Tuesday, January 12, 2016

January, 2016, Part 6, Political Class Insanity: Bad Obama Priorities, North Korea REALLY Goes Nuclear, Homeless Boston, and More

It is the start of another month which means it is time for our monthly review of the latest political class insanity that continually spews forth from America’s politicians. Their actions, words, quotes, incompetency, and general ineptness continue to reinforce our theory that we are currently being served by the worst set of politicians in the history of the nation.

As you read about the latest shenanigans and ineptness of the political class, keep in mind what should be their priorities in these difficult times and compare this list to what they are actually working on:
  • NBC recently reported that ISIS forces are getting larger and stronger despite the Obama administration spending billions of dollars on a failed air campaign and military strategy.
  • The stock market is cratering.
  • Job creation is barely keeping up with population growth.
  • Wage growth is anemic, growing just .2% in the second quarter, the lowest quarterly growth since 1982.
  • The labor participation rate is at the lowest level in decades because the Obama economy cannot generate enough jobs.
  • Thousands of veterans are still not getting the medical care they were promised by the Federal government.
  • 45 million Americans are still receiving monthly Federal food assistance.
  • Our borders still leak and thousands of illegal immigrant criminals continue to walk our streets.
  • Major programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are hurtling towards insolvency and lose hundreds of billions of dollars every year to fraud and mismanagement.
  • Our kids are still getting lousy public educations at most public schools.
  • The IRS and other government functions seem to be getting their computer systems hacked on a regular basis, exposing tens of millions of Americans to identity theft potential.
  • Obama Care is a failure along so many dimensions as health care costs continue to soar despite the Obama promise that they would decrease.
  • Annual Federal deficits, while down, are still about half a TRILLION a year meaning that even though the Federal government is collecting more in taxes than ever before, it still cannot run a balanced budget.
Again, keep these real crises in mind as you read what our politicians are actually doing, saying and wasting.

1) Of all the world crises that have been exploding lately, the North Koreans added another dire action when they recently announced that they not only had atomic weapons but had successfully developed a hydrogen bomb. Given how closed their society is, there is really no way to verify that this is true but if so, the potential consequences are horrifying. 

It is my understanding reading the news accounts of their announcements that a hydrogen bomb is much more powerful than an atomic bomb. In fact, an atomic bomb is used to ignite a hydrogen bomb. Putting this kind of weaponry in the hands of the nut jobs that run North Korea is truly scary.

Given the serious dangers of this development, how did the Obama administration react? Consider the words of White House Press secretary Josh Earnest and his response:

“The interests of the United States can be successfully advanced through principled, focused, tenacious diplomatic engagement and that’s what we’re going to continue to pursue. The thing that I should reiterate at this point is the rock solid commitment on the part of the United States to the safety and security of our allies in South Korea. But at this point, what we want the North Koreans to do … is we want the North Koreans to end their provocative acts, both in the form of missile tests and nuclear tests; to commit to de-nuclearization; and to demonstrate a commitment to pursuing peace and stability on the Korean peninsula. 

We would like the North Koreans to begin to orient their public posture and their behavior in the direction of constructive international engagement. We’re not asking them to do that out of charity. We actually also believe that that would be in the interests of the North Korean people and certainly the broader region.”

This is what passes for effective and strategic foreign policy under the Obama administration. “We want,” “we would like,” “we believe,” phrases that are going to have absolutely no effect on North Korea’s leaders, phrases that exist in the place of hard hitting, strategic plans and actions. 

Nothing will be done, nothing will change. While Obama was playing golf and taking multi-week Hawaiian vacations, while Congress was enjoying five week summer vacations, North Korea was busy potentially mastering the art of hydrogen bombs. Insanity.

2) The next piece of insanity has me scratching my head on why Obama has not been impeached, removed from office, and possibly tried for violating the Constitution of the United States. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the Obama administration has been caught spying on Israeli leaders AND members of Congress, especially during the negotiations over the failed and stupid Iranian nuclear weapons negotiations:

The U.S., pursuing a nuclear arms agreement with Iran at the time, captured communications between Mr. Netanyahu and his aides that inflamed mistrust between the two countries and planted a political minefield at home when Mr. Netanyahu later took his campaign against the deal to Capitol Hill.

The National Security Agency’s targeting of Israeli leaders and officials also swept up the contents of some of their private conversations with U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups. That raised fears—an “Oh-s— moment,” one senior U.S. official said—that the executive branch would be accused of spying on Congress.

White House officials believed the intercepted information could be valuable to counter Mr. Netanyahu’s campaign. They also recognized that asking for it was politically risky. So, wary of a paper trail stemming from a request, the White House let the NSA decide what to share and what to withhold, officials said. “We didn’t say, ‘Do it,’ ” a senior U.S. official said. “We didn’t say, ‘Don’t do it.’

In closed-door debate, the Obama administration weighed which allied leaders belonged on a so-called protected list, shielding them from NSA snooping. French President Fran├žois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders made the list, but the administration permitted the NSA to target the leaders’ top advisers, current and former U.S. officials said. Other allies were excluded from the protected list, including Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of NATO ally Turkey, which allowed the NSA to spy on their communications at the discretion of top officials.

Spying on our allies, spying on Congress, probably still spying on American citizens. We are truly living in Orwell’s “1984” world. Maybe if the Obama administration had used some of these spying resources on our enemies, e.g. ISIS, Russia, North Korea, it would not look and be so inept when its foreign policy crashes and burns so often.

3) We have often discussed the reality that the Pentagon is one of the worst Federal entities when it comes to wasting taxpayer money on stupid programs and projects. They recently added to their horrible track record when its latest, supposedly highest tech warship basically had to call AAA for a tow when it completely shut down about 40 miles out at sea.

The USS Milwaukee, launched with much fanfare last month, had to be towed back to shore after engine problems shut it down. They think that “fine metal debris collected in the lube oil filter” which shut down everything. Senator John McCain kind of summarized the absurdity of the event: “Reporting of a complete loss of propulsion on USS Milwaukee is deeply alarming, particularly given this ship was commissioned just 20 days ago. US Navy ships are built with redundant systems to enable continued operation in the event of an engineering casualty, which makes this incident very concerning."

The ship cost $437 million to build and had to be towed home. Last month the Navy claimed that the: “Milwaukee is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric "anti-access" threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.” 

Instead it needed a tow home because of a clogged oil filter. Insane.

4) If Obama is to be believed, he has done a wonderful job lifting the economy out of the Great Recession. Of course, we have discussed this fantasy many times in this blog. His so-called recovery has been the weakest, most anemic economic recovery in a very, very long time:
  • Years after the recession ended, over 45 million Americans are still receiving Federal food assistance every month, about 50% more than when the recession started.
  • Annual national economic growth never attained the long term average annual economic growth, never exceeding 3% a year.
  • About 14 million Americans want full time jobs but cannot find them, settling for no job or for a part time job.
  • The labor participation rate is at forty year lows.
These horrible economic results were attained even though Obama had the benefit of a $800 billion (failed) economic stimulus program, record low energy costs, and trillions of dollars pumped into the economy by the Fed. Pathetic economic management and strategies.

But forget the high level economic numbers for a minute. What has been the effect of Obama's economic policies on ordinary Americans? Consider a recent Boston Globe interview of a Boston cabbie:
  • Bill Ford has been driving a cab in Boston for 42 years.
  • In those 42 years he has seen good economic times and bad economic times on the streets of Boston.
  • But he has never seen things so bad as now despite the economy being in “recovery:” “But when I’m out on these streets I’m seeing things I’ve never seen before, at least not as bad as they are now. When I heard Marty Walsh saying Boston would be willing to take in some of those refugees, I knew he was speaking from his heart. But if we bring them in we’re going to have to give them the works: housing, food stamps, welfare, medical. You can’t just bring them in and say, ‘OK, now you’re on your own.’ I’ve never seen so many people (Bostonians) sleeping on stoops or in doorways.” 
A major homeless problem in Boston as seen from someone on the front lines of society and the political leaders of Boston want to take care of Syrian refugees first. Sounds like the Obama approach to society’s ills: screw Americans who are homeless, hungry, drug addicted, jobless,...let’s spend billions of dollars to relocate and resettle foreigners and give them housing, food, and jobs. A world insanely turned upside down.

5) As we discussed a few days ago, gun control/gun violence ranked no better than 16 other issues facing Americans today according to a recent Gallup poll. Only 2% of those polled said gun control/gun violence was the top issue in their minds, trailing at least 16 other issues. 

So, of course, what did Obama focus on this past week or so, holding a major news conference and a townhall meeting? Gun control and gun violence. While he was focusing on this relatively minor topic in the eyes of America, the following crises and dire events were going down around the world:
  • U.S. Special Forces troops were pinned down and surrounded by Taliban forces who continue to gain and control more and more territory in Afghanistan.
  • North Korea conducting another nuclear weapons test and claimed they now know how to make a hydrogen bomb.
  • China started landing planes on the man made islands they created in the South China Sea as they attempt to take over the major sea lanes that go through that area.
  • The Chinese stock market bombed, and in doing so, cratered the U.S. stock markets.
  • Dozens of people were arrested across the country, charged with planning terrorism plots within the United States.
  • Saudi Arabia and Iran got into a spitting match when it was reported the Saudis had shot a missile at the Iranian embassy in Yemen after the Iranians firebombed the Saudi embassy in Iran after the Saudis had executed an Iranian favored cleric.
  • ISIS announced that they had established a Bombmaking University to create even more dangerous weapons and bombs. 
  • French police shot and killed an ISIS sympathizer after he tried to enter a Paris police station wielding a cleaver while shouting “Allahu Akbar.”
Add in all off the other crises listed at the beginning of this post, which obviously did not get any better in the past couple of weeks as this administration focuses on a non-issue and one that Americans are unenthusiastic about, and you can see why the country is in the state it is.

That will do it for this month’s political class insanity, not a pretty picture. Today we learned (again) that this Presidency has no answer for North Korea’s nuclear weapon drive, this President has no qualms about spying on allies and members of Congress, an act that must be illegal and impeachable, the American taxpayer just paid half a billion dollars for a warship that does not work, the economy is still in the doldrums, and the priorities of this administration are all out of whack. 

Sounds about right, just another month of wasteful spending, bad priorities, illegal actions, etc., courtesy of the worst set of politicians ever to serve this country.

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