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Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 2:21 am - November 15, 2013.
Filed under: Obama Arrogance,Obama Prevarications

“I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

– Barack Obama, June 3, 2008

Via The Other McCain.

Communism vs. freedom: The war is back!

And it’s happening in the middle of our own society, now.

I didn’t say nearly enough about this morning’s incredibly wrong quote from Jonathan Gruber, who is billed as the ‘architect’ of Obamacare:

We currently have a highly discriminatory system where if you’re sick, if you’ve been sick or [if] you’re going to get sick, you cannot get health insurance.

The only way to end that discriminatory system is to bring everyone into the system and pay one fair price. That means that the genetic winners, the lottery winners who’ve been paying an artificially low price because of this discrimination now will have to pay more in return.

First, Gruber doesn’t understand free markets: If we had them (and we have NOT had them in medical care for decades), then health insurance would always be available to people with pre-existing conditions, at some price. And they could choose to take it, or not – as they have the means and perceive being to their own advantage (or not).

One of the ways the Left wins is by warping language. In this case, the Left has warped the concept of “health insurance” to mean “subsidized health care”, health care paid largely by Other People’s Money.

And it’s true: the free market won’t supply that – beyond voluntary charity. Because it is by definition a win-lose transaction. Someone must be forced to pay the subsidy, and that person loses. The free market is about win-win transactions. If your basic desire is to win at someone else’s expense, forcing them to pay for you, then you naturally hate free markets; the Left is your political home. Congratulations.

Next, Gruber thinks it’s “discriminatory” that people with conditions would pay more for health care. But here’s the thing: They take more health care.

Just like young men get into more car accidents, consume more repair services and thus have to pay higher rates for car insurance, so unhealthy people properly should have larger bills for health care – or health insurance.

Finally, Gruber’s quote wrongly chalks up everything about one’s health to genetics, ignoring the role of lifestyle choices in determining health – and thus ignoring the role of personal responsibility. And that may be where he’s most wrong. We know that socializing health care will lead a society to greater disease, as people make worse lifestyle choices.

But we also know that the Left has a ready ‘solution’ for it: namely, greater government control of people’s lifestyle choices. We’ve seen the beginnings of it in the U.S., with Nanny Michelle-Bloomberg’s efforts. It’s a road that ends with everyone doing mandatory calisthenics in front of the telescreen, _1984_-style. Because, at some point, no one’s life is their own anymore; each person is an investment (property) of the State.

Which brings me to my point. There are, so to speak, “two paths you can go by”.

  • If you believe in freedom – that is, in self-ownership, responsibility and choice under the Rule of Law – the logic of your position drives you toward limited government. Not to anarchy, but to *min*archy: the idea that government is there to protect people’s rights against attack and crime and, beyond that, to do little; allowing people to reap what they sow.
  • If, instead, you believe in community ownership of people’s lives and efforts – the central tendency of communism – the logic of your position drives you toward ever-larger government. You will always need more government, to solve the social problems that you caused by your last round of increases to government. Concluding in totalitarianism.

People support Obamacare and President Obama depending on whether – deep in their souls – they truly prefer freedom or dictatorship.

Gruber’s idea is essentially communist. The idea that capable and healthy people must be forced to pay for incapable or unhealthy people, lest society be “discriminatory” or whatever, means that people’s lives are not their own. Whatever people become, whatever they produce, is ultimately the State’s property to distribute as it sees the need.

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” – it can’t really ever be implemented, but if it could be, then only by total government diktat over everyone and everything. That is Gruber’s road – the underlying logic of his position – whether he admits it or not. It is also Karl Marx’s.

Why the Obamacare Website Woes Are Significant

Glenn Reynolds explains:

A government that can’t build a health care website isn’t likely to be very good at running health care for 330 million people. But the technocrats aren’t so concerned with being good as with being in charge.

Emphasis added.   (Read the whole thing as the blogmeister excerpts Daniel Greenfield’s wonderful reflections on the magic powers of government.)

RELATED:  Michael Barone asks us to

. . . check out this story from Britain’s Independent. The United Kingdom’s National Health Service is going to abandon a $17 billion information technology system that was being rolled in over a 10-year period.

The Independent account suggests that big universal governent IT systems just can’t be made to work.

UPDATE (from Jeff): Is cronyism involved? Meet Anthony Welters. He and his wife have been top Obama donors/”bundlers”, and White House visitors. His company owns QSSI who got a lot of money for the broken Obamacare website…including millions more right now, to fix it.

President Obama’s solution to every problem: Give a speech

Each of us is born with certain gifts. What determines our success in life oftentimes is how we develop those gifts to serve the needs of the world in which we live.

Barack Obama has a mellifluous speaking voice. And he can, on occasion, deliver an inspiring speech. His keynote address to the 2004 Democratic National Convention catapulted the charismatic Chicago politician to national fame. Had he not delivered that speech he would not have been in a position to run for — and win — the White House four years later.

And now, as president, he seems think that he can address the nation’s problems through such speeches. During the month of September, as a government shutdown loomed, instead of reaching out to — and meeting with — congressional leaders, he delivered a number of campaign-style speeches.  And now as his health care overhaul faces myriad glitches, he’s doing it again, as Reason’s Peter Suderman reports:

Three weeks after the deeply troubled launch of Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges, President Obama gave a speech responding to some of the problems that have plagued the government-run online enrollment system. The most revealing thing about it was what he didn’t say.

Obama was somewhat more blunt than he has been about the system’s failures. “There’s no sugarcoating it. The website has been too slow. People have getting stuck during the application process. And I think it’s fair to say that nobody’s more frustrated by that than I am,” he said. “There’s no excuse for the problems.”

No excuse—and no explanation either. Obama acknowledged some problems with the site. But he didn’t say why they happened, when they would be resolved, or what the administration’s specific plan was to get things working.

Read the whole thing.  H/t:  Powerline picks.  So convinced is the president with his rhetorical prowess that he doesn’t need explain, he just needs to talk.

No wonder, Allahpundit sees the speech as a means to buy “time for website repairs and trying to combat ominous polls like this, which show the public’s perceptions of Healthcare.gov bleeding over into their perceptions of the ObamaCare program generally.”

A speech may buy the president time, but it won’t fix the program’s flaws  – nor will it contain its costs.

Hostage crisis quieting down?

These past few weeks, President Obama has (metaphorically or morally) held a gun to America’s head, demanding that his profligate borrow-and-spending be fully funded or else he’ll default on America’s debt payments.

Now it looks like the crisis is receding, with the hostage-taker mostly getting his way. It isn’t clear if the GOP achieved anything, except yet another committee to look into the nation’s fiscal turpitude.

Knowing that the Tea Party doesn’t have the votes it needs (yet) to break through that turpitude, I didn’t really expect a different outcome. So, I’m not too upset. But was the time & drama worth it?

I say yes: at least it shed light on these issues. Even if you can’t stop lying would-be dictators from succeeding, it’s still worthwhile to rip their masks off. Seeing Obama lie outright about the debt (as I always suspected he would, when cornered) was priceless.

Perhaps Pascal Emmanuel Gobry at Forbes would feel as I do? He writes about the crisis showing Tea Party mettle, and about the hope he feels from seeing the House GOP at least demand (even if they didn’t win) Congress being put on Obamacare like the rest of us. But he also notes that the crisis may have distracted much-deserved attention from Obama’s other troubles, like Obamacare’s launch failure.

Your thoughts?

How to rationally discuss the ‘shutdown’ and budget

No discussion is grownup, if the participants don’t know/acknowledge certain facts which President Obama, the Democrats and their media try to have people forget:

  1. The government is supposed to spend by a budget.
  2. Between April 29, 2009 and March 23, 2013, Harry Reid’s Democrats didn’t even bother to pass a budget. Nearly four years!
  3. Under the U.S. Constitution, the budget is supposed to originate in Congress and particularly the House of Representatives. Which means,
  4. The House IS supposed to be able to impose its budgetary will on the President, including by shutting down the government, as Democrat Houses have shut down the government many times before to successfully impose their will on GOP Senates and presidents.
  5. On a district-by-district basis (as required by the Constitution), the American people elected a GOP House in 2012. To coin a phrase, “they won”.
  6. The current so-called “shutdown” only affects 17% of the government. (83% is still open.)
  7. The current House has passed many bills to keep most of the remaining 17% open – bills which the Democrats have rejected.
  8. Obama has given us more debt than any president in U.S. history.
  9. Contra Obama, raising the debt ceiling does indeed mean raising our debt further. And it does cost taxpayers a lot of money.
  10. Contra Obama, there is no reason for the government to default on its debt, even if the debt ceiling isn’t raised. You default only if you fail to make your minimum debt payment. Our ongoing tax revenue exceeds our minimum payment by many times over, leaving lots of money for the rest of government spending after debt service. (Just not as much as Democrats want.)
  11. Which is probably why Obama and the Democrats are the only side talking about having a default happen. (They want to at least dangle the threat – and they might carry out the threat – even if it’s unnecessary.)
  12. Contra Obama, our future spending isn’t “paying a bill”. Spending that Congress has budgeted or authorized (but not yet actually spent) can be stopped or cut any time Congress says so, or under-spent if the money simply doesn’t exist for it.

The people who run GayPatriot welcome intelligent disagreement with our views. If your disagreement ignores the above facts, sorry but it’s not intelligent.

As the adage goes, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.”

NB: Originally, point 2 stated incorrectly that the Senate hadn’t passed a budget since 2009. Error fixed. (thanks Kurt!)

ADDENDUM: 13. Contra Obama, borrowing money “to pay our bills” is NOT paying our bills. When you buy something on credit, have you paid you bill? No, of course not. You’ve merely changed to whom you owe the payment (and perhaps when).

The Dawn Davenport Presidency

By way of Michelle Malkin’s excellent website Twitchy, I’ve learned of two great hashtag nicknames for Obama and his administration in the past few days: #PresidentStompyFoot and #SpiteHouse.  As appropriate and amusing as those are, in thinking about his behavior, I’ve come up with another one lately which I like to imagine is just as good: President Cha-Cha Heels.

The reference, for those who don’t recognize it, is to Dawn Davenport, the spoiled teenager in John Waters’ 1974 film Female Trouble.  Although the film is one of Waters’ earlier efforts and is therefore full of the sort of rude, crude, and just plain gross humor and incidents which assured it an NC-17 rating, in some respects it is a useful parable about the evils of modern liberalism.

Here’s a brief synopsis: Dawn Davenport wants nothing more than a pair of “cha-cha heels” for Christmas, but when her parents refuse to get her any on the grounds that “nice girls don’t wear cha-cha heels,” she throws her mother into the Christmas tree, runs away from home, gets pregnant, and eventually becomes a criminal before being discovered by Donald and Donna Dasher, a couple who loves to photograph women committing crimes.  They make her famous, and she becomes even more notorious as a result.  The Dashers are the sort of liberals who embrace transgression as art and dysfunction as beauty, until Dawn goes berserk and then they try to pretend that they had nothing to do with it.

So what does this have to do with Obama?  Well, our petulant President seems rather like Dawn Davenport throwing a tantrum because he didn’t get any cha-cha heels to wear with his Mom jeans.

As Thomas Sowell wrote in an excellent article that appeared last Friday: “You cannot blame other people for not giving you everything you want. And it is a fraud to blame them when you refuse to use the money they did vote, even when it is ample to pay for everything else in the government.”

In any case, Obama doesn’t care.  He didn’t get his cha-cha heels, and so he’s determined to “walk all over you,” in the words of this catchy tune inspired by the story of Dawn Davenport and performed by Eartha Kitt and Bronski Beat:

YouTube Preview Image

Unfortunately, like the Dashers, his enablers in the press and the liberals who voted for him are rallying around him as though there’s nothing offensive, disturbing, or troubling about his dishonest and spiteful behavior.

 

Democrats Hold America Hostage: Updates

Sen. Harry Reid’s refusal to negotiate on anything leads to his own elderly constituents being thrown out of their homes.

America’s veterans will rally October 13 to storm the Barackades at the nation’s war memorials, if things don’t get better first.

Veterans got through the Barackades at the Iwo Jima memorial. But President Obama still has a tight grip on the Jefferson memorial (where the guards physically manhandle the tourists), the Lincoln memorial and many others.

Park rangers, acting effectively as jack-booted thugs, Barrycade an inn that has operated seasonally since 1919.

Mark Steyn is not to be missed, as usual. “The World War II Memorial exists thanks to some $200 million in private donations…But the thug usurpers of the bureaucracy want to send a message: In today’s America, everything is the gift of the government, and exists only at the government’s pleasure, whether it’s your health insurance, your religious liberty, or the monument to your fallen comrades.”

Video of Sen. Ted Cruz reminding his Democrat colleagues that civility is a two-way street, something they need to think about.

Jonah Goldberg reminds us that President Obama has “set out to create problems for the American people, just to prove how great government is” at least since the ‘sequester’ fight earlier this year, when “The Department of Homeland Security announced it might not be able to protect the nation’s borders, and in an effort to prove the point summarily released a couple thousand of immigrant detainees, many of them with criminal records.”

Tweet of the day: from Sean M. Davis, “If you think this gangster gov’t. shutdown nonsense is bad, just wait until these people decide that your medical procedure isn’t necessary.”

UPDATE (from Dan):  Don’t like the hostage-taking rhetoric coming from the Obama White House.  Perhaps, it’s a nice rhetorical trick to turn the tables on the blame-shifting Democrats, but it does not promote a civil debate of these contentious issues.

Last week, Ilya Somin offered a nice rejoinder to the Democrats’ hostage talk.  (H/t:  Instapundit.)

UPDATE (from Jeff): Dan, I appreciate that we needn’t always agree. For the record: This is not a “rhetorical trick”, it is calling the facts as I see them. Ilya Somin (your link) writes, “Terrorists and hostage-takers are evil because they threaten lives and property that do not belong to them.” I think that definition applies to a group of politicians seeking to withhold symbols and property that belong to all the People, from the People.

Obama holding hostages: start with President Lincoln

1995 shutdown: the Lincoln Memorial kiosk is closed, but people can still visit the good Mr. Lincoln.
people visiting the Lincoln Memorial during 1995 government shutdown

2013 shutdown: Lincoln is barricaded.
A guard strolls in front of the Lincoln barricade during the 2013 shutdown

Both images above courtesy of The Daily Caller, which states, “It is not clear how much taxpayer money the Obama administration is paying to ensure that government sites and services remain shuttered to taxpayers. Popular Washington spots such as the World War II memorial are now guarded by more security personnel than they are during normal operations, while federal employees have been dispatched to put up barricades on capital bike paths and other public grounds that are not usually patrolled at all.”

The public is rebelling against these barriers, which are starting to be called “barrycades” or “barackades”.

In the 1995 shutdown, Congress passed numerous stopgap measures to keep government services running. In 2013, the House is passing such measures again; but Senator Reid, President Obama and other Democrats won’t allow them. Your Democrats: Holding America hostage.

Which leads us to the latest example of left-wing projection. Since the Left is actually holding America hostage (by ostentatiously denying certain programs or public facilities until they get their way), they try to say it’s the other guys doing it (GOP, Tea Party, etc.). We’ve seen it in comments at Gay Patriot. The ante got upped a few days ago by Obama himself, who said the GOP is “trying to put a gun” to his head.

Of course he would say that because, again, the Left always projects. But the facts show Obama and the Democrats holding the gun, to the rest of our heads.

Obama goofs, compares striking workers to terrorists

Speaking to construction workers in Rockville, MD today, he said:

Everybody here just does their job, right? You don’t – uh uh – If you’re working here, and in the middle of the day you just stopped and said “You know what, I wanna get something, but I don’t know exactly what I’m gonna get, but I’m just gonna stop working until I get – I’m gonna shut down the whole plant until I get something” – You get fired, right? Because, the deal is, you’ve already gotten hired, you’ve got a job, you’re getting a paycheck, and so you also are getting the pride of doing a good job and contributing to a business and looking out for your fellow workers. That’s what you’re getting.

Perhaps without realizing it, President Obama just perfectly described workers who ‘walkout’ or go on strike – and why they should be fired.

But there’s more. Obama made his surprising slam on workers who strike in an attempt to compare them to the congressional GOP who, as we know, are failing (so to speak) to give King Obama his full budget demands.

Top Obama administration figures compare the GOP to terrorists (for example, Dan Pfeiffer the other day). So do other top Democrats (for example, Harry Reid calling them ‘anarchists’, or Al Gore who accused Obamcare foes of ‘political terrorism’).

If the GOP are behaving just like striking workers, according to Obama, and if the GOP are (in the very same behavior) also terrorists, then…striking workers are kind of like terrorists, aren’t they? “Thanks, Obama!”

UPDATE: Peter Schiff has another quote on the Left’s demonizing of conservatives as terrorists, this one from talk host Stephanie Miller on the GOP being “suicide bombers” who are “trying to blow your children up”.

This is the Left, in 2013. If you happen to truly want fiscal responsibility, an end to the endless debt ceiling increases, or avoidance of the train wreck that even Big Labor knows Obamacare to be: you get name-calling. Probably because that’s all the Left has left.

Evidence that Obama did not succeed in changing Washington

Barack Obama, March 2009:

And one of the things that I’m trying to break is a pattern in Washington where everybody is always looking for somebody else to blame. And I think Geithner is doing an outstanding job. I think that we have a big mess on our hands. It’s not going to be solved immediately, but it is going to get solved. And the key thing is for everybody just to stay focused on doing the job instead of trying to figure out who you can pass blame on to.

Barack Obama, October 2013:

Screen shot 2013-10-03 at 10.12.25 AM

SOMEWHAT RELATED: Michael Barone is also pointing the finger: Blame James Madison for the government shutdown. Well, I guess that gets Obama off the hook.

Government by spite

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 2:13 am - October 3, 2013.
Filed under: Government Shutdown,Obama Arrogance,Obama Incompetence

A quick roundup of some items on the government shutdown (gleaned from Ace, HotAir, ZH, etc.).

Are these the actions of a constructive presidency, or one filled with spite?

I think they fit with the Obama administration’s hostage-taking over the ‘sequester’ budget cuts earlier this year. For example, they refused to restore White House tours for school kids, even after alternate (private) funding was found for the tours.

One good note: 91% of the IRS has been furloughed.

BONUS: A history of government shutdowns. Here’s the short version: There have been many…as in, many shutdowns organized/led by the Democrats. So the present shutdown is nothing new, nothing disastrous, and nothing that Democrats themselves haven’t done whenever they felt like it.

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.”

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:

YouTube Preview Image

(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!”

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…)

Obama administration in diSYRray

I don’t even have to comment; HotAir’s headlines alone make all the points. OK, I’ll throw in a few little ones.

Sorry if my title pun was too painful.

UPDATE: Gaffe-tastic: Hillary pretty excited about Kerry’s accidental proposal for international control of Syria’s WMD arsenal. With the way this Obama-Syria mess writes itself, blogging has never been easier. I promise I’ll try harder, next time.

S&P fights back

Several months ago, I posted on the government’s lawsuit against Standard & Poor’s. See the post for details. In brief: S&P was singled out for punishment over some of their actions back during the housing bubble.

Why were they singled out? Many have speculated that it was because in August 2011, S&P downgraded U.S. government bonds, touching off a political firestorm and raising the ire of the government, including the Obama administration.

It seems that S&P agrees:

Standard & Poor’s said on Tuesday the U.S. government filed a $5 billion fraud lawsuit against it in “retaliation” for its 2011 decision to strip the country of its “AAA” credit rating…[S&P] was the only major credit rating agency to take away the United States’ top rating, and the only one sued by the U.S. Department of Justice…

It said the government’s “impermissibly selective, punitive and meritless” lawsuit was brought “in retaliation for defendants’ exercise of their free speech rights with respect to the creditworthiness of the United States of America.”…

Good for them! Via Zero Hedge.

Syria vs. Iraq

With the 2003 Iraq war, President Bush dealt with a widely-acknowledged threat to world peace, a dictator who had attacked no less than four of his neighbors (at different times, with one such war costing probably over a million lives), and who sheltered and supported various terrorists.

Bush had the participation of 40 other nations in a coalition. The move was authorized by an accumulation of 17 U.N. resolutions, which had effectively voided the dictator’s sovereignty and promised him action over his continued flouting of the U.N.

Most important, Bush’s move was authorized by Congress (as required by the U.S. Constitution) and as well, was supported by clear majorities of the American people at the time.

We can still argue (with hindsight) about the wisdom of the move, if its aftermath was planned right, etc. But the above were and are facts. Do any of them apply to what President Obama has done in Libya, or may be about to do in Syria?

Lefties bleated that Bush had plunged America into a unilateral, illegal/unauthorized “war of choice”. Their claims were wrong on the facts, but let’s set that aside. Has not their President Obama actually plunged America into one near-unilateral, unauthorized “war of choice” – and threatens now to do a second?

Today as yesterday, I’m a bit skeptical of the Obama administration’s version of events in Syria. Not because Syria has just accused Kerry of lying (and, sadly, both Assad and Kerry are known to lie about important matters). Not even because reports continue to suggest that Obama means to bypass Congress, as well as the U.N.

No, I’m still skeptical because of the slap-dash feeling to the public buildup of this crisis. Many of us have heard reports that the U.S. military has been building up to move against something/someone, for weeks if not months. I myself have a friend in the Army who was put on a rather mysterious regime of 80-hour work weeks, starting over two months ago. I thought maybe they were getting ready to deal with Iran’s nuclear program. And then suddenly, just in the last few days, Kerry is there to claim justification for some sort of military action on Syria, from a very recent chemical weapons attack which – while quite horrible and tragic – is still in active debate as to its authorship.

The Obama administration could be telling the truth, like I said yesterday, but… it still doesn’t smell right. The Iraq war build-up was relatively more ‘in the open’, the culmination of years of public debate about a long-term threat.

Obama ready to strike in Syria…against America’s will?

To borrow a few lines that Bruce re-tweeted, “I’m so old, I remember the press having a healthy skepticism for military involvement in the Middle East…I’m also glad we amended the constitution to exclude that congressional authorization for war…”

I’m so old, I remember that President Bush actually troubled himself to get approval from Congress for the Iraq War, including a majority of Senate Democrats. But President Obama, with Syria? I doubt he’ll try.

According to Reuters this weekend:

About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria’s civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act. More Americans would back intervention if it is established that chemical weapons have been used, but even that support has dipped in recent days…

…just 27 percent said they supported his decision to send arms to some Syrian rebels; 47 percent were opposed…

About 11 percent said Obama should do more to intervene in Syria than sending arms to the rebels, while 89 percent said he should not help the rebels…

Obama is considering a range of options. The most popular option among Americans: not intervening in Syria at all. That option is backed by 37 percent of Americans…

If “Obama” (was Reuters disrespectful for calling him that?) intervenes in Syria, he will be doing it without the support of the American people.

There may be no good options in Syria. Just to review: An Iranian-backed dictatorship is fighting rebels who are, basically, al Qaeda. We have claims that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons; and counter-claims that it was the rebels, running a vicious false flag operation.

UPDATE: Kerry says it was the Syrian government. I must be frank: Hearing it from Kerry makes me a little more skeptical than I was before. The man has been a gigantic, shameless liar on public issues ever since he slandered a generation of veterans in testimony before Congress, in 1971.

I realize that Kerry is backed up, in this instance, by hundreds of functionaries in the Obama administration, and that makes deception less likely (or harder to pull off). But not impossible; and because of Benghazi among other scandals, we know that the Obama administration can be untruthful on foreign policy. They may be telling a true story this time; but skepticism is not wholly unwarranted, and should not be faulted automatically.

If President Obama wanted trust to come forth in a more automatic fashion, then he should have (1) not let his administration mislead the American people on Benghazi, and (2) not chosen a figure known for his decades of lying, as Secretary of State. Having said that, could the administration’s version of events be true? I’m keeping an open mind. Kerry has promised more evidence in days to come; we’ll see.