Category Archives: Citizenship

Obama’s Immigration Order: The Ultimate Leadership Flatline

It never changes...

It never changes…

Barack Obama’s inexplicable inability—or unwillingness—to learn what his job is and how to do it properly has reached a terrible crescendo in his Executive Order on illegal immigration. You can read the likely details here; the details don’t matter. The order itself guarantees chaos on more fronts that any Presidential act in memory, and more institutional damage over the long term. There is literally no excuse for it, but the explanations are clear. Obama painted himself into a political corner because he does not know how to do his job. He has set a precedent that will invite far more abuse, in real terms, than the order at issue now, guaranteeing a Constitutional crisis, and perhaps many—because he does not know how to do his job. Having pledged to bring the country together, he has taken a needless and gratuitous step that will divide the nation further—-because he does not know how to do his job. And he has all but guaranteed that the next two years will be marked by more poisonous partisanship in Washington and outright warfare between the parties and the branches of the government, further discouraging citizens and reducing trust in the American system to a dangerous level because…well, you know.

Let me discard the inevitable justification for this action at the outset, the rationalization given by Obama himself: He is taking action on immigration because the system is broken and Congress won’t fix it. The decisive rebuttal: tough. That’s the system. The President agreed to be part of it when he ran for office. Laws must be made by Congress and signed and enforced by the President. There are no exceptions in the Constitution waiving this system when the President is really, really sure he knows best, or when the President is really, really frustrated because he wants his way but doesn’t want to do the dirty work of schmoozing, horse-trading, building alliances, collecting I.O.U.’s , bluffing, getting half a loaf, compromising, angering his “base” know that they have nowhere to go, and agreeing to measures or he hates in order to get some he wants, or when he’s made promises he shouldn’t have made. As Obama himself once said, he can’t act like an emperor, because that’s not the system the Founders decided on. Obama has proven that he can’t act like a President, however, so now he’s giving emperor a try. Mind-boggling is the best description I can come up with right  now.

Obama, among other reasons, is in the midst of this fiasco because he backed himself into a corner with the Hispanic activists in his party. Again, this is evidence of a flat learning curve. He has trapped himself repeatedly—by drawing a “red line” in Syria, by promising what his health care plan couldn’t deliver, by sending empty threats to Putin, by guaranteeing that he will not send ground troops in to fight Isis. It makes him and America look weak; it results in bad policies and late implementation of needed measures, and diminishes his stature and trustworthiness. Never mind: Obama seems to be the only one who hasn’t noticed. So now he is forced to follow through on a measure of dubious constitutional validity that will make it look as if he is choosing the welfare of lawbreakers over the convictions of a majority of the legal citizens in the country.

What a wonderful plan.

His method is also one we have seen before: dishonesty. The order is being justified as “prosecutorial discretion’…you know, like the bombing of Libya wasn’t hostilities under the statute requiring Congressional approval, like the authorization for the Iraq invasion in 2002 was still sufficient to constitute approval of bombing Isis, and like the unilateral amending of the Affordable Care Act was just administrative action. Obama has achieved a Bizarro World integrity by consistently showing no integrity at all.

All of this, mind you, to guarantee no deportation of people who were not going to be deported, to assure work papers for those already working, and to make the ethically incoherent statement that the longer an illegal immigrant breaks the law by staying here, the less illegal he should be, and the more children she dumps into the care of Nanny Sam, the more the nation should embrace the family.

I agree with Obama regarding the need to give the illegals who we have allowed to stay here too long some way to achieve legal status. I agree that Republican opposition is a dead end rooted in rejection of facts over the embrace of impractical idealism. His job, however, is to solve the problem under the system, make it palatable to the public, and not blow up the political system in the service of people who showed no respect for the system in coming here.

Obama, however, doesn’t know how todo  his job.

And he’s obviously never going to learn.

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Law & Law Enforcement

The Gruber Corruption Files: Another University Decides A Cover-Up Is “The Right Thing To Do,” While The News Media Spins For Obama

Who cares?

Who cares?

After the Jonathan Gruber video that included the Obamacare insider crowing about passing a misleading health care bill thanks “the stupidity of the American voter” in an October 2013 panel appearance at The University of Pennsylvania, the institution, good, compliant, loyal to Obama and apparently complicit in the Administration’s philosophy of deception, hid the damning comments by taking the video offline. The university reposted it after being compared to the Soviet Union and condemned for censoring knowledge rather than spreading it.

On Monday, the University of Rhode Island also attempted to assist the progressive cover-up of its contempt for the public and democracy, removing its video of  2012 discussion where Gruber explains how the law was passed to “exploit” the American voters’ “lack of economic understanding.” So far, URI has offered no explanation regarding why the video was pulled, and it doesn’t have to.

The video was pulled because the overwhelmingly left-leaning academic establishment in the U.S., like the similarly slanted journalistic establishment, have taken sides, choosing to assist and abet the desperate, anti-democratic efforts by Democrats to lie, hide and spin their way out of the fair and clear implications of Gruber’s inconvenient truths. This is frightening, and every citizen regardless of political preference should understand that the effort must be foiled if our system of government is to regain lost trust and integrity. Universities and journalists are supposed to be truth-seekers, and in this matter are behaving like political operatives. Note that only Fox and the National Review, so far, have reported Rhode Island’s efforts to bury Gruber’s statements, and that is just a continuation of a disconcerting theme throughout this fiasco.

From an excellent Examiner summary of how the mainstream media is spinning the story: Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, U.S. Society

How Media And Academic Bias Make Us Stupid: The “Personal Freedom Study”

freedom

“STUDY: American personal freedom now ranks below 20 other nations…” reads a link in this morning’s Drudge Report.

That is NOT what the study shows….not even close.

The link goes to an Examiner story headlined “Under Obama, U.S. personal freedom ranking slips below France.” That’s a little better, but it’s also misleading. Both headlines are attempts to spin a study that tells nobody anything about how much freedom there is in the U.S., under President Obama or otherwise. The study, meanwhile, is easily spun because it was badly conceived, is itself of dubious value, and was also probably the result of a researchers grinding their own axes.

It is early, and I am pretty sure that the cable news sharks and the internet pundits will be latching on to this garbage study in droves, with the result being mass confusion in the public. That’s right: the world of scholarship and research, and the world of journalism, will conspire to make the public less informed than it already is, setting it up for the handiwork of future Jonathan Grubers and the parties that employ them.

You see, the study doesn’t even purport to measure “freedom” in any objective way across different nations. Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Character, Citizenship, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Research and Scholarship, Rights, U.S. Society

Are Democrats Deceiving Their Supporters, The Nation, Or Themselves?

Wave

I don’t want to pick on the Democrats in their hour of crisis, but I can’t let this pass.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chair the Democratic National Committee, sent a video message to party loyalists stating in part,

“Your dedication is at the heart and soul of who we are as a party — but our party has a problem. We know we’re right on the issues. The American people believe in the causes we’re fighting for. But the electoral success we have when our presidential nominee is able to make the case to the country as a whole doesn’t translate in other elections. That’s why we lost in 2010, and it’s why we lost on Tuesday. We’ve got to do better.”

What???

1. “A problem”?

2. How can anyone “know they are right” on “the issues” ? All issues? It is enough that advocates believe they are right. Saying one knows one is right presumes a level of omniscience that is the mark of the arrogant and immodest—no wonder the parties won’t compromise with each other. The opponents of the religious right mock those who base their opposition to evolution, abortion and same-sex marriage on unshakable certainty based on faith. What’s the Democratic faith that justifies similar certainty?

3. “The American people believe in the causes we’re fighting for.” This is just factually false. The majority of the public thinks climate change is a crock. The majority wants tougher immigration enforcement, not less of it. The majority wants litigation reform, which the Democrats fight to preserve trial lawyer fees. Obamacare is wildly unpopular. So is affirmative action. The majority of the public thinks that there is an I.R.S. cover-up. The majority thinks Barack Obama is a weak and feckless President. The majority of Americans think there should be some limitations on abortion, and don’t want to pay for other people’s birth control. Six in 10 American think guns make homes safer, rather than, as the Democrats see it, endangering children.

Yes, the public is in favor of raising the minimum wage, and always is. It will be in favor of raising the minimum wage one minute after the minimum wage is finally raised. The public doesn’t understand the minimum wage, and never has, which is why it is always low hanging fruit for Democrats. If that is the “cause” Schultz is referring to—and since the President mentioned it first among his priorities in multiple speeches, who knows? It might be—see #1 above—then this really is a low ebb in Democratic fortunes. I just heard a liberal radio talk-show host talk about how progressives should be excited that some states approved a higher minimum wage. That’s not “progressive,” that’s traditional. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Government & Politics

Stop Labeling The Sixth Circuit’s Approval Of Gay Marriage Bans As “Right Wing”

prop-8People who don’t (or can’t) read court decisions—and in this very large group I include most pundits and journalists—are prone to dismiss careful thought out and reasoned judicial arguments that took careful research and consideration as the product of political bias rather than what they (usually) are: sincere, honest, intelligent dissections of issues that are far more complex than advocates for opposing sides care to admit.

The Sixth Circuit just triggered an almost certain U.S. Supreme Court review of state same-sex marriage bans by upholding such bans in several states. Immediately, pro-gay marriage advocates and pundits attacked the decision as “right wing,” as if the court reached the decision from a starting point hostile to gays and homosexuality generally. The implication of this interpretation is that judges do not follow the law, legal principles and standards of jurisprudence and construction, but merely decide what result they wish to reach based on ideological and partisan biases, and then write essays of advocacy disguised as objective analysis.

The presumption is both ignorant, unfair, and convenient. It is ignorant because it assumes that the judicial profession and those in that profession ignore the primary ethical requirements of being a judge, standards that have stood unchanged and unchallenged for centuries and that every jurist swears to uphold. The first two Canons of the ABA Model Judicial Code state those standards clearly: Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Research and Scholarship, U.S. Society

Case Study In Cultural Ethics Rot: “Bin Laden Shooter” Robert O’Neill

Dead, but still helping to corrupt our culture...

Yes, dead, but still helping to corrupt our culture…

Do you remember all those World War II, Korean War and Vietnam veterans who published books and gave interviews taking personal credit for the successes of the United Armed Services? No, neither do I, because there weren’t very many. The ethical culture of military organizations has always been that the unit is what matters, not the individual. For a soldier to seek credit, accolades and celebrity through his own disclosures was regarded as disgraceful conduct, and a betrayal of military honor and tradition.

Those values, and the important larger cultural values that they reinforce, are crumbling rapidly. Former Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill, one of many U.S. special forces members to storm Osama bin Laden’s compound on May 2, 2011, confirmed to The Washington Post that he was the unnamed SEAL who fired the fatal bullet at the terrorist leader. His decision to make himself an instant celebrity and speaker circuit star comes nearly two years after another Seal in the mission, Matt Bissonnette, published his account of the raid, “No Easy Day.” The Post says that O’Neill has endured “an agonizing personal struggle, as he weighed concerns over privacy and safety against a desire to have a least some control over a story that appeared likely to break, with or without his consent.” There is no struggle if O’Neill accepted that fact that his ethical obligation is to shut up, and not dishonor his colleagues, his profession and his country by choosing celebrity over preserving a vital ethical standard.

Will future Seals jeopardize the success of their missions as each tries to deliver the “money shot” that will literally result in millions? Why wouldn’t they, now that soldiers are absorbing the American culture’s obsession with cashing in and becoming famous as the primary objective of human existence? Like all ethical standards, the tradition of soldiers neither seeking individual credit nor wanting it had strong practical reasons for its existence. A military unit is the ultimate team, and no team can function at maximum efficiency if the members regard themselves as competing for glory. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, U.S. Society, War and the Military

Comment of the Day: “Make Voting Compulsory, Because We Can’t Let THAT Happen Again”

Maybe Ruth Marcus would like this system better...

Maybe Ruth Marcus would like this system better…

Theories of democracy and political science, Robert Heinlein, minimizing bias from self-interest, scientist suspicion, GIANT BUGS…okay, it doesn’t quite get to the bugs. But what’s not to like about texagg 04’s reflections and exposition sparked by the post on Ruth Marcus’s plug for compulsory voting? Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, Make Voting Compulsory, Because We Can’t Let THAT Happen Again: Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Literature, Popular Culture, Rights, Science & Technology, U.S. Society, War and the Military