Category Archives: One and Done

A Small President on the World Stage

At the U.N., leaders hope for a return of American greatness.

The world misses the old America, the one before the crash—the crashes—of the past dozen years.

By PEGGY NOONAN

That is the takeaway from conversations the past week in New York, where world leaders gathered for the annual U.N. General Assembly session. Our friends, and we have many, speak almost poignantly of the dynamism, excellence, exuberance and leadership of the nation they had, for so many years, judged themselves against, been inspired by, attempted to emulate, resented.

As for those who are not America’s friends, some seem still confused, even concussed, by the new power shift. What is their exact place in it? Will it last? Will America come roaring back? Can she? Does she have the political will, the human capital, the old capability?

It is a world in a new kind of flux, one that doesn’t know what to make of America anymore. In part because of our president.

“We want American leadership,” said a member of a diplomatic delegation of a major U.S. ally. He said it softly, as if confiding he missed an old friend.

“In the past we have seen some America overreach,” said the prime minister of a Western democracy, in a conversation. “Now I think we are seeing America underreach.” He was referring not only to foreign policy but to economic policies, to the limits America has imposed on itself. He missed its old economic dynamism, its crazy, pioneering spirit toward wealth creation—the old belief that every American could invent something, get it to market, make a bundle, rise.

The prime minister spoke of a great anxiety and his particular hope. The anxiety: “The biggest risk is not political but social. Wealthy societies with people who think wealth is a given, a birthright—they do not understand that we are in the fight of our lives with countries and nations set on displacing us. Wealth is earned. It is far from being a given. It cannot be taken for granted. The recession reminded us how quickly circumstances can change.” His hope? That the things that made America a giant—”so much entrepreneurialism and vision”—will, in time, fully re-emerge and jolt the country from the doldrums.

The second takeaway of the week has to do with a continued decline in admiration for the American president. Barack Obama‘s reputation among his fellow international players has deflated, his stature almost collapsed. In diplomatic circles, attitudes toward his leadership have been declining for some time, but this week you could hear the disappointment, and something more dangerous: the sense that he is no longer, perhaps, all that relevant. Part of this is due, obviously, to his handling of the Syria crisis. If you draw a line and it is crossed and then you dodge, deflect, disappear and call it diplomacy, the world will notice, and not think better of you. Some of it is connected to the historical moment America is in.

But some of it, surely, is just five years of Mr. Obama. World leaders do not understand what his higher strategic aims are, have doubts about his seriousness and judgment, and read him as unsure and covering up his unsureness with ringing words.

A scorching assessment of the president as foreign-policy actor came from a former senior U.S. diplomat, a low-key and sophisticated man who spent the week at many U.N.-related functions. “World leaders are very negative about Obama,” he said. They are “disappointed, feeling he’s not really in charge. . . . The Western Europeans don’t pay that much attention to him anymore.”

The diplomat was one of more than a dozen U.S. foreign-policy hands who met this week with the new president of Iran, Hasan Rouhani. What did he think of the American president? “He didn’t mention Obama, not once,” said the former envoy, who added: “We have to accept the fact that the president is rather insignificant at the moment, and rely on our diplomats.” John Kerry, he said, is doing a good job.

Had he ever seen an American president treated as if he were so insignificant? “I really never have. It’s unusual.” What does he make of the president’s strategy: “He doesn’t know what to do so he stays out of it [and] hopes for the best.” The diplomat added: “Slim hope.”

This reminded me of a talk a few weeks ago, with another veteran diplomat who often confers with leaders with whom Mr. Obama meets. I had asked: When Obama enters a room with other leaders, is there a sense that America has entered the room? I mentioned de Gaulle—when he was there, France was there. When Reagan came into a room, people stood: America just walked in. Does Mr. Obama bring that kind of mystique?

“No,” he said. “It’s not like that.”

When the president spoke to the General Assembly, his speech was dignified and had, at certain points, a certain sternness of tone. But after a while, as he spoke, it took on the flavor of re-enactment. He had impressed these men and women once. In the cutaways on C-Span, some delegates in attendance seemed distracted, not alert, not sitting as if they were witnessing something important. One delegate seemed to be scrolling down on a BlackBerry, one rifled through notes. Two officials seated behind the president as he spoke seemed engaged in humorous banter. At the end, the applause was polite, appropriate and brief.

The president spoke of Iran and nuclear weapons—”we should be able to achieve a resolution” of the question. “We are encouraged” by signs of a more moderate course. “I am directing John Kerry to pursue this effort.”

But his spokesmen had suggested the possibility of a brief meeting or handshake between Messrs. Obama and Rouhani. When that didn’t happen there was a sense the American president had been snubbed. For all the world to see.

Which, if you are an American, is embarrassing.

While Mr. Rouhani could not meet with the American president, he did make time for journalists, diplomats and businessmen brought together by the Asia Society and the Council on Foreign Relations. Early Thursday evening in a hotel ballroom, Mr. Rouhani spoke about U.S.-Iranian relations.

He appears to be intelligent, smooth, and he said all the right things—”moderation and wisdom” will guide his government, “global challenges require collective responses.” He will likely prove a tough negotiator, perhaps a particularly wily one. He is eloquent when speaking of the “haunted” nature of some of his countrymen’s memories when they consider the past 60 years of U.S.-Iranian relations.

Well, we have that in common.

He seemed to use his eloquence to bring a certain freshness, and therefore force, to perceived grievances. That’s one negotiating tactic. He added that we must “rise above petty politics,” and focus on our nations’ common interests and concerns. He called it “counterproductive” to view Iran as a threat; this charge is whipped up by “alarmists.” He vowed again that Iran will not develop a nuclear bomb, saying this would be “contrary to Islamic norms.”

I wondered, as he spoke, how he sized up our president. In roughly 90 minutes of a speech followed by questions, he didn’t say, and nobody thought to ask him.

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Fear, Everywhere, Fear

By Alan Caruba

If my emails and the headlines I am reading indicate anything, there is widespread fear among Americans that something terrible has occurred with the reelection of President Obama. Not all Americans, though. Those who voted for Obama appear to remain oblivious despite the threat of a “fiscal cliff” or the new taxes in Obamacare that will kick in on January 2nd.

We have a Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy, Geithner, calling for an end to debt ceilings, apparently believing that America can continue to borrow money to pay for the interest on its escalating debt, now pegged at $16 trillion and growing daily. The U.S. borrows $4 billion a day. Anyone with a credit card knows that their payments increase as they struggle to deal with their personal debt. Eventually they either declare bankruptcy or turn to companies that negotiate a payment to release them.

If America was to default on its debt, the dollar, already in free fall, would be worth nothing. We would be bartering shiny beads and anything else to buy food and other necessaries. We would become Zimbabwe where you need a million of their dollars to buy a loaf of bread.

Writing recently on her Fox Business blog, Gerri Willis spelled out the huge rise in taxes Americans are facing. “All told, next year, total taxes will go to almost 50% for the middle class; the very group that the president says he wants to protect. That means 50 cents out of every dollar earned has to go to the government. Half of everything will go to an entity that didn’t earn that money, and shouldn’t be entitled to all that dough.”

What kind of madness is it that the Teamsters union would impose such senseless rules that it would weaken Hostess to the point of bankruptcy, preferring to let the company die rather than to protect the jobs of 18,500 bakers? Other unions are engaged in attacks on a weakened economy. What kind of nation is it that its government employees are lobbying Congress to not only increase their pay, but to exempt them from the impact of the spending cuts scheduled to kick in?

There is a full-scale attack on the privacy Americans have taken for granted, protected by the fourth Amendment that says “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…”

On November 14th, the Heritage Foundation asked “Do you trust the government with your computer?” The government has had “13 breaches and failures of its own cybersecurity just in the last six months.” Even so, “the President and his allies in the Senate are pushing forward to regulate America’s cyber-doings, without any clues about how much this will cost or how it will work.”

“It has become the norm with this President—if Congress fails to accomplish his objectives, he goes around it with executive orders and federal regulations. He’s doing it again. Congress did not pass the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 before the election, so the President has issued a draft of an executive order to put much of that legislation in place without lawmakers voting.”

This is the very essence of tyranny and the President has had four years to perfect it. Are conservative think tanks the only ones paying any attention? It would appear so.

A new proposed law in the Senate would strip Americans of any privacy as they communicate with one another by email. A vote for the law would allow warrantless access to American’s email and is scheduled for a vote shortly. It would allow 22 federal agencies as well as state and local law enforcement to access one’s emails with nothing more than a subpoena. This is totally unconstitutional.

Already $16 trillion in debt, the government is looking for ways to take over the $3 trillion that is held in private retirement plans such as 401(k) plans and IRA’s. A recent hearing by the Treasury and Labor Departments addressed the nationalization of the nation’s pension system. The director of the National Senior’s Council, Robert Crone, warns “It is clear that this is the first step towards a government takeover. It feels just like the beginning of the debate over health care and we all know how that ended up.”

As we move closer to an Electoral College vote confirming Obama’s reelection, whistleblowers are coming forth in Ohio, Florida and elsewhere to reveal that significant voter fraud was a contributing factor, but it receives little or no media coverage. One must ask how 99% of votes in Philadelphia districts went to Obama and ask why nothing is being done to investigate this and other offenses such as the 141.1% of the vote recorded in Florida’s St. Lucie County. That is statistically impossible, but it robbed Rep. Allen West (R) of his seat in Congress.

This isn’t government. It is gangsterism. It is “the Chicago way.”

The monster Homeland Security Agency just graduated its first class of FEMA Corps, kids aged 18-24, recruited from the President’s Americorps volunteers, that will become a full time, paid standing army. Fears of FEMA camps abound and in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, people seeking shelter and food were herded into one that resembled a concentration camp of the Nazi regime and told not to use various means of communication to contact the media or outside community. They went from hurricane victims to prisoners of the government.

In so many ways, the freedoms protected by the U.S. Constitution are in danger of disappearing along with the separation of powers it requires.

Little wonder that citizen’s petitions from a growing number of states are called for secession. Or that governors are refusing to set up the Obamacare exchanges required by a law that has taken control of twenty percent of the nation’s economy; their budgets held hostage to Medicaid.

On an individual level, people who have jobs are fearful of losing them. College graduates are fearful of the huge debt they carry for the loans they received. People wonder if they can afford to get married. Married couples fear the cost of having another child. Homeowners fear not being able to pay their mortgages. Seniors fear that their savings won’t last as they live longer.

There is ample reason to fear not only the collapse of the nation’s economy, but the loss of liberty in America.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

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Chart of the Week: Slowest Economic Recovery Since the 1960s

Rob Bluey

November 4, 2012 at 11:35 am

Read more: Here

Obama’s need for lies, propaganda, and derision

By Jim Mullen

Barack Obama is the most anti-traditional, anti-business, and anti-capitalist President in American history. His every speech and press release begin by stridently repeating every loser’s refrain, “It’s not my fault,” quickly followed by incessant rants of class warfare. It’s evident to even the most disinterested observer that Barack Obama does not like this country and its Constitution.

He derides Republicans about what he calls their trickle-down economics. Truth is he has the only trickle-down economic plan. He seizes money from job-creators, the successful, and the producers in America, and then filters the money through a monstrous federal government. The little remaining money subsequently filters down, and Obama redistributes it to his handpicked voting blocs of Democrats and “Obama-crony Capitalists.” While he preaches against the fat cats of Wall Street, Obama set records for accepting campaign money from those on Wall Street willing to play by his Marxist rules.

This President’s economic policies led the nation into a financial quagmire that stunted national growth beyond anything seen since the Great Depression. Over 23 million people are looking for work with over a million fewer people working today than when Obama took office. Welfare and disability rolls soared to record levels in the last four years, and government is increasingly institutionalizing the once proud American populace. One thing he is accomplishing with great proficiency – gaining Marxist control over industry and the American people.

Entrepreneurs who were dreamers of the possible built this nation, not dreamers of more government control, higher taxes, and massive regulations. They knew that self-sacrifice, hard work, determination, and the free American spirit were the constitutionally guaranteed keys to unlock the door of success.

The free-enterprise system so hated by Barack Obama, fed more of the world’s people, provided greater opportunities for all Americans, and helped them achieve their dreams of prosperity more than any other system on earth. Obama is tearing down everything that built this country because he knows that economic and personal freedoms are the antithesis to Marxism. Amazingly, we have a President of the United States who believes the entire system is evil, and that he is ordained to oversee its destruction.

Gasoline prices under Obama have more than doubled, placing an incredible extra financial burden on low and middleclass Americans; not to mention stifled job creation. The increase is, in large part, the result of his fanatical refusal to issue new drilling permits and by rejecting the Canadian pipeline.

Obama’s entire energy policy consists of killing carbon-based energy and sticking taxpayers with a multi-billion dollar solar energy swindle. This radical’s idea is to increase the cost of oil, coal, and gas to a point where his almost comical solar energy con job is competitive. Another four years of his war on coal, and his refusal to allow new oil exploration will in his words, make energy prices “skyrocket” even more.

The national debt and the deficit exploded during his abysmal days in the Oval Office. Just paying the interest on the debt will be an insurmountable burden on the nation’s youth. When interest rates rise, as they assuredly will, the burden will double or triple. Paying interest on the debt will very soon be the single largest item in the federal budget.

Obama in his first term ignored Congress and created his own laws by executive decree. He steadfastly refused to enforce the laws of the land but had no compunction about instituting lawsuits against American states and their people for simply defending themselves by enforcing the law.

Barren of any solutions to real problems facing this country, and primed for attacking his critics, Obama’s tactics always involve using Saul Alinsky’s rules for radicals. His favorite is Rule 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” Stinging from the first presidential debate humiliation, Obama struck back like all cowards by attacking the conqueror with his brave mouth. Now, when addressing his left-wing supporters, mocking and ridiculing Mitt Romney are his ideas of bravery, policy, and debating skill. Since he had no other defense for his record, in the next two debates he simply saved time by sneering, deriding, and ridiculing Romney in front of the world. The President’s desperate, self-indulgent displays are typical Obama arrogance, this time on display for the world to see.

In every debate, left without his Teleprompter, brazen attacks and lying are his only defense of the extreme, leftist policies that left America in this state of devastation. The more that Obama and liberal Democrats stray from reality and facts, the greater the need for lies, propaganda and derision.

One must believe the country is fed up with the childlike antics and unimaginable, spontaneously-combustible rants of Joe Biden. The longer he’s in office the more he becomes unhinged. The cartoonish vice President represents the other half of a presidency that is so predictably unstable as to threaten the personal liberty and fortunes of the American people at home and abroad. In the end, this economically anemic duo of Obama and Biden jeopardize the existence of the United States as a free and independent Republic.

Americans have heard enough excuses, blame, class warfare, and race baiting. They’ve seen enough welfare, unemployment, food stamps, social justice, and income redistribution. They’ve seen all they care to of catering to the slugs of society using taxpayers’ money to buy votes.

On the domestic front, Obama will continue his victimization of the American people and our country’s condition will deteriorate further with four more years of leftist rule. Liberal judge appointments to all federal courts and the Supreme Court will help transform this country into something unrecognizable by the Founders. Obama will consider a win in November as justification to implement more of his radical agenda and create additional presidential laws like legitimizing the remaining tens-of-millions of illegal aliens.

In international policies, Obama’s plans are to place the United States under the autonomy of NATO and the American-hating United Nations, by using the banner of national security. Both organizations exist only because of the billions of dollars forcefully extracted from American taxpayers, and the sacrifices of our young people in the military. A military compelled to serve under another flag, not the American flag under which they agreed to serve. All of this while he guts defense spending, leaving the country open to attacks by bullies around the globe.

The saintly aura fashioned by the media around Barack Obama is gone. The only glow emanating from this White House is the reek of ugly, Chicago-style, corrupt politics and failed Marxist-socialist policies. Americans discover that after his first presidential stint, they’re left with a bitter, hate-filled President who dictates with lies, cover-ups, misinformation, and disinformation after promises of the most transparent administration in history.

Jim Mullen

http://freedomforusnow.com

Follow https://twitter.com/freedomforusnow

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No, Obama does not have a jobs plan

By: David Harsanyi
10/24/2012 09:05 PM

Fear not, Barack Obama has an economic plan for America, and it’s all in a glossy brochure, called “The New Economic Patriotism: A Plan for Jobs & Middle-Class Security” — an antidote, we’re told, to the vagueness of Mitt Romney’s agenda.

This is what the president, according to a campaign official, believes will ensure that “every voter knows what a second term of an Obama presidency would mean for middle-class Americans.” So, in other words, a shiny substance-free pamphlet is a metaphor for the Obama presidency — because these 11 pages of fluff make Romney’s tax proposal look like an annotated edition of the Talmud.

Even if we accepted that this is a “jobs plan” at all — and one would have to stretch the imagination — there are perhaps two items even tangentially connected to the issue at hand. Members of the middle class will be pleased to learn that their children’s future will feature marginally smaller class sizes and work as a midlevel functionary in a green-energy factory. According to the president, the best way to grow the middle class outward (whatever that means) is to strive for more menial labor work in an unproductive manufacturing sector. Forward.

Obama supported cap-and-trade legislation, the sole purpose of which is to make fossil fuel more expensive, so let’s dismiss his contention that the administration would concern itself with expanding oil and gas work in a second term. Let’s focus instead on the green energy sector, which cannot sustain itself today — just look at the slew of clean-energy bankruptcies we’ve involuntarily invested in — or in the future. As The New York Times recently reported, “stimulus money is almost all gone, leaving many of these projects without a government benefactor and making them orphans in a competitive marketplace dominated by the deep-pocketed fossil fuel industries.” (Deep-pocketed industries will remain deep-pocketed if they continue to offer Americans things we value — you know, like energy.)

Another foundational element of Obama’s wholly unserious proposal is hiring more teachers — even though this isn’t a function of the federal government to begin with and even though, according to Lindsey Burke of The Heritage Foundation, since 1970 the number of students in public schools has increased by 8 percent while the number of teachers has increased 60 percent and even though hiring more teachers would, at best, have a marginal impact on economic growth.

But we love teachers. Check the brochure.

Another component featured in the Obama plan is tax cuts for small business with a side order of fairness. This would impel the wealthiest among us to chip in just a little itty bit more to bring down the deficit. Here we are faced with two problems:

If you believe that Obama would use the extra $80 billion in revenue extracted from the rich to reduce the deficit, I have an 11-page glossy jobs pamphlet for you. And Obama’s tax on the rich would hit more than 1 million small businesses, according to the Internal Revenue Service, which would make his tepid supply-side policy item — the kind of policy he regularly mocks, incidentally — useless.

Still, according to a Bloomberg survey of selected economists, under Obama’s plan, “13,000 jobs would be created in 2013, bringing the total to 288,000 over two years.” That’s hundreds of billion in spending — deficit spending — aimed at creating a few unsustainable jobs without the benefit of any real private-sector growth.

Do the math, as they say.

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