Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Cruising the Web

Oh, this inspires confidence:
An estimated one-fifth of a subset of all applicants for Central Intelligence Agency positions had significant ties to the terror groups Hamas, Hezbollah and al Qaeda, a newly released document from NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s collection revealed Monday.
It's pretty bad when Charlie Rangel makes more sense on foreign policy than the President of the United States.

Apparently, going to the U.S. Congress was Obama's last resort when he couldn't get support from Britain, the Arab League, or the U.N. It's nice to know where Congress rates in his estimation when it comes to American foreign policy.

Enjoy the most popular internet reactions to Obama's plans to bomb Syria. Glenn Reynolds has one more.

While Obama paints the choice as members of Congress having to decide whether they will vote to allow Assad to gas children to death in plain sight, he would still have to explain why he did so little after news of similar gas attacks came out months ago.

Obama's actions and inaction on Syria perhaps gives more evidence of why professors don't make good presidents.
Just in the last two weeks we've seen Obama take both sides of multiple issues, including whether the United States will continue staying out of the Syrian conflict or will intervene; whether an attack needs to take place imminently or not; whether an attack needs U.N. Security Council endorsement or not; whether an attack needs the support of allied nations or not; whether an attack needs congressional support or not; whether American credibility is at stake in Syria or not, and so on.

Graduate school seminars are appropriate places to talk endlessly about all sides of an issue while never making and implementing a decision; the Oval Office is not.
Or as Pete Du Pont writes, Obama's failures on foreign policy stem from his original mistake of assuming that the world will live up to idealist views of how the world works.
But overall the Obama foreign policy team seems to suffer from a Pollyannaish approach to the world. They do not seem to understand that those who hate America will hate us, and will try to harm us, whether our president is Bill Clinton, George W. Bush or Barack Obama. They do not seem to understand that the U.S. president simply declaring the war on terror to be over or that al Qaeda is decimated and on the run does not make such things true. They do not understand that, while it's good to extend an offer of peace to those who hate us, those who continue to abuse that effort and harm others need to know with certainty that they will feel the appropriate unpleasant consequences. They fail to understand it's OK to "speak softly" only as long as our enemies know we've got that "big stick" and are not afraid to use it.
In fact, as John Fund writes, Obama has lived up to his reputation as the guy who votes "present" on difficult questions.
Washington is abuzz with talk about how much President Obama has damaged America’s credibility with his indecisiveness on Syria. It’s become accepted fact that Obama’s decision-making style resembles that of an academic convening an unruly seminar whose participants he largely disdains. What he is not is a decisive leader with the ability to bring disparate players together behind a common purpose.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. We had inklings of it a long time ago. Back when Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, Hillary Clinton accused him of “taking a pass” on tough issues when he was in the Illinois state senate, a theme later picked up by Republicans. Its basis is the 129 times he voted “present.” On 36 of those occasions, he was the only one to vote present of the 60 senators. One of those occasions was in 1999, when he twice chose not to vote on a bill protecting sexual-assault victims from having the explicit details of their cases made public without “good cause.” Bonnie Grabenhofer, the president of the Illinois National Organization of Women at the time, said she endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2007 in part because “when we needed someone to take a stand, Senator Obama took a pass.”
So now 40,000 members of the Longshoremen and Warehouse Union are leaving the AFL-CIO because they're fed up with the organization's support of Obamacare. And they don't like the immigration reform either.

Walter Mead Russell notes a foreign affairs story that should be at least rivaling Syria in the attention it earns - economic crisis in India.

This fact from Steve Hayward is quite illuminating:
In Vietnam, still run by the Communist Party, the very selective national university is offering free tuition to anyone who signs up for the university’s curriculum in Marxism. They’ve had to offer free tuition because no students have been signing up for these courses, as in zero. I can’t help but be amused that the market-clearing price for courses in radical philosophy is lower in a Communist university than in American universities.
Notice how the MSM ignores the number one best-selling non-fiction book when the author is a conservative.

Labor unions want their health insurance policies subsidized because of Obamacare. However, the Obamacare law doesn't allow for such subsidies.
Workers with employer-sponsored coverage don’t qualify for subsidized coverage on Obamacare’s insurance exchanges. Those subsidies are designed for low-income people who aren’t offered coverage from their employers, and have to shop for insurance on their own. But the labor union leaders want those subsidies to also apply to their members with employer-sponsored coverage, even though they already get those benefits tax-free due to the employer tax exclusion for health insurance.
But what should a little barrier like the actual wording of the law matter when the unions start pressuring the administration?

Even the Washington Post is disgusted with Eric Holder's Justice Department for trying to halt Louisiana's voucher program because they thing it would be racist or something to allow poor, minority students to leave failing public schools. What Holder really cares about are the teacher unions, not the education of poor, minority students stuck in failing students.

Well done, North Carolina, if the state gets rid of subsidies for Hollywood producers to film movies in the state. There are a lot of other priorities for the $70 million that was spent last year on tax incentives.

Kimberley Strassel reviews how, right as he warns Congress to rise above partisan politics, President Obama regards Syria as essentially a political problem and he's looking to the vote in Congress to rescue him from his own policy missteps on Syria.

The National Journal reviews the evidence and finds out that yes, the Republicans are right when they say that Obamacare will raise health insurance premiums for everyone.

Read the rather horrifying story of how our government has gone after one self-made millionaire because he dared to fight back against the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's crusade to crush his business because he dared to defend himself against their regulations ending his production of Buckyballs.

Heh. "Obama Furious After Vladimir Putin Unfriends Him on Facebook."

Ah, California, home of the five-year retroactive tax increase.

And for my teacher friends: