The Obama presidency has brought us a world on fire, an $18 trillion debt, a sense of endless economic stagnation for millions of Americans, a major drop in the workforce participation rate, higher insurance premiums, riots in our cities, worsening race relations, the rise of ISIS, terror attacks on our soil, a functional defeat in Afghanistan, a tidal wave of refugees destabilizing and threatening Europe, and many other problems.
Jonathan V. Last writes:
. . . As an empirical matter . . . Obama is the most divisive president since Eisenhower, because that's when Gallup began measuring such things: By the pollster's reckoning, the partisan gap in Obama's 2012 approval rating is a yawning, historic 76 points. Remember how divisive the Bush years were? The Obama years have been worse. And it's not just a partisan divide. In 2014, a Washington Post/ABC News poll asked respondents if they viewed Obama as more of a divider or uniter. It wasn't even close among independ-ents, 59 percent of whom said he's been a divider.
Still, words are nothing compared with Obama's actions: He rammed Obamacare through without a single Republican vote. And when he couldn't find even a bare majority of votes for his immigration reform or gun control bills, he simply proceeded via executive decree.
When no one on the left was asking for it, Obama pursued the narrowest-possible reading of religious liberty, resulting in Supreme Court showdowns with a Lutheran school, which wanted to be free to hire its own ministers without government interference, and with the Little Sisters of the Poor, who didn't want to be forced to pay for abortifacients. There was no reason for Obama to pursue these policies except as an exercise in premeditated divisiveness. On the question of religious liberty, Obama has sought to undo a national consensus and foment conflict. In doing so, he set in motion a slow-rolling constitutional and cultural collision that is likely to end badly. The only reason this chaos isn't apparent to the general public is because Lutherans and nuns don't riot.
Then there's race relations. Obama was elected in large part because of his promise to heal racial wounds. It hasn't worked out that way. In 2001, Gallup found that 70 percent of blacks and 62 percent of whites thought race relations in America were somewhat or very good. By the time Obama was inaugurated those numbers had flipped, with 61 percent of blacks and 70 percent of whites (having just absolved themselves by voting for Obama, one suspects) rating race relations as good. During Obama's tenure, both numbers have been in freefall. Today, only 51 percent of blacks and 45 percent of whites think relations between the races are good.
What happened? First came Obama's decision not to prosecute two members of the New Black Panthers who had been charged with voter intimidation for their actions outside a Philadelphia polling place on Election Day in 2008. (In case you think the New Black Panthers are just a bunch of scamps, in 2014 two other members of the group were arrested for plotting to kill the chief of police in Ferguson, Mo.)
Then came Obama's penchant for wading into every racial police controversy that reached the front page of the New York Times. He took sides against the Cambridge cops in their arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates. The police in this case were almost certainly in the wrong; but no one needed the president of the United States preening about it. He did the same with the death of Trayvon Martin, showing up unscheduled at a press availability to talk about the case the week after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting. Did Obama come before the cameras to reassure the public and vouch for the rule of law? No. He stoked the fires, telling America, "Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago." This was a ridiculous exaggeration. Martin was (to put it charitably) a troubled teen with a history of problematic behavior; 35 years before, Barack Obama had been a promising student at an elite private school. By likening himself to Martin, Obama was viewing the episode through the most reductive and demagogic lens possible.
When the Michael Brown shooting turned Ferguson into a powder keg, Obama was ready for the cameras, calling it "heartbreaking" and sending his Justice Department in to ferret out wrongdoing. (They found none.) In a world full of real police abuses — such as the killing of Eric Garner in New York and the shooting of Walter Scott in Charleston — Obama seems to have a knack for tying himself to the cases where the police were actually in the right. It's enough to make one wonder if Obama can't tell the difference between proper and improper police conduct — or if he just doesn't care.
All of which lead to Obama's semi-embrace of the Black Lives Matter movement. As Heather Mac Donald has documented, Black Lives Matter is not an innocent college protest movement. It is an ugly strain of anarchic racialism that has led not just to the defense of looting but to the killing of police officers. Obama does not merely refuse to condemn Black Lives Matter — he attempts to rationalize it, explaining, "There is a specific problem that is happening in the African-American community that's not happening in other communities."
To his credit, President Obama has never offered to pay the legal fees of supporters who assault protesters or warned/promised violent riots should he not get his way. Donald Trump may be Obama's heir, but Trump has raised the stakes.
But it's important to understand that Trump is Obama's heir—or, at the very least, the man who wants to inherit the world Obama made. Part of the reason we have Trump today is that Obama set the table by dividing the country so completely; maneuvering so as to pit Americans against one another.
One of the hallmarks of the great dividers, of course, is that they never shut up about how hard they're really trying to unite everyone. Two weeks ago, as violence broke out in a series of incidents at his rallies, Trump insisted, against all evidence, "I'm a uniter."
And back in 2012, as he was accusing the Republican party of waging a "war on women," Obama insisted, "I don't think . . . anybody who's been watching the campaign would say that in any way we have tried to divide the country. We've always tried to bring the country together."
Here is the assessment of the apparently bindfolded and spacewalking David Brooks, this morning:
The first and most important of these is basic integrity. The Obama administration has been remarkably scandal-free. Think of the way Iran-contra or the Lewinsky scandals swallowed years from Reagan and Clinton. We’ve had very little of that from Obama. He and his staff have generally behaved with basic rectitude.
To which Jim Geraghty responds:
“Remarkably scandal-free”? David Brooks works in the news business, right?
Fast and Furious. The IRS scandal. The $2 billion spent building Healthcare.gov. The Veterans Administration letting veterans die waiting for care. The Office of Personnel Management hacking. Lying about Bowe Berghdahl. “Companies like Solyndra are leading the way toward a brighter, more prosperous future.”
Jonathan Gruber’s declaration that Obamacare depended upon the “stupidity of American voter.”
The stimulus “was riddled with a massive labor scheme that harmed workers and cheated unsuspecting American taxpayers.”
Prostitution and incompetence in the U.S. Secret Service.
Michael Goodwin writes appropriately in the New York Post: "IT'S TIME FOR OBAMA TO MAKE A CHOICE: LEAD US OR RESIGN (HT: Drudge)
In an accident of timing that captures his cluelessness, the president actually declared on Friday morning that Islamic State had been “contained,” practically boasting in a TV interview that, “They have not gained ground in Iraq and in Syria.”
What gall. What folly.
Paris is the final straw. Obama’s exemption from reality has expired. He must either commit to leading the free world to victory, or step aside so someone else can.
There is no more time to avoid the truth of war. America must organize the combined forces of the civilized world before Islamic State makes good on its vow to “taste” more American blood.
In any time and place, war is fiendishly simple. It is the ultimate zero-sum contest — you win or you lose.
That eternal truth is so obvious that it should not need to be said. Yet even after the horrific slaughter in Paris, there remains a distressing doubt about whether America’s commander in chief gets it.
President Obama has spent the last seven years trying to avoid the world as it is. He has put his intellect and rhetorical skills into the dishonorable service of assigning blame and fudging failure. If nuances were bombs, Islamic State would have been destroyed years ago.
He refuses to say “Islamic terrorism,” as if that would offend the peaceful Muslims who make up the vast bulk of victims. He rejects the word “war,” even as jihadists carry out bloodthirsty attacks against Americans and innocent peoples around the world.
He shuns the mantle of global leadership that comes with the Oval Office, with an aide advancing the preposterous concept that Obama is “leading from behind.” He snubs important partners like Egypt, showers concessions on the apocalyptic mullahs of Iran, and called the Islamic State the “jayvee team” even as it was beginning to create a caliphate.
Having long ago identified American power as a problem, he continues to slash the military as the enemy expands its reach. In a globalized era, the Obama doctrine smacks of cowardly retreat and fanciful isolation. [much more. . . ]
Nationally-renowned author and Conservative talk show host Mark Levin sent a defiant message to GOP leadership Wednesday afternoon at the Stop Iran rally at Capitol Hill.
In his fiery speech, Levin demanded they do more to stop the deal. He also took aim at Democrat leadership in both the legislative branch and the White House, suggesting that the Iran deal shows how far to the left the Democratic Party has fallen.
“Never before has a President of the United States. Never before has a political party consented to funding and arming the enemy. Never before has a President entered into agreements with a terrorist regime that holds American hostages; that has killed and maimed thousands of American soldiers, and that seeks nuclear weapons and ICBMs (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles) to attack his own country,” said Levin.
“Barack Obama makes Neville Chamberlain look like George S. Patton,” the former Reagan staffer added.
Levin highlighted the dangers involved if the deal were to be implemented in Congress.
David Pryce-Jones writes with particular clear-headedness:
Not so long ago the foreign policy of the United States in the Middle East rested on the two pillars of Iran and Saudi Arabia. As long as the United States behaved like the superpower it was, the course of events could be predicted and stability therefore maintained. Everyone in the region takes it for gra
Confusion began when Ayatollah Khomeini humiliated the United States and went unpunished for it. Now President Obama’s deal with Iran certifies that the United States has renounced power altogether. Fired up by supposition of their superior power, crowds in the street burn effigies of the hapless American president in the belief they have reduced him to a laughing stock.
It doesn’t stop there. Iran differs from the Arab world in ethnicity and in the type of practice of Islam, but nevertheless they share the same autocratic culture. Its rulers will do whatever they think is necessary to maximize and preserve power. In June this year, for instance, the Saudis executed in public their hundredth victim. The condemnation to flogging and death of Raif Badawi simply for proposing to discuss reform is particularly horrifying. Amnesty International, the human-rights body, says that so far this year Iran has executed in public 694 victims and may exceed 1,000 by December. An average of two or three people are hanged every day. Deals of any kind with regimes like that are admissions of weakness and willingness to be humiliated.
No longer pillars held together by Pax Americana, Iran and Saudi Arabia are left to test which of them now has power to come out on top. All manner of unsuspected alliances and enmities may emerge. The outcome is unpredictable except in one respect: The nuclear weapon is the ultimate guarantee of power, and both parties will do everything necessary to obtain it. When the stakes are so high, agreements on paper, signatures, assurances, legalisms of all sorts, are worthless. Worse still, the whole concept of coming to a deal qualifying power proves only that President Obama and his associates are dangerously out of touch with reality.
IS IRAN ABOUT TO REPEAT HISTORY? That’s the central question posed by new ad out from the Foundation for American Security and Freedom, challenging the president’s proposed nuclear deal with Iran and demonstrating its eerie similarity to the deal struck in the mid-Nineties with North Korea (by the husband of the prospective Democratic nominee for president, of course).
Watch the ad here:
FASF, chaired by Ambassador (and National Review contributor) John Bolton and “committed to restoring and protecting our vital national security interests and preserving our way of life for our children,” has launched a petition against the Iran deal. You can sign up at its website.
Nina Shea reports:
Why is the United States barring a persecuted Iraqi Catholic nun — an internationally respected and leading representative of the Nineveh Christians who have been killed and deported by ISIS — from coming to Washington to testify about this catastrophe?
Earlier this week, we learned that every member of an Iraqi delegation of minority groups, including representatives of the Yazidi and Turkmen Shia religious communities, has been granted visas to come for official meetings in Washington — save one. The single delegate whose visitor visa was denied happens to be the group’s only Christian from Iraq. . . . [More...]
. . . As an articulate, English-speaking Iraqi Christian, who is not only personally a victim of ISIS but also an aid worker with a broad perspective on the suffering of the Christian community there, Sister Diana would make an exceptional witness.
Whether conscious or not of her high value in that regard, those who decided to block Sister Diana from entering this country on a visitor visa acted in a manner consistent with the administration’s pattern of silence when it comes to the Christian profile of so many of the jihadists’ “convert-or-die” victims in Syria, Libya, Nigeria, Kenya, and Iraq. In typical U.S. condolence statements, targeted Christians have been identified simply as “lives lost,” “Egyptian citizens,” “Kenyan people,” “innocent victims,” or “innocent Iraqis.”
Me: It's certainly true that the Obama administration cares not a fig about religious persecution around the world, but in addition to that, it has developed a particularly strong animosity toward reporting atrocities and persecutions committed against Christians. I have almost finished reading the remarkable story of Bob Fu [God's Double Agent], who as a Chinese advocate for religious freedom secured wonderful cooperation from the George W. Bush White House and President George Bush himself. The contrast between Presidents Bush and Obama could not be more dramatic. GWB put religious freedom high on his list of foreign policy concerns. From all the evidence, the current occupant of the White House despises Christians.
Michael Godwin offers a useful summary of Obama's "accomplishments" and warns Israel is next:
First he comes for the banks and health care, uses the IRS to go after critics, politicizes the Justice Department, spies on journalists, tries to curb religious freedom, slashes the military, throws open the borders, doubles the debt and nationalizes the Internet.
He lies to the public, ignores the Constitution, inflames race relations and urges Latinos to punish Republican “enemies.” He abandons our allies, appeases tyrants, coddles adversaries and uses the Crusades as an excuse for inaction as Islamist terrorists slaughter their way across the Mideast.
Now he’s coming for Israel.
Barack Obama’s promise to transform America was too modest. He is transforming the whole world before our eyes. Do you see it yet?
Michael W. Chapman, CNSNews.com reports:
The Islamic State beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians over the weekend, propping the severed heads on the victims’ backs, a barbaric slaughter that led Reverend Franklin Graham to ask, “Can you imagine the outcry if 21 Muslims had been beheaded by Christians?”
“Where is the universal condemnation by Muslim leaders around the world?” he asked.
The brutal killing of the 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, who had been abducted in Libya by members of the Islamic State, was videotaped and the entire death film was posted online on Sunday, Feb. 15. It is entitled, “A Message Signed With Blood, To The Nation of the Cross.”
In a Facebook post on Feb. 16, Rev. Graham, who heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said, “The militant Islamic terrorist group ISIS has released a video called A MESSAGE SIGNED WITH BLOOD TO THE NATION OF THE CROSS showing the beheadings of the 21 Egyptian Christians who had been kidnapped in Libya.”
“Can you imagine the outcry if 21 Muslims had been beheaded by Christians?” said Rev. Graham. “Where is the universal condemnation by Muslim leaders around the world?”
“As we mourn with the families of those 21 martyrs, we’d better take this warning seriously as these acts of terror will only spread throughout Europe and the United States,” warned Rev. Graham.
“If this concerns you like it does me, share this,” he said. “The storm is coming.”
John Fund points out that contrary to what is customary, President Obama has not sought air time from ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox for his amnesty immigration speech tonight. Instead, as Fund writes,
Obama has timed his address to come at the start of the second hour of the Latin Grammys, an immensely popular award show on Univision, which was watched by 10 million people last year. Univision, whose Spanish-language programmers have long been friendly collaborators with the White House on its propaganda efforts, will delay the second half of the awards show so it can air Obama’s 15-minute speech and then switch back to the music.
Fund rightly observes:
The man who declared at the Democratic convention in 2004 that “there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America” has come a long way. He now wants a segment of Americans to see his speech dramatically changing immigration law, while he goes out of his way to avoid the broader national audience. Talk about dividing America after you talked so much about uniting it. [my bolding]
VDH, an esteemed historian whose work I have cited numerous times on this blog, offers a clear analysis of the type of revolution taking place under Obama's guiding hand. He subtitles his piece, "America’s current revolutionary inspiration seems to derive more from Robespierre than Madison. " Hanson writes:
At the end of the 18th century, there were two great Western revolutions — the American and the French. Americans opted for the freedom of the individual, and divinely endowed absolute rights and values.
A quite different French version sought equality of result. French firebrands saw laws less as absolute, but instead as useful to the degree that they contributed to supposed social justice and coerced redistribution. They ended up not with a Bill of Rights and separation of powers, but instead with mass executions and Napoleonic tyranny.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration is following more the French model than the American. [more . . .]
I take no pleasure in putting up this post. I do so to provide an historical record; some years from now it will bear witness to one columnist's take on current prevailing conditions. For what it's worth, I completely agree with Krauthammer's perspective and seriously wonder if America will ever be able to recover from its current downward spiral. The prospect looks bleak to me. The following summary of Krauthammer's perspective is from National Review Online:
There “is a sense in the country,” says Charles Krauthammer, “that we have a presidency that is falling apart” — call it a “crisis of competence.” On Special Report, the panelist explained how chaos abroad and at home — much of it caused by the decisions of the current administration — is giving Americans reason to worry.
“Abroad, in the vacuum that we created by Obama’s retreat, more aggressive, more wicked, in fact some of the worst people on earth have filled it in Libya, in Syria, in Iraq. Putin’s on the march in eastern Europe. Everybody senses America is not there. Our allies are very worried about the kind of support they’re going to get. That’s a consequence of [Obama’s] policy.”
And at home? “Domestically, the great idea of expansion of government and new entitlements and all this — this is a crisis of competence. The IRS, the VA, the Secret Service . . . all of these agencies that we had trust in, under this administration are showing how badly government is run.”
“You combine them,” says Krauthammer, “and you get a sense that things are out of control.”
Former President Bush has every right to say to President Obama: "I told you so!" No one takes pleasure in that fact. It's disheartening that America acted so foolishly as to elect a "community organizer" not just once, but twice!
. . . In the summer of 2007, Bush warned of the dire consequence of pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq against the advice of our commanders on the ground. All of Washington was telling Bush that the surge he had launched would fail and that the time had come to withdraw from Iraq and accept defeat.
At a White House news conference on July 12, 2007, Bush declared: “I know some in Washington would like us to start leaving Iraq now. To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we’re ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States. It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al-Qaeda. It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It would mean we’d allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It would mean we’d be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.”
Bush warned that withdrawing against the advice of our military commanders would result in “mass killings on a horrific scale.” Check. We’re now seeing mass killings on a horrific scale — summary executions, women and children buried alive, people being crucified, the attempted genocide of the Yazidis and two American journalists beheaded.
From National Review Online:
Charles Krauthammer has no consoling words for President Obama in the wake of a second American journalist beheaded by the Islamic State. Scolding the president’s refusal to call Islamic State terrorists anything but “extremists,” Krauthammer called the president “a man in denial, on the verge of delusion.”
“Here’s a man who comes into office and denies the existence of a war on terror,” said Krauthammer on Special Report. “And what do we see?” Krauthammer then proceeded to list attacks by Islamic jihadists in Somalia, Nigeria, Niger, Libya, Yemen, and, of course, Syria and Iraq. “It’s everywhere.
But “Obama persists in calling them ‘extremists.’ As if they are extremists for — what reason? They are just very upset about a lot of stuff. He will not call it by its name, Islamic radicalism,” said Krauthammer on Special Report. “He will not explain or concede that it is a worldwide movement, and he will not concede that what he’s done for these five years — underestimating, underplaying, and not explaining to the American people the necessity of carrying [the War on Terror] on — is now beginning to bear fruit everywhere in the world as America’s position is collapsing.”
I have great respect for David Horowitz's and his counsels. As written elsewhere, David Horowitz was one of the founders of the New Left in the 1960s and an editor of its largest magazine, Ramparts. . . . Looking back in anger at their days in the New Left, he and Collier wrote Destructive Generation (1989), a chronicle of their second thoughts about the 60s that has been compared to Whittaker Chambers’ Witness and other classic works documenting a break from totalitarianism. Horowitz examined this subject more closely in Radical Son(1996), a memoir tracing his odyssey from “red-diaper baby” to conservative activist that George Gilder described as “the first great autobiography of his generation.” His latest book is Take No Prisoners: The Battle Plan for Defeating the Left (Regnery Publishing).
On Obama and his administration, Horowitz writes:
. . . And what exactly is the I.R.S. scandal about — to take just one case? It’s a plan unprecedented in modern American politics to push the political system towards a one-party state by using the taxing authority of the government to cripple and destroy the political opposition. The administration’s campaign to promote voter fraud by opposing measures to stop it (and defaming them as “racist” is guided by the same intentions and desire.
And why shouldn’t Obama want to destroy the two-party system since he is also in utter contempt of the Constitutional framework, making law illegally, and defying an impotent Congress to stop him? Of course every radical, like Obama, hates the Constitutional framework because, as Madison explained in Federalist #10, it is designed to thwart “the wicked projects” of the left to redistribute income and destroy the free market.
The same desire to overwhelm and permanently suppress the opposition drives the war that Obama and the Democrats have conducted against America’s borders and therefore American sovereignty. Their plan is too flood the country with illegals of whatever stripe who will be grateful enough for the favor to win them elections and create a permanent majority in their favor. The immediate result of these efforts is that we have no secure southern border, and therefore no border; and therefore we have effectively invited criminals and terrorists to come across and do Americans harm.
Which brings us to the deepest level of Obama’s hell, which is his anti-American foreign policy. When Obama was re-elected in 2012, the very first thought I had was this: A lot of people are going to be dead because of this election. How disastrously right I was. Since their assault on George Bush and their sabotage of the war in Iraq, Obama and the Democrats have forged a power vacuum in Europe and even more dramatically in the Middle East, which nasty characters have predictably entered with ominous implications for the future security of all Americans.
Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, today offered a biting assessment of President Obama' s character and governing ability. Particularly sharp (and accurate) is the last sentence, which I've highlighted.
. . . It’s certainly true that the president is much further left than he’d ever admit, but the deepest truth about Obama is that there is no depth. He’s smart without being wise. He’s glib without being eloquent. He’s a celebrity without being interesting. He’s callow. . .
It’s a trope on the right to say that Obama has quit, that he’s not interested in the job anymore. It isn’t true. If you are smug, overly self-impressed and unwilling to bend from your (erroneous) presumptions of how the world works, this is what presidential leadership looks like. . .
His greatest rhetorical skill turns out to be mockery. The man who once promised to transcend political divisions is an expert at the stinging partisan jab. What Churchill was to thundering statements of resolve, he is to snotty put-downs.
Krauthammer on "The Vacant Presidency":
A real U.S. president would give Kiev the weapons it needs, impose devastating sectoral sanctions on Moscow, reinstate our Central European missile-defense system, and make a Reaganesque speech explaining why. . .
The world is aflame and our leader is on the 14th green. The arc of history may indeed bend toward justice, Mr. President. But, as you say, the arc is long. The job of a leader is to shorten it, to intervene on behalf of “the fierce urgency of now.” Otherwise, why do we need a president? And why did you seek to become ours?
Victor Davis Hanson cites the cynical use of pawns by the politically ambitious. To them it doesn't matter if people suffer and die if only they can accomplish their ends. Hanson writes:
The humanitarian crisis on the border derived from four callous parties who used illegal immigrants as pawns for their own self-interested agendas: (a) Central American governments wanted to export “excess” population, in hopes of soothing domestic social tensions and gaining remittances from loyal expatriates in the United States; (b) Central American parents weighed the risk of sending their youth unescorted to the border, versus the upside of getting money sent back home and/or an anchor for possible citizenship, and thus were willing to take the subsequent risk with their own children’s lives; (c) Mexico for a brief spell suspended its Draconian immigration laws to ensure Central Americans passed through rather than stopped in their country, and it sort of got a strange sense of payback at our ensuing border chaos; (d) a while ago the Obama administration signaled that most immigration laws concerning children, DREAMers or not, would not be enforced, and that insinuation green-lighted the current influx. The cynical administration hoped to soothe Latino feelings, and to create pressures for “comprehensive immigration reform” before the 2016 election, as part of a long-term strategy of altering the demography of the American southwest to favor a liberal agenda. All four groups then called any who objected and wished to enforce existing federal law callous, nativist, racist, xenophobic, etc. The apparent logic is that no one will remember the self-interested actions that brought thousands to the border, only the ensuing humanitarian crisis that must steamroll through the agendas of the selfish groups on the backs of exploited children.
In a more existential fashion, the pawn strategy works in Gaza as well. Hamas’s missiles are hidden among civilians, a two-pronged policy of hoping Israel does not find them all, while ensuring collateral damage that plays well in the Western media. Palestinians are mere pawns whose lives their leaders don’t worry much about — again on the logic that why or how they are dying is lost in the media blitz and all that matters are the photos that confirm that they are in fact dying, a fact which indicts Israel.
Common to both situations is the notion of disproportionality. Facts don’t matter, given that the poorer, less capable party is always morally blameless, the more lawful and better off culpable, on the theory that the latter alone should be able to afford to make allowances and grant concessions, regardless of the facts on the ground.
Just as we have forgotten the abject amorality of Central American parents, the Central American and Mexican governments, and the cynicism of an administration not enforcing federal laws, so too we have long ago forgot that Hamas started the entire disaster by murdering three teenagers and sending rockets into Israel. Instead, all that matters in the Western media now are photos of kids in extremis on the border and Palestinians fleeing their homes. Using suffering pawns to further political agendas is tailor-made for the postmodern Western mind.
[Edited post] With President Obama, you either agree with his LGBT agenda or you lose business, contracts from the government, and/or your job. (Or if you are a country in Africa, you lose American AID money). Today Obama issued another of his "executive orders" (yet another pontifical edict limiting freedom of thought) mandationg that all federal contractors and subcontractors grant special treatment to the politically-charged categories of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" in the workplace. The Family Research Council responded:
With the world in deep turmoil, and a struggling economy, Americans are looking for leadership to confront these many challenges. What kind of leadership do we see coming from the White House? Last month's "gay pride month" consumed much of the Obama administration's attention and this month isn't any different. This morning President Obama gathered a group of LGBT activists at the White House to sign an executive order mandating that all federal contractors and subcontractors -- regardless of their religious and moral convictions -- give special treatment to homosexuals, transgenders, and cross-dressers in the workplace. This action is wrong on the merits, because it accepts the premise that distinctions based on actual conduct -- such as homosexual behavior and cross-dressing -- should be treated the same way as distinctions based on immutable and innocuous characteristics like race. This order gives activists a license to challenge their employers and, expose those contracted employers to threats of costly legal proceedings and the potential of jeopardizing future contracts. The order further burdens contractors by stripping away their right to set dress and grooming standards. All this amounts to viewpoint blackmail and bullies into silence those contractors and subcontractors who have moral objections to homosexual behavior. This morning President Obama told the assembled group of activists, "We're on the right side of history." Mr. President, being on the wrong side of the natural law is never being on the right side of history.
The President is placing at risk not only faith-driven employers but religious groups such as relief organizations which sometimes put government dollars to work in uniquely effective ways. The President's refusal to completely exempt religious businesses from this executive order betrays his true agenda -- forcing his own conformist views upon everyone else, and making America less free in the process. Now Americans are left to sort out the costs to religious and constitutional liberties. The President's priorities aren't drawing much enthusiasm from the American public. AHuffington Post poll finds only 50% of Americans support an ENDA-type law, which gives preference to homosexuals and transgenders in the workplace. As President Obama continues to drive America over the cultural cliff, don't be surprised when more and more Americans refuse to follow.
-- Andrew Walker of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission concludes a response saying: "The sexual revolution marches on; and it doesn’t allow for dissenters."
Today’s order is problematic for four reasons, but there is at least one thing that can be done in response.
1. Today’s order undermines our nation’s commitment to reasonable pluralism and reasonable diversity, as it disregards the consciences and liberties of people of goodwill who happen not to share the government’s opinions about issues of sexuality. All Americans should be free to contract with the government without penalty because of their reasonable beliefs about morally contentious issues. The federal government should not use the tax code and government contracting to reshape civil society about controversial moral issues that have nothing to do with the federal contract at stake.
2. Today’s order treats conscientious judgments about behavior as if they were insidious acts of discrimination akin to racism or sexism. But sexual orientation and gender identity are not like race. Indeed, sexual orientation and gender identity are unclear, ambiguous terms. They can refer to voluntary behaviors as well as thoughts and inclinations, and it is reasonable for employers to make distinctions based on actions. By contrast, “race” and “sex” clearly refer to traits, and in the overwhelming majority of cases, these traits (unlike voluntary behaviors) do not affect fitness for any job.
3. Today’s executive order also does not contain a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ) exemption. BFOQs allow employers to make employment decisions so long as those decisions are honestly related to job qualifications. For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act contains a BFOQ that allows employers to take sex into account: hiring a female camp counselor at an all-girls sleep-away summer camp, for example, which might otherwise seem to be “sex discrimination.”
4. Today’s executive order is unnecessary. Voluntary market forces are already eliminating true discrimination, as making employment decisions based on non-relevant factors hurts one’s ability to compete. But the federal government should not penalize those contractors that do conscientiously judge sexual orientation or gender identity to be relevant to their mission and purpose.
5. In response to this executive order, Congress has an opportunity to protect religious liberty and the rights of conscience. Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating against any individual or group, whether nonprofit or for-profit, based on their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage. The government should be prohibited from discriminating against such groups or individuals in tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation, or contracting. This is the policy approach proposed by the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (H.R. 3133, S. 1808).
Protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience fosters a more diverse civil sphere. Indeed, tolerance is essential to promoting peaceful coexistence even amid disagreement.
It is not clear if her husband Daniel Wani, who is from Manchester in New Hampshire, has also been charged with any offenses.
The new allegations are a huge setback to Meriam's hopes of leaving Sudan and a further sign that the Sudanese government is playing twisted games over her release.
Meriam, a doctor, is on bail which was put up by a friend. She cannot leave Sudan until this matter is resolved as part of her bail conditions.
It came as campaigners working to free the mother-of-two attacked the U.S. Department of State for its ‘shameful’ response to helping her.
Tina Ramirez, founder of religious freedom organization Hardwired, called for Congress to investigate the 'incredibly negligent' handling of Meriam Ibrahim’s case.
Meriam and her husband were detained at the airport of the Sudanese capital Khartoum when they tried to leave the country with their son Martin, 21 months, and daughter Maya, one month.
Meriam was only freed on Monday after nine months in jail, during which she was shackled to the floor while she gave birth to Maya.
As noted, Tina Ramiraz of Hardwired, accuses the State Department of incredible negligence. Read the whole news report to understand why. Note also the reporter's chilling observation:
In a worrying twist, Meriam and Daniel were taken into custody by the feared National Intelligence and Security Services, MailOnline has confirmed.
NISS does not operate through the courts if it claims to be working on a matter of national security and can detain people indefinitely, Hardwired said.
The organisation was described as ‘Agents of Fear’ in a damning report by human rights campaigners Amnesty which outlined a catalogue of abuses they had carried out.
NISS is also notorious for taking prisoners to secret 'ghost houses' where they are tortured. . .
We need to pray this family safely released and out of Sudan!
(Original Post) - The following CBN News video interview offers lots of insights into the freeing of Meriam Ibrahim. Noteworthy is that Ibrahim was represented by Muslim lawyers who demonstrated tremendous courage in so doing. Also noteworthy has been the negligence of the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. As Tony Perkins points out, "where the Obama administration has fallen short, House and Senate conservatives have not. Congressmen from Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.), and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) to Senators Cruz, Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) were doing the heavy lifting -- while not a single White House official met with the Sudanese ambassador."
Perkins also notes that,
If the State Department isn't busy bringing Meriam home or dealing with the imploding Middle East, what exactly is it doing? According to Secretary Kerry, he's "working hard to… have lesbian, bisexual, and transgender ambassadors." Like his boss, Kerry foreign policy seems to be a foreign concept for this administration, whose only real overseas "progress" is bullying other nations into accepting this President's twisted sexual agenda.
During last week's LGBT pep rally at the State Department, Kerry's rah-rah moment was saying that if confirmed, Ted Osius would be the sixth openly homosexual ambassador. "… We now have hundreds of LGBT individuals in our bureaus at State, USAID, and at posts all around the world." Of course, what Kerry neglected to mention is that many of those posts are in complete and utter turmoil -- in large part because the Obama administration is too obsessed with its homosexual agenda to focus on the real priority of protecting America's national interests. It all confirms what former Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote in his book -- the only time he sensed passion from the President about any issue involving the military was overturning "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
Last week I read of the disturbing fanatical gay foreign policy of the Obama Administration when it cut U.S. aid to Uganda because it refuses to bow down to imperialist U.S. government pressures to remove restrictions on homosexual practice in the country. I read:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday cut aid to Uganda, imposed visa restrictions and canceled a regional military exercise in response to a Ugandan law that imposes harsh penalties on homosexuality.
The White House said in a statement the measures were intended to "reinforce our support for human rights of all Ugandans regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."
Homosexuality is taboo in most African countries and illegal in 37, including in Uganda where it has been a crime since British rule. [more . . .]
Which leads one to ask why the Obama administration doesn't cut aid to countries that persecute Christians? Why doesn't it, at the very least, advocate for freedom of religion and speak up on behalf of imprisoned Christians? Why the Johnny one-note imperialist commitment to homosexual acceptance worldwide and failure to address human rights more broadly?
The news of Ibrahim's release has brought to my attention the good work of Hardwired, an organization I had not heard of before.
Roger L. Simon has written a piece that offers powerful explanatory power on what is going on in this country. He titles his piece 'I'm Just a Soul Whose Intentions are Good': Obama, Bergdahl and Moral Narcissism He writes:
In 1979, Christopher Lasch published The Culture of Narcissism warning of the normalizing of pathological narcissismin our society. Considering events since then, he was evidently on to something. Now, some 35 years later in the Obama era, with the Bergdahl incident only the latest in a parade of endless scandals, we have arrived at a full blown era of what has lately been called Moral Narcissism.
Moral Narcissism is an evocative term for the almost schizophrenic divide between intentions and results now common in our culture. It doesn’t matter how anything turns out as long as your intentions are good. And, just as importantly, the only determinant of those intentions, the only one who defines them, is you.
In other words, if you propose or do something, it only matters that you feel good or righteous about what you did or are proposing, that it makes you feel better personally. The results are irrelevant, as are how the actual activity affects others. . . [more. . .]
Me: It might be pointed out that nations as a whole often exhibit moral narcissism. As Hans Kundnani points out, nations as a whole unconsciously project subjective historical prisms (and moral narcissism) on to world hot spots. He writes:
The Middle East tends to be what the Germans call a Projektionsfläche, or projection screen, onto which we project our own collective memories. Thus, I would argue, Germans tend to look at the Israeli-Palestinian issue through the prism of the Nazi past (e.g. comparisons between Israelis and Nazis); Britons, on the other hand, tend to look at it through the prism of our own colonial history (e.g. comparisons between Israel and apartheid in South Africa, which it seems to me are particularly prevalent in Britain). Unsurprisingly, Germans’ attitudes to the Middle East can be particularly narcissistic. For example, according to an attitude survey published last week, 57 per cent of Germans think “Israel is conducting a war of extermination [Vernichtungskrieg] against the Palestinians” – surely a classic example of what Dan Diner has called “exonerating projection”.
What happened in 1979? Hanson reminds us:
In 1979, after two full years of Jimmy Carter’s reset foreign policy — and after the president’s “malaise” speech and the surreal attack by the aquatic rabbit — various risk-takers concluded that the United States had decided that it either could not or would not intercede against aggression. In short order, the Chinese invaded Vietnam; the Sandinistas seized power in Nicaragua, and Central America descended into a Communist miasma; the Iranians took U.S. hostages in Tehran; terrorists stormed Mecca; the Soviets invaded Afghanistan — and, after that last event, President Carter confessed that he had undergone “a dramatic change in my own opinion of what the Soviets’ ultimate goals are.”
A weak president invites enemies of the United States to adventurism and the creation of a destabilized world. Hanson again:
For a variety of reasons, our European and Pacific partners privately sense that the American-led postwar global order is eroding and that regional hegemons like China, Iran, and Russia are filling the gaps. The Mideast badlands seem to be expanding into Egypt, Syria, and Libya. Iran wishes to do to the Middle East what Russia is doing to the former Soviet Union.
So what might the future hold? Hanson cites hot spots that could erupt during the last two years of the Obama presidency:
Ukraine, the Baltic states, and the rest of the periphery of Putin’s Russia; Taiwan, the air and sea space surrounding Japan, the Vietnam-China border, the 38th parallel; Cyprus and the Aegean; the hostile neighborhood of Israel; Iran with its defiant nuclear efforts; and on and on. Some authoritarian rogue state or terrorist in the next 30 months may well risk aggression, on the expectation that never in the last half-century has there been a better opportunity to readjust the status quo. When Obama proclaims that climate change is now the most pressing American foreign-policy challenge, many bad actors abroad feel relieved — as if coal burning rather than aggression is about the only sin that might anger America.
Read the whole article.
Me: It's hard to imagine a more dramatic power decline than that presided over and engineered by the current president of the United States, a man twice elected by an uninformed, superficial, distracted, and easily-swayed populace. We and the world are paying the price.
I am filing this blog post under the category: "Things I didn't know before". David French recounts the various evils of the contemporary United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under the current Democrat administration and includes the following item, which I find unbelievably mendacious on the part of the IRS:
Maliciousness: How else can one interpret the IRS’s effort to audit adoptive families? In a two-year period almost 70 percent of adoptive families were audited (including, by the way, my family) without any indication of fraud or misconduct. By contrast, the normal chance of an audit for a middle-class family is roughly 1 percent. And what did the IRS get for this dragnet — a dragnet that caused real financial hardship to families who’d financially extended themselves to adopt? Not much: ”The IRS disallowed less than 2 percent of the total tax credits claimed.”
Jeffrey Goldberg conducted a wide-ranging, in-depth interview with PresidentObama last Thursday. Goldberg summarized the exchange and then printed the verbatim text of the interview.
When I read the text of the interview I said to myself, "Obama is delusional." Then I read Elliott Abrams' report on the interview in the Weekly Standard which he sub-titled "Obama's scary interview. " Elliott briefly dissected the interview and declared it shows a "chief executive who has learned next to nothing about the world in his five years in office." That really is scary. Check it out. Note well what seems to me Obama's thinly-concealed contempt for Israel. One day I think historians will use this interview to document Obama's foreign policy delusions.
Elliott Abrams offers sensble reflections on "How We Can Make Putin Pay, and Why We Must."
Update: News report says Netanyahu pushed back against Obama's diplomacy
Update #2 - Charles Krauthammer's T ake: Obama is Living in a Fantasy World
President Obama simply doesn’t understand international relations, and that’s why Russian president Vladamir Putin had the gumption to invade Ukraine, Charles Krauthammer explained on Special Report tonight. “To invade Crimea is a huge step and he would only have done it with a president who has shown from the very beginning that he’s living in a fantasy world,” Krauthammer said.
Obama began his presidency declaring that no nation can or should dominate another. On Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry said that Russia committed a “19th century action in a 21st century world.” “They imagine the world as a new interconnected world where climate change is the biggest threat, and they are shocked that the Russians are actually interested in territory” Krauthammer said.
-- Peggy Noonan - No One's listening to Obama now (Drudge report) "When the central domestic fact of your presidency was a fraud, people won't listen to you anymore."
-- Michele Bachmann - Obama's legacy is establishment of lawlessness in the United States
-- American Incompetence - Obama officials can't say how many Americans were killed or injured in Afghanistan in the last 12 months, nor how much we have spent in Afghanistan (video)
-- Jay Richards on the causes of "income equality" here and here, plus Dr. Anne Bradley on "Five Things Christians Need to Know About Income Inequality and What You Can Do About it."
I think Steyn deserves a prize for coining the Obama reign a " neo-monarchy". He writes:
Until October 1, Obama had never done anything — not run a gas station, or a doughnut stand — other than let himself be wafted onward and upward to the next do-nothing gig. Even in his first term, he didn’t really do: Starting with the 2009 trillion-dollar stimulus, he ran a money-no-object government that was all money and no objects; he spent and spent, and left no trace. Some things he massively expanded (food stamps, Social Security disability) and other things he massively diminished (effective foreign policy), but all were, so to speak, preexisting conditions. Obamacare is the first thing Obama has actually done, and, if you’re the person it’s being done to, it’s not pretty.
The president promised to “fundamentally transform” America. . . . But Obama is an incompetent, so “fundamentally transformed” is a euphemism for “wrecked beyond repair.” . . . But on he staggers, with a wave of his scepter, delaying this, staying that, exempting the other, according to his regal whim and internal polling. . .
Me: Obama's lawlessness had better be stopped by Congress soon, or the United States will no longer be a functioning constitutional republic and a nation of laws.
Sterling Beard reports:
Oprah Winfrey today shared some thoughts on race and President Obama with the BBC while in the U.K. to promote The Butler.
When asked by the BBC’s Will Gompertz if she thought Obama had to deal with racism, the queen of talk responded in the affirmative.
“Probably it’s crossed my mind more times than it’s crossed your mind,” Oprah said.
She went on to say that there is “a level of disrespect for the office” that “occurs in some cases and maybe even many cases because he is African American. . . . There’s no question about that and it’s the kind of thing nobody ever says but everybody’s thinking it.”
In order to further racial progress, she said, “generations of people, older people, who were born and bred and marinated in it, in that prejudice and racism, . . . they just have to die.”
To which Victor Davis aptly commented in a piece titled, "The Moral Decline of Oprah," the following:
Instead, in Oprah’s no-win, racialist world, to the degree that Obama is popular, Americans are considered for the time being as not racist; to the degree that he is not, the country suddenly is collectively under suspicion (e.g., “everybody’s thinking it”).
That Obama might be utterly inexperienced in the manner of Jimmy Carter, less than veracious in the manner of the impeached Bill Clinton, or suffering the same second-term blues of Ronald Reagan during Iran-Contra or popularity crash of George W. Bush after Katrina simply cannot for Oprah be true of an African-American president, who for some reason must not suffer the same fate and treatment as almost all who have held the highest office. Instead, in this raciallyobsessed world of Oprah, that Obama is faring no different from his predecessors is now the country’s fault. And as remedy, he must be given deference if the country wishes to avoid the latest therapeutic rant from Oprah.
In fact, Oprah has no record of worrying about the level of disrespect shown the office. If she did, she might have said something a few years ago when her president was routinely being compared to a Nazi, and often by her own fellow celebrities, writers, politicians, civil-rights activists, and filmmakers. That she said nothing then, but now says a lot, explains not America’s problem with race, but her own race obsessions, which have blinded her to her own prejudices and hypocrisies.
Nothing less than the future of America. Jeffrey H. Anderson writes:. . . It’s about whether Americans are a free people who have the unalienable right to keep the fruits of their own labor and freely decide for themselves whether or not to buy health insurance, even health insurance that someone else might call “substandard.” It’s about whether an administration that can’t roll out a website should be put in charge of American medicine. It’s about whether a president who lies to the American people can be trusted with matters of their health. It’s about whether ever more power and money should be consolidated and concentrated in the nation’s capital, at the expense of everyday Americans’ liberty and prosperity. And it’s about whether Barack Obama’s vision of America will prevail, or whether George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan’s vision of America will prevail.
The more one ponders [Obama’s] electoral, policy, and longer political agenda, the more the health care bill stands out as the centerpiece of the whole political enterprise. Stop it . . . and you have a good chance of stopping the transformation he seeks. Fail . . . and you permit what can be called, without exaggeration, gradual regime change at home. For the health care question involves . . . nothing less than the form of government and the habits and character of the American people.
Obamacare will decide Obama’s legacy. Depending upon what happens over the next three and a half years with his signature legislation, he will either be known as the man who entrenched the progressive commitment to big government, or discredited it.
— Jeffrey H. Anderson is executive director of the newly formed 2017 Project, which is working to advance a conservative reform agenda.
In addition, consider this:
More and more Americans are seeing that the Obamacare website rollout problems are just the tip of the iceberg. The complicated law, like computer code, has 2,500 pages (381,517 words) and even more administrative regulations (11,588,500 words) written by unelected bureaucrats led by political appointees. These facts are undeniable! It is a massive seizure of 17% of the economy, a coercive redistribution of wealth, a myriad of lies, arm-twisting and political bribes employed to rob millions of the healthcare they preferred. Many doctors plan to retire or otherwise not participate (which will produce a shortage of doctors and long waiting lines), and as the law takes effect it will likely lead to economic ruin for many small businesses and working families. They cannot pay far higher premiums, coercive fines and penalties, expanded powers for an already politicized IRS, violation of individual conscience and religious liberties, compulsory taxpayer funding of abortion, shocking waste and incompetence, violation of common sense principles of finance and economics (borrowing, spending, enslavement of future generations), and more. (See Regulations, Senate Democrats, Resign, Insurance Heads call for Fix, Delay, Revenge is Tweet, 16 Million; Obamacare Apologetics, Awakening).
Robert Morrison writes on "What's Really Demonic?" -[my emphases]
The Washington Post’s Dan Zak offered a column yesterday on his interview with William Peter Blatty, author of The Exorcist. Blatty’s novel rocketed to the top of the bestseller lists forty years ago and the movie shocked audiences everywhere with its stunning special effects. The devil never seemed so real. Certainly not to this writer.
Blatty is asking the Vatican to strip Georgetown University — America’s oldest Catholic institution of higher learning — of its designation as Catholic. His reason is that Georgetown invited pro-abortion HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius to be its commencement speaker last year. Zak tells us that Blatty spoke of “a particular abortion procedure in graphic detail.” Of course, the Post writer leaves out of his column the graphic detail and won’t even name that particular abortion procedure.
Recall how slavery’s defenders called it their “peculiar institution.” They sought to avoid mentioning manacles, slave ships, or human misery. They didn’t want to tell people at their Georgetown lunches what happened when a slave ship is in danger of being overtaken by a British man-of-war intent on hanging slave traders. The “cargo” of men, women, children, chained together, were thrown overboard. The weight of the first few would pull the hundreds of others in after them. That’s demonic.
[Me: How awful! What's even worse is that as the reality of gruesome abortion procedures became more and more widely known (see below), modern, enlightened "moral" people said "I'm okay with it." That would include, of course, Kathleen Sebelius, Nancy Pelosi, and President Obama himself]
The Soviet Union called its slave-labor system the Gulag — an acronym for the State Administration for Camps. The bland name concealed what really went on in those camps. Author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn survived imprisonment to document the truth for the world in his comprehensive, three-volume study, The Gulag Archipelago. Nikolai Getman was also a zek, from the Russian word for locked-up ones. The artist painted a series of pictures to convey the horror of camp life and death. “Waiting to be Shot” shows starving zeks huddling in the snow in a frigid Siberian night. That was surely demonic.
Blatty is angry because Sebelius is forcing all of us to pay for abortions, for what Ronald Reagan called “the slaughter of innocents.” He was so moved by what he learned that his voice shook with emotion as he described what Sebelius approves. When she was governor of Kansas, she made a point of inviting partial-birth abortionists to dinner at Cedar Crest, the official residence.
In the forty years since Roe v. Wade, America has never had a governor more zealous in promoting abortion than Kathleen Sebelius. That’s why President Obama, who attends abortion conventions and tells them to “keep it up, God bless you,” chose Sebelius to run his health-care operation.
Here’s what William Peter Blatty doubtless described for Dan Zak. This is that “particular abortion procedure” that Dan Zak was too decorous to share with readers of the Post’s “Style” section. Nurse Brenda Pratt Shafer gave her testimony to Congress under oath:
I stood at the doctor’s side and watched him perform a partial-birth abortion on a woman who was six months pregnant. The baby’s heartbeat was clearly visible on the ultrasound screen. The doctor delivered the baby’s body and arms, everything but his little head. The baby’s body was moving. His little fingers were clasping together. He was kicking his feet. The doctor took a pair of scissors and inserted them into the back of the baby’s head, and the baby’s arms jerked out in a flinch, a startle reaction, like a baby does when he thinks that he might fall. Then the doctor opened the scissors up. Then he stuck the high-powered suction tube into the hole and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby was completely limp. I never went back to the clinic. But I am still haunted by the face of that little boy. It was the most perfect, angelic face I have ever seen.
This is what Obama wants God to bless. The people who do these things are the ones Sebelius invites to dinner.
Is William Peter Blatty right? Is this demonic? We report. You decide.
— Robert Morrison is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council.
Me - I was struck (again) with what lengths the pro-abortion crowd
From the Family Research Council:Speaking of the courts, President Obama is trying to add to his with one of the most liberal judicial activists the nation has ever seen. Cornelia "Nina" Pillard, the White House's pick for the second most powerful court in the country, the D.C. Circuit Court, could be on the Senate floor for confirmation as early as next week. How dangerous is Pillard? Ed Whalen of NRO's Bench Memos describes her as "less moderate" than the most activist liberal in appellate court history. Apart from calling abstinence education "unconstitutional," the former Deputy Assistant Attorney General argues that abortion is necessary to help "free women from historically routine conscription into maternity."
As if her militant feminism wasn't apparent enough, she takes the opportunity in some of her writings to slam anyone who opposes the abortion-contraception mandate as "reinforce[ing] broader patterns of discrimination against women as a class of presumptive breeders." Just as shocking, Pillard has lashed out at ultrasound technology as "deceptive" and manipulative. Interestingly enough, the Senate is considering Pillard's nomination at the same time as Senate Republicans are circulating a bill to reduce the number of justices on the D.C. court by three.
Considered by many to be a stepping-stone to the Supreme Court, the D.C. Circuit Court is routinely criticized for retaining so many judges with such a light caseload. America can't afford to give a lifetime appointment to a radical ideologue! Contact your senators and urge them to vote no on Nina Pillard.
It's not only in the U.S. but overseas as well. Read Henninger's article. (HT: DRUDGE) Excerpt:
Bluntly, Mr. Obama's partners are concluding that they cannot do business with him. They don't trust him. Whether it's the Saudis, the Syrian rebels, the French, the Iraqis, the unpivoted Asians or the congressional Republicans, they've all had their fill of coming up on the short end with so mercurial a U.S. president. And when that happens, the world's important business doesn't get done. It sits in a dangerous and volatile vacuum.
This interview is definitely worth watching. In this interview Carson talks of the Saul Alinsky tactics Obama is using and of Communist Vladimir Lenin's statement that "socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state." Carson: "The fundamental relationship between the government and the people is shifting."
I'm wondering if Dr. Carson will be the burr in Obama's saddle going forward? He's the most accomplished black person in the United States, well-spoken, and outspoken! He has just become a Fox contributor.
Of course Obama is responsible! Can you imagine what all this is doing to the morale of U.S. troops? Would you want to fight in the armed forces run by a President and an administration that shows only disdain for its fighting men and women? Remember Benghazi? President Obama is single-handedly destroying the fabric of a once great nation.
There is a sickness in the regulatory bureaucracy that Americans should be ashamed of. The NPS [National Park Service], like the IRS, is corrupt and should be abolished — and the government’s parks (they’re clearly not the people’s) returned to the states.
Me: Yes. The Federal Government under the Obama Administration has used thug tactics in shutting down access to the people's parks. Steyn is right. The government's parks should be returned to the states.
- (Updated 10/8/13): Mollie Hemmingway- The Shutdown Government - Powerful, Punitive and Petty. "The federal bureaucracy tried to show its importance. Instead it revealed its vindictive cruelty. - A comprehensive and important post. Read it all.
- (Original post) - Hewitt is absolutely right. Obama has no conscience about inflicting pain if he thinks it will further his transformative agenda. In refusing to allow a vote on National Park funding he is displaying his true colors. The rest of us wince at a President so callous.
And don't forget what he is doing to private businesses on federal land.
A planned immigration reform rally will take place on the National Mall on Tuesday even though the site is closed due to the government shutdown.
Organizers for the “Camino Americano: March for Immigration Reform” were spotted Monday setting up a stage and equipment on the National Mall for the rally which will take place on Tuesday.
Dictatorial zaniness on display. From National Review: (my emphases)
Driving down the George Washington Parkway outside Washington, D.C. today, I noticed that the two scenic overlooks that offer drivers the chance to admire the beauty of the Potomac River below are closed for the government shutdown. These overlooks are just cut-outs from the highway, providing a few parking spaces. That’s it. No little National Park Service kiosk. Nothing. It’s just a parking area that holds maybe 6 cars at a time.
To close them required someone to come and put up barricades, thus costing taxpayers money.
Is there anyone in the Obama administration with common sense? Do they not see how petty and over-reaching this makes them look?
- Here in Idaho they closed down boat ramps by hiring personnel to barricade them. These boat ramps have never had nor ever required any personnel whatsoever.
- They are doing it at scenic turn-outs in the Great Smoky Mountains NP and most likely anywhere a public highway passes through National Park Service Land.
As I said, this represents "dictatorial zaniness." I don't see how this helps the Obamacrats win the PR war. It seems their aim is to inflict irresponsible and stupid hardships that make no sense. These are imperialists who feel no responsibility to serve the people.
OBAMA: If you’ve talked to somebody who said, ‘Well, I don’t know. I was watching FOX News and they said this is horrible…”
NEIL CAVUTO: Mr. President, we at FOX News are
not the problem. I hate to break it to you, sir. you are. Your words
are, your promises are. We didn’t sell this healthcare law, sir. You
did. Remember this?
OBAMA: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period.
NEIL CAVUTO: Not so. Mr. President, tell
that to tens of thousands of retirees at IBM and Time Warner and dozens
of others, who have been dumped from their coverage and told to find
their own coverage. Now, FOX News didn’t break that news to them, Mr.
President, their companies did.
FOX News didn’t push more of those firms to hire part-time workers, your healthcare law did.
FOX News didn’t incentivize fast-food restaurants to scale back their benefits, your healthcare law did.
Yesterday Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal wrote a piece titled "The Laurel and Hardy Presidency." Mark Steyn wrote a piece saying "Every American ally is cringing with embarassment at the amateurishness of the last month." Today Victor Davis Hanson spelled out in the clearest possible way, what is and is not Obama's foreign policy. The result is a confusing tangle of contradictions which has left the prestige of the United States greatly diminished and the world in a much more dangerous place. VDH writes:
We are contemplating going to war in Syria to help the opposition a lot and to hurt Assad some, or to help the opposition some and hurt Assad a lot, or to hurt Assad some and help the opposition some, or to force Assad to stop or to leave, or to stop but stay, or to stop and leave; or to restore the word of the president, or the word of the United States, or the word of the international community by bombing, or by threatening to bomb but not bombing, or by neither threatening to bomb nor bombing; or to warn the Russians to stay out, or to welcome the Russians to come in, or to warn the Russians to stay out and welcome the Russians to come in. Message? We are planning to do all kinds of things by not doing anything.
We had planned a “shot across the bow” against Syria, which was to be “unbelievably small” but could by no stretch of the imagination be a “pinprick” — given that the U.S. military “doesn’t do pinpricks.” But a pinprick at least hits its target, while a shot across the bow does not. Message? The administration apparently wants to talk about taking military action rather than take military action, and so splits the difference and talks about taking a little bit of military action.
Victor Davis Hanson cogently analyzes Putin's take on Obama's ineptitude:
Barack Obama’s cancellation of his Russian visit is the normal sort of diplomat payback for insult and injury — in this case the asylum offered Edward Snowden in the face of administration pleas to send him home for punishment. But with Obama, as with everything with Obama, the about-face invokes irony, hypocrisy, and paradox, because it is just the sort of normal Neanderthal tit-for-tat that was not supposed to happen under an Obama pathbreaking foreign policy.
He entered office chastising the Bush administration for its failure to talk with the Iranians and Syrians. The subtext was that Bush lacked both his own charm and insight into human character that together would produce results that Texan right-wingers stuck in Cold War prisms could hardly appreciate.
The Snowden putdown proved the proverbial icing on the cake, given that the Obama administration had always combined the worst of both diplomatic worlds with Putin, as it so often does with its empty redlines and deadlines: loud sermonizing without commensurate toughness.
Dropping the Eastern Europeans on missile defense, negotiating with the Russians on reducing strategic arms without much concern for our obligations to our non-nuclear allies that quite easily could become nuclear without our huge umbrella, the open-mic assurances of post-election flexibility, or pleading with the Russians to be reasonable on Iran and Syria was juxtaposed with loud lectures to the Putin authoritarians on human rights, tolerance of dissent, and proper behavior at the U.N.
Putin — earlier than other leaders — grasped that the U.S. was back to a utopian Jimmy Carter mode. And so, not content in finding advantage, he also seeks fun in publicly humiliating the U.S. He was always an unapologetic Russian nationalist, stung by the loss of prestige after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but reenergized by huge oil revenues. His stock and trade has always been pointing out Western moral hypocrisies — from supporting cruel anti-democratic Islamists to distorting U.N. resolutions on no-fly zones and humanitarian aid in Libya.
In that sense, he is the perfect antithesis to Obama. The sanctimonious Al-Arabiya interview, the Cairo Speech, and the missionary declarations on Libya all presupposed that Obama alone was sensitive to diverse cultures and had both the charisma and moxie to win over those who were previously alienated due to less-sophisticated American leaders.
The result is not just chaos in the Middle East — an unbound Iran, the Syrian quagmire, the Somalization of Libya, Benghazi, the closing of an unprecedented number of embassies, the Egyptian flip-flop-flips, another doomed Israeli-Palestinian initiative — but a global sense that most countries either politely tune Obama’s soaring rhetoric out, or enjoy finding ways to expose the lack of commensurate concrete consequences.
Putin knows that and positions himself as the sort of realist that mocks Obama’s pretensions. And while most abroad accept that he is a thug, they nevertheless seem to enjoy watching Putin, in spider-and-fly fashion, deflate our moral pretenses.
In light of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Communist insurgencies in Central America, the Iranian revolution and the taking of hostages in Tehran, and the Chinese invasion of Vietnam, Jimmy Carter committed to upping the defense budget, dropped his lectures on inordinate fears of communism, issued the “Carter Doctrine,” and gave up on coaxing Khomeini.
But for a variety of reasons, Obama is no Carter, and I doubt he will make such eleventh-hour adjustments.
Wow. Lots of parallels. VDH's article makes acute reading: Denial, evasion, “Let me be perfectly clear” — is this 2013 or 1973?
In my opinion, we are witnessing the unfolding of the greatest presidential debacle in U.S. history. Because the media now extends beyond the collusive Obama protectors (the mainstream media), the truth will eventually come out and I expect the nation will collectively wring its hands and cry in sorrow over the devastation wrought by the Obama presidency and its Congressional allies.
WOW. This is big news if it turns out to be true. Rush Limbaugh devoted a segment of his radio program to Doug Ross's post, "Benghzi Bombshell: Valerie Jarrett, Commnder in Chief."
Confidential sources close to Conservative Report have confirmed that Valerie Jarrett was the key decision-maker for the administration, the night of the Benghazi terrorist attack on 9/11/2012.
The chronology of the evening of 9/11 are as follows: [more...]
Dennis Henninger of the Wall Street Journal hits the nail on the head with his piece, subtitled, "Imposed law replaces checks and balances." Anyone paying attention to Obama's demagogery, lawlessness, and tactical manipulations will find Henninger's piece a well-written presentatiom of what many already recognize and abhor. Here's what Henninger writes: [my bolding]
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.
The first term's over-and-over subject was "the wealthiest 1%." Past some point, people wondered why he kept beating these half-dead horses. After the election, we knew. It was to propagandize the targeted voting base that would provide his 4% popular-vote margin of victory—very young voters and minorities. They believed. He won.
The second-term over-and-over, elevated in his summer speech tour, is the shafting of the middle class. But the real purpose here isn't the speeches' parboiled proposals. It is what he says the shafting of the middle class is forcing him to do. It is forcing him to "act"—to undertake an unprecedented exercise of presidential power in domestic policy-making. ObamaCare was legislated. In the second term, new law will come from him.
Please don't complain later that you didn't see it coming. As always, Mr. Obama states publicly what his intentions are. He is doing that now. Toward the end of his speech last week in Jacksonville, Fla., he said: "So where I can act on my own, I'm going to act on my own. I won't wait for Congress." (Applause.)
The July 24 speech at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., has at least four references to his intent to act on his own authority, as he interprets it: "That means whatever executive authority I have to help the middle class, I'll use it." (Applause.) And: "We're going to do everything we can, wherever we can, with or without Congress."
Who can disagree with this editorial from Investor's Business Daily:
Power: Barack Obama, supposedly a foreign policy "super genius," promised to negotiate terrorist states such as Iran into submission. Instead, our shattered global influence can't even extradite a fugitive out of Hong Kong.
Between Hong Kong's aggressive commitment to political freedom, its Beijing overseers' shrewd exploitation of a fat opportunity to undermine U.S. prestige, and Obama administration incompetence, America was humiliated over the weekend in a pathetic attempt to have Edward Snowden extradited for his role in revealing the extent of National Security Agency domestic surveillance.
The island of nearly pure capitalism deftly waited a couple of days before announcing that Obama's Justice Department had botched its extradition request, then Hong Kong dropped Snowden like a hot won-ton onto a Moscow-bound Aeroflot flight.
A flabbergasted media wondered why John Kerry's State Department hadn't revoked Snowden's passport immediately after federal charges were filed, and why no "red notice" request was sent to Interpol — then realized it was because Kerry's predecessor, future presidential choice Hillary Clinton, wasn't there to provide her superb Benghazi-caliber management skills.
Snowden — with four laptops filled with U.S. secrets, apparently already seen by China — might get asylum in Ecuador, but probably not until Moscow too gets a look at what he's got. In his ongoing defiance, Snowden might have even flown over U.S. airspace several times, our Air Force's hands tied since we're not going to do as the Soviets did to Korean Airlines 007 in 1983 and shoot down a passenger jet full of innocents that refuses to land.
The U.S. simply isn't much feared or heeded anymore. Not by rivals Russia and China. Not by Hong Kong, which shares what once were our government's economic values. And not by a leftist Latin American nation such as Ecuador, which defaulted on more than $3 billion in foreign debt, enjoys unreciprocated free-trade privileges with the U.S., and, according to Adam Issacson's Just The Facts website, enjoyed well over $250 million in U.S. aid under Obama.
Why would they? We break promises to those we commit to liberate, as in Iraq. We drag out the fighting in Afghanistan, then leave the job half-finished. We promise a missile shield to the Czechs and Poles, then renege.
As a candidate in 2008, Obama basked rock-star-like in the adulation of 200,000 Eurodupes in Berlin, but the "new dawn in the Middle East" he promised became an Islamist black hole. No wonder he didn't mention the Arab Spring or Egypt when fewer than 6,000 showed up in Berlin last week to hear him implore them to "reject the nuclear weaponization that North Korea and Iran may be seeking."
"May," Mr. President? Are you still missing your morning national security briefings?
Our global strength and prestige continue to decay. Added to that, the surveillance overreach of Obama's NSA has frittered away some moral high ground.
Its blanket collection of innocent civilians' communications makes Snowden seem to many to be no 21st century Alger Hiss — even as the regimes most notorious for violating civil liberties help him.
The regime and its tricks with the Associated Press and Fox reporter James Rosen, the Benghazi cover-ups, the Fast and Furious operation, suing the state of Arizona for simply endorsing essentially federal immigration law. You can't just try to be the smartest guy in the room and say, "Well, we must be levelheaded about this and understand that this is just metadata." We cannot take the motives and intelligence guided by experience watching this administration over the last four-and-a-half, five years, and what their express purpose is. . .
So if the Constitution exists as it is, the country was founded as it was, and an administration comes along and doesn't like that and is doing everything it can to overturn that Constitution without a convention, doing everything it can to change direction of this country, and what's the word, transform it, what's wrong with calling this a coup?Me: He's absolutely right.