What would you say?

What would you say to a US President where the stock market grew at annualized rate of 12.8% during his tenure, excluding dividends.

What would you say to a President where net new jobs were added at an annual rate of 1.4 million, with a rate of 2.6 million per annum the last four years.

What would you say to a President where the unemployment declined from 7.6% when he started to 4.8% when he left?

What would you say to a President where the US economy had 91 consecutive months of economic growth, which eventually became the second longest in US history?

What would you say to a President that saved the largest car company in the US?

You would say thank you President Obama. The economic growth has continued under the current US President, but we should not forget he was handed the keys to a pretty good economy. It should also be noted the country was in a housing caused recession when Obama got the keys.

I mention this as the current President is too busy taking credit to give a thumbs up to others. With that said, Presidents get too much credit and blame for the economy. They only provide headwinds and tailwinds.

Yet, if people want to go there, Democrats need to do a better job of marketing. Under 12 1/2 four-year GOP Presidential terms as compared to 12 four-year Democrat Presidential terms since 1921, the number of jobs created under a Democrat President dwarfs that under a GOP President, by 2 to 1. Further, the stock market results since 1901 is markedly better under Democrat Presidents.

So, the Dems can rightfully claim they are the party of jobs and economic growth. I am delighted the growth continued under Trump, but the headwinds do not look favorable. The tariffs and added debt on top of expected increases is bothersome.

If you believe this, you may want to check your source

In our new post-truth environment, where people have made election decisions off information they believed to be true, but was not, it is time to do a few litmus tests. If you believe the following, then you may want to check your sources of information.

  • If you believe the unemployment rate in the US is around 40% rather than beneath 5% per the Bureau of Labor of Statistics (BLS), you may want to check your source.
  • If you still believe President Obama is either born in Kenya, a Muslim and/ or the anti-Christ, you may want to check your source.
  • If you believe we are the most taxed country in the world, you may want to check your source.
  • If you believe Hillary Clinton had a Lesbian affair with Yoko Ono or has staffers running a child pornography ring out of a pizza parlor in DC, you may want to check your source.
  • If you believe that climate change is still a hoax and that 97% of scientists and every major science organization on the planet are wrong, you may want to check your source.
  • If you believe President Obama caused a hurricane to hit President-elect Trump’s development and home in South Florida, you may want to check your source.
  • If you believe Trump did not use his Foundation’s money for his own benefit, then you may want to check your source.
  • If you believe Hillary and Bill Clinton had staffer and friend Vince Foster killed when he actually committed suicide, you may want to check your source.
  • If you believe Donald Trump did not sexually assault and/ or harass women and has not had multiple affairs, you may want to check your source. There is a reason he won’t bring suit against these women, as he is their best witness.

The sad part of the above examples is I could go on. News sources are not all created equal nor are some sources even news based. Too many sites offer fake news designed to confuse the public. And, they do so at a price as there is an industry around fake news creation.

Please verify unusual stories and sources of information. It is more than OK to tell a Facebook friend that his or her source is sketchy or you do not believe that to be true.

Man up, Little Donnie

While I am not a fan of former Alaskan Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, she is the author of a quote she has not used with Donald Trump, but should. “Man-up,” is a saying that applies here, but that actually does a discredit to women. Little Donnie is being called this by me as he has acted liked a petulant child throughout this election. We have often seen tantrums from Little Donnie without much provocation.

Yet, his continuous rant about the election being rigged against him by the media and election officials reveals a modus operandi for this man. He is thinking like he tends to do when criticized, “It cannot be me, so it must be you.” The culmination of this petulant attitude came at the final debate last night when he answered moderator Chris Wallace’s question would he support the election results? Trump said he would have to “wait and see.”

Little Donnie does not like to lose, nor does he like to be criticized. What he may want to pay attention to is people are laughing at him, even in the audience, when he said “No one has more respect for women than I do.” I am sure he thinks that, but the last poll I saw said 70% of Americans think he did grope women and not just talk about feeling them up and kissing them without being invited. I don’t know how Americans feel about him walking in on beauty contestants while they changed clothes, especially contestants who are only age 15, but my guess is not well.

But, in addition to Palin’s line, President Obama uttered the most scathing comment that speaks volumes, especially if you have ever competed in team sports. At a speech earlier this week, Obama said to Little Donnie, “Quit whining and go out and earn more votes.” Teammates and coaches do not like whiners, plain and simple. Please forgive the use of a curse word, but if Little Donnie claimed about the game being rigged, they would say “Just shut up play, dammit.”

Little Donnie has been a poor candidate from the get go. He survived this far as the GOP did not bring out his many issues and history in the primary. They thought a sensible candidate would win one on one, but that strategy failed. Trump is losing now because of one person, Trump. I am hopeful the polls ring true after the votes are tallied. And, he will need to say these words, “I concede.”

China, Cuba and Iran

Former President Richard Nixon became the first president who almost was impeached and would have been if he did not resign. Yet, in spite of his troubles at home where he ran a disinformation and burglary ring from the White House, he did make a huge difference in opening up dialogue with China. His efforts and those of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, paved the way for changes in the economic relationship with that country which led to growth there and abroad.

I bring this up as when we look back in forty years at these moments, we may be able to say the same things about Cuba and Iran. Both have very young countries, with the youth crying out for better ties with the west and the products and services they bring. Yes, both countries are not being led the way we would want, but I believe having commerce with people is the best way to break down barriers. At some point, the commerce is so important, that it will be preserved and more dialogue will occur.

Of course, we need to move forward with our eyes open, but it is far better to find common ground than to beat on your chest and refuse to enter the sandbox. So, from where I sit, I applaud the President for opening up these countries to more dialogue, just as I thought as a teen that dealing with China was exciting.

We will see the positives with Cuba much sooner, as tourism will be ramped up this year. The president’s visit was a huge step forward. But, I think having a better relationship with Iran will pay dividends as well, yet I am not foolish enough to say trust them completely. So, let’s be cautiously optimistic and guarded as well.

 

Year-end Kudos

As we near the end of 2015, let me look back and offer kudos to select folks for their efforts. This is not meant to be a complete list, so please do share your kudos for those I may not have mentioned.

Angela Merkel deserves kudos for being the most effective global leader who sees the key role her country and Europe play in helping the many refugees in need or to share her concerns with Vladimir Putin for his transgressions in the Ukraine.

Pope Francis deserves kudos for taking his wonderful message of outreach to those in need to North and South America and Africa. He also deserves kudos for writing about the very real concerns of climate change and the need to act. He is the most respected leader on the planet.

Francois Hollande deserves huge credit for his handing of the terrorist attack in Paris and keeping France’s ideals and openness alive. He has shown how important it is to continue to live and exercise your freedoms, a lesson lost on too many here in the US.

Justin Trudeau deserves similar credit along these same lines by openly welcoming Syrian refugees into Canada. Seeing families reunited is a joy to see and he emphasized its importance by being there in person.

Barack Obama deserves credit for his continued stewardship of the US economy as evidenced by 70 consecutive months of job growth and decline in unemployment to 5%. Given where other global economies are at this point, he should be commended for providing the necessary tail winds over the past few years. He also deserves kudos for moving the ball forward in the US on addressing climate change.

John Boehner and Paul Ryan deserve kudos for navigating an unwieldy ship in the Republican led Congress to get some key agreements done. Boehner greased the skids for Ryan by getting the framework for the budget and debt ceiling increase passed and Ryan has been able to push through a long overdue transportation bill and education bill. It was good to see some bipartisan success and work accomplished.

Delegates to the Paris Climate Change Conference deserve kudos for accomplishing an agreement that was lacking from the last conference in Copenhagen. While no agreement is perfect, this one seems to have more in its favor than not and will help move the ball forward. The move down the path of renewable energy has passed the tipping point and this agreement with business leader backing will help us address our climate change challenge, but also help speak to our number one problem, a global water crisis.

Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos for the formulation of The Breakthrough Energy Coalition, which may be the biggest news out of Paris. This coalition will match government funding to accomplish better technologies and renewable energy solutions to combat climate change. The government funding is supported by the US, France and 18 other countries through a joint effort called Mission Innovation.

Conservatives for Clean Energy is a group that shows the movement to renewable energy is not just a progressive movement. Their efforts show that the need to move more quickly is universal and renewable energy is a viable industry for future jobs. Their existence supports the ClearPath survey results that 75% of conservative voters believe we need to move further down the path of renewable energy.

Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy deserves kudos for doing what the US Senate failed to do and what terrorism consultants said could help to some degree. He performed an executive order to ban the sale of guns to people on the government no fly watch lists. This common sense change was voted down in the US Senate by party affiliation, including three presidential candidates, who have openly chastised the president for not doing more to combat terror. So, to his credit Malloy made it happen.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley and the Families of the Emanuel AME Church of Charleston for the courage, forgiveness, leadership and love in showing how a community can galvanize around a tragedy. Seeing these people of faith forgive the man who killed their nine loved ones was as great a testimony as I have ever witnessed. Haley and Riley deserve kudos for the huge role in bringing the community together and for Haley to deftly use the opportunity to finally bring down the sign of hate represented in the Confederate flag.

Former President Jimmy Carter deserves kudos to showing us all how to handle the news of his mortality with grace and the conviction of faith. Between Carter and the church members of the Emanuel Church in Charleston, we saw two beautiful acts of faith that are lessons for us all, regardless of religion. It should be noted that Carter recently received great news that his cancer is gone after some unique treatments. With his humanitarian efforts, maybe God still has a purpose here for him.

Again, please feel free to share your thoughts on who I may have missed or if you find fault with my choices. Happy Holidays.

Man, I hate that Obama…a conversational parody

“Man, I hate that Obama,” the man uttered. “He has been a disaster,” another one said. “He is the worst president we have ever had,” said a third. A fourth man had been very quiet, then commented.

“Yea, I hate him, too. The unemployment rate has been halved to 5% while he has been President. While he has been in office, the stock market has doubled. The economy has done pretty well, too, especially since we have had 70 consecutive months of job growth.”

The first guy said “Wait a minute, that cannot be true as that is good news.”

“You are right, it is good news. And, when you add the fact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau he created has fined banks billions for fraudulent and aggressive marketing practices, with over 90% going back to consumers who were cheated, that is good news.”

The second guy said “That cannot be true.”

“Yes, it is. And, when you add that Obamacare is actually working pretty well saving lives and getting more folks covered, he should be commended. It does need improvement, which most Americans want, yet it is not the predicted disaster it was made out to be.”

The third guy said, “But, that is not the impression I get from Bill, Sean or Rush.They say we should not sign up.”

The fourth guy said “Maybe we are getting our information from the wrong sources. They were wrong about Romney winning, the gay marriage decision and Obamacare being overturned by the Supreme Court.”

The first guy said, “If all of this is true, why do you hate him?”

The fourth guy answered, “Because he is a better president than we give him credit for and that means our candidates and news sources are being less than truthful to the American people. I know he is not perfect and that is fair game to criticize, but if they are downplaying those other things, maybe we should be asking more questions.”

“We also have some serious issues to discuss like poverty and declining middle class, but I don’t think that is all Obama’s fault as it has been happening for a long while. And, the fact the rest of the world is talking about climate change and our party is not concerns me. Obama’s success makes me lose faith in my own party – that is why I hate him”.

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Note, the above conversation is contrived. Yet, the facts presented therein are not. These are the thoughts of an independent voter who votes for Republicans and Democrats. We have an imperfect president who deserves more credit than he is getting, but does have room for improvement.

Letter from Mitt Romney to Barack Obama

This is not a real letter, but one that could be written.

Dear Mr. President,

I hope this finds you well. I know we have had our differences and I disagree with some of the positions and decisions you have made, but I want to commend you for your role in helping lower the unemployment rate to 5%. As you know, I promised during our campaign to get the unemployment rate down to 6% by the end of 2016, so you have done well on this issue. I also commend you for overseeing 68 consecutive months of job growth in our country, which has helped reduce this rate.

While I could not advocate this during the campaign, I would like to thank you for using many features of Romneycare as part of your formulation of Obamacare. I take pride that Romneycare is working well in Massachusetts helping to lower the overall mortality rate and am proud that you borrowed from my successful template. I recognize it still needs some seasoning, but Obamacare is on the right track for our country. As you know, I shared these thoughts in an interview a few weeks ago.

We still have our work cut out for us, so I hope our next President can build on these successes. By the way, our friend Newt Gingrich wanted me to pass along his thanks for getting the gas prices down so low, which was a campaign promise he made in 2012.

Best wishes for continued success,

Former Governor Mitt Romney