Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Current Events - January 28, 2014

Obama begins 2014 campaign with State of the Union speech

By Neil Munro
President Barack Obama will unofficially embark on the 2014 campaign trail Wednesday, but first he’s got to give a big speech Tuesday night at the Capitol.
His annual State of the Union speech will serve as the semi-formal kick-off of his 2014 campaign, which will rally the party’s depressed and diverse base of progressives, socialists, liberals, union members, feminists and gays, unmarried women and youths, plus various racial and ethnic groups.
D.C. lobbyists and activists expect he’ll deliver a red-meat speech that portray the GOP as mean, extreme and determined to cast the middle-class into a wasteland of poverty and chastity, without even a few dimes to buy some condoms.
Campaigning, not governing, is what Obama is good at, and on Wednesday, he’ll take his teleprompters to a steel plant in swing-state Philadelphia.
On Thursday, he’ll be headlining at General Electric’s Waukesha Gas Engines facility in Waukesha, Wisc.
Late Thursday, he’s got an event at McGavock High School in Nashville, Tenn.
He’ll likely flash his TV smile and enthusiastically reprise his SoTU speech at each event — and keep doing it week after week, month after month, until November.
...He’s got to defend those senators — all of whom voted for Obamacare in 2010 — because a big GOP win in November will create a GOP majority that would paralyze Obama in 2015 and 2016.
A big GOP win may even provide a narrow GOP majority to greet the new president in 2017.

State of Exhaustion

Don’t expect any fresh ideas on reviving the economy in tonight’s SOTU address.

By Mona Charen
...Tonight, we are told, the president will once again mount his horse and fix his lance at the scourge of “income inequality” and declining upward mobility in an attempt to convince voters struggling with the Obama economy that the wealthy are to blame for their problems. It’s the leftist mantra and Obama never tires of it. He hasn’t read Adam Smith. He doesn’t know that one man’s prosperity is not the cause of another man’s poverty.
...Responding clumsily to the problem of joblessness — which has assumed nearly European levels under his leadership — President Obama will reach into his 1930s kit bag and propose an increase in the federal minimum wage. Sigh. First, most economists agree that increasing the minimum wage has a tendency to discourage hiring. Second, most people who earn minimum wage are not heads of households. Third, 80 percent are not poor. Fourth, most receive a raise within twelve months. Fifth, the states containing half the population already have minimum wages above the federal level.
...Mr. Obama will boast that he has a “pen and a phone.” He can use his pen to relax some of the job-depressing regulations his administration has imposed, particularly in the health, financial, and energy sectors. He can use his phone to approve the Keystone pipeline. And he could use his influence to extol the essential habits of success without which more and more Americans will fail to flourish. As the Annie E. Casey Foundation reported years ago, if Americans do three simple things, they will not be poor: 1) graduate from high school, 2) get a job, and 3) wait until marriage to have their first child.
But that would require more imagination than Obama has ever demonstrated. Instead, he’ll stubbornly continue to push policies that have failed everywhere they’ve been tried. When they fail for him, he will blame Republicans. Once hailed as a messiah, he’s now revealed as just a mess.

The Real State of Obama's Union: Not Good

By Carol Platt Liebau
...No doubt the President is going to try to put a good spin on his record. But the facts look much different. Here's life in America after five years of the Obama presidency:

And that's just at home. Abroad, the news is no better.
  • Putin continues to outmaneuver and dominate Obama completely, whether it comes to Iran, Syria or the NSA leaks.

Finally, keep in mind that under Obama, America has become a place where:

If a Republican president had racked up this hideous record, members of the media would be running through the streets screaming as if their hair were on fire.
But whatever the president says tonight, Americans know the score. And they know that there is far too much in America that is terribly, terribly wrong. That, sadly, is the real state of our union right now. And it is up to us to fix it. 

It begins: Obama to raise minimum wage for employees of federal contractors

...President Obama plans to sign an executive order requiring that janitors, construction workers and others working for federal contractors be paid at least $10.10 an hour, using his own power to enact a more limited version of a policy that he has yet to push through Congress.
The order, which Mr. Obama will highlight in his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday night, is meant to underscore an increasing willingness by the president to bypass Congress if lawmakers continue to resist his agenda, aides said. After a year in which most of his legislative priorities went nowhere, Mr. Obama is seeking ways to make progress without cooperation on Capitol Hill.
...."Unless their jobs were eliminated..." Yes, an object lesson is about to be given to fast food workers, and liberal labor activists in what happens when you jack up the minimum wage by 40%. Businessmen are not in business for altruistic reasons. It would be nice if they were - just like it would be nice if we all had a unicorn in our backyard - but the sad fact is, businessmen wouldn't be in business very long if they lost money.
This singular fact escapes everyone on the left from Obama on down. So if you want to eliminate entry level jobs for the poor and the young, jack up that minimum wage. Why stop at $10 an hour when $15 per hour is better? Or even $20?
Next, Obama will make it a requirement that companies have to hire a certain number of people at $10 per hour. That's the logic of his proposal and if he could get away with it, I'm sure he'd try.

  Governing by Pen and Phone

Obama used to sigh that he was not a dictator who could act unilaterally. No more

By Victor Davis Hansen
...We are reentering Nixonian times, or perhaps worse, given that a free press at least went after Nixon’s misdeeds and misadventures. Now it has silenced itself for fear of harming a once-in-century chance for a fellow progressive’s makeover of America. We live in an age when a CNN moderator interrupts a presidential debate to help her sputtering candidate, and when a writer for the often ironic and sarcastic New Yorker sees no irony in doing a fawning interview with the president, tagging along on a shakedown jet tour from one mansion of crony capitalists to the next — as Obama preaches to the head-nodders about inequality and fairness in order to ensure that the bundled checks pour in.
Without the media acting as a watchdog, the administration has with impunity found the IRS useful in going after political opponents. When Obama’s IRS appointees were exposed, he for the moment called their deeds outrageous; when the media did not pursue the outrage, he wrote it off as a nothing story.
...Under Obama, who you are and what you represent rather than what you have done are becoming the selective criteria for pen-and-phone legal enforcement. For the first time since 1974, America is no longer quite a lawful place.

What Bothers You Most?

The answer says a lot about your moral universe. 

 By Dennis Prager
...In other words, if what bothers you most is evil — the deliberate infliction of cruelty on people by people — then North Korea, Congo, China, Syria, and radical Islam will bother you more than anything else on the world scene.
So, then, what was the subject of the meeting convened Friday by the United Nations’ assistant secretary-general for human rights?
The alleged racism of the name of the National Football League’s Washington team, the Redskins.
That’s right. All these horrific evils are happening as you read this, and the second-ranking official in charge of human rights at the United Nations had a meeting about the name Washington Redskins.
The U.N. is not alone in paying undue attention to the Redskins’ name. The Left in the United States is nearly obsessed with it. President Barack Obama has spoken out against it. The Washington Post editorial board has demanded that the team drop the name. In the herd-like way that governs the media, innumerable columnists and sports writers have written passionately against the name; and increasing numbers of sports writers have vowed to never again write or speak the name.
This left-wing obsession with a non-evil exemplifies the Left’s moral universe. That universe is preoccupied with lesser evils while nearly always ignoring the greatest evils.
...This difference was made manifest last week in the address given by the one current world leader who exemplifies the Right’s preoccupation with evil, Canada’s prime minister, Stephen Harper. Talking about all the condemnations of Israel, Harper said: “Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that: a state, based on freedom, democracy, and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish as Jews and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history. That is condemned, and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism. It is nothing short of sickening.”
Only a conservative leader would have the moral courage to say that. Because while the Right fights evil, the Left fights the Redskins.

19 Democratic Senators file amicus brief in Hobby Lobby case

By Rick Moran
Already thought to be a landmark case, the Supreme Court's consideration of Oklahoma-based company Hobby Lobby's contention that insuring their employees for contraception violates their freedom of religion just got more interesting.

Nineteen US Senators - including 5 women - have filed an amicus brief ("friend of the court") supporting the Obama administration's position that Obamacare's birth control mandate shouldn't apply to corporations.
...The 19 senators-all of whom voted for the popular RFRA in 1993-argue that the law's religious protections were never intended apply to a for-profit company. Hobby Lobby's "gross misapplication" of the law perverts Congress' intent in passing it, they write in the brief, which was obtained by Yahoo News.
Congress intended RFRA to protect individuals and non-profits from government interference in their religious beliefs, and explicitly left out for-profit companies from its protection, they write. The Democratic senators argue that a decision in favor of Hobby Lobby would allow "a secular, for-profit corporations' shareholders, through the corporation, to impose their religious beliefs on their employees and to deny employees health benefits and rights to which they are entitled." 
....The Democrat's argument that companies would try to "impose their religious beliefs" on their employees is ironic, indeed. Isn't that what the government is trying to do by stuffing the contraception mandate down the throats of Christians?
People have a choice of whether they want to work for Hobby Lobby or not. If they want coverage for contraceptives, they can go work at a company that features that benefit. The mandate gives Christians no choice whatsoever, and reaches into the most personal area of religious beliefs.

Gun Control Ad Starring Gabrielle Giffords to Air Before State of the Union

By Awr Hawkins
In a commercial set to run just before and after President Obama's January 28 State of the Union (SOTU) address, Gabrielle Giffords looks into the camera and says, "Congress is afraid of the gun lobby."
According to the Associated Press , Giffords will push background checks as a way to "make it harder for criminals and the mentally ill to get guns." She will say, "9 out of 10 Americans support background checks."
On December 4, Breitbart News reported a CNN poll that showed "50 percent of Americans oppose more gun control," and only "49 percent" support it.
Breitbart News also reported those who killed innocents at the Mall in Columbia, Arapahoe High School, the DC Navy Yard, LAX, and the Aurora Theater, would not have been stopped by background checks because they all submitted to background checks to acquire their firearms.

Obama Donor Will Run Anti-Keystone Ad During SOTU

By Joel B Pollak
Billionaire Obama donor Tom Steyer, who is funding and leading the environmentalist campaign against the Keystone XL pipeline, will air an anti-Keystone ad on MSNBC before and after President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday evening. The minute-long ad, entitled "Sucker Punch," claims that Canada may not send its tar sand oil through the pipeline to the U.S., and implies it will send the oil to China instead.
...Steyer has also been criticized for having made much of his fortune through investments in the oil and gas industry. Ezra Levant of Sun News wrote last year: "Steyer hasn't campaigned against OPEC oil. It's Canadian oil he's against. The same Canadian oil that helped make him rich." Steyer is also investing in a rival pipeline that would carry the oil to the Canadian province of British Columbia. He promises to donate the profits.
It is thought that Steyer's donations, and his ability to organize other donors in the San Francisco area, play a key role in the Obama administration's repeated decisions to delay the Keystone XL project. 

Fast Track Payback

 By Neil W McCabe
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama's call for fast-track authority means he is moving forward to close the deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty, (TPP) a comprehensive, multinational pact that is part of paying back his friends in the recording industry.
It is not surprising that the mainstream media ignores the massive in-kind contributions to the president's campaign, such as the Will Ferrell get-out-the-vote-for-Obama video or multiple performances by James Taylor.
When in the last week of the 2012 campaign, Katy Perry performed in Milwaukee to 20,000 fans in the second most famous blue dress in American politics, her appearance was worth easily north of $100,000 -- if she was paid for the gig.

...In Congress, the Democrats are supporting the "Free Market Royalty Act," H.R. 3219, a bill sponsored by Rep. Judy Chu (D.-Calif.) that will levy a performance tax on broadcast radio stations. The proceeds of the tax would flow directly the SoundExchange, a recording industry vehicle for dispensing 50 percent to the record companies, 45 percent to featured performers and 5 percent to non-featured performers, like the guy banging the cowbell.
In the TPP treaty, the recording industry hopes its goodies are lost in the sauce of a massive document on the fast track.

Fast track authority is a process established for trade agreements. Rather than the traditional two-thirds ratification by the Senate, the treaty would go to both chambers for a single up-or-down vote immune from filibuster or amendments.
...Americans understand treaties that end wars and set up formal economic relationships between nations, but most Americans would be surprised to learn that once a treaty is signed by the president and ratified by the Senate, its provisions become senior to all federal laws. If a treaty, signed and ratified, outlaws the standard transmission, it is outlawed.
Using the fast-track treaty process as the vehicle for backdoor legislation is perfect for a weakened president in his second term. But there has to be a better way to thank Katy Perry for giving Obama Wisconsin.

PK'S NOTE: Really?!? Really?!? As commentators have written: "Nor did President Bush treat us this way!" "As for the Republicans being anti-government, she needs to go back to school. What the Republicans advocate for government is to follow to the US Constitution, which Pelosi and Obama have been violating for the last five years. And her anti-science comment is in regards to global warming, which the majority of earth scientists say is not man caused regardless of what the Democrats and their "paid-for" scientists say." "And guess what, Bush never told the Dems. "You can come along, but you'll have to sit in the back seat. Bush never forced through a law that contained not one idea or vote from the opposition(Obamacare), and Bush and the Reps. never changed the rules to force through "their agenda". And Bush never threatened to go it alone, act the dictator." "Congress is supposed to be a counter force to Presidential power, operating independently with equal authority." "I haven't seen any GOP/conservative make a leftist porn movie about assassinating Obama. Leftists INVENTED POTUS-trashing, and perfected it during W's tenure. Besides, Bush never destroyed our nation with his policies. Lowest labor participation rate in history, most on food stamps in history, biggest debt in history, biggest tax increases in history, lowest bond rating in history, biggest theft in history (Porkulus)."

Nancy Pelosi is outraged: ‘We did not treat President Bush this way’

By David Sherfinski
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said Tuesday that a large segment of the GOP is “anti-government, anti-science and anti-Obama” and that while Democrats opposed much of President George W. Bush’s agenda, Republican obstruction to President Obama is “something quite stunning.”
...“We did not treat President Bush this way,” she said. “We thought we had a responsibility to work with the president to get a job done for the American people and we did. This obstruction to President Obama is something quite stunning. It’s something quite different.”
Later Tuesday morning, House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said the GOP-led House has sent “dozens” of jobs bills to the Democratic-controlled Senate only to see them languish, and offered to work with the president on a number of issues.

Valerie Jarrett Orders Companies To Start Hiring – Or Else…

Way underreported by the Mainstream Media was a recent phone call  de facto President Valerie Jarrett made personally to a number of large corporations days before Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech tonight.  The gist of that call was this – either you start hiring workers NOW, whether you need them or not, or the administration might just have to take another look at your business practices.  IRS anyone?  How about the SEC?  NSA?  FBI?  You name, we got it, so break out your wallet and make our employment numbers look better, OR ELSE.
In recent weeks, senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett has reached out to chief executives seeking commitments that they won’t discriminate against the long-term unemployed in hiring practices. The White House has scheduled an event highlighting the initiative for Friday.”   LINK
 Bank of America Corp. BAC +2.39% , Siemens AG SIE.XE +1.57% , Dow Chemical Co. DOW +0.28% and Deloitte LLP are expected to join Xerox, AT&T, Lockheed Martin and P&G, among others, in signing the pledge, which states they "are committed to inclusive hiring practices and pledge to remove barriers" to the employment of long-term jobless, according to a draft of the agreement.
Officials with Bank of America and Dow Chemical confirmed they have agreed to the pledge; officials from the other companies couldn't be reached for comment Sunday.
The initiative is the latest White House effort to tackle public-policy issues without congressional action
This is the White House scrambling to improve poll numbers and overall perception of the administration prior to the all important 2014 Midterms.  They know that if this Midterm Election goes as badly for them as current projections suggest, the Age of Obama agenda is done, and in fact, much of the damage already inflicted upon America can be pushed back.
Barack Obama’s investors don’t wish to see that happen, which explains why the most powerful figure in the Obama White House made an implied threat disguised as a personal call to business executives “reminding” them of their commitment to start hiring workers.  This reminder will then be followed by a White House event to publicize how effective the president is proving in getting America “moving again”.
Coercion, threats, lies and deception – it is the Obama way…

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