Obama administration

China warns protectionist Obama Administration

China isn’t happy with the trade policies of the Obama Administration:

China on Friday accused the US of protectionist and biased trade policies less than a week before president Barack Obama’s first visit to Beijing.

In a stinging rebuke to Washington, China’s commerce ministry promised to take measures to protect its domestic industry after the US slapped anti-dumping duties on $2.6bn of Chinese steel pipe imports. The duties are part of a growing roster of trade conflicts between the two countries, despite a high-level meeting last week in China aimed at reducing tensions.

“China resolutely opposes such protectionist practices and will take steps to protect the interests of our domestic industries,” Yao Jian, ministry spokesman, said on its website.

“The US should give objective consideration to the fact that the fundamental problem of the US industries in question is the fall of demand brought about by the financial crisis.”

The Obama Administration’s desire to pander to labor interests is going to hurt us in a big way. Trade is necessary to keep prices low and keep an economy robust. History shows that putting restrictions on free trade, on of the most basic economic liberties, will slow an economy as other nations react, just as China is threatening today.

We don’t need a trade war. We need free trade.

Fox News Ratings Up Since Obama Administration Picked A Fight

Yet another sign that the Obama Administration’s war on Fox News isn’t working:

Reporting from New York - It’s been a long time since Fox News, which avidly cultivates its outsider status, got to play the underdog. But after White House aides recently labeled the top-rated cable news channel “a wing of the Republican Party” and argued that it is not a news network, Fox News found itself back in a spot it relishes: firing back at a more powerful adversary.

The salvos by administration officials have rallied liberals who complain that the channel has a conservative agenda. The activist group MoveOn instantly jumped in the fray, urging Democrats to stay off Fox News programs.

But the White House’s stance also gave extra lift to the network at a time when it is on track to record its best ratings year ever. This year, Fox News has averaged nearly 1.2 million viewers across all its programming, a 16% increase over the same period last year, according to Nielsen. In the two weeks since aides to President Obama took after the coverage, the audience has been 8% larger than the previous two weeks.

If anything, the Obama administration has succeeded in reinforcing Fox News’ identity as a thorn in the side of the establishment — a role the network loves to play.

As Bill Clinton himself once said:

“Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.”

Or, who have access to basically free bandwidth.

White House Tries To Exclude Fox News From White House Press Pool

The Obama White House’s war against Fox News Channel is getting more irrational and dangerous:

So this administration had what passes for a brainstorm among that group: now that they’ve made it clear that they disapprove of one particular news network, why, there would be nothing stopping them from stepping up their attempts to marginalize said network. So the White House announced today that a specific White House Press Pool access - Ken Feinberg, who is one of the myriad ‘czars’ so beloved of this administration - would explicitly exclude Fox News.  Despite the fact that the Press Pool is supported in part by Fox News.

And the media refused to play along.

Essentially, the rest of the White House Correspondent’s Association told the White House that the press pool availability would include all five networks, including Fox, or it would include none of them. Good for them for standing up to what is clearly becoming a display of arrogance unseen in the White House since the Nixon Administration.

So far, though, only one television network has picked up the story.

Yea, you guessed it, it’s Fox:

Obama Pay Czar To Cut Salaries Of Up To 175 Top Executives

And so it begins:

WASHINGTON — Responding to the furor over executive pay at companies bailed out with taxpayer money, the Obama administration will order the firms that received the most aid to slash compensation to their highest-paid employees, an official involved in the decision said on Wednesday.

The plan, for the 25 top earners at seven companies that received exceptional help, will on average cut total compensation this year by about 50 percent. The companies are Citigroup, Bank of America, American International Group, General Motors, Chrysler and the financing arms of the two automakers.

Some executives, like the top traders at A.I.G., will face tight limits on their pay. In addition, the top-paid employees at all the affected companies will face new limits on their perks.

The plan will also change the form of the pay to align the personal interests of the executives with the longer-term financial health of the companies. For instance, the cash portion of the executives’ salaries will be slashed on average by 90 percent, and the rest will be replaced by stock that cannot be sold for years.

But while the plan would pare compensation substantially from what the highest-paid people at the companies might have received under normal circumstances, it would still permit multimillion-dollar pay packages.

In addition, it would have no direct impact on firms that did not receive government bailouts or that have already repaid loans they received from Washington. Therefore, it is unclear how much effect, if any, the plan will have on the broader issues relating to executive compensation, income inequality and the populist animosity toward Wall Street and corporate America.

The Obama White House’s Marginalization Strategy

Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei have a piece up at the Politico today that makes official something that’s been apparent for a long time now:

President Obama is working systematically to marginalize the most powerful forces behind the Republican Party, setting loose top White House officials to undermine conservatives in the media, business and lobbying worlds.

With a series of private meetings and public taunts, the White House has targeted the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest-spending pro-business lobbying group in the country; Rush Limbaugh, the country’s most-listened-to conservative commentator; and now, with a new volley of combative rhetoric in recent days, the insurance industry, Wall Street executives and Fox News.

Obama aides are using their powerful White House platform, combined with techniques honed in the 2008 campaign, to cast some of the most powerful adversaries as out of the mainstream and their criticism as unworthy of serious discussion.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs has mocked Limbaugh from the White House press room podium. White House aides limited access to the Chamber and made top adviser Valerie Jarrett available to reporters to disparage the group. Everyone from White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel to White House Communications Director Anita Dunn has piled on Fox News by contending it’s not a legitimate news operation.

All of the techniques are harnessed to a larger purpose: to marginalize not only the individual person or organization but also some of the most important policy and publicity allies of the national Republican Party.

Why The Obama Administration’s War On Fox News Is Dangerous

Claudia Rossett gets at the heart of what’s wrong when the President of the United States attacks a news outlet:

If errors of fact turn up in reporting, the White House is entitled to dispute them. But Axelrod and Emanuel were not disputing a particular piece of reporting. They were slamming wholesale a widely followed and highly informative news outlet, and denouncing it as not “legitimate.”

(…)

The matter of deciding whether a news outlet has “a perspective” — and many do — is something that in a free country, if the country is to remain free, should be left to the private customer. There are legions of critics in the private sector who spend their time analyzing and debating which outlets provide the most reliable news, what’s entertainment, who’s opinionated, and how, and who’s not. They are easy to find. You can tune in, subscribe, and decide for yourself. These folks, like the media they criticize, are subject to the market test — in which private consumers freely make their own choices about what or whom they trust, what they pay for, what they pay attention to, and why.

Bill would allow president to take control of the internet during emergency

Legisation in the Senate, S.773, would give the president power to take control of the internet during a “cybersecurity emergency”:

Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

They’re not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.

The new version would allow the president to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” relating to “non-governmental” computer networks and do what’s necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for “cybersecurity professionals,” and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.

[…

The privacy implications of sweeping changes implemented before the legal review is finished worry Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. “As soon as you’re saying that the federal government is going to be exercising this kind of power over private networks, it’s going to be a really big issue,” he says.

Intelligence shake up looming?

All is not well with the Obama Administration’s intelligence officials due to a report on interrogation tactics:

A “profanity-laced screaming match” at the White House involving CIA Director Leon Panetta, and the expected release today of another damning internal investigation, has administration officials worrying about the direction of its newly-appoint intelligence team, current and former senior intelligence officials tell ABC News.com.

Amid reports that Panetta had threatened to quit just seven months after taking over at the spy agency, other insiders tell ABCNews.com that senior White House staff members are already discussing a possible shake-up of top national security officials.

“You can expect a larger than normal turnover in the next year,” a senior adviser to Obama on intelligence matters told ABCNews.com.

[…]

A White House spokesperson, Denis McDonough, said reports that Panetta had threatened to quit and that the White House was seeking a replacement were “inaccurate.”

According to intelligence officials, Panetta erupted in a tirade last month during a meeting with a senior White House staff member. Panetta was reportedly upset over plans by Attorney General Eric Holder to open a criminal investigation of allegations that CIA officers broke the law in carrying out certain interrogation techniques that President Obama has termed “torture.”

A CIA spokesman quoted Panetta as saying “it is absolutely untrue” that he has any plans to leave the CIA. As to the reported White House tirade, the spokesman said Panetta is known to use “salty language.” CIA spokesman George Little said the report was “wrong, inaccurate, bogus and false.”

Too Much, Too Soon: The Mistakes That Ended Obamamania

Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei have a great piece up at Politco recounting the suddenness with which the Obama Administration has found itself on the defensiveness:

Barack Obama’s Big Bang is beginning to backfire, as his plans for rapid, once-in-a-generation overhauls of energy, financial regulation and health care are running into stiff resistance, both in Washington and around the country.

The Obama theory was simple, though always freighted with risk: Use a season of economic anxiety to enact sweeping changes the public likely wouldn’t stomach in ordinary times. But the abrupt swing in the public’s mood, from optimism about Obama’s possibility to concern he may overreaching, has thrown the White House off its strategy and forced the president to curtail his ambitions.

The Administration’s biggest mistake ? Packing too many high-priority initiatives into an incredibly short period of time without having a consensus for any of them:

By doing so much, so fast, Obama gave Republicans the chance to define large swaths of the debate. Conservatives successfully portrayed the stimulus bill as being full of pork for Democrats. Then Obama lost control of the health care debate by letting Republicans get away with their bogus claims about “death panels.” The GOP also has successfully raised concerns that the Obama plan is a big-government takeover of health care — and much of Middle America bought the idea, according to polls.

By doing so much, so fast, Obama never sufficiently educated the public on the logic behind his policies. He spent little time explaining the biggest bailouts in U.S. history, which he inherited but supported and expanded. And then he lost crucial support on the left by not following up quickly with new and stricter rules for Wall Street. On Friday, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman echoed a concern widely shared among leading liberals. “I don’t know if administration officials realize just how much damage they’ve done themselves with their kid-gloves treatment of the financial industry, just how badly the spectacle of government supported institutions paying giant bonuses is playing.”

By doing so much so fast, Obama jammed the circuits on Capitol Hill. Congress has a hard time doing even one big thing well at a time. Congress is good at passing giveaways and tax cuts, but has not enacted a transformative piece of social legislation since President Bill Clinton’s welfare reform of 1996. “There’s a reason things up here were built to go slowly,” said another Democratic aide.

By doing so doing so much, so fast, he has left voters — especially independents — worried that he got an overblown sense of his mandates and is doing, well, too much too fast. A Washington Post-ABC News poll published Friday found that independents’ confidence in Obama’s ability to make the right decisions had dropped 20 points since the Inauguration, from 61 percent to 41 percent.

As the Allen and Vandehei point out, it didn’t have to be this way. Instead of trying to do everything at once, the Obama Administration could have concentrated on issues that defined the financial crisis that was in place when the term began — the Federal Budget, the economy, and the financial industry. Because of the state of the economy in January and February, they likely could’ve gotten support for whatever they came up with. Instead, they had their fingers in many pots and they’ve ended up with very little to show for it. Clearly, a change in strategy is called for.

Obama’s Presidential Address to Congress

Not because I believe in bigger government, I don’t. -Obama

 

Many of you watched Obama make his first address to Congress tonight. His speech was concentrated nearly entirely on the economy. He started out by talking about the pitiful state of our economy, and how it is affecting everyone either directly or indirectly. He reiterated the point that America will prevail and recover. I don’t doubt that we will prevail and recover, but not because of Keynesian economic policies that the Democratic Party and Neocons are implementing. Not because of the spending, bailing out, and intervention of the Federal Government.


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