Get PJ Media on your Apple

Ron Radosh

Monthly Archives: June 2012

Regardless of one’s view of the arguments made by Chief Justice John Roberts in his majority decision on Obama Care, and we have seen that conservative and libertarian writers and legal analysts are already split on their verdict on Roberts’ logic, on one matter we can agree. Speaking for the majority of the Court, Roberts stressed that the decision was not meant as either an endorsement of or comment on the nature of the policy and the arguments for universal health care made by the Obama Administration.

In effect, John Roberts was saying that acceptance of or rejection of Obama Care is to be left to politics and to the citizens. Its implementation and passage should not be the duty of the Supreme Court to decide. The Court interprets the law; the citizens through their representatives in the Senate and the House make the law. He has, in effect, thrown the ball back into our court.

The first impressions of the pundits were that the ruling was a victory for Barack Obama. Had the Court ruled the Act unconstitutional in its entirety, it would have been construed as a complete failure for Barack Obama, since it would have ruled against his signal piece of legislation on which he staked the reputation of his presidency. Hence the applause and congratulations heard in the ranks of the liberals and the Left. The President, they said, has been vindicated. The country will now move on to implement universal health care that will provide free and unlimited health coverage to all citizens, regardless of their income. For those who favor social-democracy or an increased welfare state that provides cradle to grave coverage for all needs, its Constitutionality was indeed seen as a major victory.

As time passes, however, and the realization of what Obama Care will cost and what it will do to the income, standard of living and actual ability to access health care when needed becomes clearer, its popularity will quickly begin to decline. Already, having justified its constitutionality by defining the Act as a tax, the voters will quickly learn that to finance the Affordable Care Act, it means a vast increase in taxes for the middle-class—including taxes for those that the President claimed would never be subject to increased taxes.

It will also become quite clear that what the Act does is introduce a new two-tier health system in our country—those who can afford it will gain access to doctors by paying into concierge service systems of doctors who opt out of Medicare and all health insurance, while those who cannot afford it will be subject to doctors in the system who are overworked and underpaid, and to government boards that dictate which health procedures they can have and which they cannot have. And, those who believe the poor will now get coverage since everyone is in the system, will also find out- as Darshak Sangavi argued in Slate, that over half the uninsured will still not get any health insurance coverage.

The most important point is that the latest polls- taken after the SCOTUS ruling- reveal that the public is even more against Obama Care than before it was deemed constitutional. The Newsweek-Daily Beast poll, conducted by Democratic Party stalwart Doug Schoen- no opponent of the Act- reveal that voters dislike Obama Care by a margin of 50-45! Nick Summers summed up the poll this way:

Overall, 50 percent of those polled said they disapprove of the court’s 5–4 decision, while 45 percent said they support it. Consistently, a majority of voters said that they oppose the individual mandate (53 percent); believe taxes will increase (52 percent); believe their personal health-care costs will increase (56 percent); and disapprove of Obama’s handling of health care in general (58 percent). Only 24 percent of those polled said that they believe the ruling will make the country better off.

The same poll also indicated that Obama maintains only a slim margin over Romney, and that 21 per cent of voters are open to changing their minds. That result in particular, when correlated with the poll’s finding about the electorate’s view of Obama Care, spells the kind of news that will give most Democrats serious pause for thought. And 59 per cent still believe that our country is heading in the wrong direction! Why, if this is the case, would these voters cast their ballot on Election Day once again for Barack Obama?

The Rasmussen poll, taken a few days before the SCOTUS ruling, produced similar results. Scott Rasmussen’s poll shows that 54 per cent of the public still want Obama Care repealed—the same percentage that objected to the Act after it passed in Congress. The poll reports: “Most voters have consistently expressed the view that the law will hurt the quality of care, drive up costs and increase the federal deficit. They also don’t like the government ordering people to buy health insurance and don’t think the Constitution permits that anyway.” This finding is similar, as we can see, to the attitudes stated to Schoen’s recipients of the poll questions. Rasmussen said, after assessing the numbers, that the “health care law is doomed regardless of what the court decides.”

So, while President Obama won a temporary victory, in the long run, he may well indeed have not only lost the war- but a second term as well. The vast sums of money that poured into the Romney campaign after the Court’s decision, and the growing anger of the electorate that turned against the Obama health care program from the start, is a good indication that an Obama second term is no longer a sure thing. No wonder that Obama wants the country to move on, and forget as quickly as possible about health care as an issue.

 

Two days from now a primary election to pick the Democratic Party candidate for Congress in the 8th Brooklyn-Queens Congressional District in New York City will take place. The two men contending for the spot are New York City Councilman Charles Barron and New York State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries.

Both men are African-American, but their differences are profound. Jeffries is a moderate centrist who has gone against the grain of his own party by supporting school vouchers and educational reform. In contrast, Barron is a an ultra-leftist who chose opposition to Israel as the major focus of his candidacy and who is in no uncertain terms a black racist.

Last week the former KKK leader David Duke gave Barron his endorsement:

The possible election of [Barron], a dedicated anti-Zionist to the U.S. Congress, has thrown the Zionist-influenced media and the Zio-political establishment in a tizzy.

Duke acknowledged that he doesn’t agree with Barron on everything but stressed that “I certainly agree with Barron that Israel is the worst rogue terrorist state on Earth.”

Among Barron’s most notable statements are his praise of the late Moammar Qadaffi as a hero, inviting the Zimbabwean killer and dictator Robert Mugabe to City Hall in New York, and saying at a rally on behalf of reparations for slavery,

I want to go up to the closest white person and say, ‘You can’t understand this. It’s a black thing’ and then slap him, just for my mental health.

As for Israel, Barron has said that “the biggest terrorist in the world is the government of Israel.” In the New York City Council, he protested about sitting near a statue of Thomas Jefferson, who he said was “a slaveholder, a hypocrite and a racist.”

The opponents of Barron read like a Who’s Who of New York’s Democratic Party establishment. They include Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Rep. Jerry Nadler, and others. These Democrats see a Barron victory as an embarrassment to their party and city, undermining the clout of their congressional delegation. They are terrified about the possibility that Barron will win the primary, and hence win a seat in Congress in a district that always votes Democratic.

The problem, however, is that New York City’s major trade unions, led by AFSCME, have endorsed Barron and are actively supporting him. DC-37 represents 25,000 Department of Education employees and backs Barron because of his opposition to charter schools, which the union opposes. Its executive director, the leftist unionist Lillian Roberts, stated that “city workers and their unions have had to fight major battles to protect rights that we fought hard to win as well as to preserve the vital safety-net services we provide to an ever-growing clientele,” which is clearly enough for her to support Barron despite his racism and extremism.

Pages: 1 2 | Comments bullet bullet

Poor David Maraniss. The best-selling biographer of the just published Barack Obama: The Story is not only crying all the way to the bank, but also shedding crocodile tears that his new biography is giving the Right ammunition against the president. Yesterday, Maraniss told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien the following on Starting Point:

I’m not writing it as a fact-checker. I’m writing it as an historian. Other people for ideological reasons are pouncing on that part of what my book is, but in fact I’m trying to tell the truth.

A memoir is far different from rigorous factual biography. It’s not as though I’m trying to say, aha, I got you, at each point, I’m just trying to present the way I really found it, which in many cases was different from what he presented.

Let me pause to parse the above paragraph from the distinguished journalist and historian. Here is my translation of what Maraniss is actually saying:

My book has been taken up by Obama’s enemies just because I told the truth. Give the president a break. He was writing a memoir, and everyone knows a memoir is different from the truth, since Obama is the first post-modern president. His memoir was his truth — even though it wasn’t true, it was to him. I didn’t mean to show he lied — pardon me — unintentionally fabricated his own story. I only sought to show the truth was different than he said it was.

Get it now? If you don’t, Maraniss also said on the program that Obama sought to write it through the “prism of race.” He went on to note that the “right-wing” is “cherry-picking” negative things in the book, which “is almost why I didn’t want to write it.” As he went on, he got deeper into the problem:

He wrote it when he wasn’t running for president, and had no thought that people like me would come along and tell the real story.

So what is the real story? Fortunately, Buzzfeed has given us a good summary. The Maraniss bio, Ben Smith tells us, “is the first sustained challenge to Obama’s control over his own story, a firm and occasionally brutal debunking of Obama’s bestselling 1995 memoir Dreams from My Father.” And this is important because I and so many others can tell you about how many people voted for and supported Obama for president precisely because of what he related in his own memoir.

Pages: 1 2 3 | Comments bullet bullet

Another year and June 19th has rolled around, marking the 59th anniversary of the execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Decades ago, one could count on the legions of the American Left to come out for an annual event commemorating their execution, and renewing their pledges to prove the spy couple’s innocence. Undoubtedly, their two sons, Michael and Robert Meeropol, will continue to wage their campaign depicting their parents’ spy activities as the work of well-meaning radicals who only wanted peace, and to deny that their parents had anything to do with atomic espionage.  As their younger son Robert told The New York Times, “Ethel was not a spy and Julius was ignorant of the atomic bomb project.” While acknowledging that he now believes his father was “not so innocent,” he argues that spying for the Soviets was “not such a bad thing,” and that the real condemnation should be of the United States government, which fabricated evidence, suborned perjury, manipulated the jury, and wrongfully executed two essentially innocent victims.

Now, two articles appear on the anniversary of their execution. The first is an eloquent, moving and powerful article originally appearing one year ago, and featured again today at Jewish Ideas Daily.  Written by the scholar and journalist Alex Joffe, the piece’s discussion of “Jews, Communism and Espionage” is must reading for anyone who wants to comprehend the significance of the recurring denial about the guilt of the Rosenbergs. Joffe writes:

Supporters of the Rosenbergs had always admitted their membership in the Communist party — touting this, however, as evidence not of their guilt but of their virtue: at a time when the “capitalist” nations had been doing nothing to oppose Hitler, the Rosenbergs were staunch anti-fascists as well as upholders of the higher ideals of equality and social justice embodied in the Communist revolution and the Soviet experiment. When pressed, supporters would concede that some, like Greenglass, may have been guilty of espionage, but not Julius and Ethel. Now, this pillar of the argument having been knocked out from under them, they have fallen back on the insistence that what the Rosenbergs did was good, just, and necessary, performed by two citizens of the world in support of a wartime ally. The real villain of the piece was not the Rosenbergs; it was the U.S. government.

Joffe’s remarks, as I have noted, are confirmed by the explanations regularly offered by the Meeropols. He acknowledges, as I have from the beginning of my work on this case, the misdeeds of the U.S. government and its prosecutorial counsels. But as Joffe writes,

to transform the fact of American misconduct into the focal point of the entire narrative is to engage in the same sort of subterfuge that the Rosenbergs’ defenders perfected in the 1950s with such striking success among liberals and intellectuals, turning on its head the widespread and well-founded alarm over internal subversion and discrediting the cause of anti-Communism itself.

No matter, the case will continue forever to be a “fetish of the American Left,” as Joffe so well puts it, “Exhibit A in its indictment of American evil.” And it is no accident — as the comrades always used to say — that the case is consistently invoked as an example to reveal that the same hysteria exists in our own day, and hence one should dismiss those who have any concern with domestic terrorism and Islamist extremism as current day practitioners of what used to be called “Cold War hysteria.”

And here is Joffe’s stunning conclusion to his article:

As compared with the phenomenon of Nazism, still vividly present in modern consciousness, the vast, blood-soaked, and no less openly anti-Semitic tyranny that was Soviet Communism has been largely erased from mind. When it comes to individuals like the Rosenbergs, whose service to that tyranny involved high crimes against their fellow American citizens, technical guilt may now be grudgingly acknowledged but, for the most part, moral guilt is not. To the contrary, the alleged nobility of their motives is held to trump the all too evident evil of their actions. To the extent that American Jews sympathize with such perversions of morality, they owe themselves, and their fellow Americans, a reckoning.

The second article, just made available on the internet, is one that I have written for World Affairs Quarterly, “A Tale of Two Trials:Soviet Propaganda at Home and Abroad.”  It is based on a talk I presented a year ago at the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes” in Prague, the Czech Republic. I discuss the often ignored differences between a real show trial –  such as that staged by the Stalinist regime in Prague that occurred the same time as the Rosenberg trial — and the Rosenberg case in the United States.

Pages: 1 2 | Comments bullet bullet
YouTube Preview Image

Our fund-raiser in chief, President Barack Obama, outdid himself on Thursday night. As we all learned from the much-derided Anna Wintour video, we were all invited to party with the president at her “good friend” Sarah Jessica Parker’s home in Manhattan, to the tune of $40,000 per person. This is the same Vogue editor who once chose to feature Assad of Syria’s wife as a feature story in her magazine — now removed from the website – and who recently announced her new designer canine products under the slogan “Bark For Obama.”

The dinner was followed by a concert from Mariah Carey at the Plaza Hotel for the honored guests. The first couple raked in a cool $4.5 million in one evening. But as reporter Peter Grier reported for DC Decoder, Mitt Romney without any celebrities or any glitz brought in $3.5 million that same night in Chicago, where he presented a speech on the state of the economy.

Back at the Parker-Matthew Broderick home, a guest might have spotted George Clooney, Eddie Murphy and Tom Hanks, but evidently there were many rich folk whom the average celebrity hound in attendance would find unrecognizable. For Parker, the real star was Michelle Obama, who she introduced first by saying: “It is a great, a rare, a very special and I’m assuming a singular treat to welcome you into our home – our radiant, our extraordinary first lady.” After that, she turned to Michelle’s husband, and referred to him as the “beloved current and future president of the United States.”

The event was in honor of the same president who has the nerve to tell the nation that his campaign is all about the suffering of the middle class: “still a lot of people hurting out there,” he recently said. Obama was guest of honor, as Grier wrote, “in front of a group of folks who mingle with the middle class only when it’s serving them dinner,” or perhaps when they reluctantly are signing an autograph. Grier noted a poster displayed at an entertainment website stating “While rubbing elbows with New York’s rich and famous Obama paused to remember the Americans suffering under his economy, how sweet.”

Pages: 1 2 | Comments bullet bullet

With his article “The Second Term” in the current issue of The New Yorker, political reporter Ryan Lizza asks what Barack Obama would do if he were reelected. Lizza then proceeds to reveal all the illusions which he and his fellow left-liberals living in Manhattan’s Upper West Side and Brooklyn’s Park Slope all share.

It is a given to Lizza that Obama will have that chance. And his answer to the question is based on his belief that once he gets reelected, Obama will prove to his fellow Americans and the world that he can become the great president that Lizza and his associates all know he was meant to be.

Most conservative political commentators argue that if Obama does succeed in getting reelected, what we will see is a conscious turn to the political left. As a president who no longer has to worry about another term in office, Obama will use his executive branch powers to put into effect what he failed to do in his first term but which he had promised in 2008: a “fundamental transformation” in the direction America is to take. That means, conservatives argue, serious steps to move the United States in the direction of a social-democratic cradle-to-grave welfare state in the European style.

Lizza will have none of this. As he writes:

There is an argument, common on the right, that if Obama is re-elected he will pursue a more ideological, even radical, agenda because he will be unbound by the moderating influence of another election. As Dick Morris, of Fox News, put it in March, “A second term for Obama would bring on a socialist nightmare hellscape as he moves further to the left.” This argument is often bolstered by noting that Obama recently told the Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, that he would have “more flexibility” to pursue negotiations on missile defense “after my election.” Ed Morrissey, of the conservative blog Hot Air, warned that the comment should cause voters “to fear an Obama second term.”

Lizza rejects Morris’ logic, and argues that “a president who has won reelection can also feel less tied to his political base and more free to shift toward the political center.” And this, Lizza claims, is precisely what Obama will do. Lizza continues to argue that in a second term, Obama will initiate concrete steps he promised but was unable to move ahead with, such as finish the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the Russians; move to implement meaningful policies to deal with the dangers of climate change; and, most importantly, implement immigration reform that will attain bipartisan support. He will also attempt a breakthrough on energy policy and take steps to create real tax reform. All of the above would have to be done in 2013, because after that year, it would be too late.

In doing the above, Lizza argues, Obama would be following in the footsteps of none other than Ronald Reagan, who “passed immigration reform, a major reform of the tax code, and an arms control treaty with the Soviets.” Reagan was successful in his endeavors, and ended his term in office with a 55 percent approval rating. For Obama to succeed depends on his showing some humility, as well as dealing with “a revitalized faction of Republican lawmakers willing to make deals with the president.” Noting that there will be a divided Congress and a continuing polarization in the nation, Lizza believes that “it seems more implausible to suppose that Obama would turn radical in his second term than that he would cool to his Democratic base.”

Lizza is correct that if Obama wins he will do so with only a slim margin of victory and will not have any kind of a mandate. Therefore, he assumes that Obama will try to convince Republicans that their tough stance did not lead to victory, and hence some of them will moderate and decide to cut deals with him.

Pages: 1 2 | Comments bullet bullet

How the Left Spins the Walker Victory

June 6th, 2012 - 9:03 am

The victory of Governor Scott Walker has produced a surfeit of irrationality in the ranks of the American Left, who are trying their best to spin the recall outcome to prove that they were always correct. Here is what they are saying.

At Huff Post, the activist professor and major ACORN supporter Peter Dreier has the answer that is easiest for their troops to produce, since it takes little real logic and hard analysis of the vote: the Koch Brothers bought the outcome. No tough analysis of the factors others look at, as Dreier notes, “examining exit polls, spilling lots of ink over how different demographic groups — income, race, religious, union membership, gender, party affiliation, independents, liberals/conservatives/moderates, etc — voted on Tuesday.” It’s just not necessary.

It’s all about “Big Money,” and the only loser was not Tom Barrett, “but democracy.” Citing Walker’s big win — 53% to 46% — which of course cannot be denied, Dreier attributes the Walker victory to the $23 he spent for each vote he received, while Barrett only spent $3.47.

And even worse, he argues, this does not reflect the ads paid for by out-of-state billionaires, who he argues “bought this election for Walker.”

If you want a cartoon version of the argument — even though the case made by Dreier is itself a cartoon — you can find it at History News Network in the graphic produced by activist professor (yes, another one of that breed whose salary pays for their leftist activity) Joshua Brown.

These representatives of the people do not seem to comprehend how their argument shows little confidence in the ability of the average Joe — whom they claim to represent — to understand their own needs, and make wise decisions on that basis. Dreier and Brown are in effect saying that the people are so dumb that TV commercials paid for by the Koch brothers are enough to produce an outcome contrary to their own interests. (Dreier does not know, evidently, that the Koch brothers favor decriminalization of marijuana and same sex marriage, causes he probably supports himself. Maybe they are responsible for Obama’s sudden turn on that last issue.)

Pages: 1 2 3 | Comments bullet bullet

The Wisconsin recall election takes place Tuesday, and as of Monday, most polls have Scott Walker way ahead. There are a lot of points to be made about the possible outcome of a Walker victory.

– Madison does not represent the entire state. A liberal bastion and a university town, it got a lot of press play and coverage during last year’s occupation by Occupy Wall Street types and students at the UW Madison campus. They made a lot of noise, stayed up all night singing and chanting and playing bongos, and made for great television. Then the Democratic members of the state legislature vacated their seats for a hotel in Illinois and refused to return home, in an effort to stop Scott Walker’s reforms from passing and being implemented.

– The reforms passed and, lo and behold, proved to be the kind of conservative reform that was effective and popular. Their implementation revealed the Democratic and trade union opposition to be not the “progressives” they claimed to be, but reactionaries who were standing in the way of necessary change. Writing in the May 28 issue of National Review, Christian Schneider sums up their impact:

Prior to Walker’s reforms, state and local-government employees paid nothing or very little toward their pensions and paid only slightly more than 6 percent of their health-care premiums. According to the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, the average Wisconsin government employee earned $71,000 in total compensation in 2011. That same year, average total compensation for employees of the state’s largest school district, Milwaukee Public Schools, reached $101,091. Walker helped close the state’s $3.6 billion deficit by requiring public employees to pay 5 percent of their salaries toward their pensions. He also required state employees to pay 12.6 percent of their health-insurance premiums — less than half the average both in the private sector and for federal-government employees.

– The unions were not the monolithic and powerful force some thought they were. Indeed, many private sector union members highly resented their tax dollars going to public sector workers whose inflated benefits were bankrupting the state. Moreover, once the reforms were implemented and workers were no longer required to have their union dues automatically taken out of their salary without having a say, many opted to drop out of union membership and to not voluntarily pay union dues.

With union membership optional and collective bargaining now to be engaged in only for wages, the power of public sector unions has been tremendously hurt. As my friend Fred Siegel has often noted, state governments have collected union members’ dues for the unions, and the unions have then used the money gathered to beef up their campaign chests. Then they back union-friendly candidates and have them work for higher pay and better benefits for the unions that fund their campaigns. It is a very effective shell game, and it is no wonder that the public sector unions are so opposed to the Walker reforms.

The truth is that union ranks are collapsing as former members are now choosing to opt out. The AFT chapter in Wisconsin lost 6000 members, and AFSCME, the key union of state workers, saw its membership rolls drop from a high of 62,818 to 28,745. If those workers really saw a benefit in union membership and they believed in its principles, they would have stayed members even if dues collection was now voluntary. But these former union members chose to desert the ranks, preferring to keep the extra thousand dollars or so they would have given to the union and to put it in their own pockets.

Pages: 1 2 | Comments bullet bullet