Sunday, July 04, 2010
The USA: A country for the little guy
An Independence Day reflection
I was born and bred in the Australian working class and, despite my success in academe and business, I still feel most at home among working class people. They seem to me to have a realism that the bourgeoisie lack. And I notice the same good-humoured realism among small-town Americans too. Big cities and grand theorizing seem to undermine common sense.
And there is no doubt that people from humble beginnings can rise to the top in both Australia and the USA -- from a B grade actor like Ronald Reagan to a parasite like Barack Obama.
But I think that a major factor in making America great is an extraordinarily simple one and one that is often overlooked: America has Congressional elections every two years. That puts the politicians in mortal fear of the little guy -- of ordinary Americans.
The politicians have got very little room to maneuver. If they run off the rails they will very rapidly be out on their ear. And that fear does mostly restrain them from grand follies. So America is in a very real sense the country where the little guy rules -- and that has made it great. And there is no doubt that the grand folly of Obamacare will deliver many a well-deserved boot up the backside to Democrat politicians this November.
And one of the wonderful things about ordinary Americans and Australians is that they are benevolent. They are kindly people who are ready to help others if they can. And that has made the USA into an incredibly generous nation.
What leaves me in awe is that America has repeatedly shown its readiness to risk the lives of its finest young men in order to rescue people in other countries from tyranny and brutality. America itself has not been seriously threatened for around 200 years so most of America's many wars have simply been efforts to help others.
And I think therefore that it is very right to remind ourselves of that awesome sacrifice on this day. I think the video below does that:
Barack Obama's 'politics as usual' revealed by Rod Blagojevich trial
Obama's action in trying to ease his friend Valerie Jarrett into his old Senate seat will fuel cynicism about politics, argues Toby Harnden
In a year when Americans are arguably more cynical and disillusioned about politics than at any time since Watergate, the corruption trial of Rod Blagojevich is a sobering reminder of how its practitioners operate.
Although "Blago", the foul-mouthed bouffant buffoon, is the main attraction of the Chicago production, the former Illinois governor's reluctant co-star is Barack Obama. The President forms part of the proceedings each day even though the judge has spared him a personal experience.
Reports of the Blago trial cannot make comfortable reading for the White House for they provide what Mary Mitchell, the Chicago Sun-Times columnist, described as "an unfiltered look at how the sausage is made in Illinois"
Illinois, of course, is the state that gave us President Obama. It is where he cut his teeth as a community organiser and where he first began to ascend the greasy pole of politics by taking his seat in the state senate.
At issue in the Blago trial is whether the then governor was trying to sell the United States Senate seat that Obama ascended to in 2004 after his initial Republican opponent imploded.
Blago had the power to appoint a new Senator when the seat was vacated because of Obama's presidential election victory in November 2008. Clearly, he thought the seat was a valuable prize.
"I got this thing and it's f------ golden and I'm not just giving it up for f------ nothing," he said in a conversation recorded by a federal wiretap. Blago's instinct was that Obama – who he mockingly described as "this historic, f------ demi-god" – would be willing to pay to have his preferred choice be duly appointed.
That choice, the trial has confirmed, was Valerie Jarrett, who now rejoices in the title of senior White House adviser and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.
Her qualification to be a Senator? Jarrett had worked for Mayor Richard Daley and chaired the Chicago Transit Board. She had been a successful businesswoman in Chicago. But she had never held elected office and her name would not even have been mentioned had it not been for her closeness to the President-elect.
Jarrett was a long-time personal friend of Obama and his wife Michelle and that seemed to be qualification enough for the man about to enter the White House.
Tom Balanoff, president of the Service Employees International Union's powerful Local 1 branch, took on the role as "emissary" for Jarrett, who initially wanted the Senate seat, and testified that Obama telephoned him personally to speak about it.
Next, Obama's incoming chief of staff Rahm Emanuel spoke to John Wyma, a lobbyist, who then telephoned Blago's right-hand man John Harris to communicate that "the president-elect would be very pleased if you appointed Valerie and he would be, uh, thankful and appreciative".
Blago's problem seems to have been that he wanted something a little bit more concrete than appreciation. To be precise, his response was: "F--- them."
The gratitude of a President, however, is no small thing and who knows what favour Blago might have found coming his way in due course had he duly appointed Jarrett.
That, of course, is how Chicago politics works – mutual back-scratching, a nudge and a wink. Blago's problem, if the allegations prove to be founded, is that he took a much cruder and more literal approach to such matters.
It has also become clear from the trial that Obama wanted to make sure that Emil Jones, then President of the Illinois State Senate and the man Obama referred to as his "political godfather", out of the seat.
The former sewer inspector had taken Obama under his wing when he was a callow state senator but he had apparently now outlived his usefulness. Perhaps Obama did not want such a reminder of his past in Washington.
Team Obama soon concluded that Blago was out of control and that the way he was dealing with the Senate vacancy could be extremely damaging to the President if he was too closely associated with it. So they pulled back and Jarrett took her White House job instead.
Quite why the President who promised hope, change and transparency thought it proper to have been trying to ease his friend into his old Senate seat just days after he had won the White House has not been answered.
There is no suggestion that what Obama was doing was anything illegal, improper or even out of the ordinary, at least in Illinois. He was simply engaging in politics as usual. Unfortunately, politics as usual is what Candidate Obama promised to bring to an end.
The Obama administration grows more arrogant, cavalier and fundamentally dishonest every day. Just in the past few days, we've seen a number of troubling examples. Frankly, sometimes it's hard to keep up.
In a speech in Wisconsin, Obama was bragging about how wonderful the terrible economy is. You'll recall that during both of President George W. Bush's terms, Democrats, including Obama, castigated him for destroying the economy, despite the existence of empirically verifiable robust growth during some seven of those eight years.
Now that Obama has been in office for a year and a half and his economy is failing by all objective measures, he and his Democrats demand, once again, that we ignore the empirical evidence in front of our faces and bow down to them in reverent gratitude for ensuring that things are not worse than they are.
Everyone knows Obama promised -- he was hardly tentative about his prediction -- that if the nation followed him over the cliff with his harebrained "stimulus" scheme, unemployment would not exceed 8 percent. When unemployment soared above 10 percent, he insisted we be patient to allow his plan to work. Now that it stubbornly remains in the high 9s, he tells us that if he hadn't implemented his stimulus bill, the economy would be much worse (12 or 13 or 15 percent), so we not only are forbidden from criticizing him for this disaster but also must genuflect because only three of the four wheels of the economy are teetering over the edge of the cliff.
He said, "There may be some roads that not only were repaired but also were ... linked up to create a new industrial park that would facilitate long-term economic development beyond this immediate crisis."
Can you imagine the reaction of the liberal media had a Republican president uttered such gibberish? There "may be some roads"? How's that for a non-statement? That were linked up to a new industrial park to facilitate long-term growth? How about some facts here, Mr. Intellectual? Then again, how can you blame him for citing nebulous "facts" and failed economic theory when neither the real facts nor the economic evidence substantiates his claims.
He also said that every economist who's looked at it has said that the recovery did its job. Would someone please get this man a link to The Heritage Foundation's website or any other credible conservative think tank or economist? Time and time again, Heritage scholars have not only argued but also demonstrated why Obama's economic policies don't work in theory and haven't worked in practice. As noted many times before, they have not helped avert a crisis, but have exacerbated already bleak conditions. Sure, all economists agree with him, just as all Americans agree with his socialistic policies.
Moving on, in the past few days, we've also heard from former Justice Department attorney J. Christian Adams, who has confirmed -- from the belly of the beast -- our worst suspicions about Obama and Eric Holder's Justice Department's dismissing a slam-dunk case for voter intimidation against New Black Panther Party members for racial reasons. This is an egregious trampling on the rule of law, an outrage that would subject any Republican president to charges of high crimes and misdemeanors, a scandal of the first order for which this administration isn't even bothering to develop "plausible deniability."
Next, we read about Obama's reaction to Sen. Lamar Alexander's reasonable suggestion that any energy discussion between the president and a "bipartisan" group of senators should include a focus on the oil spill and BP. Obama said, "That's just your talking point," and flat-out refused to discuss the subject. Is he king or what?
Finally, we've also witnessed this week another outburst from that paragon of smugness, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, whom I criticized earlier for mocking members of the press corps for their legitimate questions in lieu of attempting to answer them in good faith.
This time, this little smarmy nerd-thug mocked Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona for claiming Obama told him in a private meeting he would not secure our borders because it would disincentivize Republicans from supporting his effort to pass "comprehensive immigration reform" (read: amnesty). Gibbs accused Kyl of changing his story and basically arguing with himself on the matter, even though Kyl has not retreated an iota from the only relevant assertion: that Obama made the statement in question. Watch the video in which Gibbs clearly intends to create the false impression Kyl had vacillated on his charge, and tell me with a straight face we're not dealing with an entirely unprecedented level of arrogance in this White House.
Obamanomics hits a reef : Borrowing and taxation amount to a transfer of purchasing power. We measure aggregate spending in terms of dollars. How in heavens name does this process increase the quantity of dollars? What we get is not an increase in demand but a change in the composition of demand, the pattern of spending. Aggregate spending must remain unchanged
Did outsourcing hollow out the US economy? : The effect of an overvalued currency is to make imports cheap relative to domestic goods and services. The longer the longer the currency remains overvalued the greater will be the distortions, i.e., malinvestments. This is where an apparent hollowing out process could possibly make its appearance
A leftwing intellectual spews anti-market nonsense : The left's rage against capitalism is relentless. What is striking about these intellectuals is their total ignorance of how markets actually work and of the true history of capitalism. Another striking feature is their utter contempt for the truth
Paul Krugman's depressing krugnorance : A devastating critique of Paul Krugman's economics and his absurd belief that printing money cures recessions. He finds it impossible to entertain the thought that printing money may actually be the cause of booms and busts
Fidel's Castro's terrorist trade : Castro Incorporated has three lines of business: drugs, people smuggling and terrorism. So why isn't the media exposing this vicious political gangster? Because as he himself said: 'I belong to a species which is above arrest', ie, I'm a leftist. Castro's secret police are now working with Mexican drug lords and smuggling terrorists across the border
A Dog in the Manger Presidency: Obama's character described 2,500 years ago by Aesop : If you run a campaign on the argument you are an unprecedented natural-born leader, despite utter inexperience — can you afford to let anyone else outshine you? The notion that an exemplar, par excellence, will fall full-born, like Athena from the head of Zeus is appealing. This concept is seductive probably for the same reason Jesus has unmitigated attraction to this day
Lenin Lives! But will he get his own spot on Larry King? : The Larry King interview with Oliver Stone and Jesse Ventura displayed a carefully crafted use of disinformation and half truths which have been the hallmark of Communist propaganda within the United States since Lenin unleashed his campaign against America not long after the Bolshevik revolution
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 8:44 PM