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.

 


Asking for trouble: the Obama-Hagel defense budget

February 25, 2014
U.S. Navy, post-Obama

U.S. Navy, post-Obama

Long ago, the Roman writer Vegetius wrote perhaps the wisest thing anyone has ever written regarding war and peace:

“If you want peace, prepare for war.”

In other words, if your potential foes know you are strong, that you are willing to use force to defend your interests, and that they are not likely to win, then they will not pick a fight with you.

President Obama and his dullard Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, have evidently never read Vegetius:

Stating that a postwar environment was the time to do some shrinking, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled a budget proposal Monday that reduces the Army to pre-World War II levels despite “a world that is growing more volatile, more unpredictable, and in some instances more threatening to the United States.”

“Our force structure and modernization recommendations are rooted in three realities: first, after Iraq and Afghanistan, we are no longer sizing the military to conduct long and large stability operations; second, we must maintain our technological edge over potential adversaries; and, third, the military must be ready and capable to respond quickly to all contingencies and decisively defeat any opponent should deterrence fail,” Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon today.

You can read the details in Bridget Johnson’s article, but, quickly, the Army would be reduced to 450,000 soldiers, the Marine Corps to 182,000, the Navy would be kept at 11 carrier battle groups (unless further cuts are needed), and, among other cuts, the Air Force would eliminate its entire force of A-10 “warthog” ground-support aircraft. I’m sure infantrymen everywhere are thrilled with that one.

Hagel’s opening statement is nonsensical: in one breath he proposes devastating cuts to our military capabilities, while, in the other, he claims (rightly) that the world is growing “more volatile, more unpredictable,” and “more threatening.” When he claims this configuration will allow us to defend ourselves from foes by relying on high tech, he ignores his own assertion that the world is unpredictable. Who knew on September 10th, 2001, in the wake of the Clinton-era defense cuts, that we would find ourselves in a war that required liberating and occupying two nations? While we are leaving Afghanistan and have left Iraq (God help them), we are still at war with a transnational terror group waging holy war against us. What if they should take over another country as a base (Syria? Mali? Iraq, again?)?  Do we then shrug our shoulders and say “No can do?” What if North Korea decides to invade the South, again? Those A-10s will be sorely missed, I guarantee it.

Those are just two among the myriad possible threats we face as dictators grow emboldened by our feckless leadership. When Ronald Reagan launched our military buildup in the 1980s, it wasn’t just to have plenty of ships and tanks on hand, it was to demonstrate a will to resist the world’s tyrants, so that they would make no miscalculation. The Obama-Hagel defense cuts, on the other hand send just the opposite message, one of weakness and a lack of confidence, of opportunity for the enemy because this administration is renouncing our traditional role as guarantor of a liberal world order.

And it’s deliberate. In an essay that now seems truly prescient, Charles Krauthammer made it plain that, for an ideology that sees American power as a problem, not a solution, for the world’s challenges, decline is a choice, one made in sacrifice to the desire to turn the US into a gelded European social democracy:

This is not the place to debate the intrinsic merits of the social democratic versus the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism. There’s much to be said for the decency and relative equity of social democracy. But it comes at a cost: diminished social mobility, higher unemployment, less innovation, less dynamism and creative destruction, less overall economic growth.

This affects the ability to project power. Growth provides the sinews of dominance–the ability to maintain a large military establishment capable of projecting power to all corners of the earth. The Europeans, rich and developed, have almost no such capacity. They made the choice long ago to devote their resources to a vast welfare state. Their expenditures on defense are minimal, as are their consequent military capacities. They rely on the U.S. Navy for open seas and on the U.S. Air Force for airlift. It’s the U.S. Marines who go ashore, not just in battle, but for such global social services as tsunami relief. The United States can do all of this because we spend infinitely more on defense–more than the next nine countries combined.

Those are the conditions today. But they are not static or permanent. They require constant renewal. The express agenda of the New Liberalism is a vast expansion of social services–massive intervention and expenditures in energy, health care, and education–that will necessarily, as in Europe, take away from defense spending.

This shift in resources is not hypothetical. It has already begun. At a time when hundreds of billions of dollars are being lavished on stimulus and other appropriations in an endless array of domestic programs, the defense budget is practically frozen. Almost every other department is expanding, and the Defense Department is singled out for making “hard choices”–forced to look everywhere for cuts, to abandon highly advanced weapons systems, to choose between readiness and research, between today’s urgencies and tomorrow’s looming threats.

That was in 2009, and now we’re seeing the inevitable product of that vast expansion of the welfare state. And the world is going to become much more dangerous because of it.

To paraphrase Vegetius, “If you want war, pretend your enemy wants peace.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obama declares it a crime to disobey his illegal law, which would be illegal to obey

February 12, 2014
Approved by Juan Peron!

Approved by Juan Peron!

As part of my post yesterday on Juan Domingo Obama’s latest and almost certainly illegal rewriting of the Affordable Care Act to delay the employer mandate for another year for businesses with 50-99 employees, I noted that the administration, with no supporting legislation, unilaterally created a felony. In a usurpation of congressional authority, Treasury is requiring businesses taking advantage of the waiver to attest that they are not letting employees go because of the waiver, under penalty of perjury.

To put it another way, the Obama administration is declaring it a federal crime to make a logical business decision if you do so to take advantage of illegal rules written by the Obama administration.

And you thought 1984 was fiction.

This would have Andrew McCarthy’s head spinning, too, except he’s too busy being outraged at the lawlessness of it all:

So now Obama, like a standard-issue leftist dictator, is complementing lawlessness with socialist irrationality.

Think about how lunatic this is. There is nothing even faintly illegal about businesses’ – indeed, all economic actors’ – making financial decisions based on tax consequences. (And remember, notwithstanding Obama’s misrepresentations to the contrary, Obamacare mandates are taxes – as Obama’s Justice Department argued and as Chief Justice Roberts & Co. concluded.) The tax consequences of Obamacare are profound – that is precisely the reason that Obama is “waiving” them. No responsible officers in a corporation of relevant size would fail to take them into account in making the decision to staff at over or under 100 employees; in determining whether some full-time employees should be terminated or shifted to part-time; or in making any number of the decisions Obamacare’s mind-numbing complexity requires.

The officers’ responsibility is to the owners of the company, the shareholders. The business exists to create value, not to provide employment – employing workers is a function of the value added to the enterprise, not the need to create a more favorable election environment for the statist political party. Corporate officers who overlooked material tax consequences would be unfit to be corporate officers.

What is illegal and irrational is not a company’s commonsense deliberation over its costs, it is Obama’s edict. And look what attends this one: criminal prosecution if Obama’s Justice Department decides the business has falsely certified that its staffing decision was not motivated by Obamacare.

And, as McCarthy points out, if a company does take advantage of the waiver, regardless of the reason for doing so, it is in violation of the ACA as written, because the fine revenue is owed to the public, not the president. He has no authority forego its collection. Talk about being between the proverbial rock and a hard place: a company can pass on the waiver, even though it makes economic sense for them, thus breaking its fiduciary duty to its owners, or it could take advantage of it and face the threat of prosecution from two directions.

Heads you lose, tails you lose.

And so does the Rule of Law.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Oh, gee. Another illegal #Obamacare delay by King Barack I

February 11, 2014
"My will is enough!"

“We have a pen and a phone!”

Legal dictionaries define the word “usurpation” thus:

The illegal encroachment or assumption of the use of authority, power, or property properly belonging to another; the interruption or disturbance of an individual in his or her right or possession.

The term usurpation is also used in reference to the unlawful assumption or seizure of sovereign power, in derogation of the constitution and rights of the proper ruler.

–West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

In which case, what are we to make of this news:

The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it was again extending the ObamaCare enrollment deadline for people with pre-existing conditions.

The administration said it would extend the Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan (PCIP), slated to end Jan. 31, until March 15.

“As part of our continuing effort to help smooth consumers’ transition into Marketplace coverage, we are allowing those covered by PCIP additional time to shop for new coverage while they receive the ongoing care and treatment they need,” Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in a statement.

The deadline was originally at the end of December, but last month, the administration pushed it back through January because of the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov.

The new extension is just the latest in a string of unilateral delays the administration has implemented to buy time after the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov.

By “unilateral,” the author means “done without any statutory authority from Congress, the body charged under the constitution with writing and rewriting our laws.”

Or, in a word, “usurpation.”

But that’s not the only one (hat tip ST):

Republicans renewed their calls to delay or repeal ObamaCare Monday after the Obama administration announced another delay in the requirement for businesses to provide health coverage to workers, giving some employers a reprieve next year while phasing in the mandate for others.

The administration had already delayed the implementation of the so-called employer mandate by a year, initially pushing the requirements off until 2015 — past the midterm elections. In a concession to business, though, Treasury Department officials announced Monday that the administration would not enforce the rules across the board next year.

(…)

As a result of the delay, the administration will let employers with 50 to 99 employees off the hook in 2015. They’ll be required to report on how many workers are covered but will have until 2016 before being required to cover full-time staff or pay a penalty. Americans would still be required to obtain health insurance through what’s known as the individual mandate.

In other words, they’re giving a break to some employers, but not others, with, again, no legal authority to do so. This isn’t “prosecutorial discretion,” as the administration has tried sometimes to claim, but the seizure of legislative authority by the Executive to effectively rewrite an inconvenient law.

Usurpation.

And, in the same article, Gabriel Malor found this gem:

To answer Gabe’s question, I’m willing to bet one could look high and low in the ACA and never find the authority.

But think about that highlighted portion and what follows: the Treasury, an executive department under the presidency, is unilaterally creating a criminal offense, a felony. Legislature? They don’t need no steenkin’ legislature! They’ll just rewrite the law as they see fit and then declare it a crime not to obey. (1)

To usurpation, then, let’s add “tyranny:”

a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler; especially :  one characteristic of an ancient Greek city-state.

“Tyranny” and “usurpation” have a much more meaningful ring to them than “overreach,” don’t you think? Why, I can hear Jefferson sharpening his pen, even now.

Under our Madisonian system, institutional jealousy is supposed to keep the various branches from encroaching on each other’s constitutional prerogatives, but, for various reasons, those barriers eroded over the last century, especially since the New Deal.

The remedies Congress has for these usurpations are few and clumsy, the two most relevant being the refusal to allocate funds, and impeachment. So why not impeach President Obama?

Like Andrew McCarthy, while I’m convinced impeachment is well-warranted, I don’t believe the necessary political will among the public yet exists to carry it out. (2) In fact, I contend that the resulting political crisis, given that the Senate would never convict absent direct evidence that Obama ax-murdered someone in the Oval Office, wouldn’t be worth the destruction of Republicans’ electoral prospects in the coming midterm elections, which, thanks to Obamacare, are looking better and better. With control of both chambers starting in 2015 (3), Republicans and conservatives will be in a much better position to geld the White House and send Obama even more often to the links.

And that’s the real solution to Obama’s usurpations and petty tyrannies: a good, old-fashioned election. As Clint Eastwood said, “We own this country.” It’s time for the owners to take charge.

PS: Some relevant humor from Slublog.

RELATED: Obamacare and the corruption of the rule of law. Yuval Levin on the “Adhocracy.”

Footnote:
(1) God, but I’d love to see this tested in federal court and watch a judge shove this back in the administration’s face like a grapefruit wielded by Jimmy Cagney.
(2) This was the big mistake of the Clinton impeachment, which was also merited: Clinton was well-liked by the public, and so the public consensus did not exist that would otherwise have pressured senators into convicting him. A drastic move like this in a republic requires public support a priori to be successful.
(3) I hope.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


In which George Will makes @BarackObama cry

February 9, 2014
"Magic president"

“Magic president”

Oh, this is going to leave a mark. George Will has an absolutely brutal column in Friday’s Washington Post on President Obama’s apparent naive faith that saying something is true makes it true:

Barack Obama, the first president shaped by the celebratory culture in which every child who plays soccer gets a trophy and the first whose campaign speeches were his qualification for the office, perhaps should not be blamed for thinking that saying things is tantamount to accomplishing things, and that good intentions are good deeds. So, his presidency is useful after all, because it illustrates the perils of government run by believers in magic words and numbers.

The last progressive president promised Model Cities, with every child enjoying a Head Start en route to enjoying an Upward Bound into a Great Society. Today’s progressive president also uses words — and numbers — magically emancipated from reality.

Here’s one example:

The workforce participation rate is at a 36-year low; in the second half of the fifth year of the recovery, a smaller fraction of the population is employed or looking for work than was when the recovery began. Nevertheless, the administration is cheerful about the Congressional Budget Office’s conclusion that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will substantially slow the growth of employment and compensation over the next decade.

The decrease is projected to be nearly three times larger than the CBO had previously predicted. The ACA’s insurance subsidies, which decline with rising income and increase with falling income, will cause many people to choose to stop working, or to work less, or to stop looking for work, thereby reducing the number of hours worked by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time jobs by 2021.

An administration spokesman did not dispute the CBO’s key finding but hailed it as evidence that the ACA is increasing Americans’ choices. Really.

In reality, it’s a form of  Orwell’s “Newspeak,” a controlled language the purpose of which is to control the thoughts of the speaker, as well as the listener. Are productive hours being lost to the economy because of Obamacare? Well, that’s a good thing. Did Obama demand Bashar Assad leave power? (1) Well, he’s still there and Director of National Intelligence Clapper says he’s stronger now than when the president delivered his command. But, that’s okay, you see, because victory has now been defined as a minuscule reduction in Assad’s chemical weapons stocks, and that’s the way it’s always been, prole.

And Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. The Obama administration’s magical words make it so.

Be sure to read the whole thing.

via Brit Hume

Footnote:
(1) I can’t resist reminding readers that, when George W. Bush issued an ultimatum, he carried through on it. And world leaders took him seriously, unlike the current holder of the office.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Benghazi: Obama lied in his Super Bowl Interview

February 3, 2014
American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

I didn’t watch the Super Bowl (1), so I not only missed that, but Bill O’Reilly’s pre-game interview with President Obama. Given that we’re talking about two of my least favorite people in public life, I don’t think I missed much skipping this, either.

But then I came across a Washington Examiner article yesterday about the interview, specifically, the portion dealing with the massacre in Benghazi and did a double take. I couldn’t let this pass:

“That is inaccurate,” Obama said of Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly’s suggestion that the administration sought to sweep under the terrorist-nature of the attack in the final months of his 2012 re-election campaign.

“We revealed to the American people what we knew at the time,” said Obama.

In a contentious pre-Super Bowl interview with O’Reilly, Obama said early on during the attack — when then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta informed him about the assault — that U.S. officials did not tell him exactly who was involved.

“People understood at the time that something very dangerous was happening,” Obama said. “In the aftermath what became clear was the security was lax — not all the precautions that should have been taken were taken.”

This is a family show, so I can’t use the first words that came to mind, so I’ll just leave it at “Mr. President, you lie like a rug.”

Let take a little walk back in time, shall we, and see just what people knew the night that consulate was attacked:

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.

Emphasis added. As I asked at the time, by what logic can anyone argue that the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff would go to a meeting with the president in the midst of a crisis and not tell him what they just learned?

“Didn’t tell me exactly who was involved?” Hello? Does 9/11/12 give you a hint, sir? Or how about the weeks of threatening behavior and outright attacks on Western targets in Benghazi itself before the assault? You may not have known which exact splinter group of the local al Qaeda franchise did this, but the general affiliation was clear that night.

Oh, but later in the O’Reilly interview Obama says “any attack on a US facility is a terrorist attack.” This is the same misdirection he tried in his public statement the day after the Benghazi incident, when he talked of a generic terrorism, not the specifics of what happened that night.

The fact is that for weeks after the event, based on a hastily concocted series of talking points, the decision was made to blame a crappy video that few ever saw (2) and turn the maker, a two-bit crook whose constitutional rights were shredded, into a scapegoat to deflect blame from the administration’s incompetence.

In short, O’Reilly was right and Barack Obama, again, lied.

And still not a single one from among the attackers has paid any sort of price for killing four Americans.

PS: Yeah, yeah. I know: “Obama lied” is a redundancy.

Footnote:
(1) Thank God. Who kidnapped the Broncos and replaced them with a JV high school team?
(2) Journalist Lee Stranahan makes a persuasive argument that the video played some role and that critics dismiss it at the risk of weakening their own arguments. In my own view, however, the video was more pretext than cause.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


He’s the Smartest President Ever, so give him easy words

January 27, 2014
Liar.

No big words, please

From Florida’s Shark Tank via Jim Geraghty’s Morning jolt, it seems we have an explanation for the “Polish death camps” kerfuffle that roiled relations between our two countries a while back.

His speechwriter was trying to protect him:

In an exclusive audio file furnished by Shark Tank reporter, Special K, the President’s $75K a year speechwriter, Kyle O’Connor, who wrote the speech in question, discussed how this gaffe really came about during a talk he had with a group of college kids in Washington, D.C.

O’Connor stated that he was concerned about the pronunciation of the name of the death camp, so he opted to remove the name from the speech, and replace it with “Polish death camp.”

According to O’Connor, all of Obama’s “Wizards of Smart” didn’t  catch the gaffe, and signed off on it, but after the political excrement hit the fan, O’Connor was told that it was not a big deal, that, “ no one could have caught it.”

Per Power Line (h/t Geraghty), the camp’s name was “Belzec.” Yep. Real toughie, there.

As for “not a big deal,” if you’ll recall, the Poles were none too happy that Nazi death camps were attributed to them, thanks to sloppy speech writing. “No one would have caught it?” Pardon me? Just how ignorant are these people? The Holocaust is one of the most horrific events in human history, and the Nazis placed many of the camps in occupied Poland. No one ran this speech by the guy on the East European desk at State? Surely, after he was done spit-taking, he would have gently informed (1) the White House they were about to gravely insult an ally. Again.

Once again, no one in this administration was held responsible for their performance. Instead, the whole thing became a standing joke involving camps where genocide took place. Read the rest for the punch line.

If the words “juvenile” and “callow” come to mind when you think of this administration, you’re not far off.

Footnote:
(1) As in screaming his lungs out.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Consistency: Obama lied *before* #Benghazi, too

January 15, 2014
American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

I know it will come to a shock to you –well, at least that portion of you that has been hiding under a rock for the last five years– but the man we chose twice to head our government lied through his teeth about taking steps to ensure our facilities in Libya were protected before September 11th, 2012.

That’s the latest revelation from newly declassified transcripts of House hearings held last spring on the circumstances surrounding the Benghazi massacre, in which four Americans died. FOX’s James Rosen reports:

On Sept. 10, 2012 — the day before Al Qaeda-linked terrorists carried out the bloody assault on the U.S. consulate and a related annex in Benghazi — the White House Press Office issued a press release entitled “Readout of the President’s Meeting with Senior Administration Officials on Our Preparedness and Security Posture on the Eleventh Anniversary of September 11th.”

A set of “Top Secret” documents obtained by Fox News reveals that the nation’s highest-ranking uniformed military officer, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified to Congress in executive session last year that the Sept. 10 meeting “was actually a conference call.” Moreover, Dempsey testified, Libya was never even discussed during the call, despite a persistent and increasingly worrisome stream of threat reporting from that country, and from Benghazi in particular.

The Sept. 10 press release stated that the session had covered the “specific measures we are taking” and “steps taken” to protect Americans and U.S. facilities abroad. It also related an order from President Obama for all agencies to “do everything possible to protect the American people, both at home and abroad.”

Yet the declassified documents show that Dempsey testified to the Congress last year that not a single directive had been issued by him or Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to adjust American military force posture anywhere in the world as the 9/11 anniversary loomed just hours away.

(Emphases added.)

In other words, this was all showboating to preserve the narrative that al Qaeda was on the run and to protect the President’s reelection campaign. That “order” quoted above is the kind of grandstanding one would expect from a cheap pol — which is what Obama is.The proof is in his administration’s deeds, not its words, and, in the run up to September 11th, 2012, with regard to Benghazi, his administration’s deeds show Barack Obama did nothing.

Except lie to the American people about it.

Just to draw a line under the point that the administration had ample warning that trouble was brewing in Benghazi, but chose to ignore their duty, let me quote another section that relates the testimony of Marine Colonel George Bristol (1):

Still another high-ranking military officer with relevant jurisdiction also told the House Armed Services subcommittee that his own expressions of concern about Libya were effectively ignored in that critical period. Marine Corps Col. George Bristol, commander of AFRICOM’s Joint Special Operations Task Force for the Trans Sahara region, testified before the panel in executive session on July 31 of last year that he warned State Department officials in Tripoli that “if [the terrorists] were going to try something … this would be a day.” Asked by Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., if he had seen “any intelligence” that led him to believe “there was an increased threat on 9/11,” Bristol replied, “Yes, sir.”

BRISTOL: “Did they take individual security measures inside of the Libyan embassy [sic]? Sir, that I do not know.”

WITTMAN: “But you did have conversations with folks there [at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli]?”

BRISTOL: “Yes, sir.”

[...]

WITTMAN: “In your professional opinion, based on that, were you somewhat uncomfortable maybe, knowing about the threat, that that was the posture then that was going to be there within that theater?”

BRISTOL: “Sir, I — yes, and that wasn’t the only country that I was worried about that.”

This supports what we already knew, that the administration had ample warning. As I wrote late last November:

The central issue here, however, is the incompetence bordering on malfeasance on the part of both Hillary Clinton and President Obama. The State Department under Clinton was almost bloody-minded in its refusal to provide adequate security for a post that was effectively in daily contact with the enemy. And President Obama failed utterly in his duties to oversee our interests in a nation where he had overthrown the government and created a client state. Why wasn’t he verifying that Benghazi had sufficient protection? Why didn’t he make sure there was a sufficient force on standby to come to the aid of a station in hostile territory?

Wait. What am I saying? There was fundraising to be done!

And Rosen’s report confirms what the failure to act on these warnings implied: Barack Obama really couldn’t care less about doing his job.

Footnote:
(1) We’ve met the Colonel before. You might want to review the post, since his declassified testimony shows why the DoD acted as if they couldn’t find him — his statement lays Panetta and Obama’s incompetence bare.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Benghazi: Obama knew that night that it was a terrorist strike

January 14, 2014
American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

And not some lousy video made by a two-bit crook.

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.

And on the question of whether the attack was t he result of a demonstration caused by a video, General Ham had this to say:

“In your discussions with General Dempsey and Secretary Panetta,” [Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA)] asked, “was there any mention of a demonstration or was all discussion about an attack?” Ham initially testified that there was some “peripheral” discussion of this subject, but added “at that initial meeting, we knew that a U.S. facility had been attacked and was under attack, and we knew at that point that we had two individuals, Ambassador Stevens and Mr. [Sean] Smith, unaccounted for.”

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, a first-term lawmaker with experience as an Iraq war veteran and Army reserve officer, pressed Ham further on the point, prodding the 29-year Army veteran to admit that “the nature of the conversation” he had with Panetta and Dempsey was that “this was a terrorist attack.”

So. There you go. We on the Right always knew Obama was lying about Benghazi, but apologists on the Left and in the media (but I repeat myself) kept dismissing the allegations as a witch hunt, a fishing expedition, partisan politics, and even, naturally, “racism.”

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. He then lied about it repeatedly to protect his reelection campaign, pushing the lie about a video both to the nation and before the United Nations. He sent his then UN Ambassador to lie about it on no less than five Sunday talk shows. His Secretary of State, whose incompetence left those men to die in Benghazi, lied before Congress, lied to the American people, and lied to the faces of the families of the victims in order to protect her own chances at the presidency. And the video-maker they turned into a scapegoat for their own failings was rousted out of his home on a petty parole violation and tossed into jail, his constitutional rights gut-shot, a move worthy of the best Third World police states. And the whole object of the lying was to fool us, the American people.

No one else.

By all rights, news like this should destroy Obama’s presidency, leading to his resignation in disgrace. It won’t, though. Barring a truly shocking revelation, its time as a scandal has passed. The press will stay focused like a laser on traffic jams in New Jersey. But, when we weigh both this and the serial lies told to sell Obamacare, there is one lesson anyone with a still-functioning brain should draw:

Anyone who takes at face value anything said by Barack Obama or his staff is a fool.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


It is good to be King, isn’t it, @BarackObama?

January 7, 2014
"My will is enough!"

“Divine right”

Especially when you can use public money to give your (estranged?) (1) Queen her birthday gift:

Via Twitchy.

Some background from Bridget Johnson:

President Obama flew back from his holiday Hawaii break yesterday with daughters Sasha and Malia in tow, but without the first lady.

Michelle Obama stayed behind in Hawaii. According to the White House, “As part of her birthday gift from the President, the First Lady will remain in Hawaii to spend time with friends ahead of her upcoming 50th birthday.”

(…)

According to the White House pool reports filed over the holiday break, President Obama would meet up with his wife for dinner but spent much of the vacation alone at the gym or with friends for many, many marathon hours of golf.

Trouble in the Royal Chamber? Anyone know what Vera Baker is doing these days?

PS: Sure, their private life is their business, and I’d be happy to keep it that way if their side didn’t feel so free to break that rule when the subject is on the Right. Besides, divorce rumors have swirled around those two, before. In the end, though, what burns me is the arrogant use of public money to buy a gift for Michelle. I can understand the need for security, hence no traveling on public airlines, but you can at least reimburse the country the cost of the fuel, Mr. President. (2)

Footnote:
(1) Yeah, it’s the Enquirer. But they have a better track record than their common reputation would suggest. As Bridget points out, they nailed John Edwards and Jesse Jackson’s affairs.
(2) That’s “Mr. President,” not “Your Majesty.” I do think he has trouble remembering the difference.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obama’s top-ten constitutional violations of 2013

December 27, 2013
"Ignored"

“Violated”

From a list compiled by Forbes. Like they wrote, it’s tough limiting yourself to just ten, and a lot of those chosen come under the rubric of “general lawlessness.” Here’s one example:

10. Mini-DREAM Act. Congress has shamelessly failed to pass any sort of immigration reform, including for the most sympathetic victims of the current non-system, young people who were brought into the country illegally as children. Nonetheless, President Obama, contradicting his own previous statements claiming to lack authority, directed the Department of Homeland Security to issue work and residence permits to the so-called Dreamers. The executive branch undoubtedly has discretion regarding enforcement priorities, but granting de facto green cards goes beyond a decision to defer deportation in certain cases.

This is typical of the Obama administration: unable to get want they want through Congress, Obama abuses prosecutorial discretion and the regulatory powers granted by Congress to rewrite or even abrogate the law itself. And this has happened time and again, especially in the last year with regard to Obamacare. These are not the actions of a president under a constitutional republic, but those of a Peronist-style presidente, who only needs the legislature to rubber-stamp his decisions and carry out his directives. Not that I’m saying Obama is another Hugo Chavez or even Juan Peron (though I’ve snarkily referred to him that way, before), but his attitudes and predilections are both lazy and authoritarian. Why should he not do whatever he wants, if he thinks something needs doing? Why should he go to the effort of dealing with Congress, when he already knows what’s right?

Other presidents have tested the limits, of course, and some have gone beyond them. But the prior gentleman had some sense of limits, of boundaries they couldn’t cross, because “that’s not the way we do things.”

I don’t think Obama knows any such limits.

via Allahpundit

EDIT: Deleted a section that, on further review, didn’t fit.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Cult of Personality Watch: US Embassy becomes Obama Embassy

December 17, 2013

(Photo credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Sure, all US embassies and consulates have portraits of the current president hanging in the offices; he is, after all, Head of State. But… Well… This is just a bit much:

Large tapestry portraits of President Barack Obama were unveiled for guests at the U.S. Embassy in London over the weekend.

The recently-installed, large-scale tapestry portraits were created by National Medal of Arts winner and renowned American painter, photographer Chuck Close.

Call me old-fashioned, but if you want a large piece of art decorating the entry to a United States embassy, the first thing visitors see, why not a work that reflects the history of the United States? Christy’s “Signing of the Constitution,” for example, to celebrate one of our seminal events, or Rockwell’s “Abraham Delivering the Gettysburg Address,” in honor of what many feel is the moment of our second Founding? Or, to borrow Rockwell again (1), why not showcase “Freedom of Speech,” that most American of values, which both embodies and guards the right of a free people to rule themselves? Instead we get giant portraits of one man?

All art is communication, after all, especially public art, and art displayed in an embassy should reflect the nation’s values, how it sees itself, what it holds dear, its spiritual center, its… Oh, wait. I get it.

In this case, I guess it reflects the government’s spiritual center.  smiley headbang wall

Footnote:
(1) He was the all-American painter, after all.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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