Friday Digest

Unemployment Is Up -- Will Obama Be Out?

Nov. 2, 2012
“No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass.” –George Washington
Is Obama sunk?

The much-awaited and final pre-election Bureau of Labor unemployment numbers were released this morning, and, for what that malleable number is worth, the rate ticked back up to 7.9 percent, taking some of the wind out of Barack Obama’s “road to recovery” rhetoric.

Though Obama will find a way to take credit for private sector job growth with his socialist “we’ve created jobs” mantra, the fact is that job creation is more accurately a reflection of how resilient the private sector is despite Obama’s interventionist economic policies.

As you recall, a few weeks before the Republican Convention in Tampa, Obama declared, “The private sector is doing fine,” and insisted that we really need more government [read “union”] jobs. His Senate lap dog, Harry Reid, reiterated, “It’s very clear that private sector jobs have been doing just fine. It’s the public sector jobs where we’ve lost huge numbers.” Actually, it’s the public sector that’s “doing just fine.” That unemployment rate has fallen precipitously this year, and is now just 4.2 percent.

And tell black workers that things are “just fine.” Unemployment among blacks was 13.4 percent in September but jumped to 14.3 percent in October – almost a full percentage point.

As more Obama supporters remove their heads from their, er, sandboxes, Obama’s propaganda machine is running full steam, endeavoring to complete a colossal makeover to maintain his “jobs president” façade in the remaining days of the campaign. That pig will require a lot of lipstick, given that four years of Obama’s “stimulus programs” have produced 23 million unemployed or underemployed Americans and tens of millions more who are working but haven’t received sufficient pay increases to even keep up with inflation.

Of course, the real “Obama tax” on the middle class is the fact that median household income has declined by $4,520 (8.2 percent) since Obama took office, a trend that continued in October. (Memo to Mitt – might want to mention that a couple times over the next few days.)

All of those economic indicators would be much worse if not for the aforementioned private sector resilience.

Last week, as part of his “jobs” charade, Obama unveiled his phony, glossy brochure, “The New Economic Patriotism,” a “plan” for jobs that will most assuredly seal the fate of our economy if he is re-elected. He’s calling on Americans to “embrace a new economic patriotism,” while Joe Biden has declared paying higher taxes to be our “patriotic duty.”

It seems we recall some other socialists in Germany and Russia early in the last century who equated “patriotism” with “statism.”

This week, Obama released his second term plan to establish a cabinet level “Department of Business.” (Seriously, this was not a joke.) Of course, there’s already a Department of Commerce and a Department of Labor, both of which do nothing but impede job growth. We suppose the “Department of Business” will be Obama’s final nail in the coffin of free enterprise.

According to him, the new secretary of business would consolidate several business- and trade-related government agencies into one entity, a “one-stop shop” for oversight and regulation. He claims that this new department would allow businesses an opportunity to seek redress with the government regarding regulations, taxation and oversight. Of course, many businesses have already tried to communicate their concerns to the Obama administration, and the White House has extended nothing but a stiff arm. It’s not only unlikely that yet another level of bureaucracy will help their plight, it’s virtually impossible.

Mitt Romney’s campaign gave perhaps the best response to Obama’s half-baked idea: “We don’t need a ‘secretary of business.’ We need a new president who actually understands business and won’t punish it with the job-killing regulations that have been imposed by the Obama administration.” Perhaps he should suggest an alternative “Department of GET OUT OF OUR Business” so the U.S. economy can grow millions of new and better paying jobs.

It’s crystal clear that the election Tuesday is not between Romney and Obama but, as Mark Alexander outlined yesterday in “The Tipping Point,” between Liberty and tyranny. If Romney is elected, he will face a monumental task to avert the “debt bomb” Obama has dropped on the economy. If Obama is re-elected, that debt bomb will most certainly fulfill his promise of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

Quote of the Week

“As they say in my business, I’m gonna – I’m gonna give you the whole load today.” –Joe Biden, who does indeed specialize in the business of whole loads of cow manure

Video of the Week

This poor little girl is really tired of the election, but especially Bronco Bamma. We feel her pain.

Open Query

“The question of this election is not are you better off than you were four years ago. We all know the answer to that. The real question is will this country be better off four years from now?” –Barack Obama

In 2008.

This Week’s ‘Braying Jackass’ Award

“Let’s win this motherf—er.” –special assistant to the president Kareem Dale, rallying volunteers at the Democratic National Committee headquarters Thursday

We Need Your Help

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Government and Politics

Big Government Isn’t the Answer

Super-storm Sandy slammed into the East Coast Monday, doing billions of dollars in damage and killing at least 90 people across eight states. That’s not just a death toll. The statistics represent mothers, fathers, sons and daughters; and the damage done isn’t just a few broken windows – it’s livelihoods and life-long memories. But the residents of the Mid-Atlantic region will rise again and rebuild. It’s what Americans do.

Crisis response is never perfect, but aid came in the form of friends, neighbors, local churches and charities – people serving each other, rising above self. Sometimes, disaster does bring out the worst in people. There are always those who suffer from entitlement syndrome who fight, syphon gas, loot and generally behave like animals. Sometimes, utility crews are turned away because they aren’t unionized. But by and large, out of tragedy comes triumph, and the best in people is displayed.

Of course, that didn’t stop The New York Times from editorializing, “A Big Storm Requires Big Government.” The argument boils down to, “Mitt Romney wants to get rid of FEMA and let disaster victims die. Isn’t that horrible?”

Specifically, the Times takes issue with something Romney said during the GOP debates about FEMA and the states: “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.” The Times calls this “an absurd notion,” though these are in fact wise words articulating federalist doctrine. The editorial, of course, offers no examples of how big government does anything best, though they could have mentioned that FEMA and the Obama White House directed storm victims to the Internet for help. For those without power, well, good luck.

Ultimately, the Times' basic argument is a straw man because the choice isn’t between saving storm victims through the might of the federal government or leaving them to die. State and local governments are far better equipped to deal with local disasters with FEMA as a solid backup for big ones like Sandy. That’s if it can be, in the Times' words, “a properly functioning agency.” After Hurricane Katrina, FEMA was infamous for blocking aid to storm victims and for managing to leave hundreds of acres of unused trailers. The Times downplays this failure by blaming George W. Bush, “who neglected it.”

Speaking of neglect, the Times didn’t mention that Barack Obama’s 2013 budget proposed to cut $641.5 million, or 6 percent, from FEMA’s budget. Not that Harry Reid’s Senate will actually pass a budget…

As with all leftist proposals that are rooted in “never letting a crisis go to waste,” the answer is ever-bigger government. Using the latest massive storm to once again make that call is just their first order of recovery. We prefer Ronald Reagan’s formulation, “Government isn’t the solution to our problems, government is the problem.”

A Time for Choosing

“We’re coming down to the 11th hour. We’re facing a violent storm. It’s nothing compared to the storm we’ll face if you don’t make the right decision in this election.” –Bill Clinton just before Sandy hit the East Coast

So which candidate is Bill really pulling for?

The BIG Lie

“Hurricane Sandy … [was] strengthened by the climate crisis. … As the hurricane approached the East Coast, it gathered strength from abnormally warm coastal waters. At the same time, Sandy’s storm surge was worsened by a century of sea level rise. Scientists tell us that if we do not reduce our emissions, these problems will only grow worse. Hurricane Sandy is a disturbing sign of things to come. We must heed this warning and act quickly to solve the climate crisis. Dirty energy makes dirty weather.” –Al Gore, leading the charge to blame global warming for storms that have been happening for millennia

Bill Clinton? Al Gore? What is this, 1999?

Hope ‘n’ Change: Hey, Look, a Tax ‘Cut’

Barack Obama this week floated the idea of a new temporary tax cut that would offer workers a few bucks more in their paychecks next year. As nice as the idea sounds, however, it’s simply a retread of the failed “Making Work Pay” tax cut of 2009 and 2010 that was supposed to add a few dollars a week to workers' paychecks while supposedly stimulating the economy through increased demand. Predictably, it had no discernible impact on the economy; short-term gimmicks like this never do. As the Heritage Foundation points out, such small tax cuts meant to boost disposable income won’t move the needle for the economy because the increased rate of consumption is offset by the fact that the government basically has to borrow in order to make the tax cut possible in the first place. As Salim Furth at Heritage states, “The [tax] rebate is just a transfer from lenders to present taxpayers, and future taxpayers are left with the bill.”

Obama has proved time and again that he has the wrong economic prescriptions, but it appears now that even his political I.Q. is slipping. His predecessor tried a tax rebate in 2008, and it failed to produce the desired results. Then Obama himself did basically the same thing in 2009 and 2010, again with the same outcomes. This latest proposal will do nothing but drive the country deeper into debt, though Obama’s hoping it sounds good enough to buy him some extra votes. What should be painfully clear to voters is that the only real solution is a fundamental and permanent reform of the tax code that sets up the economy for a real, not imagined, recovery.

From the Left: Making Mind-Numbed Robots Out of Children

The ad is stark, shot in black and white. Children, whether solo, in small groups, or a choir of over two dozen, sing without emotion lyrics such as “sick people just die … and oil fills the sea.” “Yeah, we’re blaming you,” the kids conclude, directed at parents. These are supposed to be “children of the future,” but in fact they’re ad agency Goodby Silverstein and Partners' contribution to the Obama campaign.

While video maker Rich Silverstein is no stranger to electoral politics and sloganeering, Jeff Goodby, who wrote the lyrics to the song, is actually a registered Republican. It’s interesting that he didn’t write about sick people being left to die by a government death panel or diplomats left behind to perish in Benghazi. Perhaps that will come in the sequel. Regardless, the idea of exploiting children to regurgitate mindless but serious charges against the opponents of leftist policies is repulsive.

A grown-up version of one of these children, though, may have been responsible for dropping thousands of roofing nails in a Racine, Wisconsin, parking lot just before a Tea Party rally at a former Sam’s Club store. A white van adorned with Obama stickers passed through shortly before the event, evidently dumping the nails. Organizers attempted to clean up the mess, but two cars ended up with damaged tires. But the good news: Those were two cars out of the hundreds that carried about 2,500 people to attend the event, and all who attended, including the children, heard a message about Liberty’s blessings instead of socialist propaganda.

Economy

Around the Nation: Outsourcing by Fiat

Taking aim against Mitt Romney in the critical battleground state of Ohio, Barack Obama’s campaign lambasted a recent Romney ad calling out the administration for shipping production of Jeeps overseas. The ad states, “Obama … sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China.” Obama, backed by his Leftmedia sycophants, denounced the ad. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne stated, “Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China.” Not to be left out, Bill Clinton lamented that the president’s feelings were “hurt” over the ad. The poor dear.

Obama took GM and Chrysler through bankruptcy even as he denounces Romney for the same idea. Likewise, despite his protests, he did, in fact, sell Chrysler to Fiat, an Italian company. And, just as Romney claims, Jeep production is heading overseas. As Bloomberg reports, Fiat “will build a small Jeep in Italy for export beginning in 2014.”

Newsbusters explains, “If the company continues to choose Italy or any other locale outside the U.S. for Jeeps to export to America, older models made in the U.S. will gradually move through their product life cycle. If they’re not replaced with newer models, at some point U.S. production will end up coming down and the need for the entire cast of current U.S. workers will diminish.” Furthermore, another Bloomberg dispatch notes Fiat’s “plans to return Jeep output to China,” albeit by “adding Jeep production sites rather than shifting output from North America to China.”

Whether Italy, China, or some other country, the fact remains that a Jeep built somewhere else is a Jeep that could have been built here in the U.S. by American workers. Globalization isn’t inherently bad, but when 23 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed, “jobs headed overseas” is the wrong message. Even if this president refuses to hear it.

Income Redistribution: Assistance for More Than Just the Poor

All arguments of merit aside, we’ve always thought of government programs such as Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, better known as food stamps,) housing aid, and other similar programs as a safety net for the poorest of Americans. But two George Mason University researchers crunched the numbers and determined that more than half of all government assistance goes to people whose incomes place them above – sometimes well above – the poverty line.

The sharp increase in spending on the not-so-poor began during the final years of George W. Bush’s administration, but it was supercharged under Barack Obama, particularly by using so-called “stimulus” spending. Obama repeatedly condemns the “policies that got us into this mess,” but those policies are things like expanding medical entitlements, gimmicky tax rebates that don’t work, welfare increases and overall deficit spending – all of which Obama has accelerated, not reined in.

Whether this expansion of the safety net into the middle class was beneficial or not – it was certainly intentional – the trap has been laid for future budgets, even if Mitt Romney wins and brings a fully Republican Congress with him. Since government rules encourage “baseline” budgeting with an increase already figured in over the previous year’s spending, even spending the same amount on a program as was spent the previous year, thus avoiding the automatic increase, the Left reflexively screams about “massive cuts” to their pet items even though there are no cuts. Yet just reining in these programs to serve those for whom they were originally intended would save taxpayers billions.

Few wish to deny those in need of assistance, but too many who could afford to make it without government help prefer the ease of living with assistance from the rest of us. The Depression-era pride in providing for oneself without the stigma of needing “relief” is long gone, replaced by the mantra of getting everything one feels entitled to, whether necessary or not. We believe that’s the Obama plan and it will be expanded next term, assuming the worst.

Security

Benghazi Revelations Keep Coming

The steady drip, drip, drip of news about the 9/11 Benghazi attack continues to paint a more wretched picture of a feckless Obama White House. As is now well known, the multi-hour attack that led to the death of four Americans was originally labeled by the Obama regime a “spontaneous protest” of an anti-Islam video trailer on YouTube. That description was a deliberate deception by the Obama White House. Contrast the information the administration has released here with the rush to spike the football with juicy details after the raid to kill Osama bin Laden.

As we noted last week, officials in Washington rejected several requests for help from personnel at the Benghazi consulate during the seven-hour fight, even as those officials watched events unfold in real-time. Even though that help could have been on the scene within the hour. And even though officials determined a month before the attack that al-Qa'ida had training camps in Benghazi but the consulate couldn’t defend against a “coordinated attack.”

The latest report is that the Benghazi operation was largely a CIA one – of 30 people evacuated on Sept. 11, just seven were State Department personnel. This could certainly help explain – but not excuse – the conflicting accounts after the attack. Not many people knew the extent of CIA involvement. The insufficient preparation, disastrous events and subsequent cover-up, however, are inexcusable.

Additionally, one of the slain Americans, former U.S. Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, violated an order to stand down and determined where the terrorist mortar fire originated. He then “painted” the location with his laser target designator, which is normally done only when close air support is at hand because it necessarily gives away the “painter’s” location. Woods obviously thought that help was close by. But help never came, because CIA operators ready to provide air support were told to “stand down.” Instead, the terrorists killed Woods and Glen Doherty with the very mortars Woods was attempting to destroy. Woods' father, Charles, had some harsh words for the Obama regime, saying, “They watched my son die. As far as I’m concerned, there are people in the White House – whoever it was that was in that room watching that video of my son dying, their cries for help, their order ‘don’t help them at all, let them die’ – whoever it might be, might be numerous people, you have the blood of my son, you have the blood of an American hero on your hands.” Our prayers are with you and your family, Mr. Woods.

Obama and his minions continue to deflect any criticism and avoid talking about the attack, and a compliant Leftmedia have been more than willing to help. One can only imagine what the media would be doing if this were a Republican president. Obama himself said he was “offended” that anyone would dare question his integrity over Benghazi, but, of course, questioning government officials is exactly what people and the press are supposed to do. And his feelings on the matter are irrelevant. The real story here is that Obama can’t admit that his Middle East narrative is a false one; that his apology tour didn’t improve U.S. standing there, it undermined it; that al-Qa'ida is not defeated. All of it provides more cause to remove this unfit commander in chief from the White House.

This Week’s ‘Alpha Jackass’ Award

“We leave nobody behind. We make sure that we respond as a nation and remind ourselves that whenever an American is in need, all of us stand together to make sure that we’re providing the help that’s necessary.” –Barack Obama on Super-storm Sandy

Too bad the same didn’t apply in Benghazi.

On Cross-Examination

“Well, ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is back – not for gays in the military, it’s President Obama’s new policy for questions about Libya. Don’t ask, don’t tell.” –comedian Jay Leno

The ACLU: A Terrorist’s Best Friend

The American Civil Liberties Union is at it again, doing what it does best: attacking the Constitution and our American way of life. Its latest Trojan Horse comes in the form of a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Clapper v. Amnesty International. In it, the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer argues that those who would otherwise be able to challenge Congress’s 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) can do so only if they can show that their communications are being monitored, but such a showing would require access to highly classified information – which they do not have.

On its face, of course, the ACLU’s argument sounds reasonable: “Hey, wait a minute: we can’t challenge this surveillance law because we don’t know whether we’re being monitored in the first place – it’s a Catch 22!” The problem with this argument is the logic associated with its implied solution.

Specifically, this case centers on a legal doctrine termed, “standing.” Practically, a plaintiff must have suffered some form of injury-in-fact or impending injury or the court won’t hear the case. This uniquely American principle of jurisprudence is embedded in our Constitution (Article III) and was crafted within our nation’s early juridical history as one of several guarantors of the separation of powers. The goal is to ensure that the court cannot be used as a tool by either of the other two branches of government to decide political issues, rather than actual cases or controversies. Were the court to have to decide any case brought before it the court would quickly degenerate into a gridlocked circus of political food fights.

In this particular case, Jaffer argues that plaintiffs like Amnesty International should be able to challenge FISA if they or their “clients” – a.k.a. “suspected terrorists” – face a “substantial risk” of being under surveillance by the federal government. By this standard, if one can show he might be monitored – say, for having lengthy phone conversations with known or suspected terrorists – then he has standing to bring suit in federal court. The danger – of which the ACLU is well aware – is that this provides an indirect method of finding out whether in fact these entities (and their accomplices) are being monitored. Once suit is brought, the government must show whether or not it is, in fact, monitoring the party in question. Revelations such as these, in turn, could lead to the practical undoing of FISA – which has been credited by some as a key reason why we haven’t had a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11 – by alerting suspected terrorists that they are under covert surveillance.

Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. rightly argued that “speculation” alone doesn’t pass muster as a standard for “standing.” The action by the government must either have already occurred or must be “certainly impending” – the standard set under precedent cases, as opposed to the ACLU’s crafted-out-of-thin-air “substantial risk” standard. During oral argument, Justice Antonin Scalia also highlighted the fact that just because no one is in a position to challenge the law doesn’t mean the law itself – let alone the constitutional requirement for standing – is invalid. Scalia also noted that all government surveillance plans under FISA are reviewed under a Fourth Amendment lens for constitutionality by the secret FISA court, an Article III court charged with the sacred duty of protecting the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens. Finally, the FISA Amendments Act faces an animated renewal vote in the Senate … conveniently, just after Election Day.

Culture

Faith and Family: Chick-fil-A Stands Firm, Succeeds

Recent weeks seem to be far too crammed with one bit of bad news after another. That makes it especially rewarding when good news comes along. Chick-fil-A, the Christian-owned chicken restaurant, dominated the news several weeks ago after President Dan Cathy made a stand for the traditional definition of marriage. Leftists in the media assailed the fast-food chain, while homosexual activists staged the weakest of protests.

On the other hand, the outpouring of support from most Americans was overwhelming. Our own letter of support gained almost 38,000 signatures. More important, however, people lined up to buy chicken sandwiches.

As a private company, Chick-fil-A does not publicize exact earnings, but according to USA Today, “Consumer use of the chain was up 2.2% in the third quarter compared with the same period in 2011.” Also, “Market share was up 0.6%, and total ad awareness was up a hefty 6.5%.”

So what was USA Today’s headline? “Chick-fil-A thrives despite gay rights issue.” Despite? No, Chick-fil-A is succeeding because it has remained faithful to timeless principles and rejected political correctness as a substitute for good business practices.

Video of the Week II

Watch as comedian Steven Crowder “redistributes” children’s Halloween candy, Obama-style. The children don’t like it so much.

And Last…

A Jefferson County, Colorado, jury convicted a 66-year-old woman of felony theft and felony identity theft last week, after the woman stole checks from another woman and used them to pay her own utility bills. As if that weren’t bad enough, CBS 4 in Denver reports, “The victim is partially blind, developmentally disabled, has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. She is on a fixed income of $596 per month.”

The convicted perpetrator, on the other hand, had earlier this year been named “Democrat of the Year” by the Jefferson County Democratic Party – after the party had been informed of the investigation. Damage already done, she was stripped of the award only after the conviction. Had she stolen from a Wall Street investor, or a Big Oil tycoon, however, we have little doubt that she would’ve kept her award and received a congratulatory phone call from the president.

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