Free Markets, Free People
Grab your wallets, this is going to cost you plenty … for zero gain against a made up problem:
“A principal challenge to all of us of life and death proportions is the challenge of climate change…I regret that my own country – and President Obama knows this and is committed to changing it – needs to do more and we are committed to doing more.”–Secretary Kerry
And the apology tour continues.
Peggy Noonan makes this statement today:
What happened at the IRS is the government’s essential business. The IRS case deserves and calls out for an independent counsel, fully armed with all that position’s powers. Only then will stables that badly need to be cleaned, be cleaned. Everyone involved in this abuse of power should pay a price, because if they don’t, the politicization of the IRS will continue—forever. If it is not stopped now, it will never stop. And if it isn’t stopped, no one will ever respect or have even minimal faith in the revenue-gathering arm of the U.S. government again.
And it would be shameful and shallow for any Republican operative or operator to make this scandal into a commercial and turn it into a mere partisan arguing point and part of the game. It’s not part of the game. This is not about the usual partisan slugfest. This is about the integrity of our system of government and our ability to trust, which is to say our ability to function.
First paragraph … agree, for the most part. Where I don’t agree is that there is a “minimal faith” in the revenue gathering arm of the US government. There’s been little faith in it since it’s inception. Most people understand that the gun is pointed at them and the prison cell is open and waiting. They don’t pay taxes because of any “faith” or respect for the IRS or government. They do it out of fear.
As for the second paragraph, that’s total horse hockey. Total.
The entire point of the scandal was it targeted “political” organizations. How does one not politicize it? It took place under a Democratic administration and the opponents of that party were the target of the IRS.
And what do we get from Noonan? “Hey, let’s take a knife to a gun fight”.
Noonan’s advice is, by far, the stupidest advice one could give.
Yes, this is about the integrity of the system. And, like it or not, that is directly linked to those who administer and govern.
Ms. Noonan, who is that right now? And how, if they were doing an effective job, would this have been going on for two years. Oh, and speaking of trust, how are you with the whole AP scandal? My guess is you’re wanting some heads over that.
Well, I want some heads of this. And Benghazi. And Fast and Furious.
Instead we get shrinking violets like you advising everyone to back off and not make this “political”.
So Ed Morrissey points out that the IRS thing has been going on since 2011 and it’s just a “couple of agents” in a single per the official line. Well, maybe four.
Except the agents in question are claiming only to have done what their bosses wanted. And their bosses? We don’t know. We don’t know who they are. After all, it was only a couple of letters to a couple of right of center organizations.
But again, per Morrissey, these two – or four – agents were busy little people in that one office.
Did I say 300 organizations? According to the report, Reps. Jim Jordan and Darrell Issa now put that number closer to 500. If it was just these four agents, they’d have to have been rather, er, productive.
Yeah. And they did it all over the US and all by themselves for two years.
Is anyone in charge up there? Does anyone even know what’s going on? And, if someone is in charge, are we ever going to hold them accountable?
Trust in government?
Besides improving his golf game, you have to wonder what we pay this guy for:
A report by the Government Accountability Institute found that in his first 1,225 days in office, Obama only attended 43.8% of his daily intelligence briefings.
And in the days leading up to Benghazi, well, he had more important things to do than sit in on what should be the first thing he does everyday:
As Breitbart News exclusively reported the day after the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack, Obama did not attend his intelligence briefings (known officially as the presidential daily brief, or PDB) for the week leading up to the attacks.
Hard to lead when you don’t know wtf is going on, isn’t it?
I found this to be very interesting. From ABC News (email):
ABC’s JEFF ZELENY: The troubles are mounting for the White House – Benghazi, IRS, AP phone records – leading one administration official to ask yesterday: “Is it really still only Monday?” It’s safe to say all three topics are moving into scandal territory, but it’s a mistake to view them together. Of all of the controversies, the IRS seems to be the most troubling because it further erodes trust in government and institutions – from a point that is already distressingly low. At least three Congressional committees are digging in. Even though the president said he didn’t know about the IRS matter until the news broke last week, it happened on his watch. Democrats could have a hard time winning this one. It bolsters the case for Republicans, just in time for the midterm campaign to begin.
ABC’s RICK KLEIN: It comes fast and intense in a second term. And the confluence of events – Benghazi talking points, the IRS scandal, sweeping subpoenas of Associated Press records – leave plenty of reasons to mistrust the government President Obama is leading. Knowing that Congress can’t walk and chew gum very well – it can’t walk all that well without the gum, and this flavor is particularly tasty to the president’s opponents – this is a recipe for stalling and worse for just about anything the White House wants to do. The president’s powers of public persuasion, meanwhile, could ebb in the whiff of scandals. If there’s a White House strategy to turn this all around, we’re not seeing signs of it, not yet.
ABC’s DEVIN DWYER: The talking points coming out of the State Department on Monday were astonishing for their attempted revisionism. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki repeated four times in four minutes that the Obama administration’s early public characterization of the 2012 Benghazi terror attack was dictated by the CIA. “These were CIA points. They were CIA edited. They were CIA finalized,” she said. Nevermind that trove of emails, obtained by ABC News, that shows it was in fact the State Department that sought to edit out the CIA’s references to al Qaeda and to security warnings in Benghazi prior to the attack. “These started and ended as CIA talking points,” Psaki said. Technically, maybe so. But it would be disingenuous to ignore or deny the apparent influence of State during the talking-point sausage-making that occurred in between.
ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: The Tea Party groups who say they were unfairly targeted by the IRS showed ABC News questionnaires and documents received from the Internal Revenue Service. They had to answer questions about their donors, views on issues, and one member said she was even asked to show her personal Facebook account, all they say, because of their political views. The agency apologized last week, but these groups don’t feel like they were directly apologized to. All want an investigation, but for Jennifer Stefano who was trying to set up a group called The Loyal Opposition, but finally gave up, she compares this scandal to Watergate: “It became very frightening, the IRS has the power to target the political opposition of a sitting president.”
It’s amazing it has taken these events and this long for these people to actually do their jobs. And there’s no guarantee they will. But it can’t be denied any longer — it is on “the” radar screen. Benghazi, IRS, AP, you name it. Even the sycophants credulity is being tested.
Maybe it took this administration’s messing with AP to finally make them figure out that for the most part they’ve simply been the media arm of the administration and the administration feels some “ownership” rights. Thus it was checking on them … or something.
It’ll be interesting to watch this all unfold — or disappear.
Maureen Dowd must be a little slow on the uptake if she is just figuring this out:
ABC News’s Jonathan Karl asked Obama if he was already out of “juice” to pass his agenda, citing the president’s inability to get a watered-down gun bill passed in the Senate, Congress swatting away Obama on the sequester cuts, and the recent passage of a cybersecurity bill in the House with 92 Democrats on board, despite a veto threat from the White House.
“Well, if you put it that way, Jonathan, maybe I should just pack up and go home,” President Obama said with a flash of irritation, before tossing off a Mark Twain line: “Rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated at this point.”
Then he put on his best professorial mien to give his high-minded philosophy of governance: Reason together and do what’s right.
“But, Jonathan,” he lectured Karl, “you seem to suggest that somehow, these folks over there have no responsibilities and that my job is to somehow get them to behave. That’s their job. They are elected, members of Congress are elected in order to do what’s right for their constituencies and for the American people.”
Actually, it is his job to get them to behave. The job of the former community organizer and self-styled uniter is to somehow get this dunderheaded Congress, which is mind-bendingly awful, to do the stuff he wants them to do. It’s called leadership.
He still thinks he’ll do his thing from the balcony and everyone else will follow along below. That’s not how it works.
That may not be how it works, but for 6 long years, that’s how he’s pretended it worked, acted like it worked and claimed it worked. Of course he’s not ever been a leader nor has he ever lead. Even his foreign policy has been a position of non-leadership (euphemistically called “leading from behind”). The great sucking sound you hear in DC these days isn’t just the GOP leadership. It’s the leadership void of this president.
Of course, it is a bit funny that the sycophants of the press are just now getting around to figuring out how ineffective the man is. And while we’ve been pointing out this lack of leadership from day 1 of his presidency, let me note that, in a meta sense, it is probably a good thing he’s such a lousy leader. Lord knows what other abominable laws we’d be stuck with right now if he had even a clue about how to lead.
Orwellian, in that his claim is as follows:
President Obama is marketing his new budget by saying it has “more than $2 in spending cuts for every $1 of new revenue.” Is this true?
In a word, no.
In fact, his spending increases and advertised spending cuts cancel each other out—leaving only a massive tax increase.
Here’s a graphical representation of the point:
Yeah, I know … big surprise.
A politician lied again.
Funny … despite all the impediments the Obama administration has put on oil production on public land, the private sector – the market – has pushed us into a position we’ve never been in before in terms of output of oil and gas. We’ve passed the Saudi’s in output:
In spite of the Obama Administration’s hostility to carbon-rich energy, private actors with private capital deployed on private (and state) land have launched a game-changing revolution in domestic oil and natural gas production.
A scarcely reported milestone conveys the magnitude of this turnaround in the global energy landscape.
The U.S. passed Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest petroleum producer in November 2012, according to recently released data of the federal Energy Information Administration.
Now, imagine where we’d be if we didn’t have an obstructive administration bent on punishing those producers in that market via high taxation and regulation. Or slow-walking permits for drilling on public land. Or any of a myriad of other things this administration does to try to prevent oil and gas production. Well, other than taking credit for the rise in production when they had nothing to do with it.
Had they gotten out of the way, had they helped us take advantage of these new finds, Saudi Arabia would have been in our rear view mirror a long time ago and my guess is, gas wouldn’t cost what it does today.
Do you remember the promises? When Obama took over, the Middle East would come to love the US again. As Obama, famously declared in his 2009 Cairo speech, his election meant a “new beginning” with the Muslim world.
The truth, however, is much uglier:
President Obama’s first journey to Israel as president comes amid earth-shattering change in Middle East, much of it for the worse. The Arab Spring, which once raised hopes of freedom and dignity, has diverged onto the dark path of Islamist authoritarian rule. In Syria, tens of thousands of people have died in a bitter civil war that might have recently seen its first use of chemical weapons. And Iran continues its march toward nuclear weapons capability, heedless of international condemnation. Obama’s effort to seek peace between Palestinians and Israelis is in tatters.
And Libya? One word: “Benghazi”.
How about the much anticipated and promised love fest that would occur after that mean old George W Bush was retired and The One waved his mighty hand and blessed his own Middle East policy? Yeah, it hasn’t quite worked out that way:
According to the latest survey by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, confidence in Obama in Muslim countries dropped from 33% to 24% in his first term. Approval of Obama’s policies declined even further, from 34% to 15%. And support for the United States in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Pakistan is lower today than it was in 2008 in the closing year of George W. Bush’s administration.
Israel, our closest and most important ally in the area isn’t much enamored with Obama:
Of all the strained relationships in the Middle East, the partnership with Israel is the most important and potentially the most easily repaired. Obama is not popular in the country. A poll released last week showed he had a scant 10% approval rating in Israel, with an additional 32% saying they respect but don’t like him.
And, if the tactic of stiffing Israel had the intent of winning popularity among Palestinians, that too hasn’t worked:
If Israelis don’t like Obama, Palestinians are even less favorable.Washington’s perceived failure to take a harder line with Israel over the final status of Jerusalem, and U.S. opposition to President Mahmoud Abbas’ successful campaign for higher Palestinian status in the United Nations, have engendered a deep sense of frustration. Passions spilled over in Bethlehem this week, when young Palestinians defaced a billboard with Obama’s image and burned pictures of him in the streets. Obama’s symbolic nods to Israel’s history are likely to raise Palestinian ire even further.
In fact, none of the administration’s policy initiatives have had any positive impact, or, for the most part, any impact at all (despite a fawning media telling us how wonderful a SecState Hillary Clinton was, this is her legacy too).
So, what will Obama do today in Israel? What he usually does. Make a speech:
The hope that Obama will say the right things in Thursday’s speech at Jerusalem’s convention center is negated by doubts he will follow through. The president has to assure Israelis and Palestinians that he is still engaged if the peace process has any chance of moving forward. In part, this means convincing them that he still matters.
Key point emphasized. If you’ve watched Obama even casually over the past years, you can’t help but have noticed that he’s very strong on “talking the talk”, but hardly ever “walks the walk”. He doesn’t know how.
And there’s absolutely no reason this particular issue will see him even attempt it now. Oh, he’ll say the “right things”. That’s what he does. His problem is he never then does the “right things”. Rhetoric is his action. It’s for the history books, not as a guide to leadership. He’s not a leader.
But you know that. And the results of that lack of leadership are evident for all to see in the Middle East.
I’m sure that doesn’t surprise anyone particularly. A) it’s Obama and B) he’s a politician who has yet to quit campaigning (mostly because he hasn’t a clue how to govern).
What am I talking about? His attempt to claim responsibility for the fact that fossil fuel production is up under his watch and he’s somehow responsible for that.
Yes, it is, but that has absolutely nothing to do with him or his policies. The Congressional Research Service has apparently made that official now:
The Congressional Research Service has released a report finding that, as was already generally known, U.S. oil and gas production has increased substantially over the past four years, but on private lands only, while it’s actually declined on federal land.
Or said another way, where Obama had control and the opportunity to do what he is claiming, he declined that opportunity and in fact impeded further exploration and production with his policies. Where he had no real control, production boomed. Federal lands – nada. Private lands – bunches and bunches.
What has he sacrificed with his anti-fossil fuel polices? Revenue and jobs.
Again, you have to wonder anymore what it takes to be fired.