Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Ghost, Jan 19, 2012.
That's good news for the president then! If you're right he'll be reelected.
A lot of talk in the news that the DOD is now very concerned, if not downright fearful, that Israel is planning unilateral action against Iran come May/June/July.
Could be saber-rattling, in an attempt to get the West to escalate pressure on the Iranians, but an Iranian official apparently said this morning that if Israel strikes, they will hold the US directly responsible and launch attacks on US soil.
I think that is saber-rattling, although if a war broke out, some predictions are for oil to hit $200/barrel at minimum, which certainly wouldn't be good for the economy by any stretch of the imagination. Of course, if Iran did respond to an Israeli strike by hitting US civilian targets in the homeland, that might be enough to get Congress to declare war.
Iran would find out very quickly, in that situation, that reports of American military weakness are quite overblown. It might be bloody, but I don't doubt that America could defeat Iran in any theater of combat.
It is also likely that any such action would immediately cause the GOP to call Obama out for "warmongering", but his actions as President would likely be a lot more restrained than what a Republican president would do, IMHO.
Here's to hoping it's all just rumor.
If there's going to be military action against Iran, it probably has to be soon. They've probably completed design work on a bomb and on the delivery system. All that's left is refining enough uranium and assembling the weapons.
I'm against military intervention of course. The nuclear proliferation cat is long out of the bag in that region. Saudi Arabia will follow Iran and, really, so what?
I hope we will use every means at our disposal to prevent Israel from launching an attack. If this is true, not that I necessarily believe it is, then Israel is a bigger threat to world peace than Iran.
More jobs created than expected, again, the best 5 months since 1994
The U.S. economy created jobs at the fastest pace in nine months in January and the unemployment rate dropped to a near three-year low, offering a hopeful sign for hiring in the year ahead.
Employers added a net 243,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department reported Friday -- that's the most since April and far better than economists' expectations for a gain of only 150,000.
?It?s a strong number, a very strong number, I would say,? said Vassili Serebriakov, a currency strategist at Wells Fargo Bank. ?It?s consistent with the broad improvement in the U.S. economic data, but I think the extent of strength in today's report is somewhat of a surprise, and this is a good sign for the U.S. employment market and the U.S. economy.?
The nation?s unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent in January from 8.5 percent in the prior month. The rate has dropped 0.8 percentage point since August and is now at its lowest level in nearly three years, having fallen for five consecutive months -- the first time that has happened since late 1994.
The decline in the jobless rate reflected large gains in employment in the separate household survey from which the jobless rate is derived. Job gains were widespread, with even the transportation and warehousing sector increasing payrolls.
Very good news, but it is overshadowed by the leak that Panetta thinks Israel will bomb Iran before summer.
Also, [link=http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/obama-administration-to-move-forward-with-closing-fannie-mae-freddie-mac/2012/02/02/gIQAsl0XlQ_story.html]Obama and Geithner are preparing to privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac[/link].
Well, at least we have the element of surprise on our side...
North Korea has had the bomb for some time, but no delivery system. In that they haven't been able to miniaturize a warhead to fit onto a missile yet. I see no reason why Iran wouldn't face the same obstacle.
Not sure I agree about that, Jabba.
I don't think Israel would pre-emptively strike another country that hadn't directly called for it to be wiped off the map and hadn't recently been called a "cancer that will be cut" by said same country.
If anything, one could argue that an undeclared war is already going on between the two nations, it just hasn't turned hot yet.
I've also read rumors that Iran had an explosion at a missile site late last year that was testing an ICBM with a range of 6,000 miles-which would allow it to hit the continental United States.
That certainly would be considered a threat by America, and could result in American action to disable such a system. If that does pan out, and the US conducted a threat, would you then consider America a bigger threat to world peace than Iran?
I'm not asking to be argumentative, I really am curious as to your thoughts here.
As usual, I agree with you. I would think Iran is not that stupid, but one has to wonder. I also wonder if our European allies would back us.
I found a good article about taxes that I was going to post here, but instead I'll post it in the income inequality thread.
The "so what" that I've heard is that missile flight times across the Middle East are much shorter than they would have been going from the U.S. to Russia and vice versa. So the warning time is much shorter, giving leaders much less time to make a decision as to whether to retaliate or not.
I'm against a military intervention too, for now at least. I support the wait-and-see approach while sanctions, containment and diplomacy take effect, which happens to be exactly what the Obama Administration is doing, and what Romney says he's against though he'll obviously do the exact same thing if he were president. Also I'm with Vaderize, I wouldn't quite say Israel is a threat to world peace in the same sense as North Korea....but it is a trigger-happy loose cannon.
I'm completely satisfied with "trigger-happy loose cannon" as a geopolitical term of art.
Thanks DS .
I don't think Europe would get involved unless they had no choice.
Interestingly enough, they are directly threatened by Iran's military in a way that the continental US is not...yet. At least not outside of terrorism, anyway.
I'm more concerned about Russia and China in this situation. They have once again blocked sanctions, and I wonder if Russia would go so far as to pledge military support, at least covertly, to Iran, in an attempt to destabilize the West. Given NATO's decision to go ahead with the planned missile shield, I wouldn't be surprised.
Maybe I should buy some land in South America? .
It's too late. China owns it.
Wasn't really sure where to put this. Thought about making a new thread, but this will do:
The CCP apparently allowed Google Plus into China today; the most noticeable result is that President Obama's page is absolutely flooded with posts from people in China. The overwhelming majority are of course in Mandarin, but there are plenty in English, too.
[link=https://plus.google.com/110031535020051778989/posts/9bMunRcjxW7]President's G+ Page[/link]
"The Escape Artists" is at the top of my Spring Break reading list.
[link=http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/29/grading-the-obama-economic-record/]Grading the Obama Economic Record[/link]
One quote from this interview perfectly sums up my feelings about Obama's first term as president:
Substantively, I think Obama?s first term will be remembered for one huge domestic policy accomplishment ? health care reform ? which will help the country for generations to come. But that accomplishment came at a big cost. The long-term cost was not seeking a bolder approach to Wall Street reform, one that would have dealt seriously with too-big-to-fail banks. I don?t think Obama had the political capital or the will to wage both fights. The result was a Wall Street reform bill that mostly worked at the margins. I think we?re pretty susceptible to another financial crisis.
The short-term cost of focusing on health care was an unemployment rate that spent more time hovering between 8.9 and 10 percent than it needed to.
Absolutely, dead-on, 100% accurate in my view. I think if we had elected Hillary Clinton instead of Obama, it would have gone the other way. We would have had a huge economic stimulus program, serious financial reforms, and a better economy now - but probably no serious attempt to reform health care. It's hard to say which approach is preferable. But I will continue to support politicians who do not demagogue about repealing healthcare reform.
You'd sat that even though the split for and against the health care reform is still pretty evenly divided at half and half? I think it would have been a good trade-off if the health care reform we got was truly revolutionary for the US. We didn't get effective health reform, we got reform which was designed to be a political legacy, but which kind of backfired. Instead, as you pointed out, we lost out on effective economic policy, but the capital used up created a monstrous mish-mash of health reform that half the country is against and isn't that effective anyway. 72% of the country thinks that the pay or play part of the reform is unconstitutional. Now, I'm sure that figure is a representation of the reaction to the reform which isn't automatically reflected by the details, but still, it's not positive.
The provisions that have already gone into effect are just as [link=http://www.pollingreport.com/health.htm]mixed[/link]:
70% of the country has seen no change in the effects, 12% have been helped, and 16% have been hurt.
Even the long term prospects aren't that great. The public expectation over the sections that haven't gone into effect yet are:
24% expect them to get better. 34% say that it won't matter either way. 38% expect that the reform will make things worse.
Again, the actual effects are divided, with a slight negative lean, and the expectations are worse. (although expectations can always change based on results) Personally, I would have preferred Clinton's way that would have shorn up the economic and financial sectors to more effectively weather the global situation, and then looked to health care reform compromise as a kind of icing on the cake.
It seems fairly clear that much of the opposition to the healthcare reforms comes from people who are largely ignorant of what the reforms actually entail.
But otherwise, I think it's a toss up. I believe that the healthcare reforms represent real progress to the extent they're fully implemented, and that continuing the reform process is critical to the economic future of the United States.
But I also believe that Obama missed an opportunity to throw more economic stimulus at the worst recession in the lifetime of almost everyone now living and to return our financial institutions to something closer to what they resembled before Glass-Steagall was dismantled and that we missed a chance to reorganize a bunch of failing banks and really address the mortgage crisis.
Most people I think would prioritize dealing with a short-term emergency ahead of dealing with a long-term crisis, so there's a good argument that it was a bad decision overall.
It seems fairly clear that much of the opposition to the healthcare reforms comes from people who are largely ignorant of what the reforms actually entail.
Oh I agree. This isn't unique to health care reform, as I could endlessly bring up (and I do too) Patriot Act, the Iraq War, Gitmo, and all sorts of examples that never end up as sinister once one looks at what they actually entail. But you have the actual reality, and the political reality. What just sticks in my craw is how health care reform is still painted as some sort of win. I don't think it's an actual loss either. It's just more of a "yeah, it's good to have, once all the long term stuff plays out..." middle ground reform that was undertaken instead of other more pressing concerns.
I do think your analogy about long term crisis vs a short term emergency is an appropriate one. It's like looking at repairing your foundation while your house is on fire. Yeah, maybe the foundation does need to be reinforced to stop the leaking basement. But it doesn't matter if you don't put the flames out first. Health care reform choose to shore up the foundation in the middle of a wide spread fire.
But let's not forget that under a scenario with a different Democratic president, Republicans in Congress still would have opposed almost all the things that most obviously would have helped put the fire out or prevented future fires from flaring up. Sometimes a national emergency is so big that it actually requires both parties working together for the good of the country. And Republicans decided to obstruct economic recovery for short-term political gain.
Again, there's a good argument that Republicans would not have obstructed so hard, or gained so many seats in Congress but for healthcare reform. But still.
We don't know what would have happened if a different President picked their compromises more carefully. I think the easy answer would be that the GOP Congress would have still opposed the stupid things. But seriously, I think Clinton might have had more of a political legacy to foster deals, which has its own positives and negatives. I don't understand your call about one sided obstructionism. You've mentioned repeatedly that you wish that the democrats in Congress would have opposed the decision to go to war in Iraq, instead of just being a rubber stamp at the time. Or for another example, President Clinton signed the DOMA into law, would you have wanted more members of Congress to oppose that signing? Those issues spanned multiple administrations. It's even like with the current Keystone XL situation. Obama could have just as easily conditionally approved it, with the requirements that whatever factors he had issues with be worked out. That's how compromises are brokered. But he just vetoed it outright, to which some people here characterized that action as "keeping control of his personal time line." Couldn't that standard be spun to any topic though?
The job of Congress isn't simply to sit back and sign everything that the President sends its way. Now, both sides should be more willing to engage in compromise, but that's certainly not limited to one branch over the other, or one party in isolation.
I think in times of unprecedented economic crisis, there's a duty to rise above ideology and focus on the pragmatic, something that Obama has shown he is more capable of doing than Congress. The Tea Party caucus on the other hand is virtually incapacitated by ideological reasoning.
And I certainly wish that democrats in Congress had opposed the war on pragmatic, common sense grounds: it was recognized even then that it was potentially a trillion dollar endeavor that could cost tens of thousands of lives and undermine America's economy. Not one part of me back then was thinking that the primary duty of the democrats in Congress in 2001 and 2002 was to prevent Bush from being re-elected.
Yeah, well, I guess that's where political views enter into the discussion. Because so far, all the examples we've focused on have been the opposite of pragmatic. Obama could have focused on working on a solid economic policy, but instead focused on the long term legacy issue. (which turned out to be a mixed bag anyway) He could have developed a workable long term energy policy, but instead almost single handedly destroyed the alternative energy market in the US for the forseeable future, by throwing millions of dollars to campaign contributors...And then trying to pull a fast one when dealing with fossil fuels. Even polarizing examples, like the contraception issue, he initially bungled, not on pragmatic grounds, but on ideological ones.
There's a HUGE disconnect between how you're characterizing him, and how he's acted as executive. If you came in and said that you admire Obama for thinking with his heart and not his head, I would agree with you. But he's been about as far from pragmatic as Bush was. Perhaps the only pragmatic order he gave was giving the go ahead to put 2 bullets in bin Laden's head, but I think even Jerry Rubin would given that order based on political and pragmatic grounds.
First of all, your characterization of healthcare reform as something driven by Obama's "legacy" is silly. You have no evidence for it, and it just sounds spiteful. Same goes for "almost single handedly destroyed the alternative energy market..." where the key is "almost" which means "didn't" and "didn't even come close." Investment in alternative energy continues unabated and has been held up only by changes in the larger energy market: the oil price crash and the ng boom. Corn-based ethanol has perhaps suffered a death blow, but that's fantastic news if true.
I admire Obama for accomplishing healthcare reform that I believe in ten years, if not repealed, a vast majority of Americans will be grateful to have, and for working to promote the economic stimulus programs that were passed, including the huge success of the automotive bailout and the breathing room given to states and so on.
I'm not entirely convinced that he should have spent his political capital on healthcare reform when he did, but in the long term I think almost all of us will benefit.
At the same time, I think Republican emphasis on austerity during an economic downturn has also been a badly misplaced emphasis on a long term crisis at the expense of a short term emergency, so it's hard to fault Obama more for his approach.
Ah, well, the "legacy issue" wasn't my assessment, it was used here in the forum as a justification as to why he pushed so hard for it back then. My rebuttal at the time was that it's difficult to make anything a legacy issue if half the population is against it. I don't personally think it is, but I figure on one hand, it can't be brought up to support his focus, but then not accepted on the other hand to criticize it as well. I didn't explain because I thought you might have remembered the same past thread. I probably should have reiterated it again just to eliminate confusion.
I'd certainly agree that someone shouldn't engage in double-speak. But it doesn't really make sense to treat whole masses of posters here as the same. I wouldn't automatically assume that rsterling or Smuggler speaks for you, and you shouldn't assume that--whoever said that, as I don't even recall such a thread--speaks for Jabbadabbado. Also, I'm not sure why would incorporate the comment into your critique of Obama if you didn't actually agree with it. If you do, then isn't his point valid? And if you don't, then what was the actual reason that you didn't find healthcare a "pragmatic" focus, and why didn't you just give that rationale in your first post?
What are you talking about? When did I say that anyone else speaks for Jabba, or that I assumed to do so? Honestly, this is another time where I'm completely baffled as to what you're addressing or where it came from. I gave an example. If he didn't agree with the assessment, he can just say he doesn't. If he does, he does. If he remembered the thread, fine. If he didn't, I explained the context to show where I was coming from, no one else.
Have You never had a time when someone you knew-a friend, family member, whoever...had a memory jogged by a current example? You know, they might come to you and say "hey, remember that time 3 summers ago when we did so and so?" And you didn't remember it right away, but something clicked when they offered up more context? It's no big deal.
It's puzzling to me me why you basically came in a day later to supply a post which says "I don't want to speak for anyone else, but you shouldn't assume to speak for someone else..." (insert causality loop here !BOOM!)