August 13, 2010
By: Nile Gardener
The last few weeks have been a nightmare for President Obama, in a summer of discontent in the United States which has deeply unsettled the ruling liberal elites, so much so that even the Left has begun to turn against the White House. While the anti-establishment Tea Party movement has gained significant ground and is now a rising and powerful political force to be reckoned with, many of the president’s own supporters as well as independents are rapidly losing faith in Barack Obama, with open warfare breaking out between the White House and the left-wing of the Democratic Party. While conservatism in America grows stronger by the day, the forces of liberalism are growing increasingly weaker and divided.
Against this backdrop, the president’s approval ratings have been sliding dramatically all summer, with the latest Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll of US voters dropping to minus 22 points, the lowest point so far for Barack Obama since taking office. While just 24 per cent of American voters strongly approve of the president’s job performance, almost twice that number, 46 per cent, strongly disapprove. According to Rasmussen, 65 per cent of voters believe the United States is going down the wrong track, including 70 per cent of independents.
The RealClearPolitics average of polls now has President Obama at over 50 per cent disapproval, a remarkably high figure for a president just 18 months into his first term. Strikingly, the latest USA Today/Gallup survey has the President on just 41 per cent approval, with 53 per cent disapproving.
There are an array of reasons behind the stunning decline and political fall of President Obama, chief among them fears over the current state of the US economy, with widespread concern over high levels of unemployment, the unstable housing market, and above all the towering budget deficit. Americans are increasingly rejecting President Obama’s big government solutions to America’s economic woes, which many fear will lead to the United States sharing the same fate as Greece.
Growing disillusionment with the Obama administration’s handling of the economy as well as health care and immigration has gone hand in hand with mounting unhappiness with the President’s aloof and imperial style of leadership, and a growing perception that he is out of touch with ordinary Americans, especially at a time of significant economic pain. Barack Obama’s striking absence of natural leadership ability (and blatant lack of experience) has played a big part in undermining his credibility with the US public, with his lacklustre handling of the Gulf oil spill coming under particularly intense fire.
On the national security and foreign policy front, President Obama has not fared any better. His leadership on the war in Afghanistan has been confused and at times lacking in conviction, and seemingly dictated by domestic political priorities rather than military and strategic goals. His overall foreign policy has been an appalling mess, with his flawed strategy of engagement of hostile regimes spectacularly backfiring. And as for the War on Terror, his administration has not even acknowledged it is fighting one.
Can it get any worse for President Obama? Undoubtedly yes. Here are 10 key reasons why the Obama presidency is in serious trouble, and why its prospects are unlikely to improve between now and the November mid-terms.
1. The Obama presidency is out of touch with the American people
In a previous post I noted how the Obama presidency increasingly resembles a modern-day Ancien Régime, extravagant, decaying and out of touch with ordinary Americans. The First Lady’s ill-conceived trip to Spain at a time of widespread economic hardship was symbolic of a White House that barely gives a second thought to public opinion on many issues, and frequently projects a distinctly elitist image. The “let them eat cake” approach didn’t play well over two centuries ago, and it won’t succeed today.
2. Most Americans don’t have confidence in the president’s leadership
This deficit of trust in Obama’s leadership is central to his decline. According to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, “nearly six in ten voters say they lack faith in the president to make the right decisions for the country”, and two thirds “say they are disillusioned with or angry about the way the federal government is working.” The poll showed that a staggering 58 per cent of Americans say they do not have confidence in the president’s decision-making, with just 42 per cent saying they do.
3. Obama fails to inspire
In contrast to the soaring rhetoric of his 2004 Convention speech in Boston which succeeded in impressing millions of television viewers at the time, America is no longer inspired by Barack Obama’s flat, monotonous and often dull presidential speeches and statements delivered via teleprompter. From his extraordinarily uninspiring Afghanistan speech at West Point to his flat State of the Union address, President Obama has failed to touch the heart of America. Even Jimmy Carter was more moving.
4. The United States is drowning in debt
The Congressional Budget Office Long-Term Budget Outlook offers a frightening picture of the scale of America’s national debt. Under its alternative fiscal scenario, the CBO projects that US debt could rise to 87 percent of GDP by 2020, 109 percent by 2025, and 185 percent in 2035. While much of Europe, led by Britain and Germany, are aggressively cutting their deficits, the Obama administration is actively growing America’s debt, and has no plan in place to avert a looming Greek-style financial crisis.
5. Obama’s Big Government message is falling flat
The relentless emphasis on bailouts and stimulus spending has done little to spur economic growth or create jobs, but has greatly advanced the power of the federal government in America. This is not an approach that is proving popular with the American public, and even most European governments have long ditched this tax and spend approach to saving their own economies.
6. Obama’s support for socialised health care is a huge political mistake
In an extraordinary act of political Harakiri, President Obama leant his full support to the hugely controversial, unpopular and divisive health care reform bill, with a monstrous price tag of $940 billion, whose repeal is now supported by 55 per cent of likely US voters. As I wrote at the time of its passing, the legislation is “a great leap forward by the United States towards a European-style vision of universal health care, which will only lead to soaring costs, higher taxes, and a surge in red tape for small businesses. This reckless legislation dramatically expands the power of the state over the lives of individuals, and could not be further from the vision of America’s founding fathers.”
7. Obama’s handling of the Gulf oil spill has been weak-kneed and indecisive
While much of the spilled oil in the Gulf has now been thankfully cleared up, the political damage for the White House will be long-lasting. Instead of showing real leadership on the matter by acing decisively and drawing upon offers of international support, the Obama administration settled on a more convenient strategy of relentlessly bashing an Anglo-American company while largely sitting on its hands. Significantly, a poll of Louisiana voters gave George W. Bush higher marks for his handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, with 62 percent disapproving of Obama’s performance on the Gulf oil spill.
8. US foreign policy is an embarrassing mess under the Obama administration
It is hard to think of a single foreign policy success for the Obama administration, but there have been plenty of missteps which have weakened American global power as well as the standing of the United States. The surrender to Moscow on Third Site missile defence, the failure to aggressively stand up to Iran’s nuclear programme, the decision to side with ousted Marxists in Honduras, the slap in the face for Great Britain over the Falklands, have all contributed to the image of a US administration completely out of its depth in international affairs. The Obama administration’s high risk strategy of appeasing America’s enemies while kicking traditional US allies has only succeeded in weakening the United States while strengthening her adversaries.
9. President Obama is muddled and confused on national security
From the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to the War on Terror, President Obama’s leadership has often been muddled and confused. On Afghanistan he rightly sent tens of thousands of additional troops to the battlefield. At the same time however he bizarrely announced a timetable for the withdrawal of US forces beginning in July 2011, handing the initiative to the Taliban. On Iraq he has announced an end to combat operations and the withdrawal of all but 50,000 troops despite a recent upsurge in terrorist violence and political instability, and without the Iraqi military and police ready to take over. In addition he has ditched the concept of a War on Terror, replacing it with an Overseas Contingency Operation, hardly the right message to send in the midst of a long-war against Al-Qaeda.
10. Obama doesn’t believe in American greatness
Barack Obama has made it clear that he doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism, and has made apologising for his country into an art form. In a speech to the United Nations last September he stated that “no one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold.” It is difficult to see how a US president who holds these views and does not even accept America’s greatness in history can actually lead the world’s only superpower with force and conviction.
There is a distinctly Titanic-like feel to the Obama presidency and it’s not hard to see why. The most left-wing president in modern American history has tried to force a highly interventionist, government-driven agenda that runs counter to the principles of free enterprise, individual freedom, and limited government that have made the United States the greatest power in the world, and the freest nation on earth.
This, combined with weak leadership both at home and abroad against the backdrop of tremendous economic uncertainty in an increasingly dangerous world, has contributed to a spectacular political collapse for a president once thought to be invincible. America at its core remains a deeply conservative nation, which cherishes its traditions and founding principles. President Obama is increasingly out of step with the American people, by advancing policies that undermine the United States as a global power, while undercutting America’s deep-seated love for freedom.
Today, Kevin passes on the wisdom of a member of Bilderberg. Find out what is in store for 2010 and when the economic version of hurricane Katrina will hit America. Kevin also investigates how hard federal employees really work for your well-being and how much of your money is being thrown away.
The Near Extinction of Social Security
The Wages of Recession
Terrorists Now Required To Register
Airport Body Scan Radiation Risk
Nicotine Drugs Overhyped
Longer Needles Needed For Obese
Prescription Drugs are the New Crack Cocaine
Natural Health Remedies Removed From Canadian Shelves
GQ Has Jumped on The ‘Hazards of Cell Phones’ Wagon
Plus, professional astrologer and author, Sioux Rose, gives you her predictions for the world in 2010 and explains how the ‘Moon Dance’ affects your body and soul. Click here for more information on how to purchase her books and how to get your personal astrology reading today!
Take Trudeau on the Go! Click here to download this show to your iPod, mp3 player, or PC through iTunes!
Live from Germany, Kevin gives you HIS advice on how to avoid foreclosure and bankruptcy and how to find the perfect network marketing company that fits YOU! KT also gives you proof that America is going backwards instead of forward and gives you the real reason Osama Bin Laden hasn’t been indicted yet.
Plus, get the headlines you won’t hear from the mainstream media:
State Controlled Media Spreads to Daytime Dramas
Microsoft to Screw Google
LED Bulbs Cause Health Problems
Mandatory Vaccination Warning
Government Disempowering of the Masses
The Truth Behind Pearl Harbor, Hurricane Katrina & 9-11
Take Trudeau on the Go! Click here to download this show to your iPod, mp3 player, or PC through iTunes!
August 12, 2009
By Audrey Hudson
Four years after Hurricane Katrina exposed major deficiencies in the capacity of governments to evacuate and care for the disabled during a natural disaster, America’s most vulnerable citizens are barely considered in most emergency plans, according to a report being issued Wednesday by the National Council on Disability.
The report says huge gaps exist in those emergency plans despite an executive order issued by President Bush in 2004 urging federal and local governments, as well as private organizations, to consider the unique needs of the disabled when planning rescues and preparing to provide emergency shelter.
The 500-page report also criticized government disaster planners for failing to seek input about the needs of the disabled from the community and its advocacy groups. Among other problems the report cited were issues involving service dogs, relocation in trailers and mobile homes, the effectiveness of various warning systems and different transportation needs.
The independent federal agency’s report, titled “Effective Emergency Management: Making Improvements for Communities and People With Disabilities,” said the exclusion of issues affecting the disabled from disaster planning is a long-standing problem and that the details “have typically been limited to a few lines in an emergency plan, if they are mentioned at all.”
“Although some improvement in this area is evident, catastrophic events such as Hurricane Katrina and the California wildfires exposed the gaps that still exist in many emergency plans and preparedness efforts,” said the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times. “These events reinforce the need for additional action to protect the lives of people with disabilities against the destructive nature of disasters.”
With the exception of a single recent simulated-emergency exercise by the Department of Homeland Security, government agencies continue to ignore the disabled population when crafting emergency plans, the report said, repeatedly stressing the need for planners to consult directly with those who are disabled to better understand their particular needs during a disaster.
” ‘Disabilities’ were generally placed into one large category, without consideration for the unique needs associated with each type of disability. Emergency planners often decided what people with disabilities needed without consulting those people,” the report said. “This practice further alienated people with disabilities and increased their vulnerability during disasters.”
A separate report from the Special Needs Assessment for Katrina Evacuees (SNAKE) project found that many emergency shelter planners had little interaction with the disabled community before Hurricane Katrina.
“Many of the problems incurred by emergency personnel during the response phase of a disaster could be addressed if planning included people with disabilities. It is imperative that people with disabilities have a voice and be at the table for all stages of disaster planning,” the National Council on Disability’s report said.
Emergency car loudspeakers, weather-warning radios or even television alerts are not the most effective ways to deliver information to the disabled during an emergency, the report said.
“And existing warning systems may be inadequate for rapid onset events, such as sirens that cannot be heard during high-wind events,” the report said.
On the other hand, vibrating pillows could save lives.
The report cites Jim Davis, emergency management coordinator for Pittsylvania County, Va., who used a $5,000 grant to buy radios then engineered them to vibrate pillows as a warning mechanism, the report said.
“New technologies may soon address these barriers,” the National Council’s report said.
Some communities are not waiting for new gadgets to hit the shelves, and are taking advantage of current technology. For example, OK-WARN, a system for the deaf in Oklahoma, instantly notifies e-mail address and pagers when the National Weather Service issues a tornado alert.
The Homeland Security Department maintains a Web site at www.disabilitypreparedness.gov for emergency managers to plan and respond to emergencies involving the disabled. The site currently provides information involving the H1N1 flu outbreak.
Simple considerations such as evacuating the disabled along with family members can be key to saving lives, the report said.
“To illustrate, a lack of adequate transportation impeded evacuation efforts before Hurricane Katrina. Family members and caregivers refused to leave relatives or clients behind who could not walk to bus locations or were not provided with accessible transportation,” the report said.
Some lessons have been learned, particularly in New Orleans, where tens of thousands of residents refused to evacuate despite repeated warnings from the National Weather Service and on orders from city and state officials.
Ken Fisher, New Orleans operations section chief for the Office of Emergency Preparedness, now says it is important to “create and maintain an environment where the decision to evacuate becomes more desirable than remaining behind.”
Making sure public transportation allows those with service animals or seeing-eye dogs to travel with their pets and that shelters have adequate handicapped features would be a significant step, the report said.
“Ensure that service animals, medical devices and equipment are transported to safety with their handlers,” the report said. “Offer medical support and veterinary support.”
“Train volunteers and staff on issues involving a full range of disabilities, including disability etiquette, service animals and communication procedures,” the report said. “Take steps to ensure the dignity, privacy, and independence of shelter residents.”
The disabled also have special needs when it comes to temporary housing in trailers and mobile homes after a disastrous event, including proximity to public transportation and health care facilities.
“Formalize programs that check for mold, formaldehyde and other toxins that can have a heightened effect on those with disabilities or medical conditions,” the report said.
Scores of recommendations are included in the study, such as suggestions that disability coordinators be hired at regional FEMA offices and that the disabled be included in emergency exercises and recovery plans. The report also recommends that disaster recovery funding include coverage costs associated with health care disruption, loss of medical equipment, caregiver expenses, transportation and costs associated with seeing-eye dogs or other service animals.
Insurance companies should be mandated to cover nursing homes during evacuations, and entitlement checks should be released before an event so that recipients are more willing and able to evacuate, the National Council on Disability report said.
The report was to be released publicly Wednesday morning at the National Conference on Community Preparedness in Arlington. The report is part of the National Council on Disability’s congressional mandate to collect information on federal laws, policies and practices that affect the disabled.
July 31, 2009
By Bob Willis
The first 12 months of the U.S. recession saw the economy shrink more than twice as much as previously estimated, reflecting even bigger declines in consumer spending and housing, revised figures showed.
The world’s largest economy contracted 1.9 percent from the fourth quarter of 2007 to the last three months of 2008, compared with the 0.8 percent drop previously on the books, the Commerce Department said today in Washington.
“The current downturn beginning in 2008 is more pronounced,” Steven Landefeld, director of the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, said in a press briefing this week. The revisions were in line with past experience in which initial figures tended to underestimate the severity of contractions during their early stages, he said.
The updated statistics also showed that Americans earned more over the last 10 years and socked away a larger share of that cash in savings. The report signals the process of repairing tattered balance sheets following the biggest drop in household wealth on record may be further along than anticipated.
Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the economy, decreased 1.8 percent in last year’s fourth quarter from the same period in 2007, exceeding the prior estimate of a 1.5 percent drop. Purchases also began sinking sooner than previously projected, registering their first decline at the start of 2008 rather than in the second half.
Treasuries headed higher after the report, while stock- index futures declined. Benchmark 10-year note yields were at 3.58 percent at 8:51 a.m. in New York, from 3.61 percent late yesterday. Contracts on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index were down 0.3 percent at 979.
Residential construction fell 21 percent during the period, almost 2 percentage points more than previously reported, aggravating what was already the worst slump since the Great Depression.
The Commerce Department also reported today that the economy contracted at a 1 percent annual rate from April through June after shrinking at a 6.4 percent pace in the first quarter, the most since 1982. The decline in the first three months of the year was previously reported as 5.5 percent.
The National Bureau of Economic Research, the accepted arbiter of U.S. business cycles, last year determined the recession started in December 2007. The private group is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts,
Today’s updates are part of comprehensive revisions that take place about every five years and are more extensive than the changes announced at this time each year. Figures as far back as 1929 can be revised.
Over the most recent period, the third quarter of 2008 underwent one of the biggest changes, going from a 0.5 percent decrease in gross domestic product to a 2.7 percent drop. The new reading better illustrates the effect the September collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. had on the economy and credit markets.
The deeper deterioration last year underscores why Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his colleagues at the central bank cut the benchmark rate to a record low and extended credit to non-banks for the first time since the 1930s.
The new GDP data also help explain why the unemployment rate shot up 2.3 percentage points last year, the biggest annual jump since 1982.
2001 Recession Milder
The revisions showed that the 2001 recession was less severe than originally estimated, reflecting a smaller decline in business investment. The economy actually grew 0.1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2000 to the third quarter of 2001, erasing the 0.2 percent drop previously reported.
Personal income was revised up over the last decade, after the government boosted its adjustments for the underreporting and non-reporting of income using more recent data from the Internal Revenue Service. The increases in the most recent years reflect gains from rents, interest and proprietors’ income. The government changed the way it accounts for natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, eliminating much of the prior volatility in income calculations.
Higher incomes and less spending translated into bigger savings. The savings rate for 2008 was revised up to 2.7 percent from 1.8 percent. The rate shot up to 5.2 percent in the second quarter, the highest level since 1998.
The government revised corporate profits down for 2006-2008 and up for 2004 and 2005.
Finally, Commerce shifted food services, which include meals purchased at restaurants or served in schools, out of the food category. As a result, the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge — which tracks consumer spending and excludes food and fuel — was pushed up by 0.2 percentage point for the three-year period from 2006 to 2008.
The costs of meals away from home are not as volatile as fresh food, the government said, and therefore services should be included in the measure commonly known as the core index.