Exclusive: Oval Office Watch – Wednesday, December 16
by OVAL OFFICE WATCH
December 16, 2009
Obama Gives Himself B-Plus for First Year - CLICK HERE.
Wes Pruden: Obama's remarkable tutorial - GO HERE.
Why Leaderless Tea Parties Are Beating the GOP - SEE HERE.
The Very Necessary Republican Civil War - HERE.
The New Socialism
Charles Krauthammer, Townhall.com
In the 1970s and early '80s, having seized control of the U.N. apparatus (by power of numbers), Third World countries decided to cash in. OPEC was pulling off the greatest wealth transfer from rich to poor in history. Why not them? So in grand U.N. declarations and conferences, they began calling for a "New International Economic Order." The NIEO's essential demand was simple: to transfer fantastic chunks of wealth from the industrialized West to the Third World.
On what grounds? In the name of equality -- wealth redistribution via global socialism -- with a dose of post-colonial reparations thrown in.
The idea of essentially taxing hard-working citizens of the democracies in order to fill the treasuries of Third World kleptocracies went nowhere, thanks mainly to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher (and the debt crisis of the early '80s). They put a stake through the enterprise.
But such dreams never die. The raid on the Western treasuries is on again, but today with a new rationale to fit current ideological fashion. Read article.
Job Creation for Dummies
Mark Alexander, Patriot Post.us
"Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread." --Thomas Jefferson
Barack Obama outlined his Recovery.gov version 2.0 on Tuesday of last week, saying, "My economic team has been considering a full range of additional ideas to help accelerate the pace of private sector hiring. We held a jobs forum at the White House..."
Indeed, Obama held a much-publicized "jobs" confab last week, ostensibly to obtain ideas about how to create (and save?) more of them. This exercise in futility was fodder so he could feign having sought advice from some people who actually create jobs.
However, most of the 135 invitees were from federal, state and local government, academic institutions, labor unions and not-for-profits. Alas, he did toss in a few folks from the private sector where job creation actually occurs. He told them, "I'm confident that people like you ... can come up with some additional good ideas on how to create jobs."
Additional good ideas?
I suspect Obama was suggesting that some of his proposals thus far have been good ideas. Unfortunately, despite all the jobs Obama claims to have saved or created with his $787 billion "stimulus" package, unemployment has increased from 7.6 percent when he took office, to 10 percent. Read article.
My Big Fat Government Takeover - Rule by the best and the brightest.
William McGurn, OnlineWSJ.com
Some mistakes are so big that only smart people are tempted to make them. One is the faith in Big Government.
We'll see that in full force today, when Barack Obama gives another major address on the economy. On the generalities, there won't be much real disagreement. But at a time when many claim to see no difference between the two political parties, President Obama and his Democratic allies are making one distinction paramount: their operating assumption that bigger government is better government.
Many of the people in the Obama administration, the president included, enjoy all the credentials we associate with the best and the brightest: the right schools, the good grades, the successful careers. Alas, whether it be allocating health care or defining the kind of jobs the economy ought to create, the policies they favor suggest a strong belief that they know what's best not just for themselves, but for everyone else too.
Of course, the kind of people who are apt to push for government-imposed solutions are those who are also apt to believe they will be the ones imposing decisions, not the ones who have to live with decisions imposed by others. Sometimes that's because they enjoy the wealth that gives them escape hatches unavailable to the less affluent, such as their ability to ensure that their own children never have to set foot in a public school. Mostly, however, their trust in government reflects their confidence that they have all the answers and that it's government's job to enforce them.
What about conservatives? Don't we have confidence in our judgment and abilities? Read article.
Do Nothing, Majority Says: ObamaCare is now almost as unpopular as it is monstrous.
James Taranto, WSJ.com
This column has long been arguing that the health-care ideas Congress is considering are so bad that inaction would be vastly preferable. Fox News.com reports that a majority of Americans in a new poll now agree with us:
While 41 percent of Americans want Congress to pass major health care reform legislation this year, a 54 percent majority says they would rather Congress "do nothing on health care for now," up from 48 percent who felt that way in July.
The poll finds that 57% of Americans oppose "the health care reform legislation being considered right now."
To be sure, this is Fox, which according to the White House is not a legitimate news organization because it reports the news even when it casts President Obama in a bad light. But a CNN poll found that an even bigger majority--61%--oppose the Senate's version of the ObamaCare bill.
The CNN.com story on the poll ignores this, focusing instead on the finding that Democrats have only a 1% lead, 40% to 39%, when survey participants are asked which party's control of Congress would make the country better off. This is the slenderest advantage for the Dems since July 2002. Read article.
Obama Still Locked Into Folly In Afghanistan
Hugh Fitzgerald, JihadWatch.com
I've been listening to various discussions, on the radio, or rather not discussions but exchanges of firmly held non-negotiable views, about Obama and his speech on Afghanistan. No one seems fully satisfied. Those who support Obama's decision to send 30,000 more troops mostly dislike the announced pull-out of all American troops from Afghanistan after eighteen months, though since the speech was delivered, that promise has been glossed by Secretary Gates and others. Admiral Mullen, for example, on CBS News, said this: "It's very clear that the president has given us guidance that in July of 2011, we'll start to transition security responsibility to the Afghan national security forces," Mullen told "Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith. "There's no determination of how long that will take... There's no specific guidance with respect to how many. It could be very few, it could be a large number."
So all those worries about a definite date when the American troops absolutely, positively have to be out, that "date certain" (lots of people love saying that phrase - to them it sounds so Covington-and-Burlingish), are perhaps not necessary. For those who think the Afghan game worth the American candle, and judging by Mullen, Gates and others, the gloss to be put on Obama's phrases admits of such flexibility about the phrase that not even W. C. Fields should bother his pretty little head and spend time "looking for loopholes." The "loopholes," Gates and Mullen assure us, are already there.
And then there are those who have had the opposite reaction, who are made furious by Obama's decision. Many of these are his original, true-blue supporters. What do they talk about? Read article.
First, Do No Harm Obama wants another "stimulus." There's a better way to help the economy.
James Taranto, WSJ.com
Remember when Barack Obama was a brilliant and inspiring young leader who was going to revive an America that had gotten dangerously off track? To be honest, neither do we, but we were reliably informed of it at the time. Now, however, that talk of hope and change has given way to a familiar litany of failure.
"Obama used his speech rolling out a stimulus-style jobs program last Tuesday to point the finger at Republicans for allegedly facilitating the economic crisis and then foisting it off on his administration to solve," FoxNews.com reports:
While praising his own team for pioneering "ambitious" financial reform and "sweeping" economic recovery initiatives, the president took some pointed shots at Republicans who are now blasting the latest package as a spend-crazy "stimulus two" that will drill deeper into the deficit. "We were forced to take those steps (to jump-start the economy) largely without the help of an opposition party which, unfortunately, after having presided over the decision-making that had led to the crisis, decided to hand it over to others to solve," Obama said, starting his address with a history lesson on the roots of the recession.
The president, of course, is engaging in psychological projection. The primary political responsibility for the country's problems has belonged to Obama for a year, and to his party in Congress for three years, because the voters deemed the GOP unworthy of it. Read article.
Explaining Russian and Chinese Policy: From Communists to Super-Capitalist Merchants
Barry Rubin, Gloria-Center.org
China is very much motivated toward development rather than ideology or geopolitical ambition. It wants to get along with everyone as much as possible and make lots of money. (Quite a change from the days of the Little Red Book and the Cultural Revolution!). So they are ready to sell arms to everyone. They are all over Africa especially doing deals with anyone who can pay.
To get cash, the Chinese will do anything. For example, they have allowed secret flights from North Korea to Iran carrying weapons and nuclear technology. When U.S. forces arrived in Iraq, they found that China had sold Saddam advanced anti-aircraft guns.
Russia is quite different in political terms but also is desperate for money. Its current regime has lots of ambitions and a big chip on its shoulder. Whether it's true or not, they are angry that the West-and especially the United States-didn't do more to help them after Communism. They also feel as if they are weak and way behind. When I was in Moscow I saw shops from every Western country selling luxury goods but nothing indigenously Russian. Putin wants to make Russia a great power, to regain parts of the Soviet empire and to have influence over much of the rest of the former USSR and satellite states.
One can argue that these policies are shortsighted; that spreading radical Islamism will hit Russia and China as well; and that resulting regional stability will hurt even their economic interests. Those are good arguments but are not persuading Russian and Chinese leaders.
In short, while things have greatly improved since the Cold War, neither Russia nor China supports Western policy in the Middle East. President Obama is not going to change these realities. Read article.
How to Stop Cap-and-Trade
Rich Trzupek, FrontPage Magazine.com
The Obama administration is trying to use the threat of Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gases under its Clean Air Act authority as a means to force Congress into passing some form of a cap-and-trade bill.
It’s a subtle strategy, and many Republicans have risen to the bait, worried about what would happen if the EPA tries to implement a so-called “command and control” system instead of a market-friendly solution. But the GOP shouldn’t be concerned. In fact, they should call the administration’s bluff.
Fox News reports that a top White House economic official warned:
“If you don’t pass this legislation, then … the EPA is going to have to regulate in this area. And it is not going to be able to regulate on a market-based way, so it’s going to have to regulate in a command-and-control way, which will probably generate even more uncertainty.”
True enough, but under the Clean Air Act, rulemaking is an exhaustive, time-consuming process. Consider what would have to happen before the EPA could regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
· The agency would, at a minimum, have to determine what control technologies are available and which are most cost effective.
· It would have to determine which source categories should be regulated and how.
· It would have to write the regulations.
· The EPA would have to require each state to implement some version of the new regulations into its State Implementation Plan.
And, every step of the way, the agency would have to seek public comment, respond to public comment, hold meetings with stakeholder groups, determine economic impacts and worry about legal challenges. Read article.