**Posted by Phineas
Per Bryon York:
First, because Republicans want him to do something:
Who is pushing Obama to get tough? Mostly, it’s the Republicans whose wishes Obama has ignored for years. And now, since his well-publicized decision to abandon hopes of making a deal with GOP lawmakers on immigration, Obama needs them even less. It’s to his political benefit to oppose them, not to do their bidding.
Second, because Democrats back him:
…the Democrats, who don’t strongly oppose action on the border but want the president to go forward only if Republicans will agree to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Without a grand bargain, these Democrats are not terribly bothered by Obama’s handling of the crisis. While a few border state Democrats like Reps. Henry Cuellar and Ron Barber express reservations about Obama’s performance, most won’t give the president any trouble.
Third, because the progressive media is cheering him on:
Next is the liberal commentariat, which supports Obama so strongly in this matter that it is actually pushing back against the idea that the border crisis is a crisis at all. “The besieged border is a myth,” the New York Times editorial page declared on Sunday. “Republicans are … stoking panic about a border under assault.”
And, finally, because Obama himself is simpatico with immigration “activists:”
Finally, there are the immigration activists who don’t want Obama to do anything that involves returning the immigrants to their home countries. “We’re in the midst of a humanitarian crisis affecting kids fleeing gang violence, extortion and rape,” Frank Sharry, of the immigration group America’s Voice, said recently. It is Obama’s responsibility, Sherry added, to find a way to settle “thousands of child refugees.”
Obama recently met with a group of those advocates. One of them later told the Washington Post that the president said to them, “In another life, I’d be on the other side of the table.” By that Obama meant that in his old days as a community organizer, pressing for the “refugee” rights would be just the sort of thing he would do.
In other words, all the incentives encourage him to ignore national interests and instead be true to his nature. He doesn’t have to worry ever again about reelection, and, if the Democrats are going to take a drubbing in the midterms, anyway, why not make his Leftist base happy?
There are those who argue that Obama’s actions have to be the result of incompetence, that no one would willingly do something so obviously self-destructive to their political fortunes. See, for example, Andrew Klavan’s essay at PJM, “Is Obama just a hapless putz?”, in which he argues that Cloward-Piven is an “idiot’s strategy.”
Perhaps, but one can still be idiotic enough to try it, with all the harmful effects that would follow.
Having read extensively on Obama’s political background, especially Kurtz’s crucial work, “Radical in Chief,” I’m not at all convinced that he cares about the fortunes of the Democratic Party (let alone the nation, or, frankly, those kids on the border), that he isn’t indeed willing to take a political hit in order to achieve what he and his leftist allies hope will be irreversible change. As with Obamacare, so with immigration. Whether Obama and his administration intended for this crisis on the border to occur, they’re quite happy to take advantage of it.
From his point of view, all the incentives work that way.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
Teachers unions have turned on Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the Obama administration, creating a major divide in the Democratic Party coalition.
The largest teachers union in the country, the National Education Association (NEA), called for Duncan to resign at its convention on July 4, arguing his policies on testing have failed the nation’s schools.
Tensions between Duncan and the unions had been building for some time.
The administration’s Race to the Top program, which has provided $4.35 billion to states, incentivized changes that unions strongly oppose. One of the most controversial policies backed by Duncan is using students’ improvement on standardized tests to help evaluate teachers and make pay and tenure decisions.
“Our members are frustrated and angry,” said NEA president Dennis Van Roekel. “Number one is the toxic testing. There is too much.”
An added spark came on June 10, when a California judge ruled the state’s teacher tenure laws are unconstitutional because they keep ineffective teachers in the classroom and deprive poor and minority students of their right to an equal education.
Teachers unions, which are strong defenders of tenure, expressed outrage when Duncan said the plaintiffs in the case were just some of millions of students disadvantaged by tenure laws. He called the decision “a mandate to fix these problems.”
With the teachers unions at loggerheads with the administration, Democrats are suddenly at risk of losing one of their most reliable allies and fundraising sources.
It would appear that when it comes to crucial issues of “tenure” and “teacher performance”, Duncan is surprisingly more right than left. On the flip side, he supports the implementation of the controversial Common Core “teaching standards”, which the right strongly opposes and even a growing number of left wing educators have issues with. If Duncan starts to become too much more of a liability for our celebrity President, look for him to “resign to spend more time with family” in the very near future …
**Posted by Phineas
What’s next, lambs lying down with lions? Obama embracing the writings of Thomas Sowell?
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi has thus far turned down appeals from Palestinians and other Arabs to work toward achieving a new ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas telephoned Sisi and urged him to intervene to achieve an “immediate ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas. Abbas later admitted that his appeal to Sisi and (other Arab leaders) had fallen on deaf ears.
Sisi’s decision not to intervene in the current crisis did not come as a surprise. In fact, Sisi and many Egyptians seem to be delighted that Hamas is being badly hurt.
Some Egyptians are even openly expressing hope that Israel will completely destroy Hamas, which they regard as the “armed branch of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization.”
Sisi’s Egypt has not forgiven Hamas for its alliance with Muslim Brotherhood and its involvement in terrorist attacks against Egyptian civilians and soldiers over the past year.
Egyptian ex-general Hamdi Bakhit was quoted as expressing hope that Israel would re-occupy the Gaza Strip. “This would be better than the Hamas rule,” he said.
[Egyptian TV presenter Amany al-Khayat's] colleague, Azza Sami of the newspaper Al-Ahram, went as far as thanking Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for ordering the attack on Hamas. “Thank you Netanyahu and may God give us more [people] like you to destroy Hamas,” she wrote.
Emphases added. This is pretty amazing stuff, akin to us rooting for the Russians in a confrontation with the UK. But, on further thought, it’s not as surprising as one might think. Egyptians experienced a year or so under the thumb of the Muslim Brotherhood, which spawned Hamas, after Muhammad Morsi replaced Hosni Mubarak as president. To say it was a miserable year for Egypt would be an understatement. The economic mismanagement and social disorder finally resulted in a coup d’etat by the army, an act that had massive support from the people. After the coup, the Brotherhood did nothing to redeem itself with Egyptians, attacking the army, a popular institution in Egypt, in a guerrilla war that continues to this day, especially in Sinai. And Hamas supported their fellow Brothers in this.
In addition Egypt has been an economic basket case for years, unable to feed itself without massive and expensive imports. (Skip down to “Wheat prices 101.”) The situation is only getting worse. With such problems, many Egyptians are understandably reluctant to give aid to a Brotherhood offshoot. As the Egyptian paper El-Bayasher wrote:
“The standard of living for a Gazan citizen is much higher than that of an Egyptian citizen. The poor in Egypt are more in need than the poor in the Gaza Strip. Let Qatar spend as much as it wants on the Gaza Strip. We should not send anything that Egyptians are in need of.”
I doubt a majority of Egyptians feel this way, but that so many feel free to speak publicly what would have been unthinkable just a few years ago is a remarkable change. Egypt is Hamas’ lifeline in the region; this is indicative of how thoroughly they’ve screwed up.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
Harry Reid is the da Vinci of distraction. The moment any scandal, policy failure or political defeat crashes down on him — and there have been plenty the past few years — the Senate majority leader unleashes outrageous rhetoric that’s better suited for a sandbox than what once passed for the world’s greatest deliberative body. Worse, the Nevada Democrat has become especially fond of slinging race cards just to crank up the outrage.
Last week, Sen. Reid was in rare form following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn part of the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate. The 5-4 ruling declared that closely held for-profit businesses, such as craft retailer Hobby Lobby, do not have to provide some forms of birth control to female employees if doing so violates the owners’ religious beliefs. Sen. Reid eviscerated the decision. “The one thing we are going to do during this work period, sooner rather than later, is to ensure that women’s lives are not determined by virtue of five white men,” Sen. Reid said.
Sen. Reid’s slip was no accident. He believes racial and ethnic minorities are ideologically monolithic constituencies who are incapable of independent or — gasp! — right-of-center thinking. In the majority leader’s mind, Mr. Thomas is not an African-American because the justice doesn’t blindly subscribe to liberal orthodoxy.
Never mind that Sen. Reid himself, like the entire Senate Democratic leadership, is as white as an Irishman in a snowstorm. And never mind that after more than five years of Democratic control of the White House and the Senate, black and Hispanic unemployment — especially among teenagers — remains scandalously high. Sen. Reid’s “fix” for this problem — a higher minimum wage — will actually make it worse.
We thought the 2008 election of Barack Obama as president was supposed to herald an age of post-racial politics. So much for hope and change. Quit the race-baiting already, Sen. Reid. You’re clearly colorblind — in all the wrong ways.
By the way, Reid was quoted years ago as saying to the director of LVRJ advertising during a Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce business luncheon that he hoped the Review-Journal would “go out of business.” Gee, I can’t imagine why, can you?
Continuing in the predictably dishonest fashion of Obama press secretaries before him, Josh Earnest went on CNN’s Reliable Sources yesterday and said he “absolutely” stood by the White House’s continued claims of being “the most transparent administration in history”:
The White House on Sunday stood by President Obama’s position that he continues to be the most transparent president in U.S. history, despite widespread complaints from journalists and other Americans about a lack of information or apparent misinformation.
“I have a responsibility in this job to try to help the president live up to his commitment to be the most transparent president in history,” new White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”
Earnest said he “absolutely, absolutely” sticks by Obama’s line about having the most transparent administration, after continued criticism about apparent attempts to not make full disclosures.
Among the criticisms are that the president and his administration misled Americans by telling them they could keep their existing health insurance plans under ObamaCare, intentionally tried to conceal what sparked the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya in which four Americans were killed and prosecuted federal employees who should have been protected under the whistleblower protection act.
Last week, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Poynter Institute and others sent a letter to Obama complaining about the lack of access to information from federal agencies, citing several recent examples.
Hmm. Well, I would agree this has been the “most transparent administration in history”, except it’s a sure bet that Earnest and the rest of ObamaCo have a vastly different definition of “transparent” than mine. You see, “transparent” in this particular situation to me equates to “seeing right through your misrepresentations and lies to your true intentions.” Earnest’s, I suspect, is something else entirely ….
**Posted by Phineas
Man, this guy makes me ill:
Attorney General Eric Holder said Sunday he and President Obama have been targets of “a racial animus” by some of the administration’s political opponents.
“There’s a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that’s directed at me [and] directed at the president,” Holder told ABC. “You know, people talking about taking their country back. … There’s a certain racial component to this for some people. I don’t think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some there’s a racial animus.”
Holder said the nation is in “a fundamentally better place than we were 50 years ago.”
“We’ve made lots of progress,” he said. “I sit here as the first African-American attorney general, serving the first African-American president of the United States. And that has to show that we have made a great deal of progress.
“But there’s still more we have to travel along this road so we get to the place that is consistent with our founding ideals,” he said.
Eric Holder wouldn’t recognize our “founding ideals” even if they walked up to him and gave him a big wet kiss.
It’s gracious of him to admit we’ve made a lot of progress since the days of slavery and Jim Crow, both of which his party once fought to defend, but it would be nice if he would allow that administration opponents could themselves have good motives. And I’m not letting get away with that weaselly qualification “some,” as if he really believes that “just a few” are racist toward he and the president.
No, to a racialist ideologue like Eric Holder, that we may strongly disapprove of Obama’s policies and actions can’t be due to his and his administration’s leftist philosophy, redistributionist politics, rampant corruption, lack of respect for the American settlement, and overall incompetence. No, it has to be due to the fact that we don’t like a Black man in the White House.
I guess all those years in the late 90s when I backed Colin Powell for president was just a clever disguise on my part.
This, sadly, is what we can expect from the Left, who assume they have the course of History figured out and are therefore both smarter and morally superior to the rest of us. It’s an assumption of self-righteousness, a certainty that, since “we” know the right answers, strong opposition or serious difference of opinion is illegitimate. No principle, no reason, no empirical evidence could be behind it: it has to be racism.
Well, screw you, Mr. Attorney General. Take your racialist condescension and shove it.
PS: I really like being lectured by a guy whose underlings ran guns to violent drug cartels in Mexico, who ignores obvious voter intimidation when the victims are White, who refuses to enforce laws he dislikes and encourages state attorney generals to do the same, but does decide to investigate a satirical parade float, free speech be damned.
PPS: If you want to know more about the worst Attorney General since John Mitchell or even A. Mitchell Palmer, let me recommend two books: J. Christian Adams’ “Injustice,” and “Obama’s Enforcer: Eric holder’s Justice Department,“ by John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky. If these don’t leave steam coming out your ears, there’s something wrong.
via Rick Moran
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
**Posted by Phineas
So, I’m enjoying a quiet morning and reading an article on the reactions of the various candidates for the US Senate from Alaska to the Hobby Lobby decision, when I come across this howler from the incumbent, Mark Begich:
“I believe people, not corporations, have a right to practice their constitutional right to freedom of religion, but not at the expense of others,” said Begich.
It’s tough to decide whether Senator Begich, whose seat is not secure, is just ignorant of what the Supreme Court decided, the Constitution, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or if he’s a desperate hack just reciting DNC talking points. Of course, both could be true. But the key to that quote above is the senator’s odd belief that, upon forming a corporation, individuals somehow give up their natural rights.
Senator Begich, meet the First Amendment. First Amendment, meet Senator Begich:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The right to peaceably assemble has been held to include the right to freely associate. See, for example, NAACP v. Alabama (1958), which held, in effect, that individuals do not give up their rights when they form an association (1). And a corporation is an association of individuals with rights and inherits those rights:
Corporations have rights because natural persons have rights. It is sometimes said that corporations are “creations of the state,” but that’s not really true. Corporations are created by people — they are merely recognized by the state.
To deny the rights of a “legal person,” such as a corporation, is no different than denying those rights to the individuals who own that corporation. Perhaps the newspaper editors of Senator Begich’s home state would like to ask him if their papers, in his view, lack the rights of free speech and freedom of the press, also recognized by the First Amendment, simply because they’re incorporated businesses. The answer should be interesting.
(1) In short, the state of Alabama demanded the NAACP surrender its membership lists. The NAACP argued –correctly, given the times– that this loss of their members’ privacy would have a chilling affect on their members rights of free speech and free association.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
Muffie has her yearly veterinarian appointment this morning (fun fun!), and I have some other errands to run after that. Hope everyone has a gorgeous Saturday!