Category ►►► Obamunism
March 25, 2013
I Guess We'll Soon Find Out
Ten months ago, Chief Justice John Roberts shocked the nation by first finding that ObamaCare was unconstitutional under the Commerce clause -- but then ruling that it was nevertheless constitutional under a "new construction," by which its enforcement mechanism was deemed a tax: Thus ObamaCare was allowed under the federal government's taxing power. Heavy, man.
Roberts explained that he labored to find a way to uphold ObamaCare because he wanted to give all possible deference to to the "democratic" organs of government, in this case the administration of Barack "Skeets" Obama. (Though it's a tough play to argue that an act democratically voted upon, but whose purpose is to crush democracy, is actually a "democratic" act. It's kind of like tolerating the intolerant, no?)
Roberts also fretted about "predictability" and "stability," as well as inter-governmental harmony. Too, he didn't want to create law, so he had to find any constitutional excuse, however convoluted or implausible, to uphold a law that was duly enacted by Congress.
Flash forward to tomorrow, when the Chief Justice and the other eight robed masters will hear oral arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act and on California's Proposition 8:
- The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, was democratically enacted in September of 1996; it has remained on the books for the last seventeen years despite repeated efforts to repeal or gut it. It confines marriage, for federal purposes, to a union between one man and one woman and protects states that do not recognize same-sex marriage (SSM) from having to recognize SSMs performed in other states. Despite numerous federal challenges over the years, the Supreme Court has so far refrained from striking DOMA down.
- Proposition 8 was a vote to rebuke the California Supreme Court, which struck down the original version of the same law, Proposition 22; its operative clause reads, in its entirety, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
Prop 22 passed back in March of 2000. The citizen initiative was approved by a margin of 61.4% to 38.6%. The California Supreme Court subsequently struck down the initiative, ruling that the California state constitution -- which does not mention same-sex marriage at all -- actually mandates it. (Perhaps I should have used a different word than "mandate.")
As quickly as possible, the same fourteen-word initiative was relaunched as an initiative constitutional amendment; despite being on the same ballot as Barack Obama's 2008 election -- a banner year for Democrats! -- and despite shenanigans by state officials, who tarred it with the tendentious and risible title, "Eliminates Rights of Same-Sex Couples to Marry" (as if that was a traditional right of long standing, enshrined in our hearts, and a vital part of the golden thread of Western civilization), the traditional-marriage amendment won again, this time by 52.2% to 47.8%... not bad, considering the headwinds in this second liberal landslide. ("The headwinds of a landslide" is almost as good as "the foothills of the headlands.")
After it passed the second time, a single federal judge, Vaughn R. Walker -- who was secretly in a long-term gay relationship himself, thus standing to benefit from his own decision -- struck down Prop 8, declaring that the United States Constitution, as written in 1787 and amended various times since, in fact
mandates requires same-sex marriage.
These cases hand us the perfect shibboleth to tell whether Roberts spoke true as he upheld ObamaCare: that he only wanted to show deference to democratic votes, maintain settled law, and refrain from making new law. Here we have two bills, both democratically voted: one by Congress confining SSM to states that have actually approved SSM, the other enacted by a more direct democracy, the people of California voting (twice!) to restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples.
Each of these democratic laws has been settled law for some time: In DOMA's case, seventeen years; in Prop 8's case, California has never recognized SSM except for the brief period between the California Supreme Court striking down Prop 22 and the passage of Prop 8... and even that was due to a panel of judges, not a vote of the people or the legislature!
Additionally, the Supreme Court has had many previous opportunities to strike down DOMA, yet failed to do so; and the citizens of the
Golden Leaden State have repeatedly voted against SSM and in favor of tradtional marriage every chance they have had -- more than twice, as pro-SSM initiatives were also shot down several times. Thus stability and predictability are on the side of traditional-marriage.
So if Roberts finds a way to land on the leftist side this time, he has no excuse, no explanation, no justification other than the obvious: He will have "grown in office," and we must then consider him a full-fledged Obamunist. To strike down either of these two laws, Roberts must contradict every principle he claimed anent ObamaCare.
But I take the optimistic side; I think Roberts will vote to uphold both. I also believe, contra several mordant and pessimistic conservative commentators, that both will be upheld by the Court by a (suprise!) 5-4 decision; that is, I believe Justice Anthony Kennedy will join the four conservative justices -- Roberts (let us hope), Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito -- in holding that the U.S. Constitution does not demand that all states immediately implement same-sex marriage, per the express understanding of the Founding Fathers and Mothers.
But whether my prediction eventuates or goes awry, we'll soon discover the answer to the burning question of whether CJ Roberts was giving us the truth -- or giving us the business.
March 22, 2013
Surprise, surprise, on the Jungle Riverboat Cruise tonight: The Pentagon has announced that it's "delaying" furloughs of civilian DoD workers for two weeks, while they reevaluate whether it's really feasible to blame Republicans for the unnecessary pain, impoverishment, and fear.
I believe the conclusion of that evaluation will be No; the Obamunists have already discovered that the American electorate blames Barack "Skeets" Obama and his lapdog Senate Democrats much more than they blame out-of-power Republicans.
Besides, by now I think everybody has found out that "sequestration" was Obama's own idea, which he insisted upon inserting into last year's debt-ceiling deal. Even the "plantation media" are reluctantly reporting that by now!
In fact, even the specific means of implementing sequestration via furloughing federal employees -- using the "Washington Monument" strategy of making the cuts as painful and visible as possible -- is entirely under Obama's discretion: Senate Republicans tried to pass a bill a couple-three weeks ago that would give President B.O. total control over how he implements the $43 billion in Defense cuts mandated... but he personally threatened that he would veto any bill that gave him that authority. "Don't call my bluff! Don't call my bluff!"
Since Obama cannot successfully "pin the tail on the elephant," I predict this is the beginning of the end of furloughs. He will push Senate Democrats to join House Republicans in terminating one or two of the big and useless weapons projects that are years late and billions overbudget, and which the Pentagon never asked for in the first place, and cannot use even if they miraculously finished redesigning them, put them into production, and then deployed them in the theater. I think chopping one or two would easily cough up the necessary bullion in spending cuts required by sequestration.
After which, Obama will parade around the press room patting himself on the back for his magnificent display of compassion. Thank goodness we have a president who cares about the
peons little people!
November 15, 2012
If you thought it was only the food at Denny's that gave you heartburn, here comes another tale of woe caused by the "Affordable" Health Care Act:
Florida based restaurant boss John Metz, who runs approximately 40 Denny's and owns the Hurricane Grill & Wings franchise has decided to offset that by adding a five percent surcharge to customers' bills and will reduce his employees' hours.
With Obamacare due to be fully implemented in January 2014, Metz has justified his move by claiming it is 'the only alternative. I've got to pass on the cost to the customer.'
Denny's certainly isn't the first restaurant chain to take such steps -- Darden Restaurants and Papa John's have also announced that they'll be cutting employee hours so they can keep their heads above water. And you'll probably see a lot of other low-margin businesses doing the same before Obamacare is fully implemented in January of 2014.
Now you see now how laws like this hit low-income workers the hardest. Like minimum wage laws, on the surface Obamacare seems compassionate; but in reality, it makes it that much harder for employers to meet payrolls without going bankrupt. The result? Higher unemployment and a big reduction in the number of entry-level jobs.
But Obama really cares, and that's what counts -- right?
July 17, 2012
Behind the Mask
If you were a kid in the 70s, you might remember the album cover for Kiss Unmasked, when the glam rockers pull off all their makeup only to reveal (gasp!) that they look exactly the same underneath! Ah, those were good times.
I was reminded about that the other day when I heard that speech Barack Obama gave in Roanoke, Virginia -- you know the one in which he lectured business people about how they really aren't that special?
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.
Oh, Lord. Where to begin?
Well, first off I will concede that most of the outrage has been whipped up by taking a piece of the quote, monumentally stupid as it is, out of context. Specifically, the "you didn't build that" part wasn't referring to business owners not actually creating their own companies; he was talking about the roads and bridges in the preceding sentence. For a guy who fancies himself Orator in Chief, he sure went out of his way to step in a rather obvious pile of rhetorical poo.
Obama does, however, let his own mask slip a little in the process-- revealing himself as the collectivist he's always been, something that anyone who's bothered to look even a little bit has known for a long time. And, like the dude at the end of that Kiss cartoon, I still say he stinks.
For who ponied up the cash for those roads, Barack? The private sector, of course. And who was it who actually built the roads, Barack? Why, private companies! The only thing government did was act as a transfer agent--kind of like a money launderer, only greasing some of the union skids along the way.
The point is, without the private sector government has nothing. Obama, meanwhile, thinks it's exactly the opposite. Such is the difference between his vision for America and Mitt Romney's.
July 10, 2012
Pride Goeth Awayeth, Before Obamunism
What price pride?
Too much, evidently, for the Obamunists; pride gets in the way of the utopia of universal welfare, as does innovation, paying your own way, and self-reliance:
The USDA has adopted a range of strategies and programs designed to bring more people to SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- it's a snap! -- DaH], including taking on “pride.” A 2011 Hunger Champions Award document reveals that local assistance offices have been rewarded for "counteracting" pride and pushing more people to sign up for benefits.
The Ashe County Department of Social Services in Jefferson, N.C., for example, received a "Gold" award for confronting "mountain pride" and increasing food stamp participation by 10 percent.
Thank goodness we're finally dumping that wretched individualism into the dustbin of history, and encouraging a new American culture of parasitism, rent-seeking, and looting! Besides, food stamps, welfare, poverty subsidies, theft, corruption, bath salts, and begging in the streets are all proven methods of stimulating the economy (via the argument by endless and angry assertion):
The USDA also claims increasing food stamp participation is an economic stimulus.
"Outreach and education are powerful tools in overcoming barriers to SNAP participation. Even a small increase in SNAP participation can have a substantial impact," USDA continues. "If the national participation rate rose 5 percentage points, 1.9 million more low-income people would have an additional $1.3 billion in benefits per year to use to purchase healthy food and $2.5 billion total in new economic activity would be generated nationwide."
That being so, shouldn't we forgo future Obamic "stimulus packages," and instead simply send books of food stamps to every American, living and dead? Surely that would be the most simulating stimulus ever!
Here's more acolytic public-assistance enthusiasm from President Foodstamp's kitchen cabinet:
While spending on the food stamp program has increased 100 percent under President Barack Obama, the government continues to push more Americans to enroll in the welfare program.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has embraced entire promotional campaigns designed to encourage eligible Americans to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.
A pamphlet currently posted at the USDA website encourages local SNAP offices to throw parties as one way to get potentially eligible seniors to enroll in the program.
“Throw a Great Party. Host social events where people mix and mingle,” the agency advises. “Make it fun by having activities, games, food, and entertainment, and provide information about SNAP. Putting SNAP information in a game format like BINGO, crossword puzzles, or even a ‘true/false’ quiz is fun and helps get your message across in a memorable way.”
If Barack "Trillion-Dollar Taxman" Obama is reelected, get ready for Abortion Adventure Cruises, "Things Go Bitter With Koch"® Klambakes, and government-sponsored Race Hate Play Dates.
Ask not what your country can do for you; ask rather what you can do for Obamunism. And party-on, dude!
July 2, 2012
Conservatism 101: Big vs. Big
My father and law were having a discussion the other day over some pretty good scotch, which naturally led to the subject of politics and the private sector. It seems that whenever lefttist politicians are seeking to "do something" about whatever the scare du jour happens to be, they inevitably invoke some corporate boogeyman to create an us-versus-them dynamic perfect for whipping up outrage and hysteria.
It doesn't really matter what the industry is -- Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Insurance -- any one of them will make a suitable scapegoat. After all, all these greeeedy corporations want to do is rip off Joe Citizen and bank their obscene profits at the expense of The PeopleTM. The implicit message is that Big Government is looking out for you, while Big Business only wants to screw you.
History, however, tells a different story.
To wit: How many people has Big Business killed over the centuries? Sure, you've got your various and sundry accidents and fits of sheer incompetence that have caused deaths (anybody remember the Ford Pinto?) -- but I'm talking about incidents when a company has actually gone out and killed somebody on purpose. Outside of a John Le Carre novel, I'd be hard pressed to think of many.
Now ask yourself how many people governments have killed. Communism alone is estimated to be responsible for over 100 million deaths. Throw in the crimes of the Nazi regime, just to name one other, and the numbers go even higher.
This is not to say that corporations are run by angels, because they're not. They are flawed institutions populated with flawed human beings -- but by and large, they exist to serve consumer needs and are responsive to the desires of their customers. Governments, on the other hand, too often exist to serve the needs of those who rule. It's why our Founding Fathers sought to limit the powers that government has, and made the liberty of the individual paramount.
So the next time some lefty tries to convince you that government can be trusted more than business, see if you can set him straight -- after you stop laughing, of course.
December 5, 2011
Tax Takes a Holiday - Chicago Style
President Barack H. Obama believes that continuing the payroll tax cut is vital for the American economy:
"My message to the Congress is this: keep your word to the American people and don’t raise taxes on them right now," Obama said. "Now is not the time to step on the brakes. Now is the time to step on the gas. Now is the time to keep growing the economy, to keep creating jobs, to keep giving working Americans the boost that they need...."
Obama said that renewing the payroll tax cut is “important for the economy as a whole” because it will spur spending and hiring and help families pay their bills. But he noted that virtually every Senate Republican voted against his proposal to expand the payroll tax cuts, which he said would have given a typical working family a cut of about $1,500 next year.
...But only if it's "paid for" by enacting a gargantuan tax increase to punish successful people:
"Americans overwhelmingly support our proposal to ask millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share to help this country thrive," said Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), announcing that the new measure would be introduced by its sponsor, Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.). "Republicans in Congress dismiss it at their peril."
Got it: Now is not the time to raise taxes on Americans; now is the time to raise taxes on millionaires, who either aren't "American" -- or aren't "people." (We also learn that in Obamunism, "fair share" means paying exactly the same as what other people are paying, except a whole lot more.)
Just a thought, but if the payroll tax holiday is truly that urgent, has anybody considered paying for it by, you know, cutting spending? Oops, never mind; I'm embarassed I even asked. Forget I said anything.
Back to the Folies Obamère:
"Now, I know many Republicans have sworn an oath never to raise taxes as long as they live," he said. "How can it be the only time there’s a catch is when it comes to raising taxes on middle-class families? How can you fight tooth and nail to protect high-end tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and yet barely lift a finger to prevent taxes going up for 160 million Americans who really need the help? It doesn’t make sense."
But the inclusion of the tax on millionaires probably kills any chance for the new bill’s passage and is instead a sign that both parties are still working to score political points on the issue....
Still, Senate Democrats believe they have significant leverage on the issue.
They think the tax cut for workers is widely popular, as is their idea to pay for it with a surtax on millionaires. Already, one Republican, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, voted with 50 Democrats last week to extend the tax cut. Democrats think more might come along rather than risk repeatedly voting against a tax cut.
Gangster government at its most ruthless; it's "the Chicago Way." Or as Chicago's Gale Cincotta -- founder of National People's Action and chief radical architect of Jimmy Carter's Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 -- put it, prefiguring and perfectly encapsulating the essence of Obamunism: "We want it. They've got it. Let's go get it!"
November 10, 2011
Your Future Under ObamaCare: Pain Panels
President Barack H. Obama himself has admitted that what he really wants for American health care is single-payer, one-size-fits-all socialized medicine. Well we have many examples to choose from, including Japan, Canada, and of course Great Britain's National Health Service (NHS).
We already know about the NHS's death panels; doctors and even nurses frequently write "do not resuscitate" on patients' charts -- without telling friends, family, or even the patient himself what won't happen if he has a cardiac arrest. Why bother to let patients know they've been marked for expiry? They would only intrude upon a decision that should only be made by experts!
The motive should be clear: When the government pays for all health care, it has an obvious conflict of interest; every patient allowed to die, rather than kept alive by "heroic efforts," is another load of medical outlays off the Health Minister's plate. Word is passed along to the government-controlled hospitals (typically by a nod and a wink), and doctors and nurses receive the message loudly and clearly.
But wait, we still have a problem... those wily patients who require medical treatment, including expensive painkilling medication, but who contrive to avoid having a heart attack by which they can be eased off the ministry's books and into the afterlife (where some higher ministry can pick up the tab). How can the NHS -- and the endgame for ObamaCare -- avoid all those nasty, expensive medical payments?
Very simply, and Britain's National Health Service leads the way: A government in financial trouble must foster an anti-treatment, anti-painkiller health-care culture. In clearer words, the NHS now needs pain panels to determine who gets painkillers (and how much), and who is left to suffer:
In Britain, the popular U.S. painkiller OxyContin is considered similar to morphine and used sparingly. Vicodin isn’t even licensed. And at most shops, remedies like ibuprofen are sold only in 16-pill packs.
To avoid risks including addiction, strong painkillers are often kept at arm’s length from patients -- even if that means some people will be left suffering....
For people seeking relief from everyday pains like headaches or sore muscles, painkillers like acetaminophen, sometimes sold as Tylenol, and ibuprofen are only sold in limited quantities. By law, most shops can only sell packs of 16 tablets and no one is allowed to buy more than 100 pills at once without a prescription.
The basic argument is pure utilitarianism; too many patients who require too much help, costing the ministry too much money, equals a major crackdown on expensive painkillers. Some physicians don't even bother to dissemble anymore. Here's my favorite, from "Dr. Anthony Ordman, founder of a pain clinic at London’s Royal Free Hospital":
Ordman also said British doctors may be less inclined to automatically do what their patients want. "In the U.S., doctors might wish to please their patients and prescribe them something because they’re clients," he said. "But in the U.K., the patient doesn’t pay the doctor directly so I can choose not to prescribe painkillers without the fear of suffering financially myself." [Emphasis added -- DaH]
(Which reminds me of Saturday Night Live's fake motto for Bell Telephone: "We don't care. We don't have to. We're the phone company.")
Not all doctors are on board the pain train:
"To make it harder to prescribe enough painkillers for a patient in agony is wrong and essentially a form of torture," said Dr. Michael Platt, lead clinician for pain services at St. Mary’s Hospital in London. "Either we need to treat the pain properly or we tell the patient they are just going to have to suffer."
After the next election, when ObamaCare fully kicks in, see if you can guess which of those two alternatives the administration will push. (Hint: Time to start hoarding aspirin, Motrin, and Tylenol.)
June 29, 2011
Well There's Your Problem Right There! (number Shrimp Cocktail)
I was lending an ear to Hugeus Hewittus as he played excerpts from Barack H. Obama's press conference today (his first in three months!) when I heard the most remarkable exchange. The president was angry that Republicans in the debt-ceiling negotiations have called for huge spending cuts -- satisfying "their" constituency, which I presume means the American people -- but offer nothing in the way of massive tax increases on "millionaires" and evil corporations that operate corporate jets, to satisfy the Left's constituency (welfare eaters, rent seekers, and citizens of the world).
Attacking aristos and priests has been the only plan the Left has to offer since 1789. At least today's Democrats don't resort to the National Razor... not yet.
But this particular Obamasm almost made me pull over and check my hearing. Here is President B.O. venting his spleen about Republicans and their unfair tactics:
He said “every single observer who’s not an elected official” agreed that the only way to bridge the debt gap was to address both spending and revenues and he called on Republicans to accept that, saying, “Democrats have had to accept some painful spending cuts that hurt some of our constituents and that we may not like. We’ve shown a willingness to do that for the greater good.
“If everybody else is willing to take on their sacred cows and do tough things, then I think it will be hard for the Republicans to stand there and say that the tax breaks for corporate jets is sufficiently important that we’re not willing to come to the table and do that.”
I am stunned. Leave aside the fact that he insisted that he had nothing to do with the economic troubles, the skyrocketing unemployment, the rising inflation, the collapse of the housing market, the seizure of banks and other corporations, the ruination of the domestic energy policy, or the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, all of which he blamed on previous Congresses and presidents. (Who does he mean, I wonder?)
Forget all that; it's the usual Chicago rules. What shocked me was that the President of the United States believes that the point of these negotiations is not to get the economy moving again, or to boost the job market, or to set out fiscal house in order... it's to share the pain fairly among Republican and Democratic politicians!
He appears to be uninterested in what will actually work to jump-start the economy (more Capitalism and private-sector expansion, less government spending, regulating, and intruding into private affairs), and incurious about why we're in such a calamitous and parlous financial situation in the first place. Nevertheless, Obama is absolutely outraged that Republicans demand "their" stuff (spending cuts), but won't allow in the Democrats' stuff (staggering tax increases).
I mean, where's the fairness? Where's the balance? "You said that if I ate my spinach, I could have a big, gooey piece of devil's food cake!" Oh, the humanity! I want my cake, and I want it now.
Personal reminiscence: In days of yore, anytime a parental decision did not hand my little sister J. everything she had demanded, she would set up a banshee-like ululation that could be heard all the way to Scotland:
"That's not fair to meee!"
Strangely enough, she never found bias when the decision went the other way; J. never complained when she got everything and the rest of us got bupkes. Nothing unfair then!
And of course, nothing unfair during the last four years, and especially since the 2008 election (until the 2010 correction), when Republicans may as well have been on walkabout in Tasmania for all the impact they had on federal legislation and regulation. "Shut up," Obama exclaimed; "I won. The world is mine. All your base are belong to us!"
Now it's B.O.'s turn to schrai gevalt, just as sister J. did in the ancient times. But J. had a perfectly legitimate reason to act like that: She was five years old.
June 21, 2011
Playing the Erase Card
First, two months ago, the FBI under the Obama administration shuts down all the main online poker sites, using a 2006 law that defines it to be a criminal act to operate an "illegal" gambling site on the internet. Under this law, an "illegal" gambling site means one that doesn't have a license to operate a gambling den, not only where the servers actually live, but also in every possible location on Earth from which a customer may access the poker site.
Since it's impossible to have universal licences, the law quite naturally makes all private-sector online sites illegal and criminal. (The 2006 law exempts governments.) In consequence, the sites have all been expunged from the ether, along with all the real money players had invested in personal accounts there.
And then yesterday, the District of Columbia -- with the evident acquiesence of the federal government -- spontaneously decides to open its own online gambling site... which includes poker games. States and cities are sure to follow suit, if I may put it that way.
Thus by immaculate coincidence, the FBI has cleared the decks of all private competition for online gaming.
This does not of course prove that the Federales' giddy trampling of the internet version of what is perfectly legal in brick-and-morter buildings in many states was part of a vast conspiracy to replace yet another private market with a government monopoly. But I'm just sayin'...
April 22, 2011
NLRB: Boeing Must Build New Plant in Unionista WA, Not Business-Friendly SC
This piece by GW at Wolf Howling is a real eye-dropper: Evidently, the National Labor Relations Board is trying to force Boeing to build its new plant, not in business-friendly South Carolina, as they plan, but in union-loving Washington state -- for that explicit reason. The acting general counsel of the NLRB argues that it's "unlawful" for Boeing to take into consideration the repeated strikes and other labor activism against Boeing in WA, when deciding where to build its new plant.
Here's a quick quote from the New York Times piece that GW cites in the blogpost:
In its complaint, the labor board said that Boeing’s decision to transfer a second production line for its new 787 Dreamliner passenger plane to South Carolina was motivated by an unlawful desire to retaliate against union workers for their past strikes in Washington and to discourage future strikes. The agency’s acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, said it was illegal for companies to take actions in retaliation against workers for exercising the right to strike.
Of course, Boeing isn't "tak[ing] actions in retaliation against workers;" it's taking actions to build a new plant where it will be more profitable. The only effect upon existing Boeing workers in Washington is that they might have anticipated there would be more jobs there, and now that won't eventuate.
As GW writes in his post:
The Obama radicals on the NLRB now seek to vastly expand the scope of those provisions to a point that corporations would now become captives of unionized, closed shop states.
I don't normally write just to highlight someone else's blogpost; but this expansion of the reach of the NLRB is such a corrupt enormity that I feel compelled to spread knowledge of it as far and widely as I can. Wolf Howling is absolutely correct to sound the alarm on this stunning decision.
More from the Times:
The labor board said that in 2007, Boeing announced plans to create a second production line that would make three 787 Dreamliner planes a month in the Puget Sound area to address a growing backlog of orders. That was to be in addition to a line already making seven Dreamliners a month there. In October 2009, Boeing said it would locate its second line at a new, nonunion plant in South Carolina.
The N.L.R.B. asserted that on numerous occasions Boeing officials had communicated an unlawful motive for transferring the production line, including an interview with The Seattle Times in which a Boeing executive said, “The overriding factor was not the business climate. And it was not the wages we’re paying today. It was that we cannot afford to have a work stoppage, you know, every three years.”
Mr. Solomon brought the complaint after a union representing many of Boeing’s Washington workers, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, complained that Boeing had decided to move production to South Carolina largely in retaliation for a 58-day strike in 2008.
“Boeing’s decision to build a 787 assembly line in South Carolina sent a message that Boeing workers would suffer financial harm for exercising their collective bargaining rights,” said the union’s vice president, Rich Michalski.
In this case, "would suffer financial harm" means "would not get the big reward they expected their strikes to confer." In other words, the National Labor Relations Board now contends that federal labor law requires not only that strikes be allowed, the law also requires that strikes be effective and advance the union's cause.
Thus if Boeing workers go on strike, the law now forbids Boeing from taking steps to mitigate the damage to the company, such as siting new plants in business-friendly states. Rather, Boeing is required to build all new production lines in heavily unionized states, precisely in order to maximize the damage that unions can inflict upon Boeing (a.k.a., the punching bag).
How ironic that the movie version of Atlas Shrugged is in theaters right now, and by all accounts is "unexpectedly" popular and rapidly picking up steam. Will the NLRB next force Boeing to rename itself the Twentieth Century Aeroplane Company?
March 18, 2011
Obamunism in Black and White
Riddle me this, as Frank Gorshin was wont to say: Why is anybody surprised that President Barack H. "Lucky Lefty" Obama has "talked the talk" but hasn't "walked the walk" -- on Libya (or the deficit, or ObamaCare, or oil prices, or fill-in-the-blank)?
What job has he ever held that required him to act, make a decision, or stand up for principle?
In a quarter century of employment, Obama has been:
- 1983, age 22 -- An employee, job undetermined, at Business International Corporation, "a publishing and advisory firm dedicated to assisting American companies in operating abroad."
- 1984, age 23 -- An employee of the New York Public Interest Research Group; I assume NY-PIRG is similar to CalPIRG, where I worked one summer; the main business is begging people to contribute to the PIRG.
- 1985, age 24 -- Director of the Developing Communities Project (DCP); as a "community organizer," his job was to "work with and develop new local leaders, facilitating coalitions and assisting in the development of campaigns." (Action, action, action!) During this time, Obama also worked as "a consultant and instructor for the Gamaliel Foundation, a community organizing institute."
- 1988-1991, age 27-30, Harvard Law School -- Obama worked summers at the law firms of Sidley Austin and Hopkins & Sutter as a "summer associate"... which generally means doing research in the law libraries, general scutwork, and perhaps writing small legal documents under heavy supervision by actual attorneys at law. He was also "an editor" at the Harvard Law Review, and later was elected its president.
- 1991-1992, age 30-31 -- Received a two-year academic sinecure at University of Chicago Law School to finish his first book, eventually published in 1995 as Dreams from My Father.
- 1992-2004, age 31-43 -- lecturer at University of Chicago Law School.
- 1993-1996, age 32-35 -- associate at Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, "a 13-attorney law firm specializing in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development."
- 1996-2004, age 35-43 -- counsel at Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland. There is little indication what Obama actually did at this law firm; however his level of activity may perhaps be guessed by the fact that he allowed his law license to lapse in 2002, and evidently didn't even miss it his last two years at the firm.
- 1994-2002, age 33-41 -- "served" on the board of directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago ("a private independent foundation in Chicago, whose goal is to increase opportunities for less-advantaged people and communities in the Chicago metropolitan area, including the opportunity to shape decisions affecting them,") and the Joyce Foundation ("a charitable foundation based in Chicago").
- 1995-2002, age 34-41 -- "served" on the board of directors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (president and chairman of the board until 1999, age 38); his primary job was to funnel nearly $50 million from the Challenge charity into "educational" programs developed and pushed by Weather Underground founder Bill Ayers and his radical cronies.
- 1997-2004, age 36-43 -- elected one of Illinois' 59 state senators (four terms).
- 2005-2008, age 44-47 -- elected junior U.S. Senator from Illinois (one third of one term).
- 2009-?, age 48-? -- took the oath of office as President of the United States.
I ask again: Which of Barack Obama's various jobs (prior to the presidency of the United States) required, encouraged, or even allowed him to act, decide, or take a stand on principle? He has never in his entire life run anything larger than the staff of a junior senator. Why is anyone surprised that he simply hasn't that capability within him?
If a man spends the first 25 years of his life faithfully cleaning up after the elephants at the circus, why would anyone think that in his 26th year, he should be promoted to star aerialist on the flying trapeze?
February 17, 2011
The "Hair On Fire" Presidency
This post is a collaboration between Sachi and Dafydd.
It seems that whenever the administration of Barack H. Obama implements a new policy, it always fits one of two modes:
- Either another radical, revolutionary, leftist assault against traditional America, intended to transform us into a Euro-emulating, liberal-fascist, internationalist State;
- Or a belated, unplanned, spasmotic reaction to some "unexpected" event, giving clear indication that the issue has never before come up in cabinet meetings, and on which the administration is an utterly blank slate.
Since we and everybody else have beaten the "transformative" policies to death, let's talk about Mode 2, for a change. Let's call them Unpremeditated Policies, or UPsies (pronounced "oopsies"); they play out in an easily detected pattern:
- A major, game-changing event occurs that catches Barack H. Obama and his entire administration completely by surprise. (This is not difficult to do.)
- Exasperated at the interruption to the smooth transmogification of America that he evisions, his first step is to completely ignore the rhinoceros in the Jacuzzi. ("Nothing to see here, folks; just step lively to your left.")
- When ignoring the best fails to make it slink away, when things go from bad to worse to worst, Obama panics. He makes an instantaneous decision -- and mandates the first policy response that pops into his smooth and unwrinkled cerebral cortex. ("Quick, somebody -- get a brush and paint that rhinoceros green!")
He (Obama, not the rhinoceros) doesn't bother to debate the situation; consult experts; formulate a plan; determine if there already is a plan from "the previous administration;" caculate how to make disparate special-interest groups follow the plan; or even mentally work through the event step by step, envisioning the response and the likely consequences or counter-responses; those activities he reserves for his Grand Transformational Strategy. He simply issues a decree off the top of his rapidly graying head and turns his attention back to the next element of the "vision."
- When the "instacision" turns out to be even worse than ignoring the crisis, as is invariably the case, he digs in his heels ("no more Mr. Nice Guy!")
Since Obama is the smartest man in the room -- every room, every day, a legend in his own mind -- he cannot be wrong. As he is the Right Man, dissenters must necessarily the be wrong men. The enraged, half-painted rhino can only be rampaging through the pool party due to either treachery from Republicans, non-assimilated Democrats, Big Capitalism, unreconstructed Christians, the Jewish Lobby, or embittered people clinging to God and guns; or else (b) rank stupidity on the part of everybody in America except the Obamunist himself (appease be upon him).
Exasperated, befuddled, in a pet, President B.O. sets out to resolve the most urgent element of the crisis: fixing blame:
- He sends his surrogates out, and he himself hits the airwaves, to lecture America on why his decision really ought to have worked, and how the rest of us let him down.
If the situation finally resolves itself in a way that can be spun positively:
- (a) He triumphantly announces that his brilliant plan worked, thus vindicating his original decision.
But if the situation finally resolves itself in a way that not even Obama can pretend to like:
- (b) Then he hands it off to one of his many spokesmen, top aides, advisors, czars, czarinas, or czardines; and the surrogate makes a stealth reversal. ("As we warned Republicans from the very beginning, rhinos hate being painted green... you should have listened to us!")
- See option 6 (a) above.
Obama's instincts are generally very bad; so every snap reaction quickly morphs into a wild overreaction, without any consideration for the consequences. The administration more and more resembles a drunk driver veering wildly left and right with his foot pushing the accelerator practically through the floorboards in the mistaken impression that it's the brake. Let's shake out a few recent incidences, just to give you the flavor of this pattern...
The Sphinx spheax
One very good example of a presidential UPsie has been the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. We run through the pattern:
- The protests, strikes, and mounting rage throughout Egypt catch Obama totally off guard. It's foreign-policy stuff, which he doesn't do well under the best of circumstances; and in this case, he had no plan what to do in the event that the Mubarak regime was threatened.
- For more than a week, he utterly ignores what's going on. Complete radio silence while he hopes the angry mobs with torches and pitchforks just fade away naturally, allowing the great man to return to destroying the fossil-fuel industry, mandating union membership for every person in America (especially children), driving private health insurance out of the country, and all his other plans to create paradise on Earth.
- When his lofty refusal to recognize that the peons are revolting, Obama makes the snap decision to give a speech (his favorite solution for everything!) democracy Democracy Now!; the vox populi must reign supreme throughout the land. Immediately. Yesterday.
- Soon it becomes clear that the Muslim Brotherhood has become a major player in the revolution. Things appear to be going downhill rapidly, in despite of the leader's speech. So Obama doubles down, announcing (through selective leaks) that his administration is now working with the Brothers to incorporate them into a new government. After all, they've "renounced violence" and become completely "secular." ("Who are you to argue with me? Can you unionize Leviathan by a fishhook?")
- The administration announces that Obama's brilliant speech and devilishly clever diplomacy is working: Mubarak is about to resign and hand over power to his new Vice President, Omar Suleiman, in an orderly succession. Suleiman and the parliament -- with help from the Muslim Brotherhood -- will then immediately meet to implement all the demands of the Egyptian
community organizersprotesters, and real democracy will prevail... a much greater achievement than anything the previous administration did in the Middle East.
- (a) But Mubarak unexpectedly refuses to leave. Whirling like a Dervish, the administration tells reporters that it was betrayed by Mubarak, by Suleiman, and by the incompetent intelligence officers of the United States.
- (b) The next day, when the Egyptian army executes a coup d'état against Mubarak (at the behest of the Egyptian protesters), the administration flacks triumphantly announce that in response to Obama's speech -- and just as Obama predicted -- the army had ousted Mubarak, seized control, shut out Omar Suleiman, and now proposes to overthrow the entire regime that has lasted since Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1956 and replace it with a "democratic" government.
Obama stands atop a gilded pillar, arms akimbo, with rainbow-colored light radiating from behind his head. Greatness has triumphed again!
Come and listen to a story 'bout a man called Barack...
Here is another UPsie to ponder; by now, the pattern should be familiar:
Consider the British Petroleum spill in the Gulf of Mexico. For ten days following the deadly April 20th explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform, the president and his administration did -- nothing. Absolutely nothing. Meanwhile, an underwater oil gusher was pumping millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf.
Besides doing nothing, they went to great pains to ensure that nobody else did anything either. In this case, the brain freeze typical to UPsies was so severe, every other body, public and private, that could have done something constructive was ordered to freeze as well.
We normally don't quote from WikiPedia, but this summary is so succinct, it's hard to top it:
Three days after the oil spill began, the Netherlands offered to donate the use of ships equipped to handle very large scale spills.
The Netherlands also offered to prepare a contingency plan to protect Louisiana marshlands with sand barriers and a Dutch research institute developed a strategy to begin building 60 mile-long (100 km) dikes within three weeks. According to Geert Visser, Dutch Consul-General, the U.S. government responded to the Dutch offer with "Thanks for your help, but at the moment we can manage ourselves", despite BP's desire to bring in the Dutch equipment. [Note that by "manage ourselves," the president meant "do absolutely nothing while watching the Gulf ecology die". -- Big Lizards] US regulations require that oil-contaminated water must be stored onboard in US waters. The Dutch vessels continuously extract the majority of the oil, but the water that returns to the ocean does not comply with the U.S. standard. [So we would rather all the oil remained in the Gulf, rather than extract most of it and allow a tiny dribble to be squirted back into the ocean. American environmentalism strikes again! -- Big Lizards].... The US later relaxed its requirements and took the Dutch up on part of their offer, airlifting Dutch equipment to the Gulf and retrofitting it to U.S. vessels, where as of 10 June, it had not yet entered service. To avoid using Dutch ships and workers, the U.S. government asked them to train American workers to build the sand berms. [I suppose they were more thoroughly unionized. -- Big Lizards] According to Floris Van Hovell, a Dutch spokesman, Dutch dredging ships could complete the Louisiana berms twice as fast as the U.S. companies.
Then on April 30th, all hell broke loose. The Obamunist ordered an immediate and absolute "moratorium" on oil drilling in the Gulf; despite the fact that, since most of the Gulf is international waters, that snap decision had the net effect of banning only American companies (and a few foreign companies with significant American assets, including BP) from drilling... but leaving the underwater oil fields wide open to everyone else, from Mexico to Venezuela to Iran.
Obama later doubled down, defying a direct court order to lift the illegal moratorium. And now, as the Gulf recovers (and finds that some damage was not as great as the administration claimed), the Obama spokes-offices cite their leader's genius as having once again saved the world.
No load network
But let's talk about a third example, the WikiLeaks scandal; one of the authors of this post, Sachiko Yamada, has personal knowledge of the fallout from this fiasco.
LeaksGate follows the same pattern as the Mubarak ousting and the Gulf oil spill: a deer-in-headlights freeze up, followed by a thoughtless snap decision, hysterical overreaction, then triumphant self-aggrandizement that turns reality on its head.
In July of 2010, WikiLeaks posted over 90,000 highly sensitive diplomatic and military cables about the Afghanistan War, obtained (it seems at the moment) from an American traitor of the lofty rank of private first class. Then three months later, WikiLeaks leaked another 400,000 sensitive cables and documents, this time from the Iraq War.
For literally months, the administration had no reaction whatsoever, none. But then in December, after a third batch of leaks on November 28th, 2010 -- about which see below -- federal offices all over the world, including military facilities, received orders from the top of the chain: Effective immediately, nobody is allowed to download any data at all from the classified government internet.
To understand the impossibility of obeying such an ill-considered order, we need a little background:
The federal government has its own computer networks, both unclassified and classified. The classified network, SIPRNET (Secret Internet Protocol Router Network), is used to transmit classified information and host classified websites.
For security reasons, not all secret computers are physically connected to the SIPRNET; many offices have stand-alone secret computers which may be connected to a local area network (LAN), but are not connected to SIPR.
Until this order was promulgated, employees on classified projects did most of their work on their own stand-alone secret computers. When they needed to share files, as they often do (projects include many engineers, managers, and support personnel from several facilities), they had a secure protocol to follow:
- The sender copies the files to an authorized removable hard drive;
- He then uploads the relevant files to a computer that is attached to the SIRP network;
- Then he e-mails the files to another authorized SIPRNET user at some other facility;
- The recipient would then download the files from the SIPR computer onto an authorized external hard drive;
- Then the recipient uploads them to his own stand-alone computer.
Then, out of the blue, came the new orders... and now the vital Step 4 is forbidden: No longer can any file, whether classified or un-, whether attached to e-mail or downloaded from a secret website, be downloaded from the SIPRNET computer to a removable drive, thus to be transferred to a stand-alone machine.
You can imagine the stunned confusion this order creates. Suppose an employee needs to give a classified PowerPoint presentation to a meeting in a classified room which has no networked computers (that's true of most meeting rooms). Therefore, he must use a stand-alone secret computer to run the presentation.
Many different team members are working on pieces of the presentation all across the country, submitting their contributions via SIPRNET. Our employee's job is to collate and consolidate all these files to a single project -- which he must somehow transfer to the stand-alone in the meeting room.
But how? You can't disconnect the SIPRNET computer and lug it into the meeting room to show your presentation.
The order is absurd, self-defeating, and impossible to obey while still carrying out the very function it was designed to safeguard. It's like trying to stop drunk drivers by forbidding anyone to operate a motor vehicle within 20 miles of a building that contains liquor. You may as well just forbid all automobile travel; or in the present case, you may as well forbid all projects whose members are unable to personally carry their physical computers to the same meeting room.
Scrambling to make sense of the senseless, somebody somewhere offered a provision for exceptions; but the exception protocol is so larded down with a lengthy series of required permission slips that it doesn't help:
- For urgent operational requirements, the exeptions protocol requires a digitally signed e-mail to be sent via SIPR by the unit commanding officer detailing why an exception to the order must be issued in the particular case.
- If he or she isn't available, then the digitally disnged e-mail must be sent by the next officer up the chain of the rank O-6 or higher, or the civilian equivalent. (O-6 is a colonel in the Army, Marines, and Air Force or a Navy captain.)
- For non-urgent operational requirements, Command must send a digitially signed e-mail through SIPR, filling out a lengthy exception form identifying the precise workstation computer from which the employee will download.
- Then eventually, some technician will get around to going to that workstation and specifically resetting the machine's ability to download to removable media.
- After which that employee can download the necessary files from that particular computer. But if that computer is unable to handle the files, the process starts all over again with a different SIPR networking station.
As anyone who has ever worked within the federal government understands only too well, this procedure can take days or even weeks, if it ever happens at all; the request form can also wind up buried on somebody's desk until the stars grow cold. So in reality, many if not most requests for exceptions, no matter how vital, will either be rejected or more likely simply disappear into the void, with nobody having a clue where they went.
Meanwhile, what happens to project meetings, many of which are called on a day's notice or even less, is anybody's guess.
But what cosmic stimulus triggered the Obama administration to issue the order in the first place? As the WikiLeaks meltdown ran its course, what caused the Obamacle to shift from stage 2 (ignore everything) to stage 3 (order the first "solution" that springs to mind)? Why after the November leak, but not after the leaks in July and October?
The earlier leaks outed sources and secret American agents, surely endangering hundreds of our military personnel and Afghan and Iraqi allies. Yet the Obama administration didn't seem concerned enough to react to leaks that merely undermined our war effort: It certainly didn't order any changes in the downloading of classified materials in July, August, September, or October.
So why did it fly into a tizzy in December, after the third leak? Why did the nomenklatura suddenly run wild in the streets with their hair on fire?
Perhaps this has something to so with it: Unlike the two earlier data dumps, November's leak exposed diplomatic cables, embarassing the administration and Barack H. Obama himself. The third set of leaks directly affected diplomats that Obama had appointed and even his own cabinet members; it was their e-mail conversations that went public. Returning to Wikipedia -- occasionally, for some purposes, it is the best source -- we get an excellent description of what must finally have moved the administration to try to "do something":
The contents of the U.S. diplomatic cables leak describe in detail events and incidents surrounding international affairs from 274 embassies dating from 28 December 1966 to 28 February 2010. The diplomatic cables revealed numerous unguarded comments and revelations: critiques and praises about the host countries of various U.S. embassies, discussion and resolutions towards ending ongoing tension in the Middle East, efforts for and resistance against nuclear disarmament, actions in the War on Terror, assessments of other threats around the world, dealings between various countries, U.S. intelligence and counterintelligence efforts, U.S. support of dictatorship and other diplomatic actions.
The leaked cables expose that British official revealed that diplomats of the U.S. and Britain eavesdropped on Secretary General Kofi Annan in the weeks before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, even though international treaties prohibit spying at the UN. Further, they reveal that U.S. diplomats told an Afghan government official to keep quiet after they learned that a major U.S. government contractor firm was pimping little boys to be auctioned off to be raped by Afghan policemen in parties organized by the contractor.
(That last cable was dated June 24th, 2009, and the event itself occurred on April 11th, 2009 -- and who was President of the United States then?)
The panic was entirely avoidable, because the crisis of a severe leak was entirely forseeable. Rules were already in place to prevent that private from stealing classified data in the first place, since he certainly had no authorization or legitimate reason to download anything onto a removable drive. The security procedures specifically forbid using any removable hard drive except those maintained by the base itself, and there is an elaborate procedure for checking out a removable drive; had the existing rules been followed, the command would know that the private was misusing his access (which he shouldn't have had in the first place).
The problem wasn't in the rules themselves; the problem was inadequate supervision of personnel with security clearances, improper and ineffective security checking, and allowing completely open access to classified files that had nothing to do with the duties of that private, or of anybody else at that base, for that matter.
Again, Obama's "hair on fire" reaction to the WikiLeaks scandal led him to enunciate a rule that had nothing whatsoever to do with the crisis (which he had not forseen), had no possibility of solving it (because the rule doesn't get at the root of the problem), and in fact will only make things worse. But once the Obamacle hath spake, it becomes holy writ that cannot be changed or modified.
Impulse engines on full ahead
In every UPsie example above, the fundamental error is not the snap decision itself; those are merely symptoms of Obamunism. The underlying problem is Barack Obama's attitude towards decision-making: He's both a revelator and a defender:
- Obama begins with the assumption that he is so brilliant, so far-sighted, so beyond all mortal ken, that any idea of his is a revelation that will astound the masses and cut the Gordian Knots that have bedeviled presidents and prophets for centuries. He is, in a nuthouse, full of himself to bursting.
- Then, once having issued his commandment, he is so thin-skinned that even a hint that he might have been wrong elicits a towering rage, and induces a vicious and bloodthirsty defense of every last jot and tittle of his pronunciamento. He digs in and defends his original impulsive policy like a gambler calling an all-in bet with a jack-five offsuit.
As witness for the last, ponder Obama's response to what he himself called a "shellacking" in last November's election. Having been told in no uncertain terms by voters that we need to cut the budget drastically and lay off the "transformative," revolutionary policies, he has since then:
Issued a new budget that increases spending and taxes and assumes staggering new deficits as far as the eye can see;
- Refused even to consider any serious changes to ObamaCare;
- Ordered his EPA to ram through "cap and tax" by regulatory fiat, and to hell with Congress;
- Pushed hard to unionize the TSA;
- Denounced Israel for building houses in its "settlements" (by which Obama means Jerusalem, Israel's capital);
- Pressed the Federal Communications Commission to start "regulating" the internet, beginning with so-called Net Neutrality rules;
- And applauded his wife's crusade to promote federal regulation to tell ordinary Americans how much to eat, how much salt to consume, what kind of cooking oil we can use, and what beverages we can drink.
In other words, he doubled down on every last piece of the nanny-state that voters rejected just three months ago.
Revelator and defender: It's a potent combination for a man who, whatever his faults, has been elected leader of the free world; and it has become a nightmare for we the people. Even if Obama is defeated in 2012, he will have had four years to mire us so deep in the muck that we might not be able to escape for a decade... during which an awful lot of ordinary people will either die outright -- in war zones, our soldiers, agents, and allies; here at home, those left to the tender clutches of ObamaCare -- or at the least, will see their lives ruined, their fortunes obliterated, and their sacred honors defiled.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama himself will truck blithely along, by and large insulated from the consequences of the laws, orders, and rules he has crafted for the "little people," and immune even to the slightest self-doubt or sober reflection. After his presidency ends -- whether he wins, loses, or even refuses to stand for reelection next year -- he will move on to greater power, prestige, and corrupt payment.
The tremendous blows he continues to strike against traditional American exceptionalism and America itself endear Obama to the army of envious, anti-American power brokers throughout the world; in return, they will shower him with laurels and accolades and dine him on milk and honey the rest of his life, just as they do his comrade in arms from the late 1970s.
Indeed, Obama has wrought himself into a successful Jimmy Carter, version 2.0. Will we ever recover this time?
February 10, 2011
Ooh, Cold Snap!
The administration of Barack H. Obama is at last proposing to cut some federal spending; according to the National Journal, his budget will slash about 50% from LIHEAP, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program:
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, would see funding drop by about $2.5 billion from an authorized 2009 total of $5.1 billion.
I reckon the thinking is, now that we're in the midst of such robust anthropogenic global warming, with 2010 tying for the hot-test year in the his-to-ry of Pla-net Earth, why should anyone need government assistance for home heating costs? With the current heat wave sweeping the country, poor people should be sweltering! Obviously, they have not obeyed instructions.
It appears not everybody has climbed aboard the same page, however:
In a letter to Obama, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., wrote, "We simply cannot afford to cut LIHEAP funding during one of the most brutal winters in history. Families across Massachusetts, and the country, depend on these monies to heat their homes and survive the season."
Perhaps Senator John "On the one hand, on the other hand" Kerry (D-MA, 95%) should get in contact with the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, UK, and synchronize stories. On the other other hand, so too might President B.O. himself:
Obama tapped the LIHEAP discretionary fund in January during a record-shattering cold snap in the Northeast.
Fortunately for the future of Obamunism, there will not be any real cuts; under the adminstration's core guiding philosophy of "SpendGo," any cuts in spending must be offset by corresponding spending increases:
Officials were quick to stress that while LIHEAP was being trimmed, many other Department of Health and Human Services programs, particularly those funding early childhood education initiatives, will see their funding rise.
So poor people may freeze during the current "record-setting," "brutal" "cold snap" that characterizes global warming; but at least, thank goodness, pre-schoolers will still receive intense instruction in avoiding sexually transmitted diseases and attitude adjustments about same-sex marriage.
January 12, 2011
There Went the Judge - Here Comes the Judge
I mentioned something in passing a couple posts ago. I noted that the most powerful federal official shot during Jared Loughner's rampage was not Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ, 95%), but rather District Court Judge John McCarthy Roll, who, unlike Giffords, was slain. Roll was nominated by George H.W. Bush in 1991; he was the senior federal judge in Arizona... and my impression is that he was judicially fairly conservative.
President Barack H. Obama will of course nominate his replacement. The question is whether he will heed Rahm Emanuel's advice and not let this crisis go to waste: Will Obama nominate a judicially ultra-liberal judge in the mold of Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Stephen Breyer to replace Roll?
If he does, Republicans, for sake of simple decency, should not allow him to get away with it; they should filibuster if necessary to prevent the Left from gleefully capitalizing on the very "tragedy" (more correctly, "unspeakable crime") they decry.
That is, if the new Senate rules of Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 95%) still allow such filibusters, or if (as they promise) they detonate their own "nuclear option." But that brings up another curious flip-flop: I remember when the Democrats were in the minority, and the privilege to filibuster judicial nominees was a cornerstone of our democracy.
November 21, 2010
Rahma Lama Gang Bang
Heh, looks like Rahm Emanuel, former Chief of Staff to the Obamacle, won't have as smooth a cruise to the mayorality of Chicago as he expected, once his boss had leaned on Jesse Jackson, jr., to get out of Rahm's way. (The signature campaign strategy of Barack H. Obama: force all the "pretenders" from the ballot, run unopposed, then claim a mandate due to the landslide victory over the Invisible Man.)
All for nought, as yesterday, former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun confirmed that she definitely is running against him:
After filing signature petitions last week to run for mayor, Braun's announcement was certainly no surprise. She had several local elected leaders supporter her at her rally, including U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, who led the crowd in a "Yes Carol Can!" chant, borrowing from the "Yes We Can" mantra used by President Barack Obama....
Almost at the beginning of her 24-minute speech, Braun took a shot at one of her mayoral opponents, Rahm Emanuel, for speeches and commercials he's aired stating the election to replace retiring Mayor Richard Daley means Chicagoans need to decide if they will pick a leader who will help Chicago "continue to be a great city or become a second tier city."
"Mr. Emanuel, your commercials pose a completely false choice," she said. "You may not understand it, but the challenge we face is not whether Chicago will be a second tier city, but whether our city will be great for all its citizens."
The election will be held on February 22nd, with a runoff (if no candidate gets a majority of the vote) on April 5th. The orgy of opponents multiplies like bacteria:
Others who have said they are running for mayor include former Chicago Board of Education President Gery Chico, City Clerk Miguel del Valle, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis and state Sen. James T. Meeks.
The only poll I've seen of the race that included Moseley Braun has Emanuel up by 36% to 14% (for Danny Davis), with 13% for Moseley Braun. But this poll was taken before she had formally joined the race; I expect her stock to rise, now that she's made the announcement. But even with these numbers, it looks like Rahm Emanuel is headed towards a runoff, not a Blitzkrieg. (The poll was administered by the Chicago Teamsters Joint Council 25 -- take it for what it's worth!)
I know Emanuel is no leftist-progressive ideologue, like so many of Barack H. Obama's other appointees. But he's a soulless, calculating, unprincipled politico who sees truths and lies simply as arrows in his quiver -- and a seeming Zionist who eagerly served Barack Obama, the most anti-Israel, anti-Zionist president since Franklin Roosevelt. (In fact, Obama appears, from his associates, actually to be antisemitic as well as anti-Israel, which probably was not true of FDR.)
I'm quite happy to see Rahm Emanuel given grief and exasperation in his quest to follow in the footloops of Richard Daley, jr. It couldn't happen to a dicier fellow.
October 7, 2010
Portrait of Obama as a Kenyan Anti-Colonialist
This piece is a collaboration between Sachiko Yamada and Dafydd ab Hugh.
On September 18th, Forbes Magazine published a fascinating and very controversial article by Dinesh D'Souza: "Obama's Problem With Business." The subhead is a little more specific: "The President isn't exactly a socialist. So what's driving his hostility to private enterprise?"
The thesis -- that President Barack H. Obama is not a socialist but an anti-colonialist -- is startling; but the more one thinks about it, the more it seems to explain:
From a very young age and through his formative years Obama learned to see America as a force for global domination and destruction. He came to view America's military as an instrument of neocolonial occupation. He adopted his father's position that capitalism and free markets are code words for economic plunder. Obama grew to perceive the rich as an oppressive class, a kind of neocolonial power within America. In his worldview, profits are a measure of how effectively you have ripped off the rest of society, and America's power in the world is a measure of how selfishly it consumes the globe's resources and how ruthlessly it bullies and dominates the rest of the planet.
For Obama, the solutions are simple. He must work to wring the neocolonialism out of America and the West. And here is where our anticolonial understanding of Obama really takes off, because it provides a vital key to explaining not only his major policy actions but also the little details that no other theory can adequately account for.
The White House tore into the D'Souzan article, but even more so into Forbes itself for daring to publish it, according to Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post (moving soon to the Daily Beast):
Dinesh D'Souza has drawn a torrent of criticism with a Forbes cover story that accuses President Obama of adopting "the cause of anti-colonialism" from his Kenyan father....
"It's a stunning thing, to see a publication you would see in a dentist's office, so lacking in truth and fact," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says in an interview. "I think it represents a new low."
Gibbs is meeting with Thursday afternoon with Forbes's Washington bureau chief, Brian Wingfield, to discuss his objections. "Did they not fact-check this at all, or did they fact-check it and just willfully ignore it?" he asks.
To which Forbes had a canny response:
The magazine would not make Editor-in-Chief Steve Forbes, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 and 2000, available for comment, or any other editor. The biweekly did issue a statement: "Dinesh D'Souza's cover story was presented as an analysis of how the president thinks. No facts are in contention. Forbes stands by the story."
Kurtz turns smuggish by proxy, concluding his hit piece with this:
Columbia Journalism Review this week called the D'Souza article "a fact-twisting, error-laden piece of paranoia" and "the worst kind of smear journalism--a singularly disgusting work."
But Ryan Chittum's piece at the CJR, which includes the indictment that D'Souza's article is "fact-twisting" and "error-laden," astonishingly cites not a single factual error. Not one! The entire rant (it's too much an adolescent whine to qualify as analysis or even critique) is pure invective and remarkably fact free. Truly it must be read to be believed, though the reader may come away with a diminished respect for the Columbia Journalism Review, and indeed the entire Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. No, really.
The closest Chittum comes to finding error is this:
The atrociousness isn’t limited to the smears. This, for instance, has to be one of the stupidest paragraphs ever written in Forbes (emphasis [Chittum's]):
The President’s actions are so bizarre that they mystify his critics and supporters alike. Consider this headline from the Aug. 18, 2009 issue of the Wall Street Journal: “Obama Underwrites Offshore Drilling.” Did you read that correctly? You did. The Administration supports offshore drilling -- but drilling off the shores of Brazil. With Obama’s backing, the U.S. Export-Import Bank offered $2 billion in loans and guarantees to Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petrobras to finance exploration in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro -- not so the oil ends up in the U.S. He is funding Brazilian exploration so that the oil can stay in Brazil.
Get that? The oil that Petrobras pumps will only go to Brazil because it’s owned by Brazil. So Hugo Chavez will sell us his Citgo gas, but Lula won’t? And even if it somehow did (it should be noted that Petrobras has an American affiliate), that would mean Brazil would need less oil from elsewhere, which means more for us. Supply and demand, dude. Oil is fungible. Gah.
Yes, we "got that": D'Souza concludes that Barack Obama supports Brazillian oil exploration: It's wonderfully anti-colonialist if third-world Brazil controls its own vital resources! But he opposes American oil exploration anywhere and everywhere in the United States (say -- that's a fact!): American resource independence would be dreadful... the colonial American empire must be kept in continual check; and one way to do that is to drain our resources buying oil from our rivals (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait) and our enemies (Iran, Venezuela).
One may disagree with the analysis, but the paragraph should be comprehensible.
With admirable economy of rhetoric, D'Souza chose not to belabor the point in Chittum-level words (as we were compelled to do above). Instead, D'Souza clung to the hope that readers would have a comprehension level somewhere north of high school.
In this assumption, D'Souza evidently erred; but then, perhaps his target audience was a skosh more elevated than the staff of the Columbia Journalism Review... say, at least the level of a legal secretary, or a sci-fi fan, or a pajama-clad blogger, any of whom should have had no difficulty parsing "one of the stupidest paragraphs ever written in Forbes."
Kathleen Parker, also at the Post is beside herself, melding the vitriol of Ann Coulter with the snidery of R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.; she is, if anything, even more fact-free (if one's factual content can possibly be less than zero):
Of course I knew it all along. President Obama is a Kenyan anti-colonialist and that's why he doesn't get us. He's a ticked-off African.
So goes the latest in Obama-theory, originated by the usually rational conservative thinker Dinesh D'Souza and endorsed by none other than Newt Gingrich, Republican anarchist and onetime speaker of the House of Representatives.
Cue soundtrack to "Twilight Zone." Or "Psycho." Or, I dunno, Tarzan summoning an elephant stampede to quash yet another pestilential imperial invasion.
Powerful stuff! Who could argue with any of it?
So, what does D’Souza actually say? He says Obama's anti-business domestic policy and anti-American foreign policy do not come from Marxism or even European style socialism. D’Souza writes, "The real problem with Obama is worse -- much worse.” The president's anti-Americanism comes from his deep-seated anti-colonialism, which he "inherited" (via "dreams") from his biological father. And who was Barack Obama, Sr.?
- A man who grew up in Kenya, studied at Harvard, had a family in Hawaii -- then abandoned his wife and infant son Barry to return to Kenya.
- A polygamist and habitual drunkard who finally killed himself in a drunk-driving accident.
- A scholar and economist who in 1965 published an article in the East Africa Journal, "Problems Facing Our Socialism," on colonialism and its supposed continuing legacy.
What exactly is anticolonialism anyway? D'Souza explains:
Anticolonialism is the doctrine that rich countries of the West got rich by invading, occupying and looting poor countries of Asia, Africa and South America....
Anticolonialists hold that even when countries secure political independence they remain economically dependent on their former captors. This dependence is called neocolonialism, a term defined by the African statesman Kwame Nkrumah (1909--72) in his book Neocolonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism. Nkrumah, Ghana's first president, writes that poor countries may be nominally free, but they continue to be manipulated from abroad by powerful corporate and plutocratic elites. These forces of neocolonialism oppress not only Third World people but also citizens in their own countries. Obviously the solution is to overthrow the oppressors. This was the anticolonial ideology of Barack Obama Sr. and many in his generation, including many of my own relatives in India.
Is this truly what Obama believes? D'Souza lists some of the oddities of Obama; at first blush, they do seem only explicable as examples of anti-colonialism. And let's begin with Ryan Chittum's all-time favorite D'Souzan point:
- Obama applauds Brazillian domestic oil exploration but deplores American domestic oil exploration. D'Souza: "Why support oil drilling off the coast of Brazil but not in America? Obama believes that the West uses a disproportionate share of the world's energy resources, so he wants neocolonial America to have less and the former colonized countries to have more."
- Obama's "carbon tax" proposal is the same policy writ larger.
- He doesn't seek to nationalize the banks but to "decolonize" them -- to bring them under government control. "Obama retains the right to refuse bailout paybacks [to] maintain his control."
- "For Obama, health insurance companies on their own are oppressive racketeers, but once they submitted to federal oversight he was happy to do business with them."
- Anti-colonialism also explains Obama's tax and spending policies: He is redistributing income -- spreading the wealth around, as Obama himself put it -- to return plundered loot to its rightful owners.
- He applauds the "Ground Zero Mosque" because (a) the 9/11 attacks were the catalyst that "unleashed the American bogey and pushed us into Iraq and Afghanistan," and (b) because he believes that some radical Islamists and terrorists are simply resisting American imperialism. (Oddly, a number of American libertarians suffer from this same delusion, which may explain why so many of them voted for Obama in 2008.)
- And of course, the rest of Barack Obama's foreign policy and national-security strategy seems tailor-made to deplete American independence and shatter our superpower status in favor of a powerful, international body run primarily by third-world countries -- a body that would have actual sovereign power over the United States, Europe, and other colonial oppressors.
None of this makes any sense, D'Souza argues, unless Obama believes as his father believed:
As [Barack Obama, Sr.] put it, "We need to eliminate power structures that have been built through excessive accumulation so that not only a few individuals shall control a vast magnitude of resources as is the case now."
One might object that Obama couldn't possibly believe America, of all countries, was a "colonial power": We've never invaded other nations for the purpose of incorporating them into a putative American "empire;" or plundered a native population of their natural resources; or forced them to buy crappy, cheaply manufactured products for exorbitant prices; or inflicted a separate-and-unequal legal system upon a foreign population; or any other hallmark of the colonialism of Spain, Portugal, France, or Belgium, the truly horrific colonialism of the Moslem countries, or even the much more benign English model. (The crimes of the English in India fade to a whiter shade of pale compared to the nightmare of the Belgian Congo or the African nations conquered by Arab Moslems.)
Of course, America certainly did oppress blacks and other racial minorities for nearly 190 years; but racism -- which most nations practiced as bad as or worse than the U.S. did -- does not constitute "colonialism." Both are evil, but they are distinct evils.
However, to a glib anti-colonialist, lack of colonial history is no impediment to a charge of neo-colonialism:
Today's neocolonial leader is not Europe but America. As the late Palestinian scholar Edward Said -- who was one of Obama's teachers at Columbia University -- wrote in Culture and Imperialism, "The United States has replaced the earlier great empires and is the dominant outside force."
From the anticolonial perspective, American imperialism is on a rampage. For a while, U.S. power was checked by the Soviet Union, but since the end of the Cold War America has been the sole superpower. Moreover, 9/11 provided the occasion for America to invade and occupy two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, and also to seek political and economic domination in the same way the French and the British empires once did. So in the anticolonial view, America is now the rogue elephant that subjugates and tramples the people of the world.
(As Alexander Meiklejohn said, some crimes are so heinous, not even innocence is a defense.)
Reckon you can rationalize anything if you're clever enough -- and if you've unfettered yourself from the shackles of fact, drinking deep from the fountains of fancy.
Does "anti-colonialism" explain all the odd behaviors of the One We Unfortunately Have? Hard to say, but we are inclined to believe it explains a great deal. At least we should all agree on one point: Obama does not like the America he knows. He does not believe in traditional American values, American exceptionalism, the Pax Americana, or the unique and wonderful quality of our country. Does this come from his father's colonial-ectomy? Who can say?
Whatever the reason, President Barack Hussein Obama does not represent the America we love; in fact, he wants to recreate it according to his own dream (or his father's). That alone is reason enough to say that we the people must terminate his agenda, before he and his acolytes succeed in implementing the dreams from his father.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery.
July 15, 2010
Why Did Obama's DOJ Botch Roman Polanski's Extradition?
When the Swiss denied the extradition request for child-rapist Roman Polanski, they explicitly gave as their primary reason the refusal of the Department of Justice to release a transcript of several days of "secret testimony" by one of the prosecutors, Roger Gunson:
The Justice Department said the transcripts couldn't be provided, according to a letter from Swiss officials to the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland. The letter was dated Monday and obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday night.
The Swiss officials said that the denial of access to the information was the key factor in the refusal to extradite Polanski.
The testimony was taken, it appears (though the reporting is quite vague), during a Los Angeles Superior Court hearing this last January, held to determine whether Polanski could be sentenced "in absentia;" eventually, Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza ruled that he could not be, that he had to be physically present for the hearing to occur.
The request was particularly risible and frivolous in this case -- given that Polanski already fled from a previous sentence, which he seems to have believed was only an additional 48 days of "diagnostic study." What are the odds that, were he sentenced in absentia today for a more reasonable term in jail, he would actually show up to serve it? Obviously, the only purpose of such a hearing would be for Polanski's lawyers to refight the original charge -- then only allow him to return if he was victorious and "vindicated."
Retired Prosecutor Gunson's testimony during that hearing remains sealed, per the DoJ; however, it's easy to guess what Gunson said: I presume he repeated the claim he made in a statement in June, 2008 -- and earlier that year in a pro-Polanski documentary -- that the original judge, Laurence J. Rittenband, had been "coached" during the original trial in 1977 by another prosecutor, Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney David Wells. I'm not quite sure what "coached" means in this case, probably the allegation that the prosecutor and judge colluded against Polanski.
Gunson also claimed in documentary and statement that in 1997, twenty years after, he and Polanski's attorney Douglas Dalton met in chambers with Judge Larry Paul Fidler. Fidler, they say, agreed that Polanski could return to the United States and be sentenced only to probation with no prison or jail time.
But President Barack H. Obama's Justice Department denied the Swiss request for that testimony. They must have known that withholding it guaranteed that Swiss authorities would reject extradition: Swiss law allows extradition only in cases where the defendant would be sentenced to at least six months in jail; yet the Gunson testimony went to the question of whether Polanski faced any jail time at all. Obviously, without being allowed to read that testimony for themselves and weigh it against other, more pertinent evidence, the Swiss were bound to err on the side of Polanski, who owns property in Gstadt, rather than the distant United States.
I see only two plausibilities, neither of which redounds to the credit of Attorney General Eric Holder or President Obama:
- The Justice Department reflexively withheld the testimony because top personnel were afraid the Swiss would seize upon it as proof that Polanski didn't qualify to be extradited under Swiss law. This is "teen logic," like a high-schooler having a fender bender, then parking the car on the street so Dad would think it was a hit-and-run in the middle of the night.
- Justice deliberately withheld the testimony to ensure that Polanski would not be extradited, would not stand trial again for the brutal rape and for fleeing prosecution, and would not be punished. It is at the very least curious that Polanski hired a new attorney, Reid Weingarten, four days after his arrest in Zurich... an attorney who is a "close friend of Attorney General Eric Holder."
The Weingarten angle is tantalizing; did Holder's pal broker a Washington deal to keep Polanski free? Did Holder agree -- he does have a history of killing prosecutions, doesn't he? -- in order to keep faith with Obama's supporters and donors among the Hollywood Left?
Polanski, 76, was arrested last weekend at Zurich’s airport on a 31-year-old fugitive warrant issued after he skipped sentencing for having sex with a 13-year-old girl. The addition of Weingarten, who has known Holder since the two worked together in the department’s Public Integrity Section in the 1970s, means Polanski now has a powerful advocate in Washington.
The New York Times reports:
The recruiting of Mr. Weingarten was a strong signal that Mr. Polanski’s legal team intends to push hard on the Washington end of the case. Mr. Polanski was arrested on his way to the Zurich Film Festival after Swiss authorities received a letter from the Department of Justice requesting that he be held for possible extradition to the United States.
The question now is, from how high up the chain at Justice came the decision to refuse the Swiss request for the Gunson testimony?
Under the first hypothesis, it was just a boneheaded mistake by either Eric Holder himself or one of his top deputies. There is ample evidence that Polanski actually faced far more than six months, possibly as much as twenty years. As Patterico pointed out in early May, both Polanski's plea transcript from 1978 and a Christmas Eve Day decision in 2009 by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rebut the urban legend that Roman Polanski had a sentencing "deal" with Judge Rittenband to "serve" only 42 days of a diagnostic study as his sole "punishment." In fact, Patterico notes, such studies are not punitive at all and cannot constitute a "sentence;" they're meant to help determine what sentence the convict should receive.)
Nobody, not even Polanski's attorneys, claims that the defendant was legally authorized to flee the country to avoid further court proceedings; so at the very least, he should be subject to prosecution for unlawful flight, which would likely net him at least six months on that charge alone. Too, serving some sort of sentence following the full 90 days of evaluation -- even if only probation -- was surely part of any plea agreement; since he failed to fulfill his side of the agreement, the plea bargain is off -- and Polanski is now subject to the full set of charges, including oral, vaginal, and anal rape of a minor by drugs and force. If convicted, and I suspect he would be, I'm sure he would be eligible for life in prison (de facto if not de jure, as he turns 77 years old next month).
Instead of refusing to hand over the ramblings of an obviously biased witness, Roger Gunson, Obama's Department of Justice should have released it and simply made the argument that Gunson's testimony is not dispositive anent the punishment that awaits Mr. Polanski upon his return. It's possible the Swiss law-enforcement officials would have found some other excuse not to extradite; but it's also possible they would decide, if the petition was strong and all documents included, that they couldn't brush it aside so easily.
And of course, the other hypothesis -- that Holder once again quashed prosecution of a politically favored defendant in a sensational case -- is even more reprehensible. It forms a pattern of biased conduct verging on political bribery at the DoJ that would further erode any confidence among the American people that Barack H. Obama is fit to serve as President of the United States... or at the very least, that Eric Holder is fit to serve as Attorney General. (But who appointed Eric Holder?)
The botching of the Polanski extradition case -- or its corrupt quashing -- opens yet another vista of the Democratic culture of corruption, an inexhaustible oil spill of moral rot and political turpitude seeping throughout all three branches of the federal government.
Drip, drip, drip.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
May 25, 2010
Ever since I was about seventeen years old, I have believed that property ownership -- or monopoly control of land, for the purists who insist land, being non-anthropogenic, cannot be "owned" -- is the most fundamental civil right we have. (From here on, I ignore the purists and talk about land "ownership" without the wishy-washy quotation marks.) migraine
Correspondingly, the vigorous defense of land ownership should be given the widest latitude in the courts: A man's home is his castle, and his land is his fiefdom; or that's the way it oughta be. There is nothing more terrifying to modern man than to be turned out of his own property, especially if he owns it (or so he believes, not understanding the true goal of the Left).
So take a long, cold look at what passes for justice in the Epoch of Obamunism:
An Arizona man who has waged a 10-year campaign to stop a flood of illegal immigrants from crossing his property is being sued by 16 Mexican nationals who accuse him of conspiring to violate their civil rights when he stopped them at gunpoint on his ranch on the U.S.-Mexico border....
The lawsuit is based on a March 7, 2004, incident in a dry wash on the 22,000-acre ranch, when he approached a group of illegal immigrants while carrying a gun and accompanied by a large dog.
Attorneys for the immigrants - five women and 11 men who were trying to cross illegally into the United States - have accused [Roger Barnett] of holding the group captive at gunpoint, threatening to turn his dog loose on them and saying he would shoot anyone who tried to escape.
Let's rephrase that last sentence, using the actual legal term for what Barnett did: "Attorneys for the [illegal] immigrants... have accused Mr. Barnett of [effecting a citizen's arrest of the trespassing illegals]."
If a person enters onto my property unlawfully (as has happened) and threatens me or my property, I believe with great passion that I have the right to make a citizen's arrest and hold him until the police arrive (which I have done). I believe I have the right to do so with a gun in my hand (as I had), since one likely response to trying to do so unarmed would be for the miscreant to attack me.
But I guess that right doesn't exist in Arizona, or so the federal judge appears to believe:
In the lawsuit, MALDEF [the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, who brought the lawsuit on behalf of the illegals] said Mr. Barnett approached the group as the immigrants moved through his property, and that he was carrying a pistol and threatening them in English and Spanish. At one point, it said, Mr. Barnett's dog barked at several of the women and he yelled at them in Spanish, "My dog is hungry and he's hungry for buttocks."
The lawsuit said he then called his wife and two Border Patrol agents arrived at the site. It also said Mr. Barnett acknowledged that he had turned over 12,000 illegal immigrants to the Border Patrol since 1998.
In March, U.S. District Judge John Roll rejected a motion by Mr. Barnett to have the charges dropped, ruling there was sufficient evidence to allow the matter to be presented to a jury. Mr. Barnett's attorney, David Hardy, had argued that illegal immigrants did not have the same rights as U.S. citizens.
Small wonder that Arizona enacted the law that so infuriated la Rive Gauche!
This lawsuit, being taken so seriously by one and all, should shock the conscience of any real American. After all, we're not talking about some teenaged beach bum cutting across a corner of your lawn to get to the surf. Illegal aliens frequently trash the land, destroy buildings, steal property, slaughter livestock, wreck water tanks seeking a drink (Barnett actually installed a faucet on his 8,000 gallon tank so that they wouldn't keep damaging it), threaten family members, and even kill owners -- and that's when the illegals aren't drug dealers or terrorist infiltrators. How can any legislator in his right mind pass a law making it illegal to effect a citizen's arrest of such potentially deadly trespassers?
Ah, but there's the rub: "in his right mind." As President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa of Mexico recently reminded us, many on the Left believe that people have the "civil right" to migrate.
But if migrants have the right to migrate, the logical conclusion is that those across whose land they exercise that putative right have no corresponding right to stop them. This belief completely upends the great liberty and virtue of property ownership; it tells citizens they have no right to defend their property and vests property rights instead in those who don't own any. It's the clearest oracle yet that Obamunism equals socialism, Michael Medved notwithstanding.
Illegal aliens cannot possibly have a "civil right" to cross a rancher's land to enter the country, just as raging thugs of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) can have no "civil right" to swarm like locusts onto the private property of a randomly selected Bank of America executive to "protest" that bank foreclosing against defaulted mortgages. In both cases, mobs of leftist looters use the pretense of "populism" to institutionalize theft -- theft of land via migration and squatting, or theft via involuntary debt "forgiveness" in the name of poverty. America is creeping noticibly towards being a kleptocracy, like Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
(Tellingly, as reported by Big Government, the SEIU is itself deep in debt to Bank of America; no conflict of interest there!)
Private property has been under seige for decades, perhaps centuries, if we include such messes as the French Revolution. But for the first time in my lifetime, we now have a president who appears to share the economic views of Venezuela President Oogo Chavez: That everything really belongs to the sovereign, who can reclaim his royal property (that is, the entire country and every jot and tittle of its GDP) whenever he chooses. We live in parlous times; I cannot predict which side will win.
In a forthcoming post, we'll examine the rise of debt-theft since passage of the Community Reinvestment Act... and how that is now driving a government fiscal spending crisis -- which itself triggers a world-wide revolution against government overspending. Action, reaction. Where is the synthesis? Will property rights survive this century?
April 6, 2010
Does FCC Stand for Federal Command and Control?
One of the hallmarks of Obamunism is that "due process" becomes irrelevant: Whatever the great man decides the people "need," whatever he decrees, shall become law, by hook or by crook (mostly the latter).
Thus, when Congress fails to enact Barack H. Obama's "cripple and tax" energy bill, despite staggering Democratic majorities in both houses, the president's Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, issues the very same rules that failed to gain majority support as administrative EPA regulations instead.
If the intricacies of Senate debate prevent ObamaCare from being enacted due to a potential GOP filibuster, the Obamunists in Congress concoct a scheme to misuse the reconciliation process as an end run around standard practice and due process. If even Democratic senators and representatives are reluctant, no problem; a series of bribes, including offers of federal jobs after the congressman is booted out by his irate constituents, will fix the vote right up.
Following the correct process is irrelevant... we need action, action, action! Our ends are so vital they justify any means necessary (or expedient) to enact them.
Thus, today's ruling against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in its quest to impose "net neutrality" rules on the internet was an amazing and hopeful sign that the federal courts may finally be willing to clip the wings of Obamunism, before it becomes as powerful as New Dealism did 75 years ago. And this is true regardless of whether net neutrality itself is good or bad: Today's ruling struck a blow for due process and rule of law, and against the Obamacle's penchant for rule by decree:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the FCC lacks authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks. That was a big victory for Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable company, which had challenged the FCC's authority to impose such "network neutrality" obligations on broadband providers....
The FCC now defines broadband as a lightly regulated information service. That means it is not subject to the obligations traditional telecommunications services have to share their networks with competitors and treat all traffic equally. But the FCC maintains that existing law gives it authority to set rules for information services, including net neutrality rules.
Tuesday's court decision rejected that reasoning, concluding that Congress has not given the FCC "untrammeled freedom" to regulate without explicit legal authority.
FCC Chairman Julius "Caesar" Genachowski, a crony of Obama's from their Harvard Law Review days -- meet the new boss, same as the old boss -- takes exception to the very idea that he cannot enact any regulation he deems fit. True, the FCC predictably blames George W. Bush for the ruling, since the FCC originally promulgated its order in 2008; but that only proves the will to rule as a Caesar didn't begin with the Obama administration.
But Genachowski took up the cause as soon as he was appointed; he enthusiastically supported it, and now he owns it. And it is Genachowski who now mulls ways to slalom around the federal circus court ruling, according to one of his allies:
With so much at stake, the FCC now has several options. It could ask Congress to give it explicit authority to regulate broadband. Or it could appeal Tuesday's decision.
But both of those steps could take too long because the agency "has too many important things they have to do right away," said Ben Scott, policy director for the public interest group Free Press. Free Press was among the groups that alerted the FCC to Comcast's behavior after The Associated Press ran tests and reported that the cable company was interfering with attempts by some subscribers to share files online.
The more likely scenario, Scott believes, is that the agency will simply reclassify broadband as a more heavily regulated telecommunications service. That, ironically, could be the worst-case outcome from the perspective of the phone and cable companies.
Process, schmocess; who cares what the Constitution says about the legislative branch, not the executive, having exclusive power to enact federal legislation? There are too many important things we must do right away -- we need action, action, action!
I doubt the real problem is lack of time to go through Congress and properly enact FCC authority to regulate the internet. Rather, I believe the real worry is that Congress might not do it. Republicans and some Democrats might object to the power grab, especially now, after ObamaCare and all the other government takeovers. The only time limiter is that, if this "due process" drags on long enough, we'll have a new Congress that will at the very least have much stronger Republican minorities, and could very well have a Republican majority in one or both houses.
At that point, any "net neutrality" rules will necessarily give more consideration to intellectual property rights... and rely less on the Left's hippie-mantra, "information wants to be free" -- by which they generally mean, "I want to be able to download my favorite music, books, and movies without having to pay the copyright owners a dime."
But at core, this argument is not about the merits of "net neutrality"; it is instead about whether we are to be a constitutional republic that limits what each branch of the federal government can do; or whether we are to retravel the Woodrow Wilson, liberal-fascist route of disdain for constitutional limitations in favor of pure populism... defined, as populism inevitably is, as the immediate imposition of whatever policy is popular -- among the federal government's inner circle of powerful congressmen, cabinet officials, and the president.
To heck with rule of law; and for that matter, to heck with rule by the people themselves. No need to think for yourselves, we'll tell you what you think.
Bear in mind, if the FCC can promulgate "net neutrality" rules all on its own, without any grant of authority from Congress, then why couldn't it likewise promulgate the "Fairness Doctrine" the same way? Or a rule making it illegal to broadcast "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" against the government -- or to undermine government policy -- à la Wilson's Sedition Act of 1918? Adios, Fox News and conservative talk radio; buenas dias, the Government Broadcasting Agency.
It's not a pretty future. But as Ebenezer Scrooge asked, is this the future that will be, or only a future that may be? As an optimist, I opt for the latter; the future is never fixed and can always be changed if we change our own ways.
We'll have a perfect opportunity to demonstrate such hope and change on November 2nd.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
April 5, 2010
Obamunism in Action: Gaming School Funding
As part of its ongoing project to taint and corrupt every element of federal policy, the administration of President Barack H. Obama has started gaming school funding... literally: It initiated a "contest," called Race to the Top, that states could enter to pick up a jackpot in federal education grants. But rather than base the awards on, for example, the ability of different states actually to educate students, they had another set of winning criteria in mind:
Officials from several states criticized the scoring of the contest, which favored states able to gain support from 100 percent of school districts and local teachers’ unions for Obama administration objectives like expanding charter schools, reworking teacher evaluation systems and turning around low-performing schools.
Marshalling such support is one thing for a tiny state like Delaware, with 38 districts, they said, and quite another for, say, California, with some 1,500.
Delaware was one of only two winners, the other being Tennessee.
“It was like the Olympic Games, and we were an American skater with a Soviet judge from the 1980s,” Mr. Ritter said [Gov. Bill Ritter of Colorado].
If the Obamacle intends to be as fair and impartial between local schools and the teachers' unions as he was between
General Government Motors and the UAW, or between the needs of state and local governments (and America in general) on the one hand versus the SEIU on the other, then I think we have a pretty clear idea what sort of "educational reform" Voyage to the Bottom of the Ethical Sea will flog.
Obama and his Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, may have yet another game in mind anent their funding X-prize:
Administration officials say they consider last week’s outcome a splendid success. By awarding only $100 million to Delaware and $500 million to Tennessee, Mr. Duncan retained $3.4 billion to dole out to up to 15 winning states in September, weeks before the midterm elections -- a political bonus that officials insist is mere serendipity.
Too, for the next round of funding, Secretary Duncan has added a new twist: all the federal flavor, but only two-thirds the funding calories -- and even that spread over four years. The new grants will be capped and amortized, giving states much less money, dribbled out very slowly... but with the same federal takeover of previously locally controlled school districts:
“That’s a lot of money, and we need it,” said [South Carolina] superintendent of education, Jim Rex. “But spread it over four years, with all the federal expectations that come with it, and you have to ask whether you have the time and capacity to gear up again for the arduous work of filing a new proposal. We’re still weighing that.”
To egregiously paraphrase Mark Twain, there is something satisfying about federal grants: One gets such wholesale return of control for such a trifling investment of funding.
I suppose that after the federal takeover of GM and Chrysler, insurance giant IAG, hundreds of banks and savings & loans, health care, and the entire student-loan system, it was inevitable that the lidless eye of Obamunism would turn its hungry gaze upon the American public-school system. Imagine, thousands of local school districts that Barack Obama doesn't personally control, whose students he cannot extort for his reelection and recruit into the revolutionary brigades for national socialism! Something simply must be done about that.
But I don't think this seizure will be as successful as the recent vote on ObamaCare; for one thing, even Democrats -- albeit lame-duck Democratic governors, like Bill Ritter of Colorado -- are fighting to preserve the rights and authorities of states over their own local school districts:
“People judging our application may not have appreciated that in the West there is a great deal of local control,” he said. “Many tiny school districts don’t like federal mandates. So even as I believe that school reform is important for our country, it’s also important that people in Washington understand that one size doesn’t fit all.”
By the way, Ritter decided not to run for reelection; the latest Rasmussen poll (a month ago) shows Republican former congressman Scott Innis leading Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, by six points. Similarly, Rasmussen shows the Republican winning the U.S. Senate seat for every matchup they polled. The times they are a-changin'.
February 13, 2010
Obama "Responds" to Massachusetts Miracle
So the people have spoken, not just in Massachusetts but in Virginia, New York, and New Jersey; and via polling, throughout the rest of the country, with mounting majorities speaking out against virtually every element of Barack H. Obama's radical-revolutionary agenda. Voters and poll respondents reject "Obamunism" as an unAmerican government takeover of the economy, of health care, energy policy, manufacturing, technology, trade, banking, science, education, and the media.
The president has heard the cries of his people. Unlike the caricature of an aloof, unconcerned, disdainful king, the Obamacle actually responds to the will of the people -- with the back of his hand:
With much of his legislative agenda stalled in Congress, President Obama and his team are preparing an array of actions using his executive power to advance energy, environmental, fiscal and other domestic policy priorities....
Mr. Obama has already decided to create a bipartisan budget commission under his own authority after Congress refused to do so. His administration has signaled that it plans to use its discretion to soften enforcement of the ban on openly gay men and lesbians serving in the military, even as Congress considers repealing the law. And the Environmental Protection Agency is moving forward with possible regulations on heat-trapping gases blamed for climate change, while a bill to cap such emissions languishes in the Senate.
The Obama administration insists it's perfectly normal for a president to abandon Congress and rule by decree:
White House officials said the increased focus on executive authority reflected a natural evolution from the first year to the second year of any presidency.
So when Barack Obama's EPA orders America's manufacturing, technology, and service sectors to stop using energy, hurling our economy into a death-spiral -- in direct defiance of the expressed will of the American people, who overwhelming reject such revolutionary environmentalist schemes -- that's no different from George W. Bush tapping phone calls from foreign terrorists outside the U.S. to parties inside the country, in order to prevent another 9/11 attack.
After all, process is all that matters, yes? Any use of executive power by Bush, no matter how limited, no matter how well supported by voters, gives a green light to Obama to order fundamental policy changes that Congress, by popular demand, has already rejected. Any fool can understand that!
By the way, I make no secret of the fact that I support repealing the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy (DADT) of allowing gays to serve in the military, but only if they don't ever let slip that they are homosexual. But Congress doesn't appear disposed to get rid of the policy. So isn't Obama's decision simply to stop enforcing it a perfect compromise?
No, it's even worse than the policy itself for two reasons: First, it's philosophically repugnant to keep laws on the books that are never enforced; Japan does that, as do many European countries. But it makes a mockery of rule by law.
Even worse, such an executive order (EO) is a devious trap laid for those service members gullible enough to believe B.O.'s grandiose promises of hope and change:
- Obama issues the executive order.
- Relying on the president's enunciation of his grand policy, thousands of gay servicemen "come out." They don't push their sexuality in their comrades' faces; but they do relax and stop sweating every word, lest the wrong pronoun sneak out; and they stop worrying that somebody might spot them in the mall and file an anonymous accusation.
- Everything goes well... until January 20th, 2013, when a Republican president takes over. He has the bizarre notion that legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president (Bill Clinton) is the law of the land and should be enforced... so he rescinds that EO and returns to enforcing the DADT law.
- Every one of those thousands who relied upon B.O.'s EO is quickly processed for discharge, based upon his or her own now-unguarded words, even if his unit is functioning just fine and was never disrupted by the admission.
Suckered by the Left... again!
One can imagine a similar problem with, e.g., Obama ordering severe limits on American businesses -- in energy use, banking practices, executive pay, labor relations, taxes, thousands of new OSHA regulations, and so forth. Companies painfully adjust to the new rules as they're battered in the international market by competitors who don't have to live by such onerous and stupid regulations.
They finally find their feet, only to be sent reeling again when the parting on the left becomes the parting on the right -- and the incoming president rescinds all those idiot EOs. In the long run, the restoration of commerce is vital; nevertheless, the to-ing and fro-ing makes for a completely unpredictable business climate, which devastates the economy.
And who should we blame -- the president who freed American business from Obamunism, or the One who imposed it in the first place, knowing that even after it ended, its disruption would live on?
"Obamunism by decree" is both better than and worse than when enacted by Congress. On the one hand, it doesn't last as long; but on the other, it introduces an level of uncertainty into American culture and the economy that is intolerant, especially during a recession and a war; and it's a loud, insistant, and abrasive note of tyranny in American life.
But that's the Chicago way.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
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