Posts Tagged ‘Republicans’

Could Obama go rogue if the Senate flips ?

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Roger L Simon has an interesting column on the consequences of a GOP win this fall.

Barack Obama is a man unaccustomed to losing. Life has been exceptionally kind to him, sailing, as he did, through balmy Oahu sunsets, college, law school and career on into the presidency with scarcely a bump. He has been a protected man beyond any in recent memory, feted and praised virtually everywhere he went until the last couple of years. Even now, despite catastrophe after catastrophe, there are acolytes who continue to celebrate him, paying tens of thousands merely to have their photographs taken with him.

When such cosseted people are forced to confront failure, they typically do not do so with grace.

Obama’s style of governing seems to be quite unusual for modern presidents. He does not have a circle of “Wise Men” as most presidents have done, including Bill Clinton, who had Robert Rubin advising him on economics and the bond market.

Obama, instead, relys on a small circle of advisors with little or no experience in national affairs.

Insider books by Robert Gates, Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta have appeared in rapid succession, implying or directly alleging that the president lives in a bubble, unwilling to listen to advice. He frequently threatens to — and sometimes does — go around the Congress to get his way via, often unconstitutional, executive fiat. We all know that he lies, constantly.

His closest advisor appears to be Valerie Jarrett who has no policy experience and who seems to be a Chicago insider.

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The “Deep State.”

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

UPDATE: From Zerohedge: Is the deep state fracturing among the elites ?

History suggests that this low-intensity conflict within the ruling Elite is generally a healthy characteristic of leadership in good times. As times grow more troubled, however, the unity of the ruling Elite fractures into irreconcilable political disunity, which becomes a proximate cause of the dissolution of the Empire if it continues.

We live in interesting times.

This essay on the blog of Bill Moyers, a left winger and former LBJ press secretary who is almost 80 years old, is interesting. It has the usual leftist slant on the topic but also includes many good observations.

There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power. [1]

Moyers had a significant role to play in the early stages of this administrative state.

Failure to recognize the distinction between the way in which the Department of the Army operates and the standing operating procedures of military organizations in the field has frustrated generations of field soldiers, who have taken for granted the necessity for tight management at the top, known to them as unity of command.This struggle for executive control within the Army has
taken place during a period of increasingly centralized authority over individual and corporate activities throughout American life.

Moyers has more of a role here than he admits. After some nonsense about Republican “obstructionism,” he says this:

Despite this apparent impotence, President Obama can liquidate American citizens without due processes, detain prisoners indefinitely without charge, conduct dragnet surveillance on the American people without judicial warrant and engage in unprecedented — at least since the McCarthy era — witch hunts against federal employees (the so-called “Insider Threat Program”). Within the United States, this power is characterized by massive displays of intimidating force by militarized federal, state and local law enforcement.

I think it is interesting to see that the left, certainly Moyers territory, sees this.

During the time in 2011 when political warfare over the debt ceiling was beginning to paralyze the business of governance in Washington, the United States government somehow summoned the resources to overthrow Muammar Ghaddafi’s regime in Libya, and, when the instability created by that coup spilled over into Mali, provide overt and covert assistance to French intervention there. At a time when there was heated debate about continuing meat inspections and civilian air traffic control because of the budget crisis, our government was somehow able to commit $115 million to keeping a civil war going in Syria and to pay at least £100m to the United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters to buy influence over and access to that country’s intelligence. Since 2007, two bridges carrying interstate highways have collapsed due to inadequate maintenance of infrastructure, one killing 13 people. During that same period of time, the government spent $1.7 billion constructing a building in Utah that is the size of 17 football fields. This mammoth structure is intended to allow the National Security Agency to store a yottabyte of information, the largest numerical designator computer scientists have coined. A yottabyte is equal to 500 quintillion pages of text. They need that much storage to archive every single trace of your electronic life.

Yes, indeed.

Government life is typically not some vignette from an Allen Drury novel about intrigue under the Capitol dome. Sitting and staring at the clock on the off-white office wall when it’s 11:00 in the evening and you are vowing never, ever to eat another piece of takeout pizza in your life is not an experience that summons the higher literary instincts of a would-be memoirist. After a while, a functionary of the state begins to hear things that, in another context, would be quite remarkable, or at least noteworthy, and yet that simply bounce off one’s consciousness like pebbles off steel plate: “You mean the number of terrorist groups we are fighting is classified?” No wonder so few people are whistle-blowers, quite apart from the vicious retaliation whistle-blowing often provokes: Unless one is blessed with imagination and a fine sense of irony, growing immune to the curiousness of one’s surroundings is easy. To paraphrase the inimitable Donald Rumsfeld, I didn’t know all that I knew, at least until I had had a couple of years away from the government to reflect upon it.

The IRS bureaucrat begins to see that the Tea Party is a threat to his pension and continued nice life. That, of course, is not what Moyers is concerned about.

The Deep State does not consist of the entire government. It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. I also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its enforcement of international sanctions and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street. All these agencies are coordinated by the Executive Office of the President via the National Security Council. Certain key areas of the judiciary belong to the Deep State, such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose actions are mysterious even to most members of Congress. Also included are a handful of vital federal trial courts, such as the Eastern District of Virginia and the Southern District of Manhattan, where sensitive proceedings in national security cases are conducted. The final government component (and possibly last in precedence among the formal branches of government established by the Constitution) is a kind of rump Congress consisting of the congressional leadership and some (but not all) of the members of the defense and intelligence committees. The rest of Congress, normally so fractious and partisan, is mostly only intermittently aware of the Deep State and when required usually submits to a few well-chosen words from the State’s emissaries.

This is what some of us refer to as The Ruling Class.

There are now 854,000 contract personnel with top-secret clearances — a number greater than that of top-secret-cleared civilian employees of the government. While they work throughout the country and the world, their heavy concentration in and around the Washington suburbs is unmistakable: Since 9/11, 33 facilities for top-secret intelligence have been built or are under construction. Combined, they occupy the floor space of almost three Pentagons — about 17 million square feet. Seventy percent of the intelligence community’s budget goes to paying contracts. And the membrane between government and industry is highly permeable: The Director of National Intelligence, James R. Clapper, is a former executive of Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the government’s largest intelligence contractors. His predecessor as director, Admiral Mike McConnell, is the current vice chairman of the same company; Booz Allen is 99 percent dependent on government business. These contractors now set the political and social tone of Washington, just as they are increasingly setting the direction of the country, but they are doing it quietly, their doings unrecorded in the Congressional Record or the Federal Register, and are rarely subject to congressional hearings.

Remove some of the obligatory left wing rhetoric and I agree with this completely. Read the rest.

In 2013, General David Petraeus joined KKR (formerly Kohlberg Kravis Roberts) of 9 West 57th Street, New York, a private equity firm with $62.3 billion in assets. KKR specializes in management buyouts and leveraged finance. General Petraeus’ expertise in these areas is unclear. His ability to peddle influence, however, is a known and valued commodity. Unlike Cincinnatus, the military commanders of the Deep State do not take up the plow once they lay down the sword. Petraeus also obtained a sinecure as a non-resident senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. The Ivy League is, of course, the preferred bleaching tub and charm school of the American oligarchy. [4]

Exactly. Think about global warming and energy policy, matters Moyers neglects.

Merry Christmas from the Country Class.

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Angelo Codevilla focused my attention on the political phenomenon that gave us Obamacare and may yet give us amnesty for illegal immigration. I have previously posted the link and, after the source deleted it, the essay itself.

He has expanded his description of the phenomenon in another essay in Forbes.

Those who attribute the polarization of American politics to the partisan drawing of congressional districts at the state level have a point: The Supreme Court’s decision in Baker v. Carr (1962) inadvertedly legalized gerrymandering by setting “one man one vote” as the sole basis of legitimacy for drawing legislative districts. Subsequent judicial interpretations of the 1965 Voting Rights Act demanded that districts be drawn to produce Congressmen with specific features. No surprise then that Democratic and Republican legislatures and governors, thus empowered, have drawn the vast majority of America’s Congressional districts to be safe for Democrats or Republicans respectively. Such districts naturally produce Congressmen who represent their own party more than the general population. This helped the parties themselves to grow in importance. But the U.S. Senate and state governments also have polarized because public opinion in general has.

This explanation is of critical importance in understanding what happened.

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Here comes 1933.

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

images

The Depression did not really get going until the Roosevelt Administration got its anti-business agenda enacted after 1932. The 1929 crash was a single event, much like the 2008 panic. It took major errors in economic policy to make matters worse. Some were made by Hoover, who was a “progressive” but they continued under Roosevelt.

James Taranto has a good take and quotes a couple of lefty commentators. Like Ezra Klein.

There’s a lot of upside for Republicans in how this went down. It came at a time when Republicans control the House and are likely to do so for the duration of President Obama’s second term, so the weakening of the filibuster will have no effect on the legislation Democrats can pass. The electoral map, the demographics of midterm elections, and the political problems bedeviling Democrats make it very likely that Mitch McConnell will be majority leader come 2015 and then he will be able to take advantage of a weakened filibuster. And, finally, if and when Republicans recapture the White House and decide to do away with the filibuster altogether, Democrats won’t have much of an argument when they try to stop them.

As Taranto puts it:

“”The political problems bedeviling Democrats” is a marvelous bit of understatement. The abject failure of ObamaCare has made the prospect of a Republican Senate in 2015 and a Republican president in 2017 much likelier. Thus even from a purely partisan standpoint, rational Democrats would have been more cautious about invoking the nuclear option when they did than at just about any other time in the past five years.”

The filibuster maneuver by Reid is not a demonstration of strength. It is an admission of weakness. The idiots at HuffPo and the LA Times are beating their chests in joy at the prospect of eternal Democrat majorities that can ignore those pesky Republicans.

In fact, what Reid is acknowledging is that the Democrat majority in the Senate is going away and now is the time to pack the courts and regulatory agencies with ideologues and get all the anti-business regulations in place while they can. The hard left, which believes in magic and Cargo Cults, is cheering them on.

Bloomberg sees what happened, too.

“Under any administration, federal agencies seek to implement the president’s policies by developing regulations,” Jeff Holmstead, a lawyer at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP in Washington who has represented coal-heavy utilities, said. “But in most cases, the judges on the D.C. Circuit are the people who decide whether those regulations comply with federal law.”

I fully expect to see anti-fracking regulations roll out soon, once the Obama appointments get confirmed by the rump Senate. However, what goes around, comes around.

It is our understanding that the Supreme Court exception was included to satisfy pro-abortion extremists, the most active and basest part of the activist base. The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Meckler reported yesterday that the two biggest such groups, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and NARAL Pro-Choice America, both declined comment on the nuclear move, “leaving it unclear whether they are concerned about their ability to block future objectionable”–i.e., Republican–“nominees.”

The abortion lobby sees the future better than giddy leftists who think government creates wealth and jobs.

Conservatives and the health care mandate ssue.

Monday, October 28th, 2013

The latest meme I’ve noticed on the Obamacare implosion is that the Republicans are to blame. After all, it’s Romneycare, or it’s the idea of the Heritage Foundation.

In fact, the mandate was promoted by Hillary in 2008 and opposed by Obama. Of course, he doesn’t know much about what is going on so we can understand. In fact, the entire website fiasco, slipped by him, unnoticed.

President Barack Obama didn’t know of problems with the Affordable Care Act’s website — despite insurance companies’ complaints and the site’s crashing during a test run — until after its now well-documented abysmal launch, the nation’s health chief told CNN on Tuesday.

Of course he may just rewrite the code himself. After all, he is so talented that he is bored.

David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, quotes White House senior adviser and longtime Obama friend Valerie Jarrett: “I think Barack knew that he had God-given talents that were extraordinary. He knows exactly how smart he is. … He knows how perceptive he is. He knows what a good reader of people he is. And he knows that he has the ability — the extraordinary, uncanny ability — to take a thousand different perspectives, digest them and make sense out of them, and I think that he has never really been challenged intellectually. … So what I sensed in him was not just a restless spirit but somebody with such extraordinary talents that had to be really taxed in order for him to be happy. … He’s been bored to death his whole life. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do.”

Oh well, at least we know if we really get in trouble, we have someone who can bail us out. I don’t doubt the comment about him never being challenged intellectually.

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The consequences of the Syria fiasco

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

The Syria farce played out with Obama’s speech last night. When you are a Democrat and are being ridiculed in left wing magazines, you are in trouble.

This brings up what will happen next. That will not include any surrender of Syrian WMD. The Syrians have been Soviet and Russian clients for many years. There is no chance that Putin will allow his client to be disarmed.

As Slate relates:

Kerry never thought that he was making a bold bid to avert military strikes that his president’s party and public had no interest in supporting. He simply suggested that if Bashar al-Assad handed all of his chemical weapons over in a week, that might stave off an impending U.S. attack—and of course, Assad wasn’t going to do that. The State Department rushed forward to clarify that Kerry wasn’t floating an actual proposal—he was just speaking rhetorically. You know, riffing. To say that the Obama administration is freelancing when it comes to foreign policy is an insult to freelancers.

Still, Vladimir Putin knows an opportunity when he sees it. The Kremlin pounced on Kerry’s diplomatic spitballing. So now, everyone—the French, the British, the Chinese, the Obama administration—is hoping that the Russians can craft a verifiable plan for Assad’s regime to hand over its chemical stockpile. For the West, a price can be exacted from Assad, while the dangerous unpredictability of military strikes can be avoided. Meanwhile, Russia and China can keep their man in Damascus.

What is the result ? Obama jumped at the chance to get off the weak limb he was astride.

But if your foreign policy has to be rescued by a dictator, you are doing it wrong. That’s where President Obama finds himself today. Putin is providing Obama an out he couldn’t find for himself.

This will not end well. In 1961, newly elected President John F Kennedy went to a summit with Nikita Kruschchev and was perceived by that dictator as a weakling. The result was Soviet missiles in Cuba and the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

The Democrats, and even some credulous people of other parties, consider this was a victory for Kennedy. It wasn’t. It guaranteed Cuban communism for 50 years and US missiles were removed from Turkey. The two consequences were kept secret for the last 50 years. The Kennedy brothers then tried to get personal revenge on Castro and that effort may have blown back as the Kennedy assassination. None of this history suggests diplomatic skill.

What we see now is even less diplomatic skill, or even competence. Even Slate is unhappy with their president.

If Putin’s maneuver doesn’t pan out, Obama’s foreign policy will still likely fall victim to the vicissitudes of a dictator. Because one message is already clear in Damascus: The Obama administration will do everything in its power to do nothing at all. If Assad finds himself up against the wall, he will likely gas his fellow Syrians again. Maybe he will reduce the scale and scope, but it is doubtful that he will abandon the weapons. How will President Obama respond then? It is hard to say. Because no one knows what the president is doing. At least he has the element of surprise.

We will reap severe consequences from this disaster. And they will not be long in coming. Iran has been watching, no doubt with great interest. I have been despondent about the domestic consequences of Romney’s loss last fall. Now I have to face disastrous consequences in foreign policy. The next three years, and beyond if we are unlucky enough to see Hillary elected, will be the most dangerous time in our history since the Civil War.

Richard Fernandez sums it up well.

No, the man known as President Obama left the building after his Syria speech. What’s left in the White House is Barry Soetoro or whatever he goes by now: a shrunken, confused husk surrounded by court jesters, second-rate ideologues, and sycophants. And while it may be tempting to gloat at his reversal of fortune, the truth is that the collapse of the presidency represents the most dangerous moment in America since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

My only disagreement with him is that I think it’s worse than that.

I guess it’s too late to move to Australia

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

I have always liked Australia and have visited a couple of times. In 1987, I thought about buying land in Queensland. Some friends in Toowoomba offered to help me look but I haven’t been back and the idea was stillborn.

A few years ago, I lamented the ingratitude of the Australian electorate.

Last week, the most recent example of the startling rejection of a successful leader was seen in Australia. The defeat of Prime Minister John Howard after four hugely successful terms was a shocker. It is compared, and I think with good reason, with the defeat of Margaret Thatcher in 1990. The difference was that the Conservative Party, itself, ousted her, only to lose the next election to Labour and Tony Blair. In Howard’s case, he has been criticized for failing to withdraw and allow a successor to take his place before the election.

The electorate has corrected their previous error.

The Coalition has been swept to a convincing election victory in a result that could keep Labor in the political wilderness for a decade, with incoming prime minister Tony Abbott declaring the country is “under new management”.
ALP seats fell across the country on Saturday, ensuring Tony Abbott will be the 28th prime minister of Australia and have a commanding majority, holding up to 90 seats in the 150 seats in the House of Representatives.
From today I declare that Australia is under new management.

Mr Abbott said he would methodically deliver on his promises with a government that accepts it will be judged more by its deeds than its words.

Kevin Rudd, at least, realized that his “green” agenda was unrealistic. Obama has not found such wisdom and, instead, his chief strategist, Ms Jarrett, has stated his second term agenda.

Jarrett is very excited about a 2nd term agenda and a big part of that agenda is to punish everyone who opposed them during the first term and the campaign. Strange that everything was “Ms. Jarrett wants this, and Ms. Jarrett is looking forward to that”. You hardly heard Obama’s name mentioned by her which I guess reinforces what people are saying. Valerie Jarrett really is the power in the White House. I know that when her representative showed up it was like royalty was visiting. All the big dogs were lined up to meet her and acting real friendly and they gave us a heads up an hour before and told us we better “put on a good show” while she was here.
The part that really stuck out to me was when I overheard the rep say that Jarrett told them, “After we win this election, it’s our turn. Payback time. Everyone not with us is against us and they better be ready because we don’t forget. The ones who helped us will be rewarded, the ones who opposed us will get what they deserve. There is going to be hell to pay. Congress won’t be a problem for us this time. No election to worry about after this is over and we have two judges ready to go.” She was talking directly to about three of them. Sr. staff. And she wasn’t trying to be quiet about it at all. And they were all listening and shaking their heads and smiling while she said it. Pretty creepy.

Syria does not seem to have been a large part of the agenda. This is what we will have to deal with for the next four years.

I wish I had moved to Australia when I thought of it.

Immigration and the Gang of Eight.

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

The Senate has served up another in Harry Reid’s menu of bills with no hearings and no amendments except those he approves. This is not how the Senate is supposed to work and is a large part of the reason that Congress has produced such bad legislation since 2008. Now, we have another massive bill which is being presented with minimal hearings and debate.

The “Gang of Eight” has written this bill and it is supposed to be fast tracked with no argument. Marco Rubio has been pressing for approval and now Paul Ryan is aboard.

In an interview last week with the Catholic television network EWTN, Ryan recalled his history at Kemp’s side and how they worked together to fight Proposition 187, a California ballot initiative that prevented non-citizens from using the state’s social services.

One reason why immigration worked in this country for 150 years was the fact that immigrants were here to work and support themselves. There was no welfare for them. Prop 187 in California was passed with 60% of the vote and even had majorities on heavily Hispanic districts. It was ruled “unconstitutional” by the California Supreme Copurt and the decline of the “Golden State” had followed. His reasoning at the time ?

“I actually campaigned with Jack Kemp against a thing called Prop 187,” Ryan told host Raymond Arroyo. He said they both worried that the proposal would burn Republicans within the immigrant community, and “make it so that Latino voters would not hear the other messages of empowerment.”

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The Lost Boys

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

Belmont Club has an unusually good post for yesterday. I could say that more than once a week, if truth be known. This one is quite to the point on Sequester Day.

The NHS, which its creators boasted would be the ‘envy of the world’, has been found to have been responsible for up to 40,000 preventable deaths under the helm of Sir David Nicholson, a former member of the Communist Party of Britain. “He was no ordinary revolutionary. He was on the hardline, so-called ‘Tankie’ wing of the party which backed the Kremlin using military action to crush dissident uprisings” — before he acquired a taste for young wives, first class travel and honors.

The NHS is dealing with the shortage of funds by pruning its tree of life, so to speak. He also does not tolerate anyone telling the truth about it.

it emerged he spent 15 million pounds in taxpayer money to gag and prosecute whistleblowers — often doctors and administrators who could not stomach his policies.

The public money spent on stopping NHS staff from speaking out is almost equivalent to the salaries of around 750 nurses.

It has recently been noted that NHS staff no longer recommend their own hospital for family members. Also one quarter report being harassed or bullied at work.

The other half of the equation involves the youth.

The European Youth will remain outside the Death Pathways for some time yet. But they will spend the time waiting for their turn at affordable, caring and passionate medicine in poverty and hopelessness. With the exception of Germany youth unemployment in Europe is over 20%. “A full 62% of young Greeks are out of work, 55% of young Spaniards don’t have jobs, and 38.7% of young Italians aren’t employed.”

Unemployment exceeds even our own Obama economy for failure. (more…)

Do we really want amnesty ?

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

The question about illegal immigration seems to have settled on the issue of amnesty. Republicans seem to be wavering about the benefits or disadvantages of the prospect of millions of new voters trending left politically. The issue of the advantage of Republican support for amnesty is highly questionable, if not dubious.

Getting killed almost three-to-one among Latino voters understandably concentrates the mind, but it’s no reason to lose it. The post-election Republican reaction has been built on equal parts panic, wishful thinking and ethnic pandering.

It’s one thing to argue that amnesty is the right policy on the merits. It’s another to depict it as the magic key to unlocking the Latino vote. John McCain nearly immolated himself within the Republican party with his support for amnesty and did all of four points better among Latino voters in 2008 than Mitt Romney did in 2012, according to exit polls.

Mickey Kaus asks if the GOP is being led astray by Fox News.

Does Fox News now have an All-Amnesty lineup? Looks like it. Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly have now fallen in line behind World Citizen Rupert Murdoch’s support of ”sweeping, generous immigration reform,” including a “path to citizenship.” Karl Rove was always on board, of course.

The problem with unlimited immigration is the welfare state. Until 1965, the new immigrant was on his own and the negative consequences were chiefly those of competition for low wage jobs. With the appearance of generous welfare benefits in 1965, the new immigrant might improve his situation even without working.

I don’t know how this will turn out but I am sure that it will not produce any benefit for the Republican Party