‘Bumps on the Road to Recovery’ + More

Posted on Fri 06/10/2011 by

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The Patriot Post  Digest

The Foundation

“It is a happy circumstance in human affairs that evils which are not cured in one way will cure themselves in some other.” –Thomas Jefferson

Government & Politics

‘Bumps on the Road to Recovery’

A presidential limo hits a "bump" in the road

Americans are fed up with the economy as we head into Recovery Summer 2.0. Unemployment has edged back up to 9.1 percent, and consumer confidence is shaky at best. To most, it seems as if we have been running on a treadmill since the fall of 2008. That’s when economic calamity first provided leftists the opportunity to pass a series of bailouts and massive government giveaways, which, in turn, set a new federal spending floor and laid the foundation for the current budget crisis.

Barack Obama addressed the nation last Friday to calm worries about the economy. May’s job numbers, for example, represent merely “bumps on the road to recovery.” His chief economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, likewise sought to assuage fears: “Don’t bank too much of any one month’s jobs report. You want to look at a little bit of a trend to get a more accurate barometer.” He added, “There are always bumps on the road to recovery, but the overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past two years.”

That was Friday. By Monday, after only eight months on the job, Goolsbee announced his resignation, ostensibly to protect his tenure at the University of Chicago. Yeah, right.

Their public denial notwithstanding, the economic picture isn’t even close to what they promised us in the wake of the $830 billion “stimulus” and other Keynesian spending gimmicks. Amazingly, Goolsbee’s predecessor, Christina Romer, took the opportunity to call for even more government intervention. “The May employment report is further evidence that the U.S. economy needs additional help,” she said. That would be the same Christina Romer who predicted that the stimulus would keep unemployment below 8 percent. When that didn’t work, she too returned to academia at the University of California, Berkley. Maybe it’s time Obama got some economic advice from someone outside the Ivory Tower.

In fact, maybe it’s time Obama got some economic advice, period. According to The Hill, “At some point during the first two years of his administration, President Obama stopped receiving the daily economic briefing that he had requested when he took office.” Then-White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said at the time, “The president asked that this be added every day to his schedule.” He believed it was “important that each day he receive the most up to date information as it relates to the economy.” Surely there’s still time for an economic briefing while he’s searching for his ball on the golf course.

Meanwhile, the time it takes for an unemployed person to find a job is now nearly 40 weeks. For comparison, between 2000 and 2008, half of job seekers could find work within five weeks. And as The Wall Street Journal reports, “At this stage in the Reagan expansion, after a comparably deep 1981-82 recession, the economy was growing by 7% a year and the jobless rate was plunging. This time the economy is growing by less than 2%, and we still have 6.8 million fewer jobs than when the recession began in late 2007.”

But not to worry. As Joe Biden assured us last year, “No doubt we’re moving in the right direction.”

This Week’s ‘Braying Jackass’ Award

“We don’t know yet what happened in terms of this particular blip…” –Barack Obama responding to a question about last week’s dismal jobs report

Note to the RNC: Obama just gave you some great ad copy. “We don’t know…”

Hope ‘n’ Change: HHS Waiver Authority Questioned

The controversy over ObamaCare waivers became more complex this week when it was revealed that the law doesn’t grant the Department of Health and Human Services authority to issue them in the first place. HHS has issued 1,372 waivers to date, granting certain companies and non-profits an exemption from meeting ObamaCare’s employee insurance requirements for up to one full year. Companies have the option of renewing those waivers every year until 2014, when full compliance is expected nationwide. The waivers have drawn a considerable amount of negative attention because there is no publicly documented process for how recipients are determined. Not surprisingly, political favoritism plays a large part. Recall that a whopping 20 percent of the ObamaCare waivers granted in April went to businesses and organizations in Nancy Pelosi’s district. Coincidence, or cronyism?

Testimony before the House Oversight subcommittee on health care revealed that in 21 separate sections of the ObamaCare law, Congress grants explicit authority to HHS to perform certain functions, but the waiver provision clearly is not among them. Members of Congress have called upon HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to make public the process for granting waivers. She has not yet responded to the request. It may not matter, though, since a recent poll by McKinsey Quarterly reports that 30 percent of U.S. employers plan to drop their health insurance plans once ObamaCare is fully implemented. That comes as little surprise, but the White House was quick to counter the report with other polls that seemingly backed up Obama’s claim that people would be able to keep their current coverage. The White House hasn’t been accurate or even truthful about ObamaCare so far. We doubt they’re not starting now.

New & Notable Legislation

The House passed a resolution this week expressing disapproval with the Obama administration for failing to secure congressional authorization for military action in Libya. The vote was 268-145 with 45 Democrats joining all but 10 Republicans. The resolution does nothing to actively alter the U.S. role in Libya, which is ongoing but completely void of a stated objective.

The House attached an amendment to the Homeland Security funding measure that would block funding to any remaining ACORN branches or groups that are looking to reconstitute themselves in advance of the 2012 election. ACORN went bankrupt, but it’s restructuring itself by changing the names of its various initiatives that led to widespread voter and housing fraud. The measure passed 251-168, and the broader bill passed 231-188.

You have only about six more months to stock up on 100-watt light bulbs before the government ban goes into effect on Jan. 1. These bulbs, which have been perfectly suitable for close to a century, have been banned in favor of compact fluorescent lights (CFL) that provide less-pleasing light and are poisonous when broken, but supposedly can save the average home $50 a year in electricity costs. The Department of Energy made the Orwellian assertion that by outlawing the 100-watt bulb, they’re actually providing consumers with lighting choices. Two questions remain regarding this nanny state action. First, if the CFL is so great, then why does the government have to force people to use them? Second, where are the Republicans in Congress who can put a stop to this ridiculous law?

On the Campaign Trail: Wheels Come Off Gingrich Bus

On Thursday afternoon, Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign imploded when, as political analyst and former Gingrich spokesman Rich Galen put it, “More or less every staff member of the Gingrich for President campaign in D.C., in Iowa, in New Hampshire, and in South Carolina as well as the two senior staffers at Gingrich’s HQ in Georgia had packed up and moved out.” Gingrich’s campaign has had trouble from the start. The false start in March, the weak launch in May, the disaster on “Meet the Press” in which Gingrich took on Paul Ryan’s budget plan and drew the ire of conservatives everywhere. Then the former speaker was criticized for his exorbitant $500,000 line of credit at Tiffany’s.

After that, and just two weeks into his campaign, Gingrich decided it was time for a break, so he and his wife took a vacation — a luxury cruise in Greece. That seemed to be the last straw for many staff members. As Galen wrote, “The staff was made up of campaign professionals who wanted to run a professional campaign. Gingrich and his wife wanted to campaign where, when, and how they wanted; a different kind of campaign.” The problem, as he concludes, was, “The Gingrich campaign was like an airliner with no wings, no engines, and no landing gear. It was a different kind of airliner. But, it couldn’t get off the ground.” Gingrich vows to forge ahead, but his chances of success could be irreparably damaged.

From the Left: Putting Weiner to Rest

The unfortunately surnamed Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) is now facing calls from fellow Democrats to resign after he admitted sending obscene photos and messages to several women. When the story first broke of a dirty picture showing up in Weiner’s Twitter account, the congressman claimed that his account had been hacked, a serious issue for a sitting member of Congress. The FBI wanted to investigate, forcing Weiner to first walk back his claim, then retract it altogether in what many in the media referred to as a bizarre press conference Monday. Weiner admitted to sending illicit texts to several women, and he apologized to Andrew Breitbart, the journalist who first broke the news and was accused by Weiner’s office of manufacturing the story. Weiner included his wife (who, incidentally, is pregnant), family and supporters in his apologies, but then stated unequivocally that he had no plans to resign, since he doesn’t believe he did anything illegal. That remains to be seen.

If Weiner was using government resources on the people’s time to engage in his perverted little hobby, then he may very well face charges. We do know he lied about it for several days. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called for an ethics investigation, but her past record as a defender of even the most clearly guilty Democrats on her watch doesn’t bode well for objectivity. (Recall how Pelosi once railed against the Republican “culture of corruption” and repeatedly vowed to “drain the swamp.”) Still, Democrats are not eager to keep Weiner around after his well-publicized shenanigans. Even if he manages to hold on to his job, his district may be taken out from under him when the House seats are redrawn next year. New York will lose two seats, and Weiner’s politically shaky district could be one of them.

Why is it that some politicians can’t tell the truth when their sins are discovered, instead opting for the old CIA ops maxim: Admit nothing, deny everything, make counter-allegations? That’s a rhetorical question, of course; the reason is the pathological narcissism disorder that attends many political personalities. But if they lie this big about small things (pun intended) how big do they lie about BIG things?

This Week’s ‘Alpha Jackass’ Award

“Sadly, the Internet is the predator’s venue of choice today. We need to update our strategies and our laws to stop these offenders who are a mere click away from our children.” –Rep. Anthony Weiner in 2007

112th Congressional Directory

From the ‘Non Compos Mentis’ File

Our home state of Tennessee and its governing Republicans earn the “Non Compos Mentis” Award this week for enacting legislation that would ban “offensive images” from being sent to another person. We’re not advocating for emailing smut to unwitting (or even witting) recipients, but a new law passed by the Republican legislature and signed by GOP Gov. Bill Haslam makes it a crime to “transmit or display an image” online that might “frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress” to the recipient. Violators face up to $2,500 in fines and almost a year in jail. The picture need not even be of the “victim” to fall under the law.

The law updates a previous one regarding phone calls, emails and other communication in which the sender “reasonably should know” that the content might “cause emotional distress” to the recipient. Many of our readers have complained of “emotional distress” after seeing pictures of the president (believe us, we understand). Does that apply under the law? How about pictures of Mohammed? All kidding aside, the law is patently unconstitutional and state Republicans should know better.

National Security

Warfront With Jihadistan: Another One Bites the Dust

The U.S. military continues to roll up the enemy and run up the jihadi body count. Late last week, a Predator missile strike leveled a terrorist compound in the Wana area of South Waziristan, Pakistan, near the Afghan border. Nine members of the al-Qa’ida-linked Harkat-ul Jihad Islami, or HUJI, group were reportedly killed. Among the now virgin-bound terrorists was Ilyas Kashmiri, whom U.S. officials have mentioned as a possible successor to that famous SEAL food, Osama bin Laden. Killing Kashmiri is another major victory for the U.S. military, which thought it had liquidated him previously with a drone strike until Kashmiri resurfaced to give an interview to a reporter. Looks like the second time was the charm. Kashmiri was active in terrorizing Pakistan, was most likely intimately involved in the Mumbai terror attack, and was suspected of organizing jihadi operations in the U.S. and across Europe.

A U.S. terror suspect linked to Kashmiri related just how important Kashmiri was in the bin Laden chain-of-command. He said that Kashmiri had told him in 2008 that bin Laden was still in charge of al-Qa’ida. The informant further said that bin Laden gave orders personally to Kashmiri, who then passed the orders directly to al-Qa’ida and the Taliban. Clearly, we bagged another big fish. And given how close this kill was to bin Laden’s own demise, it’s reasonable to assume that the intelligence seized at bin Laden’s compound led us to Kashmiri. No doubt there are quite a few high-level terrorists who now find it ever more difficult to sleep, any time, anywhere. May the good hunting continue.

In related news, the U.S. has stepped up drone strikes on al-Qa’ida-linked targets in Yemen, a U.S. ally in the War on Terror. President Ali Abdullah Saleh fled to Saudi Arabia last week to seek medical treatment after his compound was shelled by rebel forces. The U.S. is trying to prevent those jihadi rebels from consolidating power.

Games Obama Plays

Immigration Front: Alabama Passes Tough Law

Alabama has now joined Arizona in passing tough anti-illegal alien legislation. ABC News/AP reports, “Alabama’s governor on Thursday signed a tough new illegal immigration crackdown that contains provisions requiring public schools to determine students’ immigration status and making it a crime to knowingly give an illegal immigrant a ride. The bill also allows police to arrest anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant if they’re stopped for any other reason. Alabama employers also are now required to use a federal system called E-Verify to determine if new workers are in the country legally.” Republican Gov. Robert Bentley called the law the toughest in the nation. Republicans in the state legislature crafted the bill in such a way that each part stands on its own should any other part be struck down in court. It will inevitably be challenged.

Naturally, the Leftmedia sought out its brethren in the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center for comment. The SPLC obliged, calling the law “clearly unconstitutional,” as well as “mean-spirited” and “racist.” The reason they say this, of course, is that the primary source of illegal immigration is Hispanics from Mexico and various Central American nations. Democrats plan to control the Hispanic vote (which used to be far more conservative) to the same degree they control the black vote — all by calling Republicans racists. Sadly, that sort of name-calling and demagoguery keeps race and racial hatred at the forefront.

Business & Economy

Income Redistribution File: What if Hope and Change Is All We Have?

It turns out that the disasters that are the federally backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have the government on the hook for $317 billion, not the $130 billion claimed by the Obama administration via accounting gimmicks. Given the steep decline in home values over the last four years, it’s doubtful the value of the assets that have their loans guaranteed by the government will ever fill the hole created by spendthrift lending policies. It’s money Uncle Sam simply doesn’t have and maybe couldn’t even borrow.

There are other signs of foreboding on the horizon. In the past there’s been a willingness by foreign investors to put their trust in the United States government by buying our debt. Over a 14-month period in 2008-09, for example, China increased its total holding of our debt from $573 billion to $1.175 trillion. Since that peak the Chinese have eased off the throttle somewhat to $1.145 trillion but, more importantly, they’re fleeing short-term Treasury bills and taking a longer-term approach. Still, they fret about the risk on their assets. Meanwhile, it appears that we’re bribing China and other debt-holding countries by sending them more than $1.4 billion in foreign aid — money we could use domestically to address our own needs.

Nor does the long-term debt situation look promising as Barack Obama and other big-government advocates have ladled on entitlement after entitlement to America’s seniors and government employees. The “official” annual deficit of $1.5 trillion pales in comparison to the mind-boggling $61.6 trillion (as reported by USA Today) in unfunded obligations promised by the federal government through Social Security, Medicare, and pensions for government employees, those being the largest contributors to that total.

In sum, we’re in a pickle of epic proportions. But Democrats castigate any effort at reform as balancing the budget “on the backs of seniors and the poor.” Tax the rich, they say, and make them pay their fair share. Yet rich nations — some made wealthier by our tax dollars — are paying their share in order to finance our debt. The question is how long they’ll do so before they start asserting their presence.

You may recall the recent riots in Greece, which stemmed from the dictation of their economic policy by foreign governments lending them bailout money. So imagine the strife in the streets here if Beijing starts determining policies, as it’s most unlikely they will have our best interests at heart. This is the direction America is heading without a change in course, but it’s unlikely that type of change is what Obama has in mind.

Regulatory Commissars: Pipe-Bombing the Pipeline

This week’s Doublespeak word is “independence,” as in independence from “foreign oil.” The supposed Holy Grail of leftists and tree-huggers everywhere, the term really equates to killing U.S. oil production in lieu of solar and windmill farms covering the planet. We’ll leave it to the thermodynamicists to point out the profound bang-for-buck disconnect between the “earth-friendly” options and oil (hint: they’re much like the difference between throwing a bullet and shooting one).

Meanwhile, a case-in-point is the 38-year-old Trans-Alaska Pipeline. This venerable 800-mile-long lifeline and energy conduit has guided over 16 billion barrels of crude oil to power American homes and vehicles, but it now faces the very real possibility of being dismantled. That’s right: As oil reserves from Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk River have steadily tapered off, the drop in flow has resulted in clogs and corrosion along the line, putting it in the target sights of tree-huggers everywhere. Increasing the flow of oil would remed

) in unfunded obligations promised by the federal government through Social Security, Medicare, and pensions for government employees, those being the largest contributors to that total.

In sum, we’re in a pickle of epic proportions. But Democrats castigate any effort at reform as balancing the budget “on the backs of seniors and the poor.” Tax the rich, they say, and make them pay their fair share. Yet rich nations — some made wealthier by our tax dollars — are paying their share in order to finance our debt. The question is how long they’ll do so before they start asserting their presence.

You may recall the recent riots in Greece, which stemmed from the dictation of their economic policy by foreign governments lending them bailout money. So imagine the strife in the streets here if Beijing starts determining policies, as it’s most unlikely they will have our best interests at heart. This is the direction America is heading without a change in course, but it’s unlikely that type of change is what Obama has in mind.

y this problem, of course, but that’s exactly what ecofascists don’t want. Rather, they want to shut the pipeline down completely. By law, if the pipeline is shut down, it must be taken apart, virtually killing any hopes of renewed Alaskan drilling.

In a sane world, renewed drilling would be the goal. With more than 60 billion barrels (BBL) of oil locked up in federally controlled areas — the ironically named National Petroleum Reserve Alaska (15 BBL); the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) (16 BBL); and the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas (30+ BBL) — renewed drilling would not only keep the pipeline open, but would also go a long way toward making the U.S. considerably less dependent on foreign oil. Unfortunately, for the Earth-First crowd, the idea is a non-starter. For the rest of the country, it’s a no-brainer.

Lobbying Congress to block drilling, suing to slow down execution of commercial leases and using the Environmental Protection Agency as a weapon of mass disruption in denying drilling permits, the green-at-all-costs congregation has mobilized to deter, dissuade and defeat efforts to provide any hope of energy independence to America. While gas prices continue their unrelenting climb, Team Obama continues to foot-drag on leases and oil exploration permits, not just in Alaska, but in the Gulf of Mexico (where ExxonMobil just announced a 700-million-barrel find) and everywhere else the U.S. has a vested interest in oil and energy.

If the trend continues, the fight over renewed drilling for oil in Alaska will be the least of America’s problems. When the farm combines and other population-feeding machinery stop, we’re pretty sure the American public will not be entertained by the apologetic answers and excuses made by renewable-energy wonks.

Of Cars and Administrations

Barack Obama made the auto bailouts the subject of his most recent weekly address, touting his administration’s work in “saving” two of the Big Three American automakers. However, even The Washington Post cried foul on Obama’s driving recklessly with the facts. In a fact-checker story, the Post said, “What we found is one of the most misleading collections of assertions we have seen in a short presidential speech. Virtually every claim by the president regarding the auto industry needs an asterisk, just like the fine print in that too-good-to-be-true car loan.” The Post called the president on a handful of misleading statements, awarding him “Three Pinocchios” for his lack of truth-telling.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government still owns 26.5 percent of GM, hence the pejorative “Government Motors” label the auto giant has been saddled with since its bankruptcy. So it comes as no surprise at all that the Volt, GM’s prize electric car, received the government’s top safety rating. We’re not suggesting that the Volt doesn’t meet the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s test requirements, but we are saying that the government’s large stake in the company casts a shadow over its high rating of a vehicle the Obama administration seems to be pushing.

FCC Relents on ‘Fairness Doctrine’

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski announced this week that the FCC will strike from its books the so-called “Fairness Doctrine,” which regulated political speech on the airwaves. It comes as part of the Obama administration’s charge for agencies to find and eliminate “antiquated and outmoded rules that unnecessarily burden business, stifle investment and innovation, or confuse consumers and licensees.”

According to Fox News, “The Fairness Doctrine has been on the books since 1949. The regulation sought to ensure that discussion over the airwaves of controversial issues did not exclude any particular point of view by threatening to strip the licenses of broadcasters who provide diverse opinions. At the time, only 2,881 radio stations existed, compared with roughly 14,000 today. The regulation was abolished in the 1980s, but the doctrine is still technically on the books.” Genachowski said he “fully support[s] deleting the Fairness Doctrine,” and we hope this puts the final nail in the coffin of this misguided regulation.

Far from “fairness,” the result of the regulation was to stifle conservative speech in the media. One need look only to Rush Limbaugh to see the evidence of this. His program started the year after the Fairness Doctrine was abolished, and conservative talk radio has flourished ever since, because the market wants it. Many Democrats had talked of reinstating it after the Tucson shooting in January because they blamed talk radio for inciting the violence. Such claims are easily demonstrated to be absurd, but when has that ever stopped a Democrat? Having the regulation scrubbed looks like good news.

Culture & Policy

Judicial Benchmarks: In-State Tuition for Illegals in CA Upheld

No legal status? No problem. That’s what a dozen states are telling students when it comes to getting in-state tuition at public colleges and universities. And the U.S. Supreme Court is apparently fine with this. On Monday, the High Court rejected an appeal challenging California’s policy offering in-state tuition to Golden State high school grads who are in the U.S. illegally. Attorneys from the Immigration Reform Law Institute had appealed the policy, saying “preferential treatment” for illegals violates a 1986 law preventing states from providing “any postsecondary benefit” to an “alien who is not lawfully present in the United States on the basis of residence within a state.” But au contraire, said the California Supreme Court last year, arguing that the state’s policy depends not on residency but on high school graduation. Attend a CA high school for three years and graduate, and in-state tuition awaits, regardless of residency.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the appeal doesn’t carry the weight of a ruling, but it does allow state policies to stand. In California alone, the cost to taxpayers is well into the tens of millions of dollars. According to the Los Angeles Times, more than 25 percent of those granted in-state tuition within the University of California’s 10-campus system in 2009 were thought to be illegal aliens. Yet while cost is certainly an issue, it’s not the main one. The real problem is that states think so little of enforcing the law — and the highest court in the land apparently agrees.

Village Academic Curriculum: Worst People List is the Worst

What do Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong have in common? Well, besides being communist dictators who murdered millions of their own people, both men were also excluded from the “Top Five Worst People of All Time” list that appeared in the yearbook of an Arkansas middle school. Who did make the list? Along with predictable suspects Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden and serial killer Charles Manson, former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney did. As James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal remarked, “This school must have really dumbed down its history curriculum.”

If parents in this country needed yet another wake-up call about what’s going on in their kids’ classrooms, this is one. The problem is two-fold: One, that these children are being taught that our former president and vice president are on par with mass murderers; and two, that the school administrators are so inept or unconcerned (more likely both) that they thought they could hide this heinousness under a crudely affixed piece of — we kid you not — black censoring tape. Either way, it’s a disgrace. One can only imagine if Barack Obama had been so unfavorably compared. Heads would be rolling.

The school administrators’ claim that “they don’t know” how Bush and Cheney ended up in the book is both pathetic and alarming. If this is true, what other goings-on are they missing?

And Last…

Things over at AOL don’t seem to be running as smoothly as chairman Tim Armstrong had hoped when he paid $300 million to purchase the lefty news site called The Huffington Post. The latter’s founder and CEO, Arianna Huffington, seems to be something of a control freak and ego-maniac. According to Newsbusters, “From the beginning, Armstrong submitted to Huffington’s every whim. She has been on a hiring binge for months, paying extravagant salaries to former New York Times, USA Today, and Forbes columnists. She laid off a number of highly qualified AOL writers to replace them with her own. She has entirely re-done the newsroom, even building a ‘nap room’ into the office. Huffington, who has been described as [a] headstrong ‘force of nature,’ is also not one to make compromises to please others. Forbes’s Jeff Bercovici describes her as ‘somebody who has demonstrated that she puts her own interests ahead of those of her partners.’ She even overrode her board members to accept the AOL deal.”

That’s just the beginning of it, but we’ll cut to the chase and say we’re awfully glad that AOL’s offer to buy The Patriot Post ended up being an April Fool’s Day joke. We’d hate to see Arianna Huffington take credit for our nap room.

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
The Patriot Post Editorial Team

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(Please pray for our Armed Forces standing in harm’s way around the world, and for their families — especially families of those fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, who granted their lives in defense of American liberty.)

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