Does Barack Obama Tell the Truth?

17 04 2012

weekly standard photo illustration; original image, newscom

In 2008, Barack Obama promised he would put an end to the type of politics that “breeds division and conflict and cynicism” and he would help us “rediscover our bonds to each other and get out of this constant, petty bickering that’s come to characterize our politics.”

As president, Obama and his administration declared (a) he would cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term, (b) unemployment would not exceed 8 percent, (c) he would bend the health care cost curve down, (d) poverty would decrease, and (e) he would fix the housing crisis. In reality, Obama has submitted four budgets with trillion-dollar-plus deficits, March was the 38th consecutive month with unemployment above 8 percent, health care costs have risen, more than 46 million people are in poverty, the largest number in the 50-plus years for which poverty estimates have been published, and the housing crisis has worsened on Obama’s watch. 

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“This is my last election,” Obama told Medvedev (Video and Commentary)

26 03 2012

So, the president is certain he will get another term and is assuring Russia of the same. Also, foreign politics of any import will be put on the back-burner, ignored or postponed in this an election year.

In a private conversation about the planned U.S.-led NATO missile defense system in Europe, President Barack Obama asked outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for space on the issue. “This is my last election,” Obama told Medvedev. “After my election I have more flexibility.”

Read more here:

20 03 2012

A collective groan went up around the office yesterday when news of Peyton Manning’s anticipated signing with the Denver Broncos was first reported by ESPN. It’s not that the folks around me dislike Peyton Manning, who in addition to being a certain future Hall of Fame quarterback, is also a very good guy.

It’s just that, to quote Sue McFadden, a colleague on my team, “I love my Timmy.” In fact, her Facebook status summed up the sentiments of many, I think:

“I’m allowing myself 24 hours to be pouty over this Peyton Manning thing, then I’ll move on. Of course, if Tim Tebow gets traded, I get to add another 24 hours. But at the end of the day (or two days, as it were) I’ll still be a Broncos fan for life!”

Read the full article here:

Best Campaign Ad of 2012 – Paul Ryan

16 03 2012

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin previews next week’s FY2013 budget proposal.

You know, I was here — in Congress — in 2008 when we had the economic crisis. It was a terrible time. Millions of people lost their jobs. Trillions of dollars of wealth: gone.

That crisis caught us by surprise.

Let me ask you a question: what if your President, your Senator and your Congressman knew it was coming? What if they knew when it was going to happen, why it was going to happen and more importantly, what if they knew what they needed to do to stop it from happening and they had the time to stop it? But they chose to do nothing about it, because it wasn’t good politics?

What would you think of that person? It would be immoral.

This coming debt crisis is the most predictable crisis we’ve ever had in this country. And look what’s happening.

This is why we’re acting. This is why we’re leading. This is why we’re proposing – and passing out of the House – a budget to fix this problem: so we can save our country for ourselves and our children’s future.


Hank For U.S. Senate & Super Pac Attack Ad

5 03 2012

Hank wants your vote for Senate, but what do you really know about Hank?
Hank has never released his birth certificate, his tax returns, and has never responded to allegations of catnip use. He says he’s gone to the vet, but there is no record of him serving in any military branch. Would Hank force females to undergo an ultrasound before being spayed? And should a Maine Coon really be running for Senate in Virginia?

We need more facts and fewer fat cats in Washington.

Paid for by Canines for a Feline Free Tomorrow Super PAC

Peter Van Buren – State Dept Chicken Wrangler

27 02 2012


The halls of the State Department are haunted, not by actual ghosts, but by people who might as well be ghosts: whistleblowers, people who angered someone powerful and people who for one reason or another, can’t be fired.

“People like me, that the State Department no longer wants, but for some reason can’t or won’t fire, are assigned to what we call ‘hallwalking,'” says author Peter Van Buren.

Hallwalkers are stripped of their security clearances, their desks and their duties — left to wander aimlessly up and down the halls of that massive building. Sometimes they’re required to show up in the morning to get paid; sometimes they’re allowed to telecommute from home.

Listen to the full story here:

After 23 years in the Foreign Service, Van Buren joined the ranks of the hallwalkers last fall, when he published a scathing account of his year working on what he believed were wasteful reconstruction projects in Iraq.

The book is called We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. Van Buren says all books published by State employees are subject to an approval process, and his book was no exception.

“I suspect that the State Department forgot about me and approved the book,” Van Buren says.

But as the publication date neared, State officials began to take notice. Van Buren had started a blog in support of his book; and one entry contained a link to a Wikileaks document.

Van Buren says the department considered that a breach of security. “I lost my security clearance,” he says, which meant he was no longer eligible for most of the jobs available.

Not only that, Van Buren says, after he wrote a blog post critical of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, his building access badge was confiscated.

“I was told in writing that I was banned from any State Department facility, I could not access the computer network [and] I had no job tasks in front of me,” he says. “They couldn’t figure out a way to stop paying me, and so I sat home for eight weeks at full salary, doing nothing.”

Van Buren now spends his days teleworking from home, cutting and pasting addresses into a State Department computer database.

He says the department won’t fire him outright. “There [are] procedures in the State Department to fire someone,” he says. “There are rules that the State Department claims I’ve broken. But rather than pursue those avenues, which would have allowed me to defend myself, the State Department instead followed a different path, where they used bureaucratic tools, unofficial ways of doing business that pushed me out of the village [and] sent me into the wilderness.”

Without his security clearance, Van Buren will likely be forced into retirement by the end of the year. But he says the trouble he’s been through was worth it.

“The story that people were hearing back home was not the story of what we were doing there on the ground,” he says.

Van Buren says he realized that this was a story that needed to be told, particularly as he watched the program in Iraq being folded up, packed up and shipped off to Afghanistan, where in fact the same process is going on right now.

“When I go home and turn on the news and listen to the Secretary of State claiming that the rights of bloggers in China need to be respected, that journalists in Syria have a right to speak back to their government … and at the same time, the same Secretary of State’s organization is seeking to oust me, to destroy me, to push me out of it,” he says, “I realize that that level of hypocrisy needs to be answered.”

Van Buren’s case has been taken up by the Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal agency set up to help whistleblowers.

While the State Department declined to comment on his specific situation, spokesman Mark Toner gave us this statement:

“The State Department values the opinions of its employees and encourages expression of differing viewpoints and is committed to fairness in the workplace. There are many examples of employees publishing articles and books in their private capacity that do not reflect Department views.

“At the same time, the Department of State has an obligation to ensure that official information is released in an authorized and appropriate manner, that classified and other protected material is not improperly disclosed, and that the views an employee expresses in his or her private capacity are not attributed to the U.S. government.

Foreign Service Officers and other employees are well aware that they are expected to meet these obligations.”

The Marshmallow Test as a Gauge of Success

26 02 2012

These are excerpts from the full Wall Street Journal article in the opinion page by Arthur C Brooks of 2/24/2012. It is a worthy read and I am not sure as a child I would’ve pass this test. I hope it is possible as an adult to modify one’s own behavior to develop this worthwhile personality trait. Really though, whatever your political persuasion, this article is excellent.

The president’s proposed new budget has three noteworthy characteristics: continuing unfunded entitlements to the middle class, runaway deficits to be repaid in the undefined future, and immense tax increases on the entrepreneurial class. Many commentators have complained about the damage this budget would do to our national prosperity. Less has been said about the effect it will have on something far more important: our national character.

There is a tremendous amount of research on the links among success, character and the ability to sacrifice. It all reaches the same conclusion: People who cannot defer current gratification tend to fail, and sacrifice itself is part of entrepreneurial success.

The expanding welfare state exists, in no small part, to shove marshmallows into our collective mouth. The government expunges sacrifice, smooths the risk out of our economic lives, and protects us from the consequences of our actions. It is aggressively moving us away from the national entrepreneurial ethos, teaching dependency and changing our relationship to the state.