Obama’s Legacy Of Deceit

obama-fail4It’s been quite a while since we featured Victor Davis Hanson, no good reason for it, it simply hasn’t happened. But he wrote one of the best articles on why Obama’s legacy is so tainted with most of us. Here’s some

In its remaining days in power, the Obama administration suddenly punished Vladimir Putin’s Russia for allegedly interfering in the U.S. presidential election. It claimed that Russian or Russian-hired hackers tapped into the records of the Democratic National Committee as well as the correspondence of John Podesta, a Clinton advisor.

But what the Obama administration did not say was that such cyber-crimes are by now old hat. Both the Russian and Chinese governments have been hacking into far more important U.S. records and government archives for years without earning retaliation

The administration also did not mention that the election hacking occurred largely because of Podesta’s own carelessness in using his security password. Moreover, it failed to acknowledge that the Republican National Committee was likewise targeted, but apparently had enough safeguards to prevent successful entry into its records. Finally, the administration refused to mention that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange went on the record saying that he did not receive the email trove from the Russians.

The truth is that Obama, throughout his presidency, has appeased Putin. As president, Obama ended the previously agreed-on Eastern European missile defense; he made open-mic promises to be more flexible with Putin after his reelection; he barely responded to Russia’s aggression toward Crimea and Ukraine; and he constantly criticized both George W. Bush and Mitt Romney for being inordinately tough on Russia.

Until now, he saw no reason to stop enabling Russia. Had Hillary Clinton won the election, Putin’s alleged hacking would not have earned any administration attention. But this time around, an emboldened Putin allegedly went too far and crossed the only red line that Obama might have enforced by supposedly enabling the release of information that might have turned off some voters on Clinton. Blaming Putin for Clinton’s loss was a more convenient narrative than admitting that Obama’s own policies have turned off even traditional Democratic constituencies and for now reduced the Democratic Party to a minority coastal party.

All administrations play fast and loose with the truth. It is the nature of high politics to fib, cover up, and fudge in order to ensure the success of a so-called noble agenda for the greater good. But not since the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations have we seen a president so institutionalize misrepresentation.

There are ample examples. It was clear from Clinton’s own leaked emails and from real-time memos from intelligence agencies that the September 11, 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi was nota spontaneous riot over an insensitive video produced by a reactionary Coptic zealot residing in the United States, as the administration claimed. But such a concoction fit Obama’s 2012 reelection narrative: the recklessness of right-wing Islamophobes endangers national security abroad. In contrast, the reality—a preplanned al-Qaeda-affiliated attack on an unprepared and semi-covert American consulate—challenged Obama’s reelection myth that Al Qaeda was “on the run” and that the administration was vigilant in ensuring security for our diplomatic personnel in the Middle East.

The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. at the time, Susan Rice, went on five Sunday morning talk shows to insist, quite wrongly, that the deaths of four Americans in the attack were the tragic result of ad hoc furor over intolerance. The video-maker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was abruptly jailed on probation violation charges, in a display of swift American justice never matched by a commensurately prompt arrest and prosecution of real terrorists.

One question that I have had for months is this. Why exactly would Putin favor Trump, a man who believes in, if not perhaps, the American Dream, some version of it, and not Hillary Clinton, an experienced and proven appeaser? Huh? Why? Just doesn’t make sense, does it? Continuing.

More recently we learned that Iran got the sanctions lifted before it met all its obligations outlined in the deal. Ben Rhodes, an architect of the swap and deputy national security advisor, boasted about the administration’s affinity for deceit. Rhodes, described by a New York Times interviewer as “a storyteller who uses a writer’s tools to advance an agenda that is packaged as politics but is often quite personal,” explained the methods of concocting an Iran narrative to a guidable media: “All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” Rhodes intoned. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. . . The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

Rhodes’s cynicism was reminiscent of the boasts of another administration advisor, the MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who bragged of the administration’s ability to get passed the Patient Protection and affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), largely through deliberate deceit about the inevitable consequences of higher premiums and deductibles, the dropping of existing coverage and doctors, and increases in federal outlays. Some of the bill’s more obvious and unpopular elements—such as the employer mandate—were not enforced until after Obama’s 2012 reelection bid. Gruber admitted that the law was composed “in a tortured way” to delude people into accepting that “healthy people pay in and sick people get money”—a subterfuge that was both necessary and worked because of “the stupidity of the American voter,” a fact confirming that the “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage”

via Obama’s Legacy Of Deceit | Hoover Institution

You know I live out here with average Americans, and yes, I’m one myself. What’s our common characteristic? We’re uh, average. Neither rich nor desperately poor, brilliantly smart nor imbecilic, completely informed nor apathetic. Something else, which doesn’t apply as much to me anymore, we’re quite busy trying to make a living, and so don’t spend all that much time watching the swamp circus in Washington. We care, we always have, but we have mortgages, families, and all that stuff to do, so… But we can easily tell when the bullshit meter pegs, and it’s been going off almost constantly lately.

In many ways, the last administration reminded us of a stroppy teenager, who won’t shut up, and won’t go away. These are the kids that a sensible policeman arrests for disturbing the peace or some such. That this was our government became an embarrassment to us. And so we’ll try Trump. Sure he’s a noisy self-promoter, but we all saw The Music Man long ago, and kind of like town bands, in any case.

Is this the cure? We really ain’t got a clue but are convinced that it’s an improvement, and we’ll think about it for next time. Kicking the can down the road? Sure. But that’s better than scoring an own goal, after all.

Why the Electoral College? Because State and Regional Diversity Matters.

Thomas Hart Benton

Thomas Hart Benton

One of my very favorite blogs, Grassroots in Nebraska (GIN), has undertaken to explain, pretty much after every election why the electoral college, especially as implemented in Nebraska and Maine, is by far the most fair and equitable method of electing the president. A few highlights.

Where you live, your day-to-day experiences gained through interacting with your physical environment, influence your political viewpoint. The Founders realized this. When the Electoral College was born through compromise in 1787, each former-colony-turned-state had a unique history and perspective giving rise to significant political differences between it and its neighbors. The Founders had to resolve these interstate differences in order to form a more perfect Union. The Electoral College was an important part of the Founders’ efforts to ensure our election process gave voice to these regionally diverse viewpoints.

What critics of the Electoral College fail to realize is the strong influence state and regional diversity continues to exert today. In fact, differences of opinion concerning most hotly contested political issues, past and present, can be traced to the influence of state and regional diversity. Neutering the Electoral College, as 48 states have done with their winner-take-all systems, deadens the impact of intrastate diversity on election outcomes.  Ridding us of the Electoral College entirely, either by amending the Constitution or by the states conspiring to do an end-run around the Constitutional provision by awarding all of their respective electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, would render our election process deaf, dumb, and blind to both state and regional diversity.  I contend either change makes our electoral process more prone to something the Founders referred to as “the tyranny of the majority” or “mob rule.”

Still skeptical? Some examples are in order: […]

Linda also quoted a non-favorite Nebraskan of mine William Jennings Bryan, in his “Cross of gold” speech, and this I do agree with wholeheartedly.

“But we stand here representing people who are the equals before the law of the largest cities in the state of Massachusetts. When you come before us and tell us that we shall disturb your business interests, we reply that you have disturbed our business interests by your action. We say to you that you have made too limited in its application the definition of a businessman. The man who is employed for wages is as much a businessman as his employer. The attorney in a country town is as much a businessman as the corporation counsel in a great metropolis. The merchant at the crossroads store is as much a businessman as the merchant of New York. The farmer who goes forth in the morning and toils all day, begins in the spring and toils all summer, and by the application of brain and muscle to the natural resources of this country creates wealth, is as much a businessman as the man who goes upon the Board of Trade and bets upon the price of grain. The miners who go 1,000 feet into the earth or climb 2,000 feet upon the cliffs and bring forth from their hiding places the precious metals to be poured in the channels of trade are as much businessmen as the few financial magnates who, in a backroom, corner the money of the world.

“We come to speak for this broader class of businessmen. Ah. my friends, we say not one word against those who live upon the Atlantic Coast; but those hardy pioneers who braved all the dangers of the wilderness, who have made the desert to blossom as the rose —those pioneers away out there, rearing their children near to nature’s heart, where they can mingle their voices with the voices of the birds — out there where they have erected schoolhouses for the education of their children and churches where they praise their Creator, and the cemeteries where sleep the ashes of their dead — are as deserving of the consideration of this party as any people in this country.
. . . . .
“You come to us and tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard. I tell you that the great cities rest upon these broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic. But destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.”

True when the Founders were writing the Constitution, true in 1896 when Bryan said it, and yes, it’s still true today. The folks that he was speaking of are those who feed our families, fight our wars, and do all things that have made the United States what it is, the dream of the rest of the world. I’ve been proud all my life to be amongst and one of them. If you would know us, you would be well advised to listen to the lyrics here.

This, this is who we are. If you would know why Donald Trump won, think about those lyrics, and what has happened in the last few years.

via Why the Electoral College? Because State and Regional Diversity Matters. | Grassroots in Nebraska. Do read it and by all means follow the links in her article and in the article linked in them. This is one of the greatest civics lessons you will ever get, and it will come to you painlessly.

I Hear There’s Going to be a Debate…

w1056atonight. Will I watch? Perhaps. Will I change my mind? Unlikely. Still, if you’re undecided you should watch, and carefully. Part of the reason I’m unexcited are the candidates. Yes, one is worse, maybe much worse than the other. But to be honest, my vote doesn’t matter a damn. If Nebraska three went for anybody without an R behind his name by less than 60-40 it would shake down the thunder. I don’t see that happening, whatever Ben Sasse says.

That doesn’t mean it’s unimportant, though. I think the following, although long, lays out the stakes quite well.

Read the newspapers or listen to the network news and you would believe that Donald Trump’s appeal is restricted to reprobates and morons, racists and xenophobes, uneducated and unclassed, rejects and retards, unsavory degenerates and that is being kinder than PBS talks about Trump supporters. They will tell their liberal audiences that the Trump supporters do not read or listen to the news and have little or no understanding of the realities of the world and Trump supporters are simply supporting Trump because they hated President Obama because he is black and well educated and the Trump fools are jealous of those who are their betters and want to put one of their own in the White House. It’s the same old story in the media, if there exists support for anybody not leftist, socialist, one worlder then they are not worthy of standing on the stage in the debate, let alone be elected to the most important job in the world. Coverage like that is simply more of the every day in and day out coverage of Democrats good, Republicans evil; our side educated and wonderful, that other side ignorant and disgusting. So, what is driving the support for Trump? That is the question which is seldom answered by the mainstream media because they do not recognize what Trump is selling or what his supporters desire and see as him capable of delivering.

Trump’s slogan of make America great again resonates and his plain language strikes them as honesty and his level of excitement is contagious and he works the crowd well. What they want is the country they believe America should be and what they feel they have had stolen from them. They want an economy which provides decent jobs with better pay which comes with a healthy economy. They do not understand the jobs overseas as much as they understand the jobs simply drying up. They understand that a near doubling of the minimum wage will only drive away jobs and prices up because many have seen what rising minimum wages has done. They remember days when things were better and the unions protected them and that the Democrats promised they would protect the unions but that did not work out as well as promised. Many of Trump’s supporters have voted for the Democrats out of loyalty, out of belief they really were for them, that the Democrats loved the same America they did and that the Democrats were delivering on their promises. The news media have one thing correct, many of these voters really have problems with President Obama but not because he is black but because he really meant that he would fundamentally change America and found what President Obama did not like and wanted to bury about America was the America they loved. It was the policies and broken dreams that lie shattered in the wake of President Obama and his policies and his hatred of their America. Now they believe that in Trump they can have their America back again. They just want what they had, what was before Obamacare, before President Obama bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia and apologized for their country all over the world and deferred to the Iranians and basically acted in what they always thought to be un-American. Now they just want to set things back right and believe the Donald will do that. Whether their faith is misplaced or whether Donald Trump is exactly what they believe him to be, well, unless he becomes President Trump we will never know. This is the one type of Trump supporter that the media elites really do not like as most are not Ivy League educated or even anything beyond possibly Community College or Trade School educated or even simply high school or drop out and are what they think of as the great unwashed.

 

There is another group of Trump supporters which the media dislikes even more because they cannot scare or cajole these voters into ever supporting Hillary Clinton. These are unlike the Never Trump voters because there is a good chance the Never Trump voters will go third party or stay home, they will never likely vote for Hillary Clinton and be able to look themselves in the mirror should she win. It will not matter if they live in a redder than red or bluer than blue state such that their vote never really mattered because they have consciences which would always prevent their sleeping well the entire four or eight years Hillary Clinton spent as President. The voters who are either tired of Hillary Clinton’s corruption or Hillary Clinton’s lies or simply tired of Hillary Clinton period will vote for Donald Trump by a large percentage because they are not really voting for Trump but will do what it takes to prevent a President Hillary Clinton. These same people will also vote for Donald Trump again if he delivers on what he has bragged he will do. This is close to what the United States and the American voters faced in the 1980 elections with many crossover voters electing President Reagan because they did not want any more of President Carter. President Reagan delivered and I know this because my lifetime Democrat father who voted for the reelection of Jimmy Carter against Ronald Reagan voted four years later for the first time since President Eisenhower for a Republican candidate and was quite overjoyed and proud for voting for President Reagan and supporting his second term. Oh, and about President Eisenhower, didn’t almost every World War II veteran vote for the Commander of the Allied forces in the European Theater, even if they served in Burma in the British Army against the Japanese and the vultures, snakes and other dangers of the Burmese jungles. He will be voting for Hillary though this time around as Trump never did serve, let alone command forces in any war as doing so might have destroyed his manicure.

via On What is Donald Trump’s Appeal Being Based? | Beyond the Cusp Read the whole thing.™

My favorite candidate this cycle, as most of you know, was Ted Cruz. That’s mostly because he sounded like he really believed in the Constitution, and that’s my bedrock to decide on. But he was also right when he said to vote your conscience, and like him, I will. You should as well.

The Price of Freedom

Western trails in Nebraska. Blue = Mormon Trai...

Image via Wikipedia

I wrote this back in 2012 and I think it’s worth a revisit.

Let’s start with a song, shall we:

Keep that in mind, we’ll be coming back to it.

As I sit here in my office, looking out the window, I can see 7 of the great American migration routes, from north to south:  The Lincoln Highway, US Highway 30, The Transcontinental Railroad, Interstate 80, The Platte River, The Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail, and  the Pony Express Route. Think about how many hopes and dreams have passed through here.

Now combine that with Shenandoah. The song came about in the early 19th century and was made famous by US sailors all over the world. what does it speak of? It speaks of loneliness, of likely never seeing your friends and family again, and does it hauntingly. It was very appropriate for those sailors, and it was equally appropriate for (and loved by) those thousands/millions trekking through Nebraska on their way to a new and hopefully better life.

Why did they do it? Some, of course, to avoid the sheriff, or their girlfriend’s father but, mostly they were going to, not running from. To what? A better life, maybe, but they were going to have to build it themselves, and if you’ve ever driven I-80, you know what a trek it is today, let alone to walk it, as most did.

What motivated them is the same thing that has motivated American from the very beginning: Freedom. Freedom to build your own life. Freedom to be left alone, Freedom to be the very best that you can be.

What was the price they put on that freedom? That they would most likely, whether they succeeded or failed, never see their family and friends again. If they were very lucky they might receive a few letters in the course of the rest of their life.

And remember, it was out here, on the Oregon trail (and it’s fork in the road, the California trail) that the saying became true. “The sick died, the weak never started”, it was that kind of migration.

That freedom had quite a price, didn’t it?

What is yours worth?

I’m not the problem, by Dave Miller |

image-4From Leavenworth Street, the best of Nebraska political blogs. He said it, but I wish I had!

Dave Miller is a contributing writer on Leavenworth St. He is a former talk show host and has done every media job in-between. He is perfectly aware his personality and opinions are keeping him out of the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

He can be found on Twitter @DaveMedia_LNK

It’s so disheartening. In fact, it’s beyond that, it’s infuriating! It’s hard to believe the American primary process, hell politics everywhere, is just a giant dirt clod fight. Even in Nebraska, Ben Sasse having to stand up to the Republican party and explain why he is #nevertrump seems other worldly. Seriously? You have to explain why? I find myself aligned with Ben Sasse mostly out of sheer principle, and I’m pretty sure I know what I’m doing when it’s time to vote. But why in the world do I need to explain myself, or Ben to his party, at all?!

Let me explain why I can’t see the path to Trump, then maybe someone can explain why he should be considered. Here is a man with NO political experience or foreign policy experience, who has wanted for nothing in life, ever, and Donald Trump wants to fight for me in Washington? Now, given the fact he is a misogynist on a nuclear level, can’t hold his tongue, treats competitors like he is in a grade school booger flicking fight, and thinks any criticism is “unfair”, I am less than likely to vote him into anything. He reminds me of a Batman villain that should be locked up in Arkham Asylum. Now I have laid out why I can’t stand th e name calling, petulant, side show of a nominee. What I don’t have is a good reason to vote for him.

I have friends that give me the argument, “well you can’t vote for Hillary, and a vote against him is a vote for Hillary”. Is it now? Well if you believe there is a one for one equivalent we can have that conversation. If you believe that your single vote matters, we can have that conversation, and I’ll invite the electoral college in to explain why the conversation didn’t have to happen. Here is the problem with that argument: Voting for Donald Trump doesn’t let the GOP know I hate what they are doing. It’s hard to believe 2 years ago the GOP let the media get away with burying the biggest lead of all American voting history. In 2014 the sentiment in the country, and the votes that were cast in November, were the referendum on Washington that the GOP had been crowing about for 6 years. GOP turn out and taking the house and the Senate was a YUGE deal. And what did they do with that victory? They squandered it. Left out in the sun to rot, it withered and spoiled, showing the American people when you vote, we don’t care what the message is. Dems didn’t flinch, and the GOP laughed and ordered another drink, drunk in the celebration of hollow victory for those trying to change the status quo.

I’m tired of the elected officials, all of them, including at the local city and state levels telling US what they think we voted them in to do, after they have voted the way we didn’t want. I’m tired of the same people acting like we are so lucky to have them around to do what’s best for us, when they should listen and work FOR us. Lastly, I’m tired of leadership within any party scrapping like it’s a Michael Vick dog fight, only to keep doing the same thing they’ve done for 30 years, not fix things.

via I’m not the problem, by Dave Miller |

And yes, it would be hard to disagree with him, and I don’t. As he ended:

#never2016

Progressivism Is a Long-Term Threat to the Rule of Law

Many know how much I dislike Donald Trump. It predates the 2016 campaign. He strikes me as an opportunist who plays the system, without ethics, or morals, and as a blowhard, with very few redeeming social qualities. I wouldn’t care to even have a beer with him, let alone any closer association.

Nevertheless, I may find myself voting for him. Why? Because Hillary is far worse. Let John O McGinnis explain.

Many people are concerned about Donald Trump’s commitment to the rule of law, a concern I share. But the other choice in this election is a Progressive one, and Progressivism by its nature lacks that commitment. Moreover, its history shows that it permanently damages the constitutional foundations of the United States. And the United States suffers from the fevers of progressivism more than any time since the 1960s.  Thus, this election pits a candidate lawless by virtue of temperament against one lawless by virtue of ideology and emboldened by the spirit of the times.  The rule of law is under threat, whoever wins.

Progressivism has proved a greater long-term danger than any single individual, because it is born in part out of systematic rather than personal hostility to the Constitution. Federalism and separation of powers are obstacles to the social engineering at the heart of progressivism, and thus progressivism has tried to eviscerate these restraints. Packed with FDR appointees in the 1930s, the Supreme Court gutted the enumerated powers. The administrative state has eroded the separation of powers, making the executive ever more powerful in domestic affairs. The theory used to justify these departures from the original constitution, living constitutionalism, is itself a threat to the rule of law, because it devalues the formal rules laid down by the Constitution.

via Progressivism Is a Long-Term Threat to the Rule of Law – Online Library of Law & Liberty

I’m not a fan by any means of voting for the least evil, over the years, I’ve often abstained, and in fact, may do so this year. But what I claim as an act of conscience, is, at least in part, “Screw you, a plague on all your houses.” Childish and petty it may well be, but it is my right to withhold my approval for any candidate. Whether I do so depends on the situation.

One reason that I can do that is simply that I live in the 3d Nebraska Congressional district, Trump will win whether I vote, don’t vote, or set fire to my polling place. I’ll likely vote because there are down ticket races I care about, and I have the illusion that my wishes might matter there.

This is not ideal, except for Republicans seeking office, just as for Democrats in the big cities, it often leads to temptation, and to corruption. As we keep saying, a loyal opposition is necessary to the proper operation of the government. It doesn’t matter what party or group is alone in charge, it tends to forget its mission and start granting favors. I think it’s simply human nature.

This is why, I think that the Founders, especially Washington, were so opposed to faction, what they really desired was each man striving openly for his own ideals. Frankly, Washington was much too good a man to be a political theorist or a politician; most men lust after power and money and always remember that one can be exchanged for the other. Trump and Clinton definitely included.

So something to think about as we watch the politicians make fools of themselves in Cleveland this week, how do we fix, really fix our broken system?

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