The Obama Narrative

I like the new word being used to replace “shutdown” with regard to what’s happening at the federal level; some are now referring to it as the government “slimdown.” That’s really more accurate. Basic necessities continue because tax revenues have not stopped flowing into the federal coffers. So decisions have to be made to cut back on nonessential services. What this shows us is how much of the activity of the government is nonessential. Unfortunately, Vice President Biden is still drawing his salary.

Sorry about that. I’ll get serious now.

WWII MemorialDid you read about or see video of what occurred at the WWII Memorial in DC yesterday? The Obama administration shut it down, so no one was supposed to visit it. If you’ve ever seen that memorial, you realize it’s out in the open on the Mall. It doesn’t require any special service for people to view it. It’s no different than walking past any monument. A group of WWII veterans had been flown to DC to commemorate their service by visiting this memorial. They were barred from entering it. That was one of the dumbest moves by an administration that specializes in dumb moves. The group, with an assist from Congressman Steve King of Iowa and others, removed the barriers and walked through the memorial anyway.

Normally, I want people to respect the rule of law, but this administrative fiat was foolish, and trying to keep this group away from the memorial was asinine. Kudos to those who ignored the makeshift barriers.

As usual, Republicans have been blamed by the media for this “slimdown.” Yet if you watched closely the machinations, you realize both sides have positions to which they wish to hold firm. For Republicans, it’s the desire to stall the disaster known as Obamacare; for Democrats, it’s the insistence that this unpopular law go forward without any reconsideration. The final appeal of House Republicans was to have a conference with Senate Democrats to iron out the differences. Their appeal was refused. Where is the real obstructionism in this case?

Inflexible

I thought negotiation was a normal part of politics. It certainly is in the international realm, so why not here?

Today's Schedule

What Democrats refuse to acknowledge is that the laughably named Affordable Care Act is anything but affordable, and that it is increasingly unpopular, and not only with those on the other end of the political spectrum:

Isn't the Tea Party

Yesterday marked the beginning of the Obamacare exchanges:

O'Care Start

Well, it was supposed to be the beginning, but this bureaucratic nightmare was largely unavailable to anyone who tried to access it online. I guess there are a few “glitches” to be worked out:

Crank to Start

We need a clear understanding of the dangers facing us as a nation. Yet what do we hear from this administration?

Greatest Threat

They even go one step further:

White House Tells You

I just saw the following in an e-mail sent by a friend. I think it captures the worldview of those currently in charge of our federal government:

Cruz-Hasan

When this becomes the narrative, we’re not in a good place. The president and his party need to be called out on this. Will the mainstream media do it? Of course not. That’s why the responsibility for informing the public rests on those of us who have opportunities to get out the truth. That’s why I write every day. If we are faithful to our call to disseminate truth, we can make a difference.

Scrapping the Obamacare Monstrosity

Anyone who thinks history doesn’t repeat itself has a short memory. It seems as if we have a scenario that never goes away: the federal government in gridlock as we attempt to keep it funded. Each time, there are cries of horror that children will starve, the elderly will perish, we won’t meet our debt obligations, and the world, generally speaking, will come to an end. All such cries are overwrought and largely political.

We also repeat the scenario that the public will blame Republicans for this state of affairs. Never mind that the Republican-dominated House has passed a resolution funding 99% of the government’s expenses; all attention is on the 1%—Obamacare. Yes, technically it is the law, manipulated through a Congress at one time controlled completely by Democrats via quid pro quo promises to certain Democrat senators. Yes, the Supreme Court, in one of its most infamous decisions, comparable to Dred Scott and Roe v. Wade, found a way to declare it constitutional. But even the president whose name is attached to it doesn’t treat it as a law. Without any legal authority at all, he has postponed sections of it and granted exemptions to people of his choosing—including Congress itself.

The president is in campaign mode—well, he never actually left that mode—to convince the public that Obamacare is good for them. You know, like that castor oil you dreaded taking each morning. It’s a hard sell, especially when the public sees all those exemptions, the chaos surrounding the setup of “exchanges,” the number of companies dropping insurance or lowering their workers’ hours to part-time to avoid the mandate, and the increasing costs of healthcare due to the requirements of the law. Some people have seen their premiums triple. The only states where there appears to be any good news on the cost are those already with the highest premiums. Now the rest of the nation can join their misery.

Can the public really be blamed for having second thoughts about this? Why should any government have to go to great lengths to advertise something that supposedly already is enacted? Well, they know it’s becoming wildly unpopular:

Ad Campaign

Tomorrow the Obamacare exchanges are supposed to go into effect. In January, the entire law—minus the exemptions and postponements—is slated to be in force. The whole enterprise is already the cause of greater costs and unemployment. And the Republicans are going to be blamed? That’s kind of an upside-down perception. This Obamacare launch isn’t exactly going the way its dreamers predicted:

Launch

If we are a nation of clear vision, we will encourage the Republican effort to scrap this monstrosity. But are we such a nation? The jury is still out.

The Obamacare Poison

To get the pulse of our mainstream media, all you have to do is compare the coverage of Ted Cruz’s all-night speech to the Senate objecting to the funding of Obamacare with that of Texas state senator Wendy Davis’s stalling speech in favor of unlimited abortion. Davis was treated as some kind of hero, and the favorable coverage has catapulted her into the race for Texas governor. Cruz, on the other hand, was largely depicted as a looney extremist. Never mind that Cruz’s position on Obamacare is in line with all the polls and that Davis’s views on abortion are in the minority—the Leftward, progressive media has its own agenda.

Readers of this daily commentary know I was not completely on board with Cruz’s tactic, but I am glad he highlighted throughout his long speech the dangers and absurdities of the Obamacare law. If nothing else, he raised a banner, a standard, if you will, for people to rally around. Now, will his Republican colleagues follow suit, or will they do what they often do, which is to raise their own flag of a different character?

You Lose

John McCain already has done so. He says we have to respect the results of the election. Well, I respect it in the sense that I have to live with the reality that Barack Obama is still in the White House and the Senate remains in Democrat hands. But that doesn’t mean principles should be surrendered. One must continue to fight for what is right. Unfortunately, senators like McCain have become little more than tools of the opposing party. Some have commented he ought to go ahead and change his political affiliation and make it official.

Of course, the big fear of Republicans is that there will be a government shutdown and they will be blamed. First, essential services never shut down. They need to make sure the public grasps that fact. Second, yes, they will be blamed if they communicate as ineffectively as they are wont to do; but if they can for once devise an excellent strategy for getting out the truth, they should be able to convince enough of the public that it’s Democrats who refuse to go forward with full funding of the government, minus Obamacare. Republicans in the House already have passed a bill that provides funding for everything else. The sticking point is Obamacare. Let’s be honest: what would a government shutdown really look like?

If Govt Shuts Down

Yes, but Obamacare is the law, its proponents argue. True. But if that’s really the case, how can Obama autonomously delay implementation of certain aspects, as he has done on more than one occasion? How can he legitimately provide exemptions to the law that don’t exist in the law? You can’t have it both ways. At least, if Congress is the one defunding or delaying the implementation, it has the right to do so, since it’s the lawmaking body. The president has no authority to do what he has done with what is supposedly the law of the land. I’m not impressed by arguments that ignore that double standard.

The closer we get to Obamacare’s full implementation, the ills of the law become more evident:

Obamacare Kicks In

And if it’s really all that beneficial, why are the ones who made it a law so reluctant to be part of it?

Totally Safe

Republicans need to do all they can to delay the spread of this poison into the general population. If they are smart, they can take steps now that may ultimately dismantle it. It’s so bad it might fall of its own weight, but we cannot depend on that. Action is imperative.

Ted Cruz & His Detractors

Ted CruzThe lines are drawn, and they aren’t strictly Republican vs. Democrat, at least not when it comes to tactics. While most Republicans want to get rid of Obamacare, they disagree on how to do so. Texas Senator Ted Cruz has become the leader of the “defund Obamacare now” approach. He has been criticized for this because Republicans control only the House, and that this tactic will not succeed. Further, all it can do, the critics say, is lead to a government shutdown for which Republicans will be blamed.

I have been one of those critics, not because I disapprove of measures to get rid of Obamacare—it has to go—but because I want to be sure such measures don’t make things worse politically for Republicans. The problem is the uninformed, ignorant public that will follow the lead of the media and unscrupulous Democrats in casting aspersions on those seek to overturn this disastrous law.

House Republicans took the step of passing a continuing resolution to fund all government operations except Obamacare. That’s hardly a shutdown of the government. But will the public understand that? If the Senate refuses to go along with that bill—and it most assuredly will not due to Democrat control of that chamber—how can the Republicans be blamed for any so-called shutdown? Wouldn’t this simply be an impasse with both sides having a different idea on just exactly what should be funded?

By the way, it’s misleading to even use the term “shutdown.” The government will go on operating. All essential services will be offered, despite the dire threats emanating from the Capitol and the White House. The scenario being painted is somewhat phony.

I wish the general public would pay more attention to the tone of the two parties. Republicans are focusing on the real issues, whereby individuals and families are being removed from their current healthcare insurance or are being informed that premiums are rising astronomically due to the Obamacare requirements. One family’s story, told on Fox last evening, showed a spike in monthly premiums from about $330 to nearly $1000. Companies are either dropping coverage or reducing the hours of their employees to part-time. Forcing people into the ephemeral exchanges will also force them into higher healthcare costs than they have currently.

REIDYet what do we hear from Democrats like Harry Reid, Majority Leader in the Senate? He accuses Ted Cruz and others of being “anarchists.” Let’s define that term. An anarchist is someone who wants to throw off all government. Anarchists seek to get rid of all restraint on personal actions so they can do whatever they wish, even if to the detriment of all others. Is that really what Cruz and his allies are bent on doing? Or are they merely trying to reverse a devastating law that will help sink the entire economy?

As Obamacare goes, so goes the American economy, since it affects directly about 1/6 of that economy. But that’s only the direct effect. The indirect damage is incalculable.

Treading Water

Yet President Obama acts like this is some kind of civil war brought on by Republicans:

Civil War

He’s always ready to negotiate with foreign leaders over anything, but when it comes to working with Republicans, his attitude is rather different:

No Negotiating

While I haven’t been won over to the defund tactic, my heart certainly is sympathetic to the aims of that tactic. And I’m more disturbed by the potshots being taken at Cruz and others by erstwhile Republicans. When Cruz appeared on Fox News Sunday this past week, the host, Chris Wallace, let it be known that he received damaging background info on Cruz, not from Democrats, but from fellow Republicans. That’s outrageous. Even if you disagree with a tactic, you don’t try to destroy someone who is working to achieve the same goal you say you are also seeking.

Listening to Cruz, I don’t see a fanatical firebrand who doesn’t understand consequences. What I see is a leader who is hoping to ignite the troops in the general populace. He wants to alert them to the dangers and get them to inundate their representatives with their concerns, thereby forestalling the unfortunate future that awaits us under Obamacare. He’s principled. Unlike the supposed leaders of his party, he’s actually demonstrating leadership. While I’m still unsure as to whether this was the best tactic to achieve the overall goal, I do admire him for putting himself on the line on an issue that others are apparently too timid to tackle.

Syria: Making Another Foolish Mistake?

For more than a year, President Obama has been issuing warnings to Syria that the United States will not stand by idly while thousands are being slaughtered in the civil war taking place there. He has repeatedly spoken of a “red line” that cannot be crossed—the use of chemical weapons by the government against those who are attempting to topple Bashar al-Assad. Although that line was crossed quite a while ago, the administration has now gotten around to admitting it. But does the Syrian government really care? Is it quaking over threats from a so-called superpower that is all words and no action on many fronts?

Read Lines

The use of chemical weapons might have been the publicly stated reason for taking action, but one suspects there are other issues that disturb the president more:

Gone Too Far

I have great sympathy for the innocents caught in the literal crossfire of the Syrian debacle, but we must always consider the wisdom of any attempt to involve the United States in the multitude of wars and semi-wars that are ongoing daily. We must consider first whether there is any direct threat to our country. Then we must think about what would happen if the Syrian regime actually is toppled. Who would take over? Al Qaeda is prominent in the uprising. It’s not the only group, but history shows that the most radical element usually takes control eventually. Assad is a monster who uses chemical weapons. [By the way, where did he get those? Anyone else thinking of Iraq under Saddam, and how he might have transferred his over to Syria prior to our ousting of him back in 2003?] But who’s to say Assad’s replacement would be better? Do we really want to have a hand in turning that country over to Al Qaeda? Does anyone really see that as less of a threat to the United States?

The other concern here is that Obama seems poised now to act unilaterally without the approval of Congress. He has no authority to do so in this situation. Attack is not imminent. Any decision on the use of the American military must first be the subject of congressional debate. The problem is that Obama is quite accustomed to acting alone; he often makes statements about doing what needs to be done—as he perceives our “needs”—without waiting for Congress. Bottom line: he is untrustworthy. Congress must take its responsibility seriously and contain the Obama ego.

Stop Worrying

Syria is not the only place where we have sounded an uncertain trumpet or have waded into a conflict without proper deliberation. In fact, when one analyzes the Obama approach to the entire tinderbox known as the Middle East, one comes to a rather dismal conclusion:

Middle East Policy

Let’s avoid another foolish mistake. If only the grownups were in charge.

Obamacare & the Rule of Law

The Obamacare machine lurches forward—if indeed “forward” is the right word. This thing is so full of troubles, some Republicans are hoping it self-destructs, allowing them to just watch it fall without much effort. While it’s tempting to hope for this outcome, it would be folly to depend on it. No matter how inefficient and problematic its rollout becomes, once subsidies begin flowing, it will be nearly impossible to stop it. I know the tactic being used by senators Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio to defund it has its detractors—the main objection being Republicans will get the blame if this ends up shutting down some of government’s services—but I believe the effort is worth the risk. Frankly, if all Republicans, along with a few Democrats who know this is a train wreck, would unite, it could be stopped now. It’s always difficult to find backbones at the proper time.

The latest ludicrous development was the realization by members of Congress that the bill they passed will apply to themselves and their staffs. Perhaps if they had read the bill before they passed it? Anyway, the outcry was huge because they were afraid staff people couldn’t afford it. Wait a minute; wasn’t the name of this law the Affordable Care Act? Right.

So they argued there had to be a loophole or something before staffers decided to leave their jobs. Perhaps the funniest part of the panic was the fear that this would be a “brain drain” from Congress:

Brain Drain

I’m trying not to laugh. Really. With respect to a couple hundred of those congressmen, I don’t think we’d notice any drain at all. Their resignations, and the resignations of staffers who tell them how to vote, might actually raise the intellectual level of our premier lawmaking body.

The outcry was heard in the White House, where President Obama soothed their fears by giving them and their staffs taxpayer subsidies to cover the extra costs. They are, consequently, getting a benefit most other people won’t receive. I think that’s called special treatment. It’s reserved for supporters of the current regime.

Lifeboats

The rest of us, meanwhile, remain on the Titanic.

There’s an even more ominous aspect to this:

I Write the Laws

It’s another example of how Obama simply “declares” something to be law, even though he has no authority to do so. He did the same as an end-run around immigration laws, just declaring that they didn’t apply to those of a certain age under specified circumstances. This is a president who has no regard at all for what is traditionally called the rule of law. If the president wants it, the president gets it. Congress is inconsequential. The Constitution is not a factor.

More than anything else, this attitude is the greatest threat to our future as a nation.

Who’s Paying Attention?

If you don’t watch Fox News or depend on other alternative media sources, you might think the IRS scandal is passé because you haven’t heard much about it lately. That appears to be a deliberate choice of the other networks and newspaper outlets. Yet there is a lot going on. Well, let me rephrase that: there is a lot of avoidance of finding the facts going on. It’s not due to a lack of diligence by the Congress; Republicans in the House are demanding answers but are getting none.

The newly appointed IRS commissioner, Daniel Werfel, who was recently one of the president’s advisers in the White House, came out with a report earlier this week that was at first hailed by Democrats and other assorted liberals, progressives, and radicals. It led us to believe that there was no specific targeting of conservative groups by the IRS. Why, they even investigated organizations that had words like “progressive” in their names, we were told. The report basically said, “Hey, no one here did anything really wrong.”

Daniel Werfel

In other words, this former Obama insider—the fox who was put in charge of the hen house—found nothing of major concern in his investigation. Liberal groups rejoiced over this news, but their rejoicing was short-lived. Apparently, an honest person in the government—and no, that is not an oxymoron—came forward to correct this perception.

J. Russell GeorgeJ. Russell George, the Treasury Department’s Inspector General, and the one who first identified the targeting problem, has given the facts: 292 conservative groups underwent extensive harassment by the IRS without ever getting their tax-exempt status, compared to 6 progressive organizations that were simply put on a list but never had to undergo any genuine scrutiny. The evidence of bias is overwhelming. True government servants like George deserve our gratitude.

As a result of George’s willingness to expose the lies, Werfel had a rather awkward and uncomfortable session before a House committee yesterday. May he have more. How can anyone have confidence in this new director after the events of this week?

What was even funnier, if that’s the right word, is that Werfel told the committee that his agency needed more funding. Why? For more conferences?

Audit Experience

The IRS comi-tragedy will continue, and the House will attempt to drag more information from those responsible for this fiasco. Of course, there are many other fiascoes underway concurrently, none of which seems to get the attention of the presumed leader of the Free World:

Somebody Audit Her

Never has a president been so absent from the pressing issues of his administration. Even Richard Nixon kept commenting when Watergate was unfolding. This president just tries to change the subject whenever he deigns to do anything at all:

 Save the Planet

Yes, he has time to make speeches about climate change being the premier problem of our age—despite evidence to the contrary—but no time to speak to China or Russia about Edward Snowden or to be honest and forthcoming about what happened on September 11, 2012, in Benghazi. How does he think he can get away with this? Is it because he has a good understanding of the attention span and interests of the American public?

 Full Brain

Unfortunately, that may be the case.