Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Press Corps Increasingly Aggravated at Thin-skinned, Aggressive White House

With his poll numbers falling and the Democrat party set to possibly take a Joe Frazier type beating at the ballot box in the near future, it seems to me a bad time to be pissing off an adoring press, the one that helped get him elected.   Here is an interesting take on the situation......

By Lachlan Markay
Is President Obama incapable of dealing with journalists who question his policies? The White House press corps is becoming increasingly agitated with an administration that reacts particularly strongly to criticism, and even skepticism.

The White House has adopted a pugilistic attitude towards the press, lashing out at journalists who criticize the president, shutting others out, and adopting a deferential attitude towards the press corps that has some journalists reminiscing about the openness of -- gasp -- the George W. Bush presidency.

The Obama administration "came in with every reporter giving them the benefit of the doubt," one journalist told Politico's Josh Gersten and Patrick Gavin. "They’ve lost all that goodwill." It seems that the press corps's offense is questioning the administration's positions.

CNBC's Dennis Kneale weighed in on the channel's website today, where he called Obama a "bully." The president "gets pouty whenever anyone dares to disagree with him" Kneale claimed. "He seems to view dissension not as healthy public debate but as a suspicious, pernicious challenge to his omnipotence and popularity."

That is a problem for journalists, whose success can be measured in part by the degree of skepticism they apply to those in power. Though an effective press is one that is not dissuaded by a hostile administration, comity and transparency often go hand in hand -- the lack of the former makes the latter tougher. To the extent Kneale's critique is accurate, President Obama looks a whole lot like Candidate Obama. He and his administration do their best to control the message by funneling information to select sources and hammering journalists and media outlets that paint the president or his policies in a less than appealing light.

As reported in Politico,
Among White House reporters, tales abound of an offhand criticism or passing claim low in an unremarkable story setting off an avalanche of hostile e-mail and voice mail messages.
“It’s not unusual to have shouting matches, or the email equivalent of that. It’s very, very aggressive behavior, taking issue with a thing you’ve written, an individual word, all sorts of things,” said one White House reporter.
“It’s a natural outgrowth of campaigning where control of the message is everything and where a very tight circle controls the flow of information,” the New Yorker’s Packer said. “I just think it is a mistake to transfer that model to governing. Governing is so much more complicated and is all about implementation—not just message.”
One of the most irritating practices of the Obama White House is when aides ignore inquiries or explicitly refuse to cooperate with an unwelcome story—only to come out with both guns blazing when it takes a skeptical view of their motives or success.
“You will give them ample opportunity on a story. They will then say, ‘We don’t have anything for you on this.’ Then, when you write an analytical graf that could be interpreted as implying a political motive by the White House, or something that makes them look like anything but geniuses, you will get a flurry of off the record angry e-mails after you publish,” one national reporter said. “That does no good. If you want to complain, engage!”
During the campaign, there were plenty of darker elements of the Obama candidacy that the press could have invesitaged. For the most part, journalists chose not to do so. But now that Obama is president, even a fawning press cannot paint his every policy as a resounding success. So while journalists begin to weigh in on what Obama is doing, the president's thin skin begins to show. He apparently grew accustomed to a sycophantic journalistic establishment.

For its part, the White House claims that it only lashes out against reports that are objectively untrue.
Gibbs said the White House’s efforts to push back tend to focus on fixing factual mistakes before they take hold in the media.
“The way we live these days, something that’s wrong can whip around and become part of the conventional wisdom in only a matter of moments and it’s hard to take it, put a top on it and put in back into the box,” Gibbs said. “That’s the nature by which the business operates right now.…This isn’t unique in terms of us and it’s likely to be more true for the next administration.”
But if the White House's hyper-sensitive attitude to criticism were restricted simply to "factual mistakes," it would have no cause to broaden its criticism to include an entire news channel -- Fox News, perhaps the White House's meatiest target -- without discriminating between the various reporters there, or even between reporters and opinion commentators. Rather than single out specific instances of misinformation supposedly aired on Fox News, the White House dispatched David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel to rhetorically negate the cable network's credentials as a news organization. Had "factual mistakes" been the extent of the White House's objections, it could simply have asked for corrections.

No, the White House's real problem seems to be that members of the press would challenge administration policies at all.

Lachlan Markay is an associate with Dialog New Media

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Value Added Tax is Not the Answer.

Posted by Diogenes Sarcastica

U.S. fiscal policy is unsustainable, it's a matter of arithmetic.

Government spending is so far ahead of its revenue collection that some major change has to occur. In this situations there are three choices: reduce spending; increase taxation; or some combination of the two. All those who think the Obama administration and the current Congress will reduce spending, please stand up. Those still sitting are correct: there won’t be spending cuts, and everyone – everyone – is going to pay more taxes, despite Barack Obama’s promises to the contrary during the presidential campaign.
The Congressional Buget Office (CBO) has begun to study the impact of adding an entirely new kind of tax to the extensive list of existing federal taxes: the value added tax (VAT). Some suspect that President Obama’s deficit reduction commission will recommend the VAT to counter the administration’s spending addiction; the only tool many economists believe is capable of raising enough money to make a dent in the gargantuan Obama deficit.
A value added tax is similar to a national retail sales tax but imposes a tax at every stage of business production, and its cumulative effects are paid by the consumer. Unlike earnings-based taxes like the income tax, people are taxed on what they spend: spend a lot, pay a lot of VAT taxes; spend little, pay little VAT taxes.
Value added tax systems are popular in the social democracies of Europe and other nations around the world, and standard rates range from five percent (Japan) to 25 percent (Sweden and Denmark). Most countries with a VAT have lower rates for some items, and no tax at all on a few.
On inexpensive items you won’t really notice a five percent VAT very much. An item that costs $20 will have an additional dollar of VAT added to it. If the VAT rate is 25 percent, however, you’ll pay a $5.00 VAT. That might be enough to get your attention. On more expensive items, like something that costs $1,000, the five percent VAT will add $50 to the cost, and the 25 percent VAT will add $250. Both of those should get your attention. Example: In front of me is a newly purchased copy of the book "The Big Short" by Michael Lewis. U.S. price, $27.95. Canadian price, $35.00. VAT in action my friends.
The problem the VAT poses for Americans is that where it might be a suitable replacement for income taxes as a means to raise government revenue, the VAT will not replace the income tax or the myriad of federal taxes we pay, it will be added to them, since the only way to counter the Obama spending addiction is to provide additional revenue to the federal government over and above what it is already collecting. But adding the VAT to existing taxes will have significant negative effects. Since it is based on spending, the more you make, the more you can spend. However, everyone will likely buy less because the price of nearly everything will go up, while salaries and wages will not. Imagine having to pay from five to twenty-five percent more for most things you purchase. And everyone will be affected by the VAT, not just the middle-class Americans Mr. Obama has labeled “rich.”
Since rising prices lead to lower purchasing, demand for products will drop and production levels will decline commensurately, and that will put additional pressure on employers to lay off workers. The only question is how substantial a drain on the economy the VAT will produce?
EconomyWatch notes that a concern in:
introducing value-added tax is that the introduction of the tax would set in motion a spiral in which prices and wages would feed on each other – that is, VAT would be inflationary.”
That Black Hole of Economics, otherwise known as the White House, makes one blunder after another. The most serious problem facing the country when Barack Obama took office was unemployment. The most serious problem 15 months later is unemployment followed closely by the deficit. Instead of taking action to foster job creation, like reducing taxes on business and individuals, Mr. Obama wasted more than a year focusing on a problem a minority of Americans thought was important – health care reform – and paid lip service to unemployment, the issue Americans thought was most important. He helped push through a $787 billion stimulus bill that hasn’t worked, but has doubled the budget deficit to a scary level. When he took office, Mr. Obama inherited a deficit of about $800 billion: the original $485 billion Bush deficit, plus $100 billion in increased recession-related spending and lost revenues, plus $200 billion in unpaid Troubled Asset Relief Program loans ($500 billion has been repaid). The Obama deficit is more than $1.5 trillion today, double what he inherited, and 10 percent of GDP.
And now he may be considering imposing a new tax on the country that will increase everyone’s taxes and put additional pressure on jobs, while lowering consumer buying power, in turn slowing production which erodes the tax base get the picture,  when what is clearly needed is cuts in government spending and taxes to spur growth in small business and consumer spending.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Patriotism's Call

Posted by Diogenes Sarcastica

Patriotism is difficult to define or understand for several reasons. The primary one is that it is such a subjective concept, it is how an individual loves or views their community or nation. This can mean blind obedience, it can mean casual affection, it can mean a wide variety of attitudes.

There are two basic kinds of patriotism or love of country dominant in America today. They seem to divide evenly along partisan lines, and the result is that both claim to be patriotic in their own way, and attack the other's patriotism.

The first is the old fashioned kind of patriotism: this is my nation and I live here, I love where I live, and I honor the great things my country has done. I hang a flag out front not only for special events, but because I'm proud to be an American. This patriotism loves the nation that exists, and both hopes and works for better. 

The second is the kind of patriotism that owes allegiance not to the nation but to a set of ideals they admire. This patriotism loves not the nation as it is, but the nation as it would be if they could make it so. This is the kind of patriotism that delights in one's dream of how things could be and loves that rather than the actual way things are.

In a sense, this kind of patriotism echoes that sentiments of the founding fathers, who spoke enduringly of liberty and virtue, of the dreams of a nation who brought justice to all and a place where men could be free to live without tyrants and oppression. Their allegiance was to no sovereign (save God, most pointed out), and not to America, but to the ideals of liberty. The thing is, much of these statements and things that were written were before the independence of America. Their loyalty had to be for a nation that did not yet exist... because it literally did not yet exist. Indeed, the colonial soldiers and the rebels against the English crown called themselves patriots and most said they loved the king and England, but were fighting for liberty, not against England.

The problem with the first kind of patriotism is that it can too easily blind one to the faults of or lead one to the support of their nation when they ought to be more critical. The problem with the second kind is that it is not patriotism for one's actual country at all, and the allegiance to ideals can lead one to see faults and threats to these ideals where none exist.

Both ought to be avoided in there pure form, and certainly there's room for someone to hold both positions - to both love their land and what it stands for, to work for a better country and to love the good in the country they now live in. Ultimately all our affections should be first on truth, justice, liberty, virtue, and goodness. From that we can apply this love to what is around us and understand the world we see through that lens. It is not wrong to love one's people or neighborhood, or country, or planet, should we ever come to that. But it wrong to turn any of those into one's highest love, to elevate them to the status of an idol.

Christians, for instance, are urged to submit to lawful authorities, pay taxes, and heed their governors, while recognizing that they are not truly citizens of this world, but of the next. All people should take a similar type position: your ultimate loyalty should be to right and wrong, to justice and truth, but that does not negate a lower loyalty and love for where you live and what you do. What is wrong is to never see any faults or flaws in that nation, to ignore any evils it does.

Sometimes, being a patriot means opposing what your nation is doing  but never opposing your nation entirely. I'm a patriot of the United States, but I oppose the legalized abortion and other laws I feel are evils in our society. That's not only my right but my duty, my responsibility. Every member of a country has not only the opportunity but the duty to oppose evil and fight for good in that country, even if that means opposing one's own government.

The problems arise when one's sense of patriotism is tied too closely to the present government rather than the nation. This can lead one to despise the nation when one party is in power and love it when another is. That's simply ignorance. The nation is the nation, regardless of the government; your love should be for the people, the place, and the ideals of the nation, not who happens to be president at the time.

The deeds that a government does can very well be opposed to that nation and what it stands for - it's certainly happened in the past, and the present day Tea Party Movement proves it is so today.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What Else Will We Find Buried in Obamacare?

Posted by Diogenes Sarcastica

During the Presidential campaign, then candidate Barrack Obama said “We cannot continue to rely only on our military…we’ve got to have a civilian security force just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded. We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set.”

This statement disturbed a few, but most people just blew this statement off as hyperbole, and of course the media was unable to hear it over noise of their cheerleader  pomp pomps.

Sunday, April 11th, The Canada Free Press reported:
"Section 5210 of the Patient’s Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) may be the beginning of Obama’s civilian security force. This section amends Section 203 of the U.S. Public Health Service Act. Why it was included in the massive health care bill is a question in search of meaningful answers. The new law says “The purpose of the Ready Reserve Corps is to fulfill the need to have additional Commissioned Corps personnel available on short notice (similar to the uniformed service’s reserve program) to assist regular Commissioned Corps personnel to meet both routine public health and emergency response missions."

Herein lies the problem. It's a little law called the "Posse Comitatus Act of 1878" which prohibits the federal government from using federal troops (armed or unarmed) for law enforcement purposes within the United States. Such law prevented President Bush from inserting Federal troops and aid into Louisiana after Hurricane Katherina without specific permission from the Governor of the state. After Katrina hit, the federal government was ready to respond, but could not until the request for help was made from the state.

But language in Obamacare seems to remove this prohibition:
“Regular Corps,” and “Ready-Reserve Corps,” of officers and individuals are to appointed by the President and subject to active duty at the call of the Surgeon General.  The new law provides $17.5 million in each of the first four years to recruit and train these reserves.  The law requires the Ready Reserve to participate in “routine training” to meet the general and specific needs of the Commissioned Corps.  The Ready Reserve “shall” be ready for involuntary calls to active duty.  The Ready Reserve must be prepared to respond to orders from the President to go anywhere in the country, or anywhere outside the count until the request was made from the state."

So what, exactly will the Ready Reserve Corps do in the event of a national emergency or public health crisis that the National Guard is not already doing?  If more people are required, simply increase the recruiting goals.  Is there really a need to create a new branch of service with its attendant bureaucracy and officer corps?

"The law says the Ready Reserve Corps shall be available and ready for involuntary calls to active duty during national emergencies and public health crises, similar to the uniformed service reserve personnel.”  Since the President declares national emergencies and public health crises, it would seem that this new Ready Reserve Corps need not be concerned about the Posse Comitatus law."
This is exceedingly dangerous ground. The Constitution does not give the federal government any police powers.  In fact, the Constitution requires the federal government to stay out of the states’ business except in the very limited ways expressly authorized by the Constitution. Obama has already expressed his contempt for the idea that the Constitution limits the power of the federal government.

Barrack Obama did promised that when he was elected, he would “fundamentally transform America.” Perhaps voters naively thought that he meant ending corruption, back-room deals, partisan bickering, and the arrogance that seems to infect Washington politicians. It is becoming clear after a year in office that what he meant was a transformation from a democratic Republic to an autocracy. Rather than making government more open and transparent, as he promised, he brought Chicago thuggery to Washington to twist arms and pull fingernails when necessary, to implement a leftist Democrat agenda. The one we were warned about!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bless Their Pointed Little Heads

Posted by Diogenes Sarcastica
Tuesday April13, 2010

I have always loved watching the Hollywood elitist take up their cause celeb and regularly making themselves look silly and hypocritical doing so.
Here is but the latest example from IHTM

James Cameron goes to the Amazon, 

bores the hell out of natives


Hollywood writer-producer-director-conspicuous consumer James Cameron is starting to believe his own bullshit. After creating Avatar, he’s become a born again environmentalist. The New York Times dutifully traipsed after Cameron on an Avatar-ish adventure to Brazil, where the director dappled himself with facepaint and spoke like a character from one of his films.

The New York Times reports on the hypocritical hype:
“The snake kills by squeezing very slowly,” Mr. Cameron said to more than 70 indigenous people, some holding spears and bows and arrows, under a tree here along the Xingu River. “This is how the civilized world slowly, slowly pushes into the forest and takes away the world that used to be,” he added.
As if to underscore the point, seconds later a poisonous green snake fell out of a tree, just feet from where Mr. Cameron’s wife sat on a log. Screams rang out. Villagers scattered. The snake was killed. Then indigenous leaders set off on a dance of appreciation, ending at the boat that took Mr. Cameron away. All the while, Mr. Cameron danced haltingly, shaking a spear, a chief’s feathery yellow and white headdress atop his head.

The boat pulled away and Cameron waved
goodbye to his newfound forest friends.
“Can you believe that crazy American woman was
 afraid of a snake,” one native laughed as he waved adieu.
“By the way, you owe me five bucks. I told you I could
convince that moron to paint his face.”

Sunday, April 11, 2010

American's Personal Income Continues to Drop

Posted by Diogenes Sarcastica
Tuesday April 13, 2010

Real personal income for Americans - excluding government payouts such as Social Security - has fallen by 3.2 percent since President Obama took office in January 2009, according to the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis. For comparison, real personal income during the first 15 months in office for President George W. Bush, who inherited a milder recession from his predecessor, dropped 0.4 percent. Income excluding government payouts increased 12.7 percent during Mr. Bush's eight years in office.

"This is hardly surprising," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, an economist and former director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. "Under President Obama, only federal spending is going up; jobs, business startups, and incomes are all down. It is proof that the government can't spend its way to prosperity."

According to the bureau's statistics, per capita income dropped during 2009 in 47 states, with only modest gains in the other states, West Virginia, Maine and Maryland. But most of those increases were attributed to rising income from the government, such as Medicare and unemployment benefits. Two of the most populous states in the country reported dramatic declines: Per capita income in California dropped 3.5 percent to $42,325; in New York, the drop was 3.8 percent to $46,957.

"The evidence from New York and California reinforces a basic lesson: Where government gets too large, prosperity suffers. Let's hope that the Congress learns this lesson before it is too late for the country as a whole."

Read more here.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's Not Like They Didn't Warn Us!

Posted by Diogenes Sarcastica
April 8, 2010

When you do what the media seems to refuse to do these days and poke around in dark, forgotten corners,you find out some interesting facts....
some I bet they wish you rather not know. 

  Next time you hear Newsweek editor Evan Thomas
 spew his leftist tripe on MSNBC - PBS
and CNN remember, 
Norman Thomas was his Grandfather.

Monday, April 5, 2010

O's Offshore Drilling Policy Farce

Posted by Diogenes Sarcastica
April 6, 2010

Out of the blue, Obama has announced he will open up portions of the Outer Continental Shelf to offshore drilling. He portrayed the idea of needing more domestic production as something new, a great revelation that was the product of a year's worth of investigation by his administration; something nobody had thought of until this “aha” moment.

This decision has prompted a variety of responses. Proponents of developing our oil and natural gas resources are guardedly optimistic, while the anti-domestic-energy-production folks on the left are appalled that the president would abandon his more recent “sensible” position against conventional energy sources and his near-manic drive for imposing “green” technologies on the nation.

But those on the right are correct to be skeptical and the left has no reason to worry: Mr. Obama has no intention of making it easier for the country to do what is in its best interest where energy production is concerned.  If he really wants to increase domestic oil and natural gas supplies, why did this proposal not allow drilling in the Pacific Ocean, or in a large portion of the Atlantic Ocean, in some of the most promising areas of the Gulf of Mexico, or in much of Alaska? Why are there no areas for land-based exploration? And why, even though the equipment is readly available, will most new drilling not occur until after 2012 at the earliest?

This is nothing but a head-fake by the president, who wants to force a massive new energy tax on Americans. And given the suspicious timing of the president’s announcement, his newly discovered need for domestic production is just a part of a scheme  to push through cap and tax in one form or another.

Despite a study by the American Energy Alliance that reports offshore drilling may well create thousands of new jobs and would provide billions in new government revenue, we should expect an array of delays before any actual drilling takes place, such as court challenges and bureaucratic red tape.

Barack Obama continues to govern in opposition to the will of the people he serves, who understand what he does not understand: the way to energy independence is developing domestic supplies of those fuels that we have been using and are prepared to use, and who also recognize that however attractive wind, solar, and other alternative energy sources may be in terms of “cleanliness,” the technology needed for them to be utilized to any significant degree are as yet unavailable.


Friday, April 2, 2010

So here we are at full circle......
Posted by Publius Minimus
April 2, 2010

"Biden and Hillary have evolved from their 2006 fiery anti-Iraq rhetoric into regents of a magnificent “accomplishment” in Iraq. Obama, who once curtly drowned out General Petraeus in open hearing, is now his greatest supporter. We have Ivy League sanction now for blowing up men, women, and anything that breathes in the general vicinity of suspected terrorists targeted by Predator drones — even as we can still offer soapbox sermons on the waterboarding of three mass murderers and beheaders. Quite simply, intercepting, rendition wiretapping, and tribunalizing Nobel Laureates with the name Barrack Obama don’t like doing that sort of stuff, so it really, sort of, does not happen."  Victor Davis Hanson
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...