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Yesterday, 9:36 pmObama's Playbook: Blame Bush and Then Congress
Obama's Playbook: Blame Bush and Then Congress
Debra J. Saunders | Jul 31, 2014
In June, President Barack Obama sent a letter to Congress asking for help to address the surge of illegal crossings at the Texas-Mexico border. Among other items, Obama asked Congress to grant him the legal authority "to exercise discretion in processing the return and removal of unaccompanied minor children from non-contiguous countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador."
The administration blamed a 2008 anti-human-trafficking law signed by President George W. Bush for preventing officials from promptly deporting minors not eligible for asylum.
House Republicans were happy to oblige. Speaker John Boehner maintained that voters would not accept spending more money on unauthorized migrants without fixing the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.
So what did Obama do? He left that reform out of the $3.7 billion emergency border package he sent to Congress.
"Suddenly, magically, there was no reform," observed Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. "There was just money."
What happened? Early on, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., an author of the Wilberforce law, maintained that the law includes an "exceptional circumstances" clause, which would allow authorities to modify how they process the more than 50,000 unaccompanied minors who are here now, largely from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Having witnessed the chaos at the border, Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, crossed the aisle to work with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, to offer a bill to treat unaccompanied minors from Central America's Northern Triangle the same as children from Mexico. As Cornyn argues, a bill that was supposed to shield children from human traffickers has had the unintended consequence of boosting business for human smugglers to use children as "commodities."
A July Pew Research Center poll found that 53 percent of those polled want Washington to speed up deportations of asylum seekers, whereas 37 percent oppose a change in policy.
But this White House doesn't move to the center. Ditto the Democratic leadership. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., maintains that the 2008 law has had no role in the surge of unaccompanied minors. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi protested to MSNBC, "The baby Jesus was a refugee from violence."
In Majority Leader Harry Reid's Senate, there are no enemies to the left. Once a Democrat opposes an item because it's not liberal enough, moderate Democrats shut up and back off.
Reid spent the week threatening to add last year's big Senate immigration bill to any measure passed by the House, apparently just to poison the well in the House.
Though the Senate forwarded a $2.7 billion emergency bill in a procedural vote Wednesday, it will fail absent a Wilberforce reform. Already, GOP senators and three at-risk Democrats have announced their opposition.
As Congress is scheduled to begin a five-week recess, don't expect Obama or Reid to support the White House's erstwhile request. In Obama and Reid's Washington, there is no crisis that cannot be prolonged for politics.
Yesterday, 10:02 amObama and the Road Not Taken - Excellent read.
Obama and the Road Not Taken
Victor Davis Hanson | Jul 31, 2014
The Obama administration often denies any responsibility for the current global chaos or claims that it erupted spontaneously. Yet most of the mess was caused by, or made worse by, growing U.S. indifference and paralysis.
Over the last five and a half years, America has had lots of clear choices, but the administration usually took the path of least short-term trouble, which has ensured long-term hardship.
There was no need to "reset" the relatively mild punishments that the George W. Bush administration had accorded Vladimir Putin's Russia for invading Georgia in 2008. By unilaterally normalizing relations with Russia and trashing Bush, Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton only green-lighted further Russian aggression that has now spread to Crimea and Ukraine.
There was no need for Obama, almost immediately upon assuming office, to distance the U.S. from Israel by criticizing Israel's policies and warming to its enemies, such as authoritarian Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan and Hamas.
Any time Israel's enemies have glimpsed growing distance in the U.S.-Israeli friendship, they seek only to pry it still wider. We see just that with terrorists in Gaza who launch hundreds of missiles into Israel on the expectation that the U.S. will broker a favorable deal that finds both sides equally at fault.
Sanctions had crippled Iran to the point that it soon would have grown desperate to meet U.S. demands to stop its nuclear enrichment. Instead, Obama eased trade restrictions just as they were coming to fruition. Iran is now on its way to acquiring a bomb, while supplying missiles to Hamas and Hezbollah.
We had an option in Libya to let the tottering but reforming Muammar Gadhafi government fend for itself. Or we could have taken out Gadhafi and then sent in peacekeepers to ensure a transition to ordered government. But the Obama administration did neither. Instead, the U.S. participated in a multi-nation bombing campaign and all but guaranteed that a failed state would be left on Europe's doorstep. Now we have just closed our embassy in Tripoli and fled the country entirely.
There were once viable choices in Egypt. Instead, the administration managed to alienate the old Hosni Mubarak regime, alienate the elected Muslim Brotherhood that immediately tried to subvert the democracy, and alienate the military junta that stepped in to stop the Islamization of Egypt. All of these rival groups share one thing in common: a distrust of the U.S.
We could have made a choice in Iraq to negotiate a bit more with the Nouri al-Maliki government, leave behind a few thousand token peacekeepers and thereby preserve the calm achieved by the surge. Instead, the administration pulled out U.S. soldiers to ensure that a withdrawal would be an effective re-election talking point. The result of that void is the present bloodletting and veritable destruction of Iraq.
The U.S. once had choices in Syria. We could have loudly condemned the Bashar al-Assad government and immediately armed the most pro-Western of the anti-Assad rebels. Or we could have just stayed quiet and stayed out of the mess. Instead, we chose the third -- and worst -- option: loudly threaten Assad while doing nothing. Both a bloody dictatorship and its bloody jihadist enemies share a general contempt for a perceived weak America.
There were choices on our own border as well. Obama could have advised Central American governments that our southern border was closed to any who would cross illegally, while attempting to remedy the violence in those countries. Instead, the administration opened the border, welcomed in thousands without scrutiny, and has all but destroyed federal immigration law. The result is chaos.
The Obama administration apparently has assumed that calm, not conflict, is the natural order of things. The world supposedly can run on autopilot without much guidance from its only superpower.
If conflict does arise, the U.S. counts on sermonizing without the need to back up tough and often provocative rhetoric with any action. When occasional decisions must be made, the U.S. usually chooses the easiest way out: withdrawals, concessions and appeasement.
Behind these assumptions also lie the administration's grave doubts that the U.S. has in the past played a positive role in postwar affairs, or that in the present and future America can claim the moral authority -- or has the resources -- to confront aggressors.
In 2017, Obama may well leave office claiming to have reduced our military while avoiding conflict during his tenure. But will he also be able to assure us that China, Iran and Russia are less threatening; that the Middle East, the Pacific and the former Soviet republics are less explosive; that our own border is more secure -- and that America is safer?
To paraphrase the poet Robert Frost: Two roads diverged in the world, and we always took the one of least resistance -- and that has now made all the difference.
Last Edited: Yesterday, 10:04 am
July 31, 2014, 10:22 amTelling it Like itis...
July 30, 2014, 9:23 pmThis works both ways...
July 30, 2014, 9:50 amThis Is Hiliarious. Take a few moments to watch LYAO.
OMG LMAO, even talks about our two resident wimps...
July 30, 2014, 9:42 amJoke of the Morning..
''Police in Texas seized a shipment of ecstasy pills this week shaped like President Obama's face. The drug is characterized by a brief powerful high followed by a long, slow comedown.'' .
July 29, 2014, 7:37 pmWhat Constitution did President Obama Teach?
What Constitution did President Obama Teach?
Shawn Mitchell | Jul 28, 2014
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Barack Obama famously declared that as a former teacher of Constitutional law, he actually respects the Constitution, unlike his predecessor in the Oval Office. Subsequent events make it fair to wonder exactly how he shows this respect.
Some on the Left barely conceal their disdain for the world-changing handiwork of dead white males. Reverence for the Constitution isn’t universal even among its chief custodians. Justice Ruth Ginsburg raised eyebrows when she advised Egyptian civic activists she wouldn’t look to the US Constitution as a model today. She pointed instead to the constitutions of South Africa, Canada, and the European Charter of Rights and Freedoms, praising them as “great work,” more recent and more generous in protecting “human rights.” The late Justice Thurgood Marshall also was cautious about putting too much stock in Constitutional guidance, asking a PBS interviewer: “What does the Constitution say about rocket ships?”
Actually, the Constitution says as much about rockets as it does about horses and buggies: basically nothing. The Constitution is not the US Code of Statutes, setting out the federal law. It’s more like the rule book or citizens’ owners’ manual that governs the government. It’s a uniquely successful compact in history. But it remains vital only as Americans understand it, support it, and demand politicians do likewise.
Citizens who accuse President Obama of violating the Constitution should have a clear idea what they mean. This would include being able to explain to a friend or child basic constitutional principles and describe the ways they are threatened. Here’s my attempt at a simple, easy to share explanation:
Life is hard and sometimes dangerous. Government can help protect peace and security, but it’s important to think seriously about what government should be and do, as our Framers had to when they organized America.
The big thing they realized is government is unique. Some things need governing, but others just involve voluntary cooperation. Lots of people or groups--like street preachers, hotdog vendors, corporations, your mother—have things they want you to do: repent, buy stuff, call home. But government decides things you have to do or can’t do, at the risk of fines, jail, or, at some level of resistance, getting shot.
Government’s essence is controlling people—forbidding things, requiring things, and extracting the taxes to pay for things. Our Founders realized the power to control people, as opposed to offer or invite in voluntary exchanges is potentially dangerous. It must be limited and channeled, as in the apocryphal wisdom of George Washington: like fire, government is a dangerous servant and fearsome master.
The Founders figured out controlling people involves three different kinds of power: making rules, enforcing rules, and resolving disputes between people and between the enforcers and the people. They also realized the controllers could be kept honest and fair only if those different powers were kept apart: the people who make the rules shouldn’t be the ones who enforce them; the enforcers shouldn’t decide disputes between themselves and the people.
That’s why the Founders arranged separation of powers. They created Congress in Article I, the Executive in Article II, and the Supreme Court and judiciary in Article III.
Our Founders also realized the young nation sat at the edge of a continent it might grow to fill. Even the 13 colonies had a diverse mix of heritage, religion, resources, climate, industry, and so forth. They determined people should govern themselves as locally as possible. Daily government was left with the states. The national government would be limited to matters that truly needed to be nationally uniform. It was delegated only enumerated powers.
The Founders crowned their structure with a Bill of Rights, identifying some, but not all, of the sacred liberties and protections needed for the free pursuit of happiness. The finished work was an intellectual revolution more spectacular than the military revolution that made it possible. The path has not always been smooth or safe. But most people agree, it’s the most successful system of governing ever designed.
Some clever and sophisticated people today say the Constitution is outdated. It was designed for a small, simple society. Our modern world needs something more complex. This claim is curious, both as a matter of observable history and of theory.
If you hear such criticism, you might challenge it. Historically, ask if any other national system has lasted longer, or produced better fruits, including freedom, due process, stable government, opportunity, prosperity, and a magnetic draw to people around the world.
On theory, ask what has changed in the world or human nature that suggests government’s controlling powers shouldn’t be limited. Or why it makes sense to mix the powers to legislate, enforce, and judge. Ask too, if rigid, centralized government across diverse states and communities, geography, cultures, and economies makes any more sense than before.
The critics likely will talk about how things should be different; but they won’t show that anything has ever worked better than the United States Constitution. But the Transformer and his supporters find it very inconvenient. And for some, that’s all that matters.
July 29, 2014, 1:19 pmIt all started in 2008, cogratulations you bought it.
New Obama EPA Rules Will Devastate Seniors
Jim Martin | Jul 28, 2014
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When President Obama proposed healthcare reform that added 30 million to the insurance rolls while promising lower costs, most people who passed fourth grade math raised an eyebrow, if not a ruckus. The simple realities of supply and demand, coupled with the burden of government mandates, could only push healthcare costs skyward. With Obamacare now in effect, those early concerns have come to be realized through skyrocketing premiums, as confirmed by a recent Morgan Stanley survey of 148 national insurance brokers.
Premiums are up as much as 100 pecent in some cases, and this is after Obama promised "savings." One can only imagine what would happen to the cost of a commodity the President promises to make Americans pay more for. Unfortunately, we don't have to imagine, as this is exactly what Obama promised his energy plan would achieve.
In January of 2008, candidate Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle that "under my plan... electricity prices will necessarily skyrocket." No sanguine language here about savings, just a flat out mission to make Americans pay through the nose for energy. It's no coincidence that under Obama gasoline prices have doubled, and have remained above $3 per gallon throughout his two terms.
Now to make good on his promise to make electricity cost more, Obama's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have issued brutal new rules on emissions for electricity generating power plants, just what the doctor ordered for skyrocketing electricity prices. This is a story largely ignored by the mainstream press who never miss an Obama chip shot on to the green or a grip and grin in some remote diner. But Americans are catching on fast.
On HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy declined to disagree with the host's contention that Obama was waging a "war on coal." Indeed, it was candidate Obama who in the same Chronicle interview stated, "If somebody wants to build a coal-fired plant, they can. It's just that [my plan] will bankrupt them." The President makes no bones that his aim is to make producing electricity cost-prohibitive, but in the end it will be you, me, and everybody with an outlet and a light switch paying the bill.
The EPA's war on coal is no less than a war on seniors and our nation's most vulnerable. Seniors on fixed and diminishing incomes pay a disproportionate share of their monthly budget on utilities, and Obama's EPA will serve only to make them poorer and more vulnerable. A recent Harris poll found 88 percent of seniors are at least somewhat concerned that the new EPA rules will force them to pay more. Sharing this view is a U.S. Chamber of Commerce analysis showing the new EPA rules will cost Americans $17 billion a year more to pay their electricity bills, and hit the economy with $50 billion a year in new costs.
As recently as six years ago coal accounted for about 50 percent of America's electricity, and now stands at 40 percent. Obama wants it below 30 percent, a chokehold on energy production which is nothing short of pulling the emergency brake on the economy and letting America's most vulnerable go flying through the windshield.
Seniors of limited means are least able to absorb the increasing costs of energy and electricity, as we've seen from far too many stories of elderly dying in their homes or requiring hospitalization during severe weather conditions. Clearly the President and the EPA are willing to gamble with the lives of seniors for the sake of their extreme ideology.
A study of the Administration's new power plant emissions rules revealed job losses of 442,000 by 2022, and a loss of 40 percent of electrical capacity generated by coal in the next 15 years. What's even more alarming is that the environmentalists at the EPA can't even point to a tangible, achievable benefit to these new proposed standards. The truth is these additional regulations are of benefit to no one, and do nothing to address the fact that developing nations like China and India will double their power-plant emissions in short order with Americans essentially subsidizing their increased production.
July 28, 2014, 10:50 pmJust announced jobs program.
July 28, 2014, 9:28 pmYou wouldn't listen anyway.
July 28, 2014, 8:23 pmDon't hold your breath...!
What if Obama Defended American Business?
Larry Kudlow | Jul 27, 2014
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Wouldn't it be great if Obama acknowledged that U.S. firms are overburdened by the highest corporate tax rate among developed countries, and as a result are becoming less and less competitive?
Wouldn't it be great if he said he wants to fix this tax imbalance in order to grow the economy faster and give U.S. businesses a leg up on the global scene?
Couldn't he just say that? Nope.
He could say it like this: "Look, I don't want to drive businesses away. I want to keep businesses here. I understand the importance of business. I understand that you can't have a good job without a thriving business. And I get that businesses require capital investment. And I understand that the investment and the business must have a high rate of return, after tax. When that's the case, the company expands, jobs grow and families have more income to pay for health care, education and the good life."
Instead, Obama mocks businesses. And now he's hauling out an election-year populist whine about "economic patriotism." He's attacking companies that merge with foreign businesses and reincorporate in lower-tax foreign countries. It's called inversion. And Obama wants to stop it in the name of patriotism.
In an interview with my CNBC colleague Steve Liesman, Obama talked about how businesses are ungrateful for "the range of benefits that have helped to build companies, create value (and) create profits." He complained that these firms are moving their "technical address simply to avoid paying taxes."
That sounds a bit like, "If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
But the issue isn't avoiding all taxes. If a U.S. business reincorporates overseas, it still pays the same record-breaking 35 percent tax rate on its U.S. income. The difference is that it doesn't pay 35 percent on profits made in foreign countries. That's the double tax it is trying to avoid.
We are the only nation that has this goofy system. And it reduces after-tax profits and renders our companies less competitive. That's why nearly $2 trillion in cash from American companies is sitting overseas.
But Obama could turn this around in a blink. He could say, "We need that cash to grow the economy, create more jobs and, yes, to build more infrastructure. So I'm going to grant a small repatriation fee of 5 percent to bring that money back and put it to work at home."
He could then say, "And to make American business number one, we're gonna drop the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent -- with full cash expensing for new investment -- and scrap all other deductions and special credits. In other words, we're gonna end crony capitalism and corporate welfare, just as I pledged in my 2008 campaign. And that includes the Export-Import bank. "
He could then say he understands from numerous studies that 70 percent of the benefits of a corporate tax cut will flow to working wage earners while the rest will flow to lower-priced consumers. And he could add that we're going to allow pass-through S-corps and LLCs who now pay the personal tax rate to reincorporate and take advantage of the new lower C-corp rates.
And that's when he could argue that American companies must come home and stay home.
Nobody, including myself, likes the idea of foreign-based inversions or foreign-parked cash. But corporate tax reform is the solution, not corporate punishment.
The president sometimes gives lip service to corporate tax reform. But he never follows through. There have been a dozen good proposals down through the years. But Obama keeps blaming Republicans in Congress, even though he has been completely disengaged from any serious talks about tax reform.
Five years ago, Simpson-Bowles had a good corporate tax reform. The president ignored it. Democratic Sen. Max Baucus developed a corporate tax-reform package when he was chair of the Senate Finance Committee. It was completely disregarded by the White House. And Republican Dave Camp, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, delivered a comprehensive tax reform that included corporations. It wasn't perfect, but the White House overlooked that too.
And now it looks like corporate tax reform is dead again this year. The Obama Democrats will try to push through a bill to stop foreign re-incorporations. It will never pass. And they'll keep trashing business and turning up the flame on the class-warfare burner. Divide the country and bash success. The same old tired themes.
It's a pity. Why isn't it patriotic to stand by large and small businesses, which are at the heart of the American free-market economy? Just this once, can't we get the story right?
July 28, 2014, 1:58 pmIt's pretty Sad, when you send someone else to do your job.
Mrs. Obama's Desperate PleaCortney O'Brien | Jul 28, 2014
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With her husband’s approval rating dipping lower every day, and a smaller electorate expected this November, Michelle Obama has the right to worry about the fast approaching 2014 midterm elections. Hence why the First Lady released a misleading, borderline desperate video this weekend.
“Equal pay for women, immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, and ensuring that women can make their own decisions about their bodies and their health care. My husband is working so hard on all these issues. But he needs leaders in Congress who will work with him – leaders who care about what’s going on in your lives and who will fight for you every single day.”
Apparently those heartless House Republicans could care less about their constituents.
Yes indeed, just like Mr. Obama has done Mrs. Obama right?
Mrs. Obama then got straight to her point:
“We need you to be as passionate and as hungry as you were in 2008 and 2012.”
That in itself is pretty desperate...
One year she notably forgot? 2010, a year when Americans were very passionate. They were passionate about the ugly economy. They were passionate about the high unemployment. Oh yeah, and they were especially passionate about the government getting between them and their doctors. That’s why these incensed voters turned our country red.
A new CNN poll puts the Democrats’ peril in perspective:
In the generic ballot question, the Democrats have a 4-percentage point 48 percent-44 percent edge over the Republicans among registered voters. The generic ballot asks respondents to choose between a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district without identifying the candidates.
A smaller electorate could heavily favor the Republican Party. Single women, younger voters and minorities - who are generally consistent Democratic voters - typically vote in fewer numbers during midterms, according to wcti12.com.
She can keep urging her supporters on, but it’s clear voters aren’t “passionate” about the party who pushed through this disaster.
July 28, 2014, 11:54 amThis is multi- tasking, Democrats need not apply.
"As Americans, we must ask ourselves: Are we really so different? Must we stereotype those who disagree with us? Do we truly believe that ALL red-state residents are ignorant racist fascist knuckle-dragging NASCAR-obsessed cousin-marrying roadkill-eating tobacco juice-dribbling gun-fondling religious fanatic rednecks; or that ALL blue-state residents are godless unpatriotic pierced-nose Volvo-driving France-loving left-wing communist latte-sucking tofu-chomping holistic-wacko neurotic vegan weenie perverts?"
July 28, 2014, 9:16 amBefore and After, Real time...
July 27, 2014, 11:55 pmObama Shenanigans on 'Factoryless' Exports, Taxes, Employment, Jobs
Obama Shenanigans on 'Factoryless' Exports, Taxes, Employment, Jobs
Mike Shedlock | Jul 26, 2014
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President Obama was beating the drums on Thursday in Los Angeles regarding corporate tax deserters, companies that move headquarters or tax shields to another country in order to escape high US tax rates.
The LA Times provides the details in President Obama Hits 'Corporate Deserters' in Populist L.A. Speech.
Tearing into companies he dubbed “corporate deserters,” President Obama on Thursday launched an election-year push to make it harder for U.S. companies to avoid paying taxes.
Under a bright sun at a trade and technical college in Los Angeles, Obama issued a <snip>ing assessment of a “small but growing” group of companies taking advantage of a “loophole” in corporate tax law by reorganizing overseas, often in low-tax countries.
Obama accused the companies of “renouncing their U.S. citizenship” and “fleeing the country” while sticking U.S. taxpayers “with the tab.”
“You shouldn’t get to call yourself an American company only when you want a handout from the American taxpayer,” Obama told a crowd gathered at the Los Angeles Trade-Technical College. The speech capped a three-day West Coast trip primarily focused on raising money for Democrats ahead of the midterm elections.
Obama’s target on Thursday was so-called inversion transactions, a practice that allows U.S. companies to reincorporate overseas, either through a merger or purchase of a foreign entity, and thus avoid paying U.S. taxes on its foreign earnings.
Who Cares About Legalities?
The president acknowledged the practice is legal, but added “my attitude is, ‘I don’t care if it’s legal -- it’s wrong.’”
Well, who gives a <snip> about legalities anymore? Certainly not president Obama, as he has proven many times over.
Besides, as we all learned from President Nixon "When the president does it, it's not illegal".
No president has been a finer student of Nixon philosophy than Obama.