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Views on the News

Views on the News*

June 13, 2015

 

Like most new Presidents, Barrack Hussein Obama came into the White House unprepared to lead the countryAs they ease into their presidency, new Presidents acquire a better feeling for the pitfalls they face and how best to move the country forward carefully and cautiously.  Unlike most new Presidents, Obama began to operate as if he were omniscient and unchecked by any constitutional or legal provision, including the Constitution itself.  Obama believes that he is entitled to wield power like a monarch.  Like a bad case of the flu, we all just told ourselves to just hang on and we would feel better once Obama went away.  Concurrent with suffering through his narcissism, we grew tired of the man.  Once we understand Obama’s mantra of I didn’t do it and I’ll never do it again, nothing surprises us anymore.  The French word for this boredom is “ennui.”   We are bored with him lying to us about keeping our health plans and our doctors.  We have tired of him asserting there was no misconduct in his administration as they targeted conservative organizations and usurp environmental power.  His endless rants about climate change being our number one security threat have morphed into monotones.  Blaming cartoons and American bias against Islam is his chief explanation for terrorist attacks on our citizens and diplomats.  Obama drones on about the sins of the western culture and his new path toward a New World Order.  We are weary of Obama, but we should make no mistake about the continued threat he poses.  Like a bad case of flu, we must focus on the illness, or risk permanent damage.  The Iran nuclear disarmament deal will place us in great jeopardy.  His Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact will lock us into commitments that hamstring American commerce and create long-term political embarrassments for the U. S.  In his final months as President, we risk great additional damage to our way of life, our national security, and our sovereignty.  We are redirecting our attentions to the possibilities of a replacement for Obama in the 2016 elections.  Meanwhile, Obama continues to chip away at the fabric of American culture and freedom.  We cannot allow our ennui with Barack Hussein Obama and his thug administration to provide a smoke screen for what Obama still has in the works.  Our dysfunctional Congress has stepped back from aggressively opposing the Obama agenda.  We cannot allow boredom to lower our guard against further damage from this President.

(“The Danger of Obama Ennui” by Richard Kline dated June 9, 2015 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/06/the_danger_of_obama_ennui.html )

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' calls himself an "independent" and a "socialist."  In olden days, socialism meant something robust: government ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.   Then, voters and reality being resistant to such socialism, the idea was diluted to mean just government ownership of an economy's "commanding heights:" heavy industries, coal mines, railroads, etc.  The Socialist platform called for government ownership of the railroads.  So far, the government's passenger rail monopoly, Amtrak, has accumulated $1.3 billion of red ink from 45 years of applied socialism.  Our Socialist Party did what Karl Marx said the state would do under communism: wither away when the New Deal adopted much of its agenda of ameliorative government.  Today, "socialism," at least in Western Europe where the term is still part of the political lexicon, is the thin gruel of "social democracy," which mans three things: 1) heavy government regulation of commercial activities, 2) government provision of a "social safety net" and 3) redistribution of wealth through progressive taxation and entitlement programs.  Between 1960 and 2010, the growth of entitlement spending, which is redistributive, exploded from 28% to 66% of federal spending.  For half a century, entitlement payments were America's "fastest-growing source of personal income."  America's welfare state transfers more than 14% of GDP to recipients.  In 2010, government at all levels redistributed more than $2.2 trillion in money, goods and services to recipients.  Socialism means government grows faster than the private sector.  In the second half of the 20th century, government outlays and regulatory costs (mainly imposed on the private sector) grew 50% faster than the private sector.  While medical and retirement payments to the elderly swallow the federal budget, Sanders proposes increasing Social Security benefits (a regressive transfer to the most affluent age cohort, the elderly).  He would pay for this by increasing the amount of income subject to payroll taxes.  Sanders, who thinks European social democracies are exemplary, evidently thinks America should be more like Greece.

(“Sanders Is a Socialist, But These Days Who Isn’t?” by George Will date June 5, 2015 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-on-the-right/060515-756057-bernie-sanders-is-really-just-another-liberal-democrat.htm )

The only thing more fun to watch than Hillary Clinton's falling polls is to see her fans in the news media turning against her as 2015-16 election cycle gets underway.  She was battered black and blue for the shady financial scams in her family's multi-billion dollar Clinton Foundation that have made them very rich indeed.  The bestseller "Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich," by Peter Schweizer revealed the tawdry details.  His book blows the lid off on how the charitable foundation raked in billions of dollars that has helped Bill and Hillary build a huge fortune for themselves.  The vast array of contributors to the foundation (and those who paid the Clintons to give speeches) gives endless material to critics.  There is one troubling scam after another built into this business.  The purchase of a U.S. uranium mining firm that sought approval for the deal from Hillary Clinton's State Department; and an arms-sale approval (also from the State Department) sought by foundation contributors.  There is more at stake here than just how this looks on the surface because Hillary's hypocrisy about her agenda and how she's taken advantage of how one-hand-washes-the-other has made her a lot of money.  Clinton can talk all she wants about income inequality and reducing the influence of money in politics, but her recent experience make her seem insincere.  Two new voter surveys showed her favorability polls sinking to around 45%, because over half of the respondents don't trust her.  It's not just the Clintons' foundation revelations, it's her use, and misuse, of a secret e-mail server to conduct both her personal and official business over the four years she was President Obama's Secretary of State.  Congress is investigating all of this, demanding to see all of her once-secret e-mails, including the ones that were scrubbed, if they're retrievable.  This scandal isn't going away.  There will likely be new revelations to come as the investigation widens, and it is going to play out, one way or another, over the course of the presidential campaign.  Whatever Clinton proposes, the fact remains that her party has presided over the last six and a half years of a sluggish economy that the government says shrank in the first quarter, and she has had nothing substantive to say about any of this.  It would be patently ridiculous to say that we now need to give any Democrat, including Hillary, another chance to get it right.

(“Turning Against Hillary” by Donald Lambro dated June 10, 2015 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/donaldlambro/2015/06/10/turning-against-hillary-n2010247 )

 

The U.S. economy shrank by 0.7% last quarter, according to a revised estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  The contraction may be a temporary aberration, as it was last year, or, it might signal the onset of a more troubling slowdown.  One thing is for sure: The Obama recovery is unusually lethargic.  Since 1960, this nation has experienced six other recessions and subsequent recoveries.  At 23 quarters in, the current recovery has been the weakest of all seven.  The other post-1960 recoveries at this point had produced average cumulative growth in gross domestic product of just over 25%.  The current recovery has achieved barely half that, 13.29%.  The Reagan recovery (which began in late 1982) offers an even greater contrast.  At the equivalent point in the Reagan recovery, cumulative economic growth stood at nearly 31%.  Weak GDP growth typically translates into tepid private-sector jobs growth, and that’s certainly the case with this faltering recovery.  From its post-recession low point, the jobs number has increased by just 11.3%. In previous recoveries, employment growth averaged 14.3% at this point, producing more than 3 million additional jobs.  The official unemployment rate has been falling, but that official rate is quite deceptive. Merely lacking a job does not qualify one to count as unemployed.  The same person must be available for work and have actively looked for work in the past four weeks. Those who could work but have given up don’t count, based on the official unemployment rate.  That’s one reason the unemployment rate can decrease even as the number of able-bodied people not working increases.  The labor force participation rate illustrates this because this number reflects the percentage of the non-institutionalized population 16 years and older who are either employed or actively looking for work.  During this recovery, the labor participation rate has plummeted.  Currently, less than 63% are even part of the workforce, the lowest participation rate since the late 1970s.  In an attempt to stoke growth, government has tried nearly every idea from the leftist intellectual factory: profligate federal spending (which has sent the national debt skyrocketing by more than $7 trillion in just six years); increased capital gains and income taxes; an enormous new entitlement (ObamaCare); an $830 billion stimulus program, and a Federal Reserve balance sheet growth of nearly $2.5 trillion.  At the same time, the administration propelled a huge expansion of need-based assistance.  For instance, food stamp usage expanded from just 33.5 million Americans in fiscal year 2009 to a peak of 47.6 million in FY 2013; it remains about 45 million now.  Meanwhile, a rash of new federal regulation over the last six years has saddled the private sector with close to $80 billion in additional, annual economic costs.  And the highest corporate income tax rates in the industrialized world continue to keep U.S.-based international businesses at a permanent competitive disadvantage.  The present approach has failed, because the paltry performance of the current recovery, compared to all others over the last 55 years, bears testament to this.

(“Obama’s Economy Is Unusually Slow. Here’s How to Fix It.” by Joel Griffith dated June 6, 2015 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://dailysignal.com/2015/06/06/obamas-economy-is-unusually-slow-heres-how-to-fix-it/ )

 

Global forecasters look at President Obama's dismal record and wonder why the largest economy in the world cannot break out of its economic lethargy.  The International Monetary Fund said that it doesn't see the U.S. economy doing any better than a pathetic 2.5% this year.  In fact, the IMF's forecast for the U.S. was so dour that it urged the Federal Reserve to delay raising interest rates until mid-2016 because of the economy's subpar performance.  U.S. business executives are just as pessimistic about the economy's future.  Its findings: The country's CEOs say they intend to hire and invest at a significantly lower rate over the next six months.  These CEOs forecast that the Obama economy will expand at a tepid 2.5% this year.  These results are consistent with an economy that operates below its potential capacity.  Investments on everything from equipment to structures to intellectual property are running down… and aggressive regulatory oversight continues to slow down businesses.  A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll found that more than 7 out of 10 Americans were worried about the declining economy.  The Federal Reserve's own economic survey, known as the Beige Book, revealed some of the reasons why:  Almost half of those who were surveyed [47%] said they did not have enough money set aside to cover an unexpected emergency costing $400 or more; Nearly a third said they had to forgo needed medical care because they could not afford it; and More than one-third of all workers and 49% of part-time employees, said they would prefer to work more hours at their present wage.  Seven years into Obama's presidency, the recession of 2008 still troubles millions of Americans who continue to struggle to find work and to earn enough money to pay their bills and feed their family.  Even among college graduates, the jobless rate is significantly higher than it was during the boom years.  The Gallup Poll reported that nearly 15% of Americans were underemployed and that 36% were worried about money and making ends meet.  This is the economy Obama has imprisoned us in, and it won't get any better until this administration is replaced by a leader who knows how stimulate business investment and economic growth to put us back on the road to a full employment recovery.

(“Phony ‘Jobs Boom’” by Donald Lambro dated June 12, 2015 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/donaldlambro/2015/06/12/phony-jobs-boom-n2011343 )

This hard-left, progressive administration is obsessed with the perception of seeming "tough" over the substance of actually being tough (à la President Reagan) Obama and his lead diplomatic henchman, Secretary of State John Kerry, embrace and embody "the wimp factor."   This is America's new normal: the triumph of the sissy pajama-boy.  Kerry’s telling image will forever be associated with Kerry: his Pee-Wee Herman-style bicycle and a broken leg.  In various photos, "He-Man" Vladimir Putin bear-wrestles, rides horses shirtless, and even nuzzles a leopard.  Meanwhile, Obama is seen wearing mom-jeans, taking selfies, and holding a poodle proudly to his chest.  Fundamentally, Obama, the Great Capitulator, is the antithesis of Reagan and his doctrine of "peace through strength."  The proof: Putin pushes whole countries around like a chess grandmaster by invading and partially occupying Ukraine.  On the other hand, Obama withdraws U.S. forces, leaving a leadership vacuum now filled to bursting with the violence of ISIS spreading like wildfire across the Middle East.  In the same vein, literal and symbolic fires of discontent burn bright in big cities (Baltimore, MD) and small towns (Ferguson, MO) across America, and most significantly in Syria and Iran, the primary state sponsor of Islamic terrorism, whose representatives run out the clock in endless fruitless negotiations with Kerry, all the while inching closer and closer to an atomic bomb.  As an oil-rich nation, Iran doesn't need nuclear power, but nuclear weapons would be very useful in their unrelenting jihad to secure the West's wholesale submission by this 21st-century sword.  As with Cuba, this is a complete sham.  Kerry's efforts are as broken as his femur.  This is nothing more than Obama's "Kabuki theater" foreign policy, designed to shore up his personal legacy as some illusory ender of conflicts and bringer of resolution, with Obama's Orwellian "partners" (aka America's enemies).  This is Obama's anti-American mindset in full flower: rewarding one's enemies and punishing one's friends

(“The hard truth of Kerry’s pink bicycle optics” by David L. Hunter dated June 7, 2015 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/06/the_hard_truth_of_kerrys_pink_bicycle_optics.html )

 

* There is so much published each week that unless you search for it, you will miss important breaking news.  I try to package the best of this information into my “Views on the News” each Saturday morning.  Updates have been made this week to the following sections:

·     Articles at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/welcome/articles.php

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/