One thing that gets tiring from a libertarian point of view is the bi-partisan support for interventionism overseas. Just as tiring is the bi-partisan bickering where the two sides say it is the lies of the other side that are worse. Personally I wish both sides would grow up, look at each political leader individually, and without regards to party. But that is of course unlikely to happen any times soon… Which brings up today’s topics: Iraq War lies!
During the Bush years as a libertarian I was more than happy to speak (and join protest marches) against the Iraq War. And who can forget the 935 ‘false statements’ made by the Bush administration as reported by CNN. True, many of those ‘false statements’ were perhaps over-stated by CNN. But the majority of them stand as lies. Those were the good old days when I knew as a libertarian at least one of the big parties was anti-war!
Now lets fast forward to the Obama administration. Obama has already proved he just as war-hawkish as Bush by his handling of Syria. But now he has taken his “if you like your plan you can keep it” lies over to foreign policy. The Obama administration however is getting smarter about its lies. This time it’s repeating the same line in hope that nobody notices the President is doubling the troops sent to Iraq.
This from two weeks ago via the Washington Post:
Obama said he would send up to 300 additional U.S. Special Operations troops to better assess the situation on the ground, where forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have moved ever nearer to Baghdad, and to determine “how we can best train, advise and support Iraqi security forces going forward.”
It was promised by the Obama administration that these 300 “advisers” were not combat troops.
Now we have this from this week via CBS:
WASHINGTON – The U.S. is sending another 300 troops to Iraq to beef up security at the U.S. Embassy and elsewhere in the Baghdad area to protect U.S. citizens and property, officials said Monday.
The new injection of manpower brings the total number of U.S. personnel sent to Iraq to deal with the recent crisis to approximately 800.
Is that the key for Obama to keep the anti-war portion of his party happy? Use the same line a couple of weeks apart and hope nobody notices that these are two separate occurrences of 300 ‘advisers’ being sent? Apparently it works, since I’m seeing very little resistance to this move from the left-leaning media sources. Nobody seems to be calling him out on his promise of keeping boots out of this conflict.
Most of the resistance I’ve seen from the left-leaning sources have been attacking Bush for what Obama is doing. That line is getting old. Yes, Bush was wrong and told many lies getting us into a bad war. But that doesn’t excuse Obama doing the same thing. Things are eerily similar to 2002 right now. I have one question: If Obama gets us into another full-scale war will it continued to be called Bush’s War? I think by that time we can call it the Bush/Obama War.
Personally I think it is time to cut our losses and completely pull out of Iraq. That includes the embassy. Why keep personnel and
combat troops advisers in harm’s way for a war we should not even be involved in. I won’t even bother elaborating on that thought. Partisan politicians on both sides of the political spectrum will always listen to the war-hawks. Oh well, maybe I can look forward to having anti-war allies on the left again when we have a Republican President.
Yesterday I noted the SD GOP state convention was pretty boring in its selection of candidates. That is not necessarily true in its passage of resolutions. One resolution in particular has garnered South Dakota quite a bit of national attention. By a vote of 191-176 delegate passed a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Obama.
Before continuing this post I will get three statements out of the way:
- I support the idea of this resolution due to the many illegal activities performed against civil liberties by the Obama administration.
- I supported the same idea of impeaching President GW Bush for the many illegal activities performed against civil liberties by the Bush administration.
- The chance of any President actually getting impeached is so slight that it might as well be considered impossible.
With that out of the way it is time to look at the actual resolution. Here is what a delegate sent me as the text of this resolution:
WHEREAS, The president of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and protect it from all enemies both foreign and domestic,
WHEREAS, The president has violated his oath of office in numerous ways with the latest being the release of five terrorists in exchange for a soldier without consulting Congress as required by law,
WHEREAS, The president of the United States has willfully and wantonly lied to the American people telling them they can keep their insurance company, and they can keep their doctor under Obama Care, prior to an election,
WHEREAS, The president has ordered Federal Agencies to enact rules (laws) that threaten the security of the people of this great nation (EPA regulations) by passing Congress and usurping its authority,
WHEREAS, the president has abused his executive privilege usurping his authority as decided by numerous federal courts,
WHEREAS, The Constitution and Declaration of Independence are very clear on the authority of the President and the Federal Government, and when they violate their oath it is the right, it is the duty of the American people to act,
WHEREAS, America was designed as a Lex Rex (the law is king) rather than a Rex Lex (The King is the law) system of government. It is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
THEREFORE, be it resolved that the South Dakota Republican Party calls on our U.S. Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president of the United States.
I definitely agree with some of the WHEREAS statements, yet I could build a similar list for Bush (or almost any previous President). There are a couple of WHEREAS statements I would like to focus on a little bit.
Yes, the move by Obama to exchange POW’s was technically illegal since the President is required by the NDAA to notify Congress of such actions 30 days ahead of time. Yet it is the establishment war hawks in DC (from both parties) that have created this situation by keeping the Guantanamo Bay detention center open. If politicians truly cared about such situations they would work hard to end our interventionist wars and close Guantanamo Bay now; as opposed to playing political games in order to keep it open for at least another year. I somehow failed to see the SD GOP pass a resolution condemning the immoral and unconstitutional facility at Guantanamo Bay.
Yes, Obama lied to Americans and many people (including me) received letters saying their insurance would be cancelled. But should it be any surprise that a major piece of legislation that was written by special interest groups and unread by those voting on it (or signing it in Obama’s case) would be based upon lies? I never believed Obama. I can only think that enough people believed his “hope and change” campaign enough to think he was honest. Too bad they are just now realizing Obama was just a double-down on the same bad big-government policies of GW. I somehow failed to see the SD GOP pass a resolution condemning the many lies perpetrated by the Bush administration.
In order for an impeachment to actually happen the US House of Representatives would have to pass the resolution with a simple majority vote. Then the Senate must concur with that resolution by a 2/3 majority vote. Even if the resolution passes the House (which I doubt), it would be very unlikely to even be taken up in the Senate.
Basically this resolution was a political statement by the SD GOP. The resolution might have had more impact if the politicians representing the Republican Party would actually support small-government policies all the time.. instead of just when it suits their candidates.
For comparison, below is the resolution to impeach Bush (H.Res. 1258 – 110th) introduced by Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) in 2008. Bonus question to those saying the impeach Obama resolution is the work of anarchistic anti-government Tea Party types: did you make similar statements about Kucinich in 2008 for doing basically the same thing?
Impeaches President George W. Bush for high crimes and misdemeanors.
Sets forth articles of impeachment stating that President Bush, in violation of his oath of office:
(1) illegally spent public dollars on a secret propaganda program to manufacture a false cause for war against Iraq;
(2) misused intelligence reports to deceive Congress and the public about a connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001;
(3) mislead Congress and the public into believing that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and posed an imminent threat to the United States;
(4) illegally misspent funds to begin a war in secret prior to congressional authorization;
(5) invaded Iraq in violation of U.S. law, the United Nations Charter, and international criminal law and failed to obtain a declaration of war;
(6) failed to protect U.S. troops in Iraq by not providing them with body and vehicle armor and promoted false stories about the deaths and injuries of members of the U.S. military;
(7) used public funds to construct permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq;
(8) invaded Iraq to obtain control of its oil resources;
(9) created a secret task force to guide U.S. energy and military policy in usurpation of the role of Congress in legislating such policy;
(10) misused classified intelligence information and conspired to identify a covert agent of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA);
(11) established policies granting U.S. government contractors in Iraq immunity from prosecution;
(12) recklessly misspent public dollars on private contractors in Iraq;
(13) detained U.S. citizens and foreign captives indefinitely and without charge;
(14) authorized torture of captives in Afghanistan and Iraq;
(15) kidnapped and transported individuals to countries known to practice torture;
(16) authorized the arrest and detention of at least 2,500 children as enemy combatants in violation of the Geneva Convention;
(17) mislead Congress and the public about threats from Iran;
(18) created secret laws through the issuance of legal opinions by the Department of Justice and violated the Posse Comitatus Act;
(19) authorized warrantless electronic surveillance of U.S. citizens;
(20) directed telecommunication companies to create databases of the private telephone numbers and emails of U.S. citizens;
(21) used signing statements to claim the right to violate laws enacted by Congress;
(22) failed to comply with congressional subpoenas and instructed former executive branch employees not to comply with such subpoenas;
(23) tampered with the conduct of free and fair elections and corrupted the administration of justice;
(24) conspired to violate the voting rights of U.S. citizens;
(25) pursued policies calculated to destroy the Medicare program;
(26) failed to prepare for the predictable disasters caused by Hurricane Katrina;
(27) mislead Congress and the public in an effort to undermine efforts to address global climate change; and
(28) failed to take proper steps to protect the United States against the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, obstructed investigations into such attacks, and recklessly endangered the health of first responders near the site of such attacks.
I just finished watching the State of the Union address by President Obama. I took a lot of notes and planned to do a long post countering everything I heard that was wrong… but in the end I decided that post would be too long for anyone to actually read. So instead I will post a couple of songs I think sum up the SOTU address.
Don McLean – Everybody loves me
”Now, no man is beyond my claim when land is seized in the people’s name. By evil men who rob and maim, if war is hell, I’m not to blame!” This song pokes fun at a totalitarian leader.
Blues Traveler Live with Orchestra – Support Your Local Emperor
”You can see that in the end, it’s just a little bit of talk.” A song about leaders that must have their egos stroked.
And because I’m a huge Remy fan I have to post this one again (he noticeably avoided going into Obamacare too much):
If You Like Your Plan You Can Keep It: The Rap (w/ Remy)
This afternoon President Obama held his final press conference of 2013. This post has some random notes and thoughts that I have taken away from this presser. But first I will take a moment to look at his unemployment policy mentioned in the presser.
For the last year Obama has been touting the gains his administration has made in tackling unemployment. Now today he blames Congress (specifically Republicans) for not extending unemployment insurance benefits. There is a large disconnect between the two concepts Obama is touting. By extending the availability of UI benefits it would continue to keep unemployment numbers higher. The problem is the Keynesian approach to economic policy ignores human nature in general, and specifically the Keynesian approach ignores motivation. Extending UI benefits has the unintended consequence of keeping unemployment tenures longer. That does’t necessarily mean an unemployed person thinks “i’m unemployed, so I will milk the system and stay unemployed until benefits run out”. Some of that happens, but that will always exists. The bigger problem is the people that take their time and refuse to ‘settle’ for a job that isn’t what they had before. In this case extended UI benefits removes urgency from finding a job. Without urgency there is no motivation to leave the UI benefits system soon. Actually the longer UI benefits are available it makes someone less likely to have the motivation needed to get a job quickly. That is why UI benefits cannot continue to be extended for such long periods of time. It removes the motivation from getting a job.
Enough about UI… Here are some random notes from his presser:
- At one point he took time during a question to mention gun control? He wasn’t even asked about it? I guess when the economy is doing poor gun control is always a good redirect.
- Multiple times during the presser Obama said he doesn’t care what the polls says… And at the same time he mentioned doing what Americans want. Does he realize polls reflect what Americans want?
- Obama refused to answer what the thought should be done with Snowden. But he made it sound like he has full faith in what the NSA has been doing. Actually he said the NSA situation is “interesting”. Interesting? Really? Spying on American citizens is interesting?
- When talking about the healthcare exchange he didn’t mind throwing IT under the bus. (sometimes I am glad I left the IT field, IT is always thrown under the bus).
- Just like every presser Obama said he is willing to work with the other side and wants more bipartisanship… then goes on to say he “will not negotiate”.
- The President said the NSA getting caught spying is a diplomatic issue. Apparently Obama thinks the act of spying is OK, it is just getting caught that is an issue.
- Obama believes in the “core of the law” in respects to Obamacare. The specifics of the law appear unimportant to him. Thus his continued disregard for rule of law.
- Obama mentioned he likely won’t have time to attend the Olympics due to other priorities; but he looks forward to attending Olympics when he is no longer in office. He could retire early and make this Olympics. Just saying…
- Obama would not answer the question about being honored with the Lie of the Year.
- When speaking about Iran Obama continues to play the ‘reluctant war hawk’ role. Too bad we can’t seem to ever get a peace president.
Overall the presser was very long and he was brilliant at saying very little. I think the presser could be best summarized as “not my fault”. After this presser it is not surprise that 72% of Americans believe big government is a big threat.
The Hill has an interesting post on Obama losing support from congressional Democrats. The Hill post backs up the statement I made earlier today that Obama may be a liability in the 2014 election. Here is what The Hill article has to say:
President Obama’s relationship with congressional Democrats has worsened to an unprecedented low, Democratic aides say.
They are letting it be known that House and Senate Democrats are increasingly frustrated, bitter and angry with the White House over ObamaCare’s botched rollout, and that the president’s mea culpa in a news conference last week failed to soothe any ill will.
Sources who attended a meeting of House chiefs of staff on Monday say the room was seething with anger over the immense damage being done to the Democratic Party and talk was of scrapping rollout events for the Affordable Care Act.
“Here we are, we’re supposed to be selling this to people, and it’s all screwed up,” one chief of staff ranted. “This either gets fixed or this could be the demise of the Democratic Party.
Wow, when Obama is losing support from DC Democrats things are looking pretty grim for his administration. One quote from the post illustrates how bad Obama is seen by leaders in his own party:
“Is he even more unpopular than George W. Bush? I think that’s already happened,” said one Democratic chief of staff.
Wow, as a libertarian I’ve compared the two Presidents many times. But this is coming from his ‘supporters’.
I still don’t think this will cause a huge shift of Democrat seats going to Republicans. Rather I believe it will cause incumbent Democrats that have faithfully
served supported Obama to lose their office to primary opponents. I actually expect the same thing will happen to Republican incumbents as well. It will definitely be an interesting mid-term election in 2014.
Last month I posted about President Obama’s rapidly declining approval rating. Things are not getting much better for the President. At that time 53% of respondents disapproved of his job performance. According to the Quinnipiac Poll released on November 12, 2013, the Presidents disapproval rating is now at 54%. That slight shift isn’t actually the big news. The bigger news from this poll is the demographics of some voting blocks thought to typically support a populist Democrat candidate such as Obama. Here are some interesting disapproval ratings by demographic:
- 51% of women disapprove of the way Obama is handling his job. I personally believe this number has more to do with a larger problem with the DC Democrat Party. Democrat politicians in DC have made ‘women’s issues’ into cookie cutter political issues that actually comes off as quite condescending to many women.
- 47% of moderates disapprove of Obama’s job performance. This is just slightly above the 46% that approve. Yet losing moderate support is a sign people don’t believe Obama’s ‘I’m not a true socialist’ stance.
- 55% of those in $50k-$100k and 52% of those in <$50k annual household income levels disapprove of Obama’s performance. Obama and the national Democrat Party often tout these households as those they are ‘helping’. Hopefully this is a sign more people care about economic freedom for everyone than upholding and old and worn-out concept of class-warfare. It is time to move past the tired Democrat Party strategy of increasing class-warfare; and instead focus on social freedoms like they sometimes pretend to do.
- 54% in the age 18-29 demographic now disapprove of Obama’s job performance. Technically all age demographics show they disapprove of Obama’s performance. However this young demographic is most telling because this demographic likely won him the 2008 election. It appears Obama’s charisma no longer works on the youth now that they see he is no different from Bush.
It is not just Obama that is losing in the polls. Gallup released a poll on Nov 18, 2013, asking respondents if the is the responsibility of the federal government to ensure all Americans have healthcare coverage. 56% of respondents said it is NOT the government’s responsibility to prove healthcare coverage. That is a dramatic change from the Pre-Obama years. Here is a chart showing the polling for this question since 2000:
It is interesting looking at this chart. Since Obama took office the country has basically been split over the issue. However the last two years show a dramatic move of public opinion towards keeping the federal government out of centralized planning of healthcare coverage. It is good to see so many people waking up to the economic and liberty dangers that come with centrally planning such a complex and important portion of the nation’s economy. It also shows there may be leverage to actually repeal Obamacare in the future.
Personally I feel few (if any) laws should ever be made based upon polls. That is what has caused too many bad populist pieces of legislation over the decades. However it might be worthy to look at repealing laws such as Obamacare due to polls. Even if we can’t stop Congress and the President from enacting bad laws, we might be able to force them into repealing some of the very bad ones. It will be interesting to see how many DC Democrat politicians leave the Obamacare ship moving into the 2014 election. By that time it may actually be a liability to have Obama on their side.
Today in a speech President Obama made the case that he is going to administratively fix the “fumble” of people losing their current health insurance coverage due to ACA. The Wall Street Journal has a pretty good summary of this “fix”:
Senior White House officials said Thursday the administration would send letters to state insurance commissioners telling them that insurance carriers wouldn’t be required under the federal health law to drop policies because they didn’t meet the new coverage standards for 2014. Officials also said letters will be sent to insurers in the individual and small-group market notifying them that they can renew policies through next year and be in compliance with the health law.
So basically the Obama administration is going to tell the State’s that they can choose to ignore a portion of federal law that is causing millions of Americans to lose their current coverage. As someone who is against ACA I think it would be great to dismantle parts of the law. However at the same time I believe in Rule of Law. In this case we have a President that has said “it’s the law” many times to defend ACA, yet has no problems making illegal unilateral changes contrary to that law. That is not Rule of Law.
Where does the authority come from to give Obama the ability to unilaterally change the law? It is not in the Constitution. There is no portion of ACA that says “the President can change any portion of this law any time he wishes. So it must be specific to this particular piece of the law. Well lets look at section 1251 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PDF). Section 1251 is labeled “PRESERVATION OF RIGHT TO MAINTAIN EXISTING COVERAGE.” Here is part (a) of section 1251:
(a) NO CHANGES TO EXISTING COVERAGE.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—Nothing in this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) shall be construed to require that an individual terminate coverage under a group health plan or health insurance coverage in which such individual was enrolled on the date of enactment of this Act.
(2) CONTINUATION OF COVERAGE.—With respect to a group health plan or health insurance coverage in which an individual was enrolled on the date of enactment of this Act, this subtitle and subtitle A (and the amendments made by such subtitles) shall not apply to such plan or coverage, regardless of whether the individual renews such coverage after such date of enactment.
OK, this is the portion that says you can keep a plan that was in place before the enactment of ACA; and it also provides that such plans can be renewed. As the title of this section says it is contingent upon “no changes to existing coverage. There is no authority here for Obama to unilaterally provide exemptions. But there are four other subsections to section 1251.
Here is subsection (b) of section 1251:
(b) ALLOWANCE FOR FAMILY MEMBERS TO JOIN CURRENT COVERAGE.—
With respect to a group health plan or health insurance coverage in which an individual was enrolled on the date of enactment of this Act and which is renewed after such date, family members of such individual shall be permitted to enroll in such plan or coverage if such enrollment is permitted under the terms of the plan in effect as of such date of enactment.
Subsection (b) allows family plans to add members to their plan and keep their grandfather status. Nothing there to give Obama authority to make this change.
Here is subsection (c) of section 1251:
(c) ALLOWANCE FOR NEW EMPLOYEES TO JOIN CURRENT PLAN.—
A group health plan that provides coverage on the date of enactment of this Act may provide for the enrolling of new employees (and their families) in such plan, and this subtitle and subtitle A (and the amendments made by such subtitles) shall not apply with respect to such plan and such new employees (and their families).
Subsection (c) allows employer plans to add employees or family members under grandfathered coverage. Nothing here gives Obama the authority.
Here is subsection (d) of section 1251:
(d) EFFECT ON COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS.—
In the case of health insurance coverage maintained pursuant to one or more collective bargaining agreements between employee representatives and one or more employers that was ratified before the date of enactment of this Act, the provisions of this subtitle and subtitle A (and the amendments made by such subtitles) shall not apply until the date on which the last of the collective bargaining agreements relating to the coverage terminates. Any coverage amendment made pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement relating to the coverage which amends the coverage solely to conform to any requirement added by this subtitle or subtitle A (or amendments) shall not be treated as a termination of such collective bargaining agreement.
Subsection (d) is a little longer. But it basically lets plans created under union agreements before the enactment of ACA to have an exemption. This does not exempt unions from Obamacare as I’ve seen reported in the past. Actually if anything it made it harder for them to get an exemption. But that is a different issue. Nothing in this section gives Obama the authority to unilaterally change the law.
Finally here is subsection (e) of section 1251:
In this title, the term ‘‘grandfathered health plan’’ means any group health plan or health insurance coverage to which this section applies.
Well, that is just the definition of grandfathered health plan. Definitely nothing there about authority for the President to unilaterally change the law.
After review of section 1251 I see nothing that allows the President to legally change the law as passed about grandfathered health insurance plans. I actually don’t even see any language in this section that could be twisted to imply he has that ability through an ‘administrative fix’. Part of me is outright mad that the President would presume to tell States to ignore a portion of a law he is mandating on all Americans (well except for those he has already given illegal exemptions). But then part of me hopes he does take this action. It will help those of us that believe in the Tenth Amendment ammunition in fighting against bad laws like ACA. Maybe if enough states take this action they will realize it isn’t so bad ignoring over-reaching and unconstitutional federal laws. If that is the case Obama’s unilateral illegal move may actually be a step closer to reducing the power of the federal government. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.
PS. To keeps this post on-topic I ignored the fact that most insurance companies simply won’t be able to quickly or easily reverse course. Even if Obama does this fix, or Congress through legislation, it may be too late to save the plans for those people getting letters.