Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Illinois, Obama's Home Base, is a Basket Case

Obama's home town of Chicago is among the murder capitals of the US. It is corrupt from top to bottom, in debt, and in thrall to public unions and organised crime. Government worker unions and their generous pay / pension / benefit packages are helping to drag Chicago down, and the entire state of Illinois with it.
Illinois has the lowest credit rating of the 50 states and has America’s second-biggest public debt per capita, $9,624, including state and local borrowing. Only New York State’s debt is bigger, at $13,840 per capita. But Illinois has not been able to use much of the borrowed money to keep its roads, bridges and schools in good working order, because years of shoddy fiscal practices have taken a heavy toll, the report said.

“Illinois has been doing back flips on a high wire, without a net,” the task force said in the report, which was issued in Chicago.

...Nearly two-thirds of the Illinois state government’s $58 billion in direct debt consists of bonds the government issued to cover retirement payments for workers, including a $10 billion pension obligation bond that broke all previous records in 2003.

Yet despite all that borrowing, Illinois’ public pension system is still in tatters. In fact, its total pension shortfall is conservatively estimated at $85 billion. Recent changes that raised the retirement age for new workers and limited the pensions that future workers can earn have not reduced the existing obligations.

The task force said that further reductions in pension benefits appear inevitable, though legally difficult, because the state has promised more than it can deliver.

...“Retirees may lose their pensions as the funds dwindle, low-income and disabled people may lose their health care as costs escalate, and citizens and businesses seeking a stable environment may face steep and sudden tax increases,” the report said. _NYT
What Obama helped to do to Illinois, he is causing to happen to the US in a more forceful fashion -- using executive orders and the US executive branch of over-bloated regulatory bureaucracies.

Illinois' problems are becoming the entire nations' problems. California and New York are in the same category. Michigan is lining up to join the other three.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Night Obama Should Not Have Gone Back to Sleep

Special-ops teams and air cover were readily available, and could’ve been on the scene in less than two hours. (The attack lasted for more than six hours.)

In fact, two surveillance drones were deployed — both capable of relaying real-time visuals of what was happening.

But urgent requests for help were rejectedeven when Woods and two others radioed that they had a laser fixed on the terrorists who were firing mortars and called in their coordinates.

Woods and another former SEAL, Glen Doherty, were killed by a mortar shell about six hours after the initial assault began.

“My son . . . responded to the cries for help and voluntarily sacrificed his life to protect the lives of other Americans,” says his father, Charles Woods.

“This has nothing to do with politics,” he added. “This has to do with integrity and honor. My son showed moral courage.” _NYP
A president is supposed to make the hard decisions that no one else can make -- and then he is expected to take responsibility for those decisions. US President Obama has, however, made a life of avoiding decisions and avoiding responsibility. And so it was that when Obama was presented with the choice of sending in a rescue team to get the diplomats and their staff out of Benghazi, Obama made a "no decision, decision." And went back to sleep.
Washington decision-makers – from the Pentagon to the White House Situation Room – must have known within minutes or hours that the incident in Benghazi was 9/11.2, the second successful al Qaeda attack on American soil. They also would have known that this well-coordinated assault killed the American ambassador to Libya, as well as three other Americans who fought valiantly to save him.

...The president keeps trying to cover up his mistakes, and the press establishment is determined to look away, despite the cascading contradictions.... The president must now answer for the misdeeds his subordinates and his media allies tried so hard to cover up. _Obama Knew urgent request for military help during last month’s terrorist attack on the US consulate there “was denied by the CIA chain of command.”

The attack, on the anniversary of 9/11, killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three embassy personnel, including two former Navy SEALs working as security contractors.

... a Special Operations team had been moved to US military facilities in Sigonella, Italy – approximately two hours away – but were never told to deploy.

“The fighting at the CIA annex [in Benghazi] went on for more than four hours – enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators.” _CSMonitor

Obama received his wake-up call, but chose to go back to sleep. He wanted to be well rested for that big fund-raiser in Vegas. Campaigns take priority over everything else. And with Obama, life itself is nothing but a campaign. That idea was drummed into his head by Mom and Frank, and he is never going to forget it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Lavish Lifestyle: A Struggling America's Haute Noblesse

The US is a nation struggling with economic uncertainty and cultural decline. While real unemployment is well above 10% and underemployment approaches 25%, America's new political nobility provides itself a lavish lifestyle in which previous president's and their families never thought to indulge.

President Obama has spent far more lavishly on White House state dinners than previous chief executives... current and former government officials said the documents obtained by The Examiner point to an unprecedented upsurge in White House spending on such events.

...A knowledgeable government official who made the documents available to The Examiner said the extravagant spending seemed unfair with so many Americans out of work.

"It just kind of takes your breath away to see the expenditure of money that has occurred since 2009," the official said.

Gary Walters, who ran presidential household operations for 21 years during Democratic and Republican administrations, before retiring in 2007, told The Examiner the costs reflected in the documents were "excessive. They are high." _Examiner
Not surprisingly, the government agency responsible for paying for these extravaganzas of the haute noblesse, is run by a US State Department official who also happens to be a business partner of the man who caters these exorbitantly costly events.

Of course, that is but one side of the story. The very costly vacations taken by the novo haute noblesse would make a billionaire blush -- if his vacations were taken at taxpayer's expense.

But to the novo haute noblesse, such costly pleasures are considered minimal perquisites, for the many duties required of them as official and unofficial figures of state. "If you cannot live well on other people's money, what good is becoming involved in government?" they are likely to ask.

And America drifts backward toward the autocratic rule which the founders of the original republic had tried to hard -- at such a high cost -- to escape. Welcome to the Idiocracy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

US Presidential Election Tightens in the Home Stretch

For most of the US presidential campaign, US President Obama has been comfortably coasting, well ahead of all rivals -- including Mitt Romney. But in recent weeks -- since the beginning of the series of 3 presidential debates -- Romney has begun to close in on the US President. Both in popular vote estimates and electoral college estimates, Romney has narrowed the gap significantly. Even the In-Trade odds gap has begun to narrow.

The last debate in the series of three took place last night in Boca Raton, Florida, and it is not likely that President Obama helped his case any. In fact, in the last debate, Romney looked more like the president, and Obama more like the challenger.
Obama started the 90 minutes here in Boca Raton, Florida believing he was losing his bid for re-election. Romney, by contrast, felt he could play things safe. He was a kinder, gentler presence than he was in the second debate in Hempstead, New York, when he fought back hard against a hyper Obama desperate to make up for his catastrophic performance in the first debate in Denver. By and large, Romney succeeded in Boca. He came across as knowledgeable and reasonable and made no mistakes. In short, he passed the commander-in-chief test. Having proved in the first debate he had the backbone, policy expertise and determination to try to tackle America's economic woes, tonight he showed that he was a plausibe commander-in-chief. It was not an especially high bar, but he cleared it. _Is Obama Losing the Election War to Romney?

Now we will watch and see if the early to mid-October trend in favour of Romney continues through the end of October, to the elections. If so, a large number of dictators and tyrants around the world will bemoan the loss of a golden opportunity, which the second Obama term represented.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

France Elects Its Own Obama -- Risks Rapid Decline

The French have been long enamoured with US President Barack Obama, and as a result they have elected a French equivalent: Francois Hollande. Monsieur Hollande is already beginning to have the same effect on French private enterprise which Mr. Obama has had on the US private sector.
“The situation is very serious. Some business leaders are in a state of quasi-panic,” said Laurence Parisot, head of employers’ group MEDEF. “The pace of bankruptcies has accelerated over the summer. We are seeing a general loss of confidence by investors. Large foreign investors are shunning France altogether. It’s becoming really dramatic.” _Evans-Pritchard
The biggest problem with political leaders of a socialist bent, is they typically have no real understanding of how economies work. Certainly Mr. Obama never worked outside of politics or academia, and the same appears to be true for Monsieur Hollande.

Modern leftist ideology is best described as a tautological fantasy ideology -- essentially unfalsifiable, and only answerable to anyone when national economies collapse and the fools are thrown out.

The fear is that a fiscal shock in 2013 will tip the economy into a sharp downward slide. “France needs more fiscal austerity right now like a hole in the head,” said sovereign debt strategist Nicholas Spiro.

“They don’t have any chance of meeting their growth target of 0.8pc next year, but that does not in itself put French debt at risk.

“The real danger is contagion if things turn ugly in Spain.” _Evans-Pritchard
Obama entered office just as the US was beginning to emerge from a significant financial crisis and recession. While Mr. Obama's policies made the US economy far more sluggish and depressed than it should have been, he was partially saved by the revolutionary shale oil & gas bonanza -- which occurred despite his policies rather than because of them.

Mr. Hollande has no reason to expect such a providential bailout from anyone or anything. Hollande has rejected shale drilling, and is also proposing drastic and potentially crippling reductions in France's nuclear power industry.

The near to intermediate future does not appear to be very promising for France. Of course, if Obama is re-elected, the future for the US is likely to be similarly dismal.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. And remember: It is never too late for a dangerous childhood.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Barack "Empty Stool" Obama: Birth of a Legend

This article was previously published on Al Fin blog, on the occasion of the Ameican Labor Day holiday

Empty Chair?  Empty Stool?  Empty Suit?  Empty Skull?  Obama's Many Faces

America Celebrates National Empty Chair Day

Barack Obama: The Empty Stool
President Obama has consistently been absent, more concerned about branding than leadership, with image and atmospherics than truly rallying the troops and harnessing our resources and solving our most pressing problems.

...According to most accounts, even friendly ones, President Obama is haughty and surly. To those with eyes to see, he is an act. A vacuous promise. An illusion. An empty stool. _EmptyStool
As a legislator in both the Illinois Senate and the US Senate, Obama became known as "Senator Present," even though he was most often absent -- out campaigning for his next election. Perhaps he was warming up for his role as "the empty stool" even then.

Even when he appears to be sitting in the chair, there is something clearly missing. It is not exactly that the emperor has no clothes. . . It is more that the clothes have no emperor. "There is no there, there" as Al Fin once remarked to Gertrude Stein, sitting in an Oakland cafe in a previous life.

Perhaps America should send out an expedition of scatologists in search of "the real Obama." The fate of the next century may just depend on what is discovered.

Outside observers may blame American voters for electing this mystery man, but if the American media failed to do its job of investigation, it deserves a large share of any blame to be placed.

It is not entirely clear as to why America replaced the Labor Day Holiday with National Empty Chair Day, other than the general lack of jobs. Some claim that it has something to do with what is depicted in the photograph to the left.

Since the image depicts only a single person -- an American cinema star -- it is possible that it is a scene taken from a motion picture. But if so, where is the rest of the movie? Historians may fight over the question for decades.

No matter. The change may represent a coming trend of changes to American national holidays. It is rumoured that up until now, efforts to change the Christmas Holiday to "O Holy Bama Day" have been rebuffed. But now, who can predict such things?

One thing is for certain: If US President Obama is re-elected in November, Thanksgiving Day will receive some serious scrutiny for change, if not hope.

Photo credits: Top, Bottom

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

4 More Years of Obama Makes Violent Social Turmoil Virtually Inevitable

Grice looks at some examples from history where currency debasement led to a complete breakdown of the social fabric of communities like the Roman Empire, France during the revolutionary period at the end of the 18th century, and Weimar Germany.

In every case, citizens turned on each other as a sharply devalued currency led to a breakdown of trust between members of society.

A perhaps lesser-known incident that Grice brings to light, however, is a period in Britain during the late 16th and early 17th centuries when the country was rocked by witch trials.
 British witch trials peaked with the medieval price revolution
Société Générale
..."All I see is more of the same . . ."

  _Dylan Grice
Los Angeles 1992

The modern equivalent of witch trials is ethnic, race, and gang riots, such as cropped up in 1992 from Los Angeles to Toronto (mostly Los Angeles).
Reginald Denny's Diversity Celebration

If Obama is defeated in the November US elections, some degree of racial violence is anticipated. But if Obama is re-elected and allowed to complete the job of destroying the glue of social cohesion and trust along with the global reserve currency -- the US dollar -- one should expect much much worse, and over a much wider area.

As Dylan Grice recommends in the linked piece above, it is time to invest in safe havens.