Saturday, August 31, 2013

Why a nervous Hillary Clinton is remarkably silent on Syria!

Telegraph ^ | 8/30/13 | Nile Gardiner

I suspect a number of factors are behind Hillary Clinton’s reticence. Firstly, a US military intervention in the Syrian civil war is strongly opposed by the vast majority of the American public. A recent poll showed just nine percent of Americans backing US military involvement. She probably doesn’t see another war in the Muslim world as a vote winner in 2016. Secondly, she may well be harbouring doubts over the White House approach, which beyond the talk of airstrikes, lacks a coherent strategy, and the president hasn’t exactly made a clear-cut case that taking America to war in Syria is in the national interest. Thirdly, as “the Obama doctrine” goes down in flames in the Middle East, from Damascus to Cairo, Clinton will be nervous about being seen as part and parcel of it, which of course she is.

Fourthly, Clinton’s own track record on Syria has hardly been stellar. Before Syria descended into war, Clinton was a strong backer of engagement with Syria, greatly underestimating the nature of the Baathist regime, famously referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a “reformer” in April 2011. In addition, as Washington’s most senior foreign policy official, Clinton did little to stand up to Moscow’s aggressive support for the Syrians, eager to appease the Russians through the controversial “reset” strategy, which was her own brainchild. In addition, the Secretary of State was weak in the face of Iran, whose military and financial backing for the Assad regime has been vital to its survival.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

‘AMATEUR HOUR’: Krauthammer slams Obama’s sudden decision to delay Syria strike

The Daily Caller ^ | 08/31/2013 | Jeff Poor 

Immediately following his statement from the Rose Garden on Saturday, which President Barack Obama said he would delay a strike on Syria until seeking authorization from Congress, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer took to Fox News to slam the president.
Krauthammer criticized Obama for the way he has handled the unfolding of events surrounding the crisis in Syria.
“[T]he most astonishing thing is the lack of any urgency,” Krauthammer said. “As you say, Congress will be back in a week. He says, ‘I can strike in a day or a week or a month,’ as if he is a judge handing down a sentence and the execution can be any time in the future. There is a war going on. Do you think everybody is going to hold their breath, hold their arms, step aside until Obama decides when he wants to go to Congress?
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Public School Art Project Desecrates American Flag

Fox News Radio ^ | August 30, 2013 | Todd Starnes

Students at a Kentucky high school were encouraged to step on an American flag that had been placed on the floor as part of an art display, outraging parents and students.

The display at McCracken County High School, was a re-creation of “Dread” Scott Tyler’s 1989 installation titled “The Proper Way to Display an American Flag.” …

As part of the art exhibit, students were encouraged to stand on the flag and write their reflections on how they felt standing on the flag.

Local residents filled social networking sites with their outrage over the flag desecration with many calling for the art teacher to be fired. …

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

NEGROS' Worst Economic Enemies: It’s their “friend” Barack Obama who has hurt them!

PJ Media ^ | August 30, 2013 11:56 AM | Tom Blumer

An Associated Press story appearing Wednesday morning claimed that Barack Obama’s presidency “has been marred by racist backlash.” Naturally, the cowards at AP didn’t specifically identify the source or nature of the alleged “backlash,” because to do so would expose the claim as a lie.

Earlier this week, Jesse Jackson did the lying for them. Jackson told Politico that he “absolutely” believes that the Republican Party’s opposition to Obama’s policies is motivated by race, and that “the tea party is the resurrection of the Confederacy.”
The economic scoreboard says otherwise.

The frightening data recently published by Sentier Research, a group of former Census Bureau employees who have been tracking monthly household income since the turn of the century, make it obvious that it is economically devastated African-Americans who should be absolutely furious with Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in Washington. …
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

The Legacy of Liberalism ^ | August 31, 2013 | John C. Goodman

The 50 year anniversary of Martin Luther King's march on Washington is causing a lot of people in my generation to reminisce.

In doing so, it is hard not to be struck by two puzzling facts: (a) the fall of racial barriers to success almost everywhere and (b) the lack of economic progress in the black community as a whole, relative to whites. On the one hand, it would seem that a black in America can achieve almost anything, even being elected president of the United States. On the other hand, if we compare the economic condition of blacks and whites as a whole, you would be tempted to conclude that almost no progress has been made.

For example, blogger Brad Plummer reminds us that:

· The gap in household income between blacks and whites hasn't really narrowed at all in the last 50 years.

· The black unemployment rate has consistently been twice as high as the white unemployment rate for 50 years.

· For the past 50 years, black unemployment has almost always been at recession levels.

This incongruity has given rise to two liberal myths — repeated frequently on television talk shows over the past week: (a) that the fall in racial barriers is the result of liberal legislation, designed to outlaw discrimination in the private sector and (b) that the lack of economic progress is evidence that liberals haven't done enough — that still more intervention is needed to correct the effects of current and past discrimination.

The reality I believe is just the reverse. The decline of racial barriers in the job market and throughout the economic system — at least outside the south — had very little to do with liberal legislation. But the lack of economic progress by the black community as a whole is in many ways the result of the liberal approach to politics. On balance, liberalism has been an obstacle to black progress, not a help.

The natural assumption is to believe that a lot of labor market regulation is preventing discrimination — against blacks and other minorities, against women, against…Well, against just about everybody who isn't a young, white male with an Ivy League degree. However, June O'Neill, an economist who used to direct the Congressional Budget Office, and her husband Dave O'Neill have produced acomprehensive study of this issue and they find that the natural assumption is wrong.

Take the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The O'Neills find that the black/white wage gap was narrowing at about the same rate in the two decades leading up to the passage of the act as it did in the years that followed. Only in the South is there evidence that the legislation mattered. Outside the South, federal legislation basically followed social change rather than lead it. The wages of blacks rose relative to those of whites over time for two primary reasons: (1) more schooling and better schooling and (2) the migration of blacks out of the South.

[The approach of the Kennedy White House to race relations, by the way, was similar to the way Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama approached gay rights. One is tempted to call it "cowardly." In all these cases, the politicians waited until public opinion had clearly shifted before announcing their own change of heart and before doing or saying anything that would be considered politically risky. In other words, these presidents didn't lead. They followed.]

But isn't there a lot of discrimination going on right now? Isn't regulation combatting it? Take the difference in pay for black and white men. The O'Neills find that the difference narrows to just 4% after adjusting for years of schooling and it reduces to zero when you factor in test scores on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), which is basically an intelligence test. In other words, after adjusting for just two factors that cause people to be different, the pay gap between black and white men disappears entirely. Among women, the gap actually reverses after adjusting for education and AFQT scores. Black women get paid more than white women.

Among Hispanic and white men, the pay gap narrows to 8% after adjusting for years of schooling and disappears altogether with the addition of AFQT scores. Among the women, these two variables cause the pay gap to reverse. As in the case of race, Hispanic women are actually paid somewhat more than white women.

But if discrimination isn't holding back black Americans, what is? Answer: the liberal economics.

The political genius of Roosevelt was to combine people who had nothing in common and who didn't even like each other into one grand coalition. This included farmers, labor union members, civil servants, the elderly, southern racists, blacks, etc. [Yes, black and white racists in the South both voted Democrat for years!] For each group, the liberal Democrat approach was to use the power of government to intervene in the marketplace. In return they expected political support. For example, the farmers got price supports; the steel workers got tariffs; the elderly got Social Security, etc.

In the Franklin Roosevelt era, the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) became a cartel agent for the trucking industry as well as the railroads. The Civil Aeronautics Board became a cartel agent for the airlines. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) became a cartel agent for the broadcasters. The primary goal of all these agencies was to suppress "ruinous competition" and make sure the industries were profitable. Of course, you could argue (and some economists did) that regulation served the interest of both consumers and producers — a viewpoint that largely rejects almost everything Adam Smith said in the Wealth of Nations. However, even the pretense of consumer protection was blatantly tossed aside with the passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act.

The goal of the NIRA (modeled after Italian fascism) was to allow each industry to set its own prices, set its own wages and control its own output. Had Roosevelt gotten his way, we would have had predatory monopolies in every market. Fortunately, the NIRA was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. But suppose the court had ruled the other way? Or suppose president Roosevelt had succeeded in his effort to overturn the decision by packing the court? Can you imagine what would have happened to blacks, immigrants, other minorities and any new entrants to the labor market?

Almost all government intervention in the labor market was designed to help establish unions (the modern equivalent of medieval guilds) and to promote their interests. Minimum wage laws were seen not as a way of lifting people out of poverty, but as a way of preventing blacks and other outsiders from competing for jobs. Skilled labor competes against unskilled labor. And the political goal of skilled labor has always been to price its competition out of the market.

Similarly, equal-pay-for-equal-work laws and the Davis Bacon Act (requiring that all workers on federal projects be paid the prevailing union wage) were seen as ways to prevent black workers from "stealing" white worker's jobs. In the old days, before there was "political correctness," politicians actually said these things in congressional debates.

What I'm describing contradicts not only Adam Smith, but also almost all of modern economics. Special monopoly privileges designed for one group create benefits for that group, but harm everyone else. And the harm to society as a whole is inevitably much greater than the benefits to the special interests.

That's where black Americans come in. Liberal government promises them a pittance or two. But these are mere crumbs compared to the harm of being closed out of huge portions of the labor market. Of being forced to send their children to bad schools because they cannot afford the price of an expensive house. Of being denied the right to choose better schools for their children because of counter promises made to the teacher's unions. Of being forced to rely on public provision of housing, transportation, and medical care because government regulation has priced low-cost alternatives out of the market. Of being seduced by a welfare state that subsidizes and enables single black mothers who try to provide for the 73% of all black children who are born out of wedlock. Of watching traditional black culture disintegrate along with the black family.

Here is background reading:

On the Democrats' unholy history on the question of race, see Bruce Bartlett, Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party's Buried Past.

On the consequences of liberal policies for black America, see Walter Williams, The State Against Blacks and other writings.

On an editorial that makes some of these same points, see Dr. Ben Carson, MLK Would Be Alarmed by Black-on-Black Violence, Lack of Family Values.

A Funny Look at How Obamacare Screws Young People

Daniel J. Mitchell
Recommend this article 
During the big-spending Bush years, economic and fiscal people inside the Administration often would sympathize with my complaints about bad policy, but say that there was nothing they could do since all the big decisions were being made by the political types in the White House.
In other words, Karl Rove and his crew were the ones who helped encourage Bush to hurt the country for short-run political gain.
So you can imagine I’m reluctant to give favorable attention to anything associated with Rove, but this new video from one of his organizations is too good not to share. The Department of Health and Human Services has a video contest to sucker gullible young people into signing up for Obamacare, and here’s the satirical gem put together by Crossroads GPS.
And since we’re mocking the Obama Administration’s wasteful video contest, let’s enjoy a great Lisa Benson cartoon on the same topic.
Cartoon Obamacare Video Contest
Perhaps not quite as good as my all-time favorite Benson cartoon, whichperfectly captures Obama’s fiscal policy, but still an excellent contribution to the debate.  I also very much like her fiscal cliff cartoon, this Keynesian economics cartoon, and this one about jump-starting the economy with tax hikes.

Barack Obama Ignores America's Murdered Kids

Friends of Ours ^ | 08/31/13 | Friends of Ours

Spare us the dramatics, Mr. President.

In a propaganda campaign Barack Obama is justifying his imminent attack against Syria by "showing the world newly declassified intelligence files that revealed how [the government] slaughtered at least 1,429 of its own people -- including 426 children -- with poison gas" as reported by the New York Post.
Of course the images of innocent civilians including children getting gassed is horrific, and there is no defense of that monster Bashar Assad who calls himself the Syrian President. However, the American people should not be emotionally manipulated into supporting another U.S.-led war in the Middle East by cheaply invoking the children.
Indeed, if the Obama Administration is as disturbed by murdered or otherwise victimized children as it purports then maybe it should ramp up police forces against the street gangs which violently rove throughout United States exploiting kids.
For example, in the Morrisania section of the Bronx street gangs are recruiting "boys as young as 9 or 10" to join their ranks as reported by WNYW. Similarly, a street gang in Suffolk County, NY is recruiting boys as young as nine years old as reported by Kevin Deutsch for Newsday: "police investigators believe that the gang's older members have sought out young neighborhood kids who 'show potential' for membership." Of course, a number of these gang juvies wind up dead, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention admits that "gang homicides account for a substantial proportion of homicides among youths in some U.S. cities" according to a recent report.
So if it's really all about the kids, President Obama, then why not flex some muscle to take out the killer gangs on America's streets? Charity begins at home.

The Destructive Farce of $15.00 Minimum Wage & Melancholia ^ | August 31, 2013 | Charles Payne

Forces with ulterior motives continue to lead the lambs to slaughter.
Leveraging a mentality that things are "owed" rather than "earned" in America, unions and their agents along with those that still think Thomas More's Utopia is an ideal society are pushing for a minimum wage hike to $15.00 an hour - more than double the current rate.
Protesters are framing the issue that corporations are part of a public domain and naturally they should share in their good fortunes.
Moreover, corporate greed results in employees being their victims rather than victims of personal mistakes. There are higher paying jobs out there, why aren't these workers applying for those jobs?
The fact is, most fast food workers have cornered themselves into uncompetitive positions in the job market where better skilled workers make more money.
Still, in this period of redistribution of wealth and redistribution of accountability the minimum wage battleground is perfect as it evokes victimization, racism and the ills of capitalism.
Here are the facts.
> People go into business to make money. > Businesses pay taxes that more than cover the sidewalks and roads and have no moral obligation to pay salaries above free market levels. > Large fast food chains are struggling in the United States, with growth coming from outside this country. That growth has been underpinning profits and share prices. > States with minimum wages significantly above the federal level for the most part have higher unemployment rates than the national average.
There are really short memories out there, but only two years ago McDonalds' locations were mobbed with job applicants during a one-day job fair. Some places had as many as twenty applicants for each job, and now these same workers are demanding a hundred percent wage increase. The summer I worked at McDonalds, there were 300 applicants for three jobs, and the interview process took hours. After the first round of interviews, the manager came and whispered to me I got the job, but I had to wait until the other positions were filled.
I considered the job a stepping stone, a place to get some spending money and stay off the streets. I was always grateful and worked hard. But I knew it wasn't a career, although I met people in management programs that were making good money. I moved on as did Jay Leno, Sharon Stone, Carl Lewis and Jeff Bezos. The private sector shouldn't be made to take on the role of government welfare agencies basing wages on workers' needs rather than worker skills. But mostly those kids that have dropped out of school or aren't marketable shouldn't buy into the notion it's not their own fault.
The nation isn't going to compete in the new economy with so much focus on artificial wages and limiting profits and wealth of businesses and individuals. Sure, it might seem an attractive Utopia but it would destroy America's greatness, and before that would harm the so-called poor significantly more.
Sad (last) Days of summerMelancholy A feeling of pensive sadness, typically with no obvious cause.
Synonyms: sadness, sorrow, unhappiness, woe, desolation, dejection, depression, despondency, gloom and misery.
This morning's commute was the epitome of bittersweet, as is each Friday before Labor Day. The commute was as easy as pie, like driving down the Pacific Coast highway without any other cars on the road. The Doobie Bothers were blaring on my radio, and I put the Jaguar to the test. Yet, throughout the ride, I knew this was the last time this year I would have it this easy. Traffic is back on Tuesday and it's supposed to rain on the east coast. I get this sense of melancholy each year at this time.
This year, it might be more acute because it's matched with the mood of the nation.
The nation is stuck in a rut of pensive sadness that manifests itself with a range of emotions from anger to indifference. It weighs on the economy and weighs on personal decision-making. Our knee-jerk reaction is always defensive, with a narrative of shifting blame and assigning punishment. Yesterday on Varney & Co, we had the founder of Lumber Liquidators (LL) on the show in part because I had been singing his praises as yet another great American success story.
Tom Sullivan started the company as a natural progression of life when he saw an opportunity selling lumber in a way that wasn't being done. He's almost a billionaire, and people that invested in his company (including our subscribers) are making money, too. One of my biggest goals is to get people to see behind the numbers and know these companies aren't just numbers and stock symbols but people, including those that start them and establish a culture.
As it turns out, Tom was a great guest. He was lively, excited and inspirational, but then he did it... he talked about the fundraiser he had very recently for President Obama. Naturally, we were shocked that someone that's attained so much in a system that the president is trying to dismantle would add cash to his coffers. Tom said he liked the president and thinks he means well. In my mind, if dismantling America and piecing it back together as a nation that scorns success is well-meaning, then so be it.
When the interview was over someone tweeted me he will never buy from Lumber Liquidators again.
I get where this person is coming from, but I have to say this is a slippery slope. I had a woman email earlier in the year with the list of companies she and her husband shop at, and it was shorter than the ones they're boycotting because of political ties and leanings of management. I didn't make her day when I told her Costco (COST), on her approved list, probably had to be struck off considering all the money the CEO raised for President Obama and his speech at the DNC.
I wondered how old she and her husband were and thought maybe they should watch "Duck Dynasty" and learn how to hunt just to be on the safe side and make sure not a penny of her money ends up in the pockets of the wrong politicians and organizations. I get it... I bought a copy of the movie "Milk" years ago and never opened the box. My disdain for Sean Penn, the person, has clouded my appreciation for Sean Penn the actor.
This line of thought has stopped so many people from investing in the stock market. Conservatives have missed one of the greatest stock market rallies of their lifetime because they inter-mingled the notion of investing success during this administration as helping the enemy. It's a pity because we all have to be careful that our disdain for a political party or the ideology running America doesn't cloud our appreciation or love for America.

Is Syria a real problem or just the latest phony scandal?

Coach Is Right ^ | 8/31/2013 | Jim Emerson

Slow Down In a rush to start a military strike against Syria, the Nobel Peace prize recipient is being told to slow down by the UN and European countries. Obama’s request for the assistance of old allies in his mad scramble to protect al Qaeda-led rebels from the Syrian Regime was soundly rejected by Britain. Valerie Jarrett must have demanded Obama strike Assad immediately. After all, the rebellion is being influenced by the Mo-Bros with Saudi oil money. When you read anything that says Brotherhood fighters it actually means al Qaeda.
Chemical attack On August 21st, chemical weapons were used against the civilian population in the Damascus area, killing at least 350. The rebels and the Kenyan Muslim blame the al-Assad regime and the Syrian Government blames the rebels. At the time of this writing, no proof has been presented as to who deployed the chemical agent. UN inspectors will report their findings to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The British and the French are telling Obama to wait until the UN weapons inspectors report before taking any military action. Obama’s White House took the allies support for granted, as he had during the Muslim Brotherhood-led Libyan effort.
Arrogance Secretary of State John Kerry openly accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons without any evidence what-so-ever and went on to accuse the regime of tying to interfere with UN weapon inspectors by claiming they had something to hide. The Syrians could take a lesson from Kerry on how to hide a Yacht from his home state tax collectors. Obama believes that he can unilaterally strike Syria without a UN Resolution or support from America’s allies–the very thing he accused the Bush Administration of doing before sending troops to invade Iraq. The Russians and the Chinese are warning Obama not to intervene in Syria. The UN is telling the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate to wait on a diplomatic solution. (2)
Wag the Dog This is the distraction the Obama Administration dearly needed. The chemical attack has redirected the public’s attention away from the various calumnies dogging the White House; the Benghazi, IRS and NSA problems for example. As long as Democrats can demonize Syria they can help the American public forget about these “phony” difficulties which have been plaguing the credibility of the Regime. Of course, it would work better if more voters actually cared about these issues. Maybe it’s because Jon Stewart isn’t talking about them. And that just begs the question: Who is the Hollywood director directing this latest DC, action-adventure?
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

HOMELESS IN SILICON VALLEY: Hardship In America's Innovation Heartland

Business Insider ^ | 08/31/2013 | ROBERT JOHNSON

Silicon Valley has a serious homeless problem, despite the fact that the Valley is home to some of the richest zip codes in the nation. Over the past eight years the U.S. watched its homeless population decline by more than 130,000 people.
That's a nearly 17 percent drop that flies in the face of Silicon valley's 8 percent increase in its homeless population over the last two years.
Not including San Francisco — which has a serious homeless problem of its own — the Silicon Valley stretches through the Santa Clara Valley down from Redwood City, through Palo Alto, Mountain View, and San Jose.
What is causing the trend-bucking homelessness problem in the area? In addition to the rising cost of housing and lack of adequately paying jobs, we found that mental illness and substance abuse are problems in the Valley's homeless community like elsewhere in the country. Forty percent of the country's homeless suffer from substance abuse or mental illness and though the National Alliance on Mental Illness calls California's mentally ill housing the "gold standard," the state cut its mental health budget by 21 percent from 2009 to 2012.
"It's a perfect storm of homelessness," San Jose's Housing 100's Jennifer Loving told Business Insider referring to the budget cuts, lack of allocated housing, recession-era tax breaks in the county, a lack of adequately paying jobs, a growing wealth gap, and rising home prices for sales and rentals.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

The Secret History of the U-2

Chicago Tribune ^ | Jeffrey T. Richelson | August 19, 2013

On Feb. 21, 1955, Richard M. Bissell, a senior CIA official, wrote a check on an agency account for $1.25 million and mailed it to the home of Kelly Johnson, chief engineer at the Lockheed Company's Burbank, Calif., plant. According to a newly declassified CIA history of the U-2 program, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the National Security Archive, the agency was about to sign a contract with Lockheed for $22.5 million to build 20 U-2 aircraft, but the company needed a cash infusion right away to keep the work going. Through the use of "unvouchered" funds — virtually free from any external oversight or accounting — the CIA could finance secret programs, such as the U-2. As it turned out, Lockheed produced the 20 aircraft at a total of $18,977,597 (including $1.9 million in profit), or less than $1 million per plane. In other words, the project came in under budget, a miracle in today's defense contracting world.
A source of deep pride for the U.S. intelligence community, the U-2 program survived the May 1, 1960, shoot-down of Francis Gary Powers over the Soviet Union, and the plane went on to spy for the CIA until 1974 — and the Air Force still operates the latest version today. Nevertheless, the agency has been holding back information about the U-2 for years. At a 1998 CIA-sponsored symposium to celebrate the U-2 program, one of the conference speakers was asked to refrain from mentioning how Chinese Nationalist pilots, based in Taiwan, flew agency U-2s over and near the People's Republic to gather intelligence on the PRC, including its nuclear programs. The speaker ignored the request, but that did not stop the CIA from maintaining that such information should remain officially classified.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

16 Year Old Black Male Arrested For Stabbing White Man to Death Because He Had A ‘Hard Day”!

Gateway Pundit ^ | August 30, 2013 | Rachel Pulaski 
Posted on 8/31/2013 1:37:48 AM by 2ndDivisionVet
On January 6, 2013, 22 year old Jason Paul was found stabbed to death while riding his bike home in Clearwater, Florida. After stabbing Paul multiple times, the assailant left him for dead during the midnight hour. After months of searching for his killer and offering a $10,000 reward, the killer has been arrested. On Thursday, 16-year-old Mychal King was arrested and charged with the first-degree murder. King has a long criminal history and was already in jail for previous crimes. King admitted to killing Paul “for no reason” other than having “a hard day”.
ABC Action News reported:
Police said King admitted to killing Paul for no reason other than he had a hard day with his family that night of January 6, and “just wanted to kill the first person he saw.”
Police say 22-year-old Jason Taylor Paul was stabbed multiple times while riding his bike home from work late.
Jason’s parents, John and Renee Langfritz had been distraught since the news of Paul’s death, and desperate for closure, even offering a $10,000 reward for information.
Renee described her son as an intelligent, loving, funny man. She said his sudden loss has left a hole in the hearts of everyone who knew him.
“This coward, truly a coward, who would leave a young innocent man to die alone in the dark in the middle of the street, must be caught,” she said at the time.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Tough Week: Obama’s Approval Rating Hits Lowest On Record ^ | August 30, 2013 | Daniel Doherty

This was a long time coming, no? Business Insider has the details:

President Barack Obama's approval rating has matched its lowest ever recorded in a new NBC News poll.

And huge drops in his foreign policy approval combined with poor marks for handling the situation in Syria are to blame.

Obama's overall approval rating stands at 44%. The only other time it has been that low in the NBC survey came at the end of 2011, after a bruising debt ceiling fight with Congress that ended in a downgrade of the nation's credit rating.

This time, the drop is largely due to foreign policy concerns. Only 41% approve of the way Obama is handling foreign policy, the lowest ever. Consider that just last December, 52% approved of the way he was handling foreign policy.

Meanwhile, Obamacare is a “train wreck” for many different reasons. The teen employment rate is nearing historic lows. Top secret classified information has been leaked. And of course, Syria is on fire and the president doesn’t seem to have a clue what he’s doing. A tough week, indeed.

12 Unspoken Rules For Being A Liberal ^ | August 31, 2013 | John Hawkins

There may be no official rule book for being a liberal, but that doesn't mean there aren't rules. There are actually quite a few rules liberals go by and the more politically active liberals become, the more rigidly they tend to stick to their own code of behavior. These rules, most of which are unspoken, are passed along culturally on the Left and viciously enforced. Ironically, many liberals could not explain these rules to you and don't even consciously know they're following them. So, by reading this article, not only will you gain a better understanding of liberals, you'll know them better than they know themselves in some ways.

1) You justify your beliefs about yourself by your status as a liberal, not your deeds. The most sexist liberal can think of himself as a feminist while the greediest liberal can think of himself as generous. This is because liberals define themselves as being compassionate, open minded, kind, pro-science and intelligent not based on their actions or achievements, but based on their ideology. This is one of the most psychologically appealing aspects of liberalism because it allows you to be an awful person while still thinking of yourself as better than everyone else.

2) You exempt yourself from your attacks on America: Ever notice that liberals don't include themselves in their attacks on America? When they say, "This is a racist country," or ",This is a mean country," they certainly aren't referring to themselves or people who hold their views. Even though liberals supported the KKK, slaughtering the Indians, and putting the Japanese in internment camps, when they criticize those things, it's meant as an attack on everyone else EXCEPT LIBERALS. The only thing a liberal believes he can truly do wrong is to be insufficiently liberal.

3) What liberals like should be mandatory and what they don't like should be banned: There's an almost instinctual form of fascism that runs through most liberals. It's not enough for liberals to love gay marriage; everyone must be forced to love gay marriage. It's not enough for liberals to be afraid of guns; guns have to be banned. It's not enough for liberals to want to use energy-saving light bulbs; incandescent light bulbs must be banned. It's not enough for liberals to make sure most speakers on campuses are left-wing; conservative speakers must be shouted down or blocked from speaking.

4) The past is always inferior to the present: Liberals tend to view traditions, policies, and morals of past generations as arbitrary designs put in place by less enlightened people. Because of this, liberals don't pay much attention to why traditions developed or wonder about possible ramifications of their social engineering. It’s like an architect ripping out the foundation of a house without questioning the consequences and if the living room falls in on itself as a result, he concludes that means he needs to make even more changes.

5) Liberalism is a jealous god and no other God may come before it: A liberal "Christian" or "Jew" is almost an oxymoron because liberalism trumps faith for liberals. Taking your religious beliefs seriously means drawing hard lines about right and wrong and that's simply not allowed. Liberals demand that even God bow down on the altar of liberalism.

6) Liberals believe in indiscriminateness for thought: This one was so good that I stole it from my buddy, Evan Sayet: " Indiscriminateness of thought does not lead to indiscriminateness of policy. It leads the modern liberal to invariably side with evil over good, wrong over right and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success. Why? Very simply if nothing is to be recognized as better or worse than anything else then success is de facto unjust. There is no explanation for success if nothing is better than anything else and the greater the success the greater the injustice. Conversely and for the same reason, failure is de facto proof of victimization and the greater the failure, the greater the proof of the victim is, or the greater the victimization."

7) Intentions are much more important than results: Liberals decide what programs to support based on whether they make them feel good or bad about themselves, not because they work or don't work. A DDT ban that has killed millions is judged a success by liberals because it makes them feel as if they care about the environment. A government program that wastes billions and doesn't work is a stunning triumph to the Left if it has a compassionate sounding name. It would be easier to convince a liberal to support a program by calling it the “Saving Women And Puppies Bill" than showing that it would save 100,000 lives.

8) The only real sins are helping conservatism or harming liberalism: Conservatives often marvel at the fact that liberals will happily elect every sort of pervert, deviant, and criminal you can imagine without a second thought. That's because right and wrong don't come into the picture for liberals. They have one standard: Does this politician help or hurt liberalism? If a politician helps liberalism, he has a free pass to do almost anything and many of them do just that.

9) All solutions must be government-oriented: Liberals may not be as down on government as conservatives are, but on some level, even they recognize that it doesn't work very well. So, why are liberals so hell bent on centralizing as much power as possible in government? Simple, because they believe that they are better and smarter than everyone else by virtue of being liberals and centralized power gives them the opportunity to control more people's lives. There's nothing scarier to liberals than free people living their lives as they please without wanting or needing the government to nanny them.

10) You must be absolutely close minded: One of the key reasons liberals spend so much time vilifying people they don't like and questioning their motivations is to protect themselves from having to consider their arguments. This helps create a completely closed system for liberals. Conservative arguments are considered wrong by default since they're conservative and not worth hearing. On the other hand, liberals aren't going to make conservative arguments. So, a liberal goes to a liberal school, watches liberal news, listens to liberal politicians, has liberal friends, and then convinces himself that conservatives are all hateful, evil, racist Nazis so that any stray conservatism he hears should be ignored. It makes liberal minds into perfectly closed loops that are impervious to anything other than liberal doctrine.

11) Feelings are more important than logic: Liberals base their positions on emotions, not facts and logic and then they work backwards to shore up their position. This is why it's a waste of time to try to convince a liberal of anything based on logic. You don't "logic" someone out of a position that he didn't use "logic" to come up with in the first place.

12) Tribal affiliation is more important than individual action: There's one set of rules for members of the tribe and one set of rules for everyone else. Lying, breaking the rules, or fomenting hatred against a liberal in good standing may be out of bounds, but there are no rules when dealing with outsiders, who are viewed either as potential recruits, dupes to be tricked, or foes to be defeated. This is the same backwards mentality you see in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, except it's based on ideology, not religion.