Obama's Road to Bali

Upon his return from his Martha's Vineyard vacation, a trip cut short  so he could be photographed pretending  to exercise some hidden  capability to temper Irene's fury, Obama announced he wanted to give a speech to a joint session of Congress upon its return to D.C.,  on a night  and at  time which not coincidentally  was already scheduled to be the night of the first Republican candidates' debate. Obviously the white House brain trust figured they'd steal attention from the debate and look presidential because, in their sophomoric calculations, if the Republican Speaker of the House turned down this imperious demand, Obama could blame his opponents for the growing economic disaster.  This stupid miscalculation was the Obama finale for August.

September is bringing him fresh agita. Last month's jobs figures -- zero jobs  created -- is  further testament to the genius in chief and his posse.  And while we wait  for the speech laying out his latest  jobs plan,  the White House press office is making every effort  to dampen expectations, as if that were necessary.  The White House says it's not his full plan.  In the meantime from Wisconsin eastward, sports fans are checking TV schedules for pre NFL opening shows, and from there westward  Americans appear happy they will be stuck in traffic heading home rather than  listening to him read once again  platitudes, arrogant attacks on his opposition, childish blame casting, and nonsensical plans already tried and failed at enormous cost to the taxpayers and the economy.

As fall approaches, signs are everywhere of the Administration death knell.

For one thing. Michelle, whose lavish wasteful use of government resources had escaped MSM attention, is starting to come under scrutiny.  Among other things for the $10 million in travel expenses attributable to her last year alone.  Her outrageous and unending hypocrisy and semi-literate cajoling of food producers, parents and schools are starting to grate.

There are exceptions of course.  Essence just gave her the kind of hagiographic coverage seen in a number of other women's magazines and publications aimed at Black voters.   It features her on a cover all tarted up and photoshopped with   the header "Why You Should Put Yourself First."

My friend bgates, who has obviously paid closer attention to Michelle than do the editors of Essence, has written an article for her that is more in keeping with the real Michelle:

Why You Should Put Yourself First!  by Michelle Obama

If there's one thing I've learned as First Lady, it's that ain't nobody putting the ladies first. It's all "put down the bbq sauce before the vegetable garden photo op" and "we have to alter the Vera Wang to show off your hips when they give you some other Woman of the Year award" and "why you gotta take a separate plane back from the Vineyard". In three years, I had but one real vacation, and even then I had all the security hassling me all over Spain. I'm not complaining; I know all the Essence readers face the same kind of challenges.

And it's not like our husbands are any help. I know, you see Barack on the tv and you think he's the bomb. He shows me the press clippings. They make him look alright. But in person? For one thing he never eats, which makes even a fashion icon like me self-conscious (so you can imagine what it does to my youngest, who's going through a "fatty" phase). And his idea of romance is watching basketball on the couch. It can get me going to see some big, powerful, rich black men, but I don't know why he thinks it does his skinny butt any good.

So if nobody else going to look out for you, you have to look out for yourself. Even in the job I have, I find ways to do it. Like when I got here, there was no per diem. They thought I would just eat at the state dinners or whatever. So I'm like, "Hello? Between-meal snacks?" And now I get a couple hundred bucks a day for emergencies. It's not much, but it'll tide me over until we get out.

One thing you don't want to do is be selfish. I see that all the time because we have to meet Republicans so often. Don't think you have to be like them. This job has taught me that you and me are united by the fact that we are all part of the same great thing: the community of African-American women. So stand up for yourself by doing the right thing for our community, and vote for Barack and I, campaign for us, volunteer for us, and keep us where we're at. Because the best way to put yourself first is to put all of us first, and that means putting me first.

Michelle is not the only one in the family who is at long last getting some  overdue scrutiny. 

At  least two Obama administration scandals  are not fading away.

Fast and Furious keeps expanding and even the Administration stonewalling and the press inattention have not succeeded in burying it.

This week we learned that even more of the weapons  the Administration allowed to be transferred to Mexican gun lords were involved in murders. Bob Owens writes:

The DOJ originally claimed that Fast and Furious weapons had been recovered at 11 crime scenes in the United States, but a Fox News investigation now reveals that a total of 42 Fast and Furious weapons were recovered at those crime scenes. Revised DOJ figures now also admit that an additional 21 Fast and Furious guns were tracked to violent crimes in Mexico.

What was it the anti-war folks said during the Viet Nam war about the absurdity of destroying a village to "save it"? It's hard to imagine that the people charged with controlling the sale of weapons in this country deliberately set up a program to put these weapons in the hands of murderers and thugs with no monitoring or controls. But that is what they did. And then they set about to cover up their misdeeds.

And then there's Solyandra, a  solar cell company whose major backer  served as a bundler for Obama. The administration gave over half a billion dollars in federal funds by means of a loan guarantee   and the company went bust.

This scandal is simple enough for the press to understand and they are covering it.  Congressional Committee Chairs laid out the history of this scandalous waste of our money and a summary of what we already know of it:

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) today responded to the news that Solyndra LLC, is immediately suspending its operations and filing for bankruptcy.  The Energy and Commerce Committee has been investigating the Department of Energy's $535 million loan guarantee that was awarded to Solyndra in the spring of 2009.  Over the last six months, Solyndra executives, lobbyists, and investors, as well as officials at the DOE and OMB repeatedly told Committee investigators that Solyndra was financially sound. 

Committee Democrats have continually refused to cooperate, instead protesting investigative efforts at every opportunity.  The Committee was forced to issue a subpoena on July 14, 2011, to the Obama Office of Management and Budget for documents related to approving the Credit Subsidy Costs of all DOE loan guarantees - every Democrat on the Oversight Subcommittee opposed issuing the subpoena. 

Despite missing the subpoena's July 22, 2011, deadline, OMB has since produced, and continues to produce, hundreds of pages of documents relating to the Solyndra loan guarantee and the restructuring of that agreement just this year. The Committee expects OMB's continued and timely compliance with this subpoena.

Upton and Stearns released the following statement:

"We smelled a rat from the onset.  As the highly celebrated first stimulus loan guarantee awarded by the DOE, the $535 million loan for Solyndra was suspect from day one. Our investigation to protect American taxpayers has revealed that in the rush to get stimulus cash out the door, despite repeated claims by the Administration to the contrary, some bets were bad from the beginning. And yet, despite the red flags and vocal concerns this Administration continued to tout Solyndra as a stimulus success story, going so far as to have the President visit the plant last summer.  

"It is clear that Solyndra was a dubious investment, but DOE doubled down in March of this year and restructured the loan, possibly further increasing taxpayers' liability.  That is a question we want answered. In this time of record debt such disregard for taxpayer dollars cannot be tolerated.   

"For an Administration that parades around the banner of transparency, they fought us tooth and nail all summer long in turning over relevant documents related to the credit approval, and today we found out why. Committee Democrats have played politics, protesting our investigation every step of the way, and our issuance of a subpoena for OMB documents was a 14 to 8, straight party line vote.  

But our investigation continues, and with Solyndra's bankruptcy we expect full and continued cooperation from the OMB, as we must ensure American taxpayers are not left holding the bag. Unfortunately, Solyndra is just the latest casualty of the Obama Administration's failed stimulus, emblematic of an economic policy that has not worked and will not work. We hope this informs the President ahead of his address to Congress next week."

When we read of Solyandra's business plan you can only think of the old borscht belt joke about an idiot businessman who loses money on each transaction but thinks he can make money  "on volume." 

 "We [House Investigators] have learned from our investigation that White House officials monitored Solyndra's application and communicated with [Department of Energy] and Office of Management and Budget officials during the course of their review," the letter says...

"Here's the bottom line," [solar industry analyst Peter] Lynch said. "It costs them $6 to make a unit. They're selling it for $3. In order to be competitive today, they have to sell it for between $1.5 and $2. That is not a viable business plan."  (ABC News)

One of my favorite gurus, Jay Cost, observes the record shows that  --unsurprisingly -- Americans have lost faith in the federal government. 

This might explain why the Administration has started using an Orwellian  euphemism "federal family" in place of government when it refers to itself.  If you consider your family the kind of people that pick your pocket of half a billion dollars to give to their friends to blow away, you can call this your "family."  I'm sticking with "the government."

If you see any  sign of Obama changing much to turn this around, whistle. I see only one baby step, and its something he probably still wants his EPA to  do though he realizes he may have to wait for a second term to do it:He asked the EPA to abandon its efforts to control ozone emissions , an initiative which if carried out would cost an estimated $19 to 90 billion according to the EPA (which means the estimate is probably grossly undervalued.).

In any event, facts are facts and the foolish economic policies and  profligate spending on  cronies  comes at a price to the President: re-election .

Here's  Jay Cost again:

If the current trend continues, this election is not even going to be a close call. If it were held today, the president would lose by maybe 7 or 8 points. The economy stinks. The deficit is out of control. The country hates the president's top domestic achievement. It's darkness in America.

I know a handful of diehard Obamaphiles think the president can talk his way out of anything, but they're wrong. He can't talk his way out of this one. Period. If things don't turn around in the economy toot sweet, he'll be a one-termer.

In the meantime, Barack and Michelle are heading off to Bali in November, and then it's time for Christmas vacation.