Clueless in Washington
Posted by aogTuesday, 02 February 2010 at 13:53 TrackBack Ping URL

As I catch up on things, I want to mock President Obama’s spending freeze because you just can’t do too much of that. Let us be careful to note that not only is it a pointless exercise, not only is it something Obama himself mocked when he was on the campaign trail, but it’s also stupid politically because it won’t mollify his opponents nor impress the moderates, while it has managed to enrage his only remaining partisans. How much more reality dysfunction could he exhibit?

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AVeryRoughRoadAhead Thursday, 04 February 2010 at 02:43

I think that he believes that it will impress the moderates, or at least signal that he’s cognizant of the public’s anxiety over his proposed TWO TRILLION DOLLAR fiscal ‘11 Federal budget deficit.

And really, what else has he got? (Except for, you know, actually cutting spending.)

Per Bloomberg:

President Barack Obama proposes a $3.8 trillion fiscal 2011 budget today that calls for $100 billion in additional stimulus spending and projects this year’s deficit will hit a record $1.6 trillion.

The plan would reduce the shortfall in part by imposing more than $800 billion in higher taxes and fees on those earning more than $250,000, banks that benefited from the financial industry bailout and the oil, gas and coal industries. […]

The bulk of the higher taxes would come by allowing tax cuts passed under former President George W. Bush for those earning more than $250,000 to lapse at the end of this year. That would raise $678 billion, according to the administration.

But that additional $678 billion is a delusional fantasy amidst the worst economic downturn since Great Depression I, as is the thought of raising an additional $40 billion in taxes from oil and natural gas co’s during an extremely contested election year.

Cutting half of the posited additional revenues from “the rich” plus the proposed fossil fuel tax revenues, and adding in the $1.6T that Obama is willing to admit that he’s short, we get the grand total of a $1.979T deficit.

That we would even consider running a budget deficit of 15% of GNP outside of a total war scenario is…

Breathtaking. Horrifying. Supporting evidence that the American Powers That Be don’t ever intend to pay back the money that the U.S. gov’t is borrowing, and has borrowed since ‘01.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 04 February 2010 at 07:14

Yes, I think he believes that as well, which is why I think this demonstrates his severe reality dysfunction. Obama is the worst but much of our political class isn’t far behind.

P.S. Speaking of delusional, data like this make Brothers Judd’s semi-regular “the recovery has started” posts morbidly amusing. I certainly think it would have absent the current massive government mismanagement.

erp Thursday, 04 February 2010 at 07:47

The spending freeze proposal is so bogus only 9% of people polled believed it would make any difference. Pretty amazing considering it was reported with a straight face.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Monday, 15 February 2010 at 03:25

As Gov. Palin recently asked, “how’s that hopey, changey thing workin’ out for ya?”:

Obama attorneys argue for warrantless cell phone tracking

By Stephen C. Webster - Saturday, February 13th, 2010

A US appeals court began weighing Friday whether police should be allowed to track citizens through their cellphones without first obtaining a warrant.

The case “could prove to be one of the most important privacy rights battles of the modern era,” The Legal Intelligencer noted.

Adopting a Bush-era argument, Obama administration attorneys asked the court to allow telecoms companies to hand over their subscribers’ location information, even without a probable cause warrant. […]

“An individual has no Fourth Amendment-protected privacy interest in business records, such as cell-site usage information, that are kept, maintained and used by a cell phone company,” Obama administration attorney Eckenwiler argued in his legal brief…

As Mr. Obama is finding out, and as many of his most fervent fans probably can’t comprehend, much of what the Bush the Younger admin did in the struggle against terrorism wasn’t so much partisan- or personality-based as it was reality- and effectiveness-based. Warrantless monitoring of all long-distance phone conversations, data-mining all ‘net communication…

Is a person’s location a privacy issue? The Federal and state gov’ts clearly have the right to regulate how and where people travel, and individuals have the right to know if somebody’s on their property, for what purpose, and to evict unwanted trespassers…

From a strictly common-sense perspective, it seems to me that as long as the gov’t doesn’t require the average citizen to carry a GPS device, and as long as it isn’t illegal to disable or otherwise turn off such a feature in any voluntarily-carried device; and in any case only the device itself can be positively-identified, as regardless of to whom such a device is registered it cannot be definitively-shown that that’s who’s carrying the device without additional surveillance - then it’s not reaching too far to allow the gov’t to access the location data from such devices.

erp Monday, 15 February 2010 at 09:50

Rough, do you really believe this? The Federal and state gov’ts clearly have the right to regulate how and where people travel…

I believe it’s clearly the opposite. The government has no right to monitor me unless they can convince a judge they have a very good reason to believe I am engaged in nefarious activities.

Bush’s data mining is a far cry from monitoring an individual’s activities and listening to his phone conversations.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 15 February 2010 at 10:13

I must agree with erp. Inter-state travel might possibly be subject to federal regulation, but not intra-state.

erp Monday, 15 February 2010 at 10:41

AOG, perhaps if by inter-state, you mean travel from the United States to another, possibly, enemy state, otherwise, no way, José.

While the feds can regulate inter-state commerce, they can’t regulate travel by citizens around the country and I sure hope they never will be able to do so.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Monday, 15 February 2010 at 13:53

Travel by foot, animal-back, road, rail or air are all regulated by some level of gov’t, and usually at least two or three, as well as a half-dozen gov’t organizations.

All levels of gov’t have the authority to place given areas or locations, sometimes comprising tens of thousands of hectares, off-limits to travel.

I believe that both of you have an objection that might read something like “no gov’t can tell me that I can’t go to Portland if I want.” (Maine or Oregon, take yer pick [although OR’s Portland is much better].)

But if you want to arrive in a timely manner and convenient way, you’ll have to abide by the rules, regulations and laws concerning where you may walk, or where you may ride a beast, how you may operate a motor vehicle, what kind of vehicle you may operate, or what you may do as a passenger in a road, rail or sky vehicle. And regardless of how you choose to travel, you will be monitored and observed many times, perhaps many many times.

Along the way, there will be places barred to you, and when you arrive, there are locations that you may not visit.

And in extremis, Maine, Oregon and the Federal gov’t all have the authority and power to declare that nobody may go to Portland.

So while you might find the touch of regulation to be light, and be so accustomed to following its guidelines that you don’t even see it anymore, don’t mistake that for a lack of regulation on travel in America, or believe that it couldn’t become more onerous literally overnight.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 15 February 2010 at 14:26

Nonsense. That’s the equivalent of saying that since the government can record any phone call I make to a government agency, it’s no different if they record all of my phone calls. In every one of your examples, it is the place, not the person, who is regulated.

erp Monday, 15 February 2010 at 15:32

… and the feds have the obligation to regulate inter-state traffic and that means highways, waterways, etc.

Of course, we can’t enter into unsafe places like weapon testing areas or prison yards or private property or many other places not open to the public for reasons of safety and security… and we all have to drive on the same side of the road, obey traffic laws, etc., but that’s true within even our little town.

When we drove all through Mexico 25 years ago, we were amazed that there were armed soldiers at state border crossings (not all of them as I recall) checking papers and searching vehicles. They were very polite, but they had very big guns on their shoulders. First time we’d ever seen anything like it outside of the movies.

If it ever came to pass that anything like that happened here, it’d be our own d*mn fault.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Monday, 15 February 2010 at 15:48

So is (or should be) location a privileged piece of info?

…it’d be our own d*mn fault.

Yeah, it will be.

erp Monday, 15 February 2010 at 16:27

I don’t understand the question.

If you mean, should the location of off limits places be privileged? No. We should know where they are and why they’re off limits.

If you mean should our location be privileged? The answer is yes, of course. Unless a judge is convinced that we’re engaged in criminal activities and authorizes a search of our location by the appropriate authority.

Even though surveillance cameras are probably very useful to law enforcement, I really don’t like the idea that video cameras have popped up all over the landscape.

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