Monday, October 21, 2013

ObamaNation -- Lame Duck Presidency

August 3, 2014: Reuters is reporting:
President Barack Obama dismissed Russia as a nation that "doesn't make anything" and said in an interview with the Economist magazine that the West needs to be "pretty firm" with China as Beijing pushes to expand its role in the world economy.

Obama has tried to focus U.S. foreign policy on Asia, a response to China's economic and military might. But for months, that "pivot" has been overshadowed by a flurry of international crises, including Russia's support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. 
Russia is the world's third-largest oil producer and second-largest natural gas producer. Europe relies heavily on Russian energy exports, complicating the West's response to the Ukraine crisis.
Don and I had the same reaction to this story: this guy is a nut. Remember: he also said that no American CEO or businessman "built" their own company. This guy is getting more and more delusional as a) his polling numbers fall; and, the world gets more and more out of control. With his approval ratings well below 50%, maybe below 40% depending on the day, Obama, more and more, must "cater" to his base -- the Trayvon Martins and Maxine Waters of the world.   

March 30, 2014: in the original post I noted that on/about October 23, 2013, more than ever, it appeared the White House was spiraling out of control. That was before President Obama lost the Ukraine. In "Saturday Morning Musings, March 29, 2014" I posted an update on a most interesting week. In all my years of blogging, I had the impression that the week of March 23, 2014 -- just five months later than the original post, was another incredible week for investors in the oil and gas sector.

On another note, there have been very few stories on fiscal challenges facing cities and states. Note the "doomsday" updates for cities and states below, and note there have been no updates in a long time. This certainly suggests the economy is improving, albeit slowly.
Original Post

I am removing a number of links from the sidebar at the right. The Obama Presidency has become irrelevant for me. I will continue to post updates for archival purposes to help keep the Bakken in perspective, but this is pretty much the end of the Obama presidency for all practical purposes.

My internet viewing habits have not changed in the past six years. My primary source of news are the mainstream links (CBS, ABC, NBC, FoxNews, London Telegraph, London Mail OnLine, Bloomberg, Breitberg, the Huffington Post) at the Drudge Report. Drudge, himself, never posts or writes any stories. He simply links a gazillion other outlets.

Perhaps it is just my imagination but on/about October 23, 2013, more than ever, it appeared the White House was spiraling out of control:
  • restricting news outlets from reporting government data
  • restricting government bureaucrats from disseminating government data
  • revelations that the president has eavesdropped on German chancellor's mobile phone
  • news that the president may, in fact, delay the individual mandate for ObamaCare
The List 
  • May 1, 2015: half of the 17 state exchanges are in deep doo-doo. Can't afford it. 
  • January 7, 2015: PreferredOne, Minnesota, drops out of ObamaCare. Can't afford it.
  • November 29, 2014: "the Schumer speech"; admits that ObamaCare was a debacle; we are now in the third quarter of the four-quarter football game called ObamaCare. The mid-terms were a disaster; Senator Schumer says ObamaCare was a mistake; the former OMB budget analyst whose forte is "numbers," is caught padding the numbers for ObamaCare; says she is outraged;  
The Day ObamaCare Died

  • November 7, 2014: Obama's team got a shellacking in the mid-term elections; may be one of the worst, if not the worse, ever mid-term election for an incumbent Senate majority; all about ObamaCare; the GOP picked up 8 or 9 Senate seats; and will pick up another if, as expected, Landrieu loses in Louisiana
  • November 3, 2014: the mid-term elections tomorrow; referendum on ObamaCare; sure it's about the economy, but it's "always" about the economy; after tomorrow's election, we start the third quarter of ObamaCare (continuing to use the football analogy). For all intents and purposes, the game is over, but we still have a full half (two quarters) to live through. "Open Season" for the second year of ObamaCare begins in two weeks; premiums are said to be rising 6%; my hunch: that figure will be revised, significantly upward. Numbers re-enrolling expected to decline significantly.
  • October 7, 2014: Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot will no longer provide health insurance coverage for part-time employees (those working less than 30 hours); so now folks will need two jobs to reach 40 hour+/week and neither employer will provide health care coverage
  • September, 2014: IRS will be sending letters to "hundreds of thousands" of folks to ask them to reconcile their stated income when applying for ObamaCare and their income as reported to the IRS last year. Might not be a pretty picture. 
  • August 8, 2014: essentially "everyone" will be exempt from ObamaCare for 2015. If not exempt, they will have a case for a waiver if they so desire. More e-mails missing from HHS over ObamaCare.
  • June 7, 2014: The Congressional Budget Office has quietly dropped projections that ObamaCare will decrease the US deficit. As Hillary would say, "does it even matter?" The question is no longer "whether" but "how much will ObamaCare add to the deficit?"
  • May 20, 2014: ObamaCare is now mainstream (link to follow). Any hope of repealing it long gone. Republicans don't even talk about repealing it any more. Everyone talks about "fixing it." Obama will have his "FDR" legacy. 
  • May 15, 2014: half-time is almost over. The half-time show is coming to an end. We are now hearing, as predicted, premiums are going to go up significantly in 2015. There are two story lines here: first, premiums are going up significantly in 2015. Second, some folks have only paid their first premium for 2014 (sticker shock) and now they are going to be told that their premiums will be even higher in 2015; they have not had a chance to get used to the unexpectedly high premiums. 
  • April 1, 2014: half-time. The enrollment period for 2014 is "officially" over, though it's probably been extended in several states (it was extended in California). We haven't even gotten to the second half and insurers are already worried about the backlash when they announce the premiums for 2015
  • March 26, 2014: coming up to half-time, the ObamaCare "drop-dead" deadline (March 31, 2014) has been delayed two more weeks, on the "honor" system. Musings on ObamaCare to date. The administration crows that 6 million signed up, topping their target. The original target was a paltry 7 million but lowered to 6 million. During the Obama/Hillary presidential nomination content in 2008, it was said that 30 million to 46 million Americans were uninsured. ObamaCare had nothing to do with uninsured minions; it had to do with cost shifting health care costs from the CEO to the employee.
  • February 4, 2014: barely into the second quarter, and we're getting an update from the booth (CNBC, The Washington Times) -- Congress is reporting that the estimate has now tripled, the number of folks that will be locked out of the job market due to ObamaCare. The second quarter is not going to look pretty for the home team. 
  • January 5, 2014: We are underway: the second quarter. Both sides are now trotting out human interest stories, how good ObamaCare is, how bad ObamaCare is. "They" say ObamaCare is now fully executed; not quite true: the employer mandate was delayed a full year, and the individual mandate for all intents and purposes is all delayed a full year. Everyone has estimates of the number of folks who enrolled (mostly Medicaid, it appears), but the government can not even tell us how many have paid their first premium. There are occasional stories about the real metrics that are not being followed in the media (who enrolled; how many have paid). And now Forbes provides another ankle-biting article on ObamaCare: the "taxes" Americans will now pay for ObamaCare.
  • Updates, analysis of the first quarter of the ObamaCare debacle: the website rolled out in October; the chief information officer resigned in November; the chief operating officer (#2 in the chain) retired in December; federal enrollments shockingly low; overall enrollment may be less than 2 million; goal was at least 3 million at this point; insurers "need 7 million"; the ObamaCare act was necessary for the 30 million uninsured, it was said; at least 8 million have lost their coverage since October (two months); corporate mandate delayed a year; individual mandate effectively delayed indefinitely; deadlines extended; chaos and confusion; White House won't consider putting a single person (a "CEO") in charge of his biggest program despite requests of insurers, his own political party [even the quasi-governmental US Postal Service has a "CEO" that takes all the heat for problems]
  • The break between the first and second quarter. What to watch for in the second quarter: off-side penalties. 
  • The end? Obama repeals ObamaCare for 2014. The end of the first quarter: the rollout was a debacle, and now we learn that Obamacare shuns the best hospitals in the world (MD Anderson, Cedars Sinai Los Angeles, Mayo)
  • The Passing Game, the first quarter: fraudulent subsidies will be passed on to taxpayers
  • The Ground Game, the first quarter: not going well; Obama says shop around; his czar says if you want to keep your doctor, you will have to pay more; get over it;
  • Rollback: Obama says "Yes"; states say "No on rollback to canceled policies"
  • The Rollout:  ObamaCare -- the death spiral begins
  • The Prelude:  ObamaCare; no additional posting to this site as of October 24, 2013 
  • ObamaCare Cost Shifting 
  • The website and security issues
  • ObamaScare Headlines
Renewable Energy
Robert Malsam nearly went broke in the 1980s when corn was cheap. So now that prices are high and he can finally make a profit, he's not about to apologize for ripping up prairieland to plant corn. 
Across the Dakotas and Nebraska, more than 1 million acres of the Great Plains are giving way to corn fields as farmers transform the wild expanse that once served as the backdrop for American pioneers. 
This expansion of the Corn Belt is fueled in part by America's green energy policy, which requires oil companies to blend billions of gallons of corn ethanol into their gasoline. Ethanol has become the No. 1 use for corn in America, helping keep prices high. 
"It's not hard to do the math there as to what's profitable to have," Malsam said. "I think an ethanol plant is a farmer's friend." 
What the green-energy program has made profitable, however, is far from green. A policy intended to reduce global warming is encouraging a farming practice that actually could worsen it. 
That's because plowing into untouched grassland releases carbon dioxide that has been naturally locked in the soil. It also increases erosion and requires farmers to use fertilizers and other industrial chemicals. In turn, that destroys native plants and wipes out wildlife habitats.
External links removed from the sidebar

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