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Archive for January 28th, 2010

State of the Union: Change Isn’t Easy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 28th, 2010 5:45 am by HL

State of the Union: Change Isn’t Easy
If you missed President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address or you just can’t get enough, you can catch the whole thing right here.

If you missed President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address or you just can’t get enough, you can catch the whole thing right here.

Related Entries



Matt Miller: America the Ungovernable?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 28th, 2010 5:44 am by HL

Matt Miller: America the Ungovernable?
When a 59-41 Senate majority plus a substantial edge in the House is deemed too slender a margin on which to enact centrist health reform, we may as well ask it out loud: has America become ungovernable?

Huff TV: Arianna: Obama Did Not Make Middle Class The Priority In State Of The Union Speech
President Obama did not make middle class Americans the centerpiece of his State of the Union speech, according to Arianna. She weighed in on the…

Congress Hack Attack: House Member Web Sites Hacked With Anti-Obama Language
Several House members had their websites hacked overnight after President Obama’s State of the Union Address. Around 6:30 a.m. Eastern, the sites of Joe Wilson…

Mike Elk: Obama Says “I Don’t Want to Punish the Banks”, Despite Thousands of Crimes Unpunished
Last night during the State of the Union, President Obama while calling for tough financial reform said, he “was not interested in punishing the banks”….

Aaron Zelinsky: Obama’s State of the Union Inspiration: Ronald Reagan
In past speeches, Obama has sought to channel famous Americans ranging from Martin Luther King to Abraham Lincoln. Tonight, he tried for Ronald Reagan.


Quick Fact: Wallace claims Obama “participant … in building up” trillion-dollar deficits over last year

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 28th, 2010 5:43 am by HL

Quick Fact: Wallace claims Obama “participant … in building up” trillion-dollar deficits over last year

Previewing President Obama’s State of the Union address on Fox Broadcasting Co., Chris Wallace asserted that Obama was “a participant in the last year in building up” “multi-trillion-dollar deficits.” In fact, the FY 2009 deficit, which totaled $1.4 trillion, was already estimated to be $1.2 trillion when Obama came into office and “virtually the entire deficit over the next ten years” are due either to policies implemented under President Bush or to the recession, which began during Bush’s tenure, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

From Fox Broadcasting Co.’s coverage of the 2010 State of Union address:

WALLACE: Fully two-thirds of this speech is going to be devoted to the economy, to putting people back to work, also to dealing with the deficit — trying to get down these multi-trillion-dollar deficits that in fact he has been a participant in the last year in building up.

FACT: Majority of FY 2009 deficit attributed to Bush policies

$1.2 trillion of $1.4 trillion deficit was already projected before Bush left office. The CBO projected on January 7, 2009, that, including spending authorized under the Bush administration for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the deficit would total $1.2 trillion. According to the CBO, the actual FY 2009 deficit was $1.4 trillion.

NY Times: Obama policies are “responsible for only a sliver of the deficits.” According to a budget analysis done by The New York Times, “Mr. Obama’s main contribution to the deficit is his extension of several Bush policies, like the Iraq war and tax cuts for households making less than $250,000. Such policies — together with the Wall Street bailout, which was signed by Mr. Bush and supported by Mr. Obama — account for 20 percent” of the increase between the FY2008 and FY2009 budget deficit estimates. The New York Times analysis also stated that 70 percent of the increase is due to a combination of economic hardships, including “the fact that both the 2001 recession and the current one reduced tax revenue, required more spending on safety-net programs and changed economists’ assumptions about how much in taxes the government would collect in future years” and “new legislation signed by Mr. Bush … like his tax cuts and the Medicare prescription drug benefit.”

FACT: Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bush tax cuts contributed significantly to debt

CBPP: “[T]he tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the economic downturn together explain virtually the entire deficit over the next ten years.” In a December 16, 2009, analysis of federal deficits, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities stated, “Some critics charge that the new policies pursued by President Obama and the 111th Congress generated the huge federal budget deficits that the nation now faces. In fact, the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the economic downturn together explain virtually the entire deficit over the next ten years.” CBPP included the following chart illustrating various factors’ relative effects on current and projected deficits:

deficits


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 28th, 2010 5:42 am by HL

Presented By:

CIA Man Who Claimed Waterboarding Worked Admits He Was Wrong
In his new book, the former CIA operative who made the bombshell — and thoroughly debunked — claim that a terrorism suspect was made to talk after one waterboarding session has admitted he was wrong.


Elizabeth Warren on the Great Economic Battlefield: Protecting the Middle Class from Financial Predators

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 28th, 2010 5:38 am by HL

Elizabeth Warren on the Great Economic Battlefield: Protecting the Middle Class from Financial Predators
A new Consumer Financial Protection Agency can save the middle class. Elizabeth Warren explains how.

A new Consumer Financial Protection Agency can save the middle class. Elizabeth Warren explains how.

State of the Union: Why Is Obama Still Clinging Bipartisanship?
Obama restated 2008 campaign promises that were not kept during his first year as president. It’s unclear how he can make good on them in 2010 working with Republicans.

Obama restated 2008 campaign promises that were not kept during his first year as president. It's unclear how he can make good on them in 2010 working with Republicans.

Will Pot Go Corporate and Spoil It for Everybody?
Marijuana is at a crossroads.

Marijuana is at a crossroads.

Imagine Haiti with Radiation Sickness and Burns: Why We Must Disarm
If we wish never to see a "nuclear Haiti," nuclear abolition must happen and it is up to all of us to maintain the pressure on our leadership until it does.

If we wish never to see a "nuclear Haiti," nuclear abolition must happen and it is up to all of us to maintain the pressure on our leadership until it does.

Fighting on Frontlines of the Foreclosure Crisis: Citizens Take on the Monster Banks
Combining grassroots organizing, legal action, pressure on the banks and eviction-day sit-ins, activists in East Boston are winning the fight to keep people in their homes.

Combining grassroots organizing, legal action, pressure on the banks and eviction-day sit-ins, activists in East Boston are winning the fight to keep people in their homes.


Pearls Before Swine

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 28th, 2010 5:37 am by HL

Pearls Before Swine
Yes, it was a great speech, the more so for its unadorned honesty, not for soaring, rhetorical cadences like those of his campaign. Yes, he told the Roberts Court to its face what damage it has done. Yes, he put…


CongressSpeech TechnologyUnited StatesSocial SciencesUnion Speech

The lovin’ was easy, It’s the livin’ that’s hard . . .
“It is our hope that policy makers will appreciate the evidence we present regarding the importance of truly full employment, particularly as it applies to those in the bottom half of the income scale. Given recent abuses of corporate power,…


PolicyEconomicObama AdministrationCongressNational Budget

While Bob Kagan Waits for Nations to Become Democratic…
The recent first-year assessment of Obama foreign policy by Robert Kagan in World Affairs Journal has prompted a meaty discussion of how (and whether) US foreign policy has been reoriented by the new administration. The heart of Kagan’s argument is…



Robert KaganBarack ObamaUnited StatesForeign policy of the United StatesDemocratic Party


Fox News executive attacks rival networks for focusing too much on Haiti and ignoring ?big stories in America.?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 28th, 2010 5:36 am by HL

Fox News executive attacks rival networks for focusing too much on Haiti and ignoring ?big stories in America.?
Last week, the Massachusetts Senate race boosted Fox News to a major ratings win, beating out the USA Network, the longtime top-ranked basic cable network in prime time. The LA Times’ Matea Gold notes that “in prime time, the network’s focus was on politics far more than Haiti.” Fox News Executive Vice President for Programming […]

cnnLast week, the Massachusetts Senate race boosted Fox News to a major ratings win, beating out the USA Network, the longtime top-ranked basic cable network in prime time. The LA Times’ Matea Gold notes that “in prime time, the network’s focus was on politics far more than Haiti.” Fox News Executive Vice President for Programming Bill Shine responded by attacking other networks, especially CNN, for covering Haiti at the expense of “big stories in America”:

But in prime time, the network’s focus was on politics far more than Haiti. According to a news analysis by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, Fox News devoted 44% of its airtime to the Senate race and 16% to Haiti.

That was the case for MSNBC’s left-leaning prime-time commentators as well: The network spent 51% of its airtime on the Senate race and just 11% on Haiti. CNN chose the opposite route, devoting 67% of prime time to Haiti and 19% to the election.

“Look, what happened in Haiti was just horrific,” said Shine, who said the network devoted significant resources to covering the story and showcased the coverage throughout the day. “But there are also some big stories in America that we chose not to ignore the way that other networks seemed to.”

Fox News was one of the few networks that chose to not broadcast the Hope for Haiti Now benefit concert. Instead, Bill O’Reilly aired a segment about Sarah and Bristol Palin’s “body language” during their Oprah interview and Sean Hannity conducted an interview with Karl Rove on the Obama administration’s approval ratings and health care reform.

Lobbyists For Foreign Corporations Begin Fight To Ensure Foreign Money Can Influence American Elections
Last week, the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision invalidated a sixty-three year-old ban on corporate money in federal elections. The ruling gives corporations essentially the same rights as individuals in their ability to spend freely on political advertising, even if those advertisements explicitly advocate the election or […]

Foreign CashLast week, the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision invalidated a sixty-three year-old ban on corporate money in federal elections. The ruling gives corporations essentially the same rights as individuals in their ability to spend freely on political advertising, even if those advertisements explicitly advocate the election or defeat of a federal candidate. One consequence of this decision is that foreign corporations with U.S.-subsidiaries are likely to be able to now spend unlimited amounts on American elections.

Congressional Democrats, led by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), are drafting legislation to curb the influence of foreign corporations and foreign governments following the decision. However, the National Journal reported today that corporate lobbyists representing foreign corporations are already organizing to defeat such a proposal. The Organization for International Investment, a trade group representing foreign banks, oil companies, and other foreign corporations operating in the United States, “lashed out” at Van Hollen’s proposals. “The concern over foreign influence in our political system is a red herring,” said Nancy McLernon, the head of OII.

McLernon — who previously worked for Citizens for a Sound Economy, a stealth “grassroots” corporate lobbying group now known as Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks — is wrong to assert that the danger of foreign lobbying is simply a distraction. For instance, Saudi Arabia has already signaled that the progressive effort to build a clean energy American economy is its “biggest threat”:

Saudi Arabia’s economy depends on oil exports so stands to be one of the biggest losers in any pact that curbs oil demand by penalizing carbon emissions. “It’s one of the biggest threats that we are facing,” said Muhammed al-Sabban, head of the Saudi delegation to U.N. talks on climate change and a senior economic adviser to the Saudi oil ministry. […] Climate talks posed a bigger threat, Sabban said, and subsidies for the development of renewable energy were distorting market economics in the sector, he said.

Presumably because of the Citizens United ruling, Saudi Arabian-owned subsidiaries operating in the United States can now spend unlimited amounts advocating the defeat of candidates who support clean energy legislation. According to a ThinkProgress investigation, foreign-oil backed lobbyists in America are already instigating efforts to kill clean energy legislation. Fortunately, President Obama is expected to address the issue of foreign corporations influencing American elections in his State of the Union address tonight.


In State of the Union, Obama takes on partisan dysfunction of Washington

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 28th, 2010 5:35 am by HL

In State of the Union, Obama takes on partisan dysfunction of Washington
President Obama used his first State of the Union address to reset his relationship with the American middle class. But it was the politics of Washington, rather than any specific policy, that the president spoke about with the most passion after a year when the change he pledged proved elusive.


Obama to call for bipartisan budget task force
President Obama will call for creation of a bipartisan task force to tackle the nation’s budget problems in Wednesday night’s State of the Union address, aides said, one day after the Senate narrowly rejected a plan to establish such a panel.

Treasury Secretary Geithner defends handling of AIG rescue
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner pushed back Wednesday against lawmakers upset about his role in rescuing American International Group and defended decisions that allowed the company’s trading partners on Wall Street and abroad to walk away with billions in taxpayer dollars as a result of that…

The Fix: First thoughts on Obama’s State of the Union address
President Barack Obama’s first state of the union address is in the books. But, the analysis has only just begun.

44: Alito’s State of the Union moment
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. responded to President Obama’s criticism Wednesday night of a Supreme Court decision last week by appearing to mouth the words “not true.”


Poll Shows Vulnerability Of Obama, Democrats

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 28th, 2010 5:31 am by HL

Poll Shows Vulnerability Of Obama, Democrats
Mara Liasson, NPR
NPR Shop | NPR Community | Login | Register Find a StationNPR News and ShowsFind Stations | Music StreamsLatest NPR NewscastWhat is this?by Mara LiassonJanuary 27, 2010Morning EditionCause For Concern? When President Obama was a candidate, the nation's problems were a wind at his back. Now he must solve them.Cause For Concern? When President Obama was a candidate, the nation's problems were a wind at his back. Now he must solve them.Wednesday night's State of the Union speech is an opportunity for President Obama to reconnect to voters who are frustrated…

The United Nations: A Worldwide Disgrace

Obama Should Change Direction
Edwin Feulner, Heritage Foundation
The President of the United States tomorrow will inform the Congress on the State of our Union, as he is constitutionally mandated to do. The past 12 months have seen our country head down a dangerous course, and The Heritage Foundation can only hope that the President will use this time of reflection, coming on the heels of a stunning electoral loss, to change direction.You must recognize, Mr. President, that the State of the Union is not good. You need a new approach and fresh domestic and foreign policies. The caps on spending which reports last night said you were considering are but an…