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Politics and Media Headlines 2/23/09

Caro's picture

Obama Tells Mayors to Spend Stimulus Wisely (AP video)
Invoking his own name-and-shame policy, President Barack Obama warned the nation's mayors Friday that he will 'call them out' if they waste the money from his massive economic stimulus plan.
It’s interesting that the shot below, edited into the very beginning of the video, is not an expression that Obama had on his face during the clip. What would the “Lie To Me” folks say about this expression—that it reflects disgust? Scorn? Is the AP trying to portray Obama as the National Scold?—Caro

He’s even hired an enforcer:
Official: Investigator to lead stimulus oversight
President Barack Obama plans to announce Monday a former Secret Service agent who helped expose lobbyists' corruption at the Interior Department as his pick to oversee the $787 billion economic stimulus plan. Obama is set to name Earl Devaney as chairman of the new Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board, an administration official said Sunday. Vice President Joe Biden also will be given a role coordinating oversight of stimulus spending.

Obama aims to cut US deficit in half by 2013 (Reuters)

* Obama plans to raise taxes on wealthy, cut Iraq spending
* Obama wants to cut deficit to 3.0 percent of GDP
* Obama moves to fulfill campaign tax cut promise
* Bush tax cuts to be allowed to expire on schedule

Obama Bans Budget Gimmicks (Political Wire)
"For his first annual budget next week, President Obama has banned four accounting gimmicks that President George W. Bush used to make deficit projections look smaller," the New York Times reports. "The price of more honest bookkeeping: A budget that is $2.7 trillion deeper in the red over the next decade than it would otherwise appear."

Obama's deficit plan based on optimistic assumptions (McClatchy)
In order to achieve his goal of cutting the federal budget deficit in half, to $533 billion by 2013, President Barack Obama would need cooperation from Congress; the U.S. and world economies; Iraqi political and militia leaders; Afghan warlords and politicians; and perhaps even Iran, China and Pakistan.

Facebook, CNN and Obama: The Reunion (Mashable)
In what both brands hope will be another successful melding of mainstream and social media, CNN and Facebook are set for a rerun of their successful live streaming partnership during the Presidential Inauguration. On Tuesday evening, President Obama’s address to Congress will be live streamed online by CNN, accompanied by live updates from Facebook: discuss Obama’s address with your friends or view all the status updates from Facebook viewers. Facebook users can RSVP for the event here.

Health reform on the backburner? (AARP, via email)
The buzz around in Washington is growing louder – and the news is not good. It’s becoming clear that some members of Congress want to put health reform on the backburner until at least 2010. But with medical costs rising fast, Americans need action on health care now. President Obama is outlining his priorities when he addresses the nation tomorrow night. Will you join me in calling on the president to put health care reform at the top of his list? Click here to ask President Obama to make health reform a top priority in his speech tomorrow.

Sitting at Obama’s table: The Secret Health Care Talks (by katiebird at The Confluence)
Does anyone else want to burst into tears when they read about millionaires trying to make health care affordable? “Health Care Industry in Talks to Shape Policy”… Not once in the article is there a definition of “affordable” — which makes me doubly (if possible) skeptical of the eventual plan. But, then lets look at who’s doing the talking: “The 20 people who regularly attend the meetings on Capitol Hill include lobbyists for AARP, Aetna, the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the American Cancer Society, the American Medical Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the Business Roundtable, Easter Seals, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and the United States Chamber of Commerce.”

Click here for more politics and media news headlines.

Carolyn Kay

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bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Consider the source of the photo, which Caro smartly points out does not appear during the clip but is rather editied in by the AP.

The Associated Press is no longer a reasonably independent source of news summary but rather an active mouthpiece for the VRWC especially with regard to news coming out of the DC office.

Every AP article must be viewed with suspicion, and examined for intrinsic bias. The most recent AP whopper was the claim that Obama is supporting Bush policies regarding the rights of detainees held in battlefield prisons, a complete falsehood. Prisoners in Baghram are being held under the terms of the 1949 Geneva Convention, as Obama has committed to, and are to be processed under the jurisdiction of military justice. They have no right to civilian courts, and can be held until 3 months after cessation of hostilities without trial but merely by administrative review. Their rights are now subject to the Geneva Conventions (except the latest amendment, of which neither the US nor Afghanistan are signators) and further guaranteed by the US Army Manual, a big step up from the free-for-all torture regime operated under Bush.

The AP headline, however, was

Obama Sides With Bush: No Rights for Bagram Prisoners

False on two fronts: The Obama administration did not argue that the prisoners have no rights, only that they have no right of access to US civilian courts - a position that is consistent with the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Further, this position is not an agreement with Bush but rather one that is consistent with US and international law for over half a century. By re-imposing the restraints of the Geneva Conventions and the Army Manual, Obama explicitly rejected and repudiated Bush's claims that these prisoners were outside the reach of conventional justice norms and subject only to arbitrary constructs conjured by BushCo lawyers out of whole cloth.

Obama is the subject of a widespread and sometimes subtle VRWC media attack, including from the AP. We need to be mindful of that attack, and of the memes it will propagate. Just because the MSM says something does not make it true, and it would be very unwise of the Left to buy into MSM/VRWC frames without careful scrutiny. Very careful scrutiny.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Anyone who thought that the VRWC would just lie down and give Obama a pass was an idiot a fool in love suffering from a delusion.

Clinton's would have been pre-packaged, a regurgitation of everything from Vince Foster and Whitewater on forward. With Obama they've had to be creative since the Chicago pol and Ayers revolutionary charges didn't stick. The two dominant memes now are to pretend Bush never happened as seen in attempts to draw a line between our current troubles and Bill Clinton or FDR, and to paint Obama and Bush as similar as in the above AP falsehood. Both of them are absurd, but that is no impediment.

A good portion of what was said during the primaries was false. That ought not to interfere with our ability now to reject VRWC framing and produce our own independent and accurate critique of Obama.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Truly, it is rare to see that kind of innocent optimism these days. No matter what anyone says, don't ever change.

I guess we've had a different set of experiences. I've watched Progressives Liberals Leftists Socialists Libertarians Whatevers-Not-Reactionary, close associates, across many slices of society, turn into wanton authoritarian murdering criminal assholes - and with some large frequency. It doesn't surprise me anymore.

Good for you, that you've never had that happen.

Until last year.

So now you know.

Since you've brought up the primaries, my question regarding them here in summary form and in the current context is:

No argument, what happened and what didn't happen during the late primaries is a worthwhile topic for consideration, discussion and analysis. But no part of the primaries has anything to do with the challenges facing Progressives Liberals Leftists Socialists Libertarians Whatevers-Not-Reactionary going forward.

The reality of the primaries is now in the past. The reality of now and the future is what my comment adresses, and I assume what you join me in caring most immediately about. I don't see the primaries as a useful lense for viewing now; I could be wrong, but to convince me otherwise I'll be wanting to see some sound linkage. On this topic, an MSM/VRWC push to deligitimize the Democratic President, Democrats in general, and Liberals as a whole, I don't see one. All this would have happened, perhaps in different form, regardless of which Democrat won.

Our enemies, in order of virulence, are:

Blue Dogs
Indifferent, non-voting citizens
Establishment Democrats

Those are the people we need to attack, and in that order. In the short term, BlueDogs offer the most bang for the buck - if we can replace them with moderate Dems. Obama is Catagory 4, way down my list.

Mandos's picture
Submitted by Mandos on

That's been my question for some time now. OK, we get that you object to how the O-man became Prez. Now, he's The President. What's next, and what does it have to do with how you felt about the primaries?

Caro's picture
Submitted by Caro on

... that there has to be some recognition of what went on--manipulation of caucuses and hateful misogyny--before we can fix the process. It's similar to the need to investigate the wrongdoing of the Bush administration.

If we don't detail what was done wrong, and punish the guilty, people will keep doing wrong.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

but a couple of caveats:

1) That process needs to be kept separate from goals, strategy and tactics we employ going forward, or we will end up at cross-purposes and destroy our own efforts at Progressive advancement. Whatever happened in the primaries, we have Obama to deal with now like it or not and the need to engage fully with that reality has to trump any need to rehash the primary.

2) While I understand that many people were shocked at the way the primary system works, I have to tell you it isn't all that different from what it has always been. Back in the day, 40 years ago, I was part of an effort that lied, cheated, stole, manipulated, deceived and outfoxed the establishment Democratic machine in California and as a result won it for Bobby Kennedy. We played the race card, we absolutely lied about what we were doing and where and manipulated what the results would be, and in consequence we won against great odds.

In all honesty I must say that our behavior then was not quantitatively different than the Obama campaign. While I didn't bully any little old ladies I did lie to some, and would have bullied them if I had absolutely needed to. What we did was clean, in the sense that we didn't bribe anyone or commit any crimes, but we sure as hell were untruthful and sneaky and still I was proud of what we did then and I am proud of it now. In some significant measure, I suppose, ego being what it is, because we won.

Then Bobby was killed and it was all mooted anyway, but still; I had no qualms about perverting the system to reach my desired ends. Guess I was a BobbyBot, except my eyes were wide open and I was completely in control of my emotions. I knew perfectly well what I was doing, and was convinced then that it was the right thing to do. On reflection, I have no regrets and wouldn’t take back a single thing. I imagine many Obama supporters feel the same about their efforts.

3) The primary process is not democratic; that may be good or bad, depending, and maybe it needs to be changed, but for now it simply is not. Within the process, there is a lot of room for playing fast and loose with the "rules" which are basically designed to keep the rabble like me and thee from taking control away from the leadership. There's your major issue, the autocratic process, not some uppity playah who figured out how to game the system and whose supporters used bad language and bigotry along the way. The Obama phenomenon is a symptom, not the disease.

End of rant.

Alls I'm sayin' is we will do better if we can keep the issues somewhat separated and distinct. However pissed off you still are about the primaries, the battle right now today between Us and Them is one where we want Obama to be one of Us. If that means I have to kiss his shiny ass to get him to do what I want, I'm not so proud that I won't bend over. I'll lie to the man, promise undying support and fealty and obedience to get what I want, and then to hell with him when I don't need him anymore. Why should I care about Barack Obama long-term? I don't.

No reason at all right now that we can't wrap an arm around Brother Barack and campaign against our bigger enemies, Republicans and BlueDogs. At the same time we can write the story of the 2008 primary and if that shows Obama to have been the craven ugly beast you think he is, then so be it.

I only want him to be my useful tool for as long as he is useful. After that he goes on the scrap heap, where history can have at him and do what it will.