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Author Topic: Our (semi-)balanced former POTUS  (Read 3152 times)
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robcat2075

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« on: Feb 07, 2017, 07:34AM »

Here's a guy who knows he doesn't need to campaign for even one vote for the rest of his life.

Richard vs Barack - kiteboard and foilboard challenge

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/Vqhw8kxVd2o" target="_blank">https://www.youtube.com/v/Vqhw8kxVd2o</a>
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« Reply #1 on: Feb 07, 2017, 12:09PM »

Love it! God Bless him, he EARNED it.
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 08, 2017, 05:05PM »

 Good!
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« Reply #3 on: Feb 25, 2017, 06:11AM »

America's most distinguished news source, People Magazine, reveals that Obama is standing tall... with Danny Devito.


Barack Obama Takes Daughter Malia to Broadway Show — And He Looks Incredible!






Both Business Insider and People covered covered Obama's recent saunter across a sidewalk...

Obama appearance in New York City causes brief commotion

Barack Obama Gets Rockstar Greeting in Surprise Appearance on N.Y.C. Sidewalk
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #4 on: Feb 28, 2017, 01:52PM »

 The post Presidency book deal...


Report: Auction For Obamas' Book Deal Reaches More Than $60 Million


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An auction for rights to books by Barack and Michelle Obama has set a new record for U.S. presidential memoirs, according to a report by the Financial Times.

The auction has reached more than $60 million, the Financial Times reported, citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the sales process. The Obamas are writing separate books but selling the global rights jointly.


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One of President Donald Trump's pet conspiracy theories regarding his predecessor was that former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers actually wrote Obama's 1995 book Dreams From My Father.

"Bill Ayers wrote the book," Trump claimed in 2011. "And, you know, I wrote many best sellers, and also, number one bestsellers including The Art of the Deal. So I know something about writing."
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #5 on: Feb 28, 2017, 03:46PM »

I have Grant’s ‘Memoirs’. Will Mr. Obama be magnanimous in his ghost written reflections?

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« Reply #6 on: Feb 28, 2017, 04:07PM »

I have Grant’s ‘Memoirs’. Will Mr. Obama be magnanimous in his ghost written reflections?
Ghost written.... like "the art of the deal" actually written by Tony Schwartz? Nah, obama's actually pretty good with words. Not "terrific, just terrific" *insert hand gestures here* like some others... but he can be quite eloquent.
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« Reply #7 on: Feb 28, 2017, 05:19PM »

I have Grant’s ‘Memoirs’. Will Mr. Obama be magnanimous in his ghost written reflections?

Conservatives have to be rather self-destructive, perhaps due to sensory and/or intellectual oblivion, in order to actually attack democrats on their English skills in comparing recent presidents ... "recent" being the last quarter century. The GOP doesn't do so well on that count for a good while before that either, but at least there was a respectable degree of competence.
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« Reply #8 on: Feb 28, 2017, 05:57PM »

Scholars are quite confident that Grant did his own work and I'm sure both the Obamas will also. Note that the article is about both of their books.
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« Reply #9 on: Feb 28, 2017, 08:50PM »

Barack And Michelle Obama Ink Historic Publishing Deal With Penguin Random House

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Penguin Random House will publish forthcoming books by Barack and Michelle Obama, the publisher announced Tuesday. The former president and first lady will publish separate books, but jointly sold the rights.

The auction to secure the publishing deal for the two books topped $60 million. The figure is a record-breaking total for presidential memoirs, the Financial Times reported. The rights to Bill Clinton’s 2004 autobiography, “My Life,” netted $15 million; George W. Bush’s 2010 “Decision Points” scored an estimated $10 million.

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Both of the Obamas have previously written books, though Michelle Obama has never written an autobiography. Barack Obama’s autobiography, the 2004 “Dreams from My Father,” and the 2006 “The Audacity Of Hope” were both massive bestsellers. In fact, more than 75 percent of the Obamas’ income since 2006, when Barack Obama first became a U.S. senator, has come from book sales, according to Forbes.


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« Reply #10 on: Mar 01, 2017, 05:49AM »

Scholars are quite confident that Grant did his own work and I'm sure both the Obamas will also. Note that the article is about both of their books.

One irony here is that those who are competent with the English language (native speakers or otherwise) recognize the extraordinarily obvious here--we're aware of the absurdity of suggesting there's any comparison between The Donald and Obama ... for multiple reasons, not just the obvious. Just suggesting the contrary is a pretty overt display of the Dunning-Kruger Effect.
 
Those of us who are competent native English speakers aren't likely to have any need of a dictionary in order to parse any of The Donald's speeches. That means his writers know not to use words beyond the sixth grade level with him (so he doesn't stumble over a 64¢ word and make it worse). He may change that, but he's not likely to see the need through his ego until well after his deficit has already been well established with those competent enough to notice the issue (i.e. a whole helluvalot of people). Pretty much every president before this cartoon one have fairly regularly thrown out words most people need to look up, most of them in their natural, impromptu speech--they don't gotta have writers to make 'em talk good (very very good writers for very very good talk). This is clearly not the case with The Donald (or should I say very very clearly).
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« Reply #11 on: Mar 07, 2017, 01:26AM »

Here's an interesting Quora thread...

Is Barack Obama a nice person when there isn't a camera around?

Several dozen people responded, most with in-person encounters to relate. 

I could only find one person with a negative experience and that was because POTUS Barack Obama called to express his condolences after a relation of his was killed in a terror attack in Israel on... Monday! 

Monday, four days after the attack, instead of immediately on the same day.

And he didn't order all the flags to be flown at half staff!
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« Reply #12 on: Mar 07, 2017, 08:40PM »

The story of the woman stuck at the airport is quite striking.

That was in the 80s when he was nobody.
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #13 on: Mar 28, 2017, 01:42PM »


Obama Is Holed Up Writing His Book On The South Pacific Island Of Tetiaroa


Previously owned by Marlon Brando, now you can stay there for $2800-$13,000 per night.



Gilligan's Island on the outside...



Five-star hotel on the inside...

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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #14 on: Mar 28, 2017, 07:38PM »

Excellent. No one is more deserving.
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« Reply #15 on: Apr 26, 2017, 11:21AM »

Replenishing the coffers, as George W. Bush put it...

Reports: Obama Takes $400K Fee To Speak At Investment Bank's Conference

If he speaks for 20 minutes that's going to be about... a whole lot of dollars per minute!

$400,000 is also happens to be the annual salary of the US President.

I imagine this fee and more like it will be turned over to the non-profit set up to build and maintain his Presidential Library.

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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #16 on: Apr 26, 2017, 12:11PM »

Replenishing the coffers, as George W. Bush put it...

Reports: Obama Takes $400K Fee To Speak At Investment Bank's Conference

If he speaks for 20 minutes that's going to be about... a whole lot of dollars per minute!

$400,000 is also happens to be the annual salary of the US President.

I imagine this fee and more like it will be turned over to the non-profit set up to build and maintain his Presidential Library.


Dunno, that remains to be seen and needs to be detailed.  Otherwise it will just be a stain on all his remarks from the other day.

Do as I say, not as I do at the highest level.

Cheers,
Andy
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« Reply #17 on: Apr 26, 2017, 01:04PM »

Fun fact... this $400,000 would be about 2-4x what George W. Bush gets for speeches.


Dunno, that remains to be seen and needs to be detailed.  Otherwise it will just be a stain on all his remarks from the other day.

Do as I say, not as I do at the highest level.

Cheers,
Andy

And when you can show me a past comment from you here displaying the same dismay at the speaking fees GOP former office holders get... I'll take your concern seriously.  :D


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« Reply #18 on: Apr 27, 2017, 11:27AM »

Fun fact... this $400,000 would be about 2-4x what George W. Bush gets for speeches.


And when you can show me a past comment from you here displaying the same dismay at the speaking fees GOP former office holders get... I'll take your concern seriously.  :D



Well, the GOP platform and plan for the future isn't built on saying that the excesses of the business elite are bad.  I'm not saying that I'm OK with it, but it is part of their plan.  They LIKE pandering to their millionaires.  It's kinda their thing.  The democratic platform says this is a problem.  That's where my concern lies.  When you give somebody such obvious ammunition to kneecap your own message, the content of that message doesn't really even matter to the conversation anymore.

Cheers,
Andy
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« Reply #19 on: May 10, 2017, 07:19AM »

GQ says Obama is too unbuttoned...




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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #20 on: Jul 08, 2017, 11:50AM »

ABC filed this under "Weird".  No really.  Check the URL.  :D

'Oh my God, it is Obama': Alaska mom, baby meet ex-president


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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #21 on: Aug 18, 2017, 08:44PM »

Obama’s Charlottesville response breaks the record for most-liked tweet ever

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Here’s some news that could potentially hold the key to Donald Trump’s complete and irreversible mental meltdown: According to Twitter, Barack Obama, former President of the United States of America and subject of a bizarre and spiteful obsession for our current president, just broke the record for most-liked tweet of all time. The tweet in question was in response to the racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend, and quotes Nelson Mandela:


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"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion..."



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« Reply #22 on: Aug 23, 2017, 04:27PM »

The Obamas take their first kid to college.

Malia Obama moves in to Harvard, with a little help from mom and dad


My parents were not that into it. My dad dropped me off at the dorm, then left to visit one of his favorite relations and my mom didn't even make the trip.  Yeah, RIGHT.
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« Reply #23 on: Sep 12, 2017, 08:38PM »

Obama Remembers Gay Rights Hero Edie Windsor: One Of Many ‘Quiet Heroes’

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Former President Barack Obama praised the gay rights activist Edith Windsor shortly after the 88-year-old died Tuesday in New York, saying “few made as big a difference to America.”

Windsor, whose lawsuit against the government led the Supreme Court in 2013 to strike down a key part of the the Defense of Marriage Act, lived to see the court assert that same-sex couples nationwide had the right to marry in 2015.

“I had the privilege to speak with Edie a few days ago, and to tell her one more time what a difference she made to this country we love,” Obama said in a statement.
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« Reply #24 on: Sep 30, 2017, 08:35AM »

Hangin' out with Harry at the Invictus games...



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« Reply #25 on: Oct 02, 2017, 01:10PM »

From the looks on their faces I'd say he's cracking a joke about Trump.
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« Reply #26 on: Oct 07, 2017, 03:11PM »

What do you Americans think were President Obama's successes and failures? And how do you assess his time in office overall?
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« Reply #27 on: Oct 07, 2017, 04:34PM »

What do you Americans think were President Obama's successes and failures? And how do you assess his time in office overall?

-Big Success: Bin Laden bin dead. Somehow it got it done under Obama even though Bush had better opportunities.

-There were no scandals where someone had to be fired for for misusing taxpayer money or being a foreign agent. Obama never had to fire anyone because they were investigating him. Unlike both Bushes he didn't have to pardon any of his staff. Unlike Clinton he didn't have to negotiate a plea deal for himself before leaving office.

-There was the CIA director who resigned after he got caught banging a woman, not his wife.  Not really Obama's fault.

-The biggest incompetence scandal was failure to clean up the Veterans Administration healthcare backlog. Obama appointed a retired general who wasn't up to it.

-Obamacare is a mixed success but still a substantial improvement to the healthcare system.

-The Obamacare debate itself was a big failure. His failure to agressively engage the opposition allowed a lot of insane political notions like "death panels" to get embedded in the debate and persist today. The Obamacare debate was a major reason for the GOP takeover of Congress in 2014. Big Failure there.

-Biggest disappointment: Not prosecuting financial crimes leading to the 2008 collapse.

-Most Obama "failures" I attribute to obstructionism by the Republican political machine. For the last six years he was mostly holding the line against an insane congress.

-Obama only replied with dignity to attacks (or ignored them). Publicly he always afforded opponents the basic respect they were ostensibly due unlike our current President (who doesn't even give his supporters basic respect.)

-Obama never pulled the rug out from under his own staff when they were trying to get things done, they were all on the same team. I bet no one felt they had to stay on in Obama admin just to stop crazy stuff from happening.

-None of the backstabbing West Wing insider leak drama that we have now.

-Excellent dignified behavior in times of national tragedy. He had the right things to say and that's about all he can do with a mass shooting.

-Great performances at WHPC dinners. You don't know how remarkable that is until you watch other public figures try to do 20 minutes of humorous material.

-Too much time spent trying accommodate the other side whose stated goal was to never accept any accommodation. I don't think he completely understood that no one who voted for the first black President ever was voting to just move the needle a little bit.

-The Iran deal was probably the best we could get when we had few levers to pull that really affected them.

-Very little progress on social justice, but again I attribute that to the obstructionist right-wing.

-North Korea still a problem.



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« Reply #28 on: Oct 07, 2017, 05:56PM »

I like Rob's assessment.

I think a part of why he won was that people were afraid with old John McCain as President we'd have a woman within a heartbeat of the Oval Office.  Same attitude that sunk Hillary.  Chauvinists are chauvinists.

On the other hand, Obama was a terrific pol.  I think if he were a White man he might have gotten an aura like Kennedy.  A model citizen to be our first Black President, despite the fact that a lot (but not a majority) of the country was really anxious to see him fail.

We managed to follow a remarkable President with a laughable one. :(
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« Reply #29 on: Oct 07, 2017, 06:41PM »

The drone war is a troubling thing. Obama ordered the death of American citizen Anwar Al-Alaki who hadn't been convicted of anything yet.

Yeah, it was in a far-away middle east place and, yeah, it was terrorist enabler Anwar al-Awlaki but still, a line has been crossed.
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« Reply #30 on: Oct 08, 2017, 07:26AM »

And again on the failure to prosecute financial crimes... this is where the "deep state" is a problem.  The US attorneys responsible for New York City and the financial district seem to be more interested in catching politicians than corporate criminals.

This is the group that spent inordinate amounts of time promoting preposterous conspiracy allegations about Hillary Clinton to the main office in Washington trying to get her prosecuted. The political leanings of that group didn't seem to accommodate the mission of pursuing financial crimes.

That may be why, while the financial industry was being scammed off a cliff by the bankers, federal law enforcement was wiretapping the NY governor to catch him talking to a hooker.

Maybe Obama should have appointed a special prosecutor who could take the investigation off the NY office's hands? I don't know if that was possible. 
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« Reply #31 on: Oct 08, 2017, 04:48PM »

Can we add failure to close the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay? Like the drone strikes, there is some dubious legality there.

I'm not sure it's fair to chalk up North Korea as a failure for President Obama. That's been going on for decades with no solution in sight. Likewise with financial irregularities/crimes. Oscillating between regulation and deregulation with their commensurate effects is a regular theme in politics.


-Very little progress on social justice

Well... if by social justice you mean the government penalising or favouring Americans based on the demographic group they belong to, then this isn't a failure. It wouldn't be progress either, at least not progress towards anything positive in a society that calls itself a liberal democracy. Of course, it's not compulsory to believe in equality of opportunity. There are other societies that categorise people and restrict their life choices, like India and its caste system. Marxist societies also put people into groups and favoured or disfavoured them, but it didn't work very well and there aren't many left.

I thought Americans were supposed to be judged not by the colour of their skin (or other protected characteristic) but by the content of their character.
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« Reply #32 on: Oct 08, 2017, 05:30PM »

Well... if by social justice you mean the government penalising or favouring Americans based on the demographic group they belong to...

No, that's not what I mean, that's the right-wing, strawman critique of social justice.
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« Reply #33 on: Oct 08, 2017, 05:51PM »

No, that's not what I mean, that's the right-wing, strawman critique of social justice.

What do you mean then? Deploying resources to create equality of opportunity and removing barriers to opportunity? But not seeking to enforce equality of outcome?

That's good American stuff. I like that.
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« Reply #34 on: Oct 09, 2017, 10:37AM »

What do you Americans think were President Obama's successes and failures? And how do you assess his time in office overall?

Good Lord! Where to even start? He took over an economy that was in a nose dive like the bomber in one of the old Bugs Bunny cartoons. The stock market was in free fall, we were hemorhaging 800,000 jobs a month. The auto industry was imploding, Bin Laden was still out there directing Al Qaddafi, the American health insurance markets were a disaster, and we were mired in two seemingly endless wars. He forced through as large a stimulus package as was possible over the obstruction of a disloyal minotirymparty that wanted nothing more than to see him fail, but was afraid the American economy was not going to survive. The stimulus was not nearly as large as it needed to be affect a recovery, but it was large enough to leevel off the nose dive and get it moving in a positive direction again. The auto bailout was actually originated by W during his lame duck period, but Obama oversaw it's implementation and management that brought the American auto industry back to the top. He did the best he could to renegotiate the withdrawal from Iraq, but W had screwed that's pooch so royally that all they wanted was us gone, with the door not hitting us in th butt on our way out. He got the Lily Ledbetter law passed. He got the ACA passed. His economic policies, despite unending, unparalleled obstruction, DID turn the economy around and issue in the  longest period of positive job growth in history and a tripling of the stock market. He stopped the Iran nuclear program and got the chemical weapons out of Syria. He instigated the Paris Accord on climate change, the first to ever gain majority buy in around the world. Etc., etc., etc.

Most of the negatives have already been pointed out. I would add not prosecuting anyone for war crimes over torture as a major failure. Not explains the benefits of the ACA better and letting thenRepublicans control the dialogue was a huge failure.

He restored America's prestige, so damaged by the cowboy aggressiveness of the W regime, in the eyes of the world. Sadly, that is all being undone by the DOTARD now holding the office..
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« Reply #35 on: Oct 09, 2017, 04:47PM »

You mean the DOTUS?
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« Reply #36 on: Oct 09, 2017, 08:28PM »

What do you mean then? Deploying resources to create equality of opportunity and removing barriers to opportunity? But not seeking to enforce equality of outcome?

I think the government can do much more to untilt the playing field from rewarding the already rich to rewarding the people who actually do things. A government that just stands on the sidelines watching things happen will not get that done.

For years conservatives have been fooling people with the idea that the founding fathers believed in some sort of minimal government... "The government that governs best, governs least." That is their excuse for the government to do nothing in the face of growing problems

But no founding father ever said such a thing.

This is the real statement of purpose of our government...

Quote
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

A national government with the power to do things.  Form, establish, insure, provide, promote, secure.

Especially "promote the general welfare". It doesn't say "average" welfare. The US is a rich country on average but the typical citizen is worth nearly zero while only 10% of the population owns 75% of the wealth.






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« Reply #37 on: Oct 10, 2017, 02:59AM »

I think the government can do much more to untilt the playing field from rewarding the already rich to rewarding the people who actually do things.

****Caveat, disclaimer, commenting as a non-American disinterested outside observer etc...****

Only last night, I had a conversation with an American resident and I was stunned by his précis of the tax a middle class person pays. The rich have their accountancy tricks, the poor might have "grey" or "black" income or not much to tax at all. But the middle class have large and visible incomes and get whacked for everything. It doesn't seem in line with the idea of American free market enterprise economics, which is an important theme of the country from even before it was a country!

I live in a European country with a well-developed welfare state and am middle class. I pay roughly 25% tax and receive comprehensive on demand healthcare, heavily subsidised public transport, free education from kindergarten upwards and university costs only €350 per year. Yes, 350. There are government departments to help and advise me with everything on demand, although bureaucracy can be a pain. My tax insures me - generously - against periods of unfitness to work or unemployment. Urban environments are well kept and about the biggest crime worry is someone bumping into me and not saying sorry. There is an issue with how sustainable this is, particularly pensions and ageing population, but it compares well with the corresponding deal my American acquaintance described.

Both right and left wing politicians in the western world agree that the free market is generally the best tool for correcting and regulating society's issues. They also agree that sometimes a little poke is needed here and there. They disagree on how much, how often and where to poke.

Healthcare is a very good example. Private insurance can't offer a complete solution because it's not profitable for insurers to cover high risk people, so some are excluded. I think President Obama genuinely tried to make an improvement and was somewhat successful. He seems like a decent guy, although let's be honest, he's a politician so... I agree that he did a good job averting economic catastrophe, although I'm sure he was well advised rather than thinking up a masterplan by himself. Turning a huge disaster into a small one seems like damning Obama with faint praise, but it's actually a big success for his time in office, and probably the most important one.

I think Obama's successor is somewhat unfairly criticised. He's a private citizen who ran for office and was elected because people liked what he said he would do. In principle, that's a good result for democracy. However, President Trump has no political or public administrative experience (and I don't think he really expected to win, he was just doing it for self promotion or some kind of personal project). I think he naively expected that he could simply start doing the things he said, that people voted for, y'know like that democracy stuff? No doubt his advisors have been explaining to him how his policies, while popular, are bad public administration for various reasons. Or can't be done for practical or legal reasons. Or won't be done because the state organs responsible for delivering the policy don't want to do it. He seems to be slowly realising that he is not the Grand Hetman, and that policy has to be delivered through the mechanism of public administration, not by Twitter diktat.
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« Reply #38 on: Oct 10, 2017, 02:04PM »

You mean the DOTUS?

LOVE IT! Look for it in my column.
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« Reply #39 on: Oct 10, 2017, 06:07PM »

Only last night, I had a conversation with an American resident...

An American living in Europe? Probably not a good way to get a sense of most Americans


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and I was stunned by his précis of the tax a middle class person pays.
And yet if we could honestly tally up all the things he thinks the government should do there would be a ubstantial bill to pay, I suspect



Quote
The rich have their accountancy tricks, the poor might have "grey" or "black" income or not much to tax at all. But the middle class have large and visible incomes and get whacked for everything. It doesn't seem in line with the idea of American free market enterprise economics, which is an important theme of the country from even before it was a country!

The US had a long stretch of free-market economy in the 19th century. A few fabulously rich robber barons, but large numbers of grindingly poor and a middle class that was always getting wiped by the frequent economic crashes. It wasn't until the government began to clip industry's powers to manipulate markets, monopolize resources and treat the labor force as a disposable goods that we began to get stability and the growing middle class.

Quote
I live in a European country with a well-developed welfare state and am middle class. I pay roughly 25% tax and receive comprehensive on demand healthcare, heavily subsidised public transport, free education from kindergarten upwards and university costs only €350 per year. Yes, 350. There are government departments to help and advise me with everything on demand, although bureaucracy can be a pain. My tax insures me - generously - against periods of unfitness to work or unemployment. Urban environments are well kept and about the biggest crime worry is someone bumping into me and not saying sorry. There is an issue with how sustainable this is, particularly pensions and ageing population, but it compares well with the corresponding deal my American acquaintance described.

The biggest reason for the US tax burden is the cost of the US military which provides security not just to US territory but is also an essential factor in European and our Asian allies' security. On paper, everyone in these alliances pays their fair share, but if you deleted the US's participation, all the other fair shares wouldn't be enough to do what needs to be done.

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Both right and left wing politicians in the western world agree that the free market is generally the best tool for correcting and regulating society's issues. They also agree that sometimes a little poke is needed here and there. They disagree on how much, how often and where to poke.

Right wing politicians in the US do not admit this. They can not get nominated if they admit the government has a role in anything beyond banning abortion and gay marriage.

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Healthcare is a very good example. Private insurance can't offer a complete solution because it's not profitable for insurers to cover high risk people, so some are excluded. I think President Obama genuinely tried to make an improvement and was somewhat successful. He seems like a decent guy, although let's be honest, he's a politician so... I agree that he did a good job averting economic catastrophe, although I'm sure he was well advised rather than thinking up a masterplan by himself. Turning a huge disaster into a small one seems like damning Obama with faint praise, but it's actually a big success for his time in office, and probably the most important one.

Obamacare is really the proposals put forward by Republican and conservative think tanks in the 90's as a retort to the more sweeping nationalized healthcare plan of the Clinton years ("Hillarycare") These ideas were proposed to make Hillarycare look unneccessary and over large and to defeat it.

Obama (thought he) was calling their bluff by offering up the very plan they said they honestly wanted and would pass if given the chance. Of course, they immediately pretended they had nothing to do with it, even though their Presidential nominee in 2012 has enacted exactly this plan when he was governor of Massachusetts.

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I think Obama's successor is somewhat unfairly criticised.

I once heard a criticism of Trump that I thought was unfair.  Can't recall it now.

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He's a private citizen

A "private" citizen who has spent 40 years crying for public attention, plastering his name on buildings, paying ghost writers to pen his self-glorifying autobiographies, starring in reality shows and making his name as a politician with the preposterous "birther" theory.

Yes, Mr. Private Citizen.



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who ran for office and was elected because people liked what he said he would do.

Remember, he didn't get most of the votes and didn't even get the most votes.

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He seems to be slowly realising that he is not the Grand Hetman, and that policy has to be delivered through the mechanism of public administration, not by Twitter diktat.

He could be impeached, removed from office and exiled to the bottom of the Mariana Trench and he will still imagine that things should happen just because he says so.
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« Reply #40 on: Oct 11, 2017, 05:09AM »

An American living in Europe? Probably not a good way to get a sense of most Americans

A Chinese citizen who lives and works in NY, NY.



And yet if we could honestly tally up all the things he thinks the government should do there would be a ubstantial bill to pay, I suspect

He didn't say anything about that, so I can't discuss what you think he might think. His main point was that he doesn't receive a level of public services commensurate with the tax he pays as a proportion of his income, whereas I do.



The US had a long stretch of free-market economy in the 19th century. A few fabulously rich robber barons, but large numbers of grindingly poor and a middle class that was always getting wiped by the frequent economic crashes. It wasn't until the government began to clip industry's powers to manipulate markets, monopolize resources and treat the labor force as a disposable goods that we began to get stability and the growing middle class.

An alternative perspective is that the problem here is lack of free market. As you say, big businesses, tycoons, robber barons, use their influence to manipulate the market to suit themselves and to the disadvantage of the little guy. Here's an opportunity for government to turn the dials a bit to facilitate smaller scale economic activity. Unfortunately, right wing deregulation policies that are apparently pro-free market are often tainted by big business influence and result only in yet more dubious practices.



The biggest reason for the US tax burden is the cost of the US military which provides security not just to US territory but is also an essential factor in European and our Asian allies' security. On paper, everyone in these alliances pays their fair share, but if you deleted the US's participation, all the other fair shares wouldn't be enough to do what needs to be done.

I agree that powerful NATO forces are essential for peace and prosperity. Imagine what China would think it could get away with if there weren't such a formidable US Navy in the Pacific... Let's not forget the British and French, who are no pushovers.

Federal spending has Social Security way out in front with 24% of total expenditure. Medicare is second at 17% and military spending a close third at 16%. Here's one source, although I'm willing to be corrected if I've misunderstood the figures.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget#/media/File:US_Federal_Budget_Comparison_2016_vs._2015.png



Right wing politicians in the US do not admit this. They can not get nominated if they admit the government has a role in anything beyond banning abortion and gay marriage.

Republicans are usually pro-military, pro-law and order, and sometimes pro-immigration control/enforcement. All these things require government involvement and are costly. But maybe you were speaking in hyperbole?



A "private" citizen who has spent 40 years crying for public attention, plastering his name on buildings, paying ghost writers to pen his self-glorifying autobiographies, starring in reality shows and making his name as a politician with the preposterous "birther" theory.

Exactly. A private (sector) citizen, not a civil servant or elected representative. President Trump obviously has very little experience and understanding of how government works and what it does. Perhaps he saw himself more as CEO of AmericaCorp.



He could be impeached, removed from office and exiled to the bottom of the Mariana Trench and he will still imagine that things should happen just because he says so.

Yet he seems to be receiving advice that he cannot govern like a bull in a china shop, and gradually heeding it somewhat. He's certainly not as slick as his recent predecessors (except perhaps Bush the Son) but I still think it's unfair to judge his Presidency by how he appears on TV and things we dislike about his personality or past business dealings, rather than by an assessment of the actual effects of his policies.
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« Reply #41 on: Oct 11, 2017, 07:45AM »

A Chinese citizen who lives and works in NY, NY.

Ah... beautiful, low-tax China...






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Federal spending has Social Security way out in front with 24% of total expenditure. Medicare is second at 17%

SS and Medicare are large costs but that is because we have X retired people who get sick Y% of the time. It's not a cost incurred because of dreams of world domination.  Unlike income taxes I pay that go to military spending now and for which the return is some sense of national security (never enough we are told), the payroll taxes for SS and Medicare (a separate budget from the  rest of government) are a more direct in-out thing.  I pay in when I am working and I get paid back when I retire.

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and military spending a close third at 16%. Here's one source, although I'm willing to be corrected if I've misunderstood the figures.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget#/media/File:US_Federal_Budget_Comparison_2016_vs._2015.png


Here's another analysis of how money not explicitly budgeted as "defense" is still spent on military expenses.

The hidden costs of “national security”



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Republicans are usually pro-military, pro-law and order, and sometimes pro-immigration control/enforcement. All these things require government involvement and are costly. But maybe you were speaking in hyperbole?

Yes, those would be among the other idols of conservatism. (Immigration control is really just a flavor of "law and order")

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« Reply #42 on: Oct 11, 2017, 08:01AM »

Ah... beautiful, low-tax China...

Do you think it's willful--the way so many far right winger types are so utterly blind to the commons and the infrastructure?
 
The desperate need to believe in the "self-made man" delusion (validates the nasty anti-poor mindset)?
 
The need to separate anything that might help those they need to believe are just lazy and low so they can ignore it even though they're also dependent upon a lot of the same things?
 
Stuff I've missed/perhaps chosen not to add to give as much benefit of doubt as reason allows ... ?
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« Reply #43 on: Oct 11, 2017, 08:13AM »


The desperate need to believe in the "self-made man" delusion ...

Personally, i don't think they believe it.  It's just an effective talking point.
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« Reply #44 on: Oct 11, 2017, 08:21AM »


Here's another analysis of how money not explicitly budgeted as "defense" is still spent on military expenses.

The hidden costs of “national security”


An example of how little is understood about the cost of the military... Our Secretary of Energy, former TX governor Rick Perry, was surprised to find out that his department was primarily about managing the nuclear weapon stockpile and not about helping oil companies find oil.
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« Reply #45 on: Oct 11, 2017, 08:48AM »

Chinese income tax rates and bands are comparable to the USA, although the monetary amounts are lower. Actually paying income tax in China is... flexible.

The desperate need to believe in the "self-made man" delusion (validates the nasty anti-poor mindset)?

This is part of the deal in America though, right? If you work hard and smart with a minimum of barriers and impediments to your efforts, you can enjoy the fruits of your own labours, rather than being a tenant farmer in Ireland toiling to make money for your absentee landlord, or a tobacco sharecropper in Virginia toiling for a tobacco exchange in Glasgow, or some other kind of peasant from what are now Poland or Germany toiling to enrich your local Count. How realistic and genuine is this deal? That's for another thread. One implication of the deal, which is not necessarily correct, is that those who are poor haven't worked smart or hard enough and are therefore stupid or lazy or both. These are qualities that are regarded negatively. Another fallacy is that The Great American Success Guy is 100% self-made. He achieved success in a social context and it's unlike that he never received any kind of tax-funded services at all to help him along his way: even street lighting.

The need to separate anything that might help those they need to believe are just lazy and low so they can ignore it even though they're also dependent upon a lot of the same things?

I think it's more that people are mainly motivated by self interest. We don't like to have our income appropriated by government and spent on things where there isn't a readily apparent benefit for us. There is also a distinction to be made between tax-funded activities that facilitate socio-economic advancement and those that perpetuate stagnation. An example of the former would be business advice services and subsidised community college courses. The latter would be unlimited unemployment and child benefit with no personal responsibility conditions attached. Where I live, it's quite possible for a single mother with three children to receive a state income of around 2000 Euros, plus the value of her rent. This is nearly double the salary of a full time retail or McDonalds job. I don't want my tax money or yours to be used to give people a free ride, but rather to give people a boost up from a low period.

Funny about other US government spending being Shanghai'd (is that the right word?) into military service. It's like the opposite of North Korea where the very large numbers of military personnel are mainly used as menial farm and building labour.
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« Reply #46 on: Oct 12, 2017, 07:22AM »

Fun fact...

The panorama in the White House Diplomatic Room is not actually a painting but a commercial wallpaper, 'Vues de l'Amérique du Nord', designed in 1843 by the French firm Zuber & Cie (still in existence). It was installed during the Kennedy years after being salvaged from a house about to be demolished.



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« Reply #47 on: Oct 12, 2017, 02:08PM »

4K view...

(right-click and choose "view image" to get full res)

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« Reply #48 on: Oct 13, 2017, 04:29PM »

National Portrait Gallery Announces Artists Commissioned to Paint Portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama

Hold on to your pearls.  These aren't going to be portraits with a dark bookcase in the background.

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The publication noted that, far from being lesser-known names in the art world, as is often the case with presidential portrait painters, both Wiley and Sherald have “major followings.”



LL Cool J by Kehind Wiley:



Moton Britho III by Kehind Wiley:




Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance) by Amy Sherald:




(title not known) by Amy Sherald:





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« Reply #49 on: Oct 18, 2017, 03:47PM »

Obama’s Name to Replace Jefferson Davis’ on Mississippi School

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A public elementary school in Mississippi named after the president of the Confederacy will be renamed to honor the first black president of the United States.

Davis Magnet International Baccalaureate Elementary in Jackson, which is named for Jefferson Davis, will be renamed Barack Obama Magnet International Baccalaureate Elementary beginning next school year, the school's PTA president, Janelle Jefferson, said at a Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday night.

Out with the fake President, in with the real President.
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« Reply #50 on: Oct 19, 2017, 07:25AM »

Oh, oh...

Obama Letters To Ex Girlfriend Made Public

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The nine full letters, sent by Obama to his college girlfriend, Alexandra McNear, are being made public to researchers through Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library...

Written in the 1980s, the letters give a peek into Obama’s psyche as he sought out the path that would eventually land him in the White House as the United States’ first black president, Emory University officials said Wednesday.

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The letters span 1982 to 1984. During that time, Obama was at Columbia University in New York City, in Indonesia, and finally working at Business International Corporation, “with everyone slapping my back,” in a job for which he had no passion...

“Salaries in the community organizations are too low to survive on right now, so I hope to work in some more conventional capacity for a year, allowing me to store up enough nuts to pursue those interests next,” Obama wrote in 1983.

Note to Sarah Palin: Turns out, Obama did have a real job before the community organizer thing.


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He wrote them on stationery as well as ripped-out yellow and white, college-ruled notebook paper. At least one was sent in Business International Money Report envelopes with the business’s address crossed out and “Barack Obama” written above it.

FOX headline: "Obama stole office supplies from employer"

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« Reply #51 on: Nov 11, 2017, 07:26PM »

jus' plain folks...

Enjoy some video of Barack Obama sauntering into jury duty like it's not a big thing

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