DESCRIPTION: “Alternately depressing and terrifying.” WaPo: How the Obama White House runs foreign policy. Even the Obama-friendly Washington Post is all about ” an overbearing and paranoid White House that insists on controlling even the smallest policy details, often at the expense of timely and effective decisions.” Plus, explicit parallels to Jimmy Carter.
OBAMACARE PREMIUMS SOAR: In response, the Obama Administration once again sticks its fingers in its ears and pretends to hear no evil. As revealed in this New York Times piece, ”Obama Administration urges States to cut health insurers’ requests for big premium increases.”
After finding that new customers were sicker than expected, some health plans have sought increases of 10 percent to 40 percent or more. . . .
Kevin J. Counihan, the chief executive of the federal insurance marketplace, is urging states to consider a range of factors before making their decisions.
“Recent claims data show healthier consumers,” Mr. Counihan said in a letter to state insurance commissioners. The federal tax penalty for going without insurance will increase in 2016, he said, and this “should motivate a new segment of uninsured who may not have a high need for health care to enroll for coverage.”
In addition, federal officials said, much of the pent-up demand for health care has been met because consumers who enrolled last year have received treatments they could not obtain when they were uninsured. . . .
But Scott Keefer, a vice president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, which requested rate increases averaging about 50 percent for 2016, said his company had not seen an improvement in the health status of new customers.
“Our claims experience has not slowed at all,” Mr. Keefer said. “The trend has gotten a little worse than we expected.” . . .
President Obama, on a recent trip to Tennessee, said the final rates for 2016 would “come in significantly lower than what’s being requested.”
Moreover, consumers can avoid large rate increases by switching to lower-cost health plans next year, administration officials said. In any event, they said, the federal government pays most of the premium for most people who buy insurance on the exchanges, so consumers will be largely shielded from higher premiums.
The politics of Obamacare work so well for the Democrats who supported it precisely because Obamacare beneficiaries are shielded from premium increases. They continue to get their “free stuff”–or heavily subsidized stuff–and any increases they experience are blamed on “greedy insurers.” I predict more and more insurers will become insolvent, and concomitantly fewer and fewer choices will become available on the exchanges. After another decade or so–if Congress can’t muster the political willpower to repeal–there will be calls for amendments that will further subsidize the few, but large, insurance companies that remain to serve this population, likely through the mechanism of taxpayer-funded reinsurance. They will be “too big to fail.”
If you like Obamacare’s vision of government-run “competition,” you’re really going to love the Clean Power Plan, which will do for the energy sector (beginning with coal-fired electricity) what Obamacare has done for the health care sector–i.e., slowly asphyxiate it, leaving only large, heavily-taxpayer subsidized “private” crony-companies. Hold onto your wallets and start hoarding bright lightbulbs, because prices are going to go up dramatically, and choices will decline.
I’M TAKING CREDIT FOR THIS: Obama Fires AFFH Warning Shot Over Hillary’s House. “Hillary Clinton’s suburban hometown of Chappaqua, New York has just become ground zero in the Obama administration’s efforts to nullify local control over America’s housing. Obama’s Justice Department has fired a powerful warning shot at Westchester County, New York, where the administration is conducting a dry run of its new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation.”
Dance, Obama, dance.
OBAMA CALLS OUT HIS LEFT-WING TROOPS ON BEHALF OF THE IRAN DEAL, Ron Radosh writes:
Writing in the Forward, Nathan Guttman reports that Obama made the following argument:
Obama repeatedly weaved two themes known to strike a chord among progressives: the Iraq war, and the role of big money in Washington’s decision making process.
When put together it sounded something like this: Criticism of the deal, he said, comes “partly from the $20 million that’s being spent lobbying against the bill,” and “partly from the same columnists and former administration officials that were responsible for us getting into the Iraq war.”
Of course, the $20 million figure is a reference to AIPAC, as is his assertion that the same people who opposed the deal are the ones who got the U.S. into the Iraq war. Some might, as Guttman writes, think that Obama accepts “the notion that the American Jewish community was behind the Iraq war” and that it is the same Jewish neo-cons who would take us to war again. William Daroff, an executive of the Jewish Federations of North America, immediately tweeted “Canard” as he heard the president say these words.
So when President Obama talks, as he did during the conference call, of “a whole bunch of folks who are big check writers to political campaigns, running TV ads, and billionaires who…are putting the squeeze on members of Congress,” he is clearly referring to AIPAC and other Jewish groups whose members are in opposition to the deal with Iran. With good reason, it is fair to refer to the words used by the president as bordering on old anti-Semitic tropes.
MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Obama White House Gets It Right On Occupational Licensing.
OBAMA’S LEGACY: Salena Zito: Making Environmentalism Divisive.
FROM BORING TO BAFFLING: Theodore Dalrymple on The Economist:
The anonymity of the articles was intended to create the illusion that the magazine spoke from nothing so vulgar as a perspective, but rather from some Olympian height from which only the whole truth and nothing but the truth could be descried. It is the saving grace of every such magazine that no one remembers what he read in it the week before. Only by the amnesia of its readers can a magazine retain its reputation for perspicacity.
I found its style dull, too. How was it that correspondents from Lima to Limassol, from Cairo to Kathmandu, wrote in precisely the same fashion, as if everything that happened everywhere was fundamentally the same? Walter Bagehot, son-in-law of the founder of The Economist and its most famous editor, was a brilliant prose stylist and a wonderfully witty literary critic, among many other things; but The Economist has long been about as amusing as a speech by David Cameron. Its prose was the literary equivalent of IKEA furniture, prefabricated according to a manual of style; it tried to combine accessibility with judiciousness and arrived only at portentousness.
Who now reads it, and what for? I suppose there is a type of functionary who does not want to be caught out in ignorance of the latest political developments in Phnom Penh, or the supposed reasons for the latest uprising in Ouagadougou. The Economist is intellectual seriousness for middle management and MBAs. To be seen with it is a sign of belonging to, and of identifying with, a certain caste.
See also: the election of 2008, which the Economist went all in to manufacture, and continued to run worshipful covers of Obama posing Ever So Seriously in the years since. But as Mark Steyn wrote in 2009, when the bloom was first rubbing off the era of Hopenchange:
This is the point: The nuancey boys were wrong on Obama, and the knuckledragging morons were right. There is no post-partisan centrist “grappling” with the economy, only a transformative radical willing to make Americans poorer in the cause of massive government expansion. At some point, The Economist, Messrs Brooks, Buckley & Co are going to have to acknowledge this. If they’re planning on spending the rest of his term tutting that his management style is obstructing the effective implementation of his centrist agenda, it’s going to be a long four years.
And for the Economist (and the similarly corporatist Bloomberg “Unexpectedly” Business) the “fun” continues, as the blinders never came off.
(Found via Kathy Shaidle.)
THE CAREER ARC OF THE OBAMA TOADY IS BRIEF, BUT IT BENDS TOWARDS SCATOLOGY: Neatly summing up her brief career as an MSNBC show host/Democrat operative with a byline, “‘Woo! Sh*t!’: Alex Wagner Jokes and Curses in MSNBC Show Farewell,” just after the camera faded to black, but the sound hadn’t yet been cut.
SO, BASICALLY, THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ARMED THE GUNMAN WHO TRIED TO KILL PAM GELLER: Assailant in Garland, Texas, attack bought gun in 2010 under Fast and Furious operation. More and more, I’m doubting that this federal gun-smuggling operation was “botched,” or a “fiasco,” except to the extent that people found out what was going on.
LIFE IN OBAMA’S AMERICA: Reporter expelled from public university ‘Black Lives’ event for not being of ‘African descent.’
And this remains evergreen, alas:
Worst president ever.
“SOCIALISM ALWAYS STARTS WITH THE SAME PROMISES AND END WITH THE SAME DISASTERS,” Glenn tweeted earlier today, linking to a Bloomberg report that “Venezuelan soldiers seized a food distribution center rented by companies including Nestle SA, PepsiCo. Inc and Empresas Polar SA in Caracas as the government looks to boost support ahead of elections.”
Nestlé, eh? That business name rings a bell; it’s what launched Jonah Goldberg to write Liberal Fascism, which focused several chapters on a century’s worth of corporatism, the intertwining of government and corporations, much beloved by the namesake publisher of Bloomberg (and in an even more radical form by Bernie Sanders), which the post-Weimar government of Germany dubbed the Gleichschaltung. As Jonah told Kathryn Jean Lopez in 2009, at the apogee of the left’s Hopenchange Obamamania:
You know, when I first started pondering the book, I thought it might be all about economics. About ten years ago I went on a junket to Switzerland and attended a talk with the CEO of Nestlé. Listening to him, it became very clear to me that he had little to no interest in free markets or capitalism properly understood. He saw his corporation as a “partner” with governments, NGOs, the U.N., and other massive multinationals. The profit motive was good for efficiency and rewarding talent, but beyond that, he wanted order and predictability and as much planning as he could get. I think that mindset informs the entire class of transnational progressives, the shock troops of what H. G. Wells hoped would lead to his liberal-fascist “world brain.”
If you look at how most liberals think about economics, they want big corporations and big government working in tandem with labor, universities (think industrial policy), and progressive organizations to come up with “inclusive” policies set at the national or international level. That’s not necessarily socialism — it’s corporatism. When you listen to how Obama is making economic policy with “everyone at the table,” he’s describing corporatism, the economic philosophy of fascism. Government is the senior partner, but all of the other institutions are on board — so long as they agree with the government’s agenda. The people left out of this coordinated effort — the Nazis called it the Gleichschaltung — are the small businessmen, the entrepreneurs, the ideological, social, or economic mavericks who don’t want to play along. When you listen to Obama demonize Chrysler’s bondholders simply because they want their contracts enforced and the rule of law sustained, you get a sense of what I’m talking about.
I don’t think Obama wants a brutal tyranny any more than Hillary Clinton does (which is to say I don’t think he wants anything of the sort). But I do think they honestly believe that progress is best served if everyone falls in line with a national agenda, a unifying purpose, a “village” mentality expanded to include all of society. That sentiment drips from almost every liberal exhortation about everything from global warming to national service. But to point it out earns you the label of crank. As I said a minute ago about that “We’re All Fascists Now” chapter, I think people fail to understand that tyrannies — including soft, Huxleyan tyrannies — aren’t born from criminal conspiracies by evil men; they’re born by progressive groupthink.
And they all end the same way, as Glenn noted today. In the meantime though, if anybody can up the chocolate ration, I’m sure the post-Chavez government, having seized one of Nestlé’s assets, can.
NEW YORK POST: Obama’s Pathetic Attempt to Spin the IRS Scandal: “No sooner did President Obama claim last week the IRS scandal was just a mirage than new evidence emerged to show it was anything but. . . . Of course, the biggest scandal of all is that Team Obama has managed to stonewall and leave the public hanging. And that no one has been held accountable.”
A BIT OF BACKGROUND ON THE JUDGE WHO BLOCKED RELEASE OF ABORTION STING VIDEO: “Judge William H. Orrick, III, granted the injunction just hours after the order was requested by the National Abortion Federation. Orrick was nominated to his position by hardline abortion supporter President Barack Obama. He was also a major donor to and bundler for President Obama’s presidential campaign. He raised at least $200,000 for Obama and donated $30,800 to committees supporting him, according to Public Citizen.”
Remember, when you elect a President, you’re also electing a whole lot of other people.
EMAIL REVEALS HILLARY CLINTON WAS FED QUESTIONS BEFORE MEET THE PRESS APPEARANCE: Which isn’t all that surprising, considering that it’s NBC providing their usual public relations service to Hillary, Obama, and the Democrats. In 2013, after Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s infamous gaffe on MSNBC, in which she mispronounced the word “mislead” as “myzled,” Tammy Bruce asked, “How do you mispronounce a word you’re not reading? Unless, of course, MSNBC has a script for her in the teleprompter.”
Last year while writing at Mediaite, Noah Rothman described how the network helpfully edited US Senate candidate Michelle Nunn’s response to a question about whether the Georgia Democrat would vote to repeal Obamacare, “to make it seem more nuanced and conservative,” by cutting off the end of the interview where “Nunn clearly said she would oppose the ACA’s repeal, placing her firmly in line with the majority of the members of her party.”
But then, deceptive video editing (see also: Zimmerman, George) and supplying talking points to Democrats are all in day’s work for the networks that serve as the home to Brian Williams and Al Sharpton. Or as Iowahawk tweeted yesterday with a flashback to the early days of rigged television at NBC:
KNOW YOUR PLACE, PEASANTS! Clinton rips Bush’s ‘right to rise.’
Hillary Clinton lit into her GOP rival Jeb Bush as the two presidential contenders gave dueling speeches at the National Urban League’s annual conference on Friday.
Clinton, speaking first, threw Bush’s “Right to Rise” campaign slogan back at him to paint the former Florida governor as hypocritical on issues important to the black community.
“Too often we see a mismatch between what some candidates say in venues like this and what they actually do when they are elected,” she said.
“I don’t think you can credibly say that everybody has a right to rise and then say you are for phasing out Medicare or for repealing Obamacare.”
Yeah, ObamaCare’s great for small business.
FROM JOHN LOTT, ET AL.: Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States. Some high points:
Since President Obama’s election the number of concealed handgun permits has soared, growing from 4.6 million in 2007 to over 12.8 million this year. Among the findings in our report:
– The number of concealed handgun permits is increasing at an ever- increasing rate. Over the past year, 1.7 million additional new permits have been issued – a 15.4% increase in just one single year. This is the largest ever single-year increase in the number of concealed handgun permits.
– 5.2% of the total adult population has a permit.
– Five states now have more than 10% of their adult population with concealed handgun permits.
– In ten states, a permit is no longer required to carry in all or virtually all of the state. This is a major reason why legal carrying handguns is growing so much faster than the number of permits.
– Since 2007, permits for women has increased by 270% and for men by 156%.
– Some evidence suggests that permit holding by minorities is increasing more than twice as fast as for whites.
– Between 2007 and 2014, murder rates have fallen from 5.6 to 4.2 (preliminary estimates) per 100,000. This represents a 25% drop in the murder rate at the same time that the percentage of the adult population with permits soared by 156%. Overall violent crime also fell by 25 percent over that period of time.
– States with the largest increase in permits have seen the largest relative drops in murder rates.
– Concealed handgun permit holders are extremely law-abiding. In Florida and Texas, permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors or felonies at one-sixth the rate that police officers are convicted.
More at the link.
DEMOCRATS BEGIN TRYING TO DRAFT UNCLE JOE: With Hillary Clinton’s candidacy appearing ever weaker, Democrats are beginning not-so-subtly to draft Joe Biden into running for President. A recent example is today’s piece in the National Journal by Josh Kraushaar, “Joe Biden’s Political Moment”:
But a funny thing happened on the way to the coronation. Throughout the summer, Clinton has been hammered over using a secret, personal email server as secretary of State—one that government officials believe may have compromised the country’s national security and allowed her to conceal (and delete) email correspondence. Meanwhile, as she faces energetic opposition from her party’s progressive base, she’s decided to tack to the left, offering little to disaffected swing voters dissatisfied with Obama. Her campaign operatives believe it’s worth mobilizing the Democratic Party’s ascendant constituencies without offering much to the (shrinking) number of voters in the middle.
In the process, however, her favorable ratings have hit all-time lows, with clear majorities of Americans saying they don’t like her and have trouble believing she’s trustworthy. . . .
Suddenly, if you’re Joe Biden, running for president makes a lot more political sense.
If Obama’s former campaign strategists truly believe that a Democratic candidate only needs to mobilize and microtarget the base to win the presidency, who better to do that than Obama’s unfailingly loyal No. 2? Biden, after all, pushed the president to come out for gay marriage against his best political instincts. He led the administration’s uphill fight for gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, heading its task force on the subject. He’s helped with the administration’s lobbying effort for its Iran deal, pitched wary Democrats on the benefits of fast-track trade, and stood by the president’s side when he praised the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding Obamacare subsidies.
And at a time when authenticity is a highly valued asset—for betteror worse—Biden boasts the natural political skill set that Clinton clearly lacks. He’s a happy warrior who enjoys campaigning and isn’t constrained by talking points or rope lines. He’s able to ham it up with union rank-and-file, while also giving a stem-winding speech blasting Republicans in Congress. His all-too-frequent malapropisms are endearing at a time when voters are cynical about scripted politicians.
A “happy warrior.” Yeah, well, it’s easy to be happy when you’re ignorant. Biden’s rather long history of plagiarism–in law school, and as a public servant–is a telltale sign that he lacks the intellectual chops to serve as President. Democrats’ attempt to draft Biden–despite his intellectual deficit– is an amusing indicator of their growing panic over Clinton’s candidacy.
SCLEROTIC ONE PERCENTER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE LAUGHS AT THE IDEA OF HER BEING A CHAMPION FOR SMALL BUSINESSES: Which is entirely par for the course, since in April, “Hillary admitted that she was ‘surprised’ to learn that the people who told her small businesses have struggled in recent years were actually correct,” as Joel Gehrke of NRO wrote:
Clinton noted that small business creation has “stalled out,” to her chagrin. “I was very surprised to see that when I began to dig into it,” she said while campaigning in New Hampshire. “Because people were telling me this as I traveled around the country the last two years, but I didn’t know what they were saying and it turns out that we are not producing as many small businesses as we use to.”
The struggles of small businesses during President Obama’s administration are hardly a new subject on the campaign trail. Mitt Romney raised the issue throughout the 2012 presidential election.
And Hillary’s disdain for small business is hardly a new subject. In 1999, the late Tony Snow wrote:
When told [in 1994, that Hillarycare, the prototype for Obamacare] could bankrupt small businesses, Mrs. Clinton sighed, “I can’t be responsible for every undercapitalized small business in America.” When a woman complained that she didn’t want to get shoved into a plan not of her choosing, the first lady lectured, “It’s time to put the common good, the national interest, ahead of individuals.”
Hey, that last sentence sounds even better in the original German: “Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz.”
IT’S MORE THAN JUST A SPOT: Ruth Wisse in the Wall Street Journal on “Obama’s Racial Blind Spot” and how the Iran deal will fuel racism toward Jews:
Barack Obama’s election to the presidency represented to many Americans this country’s final triumph over racism. Reversing the record of slavery and institutionalized discrimination, his victory was hailed as a redemptive moment for America and potentially for humankind. How grotesque that the president should now douse that hope by fueling racism on a global scale.
Iranian regime is currently the world’s leading exponent of anti-Jewish racism. . . . Whereas Adolf Hitler and Reinhard Heydrich had to plot the “Final Solution” in secrecy, using euphemisms for their intended annihilation of the Jews of Europe, Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweets that Israel “has no cure but to be annihilated.” Iran’s leaders, relishing how small Israel is, call it a “one bomb state,” and until the time arrives to deliver that bomb, they sponsor anti-Israel terrorism through Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militias. . . .
Perhaps Mr. Obama is oblivious to what the scholar Robert Wistrich (who died in May) called “the longest hatred” because it has been so much a part of his world as he moved through life. Muslim Indonesia, where he lived from age 6 to 10, trails only Pakistan and Iran in its hostility to Jews. An animus against Jews and Israel was a hallmark of the Rev.Jeremiah Wright’s church in Chicago that Mr. Obama attended for two decades. And before he ran for office, Mr. Obama carried the standard of the international left that invented the stigma of Zionism-as-imperialism. As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama felt obliged to repudiate his pastor (who had famously cursed America from the pulpit), and muted his far-left credentials. Mr. Obama was voted into office by an electorate enamored of the idea that he would oppose all forms of racism. He has not met that expectation.
Some Jewish critics of Mr. Obama may be tempted to put his derelictions in a line of neglect by other presidents, but there is a difference. Thus one may argue that President Roosevelt should have bombed the approach routes to Auschwitz or allowed the Jewish-refugee ship St. Louis to dock in the U.S. during World War II, but those were at worst sins of omission. In sharpest contrast, President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran is an act of commission. This is the first time the U.S. will have deliberately entered into a pact with a country committed to annihilating another people—a pact that doesn’t even require formal repudiation of the country’s genocidal aims.
Exactly. Why most American Jews are standing silently by, like sheeple, in the face of these facts is a utter mystery to me. Why did American Jews not demand, at a minimum, Iran’s repudiation of its genocidal aims against Israel? Admittedly, such a repudiation would not have changed the hearts and minds of the Iranians, but it would have at least forced the Administration to publicly recognize and discuss Iran’s genocidal intentions.
As it stands, however, the genocidal aims of Iran toward Israel have been swept under the rug, not even worthy of discussion, which is exactly what the Obama Administration wanted. The Administration’s failure to even discuss the inhumanity of Iran’s racist/ethnic hatred is both shameful and telling, particularly given that Obama is our first black president whose entire presidency has focused incessantly on issues of race and ethnicity. The Obama Administration’s indifference to Iran’s hatred of Jews will further fan the flames such hatred across the globe.
The only explanation I can fathom for American Jews’ acquiescence to the Iran deal is that most are liberals/progressives first, Jews second. How tragic that this attitude has emerged only one generation removed from the Holocaust.
If military capacity were all that mattered, Iran would never have dared to build the full-scale uranium enrichment capacity that it now possesses. Intentions matter as well, however, and here the Iranian leaders have calculated—correctly—that the American government would not use its military trump card to halt Iran’s progress toward nuclear weapons. As President, Barack Obama repeatedly asserted that, where that program was concerned “all options”—including, by inference, the use of force—were on the table, but the mullahs rightly surmised that this was a bluff and, by continuing to build the enrichment program that Obama had vowed not to tolerate, they called it. This is the sense in which the Obama Administration’s description of the deal as the best one available is correct. Given that it was negotiating from a position of self-imposed weakness, it is difficult to see how it could have obtained more favorable terms than the ones embedded in the July 14 agreement. . . .
All of this is to say that, at this very late date, keeping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, with all the catastrophic consequences that that would have, depends on a credible threat to use American military force. This is true even in the highly unlikely event that the process of inspections works as the Obama Administration claims it will. For if and when inspections in these circumstances detect violations, or the Iranian regime simply decides to withdraw from the agreement, as its thirty-sixth paragraph permits, what will the United States do? Nuclear nonproliferation in the Middle East ultimately depends, that is, not on the details of the Vienna agreement but on the familiar Cold-War policy of deterrence.
Even under Bush, it seemed as if the Iranians had more leverage than was visible. I can speculate on where that leverage came from, but that’s all it would be.
DUE PROCESS FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS IS BAD, DUE PROCESS FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES IS ESSENTIAL: Obama Threatens to Veto VA Accountability Act: Says the bill would violate VA employees’ due process rights.
President Obama threatened to veto the Veterans Affairs Accountability Act in a statement on Wednesday.
The President called the bill “counterproductive” and said it would create “a disparity in the treatment of one group of career civil servants.” President Obama’s statement also said the bill would “have a significant impact on VA’s ability to retain and recruit qualified professionals and may result in a loss of qualified and capable staff to other government agencies or the private sector.”
“These provisions remove important rights, protections, and incentives which are available to the vast majority of federal employees in other agencies across the government and are essential to ensure that federal employees are afforded due process,” the statement said.
The bill would expand the VA’s ability to fire incompetent or corrupt employees. It is a follow-up to the 2014 Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act, which extended that ability to top executives at the agency. The new bill would go beyond just executives to lower level employees.
Public servants, or public masters?
MILO YIANNOPOULOS: Donald Trump Would Be The Real First Black President.
We’re constantly told that there’s more to blackness than just being born African. Liberal theory has held for decades that race is a “social construct” with no “biological basis.” Hogwash, obviously, but apologists for “trans-black” wacko Rachel Dolezal are always reminding us that black identity is complex and about more than just skin colour.
You know what guys? I finally agree. And the proof is Donald Trump, who is, culturally speaking, a terrific fit for black America. Black writer Sonnie Johnson has noted as much in these pages. Blacks seem to identify with Trump’s swagger: they put him in enough rap songs, after all. He’s got hip-hop cred and defiant charisma the dreary Obama could never hope to match.
And black families would be far better off if his immigration policies were put in place. It seems to me that if the black community is as dissatisfied with Barack Obama as it claims, voters could do a lot worse than vote for Trump.
There is a minority war brewing between blacks and Latinos in America, fuelled by the policies and attitudes of a white Left that has forgotten about the civil rights struggle, and Trump is one of the very few, on either side of the political divide, who appears to at least understand the black side of the argument.
Someone should ask Trump what he thinks of this.
TRAIN WRECK: AP: Audit finds 22 of 23 taxpayer-backed ObamaCare co-ops lost money in 2014. “As recently as the spring, the White House touted co-ops as an accomplishment.”
DNC-MSM REVOLVING DOOR REVOLVES: Sam Kass, former White House chef and husband of MSNBC’s Alex Wagner, joins NBC as well:
On Wednesday, the hosts of NBC’s Today cheered the network’s decision to hire former White House chef — and husband of left-wing MSNBC host Alex Wagner — Sam Kass. Co-host Savannah Guthrie gushed: “…we’ve got an exciting announcement. You guys remember Sam Kass, of course he’s the former assistant White House chef, executive director of the First Lady’s Let’s Move campaign, and nutrition advisor to the President….He is becoming an NBC News senior food analyst.”
Obama attended Kass’s wedding to Wagner; in last year’s “Love in the Time of Obama,” Matthew Continetti of the Washington Free Beacon explored just how interconnected Kass and Wagner are with Big Money, Big Government, and Big Journalism, and how they used nepotism to leapfrog into “the new aristocracy,” as Continetti dubbed the Washington-NY power structure. But then, the entire MSM really does seem like one big happy mafia family of Democratic operatives with bylines, doesn’t it?
The best reason for rejecting the agreement is to rebuke Obama’s long record of aggressive disdain for Congress — recess appointments when the Senate was not in recess, rewriting and circumventing statutes, etc. Obama’s intellectual pedigree runs to Woodrow Wilson, the first presidential disparager of the separation of powers. Like Wilson, Obama ignores the constitutional etiquette of respecting even rivalrous institutions.
The Iran agreement should be a treaty; it should not have been submitted first to the U.N. as a studied insult to Congress. Wilson said that rejecting the Versailles Treaty would “break the heart of the world.” The Senate, no member of which had been invited to accompany Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference, proceeded to break his heart. Obama deserves a lesson in the cost of Wilsonian arrogance. Knowing little history, Obama makes bad history.
Obama’s legacy is his palpable distaste for the other branches of government, particularly Congress. While Obama’s other actions disregarding Congress have been frustrating, annoying, and worrisome, his disregard of Congress–and hence, the American people–on the Iran nuclear deal is dangerously meglomaniacal.
RELATED: Nicholas Kristof summons the energy to defend the Iran deal in the New York Times. His only real point comes at the very end:
If the U.S. rejects this landmark deal, then we get the worst of both worlds: an erosion of sanctions and also an immediate revival of the Iran nuclear program.
We have a glimpse of what might happen. In 2003, Iran seemingly offered a comprehensive “grand bargain” to resolve relations with the United States, but George W. Bush’s administration dismissed it. Since then, Iran has gone from a tiny number of centrifuges to 19,000, getting within two months of “breakout” to a nuclear weapon. The point: Fulmination is not a substitute for policy, and a multilateral international agreement achieves far more protection than finger-wagging.
Diplomacy is rarely about optimal outcomes; it is about muddling along in the dark, dodging bullets, struggling to defer war and catastrophe for the time being, nurturing opportunities for a better tomorrow. By that standard, the Iran deal succeeds. Sure, it is flawed, and yes, it makes us safer.
Translation: If we back out of the Iran deal now–after Obama has already diplomatically agreed to it, without seeking congressional approval–the other nations will still lift sanctions, but Iran won’t honor its agreement, and will indeed ramp up its nuclear efforts. Why Kristof assumes the former (that there will be an “erosion of sanctions,” in his words) if the US backs out, he never explains. Likewise, Kristof never addresses the key question that is troubling most of America: How can Iran be trusted to hold up its end of this “bargain” anyway, when it has not agreed to “anytime, anywhere” inspections (and in fact, the U.S. never sought them) and there are at least two secret “side deals” with the IAEA?
Yet somehow, in a biblical leap of faith, Kristof concludes that the Iran deal will make us safer, because we are muddling along in the dark, dodging bullets and struggling to defer war and catastrophe. In other words, the very most Kristof can muster in support of the Iran deal is that it might keep us ignorant about Iran’s nuclear ambitions a little longer and allow the Obama Administration to kick this apocalyptic can down the road to a future (likely Republican) Administration. And of course that is darn-near perfect, isn’t it?
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR HOUSING MOVES FORWARD: Michael Patrick Leahy at Breitbart reports on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, the Obama Administration’s latest affirmative action pet project that will withhold federal funds to localities that fail to have an as-yet-undefined acceptable percentage of minority residents:
The AFFH rule “gives the federal government a lever to re-engineer nearly every American neighborhood — imposing a preferred racial and ethnic composition, densifying housing, transportation, and business development in suburb and city alike, and weakening or casting aside the authority of local governments over core responsibilities, from zoning to transportation to education,” as National Review’s Stanley Kurtz put it last week.
When then-Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan first proposed the AFFH rule in 2013, Paul Compton, a housing law expert and partner at the law firm Bradly Arant Boult Cummings told the Weekly Standard it is “a real shift in emphasis from ensuring that the private sector and participants in federal programs don’t unlawfully discriminate to defining the existence of racially and ethnically ‘segregated’ neighborhoods to be in themselves a violation of fair housing.”
Under this new rule, Compton said, “if a neighborhood is not integrated in some vaguely defined ratio, then that in itself is a fair housing issue.”
The Supreme Court has long recognized an important distinction between de jure (by law) versus de facto (by fact) racial segregation, with the former being forbidden by the Equal Protection Clause and the latter being, well, just the result of private conduct and human nature/preferences, and thus beyond the reach of the Fourteenth Amendment (which limits only “state”–government–action). Congress, however, has increasingly endorsed, via statutes–including the Fair Housing Act–that the notion that mere statistical differences in racial representation in private activities such as housing, mortgages, and employment, can constitute “racial discrimination” due to a theory called “disparate impact.”
The AFFH rule is the Obama Administration’s radical vision of how to implement disparate impact theory under the Fair Housing Act. Congress could stop it immediately, if it so desired, by an explicit amendment to the Fair Housing Act that disapproves of the AFFH rule. But as is all too common these days, Congress seems unable to exercise its constitutional authority, instead preferring to roll over and show its beta belly in response to President Obama’s extreme transformation of the country.
I hope the moderators of the upcoming GOP presidential debates will be sure to ask all the candidates whether they will make it a priority to reverse the AFFH and similar disparate impact rules enacted by the Obama Administration.
IRS SCANDAL UPDATE: Citing IRS Targeting, Cruz Compares Obama to Nixon.
KOCHS BUILDING NEW POLITICAL NETWORK: “One of the prime objectives could have a direct impact on Election Day 2016: to create a permanent ground force powered by a vast trove of data, replicating the kind of infrastructure that helped President Obama win reelection. . . . The libertarian-oriented network serves both as a valuable GOP ally and a rival power center to the Republican National Committee.”
My advice for the Kochs — put some money into media.
HE DRINKS HIS OWN INK: Obama: ‘I’m a Pretty Good President’ And If I Ran For a Third Term, I Could Win.
INDICTED DEM REP. CHAKA FATTAH RODE ON AIR FORCE ONE TO PHILLY WITH OBAMA THIS MONTH FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM SPEECH.
And of course, the White House claims Obama “was not aware of Rep. Chaka Fattah’s pending indictment when they flew together recently on AF1.”
It’s a fair cop — our semi-retired president only discovers bad news after it’s been on TV.
BECAUSE THEY HAVE CONTEMPT FOR ANYONE WHO TRIES TO STOP THEM: Obama Administration lawyers have (once again) been threatened with contempt. This time, it’s federal district judge Emmet Sullivan, who threatened today to hold the IRS Commissioner and DOJ attorneys in contempt because the the IRS has failed to produce status reports and newly recovered emails of Lois Lerner, as Sullivan had ordered on July 1, 2015.
According to Judicial Watch, the group initiating the lawsuit against the IRS for its failure to comply with a FOIA request:
During the a status hearing today, Sullivan warned that the failure to follow his order was serious and the IRS and Justice Department’s excuses for not following his July 1 order were “indefensible, ridiculous, and absurd.” He asked the IRS’ Justice Department lawyer Geoffrey Klimas, “Why didn’t the IRS comply” with his court order and “why shouldn’t the Court hold the Commissioner of the IRS in contempt.” Judge Sullivan referenced his contempt findings against Justice Department prosecutors in the prosecution of late Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) and reminded the Justice Department attorney he had the ability to detain him for contempt. Warning he would tolerate no further disregard of his orders, Judge Sullivan said, “I will haul into court the IRS Commissioner to hold him personally into contempt.”
I don’t recall any prior Administration being threatened with contempt as often as the Obama Administration. It seems that, in multiple major cases, they are being threatened with contempt. DOJ lawyers are starting to get a bad reputation, when they used to be widely respected. DOJ lawyers in previous Administrations certainly did not so brazenly defy the orders of federal judges and Congress. The Obama Administration’s disrespect for the rule of law is permeating virtually everything it does.
THOUGHTS ON TRUMP, from Roger Kimball:
I don’t think Donald Trump will be the GOP candidate in 2016, and I don’t think he would win if he were. But he has raised some issues that the high and mighty dispensers of conventional wisdom would do well to ponder. Moreover, he has done it in a way that, though terribly, terribly vulgar, is catapulting Trump to first place in the polls. What does that tell us? That the people are stupid and need to be guided by the suits in Washington? If you believe that, I submit, you are going to be profoundly disappointed come November 2016.
Though does anyone think Trump will be a laissez-faire kind of president if he actually won? To borrow from the Spy magazine gag line on Trump that Roger quoted in his post, wouldn’t President Trump likely be a “short-fingered vulgarian” clone of Michael Bloomberg or Jimmy Carter? Perhaps not in terms of specific policies (such as Bloomberg’s obsession with bike lanes), but in terms of wanting to micromanage everything? Generally, that’s been a recipe for failure in the White House, whether it’s LBJ or Obama personally choosing bombing runs to Carter’s legendary micromanagement of the White House tennis court. It’s only a matter of time before someone like that thinks he knows what’s better for the American people than the people themselves.
WELL, YES: Jon Stewart’s secret Obama meetings reveal he’s a partisan hack. “It turns out Jon Stewart isn’t our Edward R. Murrow or our Mark Twain. He’s more like our . . . Jay Carney. Don’t count on future generations knowing Stewart’s name any more than they will know Carney’s. Remember when, under a Republican president, it was the duty of all comedians to be the loyal opposition, to speak truth to power? Stewart does the opposite. He’s more like a referee who sneaks into the Patriots’ locker room to ask Tom Brady how much he wants his footballs deflated.”
As I said yesterday, our current pop culture is Potemkin Culture, coordinated at every level to advance a preferred narrative. This is just an especially egregious example.
LAURENCE TRIBE AND THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. “What a fascinating insight into how administration politics work.”
Colleges don’t need any more sexual assault laws or policies, says Kevin Kruger, president of NASPA — Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.
I would only disagree in that legislation might be needed to guarantee basic due process rights to students who are accused — sadly, the current campus culture ignores such constitutional rights.
Kruger, in an op-ed for the Washington Post, has taken issue with the notion that colleges were not previously taking campus sexual assault seriously.
“Advancing half-truths and twisting statistics for political gain does nothing to prevent incidents of sexual assault, help victims or make campuses stronger,” Kruger wrote. “Public and private college and university administrators, advocates and other experts are working together proactively and students are safer now than they have ever been.” . . .
Kruger added that multiple laws on the books for campus sexual assault are creating confusion. New York, which recently passed a “yes means yes” consent policy, now has three different definitions of consent.
That alone is a due process violation. Related: How an Influential Campus Rape Study Skewed the Debate: Widely cited study relies on surveys that don’t actually have anything to do with on-campus sexual assaults.
President Obama’s January 2014 memo announcing the creation of a White House task force to address campus sexual assault repeatedly cites Lisak. His research provides evidence of the notion that “campus rapists are often serial predators” who perpetrate a “cycle of violence” unless stopped, according to the memo.
The 2002 Lisak study that supposedly makes that case—”Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists”—is fundamental to the activist campaign to reduce campus rape. But despite the study’s prominence, its assertions about the serial nature of campus rapists are dubiously sourced, according to a thorough investigation conducted by Reason contributor Linda LeFauve.
The study pooled data from four separate surveys of interpersonal violence that were conducted at the University of Massachusetts-Boston during the ‘90s, at which time Lisak was employed as an associate professor. Lisak’s study had a total sample size of 1,882 men, 120 of whom gave responses in the surveys indicating that they were predators. Of the 120 rapists, 76 were judged to be repeat offenders, leading to the oft-cited claim that the majority of campus sexual assault is the work of serial predators who remain “undetected,” i.e., are never convicted for their crimes.
The claim suffers when scrutinized. For reasons left unclear, the four surveys that contributed data are never actually identified in the study. In fact, Lisak struggled to recall which ones he used when asked about them during the course of a telephone interview with LeFauve. When LeFauve suggested to him that the data in question came from his doctoral students’ dissertations and masters’ theses, he agreed that this was “probably” the case.
I spoke with James Hopper, one of Lisak’s former students at UMass-Boston, who confirmed that the survey data he conducted for his own dissertation was included in the 2002 study. He also identified several other students as near-certain contributors via their masters’ theses and dissertations.
What’s remarkable about these surveys is that they don’t actually have anything to do with campus sexual assault (aside from the location where they were conducted). . . . This is quite the revelation: The canonical text of the campus sexual assault crisis is filled with data repurposed from academic papers that never intended to survey campus violence in the first place.
Sounds bogus to me. But Kirsten Gillibrand et al. are happy to use it to ruin lives.
DEMOCRATS IN DISARRAY: The Hill: $15 Minimum Wage Divides Democrats.
Democrats are divided on how much to lift the nation’s minimum wage, an issue that has long united the party.
Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is pushing to raise the federal wage from its current $7.25 an hour to $15. But budget experts warn such a hike could eliminate millions of U.S. jobs.
What’s the problem? Eliminate jobs, create new welfare-dependent Democratic voters! But wait, there’s more:
Many liberals on and off Capitol Hill have embraced the $15 figure, seeing it as an important remedy for addressing the nation’s growing income disparity. Democratic leaders, however, have been reluctant to back it, rallying instead around smaller increases.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) want to push the minimum wage to $12 per hour. President Obama has edged his support to higher levels in recent years, from $9 to $10.10 and now $12. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, backed $15 per hour for New York fast-food workers on Friday but hasn’t specified a wage floor for the nation.
The various positions underscore the tightrope party leaders are walking on the minimum wage increase, a concept highly popular among voters.
Unlike prior battles with Democrats on the issue, Republicans have significant ammunition in this fight. They point out that raising the minimum wage would mean lost jobs.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Congress’s official score-keeper, issued a report last year estimating that, while an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 would hike incomes for roughly 16.5 million workers, it would leave another 500,000 unemployed.
A former CBO director said this week that a hike to $15 per hour would eliminate “many more jobs … because it would cut much further into the distribution of wages.”
“The effect is not linear, it rises much faster,” said the ex-CBO chief, who requested anonymity.
Pandering to low-information voters is hard to resist. Then blame the consequences on greedy Republicans.
BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, DIVERSITY!: Lawsuit claims white male DC public works supervisor Christopher Lyons was fired because of his race.
Lyons claims in an explosive but little noticed federal lawsuit that he was fired as a District of Columbia Department of Public Works supervisor because black employees did not want to work for a “honkey,” as they repeatedly called him. . . . Lyons finally got the boot after just eight months on the job without explanation. But one employee certainly wished him a bon voyage. The day he was fired somebody posted a sign on Lyons’ door that said, “Get out white boy.” . . .
He was the only white supervisor at the DPW and apparently the first one ever at the Fleet division. . . .
Indeed, all the other workers in the fleet division were black, and if the allegations are correct, they almost immediately resented their new “honkey” boss.
When Smith addressed black workers at his first Fleet staff meeting in March 2012, garage mechanics called him a “cracker,” “white boy,” and “honkey,” the lawsuit says.
Yeah, the thing I love most about the Obama Administration is all the racial healing this country has experienced. The liberal/progressive emphasis on “diversity” sure is paying off.
ANTIRACISM, OUR FLAWED NEW RELIGION: “Opposition to racism used to be a political stance,” John McWhorter writes. “Now it has every marking of a religion, with both good and deleterious effects on American society.”
Nietzsche killed God in 1883, but man is hardwired to believe in something. Which explains why much of the 20th century was a search for alternate religions: The State, environmentalism, feminism, hallucinogenic drugs, and virtually all other aspects of the left take on religious aspects as they become more and more radical. But then, as Tom Wolfe wrote in “The ‘Me’ Decade and the Third Great Awakening,” “It is entirely possible that in the long run historians will regard the entire New Left experience as not so much a political as a religious episode wrapped in semi military gear and guerrilla talk.”
That was written in 1976; and while, with a few exceptions, the left has retired its camouflage gear, the religious fervor of the movement sees little sign of abating. See also: Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, both in the rhetoric of his more impressionable early supporters (“The Lightworker!”) and his own eschatological rhetoric. (“At some point in the evening, a light is going to shine down and you will have an epiphany and you’ll say, ‘I have to vote for Barack.’”) Followed by the missionary-like tone of the Internet mob today. Repent! Confess your sins!
A DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVE, MASQUERADING AS A COMEDIAN: Jon Stewart’s secret White House visits.
UPDATE: Jon Stewart Secretly Met with Obama, Worked ‘In Concert’ with White House. Potemkin Village? We’ve got a whole freakin’ Potemkin Culture.
REMEMBER THE ‘AFFORDABLE’ CARE ACT? SUCKERS! Michael Walsh reminds readers that “Obamacare never had anything to do with ‘affordability’ or even ‘health care.’”
It was merely Hussein’s camel’s nose under the tent, in order to seize control of the insurance industry by forcing the citizens to buy their products, then offer substandard, expensive plans and provide taxpayer subsidies for those who — surprise! — couldn’t afford the new mandates. And now you know what the plan really was all along.
Read the whole thing.
THE HILL: ObamaCare’s revolving door.
Marilyn Tavenner, who spearheaded the fraught Affordable Care Act rollout for the Obama administration, is but the latest ACA insider to cash in. Lobbying for America’s Health Insurance Plans is a natural transition for the former director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Tavenner was chosen to run CMS principally because she was not a healthcare reformer like her predecessor, Dr. Donald Berwick, a pediatrician the Senate refused to confirm. Instead she was a colorless former apparatchik for Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), a company that once paid $1.7 billion in penalties for fraud.
The revolving door between industry and government existed long prior to the ACA, but the commingling of industry and government interests under the ACA brings with it new implications. Simply put, the ACA represents the biggest transfer of taxpayer resources to the private sector since Gilded Age railroad barons were beneficiaries.
LEFT-WING CARTOONIST TED RALL FIRED BY LA TIMES FOR LYING ABOUT LAPD: Rall “complains about the police officer taping him and the LAPD using their resources to dig up the now 14 year-old tape.”
AT THE STATE LEVEL, the GOP is quietly amassing a decisive majority. “Since Barack Obama’s election in 2008, Republican candidates in the states have promised that they would show the country another way of governing. They’ve delivered, and voters have responded. Judging by the evidence of 2014, the insurgency isn’t over.”
DANGEROUS SECRETS: Mark Thiessen: “Obama’s Secret Iran Deals Exposed.”
The agreements were uncovered, completely by chance, by two members of Congress — Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) — who were in Vienna meeting with the U.N.-releated agency.
In an interview, Pompeo told me that he and Cotton were meeting with the deputy director of the IAEA and the agency’s two top Iran negotiators just days after the nuclear accord was announced, when they asked how the agency will carry out verification at the Iranian military complex at Parchin. IAEA officials told them, quite casually, that the details were all covered in agreements negotiated between the IAEA and the Iranian government. It was the first they had heard of the side deals.
Pompeo says they asked whether they could see those agreements. He says IAEA officials replied, “ ‘Oh no, of course not, no, you’re not going to get to see those.’ And so everybody on our side of the table asked, ‘Has Secretary Kerry seen these?’ ‘No, Secretary Kerry hasn’t seen them. No American is ever going to get to see them.’ ”
It turns out that only the two parties — the IAEA and Iran — get to see the actual agreements (though you can see a picture of Iranian and IAEA officials holding up what appear to be the secret accords here).
In other words, Obama is gambling our national security and handing over $150 billion in sanctions relief to Iran, based on secret agreements negotiated between the IAEA and Iran that no U.S. official has seen.
Cutting a nuclear deal with Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, without either realizing or revealing that there are “side deals” with the IAEA is treasonous. Members of Congress who now vote to support it without knowing the full terms of these side deals are likewise traitors.
ANNALS OF IMPLAUSIBLE CLAIMS: Obama Claims Country Better Off Today?
Last week President Obama told a small group of wealthy donors that by almost every metric, the U.S. is significantly better off under his leadership than under Bush’s. Oh dear God this is just getting embarrassing! Can we please have a little reality check here?
The most basic metric for how well the country is doing is median household income – are families making more today than in years past? Errrr, not so fast there Mr. President. As the chart below shows (the red line) we are still well below we were when you took office… and that is despite the massive amount of government spending and monetary policy stimulus! Or perhaps, this is in fact because of all that insanity? In fact, median household income, after taking inflation into account, is where it was back in 1989, twenty-six years ago!
One of the reason household income is so low is that despite the often touted “unemployment rate” the more important number, the percentage of people in the country actually working is down to levels not seen since the early 80s and well below the ratio during George W Bush’s Presidency.
How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya?
RASMUSSEN: Voters Aren’t Buying Obama’s Story About IRS Scandal. Well, it’s not only a lie. It’s an unconvincing lie.
“LAWLESS” PRETTY MUCH SUMS IT UP: David Rivkin and Lee Casey in the Wall Street Journal, “The Lawless Underpinnings of the Iran Nuclear Deal.”
The Iranian nuclear agreement announced on July 14 is unconstitutional, violates international law and features commitments that President Obama could not lawfully make. However, because of the way the deal was pushed through, the states may be able to derail it by enacting their own Iran sanctions legislation. . . .
The Constitution’s division of the treaty-making power between the president and Senate ensured that all major U.S. international undertakings enjoyed broad domestic support. It also enabled the states to make their voices heard through senators when considering treaties—which are constitutionally the “supreme law of the land” and pre-empt state laws.
The Obama administration had help in its end-run around the Constitution. Instead of insisting on compliance with the Senate’s treaty-making prerogatives, Congress enacted the Iran Nuclear Agreement Act of 2015. Known as Corker-Cardin, it surrenders on the constitutional requirement that the president obtain a Senate supermajority to go forward with a major international agreement. Instead, the act effectively requires a veto-proof majority in both houses of Congress to block elements of the Iran deal related to U.S. sanctions relief. The act doesn’t require congressional approval for the agreement as a whole.
Last week the U.N. Security Council endorsed the Iran deal. The resolution, adopted under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, legally binds all member states, including the U.S. Given the possibility that Congress could summon a veto-proof majority to block the president’s ability to effect sanctions relief, the administration might be unable to comply with the very international obligations it has created. This is beyond reckless. . . .
The administration faces another serious problem because the deal requires the removal of state and local Iran-related sanctions. That would have been all right if Mr. Obama had pursued a treaty with Iran, which would have bound the states, but his executive-agreement approach cannot pre-empt the authority of the states.
That leaves the states free to impose their own Iran-related sanctions, as they have done in the past against South Africa and Burma. The Constitution’s Commerce Clause prevents states from imposing sanctions as broadly as Congress can. Yet states can establish sanctions regimes—like banning state-controlled pension funds from investing in companies doing business with Iran—powerful enough to set off a legal clash over American domestic law and the country’s international obligations. The fallout could prompt the deal to unravel.
Rivkin and Casey are right about the Constitution’s treaty power being circumvented, with the unfortunate blessing of a cowardly Congress. They’re also right that the Administration’s decision to obtain a speedy U.N. Security Council resolution prior to the Corker-Cardin congressional vote is a blatant and reckless end-run around U.S. sovereignty, bypassing our national legislature in favor of a multi-lateral, extra-sovereign body. Any future President wishing to unravel the Iranian nuclear deal–which Secretary of State has assured us repeatedly is “not legally binding“– will now be branded by the U.N. as an international “law breaker,” a point I made back in April.
I hope States do, indeed, continue to refuse to do business with companies doing business with Iran. The financial impact probably won’t be enough to trigger an Iranian accusation that the Obama Administration isn’t enforcing the deal, however, and consequently the Administration is unlikely to march into court claiming that the Supremacy Clause trumps States’ actions. So I doubt States’ doing this will “prompt the [nuclear] deal to unravel.” Nonetheless, this is one interesting and creative way that States can constitutionally push back.
BUILDING A BRIDGE TO THE FIRST WORLD WAR: “Bernie Sanders’ campaign speech in this suburb of New Orleans felt more like a union organizing rally from 1915 than a modern American presidential campaign pitch in 2015:”
“At the top of my list is the issue of income and wealth inequality … it’s the great moral issue of our time, it’s the great economic issue of our time, and it is the great political issue of our time,” he said at the top of his speech, before spending most of his hour-plus time on stage repeatedly hammering away at progressive economic issues.
There were nods to social issues, though Sanders rarely spoke about them separate from economic concerns, instead repeatedly linking social concerns to fundamental economic issues.
“For kids who graduated high school, who are between the ages of 17 and 20 if those kids are white their real unemployment is 36 percent. If they are Hispanic, 37 percent. If they are African American … the real unemployment rate is 51 percent,” Sanders said to boos.
Similarly, on women’s issues, Sanders said, “Speaking to my brothers here today, you’ve got to stand with us on this issue … when women earn nothing more than the same level as men, we’re going to take a huge chunk out of poverty.”
Bernie makes the country sound like it’s still at perigee of FDR’s Great Depression. Will the media ever explore the cognitive dissonance separating their own feel-good economic reporting post-November of 2008 and Hillary’s running as Obama’s successor, versus Sander’s nostalgic sepia-toned fire-and-brimstone doomsday rhetoric?
SALENA ZITO: Domestic terror, fear & voters’ anger.
What if fear is the origin of all the anger that voters feel toward Washington? Not just fear over economic stability in our homes and communities, but fear for our personal safety, our nation’s security? When was the last time that felt stable?
Numerous terror attacks have occurred in Main Street America since 2009. In June of that year, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad shot at a Little Rock, Ark., recruiting office, killing one soldier and wounding another.
Five months later, Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan shouted “Allahu-akbar!” (“God is great!”) as he opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 people and wounding more than 30.
The Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, carried out by brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, took four lives.
In 2014, an aspiring jihadist beheaded an Oklahoma woman, and Ali Muhammad Brown went on a killing spree in two states in the name of his faith.
As each awful event occurred, the Obama administration refused to state the obvious — that each was an act of terrorism based on a fundamentalist version of Islam; it even insisted that the Fort Hood massacre was “workplace violence.”
In January of this year, during his State of the Union address, President Obama declared that the greatest threat to America’s future was neither terrorism nor nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran. “No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change,” he said.
Just once, we’d love a little honesty and a lot less political division from the White House, so that guys like Larry Fitzpatrick know that Obama has the backs of our military — and so they don’t feel compelled to arm themselves and protect a military recruitment center.
Well, the security situation — like the economic situation — is a constant reminder to ordinary Americans that the folks in charge don’t really care what happens to them. And yeah, that makes people upset.
DEMOCRATS’ BLUE COLLAR BLUES: Nolan Finley at Detroit News opines, “Democrats’ Handout Strategy is Failing.”
Blue collar white voters believe the Republican Party is better equipped to make the economic system more fair by an overwhelming margin, according to a new Washington Post poll.
In the survey of non-college educated whites, 50 percent had more faith in GOP policies, while 29 percent favored the Democratic strategy.
These are among the workers hit hardest by the economic shifts of the past quarter century, and in particular by the failed polices of the Obama administration.
They’ve seen good paying jobs in Appalachian coal mines become casualties of the president’s war on coal. They’ve lost solid, middle class work on the oil rigs of the Gulf to a president more obsessed with tomorrow’s temperatures than today’s families. And they’ve bid goodbye to Midwestern factory jobs while the president saddles employers with oppressive taxes and regulations. . . .
Mitt Romney, the failed GOP standard bearer in 2012, bemoaned the prospects for selling a message of smaller government when 47 percent of the population is receiving some form of government assistance.
But many of these blue collar whites are among the 47 percenters. They may be getting Obamacare subsidies, or unemployment benefits, or even food stamps.
And that’s not what they want. They’re looking for the opportunity to take care of themselves and their families. They want jobs, not another Big Government giveaway designed to replace the paychecks Democratic policies have killed.
They’ve lost faith — if they ever had any — in the government’s ability to solve their problems. And who can blame them?
All true. Handouts never create opportunity, only dependency. Blue collar workers aren’t hardwired to want handouts; it demeans their humanity and self-sufficiency. And I should add that blue collar workers comprise 61% of the U.S. working population.
I would also add that Democrats’ incessant demeaning of blue collar workers because of their race (predominantly white), religion, gender (predominantly male), or values isn’t helping a whole lot, either. If you keep suggesting that white, male, Christians who believe in earning a dollar are racist, ignorant, xenophobic, homophobic or otherwise evil, they probably won’t vote for you.
SOCIAL JUSTICE BULLIES: THE AUTHORITARIANISM OF MILLENNIAL SOCIAL JUSTICE. A self-confessed liberal engages in some long-overdue reflection on the price society is now paying for political correctness and the self-righteous zeal for “social justice”:
And perhaps it’s my liberal heart speaking, the fact that I grew up in a liberal town, learned US history from a capital-S Socialist, and/or went to one of the most liberal universities in the country, but I view this is a good thing. The idea that societal ills should be remedied such that one group is not given an unfair advantage over another is not, to me, a radical idea.
But millennials are grown up now — and they’re angry. As children, they were told that they could be anything, do anything, and that they were special. As adults, they have formed a unique brand of Identity Politics wherein the groups with which one identifies is paramount. With such a strong narrative that focuses on which group one belongs to, there has been an increasing balkanization of identities. In an attempt to be open-minded toward other groups and to address social justice issues through a lens of intersectionality, clear and distinct lines have been drawn between people. One’s words and actions are inextricable from one’s identities. For example: this is not an article, but an article written by a straight, white, middle-class (etc.) male (and for this reason will be discounted by many on account of how my privilege blinds me — more on this later).
And while that’s well and good (that is — pride in oneself and in one’s identity), the resulting sociopolitical culture among millennials and their slightly older political forerunners is corrosive and destructive to progress in social justice. And herein lies the problem — in attempting to solve pressing and important social issues, millennial social justice advocates are violently sabotaging genuine opportunities for progress by infecting a liberal political narrative with, ironically, hate. . . .
This particular brand of social justice advocacy assaults reason in a particularly frightening way — by outright denying it and utilizing fear-mongering to discourage dissent. There is no gray: only black and white. One must mimic the orthodoxy or be barred forcibly from the chapel and jeered at by the townspeople. To disagree with the millennial social justice orthodoxy is to make a pariah of oneself willingly. Adherence to the narrative is the single litmus test for collegiate (and beyond) social acceptance these days. . . .
To the social justice advocate of our time, conclusions are not contingent on facts; rather, facts are contingent on conclusions. In a global example of confirmation bias, the truth is malleable. The malleable truth is molded around the theoretical viewpoints of social justice. In order to uphold the sanctity of this viewpoint, adherents ostracize dissension. It’s nothing new — it’s a tactic as old as religion itself. Instead of holy texts, though, the millennial social justice advocate bows at the altar of the currently-in-vogue ideological Trinity: Marxism, Feminism, and Post-Colonialism.
Yep. It’s the new religion of the political left, and it insists on rigid orthodoxy. How ironic that a group of post-modern atheists whose entire identity is wrapped around a notion of “social justice” have become the most fervent religious zealots whose primary tactic is bullying and intimidation? There are odd parallels between this western social justice movement and radical jihad of Islam. Is it just something in the water (or the parenting) that is causing the millennial generation to be angry, convinced they are right, and willing to use whatever means necessary to prove it?
And I wonder if we can count on Michelle Obama to help us stop the bullying by these social justice warriors? According to the government’s new website, StopBullying.gov, bullying “includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.” So basically this would include virtually everything SJWs do, plus much of the mainstream media. But it would be interesting for our young people, particularly those in high school and college, to start pushing back against social justice tactics by reframing their behavior as bullying (which it undoubtedly is).
IRAN DEAL IS AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE: So says Andrew McCarthy in his latest NRO post.
The president “must certainly be punishable for giving false information to the Senate.” One can imagine hearing such counsel from a contemporary United States senator on the receiving end of President Obama’s “full disclosure” of the nuclear deal with Iran. But the admonition actually came from James Iredell, a champion of the Constitution’s ratification, who was later appointed to the Supreme Court by President George Washington.
Iredell was addressing the obligations the new Constitution imposed on the president in the arena of international affairs. Notwithstanding the chief executive’s broad powers to “regulate all intercourse with foreign powers,” it would be the president’s “duty to impart to the Senate every material intelligence he receives.” Indeed, among the most egregious offenses a president could commit would be fraudulently inducing senators “to enter into measures injurious to their country, and which they would not have consented to had the true state of things been disclosed to them.” . . .
After a few days of misdirection, administration officials now admit that there are “side deals” that the administration has not revealed to Congress and does not intend to make public. So far, we know of two “side deals” — who knows how many more there may actually be? As the Center for Security Policy’s Fred Fleitz writes in National Review, they involve (a) a full accounting of Iran’s prior nuclear activities (many of which are believed to have been in blatant violation of international law) and (b) access to the Parchin military base, where Iran has conducted explosive testing related to nuclear missiles. . . .
Now consider this: Under cover of this IAEA ruse, Obama ran to the Security Council and rammed through a resolution commencing implementation of his Iran deal before Congress or the American people could consider it. He thus undermined American sovereignty and the Constitution by scheming to impose an international-law fait accompli. And he thus undermined American national security by transferring his inspection commitments to an international agency that he knows is not close to being capable of executing them — an agency that will be further hampered by notice restrictions that, as Charles Krauthammer concludes, render the inspections “farcical” in any event.
The Constitution forbids providing aid and comfort to America’s enemies. And the Framers’ notion that a president would be punishable for deceiving Congress regarding the conduct of foreign affairs meant that lawmakers would be obliged to use their constitutional powers to protect the United States — not merely shriek on cable television as if they were powerless spectators.
McCarthy’s right, of course. But as his ending query reveals, no one realistically expects the Republican establishment to call for impeachment, despite the fact that the House GOP could issue articles of impeachment with a simple majority vote, sending the case to the Senate for conviction (which would require 2/3 supermajority).
Why not? Because the GOP leadership has given up, and like a jilted lover, is trying so hard to “look the other way” that it no longer sees the obvious, and has lost all self-confidence in its own power, and the power of the truth. It also is betting the farm–i.e., the country–that the U.S. can survive another 18 months of an Obama presidency, and that the next (hopefully) GOP President can magically “cure” all of the Obama-induced cancers. It’s a risky and stupid gamble.
GANGSTER GOVERNMENT: IRS Used Donor Lists to Target Conservatives for Audits. “These documents that we had to force out of the IRS prove that the agency used donor lists to audit supporters of organizations engaged in First Amendment-protected lawful political speech. And the snarky comments about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the obsession with Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPD show that the IRS was targeting critics of the Obama administration.”
RON FOURNIER: Clinton’s Conspiracy of Secrecy Worthy of Criminal Probe. “Here’s all you need to know: The Clinton campaign doesn’t—and can’t—deny the nut of this story. Two Obama administration inspectors general want an investigation into whether her personal email system contributed to the release of classified information.”
RACISM IN OBAMA’S AMERICA: Wyatt Cenac: Jon Stewart Screamed “Fuck Off” When I Objected to Joke.
“I remember he was like, ‘What are you trying to say? There’s a tone in your voice.’ I was like, ‘There’s no tone. It bothered me.’ And then he got upset. He stood up and he was just like, ‘Fuck off. I’m done with you.’ And he just started screaming that to me, and he screamed it a few times. ‘Fuck off! I’m done with you.’ And he stormed out. I didn’t know if I had been fired.”
Liberal hero abuses minority employees. Actually, a pretty common story. . . .
MY ADVICE TO THE CANADIANS: MAKE YOUR MOVE NOW, OBAMA WILL FOLD LIKE HE ALWAYS DOES: The tiny islands where Canada and America are at war.
RELAX CHAMP, YOU’VE HAD MUCH BIGGER FAILURES THAN THAT: Obama tells BBC he is ‘most frustrated’ with failure to get tougher gun laws.
MATTHEW CONTINETTI: Revenge Of The Radical Middle: Why Donald Trump Isn’t Going Away. “What Republicans are trying to figure out is not so much how to handle Trump as how to handle his supporters. Ignore or confront? Mock or treat seriously? Insult or persuade? . . . What the radical middle has seen in recent years has not given them reason to be confident in our government, our political system, our legion of politicians clambering up the professional ladder office to office. Two inconclusive wars, a financial crisis, recession, and weak recovery, government failure from Katrina to the TSA to the launch of Obamacare to the federal background check system, an unelected and unaccountable managerial bureaucracy that targets grassroots organizations and makes law through diktat, race riots and Ebola and judicial overreach. And through it all, as constant as the northern star, a myopic drive on the part of leaders in both parties to enact a ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ that would incentivize illegal immigration and increase legal immigration despite public opposition.”
If you don’t want their votes, it’s because you don’t want to win. “Our political commentary is confused because it conceives of the Republican Party as a top-down entity. It’s not. There are two Republican parties, an elite party of the corporate upper crust and meritocratic winners that sits atop a mass party of whites without college degrees whose worldviews and experiences and ambitions could not be more different from their social and economic betters. The former party enjoys the votes of the latter one, but those votes are not guaranteed. What so worries the GOP about Donald Trump is that he, like Ross Perot, has the resources and ego to rend the two parties apart. If history repeats itself, it will be because the Republican elite was so preoccupied with its own economic and ideological commitments that it failed to pay attention the needs and desires of millions of its voters. So the demagogue rises. The party splits. And the Clintons win.”
LIFE IN OBAMA’S AMERICA: Slut-Shaming The Military:
In the wake of the massacre in Chattanooga, Tenn., Defense Secretary Ash Carter approved a series of “immediate force-protection steps” designed to protect service members. One of those steps was to ask recruiters not to wear their uniforms in public.
Regular readers (all two of you; I’m being generous) will recognize this attempt to “protect” people by telling them what not to wear as “slut-shaming” or “victim-blaming.” At least, that’s what it’s called when the protection is meant for young women on college campuses.
In this case, soldiers are being told not to wear their uniforms because it may make them targets of another shooting. College women used to be told not to wear skimpy clothes to avoid being raped.
The obvious difference here is that a military uniform clearly identifies someone as a member of the military, whereas a short skirt doesn’t identify someone as wanting to have sex. In both instances, however, an authority figure is at least in part blaming the victim for the crime perpetrated against them.
Where are the protests?
HOW OBAMA IS USING CHUCK SCHUMER TO NUKE THE US-ISRAEL ALLIANCE: “Would Schumer the shomer throw America’s allies under the bus and allow Obama to drive a wedge between Washington and Jerusalem? If Schumer won’t answer that question directly, his handling of the Iran deal will.”
HILLARY CLINTON NEEDS TO ADDRESS THE RACIST UNDERTONES OF HER 2008 CAMPAIGN: From left-leaning journalist Ryan Cooper at The Week.
RELATED: “The stakes are high in 2016 – more so for Democrats than they were in 2012, when Barack Obama’s allies went so far as to accuse Mitt Romney of complicity in negligent homicide. We may come to look back on that campaign as an epoch of civility. If the GOP nominates a competent candidate, and they have a variety from which to choose, Hillary Clinton and her allies will have to scorch the earth in order to win. The torches are already lit.”
OBAMA’S TRUE LEGACY: Poll Shows Most Americans Think Race Relations Are Bad.
Seven years ago, in the gauzy afterglow of a stirring election night in Chicago, commentators dared ask whether the United States had finally begun to heal its divisions over race and atone for the original sin of slavery by electing its first black president. It has not. Not even close.
A new New York Times/CBS News poll reveals that nearly six in 10 Americans, including heavy majorities of both whites and blacks, think race relations are generally bad and that nearly four in 10 think the situation is getting worse. By comparison, two-thirds of Americans surveyed shortly after President Obama took office said they believed that race relations were generally good.
We elected the wrong black man for the job. And this remains evergreen, alas:
Worst president ever.
LIFE IN THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East? ISIS and other extremist movements across the region are enslaving, killing and uprooting Christians, with no aid in sight.
Obama doesn’t much seem to care, and even the Pope seems more interested in climate change.
COAL EXECUTIVE SLAMS OBAMA AS ‘NATION’S GREATEST DESTROYER’ That’s such an impolite phrase. Best to go with “fundamentally transformed,” instead.
KERRY ‘FLEECED’ AND ‘BAMBOOZLED,’ SENATORS TELL HIM; BOXER CALLS THEM ‘INSULTING:’
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) rushed to the aid of Secretary of State John Kerry this morning, claiming that Senate Republicans were impugning his character by noting he got “bamboozled” and “fleeced” in the Iran nuclear deal.
“Not unlike a hotel guest that leaves only with a hotel bathrobe on his back, I believe you’ve been fleeced,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told Kerry today at the top of a hearing to review the deal.
“In the process of being fleeced, what you’ve really done here is you have turned Iran from being a pariah to now Congress, Congress being a pariah,” Corker added.
“With all due respect, you guys have been bamboozled, and the American people are going to pay for that,” Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) later added.
Boxer began her comments by stressing that she does think Congress faces a choice between accepting the deal and going to war with Iran — “at the end of the day, that’s really the option, which everyone tiptoes around.”
“I support the right of my colleagues to say anything they want, but you’ve sat there and you’ve heard two of my colleagues go after you with words that I am going to repeat. You were fleeced, one said. The other said you have been bamboozled,” she said.
“So putting aside the fact that I think that’s disrespectful and insulting, it — that’s their right to do. There are other ways to express your disagreement, but that goes to the — your core as a human being and your intelligence, and I think you are highly intelligent.”
Now there’s a vote of confidence. Besides, I thought Boxer appreciated senators when they’re “speaking truth to power,” especially to the Secretary of State.
UPDATE: As Ace writes: “Oh, Kerry got fleeced?”
Because I thought a bunch of dumbass, sell-out, go-along-to-get-along Republican Senators got fleeced by Obama and Kerry into approving this treaty before it was even finished.
So now we’re in the “I just can’t believe the outrageous things I already voted for” phase of the Failure Theater performance.
It’s DC — there’s enough failure to go around for everyone.
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Obama’s Dangerous Rhetoric. “President Obama has a habit of asserting strategic nonsense with such certainty that it is at times embarrassing and frightening. Nowhere is that more evident than in his rhetoric about the Middle East.”
AUSTIN BAY: To Counter Domestic Terror Attacks, Selectively Arm Military Personnel. “Most recruiting stations are in civilian facilities, and they are soft targets. However, uniformed service members staff these soft targets, and they are unarmed. Our terrorist enemies know it. Official Pentagon weapons policy is public knowledge. That policy is scandalous. Troops on Army posts remain unarmed, despite Maj. Nidal Hasan’s November 2009 massacre at Fort Hood, Texas. The Obama administration still cannot call that attack what it clearly was: a terror attack by an Islamist terrorist.”
ROLL CALL: Freedom Caucus Forms ‘Fight Club’ in House.
Six months after the House Freedom Caucus was founded, it’s still unclear what exactly it is — or will be — beyond two key characteristics: its commitment to secrecy and to being a thorn in the side of House Speaker John A. Boehner.
There is no official roster. Leaders of the hard-line conservative group won’t say exactly how many members are in the caucus, which has already made its mark. The last count, based on conversations with members who are trying to keep track, was 42, but members are being added almost every week; CQ Roll Call has observed 38 attend at least one caucus meeting.
“It’s like ‘Fight Club,’” says Rep. Jim Bridenstine, an Oklahoma Republican and caucus member, referring to a film dialogue in which the first rule is that you don’t talk about it, and the second rule is that you don’t talk about it. . . .
The caucus has taken three official positions to date — and has notched a solid record.
The group opposed reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, and watched its charter expire last month. It called for a disapproval resolution of a Washington, D.C., abortion law, and the House adopted one (HJ Res 43). And it endorsed a bill (HR 2802) to protect the tax-exempt status of churches that refuse to perform same-sex weddings. Idaho Republican Raúl R. Labrador, the sponsor of the bill and a caucus co-founder, is optimistic it will get a vote.
They haven’t been without losses. The caucus was at the forefront of the failed effort to block President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration earlier this year.
It’s nice when people fight.
THE SUPER BOWL OF SUPERHOLES: This past weekend, Donald Trump dominated the headlines for his assholish attack on John McCain’s war record. But back in the late 1990s, as Mark Steyn notes in a new article, the DNC-MSM were more than happy to blackout coverage of the asshole side of John McCain, because he was their kind of asshole – a Republican who, the vast majority of the time, bashed fellow Republicans. Flash-forward a decade and a half:
Trump’s right: This country treats its veterans appallingly, far worse than most other civilized societies, consigning far too many to food stamps and entrapping them in a third-class health-care system. A New Hampshire neighbor of mine, a Vietnam vet exposed to Agent Orange and thus given cancer as a war-losing bonus, just received the usual letter from the VA telling him his benefits were being cut. Oddly enough, he loathes McCain and is gung-ho for Trump. Do you want to bet he’s in a minority down at the Legion? John McCain doesn’t embody the grand variety and diversity of America’s warriors; John McCain embodies John McCain: That’s it. So, when the Republican establishment spends two news cycles huffing about the amour propre of a wealthy career politician, they’re only reinforcing Trump’s critique: that the GOP is a party of “losers” and “failures” obsessed with peripheral trivia nobody else cares about, while ignoring everything that’s killing your future.
Finally, re that “asshole” business, I should add that I don’t mean it as a criticism. Personally, I’d like it if Calvin Coolidge were on the ticket, or indeed the Marquess of Salisbury. But they’ve decided to sit out Campaign 2016, so one must take what one can get. And a citizenry that votes for an asshole is less deluded than one that votes for a messiah. Thus, voting for, say, Silvio Berlusconi (a kind of wealthier mini-Trump, and yet the third longest serving prime minister in Italian history, after Mussolini and Giolitti) is less psychologically unhealthy than voting for Barack Obama. And, come to that, less damaging to republican virtue than voting for the previous guy’s wife or brother.
Read the whole thing.
And then check out John Nolte of Big Journalism, who notes the folly of GOP consultants, like McCain himself last week, attacking and belittling Trump’s supporters. As Nolte writes, “There are all kinds of good arguments to convince a Republican to turn away from Trump. But when the delivery system is a smug, condescending dickishness, we’ve already lost.”
See also: Election of 1992.
MICHAEL BARONE: If you live in a suburb, Obama Has Declared War On You.
Stanley Kurtz was right.
THIS IS KNOWN AS ‘BAD LUCK:’
● Chaser: Obama: ‘On Almost Every Metric The Country Is Significantly Better Off.’
AFTER NEARLY 4 YEARS IN HANDS OF IRAN, OBAMA FINALLY SAYS U.S. HOSTAGE’S NAME:
Next month, the family of a Marine veteran will mark the grim milestone of his fourth year held by Iran — barring a miraculous change of heart by a regime that originally sentenced him to death for conspiracy to commit espionage.
Today brought another milestone in the tragic case of Amir Hekmati: President Obama finally, for the first time, said his name in public.
The family had been begging the White House just to say Amir’s name.
Mr. Obama’s two terms really are a case study in how a president can make Jimmy Carter look competent by comparison, aren’t they?
WASHINGTON POST: POLLS SHOW A SETUP FOR A BACKLASH. Liberals have won a series of victories on social issues. Most Americans aren’t thrilled about it. “Liberals’ have won a string of victories on gay marriage and health care reform this year, but a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds a large majority of Americans are unhappy with where the nation is headed on social issues. Sixty three percent of people say they are uncomfortable with the country’s overall direction on social issues these days; four in 10 feel ‘strongly’ uncomfortable about the nation’s changes. . . . What appeared to be overwhelming wins for President Obama in June and July are not resonating with his base quite as soundly as may have been expected. As Republican and Democratic presidential candidates look to the key issues in the 2016 election, the role of the wealth gap is a far more unifying issue than changing social issues. Nearly 7 in 10 say the economic system favors the wealthy, something Democrats and Republicans agree upon.”
SOMETIMES I HEAR PEOPLE SAY THE TEA PARTY LOST AND OBAMA WON. NOT EXACTLY.
After two presidential victories, Mr. Obama presides over a Democratic Party that has lost 13 seats in the U.S. Senate and 69 in the House during his tenure, a net loss unmatched by any modern U.S. president.
Democrats have also lost 11 governorships, four state attorneys general, 910 legislative seats, as well as the majorities in 30 state legislative chambers. In 23 states, Republicans control the governor’s office and the legislature; Democrats, only seven.
Such losses help shape the future: An ousted state lawmaker doesn’t run for Congress; a failed attorney general candidate loses a shot at the governor’s office. As a result, the flow of fresh political talent rising to statewide and national prominence in the years ahead won’t be as robust as Democrats hope.
The Tea Party plan was always to capture the GOP from within, and to expand at the lower levels first. That’s easier to do, especially because — and here’s a lesson for big GOP donors, who should be funding alternative media instead of political consultants — much of the Dems’ lead in national elections comes from media dominance.
CBS’S CHARLIE ROSE PRETENDS TO BE SHOCKED WHEN LINDSEY GRAHAM COMPARES OBAMA TO NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN OVER IRAN DEAL: I’m not sure which is more “shocking:” that Rose needs a fainting couch after hearing Graham’s comparison. Or, that on the eve of the 2008 election, Rose was pretending “I don’t know what Barack Obama’s worldview is.” Or that such a comparison is actually insulting to Chamberlain. Yes, “The British Prime Minister got the biggest issue of the day wrong. But no one ever doubted that he loved his country,” as Mark Steyn wrote earlier this year:
So please don’t insult Neville Chamberlain by comparing him to Obama. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, because conspiracies are generally a comforting illusion: the real problem with Obama is that the citizens of the global superpower twice elected him to office. Yet one way to look at the current “leader of the free world” is this: If he were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?
Over to you, Charlie.
RELATED: And speaking of Graham, Donald Trump gave out his cell phone number on live TV. As Allahpundit quips, “Must be a new tactic he’s trying out. If he was intent on doxxing every famous person who’s called him a jackass, as Graham did last night on CNN, he would have started selling maps to Jon Stewart’s house years ago.”
And as Bill Hobbs adds on Twitter:
By giving out Graham's private phone number, Trump showed us how he'd treat personal info of opponents as president. #DumpTrump
— Bill Hobbs (@billhobbs) July 21, 2015
Arguably, that wasn’t Trump’s worst gaffe today.
OBAMA FINALLY ORDERS FLAGS FLOWN AT HALF-STAFF FOR CHATTANOOGA VICTIMS: As Iowahawk tweets:
One week you're shaming people for not lowering a flag, the next you're being shamed into it yourself.
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) July 21, 2015
Gay marriage ruling? White House in rainbow colors within hours. 4 murdered Marines & a murdered sailor? 5 days to lower the flag. Nice.
— Jay Caruso (@JayCaruso) July 21, 2015
MATT YGLESIAS HAS HIS KNICKERS IN A TWIST ABOUT THIS KEVIN WILLIAMSON COLUMN ON BERNIE SANDERS: Bernie’s Strange Brew Of Nationalism And Socialism. “Like most of these advocates of ‘economic patriotism’ (Barack Obama’s once-favored phrase) Bernie worries a great deal about trade with brown people — Asians, Latin Americans — but has never, so far as public records show, made so much as a peep about our very large trade deficit with Sweden, which as a share of bilateral trade volume is not much different from our trade deficit with China, or about the size of our trade deficit with Canada, our largest trading partner. Sanders doesn’t rail about the Canadians and Germans stealing our jobs — his ire is reserved almost exclusively for the Chinese and the Latin American.” And the crowds he draws are overwhelmingly white. . . .
RICHARD EPSTEIN: Obama’s Disastrous Iran Deal.
FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: Michael Walsh writes that when America was attacked by Imperial Japan at Pearl Harbor, FDR vowed that “we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.” In telling contrast, Walsh writes, “in response to the latest Muslim atrocity, President Obama went on vacation to New York City to fund-raise and for some ‘down time’ with his daughters. Oh yes, and the Empire State Building was lit up Muslim green to ‘celebrate’ the end of Ramadan.”
What’s the linchpin that caused this fundamental transformation of America? Via an excerpt from his new book The Devil’s Pleasure Palace, Michael blames the far left Frankfurt School, which fled National Socialism in Germany and established a foothold for international socialism in America.
Read the whole thing.
The Obama administration was forced to play defense on Monday after lawmakers in both parties criticized its decision to let the United Nations — not Congress — have the first say on the Iran nuclear deal.
Republicans pounced on the decision following the 15-0 U.N. Security Council vote, arguing the White House was giving short shrift to congressional assent in a rush to build international support for the agreement.
The White House appeared to hope that the U.N. vote would build pressure on Congress to back the deal, but the strategy risked backfiring, with some Democrats scolding the administration for the decision.
They deserve more than scolding.
A READER MESSAGES “DID YOU SEE GAWKER ON THIS? ME NEITHER:” Top Obama Donor Charged With Sodomizing Teenage Boy, Judge Gives Him Some Bad News…
NOT ALL LIVES MATTER: Obama’s silence on Kathryn Steinle killing is deafening. Note that this WaPo column from Marc Thiessen is a week old, and Obama still hasn’t said anything.
IDEAS FOR REPORTERS STRUGGLING TO COVER PLANNED PARENTHOOD: In 2008, Michelle Obama promised her husband’s supporters that her husband will “demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.”
When will the media shed their cynicism and push themselves to become better, by moving out of their comfort zones to stop leaving their customers so uninformed and uninvolved?
RELATED: White House spokesman Josh Earnest “Instantly Dismisses Reporter’s Question About Planned Parenthood.”
He really should come out of his isolation and put down his partisan divisions.
“‘WHITENESS GOGGLES’ SET OUT TO CHANGE HOW YOU SEE CULTURAL APPROPRIATION:”
Having a hard time understanding the meaning of appropriation? Take a look at Portland-based artist Roger Peet’s handy “Whiteness Goggles” series.
In the images he created for the series, the history of violence and oppression endured by people of color quite literally becomes the backdrop for the quirky styles and awesome music of white people. Take for example his biting ode to Miley Cyrus. In the image above, she twerks before a crowd of armed policemen in Ferguson, Missouri. In another, Katy Perry poses in a geisha costume in front of an exploding atomic bomb.
Blue on blue on blue – an Obama supporter uses (bad) art to destroy his fellow Obama supporters, as the left continues to devour itself.
PELOSI PROPOSES LOWERING THE VOTING AGE TO 16: Why it’s like the left seeks to create as many low information voters as possible. Otherwise, this seems rather counterintuitive, considering the drinking age was long ago raised to 21, and Obamacare assumes someone isn’t an adult until age 26. And considering an increasing number of college students are demanding “Trigger Warnings” and “Safe Spaces” in response to classic literature and campus speeches, how can they handle learning about the rough and tumble world of politics?
Clearly the 26th Amendment should be declared a failed experiment in light of the increasing sensitivities of the young “Survivor Class.” Do it for the (overaged) children.
John McCain has called his own constituents who want a secure border “crazies.” No one in the news media or the establishment, including the Republican National Committee, criticized the senator for those comments. . . .
Thanks to McCain and his Senate colleague Bernie Sanders, their legislation to cover up the VA scandal, in which 1,000+ veterans died waiting for medical care, made sure no one has been punished, charged, jailed, fined or held responsible. McCain has abandoned our veterans. I will fight for them.
The reality is that John McCain the politician has made America less safe, sent our brave soldiers into wrong-headed foreign adventures, covered up for President Obama with the VA scandal and has spent most of his time in the Senate pushing amnesty. He would rather protect the Iraqi border than Arizona’s. He even voted for the Iran Nuclear Review Act of 2015, which allows Obama, who McCain lost to in a record defeat, to push his dangerous Iran nuclear agreement through the Senate without a supermajority of votes.
A number of my competitors for the Republican nomination have no business running for president. I do not need to be lectured by any of them. . . .
Trump punches back twice as hard, which is kind of fun to watch. No wonder the GOP Establishment hates him as much as the Democrats.
RUTH WEDGWOOD: Realism And The American Republic.
In the crude violence of the contemporary international scene—with Russia running rampant in Ukraine and rattling its saber toward the Baltic states, with Muslims and Christians facing slaughter by ISIS in the Levant, and with thousands of African migrants boarding overloaded scows to cross the Mediterranean in a perilous search for work—it may seem harsh to hold an American President to a moral standard of foreign policy any higher than “realism.”
But the moral aspirations of the American republic—even as framed by the current incumbent of the White House—permit a review of our foreign policy performance that is a bit more critical.
By that measure, the current report card is not inspiring. Preoccupied by issues of criminal justice, civil rights, and medical care at home, and flummoxed abroad, we seem to have forgotten the broader ideals of internationalism that animated the founders. John Quincy Adams warned the new republic against venturing abroad seeking monsters to slay—but that was at a time when monsters were more easily thwarted and avoided, and when sailing ships from Europe took thirty days to arrive in North America. It was a time, as Adams’ near contemporary, President James Monroe opined, when the New World could be declared as a hemisphere peculiarly unavailable to autocratic powers. In a world now circled by air in 48 hours, with an international commerce that brings tens of thousands of container ships to American seaports, problems have no protective distance. There is no cordon sanitaire to protect the American homeland from chaos elsewhere.
Nor does a thin-lipped “‘realism’ about American foreign policy warrant any different posture about moral catastrophe abroad. . . . Yet we often pull our punches, supposing that reticence will serve as aptly as speech or action. One example tainted the beginning of this Administration, when the White House failed to support the pro-democracy demonstrators in Iran, and did not venture beyond soft-spoken remonstrance at the wanton shooting of an innocent young woman named Neda Agha-Soltan during the 2009 protests against the mullahs near Tehran’s Azadi Square. Our interest in curbing Iran’s nuclear program by negotiation also has muffled the human rights complaints that should be aimed at Tehran for its execution of dissidents of every stripe, including Christians, still hung high from the gantry arms of construction cranes. So, too, in China, our quarrels with the regime’s violent persecution of political dissidents and Christians—as well as the arbitrary use of detention and hard labor to eliminate rivals of the commercial elite—were raised only in a measured and demure voice during Mr. Obama’s first visit to the capital city of Beijing.
I believe we should call things what they are.
THEY WERE FOR IT BEFORE THEY WERE AGAINST IT:
On April 7, 2015, President Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “under this deal, you will have anywhere, any time 24/7 access as it relates to the nuclear facilities that Iran has.”
Now, on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Secretary of State John Kerry said, “This is a term that, honestly, I never heard in the four years that we were negotiating. It was not on the table. There’s no such thing in arms control as any time, anywhere.”
Elsewhere in news from the Bizarro World, does Kerry believe he could use the Iranian deal as a springboard to another presidential run?
Isn't it obvious that Kerry will jump in the '16 race if 1) Iran deal goes thru 2) Hillary stumbles? When will he have a better 2d chance?
— Mickey Kaus (@kausmickey) July 18, 2015
Peace Prize in Oct, resigns in Nov and files, in Dec gives Nobel speech about life seeking peace from 'Nam to Iran. https://t.co/zsUoOOQsha
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) July 18, 2015
VERSUS THEIR LOYALTY TO THE UNITED STATES: The Hill: Iran Nuclear Deal Tests Democrat Loyalty To Obama.
Off a contentious trade debate that highlighted Democratic divisions and infuriated Obama’s liberal base, even the Democrats most critical of the Iran deal are walking a fine line.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), for instance, has emerged as the leading Democratic critic in the upper chamber, warning that the agreement “legitimizes” Iran’s nuclear program and sets the stage for Iran to reap billions of dollars in financial relief it could use to bolster its stock of conventional weapons.
But Menendez has stopped short of saying he’ll join Republicans in a vote to disapprove the deal, saying he wants first to examine the agreement more closely, both on the Foreign Relations panel and in briefings with administration officials.
“It’s premature for some people to say they’re definitely against it and for others to say they’re definitely for it,” he said. “Let’s have the vetting.”
The issue is tough for Democrats because it represents Obama’s top foreign policy goal in his second term, but is strongly opposed by Israel’s government.
Also, it’s a lousy deal.
SMART DIPLOMACY: Obama’s Age Of Nuclear Chaos.
In the old nuclear age, the US-led West had a system for preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. It had three components: sanctions, deterrence and military force. In recent years we have witnessed the successful deployment of all three.
n the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, the UN Security Council imposed a harsh sanctions regime on Iraq. One of its purposes was to prevent Iraq from developing nuclear weapons. After the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, we learned that the sanctions had been successful. Saddam largely abandoned his nuclear program due to sanctions pressure.
The US-led invasion of Iraq terrified several rogue regimes in the region. In the two to three years immediately following the invasion, America’s deterrent strength soared to unprecedented heights.
As for military force, the nuclear installation that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad built in Deir a-Zour with Iranian money and North Korean technicians wasn’t destroyed through sanctions or deterrence. According to foreign media reports, in September 2007, Israel concluded that these paths to preventing nuclear proliferation to Syria would be unsuccessful.
So then-prime minister Ehud Olmert ordered the IDF to destroy it. The outbreak of the Syrian civil war three years later has prevented Assad and his Iranian bosses from reinstating the program, to date.
The old nuclear nonproliferation regime was highly flawed.
Pakistan and North Korea exploited the post-Cold War weaknesses of its sanctions and deterrence components to develop and proliferate nuclear weapons and technologies.
Due to American weakness, neither paid a serious price for its actions.
Yet, for all its flaws and leaks, the damage caused to the nonproliferation system by American weakness toward Pakistan and North Korea is small potatoes in comparison to the destruction that Tuesday’s deal with Iran has wrought.
That deal doesn’t merely show that the US is unwilling to exact a price from states that illicitly develop nuclear weapons. The US and its allies just concluded a deal that requires them to facilitate Iran’s nuclear efforts.
It’s almost as if Obama supports the notion of a nuclear Iran.
CLAUDIA ROSETT ON THE IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL FROM HELL, AND UN AMBASSADOR SAMANTHA POWER IN THE AGE OF GENOCIDE:
Surely Power is smart enough to see the fatal flaws in this Iran deal, even if her bosses do not. She may be a functionary of the Obama administration, but she is also an American citizen, free to speak the truth. There is nothing to stop her from speaking up at the UN to say, “Never mind my instructions from Washington. I take seriously the phrase, ‘Never again.’ I cannot in good conscience vote for this terrible deal. I cannot condone a plan that could pave the way to nuclear genocide in the Middle East. I vote no.”
Of course, were Power to do this, she would almost certainly lose her job. Obama and Kerry could dispatch a more compliant flunky to cast a U.S. vote in favor of the resolution, and the UN and the Obama administration could carry right on without Samantha Power. Nonetheless, a statement of principle from the U.S. ambassador, a willingness in the real interest of the U.S. and its allies, to tell the truth, would be, morally and in terms of enlightened self-interest, the right thing to do.
But as we’ve seen since the start of 2009, whether it’s foreign or domestic policy, this administration has an exceedingly warped view of what is “the right thing to do” for America.
EXECUTIVE ACTION: Obama pushes to extend gun background checks to Social Security.
WITH HILLARY, OF COURSE: Flashback: Politico: Where Birtherism Began. “The answer lies in Democratic, not Republican politics, and in the bitter, exhausting spring of 2008. At the time, the Democratic presidential primary was slipping away from Hillary Clinton and some of her most passionate supporters grasped for something, anything that would deal a final reversal to Barack Obama.”
LIFE IN THE AGE OF OBAMA: Is It Right for a Publisher to Accept Only Women’s Books? No, but if you believe in collective victimhood, you also believe in collective punishment. Actually, for most lefties I think the “punishment” part is their favorite.