“What is a mere individual to do? Live as sane and decent a life as you can, love your family and friends and understand that everybody is in this together." 

 · Ron Smith

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Monday
Sep242012

THE GHOSTS OF JIMMY CARTER

Jeff Jacoby

One of the more piquant details in the tale of Mitt Romney's damning "47 percent" video is that it was unearthed online by James Earl Carter IV, a grandson and namesake of the 39th president. The self-described "oppo researcher [and] political junkie" told NBC News that he tracked down the person who recorded Romney's remarks at a May fundraiser, then put him in touch with Mother Jones, the left-wing magazine that publicized the video last Monday. Carter's "research assistance" was credited in a terse endnote, but the reaction from his grandfather was more effusive: "James," the former president emailed, "This is extraordinary. Congratulations! Papa."

The younger Carter wasn't coy about why he facilitated the leak. "I'm a partisan Democrat," he said. "My motivation is to help Democrats get elected."

But it was also personal. According to NBC, he wanted to retaliate against Romney's "frequent attacks on the presidency of his grandfather" -- particularly the suggestion that Barack Obama's faltering foreign policy is Carteresque in its irresolution. "It gets under my skin -- mostly the weakness on the foreign policy stuff," the grandson said. "I just think it's ridiculous. I don't like criticism of my family."

Well, who does? You can't fault the guy for wanting to defend his grandfather's reputation, but Jimmy Carter's reputation as a foreign-policy schlemiel can hardly be blamed on the Romney campaign. Americans came to that conclusion more than 30 years ago, having watched the world grow more dangerous -- and America's enemies more brazen -- during Carter's feckless years as steward of US national security.

"There was strong evidence that voters … wanted a tougher American foreign policy," reported The New York Times on November 5, 1980, the morning after Ronald Reagan crushed Carter's reelection bid in a 44-state landslide. By a nearly 2-to-1 ratio, voters surveyed in exit polls "said they wanted this country to be more forceful in dealing with the Soviet Union, 'even if it increased the risk of war.'"

In fact, Reagan's muscular, unapologetic approach to international relations -- "peace through strength" -- didn't increase the risk of war with the Soviets. It reduced it. Within a decade of his election, the Soviet empire -- as Reagan foretold -- would be relegated to the ash-heap of history.

Like all presidents, Reagan got many things wrong. But one thing he got very right was that American weakness is provocative. A foreign-policy blueprint that emphasizes the need for American constraint, deference, and apology -- what Obama's advisers today call "leading from behind" -- is a recipe for more global disorder, not less. Carter came to office scolding Americans for their "inordinate fear of communism;" he launched diplomatic relations with Fidel Castro's dictatorship and welcomed the takeover of Nicaragua by a Marxist junta. Only when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 did Carter wake up to the dangers of appeasing communist totalitarianism. Moscow's naked aggression, he confessed, had made a "dramatic change in my opinion of what the Soviets' ultimate goals are."

Equally disastrous was Carter's reaction to the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran following the Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic revolution. Bernard Lewis, the dean of Middle East historians, writes that Carter's meek response -- from his letter appealing to Khomeini "as a believer to a man of God" to his abandonment of the overthrown Shah, a longtime US ally -- helped convince dictators and fanatics across the Middle East "that it was safer and more profitable to be an enemy rather than a friend of the United States."

Is it fair to compare Obama's foreign policy to Carter's? The similarities were especially vivid after the murder of four US diplomats at the American consulate in Benghazi. Even more so when the administration insisted that the outbreak of anti-American violence by rampaging Islamists in nearly 30 countries was due solely to a YouTube video mocking Islam -- a video the White House bent over backward to condemn.

But Obama-Carter likenesses were being remarked on long before this latest evidence of what the appearance of US weakness leads to. Obama was still a presidential hopeful when liberal historian Sean Wilentz observed in 2008 that he "resembles Jimmy Carter more than he does any other Democratic president in living memory." Within weeks of Obama's inauguration, troubling parallels could already be detected. In January 2010, Foreign Policy magazine's cover story, "The Carter Syndrome," wondered whether the 44th president's foreign policy was beginning to collapse "into the incoherence and reversals" that had characterized No. 39's.

The Carter years are a warning of what can happen when the "Leader of the Free World" won't lead. It may irk his grandson to hear it, but Jimmy Carter's legacy is still too timely to ignore.

Courtesy of Jonathan Garthwaite @ Townhall.com
Friday
Sep212012

BIG DAY FOR FUNDRAISING & TRAFFIC JAMS IN BALTIMORE

                       First Lady's Schedule - September 21, 2012: No Public Schedule

According to The White House, Mama Obama has no public schedule today. According to The White House, Mama Obama has no public schedule today.

She’s traveling to Baltimore for private events. So private, in fact, that the Obama campaign has closed the events to “broadcast cameras and microphones”.

Sorry, there won’t be a sneak peek inside the two Obama Campaign fundraising locales, but you can bet the local media trucks are in place and reporters have staked out exterior spots for the story that will lead the evening news.

If you will be in rush hour anywhere in or near zip codes 21251 and 21131, here’s the traffic report in advance: Impossible.

The motorcades will be making its way to Morgan State University’s Fine Arts Center for a $250 per person money grab at 4:30 p.m. Local law enforcement agencies will be joining forces with the presidential "praetorian guard".

The “Jump the Broom for Marriages” (JTBFM) group will be demonstrating outside the Fine Arts Center. The group claims they support President Obama “100%”, but they oppose the legalization of same sex marriage that he supports.

So if the JTBFM folks oppose something Obama supports, how did they tallly the 100% support for him?

Turns out, one of the organizers of today’s demo said they don’t “oppose” the President’s position, they “disagree” with it.

That's reminiscent of Bill Clinton’s “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”. Oppose, disagree, whatever. They are all going to vote to re-elect him.

So much for position and platform.

But I digress..

After wowing the crowd at Morgan, TFL will be whisked off to the upscale Phoenix neighborhood home of Robert Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker for a $5,000 per person “evening reception” featuring performances by Yo-Yo Ma and Leon Fleischer.

I’m not complaining, I’m just commenting. Those who wish to pony up the money to support a candidate have every right to do so, even in a state that’s not a battleground.

BTW, campaign fundraising is regulated by the Federal Election Campaign, the independent regulatory agency charged with disclosing campaign finance information, enforcing the provisions of the law limiting and prohibiting contributions, and overseeing the public funding of presidential elections.

Six members of the Commission, appointed by the President and confirmed by the senate, serve a six-year term. Every two years, two new appointments are made.

According to the Federal Election Campaign Act, “no more than three Commissioners can be members of the same political party, and at least four votes are required for any official Commission action. This structure was created to encourage nonpartisan decisions. The Chairmanship of the Commission rotates among the members each year, with no member serving as Chairman more than once during his or her term.”

Caroline C. Hunter currently serves as chair of the commission; Ellen L. Weintraub is vice chair; commissioners are Cynthia L. Bauerly, Donald F. McGhan II, Matthew S. Petersen, and Steven T. Walther.

It’s a fulltime gig. Don’t waste time trying to find out how much money they make. That’s not available for disclosure.

June Smith founded this tribute website in honor of her late husband, Ron Smith, WBAL Talk Show Host, Emmy Award winner, and Baltimore Sun Columnist. Smith was a media titan in Maryland and beyond for almost forty years. Mrs. Smith is working diligently to raise one million dollars for the Ron Smith Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund at Johns Hopkins. She blogs for Red Maryland www.RedMaryland.Blogspot.com; her email is june@friendsofronsmith.com.

Friday
Sep212012

Conservative Cartoon of the Day

Glenn Foden

          Glenn Foden

Courtesy of Jonathan Garthwaite @ Townwhall.com

Friday
Sep212012

Obama's Misery Index

John Ransom

To give you an idea how bad the jobs report released on Friday is, consider this fact: The employment situation in the country is so bad that economists can’t accurately measure it with the existing tools they use to measure jobs. In other words, we have entered a period in our country not contemplated by economists. They simply don’t have the tools to measure what’s actually occurring in the jobs market.

Modern economists never imagined a scenario in which a country with as much wealth, power and innovation as United States could stretch out a jobs recession as long as the country has under Obama.

Economists please meet Barack Hussein Obama, record-setter. More debt, more spending, more regulation than ever before- and fewer jobs.

We have a record amount of money in the system doing a record amount of nothing right now. And still the government policy wonks keep thinking that by injecting more money into a system already over-burdened by its money supply we will eventually get different results.

Only Obama could preside over an economy with so much money that has produced so little return as our economy has since January 2009.

Never in the annals of human history have so many dollars done so little for so many.

Yet the Obamunists keep calling for more money and more regulations.

The result is that investors today are still buying US Treasuries despite the fact that after calculating for the real inflation rate Treasury bonds are delivering net negative returns. In other words, investors choose to park money someplace where they are guaranteed to lose money. Because with Treasuries at least they know that their losses will be limited. If they invest in expanding businesses, they know they could lose their entire vig to the G-Men.

This phenomenon, where investors would rather have losses than any risk, has an effect on jobs.

As most of the commentariat is noting, the top-line unemployment number- the one that makes all the headlines- is going down not because of an improving jobs market, but rather because people are dropping out of the workforce at a record pace.

The 8.1 percent unemployment number is meaningless. It actually doesn’t exist. It’s like measuring an 8 foot board with a 12 inch ruler. Shortening the ruler doesn’t make the board smaller.

The rate at which Americans are participating in the jobs market is now 63.5 percent. More than one-third of Americans qualified to work have despaired of ever finding a job under Obama. That’s the highest number of Americans who have sat on the sidelines rather than look for work since 1981. For over a year the workforce participation rates have plunged, coinciding with expiring unemployment benefits.

And the problem is not that there is a lack of money in the system to sustain the economy. But there is a notable lack of demand. Demand comes from confidence that consumers and business feel about the health of the economy. Unlike politicians, those of us in the real world can’t spend what we don’t have. We have to manage our lives using the cash that we actually have at hand.

The problem here is not that businesses and banks don’t have money. Currently the money supply (MZM) stands at a record $11 trillion. Yet the velocity at which the money has moved through the system has plunged under Obama. Money is sitting in accounts, not contributing to GDP growth, but rather just chasing the price of hard assets up because people who make decisions fear that the worst in the economy is yet to come.

Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley, TARP, public pensions, John Corzine, Solydnra and the UAW have done a fantastic job of muddying the waters for corporate America as well as small business owners and the self-employed.

These hostile acts taken by or on behalf of Big Government have our economy idling in place.

Economic conditions are so bad that the standard tools used by economists to explain current conditions can’t measure the depth of the peoples’- or the economy’s- depression. Jimmy Carter had the Misery Index. People, meet the President of the United States: Barack Hussien Obama.

The Obama Index is the new index for measuring our despair.

Courtesy of Jonathan Garthwaite @ Townhall.com