Views on the News
October 10, 2009
Views on the News*
No president has ever come into office with so much anticipation – and no president is seeing his approval ratings crumble so quickly, at least as long as such statistics have been kept. Moderate Democrats are not blind, since they see the same polls and are worried. Obama is no longer popular or invincible and Congressional elections are now just right around the corner. There has been a growing narrative taking hold about Barack Obama’s presidency in recent weeks: that he is loved by many, but feared by none; that he is full of lofty vision, but is actually achieving nothing with his grand eloquence. Chicago’s embarrassing first round loss in the Olympics selection, after Obama’s personal, impassioned last-minute pitch, is a stunning humiliation for this President. In their academic arrogance, the Obamas thought they could sell a product they clearly do not believe in (the United States) and moreover, they could do so by stressing the benefits to the seller (Chicago) and not the buyer (the IOC). And to top it off, they committed the faux pas of talking too much about the sales force (themselves) and not about the product or the buyer. The conditions internationally are very different than domestically, since the audience was not cowed by Chicago-style clout, was not inoculated by our own fawning Jurassic media, nor remotely interested in their life stories. It cannot be emphasized enough how this will feed the perception that on the world stage he looks good, but carries no heft. This has all added to the perception that Obama’s soaring rhetoric, which captured the imagination during last year’s election, is simply not enough when it comes to confronting the myriad challenges of the Presidency. As the first year of President Obama’s new administration draws to a close, it is becoming increasingly clear that Americans are realizing what European leaders like Sarkozy see, that President Obama doesn’t have a clue. We really shouldn’t be surprised, since we elected a man whose most significant job outside of politics was as a “community organizer.” Barack Obama is an inexperienced and surprisingly naive young man who was elected at 46, and he has a hard time distinguishing what is best for the country from what is best for himself.
(“Obama’s Olympic failure will only add to doubts about his presidency” by Tim Reid dated October 3, 2009 published by The Times at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6859031.ece
“The Obamas Violated First Three Rules of Selling” by C. Edmund Wright dated October 4, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/10/the_obamas_violated_first_thre.html
“Obama’s Glory Days Fading Fast” by Christopher Ruddy dated October 4, 2009 published by News Max at http://www.newsmax.com/ruddy/ruddy_obama_health_care/2009/10/04/268262.html
“Obama’s Olympic Failure Continues Downward Spiral” by John LeBoutillier dated October 5, 2009 published by News Max at http://www.newsmax.com/john_leboutillier/obama_olympics_chicago/2009/10/05/268543.html )
The real Barack Obama is very different from the careful façade that he carefully disguised himself as in the Presidential political campaign. Americans thought they were voting for a more benevolent and wiser version of Tiger Woods when all you got was a smoother version of Chicago-style, brass knuckle politics. It isn't so much that they voted for the wrong guy; they were lied to by the media. Barack Obama ran around with loony-tune communists and wild-eyed radicals including his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, who makes the loosest of cannons seem laser-guided. Then he tells us absolutely nothing about himself other than what is in his, not one but two, autobiographies. If you scratch below the surface, but not too hard since there isn't much there, you find a different human being, one entirely at variance with what you find in the media or his autobiographies. It is a man driven not to overcoming obstacles but stuck on them, still living in his past. The case of Barack Obama is one of a deep, deep inferiority complex from his childhood and he just seems unable to rise from it. Looking at BHO from another angle shows the real man. He was conceived out of wedlock while his mother was in college. His childhood consisted of a father who abandoned him as an unwanted infant and he was raised by another man in another country through many of his formative childhood years. He didn't look like his Indonesian adopted father or his white mother in an Asian culture. The people he hangs around with are avowed communists and radicals - strange, hateful people and the ideologues on whom Barack Obama cuts his philosophical teeth. His only foundation consists of communists who turn his inferiority into narcissism, a common result of an inferiority complex. He wants to change America and reflect his image, and now, as president, he can do so with a stroke of the pen or the whim of his will. He can mete out his vision for America on an unsuspecting public. It is all about Barack Obama and his fellow-travelling media. The media would have you believe that he was supposed to be the One, but what you got was politics as usual, this time with no inhibitions toward power, a shrewd and crooked power grab. American wanted to believe in a dream of racial reconciliation, so they believed the media-generated images and blocked out warnings from conservatives about Obama's troubling and troubled past. No wonder BHO apologizes for America, since he is out for revenge, thanks to an inculcation of other self-loathers that surrounded him since he was a boy. Barack Obama was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize after a month in office and selected after nine months of his “O’pology Tour” and reveals the obvious political and partisan intent of this damaged award. This is a deeply wounded man who will stop at nothing to seek vengeance on a way of life here in America.
(“America, You’ve Been Punk’d” by Pedro Primavera dated October 8, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/10/america_youve_been_punkd.html
“Absurd decision on Obama makes a mockery of the Nobel peace prize” by Michael Binyon dated October 9, 2009 published by Times Online at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6867711.ece )
Obama seems to spend a great deal of his time these days mulling and considering, and one has to ask why. As an indecisive president mulls and considers, the unemployment rate approaches 10% and casualties in Afghanistan have risen to an all-time high. What the president is "mulling" is not job creation but vote creation, since his indecision is simply the result of political calculation. How many temporary $60,000 jobs can he create for union workers at an expense to the treasury of $100,000 apiece? How many more trillions will he be allowed to pile on to the national debt before an already skeptical public turns his party out of office? The president's indecisiveness has real consequences for the future of this country. But while the president is trying to figure out which option will garner the most votes in the next election, and bring in the largest contributions from liberal supporters, tens of millions of Americans are going without jobs, and some of our finest young men are dying in the mountains of Afghanistan. Politics is taking an increasingly important role in strategic decision-making on Afghanistan, a direct result of Obama's dithering leadership. His inability to act decisively creates uncertainty and invites endless debate. The longer the debates continue, the greater their scope and the more people get involved, such as amateur counterinsurgency experts Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. The longer he takes to make a decision about war strategy, the more he will be shaped by events rather than shape them himself. Underlying the Obama's mulling and considering is the simple fact that this president sets politics over principles.
(“All Politics, No Principles” by Jeffrey Folks dated October 5, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/10/all_politics_no_principles.html
“The President fiddles, Afghanistan burns” dated October 8, 2009 published by The Washington Times at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/oct/08/the-president-fiddles-afghanistan-burns/ )
One area President Obama has failed miserably at is jobs, with unemployment at historical highs. Since April 2009, the administration spent roughly $90 billion, or 18% of the total “stimulus” spending, on top of $62 billion in tax relief. During that time, the unemployment rate grew from 8.9 percent to 9.8 percent, after more “unexpected” economic results. “Where are the jobs?” will be the most potent Republican campaign argument as next year’s midterm elections come into view. 15 million are officially unemployed today, which does not include those who dropped out of the job market, jobless but uncounted. One noted outside economist predicts the economy will shed 750,000 more jobs over the next six months, with unemployment peaking at 10.5% in June. When counting the number of people officially considered unemployed as well as those who have recently given up looking for work and those who have taken low-paying part-time jobs because they can't find full-time work, the unemployment rate for September is 17%. Obama has taken his eye off his highest priority of dfixing the ailing economy and creating jobs, while he diverts his focus to his unneeded health care reform, an environmental hoax, and an unwanted immigration overhaul. Now it is revealed that the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), originally designed to bail out the financial sector but since morphed into a liberal slush fund for favorite projects, stands to lose $100 to $200 billion despite being sold as a potential profit making enterprise. Meanwhile under President Obama, the federal budget deficit tripled to a record $1.4 trillion for the 2009 fiscal year that ended last week. Recent CBO reports paint two future scenarios for the U.S. budget deficit and the national debt, but it plainly declares that fiscal disaster will strike in EITHER scenario. The Democrat actions thus far have only made the economy weaker, increased the deficits, and increased unemployment. How many more months of “surprisingly” bad results must be endured before Obama’s so-called “smartest team” of economic gurus gets fired for incompetence?
(“TARP: Taxpayers on the hook for $200 billion” by David Goldman dated October 3, 2009 published by CNN Money at http://money.cnn.com/2009/10/02/news/economy/tarp_anniversary/index.htm
“The G.O.P. Campaign Message in a Word: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” by John Harwood dated October 4, 2009 published by The New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/05/us/politics/05caucus.html
“Three Government Reports Point to Fiscal Doomsday” by Martin D. Weiss dated October 5, 2009 published by Money and Markets at http://www.moneyandmarkets.com/three-government-reports-point-to-fiscal-doomsday-4-35722
“Does Obama Get It?” by Bob Herbert dated October 5, 2009 published by The New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/06/opinion/06herbert.html?_r=2&ref=opinion
“Jobless rate hits 17 percent” dated October 6, 2009 published by The Washington Times at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/oct/06/jobless-rate-hits-17-percent/
“So How Is the Stimulus Working Out?” by Veronique de Rugy dated October 7, 2009 published by The American Magazine at http://www.american.com/archive/2009/october/so-how-is-the-stimulus-working-out
“White House Faces Pressure on Jobs” by Neil Irwin, Lori Montgomery, and Michael A. Fletcher dated October 9, 2009 published by The Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/08/AR2009100804330.html )
Democrat health care reform efforts has been focused on building a European-style single-payer Utopia, but has received unexpected resistance from the heretofore silent American people. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 92% of Americans who do have health insurance are very or somewhat satisfied with their choice of doctors and hospitals; 95% are very or somewhat satisfied with the quality of their care more generally. The centerpiece of the current effort is the individual mandate--basically a requirement that everyone buy health insurance, modeled on systems of mandatory no-fault auto insurance that states began to enact in the 1970s. For those too poor to buy insurance, there will be a sliding scale of federal subsidies, but that is where the problems begin to surface. If subsidies are too generous, you get socialist medicine by stealth. If the subsidies are too stingy, you get a huge new burden placed on the middle and working classes. Sooner or later, Americans will pay for insuring the indigent through taxes rather than premiums. When people get attached to benefits they haven't paid for, the solution is seldom to cut the benefits. The solution is to find someone, in this case, young, healthy people, to pay for benefits they don’t want or currently receive. It is true that there is no single “death panel” in the Democrat health care reform bill, but rather there are many “death panels” with power to ration and deny your care in ObamaCare:
· Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness
· Health Choices Administration
· Health Benefits Advisory Committee
· Bureau of Health Information
· Institute of Medicine
· Physician Quality Reporting Initiative
· National Priorities for Performance Improvement Office
· Center for Quality Improvement
· National Center for Health Workforce Analysis
· Independent Medicare Advisory Council
The major provisions of ObamaCare already have been tried by the states (New York, Tennessee, Massachusetts), and they've have dramatically increased premiums in the individual markets, spiraling public health-care costs, and reduced access to care… in other words: the reforms have failed. Don’t be fooled by the CBO $829 billion cost estimate of the Baucus Senate health reform package, since it is a preliminary estimate based on a conceptual language set of assumptions that has already been saddled with numerous amendments that invalidate any estimates. The individual mandate fits squarely within the time-honored Capitol Hill tradition of identifying resources that can be dislodged from future generations, and transferring them to the generation in power.
(“The Democrats’ Phantom Fix on Health Care” by Christopher Caldwell dated October 12, 2009 published by Time Magazine at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1927270,00.html
“The Lesson of State Health-Care Reforms” by Peter Suderman dated October 6, 2009 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703298004574455560453947646.html
“Health in Numbers” dated October 8, 2009 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=508558 )
Health care is an American issue, and the Republicans have an opportunity to demonstrate that conservative principles work when applied to real-world problems. Memo to Washington: The debate on health care has moved on. Democratic plans for a government takeover are passé. The people don't want it. Believe the polls, the town halls, and the voters. Washington is the only place in the country that doesn't realize that this debate is over. Democrats may march forward anyway, but they will do so without the people, and at their own peril. Here are 10 ideas to increase the affordability and quality of health care. Some of these are buried within various Republican and Democratic plans that have been floated, and they offer a path forward toward significant bipartisan reform. These proposals would require insurance companies to do their jobs and spread risk over large populations, restore patients' power to make their own health-care decisions, and focus our system on quality instead of activity:
· Voluntary purchasing pools: Give individuals and small businesses the opportunities that large businesses and the government have to seek lower insurance costs.
· Portability: Allow consumers to "own" their policies, insurers would have incentive to make more investments in prevention and in managing chronic conditions.
· Lawsuit reform: Control one of the biggest cost drivers in the system, the cost of defensive medicine, largely driven by lawsuits.
· Coverage of preexisting conditions: Require insurance to cover those patients who need it most. Companies should be incentivized to focus on delivering high-quality effective care, not to avoid covering the sick.
· Transparency and payment reform: Make provider quality and cost plainly available to consumers, and payment systems should be based on outcomes, not volume. We must reward efficiency and quality.
· Electronic medical records: Simplify and automate the current system of paper records which threatens patient privacy and leads to bad outcomes and higher costs.
· Tax-free health savings accounts: Reward use of HSAs by individuals and small businesses to reduce costs for employers and consumers.
· Healthy lifestyle incentives: Provide premium rebates and other incentives to people who make healthy choices or participate in management of their chronic diseases.
· Young adult coverage: Permit young people to stay on their parents' plans longer would reduce the number of uninsured and keep healthy people in insurance risk pools -- helping to lower premiums for everyone.
· Refundable tax credits (for the uninsured and those who would benefit from greater flexibility of coverage): Redirect some of the billions already spent on the uninsured to help defray non-emergency care outside the emergency room and provide choices of coverage through the private market rather than forcing people into a government-run system.
The public is interested in solutions that will improve America's health-care system, not dismantle it.
(“The Conservative Case for Reform” by Bobby Jindal dated October 5, 2009 published by The Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/04/AR2009100402003.html?sub=AR )
The Democrats are working to take over the energy segment of the economy, and our citizens should be screaming bloody murder. We’ve got until December, when world leaders meet in Copenhagen to hammer out a global warming agreement, to pound it into the thick heads of our elected officials that we want no part of it. It’s fine to be for clean air and clean water, but we are heading toward a new world order on climate change - and that’s NOT fine. Last week, the EPA declared carbon dioxide a pollutant to be severely regulated under the Clean Air Act, even though CO2 is a naturally occurring substance in the atmosphere essential for the survival of life on the planet. Animals, including humans, breathe CO2 out, and plants must take in CO2 to grow. While CO2 in the atmosphere has increased during the industrial revolution, it is still at a very low level on an historical scale of thousands and millions of years. Climate change legislation and international agreements are not about the environment; they are about spreading the wealth around among nations, and about increasing the size and scope of government. Simply put, global warming will do for the United States as a country what nationalized health care will do for your family. Health care legislation is about making people equal; climate change laws are about making nations equal. There is no actual evidence of significant man-caused global warming. Global atmospheric temperatures are down over the last 11 years, and the decline is accelerating and likely to continue for another 10-20 years, at least. The temperature patterns for the entire 20th century did not follow CO2 emissions up, but fluctuated up and down consistent with ocean current temperature trends, and solar activity, in other words, natural causes. Global warming is a hoax designed to provide a crisis that will lead to a spreading-of-the-wealth among nations. Here at home, it will greatly increase the power of the government and Central Planning. Yet Gore’s “inconvenient truth” of global warming has become so politically correct that corporations are resigning from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because the Chamber isn’t buying what the alarmists are selling. Sens. Kerry and Boxer have written a bill that’s even tougher than the one in the House, but don’t call it “Cap and Trade,” but call it “pollution” legislation. President Obama's EPA is rushing ahead with regulatory burdens not needing legislative approval that will raise energy costs on the U.S. economy by $2 trillion. These regulations will mean higher costs for electricity, gasoline, coal, natural gas, home heating oil, and everything that is made and transported using energy. These higher costs will hit the U.S. economy while temperatures continue to decline. You could call it a lot of other thing: farce; scam; hoax… it’s all of those things. As bad an idea as nationalized health care is, Global Warming / Climate Change / “Cap and Trade” legislation is even worse.
(“America Needs a Climate Change Revolt” by Lynn Woolley dated October 5, 2009 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=33825
“Acting Like a Bunch of Christies” by Peter Ferrara dated October 7, 2009 published by American Spectator at http://spectator.org/archives/2009/10/07/acting-like-a-bunch-of-christi
“How cap-and-trade is like ritual self-flagellation” by Will Wilkinson dated October 7, 2009 published by The Week at http://www.theweek.com/bullpen/column/101260/How_capandtrade_is_like_ritual_selfflagellation )
Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to prosecute CIA personnel is an outrageous act of political theater that has the potential to significantly damage our nation’s long-term intelligence gathering capabilities. In August, Mr. Holder unveiled his CIA Witch Hunt. Despite the Administration’s subtle attempts to distance itself from the Justice Department’s investigation, anyone in touch with reality knows that the Attorney General could not pursue this destructive end without the President’s unmitigated support. Considering the political nature of the debate over interrogation techniques, it is hard to imagine the investigation of the CIA as a legitimate inquest in the name of justice. It is more likely an Obama-manufactured political maneuver to placate the far-left wing of the Democrat Party. Nevermind the nonpartisan Justice Department lawyers who determined that prosecution is not warranted. Nevermind the unprecedented, written objection of seven former CIA Directors sent to President Obama. Nevermind our current CIA Director, Leon Panetta, who said, “I don’t believe there is a basis for any kind of additional action” in reviewing the CIA interrogation techniques. Nevermind the chilling effect this investigation may already be having on current CIA officers and our nation’s intelligence gathering capabilities. Eric Holder, the ultimate partisan, has invaded the CIA with a political fight, and in doing so, serves only the President who allows this to continue, not the People.
(“Holder’s Witch Hunt” by Dan Burton dated October 8, 2009 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=33853 )
For the last several weeks, high-ranking members of the military establishment have called for a troop "surge" in Afghanistan similar to the surge in Iraq. Obama is more interested in winning the public relations battle than winning the war in Afghanistan, particularly since his possible presidential opposition in 2012 includes both Generals Petraeus and McChrystal. McChrystal has reportedly discussed quitting if he does not receive the troops he needs; Petraeus, if he continues to be marginalized by the Obama administration, may follow the same path. Instead of focusing on his 2012 rivals, Obama should be focused on victory. Instead of focusing on winning the political battles, Obama should focus on winning the very real war -- a war in which our soldiers are fighting and dying as we speak. However President Obama has demonstrated time and time again that he cares less about American victory on the world stage than he does about his personal prestige and power. Obama only has his Chicago tactics, which he will use to destroy any military man or woman who so much as hints to the American public that Obama's Afghan plan is flawed. Obama has no grand strategy to win the war in Afghanistan, nor even a strategy to achieve a peace-with-honor pullout.
(“Obama in Afghanistan: Losing a War to Reassure his Re-Election” by Ben Shapiro dated October 7, 2009 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/BenShapiro/2009/10/07/obama_in_afghanistan_losing_a_war_to_reassure_his_re-election)
In 1994 Democrat over-reaching provided Republicans with a huge political opportunity to retake the House of Representatives or at the very least deny Democrats their filibuster proof majority… just like today! In order to convince voters that the right is prepared to drive domestic policy the GOP needs more than complaints and criticism; they needed to present a committed and detailed agenda. Republican members of the House of Representatives presented voters with the “Contract with America.” This document, signed by all but two Republican congressmen and all of the Republican congressional candidates, detailed the specific legislative action Republicans would take if the American people handed them the reins of government. The contract was a “detailed agenda for national renewal, a written commitment with no fine print.” At the time of this writing Republicans do not have any such detailed agenda nor, unfortunately, is one in the works. The closest thing that exists is Newt Gingrich’s “American Solutions for Winning the Future,” but this grass roots platform development work has not resonated with the Republican party. In fact there is evidence that he GOP is in disarray with a disconnect between senior Congressional leadership and the RNC leadership on policy and direction! The GOP has a real opportunity to become the true party of reform, but history will not simply repeat itself without a little nudge. Unless the GOP can articulate a detailed plan as an alternative, the Republican party may be dooming itself to the waste pit of political parties.
(“A Political Warranty” by Joseph C. Phillips dated October 5, 2009 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/JosephCPhillips/2009/10/05/a_political_warranty
“GOP Leaders to Michael Steele: Back Off” by Manu Raju and Jonathan Martin dated October 5, 2009 published by Politico at http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1009/27898.html )
* There is so much published each week that unless you go out of your way to find it, you will miss important breaking news. I package the best of this information into my “Views on the News” each Saturday morning for your reading pleasure and to fill in factual gaps.
If you are sick and tired of government and politics as usual, read my web site with its individual issue analysis and recommendations sections at: http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com . Individual issue updates this week include: