Tuesday, October 4, 2016

October, 2016, Part 2, Political Class Insanity - Polticians With Bad Priorities, Politicans With Massive Conflicts of Interest, and a President With a Large Narcissism Problem

It is the beginning of another month which means it is again time to review the latest political class insanity from Washington and around the world. Political class insanity takes many forms including the wasting of taxpayer wealth, criminal fraud within government programs, inane and stupid political quotes and actions, the inability to create and implement effective and efficient government programs, stupid and ill performing economic policies and strategies, and other forms of insanity that continue to evolve and surprise and shock us.

The current monthly record for the number of posts that were needed to cover one month's worth of insanity is ten. We equaled that record last month when we needed ten days to cover one month’s worth of political class insanity. There is a very good chance that the ten day record could fall this month since as we get closer and closer to the election, the volume of ineptness grows almost exponentially.

But today and for all of the posts this month, let’s start off with a welcome piece of honest political dialog. It comes from a State Department spokesperson. Mark Toner, who is about to start the daily State Department press briefing. In a joking matter, he makes the following quote: "Welcome to the State Department. I think we have some interns in the back. Welcome. Good to see you in this exercise in transparency and democracy."

He then burst out laughing at his own quote, indicating he also knew what a joke the Obama administration has been, especially Mr. Toner’s State Department, when it comes to cover ups, lack of transparency, denial of Freedom of Information Act requests, the prosecution of whistleblowers, etc. But at least it was a little refreshing to finally hear some actual honesty out of Washington as we see from the actual clip of the news conference:

With that context of honesty, let’s see what other insanity has been going down:

1) Obama has been more or less obsessed with a small handful of issues facing the country over the past year, most notably gun control and global warming. But are these the issues Americans are most concerned about, are they the issues that Obama should have been focusing on if he was truly concerned about what Americans wanted him to focus on?

The answer to that question is an unequivocal “no” if you believe a recent survey that was done by Chapman University that surveyed 1,541 American adults. The survey asked the respondents to tell them what they feared most and then rank ordered the things or potential events that Americans are most concerned about and are most afraid of. The top answers to that survey, as reported in a recent issue of Businessweek magazine, are:

  1. Corruption- 78% think the two main parties are corrupt
  2. Cyberterrorism
  3. Personal data tracking corporate
  4. Terrorist attacks
  5. Personal data tracking government
  6. Biowarfare
  7. Identity theft
  8. Economic collapse
  9. Running out of money - one of three have no savings
  10. Credit card fraud

As you can see, the top concerns of Americans, the things that Obama should be focused on, fall into three general categories:
  • Economic situation - Identity theft, economic collapse, running out of money, and credit card fraud. 
  • Safety - cyberterrorism, terrorist attacks, biowarfare 
  • Dysfunctional government - Corruption, government tracking of personal data
Instead, Obama has been focused on gun control, which finished 13th on the list, not cracking the top ten of what Americans are most afraid of and global warming, which was way down the list at 21, not even cracking the top 20 of Americans’ concerns and fears. In fact, more Americans are afraid of reptiles, which I assume includes being attacked and killed by an alligator or crocodile (17th on the list) than global warming.

So rather than focusing on cleaning up the corruption in government and politics and protecting the Fourth Amendment by restricting government access to our data, he worries about gun control. Rather than working on improving what has been a historically anemic economic recovery after the last recession, he focuses on global warming. Rather than focusing on protecting us from terrorism and other physical threats, he focuses on his golf game.

Not a terribly effective President when he focuses on an issue made doubly worse because he focuses on the wrong issues relative to the people he is theoretically supposed to be taking his orders from.

2) I have never been a fan of John Kerry. He is a terrible negotiator on the international stage when it comes to being Secretary of State and he has uttered some of the most inane quotes of any politician we have come across over the past several years. And now it looks like we can add corruption to that list of faults.

According to an article by Ethan Barton on September 12, 2016 that appeared on the Daily Caller website, it appears that John Kerry’s State Department has been funneling taxpayer dollars through the Peace Corps to a non-profit foundation, now called Seed Global Health, what was established and operated by his daughter, Vanessa Kerry. The shenanigans unfolded as follows:
  • First, Vanessa Kerry helped establish a Peace Corps program that would send medical resources into poor countries. 
  • The State Department decided to fund the program. 
  • The Peace Corps then turned around and took that funding and awarded the money, in the absence of competition and competitive bidding, to a non-profit organization, Seed Global Health, that Kerry had turned around and created just for the program she originally created for the Peace Corps. 
  • The initial funding of $2 million came when her father was chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations which oversees both the Peace Corps and the State Department. 
  • Another $6.4 million was awarded to Ms. Kerry’s little non-profit in September, 2015 when her dad was the head of the State Department. 
  • This second grant of millions of dollars was also not competitively bid. 
  • Government documents cited in the article show how the various government and non-government parties involved conspired and made sure that there was no competitive bidding for the money and the project so that Ms. Kerry’s organization would control the entire award. 
  • Ms. Kerry started drawing a salary via the non-profit in 2014 with tax filings showing she awarded herself an annual salary of $140,000 for which she worked only 30 hours a week. 
  • Adding insult to injury, the Peace Corp usually has a time limit of five years on all of its contracts but violated that tenet when the allowed Ms. Kerry to have a seven year contract that included no competitive bidding.
Maybe it is garbage like this that caused 78% of Americans polled in the Chapman University survey cited above to place corruption as the number one issue in their minds relative to what to be afraid of. This is a conflict of interest on so many levels along with the potential wasting of taxpayer wealth. But as always with American politicians today, specifically John Kerry in this case, they have no shame and guilt, they are only in the business for their own self-enrichment. Insane.

3) Through his actions, I have found Barack Obama to be the most self-centered, narcissist President of my lifetime, based on any number of actions:
  • When he spoke at the funeral of the Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye, a decorated World War II soldier and long time Senator, Obama mentioned himself far more times than he mentioned the Senator. 
  • When Neil Armstrong died, Obama sent out a picture of himself looking up at the sky with no visual of Armstrong at all:

Memorial: In an odd move, President Barack Obama's team uploaded a photograph of him gazing at the moon to remember Neil Armstrong, who passed away on Saturday

  • When Rosa Parks’s bus rebellion was being celebrated, Obama posted a picture of himself sitting in the bus seat where Rosa Parks sat but with no visual of Rosa Parks at all:

  • When Muhammad Ali died, Obama published a picture of himself underneath an Ali picture:

Image result for picture of obama underneath ali picture
You get the point with this limited set of examples. And these points and his narcissism was driven home again on the 15th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. A moment of silence to remember the victims of the 9-11 attack on the Pentagon was scheduled to begin at the exact same moment that the plane hit the building on September 11, 2011, a highly symbolic tribute to those that perished.

But apparently, according to news reports, Obama was restless and ordered that the moment of silence be moved up according to his wishes. A Department of Defense official confirmed to news sources that the decision to move up the moment of silence was on Obama’s order.

In the big picture, this is not a big deal. But it again verifies that American politicians, like Obama, view themselves as the center of the world, that we should pay homage to them and their wishes and whims when in reality they are employed by us. Was it really that much of an imposition on this politician to sit still for a few extra minutes to symbolically honor some brave Americans who died in the worst terror attack in our life times? Apparently it was.

Day Two of the latest political class insanity is in the books with a lot more to come. A good day today, conflict of interest, hubris on the part of the President on very solemn day, and very bad priorities vs. what Americans are worried about. More of the same tomorrow.

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