Don’t Know Much About History

When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the princes of greed. He said, “Look, here’s what happened.”

–Joe Biden

One of my predecessors, President Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone: “It’s a great invention but who would ever want to use one?” That’s why he’s not on Mt. Rushmore.

–Barack Obama

PJ Tatler offers some more suggestions for administration speech writers.

UPDATE–(For those who slept through American History class) President Hayes had the first telephone installed in the White House. FDR was not in office when the stock market crashed in 1929 and did not make a television broadcast until 1939 at the New York World’s Fair.

UPDATE 2–The WaPo fact checker awards the President 4 Pinnocios for his slur of Rutherford B. Hayes.


UPDATE 4–#BarackObamasPresidentialFacts

UPDATE 5—Wow. Even New York magazine is piling on.

Nietzschian Economics?

Frank Fleming offers an explanation of the President’s economic policies that suggests they are grounded in the principle that something which does not kill us makes us stronger.

Admittedly, it’s a little counterintuitive. People think that when the economy is suffering, you need to be nice to it and help it. Maybe hug it when it cries. Obama knows you have to resist that urge. When the economy comes to him broken and bloody, pleading for help, he says to it, “You think things are bad now?” Then he puts his foot on the economy’s throat and says, “Now let’s see you survive this!” And then he laughs at it maniacally to make it mad so it will fight back.

Read the whole thing.

A Promise Kept

When he was running for President in 2008, Barak Obama promised to put coal-fired power plants out of business. He’s keeping that promise.

OTOH, shutting down electrical generating capacity could make it harder to keep another promise he made this week: to buy a Chevy Volt when he leaves office “in five years.” But wait, that promise has some wiggle room. We can help him dodge it by sending him from office in a bit less than one year!

Is it November yet?

Civility v. Barbarism

Sarah Palin asks a cogent question: When will Karzai apologize for the murder of Americans during the brouhaha over the Koran burning?

I suspect that the answer is: Never.

Here we have a clear demonstration of the differences between American and Afghan cultures. Each believes that it is acting properly according to its own rules. We have a worked example of why not all cultures should be seen as of equal worth—at least by Western standards.

UPDATE—<irony> Allahpundit </irony> adds his comments.

New Opportunity

It appears that there openings for unpaid intern positions at Minitrue on what is being called the “Truth Team.”

The Truth Team is a network of supporters of President Obama who are committed to responding to unfounded attacks and defending the President’s record. When you’re faced with someone who misrepresents the truth, you can find all the facts you need right here—along with ways to share the message with whoever needs to hear it.

Yes, now you can get all the facts you need to explain to explain to your friends and neighbors such truths as “No, feeding the hungry and caring for the sick isn’t religious work!”

UPDATE–I am shocked, shocked, to discover that there are bloggers (here, for example) who do not approve of the Truth Team!

Follow The Money

It seems that the administration wants to lend $2,000,000,000 to Petrobras, Brazil’s state-owned oil company, so that it can develop an off-shore field, the oil from said field to go principally to China.

Let’s think this through.

The budget isn’t in surplus, let alone balance, so the Treasury will have to borrow the money we lend to Petrobras. Most likely, the money will be borrowed from China, so we are going to borrow money from China for Brazil’s benefit to develop an off-shore oil field to supply China after shutting down most of our own off-shore oil development.

Uh, huh.

White House Tax Deadbeats

36 of the President’s advisors on the White House staff owe back taxes. They owe a total of $833,970, an average of $23,165 each.

Let me put that in perspective for you. My income for the last few years has put me in the 95th percentile of taxpayers. I just filed my 1040 for 2011, and my total federal income tax bill (income tax plus Social Security plus Medicare) was just less than $23,000. I typically pay more than 95 percent of all taxpayers, and, on average, each of these guys owe more than a year’s worth of my taxes.

Mr. President, I would prefer that you not raise the issue of tax fairness again until your staff is paying their fair shares.

UPDATE–Using the instructions for the 2010 Form 1040, I calculate that $23,165 would be the amount of income tax owed by a family of four with an adjusted gross income of $149,210 (taking the standard deduction). That is a bit more than 3X the median household income of $49,445 for 2010. A median income family of four taking the standard deduction in 2010 would have paid $2,676. So, taken together, the tax deadbeats at the White House owe more than enough to take care of the income taxes of 300+ median families.

UPDATE 2–Let’s examine the two tax rates in the example above. The rate for the median income family is 5.4%. The rate for the well-off family is 15.5%. I leave it to the Gentle Reader to decide if it is fair that the family with 3X the income pays almost 9X the taxes.

Running On Empty

Ed Morrissey has a post which considers the President’s record of empty promises made during his State of the Union addresses. Here’s one from last year:

You can see the results of last year’s investments in clean energy – in the North Carolina company that will create 1,200 jobs nationwide helping to make advanced batteries; or in the California business that will put a thousand people to work making solar panels.

The WaPo study Morrissey cites gives the President a 28% success rate on last year’s “promises.” That’s not very good, but is still isn’t as empty as the Senate’s budget.

Spoils System (21st Century Version)

The creation and expansion of the Civil Service for federal employees brought about a significant improvement in our government. It was one of the great achievements of the the Progressive Era, effectively ending a “spoils system” of using federal jobs to reward political allies. At least that’s what I was taught in school back in the ’60s.

Of course, politicians have always been able to steer government business to their friends. Bridges to nowhere have been a part of the political landscape since before the beginnings of our Republic.

But now we are seeing government money being simply given away to favored supporters  or campaign contributors. Oh, the gifts take the form of “loan guarantees,” but these loans are made to obviously risky enterprises. Solyndra is but one of many green energy boondoggles that have moved cash into the hands of the President’s backers.

Other public assets are up for grabs as well. With White House support, LightSquared wants to have a slice of the radio spectrum reassigned to be substantially move valuable. They want this done at no cost to them, but at the cost of crippling the GPS system. Fortunately, it appears that Congress has blocked any FCC action in LightSquared’s favor.

None of this should be surprising. The current administration has deep roots in the politics of Chicago, not a place noted for clean, uncorrupt government. That city didn’t finally make its spoils system “illegal” until 1983. Michelle Malkin was dead on in her 2009 book, Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies.

Is it November yet.

I Like His Definition Better

Newt says that he doesn’t have a vacation home in New Hampshire because he isn’t rich. OK, here we have a man who has had a six-figure open account at Tiffany’s who doesn’t consider himself rich. Wow!

OTOH, our current president keeps defining rich down from $250k a year to $200k to, with the present “Recapture Tax”, as low as $110,100 a year.

At least for tax purposes, I like Newt’s definition of rich.

I See Nothing—NOTHING!

Michelle Malkin has an essay decrying the apparently Sgt.-Schultz-like reaction by Progressive pundits to what those of us on the right see as the President’s scandals. Solyndra, Fast and Furious, Obamacare Waviers, etc., etc.

This may seem counterintuitive, but I believe that these Progressives are telling the truth when they say that they see no scandals. Remember that words have meaning and that the word scandal implies something that tends to diminish one’s reputation. These Progressives are seeing the Administration doing things that they had been hoping for. Thus, there is nothing scandalous from their point of view.

Their reaction tends to confirm an observation made by Margaret Thatcher:

In the end the real case against socialism is not its economic inefficiency, though on all sides there is evidence of that. Much more fundamental is its basic immorality.

UPDATE—Another Obama donor convicted of fraud.

Is This Their Legal Precedent?

Well, when the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.

—Richard Nixon

Not only is DoJ its up to ass in alligators with the ATF and Fast and Furious, now things are catching up to the DEA on laundering drug money. See here. And it’s not just the conservative blogosphere taking note. The NYT is on the case too.

UPDATE–Among the many laws and regulations violated by Operation Fast and Furious were the International Traffic in Arms Regulations overseen by the State Department, but apparently the State Department didn’t really care. DoS has been licensing legal shipments to Mexico knowing full well that substantial quantities of weapons were being diverted to the drug cartels.

A Promise Kept

It’s rare when a politician keeps a promise, but President Obama has. During the 2008 campaign, he promised on numerous occasions to raise energy prices. He has certainly kept that promise. Gas was around a-buck-eighty in January, 2008. During my round trip from Maryland to Texas earlier this month, I paid an average of $3.28.

It certainly seems that he is working to make sure that promise stays kept. For example, consider the administration’s delays in approvals for the Keystone XL pipeline which would bring Canadian oil to U. S. refineries, providing us with an on-shore source of energy that we could purchase from a country that doesn’t fund terrorists.

The Canadians are going to develop their oil shale deposits, and they will have no trouble selling the oil on the world market. Indeed, if we don’t move soon, construction will begin on a pipeline to the Pacific coast in British Columbia where Chinese tankers can call. Building that pipeline will be a significant engineering challenge, but it will happen if that’s how the oil can move to the world market. It’s less likely to happen if the more cost-effective Keystone XL line is built.

Regime change in 2013 may come soon enough to save Keystone XL. We can hope for a change.

Obama Hears a Who?

After having their decorations stolen by the Grinch, the residents of Whoville were still able have Christmas. So would we all—even with the 15 cent tax fee on Christmas trees.

The administration does seem to be learning to listen to the public. It took them only a day to figure out how mind-bloggingly stupid the proposed Grinch Tax was. Even more stupid was the idea that we need a bureaucracy to promote Christmas trees to the American people.

What Do You Mean “We”?

In what might be an attempt to preempt the “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” question, the President says that, yes, we are under his programs.

Uh, huh.

I’d comment, but there’s already too much good stuff out there.

Jim Geraghty at NRO asks for a definition of better. Ed Morrissey has a nice video of John Boehner’s reaction at Hot Air.

UPDATE–I am one of the few people who isn’t much worse off now than I was four years ago. I have has steady work as a contract engineer for NASA; I’ve been living in the same house for 17 years, so I have positive equity; and my son has been attending reasonably priced schools, paying cash for tuition and fees. My 401k is a disaster, but whose isn’t.

I’m on the high side of the curve, and I’m not better off.

Is the President so out of touch that he thinks things have moved past mere recovery into improvement, or does he think that we’re dumb enough to believe him?

UPDATE 2–Q: What president responded to a financial crisis with a massive increase in federal spending, a raft of new regulations, and tax increases? A: Herbert Hoover.

President Obama has not raised taxes as Hoover did, but he has managed delay recovery to a comparable extent.

Why You Do Think They Call Him “Dope”?

The top entry on the White House petition web page so far has been the one about legalization of marijuana. While I believe smoking anything is bad for you, the White House response is simply a bureaucratic recitation of the “facts.”

If this is how the President’s reelection operation is going to talk down to the majority of voters who now favor decriminalization, then Barak Obama’s slot in prime time (for which he was never ready) ends at noon on 20 January, 2013.

UPDATE–Tina Korbe has more here.

UPDATE 2–ABC News: Obama Issues Order to Ease Drug Shortages. Oh, those drugs … I guess those Firesign Theatre fans and OWSers hoping for the Free Food and Drug Administration will still be waiting for the Electrician.

Earth Calling Alter, Over

Jonathan Alter has a piece up at Bloomberg where he asserts that the Obama administration has been miraculously free of scandal.

[T]he president’s Teflon is intriguing.

Mr. Alter must be living on a different planet from me. Fast and Furious. Bad Karma (made in Finland). Black Panther voter intimidation. CLASS Act. I could go on and on. It’s not that there’s no dirt; the MSM is doing its best to keep it away from the President. We don’t really know if he’s Teflon-coated. Little sticks because little has been applied.

UPDATE—Tina Korbe comments at Hot Air:

Instead of marveling at the Obama miracle, maybe Alter ought to do a little reporting himself.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE 2—It dawns on me that one might consider the Obama administration relatively scandal free considering its roots in Chicago machine politics, but that really isn’t the point of view of Alter’s piece.