DC Beltway Noise Paul Losch's Community Blog, posted by Paul Losch, a resident of Palo Alto, on Mar 31, 2010 at 8:38 am Paul Losch is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
In a way, I miss W. My personal point of view about the man and his Presidency is niether here nor there, but he was pretty consistent and predictable in his policies. Good or bad, right or wrong.
This POTUS, Obama, is a different character. He clearly is very smart intellectually, is more a pragmatist than an idealogue.
The DC Beltway noise resonates in these days much less consistently.
Now, let's look at the GOP, especially the Senate.
They are led by Mitch McConnell, who was described by one pundit as the Lex Luthor to Superman. Works for me.
Allow new offshore drilling
Send 36,000 more troops to Afghnistan
USG makes money on Citbank shares the government bought and is starting to sell
Using drones to kill enemies we have along the Afghan/Pakistan border
Not a peep from the Republicans in office about these things. Why is that? IMHO, it is because they find it inconvenient to acknowledge that this guy down the Avenue is not a doctrinaire left winger, but actually has made a number of decisions which they support.
It is different to govern than it is to campaign. I criticize the Republicans for the last year for doing more of the latter and not enough of the former. Making selective choices about what are the "issues" and then having the temerity to clam to represent "the American People." It's BS
Posted by R Wray, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Mar 31, 2010 at 11:17 am
I not sure of the point being made. Why should the GOP make a big fuss about decisions Obama makes that they happen to agree with? Or are you implying that no one should agree with these pragmatic decisions?
Posted by GOP, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 31, 2010 at 12:30 pm
The GOP should applaud the President when he tries to reach out on bipartisan issues. Instead, they shut up as if they don't care. The GOP wants Obama to fail, even if they have to ruin the country to make their point.
Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of Palo Alto, on Mar 31, 2010 at 12:35 pm Paul Losch is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
Sorry if my major points are not clear enough. Here's another stab at it.
1. Obama is not an idealogue. There are numerous examples of decisions he has taken that Republicans agree with and Democrats often do not. Both seem to keep their mouths shut around such things as I cited in my initial posting.
2. DC Leadership in the GOP is offering nothing constructive--"The Party of No." What's worse is that there seems to be a lack of institutional memory that most of the problems our country faces did not start on January 20, 2009, but they act like that is when all the stuff hit the fan. That's nonsense. It goes back decades for many issues, although I am of the opinion that W exacerbated many aspects of it with his policies.
What is needed is a collaborative effort to deal with the problems. Both parties were party to where they are, and both parties ideally will be party to where they need to be.
3. I have a major problem with any politician claiming to speak for "the American People." This notion gets invoked constantly and to my way of thinking is so shallow it is not even superficial. What's more, I am of the opinion that the folks on that Hill along PA Avenue are there to do a job, not just parrot what polls tell them. For the most part, the folks in the House and Senate are pretty smart and able to think for themselves. Many of them do not appear to consider that to be part of their job description.
4. While I am a Obama supporter, I view this as a systemic problem, that has nothing to do with who is in office but more to do with a growing dysfunction at the national level. I won't go there with California or Palo Alto.
Posted by Toady, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 31, 2010 at 1:22 pm
The whole "Party of No" thing is tiresome. It's straight out of the Democrats' talking points, and I guess if it's repeated enough times, people believe it.
The Democrats control Congress. They control the agenda of what's discussed in committee and on the floor. Alternative proposals have been surfaced by the Republicans, but they can never make it out for debate as long as the Democrats control everything.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Mar 31, 2010 at 1:22 pm
One of the main reasons I like GWB is that he liberated Iraq. This a huge accomplishment, as history will show. He also supported most of the things you just mentioned, that BHO also supports in a lightweight way.
If you remember, BHO strongly opposed the liberation of Iraq, despite the fact that he is now starting to take credit for it.
Take away BHO's teleprompter, then let us know how smart you think he is. Being scripted, and being smart, are not always the same thing. Sarah Palin could probably take him to school in a head-to-head debate, sans telprompter (although notes wriiten on one's palm should be ok!).
The Republicans do support some of BHO's stuff, when he gets it right. If BHO gets behind nuclear power, as a stand alone, or tort reform, as a stand alone, he will get more GOP support than Dem support. But this does not mean that they should jump onto his health care debacle, when they clearly think it is wrong. Mitch McConnell should indeed use kryptonite, when it is appropriate to do so. Are you saying that he should not, Paul?
Posted by Some people are in lala land, a resident of Stanford, on Mar 31, 2010 at 2:01 pm
Gary continues his fantasy interpretation of GWB, Obama and Palin. Palin is a light weight, everyone knows it--she couldn't even take Biden in a debate, she couldn't even answer routine questions in interviews.She is a self-promoting airhead, who never finished anything she started (witness her 5 or 6 colleges and her quitting on the people of Alaska) Even republicans do not think she is fit to be president. And get off the "teleprompter" issue--everyone uses it--GWB did, Palin does, all republicans do--talk about hypocrisy (or stupidity) on some people's part
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Mar 31, 2010 at 3:21 pm
GWB used the teleprompter, so does Palin, but take them away from it, and they sounds about the same. Not so with BHO, he is almost completely lost. The difference is that GWB and Palin (and Reagan)only have to say what they actually believe, as opposed to what their handlers want them to say. Obama is a captive empty suit of his handlers.
Despite BHO's dependency on his handlers, he is like a shotgun: He shoots it out there, and kills some birds, but not others...and he could care less which ones get retieved by his dogs. He is a remarkable example of an empty suit, only wanting to get re-elected.
GWB and Palin believe what they believe, and will fight for it. Obama will spout out anything that he thinks will get him elected. How else can one explain that he is suddenly supporting the Iraq liberation, when he so strongly opposed it? He is, to put it mildly, a finger-in-the-air leader.
The fantasy is with those who have bought into him. He waits for events to cleave, then decides how to react to them. He is simply incapable of driving events, unless his handlers tell him it looks like a good re-election strategy. Empty suit.
Posted by Some people are in lala land, a resident of Woodside, on Mar 31, 2010 at 3:32 pm
"GWB used the teleprompter, so does Palin, but take them away from it, and they sounds about the same."
Only if Palin gets to write the notes on her hand.
Gary has been on this anti-Obama binge for two plus years--same tired talking points (empty suit, teleprompter, doesn't believe in anything, yada, yada, yada)--no real facts to back his claims up--just the same tired fantasy issues.
"Does ANYONE know what BHO REALLY believes in?"
Anyone who has been following Obama and is supporting him knows what he really believes in. Check it out on the internet--it is out there.
"Palin believe what they believe, and will fight for it"
What a hoot--Palin is a self-promoting quitter--never finished anything in her life. She got put in her place by one of the actors on FAMILY GUY, when she ran her mouth. It does not take much to expose Palin for what she is.
Palin was hot stuff for about a week--then reality set in and people soon realized that she was a nobody--she is as stale as Gary's whinings about Obama.
Posted by Paul, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Mar 31, 2010 at 3:34 pm
"GWB used the teleprompter, so does Palin, but take them away from it, and they sounds about the same."
Right. They are equally lost in the woods with the TPTR and without it.
"One of the main reasons I like GWB is that he liberated Iraq."
So you think Bush 43 is a hero because he defied Ronald Reagan, who considered Saddam his friend? Likewise Bush 41, who thoughtfully cut short a war in order to let Saddam stay in power? Make up your mind now: Reagan and Bush, or Bush?
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Mar 31, 2010 at 4:15 pm
Are you saying that BHO opposed the Iraq liberation on his own, or was he driven to this historical miscalculation by his handlers? I suspect it was some of both. Either way, it was a huge leadership mistake on his part. History will not be kind to him on the Iraq issue.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Mar 31, 2010 at 6:09 pm
No, The Gipper threatended to blow up Qum, unless the American hostages in Iran were released. They were released immediately after became president. Carter would have never got them outta there.
Reagan was not afraid of the Ayatollahs, in fact he thought he could use them to get the release of hostages in Lebanon. He agreed to have the Israelis hand over some obsolete rockets to them. Before they figured out how bad thsoe rockets were, a couple of hostages had been relased, based on Iranian influence. The profits to the Americans on the deal was transferred to the freedom fighters in Cental America (thank you, Col. North!).
Reagan pushed for freedom, and he won the cold war. Obama pushes for reelection, period. GWB liberated Iraq. Both Reagan and GWB stood for freedom, and got reelected. Bush 41 was more like Obama...not too sure about the real core issues. In fact, it took Maggie Thatcher to push Bush 41 to push Saddam out of Kuwait. He did not get reelected...neither will Obama.
Posted by Sharon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Mar 31, 2010 at 7:16 pm
Obama recently appointed Samantha Power as senior director for multilateral affairs at the National Security Council, NSC
"Power was a senior adviser to the Obama campaign, and after the election she was a member of the team looking at how the new administration should approach national security, defense and state department issues.Web Link
Posted by maguro_01, a resident of Mountain View, on Apr 1, 2010 at 3:55 am
GWB's military also turned away from US history when they found abu Graib, Sadaam's notorious no-exit prison. A previous Republican President had toured a Nazi death camp as a General just after WWII. He said that a photo record of that horror should always be kept. What to do is a decision of civilian leadership - so what did the US do with abu Graib? Did they blow it up or make a museum of it to show Iraqi's that a new day had arrived? Well, no. They moved in. They moved in, with the results we remember. What flag, what country, what history did they represent?
Actually, GWB/Cheney and the present Republicans are not in the American line, but more the Confederate one - they are atavistic. They are a product of the old Dixiecrats and Nixon's Southern Strategy. They don't seem to know what country they are part of or maybe they do and aren't part of this one. They seem to have no moral compass which they disguise by carrying on about peripheral social issues. Lately they seem to have no ideas at all so they are doing politics by raising mobs, Confederate style.
Unlike the first Gulf War the second was very ad-hoc - they famously just winged it as the civilian leadership. The excellence and courage of the US military kept them out of real trouble. US General Franks, in charge, according to interviews with him after he retired, had to plead for enough troops - Rumsfeld wanted only 65,000 and thought he was a General, setting up the Order of Battle. The first US ambassador, Paul Bremer, testified before Congress that he was sent with no briefing nor especial knowledge of Iraq and did the best he could, writing their Constitution on his PC. The Americans first sent there were Party faithful with little other qualification.
Obama has been so much more professional as CIC to us and the world that it's almost stunning. President Clinton did OK in the Balkans also. It looks like it's unwise to entrust the defense of the US or stewardship of its economy to the present Republicans unless they become more 'normal' Conservatives again and dump the Confederate faction now in charge. The US certainly needs a center/right party and doesn't have one. Perhaps the Republicans should retire into history like the Whigs. They couldn't bridge the North/South divide and today's Republicans can't either.
Libertarianism is fatal also whenever anyone actually tries it - eg unregulated derivatives. The Ayn Rand version of it must have been created as a Doppelganger to Communism - a reaction to the Russia she came from - and equally unworkable.
Posted by Paul, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 10:37 am
"Reagan was not afraid of the Ayatollahs, in fact he thought he could use them to get the release of hostages in Lebanon."
As I said, Reagan carried on a variety of backroom deals with the ayatollahs, like buying hostages, which resulted in more hostages being taken. We still don't know what price he paid for the Embassy hosages (it was probably more than one key-shaped cake), but we do know that the big hostage taking craze you mentioned began immediately afterward. When the 240 Marines he sent on an alleged peacekeeping mission were sitting ducks for the bomb that killed them, Reagan pulled the mission faster than Clinton left Somalia. Do you think that was what scared the Soviets into abject surrender 8 years later? Or was it his invasion and defeat of the mighty Grenada Wehrmacht?
Reagan talked big and therefore is the right's God. And we know he favored Saddam even more than he liked the ayatollahs. So where do you get off saying Reagan was wrong about Saddam?
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 12:02 pm
"Do you think that was what scared the Soviets into abject surrender 8 years later? "
No. It was his SDI proposal (scared the hell out of the Soviets, becasue they knew they could not keep up in the technology race), as well as his consistent push back against Soviet expansionism. For example, Gorby tried to win in Afghanistand with a surge, but Reagan's decision to increase the number of Stinger missles kept the Soviets' air superiority at bay. Reagan beat the Soviets at almost every step, and that was his intention. He did not believe in the concept of containment, as his predecessors had.
Reagan is a political god, because he announced his support for individual freedom, then acted to achieve it.
Posted by Paul, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 7:22 pm
"It was his SDI proposal"
SDI scared the Soviets into surrender? Gimme a break. Star Wars was the biggest science fiction in history. Everybody but Reagan knew it wouldn't work. It was based on tricked up data, like the Iraq WMDs. But ya gotta hand it to Ed Teller - he was a heckuva salesman when he found a gullible mark. Would've made a great carny. Likewise Lowell Wood. But, hmmm, gee... maybe you got something there - I bet all that ROTF LOL kept the Politburo paralyzed for years.
Or maybe it was the Mighty Mo, a battle wagon that was obsolete before it ever sailed, that Reagan resurrected to the tune of $300,000,000. It fired a couple of rounds over Lebanon in its new career. Both missed their targets by a mile, and one was a dud. That's $150,000,000 per shot. That must have impressed the Soviets and gave Reagan's Star Wars incredible cred.
Reagan and Stingers? C'mon, now. That was Charlie Wilson's war. Remember?
Posted by Sharon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 7:52 pm
All this senseless bickering is past history
Obama has 3 main challenges
1/ Increasing employment in the USA
2/ Enforcing his new foreign policy initiatives.
A/ Enforce the " Bicycle Build For Two" solution to the Holy Land to further our interests in the region and in the larger Muslim world and to save American Soldiers lives.
B/ Disarm all parties in the area of nuclear weapons-- including Israel--- the area needs adult supervision-- and we are it-- we need to use more Tough Love to get compliance with our interests-- this new strategy is already in place but it needs to be accelerated.
C/ Position US initiatives to thrive from the fact that China will be the first economy in history to "Get Old Before It Gets Rich"
3/ Stop the bickering, focus upon common US domestic wealth creation and foreign policy US first interests.
Posted by Sharon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 8:43 pm
what we mean by saying China will be the first economy in history to "Get Old Before It Gets Rich"
Demographers in China will celebrate 2010 as the year in which the nation’s demographic dividend will peak.
From this year on, the population of China’s elderly will overtake the number of working children, meaning there will be less people supporting a larger population, adding to demographic stress and lower growth rates.
Since the 1970’s, when China’s one child policy was introduced, the nations birth rate and therefore the number of dependent children, has been plummeting, whereas the number of adults has been gradually rising.
The result has been a declining dependency ratio.
It is this low dependency ratio which created a massive work force and consumer base that has fueled China’s meteoric growth.
However, from 2010 this will start to change.
China’s one child policy still strictly in place, the number of dependent children will remain low, however as life expectancy goes up, the number of older people will grow, reaching a dependency ratio of 0.6 by 2040, according to the UN.
This is a recipe for economic collapse which can be delayed, for a while, by massive increases in productivity---US industry leads the the world in productivity tools China needs those tools desperately-- it is a manufacturing economy-- not an emerging service economy like India.
Demographics is destiny-- also in the Mid East -- if Israel goes for the one state solution-- to which they are headed-- they are doomed
The previous regime realized that--- the current one is in denial
Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 10:28 pm
Thanks for your critique. Please make sure you are not confusing me with the Paul from Downtown North. We are two different people. The other Paul clearly has a liberal bent, I may be perceived as having one also, but I think my various opinions are not so easily labeled.
My effort in writing this blog is to bring up topical issues that are of interest to the Community, but are not confined to purely local issues. Many things that are of national or international importance affect what goes on here, and as I consider what to post, I view such topics as fair game.
Some of the topics I have addressed end up going in a direction I certainly did not expect, this being one of them. How did we get from Obama not being so easily labeled to Reagan's Star Wars concept 20 years ago? Beats me.
Ironically, some of my blogs that were focused on something specific to Palo Alto have generated the least amount of follow-on comments. I will continue to bring up local issues such as High Speed Rail, among others. And when something such as health care that has national implications but affects those of us here, those types of topics are fair game from this writer's standpoint.
Again, thanks for your opinion, I appreciate the readership my blog seems to generate. There are some folks whom I consider outliers, but tht comes with the territory.
Posted by Paul, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 11:31 am
"[Paul:] If I wanted to read more left-wing drivel like this(and I don't)"
Unfortunately (for you, it seems), it's a big world out here, with a variety of opinions. You gotta leave that nest sometime.
If I want to play with right-wing drivelers (and I do), I go wherever I can find them. You might prefer to stick with the Drudge Report. Real right-wing family values over there. It had (maybe still has) by far the best photos of Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction I've encountered anywhere.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 12:06 pm
"Star Wars was the biggest science fiction in history. Everybody but Reagan knew it wouldn't work"
The proper name is Strategic Defense Initiative. It is still being developed, and progress is being made...so much so that the Russians are still pushing Obama to dump it. To his credit, Obama said "no".
The Soviets were not so much worried about whether it would work or not, even though they thought it might (they threatened to up the number of missle silos and MIRVs). They were afraid of a technological race with the West, one they could neither afford nor win. Reagan made sure to dish out research contracts to the Europeans and the Japanese. It was a great poker hand by Reagan. He didn't blink...but Gorby did, in fact Gorby finally decided to give up. Gorby was a smart guy, and he understoood that a pair deuces does not beat three kings. Reagan made sure that he had the three kings.
Too bad we don't the likes of Reagan around, today. He could care less about the DC Beltway noise.
Posted by The Real Sharon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 12:14 pm
Sharon once again writes:
"2/ Enforcing his new foreign policy initiatives.
A/ Enforce the " Bicycle Build For Two" solution to the Holy Land to further our interests in the region and in the larger Muslim world and to save American Soldiers lives."
There is no "Bicycle Build For Two" solution to the Holy Land" This is a fantasy. Note that Sharon has never posted a link to any source for her made up plan.
Saying it over and over will not make it true
"B/ Disarm all parties in the area of nuclear weapons-- including Israel--- the area needs adult supervision-- and we are it-- we need to use more Tough Love to get compliance with our interests-- this new strategy is already in place but it needs to be accelerated."
There is no new strategy, so there is nothing to accelerate. Our interests are not necessarily the interest of other sovereign independent nations. Maybe in Sharon's fantasies does the world revolve around the USA