News Donkey

Keeping watch on the Obama administration

Health Law Spurs Shift in Hours

via Julie Jargon | The Wall Street Journal

Some low-wage employers are moving toward hiring part-time workers instead of full-time ones to mitigate the health-care overhaul’s requirement that large companies provide health insurance for full-time workers or pay a fee.

Several restaurants, hotels and retailers have started or are preparing to limit schedules of hourly workers to less than 30 hours a week. That is the threshold at which large employers in 2014 would have to offer workers a minimum level of insurance or pay a penalty starting at $2,000 for each worker.

The shift is one of the first significant steps by employers to avoid requirements under the health-care law, and whether the trend continues hinges on Tuesday’s election results.

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November 6, 2012 Posted by | Barack Obama, Domestic Affairs, Elections, Health Care, Health Insurance, Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney, Obama, Obama Administration, Obama Performance, People, Romney | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Romney is Right About Chrysler / Jeep China Outsourcing

Originally published by NLPC.org

There is nothing like having unbiased media coverage of the all-important presidential campaign leading up to next week’s election. And the media is nothing like unbiased. We see this playing out again as Mitt Romney is now being accused of misrepresenting a story that Bloomberg.com reported on Chrysler’s potential outsourcing of Jeep manufacturing to China. A look at the original comments from the article gives evidence as to how unfair the criticism is and just how right Romney was for pointing out the likely future outsourcing of Jeep manufacturing.

Continue reading …

UPDATE: AUTO BAILOUT BOMBSHELL: Fiat Says Chrysler, Jeep Production May Move to Italy

October 30, 2012 Posted by | Auto Industry, Bail Out, Barack Obama, China, Obama, Obama Administration, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Apparent Obama Cover Up of Benghazi Undermines Campaign

Is Obama and his administration guilty of covering up key details of the attack in which U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in Benghazi?

The attack on the consulate building took place September 11th and for the next week or so the Obama administration cited an anti-Islamic video posted on YouTube as having been responsible by sparking out-of-control demonstrations across the Middle East, going so far as to describe the attackers as nothing more than “an innocent mob.” Not until intelligence officials cited publicly that there were possible links to Al Qaeda did the Obama administration finally shift position and confirm an extremist militant group was actually to blame.

For weeks following this shift in position, the Obama administration had consistently maintained that their previous explanation of the attack had reflected the best intelligence they had up to that point of the investigation.

Yet on October 24th we learned that officials at the White House and State Department were in fact advised two hours after attackers assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi that an Islamic militant group had claimed credit for the attack.

Emails, obtained by Reuters from government officials who requested anonymity, show that the Libyan group called Ansar al-Sharia had publicly asserted responsibility for the attacks. One of the email addresses to which the message was sent was to none other than the White House Situation Room, the president’s secure command post.

Ironically, the previous day Obama had been casting his election rival, Romney, as a man not to be trusted. Romney has been raising questions about Obama’s handling of the affair.

Now it seems Obama has been caught misleading the American public about the details of the Benghazi attack. Speculation is that Obama was likely attempting to protect his run for re-election, in which his campaign has been hyping the President’s dismantling Al Qaeda. Yet the recent attack on Benghazi undermines this position, showing that terrorists remain undeterred.

So much for the transparency of government.

October 24, 2012 Posted by | Barack Obama, Campaign, Elections, Foreign Affairs, Libya, Obama, Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Obama Should Have Listened

A year ago, before the masses of angry Tea Partiers, before the general public’s sentiment of disappointment with the Obama administration, News Donkey suggested that action was required to address the division in our nation, so that we could all get past this anger which divides our country. But here we are today, still no apology, and the situation now looks abysmal for Democrats. And I have to wonder, thinking back to my post from a year ago, what if? What if Obama had tried to do something real and meaningful to address this problem? Alas, the window of opportunity seems to have closed. Hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. Then again, perhaps its not really too late to apologize.

Nation Divided, Needs Reconciliation … Will Obama Offer Olive Branch?

October 2, 2010 Posted by | Democrats, Obama, Obama Administration, Obama Performance, Party Politics, Republican | , , , , | Leave a comment

Heil Franken! Minnesota Senator Cuts Off Lieberman Remarks on Health Care Reform

In this video (Associated Press, Dec 18, 2009), Democratic Sen. Al Franken took the unusual step Thursday of shutting down Sen. Joe Lieberman on the Senate floor. Despite Lieberman’s request for an extra minute or two to complete his final comment, Franken objected to any further remarks from Lieberman, who had only spoken for a mere 10 minutes up to that point. Wow, what happened to having an “open” discussion of the issues? This is an amazing video of our “democracy” in action.

December 19, 2009 Posted by | Health Care, Health Insurance, Medicare, Senate Happenings | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nation Divided, Needs Reconciliation … Will Obama Offer Olive Branch?

Authored by News Donkey

A recent Associated Press news story, Analysis: ‘You lie!’ further erodes discourse, tells us that political dialog in this country has eroded to the lowest lows we’ve seen in many many years. The two major political parties point the finger daily, each expressing blame and outrage over the latest transgression du jour, an unending contest of tit for tat. But how did we get to this point?

Everyone is to Blame

Democrats will tell you that this sad state of political discourse is a direct result of Republicans not playing nicely, just like they did under former President George W. Bush.

Republicans will tell you that the problems really started with the Democrats who did more than just disagree with Republicans under Bush, but rather stooped to showing unprecedented disrespect for a sitting President. One might be tempted to argue that Bush did some unprecedented things himself. But then again, how many Presidents have had to contend with an attack on the mainland United States on the scale of 911? It was a tough time, but Democrats showed little patience for Bush.

Same Playbook, Different Sides

So today, Republicans appear to have simply opened the Democrats’ own playbook in order to deliver the same level of disrespect back to Obama. The same impatience. Should Democrats really be all that surprised?

The present situation has the makings of an ugly cycle that will only get worse, such as exhibited in the recent “You lie!” outburst on the House floor during Obama’s speech on healthcare. This trend is not healthy.

Some disagreement should always be expected and even encouraged… but not to the extent that our government becomes paralyzed! Held hostage are key efforts such as Obama’s plan for healthcare reform, and previously under Bush it was the plan for Social Security reform. How long can this go on? Do we even want to find out the answer to this question?

Extending an Olive Branch

What we need in order to break this “us vs. them” cycle in our government is a significant act of reconciliation between the two political parties. This is not to naively suggest a hug fest in Congress. But the tensions are too high not to do something.

Republicans, being in the political dog house right now, are in no real position to effectively reconcile differences with the in-power Democrats. Yet, we do need a functioning two party system to ensure proper debate of issues. So if reconciliation is going to happen, it must come from the Democrats, and from Obama in particular as our President.

Obama, on behalf of the Democratic Party, needs to account to the entire nation for the years of disrespect directed at Bush by Democrats; and he himself did contribute to some of the rhetoric. Mind you, this is not to say that Democrats shouldn’t have disagreed with Bush. Disagree all they want, it was the disrespect that crossed the line and which has set the tone for Obama’s current challenges.

It’s about Winning Hearts, not Scoring Points

To win the hearts of conservatives and lower the pitch of the political discourse so that real work can be done, Obama must do the one thing that Bush never did, and that is to admit to failings; that BOTH parties, not just Republicans, are at fault for the present state of our nation. And to even apologize for the years of disrespect that was directed at Bush by Democrats. Such an apology, honestly given, would allow the Republicans a clear path of dignity for reconciliation. This would provide the olive branch.

I have no doubt that many Democrats, and perhaps even some Republicans, will scoff at this suggestion. And of course, there is the choice to keep things as they are, which does not seem to be working by the way.

We need a return to having real statesmanship in our government. We are at a point in history where Obama can separate himself from the pack of politicians and truly lead the nation into the future. Would an apology really be that much to ask for?

We are all taught as children, at least most of us, to make apologies for our wrongs. Considering Obama’s recent speech to school children, it would be a great example for kids to see how a grown man, our President, can work out differences in a civilized fashion. Working out differences is more than just offering to work together, it is also apologizing for past transgressions in order to clear the way for future progress.

Newsdonkey’s Prediction

Newsdonkey predicts that if the current negative discource continues at its current level, the White House is going to have to plan a major televised speech by Obama to address the problem. It might be in a week, in month, in three months, who knows when. Perhaps more than the economy or healthcare or anything else, the greatest challenge now facing our nation is our own division. As the ole saying goes, “united we stand, divided we fall”. The division of our nation is becoming a very serious problem.

Update 09-13-2009: The latest symptom of the division of our nation is highlighted in a recent article from the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, Massive crowd marches against Obama’s agenda, which describes tens of thousands of anti-Obama protestors who gathered Saturday across downtown Washington, DC. While there are a host of specific complaints cited, brewing underneath is a layer of general anger and resentment. Liberals spent the last eight years venting over Bush and now the conservatives appear to be moving down the same path with Obama. Rather than allowing this trend to continue, the President of the United States would be an ideal person to reach out and attempt unifying the nation and putting a stop to all this. But it will require more than just a call for unification; there needs to be healing, and healing starts with apologies to show good faith and encourage the other side to embrace the offer.

Update 09-14-2009: An article in Politico, The great myth: bipartisanship, adds yet additional perspective on this issue, including the desire of many voters that the two parties should try to work together more than they are now.

September 12, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, Bush, Democrats, Domestic Affairs, Ethics, GOP, Health Care, Obama, Partisanship, Party Politics, People, Republican | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama School Speech Insensitive to Political Climate

Authored by News Donkey

President Obama’s plans for a speech to school children has stirred up a real hornets nest, it seems. While most people will agree with the idea of encouraging kids to stay in school and work hard, it is not really the message as much as the messenger that has drawn ire from Republicans and conservatives, and even some moderates.

What if George W. Bush had done this?

To understand how the conservatives feel, diehard Democrats and liberals need only consider how they might have felt if George W. Bush, during his Presidency, had planned a similar speech for kids in which the lesson plans would have included:

  • Questions for pre-K through grade 6th students to think about during the speech, such as “What is the President trying to tell me? What is the President asking me to do?”
  • And for grades 7-12, a “guided discussion,” with suggested topics: “What resonated with you from the President’s speech? What is the President inspiring you to do?”

Had Bush, who was supporting the very unpopular war in Iraq, decided to have a little speech like this with the nation’s children, it seems likely that many a Democrat or liberal would have been very upset, and perhaps held their children out of school. Seriously, would any of you solid Democrats or liberals out there have wanted your kids indoctrinated by anything Bush would have to say? I think not.

Respect is at the heart of the problem

Sure, we all talk about the need of showing respect for a President, but it is fair to say that many did not show the slightest respect for Bush. So, Republicans and conservatives can hardly be expected now to feel all cozy and warm about Obama. They cannot be expected to have any less a of strong reaction to Obama than the Democrats and liberals would have had to Bush. And don’t try to sell me on “openness” here. Come on, be honest. You know good and well, many of the Dems and liberals would have been in an uproar over something like this from President W.

A new twist on kissing babies

So, what is Obama’s purpose anyway? News Donkey says that it is indeed all about scoring political points. His healthcare speech is scheduled the very next day.

With a consenting adult standing near by, it would normally be just fine to talk to kids. But what if you the parent are not there? Not even asked for permission? And this happens at your child’s school while you are at work? That is what is happening now. It is really just inappropriate, and insensitive to the political climate. Perhaps even tasteless.

A violation of privacy?

Kids should not be placed in a situation where their particular political views (or religious views, sexual orientation, or anything else personal) could made the subject of classroom discussion, potential ridicule, and possible judgment by teachers and administrators.

People have a right to maintain their privacy, and to protect their children from exposure to someone else’s dogma. We’re not talking multiplication tables here. We’re talking about use of our school classrooms for political grandstanding. This is just a bad idea, Mr. President.

September 4, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, Democrats, Domestic Affairs, Ethics, Obama, Obama Administration, Obama Performance, Party Politics | , , , , , | 10 Comments

Obama Blames Europe for Troubles, Too

By JONATHAN MARTIN | Politico

STRASBOURG, France — President Barack Obama laid down a tough new line on America and Europe Friday morning, saying both were to blame what he called the “drift” in the trans-Atlantic alliance in recent years.

“In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world,” Obama said, boldly taking aim at the country that just elected him last November. “There have been times where America’s showed arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.”

Of Europe, Obama looked directly at a few thousand German and French students in a town hall in Strasbourg, France, and told them that the continent had showed “an anti-Americanism that is at once casual but can also be insidious.”

“There have been times when Europeans chose to blame Americans for much of what is bad,” he said to a crowd that had been elated at Obama’s entry but then turned silent after his remark.

“So,” he continued, “I’ve come to Europe to renew our parternship.”

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April 3, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, Europe, Foreign Affairs, Obama, People | , , , , | 2 Comments

Surging U.S. Unemployment Rate Puts Pressure on Obama

By Bob Willis | Bloomberg.com

The jump in the U.S. unemployment rate to the highest level in a quarter century last month suggests the recession is deeper than the Obama administration forecasts and additional measures may be needed to restart growth.

The jobless rate rose to 8.1 percent in February as employers reduced payrolls by 651,000, the Labor Department said yesterday in Washington. Losses have now exceeded 600,000 for three straight months, the first time that’s happened since collection of the data began in 1939.

Unemployment has already reached the average rate the White House projected for the whole year. The administration needs to keep its focus on repairing the banking system and implementing the stimulus rather than get diverted by other goals such as healthcare changes, said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics LLC in New York.

“They should be focused on stabilization” of financial firms “and stimulus — and that should not only be ‘Job one,’ that should be the only job right now,” Ryding said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “The question is, is it recession or is it something worse than recession?”

U.S. stocks posted the biggest weekly decline in three months after American International Group Inc. reported a $61.7 billion loss and billionaire investor Warren Buffett said the economy is in “shambles.” …

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Opinion from News Donkey: Obama recently held a White House summit to facilitate progress on the important issue of health care. An underlying pillar of health care is the economy, which is in a state of major distress that is only going to get worse unless Geithner and the US Treasury Department take swift action. However, Geithner is virtually working alone right now. For a nation with the extensive resources of the United States, we really ought to be able to do better than this. Obama may want to hold a summit to facilitate vetting and confirmation for all the Treasury Department positions. It is alarming that of 15 key positions only one has been filled, despite the fact that it has been over four months since the presidential election. One might have thought priority attention would have been given by Obama’s transition team to staffing for the Treasury. Past administrations may not have filled positions for the Treasury any faster, but then they did not face such huge economic challenges either. Health care is an important issue, but the economy is truly an emergency and needs to be more than just a high priority issue along side other issues. Fielding an incomplete team to tackle our huge economic problems is not putting forth our best foot. Washington needs to spend less time worrying about distractions like Rush Limbaugh and instead work non-stop on solving our economic problems.

Related News:
49% Say Obama Should Delay Health Care Reform Until Economy Is Better
Timothy Geithner, Alone and Working Night and Day

March 8, 2009 Posted by | Bail Out, Banks, Barack Obama, Congress, Domestic Affairs, Economy, Financial Crisis, Foreclosure, Health Care, Health Insurance, Housing, Jobless Rate, Jobs, Layoffs, Obama, Obama Administration, Obama Performance, People, Recession, Senate Happenings, Stimulus, Tax Breaks, Tax Cuts, Unemployment Insurance | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mexican Capo Guzman Behind Drug War Deaths

By Robin Emmott | Reuters

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (Reuters) – One man looms behind the worst violence in a drugs war on Mexico’s U.S. border that is shaking President Felipe Calderon’s government and worrying Washington.

Joaquin Guzman, known as “Shorty” at just 5 feet tall, is Mexico’s most wanted man and set off a wave of killings in the border city of Ciudad Juarez early last year when he tried to muscle in on the territory of a local cartel.

A turf battle between Guzman’s enforcers from the Sinaloa cartel and local Ciudad Juarez drug runners has since killed more than 2,000 people here and forced the government to deploy 7,500 troops and federal police to take control of the city.

Guzman, 51, has avoided capture several times since he escaped from a high security jail in a laundry van in 2001.

Mexican anti-drug officials say he began waging war for Ciudad Juarez when the local cartel tried to charge him taxes for smuggling narcotics through the city into Texas …

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Related News:
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US Military Speeding Help to Mexico: Admiral

March 8, 2009 Posted by | Drugs (Illegal), Felipe Calderon, Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, Joaquin Guzman, Mexico, People, Security, States, Texas | , , , , , | Leave a comment