The Administration of Diminished Expectations

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When Barack Obama was elected he campaigned on the message of hope. Today we live in an era of hopelessness for the first time in our country’s history. Unemployment and underemployment are at all time highs. Many have simply left the work force.

Our national reputation is in tatters. Our energy policy is insane. Our national debt is twice what it was just 6 years ago and now our Senate leaders want to remove any cap or control of  it. We are on the path of fiscal insanity. Our Treasury issues debt and the Fed buys it and the primary reason that the economy has recovered to the minimal extent that is the unceasing pumping of more and more debased money into the global financial system. The markets expectations of a cessation of QE is global disaster.

Our education system continues its accelerated deterioration. Race relations are at their lowest level since the early 1960’s.

And all the while, our President and his Administration have sought to avoid blame and manage expectations lower and lower and lower. This is the same Administration that has accrued more power to itself than any since Nixon’s Imperial Presidency. In fact, the new push to eliminate the debt ceiling would disembowel Congress’ power of the purse strings and with that what little power Congress seems to have retained.

He has left the global economic field to the Chinese, who are exercising soft power around the globe, and to the Russians, who have taken great joy in opposing our government in every way possible and rubbing our noses in it.

On the environment he has allowed the EPA to arrogate ever more power in its Luddite policies against conventional energy. The price of gasoline has doubled from the $1.80/gallon level to $4.00/gallon and this suits our president just fine. he has obstructed coal and oil and nuclear power and even natural gas, the cleanest option.

The president’s primary contribution seems to be leading from behind. Whether it is his Shakespearean inner conflicts on the Surge in Afghanistan or his verbal gymnastics on Syria or his lies and silence on Benghazi and the IRS scandal and the NSA scandal.

The “most transparent” administration in history is the most opaque. And as the president arrogates power, he has also instituted internal witch hunts and assaults on the press which resemble Stalinist Russia more that the world’s leading democracy.

His signature health care policy is being shown to be a disaster every day it continues. Access to care will be diminished at ever higher costs.

And yet the president seems to wear a Teflon cloak and goes unchallenged. We are at a schwerpunkt, as the Germans call it; a crisis, and the president is sitting utterly idle within the White House with nothing at all on his schedule. Don’t you consider this tolerable strange?

The propaganda machine blames the Tea Party as if it was a mass movement of Luddite nihilists and yet when facing one of our greatest crises there is little balance, or even proper analysis of the root causes of the problems at hand. Such is a world of diminished expectations.

Promise them little and then underdeliver is the order of the day.

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This is not Iraq, and this is not Afghanistan,” Obama said.

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This is not Pakistan. This is not Somalia. This is not Yemen. This is not Libya; he should have continued.

We are waging war all through Western Asia and Africa. mainly against terrorists but we also took on Muammar Ghadaffi and now Bashar al Assad; the legitimate leaders of their respective countries.

We are still waiting on the case against Ghadaffi and for honest answers on the impending anniversary of the Benghazi massacre.

For a president who pledged to push the “reset” button, Mr. Obama has become the most warlike leader our country has ever known. In May he declared the “War on Terror”, which he had renamed “contingency operations”, over. Now he wants to go once again to war.

He drew a red line in the sand and then redrew it again and yet we still do not have a compelling case nor a desired end state for an operation in Syria.

The Syrians, Iranians, and Russians have promised a wider war should we act. Russian destroyers have been located to the Mediterranean near Syria to back this threat up, and the Iranians have promised missile strikes on Israel. We are in a high stakes poker game and Mr. Obama is the mark.

In the background the Saudi Arabians and Gulf Arabs are supporting some form of moderate resistance in Syria to counter Iran, but are unable to rein in the Islamist extremists. There is a tri-polar political conflict between the Sunni moderates; the Islamists and the neo-Iranian Empire. And then comes the ROW (Rest of World).

In reading the political history of the Ottoman Empire in the late 1700’s and 1800’s one can begin to understand the complexities and importance of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Ottomans balanced constantly changing relationships very similar to today.

The dream of empire by Napoleon in Egypt and the changing alliances of the Ottomans with the British Empire, the Tsar, and Napoleon, especially with the fates of subject peoples such as the Greeks, Moldovans, Armenians, Bulgarians, Syrians, etc in constant play required that the Sultanate despite is decrepitude and corruption be upheld.

Now,  200 years later the chronological snobbery of the new great powers is leading to an even more volatile end state. Under the Sultan, Shia and Christian and Sunni were allowed to practice their faiths but now we have a state of religious civil war at hand. Egypt narrowly missed being drawn into the maelstrom. Libya is in constant tribal conflict.

But Syria represents a new Karbala, a call to the front lines for Sunni vs. Shia.

But this time the dark shadows of modern warfare overhang everything. Chemical warfare, air strikes, and heavy artillery generate massive casualties very rapidly. Syria is tearing itself apart with the help of a wide range of outside enablers. A dictator willing to use all means at his disposal is fighting to hang on.

And in Washington and Moscow and the West there is no clearly iterated reason for our involvement. We cannot abide the use of chemical weapons except when we can, as we did with Saddam Hussein’s use of poison gas versus the Iranians and his own people.

Mr. Obama means well, but the sad fact remains that the down side in getting involved in Syria is much greater than the up side.

 

Reading the Hieroglyphics in Egypt

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The world’s press is focused today on Cairo, where hundreds are dead in the crackdown by the military on the Muslim Brotherhood. Our government is at cross purposes and complicating this is a visceral hatred of the Obama Administration, and by extension, our government, by a vast majority of Egyptians.

In this country some cry for a complete cutoff of American aid and on the other side there is silence in the face of what must realistically be called a massacre.

But we must remember that there is a much larger game in play. It involves Iran and radical Sunni Islam. It is a battle for power. Part of it is being played in Syria, where the civil war has spilled into Lebanon and Iraq. Part of it is the continued attempts at destabilization in the Gulf States. Part of is the destabilization of states as far away from each other as Yemen and Afghanistan and Iraq. It also affects Israel.

Much of this is about a new Persian Empire. Iran with the support of Russia has been behind Shiite resistance in a number of states including Bahrain. The Muslim faith has been manipulated in the interests of temporal power time and again, and the vision of a new Persepolis still resonates in Qom and Teheran. The Salafist dream of a new caliphate is in direct conflict with this.

Events in Egypt play against the backdrop of the Syrian civil war, where the opposition has been recently reinforced by heavy weaponry from the Gulf. Remember the 20,000 M-16’s that disappeared from a Kuwaiti arsenal? They are now in play, but we don’t yet know where. Hezbollah has doubled down in Syria and the Sunnis in Lebanon are commuting to the war. Iraqi Shiites fighting in Lebanon are called Iran’s Foreign Legion. Former Egyptian president Morsi lent his support to radical Egyptian imam’s calls for volunteers.  Iran cannot afford to lose for it will affect their power everywhere.

The Western powers are dithering in their support of the rebels. The Sunni states are not. Disorder in Egypt is antithetical to their strategic interests.

The Iranian government is waging a proxy war on many fronts. Five years into our own administration, our Middle Eastern policy is incoherent and does not seem to recognize this. The Iranians have their fingers in many pies and the enemy of one’s enemy is one’s friend whether it is supporting the Sunni Taliban in Afghanistan or shipping arms to terrorists in Sinai and to Hamas in Gaza. The art of war can be ecumenical at times. Instability in Egypt, Jordan and other states is to the advantage of Iran.

What is certainly forming is a major Sunni – Shia conflict driven by Iranian expansionism. The Israeli fears of the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran also factor in for it is not just the Israelis, but all of Iran’s neighbors who have now become nervous. This ups the ante in Egypt even more.

The King of Saudi Arabia spoke forcefully today in support of the Army in Egypt. Stability in the heart of the Arab world is paramount in the face of multiple threats. Reuters reports this morning that the Muslim Brotherhood has been behind a persecution of Copts and other Christians in the country with 62 churches, schools, monasteries and other buildings burned down along with hundreds of businesses and hundreds dead.

What we are seeing in Egypt is the reaction to the Muslim Brotherhood’s attempt to create an Islamist state in the face of the opposition of the overwhelming majority of the people.

I spoke last night with a friend whose family is at the heart of the Egyptian establishment. His cousins, nephews, nieces and friends were in Tahrir square when the Mubarak regime fell. The are a mix of secular and religious Muslims, but they are all Egyptian nationalists with a very international perspective. They are clued in at every level to the events of the past 2 years.

From his conversations with friends and family he said 80% of the people oppose the Brotherhood vehemently. The Brotherhood attempted to change the government, the courts and the constitution as soon as they took power. The country has fallen into crisis because of the instability at the top. Ordinary citizens are fearful of Brotherhood thugs.

He also said that over 50 soldiers and police have been killed in the past 2 days. The army has been seizing Brotherhood weapons caches all over Cairo and elsewhere which include heavy weapons. They have been arresting Chechen, Afghan and Pakistani Islamist soldiers in Cairo. There is a lot more going on than is being reported in the Western press.

It has been reported that the Israelis and Egyptian Army have been working very closely to contain Islamic radicals in the Sinai who can move towards either Cairo or Tel Aviv if not contained. Again, these are mainly foreign fighters.

Egypt has had a taste of the Brotherhood for almost exactly one year, and that was enough. The Muslim Brotherhood is a violent organization. Members have staged numerous terrorist attacks against Egyptian leaders, including the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981. Evidence of a parallel fighting force and the hard-line tactics used by Morsi to accrete power had the country on edge for months. North Africa is awash in weapons from Libya. Conditions for a civil war were ripe.

The evidence so far in Egypt indicates the overwhelming sentiment that the Army is the savior of the country. General al Sisi commands the respect of the vast majority of Egyptians and is beholden to no one, especially our government. He is governing the country together the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar University, considered one of the most important Islamic leaders, and the Coptic Pope, Tawadros II. This is seen as a unity government despite the resignation of Mohammed El Baradei.

The Syrian war is spilling into Iraq and Lebanon. Libya is still a seething cauldron. We cannot afford instability in Egypt as well. And remember, as the U.S. pulls out of Afghanistan there may be thousands of Islamist warriors willing to move on to the next jihad.

The Muslim Brotherhood will not go easily, but they will nonetheless go. Egypt does not want an Islamist state. They do not want religious repression. The Egyptian people do not identify with extremism. And they do not want our meddling or manipulation or incompetence. They want and need our humanitarian aid.

Our foreign policy has been playing checkers while the real game of chess has been ignored.

 

 

California’s invisible 35% tax increase

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Last October, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 1234, the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program. This has been hailed by progressives as a solution for those workers in the state without retirement savings or programs to provide for their income as they grow older. It forces them to contribute 3% of their income into a state managed retirement program.

With Social Security on the brink of failure by 2030 and incomes increasingly challenged by the part-time job phenomenon it is challenge enough for California’s workers to plan for retirement. With exorbitant energy taxes, a carbon tax and recent tax hikes falling most heavily on the poor, the state has grown ever less competitive as it has grown ever more expensive to live in.

But with the Democrats holding a supermajority in both houses of the legislature they can do anything they please.

The state has arrogated a power unto itself that didn’t exist without consultation or input from the public. And all of this has occurred largely under the radar screen. The newspapers and media have been silent.

The devil is in the details and the details of SB 1234 are vague. How the program is managed, safeguards, etc are all to be worked out later on. But California already has a history of mismanaged pension plans to reflect upon. How will this huge pool of money be different?

The state has been pilfering its existing pension plans to plug the gaps. It has raided gasoline taxes and highway funds. What makes it different this time?

California has the highest gas tax in the country at $0.72/gallon, which just went up 3.5 cents on July 1.With a 9.3% income tax rate that kicks in at $48,029 and a base sales tax of 7.5% rising as high as 10% in some cities and counties. The middle class has become an illusion.

The new retirement program will cost an additional 35% to the income withheld from low wage worker’s wages and will be managed by the same people who have gotten the state into a mess in the first place.

The money grab by government in California has been done by stealth and subterfuge. The state has unsustainable pension obligations for its public worker’s. The unspoken agenda is that the unions and their cronies come first and the rest of us be damned.

 

The Big Lewinsky – The Democratic Party’s War on Women

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Last year we heard about the Republican Party’s War on Women nonstop for months. Radical feminists demanded that Rush Limbaugh be thrown off the air for his comments mocking Sandra Fluke and her demand for free condoms at a Catholic university, a manufactured scandal if ever there was one.

The radicals rode this right into the Democratic Convention, where the platform on abortion; “safe, legal, and rare” was tossed to the wind. All the while they were castigating Mitt Romney for his binders full of female candidates for senior positions in his administration when governor of Massachusetts.

The Huffington Post warned that Romney would overturn Roe V. Wade and that he opposed pay equity when there was nothing in evidence of such. In fact his record as governor was moderate, much to the chagrin of social conservatives.

But these faux-crises agitated the base and got them to the polls. Agitprop at its most effective.

In the meantime where it really mattered the Democratic Party had institutionalized the repression and subjugation of women to the point of rape. This misogyny goes all the way back to Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd’s predatory sexual practices and to Bill Clinton’s  base conduct towards Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick and of course the aforementioned Ms. Lewinsky.

Mr. Clinton exited impeachment and the White House to give speeches at $100,000 – $250,000 per while Ms. Lewinsky’s life was destroyed. Hillary Clinton had made her deal with the devil and won a Senate seat for her stand up support of her dissolute husband. Playing the victim pays well. But Hillary is the exception. Her thirst for power equals or exceeds that of her husband.

The real victims are the jetsam of the sexual appetites of other Democratic Party politicians. Cast aside and left to drift.

James McGreevy’s affairs and coming out destroyed his family and his credibility. It also damaged the State of New Jersey.

John Edwards while running for the Presidency imploded in a scandal that captured headlines for years with its stories of XXX videotapes and adultery conducted while his wife was dying of cancer. Who would even consider electing such a world class scumbag?

Then there was Barny Frank’s boyfriend running a male prostitution ring out of their Washington apartment.

This week it is Anthony Weiner’s revelations of digital adultery that continued even after he was forced to resign from Congress. And it turns out that Bob Filner’s sexual harassment of staffers and virtually any woman who came within a yard was covered up by the California Democratic Party for years.

How can anyone rationalize the existential contradiction between a party that has used the shiny ball of “The Right to Choose” and allows sexual predators and to run rampant? How can a Party defend women’s rights and then allow wholesale violation of those same rights?

The “Right To Choose” itself is an invented phrase of propaganda used to mask the true meaning of the message, which is abortion rights. It makes it sounds as if one can choose a cantaloupe or a Christmas card or a 24th week abortion, all of which are equal moral choices. If we are intellectually dishonest, how can we make true progress?

The Democratic Party has become a mythmaking and propaganda machine. It now specializes in misdirection, flummery, and graft. It is ground zero for Newspeak. It can argue for women’s right’s and then oppress women at the same time with no debate or discussion of the inherent lies at the core of their philosophy.

While espousing rights and freedoms, the Democratic Party propagates inequality and oppression.

Fifty Shades of Blue – New York City Politics

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Way, way back in the day X Rated films were called blue movies. Then came Red State, Blue State. Now we have the ultimate result of these trends merging in New York City’s psychosexual political circus. The city is headed from Nanny Bloomberg to the Penthouse letters column in record time.

Anthony “look at my” Weiner is running for Mayor and the puns are are fast and furious while disgraced former state governor Eliot Spitzer has swallowed what pride he has left to run for City Comptroller. Like a moth or a sex addict, he doesn’t seem to be able to steer away from the light. The delicious irony is that the former madam, Kristen Davis who procured women for Spitzer is running against him on the Libertarian ticket. No, I am not making this up.

New York, with the exception of perhaps San Francisco, is America’s most liberal and most libertine town. If you can “make it” there you’ll make it anywhere, as the song goes. They don’t ride down the streets on floats in “G” strings as in Frisco, but despite Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts, the sexual smorgasbord is as diverse as ancient Rome’s. Money equals power and power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

New York is less flamboyant these days only because the middle class has been driven out of the city and it is now Upstairs, Downstairs. It’s hard to be on the fun fringe when the fringe was the first thing the city government targeted.

But now it’s in the headlines. For the next few months Mr. Weiner is going to get more exposure (in more ways than he expected) than ever before, while I am sure the city is waiting with bated breath for the first Spitzer – Davis debates. As the kids would say, “Awk-ward!!!”

Obama’s Green Scam

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The other day, Glenn Reynolds labeled the Obama Administration the Omerta Administration. This morning the president is once again demonstrating his mob-like contempt for the law with his speech at Georgetown University.

The audience has been limited to approximately 400 sycophants, and the President is expected to unveil his plan to use executive power to shut down the coal power generation industry. This has been his goal all along, along with stymieing all other conventional fuels. He is once again bypassing Congress to ram through his agenda.

At a time when America desperately needs jobs he and his green allies have done their best to sabotage conventional energy sources. They have 5 year record of harassment and obstruction of the oil industry. They have crushed the nuclear power industry into submission. And they have monkey wrenched the natural gas boom. Everywhere that real, profitable and even clean energy alternatives have shown themselves the fury of the Left ensures their demise.

They have used crony capitalism and graft to develop solar and wind power, both of which are incredibly more expensive than conventional energy. And in doing so they have squandered the competitive advantage of our country. How can we compete in the global economy with foolish and dishonest limitations that play right into the strengths of our competitors?

What is more disturbing is the confluence of scandals pointing towards a sinister power grab that echoes of dictatorship.The President has muzzled his opposition any way he can. He has waged vendetta on his political opponents through the IRS. He has persecuted whistleblowers and criminally prosecuted anyone who is not one of his official mouthpieces.

All the while he sits like Alfred E. Neumann with a Cheshire cat smile as one after another scandal swirls around the White House. His minions stonewall subpoenas and claim executive privilege while his Attorney General runs interference. This is not democracy. It is a putsch.

President Obama has proven to be the most devious and dishonest politician in our history. From his stonewalling of his personal records to his arrogation of power to the White House to his Administrations criminal misapplication of the law he has brought dishonor and disgrace to his office.

How many scandals does it take? How many of our liberties must be infringed upon?

The Left is running rampant over our civil rights. The United States founded on the principles of small government and civil liberties. Property rights, the rule of law, and enlightened capitalism are our underlying principles. Today, every one of these rights is under assault by our own government.