Archive for Barack Augustus Obama

Folks or Volks?

I was just going to sit down and write about Obama’s cynical use of the word “folks” (five mentions in the SOTU), only to see that Aggie beat me to it. Still, I have a favorite:

I intend to protect a free and open Internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community — (applause) — and help folks build the fastest networks so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.

“Folks” built the internet? I thought Al Gore and Tim Berners-Lee did. They’re not “folks”. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates? Not “folks”. His folk-o-meter malfunctioned.

Oddly enough, folks are not always the little guy who needs a break. Sometimes, folks are just evil:

Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does: 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.

I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act.

Those folk bastards! Get ‘em!

Another of Obama’s tired tropes is “the time for debate is over”, usually employed when he’s losing the debate. But guess what? Sometimes, the debate shouldn’t be over:

So while some have moved on from the debates over our surveillance programs, I have not.

Ray Bolger couldn’t have played a better straw man. Who’s moved on from the debates over our surveillance programs? And they’re not ours, they’re yours! You, Dumbo-ears, you who’ve been in the White House for six years.

But if you want to know the most fascistic phrase liberals have invented, this guy has a candidate:

The phrase “an idea whose time has come” pops up a lot these days, usually though not always in conjunction with left-leaning or “progressive” policy changes.

“The idea of making community college free,” wrote Gary Stix of the Scientific American about a proposal put forward recently by President Obama, “is one whose time has come.” A social-studies teacher last month told Los Angeles Times columnist Sandy Banks that the introduction of an ethnic-studies requirement in L.A. schools is “an idea whose time has come.” And in a Washington Post article last summer about workplace-flexibility legislation, Joan Lombardi, a child-care expert, told the paper that, yes, “It’s an idea whose time has come.”

The line works well on the campaign trail—it lends a bit of intellectual frisson to stump-speech rhetoric—but you shouldn’t take it too far. President Obama, at a Labor Day rally in 2014, told the crowd: “There’s only one thing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” And what would that be? “Millions of people organizing around an idea whose time has come.” That makes no sense at all.

You mean…it’s inarticulate? [Gasp!]

There is something else that rankles about the phrase. It’s that whiff of arrogance you always get from the rhetoric of inevitability. Those who use it claim to win the argument without having worked for it; they appeal to fate, which for some unstated reason is on their side. If you think their ideas are naïve or half-baked, that’s because you haven’t come to terms with reality. (Or are “on the wrong side of history,” as the president likes to say.) Of course, lots of terrible ideas once had their times come, too, and they were all promoted with the rhetoric of inevitability: communism, socialism, eugenics, racial hegemony of various kinds.

So, true enough: One does not resist the invasion of ideas. But surely one can resist the invasion of an insidious cliché.

It is the nature of politicians to try to peddle snake oil. So, Obama is just another snake oil salesman. But to have so many members of the media wearing sandwich boards out front, promoting the guy—remember, Oz (the great and powerful) was just a flim-flam man:

The time for debate is over. A twister is an idea whose time has come.


Nice Work If You Can Get It

Something about this headline strikes me as odd:

President Obama’s Hawaii Vacation: Day 14

Day 14? Two weeks? Who can afford two weeks in Hawaii? At what must be the highest of high seasons? How does the supposed leader of the free world, who writes and rewrites laws at a whim, take two weeks off to golf with his old Choom Gang buddies and eat the most fashionable food?

Five months after doing it before?

Obama to vacation on Martha’s Vineyard

The president is scheduled to leave Washington on Aug. 9 and return on Aug. 24, according to the White House.

That’s okay, he works wicked hard the other 11 months of the year.

It might be one thing if these were his old stopping grounds, but there’s no Obama compound on the Vineyard as the Kennedys have on the Cape. But he did grow up in Hawaii (which he left for good in 1979), BTL, you racist, you say? For him to hole up in a gated community near a Marine base on Oahu is like George Bush in Crawford, TX, only Obama swings a three-wood where Bush swung a scythe. Tell me, then, when and how often Obama visited the old homestead before we started picking up the bill. Where did a community organizer, lowly Illinois state senator, and Senior Lecturer at UChicago Law School, pick up such champagne tastes? Why doesn’t he ever go back to Chicago, his adopted home, for dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Ayers?

Plenty of articles will tell you Obama vacations less than most presidents, way, way less than Bush.

But Bush’s vacation days were almost entirely spent at Camp David (the White House in all but color and location) or at family manses in Texas and Maine. Unless I am very much mistaken, he didn’t pick up any expensive habits—at our expense—while in office. (Indeed, he sensed the “optics” of golfing during wartime, and stopped.) Maybe no one else gets exercised about Obama’s exploitation of his position because they worry about criticizing a black man who seemingly doesn’t know “his place”. I don’t criticize the color of his skin, let me assure you, but the content of his character. There’s plenty there without resorting to cheap racial jibes.


Immigration Conundrum

While working on another post (on a related subject), I held my nose and nipped on over to the President’s website for his own words on the “executive action” on illegal aliens.

There, under the heading Share the Facts is an infographic much like this one:

Okay, it’s all BS, I know, but one particular bit of it smells a little riper than the others:

Crack Down on Employers That Hire Undocumented Workers

That sounds familiar. That sounds like E-Verify:

E-Verify is an electronic program through which employers verify the employment eligibility of their employees after hire. The program was authorized by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA). In short, employers submit information taken from a new hire’s Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form) through E-Verify to the Social Security Administration and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to determine whether the information matches government records and whether the new hire is authorized to work in the United States.

E-Verify is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, USCIS, Verification Division, and the Social Security Administration.

It’s currently voluntary, except for federal contractors and certain states that require it. There are several drawbacks to the program (bad data leading to incorrect designations, costs to employer), but it would appear we’ve had in our hands since 1996 at least one method to discourage illegal aliens from being here.

In the infographic at the site, Obama put the “cracking down” on a list he says Congress still needs to do. It says nothing about E-Verify. Indeed, he didn’t even mention “cracking down” (or anything similar) in the tiresome speech that decreed the sweeping change in the law.

So, the president intends (or says he intends) to see to it that no illegal alien can hold a job in America—yet they can stay. Huh? Doesn’t that mean he just increased the welfare rolls by five million?

Or is he picking winners and losers again, like for Solyndra and against coal? The millions who have already broken the law can stay, they can work, they can crowd our emergency rooms. But not one more!

But who knows what he means because, as far as I can tell, he didn’t write anything down. He just talked. Obama has now been distilled to his essence: his word is now law.

Or is it?

Executive actions are any informal proposals or moves by the president. The term executive action itself is vague and can be used to describe almost anything the president calls on Congress or his administration to do. But most executive actions carry no legal weight. Those that do actually set policy can be invalidated by the courts or undone by legislation passed by Congress.

The terms executive action and executive order are not interchangeable. Executive orders are legally binding and published in the Federal Register, though they also can be reversed by the courts and Congress.

A good way to think of executive actions is a wish list of policies the president would like to see enacted.

Presidents favor the use of nonbinding executive actions when the issue is controversial or sensitive. For example, Obama carefully weighed his use of executive actions on gun violence and decided against issuing legal mandates via executive orders, which would have gone against the legislative intent of Congress and risked enraging lawmakers of both parties.

Obama was the first modern president to use executive actions in lieu of executive orders or executive memoranda.

But even the Obama White House acknowledged that most of the executive actions carried no legal weight. Here’s what the administration said at the time the 23 executive actions were proposed:

“While President Obama will sign 23 Executive Actions [on gun control] today that will help keep our kids safe, he was clear that he cannot and should not act alone: The most important changes depend on Congressional action.”

He used to say that about illegal immigration too. By Obama’s own reasoning, his diktat on illegal aliens is merely a wish—a hope, if you will. It is not a law (which is Congress’s job); it is not an order (a legal document, published and legally binding); it is a pipe dream.

Yet everyone pretends it has the authority of law.

This…chimera…has two fundamental elements. One, Obama will no longer enforce a law passed by Congress and signed by an earlier president. Two, Obama will give illegal aliens things they have no right to have, and he has no right to give them.

Because he says so.

It’s a hell of a way to run a country.

PS: Kind of funny for Obama to demand Congress pass a law. He ignores laws. Anyway, most Democrats and even a few Republicans (the Chamber of Commerce set) don’t want the changes he calls for anyway.


King Hussein

As the affronts and outrages pile up, it’s hard to remember which affront is the most outrageous.

This one is:

JONATHAN TURLEY, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW PROFESSOR: There is an issue whether the judge reached a bit too far from the case at hand. This really wasn’t a direct challenge to the immigration action taken by the president but it is scathing and the judge is touching on many complaints that have been raised in other lawsuits that do directly challenge these actions.

What’s a serious question here is the president’s decision to go it alone, not just in this area but other areas. We don’t have a license to go it alone in the United States. The scope of this type of action is legislative. It’s huge. It affects millions. But more importantly, it requires both the federal and state government to spend a great deal of money to support something that didn’t go through the legislative branch. And what people miss, and I think what this judge is trying to establish, is that that process of legislation is the very touch stone of our system, it’s what brings stability to our system. We have to agree, we have to compromise with legislation. When a president does it unilaterally, it takes that whole system off line. And that could be a dangerous thing.

I highlighted the main point. The Constitution assigns powers, not the president. Obama does not have the power to execute what he has so far merely spoken (but which is being executed nevertheless). How does that happen?

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Congress may try legislative fixes and fiscal blockades, but the very act(s) itself is invalid. It does not carry the weight of law because it is not law. He has appropriated what does not belong to him, only unlike looters taking flat screen TVs or 12-packs of Miller, he has made off with powers assigned to the legislative branch of the government. And no one is lifting a finger to stop him.

TURLEY: The key to a Madisonian system is that nobody has enough power to go it alone, that was the genius of James Madison. But we’re seeing the rise of a new model of presidency and I believe that supporters of President Obama will rue the day when they stay silent in the face of this kind of concentration of power. This is the very danger that the constitution was designed to prevent, the concentration of power in one person’s hands or one branch…

Correction, Professor Turley. Supporters of President Obama will never “rue the day when they stay[ed] silent in the face of this kind of concentration of power”. If some day the tables are turned (as with the filibuster in the Senate), they will rue nothing. They will shout, declaim, cry, and caterwaul for “fairness” and “justice” until they get their way.

They believe in winning—even more, they believe in the other fellow losing. I thought the Constitution protected us against people like that, but I guess that’s where I was wrong.


See You in Court

You’ll be hearing from my lawyers:

President Barack Obama’s new plan to ease the threat of deportation for 4.7 million undocumented immigrants violates the U.S. Constitution, a federal judge found on Tuesday, handing down the first legal ruling against the plan.

The ruling has no immediate impact, with the government saying there was no reason for Judge Arthur Schwab of the Western District of Pennsylvania to address the issue in the case, which concerns 42-year-old Honduran immigrant Elionardo Juarez-Escobar.

Schwab is the first judge to rule on the legality of the plan Obama announced on Nov. 20. The executive action by the Democratic president is opposed by Republicans and is already subject to other legal challenges.

Schwab ruled that the executive action violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of separation of powers and the separate “take care clause,” which requires the president to faithfully execute laws passed by Congress.

So what if it’s non-binding? At least someone has the nuts to pronounce on the issue. Over to you, John Boehner (speaking of nuts, or lack thereof).


Aloha, Oy

It’s getting too cold for Obama’s regular weekend golf outings.

You know what that means:

The White House announced Friday that President Obama and his family will leave Washington, D.C. on December 19 for their annual Hawaii holiday vacation.

The First Family have been regular visitors to Oahu ever since President Obama first took office in 2008.

In recent years, the First Family has stayed in a Kailua beachfront home. The White House has not yet confirmed where they will be vacationing this month.

In years past, President Obama has done things like work out at the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base’s gym, golf with Punahou School friends, go out for shave ice with the family and eat at restaurants like Alan Wong’s in town.

Let me note for the record that the Obamas were not regular visitors to Hawaii or Martha’s Vineyard until we started paying for it. All those high school buddies he claims to want to see so badly had to make do with Christmas cards for years.

Judging by his early swing, I don’t think he even played much golf until on the public’s dime.

Maybe if you tried hitting right-handed, sir.


We’ll See You in Court

We’re going to need a bigger courthouse. Is Montana available?

Twenty-four states have signed onto the legal challenge against President Barack Obama over his executive action on immigration, incoming Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday.

Abbott, the Texas attorney general who will assume his new role in January, is leading the coalition.

“The president’s proposed executive decree violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law, circumvents the will of the American people and is an affront to the families and individuals who follow our laws to legally immigrate to the United States,” he said in a written statement.

The Texas-led coalition of states in the legal challenge consist of: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Almost half the union is suing President Obama for violating the Constitution. Somebody has to.

PS: Of course, Obama thinks he has 33 states on his side.


Brisbane on $1.7 Million a Day

Not even a day: a night.

President Obama stayed only one night in Australia for the G-20 summit, but the entire presidential delegation required over 4,000 rooms costing in excess of $1.7 million for the entire stay. Rooms at three different hotels were reserved for the U.S. delegation, and due to the large number of countries involved in the summit, the Australian government parceled out available hotels to each nation’s delegation. The majority of the U.S. delegation stayed at the Brisbane Marriott, with the remainder staying at two other Brisbane hotels, the Urban and the Adina.

While the average room cost in the three contracts came to $423/night, the U.K. Daily Mail reported the president’s suite for his one-night stay on Saturday lists at over $2,000 per night. The Mail also reported on the extensive preparations to the president’s room and the entire floor of the hotel to secure the area for his stay, which included a complete strip-down of the president’s suite.

Just the price of doing business in Brisbane?

US President Barack Obama will stay in the presidential suite at the Marriott Hotel.
Cost – £1,370 (AUS$2,500) a night.

China President Xi Jinping will stay in the Stamford suite at the Stamford Plaza.
Cost – £925 (AUS$1,695) a night.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron will stay at a suite in the Treasury Hotel.
Cost – £690 (AUS$1,259) a night.

Burma President Thein Sein will stay at the signature suite at Gambaros.
Cost – £650 (AUS$1,180) a night.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will stay at the Hilton in a king suite.
Cost – £335 (AUS$615) a night.

Saudia Arabia King Abdullah will stay at the manor suite at the Gold Coast Sanctuary Cove.
Cost – £270 (AUS$495) a night.

Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott will stay at a deluxe king suite at Rydges.
Cost – £170 (AUS$309) a night.

Prompting Mark Steyn to observe:

So, for the cost of Obama’s hotel room, you could put up five Saudi kings. The average cost of those 4,096 US hotel rooms was $423 per night. Which means that every single Deputy Assistant Deputy Assistant Under-Secretary of the US Department of Motorcades had a better room than the Aussie PM.

Yeah, so? What’s your point?


Hail to the Chief

There’s a philosophy in defensive football that committing penalties on every play pays off because “they can’t call ‘em all”.

It fits Obama’s MO. Break every law, flout every convention, break every tradition—they can’t call ‘em all:

On Thanksgiving eve, the Obama administration dumped reams of mind-numbing ObamaCare regulations into the Federal Register — including yet more unilateral rewrites of the Affordable Care Act.

Dropping the rules as most Americans were busy preparing for the holiday made a mockery (again) of President Obama’s promise to have “the most transparent administration in history.” The stunt has even worked to keep most of the media from reporting on the rules.

Yet the changes these regulations make in the health care law are substantial.

For one, the president is redefining what health plans are “adequate” for larger employers (100-plus workers) to offer under the Affordable Care Act. He’s also “asking” insurers to pay for new benefits — while warning that, if they don’t, they may be forced to.
Under the Constitution, Obama lacks any authority to make such changes to the health law, or any law. Only Congress has that power.

But he’s doing it, and not for the first time.

The president has made two dozen changes to his health law by executive fiat, from delaying the employer mandate to allowing people to keep health plans that don’t meet ObamaCare standards.

In fact, the House of Representatives is suing him (after Obama explicitly challenged it to do so) for making changes without Congress’ OK.


The basics:

Obama will require large employers to provide more coverage than the Affordable Care Act specifies. The move disqualifies plans now offered by 1,600 employers to 3 million workers, according to Kaiser Health News. Those employers will have to find a way to cover the higher costs — and some will surely do so by stopping coverage for spouses or part-time workers.

The new rules suddenly treat state high-risk pools as adequate coverage under the Affordable Care Act — a 180 from what the law actually says.

When the ACA became law, these plans for people with chronic illnesses were offered in 35 states. Winners will be those who live in the 10 states that haven’t yet phased out their high-risk plans. Losers: the many thousands in 25 states that already gave up their plans to comply with the ACA’s mandates.

The rules tell insurers to give new enrollees a 30-day grace period during which they can continue to use doctors not in their plan’s network. Winners: people who need time to switch to in-network doctors. Losers: taxpayers — who’ll be obliged to bail out the insurers clobbered with the extra cost.

Speaking of bailouts, Section 1342 of the law promises taxpayer-funded bailouts to insurers that lose money selling plans on ObamaCare exchanges. But the bailouts can’t happen unless Congress appropriates the money, something the GOP-controlled Congress won’t want to do. Yet the new Federal Register notices explicitly double down on the administration’s pledge to make insurers whole if losses are bigger than expected.

By repeatedly contradicting the letter of the Affordable Care Act, these new rules add to a pattern of lawlessness in implementing the health law — even as the administration’s boldest misreading of the law is before the Supreme Court.

The framers of the Constitution were terrified of creating a new king in place of the one they had just deposed. That fear ripples through every clause of the Constitution. But along with the “checks and balances” enumerated in the document, there is an implied good faith that each branch of government will abide by the rules, the President most of all. He is the individual with the most power, his removal is the most difficult.

With amnesty, ObamaCare, the IRS, and innumerable other violations, Obama dares us—the people—to try to call him on them with that ageless playground taunt, “what are you going to do about it?”

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L’État, C’est Barack

This has been well-covered, but I can’t let it pass without comment:

Obama was in Chicago on Tuesday night to tout an executive order halting deportations for the undocumented parents of children born in the United States. But — as has been the pattern in recent months — he couldn’t get through the speech without being heckled by protesters who want bolder action.

One called Obama’s claim that his immigration policies are focused on deporting felons, not families, “a lie.” Another said it’s “not just Republicans” who have called undocumented immigrants felons.
Obama told the protesters it “doesn’t make sense to yell at me right now,” given his immigration action last week.

“What you’re not paying attention to is, I just took an action to change the law,” he said as the crowd applauded.

Which is what we’ve been saying. Nice of him to admit it. Now, if he’ll only admit he doesn’t have the authority—no president does—therefore his act is invalid, its impact null and void, he can be that transformational president we were promised, one who can truly bring us together.


Huddled Masses Only Need Apply

The rest of youse can screw:

Last year, about 172,000 people filed for an H-1B worker’s visa, but only about 65,000 were accepted. H-1B visas let employers employ foreign-born, skilled workers, especially those with expertise in computer science, mathematics and related fields. Many foreign nationals who earn advanced degrees at U.S. universities find themselves unable to stay and work after graduation because of the cap on H-1B visas.

“We cannot find the qualified candidates to help drive our businesses forward,” entrepreneur and investor Trevor Klein told CNBC. Klein sold his company to Autozone a few years ago for $150 million dollars and is now betting on a start-up called TV Page that employs a Dutch foreign national in one of the firm’s key positions.

Kuijer has a J1 visa that has let him stay in the country for the past 18 months; however, it will expire at the end of November, and chances are high that he will be deported to the Netherlands.

“Lots of uncertainty in a start-up company, and (it) just introduces another element, which is very frustrating,” he said. “People depend on me. The company depends on me, and I have to physically be here in the United States.”

Investors have put about $3 million into the company to date and are nervous about losing Kuijer.

Suman Kanuganti, an Indian national, has a work visa through his current employer, Intuit. His real passion, though, is for a new company and technology he has created that he says will allow blind people to become more independent.

He used Google Glass to create a way for the visually impaired to be directed by a person in real time who live-streams where that person is going. The product was tested recently during an annual vision walk benefiting the foundation for fighting blindness in San Diego, which San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer attended.

Faulconer praised Suman’s idea, but if the technology takes off, it might not stay in the United States for long.

If Kanuganti wants to develop the idea and company further, he would have to go through the lengthy immigration process all over again in the hopes of obtaining another visa. That’s highly unlikely since there is no “founder’s visa”—for people who actually create companies in the United States—currently offered, attorney Shapochnick, who is currently representing Kanuganti, told CNBC.

“What happens if I don’t get it? Then I have to find another full-time job or go back to my home country,” Kanuganti told CNBC.

Some immigrants cure blindness Americans can’t be bothered to cure; others forge drivers’ licenses Americans can’t be bothered to forge. Obama favors only the latter group.

Besides, that hi-tech start-up you built from nothing? You didn’t build that.


Lost and Found

Lost: One Republic, 238 yrs old, fixer-upper; red, white, and blue; friendly, but do not abuse; answers to “America”.

Found: 30,000 emails (see above):

Up to 30,000 missing emails sent by former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner have been recovered by the IRS inspector general, five months after they were deemed lost forever.

The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) informed congressional staffers from several committees on Friday that the emails were found among hundreds of “disaster recovery tapes” that were used to back up the IRS email system.

“They just said it took them several weeks and some forensic effort to get these emails off these tapes,” a congressional aide told the Washington Examiner.

Just “weeks” and “effort”, huh? That’s all it took to recover the irrecoverable? On a Friday, the Friday before Thanksgiving week, no less? And they accuse us of cynicism!

The missing emails extend from 2009 to 2011, a period when Lerner headed the IRS’s exempt-organizations division. The emails were lost when Lerner’s computer crashed, IRS officials said earlier this year.

In June Koskinen told Congress the emails were probably lost for good because the disaster recovery tape holds onto the data for only six months. He said even if the IRS had sought the emails within the six-month period, it would have been a complicated and difficult process to produce them from the tapes.

The IRS also lost the emails of several other employees who worked under Lerner during that period.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee he chairs will be one of the committees that will examine the emails.

“Though it is unclear whether TIGTA has found all of the missing Lois Lerner e-mails, there may be significant information in this discovery,” Issa told the Examiner. “The Oversight Committee will be looking for information about her mindset and who she was communicating with outside the IRS during a critical period of time when the IRS was targeting conservative groups. This discovery also underscores the lack of cooperation Congress has received from the IRS. The agency first failed to disclose the loss to Congress and then tried to declare Lerner’s e-mails gone and lost forever. Once again it appears the IRS hasn’t been straight with Congress and the American people.”

I said the other day that Putin is to Obama as Obama is to Congress. Putin flouts the law, abuses norms, lies, justifies, and laughs in the face of argument or protest. Oh, did I write “Putin”? That’s Obama. Putin doesn’t even bother prevaricating; he just takes. It’s time for Ukraine—and Congress—to fight back. Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

In lieu of good men, we’ll just have to hope for the best from the Republicans—i.e. we’re hosed.


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