Why Obama will do nothing about the border crisis

July 15, 2014
"Y'all come!"

“Y’all come!”

Per Bryon York:

First, because Republicans want him to do something:

Who is pushing Obama to get tough? Mostly, it’s the Republicans whose wishes Obama has ignored for years. And now, since his well-publicized decision to abandon hopes of making a deal with GOP lawmakers on immigration, Obama needs them even less. It’s to his political benefit to oppose them, not to do their bidding.

Second, because Democrats back him:

…the Democrats, who don’t strongly oppose action on the border but want the president to go forward only if Republicans will agree to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Without a grand bargain, these Democrats are not terribly bothered by Obama’s handling of the crisis. While a few border state Democrats like Reps. Henry Cuellar and Ron Barber express reservations about Obama’s performance, most won’t give the president any trouble.

Third, because the progressive media is cheering him on:

Next is the liberal commentariat, which supports Obama so strongly in this matter that it is actually pushing back against the idea that the border crisis is a crisis at all. “The besieged border is a myth,” the New York Times editorial page declared on Sunday. “Republicans are … stoking panic about a border under assault.”

And, finally, because Obama himself is simpatico with immigration “activists:”

Finally, there are the immigration activists who don’t want Obama to do anything that involves returning the immigrants to their home countries. “We’re in the midst of a humanitarian crisis affecting kids fleeing gang violence, extortion and rape,” Frank Sharry, of the immigration group America’s Voice, said recently. It is Obama’s responsibility, Sherry added, to find a way to settle “thousands of child refugees.”

Obama recently met with a group of those advocates. One of them later told the Washington Post that the president said to them, “In another life, I’d be on the other side of the table.” By that Obama meant that in his old days as a community organizer, pressing for the “refugee” rights would be just the sort of thing he would do.

In other words, all the incentives encourage him to ignore national interests and instead be true to his nature. He doesn’t have to worry ever again about reelection, and, if the Democrats are going to take a drubbing in the midterms, anyway, why not make his Leftist base happy?

There are those who argue that Obama’s actions have to be the result of incompetence, that no one would willingly do something so obviously self-destructive to their political fortunes. See, for example, Andrew Klavan’s essay at PJM, “Is Obama just a hapless putz?”, in which he argues that Cloward-Piven is an “idiot’s strategy.”

Perhaps, but one can still be idiotic enough to try it, with all the harmful effects that would follow.

Having read extensively on Obama’s political background, especially Kurtz’s crucial work, “Radical in Chief,” I’m not at all convinced that he cares about the fortunes of the Democratic Party (let alone the nation, or, frankly, those kids on the border), that he isn’t indeed willing to take a political hit in order to achieve what he and his leftist allies hope will be irreversible change. As with Obamacare, so with immigration. Whether Obama and his administration intended for this crisis on the border to occur, they’re quite happy to take advantage of it.

From his point of view, all the incentives work that way.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Romney on Iraq: “Our foreign policy is run by bumbling incompetents”

June 16, 2014

Okay, okay. Mitt didn’t really say that; I was just interpreting what I take to be the subtext of this interview with NBC’s David Gregory:

Via National Review, here’s the key passage:

“This administration, from Secretary Clinton to President Obama, has repeatedly underestimated the threats faced by America, has repeatedly underestimated our adversaries,” he said on Meet the Press. “Whether that’s Russia, or Assad, or ISIS, or al-Qaeda itself, it has not taken the action necessary to prevent bad things from happening; it has not used our influence to do what is necessary to protect our interests.”

Emphasis added. I think “repeatedly underestimated” is the typically nice, Romney-esque way of saying “bumbling incompetence,” don’t you?

The foreign crises we’re facing are no laughing matter, but a small part of me can’t help but hope Mitt is feeling some vindication; time and again, after being ridiculed in the campaign for being out of touch with our Brave New World of Smart Power, he’s been shown to be right, and the Obama team (including their MSM cheerleaders) spectacularly wrong.

I probably would have found myself at odds with “President Romney” fairly often over domestic issues, had he and Paul Ryan won, but I’ve always been impressed with Mitt’s solid grasp of America’s foreign interests and the challenges facing them, ever since I read his speech in Herzliya, Israel, in 2007. In a way and to a depth that President Obama and his “team of unicorns” never will, Mitt gets it. And I feel safe in saying he would not have made the boneheaded mistakes that are the hallmark of the current mis-administration.

It’s a shame he didn’t win.

PS: I haven’t written about the crisis in Iraq, yet, because I’m still processing what’s happening there. I’ll leave the instant commentary to people desperate to show this proves what they always believed and wanted to be true, whatever that happens to be. But I will say this: in 2009, George W. Bush, in spite of whatever mistakes his administration made from 2003-2009 in Iraq, left President Obama and Iraq Prime Minister Maliki a winnable situation; all they had to do was show prudence and wisdom. All they had to do was not screw it up.

Yet they both did just that. And I have no idea how this situation can be salvaged.

PPS: Remember the “purple finger woman” of 2005? I hope she’s alright.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Barack Obama: evil, or stupid?

June 8, 2014

Like the old IBM commercial for the NFL said, “You make the call!”

No matter what the scandal, Obama always seems not to know; he finds out about it in the morning news, like the rest of us. Fast and Furious, IRS-gate, the utter screw up of the Obamacare web site launch, you name it. His response is always an un-credible “I didn’t know.”

So, evil? Or stupid?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Tired of being a wimp? Time to Putincize!!

June 6, 2014

Oh, this is hilarious:

Hah!  smiley rofl

 

via Bryan Preston


Brutal: NY Daily News on #Bergdahl deal — “Surrender without honor”

June 4, 2014

NYDN cover

Mind you, this is from one of the liberal newspapers in New York City:

President Obama betrayed the highest obligation of his office — safeguarding national security — in trading five hard-core Taliban for the American serviceman who appears to have deserted in Afghanistan.

The five sworn enemies of the United States are now in the Gulf state of Qatar, where they are free to come and go as they like, beyond the watch of American agents. In just one year, they will be free to return to Afghanistan to fight there and stage terror attacks far beyond that country’s borders.

These facts were known to Obama when he made the deal, and yet he went ahead in irresponsible disregard for lives he has endangered. As the facts have emerged — and more surely will — it has become ever clearer that he lost his presidential compass in the Taliban swap.

In retrospect, his Rose Garden announcement that he was bringing home an American POW appears to have been a cynical act of theater.

In other words, a dog and pony show to distract from the VA fiasco. I can believe that.

Then, after dismissing Obama’s assurances about “keeping on eye” on these barbarians while they’re in Qatar, the NYDN delivers the killing blow:

Finally, Obama provided insight into the actual reason for the deal by placing it in the context of his drive to pull out of Afghanistan.

“This is what happens at the end of wars,” Obama said. “That was true for George Washington; that was true for Abraham Lincoln; that was true for FDR; that’s been true of every combat situation — that at some point, you make sure that you try to get your folks back.”

In other words, he wants out so badly that he accepted the Taliban’s terms, regardless of the threat to American security.

He is surrendering without honor.

Remember, this is from a major regional paper that’s generally on The One’s side. Can’t dismiss this one as “Faux News.”

What’s going on here, I think, is that even center-left outlets (1) are having trouble coloring this as anything other than a major “dereliction of duty” on the part of the president. They find themselves nodding in agreement with former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy at center-right PJM:

Is that the end of the matter? Not by a long shot. As I’ve also contended, the president’s failure to comply with a dubious statute is a mere footnote to his truly egregious offense: replenishing enemy forces at a time when the enemy is still conducting offensive terrorist operations against our armed forces. It would be difficult to fathom a more outrageous dereliction of duty by the commander-in-chief.

Moreover, if you want to fret over statutory violations, I would spend less time on the 30-day notice law and more on the federal criminal law that makes material support to terrorists a serious felony. The president has knowingly provided personnel—key, experienced, highly effective jihadists—to terrorist organizations that are still very much at war with the United States. That is material support to terrorism.

What Obama did was the equivalent of Eisenhower capturing senior North Korean and Chinese generals and then returning them while the fighting in Korea was still going on. If Ike were an idiot, that is, which he wasn’t.

In New York City, a metropolis that’s been the victim of catastrophic terrorism, even a paper as reliably liberal as the Daily News can’t help but scream “What in God’s name do you think you’re doing??”

If Team Unicorn expected any kudos for this “deal,” they must be gravely disappointed.

via Bryan Preston

PS: Jim Geraghty, from whom I took the graphic, has an interesting article on impressions confirmed and disproved by the Bergdahl deal. Also via Jim, is Obama so sick of being president that he’s dropping hints he may resign if the Republicans win the Senate in November? Check this out:

Obama tells anxious Democrats that there is only so much he can do beyond fundraising and better implementing the health-care law. But he also has told allies that losing the Senate to Republicans would make his last two years in office unbearable . . .

“I don’t really care to be president without the Senate,” Obama said, according to attendees, signaling that he knew the health care debacle created resentment among Democrats and that he wanted to make amends.

As Allahpundit likes to say, “Hmmm….”

Footnote:
(1) Other than MSNBC, which will be the network of Obama lickspittles until the End of Days.

UPDATE: At The Federalist, Robert Tracinski asks a darned fine question — “Why Are We Releasing Terrorists Who Kill Girls Because They Go To School?”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Bookshelf update — Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment

June 3, 2014

Renaissance scholar astrologer

I’ve updated the “What I’m reading” widget to the right to reflect the latest item on the Public Secrets lectern, former US Attorney Andrew McCarthy’s “Faithless Execution: building the case for Obama’s impeachment.”

book cover mccarthy faithless execution

 

Just started it this morning, but I can already tell that it promises to be trenchant, clearly written, and thorough, like all McCarthy’s books. It’s available in both Kindle (1) and hardcover formats.

PS: Why, yes. This is a shameless bit of shilling on my part. I like getting the occasional gift certificate that comes from people buying stuff via my link. But I still think it’s a good book.

Footnote:
(1) I’m happy to say I’ve found no typos or formatting errors, so far. These are all too common in Kindle e-books.


Why Obama’s polls will never tank with limousine liberals

May 27, 2014
"My will is enough!"

“Ruler of the New Versailles”

Historian Victor Davis Hanson writes at PJ Media about Obama’s poll numbers and why they’re not likely to hit the dismal late-term numbers of, say, George W. Bush or Harry Truman, in spite of the man’s obvious incompetence. While he discusses Obama’s support among minorities and the cover given him by  a protective media, it’s what he wrote about a third group, wealthy liberals, that I want to share:

 3) The well-off are indifferent to the Obama record, interested only in its symbolic resonance. Doctrinaire liberalism resonates mostly with the very wealthy. We see that by the voting patterns of our bluest counties, or the contributions of the very affluent. In contrast, Republicanism is mostly embedded within the middle class and upper middle class, while liberalism is a coalition of the affluent and the poor.

The result is that the Kerrys, Gores, and Pelosis are dittoed by millions of the affluent in Malibu, Silicon Valley, the Upper West Side, the university towns, Chicago, academia, the arts, highest finance, corporate America, foundations, the media, etc. Their income and accumulated wealth exempt them from worries about economic slowdowns, too much regulation, higher taxes, or the price of gas, electricity, or food. That under Obama gasoline has gone from $1.80 a gallon to $4.10 is as irrelevant as it is relevant that he has so far not built the Keystone Pipeline. That the price of meat has skyrocketed or that power bills are way up means little if global warming is at last addressed by more government.

For the liberal grandee, there is a margin of safety to ensure that the California legislature takes up questions like prohibiting the sale of Confederate insignia or ensuring restrooms for the transgendered or shutting down irrigated acreage to please the delta smelt. In their view, Obama represents their utopian dreams where an anointed technocracy (1), exempt from the messy ramifications of its own ideology, directs from on high a socially just society — diverse, green, non-judgmental, neutral abroad, tribal at home — in which an equality of result is ensured, albeit with proper exemptions for the better educated and more sophisticated, whose perks are necessary to give them proper downtime for their exhausting work on our behalf.

In other words, unlike the rest of us, the liberal elite can actually afford the society they want to impose on us all. For our own good.

And of such times are populist revolts born.

Footnote:
(1) Seems like VDH and I were thinking along the same lines. As usual, though, he says it a lot better than I.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


We’ve known for a while , but it bears repeating: Obama is monumentally incompetent

May 22, 2014
Liar.

A winning smile isn’t enough.

Writing at Commentary after Obama’s pathetic press appearance yesterday on the VA scandal, Peter Wehner wrote on the administration’s overarching theme, what future generations may most remember it for: epic incompetence. Looking first at his domestic and then his foreign failures, Wehner sums up with the Veteran’s Administration scandal:

More and more Mr. Obama speaks as if he’s a passive actor, a bystander in his own administration, an MSNBC commentator speaking about events he has no real control over. We saw that earlier today, when the president, in trying to address the public’s growing outrage at what’s happening at the VA, insisted he “will not stand for it” and “will not tolerate” what he has stood for and tolerated for almost six years. His anger at what’s happening to our veterans seems to have coincided with the political damage it is now causing him.

We’ve learned the hard way that Mr. Obama’s skill sets are far more oriented toward community organizing than they are to governing. On every front, he is overmatched by events. It’s painful to watch a man who is so obviously in over his head. And more and more Americans are suffering because of it.

In fact, Obama’s responses to the various crises and challenges of his time in office have been right in line with the modern progressive vision for the nation: we are all victims, even the President:

In his speech on the VA, the president said that he would not stand for things that he clearly and undeniably has stood for some years now, and swore that he would not tolerate that which has has been tolerating since 2009.

He’s been described as acting like a bystander to his own presidency, but it’s more like he’s a victim of it, as though the presidency were this terrible thing that just happened to him one day that he’s now courageously dealing with.

(…)

It’s a remarkable talent he has. When he was getting beat up politically for his association with that goofy racist clergyman, he lectured us on the evils of racism, as though we’d been the ones sitting in on those hateful sermons. Every time he has some spectacular screw-up, which seems to be about once a quarter, he pronounces himself outraged, as though he had not failed us but had been failed himself.

“It’s not me. It’s you.”

In his Morning Jolt newsletter, Jim Geraghty (sorry, no link available) wishes Wehner had expanded on his essay in more depth and himself offers many more examples of Obama’s failings in office, but one in particular strikes me as the reason for all the rest:

A Focus on What Matters Most:  His own staffers have described him as “impatient and disengaged” in key meetings, and the intelligence community has wondered how closely he reads his briefings. With increasing frequency, he says he learns about problems within his own administration from media reports. (See the NRCC’s new “Obama Excuses” page.) He really enjoys the good life of the presidency and doesn’t see any reason why he should limit public expenditures on himself and his family during hard economic times. He recently laughed, “That’s the good thing about being president, I can do whatever I want.

Translation: Color me shocked that a narcissist can’t see beyond himself.

Moments like these make me ask a question I never thought I’d ask: “Would Joe Biden really be all that bad?”

Of course, like I said in the subject line, we’ve known since about 2007 that Obama was unqualified to be president, though I think many of us were surprised by the depth and breadth of his incompetence. And he has more than two years left to impress us even more!

Yay?

It took a perfect storm of circumstances, including, but not limited to, an economic crisis, the desire of many to “make history” by electing the first Black president, and an MSM that was almost wholly the media arm of the Democratic Party, in order to put this bumbler in office. I’d like to think that won’t happen again anytime soon, and there’s some evidence that some folks are learning from the recent past, but one never knows until the day after election day.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Selfie administration. Updated.

May 13, 2014

"Tell me you love me!"

This opinion piece by Eliot Cohen, former State Department counselor during the George W. Bush administration, pulls no punches when dealing with the inadequacies of Team Obama. While European magazines suddenly wonder just “what America will fight for,” (1) Cohen advises not even asking the question, given the administration’s fundamental lack of maturity and judgement:

Often, members of the Obama administration speak and, worse, think and act, like a bunch of teenagers. When officials roll their eyes at Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Crimea with the line that this is “19th-century behavior,” the tone is not that different from a disdainful remark about a hairstyle being “so 1980s.” When administration members find themselves judged not on utopian aspirations or the purity of their motives—from offering “hope and change” to stopping global warming—but on their actual accomplishments, they turn sulky. As teenagers will, they throw a few taunts (the president last month said the GOP was offering economic policies that amount to a “stinkburger” or a “meanwich”) and stomp off, refusing to exchange a civil word with those of opposing views.

In a searing memoir published in January, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates describes with disdain the trash talk about the Bush administration that characterized meetings in the Obama White House. Like self-obsessed teenagers, the staffers and their superiors seemed to forget that there were other people in the room who might take offense, or merely see the world differently. Teenagers expect to be judged by intentions and promise instead of by accomplishment, and their style can be encouraged by irresponsible adults (see: the Nobel Prize committee) who give awards for perkiness and promise rather than achievement.

If the United States today looks weak, hesitant and in retreat, it is in part because its leaders and their staff do not carry themselves like adults. They may be charming, bright and attractive; they may have the best of intentions; but they do not look serious. They act as though Twitter and clenched teeth or a pout could stop invasions or rescue kidnapped children in Nigeria. They do not sound as if, when saying that some outrage is “unacceptable” or that a dictator “must go,” that they represent a government capable of doing something substantial—and, if necessary, violent—if its expectations are not met. And when reality, as it so often does, gets in the way—when, for example, the Syrian regime begins dousing its opponents with chlorine gas, as it has in recent weeks, despite solemn deals and red lines—the administration ignores it, hoping, as teenagers often do, that if they do not acknowledge a screw-up no one else will notice.

That’ll cause a snit in the Oval Office, but it’s not the first time this administration has been cited for its narcissism and lack of seriousness. Over the years I’ve several times described Obama as “callow,” most recently when talking about a George Will piece that decried the administration’s adolescent tactics.

An administration takes its overall tone from the man who heads it, the guy sitting behind the Resolute Desk. In this case, we’re stuck with a man-child who’s unable to handle the challenges the world throws in his face with sobriety and the sense of duty and tradition his office carries — and demands. And this attitude is reflected in those he hires, and those they themselves hire.

And there are still just under three years to go.

Footnote:
(1) That’s bloody rich of The Economist. Now they whine about a lack of American leadership, but, back when W was in office, they were aghast and outraged by “cowboy Americans shooting up the world.” (To paraphrase) Make up your minds, guys!

UPDATE: John Bolton weighs in, via IJR:

“I think it’s, unfortunately, typical of much of the way the administration has conducted policy these last several years. It’s all about politics and communication and spin and a lot less about performance, conducted by a lot of relatively young people who are not schooled in foreign policy. Don’t get me wrong, I love children, I just don’t think they should be in charge of our foreign policy.”

Maybe we should give them a time-out.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Benghazi: Proof of what we knew — the White House is full of lying suckweasels

April 30, 2014
American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

So, more than 19 months after four Americans –including our ambassador– died at the hands of al Qaeda allies in an attack on our consulate in Benghazi, part of the truth finally comes out: the White House political operation used the story of  a video to protect President Obama reelection, sacrificing the truth, our national security interests, and any shred of decency owed the victims’ surviving families on the altar of his political needs.

Independent reporter Sharyl Attkisson has the story:

Newly-released documents reveal direct White House involvement in steering the public narrative about the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, toward that of a spontaneous protest that never happened.

One of the operative documents, which the government had withheld from Congress and reporters for a year and a half, is an internal September 14, 2012 email to White House press officials from Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s Assistant and Deputy National Security Advisor. (Disclosure: Ben Rhodes is the brother of David Rhodes, the President of CBS News, where I was employed until March.)

In the email, Ben Rhodes lists as a “goal” the White House desire “To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure or policy.”

The email is entitled, “RE: PREP CALL with Susan, Saturday at 4:00 pm ET” and refers to White House involvement in preparing then-U.S.Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice for her upcoming appearance on Sunday television network political talk shows.

The Rhodes email states that another “goal” is “To reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.”

Via Twitchy. There’s much more, so read it all.

Remember, Obama had been claiming for months that al Qaeda was “on the run,” nearly beaten. It was one of his justifications for reelection: he had crushed our mortal enemy. Then they attacked our consulate and killed our personnel, and suddenly the whole narrative was about to fall like the house of cards it was.

This wasn’t a meeting of a group meant to deal with a foreign policy crisis. No, Rhodes was heading up a political damage control team. That’s where the priority was. Not in determining how this happened, not in pursuing our enemies, and certainly not in our Head of State and Commander in Chief taking responsibility, because that might have meant handing a cudgel to the Republicans. Jim Geraghty weighs in (emphasis added):

Yes, Rhodes’s speechwriting always focused in the foreign-policy realm. He was a longtime assistant to Lee Hamilton, then joined Obama as a speechwriter in 2007. But this guy’s not an expert on Libya. There’s no way he was in any position, from Washington, to overrule the assessment of the folks on the ground. He’s a message guy. And he quickly concluded – accurately – that the administration’s obvious ill-prepared presence in Libya, and failure to organize timely rescue efforts, on the 9/11 anniversary represented a serious threat to the president’s reelection. They needed a scapegoat; the video was the best option at hand.

That included, by the way, trampling the First Amendment rights of the video maker, who was hauled off in the middle of the night and pilloried in the press to play that scapegoat.

And before anyone says things were still unclear and they really thought the attack was a spontaneous reaction to the video, check the dates. Rhodes’ email was dated the 14th; the attack happened on the 11th. By the night of the attack, within hours, they knew that it was a terrorist strike, not an out of control riot against a video:

Minutes after the American consulate in Benghazi came under assault on Sept. 11, 2012, the nation’s top civilian and uniformed defense officials — headed for a previously scheduled Oval Office session with President Obama — were informed that the event was a “terrorist attack,” declassified documents show. The new evidence raises the question of why the top military men, one of whom was a member of the president’s Cabinet, allowed him and other senior Obama administration officials to press a false narrative of the Benghazi attacks for two weeks afterward.

Gen. Carter Ham, who at the time was head of AFRICOM, the Defense Department combatant command with jurisdiction over Libya, told the House in classified testimony last year that it was him who broke the news about the unfolding situation in Benghazi to then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The tense briefing — in which it was already known that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens had been targeted and had gone missing — occurred just before the two senior officials departed the Pentagon for their session with the commander in chief.

According to declassified testimony obtained by Fox News, Ham — who was working out of his Pentagon office on the afternoon of Sept. 11 — said he learned about the assault on the consulate compound within 15 minutes of its commencement, at 9:42 p.m. Libya time, through a call he received from the AFRICOM Command Center.

As I wrote at the time:

But now we have the testimony of the general in charge of the combat command responsible for Benghazi that he, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff regarded this as a terrorist attack — within minutes of the attack beginning! Panetta and Dempsey then went to a previously scheduled meeting with Obama at which, we’re supposed to believe, they didn’t give their boss their considered opinion? They just let him believe the massacre happened because of some video few ever saw? That they let him and his advisers go on for weeks like this, when they knew the truth?

Garbage. It is inconceivable that Obama did not know that night that our consulate had come under terrorist attack. 

And that was three days before Rhodes’ email, which can only mean this was a deliberate attempt to lie to the American people in order to save Obama’s (and Hillary’s) craven political rear ends.

No wonder they tried to keep this email secret.

RELATED: At PJM, Roger Simon says this is “worse than Watergate” and calls for impeachment.

PS: And this only answers one major question about the Benghazi massacre. Still left begging is the question of just where Obama was that night and what was his role, if he even had one. The question of Hillary’s accountability for her incompetence leading up to the disaster is a whole other matter.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Call me crazy, but George Will may be off the White House Christmas card list

April 24, 2014

crying-obama

A couple of days ago, George Will wrote a column that probably left our thin-skinned, petulant president crying for his binky — “TheAdolescent President.” Here’s an excerpt:

Recently, Barack Obama — a Demosthenes determined to elevate our politics from coarseness to elegance; a Pericles sent to ameliorate our rhetorical impoverishment — spoke at the University of Michigan. He came to that very friendly venue — in 2012, he received 67-percent of the vote in Ann Arbor’s county — after visiting a local sandwich shop, where a muse must have whispered in the presidential ear. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) had recently released his budget, so Obama expressed his disapproval by calling it, for the benefit of his academic audience, a “meanwich” and a “stinkburger.”

Try to imagine Franklin Roosevelt or Dwight Eisenhower or John Kennedy or Ronald Reagan talking like that. It is unimaginable that those grown-ups would resort to japes that fourth-graders would not consider sufficiently clever for use on a playground.

Will then described how Obama relies almost solely on four argument tactics common to teenagers: the straw man; declaring the argument over; why argue, because everything is fine; and “you’re saying no because you hate me.”  Here’s what he wrote about the second:

Adolescents also try to truncate arguments by saying that nothing remains of any arguments against their arguments. Regarding the ACA, Obama said the debate is “settled” and “over.” Progressives also say the debate about catastrophic consequences of man-made climate change is “over,” so everyone should pipe down. And they say the debates about the efficacy of universal preschool, and the cost-benefit balance of a minimum-wage increase, are over. Declaring an argument over is so much more restful than engaging with evidence.

Will’s right, of course. We do have a callow, narcissistic 13 year-old in charge whose only response when opposed is to taunt, shout-down, and denigrate. He also assumes his audience is stupid (1), which is about the only explanation for the constant lies in the face of all evidence to the contrary. (“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” being just one example, albeit a spectacular one.)

Do read the whole thing. I’m sure it left a mark.

PS: Yes, it’s true. I have no respect for Barack Obama. For his office, yes. For him, no. And he’s earned it.

Footnote:
(1) Which, to be fair, is not wholly unjustified when talking about his own supporters. They put up with so much and keep coming back for more.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Solipsism as foreign policy: Russia, America, and Cold War II

April 7, 2014
"Tell me you love me!"

Self-absorption

There’s a very interesting long essay by John Schindler at XX Committee that examines the ideological components of “Putinism”inter alia a rejection of Western, and especially American, post-modernism; the assertion of national sovereignty; ethnic Great Russian nationalism; and an alliance with the Russian Orthodox Church to protect “spiritual values”– and I think it’s well worth your time to read it. One section I want to quote, however, analyzes the difficulty progressive, postmodern Western elites have when it comes to “getting” Putin and Russia:

This is simply because we are WEIRD. That’s social science shorthand for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic – and nobody is WEIRDer than Americans. In the last several decades many Americans, and essentially all our elites, have internalized a worldview based on affluence, individualism, and secularism that makes us unique, globally speaking. So much so that we seem unable to comprehend that there actually are opposing viewpoints out there.

Barack Obama, by virtue of his diverse ethnic and religious background and elite education, is almost an ideal stand-in for the WEIRD demographic, as he embodies so many things WEIRDos admire: education, affluence, diversity, progressive social views, etc. He comes close to being almost the perfect post-modern American, which perhaps is why so many Americans of that bent adore him deeply. Thus when President Obama says he detects no ideological rivalry with Putin’s Russia, he undoubtedly speaks the truth as he sees it.

Americans of all stripes have a well-honed ability to ignore inconvenient facts, and our better educated citizens seem particularly prone to this (as I noted with our “expert” inability to see what North Korea believes, even though they aren’t shy about it). At root, I suspect Obama and many Americans refuse to accept the in-our-face reality of Putin and his regime because they represent a past version of ourselves, caught up in retrograde views that are entirely unacceptable to our elites, therefore they pretend they do not exist, because they don’t actually exist in their world.

Simply put, Vladimir Putin is the stuff of Western progressive nightmares because he’s what they thought they’d gotten past. He’s a traditional male with “outmoded” views on, well, everything: gender relations, race, sexual identity, faith, the use of violence, the whole retrograde package. Putin at some level is the Old White Guy that post-moderns fear and loathe, except this one happens to control the largest country on earth plus several thousand nuclear weapons – and he hates us.

It’s solipsism as foreign policy. Our governing elites, closeted in their various ivory towers, simply can’t conceive of worldviews that operate in a wholly different paradigm. So convinced they are that their views are self-evidently right, that they cannot imagine that another elite might strongly believe in something wholly at odds with their own assumptions. John Kerry’s admonition to Putin that countries “simply don’t act that way in the 21st century” is a stellar example; he seemed equally angry, dumbfounded, and aghast, as if he had trouble processing unexpected data. It’s similar to the problems we as a largely secular society have with dealing with Iran’s mullahs, a faction of which wishes to bring about a Shi’ite “end times”“They couldn’t really believe that, could they??”

This inability to see others as they see themselves and not as “just like us” and to understand what they value is going to make it very hard to conduct a successful foreign policy against a newly-aggressive Russia, especially if, as Schindler believes, we’re headed for Cold War II.


The thrill is gone: networks refuse prime time slot for Obama speech

April 4, 2014
Feeling rejected.

Feeling rejected.

Oh, how this must pain the soul of our Narcissist in Chief. Remember the halcyon days of Hope and Change in his first term, when it seemed like he was making a national address every week? Joint sessions of Congress, prime time press conferences, the networks just couldn’t get enough Obama.

Someone cue B.B. King, because the thrill is gone, baby:

White House officials sought valuable primetime air for a rare, impromptu Tuesday night address to tout the accomplishment of signing up more than 7 million people under the Affordable Care Act.

But network officials refused to make the kind of accommodation they did previously for the announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, for instance, and Obama was left instead cutting into the much smaller audiences of Ellen and other daytime shows.

Three sources familiar with the request confirmed the White House asked for the primetime slot in their effort both to emphasize a bright moment following the challenging roll out and, more important, to try to reintroduce the country to a law that remains unpopular.

Oh, man. “No, you can’t interrupt NCIS. But, hey, we’ll let you cut into Ellen, champ.” How far our modern Icarus has fallen. Could it be even the major networks knew the 7 million sign ups “milestone” was just a bunch of smoke?

Regardless, it’s a sign both of the growing irrelevance of Obama as he moves further into lame-duck status and that the fight over this train-wreck of a law isn’t over, no matter how many they claim to have signed up. The major networks aren’t going to give up valuable commercial revenue just to satisfy Obama’s need to take a victory lap.

This calls for a song. Hit it, B.B.!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Russia on the march: 10 reasons Putin is likely to invade eastern Ukraine

March 30, 2014
"I won"

“Can’t touch this.”

There’s a good article by Michael Weiss giving a list of reasons why Russia’s Vladimir Putin is probably going to make a move soon to take over Ukraine’s largely ethnic-Russian eastern regions. It’s well-worth reading; Weiss covers the realities of power, political considerations, and Russian military movements (1). He also brings up a motive that’s psychological, but I think it fits. Let’s see what you think:

2. Putin enjoys embarrassing the United States, and especially its current commander-in-chief.

On Feb. 28, Obama warned that “there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine” — before high-tailing it to a Democratic National Committee cocktail party at the Washington Hilton. The next day, the world awoke to a Russian invasion of Crimea. “Rarely has a threat from a U.S. president been dismissed as quickly — and comprehensively — as Obama’s warning on Friday night,” the Washington Post’s Scott Wilson reported. And let’s look at the laundry list of American desires and warnings the Kremlin has brushed aside: Russia has dramatically increased its arms transfers to Syria since the chemical disarmament deal was struck last fall. It continues to host fugitive NSA spy Edward Snowden. And during the midst of the Maidan protests, Russia’s own spies intercepted a phone call between a top U.S. State Department official and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, then leaked the contents of it to Kremlin-controlled media. Moreover, neither Putin nor his inner circle seem terribly aggravated by the current suite of U.S. or EU sanctions or the blockbuster admission by the Treasury Department that Putin — now a staunch patriotic proponent of the “de-offshoreization” of the Russian economy – personally controls assets in Swiss oil commodities giant Gunvor.

While I would never argue that psychological motives are paramount –Putin’s too much of a power realist to fool himself with petty self-gratifications– I’m sure they’re there. Vladimir Putin is an ex-KGB officer, trained to be brutal when necessary. His goals are those of every Russian ruler since the Mongols were driven out: seeking the security of Russia by dominating the states around her and keeping powerful foes at a distance. In America, he sees a nation in short-term decline, creating an opportunity for him to advance those goals. In Obama, he sees a weak, out of his depth, would-be academic beta-male whom he, Vladimir Putin, almost a caricature of the alpha-male, can intimidate to seize that opportunity.

In short, Putin sees Obama as his [you fill in the word] and loves showing that to the world.

You can bet he plans to enjoy that feeling again, soon.

Footnote:
(1) They’re deploying field hospitals. That’s a significant sign it itself.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obama fights against US coal exports

March 24, 2014
In Obama's crosshairs

In Obama’s crosshairs

I’m not sure what the people of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Colorado did to Barack Obama –after all, they gave him the electoral votes he needed to win reelection– but he sure has it in for their major exports and the jobs they create:

The leaders also announced that the Netherlands was joining the U.S. and other countries in an effort to stop the international funding of new coal-fired power plants by development banks.

“We’re pleased that the Netherlands has joined our initiative that will virtually end all public financing for coal-fired plants abroad,” Obama said. “It’s concrete action like this that can keep making progress on reducing emissions while we develop new global agreements on climate change.”

Per Bryan Preston, the US is the world’s second largest coal exporter, and each million tons exported creates over 1,300 jobs. Now, why on Earth would an American president work so hard against American economic interests, especially in difficult times with such large numbers of people unemployed and under-employed? It’s almost as if he sees American power as a problem, something to be solved by managed decline… Nah, couldn’t be.

I sorely wish more people in those coal-mining states had seen the danger Obama poses to their own livelihoods and the nation’s well-being; I’ve little doubt we’d be in a better situation right now, if they had. But that’s done, and now we have to work to convince voters that any Democrat nominee in 2016 is going to be beholden to the same radical environmentalist interests that Obama is placating with this initiative. Those factions are not interested in mitigating the problems with coal use until a genuine replacement comes along or with good conservation practices in its mining: they want to ban it outright, now, and the consequences be damned for communities reliant on its extraction and an economy dependent on the energy it produces.

And, right now, they have their guy in office.

Read the rest of Preston’s report for the international implications of this agreement.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare: “You’re going to lose your doctor, but it will cost less!”

March 14, 2014
No way!!

He said what??

Okay, the president is trolling us again. Someone tell him it’s not funny.

Courtesy of Moe Lane:

You know, I honestly cannot figure out if President Obama is a clueless nitwit, or if he thinks we are. Maybe it’s a bit of both.

In the meantime, perhaps the president would like to talk to the owners of the Republique restaurant here in Los Angeles, who had to tack on a surcharge because Obamacare made their employee health plans more expensive? Or how about Steve Duschene of Redondo Beach, who saw his premiums and co-pays skyrocket, the latter tripling in the event of an emergency room visit? And if you figure “he lives in Redondo, so he can afford it,” then what about the family of German Campos and Andrea Redamonti, of working-class Chico, CA, whose new save-money insurance saw the premium increase to $800 per month — with a $15,000 deductible? Maybe Obama should have a beer-summit with Rev. Kathi Rose of Wisconsin, who was forced to give up the insurance she liked and buy a policy that costs $4,000 per year more? And if none of these people impress him, maybe he’ll listen to his allies? People like liberal pundit Kirsten Powers, or Don Taylor, head of the Unite Here union? I’m sure they’d be happy to explain to Obama how they’re saving money…

These are just a very few of the examples of people NOT saving money, thanks to Obamacare, I found with just a few minutes scrolling through the Public Secrets archives.

Maybe the president should take a look, himself.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Bit by bit, Obama repeals #Obamacare, so Republicans don’t have to. Updated: Sebelius denies delay?

March 12, 2014
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

It’s long been known that the individual mandate is the foundation of the Affordable Care Act. Without the requirement for healthy young people to buy more insurance than they need or pay a penalty tax protection money, there would never be enough revenue coming into the system to pay for the elderly and those with preexisting conditions. And amidst all the waivers (1) and delays for unions and businesses claiming hardship under the new law, the one thing they’ve refused to rescind was the individual mandate, itself.

Until last week, when it was done in secret:

ObamaCare’s implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care Act—the individual mandate. To wit, last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty.

This latest political reconstruction has received zero media notice, and the Health and Human Services Department didn’t think the details were worth discussing in a conference call, press materials or fact sheet. Instead, the mandate suspension was buried in an unrelated rule that was meant to preserve some health plans that don’t comply with ObamaCare benefit and redistribution mandates. Our sources only noticed the change this week.

That seven-page technical bulletin includes a paragraph and footnote that casually mention that a rule in a separate December 2013 bulletin would be extended for two more years, until 2016. Lo and behold, it turns out this second rule, which was supposed to last for only a year, allows Americans whose coverage was cancelled to opt out of the mandate altogether.

The WSJ article then goes through the various classes of exempted individuals and what they have to do to claim that exemption, but the short version is that if you feel you’ve been burdened or harmed by Obamacare –including not being able to afford the new, more expensive even though subsidized policies mandated by Obamacare– you can have a two-year hardship exception based solely on your word.

Yes, you read that right: our new, wonderful, Heaven-on-Earth healthcare-for-all law is now recognized as such a problem that people have to be exempted from obeying it.

Why are they doing this, you ask, since it’s sure to throw the ACA’s finances even more out of whack? Why are they gutting the core of the bill that has been a progressive dream since at least Truman? Trust me, it’s not from empathy for the very people the law is harming.

Have a look at this article from the Conservative Intelligence Briefing and this other from National Journal. (And, for a laugh, this desperate spin from DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. (2) ) Both deal with the possible fallout from the Republican win in the special election in Florida’s 13th congressional district, one the Democrats thought they had a good chance to win against a flawed Republican candidate.

Instead, they lost, and a good part of the reason was popular anger over Obamacare (3). And now they’re looking at possibly losing seats in the House, in addition to an increasingly-likely loss of their Senate majority.

None of this is guaranteed, of course, but it’s a scary-enough prospect to have them reaching for the whisky bottle while quietly throwing Obamacare’s key provision under the bus, a move that stinks of desperation.

This is significant not just for its electoral consequence, either. Once exceptions like these are granted, it will be danged hard for Obama or a future Democrat president to take them back  and start enforcing the rules (4). And with The One establishing the precedent that the president can ignore laws that are inconvenient to him, what’s to stop a future Republican president from ignoring the ACA altogether?

The Republican-dominated House has voted roughly 50 times to repeal Obamacare since taking control in 2011. I think they can take a breather.

Bit by bit, Obama is repealing it for them.

via Salena Zito and Ben Domenech

PS: I agree with Josh Blackman. Republicans should send opt-out forms to all their constituents — and the Democrats’, too.

PPS: For those who are having trouble affording insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the president suggests cutting back on cable TV and cell phone use. No, really.

Footnote:
(1) And that was just through 1Q 2011…
(2) That is, the race-baiting Debbie Wasserman-Schultz
(3) As Jim Geraghty points out, Republicans have, thank God, improved their ground-game, too.
(4) Do you really think he’s going to reimpose them in 2016, just as the presidential race heats up? No way…

UPDATE: Sebelius denying there’s been a delay to the individual mandate? Hmmm…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Did Obama threaten state governors?

March 10, 2014
Not likely to be bullied.

Not likely to be bullied.

Via Moe Lane, that’s sure what it sounds like in the video below. Rick Perry of Texas was speaking as part of a panel at the Republican Governors Association late last February; the group had had a meeting (1) with President Obama, and what he told them left Governor Perry disturbed. Here’s the video, followed by a transcript.

“When you have governors, and we all compete against each other — we are the laboratories of innovation — and for the President of the United States to look Democrat and Republican governors in the eye and say, ‘I do not trust you to make decisions in your state about issues of education, about transportation infrastructure,’ — and that is really troubling,” he said.


Perry expressed his own fears regarding Environmental Protection Agency restrictions choking off America’s energy production and a possible reduction in his state’s national guard.

“As a matter of fact, he [Obama] said at that meeting, he said, ‘If I hear any of you pushing back, making statements about Washington spends too much money, you’ll hear from me,” he said, adding, “I’m highly offended by that.”

Obama takes everything personally, doesn’t he? Criticize him or oppose his policies as part of the normal give and take of politics, and to him it’s a personal affront. And, if you offend him, perhaps by speaking out on behalf of the people of your state, by God you’re going to hear from Obama, himself!

That is the mark of a thin-skinned, petty personality. A punk. And weren’t the Democrats supposed to be against “bullying?”

It’s also telling about how he sees the governors: not as fellow heads of state and government, with their own experiences and perspectives to draw on (2), but as errand boys. It’s how someone who grew up in the Chicago thugocracy works. “Federalism? Just shut up and do what you’re told – or else.”

Perry’s remarks about the threat to the state national guards are well-taken, too; not only do the guard units provide invaluable reserves of skills, knowledge, and talent to fill out the military in wartime, but governors rely on their guard units to deal with all sorts of emergencies, from riots to disaster relief.

Seems to me Governor Perry and his colleagues were right to be perturbed.

Footnotes:
(1) I think this was the same meeting after which Louisiana Governor Jindal and Connecticut Governor Malloy went after each other a bit.
(2) Many of whom had far more executive experience prior to taking office and far better records of accomplishment in office than a certain president I can think of.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Did Obama know the CIA was spying on the Senate Intel Committee?

March 5, 2014
"Listening in"

“Listening in”

I’m with Bryan Preston on this one. If this is true, then… Wow:

A leading US senator has said that President Obama knew of an “unprecedented action” taken by the CIA against the Senate intelligence committee, which has apparently prompted an inspector general’s inquiry at Langley.

The subtle reference in a Tuesday letter from Senator Mark Udall to Obama, seeking to enlist the president’s help in declassifying a 6,300-page inquiry by the committee into torture carried out by CIA interrogators after 9/11, threatens to plunge the White House into a battle between the agency and its Senate overseers.

McClatchy and the New York Times reported Wednesday that the CIA had secretly monitored computers used by committee staffers preparing the inquiry report, which is said to be scathing not only about the brutality and ineffectiveness of the agency’s interrogation techniques but deception by the CIA to Congress and policymakers about it. The CIA sharply disputes the committee’s findings.

Udall, a Colorado Democrat and one of the CIA’s leading pursuers on the committee, appeared to reference that surreptitious spying on Congress, which Udall said undermined democratic principles.

“As you are aware, the CIA has recently taken unprecedented action against the committee in relation to the internal CIA review and I find these actions to be incredibly troubling for the Committee’s oversight powers and for our democracy,” Udall wrote to Obama on Tuesday.

Preston expects Udall to walk the bold part back soon, perhaps saying he was misinterpreted or taken out of context. But, I wonder. Udall is in an increasingly difficult reelection bid in Colorado, and “standing tall” against abuses of power by an unpopular president might be what his campaign needs.

That aside, if Obama really knew about –and thus at least tacitly approved– espionage by the CIA against a co-equal branch of the government, that raises huge issues, not just of statutory violations, but a constitutional crisis, too.

If it’s as bad as it looks at first glance –If– the House would have to consider impeachment.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Humorous headline of the day, @BarackObama edition

March 3, 2014

Politico gathered several writers to talk about how Obama would handle the Ukraine crisis. And, knowing that journal and it’s love for The One, I’m sure the headline writer was deadly serious:

Obama steel spine

“Aluminum foil” more readily comes to mind, if you ask me.

 


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