Posts Tagged ‘rising’

AP-Reported FACT: U.S. Economy The Worst Since The LAST Time We Let A Socialist Run It

July 11, 2011

The Los Angeles Times print edition ran this story on July 2 under the considerably more Marxist headline, “Wealthy benefit from recovery as workers struggle“:

U.S. Recovery’s 2-Year Anniversary Arrives With Little To Celebrate
First Posted: 07/ 1/11 05:33 PM ET Updated: 07/ 1/11 05:33 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AP) — This is one anniversary few feel like celebrating.

Two years after economists say the Great Recession ended, the recovery has been the weakest and most lopsided of any since the 1930s.

After previous recessions, people in all income groups tended to benefit. This time, ordinary Americans are struggling with job insecurity, too much debt and pay raises that haven’t kept up with prices at the grocery store and gas station. The economy’s meager gains are going mostly to the wealthiest.

Workers’ wages and benefits make up 57.5 percent of the economy, an all-time low. Until the mid-2000s, that figure had been remarkably stable — about 64 percent through boom and bust alike.

[…]

But if the Great Recession is long gone from Wall Street and corporate boardrooms, it lingers on Main Street:

Unemployment has never been so high — 9.1 percent — this long after any recession since World War II. At the same point after the previous three recessions, unemployment averaged just 6.8 percent.

The average worker’s hourly wages, after accounting for inflation, were 1.6 percent lower in May than a year earlier. Rising gasoline and food prices have devoured any pay raises for most Americans.

The jobs that are being created pay less than the ones that vanished in the recession. Higher-paying jobs in the private sector, the ones that pay roughly $19 to $31 an hour, made up 40 percent of the jobs lost from January 2008 to February 2010 but only 27 percent of the jobs created since then.

[…]

Hard times have made Americans more dependent than ever on social programs, which accounted for a record 18 percent of personal income in the last three months of 2010 before coming down a bit this year. Almost 45 million Americans are on food stamps, another record.

[…]

Because the labor market remains so weak, most workers can’t demand bigger raises or look for better jobs.

“In an economic cycle that is turning up, a labor market that is healthy and vibrant, you’d see a large number of people quitting their jobs,” says Gluskin Sheff economist Rosenberg. “They quit because the grass is greener somewhere else.”

Instead, workers are toughing it out, thankful they have jobs at all. Just 1.7 million workers have quit their job each month this year, down from 2.8 million a month in 2007.

The toll of all this shows in consumer confidence, a measure of how good people feel about the economy. According to the Conference Board’s index, it’s at 58.5. Healthy is more like 90. By this point after the past three recessions, it was an average of 87.

How gloomy are Americans? A USA Today/Gallup poll eight weeks ago found that 55 percent think the recession continues, even if the experts say it’s been over for two years. That includes the 29 percent who go even further — they say it feels more like a depression.

Allow me to start with the second paragraph in the story:

“Two years after economists say the Great Recession ended, the recovery has been the weakest and most lopsided of any since the 1930s.”

The weakest and most lopsided of any recovery since the 1930s, you say???

WHO WAS PRESIDENT IN THE 1930s?  WHICH PARTY DOMINATED BOTH THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE IN THE 1930s?

And next let me ask you, “Are there any similarities between socialist Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt and socialist Democrat Barack Hussein Obama???  And the answer is, “HELL YES THERE ARE!!!”:

Which is to say, “This is the worst the U.S. economy has ever been since the LAST time we had a socialist just like FDR – and the mainstream media proudly hailed Obama as FDR and Obama’s as a NEW “New Deal.”

But here’s the truth:

FDR prolonged — not ended — great depression

Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt. After scrutinizing Roosevelt’s record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.

”Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump,” said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA’s Department of Economics. ”We found that a relapse isn’t likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies.”

In an article in the August issue of the Journal of Political Economy, Ohanian and Cole blame specific anti-competition and pro-labor measures that Roosevelt promoted and signed into law June 16, 1933.

[…]

”The fact that the Depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and policy-makers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes,” Cole said. ”Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened.”

And of course all the “experts” the mainstream media love to trot out have all bought hook, line and sinker the notion that capitalism is something to be loathed and feared.  So they demand that America pursue asinine government stimulus policies that fail even by the “experts'” own standards, and then these same “experts” proceed to argue that the economy failing to recover somehow is proof that more of the same thing that already failed is necessary.

These “experts” whom the mainstream media give a loud microphone to to espouse their socialist views are pathologically incapable of seeing this connection between socialist policies and an economy in the doldrums.  Every bit of negative economic news is invariably “unexpected” (liberals favorite adjective to wave a hand at bad economic developments whenever a Democrat president is in charge), because these “experts” cannot separate the inevitable results of their ideology from their terribly failed ideology.  There has to be a disconnect, or more commonly, a scapegoat.

I can simply re-cite my conclusion from a previous article to find a particularly laughable example of this phenomena:

I think of the Soviet Union, which literally blamed the total failure of their entire political philosophy and the ruinous policies that philosophy entailed by claiming that their agricultural output had been adversely affected due to 72 years of bad weather.  And the Soviet Union has gone the way of the Dodo bird for that very reason.

Is America under Obama the next Dodo bird to fall apart while we’re assured that everything is fine while some suitable scapegoat bears the blame for every failure that can’t be ignored???

It couldn’t be the fact that socialism is nothing more than state-planned economic failure.  It had to be something else, ANYTHING else.

The Big Brother from the novel 1984 had Emmanuel Goldstein.  The Big Brother who is now occupying our White House has George W. Bush.

The next obvious question to ask and answer is, “Why are the wealthy benefitting while the workers struggle?”

The answer is twofold: 1) because when you attack the employers, the first thing to go is the employees and 2) because that’s exactly how crony capitalism works.

There is a magnificent book entitled, New Deal Or Raw Deal?  How FDR’s Economic Legacy Has Damaged America, which should be required reading.  Burton Folsom Jr. points out that when FDR structured his many policies and regulations that strangled economic growth, he did so in such a way that favored the big crony capitalist corporations at the expense of the smaller businesses that could no longer compete given the costly regulatory requirements.  The smaller businesses were forced out of the market while the big businesses protected themselves with insider deals based on access to and influence with the government that only they could afford.  And there is no question whatsoever that – even as FDR employed the class warfare of socialism – the rich got richer while the poor got poorer.  Income tax revenues plunged as the wealthy sheltered their wealth from the high tax rates and the poor paid an increasingly high overall percentage of tax revenues via excise taxes.  Regulations mandating higher pay for workers priced those workers right out of their jobs.  Folsom provides the official data to back it up.

Check out this fact from page 127 of New Deal or Raw Deal?:

In 1929, prior to FDR demonizing the rich, income taxes accounted for 38% of total revenue collected, and corporate income taxes accounted for 43%.  Excise taxes which burdened the poor only counted for 19% of revenues.  By 1938, the rich and the corporations had protected themselves from FDR’s demagogic tax policies (but the poor couldn’t), such that the only 24% was collected in income taxes (versus 38%) and only 29% from corporate income taxes (versus 43%).  Meanwhile the poor-punishing excise taxes (e.g. gasoline tax) soared from 19% to 47% of the total taxes collected.  Meanwhile, when income taxes were kept low, the wealthy invariably paid FAR MORE in the total tax revenue as they put their money out to invest in and expand the economy in pursuit of the profits.  And they created millions of jobs in doing so.

And guess what?  Regulations mandating higher wages are STILL killing jobs now that Obama is doing it.

And the exact same mindset is yielding the exact same results ALL OVER AGAIN.  Obama has put the fear of God (actually the fear of the Soviet-style STATE) into the wealthy and the corporations.  They keep hearing Obama demagogue them, and they keep sheltering their money.  And they will CONTINUE to keep doing that until the threat of Obama is gone.  Just like they did with FDR.

Here we are today, with “the New FDR,” Barack Obama.  Who is the top dog on Obama’s economic team?  Why lo and behold, it is none other than GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt, crony capitalist extraordinaire whose big corporation has REPEATEDLY benefitted from a cozy insider relationship with big government.  And consider how Obama literally took big auto makers GM and Chrysler away from their legitimate shareholders and gave them to big unions.

Regarding “crony capitalism,” I made a sweeping statement in a previous article:

That said, there is also a deliberate and fundamental misunderstanding of fascism by the left.  If you read leftists, you come away thinking that somehow “fascism” is the takeover of a state by corporations. But stop and think: Hitler, Himmler, Eichmann, Hess and all the other key Nazis WEREN’T corporate CEOs who took over the state; THEY WERE SOCIALIST POLITICIANS WHO TOOK OVER THE CORPORATIONS.  They usurped the corporations and FORCED them to perform THEIR agenda.  They either performed the Nazis’ will or they were simply taken away from their rightful owners and nationalized.

And to the degree that German crony capitalist corporations helped Hitler in his rise to power, THEY WERE JUST MORE USEFUL IDIOTS.

The same sort of takeover of German corporations by socialists is building in America.  Take Maxine Waters, a liberal Democrat, as the perfect example.  What did she say of the oil companies?

“This liberal will be all about socializing … uh uh … would be about … basically … taking over … and the government running all of your companies.”

THAT’S what Hitler did, too.  Hitler got this power through regulations that required corporations to do his bidding, just like Obama has now REPEATEDLY done.

And then consider how willing Maxine Waters used “crony capitalism” (which is the essence of developing fascism) to directly personally benefit even as she shaped the banking industry.

The Democrat party is the party of socialism.  It is the party of Marxism.  It is the party of fascism.

I stand by that sweeping statement.  People need to realize that “Nazi” stood for “National SOCIALIST German Workers Party,” and that both Nazi socialism and Soviet socialism were big government socialist tyrannies that failed their people.  As to our own experiment with socialism here in the USA, I point out in an article that explains how “Government Sponsored Enterprises” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac policies led us into economic implosion in spite of warnings for YEARS prior to the 2008 economic collapse:

But rigid opposition from Democrats – especially Democrats like Senator Barack Obamawho took more campaign money from Fannie and Freddie and dirty crony capitalism outfits like corrupt Lehman Bros. than ANYONE in his short Senate stint – prevented any “hope and change” of necessary reform from saving the US economy.

The timeline is clear: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were giant behemoths that began to stagger under their own corrupt weight, as even the New York Times pointed out:

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are so big — they own or guarantee roughly half of the nation’s $12 trillion mortgage market — that the thought that they might falter once seemed unimaginable. But now a trickle of worries about the companies, which has been slowly building for years, has suddenly become a torrent.

And it was FANNIE and FREDDIE that collapsed FIRST before ANY of the private investment banks, which collapsed as a result of having purchased the very mortgaged backed securities that the Government Sponsored Enterprises SOLD THEM.  It wasn’t until Fannie and Freddie collapsed that investors began to look with horror at all the junk that these GSE boondoggles had been pimping.

The man who predicted the collapse in 1999 wrote a follow-up article titled, “Blame Fannie Mae and Congress For the Credit Mess.”  It really should have read, “Blame DEMOCRATS.”  Because they were crawling all over these GSEs that they had themselves created like the cockroaches they are.  But Wallison is nonpartisan

Barack and Michelle Obama have a documented personal history of crony capitalism:

The Chicago way is a very, very ugly way.  And Obama has been in it up to his eyeballs.  Chicago is a dirty place filled with dirty politicians – and Obama was perfectly at home with all the dirt.

That Chicago corruption extends right into Obama’s home, by way of his wife Michelle.  This is a woman who sat on high-paying boards in direct quid-pro-quo consequences of Obama advancing in public office.  And in some of those boards, she participated in the worst kind of hospital patient-dumping.

Here’s a video of Michelle Obama you ought to watch – if you can stand the revelations:

Too bad we voted to nationalize the Chicago Way.

I also pointed out that when you attacked employers, the ones who would be hit the most and the hardest would be EMPLOYEES.

Take a look at what’s happening to small businesses, which create at least half of all the jobs in America, under Obama.  How about the fewest new business startups since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking it:

Through the 12 months ended in March of last year, 505,473 new businesses started up in the U.S., according to the latest data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s the weakest growth since the bureau started tracking the data in the early 1990s. It’s down sharply from the record 667,341 new businesses added in the 12 months that ended in March 2006.

And we can tie this right back to crony capitalism, as Obama has created a system in which larger businesses are protected against the threat of competition from smaller businesses:

Many times large corporations will even lobby for more regulations  for their  own industry because they know that they can handle all of the  rules and  paperwork far easier than their smaller competitors can.   After all, a  large corporation with an accounting department can easily  handle filling out a  few thousand more forms, but for a small business  with only a handful  of employees that kind of paperwork is a major  logistical nightmare.

When it comes to hiring new employees, the federal government has  made the  process so complicated and so expensive for small businesses  that it is  hardly worth it anymore.  Things have gotten so bad that more  small  businesses than ever are only hiring part-time workers or  independent  contractors.

So what we actually have now is a situation where small businesses  have lots of incentives not to hire more workers, and if they really do need some extra help the rules make it much more profitable to do  whatever you can to keep from bringing people on as full-time   employees.

And who do all these rules and regulations hurt the most but the very people Democrats cynically and deceitfully claim they are trying to help?  Meanwhile, who does it help the most but the crony capitalist corporations who DON’T do most of the hiring in America who can profit from Obama’s war on business that results in the destruction of their small business competition.

A recent report by the National Federation of Independent Business points out that small businesses are planning to SHRINK rather than EXPAND their payrolls under Obama.  From the New York Times:

A Slowdown for Small Businesses
By CATHERINE RAMPELL
Published: June 14, 2011

In the latest sign that the economic recovery may have lost whatever modest oomph it had, more small businesses say that they are planning to shrink their payrolls than say they want to expand them.

That is according to a new report released Tuesday by the National Federation of Independent Business, a trade group that regularly surveys its membership of small businesses across America.

The federation’s report for May showed the worst hiring prospects in eight months. The finding provides a glimpse into the pessimism of the nation’s small firms as they put together their budgets for the coming season, and depicts a more gloomy outlook than other recent (if equally lackluster) economic indicators because this one is forward-looking.

While big companies are buoyed by record profits, many small businesses, which employ half of the country’s private sector workers, are still struggling to break even. And if the nation’s small companies plan to further delay hiring — or, worse, return to laying off workers, as they now hint they might — there is little hope that the nation’s 14 million idle workers will find gainful employment soon.

“Never in the 37-year history of our company have we seen anything at all like this,” said Frank W. Goodnight, president of Diversified Graphics, a publishing company in Salisbury, N.C. He says there is “no chance” he will hire more workers in the months ahead.

“We’re being squeezed on all sides,” he says.

So let me ask again the question that the Los Angeles Times phrased: “Why are the wealthy benefitting from the ‘recovery’ as workers struggle?

And the answer is simple: because Barack Obama and the Democrat Party are socialist who have destroyed the engine that creates the jobs that workers depend upon to flourish.

An interesting fact is that businesses are now forced to spend $1.7 TRILLION a year in regulatory compliance costs.  That is a massive hidden tax on their viability; it exceeds the overt income taxes businesses have to pay, and it most certainly exceeds their profits.  And right now Obama is attacking them via the Dodd-Frank regulatory legislation, via the EPA, via OSHA, via ObamaCare and via the ridiculous actions of the NLRB in addition to their tax burden.  Just to name a few.  The result is businesses terrified to expand and further place their necks under Obama’s axe blade.

Meanwhile, Obama’s socialist policies have not only devastated the worker by destroying his jobs, but they’ve ruined America on numerous other levels, too.  Take the housing crisis – which was THE cause of the economic implosion of 2008.  Did Obama make it better?  Well, here’s a headline for you from CNBC: “US Housing Crisis Is Now Worse Than Great Depression.”  Which is to say that Democrats – who first created the housing crisis by refusing to allow the regulation of their pet socialist wealth redistribution agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – took something awful and turned it into an American Dream-massacring nightmare.

The latest job figures simply further document my point: Obama is destroying America job by job.  Not only did the unemployment rate go up to 9.2% (Obama promised the American people that the unemployment rate would be 7.1% by now if he got his massive government-spending stimulus); not only were the previous two month figures adjusted DOWNWARD by some 45,000 jobs; not only have a third of the unemployed been unemployed for at least a YEAR with fully half of the unemployed having been unemployed for over six months (which is unprecedented); not only did the economy create an incredibly dismal 18,000 jobs (versus the 100,000 the economists naively expected); but a quarter million more people simply walked away from the workforce entirely – abandoning any hope that Obama will do anything more than crush their hopes of finding a job.

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Documented Fact: Obama, Democrats LIED About Reducing Health Care Costs

August 17, 2010

I pointed out back in March that health care premiums were on the increase and said, “Blame Obama and Democrats!”

Obama and Democrats lied in the most cynical and corrupt way.  They assured America that they could cover some 30 million more people and yet make health care cheaper.

Key components of ObamaCare are going into effect.  And yes, Average Joe American, YOU are going to pay for Obama’s compassion (because HE certainly won’t!).  Insurance companies are now being forced to accept children regardless of prior-existing conditions, raising their costs dramatically.  And “children” up to 26 years of age must now be accepted under parents’ plans.  As health insurers are forced to accept more and more risks that will hit their bottom lines, they are passing those costs on to everyone.

As anybody but a fool should have readily understood.

And you’d do the same thing if you were a business owner with a functioning brain cell in your skull.

Bill O’Reilly put it this way:

Obamacare begins to affect your wallet

“A couple of days ago I received my new health care premium and Oxford Health is charging me $2,100 more than it did last year. Almost every health insurer is raising premiums to cover the anticipated cost of Obamacare because the rules have changed. For example, this year health companies will have to cover adult children until the age of 26, they will have to cover all children regardless of pre-existing conditions, and they cannot cancel coverage for any reason other than fraud. So all that cost is being passed to us. And there’s more: The cost of Obamacare will be borne by the taxpayer as the government gives ‘free’ health insurance to those who don’t have much money. So we get hit two ways. President Obama does not seem to understand the unintended consequences of higher costs on businesses and productive workers. Talking Points believes we are headed to a bad place if the Democrats continue this big government spending craziness and taxpayer-supported entitlements. I can afford the 2-thousand bucks more I have to pay for my health insurance; many Americans can’t.”

Watch your premiums begin to skyrocket.  Watch employers dump your plans.  Watch Obama’s and the Democrat Party’s lies become increasingly awful.

Health Care Premiums Are Already Soaring In Advance of Obamacare
By Bradley Blakeman
Published August 16, 2010

This past month millions of Americans got notice from Blue Cross/Blue Shield providers across the country that their insurance premiums were going way up effective immediately. Here is the terse reason CareFirst/ Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Washington gave its subscribers for raising a monthly premium from $333 to $512 on a middle aged man who is healthy, is not a smoker and is not obese: “Your new rate reflects the overall rise in health care costs and we regret having to pass these additional costs on to you.”

Recently, Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly also received a similar notice from his health care provider, (Anthem Blue Cross), and was told that his annual premium will increase by $2,100.

The excuse given was the same boilerplate as set forth above.

An 85-year-old New Yorker received notice from his health care provider, (Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield), wherein he was notified that:

1. His Medicare deductible is being increased from $1,068 to $1,100;

2. His co-insurance liability for skilled nursing facilities is being increased from $267 per day to $275 per day and that 60 lifetime reserve days is being increased from $534 to $550;

3. His Medicare Part B deductible is being increased from $135 to $155.

American health care providers are gouging consumers in advance of Obamacare taking effect in 2014.

According to publicly available profit and loss statements, our nation’s largest health care providers such as  Humana, Wellpoint, United Health Group, Cigna and Aetna collectively posted a net income of over 12 billion dollars in 2009.

Is it not just a little bit suspicious and beyond coincidence that so many Americans are receiving these letters from separate “independent” health care providers all over the country? The letters are almost identical in content and verbiage.

According to the Consumers Union report, not-for-profit Blue Cross/Blue Shield groups are raising health insurance premiums by as much as double digits to build up their cash reserves — in some instances to more than three times what states require.

It is no secret that these companies generate substantial investment income from reserves.

Here are just a few of the worst examples cited by Consumers Union:

– Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona raised its reserves from $648 million in 2007 to $717 million in 2009  (more than seven times the amount required in that state). During that time, individual policy rates jumped about 40 percent.

– Health Care Services Corp., which includes Blues plans in Texas, Illinois, New Mexico and Oklahoma, built up its surplus from $6.1 billion in 2007 to $6.7 billion in 2009, five times the minimum in those states.  Meanwhile, its plans’ rates rose by up to 20 percent a year.

So which is it? Are the companies raising rates to build reserves or are they raising rates in advance of rising costs they are anticipating by Obamacare, or are they raising rates because of an actual rise in the delivery of actual medical costs? You cannot get a straight answer.

If, in fact, health care providers are sitting on piles on cash that is far in excess of what it should be under state laws, why are they not rebating those surpluses to policyholders, as many automobile insurance companies do?

Another example of how Obamacare has influenced the behavior of health care providers is that under the new federal law it mandates that no more that 20 percent of every premium dollar be attributable to administrative costs. Therefore many companies who currently run 26 percent of administrative costs for every dollar have now “reclassified” many administrative services as “medical” so they do not lose income and can avoid reducing overhead.

In April of this year, the U.S. Senate reported that Wellpoint alone reclassified more than half a billion dollars in services from “administrative” to “medical.”

The bottom line is that in advance of Obamacare the consumer is getting taken advantage of with any recourse.

Looming over their heads is a law that does not even take effect until 2014. In the meantime We the People are stuck between greedy insurance companies and incompetent government
.

Now is the time to repeal and replace Obamacare. The answer to health care reforms does not lie in creating a government system; it lies in improving a free market system. Here are some of the reforms that should be done:

1. Creation of refundable credits for health care costs;

2. Strengthening health savings accounts;

3. Repeal of the 7/5% threshold on deduction for medical expenses;

4. Allow for purchase of health care insurance across state lines;

and 5. Facilitate the import on FDA approved drugs.

At a time of deep recession, high unemployment, record home foreclosures and personal and business bankruptcies, the last thing we need is further economic uncertainty looming with regard to nationalized health care.

America, let’s not accept commercial gouging or government incompetence and bureaucracy. Let’s fix what needs fixing!

Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to the Fox Forum

Every single one of these companies are raising their rates dramatically at the same time as incredibly costly ObamaCare provisions begin to take effect.  It isn’t a coincidence.

And because of such expensive provisions, some insurers are no longer offering policies covering children.

ObamaCare is a catastrophe.  It is “the sum of all fears.”  And, as Bradley Blakeman points out, it couldn’t have attacked the economy at a worse time.

ObamaCare was NEVER about health care; it was ALWAYS about imposing more control over the people.

Those who didn’t vote for Obama and Democrats ought to be able to take their premiums to their Democrat neighbors and force them to pay for the massive increases that they voted for.

It is long past time that Democrats should be allowed to get away with voting to be generous with other peoples’ money.

When Soylent Green time comes, eat all the Democrats first.

Obama Vs. McChrystal: Whether Obama Fires His General Or Not, He’s Still Weak And No Longer In Control

June 23, 2010

This article from the official unofficial newspaper of the military hits a few nails on the head:

McChrystal forces Obama into a no-win situation
By Leo Shane III
Stars and Stripes
Published: June 22, 2010

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama faces two grim choices on Wednesday: Fire Gen. Stanley McChrystal and risk looking like he’s lost control of the war in Afghanistan. Or keep him and risk looking like he’s lost control of his generals.

Even before McChrystal’s very public slap at his boss surfaced on Monday night, the White House was already bristling at the perception that the war in Afghanistan was becoming unwinnable.

The decisive military offensive to clear the strategic town of Marjah has foundered. Another, bigger offensive to drive the Taliban from its home turf in Kandahar has been delayed. U.S. casualties are rising in a war that ranks as America’s longest, surpassing the grim milestone of 1,000 dead earlier this month. Corrupt warlords and Taliban militants are pocketing tens of millions in U.S. aid.

Now Obama must add a new crisis to that daunting list
: The commander he handpicked to win the Afghanistan war allowed a reporter for Rolling Stone to embed with him and his closest staff for a month, offering up a series of incendiary and embarrassing comments about the president and his war cabinet.

If he fires McChrystal, Obama will enjoy the dubious distinction of being the only president in modern U.S. history to sack two wartime commanders in a little more than a year. Last May, Gen. David McKiernan was relieved of post commanding the Afghan war effort after the White House and Defense Secretary Robert Gates said “fresh eyes” were needed to find a more successful path forward.

On Capitol Hill, where last week key lawmakers from both parties peppered Gates and Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus with probing questions about the course of the Afghan war, leaders praised McChrystal’s work but simultaneously blasted his decision to speak with Rolling Stone.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and other key Senate Armed Services members issued a statement calling McChrystal’s comments “inappropriate and inconsistent with the traditional relationship between Commander-in-Chief and the military.”

Retired Navy vice admiral Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., said that military officers have a responsibility to speak bluntly, but “you say that privately and keep it behind closed doors.”

But Rep. David Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and a key liberal voice in the House, called McChrystal’s comments “contemptuous of his civilian superiors” and demanded his resignation. CBS News later reported that McChrystal had offered a letter of resignation.

“His comments, and those of his subordinates, dismissing the President, the Vice-President, Gen. (James) Jones, Ambassador (Karl) Eikenberry, and Richard Holbrooke suggests that Gen. McChrystal is locked into an ‘everybody is wrong but me’ approach to the world,” Obey said.

Still, most congressmen stopped short of calling for McChrystal’s dismissal, saying instead that the tone and sincerity of his apology after Wednesday’s meeting with Obama would determine his future role.

Daniel Goure, vice president of the conservative Lexington Institute, said the reason for that is simple.

“To put anyone else in charge right now would be a disaster,” Goure said.

Goure said the Rolling Stone article doesn’t quite amount to a Truman/MacArthur moment, when Gen. Douglas MacArthur was sacked over his public opposition to President Harry Truman’s strategy in the Korean War. The most damning comments in the article come from McChrystal’s advisers, Goure noted, and at least one of those staffers has already been fired for his involvement with the piece.

Regardless, Goure said, no other American figure has the clout with Afghan president Hamid Karzai or the knowledge of the counterinsurgency strategy to succeed in Afghanistan.

But the liberal group VoteVets.org said McChrystal must be fired for disrespecting the chain of command.

Brian Katulis, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said the article could easily be used as Taliban propaganda, revealing infighting among U.S. leaders and a lack of real concern for the Afghan people.

“He’s supposed to be leading efforts to win the hearts and minds over there,” Katulis said. “This article doesn’t help.”

Obama already is suffering from dwindling support for the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. A Gallup poll released earlier this year showed that more than a third of voters believe it was a mistake to send U.S. troops into Afghanistan. A Pew Research Center poll released earlier this month showed a drop in confidence in Obama’s foreign policy decisions, both among Americans (down 9 percent) and in European and Middle East countries
.

Will Obama fire McChrystal?  No info yet as I type these words.  I feel he probably will – not because it’s the right or even the best thing to do, but simply because Obama is a vain, arrogant, petty, thin-skinned, vindictive man.  Would such a man tend to keep or replace a man who had offended him, irregardless of how necessary that man is to the war effort?

Obama might possibly realize that he will look a lot worse in the long run if his war in Afghanistan tanks and even more American-flag-draped caskets start coming home, and that keeping McChrystal in the job is in his own best interests.  But the money’s got to be on the most thin-skinned president in history setting the record for sacking the most generals in modern history.

If Obama doesn’t fire McChrystal – who is widely viewed in the establishment as the best general to carry out the war in Afghanistan – it will amount to the first time Obama ever put anything else above his image.  I would applaud him for such a milestone, but after a year and a half, well, come ON.

Rep. David Obey characterizes McChrystal’s view as suggesting “that Gen. McChrystal is locked into an ‘everybody is wrong but me’ approach to the world.”  Untrue.  It’s merely an “everybody in the Obama administration is wrong but me” approach.  And that doesn’t seem to be such an unrealistic mindset, given the fact that Obama has been so utterly wrong in absolutely every single sphere he’s acted in.