Sunday, January 3, 2016

How Is the Economy Doing? It May Depend on Your Party, and $1

The New York Times ^ | 01 Jan 2016 | Neil Irwin 

Suppose it is dinnertime, and the phone rings. It is a polite survey taker with a simple question for you: How is the economy doing?
You might answer the question based upon the news stories you've seen recently about the latest unemployment rate, or perhaps based on anecdotal observations, such as whether your long-jobless cousin has had any luck finding work.
But a wide range of academic work suggests a different factor that is likely to shape your answer: whether the current occupant of the White House is of your preferred political party. Did unemployment get better or worse during Ronald Reagan's presidency? In a 1988 survey, some 80 percent of dedicated Republicans accurately said it had improved, compared with 30 percent of loyal Democrats. In the 1990s, the pattern reversed on a range of factual questions about economic and fiscal issues. In a 1997 survey, for example, Republicans were far less likely than Democrats to acknowledge that the budget deficit had declined during the Bill Clinton administration.
As an economics writer, I see the same thing anecdotally. When I wrote articles recently about the unemployment rate's dip to 5 percent, I received vehement responses from conservatives convinced that the Obama administration was cooking the numbers. They were not so different from responses I received from liberals when the jobless rate was at that level in 2005, during the George W. Bush administration. In other words, when you ask people about the economy, the answers are less a statement of objectivity and more like what they'd say if you'd asked which pro football team was the best. That has important implications for democracy. How can people judge whether a party is effective if there is no sense of objective truth?
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...

Sweet Memories

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The End of the Beginning - The Road to the White House

US Defense Watch ^ | January 2, 2016 | Ray Starmann 

After the British victory at the Battle of the Second El Alamein in November of 1942, Winston Churchill spoke to the British people. Churchill eloquently stated, “Now, this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Perhaps, the same can be said of the opening salvos of the 2016 Presidential Election. We have watched numerous debates on both sides, filled with candidates grandiose and not very grandiose. Gradually, the field is being thinned and on February 1, 2016, the games truly begin at the Iowa Caucuses.
Let’s take a look at the field:
The Democrats:
James Webb – As USDW has mentioned before, Webb’s continual membership in the Democrat Party is something of a mystery, on par with who built the pyramids and how many classified emails did Hillary send through the server in the Rocky Mountain commode? Webb is genuine hero with real world national security experience. He’s also a proud gun owner, which really puts him out to pasture in a field of candidates more anti Second Amendment than Stalin. Simply, Webb needs to pop smoke and make a massive retreat from the Democrat Party as soon as possible.
Martin O’Malley – JAYDEM, Just Another Yankee Democrat, O’Malley encompasses every trait of an Eastern Seaboard liberal. He’s big government, the former mayor of Baltimore, and profusely anti-gun. He has no chance, except to perhaps convince Madam Secretary that he would add sugar and spice to her eventual ticket. But, if she wants sugar, I guess she can always call Huma.
Bernie Sanders – The Man from Leningrad, Sanders has drawn a left-wing version of a Ron Paul-esque type following. The only difference is that Ron Paul’s supporters were and are for freedom and limited government, Sanders merry minions call for more Big Brother intrusion, endless free government handouts and the end of capitalism itself. Oh, and why not confiscate some guns in the process. Sanders is actually quite proficient at declaring what the country’s many problems are, the problem is that his solutions are from a page out of the communist manifesto. No, Bernie the government is not going to put a million dollar cap on peoples’ salaries. Dasvidaniya, tovarich.
And, then there’s Hillary…
Hillary is sort of a modern day Maude character, except she’s substituted the free flowing colored outfits of the 70’s, for the Angela Merkel executive pants suit line. Unlike Maude, who actually knew what the heck she was talking about, Hillary doesn’t really know anything. She is a walking Potemkin Village façade of competence and knowledge, when in fact her “expertise” in everything from national security to the economy is nothing more than a front for incompetence, narcissism and criminal actions. The Democrat Party and her loyal following of single women have bought into the idea that somehow she deserves the nomination. Why?
The Republican candidates:
Jeb – Jeb has a lot of money behind him and not much else. His moderate, take no chances, wallflower campaign is not energizing voters. The American public is not looking to elect Grandma Walton, they want Churchill. They want Reagan. They want a Terminator who will kick butt and take names. Jeb looks and acts like the guy who ran the stamp club in high school. Jeb can’t match his intelligence and competence with any amount of bravado. He’ll keep going through primary after primary like a guy on a golf course playing endless holes in the rain, until the club pro tells him to clear off.
Carly – She’s one tough lady. I’d love to see her debate Hillary. It would be a virtual verbal destruction derby with Hillary’s pear-shaped body pushed off the stage like a smoldering wreck. Carly hasn’t really done anything wrong. Unfortunately, she’s in a lineup with too many other talented people. At best, she could surface as a Vice Presidential candidate. We haven’t seen the last of her.
Rand – Rand is sort of like Ron Paul Light. Rand is certainly a conservative, but he doesn’t have that fire and brimstone, Sam Adams liberty fire like his dad. Nor, does he have the Benjamin Franklin wisdom of Ron Paul. Rand is a little bit of libertarianism, with a lot of Bluegrass everyday conservative values. In an era of ISIS marauding across the planet, Paul’s isolationist ideas have caught fire like a pack of wet matches.
Christie – Every time I look at Christie I think a Sopranos movie with Christie as a recently ousted governor who’s now boosting library books with Paulie Walnuts and reselling them on Amazon. I like Christie, but I think he has a hard time stepping out of the Jersey persona. Like Jeb, Christie is smart and competent. But, his candidacy hasn’t caught on. Like Carly, he’s swimming against the Trump rip current and being carried further and further out to sea until he takes his last breath of parmesan and drowns.
Rubio – Rubio is a man before his time. I don’t believe that 2016 is the Year of Marco Rubio. But, 2020 might be. Rubio is smart and certainly has in depth knowledge of every political concept and theory thrown his way. Rubio may be looked at as too young. He conveys youth, perhaps too much youth. He and Cruz are nearly the same age, but Cruz comes off as more mature.
Cruz – Ted Cruz is waiting for just one thing, the self-destruction or the RNC destruction of Donald Trump’s candidacy. Can this happen? Maybe, but only at the end, when the body politic realizes that Trump may not be able to beat Hillary and therefore, quickly switches allegiance to Cruz at the very end, perhaps at the convention. The GOP Convention in August could very well be Count Chocula Cruz’s finest moment. Standby…
Trump – Can the Donald do anything to sabotage himself? I’m starting to doubt it. Trump could run naked through Times Square speaking in tongues and his poll numbers would probably hit the roof. Trump is doing just about everything right and what he says and does wrong doesn’t seem to matter. Whether the public will continue to view him as the man they want in the White House is to be seen. But, all signs point to a nomination.
Carson – Dr. Cool has perhaps peaked. Carson is a brilliant man who would make a great cabinet member. Look for his numbers to continue sliding into oblivion.
Pataki, Santorum, Gilmore, Huckabee – Time to take the consolation prize and go home boys. Lindsey Graham’s driving the bus.
All aboard!
USDW predicts that Hillary will get the Democrat nomination. The only thing that could stop this would be an indictment for committing about 100 national security felonies and misdemeanors. But, it will all be shoved under a very large rug in the Oval Office. As mentioned, most likely Trump will get the nomination, but it’s not set in stone. A Trump/Hillary contest would be highly entertaining to say the least.
There is the wild card scenario, which would be fascinating to see played out.
What if you went to the polls in November and had these choices?
Democrat – Hillary Socialist – Bernie Sanders Independent Freedom Party – Jimmy Webb Republican – Cruz Independent Liberty Party – Trump
Of course the chances of something like this are remote at best, but it would be interesting to run the numbers.
Now that we’re past the New Year, cry havoc and let slip, the political dogs of war!

America’s Political Parties Are Just Tribes Now!

The Daily Beast ^ | January 2, 2016 | Matt Lewis 

In 2015, once high-minded disagreements over policy and ideology descended into something much more primitive.

When it comes to politics, in 2015 we witnessed nothing less than a paradigm shift. The old rules are out the window. Technology and changing mores have conspired to lower barriers of entry--and acceptability. Gatekeepers no longer exist. What we have right now is closer to direct democracy than we've ever seen, and our civilization is regressing as a result.
One party (the Democrats) already represents the liberal half of the nation. The other half seems to consist of modern, Buckleyite conservatives, but also an increasingly large horde populist, nationalist, individualistic Americans--who now have a megaphone and a vessel in the form of Donald Trump.
Times change, and political parties adapt or are replaced. And make no mistake; if the Party of Lincoln becomes the Party of Trump, it would essentially redefine what it means to be a Republican. Conservatism, a coherent political philosophy, looks as if it's being replaced by messy right-wing populism....
(Excerpt) Read more at thedailybeast.com ...

Women of the year?

Sign of the times!

Birds of a feather!

BILL

The Problem...

Removal Service!

PIGS

Here's proof...

DC Black Lives Matter Activists Demand ‘Defunding, Disorganizing, Dismantling the Police’!

Brietbart's Big Government ^ | January 1, 2016 | John Sexton 

Black Lives Matter protesters held a rally Thursday night to protest the lack of indictment in the Tamir Rice and Sandra Bland cases. The rally of about 100 people blocked streets in DC's Chinatown area, which is only a few blocks east of the White House.
One protester told local CBS affiliate WUSA9, "I hope to interrupt enough people's New Years so they understand that this is serious. That Tamir Rice should have gotten justice. That Sandra Bland should have gotten justice."
Video of the rally uploaded to YouTube shows one protest organizer, identified as Marybeth Onyeukwu, saying the lack of an indictment in the death of Sandra Bland was proof there is no hope for justice under the current system:
We're talking about a system. The whole damn system is guilty as hell. There is no justice for us in this current system. So we're not just protesting we are demanding a new world. And a new world means, I want you all to hear me, a new world means defunding, disorganizing and dismantling the police. It means defunding, disorganizing and dismantling the police....
(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...

Texas governor challenges Obama to 'come and take' the Lone Star state's guns!

UK Daily Mail ^ | 3 January 2016 | Kelly McLaughlin 

Texas Gov Greg Abbott criticized President Barack Obama's plan to move ahead with possible executive actions on guns in a tweet in which he told the Commander-in-Chief to 'come & take' the state's guns.
Obama said in his weekly radio address that he is looking for ways to keep guns out of the hands of 'a dangerous few' without depending on Congress to pass a law on the fraught subject of gun control.
He plans to meet his attorney general, Loretta Lynch, on Monday to see what executive actions might be possible. Steps to strengthen background checks could come this week.
At a rally in Biloxi, Mississippi, tonight Donald Trump also pledged to undo any action Obama takes on gun control if he wins the next election.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...