Sunday, August 7, 2011

Our Puerile President and His New Pinata - S&P!

Happy Birthday Messiah!

Jane is my trainer and I helped her get a gig in the hope that she would go easier on my tired bones!

Greetings, all,

Thanks to some wonderful networking courtesy of 'Me', I have an opportunity to perform with a really swell bunch of fellas in a band known as Savannah Stompers Jazz Band. We intend to treat everyone to some straight ahead Dixie Land jazz at the following special event:

Old Fort Jackson Auction & Low Country Boil
Date(s): Saturday, August 27, 2011
Description: Old Fort Jackson Auction & Low Country Boil
Old Fort Jackson
6:00pm - 9:00pm

This annual fundraiser for Georgia's oldest brick fortification and National Historic Landmark includes a silent auction, music (that's us!!), a low country boil, and programs for kids and adults.

Free admission
Food and concessions available to purchase

Savannah Stompers performs from 6 to 8pm. So swing on over if you're around, and you want to support the wonderful work of our Coastal Heritage Society, and it's not 100 degrees in the shade ... aren't you just a little curious to see what I look like in glad rags??
This from someone who had high hopes for Obama:"Obama is disappointing, and so is the whole Congress, particularly its Republican and Democratic leadership. I am going to Brazil tonight, and I know that my colleagues there will tell me that they used to have government like we have in the US today, but thank G-d theirs got better.

It is time for a new, pragmatic party to emerge."

My response was: "When are your declaring and I want to be your Secretary of Defense."
My sense is markets will be rocky over the near term and various Central Banks will craft solutions and will attempt to calm the troubled waters. However, in the log run what they do will simply make matters worse and delay the resolution of the world's fiscal problems.

As previously noted, our Fed has few options left and ultimately government efforts will exacerbate matters. The fact that we always look to government to solve the problems government largely creates is the first clue how dependent, desperate and clueless we have become.

It is the spending and crippling reulations stupid and if we cut much of the needless spending out and eliminate the inane regulations it will create some near term pain and suffering but in the long run will help restore our nation back to better health. The next thing is to overhaul the way government raises income.

I can think of nothing more positive than were Congress to do these three things and force Obama's hand.

Really does not take a brilliant economist or rocket scientist - just politicians of good will and guts who have the nation's best interest, not their own re-election, at heart.

Don't bet on this happening and that is why markets will continue to remain roiled and their direction downward.
At least humor provides a pressure release. (See 1 below.)
S&P becomes Obama's new pinata. In typical fashion Obama finds a new target to blame. Our puerile president. (See 2, 2a and 2b below.)
Asking a series of questions for our brilliant president. If jobs are so important to you now why do you continue killing them?

Obama is like a deer caught in headlights. He does not have the faintest idea what to do and is so ideologically comitted he remains comfortable in his own bathwater.(See 3, 3a and 3b below.)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1) Subject: Fwd: I did my part

While on a road trip, an elderly couple stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch. After finishing their meal, they left the restaurant, and resumed their trip.

When leaving, the elderly woman unknowingly left her glasses on the table, and she didn't miss them until they had been driving for about forty minutes..

By then, to add to the aggravation, they had to travel quite a distance before they could find a place to turn around, in order to return to the restaurant to retrieve her glasses.

All the way back, the elderly husband became the classic grouchy old man. He fussed and complained, and scolded his wife relentlessly during the entire return drive.

The more he chided her, the more agitated he became.

He just wouldn't let up for a single minute.

To her relief, they finally arrived at the restaurant.

As the woman got out of the car, and hurried inside to retrieve her glasses, the old geezer yelled to her,

While you're in there, you might as well
get my hat and the credit card.
2)Obama Administration Blames the Messenger
By Richard Baehr

The Obama administration wants to "pivot" to jobs. A bit late, I would say. They wasted a year pushing health care reform. That passed with zero Republican votes in the House and Senate, and about the same number of Republican ideas. When the Democrats controlled both branches of Congress and the White House, they shoved their approach down the throats of Republican in Congress, and an American public that opposed it then, and still opposes the legislation by a 3-to-2 margin.

There was not a lot of concern about a "balanced approach" to health care reform. That is why tort reform was absent, and HSAs and pro-competitive approaches were set back. Rahm Emanuel favored a much more modest, less costly approach than ObamaCare, one that assisted those who were uninsurable to get coverage. But Obama wanted something big, and he got it -- a big and bad approach that will raise health care spending by hundreds of billions a year, at a time when existing spending on government care programs -- on Medicare and Medicaid -- is threatening the fiscal future of both the federal government and many states.

Close to two-thirds of the financing for the new health care entitlement spending comes from new taxes on the wealthy (if you consider 200K a year wealthy). The Democrats never mention the new taxes in ObamaCare, since they do not fit neatly with their "storyline" of the need for a balanced approach and shared sacrifice. Taxes already on the book don't count; only new taxes represent the balance that is needed.

The Democrats had their spokespeople on the Sunday TV news programs to respond to the S&P downgrade of U.S. sovereign debt, and to provide the talking points we can now repeat from memory: we need a balanced approach to deficit reduction; that means revenues from taxing the ill begotten gains of millionaires and billionaires, oil companies, yacht and jet owners, and hedge fund managers. And by the way, they noted, S&P was a major contributor to the subprime collapse, and they made a two-trillion-dollar error, so they have no credibility. We now need to spend hundreds of billions more on jobs and to raise taxes.

The New York Times had its short list of suggested tax increases in an editorial Sunday: income tax rates for everybody, capital gains rates, a new value-added tax, a new carbon tax, higher gasoline taxes, and eliminating all the tax loopholes for corporations and wealthy individuals.

Perhaps the administration thinks it can create anger at S&P, and it can get flash mobs, or its allied union goons (once they are done intimidating people in Wisconsin) to come to New York State and threaten S&P executives in their homes. These S&P rating analysts are like Tea Party leaders in the "minds" of the left -- they are terrorists, financial jihadists, threatening the reelection of the president, and the progressive dream to remake America into a European social welfare state, at exactly the time the European nations are coming to realize they have over-promised, and can no longer afford that vision.

In my health care career, I made many presentations to rating agencies to get hospital bonds rated and answer questions about financial feasibility studies my firm prepared. The analysts were serious, and most of the time, I thought they got it right. Sending out political hacks to insult S&P this weekend is a sign of desperation by the administration. You don't win the future (to use another oft repeated talking point) with a downgrade of your debt.

The Bush administration did a miserable job with the nation's finances, running up over $4 trillion in new debt in 8 years. Obama will blow past that number in a bit over 3 years. The left cannot talk about Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security. They must be off the table, or they will lose the ability to demagogue Paul Ryan and the Republicans and scare seniors, deliberately ignoring the fact that Ryan's plan would not impact anyone over age 55. The Wisconsin congressman had the guts to offer a serious multi-decade plan to get spending in line with historic revenues on a glide path approach, without sudden sharp hits to anyone. This required addressing big entitlements, including the newest one: ObamaCare, whose spending pace guarantees future financial collapse.

We cannot be Germany or France as far as social spending, when our current health care costs are twice as a share of GDP that of other countries, even with gaps in coverage. The big health care problem is cost, not access. The best estimate was that 3 million of the uninsured were uninsurable. ObamaCare provides subsidies for more than ten times that population, creating a vast new middle-class entitlement.

Since the Democrats won't consider serious entitlement reform, we will spend our way to oblivion, and the average standard of living will be reduced sharply at specific future points when buyers of our federal debt decide to pass on new bonds, or demand much higher rates. We will get the kind of standard of living reductions now being enforced in Greece, and Iceland, and Ireland, and Italy.

For the record, I think the private economy is where the engine of job-creation exists. Government jobs are costly and make-work jobs are temporary. Ask Rahm Emanuel about the efficiency of unionized government workers, now that he has inherited the wasteland of the city's financial future delivered to him by Mayor Daley, who basically caved to union demands on wages, pensions, and health care benefits. As, for that matter, Governor Blagojevich did, ensuring Illinois's long-term decline in competitiveness.

For the record, I would eliminate pretty much all the noise in the tax code. Dump all the deductions and special-interest approaches to incentives for real estate or other industries (green jobs and alternative energy, oil and gas companies, hedge funds). In exchange, get a simpler tax code with lower rates that are permanent, for both individual and businesses, and which provide real incentives for work and investment.

A government that serves K Street is a tool of crony capitalism, and serves only the few. Piling on hundreds of thousands of pages of new regulations, issued by unaccountable agencies such as the EPA, will make Al Gore and Barbara Boxer happy, and also inhibit job growth. We can send hundreds of billions to the oil cartel each year, or extract our own resources in shale oil and gas, and create a million or more new private-sector jobs in the process.

The left trusts government to rearrange the wealth and income of society, and believes private industry is greedy and unfair. The left went crazy last week because the debt deal cut future spending by $2 trillion. But it did not cut spending. It cut $2 trillion from a schedule of $13 trillion in new spending, and $50 trillion in total spending. That is what a cut in government spending means. One angry Pennsylvania congressman, Mike Doyle, blurted out that "the other side won't let us spend any money." I guess $3.7 trillion in one year does not count as spending any money. Has a more ignorant comment ever been made by a member of Congress?

One out of every four dollars in GDP is now federal spending, up from one in five 3 years back. And then there is spending by cities, counties and states, another 15% of GDP. But the left says we need more spending -- extending unemployment insurance, some more shovel-ready projects (you know -- the ones that never got created when money from the stimulus was shoveled to the states to allow them to keep the unions happy and defer the day of reckoning for these spendthrifts). The left says to trust big government to get us out of the hole they dug.

Wouldn't you downgrade this mess?

2a)President Priss
By Mark Hyman

There has been no shortage of fawning and sycophantic descriptions of Barack Hussein Obama. His admirers and supporters on the political left and in the media (although I repeat myself) have showered him with numerous accolades and lavished him with countless superlatives. According to them, he is "the most," "the best," "most successful," "the greatest," and so on.

He has been called the most intelligent man ever elected president. Some believe he is literally a genius. Obama himself "always believes he is the smartest person in any room," according to those who know him.

In spite of these claims of brilliance, close examination of his remarks indicates he is of average intellect at best. In fact, analysis of his 2011 State of the Union address revealed his remarks were written at 8.1 grade school level, the second lowest of the 70 SOTU addresses delivered since the 1930s.

Underscoring his pedestrian intelligence are his college transcripts. He would have publicly released them if they were in any way flattering.

Perhaps most illuminating are those moments when he speaks without the use of a teleprompter, which are indeed rare. Obama uses teleprompters more than any president in history. He uses a teleprompter for routine introductions, 12-person cabinet meetings, and speaking at an elementary school. He even had the U.S. Air Force transport an astonishing 12 teleprompters on his trip to the U.K.

It is a disturbing spectacle to watch Obama when he goes off teleprompter. He can ramble on with a painfully long and convoluted response to a simple question, stumble over his very own comments or mix-up the living and the dead as he did with a pair of Medal of Honor recipients.

Yet, none of these shortfalls matter to Roger Simon of the liberal Capitol Hill newspaper Politico who proclaimed "Obama is the greatest orator of modern times."

His followers claim his personality rocks. An Air America talk radio host called him "charming." In the fairness of full disclosure, the radio host called him a "charming liar." But he is charming, nonetheless.

Some label him attractive, handsome. One New York Times columnist wrote that she dreamt of having sex with the president. MSNBC's Chris Matthews confessed about the creepy man-crush he has on Obama.

Everyone, including his critics, "must admire him" claims a foo-foo magazine article titled "How Can We Not Love Obama?"

Let us be realistic. Most would agree Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Denzel Washington are handsome. So are Blair Underwood and Jude Law. But not Obama. The tall and lanky Obama with his prominent jug ears can best be described as the post-adolescent Steve Urkel minus the oversized plastic rim glasses.

Caroline Kennedy likened Obama to her father, John Kennedy. Others have compared him to Superman and God. Yes, God. The then-Managing Editor of Newsweek magazine, Evan Thomas, said, "Obama is sort of a god."

On the rational side of humanity is the Internet firm Jib-Jab, which developed animation that satirized the silliness of likening Obama to a superhero. It is worth watching.

National Public Radio speculated Obama may be the "most athletic president ever." (Should any compliment of Obama surprise anyone coming from one of the nation's most partisan media outlets?) The most athletic? Really? In fact, there is no evidence he posesses anything more than of barely average athleticism.

True, he plays dozens of rounds of golf each year. Two rounds a weekend are not uncommon. We hear about it but, America is not allowed to actually watch him play. A witness to his driving abilities described his golfing skills as similar to that of comedian Tim Conway's character, Dorf.

We are not permitted to see him play a game of basketball. That, too, is off-limits to the press. However, we have been treated to him taking a jump shot (well inside the two-point arc) while on a visit to Kuwait where he canceled an opportunity to visit wounded troops.

We are told to merely accept he is great on the court and the links.

New York Times columnist David Brooks thought Obama was presidential timber as early as 2005 because of "his perfectly creased pant." (Brooks is the faux conservative on the New York Times staff. He is journalism's equivalent to the Washington Generals basketball team, the perennial losers to the Harlem Globetrotters.)

Who knew that fashion sense was just as important a qualification for the office of the President as it is to determine America's Next Top Model? Apparently it is for New York Times columnists.

Obama is a fashionista, claim his followers. He has been lauded as "amongst the best dressed men in the world" for his typical daily wardrobe of a Navy suit with plain white shirt and a solid colored necktie. If only the previous 43 presidents could have dressed as nicely.

According to the Nobel committee, he is the paragon of passivism, earning him the committee's 2009 Peace Prize. This was after he tripled U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan and authorized more drone strikes in a year than Bush did in eight years but, before he launched America into an unprecedented third simultaneous war (in Libya).

Notwithstanding the worst job market since the Great Depression, world-record deficits and national debt and a sluggish economy that continues to stall, Obama believes he is the most successful president in half a century.

Michelle Obama has called him her "baby's daddy," a term a bit too ghetto for the liking of some.

Some have claimed he is Kenyan by birth or of Indonesian citizenship. Others allege he posesses a Social Security number issued to a resident of Connecticut.

All that aside, the most accurate and descriptive term for him is priss. Yes, Barack Obama is a wuss, a veritable pantywaist.

Let us examine the facts.

He cannot perform one of most basic American pastimes: bowling. Everyone (aside from those who live in New York, LA and Washington, DC) has bowled at least once in their life. And virtually any first-time bowler can manage better than the score of 37 (out of 300) that Obama bowled in 2008. Not a single boy in my son's Cub Scout day of bowling managed a score of less than 70. No less than an MSNBC host likened Obama's bowling skills to that of a little girl. At last check, that MSNBC host is still employed.

Ronald Reagan chopped firewood for relaxation, George W. Bush cleared brush and worked on his ranch while on vacation and Bush's father parachuted out of a plane -- both during combat and as an octogenarian to prove he could do it even if the plane was not engulfed in flames. On the rare occasion, Bill Clinton would eke out a slow and plodding jog. Even the hapless Jimmy Carter pounded nails on behalf of Habitat for Humanity.

However, no such rugged activity exists for Obama.

We have photographic evidence he has ridden a bike. A girl's bike at that. While he was wearing blue jeans. And they appear to be designer jeans. Plus, he wears "a helmet that could make Michael Dukakis blush." The only thing missing (aside from him riding an actual man's bicycle) are the handlebar streamers and woven basket adorned with a plastic daisy.

Contrast this with George Bush on a mountain bike on a 100 km ride through formidable Texas scrubland accompanied by wounded servicemen and women.

Bush looks like a commander-in-chief. Obama? He definitely looks like the pantywaist-in-chief poised to ring his bicycle bell (ching, ching).

Even the effete and haughty John Kerry perched atop a man's bike looks to be absolutely masculine in contrast to the scrawny Obama.

For entertainment, presidents take in baseball games. Obama goes to Broadway.

Speaking of America's pastime, Obama has thrown a first pitch at a ball game. He throws like a girl.

He drinks beer in a very effeminate way. He doesn't grasp a beer glass with his entire hand as most men do. Instead, he uses his fingertips to hold the glass and he extends his pinky into the air. He drinks this way every single time.

When addressing the hardships affecting the family budget, most guys would discuss mortgages, paying utility bills or making the car payment. When discussing the challenges facing America's farmers, images of operating tractors and other farm equipment might come to mind. Obama thinks differently. For both families and farmers, he frets over the retail price of arugula.

When choosing among television programs on which to appear he ignored traditional hard news outlets and opted to appear on "The View." One reviewer of Obama's visit to daytime talk television observed that "the thing that caught the eye was how the president crosses his legs just like a woman when seated."

No doubt, he is more likely to curl up on the sofa to watch a DVD of "Hope Floats," "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," or "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-ya Sisterhood" then he would be to watch an action film or anything starring Clint Eastwood (except maybe "The Bridges of Madison County.")

Make no mistake. Barack Obama is no alpha male with a commanding physical presence, who is secure in his manliness and supremely confident in himself.

Barack Obama is the beta male.

He's embarrassed about his heritage. He told us in the book Dreams from My Father that his name Barack is Arabic but, when he spoke at the 2004 Democrat Convention he claimed it was African.

He is extremely secretive about his past and his few life's accomplishments.

He refuses to release his college transcripts or papers. Or show us his passport.

He is incredibly thin-skinned.

He has a strong dislike for pick-up trucks and SUVs.

He talks tough but has never been known to confront anyone without an entourage of bullies to back him up such as SEIU thugs or the Nancy Pelosi-led House Democrat caucus. He brings to mind the 13-year Australian boy who was forever picking on another student as long as his middle school gang was nearby.

No one knows for certain which brand of cigarettes Obama smokes. His wife mentioned during his 2004 Senate campaign that he smoked Marlboros. There are also reports he smokes less-manly Newport 100s and other menthol cigarettes.

Obama's main muscle in the White House during the first two years was a former ballet dancer. True dat.

He celebrated raising the national debt limit with his staff by eating at a Capitol Hill Restaurant. Rather than slathering his cheeseburger with ketchup and yellow mustard, Obama instead applied Dijon. No word if he also substituted arugula for lettuce.

Obama's official nickname is revealing. President Ronald Reagan had the Secret Service code name of "Rawhide." For George H.W. Bush it was "Timberwolf." Bill Clinton was named "Eagle" and George W. Bush was called "Trailblazer." Obama's most fitting nickname came courtesy of foreigners.

The British, who have historically taken joy in poking fun at American arrogance, may have exacted revenge against Obama for his having shipped back the bust of Winston Churchill that was given to the U.S. following the September 11th terrorist attacks. The British police gave Obama the nickname "Chalaque" during his 2011 visit to the United Kingdom. It is a Punjab word meaning "smart alec." There is no known Punjab word for "pantywaist." If there were, no doubt the British would have labeled Obama with it.

Mark Hyman hosts "Behind the Headlines," a commentary program for Sinclair Broadcast Group.

2b)Facts? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Facts
By Arnold Ahlert

Comedians Penn and Teller have a show call “Bulls**t!” which runs every so often on the Showtime cable network. The purpose of the show is to expose fraudulent ideas or thinking in an amusing way. The one I watched was about organic vegetables and whether or not they were any better than non-organic ones. The show, using both anecdotes and scientific evidence demonstrated pretty convincingly that they’re not. But the anecdotes revealed something profound about the way people think—or more accurately how some people allow feelings to completely over-ride reason.

First it should be noted that most organic food costs considerably more than non-organic food does. In the overwhelming majority of economic transactions, a higher price for something can be assumed to mean one of two things: a higher degree of scarcity, or a superior degree of quality. In terms of the former, the show blew a big hole in the cherished idea that “community” farms were the only ones producing organic vegetables. Turns out Big Agra knows a market when it sees one, and such “evil” corporations are more than willing to cash in. Also, 20 percent of organic food is grown in China, a country famous for their “quality” control.
In terms of the latter, an equally large hole was blown in the idea that organic foods were healthier, or that their methods of production were more “earth-friendly.” Not only that, but it was revealed that if organic farming methods were adopted worldwide, two billion people would starve.

But all of the science paled in entertainment value to the taste test segments of the show. That’s the part where the dedicated “save the earth” crowd was asked to choose between two plates of vegetables or fruit and tell the presenter which one was organic. Time after time, people convinced organic foods were better, chose non-organic foods as their preferred choice in terms of looks and more importantly taste, by an 80-90 percent margin. Yet when asked by the presenter if this new information would cause them to re-consider their buying habits, virtually everyone them said they would continue to buy organic products.

But it gets even better. In one hilarious segment, the presenter cut a banana in half, told people one half was organic and asked people which half tasted better.
One woman who claimed her entire diet consisted of raw fruit and vegetables, was especially effusive regarding how much better the organic half of the banana tasted. When the truth was revealed, the tester asked the woman if she still thought organic food was superior. She answered yes—and somewhat belatedly admitted such feelings might be “psychological.” In other words, facts be damned, I just like feeling good about what I believe in.

You wanna know why I’m a conservative? Because the above anecdotes represent the essence of progressive thinking.

For progressives, it doesn’t matter that the country’s economy is going to hell in a handbasket, that we’re borrowing forty cents of every dollar we spend, that we’ve just upped the ante on the national debt from $14 trillion-plus to $16 trillion-plus, or that we’re headed for national bankruptcy.

It doesn’t matter that our soldiers are fighting wars with one hand tied behind their backs in order to “win the hearts and minds” of people who despise us, or that we’re sitting on top of more energy than any other country on the planet, even as we send billions of dollars to the very same people who despise us. It doesn’t matter that we’re well on our way to making the nuclear family extinct, or that we’re allowing millions of people who snuck into the country to live among us like they’re entitled, or that the housing market was destroyed when government forced banks to lend money to people who would never pay it back.

Those are the facts, and facts be damned. Progressives just like feeling good about what they believe in.

Thus, it completely eludes progressives why companies refuse to hire, or ship jobs overseas at every opportunity. In prog-world, companies exist primarily to re-distribute wealth, not make a profit or turn out a product. In prog-world, every business owner is suspect until proven otherwise, even as thousands of rules and regulations must be substituted for common sense and common decency.
In prog-world, those with a “superior” sense of insight, aka government bureaucrats, academic “intellectuals,” and self-aggrandizing media hacks must over-ride the sensibilities of millions of Americans acting in their own self-interest. Self-interest which is characterized as mean-spirited, thoughtless, cruel or religiously “fanatic.”

Anyone who challenges such wisdom? The prog word du jour is “terrorist.” But not used to describe actual baby-killing, strap-on-the-dynamite suit, all-Jews-are-ape-and-pigs kind of person. He’s an “insurgent.” A terrorist is a person who thinks spending forty percent more than the government takes in is insane. A terrorist is a person who thinks people who swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution ought to adhere to what that document specifically says about what government should or shouldn’t do. A terrorist is a person who looks at the carnage wrought by the socialist/marxist societies throughout the course of history and doesn’t understand that only reason such carnage occurred was because the wrong people were in charge.
Who are the “right” people? The folks who fervently believe that one half of the same banana is better than the other one.

I’ve got a hot flash for the banana-heads: the “terrorists” have no interest in underwriting your socialist utopia. They have no interest in substituting good feelings for hard truths. And while there may be many things you can force someone to do, one of them isn’t starting a business, or expanding one already in existence. Not that is hasn’t been tried. Every totalitarian society that ever existed yoked men to labor. And every one of them discovered coerced labor produces dismal results.
America’s wealth-producing class is essentially on strike. And they’re more than likely to remain so as long as progressives continue to insist that the stoking of envy, class warfare and guilt is a viable substitute for providing people with incentive. It is not and it never will be. Those are the facts.

And all the self-righteous feelings in the world won’t change them.

A final note: I wrote most of this before S&P downgraded the U.S. credit rating. Note what happened almost immediately: S&P got hammered by the Obama administration for having the temerity to notice government spending is completely out of control. When “kill the messenger” is your best line of defense, you’re out of ideas.
Here’s two ideas, Mr. president: one, give up the ghost on your tedious and ultimately destructive allegiance to re-distributionist Marxism, masquerading itself as Keynesian stimulus. It hasn’t “created or saved” anything other than government budgets and public sector unions. Those priorities demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that getting re-elected, rather than fixing the economy, is your first priority. Second, show Tim Geithner the door. His credibility, highlighted by his assurance in April that the U.S. would never get a ratings downgrade, is completely gone. He should be completely gone as well.

Perhaps he can get a job selling organic vegetables.
3)Today’s Questions for the President
By Peter Kirsanow

You’re embarking on a “job creation” bus tour next week.
Will your itinerary include a stop in Minnesota, where one company alone must cut 1,000 jobs because of Obamacare’s 2.3 percent tax on medical devices? Have you given any thought to taking a detour to Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, where an estimated 13,000 jobs were lost due to your administration’s moratorium on offshore oil drilling? Or how about Charleston, South Carolina, where the NLRB is challenging Boeing’s decision to build a plant that employs more than a thousand workers?

If you’re interested in finding out why there’s been no appreciable job creation during your administration, why not save the bus fare and just jog four blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue and pay a visit to the EPA, followed by a quick walk over to the NLRB at 14th and K, and then take a brief saunter to Independence Ave., where the Department of Health and Human Services is in the process of implementing Obamacare?

3a)Malpass: Damaging Economic Policies to Continue
By Forrest Jones

The U.S. may be upset over Standard and Poor's decision to strip it of its AAA rating but will likely stick with the fiscal and monetary policies that got the country in trouble in the first place, says David Malpass, president of Encima Global and former deputy assistant Treasury secretary in the Reagan administration.

The White House says Standard and Poor's made a $2 trillion "error" when assessing its rating.

Even if Standard and Poor's uses White House math, the problem remains that U.S. debt-to-GDP ratios are worse than other countries with AAA ratings, and that's tough to correct, Malpass writes in a Washington Times column. (There are 18 sovereign entities with S&Ps top rating in all, including Hong Kong and Australia.)

"The problem is that our current federal spending system has few effective controls. The Constitution was amazingly farsighted but didn’t envision a government so successful and jaded that it could ever borrow $100 billion, much less $20 trillion as now envisioned," Malpass says.

"Washington benefits from more spending and doesn’t want it to stop. Making matters worse, an offshoot of the flawed 1974 Budget and Impoundment Act makes it a felony for executive branch officials to spend less than Congress appropriates, no matter how wasteful or misguided a program."

Moody's, another major ratings agency, has not downgraded the U.S., but says it may do so if the U.S. doesn't address its deficits.

"For the AAA rating to remain in place, we would look for further measures that would result in the ratio of federal government debt to GDP, for example, peaking not far above the projected 2012 level of near 75 percent by the middle of the decade, and then declining over the longer term," Moody's analyst Steven Hess writes in a report, according to Reuters.

© Moneynews. All rights reserved.

3b)10 key reasons why the Obama presidency continues to melt down
By Nile Gardiner

In August last year I published a list of ten key reasons why the Obama presidency was in serious decline. This is a sequel to that post, which was one of the most read pieces on The Telegraph website in 2010. Twelve months on, the outlook continues to look exceedingly bleak for President Obama, with no sign of a recovery.

July was the worst month for the Obama presidency since the November mid-terms which saw his party emphatically drubbed in Congressional elections across the country. The president hit an all-time low with a Gallup poll at the end of the month giving him just 40 percent approval, with his rating among independents plummeting to just 34 percent. The outlook became even worse at the start of August, with dramatic falls in the stock market, and the historic decision by credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s to downgrade America’s debt.

As the latest RealClear Politics average of polls shows, less than a quarter of Americans believe the country is moving in the “right direction,” a damning indictment of the first 30 months of the Obama presidency. According to Rasmussen, that figure is as low as 14 percent, the lowest level of public confidence since November 2008.

I’ve outlined below ten key reasons why the Obama presidency continues to flounder, after a very short-lived bounce in the spring.

1. Obama isn’t trusted on the economy

A series of recent polls have demonstrated significant public discontent with President Obama on the economy, the number one issue for US voters. A Washington Post/ABC News survey in late July reported that 57 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy, 60 percent disapprove of his handling of the federal budget deficit, and 52 percent are unhappy with the president on job creation. A July 21 poll for Gallup showed US economic confidence plunging to its lowest level since March 2009, with just 26 percent of Americans saying the economy is “getting better.” According to Gallup, more than two thirds of Americans now say the economy is “getting worse.” The latest Rasmussen survey shows consumer confidence “just one point above the lowest levels of the last two years” with investor confidence “down nine points from a week ago, down 12 points from a month ago, and down 29 points from three months ago. Investor confidence has not been lower since March 13, 2009.”

2. Obama isn’t serious about the budget deficit

That’s certainly the opinion of credit agency Standard and Poor’s, which downgraded America’s AAA credit rating for the first time in 70 years, in early August. As the Congressional Budget Office revealed in a January report, the deficits generated by the Obama administration are the largest since the end of World War Two, after two years of unchecked and out of control federal spending. And as I noted in a piece on the S&P decision last week:

Since President Obama took office in January 2009, the United States has embarked on the most ambitious failed experiment in Washington meddling in US history. Huge increases in government spending, massive federal bailouts, growing regulations on businesses, thinly veiled protectionism, and the launch of a vastly expensive and deeply unpopular health care reform plan, have all combined to instill fear and uncertainty in the markets.

3. Obama’s foreign policy remains a weak-kneed and confusing mess

US foreign policy under President Obama remains a staggering mess. With a policy of “leading from behind”, Washington’s approach towards the war in Libya has been a sea of dithering and contradiction, with no discernible end goal in sight. The Obama administration has acted like a deer in the headlights in the face of momentous changes in the Middle East, and was caught napping by developments in both Egypt and Syria. In the face of the Iranian nuclear threat, the United States has been largely passive, content to pursue a foolhardy policy of engagement while Tehran edges closer to building a nuclear weapon. Over in Europe, the Russian reset has emboldened Moscow, while undermining key allies in eastern and central Europe. Obama has paid scant attention to the transatlantic alliance, weakening the Special Relationship with Britain, and sleepwalking while NATO declines. It is difficult to think of a US foreign policy that could be more ineffective that the one pursued by this administration, with the hardly surprising result that confidence in US leadership has dramatically fallen across the world since Obama took office.

4. Independents are deserting the president

In contrast to Bill Clinton, who moved to the centre after the emphatic Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 1994, Barack Obama has shown little inclination to do so. This is a rigidly ideological presidency with a distinctly left-wing vision and agenda. Unsurprisingly, independents have been deserting Obama in droves, a huge cause for concern for the White House as it looks to November 2012.

A Gallup survey at the end of July found just 37 percent of independents backing Obama, his lowest level of support from this group since he took office, a fall of ten points since the end of May, and down from 62 percent at the start of his presidency. A Pew Research Center survey, conducted in late July, also showed a dramatic drop in support for the president among registered independent voters, with significant implications for the presidential elections. As Pew noted in its report:

The sizeable lead Barack Obama held over a generic Republican opponent in polls conducted earlier this year has vanished as his support among independent voters has fallen off. Currently, 41% of registered voters say they would like to see Barack Obama reelected, while 40% say they would prefer to see a Republican candidate win in 2012. In May, Obama held an 11-point lead.

This shift is driven by a steep drop-off in support for Obama among independents… just 31% of independent voters want to see Obama reelected, down from 42% in May and 40% in March. Where Obama held a slim 7-point edge among independent registered voters two months ago, a generic Republican holds an 8-point edge today.

5. A majority of Americans still reject Obamacare

President Obama has stubbornly refused to back down over his hugely costly health care reform plans, commonly dubbed “Obamacare”, despite significant public opposition to them. In many ways, Obamacare is a political albatross around Obama’s neck as he heads towards 2012. The RealClear Politics average for May to July has 50.8 percent of Americans opposed to Obamacare, with just 38.6 percent in favour. Rasmussen, which tracks the issue closely, has the level of opposition to Obama’s health reforms running currently at 55 percent. CNN’s most recent polling in June placed public opposition at 56 percent. Strikingly, out of 50 polls conducted on Obamacare since the start of 2011 and listed by RealClear Politics, only two (Rasmussen in January and Gallup in March), show more support than opposition for the president’s plan.

6. The Obama presidency looks increasingly out of touch with the American people

There is a disturbing let them eat cake mentality projected by the Obama White House, whether the president is advocating higher taxes in the face of a possible double dip recession, or hosting elaborate parties while 45 million Americans depend on food stamps. No US presidency in modern times has been more elitist or out of touch than the present one, which exudes the kind of condescending left-wing snobbery that is normally the preserve of an ivory tower common room. President Obama looks increasingly aloof and out of sync with the American people, three quarters of whom now believe the country is heading down the wrong track – including a staggering 58 percent of Democrats, according to Rasmussen.

7. Conservatism is growing stronger in America

While President Obama remains determined to shift the country to the Left, the American public is increasingly conservative in terms of ideology. There is a fundamental disconnect between the most ideologically driven liberal president in US history, and a large percentage of the American people. As Gallup’s latest survey on political views shows, conservatism is by far the leading ideology in the United States. According to Gallup, nearly twice as many Americans (41 percent) call themselves conservative, compared to those who describe themselves as liberal (21 percent). Conservatives also outnumber moderates (36 percent) by a five point margin. And among Republicans, 71 percent describe themselves as “very conservative” or “conservative”, compared to just 38 percent of Democrats who call themselves “very liberal” or “liberal”.

8. The Tea Party has been a stunning success

No article on Barack Obama’s stunning decline would be complete without mention of the Tea Party, which has been undoubtedly the most influential US political movement of the decade. The Tea Party’s relentless rise played a key role in sparking the conservative revolution that swept Capitol Hill last November, and has played a major role in setting the agenda when it came to the heated debates over government spending this summer. Were it not for the Tea Party, it is likely that the budget deficit would not be the central issue it is today, and federal spending would have remained a largely inside the beltway debate instead of the talk of dinner tables across America. A truly grassroots movement has succeeded in a short period of time in humbling a presidency, and challenging the status quo on Capitol Hill.

9. The Obama presidency comes across as bitter, nasty and divisive

Vice President Joe Biden’s recent attack on the Tea Party, supporting the charge by Democrat Congressman Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania that Tea Party Republicans had “acted like terrorists” over the debt issue, was symbolic of an emphatically partisan White House, that is increasingly lashing out aggressively at anyone who questions its policies. As I noted at the time:

There is something deeply sad and disconcerting when the vice president decides to compare opposition legislators in Congress with terrorists simply because he disagrees with their views and principles. This is the kind of ugly, threatening rhetoric that has no place at the heart of the US presidency… Joe Biden has clearly overstepped the line with his comments, and brought the office of the vice president into disrepute. His actions today are symbolic of a White House that increasingly looks bitter, crass and petty in its behaviour as public opinion moves firmly against it. Biden’s outburst is a sign of the Left’s growing desperation 30 months into the Obama administration, and only further reinforces the image of decline and decay sinking in at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

10. The liberal elites are turning on the president

One only has to read the pages of The New York Times, the flagship of America’s liberal elites, to see how some of the president’s most ardent left-wing supporters have begun to turn against him. Even Maureen Dowd despairs that her beloved president has been forced to make concessions to the Tea Party on the debt issue, quoting a Democrat Senator as saying: “we are watching him turn into Jimmy Carter right before our eyes.” And as for uber liberal Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman, Obama has supposedly “surrendered” to the Right. There is every sign of a vicious civil war breaking out on the Left, as disillusionment mounts with Obama. This will make it increasingly difficult for the president to present a united front as he campaigns for re-election, and he will have to contend with heavy sniping from powerful liberal voices, most of whom gave him unequivocal backing in 2008.

A presidency in decline

The omens are certainly not looking good for President Obama, as he approaches the final 16 months of his presidency. Public opinion has turned firmly against him in recent weeks, as it did in the months ahead of the November 2010 midterms. On the economy, undoubtedly the dominant issue for voters in 2012, he is on distinctly shaky ground, with his Big Government agenda increasingly distrusted by the American electorate, scorned by the financial markets, and given a vote of no confidence by credit agency Standard and Poor’s. By almost any measure, this is a presidency in steep decline and in serious trouble. This is looking like another ‘annus horribilis’ for Barack Obama, the ‘hope and change’ president who, on current trajectory, seems destined for failure, with a legacy of declining prosperity at home and dispiriting American weakness abroad.

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