Saturday, October 23, 2010

Why Obama Doesn’t Seem to Relate emotionally

Unlike most people, he exhibits little or no moral sense

Tibor R. Machan

Most of the time when I hear about how President Obama lacks the emotional disposition that most Americans would like to see him demonstrate, I am disinclined to make much of the point. What I want from someone in the role of the presidency is good thinking and not sensitivity.

Nonetheless I have been paying a bit more attention to this criticism of the President because as I have been following his efforts to bolster the chances of Democrats to remain in power in Washington, DC, I have noticed that there is something amiss with how he comes over emotionally.

As a start, Mr. Obama is always glib, as if nothing on earth could phase him, as if it is all old hat to him, he is way ahead of everyone. This comes through, for instance, in his repeated dismissal of anything that members of the Tea Party complain about.

And that’s just the beginning. One related steady emotional theme in the president’s talks is the effort to be accommodating toward critics and enemies of America. Indeed, the very idea that Mr. Obama would identify anyone as an enemy of the United States of America seems off base. This is because it looks like he is mostly interested in building bridges between us and them, however barbaric they may be.

Mr. Obama is one of those American intellectuals who appears to be stopped from criticizing anyone abroad because, well, this country has had slavery and segregation and poverty so how could it justify being critical of anyone? It shows a spirit of perpetual self-criticism and mea culpa, attitudes that appear to dominate the president’s conscience (and we are here talking about appearances).

There is no black and white for the man –no one, not even a vicious terrorist and a leader of a country in which women are systematically and barbarically oppressed, justifies for him any sort of firm moral condemnation. Like those ever-permissive parents who always have an excuse for what their offspring are doing, no matter how mischievous or outright evil it manages to be, for Mr. Obama those who attack America, actually attack innocents everywhere, just could not be all bad, unworthy of understanding.

This mentality of turning the other cheek, no matter what, appears to underlie the widespread distrust people have of Mr. Obama’s emotional makeup. Emotions, although they are ultimately unreliable guidelines to action, are pretty good clues to what system of values someone has internalized. If one has to force oneself disapprove of or condemn vicious conduct and people and it doesn’t arise naturally, people who do have a sense of just how bad some others can be will become suspicious.

President Obama and his cheerleaders must realize that eloquence is no substitute for emotional balance, for being in tune emotionally with what those deserve who comport themselves villainously. Being well spoken is not enough. One must also have a sense of what needs to be said, have substance to communicate, a sense of justice, if you will.

Or perhaps Mr. Obama just despises being disliked by people, even by vicious rulers abroad. But that, too, reveals his emotional priorities. Mr. Obama needs to open himself up to the possibility that some people should really be hated, that they are evil and not merely misguided, sick, or deranged.

Human life is distinctive in the world precisely because human beings have a moral nature and they can act irresponsibly, morally deplorably, contemptibly, as well as admirably, demonstrating moral excellence.

And while that idea has always had its detractors, the moral skeptics, they simply cannot sustain their denial that people are moral agents and capable of doing vile things for which they ought to be condemned. They do not deserve sympathy but contempt.

And this is evident from the fact that the one exception to the skeptics’ ambivalence about morality is their own utter contempt for those who do take morality seriously. They tend to be dismissed, even derided, as fundamentalists or moralizers, which is clearly and paradoxically something (morally?) contemptible to the skeptics!

Moral skeptics usually are hoisted on their own petard. Their amoral stance isn’t philosophically sustainable because human beings are indeed moral beings, unlike the rest the members of the living world. And one result of having a moral nature and admitting to it is that one will openly cope with moral evil as well as moral excellence. If one denies this, as it seems President Obama does when it comes to America’s enemies, it will eventually stand in the way of reaching out to ordinary people.


NOTE: In extreme forms, lack of a moral sense is psychopathy. Obama's glacial calm is also normal in psychopaths. See here and here -- JR


Assault on Palin, DeMint and Other Conservatives Often Rooted In Lies or Distortions

The long knives have been out for Sarah Palin since her emergence on the national stage just over two years ago. Katie Couric infamously mocked Sarah Palin and her family on tape even while the Republican Convention was still going on… long before her “objective” interview with her. But that was just the beginning.

Recently there was this silly effort by leftists to make fun of Palin for admonishing activists not to “party like it’s 1773″ yet. Not just random bloggers, mind you, but that paragon of fairness and balance from PBS, Gwen Ifill, lept at the opportunity to make fun of Palin for getting a date wrong. The problem, of course, was that Palin was correctly referring to the year of the Boston Tea Party. Ooops.

But then today, we see that Jonathan Martin with Politico has put out a piece trying to make the case that Palin is a “Diva.” In the article, he writes “[a]ccording to a source familiar with the situation, she backed out of planned interviews with conservative talk-show hosts Sean Hannity and Mark Levin the morning she was scheduled to talk to them.” Again, there’s at least one problem… that is, Mark Levin says that this is an outright lie. On Facebook, Mark says, “Sarah Palin never backed out of any interview with me. Period. And John Martin, the reporter, never contacted me to ask me directly. I insist on a retraction. ” Sarah Palin has her faults, but it sure makes one wonder how accurate this piece is when at least part of it is a flat out lie.

But that’s not the only example today. Jim DeMint was on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News last night. During the interview, the Senator made some comments about the state of the Republican Party - pointing out, essentially, that he “doesn’t want to watch the Republican Party betray the trust of the American people again.” Amen. But, what does RealClearPolitics put up as the headline?

They wrote, “DeMint threatens to leave GOP if agenda is not limited government.” Jim DeMint did not “threaten” to leave the GOP. He said he doesn’t want to be a part of a Republican Party that is like that - and that this is not what Republicans are about across America.

This is only the beginning, of course. Senator DeMint will find himself as the ever-increasing focal point of criticism, by the press and, perhaps more, by Washington establishment insiders who feel threatened by anyone willing to stand up to their big-spending, back-scratching, Senate “club” ways. Senator DeMint dares to suggest that the old guard needs to change or go home. He dares to criticize pork-barrel spending and the corrupt appropriators who continue to do it. And most of all, he dares to fight against an establishment built around perpetuating itself rather than liberty, by backing candidates who are willing to challenge that establishment.



While the media continues to attack Christine O’Donnell, liberal buffoons are given a pass

Let's look at a quality Democrat candidate: Alvin Greene

Jim DeMint started the recession. Perhaps I should repeat. Jim DeMint started the recession. Didn't hear me? Jim DeMint started the recession. Are you ready for me to say something else... ANYTHING else? I'm sure that's how MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell felt as he was interviewing Democrat Senate candidate Al Green. While the media continue to attack Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell, Green is coasting under the radar. Let's take a look at the man who is running against South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint. Oh, and remember... Jim DeMint started the recession...

The media are having a field day with Christine O'Donnell. They somehow feel it's relevant to focus on comments O'Donnell made when she was in high school. But take a look at Al Green. This man won 59& of the vote in South Carolina without running any campaign ads. One has to wonder what South Carolina Democrats were thinking...

Ok... let's think about this. This man is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Does that give anyone pause? Wait there's more. In Connecticut, Democrat Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal has been hammered, because he couldn't answer the question, "How do you create a job?" Guess what? Al Green knows how to create jobs... the Al Green action figure:

Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here, but I just don't even know where to begin. The media are pulling no punches regarding O'Donnell, but they ignore Green. Typical, but their outright support for Democrat candidates is getting more blatant by the day. Another point... the electorate gets what it deserves. More people voted for Green, and he won. Ok, one final note... Jim DeMint started the recession.



ObamaCare looks like being a bonanza for employers but a huge slug on the taxpayer

By way of example, the Tennessee State government could reduce costs by over $146 million using the legislated mechanics of health reform to transfer coverage to the federal government -- So says Phil Bredesen, Democrat governor of Tennessee, below

One of the principles of game theory is that you should view the game through your opponent's eyes, not just your own.

This past spring, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (President Obama's health reform) created a system of extensive federal subsidies for the purchase of health insurance through new organizations called "exchanges." The details of these subsidies were painstakingly worked out by members of my own political party to reflect their values: They decided who was to benefit from the subsidies and what was to be purchased with them. They paid a lot of attention to their own strategies, but what I believe they failed to consider properly were the possible strategies of others.

Our federal deficit is already at unsustainable levels, and most Americans understand that we can ill afford another entitlement program that adds substantially to it. But our recent health reform has created a situation where there are strong economic incentives for employers to drop health coverage altogether. The consequence will be to drive many more people than projected—and with them, much greater cost—into the reform's federally subsidized system. This will happen because the subsidies that become available to people purchasing insurance through exchanges are extraordinarily attractive.

In 2014, when these exchanges come into operation, a typical family of four with an annual income of $90,000 and a 45-year-old policy holder qualifies for a federal subsidy of 40% of their health-insurance cost. For that same family with an income of $50,000 (close to the median family income in America), the subsidy is 76% of the cost.

One implication of the magnitude of these subsidies seems clear: For a person starting a business in 2014, it will be logical and responsible simply to plan from the outset never to offer health benefits. Employees, thanks to the exchanges, can easily purchase excellent, fairly priced insurance, without pre-existing condition limitations, through the exchanges. As it grows, the business can avoid a great deal of cost because the federal government will now pay much of what the business would have incurred for its share of health insurance. The small business tax credits included in health reform are limited and short-term, and the eventual penalty for not providing coverage, of $2,000 per employee, is still far less than the cost of insurance it replaces.

For an entrepreneur wanting a lean, employee-oriented company, it's a natural position to take: "We don't provide company housing, we don't provide company cars, we don't provide company insurance. Our approach is to put your compensation in your paycheck and let you decide how to spend it."

But while health reform may alter the landscape for small business in unexpected ways, it also opens the door to what is a potentially far larger effect on the Treasury.

The authors of health reform primarily targeted the uninsured and those now buying expensive individual policies. But there's a very large third group that can also enter and that may have been grossly underestimated: the 170 million Americans who currently have employer-sponsored group insurance. Because of the magnitude of the new subsidies created by Congress, the economics become compelling for many employers to simply drop coverage and help their employees obtain replacement coverage through an exchange.

Let's do a thought experiment. We'll use my own state of Tennessee and our state employees for our data. The year is 2014 and the Affordable Care Act is now in full operation. We're a large employer, with about 40,000 direct employees who participate in our health plan. In our thought experiment, let's exit the health-benefits business this year and help our employees use an exchange to purchase their own.

First of all, we need to keep our employees financially whole. With our current plan, they contribute 20% of the total cost of their health insurance, and that contribution in 2014 will total about $86 million. If all these employees now buy their insurance through an exchange, that personal share will increase by another $38 million. We'll adjust our employees' compensation in some rough fashion so that no employee is paying more for insurance as a result of our action. Taking into account the new taxes that would be incurred, the change in employee eligibility for subsidies, and allowing for inefficiency in how we distribute this new compensation, we'll triple our budget for this to $114 million.

Now that we've protected our employees, we'll also have to pay a federal penalty of $2,000 for each employee because we no longer offer health insurance; that's another $86 million. The total state cost is now about $200 million.

But if we keep our existing insurance plan, our cost will be $346 million. We can reduce our annual costs by over $146 million using the legislated mechanics of health reform to transfer them to the federal government.

That's just for our core employees. We also have 30,000 retirees under the age of 65, 128,000 employees in our local school systems, and 110,000 employees in local government, all of which presents strategies even more economically attractive than the thought experiment we just performed. Local governments will find eliminating all coverage particularly attractive, as many of them are small and will thus incur minor or no penalties; many have health plans that will not meet the minimum benefit threshold, and so they'll see a substantial and unavoidable increase in cost if they continue providing benefits under the new federal rules.

Our thought experiment shows how the economics of dropping existing coverage is about to become very attractive to many employers, both public and private. By 2014, there will be a mini-industry of consultants knocking on employers' doors to explain the new opportunity. And in the years after 2014, the economics just keep getting better.

The consequence of these generous subsidies will be that America's health reform may well drive many more people than projected out of employer-sponsored insurance and into the heavily subsidized federal system. Perhaps this is a miscalculation by the Congress, perhaps not. One principle of game theory is to think like your opponent; another is that there's always a larger game.



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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)


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