theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Hillary: Cheating or Treason?

Photo: Flickr – DonkeyHotey/Hillary Clinton – Caricature


theodore  M I R A L D I.

Only in this nations moral quagmire could cheating be an acceptable way to win. Why have we forgotten the time told adage that "Cheaters never Win, and Winners never Cheat."

Cheating has become an acceptable behavior for those who just aren't measuring up the the standards that ultimately breed success. How is it that the fallen always suffered the malady of  not doing what is expected. This is not about not following rules, this is about calculating the result of actively cheating to gain advantage over others.

It is not by mere chance that lawyers are trained to win at all costs, and the near majority of our leaders are lawyers.

It's unfortunate that this once noble profession has taken its adversarial methodology into the halls of government to pervert the truth we all have been promised, and should expect from elected officials and bureaucrats. There are no longer and checks and balances, and whatever few there were have been abolished by the pedestrians that rule over us all.

The Clintons have built an empire of distrust by lying and cheating, when-ever and where-ever they calculated the risk versus the rewards.

This email scandals fits nicely into that paradigm. Gaming the system to gain power, being exposed for cheating,  lying, denying and just playing dumb is the Clinton way.

Here is her long history of cheating:

1) Clintons turn IRS into ‘gestapo’

2) Covering Bill’s dirty deeds

3) Looting the White House

4) Filegate: FBI files on GOP enemies

5) Hillary’s ‘Muslim Brotherhood princess’

6) Vince Foster’s 1993 death

7) Emailgate: ‘She should go to prison for this’

8) Chinagate: Sale of high-tech secrets

9) Travelgate: Always room for friends

10) ‘Landing under sniper fire’ in Bosnia

11) Hillary's 'missing' law firm billing records

12) Hillary's radical pal, Saul Alinsky

13) Hill ca$hes in: Iranian fundraising

14) Clinton Foundation: Scandals keep coming

15) Benghazi: 4 American lives lost

16) Peter Franklin Paul: Another Hillary friend goes to prison

17) Watergate: Fired for being a 'liar'


Another Clinton Presidency would mean the end to an ideal that has propelled an exceptional people into the most successful nation in history. The free lunch that the democrats have feasted on must come to an abrupt end in 2016. Electing another president under the veil of corruption was wrong in 2008, and should be an over-riding issue for Americans to understand and vanquish.



Scandals are always synonymous with corruption, and just one corruption of our trust should be enough to disqualify anyone from seeking higher public office.

Clinton will be out of this race before the convention.

State Dept. Withholding 18 Emails Between Hillary, Obama



Chuck Ross

The State Department is withholding 18 emails between former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama, agency spokesman John Kirby said Friday.

The news comes at the same time that the State Department announced that 22 of Clinton’s emails contain “top secret” information. That’s a far higher number than had previously been disclosed. The agency’s Freedom of Information Act department is withholding seven email chains in full in order to protect the highly classified information.
In Friday’s press briefing, Kirby was asked by Associated Press reporter Matt Lee whether it is believed that Clinton and Obama emailed only 18 times while she was at the State Department, a span that stretched from Jan. 2009 to Feb. 2013.
“Of the 55,000 pages of traffic that was handed over by former Secretary Clinton to us for us to go through for release through FOIA, we have found these 18, and I do not expect that there will be more,” Kirby said.
The White House has previously stated that Obama did email with Clinton on her personal email account. That despite there being regulations and rules against federal officials using private email accounts. The White House has claimed that Obama did not know that Clinton was operating a private email system and using a home-brew server.
WATCH:

Source>http://dailycaller.com/2016/01/29/state-dept-withholding-18-emails-between-hillary-obama-video/

Obama to visit Baltimore mosque to show support for Muslims

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visit Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday. (Associated Press)
Photo by: Achmad Ibrahim
President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visit Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday. (Associated Press)

Dave Boyer

Alarmed by anti-Muslim rhetoric from some of the Republican presidential candidates, President Obama will visit a mosque for the first time in his presidency Wednesday to show support for American Muslims.
A White House official said Saturday that Mr. Obama visit the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque “to celebrate the contributions Muslim Americans make to our nation and reaffirm the importance of religious freedom to our way of life.”
“The president will hold a roundtable with community members and deliver remarks, where he will reiterate the importance of staying true to our core values — welcoming our fellow Americans, speaking out against bigotry, rejecting indifference, and protecting our nation’s tradition of religious freedom,” the White House aide said.
The president has criticized GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump for advocating a ban on Muslim immigrants, and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for opposing his program to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees to come to the U.S. this year.
Mr. Obama has said anti-Muslim comments make it more difficult for the U.S. to get the cooperation of allies in the Middle East to fight the Islamic State, and such rhetoric discourages American Muslims from cooperating with law enforcement authorities.
In his State of the Union address on Jan. 12, Mr. Obama called on Americans “to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion.”
“When politicians insult Muslims, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid bullied, that doesn’t make us safer,” the president said. “That’s not telling it like it is. It’s just wrong.”
Source>http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jan/30/obama-visit-baltimore-mosque-show-support-muslims/

Charity watchdog puts Wounded Warrior Project on watch list

Wounded Iraq war veteran Joe Beimfohr sits among injured war veterans during a news conference held by the Wounded Warrior Project to urge Congress to pass a final version of the Dignified Treatment of Wounded Warriors Act.
Wounded Iraq war veteran Joe Beimfohr sits among injured war veterans during a news conference held by the Wounded Warrior Project to 
urge Congress to pass a final version of the Dignified Treatment of Wounded Warriors Act.(Reuters)
The Wounded Warrior Project, the charity for wounded veterans, has been placed on Charity Navigator’s watch list over accusations of using donor money toward excessive spending on conferences and parties instead of on recovery programs, according to CBS News.
According to the charity’s tax forms, obtained by CBS News, spending on conferences and meetings increased from $1.7 million in 2010, to $26 million in 2014, which is the same amount the group spends on combat stress recovery.
Charity Navigator is a watchdog organization that evaluates charities in the U.S.
Army Staff Sergeant Erick Millette, who returned from Iraq in 2006 with a bronze star and a purple heart, told CBS News he admired the charity’s work and took a job with the group in 2014 but quit after two years.
"Their mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors, but what the public doesn't see is how they spend their money," he told CBS News.
Millette said he witnessed lavish spending on staff, with big “catered” parties.
Two former of employees, who were so fearful of retaliation they asked that CBS News not show their faces on camera, said spending has skyrocketed since Steven Nardizzi took over as CEO in 2009, pointing to the 2014 annual meeting at a luxury resort in Colorado Springs.
"He rappelled down the side of a building at one of the all hands events. He's come in on a Segway, he's come in on a horse,” one employee told CBS News.
About 500 staff members attended the four-day conference in Colorado, which CBS News reported cost about $3 million.
"Going to a nice fancy restaurant is not team building. Staying at a lavish hotel at the beach here in Jacksonville, and requiring staff that lives in the area to stay at the hotel is not team building," he told CBS News.
Marc Owens, a former director of the IRS’ tax exempt organizations, was asked to review the charity’s tax documents by CBS News. He told CBS he “couldn’t tell the number of people that were assisted” through the organization.
Wounded Warriors Project has been questioned over how it spends more than $800 million it has raised over the last four years, but has strongly rejected the claims of the CBS report.
The charity’s CEO has yet to comment on the report.
Source>http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/01/31/charity-watchdog-reportedly-places-wounded-warrior-project-on-its-watch-list.html?intcmp=hpbt2

Is Rising Violence a 'Ferguson Effect'?



Steve Chapman

Chicago, never an island of tranquility, has been roiled by a surge in serious violence. Last year, the number of murders rose by nearly 13 percent over 2014, and shootings increased by a similar amount. Figures for January indicate a continuation of that unhealthy trend.
What is happening here is also happening elsewhere. Last year, Cleveland suffered a 90 percent jump in homicides; in Nashville, the increase was 83 percent. In the 50 biggest U.S. cities, The Washington Post reports, homicides were up by 17 percent last year -- "the worst annual change since 1990."
Over the past quarter century, America has gotten much safer. In 1991, the murder rate was more than double what it was in 2014. Chicago, which had 943 murders in 1992, was down to 484 last year. But the recent shift raises the specter of violent crime making a comeback.
How could that happen? In October, FBI director James Comey said there is "a chill wind blowing through American law enforcement," which could make "officers reluctant to get out of their cars and do the work that controls violent crime."
The theory is called the Ferguson effect: As police face greater scrutiny, in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in 2014, they are more hesitant in doing their jobs. "Officers are backing off proactive policing, and criminals are emboldened," wrote analyst Heather Mac Donald of the conservative Manhattan Institute in the Los Angeles Times.
It's hardly implausible to think that given the intense spotlight that has shown on cops who have killed unarmed black men, some officers would shy away from some confrontations. It's not far-fetched to figure that in that case, bad guys would take advantage of the leeway.
But a one-year increase is not a trend: The national murder rate rose in 2005 and 2006, only to head back down afterward. In Chicago, homicides spiked upward in 2008, before falling in each of the next three years. Last year's total was lower than the number in 2008.
Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox has looked at the murder rate in individual cities over time and made a discovery. "I found 2-1 odds that if it goes up by 20 percent or more one year, it will go down the following year," he told me. Random fluctuations are inevitable. In a period of relatively low crime rates, there is probably also an irreducible minimum -- which means that everything else being equal, they are more likely to rise than to fall.
But it would be imprudent to ignore what happened in 2015. The numbers cited by those who see a Ferguson effect are not conclusive and could turn around this year. Still, as Mac Donald told me, "a 17 percent change in a year up or down is huge." A one-year increase is not a lasting upward trend -- but any lasting upward trend begins with a one-year increase.
"It is not possible to speak to police officers, in my experience, without hearing of their concerns about the current political climate regarding policing and the hostility they are encountering on the street," she attests. But diagnosing the causes of an increase in violent crime is not the same thing as devising a cure. The Ferguson effect, if it is real, is the result of factors that are not terribly amenable to control.
One reason police may be more nervous is the ubiquity of video devices that document their actions -- which are sometimes horrifying. In the old days, the Chicago cop who pumped 16 bullets into Laquan McDonald would have gotten away with it because his lies would have gone undetected. What makes some cops wary is the fear of being caught doing things they are not allowed to do.
The video revelations have had another effect: deepening mistrust of the police among African-Americans. Many black teens in Chicago fear cops as well as criminals. The greater their fright, the less cooperation and the more resistance law enforcement will face in black neighborhoods.
Neither of these factors can be banished by a change in policy or political rhetoric. The only hope is that police will learn to operate with appropriate aggressiveness, without committing abuses -- and that when they do, they will earn the confidence of law-abiding citizens, making their jobs easier.
That change is something to be desired if it turns out there is, in fact, a lasting Ferguson effect. Or if there isn't.
Source>http://townhall.com/columnists/stevechapman/2016/01/31/is-rising-violence-a-ferguson-effect-n2112001/page/full

Insider warns elites heading toward 'one-world solutions'

There's 'not much interest in old-fashioned values or virtues'

globegov

PAUL BREMMER

The annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, has just wrapped up after a focus on a “Fourth Industrial Revolution” and other issues the global elites consider important to the entire world community.
But an insider who once set up such conferences, has held a United Nations post, mingled with the top players in Washington and lists multiple foundation board memberships on his resume warns “old-fashioned values” are being left behind.
“I think we’re moving in the direction of more and more globalism, which I would distinguish from globalization, which is more an integrated kind of trading and investment pattern,” said Theodore Roosevelt Malloch.
He said the elites’ discussions of problems and solutions have taken on a global tone, as epitomized by Davos.
“There’s more and more emphasis, particularly in the developing world and in Europe, not necessarily in the U.S., unless you consider the Obama administration indicative of the emphasis, on one-world solutions, on UN solutions, on unitary solutions,” Malloch said.
Malloch, the chairman and CEO of the Roosevelt Group, knows what it’s like to swim at that level.
In addition to previously serving on the executive board of the WEF, he has had an ambassadorial-level post in the UN, worked in international capital markets on Wall Street, held senior policy positions at the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and U.S. State Department, and served on numerous foundations and corporate, mutual fund and not-for-profit/educational boards. He currently advises numerous international and U.S. governmental advisory bodies and think tanks.
He described the recent meetings.
“It’s full of wannabes and celebrities,” Malloch said during a recent interview on Newsmax TV. “About 3,500 people and tons and tons and tons of media were there trying to stalk down people to get the interview of the day.”
This year’s Davos summit was attended by political leaders, business executives, intellectuals and celebrities.
Notable politicians who attended included U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
Prominent business leaders included Bill and Melinda Gates, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman. Celebrities included Kevin Spacey, Leonardo DiCaprio, Emma Watson and will.i.am.
Attendees discussed a number of topics they consider global issues, such as sustainable development, global warming, water scarcity, economic growth, the global economy, inequality and even gender parity.
But the main topic was the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
The Davos movers and shakers discussed the impact that new technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles will have on society, existing industries, jobs and inequality.
He said it was the Iron Lady herself who first dubbed him a “sherpa.”
“Some years ago, I was presiding over a conference in Washington, D.C., with CNN and Margaret Thatcher was the keynote speaker,” Malloch recalled. “And when I introduced her, she said, ‘Whoever invented this and brought this congress to fruition is truly a global sherpa.’ So it’s become a moniker of mine. I’ve helped companies, I’ve helped organizations, I’ve helped political leaders find their way in this rather difficult and increasingly complex landscape.”
His experience, he said, allows him to recognize the drive, then, toward globalism.
There’s “not much interest in old-fashioned values or virtues, not much attention to national sovereignty any longer,” he said.

Source>http://www.wnd.com/2016/01/insider-warns-elites-heading-toward-one-world-solutions/#8WqoYxlI7xVkXB1j.99

Huckabee: I'm prepared to stop all abortions


'We have a constitutional obligation to protect people'

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee

While the Republican presidential field has many candidates saying they’re pro-life, only former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is declaring his intention, if elected, to challenge abortion directly in the courts.
“There’s a better approach. We don’t have to pass a constitutional amendment,” Huckabee told CBN News’ David Brody in an exclusive interview.
“We already have two: the Fifth and 14th Amendments. The Fifth Amendment says that you cannot deprive somebody of life or liberty unless there’s due process. The 14th Amendment says that states neither can do that, and they have to provide equal protection under the law.
“What it means is really simple: if the unborn child is a person, they’re already protected under the Fifth and 14th Amendments. It just requires a president who appoints an attorney general who will recognize the personhood of every person from conception forward and say, ‘We have a constitutional obligation to protect people.'”
This is not a new stance for Huckabee. WND reported in September on Huckabee’s speech at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., to honor some of America’s most courageous Christians.
Noting his anger that the current Republican majority wasn’t doing anything differently than when they were in the minority, Huckabee promised to take the lead in pro-life matters if elected, and that, he said, meant a lot more than just trying to cut funding for Planned Parenthood.
Declaring he would advocate for personhood for the unborn and defend their Fifth Amendment rights, he said, “It’s time to quit taking a punch in the gut, and give this government a kick in the butt!”
That was his same message to the Brody File.
“We can do more than slow down abortion. We can stop it,” he said
Huckabee acknowledged that if his attorney general begins challenging abortion on demand using the Fifth and 14th Amendments, his administration will be in for a court fight. But he’s confident it’s a fight that can be won.
“The only question in the court becomes is the unborn child a person? I’m willing to have that battle in court because … bring the best biologists in the world, put them under oath and ask them when 23 chromosomes from a man and 23 from a woman merge at fertilization, is that a life? And if it is a life, what is it? Is it a puppy? Is it a dolphin? Is it a stalk of broccoli? No, it’s a human life.”
Whether Huckabee’s confidence in the ultimate success of his argument is well-placed remains to be seen, but among his fellow GOP candidates, he is taking the strongest stand on the issue, saying neither pro-lifers nor a Huckabee administration can afford to wait for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade on its own.

Source>http://www.wnd.com/2016/01/huckabee-im-prepared-to-stop-all-abortions/#KFoCMEjKiW5LP9ZU.99

‘This was all planned’: Former IG says Hillary, State Dept. are lying

GERMANY-US-BND-FILES
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2010 Photo: Getty Images

 Paul Sperry
The State Department is lying when it says it didn’t know until it was too late that Hillary Clinton was improperly using personal e-mails and a private server to conduct official business — because it never set up an agency e-mail address for her in the first place, the department’s former top watchdog says.
“This was all planned in advance” to skirt rules governing federal records management, said Howard J. Krongard, who served as the agency’s inspector general from 2005 to 2008.
The Harvard-educated lawyer points out that, from Day One, Clinton was never assigned and never used a state.gov e-mail address like previous secretaries.
“That’s a change in the standard. It tells me that this “That’s a change in the standard. It tells me that this was premeditated. And this eliminates claims by the State Department that they were unaware of her private e-mail server until later,” Krongard said in an exclusive interview. “How else was she supposed to do business without e-mail?”
He also points to the unusual absence of a permanent inspector general during Clinton’s entire 2009-2013 term at the department. He said the 5¹/₂-year vacancy was unprecedented.
“This is a major gap. In fact, it’s without precedent,” he said. “It’s the longest period any department has gone without an IG."
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Inspectors general serve an essential and unique role in the federal government by independently investigating agency waste, fraud and abuse. Their oversight also covers violations of communications security procedures.
“It’s clear she did not want to be subject to internal investigations,” Krongard said. An e-mail audit would have easily uncovered the secret information flowing from classified government networks to the private unprotected system she set up in her New York home.
He says “the key” to the FBI’s investigation of Emailgate is determining how highly sensitive state secrets in the classified network, known as SIPRNet, ended up in Clinton’s personal e-mails.
“The starting point of the investigation is the material going through SIPRNet. She couldn’t function without the information coming over SIPRNet,” Krongard said. “How did she get it on her home server? It can’t just jump from one system to the other. Someone had to move it, copy it. The question is who did that?”
As The Post first reported, the FBI is investigating whether Clinton’s deputies copied top-secret information from the department’s classified network to its unclassified network where it was sent to Hillary’s unsecured, unencrypted e-mail account.
‘It tells me that this was premeditated. And this eliminates claims by the State Department that they were unaware of her private e-mail server until later’
 - Howard J. Krongard on the State Dept. never giving Hillary an agency e-mail address
FBI agents are focusing on three of Clinton’s top department aides. Most of the 1,340 Clinton e-mails deemed classified by intelligence agency reviewers were sent to her by her chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, or her deputy chiefs, Huma Abedin and Jake Sullivan, who now hold high positions in Clinton’s presidential campaign.
“They are facing significant scrutiny now,” Krongard said, and are under “enormous pressure to cooperate” with investigators.
He says staffers who had access to secret material more than likely summarized it for Clinton in the e-mails they sent to her; but he doesn’t rule out the use of thumb drives to transfer classified information from one system to the other, which would be a serious security breach. Some of the classified computers at Foggy Bottom have ports for memory sticks.
Either way, there would be an audit trail for investigators to follow. The SIPRNet system maintains the identity of all users and their log-on and log-off times, among other activities.
“This totally eliminates the false premise that she got nothing marked classified,” Krongard said. “She’s hiding behind this defense. But they [e-mails] had to be classified, because otherwise [the information in them] wouldn’t be on the SIPRNet.”
Added Krongard: “She’s trying to distance herself from the conversion from SIPRNet to [the nonsecure] NIPRNet and to her server, but she’s throwing her staffers under the bus.”



Photo: EPA

Still, “It will never get to an indictment,” Krongard said.
For one, he says, any criminal referral to the Justice Department from the FBI “will have to go through four loyal Democrat women” — Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, who heads the department’s criminal division; Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates; Attorney General Loretta Lynch; and top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.
Even if they accept the referral, he says, the case quickly and quietly will be plea-bargained down to misdemeanors punishable by fines in a deal similar to the one Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, secured for Gen. David Petraeus. In other words, a big slap on the wrist.
“He knows the drill,” Krongard said of Kendall.
Source>http://nypost.com/2016/01/31/this-was-all-planned-former-ig-says-hillary-state-dept-are-lying/

Saturday, January 30, 2016

What, Exactly, Is ‘The Source of Our Problems’?

It's much larger than the welfare state

The welfare state didn't move this factory to China.


Matthew Continetti

Charles Krauthammer writes:
My personal preference is for … the reform conservatism that locates the source of our problems not in heartless billionaires or crafty foreigners, but in our superannuated, increasingly sclerotic 20th-century welfare state structures.
This line caught my attention because I had just finished reading David Brooks, who says the country is suffering from “an epidemic of isolation, addiction, and trauma.” Brooks cites the large numbers of Americans who report chronic loneliness, a surge in addiction, the rising number of children born to unmarried women, a decrease in religious affiliation, and a collapse of trust in others, in media, and in government.
My problem is I can’t reconcile the two columns. I don’t understand how our “superannuated, increasingly sclerotic 20th-century welfare state structures” are entirely to blame for the political, cultural, and social decomposition of America. And I am afraid decomposition is the word: Political, since the influence and strength and size of our parties is in decline as polarization widens. Cultural, because the “revolt of the public” and the explosion in content has revolutionized and balkanized the way Americans read the news and experience culture. Social, for the reasons Brooks mentions but also for the rising salience of ethnicity and the conclusions drawn by Charles Murray in Coming Apartand by Robert Putnam in Our Kids.
To be sure, decades ago Murray and others found connections between federal antipoverty programs and the perpetuation of the conditions those programs were meant to improve. These findings inspired the welfare reform act of 1996, a successful attempt to encourage work and initiative among the poor. And today, when one looks at the rampant abuse of Social Security Disability Insurance, one sees another badly designed program leading to perverse results. It needs to be fixed.
But how far will reforming disability insurance get us? “Our problems,” after all, seem to go a lot further than men and women dropping out of the work force. Candidates for president in both parties this year, for example, have been shocked at the extent and toll of opioid and meth addiction. Did welfare state structures give us that? And if so, how? And wouldn’t any serious attempt to address the problem require more government involvement—at the very least more police to interdict the drugs and imprison the dealers? Another pressing issue is mental health. Does the welfare state drive young men insane? I think not. But I do think that here, as well, government will have to do more rather than less to treat the mentally ill and commit those that are a hazard to themselves and to others.
The men and women who feel left behind in or cut off from the global economy didn’t necessarily get to where they are because of the welfare state. They got there because work disappeared, and they didn’t have the skills or resources or energy to cope. Unfortunately but crucially, in the absence of family, community, and tradition, the welfare state is the only attachment—impersonal, uncaring, but present—these people have. Republicans forget this fact at their peril.
Indeed, it seems that voters are tempted by figures like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders precisely because of their intuition that the challenges facing America are much greater than any one set of causes or institutions, and do not conform to the division between government and the market that framed political life during the twentieth century. The welfare state may be superannuated and sclerotic—this is government we’re talking about here—and it is no doubt part of what can only be described as our collective demoralization. But it is only a part. And it may be part of the answer, too.
Source>http://freebeacon.com/columns/what-exactly-is-the-source-of-our-problems/

Figments of Obama’s Imagination

GDP
Image by © Richard Levine/Corbis

Noah Rothman

The audience for President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address was not the members of Congress in attendance. Nor was he talking to average Americans watching the spectacle on television. The president was instead speaking directly to the historians who would characterize his presidency for posterity. Obama’s address amounted to a warning. Who are you going to believe, he asked the nation; me or your own eyes?

Obama claimed the prevailing impression, that he had presided over seven years of near paralytic economic activity and that the world had become less safe for American interests, were both myths; figments of the overactive imaginations of his critics. Less than a month later, it seems pretty clear that it was the president who was imagining things.

Toward the end of his speech, Obama declared that the idea the United States was a declining power or that its influence on the world stage had waned was only so much “hot air.” To be fair, he was telling the truth; America remains the world’s preeminent power toward which the world still looks for leadership. Obama declined to note, though, that this was only an enduring reality because he had so spectacularly failed to alter that condition.
Obama spent his presidency seeking to ensure that his nation no longer led from the front but “from behind.” He looked toward Moscow to resolve intractable international crises, which invariably made every one of them worse. He alienated allies and sought to ingratiate himself with America’s adversaries, none of whom did anything but take advantage of the commander-in-chief’s naiveté. Obama has made the world safe for regional hegemony, and the globe’s aspiring regional hegemons are making the most of it.

This wasn’t the only reality Obama denied in this ill-conceived speech. The nation’s economy, too, was in not merely fundamentally strong but recovering at a rapid pace, the president claimed. “Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction,” Obama insisted. The president accurately noted that the forces of global integration and the pace of automation have led to volatility in the labor market and, as a result, many are feeling displaced. That’s true, too, and there will always be winners and losers in a competitive market system. “All these trends have squeezed workers, even when they have jobs; even when the economy is growing,” Obama declared.

That is a humble nod toward reality while still holding firm to the idea that the nation’s anxious voters are still probably just paranoid. The problem not merely for Barack Obama, but for those historians on whom he was leaning, is that, when it comes to the recovery, America’s persistent fear of a backslide in the economic recovery is justified.

“Americans are feeling better about the economy right now, but they remain deeply worried about their longer-run prospects — retirement, student debt and, in particular, the ability of their children to find middle-class jobs,” observed FiveThirtyEight’s Ben Casselman upon diving into recent Gallup polling data.

Those fears are grounded in economic reality. Wages may have rebounded from the recession but they have been largely flat since 2000 after adjusting for inflation. A college degree, long the surest pathway to the middle class, is no longer such a sure bet. And a growing group of influential economists are arguing that the U.S. has entered a prolonged period of slow growth. Few economists would endorse [Donald] Trump’s plans for dealing with that stagnation, but it’s understandable that voters are looking for solutions.

Americans awoke on Friday to learn that economic recovery the president had been flogging to life remains barely responsive. “Gross domestic product increased at a 0.7 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said on Friday,” read a dispiriting dispatch on America’s fourth quarter growth. Hang tight: it gets even more depressing. Reuters echoed sunny economists who noted that “inventories and mild temperatures” are “impediments to growth,” and that, minus inventories and trade, the economy grew at a still miserable 1.6 percent.

That explanation alone is enough to drive anyone who has followed the halting trajectory of GDP growth mad. “Gross domestic product shrank at a 0.7 percent annualized rate in the first quarter,” Bloomberg reported in May of last year, blaming the slump on “frigid winter temperatures” that similarly derailed economic expansion in the first quarter of 2014.

At a certain point, you can’t blame the weather anymore. At least, that attempt at exculpation shouldn’t hold much water. While the nation’s comfortable economists and political prognosticators declare that all is well, a pervasive sense of unease permeates the electorate. It has compelled nearly one-third of both Democratic and Republican primary voters to run racing toward radical figures who serve as a conduit through which they can channel their frustrations and fears. This is not normal American politics; it is a response to bitter division, stagnation, and incompetence. Comfortable and confident voters do not embrace revolutionaries.



Perhaps, when he leaves office and his legacy is no longer being forged in real time, President Barack Obama will admit that the nervous nation he led for eight years wasn’t as paranoid as he so frequently claimed.

Source>https://www.commentarymagazine.com/american-society/economy/figments-obamas-imagination-gdp/