Media and the Message. CNN; Retain Bush Tax Cuts

 

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria says the easiest way to cut the deficit is to let the Bush tax cuts expire.

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

The day was Sunday, August 1, 2010.  Former Fed Chairman, Alan Greenspan appeared on Meet the Press.  When asked to discuss the Congressional debate on tax cuts, the man known to move markets, a person who leans to the “Right,” offered a decisive decree.  In direct disagreement with Republican officials and the profitable corporations that fund countless political campaigns, Mister Greenspan declared, “Look, I’m very much in favor of tax cuts,  but not with borrowed money.  And the problem that we’ve gotten into in recent years is spending programs with borrowed money, tax cuts with borrowed money, and at the end of the day, that proves disastrous.  And my view is I don’t think we can play subtle policy here on it.”  

This statement was as a slap in the face to corporations, or more correctly to the tycoons who head these firms.  Multi-millionaire media moguls might understand this best.  These television and radio Executives experience firsthand that influence over an industry can translate into influence over an outcome.  Cable News Network Chief Officers are among those who actively make use of this truth.  Tax cuts expired?  “Never;” say network Administrators and the newscasters such as Allan Chernoff, who do their bidding.

Prominent persons in the Press know a snappy slogan, a simple statement repeated over and over again, an authoritative analysis, will yield a colossal return.  If the powerful exert pressure, they can sway the public and those who will persuade Congress to act, or not take action.   Without resorting to force, the wealthy need not worry. Forceful levy loopholes and tax rate reducers were long ago secured and still loom large.

Companies, most of which pay no United States taxes are often led by the affluent who, for years, sought greater protection for their wealth..  Indeed, many corporations forfeit less in levies in 2010 than in previous years.  Deductions are a delightful indulgence.  Even the electorate has grown to appreciate this pleasurable pursuit.

Individuals influenced by industry infomercials have insisted on the luxury.  Tax bills in 2009 are at the lowest level since 1950.  Regardless, many moneyed Americans want these lowered, if not eliminated in total. Thus, the public sees what they have for days, or is it weeks, a flood of news stories that speak in contrast to Economist Greenspan’s pronouncement.  The powerful understand that the former Fed Chairs statement was quite a severe blow to those invested in a taxless ideology.

On the same date, on Cable News Network’s a distinguished Anchor, Newsweek and Washington Post Columnist, Fareed Zakaria concurred.   The time to cut the deficit and let the Bush tax cuts expire is now.  Editor of Newsweek International and a New York Times bestselling Author, Mister Zakaria asserts, “Were the tax cuts to expire, the budget deficit would instantly shrink by about 30 percent, or more than $300 billion. But Republicans are now adamantly opposed to any expiration of the Bush tax cuts because they say that would weaken the economy.”  This contention, with consideration for a credible source, was a second slam to commercial interests and to the political Party that promotes their causes.  

Mister Zakaria’s editorial would not be aired endlessly on various outlets. Nor would Alan Greenspan’s words be heard on many a local channel.  Another expert on policy, one who also speaks for the “Right”,  David Stockman, former Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan would also be kept out of sight.

Only a day earlier, an article penned by Mister Stockman appeared in The New York Times.  In the missive, Stockman, once identified as a man with “Lincolnesque credentials”  expressed the angst he feels when his cohorts’ claim the need to extend the tax cuts.  The Reagan Budget Director cynically summarizes “How my Republican Party destroyed the American economy.”  The treatise titled Four Deformations of the Apocalypse, was the final strike.  

These slams could not stand, high salaried Chief Executives and their shills, such as Cable News Network, calculated.  Turner Broadcasting Systems decided to turn the ultimate key.  Media is the message.  The Press is able to manufacture promotional presentations and produce alternative authenticities.  The company realized the need to take restrained; yet aggressive action.  Slick salespersons, public relations professionals in the Press are well aware of the sound adage; a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, in the most delightful way.  People like sweetened solutions.

While true; each of the three esteemed experts spoke eloquently, and with abundant authority, the more persuasive and popular drone can and does drown out a meaningful message.  Cable News Network has vast resources and knowledge of how to deliver decisively, the populace demands, words of woe and whoa!  The Turner channels, with Corporate Chiefs interest at heart, transmits, as many Republicans, Democrats, and Independents wish to believe; life as we have come to know it cannot change.  

Regardless of Party affiliation, in America the public professes, “We are taxed enough.” En masse, citizens clamor;  “No new taxes!” “No tax increases!” We do not want to pay the price, is the consensus.  Most do not want to acknowledge, as Alan Greenspan and Fareed Zakaria have, Americans have paid for their own indulgence and chosen ignorance dearly.

In accordance with the adopted corporate mission, the wishes of Chief Executives, and possibly his own penchant, Correspondent Allan Chernoff compiled   a report that would please the common folk. This puff-piece touts as the public wishes to believe; the people need not contribute to the greater good of the community.  The innocent “documentation” that passes for fact, or is passed on as the truth, floods the airwaves.  It appears on local stations and hour after hour on network programs.  

This “news story” [sic] makes no mention of how the quoted sources benefit from a promoted belief, “In planning to let taxes rise, President Obama hopes to chop the budget deficit. But if families have to cut back on spending to pay those taxes, that may hurt the economy. It could de-rail the recovery.”

The Press hides what threatens the wealthy; the words of Alan Greenspan, He said “The problem that we’ve gotten into in recent years is that spending programs with borrowed money, tax cuts with borrowed money, and at the end of the day that proves disastrous and my view is I don’t think we can play subtle policy here.”  

The “Right” and media moguls who used to anxiously await Alan Greenspan’s advise now reject the man once titled an oracle.   David Stockman, once characterized as a wunderkind is no longer welcome at the White House, on Wall Street, or in the Mainstream Media studios.

Interesting, or possibly, as expected, the words of the esteemed Mister Zakaria are also void in the less than honest, well honed, and more aired, Cable News Network account. “Federal tax receipts as a percentage of the economy are at their lowest point since 1950, and they had dropped to very low levels even before the recession. Half of Americans now pay no income taxes.”

Instead, the report that invites Americans to retain Bush Tax cuts is broadcast farther and wider than the more informed elucidations.  Contrary to the tax cutters claims that President Obama plans to punish the Middle Class, Bloomberg reports, “Obama and congressional Democrats want to extend [the tax cuts] for households earning up to $250,000 and let them end for wealthier taxpayers.”  Fareed Zakaria and perchance more surprisingly, in another forum, David Stockman, wish this were true.

Truthfulness is often tweaked when expert and powerful prose point to a vapid veracity, one that is less desirable to the self-defined blissful spenders who were featured in the ubiquitous Cable News Network account.  

The no tax and spend only on self throng condemn the acumen Mister Zakaria avows; “We have to be willing to pay for the government we want, which by the way is among the smallest in the industrialized world or we have to dramatically cut the government, which means cutting popular middle- class programs, since that’s where the money is.”

No, the pious people proclaim loudly, we will not pay taxes, then assert, we want no government in our lives.  Tax cuts advocates forget the foundation that our forefathers fashioned.  Essayist, Pamphleteer, Philosopher Paine espoused as Fareed Zakaria did today.   The two understood and addressed the necessary apprehension for Administrative rule while each concedes the commonweal must care to invest in the greater good.  Were we to forget that no man is an island, we will forsake the future as we have in recent decades.  Rarely remembered or recited is the founder’s resolve to embrace an elected Legislative and Executive Branch.  Perchance today, Fareed Zakaria spoke to the practical reality.

In order to gain a clear and just idea of the design and end of government, let us suppose a small number of persons settled in some sequestered part of the earth, unconnected with the rest, they will then represent the first peopling of any country, or of the world. In this state of natural liberty, society will be their first thought.

A thousand motives will excite them thereto, the strength of one man is so unequal to his wants, and his mind so unfitted for perpetual solitude, that he is soon obliged to seek assistance and relief of another, who in his turn requires the same. Four or five united would be able to raise a tolerable dwelling in the midst of a wilderness, but one man might labor out the common period of life without accomplishing any thing.  This necessity . . . will point out the necessity, of establishing some form of government to supply the defect of moral virtue.

Instead of Paine’s and Zakaria’s profundity, the language Americans long for is the sentiment expressed by profiteers highlighted in the Chernoff commentary.  Scott Hodge, President of Tax Foundation, an institute that Nobel Prize recipient Paul Krugman acknowledged as an unreliable source, reinforced the accepted alarm.  Mister Hodge affirmed, “If Congress does nothing, it could lead to one of the largest tax increases in American history.”  Robert Traphagen, a partner with Traphagen Financial, and a man who makes money when affluent clients invest in purely personal wealth, affirmed, “If new tax legislation is not implemented, it would be a dramatic effect to the middle class.” Indeed, it would.

Were we to adopt as Fareed Zakaria, Doctor Greenspan, and David Stockman think wise, Americans would have more money for schools, streets, services. The middle class would thrive.  Media moguls would have less money to survive. Hence, the mantra, the message, If Bush tax cuts expire this will  hurt America

References for varied realities . . .

The Right Rob Babies of Rations



Rep. Alan Grayson to Republicans: Stop Taking Food Out of the Mouths of Children

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

For weeks now Americans have watched as the Right Rob Babies of Rations.  Today Representative Grayson spoke to this reality.  His heartfelt words addressed what he frequently observes.  Republican Congresspersons seem to avoid, forget, or have never considered, let alone experienced chronic joblessness, poverty and hunger.  With each vote against an unemployment compensation extension, envoys who label themselves “Right” engage in an ethical wrong.  Members of the House, safe and secure in their jobs, elite, and esteemed, rob mothers, fathers, and children of the funds needed to purchase food.

It would seem, those on the “Right,” through their repeated words and actions, wish to state, “Let them [the unemployed, their spouses and progeny] eat cake.” I trust that many in the Grand Old Party think food can be found in the proverbial bootstraps.  There is reason to believe that the Republicans think the families of the jobless must have some sort of lifeline to grab hold of.  After all, we have heard the sentiment, out-of-work persons must do as Conservatives have; pull themselves up by their bootstraps.  

He Works. We Wait



“White House to Main Street” Town Hall: Elyria, OH

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

A recent change of the guard in the Massachusetts Senate race force the President to reveal he is working.  We, the American people, are waiting, just as we have been for months and months.  For a full year, countless citizens have felt as though they were patient.  Yet, the President did not seem to have their interests at heart.  True change has not come.  Countless constituents anticipate none is forthcoming.  Three hundred and sixty five plus have gone by and the American people are tired of being patient.

The circumstances in their personal lives have proven to be critical, worse now than in 2009.  Oh, some remain hopeful. They continue to believe.  Several are waiting for Godot, who as we all know, never comes.  Millions await the Messiah.  Many thought Barack Obama was the great liberator.  This human was perchance, a deity, devotees continue to declare.  He is a divine being, or was in the eyes of the electorate before he entered the Oval Office.  Now, Americans are wasted, wanting.  They trusted and waited for him to transform the nation.  Today, the people wonder; is it too late.  

Senator Obama was and is suave, sensitive, and a sensational orator.  Surely, words would become action.  Progressives suspended disbelief.  The Left listened to a man advocate for more war in Afghanistan. Then, they decided he was the profound peacemaker.  Conservatives too saw themselves in this gentleman.  He was polished, polite, and predominately known for his prestigious credentials. Hence, the fiscally traditional believed the wait was over.  Today, each of these exclaim, as President he is not the one.

In contrast, the markedly Independent did not pause.  These mavericks need no intervals. The detractors, decidedly cynical, opinionated opponents, and the perpetually free from Party politics, never waited for what they wanted.  They did as they always have.  Raging Republicans and “free” thinking Independents gathered the reigns, took to the streets and stood firm.  They rallied the troops of discontented Americans.  They stood their ground.  These lovers of self-governing principles never grew weary.  Self-directed voters shouted; they screamed.  They garnered strength and swayed some from the Right and some from the Left to take their position.  We will kill the Obama agenda, shrieked crowds of “concerned” citizens.

The Religious Right also does not hesitate.  Indeed, they never doubted that the person known as Barack Obama was not a savior.  He was, or so these individuals said, a “socialist.”  Committed Conservatives cringed at the notion that Mister Obama might be thought of as the embodiment of a second coming.  They would chortle in distress; perchance this President would be another Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

It was not difficult to persuade those who had previously adopted a wait and see approach.   Numerous issues have not been attended to.  The pledge to end “Don’t Ask. Don’t tell,” frustrated a few.  Gay or straight families and friends have become impatient.  The thought that Health Care For All was left for Congress to ponder, plan, and present was seen as folly. The President, who belatedly cajoled the House and the Senate, was thought ineffective or just not truly interested in the welfare of the people.  Then there were the financial woes the President promised to address and did not adequately do so.  Indeed, millions of citizens muse; Obama sold out.  Our Chief Executive appointed Wall Street insiders to serve as his economic team.  Each of these individuals held a singular intent.  With bailout bucks, they would buy friends, influence enemies, and reward former colleagues.

Common citizens cried out in economic pain.  Rather than enact policies that might relieve the people’s plight, billions were bestowed upon wealthy bankers.

Americans have been waiting for his audacity to bring more than hope for bipartisan approval on program after program.  Most of the electorate wanted Mister Obama to exit Iraq fully, not to leave tens of thousands of troops behind.   Numerous waited for him to assertively enact a renewable energy policy.  However, as was evident at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, the President, does not plan to authentically regulate or reduce greenhouse gas  emissions.

Since Mister Obama took office, small businessmen and women applied for loans, only to have their applications rejected.  Granted, he pressed bankers to respond to the needs of the little people.  Still, calls for cash went unheeded.  Underwater homeowners also pleaded.  Refinance my mortgage please.  Requests were denied.  Ultimately, days before voters in the Bay State cast a ballot for Scott Brown, a banner headline appeared in the local paper; Obama’s foreclosure relief program called a failure.  Most borrowers have not been helped.

Credit card companies were allowed to go wild.  As the President observed, Credit has become “less of a lifeline and more of an anchor.”  Interest rates rose drastically, although not on personal savings accounts.  While the President proposed and [assed legislation to curb the crunch, The Credit Card Industry found other ways to avoid a pinch.  They will Profit From Sterling Payers.  Unemployed and underemployed, well, they were neglected just as they had been before the Messiah came.

These troubles are not unique to any one region.  Trials and tribulations exist throughout the United States.

While some may prefer to wait for the day when the President’s plans bear fruit, doubters do not.  For millions, the results in Massachusetts speak volumes.   These persons proclaim, this election, just as the two held months earlier, were not a reflection of a poorly run campaign by Martha Coakley, Virginia’s Creigh Deeds, or the New Jersey incumbent Democratic Governor, Jon Corzine.  All were sure signs of voter discontent.   The Republican wins were a blow for the Obama Administration.   Now, perhaps, the President will hear the message.

Certainly, Obama enthusiasts have come to accept what cannot be avoided.  Americans lack confidence in the Commander-In-Chief.  The tidal wave of resentment has generated much concern. Loyalists, know not what to do.  They gather round cyberspace chat rooms.  Some seek solace in the acumen of broadcasters.  What will Keith, Rachel, or Jon Stewart say?  How might these masterful commentators direct the stalwart?  A few hop onto another bandwagon.  The theory is a populist philosophy will turn folks around.

This is the position the White House adopts.  Shortly, after the special election results were released, Mister Obama answered without hesitation.  He stood before an audience in Elyria, Ohio, a community devastated by what some suggest is an economic Depression.  There the President enthusiastically proclaimed he is working for us.  For emphasis, Mister Obama forcefully opined, “Let me tell you – so long as I have the privilege of serving as your President, I’ll never stop fighting for you.”  The Nation’s Chief Executive then assured average Americans, “(T)his isn’t about me. It’s about you.” Yet, this novel appearance calls Mister Obama’s assertion into question.

Several observers stated Obama was back.  Fire was, once again, in his belly.  His campaigner style will certainly help his poll numbers to soar.  His persuasive presence would ensure a Democratic win.  However, the familiar rationale proved to be erroneous.

The President had attempted to coax a Massachusetts crowd days before the dire voter decision.  At the behest of Martha Coakley, the nation’s Chief Executive rallied round the Democratic candidate.  Still his rhetoric could not reverse the momentum.  Indeed, what would be an overwhelming demise was delivered.

Possibly, more than a mere Senate seat was lost.  Patience amongst Obama supporters has waned. The reality that American Independents and Republicans never looked back became more clear.  Scott Brown was but the amplification of the incensed mantra.  Stop health care. Do not provide civil trials for terrorists.  Rather than raise taxes; cut them. Secret backroom deals will not stand.  Special interests are not ours.  

Average American Joe and Jane are jollied.  Unlike the blindly faithful, they knew not to wait for Barack Obama or Godot.  The energized, eager, and enraged took the government back.

The hurt and hurting citizens saw that Barack Obama made the office his own, or perchance, he preserved the Clinton presidency.  The incensed did not trust the followers who point to the progress made in the effort to exit Iraq.  Instead, those outraged by slight concessions sympathized with the soldiers who struggle to survive on foreign soil.  

Disheartened, even early supporters squeal at the reality this President has increased America’s involvement in the Middle Eastern affairs. The Obama Administration authorized targeted assassinations.

Today, the once hopeful also speak out.  “He Wasn’t The One We’ve Been Waiting For.”  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan did not foretell what was to come. Devotees did not expect the President to defend the latest unemployment numbers as the he did.   “The jobs numbers are reminder that the road to recovery is never straight.” This thought was not what disciples hoped for.  No, the devoted Obama aficionados did not expect him to  apolitically offer an axiom, the path towards peace. is a rough road to travel.  Nor did the dedicated expect that support of the Messianic President would equate to justification for a mixed record on Counterterrorism Reform.  

Few from the Left thought they would help elect a Republican.  Dutiful Democrats could not imagine the day that they would declare I will wait no more.  For decades, people trusted, a President from their Party was, as Mister Obama opined, working for them.  Yet, this time, perhaps in the previous two elections, and in the next go round, the public will proclaim as Boston area Waitress Vitoria Vigna, did. “I am a Democrat and to say I voted Republican was, I was like, oh, my god, I’m voting Republican.”  However, as Ms Vigna expounded, the sentiment is, “people are more agitated and anxious and a lot of people’s attitude is what has really changed? Really?”  What has changed?  Possibly, the population has given up on Godot and on Presidents who they believe have not fully perform as promised.

He Works. We Wait, or did . . .

White Defenders



racist16_400

copyright © 2010 Forgiven.  The Disputed Truth

Originally Published on Sunday, January 10, 2010

In a private conversation reported in a new book, Reid described Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign as a “light-skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

I have to be honest that I am always a bit skeptical when white folks feel compelled to step up and defend black folks from other white folks. I am even more cynical when it is white Republicans doing the defending. This would be the same Republican party who has since the 60’s run on the southern strategy, whose conventions look more like all-white country clubs, and who have from his election sought to de-legitimize this President. Now we are to believe that they are so concerned with the delicate psyche of African-Americans that Senator Reid’s remarks rises to the level of Trent Lott?

For those who don’t remember Trent Lott was the Republican majority leader who stated that the country would have been better off if unrepentant segregationist Strom Thurmond had won the presidency in 1948.

For the sake of argument, let’s look at Senator Reid’s reported statement concerning then Senator Obama. He stated that he was a light-skinned black man which as far as I can tell would be a true statement. My guess is that Senator Reid was alluding to the fact that historically lighter skinned blacks have fared better in American society than darker skinned blacks so that would be a positive in his bid to become president. On the surface this would appear to be a callous statement however if we look at not only the history of blacks within the majority society but also within the black community the statement tends to stand on its own merits. Now does this excuse the fact that darker-skinned blacks tend to be discriminated more than light-skinned blacks? Of course not, but the truth is still the truth.

Let’s face it folks whites tend to be more comfortable with light-skinned blacks. If you were to poll blacks and say does the fact that President Obama is light-skinned does that diminish his status as an African-American I think the answer would be a resounding no based on the fact that he received almost 100% of the black vote.

The second part of Senator Reid’s remarks could be more problematic in the sense that he stated that Obama had no Negro dialect which could be offensive to some blacks. The question then becomes do blacks, as a group, speak differently from whites and can those differences be readily apparent to the listener? I think Senator Reid was stating that Barack Obama could choose to speak black or white depending on his audience. The problem here is that we are talking about politicians who often craft their message depending on their audience and for a politician to be able to speak to multiple groups is an asset. I think I remember during the campaign how Hillary and Bill changed dialects when they were speaking in black churches or to primarily black audiences. Does that make them racists? I think not, it makes them politicians.

As every successful black man knows who is not in the entertainment business or a professional athlete knows, we live in two different worlds we have to adept in the white world as well as the black world. I have to be able to speak to white businessmen as well as black community folks and they are not the same.

The biggest problem I have with this faux Republican outrage is that in order to determine Reid’s remarks one has to look at his intent. Was his intent to racially disparage Barack Obama? No, in fact in his mind he was giving a list of the positives for then candidate Obama. We must remember this was the beginning of a historical campaign and who amongst us did not consider these if not other positives and negatives of the candidates. The problem for Senator Reid is that his remarks were recorded. To me this just demonstrates the problem with the current Republican strategy and that is it shows their total lack of principles. When you attack everything you find yourself defending some former positions that you once opposed, by doing this you appear hypocritical at best and insane at worse. Republicans defending Medicare?

So what we have is Senator Reid stating that Barack Obama was a light-skinned black man who could speak to both black and white audiences. Yeah, that’s grounds for his immediate dismissal. Speaking as a black man I’m still missing the outrage no matter who had made the statement.

For Michael Steele to go on television and equate what Senator Reid reportedly said to what Trent Lott said is beyond me. Are we to believe that saying the country would be better off today if in 1948 an avowed racist had won the Presidential election is comparable to saying that Barack Obama was more electable because he was light-skinned and he spoke to both blacks and whites? I don’t think so. Have we become so racially sensitive that stating the obvious is now considered racist? The reason Mr. Steele will never be able to accomplish what he was elected to do which I think was to reach out to African-American voters is because in order to defend his task masters he losses any credibility with the very voters he is charged with attracting. Mr. Steele’s remarks may appeal to whites but if that is his core audience then the Republicans would have better served if they had elected another white man who would not have brought the baggage Mr. Steele has obviously brought. Do Republicans believe that blacks are that gullible? I hope not for their sakes.

“Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.”

~ Elbert Hubbard  

Prescriptions



Lieberman: I Won’t Vote for a Health Care Reform Bill with Medicare Buy-In, Public Option

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

On the eve of what was thought to be, perhaps, a sign of progress in the six-decade long health care reform debate, joblessness mounts.  Depression increases.  The intensity of illness is on the rise.  Few if any can afford to visit a doctor.  People are unemployed, under-employed, and if an individual has an income, hours are reduced.  There is barely enough to pay the most basic bills. let alone insurance premiums.  Yet, staffers have been asked, no told, by business owners, workers must pay a larger portion of their health care coverage.  Bosses bellow in unison; with profits down, certainly the corporations cannot continue to offer perks.  Medical indemnities are a privilege, not a guarantee.  If you feel ill, if you are injured, take two pills and call no one in the morning.  

Do not dare telephone the Democrats.   They have made their peace with the health care crisis. Republicans will not respond to the cries of a public, and Independents are, as you know independent! The decree; health care reform was dead on arrival.

Each of these bodies assures the American people.  A prescription for the cost of exceedingly high health care in America, well essentially, there is none.  Any cure will be but a compromise.  That is the way Congress works.   Representative are comfortably covered.  Senators are too.   The American people can suffer, and they do.

Universal Single Payer, Not for Profit programs as an idea was scrapped before it ever reached the Halls of Congress.  The possibility of a Public Health Insurance Option?  Tea Party protesters, who were persuaded by advertisements bought and paid for by Pharmaceutical companies, Insurers, and an Ex-Chief Executive Hospital  Entrepreneur eliminated any hope for that opportunity.  

Should the poor, the poorly covered, or the persons who cannot possibly pay for policies become sick, magnate, underwriters, and makers of medicines will worry not.  Illness and accidental injury will add to their shared incomes.  Drug manufacturers, those who assess risks, and moguls will all be fine.  Each will be financially made more comfortable if nothing changes.  Senator Joseph Liebermann, Independent, [in name only] “Democrat,” from Connecticut will also be firmly fixed if prospects for reform are dashed.

For less than a week, there was chance, the slightest potential, that the ever-popular Medicare program  would be  expanded.  While Medicare For All was another unfulfilled dream, swiftly dropped from the Congressional debate, it was proposed that the program as it exists today, could be enhanced.  The thought was persons ages 55 through 64 could begin to collect benefits if only the Democrats and Republicans agreed to this compromise.  That would help twelve percent of Americans who are without health insurance.  That amounts to 4.3 million people, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Yet, as of late, Monday, December 14, 2009, the word was that Medicare Buy In Plans may also be dashed.  Senator Lieberman would see to that.  On the weekend, the Connecticut independent Democrat, indicated he would not vote for it.  Tonight, a closed-door meeting was held, or perchance, the “Progressive” Party was held hostage from within the Chamber.  

Mister Lieberman understands that the majority  cannot move without his support.  The American people will not procure a health care reform Bill unless Joe votes for, rather than against any proposal.  

Some consider what might have motivated the Senator.  Granted, Connecticut has the highest U.S. concentration of insurance jobs.  However, the Senator pledges, this, and ample contributions from these corporations, do not play a role in his decision.  Lieberman says, he is concerned solely for the citizens of this country.

Regardless of what is true for the Connecticut Senator, the expansion of Medicate depends on him.  Hence, the Democrats relent.  Those who most desire a radical transformation have resigned themselves to the reality, without Joe, resolutions are a “no go.”

As he exited the Monday evening meeting, Senator Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana was heard to murmur, “If dropping the Medicare expansion is necessary, that’s what should be done.”

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia said that it was not yet clear if there would be enough votes to pass the bill, but that he believed Democrats would rise to the challenge. The American people wonder as they ponder all that has occurred so far.

Meanwhile, with the memory of a breakthrough behind us, the number of unemployed grows.  Misery and melancholy amongst the masses multiplies.  infirmity increases, and wounds go unattended.  Time with a physician is thought too pricey.  People are out of work, without adequate wages, and earnings have eroded.  Essentials are expensive and many have been eliminated. Dollars for insurance dues?  Only Congressmen and woman can afford those, or the time to dilly-dally with the destiny of those who long ago lost the power to govern.  Thus, the prescription remains the same.  Take two pills, or none, and call no one in the morning.

Health Care Reform, and the Reality of Party Politics . . .

Where is the restraint in spending?



Republican Response to Obama Budget Request – Bloomberg

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

On this fine day in February 2009, President Barack Obama submitted his budget blueprint.  For  the first time, in near a decade, transparency is built into a national financial plan.  The tremendous costs to wage the two wars America is engaged in are no longer hidden.  Outlays for military offenses have been written into the ledger, and not in the traditional invisible ink.  While one might think fiscal and political Conservatives would be pleased, upon receipt of the document, Republicans immediately pounced.  Senator Judd Greggspoke on the Grand Old Party’s behalf when he asked, “Where is the restraint in spending?”

Interestingly, Senator Gregg and his fellow Republican Legislators did not solicit answers to this inquiry when the last Administration reigned.  For all those many years, the Conservatives did not concern themselves with the price the American people paid.  None on the “Right” worried of what might be when “unnecessary”wars are fought The monetary debt left to American children was not a consideration when combat was paid for on credit.  Then, as now, the greater trepidation was expressed for higher taxes.

America attacked its adversaries with borrowed money and on time borrowed from the brood.

As long as parents did not have to pay, or see the billions of bites taken from fruits reserved for their offspring, war, or supplementary spending was wonderful.  What is not so glorious for the wealthy are the words of President Obama, or his plan to pay as we go.  

“Having inherited a trillion-dollar deficit that will take a long time for us to close, we need to focus on what we need to move the economy forward, not on what’s nice to have,” Mister Obama said.  This statement did not make sense to Conservatives who rather do as the previous Administration had allowed them to do, trade common “cents” for an economic crisis.

Comfortable with artificial caps or spending, repeatedly supplemented, Republicans reacted poorly to the introduction of fiscal responsibility in the Obama Recovery Plan.  Intermittently the “Right” expresses concern for the children.  Nonetheless, each rant raises what seems to be the more real issue, taxes.  

Indeed, in the past, Progressives pondered levees.  Most Democrats wondered why Americans were not asked to sacrifice for two wars fought on credit.  It all began early in President George W. Bush’s first term.  The date, September 11, 2001 will live in infamy.  The Council on Foreign Relations explained this in a report.

Following 9/11, the United States launched new military endeavors on a number of fronts, including in Iraq.  Estimates for the total costs of these efforts remain sharply politicized.  Costs have consistently outpaced government predictions.  In September 2002, White House economic adviser Lawrence B. Lindsey estimated the cost of invading Iraq could amount to between $100 billion and $200 billion.  Mitch Daniels, who at the time headed the White House budget office, called Lindsey’s estimates “very, very high” (MSNBC) and said the war would cost $50 billion to $60 billion; shortly thereafter, Lindsey left the White House.

In January 2004, a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the total costs of Iraq’s reconstruction would land between $50 billion and $100 billion.  But in October 2007, the CBO said in a new report that the United States had already spent $368 billion on its military operations in Iraq, $45 billion more in related services (veterans care, diplomatic services, training), and nearly $200 billion on top of that in Afghanistan.  

American initiated battles blazed abroad.  No money was allocated to pay for the combat.  Billions were kept off the books.  American babies were blinded from the truth.  Their parents placed a financial burden on them that could not be calculated.

Each year, with hat in hand, Commander-In-Chief George W. Bush came to Congress and said, cost cannot be a consideration.  We must protect our borders.  The compassionate Conservative Bush assured Senators and Representatives alike, inclusive of Judd Gregg who now reels over the cost of the Obama fiscal plan.  The country must be made safe for your brood and mine.  

Although the past President knew the battles would be protracted, and said so often, he never accounted for the projected expenditures in his budgets.  Very early on, the Bush Administration was asked to design a plan for war-related costs.  However, the White House ignored such silly suggestions.  Congress too did not comply with a request to consider the cash flow.

Iraq Supplemental Requires Transparency

Revenue Watch Institute

Legislative Action

Congress must insist that clearly defined standards of transparency are incorporated into the $87 billion appropriation for Iraq.  Congress must require the President to submit at minimum a quarterly report, detailing the processes by which US funds are disbursed in Iraq, under the conditions elaborated below.

Recommended Legislative Language:?

No competitive or non-competitive contracting or purchase activities may be undertaken using any of these funds unless the President certifies that the International Advisory and Monitoring Board mandated by Resolution 1483 has been established, and submits a quarterly report detailing:

  • The extent of Iraqi consultation and participation in the contracting and purchase agreement process.
  • Actions taken to be in compliance with the transparency obligations of UN Resolution 1483.  ?An independent cost and capacity estimate of the activity in question.
  • In cases where non-Iraqi sources are awarded contracts, an explanation demonstrating that Iraqi companies lack the necessary resources and experience to perform the service at the independently estimated cost, and/or within a reasonable time frame.
  • In cases where a no-bid contracting process is employed, a detailed justification for the non-competitive tender, including a demonstration that this justification was made available to the Iraqi public.

(An Iraqi Public Finance Oversight Board should be established as a formal channel to achieve an acceptable level of Iraqi consultation for all large-purchase contracting activities undertaken with these funds.  The International Advisory and Monitoring Board, as mandated under Res. 1483, should be empowered to audit all aspects of Development Fund for Iraq. . . .  

None of these possibilities were put in place.  No one believes the proposal was even taken under advisement.  Instead, the Bush Cheney Administration moved into foreign terrain ready for a fight.  Documents that might help determine the dollars needed to do these deeds were not sent to the House or Senate in advance.  Budgetary reviews for defense spending were deliberately shortsighted   More was left out than included in ledgers.  Emergency Supplemental funds were requested each year.  

In 2001 and thereafter, no one complained, at least not loudly, certainly not the Republicans who now demand we attend to our children’s inheritance.  How might one argue against the need to protect the country, care for its citizens, and pay for the soldiers who keep this country safe?

Conservatives, in the early years of combat were gleeful with Congressional control.  They coalesced.  Democrats, defeated, chose to forfeit dignity and duty.  Progressives no longer believed they had the power to do what was right.  Resigned to the will of the President and his “people,” the Left relented.  Legislators looked the other way when the economic experts strongly stated more money is needed.  Supplemental funds, off budget show support for the soldiers.

On September 8, (2003) the White House requested an additional $87 billion of funding to cover the continued occupation and reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan in 2004.  Of this $87 billion, $66 billion will be for military operations, and $21 billion will be for reconstruction in Iraq.

Congress caved.  Trillions trickled out of the country.  A few at home profited from the Shock and Awe plan.  However, no one wished to speak of Halliburton, the ties that remained to Vice President Cheney, or the off-the-book expense of wars.  

For persons affiliated with the Administration, defense contracts, no bid agreements to facilitate the folly known as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the monetary Mission was Accomplished.  However, for the majority of Americans, the loss of credibility, lives, limbs, and cash was a failure.

Citizens feel the calamity in an economic crisis.  Yet, Republican Representatives wish to blame Barack Obama for a budget, which will not hide such outrageous costs.

Total cost of the Iraq and Afghan Wars

The CBO [Congressional Budget Office] now estimates the costs of the Iraq war, projected out through 2017, might top $1 trillion, plus an extra $705 billion in interest payments., The total cost of Iraq and Afghanistan combined could reach $2.4 trillion.

Some experts say even those figures underestimate the true price tag.  Joseph E. Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and former economic adviser to President Bill Clinton, projected in a 2006 paper (PDF) with another economist, Linda Bilmes, that the total macroeconomic costs of the Iraq war itself would surpass $2 trillion.  This analysis differs from that of the CBO, which measured only the war’s budgetary impact.  Stiglitz and Bilmes also predict a somewhat higher budgetary impact than the CBO did, though the CBO responds at the end of its 2007 report that some of the difference may be accounted for by factors like inflation and standard pay increases that have little to do with the Iraq war itself.

More recently, a group of Democrats on the U.S. congressional Joint Economic Committee released a report estimating the total long-term cost of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan would range between $2.6 trillion and $4.5 trillion, depending on how quickly forces are drawn down.  These figures drew pointed criticisms from congressional Republicans, who released a statement (PDF) citing dozens of errors in the report’s findings, some of which were subsequently changed.

Yes, the Republicans actively repute all claims of cost overruns.  For them, money spent on military actions were  and are justified.  The real issue, for the “Right” while subterranean, was revealed; as long as taxes were not raised on their personal wealth “fiscal Conservatives” felt fine.  

During the Bush years, Republicans had reason to feel content.  Those who want no new taxes had a friend in the White House who would hide the costs of combat.  Thus, then, concern was not expressed for the children, the credit crisis, or what these irresponsible parents caused.

Republicans would rather be critical of the Democrats for too many dollars spent and the way the Obama plan proposes to reduce the deficit.  “On the backs of the rich,” those who think themselves “Right” rage.  Perchance it is important to peruse the books.  Republican rants may not reveal what detailed reports do.  Today, if the government continues to fund its fights on credit, as the Bush White House did, our progeny will inherit what prosperous parents refused to pay for with cash.  


Comparing the Defense Budget to the Total Economy

The U.S. defense budget has risen over the past decade but remains substantially lower than historical levels when considered as a percentage of U.S. GDP.  President Bush requested $481.4 billion in discretional spending for the Department of Defense’s 2008 budget.  That figure does not include any of the spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been paid for primarily through “emergency supplemental requests” that are not included in the federal budget’s accounting. War spending is expected to tally to roughly $193 billion in 2008, an increase of $22 billion, or roughly 13 percent, over 2007 expenditures . . .

Allocations toward the “Global War on Terrorism,” which exceed $145 billion for 2008, also fall outside the U.S. defense budget, and do not include the war-budget supplements. . . .

In a global context, U.S. spending on military-related endeavors ranks high.  According to 2005 data from SIPRI (PDF), the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the United States spends substantially more on military endeavors than any country in the world.  If war spending and allocations to the “Global War on Terror” are excluded, the U.S. military budget is still more than seven times that of its next closest competitor, China. If you include those other expenditures, U.S. military spending surpasses that of all other countries in the world combined.  

That thought alone is awesome.  Rather than build a better world, engage in diplomatic talks with other nations, provide for peaceful negotiations, prepare American children for careers, prevent illness, care for the injured, or maintain the infrastructure . . . all of which would better the world for our offspring,  the Bush Administration spent trillions on destructive warfare.  

In the early years, the White House depleted a budget surplus for much of the money.  Some of the dollars came from the taxes paid by poor and Middle Class.  The super-rich Republicans were asked to contribute a lesser percent of their income.  When dollars from duties were exhausted, the Bush White House sought more funds from creditors.

Grand Old Party politicians, with the help of weakened Democrats, allowed the last Administration to squander more money than is possible to fathom on an unnecessary war.  No thought for the future of our children was mentioned.

Yet, today, with the introduction of a budget that calls for a reduction in troops and defense allocations, Republicans rage.  They do not wish to recognize that  the previous White House  already sacrificed the safety and fiscal sanity of the Seventh Generation.  

Until today, the Grand Old Party could not be bothered with war costs written into the budget.  Republicans did not ask, “where is the restraint in spending?”  Those on the “Right” played with the people’s money as though it or they were mad, and now, on this fine February day, with a transparent plan delivered, Conservatives clamor, what of the children.

Cost of War Off Budget . . .

Republicans Twitter. Jindal Rebuttal; A Tweet



Bobby Jindal’s Rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s Address to Congress PT1

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

The new President of the United States addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time, on February 24, 2009.  Republicans were all a twitter.  Grand Old Party Legislators, thumbs and fingers in flight, sent text messages to their constituents while Barack Obama stood before the nation and its leaders.  Senators and Representatives from the Right were careful not to have their hands seen on camera.  The persons elected to represent the people preferred to obfuscate the truth; they cared not what the Commander-In-Chief might say.  As they anxiously awaited the voice of Grand Old Party, Governor Bobby Jindal, the person who would offer the Republican rebuttal, those on the right of the aisle refused to listen.

Conservatives considered the speech as the regulations they lifted on bankers long ago, unnecessary.  Those on the right thought Barack Obama’s words as taxes.  Text messages stated the Republican sentiment, “Give us a break.”

We need to bring transparency to Washington, D.C., so we can rid our capital of corruption  . . . .

Indeed, a break is what Americans have.  The affluent have loopholes that enable them to break away from laws that require them to pay the tariff that supports society.  Big businesses have lobbyists to do their bidding.  Bankers have supplicants who regularly speak with members of Congress.  Petitioners helped convince policymakers corruption is but the culture of depositories.  Bailout will be beneficial.  In this country, without funds for the greater good, for schools, roads, bridges, research, and development, we have a fractured system.

Republicans and Democrats, at least in government, are also divided.  The people, each of whom is poorer by the day, yearn for help.  They will do the work, if only someone gives them a chance.  Common folk request few dollars.  They ask only for the cash they paid in taxes.  The money was meant to support society, to help provide jobs for the little people.  Average Americans only want to work.  No one welcomes a handout.  The people’s desire is to acquire the dollars they need to buy goods.  

Citizens understand that none of us is here alone.  United we will stand.  Divided we fall.  Americans experience, with Republicans unwilling to consider the greater good, the commonweal, the United States has become a weakened nation.  Yet, in the confutation to the President’s address, Governor Bobby Jindal, of Louisiana presented the traditional divisive wisdom.

We oppose the national Democratic view that says the way to strengthen our country is to increase dependence on government. We believe the way to strengthen our country is to restrain spending in Washington, to empower individuals and small businesses to grow our economy and create jobs.

If only that had been the way when the Republicans ruled.  However, instead of money doled out in moderation, mountains of cash were poured into protracted wars.  Bills that approved bridges to nowhere were popular and well-funded for districts represented by corrupt Conservative Congresspersons.  Then there is the issue of the train.  Bobby Jindal mentioned it again in his refutation of President Obama’s official oration.  This scandal is surely the Democrats doing . . . except it never was.

In recent days, Fox News hosts and contributors Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, Newt Gingrich, Trace Gallagher, and Charles Krauthammer have advanced the false claim — pushed by Republican lawmakers — that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) included a provision in the economic recovery law directing that $8 billion in funds be spent on a high-speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas. In fact, the bill does not direct high-speed rail funds to any specific project, and any funding would be allocated by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman.

The bill states that $8 billion shall remain available for the “Secretary of Transportation” for “projects that support the development of intercity high speed rail service” and that the secretary shall “submit to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations a strategic plan that describes how the Secretary will use the funding provided under this heading to improve and deploy high speed passenger rail systems.” The Joint Explanatory Statement of the Conference Report on H.R. 1 further states of the high-speed rail program: “The conferees have provided the Secretary flexibility in allocating resources between the programs to advance the goal of deploying intercity high speed rail systems in the United States.”

Perhaps, this saga is as the story of Sheriff Harry Lee, the Jefferson Parish law officer who Jindal said is a friend of his.  In his address to Americans, Governor Jindal recounted the day he entered the Sheriff Harry Lee’s office.  The Republican lawmaker said to an expectant American television audience, “I had never seen him so angry. He was literally yelling into the phone.”

“Well, I’m the sheriff, and if you don’t like it, you can come and arrest me.” I asked him, “Sheriff, what’s got you so mad?” Jindal then explained Harry Lee had invited volunteers to come with their boats.  These persons were needed “to rescue people who were trapped on their rooftops by the floodwaters.”

Governor Jindal continued, “The boats were all lined up and ready to go. And then some bureaucrat showed up and told him they couldn’t go out in the water unless they had proof of insurance and registration.”

“Sheriff, that’s ridiculous,” said Bobby Jindal on that strange day not so long ago.  The lesson, the Governor shared, is the one Harry espoused during the emergency, “Ignore the bureaucrats.”  Perchance, the people of this country, a nation in crisis, would be better served if they paid no heed to the bureaucrat who told this tale.

The anecdote that the Governor shared, some say, never occurred.  No record that the two men met in person seems to exist.  The only other person, besides the Louisiana Governor, who might verify the narrative cannot speak. No one can inquire of the late Harry Lee, is the story true.  The “Democrat” known to rule “his vast domain in the suburbs for decades while proudly consorting with mobsters and infuriating the city at his doorstep with pronouncements about black criminality,” passed in October 2007.

Such is the state of a broken Union.  Republicans in Congress remain all a twitter.  Grand Old Party loyalists thought the Governor in Baton Rouge delivered a rebuttal speech that was but a tweet, The words of Barack Obama, well, we can only wonder, if those who wish to obstruct and obfuscate will be the obstacle to a genuine recovery.

Clues may come, or these may be apparent in the text, not seen on blackberry screens.  Please peruse the transcript of Bobby Jinal’s speech, in total.  One never knows what they may find hidden from the camera’s view.



Bobby Jindal’s Rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s Address to Congress. PT2


February 24, 2009

Transcript

The New York Times

The Republican Response by Gov. Bobby Jindal

Following is a transcript of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s remarks on behalf of the Republican Party on Tuesday night, responding to President Obama’s address, as recorded by CQ Transcriptions:

Jindal: Good evening, and happy Mardi Gras. I’m Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana.

Tonight, we’ve witnessed a great moment in the history of our republic. In the very chamber where Congress once voted to abolish slavery, our first African-American president stepped forward to address the state of our union.

With his speech tonight, the president completed a redemptive journey that took our nation from Independence Hall to Gettysburg to the lunch counter and now finally the Oval Office.

Regardless of party, all Americans are moved by the president’s personal story, the son of an American mother and a Kenyan father who grew up to become leader of the free world.

Like the president’s father, my own parents came to this country from a distant land. When they arrived in Baton Rouge, my mother was already four-and-a-half-months pregnant. I was what folks in the insurance industry now call a pre-existing condition.

Jindal: To find work, my dad picked up the yellow pages and started calling local businesses. Even after landing a job, he still couldn’t afford to pay for my delivery, so he worked out an installment plan with the doctor. Fortunately for me, he never missed a payment.

As I grew up, my mom and dad taught me the values that attracted them to this country, and they instilled in me an immigrant’s wonder at the greatness of America.

As I — as a child, I remember going to the grocery store with my dad. Growing up in India, he had seen extreme poverty. As we walked through the aisles, looking at the endless variety on the shelves, he would tell me, “Bobby, Americans can do anything.”

I still believe that to this day: Americans can do anything. When we pull together, there’s no challenge we can’t overcome.

As the president made clear this evening, we’re now in a time of challenge. Many of you listening tonight have lost jobs; others have seen your college and your retirement savings dwindle. Many of you are worried about losing your health care and your homes. You’re looking to your elected leaders in Washington for solutions.

Republicans are ready to work with the new president to provide these solutions. Here in my state of Louisiana, we don’t care what party you belong to if you have good ideas to make life better for our people. We need more of that attitude from both Democrats and Republicans in our nation’s capital.

All of us want our economy to recover and our nation to prosper. So where we agree, Republicans must be the president’s strongest partners. And where we disagree, Republicans have a responsibility to be candid and offer better ideas for a path forward.

Today in Washington, some are promising that government will rescue us from the economic storms raging all around us. Those of us who lived through Hurricane Katrina, we have our doubts.

Let me tell you a story. During Katrina, I visited Sheriff Harry Lee, a Democrat and a good friend of mine. When I walk into his makeshift office, I had never seen him so angry. He was literally yelling into the phone. “Well, I’m the sheriff, and if you don’t like it, you can come and arrest me.” I asked him, “Sheriff, what’s got you so mad?” He told me that he put out a call for volunteers to come with their boats to rescue people who were trapped on their rooftops by the floodwaters. The boats were all lined up and ready to go. And then some bureaucrat showed up and told him they couldn’t go out in the water unless they had proof of insurance and registration.

And I told him, “Sheriff, that’s ridiculous.” Before I knew it, he was yelling in the phone. “Congressman Jindal’s here, and he says you can come and arrest him, too.” Well, Harry just told those boaters ignore the bureaucrats and go start rescuing people.

There’s a lesson in this experience: The strength of America is not found in our government. It is found in the compassionate hearts and the enterprising spirit of our citizens.

We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from across the nation for our ongoing recovery efforts. This spirit got Louisiana through the hurricanes, and this spirit will get our nation through the storms we face today.

To solve our current problems, Washington must lead. But the way to lead is not to raise taxes, not to just put more money and power in the hands of Washington politicians. The way to lead is by empowering you, the American people, because we believe that Americans can do anything.

That’s why Republicans put forward plans to create jobs by lowering income tax rates for working families, cutting taxes for small businesses, strengthening incentives for businesses to invest in new equipment and to hire new workers, and stabilizing home values by creating a new tax credit for homebuyers. These plans would cost less and create more jobs.

But Democratic leaders in Congress, they rejected this approach. Instead of trusting us to make decisions with our own money, they passed the largest government spending bill in history, with a price tag of more than $1 trillion with interest.

While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes $300 million to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a magnetic levitation line from Las Vegas to Disneyland (NYSE:DCQ) (NYSE:DIS) , and $140 million for something called volcano monitoring.

Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.

Democratic leaders say their legislation will grow the economy. What it will do is grow the government, increase our taxes down the line, and saddle future generations with debt.

Jindal: Who amongst us would ask our children for a loan so we could spend money we do not have on things we do — we do not need? That is precisely what the Democrats in Congress just did. It’s irresponsible. And it’s no way to strengthen our economy, create jobs, or build a prosperous future for our children.

In Louisiana, we took a different approach. Since I became governor, we cut more than 250 earmarks from our state budget. To create jobs for our citizens, we cut taxes six times, including the largest income tax cut in the history of our state. We passed those tax cuts with bipartisan majorities.

Republicans and Democrats put aside their differences. We worked together to make sure our people could keep more of what they earn. If it can be done in Baton Rouge, surely it can be done in Washington, D.C.

To strengthen our economy, we need urgent action to keep energy prices down. All of us remember what it felt like to pay $4 at the pump. And unless we act now, those prices will return.

To stop that from happening, we need to increase conservation, increase energy efficiency, increase the use of alternative and renewable fuels, increase our use of nuclear power, and increase drilling for oil and gas here at home.

We believe that Americans can do anything. And if we unleash the innovative spirit of our citizens, we can achieve energy independence.

To strengthen our economy, we also need to address the crisis in health care. Republicans believe in a simple principle: No American should have to worry about losing their health care coverage, period. We stand for universal access to affordable health care coverage.

What we oppose is universal government-run health care. Health care decisions should be made by doctors and patients, not by government bureaucrats.

We believe Americans can do anything. And if we put aside partisan politics and work together, we can make our system of private medicine affordable and accessible for every one of our citizens.

To strengthen our economy, we also need to make sure that every child in America gets the best possible education. After Hurricane Katrina, we reinvented the New Orleans school system, opening dozens of new charter schools and creating a new scholarship program that is giving parents the chance to send their children to private or parochial schools of their choice.

We believe that with the proper education the children of America can do anything. And it shouldn’t take a devastating storm to bring this kind of innovation to education in our country.

To strengthen our economy, we must promote confidence in America by ensuring ours is the most ethical and transparent system in the world. In my home state, there used to be saying: At any given time, half of Louisiana was said to be half underwater and the other half under indictment.

Nobody says that anymore. Last year, we passed some of the strongest ethics laws in the nation. And today, Louisiana has turned her back on the corruption of the past.

We need to bring transparency to Washington, D.C., so we can rid our capital of corruption and ensure that we never see the passage of another trillion-dollar spending bill that Congress hasn’t even read and the American people haven’t even seen.

As we take these steps, we must remember, for all of our troubles at home, dangerous enemies still seek our destruction. Now is no time to dismantle the defenses that have protected this country for hundreds of years or to make deep cuts in funding for our troops.

America’s fighting men and women can do anything. If we give them the resources they need, they will stay on the offensive, defeat our enemies, and protect us from harm.

In all these areas, Republicans want to work with President Obama. We appreciate his message of hope, but sometimes it seems like we look for hope in different places.

Democratic leaders in Washington, they place their hope in the federal government. We place our hope in you, the American people.

In the end, it comes down to an honest and fundamental disagreement about the proper role of government. We oppose the national Democratic view that says the way to strengthen our country is to increase dependence on government. We believe the way to strengthen our country is to restrain spending in Washington, to empower individuals and small businesses to grow our economy and create jobs.

In recent years, these distinctions in philosophy became less clear. Our party got away from its principles. You elected Republicans to champion limited government, fiscal discipline, and personal responsibility.

Instead, Republicans went along with earmarks and big government spending in Washington. Republicans lost your trust, and rightly so.

Tonight, on behalf of our leaders in Congress and my fellow Republican governors, I say this: Our party is determined to regain your trust. We will do so by standing up for the principles that we share, the principles you elected us to fight for, the principles that built this in the greatest, most prosperous country on Earth.

You know, a few weeks ago, the president warned that our country is facing a crisis that he said, in quotes, “we may not be able to reverse.” You know, our troubles are real, to be sure, but don’t let anyone tell you that we cannot recover. Don’t let anyone tell you that America’s best days are behind her.

This is the nation that cast off the scourge of slavery, overcame the Great Depression, prevailed in two World Wars, won the struggle for civil rights, defeated the Soviet menace, and responded with determined courage to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

The American spirit has triumphed over almost every form of adversity known to man, and the American spirit will triumph again.

We can have confidence in our future because, amid all of today’s challenges, we also count many blessings. We have the most innovative citizens, the most abundant resources, the most resilient economy, the most powerful military, and the freest political system in the history of the world.

My fellow citizens, never forget: We are Americans. And like my dad said years ago, Americans can do anything.

Thank you for listening. God bless you. God bless Louisiana. And God bless America.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

References for a perceived reality . . .

Somewhere in America



Senate delay on stimulus ‘irresponsible’: Obama

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Somewhere in America, a man loses the job he has held for more than thirty years.  Somewhere in America, a woman cleans out the office she had occupied for close to a decade.  Elsewhere in the United States, a teen unsuccessfully tries to find work.  He knows he needs to help his Mom and Dad; each toiled in the factory that closed just down the street.  A young woman searches for a professional position, just as she has for the two years since she graduated form the University.  Each of these individuals is not startled by the headline, Economy Shed 598,000 Jobs in January.    All ask, where have the “experts,” Economists, and elected officials been?  

There is a stark reality barely revealed in this report. For the many who live somewhere in America, the statistic is not news.  It is the culmination of life or strife as it has been in the United States for a long time.  Countless experience the misery of an economic crisis that consumes them.  There is no joy in jobs lost or the threat of more layoffs to come.

What occurs most every moment, somewhere in America is the reason President Obama stated in his recent address, this country needs a stimulus package now, not tomorrow, not in a week, or in a month.  At least, “3.6 million Americans  . . . wake up every day wondering how they are going to pay their bills, stay in their homes, and provide for their children.  That’s 3.6 million Americans who need our help.”

What the President does not say is that these numbers represent only the persons we know of.

Somewhere in America, in a rural residence, children cry.  There is no food in the cupboard.  Mom, who is the sole supporter in this family, has been out of work for months.  Dad, too depressed, left his loved ones long ago.  He labored part-time for years.  When the economic downturn began, in 2007, he realized he could not even count on temporary employment.  Nor can the young one who hopes to enter college; she understands “career path” may be a euphemism from the past.  Today in America, the streets are not golden.

As Senators and Congresspersons, all of whom are gainfully employed, bicker, and build an Economic Stimulus Bill filled with pork, and, or tax cuts that benefit only the rich, somewhere in America, a mother cannot buy food for her son.  A single father, without a High School diploma, wonders how he might hold on to his factory job and still adequately prepare his daughter for school.  Somewhere in this great country, educational institutions go without textbooks.  Perhaps, it matters not, the students cannot read.

Somewhere in America, a cancer patient is refused treatment, for, although he has insurance, the policy will not cover the costs.  

A firefighter is given a furlough.  In California, State workers are forced to take  an unpaid leave.  Somewhere in America, a  plan to bring recovery to America cannot wait.

Elsewhere in this country, citizens, the few secure in their circumstances, argue over the proposed stimulus package. Certain that all is well, at least for them, these affluent Americans say the situation is not dire.  They encourage their Representatives not to sign on to a incentive measure that might spend money on other than they, personally, think right.  Meanwhile, somewhere in the United States, a family in the frozen Midwest is thrown out on the cold streets.  The mortgaged house, the five had lived in for near a score, went into foreclosure.  

In a country, where the words “economic crisis” is not hyperbole, few wish to help move the nation forward.  People rather quarrel.  Free speech is fun for those who still feel safe.  Today, the public does not ponder the bridge that collapsed in Minnesota two summers ago.  August 2007, was eons ago.  The public does not hear the stressful sounds of a viaduct ready to crumble.  The roar of engines is too loud, or perhaps, when the conversation turns to fiscal responsibility the screams from silly squabbles drown out the noise steel makes when it bends and breaks.

People plump with power, profits, or an ideology can safely ignore federal government studies that show “Nearly a quarter of the nation’s roughly 600,000 major bridges carry more traffic than they were designed to bear,”  When an American lives elsewhere in America, it may matter not that  the “Federal Highway Administration data from 2006 shows that 24.5 percent of the nation’s bridges longer than 20 feet were categorized as “structurally deficient” or “functionally obsolete” (data from Utah and New Mexico was from 2005).”

Rarely do individuals reflect on what does not affect them directly.  Many are happy to refuse to see what is invisible to their eyes let alone the reality numbers might represent.  Empathy, elsewhere in America can be elusive.

People who have a roof over their heads rather rant.  Those who toddle off to the office much prefer to rage.  It is “pork” they say.  The Obama stimulus plan is nothing but needless government-funded expenditures.  “Taxes must be cut;” screech the tycoons and venture Capitalists.  These influential persons of means make telephone calls.  The rich reach out and touch Republican and Democratic Legislators alike.  Why?  Because they can.  Powerful persons have access, the privilege of the affluent.  The plight that occurs somewhere in America is alien to them.

Insulated and isolated, the wealthy worry not.  Elsewhere, many in the Middle Class cannot imagine what it must be like to live somewhere in America.  Most do not believe an economic catastrophe will become a personal truth.

Those whose children are enrolled in private schools, or in public school out in the suburbs subsidize their progeny’s education.  They wonder why others cannot.  Perchance these individuals have not traveled to somewhere in America.  Persons whose families are well-funded, who hear, and see no evil on the streets of this nation, do not imagine that somewhere in America might ever be where they live.  

These citizens, comfy, cozy, and content with what is, have no need for the Head Start programs now cut from the stimulus package.  Education for the Disadvantaged, another program now eliminated from the Bill, will not have an effect on friends or family of the economically-established.  Persons who have the ability to care for their own do not understand the plight of those they have never encountered.

Thus, they exclaim, the “fat” must be removed from the stimulus package, and so it is.  

School improvement stipends were removed from the proposed fiscal plan.  These critical contributions, in a  country, which ranks low, or last, in many categories of learning seems unnecessary.  Child Nutrition grants are lavish in the minds of the physically and financially satiated.  Surely, the well-off say, there is no need for such remunerations.  

Individuals who are safe and sane do not wish to sponsor programs such as Funds for Violence Against Women.  These planned provisions were erased from the proposition.  Persons not in harm’s way questioned why would society wish to assist those ladies who did not chose their companion wisely.  

Food Stamps surely are wasteful spending, say the scornful and satiated.

These same persons are happy to see an end to what they think exploitive expenditures.  Dollars expected to be doled out to The National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA, National Science Foundation NSF, and the Western Area Power Administration were also expunged from the package.

Firefighters are now forsaken. Cash for the Coast Guard was deemed redundant.  Payments for better prisons, are said to be decidedly pointless.  Community Oriented Policing Services COPS Hiring programs, are among the allowances that have been cut.  Apparently, community safety is not critical, at least not for those who think private industry better cares for any communal needs.  

That may be why these same individuals decided dollars devoted to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC were also wanton.  Certainly, these would not stimulate the economy.

Perchance, the persons who live elsewhere in the United States, do not realize that cash spent on services contributes to jobs somewhere in America.

Possibly, the prosperous do not recall that poverty produces greater poverty.  Persons who love to engage in arguments, think it fun to find fault with each and every point,   These individuals, whose intention is to wrangle, do not wish to acknowledge, as Nobel Prize winner and Princeton Professor of Economics and National Affairs does in his most recent NewYork Times column.  “As the great American economist Irving Fisher pointed out almost 80 years ago, deflation, once started, tends to feed on itself.”

As dollar incomes fall in the face of a depressed economy, the burden of debt becomes harder to bear, while the expectation of further price declines discourages investment spending.  These effects of deflation depress the economy further, which leads to more deflation, and so on.”

Hence, as a country we stand still.  Democrats and Republicans are divided.  Congress cannot or will not decide to support an authentic stimulus package.  Policymakers will do as they have always done, dicker, and deliver little.  What may ultimately pass will likely be more irresponsible than it might have been.  

When somewhere in America is not where you are; nor is it a place you chose to imagine as real, then you do not reflect upon the parent who has not had a paycheck for years, or the child who cries out for a but a mere morsel of food.  Sadly, somewhere in America, for members of Congress, and for citizens comfortable in their circumstances, is a place far, far, far, away.  

In truth, were the quarrelsome to look out their window, they might see, somewhere in America is right next door.

Sources for Somewhere in America . . .

“I won!”

IWn

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Update . . . A bell rings.  The sound reverberates.  A sentiment shared aloud resonates within the heart, mind, body, and soul of persons who heard the message.  No matter the actions taken afterward, sullen statements are not easily erased from memory.  

Days before Congress was asked to pass the stimulus package, the President uttered the now famous phrase; “I won,” Republicans, as could have been expected, expressed resentment.  Immediately, subsequent to President Obama’s statement Democrats were said to have followed the Chief Executive’s lead.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was asked if he thought Republicans might block the initiative.  Empathically, he replied; “No.”  Today we know differently.  In the House, the measure received no support from the Grand Old Party.  

As we await approval from the Senate we may wish to consider, the past.  Words that evoke division have a lasting effect.  

Please peruse a missive penned shortly after President Obama reacted to pressure from the “Right.”

Oh Mister Obama, please tell me it is not so.  Days ago, I read and heard numerous reports.  You made a declarative statement.  Many were shocked.  Anecdotally, Congressman and women stated, when pressed by Republicans who disagreed with your position on economic policy, you said, “I won.”  Will this mean, once again, Americans will be the losers?  

I fear for the future, for I remember when the words were “Yes we can!”  Has this assertion become but an old argot, now trivial or trite?  Please tell me.  Now that you sit solidly in the Oval Office is the achievement of one all that matters?  Perchance, with a “change” in climate, we, the Progressives have become the Party of arrogance.

It seems you personally have adopted an individualistic platform.  Peace and process talks will be less diplomatic.  Discussions will be more reflective of Obama rule or Democratic control.  After he left the White House, House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina was said to have “echoed” your sentiment.  He may not have used your exact words; nevertheless, the sentiment was clear, the Progressive Party will dictate the rule of law.  Congressman Clyburn said, “The American people didn’t listen to them [the Republicans] too well during the election.”  The implication being, so why should the Progressives who represent them.

My concern extends beyond the language.  It is the intent I lament!

I had hoped that sooner than later, the Obama Administration would recognize individualism, as we all saw, did more harm than good.  ‘I envisioned “Mavericks no more,” would be the mantra of an Obama Administration.  

As a Democrat, devoted to progressive platforms, I imagined peace was a prospect we would no longer ignore.  Admittedly, as I say this I cannot help but think of the quagmire that Afghanistan is, and I fear will be worsened

You may recall, President Obama, when we go for the unilateral kill, as we did in Iraq, innocents, foreign born and our own die.  The terrain is devastated.  The cost cannot be accurately calculated.  The price humans pay for victory is incomprehensible, at least it is to me.  I inquire; how does one place value on lives, limbs, and a sense of security, serenity, and safety lost.  It seems in America, most rarely do the math.  We want only to overcome, to be the victor.

Hence, with a note of superiority, supremacy, and self-importance, we say we, he, or “I win.”

I heard the reaction on November 4, 2008.  As the election results came in, your constituents chanted “We won!”  You too must have felt concern as the crowd cheered.  You spoke to such a perspective often.  A triumphal tune closes doors and ends discussion.  President Obama, these are your words.  “Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.”  

The electorate, I recognize is new to the novelty of inclusively, but you, Mister President.  What of your core beliefs?

President Obama, I could understand such a statement from a Republican, not yet ready, to put aside differences after what seemed to be a defeat.  Elections, by their very nature, are divisive.  However, even Conservatives for Change concluded this year was different.  Republican Senator Mitch McConnell even offered his open hand.  I suspect with word of your “win” that will not last.

Oh, Mister President, until I heard word of how you spoke of “your” feat, I truly believed that change had come.

I wonder, with all the work to do, has anyone won?  There has been too much despair, too much distress, disparity that is incomprehensible, and all this has existed for far too long.  

Please Mister President,  travel back, into the future, with me.  Do you recall the deregulations and the economic downfall?.  In the recent past, as a country, we experienced the dire effects of a Republican victory.  It seemed obvious, a conquest breed certain vanity.

Persons within the Grand Old Party are not alone when it comes to excessive pomposity.  Hence, my apprehension.  In modern times, Americans have seen the ill inflated egos can cause.  Democrats, equally haughty, ultimately embraced policies that ended an era of effective oversight.  Do the words Glass-Steagall Act remind you of how arrogant, those replete with power might be,  Does the taste of the Depression era law President Clinton repealed linger on your lips?

Those who no longer have a legal right to redeem a mortgage might caution against a prizewinning irrational exuberance.  

Perhaps you may recall predatory lending.  Winners on Wall Street thought this idea fine.  Home foreclosures flourished.  Bank failures became common.  Unemployment rates rose.  Workers received less benefits before businesses finally closed the doors.

It was not that long ago.  Think back.  During the Bush reign the Conservatives were in power.  For decades, Republicans won most every Presidential election.  On the one occasion when a Democrat occupied the Oval Office and Congress was mostly Progressive, defiant winners were only able to do so much.  Soon after, Democratic “control” was easily lost.  

Perhaps, the people felt the Administration to full of itself with the win.  You may remember President Obama, “The Republican Contract with America.”  In the past, a practiced politician or a Political Party may have said they won.  However, what really happened was America lost.

President Obama, you spoke of this in your more recent book, The Audacity of Hope.”  Remember?

“In the back-and-forth between Clinton and Gingrich, and in the elections of 2000 and 2004, I sometimes felt as if I were watching the psychodrama of the Baby Boom generation – a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago – played out on the national stage. . . .what has been lost in the process, and has yet to be replaced, are those shared assumptions – that quality of trust and fellow feeling – that bring us together as Americans.”

Mister President, you also addressed the issue of the ownership society.  You must remember this.  You stated what I often say; however, more eloquently.

Barack Obama these are your words.  “In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is – you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps – even if you don’t have boots. You’re on your own. Well it’s time for them to own their failure. It’s time for us to change America.”

If someone, anyone wins or owns the rights to run the show, we are all doomed. Currently, we witness the woes of a win in our Health Care systems.   Medical coverage is a service available only to the privileged.  There is income for triumphant Insurers. Pharmaceuticals profits have paralyzed this country.  Disparity in healthcare devastates the impoverished, the ill, and the injured, millions of whom have no medical coverage.  More Americans are underinsured.  Even more are likely to lose what they have as the economy weakens.  In this country, cash divides winners and losers.  

Mister President, you might understand this.  Consider the dollars needed just to get a candidate elected, to have him or her heard.  Please also ponder what was once more important to you and the electorate than dough.  The community carried the message.  Without the strength of unity, we as a country crumble.

The deterioration has already begun.  President Obama, do you remember the dream?  You must recall; Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Junior taught us to believe in the dream of equality. Reverend King avowed, “I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.  This is the way our world is made.”  Doctor King did not praise personal wins or commend clannish conquests.

Yet, today, in America, where a President proudly proclaims “I won,” children of all colors, their elders of every hue, are not afforded a chance to succeed.  In a country where Progressives posture, “We won,” we do not consider what a coup d’état mentality means to a country, or to the children who inherit a nation torn asunder.

Mister President and Progressives proud of what it means to win, please consider the ominous shadow cast by a Supreme Court decision, Parents v. Seattle and Meredith v. Jefferson,  The Court and the prideful parents who championed a cause ensured only the wealthy and the white would receive a quality education.  Separate and unequal services are again sanctioned in city schools.  The judgment sealed a subterranean deal that has long been in effect.  The rich triumph; the poor will not have equal opportunities.  

In America, we have seen the destruction wrought by our culture of conquests.  Yet, as a nation we continue to ignore what might be obvious.

Perhaps, this is why, as your proclamation filtered through the airwaves, Mister President, many Progressives applauded what was familiar and what they had waited for.  Republicans who had come to believe there was reason to hope for true change were struck by the divisive rhetoric.  Your disdainful remark was like a slap in the face, a stab in the back, or the statement that would bring resentment back to Washington, Those still bruised by the political battle never forgot that they wanted to be the ones, or at least “That one.”  

I recall history and recoil at what could be our future if we affirm as you did days ago.  “I won?”  

Oh please President Obama, remember your own reflection.    “What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night.  This “victory” alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change . . . ”

I beg you to consider, the power of words.  Ponder; can we be “victorious,” and will such a triumph leave many behind; or we can we be successful together.  Can one “I” prevail or will we, the people achieve when we unite.  

Please tell me it is true.  Government can be of, by, and for us all, or an Administration, and Americans can be partisan.

Please President Obama, let us not suggest that we, or “I won!”  I implore you to reflect or your own words.. “(The change we seek) that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.  It cannot happen without you (the American people).”  

President Obama, you did not win.  Progressives did not prevail when you were placed in the Oval Office.  We the people will not meet the challenges through conquest.  Nor will we be the change we can believe in if you, or any of us, declaratively deems, “I won!”

Americans did not vote for the arrogance we heard and saw for eight long years,  We had hope.  We had a dream.  In the White House, in the people’s house, in Congress, and in our local communities, we could become  genuinely united, integrated, and inclusive.  Yes we can, and I think we must.

References for realities that divide us . . .

This Party Will Self Destruct in 5,4,3,2,1



Hardball: Pat Buchanan Angers Mike Paul On The Air

copyright © 2008 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

As I was watching Hardball with Chris Matthews last night I couldn’t help but see the dust-up between Pat Buchanan and Mike Paul; a black Republican strategists. The exchange between the two highlighted the current state of influx for the Republican Party and the deep divisions that are becoming more pronounced with each passing day. What many are missing is not that the Republicans lost; it is how they lost and why they lost that should be examined. I am not sure that they have the willingness or the humility for self-examination and without self-examination there can be no change. The struggles within the Republican Party are not new; it is just that they were able to mask them behind their “cultural wars” and false patriotism. Now that those rhetorical arguments have been ignored by the electorate the party is being exposed for who they truly are.

The true nature of the Republican Party has been and remains exclusion versus inclusion. Rather than wanting to expand their base they want to continue to cling to a shrinking version of an America long since past. Listening to Pat Buchanan one is reminded of why the Republicans are becoming a regional minority party. Mr. Buchanan characterized the Latino and minority voters who by the way are the fastest growing block of voters as being “big government” proponents because they are looking for hand-outs. This is an insult to all of the hard working immigrants and minorities in this country and represents the type of insensitivity that was so evident in the last election. As Mr. Paul tried to suggest the country is changing and the Republicans need to change. Pat Buchanan’s answer was to stick his fingers in his ears and pretend it is still 1964. If this is going to be the Republican answer to the changing demographics in America then their fate is sealed.

I have heard the argument that we need the Republican Party to regroup and become a strong opposition to strengthen our democracy. While I agree that we must have other alternatives to one party rule that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be this party. If a party becomes irrelevant and opposed to change by its own design then another one will rise to replace it. Anyone remember the Whig Party, the Know-Nothings, or how about the States Rights Party? We have a long history of parties rising and falling in America and today is no different. There will always be an opposition party no matter who is the majority or governing party. When a party loses touch with the electorate and the important issues of that electorate then they deserve to become extinct like all other organisms that do not evolve. They may continue to press their agenda but if that agenda is not considered relevant by those who are being asked to support it in a democracy then the people will seal its fate.

America is changing and there are many Republicans and some Democrats alike who find that fact frightening and will continue to cling to their fears and try to stoke the fears of likeminded people, but make no mistake the genie cannot be put back in the bottle. We cannot turn the clock back to the “good old days” when power was concentrated in the hands of a few white men only nor should we. If the Republicans want to continue to run their national campaigns on issues like fear, abortion, and gay-marriage they have every right to and I for one will support their right to do so. However, if the electorate decides that those issues no longer resonate then the Republicans will have a choice to make. They are obviously not at the place where they are ready to make that choice. They continue at least publically to reiterate the same tired rhetoric that has failed them in recent elections. Let the ice age begin. Unless they have a plan to deport all minorities, immigrants, and people who accept diversity not as a necessary evil but as a desired outcome then they shall go the way of the Bull Moosers and good riddance.

The Republicans have maybe two more election cycles to either reach out to more Americans or become insignificant as a national party. They will always have their regional, cultural, and ethnic issues and the voters that these type of arguments appeal to. The problem is that this blocks of voters is becoming smaller and smaller. If anyone is willing to see beyond the numbers there is a gradual but perceptual shift in the American electorate. The problem with many Americans whether they be pundits, political experts, or the general public is that we refuse to accept something until it is right in our faces. It is this lack of foresight that allowed us to believe that there would be no consequences to invading Iraq, spending money like a drunken sailor, or removing the regulations on the greediest among us.

What the Republicans have to come to grips with is that it is not the face of the messenger that counts, it is the message stupid! So whether it is Colin Powell at the UN or Gonzalez at Justice if the policies are whack dressing them up with an acceptable messenger doesn’t make them plausible. Crap is still crap no matter who is spewing it.

How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg?  Four.  Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.  

~Abraham Lincoln