U.S. now sees Iran as pursuing nuclear bomb – Los Angeles Times

Funny how Obama now sees that Iran is a threat and is persuing nuclear weapons… I wonder what would have happened had he been privy to this level of intel when the decision to take out Saddam was made… I bet he would have sang a different tune, but then again he was just a state senator in IL and did not have access to intel this level of intel when he spoke out against going into Iraq.

Reporting from Washington — Little more than a year after U.S. spy agencies concluded that Iran had halted work on a nuclear weapon, the Obama administration has made it clear that it believes there is no question that Tehran is seeking the bomb.

In his news conference this week, President Obama went so far as to describe Iran’s “development of a nuclear weapon” before correcting himself to refer to its “pursuit” of weapons capability.

Obama’s nominee to serve as CIA director, Leon E. Panetta, left little doubt about his view last week when he testified on Capitol Hill. “From all the information I’ve seen,” Panetta said, “I think there is no question that they are seeking that capability.” 

The language reflects the extent to which senior U.S. officials now discount a National Intelligence Estimate issued in November 2007 that was instrumental in derailing U.S. and European efforts to pressure Iran to shut down its nuclear program.

As the administration moves toward talks with Iran, Obama appears to be sending a signal that the United States will not be drawn into a debate over Iran’s intent.

“When you’re talking about negotiations in Iran, it is dangerous to appear weak or naive,” said Joseph Cirincione, a nuclear weapons expert and president of the Ploughshares Fund, an anti-proliferation organization based in Washington. 

Cirincione said the unequivocal language also worked to Obama’s political advantage. “It guards against criticism from the right that the administration is underestimating Iran,” he said.

Iran has long maintained that it aims to generate electricity, not build bombs, with nuclear power. But Western intelligence officials and nuclear experts increasingly view those claims as implausible.

U.S. officials said that although no new evidence had surfaced to undercut the findings of the 2007 estimate, there was growing consensus that it provided a misleading picture and that the country was poised to reach crucial bomb-making milestones this year.

Obama’s top intelligence official, Dennis C. Blair, the director of national intelligence, is expected to address mounting concerns over Iran’s nuclear program in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee today.

When it was issued, the NIE stunned the international community. It declared that U.S. spy agencies judged “with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.”

U.S. intelligence officials later said the conclusion was based on evidence that Iran had stopped secret efforts to design a nuclear warhead around the time of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Often overlooked in the NIE, officials said, was that Iran had not stopped its work on other crucial fronts, including missile design and uranium enrichment. Many experts contend that these are more difficult than building a bomb.

Iran’s advances on enrichment have become a growing source of alarm. Since 2004, the country has gone from operating a few dozen centrifuges — cylindrical machines used to enrich uranium — to nearly 6,000, weapons experts agree.

By November, Iran had produced an estimated 1,400 pounds of low-enriched uranium, not nearly enough to fuel a nuclear energy reactor, but perilously close to the quantity needed to make a bomb.

A report issued last month by the Institute for Science and International Security concluded that “Iran is moving steadily toward a breakout capability and is expected to reach that milestone during the first half of 2009.” That means it would have enough low-enriched uranium to be able to quickly convert it to weapons-grade material.

Tehran’s progress has come despite CIA efforts to sabotage shipments of centrifuge components on their way into Iran and entice the country’s nuclear scientists to leave.

Iran still faces considerable hurdles. The country touted its launch of a 60-pound satellite into orbit this month. Experts said Iran’s rockets would need to be able to carry more than 2,000 pounds to deliver a first-generation nuclear bomb.

And there are indications that the U.S. and Iran are interested in holding serious diplomatic discussions for the first time in three decades. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said this week that his nation was “ready to hold talks based on mutual respect,” and Obama indicated that his administration would look for opportunities “in the coming months.”

Hassan Qashqavi, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, on Wednesday warned the U.S. not to wait for Iranian presidential elections this year, because ultimate authority rests with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

He also said Iran would be patient.

“Since a new administration came to power in the U.S., we do not want to burn the opportunity of President Obama and give him time to change the reality on the ground,” Qashqavi said.

But experts said Iran was now close enough to nuclear weapons capability that it may be less susceptible to international pressure.

“They’ve made more progress in the last five years than in the previous 10,” Cirincione said.

via U.S. now sees Iran as pursuing nuclear bomb – Los Angeles Times.

Obama Doesn’t Get It

Rep. Aaron Schock talks about the stimulus, and urges a NO VOTE. Despite President Obama’s observations, workers at the Catepillar workers do not support the stimulus.

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Leading economists take on the $800 billion stimulus scam

It seems some of the leading economists do not agree with Obama and that there are other options… Obama’s fear mongering to pass his pork roll has the economy in a panic and making things worse…

Yesterday, the United States Senate passed a sweeping $800 billion stimulus plan that President Barack Obama says he would like to sign into law as soon as possible. “There is no disagreement,” Obama has declared, “that we need action by our government, a recovery plan that will help jump-start the economy.”

Reason.com asked a panel of leading economists for their response to the stimulus package.

Robert Higgs

1. Outside of the obvious pork and special interest goodies, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package?

This legislation entails the addition of a huge increment to the burden of debt the public must bear, directly or indirectly. It redirects resources on a grand scale from uses consumers value to uses politicians value and thereby impoverishes the general public. I’ve written along these lines at greater length here and here.

2. Is there anything in the stimulus package that you think will work? If so, what?

All of it works. The trouble is what it works for, which is to reward virtually every special interest allied with the Democrats and to guarantee the recipients’ future support for the pirates who are now sending the booty their way. It is eerily similar to the New Dealers’ use of the Works Progress Administration and other big relief programs to buy votes and bulk up their political machine.

3. Obama says that doing nothing is not an option. Do you agree with that?

For the economy in general, doing nothing is vastly preferable to doing the stimulus package, but doing nothing is not a political option; indeed, it would be political suicide. Which shows that only by adopting economically destructive policies can politicians survive. Do you see something wrong in this picture? Given the dominant ideology and the political institutions that now exist, economically rational public policy is incompatible with political viability. See here. Having hit bottom, the politicians can only do one thing: keep digging. If Hell is down there, they’ll reach it, sooner or later.

Robert Higgs is senior fellow in political economy for The Independent Institute and editor of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review.

Jeffrey Rogers Hummel

1. Outside of the obvious pork and special interest goodies, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package?

The biggest problem with the stimulus package is the amount by which it increases total government spending, the national debt, and therefore future taxes.

2. Is there anything in the stimulus package that you think will work? If so, what?

If by “work,” you mean alleviate the depression, there is nothing in the stimulus that will do so.

3. Obama says that doing nothing is not an option. Do you agree with that?

Not at all. The best thing the government could do is to cut spending and taxes. Doing nothing is a second-best option.

Jeffrey Rogers Hummel is associate professor of economics at San Jose State University and the author of Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War.
Megan McArdle

1. Outside of the obvious pork and special interest goodies, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package?

Even if you accept the theory of the stimulus, the package is not well-structured. A good stimulus package should be designed to move money out the door rapidly, then stop. This program is designed to move money out the door slowly, and keep going. Moreover, the vast size of the package is going to add big costs in the not-so-distant future which have barely been discussed.

2. Is there anything in the stimulus package that you think will work? If so, what?

Expanding unemployment benefits and food stamps—the “automatic fiscal stabilizers”—are relatively low cost and transparent. They target money to the people whose consumption is contracting the most, and they will naturally shrink as the economy recovers.

3. Obama says that doing nothing is not an option. Do you agree with that?

I would like to see more proof of the statement that doing something is better than doing nothing. The Keynesian arguments upon which Obama’s statements are based work out neatly in the textbooks, but there’s little proof that they actually make things better, in aggregate, in the real world. And the current situation is all the proof you need that there are massive holes in our old textbook models.

Megan McArdle writes about economics, business, and politics at The Atlantic.

Deirdre McCloskey

1. Outside of the obvious pork and special interest goodies, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package? 

It’s not targeted, not temporary, not timely. Especially the last. Too slow, too slow, alas.

2. Is there anything in the stimulus package that you think will work? If so, what?

At less than full employment the Keynesian stuff works. So the minority of the quickie expenditures will “put people back to work”—until we return to almost-full employment, which will happen pretty quickly in the recovery. At that point the stimulus will merely crowd out private investment. In the short run people might get more cheerful, too, always a good thing. But in two years the recession will be over. And the myth will grow up—rather similar to the ones about FDR and war expenditure—that Obama did it. Essentially, Obama will get credit for the self-adjusting character of the economy. I reckon we should start preparing that other face of Mount Rushmore.

3. Obama says that doing nothing is not an option. Do you agree with that?

I agree on the money and banking side, not on the real expenditure side. We are in a financial panic, which happens only in a few recessions (1907, 1929). In other words, the TARP is way, way more important than the stimulus. Truly, Something Must Be Done about the banks. That’s a logic of second best—the government fouled up the banking system (the most regulated part of the economy), so maybe the government should help clean up the mess. Someone needs to, and I reckon it’s not going to be the Icelandic government. J.P. Morgan, where are you when we need you?

Contributing Editor Deirdre McCloskey teaches economics, history, English, and communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her latest book is The Myth of Statistical Significance.

Allan H. Meltzer

1. Outside of the obvious pork and special interest goodies, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package?

No thought is given to the medium and longer-term consequences. We are very likely to have large inflation in the next few years.

2. Is there anything in the stimulus package that you think will work? If so, what?

Yes, extending unemployment compensation, tax subsidy to homebuyers, some of the permanent tax cuts.

3. Obama says that doing nothing is not an option. Do you agree with that?

Yes. But doing the right things is the option.

Allan H. Meltzer is the Allan H. Meltzer University Professor of political economy and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Jeffrey A. Miron

1. Outside of the obvious pork and special interest goodies, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package?

The package is focused on increased spending and tax cuts that fail to improve incentives. I am extremely skeptical that the U.S. has $500 billion in additional productive spending, especially if done in a hurry. In most areas government spending is too high, not too low.

2. Is there anything in the stimulus package that you think will work? If so, what?

Roughly, no.

3. Obama says that doing nothing is not an option. Do you agree with that?

Doing nothing is always an option, and in my view it would be better than the stimulus. Better yet, we should fix those aspects of current policy that ought to be fixed independent of the crisis. Seehere and here.

Jeffrey A. Miron is a senior lecturer in economics at Harvard University.

Michael C. Munger

1. Outside of the obvious pork and special interest goodies, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package?

The creation of new bureaucratic and regulatory structures, restrictions on creation of liquidity. The genius of the American system, for all its flaws, has been that we can mobilize lots of liquidity quickly. Silicon Valley exists because you could sit down, make a pitch, and get $10 million that afternoon.

If we start governing finance like we govern universities, or city councils, we are going to lose that. Having committees, and a bunch of forms to sign off on, and stamps…Hernando de Soto wrote about systems like this. They strangle business, investment, and growth.

2. Is there anything in the stimulus package that you think will work? If so, what?

Keynes said that Y=C+I+G. Borrowing money to raise “G” (government spending) will work, I suppose. But the cost to future generations is enormous. I am amazed by the hypocrisy of both sides. John McCain calls the stimulus “intergenerational theft.” Well, he’s right, but he came late to this wisdom. The Republicans have been just pouring out new deficit spending since 2002.

And then Obama says he doesn’t want to do tired old ideas, and failed economics. But he is doingexactly what the Republicans did: huge deficit-financed spending on largely useless or irrelevant programs designed to reward political friends. The only thing that’s different is the identity of the “friends.”

So, some of the spending may increase measured GDP slightly for 2009. But the price is increased inflationary pressures in 2010, and the squandering of the birthright of our children for decades.

3. Obama says that doing nothing is not an option. Do you agree with that?

This makes me furious. Doing nothing is not an option—anymore. Because first President Bush, and now President Obama, have engaged in a completely irresponsible fear campaign. “We must do something, or you should cower in helpless fear, behind locked doors, in darkened rooms!” Presidents should not use this kind of fear as a weapon to pass their pet projects. Roosevelt, for all his flaws, got it right: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Well, not quite right: it turns out we need to fear fear itself, and also President Obama.

The sensible thing to do at this point would be to make an offer, at 40 cents on the dollar, for the “toxic” assets, both the collaterlized debt obligations packaged by Freddy and Fannie, and also the credit default swap “insurance” derivatives sold by AIG (and some other firms, but mostly AIG). Since AIG wrote so many “naked” CDSs, even for people who don’t own the underlying, or “insured” asset, they are going to keep hemorrhaging until someone puts a floor on the value of the assets.

So, a one-time, take it or leave it, offer. One big reason that credit markets are frozen is the uncertainty created by Treasury indecision and vagueness. Asset owners are holding out for a better price, and they are trying to negotiate through the Senate, not the Treasury. Obama needs to lead here, and say, “Take this partial buyout, or hang on to the asset at your peril. There is no better deal coming tomorrow.”

Michael C. Munger is professor of economics and chair of the department of political science at Duke University.
William A. Niskanen

1. Outside of the obvious pork and special interest goodies, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package?

Nothing in the package increases the incentive to work, save, invest, or increase productivity. Any spending stimulus should be limited to increasing the demand for housing, in order to increase the value of the mortgage-backed securities that are limiting the ability of the banks to lend.

2. Is there anything in the stimulus package that you think will work? If so, what?

No. Almost all of the tax cuts are welfare payments channeled through the tax system, not reductions in marginal rates.

3. Obama says that doing nothing is not an option. Do you agree with that?

No fiscal stimulus program is a viable option. Use monetary policy to stimulate demand. Consider an optional fiscal stimulus plan consisting only of selective marginal tax rate cuts and a temporary subsidy to increase the demand for housing.

William A. Niskanen is chairman emeritus and a distinguished senior economist at the Cato Institute.

Johan Norberg

1. Outside of the obvious pork and special interest goodies, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package?

The biggest problem is that it destroys savings by using them on projects that the majority did not think were reasonable a year ago. We take capital that would have been available to companies and poorer countries and use it to create a stimulus that will have its largest impact after the economy has already turned the corner—so that it will contribute to another round of boom and bust.

2. Is there anything in the stimulus package that you think will work? If so, what?

That depends on what the meaning of “works” is. The tax credit will work. Not as they intended it, though. But it gives people more money, which they will save because they can see that the government is building up a huge deficit that they will be forced to pay for in the future. And then those savings will come in handy.

3. Obama says that doing nothing is not an option. Do you agree with that?

No. Every single crisis in the last 100 years shows that doing nothing would have been preferable to doing bad things. But he is right that it is not an option in the current political climate. Now what applies is the politicians’ logic from Yes, Prime Minister: “Something must be done. This is something. Therefore it must be done.”

Johan Norberg is a Swedish author and historian of ideas, and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. He is currently writing a book on the financial crisis.
Mark Perry

1. Outside of the obvious pork and special interest goodies, what are the biggest problems you see with the stimulus package?

There are many problems with the stimulus package, but there are several that stand out. First, like all fiscal stimulus packages in the past, the current one will not impact the economy at the right time for the intended stimulus effect, due to the inevitable problems of long lags. Much of the intended expansionary fiscal effects won’t happen until next year and even 2011, and it’s likely the economy will have recovered sufficiently by then so that the fiscal stimulus will be unnecessary, and might actually be destabilizing. Second, the fiscal stimulus has to be paid for eventually in the form of higher taxes, which will have a negative economic effect in the future, i.e. the “fiscal child abuse” effect. That is, any positive short-term effects of this stimulus package will be more than offset by future negative effects in the form of reduced future economic growth, decreased investments, and lower incomes. 

2. Is there anything in the stimulus package that you think will work? If so, what?

The fiscal stimulus will work only in the sense that it will serve to stimulate the approval ratings of the President and other politicians.

3. Obama says that doing nothing is not an option. Do you agree with that?

No. The market economy has an underappreciated, but amazing ability to correct and reverse economic imbalances and problems on its own, and that economic self-correcting resiliency works best in the absence of government interference. 

Mark J. Perry is a professor of economics and finance in the School of Management at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan.

via The Reason.com Stimulus Symposium: Leading economists sound off on the $800 billion stimulus package – Reason Magazine.

Glenn Beck on Obama’s ‘Change’: Socialism

Change You Can Believe In

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Washington Post Publishes Obama’s Fear Mongering Editorial

In another lame attempt to convince the people of the United States to blindly accept his $900+ billion stimulus, Obama publishes an editorial in the Washington Post. He says nothing new in this editorial, the only purpose of this is to spread the fear to as many readers as possible.

This administration is using fear to push forward it’s socialist agenda and political pork barrel.

America, contact you congressional representatives and demand they reject this eater of planets. Tell them to formulate a responsible package that will boost our economy not nationalize it.

Change You Can Believe In!

By now, it’s clear to everyone that we have inherited an economic crisis as deep and dire as any since the days of the Great Depression. Millions of jobs that Americans relied on just a year ago are gone; millions more of the nest eggs families worked so hard to build have vanished. People everywhere are worried about what tomorrow will bring.

What Americans expect from Washington is action that matches the urgency they feel in their daily lives — action that’s swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis.

Because each day we wait to begin the work of turning our economy around, more people lose their jobs, their savings and their homes. And if nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.

That’s why I feel such a sense of urgency about the recovery plan before Congress. With it, we will create or save more than 3 million jobs over the next two years, provide immediate tax relief to 95 percent of American workers, ignite spending by businesses and consumers alike, and take steps to strengthen our country for years to come.

This plan is more than a prescription for short-term spending — it’s a strategy for America’s long-term growth and opportunity in areas such as renewable energy, health care and education. And it’s a strategy that will be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability, so Americans know where their tax dollars are going and how they are being spent.

In recent days, there have been misguided criticisms of this plan that echo the failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis — the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems; that we can meet our enormous tests with half-steps and piecemeal measures; that we can ignore fundamental challenges such as energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.

I reject these theories, and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change. They know that we have tried it those ways for too long. And because we have, our health-care costs still rise faster than inflation. Our dependence on foreign oil still threatens our economy and our security. Our children still study in schools that put them at a disadvantage. We’ve seen the tragic consequences when our bridges crumble and our levees fail.

Every day, our economy gets sicker — and the time for a remedy that puts Americans back to work, jump-starts our economy and invests in lasting growth is now.

Now is the time to protect health insurance for the more than 8 million Americans at risk of losing their coverage and to computerize the health-care records of every American within five years, saving billions of dollars and countless lives in the process.

Now is the time to save billions by making 2 million homes and 75 percent of federal buildings more energy-efficient, and to double our capacity to generate alternative sources of energy within three years.

Now is the time to give our children every advantage they need to compete by upgrading 10,000 schools with state-of-the-art classrooms, libraries and labs; by training our teachers in math and science; and by bringing the dream of a college education within reach for millions of Americans.

And now is the time to create the jobs that remake America for the 21st century by rebuilding aging roads, bridges and levees; designing a smart electrical grid; and connecting every corner of the country to the information superhighway.

These are the actions Americans expect us to take without delay. They’re patient enough to know that our economic recovery will be measured in years, not months. But they have no patience for the same old partisan gridlock that stands in the way of action while our economy continues to slide.

So we have a choice to make. We can once again let Washington’s bad habits stand in the way of progress. Or we can pull together and say that in America, our destiny isn’t written for us but by us. We can place good ideas ahead of old ideological battles, and a sense of purpose above the same narrow partisanship. We can act boldly to turn crisis into opportunity and, together, write the next great chapter in our history and meet the test of our time.

via Barack Obama – The Action Americans Need – washingtonpost.com.

Performance Czar Withdraws After Tax Evasion

What did Obama do? Did he pick his choices from an IRS list of tax evaders? I guess she dropped out (crawled under bus with a little prodding) because Obama has to sacrifice someone at this stage of the tax evaders invasion…

So the change Obama was talking about was having the most tax evaders in his administration as possible… This administration thinks it is above the law and the sad part is it is only starting

What is really sad is that Congress already approved other members of the administration that have more severe violations and ties to lobbyists and will wield much more power in their new posts…

I dub this administration EvasionGate…

Change You Can Believe In!

WASHINGTON (AP) – Nancy Killefer, who failed for a year and a half to pay employment taxes on household help, has withdrawn her candidacy to be the first chief performance officer for the federal government, the White House said Tuesday.

Killefer was the second major Obama administration nominee to withdraw and the third to have tax problems complicate their nomination after President Barack Obama announced their selection.

“Nancy Killefer has decided to withdraw her nomination, and we accepted her withdrawal,” Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman, said Tuesday. The 55-year-old executive with consulting giant McKinsey & Co., was expected to explain her reasons for pulling out later in the day.

When her selection was announced by Obama on Jan. 7, The Associated Press disclosed that in 2005 the District of Columbia government had filed a $946.69 tax lien on her home for failure to pay unemployment compensation tax on household help.

Since then, administration officials refused to answer questions about the tax error, which she resolved five months after the lien was filed. Obama’s first choice for commerce secretary, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, took his name out of consideration when his confirmation appeared headed toward complications because of a grand jury investigation over how state contracts were issued to political donors.

More recently, Timothy Geithner was confirmed as Treasury secretary despite belatedly paying $34,000 in income taxes, and Tom Daschle is still waiting to see if his late payment of more than $128,000 in income taxes will harm his nomination to be health and human services secretary.

On paper, Killefer brought impressive credentials to the two jobs Obama selected her for: deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, which requires Senate confirmation, and a new White House post, chief performance officer for the entire federal government, which does not require confirmation.

Killefer oversees McKinsey’s management consulting for government clients. During 1997-2000 in the Clinton administration, Killefer was assistant Treasury secretary for management. As such she was the chief financial officer and chief operating officer for the Treasury and its 160,000 employees and led a modernization of its largest component, the Internal Revenue Service.

But for nearly a month, the administration had refused to answer how its choice to make government workers more efficient and more responsive had bungled her household payroll taxes.

The AP reported that on March 7, 2005, the D.C. Department of Employment Services slapped a tax lien on her home in the tony Wesley Heights neighborhood. The local government alleged that just three years after she left the high-powered Treasury post she began to fail to pay unemployment compensation tax for a household employee. And she failed to make the required quarterly payments for a year and half, whereupon a lien for $946.69 was placed on her home.

That sum included $298 in unpaid taxes, $48.69 in interest and $600 in penalties. The lien was filed March 7, 2005, but Killefer didn’t get the lien extinguished for almost five months, not until July 29.

During that period, Killefer and her husband, an economics professor, had a teenage son and daughter, but she had two nannies and a personal assistant to run her life when she was on the road, she told Harvard business students back then. 

via Official: Performance czar withdraws candidacy.

Obama’s Dirty Dozen (17 lobbyists)

Not really much of a surpise to me… And the republicans in congress are just letting them pass through when they have had the opportunity to block a couple of them…

Change You Can Believe In!

It is easy to project yourself as a clean politician after making your debut in South Side Chicago with buddies like Rahm Emanuel. US president Obama has appointed more than 17 lobbyists after talking big on anti-lobbyist Governance and rooting corruption out of the American Government.

Dreams are dreams. Facts are facts. President Obama is surrounded by corrupt lobbyists ready to sell America cheap. One good silver lining – if Obama Adminsitration’s corruption index is 10, Bush Administration’s was 95.

Take the example of the newest exposure of doubletalk from Obama! After calling for clean Governance, he appoints a Treasury Secretary who “forgot” to pay for his ‘business tax’ for years! Tom Daschle, a top lobbyist in Washington, who has amended his U.S. tax forms to pay back taxes with interest, is now Obama’s best choice for America’s chief health official.

Daschle, 61, paid more than $140,000 in back taxes and interest on Jan. 2, the New York Times reported, citing unidentified administration officials. The back taxes involved unreported consulting fees, questionable charitable contributions and a car and driver provided by Democratic Party donor Leo Hindery Jr., a founder of the private equity firm InterMedia Advisors, according to a confidential draft report prepared by the Senate Finance Committee, the Washington Post reported.

No wonder Obama does not want to prosecute the Bush Administration for their wrong doings! No wonder Obama spent 170 million dollars in inauguration extravaganza when common American families were facing loss of jobs, lack of healthcare, and foreclosures!

Would you believe, Obama had to issue 17 waivers on his own rule in less than two weeks for allowing lobbyist enter his Administration and control Governance of America!

via IndiaDaily – Obama appointed more than 17 lobbyists after talking big on anti-lobbyist, clean Governance.

Daschle’s Millions

Daschle should not be approved. Now it has come to light that he waited a month before disclosing his tax evading problems. This is a direct contradiction of the news that he immediately notified the administration of his problem when he was nominated… Along with this Daschle knew of the problem back in June 2008 and only took care of it after he was nominated and knew it would be a problem… Same old same old as the Obama administation, keep quiet until you have been backed into a corner… It also shows the Obama administration lied to the public when it said that he had notified them as soon as he was nominated.

Now more disturbing than this is the fact that he made millions from the industry he will be responsible for overhauling. This is a major conflict of interest and he should withdraw his name immediately.

Change You Can Believe In!

Thomas A. Daschle waited nearly a month after being nominated to be secretary of health and human services before informing Barack Obama that he had not paid years of back taxes for the use of a car and driver provided by a wealthy New York investor.

Daschle, one of Obama’s earliest and most ardent campaign supporters, paid $140,000 to the U.S. Treasury on Jan. 2 and about two days later informed the White House and the Senate Finance Committee, according to an account provided by his spokeswoman and confirmed by the Obama administration.

Although Daschle had known since June 2008 that he needed to correct his tax returns, he never expected the amount to be such a “jaw-dropping” sum and “thought it was being taken care of” by his accountant, spokeswoman Jenny Backus said.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said last night that Obama stands behind his friend and confidant. “The president believes nobody’s perfect but that nobody’s hiding anything,” Gibbs said.

How he made millions
The disclosure of Daschle’s tax problems coincided with the release of the financial statement he submitted to the Office of Government Ethics, which details for the first time exactly how, without becoming a registered lobbyist, he made millions of dollars giving public speeches and private counsel to insurers, hospitals, realtors, farmers, energy firms and telecommunications companies with complex regulatory and legislative interests in Washington.

Daschle’s expertise and insights, gleaned over 26 years in Congress, earned him more than $5 million over the past two years, including $220,000 from the health-care industry, and perks such as a chauffeured Cadillac, according to the documents.

In mid-December, Obama’s transition team discovered that $15,000 of the $276,000 in charitable contributions claimed by Daschle and his wife over three years lacked proper receipts. But the former Senate majority leader did not mention the larger tax liability until after his accountant had filed amended returns for him.

The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a private session tomorrow to discuss Daschle’s tax problems. Daschle, visiting an ailing relative, was unavailable for comment this weekend, and aides refused to release his tax returns.

Meanwhile, the disclosure of Daschle’s lucrative ties to private companies with Washington interests have begun to raise eyebrows among those who expected Obama to be wary of relying on wealthy insiders to stock his administration.

“Daschle is the quintessential Washington story. You leave a powerful position, and you leverage it to make a fortune,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit government watchdog group. “He is not alone . . . [and] it would be hard for Obama to fill his administration without ever turning to someone like that. That said, these are the kind of Washington insiders that Obama campaigned against.”

The Obama team is “learning that it’s easier to campaign on that than govern under it,” Sloan added. The problem is that “it looks disingenuous.”

Obama condemned lobbyists
In his principal campaign speech on government ethics in June 2007, candidate Obama decried the “morally offensive conduct” of lobbyists and lawmakers who help large industries and special interests exercise “an effective veto on our progress.” He singled out the drug and insurance industries for particular scorn, saying that they had pushed for a new Medicare prescription drug benefit and that lawmakers and Bush appointees who made it happen were rewarded with “cushy lobbying jobs that pay millions.”


Americans, Obama said, “are hungry for a new kind of politics.”

In recent months, Daschle has advocated for changes to the U.S. health system that are unpopular with sizable portions of the industry, including some physicians, drugmakers and insurance companies. Daschle has nonetheless prospered from a stream of income from the health sector, including $220,000 in speaking fees in the past two years, according to the ethics filing.

He also has been a trustee of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. For part of the $2 million he received from the law firm Alston & Bird over the past two years, Daschle also reported that he gave “policy advice” to United Health, a conglomerate that sells insurance, helps the government administer Medicaid, advises drug companies and physicians and dispenses prescriptions.

The 12 organizations or companies that paid Daschle speaking fees, ranging from $12,000 to $30,000, included the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and America’s Health Insurance Plans, an influential trade group.


The Health Industry Distributors Association, a trade association representing medical product distributors, wrote to Daschle last week to express concerns about proposed Medicare changes and reminded him of the $14,000 speech he delivered at its conference last year.

“As you may recall from speaking to some of our members during HIDA’s 2008 Executive Conference in Miami, where you were the keynote speaker, a competitive bidding program will undermine access to quality care for millions of beneficiaries,” said the letter, which was posted on the group’s Web site.

In a letter sent to the HHS ethics office on Jan. 16, Daschle did not list any specific entities that would pose a conflict of interest; he pledged instead not to participate for the next year in particular matters in which “a former client of mine is a party or represents a party.”


When he left the Senate in early 2005, Daschle held a more modest portfolio, according to the financial disclosure report he filed with the Secretary of the Senate.

Four pages in length, the document listed financial holdings ranging from $255,000 to $775,000. All of his money was held in investment funds and a retirement account, the two largest being a Fidelity/First Union capital management fund and a Vanguard fund, each of which held between $50,000 and $100,000. He was paid $175,700 as Senate leader and did not have any specific stock holdings.

Daschle did not list his Washington home in the Foxhall neighborhood, which, according to records, he and his wife, Linda, purchased in 2003 for $1.9 million. It is now valued at $2.9 million.

Impossible to determine net worth
It is impossible to determine Daschle’s current net worth with precision because his assets and income are reported in ranges. He also wrote that the value of some assets was “not readily ascertainable,” including profit-sharing arrangements with InterMedia Partners, owned by Leo J. Hindery Jr., a longtime donor to Democratic campaigns and causes, and stock options granted to him by the commercial real estate firm CB Richard Ellis and by ethanol research company Mascoma Corp.

Spokeswoman Backus said that Daschle did “extensive work for four years, raising funds” for InterMedia from investors. Daschle, a Senate Finance Committee veteran, “naively” thought the car service Hindery provided was “nothing more than a generous offer from a friend,” she said.

Daschle collected director’s fees from five companies and organizations, including the nonprofit Freedom Forum, which advocates free press and speech rights; the bioenergy company Prime BioSolutions; and the Mascoma ethanol research company. The international energy company BP Corp. alone paid him $250,000 in director’s fees.

He also received a $21,000 advance for a book on resolving the health-care crisis.

Daschle listed two residences, each valued at $100,000 to $250,000 — one in Aberdeen, S.D., the other in Altus, Okla.

‘Gold standard for integrity’
Several Democrats on Capitol Hill defended Daschle.

“He’s the gold standard for integrity in government,” said former Daschle aide Andrea LaRue, now a partner in the government relations firm NVG. “The fact that he’s done so much to fix the honest mistakes shouldn’t be held against a man who has had such a long and distinguished career.”

via Daschle delayed revealing tax glitch – Washington Post- msnbc.com.

Obama Wag(s)y(o)u Steak Celebration

Obama and Congress are demanding no bonuses for Wall Street…. Well no BONUSES or WAGYU steak ($125 Per Steak!!!!) for Politicians…

Turn up the heat… in the White House that is… The rest of American must turn down their thermostats to save the environment…

All this in celebration of the Pork Package that made it through the House… Well I guess they wanted to make sure their celebration was Kosher and pork free, unlike their stimulus package…

This man is a contradiction of everything Americans voted for… The sad thing is the liberals that voted him in do not see it yet…

Change You Can Believe In!

So I listened today as Barack Obama scolded Wall Street executives for their bonuses last year, and while I was listening to him I couldn’t stop thinking about the swank dinner party that Obama threw last night celebrating the house passing his massive spending bill.

While Obama is scolding executives for their spending, there seems to be no limit to what he is willing to spend. First, if you haven’t heard, he has brought his “private chef” from Chicago to the White House. That’s right, Obama had a private chef before he was president, doesn’t everybody? The old White House chef will also stay so we will be paying them both to feed Obama and his family.

This just after the most expensive inaugural event in our nations history, just after his exclusive Hawaii vacation.

Anyway, back to last night, he invited a bunch of congressmen and senators to dinner to celebrate his new “pork” bill passing the house, which started with alcoholic beverages for everybody and included “wagyu steak” on the menu. I know, I know, what’s wagyu steak your probably wondering? Look it up! It’s meat that cost $125 per pound, and don’t rush out to the grocery store to buy some because it’s something reserved for only the upper crust of society, and our politicians since they eat on our tax dollar. This is change we can depend on for sure!

Don’t even get me started on the spending bill that passed and created this celebration. My advise is take a look at the details for yourself. There is more pork in this thing than there is in the Jimmy Dean sausage factory! Creating jobs they say…..yeah right! It’s more like political paybacks and buying votes! I feel sure your great grandchildren won’t mind paying for all of this, since they are the ones that will pay.

So don’t forget to turn your thermostat down tonight, Obama has called on us all to make sacrifices…remember?

In the mean time, he will continue to sacrifice as much of our tax dollars as he possibly can while in office, dancing around and shouting, “Yes We Can!”

via Newsvine – Obama’s Wagyu Steak Celebration.

$220,000 Conflict of Interest For Daschle

More problems for Daschle… On the heels of tax invasion, yes I know he paid up afterwards… Just like Geithner so it is ok according to the liberal double standard and above the law tactics overtaking our country. This one they cannot overlook, but then again the liberals will do what they want and the Republicans have yet to do anything but bend over on Obama’s nominations…

Tom Daschle, the former South Dakota senator picked by President Obama to reside over the nation’s healthcare system, received $220,000 in speaking fees from health care groups with an interest in the work he would do once confirmed as health chief, Politico.com reports.

Daschle, who has come under fire in recent days for his failure to pay taxes, reportedly received thousands from health care groups — such as the Health Industry Distributors Association — that stand to gain or lose depending on the outcome of Obama’s universal health care initiative.  

The Health Industry Associated paid Dashle a speaking fee of $14,000 in March 2008, according to Politico.com.  

The speaking fees were detailed in a financial disclosure statement released Friday after it was revealed that Daschle — Obama’s nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services — failed to pay $128,203 in back taxes and $11,964 in interest. 

Click here to read the full report from Politico.com.  

The White House acknowledged Friday that Daschle had “some tax issues,” which, the administration says, have been resolved and should not bar his confirmation as secretary.

FOX News confirmed that Daschle alerted the Senate Finance Committee, which is set to oversee his confirmation hearing, that the matter involves more than $100,000 in back taxes and interest for a car and driver that was provided to him for four years by Leo Hindery, a wealthy Democratic donor, longtime friend and business associate of Daschle.

Daschle incorrectly assumed the use of the car and driver was not subject to taxation. But the White House says he discovered the error during preparation for his confirmation and filed amended tax returns with the proper payment and interest.

The unreported income for the car service totaled more than $250,000 over three years.

Hindery founded InterMedia Partners, a private equity firm, in 1988. Daschle was paid $1 million annually for his consulting services, the Senate Finance Committee said.

Daschle also had unreported consulting income of $88,333, in 2007. He also had reductions to charitable contributions totaling about $15,000 over the three years covered, according to a Senate Finance Committee document. The document, marked “Confidential Draft,” is a committee statement concerning Daschle’s nomination.

The White House issued a statement Friday night affirming that Daschle “is the right person to lead the fight for health care reform.”

“Senator Daschle brought these issues to the Finance Committee’s attention when he submitted his nomination forms and we are confident the committee is going to schedule a hearing for him very soon, and he will be confirmed,” it says.

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the committee’s chairman, has scheduled a closed-door meeting with committee members to discuss the matter before proceeding with Daschle’s confirmation hearing.

The news comes on the heals of an uproar over the tax troubles of another one of Obama’s Cabinet nominees. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was confirmed this week after apologizing for failing to pay $34,000 in taxes on time, an error that he said was a “careless” mistake.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office released a statement Friday strongly backed Daschle despite the new revelations.

“Senator Daschle will be confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services,” Reid spokesman Jim Manley said. “He has a long and distinguished career and record in public service and is the best person to help reform health care in this country. Senator Reid looks forward to a swift hearing and is confident Daschle will be confirmed.”

A spokeswoman for Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee, issued a statement Friday acknowledging that the committee’s vetting process had turned up the tax violations, though she did not say whether Grassley had taken a stance yet on the matter.

Click here to read the Senate Finance Committee report on Daschle.

via Report: Daschle Received $220G From Health Care Groups With Vested Interest – First 100 Days of Presidency – Politics FOXNews.com .