than just the profit that BP makes in one single average quarter. They are fully capable of bearing the cost of this horrendous accident. And I, for one, am going to dedicate myself to making sure that every thin dime of damage is paid for -- whether to fishermen or other businesses affected by this disaster, to the states affected like Louisiana, or to the federal government for our efforts to clean up their mess.

That's the promise I make to you, the American people, tonight. This will not cost taxpayers a dime. But the federal government is going to move into action, because BP is simply not moving fast enough. And where we do, we are going to bill BP for the full amount, and then not let them rest until the bill is marked "paid in full."

After Congress deals with the immediate emergency legislation I have proposed, they need to get moving on passing a true energy policy for America, to provide green jobs and address our future energy needs. But for right now, we need to pass a few laws to get out of the mess BP has created.

Some day in the future, the Gulf will be cleaned up. Our beaches will go back to being pristine vacation destinations. Fishermen will thrive, catching and selling healthy seafood. The oil stains will be washed away. And I swear to you, America, BP is going to foot the entire bill for getting us there.

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground

Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

-- Chris Weigant

 

32 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [127] -- Letting A Crisis Go To Waste”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    The problem with Obama (well, one of his MANY problems) is, he is spineless.. The entire administration has no "mah-bels"...

    No "mah.bels"...

    First we have the Left Wing Media briefing our DHS Sec and our AG as to how to respond to issues with lawsuits and the like...

    Next we have the MSM telling Obama how to act...

    The press states that Obama doesn't act like he is in charge, the next day Obama does a presser stating how in charge he is..

    The press states that Obama is not getting angry enough, the next day Obama starts swearing it up in interviews, acting like a Chicago thug...

    Tell me honestly?? Is THIS the president you voted for??? Seriously???

    The next thing I am demanding from Congress is that they, within the next two weeks, pass a bill to revive the Depression Era "Civilian Conservation Corps." This will not cost the taxpayers one red cent, because the entire cost of this operation will be billed directly to BP.

    And, when BP doesn't pay and the Obama runs away with it's tail tucked between it's legs, like it has run from North Korea and Iran, guess what???

    Either the US taxpayers will foot the bill or those people simply won't get paid...

    And all along, the Obama administration will be whining and crying, "It's all Bush's fault!! We really really HOPE'ed we could CHANGE."

    How long are ya'all going to sit and make excuses for your Democrats and the President and actually do something about it???

    The very definition of insanity.

    Doing the same thing over and over, voting for the same cowardly and corrupt politicians over and over and HOPE (there's that word again) for a different result...

    Michale.....

  2. [2] 
    akadjian wrote:

    The interesting dilemma that the Democrats face is that their base is populist, yet much of their support comes from big corporate donors.

    The Republican party doesn't face this challenge to the same extent because their big donors are corporate and their populist support has adopted a very corporate agenda.

    So Republicans can please both their base and their corporate donors with one message (except on certain issues like immigration).

    Democrats seem to try to split the difference and that seems to me to be what's happening with BP. Obama is trying to be tough in public while at the same time reassuring BP and the British government that we won't put them out of business.

    I'm with you, Michale, that the whole bloody situation ticks me off. But so far the only solution you've suggested is to put Republicans back in charge.

    Here's what would happen with Republicans in charge. Republicans would use the opportunity to blame the government and push for more deregulation. Then they would write a big check to BP (see John Boehner's recent comment) even though they're supposed to be against bailouts.

    What's even odder than both Democratic and Republican jockeying is watching the corporate media going through contortions trying to cover this mess. They a) want to be tough on someone, b) don't want to offend the corporate world with any type of actual coverage of the event, and c) can't seem to figure out the narrative they want to follow. Or maybe I'm just not watching enough network coverage. But what I've seen so far has been pathetic.

    Cheers
    David

  3. [3] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Ah well. At least the U.S. tied Britain in the World Cup. Horrible goal, if you ask me, but I will take it!

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Indeed!

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    But so far the only solution you've suggested is to put Republicans back in charge.

    Yea, thereby once again, employing the very definition of insanity.

    Doing the same thing again, expecting a different result.. :D

    Michale.....

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    Here's what would happen with Republicans in charge. Republicans would use the opportunity to blame the government and push for more deregulation. Then they would write a big check to BP (see John Boehner's recent comment) even though they're supposed to be against bailouts.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Republicans would continue to totally screw up the domestic scene.. But, probably less so than the Democrats have done..

    But at least, with Republicans in power, National Security concerns would be addressed and covered.

    Let's face it. Obama's agenda of "diplomatic engagement" (IE bow, surrender, capitulate and bow some more) is a complete dismal failure..

    Michale.....

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    What did the last administration do to effectively address national security concerns? You know, above and beyond catapulting Iran to a position of influence in the Middle East.

  8. [8] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Obama's agenda of "diplomatic engagement" (IE bow, surrender, capitulate and bow some more) is a complete dismal failure.

    Why do you think his foreign policy approach is a failure? Has anything happened as a result of his foreign policy approach to make you think this?

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    What did the last administration do to effectively address national security concerns?

    Oh, let's see.. Rendition, warrantless wiretaps, Gitmo, and so much more. All of these contributed to the Bush Administration's stellar record of ZERO terrorist attacks on US Proper Post-9/11..

    You know, above and beyond catapulting Iran to a position of influence in the Middle East.

    One can thank Obama for that....

    David,

    Why do you think his foreign policy approach is a failure? Has anything happened as a result of his foreign policy approach to make you think this?

    Well, Liz had part of the answer..

    I could also point out that the Obama administration has thrown Israel to the wolves time and time again with regards to the UN..

    Yet, Obama **AND** the UN are completely silent when North Korea torpedoed a South Korean ship and killed 46 sailors...

    Get that??

    9 scumbag thugs are shot and killed in self-defense in a legal action on a legal blockade... And the UN, with the tacit approval of Obama and the US, go hog-wild, accusing Israel of War Crimes thru having an overdue library book and everything in between...

    Yet, an allied ship is torpedoed resulting in the deaths of 46 sailors... And Obama and the UN are like a traffic cop on valium...

    "{{Tweeeet}}... Stoooppppp... Stoooppp...."

    Let's face it...

    Bush's 6+ year record of no terrorist attacks on US Proper was the result of real CT efforts combined with an uncanny ability to make the tough decisions and make them right.

    Obama's -2 year record of no terrorist attacks on US Proper was the result of dumb luck brought about by incompetent terrorists.

    Our luck is going to turn and turn soon.. You can bet there will be a successful terrorist attack on US Proper within the next 3-6 months...

    Take that to the bank.

    Michale.....

  10. [10] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Bush's 6+ year record of no terrorist attacks on US Proper was the result of real CT efforts combined with an uncanny ability to make the tough decisions and make them right.

    Obama's -2 year record of no terrorist attacks on US Proper was the result of dumb luck brought about by incompetent terrorists.

    If you're going to give credit for keeping the country free from terrorist attacks, at least give it both ways.

    Personally, I think it's ridiculous to say that any one person is keeping us free from terrorist attacks. But if you're going to think like that, at least give Obama credit too.

    Otherwise it just looks like you don't like Obama.

    I find it even odder that you're going after Obama given that he's pretty much continuing the same foreign policies started by Bush.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/may/25/north-korea-obama-south-korea

    If you don't like Obama, that's ok. A lot of people seem like they're capable of finding all kinds of reasons for not liking him. Mine is because he really wasn't in the "Whoomp, there it is!" video ;).

    Cheers
    David

    p.s. Liz, how do you think Bush helped catapult Iran to a position of power in the Middle East? I'm not sure if I could make this argument or not so it would help to understand where you're coming from.

  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    David,

    By invading Iraq, the Bush administration successfully emboldened Iran by eliminating its great foe in the person and regime of Saddam Hussein.

    And, Iran's influence in Iraq has grown by leaps and bounds since the fall of Saddam.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/showdown/themes/influence.html

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    If you're going to give credit for keeping the country free from terrorist attacks, at least give it both ways.

    I just did. :D

    But the facts are self-evident. Bush's achievement came from hard work and making tough decisions that were unpopular, but were undeniably effective.

    Obama's achievement came from dumb luck and moronic terrorists..

    Personally, I think it's ridiculous to say that any one person is keeping us free from terrorist attacks.

    Hay, ya'all blame Bush, PERSONALLY, for just about everything, no??

    So, if ONE person gets the blame, then ONE person gets the credit, right???

    But if you're going to think like that, at least give Obama credit too.

    Let me put it another way...

    You have 2 people who are millionaires.. One got that way by hard work and building of a business empire. The other got that way by winning the lottery.

    Which one deserves the "credit" for the achievement? They both achieved the same result? But one did it by hard work and tough decisions. The other did it by dumb luck.

    You see the difference?

    Otherwise it just looks like you don't like Obama.

    It's worse.. I don't respect him..

    I find it even odder that you're going after Obama given that he's pretty much continuing the same foreign policies started by Bush.

    That's a very good point and I have no answer for the inconsistency. And you know that I pride myself on consistency.

    Why is it that Obama does all the same (mostly) things as Bush did, but yet succeeds only thru dumb luck and not thru actual CT operations?

    If you don't like Obama, that's ok. A lot of people seem like they're capable of finding all kinds of reasons for not liking him.

    The problem here is Obama gives everyone so many reasons.. I could still respect the man, even if I didn't personally like him..

    But he hasn't done anything worthy of respect since April or May of 2009.

    But he IS perfecting his golf game so that's something.... I guess...

    Mine is because he really wasn't in the "Whoomp, there it is!" video ;).

    Did they ever tie that down?? I saw the initial report, but never got around to learning if it was actually Obama or not... :D

    p.s. Liz, how do you think Bush helped catapult Iran to a position of power in the Middle East? I'm not sure if I could make this argument or not so it would help to understand where you're coming from.

    That's because it wasn't Bush, it was Obama. Obama has been dead wrong about how to deal with Iran since before Obama became president. If Obama had any, I repeat ANY, foreign policy brain cells whatsoever, he would turn Israel loose...

    Liz,

    By invading Iraq, the Bush administration successfully emboldened Iran by eliminating its great foe in the person and regime of Saddam Hussein.

    Like I said.. Tough decisions...

    Do you keep a rogue power (Iran) in check by leaving a psychotic madman in power in a neighboring country? A madman that preys on innocent people the way you or I order pizza??

    Who knows?? If Bush hadn't taken out Saddam, there might have been (probably would have been) another Iran/Iraq war that would have eventually gone nuclear.

    That's why Bush's leadership was a thing to be admired. Sometimes, often times, one has to do the wrong thing for the right reasons to serve the greater good.

    Michale.....

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    On another front....

    It's comical to watch Democrats eat their own...

    Now we see what happens when a Democrat who is not liked wins a primary..

    They are declared mentally incompetent.

    Geeeez, I don't even think Republicans would be that cold-hearted... :D

    Michale.....

  14. [14] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Why is it that Obama does all the same (mostly) things as Bush did, but yet succeeds only thru dumb luck and not thru actual CT operations?

    I guess you're making this statement based on the Times Square incident. The funny thing is you could just as equally make the claim for incidents that occurred under Bush's administration.

    Take the shoe bomber, for example. This attempt was thwarted because he had to wear his shoes for a second day. And the extra day and perspiration dampened the fuse.

    http://www.opensourcesinfo.org/journal/2005/7/25/terrorist-use-of-tatp-explosive.html

    That's certainly not the result of any CT ops that Bush planned. But luck.

    So it seems both Presidents get lucky sometimes :).

    In fact, there's probably just as many examples (if not more) where luck prevented terrorist attacks as any military efforts. It kinda makes you wonder what we're spending all the money on!

    Now we see what happens when a Democrat who is not liked wins a primary.

    I'm with you here. The Dems can't realistically win this race anyways. It's just really odd that none of this information came out during the primary.

    Why didn't Greene's opponent or the Dem party do some research? That's the truly embarrassing thing. Probably because they took it for granted that they would win. Sad.

    Cheers
    David

  15. [15] 
    akadjian wrote:

    p.s. Ask and you shall receive, Chris!

    Over the weekend I heard how a number of CEOs released a report asking for a new direction on energy research. Bill Gates was one. The CEO of Xerox was another.

    And then today the word is Obama is going to talk about this tomorrow night.

    I received this e-mail petition to support it today: http://my.barackobama.com/CleanEnergy-EMS

    Please sign if you'd like to add your voice.

    More and more, I'm starting to think Obama is reading this site!

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    I guess you're making this statement based on the Times Square incident. The funny thing is you could just as equally make the claim for incidents that occurred under Bush's administration.

    The Times Square Bomber, the Underwear Bomber.. Trust me when I say this.. Neither of those incidents were prevented by the CT prowess (such as it is) of the Obama Administration...

    Granted, the shoe bomber would seem to indicate the same dumb luck, but that was too close to 9/11 to be a real indication of what our CT operations would eventually ramp up to.. It's an outlier...

    However, I see your point. A logical argument can be made for the same dumb luck I attribute to the Obama administration..

    Time will tell if Obama's luck (and our's, incidentally) will run out.. I have a very bad feeling it will and soon.

    Why didn't Greene's opponent or the Dem party do some research? That's the truly embarrassing thing. Probably because they took it for granted that they would win. Sad.

    A common malady of political critters from BOTH ends of the spectrum.. I just don't understand why the SC Dems just don't let it be.. Like you said, they can't win anyways..

    And such vulgar displays are doing a LOT more harm to the DP than if they would just let it go..

    Michale.....

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    Over the weekend I heard how a number of CEOs released a report asking for a new direction on energy research. Bill Gates was one. The CEO of Xerox was another.

    And then today the word is Obama is going to talk about this tomorrow night.

    Once again, we see how the Media is directing the Obama Administration...

    Why don't we just eliminate the middleman and put Arianna in as President???

    Michale.....

  18. [18] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Once again, we see how the Media is directing the Obama Administration.

    I think we'd all agree that we'd like to see our President be more pro-active.

    This is one of the issues I have with much of the anti-government crowd. (And just for the record, I'm not at all referring to you at all with this comment, Michale.)

    In corporate circles, there is a strategy that I've heard referred to as "privatize the profit, socialize the risk".

    What this means is that the role of the government in good times is to step aside. And in bad times, government's role is to bail out big business.

    What this leads to is a very reactive government.

    And this isn't a Democrat-Republican split. Both parties are guilty. But what's driving it is the corporate philosophy of "privatize the profit, socialize the risk".

    It showed up in President Bush's administration w/ Katrina and the economic crisis. And now it's true in Obama's administration with the economic crisis and the Gulf oil spill.

    The solution to this is a more pro-active and effective government. A government that actually enforces regulations. A government with a vision for the future.

    Cheers
    David

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    The solution to this is a more pro-active and effective government. A government that actually enforces regulations. A government with a vision for the future.

    I agree completely...

    A more PRO-ACTIVE government is the solution...

    BUT...

    But being more pro-active is only half the battle.. You have to be pro-active on the things that matter...

    Take a look at CW's words here...

    Obama also used this crisis to pass his healthcare reform measure, which all but consumed an entire year for him and for Congress.

    But Wall Street is still operating under the same rules they were when our economy almost collapsed. It's been almost a year and a half, and we have not changed the rules of the road for Wall Street (or Main Street, for that matter).

    An entire year wasted, while Obama and the Democrats were "pro-active" on an issue that was important ONLY TO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY....

    Meanwhile, issues that were important to the entire country, jobs, was being completely ignored...

    We DO need a pro-active government. Pro-active in the issues that are important to every day Americans..

    Sadly, Obama and his administration has proven time and time again, that they are only pro-active to their own twisted and self-serving agenda, let the country be damned...

    And we are....

    Michale.....

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    Is there something in the water in the Carolinas???

    http://www.breitbart.tv/congressman-assaults-student-on-washington-sidewalk/

    Democrats are going berserk.... :D

    Michale.....

  21. [21] 
    akadjian wrote:

    We DO need a pro-active government. Pro-active in the issues that are important to every day Americans.

    Here here!

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    Here here!

    Isn't common ground a wonderful thing?? :D

    .......

    .....

    ...........

    Er, now what do we do??? :D

    Michale.....

  23. [23] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Er, now what do we do??? :D

    Hahahahah. Indeed. I'm sure we'll be back at it soon enough.

    Me personally, I'm going to enjoy some World Cup.

    -David

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    Never could get into the World Cup.. Although this vuvuzela debate is pretty funny..

    "VuvuZela"... How can you NOT laugh at such a word... :D

    Michale.....

  25. [25] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Never could get into the World Cup.. Although this vuvuzela debate is pretty funny.

    I know they're a local custom, but man are they annoying. It's like having a bee hive next to you while the game is on.

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    I read that the BBC may adopt a vuvuzela filter that will screen out the noise for their broadcasts..

    Maybe you can tap into that? :D

    Michale.....

  27. [27] 
    akadjian wrote:

    p.s. For a laugh and diversion from the oil spill, John Stewart on the whole Alvin Greene situation.

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-june-14-2010/alvin-greene-wins-south-carolina-primary

    "This is the political equivelant of running yourself a warm bath, falling asleep next to it with your hand in the tub, wetting yourself, and then BLAMING THE REPUBLICANS."

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    "This is the political equivelant of running yourself a warm bath, falling asleep next to it with your hand in the tub, wetting yourself, and then BLAMING THE REPUBLICANS."

    Ohmygods, that is hilarious!!! :D

    "It's funny because it's true!"
    -Homer Simpson

    Michale.....

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    I guess Clyburn didn't get enough mileage out of the GOP Plant theory..

    Now it's computer hackers! :D

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/06/15/clyburn-claims-hacking-greenes-surprise-win-sc-senate-race/

    Once again, I have to ask.. What ARE Democrats drinking up there??? :D

    Michale.....

  30. [30] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Speaking of things you just can't make up ...

    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20100615/NEWS01/306150004/Lightning-fire-destroy-Touchdown-Jesus-statue-on-I-75-in-front-of-Solid-Rock-Church

    A giant statue of Jesus (affectionately called "Touchdown Jesus" or "Butter Jesus") near where I live was destroyed last night by lightning.

    Oddly enough, a Hustler store across the street was left completely untouched.

    I will leave it to the reader to draw any conclusions :)

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    I caught that story, but missed the reference to the Hustler store... :D

    Michale.....

  32. [32] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    I think you would be a most excellent vuvuzela-er. :)

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