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

Friday, July 31, 2015


I am no fan of Donald Trump. He is the supreme egotist and blowhard—a man who bulldozes his way through virtually everything. He has created vast wealth for himself, but he has also bankrupted four companies he controlled, walking away from loans and large invoices, hurting hundreds of small businesses along the way. Now, as a presidential candidate, he has hit a chord among some within the GOP and outside it, but his comments are all bluster with little concrete detail (then again, that's true of most, but not all, presidential candidates). He is a bull in a China shop, but maybe the fact that this country is now so fragile, so weak, and so dysfunctional that it could be called a "china shop" is part of the reason he has risen in the polls.

Peggy Noonan comments with her typical insightful analysis:
His [Trump's] rise is not due to his supporters’ anger at government. It is a gesture of contempt for government, for the men and women in Congress, the White House, the agencies. It is precisely because people have lost their awe for the presidency that they imagine Mr. Trump as a viable president. American political establishment, take note: In the past 20 years you have turned America into a nation a third of whose people would make Donald Trump their president. Look on your wonders and despair.

Mr. Trump’s supporters like that he doesn’t in the least fear the press, doesn’t get the dart-eyed, anxious look candidates get. He treats reporters with courtesy until he feels they’re out of line, at which point he calls them stupid. They think he’ll do that with Putin. His insult of John McCain didn’t hurt him, and not because his supporters have any animus for Mr. McCain. They just saw it as more proof Mr. Trump will take the bark off anyone.

They’re not nihilists, they’re patriots, and don’t experience themselves as off on a toot but pragmatic in a way the establishment is not. The country is in crisis, we can’t keep doing more of the same. “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” We have to do something different. He’s different. If it doesn’t work we’ll fire him.

Trump’s power is not name ID. He didn’t make his name in this cycle or the last, he’s been around 35 years. He’s made an impression.
The "impression" I get is that Trump is a reaction to weak governance, to ineffective and incompetent leadership, to petty political bickering, to disastrous and feckless foreign policy, to a general arrogance among White House insiders and government officials that allows them to blatantly lie to Congress, to the media, to the public and smile as they do it (fearing no retribution and receiving none). Trump is a reaction to rudderless national navigation, to red lines that aren't, to appeasement that is so obvious it's uncomfortable, to a Team of 2s that are so clueless they don't even realize they're 2s.

I understand all of that. But he's the wrong reaction and the wrong man to correct the very real attributes his supporters reaction to him. I hope that other qualified GOP candidates will recognize what's happening and offer a compelling alternative. I think they will.

Monday, July 27, 2015


Overseas at the moment, Barack Obama continues his vilification of anyone who suggests that the Iran "deal" might not be in the best interests of the United States, the western world, and the Middle East. Sitting on his high moral perch, Obama suggests that his critics are "sad" and that it's really all political posturing, i.e., that there is no basis for criticism. It's a familiar trope from this failed president—a man who has a catastrophic foreign policy record, made all the worse by his capitulation to the Mullahs of Iran.

Meanwhile, a pre-eminent member of Obama's Team of 2s, Secretary of State John Kerry, gives new meaning to the phrase "If you can't blind them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit." In his testimony before Congress, Kerry demonstrated yet again that it's far better to stonewall than to disclose and far more effective to take delusional positions with an air of confidence than it is to tell the truth.

This administration sets all of its hopes on low information voters and loyal democrats, hoping that in their ignorance (actual or willful) they will accept what Obama, Kerry, Rice et al say about the "deal."

Roger Simon comments on the actual "deal":
Unfortunately for me, unlike my liberal friends, I have been following along closely. It gets quite dense, sort of like reading the minutes of the Wannsee Conference in Farsi.

But to make it easy for you, allow me to put it simply. The Iranians made no concessions, only our side did, and we (especially the State Department) have lied continually to the American people about the extent of our concessions, most of which are hidden from view in side letters. But even if that weren’t so — and it is — the basics are clear. We have given Iran a pathway to a plutonium bomb while entirely gutting any possible inspections regime. We did this by abandoning the promised anytime/anywhere inspections for some bureaucratic mishmash that will take anywhere from 24 days to a year (depending on whom you ask) and by collapsing on the so-called PMDs (possible military dimensions) of Iran’s previous nuclear program, so there is no way to prove what is new and what is not in the first place. And to top it off, we have given the Iranians a signing bonus of $150 billion that, no doubt, will be used to finance either the Tehran branch of the Little Sisters of the Poor or another skillion mid-range missiles for Hezbollah. You decide.
And now DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is in a snit because GOP contender Mike Huckabee suggested that the "deal" will "lead Israel to the door of the ovens." So Huckabee, but not the grand Ayatollah, crossed the line? Somehow progressive Dems are perfectly okay with Iran's human rights abuses, Iran's broad-based sponsorship of terror groups, Iran's persecution of gay people, and Iran's weekly claims that Israel be "wiped off the map." Genocide? Nah, the Mullahs are just joking.

And besides, Barack Obama keeps telling them that this is a "good deal" and that anyone opposed wants war. He insists that Iran might moderate as a consequence of his negotiating acumen and join the circle of Obama's confidants as they all sing Kumbayah.

So, lining up like the Stepford Wives, they parrot the president's statements, feeling oh-so-good that they are demonstrably anti-war. Problem is, their blind obedience to this president is setting the stage for war. Capitulation in 1930s resulted in the death of 60 million people. Capitulation in 2015 will have consequences—serious and dangerous consequences. That's what's "sad."


One thing that can be said about the Obama White House—those guys play hardball. The latest instance is a leak, according to The the New York Times, by "a senior government official" (think: Valerie Jarrett) who indicated that two inspectors general have suggested that Hillary Clinton be investigated by the Obama DoJ for sending classified documents from her now infamous private email server.

The past six years have indicated that nothing—and I mean nothing—happens in Obama's 'justice' department without the administration's approval, and everything—and I mean everything, the DoJ does is political.

In effect, Obama is "menendizing"* or "pratraeusing"** Hillary Clinton. By starting an investigation with the threat of criminal prosecution, Obama and his Team of Hardball 2s hope to keep the target in line, preclude any attempt at criticism by the target, and at the same time, offer their not-so-subtle contempt. The target is Hillary.

One might actually feel some sympathy for Ms. Clinton, if it weren't for the fact that she is a venal, dishonest politician who has lied and stonewalled repeatedly over many years.

But the Clintons play hardball as well. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Hillary unleashed Bill on Obama. There is no love lost between the two men and with a smile on his face and using his best Arkansas accent, Bill might soon begin to express doubts about the Iran deal or Obama's other executive actions. He might question Obama's "accomplishments' as president, he might express "concern" about rising medical costs under Obamacare, he might suggest, ever so subtly that he's worried about the actions of the IRS against American citizens, or income inequality under Obama or ... You get the picture.

Get out the popcorn! This just might be a lot of fun.

*  named after Democrat Senator Robert Menendez who as a frequent critic of Obama, was indicted for political reasons
** named after General David Patraeus, who disagreed with Obama's Iraq strategy and needed to be silenced by a criminal probe

Friday, July 24, 2015

False Realities

All politicians spin the facts—doesn't matter whether they're GOP or Dem, conservative or progressive—all politicians spin. We all accept it, discount the spin if we're knowledgeable enough to recognize it, and move on.

Spin is the ability to put the very best face on a set of facts that might be damaging, without being blatantly dishonest. But when the spin become counter-factual, when an objective assessment of known events, rulings, and behaviors indicate that the "spinner" is trying to create a false reality, spinning crosses the line and becomes lying.

When Barack Obama appeared on John Stewart's late night broadcast and argued that the IRS targeting of those who opposed his policies didn't happen or was attributable to confusion at a local level, he was working to create a false reality.

The Boston Herald Editorial Board notes:
In 2013, after the IRS inspector general confirmed the use of inappropriate criteria in vetting applications for tax-exempt status, the president was resolute.

“Regardless of how this conduct was allowed to take place,” he [Obama] said then, “the bottom line is, it was wrong.”
Hmmm. Yet today, Barack Obama's attempt at revisionist history provides us with a different interpretation:
“When there was that problem with the IRS, everyone jumped ... saying, ‘Look, you’ve got this back office, and they’re going after the Tea Party’ ” Obama told Stewart. “Well, it turned out, no, Congress had passed a crummy law that didn’t give people guidance in terms of what it was they were trying to do. They did it poorly and stupidly.”
The Boston Herald's editors comment:
“Back office”? As was widely reported, the guidance to single out Tea Party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny apparently came from the IRS in Washington.

Beyond that, the idea that Lois Lerner, who was head of the tax-exempt office, and her colleagues simply didn’t have the proper guidance required to vet applications — and that it was not their fault, but the fault of Congress — is, like an episode of Stewart’s show, laugh-out-loud funny.

The law exempting nonprofit groups from taxation has been around since the 1950s, but only after the proliferation of conservative 501(c)4 groups did it become “crummy”?

The president elicited more laughs by adding that the “real scandal” is that the IRS has been so poorly funded “that they cannot go after these folks who are deliberately avoiding tax payments.” So ... they had to fall back on ideology?
So ... the "real scandal" is that the IRS is underfunded? I suppose that's because they didn't do a good enough job of attacking American citizens, and like all big government ideologues, Barack Obama has only one solution when a government agency fails to do its job—spend more taxpayer money.

Obama's interview gives us yet another window into the man. Looking through the window, albeit a very small glimpse, the view is not pretty.

The salient question to ask is this: If Barack Obama and his administration repeatedly and blatantly attempt to create false realities whenever their actions and motives are questioned, how is it possible to believe any claim that they make?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Point

In the wonderful 1971 cartoon feature by American singer and songwriter, Harry Nilsson, entitled, The Point, one of the key protagonists sagely says, "People see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear." We're going to see and hear a lot of that as progressive writers begin their 16 month slog toward defining the "legacy" of Barack Obama in glowing terms.

Here's an early example from Dick Meyer. He writes (I don't think he's on medication, but after reading his piece, the possibility does exist):
President Obama will go down in history as an extraordinary president, probably a great one. He will have done this in era that doesn’t aggrandize leaders and presidents, but shrinks them. All presidents have had profound opposition, vicious enemies and colossal failures. A few were beloved and others deeply respected in their day, but none in the modern era and certainly not Obama.
Okay, then. Meyer goes on the discuss and defend five policy achievements that he believes will lead to a judgement of "greatness." They are: (1) The Iran Deal, (2) Obamacare, (3) the recovery from 2008, (4) the "epic triumph" of becoming the first black president, and (5) "dignity and honesty" (suggesting that Obama's presidency is the first in 70 years not tainted by scandal).

Meyer is a poster child for Nilsson's comment in The Point—"People see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear."

Let's take each of Meyer's 'legacy achievements' in order.

The Iran Deal. My position on the "Iran Deal" has been made abundantly clear in four posts (starting here) over the last few weeks—not only is it a bad deal, it is irresponsible and extremely dangerous. It will lead to nuclear proliferation in the most unstable region of the world; it rewards (with billions of dollars) an aggressive enemy in the naive hope that Iran will modify its vicious, hegemonic behavior. It is an "achievement" in the same way that one might characterize creating a toxic waste dump as an achievement.

Obamacare. Constructed on lies in a hyperpartisan fashion, this program does little of what was promised. Medical costs continue to rise, insurance continues to go up, people have lost good coverage and replaced it with poor (very high deductible) coverage. It will cost the shrinking pool of American taxpayers trillions over the next few decades, will provide poor coverage for those who need it and riches for the crony capitalists (insurance companies) who benefit from it. It is a bureaucratic monstrosity and a monument to B.I.G. (big intrusive government).

The Recovery. We have experienced the weakest recovery in modern history, the lowest labor participation rate in modern history, the highest taxes in a very long time, and the largest deficits and debt ever. At the same time, under the stimulus $800 billion was wasted on Obama's core corporate and political constituencies, and at the same time an opportunity to rebuild our failing infrastructure (with stimulus dollars) was lost, probably forever.

The First Black President.

Dignity and honesty. We have witnessed the first president in modern history who publicly and repeatedly denigrated those who had opposing views, who treat true allies in a shabby fashion, whose political hacks called the leader of our ownly true ally in the Middle East, "Chickenshit." Yeah, that's real dignified. And honesty? Barack Obama has lied about key provisions of key programs and policies so often that it's no longer newsworthy. Whether it's "If you like your doctor, ... " or "We can verify whenever and where ever we choose ..." And scandals?—think Fast and Furious, the VA scandal, the IRS scandal, the Benghazi scandal—there are more.

As progressives spin Barack Obama's "legacy," keep in mind that if he truly was a great president, there would be no need to spin his legacy. I guess that's the real Point.

UPDATE: (7/23/15):
Apparently, Barack Obama agrees completely with Dick Meyer's delusional assessment that there have been no scandals in the Obama administration. Undergoing a rigorous (??) interview on comedian John Stewart's late night entertainment show (this president does not have the courage to submit to a serious interview from a journalist unless that journalist is one of his trained hamsters), Obama argued that (1) the only "IRS scandal" is the fact the the IRS is "underfunded," (2) that any "confusion" in IRS enforcement was due to the [Democrat-controlled] Congress created confusing tax regulations, and (3) that there was no intent to target groups that opposed his policies.

Stewart, one of Obama's most docile hamsters, didn't bother to ask: (1) why IRS executive Lois Lerner took the fifth if there was no wrong-doing; (2) why the IRS (and the administration) has done everything possible to stonewall congressional requests for information regarding the targeting; (3) why only conservative groups were singled out and targeted; (4) why IRS officials visited the White House an inordinate number of times during that period; (5) why Obama replaced the IRS commissioner with an arrogant, combative  functionary, John Kostigan?

But no worries, Barack Obama is an exemplar of "dignity and honesty." Just ask Dick Meyer -- and John Stewart.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


I never much liked Donald Trump. He is the classic egotist—a blowhard who is so impressed with himself that he believes he can do no wrong, that his opinions should be the definitive statement on any subject, that his wealth is somehow the sole criterion by which he should be judged, that his multiple trophy wives somehow make him a man among men, that "the art of the deal" somehow obviates the many people and small firms hurt by his multiple corporate bankruptcies (four to be exact). He is blessing to the Democrats, an embarrassment to the GOP, and a gift to a media that wants to tarnish all GOP candidates with Trump's extreme positions. He is also, according to Victor Davis Hansen, Barack Obama's doppelganger:
The two see the world in similarly materialist — though, again, opposite — terms: Trump wants net worth to be the litmus test of political preparation (“The point is that you can’t be too greedy”), even as Obama professes that big money is a Romney-like 1 percent disqualification. Obama’s infamous communalistic quotes to the effect that you didn’t build that, at some point you’ve made enough money, and this is no time to profit are just bookends to Trump’s money-is-everything ideas that he built everything, he’s never going to make enough money, and it is always time to profit.
Hansen goes on to make a long list of same-but-opposite comparisons of the two men. For example, Hansen writes:
The media rightly notice Trump’s first-person — I, me, my, mine — overload, but that too is Obama’s favorite kind of pronoun. The president often refers to his “team” in narcissistic terms, as if the West Wing were a sort of Trump Tower.
Trump, like Obama, tries to insert himself into local tragedies for political leverage:
Trump was blasted for editorializing on the tragedy of Kate Steinle’s murder at the hands of a seven-time felon and five-time-deported illegal alien. But that habit of seeking political resonance in individual tragedies bears the Obama imprimatur. Although the Steinle tragedy did not offer Obama the correct political calculus, he has sought to channel Ferguson, Baltimore, and mass school shootings as fuel for his own political agenda. So far Trump has not quite descended to the level of the president’s use of a racial affinity with Trayvon Martin, although his quip about prisoners of war like John McCain being less than heroic comes close.
In the business world, Trump is renowned for making promises he does not keep (think: his four bankruptcies) and exaggerating the truth (think: lying) when it suits his purposes. Hansen writes:
Talks with Iran were originally supposed to have been predicated on anywhere, anytime inspections, no enrichment within Iran, real-time snap-back sanctions, and tough protocols about weapon purchases and subsidies for terrorists — until they really were not. Red lines were game changers, only they weren’t — and they weren’t even Obama’s own red lines, but the U.N.’s. Chlorine gas did not count as a WMD: it wasn’t really a weaponized chemical agent at all. Trump’s inconsistencies and contradictions so far are no more dramatic.
Hansen goes on to make other salient same-but-opposite comparisons. Read the whole thing.

The money quote is the last sentence in Hansen's piece: "There is no need to elect Donald Trump; we’ve already had six years of him."

Friday, July 17, 2015

Negative Consequences

This is the last of four posts on the Iran deal—at least for now. After slogging through the majority of the published text, it's readily apparent that the "deal" is no better in writing than the initial perception on the day it was announced. It is capitulation, agreed to by a president who wanted the "deal" too much. It will result in very serious problems down the road, and any argument that suggests that Iran will join the world community, renounce Islamic terrorism, and embrace its Middle East neighbors is fantasy bordering on delusion.

Peggy Noonan has unique insight when she analyzes political players and the political scene in general. Here's what she sees when she considers Barack Obama, the negotiator, with an eye toward the Iran "deal."
Mr. Obama is an odd one in that when there are rivals close by, in Congress for instance, with whom he could negotiate deals, he disses them in public, attacks their motives, yanks them around with executive orders, crushes them when possible. But when negotiating with actual tyrants he signals deference, hunger. I leave it to others to explain what it means when a man is bullying toward essentially good people and supplicating toward bad ones. But the sense is he always wants it too much and is consequently a poor negotiator, and this will have some impact on U.S. and world reaction.
Never in my life time have I witnessed a president—Republican or Democrat—who demonizes his opposition to the extent that Barack Obama does. Never in my lifetime have I seen a president—Republican or Democrat—abandon (and in some cases, vilify) allies to the extent that Barack Obama does. As Noonan implies, he is the worst kind of bully—attacking those who are good men and women but legitimately opposed to his positions, and deferential (or afraid) of thugs who mean this country and our allies serious harm. The negative consequences of his election and re-election will haunt our nation for many, many years.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Binary View

Barack Obama and his foreign policy Team of 2s seem to be the only people (other than the radical Islamic regimes who are celebrating a 'great victory') who seem to be defending his Iran "deal." Hillary Clinton, in typical Hillary fashion, was equivocal, expressing support to keep the left-wing base of the Democratic party happy, but leaving plenty of wiggle room if things about the deal go south. Many other Democrats expressed tepid support (with a few true believers in the Democratic party ecstatic about peace in our time--1938, anyone?).

At his press conference yesterday, Obama suggested that “99% of the world community” support his deal with Iran. Hmmmm. I guess that means that the Senate will approve the deal 99 to 1 or that polling within the United States will yield 99 percent in favor. Then again, it's entirely possible that Barack Obama doesn't consider the United States to be a legitimate member of the "world community," so opinion here doesn't count.

It better not, because opinion here is scathing.

As I've mentioned in earlier posts (see Update#2 here), Barack Obama creates a false choice. He suggests that its either capitulation (in terms of a "deal") or war. It's either pseudo-control of Iran's road to a nuclear weapon, or Iran with a nuclear weapon. It's either Iran as a member of the "world community," or Iran as a renegade. It's either sanctions that "don't work," (a flat out lie) or the release of sanctions that will moderate Iran's behavior. This simplistic, binary view of international relations is dangerous and irresponsible, not to mention wrongheaded, but the Team of 2s finds it comforting to believe that their ill-conceived 'negotiation' was the only righteous path. This level of confirmation bias is astounding.

Even Obama's media hamsters are asking harder questions than normal, but I suspect that their skepticism will be short-lived.

Here's a prediction. Much is being made of the fact that the release of four American hostages that Iran has imprisoned was not part of this "deal." I suspect that the Team of 2s and the Iranians have established an under-the-table agreement to release the hostages. As the congressional debate intensifies, and if the agreement looks like it's in trouble, the hostages will be released at just the right moment. In the typical "oh look, a squirrel" move, the media will look away from legitimate questions about this "deal" and will revel in the release of the hostages, with personal interest stories, heart-rending accounts, and the like. Democrats, who might have properly voted 'no' will be given cover to vote 'yes' after this moving humanitarian gesture. Call me cynical, but watch for this. Given the Obama's penchant for political calculation, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if it happens.

Richard Fernandez summarizes reaction of a few important players:
“We are confident that the world today breathed a sigh of relief.” — PRESIDENT VLADIMIR V. PUTIN, who emphasized Russia’s plans to be a major partner with Iran in the development of its “exclusively peaceful” nuclear program.

“We have no doubt that the coming days will see momentum for the constructive role of the Iranian Islamic republic to support the rights of the people and strengthen the bases of peace.” — PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD, according to the Syrian state news service, SANA.

The deal is “a historic mistake for the world” and will allow Iran ‘‘to continue to pursue its aggression and terror in the region.’’ — PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, who has said that a deal will eventually pave the way for Iran to quickly produce multiple bombs and ultimately become a “terrorist nuclear superpower.”
At the risk of being snarky, I sometimes think Barack Obama looks at Putin and Assad as people who he can deal with and Bibi Netanyahu as a bad actor. That would dovetail directly with the feelings of more than a few Left-wingers, but nonetheless, you have to worry when the only world leaders celebrating the "historic deal" are international thugs.

Fernandez continues with a wonderfully apt metaphor:
... Obama, in purchasing the promise of an alliance with Iran for money, is like a man who engages a lady in a clip joint to sit at a table and pretend to be interested in him, even though they have nothing in common. The lady, in this case a bearded Ayatollah, consumes overpriced, watered-down beverages for which he presented an astonishing bill and when opportunity presents may slip him a mickey. Then she escorts her wobbly customer out followed closely by Vladimir.

It is not unheard of for patrons of such establishments to wake up in a ditch without their wallets, glad they still have their underwear. But if shared values are not the coin in the administration’s realm, then it must be purely down to who has the last laugh. Off go Iran and Obama into the mist. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship, but don’t count the ditch out.
Given Obama's history of foreign policy disasters, the ditch is getting wider and deeper by the day.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The "Deal"

One of the most stunning aspects of the new "deal" that Barack Obama and his foreign policy Team of 2s have established with Iran is the fact that relatively few Democrats are willing to support it with enthusiasm. At best, they grudgingly state that there are serious flaws in the agreement, that Iran cannot be trusted, that verification will be difficult or impossible and that the "deal" provides a direct avenue for Iran to become a nuclear power.

As example is an article written by Jeffrey Goldberg in the progressive magazine, The Atlantic. He begins his article thusly:
The theocratic regime that rules Iran—a regime that is a committed and proficient sponsor of terrorism, according to John Kerry’s State Department—will be more powerful tomorrow than it is today, thanks to the agreement it has just negotiated with the Obama administration, America’s European allies, and two U.S. adversaries as well.

This sad conclusion is unavoidable. The lifting of crippling sanctions, which will come about as part of the nuclear deal struck in Vienna, means that at least $150 billion, a sum Barack Obama first invoked in May, will soon enough flow to Tehran. With this very large pot of money, the regime will be able to fund both domestic works and foreign adventures in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, and elsewhere.
After discussing (in worthwhile detail) all the reasons why the "deal" is bad, Goldberg amazingly concludes that it's the only alternative. Using somewhat muted language he, like many progressives, is transformed by fantasy. In essence, repeating the mantra that has become a staple for Obama supporters, What's the alternative, war? If you're against this deal, you're in favor of war with Iran. That's abject nonsense, but no matter, it's their narrative, and they're sticking to it.

When pressed, many of this president's ardent supporters do what they often do when confronted with one of the Obama administration's many failures, scandals, or examples of poor judgement—they lie.

Here's Jim Geraughty on the subject:
We now know how the Obama administration and its friends will sell the deal with Iran: lie.

Here’s Representative Don Beyer, Democrat of Virginia, telling MSNBC why he’ll vote for the Iran deal: “Thanks to the Obama administration’s negotiations, Iran’s nuclear program will be under lock, key and camera 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The eyes of the international community are on every centrifuge, every ounce of uranium, in all of Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

Completely false: “UN inspectors can demand access to nuclear facilities on Iran military sites, but they aren’t immediate or even guaranteed. Any inspections at those sites would need to be approved by a joint commission composed of one member from each of the negotiating parties. The process for approving those inspections could take as many as 24 days.”
Dishonesty is, of course, the stock in trade for the Obama administration, and as congressional debate heats up, we can expect much more of it. The sad reality is that many low information voters will believe the lies.

Despite Barack Obama's preposterous claims about the quality of the "deal" he and his Team of 2s have signed with Iran, the bottom line is really quite simple—the United States gains nothing from the "deal," allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia lose big, and Iran, Syria, Hezballah, Hamas and other terror entities share a major win.

An uncomfortable silence has descended among past supporters of this president's policies, and most thoughtful democrats appear uneasy. Criticism from Obama's opposition grows by the hour. The Wall Street Journal comments:
Start with the inspections. Contrary to Mr. Obama, the IAEA’s enhanced monitoring isn’t permanent but limited to between 15 and 25 years depending on the process. Also contrary to his “where necessary, when necessary” claim, inspectors will only be allowed to ask permission of the Iranians to inspect suspected sites, and “such requests will not be aimed at interfering with Iranian military or other national security activities.”

If Iran objects, as it will, “the Agency may request access” (our emphasis), and Iran can propose “alternative arrangements” to address the concerns. If that fails, as it will, the dispute gets kicked upstairs, first to a “Joint Commission,” then to a Ministerial review, then to an “Advisory Board,” then to the U.N. Security Council—with each stop on the bureaucratic road taking weeks or months.

This is far worse than the U.S.-Soviet arms agreements, in which the U.S. could protest directly to Moscow. Iran now has an international bureaucratic guard to deflect and deter U.S. or IAEA concerns.

The deal places sharp limits on Iran’s current use of first-generation IR-1 centrifuges. But it allows hundreds of those centrifuges to remain in the heavily defended Fordo facility, where they are supposed to remain idle but could be reactivated at the flick of a switch. The deal also permits Iran to build and test advanced centrifuges. This means Iran can quickly field a highly sophisticated, and easily dispersed, enrichment capability when the agreement expires.

All of this assumes that Iran will honor its commitments, notwithstanding its long record of cheating. Mr. Obama’s answer here is that he or his successor can reimpose sanctions, but that will be a tough sell once sanctions relief kicks in over 12 to 16 months and a pro-Iran commercial lobby resurfaces in Europe, China and Russia. A committee of the eight signatories would have to vote to restore sanctions. “Snap-back” is a mirage.

Perhaps most dismaying is that this nuclear deal also lifts sanctions on Iran’s conventional weapons’ trade in five years, and ballistic missiles in eight. Missiles are the most effective way of delivering a nuclear weapon—including to the U.S.—and as recently as last week Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey warned Congress that “under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking.”

The U.S. appears to have caved on this point at the last minute after ultimatums from Tehran. This will be especially upsetting to our regional allies, which will have to cope with a newly empowered Iran flush with cash from sanctions relief.

It's appears that this "deal" has more to do with Barack Obama's ego and legacy than it does with any real attempt at dealing with the world's largest state sponsor of Islamic terrorism. It represents a combination of irresponsible, short sited decisions, surprising (some might say, cynical) naivete, and gross capitulation. It sets the stage for bad things long after Barack Obama leaves office.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Over the past six and a half years, we've observed the following:
  • a president who has consistently misled the American public about the benefits and projected outcomes of his policy initiatives
  • an administration that has consistently made the wrong decisions with regard to the Middle East, allowing the region to go from bad to chaotically unstable and dangerous
  • a past Secretary of State (Hillary Clinton) and the current Secretary of State (John Kerry) who have consistently backed the wrong regional players, made the wrong choices, and ultimately done far more harm than good throughout the Middle East
  • allies who have been spurned and sworn enemies who have been embraced
  • "red lines" that have been crossed with no consequences
  • a series of foreign policy scandals (Benghazi comes to mind) that, if nothing else, indicate that decisions in this realm are motivated more by ideology and domestic politics than by what is in the best interests of the United States
In summary, we have observed a president and his Team of 2s fail to achieve a single legitimate foreign policy accomplishment that will lead to a better word.

And now, we have an "historic" deal with Iran, not an enforceable (maybe) treaty, mind you, but a "deal" with the single most duplicitous, venemous, and hegemonic entity in the Middle East. We're told it's enforceable. We're told it a good thing. We're told it's "historic."

What could go wrong?


The first dissenting opinions on this "historic" deal have already begun to pour in. Newt Gingrich (certainly no friend of the Obama Administration) suggests that Obama's deal is a "surrender" to Iran and writes:
An American surrender to Iran in the nuclear talks will have four immediate and devastating consequences.

First, as much as $150 billion in money impounded by the sanctions will be released. The regime’s history teaches us that a substantial portion of this will go to fund terrorism and military action around the world. By focusing on the nuclear program and ignoring the program of terrorism and aggression, the Obama administration is on the verge of vastly increasing the resources Iran has to use against the United States and its allies.

Second, once the sanctions are gone, the Iranians will sign very profitable contracts with German, Russian and Chinese firms. The pressure against reinstating the sanctions will be overwhelming (and two of the three countries have vetoes in the U.N. Security Council).

Third, the Iranian nuclear program will be “approved” by the international community and will accelerate. If North Korea is any example, once these negotiations conclude, the Iranians will go full-speed ahead. Inspectors will be delayed, obstructed, lied to and will pathetically whine about Iranian noncompliance. It is clear this agreement guarantees an eventual Iranian bomb. And “eventual” may be a lot sooner than we think.

Fourth, signing an agreement as a co-equal with the United States, Russia, China and the Europeans will drastically increase the prestige of the Iranian dictatorship. That enhanced prestige will be translated into an already-aggressive regime bullying its neighbors even more.

Mr. Obama will argue that the choice is a bad agreement or war.

He misunderstands the current reality.

We are already at war with Iran.

They are winning.

This deal hands them a victory while continuing our [actually, Obama's] fantasy.
There are many things that trouble me about the Obama administration, but one of the most disturbing is the clear indication that, like the vast majority of Leftists, Obama and his followers are perfectly will to base major policy decisions on a fantasy view of the world—the threats we face, the consequences of our actions, and the true nature of our enemies (or for that matter, who are enemies actually are). Recall the aphorism—when fantasy and reality collide, reality always wins in the end. The problem is that a lot of irreparable damage can be done before reality has it day. 


And this comment from Richard Fernandez is well-worth pondering:
Almost no one in the foreign policy establishment can articulate a reason for this deal other than to assert that a “bad agreement is worse than no agreement” without shedding the slightest light on what this doohickey actually does. The president’s ultimate goal, his secret strategic objective remain as obscure and impenetrable as ever. The president’s admirers, balked at an explanation, are likely to seek refuge in political faith, in the belief that Obama is so much smarter than the rest of us and especially them, that we unlike him, cannot see so many moves ahead.

“It’s going to be wonderful!” they assert. Somehow.

The alternative of course is to entertain the possibility that Obama’s no smarter — and probably less smart — than Merkel, Tsipras, Hollande and Juncker who have proved embarrassingly foolish and that’s he just making a hash of everything as usual, in the same way OMB made a shambles of personnel records, and the VA of veteran’s care. Common sense suggests that Obama is as likely to succeed in this as he has succeeded in the past. To imagine that he will be abnormally excellent in this single nuclear deal, performing 3 or 4 standard deviations over his batting average, is really to wager on the improbable.
[Emphasis mine]
But this we know. Iran will have the bomb. Nonproliferation is slowly dying if it is not dead. But at least Obama’s Legacy — whatever he thinks it is — lives.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Work Hard

There's not really very much on her resume or in her governmental activities that Hillary Clinton can offer as a reason to elect her President of the United States. Under her stewardship as Secretary of State, American foreign policy was a disaster—a melange of meaningless pivots, bad decisions, and failed diplomacy that lead to Russian aggression, a newly emboldened China, and a chaotic Middle East. Barack Obama was the architect of this mess, but Hillary Clinton was the general contractor.

Her positions on a variety of specific domestic issues have been vague at best, and her comportment in the last few years have led to the Benghazi scandal, influence peddling using the Clinton Foundation as the cut-out, the email deletion scandal, the email server scandal, and to a long list of dishonest statements. Hillary owns every one of these scandals, along with the poster child for "income inequality"—multi-hundred thousand dollar speaking.

So ... the only politically safe thing for her to do is to grasp the old standby of the Left—class warfare—and push it for all it's worth.

In what her campaign touted as a major political address, Clinton said:
“If you work hard and do your part, you should be able to get ahead. And when you get ahead, America gets ahead. But over the past several decades, that bargain has eroded.”
Using an apples and oranges reading of economic numbers, she argues that people are working harder, that productive has risen substantially (by 240% since 1950), but is lagged by wage growth which has risen only 108 percent since 1950.

James Taranto comments of her reading of these economic numbers:
Think about it. A corollary of the proposition that “you’re working harder” is that the people with whom you’re being compared worked less hard—and a lot less hard if that’s what EPI’s [a progressive economic think tank] numbers are measuring. Productivity growth more than tripled between 1948 and 2014. To put it another way, workers were less than 30% as productive in 1948 than now.

If workers in 1948 were such slackers, how in the world did they manage to build the greatest economy and strongest middle class the world has ever known?

The question—and much of Mrs. Clinton’s economic program—is based on a false premise. In economics, “labor productivity” is not a measure of hard work. It is closer to—though not precisely—the opposite.

Labor productivity is the ratio of economic output (measured in inflation-adjusted dollars) to work (measured in hours). Those familiar with basic arithmetic will understand that a ratio varies inversely with the denominator. Thus, the fewer hours you work to produce the same output, the higher your productivity.

It is true that all else being equal, an industrious worker is more productive than a lazy one. But in an age of automation and computerization, it is not even remotely plausible to suggest, as Mrs. Clinton does, that a more than threefold increase in productivity is purely, or even largely, the result of nonsupervisory workers’ making a greater effort. (That’s not to say they don’t work hard. But their predecessors worked awfully hard in 1948 too, even if Mrs. Clinton is too young to remember.)

Productivity has increased because there is less need for low-skilled labor—in other words, less demand, which reduces the marketplace value of such labor. That’s a challenge for society, but not one that will be effectively met by politicians who fail to understand the problem—or pander to voters by pretending not to understand.
Hillary isn't dumb, but it's reasonable to believe she's willfully ignorant, and it's a slam dunk to contend that she's pandering.

After all, with the ascendency of hard left, socialist Bernie Sanders, it's important to play the class warfare card with the base.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Setting the Stage

As the Iran talks go into still another overtime (what a surprise!) Barack Obama and his foreign policy Team of 2s and the majority of Democrats argue that there is no alternative to an nuclear agreement because the only other option is war. Unfortunately, a bad agreement with Iran (and a bad agreement it will be) becomes an invitation for war in the relatively near future.

Reuel Marc Gerecht and Mark Dubowitz explain:
... hawks who believe that airstrikes are the only possible option for stopping an Iranian nuke should welcome a [Obama nuclear] deal perhaps more than anyone. This is because the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is tailor-made to set Washington on a collision course with Tehran. The plan leaves the Islamic Republic as a threshold nuclear-weapons state and in the short-term insulates the mullahs’ regional behavior from serious American reproach.

To imagine such a deal working is to imagine the Islamic Republic without its revolutionary faith. So Mr. Obama’s deal-making is in effect establishing the necessary conditions for military action after January 2017, when a new president takes office.

No American president would destroy Iranian nuclear sites without first exhausting diplomacy. The efforts by Mr. Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to compromise with Tehran—on uranium enrichment, verification and sanctions relief, among other concerns—are comprehensive, if nothing else. If the next president chose to strike after the Iranians stonewalled or repeatedly violated Mr. Obama’s agreement, however, the newcomer would be on much firmer political ground, at home and abroad, than if he tried without this failed accord.

Without a deal the past will probably repeat itself: Washington will incrementally increase sanctions while the Iranians incrementally advance their nuclear capabilities. Without a deal, diplomacy won’t die. Episodically it has continued since an Iranian opposition group revealed in 2002 the then-clandestine nuclear program. Via this meandering diplomatic route, Tehran has gotten the West to accept its nuclear progress.

Critics of the president who suggest that a much better agreement is within reach with more sanctions are making the same analytical error as Mr. Obama: They both assume that the Iranian regime will give priority to economics over religious ideology. The president wants to believe that Iran’s “supreme leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hasan Rouhani can be weaned from the bomb through commerce; equally war-weary sanctions enthusiasts fervently hope that economic pain alone can force the mullahs to set aside their faith. In their minds Iran is a nation that the U.S., or even Israel, can intimidate and contain.

The problem is that the Islamic Republic remains, as Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif proudly acknowledges in his memoirs, a revolutionary Islamic movement.
In reality, the United States is left with two very bad options—each will lead inexorably toward military intervention to stop a "revolutionary Islamic movement" from acquiring nuclear weapons and (1) using them, or (2) supplying them to radical Islamists who will, or (3) using them as a sheild to create upheaval in the region. Believing that an Obama agreement will somehow change this reality is a dangerous and irresponsible fantasy.

As a country, we have a president who has failed in every major foreign policy endeavor he has initiated. He will enter into an agreement that sets the stage for war—conveniently, after he has left office.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Bubble World

A recent U.S. Census Bureau report indicates that there are approximately 55 million people in the United States on means tested public assistance. Politicians like would-be Democratic presidential candidate and socialist Bernie Sanders tell us that this is all due to "income inequality," not to mention voracious capitalists who prey on the poor and downtrodden. The millions of progressives on the Left who praise Bernie agree, believing the fantasy that big government programs can sustain themselves long term on other people's money. After all, in the United States, it's worked so far.

Progressives are the first to applaud "sustainability." In all things, it appears, but financial policy. The policies (if you can call class warfare a 'policy') that Bernie and his Democrat followers (including Hillary Clinton) espouse are unsustainable, unless significant reforms are made and the economy escapes from the malaise created by Barack Obama's high taxes, high debt, and massive regulatory state. Ironically, it's low taxes, lower deficits and reduced regulation that will create more government revenue by spurring economic activity—but Bernie and company are blind to that. After all, it doesn't fit their narrative.

Bernie Sanders and his followers are residents of a "bubble world" that Richard Fernandez describes in the following way:
In the bubble world there are more claims on assets than can be satisfied. In the pre-crash world this is unnoticed. As in the game of Musical Chairs, it is not obvious till the music stops. Only when the tune is interrupted, in the post-crash world, does the audience will see there is one chair short.

Politicians and unscrupulous politicians are in the profession of overselling capacity, but ensuring they always have the chair. Politicians for example, promise the same taxpayer dollar several times over to different constituencies. And it goes along swimmingly as long as they can kick the can down the road.

For example Obamacare was created to save Medicaid from bankruptcy. Now Medicaid expansion is used to prove Obamacare is working. Obamacare was funded by reductions from Medicare. Now the Medicare “doc fix” shortfall will be funded by obtaining “savings” from Obamacare. It’s circular process where the same dollar moves from chair to chair.
Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and their followers on the Left love the game of musical chairs. They promise savings when there will be none. They call wasteful and often unneccessary spending "investments." They suggest that if only the "rich" paid their "fair share," there'd be enough chairs for all. They argue that "income inequality" if remedied, would miraculously remedy our financial state. None of this is true, and deep down, I suspect they know it.But maybe not.

As long as everyone circles the chairs, it all sounds good. Until as Fernandez notes, the music stops. It is only then that everyone will face the reality that Bernie et al are one chair short. And the ones left standing will be the very people who Bernie et al purport to champion.

Monday, July 06, 2015


The new deadline for the conclusion of the Iranian nuclear agreement has been set for July 7th. One of three likely outcomes will occur:
  1. The talks will be further extended because Barack Obama, John Kerry, (with a Nobel peace prize dancing in the heads), their Team of 2s,  and their trained hamsters in the media will tell us that we're close—oh so close—to an "historic" agreement that will lead to an age in enlightenment, peace, prosperity ... (you get the picture), and all we need to do is further capitulate to Iran's demands by extending the talks another few weeks.
  2. The talks will conclude with a catastrophically bad agreement that will do nothing to (1) stop Iran from moving toward a nuclear weapon, (2) stop Iran from worldwide sponsorship of terror, and (3) stop billions of dollars (withheld by sanctions) from flowing back into Iran.
  3. The United States will walk away.
The likelihood of the third outcome (the one I'm in favor of) is vanishingly small, leaving the other two to ponder.

Caroline Glick does some real reporting, and what she finds is very troubling:
Wednesday, the Associated Press reported on the details of one of the agreement’s five secret annexes.

Titled “Civil Nuclear Cooperation,” the annex demonstrates that, far from merely failing to block Iran’s development of nuclear weapons, the deal will facilitate Iran’s development of nuclear weapons.

The leaked secret annex has two central components.

The first involves the underground uranium- enrichment facility at Fordow. Built inside a mountain, the Fordow complex is considered resistant to air strikes.

According to the AP report, the Iranians have agreed to re-purpose the installation from uranium enrichment to isotope production. In turn, the six powers have agreed to provide the Iranians with next-generation centrifuges to operate it. Yet, as the AP report makes clear, “isotope production uses the same technology as enrichment and can be quickly re-engineered to enriching uranium.”

In other words, the six powers will teach Iran how to operate advanced centrifuges capable of quickly enriching uranium in an installation that is protected from aerial bombardment.

The second section of the annex relates to the heavy-water reactor at Arak. The reactor, whose construction is near completion, will be capable of producing plutonium-based atomic bombs.

According to the AP report, the six powers have agreed to provide Iran with a light-water reactor that is less capable of producing bomb-grade plutonium.

Yet, as Omri Ceren from the Israel Project explains, a sufficient number of light-water reactors are capable of producing bomb-grade plutonium. Moreover, since the reactors are powered by uranium, the very existence of the light-water reactors provides Iran with justification for expanding its uranium-enrichment operations.
In addition, Barack Obama, true to form and desperate for an agreement he can claim is meaningful and historic, has allowed every red line established for these negotiations to vanish over the past few months.

Way back, the administration demanded that Iran expose its past nuclear work. Iran's Supreme leader said, "No."

John Kerry, not the brightest bulb in this country's foreign policy chandelier, eliminated that red line. He stated: “We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in. What we’re concerned about is going forward.”

Seriously? "We have "absolute knowledge?" If he honestly believes that, John Kerry is an idiot. Otherwise, he's just one of many liars that populate this administration.

It appears that in a feverish attempt to resuscitate a terminally failed foreign policy, Barack Obama will agree to terms that will seriously endanger the Middle East, Europe and the United States. This president's capitulation to a sworn enemy will be a catalyst to a nuclear arms race in the most unstable part of the world. It is irresponsible and dangerous. Worse, it is not in the best interest of this country. But none of that matters. After all, it's all about legacy, isn't it?

Sunday, July 05, 2015

A New Religion

My last post, Detroit Greece and Puerto Rico, was actually about lessons not learned. Detroit, Greece, and Puerto Rico are clear indicators of the failure of the big government, tax and spend style of governance—the kind of governance promoted by progressives in general and the Democratic party in particular. Even as failure after failure occurs, the big government narrative must be maintained by progressives. To vary from the narrative, to adapt and conciliate, to actually work toward real reform and possible solutions is not something that is possible.

Richard Fernandez comments:
The Hill has an article showing Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders drawing a huge crowd in Madison, Wisconsin. His popularity among Democrats is an indication that the grassroots liberals are dissatisfied with the leftist status quo. Contrary to the administration’s claims, things are not going well for most people. Many of those who vote Democratic don’t want Obamacare, but think Single Payer is the answer. They know Obama’s foreign policy isn’t working yet believe that even more appeasement provides the solution. They understand times are tough yet are convinced that more “free government” programs will help.

In short they are like patients feeling the symptoms of a dread disease but think that Doctor Miraculo’s Wonder Elixir holds the cure. Things are not hunky dory. Quite the contrary. The disease is real; it’s the nostrum that’s fake. Yet the rapturous crowds are unlikely snap out of the spell, no matter how many times they beggared, interned or lied to. The true believers never came to a moment realization in Jonestown and they won’t in Greece. Those who survived Jonestown couldn’t convince their fellows to stop chugging the Kool-Aid, they just edged away into the jungle and ran for their lives.

Powerful social movements do not promote diversity, except superficially. What they sell is membership in a group. That is the core product of religions, clubs, political parties — and until recently, nations. The left is no different. It doesn’t want its members to think independently but follow the party line, to parrot the narrative. The party line must be served, no matter when, no matter what.
It's fascinating to watch the left reject and often deride formal religions (with the exception, of course, of Islam) while at the same time adopting the same unprovable and often irrational tenets of a new religion with its own rules, its own priests, and its own vision of heaven and hell.

The new religion uses political correctness as its catechism, demanding absolute fealty to every tenet espoused by the politically correct. Those who refuse to abide by these tenets are labeled as troglodytes, bigots or racists—sometimes all three. Its priests are people like Bernie Sanders who use divisive and often dishonest claims to demonize their opposition, divide people along class lines, and cultivate anger derived from envy. Its vision of heaven is the leftist utopia, a workers' paradise controlled by a central government that redistributes the fruits of labor under the guise of "fairness." No matter that every attempt at achieving this utopia has ended in ruin or that the common man has suffered greatly during the attempt. Its vision of hell is an earth ravaged by man-made "climate change"—oceans inundating cities, famine, pestilence and suffering. No matter that there is little scientific evidence to support this vision of hell, we must act immediately (adopting a 'ready, fire, aim' approach) to avoid judgement day.

Many media outlets have adopted the new religion and work very hard to maintain its narrative. Most democratic politicians are apostles. Million of leftists who would tell you they reject mainstream religion as outdated and unresponsive, worship daily at the progressive alter. And no amount of contradictory information will change their world view. Detroit festers, Greece crumbles, Puerto Rico moves ever closer to bankruptcy, but few, if any, progressives express concern or doubt about the policies that got these locales where they are today. The new religion dictates big government (read: leftist) control of all that matters. So there is no room for concern or doubt.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Detroit, Greece, and Puerto Rico

Under the big government policies of Barack Obama and the entire Democratic party, our economic woes grow every month. Obama's trained hamster's in the media trumpet a supposed 5.3 percent "unemployment rate," but downplay or omit the fact that the labor participation rate in the United States (the percentage of people who are actually working) is at the lowest level in over 40 years! The national accounting of debt has remained unreported for almost six months—an ominous sign. The last accurate numbers we had indicated that the debt at somewhere north of $18 trillion, growing at a rate of $500 million each day! Government entitlements are grossly under funded, with Medicare projected to run out of money in the next decade. Social welfare programs are growing at an unprededented rate. No meaningful reform has been proposed by this president or his party.

And with all of this, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and company rail against "income inequality" (their favorite class warfare meme), as if redistribution would magically solve the problems noted in the first paragraph. In the fantasy world of progressives, it's all about somehow getting ever more money from the "rich," regardless of the consequences (for example, Sanders, a hard-core socialist, has advocated a 90% tax rate). The government has to grow ever larger, ever more intrusive and ever more powerful—just as long as progressives control the government.

The problem is that progressives have controlled the government for over six years and things continue to get progressively worse.

It's interesting. Detroit, Greece, and Puerto Rico are in different countries, speak different languages, and have different politicians, and yet all suffer from the same malady—irresponsible spending, unsustainable public sector pensions, high local taxes, frighteningly high unemployment, intrusive government regulation, all resulting in a downward spiral toward bankruptcy. All are poster children for the big government ideology that Democrats espouse.

Here's The New York Times (a true friend of Barack Obama and the Democrats) describing Puerto Rico:
Before long, Puerto Ricans will face more tax increases — the next one is in October. Next on the list of anticipated measures, these for government workers, are fewer vacations, overtime hours and paid sick days. Others in Puerto Rico may face cuts in health care benefits and even bus routes, all changes that economic advisers say should be made to jump-start the economy.

People ricochet from anger to resignation back to anger again. Along San Juan’s colonial-era streets, in homes and shops, Puerto Ricans blame the government for the economic debacle. Election after election, they say, political leaders took the easy way out, spending more than they had, borrowing to prop up the budget, pointing fingers at one another and failing to own up to reality.
Hmmm. Reality. What an interesting concept. The reality is that Detroit, Greece and Puerto Rico are canaries in the coal mine. Each represents a failure of big government and progressive policies, yet somehow, progressives want to double down on those failed policies. If only the meany GOP would spend more taxpayer dollars (derived from an ever-shrinking pool of taxpayers) everything would be alright. Yeah, that's the ticket—more spending, bigger government—no matter what.

The Wall Street Journal provides additional background on Puerto Rico's predicament:
Puerto Rico’s economy has been contracting for nearly a decade, and employment has shrunk by 14% since 2005. Its 12.4% jobless rate would be higher if not for its astonishing 40% labor participation rate, compared to 63% nationwide. The island’s population has declined by roughly 300,000 in a decade as young people flee to the mainland, where they can work as U.S. residents.

For those who stay, rich welfare benefits provide a disincentive to work. A household of three can receive $1,743 per month in food stamps, Medicaid, utility subsidies and welfare compared to minimum-wage take-home pay of $1,159. Employers are required to provide 15 days of vacation and 12 sick days annually and a $600 Christmas bonus. Government employees make up a quarter of the island’s workforce.

To pay for all this, politicians have borrowed and taxed to the limit. Public debt has tripled since 2000 and exceeds 100% of gross national product. In 2006 the territory instituted a 7% sales tax, which this year was raised to 11.5% and next year will become a value-added tax. Since 2013 Mr. Padilla Garcia has raised the petroleum tax to $15.50 from $3 per barrel, imposed a 1% tax on insurance premiums and the gross income of financial institutions, and increased sewage rates by 60%.
Like all good progressives, Puerto Rican (or Greek or Detroit) politicians have chosen to tax and spend their way to ruin. It hasn't worked out very well for their constituents.

The disturbing reality is that if the Democrats maintain leadership control of the United States after 2016, taxing and spending will accelerate to ruinous levels. As a consequence, it won't work out every well for any of us.