White House Policy
It got very little play in the press, but President Obama was recently snubbed again on the world stage when 15 Asian nations formed a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership without the United States. Obama had traveled to Phnom Penh in an effort to “sell a US-based Trans-Pacific Partnership excluding China.” He failed.
Add this to a growing list of major failures by Barack Obama on the International Stage. He failed to bring the Olympics to Chicago. He failed to produce progress on the Israel-Palestine front (it’s actually getting worse). He’s failed to create any sort of consensus on what to do about Syria. He has failed to inhibit Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapon.
There is no doubt that U.S. influence is waning under Obama. Maybe that’s exactly what he wants.
The title of this article is polarizing and I expect to get in trouble for writing it. As a homeschooling parent I’m not supposed to think homeschooling superior to institutionalized education. I’m supposed to take the stance that all choices are equal in the effort not to offend anyone who prefers public schooling. It’s a hot topic in the mommy circles and one that most homeschooling moms want to avoid. We all encounter the same comments and exclamations like, “How do you do it? When are you going to put them in real school? You must be crazy! How long do you plan to do this?” or my personal favorite, “I could never do that!” This article is a response to all the times I’ve wanted to answer truthfully but held my tongue in order to preserve peace.
Disclaimer: Let it be understood that I believe in the freedom of individuals to choose how to raise their own children how they see fit. This does not prevent me from having an opinion as to the nature of public school and what state-run education inflicts on American children. This is based on personal experience and years of study and research. Further, many of you will argue that none of the examples in this article have ever happened to your child in your school. My answer is, not yet. I warn you, if you are a public schooling advocate and you continue to read this article you may become unhappy with your current choices and find yourself at a homeschooling conference and facing disapproval from your social circle. Read at your own risk.
On August 2nd the House released an investigative report on Solyndra, the failed solar energy company, which shows beyond a doubt the Obama administration abused taxpayer dollars for political gain.
Solyndra received a $535 million loan, straight from our pocket, as part of Obama’s “green jobs” strategy. Indeed, Solyndra was considered one of the jewels in Obama’s green recovery crown. When Obama visited the plant in 2010, he highlighted Solyndra as an example of the “right thing to do for the economy,” claiming the plant would employ at least 1,000 high paying jobs.
As is so often the case with lofty oratory, the reality never lived up to the rhetoric.
First, the Obama administration pressured federal reviewers to sign off on Solyndra despite misgivings about the viability of the company and of the government’s loan model. Emails released by the investigators show the Office of Management and Budget responding to White House requests by saying “We would prefer to have sufficient time to do our due diligence reviews.” The loan was ultimately approved, clearly under political duress as an OMB staffer remarked “given the time pressure we are under to sign off on Solyndra, we don’t have time to change the model.”
Solyndra’s CEO at the time hailed the “Bank of Washington” for coming to their aid.
It quickly became clear that Solyndra was in peril as it began to miss payments on the loan. A government analysis warned that the company would run out of money in September of 2011 and recommended that the government simply cut its losses. Instead, the government chose to restructure the loan, ultimately wasting MORE of our tax dollars than if they had simply allowed Solyndra to fail.
The investigators released emails which clearly indicate the decision to restructure the loan – which inexplicably put taxpayers LAST to recoup losses – was made for political reasons. One government analyst remarked that a Solyndra failure “would likely be very embarrassing for DOE and the Administration.” Another commented that she was “vastly confused by DOE’s decision to negotiate away their senior position in this transaction.”
The final insult came when White House Chief of Staff Jack Yew, perhaps sensing that Solyndra was beyond saving, decided to wash his hands of any further involvement in the Solyndra restructuring. Let me say that again to be sure it sinks in:
Despite the administration’s self-proclaimed “quite active interest” in securing the loan for Solyndra, just months before it failed, the White House distanced itself from any further decision making.
No doubt so that when it finally failed, they could blame it on OMB / DOE / Bush (which is exactly what they tried to do).
Still undetermined is exactly what role Obama bundler Robert Kaiser played in securing Solyndra’s loan in the first place. Emails show Kaiser “advised associates” on how to secure federal assistance for Solyndra. As it turns out, Kaiser’s family also had a “substantial” financial stake in Solyndra. Coincidence?
This is an example of Chicago Politics at its finest. We have a choice in 2012. Are you voting for four more years of cronyism and abuse of our wallets? “Bank of Washington” my ass… it’s the Bank of We the People. I say we shut the damn doors. #ABO2012
If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.
So said President Obama in a particularly revealing address on Friday. Obama has been blasted lately for going so negative, and the full speech reads mostly like the “Hope and Change” he ran on in 2008. I have to wonder if this and other remarks were the result of an unfortunate TOTUS malfunction. It always seems Obama is most revealing when he is unscripted.
In any case, there is no doubt that Obama meant this as a shot at those who consider their success to be of their own making. The overall theme of his speech was that nobody is successful without some kind of help, especially help from the government. Unfortunately, Mr. President, somewhere around 24 million small business owners may disagree.
Throughout his speech, Obama reveals an obvious bias against pro-business economic theory, not to mention an unprecedented level of ignorance on the requirements of successful entrepreneurship. Here are some examples:
And on their side, they’ve got a basic theory about how you grow the economy. And the theory is very simple: They think that the economy grows from the top down. So their basic theory is, if wealthy investors are doing well then everybody does well.
Obama is displaying his reliance on demagoguery by willfully distorting the economic theory most conservatives refer to as “Reaganomics.” The so-called “top-down” or “trickle-down” theory has very little to do with wealthy investors, and everything to do with the production of value to the consumer.
Think about it this way: do business owners get rich just because they open a business? On the contrary. Most small businesses require a minimum of tens of thousands of dollars of investment to start — often financed in whole or in part out of the owner’s pocket — and at least one-third of them fail within 2 years. Anybody can open their own business, but that alone does not translate into success or wealth.
Unless you have powerful friends in Congress who can subsidize ineptitude, your success in business can only be achieved by creating a value proposition which entices consumers to purchase your good or service. Even then it requires many years of tireless labor and painful sacrifice to achieve success. 40 hour workweeks? Hah! Try 60+. 2 weeks paid vacation? There’s no such thing when you’re the owner. When you own a small business, you’re chained to it for the first several years. Some people never break those bonds.
So why would anybody ever want to own a business? It is the promise of future wealth which entices people to start (and stick with) a business. In the mean time, though, the owner is busy buying materials, producing products or services that people want to buy, and creating jobs. As economist Thomas Sowell has observed, “Reaganomics” is actually not “trickle-down” in practice. The money goes to the suppliers and employees and the value goes to the consumers BEFORE the owner get wealthy — if they ever get wealthy at all! Only after years of successful enterprise will the typical business owner ever truly enjoy above average wealth.
Obviously, this economic theory has nothing to do with wealthy investors as Obama characterizes. It has everything to do with producing value to the consumer, and the presence of a profit motive on the part of the business owner. Unfortunately for all of us, Obama and his progressive cabal seem woefully incapable of comprehending this relatively simple idea.
Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.
Apparently, Obama is saying that being hardworking and smart is not sufficient for achieving success, which makes me wonder, what exactly is Obama’s measure for success? Surely there are millions of Americans who are not business owners and not “wealthy” who can nevertheless be considered successful by most standards. What kind of message is the President sending about success?
But returning to the core point, the President is right that there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. While hard work can create success for employees, hard work alone is not sufficient to create success for a business owner. Studies have proven what successful business owners already know — the secret to great success goes beyond just dedication, requiring higher levels of sacrifice as well as focused improvement.
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.
I’m not going to bash teachers. Teaching is tough, often thankless work. But if all that was needed to be successful was having a “great teacher somewhere in your life,” there would be virtually zero unsuccessful people in this country. At some point in their lives, almost EVERYONE has had a great teacher. I remember having undisputed “great teachers” in high school and college, but not everyone got A’s and not everyone who went through their classroom ended up being successful.
Don’t get me wrong. Most accomplished people do have some person or some event to thank for planting the seeds of success. But the cultivation of those seeds into something fruitful is another story entirely. I can say that my own success had very little to do with my education and a whole lot to do with my work ethic and my business savvy. I can thank my parents for planting the seed, but it took hours upon hours of hard work well beyond a 40 hour workweek to bear fruit
Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges.
I always love when liberals give the government extra credit for performing the basic duties with which the government is tasked. But even this argument this is spurious.
Giving the government credit for successful commerce because they build roads would be like Wal Mart giving their building contractor credit for selling me a DVD. Roads weren’t conceptualized by the government. We The People chose the government to be responsible for our road building. If not the government, We The People would find some other way to have roads built because roads are essential to our lives.
The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
False. Actually, the government was one of the main sponsors of a project by MIT called ARPAnet, which is widely (but incorrectly) considered the original Internet. However, an “internet” is a connection of multiple networks, whereas ARPAnet was simply a single network. The MIT research was responsible for some of the underlying technology, but comparing ARPAnet to the Internet is like comparing oil lamps to LED light bulbs.
At the time ARPAnet was being created, other institutions were already researching ways to connect computers together across short and long distances. ARPA got there first, possibly due to a larger influx of capital; at the time, the U.S. government was worried about being technological underdogs after the Soviets launched the Sputnik project. Nevertheless, anyone who says the Internet would never exist were it not for the government is certainly wrong.
Most objective observers agree that it really wasn’t until the government got out of the way, thereby opening the Internet up for private investment, that the World Wide Web was truly born. This is illustrated by the fact that the government’s own standards agency (OSI) actually tried to shut the door on the very same network communications protocol standards (TCP/IP) which are in use by all of us using the Internet today. They believed the technology would never work.
Beyond that, consider the underlying infrastructure supporting the Internet. Data travels across a huge network of fiber optic cables. Cables conceptualized and fabricated by private corporations, installed and maintained largely by private corporations, and funded by well over a trillion dollars of private investments, primarily from Wall Street.
At the very most, we could say the government accidentally helped encourage some of the basic technology of the precursor to the first version of the Internet while throwing money at any project that might have military application to counter the Soviets. After that, it’s at least plausible that the government’s role actually inhibited the development of the Internet we know today.
More to the Story?
By now, Obama’s ideological proclivities should come as no surprise. But reading his remarks, I am suddenly struck by another thought:
Consider his argument; the U.S. has the greatest system in the world, yet even here, people cannot be successful without help from the government. “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” What does that say about this country, this world, and humanity in general? Not much faith in mankind there!
Does Obama’s speech reveal something deeper, something on a personal level? What kind of life experiences must a person have to hold such a belief? Is Obama telling us that his own successes are owed to others? Did he accidentally reveal that he was the beneficiary of some government initiative, perhaps affirmative action? Or maybe that someone else, like Bill Ayers, wrote Dreams From My Father?
Here’s something entertaining. It seems that National Geographic Channel has run a study finding 65% of Americans believe Obama would be a better choice to deal with an alien invasion than Mitt Romney.
I suppose it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibilities that such a consideration could be made. Hawking feels that contact with extraterrestrials is “risky,” and should be avoided. The Internet is full of theories and supposed evidence that aliens are already on their way. Plus, it would explain why Obama golfs so much — might as well get it in before E.T. turns the country club into a headquarters.
On the other hand, more scientific analysis suggests that if alien life does exist, the probability of it visiting Earth is fairly low, so we shouldn’t worry about whether or not it’s hostile. Personally, I agree with this theory. NASA has already been able to identify several Earth-like plants — surely any space creature capable of traveling to Earth would have much more sophisticated equipment than us, and would be able to locate Earth-like planets closer to home.
Nevertheless, it’s an interesting subject to consider, and it got me wondering exactly how one would justify the position that Obama would be better at dealing with an alien invasion. Do they think bowing to the Saudi king prepared Obama for bowing to an alien leader?
My opinion is that if an alien invasion did occur, knowing that they would have significantly advanced technology, our success would hinge on our ability to think outside the box. Of the two men, Mitt Romney is certainly more likely to possess that particular skill. Successful entrepreneurship tends to necessitate outside-the-box thinking, whereas working in government tends to suffocate creativity of all kinds.
What say you?
A few weeks ago, from Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, President Obama personally confirmed that his administration has been in direct negotiations with the Taliban. Obama made it clear that he personally supports an Afghanistan where the Taliban play a role in governance. As US News put it, he has gone “all in.”
Let’s review who the Taliban really is, shall we?
- Massacres its own people
- Denied food to 160,000 people
- Believes in STRICT Sharia Law
- Wages a REAL war on women
- Blows up schools for “un-Islamic teachings”
A few years ago, the Taliban attacked girls with acid on their way to school, blinding and disfiguring several of them. Reuters did a video report on one of the incidents. Watch it, but only if you are ready to be sad and angry for awhile.
More recently, the Taliban has been poisoning schoolgirls in an apparent effort to discourage them from attending school, and/or to undermine the Afghan government.
I ask you, do militants who rule with an iron fist, starve and slaughter their own people, and poison and burn young girls with acid just for wanting to learn seem like reasonable human beings?
Most of us would say no, but President Obama says yes. These are the people with whom Obama seeks accord. These are the people Obama believes can be part of Afghanistan’s governing body.
Sure, Obama stipulates that the Taliban must “renounce violence.” Yeah, right. So they renounce violence “officially,” then continue to perpetrate the same acts of oppression they’ve been doing, and turn around and claim innocence to Washington and the U.N. Heck, they’ll probably get Obama or Ban Ki-moon to give them money to “fight the terrorists within.”
Look, I can’t claim to be an expert on foreign policy, and I’m definitely torn on whether or not it’s worthwhile to continue the war in Afghanistan, where our young men and women are dying and getting seriously injured. But to actually engage in direct talks with an organization of terrorists as evil as the Taliban is an insult to every soldier who has given his or her life to see that country saved.
To give them the prestige of being recognized internationally, on television, by the most powerful man in the world as an invited player to the negotiating table is to concede that America no longer stands defiant in the face of such terrible evil. We are no longer seeking an Afghanistan that is safe for women and girls to learn and pursue their own dreams.
Instead, we seek an exit strategy. Political expedience is the rule of the day. Obama wants to check a box on his list of campaign promises. In essence, he is willing to casually trade the lives and futures of hundreds of thousands of Afghan women for a better chance at winning reelection. Bold leadership, no doubt.
The Obama administration has been happily trumpeting the Bureau of Labor Statistics report that the U.S. now has over 3 million green jobs, usually with the implicit (or explicit) suggestion that Obama’s policies are responsible for the creation of said jobs.
But what does the term “green job” really mean? Chances are, it means something totally different to you than it does Obama’s bean counters.
Turns out the government has a laughably broad interpretation of “green” jobs, as partially highlighted in the video below:
Apparently, any driver of a mass transit bus – even an old gas-powered model – is considered “green”. The guy who fills that bus with gas is also considered “green.” The administration even admitted that a registered lobbyist for the oil industry could be counted as a green job if his job involved environmental issues.
Is there still any doubt that the only green in “green jobs” is the green being used to line the pockets of Obama’s buddies?
Barack Obama recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the country’s highest civilian honor – to 82 year-old social activist, community organizer, and racial bomb-thrower Dolores Huerta.
Huerta is probably best known for co-founding (along with Cesar Chavez, another PMoF winner) United Farm Workers, an organization meant to help protect and establish rights for agricultural laborers, but which actually has engaged in strong-arm tactics and violence against both businesses and farm workers. For an interesting read, skip the article at this link and proceed directly to the comments. There is a telling anecdote from a farmer who says he moved to the U.S. to escape Communism, only to find their tactics alive and well, perpetrated by none other than the UFW under the guise of helping the very people they were threatening.
Huerta is an Honorary Chair of the Democratic Socialists of America. She has praised socialist dictator Hugo Chavez, while addressing high school students, no less. She is quoted as saying “Republicans hate Latinos.” She believes “we didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.”
It’s not like Huerta’s political ideology or comments are hidden. She is unapologetic about her socialist leanings, proud of her record, and has managed to rack up a long list of accolades for her work.
To be fair, in a career as long as Huerta’s, there were likely some positives to come from her work. The 1988 incident with SFPD is probably one of them. But regardless, the question still remains as to whether or not it is appropriate for a socialist to receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom at all.
It also calls into question Obama’s reasoning. Was this nothing more than a photo op meant to garner Latino support? Does Obama share in Huerta’s socialist ideology? Does Obama secretly believe in Chavez-style governance? All of the above?
Let’s hear what you think.
The Amateur-in-Chief is at it again. The flap occurred during a ceremony where Jan Karski was being awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom for his actions during WWII. Somehow, Obama managed to insult Poland by referring to “a Polish death camp” instead of a “Nazi” death camp.
Poland was not amused.
Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski took to Twitter to unleash a particularly pointed chiding of Obama’s “outrageous… ignorance and incompetence” (screencap to the right, untranslated; see Google translation). The Economist reports that “the reaction in Warsaw was incendiary.” Polish media is reporting Obama’s comment as “scandalous.”
The White House dispatched a troll from NSC who issued a half-hearted apology which neither apologized nor recognized the mistake, but did manage to credit Obama personally for “demonstrating in word and deed his rock-solid commitment to close alliance with Poland.”
No shortage of humility in this administration, no sir /sarcasm
Curiously, this so-called “apology” says President Obama is committed to the “close alliance with Poland“ rather than with Poland itself. Poor choice of words? Accidental truth-telling? Nothing surprises me with this administration.
Obama will undoubtedly “clarify” his remarks, as well he should. It will be interesting to see if he shows any true humility, or if he will find some way of making it seem like Poland is overreacting.
Either way, this latest snafu is just one in a growing list of buffoonery perpetrated by one of the most inept Presidents in history. Take a look at some of his previous gaffes:
- Obama sent back the Churchill bust… loaned to us after 9/11
- Obama forgot Sarkozy was the President of France… and sent a letter to Jacques Chirac instead
- Obama snubbed the British Prime Minister… proving he is less classy than his predecessor
- Obama gave cheap DVDs to legally blind Gordon Brown… and they wouldn’t even play on European DVD players
- Obama gave the Queen an iPod… preloaded with speeches of himself
- Obama refuses to eat with a variety of allies… even when he was staying just across the street
- Obama mispronounces “corpsman”… repeatedly
UPDATE: Additions to the list (thanks to all who posted!)
- Obama messed up his Memorial Day Speech… by forgetting the meaning of the holiday
- Obama messed up another Memorial Day Speech… by getting the facts wrong
- Obama continued to speak over God Save the Queen… like talking during our National Anthem
- Obama thoroughly snubbed Israel PM Netanyahu… who was a guest of our nation at the time
- Obama confuses the Malvines with the Maldives… proving he should leave speaking another language to a President more capable, like GWB
- Obama thinks Austrian is a language… it isn’t; the people of Austria speak mostly German
- Obama insulted the Dalai Lama… including having him escorted past a giant pile of garbage
- Obama bowed to the Saudi King… the Saudis may not have been insulted, but we certainly should be
- Obama insulted special needs people and the Special Olympics… on purpose, and because he thought it was funny
- Obama cracked a tasteless joke about Nancy Reagan… she was 87 at the time
Which is your favorite? Any I’ve missed? Let me know.
The “middle class” will earn a featured role in the upcoming election season. You will hear rhetoric – almost certainly from both sides – that the middle class is disappearing and “the other guy” is to blame and/or will make it worse. They will present their own policies as the solution to the middle class dilemma.
But what do we really know about the middle class? I realized that I had never actually seen or heard an official definition of the middle class, and that got me thinking: without a definition, any statistics, accusations, and plans are baseless and arbitrary. So I set out to uncover the truth behind the claims that the middle class is disappearing. I share what I learned with you.
1. Most Americans think they are “middle class”
A CBS News poll (2007) and a USA Today poll (2006) both discovered that about 90% of Americans self-identify as belonging to the middle class. This data clearly reveals perception bias on both the lower and higher end of the income spectrum. Interestingly enough, this is not unique to the USA – the same bias has been observed in Argentina.
2. The “middle class” has no official definition
While researching for this article, I was surprised to discover that the government does not have an official definition of “middle class”. Considering how often politicians of all stripes cite statistics about the middle class to further their particular policies, I naturally assumed there was an official benchmark. Turns out there isn’t really even a generally-accepted definition.
I note with no small amount of incredulity the convenience of our ruling class being able to cite statistics based on arbitrary definitions to a population which largely self-identifies as belonging to the demographic in question. Perhaps the fact that there is no official definition of “middle class” is no accident?
So how can we even have a rational discussion about the middle class without being able to define its boundaries? Read on!