Exclusive: Oval Office Watch — Thursday, July 9
by OVAL OFFICE WATCH
July 9, 2009
Dinner With Obama - A Parable - (MUST READ!) GO HERE.
Behind the Times: There’s nothing cool about Obama.
Mark Steyn, NRO.com
President Obama was supposed to be “cool.” But he isn’t. He’s square. Not just mildly so, but embarrassingly square. He’s squaresville squared. It’s like you’re having a party with your friends and he’s the cringe-making middle-aged parent who wants to show he digs where the young people are at by grooving around in the middle of the dance floor all night long.
How do I know? I’ve been there and I’ve been square. By “there,” I mean I’ve been in places that have tried all the cool Obama dance moves and eventually wised up to what utter clunkers they are.
A week ago, the House of Representatives passed some gargantuan “cap-and-trade” bill designed to “save” “the environment.” Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize–winning economist, accused those Neanderthals who voted against the bill of committing “treason against the planet.” By that standard, most of the planet is guilty of treason against the planet. I don’t mean just in the sense that China, already the world’s Number One CO2 emitter, and India and other rising economic powers have absolutely no intention of doing what the Democrats have done, no way, no how — because they don’t see why they should stay poor just because New York Times columnists think it’s good for them.
No, I mean that most of the developed world has already gone down the paved road of good intentions and is now frantically trying to pedal up out of it. New Zealand was one of the few western nations to sign on to Kyoto and then attempt to abide by it — until they realized they could only do so by destroying their economy. They introduced a Dem-style cap-and-trade regime — and last year they suspended it. In Australia, the Labor government postponed implementation of its emissions-reduction program until 2011, and the Aussie Senate may scuttle it entirely. The Obama administration has gotten to the climate-change hop just as the glitterball’s stopped whirling and the band’s packing up its instruments. Read article.
Obama reads Pushkin
James Lewis, American Thinker.com
Two weeks ago it was the Urdu poets. This week it's Obama's love for Pushkin's poetry. The week before it was probably the Bhadavad-Gita in Sanskrit. If it's Tuesday this must be Zorba the Greek --- in Greek.
It's all in a day's light reading for our Obama. Whaddaguy! He lifts weights two hours a day and has pecs like Arnie. Then he spends the rest of the day reading Urdu, Russian, and classical Arabic. Then he runs the three-trillion dollar US economy down the tubes all by himself, takes over the banks, passes Health Care for All (and saves money in the bargain!) and has just enough time left to read his daughters to sleep. Urdu poems, natch. Gotta get those kids started early.
We have an intellectual fraud in the White House. How do I know? Because poetry doesn't translate. Ever try translating Shakespeare into American English? Or ebonics? Ever try translating "You ain't nuthin' but a hound dog" into the Queen's English?
This is not news. The Italians have a proverb, "Traditore, Traduttore!" --- translator, traitor. It probably sounds better in Italian, but then I don't speak Italian. Or Urdu. Or Russian. I don't actually speak a distressing number of the world's languages. I'll bet you don't, either. Read article.
Storm Clouds on the Fourth of July
Roger L. Simon, Pajamas Media.com
I don’t think I’ve ever seen my country so divided and depressed on the Fourth of July in my lifetime and - no matter what Bob Dylan dreamed up - I’m not young, forever or otherwise. That includes the Vietnam War period when both sides at least had some conviction and excitement for the future, even if wrong. Not so now. The current situation is grim.
Obama is already over. In six short months the now-spattered bumper stickers with “Hope and Change” seem like pathetic remnants from the days of “23 Skidoo,” the echoes of “Yes, we can” more nauseating than ever in their cliché-ridden evasiveness. Although they may pretend otherwise, even Obama’s choir in the mainstream media seems to know he’s finished, their defenses of his wildly over-priced medical and cap-and-trade schemes perfunctory at best. Everyone knows we can’t afford them. His stimulus plan - if you could call it his, maybe it’s Geithner’s, maybe it’s someone else’s, maybe it’s not a plan at all - has produced absolutely nothing. In fact, I have met not one person of any ideology who evinces genuine confidence in it.
On the foreign policy front, it’s more embarrassing. He switches positions every day, such as they are, while acting like a petit-bourgeois snob
with our allies and then, when people with genuine passion for democracy emerge on the scene (the courageous Iranian protestors), behaves like a cringeworthy, equivocating creep. Enough of Obama. Read article.
The Real Struggle in Iran and Implications for U.S. Dialogue
George Friedman, Stratfor.com
Speaking of the situation in Iran, U.S. President Barack Obama said June 26, “We don’t yet know how any potential dialogue will have been affected until we see what has happened inside of Iran.” On the surface that is a strange statement, since we know that with minor exceptions, the demonstrations in Tehran lost steam after Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for them to end and security forces asserted themselves. By the conventional wisdom, events in Iran represent an oppressive regime crushing a popular rising. If so, it is odd that the U.S. president would raise the question of what has happened in Iran.
In reality, Obama’s point is well taken. This is because the real struggle in Iran has not yet been settled, nor was it ever about the liberalization of the regime. Rather, it has been about the role of the clergy — particularly the old-guard clergy — in Iranian life, and the future of particular personalities among this clergy. Read article.
Obama: Student Radical
Andy McCarthy, NRO.com
During the campaign, I wrote a piece called "Why Won't Obama Talk About Columbia? — The years he won't discuss may explain the Ayers tie he keeps lying about." So now, nearly six months into the Obama presidency, the mainstream media has finally done a bit of the candidate background reporting it declined to do during the campaign — other than in Wasilla — and whaddya know? The New York Times unearthed a 1983 article called, "Breaking the War Mentality," that Columbia student Barack Obama wrote for a campus newspaper. The article shows that Obama dreaded American "militarism" and its "military-industrial interests," while effusing enthusiasm for the dangerously delusional nuclear-freeze movement.
Moreover, while indicating a preference for the political wisdom of reggae singer Peter Tosh over Ronald Reagan or Scoop Jackson, Obama bewailed the "narrow focus" of anti-militarism activists, worrying that they were targeting the "symptoms" rather than the real "disease," namely, America's underlying economic and political injustice. Read article.
A Garden of Piggish Delights - Waxman-Markey is part power-grab, part enviro-fantasy. Here are 50 reasons to stop it.
Stephen Spruiell & Kevin Williamson, NRO.com
The stimulus bill was the legislative equivalent of the famous cantina scene from Star Wars, an eye-popping collection of the freakish and exotic, gathered for dubious purposes. The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, known as ACES (the American Clean Energy and Security Act), is more like the third panel in Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights — a hellscape that disturbs the sleep of anybody who contemplates it carefully.
Two main things to understand about Waxman-Markey: First, it will not reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, at least not at any point in the near future. The inclusion of carbon offsets, which can be manufactured out of thin air and political imagination, will eliminate most of the demands that the legislation puts on industry, though in doing so it will manage to drive up the prices consumers pay for every product that requires energy for its manufacture — which is to say, for everything. Second, it represents a worse abuse of the public trust and purse than the stimulus and the bailouts put together. Waxman-Markey creates a permanent new regime in which environmental romanticism and corporate welfare are mixed together to form political poison. From comic bureaucratic power grabs (check out the section of the bill on candelabras) to the creation of new welfare programs for Democratic constituencies to, above all, massive giveaways for every financial, industrial, and political lobby imaginable, this bill would permanently deform American politics and economic life.
The House of Representatives, famously, did not read this bill before passing it, which is testament to either Nancy Pelosi’s managerial incompetency or her political wile, or possibly both. If you take the time to read the legislation, you’ll discover four major themes: special-interest giveaways, regulatory mandates unrelated to climate change, fanciful technological programs worthy of The Jetsons, and assorted left-wing wish fulfillment. We cannot cover every swirl and brushstroke of this masterpiece of misgovernance, but here’s a breakdown of its 50 most outrageous features.
1. The big doozy: Eighty-five percent of the carbon permits will not be sold at auction — they will be given away to utility companies, petroleum interests, refineries, and a coterie of politically connected businesses. If you’re wondering why Big Business supports cap-and-trade, that’s why. Free money for business, but higher energy prices for you.
2. The sale of carbon permits will enrich the Wall Street investment bankers whose money put Obama in the White House. Top of the list: Goldman Sachs, which is invested in carbon-offset development and carbon permissions. CNN reports:
Less than two weeks after the investment bank announced it would be laying off 10 percent of its staff, ***Goldman Sachs confirmed that it has taken a minority stake in Utah-based carbon offset project developer Blue Source LLC. . . . “Interest in the pre-compliance carbon market in the U.S. is growing rapidly,” said Leslie Biddle, Head of Commodity Sales at Goldman, “and we are excited to be able to offer our clients immediate access to a diverse selection of emission reductions to manage their carbon risk.”
3. With its rich menu of corporate subsidies and special set-asides for politically connected industries, Waxman-Markey has inspired a new corporate interest group, USCAP, the United States Climate Action Partnership — the group largely responsible for the fact that carbon permits are being given away like candy at Christmas rather than auctioned. And who is lined up to receive a piece of the massive wealth transfer that Waxman-Markey will mandate? Canada Free Press lists:
Alcoa, American International Group (AIG) which withdrew after accepting government bailout money, Boston Scientific Corporation, BP America Inc., Caterpillar Inc., Chrysler LLC (which continues to lobby with taxpayer dollars), ConocoPhillips, Deere & Company, The Dow Chemical Company, Duke Energy, DuPont, Environmental Defense, Exelon Corporation, Ford Motor Company, FPL Group, Inc., General Electric, General Motors Corp. (now owned by the Obama administration), Johnson & Johnson, Marsh, Inc., National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, NRG Energy, Inc., Pepsico, Pew Center on Global Climate Change, PG&E Corporation, PNM Resources, Rio Tinto, Shell, Siemens Corporation, World Resources Institute, Xerox Corporation.
One major group of recipients of the free money being given to industry in the form of carbon permits are the electric utilities, represented in Washington by the Edison Electric Institute. Along with the coal and steel businesses, the utilities are positioned to receive a huge portion of the carbon permits — some of which will be disguised as measures for consumers — and have become one of the nation’s highest-spending lobbies, working to ensure that their interests are served by cap-and-trade. Read article.
Obama II vs. Obama I
Victor Davis Hanson
I don't think it has occurred to the divine ones that the administration now is at odds with the sort of ideology and attitudes Obama himself espoused on the campaign trail.
They call for patience and for confidence in Iraq — and not, in prior Obama-like fashion, dismiss our chances while demanding a strict and rather rapid timetable to get out.
They ask for understanding about renditions, tribunals, Guantanamo, intercepts, wiretaps, and Predator missile attacks as complex issues — and not, in prior Obama-like fashion, dismiss these necessary tools as Constitution-shredding authoritarianism.
They ask for patience on jobs — and not, in prior Obama-like fashion, pontificate about a "jobless recovery" when jobs and growth were far better.
They reassure us that missile defense is insurance against North Korean lunacy — and not, in prior Obama-like fashion, dismiss such investment as needless militaristic provocation.
They ask for latitude about the definition of what is a tax, what defines unemployment, and how we calibrate deficits — and not, in prior Obama-like fashion, blast obfuscation while promising "transparency."
They reassure that their planted questions, the favoritism shown some journalists, the refusal to release White House visit logs, and the arbitrary firing of inconvenient auditors are nothing new — and not, in prior Obama-like fashion, charge government intimidation and suppression of thought.
They ignore corruption in the Democratic-controlled Congress, cater to lobbyists, are not bothered by the tax improprieties of their major cabinet appointments — and do not, in prior Obama-like fashion, demand an end to executive malfeasance.
I know this is old-story politics, but two things are different. One, never has the gap between pre-presidential and in-office behavior been so wide (heaven and earth really are quite distant), and, two, the past promises of utopia have so conditioned a mesmerized media that they don't realize their own complacency in allowing an administration to use whatever means they chose for professedly exalted ends. Read article.
Too much, too soon, too far left
Irwin M. Stelzer, SF Examiner.com
Death by a thousand cuts. Or in the case of the efficiency of the U.S. economy, by at least four: Energy policy, health care policy, trade union resurgence, and fiscal madness.
Start with energy. Barack Obama says our entire energy sector needs a makeover. Never mind that we are fortunate to live in a country in which inexpensive energy has produced the world’s most productive agriculture, a population capable of navigating America’s huge spaces in air-conditioned comfort, and permitted the substitution of energy-plus-brain-power for back-breaking labor. Obama is going to fix it with wind that sometimes blows, solar power where the sun sometimes shines, and perhaps even nuclear power. Cost is no object.
Unless environmentalists stop him: some oppose using desert acreage for solar panels, see wind turbines as eye sores, and complain that we have no plan to dispose of long-lived nuclear waste. And as for coal, as we New Yorkers say, fugedaboutit.
All of this means that the electrical energy needed to power battery-driven vehicles won’t come cheap, if indeed it is available.
Energy is not the only sector that is likely to be less efficient than in the past. It is no coincidence that America’s superior productivity performance has coincided with the decline of trade unions, with the important exception of the auto industry.
And we have seen how union compensation scales and work rules have contributed to the bankruptcy of General Motors and Chrysler -- a fate the non-union car manufacturers have avoided. Yet congress and the President are preparing to spur union growth by eliminating the secret ballot in union-recognition elections and, rumor has it, by exempting union members from the tax on employer-sponsored health care benefits that now seem to be the only way to pay for the President’s health care plan. Read article.
Obama's biggest character flaw
James Lewis, American Thinker.com
The President of these United States recently expressed his love for "the Urdu poets," a piece of inspired BS that nobody in their right minds believed for a second. But then the P was narrowcasting to Pakistan, he thought, and Americans weren't supposed to be listening. Yet character is revealed in those little snippets of Obama's mind -- his glorious fantasy life, his everlasting hope that somebody will fall for another piece of schtick, and his essential fraudulence as a human being.
Obama's biggest audience is himself, and no doubt he preened and pranced in his mind's eye when he told the nation of Pakistan about his deep love and understanding of Urdu. Love ya, baby! all those sixty million Pakis were shouting, marveling at our polyglot president. Waddaguy! At least in Obi's fantasy life, that is. Because that Zeppelin-sized ego of his needs to be pumped up a little bit more every single day.
Would you like to ride/on my beautiful balloon?
Well, yes. For his next showboating performance our P will parade his beautiful ballooning ego in front of Vladimir Putin, whose own hands are dripping with the blood of Chechen Muslims, not to mention those brave (and now dead) Moscow journalists who dared to criticize the new Czar in the media. Read article.
Where Have We Gone Wrong?
Dick McDonald, Modern Conservative.com
NYT Article Teaser :
“With state revenues in a free fall, governors and legislatures are approving program cuts, layoffs and, to a smaller degree, tax increases that were previously unthinkable.”
Now if this gives you heartburn add the misery and pain the Obama Administration and his ever- larger Federal government bureaucracy is about to hammer the poor and middle class with such as (1) massively higher energy prices – cap and trade and emission standards – which will raise their cost of living to intolerable levels and (2) taxes on income and every other activity that isn’t nailed down just to pay for his universal health care and impotent rescue plans that don’t rescue.
Where have the American people gone wrong? Is this the country our Founders designed? Is it written in stone we have to suffer more poverty and misery under politicians that remind you of the gang who couldn’t shoot straight? They have promised $500,000 more than each household can afford in future entitlements. That is right every one of America’s 115 million households must come up with $500,000 just to pay benefits these mostly economically challenged lawyers have promised future retirees. How intelligent was that of us to let them run up such debt. Read article.
Welcome to the 'Hope' Economy
David Harsanyi, Townhall.com
After being asked when the public should begin judging the success of the nearly $800 billion stimulus plan, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs answered, "I think we should begin to judge it now."
Let's take his advice.
The administration warned that if we failed to support a stimulus package, unemployment would hit a dire 9 percent by 2010. With the stimulus, unemployment, it claimed, would stay in the 8 percent range.
Last week, the Labor Department announced that the jobless rate jumped to 9.5 percent, higher than it's been anytime since August 1983. As The New York Times notes: "The difference between the situation that the Obama advisers predicted and the one that has come to pass is about 2.5 million jobs. It's as if every worker in the city of Los Angeles received an unexpected layoff notice."
Don't get too dejected, though. We still have an economic plan with a heaping dose of hope. Surely, you'll feel better when the president begins doling out his two-pronged faith-based explanation -- and if we're lucky, he'll do it at a "town hall" meeting with approximately 100 of his closest friends. Read article.
Ol' Stupid begins to notice things
Wesley Pruden, Washington Times.com
Too bad for Barack Obama and the Democrats, but George W. Bush is the shrinking man of American politics, growing ever smaller on the far horizon. Merely invoking his name will soon no longer frighten women and horses.
The not-so-new president has treated his predecessor as his training wheels, invoking his presence every time (which is often) the ground trembles, a dog barks, the wind blows, the rain falls and he threatens to topple over. We were promised nirvana, or at least a lollipop, if only we could banish George W. and the inept and evil Republicans. Banish we did, and the messiah from the South Side of Chicago has been practicing miracle-working for five months. Alas, there's no sign of clearing skies.
Five months is not very long, of course, and it's unreasonable to expect nirvana so soon, but that's the nature of the impatient American public. Reason, like love, has nothing to do with it. With every nightfall, the news gets worse, or at least not any better, and growing numbers of Americans are beginning to doubt that he has all the answers he so confidently insisted he did. The public-opinion polls clearly show deteriorating public confidence in the confidence man. Worse than not having the answers is the growing suspicion that Mr. Obama and his wise men even understand the question. Read article.