Barack Obama Administration

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The GSA scandal -- a personal perspective [Reprinted with Permission]

  • Posted on: 8 April 2012
  • By: GreyHawk

The article below was written by a friend of mine who has a background working in the government. He has given his permission for me to reprint this on Daily Kos and ePluribus Media. The original article was posted on Gather.com as The GSA scandal -- a personal perspective. If you are so inclined, please send some traffic to the original article to help give it the bump & notice it deserves. Thank you. -- GreyHawk

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The GSA scandal -- a personal perspective


by John S.
First posted April 07, 2012 10:49 AM EDT

I used to work for the General Services Administration (GSA) before transferring to USDOJ.

The scandal which has been hitting the news is so different from the GSA I knew that it is like finding your sainted grandmother arrested by the police for having an orgy in front of the local courthouse on Sunday afternoon.

GSA had always been very strict on following government guidelines, and pinched every penny. No flying first class. No gifts. Everyone got training on how to avoid problems with the ethics rules. This was so much a part of the agency's culture it is hard to see how such a major change could take place.

I then found this article:

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The Spawn of Judy Miller?

  • Posted on: 1 December 2010
  • By: Connecticut Man1

It only took a few paragraphs in to Salon's critique of the NY Times' handling of revelations - more specifically, the NY Times' exclusion of revelations - in wikileak's #cablegate  to begin to wonder about Obama's action, as well, and the meaning of it:

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It is OK to criticize the Obama administration

  • Posted on: 16 June 2010
  • By: Connecticut Man1

And that is especially true when it involves the real big issues of our times... As long as that criticism is, ya know, based in the reality of the policies and not some insane rantings and ravings of fringe and conspiracy theory lunacies. Via Glenn Greenwald, Jon Stewart hit on some really big issues, last night and immediately after the somnambulic presidential address, and pulled no punches from the not so sleepy world of reality:

When ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero last week addressed the progressive conference America's Future Now, he began by saying:  "I'm going to start provocatively . . . I'm disgusted with this president."  Last night, after Obama's Oval Office speech, Jon Stewart began his show with an 8-minute monologue on Obama's executive power and civil liberties record which, in essence, provided just some of the reasons why Romero's strong condemnation is so justified.  None of this will be remotely new to any readers here, but it's still nice to see its being distilled so clearly by a voice which even the most hardened Obama loyalists have decided is a credible and trustworthy one (at least when he's mocking Sarah Palin and exposing Fox News; we'll see what reaction this provokes from them, if any).

There is no denying the truth in the accusations, nor IMHO the real importance of this issue that has been obscured with huge celebrations by Obama's most ardent supporters for tiny and relatively meaningless wins on comparatively less important issues, that Stewart makes in the video below the fold.

Situational Assessment: An Overview of the Obama Administration's Triage Approach

  • Posted on: 22 January 2010
  • By: GreyHawk

The following is derived from a comment I posted as part of an ongoing conversation in a DailyKos diary.* It's essentially my take on what the Obama Administration inherited from its predecessors, and how President Obama has had to take a triage approach in order to get a handle on the myriad of emergency situations left at his doorstep by the rapidly retreating Bush Administration.

Get some coffee, and then please add your thoughts -- I'd appreciate any feedback.

You're presuming "reckless spending" given type and consistency.

Under Bush/Cheney and the GOP majorities, "reckless spending" gutted national infrastructure and effectively pissed away money like a firehose streaming water into a hurricane.  The spending worked hand-in-glove with multiple policies and deregulations that caused much more problems, including increasing the wealth disparity and eliminating a large swath of the middle class.

The GOP and BushCo knew that the economy was going to tank by the end of Bush's term, but they miscalculated: they thought they could prevent it from showing ~before~ Bush got out of office so they could place the blame on the incoming Democratic Administration (by 2004, the GOP realized that they wouldn't likely retain the WH after Bush's term).

When Obama came into office, he was faced with what was essentially a no-brainer: either hunker down and work within the severely limited confines of financial collapse that BushCo left him, which would mean do literally nothing that cost any additional money and follow the rough rut that the BushCo debacle had effectively carved, or start spending the stimulus and redirecting it, adding and adjusting to it with additional programs and increasing debt temporarily in order to create "working capital"...

He chose the latter.  He didn't have to try hard to make that choice, either, as the economy was on a downward spiral that required at least some degree of action along the lines he took to avoid complete global collapse.

That also means, unfortunately, spending some money in ways and amounts that he didn't necessarily want to, but had to in order to quell certain potential panic reactions.

Now he's working to walk back the cat, instituting or announcing more financial regulation and program reform while working to implement a healthcare plan that extends coverage to more Americans while also BRINGING DOWN the deficit -- a twofer in terms of fiscal and social responsibility.

He's already working to get control of what was "reckless" under Bush and what he was forced into padding, and that's far more than BushCo ever did...and they left one helluva mess.  They did a lot of it on purpose, to ensure that the incoming Administration would have so much to repair, that they wouldn't likely be able to accomplish much.  And the GOP knew that it could screech that the new President was taking on too much too fast, when in reality I think Obama took on the top 3 to 5 items and is concentrating on the top 3 after triaging the wide-ranging debacle that was his predecessor's legacy.

As Obama progresses, he's also adjusting / correcting / redirecting funds, programs and policies to rebuild and support our national infrastructure -- necessary for effective progress in a variety of areas, and likely to also help increase/improve economic and job issues at the same time.

I concluded by mentioning that the habit of teabaggers and GOP shills to lump all spending together as "reckless" and ignoring the particulars of what was left to this administration and what it has to deal with to simply stabilize the situation was effective just an exercise in intellectually dishonesty.

...what do you think? Accurate or fair assessment of what was left by BushCo, initially addressed by the Obama Administration and depicting roughly where we're at now?

Let's get a discussion going in comments: is the assessment over-simplified, or could it explain some of the actions taken and backtracking now in process? What other factors do you see affecting the capacity of this Administration to make headway? What are the top ten major issues left for the incoming Administration? Inquiring minds want to know. :)

Healthcare Roundup - Open Thread

  • Posted on: 2 June 2009
  • By: Open Thread

Via Single Payer Action:

Guess who’s coming to dinner.

After months of proclaiming that single payer is off the table, Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) has invited five key single payer advocates to meet with him in Washington, D.C. this week.

On Wednesday June 3, Senator Baucus will meet with Dr. David Himmelstein, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), Dr. Marcia Angell, Senior Lecturer, Harvard Medical School and former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Oliver Fein, Associate Dean, Cornell Weill Medical School, and President of PNHP, Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association, and Geri Jenkins, president of California Nurses Association.

Via CQ HEALTHBEAT NEWS (PDF link):

Kennedy Staff Lays Out Priorities for Health Overhaul

A briefing paper that represents the views of Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee Democrats is in line with other Democratic health overhaul proposals emerging on Capitol Hill, saying all Americans should be required to carry health insurance, with subsidies to help purchase it available to those in households with incomes up to four times the poverty level.

An insurance system, whether public or private, isn’t workable “and is more expensive if consumers wait until they get sick before signing up,” the document says. “That’s why national health reform requires that everyone who can afford to must sign up for coverage.

“As we near the point of introducing legislation to achieve our vision, we issue this policy overview to lay out our priorities,” states the briefing paper prepared by committee Democrats and Democratic aides for a May 21 meeting of the panel. Committee Democrats are expected to hold meetings June 2 and June 3 to conduct a “walkthrough” of a health overhaul proposal, with meetings starting at the end of the week that also include committee Republicans

Open Thread -- Bite Here Edition

  • Posted on: 8 November 2008
  • By: Open Thread

The next Administration will really have something to sink its teeth into when it assumes control of the nation on January 20, 2009.

Bob Willis of Bloomberg writes today that President-elect Obama is set to inherit the worst U.S. recession since Reagan:

President-elect Barack Obama will inherit the worst recession since Ronald Reagan’s second year in the White House, economists said as figures showed U.S. payrolls plunged by more than half a million the past two months.

The economy will shrink at a 3.5 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter and at a 2 percent pace in the first quarter of 2009, nearly twice prior estimates, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economists led by Jan Hatzius wrote yesterday in a note. That would be the biggest back-to-back contraction since 1982.

With an extra helping of war for his two sides.

I wonder if he can get fries with that?

This is an Open Thread.