Patterico's Pontifications

6/16/2009

Obama Gives Benefits to Same-Sex Partners . . . But Why?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:23 pm

Obama did something for the gays today:

President Barack Obama, under growing criticism for not seeking to end the ban on openly gay men and women in the military, is extending benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

Is it just a coincidence that it happened on the same day as this?

Two prominent gay figures, activist David Mixner and widely read blogger Andy Towle, have pulled out of a Democratic National Committee fundraiser later this month amid growing calls to confront the administration at what was supposed to be its first large scale opportunity to bring in gay cash.

“I will not attend a fundraiser for the National Democratic Party in Washington next week when the current administration is responsible for these kind of actions,” Mixner wrote of a motion to dismiss a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act that drew a parallel between same-sex marriage to incestuous marriage.

Remember: Obama’s position on gay marriage is the same as the dethroned Miss California. Why, I’m more liberal on that issue than he is. And I’m a conservative.

That’s the headline. When the president is denying a group the full meal, the headline should not be about the crumbs he’s giving them.

Dan Collins Has a New Site

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:47 pm

It’s called Piece of Work in Progress. The best part is that you have to sign a content warning to access it.

Dan is good people and a good blogger. Make sure to check out his site.

UPDATE: Link fixed.

Obama Proposes New Financial Regulations

Filed under: Economics,Government,Obama — DRJ @ 6:15 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Reports indicate Barack Obama will announce tomorrow his newest plan to overhaul the financial sector and reduce financial risk. It will call for expanded capitalization and liquidity requirements for U.S. and international entities and reduced reliance on credit-rating agencies. (What will take their place? Government?)

The plan will also expand the powers of the Federal Reserve and add another layer of bureaucracy:

“But even as the Fed gains new powers, Obama also would transfer some banking authority that now rests with the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department to the new consumer agency — the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

“There is going to be streamlining, consolidation and additional overlap so that you don’t find people falling through the gaps, whether it’s the consumer protection side, the investor protection side, the systemic risk that we need to make sure is avoided,” Obama said Tuesday.”

No matter how many times Obama claims he wants to streamline government, creating a new government agency that provides “additional overlap” will not save costs or reduce bureaucracy.

Meanwhile, House Republicans pointed out that the Obama Administration’s continued expansion of government bureaucracy and spending “pose a far more significant source of ‘systemic risk’ to our nation’s economy than the failure of any specific financial institution.”

– DRJ

Senate Bill to Promote Foreign Tourism

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 12:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Senate is scheduled to begin consideration today of Senate Bill 1023, the Travel Promotion Act of 2009:

“On May 12, 2009, Senator Dorgan introduced S. 1023, the Travel Promotion Act of 2009. The bill would establish a non-profit corporation to better communicate U.S. entry policies to international travelers and promote leisure, business, and scholarly travel to the United States. The legislation would also create an Office of Travel Promotion within the Department of Commerce to coordinate with the corporation. The legislation was reported favorably out of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation with a written report and placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar on June 5. The Senate is expected to begin consideration of this legislation on June 16. “

The committee report notes that overseas travel into the U.S. has declined and this legislation is aimed at restoring international visitors. How will this be funded? The government will pay two-thirds and there will be agreed assessments on the travel industry. In addition, the proposed legislation “requires the Department of Homeland Security to collect a $10 ESTA fee from foreign travelers.”

Heh. Want more international travelers? Charge ‘em.

– DRJ

ABC to make Obamacare Infomercial

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:30 am

[Posted by Karl]

The Drudge Report reprints Republican National Committee Chief of Staff Ken McKay’s complaint to the head of ABCNews:

Dear Mr. Westin:

As the national debate on health care reform intensifies, I am deeply concerned and disappointed with ABC’s astonishing decision to exclude opposing voices on this critical issue on June 24, 2009. Next Wednesday, ABC News will air a primetime health care reform “town hall” at the White House with President Barack Obama. In addition, according to an ABC News report, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, WORLD NEWS, NIGHTLINE and ABC’s web news “will all feature special programming on the president’s health care agenda.” This does not include the promotion, over the next 9 days, the president’s health care agenda will receive on ABC News programming.

Today, the Republican National Committee requested an opportunity to add our Party’s views to those of the President’s to ensure that all sides of the health care reform debate are presented. Our request was rejected. I believe that the President should have the ability to speak directly to the America people. However, I find it outrageous that ABC would prohibit our Party’s opposing thoughts and ideas from this national debate, which affects millions of ABC viewers.

In the absence of opposition, I am concerned this event will become a glorified infomercial to promote the Democrat agenda. If that is the case, this primetime infomercial should be paid for out of the DNC coffers. President Obama does not hold a monopoly on health care reform ideas or on free airtime. The President has stated time and time again that he wants a bipartisan debate. Therefore, the Republican Party should be included in this primetime event, or the DNC should pay for your airtime.

The response from ABCNews purports to address the “false premises” of the letter, but does not deny the central charge of the letter, i.e., that the GOP is being excluded from responding to the White House infomercial ABCNews plans to air. The closest the response comes is to claim the following:

ABC News is looking for the most thoughtful and diverse voices on this issue. ABC News alone will select those who will be in the audience asking questions of the president. Like any programs we broadcast, ABC News will have complete editorial control. To suggest otherwise is quite unfair to both our journalists and our audience.

In reality, ABCNews aired a Potemkin town hall for Hillary Clinton in March 2007, complete with fawning from Robin Roberts about Hillarycare being “ahead of its time,” and a prepared question from an audience member who, in ‘93, just happened to have been on the Clinton’s universal health care task force. That ABCNews Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos is part of a 17-year-long conference call with White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel does not exactly inspire confidence, either.

ABC’s response is inadvertently telling in another respect:

Indeed, we’ve already had many critics of the President’s health care proposals on the air – and that’s before a real plan has even been put before the country.

The half-cocked efforts in Congress to date inspire no confidence that a “real plan” will put before the country by June 24 — so what is the rationale for handing Obama another piece of primetime?

–Karl

Obama Getting Tough on North Korea?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:51 am

[Posted by Karl]

That is what the New York Times would have us believe in advance of today’s visit from South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak, a conservative who has been far more confrontational in his dealings with North Korea than most of his predecessors:

The Obama administration will order the Navy to hail and request permission to inspect North Korean ships at sea suspected of carrying arms or nuclear technology, but will not board them by force, senior administration officials said Monday.

***

The planned American action stops just short of the forced inspections that North Korea has said that it would regard as an act of war. Still, the administration’s plans, if fully executed, would amount to the most confrontational approach taken by the United States in dealing with North Korea in years, and carries a risk of escalating tensions at a time when North Korea has been carrying out missile and nuclear tests.

The usual anonymous officials said that they believed that China would also enforce the new sanctions, which (again, if true) suggests the administration seized the opportunity presented by Kim Jong Il’s latest lunacies. The Obama administration is also selling the notion that a tougher line on North Korea has been in the works for some time:

Mr. Obama’s decisions about North Korea stem from a fundamentally different assessment of the North’s intentions than that of previous administrations. Nearly 16 years of on-and-off negotiations — punctuated by major crises in 1994 and 2003 — were based on an assumption that ultimately, the North was willing to give up its nuclear capability.

A review, carried out by the Obama administration during its first month in office, concluded that North Korea had no intention of trading away what it calls its “nuclear deterrent” in return for food, fuel and security guarantees.

***

The result is that Mr. Obama, in his first year in office, is putting into effect many of the harshest steps against North Korea that were advocated by conservatives in the Bush White House, including Vice President Dick Cheney.

(That would be the same Dick Cheney recently smeared by Obama’s CIA chief. It’s a Small World, as annoying Disneybots like to say.)

If true, the Times story raises the question of why Obama remains hell bent on chatting up the Iranian theocracy, whose divinely annoited despot has vowed never to negotiate about Iran’s nuclear program. The answer cannot be public opinion — Obama has already forged a broad, bipartisan consensus against his policies on North Korea and Iran. Fifty-seven percent of Democrats thought Obama was not tough enough on Iran, even before the current crisis. Kim Jong Il must be kicking himself for not denying the Holocaust or threatening to wipe Israel off the map more often.

–Karl


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