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Lamborn starts losing allies over military controversy | MSNBC

Yes, this is from the blog of the partisan and divisive Rachel Maddow, but the topic being discussed is very interesting to me. It will probably become partisan by comparison of the different political parties, but let’s talk about what this congressman was saying. Is it a good idea for United States military commanders to walk away because of the Presidents so-called inaction? Is this different from liberals asking for anyone and everyone to walk away from perceived adventurous overaction by Commanders-in-Chief of either party in the past (minus Carter who was pretty much the only President who is claimed to have never “fired a shot” while acting as President – but including every other President since FDR in the 40’s)? Are we the world’s police? Should we go it alone? Even if so should congress first vote on it as the constitution demands (assuming it will last over 60 days, which would constitutionally mean that the President doesn’t have enough authority to conduct a war on his/her own, regardless of if we’ve done it in the past). What is the end game with this war?

You see, I find that this is all very complicated, and I actually very much appreciate that the President has been thoughtful about getting us back into another conflict in the Middle East, without a clear directive… I find that it’s hardly presumptuous to say that I’m not alone in feeling this way. I do think that the President has played some political games, but which President hasn’t done that, and let’s please be clear in defining what we think those games are. My biggest hang up was how he talked about a Red Line in the sand on chemical weapons in Syria last year, and when we discovered that they were used he seemed grasp at straws as to why we shouldn’t go to war. He, as well as the rest of us, were lucky that some reporter at a press conference asked Secretary Kerry what would stop us from going to war, and he incredulously said that we wouldn’t go if they handed the weapons over. Much to the shagrin of the warhawks around the world, they handed them over and we didn’t go to war… And now we are stuck trying to figure out how to disavow the Assad regime, as well as dismember their newest local rebellion “ISIS/ISOL”, which fills the vacuum that is left due to a lack of infrastructure and accountability around the border of Iraq and Syria.

I point all of these things out simply to say that I find it truly offensive that in a time like this, when we do have foes abroad who will need to be addressed (and hopefully with the compliance of the world community) that we have have members of our United States Congress publicly asking the leadership in our military to act as the leadership in congress has over the past several years by demanding non-compliance with the President of The United States of America for political gain… This is hardly a speculation, this is quite simply the truth. Again, I’m not saying that the President has been perfect, but I don’t even his job, and actually I truly appreciate that we haven’t rushed to war and repeated some of our mistakes of the last half century (primarily the last decade).

If you’re wondering what I’m going on and on about please feel free read the article I’ve posted below, or just click the link just below this babbling culmination of my simple understandings about geopolitical conflict.

*Ok, I thought I was done, but I would like to add one more thing – I am wary of how the President has treated the situation in Iraq (as well as Syria actually) with regard to the intelligence community. He seems to have responded by saying that information was misrepresented, while I was just hoping it was his overall caution with respect to conflict in the region. I am not sure how I feel about how he’s handling all of this, but I don’t envy his job, and I’m glad we didn’t go in sooner and do all of the things that team McCain/Graham would’ve preferred (I think we would’ve done our nation and it’s image a great disservice).

Rant Done

Lamborn starts losing allies over military controversy | MSNBC.


In this May 2, 2012 file photo, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., speaks at the Capitol in Denver.
In this May 2, 2012 file photo, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., speaks at the Capitol in Denver.
Ed Andrieski, File/AP Photo

Lamborn starts losing allies over military controversy

09/30/14 08:37 AM—UPDATED 09/30/14 09:21 AM

By Steve Benen

For any politician facing a political controversy, there’s one sure sign of trouble: the loss of political allies. Most political figures are accustomed to criticism from the other side of the aisle, and they expect scrutiny from journalists, but when members of their own party start turning on them, it’s a real problem.
Which brings us back to Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, who boasted last week that he’s urged active-duty U.S. generals to resign, during a war, in order to undermine the Obama administration.
The Colorado Springs’ newspaper, The Gazette, reports today that Lamborn is now facing rebukes from two high-profile Republicans from Colorado’s congressional delegation.
On Sunday night, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican from Aurora, tweeted a link to a story about Lamborn’s comments and said, “As a Marine and combat veteran, I know to keep my politics off the battlefield.”
And when asked about Lamborn’s statement, U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, said: “There is no room for partisan politics when it comes to our men and women in uniform.”
To be sure, these aren’t sweeping condemnations, but let’s not overlook the context: with 35 days to go before Election Day, Coffman is in the middle of one of the nation’s most competitive U.S. House races, while Gardner is running in one of the nation’s most competitive U.S. Senate races. They’re both Republicans, but neither one of these congressmen are prepared to offer even a halfhearted defense for Lamborn’s controversial remarks.
Coffman and Gardner could have phrased this any number of ways to try and extend support to their GOP ally, but they chose to rebuke him instead. And while Gardner’s comments came in response to a reporter’s question, note that Coffman’s admonition was unprompted – he just wanted the public to know what Lamborn did was wrong.
How long until House Republican leaders are pressured to weigh in, too? For that matter, how long until House Democrats start pushing for Lamborn’s removal from the House Armed Services Committee?
This doesn’t appear to be going away. Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald published an item yesterday that didn’t hold back the emotional outrage.
Congressman Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado, is an un-American demagogue, willing to sabotage this country for his own grandstanding narcissism. If his words are to be believed, this brigadier blowhard is thoroughly unfit for public office and instead should be rotting in jail on charges of treason. […]
Lamborn is the latest type of political muck America needs to scrape off the bottom of its national shoe: an officeholder so absorbed with his hatred of the opposing party that he is willing to do anything, no matter how much it damages our national security and the underpinnings of our democracy, if it will win him some applause and maybe a couple of votes.
The Associated Press, meanwhile, has also picked up on the controversy, and quoted a Lamborn aide saying yesterday that the congressman “was referencing prior occasions, such as the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy or budget cuts.”
The problem with the defense is that it’s still literally unbelievable. As we discussed yesterday, a voter made some bizarre anti-Obama comments at a local event, while urging the congressman to “support the generals and the troops.” The congressman replied, “[L]et me reassure you on this. A lot of us are talking to the generals behind the scenes, saying, ‘Hey, if you disagree with the policy that the White House has given you, let’s have a resignation. You know, let’s have a public resignation, and state your protest, and go out in a blaze of glory.’”
All of this was in present tense. For that matter, the U.S. was still at war in 2010 (during the debate over DADT repeal) and in 2013 (during the debate over sequestration), so it’s not as if the defense is especially compelling anyway – for a congressman to push for wartime resignations to undermine U.S. policy is problematic no matter when it happens.
And so the questions for the Republican congressman remain the same: When you said “a lot of us” are pushing generals to resign, who else is involved in this effort? Which generals have you talked to “behind the scenes”? Why would it help U.S. interests for generals to resign during a war? Exactly how many times did you talk to the generals about this, and when was the last conversation?
The questions for House Republican leaders are just as straightforward: Doug Lamborn bragged publicly about basically trying to incite mutiny among America’s generals during war time. Is that acceptable behavior?

I Just Signed Up To Go Skydiving… Sooooooo, Can I Get A Refund?! (Video)


I am going skydiving for the fist time next week, and this new story about these planes crashing mid flight has turned my stomach completely upside down… Thankfully everyone survived, so I guess that makes me feel a little better, but seriously, we’re doing this?!

The Late Night Shake Up: Jimmy, Jay, Dave, Jimmy, and Coco…

Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 12.23.35 PM

A few years ago I had the chance to meet Jimmy Fallon, and he was an absolutely amazing person (also he had the softest hands I’d ever touched in my life, Seriously!). But below there is a clip of Jay and Jimmy having some funny during all of the confusion of figuring out what was next to come, and the other video is a part of the chaos after the announcement was made that Mr. Fallon would take over. For the last 20 years late night television has been a point of controversy, and the previous 30 years there was little doubt as to who the king of late night entertainment was – it was Johnny Carson. But now in this new age where there are a hundred times as many channels, and the nation is seemingly used to conflict we even end up with variety show battles between people who are all very funny and talented. This clip is proof that we’re dealing with professional comedians…

And here is the clip this morning from Morning Joe recapping all of the jokes on late night TV after the announcement.

And I decided that I want to include the clip from when I met David Letterman a couple of months ago. I know that he is not the focus of this story, but with the history of him getting snubbed for the Tonight Show I thought it was worth including.

Alison Brie on David Letterman Show 30 Jan 2013 – YouTube

Alison Brie on David Letterman Show 30 Jan 2013 – YouTube.


I have a big fat crush on Alison Brie, and I don’t care who knows it…

Too Big to Fail = Too Big for Jail?

Too Big to Fail = Too Big for Trial?

I know that a lot of people are concerned about Elizabeth Warren being on the banking committee in the United States Senate (including one of my capitalistic and Democratic heroes Steve Rattner), but it seems to me that it’s about time that somebody on the committee say something like this. This statement represents something that a vast majority of the country agrees with. Cries have been heard from across the political spectrum about unjust legal provisions for multinational banks. From Occupy Wall Street to the Tea Party people seem to believe that justice should prevail, and that nobody should be outside of the scope of the American legal system who participates in American commerce, or steps foot on our soil. Of course the conversation about the bounds for legal action by our government has just been changed again with all of the hubbub about drones, and our government’s assumed legal authority to kill people without any due process. More on drones later, but let’s not detract from the story about others who don’t seem to go before a judge or jury – multinational banks.

I consider myself to be a pro-business advocate, but the idea of anything being “too big to fail” is very scary. However, crossing the threshold of being “too big to jail”, or simply put on trial seems somewhat scarier. Last month after uncovering the illegal funneling of enormous amounts of money to Iran (IRAN!!!……), and Latin American drug lords the world power HSBC paid their seemingly substantial fine and moved on… No one was sent to jail, and no man or woman was out on trial… Of all of the cultural and political wars we indubitably do and will continue to endure it is bone chilling to consider how quickly we as a country glazed over this gargantuan blip on our twitter feeds.

While we can debate over whether or not a $1.9 billion fine is a big enough punishment to a bank like HSBC (about 6 weeks of pure profit for HSBC, not revenue) we can’t ignore the fact that they now simply seem to exist above the criminal justice system… This is just another example among many that surely cause some to loose faith in our undoubtably convoluted justice system.

As we think about the groups and individuals let’s quickly consider the difference between these banks and people who have been targets of drone attacks. A big part of the drone debate has been whether or not we should give these suspected law makers a trial, or at least offer them a chance to surrender (which would be very difficult from AB unmanned aircraft). On the flip side there are people who aren’t going to trial because they’re above the system all together.

Ok, here is an article from December 2012 when the story about HSBC broke.

Too big to fail means too big for jail

by: John W. Schoen

There’s a reason top executives haven’t gone to jail for engineering the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Some bankers are just too big to convict.

The latest example came Tuesday with British global banking giant HSBC’s agreement to pay a record $1.9 billion – about six weeks’ worth of the bank’s profits – to settle money-laundering charges with U.S. prosecutors. The deal ends a three-year probe into accusations of a widespread, multi-year string of illegal transactions violating sanctions against Iran and Latin American drug lords.

Five years after a wave of risky mortgage bets cratered the banking system and sent the global economy into recession, the banks behind the mess have paid or agreed to pay billions of dollars fines and restitution. But not a single senior executive from the biggest banks has gone to jail.

“That’s what has everyone so frustrated …. We’re on the back end of this crisis and there have not been meaningful prosecutions of individuals,” said Boston University law professor Cornelius Hurley, who heads the school’s Center for Finance, Law and Policy.

HSBC negotiated a five-year deferred prosecution agreement with the government, under which charges will be dropped if it prevents future violations.

The government said the bank “accepted responsibility for its criminal conduct and that of its employees.”

So did HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver.

“We accept responsibility for our past mistakes,” he said. “We have said we are profoundly sorry for them, and we do so again. The HSBC of today is a fundamentally different organization from the one that made those mistakes.”

To be sure, the government has churned out a string of cases stemming from the 2008 financial crisis. As of November, the Securities and Exchange Commission had brought charges against 133 companies and individuals, including 60 CEOs, CFOs, and other corporate officers. Those SEC cases have netted the government $2.6 billion in fines, penalties and other payments.

But critics of the government’s response to the 2008 meltdown argue that the best way to prevent the next crisis is to make sure those responsible are held personally accountable.

“Deterring future crimes can’t be accomplished simply through fines or negotiated financial settlements — which many banks regard as the cost of doing business,” Phil Angelides, who chaired the government commission that investigated the financial crisis, wrote in a September op-ed in Politico. “Senior executives need to know that if they violate the law, there will be real consequences.”

There’s no one single reason for the dearth of high-profile criminal convictions. Some prosecutors have argued that, in some cases, the crimes related to the financial meltdown of 2008 were too complex to pin on individuals. In others, they argued, the law had not kept up with the complex financial engineering that brought about the crisis.

But some critics argue that government simply isn’t trying hard enough.

“Virtually every white-collar criminal case is difficult (to make),” said Andrew Stoltmann, a Chicago attorney who specializes in securities fraud cases. “But look at the savings and loan crisis, where 1,000 bankers ended up going to prison with the same sort of legal hurdles that we have in the 2008 subprime meltdown.”

Justice Department officials were unavailable for comment.

Critics like Stoltmann also fault the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was badly underfunded and understaffed as the financial system expanded rapidly over the past decade. He argues that the commission is outgunned against the well-funded legal defenses of the finance industry’s biggest players.

“You have inexperienced SEC staffers who are hoping to get jobs with a lot of the law firms that defend these executives,” he said.

A number of high-profile cases may yet produce criminal prosecutions, which can take years to develop in complex financial cases. But the clock is ticking for the government. Many of these cases are approaching a statute of limitations that will insulate bankers from prosecution.

High-profile convictions of the biggest banks face another familiar hurdle. In their settlement with HSBC, prosecutors had to carefully weigh the impact a conviction might have on the world’s third largest bank. A criminal conviction would have dealt a serious — if not fatal — blow to one of the critical nodes in the global capital network while Europe’s banking system is on shaky ground.

Five years after the crisis began unfolding, the global banking system is even more vulnerable to banks that are “too big to fail,” after the biggest companies acquired weaker players crippled by the 2008 collapse.

“If you look at the pre- and post-numbers as far as concentration in the financial services industry, it’s way more concentrated than it was in 2007,” said Hurley. “They’re humongous in terms of their threat to the system.”

That threat was supposed to be reduced or eliminated by Dodd-Frank, the sweeping financial regulatory reform package enacted by Congress in 2009. But Hurley says the government has yet to bring big banks to heel.

“Dodd-Frank set up orderly liquidation authority and a financial stability oversight council — all of this what I call ambient noise,” Hurley said. “And it’s not bad to have. But we fooled ourselves into thinking that it solved the problem. Too big to fail is as big a problem or more than it was before the crisis.”

Chump Change: How Do American Voters Vote For Change in 2012?

We Still Want Change, But How Do We Get It?

4 years ago then Senator Barack Obama was elected on a platform of Change. A new poll shows that many voters are still waiting for the change they voted for… Having just experienced an incredible economic disaster we have to ask whether or not that change was possible while also making sure “the house didn’t burn down” (or at least this is what he’s running on). But there are still lingering questions of whether or not President Obama has been the President of change that he said he was, and if not whether of not he would be in the next term. These questions are apparently rather important to voters because they are still looking to cast a “change” vote. The funny part about that is that this vote still might be cast for the incumbent (President Obama), as 2/3’s of the people polled have consistently said that they blame the economy on former President Bush, not President Obama. I have some mixed feelings, but overall I find that he matches that framework better than his challenger, Mitt Romney, who is being castigated as a believer in the Bush style of government. I tend to agree that he would be a step backwards, but I say this understanding that I’ve got a thing or 2 to learn yet. What do you think?


The President has some very wavering opinions to face in this re-election campaign. He is, according to polls, the more likable candidate, but whether or not he is seen as a serious executive is still being aggressively debated. Judging from this most recent opinion polling maybe the best way to win the election is to be the one to emerge from the fray with the message of Change, again. And if the President is re-elected let’s hope that he isn’t faced with such pressing problems, and such an impossible congress to work with… What say you?





And now, for some Approval numbers:








“Will who wins the Presidency make a great deal of difference in your life personally?”




This shows just how polarized we are, as over half of the voters believe that it will make a great deal of difference in their life personally who wins, and among those voters the vote is tied as for who deserves their vote… I don’t know that they are right about the administrations making that big of a difference in their lives, unless of course if they love blogging about politics as much as I do, but I think it says something about people not having given up on their vote counting for something…




I’d love to have some feedback. What do you think about these polls?

The First Presidential Debate of 2012 (Complete) Romney vs.Obama – 10/3/2012 University of Denver

Presidential Debate 2012 (Complete) Romney vs.Obama – 10/3/2012 – Elections 2012.

Here is the full debate, and I’m going to put my quick thoughts below (so that I don’t spoil anything if you want to make up your own mind), but I’ll post some more thorough thoughts later.

Full Debate

OK, so far all of the analysis that I’ve heard tonight is that people feel that Mitt Romney got the best of this debate. On a personal note I don’t necessarily agree, but I understand how that might be true when speaking about the electorate. I think that this is going to be surprising to many because of the views that people have about these 2 people and their person-ability (and on that note I think that Obama looked much more comfortable but that Mitt looked more engaged, as he looked the President in the face almost the entire time that he wasn’t speaking). However, this isn’t all that surprising as this debate was about domestic issues (aka: The Economy), and considering the fact that this debate was almost entirely about President Obama’s record (because the voters know at least something about it), and the roles will likely flip in the coming debate (particularly in the foreign policy debate).

I think that the topics that we will likely hear more about over the coming days will be much of the same:

  • Medicare – Romney supports the voucher approach, and Obama doesn’t
  • Taxes – they both need to define more clearly what they want on personal and corporate rates
  • Military – (this may be wishful thinking) They didn’t talk too much about this, and it mostly seemed like a preview of the Foreign Policy debate when they did

I would love to hear more specifics about each of these things however. I want to hear about Romney’s plans to close loopholes, but I’m in suport of that. And I want to hear Obama defend the Affordable Care Act, as it still seems mysterious in a lot of ways (although I support so much of it), and I want to hear them both define their approach their plans for foreign policy from this point forward (even though I feel like I understand the President’s approach so far). I would also appreciate a more cooperative conversation about regulation, but I think that’s pretty wishful thinking.

I took some notes, and I’m going to watch this video again, and consolidate my notes so I can make a few more observations about what took place tonight. Please feel free to let me know what you thought about this debate if you have an opinion, I would love to hear from you.


Live Stream – First Presidential Debate tonight from the University of Denver

I’m very excited for this debate, and if you are looking for a place to watch it you can watch it here, live. That is of course if you don’t have a TV, because it will be live on several channels (listed below), but if you are stuck somewhere without TV, just come to this blog and you can watch it here. I always love getting your feedback, and I’d love to get some feedback about this debate. So feel free to email me or comment your thoughts, and let me know if you’d like to share them on the blog, that can be worked out, if they’re thoughtful and not too angry 🙂

First Presidential Debate tonight from the University of Denver

Obama/RomneyThe first in the series of Presidential debates between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney will be happening tonight at 9pm et, 6pm pt from the University of Denver in Colorado. The debate will be 90 minutes long with a focus on domestic issues. We will have the live stream embedded so you can watch the debate right here on this page.

Live Stream: Begins around 8pm et / 5pm pt, check back here to watch live

If you have trouble with the YouTube Feed below there are several places that you can click, like this one:
C-SPAN Live Debate Feed

Live Stream (Only Works during the Debate)

Spanish Live Stream: Univision Live

Air Time: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 @ 9pm et / 8pm ct / 7pm mt / 6pm pt

Channels: ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and more including CNN Espanol and others

Moderator: Jim Lehrer (Host of NewsHour on PBS)

The debate will focus on domestic policy and be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on topics to be selected by the moderator and announced several weeks before the debate.

The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the topic.

Following the broadcast, we will have the full video of the debate available for viewing. Check back for links.

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via First Presidential Debate tonight from the University of Denver « 2012 Election Central.

iPhone 5 hands-on: Slim is in – GadgetBox on

iPhone 5 hands-on: Slim is in – GadgetBox on

So it’s finally here! I’ve never gotten the new iPhone when it’s come out, but I have been planning to this time, so I’m excited to hear that there are good reviews so far.

iPhone 5 hands-on: Slim is in



Wilson Rothman / NBC News

The matte aluminum back of a white iPhone 5.

While the iPhone 5 rumors were popping, I couldn’t help think this was just some kind of stretched out iPhone 4S. During the keynote presentation, I was impressed by the features but couldn’t help continuing on this path: Would it just be the same?

Well, when I finally got the thing in my hand, even for a few minutes, I was delighted to discover how different it is.


Wilson Rothman / NBC News

An iPhone 5 (left) next to an iPhone 4S.

Yes, the iPhone 5 is thinner and lighter than the iPhone 4S, but not in a plasticky way that would suggest some of Samsung’s smartphones. If the iPhone 4S represents the heft and machined precision of a handgun, the iPhone 5 has the impossible physique of a laser blaster. It’s light and thin in the way that the future should be.The

Wilson Rothman / NBC News

The back of a white iPhone 5.

The matte finish on the smartphone’s back is a blessing and a curse. I like that there’s a lot less glass here for me to shatter, but the way it looks takes away from the pure elegance of the iPhone 4 design: Two panes of shiny glass, separated by a steel border. I find that the white iPhone 5 (above) looks a little washed out, less bold, where the black version (below) is smarter, if perhaps more masculine than its predecessor.


Wilson Rothman / NBC News

The side view of a black iPhone 5.

The taller screen is not as gangly as I has thought, and when I saw a clip of “The Avengers” on it, I could appreciate why the design decision was made. Movies aren’t my No. 1 activity on my phone, but the 16×9 ratio is a major standard for movies and more, so it just makes sense.


Wilson Rothman / NBC News

The white iPhone 5 doesn’t feel too much larger in the hand, and the screen makes sense.

There’s a springiness to the phone’s interface that suggests the stomping A6 processor, but I couldn’t load up anything that let me really see the polygons fly. Also, part of that smoother operation could be iOS 6, because much of it — for instance, the Music app — has been retooled to better interact with iCloud and iTunes.

What was a fun thing to test out, even if I never use it in real life, is the camera’s Panorama feature: You just hoist the phone aloft and pan across your field of view, and you end up with a seamless panoramic image, suitable for framing (if you’re any good at photography, that is — alas, I am not).

Wilson Rothman is the Technology & Science editor at NBC News Digital. Catch up with him on Twitter at @wjrothman, and join our conversation on Facebook.

President John Doe – A Fictional Tale of A Real Recovery

WARNING: RANT AHEAD (feel free to skip ahead to the article below)

Having grown up in Oklahoma I have always heard that Ronald Reagan was simple the best president of the past 150 years, but I have rarely heard much of an explanation as to why beyond tax cuts, and that he beat communism. I think that the explanation that I’ve gotten about Reagan has often been overly simplified. Over the past couple of years I have discovered that I do respect and love Reagan as a person (a lot) but that we did have some disagreements (which is ok) and that he seems to be inaccurately portrayed by some conservatives. President Reagan did fight against and many ways dismantled communism, and I think that’s great. But the side that I never heard about growing up includes facts like: he raised taxes (after lowering them), left a failing war (in Lebanon), wanted to get rid of all nuclear arms (although he had a funny way of showing it), and gave amnesty to illegal immigrants (although he intended for this to be a one time thing). I have heard a lot of conservatives claim Reagan and then say things that would not fit with his political philosophy. I don’t mean to hurt feelings, but I truly would like to better understand where a lot of this rhetoric comes from… I love Reagan for being a principled man, even though his policies seemed to have hurt many people in the lower tax brackets. However, I think that he actually believed that the markets would eventually help them.

My most current problem with all I this is the complete joke of a campaign against President Obama. It seems like people are constantly inventing some caricature of him that isn’t actually real… I am open to the idea that the recovery could’ve been better dealt with, but I also think that it would make sense that the more natural rate of growth for a recovering economy like ours should maybe look like ours (key point being that Reagan’s economy was essentially subsidized by tax cuts and borrowing foreign money, and yes tax cuts in the end are another form of government spending if they aren’t offset by something that would have otherwise been paid for going away…).

I respect a lot of conservative thinkers, and I often think that they might be right about how things would most efficiently work, but the conversation about our president has just become so blatantly dishonest (even just by the omission of specific facts) that I find myself compelled to ask why this is happening. One example of a conservative who I usually agree with is David Brooks (New York Times) as he will regularly talk about how he disagrees with the president, but that this disagreement is philosophical and not just because he is Dumb, or anything like that. It is ok to have different philosophies and approaches to the world. You do no have to agree with Obama Philisophically but I am so tired of hearing the B.S. If you don’t like automobile company bail outs bring it up and explain why, there is plenty to discuss. If you are against the government trying to help college students with their loans by making the cheaper and forgiving a portion of them with certain stipulations because we just can’t afford it (or you simply think that it’s picking winners and losers) that is a fine argument to have – but please don’t be confused about the philosophical debate and you being on the side of good and them being on the side of evil… For goodness sakes, Republicans were the ones who originally proposed the idea of a mandate on health insurance in the 1990’s, and now it is the worst thing that has ever happened to them. Mitt Romney wrote an opinion editorial in 2009 suggesting that the country have this mandate, and now he is pretending that this never happened and that President Obama is a jerk for actually doing it. I only bring up Governor Romney to say that he is supposed to be the opposite, but history doesn’t seem to show that to be true. I don’t think it’s too difficult to make the connection that he is afraid of the same backlash that he has seen go after Obama (and these are the same people who he is hoping to get votes from). I actually think that Romney seems like a nice guy in the middle of a very tough fight. I disagree with him a lot, but I agree with him from time to time. If you really think that the other side from you is actually evil I beg that you would really try to approach them with an open heart and sympathize if at all possible as to why they have certain opinions.

I love debating people about their world views, and it doesn’t hurt my feelings because I do not lose respect for someone else because they are being honest with me about how they feel – if anything that makes me respect them more (even if I might think that they are being irrational). I’ve rambled on enough, I just want to challenge a lot of my conservative friends to open up your hearts and minds to what other people think/believe and why. If you feel like this does not apply to you then awesome, I’d love to talk to you about these things, but make sure that you aren’t so sure that you are open-minded that you are actually closed off to the idea that you aren’t completely open-minded. Ok I’m done, enjoy the article.


Obama vs. Reagan: A tale of two recoveries

Obama vs. Reagan: A tale of two recoveriesWill President Obama get a second term? Reagan did.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Faced with a strong jobs report Friday, Republicans tried out a new rhetorical message: This isn’t a disaster, but Ronald Reagan could have done better.

“It didn’t have to be this way,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington. “There is a different approach that we could’ve taken. President Reagan took a very different approach.”

On the other side of the aisle, Democrats have been careful not to compare the recovery to anything like Reagan’s fabled “Morning in America.”

Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, said that while the jobs report “provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal,” it is “important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

So the parties are in agreement: The recovery of today is not like the recovery of 1983 and 1984.

And that’s true.

“The Reagan recovery had one of the fastest rates of growth we ever saw,” said Barry Bosworth, an economist at the Brookings Institution. “If anything it was too strong. It was spectacular.”

Just take a look at the numbers:

The economy grew at 4.5% in 1983, with a few quarters of growth north of 8%. In 2011, meanwhile, the economy grew just 1.7%.

In just one month — September 1983 — the economy added more than a million jobs. For the full year, the economy added almost 3.5 million jobs, a trend that continued into 1984, an election year in which Reagan captured 49 states in a landslide victory.

Obama can claim job growth of 1.8 million in 2011. A welcome comeback, but still tepid by comparison.

Looking ahead to 2012, Obama could replicate the 243,000 jobs created in January over each of the next 11 months and still not approach Reagan’s total for 1984 of 3.9 million.

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Reagan had an advantage over Obama: The recession of the early 1980s was caused by runaway inflation, which the Federal Reserve countered by hiking interest rates. When inflation dropped, the Fed lowered rates and a massive economic boom resulted.

“The monetary policy run by [Fed chairman] Paul Volcker was extremely successful,” said Rudolph Penner, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office. “When inflation went away, that laid the groundwork for a very rapid recovery.”

The major causes of the recession that started in December 2007 were a banking crisis and housing bubble that exploded during President George W. Bush’s final months in office. Plus, interest rates were already low heading into the recession.

The damage to the economy was not easy to fix in the short-run, said Greg Valliere, chief political strategist at the Potomac Research Group.

“We nearly fell off a cliff, and people have short memories. I think the threat to the country was far greater in 2008 than in the early 80s, which was a garden variety recession.”

Another difference: With comparatively small debt loads, Reagan was able to push through a 23% across-the-board cut of individual income tax rates.

With revenue lower today, a tax cut of that magnitude is, according to Bosworth, something “we can’t really afford anymore.”

Obama entered the presidency with substantial budget deficitsand an economy contracting at a rate of 6.7%.

And both Bosworth and Penner agree that the stimulus package Obama did end up with could have been much better.

“The stimulus was poorly designed and didn’t get the bang for the buck we could have gotten,” Penner said.

Still, it is possible to draw comparisons between the two recoveries within the context of the election cycle.

Just consider the good news in Friday’s report: The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3%, the lowest it has been since February 2009, after peaking at 10% in October 2009.

Beyond that, the private sector added jobs for the 23rd straight month.

At this point in Reagan’s first term, the unemployment rate was 8%, down from a peak of 10.8%. He ultimately was elected when unemployment was 7.2%.

Obama battles job crisis: 3 years…and counting

“The pattern here in 2012 looks a little like 1984 in that the economy is beginning to accelerate and the unemployment rate is starting to come down,” Valliere said. “I think we can get to a little under 8% by Election Day.”

Some political scientists say a more useful predictor of electoral success is the general trend and how Americans feel about the economy.

“You can start at quite a high level of unemployment,” Penner said. “But so long as things are improving around the election, that improves the incumbent’s chances considerably.”

But the White House has a long way to go to convince most Americans.

According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted late last month, only 45% of Americans approve of the way Obama is handling the economy, while 50% disapprove.

And a few stumbling blocks — the Eurozone debt crisis and domestic housing market — are still lurking.

“Obama’s had a couple of good months, but keep in mind this has happened a few times over the last couple years,” Bosworth said. “I think people are getting too excited.” To top of page

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