The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, November 28, 2014


Those of us who, in 2008, were gravely concerned about the possibility that Barack Obama would be elected president, presented many reasons for that concern. Near the top of the list was Obama's complete lack of executive experience. I suppose that could have been forgiven, if this president, once elected, had been a quick study, learning from successful chief executives in both the public and private sector, and adopting their approach. He did not.

Obama is nothing, if not full of himself. As a consequence, he decided that he already had the ability to manage people and didn't need any help. He did.

Kimberly Strassel comments:
Of all the reputations Barack Obama has built over these years, the one that may figure most into his struggling presidency is the one that has received the least attention: He is a lousy boss. Every administration has its share of power struggles, dysfunction and churn. Rarely, if ever, has there been one that has driven more competent people from its orbit—or chewed up more professional reputations.

The focus this week is on Chuck Hagel, and the difficulty the White House is having finding the next secretary of defense. The charitable explanation is that lame-duck executives always have a challenge finding a short-termer to mop up the end of a presidency. The more honest appraisal came from a former Defense official who told Politico that Michèle Flournoy—a leading contender who removed herself from consideration—didn’t “want to be a doormat” in an administration that likes its failed foreign policy, and is keeping it.

“Doormat” has been the job description for pretty much every Obama employee. The president bragged in 2008 that he would assemble in his cabinet a “Team of Rivals.” What he failed to explain to any of the poor saps is that they’d be window dressing for a Team of Select Brilliant Political Types Who Already Had All the Answers: namely, himself and the Valerie Jarretts and David Axelrods of the White House.
The problem is that Obama's inner circle (and the president himself) thinks they're the smartest people in the room. If the administration's failed domestic agenda and disastrous foreign policy are any indication, they are not.

Strassel is merciless, when she writes:
Who would want to work for a boss who micromanages everything but takes no responsibility when things don’t work out? This president’s playbook for controversy: Deny knowledge, blame subordinates. Mr. Obama fails to recognize the threat of ISIS; it’s the fault of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The administration cancels White House tours to ratchet up the pain of the sequester, then blames the Secret Service for the uproar. The ObamaCare website fails; Mr. Obama faults the Department of Health and Human Services (run then by Kathleen Sebelius ) for not telling him of the problem. Veterans Affairs wilts under the scandal of waiting lists; the president claims he read about it in the news.

Who would want to work for a boss whose experiments in big government all but guarantee their reputation will be ruined in the aftermath of a bureaucratic collapse? Ms. Sebelius was once the governor of Kansas. She will be remembered as the woman who oversaw the most disastrous government rollout in history. Steven Miller will always be the guy who was running the IRS when the targeting scandal broke. Eric Shinseki was awarded three bronze stars and two purple hearts in Vietnam. He’ll be remembered for the waiting list coverup at Veterans Affairs, an agency that is the model for ObamaCare.

And who wants to work for a boss who doesn’t have your back? In addition to the above, don’t forget David Petraeus , whose softening up at the hands of Mr. Obama’s antiwar left made his continued brief tenure as CIA director unthinkable in the wake of revelations of an extramarital affair. Or Keith Alexander, the former National Security Agency director, who was left alone to defend against the outrage over Mr. Obama’s surveillance policies. As Mr. Hagel was kicked to the curb this week, an anonymous White House campaign heaped the administration’s foreign-policy failures on the departing Republican.
Lacking any ability to manage the B.I.G. (big intrusive government) that he has worked so hard to expand, I cringe as I think about the next two years.The true problem is that as the latest "doormat" leaves the administration and the next unnamed person gets ready to enter, we're left not with a "Team of Rivals," but rather, a Team of 2s trending toward a Team of 1s.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mea Culpa

When JFK wrote Profiles in Courage, he used a number of examples of Americans who went against the ideological and political grain to do what was right, as opposed to what was politically expedient. Today, that's a very rare quality among politicians.

For the past six years, the disaster that is Obamacare has devolved into an almost comical parody of a big government program. Every false promise made about the program has been dashed, as premium costs rise, enrollments flatten, young people bail, program costs rise, requirements mandated by the legislation are unilaterally postponed or changed for political reasons, and Americans lose their plans, their doctors, and their confidence in big-government programs (come to think of it, the lose of confidence may be a good thing). A program built on lies, deception, elitist thinking, and partisan ideology had no chance. What is truly surprising is that at least a few moderate Democrats didn't publicly raise the alarm long ago.

But that's changing. Senator Charles Schumer is a liberal Democrat, and he certainly is not a profile in courage. But he has finally done a 'mea culpa' on Obamacare. The Wall Street Journal reports:
WASHINGTON—Democrats smarting from this year’s midterm losses need to embrace their pro-government roots and refocus on coherent policies to help the middle class, Sen. Charles Schumer of New York said Tuesday, citing the 2010 federal health-care law as a political miscalculation.

Mr. Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, suggested his party has veered from this focus to its detriment in recent years. In a sharp criticism, he said Democrats “blew the opportunity the American people gave them” following the 2008 elections by focusing on a health-care overhaul rather than broader economic measures.

“It wasn’t the change we were hired to make; Americans were crying out for an end to the recession, for better wages and more jobs, not for changes in their health care,” he said in a speech at the National Press Club. When Democrats focused on health care, he added, “the average middle-class person thought, ‘the Democrats are not paying enough attention to me.’ ”

For Democrats to rebound in 2016, they need to outline a specific plan and programs “that, if enacted, would actually improve lives and incomes,” he said.

“By using government in a careful, focused way, we will provide a shield against the large forces that have worked against middle-class families so that they have a better job and more money in their pockets,” Mr. Schumer said.
Well, well. Better late than never.

One of the key attributes of any effective leader is to admit his or her mistakes, accommodate those who pointed out the mistakes and try to work with them, adapt behavior to correct those mistakes, and move forward. It looks like Schumer, for all of his political faults, is trying to do that, at least to some degree. It also appears that the tight circle of Obama loyalists at the White House remains intransigent—about Obamacare and virtually everything else.

It took a degree of political courage to do what Schumer did. It would be far more meaningful if other Dems stepped up in an effort to corral this president on Obamacare and many other destructive executive actions that will be coming in the months ahead.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


It comes as no real surprise that the Ferguson, MO grand jury found no evidence that supported an indictment of Police Office Darren Wilson in the tragic shooting death of Michael Brown. The 'murder in cold blood' story foisted on the media by agitators (not activists, but true agitators) from the day of the shooting forward didn't make sense and has now been shown to be false.

USA Today writes:
From the very beginning, there were two wildly different accounts of what happened Aug. 9 when white officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown on a street in Ferguson, Mo., triggering violent protests and a national examination of police tactics.

In one version, Wilson drove up and harassed Brown for walking in the middle of the street, hit him with his vehicle door, shot at him for no reason and then finished off the teenager outside with several shots while Brown was retreating with his hands up.

In the other version, the 18-year-old Brown reached inside the officer's vehicle, hit Wilson in the face and tried to grab his gun. In fear for his life, Wilson began shooting at Brown from inside the vehicle and fired the fatal shots outside as the 6-foot-5-inch, 289-pound teenager tried to charge him.

Which of the dueling narratives was closer to the truth? Unlike everyone else with an opinion, the grand jury that considered the case for three and a half months heard testimony from numerous eyewitnesses and saw the forensic evidence. For that reason alone, the panel's decision Monday not to indict Wilson deserves to be met with great deference, not with violence or the sort of vandalism that greeted the poorly timed after-dark announcement.
The violence and destruction that have followed are driven by a meme that has had some basis in truth—over the years, there have been many instances of police over-reaction in black communities. There is no doubt that the racial agitators take advantage of this history to spur others within the African American community to violence. But there is an overarching reality that is far different than the racial agitators meme.

Past NYC Mayor, Rudy Guilani, provides a typically blunt assessment of the that reality as reported in the NY Post:
“Ninety-three percent of blacks are killed by other blacks,” Rudy barked. “I would like to see the [same] attention paid to that, that you are paying to [Ferguson].”

“What about the poor black child who was killed by another black child?” Giuliani asked. “Why aren’t you protesting that? White police officers wouldn’t be there if you weren’t killing each other.”

Naturally, polite people everywhere fell into a swoon.

Well, too bad about them. Dr. Giuliani may not have much of a bedside manner, but he’s a first-rate diagnostician when it comes to criminal justice and his anti-crime prescriptions for New York City saved thousands of innocent lives — most of them black and Hispanic.
It's up to each person to decide whether the agitator's or Giuliani's diagnosis is closer to the truth. It's also reasonable to ask why people like racial provacateur Al Sharpton aren't organizing protests (that should be covered by the MSM) in an effort to correct the underlying social problems that cause black-on-black crime. It is those problems that precipitate an outsized police presence in African American communities. But no, it's far better for the agitators and their many supporters on the left and much of the media to characterize America and its police as "racists" who shoot down African American people in the streets for no good reason. And as a consequence, towns like Ferguson burn, businesses leave, and the cycle of poverty and violence continues.

Monday, November 24, 2014


Almost immediately after he was elected in 2008, Barack Obama embarked on what conservatives derisively call the "Apology Tour." The newly elected president traveled to Cairo and gave a major speech intended to "reset" our relationship with Islam. After all, Obama contended that George W. Bush had destroyed that relationship with war, and Obama would make an accommodation and ultimately, bring peace. That would, progressives insisted, cause Islam to moderate, to accept our differences, and to move toward a more peaceful world. It hasn't worked out very well.

But Obama persisted. He championed the overthrow of Hosni Mubarek in Egypt, Mohamar Kaddafi in Libya, and advocated the overthrow of Syria's anti-Islamist dictator, Bashar Assad. He insisted that the Muslim Brotherhood was "moderate," and that equally moderate elements would bring Egypt, Libya, and Syria into the world of democratic nations. That didn't work out very well, either.

Last week, he condemned the barbaric palestinian attack on a Synagogue in Jerusalem, as palestinians celebrated the deaths of Jewish worshippers in the West Bank and Gaza. But his condemnation was characteristically soft—he never called out the palestinians, but rather provided a generic condemnation of "violence."

After all, we have to bring Muslims around and act in ways that will cause them to like us, to act less aggressively, to accept our differences. Don't we?

A commenter, "harrywr2" at Richard Fernandez' Belmont Club, posted an interesting observation. In essence, he argued that there are three states that can occur when competing civilizations or ideologies come into conflict: accommodation, assimilation, or annihilation.

Barack Obama is a man of the left, and when the West and Islam compete, he, like virtually all of his fellow leftists, has chosen accommodation. But accommodation is not a persistent state, it is, as "harrywr2" states:
... only a 'resting place' that may result in assimilation but has just as frequently been a resting place before returning to conflict.
So that leaves assimilation, and it is a workable approach, but only when both civilizations are ... well .... civilized. When one civilization acts barbarically and/or intolerantly, it is difficult to assimilate them in a more civilized society, and it is deadly when the more civilized society makes any attempt to integrate with the barbarians. "harrywr2" comments:
The fundamental problem of multiculturalism is that it is an accommodation that hasn't been demonstrated to result in assimilation.

Celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas are long of the Jewish Boy and The Christian girl are allowed to marry and freely choose whether they want their children to be Jewish, Christian, or none of the above.

Unfortunately...Islam has many rules that are 'anti-assimilation ...
That would leave only one A-word as a predictor of a very dark future.

But there is another A-word that may come into play—absorption. Due to low birth rates in some European countries, Islam has a significant demographic advantage. For example, it may very well be that France—its culture, its people, and its history—will be absorbed into a French Islamic Republic within the next three decades. The question is—how will that absorption occur, peacefully or with great pain? Will all French people (who remain) be forced to convert to Islam or pay the Dhimmi tax demanded in the Koran? Will France as an Islamic Republic adopt Sharia Law and encourage violence again other European countries not so far along? Will some Frenchmen resist absorption and become guerrilla fighters in their own right, battling against a repressive Islamist ideology? No one knows.

A-words. Where Islam is concerned, it appears that none of them can result in a happy ending.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bumper Stickers

As if to provide reinforcement to the arrogant and elitist (albeit, honest) comments of Jonathan Gruber on Obamacare, someone named Allen Clifton wrote the following on a far left blog called Forward Progressives (h/t: The Belmont Club) under the headline "The Simple Truth: President Obama is Too Intelligent for Republicans to Understand":
A few years back I worked with a guy who was probably a genius. In fact, he often struggled in life interacting with people because his brain simply performed at a higher level than the average person. I remember asking him what his biggest belief was in making life decisions and he always, without fail, told me “think of the bigger picture.” And while I’ve always tried to be a big picture thinker, knowing him when I did helped me understand it a little better. …

Which brings me to President Obama. While I’m not calling him a genius, I do think he’s extremely intelligent. I also believe that his tendency to use “big picture” thinking while drafting policy is something most Republican voters simply can’t understand. …

When it comes right down to it, I really do believe a huge part about why so many of the non-racist Republicans are against President Obama is because many of them are simply unable to grasp his “big picture” thinking that drives a lot of his policies. That requires intelligence and far too many conservative would rather just be told what to think by Fox News. They want their policies to be so simplified and catchy that they fit on bumper stickers.
Yeah, sorta like the bumper stick "Hope and Change," I suppose.

But I get it. Obama is soooo smart that what appears to us stupid people in the center to be abject policy failure and very bad decisions are nothing more than successes masked in the nuance of great intellect that understands the "big picture" in ways unavailable to us little folks. The sea of data that indicates things like a weak economy, a failed health policy, a nation in so much debt that it will eventually fail, isn't to be believed because really, really smart guys in the White House have things well in control. Scandal after scandal is to be ignored because really, really smart guys are incapable of corruption in the name of politics and besides, all of the scadals are "phoney" anyway. A foreign policy that has lead to chaos in the Middle East, a newly aggressive Russia, a massive expansion in Islamist thuggery around the world is nothing more than a blip on this president's "reset" with Islam. The denigration of long time allies (e.g., Israel) and the accommodation of long-time enemies (e.g., Iran) isn't stupid, it's brilliant. After all, look at how Iran has dropped its bid to become a nuclear ... oh, that didn't happen, did it?

Allen Clifton is representative of almost every true Leftist. He thinks he and his follow ideologues are really, really smart and that everyone who doesn't agree is really, really stupid. Lead by a far-Left president, who must therefore be considered the smartest of the smart, Clifton enters into the realm of delusion and fantasy where facts don't matter, resources are unlimited, threats are to be ignored, and an electorate that rejects his fantasy ideology is dumb. As William F. Buckley, a conservative writer and pundit once said: “Though liberals do a great deal of talking about hearing other points of view, it sometimes shocks them to learn that there are other points of view.”

But what I just wrote won't fit on a bumper stick, so I'm unclear on whether than makes me smart or stupid.

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Political Nihilist

As the morning-after reaction to Barack Obama's imperial move to write his own laws on immigration reaches a crescendo, there's something deeper going on. Peggy Noonan writes:
Historical vindication happens. The Obama White House assumes it will happen to them. Thus they can do pretty much what they want.

What they forget is that facts largely decide what history thinks—outcomes, what happened, what it means. What they also forget, or perhaps never knew, is that the great ones are always constructive. They don’t divide and tear down. They build, gather in, create, bend, meld, and in so doing move things forward.

That’s not this crowd.

This White House seems driven—does it understand this?—by a kind of political nihilism. They agitate, aggravate, fray and separate.
That assessment is on target. Throughout his entire presidency, Barack Obama has worked hard to separate and divide the American people. He has demonized his political opposition continuously. He gives the clear indication that those who disagree with him are at best cold-hearted or at worse immoral. He has, through subtle implication and in-your-face rhetoric, tried to divide whites and blacks, rich and poor, men and women, and of course, Democrats and Republicans. At every turn, he has divided the country and destroyed any trust that might exist between opposing political views. In the process and ironically, he has done grave harm to his own party, who to their detriment, have followed his lead without question or comment (no 'profiles in courage' among the Dems).

If Obama wasn't a "political nihilist," he would have worked with the new GOP majority (who for political reasons understand as well as Obama that immigration reform legislation has to happen) to craft a bi-partisan law. It would have taken 2015 to get it done, but it would have gotten done. If it didn't happen, the country might have supported his imperial move. But he didn't even try. And please, let's not whine about a divided congress doing nothing in the first six years of his presidency or about the House holding up the senate immigration bill. The Democratic leader of the Senate, Harry Reid, held up 350 House bills—350! What goes around in politics, comes around.

With this aggressive and destruction action, Barack Obama establishes a dangerous counter-constitutional precedent for future presidents. He all but guarantees continuing division and resentment. He doesn't seem to care.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Today, Barack Obama will take unilateral action to change the status of illegal aliens. It's not so much the content of what he's doing, but the way that he's doing it that causes great concern. A while back Obama said: "I’m the President of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed." It looks like he's changed his job title.

The fallout from his questionably constitution action will be bad relations with the new GOP congress that the citizens of the United States overwhelming voted in. I honestly think that is what he wants. The new "emperor" is unquestionably the most hyperpartisan president in modern history. He wants to destroy the GOP—his enemy.

Instead, he is destroying the Democratic Party. In every category, dragged down by their Leftist leadership, Democrats now have fewer senators, fewer congressman, fewer governors, and fewer state legislative majorities than at any time in modern history. You'd think that the Dems, who are now in a deep hole, would stop digging. But no ... instead of focusing on bipartisan efforts to improve the economy, reform taxes , and create a viable energy policy, they hyperventilate about "climate change" the "war on women" and "income inequality"—leftist memes all. Keep digging, guys, keep digging.

On another front, there is reason to worry that the new "emperor" may make a move on the Internet. The more I delve into the implications of Barack Obama's latest effort to impose big government intrusion on the Internet—a very bad idea packaged as "net neutrality"—the less I like it.

Gordon Crowitz provides a detailed critique:
Al Gore didn’t invent the Internet, but Bill Clinton deserves credit for the most important Internet policy: a bipartisan consensus reached during his administration in the mid-1990s to keep the Internet free of regulation. The Web would be permissionless, so that innovators could start sites and other digital offerings without waiting for regulatory approval.

In a surprise speech last week, President Obama demanded the end of the unregulated Internet, ratcheting up his campaign to subject the Internet to century-old regulations written to micromanage public utilities. Mr. Obama pressured the Federal Communications Commission to reclassify the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, which was based on railroad regulations from the 1880s and used to oversee AT&T when it was a telephone monopoly. Regulators set prices, terms and conditions and must approve new products.

Mr. Obama says Internet service providers will “limit your access to a website” without Title II oversight. Pro-regulation lobbyists have made this argument from the beginning of the Web—and every year are proven more wrong. The Internet boomed precisely because it wasn’t regulated. In 1999 the FCC published a paper titled “The FCC and the Unregulation of the Internet.” The study contrasted the dramatic growth of the open Internet with that of the sluggish industries subject to Title II’s more than 1,000 regulations. Sen. Ted Cruz got it right last week when he tweeted that Title II would be ObamaCare for the Internet.

Amazing as it seems, under these regulations federal bureaucrats in the 1970s decided whether AT&T could move beyond standard black telephones to offer Princess phones in pink, blue and white. A Title II Internet would give regulators similar authority to approve, prioritize and set “just and reasonable” prices for broadband, the lifeblood of the Internet.

When Apple first offered Internet access on the iPhone, Steve Jobs didn’t have to ask regulators for permission. Instead of network operators prioritizing traffic based on technical optimization, as they do today, under Title II regulators would prioritize streaming video from Netflix , pornographers or church services. Title II would invalidate “nonneutral” practices such as T-Mobile offering mobile phones with free music. Surgeons operating remotely via robotic systems may no longer have access to a latency-free (no lag time) connection to the Internet.

Title II regulation would also be a hidden tax increase: Broadband consumers would pay the 16.1% tax on interstate revenues under the Universal Service Fund. State utility commissioners would also get oversight of the Internet.
None of these implications comes as any surprise to those of us who object to the injection of the B.I.G. (big intrusive government) policies in areas that have been regulation free. But Barack Obama and his BIG Democratic supporters have a different view. It's bad enough when they attempt (almost always unsuccessfully) to fix an existing problem. Obamacare is a frightening example of BIG applied to a health insurance problem.The unintended consequences (well, maybe they're intended by this president) of his latest immigration dictate, will become still another example.

But its far worse when they try to fix something that's clearly not broken. Hopefully, the coming GOP majority in Congress will stop the net neutrality idea in its tracks. It better, or the wonder of the Internet will be ruined with new taxes, new restrictions, new controls, and old thinking forced on it by our new "emperor."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


As the media reluctantly reports the death of Israelis inside a synagogue at the hands of two palestinian terrorists, the running cliche is that "tensions" are increasing.

Barack Obama comments on the synagogue attack not by suggesting that it was a barbaric act perpetrated by a people who thrive on hatred, victimhood, and violence (much of it directed against their fellow palestinians) but rather, by using mealy-mouthed abstractions: "“I think it’s important for both Palestinians and Israelis to try to work together to lower tensions and reject violence." Yeah, murdering people in a bloody attack in a house of worship has a strange way of increasing "tensions."

David Harsanyi writes:
Nothing in history or current reality could possibly lead an honest observer to conclude that there’s a viable path to peace between Palestinians and Israel. Barring some dramatic exogenous event, this isn’t about to change. Give it up.

After the murder of five Jews Israelis (three of them American citizens and one of them a Druze) this week, “people fired celebratory gunshots in the air … and praise for God and the attackers poured from mosque loudspeakers soon after the synagogue shooting,” reported The New York Times. Fatah officials in Lebanon chimed in to let us know that: “Jerusalem needs blood in order to purify itself of Jews.” There were congratulatory message on Fatah’s official Facebook page and festive post-murder spree sweets for the kids. This celebration of death—whether dead babies or dead rabbis, it matters not—doesn’t only illustrate the colossal moral gulf that exists between these societies, it reminds us that any Palestinian government inclined to entertain a viable agreement with Jews wouldn’t last long, anyway.

Fatah, the thin thread that any workable agreement hangs on, is only in power because it refuses to hold elections. (And, to be fair, when you lose a campaign in Palestinian territories, there are no comebacks.) But even this more moderate faction brings with it archaic menu of nonstarters to the table. Arabs will not have meaningful control over Jerusalem proper. Or any “right of return.” Or the ability to control their borders as Sweden or Argentina controls theirs. At least, not any time soon. These are intractable disagreements. Every time the sides revisit the negotiations, it ends in disappointment and, inevitably, violence. And with each round, Palestinian society devolves further, becoming increasingly radicalized and violent. So what’s the point?
There is no point and never has been.

Leftists condemn Israel for "oppressing" the palestinians (who, they claim, are violent only because they are oppressed). Never mind that when given the opportunity for peace, the palestinians have rejected it. Never mind that they murder their own. Never mind that as Islamists, they reject virtually everything that the left holds dear. Fantasy trumps reality in the fevered thoughts of every anti-Israel leftist.

Now, Obama and his supporters are wringing their hands warning Israel not to be "disproportionate" in its response to the synagogue murders. Disproportionate?! Who established that rule? When an entity (the palestinians are not a country and never have been) attempt to destroy a sovereign nation, repeatedly commit acts of terror, advocate the annihilation of an entire people, the very last thing Israel should do is be proportionate.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Barack Obama is working as hard as he can to create a wedge issue that will hurt his opposition and rally the public behind him. It won't work, unless the GOP falls into the trap he has set.

This president thinks that by acting in the grey area that borders on unconstitutional, he can somehow burnish his legacy of repeated failures, dishonesty, and bad decisions.  He is set to announce unilateral "executive actions" that actually accomplish nothing other than reinforcing the status quo. His actions provide a symbolic victory for progressives and the illegal aliens they champion, but that's about all they do.

Even pro-Obama media like The Washington Post are a bit queasy with this course of action:
DEMOCRATS URGING President Obama to “go big” in his executive order on immigration might pause to consider the following scenario:

It is 2017. Newly elected President Ted Cruz (R) insists he has won a mandate to repeal Obamacare. The Senate, narrowly back in Democratic hands, disagrees. Mr. Cruz instructs the Internal Revenue Service not to collect a fine from anyone who opts out of the individual mandate to buy health insurance, thereby neutering a key element of the program. It is a matter of prosecutorial discretion, Mr. Cruz explains; tax cheats are defrauding the government of billions, and he wants the IRS to concentrate on them. Of course, he is willing to modify his order as soon as Congress agrees to fix what he considers a “broken” health system.

That is not a perfect analogy to Mr. Obama’s proposed action on immigration. But it captures the unilateral spirit that Mr. Obama seems to have embraced since Republicans swept to victory in the midterm elections. He is vowing to go it alone on immigration. On Iran, he is reportedly designing an agreement that he need not bring to Congress. He already has gone that route on climate change with China.
Unlike far too many progressives who applaud Obama's actions, the WaPo realizes that this president is setting a precedent that is both dangerous and destructive. Of course, Obama cares little about that—it's all about him and his warped sense of politics. In Obama's world, the GOP is the enemy (unlike Iran, who is a partner to be negotiated with!) and must be humiliated and crushed at every opportunity. In Obama's world, conservative ideas aren't only wrong, they're immoral because the president and his supporters have a monopoly on what is right, what is just, and what the country truly needs.

This won't change, but the behavior of the GOP must. They cannot and should not take the bait and react in the way that Obama wants.

On the day that Obama acts unilaterally, a single statement from the new Speaker and Majority leader might take the following form:
The president has acted unilaterally in a way that will affect the status of millions of aliens who entered the United States illegally. In the main, these illegal aliens have not been hounded by the authorities or deported to their native lands. As the U.S. Constitution dictates, the Congress needs to pass legislation that will address their status, and we are committed to do so. Unfortunately, the president, rather than supporting our efforts though bi-partisan reasoned negotiation, has chosen confrontation. When our Democratic friends controlled both house of congress in 2009 and 2010, Barack Obama seemed uninterested in passing immigration legislation. He waited two years and did nothing. Now, in a fit of impatience, he has decided to act unilaterally. The problem is, his executive action is constitutionally questionable.

Barack Obama's actions affect the lives of tens of millions of American citizens who live in border states. Those citizens and the remainder of US taxpayers will be required to fund the additional services to support Obama's dictates. We believe that the president has violated the spirit of the US Constitution. He has exceeded his authority in a manner that is unprecedented.

As the new leaders of the Congress, we will work to pass legislation that help the existing citizens of the United States who have been forgotten under the leadership of this president. We will focus on the economy, on tax reform, on energy and ultimately on immigration. We will not be goaded into action by a renegade executive, nor will our focus be changed.
We deeply regret that Barack Obama has chosen to take this unilateral action. When the history of this presidency is written, it will note this action as a failure of judgement and a failure of leadership.
The GOP majority congress should then go about its business—passing bi-partisan legislation and putting it on Barack Obama's desk. Force him to veto bill after bill, month after month. Eventually, the more moderate Democrats may become fed up, recognizing that it's the president, not the GOP, that is throwing a tantrum. When and if that happens, one or more of his vetoes will be overridden and the humiliation of a failed presidency will be complete.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

What's in a Name?

The New York Times reports on the White House statement concerning the beheading of American aid worker Peter Kassig:
“Today we offer our prayers and condolences to the parents and family of Abdul-Rahman Kassig, also known to us as Peter,” Mr. Obama’s statement said. The president used the Muslim name that Mr. Kassig adopted after his capture, making the point that the Islamic State had killed a fellow Muslim. He acknowledged the “anguish at this painful time” felt by Mr. Kassig’s family."
Let me see if I've got this straight.

Peter Kassig was kidnapped by a barbaric Islamic army. He was more than likely coerced into converting to Islam with the hope that this might save him from beheading. The NYT article notes that he is identified by the Islamic barbarians who kidnapped him as "Peter Kassig."

Barack Obama decides to use his vaunted interpretation of nuance and call him "Abdul-Rahman Kassig" in the hope of what, exactly? The NYT tries to cover for their favorite president by suggesting that Kassig's Muslim name was used by this president as an indication that ISIS killed another "Muslim." As if the families of the thousands of Syrian and Iraqi Muslims killed by ISIS are unaware of that fact.

ISIS beheaded a citizen of the United States. A citizen named Peter Kassig. A citizen who converted to Islam under duress. And Obama uses his Muslim name? W.T.F?!

Using the Muslim name for this man is an insult to his family, his colleagues who were there to help Muslims, his country, and his memory. It is something that is so tone deaf, it's shocking, even for Barack Obama.


Last week I noted that the deadline for negotiations with Iran approaches in a week. I suggested that Barack Obama's policy appears to be Diplomacy Based on Dreams—that this president will do everything possible to come to an agreement with this (to quote from my earlier post) "ugly, repressive, violent, misogynistic, homophobic, undemocratic, terror-sponsoring "Islamic Republic," and that as a consequence, Iran magically "will see the light."

It's fascinating, really. Obama is willing to negotiate with one of the most repressive regimes on the planet, a sworn enemy of the United States, a country that has publicly stated its intent of wiping a U.S ally—Israel—off the map. He appears to be willing to bend over backwards to placate the Iranians so he can announce of foreign policy success. But Obama refuses to negotiate with the opposition party in the United States demanding that they send him bills that he likes so that he can sign them. In other words, no negotiation, no bending over backwards. Heh. This provides us with a window into Barack Obama's psyche, but, no matter. It is what it is.

Back to Iran.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has a way with words and the clear-eyed vision of the Islamic world that our president clearly lacks. In response to the prospect of an "agreement" coming out of these U.S - Iran talks, he stated on Face the Nation this morning:
Iran is not your ally. Iran is not your friend. Iran is your enemy. It's not your partner. Iran is committed to the destruction of Israel."

"[Iran] is not a friend, neither in the battle against ISIS nor in the great effort that should be made to deprive him of the capacity to make nuclear weapons. Don't fall for Iran's ruse, they are not your friend
No statement could be more accurate. No U.S. President could be more wrong.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Next week, it appears that Barack Obama will announce executive actions that he argues will "reform" our immigration mess. The Boston Globe comments:
Asserting the full power of his office, President Obama is expected to announce a set of reforms to the country’s immigration enforcement system, a plan that would offer a temporary reprieve from deportation to up to 5 million undocumented immigrants. By taking action through an executive order, the president signals to a fractious Congress, where immigration legislation has been stalled for years, that humanitarian concerns must, in the end, be weighed against the costs of inaction. Despite the political risks, it’s the right decision, one that will keep families together and allow many undocumented immigrants a chance to come out of the shadows.
It's interesting. For the past decade, we have, in fact, had de facto amnesty for illegal aliens, so what Barack Obama is doing by executive fiat is really nothing more than codifying the reality on the ground. The problem isn't the content of what he doing, although there are undoubtedly many problems with it, many unintended consequences that will accompany it, and assuredly, significant costs for the shrinking number of Americans who pay federal and state taxes. Rather, the problem is that he is effectively writing law in an extra-constitutional manner.

But so be it.

Rather than stamping its feet and throwing a tantrum—actions that Obama is hoping for—the GOP should show that it can legislate on important matters. Immigration is important, but it is not at the top of the list.

First, the economy, tax reform, and Obamacare should be addressed. Bills should be passed and presented to this president for signature. If he vetoes, that's fine. Other bills should be created and presented yet again—until his vetoes are overridden by Democrats who have finally had enough.

Then, true immigration reform should be addressed in a deliberative manner with at least some bi-partisan input. The GOP should resist pandering to its most extreme elements who are as unrealistic on immigration as many leftists are on a whole host of issues.

As a broad outline, immigration legislation should (1) make a real attempt to seal our southern border using advanced technologies and more efficient use of manpower, (2) implement a guest worker program so that no one needs to sneak across; (3) define a clear set of criminal activities that result in immediate deportation (no appeals, no gaming the system); (4) create a path to citizenship for illegals, but do this in a manner that is fair to those who have been waiting legally for that opportunity; (6) disallow any public assistance for five years to any guest worker and any illegal who is allowed to remain in the US.

If Obama vetoes such legislation when it is presented to him, it will be time to scream, but not until them. It will demonstrate, yet again, that this president is hyper-partisan, unable to negotiate, and unwilling to accept that more than half the country now disagrees with him.

Obama's executive action is a feint. It is intended to create yet another wedge issue, to force the GOP to defocus, to move away from legislation on other important matters that affect actual American citizens. The GOP should not accept the feint and should force this president (again and again) to veto legislation that would benefit the middle class and the economy (e.g., Keystone pipeline). For once, let it be obvious that it's Barack Obama who is the true hyperpartisan obstructionist.


Obama's strong arm tactics are applauded by those on the Left, who are either too short-sighted or too delusional to recognize that executive action taken on such a grand scale will establish a precedent for some future conservative president to eliminate existing law that the Left holds dear—say, by eliminating public funding for abortion or establishing new "law" that defunds medicaid or ADC or Obamaphones. And make no mistake, what Obama is going to do is to negate existing law and replace it with his own "law." Problem is, that's not what the constitution defines as his authority.

Rich Lowry comments:
Obama’s tack on immigration speaks to a president who is out of sorts and out of step, and who recognizes his own political impotence. Unable to build a political case for one of his chief second-term priorities, he has to fall back on executive usurpation.

Prior to the election, the president delayed his threatened amnesty — perhaps legalizing millions of immigrants — because it might harm Democrats. It still became an election issue, with Republicans hammering away at it and winning resoundingly. Even a relative dove on immigration such as Cory Gardner, the Republican senator-elect from Colorado, opposed Obama’s executive action.

This electoral rebuke might give a less highhanded president pause. Not President Obama. He rules from an Olympian height above mere election results and mere constitutional constraints on his power.

The president says that he’d still “prefer” that Congress itself change the immigration laws. For him, this is a positively Madisonian expression of respect for the American constitutional scheme.

President Obama is distressed that the Senate passed an immigration bill by a wide, bipartisan margin and the House refused to take it up. Fine. That is his right. He has legitimate means to respond.

For one, he could have barnstormed the country for amnesty during the election campaign, seeking to defeat officeholders and candidates who don’t share his view on immigration. This is how legislative majorities are built. Of course, he was too unpopular even to appear in most parts of the country, let alone convince anyone of anything.

With the election past, he can still build the political case for an amnesty and pressure House Republicans to act. If he could turn up the political heat enough, he might make House Speaker John Boehner buckle. This is highly unlikely, though, given that the country is not up in arms demanding an even laxer immigration system.

When it comes down to it, fiat is the only means for President Obama to reliably get his way. His promised executive action is a substitute for democratic politics, not an exercise in it.
From Obama's high moral perch, perceived oppression of selected groups melds with fantasy to become bad policy. The only democratic process or politics that Barack Obama cares about begins with a capital D. It is up to his Party to reign their leader in. If they do not, they will suffer electoral consequences that will make 2014 look like a rainbows and lollipops.

Friday, November 14, 2014

2 + 2 = 5

In a recent column, James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal reminded me of an important passage in a classic novel:
... a government functionary named O’Brien explains to Smith, the protagonist of Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” the totalitarian theory of epistemology: “I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party. That is the fact that you have got to relearn, Winston. It needs an act of self-destruction, an effort of the will. You must humble yourself before you can become sane.”

The Party, according to O’Brien, is the arbiter not only of empirical facts about the physical world but also of questions of pure logic. “How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes?” Winston asks. “Two and two are four.”

“Sometimes, Winston,” O’Brien replies. “Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.” In due course, with the help of O’Brien’s torture device, Smith becomes “sane” and sees that two plus two are five.
It seems that many Democrats and their media sychophants are interpreting the 2014 election results as meaningless or unimportant. After all, the 60% of the electorate that didn't vote really do back this president and his policies, just ask him. The problem isn't progressive policies—big intrusive government, a poor economic recovery, high taxes, debt, weakness internationally—it's that the progressive message just wasn't enunciated properly.

"Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth." And just to be sure, the main stream media is right there to validate that "truth."

We now learn that a prime architect of Obamacare stated at least three different times and in three different venues that the legislation was built on lies and deceit. The Washington Post reports:
Economist Jonathan Gruber, one of the Obama administration's consultants on the Affordable Care Act, is under attack from conservatives for comments he made last year in which he said the "stupidity of the American voter" was a factor in passing Obamacare in 2010.

The comments were made during the panel sessions at the Annual Health Economics Conference last year. A video of the panel began circulating Monday on conservative media.

"This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes," he said during a panel discussion at the University of Pennsylvania in October, 2013. "Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the 'stupidity of the American voter' or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.”
But don't worry—if you have insurance, you can keep that insurance; if you have a doctor you can keep your doctor; health insurance premiums will go down; Obamacare won't cost the taxpayer a "dime." That was the "truth" until it wasn't.

And now past DNC chairman Howard Dean has the unmitigated gall to suggest that Gruber is an elitist. Only Gruber? How about a presdient and a Party that decides it knows what's best for the "stupid" yokels who have no right to decide what insurance or medical care they want or need.

Oh, I forgot. "Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth."

But then again, maybe not.

Daniel Henninger of The Wall Street Journal discusses the reasons for Democratic Party losses in traditionally blue states. He writes:
The Democrats are the party of the state and public sector. Over a long period, the costs of maintaining the state have risen inexorably, especially in the North due to public-union costs and transfer payments. We may call this phenomenon political global warming, with the gases of public spending driving the fiscal tides ever higher.

Unwilling to restructure government, state Democrats used taxes as sand bags. First they raised taxes on large business. Then the “wealthy.” Then came the fees and regulatory costs for smaller businesses. In Maryland and Illinois, companies and the wealthy fled.

It still wasn’t enough. Over the past decade, Democratic politicians (and some Republicans) started imposing regressive fees on everyone. Which means the party’s pols are now siphoning cash straight out of the budgets of their blue-collar and middle-class base. That hurts.

Traditional Democratic liberals understood that the private sector at least needed room to breathe. The party’s left, having self-deported from the private sector, does not. Thus at the same time their governors were bleeding the base, congressional Democrats voted through ObamaCare with its “Cadillac tax,” device tax, Transitional Reinsurance Fee and noncompliance penalties. As you can see, it’s just a messaging problem.

It was good being the party of Robin Hood. Until they morphed into the Sheriff of Nottingham. In November 2014, the forest people in at least four states figured out who has been picking their pockets.
It's ironic. Our entire culture is moving from hierarchical (top-down) structures to a networked model in which nodes have significant independence and autonomy. Big Intrusive Government (BIG) and its proponents are the antithesis of this trend and will fight dirty to stop it. But I believe that the days of BIG may be numbered.

The Democrat big government model is fundamentally outdated and has begun to fray at the edges. It demands ever-increasing levels of funding because it moves decisions and services farther and farther away from those who need them (sucking out resources that never reach those who need them). BIG is, to be blunt, an anachronism. Hopefully, the electorate will recognize this sooner, rather than later, and the era of BIG will slowly return governance to local control. More importantly, so called populist politicians of the far left, like Barack Obama or Elizabeth Warren, will become footnotes in the history of a failed political paradigm. The future will tell.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


As Palestinian violence escalates in Israel, the Obama administration and their fellow leftists in the worldwide media ramp up the rhetoric that condemns Israel rather than the palestinians who drive cars into civilian crowds or stab innocents on the street. This open letter by Dr. Arieh Eldad, an Israeli Plastic surgeon,(validated by Snopes) has been making the rounds. It presents a counter-narrative:
I was instrumental in establishing the Israeli National Skin Bank, which is the largest in the world. The National Skin Bank stores skin for every day needs as well as for war time or mass casualty situations.

This skin bank is hosted at the Hadassah Ein Kerem University hospital in Jerusalem where I was the Chairman of plastic surgery. This is how I was asked to supply skin for an Arab woman from Gaza, who was hospitalized in Soroka Hospital in Beersheva, after her family burned her. Usually, such atrocities happen among Arab families when the women are suspected of having an affair.

We supplied all the needed Homografts for her treatment. She was successfully treated by my friend and colleague, Prof. Lior Rosenberg and discharged to return to Gaza. She was invited for regular follow-up visits to the outpatient clinic in Beersheva.

One day she was caught at a border crossing wearing a suicide belt. She meant to explode herself in the outpatient clinic of the hospital where they saved her life. It seems that her family promised her that if she did that, they would forgive her.

This is only one example of the war between Jews and Muslims in the Land of Israel. It is not a territorial conflict. This is a civilizational conflict, or rather a war between civilization & barbarism.

Bibi (Netanyahu) gets it, Obama does not ...

Dr Arieh Eldad
By word and deed over the last six years, Barack Obama is anti-Israel. He shadows the leftist narrative that favors the "oppressed" regardless of the barbarity of the oppressed. I suppose that is his right. But it is worth understanding those who he champions against the Jewish state.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Diplomacy Based on Dreams

For the past few years, Barack Obama and his bumbling Secretary of State, John Kerry, have been negotiating with Iran to eliminate their effort to built a nuclear weapon. The deadline for those talks is up in two weeks. Sanctions, we're told, have forced Iran to make concessions, and a good deal can be had.

Excuse me if I'm cynical. Barack Obama has had so many serious foreign policy failures that he is the one that is ripe for a deal—any deal that can be spun to make it look that something important has been accomplished. If a deal is reached (I'm skeptical) it will be "good" for only one party and that will be Iran.

Andrew Bostom comments:
Indeed, reports surfaced this past week that President Obama himself has made direct, supplicating overtures to Iran’s head Shiite theocrat, Ayatollah Khamenei, linking U.S.-Iranian “cooperation” in fighting the Islamic State Sunni jihadists, to reaching a final nuclear agreement November 24, per the so-called “P5 +1” (= the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China, i.e., the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany) negotiations process. At a post-midterm elections press conference, 11/5/14, Mr. Obama openly expressed his endorsement of the apparently forthcoming nuclear deal with Iran:
I think that we’ll be able to make a strong argument to Congress that this is the best way for us to avoid a nuclear Iran, that it will be more effective than any other alternatives we might take, including military action.
Pace Mr. Obama’s and his advisers’ “arguments”—a toxic brew of willful, dangerous delusion, ignorance, and cynicism—the diplomatic processes they are aggressively pursuing will inevitably yield an Iran armed with nuclear weapons. Thus within two days of the U.S. President’s latest roseate pronouncement, a tocsin of looming calamity was sounded in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report released Friday, 11/7/14.

Even the centerpiece of touted P5 +1 negotiations’ “success,” curtailment of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, was questioned by the IAEA, which noted the Islamic Republic was continuing activities “which are in contravention of its obligation to suspend all enrichment-related activities.” The IAEA report further observed that contrary to its relevant commitments, “Iran has not suspended work on all heavy water related projects.” Most ominously, the IAEA report highlighted Iran’s failure to cooperate and resolve “outstanding issues related to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.” Specifically, the IAEA expressed its remaining concern,
about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.
But no matter. Obama needs a deal, and it's relatively easy to craft one that looks like it has bite, but in fact, purposely obscures loopholes in a blizzard of technical detail. Bret Stevens suggests that any deal that is crafted will be very complex with "a hundred moving parts." He then writes:
As for Iran, a deal with one hundred moving parts also serves it well. “The Iranians will cheat the way they always cheat, which is incrementally, not dramatically,” notes sanctions expert Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “Sooner or later, we’ll spot a potential violation and get into a debate about forensics: Are the Iranians complying or not? This will eat up time before we even get to the political debate over what to do about it.”

That’s been the Iranian M.O. ever since their covert nuclear program was first exposed in 2002. We’ve been negotiating their noncompliance ever since. Why should a regime that has paid no price for dishonesty suddenly discover the virtues of honesty in a post-deal world?

Supporters of a deal offer three answers. One is that the sanctions relief the West will offer in the deal can always be reversed in the event Iran cheats. “We can crank that dial back up,” as Mr. Obama said about sanctions last year. They also argue that what Iran seeks is to become, in the Bismarckian sense, a “satisfied power,” one that achieves its goals of diplomatic normalization, economic prosperity and nuclear pride—but also knows its limits.

Finally, as the Economist magazine argued in a recent editorial, time is on the West’s side. Think of China in the early 1970s: Sooner or later, Khamenei, like Mao, will die; sooner or later, public thirst for modernization, led by a Deng Xiaoping -type figure such as Hasan Rouhani, will steer Tehran to a better path.

Maybe so: Dreams sometimes come true. But diplomacy based on dreams usually fails. Iran, under its moderate leadership, executes one person roughly every seven hours. It boasts broad sway over four Arab capitals: Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and, most recently, Sanaa, in Yemen. The President of the Great Satan is all but begging for a nuclear deal. European companies are already salivating at the thought of a piece of the post-sanctions Iranian economy. Try dialing that back.

As for the opposition once known as the Green Revolution, when did you last hear from it?

The Obama administration likes to make much of the notion that Iran, starved by sanctions, is like a beggar at a banquet. If so, this beggar doesn’t settle for scraps. If Iran says no to a deal, Mr. Kerry will soon be back with a better offer. If it says yes, it will take what it’s given and, in good time, take some more.

Al Qaeda on a “path to defeat.” America “out of Iraq.” It won’t be long before a nuclear deal with Iran will join the list of Mr. Obama’s hollow Mideast achievements.
"Diplomacy based on dreams." That has been the consistent M.O. of the Obama administration since 2008. Recent history indicates that it hasn't worked out very well, has it?

UPDATE (11/12/14):
Yahoo News Reports:
NEW YORK/ANKARA (Reuters) - Despite nearly a year of negotiations, Iran and six major powers are unlikely to meet a Nov. 24 deadline to reach a final deal to lift international sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, officials say.
Western and Iranian officials told Reuters the two sides would probably settle for another interim agreement that builds on the limited sanctions relief agreed a year ago as they hammer away at their deep disagreements in the coming months.
"We could see the outline of a final deal emerging by Nov. 24 but probably not the deal itself," a Western official said.
This is sooo Iran. Making cheap statements about "progress" and chipping away at sanctions while nothing is settled and nothing really punitive is done.  At the same time Iran works secretly behind the scenes to get to the threshold of nuclear weapons. All the while, Obama's Team of 2s keeps at it in the hope that this ugly, repressive, violent, misogynistic, homophobic, undemocratic, terror-sponsoring "Islamic Republic" (a phrase Barack Obama often uses in describing Iran) will see the light. As we used to say on the streets of my hometown: N.F.L.

How about tightening sanctions and adding still more because no agreement was reached? I thought that was Obama's implicit threat—an implicit red line. Oops, forgot. Barack Obama is very good at saying things he has no intention whatsoever of acting on. Red line? Yeah, right.

Iran will be allowed to move to the threshold of a nuclear weapon, and the world will be a much more dangerous place.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Net Neutrality

In still another example of his obsession with government control, Barack Obama today announced a plan to"save" the Internet. It's euphemistically tied to "Net Neutrality." Sounds good, doesn't it? After all, who isn't in favor of a neutral Internet?

But wait. The Internet is neutral. In fact, over the past few decades, with relatively little government involvement, the Internet has flourished. And bolstered by the private sector, it has exploded, providing amazing growth that has benefited billions around the world.

Yet, Barack Obama feels he must save the Internet by applying heavy-handed big government regulation in the form of FCC oversight and control. What could go wrong?

The Internet isn't broken. In fact, it's doing just fine. Market forces will allow it to grow and change to keep pace with hardware/software technology and the demands of the people that use it. The FCC can add nothing good to this trajectory. In fact, if anything, its regulations will serve as an anchor that will retard the Internet's growth.

But that's what big government proponents do. They throw out anchors that they re-label as something that sounds innocuous, but are in fact a drag on personal liberty, commerce, privacy, whatever. The internet isn't broken. It doesn't need to be fixed by this president.

UPDATE (11/11/14):
I am no fan of Senator Ted Cruz, but yesterday he was on target when he tweeted: "Net Neutrality is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government."

Think about it. If the FCC gets involved, over time its control will grow—guaranteed. Every small technological tweak, every "controversial" new service, every innovative idea will have to pass muster among a group of know-nothing government bureaucrats who will be susceptible to the views of the politicians who appoint them and lobbyists who 'bribe' them. And remember, a conservative administration could use the power of the FCC to filter content it didn't like just as a progressive administration could use the power of the FCC to serve constituencies they need.

Like most things that are proposed by big government proponents, their intentions may be good, but the net effect of their integration of government into areas where it doesn't belong will be disastrous.

UPDATE -II (11/11/14)

The Wall Street Journal editorial board comments:
On Monday [Obama] urged the Federal Communications Commission to apply to the Internet century-old telephone regulations designed for public utilities. In a video posted on Youtube, Mr. Obama endorsed the regulation of Internet access providers under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.

These rules weren’t at the cutting edge of innovation even in the 1930s. As former FCC attorney Randolph May notes, this regulatory framework was written into the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 to oversee monopoly railroads. The Communications Act drafters then copied the 1887 law, replaced the references to railroads and clarified that the new regulations would apply to telephones as well as telegraphs. Eighty years later Mr. Obama has decided, in his market wisdom, that these rules should apply to the Internet.
It seems to me that those who espouse a Leftist ideology are consistently looking backward, not forward. That's absolutely nothing new for Barack Obama. In fact, his ideas about net neutrality are just the latest example of backward-looking thinking.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Good Riddance

After six years of dictatorial control over the Senate, Harry Reid will be unseated as majority leader in January.

Steve Huntley reports:
The first order of business for the U.S. Senate under Republican Mitch McConnell will be getting the Senate back in business. For most of the last four years, Democrat Harry Reid manipulated what was once the world’s greatest deliberative body for political purposes, not for the hard task of governing.

The House passed more than 300 bills but they mostly died from neglect in the Senate. What little legislation that made it to the floor crashed as Reid manipulated Senate rules to ban amendments and debate. When Republicans refused to bow to his tin-pot dictatorial rule, he accused them of obstructionism.

Don’t take my word for it. A news article in the New York Times, not known as a GOP mouthpiece, characterized Reid’s control of the Senate as “brutish” and “uncompromising.”

Reid aimed to protect the White House. For example, building the Keystone pipeline to carry oil from Canada to Gulf coast refineries is popular with many Democrats. Reid said no to a vote so that President Barack Obama wouldn’t have the tough choice of whether to sign a bill heavily favored by unions but fiercely opposed by environmentalists.

Reid also protected special interests. He did the bidding of trial lawyers and blocked passage of a patent reform bill with bipartisan support in Congress and backing from Obama and 500 high-tech companies.
Despite the NYT's rare act of candor concerning Reid, the media's continuing narrative during Reid tenure was that it was the GOP that was the "obstructionist" and that Republicans were the sole reason for a "disfunctional" congress. Really?

The Senate didn't work because Harry Reid (at the direction of the Obama White House) didn't allow it to work. Afraid that moderate democrats might bolt and pass legislation that Obama opposed (the Keystone pipeline comes to mind), Reid used parlimentary strong arm tactics and brute force to quash debate, stall bills, and institute new rules that allowed presidential nominees to be approved with fewer than a 60 vote margin. Now the Democrats are going to have to live with those rules as a minority. I suspect they'll scream bloody murder the first time the same rules they supported like myopic sheep as a majority are invoked by the GOP. What goes around, comes around.

It's important to note that Harry Reid could have easily been controlled and the legislative process, although combative, could have been allowed to proceed. All that had to happen was the president exercising control. But why? Harry Reid allowed a hyperpartisan administration to block not only the president's opposition, but members of his own party who might have decided that not everything proposed by the house was wrong.

No matter, Reid is gone. Good riddance.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Deeply Strange

Barack Obama has now had his "bi-partisan" moment and photo-op with GOP congressional leaders. Sadly, that's all it was—a photo op. There were no words from the president suggesting that substantive work would be joined together, no promises of bi-partisan action, no comment that the electorate had spoken and he would make an effort to honor their vote. Nothing. Nada. It appears that conciliation, moderation, and humility in the face of a resounding electoral defeat are simply not part of this president's vocabulary. Peggy Noonan comments:
What is in [Obama's] interests is for him to go forward in a spirit of compromise and try to reach agreements on the Hill through negotiations. This would be a relief after six years of nonstop acrimony. Republicans need an end of acrimony too: They want to show that they’re not just shutdown artists, as their foes say, but that they are a governing party in whose hands the country is safe. ...

It is confounding—not surprising but stunning, unhelpful and ill-judged—that the president is instead going for antagonism, combat and fruitless friction.

This is not just poor strategy, it seems to me to be mildly delusional. Chris Matthews erupted on MSNBC: “There’s something in this guy that just plays to his constituency and acts like there’s no other world out there!”

That’s true. And deeply strange in a politician. It’s as if he doesn’t think he has to work with others, he only has to be right. I think Mr. Obama sees himself as a centrist because he often resists the pressures of the leftward-most edge of his base. Therefore in his imagination he is in the middle, the center. If he is in the middle of a great centrist nation, how can they turn on him? The answer: They are confused. This is their flaw, not his. He’s not going to let their logical flaws change his game.

And so the future may well be nonstop combat between the Hill and the White House. If the president does a big executive action, the Republican Congress will no longer think negotiations and deals are possible. They will over the coming years send him legislation that they can pass with the support of their majorities and moderate Democrats. If he vetoes, they will try to override.
There is something "deeply strange" about Barack Obama—he exhibits a collection of traits that taken by themselves might be found in any president, but when taken together are very troublesome.

Richard Fernandez captures the essence of what's coming when he writes:
One of the more interesting Spanish expressions is the cryptic phrase “ser como el perro del hortelano, que ni come ni deja comer” which literally means ‘to be like the gardener’s dog, who neither eats vegetables nor lets anyone else eat them.’ The English equivalent is “dog in the manger“.
A churlish envious Cur was gotten into a manger, and there lay growling and snarling to keep the Provender. The Dog eat none himself, and yet rather ventur’d the starving his own Carcase than he would suffer any Thing to be the better for’t.
The sense of it is conveyed by the example of a boyfriend who doesn’t love a girl any more, but keeps her around so she can’t go out with anyone else. If you listened to president Obama’s surly post-election speech it should be clear by now he’s realized that his sole remaining card is to be the metaphorical dog in the manger.

The media is full of stories about how the main challenge facing newly elected Republicans is to craft a defense policy, implement a working health insurance system and to get trade going. They have to drive, as it were from the back seat, because the dog in the manger is sitting up front, knowing he is important and will be humored for as long as he keeps the whole trip hostage.
I think I know what might be going on, but I want to reserve comment for a few months in order to observe this president's actions as he deals with a GOP majority in both houses. If he reacts as I suspect he will, I'll be more confident in my understanding of why hope and change under Barack Obama has crashed and burned. In the meantime, get out the popcorn and watch the show.

Friday, November 07, 2014


Over the years that this blog has been in existence, I have commented many times on the climate change debate—when this blog started "climate change" was called "global warming" until scientific data indicated that there was little if any global warming in recent decades. Like most Americans, I am in favor of laws and regulations that keep our environment clean, that reduce pollution from truly dangerous airborne substances (C02 is not a dangerous airborne substance), and that move us gradually toward energy independence and alternative energy sources. Unlike most Americans, I drive an all-electric car (zero emissions) and have a PV (solar) array on my home that produces about 40 kilowatt-hours of energy each week, reducing my energy bill substantially and providing excess clean energy back to the grid.

At the same time, I have major problems with climate change alarmists—from the current president of the United States (who has access to data that allow him to know better) to the average progressive who has adopted climate change as a belief system that in many cases morphs into a religion.

In this past election, tens of millions of dollars were spent trying to use "climate change" as a wedge issue. The Wall Street Journal comments:
Tom Steyer became a billionaire by investing in fossil fuels, among other things, and maybe he should return to his roots. He may need the money after blowing at least $74 million trying to persuade voters to oppose Republicans who disagree with him on climate change.

If you want proof that money doesn’t buy elections, Mr. Steyer and his fellow green comrades are it. The San Francisco investor gave most of his money to his NextGen Climate Action Super Pac, which spent almost exclusively for Democrats. Environmental groups including NextGen spent $85 million to support President Obama ’s green agenda, especially his regulations targeting coal for extinction.

They didn’t even get a lousy T-shirt, and they aren’t taking it well. “Despite the climate movement’s significant investments and an unprecedented get out the vote program, strong voices for climate action were defeated and candidates paid for by corporate interests and bolstered by sinister voter suppression tactics won the day,” declared Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune.

Venting can be healthy, but self-deception isn’t. Mr. Brune should really blame the economic reality that the U.S. boom in fossil-fuel production is creating high-paying jobs and reducing energy costs across the economy. By contrast, Mr. Obama’s green agenda has created few jobs and raised costs for millions of Americans.

Voters in Pacific Heights or Manhattan may not mind paying more for their self-styled political virtue, but the average Debbie in Dubuque would rather not. The mistake too many Democrats made was listening to Mr. Steyer instead of Debbie.
This year’s environmental debate boiled down to Democratic support for Mr. Obama’s climate rules and green subsidies against full-throated Republican support for energy production of all sorts, including coal, oil and natural-gas fracking, more pipelines and greater fossil-fuel exports. These GOP candidates won nearly everywhere.

The issue here is priorities and it appears that the current administration is not very good at them. Using tenuous science couple with a scare campaign about what might happen 100 years from now (as if no technology will intercede in the interim), the administration has declared a "war on coal" and has been passive aggressive (to say the least) in providing any governmental support for the proeuction of natural gas (a clean and abundant fossil fuel.
Negative "economic change" is far more dangerous to our country and culture than tenuous predictions of "climate change." If the current economic malaise continues, if the middle class continues to shrink, if big government mandates encourage business to transition from full-time to part-time employment, if government mandated entry-level pay rates hasten the move toward even greater automation, if high personal and corporate taxes dampen innovation or cause businesses to go off-shore, the entire economy will suffer and a downward spiral will begin. By the way, if this should happen, tax revenues will dry up, and help for the least fortunate in our society will come under stress.

If this president set his priorities correctly, he would encourage those forms of energy production that provide hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs. Simple things, like the Keystone pipeline, would have been approved years ago with the resultant benefits in energy and jobs.

But Barack Obama is an ideologue. The climate change religion is part of his belief system, and as a consequence he'd rather champion draconian EPA regulations targeting CO2 than consider the economic implications of those regulations. Progressives like Obama consider themselves to be forward-looking, protecting the masses from what progressives consider to be bad decisions and corporate propaganda. In reality, progressives look at the future with tunnel vision, selecting one issue (in this case climate change) and championing it to the exclusion of many other more important issues. Their priorities are often skewed.

Interestingly, even if the fantasy projections of climate change alarmists are correct (they are not!), even if no new technologies (e.g., low cost nuclear fusion) do not intercede in the interim (they will!), even the most dire predictions of climate change impact of climate change remain many, many decades away. The need for good, high paying jobs is now!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

A Long Two Years

In the aftermath of a catastrophic election for the Democrats, their spokespeople are trying hard to come up with public excuses. Already, extremists in the party are saying:
  • 2/3 of the voters, didn't. 
  • Rich, white people vote in mid-terms, but wait until the 2016 elections—that's when our constituency comes to the polls.
  • Senate Dems shouldn't have deserted Barack Obama.
  • Dems simply were't left enough—they should have embraced immigration amnesty and open borders, among many left wing causes
  • The polls are wrong—Barack Obama is the best president—ever!
Actually, none of this matters. Wading through the wreckage of a weak economy, a ruptured healthcare law, high taxes, a shrinking middle class, multiple, historic executive scandals, a senate Democrat majority leader (Harry Reid) who, at the behest of the White House, refused to bring even one of over 350 House bills to the senate floor (now that's "obstruction), a disastrous foreign policy and a dozen other uncomfortable realities, the electorate has rejected much of what the Dems are about—at least for now. It appears that the electorate wants adults in executive positions, even  in deep blue states like Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland. Wow!

Ron Fournier discusses the president's reaction to all of this:
Shellacked and thumped by an angry electorate, President Obama declared to every American who voted in Tuesday's elections—and to those who've checked out of the political process—"I hear you."

And then he ignored them.

From all appearances Wednesday, the president won't change—not his policies, not his style, not his staff, not nothing. Defiant and begrudging, the president said he would meet with GOP leaders, seek their suggestions for common ground, and maybe grab a drink with Senate Majority Leader-to-Be Mitch McConnell.

Beyond that, meh. "It's probably premature" to consider personnel changes, Obama said when pressed by a reporter for the type of reflection and resetting undertaken by President Clinton after his 1994 midterm trouncing.

Moments earlier, McConnell urged Obama not to take executive action to legalize undocumented immigrants, saying such a momentous policy change by fiat would "be like waving a red flag in front of a bull." The newly reelected Kentucky senator also called it a "poison pill."

Obama shrugged. While willing to consider any immigration legislation passed by the GOP-controlled Congress, "What I'm not going to do," Obama said, "is wait."
Ironically, "waiting"—postponing decisions that truly do matter in a futile effort to gain political advantage— is just about the only thing that Barack Obama does well.

The sad thing is that there are enormous bipartisan opportunities in situations like this, opportunities that Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan seized to get major reforms implemented with the help of the opposition party.

If Barack Obama were a different person, with a different mindset, he could work with Mitch McConnell and John Boehner and get major reforms done: potentially—immigration reform, tax reform, healthcare reform (a major overhaul of the mess that is Obamacare), and energy legislation. Only a left-wing Democrat could get his own Dem caucus to accept the compromises that are necessary to get good legislation that would benefit the country. But Obama is not that person. To this day, he views the GOP as the enemy. At some level, I suspect that he and other extremists in his party would rather see nothing get done, so that alienated Democrat constituencies stay permanently disaffected.

Unfortunately, recent history indicates two things: Barack Obama has no ability to negotiate in good faith, to compromise when reality demands it, or to make good decisions. Worse, he has little interest in adapting his behaviors to realities on the ground. I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's going to be a long two years.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014


Despite campaign rhetoric that tried to paint the GOP as the enemy of minorities and women, despite a palpable bias in media coverage and reporting that continues to this day, despite the canard that the GOP "obstructed" the legislative process, a GOP wave election has occurred.

Bryan Preston summarizes:
The Republicans easily picked up the six U.S. Senate seats that they needed to take control. The GOP candidates picked up West Virginia, Iowa, Colorado, Arkansas, South Dakota, Montana and North Carolina. They needed six; that’s seven. And we don’t know what will happen yet in Louisiana and Alaska. The Republicans could take both. If they do, that exceeds even the most optimistic projections. I had it at +7 for weeks. They beat the spread.

The misery for Democrats by no means ends in the Senate. The Republicans increased their margin in the U.S. House by about 10 seats.

And they wrested three governorships away from Democrats in deep blue states. Republican Bruce Rauner defeated incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn in Illinois, 50-46. Martha Coakley turned in another dismal performance in Massachusetts, losing to Republican Charlie Baker. And in probably the most shocking result of the night, Maryland elected just its second Republican governor since the 1970s. Larry Hogan defeated Gov. Martin O’Malley’s chosen successor, easily, 52-46.

It goes without saying that Illinois, Massachusetts and Maryland are not generally considered to be battleground states. But now they are. The Republicans also held serve in Maine. Republicans came close to winning Senate seats in New Hampshire and Virginia.
Voters have convincingly repudiated the the last six years of Democrat control of the federal goverment—years when the president's worry about "climate change" seemed to trump any meaningful action on our economy or our foreign policy, years when Democrats rubber stamped a series of bad executive decisions and even worse proposals, years when Democrats looked the other way as scandal after scandal sullied the reputation of the executive branch and the government agencies it controls.


But there's no reason to applaud. Significant damage has been done—government has expanded unchecked, debt has grown without bound, taxes have risen mercilessly to feed the maw of big government, and our foreign policy is an unmitigated disaster.  The electorate sensed all of this and responded accordingly. That's a good thing, but it's nothing to celebrate.

Now it's time for the GOP to lead—to propose clear, simple legislation in the following areas: (1) the economy, (2) immigration reform, (3) heathcare reform (including major changes to Obamacare), energy, and maybe a few other things. They should reject the right-wing members of their party and work from the center to achieve results—that would be truly novel in the age of Obama.

I wish I could say that I believed that this president would be chastened by last night's election results, and like Bill Clinton in 1994, work in a bi-partisan manner with the GOP to get important things done. Unfortunately, Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton.

Obama may feign humility and may even say that he'll work with his opponents, but he has demonstrated repeatedly that his words do not dovetail with his actions. If Obama is combative and maintains his left-wing ideological stance, he should be forced to veto legislation that comes to his desk. If he is unreasonable or tries use presidential fiat to make major changes that should be legislative, the Democrats should work internally to moderate his extreme positions, criticize his unconstitutional actions, and if necessary join with the GOP to override his vetos and/or implement legislation that will improve the lot of this country.

Interestingly, it's time for the Democrats to rebuild their brand, but not with class warfare rhetoric, hysteria over a mythical "war on woman," or uncontrolled spending in an effort to buy votes from one or more segments of the electorate. For once, maybe they should actually try to work with the new majority party.

If they do not, if they continue to puppy dog this president, if they follow the most extreme left-wing elements of their party, their prospects for 2016 will be difficult indeed.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014


Today is election day, and if the Democrats take significant loses, their media hamsters will be quick to assure the public that those loses are meaningless. If the Dems hold on to the Senate, then regardless of other loses, it will be characterized (possibly correctly) as a great victory for progressives, but if they lose the Senate, well, that's an entirely different matter. The lose will be characterized as nothing really—just a bump in the road that leads to big government's utopia.

Steve Hayes characterizes the MSM's battle space prep in this way:
The Washington Post may have been first in declaring the coming midterms “kind of—and apologies to Seinfeld here—an election about nothing.” But the Daily Beast chimed in: “America seems resigned to a Seinfeld election in 2014—a campaign about nothing.” And New York magazine noted (and embraced) the cliché: The midterm election “has managed to earn a nickname from the political press: the ‘Seinfeld Election,’ an election about nothing.”

Soon enough this description was popping up everywhere—the New Republic, the Los Angeles Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Bloomberg, Politico, and many others. The 2014 Midterms, the Seinfeld Election.

Others posited something even worse. “The 2014 campaign has been the most boring and uncreative campaign I can remember,” wrote New York Times columnist David Brooks. That wasn’t harsh enough for Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post, who went further. The election isn’t just “boring,” he wrote, “it’s vapid and inconsequential.”
Indeed, humility among progressives is highly unlikely if loses occur. Their montra will be that it's a "messaging" problem or that the president's unpopularity dragged them down or that their "ground game" failed to produce adequate results.

In fact, this election is consequential. It's an opportunity for the electorate to re-examine the impact of B.I.G. (big intrusive government) and decide whether that's a reasonable direction for our country. It's about whether the Democrats will move us ever closer to a socialist state in which businesses that create jobs are denigrated, government assistance is not only accepted but encouraged, victimization is the norm for everyone but white males, and crushing taxes and national debt (with all of their unintended consequences) will be the norm for our children and grandchildren.

Hayes continues:
Not only is this election not about nothing, it is being fought over exactly the kinds of things that ought to determine our elections.

It’s about the size and scope of government. It’s about the rule of law. It’s about the security of the citizenry. It’s about competence. It’s about integrity. It’s about honor.
Democrats state openly that Obama's unpopularity is dragging them down, and there is considerable truth to that. But they seem to forget that it was Democrats who supported his first and second election without any clear-eyed consideration of his complete lack of experience, his serial dishonesty, his inability to make solid decisions, his vicious partisan slant on all things, and his hypocritical populist rhetoric. It was Democrats who did nothing to reign in this president, to investigate the scandals that have plagued his administration, to control and temper a foreign policy that is both a disaster and an embarrassment. Now, to quote one of Barack Obama's mentors: "The chickens have come home to roost." Maybe.

After my serious misreading of the 2012 presidential election, I've acquired the humility to state that I truly don't know what the results of today's election will be. Curiously, polls no longer provide a good indication of the final result, so it's up in the air as far as I'm concerned.

I'm hopeful that a strong message will be delivered, but I'm not at all hopeful that Democrats will accept the message or recognize that new, far more moderate governance is needed.

Monday, November 03, 2014

No More

In a typically perceptive essay on the Obama administration's disastrous foreign policy and its impact on the structure of middle eastern and Asian countries, Richard Fernandez first quotes Henry Kissinger, and then comments:
[Kissenger said:] “it may be dangerous to be America’s enemy, but to be America’s friend is fatal”.  [Under the Obama administration] everything was subordinated to domestic politics according to which Washington’s first instinct was to coerce its allies and attract its foes. In contrast to the Marine’s well known slogan, the motto of some diplomats was “no worse friend, no better enemy”.
Fernandez then goes on to discuss how artificial borders created by Western diplomats over a century ago are now dissolving. How countries like Iraq and Syria, among others, are gone forever, and a new order is emerging—an order that is inherently inimical to the United States. Most important, how the Obama administration has alienated past allies (e.g., Egypt, Israel) and tried (unsuccessfully) to cozy up to foes (e.g., Iran).

But then Fernandez focuses closer to home. He writes:
One of the new countries which a few trendy people in Western capitals have been trying to synthetically create for a long time is ‘non-America’, or more generally, the non-West. They’ve been working furiously to erase its borders and replace it with as much of a void as they can possibly create. Like all the other collapsing diplomatic projects mentioned by [Israeli Defense Minister Moshe] Ya’alon, a small intellectual elite thinks it can take an object of millions of people which has existed for centuries and remold it to their own liking.

Fundamentally change America, just like that. Why should it be different from ordering a pizza, only bigger, which they’ve been doing all their lives? Their view of the world is so insular, so limited by their narrow viewing slit that they don’t even realize they live in the same physical country as the one the want to destroy. Just as fat men grow bellies so large they can’t see their feet, some narcissists have an ego so bloated they don’t even know where their food and safety comes from.

Bill Ayers triumphantly told Oregon University students that America’s ‘Game Is Over’ and ‘Another World’ Is Coming. “I don’t think there’s any question, and I don’t think any of you would question, that the American Empire is in decline–that economically, and politically, and in some ways culturally, that we are in decline”.

After decades of paying up, shutting down, not resisting, and self-hating, he says, ‘oh, it worked’. It’s his “mission accomplished” moment. He has studiously noted America’s precipitous fall but what to others may seem Obama’s mistakes are to him a fulfillment of a long cherished dream.

But as Ya’alon observed with respect to the Middle East, one must beware of such dreams. The ordinary lives of millions have a momentum that clever people like Ayers often fail to understand. They go on in ways that confound the sophisticated. The simple create, sometimes faster than even the most sophisticated men can destroy. Perhaps it will be Ayers’ imagined future that will dissolve in the tides of history. Maybe it is he and his buddies whose time over.

You can shaft some of your friends all of the time. You can even shaft all of your friends some of the time. But you can’t betray everyone all of the time on the altar of political expedience. People start to notice those things and start to object. Implicit in Henry Kissinger’s remark about the betrayal of friends is that the one exception to a policy of betrayal had to be yourself. You are, if you are sane, your own friend. You cannot be fatal to yourself. I wonder if Ayers and company ever thought that far. Nah.
"Nah," indeed. It is not within their intellectual and psychological ability to look at past history, to see the long line of failures that their approach to governance has created, to understand the human toll that left-wing governance precipitates—the debt, the lack of individual initiative, the lack of good jobs, the corruption, the poverty, the shortages, the intrusiveness of government—and ask whether their approach is fatally flawed.

At the risk of long distance psychoanalysis, Barack Obama and his Team of 2s have adopted an ideology that posits that America's flaws far outweigh anything good about our homeland. Barack Obama and the Team of 2s are perfectly comfortable with tearing down what they perceive as a corrupt capitalist system and replacing it with ... what exactly? Obamacare? Leading from behind? A statist system where all power is derived from B.I.G.? Government agencies that have been weaponized to attack citizens who think differently? A state controlled media?

One can only hope that at some point a critical mass of Americans will recognize that the changes that Obama and those that follow him want to make are fatal to our country. If and when that happens, the Team of 2s will be no more. Maybe that will begin with state and local elections tomorrow.