Thursday, August 07, 2014

Cruising the Web

The President holds a press conference and no one asked him about his administration is not doing anything to stop ISIS or a major general getting assassinated in Afghanistan. I guess the White House press got the unspoken memo about keeping silent on Major General Greene's murder.

Bryan Preston has a good summary of Obama's press conference yesterday - the President's meaningless blather and the pusillanimity of the journalists.
He started a little over an hour late without explanation. Reporters stuck to asking questions that they evidently knew Obama would be comfortable answering. None of them asked him about any of his administration scandals. ABC’s Jon Karl, usually a tough questioner of Obama and his spokesmen, asked a rambling question that played right into the Democrats’ “economic patriotism” canard.

Despite the fact that the president showed a passionless, bloodless, disinterested face to the world, he still managed to do some damage.

Chris Jansing of CNN asked Obama if the sanctions against Russia are working. She asked this in the context of Russia massing 20,000 heavily armed troops on the Ukraine border, and Russia claiming a “humanitarian” need to send those troops in.

Obama said both that he doesn’t know if the sanctions are working, and that they’re working as they are intended to do. He allowed that he might consider arming the Ukraine military, if Russia invades. But not before. That will keep Putin up late fretting.

When asked about the Israel-Hamas conflict, Obama said that Hamas using civilians as human shields is “extraordinarily irresponsible.”

Actually, it’s a war crime. It’s terrorism. Obama reduced deadly crimes against humanity for the sake of perpetrating genocide to equal something a badly raised teenager does on a drunken weekend. If we’re to take his comments on torture last week into account, Hamas are just “folks” who are “extraordinarily irresponsible,” not genocidal fanatics and war criminals.

By the way, Obama refused to rule out taking unilateral action to grant about five million illegal aliens legal status. He also refused to rule it in. And he had the gall to talk about good governance, transparency and accountability in government.

It was a poor performance made all the poorer by the media’s lack of any detectable backbone.

When it comes to Chris McDaniel vs Thad Cochran the way I feel is a plague on both their houses. They both seem pretty scummy. And throw in former governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell and his wife. As Jim Geraghty writes after recounting how Maureen McDonnell pushed the dietary supplement produced by one of her husband's top donors on Ann Romney telling her that it could possibly cure MS.
How do you do that? How do you go up to a woman with multiple sclerosis and tell her that a dietary supplement produced by one of your top donors might cure her disease?

Are people crazy when they get into politics, or does the process of politics drive them crazy?
Geraghty reminds us of some other crazies in politics.

And politics seems to attract the terminally dumb. Nancy Pelosi (or some thick-headed staffer) joins Joe Biden as those who think Africa is a country.

What a sign of moral weakness! The London Times has rejected an ad featuring Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel opposing Hamas's use of children as human shields. Apparently, the Times wants to censor any attempt to inform its readers how Hamas deliberately sacrifices their children.

The administration is lying to us about their plans to bail out the health insurance companies.

The US inspectors general say that the Obama administration is working to delay and stall their investigations. SOP.

Ross Douthat addresses leftist critics who are preemptively defending a presidential action to grant amnesty to as many as "5 million illegal immigrants."

Stuart Rothenberg finds quite a few parallels between Obama's position on the eve of his sixth year midterms and that faced by George W. Bush.

Allahpundit explores the possibility that Obama could simply grant pardons to illegal immigrants instead of having to go through issuing an executive order.

Jeffrey Goldberg contemplates what Hamas would do if the power balance between Hamas and Israel were reversed. They explicitly state that they want the death of all Jews. For those who think that Israel and Hamas are equivalent, think of this. Does anyone doubt that if Israel's goal was to kill all Palestinians that they have the power to do so?And yet they haven't. Do you doubt that Hamas would show similar restraint if they had the power to destroy every Israeli?

Daniel Henninger writes about what was Obama's supposed gift of convincing everyone that he agreed with them.
The Obama gift is, or was, empathy. Every politician since Julius Caesar has known how to do empathy. Bill Clinton summited empathy's Everest with, "I feel your pain." But the Obama style of empathy hasn't matched the office he achieved.

It started with all those weird, dropped "g's." A cranial gong goes off when Barack Obama starts droppin' "g's." The American president who is seen discoursing eloquently at the African leaders summit hits the stump and suddenly he sounds like Gabby Hayes. "Folks like you are havin' a hard time makin' it when the wealthiest are grabbin' it all in for themselves."

What is worse, Mr. Obama has used his empathy gift only in one direction—to animate his base against opponents. It worked for him. He won re-election.

But the way Mr. Obama talks, and talks, has diminished his authority and credibility. The U.S. has a president who is capable of moving factions with words, but not a people. This is a president without a presidential vocabulary.

The 44th president in Kansas City last week: "Stop bein' mad all the time. Stop just hatin' all the time." He is a politician talking his way to an approval rating in the presidential red zone that lies below 40.
Once more the White House is talking about President Obama making his umpteenth pivot to the economy. How many times have we heard that? Along those lines, Tom Blumer contrasts the recovery from the recession in Reagan's presidency to our recovery to the 2009 recession.

Andrew Rudalevige, writing at Monkey Cage in the Washington Post, explains why it's a meaningless statistic for the White House to trumpet that Obama has issued fewer executive orders than several Republican presidents. There's a lot more to executive overreach than issuing an executive order. And it is the quality of executive orders that matters anyway.
To be pedantic (I think I’m supposed to say first that I hate to be pedantic, but I’m a professor, and that would be a lie), this is both true and hugely misleading. It is true that President Obama has issued fewer executive orders both in absolute terms, and on an order-per-year basis, than most of his recent or even recent-ish predecessors. It’s also true that executive orders can matter greatly, as with Obama’s expansion of protections for the employees of federal contractors.

And yet to equate executive orders (a formal type of presidential directive) with executive powers, as the White House and its allies seek to do, is to misdirect — to hope that the hand will be quicker than the eye. As Philip Bump has put it, the fuss is about executive actions more broadly. While Obama issued only 20 executive orders in 2013 (the lowest single-year total in more than a century), that same year he issued 41 presidential memoranda to the heads of departments and agencies, along with nine additional presidential “determinations” designed to serve as the basis for bureaucratic behavior.

And there are lots of other avenues for that. We could include regulatory action, signing statements, legal interpretations, and administrative orders technically issued by department heads but at the behest of the White House. (We could also include unpublished memoranda, and classified orders, and military orders, and the Presidential Policy Guidance and Presidential Policy Directive documents produced that year through the National Security Council advising process.)
Rudalevige than goes through eight of the actions which Obama's opponents accuse of him of exceeding his authority. None of them involve executive orders. There are so many other ways that Obama is subverting the separation of powers.

They know if you haven't signed the President's birthday card and they're not pleased. As Mollie Hemingway writes, there's something a bit too Kim Jong Un-ish about the push that the Barack Obama Twitter feed put on to get everyone to go sign his birthday card. She links to a rant from Jim Lofgren from 2010 about the cult of personality underlying the idea that millions of Americans should be celebrating The One's birthday.