Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Barack Obama - A Legacy of Deception and Destruction

I wish I could spend the aftermath of Barack Obama's final State Of The Union Address praising him for his public service.  Even I, a Classical Liberal, had high hopes for our first black president.  But I had studied him before he took his oath.  I knew his tactics would be Alinsky, his economics Demand Side, his government totalitarian, and his national security policy appeasement.  I have not been surprised these last seven years by Barack Obama.  What has surprised me is the degree to which the country has turned a blind eye and ignored Obama's deceptions and destruction.

If you've ever tried to build something, you'd know that it is much harder to build than to destroy. Demolition is the quickest part of any project.  Construction and rebuilding are slow and arduous. Ever wonder how Obama can squeeze in hundreds of rounds of golf, nonstop fundraisers, constant non-working vacations, endless campaigning, globetrotting, partying with Hollywood celebrities, and appearances on lightweight entertainment shows?  It's easy.  His project is not about building.  It's about tearing things down.  Demolition is easy.  You can do it in your spare time.  And if you deceive enough people, they won't even know what you are up to.

Here are the four main areas of Obama's deceptions and destruction as highlighted by his SOTU speech yesterday:

The Economy - The central deception of Obama's economic crowing is that he inherited a mess from George W Bush, he fixed it, and now we are on a path towards building a stronger economy.   Deceptions all.  He and the Democrats created the mess by advocating Demand Side socialist housing policies in the 1990s.  Democrats under Bill Clinton with an assist from Community Organizers like Barack Obama instituted those policies which redistributed risk from home buyers to the federal government and created a massive housing bubble that Ben Bernanke violently burst in 2006 under the hapless George W Bush. In the wake of the deceptions about this, Obama was swept into office only to double down on the destruction of any semblance of a free market housing policy.  Dodd Frank put the government firmly in control of all credit allocation, and today Fannie and Freddie own a larger percent of mortgages than they did in 2008.  National debt has doubled, workforce participation is at an all time low, growth is anemic, business creation is at a standstill, wages are stagnant, the poor are poorer, the rich are richer, The Fed and central banks call all the shots in the global economy, commodities are collapsing, and the world is reeling.

Whats more, new socialist bubbles have been inflated.  Twelve and a half trillion dollars have been borrowed from our children,  all student loans have been socialized, new socialist housing policies are being instituted daily, and even car loans are subprimed and bubbled thanks in part to the same kind of government pressure that led to the subprime mortgage disaster.  In short, the destruction of our once free market system is well underway.

National Security - President Peace Prize likes to crow that he's ended wars, got bin Laden, made friends with old enemies, and brought about an era of peace around the globe.  Every one a massive deception.  Wars have not ended, but expanded.  Our involvement has been reduced, but at what cost? The Taliban controls more of Afghanistan than at any time since 9/11.  ISIS has an actual Caliphate in Iraq and Syria complete with revenue, an army, and advanced weapons.  Death and destruction from ISIS are everywhere, including in the U.S. on an almost weekly basis.  Refugees have overtaken Europe and are flooding here as well.  Putin is on the march.  Iran is flexing it's newfound hegemony thanks to Obama's tragic trade deal sold as a nuclear deal.  The only democracy in the mid-east, Israel, is now effectively an enemy.   Every semblance of stability in the world has been destroyed by Obama's policies.

And Obama didn't get bin Laden.  Every one of the policies and actions that led to getting bin Laden were put in place by George W Bush and opposed - OPPOSED -  by Barack Obama.  His only contribution was to be warming the seat in the oval office when it all went down.

Political Tone - Obama sold himself as a messianic figure sent here to unite us.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  The Alinsky tactics are "Divide and Conquer - 101".  This has always been Obama's playbook.  He taught Alinsky in college.  He was an Alinsky Community Organizer. He has never strayed from Alinsky, not for one minute.  As a result we got Occupy Wall Street, Ferguson, Baltimore, Chicago, Black Lives Matter, open season on Cops, a weaponized IRS, demagoguery about Fox News, Tea Baggers, the GOP, bitter clingers, the NRA, religious people, the rich, the successful, non-union companies, etc.  The country has not been this divided perhaps since 1865.

Obamacare, which restructured almost twenty percent of our economy, was shoved down the throats of the country over the unanimous objections of Republicans and a majority of all Americans. Major transformative legislation had never been imposed in such a way without bi-partisan support. Ever.  In the country's history.  But Obamacare was just the beginning.  When Obama cannot sell a policy to the American people, or to their elected representatives, he simply executes an executive order as he's done on immigration, Obamacare modifications, guns, unions, etc. Any other president would have been stopped or impeached long ago.  But Obama is our first black president and he leverages it. He doesn't just play the race card, he lives in a house of race cards, and knows that no one will ever dare approach.

Which brings me to the final deception and destruction of Obama's reign - The Constitution.  Obama and his supporters were quick to tell skeptics that he was a big fan of The Constitution.  He'd studied it and taught it.  Why he was practically a founding father!  Yes, Barack Obama was an expert in The Constitution, but only in the same way that a bank robber is an expert in bank security.  He was casing the joint!  He had studied it's weaknesses, knew it's vulnerabilities, and knew how to destroy it.  Obama knew that The Constitution was a limit on what government could do, but he also learned that it was not self-defending.  The Constitution is not like the Ark of the Covenant in the Indiana Jones movie - it cannot smite those who seek to destroy it.  It is essentially a voluntary pact between the people and the government. Any determined totalitarian can easily run roughshod over it's weak defenses.  And Obama is nothing if not determined.

A great clause by clause analysis of Obama's willful destruction of The U.S. Constitution is contained in Senator Mike Lee's book,  "Our Lost Constitution - The Willful Subversion of America's Founding Document".   There's too much for me to attempt a summary.    

The success of Obama and liberalism to deceive and destroy is due to a cocktail of history and culture that will be a subject for historians and political scientists for generations.  But regardless of how we got here, the reality is liberalism, Socialism, anti-constitutionalism, appeasement, totalitarianism, and Alinsky tactics are the dominant political movements in America today.   The media, Hollywood, academia, TV, and pop music are all-in reflecting and amplifying this agenda.

Anyone, like yours truly, who opposes this zeitgeist is fighting a limited rear-guard action which is likely doomed to failure.  Unless, that is, we have a purely national security election or two, and I don't wish that on anyone because that would mean we are under imminent threat.  Is it any wonder then that a guy like Donald Trump is leading a primary race and that his strongest support is from disaffected registered Democrats



Thursday, January 7, 2016

Diet Facism

As everyone knows, the constitution mandates that every five years our government tells us what to eat.  So it is that we have a new directive from the Obama administration - the people who have done such an amazing job of making our entire federal government as efficient, trustworthy, and customer oriented as... The IRS.

Here is an executive summary of the 2015 dietary guidelines: link

Some of the key brilliance found within:

  • Saturated fats (natural) and trans fats (manmade) are treated as equally bad.  This defies logic and has been debunked thoroughly.
  • Unsaturated vegetable fats (many of which are highly processed) are the recommended fats. This also defies logic.    
  • Grains, half of which should be "whole grains", yet all of which are highly processed in the modern world, are still being encouraged as a staple.  This would be great advice in the old days when a farmer grew wheat and then had it ground locally and made into food soon thereafter. But in todays world of modern grain processing this makes no sense.   Grains labelled "whole grains" today are usually refined flours to which they have added back the germ and the bran in proportions unrelated to actual complete grains.  Consumers will be hard pressed to know whether they are buying complete grains or reconstituted "whole grains". 

  • According to the bureaucrats - who would never take the advice of sugar lobbyists - a healthy diet can include up to 10% of total calories as added sugars.  That's added sugar, not total! Total carbohydrates would be much higher given the recommendation to drink skim milk, eat lots of fruity things, and load up on pasta and bread.   

And we wonder why we have an ongoing obesity epidemic!

The fact is, governments don't do science.  Individuals do science.  Governments do consensus. Consensus is not science.  No one said this better than the late author Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park, Andromeda Strain, etc.):

I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.
Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science, consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.
There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.

Crichton was not referring to diet science here but it applies.  Governments are always telling us, "the science is settled".  They've been saying that about diet since 1977.  And yet, obesity rates in the U.S. have skyrocketed since then.   The original "Food Pyramid" that helped put the obesity epidemic on steroids in the 1990s is at the top of this page.

What are the odds these same consensus followers are right about any scientific matter?

If only our government would get back to the business of constitutionally limited government and leave the science to the few gifted scientists who can actually prove their theories.  We'd all be better off and much healthier.      

*If the subject of diet and science interests you, please check out my review of the diet documentary "Fed Up".  Link

Monday, January 4, 2016

Occupy Oregon

The hypocrisy of the Left is truly breathtaking sometimes.  Not that they have a monopoly on it, but they sure seem to have a Google-sized market share.  Take the current stand-off in Oregon where some rabble rousers led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy are trespassing and occupying an Oregon wildlife refuge in protest of federal land holdings, ranchers rights, or some such thing.  Lefties are all over the media (social and otherwise) mocking this petulant and pointless usurpation of public property.  Yup, those would be the same folks who were camped-out across America in public parks mirroring the Occupy Wall Street movement, which employed the exact same tactic to similarly useless ends.

Hopefully, unlike Occupy Wall Street, which resulted in lost lives, rapes, millions in destroyed property, and inconvenience for countless law abiding citizens, this Oregon tantrum will end with a whimper.    

Friday, December 18, 2015

Look Up, America

Think the above meme is over-the-top?  Think again.

Remember the IRS scandal?  The one where the Obama IRS was (and still is) targeting conservative groups and persecuting them with exemption delays, audits, and ridiculous document requests?  Well, one of the things they required of a particular Christian group was that they reveal the content of their prayers.
Meanwhile, just this week in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack we learned that Tashfeen Malik, the terrorist immigrant wife, had been posting jihadist material on social media but DHS had a policy that protected her privacy.  She was not an American.  She wanted to kill Americans.  Yet according to the Obama-ocracy, her imaginary right to privacy trumped the right of American citizens to continue living.

The average American knows nothing of this but can easily name every single member of the Kardashian family, and thinks it would be really neat to have a female president replace the first black president.

Maybe this is why the level of divisiveness and passion is so high for this election cycle.  Some see the headlights of a train coming, while others are mesmerized by the light gleaming off the shiny tracks.  

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Fed Finally Moves

Now that Janet Yellen and the Fed have finally gotten off the floor, it's time to review a brief history of Fed tinkering and its consequences.

Below is the Fed Funds Target Rates for the last 15 years.  (2010 -2015 = 0.0%)

During the period 2001 - 2004 the Fed lowered rates eventually down to 1% to boost a sagging economy and in response to 9/11.  This had an important side effect.  The already emerging housing bubble got a massive new injection of easy money.  The housing bubble was originated by alternative government mortgage policies dating back to the 1990s which upended thousands of years of sound lending practices.  This included mandates for Fannie and Freddie to buy the bulk of the new alternative mortgages.  Then came the Fed.  By lowering rates to historically low levels, the housing bubble was put on steroids.  Along with all the new easy Fed money came the mortgage derivative monster that Hollywood loves to focus on.  This was how the bubble got so big and so dangerous. Fed tinkering, no matter how well-meaning, played a big role.  But the real damage came when the Fed violently burst the bubble it helped create.        

Ben Bernanke became Fed Chairman February 1, 2006 when the Fed Target rate had already been raised by Alan Greenspan to 4.25% from 1%. The day Bernanke became Chairman, he raised the Target Rate to 4.5%, but he didn’t stop there. He kept raising until July 1, 2006 when the Fed Funds Target hit 5.25%. So from July 1, 2004 to July 1, 2006 the Fed raised it’s Target Rate from 1.00% to 5.25%, an increase of 425% in 24 months.

Imagine if food or gasoline went up by 425.00%! Can you picture the carnage?

What effect did all those rate increases have on the yield curve and why would that matter? Well, as most economists will tell you, nothing screams recession quite like an inverted yield curve (when long term rates are lower than short term rates).  Forcing a negative yield curve is economic poison.

In January, just before Bernanke became Chairman, the yield curve was essentially flat with a slightly positive bias, but that quickly changed. Bernanke’s first raise to 4.5%, resulted in a slightly negative yield curve and again, he kept raising the Fed Target all the way to 5.25% by July 1, 2006. By November 2006, there was a clear downward trend in yields. (see chart below).

Why did Bernanke's Fed keep raising interest rates in the midst of a housing bubble with a midterm election coming up in November 2006 and a yield curve already threatening negative by late 2005? Why did they persist and force the yield curve decidedly negative by mid 2006 thus throwing us into recession and crashing the housing market?  Only they know, but their tinkering turned a bubble into a financial crisis.  

The collapse of the housing market quickly inspired the Fed to lower once again - all the way down to zero this time.  That's where it's been for about seven years.  No President in Fed history has enjoyed an economy for his entire term boosted by 0.0% Fed funds rates as has Barack Obama.  So what side effects are we experiencing this time?

That's the funny thing about interest rates; the side effects of Fed tinkering only reveal themselves over time.  Consider this:  During the Obama presidency we have been able to borrow and print over $12 trillion including QEI, II, and III - more than every other U.S. president - combined!  We have financed that spending spree with cheap money that will not last.  When rates normalize, it will consume the federal budget in a way we have never seen before.  This government borrowing bubble will make the housing bubble seem like small potatoes in comparison.

Janet Yellen and Barack Obama hope they will be long gone when that happens.    




Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Is Islam just a Religion?

I do not take Donald Trump seriously, and have not since he entered the race.  Despite his consistent lead in the polls, I stand by what I wrote months ago :

Donald Trump is the Howard Stern of politics.  He’s a shock jock in a field of politicians who sound like boring newsreaders in comparison.  He opens his mouth and out comes ego, shameless self-promotion, outrageousness, braggadocio, and downright meanness towards his detractors.  But there are other things too which endear him to his audience.   He’s fearless, confident, unapologetic, and says things no one else has the cojones to say.   And he's entertaining.  In other words, he’s exactly like Howard Stern.  His fans are the same too.  Listen to them talk and you'll find yourself expecting them to blurt out “Baba Booey!” any second.  
Donald Trump is a serious candidate for President the same way Howard Stern was a serious candidate when he ran for Governor of New York in 1994.  Stern didn’t win.  Neither will Trump. 
That said, Trump does create opportunities for serious discussion as he has most recently with his seemingly extreme position on a pause in Muslims being allowed into the country.  The reason this is so controversial is that we have two definitions for Islam in the West.

If you deplore Trump's proposal, chances are you think of Islam as just another religion.  Every other religion in the world has its fanatics and orthodox observants.  Islam is no different.  Singling out a religion on any level seemingly violates the principles on which we were founded.

However, if you believe Trump's proposal deserves a fair hearing, chances are you think of Islam, particularly the Salafist variety, as a treasonous and murderous political movement inseparable from a religion.   Our constitution specifically defines treason as a crime and grants the legislature the power to deal with it accordingly.

In other words, everything hinges on one's knowledge of Islam and whether it is seen as just a religion, or as a treasonous political movement.  Neither side is crazy.  Neither side is being un-American. Neither side is morally inferior.  It is a disconnect based on different understandings of Islam.  A majority, including many Republicans from Dick Cheney to Paul Ryan, apparently define Islam as just a religion.  A minority believe that's naive.

I wonder how those whacky nut-jobs Thomas Jefferson and John Adams would see it given the recent power of Islam to project its power within our borders?

(Hat tip to The Wall Street Journal for today's "Notable & Quotable" column which featured the above Adams and Jefferson quote.)


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Obama, Guns, Islam, and San Bernardino

In a case of galloping irony, I picked-up my newspaper today and saw two stories on page one :  The massacre by Muslims in San Bernardino, CA, and the U.S. is set to lift sanctions on Iran.

Meanwhile, Obama's message after the massacre in CA was, of course, about...gun control.

So, over a hundred billion dollars goes to the people who desire nuclear weapons, ICBMs, and chant "Death to America", and law abiding Americans have their constitutional right to self defense taken from them.

Is it any wonder some people think Donald Trump would be an improvement?  I believe my labradoodle would be an improvement!

ICYMI, this one says it all:


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Syrian Refugee Problem - Part 2

In Part 1, I posed the following questions regarding the problem of Syrian Refugees:

  • Are the refugees fleeing a war?
  • Are they coming here for a better life?
  • Do we owe them a better life? 
  • Are they coming here to conquer us?  
  • Is coming here the best way for them to have a better life?
  • Can we know they are not terrorists?
  • Can we discriminate against refugees based on religion?
  • Does the West have an obligation to absorb every civil war torn population?

These Muslim refugees are not innocent victims fleeing a war.  There is no war in Kosovo, and the majority were Kosovars in early 2015.  Even now, the majority of Muslim refugees are from countries other than Syria and without wars.    

Of the minority fleeing Syria lately, the majority of them, 72%, are fighting age men.  And they are Sunnis, not the more endangered Christians and Infidels.  These men are the rebels who tried to overthrow Assad and failed.  If they stay, they will likely be imprisoned or worse by Assad.   Assad's ally, Russia, is now actively involved in the fighting and that is a game changer.  As Russia swooped in, the Sunni rebels swooped out.  It's that simple.  The Syrians who are seeking refugee status are fleeing a war they started and now have lost.    
And yes, most refugees are seeking a better economic life than the one they currently have.  They are aggressively seeking out countries that have the best welfare programs and job opportunities, which is why they insist on getting to Germany and the US for example.  

But, do we owe them a better life?  We have historically been very welcoming to immigrants in the U.S.  Much of this occurred before we became a welfare state.  Now that we are a welfare state though, it is increasingly expensive and politically divisive to welcome unlimited numbers of needy immigrants.

But these immigrants present a new question:  Are they coming to conquer us?  Islam has a word, hijrah (hejira, or hijra, etc.), which means emigration jihad.  In other words a holy war conducted through demographic overthrow.  The idea is to infiltrate the West and conquer it from within.  The history of Islam is replete with such conquests, many of them successful.   So yes, they seek to conquer the West.

If a better life is all they seek, is emigrating to the West the best way to achieve that?  A better way is to create a better life for them in their homelands.  It is actually cheaper too.  This seems obvious, but there is no will to pursue this in the West, or from those engaged in hijrah.

Can we know they are not terrorists?  Of course there is no way to screen terrorists, or potential terrorists from this wave of hijrah.  

Which brings us to the real question:  Can we discriminate against refugees based on religion?  This is really an interesting question when it comes to Islam because Islam is not just a religion - Islam is also a violent political system.  These two aspects of Islam are, in current practice, inseparable.

Of course in the U.S., we don't care which God you pray to or what holidays you observe.  But if your religion is hell-bent on denying others their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we ought to discriminate against you.  If your faith imposes it's ideology on others against their will, we ought to discriminate against you.  But the duality of Islam is a paradigm we cannot wrap our minds around in the West.  We are incapable of understanding the difference between a mere religion, and a religious political movement which incites violence.

The grey area in the U.S. is what constitutes "inciting violence".  Courts have given wide latitude for hate speech in the U.S. and even allowed some speech which clearly incites violence.  In other words, an Imam at a Mosque in the U.S. can basically implore his congregants to blow things up and kill thousands in the name of Islam, but as long as he chooses his words carefully, we cannot legally stop him.

Finally, does the West have an obligation to absorb every civil war-torn population?  When the option of engaging enemies abroad is taken off the table, and when we are unwilling to identify the enemy amongst us, we have painted ourselves into a dangerous corner.

This is how democracies commit suicide.