Monday, July 14, 2014

Cruising the Web

Paul Mirengoff writes of the shamefully dilatory behavior of the Obama administration to make sure to protect Afghan interpreters who have been helping U.S. troops. The State Department under Hillary Clinton didn't do enough to help them get visas to come to our country so that they will be protected from the Taliban and is only now getting around to asking Congress for permission to issue more visas. This is reminiscent of how the Obama administration did nothing to protect the dentist who helped us identify Osama bin Laden and who now sits languishing in a Pakistani jail. As Mirengoff pointed out a year ago,
President Obama is doing everything he can to confer U.S. citizenship on millions of people who willfully violated U.S. immigration law for years. If Obama has his way, these people will become lawful U.S. residents without making any showing of hardship; the fact that they broke the law will be sufficient to establish eligibility.

But when it comes to granting visas for those who risked their lives by providing critical assistance to our military, the obvious threat of death that inheres in having helped America in a soon-to-be-abandoned war against murderous fanatics isn’t good enough.
If it worked in 2010, why not do it again?

Don't forget that the Democrats have their own factional divisions. But that is never as much fun for the media to contemplate as divisions among Republicans.

Remember when we were told that electing someone with Barack Obama's background and personality would help the United States get more influence in the Middle East. How's that working out?
The Middle East is in flames, and the president of the United States seems largely irrelevant.

Israel and Hamas terrorists are fighting another Gaza war. What was once touted by the administration as a success story in Iraq degenerated into a nightmare of bloodshed and triumph by Islamist fanatics. The Syrian civil war plods on with the death toll at 150,000, millions turned into refugees and dictator Bashar al-Assad still in power despite Washington’s demand that he must go.

No one sees the United States as the power-player of yesteryear. President Barack Obama has squandered American credibility in foreign affairs, and confidence in U.S. reliability and commitment is at a low.

Obama’s famous 2009 Cairo speech to the Muslim faithful was built on his personality, his background as someone who was familiar with Islam, and his belief that all that was wrong with the world and U.S. relations with it flowed from the presidency of George W. Bush.

But in the hard world of Mideast politics, talk is cheap and what you do defines who you are.

Yup, it's the competence thing all over again.
And the president’s own party is deeply divided over what must be done now — particularly on the sensitive question of deporting children who have traveled thousands of miles and turned themselves in to U.S. authorities to escape from the desperate
situations they faced in countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

The emergency has also renewed questions about the administration’s competence, reminiscent of those raised during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, last year’s botched rollout of the health-care law and more recent revelations of mismanagement that jeopardized care of patients at veterans hospitals.
Amazing how many times the administration's basic competence is in question. Why, it's almost as if he were George W. Bush or something.

Those smidgeons of corruption keep adding up. Strange how that happens, isn't it?

Mortimer Zuckerman writes of how we are becoming a part-time nation.
The Obama administration and much of the media trumpeting the figure overlooked that the government numbers didn't distinguish between new part-time and full-time jobs. Full-time jobs last month plunged by 523,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What has increased are part-time jobs. They soared by about 800,000 to more than 28 million. Just think of all those Americans working part time, no doubt glad to have the work but also contending with lower pay, diminished benefits and little job security.

On July 2 President Obama boasted that the jobs report "showed the sixth straight month of job growth" in the private economy. "Make no mistake," he said. "We are headed in the right direction." What he failed to mention is that only 47.7% of adults in the U.S. are working full time. Yes, the percentage of unemployed has fallen, but that's worth barely a Bronx cheer. It reflects the bleak fact that 2.4 million Americans have become discouraged and dropped out of the workforce. You might as well say that the unemployment rate would be zero if everyone quit looking for work.

Last month involuntary part-timers swelled to 7.5 million, compared with 4.4 million in 2007. Way too many adults now depend on the low-wage, part-time jobs that teenagers would normally fill. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen had it right in March when she said: "The existence of such a large pool of partly unemployed workers is a sign that labor conditions are worse than indicated by the unemployment rate."
Don't downplay the impact of Obamacare in this development. Employers have an incentive for keeping employees working under 30 hours a week.

Thanks to WikiLeaks, we're finding out about how the search for WMD in Iraq continued long after it was assumed by many that there was nothing there to be found. And our forces kept turning up evidence and small caches of WMDs.

One more example to add to the "what if a Republican did this?" files.

But when all else fails, Democrats will always charge Republicans with racism.

What is left once the ol' Obama magic is gone?
Magic is a powerful force. And Barack Obama had it. Big time. But when the magic fades, the magician is left just standing there – his incompetence no longer hidden by the fog of lofty rhetoric and a million dollar smile. And all that’s left is the pathetic image of a man who told us he would make America a newer, better, different place where old-fashioned politics had no place – looking like the old-fashioned politician that he is and always was.
Hey, at least he'll have a nice multi-million dollar mansion to stay at for his summer vacation on Martha's Vineyard.

Maureen Dowd is not impressed with the Clintons' continual money-grubbing and how they seem to have trained their daughter to follow their model. You know she's repelled when she spends a whole column with out any gratuitous Republican side-swipes.

Many Democrats up for reelection this year are playing keep away when Obama comes to town. Maybe he can call up George W. Bush and commiserate on how that feels.

What a giggle. The White House is still claiming that this administration is "absolutely" the most transparent presidency in history. swell, if they say so, it must be so.

One big difference between how Obama is treating the crisis on the border an dhow Bush treated Katrina - Bush never treated Katrina as a political opportunity. But for Obama, a good crisis should never go to waste.
Obama’s adversaries and allies agree that, quite unlike Bush, the president sees this crisis as a political opportunity.

“There is every sign he let the crisis on the border build to put heat on Republicans and make them pass his idea of good immigration reform,” The Wall Street Journal‘s Peggy Noonan submitted. “It would be “comprehensive,” meaning huge, impenetrable and probably full of mischief. His base wants it. It would no doubt benefit the Democratic Party in the long term.”

Francis Wilkinson, a liberal Bloomberg View columnist, concurred.

“I think he wants this to be a big problem,” Wilkinson told MSNBC’s hosts on Thursday. “I think he wants this to be such big problem right now that Congress has to deal with it, and that the media’s focused on it, and that the American public is focused on it.”

Bush’s approach to Katrina was criticized by his allies and opponents alike, and some of that criticism was deserved, but he never treated the situation in New Orleans as though it was a political opportunity. That is a grotesque abuse of the public trust, but this seems to be the calculation the president and his advisors made.
Carl M. Cannon contrasts Bush's response to Katrina with Obama's response to the border crisis.
Then there were those pesky critics who had the temerity to suggest that if the president could go to Texas to raise money for Democrats, surely he could visit the border region and see the immigration crisis first-hand. Obama had scornful words for them, too.

“This isn’t theater,” he said. “I’m not interested in photo ops. I’m interested in solving a problem.”

If we stipulate that the president is sincerely concerned with addressing the issue, we can also acknowledge that this is a man intensely interested in photo ops. It seems like an obsession, actually. For five years, White House image-makers put out hundreds of pictures of Obama engaged in non-problem-solving activities:

Obama sitting (alone) in a bus seat made famous by Rosa Parks, eating hot dogs with David Cameron, walking arm-in-arm with Bruce Springsteen, striking a Superman post in front of a statue of Superman, embracing Bowe Bergdahl’s parents, and affecting a pensive pose in Nelson Mandela’s old prison cell. Obama even snapped a selfie at Mandela’s funeral—and the White House released that, too.

His statement deriding photo ops was made the same day the official White House website featured a photograph of Obama shooting pool in a beer hall with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper—the very definition of a photo op.

The president’s defenders countered that all modern presidents do this kind of thing, and that Obama hadn’t said he was against all photo opportunities—just one on Texas’ border with Mexico. Both assertions are true enough, but the problem is that such feelings of forbearance on the part of liberals—including then-Sen. Obama—didn’t extend to the previous occupant of the Oval Office in a similar circumstance.
Remember how Democrats were outraged that Bush had just flown over the area hit by Katrina from Air Force One. They ignored the reasoning that Bush didn't want to distract from the relief efforts with a presidential visit. No, the flyover proved how indifferent Bush was to the plight of those suffering.
“The president's 35-minute Air Force One flyover of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama was the perfect metaphor for his entire presidency: detached, disconnected, and disengaged,” wrote Arianna Huffington.

Hollywood activist Michael Moore was even nastier. “I know you didn't want to interrupt your vacation ... plus, you had fundraisers to go to and mothers of dead soldiers to ignore and smear,” he wrote.

Rapper Kanye West claimed that the government’s response to the disaster showed that Bush “doesn’t care about black people.”

In hindsight, little of this seems fair. What Bush saw as he flew over the battered region shocked him. The next day, he publicly pledged $10.5 billion in federal aid, enlisted his father and Bill Clinton to help in recovery efforts, and spoke about the tragedy from the Rose Garden. The next day, he headed down there, where he literally put his arms around shell-shocked survivors, many of them black people. Bush returned again in mid-September and made a nationally televised address from Jackson Square in New Orleans.

When he ran for president, then-Sen. Barack Obama seemed to forget all that. All he cared to recall was the flyover, which is more than he’s done on the Texas border this year.

“We can talk about what happened for two days in 2005, and we should,” Obama said on Feb. 7, 2008, while campaigning in Louisiana. “We can talk about levees that couldn’t hold, a FEMA that seemed not just incompetent but paralyzed and powerless, about a president who only saw the people from the window of an airplane instead of down here on the ground.”

Although Obama probably doesn’t have to go to the border personally to be an effective leader, he may owe George W. Bush an apology.
Yeah, like that would ever happen.