Friday, August 26, 2011

AUG 25, 2011 14:41 EDT
Mark Miller

“It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words,” wrote George Orwell in 1984. And so it is with a mangled word that is central to the 2012 presidential race and the work of the Congressional deficit-cutting Super Committee: entitlement.

In the context of federal programs such as Social Security and Medicare, the word entitlement refers to a benefit you are granted by law. You are entitled to the benefit not because it is welfare, but because it is a program you have paid into over time. You can count on it because it is insurance that isn’t subject to the judgment of a case worker or the spending priorities of budgetmakers.

This original – and accurate – meaning has been under attack ever since the days of the Reagan Revolution. One of the first shots was fired by David Stockman, the Reagan Administration budget director who famously called Social Security closet socialism and a “coast-to-coast soup line.” Stockman’s comment preceded Ronald Reagan’s proposal to slash Social Security benefits in 1981, a political debacle that ultimately led to the compromise reforms of the bi-partisan Greenspan Commission in 1983.

But the word entitlement has been under sustained and successful assault ever since, with the result that most Americans now understand it as a four-letter pejorative term connoting welfare—handouts for people who don’t pull their own weight. It’s used that that way by all Republicans, many Democrats and nearly all Beltway media.

Do entitlements play a role in our national debt problem? Yes and no.

Social Security doesn’t contribute directly to the deficit. The Social Security Trust Fund (SSTF) runs an enormous surplus – and despite what you hear, the program is cash flow positive if you include interest on SSTF bonds and income taxes paid on benefits by high-income recipients. Social Security does face a long-term imbalance around the year 2035, when the SSTF will be exhausted, but that problem can be remedied easily by eliminating the cap on income subject to payroll taxes (See: Warren Buffett.)

Social Security adds pressure on the deficit only in the sense that the SSTF surplus is invested in a special form of Treasury note that is owed back to the fund. But that obligation is no different than any other Treasury debt.

Rapidly escalating healthcare costs are a major driver of the deficit, but Medicare reflects that inflation; it isn’t a direct cause of it. What’s more, Medicare delivers far more healthcare for the buck than private insurance; the notion that we can cut costs through privatization just doesn’t hold water.

When pollsters ask the public about Social Security and Medicare, the response is clear: keep both programs intact. These responses are consistent across party lines and age groups. For example, a survey by progressive pollster Celinda Lake for the National Committee to Protect Social Security and Medicare shows that Americans overwhelmingly reject the suggestion that Social Security contributes to the national deficit, or that benefits should be cut to reduce the debt.

But ask the public about entitlements, and the response is different. “Americans are less group-oriented and more individually oriented,” says Lake. “And entitlement sounds like something that is given to a group. When you describe this as an ‘earned benefit or a guaranteed benefit that you paid into,’ that sounds like something that is individualistic.”

One of the ironies here is that the architects of Social Security and Medicare took great pains to distinguish the programs from welfare. Instead, they were designed to be social insurance programs, which pool risk broadly. In the case of Social Security, you pay for protection while you’re working, so that you and your family will be protected when you can’t work.

The Orwellian destruction of entitlement exploits public ignorance of this excellent concept.

“In areas where people people are unfamiliar with a concept, the best way to reach them is through analogy,” says Drew Westen, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Emory University and author of The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation.

“An analogy moves you from a domain you don’t know to a domain you do understand. If the analogy for Medicare is entitlement, that makes people think of a handout. If the analogy is insurance that you pay for with your taxes, not only are you mapping to a domain people consider completely legitimate and appropriate, but you are reminding them that their taxes are going for something that is useful to them.”

Social Security and Medicare aren’t just useful – they’re essential pillars holding up the rickety roof of retirement security. Now, both will be subject to the work of the Super Committee, which will be dominated by Republicans and so-called centrist Democrats who could very well send entitlement cuts to the full Congress for an up or down vote. On the campaign trail, Republicans unanimously declare their readiness to cut entitlements, and President Obama seems ready to go along.

But here’s the good news: Orwell’s Newspeak aimed to supplant the English language entirely by the year 2050. So, there’s still plenty of time to stop the destruction of entitlements before it’s too late.

Entitlement – something you are owed or due. A more exact definition may be: the fact of having a right to something. The ‘something’ may well be very vague and varies at a given time to place, and even in purpose.

Set the entitlement aside for a moment and consider the median income in the US – about $50,000. About half below, about half above. Entitlements are for everyone – the half above and the half below, although a sizeable percentage of the half above, have resources beyond entitlements, to assist their living situations (whether medical or daily costs). It is the percentage below that discussions center on and about, even when they do not reference the group specifically. One point in any argument on this issue would be to keep it vague and do not limit terms or understandings to any given group. It makes it more applicable and Mr. Miller handles this argument tact quite well.

I looked back at my Social Security statement. That statement is several months out of date, but the numbers will not change and the date is not material. I selected 20 years of taxes and ‘contributions’ to the entitlement programs for comparison. I was quite young, starting work very young, no college degree – much like a majority of young people today. My total contributions (my portion of the payment) to social security were $10,614.00. My total contribution to Medicare was $7,594.00.

Of course, the payroll taxes have increased since I started to work, but the general argument is not in question. If I ‘retired’ at 62, and I lived until I was 82 (and I would hope I can manage a few more than 82 years), I would receive in Social Security $111,120. Slightly more than I paid in by over one hundred thousand dollars. If I retired at 67 and lived 20 additional years, I would receive $157,680 in social security payments. More than $145,000 above and beyond what I paid in to social security. If I quit working at age 70, and lived until I was 82, I would receive $117,360.


Am I entitled to more than $100,000 beyond what I paid into the system? When I am 67, I will fall down, break my arm, and fracture my wrist. Broken arm – very least $2500. Wrist – no idea, but say $1000. $3,500 total without doctor’s costs and medication. Moreover, suddenly we have spent half of what I contributed to Medicare. Am I entitled to suck out the resources after my contribution limits have been reached?


The answer is quite simple – because we have spent a lifetime contributing to the ‘system’ and the system made us a promise and … not quite.

Social Security was never intended as a forever and ever and ever program to make you feel better. The original program had a life expectancy of 50 years and would wither away at that time. Social Security was intended as a safety net, in case you fall. Not as a cover, your living costs and allows you to have satellite or all 400 cable stations.

Furthermore, the program was always a pyramid scheme. Take from the workers and give to those retiring. This works excellent when you have workers. We do not. Those who are contributing, like my personal example, are NOT contributing anything to the system ($10,000 covers nothing, and $7500 covers less) and certainly not enough to cover the majority who are retiring. I am not exact on numbers but we have 1 worker for every 1.8 retirees, and soon we will have 2 retirees and 1 worker. HOW is that going to work. Where is that entitlement coming from and what insane person would continue to argue we maintain the status quo because we paid into it and that is that.

Insolvency comes to mind: Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and France … there are not enough workers to make the payments we have made all along. We do not have the workers and before you argue that, we should bring in more immigrant workers, remember they are paid about what I was paid, and contribute enough to cover a manhole cover on the street, NOT the Social Security payments for retirees.

Entitlement? Our country is entitled to the support and defense by its citizens. Not only in time of war, but in time of need – we must sacrifice in war and in times when maintaining the current level of support is untenable without bringing the entire economic house down upon us. The answer is not to tax the rich more – we have seen what the ‘rich’ do when they are taxed – the move their corporations to Mexico, India, Pakistan, Indonesia … everywhere else but this country. If we fail, we not only destroy those entitlements Mr. Miller is supportive of, we undermine the economic and ultimately the military strength of this country.

I am entitled to be protected from the wolf and I don’t care if you have a broken arm. I do not want to be eaten and that is of primary importance to me, and to society.


Sudan - Machine Guns for God

The Bible does NOT say 'Thou shall not kill' ... the Bible says - Thou shall not murder.

There IS a difference and for people unable or unwilling to see the difference, it is a good thing there are people who are willing to, regardless of their worth, protect them. 

There are of course restrictions.  You can tighten them up, like the laws in Israel, restrict what the military can and cannot do when executing a strategic removal of a terrorist / killer.  The law is - the terrorist must be en route / in-process, or getting ready to go out and kill innocents.  At that time, it is legal to remove said killer.

Likewise - when a group, a person, a government, state they will kill children or capture and train them or ... it is moral and legal to protect them - including killing anyone who tries to harm the innocents.

It would be immoral to do anything less.

It wasn't so much a bolt-out-of-the-blue, as a baby that turned biker Sam Childers to God.

Against long odds, his ex-stripper girlfriend finally got pregnant, and that was pretty much it.

He gave up the outlaw lifestyle, though not the guns.

He quit peddling the dope that was killing junkies, and took his newly-reformed, God-fearing self to Sudan and commenced killing rebels so he could free child soldiers.

At least, that's his story.

It was enough to persuade Hollywood to make a soon-to-be-released film with actor Gerard Butler playing the man himself.


Austria: Serious Problems

Memories of Fritzl.  It is just ... unspeakable.  How.  A culture so closed off that it could enable people like this.  Neighbors so oblivious.  A community devoid of community.  Family and friends ... absent.  I don't understand.

The fact Fritzl received life in prison.  Not enough.  This guy, should fall head first into a trash truck, or perhaps he should be thrown into a 4x4x50 ft deep hole.

25/08 23:24 CET

Austrian police have arrested an 85-year-old man suspected of imprisoning and sexually abusing his two daughters for more than 40 years.

Police say both women, now aged 53 and 45, suffer psychiatric problems.

Investigators claim he kept his daughters locked in a small kitchen with only a narrow wooden bench to sleep on. They say he beat them systematically at the house in the village of St Peter am Hart from 1970 until May of this year.

Police chief Martin Plumberger said: ‘The family always lived in seclusion. The mother and the daughters never said anything probably because of physical and emotional pressure from the father.’

There are echoes of two similar Austrian cases in recent years; Josef Fritzl, who was jailed for life after fathering seven children with his incarcerated daughter, and schoolgirl Natascha Kampusch who was imprisoned for eight years in a basement.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Obama on Vacation

NO ONE denies that a President is entitled to time off.  NO ONE denies Barrack should have time to go golfing, time to go to Hyannis Port, time to go to Hawaii ... no ONE.  The question is how much time should he be taking.  Should is subjective.

Bush would play golf and the leftist media would place ads of Bush golfing while men died in Iraq.  Well, to be honest, more are dying today than died in 2008 if the numbers remain consistent (which they will not, but it is the point not the detail that is important).  He golfs more than Bush did.  Oh but he has stress - didn't Bush have stress?  Nah, he was always drunk (notice the slurred speech) - ah, but also notice the expenditures by the Obama's for alcohol - more than Bush probably spent in fifteen years of drinking - when he drank.

The difference is - people who have money, have a vacation home.  People who don't - when they have power - want the same thing but cannot afford it, so it comes out of the people's money.  Obama is living a life he would never have lived as a Senator in Illinois - of course he has stresses he would never have had either, but that is entirely his choice, to embark on that world, and understand how the people feel, how desperate they are.  He claimed he understood that desperation when he campaigned, and now he spends money on his vacations like the very rich he so attacked during his campaign - yet the left are asleep or ignoring these hypocrisies - and why?  Because ... simply because.  Because he is one of them, because he knows how to read (lots of fiction), because ....  They have no rational or logical reasons.  They simply pretend.

By Tamara Abraham
24th August 2011
The Daily Mail

The Obamas' summer break on Martha's Vineyard has already been branded a PR disaster after the couple arrived four hours apart on separate government jets.

But according to new reports, this is the least of their extravagances.

White House sources today claimed that the First Lady has spent $10million of U.S. taxpayers' money on vacations alone in the past year.

Branding her 'disgusting' and 'a vacation junkie', they say the 47-year-old mother-of-two has been indulging in five-star hotels, where she splashes out on expensive massages and alcohol.

The 'top source' told the National Enquirer: 'It's disgusting. Michelle is taking advantage of her privileged position while the most hardworking Americans can barely afford a week or two off work.

'When it's all added up, she's spent more than $10million in taxpayers' money on her vacations.'

The First Lady is believed to have taken 42 days of holiday in the past year, including a $375,000 break in Spain and a four-day ski trip to Vail, Colorado, where she spent $2,000 a night on a suite at the Sebastian hotel.

And the first family's nine-day stay in Martha's Vineyard is also proving costly, with rental of the Blue Heron Farm property alone costing an estimated $50,000 a week.

The source continued: 'Michelle also enjoys drinking expensive booze during her trips. She favours martinis with top-shelf vodka and has a taste for rich sparking wines.

'The vacations are totally Michelle's idea. She's like a junkie. She can't schedule enough getaways, and she lives from one to the next - all the while sticking it to hardworking Americans.'

While the President and his wife do pay for some of their personal expenses from their own pocket, the website says that the amount paid by the couple is 'dwarfed by the overall cost to the public'.

The magazine also reported that Mrs Obama, whose fashion choices are widely followed, had been going on 'wild shopping sprees', much to the distress of her husband, who, its sources reveal, is 'absolutely furious' at his wife's 'out-of-control spending'.

The President has already come under fire this week over his decision to take a family vacation while millions of Americans are out of work and countless more are financially strapped.

But the situation sparked further anger after he and his wife elected to fly separately to the Massachusetts retreat - despite travelling on the same day.

Mr Obama left the White House aboard Marine One on his way to Andrews Air Force base to hitch a lift aboard Air Force One - along with First Dog Bo.

After landing at Cape Cod Coast Guard Air Station, he then took a final helicopter to his holiday destination to complete the remarkable 500-mile journey.

His wife and daughters, who arrived just four hours earlier, were also travelling from Washington, but took a specially designed military aircraft.

They would also have had their own motorcade from the airport to the vacation residence.



The exact cost is unclear as Mrs Obama and her 40 friends footed many personal expenses, such as hotels and meals themselves.

But the U.S. taxpayer would have paid for the First Lady's 68-strong security detail, personal staff, and use of presidential jet Air Force Two.

Per diems for the secret service team runs at around $281 each - nearly $98,000 for the length of the summer break.

Use of Air Force Two, the Air Force version of a 757, comes in at $149,900 for the round trip. This does not include time on the ground.

Mrs Obama's personal staff, of which there are an unknown amount and might cost considerably more per day, should also be taken into account.


According to the Hawaii Reporter, the bill for the $1.5m trip included:

• $63,000 on an early flight bringing Mrs Obama and the children to Hawaii ahead of the President.

• $1,000,000 on Mr Obama’s return trip from Washington on Air Force One.

• $38,000 for the ‘Winter White House’ beach property rental.

• $16,000 to rent nearby homes for Secret Service and Navy Seals.

• $134,000 for 24 White House staff to stay at the Moana Hotel.

• $251,000 in police overtime.

• $10,000 for an ambulance to be on hand at all times


Mrs Obama and her daughters stayed at the Sebastian hotel on Vail Mountain, where rooms cost more than $2,400 for multi-bedroom suites.

The family appear to have flown there on Air Force Two.

They were escorted to the resort by a motorcade of about a dozen vehicles, including 15 state and local law enforcement officers


The Blue Heron Farm estate, where the Obama family are currently staying, rents for about $50,000 a week.

According to U.S. News and World Report, the Coast Guard is required to keep ships floating near the property, the presidential helicopter and jet remain at the ready and security agents will be on 24-hour duty.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Libya and the Left: Peace, Democracy and all that crap

The Lefty Loons are out and will be out in the scores today, tomorrow, and in the following days and weeks smiling, laughing, and generally ecstatic over Obama's success in Libya.

There are several facts we conveniently 'forget', but then again, intellectual honesty is not trademarked by any ideology -

The US did not want to be involved and we resisted, even after the UN voted for a no-fly zone.  A curious thing that UN vote.  How do they go from a no-fly zone to supporting regime change?  A better question - how does the UN and US go from a no-fly zone to regime change?  Wasn't regime change bad in Iraq where a madman was not so mad, but in Libya where the bad man was never bad, just an annoyance - not like Kim or Amindinejad or Hussain.  Bad unless its good. 

So the US resisted and France took the lead.  The US waited.  France and Germany and England pressed ahead and the US waited.  Only when Europe made the US look weak and wilted did Obama step in and when he did he said our involvement would be 'hours' not 'days, or weeks' and when we enjoined the fight he again told us it was hours and days not weeks and months.  Over and over we heard that mantra.  Almost as often as we heard 'Get over it, we won'. 

And now, many many months later, hundreds of millions and several billions later, we come to an end.

And so we return to the cry of the left - how successful it has been.  The fact Obama sent in US special forces (against the law), spent billions on a war not supported or agreed to by congress (the only arm able to authorize war as we were told during the Iraq and Afghanistan action).  Liberals repeated the mantra that Bush was operating by fiat in waging war (despite the fact that from 2006 through 2008, a Democratic congress authorized the wars) unlike Obama (to be honest the Constitution does authorize the president to send troops into an action for a specified period of time, after which he must receive Congressional authorization to continue with the conflict).

So the left is ecstatic.  I am sure Jeanne Garofalo is in an orgasmic state - waiting for the sweets to be passed out on the streets of a now Democratic Libya.  Keith Obermann will probably look very seriously into the camera and give his top ten list with Libya being on the success side of the equation for Obama.  Liberals are usually driven by emotion and somewhat unstable (while on the other side Retardicans are simply incapable of tying a shoelace without instructions). 

I hate to interrupt their orgasmic orgy of joy, but I don't see or read much 'democracy' ...

Lachlan Markay
August 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm

The dust has not yet settled over the Libyan capital of Tripoli since rebels took control over the weekend. But already, a draft constitutional charter for the transitional state has appeared online (embedded below). It is just a draft, mind you, and gauging its authenticity at this point is difficult. There is also no way to know whether this draft or something similar will emerge as the final governing document for a new Libyan regime.

As both the Morning Bell and Washington in a Flash noted today, Heritage Fellow Jim Phillips recently pointed out that Islamist forces “appear to make up a small but not insignificant part of the opposition coalition,” and must be prevented “from hijacking Libya’s future.” Parts of the draft Constitution allay those fears, while others exacerbate them.

Much of the document describes political institutions that will sound familiar to citizens of Western liberal democracies, including rule of law, freedom of speech and religious practice, and a multi-party electoral system.

But despite the Lockean tenor of much of the constitution, the inescapable clause lies right in Part 1, Article 1: “Islam is the Religion of the State, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia).” Under this constitution, in other words, Islam is law. That makes other phrases such as “there shall be no crime or penalty except by virtue of the law” and “Judges shall be independent, subject to no other authority but law and conscience” a bit more ominous.


Dumber than Mud

There are those moment when you stop and wonder why God allowed such dumb creatures.  Ever watch an ant eater?  Makes little sense.  And a sloth - what on earth was going on with that creature.

And then we come to people who believe in fairies.

This is a video clip and will eventually be removed, as happens with all video clips.  However, the article follows.  The video clip can be watched (while it is posted) at this site.  Otherwise, the article follows:

By Indo Asian News Service

Guadalajara (Mexico), Aug 12 (IANS/EFE) An unemployed 22-year-old bricklayer claims he has found a fairy in this western Mexican metropolis.

Jose Maldonado, who charges a monetary 'donation' in exchange for displaying what appears to be a simple plastic figure kept in a container of formaldehyde, says he has already received 3,000 visits from people eager to see the so-called fairy at his home in Lomas Verdes, one of Guadalajara's poorest and most dangerous neighbourhoods.

'I was picking guavas and I saw a twinkling. I thought it was a firefly. I picked it up and felt that it was moving; when I looked at it I knew that it was a fairy godmother,' Maldonado told EFE.

The tale of the fairy that Maldonado claims to have discovered last weekend has run like wildfire through the area and his home is now besieged by the curious, some of whom wait for up to an hour to enter.

What Maldonado shows the paying public is a small container filled with formaldehyde containing a humanlike figure about 2 centimeters tall, with a gelatinous consistency and a certain resemblance to Peter Pan's Tinkerbell.

Maldonado says that what seems to be just a little plastic figure is a fairy and that it was alive when he found it. And there are those who believe him.

'I've seen everything and, yes, I believe the fairy is real. Therefore, I wanted to come to confirm that those myths are true,' said Cesar Ramirez, a visitor.

To be allowed to examine the 'fairy' for a few seconds and take a photograph of it, the curious must make a donation to financially help out Maldonado who recently lost his job.

His neighbours have also taken advantage of the situation to sell photographs and keyrings with the image of the fairy for about 20 pesos ($1.60), as well as refreshments including drinks and food to those people while they wait in line outside Maldonado's house.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mexico: Acapulco no longer a riviera. It's become a morgue

Sat, Aug 20 2011

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Authorities in Mexico found the decapitated bodies of four men and a woman in Acapulco on Saturday, the latest in a string of slayings in the popular Pacific resort this week.

Federal police said the corpses of two men and a woman were found tied up in the back of a sport utility vehicle near Acapulco beach, in what appeared to be a crime related to drug gangs.

Reforma newspaper said messages were left in the vehicle linking the killings to the powerful Sinaloa cartel, headed by Mexico's most wanted capo, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman.

The dismembered and decapitated bodies of two other men were found at the entrance to an outlet of Sam's Club, a unit of U.S. retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Daily Excelsior described the past few days as a "black week" for Acapulco, noting at least 25 people had been killed before Saturday's events.

Robberies and assaults have also plagued the port city, prompting local gas station attendants to stage a temporary walkout on Friday to protest the lack of security.

About 42,000 people have died in drug-related killings in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon went to war on the cartels shortly after taking office at the end of 2006.

Violence was long concentrated in northern Mexico, but cities farther south, including Acapulco, have increasingly been swept up in the lawlessness.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Obama on Immigration

Vacations.  Wars that no one understands.  Hundreds of millions on an unknown curious war.  Billions for Europe.  Unemployment roaring along.  Green jobs - never materialized (actually they did, just not in the US).  A debt that has risen by nearly 4.5 trillion in 2.5 years - a Congress of Democrats in control - and they have controlled the money since 2006 - not Bush and not the Republicans.  Trillions.  Almost as much as Bush in 8 years, and we are worse off.  A president who golfs while soldiers die.  A president who golfs more than Buwsh ever did or could have.  In fact, Bush and Clinton combined is what Obama is working toward breaking the record.  A president who can spend $20,000 going to a show in New York, a president who can fly on separate planes, with a motorcade larger than any Bush ever had ... a president who pontificates, but does so in a language no one understands, for America is not the clay Obama would like us to be - not to be molded into something gentler ... after all, it was the Obama administartion that for nearly a year reminded everyone, often daily, to get over it, they won.  Bush never once said such a comment.  We heard it from the Obama administration daily.

A president who is detached, playing golf, on vacation, while Rome burns.  Not upholding the laws of the United States, governing by fiat - like Rome. 

Case-by-case plan will curb numbers

By Stephen Dinan
The Washington Times
Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bowing to pressure from immigrant rights activists, the Obama administration said Thursday that it will halt deportation proceedings on a case-by-case basis against illegal immigrants who meet certain criteria, such as attending school, having family in the military or having primary responsible for other family members’ care.

The move marks a major step for President Obama, who for months has said he does not have broad categorical authority to halt deportations and said he must follow the laws as Congress has written them.

But in letters to Congress on Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she does have discretion to focus on “priorities” and that her department and the Justice Department will review all ongoing cases to see who meets the new criteria.

“This case-by-case approach will enhance public safety,” she said. “Immigration judges will be able to more swiftly adjudicate high-priority cases, such as those involving convicted felons.”

The move won immediate praise from Hispanic activists and Democrats who had strenuously argued with the administration that it did have authority to take these actions, and said as long as Congress is deadlocked on the issue, it was up to Mr. Obama to act.

“Today’s announcement shows that this president is willing to put muscle behind his words and to use his power to intervene when the lives of good people are being ruined by bad laws,” said Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, Illinois Democrat, who has taken a leadership role on the issue since the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in 2009.

The new rules apply to those who have been apprehended and are in deportation proceedings, but have not been officially ordered out of the country by a judge.

Ms. Napolitano said a working group will try to come up with “guidance on how to provide for appropriate discretionary consideration” for “compelling cases” in instances where someone already has been ordered deported.

Administration officials made the announcement just before Mr. Obama left for a long vacation out of Washington, and as members of Congress are back in their home districts.

The top House Republican on the Judiciary Committee said the move is part of a White House plan “to grant backdoor amnesty to illegal immigrants.”

“The Obama administration should enforce immigration laws, not look for ways to ignore them,” said Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican. “The Obama administration should not pick and choose which laws to enforce. Administration officials should remember the oath of office they took to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the land.”

Immigration legislation has been stalled in Congress for years as the two parties have sparred over what to include.

Republicans generally favor stricter enforcement and a temporary program that would allow workers in the country for some time, but eventually return to their home countries. Democrats want the legislation to include legalization of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants now in the country, and want the future guest-worker program to also include a path to citizenship so those workers can stay permanently.

Since 2007, when the issue stalled in the Senate, more than 1 million illegal immigrants have been deported.

Democrats said those deportations are breaking up families and that it’s an unfair punishment for a broken system.

Hispanic voters are a key voter bloc as Mr. Obama seeks re-election next year, but many of them felt he broke his promise to them to work on legislation once he took office. Thursday’s move already was paying dividends as Hispanic advocacy groups praised the steps.

“After more than two years of struggle, demonstrations, direct actions and other activities, the administration has signaled that they are capable of delivering direct relief for immigrant families,” said Casa de Maryland, a pro-immigrant group. “We eagerly await confirmation from community members that their families can now expect to remain together.”

Two years ago, some staffers at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services had prepared a draft memo arguing that the administration retained broad powers that could serve “as a non-legislative version of ‘amnesty.’ “

But agency leaders and others in the administration had argued that the memo was inaccurate.

It was unclear Thursday how many people might be affected by the new rules. Pressure groups said up to 300,000 people could be eligible. In fiscal year 2010 alone, the government deported nearly 200,000 illegal immigrants who it said did not have criminal records.

Given the case-by-case basis of Thursday’s announcement, though, the groups said the actual number of people allowed to stay could be far lower.

In June, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that handles interior immigration law enforcement, issued guidance expanding authority to decline to prosecute illegal immigrants. The goal, ICE leaders said, was to focus on catching illegal immigrants who have committed other crimes or are part of gangs.

The chief beneficiaries of the guidance are likely to be immigrant students who would have been eligible for legal status under the Dream Act, which stalled in Congress last year.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, who asked Homeland Security this year to exempt illegal-immigrant students from deportation, said the move will free up immigration courts to handle cases involving serious criminals.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Obama: Tee Time or Time off

3 Wars.  An Economy that is tilting toward the abyss.  The stock market collapsing, unemployment rising, the dollar dropping, Europe in a mudhole.  Russia and China vying to see who is a bigger threat to the US.  Al Qaida not gone away. 

More deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq than in the last two years of the Bush Administration.  Hundreds of millions spent in Libya bombing something for some reason no one has any idea about, not even the WH.

I suppose Bush is forcing B. H.  to go on vacation so often.

By Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa with Megan Johnson
Inside Track
Friday, August 19, 2011

WEST TISBURY — While the stock market took another nosedive on repeat recession fears yesterday, President Obama landed on Martha’s Vineyard for 10 days of fun in the sun, hitting the summer playground of the rich and famous during worsening economic turmoil.

Air Force One touched down at Otis Air National Guard Base at about 6 p.m. last night, an hour behind schedule. The president boarded Marine One helicopter for the short hop to the Vineyard, then traveled by motorcade to Blue Heron Farm, his 28-acre hideaway on Tisbury Great Pond. First lady Michelle Obama and kids Sasha and Malia reportedly arrived on the island separately earlier in the day.

Like previous years, the president’s arrival was closed to the public. He landed in a back corner at Martha’s Vineyard Airport blocked from view by a wall of school buses.

The island’s latest First Tourist cuts a much lower profile than his Vineyard predecessor, Bill Clinton, who vacationed here six out of his eight years in office. When Bubba landed on The Rock he would be greeted by throngs of admirers, and handlers would stage a big tarmac lovefest, with invited guests lined up to greet him and the fam.

Obama, whose approval ratings are hovering at an all-time low, could probably use a little bucking up from the Vineyard faithful. But security concerns have put the kibosh on that.

Still, the president’s admirers were not deterred.

Several dozen families lined the motorcade route from the airport to Blue Heron Farm to cheer and wave to the prez, who traveled to the island with golf buddy Marvin Nicholson and first dog Bo last night. In front of Alley’s General Store in Chilmark more than 100 well-wishers waited more than an hour hoping for a glimpse of the commander in chief.

“It’s very exciting,” said Alessandro Decio of Milan, Italy, who was waving to the prez along with his wife and kids Maria, 10, Pietro, 13, and Eugenio, 15.

Alessandro, who was wearing an Obama “hope” T-shirt, said the fam, who are on a three-week U.S. vacation, are big fans.

“What can I say,” added his wife. “Our point of comparison is (scandal plagued Italian P.M. Silvio) Berlusconi!”

Fellow supporter Marwan Elmasri of Groton, Mass., said he wasn’t buying partisan criticism that the prez should have canceled his summer hols in deference to the economy.

“Why in the world shouldn’t he take a vacation?” said Marwan Elmasari. “We’re all on vacation!”

Last night a posse of Vineyard boldfacers, including Harvard profs Alan Dershowitz and Charles Ogletree; novelists Richard North Patterson and Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks; Rose Styron, the widow of author William Styron, and her daughter Alexandra, author of “Reading My Father”; singer Kate Taylor; and DNC Chairwoman and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Shultz turned out for a $100-a-head fund-raiser dubbed “Voices For Obama” at the Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs.

The event was followed by a $500- to $1,000-a-head private dinner at the summer home of Ron and Judy Davenport, the founders of Pittsburgh-based Sheridan Broadcasting and longtime Obama supporters.

Obama was not expected at the event last night. Like previous years, the president likely will low-key it during his summer break. And while aides are not thrilled about the prospect of him being photographed on the links while the nation simmers over the economy, the First Duffer is not expected to forgo his favorite pastime in deference to political concerns.

Word is, he may tee off today at Mink Meadows, a public course and the island’s least chi-chi golf club. It is also, coincidentally, the course with the most difficult vantage point for photographers.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Unrest in Sweden?

Aug 17, 4:59 AM EDT

STOCKHOLM (AP) -- Swedish police say unrest erupted overnight in Goteborg, the country's second largest city, as several officers were attacked by youths hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails.

Police say no one was seriously injured in the attacks, but at least two police officers reported burned eyes after being targeted by a green laser light.

It was not immediately clear what provoked the unrest, but police say two people were arrested for vandalizing a streetcar just before midnight Tuesday and this could have sparked the melee.

Two police cars were vandalized and one other car was incinerated.

Police spokesman Lars-Gunnar Gustafsson said Wednesday that no arrests have been made.


Germany engulfed? or just in flames

Aug 17, 7:59 AM EDT

BERLIN (AP) -- Berlin police are offering euro5,000 ($7,180) to anyone able to help them find vandals who set fire to 18 cars parked in residential neighborhoods overnight.

It was the second consecutive night in Berlin to see a jump in arson attacks, after vandals torched 11 cars on Tuesday evening.

Berlin police believe the arsons are politically motivated, possibly linked to Leftist extremists. They have rejected any links to the riots in London.

The Wednesday attacks bring the number of cars burned so far this year in Berlin to more than 300 - more than the total torched in 2010.

Aug 17, 10:45 AM EDT

STOCKHOLM (AP) -- A Swedish real estate agent has an unusual piece of property up for sale: a five-bedroom house, complete with medieval tomb and skeleton in the cellar.

The central Visby town house on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland was built in 1750 on the foundations of a Russian church. The kitchen lies on the presbytery, and the tomb containing the skeleton - visible through a glass panel - is in the cellar.

The real estate agency's owner Leif Bertwig says there is no reason to be afraid as the skeleton "lies in consecrated soil and rests in peace."

Bertwig said Wednesday the remains likely belong to a Russian man who died some 800 years ago.

The starting price for the house - all included - is 4.1 million kronor ($640,000).


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August 11, 2011
New York Post

Can it be ? Has the guru of global warming, the Bozo of ozone and pooh-bah of the probably-not- so-endangered polar bear, gone completely off his bleeping rocker?

I'm talking about Al Gore, the former vice president who, after losing the White House, reinvented himself as a minor deity -- a Gulfstream-riding, energy-slurping champion of Planet Earth.

But now, murmurs from warming doubters and Goreaholics alike are reaching a crescendo:

Is Al Gore out of his gourd?

It brings me small joy and great hilarity to report that symptoms of Gore's encroaching lunacy are piling up faster than a stack of earth-killing disposable diapers. In New York early this month, Gore hectored promiscuous gals to use "fertility management" (abortion?) and stop having kids, saving us all from atmosphere-dissolving burps, or something.

Then, he told like-minded crackpot Keith Olbermann that America needs a movement, modeled after the unfortunately bloody "Arab Spring" in Tahrir Square -- er, he said, "the nonviolent part of it" -- to fight, you guessed it, global warming!

Finally, in Aspen, Gore went on a psychedelic bender.

For doubting the holy gospel of earthly cooking -- which Gore can't be helping with his partiality to private planes -- he issued a blistering, potty-mouthed tirade against warming deniers, saving a few curses for assorted corporate scum.

"They pay pseudo-scientists to pretend to be scientists to put out the message, 'This climate thing, it's nonsense. Manmade CO2 doesn't trap heat. It may be volcanoes.' Bulls- - -t!"

Say what?

" 'It may be volcanoes.' Bulls- - -t!"

" 'It may be sun spots.' Bulls- - -t!"

" 'It's not getting warmer.' "All together now -- Bulls- - -t!"

He wasn't done cussing or beating up on unnamed corporations who once kept Americans addicted to cigarettes, but now keep us addicted to, I don't know, minivans or Lean Cuisine.

"They have polluted the s- - -t. There's no longer a shared reality on an issue like climate, even though the very existence of our civilization is threatened. People have no idea! It's no longer acceptable in mixed company, meaning bipartisan company, to use the goddamn word 'climate.' "

The performance had even Gore's faithful followers in Hollywood wondering if he'd lost his meds.

Things have been slow in messiah-ville since Gore took home an Oscar for the 2006 science-fiction documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," which turned Gore into George Clooney, minus the looks. In the last two weeks, a couple of developments have thrown refrigerated water in his face.

It came out last month that scientist Charles Monnett, who drove sane folks to their checkbooks by declaring that melting ice caps had killed a bunch of cuddly polar bears, was being investigated for possible scientific misconduct by the federal agency for which he works. Apparently, it's related to his dead-polar-bear article. (The population of fuzzy friends has actually quintupled since 1950.)

Couple that with NASA's revelation that the Earth is letting more heat escape the planet than alarmists previously thought, blowing a hole in warming hysteria. Toss it all together, and you've got one nutty Gore.

Gore has long lived by the hypocrite's mantra: "Do what I demand, not what I do." After his Tennessee mansion was revealed to drink up to 20 times the energy of an average house, Gore added solar panels. Last year, ahead of his split with wife Tipper, Gore bought a massive spread in fabulous Montecito, Calif., near Oprah Winfrey and Michael Douglas.

Gore, who's fathered four kids, was adamant that women save the planet by tying their tubes, or worse. "To put out less of this pollution, to stabilize the population." Who was he talking to?

As columnist Michael Walsh pointed out, Gore's comments weren't directed at Americans, whose population is flat, or Europeans and Japanese, whose shrinking populations eventually won't be able to pay for social programs.

Gore's eugenics kick, evidently, is aimed at reducing the number of folks in the Third World. But saying so would be -- oh, no! -- politically incorrect.

Admit it, Al. It's time for a new crusade.

global warming

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I knew the left would come up with a fashionable excuse ... I am sure they are already working on a fashionable excuse why the West crashed and Islam dominated.  Naturally they will not be to blame.

By Erik Kirschbaum

Sat Aug 13, 2011 5:39pm EDT

(Reuters) - Berlin's mayor said on Saturday he was appalled that some Germans were nostalgic for the Berlin Wall and supported a newly fashionable leftist view that there were legitimate reasons for building it in 1961.

At a somber ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Berlin Wall's construction, Mayor Klaus Wowereit, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Christian Wulff paid tribute to the 136 people killed trying to get over the Wall to West Berlin.

Wowereit said the Wall, toppled in 1989, should serve as a reminder of freedom and democracy around the world. Church bells peeled while trains and traffic came to a standstill at noon across Berlin for a moment of silence for the victims.

"We don't have any tolerance for those who nostalgically distort the history of the Berlin Wall and Germany's division," Wowereit said at the ceremony in front of a small section of the Wall recently rebuilt for posterity.

"The Wall was part of a dictatorship," he said. "And it's alarming that even today some people argue there were good reasons to build the Wall. No! There's no legitimate reason nor justification for violating human rights and for killings."

Most of the 160-km (100-mile) Wall encircling West Berlin in the heart of Communist East Germany was quickly torn down or chiseled away in the euphoria of 1989. There were only a few remnants of the 3.6-meter-high Wall left when Germany reunited less than a year later.

Now, as growing numbers of tourists come to Berlin each year searching largely in vain for traces of the Wall, the city has re-erected and restored parts. New buildings have gone up on many parts of the former "death strip" and it is sometimes hard to tell where the barrier once stood.

Saturday's ceremony was held at an 800-meter-long piece of the Wall complex on Bernauer Strasse that has been rebuilt. It was the scene of some dramatic escapes after the Wall was built.

People jumped from upper storey windows in buildings on the east side of the Wall to the street on the west. The windows were soon sealed off and the buildings were later demolished.

The shock over the construction of the Berlin Wall in August 1961 is still palpable half a century later.

"We couldn't believe it happened and we all felt numb when we first saw the Wall," said Harry Dieter, 80, a retired West Berlin city official who was on his honeymoon in Italy when the Wall was built but returned a few days later to see it.

"No one ever thought they would do that," he added. "I remember looking at the barbed wire and the cement and hoping that it wouldn't take long for someone to order it taken down. Unfortunately, the order never came."

He and his wife Doris have recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

"It's obviously better that Berlin is Berlin again and we're no longer divided by a Wall," said Doris Dieter, 72. "But unfortunately there is still a bit of an invisible 'Wall' in some people's minds that I fear will last for quite a while."


Friday, August 12, 2011

Pakistani laws

It is quite simple.  In some countries, the idea of justice is justice.  In the US - carrying out justice is justice.

Mocking justice does not make it so.

12 August 2011


A Pakistani paramilitary soldier has been sentenced to death for killing an unarmed man in an incident caught on videotape and broadcast on TV.

Sarfaraz Shah, 22, was shot at point-blank range in Karachi in June.

The anti-terrorism court in Karachi found Shahid Zafar guilty of the killing and sentenced six other men to life imprisonment.

The killing sparked public anger and increased complaints of brutality by the security forces.

Judge Bashir Ahmed Khoso also fined Shahid Zafar 200,000 rupees ($2,300).

The judge ordered each of the other defendants - five paramilitaries and a civilian - to pay 100,000 rupees in compensation to Sarfaraz Shah's family.

[Which would bring the total value of this man's life to less than $3,500.  Interestingly, about the cost of a couple camels.]

The Sindh branch of the Pakistan Rangers paramilitary force had argued that he was caught trying to rob someone, a charge his family denied.

Prosecutor Muhammad Khan Buriro said: "We have found justice. The court has given the right decision."

A lawyer for the defendants said there would be an appeal.

Death sentences are rarely carried out in Pakistan.

Sarfaraz Shah's brother, Salik, said: "We are satisfied with the punishment and we hope that the higher courts will also keep them and overturn the appeals of the accused."

Officials removed

The disturbing video shows a young man in a black T-shirt being dragged by his hair in a public park by a man in plain clothes.

Sarfaraz Shah's brother consoles his mother at an earlier hearing in Karachi He is pushed towards a group of Sindh Rangers, who are in uniform and armed. The young man pleads for his life as one of the Rangers points a gun at his neck.

A little later, a Ranger shoots him twice at close range, hitting him in the thigh. The young man is seen writhing on the ground, bleeding heavily and begging for help.

The paramilitaries remain close to the injured man but do nothing to help him. Sarfaraz Shah died from his injuries.

The public outcry led to the removal of the Sindh police chief and the director-general of the Sindh branch of the Rangers.

The Rangers are a paramilitary force under the interior ministry.

There are about 10,000 Rangers in Karachi but rights groups say they are not sufficiently trained to deal with keeping civilian order.


Worst Since Carter: Too Bad, Barrack H.

(Reuters) - U.S. consumer sentiment worsened sharply in early August, falling to the lowest index level since 1980, even though retail sales posted the biggest gains in three months in July, separate reports on Friday showed.

Must be hard to pull your base together when your messiah so screws everything up!   The worst consumer confidence since the last time - a democratic president Jimmy Carter.  It must be hard when everytime he speaks the economy sinks.  When he sells the most advanced tanks to a country on the verge of take-over by Islamists (Egypt) thereby threatening our ally in the region (Israel).  It must be hard.  Hearing him speak extemporaneously is painful - he masticates his words and fumbles his speech - and that must be painful for you given your apoplectic state when Bush spoke.  It must be painful to rally people around someone who so disdains what they stand for - America is a tool by which your messiah can achieve his goal.  For other Democrats, America is the end result, and the people make it better.

I am sorry you have such a hard time, but then again, you deserve it.  Your founding father did what he does best a few days ago - he bet against our economy and made $1 billion dollars.  He does that well - whether the English, Russian, or Indonesian ... he is a parasite.  I can only hope one government sooner than later, finds a treatment for parasites like him.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

World Economy

The US has terrible financial and economic woes.  A government insistent on spending and a debt that rises faster than the Titanic sank.  However, all is not bad for us - it is worse for others:

Swiss Franc - worthless
Euro - nearly worthless
Iceland - still barely staying afloat and only with US and German funds
Greece - afloat only because of Germany
Spain - able to prevent sinking into the quagmire only due to Germany
Italy - only treading water, thanks to Germany
UK - about to go under for the first time, although they will pop back up, they will have lost considerable economic worth in the process.
France - about to need all lifelines tossed in, thanks to Germany it will manage.
Portugal - staying afloat thanks to Germany
Austria and Switzerland - afloat thanks to Germany.  Maybe a B- rating.
Sweden and Finland - barely floating.  Probably a C+ rating
Lithuania and Estonia - not floating well, dependent upon financial aid from Russia and the West
Ukraine - suffering mightily under the economic crisis, receives aid from Russia.  They would be at a D rating if such were possible.
Germany ... well, the people and the government are tired of helping the rest of Europe.  Watch for an end to their aid.
It will not be a complete shut-off, but will happen with a smile and hug.
And the world is so wrapped up in India and China - as if they have an economy.  China INFORMS the world what its growth is, what its financial structure is ... and we have no certainty as to the accuracy of that information.  I am confident it is inaccurate, but it will take some time to fully peel away the lies to see the truth.

The Pious and the Wicked

While this is one of the first times these facts have been printed, it is not new - the Taliban, al qaida, and other 'Islamic jihadists' often use the very things they feign to protect as weapons or objects to use and discard.  They blow up mosques, churches, and synagogues, yet claim they protect all religious sites.

When the US or the West is forced to shoot at or cause damage to a religious site, all hell breaks loose - we are on crusade, we don't care about their faith, we are invaders and ... and bull shit.  They destroy more churches and mosques than the US has in 10 years of war in two countries.  They have killed more religious clerics both Muslim and Christian than the US has done in 10 years of war in two countries.

If they want help blowing crap up - we should oblige them.  If they so loathe their religion as to use it to kill and murder innocents - they should be permitted to do so, in a closed space, alone with a pig and a dog.

By William Marsden
The Montreal Gazette
August 10, 2011

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Afghan President Hamid Karzai met recently with members of the country’s clerical councils to get their assistance in persuading insurgents not to hide explosives in suicide bombers' turbans or in other religious or cultural symbols.

The Taliban, however, appear to have responded by hiding a bomb in a mosque in Kandahar province.

In the last five weeks, suicide bombers have killed the mayor of Kandahar and a senior cleric in the city with small amounts of explosives hidden in their turbans. In both cases, the bombers grabbed their victims before triggering the explosives.

It is believed to be the first time turbans have been used in suicide attacks.

A man’s turban has important religious and cultural significance and it is considered dishonourable to touch it.

Karzai met with clerics this week and pleaded with them to use their influence on the Taliban and other insurgents to dissuade them from using cultural or religious garments to hide explosives.

In the past, insurgents have also used burqas to hide explosives because male guards normally will not search a woman.

“President Karzai believes the clerics have a lot of influence over Afghan society,” Hamed Elmi, a spokesperson for the president, told The Gazette.

He said Karzai believes that suicide bombing and the use of the turban as a bomb “dishonour Afghan society and the Afghan people in the eyes of the world.”

Karzai encouraged the clerics to return to their mosques and preach against suicide bombing and the use of cultural attire in this insurgency war, Elmi added.

In Kandahar City, however, the Taliban have already shown their contempt for the clerical council by killing one of their senior clerics with a turban bomb. So the influence of these clerics, who support the Karzai government and often counter the extreme orthodoxy of the Taliban, is questionable.

In a possible response to Karzai’s meeting with the clerics, the Taliban appear to have hidden an anti-personnel mine inside a mosque in Zharay district in Kandahar province.

Coalition forces discovered the bomb on a shelf in the mosque Wednesday while searching for a “roadside bomb facilitator and attack planner operating in Kandahar City” who had targeted government officials, according to a statement by the International Security Assistance Force joint command.

The forces withdrew from the mosque to discuss with local leaders how “to properly neutralize the mine without harming the mosque,” the ISAF said in the statement.


Monday, August 8, 2011

The Most Powerful Man?

The greatest danger during a duel, is not the type of gun, nor the number of shots, nor even how fast - but whether one party feels the other party is weaker or slower or will blink or hesitate.  Danger comes from hesitation, and when others regard you as hesitant and not committed, the world is a much more dangerous place.

By Dana Milbank, Monday, August 8, 2:40 PM
Washington Post

A familiar air of indecision preceded President Obama’s pep talk to the nation.

The first draft of his schedule for Monday contained no plans to comment on the downgrading of the U.S. credit rating by Standard & Poor’s. Then the White House announced that he would speak at 1 p.m. A second update changed that to 1:30. At 1:52, Obama walked into the State Dining Room to read his statement. Judging from the market reaction, he should have stuck with his original instinct.

“No matter what some agency may say, we’ve always been and always will be a AAA country,” Obama said, as if comforting a child who had been teased by the class bully.

When he began his speech (and as cable news channels displayed for viewers), the Dow Jones industrials stood at 11,035. As he talked, the average fell below 11,000 for the first time in nine months, en route to a 635-point drop for the day, the worst since the 2008 crash.

It’s not exactly fair to blame Obama for the rout: Almost certainly, the markets ignored him. And that’s the problem: The most powerful man in the world seems strangely powerless, and irresolute, as larger forces bring down the country and his presidency.

The economy crawls, the credit rating falls, the markets plunge, and a helicopter packed with U.S. special forces goes down in Afghanistan. Two thirds of Americans say the country is on the wrong track (and that was before the market swooned), Obama’s approval rating is 43 percent, and activists on his own side are calling him weak.

Yet Obama plods along, raising gobs of cash for his reelection bid — he was scheduled to speak at two DNC fundraisers Monday night — and varying little the words he reads from the teleprompter. He seemed detached even from those words Monday as he pivoted his head from side to side, proclaiming that “our problems is not confidence in our credit” and turning his bipartisan fiscal commission into a “biparticle.”

He reminded all that the situation isn’t his fault (the need for deficit reduction “was true the day I took office”), he blamed the other side (“we knew . . . a debate where the threat of default was used as a bargaining chip could do enormous damage to our economy”) and he revisited the same proposals he had previously offered to little effect: extending unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut, and spending more on infrastructure projects.

This, he said, is “something we can do as soon as Congress gets back,” along with further deficit reduction. “I intend to present my own recommendations over the coming weeks,” he said.

Over the coming weeks? As soon as Congress gets back?

In the White House briefing room after Obama’s statement, the press corps grilled Jay Carney about the lack of fire in the belly.

“The president said our problems are imminently solvable, and he talked about a renewed sense of urgency,” CBS’s Norah O’Donnell pointed out. “Why not call Congress back to work?”

Carney chuckled at this suggestion.

“I mean, the Dow dropped below 11,000 — where’s the sense of urgency?” O’Donnell persisted.

The press secretary uttered something about the founders and the separation of powers.

NBC’s Chuck Todd was not swayed. “Why not bring Congress back now?” he repeated, pointing out that “the American public seems to be in a little bit of a panic” while Washington says, “We’re going to stand back and wait until school starts.”

“I think we’re getting a drumbeat here,” Carney said. “The press corps is leading here — always appreciated.”

At least somebody is.

Various reporters tried to elicit more information about Obama’s economic plans and deficit-reduction proposals, but Carney declined again to take the lead.

“I don’t want to get too far ahead of the process,” he explained to the Wall Street Journal’s Laura Meckler, adding that Obama “will be contributing to that process, not driving it or directing it.”

“Why?” inquired Politico’s Glenn Thrush. “He’s the leader of the free world. Why isn’t he leading this process?”

That is the enduring mystery of Obama’s presidency. He delivered his statement on the economy beneath a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, but that was as close as he came to forceful leadership. He looked grim and swallowed hard and frequently as he mixed fatalism (“markets will rise and fall”) with vague, patriotic exhortations (“this is the United States of America”).

“There will always be economic factors that we can’t control,” Obama said. Maybe. But it would be nice if the president gave it a try.


Make Mine Freedom - 1948

American Form of Government

Who's on First? Certainly isn't the Euro.