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Assessing the President

Tell us how you think President Barack Obama has handled the economic crisis so far. What's he done right? And what's he gotten wrong?

Assessing the President Mandel Ngan, AFP / Getty Images

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In another setback for President Obama’s clean energy loan programs, the recipient of more than a half-billion dollars in federal loans is laying off workers at their Delaware and California operations [emphasis added],” Bryan Tau of Politico reports.

Fisker Automotive, a California-based electric car company, is laying off an “undisclosed number” of staff to try to reserve enough capital in order to qualify for more federal help from the Department of Energy, according to a Delaware state development official.

Wait a minute. The Fisker Automotive?

That’s right, that Fisker Automotive: a company backed by an Al Gore-associated venture capital firm that was awarded a $529 million federal loan guarantee in April, 2010.

This is the same government-assisted automaker that outsourced manufacturing jobs to Finland because, “There was no contract manufacturer in the U.S. that could actually produce our vehicle,” the car company’s founder and namesake told ABC News. ”They don’t exist here.”

Now they are laying off workers in both Delaware and California.

Before announcing the layoffs, the company was working on reopening a closed General Motors plant in Wilmington to produce vehicles — an effort the Obama administration was quick to praise.

While some wanted to write off America’s auto industry, we said no. We knew that we needed to do something different – in Delaware and all across the nation,” Vice President Joe Biden said about Fisker in Delaware in 2009.

“We understood a new chapter had to be written, a new chapter in which we strengthen American manufacturing by investing in innovation. Thanks to a real commitment by this Administration, loans from the Department of Energy, the creativity of U.S. companies and the tenacity of great state partners like Delaware – we’re on our way to helping America’s auto industry reclaim its top position in the global market.”

“This is proof positive that our efforts to create new jobs, invest in a clean energy economy and reduce carbon pollution are working,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “We are putting Americans back to work and reigniting a new Industrial Revolution that is paramount for the economic success of this country.”

To date, the company has received $193 million of the total $529 DOE loan to produce two lines of plug-in hybrid cars.

“Our loan guarantees have strict conditions in place to protect taxpayers. The Department only allows the loan to be disbursed as the company meets certain milestones and demonstrates results,” DOE spokesman Damien LaVera said in a statement.

“As has been widely reported, Fisker has experienced some delays in its sales and production schedule — which is common for start-ups.  As Fisker works through those issues and incorporates lessons learned from the production of the Karma, the Department is working with Fisker to review a revised business plan and determine the best path forward so the company can meet its benchmarks, produce cars and employ workers here in America.”

So, let’s see if we got this straight:

  1. Fisker Automotive is given $193 million of a $529 million DOE loan to produce two lines of plug-in hybrid cars and, presumably, create jobs
  2. The company is unable to find a contract manufacturer in the United States, so it outsources manufacturing jobs to Finland (the company vehemently denies charges that it has used any part of the federal loan to fund manufacturing operations in Finland)
  3. The automaker falls behind its production schedule and experiences“delays” in its sales (i.e. poor sales), depleting its capital
  4. But to qualify for the rest of the $529 million loan guarantee, the company has to maintain a certain amount of capital
  5. Therefore, in order to meet this DOE benchmark, Fisker Automotive decides it will save money by laying off an “undisclosed number” of employees

Considering that this is yet another government-sponsored clean energy investment that has experienced layoffs, and contrary to what Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s says, Fisker Automotive hardly seems like “proof positive” that the White House’s efforts to create new jobs are working.

Just over a month after the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops from Iraq, the United States plans to sharply cut the number of U.S. diplomatic personnel and contractors in the country. The move comes as Yahoo News has learned that the recently withdrawn U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, is being considered to succeed Jim Jeffrey as the next U.S. Ambassador to Iraq.

The State Department announced Monday that it is withdrawing Ford and other U.S. government personnel from Syria and suspending operations of the U.S. Embassy in Syria amid worsening violence there. While the State Department said Ford would remain ambassador to Syria and would continue to meet with Syrian democracy activists abroad, current and former American and Iraqi officials told Yahoo News that the Obama administration is considering tapping Ford as Washington's envoy to Iraq--overseeing the largest U.S. embassy in the world. Another official being considered for the post is Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East Jeff Feltman, the U.S. source said.

Ford, a former deputy U.S. ambassador to Iraq and fluent Arabic speaker, did not respond to a query from Yahoo News. Feltman, currently traveling in Morocco, also did not immediately respond to a query.

Jeffrey is currently in Washington for meetings at the State Department. His planned departure from the Iraq envoy job was first reported by the New York Times' Tim Arango Tuesday.

American officials described plans to cut the 16,000 US personnel and contractors in Iraq by half as a normal cost-saving measure. (The U.S. currently has about 2,000 diplomats in Iraq and 16,000 personnel including contractors posted to the country, the Times said.)

But regional diplomats tell Yahoo News the United States is also under pressure from Iraqi Shiite leaders to reduce the American presence in the country.

This is what's happening," one regional diplomat told Yahoo News Tuesday on condition of anonymity. "First the U.S. gets the troops out. Then [the Iraqi Shiite] Sadrists say publicly, 'what kind of withdrawal is this, the Americans still have 16,000 diplomats in the country.' So first they force the military out. Now the anti-American elements force the diplomats out. This is what it is.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's re-election campaign is returning more than $200,000 in donations from the family of a fugitive casino magnate linked to violence and corruption in Mexico who has been seeking a pardon, Obama's campaign confirmed on Tuesday.

"More than 1.3 million Americans have donated to the campaign and we constantly review those contributions for any issues," Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said in an email after a New York Times report on the decision appeared late on Monday.

"On the basis of the questions that have been raised, we will return the contributions from these individuals and from any other donors they brought to the campaign," LaBolt said.

Brothers Carlos and Alberto Rojas Cardona, who live and work in Chicago, began raising money for the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee last fall, the New York Times reported, adding that neither had a history of prior political donations.

Their brother Juan Jose Rojas Cardona, also known as Pepe Cardona, jumped bail in Iowa in 1994 and disappeared, fleeing drug and fraud charges in the United States, the New York Times said.

The money Alberto Cardona raised put him in the upper tiers of fund-raisers known as bundlers, according to a list released last month by the campaign, the Times reported.

A State Department cable in 2009 said Pepe Cardona was suspected of orchestrating the assassination of a business rival and making illegal campaign donations to Mexican officials, according to the article.

The New York Times cited Obama campaign officials as saying that said most of the donations of about $200,000 came from the Cardonas brothers themselves and other relatives. The campaign was identifying other donations, believed to total less than $100,000, that was bundled from other people, the newspaper said.

Last year, brothers Carlos Cardona arranged for the former chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party to seek a pardon from the governor for Pepe Cardona, The New York Times reported, citing Iowa prosecutors. The report said no pardon was forthcoming.

By Susan GraybealCOMMENTARY |
Every once in a while, someone says something that shocks me. According to The Daily Caller, Bill Maher has turned his back on the Occupy Movement. Given Maher's general take on politics, this shocks me.
I figured Maher, like Michael Moore, would be behind the movement until the bitter end, or at least certainly not calling the remaining protesters names and telling them to get a job. Someone close to Maher may want to ask him if he's feeling all right, because apparently on the same Friday night "Real Time with Bill Maher" rant that produced the already mentioned gems, the blunt mouthpiece for all things extreme left also said he "almost" agreed with Newt in that it is time for the Occupy protesters to get a job. Which makes me "almost" agree with Maher, although extreme left I am certainly not.
Maher's comments came one day before, according to the Associated Press, police officers clad in bio-hazard suits to protect themselves against diseases that have been identified at the site began clearing away the Occupy DC encampment in McPherson Square, near the White House.
Officials also worried about rat infestation at the site, the report stated. Meanwhile, an Occupy lawyer was challenging the police's right to evict protesters from the trashed public park with its diseases and rodent infestation.
While I don't agree with Maher's stance that the Occupy movement has become like the U.S. military's presence in Afghanistan, I do think that he's right on when it comes to advising the protesters at this point. The meaning behind the movement is lost in translation. Quit trashing public places and get a job, protesters.

Everyone ready for a good laugh???


I don't wish to be argumentative ,but I disagree with the Islamic belief that I should be killed! " If radical atheists decided they needed to kill believers to ensure their place in nothingness, I'd be criticizing that too."
I don't wish to be argumentative ,but I disagree with the Islamic belief that I should be killed! " If radical atheists decided they needed to kill believers to ensure their place in nothingness, I'd be criticizing that too."

King obama the worse president #1

I think King Obama will be the worst President this country has ever seen. He will damage our nation in more ways than I have the energy to write about here. But just to outline a few.

I don't know if John McCain would be the best President we've ever had, or if he is the best man available for the present moment, but I have no doubt that, although he might be misguided about some issues, he's generally in the right ballpark, and that he surely is dedicated to his country. He's aware of the terrible threats that face the US and the rest of the world, and there's no doubt about his intentions or his allegiance to the American people. He's not mired in PC fantasies and moral equivalences or grievances that will bring nothing but harm to every citizen of the world. When compared to King Obama, the Politically Correct Internationalist Global Citizen, there is no comparison.
We must notice that ALL of King Obama's records from his Illinois State Senate office have been disappeared. Ditto for his client lists at the Law Firm he worked for. No paper he has ever written at University has ever shown up. He says he threw them all away. Two years from his biography are completely blank. He spent time in Pakistan with friends after college. Who paid for such a trip for a young student? These are reasonable questions of a man whose true ideology can be considered unknown because of his many odd, to say the least, associations, and which seems suspicious to us. Don't we deserve better answers than rebukes for asking? Or the, he's not the (insert name) I knew for 20 years. Or the, he's just a guy who lives in my neighborhood, when that's been proven a false answer? According to him, we are racist to ask. How dare we? We're only asking because he looks different. Tweaking our fear of even being suspected of such an abominable trait. A quick jiu-jitsu move on his part. That's very clever intimidation. And it works.
Domestically, it's glorious that this country has risen above it's racist past to elect an African-American to be the Nominee of the Democratic Party for President. Has he ever made a speech praising the nation for this accomplishment? That is, other than his very brief homage to Martin Luther King at the DNC. But the way Obama has consistently presented himself as a victim of racism thoughout his campaign, when it's been clearly shown as the opposite, is an indication that this is going to continue throughout his presidency.
His extreme leftist background and beliefs -- it is fantasy as regards our economy. It's just lots of college student jargon that has no relation to reality. His plans and ideas go way, way beyond bolstering up of Social Security and Medicare for the elderly. And even way beyond Universal Health Care. His programs and plans change daily as he pulls ideas out of the air, or from one of his 300 advisors, to suit whichever group he happens to be attempting to influence at any given time. We will see massive poverty on a level we haven't seen before. We can expect almost all opposition to his ideas, and all his failures, to be blamed on and characterized as some form of racism, which will of course be associated with the Republicans. He and his reckless opportunistic moves are going to take race relations in this country backwards in leaps and bounds.
I honestly believe he and his wife, yes, she does and will play a major role, have fallen for his own mythology. That he is the One who can Heal this Mean nation. It's very dangerous. They really do believe he is above the law and knows better than our laws and Constitution. There have already been remarks from his camp that the Constitution oughtn't to be so sacrosanct. He truly seems to believe himself about his good judgment, although he has done nothing to demonstrate anything of the sort. He's shown quite the contrary, and on a consistent basis. More danger.
Take note that he and his Committee have recently gone to his pals at the Justice Department to attempt to silence, and prohibit the TV cable channels from showing a video about his relationship with Bill Ayres. They lost, but the video isn't around any more.
In addition, his Campaign recently has used thuggish behavior to attempt to shut down a radio talk show which had a guest speaking about Obama's connections and failure with the CAC, Chicago Annenberg Challenge, where a grant of $100 Million meant to be used to improve education was used to fund radical groups instead. They flooded the station with phone calls and emails. None of the phone calls debated any issues or facts, but solely denounced any critic of Obama as a liar and worse.
Freedom of speech anyone?
Obama Seeks to Silence Ad Tying Him to 60s Radical

I don't wish to be argumentative ,but I disagree with the Islamic belief that I should be killed! " If radical atheists decided they needed to kill believers to ensure their place in nothingness, I'd be criticizing that too."

king obama the worse president #2

As someone, I can't remember who, astutely pointed out, under the Terrible Bush threat to Civil Liberties, the Patriot Act, Guantanamo Bay, and all the listening in on personal telephone conversations, Michael Moore is as of yet still not imprisoned in a Gulag somewhere, and Noam Chomsky is still yakking away at NPR, and publishing and selling books. Let's see what an king Obama presidency will bring us.
What is known about king Obama's political history shows that he is anything but what he has created as his Image. He is the typical stereotype, or even worst stereotype, of an ambitious politician reared and trained in the Chicago Machine. His record in Chicago shows ugly tactics used to defeat and destroy opponents with information mysteriously appearing from supposedly sealed files of their divorces, deals with slum lords who embezzeled tax monies which left hundreds without proper housing or heating for one of the coldest winters. There is the failed educational project involving his association with an unrepentent terrorist and avowed radical which included the waste of $100 Million, all to get backing for himself.
And we can see how he's handled his opposition to Sarah Palin. By attacking her family. By sending in a small army to Alaska to seek out the 12 people who despise her and organize them into forming a March Against Palin. In typical PC equivalence and disinformation fashion, he equates attacking Palin's personal, private choice to give birth to a Down's Syndrome baby, and attacking her pregnant 17 year old daughter, with the criticism his wife Michelle received for those nasty speeches she gave while campaigning for him. No one attacked his wife for her fashion sense, her looks, nor did anyone attack his innocent children. It goes on and on.
Internationally, and the most important at this point in history. First of all, he believes that American power should be equal to the power of all other nations, and that we should follow the dictates of the vile and corrupt U.N. Equal power sharing is another fantasy. Without America as the Superpower, which nation will step into the vacuum? With all its imperfections, which nation will be more humane and generous than the US? Forget about the EU. They are still cowering in the memory and shame of the last time they held the power. Anyone care to nominate Russia, China or any one or group of the Islamic nations?
He's reckless, although he brags about his judgment. Words come pouring out of his mouth without prior serious thought. Note his comments on attacking Pakistan, which currently is officially our ally, and which has a nuclear arsenal that could be vulnerable to takeover by Al Queda. Or, after Russia invaded Georgia, his first words expressed the mindless robotic PC view that both sides were equally responsible, and that the problem should be handled by the UN Security Council, forgetting that Russia sits on that same Security Council and has veto power. So many impulsive words which he changed three times before he got it right by mimicking McCain's words. On one day he proclaimed that Jerusalem will never be divided, and the next day he explained that he meant that Jerusalem will never be divided by barbed wire. Laughable, if it weren't so dangerous. His remarks about speaking with enemies without pre-conditions. Can he be imagined performing tough diplomacy on Putin or Ahmadinejad?
king Obama's latest debacle as described in the New York Post.
king Obama Tried to Stall GI's Iraq Withdrawal (for his own political advantage).

Hot Air has the Obama camp response, which in fact, confirms the New York Post article.
Did Obama Just Confirm Taheri?

I don't wish to be argumentative ,but I disagree with the Islamic belief that I should be killed! " If radical atheists decided they needed to kill believers to ensure their place in nothingness, I'd be criticizing that too."

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