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Semi-open thread: Does Obama Want a Government Shutdown?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:54 pm - September 30, 2013.
Filed under: Blame Republicans first

Methinks he may want a shutdown so he can have another excuse to attack Republicans.

This headline helps strengthen that suspicion: HALPERIN: OBAMA OKAY WITH SHUTDOWN BECAUSE MEDIA HAS HIS BACK:

Intentionally or not, Monday on Morning Joe, Time’s Mark Halperin revealed to the world how the American media’s pro-Obama bias will in part be to blame for any coming government shutdown. When asked if President Obama had an incentive to negotiate with the GOP, Halperin explained that, “The White House does not have much incentive. They think the trends are going to go in their direction at the end of the week, or early next week at the latest; because again, the press is largely sympathetic to their arguments on this.”

No wonder he hasn’t met with House Republicans to try to work out their differences.

Am I right to speculate that Obama might want to see the government shutdown? Or he sincere in his commitment to keep it open? (If he is, please detail what he has done to prevent the shutdown.)

So, readers, use the comments section below to let us know what you think . . .

UPDATE:  Contending that “Obama Wants a Shutdown, So He’ll Get a Shutdown,” Bryan Preston observes:

Republicans never threatened a shutdown during this entire debate. They made a point to fund the rest of the government while defunding or now delaying Obamacare. It has been Obama and the Democrats who have threatened a shutdown. The media, like Obama, will not only depend on the ignorance of the average American, they will actively foster that ignorance with deception and misdirection. That’s their schtick.

He also reminds us:

Other congresses have also fought over spending and attached conditions to debt ceiling hikes, going all the way back to the time of Eisenhower. Democrat congresses shut the government down under Reagan, about a dozen times. You’re not supposed to know any of that, though.

Obamacare: A Physician’s (Preliminary) View

In the past few days, I have challenging Obamacare-supporting classmates in Facebook threads.  On the whole, the discussions have been civil, with my peers responding to critiques with argument and anecdote and keeping, by and large, a good discussion going.

Some have noted that insurance costs were escalating even before a Democratic Congress passed Obamacare — and have addressed how the  president’s plan would help fix many of the problems in the pre-2010 health care sector.  Others, including yours truly, have warned about the increasing costs of the new plan.  Most of the arguments are familiar to those who have been following the debate, but I thought one physician’s perspective particularly inisghtful– and so I asked his permission to quote it on this blog.  The permission granted, I reproduce it exactly as offered.

Time for a physician (and patient’s) two cents: just today I received a registered letter from united healthcare/oxford that “as a result of the significant changes in the healthcare environment” I am being dropped as a Medicare advantage provider. No reason given except that somehow that will contain costs. Last week I received word from my own health insurer that they are ending my policy at the end of December (6 months early) and that they are under no obligation to help me find other coverage for my small business/ medical practice. Anecdotal? I don’t think so. I will likely be closing my practice soon despite having spent years studying , preparing, and taking excellent care of my patients. I wish everyone luck with Obamacare. So far, I am not a fan.

I do hope those following the threads on Facebook learn to recognize that both sides stand sincere in the support of — or opposition to — the president’s health care scheme.

UPDATE:  In the Facebook thread wherein the physician offered the above, another participant shared this link:  ObamaCare Employer Mandate: A List Of Cuts To Work Hours, Jobs

Remember: Even Big Labor is against Obamacare

Now that Obamacare implementation looms and people are “finding out what is in it” – seeing Obamacare’s destructive nature that may cost them their current coverage (if not their job) – even Democrats’ support for Obamacare has crashed to the point where a majority of them no longer back it.

Even Big Labor hates Obamacare. The AFL-CIO recently slammed it as “highly disruptive” to union workers. The Teamsters said Obamacare will ‘destroy the very health and wellbeing’ of workers. Another union conditionally called for Obamacare to be repealed.

Even Democrat Senators call for key pieces of Obamacare to be delayed. Even Saturday Night Live ridicules the perverse incentives of Obamacare (something I never thought I’d see).

So, why does President Obama keep trying to make it sound like conservatives have bad motives for opposing what everyone knows is a train wreck for America? As he recently said:

Some of them are actually willing to see the United States default…if they can’t deny the basic security of health care to millions of Americans.

Or, from the same speech, this:

And [they]‘d be willing to shut down the government and potentially default, for the first time in United States history, because it bothers [them] so much that we’re actually gonna make sure that everybody has affordable health care.

So many falsehoods are packed into two quotes there, that I’m tempted to just say “What a hate-monger!” and stop.

But there’s more. It isn’t just Obama; it’s also his White House, which compares Republicans to murderous enemies of the United States:

…the American people support, by a two-to-one margin, a requirement for spending cuts when negotiating more borrowing authority for the government to pay its bills, according to a new Bloomberg News poll.

The White House “is for cutting spending. We’re for reforming our tax code, for reforming entitlements,” said senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer. “What we’re not for is negotiating with people with a bomb strapped to their chest,” he added.

Never mind that the Obama administration is out there supporting (arming) U.S. enemies who literally strap bombs to their chests, in places like Syria.

The Obama crew are fools-or-worse, and they are getting desperate. As Deroy Murdock puts it, “The road away from Obamacare may be treacherous for Republicans…but this is no time to go wobbly.”

Don’t Blame Me; I Voted for Mitt Romney

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:30 pm - September 29, 2013.
Filed under: Economy

A left-wing web-site reports: Nearly Four In Ten American Workers Are Living Paycheck To Paycheck Each Week

RELATED (from Jeff): A couple of interesting reads from the Economic Collapse blog, via ZH:

Golfing while a government shutdown looms

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:02 pm - September 29, 2013.
Filed under: 113th Congress,Media Bias,Obama Watch

While House Republicans have been burning the midnight oil trying to reach a compromise on the continuing resolution to keep the government funded, President Obama yesterday “went golfing for four hours at Fort Belvoir“.

Via Instapundit.

Do wonder how many news outlets (besides Pjmedia) are reporting this fact.

So poll with highest level of presidential approval is Rasmussen??

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:13 pm - September 28, 2013.
Filed under: National Politics,Random Thoughts

We’ve often heard it said the the Rasmussen poll skews Republican, but their latest shows the Democratic president with a higher level of approval than any other recent survey:

Screen shot 2013-09-28 at 11.07.41 AM

Not since May has any survey showed him with over 50% approval.

If the president is sincerely concerned about avoiding a government shutdown. . .

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:32 pm - September 27, 2013.
Filed under: Democratic demagoguery,Random Thoughts

. . . why does he prefer to harangue Republicans than to meet with them?

In his petulant press statement today, he said was willing to have conversation with the GOP, but, well, when was the last time he sat down to do just that?

He showed considerable cheek in insisting that a budget be passed on time, given how tardy he was in releasing his.

UP-UP-UPDATE (added on 09.28.13 @ 2:24 GP Blog time):  This time even CNN seems to be catching on, CNN: Obama’s Been on Phone More With Iran than Speaker of the House

RELATED: Obama avoids shutdown talk as deadline looms (Article posted before Obama’s statement today, references some of his, well, intemperate language.)

UPDATE:  How Drudge covers the president’s statement:

Screen shot 2013-09-27 at 1.39.41 PM

UP-UPDATE: From Jonathan Strong at the Corner:

Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner, responded to President Obama’s remarks just now, saying

The House will take action that reflects the fundamental fact that Americans don’t want a government shutdown and they don’t want the train wreck that is Obamacare. Grandstanding from the president, who refuses to even be a part of the process, won’t bring Congress any closer to a resolution.

A GOP aide noted Obama has not called the Speaker all week.

Emphasis added.

Reconsidering Ted Cruz’s Filibuster

No, I don’t like Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s plan to filibuster the House resolution to keep the government open. I would like to see the Senate vote of the legislation, forcing Democratic Senators to choose between their party’s priorities (an increasingly unpopular law) and their constituents’ concerns (the growing cost of healthcare and their diminishing options caused by said legislation).

I wish that the government could defund Obamacare, but, as Thomas Sowell and Tom Coburn have pointed out, it’s not going to happen.

Still, for all the Texas Senator’s posturing, he has done something the legacy media fail to do–bring the unpopular health care law into the news. It does seem our broadcast media are downplaying (or outright ignoring) the problems with the president’s signature achievement.

Like John Hinderaker,

I am not crazy about Cruz’s plan to block cloture on the House resolution, but I applaud his speech. Obamacare is unpopular, and Republicans should pound away at it non-stop. Within the last few hours, reports have surfaced that House Republicans may attach a one-year delay in Obamacare’s individual mandate to the Senate’s “clean” continuing resolution. Obamacare may also feature in upcoming debates over raising the debt ceiling.

Via Instapundit.  If the compromise continuing resolution forces the Democrats to sign on to anything scaling back Obamacare, that may be due in part to Cruz’s grandstanding.

RELATED:  Glenn notes the different coverage the media accords to filibusters by Texas politicians:

DYLAN BYERS IN POLITICO: Ted Cruz, Wendy Davis and media bias. “When a Democrat like Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis filibusters against abortion restrictions, she is elevated to hero status, her tennis shoes become totems. When Cruz grandstands against Obamacare, he is a laughingstock in the eyes of many journalists on Twitter, an ‘embarrassment’ in the eyes of The New York Times editorial board. . . . Davis wasn’t viewed through a critical lens at all. Her willingness to stand for 11 hours was evidence of the American dream in action. Period.”

Once you understand that the trad-media are, in Scott Johnson’s words, “a Democratic protection racket,” it all makes sense.

UPDATE: Well, maybe our friends in the legacy media will continue to ignore the issue. As Jim Geraghty reports, they are making Cruz the issue and not Obamacare’s implementation: (more…)

A look at food stamps

It’s not a “safety net”, it’s a cultural phenomenon. An unholy alliance of special interests – starting with the big one, Big Government, and then getting into corporations who naturally rise to meet the business opportunity – works to keep it that way:

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Via Mike Krieger’s blog.

Bonus (via Ace): Mark Steyn on the American Banana Republic.

Saturday satire

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 4:39 pm - September 21, 2013.
Filed under: Humor

If you didn’t see it yet at The Onion, Breitbart or Ace…enjoy!

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Obama in desperate denial

Via The Corner (and others):

President Obama contended that the United States would become reminiscent of a banana republic if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling and provide funding for Obamacare in upcoming budget negotiations.

“This is the United States of America — we’re not some banana republic, this is not a deadbeat nation, we don’t run out on our tab,” the president said during a speech at a Ford plant in Liberty, Mo., on Friday afternoon. “We can’t just not pay our bills.”

Just in case a leftie reads this, I’ll spell it out.

  1. Thanks in part to President Obama, the U.S. is indeed more like a banana republic every day. Think of a government that lies to its people (Obama administration – check) and impoverishes them (Obama spending, deficits and money-printing – check) to benefit its favored cronies (Big Banking, Big Labor, Big “Green” – check).
  2. We raise the debt ceiling, precisely because we are “just not pay[ing] our bills.” The debt ceiling is the nation’s credit card limit. You get your limit raised when you’ve maxed it out. Rather than wait and pay down your card, you want to pile on still more debt. It’s not a virtuous sign of your intent to pay your bills; it means, actually, that you’re failing to pay them.
  3. Which means, We are indeed a deadbeat nation, running out on our tab. If we were going to pay our tab, we would (if anything) reduce the debt ceiling, or at least stop raising it. Raising it makes us “a deadbeat nation.” To not be “a deadbeat nation”, we’d have to cut spending – enough to pay down our debt; and that would include (but not be limited to) a full and immediate repeal of Obamacare.

In short, Obama denies that which has already come to pass – and was brought about, at least in part, by him.

NB: Some language tweaks, after publication.

UPDATE: V reminds us of what Senator Obama had to say in 2006, about his future self:

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

UPDATE: I realized that what Obama and the Left are up to in 2013, is: Trying to confuse people about “paying bills”. They’re all about government-as-Santa Claus. They want to spend, spend, spend. So, they are trying to spread a (false) concept that their wild spending is “paying bills”; that, when the government budgets for some crazy thing we can’t afford, the spending itself should be considered a ‘bill’ to be ‘paid’. That is what Obama is trying to put over on people, now.

But of course it’s nonsense. A really lame, crazy shopaholic might try it on you, if you cornered him. “Oh, but I promised to buy my daughter that expensive pony. You want me not to? But my crazy promise is a ‘bill’ that I have to pay now! That is why it’s up to you to keep letting me borrow ever-more money, so that I can buy people all the crazy gifts I’ve promised them.”

Obama upset by House vote to prevent government shutdown

Surprised that the left-leaning Huffington Post chose a picture wherein their man look like a petulant child.

Screen shot 2013-09-20 at 2.40.16 PM

Given all that we heard (in the 2008 campaign) about Mr. Obama’s temperament and his ability to bridge the partisan divide, shouldn’t he know be putting those skills to use in keeping the government open instead of lashing out at the House majority supporting a bill consistent with the views of its constituents?

RELATED: You mad, bro? @BarackObama throws snicker-worthy tantrum over defund Obamacare vote

Rand: Right again?

Not ‘that Rand’ (although he is often right), but the other one.

Many have noted how life today has come to resemble the corrupt, ever-decaying crony socialism depicted in Ayn Rand’s lengthy second dystopian novel. Now it’s even coming to resemble the demented communalism of her first dystopia, Anthem.

Anthem depicts a frightening future society which has de-valued the individual, replacing “I” (or “me”) with devotion to “We” in every possible aspect of life. The society’s philosophy is captured in sayings like these:

We are one in all and all in one. There are no men but only the great WE: one, indivisible and forever.

We are nothing. Mankind is all. By the grace of our brothers are we allowed our lives. We exist through, by and for our brothers who are the State. Amen.

Some people might agree with the above sentiments, for real. Have you ever heard of We Day? Watch the video at the link; it shows a vast, cheering orgy of thousands of “Me to We” activists celebrating their awesome We-ness.

Mixed in with calls to help The Children, some of the speakers bark sentiments and commands that would fit well in Rand’s dystopia. Just upgrade the event’s arena another notch (fill it with another 20,000 people) and it will start to resemble the North Korean Mass Games.

As for their desire to feed hungry children: Don’t get me wrong, of course that’s nice. I’m all for people helping other people – at their own expense.

But this gang (featuring Al Gore, for example) shows no understanding of what it would take to actually feed the world’s children. What it would take is: universal protection for individual rights to life, liberty and property under the rule of law – so that productive people, working hard for their own gain (not for the great “We”), will then produce, sell and distribute food on a large-enough scale.

More kids go hungry in countries that habitually interfere with production and trade; countries that don’t respect the individual who works to support her own life, liberty and property. Sadly, the Left has turned America into one of those countries, which means we will be cursed with increasing poverty and hunger in years to come.

Fun Obamacare ad hits college campuses

Generation Opportunity, “a free-thinking, liberty-loving, national organization of young people”, has set up OptOut.org to let young people know that they needn’t (and probably shouldn’t) sign up for Obamacare. Their current ad for young women:

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(Male version, here.)

Now for the ‘media bias’ angle. I learned about this from Yahoo! which, naturally, has titled their article “Creepy Obamacare ad hits college campuses”.

In other words: Even after all the government-spying scandals, Big Government-run health care (that costs a young woman far more than she’ll get from it, despite the fine they’ll extort for her saying ‘no’) still doesn’t strike Yahoo! News as creepy. But ads against it, they’ll suggestively title as ‘creepy’.

FROM THE COMMENTS (thank you Kurt): Get ready for Obama(care) to ask detailed questions about your sex life. Umm…I thought that was only supposed to happen under the Religious Reich Theocracy that the Left always warns us against?

The president’s “reforms” aim to turn doctors into government agents, pressuring them financially to ask questions they consider inappropriate and unnecessary…

Doctors and hospitals who don’t comply with the federal government’s electronic-health-records requirements forgo incentive payments…

…the new requirements are turning it “into an interrogation, and the data will not be confidential.” Lack of confidentiality is what concerned the New York Civil Liberties Union in a 2012 report…

Privacy and confidentiality will just be for the rich:

The administration is ignoring [various] protests from privacy advocates. On Jan. 17, HHS announced patients who want to keep something out of their electronic record should pay cash.

“Thanks, Obama!”

Chris Christie, The New Michael Dukakis?

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 11:35 am - September 16, 2013.
Filed under: 2016 Presidential Election

Guest Post from GP Community Member V The K.

=========

2016 is shaping up like a rerun of 1988, an election coming on the heels of a two-term presidency by a strongly ideological president. And in 2016, as in 1988, the party in power is poised to hand the baton to a defeated rival from the prior primary campaign who served the administration loyally afterward; George H.W. Bush in 1988, Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016.

The Republican Party is in a comparable position to the Democrats 0f 1988; the party has been rejected in two successive national elections, its base is dispirited, and its governing philosophy repudiated by the electorate. Thus, Chris Christie of New Jersey, should he be the Republican nominee, is cast in the role of Bush 41’s hapless opponent Michael Dukakis; a man whose example he is likely to follow into humiliating defeat.

Here are 10 Reasons for that:

1. Christie and Dukakis are both blue-state governors with mediocre records. Christie and Dukakis have both been governors of liberal northeastern states. Both campaigned for governor as reformers, but achieved little in the way of actual reforms while in office. (For all Christie’s screaming at schoolteachers, all he’s really accomplished is increasing the number of years to get tenure from 3 to 4. Yeah, that’ll break the back of the teacher’s union.) Both are supporters of gun control, Amnesty for illegal immigrants, and massive Federal spending in their own states. (BTW: New Jersey’s economic performance under Christie: No so great.

2. Both gained notoriety by dealing with natural disasters. Both Christie and Dukakis burnished their “leadership” credentials during natural disasters. Dukakis went on TV during the Blizzard of ‘78 to deliver weather bulletins. Christie famously hugged Obama in the aftermath of “Superstorm Sandy” and yelled at Republicans to pass a massive “Relief” Bill that contained more pork-barrel spending than actual hurricane relief.

3. Both had rivals who were taken out by bad judgment. Before the 1988 primaries, the Democrat frontrunner was a good-looking senator who was the darling of his party; Gary Hart of Colorado. Hart took himself out of the race after being caught en flagrante with Jessica Hahn. Going into 2016, the Republican Party also had an attractive, much adored senator who was the clear frontrunner… until Marco Rubio got caught in bed with Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin.

4. The Republican Primary Field of 2016 is a Bizarro-World version of the 1988 Democrat Primary Field. Christie, like Dukakis, may face in the primaries: an ideological stalwart beloved by the activist base (Jesse Jackson/Ted Cruz), a congressman with deep ties to the party establishment but little appeal outside of it (Dick Gephardt/Paul Ryan); and a senator representing a political dynasty (Al Gore/Rand Paul). Should he prevail, Christie is likely to emerge as a candidate with an unenthusiastic party behind him, just like Dukakis in 1988.

5. Christie has his own Willie Hortons in the form of Abel Hernandez, Andy Maguino, and Jose Luis Galindo-Sanchez… illegal immigrants benefiting from New Jersey’s “sanctuary cities” who killed Americans. Maguino, notably, was sentenced to probation and community service after running down an old lady in his car and fleeing the scene. [Link]

6. Like Dukakis, Christie will also have his “tank” moment. For Dukakis, his desperation to prove he was not a weak-on-defense northeastern liberal led to a photo op riding around in a tank and looking like… a weak-on-defense northeastern liberal riding around in a tank. Christie has to do something to disavow his post -Sandy bromance with Obama. At some point, he is going to have to denounce his BFF, and in doing so, he is likely to end up looking very foolish because the gesture will be so transparently fake… like Dukakis in the tank.

7. Christie Will Need a Running Mate to Pick Up Voters His Party Is Losing. Dukakis picked Lloyd Bentsen as his running mate to reach out to “Reagan Democrats.” Christie will also have to choose a running mate more appealing than he is to a key voting bloc, in his case, women. He may choose someone like New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte; a northeastern moderate who shares his support for Amnesty and Gun Control.

8. Christie, Like Dukakis, will try and turn a negative personality trait into a positive. Dukakis tried to pass off dull detachment as “competence.” Christie tries to pass off being a jerk as “leadership.” The problem is that leadership and competence are just empty slogans. Bush 41 beat Dukakis by promising to continue Reagan’s policies; a promise he almost immediately broke by imposing massive tax increases, but “Read My Lips” got him into office, because he presented voters with something tangible – a continuation of Reagan Era prosperity. Dukakis lost, and Christie will lose, because neither man presents a compelling alternative to the person he did/will run against.

9. Both face opponents who are mediocre politicians riding the coat-tails of better politicians. If Christie is the Mike Dukakis of 2016, Hillary Clinton is the George H.W. Bush. Like Bush 41, she is the heir-apparent to a two-term president who wrought major changes to the country. Like Bush 41, she is an awkward campaigner with a grating speaking style.

10. Like Dukakis, Christie will lose massively. A lot of people are claiming Chris Christie is “the only man who can beat Hillary.” Most of those people want Hillary to win. Hillary will win by promising a return to the era of her husband’s presidency; and a large number of voters are incapable of critical thinking beyond “the last time a Clinton was in office, I was doing all right.”

Conservatives, gay politics, and lost opportunities

At the time of the Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage this summer, it seemed to me that by ruling as it did, the Supreme Court had involuntarily handed many conservatives a great opportunity to move beyond the issue of gay marriage in ways that they hadn’t in the past.  Instead of making it a social or cultural issue, many conservatives could have sidestepped the issue entirely by talking more about economic issues and questions of taxation and state-sponsored benefits instead.

After all, the plaintiff in the case which challenged the Defense of Marriage Act was moved to file suit largely because of the estate taxes she incurred when her partner passed away.  So instead of viewing  it as a social or cultural issue, they could have taken up the cause of greatly reducing estate taxes for all regardless of marital status.

While I’m obviously biased on the issue, it seems to me that running on an anti-gay agenda is not a winning issue for conservatives.  I recognize that social conservatives played a very big role in the Reagan revolution, and I acknowledge that social conservatives are still an important part of the base that the Republican Party needs to keep winning elections.  But I believe that there are ways to accommodate social conservatives without alienating other potential voters.  Talking about court appointments is one way of doing this, because one needn’t be a social conservative to believe that the court should focus more on applying and interpreting the actual intent of the Constitution rather than legislating from the bench.  Likewise, one can have an honest debate about tax policy and whether or not it is in the state’s interest to carve out special exceptions for marriage or whether the state should get out of the marriage business all together and just simplify the tax code instead.

There are some signs that more and more Republican are getting this message.  On September 11 of this year, Politico reported on a survey that showed that more and more Republicans are embracing libertarian views about government.  (Hat Tip: The Blaze.)

FreedomWorks commissioned a national survey of registered voters last month, shared first with POLITICO, that finds 78 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents self-identify as fiscally conservative and socially moderate.

It’s not that Republicans are suddenly self-identifying as “libertarians” and devouring Ayn Rand novels, but more that they seem to be embracing underlying libertarian priorities and views about the role of government.

The Politico piece goes on to quote the Republican pollster who ran the poll saying that more and more voters are disturbed by both the size and the intrusiveness of government in the Obama era:

Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway, who ran the poll, said she’s seeing a spike in voters who feel the government is too expensive, invasive and expansive.

“The perfect storm is being created between the NSA, the IRS, the implementation of Obamacare and now Syria,” she said. “People are looking at the government more suspiciously. They’re looking with deeper scrutiny and reasonable suspicion.”

It all sounds great so far from my perspective.  I think this is a direction that Republicans need to embrace to be able to win significantly in the future.
And then, there’s the sad case of Virginia.  I first heard of Ken Cuccinelli when he was elected Attorney General of Virginia in 2009, in an election that many viewed as a sign of trouble ahead for the Democrats in 2010.  I knew he had played a large role in fighting Obamacare and in bringing the fight to the Supreme Court, and so it seemed to me that he would have a good chance of being elected Governor of Virginia this year, especially since he is running against corrupt Clinton crony Terry McAuliffe.  Over the summer, though, I kept hearing that Cuccinelli was not doing well against McAuliffe in the polls, and I wondered why that might be.

Putin v. Obama: the old gray lady edition

On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin published his op-ed piece in The New York Times urging “caution from Russia” with respect to U.S. policy in Syria.  The piece is worth reading if you haven’t already, and it is an impressive piece of political theatre.  Although the left is up-in-arms over what they are calling Putin’s hypocrisy, that is completely beside the point.  Few with any wits about them should consider Putin to be anything but a power-hungry Machiavellian, though that is also what makes this performance so noteworthy.  The Op-ed piece is a complete and utter smackdown of Obama and Obama’s failed foreign policy in a very public sphere, and that is what has the political establishment in Washington, DC so hopping mad about it.   Bob Menendez (D-NJ), John McCain and John Boehner were all quoted expressing their displeasure in an article that appeared on Yahoo yesterday.  One wonders which heavy weights will express their dismay next: Harry Reid, perhaps, or Nancy Pelosi, or maybe even Lindsay Graham.  I’m sure Putin is feeling very afraid.

If you haven’t yet read the Putin piece, I urge you to do so, simply to observe the way Putin cleverly throws Obama’s and the left’s rhetoric back at them and calls them dangerous hypocrites and warmongers.  I’d quote the whole thing, but for the purpose of illustrating my point, the last paragraph will more than suffice.  Putin writes:

My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

Some conservatives I know are angry with thuggish Putin for saying that America is not exceptional.  But that is beside the point.  In fact, that completely misses the point.

Putin is simply echoing a point Obama made at a NATO meeting back in April 2009:

I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.

Now, the fact that I am very proud of my country and I think that we’ve got a whole lot to offer the world does not lessen my interest in recognizing the value and wonderful qualities of other countries, or recognizing that we’re not always going to be right, or that other people may have good ideas, or that in order for us to work collectively, all parties have to compromise and that includes us.

And so I see no contradiction between believing that America has a continued extraordinary role in leading the world towards peace and prosperity and recognizing that that leadership is incumbent, depends on, our ability to create partnerships because we create partnerships because we can’t solve these problems alone.

As Jim Yardley observes in the article from which I have culled the Obama passage above: “These words of the President are fairly typical of what has passed as thoughtful analysis from the current occupant of the White House.  They are words that would be right at home in the faculty lounge in Chicago or Cambridge, Massachusetts.”  So to return to our present context: Putin has cleverly turned Obama’s words against him for all to see, and in the context of the situation with Syria, he has revealed Obama to be an arrogant, narcissistic, posturing fraud.

Yesterday when I was in the car, I heard a very insightful interview about the Putin op-ed on the Tom Sullivan radio show.  I didn’t recognize the speaker’s voice, but I was impressed with all he had to say about how Putin’s strategy in Syria was all about making Russia and not the United States the dominant power in the Middle East.  He talked about the Reagan years and the fact that, aside from the arms buildup, one way Reagan was able to win the cold war was by keeping oil prices low.   He pointed out that to keep the Russian economy afloat, Putin has an interest in keeping oil prices high.  Likewise, for the sake of energy, Putin has an interesting in forming strong allegiances with as many Middle-Eastern oil producing states as it can.

It turned out the speaker being interviewed was none other than Col. Oliver North.  He called the Putin op-ed piece “brilliant” and said that with that clever op-ed piece, Putin had effectively changed the dynamics in the Middle East by very publicly embarrassing Obama in a way that let the nations of the Middle East see that Obama is weak, vain, and unreliable as a potential ally.  I haven’t been able to embed either the video or the audio here, but if you care to know more about what the future of the Middle East may look like as a result of Obama’s failed policies and posturing, you really owe it to yourself to listen to the whole interview.

SYrial appeals to emotion

Last night, President Obama made an emotional appeal for…America to NOT act in Syria. Transcript here.

If you only caught his conclusion, you’d never know that Obama has spent the last few weeks loudly war-mongering on Syria, seeking unilaterally to plunge America into a new war that over 60% of Americans oppose.

Obama started out his speech with a lot of “Oh! Won’t somebody please think of the children!” But he offered only a series of assertions (no evidence) on a crucial point: whether Syria’s President Assad is responsible for the chemical weapons attacks. (The intelligence is still weak; since the rebels are some nasty people, it’s still worth considering whether they did the attacks as a ‘false flag’ operation to draw the U.S. in, or if it was perhaps a rogue Syrian general.)

Obama then offered a thin connection to U.S. security interests: (more…)

IN MEMORIAM: JAMES JOSEPH FERGUSON
LOST SEPT. 11, 2001

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 9:37 am - September 11, 2013.
Filed under: Joe Ferguson,Post 9-11 America

Today, 12 years after the terror attacks on America, I once again dedicate this space to my lost friend, James Joe Ferguson, who was killed aboard American Airlines Flight 77 when that plane was used as a weapon and crashed into the Pentagon. This posting goes up at the exact time that the plane was flown into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

We miss you, Joe. -Bruce and John

Addendum: Most folks on 9/11 naturally think of the thousands who died in the WTC, or in the Pentagon or on Flight 93. When I reflect on this day, I immediately think of Joe and his fellow passengers on Flight 77. In some ways, they are the forgotten victims. “Truthers” insist no plane hit the Pentagon. The families of those who died on Flight 77 would beg to differ. In any case, Flight 77 illustrates how ruthless Islamic terrorists are. Imagine sitting in your seat as your plane accelerates to 500 mph but you see the ground coming up fast and you know you are going to die. That folks, is the definition of “terror”.

********************

The last time we had dinner, Joe told my partner John and I about how much he was looking forward to being a part of the bicentennial of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Typically, I found myself jealous of him. In his role as Director of Geographic Education at the National Geographic Society, Joe had one of the most unique and rewarding jobs I can ever imagine having.

He traveled around the world, bringing American school children face-to-face with the natural wonders of our Earth. He was not only a teacher but also provided a critical turning point for these kids, many of whom had never before left their own neighborhoods. Joe provided the path for these students to experience things that many of us never will in our entire lives.

In addition, he got to travel to the four corners of the globe. How rewarding that must have been. How do I sign up for that job?

I got an email from Joe on Thursday, September 6, 2001. “Hi cutie” it started — typical opening line for Joe to any of his friends. He had just returned from Alaska and wanted to tell show me all the pictures, but the following week he said he was headed to California for another work trip. I printed out and kept that email for many months in my briefcase as a way to keep Joe alive.

As dawn broke on September 11, 2001, Joe called his Mom in Mississippi to give her a wake up call as he always did when he traveled. He said to her, “I’ll call you when I get to California. Have a good day.” He was that kind of person. The kind of person, who, no matter where he was and how busy he was, dropped a postcard to his friends so we could share a part of his experiences throughout the world.

At Dulles International Airport, Joe stood with his group traveling to California and took some last minute photos. He and another colleague were scheduled passengers on American Airlines Flight 77, accompanying three D.C. public school teachers and three students on a National Geographic-sponsored field trip to the Channel Islands off Santa Barbara, Calif. After the photos were taken, they bid farewell to the children’s parents and proceeded to their gate.

At 9:37AM, Joe lost his life at the young age of thirty-nine when terrorists slammed the plane into the side of the Pentagon at 500 mph. A teacher and positive role model to young Americans was taken from the world in an act of sheer violence and viciousness.

As I was dealing with the many emotions of the events of September 11, a thought crossed my mind the next day. Gosh, I thought, Joe had said he was traveling and now he’s stuck somewhere until the airlines are allowed to fly again. So I called his work number in DC and left a message. After I heard his voice for the last time, I said “Give me a call if you are checking messages.” “I hope you make it home soon,” I concluded. When I called that day, I had no idea.

It wasn’t until Friday, September 14 that I found out that one of my dearest friends had become a casualty of the attacks on America. Suddenly, this war was personal — it had hit home. I wasn’t expecting to have to go to two memorial services and walk around in a state of numbness for many weeks.

At Joe’s memorial service, there were lots of tears and lots of laughs as well. One of Joe’s friends told the gathering that Joe had this way of making you feel as if you were his best friend in the world. I knew exactly what he meant. I saw Joe every once in a while. We would have lunch, or more likely trade emails or phone calls. But every time we talked, I felt like Joe’s best friend. Joe still has a lot of best friends all around the world.

Perhaps Joe’s death hit me so hard because it was the first death of someone close to me that I had experienced as an adult. I am still surprised by the impact that his death has had, and in many ways continues to have, on my life.

In fact, I did a lot of personal reflecting in the months following 9/11. I questioned how important my job and even my life were in a time of war where terrorists could invade your workplace or your school and slaughter you with no remorse. I questioned what value and worth my own career had in comparison with a man who had chosen to teach and change the lives of young people. I felt trapped in a good job that was giving me no personal satisfaction.

All I could remember was how happy Joe always was and how that cheer was infectious to all of his friends and colleagues. I would miss that cheerful influence on me. Joe had made the choice to live life to the fullest extent possible. He was the model of the optimistic American who knows no frontiers and no bounds. He was doing more than his fair share of contributing to a better society.

My partner John and I took a trip to the American West in the summer of 2003 and followed some of the Lewis & Clark Trail. I know Joe would have loved the scenery and spirit of America that lives and breathes in the land of Montana and Wyoming. The IMAX film about the “Corps of Discovery” produced by the National Geographic Society — Lewis & Clark: The Great Journey West — was dedicated to the memory of Joe Ferguson. It is available on DVD and I strongly recommend watching it.

One day in early 2002, I heard a song on the radio that I don’t remember hearing before 9/11/2001. I didn’t even know it was LeeAnn Womack’s voice, because the words are the soul and essence of Joe Ferguson. The words are an expression of his personal passion and love of life. And the words are also an inspiration for all of us to get through the many trying days of our post-9/11 world.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.
Get your fill to eat, but always keep that hunger.
May you never take one single breath for granted.
God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed.
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens.
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance.
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
I hope you dance.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance.
Never settle for the path of least resistance.
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin.
Lovin’ might be a mistake, but its worth makin.
Don’t let some hell bent heart leave you bitter.
When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider.
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance.
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
I hope you dance.

How AOL covers the mayoral primaries in the nation’s largest city

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:18 am - September 11, 2013.
Filed under: Media Bias,Random Thoughts

Last night, recalling that New York City voters were going to the polls yesterday to pick their parties’ nominees for various local offices, I went to Drudge to learn the results. He linked this piece, providing the actual tallies.

In the Democratic primary, the latest totals show Bill de Blasio with a huge lead over all of his rivals, likely with a high enough percentage of the vote (40%) to avoid a runoff. He won more than eight times as many votes as former Congressman Anthony Weiner who appeared to have received (at least in national reports) the greatest amount of news coverage.

Instead of heralding de Blasio’s solid showing, AOL highlighted Mr. Weiner:

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 9.56.08 PM

The “news” media today.