American Elephants

Ten Long Years of Substandard Growth. Thanks, President Obama. by The Elephant's Child


“The United States has gone for a record of 10 straight years without reaching 3 percent growth in real Gross Domestic Product.” President Obama has consistently tried to portray the economy as recovering and growing, but the Bureau of Economic Analysis has released the data and it’s a dismal picture.

The average growth rate for economic recoveries since the 1960s is 3.9 percent. The Obama recovery is ranked at an average GDP growth rate of just 2.1 percent — among the very slowest in history.

When the economy tanks, it is usually because optimism went a little overboard. There’s usually some big precipitating event, but too many small businesses were underfinanced, and too many large businesses hired too enthusiastically, and too many unwise investments were made, and when the trigger went off, everything tanked. People get laid off, businesses contract and refine their goals, tighten up and prepare to do business more efficiently.

The longest previous stretch of years when real GDP didn’t grow by at least 3.0 percent, as calculated by the BEA, was the four-year stretch from 1930 to 1933, during the Great Depression, when President Roosevelt embarked on a program of vast experimentation with the economy and the government. There have been four other periods when real GDP growth didn’t reach 3.0 percent — 1945-1947; 1956-1958; 1980-1982 and 2001-2003. The BEA put out a press release today when it published its revised estimate for GDP growth in the 4th quarter of 2015: September, October, November and December increased at an annual rate of 1.0 percent.

No wonder the people are angry.

Senator Dan Coats (R-IN), chairs the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress. In the Annual Report of the Council of Economic Advisers sent to Congress this week, the projection that real GDP would only grow by 2.7 percent this year and less in the following two years.

“Whether it is burdensome regulations, a broken tax code or a ballooning national debt, the Obama Administration’s policies are a dead weight on the economy,” said Sen. Coats. “Under this president, we continue to see stubbornly low workforce participation and historically high long-term unemployment rates.

“In order to boost GDP, we need to overhaul our tax code and strip away unnecessary government regulations to give employers the confidence they need grow their businesses and create new jobs. Congress can take action to help grow our economy, but we need a willing partner in the White House,” said Coats.

Obama Admin. Officials Scrubbed 1,000 Individuals From Terrorist Watch List by The Elephant's Child


Judicial Watch announced today that it had obtained 183 pages of documents from the Department of Homeland Security. The documents reveal that the Obama administration had “scrubbed” the law enforcement agency’s “Terrorist Screening Database” in an effort to be politically correct in order to protect the civil rights of suspected Islamic terrorist groups. There have been charges that the Obama administration created an extensive “hands off” list, and data which was removed could have helped to prevent the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

Judicial Watch had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)lawsuit filed on February 13, 2015, so it only took a year to pry documents loose. The suit asked for:

1. A copy of the Office of Inspector General for Homeland Security’s report regarding, concerning or related to a “hands off list” purportedly maintained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) ICE US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) used to allow certain individuals to enter the United States, who had previously been denied entry or been made to undergo secondary screening by CBP based on terrorism connections.

2. Any and all records of communication to or from (DHS) Inspector General Charles Edwards from May 31, 2014 regarding the aforementioned OIG report.

“On May 6, 2014, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) released internal Department of Homeland Security emails revealing an alleged terrorist “hands off” list allowing individuals with potential terrorist ties into the United States. Allegations by former Customs and Border Patrol Officer Philip Haney spurred Senator Grassley’s and other congressional investigations.”

The documents confirm that nearly 1,000 terrorist suspect reports were modified. The DHS Privacy Office and DHS Security Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties “determined that individuals could only be ‘watchlisted’ based on an association with a known or suspected terrorist already ‘watchlisted’…not based on their affiliation with [REDACTED] (or any other [REDACTED] organization.

Senator Grassley previously released emails including a 2012 email chain between Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection asking whether to admit an unnamed individual with ties to various terrorist groups. The person was believed to be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and a close associate and supporter of Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, according to the email exchange obtained by Grassley’s office.

So, allegations by a former Customs and Border Patrol Officer who risked his career to spur congressional investigations, led to the Judicial Watch lawsuit, and now a major national security scandal.

Judicial Watch’s entire announcement is here. Political Correctness is doing a lot of damage to our country, and as far as I can see, there are no commensurate benefits anywhere.

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