Friday, March 01, 2013

Sequestration – the Day After Deadline - The Sky Has Not Fallen – Yet (Is the warning) – Dem. Controlled Senate failed to pass bill? Government Employees bemoan Loss of Bonuses! The Pain! The Drama!

Sequestration and the drama – more boring that Housework! – Image and Insulting Article from the New York Times: What Housework has to do with Waistlines” - Ladies, grab your aprons! (This article should bother more than half of the population more than the orchestrated chaos of Washington.)

For all the fear and partisan finger pointing taking place the past few months, as the latest in a series of “sky is falling” crises, came to an abrupt end – and the result – the nation yawned. There are those still beating the drum however, the Boston Globe reports: Budget Cuts Long Term Effects Still Unclear, offers the following as to what took place:

Democrats and Republicans did offer alternatives to the cuts in the Senate on Thursday. But neither had the needed 60 votes to break a filibuster. The Democrats’ proposal, replacing the across-the-board cuts with targeted reductions and closing tax loopholes for the wealthy, was defeated 51-49. The GOP’s legislation offered Obama greater flexibility in slashing the budget, but that plan was defeated 38-62, amid concerns among some about giving too much power to the White House over spending.

Understanding that when the words “Republicans in Congress” is used as a rallying cry for all that is wrong in Washington by certain others in Washington, the nation does not connect Congress with the Senate, which is a Democrat controlled body. Apparently, both had offered solutions, and those solutions did not appear to be solid enough to drag over a few Republicans or Democrats to either side, and the timing of the Senate, not the Congress, also appears to be somewhat last minute – considering the “danger” of lost police, teachers, closed daycares, and longer unemployment lines looming.

Meanwhile, BET reports, the President has begun to “back peddle” and soften his tone:

What happened to the shock and devastation that was supposed to ensue right away? Where is the hyperbole and saber-rattling that flooded the airwaves until now? Visions of starving children running the streets and military men and women without ammunition had, until this point, danced in some people's heads as the administration made the case for why Congress needed to act now.

You're likely wondering, "Why the shift in tone? Why is it that the sky is apparently not going to fall after all?"

Conservatives believe that the president's warnings amounted to no more than hyped-up hysterics. But there may be a number of reasons why Obama changed his tune. Perhaps he was concerned that he had overplayed his hand in the hard press to put pressure on Congress. At the risk of appearing to be the boy who cried wolf, the administration cut off criticism at the pass by "clarifying" its message before the pending deadline arrived.

So it appears that the sky will not be falling tomorrow after all, or next week or next month for that matter. And whether we're facing a jump off of a cliff or simply a steady tumble downward, the end result is something that our lawmakers should work to avoid.

The sarcasm in journalism award this week goes to BET.

Next up at the Voice of America, the blame game continues:

.S. President Barack Obama is due to meet at the White House Friday with top Republican and Democratic lawmakers to discuss a last-ditch effort to avoid across-the-board budget cuts scheduled to take effect before the day is over.

The meeting is largely viewed as symbolic, after dueling bills to avoid the cuts were defeated in the Senate Thursday, making $85 billion in automatic spending cuts appear inevitable once the Friday deadline passes.

President Obama has said the effects of the cuts on federal agencies - most notably defense, infrastructure spending, public schools and preschool care - will not be felt immediately, but instead will have what he calls a "tumble downward" effect. That means, the longer the cuts remain in place, the worse the damage they will cause.

Defense employees are expected to be forced to take unpaid time off work, while funding for big infrastructure projects will eventually halt.

States also would feel the effects, with fewer federal dollars coming in.

President Obama is blaming Republicans for the impasse, saying they voted to put the entire burden of deficit reduction on the middle class. Obama and many Democrats want to eliminate certain tax breaks for the wealthy to raise revenue along with spending cuts as a way to reduce the budget deficit.

Darn those Republican’s (and the Democrat Controlled Senate under the watchful eyes of Harry Reid), for not bucking up and saving the nation! – Yet they are meeting today to come up with some “last-ditch-effort” that barely anyone knows or cares about.

Unless one is Bob Woodward, and now that he’s dared to shed some light on the entire subject of an Obama Sequestration Plan gone wrong, his colleagues are beginning to turn on him. (Poltico) of course, if one were Woodward, calling those crying “foul, old man, who’s a liar,” colleges would be a stretch, to say the least – Wish they were Woodward’s’, more like it, but a moot point. (A side note: Lanny Davis, of Clinton White House fame, who is now a pundit on several cable news networks – is backing up the “White House threatened me not to write about..” Woodward claim, noting the Obama administration has done the same to him.)

The entire non-crisis appears to be much ado about nothing, as the deadline passed to “save jobs, babies, and the seas from rising” there appears to be a :”Last ditch effort!!”a day later.

Bets are still on the Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, to do an about face, and cozy up to tax hikes and no cuts whatsoever (which amounted to a slight increase in already inflated and increased spending levels that, without a budget, are somewhat fluid. Therefore, what’s all the drama about? One knows that the Congress (which holds the nations checkbook) has passed, along with the Senate, band aids from time to time, raising debt ceilings, ad raising spending, adding amendments to bills that have nothing to do with budgets. In other words, it’s all smoke,, mirrors and the never ending campaign trail that is DC, on both sides of the aisle. One might be tempted to blame the President for the phenomena, however, anyone with a pulse should understand – it’s the whole lot of them. Of course, those government employees who won’t be seeing bonuses as a result of this crisis, are clearly upset! (Washington Times). Government employee bonuses? Just let that sink in and attach the word crisis to understand the ridiculous idiots who are running our nation, are doing so on our dime and passing laws that pertain to our health, welfare and of course, any wealth we have left.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bob Woodward Tells the Truth About Sequestration – White House Lashes Out – Woodward – a Day Late and a Dollar Short

Bob Woodward speaking on Sequestration - Photo and Article Business Insider: "BOB WOODWARD: Obama Is Showing 'A Kind Of Madness I Haven't Seen In A Long Time"

Bob Woodward of “Watergate” fame, established journalist and associate editor of the Washington Post, has had an epiphany. Apparently, the Obama Administration is playing fast and loose with the facts as they relate to sequestration, and, as a result, Woodward has had the gall to call them out! The details of the “feud” are available on Politico in an exclusive interview entitled simply “Woodward at War” (Here at In the piece it outlines Woodward’s incredulity that the President would “spin” the fact that he is responsible for sequestration, not the “Republicans” and has been misleading the public as a result, while using campaign tactics, which one of the White House Aides noted in a somewhat threatening email to Woodward, were to further the White House Agenda. Woodward is not backing down. (Politico) In fact, he he has stepped up editorializing that he Presidents decision to pull back on defense prior to the “Sequestration” is “madness”.(Reuters).

The MSM has countered as of this morning with ABC focusing more on the White House and their operatives:

“Former Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith also opined: “Woodward deserves a lot of credit for taking a macro story about DC dysfunction, competing econ theories & making it all about him,” she said. In the column at the center of the storm, Woodward writes the White House has been deliberately disingenuous about its role in the sequester, and accused Obama of “moving the goal posts” by insisting Republicans agree to new tax revenue as part of any substitute for the sequester. “That was not the deal he made,” he says.”

Woodward is about to come to a new epiphany, outside of certain limited news outlets, the balance of them will side with the White House, in fact, Bob Woodward and his accurate portrayal of events regarding the sequester, will receive little to no airplay or ink. Rather, the media, from local to national, is touting the fears that the white house is propagating.

Since Woodward has been public in his questions on the tactics used by the White House, the left are treating him as “right wing”, and those elected officials in the Republican Party, who were accommodating to Woodward in his newly published book on Sequetration, (Politico) are most likely in shock that he has formed this opinion and publicly.

The bigger question is: Has Woodward been living under a rock for since 2009? He must have missed the histrionics, fear tactics, and “campaign-style” messaging that the white house has delivered on the Stimulus, the Jobs Bills, name an issue. The fact of the matter is, that the White House has cried “wolf” so many times, the general public could care less now. It is not the fact that “Sequestration” is hard for most Americans to comprehend (given the length and obscurity of the word); news agencies are boiling that down to “severe budget cuts” and “lost jobs” in order to get the President’s point across.

The fact that the Congress has brought budgets, proposals, and other reasonable bills forward, during the length of the Administration, all stalled at the desk of either Harry Reid, Democrat Majority Leader of the Senate or the White House or a combination of both – must have been lost on Woodward.

Of course, those previously uncompromising Republicans (who are blamed for the Sequestration - inaccurately), are not going to meet with the White House today (NBC New) Here’s what the general public expects: The two sides will meet, there will be a deal, and all will be well, until the next “crisis”. What is most likely to occur, the decrease in projected spending will be either greatly reduced or eliminated, and there will be tax increases to cover the cost of the increased spending as well as additional spending – in other words, John Boehner will cave in to Obama over a round of golf.

If Boehner does not, it will be a shock to those Conservatives who see Washington as one big Party feast on the American taxpayer. If Boehner sticks to his guns over this non-existent crisis, and insists that these cuts to discretionary spending and defense are made – with zero additional tax increases, in order to get the deficit on the first tiny step towards sanity – it would make him the media’s “Public Enemy #1” and give him some credibility among those who feel he’s been singing, go along to get along in DC.

The later is unlikely to occur.

Woodward, however, being right on target with a subject and publicly so, will come to the realization that those in power, enjoy it, and will continue to abuse their power, regardless of political affiliation. Their popularity with the public relying solely on marketing, and aided by a willing media, will make it difficult, if not impossible for the “Bob Woodward’s” of the world to combat with “hard hitting journalism” – That ship has sailed. What is left are those who know, not all is well, above board, and for the people and those who are led by the nose as if they are being returned to Korea to a certain death by the willing Chinese. There are more of the later, which is a growing problem for the nation, as those who are “easily duped” continue to vote. They vote by issues that will never be solved, and they continue to elect multiple term Senators and Congressional Representatives that are more interested in keeping their power base in DC than serving those who hired them. That is true for both political parties. Which is why, in his Farewell address, the First President of the United States offered his take on Political parties by noting: “However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

Washington was not alone in the concept of the danger of political parties and the powers they would amass, one might flip through the Federalist papers, where this was a resounding theme, and today, it can be deem prophetic. (Also a note, they where vehemently opposed to the addition of “Freedom of the Press to the bill of rights – the reason: the founders feared the press would align itself with a political ideology, inconsistent with the founder’s visions and use their power to “overthrow the nation” ) (Federalist Papers – available online at

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tuning Out – American’s Aren’t Buying Sequestration - "Crisis Solved" Too Many Times - with Too Many Crisis'

Graph depicting the effect of “Sequestration” – image from Viking Pundit: Read article date 2 23 13 entitled: “Planes full of released prisoners will be falling from the sky!” (sarcasm) and the chart title “Behold the Horrors of Sequestration”.

In 2008 the first “Sky is Falling” crisis emerged from Washington, in a long list of crises that have been generated since – all economic and all based upon the battle between a skyrocketing U.S. debt, and budget reductions versus tax increases. The latest in this series “crises’” is “Sequestration” simply put is a miniscule proposed reduction in the budget, passed by Congress and signed by the President in 2011. What this entailed was a reduction in budget spending for both defense and discretionary funding, not a cut to existing budgets. According to the Huffington Post, the general public, simply either does not care, does not know, or does not believe there is a crisis at all – the general assumption, after so many “Democrats vs. Republicans in the battle of good and evil, is that they will all (White House, Congress and the Senate) come to a “deal” in the nick of time.

What the Huffington Post article does acknowledge is some of the “fine print” regarding how the “sequestration” might affect the workforce:
Federal workers would be notified next week that they will have to take up to a day every week off without pay, but the furloughs won't start for a month due to notification requirements.
(Huffington Post)

It is also an opportunity for politicians to highlight the “us versus them” of Party partisanship - For example the Springfield, MA Republican offers this gem: ”Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Reps. Stephen Lynch and Ed Markey to speak at anti-sequestration rally” regarding three high profile MA Democrats, one recently elected to the Senate and two Congressmen who are vying for the Senate Seat vacated by John Kerry and their attendance at a rally to oppose the problems “Congress” caused, by wanting to “cut” the budget. The Republican, unlike the Huffington Post, fails to mention that Sequestration is a bill that was signed into law by the White House – go figure. More interesting is the comments section (see link above), that apparently does not coincide with the general gist of the article – those commenting appear to cheer on the cuts, rather than oppose them – or understand that these are not cuts at all, rather a reduction in the present budget.

Herein lays the real problem, since the general public is either weary (Huffington Post), or just plain sick and tired of the shenanigans in D.C. by all parties concerned, should a genuine crisis occur, the Fed’s and the Media may find no one is going to pay attention.

Apparently, Rahm Emanuel’s assertion, prior to becoming President Elect Obama’s Chief of Staff in 1988,that ““Rule one: Never allow a crisis to go to waste,” (Mr. Emanuel said in an interview on Sunday. ) “They are opportunities to do big things.” (NY Times Article: Obama Weighs Quick Undoing of Bush Policy”) appears to either have backfired, having been used multiple times, over and over again. (Or there’s something afoot and a new batch of “Executive Orders will be announced next week.)

Either way, few American’s will either know or care, and the mighty in D.C. having become more insulated with a News Media that continues to lose audiences, either out of disgust by those who feel all media is “state run” or those whose apathy to the news in general, see a rise in popularity for reality television, or anything other than the evening news. Gone are the days when “60 Minutes” was the “must see show” on Sunday nights for the majority of the nation. There are the “news junkies” those who read, eat and sleep media, but they are far outweighed by those who could just care less.

Perhaps both political parties, and the White House, should offer up a version of the drama of “Sequestration” in a medium that might get the public’s attention: Reality Television – scrap the debates, the suits, and the hallowed halls of Washington, fly them to a deserted island, and have them “survive” for points on the passage of a bill. No Limo’s, No Lobbyists, No Staff -just their wit and intellect. Now that would be worth watching. The only problem with that, the Press would have to rely on C-Span for coverage! There would, simply put, be no way to spin it – regardless of the medium: Fox, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, the New York Times, et al. (but the White House Press Corp could complain.)

Of course, none of this will be necessary, as those who know the drill of a crisis, understand that at the last second, John Boehner, the Republican, Speaker of the House, will manage to come to terms with the White House, and all will be well – except the nation might be paying slightly more in taxes to cover the non-cuts, rather reductions in an over-bloated budget – that is if there had been an actual budget in place, which, none has existed since 2008.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Budget Cuts! The Sky Is Falling! Darn Those Republicans! Sequestration – What? – The Fear, The Drama, the News! – Does Anyone Really Care?

Who do you Trust? Either? - President Obama and Congress - Image: the

From the local evening news to the daily paper, the cable news outlets to the network news shows, the urgency and fear in the individual reporter’s (or written piece) voice is apparent. President Obama says we are going to lose teachers, firefighters, and we’ll have a big problem funding education and oh, long lines at the airports!! Why? Those darn republicans are going to force budget cuts on the government! Therefore, the sky is falling. What about those budget cuts? The Bill, and it was a Bill, was first brought up in an agreement on the debt ceiling between the President and the Congress, the President signed the bill.

The OMB - (At in PDF) listed the consequences of these horrific cuts. In a report on the Budget Control Act of 2011, it is noted that the actual cuts are based on a requirement of eliminating if 1.2 trillion in federal spending. The Report released in 2012 suggests that he President felt that this method was not a smart way to cut the budget (yet he signed the Act).

The estimates and classifications in the report are preliminary. If the sequestration were to occur, the actual results would differ based on changes in law and ongoing legal, budgetary, and technical analysis. However, the report leaves no question that the sequestration would be deeply destructive to national security, domestic investments, and core government func­ tions. Under the assumptions required by the STA, the sequestration would result in a 9.4 percent reduction in non-exempt defense discretionary funding and an 8.2 percent reduction in non-exempt nondefense discretionary funding. The sequestration would also impose cuts of 2.0 percent to Medicare, 7.6 percent to other non-exempt nondefense mandatory programs, and 10.0 percent to non-exempt defense mandatory programs

The above appears to be a ton of cuts that might make it difficult for the government to run, of course, these cuts are explained in some detail as to departments and percentages in billions of dollars going further into the documents. It is also notable that these cuts are spread over a period of time, therefore, the first cuts to take place in 2013 are in billions of dollars – cut that are placed on departments that have already received an increase over the previous year’s budget – huh?!!

On Page 6, for example, it suggests that total defense spending must be cut by 54.8 billion dollars. Which, when one understands how budgets operate in Washington D.C., one can understand that taxpayers have been throwing cash at a cow that basically throws that money out of the nearest window. This is the way budgets are run in any department of the U.S. government: For example: If a small department receives a budget of 1 million dollars and during the course of the year, spending only $600,000 to run the department, the balance must be spent before the end of the fiscal year – on anything – in order for that department to receive sufficient funding for the following year – Thus one finds that government department buying Gold-plated hammers (that is sarcasm) at $25 a pop, or replacing the office furniture, and redecorating – all unnecessary – but necessary by the Government theory of budgeting.

The beyond inefficient budgeting method is part of the problem – reading further into this report and looking at what major services to the public are actually getting cut (less than the average American is cutting their grocery bill), Once one looks closely at the budget cuts to defense, one is reminded of President Eisenhower’s warning “Beware the Military Industrial Complex” – and Eisenhower, for those who are not aware, was a Republican.

Go to page 208 in this document to see the dire cuts to discretionary spending – It’s shocking. For example: The National endowment for the arts, may lose 2 Billion out of the 148 slated for the 2013 budget. Similar cuts are seen throughout the article, most of this is concentrated on salaries to those who oversee the programs.

Then there are the exceptions, which begins on page 225. Read it and weep. (Read entire document here at

An article at Red State today addresses certain funding cuts where said agencies are no longer in existence – See are firemen always the first to be laid off?” Good Question, along with teachers and other local employees of the local governments, the budget and salaries are generally paid for by local taxes, and are the responsibility of the city or municipality. The fact that there were additional hires under the stimulus programs to “create jobs”, is sometimes lost, and that those “created jobs” were only going to last as long as the funds did. Once the funds ran out, those newly hired teachers, were now the problem of the State, City, etc. that hired them with the stimulus funds. The Cities, etc. were, consequently on the hook for the unemployment insurance that was sure to follow – since there was no effort to create non-government funded jobs in the private sector.

Therefore, with all the back to back drama coming out of the White House and the Congress with their budget concerns, sky is falling tactics, one can image that the nation wearies of listening to crisis after crisis – In fact, they are also tired of the news, no matter what form it takes. How many people sit up at night and worry about “sequestration” outside of Washington DC and the newsrooms? – Does the average person, after all the “crying wolf” done by the administration and the Congress with the subsequent results: – “Well, we dodged a bullet there!, no more crisis, we can increase the budget!” “We don’t’ ‘have to shut down the government” – really believe anymore that there are serious consequences to any action taken in Washington?

Does Politico believe it?

That’s questionable considering this morning’s article ”Is Obama telling the truth about sequestration?”

In truth that may be a bit of sour grapes, given that Politico may still be on the outs with the Obama administration over that whole Tiger Woods/Golf-Outing/Press not Allowed situation. However, there appears to be a general, and growing, disbelief in the Federal Government in a top down kind of way, along with their extensions, media outlets – from local to national.

Perhaps it’s a lack of trust in Government institutions or those perceived as an arm of the government: See the July 2012 Gallup survey on Trust in Institutions at which suggests the following: The lowest approval went to Congress at 13%, in the 20% range: HMO’s, Big Business, Banks, Organized Labor, News (Televised), News (Print), the Criminal Justice System, and Public Schools. In the 30’s: the U.S. Supreme Court and the Presidency, the Most trusted: The Military, Small Business and the Police. (Read full article at

Although a little less than a year old, the report may not have changed all that much given the circumstances of the governments daily dire straits, histrionics and prolific spending, stonewalling and basic B.S. by both political parties. One might suggest that the general public has had enough.

Monday, February 25, 2013

MA Special Senate Election – Markey has nod from DNC, but Keep Eye on Lynch – MA GOP – Gomez Appears Capable, Sullivan Not Yet Announced – All Candidates Lack Name Recognition.

The MA Candidates (and potential candidates): Ed Markey(D), Stephen Lynch(D),Gabriel Gomez(R) and Michael Sullivan (R) - images: Markey and Lynch BostonGlobe, Gomez-Boston Herald and Sullivan, Patriot Ledger

The Massachusetts Special Election will take place on June 25th, with primaries held on the 30th of April, and a field that is generally unknown to the majority of Massachusetts voters. That may change, of course, depending on the following factors, Grassroots, airtime and the candidate’s ability to connect and generate turnout. The turnout is generally the big if in MA special elections - , and when a candidate does not, in a short time, connect with the electorate through grass roots organizing to pull ahead, the results of the race normally goes to the party machine that can pull together the votes, namely the Democrats in MA. Scott Brown in 2010 is the best example of a grass roots campaign that exploded and sent him to the Senate, despite the best efforts of the State DNC. The aforementioned tend to blame Martha Coakley, who ran as the opposition Democrat for the loss. However, although Coakley was not the most vibrant candidate, in Massachusetts, the D in front of one’s name in a low turnout election would seal the deal. Brown literally drove across the state and met with individuals, he connected at a time when disgust for Washington among the 50 plus percent of unenrolled Massachusetts voters was high.

In the bid to replace Kerry’s seat in Washington, a long-serving, but little known, Congressional Rep, may have a harder time against a non-politician, given the general distaste for the Congress, and Washington in General. The only candidate that has announced (pending 10,000 signatures due on the 27th of February – in order to qualify for the ballot – with an addition 5,000 for insurance should any of the signatures not meet requirements) that is not already serving in Congress or other official capacity is Gabriel Gomez. Gomez, a first generation Columbian American, is a former Navy Pilot and Navy Seal, who works for a Boston based investment firm and sounds more “unenrolled” than either Republican or Progressive or Democrat. That may be the ticket in getting those, generally uninterested, unenrolleds to vote in the primary and the special election.

Name recognition however, may be at issue. Although Gomez is garnering national and local media attention prior to the submission of required signatures, the only other candidates to do so are Ed Markey, and Stephen Lynch, two Democrats that have graced Congress for Decades, but known only in their own districts, one out of 9 left in the State of Massachusetts.

Former Republican Attorney General Michael Sullivan is also considering a run for the Senate, pending signatures, again, a candidate that has served at the State and Federal Level, but, not in Congress, which regardless of whether one is a Democrat or Republican in that body, generally not a peoples favorite at this point.

Gomez is garnering a considerable amount of media attention for two reasons, one he is a Hispanic running for Senate in Massachusetts, and second he is a Republican Hispanic running for Senate in Massachusetts.

Given the fact that the make-up of the Commonwealth, demographically, is, according to the U.S. Census below the national average when it comes to “minorities” – with 81% Caucasian, 7.8% African American’s and 9.9% Hispanic, with 7.7% of those surveyed in 2010-2011 considering themselves White/Hispanic. With Gomez already actively courting the Hispanic vote in the Bay State, he may have the edge, again, especially during low-turn-out.

On this bloggers preferences, Lynch on the Democrat side appears to be the one who at least bucks his party once in a blue-moon (See Voting Record at project He has also spent less time in Congress, compared to his opposition, Ed Markey. Markey is a “rubber-stamp” party voter who has graced the Halls of Congress since 1976. (Project vote smart) – In other words, part of the problem in Washington is the deeply entrenched, long-serving politicians, who are more interested in the power of the position than in serving the public.

On the Republican side, Gomez is the most interesting of the candidates, no prior government experience, and someone who believes in the ability to change the government, making it part of the solution, not the problem.

All candidates will have the problem of getting their name out to those voters who are a) low-information (do not watch the news, read a paper, or otherwise care), and grab a piece of the pie that’s left. The Democrat who makes it through the primary will have the advantage of a higher Democrat identified voter count (approximately 36%); The Republican will have the 11% Republican identifiers, and will need to garner the balance from the unenrolleds, and Democrats who may not be enamored of the party candidate. It can be done, it’s been done before, by someone who quickly identified with the individual, criss-crossing the state, and making an impression that far outweighed the money spent on television advertising, which, one can be sure, is necessary in this electronic age. The media will, it is assumed pre-nominate the individual with the longest serving record in Washington due to “experience”.

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