We need a fat president. Or at least one who rarely thinks and never speaks about how he looks in jeans. And one who doesn’t spend his day testing his wits against a Hollywood stoner or bantering with Ryan Seacrest while a European ally is being pummeled by Russia. And one who would rather spend his time working than working out, even if it means putting on a few pounds.
Because he’s been told that most of his life and now he listens to his own bullshit without interruption. And lots-o-rubes bought it. Twice. You just can’t fix stupid.
If you’ve gone to graduate or law school, you know the type. Very special little hothouse flowers.
It’s sad, yes, but America probably hasn’t fully grasped the terrifying truth about President Barack Obama’s upcoming State of the Union speech.
After this one, he has two more to go.
Two more? Ye gods!
The prospect of listening to him blah blah blah his way through three more of these annual speeches is enough to cause the nation to curl up on the floor in the fetal position and start breathing from a brown paper bag. The man is talking the country to death, and we can’t take anymore.
We have a gangster government, a fascist thugocracy:
Never in the history of this country have we seen such a broad and coordinated abuse of the government’s power to threaten criminal prosecution and ruin the lives and livelihoods of people the president and his party see as political “enemies.” None of the victims above did anything that even smelled like a criminal act act (except, perhaps, D’Souza) before the state came crashing down with the inevitable and purposeful result of ruining their lives. Their only “offense” was publicly opposing the president’s agenda, and putting those dissenters through the goverment’s paces was the whole point.
Schumer argued at the Center for American Progress on Thursday that the Tea Party is built on a foundation of deception: “Wealthy, hard Right, selfish, narrow” elites have fooled regular Tea Partiers into hating government. Schumer’s premise is that Big Government is the friend of the regular guy, and only the selfish wealthy elites benefit from more economic freedom.
It seems relevant, then, that Schumer — a dedicated liberal — is the most important congressional Democrat when it comes to fundraising. Schumer headed the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 2006 and 2008 elections.
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Schumer, to fund his own elections, taps deep into the plutocracy he condemns. In the 2010 election, Schumer ran basically unopposed. Still he was the No. 1 Senate recipient of money from the insurance industry, private equity, hedge funds, Wall Street, real estate, the cable industry, and hospitals. Schumer was No. 3 in money from lobbyists, Hollywood, and mortgage bankers.
Schumer’s Senate office seems to have its own revolving door that exits straight onto K Street. He is tied for third place, in all of Congress, for having the most staffers in the Center for Responsive Politics’ revolving door database. Only Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., beat him on the revolving door scoreboard.
And Schumer knows how to profit from this revolving door action. In January 2007, when his party took charge of the Senate, he gathered some of America’s wealthiest hedge-fund managers in a Manhattan restaurant and told them, in effect, start lobbying and giving money to politicians.
A few months later, Schumer’s top banking staffer, Carmencita Whonder left for the K Street firm Brownstein Hyatt, which immediately picked up a handful of hedge fund and private equity clients. Whonder also became a volunteer fundraiser for Schumer, while other hedge fund millionaires raised money for Schumer’s DSCC.
Obamacare, Benghazi, IRS, NSA, race baiting, Solyndra, moral preening, Fast and Furious, Pigford, etc., ad nauseum. President Transparency, Moral Preener in Chief, Victim in Chief, President Asterisk, etc., ad nasueum.
The U.S. individual health insurance market currently totals about 19 million people. Because the Obama administration’s regulations on grandfathering existing plans were so stringent about 85% of those, 16 million, are not grandfathered and must comply with Obamacare at their next renewal. The rules are very complex. For example, if you had an individual plan in March of 2010 when the law was passed and you only increased the deductible from $1,000 to $1,500 in the years since, your plan has lost its grandfather status and it will no longer be available to you when it would have renewed in 2014.
These 16 million people are now receiving letters from their carriers saying they are losing their current coverage and must re-enroll in order to avoid a break in coverage and comply with the new health law’s benefit mandates––the vast majority by January 1. Most of these will be seeing some pretty big rate increases.
President Obama claims that Republicans are busy probing “phony scandals.” But the sheer number of scandals suggests that misbehavior, abuse of power, and possibly corruption are not something being dreamed up by the GOP, but a defining characteristic of the Obama administration.
President Obama (in)famously said, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan” under the Affordable Care Act. As it turns out, not so much. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, it turns out, are receiving letters telling them that their existing coverage just isn’t good enough to satisfy the strict rquirements of the Obamacare law, and that they’ll have to sign up for new policies. Those new policies come with new stipulations, and new price tags. Which is to say, it doesn’t matter if you like your health care plan, since you probably can’t keep it.
If we learned anything about Barack Obama in his first term it is that when he starts repeating the same idea over and over, what’s on his mind is something else.
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In a recent Journal op-ed, “Obama Suspends the Law,” former federal judge Michael McConnell noted there are few means to stop a president who decides he is not obligated to execute laws as passed by Congress. So there’s little reason to doubt we’ll see more Obamaesque dismissals of established law, as with ObamaCare’s employer mandate. Mr. Obama is pushing in a direction that has the potential for a political crisis.
It may be that Obama’s description of the importance of whistleblowers went from being an artifact of his campaign to a political liability. It wouldn’t be the first time administration positions disappear from the internet when they become inconvenient descriptions of their assurances.
Obama’s vision for lobbying transparency has similarly been discarded along the way, but the timing here suggests that the heat on Obama’s whistleblower prosecutions has led the administration to unceremoniously remove their previous positions.
Since 2006, Congress has sought to condition military aid to Egypt depending on its progress on democracy and human rights, but included a waiver that an administration can use for national security reasons. Then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice executed the waiver during the Mubarak years, even though the Bush administration had a robust human-rights agenda.
Both Clinton and John F. Kerry, the current secretary of state, have also signed similar waivers, even though Congress demanded that the secretary of state certify that Egypt was maintaining the peace treaty with Israel and “supporting the transition to civilian government including holding free and fair elections; implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association and religion, and due process of law.”
Kerry’s waiver, signed in May, was done so quietly it was not even announced. Human rights groups have denounced the waivers as undermining support for democracy in Egypt.
In other words, Congress handed possible leverage to the administration, and the Obama administration has declined to use it.
President Barack Obama has been evidently reluctant to go to war in Syria, but has started down the long and winding road by deciding to provide weapons to the insurgents. Why he is risking involvement in another conflict in another Muslim nation is hard to fathom.
However, the president did act only after former president Bill Clinton warned that Obama could end up looking like a “total wuss” and “a total fool” if the latter did not drag America into war. If there is anyone who should not be giving war-related advice, it is Bill Clinton.
His “splendid little war” in Kosovo left a mess in its wake, including ethnic cleansing by America’s putative allies. Indeed, he always had a curious view of the purpose of war. He once expressed his frustration that he likely would not be considered a great president without prosecuting a major conflict.
Moreover, why is Clinton of all people accusing another president of looking like a “total wuss” and “a total fool” for hesitating to go to war? After all, as I relate in the American Spectator, he engaged in all manner of personal maneuvering to avoid being drafted to fight in Vietnam.
Moral Preener in Chief and a Former Moral Preener in Chief
In the context of a war that has killed some 93,000 people so far, it is not clear why the 150 or so casualties the White House attributes to chemical weapons should make a decisive difference, except that the president threatened “enormous consequences” in response to any use of such weapons. “If Mr. Obama did not respond in some fashion,” The New York Times explained, “it would have been taken as a question of credibility since he had previously said such a development would change his calculus.”
This perceived need to preserve credibility is a key ingredient in any foreign policy quagmire, since it discourages second thoughts and dictates stubborn persistence in the face of failure. No matter how misguided in theory or disastrous in practice an intervention is, changing course is always a threat to credibility, a threat that looms larger the farther a president goes down the wrong path. All the more reason to resist what Obama used to call “a war of choice.”
The case for caution is reinforced by the fact that, odious as the current government of Syria is, there is no guarantee that whatever follows it will be better, especially since the strongest element of the opposition forces is militantly anti-American. No matter what the Obama administration says about making sure that U.S. weapons go to the right rebels, it is effectively siding with Sunni extremists against Shiite extremists in a sectarian war.
Even as the US effectively admits that its 12-year war in Afghanistan has failed, by agreeing to talks with the Taliban, and as British generals warn that defence-spending cuts mean the UK could not fight such wars again, the president and prime minister still attempt to rattle their broken sabres over Syria. What the final form of intervention might be remains uncertain; however reluctant they are, events can take on a momentum of their own once the interventionist snowball starts rolling downhill.
The one thing of which we can be clear enough is that, to paraphrase Brendan Behan, there is no situation so terrible that it cannot be made worse by the intervention of a semi-impotent imperialist policeman.
What intrigued such gentlemen [the press corps] in the compositions of Dr. Wilson was the plain fact that he was their superior in their own special field – that he accomplished with a great deal more skill than they did themselves the great task of reducing all the difficulties of the hour to a few sonorous and unintelligible phrases, often with theological overtones – that he knew better than they did how to arrest and enchant the boobery with words that were simply words, and nothing else. The vulgar like and respect that sort of balderdash. A discourse packed with valid ideas, accurately expressed, is quite incomprehensible to them. What they want is the sough of vague and comforting words – words cast into phrases made familiar to them by the whooping of their customary political and ecclesiastical rabble-rousers, and by the highfalutin style of the newspapers that they read. Woodrow knew how to conjure up such words. He knew how to make them glow, and weep. He wasted no time upon the heads of his dupes, but aimed directly at their ears, diaphragms and hearts.
But reading his speeches in cold blood offers a curious experience. It is difficult to believe that even idiots ever succumbed to such transparent contradictions, to such gaudy processions of mere counter-words, to so vast and obvious a nonsensicality. Hale produces sentence after sentence that has no apparent meaning at all – stuff quite as bad as the worst bosh of the Hon. Gamaliel Harding. When Wilson got upon his legs in those days he seems to have gone into a sort of trance, with all the peculiar illusions and delusions that belong to a frenzied pedagogue.
What Woodward, Fournier and more than a few other Washington journalists ought to regret is the degree to which they have allowed themselves to become personally attached to the presidency of Barack Obama.
Engaged a relentless battle against time and fatigue, a select group of message scientists assembled by the White House’s Center for Narrative Control say they will take “all steps necessary” to contain a recent outbreak of scrutonium, a deadly poll-eating supervirus that attacks the immuno-hope system, leaving victims vulnerable to material facts.
Isn’t it a little late for a wake-up call? Obama has already waged a war in Libya without congressional approval, which is a pretty good signal that he takes an expansive view of executive power. And then there’s the fact that Obama rammed several very high-profile government appointments past the U.S. Senate by invoking his recess appointment power when the Senate was not actually in recess—an executive power play that Bush never attempted. But I suppose it’s better late than never when it comes to criticizing presidential overreach. Continue reading ‘Obama Acts Like Bush, Liberals Suffer “Cognitive Dissonance”’ »
Remember back in what was it – 2006 or thereabouts – when left-leaning critics of President Bush couldn’t stop talking about how nothing was more red, white, and blue than good old-fashioned American dissent? Why, our very country was founded by an act of dissent, didn’t you know! So back when Vice President Dick Cheney – routinely likened to Darth Vader and Voldemort – was running things, the very air was filled with cries of “not in our name” and all that, because it was so damned important that the United States not contravene its basic principles even in the name of self defense!
Those were good times, friends, and they stopped pretty much the minute that liberals and Democrats took control of the federal government. The antiwar movement disappeared once it became clear that Barack Obama wasn’t going to shut down Gitmo or stop bombing places or give a rat’s ass about that constitutional stuff he used to teach in law school.
By making clear that as a journalist he tries to see things first and foremost from the perspective of the powerful, Michael Tomasky helps to clarify why so many in the media are rushing to the president’s defense. They are entranced with power and the view from the top. “Presidents live with that responsibility [of protecting American lives] every day,” he writes. “If that responsibility were mine, I can’t honestly say what I’d do, and I don’t think anyone can.” Not all journalists are awed by power, of course, even on the right (National Review’s Jim Geraghty, for instance, asserts that this sort of thing of extra-judicial killing policy wouldn’t be cricket even under a GOP president).
This isn’t ultimately about ideological hypocrisy – of liberals changing their tune once their guy is in office – but something much more basic and much more disturbing. It reveals that for all their crowing about being watchdogs of all that is good and decent in society, when push comes to shove, too many journalists are ready and willing handmaidens to power – including the power to kill.
The Obama administration claims that the secret judgment of a single “well-informed high level administration official” meets the demands of due process and is sufficient justification to kill an American citizen suspected of working with terrorists. That procedure is entirely secret. Thus it’s impossible to know which rules the administration has established to protect due process and to determine how closely those rules are followed. The government needs the approval of a judge to detain a suspected terrorist. To kill one, it need only give itself permission.
After stonewalling for more than a year federal judges and ordinary citizens who sought the revelation of its secret legal research justifying the presidential use of drones to kill persons overseas—even Americans—claiming the research was so sensitive and so secret that it could not be revealed without serious consequences, the government sent a summary of its legal memos to an NBC newsroom earlier this week.
This revelation will come as a great surprise, and not a little annoyance, to U.S. District Court Judge Colleen McMahon, who heard many hours of oral argument during which the government predicted gloom and doom if its legal research were subjected to public scrutiny. She very reluctantly agreed with the feds, but told them she felt caught in “a veritable Catch-22,” because the feds have created “a thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the executive branch of our government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret.”
She was writing about President Obama killing Americans and refusing to divulge the legal basis for claiming the right to do so. Now we know that basis.
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Obama has argued that he can kill Americans whose deaths he believes will keep us all safer, without any due process whatsoever. No law authorizes that. His attorney general has argued that the president’s careful consideration of each target and the narrow use of deadly force are an adequate and constitutional substitute for due process. No court has ever approved that. And his national security adviser has argued that the use of drones is humane since they are “surgical” and only kill their targets. We know that is incorrect, as the folks who monitor all this say that 11 percent to 17 percent of the 2,300 drone-caused deaths have been those of innocent bystanders.
In sum, the original meaning of the due process clause is that the President cannot unilaterally kill U.S. citizens he thinks are potentially dangerous. Perhaps there are examples of historical practice that suggest an exception applicable to the present case (as there are obvious historical exceptions on the battlefield and for prevention of imminent harm). But the burden should be on those who want an exception to the text, and that burden shouldn’t be met merely by the claim that it would be more convenient to have such an exception.
Brennan’s idea of open and transparent government boils down to this: Trust us. That is what he means when he talks about explaining “the procedures, the practices, the processes, the approvals, [and] the reviews” that precede one of the president’s death warrants. Once people understand the “extensive process” that’s involved—behind closed doors and entirely within the executive branch—they will stop worrying about the Fifth Amendment and go back to their reality shows. The one thing Brennan and his boss adamantly refuse to discuss is the evidence that leads them to convict someone of a crime punishable by death. You just have to take their word that in any given case they have plenty.