Thursday, April 19, 2012

Truth, Justice and the American Way--1/20/2013

What’s new Today 

Story #1 looks at Obama and the truth and determines that are strangers.  #2 is an interesting look at why the Obama campaign may have gone after Ann Romney.  #3 Democratic Senator Jim Webb looks at Obamacare and sees a lack of leadership by President Obama.  #4 looks at the GSA scandal and wonders why anyone wants to make government larger.  #5 looks at the book A Righteous Mind.  It appears to be a good look at the difference between liberals and conservatives.  #6 looks at Eisenhower’s other warning (besides the military industrial complex)in his farewell address. 

Today’s thoughts

From a study in 2010 some frightening statistics.  A majority of people don’t know the name of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  More frightening?  Eight percent named Thurgood Marshall, who not only was never the Chief Justice but also died in 1993. And let’s not even talk about the four percent who think Harry Reid, a Senator not a member of the Supreme Court, is the Chief Justice.

With the attack on Ann Romney we’ve heard leftist claim she had nannies to help her.  Actually according to her children they didn’t.  But Barack Obama was raised by a nanny while he was living in Indonesia.

The Hitler movie is back only this time it’s about Barack and his eating Hitler’s dog.

First time jobless claims were up again for the second straight week.  Unless a lot of people drop out of the labor market we will see a tick up in unemployment. 

1.   Are Obama and the Truth Strangers?

George Will writes that "Barack Obama's intellectual sociopathy -- his often breezy and sometimes loutish indifference to truth -- should no longer startle." But why do Obama and his supporters feel no compunction when they do so? And does this pattern provide an opportunity for Mitt Romney to gather votes in November?

As has often been commented, all of Barack Obama's promises come with an expiration date. They range from the relatively minor to the truly majestic such as his promise that he would not raise taxes for those families earning under $250,000 a year and that he would cut the deficit in half.  

He peddled a world of wonders that would flow from passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The fabrications started early -- even in the very name of the act. Patients are not protected: not only will they not be able to keep their current plans if they like them, as he promised (businesses have been dropping company plans in reaction to Obamacare), but their care will fall under the control of the Independent Payment Advisory Board that may just decide that various medical procedures are not covered -- and, incidentally, the people on this board are "unelected." Where is the Patient Protection?

Nor is the Act "affordable". Obama pledges that the Act would cut the deficit and bend the cost curve downward have been shown to be false…

Expect to see a lot of this kind of information.  This is the Republican campaign plan.  Simply remind everyone (in Obama’s own words) what was promised and then show what was delivered.

2.  The Attack on Ann Romney

Ann Romney's oldest son Tagg was baffled why anyone would attack his mom when he was interviewed  by Hugh Hewitt about growing up in the Romney home. Ann stayed home and raised their five sons and now has the joy of 16 grandkids….

… Somehow Ann Romney also found time and energy to do non-paid work helping children in need. Her work outside the home has been devoted to at-risk youth, inner city girls, third world children, equine therapy programs for physically challenged children, literacy for children, the American Red Cross and the Perkins School for the Blind. She has also worked outside the home promoting advocacy and research for a cure for cancer and multiple sclerosis (two terrible illnesses she has suffered from herself). She is also a national prize-winning athlete as an equestrian, her personal lifelong passion. An admirable, good woman.

So why would the Obama campaign want to pick on her?

It was certainly purposeful. The White House chose a top political operative to attack Ann Romney. Hilary Rosen is somebody. She has visited the White House 35 times. She has had five personal work sessions with Obama, as well as meeting with Valerie Jarret and David Axelrod...

… For Obama, the politics of envy is more than a campaign strategy. Envy gnaws at his core. Envy is alive and personal. As we hear in speech after speech, Obama sees America as an unfair place where the fortunate live at the expense of the unfortunate. Envy and grievance give his life meaning, they give him a cause….

I recommend reading this piece in its entirety. With the upbringing of Barack Obama it is a miracle that he turned out as well as he did.  But there are a lot of demons in his background which explain a lot of the faults we are seeing. 

3. Obamacare:  Lessons in a Lack of Leadership

President Obama’s new health-care law will be his greatest liability as he attempts to once again win the critical swing state of Virginia, Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) warned Wednesday.

“I’ll be real frank here,” Webb said at a breakfast organized by Bloomberg News. “I think that the manner in which the health-care reform issue was put in front of the Congress, the way that the issue was dealt with by the White House, cost Obama a lot of credibility as a leader.”

Webb voted for the law, but also for more than a dozen GOP-offered amendments to it.

“If you were going to do something of this magnitude, you have to do it with some clarity, with a clear set of objectives from the White House,” added Webb, who opted not to run for a second term this year. “...It should have been done with better direction from the White House.”

He faulted Obama for playing too passive a role in shaping the legislation. Taking a lesson from Bill Clinton’s failed 1994 health-care overhaul effort--which was faulted for its micromanagement of the details of the bill--Obama opted to spell out a broad set of goals, and let Congress work out the details.

What happened in the end, Webb said, “was five different congressional committees voted out their version of health-care reform, and so you had 7,000 pages of contradictory information. Everybody got confused. ... From that point forward, Obama’s had a difficult time selling himself as a decisive leader.”

Webb also said that if Obama had opted for a smaller measure, he would have stood a chance of winning the support of a significant number of Republicans on Capitol Hill...

Obamacare is a major problem for Obama.  The American public was horrified by the way it was passed and Obama role in it was disgraceful. 

4.  GSA:  A Lesson about Big Government

Congressional lawmakers grilled General Services Administration officials for a third straight day Wednesday about a rogue employee's penchant for lavish, taxpayer-funded junkets, unearthing evidence that the waste, fraud and abuse is more common and has been going on much longer than first indicated.

Over the last six years, the GSA, which is in charge of the federal government's real estate holdings, has been racked repeatedly by financial kickbacks, insider dealing and general incompetence, lawmakers said.

Just last year, seven GSA employees were found guilty of accepting bribes and defrauding the government in a scheme that cost taxpayers $750,000. Other GSA scandals date back to the Carter administration in the 1970s.

"It really shakes you up," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who chaired a Senate inquiry Wednesday. "The expression is fool me once, but again and again?"

Senators Wednesday marveled at the scope of the latest scandal. A regional commissioner, Jeff Neely, spent $823,000 on a conference for GSA employees in Las Vegas in October 2010 and appears to have a long history of freely spending taxpayers' money on leisure trips and perks and other questionable expenses.

The GSA's Inspector General, Brian Miller, who has been investigating Neely since November 2010, said he learns of new abuses nearly daily. He told the Senate committee he just discovered that Neely's wife, Deborah, "had a parking space throughout the year" at the federal building where Neely worked, even though she doesn't work for the government.

Wasteful spending was embedded in the culture of some GSA departments, in particular Neely's, where the management for years planned annual conferences with the chief goal of outdoing the previous year's event, Miller said.

The Las Vegas conference Neely planned included loft hotel suites, lavish parties, a mind reader and clown for entertainment and commemorative coins in velvet boxes for the 300 attendees.

While the Las Vegas event was described as "over the top," even by Neely, it was apparently nothing new, Miller said….

This is an example of the problems with big government.  The “Yes We Can” chant takes on a whole new meaning when you see exactly what they can do with our money. 

5.  The Righteous Mind

You’re smart. You’re liberal. You’re well informed. You think conservatives are narrow-minded. You can’t understand why working-class Americans vote Republican. You figure they’re being duped. You’re wrong.

This isn’t an accusation from the right. It’s a friendly warning from Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia who, until 2009, considered himself a partisan liberal. In “The ­Righteous Mind,” Haidt seeks to enrich liberalism and political discourse generally, with a deeper awareness of human nature. Politics isn’t just about ­manipulating people who disagree with you. It’s about learning from them.

The problem isn’t that people don’t reason. They do reason. But their arguments aim to support their conclusions, not yours. Reason doesn’t work like a judge or teacher, impartially weighing evidence or guiding us to wisdom. It works more like a lawyer or press secretary, justifying our acts and judgments to others.

Faith, patriotism, valor, chastity, law and order — these Republican themes touch all six moral foundations, whereas Democrats, in Haidt’s analysis, focus almost entirely on care and fighting oppression. This is Haidt’s startling message to the left: When it comes to morality, conservatives are more broad-minded than liberals. They serve a more varied diet.

The hardest part, Haidt finds, is getting liberals to open their minds. And in a survey of 2,000 Americans, Haidt found that self-described liberals, especially those who called themselves “very liberal,” were worse at predicting the moral judgments of moderates and conservatives than moderates and conservatives were at predicting the moral judgments of liberals. Liberals don’t understand conservative values. And they can’t recognize this failing, because they’re so convinced of their rationality, open-mindedness and enlightenment….

This is especially hard for the left to accept since they view themselves as the open minded ones.  Apparently they aren’t. 

6.  Eisenhower’s Other Warning

…Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system – ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society….

The left likes to remind us of the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about.  But he also warned us about a government research complex that subordinates good science to government whims.  Perhaps foreseeing the AGW dilemma we find ourselves in, Eisenhower recognized the corrupting influence government money could bring to science.

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