Tag: President Obama

Is Rhetoric Wrecking Our Economy?

 

Sen. Bernie SandersSticks and stones may break our bones, but there’s good reason to believe words are destroying economic growth.

The usual vital signs we look at to judge economic health are all over the place and don’t exactly paint a positive picture. The unemployment rate is down, but a lot, if not the majority, of that is being caused by a shrinking labor force participation rate. The economy is technically growing, but the growth rates are abysmal. The stock market is way up, at record levels, but much of that is likely being caused by the near-zero interest rates spurred on by the Fed. In effect, we’re not witnessing a surging stock market; we’re just looking at the inflation we expected from easy money policies manifesting itself on Wall Street instead of Main Street. Forget the formal indicators though. The American people are telling us, in survey after survey, that things haven’t improved much, if at all, from the “Great Recession” of 2007-2008. All in all, we’re far from out of the woods. What gives?

There have been all sorts of attempts at explanations. There are the usual partisan objections to specific policies. Then there are the concerns about specific sectors of the economy. Then there are downright weak excuses for sluggish economic growth such as “this winter was pretty cold.” Seriously. There may be a nugget of truth, or a grain for that last one, to all of these things, but most of these discussions seem to ignore the fundamental fact that our economy is incomprehensibly enormous and contains trillions of moving parts. The fact is that little tweaks here and there, plus milder weather, aren’t going to help much. But that hasn’t stopped our politicians, especially our current president, from trying. And what we may be overlooking as we try to identify and solve the relatively minute issues is the biggest problem altogether: Our politicians’ mouths.

Why Is the Republican Base Upset?

 

I think there are many reasons why the Republican base is upset, and it is correct to be upset. I am not a Donald Trump supporter, and I am not sure at this point whether Mr. Trump will continue his candidacy until there is a nominee for the presidency or will discontinue his campaign before that. Donald Trump himself may not be sure what he will do at this point. However, any Republican politician who does not understand why Trump appeals to some voters in their constituency will regret it in the results of the 2016 elections.

I think I understand why The Donald appeals to many in the Republican base, but I’m not sure what to do about it in order to keep Hillary Clinton from being elected. Certainly, criticizing your base or potential voters is not a winning strategy for Trump’s opponents when those voters have reached a tipping point. Individual voters may have different tipping points, but without ranking them in importance here are my candidates for why people are saying “we have had enough.” Which significant ones have I overlooked?

Athens on the Potomac

 

U.S. Debt ChartFinancial experts in New York, London, and Brussels have tut-tutted Greece’s economic travails as Athens considers its future with the European Union. Why did they borrow so much money? How can they ever pay it back? Do they think that much debt is sustainable?

Instead of pointing fingers at the innumerates running Athens, they should consider our own situation. Jason Russell of the Washington Examiner shows how America’s debt projections look suspiciously like Greece’s recent history.

With all the chaos unravelling in Greece, Congress would be wise to do what it takes to avoid reaching Greek debt levels. But it’s not a matter of sticking to the status quo and avoiding bad decisions that would put the budget on a Greek-like path, because the budget is on that path already.

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“There are a lot of filters between me and the Israelis,” President Obama said in a self-negating statement while being interviewed on Israeli TV last night. He was explaining why he is so unpopular in Israel, unlike his highly popular two immediate predecessors. “Prime Minister Netanyahu is somebody who’s predisposed  … to think perhaps that peace is naïve.” […]

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CGI Obama Says the Funniest Things

 

As anyone who has seen a recent blockbuster can tell you, movie technology has come a long way. If you wanted a big, scary monster in decades past, you’d zip up a guy in a rubber suit and have him stomp on a dollhouse. These days studios use CGI which, when done right, is almost indistinguishable from the real thing. (Godzilla is real, right?)

I’ve always been more impressed not with larger-than-life CGI showing the Avengers wreck New York City, but the subtler uses. Modern films placing contemporary actors beside historic figures, or having the historic figures themselves say ridiculous things. Today some video whiz put together a hilarious collection of CGI Obama speeches that have to be seen to believed.

Obama Not Offended Enough by Anti-Semitism

 

obamarouhani_s640x427What to make of President Obama’s interpretation of the Iranian leadership? Challenged by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg to account for the seeming inconsistency of relying on the rationality of a regime that holds a profoundly anti-Semitic worldview, the president denied that the “venomous anti-Semitism” (his words) of the mullahs is a barrier to rational decision making.

Well the fact that you are anti-Semitic, or racist, doesn’t preclude you from being interested in survival. It doesn’t preclude you from being rational about the need to keep your economy afloat; it doesn’t preclude you from making strategic decisions about how you stay in power; and so the fact that the supreme leader is anti-Semitic doesn’t mean that this overrides all of his other considerations. You know, if you look at the history of anti-Semitism, Jeff, there were a whole lot of European leaders—and there were deep strains of anti-Semitism in this country . . .

Walter Russell Mead of The American Interest made an important observation:

Climate Change and the New Iconoclasts

 

Clasm_ChludovThe ancient city of Constantinople was heralded as a “new Rome” and quickly replaced the old one in splendor and importance. As the western Roman Empire withered and fell, the eastern Christian empire flourished. But after a few centuries of success, their good fortune ran out.

The first recorded bubonic plague killed more than a third of Constantinople’s inhabitants. Then in a series of bloody, expensive wars with the Avars, Slavs, Bulgars and Persians, the city finally stabilized their empire only to see the majority of it swallowed by Muslim conquerors. Add in the coups, civil wars, and a spectacular volcanic eruption off the island of Santorini, and Christians wondered what they did to lose the favor of God.

Fearful citizens allegedly convinced Emperor Leo III that the city’s celebrated icons were to blame; the Lord was punishing Constantinople for the sin of idolatry. Leo and the iconoclasts removed and destroyed images bearing the likeness of Christ and other religious figures to purify the empire and appease an angry God. Other powerful leaders and priests opposed the desecration and pointed to other possible reasons for God’s disfavor.

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Alternate Title: Let’s Hope Hillary Won’t Do For Gender Relations What The Obama Era Has Done For Race Relations. Sorry African-Americans. According to certain Representatives of government and media it’s all my fault.  The “all” I’m referring to? Urban plight, uneducated children, fatherless homes, crime, drugs, rampant unemployment, malnutrition, incarceration, bigotry, racism, black on black shootings, police on black […]

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As reported by The Hill, two new polls are out on Americans’ view of the deal President Obama has negotiated with Iran.  The Washington Post/ABC and Ipsos/Reuters both found that while Democrats overwhelmingly favor the deal, Republicans are split right down the middle: Nearly 6 in 10 Americans, 59 percent, would support a plan to […]

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Over on my Facebook timeline, I just posted this little missive about profligate waste and global warming hypocrisy. If you need any better example as why people hate inside the beltway politics, here’s one good reason why to be infuriated. The President and First Lady took separate planes to California yesterday to make their TV appearances, […]

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Nelson Shanks, American Hero and Painter, admitted in a Politico article that he put a reference to Monica Lewinsky in his characterization of Bill Clinton that hangs in the National Portrait. “If you look at the left-hand side of it,” there’s a mantel in the Oval Office and “I put a shadow coming into the painting […]

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As many have pointed out since President Obama’s speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, he’s pretty free with riding the low horse of confession for the sins of others. He expressed sorrow for the sins of the Church committed hundreds of years ago and for the United States since its inception. He really has no […]

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Partisan critics of President Obama, already goaded by their success in the midterm elections, reacted with rage to rumors the President plans to invade the Vatican and enthrone himself as “Pope Francis II.” “This really crosses the line, don’t you think?” shrieked a foam-flecked Senator Mitch McConnell, reacting to the leak of a plan for […]

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A few days ago Antipodius posted two contrasting videos of President Bush and President Obama addressing West Point. It struck me at the time how those graduates were able to hold their tongues (and their applause) as the current President gave a speech trying to convince us all that he’s not weak. Really, just ask […]

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What will President Obama do after the midterms? Any new things? He needs to consolidate and try to make permanent his changes to this country. His first priority will be to extend the duration of his influence by helping the next Democratic presidential nominee. We all believe that a deal was made with the Clintons […]

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In the intro to the flagship podcast, we hear Richard Nixon’s famous “I am not a crook” denial, followed by Chris Christie’s “I am not a bully.” These are great examples of how sharing the contents of a politician’s heart can leave voters with the exact opposite of the desired impression. In the immortal words […]

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What Do You Want from a Republican Congress? — Troy Senik

 

A piece of heartening news, from USA Today:

A nationwide USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll shows the strongest tilt to Republican candidates at this point in a midterm year in at least two decades, including before partisan “waves” in 1994 and 2010 that swept the GOP into power. Though Election Day is six months away — a lifetime in politics — at the moment, Democrats are saddled by angst over the economy, skepticism about the health care law and tepid approval of the president.