It’s hard to remember when the world faced so many crises at the same time. Russia is increasing its pressure on Ukraine. Israel is battling Palestinians. Almost every country in the Middle East is in trouble. Libya and other African countries are involved in armed conflicts. China is making its neighbors very nervous.
Meanwhile President Obama is doing very little. He seems more focused on political fundraisers. The last time he took a firm stand was when he declared a red line in Syria. We all know how that ended. The world knows that his threats are hollow.
Obama is not a stupid man. So, why is he so ineffective in foreign affairs? The most likely answer is his lack of experience. He certainly didn’t learn foreign policy while being a community organizer, lawyer and state legislator. He was a US Senator for only 2 years before he began his presidential campaign.
I have an alternate theory. Before giving it, let me present some background. For years he sat in a pew while Jeremiah Wright condemned the US. Shortly after her husband was inaugurated, Michelle Obama said she was “finally proud of America”. Meanwhile he was going around the world pointing out America’s flaws in what derisively was called an “apology tour”.
So what am I getting at? I think it is possible that this is a deliberate plan. Looking into his background, he may believe that America is a country that enslaved black people, decimated red people and goes around the world killing brown people. It is possible that he may view the lessening of American power to be a good thing.
Like any country, we have made our share of mistakes. However, no other major power has ever had a foreign policy based on self-interest and human rights. Let’s hope that the mighty American eagle doesn’t become a whimpering sparrow.
One of the little known provisions in Obamacare was that the federal insurance subsidies would only be given to those who purchased from state exchanges. Only 14 states set up an exchange. Everyone else went through healthcare.gov. The Obama Administration decided to ignore the law and give subsidies to insureds in all 50 states. Several lawsuits were filed.
A few days ago two appeals courts announced their decision. In Washington D.C. a panel ruled by a 2-1 margin that the law must stand as written. Meanwhile a panel in Richmond voted 3-0 that it was the intent of Congress to have the savor of subsidy in all 50 states. Interestingly, everyone who ruled in favor of the Obama administration was appointed by a Democrat while all those opposed had been appointed by Republicans.
Obviously it doesn’t make sense to have the subsidy in just 14 states but that is not the point. The point is that we should be governed by the laws and not the personal whims of those in power. I don’t understand how anyone could interpret congressional intent. The Senate rammed the bill through on Christmas Eve and nobody had the foggiest idea what they were voting for. We all remember Nancy Pelosi saying “We have to pass the bill so we can find out what is in it”.
The Founding Fathers designed a system of government in which one branch makes the laws, a second branch administers them and a third branch interprets them. We now have a system where Congress passes the laws but the executive branch does what it wants. Meanwhile the judiciary is really a super-legislature where votes are based on personal opinion. Since the Constitution is supposed to be the law of the land, it is necessary to find a way to reinterpret it. For example, the Obama administration argued that not buying insurance was interstate commerce.
The idea of having a government of laws, not men is a continuing theme of mine. Unfortunately nobody seems to be listening to those of us that still hold that belief.
It is difficult to compare past events to today. It is even harder to see an analogy between the turbulent sixties and the present. That being said, I am going to give it a try.
I was trying to decide what politician had a history similar to Hillary Clinton. Nobody else has been a First Lady, Senator, presidential candidate and Secretary of State. But I do find some interesting parallels between her and Hubert Humphrey.
Humphrey was a political wunderkind. He was elected Mayor of Minneapolis at 33 and Senator 4 years later. He had a brilliant Senate career and later became Vice President. He was a leading presidential candidate in 1960 but lost to a younger, more exiting candidate, John F. Kennedy.
Bill Clinton was elected governor when Hillary was 32 and president when she was 45. She was a very political First Lady much like Eleanor Roosevelt. She became a Senator from New York after leaving the White House. Like Humphrey, she was a leading presidential candidate, but lost to the younger and more exciting Barack Obama. Of course she went on to be his Secretary of State.
There is one part of the Humphrey story I haven’t mentioned. In 1968 he ran for President again. He was tied to the unpopular Johnson administration and lost to Richard Nixon.
Will history repeat itself? Clearly the rollout of the book was the beginning of her campaign. It was a lackluster affair, remembered only for her gaffes about the family’s wealth. We will need to wait and see what happens in 2016.
Most people talk about the problems between Israelis and Palestinians in terms of black and white. One side is pictured as virtuous while the other is despicable. Which is which depends on the viewpoint of the speaker. This is too simplistic a view. After so many years of fighting, neither side has an exclusive claim on the moral high ground.
In an ideal world both sides would live peacefully in independent states. Unfortunately, the current situation is far from ideal. Many urge Israel to trade land for peace. They tried that in 1994. They ceded control of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians. Now it is controlled by a terrorist group that lobs rockets into Israel. Israel can hardly be expected to go down the same path.
Palestinians have many legitimate complaints. However, the dream of statehood will never come to pass until all elements of Palestinian society care more about statehood than the destruction of Israel.
Imagine a government facility so secret that a congressman can't get in. Employees are threatened with termination or even jail if they breathe a word. Sounds like Fort Knox or the CIA. Actually it's a place where immigrant children are being proceesed. There is no national security consideration here. Just a desire by the Administration to avoid stories that might be politically embarassing.
When President Obama entered the White House, he promised a transparent administration. That's about as big a whopper as "If you like your insurance, you can keep it." He has estalished a level of secrecy that Richard Nixon would have loved. Meanwhile a fawning press corp does nothing.
So what is going on behind closed doors? We don't really know for sure but it appears that children are quickly being processed and shipped across the country. We have no idea what health risks this may pose. Communities are not even told what to expect.
Meanwhile, the border is as porous as ever. We have no idea if terrorists, drug dealers, criminals or gang members are coming over. Congress passed a law mandating that more fences should be built. As he has so many times, Obama has ignored the law.
So why is nothing being done? It's quite simple. Keeping Hispanics in the Democratic Party is given a higher probability than keeping the country safe.
Obama's views of ruling by fiat and excessive secrecy are hostile to our democracy. We survived Huey Long, Douglas MacArthur and Richard Nixon and we will survive Barack Obama.