West Must Halt Downward Slide Since 9-11: Financial Times Deutschland, Germany

September 18, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

In the battle that ensued the day after September 11, 2001, did the people of the Western World lose something essential about themselves? Claus Hecking of Germany’s Financial Times Deutschland writes that due to a largely conjured-up fear of terror, ‘we are dismantling the foundations of our liberal society.’

For the Financial Times Deutschland, Claus Hecking writes in part:

In the United States and throughout the Western world, freedom has gone to ruin in the nine years since 9/11. This will delight the string-pullers behind the brutal attacks on the World Trade Center. They have managed to destabilize their enemies in the West. Yes, we are playing along in this clash of cultures they instigated. And even worse: For sheer fear of terror, we are dismantling the foundations of our liberal society.

Terrorists are terrorists because they’re too weak to seize power directly. Instead, they carry out attacks: a calculated move to frighten and provoke people to panic, setting in motion events that will bring them closer to their goal. Prime examples are the assassination in 1914 of Austria’s heir to the throne, Franz Ferdinand, by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip. After it triggered World War I, this led to a sovereign, Serbian-dominated Yugoslavia. Or the murder of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish extremist in 1995: it was the beginning of the end of the Middle East peace process.

Osama bin Laden is an idol for tens of thousands of angry young Muslim men, especially in countries like Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia - all old allies of the United States. Many people in the developing world no longer see the Western way of life as a model. And why should they, when we doubt our own basic principles?

READ ON AT WORLDMEETS.US, your most trusted translator and aggregator of foreign news and views about our nation.

The Moderate Voice

Obama’s Economic Slide

August 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 
style="float: right; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 5px;"> href="http://blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/Jobs-Gap-August.jpg"> class="alignnone size-full wp-image-40641" title="Jobs Gap August small" src="http://blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/Jobs-Gap-August-small.jpg" alt="" width="302" height="500" />

The href="http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/gdpnewsrelease.htm">Commerce Department today href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gNiyJ905Ho0Ur96V2TQhsBX19lGwD9HRR19O0">revised down its estimate for second quarter gross domestic product from 2.4 percent to 1.6 percent. This is not a sign of a weakening economy but a weak economy last spring. The weakness was especially pronounced as the bulk of what growth did occur was due to a building of inventories and a temporary (and now apparently reversed) blip in home sales.

Most of the data since the second quarter ended—from industrial orders to labor markets to housing—has worsened further. What we are seeing is an economy that tried to recover last winter, slowed, and is now sliding steadily to stagnation. Not yet a recession, it is certainly the Obama slide.

The great American jobs machine has stalled. Whether it revives anytime soon or continues to flounder is the 7-millions-jobs question. What is certain is that the economy should be steadily strengthening. The basic forces of growth and prosperity remain in place, much as they have always been. But something is holding the economy back. That something is Washington.

id="more-41959">The key factor that always escapes the economic models—and is now missing from the economy—is confidence. The inherent, pervasive optimism that traditionally propels investment and saving, hiring, and extra effort is simply missing. The federal government spent enormous sums to spur the economy. The American people were never comfortable with the associated buildup in the national debt, but they were willing to give the new President and his Congress the benefit of the doubt. They hoped. They were misled. It failed. Now the hope has been replaced by worry, and Washington continues to give reason to worry.

In addition to a big stimulus program, Obama ran on the idea of heaping new taxes on upper-income taxpayers, including those small businesses he says (correctly) are critical to the recovery. Congress did nothing. And so as 2011 creeps over the horizon, so too does a massive tax hike on middle-class families, upper-income workers, small businesses, savers, family farms, and on an on. Having done nothing about this tax cut for the last nearly two years, all these prospective tax hike victims can only assume that Congress intends to hit them with the full tax hike from allowing the 2001 and 2003 tax relief to expire.

The tax hike itself is bad enough, falling as it will on a stuttering economy. But the bigger issue is still confidence. There is no economic policy rationale to justify raising taxes on a weak economy. None. Yet Obama and Congress are so desperate for revenues to pay for their massive spending surge that they’re willing to raise taxes. Yes, the tax hike is foolish and unjustifiable, but far more debilitating to the confidence the economy needs to grow is what Congress’s tax policies say about its willingness to accept sustained high levels of joblessness—or, alternatively, what it says about President Obama’s understanding of how our economy really functions and what it takes to prosper. No wonder confidence is lagging. No wonder the economy is flagging. The wonder is that the President appears dead set against changing course—even in the face of the Obama slide.

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

Stimulus Prevented Economic Slide

August 24, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

“The massive stimulus package boosted real GDP by up to 4.5 percent in the second quarter of 2010 and put up to 3.3 million people to work,” Reuters reports.

“CBO’s latest estimate indicates that the stimulus effort, which remains a political hot potato ahead of the November congressional elections, may have prevented the sluggish U.S. economy from contracting between April and June of this year.”
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Newsweek Ranks U.S. the 11th ‘Best Country’ – Bush’ Fault, But Obama Can Stem the Slide

August 18, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Newsweek, recently sold for one dollar by the Washington Post Company but still in its hands, ranked the United States 11th, just behind Denmark, in this week’s “The Best Countries in the World” cover story which put Finland at #1, followed by Switzerland and Sweden. There’s hope for improvement, however, thanks to George W. Bush’s departure from the White House and Barack Obama’s arrival. Michael Hirsh explained the beyond the top ten rank:

America hasn’t recovered from the serious blows to its stature delivered by nearly a decade of policy debacles. As Obama never tires of reminding the American public…he inherited a Herculean task: the Augean-stable-size mess left behind by George W. Bush.

The August 23 & 30 two-week edition cover story package certainly reflected Obama’s policy agenda. A sidebar (apparently not online) on the nations with the best health care, which put Japan at the top, touted fourth-best Spain where “universal coverage is a constitutionally guaranteed right, and there are no out-of-pocket expenses aside from some prescription drugs.” The U.S. wasn’t even one of the top ten countries listed (the full list online has the U.S. at #26 in health, tied with the Czech Republic and Chile and behind Slovenia.)

In a two-page spread on particular bests for a bunch of nations, Newsweek’s Karen Fragala Smith, who tagged the Czech Republic as the “Best Place for Sex” and Belgium as the “Best Place to Be a Dog Owner,” declared France the “Best Place to Have a Baby,” trumpeting “low-cost health care” and nanny state services:

Maman is sitting pretty, with as much as seven months’ paid leave, low-cost health care, and a baby nurse who makes house calls. If she’s sick, the government sends someone to do the family’s laundry.

In the introductory article, Rana Foroohar explained the purpose of the exercise was to determine: “If you were born today, which country would provide you the very best opportunity to live a healthy, safe, reasonably prosperous, and upwardly mobile life?”

The skew toward big government and corporate statism nations isn’t a surprise when you see the experts the magazine relied upon:

The effort took several months, during which we received copious aid from an advisory board that included Nobel laureate and Columbia University professor Joseph E. Stiglitz; McKinsey & Co. Social Sector Office director Byron Auguste; McKinsey Global Institute director James Manyika; Jody Heymann, the founding director of McGill University’s Institute for Health and Social Policy and a professor at the university; and Geng Xiao, director of Columbia’s Global Center for East Asia.

In his accompanying piece, “We’re No. 11! America may be declining, but don’t despair,” Michael Hirsh propounded:

America hasn’t recovered from the serious blows to its stature delivered by nearly a decade of policy debacles. As Obama never tires of reminding the American public — which is listening less and less, judging by his poll ratings — he inherited a Herculean task: the Augean-stable-size mess left behind by George W. Bush. First there was the diversion of military resources and attention from Afghanistan to Iraq — a draining, misdirected war and occupation that many believe never should have been launched. Then there was the long period of fiscal, regulatory, and financial recklessness that contributed to the worst-ever downturn since the Great Depression. Finally, Washington squandered its chance to lead on climate change.

The “aughts,” The Washington Post wrote last January, were really for naught: the 2000s were “a lost decade,” the paper said, with economic output rising at its slowest rate of any decade since the 1930s and an unprecedented net job growth of zero. It’s no wonder other countries started to catch up faster.

Of course, leading or not leading on “climate change” has nothing to do with “which country would provide you the very best opportunity to live a healthy, safe, reasonably prosperous, and upwardly mobile life” – other than making it worse through higher prices and taxes.

The top 25 from Newsweek’s ranking of the “best” 100 countries (screen shot is from Tuesday’s Hannity):

1) Finland
2) Switzerland
3) Sweden
4) Australia
5) Luxembourg
6) Norway
7) Canada
8) Netherlands
9) Japan
10) Denmark
11) United States
12) Germany
13) New Zealand
14) United Kingdom
15) South Korea
16) France
17) Ireland
18) France
19) Belgium
20) Singapore
21) Spain
22) Israel
23) Italy
24) Slovenia
25) Czech Republic

Bottom three: Cameroon at #98, Nigeria at #99 and Burkina Faso at #100.

Where Newsweek placed the U.S. in some categories:

> #2, between Germany and France, in “Quality of Life Among Populous Nations.”

> Also #2, below Singapore and above South Korea, in “Economic Dynamism.”

In two categories featured in the magazine the U.S. didn’t make it into the ten countries listed: “Education” (Finland #1, South Korea #2, Canada #3 and even Estonia, at #7, beat the U.S.) and “Health” (Japan #1, Switzerland #2, Sweden #3, Spain #4, Italy #5).

NewsBusters.org - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

China’s Ridiculously Racist Slide Show

August 16, 2010 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Foreign Policy

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