Friday, March 05, 2010

Harry Reid - A Great Day In America! Only 36,000 People Lost Their Jobs!

Harry Reid (paraphrasing) insists this is a "Great Day for America as only 36,000 people lost their jobs" - No Kidding - he said that. (see You Tube Video Below). As the administration last week cautioned that unemployment fugues released today may not be accurate due to the inclement weather, Reid had to follow up with something positive once the unemployment figures released today showed no improvement, rather a solid 9.7% unemployment rate remains the status quo.

This may be part of the reason that Reid is losing ground fast in his bid for re-election.

Turkey Anger with Obama over Armenian Resolution Misdirected – A Global Civics Lesson on U.S. Presidential Power

An Associated Press article cites lack of pressure on Congress by the Obama administration as the reason Congress referred to committee HR 252, Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide Resolution. The resolution calls upon the President to ensure that U.S. Foreign Policy reflects appropriate understanding and “sensitivity” on issues of Armenian Genocide, and “for other purposes”. The bill had 137 sponsors, including the Lockstep Massachusetts Democrats: Richard Neal, Ed Markey, Barney Frank, Mike Capuano, John Tierney, Stephen Lynch, James McGovern, John Olver, and Nikki Tsongas. Missing from the roster is Delahunt who announced his retirement this week.

Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, admonished the House basically telling them to mind their own business and not interfere with the efforts of Turkey and Armenia to normalize their own relationship. Clinton understands that need for a strong U.S. and Turkish relationship, as Turkey is one of our key allies in the Middle East and it is a decidedly foolhardy move on the part of the clueless house Democrats, to bring up this resolution at this particular time in history.

What war on terror?

That said the Global belief that the U.S. President has power over the House and Congress, is erroneous. One need only look at the history of Obama’s push for a Health Care Reform Bill opposed by the American people, to see how truly separate the powers are - Time and again, the President has issued deadlines to the Congress to pass a bill (any bill at this point0, and time and again, those deadlines have come and gone. That should have been clue one to the Armenian’s and anyone else, as to the exact nature of the Presidency and where the power rests in the U.S. – squarely with the House and Senate.

One would think that Obama would get his sway, considering that he and the Congress share the same political party affiliation, however, the role Obama plays now, as President, is twofold: He is the chief executive of the U.S. government and he is also the Titular Head of his Party. In addition, the party holds a majority in both the house and the Senate, and has since 2006. Therefore, he should, in essence have more sway over what takes place in Congress, but that depends upon several factors, the biggest being the ideological divide within the party (progressives versus moderates) and the egos of said members. This particular Congress, led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, were responsible for holding George W. Bush in limbo, while they played fast and loose with every piece of legislation – rendering the Bush Presidency from 2006 to 2008 basically hostage.

In the most simplest of terms: the President, without the full cooperation of the House and Senate is pretty powerless. This is what the world does not understand about the United States Government, its design and the functions of the various branches and how they interact. It is the media that portrays a President as omnipotent, which lends to this perception.

Therefore, the blame rests with Congress, should the Turkish Government care to cast blame in the correct direction. Moreover, those members may not be as savvy when it comes to foreign policy as the average man on the street; they are over concerned with positions of power, and with their terms expiring every two years, keeping their jobs. In brief, if a congressional representative feels a bill will go over big at home and keep him or her in the job for an additional term, then, regardless of the impact, that’s the way they vote. Additional considerations are power within the party, regardless of how their constituents may feel.

This is why so many of the Democrats in Congress are either retiring and/or facing an uphill battle this election term. The People get it, the politicians don’t. A strong President, who has either control of/ or a working relationship with both house leaders, is a different story. As American’s await another Ronald Reagan and or Bill Clinton (Hillary Clinton would have better served - opinion), the world should view the true power behind the “throne” as the Congress – and as the newest member installed most humbly reminded all Americans’ – it does, indeed, belong to the People. Therefore, the election of independent, constituent based thinkers is the key to preserving the dignity of the Congress in 2010 and the people, instead of seeking the next American Idol, should look for the most qualified candidate able to work with those who hold the purse strings. It is hoped, that the usual choice between the better of two evils, is not presented in 2012.

In the meantime, explaining the Presidency and the Congress and how they interact to the “world” would go a long way towards normalizing relationships. It is not so much an admission of weakness on the part of the President to say to the Turks, “I had no control over the Congress” rather an opportunity to teach a civics lesson on a global level. Perhaps that will also have the effect of teaching civics (no longer taught) to American Students as well – with the advice to choose Congressional Representatives with care.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Richard Neal (D-MA) Receives Ringing Endorsement – Neal’s Rangel’s Top Choice For Replacement

Richard Neal (D-MA) receives Endosement of Disgraced Charlie Rangel as Replacement - image Washigton Post

Update: Sander Levin (D-MI) will be the "Interim" Chair, giving Michigan the nod . Apparrently, Rangel's ringing endorsement of Neal was even too much for Speaker Pelosi.

There may be several reasonswhy Democrat Richard Neal’s name is being pushed as Rangel’s replacement as the Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee. Rangel, who recently “stepped” down for ethics violations, and who as Chair of this particular committee that oversees taxes, (ironic as Rangel still owes back taxes), wants Neal to replace him. The question is why? Neal, who has held no significant post within the Congress since he began his tenure, has been Rangel’s “guy” for some time.

From the Atlantic online:

Rangel wants Richard Neal, to whom he has already given several key responsibilities, to be his successor. Neal would treat the tax pros and business interests that come before the committee with more respect, in theory.

Rangel, who is one of the most corrupt of the current bunch, endorsing Neal is interesting as it would be outstanding fodder for any of the candidates who are running against Neal in 2010.

Congressional protocol, however, suggests that seniority trumps, and that leaves Neal 3rd in line as Rangel’s successor, unless, of course, Pelosi decides differently.

Why might Nancy give Neal the post? Those aforementioned challengers to Neal, his lackluster, at best, career in the Congress, at a time when each and every Democrat requires as much help as they can get to keep their respective jobs. It is normal for Neal to run completely unopposed, but this year, the climate in Massachusetts has changed, and this was prior to Browns Senate run. Neal is being challenged by two Republican’s: Dr. Jay Flietman of Northampton (Excellent article on Flietman here at the Gazette) and Tom Wesley, running as a regular citizen (populist).

It may not have gone unnoticed by Pelosi that Neal’s seat, for the first time in decades is under siege. According to the FEC’s last quarter Report Both Dr. Flietman and Tom Wesley are raising money for their campaign, granted the amounts are not significant in terms of most races, but in terms of most Massachusetts Republican candidates, they are substantial as it is early in the game. Both Flietman and Wesley will face a primary and Neal has little time to convince an already bored constituency that he deserves yet another term.

If Pelosi does appoint Neal, it will be a move designed to lend some credibility to his career, in order to maintain a seat in the Congress, where once upon a time, Nancy would not have given Neal the time of day. Additionally, Neal would hardly have bothered to campaign, rather, just send out his every other year - (at the taxpayers’ expense mind you) – reminder to residents of the District that he’s actually in Congress! He may have to pony up for more than one mailer this time around; depicting Republican’s as most likely to take away one’s social security and Medicare. That ploy might not work this time, specifically given the Medicare cuts in the Health Care Reform Bill that Neal has repeatedly voted for, despite the wishes of his constituents.

Therefore, from this perspective, Pelosi even considering appointing the 3rd tier nominee, one Richard Neal, denotes nothing more than the fact that Neal is in serious danger of losing his seat. Charlie Rangel’s choice as successor may end up being the last endorsement Neal receives in 2010, (outside of local media and the usual Democrat hierarchy in Massachusetts).

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Letterman and Leno Compete with 2012 GOP Frontrunners Palin and Romney

2012 GOP Frontrunners Compete with Late Night Circuit image:

With Jay Leno back in NBC’s preferred timeslot the battle between Leno and Letterman for ratings has earned more than a few Entertainment headlines. The first night back, Leno won the ratings war between the two hosts - and as guests are such an important aspect of the “circuit” – a couple of “rock star” would be needed to compete for viewers.

An article in Politico’s entertainment section entitled “Much Ado About Ratings” noted that Leno booking Sarah Palin was followed by Letterman’s booking Mitt Romney. Both Romney and Palin are perceived as GOP frontrunners.

Since when are GOP Frontrunners for the 2012 Presidential Race considered to be top-rated guests on left-leaning late night shows? Apparently this occurs when the nation is turning on its heels to the right.

It is not so much that GOP candidates have not been on the circuit before; McCain and Barak Obama campaigned across every talk show available, but the reception for McCain was decidedly respectful in tone, the reception for Obama was enthusiastic, by both hosts and their respective audiences.

However, now that the reality of the Obama administration has set in, and the President is seen as less of a rock star and more as a one-term wonder (as in many independents responsible for his election, wondering why they voted for him in the first place), the general public, journalists, pundits and the like, including late night talk show hosts, are seeking the next “political rock stars”.

The Massachusetts Miracle, Scott Brown was the first to make appearances after his special election win, booking Brown was a Leno coup in his 10:00 pm slot. The blogs are still abuzz over a potential Scott Brown in 2012 bid as if the lessons of Obama have meant nothing. Yet, good looks, and a quick wit appears to be the newest qualifiers for candidates – a popularity contest if you will, rather than one based upon qualifications. Therefore, watching the late night shows (and that will include Saturday Night Live) can be somewhat predictive of which way the political winds are blowing.

More over, from the clips below (CBS Letterman with Mitt Romney and NBC’s Leno with Palin) one sees some of the handwriting on the wall – or the hand. It was enough that these two Conservatives in particular were booked as host, however, as to how serious the nature of the contest will be, one only needs to listen to Mitt Romney discuss Palin with Letterman to understand that, yes all joking aside, there is a contest building between the two. Romney’s warning to Letterman to back off Palin as “she has a gun”, is one of the first shots taken at a viable opponent. Romney of course, repeatedly says that he has not decided to run, however, indicators are strong that he will (PACS, Books and Late Night Appearance), the same for Palin.

Who will emerge next is difficult to say, as so many will be throwing their hats into the ring, but, the early bird(s) will catch the attention of the public, and right now the public is looking at the right in a more friendly, engaging manner.
The reception for both, from competing hosts as well as the audience (cue cards aside), was more in line with a former Obama appearance in 2008. The GOP frontrunners, or anyone remotely deciding on a run, will, in all likelihood, be hitting the late night circuit within the next two to three months.

Should Hillary Clinton start making these appearances, one can well imagine a contest of the century in 2012. The domain has been purchased, and Clinton fans abound, never having strayed far after the 2008 Super Delegate trouncing that the more qualified Clinton received.

Will the public never learn? Possibly not, as the most beautiful, and entertaining are the center of the public’s attention. One can only hope that some substance slips through ones of these political appearances, which will lend, at the very least, a negligibly intelligent decision by viewers to choose someone who has credible experience.

Therefore, the race for 2012 has begun, with two simple appearances on two late night talk shows, with hosts vying for ratings; they pull in the top of the tickets (so to speak) in order to compete. What would better serve the American Public prefer to late night appearance – most likely a reality television show – Survivor 2012.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Obama Administration – Jobless Claims May Be Erroneous Due to Weather Conditions! Meanwhile, Obama Rewrites Health Care Reform – Again.

Jobless claims forFebruary, which are due out this Friday, may be posted erroneously higher, due to the blizzards experienced this past month according to White House advisor, Larry Summers. From Reuters:

"The blizzards that affected much of the country during the last month are likely to distort the statistics. So it's going to be very important ... to look past whatever the next figures are to gauge the underlying trends," Summers said in an interview with CNBC, according to a transcript.
Construction activity was hit particularly hard by the storms, but many restaurants and stores also had to close, putting the brakes on hiring plans and temporarily throwing some employees out of work.

The statement, made on a CBS news program, is the first time in recent memory that George Bush has not been blamed for either a major weather event and/or a problem effecting the current administration. All joking aside – How bad is the unemployment rate going to be if the administration is casting about for excuses a full week ahead of their release?

On February 18th, MSNBC ran an AP article which placed the blame for a slower economic recovery on continuing layoffs.

Freddie and Fannie are still struggling with housing loans and despite a higher than expected new home start in January , construction spending dropped.

Unemployment benefits for many are about to expire for millions of the nations unemployed. Congress is trying to further extend those benefits however, with a falling tax base, (less income) rising debt, there may be no way to continue to write a blank check, especially as those figures are expected to either remain the same or rise. Eonomist do not see any movement downwards in the rate through 2010.

In the meantime the administration has focused continuously on Health Care Reform (many aspects of which will further add to the unemployment rolls, specifically, regulating insurance carrier’s premiums.) Checkmated by the good people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts who elected Scott Brown in a move to prevent a filibuster proof Senate on this very issue, the Administration is now moving towards reconciliation or the need for a simple majority in order to pass the bill without debate.

Adding to the public debt, appears to be the main objective, although, Obama is rewriting some portions of the bill, expected to be a smaller version. One has to ask, with the economy in shambles, (one would hazard to guess that using an “Act of God” (i.e. blizzard) as the scapegoat for higher a higher than anticipated unemployment rate), the administration might be better off serving the interests of the people, rather than the “legacy” of the President (health care reform).

For reference: the weather from the Washington Post (February’s archives) has a few tips as to how severe the weather was this past February and who to blame: one, two major blizzards shut down Washington for a few days, (meaning Washington was not working), the rest of the nation also experienced heavy snow, freezing temperatures, or a more “active” winter season. The blame was placed on El NiƱo patterns, and of course, Global Warming! Therefore, in some universe, blaming unemployment rates on the weather must make sense.

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