Sunday, January 8, 2017

January, 2017, Part 4,Political Class Insanity: More Chicago Gun Violence, Obama The Divider, and The Lost Diplomatic Punch of The U.S.

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. 

Today and for all of the insanity 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) We often talk about how the political class at the local, state, and Federal level have no idea how to control and reduce the violent gun violence and crime in Chicago. Their only solution has been to enact and enforce more and more gun control laws that have not worked because criminals, as defined, do not obey most any kind of laws including gun control laws. 

The Chicago Tribune recently totalled up the out of control gun violence in Chicago for the year 2016:
  • This past year there were 4,328 shooting victims in Chicago.
  • Over 700 of those shooting victims were killed.
  • There were 2,989 shooting victims in the city in 2015, a total which increased over 1,300 in just one year, a percentage increase of almost 45%.
  • Over the Christmas, 2016 weekend, 50 Chicago residents were shot 12 of those died.
  • An estimated 90% of these holiday shootings involved gang related activities or people with a previous criminal record, indicating that gun control laws are probably useless against this class of people.
If one of the primary functions of government is to protect citizens, then local, state, and Federal government functions are doing a lousy job in Chicago. This view was more or less proven by recent comments by the Chicago police superintendent, Eddie Johnson, regarding gun control laws and the Chicago violence: “These gun offenders have repeatedly shown us that they’re not going to play by society’s rules.”

So simple and logical an observation, two traits politicians do not have relative to this crisis.

2) Great Presidents are great leaders that bring Americans together for common purposes and goals. Which means that using this criteria, Obama is not a great leader or President, according to an article by Paul Bedard in the Washington Examiner on December 26, 2016:
  • Back when he was running for President for the first time, Obama promised to “Move beyond the divisive politics of Washington and bring Democrats, independents, and Republicans together to get things done."
  • He then sat back and let his political allies denigrate, insult and slander any American who dared to have an opinion that differed from his, with his allies calling other Americans Nazis, racists, sluts, whores, etc.
  • And as a result of his actions and inactions relative to uniting Americans, he will leave office as the most polarizing President in the past five decades, according to Pew Research.
  • Pew does an opinion survey where they ask Democrats and Republicans what they think of the current President and assume that the difference between what each group thinks about a President is a measure of how well that President has unified the country.
  • For Obama, 81% of Democrats approve of the job Obama has done while only 14% of Republicans approve the job he has done, resulting in a massive difference and divide of 67% between 81% and 14%.
  • This beats out even the dismal leadership results of George W. Bush whose difference was 58%.
  • Obama’s divisive result findings were the worse since at least the Eisenhower administration:

  • Obama’s leadership performance is even worse when you look at just the end of each President’s results, 74% vs. Bush’s 54%:

So much for uniting the country and bringing different segments closer together.

3) For better or worse, the U.S. has almost always been involved in international crisis and ways to try and resolve them. After the fall of communism in Europe, the U.S. was generally viewed as the remaining superpower in the world that could and should be actively involved in world events and crises. And that was the way it has been for over 25 years. Not that the U.S. necessarily made a bad situation better, but we usually had a seat at the table of negotiations.

But a recent effort to bring at least a cease fire, if not a peace plan, to the civil war fighting in Syria shows how far American dominance and presence has deteriorated under Obama. According to Cortney O’Brien, writing for the Townhall website on December 21, 2016, the United States and Obama administration were excluded from recent peace plan negotiations with regards to Syria, peace talks that were conducted by Turkish, Iranian, and Russian diplomats The U.S. was not invited to participate. 

Keep in mind that at least two of these three nations are not on good speaking terms with the United States, meaning that our interests might not be taken care of in these peace talks.

Former UN ambassador for the U.S., John Bolton, summed up this diplomatic slap to the face quite nicely: "It's a sign of the times. It is a precise reflection of the diminution of American influence under the Obama administration." 

Not surprisingly, the Obama administration tried to minimize this major diplomatic snub and embarrassment. “It wasn’t about being kicked out of the party,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said. “There have always been multilateral discussions about Syria that we haven’t been a party to and this is another one. I totally understand that.” He went on to say that the U.S., “is still going to be a leader in this [Syrian peace] effort.” Not likely if you do not even get invited to the meetings.

That will do it for today’s insanity: how far the U.S. has fallen diplomatically in even participating in major peace talks, how Obama is the worse President ever from a unifer and leadership perspective, and the gun violence in the gun control capital of the country, continues to spiral out of control, with no politician having the solution to at least slow it down. More insanity tomorrow.

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