Posts Tagged ‘obama’

Dr. Paul Goes to Washington

March 7, 2013

I don’t have much to say about Rand Paul‘s filibuster that hasn’t already been said, though I can recommend an article from Reason.com: Three Takeaways from Rand Paul’s Filibuster. Here are some excerpts.

Yet since showing up in D.C., Paul has been exactly what Reason dubbed him: “The most intersting man in the Senate” who has offered specific legislation and made extended arguments for a unified vision of limited government that is not only fully within some great lines of American political tradition but urgently needed in the current moment. Senators who pride themselves on their foreign policy expertise and have free-loaded for decades in D.C. haven’t made a speech as thoughtful and out-front as the one he delivered a while back at The Heritage Foundation, for god’s sake.

Make no mistake: Despite the presence of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), yesterday’s filibuster was a GOP-conducted orchestra. But what was most bracing and ultimately powerful thing about the filibuster was that none of the speakers exempted the Republican Party or former President George W. Bush, whose aggrandized view of executive power still roils the sleep of the Founding Fathers, from withering criticism and scrutiny. How else to explain that hard-left groups such as Code Pink were proud to #standwithrand yesterday on Twitter? The same with reliable Rand and GOP critic Eugene Robinson and many others who up until yesterday thought little of Rand Paul.

The filibuster succeeded precisely because it wasn’t a cheap partisan ploy but because the substance under discussion – why won’t the president of the United States, his attorney general, and his nominee to head the CIA explain their views on limits to their power? – transcends anything so banal or ephemeral as party affiliation or ideological score-settling.

The chills started early in the filibuster as Paul said things along the lines of, “If you’re gonna kill people in America [as terrorists], you need rules and we need to know your rules,” and “To be bombed in your sleep – there’s nothing American, nothing constitutional, about that” (these quotes are paraphrases). Those are not the words of a career politician trying to gain an advantage during the next round of horse-trading over a pork-barrel project. They are the words of a patriot who puts his country first and they inspire accordingly.

A year or so ago, we were debating whether the government had the right to force its citizens to engage in particular economic activity – that was the heart of the fight over the mandate to buy insurance in Obamacare. That overreach – and the fear that a government that can make you buy something can also theoretically make you eat broccoli – was at the heart of Rand Paul’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court ruled that in fact, the federal government not only has the right to regulate commercial transactions that take place anywhere in these United States, it has the right to force them to take place.

And now, we’re arguing over whether the president of the United States in his role as commander in chief in an ill-defined, barely articulated “global war on terror” has the right to kill U.S. citizens without presenting any sort of charges to any sort of court. In fact, it’s worse than that, since the president won’t even share his rationale for what he may or may not believe with the country’s legislature.

By foregounding the issues of limited government, transparency, and oversight as they relate specifically to the most obvious and brazen threat to civil liberties imaginable, Rand Paul and his filibuster have also tied a direct line to a far more wide-ranging and urgently needed conversation about what sort of government we have in America – and what sort of government we should have.

I am glad to see that somebody in Washington is doing his job. There needs to be some sort of discussion about when and where it is appropriate to use drones to assassinate suspected terrorists, not just their potential use against American citizens in the United States, but our general strategy abroad. I fear we have been too ready to trust the executive with these sort of life and death decisions. We might have had good cause in the immediate aftermath of 9-11, but perhaps it is time to step back and reconsider what we are trying to accomplish in the War on Terror and how we should go about it. This needs to be a bi-partisan discussion, if possible.

Meanwhile, I am starting to like Rand Paul. I understand that John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and some of the other establishment Republicans aren’t too happy with Paul. Well, they are the ones who have been running the GOP into the ground by not standing for much of anything.

 

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Meat Cleaver

February 25, 2013

According to the Democrats, the round of mandatory spending cuts required by the sequester are like a meat cleaver slashing away at needed programs.

David —

If you didn’t do your job, you’d be fired.

But when Eric Cantor and John Boehner don’t do their jobs, two million Americans get handed pink slips.

Right now, House Republicans are refusing to even vote on the sequester. If they do nothing, a meat-cleaver will chop away, almost indiscriminately, at essential domestic programs and make life even harder for millions of Americans.

We can’t let that happen.

If we go over the sequester cliff on March 1st, two million jobs could be lost — including law enforcement, first responders and teachers. Essential programs for pregnant women, children and domestic abuse victims could shut their doors. And the economy could be thrown back into a recession.

President Obama made it clear: “This is not an abstraction — people will lose their jobs.”

Join the DCCC, Democratic Governors, and proud Democrats all across the country calling out Boehner and Cantor before the sequester deadline:

http://dccc.org/Stop-The-Sequester

Thanks,

Brandon

Brandon English
DCCC Digital Director

I only wish they were using a meat cleaver to cut the budget. We badly need to take a cleaver to cut spending. As it happens, the deep sequester cuts are really only cuts in the rate of spending, not actual cuts in spending. Even so, the cuts are hardly deep at all, as Veronique de Rugy explains.

Changes in spending from sequestration result in new budget projections below the CBO’s baseline projection of spending based on current law. The federal government would spend $3.62 trillion in the first year with sequestration versus the $3.69 trillion projected by CBO. By 2021, the government would spend $5.26 trillion versus the $5.41 trillion projected. Overall, without a sequester, federal spending would increase $1.7 trillion (blue line). With a sequester, federal spending would increase by $1.6 trillion (red line).

A further breakdown of the percentage of budget programs reveals that sequestration provides relatively small reductions in spending rates across the board. With sequestration, defense increases 18% (vs. 20%); nondefense discretionary increases 12% (vs. 14%); Medicare roughly increases at the same rate; and net interest increases 136% (vs. 152%).

While the sequester projections are nominal spending increases, most budget plans count them as cuts. Referring to decreases in the rate of growth of spending as “cuts” influences public perceptions about the budget. When the public hears “cut,” it thinks that spending has been significantly reduced below current levels, not that spending has increased. Thus, calling a reduced growth rate of projected spending a “cut” leads to confusion, a growing deficit, and an ever-larger burden for future generations.

Here is the graph that went with that article.

verochart500px

The so-called deep cuts that will endanger the country and put millions out of work are hardly more than a statistical error. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Obama and the Democrats are simply lying when they describe the spending cuts as indiscriminate. If anything they are not nearly deep enough. There seems to be a certain unreality in both parties of our political class. The Republicans know there is a problem and that we cannot continue to run up astronomical deficits every single year. They are so afraid of being cast as the villains who want to cut the budget to hurt the poor and provide their rich friends with tax cuts that they are afraid to make anything more than symbolic cuts in the rate of increase of spending. They are right to be wary since that is precisely what the Democrats, with their allies in the media will do, regardless of the Republican position. The Democrats, for their part, refuse to admit that there is any problem with spending that raising taxes on the 1% won’t solve. President Obama is not in the least interested in cutting spending. He seems to be more interested in redistributing the wealth of the country in ways that he considers fair than in maximizing revenue. In fact, it may not be too cynical to imagine that Obama has been deliberately increasing the deficit in order to justify the higher, fairer taxes he craves.

Since no one in Washington cares to do their job, managing the resources of the government in a responsible fashion, then I think the best bet is simply to let the sequestration cuts go ahead. There may well be people hurt by the “cuts” but we have to start cutting the budget sometime. There will be a lot more people hurt if the federal government has to start defaulting on its debts or the dollar loses its value. As far as I am concerned the blame for anyone being hurt by spending cuts lies on the people who encouraged dependency with no regard for how unsustainable this sort of spending would be in the long, or even medium term.

 

Moving on Gun Control

January 7, 2013

It would seem that President Obama is going to move ahead with some form of gun control policy in the next few months. Now, there are two way in which he could go about this. One would be to meet with Congressional leaders of both parties and even with gun rights advocates such as the NRA and craft legislation that would be acceptable to a broad base of the American public. Such legislation wouldn’t amount to much and would probably have no real effect on gun ownership or gun crimes, but he, or a future Democratic president, could use such legislation as a precedent for the more draconian anti-gun laws they really want. This would be gun control and eventual confiscation by slow degrees, and would have a good chance of succeeding. The other option would be for Obama to propose a series of wide ranging restrictions on gun ownership, which would be certain to arouse opposition in Congress from all the Republicans and many Democrats. He could demonize the NRA and gun owners generally as fiends who want to see children murdered and, when it became obvious that his proposals had little chance of getting through Congress, simply enact as much as he could through executive orders.

Knowing President Obama, which course do you think he will follow? My guess would that he will pursue option two. Obama does not seem to be interested in any sort of incremental action. He wants to be a transformative president. Obamacare could have passed a whole lot more easily as a series of small acts than as the unpopular monstrosity it became, but that is not Obama’s style.

This story in ABCNews suggests that I might be right.

US president Barack Obama is reportedly considering implementing the most comprehensive gun control measures seen in decades.

A task force led by vice-president Joe Biden is reportedly considering wide-ranging proposals going well beyond simply reinstating a ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition.

The Washington Post reports that a national data base tracking gun sales, mental health checks, and background checks are all on the table.

And in a move that is set to anger opponents of gun control, the taskforce is reportedly looking at measures that can be implemented by the president’s order without the approval of Congress.

The White House is understood to want swift action while the public remains outraged over the deaths of 20 children and six adults in the Newtown school shooting in Connecticut last month.

Some reports suggest Mr Obama will have the proposals on his table within weeks.

Democrat congressman Chris Van Hollen says any approach the Obama administration takes must be comprehensive.

“The argument against gun safety provisions is always because it doesn’t solve everything we shouldn’t do anything and I don’t subscribe to that,” he said.

“I believe we need a comprehensive approach, we need to look at all the different elements here and just because a particular effort won’t prevent something in one particular incident, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything that might help in other incidents.

“Right now you can be on the terrorist watch list, you can be prevented from boarding an aeroplane, but you can go down the street and buy a semiautomatic assault weapon.”

With the new Congress sworn in just days ago, 10 different bills are already on the table dealing with gun laws separate to Mr Obama’s working group.

So, he is going to move fast and he is not going to pay to much attention to the what the law or constitution says about the matter. Now might be a good time to stock up on ammunition. It is probably a terrific time to invest in gun manufacturers’ stocks. And, if things keep going the way they have been, it might be a good idea to prepare for another Civil War.

Jim Messina Thanks Me

November 9, 2012

Jim Messina wants to thank me for the hard  work I have done for the Obama campaign.

David —

President Obama made a surprise visit to the campaign office in Chicago yesterday to give a heartfelt thank-you to staff and volunteers.

I wanted to pass this video along, because it’s a message every single person who helped build this campaign deserves to see. He wasn’t just talking to those of us in the office — he was talking to all of you.

In his speech on Election Night, President Obama gave you all the title you have spent the last year and a half earning:

“The best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics.”

So many times in this election, this campaign was counted out. They said our supporters wouldn’t turn out, and we’d never see the kind of voter participation we saw in 2008. They said we’d be buried in money and special-interest influence. And they said that no campaign could overcome the political headwinds we faced.

Last year, a major American newspaper asked, “Is Obama toast?” As recently as two weeks ago, another ran this headline: “Can Obama win?”

Tuesday night, you all answered all of those doubts with a resounding YES WE CAN. By knocking on doors, organizing phone banks, and chipping in a few bucks when you could, you built a campaign that is unparalleled. And you re-elected our president.

You also proved that millions of ordinary people taking ownership of a cause is still the most powerful force in our political process. You showed that grassroots organizing and small donations are not only the right way to win, but also the most effective way.

How we got here must guide where we go. If we’re going to accomplish the things America voted for on Tuesday, you’ve got to be even more involved in getting them done than you were in giving us all the chance.

We’ll be in touch soon about how we can get started on some of the President’s top priorities in his second term.

For now, I just want to say I am so proud of this team. And I can’t wait to see where you take this incredible movement from here.

Thank you — more to come,

Messina

Jim Messina
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

You’re welcome Jim. Now, go back to that playground you were lurking in.

 

The Yankees Had Something to do With It

November 8, 2012
George Pickett wearing one version of Three Go...

The Yankees had something to do with it.

George Edward Pickett was a general in the Confederate army during the Civil War. He is most famous for leading Pickett’s charge on the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg. He had not been a particularly distinguished officer before the war, graduating last in his class as West Point. Still, he was capable enough to rise in the ranks and led the US forces in the Pig War with Britain. Although he personally detested slavery, he left the US Army when the South seceded in order to defend his home state of Virginia. He was promoted to general in 1862 and commanded a division under General Longstreet at the Battle of Gettysburg.

On the third day of the battle, General Lee decided launch a full scale attack on the center of the Union lines. He hoped that the previous days’ attacks on the Union flanks had drawn enough soldiers away to make it possible for the Confederates to smash through the center and defeat the Northern forces. Lee ordered three division to make the attack, Pickett’s division and two others led by Generals J. Johnston Pettigrew and Isaac R. Tremble. These last two divisions had already fought and were under strength but Pickett’s division was fresh. After a two hour artillery barrage, the three divisions attacked

At first the gamble seemed to be succeeding. Although Pettigrew and Tremble’s divisions did not get very far under the Union fire, Pickett’s division attacked the Union lines and a brigade led by General Lewis Armistad actually  managed to break through temporarily, but the Union’s position was too strong and when the Union soldiers rallied, they massacred the Confederates. Pickett managed to survive and when he made his way back to Lee, Lee asked him about the condition of his division and Pickett replied, “General, I have no division”.

Many years later, Pickett was asked why the South lost the Battle of Gettysburg. Should Lee have disposed his forces differently? Should the attack have begun earlier or later? After thinking about the question for a while, Pickett finally said, “I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it”.

As we go over the details of the results of the last election and try to figure out what we did wrong to cause our loss, let us not forget the possibility that the Democrats may have had something to do with it. It is possible that Obama won simply because he ran a better campaign. That is not to say we don’t have anything to learn from this defeat so that we can do better, but perhaps we should study what the Democrats did right as much as what we did wrong.

 

Third Time Pays for All

October 23, 2012

I watched the third debate last night, but I was tired and didn’t really pay much attention. I got the impression that Romney was a little less steady than he was in the other two debates. I noticed that Obama really gave the impression that he did not want to be there at all. He was more aggressive in attacking Romney but his face settled into a frown while Romney was talking.

I don’t think that Obama enjoys the political process all that much. He likes giving soaring speeches to cheering crowds but he doesn’t enjoy being questioned or challenged. Or maybe he feels he is somehow above working at campaigning for re-election, or that sharing a platform with Governor Romney is demeaning somehow. Whatever the case, he is not enjoying himself and it shows.

I am not sure how much these debates actually tell us about the candidates. The skills needed to do well in the debates are not much like the skills needed to be a successful president. It is really not necessary for a president to know all the policy details, that is what his staff is for. It is also not necessarily good for a president to make quick decisions. No president ever says anything in public that is not carefully considered. Obama has been ridiculed for his excessive use of the teleprompter, but considering that any stray comment the president makes might have profound implications all over the world, it is probably better if he doesn’t speak extemporaneously.

On the other hand, perhaps the debates do tell us something about each man’s character. We see the candidate unfiltered by the media and his protective staff. His debating style might tell us what kind of president he is likely to be. In a way, the debates are like a trial by single combat, only with words instead of weapons. We might just as well have the two candidates arm wrestle. That might be more entertaining. It would be a whole lot easier to determine who won.

Stacy Dash Endorses Romney

October 8, 2012

 

 

I actually have no idea who this actress is, but she has managed to commit the one unforgivable act in Hollywood. She has expressed her support for Romney. To make matters worse, she is black.

Actress Stacey Dash, who has starred in everything from the 90′s hit Clueless to CSI, prompted a firestorm on Twitter after publicly endorsing Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and then standing by her opinion.

“Vote for Romney. The only choice for your future. @mittromney @teamromney #mittromney #VOTE #voteromney,” Dash wrote on her official Twitter page, accompanied by a photo of herself with an American flag.

Of course, the Liberals responded in their usual classy and respectful way.

Not long after, presumed Obama supporters began insulting Dash for her opinion, saying she isn’t “black” enough, several even asking if the actress would just “kill herself.”

One man wrote: “This hurts but you a Romney lover and you slutting yourself to the white man only proves why no black man married u @REALStaceyDash.”

As news of Dash’s treatment spread, however, First Amendment-lovers nationwide began voicing their support for the actress using the hashtag #ISupportStaceyDash.

And here are some of the best/worst responses, courtesy of Twitchy.

And

Of course, it is the Conservatives who are the hateful racists.

She has stood firm by her opinion and has had much support from those who actually believe in that archaic concept called freedom of speech. Maybe I should go and watch something she has acted in.

 

Michael Moore is a Twit

October 7, 2012

Of course we already knew that, but I read his tweets on Obama’s disastrous debate performance and one comment struck me as being somewhat revealing. It’s the tweet at the bottom where he calls out to Jim Lehrer.

This seems to be a common complaint from the Left, that Jim Lehrer was too even handed and fair. Evidently Moore and others wanted the playing field tilted in Obama’s favor. Isn’t that just a little like expecting the referee to be biased in favor of your team, instead of enforcing the rules fairly? Don’t they have any concept at all of playing by the rules? I suppose not. After all they don’t seem to believe in following the law or the constitution.

For whatever it may be worth, I think Jim Lehrer did a terrific job as moderator, mostly by staying in the background and letting the candidates make their case. He recognized that it wasn’t about him, but about the candidates and the voters.

One more thing, if Barack Obama cannot win a debate unless it is rigged, doesn’t that say something about him, or the ideas and policies he supports?

The First Debate

October 4, 2012

By now, the pundits all agree that Mitt Romney won the debate. This time they are absolutely right. I think that this has been the most one-sided debate that I have ever seen. Romney put on the best performance possible. He was confident, polished, articulate and knowledgeable. He seemed to have a detailed knowledge of policies and statistics and was able to use that knowledge to articulate a positive vision for the future. He even seemed to be enjoying himself.

Obama, by contrast, put on the worst debate performance that I have ever seen, with the exception of Al Gore’s outbreak of Tourette’s Syndrome in the first debate of 2000. He seemed as though he would rather be doing anything else. He seemed unprepared and his statements were mostly recycled from his campaign speeches. He would attack Romney with straw man representations of Romney’s positions and then Romney would correct him. Romney, for his part, aggressively attacked Obama and kept reminding him and the viewers that Obama has been President for the last four years, something that Obama wanted people to forget. I was afraid that Romney might be perceived as too aggressive by some voters, but I don’t think that is the case. He managed to attack Obama without seeming to be a jerk. Obama is not used to being questioned or opposed. He does not like it and it showed.

In fact, Obama spent much of the time looking down at his shoes while Romney was speaking. He looked up when he was talking, but I think he was trying to pretend Romney wasn’t standing a few feet away, across the stage. Romney looked directly at Obama when he made his attacks, a tactic made more effective when the two men were shown on a split screen. Put simply, Romney seemed to know what he was talking about and Obama didn’t. If I were hiring someone to run my business, or my country, there is no question who I would trust.

Is this the end of the election? Can Obama recover? Of course he can. We still have a month before the election and a lot can happen. There are two more debates between the two candidates and we can be certain that Obama will be better prepared next time. I think, though, that the first debate will be the most important one in that it was the first chance for most voters to see the two men together, head to head, as it were. First impressions are important and even if Obama does well in the next two debates, he is going to have a lot of work to do to overcome the bad impression he generated in this debate.

Will the debates make a difference? I don’t think that very many people will switch their votes on the basis of who did better at any of  these debates. A good performance cannot help but be beneficial to any candidate, while a bad performance has to hurt. People like to back a winner and are more likely to get out and vote for, and more importantly contribute money to, a candidate they think is likely to win. Romney’s excellent performance will help with voter turnout, if he can keep the momentum going.

I have to wonder why Obama gave such an unimpressive showing. His supporters have given a number of rather implausible reasons, the most incredible of which is Al Gore’s contention that Obama had not had enough time to become  acclimated to Denver’s high altitude. Some have noted that as a sitting President who run uncontested in the primaries, Obama has had far less recent experience with debating than Romney, who must have sat through at least ten thousand of them. There is something to that, but Obama still could have been better prepared.

I think, that the reason has to do with Obama’s personality. He is not really well suited for the job of President, at least not in temperament. I think that he likes the idea of being President more than he likes the real job. If Ed Klein is correct in his book The Amateur, Obama has never been one to apply himself to policy details. His colleagues in the Illinois State Senate and later in the Senate noted that he seemed uninterested in the actual process of legislation, preferring to give stirring speeches to working on bills. He also seems to lack the kind of back-slapping conviviality of a Clinton or a Johnson and really seems to be something of an introvert. I think then, that a debate against an opponent over policy details and programs is simply not something Obama is good at and not something he particularly wanted to do, especially against an opponent he probably doesn’t like at all. He was probably over confident as well and I do not doubt he seriously underestimated Mitt Romney.

By the way, the most interesting spin from the Left, I have seen so far is that Romney only won because he surprised Obama with his constant lying. They want Obama to be more confrontational in the next debate, especially in bringing up Romney’s remarks about the “47%”. Good luck with that. I suspect that Obama didn’t bring that up, because they knew perfectly well that Romney would be ready with an answer and perhaps a comment about dwelling on irrelevancies rather than the nation’s future. Then too, there is always Obama’s “bitter clingers” remark to throw right back at him.

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More on the Cult

September 24, 2012

 

I read this article in Investor’s Business Daily about the Obama cult after I wrote this post on the subject. There isn’t much in the editorial about the creepiness of the cult that isn’t covered elsewhere but I did think the point at the end was worth noting.

But the question is, why are so many Americans so willing to voluntarily buy into Obama’s personality cult?

Remember that will.i.am video from Obama’s first campaign?

Or the equally creepy video of elementary school students signing Obama’s praises:

“Mmm, mmm, mmm!

Barack Hussein Obama

He said that all must lend a hand

To make this country strong again

Mmm, mmm, mmm!

Barack Hussein Obama.”

Or how about the endless news photos of Obama with his head centered in the middle of a circle in the background, giving him the appearance of being surrounded by a halo.

Anyone want to guess how many times a press photographer decided to snap a picture of Reagan like that?

In totalitarian countries, leaders can force their greatness on unwilling subjects because they own the press, they own the entertainment industry and they own all the schools.

It is true that totalitarian dictators can force public worship in their subjects but one truth that perhaps we don’t want to admit is that their subjects are not always unwilling to support the personality cult. Few, if any, regimes survive solely by the use of force. Most rulers, however tyrannical, do have a certain part of the population who actively support them, whether because they benefit from the regime, or they fear the alternatives, or they believe the propaganda. I have no doubt that if you were to take a public opinion poll of the German population around 1936, you would find Hitler was geniunely popular among the great majority of Germans.

Most people who have seen the videos of North Koreans mourning the death of Kim Il Jong in the most extravagant fashion assume that they are afraid of punishment. That is true, but it is possible that many of these people really did feel grief. After all, if you are told the Dear Leader is the most wonderful person in the world 24 hours a day, you begin to believe it, especially if you have no standards of comparison.

I suppose my point here is that tyrants don’t often force themselves on an unwilling people. Usually, at least some segment of the population welcomes that tyrant and is willing to give up their freedom for some benefit real or imagined. What this might say about the future of out country I am not sure but it isn’t good that a certain number of Americans are willing to subscribe to such a cult.

 

 


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