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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Just a Reminder

As the year moves forward, it is worth taking a moment to remind ourselves of a few facts:

1.  Despite a cease fire agreement, the Russians and the Ukrainians are still fighting in eastern Ukraine.  Russia still refuses to admit that the soldiers are actually Russian.  President Obama is ignoring the situation.  The USA is not helping Ukraine as it tries to survive this onslaught from its imperial neighbor.

2.  In Syria the killing goes on.  The death toll is now over 250,000 people with about ten million homeless refugees.  The Assad/Iranian/Hezbollah forces are responsible for the vast majority of the killing.  The ISIS forces are also brutally killing people, but unlike the Assad/Iranian/Hezbollah forces, ISIS takes video of the worst killings and releases them on the internet.  Most Syrians don't want to be in the middle of the war, but they are stuck paying the price for the carnage.  The USA has gotten involved to the extent that we have conducted a few air strikes inside Syria against ISIS targets.  The Kurds who are fighting in Syria are receiving no help from the USA.  The so called vetted Syrian opposition that Obama said would be trained with American help currently number less than 2000 and training has just begun.  That record is laughable since Obama has been talking about helping that group for years.

3.  In Iraq, the war also rages.  In that country the lineup pits ISIS against the Iraqi army/Iranian forces/Shiite militia array.  Here too, people are still being killed for no reason other than their ethnicity.  The ISIS genocide against the Yazidis continues.  The persecution of Christians who are being driven out of the country continues.  America has conducted a more intense air campaign in Iraq than in Syria, but it is still quite lackadaisical.  Obama pledged no boot on the ground, but then he sent 5000 US troops but not to fight.  The Kurds are the one force in the country that has been successful on a repeated basis against ISIS, but despite promises, Obama will not send help to the Kurds.  They are left fighting with World War II weapons and are short on ammunition.  Obama has also done nothing to stop the infiltration of Iranian forces into the Iraqi government efforts.  One has to wonder whether once ISIS is defeated, Iraq will just be an appendage of Iran.

4.  In the US economy, we get all manner of "happy" reports about unemployment and recovery.  At the moment, America's economy is doing better than Europe's or Japan's; that is true.  Nevertheless, we are in the seventh year of very slow growth.  Who would ever have thought that we would be told to celebrate 2.5% GDP growth as a victory for government policies.  On top of that, so many tens of millions of people have stopped looking for work, that we get these unrealistically low unemployment numbers.  If all those people who have given up are included, unemployment is still over 10%.  For the last four years, Obama has offered no coherent program for jump starting the economy.  He periodically announces a "pivot" to the economy, but all that consists of is a speech or two bashing his opponents.  He never actually offers a plan.  We seem destined to finish the Obama years with no rational economic policy coming from Washington.

5.  The state of the American healthcare system is declining rapidly.  Due to Obamacare, millions of Americans no longer get the treatment that they need.  Some people have health insurance that they did not have previously, but there has been no increase in medical care; quite the opposite is true.  Literally millions of people have seen their health insurance change so that annual deductibles have risen to $4000 or higher.  What that means for most people is that they must pay for most visits to the doctor entirely by themselves.  As a result, these people are refraining from seeking treatment when they ought to.  Obamacare was billed by the president as the answer to America's health problems.  All it turned out to be was a massive government intrusion into the health insurance industry that had a detrimental effect on actual healthcare.

6.  America's infrastructure needs massive rebuilding.  Since the first days of the Obama presidency, we have been told that a big effort in that area is needed.  Remember "shovel ready jobs"?  Those were extra infrastructure projects that were supposed to be undertaken.  Of course, they never materialized.  Indeed, for the last five years, despite many speeches on the topic, Obama has never come forward with a list of projects that he wanted or a plan to identify the ones that are needed.  The only project that Obama actually pushed was high speed rail lines that would do little to help most Americans or even the economy.  State after state rejected those lines because they would be a perpetual drain on the state treasury with little benefit.  The roads, bridges, airports, pipelines, utility systems and other parts of the infrastructure that need investment, however, have just been ignored.  Obama's plan has been to try to fix blame for the mess rather than to try to solve it.

This list could go on for pages.  It may be fun to focus on things like Hillary considering herself above the law with regard to emails and everything else.  It may be interesting to speculate on other 2016 candidates and the horse race.  The problems, however, are not going away.  The problems are not even moving any closer towards a solution.  Sadly, no one in the White House seems even interested in discussing the country's problems. 

Just thought I'd mention it.


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