Archive for the ‘President Obama’ Category

Democrats oppose discomfort

March 26, 2010 Leave a comment

I don’t know why I still find myself astounded at the lengths to which they’ll go to make sure no one — well, except the rich — experiences any discomfort, any at all, in this life:

The administration’s new push also seeks to more aggressively help borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth, offering financial incentives for the first time to lenders to cut the loan balances of such distressed homeowners. Those who are still current on their mortgages could get the chance to refinance on better terms into loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration.

The problem of “underwater” borrowers has bedeviled earlier administration efforts to address the mortgage crisis as home prices plunged.

Officials said the new initiatives will take effect over the next six months and be funded out of $50 billion previously allocated for foreclosure relief in the emergency bailout program for the financial system. No new taxpayer funds will be needed, the officials said.

“Cut the balances,” huh? This really is a wonderful, revolutionary concept. I can get just about everything I own for free, after the fact, retroactively, if I’m as smart about it as Obama.

I’ll start with the 4Runner we bought two years ago for $22,000. We owe $13-14,000 on that, but according to, I’m “underwater” because its current market value is about $12,700. Don’t you think I deserve that difference back from Toyota? Because if no one in America should owe more for their homes than they’re worth, shouldn’t no one in America owe more than their cars are worth? Perhaps I can rinse and repeat and get away with this every six months until I get it most of my money back from those usurious capitalist bastards who sold it to me — knowing full well it was going to decrease in value, too! Oh, the humanity!

Why should I owe them what the car used to be worth when I signed that contract — “contract”: just another nefarious, rightwinger concept! — two years ago, if the Kelly Blue Book value today is far lower?

All this seems perfectly fair to me — which, according to the left, is what this life is all about: fairness defined down to mean never having to experience so much as a modicum of discomfort or stress from either (1) the consequences of your own poor decision-making or (2) the fact that sometimes things work out nicely and sometimes they simply don’t.

Michelle talks obesity, Obama talks gambling. Problem is not what they say, but that they’re talking about it at all

February 6, 2010 Leave a comment

The Paternalist in Chief and our First Nanny keep getting into trouble. President Obama says people who are worried about paying for their kids’ education probably shouldn’t be gambling, itself not only a defensible thing to say, but the right thing to say. The problem is that he’s the president of the United States and has more important things to say.

But I’ll play along. Let’s just focus on what he said. Critics of his Vegas comments haven’t stopped long enough to ask themselves whether him saying the opposite would have been worse: What if Obama had said, “Now let me be clear; what I’m about to say is unprecedented in American history: if you’re worried about whether you can pay for your kids’ education, you ought to go to Vegas and give it a whirl — doing so might deplete your savings, sure, but think of all the money you could win and also of all the jobs you’ll help create or save in Sin City. Gambling away your life’s savings, if you’re poor and worried about how to pay for your kids’ schooling, is the patriotic thing to do.”

How stupid does that sound, eh?

People like Hannity look for any and every opportunity to criticize our president, whether or not what he says makes good sense. The president is right: people worried about their money shouldn’t gamble. The problem isn’t what he said; the problem is that he’s the president of the free world and shouldn’t be worried about jobs or Americans’ budgets. He should be worried about protecting the homeland from outside threats and closing down the government and giving money back to the people who truly create meaningful work in the greatest economy this world has ever seen: private business. Expand personal and financial freedom, and the jobs will take care of themselves.

And then there’s our First Nanny. She’s spun up about childhood obesity, even though part of the problem there is also — you guessed it — the government. The Food Guide Pyramid was itself the result of a politically driven agenda, a giveaway to the agriculture industry, and has been proven time and again by science to be the primary driver of obesity, heart disease, and nearly every other disease of Western civilization (these diseases obviously existed prior to the Pyramid’s adoption; my point is that most diseases of Western civilization date back to the introduction of agriculture and the Pyramid relies on it heavily). Carbs are the enemy, folks. But that’s not my point; I digress. The point is that the First Nanny has no business here; she’s married to the man we elected president, not an elected official herself. Period. (Grammar question: When you use the word period like that, does it require a period at the end?)

Our president, his wife, and his party are the world’s most benevolent totalitarians. They’ve decided that no aspect of American life is too small or inconsequential for their meddling and tinkering — and outright defining and dictating. We’re entering a new era of do-gooder authoritarianism, and I’m really not looking forward to it. For Pete’s sake, the most powerful man in this dangerous world is talking about gambling and his wife is writing policy to fix fat kids. God help this nation.

Time to go out and enjoy the snow.

Washington ignores biological threat, but hey – some people found work today!

February 3, 2010 Leave a comment

If the Washington Post‘s editorial (pasted below) on how frighteningly unprepared we are for a biological attack doesn’t frighten you, then you must be an ultraliberal like the rest of the clowns running Washington. See, ultraliberals — I use this term in the academic sense to refer to the hyper-progressives who believe that man (mankind, woman and womankind) is defined solely by his economic status. Nothing else matters to ultraliberals, whose mindset is, If people aren’t economically equal, what good is being alive? Boy, they’ve got the question precisely reversed, don’t they. But hundreds of billions will go out the door this year so politicians here can pretend they’re really attacking unemployment; meanwhile, they’re abdicating what is arguably their only real job responsibility: to keep Americans alive.

Scary stuff, people:

Obama must pay heed to al-Qaeda’s quest for biological weapons
Wednesday, February 3, 2010; A14

THREE THOUSAND people were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. More than 300,000 could be dead within one week after a modest attack with biological weapons.

For most people, the thought of such an attack is an unthinkable horror. For al-Qaeda, it is a lingering dream and one that it is working diligently to achieve. Two recently released reports indicate the United States has been aware of this threat for years yet remains “woefully” unprepared.

Al-Qaeda is engaged in a “long-term, persistent and systematic approach to developing weapons to be used in mass casualty attacks,” writes Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a senior fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Osama bin Laden, as recently as 2007, called on his followers to acquire such weapons to “escalate the killing and fighting” against Americans.

Mr. Mowatt-Larssen is not the only one sounding an alarm. “Each of the last three Administrations has been slow to recognize and respond to the biothreat,” concluded a report made public last week by the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, which was created by Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks and is led by former senators Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and James M. Talent (R-Mo.) “The difference is that the danger has grown to the point that we no longer have the luxury of a slow learning curve,” the report stated.

The Obama administration was given good marks for working to prevent terrorists from obtaining nuclear weapons, but “no equal sense of urgency” has been “displayed towards the threat of a large-scale biological weapons attack,” the report said. The administration was given low marks for its failure to tighten government oversight of labs that handle dangerous biological agents.

It received an F for failing to move aggressively with a plan to “rapidly recognize, respond, and recover” in the event of an attack. Producing large quantities of vaccines and establishing communications and distribution networks are key to preventing a biological attack from being devastating. Experts estimate that ramping up such a system would cost roughly $3 billion per year. The administration also received a failing grade from the commission for neglecting to establish programs to recruit and train the next generation of national security experts.

In Congress, some 80 committees and subcommittees have some oversight over homeland security. Such fragmentation, said Mr. Talent, “guarantees that much of what Congress does is duplicative and disjointed.” The commission recommended that oversight be concentrated in the House and Senate Homeland Security committees. This may yet be another problem that the Obama administration inherited, but it is now the president’s to fix. He must do so without a moment’s delay.

Obama would “rather be a really good one-term president” …

January 25, 2010 Leave a comment

“than a mediocre two-term president.”

I like this guy a little more after reading that.

Finally, a goal we can all agree on, the president’s first truly bipartisan aspiration. Now, let’s all work together on making sure Obama is a really good one-term president.

Categories: President Obama

David Henderson and Lawrence O’Donnell: Two “healther” conspiracy theorists on the level of truthers and birthers

January 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Apparently, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell secretly wants Obamacare to pass and worked during the debate this past fall and winter to make exactly that happen. This latest breaking nonsense is postulated here on the lefty blog, HuffingtonPost by blogger Lawrence O’Donnell, but the hat tip goes to David Henderson, where I first read it here.

I don’t know Mr. McConnell; I’ve only met him once. He very well may secretly hope Obamacare passes so that he and Republicans can win next fall on a platform of Obamacare’s repeal. This is far-fetched — and I’d say patently false — but not because I know Mitch or his intentions (keep up here; I just said I don’t). And neither does O’Donnell. But I’m fine accepting O’Donnell’s premise that Republicans are politically retarded and self-destructively opportunistic, for the sake of argument, if Mr. O’Donnell will admit that he can’t know McConnell or his motives either. We’d then have only have the facts – the reality of parliamentary procedure, which O’Donnell claims to understand – to help us decide who’s right.

Senate Republicans held Democrats to a 60-vote standard on just about everything they could during this past year’s debate on health care. This was their simple strategy: The bill is controversial enough that they’re having a tough time getting all 60 Dems on board, right? Well, okay, make them get to 60 every time, at every turn, on all amendments, all procedures — everything.

In turn, Reid’s standard for Republicans was the same; Two can play at that game, Reid may have thought, so he required the same 60-vote standard of all Republican amendments. Yes, O’Donnell, McConnell had to “agree,” in a very technical sense, to this 60-vote arrangement, but only because if he hadn’t, Reid could have simply taken the ball home and denied any and all Republican amendments to the bill. Reid has that power as Senate Majority Leader.

The amendment O’Donnell mentioned in his post failed because it didn’t reach the agreed-upon 60-vote threshold, but clearly McConnell’s hands were tied in making that agreement. After all, had McConnell stopped (or never started) holding Dems to a 60-vote standard and instead let everything Democratic through with 51-vote thresholds, how much worse would the bill have been (to Republican eyes) upon its final vote, and who would have been blamed for not fighting hard enough? (Answer: McConnell. And Republicans.) And McConnell, according to O’Donnell, should have done this why? So one of the “four” amendments Republicans devised could have passed? In what world would this have been a solid legislative strategy to TRULY oppose the Democrats’ bill?

And now about the alleged four amendments Senate Republicans offered — only four Republican amendments and five motions? Really? O’Donnell is wrong there, too. Reid was, again, in charge of how many Republican amendments made it to the floor. Republicans offered dozens — more than 60, if I remember correctly (not counting the literally hundreds offered in both the Health and Finance committees by their respective Republican members when each committee considered a version of health care last year) — but just about all were denied floor votes by the Democratic leadership.

The reason Republicans are fighting this tooth and nail, and not pretending to, is precisely because the bill has been so hard for Democrats to pass even with their huge majorities and a Democrat in the White House. In other words, if it’s been this hard to pass with the planets so aligned in their favor, imagine what a Republican repeal would take. No, not the hypothetical 52 Henderson suggests Republicans could get in the Senate. It would require more than 60 votes in the Senate, a strong majority in the House, and a Republican in the White House, and even then, it would require very strong political will to reverse something so many millions of American mooches will have come to rely on. (What’s curious is that Henderson happens to point out that this “strategy” would fail because there’s a Democrat in the White House who’d veto their repeal, yet somehow McConnell and his Republicans are dumb enough to think it just might work?)

Which takes us back to the beginning. This theory could only possibly make sense to healthers like Henderson and O’Donnell.

Anniversary celebrations of Obama’s first year … really?

January 21, 2010 1 comment

When Dubya hit his first year in office, there weren’t any celebrations, any parties held by random groups of Americans gathering for Hopesicles and Yes-We-Can’dy as they watched the HBO movie that chronicled his historic campaign. (And indeed, it was historic, if liberals are right that the man is certifiably retarded.) While this goes without saying in retrospect, at the time of his one-year anniversary, he was both personally and politically more popular than Obama is today on his. (Far more so, actually: according to Gallup, his average approval rating during his first year was over 67% and he only reached Obama’s current low approval rating in his fourth year.) So, what gives? Why weren’t conservatives gathering in their homes across the nation to creepily and cult-ishly celebrate Dubya (or Bush I, or Reagan, and so on)?

The difference is primarily in how conservatives and liberals see their political leaders: conservatives see mere politicians where liberals see social saviors. This is a widespread conservative critique of Obamism, to be sure, but it bears repeating on days like today when the mania is so abundant and ripe for picking (on).

And besides, what’s an anniversary celebration? Or what is it supposed to be? Typically such celebrations commemorate something deeply personal or spiritual or in which one has made a substantial personal investment — the date of one’s wedding, the date on which a loved one passed on, one more year of life successfully lived, and even, yes, the date on which you, yourself (Mr. Obama) or your close advisers and friends and colleagues are celebrating your first year in office.

But Joe Voter somewhere in Los Angeles hosting a party to celebrate a public servant’s year mark? That’s not an anniversary celebration. That’s some form of worship. Or creepy. Your call, but it can only be one or the other, or both.

Categories: President Obama, Society

Some lefties actually have the stones to defend Obama’s broken C-SPAN promise

January 8, 2010 2 comments

For the most part, the left side of the blogosphere has remained curiously silent over the president’s broken, eight-time campaign pledge to air health-care negotiations on C-SPAN. This is largely because it’s indefensible, even to his sympathizers; after all, for a man who won, at least in part, on his promise of greater transparency in Washington to renege on the easiest, least controversial action he can take — setting up one damn camera in a room while non-sensitive, national-security-unrelated policy is hashed out — bears no defense.

But some gave it the ol’ college try. I searched Google Blogs and here’s the first defense I found at the Mildly Relevant Thoughts (MRT) blog.

As the blog-post’s URL implies (“…republicans-attack-obama-on-cspan-promise/”), the defense — undoubtedly impossible to make — can only be made with a strong offense. What’s wrong here is not Obama’s broken promise, MRT says, but is instead those attacking Republicans! Those jerks!

MRT’s first argument is the tried and true, liberal fallback — the good ol’ hypocrisy charge. Republican policy negotiations when they were in charge, he says, weren’t transparent, so the Democrats’ can be, too. The problem is, by definition, this makes Democrats — not Republicans — the hypocrites, because Republicans didn’t campaign on transparency. Republicans who excoriate Obama today for not televising the negotiations may not care at all about transparency, generally, or the C-SPAN coverage, specifically; what they’re doing, simply, is pointing out that obviously Democrats don’t either. Might I add that MRT is guilty of the et tu toque fallacy: “You’re a jerk, so I get to be one, too!” What is this, MRT — the fifth grade?

His next argument is equally as shallow: “We all know politicians make promises and won’t be able to keep all of them.” This might make sense if Obama had been unsuccessful in starting the health-care debate at all; had he not been able to convince Congress to take up the legislation, then obviously there’d be nothing for C-SPAN to cover — right? But to then hold him accountable for not inviting C-SPAN to cover debates that never happened would be silly, and no one would level that charge. But he’s having the debate. Setting up a camera in the room, therefore — as he promised — is hardly the kind of hard choice a politician has to make in terms of what he can conceivably accomplish. This second argument, then, is utter nonsense. C-SPAN says they’ll have all the resources Obama needs to help him keep his promise. Period.

His final argument might have made sense in 1992, before the advent of cable news and the internet, but whether anyone watches C-SPAN as a matter of course could not possibly be less relevant in 2010. YouTube, Fox News, CNN, talk radio, AP, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, bloggers – they’d all have a grand old time playing and transcribing clips of the negotiations.

But see, that’s precisely what the president, Congressional Democrats, and apparently MRT must keep from happening at all costs.

Guantanamo as a “recruiting tool” for al Qaeda

January 6, 2010 Leave a comment

The president this afternoon said that, “make no mistake,” we’ll close down Guantanamo because it has “damaged our national-security interests and” become “a recruiting tool for al Qaeda.” I suspect he used the wrong conjunction here; he could only have meant that our national-security interests have been damaged because Guantanamo has become a recruiting tool for al Qaeda. There could be no other national-security interest met by closing the base; to liberals who think the base should be closed, our national security is one and the same with the world’s, and its jihadists’, image of us.

Essentially, then, the policy of this government is to cease activities that really tick Islamist terrorists off, because those terrorists refer to such indulgences in their propaganda. Crimony. What’s next?

On these silly grounds, we should dissociate ourselves from Israel, cease attacks against al Qaeda in Afghanistan, maybe lay off the pork, pick us up a few more Korans and [insert here any and every grievance Islamist extremists have aired against us since they first launched this holy war … oh, and R-rated movies and Red Bull — no more of those, either: they’re also frowned upon by jihadists].

This guy Obama, what a genius. It’s sure nice to know we’ve finally got a president who uses his head.

Has Obama “gone native”?

November 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Coming from a Washington insider, this sure is naive:

And that gets us to a fear that is growing among some of the president’s most ardent supporters: that Barack Obama, the fresh, think-outside-the-box leader brimming with energy and new ideas, has entered the White House and gone native.

Suspicion is spreading that Obama has lost some of the character that made him special; that he has taken on the ways of this town, thinking in conventional terms dictated by a brain trust and self-serving, entrenched Washington interests that make this city go ’round.

You’d think Colbert King might admit, as other prominent former believers have, that he was taken in and lost his senses — not that in one very short year the president has “gone native.” We all saw it; we all knew the president was no more or less a politician than the others. Why can’t Mr King admit he didn’t, rather than create this fiction that Obama changed?

No matter how charitably one interprets King’s analysis, it bespeaks a dangerous naivete. Not to have seen Obama for what he was is one level of naivete. But to finally wake up and then say, Hey, it’s Obama who has changed, and not that one was wrong? Well, that’s another level.

A little bit of armchair psychologizing clears this one up very quickly: the phrase “cognitive dissonance” comes to mind.

John Dickerson on Obama’s Dithering

November 19, 2009 Leave a comment

President Obama is right to take some time — or at least was right to have taken some time; one can argue he’s taking too long — to deliberate what next in Afghanistan.

It’s a profoundly messy, complicated war, and Republicans should remember that President Bush deliberated for about three months before deciding on the Iraq surge. But it’s been a while longer for Obama on Afghanistan — nearly three months if you use McChrystal’s August 30th memo as your starting date, and as long as seven if you go as far back as March, which was when the president announced his new strategy there. His time has to be about up.

Tens of thousands of our young men and women are over there, many suffering from a lack of morale — due in no small part to the fact that many feel they’re being led by a wishy-washy pacifist who himself doesn’t know what America is doing there. (Liberals like to point to low troop morale as evidence that even the troops don’t support this war. That would be a bit like Howard Dean breaking a homeless guy’s leg and then saying, “See? Don’t you see he’s crying because he’s hurt and can’t afford health care?” Well yeah, that might be your interpretation, but would he be worried about a hospital visit if you hadn’t broken his leg?) So, yes — it’s time to make a decision there, bub. Health care, climate change — all of these can wait, as Slate‘s John Dickerson argues, but when you’ve got 70,000 some-odd soldiers in the line of fire, now’s not the time to wax thoughtful.

That was a helluva lead-in to a point that’s really far more inane than the one above: I thought this line from Dickerson’s column was funny for its self-contradiction:

The president has a professor’s fondness for deadlines and a writer’s lack of respect for them.

Where’s the contradiction? A few sentences prior:

As a professor of constitutional law, Barack Obama gave his students eight hours to complete his exam—even though the exam was designed, he wrote in the instructions, “to be completed in three hours.” Now that he’s president, Obama could use that kind of cushion.

So what do you get when you cross a professor who doesn’t much care for deadlines with a writer who doesn’t respect them, John?