Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Some refugees prefer to stay home. Who knew?

In the present environment of American politics, some say bringing refugees to the U.S. is THE solution to the Syrian crisis. But there are other perspectives, such as the perspective of some refugees themselves.

 

This refugee from Syria expresses gratitude for America’s military action in response to the gas attack on Syrian civilians, which appear to be the work of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. He also mentions the fact he and his fellow refugees don’t want to be forced out of their homes and into some foreign country. Some in the American media, such as CNN’s Brooke Baldwin, fish for criticism of President Trump and his immigration policies when interviewing refugees. Debora Heine at PJ Media wrote on this story in CNN Narrative Fail: Syrian Refugee Slams Clinton, Obama; Praises Trump.

“With all due respect, with all due respect,” Kassem began. “I didn’t see each and every person who was demonstrating after the travel ban…. I didn’t see you three days ago when people were gassed to death….I didn’t see you in 2013 when 1,400 people were gassed to death. I didn’t see you raising your voice against President Obama’s inaction in Syria that left us refugees,” he said, completely deflating her expectations.

“If you really care about refugees, if you really care about helping us, please — help us stay here in our country,” he continued.

Others who have looked into immigration have reached a similar conclusion. Rather than play politics and act as if racism or xenophobia are the motivation, those who are willing to make an intellectually honest assessment of the crisis recognize immigration is not the solution the refugees need. Just like the Syrian refugee who wants help remaining in his home, Roy Beck shows good reasons to question the open immigration narrative by discussing the practical details that actually affect the people involved.

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Health Insurance Premiums Rising Faster Than Wages

original article: Health Insurance Premiums Rising Faster Than Wages
March 23, 2016 by Ali Meyer

Health insurance premiums have increased faster than wages and inflation in recent years, rising an average of 28 percent from 2009 to 2014 despite the enactment of Obamacare, according to a report from Freedom Partners.

President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010, and Wednesday is the law’s sixth anniversary.

The Obama administration expressed concern in 2009 about skyrocketing health care premiums in a report entitled, “The Burden of Health Insurance Premium Increases on American Families.” They were concerned that premiums had increased by 5.5 percent from 2008 to 2009.

However, from 2010 to 2011 in the first year after Obamacare was enacted, premiums increased by 9.4 percent.

“In 2009, when the [Executive Office of the President] issued its report, states had seen premiums increase on average by 30 percent between 2004 and 2009,” states the Freedom Partners report. “But since 2009, health insurance premiums have continued to grow faster than wages in nearly every state, averaging a 28 percent increase from 2009 to 2014, resulting in a greater amount of disposable income being consumed by rising premiums.”

According to the report, while premiums increased by 28 percent from 2009 to 2014, wages increased by only 7.8 percent. From 2004 to 2009 when premiums increased by 30 percent, wages increased by only 12.2 percent.

The data also finds that health care costs have exceeded the rate of inflation. “The average annual cost of a family’s employer-sponsored health insurance policy was $17,545 in 2015, which marks a 4.2 percent increase from the 2014 average of $16,834, while the inflation rate remained low at 0.1 percent,” states the report. “With health care costs still rising faster than inflation six years after passage of the Affordable Care Act, it is clear that the law is not helping lower the burden of health care expenses for American families.”

Americans can expect their health care costs to rise again in 2017. According to Stephen Parente, a scholar at the University of Minnesota, each type of health care plan on the exchanges can expect to see an average premium increase of 7.3 percent for families and 11 percent for individuals.

“The Administration claimed the ACA would bend the cost curve, but our report shows it bent in the wrong direction—premiums didn’t slow down under the Affordable Care Act, they sped up,” said Nathan Nascimento, senior policy adviser at Freedom Partners. “No wonder the White House is trying to change the national conversation away from health care costs. By their own standards, the Affordable Care Act has failed.”

The Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

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Did Obama admin cheat on college scorecards?

original article: White House ‘College Scorecard’ shuts out conservative schools
September 22, 2015 by Perry Chiaramonte

Conservative colleges say the White House flunked its so-called “College Scorecard,” which is intended to help high school graduates pick schools but served up what critics say is an incomplete list of choices.

The scorecard, which ranks schools by an index designed to demonstrate “bang for buck,” evaluated more than 7,000 colleges and universities. Left off the list were such well-known conservative schools as Michigan’s Hillsdale College — ranked in the top 75 by U.S. News and World Report — and Pennsylvania’s Grove City College. Also omitted were Wyoming Catholic College, Idaho’s New Saint Andrews College and Christendom College in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

“This scorecard is nothing more than a justification of some bureaucrat’s job and an attempt to manipulate the data to make it appear such independent institutions aren’t up to snuff,” said Kyle Olson, founder of higher education news website EAGnews.org. “As we’ve seen the administration attack for-profit schools, they will discredit any school that operates differently than they see fit.”

When it was released last week, the scorecard was trumpeted as a way to help high school grads sort through the higher education possibilities amid a stagnant jobs market and rising tuition costs.

“Americans will now have access to reliable data on every institution of higher education,” President Obama said. “You’ll be able to see how much each school’s graduates earn, how much debt they graduate with, and what percentage of a school’s students can pay back their loans — which will help all of us see which schools do the best job of preparing America for success.”

Department of Education spokeswoman Denise Horn told FoxNews.com in a statement that some schools were left out because they did not take federal funding, which comes with a requirement that they provide data used in crafting the scorecard.

“With the College Scorecard, the Department is committed to doing what the President asked us to do: provide information to families and consumers to help them make a college choice that’s smart for them,” Horn said. “As of now, institutions that do not participate in Title IV federal financial aid are not included on the site because they are not required to send us data.”

A Title IV participating institution is a school that accepts funding from federal sources including the Stafford, Perkins and Federal Supplemental loans, the Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students and grants from the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity and Pell programs.

Horn added that the department “is listening closely to concerns from users and other stakeholders and will work to address those concerns in future updates to the tool.”

But schools said they were given other reasons for being left off the list, some of which they claim don’t add up. Hillsdale officials told FoxNews.com that when they asked why they were left off, the Department of Education told them it was because most of the degrees the school awards are certificates, not two-year or four-year degrees.

“This statement is false,” a school spokeswoman said. “Contrary to the Department of Education’s spokeswoman, Hillsdale issues only four-year undergraduate degrees as well as master’s degrees, and does not issue certificates of any kind for academic credit.”

Paul McNulty, president of Grove City College, a Christian liberal arts institution that requires students of all denominations to attend a certain amount of chapel services each semester, said the school also inquired about the omission.

“In response to our inquiry, the Department informed us that the site is limited only to Title IV participating institutions,” he said. “Our graduates enjoy a well-recognized return on an affordable investment that exceeds national averages in all of the Scorecard categories. We are concerned that Grove City’s absence from the Scorecard will confuse or disserve families seeking out higher education institutions with our record of success.

“For now, the Department should, at the very least, include a disclaimer that the Scorecard is not comprehensive or reflective of all college and universities,” he added.

Christendom College President Timothy O’Donnell said the Scorecard’s criteria makes it impossible for schools like his to be included.

“We were not surprised to be left off the list as Christendom receives no federal money, and as a consequence, files no data under Title IX; without this data, it is impossible for the Scorecard to include Christendom,” O’Donnell said. “We are, however, as a fully-accredited, four-year national liberal arts college ranked highly…because of our high-caliber and time-tested education.”

That is the problem, according to Olson, who charged that the grading system was created with misguided reasoning in Washington.

“Such a scorecard designed by statists will naturally cast independent private institutions in a negative light,” Olson said. “That’s either intentional or is byproduct of the schools’ unwillingness to play by the statists’ rules. Parents and prospective students don’t need any seal of approval from President Obama or some DOE bureaucrat to decide whether a school is good or not. The prospective student and his or her parents can make that determination just fine.”

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White House tried to hide extent of Personnel hack

White House reportedly hid extent of Office of Personnel Management hack
June 25, 2015 by Fox News

The Obama administration reportedly concealed the true amount of information compromised by a cyberattack on the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for several days after the initial disclosure of the hack, according to a published report.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the day after the White House admitted that hackers had breached personnel files, OPM publicly denied that the security clearance forms had been compromised despite receiving information to the contrary from the FBI. The administration did not say that security clearance forms had likely been accessed by the intruders until more than a week had passed.

A OPM spokeswoman denied the claims, telling the Journal the agency had been “completely consistent” in its reporting of the data breach.

The Journal, citing U.S. officials, reported that lengthy period between disclosures was the result of a decision taken by both White House and OPM officials to report the cyberattack as two separate breaches, one of the personnel files and one of the security clearance forms. That meant that rather than saying the hack may have compromised the information of approximately 18 million people, including some who have never worked for the government, OPM initially said that only about four million people were affected.

By contrast, the paper reports, FBI officials who had to speak to lawmakers about the incident, including director James Comey, defined the theft as the result of one breach.

On Wednesday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz asked whether the true number of people affected could be as high as 32 million, and called for OPM Director Katherine Archuleta to step down.

“I think you are part of the problem,” Chaffetz told Archuleta during a hearing. “That hurricane has come and blown this building down, and I don’t want to hear about putting boards up on windows (now). It’s time for you to go.”

In her testimony, Archuleta said the estimate of 18 million people affected “refers to a preliminary, unverified and approximate number of unique Social Security numbers in the background investigations data … It is a number I am not comfortable with.”

However, the Journal reports that  in a private briefing with lawmakers Tuesday, a senior FBI official interjected and told Archuleta the number was based on OPM’s own data.

Investigators believe that China was behind the cyberattack, which was discovered in April. If the security clearance forms were compromised, information about espionage operations could be exposed. Beijing has strongly denied any role in the hack.

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Cursing the Confederate flag, but praising the use of the N-word?

As many Americans are rightly opposed to displaying the Confederate Flag because of the obvious racial history associated with it, others are praising the use of the N-word.

Here’s What People Across America Had to Say About President Obama’s Use of the ‘N-Word’
May 23, 2015 by VICTORIA TAFT

MSNBC pundit Michael Eric Dyson says he thinks it’s ‘incredibly important’ President Obama used the ‘n’ word during an interview with a podcaster on a show called ‘WTF’.

“Look, those of us who have been pressing President Obama to speak more explicitly and more articulately about race, this is part of the payoff.

He chooses his words carefully, he chooses his point of entry carefully, but I think this was an incredibly important moment in intervention on behalf of the American public by our president, the president of the entire United States of America to talk specifically and particularly about using that n-word.”

The Georgetown University Sociology professor says the President used the word as a shock:

“What he was doing was shocking us. It’s a shock to the system, a jarring reminder of the intemperate use of that word and how it’s been connected to legacies of white supremacy that he brilliantly and forthrightly has addressed and certainly in this case did again.”

Radio host and author Larry Elder told CNN’s Jake Tapper he doesn’t know why anyone’s surprised:

“I’m kind of surprised that people are surprised, Jake. He wrote a book, his first book, where he did use the ‘n’ word. You can even hear Obama using the ‘n’ word in his book on tape. To me, the lead ought to be his negative view about race relations in America. My goodness!”

Former Congressman Harold Ford told MSNBC’s Morning Joe that he believes the President could have made his point without using the racist epithet.

Vox opined that even though the President’s point in using the word was ‘vague’, the media reaction ‘proved’ his point.

Some believed the President sent mixed messages by using the epithet:

full article: Here’s What People Across America Had to Say About President Obama’s Use of the ‘N-Word’

related: GOP Candidates Get 3rd Degree Over Confederate Flag, But Check Out Billary’s History With It
June 22, 2015 by JENNIFER VAN LAAR

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Uber-rich Hillary campaigns on economic equality

Clinton formally launches 2016 campaign with focus on economic equality
June 13, 2015 by Fox News

Hillary Clinton on Saturday officially launched her 2016 presidential campaign, calling for a return to shared prosperity and asking American workers, students and others to trust her to fight for them.

Clinton made the announcement at an outdoor rally on New York City’s Roosevelt Island, two months after announcing her campaign with an online video.

“You have to wonder: When do I get ahead? I say now,” Clinton told the crowd in a roughly 46-minute speech. “You brought the country back. Now it’s your time to enjoy the prosperity. That is why I’m running for president of the United States.”

The former first lady, U.S. senator from New York and secretary of state is the Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 White House race.

Also in the race are Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffe.

She lost her 2008 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination to then-Sen. Obama.

Clinton, wearing her signature blue pantsuit, walked through the crowd en route to the stage for her speech.

She remarked that Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms are a “testament to our nation’s unmatched aspirations and a reminder of our unfinished work at home and abroad.”

Clinton also drew into focus what will likely be the key themes of her campaign including support for same-sex marriage, wage equality for women and all Americans, affordable college tuition and free child-care and pre-kindergarten.

“The top-25 hedge fund managers make more than all kindergarten teachers combined,” she said. “And they’re paying lower taxes.”

Clinton attempted to portray herself as a fierce advocate for those left behind in the post-recession economy, detailing a lifetime of work on behalf of struggling families. She said her mother’s difficult childhood inspired what she considers a calling.

“I have been called many things by many people,” Clinton said.” Quitter is not one of them.”

She said that attribute came from her late mother, Dorothy Rodham, in whom she would confide after hard days in the Senate and at the State Department.

“I wish my mother could have been with us longer,” Clinton said. “I wish she could have seen the America we are going to build together … where we don’t leave any one out or any one behind.”

Clinton was joined by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and their daughter, Chelsea.

She also was critical in her speech of Republicans, suggesting they have reserved economic prosperity for the wealthy, in large part by cutting taxes for the country’s highest wage-earners.

She also accused them of trying to “wipe out tough rules on Wall Street,” take away health insurance from more than 16 million Americans without offering any “credible alternative” and turning their backs on “gay people who love each other.”

The Republican National Committee said in response that Clinton’s campaign was full of hypocritical attacks, partisan rhetoric and ideas from the past.

“Next year, Americans will reject the failed policies of the past and elect a Republican president,” RNC Press Secretary Allison Moore said.

Republicans also argued Clinton devoted only about five minutes of her speech to foreign policy.

Clinton now heads to four early-primary states, starting Saturday night in Iowa where she will talk with volunteers and others about grassroots-campaign efforts for the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

The organizational meeting will be simulcast to Clinton camps across the country and serve as a blueprint for them all 435 congressional districts.

She then travels to New Hampshire on June 15, South Carolina on June 17 and in Nevada on June 18.

Clinton vowed Saturday to roll out specific policy proposals in the coming weeks, including ones on rewriting the tax code and sustainable energy.

In what was her first major speech of her campaign, she also cited President Obama, Roosevelt and her husband, saying they embraced the idea that “real and lasting prosperity must be built by all and shared by all.”

Holding the event on an island between Queens and Manhattan raised some criticism about its accessibility by vehicle and public transportation.

The campaign estimated the event crowd, whose members needed a ticket, at 5,500. However, the number appeared smaller, and the overflow section was empty.

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Bob Woodward: Wrong, Bush Did Not Lie Us Into Iraq

original article: Bob Woodward: Wrong, Bush Did Not Lie Us Into Iraq
May 25, 2015 by Jack Coleman

Future commencement speech invitations for Beltway media eminence grise Bob Woodward effectively evaporated, at least in the Northeast, after his appearance yesterday on Fox News Sunday.

Woodward, who’ll be known in perpetuity as the stable half of the reporting duo who brought down Richard Nixon for a scandal that now appears paltry compared to the vast money-laundering scheme dignified under lofty title of Clinton Global Foundation, admirably did his part to puncture a sacred liberal myth — that Bush lied and people died. As Woodward sees it, only the latter half of that equation is correct.

http://www.mrctv.org/embed/135982

No matter, liberals will keep muttering it, usually when they’re awake, since clinging to their delusions is essential for maintaining what passes for sanity among them —

HOST CHRIS WALLACE: I want to turn to a different subject in the time we have left and that is the politics of Iraq which has gotten a lot of attention in the last couple of weeks with Jeb Bush, with Marco Rubio and with a bunch of other people and these questions of was it was a mistake to go in in 2003, was it a mistake to get out in 2011, and what impact this could have both in the Republican race and also the Democratic race. …

WOODWARD: Iraq is a symbol and you certainly can make a persuasive argument it was a mistake but there’s a kind of line going along that Bush and the other people lied about this. I spent 18 months looking at how Bush decided to invade Iraq and lots of mistakes, but it was Bush telling George Tenet, the CIA director, don’t let anyone stretch the case on WMD and he (Bush) was the one who was skeptical. And if you tried to summarize why we went into Iraq, it was momentum. The war plan kept getting better and easier and finally at that end people were saying, hey look, it’ll only take a week or two and early on it looked like it was going to take a year or 18 months and so Bush pulled the trigger.

A mistake, certainly, can be argued and there’s an abundance of evidence but there was no lie in this that I could find.

WALLACE: And what about 2011 and Obama’s decision to pull all the troops out? There had been a status of forces agreement between Bush and the Iraqi government that provided for a follow-on force. The Pentagon was talking about somewhere between 10- and 20,000 (troops) and a lot of people think, although Obama says, well we tried to negotiate and we didn’t, a lot of people think he really didn’t want to keep any troops there.

WOODWARD: Well, I think he didn’t. Look, Obama does not like war, but as you look back on this the argument from the military was, let’s keep 10-, 15,000 troops there as an insurance policy and we all know insurance policies make sense. We have 30,000 troops or more in South Korea still 65 years or so after the war. When you’re superpower, you have to buy these insurance policies and he didn’t in this case. I don’t think you can say everything is because of that decision but clearly a factor.

Obama will never admit it, but he knows he was wrong to abandon Iraq in 2011 for the sole purpose of potentially embarrassing Bush by saddling him with its loss. He’s tacitly acknowledged this by delaying the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan, which Obama in 2008 deemed the good war to Bush’s doomed misadventure in Iraq.

What should haunt Obama now as a result of his callow folly is the specter of Baghdad going the way of Saigon in the spring of 1975, as vividly depicted in Rory Kennedy’s most recent documentary, Last Days in Vietnam. Should this come to pass and the death toll rises to the point where genocide and not mass killings is invoked to describe the scale of slaughter, fellow Democrats will agree with Obama that this too is Bush’s fault. But which is preferable — Iraq as it is ripped asunder after six years of Obama’s quixotic foreign policy, or its stability and prospects when Bush left office in 2009?

No Lie
May 26, 2015 b Peter Roff

Bob Woodward throws cold water on the left’s claim that Bush lied the nation into war with Iraq.

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How Government Inaction Ended the Depression of 1921

original article: How Government Inaction Ended the Depression of 1921
May 20, 2015 by Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.

As the financial crisis of 2008 took shape, the policy recommendations were not slow in coming: why, economic stability and American prosperity demand fiscal and monetary stimulus to jump-start the sick economy back to life. And so we got fiscal stimulus, as well as a program of monetary expansion without precedent in US history.

David Stockman recently noted that we have in effect had fifteen solid years of stimulus — not just the high-profile programs like the $700 billion TARP and the $800 billion in fiscal stimulus, but also $4 trillion of money printing and 165 out of 180 months in which interest rates were either falling or held at rock-bottom levels. The results have been underwhelming: the number of breadwinner jobs in the US is still two million lower than it was under Bill Clinton.

Economists of the Austrian school warned that this would happen. While other economists disagreed about whether fiscal or monetary stimulus would do the trick, the Austrians looked past this superficial debate and rejected intervention in all its forms.

The Austrians have very good theoretical reasons for opposing government stimulus programs, but those reasons are liable to remain unknown to the average person, who seldom studies economics and who even more seldom gives non-establishment opinion a fair hearing. That’s why it helps to be able to point to historical examples, which are more readily accessible to the non-specialist than is economic theory. If we can point to an economy correcting itself, this alone overturns the claim that government intervention is indispensable.

Possibly the most arresting (and overlooked) example of precisely this phenomenon is the case of the depression of 1920–21, which was characterized by a collapse in production and GDP and a spike in unemployment to double-digit levels. But by the time the federal government even began considering intervention, the crisis had ended. What Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover deferentially called “The President’s Conference on Unemployment,” an idea he himself had cooked up to smooth out the business cycle, convened during what turned out to be the second month of the recovery, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

Indeed, according to the NBER, which announces the beginnings and ends of recessions, the depression began in January 1920 and ended in July 1921.

James Grant tells the story in his important and captivating new book The Forgotten Depression — 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself. A word about the author: Grant ranks among the most brilliant of financial experts. In addition to publishing his highly regarded newsletter, Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, for more than thirty years, Grant is a frequent (and anti-Fed) commentator on television and radio, the author of numerous other books, and a captivating speaker. We’ve been honored and delighted to feature him as a speaker at Mises Institute events.

What exactly were the Federal Reserve and the federal government doing during these eighteen months? The numbers don’t lie: monetary policy was contractionary during the period in question. Allan Meltzer, who is not an Austrian, wrote in A History of the Federal Reserve that “principal monetary aggregates fell throughout the recession.” He calculates a decline in M1 by 10.9 percent from March 1920 to January 1922, and in the monetary base by 6.4 percent from October 1920 to January 1922. “Quarterly average growth of the base,” he continues, “did not become positive until second quarter 1922, nine months after the NBER trough.”

The Fed raised its discount rate from 4 percent in 1919 to 7 percent in 1920 and 6 percent in 1921. By 1922, after the recovery was long since under way, it was reduced to 4 percent once again. Meanwhile, government spending also fell dramatically; as the economy emerged from the 1920–21 downturn, the budget was in the process of being reduced from $6.3 billion in 1920 to $3.2 billion in 1922. So the budget was being cut and the money supply was falling. “By the lights of Keynesian and monetarist doctrine alike,” writes Grant, “no more primitive or counterproductive policies could be imagined.” In addition, price deflation was more severe during 1920–21 than during any point in the Great Depression; from mid-1920 to mid-1921, the Consumer Price Index fell by 15.8 percent. We can only imagine the panic and the cries for intervention were we to observe such price movements today.

The episode fell down the proverbial memory hole, and Grant notes that he cannot find an example of a public figure ever having held up the 1920–21 example as a data point worth considering today. But although Keynesians today, now that the episode is being discussed once again, assure everyone that they are perfectly prepared to explain the episode away, in fact Keynesian economic historians in the past readily admitted that the swiftness of the recovery was something of a mystery to them, and that recovery had not been long in coming despite the absence of stimulus measures.

The policy of official inaction during the 1920–21 depression came about as a combination of circumstance and ideology. Woodrow Wilson had favored a more pronounced role for the federal government, but by the end of his term two factors made any such effort impossible. First, he was obsessed with the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles, and securing US membership in the League of Nations he had inspired. This concern eclipsed everything else. Second, a series of debilitating strokes left him unable to do much of anything by the fall of 1919, so any major domestic initiatives were out of the question. Because of the way fiscal years are dated, Wilson was in fact responsible for much of the postwar budget cutting, a substantial chunk of which occurred during the 1920–21 depression.

Warren Harding, meanwhile, was philosophically inclined to oppose government intervention and believed a downturn of this kind would work itself out if no obstacles were placed in its path. He declared in his acceptance speech at the 1920 Republican convention:

We will attempt intelligent and courageous deflation, and strike at government borrowing which enlarges the evil, and we will attack high cost of government with every energy and facility which attend Republican capacity. We promise that relief which will attend the halting of waste and extravagance, and the renewal of the practice of public economy, not alone because it will relieve tax burdens but because it will be an example to stimulate thrift and economy in private life.

Let us call to all the people for thrift and economy, for denial and sacrifice if need be, for a nationwide drive against extravagance and luxury, to a recommittal to simplicity of living, to that prudent and normal plan of life which is the health of the republic. There hasn’t been a recovery from the waste and abnormalities of war since the story of mankind was first written, except through work and saving, through industry and denial, while needless spending and heedless extravagance have marked every decay in the history of nations.

Harding, that least fashionable of American presidents, was likewise able to look at falling prices soberly and without today’s hysteria. He insisted that the commodity price deflation was unavoidable, and perhaps even salutary. “We hold that the shrinkage which has taken place is somewhat analogous to that which occurs when a balloon is punctured and the air escapes.” Moreover, said Harding, depressions followed inflation “just as surely as the tides ebb and flow,” but spending taxpayer money was no way to deal with the situation. “The excess of stimulation from that source is to be reckoned a cause of trouble rather than a source of cure.”

Even John Skelton Williams, comptroller of the currency under Woodrow Wilson and no friend of Harding, observed that the price deflation was “inevitable,” and that in any case “the country is now [1921] in many respects on a sounder basis, economically, than it has been for years.” And we should look forward to the day when “the private citizen is able to acquire, at the expenditure of $1 of his hard-earned money, something approximating the quantity and quality which that dollar commanded in prewar times.”

Thankfully for the reader, not only is Grant right on the history and the economics, but he also writes with a literary flair one scarcely expects from the world of financial commentary. And although he has all the facts and figures a reader could ask for, Grant is also a storyteller. This is no dry sheaf of statistics. It is full of personalities — businessmen, union bosses, presidents, economists — and relates so much more than the bare outline of the depression. Grant gives us an expert’s insight into the stock market’s fortunes, and those of American agriculture, industry, and more. He writes so engagingly that the reader almost doesn’t realize how difficult it is to make a book about a single economic episode utterly absorbing.

The example of 1920–21 was largely overlooked, except in specialized treatments of American economic history, for many decades. The cynic may be forgiven for suspecting that its incompatibility with today’s conventional wisdom, which urges demand management by experts and an ever-expanding mandate for the Fed, might have had something to do with that. Whatever the reason, it’s back now, as a rebuke to the planners with their equations and the cronies with their bailouts.

The Forgotten Depression has taken its rightful place within the corpus of Austro-libertarian revisionist history, that library of works that will lead you from the dead end of conventional opinion to the fresh air of economic and historical truth.

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Unraveling the Poverty Myths Obama Is Promoting

original article: Unraveling the Poverty Myths Obama Is Promoting
May 18, 2015 by Stephen Moore

Our class warrior in chief was at it again last week complaining about our “ideological divides that have prevented us from making progress” in solving problems like poverty. Just when you thought you’d heard it all.

Our most ideological president perhaps ever is arguing that there is too much ideology in Washington. Wow. Apparently an ideology is a firmly held belief that is held by other people—especially those on the right.

In a discussion on poverty at Georgetown University, the president managed to blame the slow-growth economy and stagnant wages on everything from Ayn Rand (who promoted “cold hearted policies” and classified everyone as a “moocher”) to California’s Proposition 13 (which is responsible for the Golden State’s dreadful schools). Everything has contributed to our current malaise except for his own failed policies.

Here’s a brief truth squad examination of Obama’s mythologies and misstatements of fact.

President Obama: “The stereotype is that you’ve got folks on the left who just want to pour more money into social programs, and don’t care anything about culture or parenting or family structures … ”

After more than $22 trillion spent on the War on Poverty since 1964 (in inflation adjusted dollars)—how is it a stereotype to say the left only wants to pour money at programs?

Just a few weeks ago the president blamed the Baltimore riots on Republicans for not spending and borrowing even more money on his social programs. He sounded like a parody of himself.

If the left really wants to advance cultural values like work, why do they oppose reforms to a welfare system that requires able-bodied adult Americans to work in exchange for receiving welfare benefits like food stamps?

Obama: “It is a mistake for us to suggest that somehow every effort we make has failed and we are powerless to address poverty. That’s just not true. First of all, just in absolute terms, the poverty rate when you take into account tax and transfer programs, has been reduced about 40 percent since 1967.”

There are two problems with this defense of the welfare state. First, the official poverty was falling before 1965 and at a faster rate than after the Great Society got rolling in the mid-1960s. This official poverty rate has remained virtually stagnant since the War on Poverty began.

Second, the decline in poverty that Obama is boasting about is only after taking into account tax credits and government handouts and welfare benefits. When excluding these programs there has been little progress at all.

Redistribution may have raised the material living standards of some of the poor. But it has not increased self-sufficiency.

The original purpose of the welfare state was to lift people into self-sufficiency, not to create a permanent underclass dependent on taxpayers. Lyndon Johnson told us when he started these programs that “the days of the dole are numbered.” We have passed day 18,000.

Obama also wants it both ways. He says over and over, even in this speech, that the biggest problem with the economy is income inequality because the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer. So if the poor are getting poorer, how have his social programs worked to reduce poverty?

Obama: “In some ways, rather than soften the edges of the market, we’ve turbocharged it.”

Wait, we’ve turbo-charged the free market? When? Where?

Obama: “There are programs that work to provide ladders of opportunity … but we just haven’t figured out how to scale them up.”

Hold on. One of the few programs that has proven to provide “a ladder of opportunity” is the Washington D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program for roughly 1,500 kids each year to attend private schools. They are all poor and almost all black. The graduation rates for these kids have improved in some cases markedly.

But guess who doesn’t want to “scale up” this successful program (which is, by the way, one of the few programs that would actually be appropriate for the federal government to scale up)? In every budget Obama has submitted, he has proposed eliminating the program.

It’s more than a little hypocritical for a president who sends his own daughters to private schools that cost $30,000 a year to prevent poor children in Washington, D.C., from attending those same schools.

Obama: “And so over time, families frayed. Men who could not get jobs left. Mothers who are single are not able to read as much to their kids.”

The president acts as though “families frayed” by accident. No, there were major cultural shifts that contributed to the major decline in marriage and rise in unwed births, not to mention the introduction of a massive government welfare system that financially took the place of the father.

In 1960, not even one in four black children were born without a father in the home. By 2013 that number had soared, tragically, to nearly three of every four black children being born outside of marriage. As economist Thomas Sowellhas put it: “the black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it disintegrated in the wake of the liberals’ expansion of the welfare state.”

Obama: “You look at state budgets, you look at city budgets, and you look at federal budgets, and we don’t make those same common investments that we used to. … And there’s been a very specific ideological push not to make those investments.”

In 1950 total state, local and federal government spending was just over $500 billion (in constant 2015 dollars) and 22.2 percent of our GDP. Today it is nearly $6 trillion and 33 percent of our GDP. Under Obama federal spending will reach $4 trillion next year and borrowing to finance these “common investments” will have risen by $8 trillion over his tenure.

The only thing that has been underfunded over the last decade is middle-class family incomes, which have stagnated.

Obama: “We don’t dispute that the free market is the greatest producer of wealth in history—it has lifted billions of people out of poverty. We believe in property rights, rule of law, so forth.”

No, you don’t. And that’s the whole problem.

bias, Democrats, economics, economy, elitism, family, government, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, lies, marxism, nanny state, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, politics, poverty, president, progressive, propaganda, spending, welfare

Filed under: bias, Democrats, economics, economy, elitism, family, government, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, lies, marxism, nanny state, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, politics, poverty, president, progressive, propaganda, spending, welfare

DOD, State Dept. show Obama admin knew about Benghazi attack in advance

original article: Judicial Watch: Defense, State Department Documents Reveal Obama Administration Knew that al Qaeda Terrorists Had Planned Benghazi Attack 10 Days in Advance
MAY 18, 2015 by Judicial Watch

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained more than 100 pages of previously classified “Secret” documents from the Department of Defense (DOD)and the Department of State revealing that DOD almost immediately reported that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was committed by the al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman” (BCOAR), and had been planned at least 10 days in advance. Rahman is known as the Blind Sheikh, and is serving life in prison for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and other terrorist acts.  The new documents also provide the first official confirmation that shows the U.S. government was aware of arms shipments from Benghazi to Syria.  The documents also include an August 2012 analysis warning of the rise of ISIS and the predicted failure of the Obama policy of regime change in Syria.

The documents were released in response to a court order in accordance with a May 15, 2014, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against both the DOD and State Department seeking communications between the two agencies and congressional leaders “on matters related to the activities of any agency or department of the U.S. government at the Special Mission Compound and/or classified annex in Benghazi.”

Spelling and punctuation is duplicated in this release without corrections.

Defense Department document from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), dated September 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attack, details that the attack on the compound had been carefully planned by the BOCAR terrorist group “to kill as many Americans as possible.”  The document was sent to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Obama White House National Security Council.  The heavily redacted Defense Department “information report” says that the attack on the Benghazi facility “was planned and executed by The Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman (BCOAR).”  The group subscribes to “AQ ideologies:”

The attack was planned ten or more days prior on approximately 01 September 2012. The intention was to attack the consulate and to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for U.S. killing of Aboyahiye ((ALALIBY)) in Pakistan and in memorial of the 11 September 2001 atacks on the World Trade Center buildings.

“A violent radical,” the DIA report says, is “the leader of BCOAR is Abdul Baset ((AZUZ)), AZUZ was sent by ((ZAWARI)) to set up Al Qaeda (AQ) bases in Libya.”  The group’s headquarters was set up with the approval of a “member of the Muslim brother hood movement…where they have large caches of weapons.  Some of these caches are disguised by feeding troughs for livestock.  They have SA-7 and SA-23/4 MANPADS…they train almost every day focusing on religious lessons and scriptures including three lessons a day of jihadist ideology.”

The Defense Department reported the group maintained written documents, in “a small rectangular room, approximately 12 meters by 6 meters…that contain information on all of the AQ activity in Libya.”

(Azuz is again blamed for the Benghazi attack in an October 2012 DIA document.)

The DOD documents also contain the first official documentation that the Obama administration knew that weapons were being shipped from the Port of Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria. An October 2012 report confirms:

Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.

During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.

The DIA document further details:

The weapons shipped from Syria during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s and 125mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.  The numbers for each weapon were estimated to be: 500 Sniper rifles, 100 RPG launchers with 300 total rounds, and approximately 400 howitzers missiles [200 ea – 125mm and 200ea – 155 mm.]

The heavily redacted document does not disclose who was shipping the weapons.

Another DIA report, written in August 2012 (the same time period the U.S. was monitoring weapons flows from Libya to Syria), said that the opposition in Syria was driven by al Qaeda and other extremist Muslim groups: “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.” The growing sectarian direction of the war was predicted to have dire consequences for Iraq, which included the “grave danger” of the rise of ISIS:

The deterioration of the situation has dire consequences on the Iraqi situation and are as follows:

This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.

Some of the “dire consequences” are blacked out but the DIA presciently warned one such consequence would be the “renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena.”

From a separate lawsuit, the State Department produced a document created the morning after the Benghazi attack by Hillary Clinton’s offices, and the Operations Center in the Office of the Executive Secretariat that was sent widely through the agency, including to Joseph McManus (then-Hillary Clinton’s executive assistant).  At 6:00 am, a few hours after the attack, the top office of the State Department sent a “spot report” on the “Attack on U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi” that makes no mention of videos or demonstrations:

Four COM personnel were killed and three were wounded in an attack by dozens of fighters on the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi beginning approximately 1550 Eastern Time….

The State Department has yet to turn over any documents from the secret email accounts of Hillary Clinton and other top State Department officials.

“These documents are jaw-dropping. No wonder we had to file more FOIA lawsuits and wait over two years for them.  If the American people had known the truth – that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other top administration officials knew that the Benghazi attack was an al-Qaeda terrorist attack from the get-go – and yet lied and covered this fact up – Mitt Romney might very well be president. And why would the Obama administration continue to support the Muslim Brotherhood even after it knew it was tied to the Benghazi terrorist attack and to al Qaeda? These documents also point to connection between the collapse in Libya and the ISIS war – and confirm that the U.S. knew remarkable details about the transfer of arms from Benghazi to Syrian jihadists,” stated Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch president.  “These documents show that the Benghazi cover-up has continued for years and is only unraveling through our independent lawsuits. The Benghazi scandal just got a whole lot worse for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”

bias, corruption, cover up, criminal, Democrats, diplomacy, foreign affairs, government, lies, national security, politics, president, scandal, security, terrorism, war

Filed under: bias, corruption, cover up, criminal, Democrats, diplomacy, foreign affairs, government, lies, national security, politics, president, scandal, security, terrorism, war

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