Was Obama the Worst US President?

The Obama Presidency. Hope and Change?
The Obama Presidency. Hope and Change?

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Simply put, there are supporters and detractors of the work Barack Obama did during his two terms as president. The matter is extremely polarized. But it’s the facts that matter, not dogma or personal opinion. It takes a while for all these facts to come out. After all, his administration was never as transparent as he pledged it would be. President Obama’s legacy is fairly well fleshed out at this point. Let’s look at the hard facts.

The White House Transparency Issue

Obama told the American people, ” My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government. “

One of his campaign promises to meet this goal was to post all bills online for a full five days for review by citizens before he signed them. Sounds good, yes? But it only took nine days in office to break this “promise.” January 29, 2009: Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. No online posting.

Next up? February 4, 2009: Obama signed the S-CHIP law. Again, nothing online. Reporters understandably were beginning to ask why not. The White House response? It’s “too difficult,” they said, but they were working on the issue. Apparently, the high-tech whiz-kids in the administration never could solve the mysteries of cut-n-paste or HTML or even user-friendly platforms like WordPress because NO legislation was EVER posted for the promised five day citizen reviews of any bill that passed the Oval Office desk. There was never even an attempt to allow citizens to participate in the process.

As Sergeant Schultz Would Say, “I Know Nothing!”

This was one of Obama’s most notable evasion of personal responsibility ploys, played over and over again. Despite the fact that he has access to all manner of classified material and daily briefings, he claimed to be unaware of things that happened that he had personal responsibility for and an obligation to be aware of.

The list is impressive. The VA waiting list scandal? Fast and Furious? The Clinton email server? His DOJ stealing Associated Press phone records? His NSA spying on other world leaders? The IRS targeting conservative groups?

Here is one embarrassing quote, “I first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this,” Obama said in June 2013 when he was asked about the IRS scandal. “I think it was on Friday.”

Living the Lavish Lifestyle on the Taxpayer Dime

Nobody would deny that the job as the president is extremely stressful and demands some downtime. But there’s reasonableness and then there’s reasonableness. Whereas President Bush took time out to play golf about one hundred times, Obama treated himself over four hundred times!

As long as we are making this distinction, it is important to note that Bush took trips to his personal property in Crawford. Almost always he continued to work while relaxing. Obama, on the other hand, tapped the taxpayers (many unemployed in a very down economy) to lavish retreats in places like Martha’s Vineyard and Hawaii. That’s thirty eight vacations just by March, 2015.

According to judicialwatch.org, “The known total expense to the American taxpayers thus far for all Obama travel is now $70,880,035.78! And of course at times it wasn’t even Obama himself decompressing. In 2010, Michelle Obama entitled herself and her entourage to a luxury vacation in Spain. The cost for that one trip alone ran up a taxpayer tab of $467,585. Thank you, Mr. and Ms. unemployed taxpayer.

Then there was the “African Safari.” That one was $424,000. The twenty-day Hawaii vacation alone set the taxpayers back $4 million dollars. In 2013 alone? Obama averaged over one vacation every month. This included a trip to make an appearance and yuck it up on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. That’s a total of $7.4 million dollars for one year alone. And nothing was being done about creating jobs for citizens who were footing the bill. Nothing says, “I’m entitled” like this kind of narcissistic behavior, typical of the new breed of democratic socialists in America today.

Questionable Ambassador Appointments

It is no secret that in the world of politics ambassador appointments are made as a type of “reward.” The problem is that Obama took this practice to an unprecedented level and used it as his personal campaign cash-cow machine.

In fact, prior to his second campaign, he took time to make up a special set of rules so big donors and bundlers would be clear about the process (if you expected an appointment after the election). Qualifications did not matter. Cash is king; show me the money.

The rules were simple. Express your interest in more than one country. Ambassadors may only serve for only two years because there were so many big donors and jobs had to be found for all.

The list was embarrassing. George Tsunis: nominated for Norway but didn’t even know what system of government they had. Max Baucus: nominated for China; admitted that he was “no real expert on China.” Caroline Kennedy: nominated for Japan; couldn’t speak Japanese, no foreign policy experience, knew absolutely nothing about the country. The list of incompetency goes on and on. Even a less-than-astute observer would suspect a thinly veiled game of job-selling.

So was Obama the worst US president? That’s for each person to decide; I simply point out facts as they happened. We know that he gamed the system, circumvented the constitution many times, and treated the office as a permanent vacation while not getting any real work done. Even though the economy was stagnant under his administration, he blamed it all on Bush. He “inherited” it. But now that Trump’s economy is roaring, he takes credit, claiming that he laid the groundwork. He demonstrated a penchant for dismissing any sense of national sovereignty. His “apology tours” were embarrassing and cost us international credibility. History will judge.

About the author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.



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10 DIY New Year Projects to Tackle–Part 2

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See the Previous 5 DIY New Year Projects

Install a Pre-hung Door

An Exterior  Pre-hung Door
An Exterior Pre-hung Door

Some things in life just get easier. Hanging doors is one of those things thanks to the pre-hung doors available at home improvement stores. No mortising, no muss, no fuss. To make things even easier, hardware clips called The Quick Door Hanger are available to eliminate shimming the door jamb in the rough opening. Basically, all you need is a 4′ level or plumb bob, a measuring tape, a pencil, and a cordless drill with a Phillips bit. I’ve gotten to where I can hang a door in about 15 minutes. Life is good.

Frame Out Your Basement

Wood framing in a basement
Wood framing in a basement

Basements are often basically unused, wasted spaces. This is really a shame because framing and finishing it out expands your living space and boosts your home equity. I mean, that space is included in your property taxes anyway, right? This is a great project that can be put on your schedule for any time of the year. Learn the basics of framing a basement and some of the options that are available to you. Yes, this is a DIY project but you might need to pull some building permits. Always check your local building code.

Dieting is One of the Most Popular New Years Resolutions

Healthy food for weight loss
Healthy food for weight loss

Exercising, putting down the cigarettes, and going on a diet; these are the big 3 New Years resolutions. But there are a plethora of choices when choosing a diet. Which one is right for you? Which one can you realistically stick to? Inform yourself with these 10 most popular diets today.

Give Your Walls a Face Lift On a Budget

Colorful walls & energy efficient windows
Colorful walls & energy efficient windows

Upgrading the look of your walls is a great way to give your living space a fresh look on a shoestring budget. You can add a bolder texture, hang wallpaper, or choose paint colors that give the illusion of more space or higher ceilings. You can even paint over that dark paneling that looked so cool back in the 60s. Which wall improvement is right for your home? Learn about wall options here. Some people hate painting but that’s the wrong way to look at it. It is one job where you can see the results of your labors in a very short time. Some BEHR paint has the primer built in which basically cuts your time in half.

Install Radiant Barrier Foil in Your Attic

Energy Q Radiant Energy Barrier Foil In the Attic
Energy Q Radiant Energy barrier Foil In the Attic

Sure, everybody knows about maxing out the recommended amount of insulation in the attic (according to location) but that only represents about half the money you could be saving on energy costs. Why not install radiant barrier energy foil over the insulation? The savings are two-fold–it keeps the heat out in the summer but keeps it in during the winter. I can tell you from experience that the colder months are the perfect time for this project. I did mine in March a few years back and it more than paid for itself during the first summer. If you use your attic and it has flooring, there’s no reason you can’t tack it to the underside of the roof sheathing. Or conversely, use the radiant barrier paint.

I certainly hope these 10 DIY New Years projects (the first 5 are on this page) have inspired you. If so, I would appreciate you sharing these pages with your friends. Have a great New Year and thanks for visiting!


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Why Trump’s Border Wall Must be Built

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Trump's Border Wall
Trump’s Border Wall

This post was updated on 12/29/18.

The proposed border wall between the southern border of the United States and the Northern Border of Mexico has enjoyed a back-and-forth history. For the most part, the Republicans favor it and the Democrats waver one way or the other depending on the political wind of the moment. At the moment the vacillators are against it. Why? Because President Trump is for it, of course. For them, it’s all about political posturing, not national security.

Nancy Pelosi has gone so far as to cal the wall “immoral.” This from the supposedly Catholic woman that champions abortion on demand? That’s rich. And consider Chuck Schumer. Factcheck.org has this to say of the Secure Fence Act of 2006, “Sen. Chuck Schumer and then-Sens. Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton were among a bipartisan majority that voted in favor of the legislation, and it was signed into law by President George W. Bush.” Uncle Chucky just can’t seem to be able to think for himself; not consistently, at least.

But let us not forget that the wall is for the benefit of the average taxpayer, not these high-and-lofty politicians that live in crime-free gated (and with WALLS!) communities. They don’t have to scrabble with illegal immigrants for social services, healthcare, and public schools like the mass of taxpayers. The American Royalty can afford to poo-poo the wall and national sovereignty but there are a plethora of reasons for building it.


Open Borders are Dangerous

The Department of Homeland Security tells us that it apprehends an average of 10 known or suspected terrorists every single day that are entering the United States. And despite claiming to support border security, Democrats in practice have blocked all efforts to secure our southern border and protect our communities.

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FBI Data Shows Terrorists are Sneaking in Through Mexico

Leaked FBI data obtained by Breitbart Texas has revealed that there were 7,712 terrorist encounters in the US  in just the past year. In the time between July 2015 and July 2016, the majority of terrorist encounters (defined as interactions with known or suspected terror watch list suspects by law enforcement) unsurprisingly happened in the southern border states. Texas, California, and Arizona ranking among the highest.

A Wall is a Physical Barrier that Hinders Human Trafficking and Drug Smuggling

Although there are some portions of wall constructed, huge gaps in other areas act as funnels through which illegal aliens, drugs, and other forms of contraband pass unhindered.

Of course Trump’s wall won’t stop everything; nothing will. But it will create such a hindrance that the Border Patrol can more easily manage the situation. Augmenting the scenario with drones and wall-mounted cameras will help to round out border security.


Rising Cost of Illegal Immigration

Border wall deniers (such as the current crop of Democrat Socialists) love to wail about the cost of construction but perhaps it is time for a reality check. Estimates vary but it is safe to say that $70 billion would get it done. Is this too much? The Center for Immigration Studies says, “if a border wall stopped a small fraction of the illegal immigrants who are expected to come in the next decade, the fiscal savings from having fewer illegal immigrants in the country would be sufficient to cover the costs of the wall.”

Currently, Illegal immigration is estimated to cost the United States millions of dollars, and according to President Trump, $113 billion each year in lost income tax revenue. Illegal immigration is recognized as a strain on government spending by overburdening social welfare, health, and education programs.

Another thing to consider is remittances, that is, money sent back to Mexico from illegal aliens to family and friends. Much of these wages come from under-the-table jobs (untaxed) meaning that these individuals are taking these jobs out of the American job pool. The inherent greed of some employers is denying jobs from some U.S. citizens while at the same time denying revenue to the government to pay for defense and public services.

But the end result is that although these illegals are consuming public services, they are taking their wages out of circulation rather than contributing back to the system. Those that think the amount of money is a pittance might be surprised.

nbcnews.com says, ” Mexico’s central bank reported Mexicans overseas sent nearly $24.8 billion home in 2015, overtaking oil revenues for the first time as a source of foreign income. Remittances were up 4.75 percent from 2014 when they totaled $23.6 billion, the Bank of Mexico said. They had never before surpassed petroleum since the Bank of Mexico began tracking them in 1995.”

In other words, American hard currency that should have been at least partly spent here is going to support the infrastructure of Mexico. The next time you go to the polls and the open border-types are soliciting your vote, remember that those they are inviting with open arms are building roads, bridges, and hospitals in Mexico while yours crumble.

These are just a few reasons why Trump’s border wall must be built. There are many others. The problem is that although the Democrats supported it when it was politically expedient to their careers, they have been on the fence since 2006 as they try to reshape America, Mexico, and Canada into a facsimile of the EU. We know how well that’s working.

End of 2018 Border Update

The assault on our border by Central American invaders seems likely to continue. A new caravan originating out of Honduras is planned for January 15, 2019. At the outset is is estimated to be comprised of 15,000 people with more expected to join as they make their way north.

This puts Mexico in a bad position. They have always been content to get flush and fat with all the money generated, both legal and illegal, counting on former U.S. administrations to just open the floodgate that is our mostly unprotected border. The fly in the ointment now is That President Trump is having none of it. That puts the onus on Mexican authorities to feed, house, and provide social services and possibly work for the invaders.

Now that their social services are being stretched and their jobs are going to invaders, the Mexican citizens are getting fed up with the situation. “Well, now the government does something. That work is for Mexicans that need it,” said Anna Pérez from Palenque, Mexico, on Facebook. “Opportunistic people who just want to take advantage of the Mexicans.” That reeks of sour grapes to U.S. citizens that have lost their jobs over the years due to the opportunistic policies from the likes of Pelosi and Schumer.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government remains in a state of partial shutdown as the Democrats refuse to protect our borders. And rather than doing her job to work on a solution to Trump’s wall, Nancy Pelosi continues to party down in Hawaii. For shame.


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How to Improve Your Credit Score

A range of credit cards
A range of credit cards


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One of the best things you can do to to improve your odds of purchasing big-ticket items such as cars and a home is to improve your credit score. It is also essential to be in good standing when applying for loans, mortgages, credit cards, and even some jobs. A minimum target is a score of at least 720, while 850 is the highest you can go.

Credit Bureaus Determine Your Fate

Three credit bureaus (the Big Three, as they say) tabulate Americans’ credit scores: Equifax, Experion, and Transunion. You might assume that these are government agencies, but you would be wrong. They’re independent companies in the business of calculating and reporting your score. The methods they employ to come up with your score and how to improve it are closely guarded secrets.

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A Strategy to Improve Your Credit Score

Raising your credit score does not happen overnight; you have to work at it. How to go about it? There are various thoughts on the matter but Phil Tirone, author of the book 7 Steps to a 720 Credit Score, hits on 3 key points that everybody can agree on. Don’t fall for online scams that promise to magically raise your score. Rely instead on these principles.

  1. “Aim to have three credit cards—not just one or two—but never more than three. If you have more than that, pay them off and cancel them as soon as you can.”
  2. “Never use more than 30 percent of your credit limit. In other words, if you have a $10,000 credit limit, do not borrow more than $3,000.” To do so would be unwise in any event.
  3. “Have one paid revolving account—the kind you can maintain at a furniture store. Purchase something like a sofa and then pay it off. Use it every so often, and be sure to pay it off every time.”

One caveat here that he didn’t mention is to never be late on a payment. That will poison your attempt to raise your credit score. Automatic withdrawals are perfect for this. Set and forget.

A Higher Credit Score will Save You Money

For example, if an average consumer owns one credit card, one car loan and a house mortgage of $150,000 and raises his credit score by 50 points or so, he could save as much as $700 a month. Now why would that be? Because that makes him less of a risk. He can secure better terms and interest on a mortgage and more favorable car financing.

Consider what a benefit that $700/month is. The consequences are far-reaching. Typically Congress favors American taxpayers with about $700 every few years in the form of a tax rebate, and the economy gets a good bump. Imagine if every american were saving $700 a month and could use that to recharge the economy!

So now you know how to improve your credit score. The question is, “When?” The answer of course is, “Now!” 


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Do Social Networking Sites Have an Agenda?

Social Networking, a Blessing and a curse.
Social Networking, a Blessing and a curse.
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This post was updated on 07/12/20.

Social networking sites have come to have a huge impact on the lives of most everyone who is connected, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown. In the grand scheme of things this digital behemoth is a relatively new phenomenon. And yet we have come to take it all for granted and until recently we assumed it was all benign. Perhaps it is time to rethink that.

Facebook Betrayed Our Trust

Facebook is the big guy on the block. It hosts 2,230,000,000 monthly visitors. In 2017 it generated 40.65 billion dollars in sales/revenue. Friends, this is big business. Very big business.

These are not just the culmination of small-time hustles. As we recently found out, in 2014, the U.K. affiliate of U.S. political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica employed a Soviet-born American researcher, Aleksandr Kogan. His task was to gather profile information of Facebook users along with what they chose to “Like.”

All told, 300,000 Facebook users, some of whom were paid a small amount, downloaded Kogan’s app, called This Is Your Digital Life, which presented them with a series of surveys. Kogan harvested data not only of those users but also on their Facebook buddies. As it turned out, 87 million users were misled and their personal data was exposed. The data was never meant to be used for “research” purposes as claimed. It was used to influence politics.

Alex Jones of Infowars Banned

Alex Jones is the head honcho at Infowars, a commentary/show known to advance some kooky conspiracy theories as well as hawking supplements. He is not a dangerous fellow and not many people take him seriously; they see him as the internet version of the National Enquirer.

However, the problem is that Social platforms such as Facebook, Apple, Spotify, and YouTube are decidedly left-leaning and saw him as a threat. They have banned him for violating their hate speech policies. Fair enough. 

Where things get dicey is when the shoe is on the other foot. Not a thing is done, for example about the YouTube video of Maxine Waters inciting mob violence targeting conservatives and those working in the Trump administration. We could go on and on about the double standard, even to the point where the coddle Democratic Socialism.

YouTube Puts its Boot On Dennis Prager

Do you know who Dennis Prager is? Besides being a syndicated radio talk host and best-selling author he is also one of the world’s leading scholars on the Torah (the Old Testament for you gentiles). He also produces a collection of videos called PragerU. These videos are a combination of opinion, historical facts, and corroborated research.

Although these videos are not hateful nor an incitement to mob violence as Maxine Water’s are (her liberal rantings are sacrosanct to YouTube), YouTube continues to censor more and more of this material because it is (hold your breath) conservative.

This is how Ben Shapiro explains it, “For more than two years, YouTube has continued to restrict access to more and more of PragerU’s educational videos – simply because they present a conservative point of view. There are currently over 80 PragerU videos that are restricted – more than double the amount of restricted videos since filing our lawsuit against YouTube. Silicon Valley giants like YouTube continue to censor the ideas they don’t agree with. They promote their Leftist ideology and restrict conservative speech.”

I don’t really care which side of the fence you are on; is this really the America you want? Where some millionaire purveyors of social media (that makes them a BIG part of the 1%) decides what we can see and what we can’t? Not the government, not your HOA, not your mommy and daddy, not Antifa, but citizens like you and me?

Social Networking Driving Political and Cultural Change

Given the way the social networking machine silences the right and hands a bullhorn to the progressive left, it is not a huge leap to conclude that they are using their platforms to effect political and social change.

Journalistsresource.org tells us, “The largest and perhaps best-known inquiry into this issue so far is a 2012 study published in the journal Nature, A 61-Million-Person Experiment in Social Influence and Political Mobilization, which suggested that messages on users’ Facebook feeds could significantly influence voting patterns. The study data — analyzed in collaboration with Facebook data scientists — suggested that certain messages promoted by friends “increased turnout directly by about 60,000 voters and indirectly through social contagion by another 280,000 voters, for a total of 340,000 additional votes.”

This is what it has come to. The Democrat party is floundering and without fresh ideas and fresh faces they feel compelled to use the censorship vs promote game to keep some skin in the game.

The conclusion? Social networking sites have an agenda. Do not be fooled into thinking that they are providing some kind of altruistic public service. They serve their masters on the left and sheeple are buying into it.

#metoo? Google Coddles Perps

And now, slightly off topic, Google’s troubles are expanding. is alleged to be rewarding Andy Rubin, the creator of Android in the wake of some sexual shenanigans. As reported b y the New York Post, “Google is about to pay Andy Rubin, the creator of Android, the last installment of his ­­$90 million exit package — a golden parachute he received despite his being credibly accused of coercing a female employee into performing oral sex, it was revealed on Thursday.”

The Post goes on to say, “In addition to claims the legendary software developer coerced a colleague to perform oral sex on him in a hotel room, Rubin had multiple ­extramarital affairs with colleagues — and had bizarre “ownership relationships” with other women to whom he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to an explosive report. 
Google is shelling out a $90 million exit package to Rubin — despite the fact that the search giant had investigated the woman’s claims and found them credible, two company execs told The New York Times.”

Now I for one remain skeptical of the #metoo movement, if only because in many cases it is a political tool rather than a vehicle for justice. To wit, consider the testimony of Dr. Ford during the Justice Brett Kavanaugh nomination hearings for the Supreme Court.

In addition to none of her witnesses remembering what she remembered, it now turns out that she also perjured herself on that “two front doors” thing. Under oath she claimed she had the second door installed during a remodel to deal with her Kavanaugh trauma but it turns out that the door was there long before that. It was a separate entrance when part of the home had been used as office space and apartment rental.


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Democratic Socialism in America

by Kelly R. Smith


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The economic fallacy of Socialism and redistribution
The economic fallacy of Socialism and redistribution

This article was updated on 08/10/20.

Recently there has been a surge in Democratic Socialism in America. Bernie Sanders may have run against Hillary Clinton as a Democrat but in reality he is a self-described Democratic Socialist. He campaigned hard and gained an impressive following who subscribed to his fascination with creating an entitlement society. In the end he was sabotaged by Hillary Clinton and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

That election is over. Bernie faded back somewhat but he is a loyal trooper and has done his job for the movement. Not a whimper of complaint about how the DNC through chicanery gave his campaign the boot.

Enter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) won the Democratic primary on June 26, 2018 in New York’s 14th congressional district. In doing so she defeated the incumbent, Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley. This victory has been described by some as the biggest upset victory in the 2018 midterm-election season. She is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and has been endorsed by a number politically progressive organizations.

As of this writing she is the darling of the Democrat party in general. Coming up on mid-terms though, the old hands were realizing that she is a liability. They were torn though because she was energizing the base which to a large extent consisted of low-information millennials who are suckers for the mantra, “free health care, free university, high pay for flipping burgers, more safe spaces.” Many of these individuals, although not all, are more likely to be members or sympathizers of the domestic terrorist organization Antifa rather than productive society which is supposed to pay for their freebies.

AOC and her squad, Black Lives Matter, Antifa, the far-left Democrats, the mainstream media, and many large corporations have come together to protest, riot, loot, and take over parts of major cities to produce a cultural shift in America. The COVID-19 pandemic provided the perfect opportunity. The main goal is to topple President Trump in the upcoming 2020 election.

How Can They Make the Give-Away Nanny State Work?

In an interview on “The Daily Show,” with host Trevor Noah, Ocasio-Cortez basically trotted out the tired, boring, unrealistic party lines. “If they pay their fair share; if corporations and the ultra-wealthy, for example as Warren Buffet likes to say, if he pays as much as his secretary paid, a 15% tax rate…”

She then goes on to say, “raise the corporate tax rate to 28%.” I suppose to hell with all the job creation and repatriated corporate cash that the Trump tax cuts have created.

Next she goes after the military budget. She drones on, “Just last year we gave the military a $700 billion budget increase which they didn’t even ask for. They’re like ‘We don’t want another fighter jet; they’re, like, don’t give us another nuclear bomb’. They didn’t even ask for it. And we gave it to them.”

Tell that to the USAF jet mechanic on the flight line patching up jets with “gently used” replacement parts.

This is the very same Ocasio-Cortez that tweeted that the GOP is weak on national security. So come on Alexandria, which is it? We all feel better knowing that under your Socialist party you can achieve strong national security without funding the military. How will that policy ensure our national sovereignty? Sounds a bit like unicorns and rainbows.

History of Socialism in America

In the United States Socialism found its beginning with utopian communities in the early 19th century. A good example is the Shakers. Labor activists who were usually British, German, or Jewish immigrants founded the Socialist Labor Party in 1877.

The Socialist Party of America was established in 1901. It is interesting to note that anarchism also established itself around the nation. At this time socialists of different stripes were involved in early American labor organizations and struggles. One thing led to another resulting in the Haymarket affair in Chicago which started International Worker’s Day.

This evolved into the main worker’s holiday around the world except in the US, which observes Labor Day on the first Monday of September.

The Socialist Party of America presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs was opposed to World War I and his influence led to the governmental repression we know as the First Red Scare. The Socialist Party declined in the 1920s, but nonetheless often ran Norman Thomas for President. Fast forward to the 1950s; socialism was affected by McCarthyism and in the 1960s it was revived by the general radicalization brought by the New Left and other social struggles and revolts.

The socialist movement has always had its adherents on our soil but has never been able to sway the majority of the population. For one thing, many hard-working Americans are well informed enough to know that socialism does not work.

Democratic Socialism in America is also hampered by the freedom of citizens to participate in a capitalist system where hard work pays off.


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

The Case for National Soverignty

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Ineffective US/Mexico border wall
Ineffective US/Mexico border wall

This article was updated on 8/10/18.

National sovereignty has been a fundamental concept since mankind first began socializing and defining themselves into groups. It promotes and facilitates a structure of law, a common currency, an armed protection organization and a framework for the production and distribution of food.

Like anything else, the concept of national sovereignty can be used for good or evil. On one end of the spectrum witness a country like Switzerland. On the other end, consider Nazi Germany.

Case Study 1: The Porous US/Mexico Border

The border along the Rio Grande has long been a convenient gateway for smuggling operations. Today the commodity that gets a lion’s share of attention is human cargo, or, illegal aliens.

The political machine has been ineffective in establishing and implementing an effective policy to safeguard the border. Conservative Republicans favor strong control such as more agents and President Trump’s border wall.

Liberal democrats however, tend to favor an open-border concept. Parts leaders such as Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Chuck Schumer (D-New York) see illegal immigrants as potential voters.

The effect of the influx of illegals from Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala is obvious-crime, overburdened schools, hospital emergency rooms used as primary care facilities and gang activities from the likes of MS-13 who may pose more of a threat that domestic gangs like Antifa.

MS-13 gang member
MS-13 gang member

It is clear that the problems (crime, drug wars, unemployment) that force these illegal immigrants to leave their home countries to sneak across the border pose a threat to the social structure and sovereignty of the United States. Many of these immigrants, even after having been given safe harbor, refuse to assimilate with the host country by learning the language and participating in the community. Taken to its extremes, the eventual outcome is a loss of national identity and culture.

Case Study 2: The Failed Socialist Experiment of Venezuela

For years the South American country of Venezuela enjoyed a windfall profit from the drilling and export of crude oil. An abundance of capital from a natural resource easily acquired made it easy for strongman Hugo Chavez to implement his socialist paradise.

Things went swimmingly for years, even Chavez passed the baton of party control to Nicolas Maduro. Then, everything began to unravel. Venezuela crude oil suddenly had two strikes against it. Modern drilling methods in North America made it easier for countries like the United States and Canada to get at the gold (so to speak) domestically, and Venezuelan crude is very sour (high sulfur content) making it harder to refine. The product of choice, as dictated by the market, is now a no-brainer.

So when the one national commodity dried up, so did the economy. The currency is in the toilet. The citizens are getting hungry and need somewhere to go. With the loss of national stability goes the nation’s sense of national sovereignty. The citizens disperse, often on foot, and enter their neighbor’s countries.

Brazil has been hard hit by this diaspora and their sovereignty is being brought into question as they harbor and care for their neighbors. “We’re very fearful this may lead to an economic and social destabilization in our state,” said the governor, Suely Campos. “I’m looking after the needs of Venezuelans to the detriment of Brazilians.”

One destabilization leads to another.

Case Study 3: European Immigration

Whether one agrees with the European Union’s concept of open borders or not there is no denial that immigration has been detrimental to individual countries and to the EU as a whole since 2014.

According to the National Review, “European Council president Donald Tusk admitted that most of the people coming in have no right to do so: ‘In most of the cases, and that is actually the case on the central Mediterranean route, we’re talking clearly and manifestly about economic migrants.’ He added, ‘They get to Europe illegally, they do not have any documents which would allow them to enter the European soil.’ In other words, these primarily aren’t refugees fleeing war, they’re economic migrants, who are coming in to countries along the southern Mediterranean that already suffer massive unemployment.”

Germany, the UK and France garner the most press about the problems that Muslim immigration is causing. The influx of immigrants over the past decade seem to have taken these countries by surprise although the result of lax policies should have been easy to predict.

Whenever immigrants refuse to assimilate with the host population and the immigrants go so far as to import their own law system (sharia law), the unfortunate and predictable result is the loss of national sovereignty.

What happens then? A breakdown of society and the framework of civilization as we know. You can certainly live under a different social paradigm, but do you want to?


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Trump Bonus Checks, Freedom Checks, and the 501(k)

Get rich fast schemes
Get rich fast schemes

Get rich fast schemes have been around for a long, long time. Why? Because everybody wants something for nothing, or at least by expending the least effort possible. If it sounds too good to be true…

The fact is that the digital age has ushered in a whole new generation of characters determined to separate us from our money. It is just a lot easier to reach a lot more suckers. Let’s take a look at a few that are taking up space in our email accounts.

Trump Bonus Checks

I’ve been getting this one for a while now. As with most of these messages, you have to watch a real snoozer of a long, long video while the narrator skirts around the meat of the matter until the very end.

Despite the name, he stops just short of claiming that President Trump actually legislated or recommended this “bonus” although he certainly implies it.

Donald Trump thumbs up
Donald Trump thumbs up

Of course there is an often-repeated call to action (CTA) to create a sense of urgency by telling you that you need to get yourself on the list by May 14. Or what? Some other poor slob will get my money? OK, got it. After all there is a limit of exactly $15 trillion of cold, hard cash available!

The bottom line? He wants to sell you $502 worth of information for a low, low price of $49. Basically he is going to sell you investment tips. What does that have to do with Trump? Nothing.

Freedom Checks

Freedom Checks have been around for at least a few months now, or at least that is when they started showing up in my email. Lately they have also running ads on the radio. To finance that they must be finding some takers. The radio spots are mercifully shorter that the video that accompanies the email.

I had to sit through the agony of the entire thing (for the sake of research for this post), before the narrator got down to brass tacks about what it is really all about. Bottom line? The same basic Trump Bonus model although the investments seemed to focus more narrowly on the mining industry.

This is another pitch to sell $49 newsletters. The question I had to ask myself is, “If this guy some investment genius, why is he spending time with newsletters?”

The 501(k)

Bankonyourself.com explains that the 501(k) plan is “a safe savings and wealth-building strategy based on a specific type of high cash value dividend-paying whole life insurance.”

An organization called the Palm Beach Research Group markets it under the guise that it is a tax shelter for the rich. The implication here is that if it is good enough for the likes for the very rich it ought to be good enough for a poor Joe Shmoe like me. After all, this is America, right?

Although the 501(k) is a legitimate investment vehicle and it can be quite lucrative, the approach taken b y the Palm Beach Group is to print and sell newsletters. These will set you back from $199 for the basic publication to $4,500 for the “Palm Beach Confidential.”

The bottom line? Most of us would do better to steer clear of these schemes and consult with a professional investment adviser face-to-face or sign up with a broker like Ameritrade. Don’t be a rube. There is no get-rich-quick in life no matter what a bunch of newsletter quacks say.


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About the author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Trump and Kim Jong Un Played Chicken; Kim Blinked First

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Kim Jong Un's ballistic missile policy
Kim Jong Un’s ballistic missile policy

This article was updated on 8/18/18.

This morning we awake to yet another chapter in the unfolding global melodrama between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, the unhinged dictator of the hermit kingdom.

Kim Jong Un, or the “Pillsbury Doughboy with a really, really bad haircut” has been very vocal about his plans for the U.S. unincorporated United States territory of Guam. Specifically, he has been threatening to fire four missiles in order to surround the U.S. territory of Guam in “enveloping fire.”

Undoubtedly this is a trick right out of his father Kim Jong-il’s playbook. Rattle that rusty old saber, make a few headlines, and sit back and wait for humanitarian food aid.

Historically, US presidents back down from North Korean threats. For example, as recently as 2009 the Obama administration said that it will not enforce a UN resolution allowing the interdiction of North Korea’s shipping when suspected of illegal arms traffic.  Instead, the US will ask permission to inspect, and retreat when refused. This weakness did not bode well for Obama’s legacy.

Donald Trump is the New Sheriff in Town

No doubt Kim Jong Un imagined this tried and true strategy would keep working with his threat to attack Guam as he sipped 100-year old whiskey and cavorted with his concubines. However he was ill-prepared to hear President Trump warn Pyongyang last week that the U.S. military was “locked and loaded” and could engulf the North in “fire and fury.”

Kim’s response after having a look at a military plan presented to him by his senior officers was telling. He seems to have had an uh-oh moment and realized he wasn’t dealing with Obama anymore. This isn’t the former guy that spends his working hours playing on the golf course, this is the guy that owns the golf course.

Kim is now in full backpedaling mode and says he has resolved not to launch the attack on Guam just yet but instead advised the U.S. “to take into full account” whether the current standoff was to its benefit. He also said it was incumbent on the U.S. to “stop at once arrogant provocations against the DPRK and unilateral demands and not provoke it any longer.”

He went on to say, “If the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions on the Korean Peninsula and in its vicinity, testing the self-restraint of the DPRK, the [North] will make an important decision as it already declared.”

Sanctions Against North Korea Also a Factor

The recent UN-mandated sanctions against North Korea are likely a factor figuring into Kim’s come-to-Jesus moment. Although he usually scoffs at sanctions, this time even Russia and China committed.

China is the real surprise. It is Kim’s largest trading partner and cheerleader. The Chinese customs agency specified that on Monday it will cease processing imports of North Korean coal, iron and lead ores and fish at midnight on September 5.

The latest sanctions, considering all the nations that are participating, are expected to block exports valued at more than $1 billion. This is significant since total exports are valued at $3 billion last year.

Over the years Kim has used various means (other than ruthless treatment and starvation of his countrymen) to keep his grip on power. One of these is the state propaganda of the Kim Jong Un as a mystical figure. Perhaps he can use some of that mojo to channel his father and ask for advice.

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Why the American Liberal Wing of the Party has the Democrats Floundering

Liberalism defined by Norman Thomas
Liberalism defined by Norman Thomas

Post updated on 12/11/19

The policies and philosophies of both the Democrat and Republican parties are always in flux. At times this is such a slow process that it is hardly noticeable except in retrospect. The Republicans still identify as  conservatives but in action they have become Republicrats. They still talk the talk but they don’t walk the walk. Both John Boehner and Paul Ryan rolled over and gave President Obama everything he wanted.

And the Democrats? They’ve lost their way as well. They have lost the White House, the Senate, most of the state governor slots, and many seats on the municipal level. They have regained the House during the mid-term election and promptly reinstated the delusional Nancy Pelosi as Speaker.

The party today is disjointed, comprised of the mainstream sheepls, the liberals, and the truly unrealistic liberals (socialists) such as Bernie Sanders. Well, he’s not technically a Democrat but he ran as one and caucuses with them so the point is moot. It doesn’t help that Hillary Clinton’s illegal chicanery cost him the nomination, something the mainstream party’s faithful and the fickle millennials choose to ignore. Those rules don’t apply to us. Hint, hint, nod, nod.

The Democrat Party Players Have Outlived Their Usefulness

One of the reasons the Democrat party has been experiencing a meltdown is that there are few new players of any caliber. And the old guard is hanging on like frayed bookmarks. They are old and it shows.

Take Nancy Pelosi for example. She has lapses of memory leading to stuttering or mumbling, “Uh, uh, uh.” She has taken to giggling like a 5-year old at the most inappropriate and solemn moments. And when referring to the sitting president Trump she had this to say, “There’s nothing I can work with President Bush on.” Um Nancy, that was over eight years and two iterations of Obama ago?

And Maxine Waters seems to have some neural synapse issues as well. Speaking of the Russians she said, “They have hacked our D-triple C, uh, DNC.” Maxine, it’s your party’s infrastructure; you should know the acronyms by now.  And continuing she said, “As Putin is advancing into Korea.” If she ever had a grasp on basic geography or international politics, it’s faded away like the morning dew.

And let us not forget Sheila Jackson Lee saying, “I stand here as a free slave.” If memory serves, all slaves were freed before her time. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg but they demonstrate that no young guns are stepping up from the ranks.

Societal Changes Have Morphed the Democrat Party

It can be said that President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his policies ushered in the age of American liberalism. His New Deal put those policies into practice. This spirit of liberalism embodied the philosophy that citizens were united in a collective enterprise. They banded together to construct a strong nation and protect each other. The mantra they marched to was, “Solidarity, opportunity and public duty.”

 


Both sides of the isle will admit that this construct served the country well in its time of need. But times change, technology advances, citizens embrace new concepts of self-identity and relationships, and American liberalism has hardly had feet of clay.

 

Things really began to change when Reagan ushered in the concepts of self-reliance and small government. The country flourished economically and suddenly traditional liberalism lost its sheen.

The days of all working together for the collective good were gone. The various groups of progressive activists splintered off and began to direct their efforts away from mainstream party politics and toward a broad range of single-issue social movements that provoke liberal anger. The politics of identity is now the name of the game.

Nowhere is this more obvious than on college campuses across the nation. Liberal, tenured professors mold the young minds not with Roosevelt’s all of us together attitude, but encouraging separation along identity lines. Rather than encouraging these young adults to grow up and take responsibility, they provide “safe spaces” where they can play with Legos and finger-paint. And some of these spaces are segregated.

These are the snowflakes that the Democrat party is inheriting. And encouraging, as the mindless bots that they are.

Democrats Have Contradictory Bias Issues

Not long ago the alt-left folks were having fits because a Christian baker would not betray his convictions by baking a wedding cake for a gay couple. Fair enough; it is his business even if Obama would have said, “You didn’t build that.”

But now the tables have turned. “I was asked to leave because I worked for President Trump,” she said, adding, “We are allowed to disagree but we should be able to do so freely and without fear of harm, and this goes for all people regardless of politics.”

Yeh, and the Democrats rejoice. Unlike the Christian baker, under liberal rules a bigoted Democrat restaurant manager has the right to refuse business. Because business is their religion? Perhaps. Despite the restrictions they put on them.

No wonder the Democrat party is floundering. They have no rudder, they have no clear direction, and their “leaders” have dementia.


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