Obama’s Grand Scheme Of 2010 Legislative World Domination Gets Tepid Response From Congressional Dems

Obama’s Grand Scheme Of 2010 Legislative World Domination Gets Tepid Response From Congressional Dems

March 31st, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

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You know, the dudes actually facing re-election, unlike JoJo The Lying Retard Boy…

Politico:

The president’s push to turn health care reform into a catalyst for the rest of his agenda is getting mixed early reactions on Capitol Hill, where Democratic leaders’ desire to take advantage of healthy majorities before the November elections must contend with lawmakers’ survival instincts.

White House aides told POLITICO earlier this week that an emboldened Barack Obama plans to parlay his win on health care into a crack down on Wall Street excesses, a rewrite of education and campaign finance laws and possibly a climate change bill — all before the fall’s midterms.

But aides and members, Republicans and Democrats alike, say that a Wall Street crackdown was coming — and progress on climate change, immigration and other contentious measures probably wasn’t — no matter what had happened with the health care bill.

“I don’t see it creating momentum,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who has negotiated across party lines on several significant issues in his first term.

The difference Corker detects on regulating Wall Street is not that the bill’s moving – that, he says, was inevitable – but that Obama is working to ensure it appeals to liberals.

“There may be more pressure from the administration than there was to keep it on the left,” Corker said. But other than that, he said, “I don’t think [health care] is going to affect other agenda items.”

Democrats on Capitol Hill differ as to whether – but mostly to what degree – putting health care reform on the scoreboard has given Obama more juice in Congress.

They uniformly say that swatting Wall Street is a political no-brainer that unifies their party and splits Republicans, and many of them are eager to pass anything that can be labeled a “jobs” bill to show voters that they are focused on reversing economic misfortune. Both offer the opportunity to cater to populist sentiment before the election — and to force the GOP to go along or risk public backlash.

“As we go forward, we will see if the Republicans are willing to reform Wall Street,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said last week. “Bipartisanship is nice but it cannot be a substitute for action. Not having it cannot prevent us from going forward. So, if they don’t want to regulate Wall Street, we do. And we will.”

But that’s the relatively easy part.

As Democrats approach what is expected to be a tough mid-term election, two cross-cutting dynamics are taking hold: Lawmakers who must battle to win re-election are even less inclined to cast tough votes, while some Democratic strategists believe the best bet for party leaders is to use big congressional majorities to enact their agenda before anticipated November losses set them back.

“The only thing we know for certain is we have the majority until the beginning of November 2010,” said one House Democratic aide. “Especially this year with how the political climate is – I don’t think we’ll lose the House, but there seems to be a sense of trying to get as much done when we can.”

Sarah Binder, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Brookings Institution, said that approach makes sense.

“If you’re going to use unified political party advantage … now is the time,” she said.

But as party leaders plot the course for the rest of the year, some fatigued Democrats in tough re-election races may yell “uncle” at the first sight of another controversial bill.

“If [Obama’s] saying he’s got the stride going and he’s on a winning streak and that was just the first of many things he thinks he can get through, I would actually say the opposite,” said the top aide to a member of the conservative Blue Dog Coalition. “That ship has sailed. That capital was expended on cap and trade first and health care second.”

The political ether is full of potentially poisonous issues for Democrats, including an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws and legislation aimed at addressing climate change.

Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have been working on an immigration bill, but Graham has been critical of Obama for not providing the muscle to back up declarations of support for an overhaul.

“At the end of the day, the president needs to step it up a little bit,” Graham told POLITICO earlier this month. “One line in the State of the Union is not going to do it.”

Obama said he would tackle immigration in 2010, but his win on the health care bill doesn’t appear to have done much to break the impasse.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs suggested on Tuesday that the GOP has to put more skin in the game before Obama will commit to moving forward.

“I think the president has been a strong advocate and proponent of immigration reform, understanding, again, this is — I get asked all the time about bipartisanship, about, well, you can’t just — you guys can’t just go this alone, right? Well, this is not an issue that’s going to be decided by just getting all the Democratic members to support immigration reform,” Gibbs said at a White House press briefing. “There has to be — there have to be Republicans that come aboard, too.”

A senior Senate Democratic aide told POLITICO this week that, when it comes to the legislative agenda between now and November, immigration and “a large energy push” are “the only two things that remain questions.”

The aide said financial regulatory reform, a ban on corporate campaign spending and a series of jobs bills would be the meat of the party’s agenda for the rest of the year.

But as polls on the health care law bounce around – the latest from USA/Today Gallup had 50 percent responding that it was a bad development – some Democrats say clearing the decks has given them an opportunity to deliver on other items.

Senior Democratic aides in the House say there may be movement toward energy legislation, whether it’s a comprehensive stab at addressing climate change or something significantly smaller.

“There’s still an opportunity to get a bunch of really big things done,” said one senior House Democratic aide.

Jake Sherman contributed to this report.

March Of Infamy: Nobody Got Any Health Care Benefits And Everybody Lost Jobs

March Of Infamy: Nobody Got Any Health Care Benefits And Everybody Lost Jobs

March 31st, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

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March 31 (Bloomberg) — Companies in the U.S. unexpectedly cut payrolls in March, according to data from a private report based on payrolls.

The 23,000 decline was the smallest in two years and followed a revised 24,000 drop the prior month, data from ADP Employer Services showed today. Over the previous six months, ADP’s initial figures have overstated the Labor Department’s first estimate of private payroll losses by as little as 2,000 in February to as much as 151,000 in November.

Companies are still hesitant to add workers until they see sustained sales gains and are convinced the economic recovery has taken hold. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News anticipate the government’s report April 2 will show payrolls increased by 184,000, in part due to temporary hiring by the federal government to conduct the 2010 census and because of better weather compared with February.

“The labor market trend is still up,” said David Milleker, chief economist at Union Investment GmbH in Frankfurt, who was the only economist in a Bloomberg News survey to forecast the ADP figures would show a loss of jobs. “Today’s numbers might have disappointed relative to expectations but indicate not in the least a change in trend. It takes some more time for private sector job creation to return to normal.”

Weather Effects

A March payroll gain in line with the median estimate is “a reasonable kind of number” because ADP’s figures aren’t influenced by weather and don’t include government payrolls which will reflect hiring on temporary workers to conduct the census, Prakken said. ADP includes only private employment and doesn’t take into account hiring by government agencies.

Stock-index futures dropped after the report. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.4 percent to 1,164.3 at 9:30 a.m. in New York.

“The economic recovery has not been long enough or strong enough along the way yet to produce the kind of rapid employment that people are hoping for,” Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers LLC in St. Louis, which produces the figures with ADP, said in a conference call with reporters after the report.

The ADP figures were forecast to show a gain of 40,000 jobs, according to the median estimate of 35 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Projections ranged from a loss of 20,000 to a 100,000 gain.

March Rebound

Economists including Nigel Gault of IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts, say severe winter storms in parts of the country last month likely depressed Labor Department payroll figures, while better weather in March will probably boost to this month’s numbers. Weather has less influence on the ADP report, economists say.

“Today’s figure does not incorporate a weather-related rebound that could be present in this month’s” report from the Labor Department, Prakken said in a statement. “It is reasonable to expect” that the government’s report will be “stronger” than the ADP estimate, he said.

The Labor Department’s report in two days is forecast to show the unemployment rate held at 9.7 percent in March for a third consecutive month, according to the Bloomberg survey median. The jobless rate has dropped since reaching a 26-year high of 10.1 percent in October.

The economy has lost 8.4 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007, the most of any downturn in the post- World War II era. In February, U.S. payrolls shrank by 36,000.

Goods Producers

Today’s ADP report showed a decrease of 51,000 workers in goods-producing industries including manufacturers and construction companies. Service providers added 28,000 workers.

Employment in construction fell by 43,000, while factories lost 9,000 jobs, ADP said.

Companies employing more than 499 workers shrank their workforces by 7,000 jobs. Medium-sized businesses, with 50 to 499 employees, cut 4,000 jobs and small companies decreased payrolls by 12,000, ADP said.

Caterpillar Inc., the world’s largest maker of construction equipment, said last week that it plans to hire 500 workers this year to expand a generator plant in Newberry, South Carolina. “The expansion is likely to take three to four years and could vary based on demand and other factors,” Jim Dugan, a Caterpillar spokesman, said March 17 in an e-mail.

Other companies are still trimming payrolls. J.M. Smucker Co., the maker of jams, Folgers coffee and Jif peanut butter, said last week it is reducing the number of North American manufacturing facilities to 18 from 22. The cuts are estimated to result in a reduction of 700 full-time positions, or 15 percent of the Orrville, Ohio-based company’s workforce.

The ADP report is based on data from about 360,000 businesses with more than 22 million workers on payrolls. ADP began keeping records in January 2001 and started publishing its numbers in 2006.

Boehner: A Little Less Bullshit, A Little More Oil

Boehner: A Little Less Bullshit, A Little More Oil

March 31st, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

Boehner

Politico:

The top House Republican said the White House’s decision to begin offshore drilling across huge expanses of ocean is a “positive step,” but he still blasted the Obama administration for keeping areas on the West Coast closed to such exploration.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said that the administration “continues to defy the will of the American people” who, in 2008, supported a congressional decision to allow oil exploration off the Pacific Coast and Alaska.

“Opening up areas off the Virginia coast to offshore production is a positive step, but keeping the Pacific Coast and Alaska, as well as the most promising resources of the Gulf of Mexico, under lock and key makes no sense at a time when gasoline prices are rising and Americans are asking ‘Where are the jobs?’” Boehner said in an e-mailed statement Wednesday morning.

The decision to drill off the coasts of the United States has long been championed by Republicans, while many environmental activists have opposed such exploration.

Obama’s decision to open up certain Atlantic and Gulf Coast drilling will be announced Wednesday morning at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Boehner’s mixed reaction is a preview of the likely Republican response.

“It’s long past time for this administration to stop delaying American energy production off all our shores and start listening to the American people who want an ‘all of the above’ strategy to produce more American energy and create more jobs,” Boehner said in his statement.

Sarah Palin: Peace Not Possible if Iran Escapes Real Sanctions

Sarah Palin: Peace Not Possible if Iran Escapes Real Sanctions

Peace Not Possible if Iran Escapes Real Sanctions
 Yesterday at 9:05pm
This is a meaningful week for so many of us. As millions of Christians and Jews celebrate this Holy Week, it’s appropriate to reflect on developments in the Holy Land. Israel faces a nuclear threat from Iran that grows every day. Today we learned that the CIA has concluded that Iran already has the capability and the know-how to build nuclear weapons. While President Obama once said a nuclear-armed Iran would be “unacceptable,” after more than a year in office it’s sobering to have to acknowledge that his administration has made no progress in implementing “crippling” sanctions on Iran, let alone halting Iran’s nuclear program. Even the rhetoric moved in the wrong direction – recently the administration downgraded their call for “crippling” sanctions to sanctions that “bite.” Shockingly, as we learned last week, these “biting” sanctions will no longer include actions that could actually change Iran’s behavior, including limiting Iran’s access to international capital markets and banking services or closing air space and waters to Iran’s national air and shipping lines. So the issue is not when the so-called sanctions will come (President Obama promised them in “weeks” today) but whether they will even “nibble.” And while the Obama administration was more than willing to use every parliamentary trick in the book to ram its government health care takeover through Congress, conversely, it has worked hard to stall bipartisan efforts to pass the Iran Sanctions Act.

Many, many Americans and our allies know that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, the consequences will be catastrophic for our interests in the Middle East, and we want our government to do everything in its power to prevent Iran from acquiring nukes. We foresee a regional nuclear arms race beginning as other countries seek their own nuclear weapons to protect themselves from Iran. Nuclear non-proliferation efforts would be over. The U.S. and our allies in the international community would be shown to be impotent – after long claiming that Iranian nuclear weapons could not and would not be tolerated. And Israel would face the gravest threat since its creation. Iran’s leaders have repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel and with nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, the mullahs would be in a position to launch a Second Holocaust.

Iran continues to develop long range missiles. Its missiles can reach Israel and Europe right now and in time they will be able to reach US territory.

This issue is the most serious security challenge facing the U.S. in the region. Yet just as the Obama administration inexplicably gives up on imposing crippling sanctions on Iran, it’s taken an uncompromising hard line against one country in the Middle East: Israel. On his recent visit to Washington, the Israeli Prime Minister was treated like an unwelcome guest, as shown by White House actions such as refusing to be photographed with Israel’s Prime Minister.

Public demands for concessions have been made of the Israelis while the Palestinians add ever more conditions to their participation in peace talks, and those in the administration that dare to argue for looking at these policies through the lens of Israel’s security needs are subject to slanderous attacks from “senior administration officials.” The Obama administration has their priorities exactly backwards; we should be working with our friend and democratic ally to stop Iran’s nuclear program, not throwing in the towel on sanctions while treating Israel like an enemy.

In a week when events in the Holy Land thousands of years ago are on the minds of millions, we would all do well to include Israel’s security in our prayers as we encourage our government to do all it can to ensure there is never a nuclear Iran able to threaten our interests or our allies.

– Sarah Palin

Obama Medicare pick urges ‘radical transfer of power’

Obama Medicare pick urges ‘radical transfer of power’

March 31st, 2010

By Aaron Klein, WND

 Donald Berwick is Obama’s radical pick to head Medicare

President Obama’s reported pick to run Medicare and Medicaid, Donald Berwick, has argued for a “radical transfer of power” in the health industry and claimed patients’ quality of  care in the U.S. medical system is currently measured by the “color of their skin,” WND has learned.

The Financial Times and other news organizations yesterday quoted an administration official stating Obama intends to nominate Berwick to take the helm of the largest medical payer in the nation – the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The news emerged as the White House announced it had sidestepped Senate confirmations by appointing 15 nominees to administration positions, including a controversial top lawyer for two U.S. labor unions.

Berwick, president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, has been widely recognized as one of the most sought-after experts on health-care quality. In 2005, Modern Healthcare, a leading industry publication, named Berwick the third most powerful person in American medicine.

At a 2008 Families USA conference speech documented by Health Beat, a healthcare industry blog, Berwick slammed the U.S. health-care system as “bloated” and “broken.”

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Damn the Evidence, Full Speed Ahead?

Damn the Evidence, Full Speed Ahead?

March 31st, 2010

By Victor Davis Hanson, National Review

Obama says full speed ahead! 

The strangest thing about Obama’s gargantuan, trillion-dollar-plus new health-care entitlement is the timing.

Not only are we running $1.7 trillion annual deficits and scheduled to nearly double the $11 trillion debt in only eight years — and watching the logical end to an entitlement state in Greece’s implosion — but we are witnessing the meltdown of almost every government-run program imaginable: Medicare is broke; the Postal Service is insolvent and cutting back Saturday service (but probably not a commensurate one-sixth of their budget); and now Social Security spends more than it takes in.

So is this frenzied effort to expand government, widen entitlements, raise taxes, and borrow more money some sort of nihilistic urge to achieve a universal, cradle-to-grave, redistributionist entitlement state at about the same time the entire system goes bankrupt?

Constant campaigning, photo-ops, fluff interviews, adulatory essays in the corrupt media — all this can give a one or two point plus in the polls. But the reasons the bumps are transitory and followed by net losses after a week or two is that the public now realizes we are broke.

Read More:

Barack’s Transformative Presidency

Barack’s Transformative Presidency

March 31st, 2010

By SHELBY STEELE, Wall Street Journal

The big government liberalism that Mr. Obama uses to make himself history-making also alienates him in the center-right America of today.

Obama strives to transform the nation

It has to be acknowledged that, in his battle for health-care reform, President Obama has shown real presidential mettle. He did what it took to win his way. He put every ounce of his political capital on the line, and he never blinked. For all the wrongheadedness of this reform—and the ugly backroom dealing that finally carried the day—the president himself will now enjoy a new respect at home and abroad. He will be less dismissible.

But if the old bowing and boyish president is receding, a new and more ominous president is emerging. And it is now apparent that Mr. Obama wants to be—above all else—a profoundly transformative president. He has spoken admiringly of the way Ronald Reagan changed the “trajectory” of history, and clearly he would like to launch a trajectory of his own.

But Reagan came into office as a very well-defined man with an unequivocal sense of direction. Agree with him or not, you knew what kind of society he wanted. Mr. Obama, despite his new resolve, remains rather undefined—a president happy to have others write his “transformative” legislation. As the health-care bill and the stimulus package illustrate, scale is functioning as vision. From where does it come?

Well, suppose you were the first black president of the United States and, therefore, also the first black head-of-state in the entire history of Western Civilization. You represent a human first, something entirely new under the sun. There aren’t even any myths that speak directly to your circumstance, no allegorical tales of ancient black kings who ruled over white kingdoms.

If anything, you may literally experience yourself as a myth in the making. After all, you embody a heretofore unimaginable transcendence over the old human plagues of tribalism, hatred and ignorance. Standing on ground that no man has stood on before, wouldn’t it be understandable if you felt pressured by the grandiosity of your circumstance? Isn’t there a special—and impossible—burden on “the first” to do something that lives up to his historical originality?

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