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Friday, January 29, 2010

Letter to my representatives

Dear Senators Levin and Stabenow and Representative Peters,

As my Senators and Representative, I expect you to "represent" me as well as your other constituents. I must tell you, all three of you have let me down.

Americans have expressed their dislike of the health care proposals by at least a two to one majority, why is it that you continue to promote this turkey? Even Democrats like Senator Howard Dean are against it. Why is the message not resonating with you? Have you spent so much time inside the beltway that you cannot remember what it is like to be a normal citizen? I think it is time that you start listening to the people who elected you, otherwise, Michigan and other states will elect people who will listen as Massachusetts recently did. Are you ready to retire?

I implore you to vote AGAINST whatever health care bill comes up for you to vote on. Also, should there be some parliamentary shenanigans to get the bill passed without votes, I would expect you to challenge the leadership on such moves.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Obama's First State of the Union

I received the following email this morning from President Obama. If anyone believes that he is going to change his goals after the defeats in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts, you don't understand our President. He has lofty goals and aspirations which mean to "change" what we think of when we think of the United States. His goals are not those of the average American but are more aligned with the Chavez's of the world. This is a very dangerous time for America and if we do not wake up to the threat, one morning we will find ourselves in a place we never thought America would be.

The big banks have always been a favorite whipping boy of despots. It is no different with our President. It was not the big banks which passed the Community Reinvestment Act which REQUIRED banks to give loans to those who could not afford them. It was Congress but the banks are getting the blame. I will agree the banks contributed to the problem with their securitizing these bad loans but had the original law not been passed the mortgage crisis which morphed into the credit crisis and bank crisis would not have occurred. Yet even today this odious law has not been repealed. How stupid is this.

Our education system used to be one of the best in the world, until the federal government started putting its nose in the business with the creation of the Education Department. Return schools to the control of the local school board and let local politics run these schools. If the schools are bad, remove the school board and get people who will improve it. It can be done without Federal mandates. Schools in Michigan, Arkansas, or Florida are all different. Why should one set of rules govern all schools? The answer, control. If the federal government can control what is taught, all sorts of mischief can be done. Books can be edited to reflect whatever those in power want them to reflect. Teaching plans require teaching only certain things and eliminating those which are not complementary to the current administration. If education is controlled the populace is controlled.

No, President Obama is not what we want in a President. All we can hope is that he does little damage before he is voted out in 2012.

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: President Barack Obama
To: Tom Vorenberg
Sent: Thu, January 28, 2010 12:59:55 AM
Subject: We don't quit

Tom --

I just finished delivering my first State of the Union, and I wanted to send you a quick note.

We face big and difficult challenges. Change on the scale we seek does not come easily. But I will never accept second place for the United States of America.

That is why I called for a robust jobs bill without delay. It's why I proposed a small businesses tax credit, new investments in infrastructure, and pushed for climate legislation to create a clean energy economy.

It's why we're taking on big banks, reforming Wall Street, revitalizing our education system, increasing transparency -- and finishing the job on health insurance reform.

It's why I need your help -- because I am determined to fight to defend the middle class, and special interest lobbyists will go all out to fight us.

Help me show that the American people are ready to join this fight for the middle class -- add your name to a letter to Congress today:

We have finished a difficult year. We have come through a difficult decade. But we don't quit. I don't quit.

Let's seize this moment -- to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more.

President Barack Obama

Paid for by Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic National Committee -- 430 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20003. This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2010--A Year of Infamy

The recent decisions by Senators Dodd and Dorgan as well as Governor Bill Ritter of Colorado not to seek re-election must give all Democrats pause. Do these guys really see a bloodbath coming and if so, what does that mean for the legacy of President Barack Obama? The answer is that it means nothing. Either there will be no elections in November or if we do, they will be irrelevant.

You are probably thinking—What….. are you crazy? We have had elections every two years since the country was founded, right? Well my friends, it will not happen this time.

No pundits or commentators are looking at this possibility. They are not imagining the un-imaginable. No one is thinking “outside” the traditional American political lines. Just as we could not imagine people flying planes into buildings, we cannot imagine anything happening in our political system that has never happened before

The current administration came to power by pledging to be the most open, honest and up front that we have ever seen. However, in practice we see the back door deals and absolute lack of transparency. By many measures it has been one of the worst we have ever seen. And this is what we know about. It is scary to think what might have been missed. So how do I get from here to no or meaningless elections?

The Obama Administration believes it is empowered to do whatever it takes regardless of prevailing laws or precedent. We have seen the trampling of bankruptcy and dealer franchise laws that occurred in the case of GM and Chrysler. Today, it was reported that Secretary of the Treasury Gaithner told AIG not to report on the special deal they were getting from the Fed even though it was in essence a bailout of the major banks and contravened SEC regulations.

Laws, which had been on the books for years, were merely shunted aside to do what the Administration wanted. Whether you feel these companies should have been saved is an issue about which we might argue, however, they were saved but at what future cost. If the Administration can terminate laws and make special deals, what else could it do?

President Obama came to office with the “mandate” of 53% of the population who believed they were voting for a person who would change America. What that change meant, most could not verbalize, however, it was going to be different. So what is happening now? His poll numbers are well under 50%. He also has the distinction of being the first President who had angry protestors (tea-baggers) in the streets on April 15th, which was less than two and a half months after his inauguration.

And now, Democrats across the nation are deciding not to run for re-election or in the case of Representative Parker Griffith of Alabama, changing parties. This is not a good sign for someone who wants to advance his program and get himself re-elected in three years.

Should the upcoming election have the disastrous results that appear to be on the horizon, what would happen to President Obama’s program? Could he get it passed if the House was Republican? One would think it would be significantly tougher. So what is Obama to do?

The tea leaves in the bottom of my cup say there are two alternatives. The first is for the President to accept the decision of the American people. Work hard to get critical Representatives and Senators re-elected and then work across the aisle to bring the necessary Republicans on board to get his program passed. I would call this the traditional approach. Clinton had to do that after 1994. It means moving to the political center and governing from there. This, however, would require Mr. Obama to give up on many of his ultimate goals of “changing” America. Would he be willing to do that? Would his ego allow it?

President Obama is a man that believes that for him to succeed as President, he must pass his program. In his mind, it does not matter that the citizens do not approve or want his program. He knows better. Recent polls have indicated that less than one third of the public wants health care as it is currently being proposed. Even prominent Democrats like former Governor and DNC head Howard Dean are not in favor of the plan. Does that stop him? Absolutely not, in his mind, it is the best thing for America. So how does he get his program passed when the Democrats do not control the House and Senate?

It would require an event, a traumatic catalyst that could be used to focus the American people and Congress on the need for immediate Presidential action. It could be a financial crisis that plunges the economy into depression or a massive terrorist attack against the country. Either of these or a number of other events could be used to bring the country together as 9/11 did. A President at this time in history could get anything passed by Congress. Political bickering would go away as we are told that we must all stand behind our President.

With most other men, this would not be an issue. We could depend on the President to make decisions that would be in the best interests of the country like Roosevelt in 1941 or Lincoln during the Civil War. Both of these Presidents presided at times of war and victory in that war took precedence over everything else. However, with President Obama it is different. Yes, we are at war, however, in the midst of war (and economic distress), he has proposed the largest increase in domestic spending. This occurs after taking over the banks and car companies. His appetite for government control is immense and government control of everything is a significant part of his program.

Internationally, in the past year, President Obama has shown his distaste for America whether it was in his speeches in Cairo and Germany, his acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize (for what accomplishments?), and his allowing Interpol to interview Americans in the United States and not to have them afforded the rights citizens are granted by the Constitution.

Domestically, he has increased the monitoring of communications within the United States. This expanded monitoring includes calls within the country and not only those, which involved foreign countries, which had been the rule under the Bush Administration. The Administration also has had legislation introduced to control the Internet and in “times of emergency” to shut down this form of communication.

By his actions, President Obama has shown that he cannot be trusted to lead this country during or after a national emergency. His reaction would be to seize the opportunity as in the words of his Chief of Staff, Rham Emanuel, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste”

He will be to seize (yes, that is the word) the reins of power by either Presidential proclamation or by having Congress pass a law that gives him unlimited power.

Would this prevent elections from being held? Initially, elections might be delayed for a couple reasons. First, the argument would be made that an “emergency” exists and the President and Congress should not be distracted from the important work that needed to get done. Campaigning would be a distraction! Secondly and probably more important, to pass his program he would need a compliant Congress, one that would be dependable to follow the President’s lead. A new Congress might not be reliable.

New Congressional elections would bring new Representatives and Senators who would want to make their impact on the nations business. Additionally, if the majority of new Senators and Representatives were Republican, gridlock might result and the President’s program would not get any traction. Elections would not be good for the program.

With the President in total control, he could pass his program without much discussion or disagreement. Congressional grand standing would be meaningless, as he would have total control. He can successfully “change” America to his vision without any distraction.

Eventually the emergency would pass and the people would demand elections. However, what would be the effect of the President having the unlimited power he had either usurped or been granted? Could Congress be effective or would the traditional balance of power that had existed between the branches of government be forever damaged beyond repair? And most importantly, would the President relinquish the power he had received or taken? All are questions that thinking Americans should ponder.

This is one possibility in the world of many. We must think outside the “nine dots” and to contemplate the unimaginable. If not, we are allowing ourselves to be surprised when the unthinkable occurs. 9/11 should have taught us that we should not be comfortable with “what has always happened before.”

As the late radio talk host, Mark Scott used to say, “I love my country, but I fear my government.”

Let’s all hope that he was wrong..

Obama's First State of the Union

Tomorrow night, President Obama will deliver his first State of the Union Speech to Congress and the World. The news has reported there will be several proposals such as a limit on spending on part of the budget. Will this work? Initial review of the proposal indicates savings in the 10 Billion dollar range. Will that be enough to stop the run-away economic train that we are on? Will it pass Congress? I think the answer is no to both. The amount of money that can be saved, although large, is a drop in the bucket of the 1.4 Trillion deficit. It is a start but I will guess that the salaries of Congress and their staffs will not be reduced. Neither will there benefits be reduced.

What is your opinon?