1) Incredibly weak recovery: President Barack Obama’s tax/spend/regulation policy — "stimulus"; continuation of TARP; bank, insurance company and auto industry bailouts; "quantitative easing" (aka the printing of money); cash for clunkers; minimum wage hikes; new regulatory rules on businesses; tripling of the deficit; addition of $4 trillion to the debt — failed miserably to produce jobs and grow the economy at the historical rate expected after a deep recession.
Remember when Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, at an afternoon news conference on the threat from Hurricane Rita to New Orleans, used the now legendary quote, “You are stuck on stupid. I’m not going to answer that question”?
The recipient of this verbal smackdown was a reporter who couldn’t stop asking about evacuation efforts – or the lack thereof — before Hurricane Katrina.
Stuck on stupid keeps rattling around in my brain as I’ve been following the national debt ceiling “debate” and also after the new jobs reports came out yesterday and today.
It would take a book to cover all the hypocrisy from the loons on the left concerning just these two issues. However, I don’t have the time or space in this little blog to cover it all, so I’ll just offer a few choice quotes. I looked them all up, just to be sure these people really said what they said.
So, let’s take a look at hypocrisy personified, and in a couple of cases, just plain old self-serving lies.
THE DEBT CEILING
In 2006, before the Senate, House, and President George Bush dug our national debt hole even deeper, then Sen. Barack Obama said:
“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government’s reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”
Yep, he said it. As I said, I looked it up. He also voted against raising the debt ceiling. So did Democrat Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid.
Flash forward to 2011. In President Obama’s prepared text for his address to the nation, we find this:
“I want to speak to you today about a matter of the greatest national urgency. We face a crisis unique in our history. This threat comes not from a foreign foe or bloodthirsty terrorists, but is no less dangerous and insidious. No, this challenge to the American way of life comes entirely from within. And the damage it could cause is as catastrophic as it is unnecessary.
“I am speaking about the looming deadline to raise the debt ceiling of the United States.
“On or about August 2, the government of the United States will hit the $14.3 trillion limit on its debt. Never in our 235-year history has the United States of America defaulted on its financial obligations. Never has Congress failed to raise the debt ceiling in a timely manner. Never has Congress put the full faith and credit of the United States in jeopardy.
“In an act of reckless and unprecedented partisanship, Republican leaders in both houses of Congress have promised to block the needed increase in the debt ceiling unless an ever-shifting — and escalating — series of demands are met. At a time when this nation is fighting two wars and slowly emerging from its deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression, only now are Republicans demanding trillions in spending cuts which would slow our recovery, cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, and undermine our social safety net. Republicans insist that any new revenue from any source, even by closing tax loopholes for the wealthiest individuals and most profitable corporations in America, is ‘off the table.’
“If those demands are unmet, the same Republican Party which drove this economy into a ditch will drive it off a cliff. That is irresponsible and unacceptable. Congress should pass the $2 trillion increase in the debt limit right now and with no preconditions.”
Uh, excuse me, but isn’t the president trying to have it both ways? Does he really think we’re too stupid to notice the hypocrisy and lies?
JOBS AND THE ECONOMY
I found the following two news reports about the newly released report on jobs and the economy. These are excerpts:
1. July 8, 2011 — NEW YORK (AP) — A rebound in retail sales and strong jobs reports pushed stocks near their highest levels of the year.
U.S. retailers had their best June sales results since 1999 as shoppers were lured into stores by warm weather and deep discounts. Kohl’s Corp., Target Corp., and Urban Outfitters Inc. each gained more than 6 percent.
Investors have been concerned that high gas prices would constrain consumer spending as people looked for ways to save money. The higher sales figures reassured markets that consumers were becoming more willing to spend again.
“The closest thing to an unadulterated barometer of our progress is same-store sales,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank in Chicago. Same-store sales for the 28 retailers who reported them on Thursday were up 6.9 percent. “Everything is tied to it: Sales drives profits, profits drive hiring and hiring drives sales. It’s a neat, virtuous circle.”
An improving job market likely helped. The number of people who made first-time claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week to a seven-week low of 418,000, the government reported. That’s a sign that employers are laying off fewer workers. [END]
2. July 8, 2011 — WASHINGTON (AP) – Hiring slowed to a near-standstill last month. Employers added the fewest jobs in nine months and the unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent.
The economy generated only 18,000 net jobs in June, the Labor Department said Friday. And the number of jobs added in May was revised down to 25,000.
The latest report offered stark evidence that the recovery will be painfully slow. Businesses added the fewest jobs in more than a year. Governments cut 39,000 jobs. Over the past eight months, federal, state and local governments have cut a combined 238,000 positions. [END]
Now, maybe I’m just dense, but these two “news” reports were filed by the same news organization on the same day. Do these people live on different planets, or what?
No, it’s simply the main-stream media being the main-stream media. Due to their little brains full of mush being filled with liberal lies from their leftist professors in journalism schools across the country, their first inclination is to view everything through the only prism they know; loony left propaganda.
Notice the information for the first article had just been faxed, along with their designated talking points, for a report issued on Thursday. In this one, using all the numbers but one, they paint a rosy picture that everything looks just hunky-dory, and all is well on Planet Obama.
In the second report issued on Friday, though, there was that pesky little jump in the unemployment rate. Hummmm … no way to get around that one. So, after all their usual loony-left reporting options were squashed, they had no choice but to report the truth, well some of it anyhow. Although they were forced to report that the number of jobs added in May was revised down to 25,000, they conveniently “forgot” to include the April figures. If you include those, the number of jobs added was revised down to 44,000 for the last two months, or about half of what was originally reported.
OK, we’ve looked at the loony left’s hypocrisy and lies. Now let’s take a look at old-fashioned stupidity:
President Obama’s senior political adviser David Plouffe said Wednesday that people won’t vote in 2012 based on the unemployment rate.
“The average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers,” Plouffe said. “People won’t vote based on the unemployment rate, they’re going to vote based on: ‘How do I feel about my own situation? Do I believe the president makes decisions based on me and my family?’ ”
Is this guy for real? Are you as speechless as I am? It’s like living in an alternate universe.
No matter how you cut it, this guy is REALLY stuck on stupid.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) recently delivered his maiden speech on the floor of the United States Senate. Following is the press release of the text of Rubio’s speech, from his Web site found at: http://rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=89db21c6-0b4a-4df1-b8ea-f1a4b17fb79e
Let us hope the Republican Presidential nominee doesn’t overlook this great American for the V.P. spot on the ticket!
Jun 14 2011
THE AMERICAN CENTURY
The Senate is a long ways away from where I come from, both literally and figuratively.
I come from a hard-working and humble family. One that was neither wealthy nor connected. Yet I’ve always considered myself to be a child of privilege because growing up I was blessed with two very important things.
I was raised by a strong and stable family.
And I was blessed to be born here in the United States of America.
America began from a powerful truth – that our rights as individuals do not come from our government. They come from our God.
Government’s job is to protect those rights. And here this Republic has done that better than any government in the history of the world.
America is not perfect. It took a bloody Civil War to free over 4 million African Americans who lived enslaved. It took another hundred years after that before they achieved full equality under the law.
But since her earliest days, America has inspired people from all over the world. Inspired them with the hope that one day their own countries would be one like this one.
Many others decided they could not wait. And so they came here from everywhere, to pursue their dreams and to work to leave their children better off than themselves. And the result was the American miracle.
A miracle where a 16-year-old boy from Sweden came here with no English in his vocabulary and five dollars in his pocket. But he saved enough money to open up a shoe store. Today, that store, Nordstrom, is a multi-billion dollar global retail giant.
A miracle that led to a young couple with no money and no business experience to open up a toy company out of the garage of their home. Today, that company, Mattel, is one of the world’s largest toy manufacturers.
A miracle where the French-born son of Iranian parents created a Web site called AuctionWeb in the living room of his home. Today, that company, known as eBay, stands as a testament to the familiar phrase, “Only in America.”
These are just three examples of Americans whose extraordinary success began with nothing more than an idea.
But it’s important to remember that the American dream was never just about how much money you made. It is also about something that typifies my home state of Florida: the desire of every parent to leave their children with a better life.
And it is a dream lived by countless people whose stories will never be told. Americans that never made a million dollars, never owned a yacht, a plane or a second home. And yet, they too lived the American dream – because through their hard work and sacrifice, they were able to open doors for their children that had been closed for them.
It is the story of the people who clean our offices here in this building, who work hard so that one day their children can go to college.
It is the story of the men and women who serve our meals in this building, who work hard so that one day their children can accomplish their own dreams.
It is the story of a bartender and a maid in Florida. Today their son serves here in the Senate, and stands as a proud witness of the greatness of this land.
Becoming a world power was never America’s plan. But that’s exactly what the American economic miracle made her.
Most great powers have used their strength to conquer. But America’s different.
For us, our power always has come with a sense that to those that much is given, much is expected. A sense that with the blessings that God bestowed upon this land, came the responsibility to make the world a better place.
And in the 20th century, that is precisely and exactly what America did.
America led in two world wars so that others could be free.
America led in a Cold War to stop the spread of, and ultimately defeat, communism.
While our military and foreign policy contributions helped save the world, it was our economic and cultural innovations that helped transform it.
The fruits of the American miracle can be found in the daily lives of people everywhere.
Anywhere in the world, when someone uses a mobile phone, email, the Internet or GPS, they are enjoying the benefits of the American miracle.
Anywhere in the world, when a bone marrow, lung or heart transplant saves a life, they are touched by the value of the American miracle.
And on one night in July of 1969, the whole world witnessed the American miracle firsthand.
For on that night an American walked on the surface of the moon, and it was clear to the whole world that these Americans … could do anything.
Clearly, America’s rise was not free of adversity.
We faced a civil rights struggle that saw governors defy presidents, that saw police dogs attack innocent, peaceful protesters, and that saw little children murdered in churches by bombs.
We faced two oil crises. America faced Watergate. America faced American hostages in Iran.
I grew up in the 1980s, a time when it was morning in America. Yet even then, we faced a war on drugs, we lost soldiers in Beirut and astronauts on the Challenger. We faced a devastating oil spill in Alaska and a terrifying new disease called AIDS.
Through challenges and triumphs, the 20th century was the American century. A century where America’s political, economic and cultural exceptionalism made the world a more prosperous and peaceful place.
THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY
But now we find ourselves in a new century. And there’s this growing sense that for America, things will never be the same. That maybe this century will belong to someone else.
Indeed, we do now stand at a turning point in our history. One where there are only two ways forward for us. We will either bring on another American century, or we are doomed to witness America’s decline.
Another American century is fully within our reach, because there is nothing wrong with our people.
The American people haven’t forgotten how to start a business. The American people haven’t run out of good ideas.
We Americans are as great as we have ever been. But our government is broken. And it is keeping us from doing what we have done better than any people in the history of the world: Create jobs and prosperity.
If we here in Washington could just find agreement on a plan to get control of our debt, if we could just make our tax code simpler and more predictable, and if we could just get the government to ease up on some of these onerous regulations, the American people will take care of the rest.
If this government will do its part, this generation of Americans will do theirs. They will give us a prosperous, upwardly mobile economy. One where our children will invent, build and sell things to a world where more people than ever can afford to buy them.
If we give America a government that can live within its means, the American economy will give us a government of considerable means. A government that can afford to pay for the things government should be doing, because it does not waste money on the things government should not be doing.
If we can deliver on a few simple but important things, we have the chance to do something that’s difficult to imagine is even possible. An America whose future will be greater than her past.
WE ARE HEADED IN WRONG DIRECTION
But sadly, that’s not where we’re headed.
We have made no progress on the issues of our time because, frankly, we have too many people, in both parties, who have decided that the next election is more important than the next generation.
And our lack of progress on these issues has led to something even more troubling – a growing fear that maybe these problems are too big for us to solve. Too big for even America.
NOW IS NO TIME FOR FEAR
Well, there is no reason to be afraid.
Our story, the story of America, it is not the story of a nation that never faced problems. It is the story of a nation that faced its challenges and solved them.
Our story, the story of the American people, is not the story of a people who always got it right. It is the story of a people who, in the end, got it right.
We should never forget who we Americans are.
Every single one of us is the descendant of a go-getter. Of dreamers and of believers. Of men and women who took risks and made sacrifices because they wanted their children to live better off than themselves.
And so whether they came here on the Mayflower, on a slave ship or on an airplane from Havana, we are all descendants of the men and women who built here the nation that saved the world.
We are still the great American people. And the only thing standing in the way of solving our problems is our willingness to do so.
AMERICA’S FATE MATTERS TO THE WORLD
And whether we do so or not is of great consequence. And not just to us, but to the whole world.
I know that now some say that times are so tough here at home that we can no longer afford to worry about what happens abroad. That maybe America needs to mind its own business.
Well, whether we like it or not, there is virtually no aspect of our daily lives that is not directly impacted by what happens in the world around us. We can choose to ignore global problems, but global problems will not ignore us.
You know, one of my favorite speeches is one that talks about our role in the world. It was the speech that President Kennedy was set to give had he lived just one more day. It closes with these words:
“We in this country, in this generation, are – by destiny rather than by choice – the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of ‘peace on earth, good will toward men.’ That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago “except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”
Almost half a century later, America is still the only watchman on the wall of world freedom. And there is still no one to take our place.
What will the world look like if America declines?
Well, today people all over the world are forced to accept the familiar lie that the price of security is our liberty.
If America declines, who will serve as living proof that liberty, security and prosperity can all exist together?
Today, radical Islam abuses and oppresses women. It has no tolerance for other faiths, and it seeks to impose its will on the whole world.
If America declines, who will stand up to them and defeat them?
Today, children are used as soldiers and trafficked as slaves.
Dissidents are routinely imprisoned without trial. They’re subjected to torture and forced into confessions and labor.
If America declines, what nation on the earth will take these causes as their own?
What will the world look like if America declines?
Who’s going to create the innovations of the 21st century?
Who will stretch the limits of human potential and explore the new frontiers?
And if America declines, who will do all these things and ask for nothing in return?
Motivated solely by the desire to make the world a better place?
The answer is no one will. There is still no nation or institution on this planet that is willing or able to do what America has done.
THE WORLD STILL NEEDS AMERICA
Ronald Reagan famously described America as a shining city on a hill.
Now, some say that we can no longer afford the price we must pay to keep America’s light shining.
Others like to say that there are new shining cities that will soon replace us.
I say they’re both wrong.
Yes, the price we’re going to pay to keep America’s light shining is high. But the price we will pay if America’s light stops shining is even higher.
And yes, there are new nations emerging with prosperity and influence. And that is what we always wanted.
America never wanted to be the only shining city on the hill. We wanted our example to inspire the people of the earth to build one of their own.
You see, these nations, these new emerging nations, these new shining cities, we hope they will join us, but they can never replace us. Because their light is but a reflection of our own.
The light of an American century that now spreads throughout the earth.
A world that still needs America.
A world that still needs our light.
A world that needs a new American century.
And I pray with God’s help, that will be our legacy to our children and to the world.
Mr. President, I yield the floor.
Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 07/01/2011
By Glenn Kessler
“I think we ought to go back to the people and the party that was the only party and the only people to balance the budget in 40 years. I hate to break it to my Republican friends, but that is the Democratic Party. We are the ones who did it. We did it when Bill Clinton came into office. We did it after hard work. We did it after painful cuts. We did it with smart investments.”
— Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), June 29, 2011
Each party in Washington seems to have their own narrative. Sen. Boxer’s comment above, from a long floor speech Wednesday lambasting Republicans for pushing a balanced budget amendment to the constitution, is a case in point.
In Boxer’s telling, the budget surplus that emerged in 1998 and continued for four years sprang forth from a critical moment — the passage of Bill Clinton’s 1993 deficit-reduction bill. For those who don’t remember, it was a cliffhanger vote in both houses of Congress, with not a single Republican lawmaker supporting it.
“Lucky for us, a lot of us are still here who made that fateful vote. We didn’t have one Republican voting for that budget, and when they came to the floor — I have all the quotes, chapter and verse–they said: This is horrible. It will never balance the budget. This is going to lead to a depression. This is the worst thing,” Boxer recounted.
Boxer added: “But we know what happened. We not only balanced the budget, but we had a surplus. We not only had a surplus, but the debt was going down so fast we thought we would never have to have Treasury bonds again. On top of that, we created 23 million jobs.”
But is that really what happened? Were Republicans — who controlled the House and essentially the Senate when the budget was in surplus in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001 — irrelevant to the process?
In February, Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker, in a valiant attempt to get a handle on the Badger State’s out-of-control spending and pay off the state’s deficit, proposed a budget bill that would curtail the collective bargaining powers of some public employees.
You’d have thought the sky was falling. Union members from all over the nation left their employment duties behind and descended upon the Capitol in Madison, protesting in the streets and taking over the Capitol building for days on end.
Mark Miller, the Wisconsin Senate Democratic leader, called the governor’s proposal a disaster. He and his fellow Democrats, along with union officials and protesters, predicted catastrophe if the bill were to become law.
Well, well, well … the bill is now law, and early evidence is showing that perhaps the governor just might know more about the benefits of fiscal responsibility than the Democrats, unions, protesters, and news media, who were quick to pounce on him as if he were proposing to end civilization as we know it.
Let’s take a look at just one tiny school district nestled in the beautiful Fox River Valley near Appleton. The Kaukauna School District, with a student population of around 4,200, and approximately 400 employees, has been struggling. It faced a $400,000 deficit this year.
The new law went into effect Wednesday. Already, school officials have enacted new policies that are estimated to turn that $400,000 deficit into a $1.5 million surplus. And guess what? It’s all because of the very provisions that union leaders, Democrats and protesters said would be disastrous.
Until now, teachers and staff in the district contributed 10 percent of their pay toward helping cover the cost of their health insurance. Until now, they made no contribution at all toward their pension plan costs.
Now, however, they’ll pay 12.6 percent of the cost of their health insurance coverage. That’s still a much lower rate than most of the private sector pays. Now, they’ll also contribute 5.8 percent of their salaries to the cost of their pension plans. These changes are estimated to save the school board about $1.2 million this year, according to board President Todd Arnoldussen.
Not a bad start for such a disastrous bill, huh? Looks like Gov. Walker is a complete failure in his attempt to rain down catastrophe on the educational opportunities of the poor children of America’s Dairyland.
Source: Washington Examiner …
Sound familiar? Huuummmmm?
By Michelle Malkin • June 30, 2011 06:43 AM
Good morning, readers. It’s 11:30am here in London and that massive, multi-union strike I told you about the other day is now underway. My family had planned to visit Westminster today, but it’s off the table now. I get enough of the Big Labor mob scene back in the States. No need to expose the kids to it during their vacation.
Speaking of kids, hundreds of thousands of them have been abandoned by their public union teachers who refuse to contribute a smidge more to their pensions like most every one of their private-sector counterparts: “More than half of schools in England are closed or partially closed as hundreds of thousands of public sector workers strike over pension changes. The government said information from 75% of its 21,500 state schools showed only a third would remain fully open.”
Also AWOL: 90 percent of the London police force. And airports are bracing for long delays and reduced security manpower.
Monday, June 27, 2011 | 13:45 PM
Author, Speaker, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
The legal, social, moral, and political maps of America were redefined last Friday night as the New York State Senate voted 33-29 to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. The State Assembly had already approved the measure, leaving the Republican-controlled Senate the last battleground on the marriage issue. Shortly after the Senate approved the measure, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law. It will take effect in July, thirty days after the Governor’s signature was affixed.
It will be difficult to exaggerate the impact of New York’s move to legalize same-sex marriage. The statistics tell part of the story. New York State becomes the sixth state to recognize same-sex marriage, but its population is greater than that of the other five combined. When same-sex marriage is legal in New York next month, fully one in every nine Americans will live in a state or jurisdiction where same-sex marriage is legal. By any measure, this is a massive development in the nation’s legal and moral life.
Monday, June 27, 2011 | 11:39 AM
Author, Speaker, Founding Director of the Center for Christ & Culture
A Study of History by Arnold J. Toynbee (1889-1975) is acknowledged as one of the “greatest achievements of modern scholarship.” Toynbee’s book, huge in scale, achieved wide prominence but he was more admired by the history reading public than by his fellow historians, who criticized him for contorting information to fit his alleged patterns of history. I suspect this criticism stems largely from the fact that Toynbee likely viewed the patterns of history through the redemptive theme of Scripture.
In A Study of History, Toynbee details the rise and decline of twenty-three civilizations about which he wrote, “Of these, sixteen are dead and nine of the remaining ten—all, in fact, except our own are shown to have already declined.” He did suggest then that we may have passed our zenith. Were he alive today he would likely move Western civilization into the category of those in decline.
Jewish World Review June 28, 2011 / 26 Sivan, 5771
By Cal Thomas
Something astonishing happened in New Jersey last week. A majority Democratic legislature and a Republican governor agreed on a measure that will cut benefits for the state’s 750,000 employees and retirees.
Like Wisconsin and other states that are being forced to deal with large budget deficits caused mostly by sweetheart deals struck in more
prosperous times between politicians who need votes and labor unions who deliver them, New Jersey couldn’t afford to go on like this.
The new law “will sharply increase what state and local workers must contribute for their health insurance and pensions.” And in a major whack at
rising costs, will also suspend “cost-of-living increases … raise retirement ages and curb the unions’ contract bargaining rights,” writes Richard
Perez-Pena in the June 23 issue of The New York Times.
Gov. Chris Christie’s administration estimates the deal will save New Jersey $132 billion over the next 30 years. That would be a real saving, unlike the Obama administration’s phony prediction of cost reductions with his national health insurance law, which is now being challenged in the courts.
By Katie Pavlich — 6/26/2011
A memo written by ICE Director John Morton and sent to all agents in charge, chief counsel, office directors and special agents, states ICE doesn’t have enough resources to deal with illegal immigrants who happen to be students, and therefore, they should have less of a chance of deportation due to the criteria used when making decisions about who will be deported known as “prosecutorial discretion.” According the the ICE memo: