Great Depression II

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Al Lewis at MarketWatch uses the D word to describe the perpetual lousy economy we have been living through the past four years:

There is nothing more depressing than hearing about a new recession when you haven’t fully recovered from the last one. I take heart in suspecting that in a still-distant future, historians will look back with clarity and call this whole rotten period a depression.

The precise definition of a depression, of course, remains as debatable as anything else in the field of economics. By some definitions, it is a long-term slump in economic activity, often characterized by unusually high unemployment, a banking crisis, a sovereign-debt crisis, surprising bankruptcies and other horrible symptoms we can find in the headlines almost every day.

It is easy to avoid seeing all of these events as constituting a depression if you somehow have kept your livelihood intact all this time. But it’s important to remember that not everyone has to stand in a bread line during a depression.

Nearly one out of seven Americans receives food stamps, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s more than 44 million people. If they all stood in a line and someone photographed them using black-and-white film, they easily could be mistaken for people from the 1930s. Instead, they go to a grocery store and spend their credits like money. There isn’t even a social stigma to make them stand out as any more glum or destitute than anybody else.

Last week, the Associated Press reported that America’s poverty rate likely has hit levels not seen since the 1960s. Surveying several economists and academicians, the wire service predicted the official poverty rate would come in as high as 15.7% when the Census Bureau releases it in September. That would wipe out all the gains of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty.

Poverty is another word for joblessness, and our economy hasn’t been generating enough decent-paying jobs for many years. Globalization, technology, outsourcing, immigration and the schemes of financiers have taken their toll. No one is certain when jobs will come back, and many of the jobs that remain don’t pay anywhere near what, say, your average failing CEO gets paid.

Go here to read the insightful rest.  Truth be told I am not certain that Romney will be able to get us out of this mess that has many causes and has been many years in the making.  On the other hand, I am absolutely certain that the policies of Obama have made this mess worse, and that he has no ideas beyond expansion of the welfare state and shoveling endless borrowed money down rat holes labeled green energy, infrastructure, public services, etc..  Many mistakenly view Obama as a radical.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  He is a reactionary when it comes to economics and public expenditure, utilizing in the 21rst century ideas that were of dubious utility in the thirties of the last century.  We desperately need new ideas to meet the economic and fiscal challenges confronting us, and for Obama the year will always be 1933.

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Saint of the Day Quote: Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10: 39  

Year Zero Again

  Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no

September 22, 1776: Nathan Hale’s Only Regret

How beautiful is death, when earn’d by virtue! Who would not be that youth? What pity is it That we can die


  1. In the interests of precision, real domestic product in 1933 was 27% lower than it had been in 1929. By contrast, the rate at which goods and services were being produced in this country declined by 5% over the period running from the 2d quarter of 2008 to the 2d quarter of 2009. It has seen slow growth since. The dimensions are just entirely different.

    The difficulties we face are sclerosis in the labor market, inhibition on the part of entrepreneurs generated by the tremendous public sector deficit, and an incipient disaster when the bond market cuts the government off at the bar. Obama has no plan to address any of this because he is all about striking public poses and actually developing and publicizing plans would offend various Democratic Party client groups, would offend the holders of various and sundry ideological shticks, and render him vulnerable to public attacks of the opposition. The trouble is, it is not at all clear that the opposition has any concerns other than public relations either.

  2. I think Paul Ryan’s budget Art would indicate a will among Republicans to at least start addressing the real issues confronting us, and not to simply continue writing hot checks until we can no longer do so. In regard to Great Depression II, I think our situation long term is more precarious than Great Depression I. In Great Depression I the fundamentals of the economy were always sound and FDR was correct that fear, a collapse of public confidence, was the primary culprit in regard to getting the economy up and running with investors willing to take risks again. Our present situation will require the much harder task of basically weaning a large part of the population off government dependence, a task that I suspect will be as pleasant nationally as the individual travails of a heroin addict going cold turkey.

  3. Donald: More reason for the “depression ” is that Obama takes and takes and takes. Make Obama return the stimulus packages and the economy will correct itself. It is the economy as raided, abused and cheated by Obama. The word I wanted to use is not publicly admissible. Make Obama give us back what he stole. Every bill passed by Congress is a blank check for the government and a bottomless pit for the people. For this reason alone, Affordable Healthcare must be overturned.

    Czar Nicholas II was replaced because he saw his people starving in the byways and did nothing. Obama is not so stupid. Obama feeds the people with out taxdollars and steals the credit for it, demanding adulation for handing over our money to the hungry and the greedy, the not so hungry. WE can do this ourselves without having to worship at the feet of a mortal, fallible, inhuman being.

  4. I have problems with this sort of designation because I don’t know what the Great Depression felt like. I look around today and I see food stamps and closed businesses and iPhones. I know that there was some prosperity in the 1930’s, and that there’s a sense of despair now, but I just don’t know if they’re comparable.

    I remember the 1970’s, and it seemed worse then. Unemployment and inflation. You could argue that the main consequence of inflation was devaluation of property, and that the housing market collapse in recent years has had a similar effect. We also had gas shortages though. When you can’t drive your car even though you’re willing to pay the market price for gasoline, that’s a different level of economic failure.

    OK, I’ve got a thought – it doesn’t feel as bad as the 1930’s or the 1970’s because you don’t see people chipping in for each other. I’m thinking of hitchhikers, panhandlers, et cetera. Is that because things haven’t gotten so bad, or because our selfishness and fear of others are worse than they used to be, or because government does a more effective job of keeping the equivalent of charitable acts invisible? I don’t know.

  5. Pinky: “OK , I’ve got a thought – it doesn’t feel as bad as the 1930?s or the 1970?s because you don’t see people chipping in for each other. I’m thinking of hitchhikers, panhandlers, et cetera. Is that because things haven’t gotten so bad, or because our selfishness and fear of others are worse than they used to be, or because government does a more effective job of keeping the equivalent of charitable acts invisible? I don’t know.”
    Wihtout God and the Ten Commandments, some people applaud and enjoy the violence of crime wrecked on their neighbors. It has become unreal. The victim is dead and so, who cares, maybe God cares. Justice and peace have been banned from the public square. In Poland, a hitchhiker was given a green booklet, which the person who gave him a ride signed, and the govenment paid for the ride. In America, one would never be seen again until one’s body was found, after all, if the victim hadn’t been born he could not have been murdered. It was all the victim’s mother’s fault for not aborting him and now, that he has caused all this trouble for the police, let us forget about him as though he had never existed. God is watching. God is counting. Let us have public recourse to God in our culture and all else will right itself.

  6. In regard to Great Depression II, I think our situation long term is more precarious than Great Depression I. In Great Depression I the fundamentals of the economy were always sound and FDR was correct that fear, a collapse of public confidence, was the primary culprit in regard to getting the economy up and running with investors willing to take risks again.

    No clue to what you are referring when you say ‘sound’. Again, there had been a catastrophic decline in output over the previous 3.5 years when Roosevelt took office. The only economic contractions of comparable dimensions that have been seen in recent decades occurred in war torn states, or during the tremendous dislocations which attended the dismantling of some of the command economies in Eastern Europe, or in Argentina during 1999-2004. It is true that the public sector balance sheet was in much better shape during the Depression. However, the labor market was suffering a tremendous sclerosis.

    The last time I checked, Mr. Ryan’s plan (is it updated?) reflected the Republican Party’s collective addlement about tax rates, hence incorporated decades worth of federal deficits.

    It is not so much “federal dependency”, per se. The programs most injurious to the social ethic of the slums are the ones with modest dimensions or ones most easily repealed or replaced. The problem you have is the wretched structure of financing medical care, which has promoted escalating allocations of available resources (public and private) and dead weight loss through a hopeless gordian knot of cross subsidies. What does the Democratic Party do? Pass legislation to make matters even worse.

  7. “No clue to what you are referring when you say ‘sound’.”

    The factories and our resources were all intact Art, and we had a work force that was more productive than any of our competitors. The US was the dominant industrial power on the planet before and after the Great Depression. It was all a crisis of confidence and not fundamental problems with our system. My theory has always been that the New Deal retarded our recovery from the Great Depression, although I give FDR high marks for restoring national morale which was of help in the recovery, even if almost all of his economic policies were wrongheaded. Now we have an economy where the public sector rests like a boulder on a private economy struggling to bear up under the weight.

    “The last time I checked, Mr. Ryan’s plan (is it updated?) reflected the Republican Party’s collective addlement about tax rates”

    The solution Art is not to raise taxes but rather to slash spending to the bone. That solution is coming whether we opt for it or not, but it will be far less catastrophic if we implement it, rather than having a de facto National Bankruptcy occur in the public sector.

  8. Don, I tend to agree. The question should never be why does a recession occur; it’s why does an economy ever work in the first place. That’s why Adam Smith was interested in the wealth of nations. Wealth is an abnormality.

    An economic crisis is caused when too many people look down and realize they’re walking on a tightrope. (The modern anti-capitalist would say that they look down and realize that they’re walking on air, Wile E. Coyote style.) The utter absurdity is that one guy can put up a factory making ball bearings, and convince people to show up and run machines if he gives them pieces of paper. And how did he put up the factory? He promised someone else pieces of paper. And what’s he going to do with the ball bearings? He thinks someone else will take them in exchange for pieces of paper. Ridiculous. Getting people to buy into the whole game is tough. An economic recovery takes place when you re-convince people to play.

    There was one area where the American capacity to produce dropped during the 1930’s, and that was agriculture.

  9. What ended the Great Depression was the Second World War

    No. Military conscription and ramping up war production flushed out the plaque in the labor market here. Per capita income had by 1941 returned to pre-lapsarian levels in the United States, and then some. Recovery of income levels was earlier in Britain and on the eve of the 2d World War the British labor market was in about the same shape it had been in 1929 (bad shape but not bad shape induced by the financial crises). I would have to re-check the stats, but if I recall correctly, the country that never recovered (saw a loss in production levels not later recouped) was France. France was also very committed to a gold-standard.

  10. Donald wrote: “The factories and our resources were all intact Art, and we had a work force that was more productive than any of our competitors. The US was the dominant industrial power on the planet before and after the Great Depression.”

    I don’t know hardly anything about economics except to balance my checkbook. However, working in the nuclear energy industry, I find what Donald is implying about the current American infrastructure to be correct. For example, we have no great foundries capable of manufacturing the large Reactor Pressure Vessels, Steam Generators, and Pressurizers that building a nuclear power plant requires. Japan and Spain provide such vessels. Even much of the instrumentation and controls is designed and manufactured overseas (e.g., Hitachi, Siemens, etc.). And Westinghouse, once the premiere US nuclear energy company, is now owned by Toshiba. And the expertise to do these nuclear things now lies with the Red Chinese (who intend on building 30 new nuclear reactors over the next couple of decades) and the French (whose nation is 70% + electrified via nuclear energy). Jeff Immelt, GE’s CEO and Barack Hussein Obama’s appointed Jobs Czar, recently said that nuclear is simply too hard to do. That’s an amazing statement for the head of a company which invented the Boiling Water Reactor. Well, if you’re a Democrat enamoured with a love of goddess Gaia and green energy, black death, with the corresponding hatred against self-responsibility and self-accountability, then of course it is too hard to do.

    Prediction: no nukes – more reliance on fossil energy – more price spikes and customer cost expenditures – more depression. Cheap, clean energy with a capacity factor of 90+ % is absolutely vital for a prospering economy, and that is exactly what Barack Hussein Obama opposes.

    BTW, Obama’s new appointment to the US NRC chairmanship (which the Senate confirmed) to replace woman-hater Gregory Jackzo (such an embarrassment to the Administration) is Allison MacFarlane, herself a geologist with ZERO nuclear experience (but she did work against the Yucca Mountain used fuel repository which endeared her to Harry Reid), and her husband is an anthropologist who studies anti-nuclear activism. Both of course are Democrats. Need I say more?

    Vote for Romney!

  11. Ah, it is like Groundhog day.

    For a concatenation of reasons, the ratio of federal income tax collections to domestic product fell from 14% a dozen years ago to about 7.5% in recent years. That is the single most salient vector which has as its resultant federal borrowing to the tune of 9% of domestic product. Of course there are other causes.

    I had this exchange with a retired political scientist named Richard Reeb some time ago, which went something like this.

    1. You cannot welsh on federal debt service. Country go blooey.
    2. Benefits to the elderly have to be amended fairly gradually. The old tend to be somewhat impecunious anyway and have a limited capacity to adjust to abrupt changes in circumstances.
    3. With these parameters in mind, you would have to cut all other federal spending by about 2/3 if you want to close the defict absent an increase in income taxes. Federal borrowing accounts for about 40% of the current revenue stream.

    The retired political science professor says ‘cut away’. We still had troops in Iraq at the time (not to mention the chaps at your local VA).

    It is really a poor idea to be innumerate and insoucient about all this.

  12. That’s an interesting point Michael. Exactly how and why? Military involvement now is seen as a Cost not a fuel for the economy. and will be budgeted less money. WWII involved our total economy, and of course world trade, defense contractors. I’ve got lots of questions.
    Could some of the factors be that the populace had been formed by the depression, was gaining on it, and had a sense of unity and mutual support by the time the war ended that was much more than isolationism but was the will to be a team and to improve our circumstances.
    I’m afraid any chance for a sense of unity in this country now is terribly fractured and more so every day

  13. You could not raise taxes sufficient Art to possibly pay the debt obligations we have now. If Obama had his wish and the Bush tax cuts expired on those earning over 250k a year, the resultant taxes would be 85 billion more in taxes a year. With the current federal budget, 85 billion is a rounding error. Of course all this leaves aside the impact of hiking taxes on the economy. Slashing spending to the bone Art is the only option for digging us out of our fiscal hole.

  14. The last time I checked, the ratio of federal expenditure to domestic product was about 0.24. That is higher than it ought to be and excising the dreck in the federal budget could take it down to 0.21. “Higher than it needs to be” is something different than “unprecedented” or “irreperable”. Payroll taxes collections currently amount to 6% of domestic product, corporate profits taxes about 1%, and miscellaneous taxes 0.5%. Again, collecting as much as 14% of domestic product in federal income taxes was accomplished fairly recently.

    We can check the technical literature. I am not sure there is a large difference in the macroeconomic effects of spending cuts or tax increases per se. Some sorts are more efficient than others, of course. Both have contractionary effects over a circumscribed time period. IIRC, our most recent efforts at stimulus suggest a short term multiplier of 0.6 for efforts to goose the economy, as some economist predicted when the stimulus was under consideration. That suggests several years of economic stagnation as fiscal consolidation is being effected.

  15. Suppose that a U.S. President was basically raised as a communist

    By his maternal grandmother (vp of a local bank), his maternal grandfather (furniture salesman turned insurance agent), or his step-father (engineer employed by the state oil company of Indonesia – a subsidiary of the Indonesian military)? He met his father once over a period of several weeks in 1971. One’s mother generally is a weak influence on one’s view of public life and the President has been passably clear he thought his own addle-pated.

  16. Art Deco,

    You didn’t check out the links in my post, did you? Not surprising…
    You didn’t read the Sowell article, did you? Exactly…

    Was BHO at all associated with Frank Davis Marshall, Art?
    Would you say that the Weather Underground was/is a marxist, revolutionary group?

    Art, here’s a link to another article that you won’t peruse:

    And two more:

  17. The one job Obama had was editing a financial newsletter. Look it up. He referred to it, in a letter to his mother, as working for the enemy.

    In 2009, he and the ministry of troof promised that if Congress gave him $800 billion to stimulate, the unemployment rate would fall to 5.4%. If his heavy-majority Dem Congress didn’t, he said it would be 6%. Obama got the dough: the unemployment rate has been above 8% (even with adjustable statistics) for 41 consecutive months.

    Liberal dolts (I repeat myself again): that means we the people are worse with the stimulation.

    Obama’s policies were intended to harm the evil, unjust private sector. It’s working. Give him four more years and it’s finito.

    Look at what the Obama regime did, not what the ministry of troof said.

  18. Dr. Sowell says nothing about his upbringing and the other link is to a speculative work apparently contending that Barack Obama, Sr. falsely claimed paternity of Ann Dunham’s child (even though he was already married to someone else and had been acquainted with Ann Dunham for all of 5 months as of February 1961). It belongs in the same dumpster with Birch Society publications and most Kennedy assassination literature.

    Frank Marshall Davis was in Stanley Dunham’s circle of friends. Strange as it may seem, there are people in this world whose politics do not infuse there every waking moment. The notion that the President was ‘basically raised as a Communist’ because a quondam party member was a friend of his grandfather is preposterous.

  19. Art Deco,


    Did BHO not refer to a “fundamental (to the roots) transformation” of the U.S.?

    I wrote, “Suppose that a U.S. President was raised as a communist…” It’s a supposition, a proposition that I think should be considered.

    You did not answer my question about the Weather Underground.

    Did you read the American Thinker articles? Before you tune out completely, I ask you kindly to read the following from a solid Catholic priest.

    Basically, Father Hardon’s contention is that Marxism is alive and well in the U.S. Marxism involvies cutting roots and replanting.

    And another on the modern link between contraception and socialism:

  20. anzlyne,

    I owe my education to Christ Jesus and his Church.

    Are you Christian?

    I’m still wondering what McClarey thinks.
    He wrote, “Many mistakenly view Obama as a radical.”

    I hypothesized: “Suppose that a U.S. President was basically raised as a communist and now sticks it to us like a fascist.”

    Again, should he be considered a radical?

    With that question still in the air, I must state that without a radicalized populace, BHO would not have been elected…

  21. “I’m still wondering what McClarey thinks.”

    That Obama was raised in a hard left environment, but I doubt if he has strong ideological views of his own. He simply accepts unthinkingly those views that are dominant in his own party. He is a complete reactionary and the farthest thing from a radical. Viewing him as some sort of driven ideologue is to give the man far too much credit and to misunderstand him.

  22. Yes, because they are taken as gospel among the liberal circles in which he has spent his entire life. He is not some rabid revolutionary, but rather a dyed in the wool unimaginative reactionary, and that is one of the keys to defeating him. He does not respond well to the unexpected and the new.

  23. I looked at the American Thinker pieces, but they’re junk.

    Obama has been in office for three years and change, ample time to see what he brings to the table: nothing. Take all the vectors which operate in the Democratic Party as a matter of course, calculate the resultant, and that’s what you get with this Administration.

    Unlike Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan, Obama manifests very little evidence of sustained reflection on either the political order or matters religious. Unlike Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, or George W. Bush, he has not shown much inclination for reading histories. He lacks the history of real accomplishment outside electoral politics that Eisenhower and Bush the Elder had.

    Richard J. Daley was Mayor of Chicago for 21 years; he never wrote his memoirs. James Thompson was Governor of Illinois for 14 years; he has never written his memoirs. Charles Percy had a handsome career in business of 28 years duration followed by 18 years in Congress; he never wrote his memoirs. Barack Obama was a working member of Congress for two years and change. He was on the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School for 12 years. His curriculum vitae is bereft of law review articles. It does, however, have a pair of memoirs. The man doesn’t wanna run nuttin’ but his mouth. His politics are as superficial as everything else about him.

  24. “The man doesn’t wanna run nuttin’ but his mouth. His politics are as superficial as everything else about him.”

    I think you may have hit the nail on the head there. Another common assumption about Obama that, I believe, gets overplayed in some conservative circles is that he is a “Chicago Machine” politician determined to impose corrupt Windy City style government everywhere. Well, if he were a true Machine politician, he wouldn’t have bothered running for POTUS. True Machine politicans regard state or federal office as a mere stepping stone to the ultimate prize of becoming alderman or mayor, where they get to be much bigger fish in a smaller pond. Rahm Emmanuel fits the mold of a Machine politician; Obama doesn’t.

  25. I am a Christian. I hope there is enough evidence in my life to convict me!
    I think that is what you and Don McC and Art D are talking about– what the evidence tells us about who B. Obama is. By our fruits we are known– not by who we hang out with, the sins or virtues of our parents etc- but the fruits of our own lives. We are seeing fruit evidence already. He may not be personally strong, but surrounded and influenced by many strong ones who seem him as a likely carrier for their ideas…or he may be very strong and wily… I don’t really know.
    But I do not see evidence of increasing peace patience goodness love, joy, forbearance, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
    As you know that list is from Paul’s letter to Galatians . Right before Paul lists those fruits he lists some other works:
    immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions,
    occasions of envy,* drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.

  26. I think that President Obama is a machine politician in style. He doesn’t like to or expect to be challenged. Favors are given out on the basis of loyalty. There is no opposition party worth considering. The top man can use any lever of power he wants to.

    It also means that he’s more loyal than Bill Clinton ever was. Clinton betrayed every one of his constituencies (except for the abortion lobby) at one point or another. I look at Obama’s loyalty to Holder and I see a machine politician. Reverent Wright is a different case. Wright didn’t play the role he was supposed to. He talked when the candidate didn’t want him to. That’s a punishable offense.

    Ideologically, I think that in most cases if you scratch a liberal, you find more liberal underneath. Conservatives claim that you’ll find a socialist underneath. And maybe a lot of liberals were influenced by socialism in their youth, but life experiences tend to moderate us from our more ideological youths. I don’t think that Obama has ever moderated his beliefs. Scratch him, and there’s a hardcore socialist underneath. Or, I think D’Souza has argued that there’s an anti-colonialist underneath. Someone who wants to see the First World’s role diminish, wants to see the rich lose and the poor gain.

  27. I dunno, Pinky. Andrew Greeley and others have identified clubhouse politics as reliable avenues of political participation for wage-earners and as operating in ways which reflected the priorities of working people (at least in a particular era). Greeley also said: “Mayor Daley didn’t need house intellectuals”, or pretty boys, or polished and articulate people. Mayor Daley himself was known for an extraordinary head for people: “he met you once, he remember you forever”, said one of his precinct captains. For all the crookery of Chicago politics, there was an intense decency about the man manifest in certain spheres (vis-a-vis his wife, for example). Obama keeps his nose clean up to a point. I doubt other people register much with him.

    Obama, like Gary Hart and Michael Dukakis, seems a manifestation of the sensibility and priorities of the professional-managerial bourgeoisie in American politics, to the point where Hillary Clinton was appealing with some success to the more vernacular wing of the Democratic electorate. Except, of course, that Hart’s background was thoroughly working-class, small town, and hard-shell protestant; what was so odd about him is how little of that you could see or hear when he spoke. Still, it was a world he knew. It is hard to imagine someone farther away in spirit from Chicago ward politics than Obama (except Dukakis, who was at least a capable wonk).

  28. “It is hard to imagine someone farther away in spirit from Chicago ward politics than Obama”

    Bingo. Classic/traditional ward politics (whether in Chicago, NYC, Boston, or any major city) was and is intensely local and personal. It demanded a lot of tedious social activity, like going to wakes, church suppers, parades, etc., where you could get to know literally every potential voter in your ward. While favors are, as Pinky said, given out on the basis of loyalty, the flip side is that the politician also had to show loyalty to his constituents, and work to earn their vote. If he didn’t, sooner or later the party sachems would notice and he’d find himself displaced by a rival. Policy wonks with grandiose aspirations about making history and changing the world generally don’t have the patience for this stuff.

    “For all the crookery of Chicago politics, there was an intense decency about the man (the senior Mayor Daley) manifest in certain spheres”

    He was, I understand, a daily communicant throughout his life. Mike Royko’s “Boss” points out that during his years as a state legislator he was unusual in that he shied away from “the many pleasures of (session life in) Springfield,” such as getting drunk every night, playing high-stakes poker with lobbyists, and shacking up with secretaries. Instead, he faithfully went to Mass every morning, did his work, called his wife every night, and went for walks with two of his best friends (one of whom later became a bitter political rival). He was equally straight-arrow in his personal life while mayor. With that in mind, I’m amazed there wasn’t any seismic activity reported near Holy Sepulchre Cemetery the day Rahm Emmanuel made his infamous “Chicago values” remark.

  29. Mayor Daley I deserves credit for leading a blameless personal life. However, if there was any art of political corruption he failed to master, it wasn’t from lack of effort on his part.

  30. Valerie Jarrett’s one-time-father-in-law knew a friend of Stanley Dunham’s and they had in their social circle another family that had some vaguely-stated association with David Axelrod. Six degrees of separation.

    When Barack Obama was acquainted with Frank Marshall Davis, the latter was running a wholesale paper business. Vernon Jarrett was a prominent opinion journalist in Chicago for a quarter century. He was, per Joseph Epstein, a standard issue black particularist, whatever he may have done with his time ‘ere age 30; he also was notable for having no time for Jesse Jackson.

    The business about David Axelrod is lifted from Discover the Networks. Again, Discover the Networks does not say much definite about the association between Axelrod and David Canter. Axelrod was a newspaper reporter for the Chicago Tribune and then set up shop as a Democratic Party campaign hack for hire. On the basis of his observable behavior, there is no reason to believe he is anything but what he appears to be. He was born in 1955. By the time he would have been involved in any kind of political activity, the Communist Party was a remnant organization of no importance. The Students for a Democratic Society and allied organizations had proved evanescent. Axelrod would have been too young to have had much to do with them. There was a segment of portside opinion journalism that favored the other side during the later years of the Cold War. If he had ever worked for any of these publications (Village Voice, Mother Jones, The Nation, Radical America, &c), it would be on Discover the Networks. It is not.

    All of these people are observable and known quantities. There is no there there.

    As for the antecedent generation, the following is notable. The Communist Party had 100,000 members in 1947. It had about 16,000 in 1972. Even if it acquired not a single new recruit in those 25 years, there you have 84,000 quondam members. During the interval between 1947 and the midpoint of Barack Obama’s residence with his grandparents, it is a reasonable guess about 40% of people living in 1947 had died. That leaves you with roughly 50,000 one-time members ca 1975, or roughly 150 in metropolitan Honolulu and 10x that number in and around Chicago. They had jobs and friends like everyone else.

  31. Good point Edward R R .. he is not just a do nothing. He HAS taken action and is responsible for the deaths of (how many???!!!) I think we can recognize his stripes.
    I am not sure why some are reluctant to call him radical. We have to take him really seriously for what he claims to be and for what he shows himself to be. It is a mistake to underestimate his commitment to what he espouses.

  32. “Was BHO simply a reactionary when it came to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act?”

    Sadly yes. By the time he started his political career the Democrat party was the pro-abort party and Obama simply follows unthinkingly the path of his party. Obama did not invent any of this. He is not an innovator or a radical.

  33. “Valerie Jarrett’s one-time-father-in-law knew a friend of Stanley Dunham’s and they had in their social circle another family that had some vaguely-stated association with David Axelrod. Six degrees of separation.”

    If you’re really into connecting the dots that much, then I must be one of the most dangerous radicals on earth. I work for an agency of the Illinois General Assembly, of which Obama was once a member. That means I have only 2 or 3 degrees of separation from EVERYONE Obama knows, from David Axelrod to Bill Ayers to Tony Rezko. Better not tell The American Spectator!

  34. Donald,

    The Born Alive Infant Protection Act was passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate in 2002. Being against that Act was apparently not as you say “the path of his party” at the time.

    NARAL expressed neutrality on the bill, sir.


    Please understand that the American Spectator is on your side, if you are against the current administration.


    The American Thinker is not a rag as you apparently believe. Again, if you are against the current administration, I suggest reading further on that website.

  35. I have read it. The quality is mixed and, re the President, some of their writers are obsessed with the inconsequential (e.g. how long a time BO Sr. cohabited with Ann Dunham and the characteristics of their social life, to the point of calling Gov. Abercrombie a liar because he has offered memories inconsistent with a thesis of Jack Cashill, &c.).

  36. I am familiar with the American Spectator, which I look at in hard copy. It is not a bad publication, but it is not comprehensively reliable in its editorial judgment.

  37. Elaine Krewer and Donald R. McClarey

    Mayor Daley may well have been a man of great personal piety, but that is not always incompatible with a pragmatic approach to politics. Père Joseph du Tremblay was not only an austere religious, but wrote one of the treasures of French spirituality, his «
    Introduction à la vie spirituelle par une facile méthode d’oraison, » is still in print; it is a remarkable adaptation of St Ignatius Loyaola’s Spiritual Exercises to the Franciscan tradition – Père Joseph was a Capuchin Friar. He was also Cardinal Richelieu’s most trusted confidante and diplomatic agent, hence his nickname of l’Eminence grise [Grey Eminence] Richelieu, too, was personally devout and a reforming bishop; he introduced the Tridentine reforms for priestly formation into his diocese of Luçon, the first French bishop to do so.

    Alas, both men were sometimes betrayed into using methods to achieve their political goals that were less than edifying.

  38. So far as I can see Mr Obama has made no original contribution to the political thinking of the Left. Moreover, he appears uninfluenced by more recent developments, especially on the International Left – One thinks of people like Slavoj Zizek, Alain Badiou, Eric Hazan or the comité invisible.

    This may well be, because what Europeans consider the Radical Left, Americans would regard as the lunatic fringe.

  39. “The Born Alive Infant Protection Act was passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate in 2002. Being against that Act was apparently not as you say “the path of his party” at the time.”

    Yeah, of course Naral was neutral on that piece of legislation because it contained this provision:

    `(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being `born alive’ as defined in this section.’.

    Pro-aborts tend to be neutral when a piece of legislation cannot impact their sacred right of abortion.

  40. “Keynes” is subverted by today’s credentialed, academic economists, liberals, and so-called journalists.

    The man was a clear thinker and highly correct in his advocacy of short-term, government deficits to raise falling aggregate demand . . .

    In about 50 words Keynes, would tell us why $5 trillions in deficit spending; Obamacare; Dodd-Frank; stealing from mortgagees and GM bondholders; vetoing energy independence; etc. have not resolved Great Depression II.

    He curtly had “pegged” Marx, Obama and his ilk.

    “Marxian Socialism must always remain a portent to the historians of Opinion — how a doctrine so illogical and so dull can have exercised so powerful and enduring an influence over the minds of men, and, through them, the events of history.” – John Maynard Keynes

    “. . . an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world . . .” – John Maynard Keynes on Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital”

    “I can be influenced by what seems to me to be justice and good sense; but the class war will find me on the side of the educated bourgeoisie.” – John Maynard Keynes

    Now, I am a “Keynesian.”

  41. Here’s a sample of articles from American Thinker that more or less correspond to the perspective of The American Catholic:

    Articles: Obama the Lawbreaker versus the Catholic Church
    Feb 22, 2012 … Catholic bishops and the Church’s other clerical and even lay leaders have let this issue devolve into a debate about the right to use ……/obama_the_lawbreaker_versus_the_catholic_ church.html

    Articles: Obama’s Catholic Church Gambit: Lessons from American …
    Feb 16, 2012 … Morris speculates that the Obama HHS mandate on contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients is a fight with the Catholic Church that Team ……/obamas_catholic_church_gambit_lessons_from _american_communists.html

    Articles: Why is the Catholic Church Surprised?
    Feb 19, 2012 … Why is the Catholic Church Surprised? By Trevor Thomas. In the months prior to the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, then candidate Barack ……/why_is_the_catholic_church_surprised.html

    Blog: War on the Catholic Church
    May 13, 2012 … War on the Catholic Church. Keith Riler. We know contraception’s cheap and plentiful availability makes President Obama’s HHS policy a ……/war_on_the_catholic_church.html

    Articles: The ObamaCare Mandate: Are Catholic Martyrs Not Far Off?
    May 27, 2012 … Those unfamiliar with Catholic theology don’t understand why Church officials can’t be more flexible when it comes to ObamaCare and the ……/the_obamacare_mandate_are_catholic_martyrs _not_far_off.html

    Articles: Obama’s War against Catholics
    Feb 8, 2012 … The Catholic Church, with its dogma, magisterial authority, and two-thousand- year-old tradition, is the most visible and significant source of ……/obamas_war_against_catholics.html

    Archived-Articles: The Catholic Church and the Left
    Feb 20, 2011 … Whatever one may think of its theology and ecclesiology, the cold heart fact of the matter is that the Catholic Church is not just one more ……/the_catholic_church_and_the_le.html

    Articles: ‘Pro-Choice’ Obama Forces Religious Institutions to Pay for …
    Jan 25, 2012 … Reaction from the Catholic Church, its bishops, several Catholic universities, and many other Catholic leaders has been swift and categorical.…/pro-choice_obama_forces_religious_ institutions_to_pay_for_abortion_drugs.html

    Articles: Whom the Gods Would Destroy
    Feb 12, 2012 … I’m referring, of course, to the Catholic Church. Now, I don’t mean that the Archangel Gabriel will appear out of the East to scourge the ……/whom_the_gods_would_destroy.html

    Archived-Articles: Catholic Church and Health Care Reform
    Aug 16, 2009 … The Catholic Church’s opposition to euthanasia (an act just as evil as abortion) is clearly stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2277: ……/catholic_church_and_health_car.html

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