Obama Takes Aim

April 27, 2010

An interesting video appeared on the DNC website, asking for help combating the forces of change.

The President says the health insurance companies, the banks and other “special interests” want to unseat the progressive Democrats that have done so much to help the average American.  These are the same health insurance companies that will offer the policies that Americans are now forced to buy, whether they want to or not.  These are the banks that took millions in bailout money, but still refuse to make critical job-saving loans to small businesses that aren’t “credit worthy.” (see CNN on this).

That leaves “special interests” who want the Democrats to stop throwing money at the problems.  Like the economists CNN surveyed who say the $787B stimulus bill did nothing to improve the economy, and that it’s responding on its own.

Maybe he means the Tea Parties, who are angry at both parties for running the debt up to a projected 90% of GDP. Maybe he means white guys with jobs and the military.

Most certainly he doesn’t mean the voters specifically mentioned in the video:  “young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women who powered our victory in 2008”, the “surge” voters who had not been engaged in the process before, who aren’t involved now.

The people who gave us this mess.


Throwing Money at Disaster

April 22, 2010

When one of the world’s most persistently poor countries has a disaster, the world feels an obligation to help.  Like rescuing a crying kitten from the tree.  The kitten climbed there by itself, and the country has a history of wasting billions in foreign aid.

Where did they learn to do this?  From us.

The USA funds 27% of the United Nations’ budget.  And the UN’s budget is always increasing, with very little accountability.  The budget is what it is.

Yesterday, Fox News reported that the UN’s costs of administering the earthquake recovery in Haiti will overspend the original budget by 20%.  In the fiscal year that ends at the end of June, they will have spent $732.4 million.  This is in addition to  the $15 Billion promised by the world for the relief effort.

The UN’s quarter billion does include $33.9 million to pay the salaries of Haitians that are part of their effort,  a whopping 4.6 percent.  And another $495M for non-Haitian salaries, benefits and related expenses.

It’s not clear from the article whether that amount includes the $10M spent for 2 luxury liners used to house the foreign staff.  At $112,500 a day, it provides catered food, linen service and comfortable
staterooms and lounges.

As for results, the Haitians affected by the disaster are still living in makeshift housing, with surprising little progress being made in putting the country back together.

Since Haiti, there have been numerous quakes, including one twice as severe in Chile, and one earlier this month in China that killed hundreds.  Neither of these has generated anywhere near the level of world funding.



Romney “wins” straw poll

April 10, 2010

The Southern Republican Leadership Conference was billed as a conference for the Republican core.  $119 a seat.  Come and speak your mind about the future of the party.  And then a straw poll about who best represents those core values.

“Evangelicals for Romney” bought and gave away 200 tickets.  Ron Paul’s supporters sold 600 at a discount.  No other potential candidate electioneered at the event.  So it’s not surprising the “victory” for Romney.  In fact, it’s surprising Paul didn’t do any better, except that he’s not core Republican. (439 votes for Romney, 438 for Paul.)

The news article I read came from CBS (see it here). The companion article asks “Is This How Straw Polls are won?”  It noted that a ticket  got the holder into the straw poll, but also political speeches and a Friday dinner party.  All you had to do was say you’d support their candidate.

Looks like the money is on making an early appearance of front-runner status.


One thing that bothers me is the “Evangelicals for Romney.”  It’s run by a Presbyterian (not core for the evangelical community) and seems to say that Romney’s Mormonism is just as valid as Huckabee’s Baptist faith.

The group’s founder, David French said “Mormons and evangelicals are fellow travelers in a lot of the cultural battles that are taking place around the country.”  He says Romney’s Mormonism is not a problem because Romney “shares our core values.”

French wants evangelicals to “unite — early — behind the right candidate. He’s pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, and the guy knows how to balance a checkbook.”

Pro-marriage, yes.  Pro-life, yes (lately).  And he balanced checkbooks at Bain & Co by firing the people that founded the companies and siphoning the value in leveraged buyouts.  He balanced his checkbook on the backs of middle-class workers.  It’s elitism.  Might work in Washington, but doesn’t play well to the centrist core.

(The Republicans lost in 08 because they ran an uninteresting old codger against an eloquent orator.  Just about anyone besides Paul would have made for a better campaign.  McCain needed Palin just to draw a crowd, and then made sure her opinions were minimized.)

There is so much falseness in this straw poll it’s invalidity taints the winner.  He might claim front-runner for now, but will it stick?