The President as Sergeant Schultz – Tea Party Nation

The President as Sergeant Schultz – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

How is it that, time and again, the most powerful man on the planet doesn’t seem to have a clue what is happening in his own government? Famed for never accepting blame for anything, the more I see President Obama these days, the more I am reminded of Sergeant Hans Schultz of the TV sitcom, “Hogan’s Heroes”, that ran from 1965 to 1971.

The wonderful Hans Banner the actor who played the prisoner of war guard left an indelible legacy with his repeated denials, “I know nothing. I hear nothing, and I see nothing”; often all three at the same time to avoid being implicated in Col. Robert E. Hogan’s manipulation of Werner Klemperer’s Col. Wilhelm Klink, the camp commandant of Luftwaffe Stalag 13.

Obama’s way of dealing with everything has been to talk it to death and he has been responding to questions from the press, claiming that the accusations are all “a sideshow” or that “there’s no there, there.” It is not working. In the case of Benghazi-Gate, his lies are so blatant that it has gone from an embarrassment to a full-fledged cover-up.

Similarly, the Attorney General, Eric Holder, has relied on claiming ignorance and putting distance between himself and his Department of Justice’s increasing list of scandals, from Fast and Furious that earned him a citation for contempt of Congress in June 2012 for his lack of candor. His latest “I know nothing” testimony regarding the DOJ’s seizure of the phone records of Associated Press editors and reporters makes one wonder why the President continues to retain him in office or, for that matter, why he isn’t in jail for stonewalling about Fast and Furious, an ATF gun-running scheme that got a border patrol and ICE agent killed.

Those of us who follow the President closely know that he has been lying consistently before and since being elected–twice. His two “memoirs” have been picked apart by reporters who have written their own books on the subject. It would appear that Obama picked up the habit of lying early on in life as the son of a Kenyan who had abandoned his mother, the step-son of an Indonesian whom his mother also divorced, and a man who remarkably was a friend or associate of a long list of shady characters you might more likely find in a detective novel.

He dismissed his close friendship with former 60s Weatherman terrorist, Bill Ayers, as someone who lived in his Chicago neighborhood. He had to throw his longtime pastor, Jeremiah Wright, under the bus when it became known he said many bad things about America over the course of the many years Obama was a member of his church. The man who conducted Obama’s wedding and christened his children said of 9/11, “the chickens have come home to roost” as if it was America’s fault it was attacked.

Even so, this is small potatoes compared to the way the many “renewable energy” companies received billions in government loans and rapidly went bankrupt. It turned out that many of the many of the men who created those companies where major “bundlers” and contributors to his 2009 presidential campaign. Of the most famous bankruptcy, Solyndra, Obama said, “That was not our program, per se. Congress-Democrats and Republicans—put together a loan guarantee program…” Maybe so, but we have not seen such a program lose so much money in such a short time, betting on solar and wind power projects. The taxpayers got stuck with the bill. The number of actual “green” jobs ended up costing over a million dollars each to create.

Of his failed “stimulus” package, Obama said “Apparently there weren’t as many shovel ready jobs as we thought.” Before spending millions to allegedly revive the economy, you are supposed to know such things.

If not Benghazi-Gate, than the IRS targeting of conservative, patriot, and constitution education groups could provide the fulcrum to bring down Obama’s presidency. Despite his denials of knowledge about the program within the IRS to harass and deny these groups non-profit status, vital to raise donations and funding, and the firing of the IRS commissioner, this is a scandal with which ordinary taxpayers can identify, fearful of audits. Imagine now as the realization sinks in that it is the IRS that will be administering Obamacare!

Up to now Obama could count on the mainstream media to ignore much of the blunders, failures and lies that characterized his first term, but the scandals coalescing as his second term begins have a weight that includes the growing unhappiness of the White House press corps who are tired of being lied to or having to listen to press secretary Jay Carney speak to them as if they were a bunch of witless clowns.

It is said that “the fish stinks from the head” and what we are witnessing is an administration whose corrupt political practices have seeped deep into the government agencies for which Obama is responsible.

It is still too soon to know which scandal or combination of scandals will bring down his presidency, but it will only take a few more eye-witnesses and whistle-blowers to turn Obama into the Wizard of Oz, hiding behind the curtain and pulling the levers to fool Dorothy and her pals or, in our case, those of us who still believe laws should be obeyed and power should not be abused.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

 

Obama shoots himself in the foot with disputed claim of skeet-shooting – Tea Party Nation

Obama shoots himself in the foot with disputed claim of skeet-shooting – Tea Party Nation.

Posted by Victoria Knox

After President Barack Hussein Obama told The New Republic that “up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time,” everyone across the political spectrum did a double-take. Even the normally incurious Washington press corps pressed White House spokesman Jay Carney for details. When Carney had none (“I’m not sure how often he’s done that. … “There may be (a photo), but I haven’t seen it.”), even CNN was openly skeptical.

Media skepticism deepened into something appropriate to the level of suspicion usually triggered by stonewalling about a cover-up  involving gun-running to insurgents in Syria via Turkey Iran-Contra, say, FOX News interviewed a source who had been at the presidential retreat with Obama on six occasions:

“The only time he shot skeet was for President’s Cup,” said the source, referring to a shooting competition tradition involving the presidential Marine guards. “I was there. He stayed for about five minutes, and couldn’t leave fast enough.”

Skeet shooting “is very hard,” said the source. “Especially for someone not used to guns … He couldn’t have been more uncomfortable.”

 

And then, the unthinkable: Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler felt the need to look into “the White House’s curious silence about Obama’s claim of skeet shooting” and found that during the 2008 campaign, Obama never mentioned shooting any type of firearm, and that was a no-show at a campaign event featuring skeet-shooting. Further, the president made no reference to skeet-shooting at Camp David when he hosted Olympic skeet-shooting champions Kim Rhode and Army Sgt. Vincent Hancock But at the White House in September – though one article quotes a member of the Texas Christian University‘s national championship rifle team saying that Obama claimed to practice shooting a rifle with the Secret Service when they were greeted by him at the White House. Finally, there were no press reports of skeet-shooting being a recreational activity that Obama engaged in at Camp David.

 

Kessler’s verdict: “The evidence suggests that until Obama had access to a shooting range as president, he never went skeet shooting. He certainly did not speak like a politician who had once used a firearm.” In response, the White House released this photo purporting to show Obama skeet-shooting:


The WaPo reports that the photo was disseminated because “White House aides were trying to end a growing distraction just as the president plans to make a fresh push to rally public support behind his ambitious agenda to tighten gun laws,” and adds these details about the provenance of the image:

On his 51st birthday last August, President Obama hit the links with a group of buddies and then flew by helicopter to Camp David. There, he changed into jeans and picked up a shotgun. And then, before it got too dark, he started a round of clay target shooting.

The photo, taken by White House photographer Pete Souza, depicts a sunglasses-wearing Obama firing what appears to be a Browning Citori 725, the shotgun wedged against his left shoulder, a pillow of white smoke emerging from the barrel. …

The “over and under” design [of the shotgun] features two barrels, one on top of the other, allowing the gun to hold and fire two shotgun shells.

The smoke in the photo is emanating from air vents in the barrel, a feature known as “porting” that reduces recoil shock and allows for steadier aim. …

According to the Browning Web site, some of the Citori models are made in a left-handed version, with a slight bend near the butt – though it was not apparent from the photo whether the left-handed president was using one of those.

As the WaPo predicted, “the release of the photo seemed more likely to inflame passions around the issue than douse them.” For one thing, in the photo Obama is pointing the gun straight ahead, as though aiming at a stationary target, rather than towards the sky where the skeet would be sailing overhead. Adding more fuel to the social media firestorm, when the White House released the photo, it included the standard admonition that it is not to be used for commercial or political purposes and “may not be manipulated in any way.” All fine and proper, and normal procedure. But then Obama adviser David Plouffe tweeted an invitation – some say a dare – to manipulate the image using Photoshop.

The Blaze includes a selection of doctored photos, including two depicting Obama shooting the U.S. flag and Constitution. A Facebook page was also created to collect Photoshopped images of Obama’s skeet-shooting prowess that put him next to former presidential candidate Mike Dukakis in a tank, outside Usama bin Laden’s compound alongside members of Seal Team Six who killed the terrorist and riding along with the Beverly Hillbillies in their jalopy. The page includes a greenscreen shot that masks the background in the White House photo so other people can make their own visual puns. For its part, Before It’s News published a photo of Obama shooting White House Press Secretary Jay Carney for not diffusing the “distraction” before it got out of hand.

But as funny as these images of Obama are – in an LOL sort of way – the media’s ignorance about guns is equally funny – in a farcical sort of way, considering that the most powerful news organizations in the nation are simultaneously inveighing against “assault weapons” and pushing draconian NYC-style gun control laws from coast to coast. Both liberal news outlets (The New York Times and Gawker, among them) and conservative ones (notably, New York Post and FOX News) referred to the gun Obama was holding as a “rifle,” and The Associated Press described the protective gear the president wore as “headphones” and “sunglasses.” Journalists’  command of firearms is as questionable as Obama’s. 

As The Stiletto noted on Facebook, it’s galling that people who don’t know the difference between a rifle and a shotgun presume to weigh in on gun control without having the expertise to differentiate  between military assault rifles and civilian sport rifles cosmetically altered with various accessories that make them look like a military weapon without affecting function or caliber. This is analogous to a journalist who covers automobile racing looking under the hood and mistaking the performance-enhancing tweaks to the cylinder heads, camshafts and valve train of the street legal production version of the 2013 Chevy SS with the highly modified small block V-8 engine that powers its NASCAR counterpart.

 

EDITORIAL: Obama’s Benghazi lie – Washington Times

Benghazi Mosque

Benghazi Mosque (Photo credit: an agent)

 

EDITORIAL: Obama’s Benghazi lie – Washington Times.

 

Presidential whopper is easily debunked

 

Debate moderator Candy Crowley stepped out of her purportedly neutral role in Tuesday’s presidential debate by spontaneously fact-checking Mitt Romney’s assertion that President Obama delayed calling the fatal Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya an act of terrorism. She later corrected herself, saying Mr. Romney was “right in the main” on Benghazi but that the Republican “picked the wrong word.” In fact, Mr. Romney simply was right.

 

Contrary to his boast, Mr. Obama did not single out Benghazi as an act of terrorism in his Sept. 12 Rose Garden statement. He referred to it as an “attack” and to the perpetrators as “killers.” He then said, “We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others,” an obvious reference to the YouTube video to which he alluded as the motive for the mayhem. Later he said, “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation,” but this was in the context of Sept. 11, 2001, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It wasn’t a direct reference to Benghazi. The presidential proclamation on Benghazi, issued the same day, made no reference to terrorism. That evening, however, Undersecretary of State Patrick F. Kennedy, whose portfolio includes overseas facilities and operations, called Benghazi a terrorist attack in a private conference call with congressional staff.

 

On Sept. 14, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney claimed the spate of Mideast unrest, including the Benghazi assault, was “in response to a video that Muslims find offensive.” He avoided calling those who attacked the Benghazi consulate terrorists, referring instead to “assailants” and “attackers.” The same day, Mr. Obama attended the transfer-of-remains ceremony for the Benghazi fallen and made no reference to terrorism in his remarks. In his weekly address on Sept. 15, Mr. Obama made much of the denigration of Islam and angry mobs but said nothing of terrorism. On Sept. 16, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice was dispatched to the Sunday talk-show circuit to state authoritatively that the attacks were “spontaneous — not premeditated” and “in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated.”

 

The White House stuck to this line until Sept. 19, when National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen testified publicly before Congress that Benghazi was an act of terrorism. Even after this admission, the White House kept promoting the spontaneous-mob theory. On Sept. 20, Mr. Carney said the Benghazi tragedy was “an opportunistic attack” that grew from alleged video-based unrest. In his speech to the United Nations on Sept. 25, Mr. Obama referred to the video six times but didn’t once describe the events as terrorism.

 

The Obama administration’s video-inspired, spontaneous-mob fiction was concocted so the White House could dodge charges of massive intelligence failure. The reality — a planned, focused, al Qaeda-linked jihadist battlefield victory — didn’t fit the White House’s rosy election-year storyline. Instead, Obama officials tried to make the tragedy into a teachable moment to lecture Americans on tolerance for Islam and the limits of the First Amendment. The story keeps shifting. In the wake of the debate, Mr. Obama admitted he delayed using the terrorist designation in the interest of acting on sound intelligence. We’ll see how long this new tale lasts.

 

The Washington Times

 

 

PRIEBUS: Obama’s ‘gaffes’ are what he truly believes – Washington Times

 

PRIEBUS: Obama’s ‘gaffes’ are what he truly believes – Washington Times.

Calls for context are meant to mask economic misunderstanding

By Reince Priebus

Every few weeks, President Obama is caught off-script speaking his mind.

This month, he insulted entrepreneurs, saying, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Last month, he astonished the unemployed, insisting, “The private sector is doing fine.”

The Obama campaign’s response is predictable. “Context!” is yelled every time the president is caught off-message. The president isn’t out of touch, they insist. He’s simply out of context.

Of course, voters will decide for themselves if the president lacks a real understanding of — and commitment to — the economy. To help, let’s look at a little context.

Mr. Obama has not held a single meeting of his jobs council in more than six months. White House press secretary Jay Carney excuses the president by saying he has “a lot on his plate.” Indeed. Since the last jobs council meeting, he has attended 111 campaign fundraisers and enjoyed 10 golf outings. At the last jobs council meeting, Mr. Obama said, “This has not been a show council. This has been a work council.” But as it happens, context proves otherwise.

The president has called the economy his “overriding focus” and No. 1 priority. It’s surprising, then, that he has not received a presidential briefing on the economy in well over a year. The last time “Economic Daily Briefing” appeared on his official White House schedule was April 26, 2011.

If the president doesn’t bother taking the time to hear what’s happening to the economy, he cannot expect to fix it. You cannot find a solution if you don’t understand the problem. And when you don’t understand the problem, you say things like, “The private sector is doing fine.”

For 41 straight months, the unemployment rate has exceeded 8 percent. Today, 23 million Americans are struggling to find work. But the president has no time for his jobs council or even an economic briefing. He does have time, however, for swanky soirees full of celebrities, stars and the Hollywood glitterati.

Obama fundraisers regularly feature the likes of George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Eva Longoria, Spike Lee, Oprah Winfrey, Anna Wintour and Cher. Celebrities may make for good company, but they are hardly qualified to offer economic advice.

Americans are growing increasingly frustrated with the president. A recent poll from the Hill newspaper found “53 percent of voters say President Obama has taken the wrong actions and has slowed the economy down.”

From Obamacare’s rules and tax increases to the Environmental Protection Agency’s heavy-handed regulations, President Obama indeed has taken the wrong actions since taking office. His reckless spending has added more than $5.2 trillion to the national debt and earned America our first credit downgrade in history. His only plans for his second term are tax increases.

Looking at the whole picture, it’s clear the president’s comments are not gaffes. They are what he really believes. He’s detached from American economic reality, and it’s taking a toll on our country.

The Obama administration and campaign can make excuses all they want, but the facts are clear. Mr. Obama shows insufficient commitment to job creation. He demonstrates a misunderstanding of the economy. It’s all right there in the context.

Reince Priebus is chairman of the Republican National Committee.

 

MILLER: The assault on weapons – Washington Times

MILLER: The assault on weapons – Washington Times.

Liberals pounce on opportunity to water down constitutional rights

By Emily Miller – The Washington Times

Gun grabbers wasted no time exploiting Friday’s shooting in Aurora, Colo., by calling for more restrictive firearm laws. Their liberal agenda is off target because, with U.S. gun ownership at its highest level ever, the public sees crime is way down. This blows a hole in the left’s argument, but it doesn’t stop it.

Despite the House being strongly pro-gun and the Senate marginally so, some Democratic senators want to seize the opportunity to peddle pet legislation. On Tuesday, Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey kicked off an effort to reinstate the expired ban on high-capacity magazines. His bill would prohibit the manufacture and sale of ammunition magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds — modern handguns generally hold between 12 and 17. It’s not clear what exactly Mr. Lautenberg would accomplish, unless the government also recalls the 300 million firearms already owned by Americans.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg went off the deep end on Monday when he told CNN that police officers across the country should “stand up collectively and say, ‘We’re going to go on strike’” until states pass more gun laws, such as bans on certain kinds of bullets. The billionaire businessman also demanded that presidential candidates soften their stance on gun rights. President Obama is well aware of the political consequences of admitting his true feelings on guns in an election year. To avoid angering his liberal base, Mr. Obama let his spokesman respond on Sunday, off-camera on Air Force One on the way to Aurora. “The president is focused on doing the things that we can do that protect Second Amendment rights, which he thinks is important, but also to make it harder for individuals who should not, under existing law, have weapons to obtain them,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. Mitt Romney was not afraid to say it himself. “I still believe that the Second Amendment is the right course to preserve and defend and don’t believe that new laws are going to make a difference in this type of tragedy,” the Republican presidential candidate told Larry Kudlow on CNBC Monday.

The left also wants to outlaw the purchase of large quantities of ammunition over the Internet. Because James Holmes reportedly had thousands of rounds of ammo, they assume anyone with a similar “stockpile” must be up to no good. As any savvy shopper knows, buying in bulk online is convenient and saves money. Gun owners are no different.

What liberals are really after is not preventing the tragedies that can’t be stopped. Their goal is to create inconvenience so fewer law-abiding citizens turn to guns for protection. They want the public to look to government instead.

Sadly for the left, the unconstitutional speed bumps it has placed before the Second Amendment are being removed slowly. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Benson Everett Legg lifted a stay, which effectively will force Maryland to drop its policy of arbitrarily denying requests from upstanding citizens seeking concealed-carry permits. Respecting the right to keep and bear arms in this way is the right response.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.

The audacity of hypocrisy. – Tea Party Nation

The audacity of hypocrisy. – Tea Party Nation.

Posted by Judson Phillips

The traditional news media is dead.  They are no longer an adversarial press.  They are a part of the Democratic machine and many of their reports could be considered in kind advertisements for the Obama Regime’s reelection efforts.

 Consider two instances:

 First from the Washington Examiner:

 Stephanie Cutter, President Obama’s spokeswoman hit by Team Romney for making “out of control” charges that the GOP candidate is a liar, today stepped up her assault on Mitt Romney, charging that he is using a “pattern of secrecy” to hide critical details of his finances from American voters. 

Far from backing off, Cutter doubled down in an email that raises questions about Romney’s offshore bank accounts and whether he has been honest about detailing his time at Bain Capital.

“The more everyone finds out about Mitt Romney’s finances, the more questions they have. Perhaps that’s why he’s hiding as much as he thinks he can get away with,” she wrote.

 If there were a real press corps at the White House someone would have called her out on that.   

 Romney has a “pattern of secrecy?”  Has she looked at her boss recently?

 Also from the Washington Examiner:

 White House Press Secretary Jay Carney derided a reporter today for asking whether President Obama would release his college records in the campaign, to serve as an example of transparency.

“This is the Donald Trump question,” said Carney referring the reporter to the Obama campaign.

”This is preposterous,” Carney continued. “This is from the guy who insisted that the president wasn’t born in the United States.”

Carney reiterated that Obama was an “open book” and had an “extremely sound” record of transparency.

 He is joking right?

 Obama has never released any of his records and what is stunning is the drive by media’s reaction to it.  Bill Clinton and Al Gore released their records.  John Kerry set the modern standard for liberal candidates by promising to but never releasing his military records. 

 Now, Obama simply ignores requests and demands that he release his records.

 The Party of Treason demands that Romney release every record ever created about him, down to his pediatric records, yet we cannot know some simple things about Barack Obama. 

 What was he doing in college?  There are some discrepancies in what we think we know about his college days that his college records could resolve.  Why not release them?

 What is Barack Obama hiding?

 Could it be the claim that he went to Occidental College on a scholarship reserved for foreign students?

 Inquiring minds want to know.  Obama does not want anyone to know and the drive by media does not want to do their job by investigating him. 

 Does anyone doubt what their reaction would be if Romney said, “Hell no, I’m not showing you my records?”

The facts about the growth of spending under Obama – The Washington Post

The facts about the growth of spending under Obama – The Washington Post.


(Carolyn Kaster/AP)
“I simply make the point, as an editor might say, to check it out; do not buy into the BS that you hear about spending and fiscal constraint with regard to this administration. I think doing so is a sign of sloth and laziness.” — White House spokesman Jay Carney, remarks to the press gaggle, May 23, 2012

 

The spokesman’s words caught our attention because here at The Fact Checker we try to root out “BS” wherever it occurs.

 Carney made his comments while berating reporters for not realizing that “the rate of spending — federal spending — increase is lower under President Obama than all of his predecessors since Dwight Eisenhower, including all of his Republican predecessors.” He cited as his source an article by Rex Nutting, of MarketWatch, titled, “Obama spending binge never happened,” which has been the subject of lots of buzz in the liberal blogosphere.

 But we are talking about the federal budget here. That means lots of numbers — numbers that are easily manipulated. Let’s take a look.

 

The Facts

First of all, there are a few methodological problems with Nutting’s analysis — especially the beginning and the end point.

Nutting basically takes much of 2009 out of Obama’s column, saying it was the “the last [year] of George W. Bush’s presidency.” Of course, with the recession crashing down, that’s when federal spending ramped up. The federal fiscal year starts on Oct. 1, so the 2009 fiscal year accounts for about four months of Bush’s presidency and eight of Obama’s.

 In theory, one could claim that the budget was already locked in when Obama took office, but that’s not really the case. Most of the appropriations bills had not been passed, and certainly the stimulus bill was only signed into law after Obama took office.

Bush had rescued Fannie and Freddie Mac and launched the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which depending on how you do the math, was a one-time expense of $250 billion to $400 billion in the final months of his presidency. (The federal government ultimately recouped most of the TARP money.) So if you really want to be fair, perhaps $250 billion of that money should be taken out of the equation — on the theory that it would have been spent no matter who was president.

 Nutting acknowledges that Obama is responsible for some 2009 spending but only assigns $140 billion for reasons he does not fully explain. (Update: in an email Nutting says he attributed $120 billion to stimulus spending in 2009, $5 billion for an expansion of children’s health care and $16 billion to an increase in appropriations bills over 2008 levels.)

 On the other end of his calculations, Nutting says that Obama plans to spend $3.58 trillion in 2013, citing the Congressional Budget Office budget outlook. But this figure is CBO’s baseline budget, which assumes no laws are changed, so this figure gives Obama credit for automatic spending cuts that he wants to halt.

 The correct figure to use is the CBO’s analysis of the president’s 2013 budget, which clocks in at $3.72 trillion.

 So this is what we end up with:

2008:  $2.98 trillion

2009:  $3.27 trillion

2010:  $3.46 trillion

2011: $3.60 trillion

2012: $3.65 trillion

2013:  $3.72 trillion

 Under these figures, and using this calculator, with 2008 as the base year and ending with 2012, the compound annual growth rate for Obama’s spending starting in 2009 is 5.2 percent.  Starting in 2010 — Nutting’s first year — and ending with 2013, the annual growth rate is 3.3 percent. (Nutting had calculated the result as 1.4 percent.)

Of course, it takes two to tangle — a president and a Congress. Obama’s numbers get even higher if you look at what he proposed to spend, using CBO’s estimates of his budgets:

2012: $3.71 trillion (versus $3.65 trillion enacted)

2011: $3.80 trillion (versus $3.60 trillion enacted)

2010: $3.67 trillion (versus $3.46 trillion enacted)

 So in every case, the president wanted to spend more money than he ended up getting. Nutting suggests that federal spending flattened under Obama, but another way to look at it is that it flattened at a much higher, post-emergency level — thanks in part to the efforts of lawmakers, not Obama.

 Another problem with Nutting’s analysis is that the figures are viewed in isolation. Even 5.5 percent growth would put Obama between Bill Clinton and George W. Bush in terms of spending growth, but that does not take into account either inflation or the relative size of the U.S. economy. At 5.2 percent growth, Obama’s increase in spending would be nearly three times the rate of inflation. Meanwhile, Nutting pegs Ronald Reagan with 8.7 percent growth in his first term — we get 12.5 percent CAGR — but inflation then was running at 6.5 percent.

 One common way to measure federal spending is to compare it to the size of the overall U.S. economy. That at least puts the level into context, helping account for population growth, inflation and other factors that affect spending. Here’s what the White House’s own budget documents show about spending as a percentage of the U.S. economy (gross domestic product):  

2008: 20.8 percent

2009: 25.2 percent

2010: 24.1 percent

2011: 24.1 percent

2012: 24.3 percent

2013: 23.3 percent

 In the post-war era, federal spending as a percentage of the U.S. economy has hovered around 20 percent, give or take a couple of percentage points. Under Obama, it has hit highs not seen since the end of World War II — completely the opposite of the point asserted by Carney. Part of this, of course, is a consequence of the recession, but it is also the result of a sustained higher level of spending.

 We sent our analysis to Carney but did not get a response. (For another take, Daniel Mitchell of the Cato Institute has an interesting tour through the numbers, isolating various spending categories. For instance, he says debt payments should be excluded from the analysis because that is the result of earlier spending decisions by other presidents.)

 

The Pinocchio Test

 Carney suggested the media were guilty of “sloth and laziness,” but he might do better next time than cite an article he plucked off the Web, no matter how much it might advance his political interests. The data in the article are flawed, and the analysis lacks context — context that could easily could be found in the budget documents released by the White House.

The White House might have a case that some of the rhetoric concerning Obama’s spending patterns has been overblown, but the spokesman should do a better job of checking his facts before accusing reporters of failing to do so. The picture is not as rosy as he portrayed it when accurate numbers, taken in context, are used.

 Three Pinocchios

 

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Obama’s Double Down on Stupid – Bob Beauprez – Townhall Finance

Image representing Solyndra as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Obama’s Double Down on Stupid – Bob Beauprez – Townhall Finance.

Solyndra, the California energy company gone bust, was so cash strapped in December, 2010 that they defaulted on a loan payment to the government.  That didn’t bother the Obama Administration, though.  In fact, DOE officials amended the loan agreement, allowing Solyndra to draw another $67 million, and subordinated the taxpayer’s credit position to that of private investors. 

There was an abundance of information and reasons why the Solyndra loan should never have been approved in 2009.  But, the Obama White House rejected all the obvious warning signs preferring to pass out half a trillion dollars like party favors and to create campaign photo-ops.   

The White House says this wasn’t stupid.  “That’s just the way business works,” according to the President’s spokesman, Jay Carney.

The next time Obama shows he understands how ANYTHING in business works, it will be the first time.  

The White House still defends the $535 billion loan guarantee to Solyndra as an investment in “cutting edge technology.”  A less varnished assessment would conclude that it was a government investment in opulence designed to failed from the beginning. 

The glitzy made-for-Hollywood 300,000 square foot plant, characterized by workers as the “Taj Mahal,” had vastly greater manufacturing capacity than Solyndra ever commanded in market share and came with “robots that whistled Disney tunes, spa-like showers with liquid-crystal displays of the water temperature, and glass-walled conference rooms.”

The Administration doubled down on stupid by not recognizing that failure was imminent by the end of 2010.  In addition, the Energy Act of 2005 specifically prohibits subordination of the taxpayer’s credit position – an apparently violation of federal law. 

The DOE says it renegotiated the loan agreement and allowed Solyndra to draw down the additional $67 million because the government officials “thought it gave Solyndra a fighting chance to survive and the taxpayers their best chance to recover their loan.”

What the DOE doesn’t say is that the subordination of the taxpayer’s position and the additional $67 million created an illusion of better financial condition than was reality.   In other words, the DOE helped put a better-than-actual appearance on Solyndra, who then went to the private markets to raise additional investment capital.  That prompted allegations that government officials may be guilty of fraud according to Andrew McCarthy, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney

The Solyndra scandal has already prompted five high level investigations.  What Obama thought would be government funded campaign props is likely to turn into a re-election season nightmare.

Big Brother, Sketchy Pasts and Those Damn Robots Are Taking Over! – Derek Hunter – Townhall Conservative

Big Brother, Sketchy Pasts and Those Damn Robots Are Taking Over! – Derek Hunter – Townhall Conservative.

My sister is getting married this weekend, so this week’s column will be short. It’ll still be way longer than it should be – that’s just how I roll – but short for me. Being 6’5”, I don’t get make short jokes about myself often, so I’m going to enjoy that fleeting moment while I can. OK, done.

On with the show…

Big Brother Is…Now Following You On Twitter

Tone-deaf is one thing; incompetent is another. There’s a fine line between the two and they are often confused. If there was any doubt about which camp President Obama belongs to, it has been removed this month.

Taken individually, everything the President is doing easily could fall into the first category. But taken collectively, there is no choice but to conclude the President is in over his head.

Two weeks ago, after nearly three years in office – and after telling us last year his administration “will not rest until every American who is able and ready and willing to work can find a job,” the president announced he is ready to tackle unemployment. He then went on an extended vacation to the exclusive island of Martha’s Vineyard.

We were assured by various spokesmen that, in between near daily rounds of golf, the president was drafting not only his planned speech before Congress, but the plan itself. When the President returned from vacation, he delivered his speech, which contained more than a dozen variations of the line “pass this bill right away.”

The only problem was, despite his having worked tirelessly throughout his vacation on this bill, or so we were told, there was no bill. It would not be finished until the following week and has yet to be actually introduced in Congress. If the actual urgency were anywhere near the way the president portrayed it, you’d think he’d have his plan ready to go, especially since unemployment has been obscenely high since he took office. Or maybe he thinks everyone “who is able and ready and willing to work” already has a job. It’s doubtful he runs into many unemployed people in the golf course…

The jobs mess aside, there’s Solyndra. Solyndra is the solar energy company that got more than a half- billion dollars in “stimulus” money – in spite of all the red flags and repeated warnings – then promptly went out of business. Considering what the government spends these days, a half-billion dollars is likely to be found in any cabinet secretary’s couch cushions, but it’s still real money. More importantly, it’s our money.

So more than a half-billion of our tax dollars disappears like it’s Keyser Söze, and what does President Obama do? Nothing. According to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, the president hasn’t even been briefed on the subject. As Carney told reporters, “There’s nothing much to brief him on.”

REALLY? The fact that a major fundraiser for the president who, along with other company officials, visited the White House several times to press for this money – and the White House, in turn, pressed Congress for approval of this money – doesn’t rate a mention?

Beginning to see a pattern?

Then, this week Obama for America, the president’s re-election campaign, announced it had started “Attack Watch,” a Big Brother-like organization that encourages everyone to “report an attack” on the president. Attack Watch says its goal is to “Get the facts. Fight the smears.” It took to Facebook and Twitter to urge Americans to report “smears” and “attacks” on the president.

Unfortunately for Obama for America, the attacks cited thus far mostly have amounted to differing opinions. One example is Israel. There’s no doubt President Obama isn’t a big supporter of Israel, but don’t let the folks at Attack Watch hear you say that. They disagree. Their evidence is that politicians, some of whom are liberal Israeli politicians, said nice things about the President in public. Hard-hitting truth-telling there.

This would all be funny, were it not so disturbing. It did, however, spawn the creation of a hilarious mock ad and the inevitable “Hitler finds out Attack Watch is a joke” video. Even The Washington Post couldn’t help but point out how absurd it was, though it quickly changed the headline to make it seem as though it was only conservatives who found it idiotic.

What the Post did is the real problem here. Because the mainstream media spent the 2008 campaign and nearly every day since his inauguration telling the American people how brilliant President Obama is, it has much of its remaining credibility vested in him. Thus, it can’t report on these examples of failure and incompetence the way an honest media should.

That’s why every time you hear of new, higher unemployment numbers, they are always “unexpected.” Why are they unexpected? What has the president done that would lead anyone to believe a positive number of jobs would be created? Golfing doesn’t create jobs. Neither does vacationing. The closest the president has come to a “plan” to create jobs is to simply declare last summer “Recovery Summer” and hope for the best. But when you do everything history shows is NOT the way to revive an economy, it is no surprise when the best doesn’t occur.

But you won’t hear about that from the media, nor will you hear about the latest developments in Project Gunrunner. Or the Administration’s corrupt war on for-profit education. Or any of the other scandals that would be screaming from the headlines of the nation’s newspapers and leading the nightly network newscasts were the president to have an R instead of a D after his name.

Instead we get descriptions of “thrills” running up legs and lectured on how much of a genius the president is. If the Obama administration is the result of genius in charge, I’ll take an idiot any day.

Does This Administration Not Know Anyone With A Clean Record?

Because the nation’s capital doesn’t have enough power-hungry bureaucrats in Congress, Elizabeth Warren, former advisor to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and un-elected czar of all economic regulations, announced this week she’s running for the Senate from Massachusetts. In typical liberal fashion, she announced her bid on Rachel Maddow’s show after an intro that was, shall we say, so genital-centric you might’ve thought it a flashback to the suffragette days.

Warren was unable to get Senate confirmation to head the government’s newest regulation-producing machine, so she was appointed as an “advisor” to the president and simply granted the power she couldn’t otherwise get through traditional means. Now she wants to bring that experience, as pointless and destructive as it was, to an even bigger stage.

Her exit was not unexpected or even unwanted by many, but it does leave a vacuum…and nature abhors a vacuum, even when a particular vacuum isn’t needed, particularly in Washington.

Enter Richard Cordray.

Cordray is President Obama’s nominee to head the CFPB and, interestingly enough, he’s neck deep in a “pay-to-play” scandal stemming from his role as Attorney General of Ohio. Curiously, the issue was not discussed at a recent confirmation hearing in the Senate, but it certainly deserves further investigation.

Last year, the Wall Street Journal examined the connection between the Ohio Democratic Party, elected officials and out-of-state trial lawyer firms that received windfall profits from the state thanks, in part, to their political connections and contributions to Richard Cordray and others. The Journal reported the scheme began in 2006 when Marc Dann, a Democratic candidate for attorney general in Ohio, told plaintiffs’ law firms he would allow their firms to file shareholder lawsuits on behalf of the state.  The decision opened the political contribution spigot, and he quickly collected nearly $60,000 of political contributions from out-of-state litigators.

After he won the election, Dann’s office filed at least four securities suits on behalf of state pension funds, mostly using law firms that had given to his campaign or to the state Democratic Party. After he was forced to resign from office because of a sexual harassment scandal, his replacement, Richard Cordray, continued the scam.

The Journal reported: 

Mr. Dann resigned after 16 months in office. After an interim appointment, the state held an election for a successor, won by another Democrat, Richard Cordray. Out-of-state plaintiffs’ law firms gave little cash directly to Mr. Cordray’s campaign, but in 2007 and 2008, they contributed $830,000 to the Ohio Democratic Party candidates’ fund, which passed about $2 million to support Mr. Cordray.

Mr. Cordray then launched what he called an “aggressive” litigation strategy. Six law firms so far have been retained to represent Ohio pension funds in new lawsuits; five of the firms donated a total of $300,000 to the state Democratic Party candidates’ fund in 2008….

State officials, in deflecting pay-to-play allegations, often say they pick law firms on merit by first issuing a public “request for proposals,” or RFP; law firms then compete to be on a list that pension funds will use for any future litigation. But some lawyers say the RFP process itself can be a political fund-raising opportunity.

It should be noted Ohio politicians received the most donations from out-of-state plaintiffs’ firms in the past decade—more than $1.65 million, by the Journal’s analysis.

Progressives, the media and Democrats in the Senate have swept this scandal under the rug and demanded quick confirmation of Cordray.  Republicans are refusing to confirm him – or any director to head the CFPB – until President Obama agrees to put some checks on the almost unlimited power of the bureau and its director. They are right to hold the line. The CFPB is one of the most undemocratic agencies of government ever created.

But regardless whether the CFPB is reformed or, as it should be, eliminated, Cordray should not get a free pass.  Republicans must dig deeper into the Ohio “pay-to-play” scandal between Cordray and his litigator contributors.

And In The End…

First It Was The ATMs; Now Machines Are After Our Grueling Endurance Races. A few months ago President Obama famously blamed economic woes on automatic teller machines in a way that would’ve led you to believe we were well on our way to a Skynet armageddon. Those damn machines haven’t killed us all yet, but after their Jeopardy victory, computers are moving closer…A Japanese robot is entering the Hawaii triathlon. The small robot is expect to complete the running, swimming and bicycling event in about a week, so humans, who complete it in about 1/10th that time, aren’t threatened…yet. But we all know it’s only a matter of time. On the other hand, I’ve long suspected Chris Matthews was some sort of drool machine and Paul Krugman has sounded like a computer in need of a reboot, so maybe they’re already here.

Go about your week.

White House Thinks Unemployment Creates Jobs – Mike Shedlock – Townhall Finance

White House Thinks Unemployment Creates Jobs – Mike Shedlock – Townhall Finance.

Real Clear Politics notes Unemployment Benefits Could Create Up To 1 Million Jobs

“I understand why extending unemployment insurance provides relief to people who need it, but how does that create jobs,” Wall Street Journal‘s Laura Meckler asked Jay Carney at Wednesday’s WH briefing.

Carney responded: “Oh, uh, it is by, uh, I would expect a reporter from the Wall Street Journal would know this as part of the entrance exam.”

“There are few other ways that can directly put money into the economy than applying unemployment insurance,” Carney said.

Carney answers the question: “It is one of the most direct ways to infuse money directly into the economy because people who are unemployed and obviously aren’t running a paycheck are going to spend the money that they get. They’re not going to save it, they’re going to spend it. And with unemployment insurance, that way, the money goes directly back into the economy, dollar for dollar virtually.”

“Every place that, that money is spent has added business and that creates growth and income for businesses that leads them to decisions about jobs, more hiring. So, there are few other ways that can directly put money into the economy than applying unemployment insurance, Carney said.

So there you have it. The unemployed create jobs. If only we had millions more unemployed, we could create millions more jobs, simply by giving the unemployed more money.

I suppose we could triple unemployment benefits and create three times as many jobs on the theory that the unemployed would still spend every penny of three times as much money.

We could be even more creative and extend unemployment benefits to infinity thereby creating an infinite number of jobs. However, creation of an infinite number of jobs would sound unrealistic as a news headline, even for a liberal media, if only barely. So let’s just do this for three more years at three times the benefits.

I have the headline ready: “Obama to create 9 million jobs by giving the unemployed three times as much money if they agree to spend it.”

Addendum:

A couple of people argued spending will create jobs but asked “how many?” Certainly 1 million seems ridiculous.

More to the heart of the matter, to paraphrase a response from “Fedwatcher”, such activities will create jobs but not efficiently or permanently.

Therein is the crux of the matter. Certainly if the government gave $20,000 to everyone who was unemployed we would see a burst of activity, followed by another crash. Throwing money around does not create lasting jobs, only another heroin high.

Worse yet, in response to stimulus, businesses may invest more in productive capacity only to find out as the stimulus wore off, they really didn’t need it. Heaven help any business that borrows money on such false signals.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com