Confidence in Obama Slips, ‘Malaise’ Setting in

Confidence in Obama Slips, ‘Malaise’ Setting in

November 11th, 2009

AP

 Americans are looking for answers and Obama is offering the same old big government solutions

The euphoria of 2008 is over: America is in a funk. Elected last November on a wave of optimism, President Barack Obama now finds himself governing an increasingly pessimistic country in recession while muscling through Congress a health care reform overhaul and weighing whether to commit more troops to the 8-year-old Afghanistan war.

The latest Associated Press-GfK poll shows that Americans grew slightly more dispirited on a range of matters over the past month, continuing slippage that has occurred since Obama took office as the year began.

They were more pessimistic about the direction of the country. They disapproved of Obama’s handling of the economy a bit more than before. And, perhaps most striking for this novice commander in chief, more people have lost confidence in Obama on Iraq and Afghanistan over the last month. Overall, there’s a public malaise about the state of the nation.

“It’s in pretty bad shape,” said truck driver Floyd Hacker of Granby, Mo., a Democrat who voted for Obama. “He sounded like somebody who could make things happen. I still think he can.”

Still, Hacker said, he doesn’t agree with the president’s approach to the economy, questions what the U.S. is trying to accomplish in Afghanistan, and isn’t sure that Obama should have spent so much time on health care, adding: “He can’t handle everything at one time.”

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Is China Headed Toward Economic Collapse?

Is China Headed Toward Economic Collapse?

November 11th, 2009 Posted By Pat Dollard.

picture1

Politico:

The conventional wisdom in Washington and in most of the rest of the world is that the roaring Chinese economy is going to pull the global economy out of recession and back into growth. It’s China’s turn, the theory goes, as American consumers — who propelled the last global boom with their borrowing and spending ways — have begun to tighten their belts and increase savings rates.

The Chinese, with their unbridled capitalistic expansion propelled by a system they still refer to as “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” are still thriving, though, with annual gross domestic product growth of 8.9 percent in the third quarter and a domestic consumer market just starting to flex its enormous muscles.

That’s prompted some cheerleading from U.S. officials, who want to see those Chinese consumers begin to pick up the slack in the global economy — a theme President Barack Obama and his delegation are certain to bring up during next week’s visit to China.

“Purchases of U.S. consumers cannot be as dominant a driver of growth as they have been in the past,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said during a trip to Beijing this spring. “In China, … growth that is sustainable will require a very substantial shift from external to domestic demand, from an investment and export-intensive growth to growth led by consumption.”

That’s one vision of the future.

But there’s a growing group of market professionals who see a different picture altogether. These self-styled China bears take the less popular view: that the much-vaunted Chinese economic miracle is nothing but a paper dragon. In fact, they argue that the Chinese have dangerously overheated their economy, building malls, luxury stores and infrastructure for which there is almost no demand, and that the entire system is teetering toward collapse.

A Chinese collapse, of course, would have profound effects on the United States, limiting China’s ability to buy U.S. debt and provoking unknown political changes inside the Chinese regime.

The China bears could be dismissed as a bunch of cranks and grumps except for one member of the group: hedge fund investor Jim Chanos.

Chanos, a billionaire, is the founder of the investment firm Kynikos Associates and a famous short seller — an investor who scrutinizes companies looking for hidden flaws and then bets against those firms in the market.

His most famous call came in 2001, when Chanos was one of the first to figure out that the accounting numbers presented to the public by Enron were pure fiction. Chanos began contacting Wall Street investment houses that were touting Enron’s stock. “We were struck by how many of them conceded that there was no way to analyze Enron but that investing in Enron was, instead, a ‘trust me’ story,” Chanos told a congressional committee in 2002.

Now, Chanos says he has found another “trust me” story: China. And he is moving to short the entire nation’s economy. Washington policymakers would do well to understand his argument, because if he’s right, the consequences will be felt here.

Chanos and the other bears point to several key pieces of evidence that China is heading for a crash.

First, they point to the enormous Chinese economic stimulus effort — with the government spending $900 billion to prop up a $4.3 trillion economy. “Yet China’s economy, for all the stimulus it has received in 11 months, is underperforming,” Gordon Chang, author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” wrote in Forbes at the end of October. “More important, it is unlikely that [third-quarter] expansion was anywhere near the claimed 8.9 percent.”

Chang argues that inconsistencies in Chinese official statistics — like the surging numbers for car sales but flat statistics for gasoline consumption — indicate that the Chinese are simply cooking their books. He speculates that Chinese state-run companies are buying fleets of cars and simply storing them in giant parking lots in order to generate apparent growth.

Another data point cited by the bears: overcapacity. For example, the Chinese already consume more cement than the rest of the world combined, at 1.4 billion tons per year. But they have dramatically ramped up their ability to produce even more in recent years, leading to an estimated spare capacity of about 340 million tons, which, according to a report prepared earlier this year by Pivot Capital Management, is more than the consumption in the U.S., India and Japan combined.

This, Chanos and others argue, is happening in sector after sector in the Chinese economy. And that means the Chinese are in danger of producing huge quantities of goods and products that they will be unable to sell.

The Pivot Capital report was extremely popular in Chanos’s office and concluded, “We believe the coming slowdown in China has the potential to be a similar watershed event for world markets as the reversal of the U.S. subprime and housing boom.”

And the bears also keep a close eye on anecdotal reports from the ground level in China, like a recent posting on a blog called The Peking Duck about shopping at Beijing’s “stunningly dysfunctional, catastrophic mall, called The Place.”

“I was shocked at what I saw,” the blogger wrote. “Fifty percent of the eateries in the basement were boarded up. The cheap food court, too, was gone, covered up with ugly blue boarding, making the basement especially grim and dreary. … There is simply too much stuff, too many stores and no buyers.”

Why is the Administration Subsidizing America’s Islamic Adversaries?

Why is the Administration Subsidizing America’s Islamic Adversaries?

November 11th, 2009

Canada Free Press

 Obama is running up the deficit spending in Islamic countries

“Islamic jihadists remain the most serious threat against America today, despite President Barack Obama’s effort to improve U.S. relations with the Muslim world,” observes Jim Jacobson, president of Christian Freedom International. Unfortunately, “Islamic radicals have not reciprocated the president’s attempted outreach.”

Earlier this year the president made a celebrated speech in Cairo to promote better relations with the Islamic world but, notes Jacobson, “the primary problem is the hostility of organized Islam to members of other faiths.” That hostility starts with persecution against Christians, Jews, and other religious minorities in Muslim nations around the globe.

Now the administration has created a new and expensive technology fund for Islamic countries. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation is providing up to $150 million to “catalyze and facilitate private sector investments.” Target industries include computers and telecommunications.

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P.C. in the U.S.A.: A deadly, bipartisan infection

Michelle Malkin 

Lead Story

P.C. in the U.S.A.: A deadly, bipartisan infection

By Michelle Malkin  •  November 11, 2009 10:26 AM

Hey, you know how President Obama constantly carps about having inherited all the nation’s worst problems? Well, there’s one problem he did indeed inherit from the Bush administration — but it’s a problem he won’t acknowledge because it indicts the wretched excesses of the Left. The problem is Washington’s tolerance fetish. The path to Fort Hood was paved not just with political correctness (as even some left-wingers are beginning to acknowledge), but specifically with blind tolerance for “diversity” and open borders and indiscriminate lowering of standards at the expense of national security.

The death toll will not abate until this administration tears off the Hello Kitty band-aids it applied to the body politics in its rush to “heal” — and instead treats the gangrenous p.c. infection.

With AG Eric Holder set to attend a grievance-mongering banquet involving jihadi-coddling CAIR next week, that’s not bloody likely.

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Related: Beltway jihadist John Allen Muhammad was put to death last night. His lawyers and family framed his a victim to the bitter end.

Latest on Fort Hood: Let the blame game begin. And more of Hasan’s “unexplained” jihadi connections.

***

Blind diversity = death
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2009

The violence at Fort Hood, President Obama told mourners on Tuesday, was “incomprehensible.” The “twisted logic that led to the tragedy,” he reiterated, may be “too hard to comprehend.” If the Bush administration suffered a systemic failure of imagination on homeland security, the Obama administration is suffering an willful failure of comprehension.

What exactly is so hard to comprehend? Fort Hood jihadist Nidal Hasan made his means, motives, and inspiration all too clear for those willing to see and hear. In his 2007 slide presentation to fellow Army doctors on “The Koranic World View As It Relates to Muslims in the Military,” Hasan spelled it out: “We love death more then (sic) you love life!”

Hasan exposed the deadly tension between his adherence to Islam and service in the U.S. military. Slide 11 stated: “It’s getting harder and harder for Muslims in the service to morally justify being in a military that seems constantly engaged against fellow Muslims.” Slide 12 cited Koranic sanctions for killing fellow believers. And Hasan made clear he wasn’t alone among Muslim soldiers who “should not serve in any capacity that renders them at risk to hurting/killing believers unjustly.”

Slide 13 ominously listed “adverse events” involving Muslim soldiers– including the fatal 2003 fragging attack on American soldiers in Kuwait by Sgt. Hasan Akbar (who was sentenced to death but remains alive while his case is on appeal); the desertion case of Lebanon-born Muslim Marine Wassef Ali Hassoun; and the espionage case of Muslim chaplain James Yee (the charges were dropped, but the case raised lingering security concerns about Muslim chaplains at Gitmo and elsewhere trained by terror-linked, Saudi-subsidized institutes).

Hasan missed a few “adverse events” that have faded from public memory in our reflexive age of “Islam is peace” emotionalism-over-comprehension:

– John Muhammad, the Beltway jihadist put to death Tuesday night, was a member of the Army’s 84th Engineering Company. As I’ve reported previously, Muhammad was suspected of throwing a thermite grenade into a tent housing 16 of his fellow soldiers as they slept before the ground-attack phase of Gulf War I in 1991. Muhammad was admitted to the Army despite being earlier court-martialed for willfully disobeying orders, striking another noncommissioned officer, wrongfully taking property, and being absent without leave while serving in the Louisiana National Guard.

Although Muhammad was led away in handcuffs and transferred to another company pending charges for the grenade attack, an indictment never materialized. Muhammad was honorably discharged from the Army in 1994 before brainwashing young Lee Malvo in black nationalism and jihad – and then carrying out the three-week killing spree together that left 10 dead in 2002 in the name of Allah.

– Muslim American soldier Hasan Abujihaad was convicted last year on espionage and material terrorism support charges after serving aboard the USS Benfold and sharing classified info with al Qaeda financiers, including movements of US ships just six months after al Qaeda operatives had killed 17 Americans aboard the USS Cole in the port of Yemen.

– Jeffrey Leon Battle was a former Army reservist, convicted of conspiring to levy war against the United States and “enlisting in the Reserves to receive military training to use against America.” He had planned to wage war against American soldiers in Afghanistan.

– Egyptian Ali A. Mohamed joined the U.S. Army while a resident alien despite being on a State Department terrorist watch list before securing his visa. An avowed Islamist, he taught classes on Muslim culture to U.S. Special Forces at Fort Bragg, N.C., and obtained classified military documents. He was granted U.S. citizenship over the objections of the CIA. Honorably discharged from the Army in 1989, Mohamed then hooked up with Osama bin Laden as an escort, trainer, bagman and messenger. Mohamed used his U.S. passport to conduct surveillance at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi; he later pled guilty to conspiring with bin Laden and admitted his role in the 1998 African embassy bombings that killed more than 200 people, including a dozen Americans.

Political correctness is a gangrenous infection. My generation has submitted to a toxic diet of multiculturalism, identity politics, anti-Americanism and entitlement. The problem festered under the Bush administration. Despite 9/11, government at all levels refused to screen out jihadi-apologizing influences in our military, at the FBI, in prisons, and even fire departments. [And in the GOP, too.] Despite the bloody consequences of open borders, the Bush Pentagon allowed illegal aliens to enter the military. One of my favorite P.C. idiocy moments from the Bush State Department: Spa days as counter-terrorism! The grievance lobby has plied the Muslim jihadist-as-victim narrative for nearly a decade now.

They prevail. In June, Muslim domestic terror suspect Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad went on another shooting spree at an Arkansas recruiting station that left one serviceman dead. The Obama Justice Department response: To redouble its efforts to use “criminal and civil rights laws to protect Muslim Americans.”

Next week, Attorney General will speak at a banquet featuring the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an unindicted co-conspirator in the terrorism financing case against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development.

How did Fort Hood happen, obtuse Washington asks. Simple: Blind diversity equals death.

***

Get this book: Muslim Mafia.

When Our Military is Attacked, Obama is a Nowhere Man

When Our Military is Attacked, Obama is a Nowhere Man

By Robin of Berkeley

He’s a real nowhere man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans
for nobody. . . 
He’s as blind as he can be,
Just sees what he wants to see,
Nowhere Man can you see me at all?
(Lennon, McCarthy)
I used to have a friend with a few screws loose.  But you’d never know it.
Barbara would dress impeccably in designer wear, and her house resembled a museum.  She was a professor, tops in her field.
But behind the impressive image, all wasn’t right.  She said she loved her son, Noah, but acted like he didn’t exist.  A single parent, Barbara wouldn’t hesitate to introduce Noah to her boyfriend of the month.   She skipped some of his meals, claiming that she was too busy to cook.
Barbara called me her best friend.  But she’d cancel dates at the last minute for no good reason.  And she always flaked when I needed her.
Even though Barbara looked perfectly normal, there was something awry.  Perhaps the neurons in her brain weren’t firing properly.
I’ve been thinking about Barbara since Obama came on the scene. Like Barbara, Obama professes concern for people, but treats many with utter disregard. Since both are charismatic and successful, it’s easy to get fooled.
Some would say Obama’s cool detachment is narcissism.  But narcissists are charmers; they know exactly what to say and do, even it’s all hot air.
Others think that Obama is disengaged because he’s elitist, arrogant.  The day to day grunt work is beneath him.  His motto:  I’d rather be golfing.  
All of the above may be true, but it’s something else: he seems off to me.
During a 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft when the stock market was sinking, Obama giggled.  He wasn’t embarrassed afterwards or apologetic.  More worrisome than his bizarre behavior was that he didn’t regard it as strange.
Then last week, we’ve faced with a national crisis, soldiers killed and gravely injured by an apparent Jihadist in the guise of a military doctor.  When announcing the catastrophe what does Obama do?
He drones on and on for three minutes about Native American health issues, even doing a shout out.   In a monotone voice, Obama reports that soldiers have been shot.  He’s nonchalant, flat, as though he’s reporting the weather. 
Afterwards, the opinions roll in.  Some say that Obama looks down on the military.  He views our soldiers as the great unwashed, trashy and ignorant, like Sarah Palin.
Others assert that Obama’s sympathies lie with the Muslims.   Thus, he wants to avoid our burning questions:   Why wasn’t Major Hasan put on leave after he made anti-American remarks and surfed the web for information about Jihad?   Most importantly:  what is the government going to do to keep our military people and civilians safe?
True, Obama’s disinterest could be related to all of the above.  But there’s one more possibility:  he may not have the foggiest idea what to feel or say or do.  
He may not realize that after dozens of our soldiers are shot, he should be angry. Sad. Worried.  That he should feel something.  Or at least pretend to. 
When Obama isn’t prepped and rehearsed, he flails around like a blind man.  He’s clueless, lost in space. 
Obama wrote in his autobiography, Dreams From My Father, that he’s not comfortable around people.  This speaks volumes about his disengagement.  
People who cannot relate to humans, who are made nervous by close proximity, shut down.  They isolate and hide, like a snail inside its shell.
This is when my therapist mind goes into overdrive trying to figure out what’s wrong with him.
Is he schizoid?  (a detached, asocial person).  Bipolar?  (Manic depression ).  Does he have a brain syndrome?   What about Asperger’s (high functioning autism causing a defect in social skills).
Is something wrong medically — a hormone or blood sugar imbalance, a head injury, too many drugs in his youth? 
Or is his disconnect caused by damage from childhood, from being raised by freaky people.  
Barack Sr. was an abusive alcoholic and a bigamist.  Obama’s mother, like my former friend, Barbara, made decisions about little Barry that showed little parental concern, like schlepping him to Indonesia, then back to the States, then wanting to return with him to Indonesia (he stayed with his grandparents). 
Obama’s grandfather Stanley was impulsive and volatile;  he  was expelled from high school for punching his principal.  
Stanley weirdly named Obama’s mother “Stanley,” because he wanted a boy.  He anointed Frank Marshall Davis, an alleged pedophile and communist, as young Barry’s  mentor.   In his autobiography, Obama reports feeling uncomfortable having to listen to sexually charged, drunken trash talk between Stanley and Frank. 
Did Obama start sealing himself off in childhood?  It would be understandable: who would want to bond with people so disturbing?  And why form emotional ties when you’ll soon be leaving?
Obama may have felt continually out of place and alien:  black in a white family; American in Indonesia;  middle class with average grades at a rich kids’ prep school;  child of odd, Communist leaning family.  
In Dreams, he reveals how he started detaching.  About living with his grandparents from pre teen on, he writes, “I was to live with strangers.”  And: “I’d arrived at an unspoken pact with my grandparents; I could live with them and they’d leave me alone so long as I kept my troubles out of sight.”
All grown up, Obama remains hermetically sealed.  Although he’s been a media star for a couple of years, we have no idea who he is inside.
I’ve often wondered why people haven’t come forth to say, “I knew Barry when….”  We live in a media saturated, exhibitionist world where everyone wants their three minutes of fame.  
So where are all of his school chums, best friends, and old flames?  The groups he hung with?  His teachers, neighbors?
Where are the anecdotes of what Obama was like, his interests and predilections?  Was he friendly, funny, insightful?  Did he win any prizes or trophies?  Pen any papers?
Obama was president of the Harvard Law Review.  Yet from his former colleagues we find no accounts of  putting out the journal together under his leadership.
He was a lecturer on constitutional law.  Why hasn’t a single student come forth and offered evidence, like a good attorney?
Why the silence?  Could it be that Obama left no dent, not even a single footprint?   Is there no there there?
When I envision the youth of other public figures, my impressions are vivid:  
Little Bill Clinton:  people pleaser, Mama’s boy, a show off.
Young Hillary: Brainiac, smartest girl in the school, bossy.
W:  Wisecracker, Class Clown, Smart aleck. 
McCain:  Impetuous, volatile, ornery.
Sarah:  Sweet, popular, every teacher’s favorite, Miss Congeniality. 
Young Barry:   _________________.   Blank.
Only this:  Stranger in a Strange Land. 
Obama’s identity seemed to have been formed when he found his clan:  Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, and Bernadine Dohrn.  But these are disconnected people, misfits who aren’t comfortable in their own skin.  Their radical ideology arises from rage and alienation.  
They, like Obama, treat people with disdain.  Rev. Wright damned us after 9/11.  Ayers and Dohrn bombed us, even masterminding a failed plot to kill US servicemen attending a dance.
Obama’s indifference and distaste are on display every day.  He golfs while unemployment surges.  He pontificates after an attack against America.
Why the “let them eat cake” attitude?  Is it because he’s pleased that the Left’s long laid plan to decimate capitalism is working nicely?   Is he stubborn, not wanting to do what he doesn’t want to do?
I’d say yes.   But there’s something much more unsettling.
He may have a limited ability to care.
Sure Obama loves his wife, children, dog Bo, and himself, especially himself. And he relishes his far left ideology.  
But the working stiff, the heart and soul of this country?   I don’t see it. The United States?  I don’t think so.
And that’s why Obama should never have been elected President.  
A man or woman can be a decent President without getting A’s in school or graduating from the Ivy League.   They don’t need to have had a Brady Bunch childhood.
They can even lack experience if they work 24/7, know what they don’t know, and seek expert advice.
But there’s one requirement that is nonnegotiable:
They need to be able to care about us.
And, frankly, I don’t know if this President is capable of it.

Robin is a licensed psychotherapist and a recovering liberal in Berkeley.

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