Monday, August 01, 2011

Urgent Action: Stop this bad debt ceiling bill

Click Here for Article

Judson Philliips
August 1, 2011

If we thought the Boehner Bill was bad, he and Mitch McConnell have taken the White Flag of Surrender to new heights.

Everyone must wear their Congressmen out to stop this bill.

Here are the low lights:

First it contains a massive $2.4 trillion dollar increase in the debt ceiling.

It contains almost no immediate spending cuts.

The Deficit commission that is going to be created by this nightmare bill will be equally divided between six Democrats who want massive tax hikes and six Republicans who will look for the first opportunity to surrender, much as John Boehner.

The bill also calls for massive cuts in defense and allegedly in entitlements if the Deficit Commission is deadlocked or otherwise cannot come up with more budget cuts. The deficit commission will have the option of recommending tax hikes. The Bush tax cuts will be gone. Capital gains will be raised from 15% to 28%, destroying investment. Middle class deductions, such as home mortgage interest will be gone.

In short, by the end of the year, the left will have everything it wants. It will have massive new borrowing to cripple the economy. It will have massive new tax hikes and it will gut defense spending. About the only thing it won’t do is repeal the Bill of Rights. They are saving that for next year.

This bill is so incredibly bad and the worst part is it will give the Democrats the political cover they need. The GOP will not be able to pin this one on the Democrats because Boehner and McConnell brought this to the Republicans and the Republican House passed it!

Folks we have to act today. Call, fax, email, tweet and visit your Congressman’s office. Tell them that if this bill passes and they vote for it, it is war. I don’t care who the Congressman is, we will find a Tea Party candidate to run against them.

As a rule, at Tea Party Nation, we do not believe in threatening Congressmen but this bill is so bad we have no choice. We have to make the GOP Representatives fear the loss of their jobs. That is the only way they can overcome the pressure the House Leadership will be putting on them.

Act immediately and look for further updates here on TPN.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Communist Goals (1963) - How Many Have Been Fulfilled?

Posted by Jared Law
March 16, 2010 at 10:25pm in Principles, Ideology, & Religion

If I'm not mistaken, I first read this in 2006 in The Naked Communist, a very eye-opening book written by W. Cleon Skousen. It is stunning and quite depressing to see how many of the goals of the Communist Party have been accomplished. It's motivating to those of us who are determined to restore America!

Please take a look at these; it is very eye opening. If you've read these, but it's been more than a few months, take another look. It's good to have this information fresh in our minds.

Once you read these, you'll realize just how successful the "progressives" have been at progressing toward communism here in America.
Communist Goals (1963)

Congressional Record--Appendix, pp. A34-A35

January 10, 1963
Current Communist Goals
Thursday, January 10, 1963

Mr. HERLONG. Mr. Speaker, Mrs. Patricia Nordman of De Land, Fla., is an ardent and articulate opponent of communism, and until recently published the De Land Courier, which she dedicated to the purpose of alerting the public to the dangers of communism in America.

At Mrs. Nordman's request, I include in the RECORD, under unanimous consent, the following "Current Communist Goals," which she identifies as an excerpt from "The Naked Communist," by Cleon Skousen:

[From "The Naked Communist," by Cleon Skousen]


1. U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.

2. U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.

3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.

4. Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.

5. Extension of long-term loans to Russia and Soviet satellites.

6. Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.

7. Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.

8. Set up East and West Germany as separate states in spite of Khrushchev's promise in 1955 to settle the German question by free elections under supervision of the U.N.

9. Prolong the conferences to ban atomic tests because the United States has agreed to suspend tests as long as negotiations are in progress.

10. Allow all Soviet satellites individual representation in the U.N.

11. Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces. (Some Communist leaders believe the world can be taken over as easily by the U.N. as by Moscow. Sometimes these two centers compete with each other as they are now doing in the Congo.)

12. Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.

13. Do away with all loyalty oaths.

14. Continue giving Russia access to the U.S. Patent Office.

15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.

16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.

17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers' associations. Put the party line in textbooks.

18. Gain control of all student newspapers.

19. Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.

20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policymaking positions.

21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.

22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to "eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms."

23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art."

24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them "censorship" and a violation of free speech and free press.

25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.

26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."

27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with "social" religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a "religious crutch."

28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state."

29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.

30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the "common man."

31. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the "big picture." Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.

32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture--education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.

33. Eliminate all laws or procedures which interfere with the operation of the Communist apparatus.

34. Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

35. Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.

36. Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.

37. Infiltrate and gain control of big business.

38. Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand [or treat].

39. Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.

40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.

42. Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use ["]united force["] to solve economic, political or social problems.

43. Overthrow all colonial governments before native populations are ready for self-government.

44. Internationalize the Panama Canal.

45. Repeal the Connally reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction [over domestic problems. Give the World Court jurisdiction] over nations and individuals alike.

Note by Webmaster: The Congressional Record back this far has not be digitized and posted on the Internet.

It will probably be available at your nearest library that is a federal repository. Call them and ask them.

Your college library is probably a repository. This is an excellent source of government records.

Another source are your Congress Critters. They should be more than happy to help you in this matter.


Webmaster Forest Glen Durland found the document in the library.

Sources are listed below.

The quote starts on page 259.



California State University at San Jose
Clark Library, Government Floor
Phone (408)924-2770
Call Number:
Congressional Record, Vol. 109

88th Congress, 1st Session

Appendix Pages A1-A2842

Jan. 9-May 7, 1963

Reel 12

The book was found in the off campus stacks, was ordered and checked. The quote below was checked against the original and is correct. The few errors in the copy from the Congressional Record are shown in [ ] .

The quote starts on page 259.

California State University at San Jose, Clark Library stacks call number:

Naked Communist


Book title page:

Skousen, W. Cleon. Naked Communist
Salt Lake City, Utah: Ensign Publishing Co.
C. 1961 , 9th edition July 1961.


You will find the Ten Planks of the Communist Manifesto interesting at this point. Here they are:

In the early '60's during the days of the "former" Soviet Union, Russian Premier Nikita Kruschev pounded his shoe on the podium of the United Nations and shouted to the West, "We will bury you!" Fearing an invasion from the Reds, America proceeded to build the most awesome military machine in history. Unfortunately, we forgot to guard our political homefront from being taken over by socialist - communist - liberal activists who would gain office and destroy American law by process of gradually installing the Communist agenda within our legal system and seperate branches of government. The Communist program from the start has been one which sees their revolution of 1917 successful only upon total domination of the world.

Americans, being the most naive people among the nations, now believe that Communism is dead because the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain have been removed. The ironic truth is that Communism has just switched names to become more "politically correct". Today it is called international democracy. The reason that the Berlin Wall came crashing down is not because Communism is dead but because they have achieved the planned agenda to communize the West, including America. Washington D.C. has indeed become part of the New World Order of atheist governments. With the last vestiges of Christian law having been removed from "American government" over the last twenty years, there is no longer a threat of resistance against world Communism. In reality, "American government" became part of the Iron Curtain, thus there was no more need for the likes of a Berlin Wall.

Once again, in their foolishness, the American public has believed the lies of their "leaders" who applaud "the fall of Communism", while they have sold out the country to anti-Christian, anti-American statutes and regulations on the federal, state, and local levels. Posted below is a comparison of the original ten planks of the Communist Manifesto written by Karl Marx in 1848, along with the American adopted counterpart of each of the planks, The American people have truly been "buried in Communism" by their own politicians of both the Republican and Democratic parties. One other thing to remember, Karl Marx was stating in the Communist Manifesto that these planks will test whether a country has become commmunist or not. If they are all in effect and in force the country IS communist. Communism, but by any other name...??

1. Abolition of private property and the application of all rent to public purpose.

The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (1868), and various zoning, school & property taxes. Also the Bureau of Land Management.

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

Misapplication of the 16th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, 1913, The Social Security Act of 1936.; Joint House Resolution 192 of 1933; and various State "income" taxes. We call it "paying your fair share".

3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

We call it Federal & State estate Tax (1916); or reformed Probate Laws, and limited inheritance via arbitrary inheritance tax statutes.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

We call in government seizures, tax liens, Public "law" 99-570 (1986);

Executive order 11490, sections 1205, 2002 which gives private land to the Department of Urban Development; the imprisonment of "terrorists" and those who speak out or write against the "government" (1997 Crime/Terrorist Bill); or the IRS confiscation of property without due process.

5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.

We call it the Federal Reserve which is a credit/debt system nationally organized by the Federal Reserve act of 1913. All local banks are members of the Fed system, and are regulated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

6. Centralization of the means of communication and transportation in the hands of the State.

We call it the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Transportation (DOT) mandated through the ICC act of 1887, the Commissions Act of 1934, The Interstate Commerce Commission established in 1938, The Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Executive orders 11490, 10999, as well as State mandated driver's licenses and Department of Transportation regulations.

7. Extention of factories and instruments of production owned by the State, the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

We call it corporate capacity, The Desert Entry Act and The Department of Agriculture. As well as the Department of Commerce and Labor, Department of Interior, the Evironmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Mines, National Park Service, and the IRS control of business through corporate regulations.

8. Equal liablity of all to labor. Establishment of Industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

We call it the Social Security Administration and The Department of Labor. The National debt and inflation caused by the communal bank has caused the need for a two "income" family. Woman in the workplace since the 1920's, the 19th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, assorted Socialist Unions, affirmative action, the Fedral Public Works Program and of course Executive order 11000.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.

We call it the Planning Reorganization act of 1949 , zoning (Title 17 1910-1990) and Super Corporate Farms, as well as Executive orders 11647, 11731 (ten regions) and Public "law" 89-136.

10. Free education for all children in government schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc. etc

People are being taxed to support what we call 'public' schools, which train the young to work for the communal debt system. We also call it the Department of Education, the NEA and Outcome-Based "Education" .
Scary, isn't it? Motivates one to redouble their efforts, doesn't it?

Are you ready to organize your neighborhood? Attend a caucus meeting? A Party Convention? Campaign for a Principled Constitutionalist/Patriot candidate? Start a study group in your neighborhood? Talk to your children about what they're learning in school?

INVITE your friends, neighbors, co-workers, relatives, church congregation members, customers, service providers, and other peers to join us? Educate yourself about American History?

Pray for America?

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Nullifying Obamacare

What happened to Mead's stance on Obamacare, standing with other states in the lawsuit against the Constitutionality of Obamacare?
From the Casper Star Tribune 1/4/11:

"The issue of affordable health care is one that will be addressed," Mead said. "The question is whether we in Wyoming address it in a fashion that meets our needs, or whether we accept the design drafted by 435 representatives and 100 senators, only three of whom are from Wyoming."

"A compromise solution may be the best Congress could do. It is not the best we can do," Mead said to applause from the audience.

Compromise is absolutely NOT what any decent conservative Republican wants. The RINOs and progressives would do it that way.

Fred Barnes has an EXCELLENT article in the Weekly Standard describing a possible scenario which will benefit ALL Americans:

Nullifying Obamacare

Here’s one more weapon.

Jan 3, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 16 • By FRED BARNES

The vehemence of the opposition to President Obama’s overhaul of health care has spawned an assortment of strategies for killing it. The newest and most ambitious would create a health care compact among the states and use it to switch control of health care programs from the federal government to the states.

If that sounds like a long shot, it’s no more so than the other schemes for nullifying Obamacare. These include repeal by Congress or by constitutional amendment, lawsuits to strike down Obamacare’s individual mandate, and actions by governors and House Republicans to slow down its implementation.

Those are worthy efforts. But a health care compact would do more. If successful—a very big “if”—it would reduce the scope of Washington’s power. States, not Congress, the White House, or federal bureaucrats, would set the rules for health care from top to bottom, from Medicare and Medicaid to individual insurance policies.

And as ambitious as that sounds, it’s merely the initial goal of the group of conservative activists leading the compact drive. They want to use compacts to return other areas of federal control—the environment, drug and medical device regulation, education, to name three possibilities—to the states or even local governments.

Interstate compacts aren’t a wild idea. They just haven’t been tapped for such a political purpose before. The authority for compacts was established in the Constitution (Article 1, Section 10), and more than 200 have been set up. One example: the agreement uniting Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia to build and operate the Washington area’s Metro subway system.

An issue of interest to two or more states can lead to a compact. It works this way: State legislatures approve a proposal, the states agree on the parts of mutual concern (such as buying insurance across state lines), then the compact is dispatched to Washington for ratification by Congress and the president (though the need for White House assent isn’t spelled out in the Constitution). Ratification turns the compact into federal law.

However, there’s a bigger reason for forming a compact against Obamacare. By banding together, states would have far more political clout in Washington. Backers of the health care compact figure they need more than 20 states to pressure Washington to go along. Their assumption is members of Congress (even Democrats who support Obamacare) would be inclined to vote for a formal request from their home state. Members who oppose Obama-care would vote for it as well.

The compact strategy grew out of talks last summer among a handful of conservatives worried about the growth in federal power, particularly under President Obama. They chose health care, given its unpopularity, as the issue on which to draw a new line between federal and state authority. Texas attorney Ted Cruz, a former state solicitor general, suggested the use of a compact. “It’s certainly a new application” of the compact, Cruz told me.

In October, Eric O’Keefe of the Sam Adams Alliance broached the compact strategy with the leaders of Tea Party Patriots, Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin. And in November, they, in turn, took the idea to their national council, gathered in Washington to conduct an orientation session for newly elected members of Congress (only Republicans showed up).

When O’Keefe and a panel explained the strategy, they got a standing ovation from the 180 members of the council. “I’ve never heard of a panel getting a standing ovation,” O’Keefe says. At least 37 of them signed up as state coordinators for winning legislative approval of the health care compact. An experienced political consultant, Mike Barnhart, was hired as national coordinator.

“We constantly receive ideas from people on what we should do,” says Meckler, an attorney specializing in Internet law. After hearing O’Keefe’s pitch, he read the American Bar Association’s guide on interstate compacts. “Despite the fact that it was very boring,” he was struck by how appropriate a tool it could be for slashing the power of the federal government.

The campaign for the compact begins early next month when many state legislatures convene. Texas and Nebraska are among the target states. “There are a lot of good opportunities,” Cruz says.

Like the other efforts to snuff out Obamacare, the compact drive is likely to aid Republicans and conservatives by keeping the health care issue alive. That won’t help Obama in his reelection campaign. But it could be an effective tool for Republicans in recruiting volunteers and appealing to voters.

But what attracted conservative organizers like O’Keefe and Tea Partiers is how broadly the compact strategy can be used to shrink the power of the federal government. It’s an “unused lever point” with enormous potential, O’Keefe says.

“We picked one of the tougher issues,” health care, he says, and ratification by Congress and the president is “a big hurdle. But we want the fight. We want the clarity. We want to define the lines of the fight” between Washington and the people. Achieving that won’t be easy. But not impossible.


Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

American Narcissus - the Vanity of Barack Obama

by Jonathan V. Last
November 13, 2010

Why has Barack Obama failed so spectacularly? Is he too dogmatically liberal or too pragmatic? Is he a socialist, or an anticolonialist, or a philosopher-president? Or is it possible that Obama’s failures stem from something simpler: vanity. Politicians as a class are particularly susceptible to mirror-gazing. But Obama’s vanity is overwhelming. It defines him, his politics, and his presidency.

It’s revealed in lots of little stories. There was the time he bragged about how one of his campaign volunteers, who had tragically died of breast cancer, “insisted she’s going to be buried in an Obama T-shirt.” There was the Nobel acceptance speech where he conceded, “I do not bring with me today a definitive solution to the problems of war” (the emphasis is mine).

There was the moment during the 2008 campaign when Obama appeared with a seal that was a mash-up of the Great Seal of the United States and his own campaign logo (with its motto Vero Possumus, “Yes we Can” in Latin). Just a few weeks ago, Obama was giving a speech when the actual presidential seal fell from the rostrum. “That’s all right,” he quipped. “All of you know who I am.” Oh yes, Mr. President, we certainly do.

My favorite is this line from page 160 of The Audacity of Hope:

I find comfort in the fact that the longer I’m in politics the less nourishing popularity becomes, that a striving for power and rank and fame seems to betray a poverty of ambition, and that I am answerable mainly to the steady gaze of my own conscience.

So popularity and fame once nourished him, but now his ambition is richer and he’s answerable not, like some presidents, to the Almighty, but to the gaze of his personal conscience. Which is steady. The fact that this sentence appears in the second memoir of a man not yet 50 years old—and who had been in national politics for all of two years—is merely icing.

People have been noticing Obama’s vanity for a long time. In 2008, one of his Harvard Law classmates, the entertainment lawyer Jackie Fuchs, explained what Obama was like during his school days: “One of our classmates once famously noted that you could judge just how pretentious someone’s remarks in class were by how high they ranked on the ‘Obamanometer,’ a term that lasted far longer than our time at law school. Obama didn’t just share in class—he pontificated. He knew better than everyone else in the room, including the teachers. ”

The story of Obama’s writing career is an object lesson in how our president’s view of himself shapes his interactions with the world around him. In 1990, Obama was wrapping up his second year at Harvard Law when the New York Times ran a profile of him on the occasion of his becoming the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review. A book agent in New York named Jane Dystel read the story and called up the young man, asking if he’d be interested in writing a book. Like any 29-year-old, he wasn’t about to turn down money. He promptly accepted a deal with Simon & Schuster’s Poseidon imprint—reportedly in the low six-figures—to write a book about race relations.

Obama missed his deadline.  No matter. His agent quickly secured him another contract, this time with Times Books. And a $40,000 advance. Not bad for an unknown author who had already blown one deal, writing about a noncommercial subject.

By this point Obama had left law school, and academia was courting him. The University of Chicago Law School approached him; although they didn’t have any specific needs, they wanted to be in the Barack Obama business. As Douglas Baird, the head of Chicago’s appointments committee, would later explain,

“You look at his background—Harvard Law Review president, magna cum laude, and he’s African American. This is a no-brainer hiring decision at the entry level of any law school in the country.” Chicago invited Obama to come in and teach just about anything he wanted. But Obama wasn’t interested in a professor’s life. Instead, he told them that he was writing a book—about voting rights. The university made him a fellow, giving him an office and a paycheck to keep him going while he worked on this important project.

In case you’re keeping score at home, there was some confusion as to what book young Obama was writing. His publisher thought he was writing about race relations. His employer thought he was writing about voting rights law. But Obama seems to have never seriously considered either subject. Instead, he decided that his subject would be himself. The 32-year-old was writing a memoir.

Obama came clean to the university first. He waited until his fellowship was halfway over—perhaps he was concerned that his employers might not like the bait-and-switch. He needn’t have worried. Baird still hoped that Obama would eventually join the university’s faculty (he had already begun teaching a small classload as a “senior lecturer”). “It was a good deal for us,” Baird explained, “because he was a good teaching prospect and we wanted him around.”

And it all worked out in the end. The book Obama eventually finished was Dreams from My Father. It didn’t do well initially, but nine years later, after his speech at the 2004 Democratic convention made him a star, it sold like gangbusters. Obama got rich. And famous. The book became the springboard for his career in national politics.

Only it didn’t quite work out for everybody. Obama left the University of Chicago, never succumbing to their offers of a permanent position in their hallowed halls. Simon & Schuster, which had taken a chance on an unproven young writer, got burned for a few thousand bucks. And Jane Dystel, who’d plucked him out of the pages of the New York Times and got him the deal to write the book that sped his political rise? As soon as Obama was ready to negotiate the contract for his second book—the big-money payday—he dumped her and replaced her with super-agent Robert Barnett.

We risk reading too much into these vignettes—after all, our president is a mansion with many rooms and it would be foolish to reduce him to pure ego. Yet the vignettes are so numerous. For instance, a few years ago Obama’s high school basketball coach told ABC News how, as a teenager, Obama always badgered him for more playing time, even though he wasn’t the best player on the team—or even as good as he thought he was. Everyone who has ever played team sports has encountered the kid with an inflated sense of self.

That’s common. What’s rare is the kid who feels entitled enough to nag the coach about his minutes. Obama was that kid. His enthusiasm about his abilities and his playing time extended into his political life. In 2004, Obama explained to author David Mendell how he saw his future as a national political figure: “I’m LeBron, baby. I can play on this level. I got some game.” After just a couple of months in the Senate, Obama jumped the Democratic line and started asking voters to make him president.

Yet you don’t have to delve deep into armchair psychology to see how Obama’s vanity has shaped his presidency. In January 2009 he met with congressional leaders to discuss the stimulus package. The meeting was supposed to foster bipartisanship. Senator Jon Kyl questioned the plan’s mixture of spending and tax cuts. Obama’s response to him was, “I won.” A year later Obama held another meeting to foster bipartisanship for his health care reform plan. There was some technical back-and-forth about Republicans not having the chance to properly respond within the constraints of the format because President Obama had done some pontificating, as is his wont. Obama explained, “There was an imbalance on the opening statements because”—here he paused, self-satisfiedly—“I’m the president. And so I made, uh, I don’t count my time in terms of dividing it evenly.”

There are lots of times when you get the sense that Obama views the powers of the presidency as little more than a shadow of his own person. When he journeyed to Copenhagen in October 2009 to pitch Chicago’s bid for the Olympics, his speech to the IOC was about—you guessed it: “Nearly one year ago, on a clear November night,” he told the committee, “people from every corner of the world gathered in the city of Chicago or in front of their televisions to watch the results of .  .  . ” and away he went.

A short while later he was back in Copenhagen for the climate change summit. When things looked darkest, he personally commandeered the meeting to broker a “deal.” Which turned out to be worthless. In January 2010, Obama met with nervous Democratic congressmen to assure them that he wasn’t driving the party off a cliff. Confronted with worries that 2010 could be a worse off-year election than 1994, Obama explained to the professional politicians, “Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me.”

In the midst of the BP oil spill last summer, Obama explained, “My job right now is just to make sure that everybody in the Gulf understands this is what I wake up to in the morning and this is what I go to bed at night thinking about: the spill.” Read that again: The president thinks that the job of the president is to make certain the citizens correctly understand what’s on the president’s mind.

Obama’s vanity is even more jarring when paraded in the foreign arena. In April, Poland suffered a national tragedy when its president, first lady, and a good portion of the government were killed in a plane crash. Obama decided not to go to the funeral. He played golf instead. Though maybe it’s best that he didn’t make the trip. When he journeyed to Great Britain to meet with the queen he gave her an amazing gift: an iPod loaded with recordings of his speeches and pictures from his inauguration.

On November 9, 2009, Europe celebrated the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was kind of a big deal. They may not mention the Cold War in schools much these days, but it pitted the Western liberal order against a totalitarian ideology in a global struggle. In this the United States was the guarantor of liberty and peace for the West; had we faltered, no corner of the world would have been safe from Soviet domination.

President Obama has a somewhat different reading. He explains: “The Cold War reached a conclusion because of the actions of many nations over many years, and because the people of Russia and Eastern Europe stood up and decided that its end would be peaceful.” Pretty magnanimous of the Soviets to let the long twilight struggle end peacefully like that, especially after all we did to provoke them.

So Obama doesn’t know much about the Cold War. Which is probably why he didn’t think the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall was all that important. When the leaders of Europe got together to commemorate it, he decided not to go to that, either. But he did find time to record a video message, which he graciously allowed the Europeans to air during the ceremony.

In his video, Obama ruminated for a few minutes on the grand events of the 20th century, the Cold War itself, and the great lesson we all should take from this historic passing: “Few would have foreseen .  .  . that a united Germany would be led by a woman from Brandenburg or that their American ally would be led by a man of African descent. But human destiny is what human beings make of it.” The fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Cold War, and the freedom of all humanity—it’s great stuff. Right up there with the election of Barack Obama.

All presidents are hostage to self-confidence. But not since Babe Ruth grabbed a bat and wagged his fat finger at Wrigley’s center-field wall has an American politician called his shot like Barack Obama. He announced his candidacy in Springfield, Illinois, on the steps where Abraham Lincoln gave his “house divided” speech. He mentioned Lincoln continually during the 2008 campaign. After he vanquished John McCain he passed out copies of Team of Rivals, a book about Lincoln’s cabinet, to his senior staff. At his inauguration, he chose to be sworn into office using Lincoln’s Bible. At the inaugural luncheon following the ceremony, he requested that the food—each dish of which was selected as a “tribute” to Lincoln—be served on replicas of Lincoln’s china. At some point in January 2009 you wanted to grab Obama by the lapels and tell him—We get it! You’re the Rail Splitter! If we promise to play along, will you keep the log cabin out of the Rose Garden?

It’s troubling that a fellow whose electoral rationale was that he edited the Harvard Law Review and wrote a couple of memoirs was comparing himself to the man who saved the Union. But it tells you all you need to know about what Obama thinks of his political gifts and why he’s unperturbed about having led his party into political disaster in the midterms. He assumes that he’ll be able to reverse the political tide once he becomes the issue, in the presidential race in 2012. As he said to Harry Reid after the majority leader congratulated him on one particularly fine oration, “I have a gift, Harry.”

But Obama’s faith in his abilities extends beyond mere vote-getting. Buried in a 2008 New Yorker piece by Ryan Lizza about the Obama campaign was this gob-smacking passage:

Obama said that he liked being surrounded by people who expressed strong opinions, but he also said, “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” After Obama’s first debate with McCain, on September 26th, [campaign political director Patrick] Gaspard sent him an e-mail. “You are more clutch than Michael Jordan,” he wrote. Obama replied, “Just give me the ball.”

In fairness to Obama, maybe he is a better speechwriter than his speechwriters. After all, his speechwriter was a 27-year-old, and the most affecting part of Obama’s big 2008 stump speech was recycled from Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, with whom he shared a campaign strategist. But it’s instructive that Obama thinks he knows “more about policies on any particular issue” than his policy directors. The rate of growth of the mohair subsidy? The replacement schedule for servers at the NORAD command center? The relationship between annual rainfall in northeast Nevada and water prices in Las Vegas?

What Scott Fitzgerald once said about Hollywood is true of the American government: It can be understood only dimly and in flashes; there are no more than a handful of men who have ever been able to keep the entire equation in their heads. Barack Obama had worked in the federal government for all of four years. He was not one of those men. More important, however, is that as president he shouldn’t be the chief wonk, speechwriter, and political director.

David Remnick delivers a number of insights about Obama in his book The Bridge. For instance, Valerie Jarrett—think of her as the president’s Karen Hughes—tells Remnick that Obama is often bored with the world around him. “I think that he has never really been challenged intellectually,” Jarrett says. “So what I sensed in him was not just a restless spirit but somebody with such extraordinary talents that they had to be really taxed in order for him to be happy.” Jarrett concludes, “He’s been bored to death his whole life.”
With one or two possible exceptions, that is. Remnick reports that “Jarrett was quite sure that one of the few things that truly engaged him fully before going to the White House was writing Dreams from My Father.” So the only job Barack Obama ever had that didn’t bore him was writing about Barack Obama. But wait, there’s more.

David Axelrod—he’s Obama’s Karl Rove—told Remnick that “Barack hated being a senator.” Remnick went on:

Washington was a grander stage than Springfield, but the frustrations of being a rookie in a minority party were familiar. Obama could barely conceal his frustration with the torpid pace of the Senate. His aides could sense his frustration and so could his colleagues. “He was so bored being a senator,” one Senate aide said.

Obama’s friend and law firm colleague Judd Miner agreed. “The reality,” Miner told Remnick, “was that during his first two years in the U.S. Senate, I think, he was struggling; it wasn’t nearly as stimulating as he expected.” But even during his long, desolate exile as a senator, Obama was able to find a task that satisfied him. Here’s Remnick again: “The one project that did engage Obama fully was work on The Audacity of Hope. He procrastinated for a long time and then, facing his deadline, wrote nearly a chapter a week.” Your tax dollars at work.

Looking at this American Narcissus, it’s easy to be hammered into a stupor by the accumulated acts of vanity. Oh look, we think to ourselves, there’s our new president accepting his Nobel Peace Prize. There’s the president likening his election to the West’s victory in the Cold War. There’s the commander in chief bragging about his March Madness picks.

Yet it’s important to remember that our presidents aren’t always this way. When he accepted command of the Revolutionary forces, George Washington said,

I feel great distress, from a consciousness that my abilities and military experience may not be equal to the extensive and important Trust. .  .  . I beg it may be remembered, by every Gentleman in the room, that I, this day, declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the Command I am honored with.

Accepting the presidency, Washington was even more reticent. Being chosen to be president, he said, “could not but overwhelm with despondence one who, inheriting inferior endowments from nature and unpracticed in the duties of civil administration, ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies.”

In his biography of John Quincy Adams, Robert Remini noted that Adams was not an especially popular fellow. Yet on one of the rare occasions when he was met with adoring fans, “he told crowds that gathered to see and hear him to go home and attend to their private duties.”

And Obama? In light of the present state of his presidency, let’s look back at his most famous oration:
The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth. This was the moment—this was the time—when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals.

The speech was given on June 3, 2008, and the epoch-making historical event to which “this moment” refers throughout is Barack Obama’s victory over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries.

A senior writer at The Weekly Standard, Jonathan V. Last covered the Obama campaign in 2008.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


George Will
November 14, 2010

Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century, and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive.

--Joe Biden, Oct. 26 WASHINGTON General Motors, an appendage of the government, which owns 61 percent of it, is spending some of your money, dear reader, on full-page newspaper ads praising a government brainstorm -- the Volt, Chevrolet's highly anticipated and prematurely celebrated (sort of) electric car. Although the situation is murky -- GM and its government masters probably prefer it that way -- it is unclear in what sense GM has any money that is truly its own. And the Volt is not quite an electric car, or not the sort GM deliberately misled Americans into expecting.

It is another hybrid. GM said the Volt would be an "all electrically driven vehicle" whose gas engine would be a mere range-extender, powering the Volt's generator, not its wheels: The engine just would maintain the charge as the battery ran down. Now GM says that at some point when the battery's charge declines, or when the car is moving near 70 mph, the gas engine will power the wheels.

The newspaper ads proclaim, "Chevrolet Runs Deep." Whatever that means, if anything, it does not mean the Volt runs deep into a commute or the countryside just on electricity. At the bottom of the ads, there is this, in microscopic print: "Volt available in CA, TX, MI, NY, NJ, CT and Washington, DC, at the end of 2010. Quantities limited." Well.

Quantities of everything -- except perhaps God's mercy, which is said to be infinite -- are limited. But quantities of the Volt are going to be so limited that 44 states can only pine for Volts from afar. Good, because the federal government, which evidently is feeling flush, will give tax credits of up to $7,500 to every Volt purchaser. The Volt was conceived to appease the automotive engineers in Congress, which knows that people will have to be bribed, with other people's money, to buy this $41,000 car that seats only four people (the 435-pound battery eats up space).

Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, said in a letter to The Wall Street Journal: "The early enthusiastic consumer response -- more than 120,000 potential Volt customers have already signaled interest in the car, and orders have flowed since the summer -- give us confidence that the Volt will succeed on its merits." Disregard the slipperiness ("signaled interest" how?) and telltale reticence (how many orders have "flowed"?). But "on its merits"? Why, then, the tax credits and other subsidies?

The Automotive-Engineer-in-Chief -- our polymathic president -- says there will be a million plug-in cars in America by 2015. This will require much higher gasoline prices (perhaps $9 a gallon) and much bigger bribes: GM, which originally was expected to produce as many as 60,000 next year, now says 10,000 for all of North America.

GM says that, battery powered, the Volt has a 40-mile range. Popular Mechanics says 33. Thomas R. Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, the trade association of the electric utility industry, is, understandably, a Volt enthusiast: This supposedly "green" vehicle will store electric energy -- 10 to 12 hours of charging on household current -- produced by coal and gas-fired power plants.

The federal government, although waist-deep in red ink, offers another bribe: Any purchaser can get a tax credit of up to 50 percent of the cost (up to $2,000) of an extra-powerful (240 volt) charger. California, although so strapped it recently issued IOUs to vendors, offers a $5,000 cash rebate for which Volt buyers are not eligible but purchasers of Nissan's electric Leaf are. Go figure.

In April, in a television commercial and a Wall Street Journal column headlined "The GM Bailout: Paid Back in Full," GM's then-CEO Ed Whitacre said, "we have repaid our government loan, in full, with interest, five years ahead of the original schedule." Rubbish.

GM, which has received almost $50 billion in government subventions, repaid a $6.7 billion loan using other federal funds, a TARP-funded escrow account. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, called this a "TARP money shuffle." A commentator compared it to "paying off your Visa credit card with your MasterCard."

Meretricious accounting and deceptive marketing are inevitable when government and its misnamed "private sector" accomplices foist state capitalism on an appalled country. But those who thought the ethanol debacle defined outer limits of government foolishness pertaining to automobiles were, alas, mistaken.
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