Who Was the Largest Profit Maker in 2009 ?

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I heard this on last Thursday’s program Financial Issues on American Family Radio. When Dan   Celia asked the question of who do you think made the largest profit of anyone in 2009 I was thinking Wal-Mart,Exxon, Goldman Sachs or something like those. But I was wrong, it was the US Treasury Dept. Yes, you heard right, the US Treasury Dept.

Record Profit for U.S. Federal Reserve in 2009

The U.S. Federal Reserve, the central bank for what remains the world’s largest economy, announced on Tuesday that it made a record profit of $52.1 billion in 2009, enabling it to pass on $46.1 billion, another record amount, to the Treasury Department.

The Federal Reserve generated record profits last year, reflecting money made off its extraordinary efforts to rescue the country from the worst economic and financial crisis since the 1930s.

The central bank announced Tuesday it logged a record windfall of $52.1 billion. Of that total, a record $46.1 billion gets turned over to the Treasury Department.

It marks both the biggest profit and payment to Treasury on records dating back to 1914, when the Fed began operating. The previous record payment turned over to the Treasury — of $34.6 billion — was registered in 2007. In 2008, the Fed reported a payment of $31.7 billion.

The Fed’s efforts to end the crisis are separate from the $700 billion taxpayer-funded financial bailout program authorized by Congress in 2008 and overseen by the Treasury Department.

Originally set up to shore up banks, money from the publicly-derided program also has been doled out to rescue other types of companies, including General Motors, Chrysler and GMAC. President Barack Obama is weighing a levy aimed at recovering tax dollars from government-rescued financial institutions.

The bigger profit reported by the Fed came from $46.1 billion in earnings from the securities it held last year.

Such income went up as the Fed’s holdings of securities mushroomed.

The Fed launched several securities-buying programs last year to help revive the economy. Its goal is to drive down rates on mortgages and other consumer debt.

Under one program that ended last year, the Fed snapped up $300 billion worth of government debt. Under another program, the Fed is on track to buy $1.25 trillion in mortgage securities from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and an additional $175 billion in debt issued by the mortgage giants. Those programs have boosted the value of securities held by the Fed.

The Fed faces a risk, however. The Fed could lose money if the central bank had to sell those securities and their prices were to fall. The Fed might need to sell the securities to sop up some of the unprecendented amount of money pumped into the economy during the crisis.

The Fed is funded from the interest earned on it vast portfolio of securities. It is not funded by Congress.

After covering its expenses, the Fed gives what is left over to the Treasury Department.

Besides the income from its securities, the Fed said it earned $5.5 billion from holdings related to the takeover of investment firm Bear Stearns and insurance company American International Group. The Fed also earned $2.9 billion from loans extended to banks, investment houses and others.

USAToday.com

Fed posts record $52B profit for 2009 with $46B going to Treasury

Furthermore currency swap arrangements with 14 other central banks around the world and investments held in currencies other than the dollar brought in $2.6 billion. One of the economic experts who spoke to the Washington Post about what was then the anticipated Fed profit for 2009, was Vincent Reinhart, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a former official at the Fed. He said:

This shows that central banking is a great business to be in, especially in a crisis. You buy assets that have a nice yield, and your cost of funds is very low. The difference is profit.

DigitalJournal.com

What a load of Horse Manure

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While I agree with the task that the Secret Service has in guarding Barack Obama, I resent this implication that those who would want him killed are “right-wingers” “tea partiers” and “birthers”.  Why are Patriots singled out as threats?  Why is Fox News singled out as hate mongers?  Dang it, they’re the most watched news in the flipping world…they’re the only news source that will cover everything that happens.  You can’t say they lean right on news reporting…commentators, yes, but not the news. I highlight the liberal slant and slurs. Call white supremacists and arian nation radicals what they are, but leave Patriots out of it.  We don’t want him assassinated, we don’t want him hurt in any way, but we sure want to see him and his liberal buddies on the sideline watching as this country rights itself.  As for all this maligned media,  as one of my most favorite characters, Col Sherman Potter would say, this is a load of horse hockey:

Inside the world of Obama’s secret-service bodyguards

Protecting the US president has presented the secret service with the greatest challenge in its history. But who wants to kill him? And how likely are they to succeed?

  • Ed Pilkington
  • Ed Pilkington
Barack Obama surrounded by bodyguards in 2008Barack Obama surrounded by bodyguards on a visit to Jerusalem in 2008 Photograph: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters/REUTERS [This caption was amended on 8 March 2010. The original omitted the photograph's location. This has been corrected.]

The Southern Poverty Law Center began life in 1971 as a tiny law firm specialising in civil rights cases. It took on the might of the Ku Klux Klan, and was duly rewarded by having its offices razed and its senior lawyers targeted for assassination. But it kept on going and grew to be one of the most respected monitoring groups of rightwing extremism in America today.

Recently it brought out a report called Terror From the Right, which identifies, in chronological order, the serious home-grown plots, conspiracies and racist rampages that have been cooked up in America since the Oklahoma City bomb in 1995. The list runs to 10 pages of closely printed type and itemises 75 domestic terrorism events, from plans to bomb government buildings to attempts to kill judges and politicians.

Each of the incidents aimed to change the political face of America through violence, courtesy of groups with such titles as Aryan People’s Republic, The New Order and The Hated. But in the summer of 2008 the chronology takes on a sharp change of tack. Entries, which had been running at one or two per year, start coming faster. And instead of a variety of different targets, one name crops up time and time again: Barack Obama.

The first such entry is for 8 June 2008. Six people, linked to a militia group in rural Pennsylvania, are arrested with stockpiles of assault rifles and homemade bombs. One of the six allegedly tells the authorities that he intended to shoot black people from a rooftop and predicts civil war should Obama, who five days previously had cleared the Democratic nomination for president, be elected to the White House.

Next entry: 24 August 2008. The day before the opening of the Democratic convention in Denver at which Obama was nominated, three white supremacists are arrested in possession of high-powered rifles and camouflage clothing. They are talking about assassinating Obama.

24 October 2008: Less than two weeks before the election, two white supremacists are arrested in Tennessee over a bizarre plan to kill more than 100 black people, including Obama.

21 January 2009: The day after Obama’s inauguration, a white man is arrested in  Massachusetts, having allegedly killed two black immigrants and injured a third. He says he was “fighting for a dying race”.

10 June 2009: James von Brunn, aged 88, walks into the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and shoots dead a security guard. Von Brunn, who died last month in jail awaiting trial, left a note that read: “Obama was created by Jews.”

In the 13 months that Barack Obama has been the occupant of the Oval Office he has been the subject of an extraordinary outpouring of emotion from the American electorate. At the start it was largely adulatory, though more recently the adoration has been drowned out by a cacophony of criticism from tea party activists, birthers, global-warming deniers and viewers of Fox News. At the same time, largely hidden from view, there has been a layer of antagonism towards Obama that lies well beyond the boundaries of reasonable political debate.

That has been a fact of life for Obama and his family since long before they took the keys to the White House. On 2 May 2007, fully 18 months before election day, he was assigned a secret service detail – much earlier than any other presidential candidate in American history. The precise reasons for the move have never been disclosed, but there was certainly a mood in the air sufficiently palpable to disconcert Michelle Obama. A senior US official in the State Department has told the Guardian that before he decided to run for the presidency, Obama had actively to win Michelle over to the idea by assuaging her fears about the potential of an attack on him, her and/or their two daughters.

Michelle would have been aware of the backstory here: that Colin Powell had declined to run for the 1996 Republican nomination partly because his wife Alma feared his assassination at the hands of white supremacists. Over the course of the long presidential race, Michelle spoke openly about her anxieties and how she had determined to overcome them, telling 60 Minutes that she had decided to fling herself into the race because “I am tired of being afraid”.

According to John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s new account of the 2008 election, Game Change, she eventually felt relaxed enough to crack sardonic jokes about the subject. “I’ve already gone out and increased our life insurance on [Barack],” she quipped. “You just can’t be too careful!” But as the Southern Poverty Law Center survey shows, the issue of safety and the 44th president remains anything but a laughing matter. “Virtually every domestic terrorist event we have identified since June 2008 – when it became obvious that Obama was going to win – has been directly related to him,” says the author of the report, Mark Potok.

Apart from the Obamas themselves, the burden of such a threat falls primarily on the shoulders of the US secret service, and as Joseph Petro, head of global security for Citigroup, puts it, the challenges facing the service today are unlike any period that has gone before. On top of all the usual risks associated with guarding the world’s most powerful politician, there is now the added, explosive ingredient of his race. “As the first black president he creates a whole other set of issues for the secret service to deal with,” he says.

Petro can claim to be something of an expert in this area: he spent 23 years as a special agent in the service, four of them, from 1982 to 1986, as the man who stood beside Ronald Reagan. He knows what it’s like to be the last line of protection, how it feels to be in a milling crowd in which you are surrounded by thousands of potential assailants, what it is to live with the constant knowledge that any mistake – a split second taking your eye off the ball – could be fatal.

Petro has a formula for measuring the potential dangers for any particular incumbent of the White House. You take the general atmosphere of the times in which they are in office and combine it with the specific personality that the president brings to the job. In both regards, he says, Obama presents a huge task.

“In Obama, we have a president with a very unique personality who likes to be out with the people. Put that together with the political atmosphere of these times that is highly partisan and vitriolic, then include race, and we’ve got a big challenge. There’s no margin for error.”

Petro’s point about the role the president’s personality plays in his own safety is ably illustrated by the single most disastrous failure in the secret service’s history – the event that every incoming trainee agent spends hours and hours studying until it is drilled into his or her bone marrow. Judged by modern security standards, the shooting of John F Kennedy in Dallas on 22 November 1963 should for several reasons never have happened. The parade route Kennedy took was publicised in advance – a cardinal sin by the rule book of today. Lee Harvey Oswald had a relatively easy line of fire from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, which would these days have been thoroughly swept and sealed off. But it was the orders given by Kennedy himself that did for him – the president asked for the bullet-proof glass bubble to be taken off his limousine and for agents not to ride on the back of the car, thus leaving himself utterly exposed.

In the last analysis, as Kennedy proved at his own cost, a president can only be as safe as he allows himself to be. Agents can advise the commander-in-chief what is best for his security, but they cannot give him orders. “The secret service would want to take the president to Camp David straight after the inauguration and keep him there out of any contact with the public for the next four years. But they know that’s not possible,” Petro says.

During his presidential campaign, Obama would regularly mingle among crowds of astonishing size. But since his inauguration he has clearly responded to the guidance of his protecting agents, detaching himself considerably from direct public engagement. To some extent, that is only normal – he is no longer running in an election. But for a president who promised to break down barriers between politicians and people, it is noticeable how sparingly he is seen in public these days, and how the events he does appear at are almost invariably staged indoors.

Over the years, the secret service has developed a range of technological devices for improving security. Petro recalls asking Reagan on several occasions to wear a bulletproof vest. (Reagan would grumble and groan but usually comply.) Over the last decade, such innovations have come thick and fast. A whole new array of gadgetry has been added to the service’s armoury, from face-recognition technology to a new generation of armoured vehicles. Obama rides in a Cadillac with military grade eight-inch thick doors; on election night in November 2008 he gave his victory speech to a crowd of almost a quarter of a million people from behind bullet-proof glass walls designed to foil sniper attacks.

But gadgetry is only as effective as the people who use it. In the last analysis, the human factor remains supreme, as was illustrated last November when two reality show hopefuls gatecrashed a  White House function, penetrating the inner core of the building and shaking Obama’s hand. As it happened, they had no malice towards the president. But in the mindset of the mortified secret service that didn’t matter; they could have done.

Which on some level is the nature of the beast: being president of the United States is a high-risk enterprise, as Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley and John Kennedy all found out the hard way. Danger can come at a president from any number of directions. It can come from the lone deranged gunman. It can come too, theoretically, from international terrorism of the Islamist variety. But al-Qaida experts point out that the closest the group has come to a direct attack on the president was 9/11 itself. “From al-Qaida’s view, to assassinate the president would be very desirable,” says Yehudit Barsky, a terrorism specialist at the American Jewish Committee. “But it would be difficult for them to go after him not because they don’t want to but because their capacity is so impaired.”

Which is why in the overall assessment of risk to Obama, so much attention is settling on rightwing extremist groups who are already operating inside America, are armed and ideologically motivated, and in some cases potentially capable of desperate acts. This brings us back to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has been tracking the activity of potentially violent militia groups since the last great wave in the 1990s when the so-called Patriot movement ballooned in proportion to rising rightwing anger towards Bill Clinton and fears of impending gun control. That wave of opprobrium culminated in the Oklahoma bombing in which 168 died and 680 more were injured.

The centre’s latest report, released last week, records an astonishing mushrooming in extremist anti-government Patriot groups who see the Obama administration as a plot to impose “one-world government” on liberty-loving Americans. (?????) The numbers leapt from 149 groups in 2008 to 512 groups in 2009, of which 127 were classed as paramilitary groups.

“We know there has been a spike in activity across a broad range of things, particularly with regard to the notion that this  government is illegitimate,” says Brian Levin, a criminologist who heads the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University. Levin says the phenomenon is evident in rural areas around the Appalachian mountains and Great Lakes and into the west and Pacific north-west, where new armed militia groups are spontaneously emerging; and he has no doubt about why this is happening right now: “We’ve always had people who hate the president, we’ve always had conspiracies, but the fact that we have a black president at a time of economic tumult makes these conspiracies much more volatile among a far wider group of people.”

Chip Berlet, an analyst of rightwing extremism at the Massachusetts-based group Political Research Associates, estimates that there have been nine murders by individuals who have white supremacist, xenophobic or antisemitic leanings since the inauguration of Obama. Berlet sees similarities in the current foment to the militia agitation of the 1990s. “Anger is spilling over from people who believe Obama is coming to remove their liberties, seize their guns, enslave the white American nation. What’s new is that they can now recruit and communicate online, and that makes it very much more dangerous for the president.”

Montana is one of the rural states where resurgent extreme rightwing activity can be detected. Travis McAdam has been tracking such activity for the last two decades on behalf of the Montana Human Rights Network, so has a unique vantage point for what is going on today. “The hatred that’s there is very real. It’s more than a gut-level hatred of having an African-American as president, it’s also ideological – these people see black people as sub-human. Groups are popping up that have a new message and are using Obama to recruit new members.”

White supremacist forums that provide closed talking shops for members only have been abuzz with anti-Obama rhetoric since the presidential election. In one such talkboard, monitored by a watchdog group, a correspondent writes: “if we want to see the overthrow or the cleansing of society then we should support Obama being where he is! I believe in the coming war. With this Nig as President he will just speed up the process. He’s a catylist! Is’nt this what we want?” Another says: “Our backs are really against the wall now. We need progressive activism and we need to be solution orientated. For a Whiter future for our children.” A third says: “I never thought I’d ever see the day when a monkey ran my country & I’m 34. I weep for our children.”

For McAdam, the crucial question is how to sort this body of vitriol into its constituent parts – to separate out those individuals and groups who may be offensive and repulsive in their choice of words but are essentially harmless, from those that have the potential to be truly violent. He likes to think of it as a funnel, at the top of which are many people drawn to radical right groups for all sorts of reasons – gun rights, taxation, Obama-as-alien, or whatever. Most never go further than that level, but some do. “As they dig into the subject, going down into the funnel, they start to lose connection with the social networks around them that keep them tied to normality. Down, down they go, and eventually out the other end of the funnel emerges the Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVeigh, who says, ‘Our country is under attack, I must do something about it.'”

It’s the thought that some may be emerging from the end of the funnel at this politically charged moment, McAdam says, that bothers him so, and makes him think that “violence against President Obama is a real concern”.

McVeigh, executed in June 2001, is a name that crops up frequently among the extremism monitors. It comes up again when Mark Potok gives his last word on the threat to Barack Obama. The white supremacists and anti-government militia who are out to get the president should not be underestimated, he says. “These groups aren’t al-Qaida. Most of them look vastly more bumbling than effective.” But then he adds: “It only takes one to get through. Timothy McVeigh taught us that.”

Dan Rather Got Away With His Racist Remark

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Well it looks like Dan Rather made a mistake on the liberal Chris Mathews Show over the weekend and I had trouble finding anything from a news source on it. But I did find an article from Left Coast Rebel with links to an left article from Newsvine with video I found. Leftists are calling Rather out on this watermelon statement already. They’re calling it a “racist” remark that Rather got away with , just like Harry Reid did. But if this was a Republican, then Katie bar the door!

Dan Rather Got Away With His Racist Remark

This morning Dan Rather was so transparent as to his dislike of the President and his policies that he couldn’t hide it. Dan was on such an anti-Obama mission that he said the President couldn’t sell watermelon to? what, I don’t know, because Chris Matthews tried to cut him off by talking deliberately over him with success. Dan just had such a rabbit look in his eyes while his mouth was in such a weird frown that I literally expected foam to come from it.

I tried to pull up the link but I guess the video isn’t out yet of The Chris Matthews Show this morning. (It is now…I found it) Dan needs to be terminated from HDNet and from the Matthews show. I’m hoping the network don’t attempt to expunge the tape, wow, I am still stunned that this man used a racist, stereotypical comment that’s lodged often at blacks, toward the President. Supporters do your own research and expose this unprofessional so called journalist.

NewsVine.com


What Part of No….

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I don’t get it…the ClimateGate debacle, and yet, we’re still going to hold meetings on climate change?  We’re still expected to fund this nonsense?  Well, I guess so…since we’re still expected to fund the nonsense called ObamaCare.
IMF suggests how to raise climate change funds

By TOM MALITI (AP)

NAIROBI, Kenya — The head of the International Monetary Fund on Monday proposed a plan for the world’s governments to pool together to raise money needed to adapt to climate change, a rare step for an organization that normally does not develop environmental policies.

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said the Fund is concerned about the huge amount of funding needed and the effect that will have on the global economy. He added that the proposal may help efforts to reach a binding agreement on climate change later this year.

Strauss-Kahn proposed that countries adopt a quota system similar to the one the Fund uses to raise its own money, which could bring in money faster than proposals to increase carbon taxes or other fundraising methods. He only provided a broad outline of the plan, as the organization will release a paper later this week with full details. It is unclear how the proposal will be received.

The IMF raises funds from its 185 members mainly through a quota system that is based broadly on each country’s economic size. The United States is currently the largest shareholder.

“We all know that (carbon taxes and other fundraising methods) will take time and we don’t have this time. So we need something which looks like an interim solution, which will bridge the gap between now and the time when those carbon taxes will be big enough to solve the problem,” Strauss-Kahn said. “And that is exactly what the IMF proposal is dealing with.”

He said a climate change accord reached last December estimated $100 billion a year will be needed by 2020 to fund programs, including those to help poor nations deal with droughts, flooding and food shortages expected to be caused by climate change.

Nations failed to reach a binding deal in Copenhagen in December, but agreed on a voluntary plan to control greenhouse gas emissions which are blamed for the gradual heating of the Earth that scientists predict will worsen weather-related disasters. The accord, however, included collective commitments by rich countries to provide billions of dollars to help poor countries adapt to climate change, a major demand the poor nations had made.

The more than 190 nations will reconvene in Cancun, Mexico, later this year for another attempt to reach a binding agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which sets emissions targets for industrial countries and expires in 2012.

Eric Massa Resignation Blamed on Health Care Debate

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Well here’s a truthful guy…he voted against health care (one of 39 Democrats) and now a scandal is brought up against him? Is this administration sending a message to other Democrats? Vote against health care and we’ll find some dirt on you to make you resign?  Why is it that Charlie Rangel only steps “aside”, but this man is having to resign? Connect the dots as Massa said….?

Eric Massa Details Alleged Harassment, Blames Health Care Debate for Resignation


Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) on Sunday revealed the details of the incident that led to sexual harassment charges against him, but he said his resignation was ultimately the fault of Democratic leaders in search of health care votes.

Massa was one of 39 Democrats in the House to vote against health care reform the first time the House voted on it. Democratic leaders are now negotiating with all of their House members to round up enough votes to pass the Senate bill.

“Mine is now the deciding vote on the health care bill and this administration and this House leadership have said, quote-unquote, they will stop at nothing to pass this health care bill, and now they’ve gotten rid of me and it will pass. You connect the dots,” Massa said on a radio show Sunday, Roll Calreports.

Massa announced Friday he would resign today after it was revealed the House ethics committee is investigating charges he harassed a male staff member.

CBSNews.com

The O Year, running low on fuel…

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While I don’t necessarily agree with everything in this article, obviously the Brits have a real idea of who the real Barack Obama is: (Oh, and my highlights and comments in Red.)

The end of the road for Barack Obama?

Barack Obama seems unable to face up to America’s problems, writes Simon Heffer in New York.

It is a universal political truth that administrations do not begin to fragment when things are going well: it only happens when they go badly, and those who think they know better begin to attack those who manifestly do not. The descent of Barack Obama’s regime, characterised now by factionalism in the Democratic Party and talk of his being set to emulate Jimmy Carter as a one-term president, has been swift and precipitate. It was just 16 months ago that weeping men and women celebrated his victory over John McCain in the American presidential election. If they weep now, a year and six weeks into his rule, it is for different reasons.

Despite the efforts of some sections of opinion to talk the place up, America is mired in unhappiness, all the worse for the height from which Obamania has fallen. The economy remains troublesome. There is growth – a good last quarter suggested an annual rate of as high as six per cent, but that figure is probably not reliable – and the latest unemployment figures, last Friday, showed a levelling off. Yet 15 million Americans, or 9.7 per cent of the workforce, have no job. Many millions more are reduced to working part-time. Whole areas of the country, notably in the north and on the eastern seaboard, are industrial wastelands. The once mighty motor city of Detroit appears slowly to be being abandoned, becoming a Jurassic Park of the mid-20th century; unemployment among black people in Mr Obama’s own city of Chicago is estimated at between 20 and 25 per cent. One senior black politician – a Democrat and a supporter of the President – told me of the wrath in his community that a black president appeared to be unable to solve the economic problem among his own people. Cities in the east such as Newark and Baltimore now have drug-dealing as their principal commercial activity: The Wire is only just fictional.

Last Thursday the House of Representatives passed a jobs Bill, costing $15 billion, which would give tax breaks to firms hiring new staff and, through state sponsorship of construction projects, create thousands of jobs too. The Senate is trying to approve a Bill that would provide a further $150 billion of tax incentives to employers. Yet there is a sense of desperation in the Administration, a sense that nothing can be as efficacious at the moment as a sticking plaster. Edward B Montgomery, deputy labour secretary in the Clinton administration, now spends his time on day trips to decaying towns that used to have a car industry, not so much advising them on how to do something else as facilitating those communities’ access to federal funds. For a land without a welfare state, America starts to do an effective impersonation of a country with one. This massive state spending gives rise to accusations by Republicans, and people too angry even to be Republicans, that America is now controlled by “Leftists” and being turned into a socialist state.

“Obama’s big problem,” a senior Democrat told me, “is that four times as many people watch Fox News as watch CNN.” The Fox network is a remarkable cultural phenomenon which almost shocks those of us from a country where a technical rule of impartiality is applied in the broadcast media. (Oh really? Most Brits have an EXTREME Liberal viewpoint.) With little rest, it pours out rage 24 hours a day: its message is of the construction of the socialist state, the hijacking of America by “progressives” who now dominate institutions, the indoctrination of children, the undermining of religion and the expropriation of public money for these nefarious projects. The public loves it, (and could it be true that they love it because it goes back to the roots of the founders instead of the way the Brits want it?) and it is manifestly stirring up political activism against Mr Obama, and also against those in the Republican Party who are not deemed conservatives. However, it is arguable whether the now-reorganising Right is half as effective in its assault on the President as some of Mr Obama’s own party are. (We’ll see the answer to that in November.)

Mr Obama benefited in his campaign from an idiotic level of idolatry, in which most of the media participated with an astonishing suspension of cynicism. The sound of the squealing of brakes is now audible all over the American press; but the attack is being directed not at the leader himself, but at those around him. There was much unconditional love a year or so ago of Rahm Emanuel, Mr Obama’s Chief of Staff; oleaginous profiles of this Chicago political hack, a veteran of that unlovely team that polluted the Clinton White House, appeared in otherwise respectable journals, praising the combination of his religious devotion, his family-man image, his ruthless operating technique and his command of the vocabulary of profanity. Now, supporters of the President are blaming Mr Emanuel for the failure of the Obama project, not least for his inability to construct a deal on health care.

This went down badly with friends of Mr Emanuel, notably with Mr Emanuel himself. His partisans, apparently taking dictation from him, have filled newspaper columns and blogs with uplifting accounts of the Wonder of Rahm: as one of them put it, “Emanuel is the only person preventing Obama from becoming Jimmy Carter”. They attack other Obama “sycophants”, such as David Axelrod, his campaign guru, and Valerie Jarret, a long-time friend of Mrs Obama and a fixer from the office of Mayor Daley of Chicago who now manages – or tries to manage – the President’s image. These “sycophants” have, they argue, tried to keep the President above politics, letting Congress run away with the agenda, and gainsaying Mr Emanuel’s advice to Mr Obama to get tough with his internal opponents. This naïve act of manipulation has brought its own counter-counterattack, with an anti-Emanuel pundit drawing a comparison with our own Prime Minister and ridiculing the idea that Mr Obama should start bullying people too.

The root of the problem seems to be the management of expectations. The magnificent campaign created the notion that Mr Obama could walk on water. Oddly enough, he can’t. That was more Mr Axelrod’s fault than Mr Emanuel’s. And, to be fair to Mr Emanuel, any advice he has been giving the President to impose his will on Congress is probably well founded. The $783 billion stimulus package of a year ago was used to further the re-election prospects of many congressmen, not to do good for the country. America’s politics remain corrupt, populated by nonentities whose main concern once elected is to stay elected; it seems to be the same the whole world over. Even this self-interested use of the stimulus package appears to have failed, however. Every day, it seems, another Democrat congressman announces that he will not be fighting the mid-term elections scheduled for November 2. The health care Bill, apparently so humane in intent, is being “scrubbed” (to use the terminology of one Republican) by its opponents, to the joy of millions of middle Americans who see it as a means to waste more public money and entrench socialism. For the moment, this is a country vibrant with anger.

A thrashing of the Democrats in the mid-terms would not necessarily be the beginning of the end for Mr Obama: Bill Clinton was re-elected two years after the Republicans swept the House and the Senate in November 1994. But Mr Clinton was an operator in a way Mr Obama patently is not. His lack of experience, his dependence on rhetoric rather than action, his disconnection from the lives of many millions of Americans all handicap him heavily. It is not about whose advice he is taking: it is about him grasping what is wrong with America, and finding the will to put it right. That wasted first year, however, is another boulder hanging from his neck: what is wrong needs time to put right. The country’s multi-trillion dollar debt is barely being addressed; and a country engaged in costly foreign wars has a President who seems obsessed with anything but foreign policy – as a disregarded Britain is beginning to realise.

There are lessons from the stumbling of Mr Obama for our own country as we approach a general election. Vacuous promises of change are hostages to fortune if they cannot be delivered upon to improve the living conditions of a people. The slickness of campaigning that comes from a combination of heavy funding and public relations expertise does not inevitably translate into an ability to govern. There is no point a nation’s having the audacity of hope unless it also has the sophistication and the will to turn it into action. As things stand, Barack Obama and America under his leadership do not.

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