Late last night, the White House sent out an update to the President's schedule, which announced that Obama would be making a statement at 8:30 a.m. Now, we know that statement is about Iran's secret nuclear fuel plant. Obama will be joined by the leaders of Great Britain and France.
I can report first-hand that the ad wars are escalating in the race for Governor in Virginia. I posted a very powerful ad from Democrat Creigh Deeds the other day. He's been hammering away at the theocratic views of his Republican opponent, Bob McDonnell. Over the summer, McDonnell had a large lead, but it's diminished over the past few week. Today, McDonnell's campaign is on the air with its own negative ad. I just saw it. Now that McDonnell has gone negative, we know it's true: His campaign is in trouble. This is going to be a battle til the end.
Also, the Senate Finance Committee continues its work on the health insurance reform bill. There could be a vote on the public option amendment offered by Senators Schumer and Rockefeller today.
Let's get started...
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Glenn Beck's support amongst conservatives is coming apart as more and more of them realise that he is simply an opportunist who doesn't actually have an overall political agenda.
He enraged many conservatives when he told Katie Couric that he thought McCain would have been a worse president than Barack Obama; which was a simply extraordinary thing to say considering the fact that Beck has already told us that Obama is a socialist, fascist dictator Hell bent on destroying the Republic from within. Quite what McCain would have done which is worse than that, Beck didn't specify.
However, in this clip Beck says that the reason McCain would be worse is that, with McCain, the tea party protests would not be taking place. Now, remember, the tea party protests are largely seen as Beck inspired. And, like so much about Beck's political philosophy, the tea party protests have largely been without any specific message, or rather it has been an umbrella movement for various causes, some related and some not.
But the important thing for Beck is that they have created a great deal of publicity for him personally, even if they have lacked any discernible political purpose.
Mark Levin is beginning to smell a rat and has turned on Beck with some force:
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?I?m told the 5 pm?er said today that if John McCain were president, would there be marching in the street?,? Levin began. ?I thought to myself, are you not aware of even recent history that the entire Reagan revolution rose up against the RINOs [Republicans in name only]??Levin is right to suspect Beck's end game, because the truth is that Beck doesn't have one. The truth is that Beck isn't very bright. He certainly doesn't have any discernible political ideology, which is why he pretends that he simply "asking questions". This enables him to throw out inflammatory shit without ever owning that shit.
?Have you no sense of your own history?? he said, addressing Beck. ?This is why you refuse to consider yourself a conservative! Still searching around in the dark, in the shadows, trying to figure out who you are and who we should be. Some of us know who we are and what we must be! And we also know where we must go!?
"A pox on both parties means a pox on this society."
"If you?re not going to be politically sensible and have a strategy and have an end-game, you?ll keep winding up on weekly magazines, you?ll keep making a lot of money, but in the end you won?t make a difference."
Obama earned round after round of applause at the United Nations, where a grateful world applauded the fact that the dreadful years of George W Bush were over and a new sensible American president was speaking a language which the entire world understands and shares.
Cue head explosions over at Faux News.
Malkin has gone as far as to say that Obama has proven that he doesn't like the United States very much.
Malkin: He doesn't like this country very much. And I think you did a great video tour there of all of his wonderful hits on his "We Suck '09" tour, ah, so far. And this latest speech before the United Nations and its cast of villainous characters -- it was really a Legion of Doom parade that he dignified with his presence -- and he solidified his place in the international view as the Great Appeaser and the Groveler in Chief!What they actually can't bear is that Obama is admitting in public what the entire world already knows: George Bush - and the style of leadership supplied by the neo-cons - made the US more despised around the globe than at any time since the Vietnam war. That is simply a fact.
Malkin: With this speech, and over the last eight months with his policies of retreat and surrender, he has solidified his place as the weakest of weak leaders of modern American history. There's no question about it! They laugh at us! He is a laughingstock.Yes, that's why the world applauded. Applause must be the new form of laughter.
G10 Advancers and Decliners vs USDJPY-0.06 CHF-0.50 EUR-0.68 GBP-1.37 Investors began migrating funds back into safe haven assets based on growing speculation regulators will clampdown on risk taking by financial institutions. Some of the reform suggest that capital requirements…
At least the banking industry is safe and sound, ready for fat bonuses. Maybe this is why there's a sudden new interest in Washington to address the severe problems in the banking industry. The banks, no doubt, have done an excellent job of convincing many in Washington that they only needed to get over the ever-so-small problems last year. The massive injection of capital helped keep money moving though too much into the pockets of bankers. The next round of pain for the banks may not be as bad as the failures last year but that situation was unique. The coming problems in the banking industry will be a major challenge to the bottom line of the banks. Plenty more pain to come, but will there ever be any consequences for the banks?
U.S. regulators say that the level of losses from syndicated loans facing banks and other financial institutions tripled to $53 billion in 2009, due to poor underwriting standards and the continuing weakness in economic conditions.
According to the Shared National Credit Program (SNC) 2009 Review, an annual inter-agency report released on Thursday, credit quality deteriorated to record levels with respect to large loans and loan commitments.
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Jim Bunning (R-KY), poor thing, looked so very, very old today, snoozing away at the Senate health care debate. It doesn't matter; he hasn't had anything constructive to say in half a dozen years. But his loud snoring was bothering other members who were actually trying to get something done. Funny thing about Kentucky; it's one of the hardest hit states economically-- last Saturday we looked at KY-05, the second poorest district in the U.S. and how it's congressman, Republican Hal Rogers, is helping obstruct meaningful health care reform-- and yet both senators from there are adamantly opposed, and aggressively so, to any of the proposals that would benefit ordinary Kentucky working families. This is especially chilling when you consider that:
? 21 percent of children in Kentucky are obese.
? 22 percent of women over the age of 50 in Kentucky have not received a mammogram in the past two years.
? 36 percent of men over the age of 50 in Kentucky have never had a colorectal cancer screening.
? Ending the Hidden Tax-- Saving You Money: Right now, providers in Kentucky lose over $1.0 billion in bad debt which often gets passed along to families in the form of a hidden premium ?tax." Health insurance reform will tackle this financial burden by improving our health care system and covering the uninsured, allowing the 104 hospitals and the 11,318 physicians in Kentucky to better care for their patients.
? Health Insurance Premium Relief: Premiums for residents of Kentucky have risen 61% since 2000. Through health insurance reform, 621,300 to 692,400 middle class Kentucky residents will be eligible for premium credits to ease the burden of these high costs.
? Strengthening Small Businesses: 55,229 employers in Kentucky are small businesses. With tax credits and a health insurance exchange where they can shop for health plans, insurance coverage will become more affordable for them.
? Reforms that Reduce Your Costs: Under health insurance reform, insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive. Insurance companies will also have to abide by yearly limits on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses, helping 45,900 households in Kentucky struggling under the burden of high health care expenses.
? Insurance Stability and Security: Health insurance reform will strengthen our system of employer-based health insurance, with an additional 41,200 people in Kentucky potentially getting insurance through their work. Health insurance reform will also ensure that you will always have guaranteed choices of quality, affordable health insurance if you lose your job, switch jobs, move or get sick.
? Eliminating Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions, Health Status or Gender: 10% of people in Kentucky have diabetes, and 30% have high blood pressure-- two conditions that insurance companies could use as a reason to deny you health insurance. Health insurance reform will prevent insurance companies from denying coverage based on your health, and it will end discrimination that charges you more if you?re sick or a woman.
? One-Stop Shopping-- Putting Families in Charge: With the new health insurance exchange, you can easily and simply compare insurance prices and health plans and decide which quality affordable option is right for you and your family. These proposals will help the 604,900 residents of Kentucky who currently do not have health insurance to obtain needed coverage, and it will also help the 171,900 Kentucky residents who currently purchase insurance in the individual insurance market.
? Guaranteeing Choices: The largest health insurer in Kentucky holds 51% of the market, which limits the choices that you have for finding coverage. With a competitive public insurance option, you will have more choices and increased competition that holds insurance companies accountable.
? Preventive Care for Better Health: 36% of Kentucky residents have not had a colorectal cancer screening, and 22% of women have not had a mammogram in the past 2 years. By requiring health plans to cover preventive services for everyone, investing in prevention and wellness, and promoting primary care, health insurance reform will work to create a system that prevents illness and disease instead of just treating it when it?s too late and costs more.
? Improving Care for Children and Seniors: 22% of children in Kentucky have not visited a dentist in the past year, and 27% of seniors did not receive a flu vaccine. Health reform will ensure coverage for kids? dental, vision, and hearing needs, and will promote quality coverage for America?s seniors, including recommended immunizations.
Barack Obama yesterday became the first US president ever to chair a session of the UN council, whilst that council took steps for the first time in it's history to eliminate nuclear weapons.
Obama described the resolution as "historic", saying it "enshrines our shared commitment to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons".
I find it fascinating that Obama's instincts are so in tune with the rest of the world - I mean, we all can see that getting rid of nuclear weapons altogether is the only way to prevent smaller nations from eventually seeking them - and yet the place where he faces his toughest opposition is when he tries to get the US Congress to ratify what the UN has proposed.
The resolution calls for states with nuclear weapons to continue disarming, to ratify a ban on testing them and to agree a treaty stopping the production of fissile material. In return, non weapons states should accept stronger safeguards designed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.
The resolution, however, is non-binding, and there are many obstacles to its aspirations becoming reality. Obama faces serious opposition in the Pentagon and the US Congress, which has yet to ratify the test ban.
The US and Russia are due to sign a treaty in December bringing down the number of their deployed strategic weapons from more than 2,000 each to 1,500. Obama today promised much deeper cuts to follow. In January negotiations are due to start on a treaty banning the production of new weapons-grade fissile material. In May, the NPT comes up for review, and Obama hopes to persuade the US Senate to ratify the test ban soon afterwards. "The next 12 months will be absolutely critical in determining whether this resolution and our overall efforts to stop the spread and use of nuclear weapons are successful," Obama said.Of course, should the Republicans refuse to ratify the deals which Obama has worked out here they will be going against the instincts of their own hero, Ronald Reagan, as it was Reagan who proposed a complete elimination of these weapons at Reykjavik.
Obama is all for bipartisanship, so I have a theory. Obama should sell this to the US Senate as the Ronald Reagan Bill for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. Present it to them with a big bow wrapped around it and see if they will still refuse to ratify Reagan's vision 23 years later.
In 1986 at the Reykjavik summit, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, both passionate about nuclear disarmament, shocked deterrence experts with an unimaginable proposal ? total nuclear disarmament. ?It would be fine with me if we eliminated all nuclear weapons,? said Reagan. ?We can do that,? replied Gorbachev, ?Let?s eliminate them. We can eliminate them.?
However, U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz explained that the proposal was ?too much for people to absorb, precisely because it was outside the bounds of conventional wisdom,? and ?the world was not ready for Ronald Reagan?s boldness.?
Those fretting that a rightwing takeover of Congress in 2010 is on the horizon ought not to worry.
So says Alan I. Abramowitz in his Why a Repeat of 1994 Is Highly Unlikely.
Abramowitz has been spot-on is his bold political predictions the last several election cycles, most notably predicting the 2008 Democratic rout of Republicans. He notes that today's electorate is very different than it was in 1994.
But while there are some important similarities between the current political situation and the circumstances that preceded the 1994 Republican victory, there are important differences between the makeup of the American electorate now and the makeup of the American electorate then, differences that make a repeat of the 1994 outcome highly unlikely.
Not a bad idea at all that is being promoted by Obama. It is ridiculous to exclude China, India, Brazil and other large countries during important economic talks. (Well, assuming they are actually important, but that's another discussion.) The world today is not the world of 1945 or even 1990. Don't tell the GOP that though, because they're convinced we still live in a 1945 world. CNN:
The move comes in the wake of a major push by President Obama, the officials said. The G-20 will now essentially eclipse the G-8, which will continue to meet on major security issues but carry much less influence.
"It's a reflection of the world economy today and the players that make it up," said one senior official. Nations like China, Brazil and India -- which were locked out of the more elite G-8 -- will be part of the larger group.
Found at the excellent blog of The Atheist Missionary.
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