Saturday, 07 March 2009

A DOSE OF ECONOMIC REALITY FOR BARACK OBAMA

Ken Berwitz

Paul Mirengoff of www.powerlineblog.com found this quote by George Gilder.  It explains what is wrong with the Obama/Democratic economic plan.  Gilder says it so well that I have nothing to add, other than putting what I consider the key passages in bold print:

Sobering thought of the day

George Gilder, writing in the Claremont Review of Books:

The experts. . .now completely in control of Washington [are] attempting to spend their way to political dominance, while taking well over half the voters off the federal tax rolls and giving actual taxpayers a greater incentive to hide and shuffle existing wealth than to earn or create new wealth. . . .But globalization means that entrepreneurial creativity -- in which the United States is increasing its lead -- can survive by adopting foreign locales and resources. Countries such as Israel (a global cernter of innovation) and Ireland (a low tax haven), China (a manufacturing dervish), and India (ascendant in software) are taking the lead and will help capitalism survive the Lilliputians currently trying to ruin it in the U.S.

What will matter, after all, is not whether President Obama approves of markets but whether markets approve of President Obama, who may think he has protected his future by buying off he middle class with tax rebates but will soon discover that his future will be decided by global markets for currencies and stocks.


THE MADOFF PLEA DEAL

Ken Berwitz

It appears that bernard madoff, the most prolific thief in United States history (outside of politicians, that is) has reached some kind of a plea deal.

Here, via an excerpt from the article posted at www.abcnrews.com, are the particulars:

Calling All Victims: Madoff Expected to Plead Guilty

Criminal Case of the $50 Billion Fraudster Nearing Conclusion

By RICHARD ESPOSITO and BRIAN ROSS

March 6, 2009

In the government's clearest statement yet that a deal in the criminal case of Bernard Madoff is close to being made, a victims' rights motion was filed Friday evening by the U.S. attorney in the case that indicates Madoff will appear next Thursday in a plea proceeding.

U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin signed an order granting a request that the thousands of victims of the alleged Ponzi scheme will receive online notification of the court proceedings. They will have to periodically check a special web site set up for the criminal case proceedings.

Any victim who wishes to be heard in Thursday's proceeding will need to notify the government by Wednesday March 11th at 10:00 a.m. The internet address for victims to contact is: usanys.madoff@usdoj.gov.

The prosecution sought the court's permission to notify the victims this way because of the thousands of alleged victims already identified and the prospect of there being thousands more still unidentified.

Under federal law, crime victims' rights include timely notification of court proceedings.

Madoff Plea Deal

It was reveleaed Friday that federal prosecutors have apparently reached a plea deal with the accused con man, in which he will admit to his role in the biggest financial crime in American history.

The deal does not specify how much time Madoff would spend in prison, nor does it exclude the prosecution of Madoff's family or former associates, lawyers familiar with case said.

One former federal prosecutor says he doubts the deal will go easy on Madoff and that the disgraced financier will be spending a long time behind bars.

"I doubt very seriously whether there would be any concession by the government as to jail time or diminished jail time for Mr. Madoff," said Sean O'Shea. "Given the sentencing guidelines in a fraud of this type, I think you're looking at a man who is 70 years old, I think you're looking at the rest of his natural life."

Madoff says he acted alone and that once he confessed to his sons, they turned him in to the FBI. Investigators in the case believe Madoff set up the sequence of the events to give his sons deniability.

Prosecutors could use the charges in the information to again challenge the terms of Madoff's bail, which currently allows him to be under house arrest in his $7 million luxury penthouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Madoff wears an electronic ankle bracelet and his wife pays for a team of private security guards

In a filing in federal court Friday, prosecutors said once Madoff waives the right to a grand jury indictment, a legal formality, the government would file an "information" against him. An information is a formal document containing the allegations and criminal charges filed against the defendant.

Madoff's lawyer, Dan Horwitz, told ABCNews.com he has not yet received the waiver for his client to sign.

"The significance of this is that the case will proceed without a grand jury hearing the evidence," said Horwitz.

Horwitz said he could not comment on any deal with prosecutors. "By filing an information, it doesn't always mean someone pleads guilty to it," said Horwitz.

I don't know how to say this any other way:  If the so-called "plea deal" does anything less than get this scumbag hell out of that penthouse apartment and into jail, or if it lets any member of his family off the hook in any way, or if it lets any one of them hide any of their assets anywhere in the world, it is complete BS.

I'll wait to see.  But, truthfully, I don't have a good feeling about this.


PARTY HEARTY, BARACK

Ken Berwitz

After the horrible loss of life, the worst repercussion of 9/11 was what it did to our economy.  We were literally in chaos.

(Fortunately, President Bush took action that stopped the free-fall and reversed it.  His detractors conveniently forget the years of  economic growth and low unemployment which followed, but that doesn't change the fact that they occurred.)

But let's go back to the post-9/11 months, when our economy was in a shambles.  What if, during that time, President and Ms. Bush decided that the White House was a great place to have lavish, expensive parties?  What if he decided to run those parties one after another while the rest of the country was suffering?  What do you suppose the media would have said about it?

While you're mulling that over, please read the following excerpt from an article by Bob Unruh for www.worldnetdaily.com.  It might help your throught process.  The bold print is mine:

OBAMA WATCH CENTRAL
White House nightlife under investigation
'This party atmosphere sends the wrong message'

Posted: March 07, 2009
12:20 am Eastern

By Bob Unruh
 2009 WorldNetDaily

An organization that serves as a watchdog on the U.S. government for American taxpayers has launched a campaign to uncover exactly how much tax money is being spent on parties at the Obama White House.

The president has shown a penchant for lavish galas, such as the huge assembly orchestrated in Denver when he accepted his party's nomination for president an outdoor gathering for some 75,000 featuring a stage with Greek columns. He also held a multimillion-dollar victory celebration in Chicago, and his fancy inauguration cost an estimated $170 million, according to ABC News.

Now, Larry Klayman, founder of Freedom Watch, told WND today he's seeking information about the partying in the White House since the Obamas moved in.

As WND reported this week, Freedom Watch is seeking information from the federal government on who had input into bailout legislation and whether they got anything in return.

Klayman said the reports of the partying at the White House, "with the likes of Steve Wonder and other high priced entertainment stars," will be the focus of document requests being submitted to the General Services Administration. The requests will seek to determine how much taxpayer money is being used.

"Barack and Michelle Obama have been throwing taxpayer funded parties nearly every night with their 'friends' and supporters, with Michelle Obama even exhorting them not to 'break' White House property," Klayman's announcement said.

"This party atmosphere sends the wrong message to the American people. As the Obama-Clinton crowd party on, the American people are suffering greatly," Klayman said.

"It was right to criticize corporate execs for using taxpayer bailout money on bonuses and corporate junkets. In the face of this criticism, it is an outrage for Barack and Michelle Obama to party on, as Rome burns. It's like throwing a party at a funeral," he said.

According to a report by the news and commentary website Politico, many of the parties have been just that parties, not political and government meetings.

"Using one of the worlds most famous private residences as bait, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are unleashing a bipartisan charm offensive and exploiting every square inch of their new home to make friends and influence rivals. The social calendar suggests a return to the days of Camelot," the report said.

"Since moving into their new digs, the first couple has hosted a half-dozen gatherings from bipartisan cocktail receptions to a public open house to the more intimate Super Bowl party ... ending many of their days past midnight," the report said.

"Most recently the Obamas opened the White House doors to House caucus leaders from the moderate Blue Dog Democrats and the Congressional Black Caucus. White House aides say the couple hopes to make the Wednesday cocktail parties a tradition."

The report quoted White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers saying the Obamas want to "replicate the same kind of environment they had in Chicago."

"If there was a party or an event [in Chicago], they were there," the report quoted "a friend" saying.

But is anything of government value accomplished?

"You would have felt like a fool talking about politics at this party," said Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., said after one major event. "I was surprised how much of a social event it was and how little of a political occasion it was."

Insiders said in the report that the Obama social schedule is busier than any other previous occupants of the White House.

"We haven't seen this kind of entertaining in a really long time," Dee Dee Myers, former White House press secretary to Bill Clinton, said in the report.

According to an ABC report, many of the parties have been on Wednesdays, and the report confirmed one featured a Stevie Wonder concert.

"This is a pretty big house, so we get lonely," the report said Obama announced. "It's hard for me to move around out there some times so I got to bring the world to me." Published reports said the Jonas Brothers were on hand in the White House for a special event for the Obama daughters, Sasha and Malia, on inauguration night.

The economy is down the crapper.  People are hurting terribly.  The so-called stimulus package that was supposed to lift us out of it was instead greeted with an 18% drop in the already-gutted stock market. 

But party on, Barack.  You're a Saint, aren't you?  In the eyes of most mainstream media, you still can do no wrong.  And, hey, it's not like you're paying for it out of your own pocket.  It's coming from what's left of our tax money.  So who cares?  

Gee, I hope we stocked up on that $100 a pound steak.......you never know when one of the networks might unmesmerize and start talking about this.  And then we'll get stuck with that $20 a pound poor-people's stuff again.


WHAT IF SEC. OF STATE CLINTON WERE A REPUBLICAN?

Ken Berwitz

From Ed Morrissey of www.hotair.com:

Two gift-gaffe days in a row for Obama administration

posted at 5:40 pm on March 6, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, we talked about the incredibly thoughtless snub from the Obamas to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in the traditional gift exchange in Browns first visit to the Obama White House.  Today, Hillary makes it a gaffetastic week by proving to the Russians that the State Department cant translate worth a damn:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened her first extended talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by giving him a present meant to symbolize the Obama administrations vow to press the reset button on U.S.-Russia relations.

She handed a palm-sized box wrapped with a bow. Lavrov opened it and pulled out the gift: a red button on a black base with a Russian word peregruzka printed on top.

We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it? Clinton asked.

You got it wrong, Lavrov said.

Instead of reset, Lavrov said the word on the box meant overcharge.

Clinton and Lavrov laughed.

Yeah, Im sure Lavrov laughed.  Later, he probably told his deputy, Tell the crypto guys they can take it easy.

Some will say, Come on, its just a light moment, but lets think about what Hillary was doing here.  She was making fun of the previous administrations diplomacy with her reset button, a rather nasty piece of work.  Ill bet the Bush administration and Condi Rice would have gotten the translation correct before making that joke and Id bet even more money they wouldnt have thought to make fun of Hillarys husband in that fashion in the first place.

Can we get a reset button?

If this were a Republican White House and that were a Republican Secretary of State, it would have been lead story material across the media. 

The New York Times, LA Times and other big city dailies would be gasping for air at the Sec. of State's inability to perform at even minimal competency level. 

Time and Newsweek would talk about a week in which the Secretary told Europe -including Greece - that the USA has a far longer history of Democracy than they do, followed by mispronouncing name after name, followed by this imbecilic fiasco.  They would demand that she be replaced immediately.

Chris Moutthews would do a panel discussion with members of both parties questionning how she could possibly be allowed to continue in office.

keith olbermann would do a "my head is exploding" special commentary and call the Sec. of State a pompous imbecile and the President even worse for appointing her.

Well, Hillary Clinton is not a Republican.  Ms. Clinton is a Democrat.

So grow old waiting for any of this to happen.  If it is mentioned at at all, it will be given one-day-and-out treatment by these same media.

Doubt me?  Did you see any of this on the news or read it in a major newspaper yet?

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.


TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE STOCK MARKET PLUNGE

Ken Berwitz

The stock market has fallen through a trap door, and Barack Obama does not want to be blamed.  It's all President Bush's fault, you see.

Is this truly so? Is it truly the fault of Bush and Bush alone?  Well where did the market go after the President signed his stimulus package - the one that no Republican had a thing to do with because they were completely shut out of writing it?

Down 18% in less than a month, that's where.  And let's remember that this was a market which already had dropped from 9,500 the day Mr. Obama was elected, to that 7,900 figure.  Even a bad market will correct here and there.  But this market took one look at what Mr. Obama and his fellow Democrats did, and kept going south even faster.

So who is responsible for this?  Not Mr. Obama's and not Democrats?  Yeah, right.

Jennifer Rubin, writing for www.commentarymagazine.com debunks this BS beautifully.  Watch her do it:

Add Bloomberg and ABC to the List

Jennifer Rubin - 03.06.2009 - 12:03 PM

Bloomberg isnt buying the Obama administrations not our fault take on the stock-market crash. So Robert Gibbs will now have to add that entire news service, along with the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, Rick Santelli, and Jim Cramer to his list of supposed know-nothings who are too dense to appreciate the brilliance of Tim Geithner and the efficacy of a spending orgy, tax hikes, nationalization of healthcare and major industries, and cap and trade. Bloomberg reports:

Its the Obama bear market, said Dan Veru, who helps oversee $2.8 billion at Palisade Capital Management in Fort Lee, New Jersey. We dont know what the rules are in so many different areas the government is touching.

[ .   .    .]

Obama should be listening to the stock market more than talking to it, said Kenneth Fisher, the billionaire chairman of Woodside, California-based Fisher Investments Inc., which oversees $22 billion. He hasnt gotten out of the gate well.

Like the old joke: if people tell you that youre drunk, perhaps its time to sit down.

And ABCs the Note gets into the act with a jab at the PR-obsessed president who might not get the big picture on a day when unemployment hits 8.1%:

From the White House, on the presidents trip Friday: The President will deliver remarks at the Columbus Police Graduation Exercises. The 25 Columbus police recruits graduating Friday learned in January that instead of being sworn-in as officers, they would be let go. However, Mayor Michael Coleman announced last week that he would use money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to pay the recruits salaries so they could keep their jobs.

Yes, 25 jobs. Just wait until that new Arbys opens out on Route 50. . . .

Yowser. And then on a more serious and entirely cogent note, Rick Klein asks:

On a policy level, how long before the Wall Street tumble and other awful economic news will force a major re-thinking of the Obama economic strategy? (Can you say, Stimulus: The Sequel?)

On a political level, how long can the president muster the public support for his prescriptions, without tangible evidence that theyre working? (Can he get there without buy-in from economic commentators?) (And if he cant stock his Cabinet, can he fix an economy?)

Now, imagine an alternative Obama program: Following the atrocious announcement of 8.1% unemployment, he hits the reset button. He announces there will be a two-year moratorium on corporate taxes. He cuts the payroll taxes. He declares he will veto the omnibus spending bill and that he intends to keep governments share of GDP below 20% so as not to duplicate the pattern of other hobbled economies with enormous welfare-state obligations. He announces a recovery first program in which cap and trade, healthcare, and card check will be declared long-term goals   but not the focus of his time or attention so long as we are in a recession. And then he replaces Tim Geithner with Martin Feldstein. Would the bear market end? Would 401K values and confidence rise? Would business executives rally to his side?

If you want to be in the business of economic recovery you need to do things to encourage that. If you want to be in the business of conducting a grand social experiment, you ignore the advice and pleas of just about everyone with a stake or expertise in the economy. And then you watch the markets continue to dive.

The last paragraph is in bold print because it nails the problem perfectly. 

Barack Obama, and the hard-leftists working with him, are not trying to resolve the economic downturn per se.  They are trying to transform the government into a European type quasi-socialist state.  Maybe not even quasi, maybe the real thing altogether.

This is what their actions will result in, this is what their actions will achieve. 

And I hope we voters like it.  Because we created the conditions for it to happen.


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