America’s Nero?

So now we’re sending humanitarian aid—finally—to those displaced in Iraq by the bloodthirsty ISIS terrorist organization. And we’re dropping a few bombs on ISIS positions. I wonder how many Americans have been fooled into thinking this somehow represents decisive action? I don’t recall which military spokesman it was, but someone in the last day or two clearly stated that our pinprick policy of bombing wasn’t going to put any real dent in the ISIS forward movement.

Back when President Obama was being questioned about this rising threat to Iraq’s stability, he dismissed ISIS as the “junior varsity” compared to Al Qaeda. Well, it appears he was somewhat shortsighted in his dismissal.

Life's a Beach

While he’s “busy” vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard, reports now indicate ISIS is far more threatening than Al Qaeda at its peak. It’s better funded, better organized, and has set up what it calls an Islamic State in what was a section of Iraq. Our leader never saw this coming:

Islamic State

For Obama, of course, the most important thing is never to get America involved again in Iraq. Circumstances, though, may foil his plans:

Dragged

No matter where one looks with respect to the Obama foreign policy, one sees American retreat from leadership and the looming threat of more terrorist attacks here at home. With the congressional elections coming up soon, Democrats are scrambling to disassociate themselves from the presumed head of their party:

Run

Even Hillary Clinton, already transparently running for the top job, is attempting to put some distance between herself and her former boss:

What Difference

That’s going to be a hard sell. After all, she was his secretary of state, responsible for enacting all aspects of his foreign policy. She can’t legitimately claim to be separate from his policies. Her best hope is the collective amnesia of the average American voter.

Obama has demonstrated such a high level of incompetence that, coupled with his unconstitutional power grabs and the use of government agencies to attack political opponents, it’s no wonder the “I” word is being bandied about. Republican leaders are aware that Democrats seek to use that to gain sympathy for Obama and reverse the electoral tide this November. That’s why Republicans, on the whole, are not falling for a strategy that has no hope of success in the Democrat-controlled Senate, no matter how eager Democrats are for them to take the bait:

The I Word

So, in a perverse sort of way, it’s Democrats who are pushing the impeachment talk. Even Obama himself wants to use it for his advantage:

To Get Impeached

Right. As if that’s ever going to happen.

Meanwhile, our own Nero continues to play his figurative fiddle while all around us burns.

Race, Hypocrisy, & the Coming Elections

No one can argue that racial discrimination is entirely a thing of the past. As long as there are human beings, there will be those who harbor ill will toward anyone who is “different,” a word that can be defined in numerous ways. We’re talking about a feature of life simply called “sin,” another term that has innumerable manifestations, both personally and in society.

Yet the United States has gone to greater lengths than any other nation to do whatever government is capable of doing to minimize the effects of unfair discrimination. Civil rights acts passed after the Civil War were the first steps toward rectifying a wrong; then the more well-known Civil Rights Act of 1964 further solidified the nation’s stance that we should aim toward a colorblind society, one in which all people, regardless of outward appearance or ethnicity, are to be judged equally under the law.

Some innocently thought that the election of a black president (or at least one of mixed parentage) would be the proverbial final nail in the coffin of racial tensions. But when that president continues to bring up race himself and hires on associates with huge racial chips on their shoulders, it becomes impossible to leave race behind.

Take Eric Holder, for instance, our attorney general, the man who heads up the Justice Department. From the beginning of his tenure, he has made race a feature of his concept of carrying out justice. Under this administration, we have taken a giant leap backward with regard to race relations:

Color Blind

Something tells me Holder isn’t exactly on board with that whole “equal under the law” idea. And he’s particularly upset by the most recent Supreme Court decision that allows Michigan to stop making decisions on university admissions based on affirmative action policies. Really, all the Michigan state government is saying is that we ought to stop making race a cornerstone for policy—that we should treat everyone equally. How is that unfair discrimination?

Discriminating

What the Court actually has done is reinsert a little common sense and “fair” play into the way we judge one another.

That’s not going to stop President Obama’s party from making race one of the foundations for the upcoming congressional elections. More than ever, Democrats seem determined to make a case that race is the central issue on the political scene:

Dem Platform

What this seeks to accomplish, of course, is to divert attention from the new healthcare crisis created by Obamacare, which may very well be the key factor pushing voters to the polls this November. Yet the drumbeat will go on, as Republicans will be accused of every sort of evil intent, not only on race but with regard to a supposed war on women:

Racist Woman-Hater

Don’t you love the logic in that cartoon? The real question is whether the American public is going to fall for this logic once again. Democrats will do their best to spread this type of disinformation, but it will take a lot of money to do so. That leads to another glaring bit of hypocrisy: the Democrat theme lately is that Republicans are the party dependent on the billionaires to get elected, whereas studies show that the biggest political donors are those giving to the Democrats. While Republicans stand accused of being the “fat cats,” Democrats are awash in cash:

Too Much Influence

This bit of hypocrisy needs to be exposed for what it is. Democrats truly fear what may happen in these elections, and they have good reason to fear:

Heaven Real

For the sake of the country, may their fears be realized.

Return of the Phony “War on Women”

Politicians from all countries throughout all ages have lied. That’s nothing new. Neither is it unexpected. The power that comes with political position brings all latent arrogance/pride to the surface more easily perhaps than other professions. While lying is pandemic (one of the Ten Commandments forbids giving false witness), some politicians have taken the practice to a higher level.

Take the Obama administration and the Democrats as a whole, for example (you knew I was going there, right?). To what lengths are these people willing to go to maintain power? Harry Reid, on the Senate floor in the last election cycle, flatly stated that Mitt Romney hadn’t paid taxes in ten years. It was patently false, but that didn’t stop him from declaring it. President Obama refuses to acknowledge one smidgen of corruption in the IRS affair. Everyone, including the president himself, knows that’s a whopper.

One of the biggest lies promoted in the previous presidential election was that the Republicans were waging a war on women. The proof? Why, they didn’t want to pay for contraception for everyone. A “poor” Georgetown law student who would soon be a lawyer raking in more money than most people ever see, was being discriminated against.

They now have decided that’s still a winner. The phony “War on Women” has been resurrected:

Falsely Claim

Also in circulation is the discredited statistic that women only make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. That has been debunked on both the Right and the Left; it doesn’t take into account many other factors. Yet that hasn’t stopped Obama from making it the basis of his latest accusations:

Not a Myth

It’s rather embarrassing to trumpet a war on women using this approach when one’s own White House pays women less than men. Well, change that—this administration isn’t embarrassed by anything, not even loss of credibility:

Credibility Gap

Remember when Romney made a remark about having binders full of women? Although everyone knew what he really meant by that comment, the Democrats made a joke out of it, and used it as further evidence that women were on the periphery of Republicans’ interests. Perhaps there’s a better application of that phrase now:

Binders

The hypocrisy and outright lying on this issue is so blatant, I’m sure the mainstream media will pick up on it very soon. Sure. The same media that avoided reporting Obama’s remark about having visited all 57 states is not about to start being honest now. The rest of us are the ones who have to disseminate the truth. We need to be faithful in that task.

Grand Political Theater at the White House

The administration took a victory lap in the Rose Garden yesterday, celebrating the claim that more than 7 million people have now signed up for health insurance through Obamacare. President Obama himself showed up to beam and chastise Republicans for opposing his legislation. It was grand political theater with all his loyal Democrat legislators in attendance.

But know this—it was no more than political theater. Why?

There are many things we don’t know about that 7 million number. Let me count the ways we are in the dark:

  • First, we have no idea how many of those they claim to have signed up are really signed up. Have they paid anything? Simply signing up is not the same thing as paying. I think we can reasonably subtract a significant number just on that question alone.
  • Second, we don’t know how many registered for Medicaid. Early estimates showed approximately a 4:1 advantage for Medicaid recipients. Those are not exactly paying customers; their costs are incurred by the government, both federal and state.
  • Third, it is obvious that perhaps a majority of the paying consumers were forced into the system because the law caused them to lose the health insurance they already had. That’s not an increase in the total of people covered by insurance; it’s simply a replacement.
  • Fourth, we aren’t being told the percentage of signees who are younger, and therefore healthier, which is essential for the system to be financially feasible. Until now, that percentage was estimated to be far too low to create a workable program.
  • Fifth, the other factor that is unknown is how many of those registered were actually uninsured in the first place. Again, all indications have been that the figure is extremely low. Wasn’t this supposed to be aimed primarily at those who didn’t have insurance? If they aren’t the ones benefiting, how can anyone call this a success?

Beyond the questions, there are the certainties: higher premiums and deductibles, unneeded coverages pushing those costs higher, and loss of doctors and medical facilities in the program. Again, how does this spell success? Yet our president will continue to say it’s working just as he intended:

Working Perfectly

That’s what’s even scarier. I don’t think this temporary victory lap is going to make Democrats running for reelection really feel any better. They will still be faced with voters who have lost their insurance and doctors, some of whom have even lost the treatments they were receiving for serious diseases. They also will have to answer to those who are now paying more for less. Those voters will not be happy.

Dems 14

So yesterday’s news didn’t change anything of substance with this unpopular law. Failure is still failure, no matter how you try to dress it up as a success.

It’s almost as if yesterday was April Fool’s Day or something. Oh . . .

The Power Grab

President Obama’s pledge to act unilaterally, ignoring Congress, to do what he deems best for the country, even has Democrats nervous. Many who are running for reelection are also running just as quickly away from their ties to Obama. Up until now, the main reason for their scramble to disassociate themselves from their leader has been the disaster known as Obamacare. That hasn’t changed, but now his unprecedented power grab has provided another reason for their angst.

Even normally sympathetic news sources are finding it difficult to avoid his previous statements on this issue, and the stark hypocrisy involved:

When I'm President

Of course, if they had been more objective all along, they wouldn’t be so surprised by this latest maneuver; it’s become his trademark.

All of this wouldn’t be as bad as it is if there were a real opposition party that knew what it was doing. Republicans often talk like an opposition, but when it comes to acting, they have a habit of falling short and acting out of political expediency instead:

Go Left

Their unwillingness to fight as a unified force only accelerates our plunge over the fiscal cliff. They have to get their act together:

How They Practiced

Meanwhile, the president goes about his task of remaking America. He is a legend in his own mind:

By Executive Order

Do those other faces look a trifle dismayed? They should.

Challenging the Status Quo

As I write my post this morning, the Senate is poised to pass a budget deal crafted by Republican Paul Ryan and Democrat Patty Murray. It is being hailed in some quarters as a sign of bipartisanship and progress, but is it really? I listened to Ryan explain why this is a good deal—no tax increases;  return of some sequester cuts to the military; deficit reduction down the road. I’ve listened to the critique of the deal—it includes more spending now and those reductions are far down the road, thereby increasing the deficit in the short run; no guarantee that a future Congress will keep this deal when the spending is set to go down; military veterans taking a hit on their pensions, even those who were wounded in action; no one else in the federal government affected in the same way as these veterans because their pensions remain untouched, so this once again penalizes those who lay their lives on the line for us.

When I first heard it explained, I hadn’t yet known about the downside of the bill. I wonder how many of those in the House of Representatives who voted in favor of it—the majority of Republicans included—really understood the ramifications. Were they hearing all the facts ahead of time?

New Budget Deal

Now, I know one overriding reason why many Republicans jumped on board with this, even some who have steadfastly resisted bills like this in the past—they are nearly petrified by the political fallout of another looming battle over the budget for which they will get blamed if we have another government “shutdown,” better described as a “slimdown.” One has to wonder why this deal would look so good to them if not for that fear. Surely, by now, they should realize they can’t trust the Democrats to uphold their side of the bargain:

Deficit Reduction

There are good people on that side of the debate who say that by putting this budget mess aside, we can concentrate on stopping Obamacare by offering an alternative. I hope so. Yet the Republican leadership doesn’t seem to be able to create unity around one solid proposal. It’s time for genuine leadership to emerge. This deal, in my view, does nothing to allay the major concerns going forward:

Budget Compromise

I, and many others out here in the hinterlands, are seeking bold leadership that will challenge the status quo. Yes, I understand political realities, but those realities will never change until courage comes front and center.

As a historian, I try to draw lessons from our past. I recall that Ronald Reagan was despised by the Republican party establishment back in the 1970s. They said he wasn’t realistic, he was too confrontational, too conservative to be elected. He went on to win two smashing victories, revived the economy, and forced the Soviet Union to the bargaining table, which eventually led to the downfall of the Evil Empire. The establishment was wrong then, and it is wrong now.

 

Rhetoric vs. Reality

How closely are you following the Obamacare developments? If you are a low-information citizen/voter [of course, if you’re reading this, you’re probably not of that number], you might have seen the president’s mini-pep rally yesterday and assumed everything—website, plans, etc.—is now working admirably. This is what our president does: he holds pep rallies. That has been the essence of his presidency. He believes rhetoric will trump reality.

The reality, though, is quite stark and hard to ignore. Here are the latest tidbits:

  • For some reason, the administration thinks that a website that can handle perhaps 50,000 hits per day is superb. Never mind that real businesses like Amazon handle millions per hour.
  • The Obama pep rally ignored the fact that more than 5 million people have now lost their health insurance while maybe 100,000 have been able to enroll via the online exchanges. That’s quite a variance.
  • It’s now estimated that perhaps 30% of those who believe they have gone through the hoops and enrolled aren’t enrolled at all due to the glitches. They will be in a for a big surprise the first time they go to the doctor or hospital after January 1.
  • Those who actually did enroll may discover they no longer have their doctor or hospital.
  • The security measures for the Obamacare exchange remain a joke: any information fed into the system may be available to hackers. Untold headaches may ensue.
  • The payment feature of the website barely works, if at all. As a result, the government is simply going to ask insurance companies what they estimate they should be paid by those who enroll, and taxpayer money will flow to the companies regardless of the actual costs. The promise is that eventually it will all be settled out properly—as if any money that comes from the government will be refunded to the taxpayers. If you believe that, welcome to Fantasy Land.

So this is the “better” system, the “fix,” the “update”?

Getting Better

I omitted from that list the sticker shock that most will suffer upon realizing their premiums and/or deductibles will skyrocket. Democrats up for reelection are still in panic mode, as well they should be. Yet I have a hard time feeling sorry for them; they brought this on themselves. They are indissolubly linked to this lame-duck presidency that has three more years to go:

Tech Support

There are two honorable actions President Obama could take: the first would be to admit his mistake and support repeal of the Obamacare monster; the second would be to tender his resignation. After all, any CEO of a company in the private sector would be out of a job after a disaster of this magnitude. I don’t expect he will take either honorable route because only an honorable person would do so.