Thursday, September 22, 2011

How Many Jobs Has Obama Really Lost!

According to the 22 Sep 2011 Washington Post Fact Checker: "....the number of overall jobs has declined by 1.9 million since Obama’s stimulus bill was passed into law more than two years ago. Moreover, Obama is on track to have the worst job record of any U.S. president since World War II. He may even become the first president in the modern era with no net jobs created during his first term — which, by any stretch of the imagination, is a stunning statistic.

When the Washington Post awards a Liberal like Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, a Pinocchio award – she must have told a World Class lie! You can't make this stuff up! Here unedited is what the Washington Post had to say (Published: 18 June 2011):
The Fact CheckerBy by glenn kessler

“When President Obama took office, the month before he was inaugurated, the economy was bleeding 750,000 jobs a month, David. . . . You fast-forward 2 1 / 2 years later now, and the economy has created 2.1 million private-sector jobs.”
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” June 12, 2011

“The Chairwoman is living in Fantasyland. . . . We have lost 2.5 million jobs since Barack Obama has been president.”
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, moments later on the same program

A reader who watched NBC’s “Meet The Press” one week ago found his head spinning as the DNC and RNC chiefs battled with dueling factoids about the employment record under President Obama. He was particularly amused that Wasserman Schultz said there were 2 million more jobs and Priebus asserted there were 2.5 million fewer jobs.

Whew, that’s a swing of nearly 5 million jobs in just a few seconds! They can’t both be right, can they?

Amazingly, they are. Priebus is on more solid ground, rhetorically, but both are cherry-picking the statistics to make the best possible case for their side.

The Facts
The recession that greeted Obama when he took office was one of the worst recessions since the end of World War II. It started in December 2007, but the bottom fell out in late 2008, after the investment firm Lehman Brothers collapsed.

The common source of statistics for U.S. employment is the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics current employment survey, which is where Wasserman Schultz and Priebus derived their statistics.

Priebus crafts his figure by starting with employment when Obama took office, which he signals with the phrase “since Barack Obama has been president.” There were 133.56 million people with non-farm (private sector and government) jobs in January 2009; there are 131.04 million people with jobs today. Subtract one from the other and that shows 2.5 million fewer jobs.

So, yes, it is accurate, but is that fair? After all, it took weeks for many of Obama’s polices to be passed by Congress — and months to take effect, while about 2.5 million jobs were lost in the first four months of Obama’s presidency.

Wasserman Schultz, meanwhile, starts from a different point — when employment hit rock bottom in February 2010. That was 13 months after Obama became president. It is also eight months after the recession officially ended in June 2009, as determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

That would yield an increase of 1.8 million jobs, but then Wasserman Schultz greases the skids by slipping in the phrase “private-sector jobs.” When government jobs are removed from the statistic, suddenly the job growth is 2.1 million since February 2010.

Wasserman Schultz is taking a page from the other team’s playbook. Republicans have used this kind of job accounting in the past, such as President George W. Bush in his 2006 State of the Union address.

DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse said that looking at the growth of jobs in the past 15 months is the best reflection of the impact of the stimulus package, which he said took months to work its way through the economy. He added that private-sector jobs are the “most accurate reflection of where the economy is going,” especially because government employment was artificially boosted in 2010 because of census hiring.

RNC spokesman Joe Pounder, not surprisingly, disagrees and defends starting the job count from the beginning of the president’s term. “The president’s major economic policy — the stimulus — was signed into law on February 17, 2009,” Pounder said. “The president and his administration were cited far and wide saying it would have an immediate impact. If the stimulus had worked as the administration intended, I’m sure they would have no problem counting jobs over the course of his entire term.”

We actually think a more logical place to measure job growth would be from the end of the recession — June 2009. That would give the new president time to take ownership of the economic situation, and yet remove some of the job losses that clearly did not happen as a result of his policies.

Counting from June 2009, job growth over two years is 600,000, which is still fairly grim. No wonder the DNC does not use it as a talking point.

Priebus is on more solid ground rhetorically because, like it or not, presidents often are measured by job growth during their entire term. For instance, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), when he was running for president in 2004, frequently charged that Bush was the first president since Herbert Hoover to lose jobs in his term.

The Pinocchio Test
Both figures are technically accurate, but they don’t tell the whole story. We will give Priebus a pass because he used a relatively common measure of job growth during a presidency. Wasserman Schultz, by contrast, picked the data set that gave the most positive picture possible, thus distorting the record. It may be a snapshot in time, but it is not a full picture of the economy during Obama’s presidency since the recession ended.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Obama's Crony Capitalism – Solyndra, LightSquared, Who’s Next?

A “flattering pix” of Obama Bundler Philip Falcone, the majority owner of LightSquared (Kevin Wolf/AP)

First it was Solyndra and now it’s LightSquared, is there no end to the Obama Administration’s “Crony Capitalism” where Friends-of-Barack (FOB) Donors get favors at the expense of the rest of us. At least with Solyndra, it was only money – although it was $535 Million of our hard earned Taxpayer dollars – but with LightSquared the White House is gambling with our National Security.

According to a 15 Sep 2011 Daily Beast Article “White House Pressure for a Donor?”
General William Shelton, the Air Force Space Command Commander, gave classified testimony last week before the House Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces subcommittee that the White House tried to pressure him to change his testimony to make it more favorable to a company tied to Philip Falcone, a large Democrat donor. Seems Harbinger Capital, the hedge fund belonging to Falcone, is the principal owner of LightSquared. This seems to confirm that the Obama White House routinely politically intervenes in government matters affecting donors or fundraisers.

At issue is a conditional Federal Communications Commission waiver granted in January to LightSquared to build terrestrial wireless capacity in a section of the wireless spectrum close to the GPS bandwidth. The FCC license has come under scrutiny because technical experts have warned that LightSquared’s proposal would disrupt GPS signals thus threaten aviation safety, disrupt military and rescue operations, interfere with high-tech farming equipment and even render useless the everyday navigation devices used by millions. Obviously this would seriously affect National Security.

Not only was General Shelton’s prepared testimony leaked in advance to LightSquare but he was asked to revise it to suggest he supported the White House policy towards commercial broadband at any cost and that the Pentagon would try to resolve the questions around LightSquared in just 90 days. Obviously this administration doesn’t understand Military ethics and integrity – something they should have taken away from the General Eric Shinseki episode during the Bush Administration. Needless to say, it didn’t work this time either and Shelton gave his testimony on 8 Sep making the Pentagon concerns clear that the LightSquared project would cause significant disruptions to GPS with National Security implications.

According to Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), the subcommittee chairman, “There was an attempt to influence the text of the testimony and to engage LightSquared in the process in order to bias (Shelton’s) testimony …. people who were involved in the process in preparation for the hearing included the Department of Defense, the White House, and the Office Management and Budget.” Even the White House had to admit that its OMB “suggested changes to the general’s testimony” but tried to downplay the interference as routine and that “OMB reviews and clears all agency communications with Congress …” (as an aside, I prepared Army HASC and SASC testimony for 3 years on the Pentagon ARSTAF and I NEVER had to staff testimony outside the Pentagon.)

Even LightSquared acknowledged it met with White House officials to push their project and according to White House emails dubbed “Lightsquared interference meeting,” the meetings took place at a conference center near the White House so that the Obama administration would not have to disclose names—especially lobbyists—in the White House visitors’ logs. On the very day the LightSquared CEO made a $30,400 contribution to the Democratic Party, two of his deputies appealed to the White House for the meetings with Obama’s top technology advisers.

Melanie Sloan, who runs the nonpartisan ethics groups Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, said the White House LightSquared involvement seems to mirror the Solyndra case and it “sounds like a pattern of the White House improperly pressuring people at agencies involving decisions that affect companies tied to donors and fundraisers …. It’s always a problem when the White House is pressuring anyone’s testimony. I don’t care if you are a four-star [general] or a GS-15 [career employee], you should be giving your true opinion and not an opinion the White House is seeking for political expediency."

Although the White House maintains it has not tried to influence the FCC licensing process for LightSquared, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) stated “The FCC’s fast-tracking of LightSquared raises questions about whether the government is rushing this project at the expense of all kinds of other things, including national security and everyone who uses GPS, from agriculture to emergency medical technicians …. there’s no way to know whether the agency is trying to help friends in need or really looking out for the public’s interest.” In April, Grassley asked FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski (a major Obama campaign “bundler”) to hand over all records of communications, including emails between Falcone and the FCC, and LightSquared and the FCC but Genachowski refused.

For a good unbiased report on the E-Mail exchanges showing meetings between White House technology advisers and LightSquared officials, go to The Center for Public Integrity (a nonprofit investigative journalism organization) article at:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Washington Post Awards President Obama Coveted Four Pinnocchios for 5 Sep Tax Cut Whopper

When a liberal rag like the Washington Post (WaPo) gives a presidential speech FOUR PINOCCHIOS, you know it must have been a World Class lie. Such was the case with the president’s Detroit Labor Day speech where he made several fallacious assertions, most notably his claim he passed the “biggest middle-class tax cut in history.” The word the WaPo used to describe this claim: “ridiculous!” Click on the actual article below to enlarge it for easy reading if you want the full text.

The only thing “historic” about Obama’s claim was the audacity it took to make it. As the WaPo put it, “anytime a politician claims he or she has done something historic… that’s usually a dubious claim.” And what exactly was the source for Obama making such an outlandish claim (that incidentally the WaPo proved was untrue), a report based on a White House fact sheet. Furthermore, The WaPo states they “found evidence that Obama knew he was saying a whopper” when he made the untrue claim.

One final thought, how could Obama have given 95% of Americans a Tax Cut when over 50% of Americans DO NOT Pay any Federal Income Tax!

Unfortunately, the WaPo scale only goes to Four Pinocchios because this one really deserves SIX, even on a one to four scale.