Obama starts his anti-jobs speech tour

I kept getting emails from Obama’s minions saying things like: “Don’t miss this speech.”

So I didn’t.

What I saw was Obama at Knox College in Illinois firing a 5,000-word scatter gun for more than an hour at the economy without once hitting the target. He spoke in vague generalities about a ” long-term American strategy, based on steady, persistent effort, to reverse the forces that have conspired against the middle class for decades.”

When he did offer specifics, which were few, each of them would do more harm than good — kill jobs instead of create them.

He talked about raising the minimum wage — a sure job killer for the young and unskilled.

He talked about doubling the number of solar and wind energy projects — proven job killers.

He blathered on about ObamaCare, which is pushing people into part-time jobs so employers can avoid its penalties.

But most of all he talked about inequality, noting the average CEO has gotten a raise of nearly 40 percent since 2009, when he took office, and said the average American earns less than he or she did in 1999. He did not say that the average American household earns $2,718, or 5 percent, less than it did when the recession ended in June 2009, four months after he took office.

Though the title of his speech was “A Better Bargain for the Middle Class,” under his administration the middle class has been shrinking and poverty growing.

Since January 2009, the number of people on food stamps has grown from 32.2 million to 47.5 million.

Obama fires scatter gun of rhetoric and completely misses the target. (White House photo)

The unemployment rate when Obama took office was 7.8 percent, after topping out at 10 percent it is still 7.6 percent.

Americans living in poverty have grown from 14.3 percent in 2009 to 16 percent now.

Yet Obama pontificated, “This growing inequality isn’t just morally wrong; it’s bad economics. When middle-class families have less to spend, businesses have fewer customers. When wealth concentrates at the very top, it can inflate unstable bubbles that threaten the economy. When the rungs on the ladder of opportunity grow farther apart, it undermines the very essence of this country,” while doing absolutely nothing so far to change anything, except to make things worse.

As a Wall Street Journal editorial pointed out today, Obama doesn’t understand that before government can redistribute wealth, the private economy has to create it. And he said nothing whatsoever about how to grow the economy, which grew only 0.4 percent in the last quarter of 2012 and a still anemic 1.8 percent in the first quarter of this year and is expected for grow even slower in the second quarter.

Obama said he wants “an economy that grows from the middle out, not the top down.”

His speech was full of such rehashed bromides with a smattering of anti-job ideas.

“I care about one thing and one thing only,” Obama said, “and that’s how to use every minute of the 1,276 days remaining in my term to make this country work for working Americans again.”

We’ll be counting down the days.

Listen to Barack, listen to Barack, and tell me what he said

We call the bird Barack

A couple of weeks ago when we were enjoying the spring weather and chatting about the flora and fauna, especially the song birds, alert reader Bill Wilson commented on a mockingbird that had taken up residence near his home:

“We have a fireplace that faces all direction in our home.

“The little bugger sits on the chimney every morning and sings down the chimney until we are awake. Once he has accomplished that, he guards the pyracantha bush next to the back door. If you came within 5 feet of the bush, he dive bombs you.

“We call him Barack, he talks incessantly, doesn’t really say a damn thing, and then abuses us at every opportunity.”

Now, listen to this morning’s radio address by Obama, think of all the ongoing scandals in his administration and see if you don’t fully agree.

Pop quiz: Name one substantive thing he said. Just one.

This is the description of the Northern Mockingbird:

“If you’ve been hearing an endless string of 10 or 15 different birds singing outside your house, you might have a Northern Mockingbird in your yard. These slender-bodied gray birds apparently pour all their color into their personalities. They sing almost endlessly, even sometimes at night, and they flagrantly harass birds that intrude on their territories, flying slowly around them or prancing toward them, legs extended, flaunting their bright white wing patches.”

Obama’s budget is a declaration of war on the West

President Obama’s budget may well be dead on arrival, but its fetid corpse tells a tale of just what his administration thinks of the West, according to this week’s newspaper column, available online at The Ely Times and the Elko Daily Free Press.

The budget proposes to raise grazing fees on both Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service land by $1 a head per month — a 74 percent increase.

The budget also seeks to pick the pockets of drillers of oil and natural gas wells on federally controlled land by increasing royalty payments by $2.5 billion over the next 10 years.

Cattle grazing near Austin, Nev.

While the Obama administration is trying to declare various species across the West threatened or endangered — most of which are threatened or endangered due to the huge increase in wildfires — his budget proposes to slash funding for a program to reduce the dried brush and trees that fuel those fires by $90 million in 2014.

Both Reps. Mark Amodei and Steven Horsford — who together represent the bulk of rural Nevada, 85 percent of which is controlled by various federal agencies — were dismissive of the Obama budget.

Amodei, a Republican, commented, “With yet another budget from the president that doesn’t balance, increases spending, raises taxes, raises grazing fees, and continues to block American energy production, I suspect it will meet the same fate as his last budget — voted down 97-0 in the Senate and 419-0 in the House.”

Horsford, a Democrat, said, “The president’s budget is just one of many budget proposals, and as we hopefully continue through the budget process, we will have to consider a variety of funding priorities. I will fight to make sure the rural communities in my district have the resources they need and the representation they deserve to maintain their livelihood.”

“Our nation is nearly $17 trillion in debt,” observed Sen. Dean Heller. “At a time when Nevadans are simply trying to keep their heads above water, the president is asking for another $8.2 trillion, partly on the backs of our ranchers and rural communities.”

Dustin Van Liew, a spokesman for both the Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, said the budget shows this administration has no understanding of American agriculture.

“The president’s lack of understanding for the federal lands grazing industry, as evidenced by his proposed 74 percent tax on federal land ranchers, is extremely disappointing,” Van Liew said. “Effectively increasing the grazing fee during these times of economic uncertainty will unnecessarily increase burdens on livestock producers and hamper their ability to create jobs and generate economic growth in their communities.”

Read the full column online at Ely and Elko websites.

On this Presidents’ Day: A stark contrast

Obama spent Sunday golfing with Tiger Woods

Today, Feb. 18, Presidents’ Day, Barack Obama writes in the local newspaper about the need to create jobs and open manufacturing hubs, immigration reform and affordable higher education, the need to reduce the deficit and raise taxes on the rich, and:

“Finally, while all these steps are important, our first priority must be to protect our children and our communities from harm. Overwhelming majorities of Americans — Americans who believe in the Second Amendment — have come together around common-sense proposals like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. And these proposals deserve a vote in Congress.”

On Feb. 18, 1776, a future president, George Washington, wrote to the president of Congress from an encampment at Cambridge outside of Boston:

“True it is, and I cannot help acknowledging, that I have many disagreeable sensations on account of my situation; for, to have the eyes of the whole Continent fixed, with anxious expectation of hearing of some great event, and to be restrained in every military operation for want of the necessary means of carrying it on, is not very pleasing, especially as the means used to conceal my weakness, from the enemy, conceals it also from our friends, and adds to their wonder. I do not utter this by way of complaint. I am sensible that all that the Congress could do, they have done; and I should feel most powerfully the weight of conscious ingratitude, were I not to acknowledge this; but as we have accounts of the arrival of powder in Captain Mason, I would beg to have it sent on in the most expeditious manner, otherwise we not only lose all chance of the benefits resulting from the season, but of the Militia, which are brought in at a most enormous expense, upon a presumption that we should, long ere this, have been amply supplied with powder under the contracts entered into with the Committee of Congress. The Militia, contrary to an express requisition, are come, and coming in, without ammunition; to supply them alone with twenty-four rounds, which is less by three-fifths than the Regulars are served with, will take between fifty and sixty barrels of powder; and to complete the other troops, to the like quantity, will take near as much more, and leave in store not more than about sixty barrels, besides a few rounds of cannon-cartridges, ready filled, for use. This, sir, Congress may be assured is a true state of powder, and will, I hope, bear some testimony of my incapacity for action in such a way as may do any essential service.”

Oh the terrible catastrophe of sequester

Obama’s weekly radio address today:

Doom and gloom is just around the corner. Oceans will rise. Planets will fly out of their orbits, if Congress allows the sequester to take place. Children and senior citizens will be fighting over scraps of garbage in the streets.

This I know for Obama tells me so:

“If the sequester is allowed to go forward, thousands of Americans who work in fields like national security, education or clean energy are likely to be laid off. Firefighters and food inspectors could also find themselves out of work – leaving our communities vulnerable. Programs like Head Start would be cut, and lifesaving research into diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s could be scaled back. Small businesses could be prevented from getting the resources and support they need to keep their doors open. People with disabilities who are waiting for their benefits could be forced to wait even longer. All our economic progress could be put at risk. …

“Right now, most Members of Congress – including many Republicans – don’t think it’s a good idea to put thousands of jobs at risk and do unnecessary damage to our economy. And yet the current Republican plan puts the burden of avoiding those cuts mainly on seniors and middle-class families. They would rather ask more from the vast majority of Americans and put our recovery at risk than close even a single tax loophole that benefits the wealthy.”

Never mind that clean energy and Head Start have been multibillion-dollar black holes, let’s see just how big those drastic cuts really are.

Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute has crunched the numbers in that recent CBO report and comes up with a chart that illustrates the depths and breadth of the cuts over the next decade:

After the dreaded sequestration, the federal government expands by $2.4 trillion instead of $2.5 trillion.

Mitchell calls everything Obama says about the consequences of sequestration “utter bunk,” and concludes, “So let’s not just have a sequester. Let’s joyfully embrace it.

As for damaging the economy, The Wall Street Journal recently stated in an editorial titled “The Unscary Sequester” that:

“The most disingenuous White House claim is that the sequester will hurt the economy. Reality check: The cuts amount to about 0.5% of GDP. The theory that any and all government spending is ‘stimulus’ has been put to the test over the last five years, and the result has been the weakest recovery in 75 years and trillion-dollar annual deficits. …

“The sequester will surely require worker furloughs and cutbacks in certain nonpriority services. But most of those layoffs will happen in the Washington, D.C. area, the recession-free region that has boomed during the Obama era.”

Here is Mitchell on CNBC:

Charles Krauthammer has advised the GOP to call Obama’s bluff:

“The Republicans finally have leverage. They should use it. Obama capitalized on the automaticity of the expiring Bush tax cuts to get what he wanted at the fiscal cliff — higher tax rates. Republicans now have automaticity on their side.

“If they do nothing, the $1.2 trillion in cuts go into effect. This is the one time Republicans can get cuts under an administration that has no intent of cutting anything. Get them while you can.”

Everyone bemoans the fact the cuts would be indiscriminate across-the-board. Yes, selective cuts would be better, but there is no chance this Congress can agree on selective cuts. So, take whatever cuts we can get and run with it.

Front page Review-Journal headline calls Romney comment a ‘foreign policy gaffe’

gaffe: n. 1. A clumsy social error; a faux pas. 2. A blatant mistake or misjudgment.

Can it get any more blatant than this? The front page of the Las Vegas newspaper today carries a headline calling Mitt Romney’s statement about the White House handling of comments about the attacks on two U.S. foreign posts a “gaffe.” Not that someone else thought it was a gaffe. It was a gaffe, by definition. That’s a word usually reserved for the editorial page, not the front page. It says more about the headline writer than the story of the day.

The full headline over the Washington Post story read: “Romney criticized by own party for foreign policy gaffe.”

But when you read the story, you find only some anonymous demurring by campaign insiders. “Top aides to Romney said publicly that they had no regrets, but some advisers and supporters acknowledged privately that this was a cautionary tale — that in a rapid-response media environment, thoughtfulness sometimes gives way to the intense drive to win the news cycle,” WaPo reporter Philip Rucker writes.

The only “Republican” on the record with a criticism was Matthew Dowd.

“It almost feels like Sarah Palin is his foreign policy adviser,” Rucker quoted Dowd as saying, while describing him as a top strategist for president George W. Bush. “It’s just a huge mistake on the Romney campaign’s part — huge mistake.”

He failed to mention that Dowd in his own bio states that he “worked for 25 years for Democratic candidates around the country. Dowd has not worked for either political party since 2006 and considers himself an independent.”

The only other “Republican” on the record with a criticism was a New York congressman who said Romney was correct, but probably should have waited a day to say it.

The story never uses the word gaffe.

But columnist Philip Klein points out in the The (Washington) Examiner that the pliant media quickly turned the story from a bungling Obama foreign policy into a political gaffe for Romney:

“When Romney gave a press conference Wednesday, the questions focused on whether it was appropriate for him to criticize Obama at the time he did. Romney’s responses didn’t really matter, because reporters had already decided their narrative. Obama did not take any questions in his own press conference moments later.

“In 2004, John Kerry routinely attacked President Bush’s handling of Iraq when things weren’t going well in the country. And the media dutifully reported on Bush’s foreign policy blunders in Iraq. But now, instead of scrutinizing Obama’s handling of a foreign policy crisis, the media has decided that the real story in Egypt and Libya is a Mitt Romney gaffe.”

But according to Rucker, Romney “broke from protocol.”

Here are the first two graphs of the story:

“Crises overseas tend to create moments of joint resolve back home, a time to pause from the daily bickering of partisan politics. But as news was streaming in about attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya, Mitt Romney broke from that protocol.

“Statements that the Republican presidential nominee made slamming President Obama led to a day of tumult for Romney, with leading voices in his party criticizing him and his top aides scrambling to prevent further damage.”

Leading voices in his own party? Scrambling to prevent further damage? How? By publicly saying they had “no regrets”? Now that’s a stretch that would make any first baseman proud.

Obama and the press: Coincidence or coordination?

On May 9, Obama announced on ABC News his support for gay marriage, though he did not actually do anything about it.

“At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama said.

Two days later, The Washington Post published a long-researched, front-page piece on Mitt Romney’s behavior in high school toward a presumably gay classmate, quoting another student describing Romney “marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut (John) Lauber’s hair” and how the bleached-blond, long-haired, tearful Lauber was pinned to the ground while “Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.”

Coincidence or coordination?

Jeffrey Isidoro, 10, at a school in Matamoros, Mexico. (Shaul Schwarz photo/NYT)

This past Friday, Obama made his grand pronouncement that certain illegal immigrants would be exempted by executive fiat from deportation under the immigration laws — those who came to this country when they were younger than 16, have a relatively clean criminal record and are still under 30. (Sounds downright arbitrary and capricious, but that’s another topic.)

Three days later, The New York Times published a long-researched, front-page article about young people raised in the United States who are now living in Mexico because their parents were deported or chose to return home for various reasons.

The story ledes with fifth-grader Jeffrey Isidoro, whose father was deported, being teased by his classmates in a Matamoros school to speak English when answering a teacher’s question.

It contains the typical sociologist hand-wringing: “These kinds of changes are really traumatic for kids. It’s going to stick with them.”

One paragraph of the story observes, “Houston — that is where Jeffrey’s thoughts typically drift. There, he had friends, McDonald’s, the zoo. It is where he lingered at the library at Gleason Elementary to catch up on his favorite series of books, ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid.’ There, his school had a playground; here, there is just a concrete slab. There, computers were common; here, there are none.”

Coincidence or coordination?