Tag Archives: Mort Zuckerman

ADMINISTRATIVE BLINDNESS

 

Eleanor Clift

Eleanor Clift is an arch-liberal who writes for the “Daily Beast / Newsweek.”  She is also a regular contributor to the weekly political discussion on PBS, “McLaughlin Group.”

Eleanor has often made me think of the old story about Winston Churchill.   When the very liberal Lady Astor came up to him one time, she said:  “Mr Churchill, if I was your wife, I’d put poison in your coffee.”  Churchill’s response was:  “Lady Astor, if I was your husband, I’d drink it!”  If I were married to Eleanor, I would have drunk it a long time ago, and I’m not a coffee drinker.

It’s been six years now since the Obama Administration came to power.   During that time, I’ve not heard her utter one criticism of the president.   The other regular “liberal” on the program, Mort Zuckerman, who voted for the president in 2008, is quite capable of pointing out the president’s faults, but not Eleanor, oh no.

Eleanor and the president are in tandem.   While she is incapable of saying anything bad about the president, he seems equally incapable of saying anything bad about Islam.   He can’t even bring himself to say anything negative about Islamic militants.   He won’t even use the term, lest people associate Islam with extremism.

I’m not one of those people who think the president is a closet Muslim.   He is certainly sympathetic to Islam, which is dangerous at this time in the history of the West.   For what we need now is for a powerful personage on the world stage to speak plainly and bluntly to the Islamic world – to make it absolutely clear that extremism will not be tolerated and that Muslim leaders must unequivocally condemn acts of terror.

This applies to US, UK and French based Muslim leaders, imams in our mosques.   If they will not condemn acts of terror, then they should be expelled, deported from our countries to the Islamic country they came from.   Instead, many of these imams are actively recruiting young men and women to join ISIS.

A firm stand needs to be taken, but we are not going to see it from the US president or anybody in the Administration.   Rather, we are being constantly told that Islam is a religion of peace, that extremists have taken hold of a peaceful religion, that Christians did some awful things to Muslims during the Crusades, etc., etc.   The refusal to face up to reality is a hallmark of this Administration.

There has been no clear condemnation of the massacre of 148 students Thursday in Kenya by Muslim extremists, a death toll that is set to rise.

On the same day, we hear nothing but good things about the new deal with Muslim Iran, even as Iranians celebrated all night in the Iranian capital, Tehran, firmly believing that they have triumphed in their long struggle with the West.   Their perception is that Allah has given them victory over the Great Satan.   If they have won, how can we in the West claim victory?   The Israeli prime minister has made it clear that the agreement will ensure Iran has nuclear weapons, not stop them.   He has described the deal as a threat to Israel’s survival.

Of course, it’s not just the Administration that is at fault here.   Most members of the press and the average citizen have their heads in the sand.

The trouble is, eventually they will have to come up for air, when they just might have to focus on reality.

 

ECONOMIC PROSPECTS NOT BRIGHT

John McLaughlin

PBS’s “McLaughlin Group” (www.mclaughlin.com) remains the best political discussion of the week. John McLaughlin has the chair, with three regular guests and one visitor. This week’s program was particularly good.

The first item discussed was the US economy.   The program began with President Obama lauding the accomplishments of his Administration in this area. Economist Robert Gordon of Northwestern University was then quoted.

Whereas the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) predicts an average growth rate of 2.1% over the next ten years (down from the 3.5% averaged since World War II), Professor Gordon predicts 1.6%. The reasons he gives are that the baby boomers are leaving the work force; new hires will not fully replace them, so less will be produced. He also predicts the national debt will increase to 87% of GDP by 2024, 9% higher than the government’s estimate.

Robert Samuelson of the Washington Post wrote:

“If he’s right, this could be our next nasty economic surprise . . . the prospect now is for years of modest to, in Europe, non-existent growth.  How will political systems cope?  Will class warfare intensify as groups battle harder for bigger shares of a stagnant pie?  Without an expanding economy as a shock absorber, will racial, ethnic, generational and ideological conflicts worsen?   . . . prolonged sluggishness would turn the economy into a zero-sum game, where one group’s gain is another’s loss.  This is no formula for social peace.”  (Washington Post, 9/22/14).

This all led to an interesting discussion. “Are we in for a decade of political and social unrest?” asked host John McLaughlin. Conservative Pat Buchanan’s response was: “More than a decade . . . the share of the labor force that is working is dwindling . . . the baby boomers were the best skilled and best educated generation ever . . . Millions of folks are coming in from the Third World who lack the skills, education, and abilities that are needed.”

Liberal Eleanor Clift predictably felt that the exact opposite was the case and that the economy is all set for a wonderful decade. She added that “the dollar is the indispensable currency” – on this last point, she was correct.

Journalist Tom Rogan (National Review and The Daily Telegraph) felt that “the biggest issue is the national debt.” Rising debt threatens social security and Medicare.

Pat Buchanan pointed out that “real wages have been stagnant since 1974.”   Mort Zuckerman (publisher of US News and World Report) added: “In the last half a dozen years, real wages have gone down by about $4,500 per year.” Buchanan felt that “neither party will deal with social security, Medicare and Medicaid,” government programs whose costs keep rising way above the annual rate of growth in the economy.

Zuckerman mentioned a recent poll that showed that “78% of Americans have no confidence that Washington can ride to their rescue.”

Host John McLaughlin quoted a recent poll that showed 58% of Americans feel the need for a third party. Eleanor Clift quoted Shakespeare to sum up the attitude of most Americans: “A pox on both their houses,” a condemnation of both political parties. Pat Buchanan observed: “Our system is breaking down.” Mort Zuckerman added that ‘we’ve had five years of low growth.”

This is clearly not a rosy picture of America’s future.

The same day the McLaughlin Group was recorded, The Economist was working on a leader warning of the danger of deflation, the worst thing that can happen to an economy.

Western countries have had low inflation rates for over a decade now.

Falling prices at first seem benign but can soon turn deadly. At the time of writing, gas prices in the US are falling, which is making everybody happy. But a fall in gas prices means that demand for oil is dropping and this means that economies are slowing down. This will increase unemployment, which will mean a further drop in demand, which will lead to more unemployment, etc. And so it goes on in a downward spiral.

Some countries are already showing the first signs of deflation. Italy, Spain, Greece, Sweden and Israel are five western countries where inflation is below zero. Deflation can easily follow, warns The Economist in “The Dangers of Deflation” (10/25). A twisting of the title of Edgar Allen Poe’s famous 1842 short horror story, “The Pit and the Pendulum,” The Economist’s sub-title is “the pendulum swings closely to the pit.”

The world is dangerously close to a deflationary downward spiral.