The Minority Report Blog » obama http://www.theminorityreportblog.com Conservative News & Opinion Sat, 14 Feb 2015 16:01:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Obama, The Crusades, Inquisitions, and The Jihad http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2015/02/06/obama-the-crusades-inquisitions-and-the-jihad/ http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2015/02/06/obama-the-crusades-inquisitions-and-the-jihad/#comments Sat, 07 Feb 2015 03:19:50 +0000 http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/?p=133721 So earlier the week the WON said we should get off “Our High Horses” and gave some BS about how Christians were just as bad as the Muslims because of the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition.   WHAT????

Where did the WON get his history about the Crusades??   The Crusades were a defensive war against the Muslim Jihad. The Muslims had taken over 2/3 of the Christian World before there was even the first Crusade. The Muslims had taken over all of the Middle East which was Christian and subjugated them. And they took over almost all of Spain and attacked all over Europe. And the Christians were the bad people in all this??

So basically the Christians were trying to take back land that was Christian before the Muslims conquered them. Those that went to fight were also did not go for riches, most spent all their money to get to the Holy Land and lost everything. They did not go to the Holy Land to convert people, they fought to protect Christians from being slaughtered and Churches from being burnt down.

Spanish Inquisition

The Spanish Inquisition is another subject that the WON spouted out about how bad the Christians were. Which is a total crock. The Spanish Inquisition was not nearly as nefarious as people think. In all the years of the Spanish Inquisition, less than those that were killed in 9/11 were subjected to death. The Spanish Government was the main instigator in those deaths and not the Pope of the time either.

The Spanish Inquisition was instituted in Spain after the Muslims were forced out of the country. And during the Muslim subjugation, many Jews were collaborating with the Muslims. This had pissed off the Spanish. I am not saying that there was not a of bad things that happened in the Spanish Inquisition, but the amount of BS and how it is to show how the Pope and the Catholic Church were diabolical and murderous thugs is over-hyped.

Next comes the truth about the Jihad. The Jihad was what brought about the Crusades in the first place. The Jihad had taken over 2/3 of the Christian World.

Crusades

The rapid growth of Islam in the beginning was all from the Jihad  against Christians in the Middles East, Africa, and the Mediterranean.

The Origin of Islam started through wars on the Arabian Peninsula. The Arab desert was converted by the sword. And after Muhammad’s death, the Muslims followed in his footsteps and wanted to convert the world to Islam.

I have no idea why in the world the President of the United States were even consider to compare the Jihad of today to the Crusades and Inquisition of old anyway. I am absolutely astounded at the audacity of idiocy coming from the WON.

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More Propaganda from the EPA on Methane and Ozone Pollution from the Oil and Natural Gas Industry http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2015/01/14/more-propaganda-from-the-epa-on-methane-and-ozone-pollution-from-the-oil-and-natural-gas-industry/ http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2015/01/14/more-propaganda-from-the-epa-on-methane-and-ozone-pollution-from-the-oil-and-natural-gas-industry/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 17:27:44 +0000 http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/?p=132838 FACT SHEET: EPA’S STRATEGY FOR REDUCING METHANE AND OZONE-FORMING POLLUTION FROM THE OIL AND NATURAL GAS INDUSTRY

January 14, 2015 — As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to addressing climate change, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has outlined a series of steps it plans to take to address methane and smog-forming VOC emissions from the oil and gas industry, in order to ensure continued, safe and responsible growth in U.S. oil and natural gas production. The agency’s commonsense strategy will reduce methane pollution from new sources in this rapidly growing industry, reduce ozone-forming pollutants from existing sources in areas that do not meet federal ozone health standards,  and build on work  that states and industry are doing to address emissions from existing sources elsewhere.

 

Building on Commonsense Standards for Methane and VOC Emissions

·         Methane –the key constituent of natural gas – is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential more than 25 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. Nearly 30 percent of methane emissions in the U.S. in 2012 came from oil production and the production, processing, transmission and distribution of natural gas. While methane emissions from the oil and gas industry have declined 16 percent since 1990, they are projected to increase by about 25 percent over the next decade if additional steps are not taken to reduce emissions from this rapidly growing industry.

·         EPA’s strategy will help avoid this anticipated increase in methane emissions from new sources, and will use both regulatory and voluntary approaches to accomplish this goal.

·         The agency also will extend requirements for addressing emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to additional sources, further reducing this key ingredient of ground-level ozone (smog).

- The agency plans to build on its 2012 New Source Performance Standards for the oil and natural gas industry to achieve both methane reductions and additional reductions in VOCs. Those cost-effective standards relied on proven technologies already in use, provided flexibility and incentives for industry to modernize equipment and reduce pollution early, and strengthened accountability, all while supporting continued growth in the sector.

- EPA will follow a similar approach as it develops cost-effective, commonsense requirements for new oil and gas sources that are significant emitters of methane and VOCs. The agency will talk with industry, states and tribes as it evaluates a range of approaches that can reduce methane and VOC emissions from sources such as the equipment and processes discussed in the 2014 White Papers. These could include completions of hydraulically fractured oil wells, pneumatic pumps, and leaks from new and modified well sites and compressor stations.

- In developing the proposal EPA anticipates a process for engaging directly with states on approaches the agency should consider in setting standards. This engagement will help ensure that the standards the agency issues are effective in protecting public health and the environment while supporting continued growth in this sector.

- A number states regulate, or are considering regulating, air pollution from the oil and gas industry, and EPA’s strategy anticipates that they will continue to do so. Under the Clean Air Act, states have the authority to regulate air emissions from sources within their boundaries, provided their requirements are not weaker than federal rules. EPA plans to issue a proposed rule later this summer and a final rule in 2016.

- In addition, EPA will continue and expand its work to promote voluntary adoption of cost-effective methane reduction technologies by the oil and natural gas sector.

Reducing Additional Pollution in Areas with Ozone Problems

·         EPA also plans to extend VOC reduction requirements to existing oil and gas sources in areas that could particularly benefit from VOC reductions: ozone nonattainment areas and states in the Ozone Transport Region. Reducing VOCs can help reduce ground-level ozone (smog), which is linked to a number of serious effects on public health.

·         The agency will do this by issuing Control Techniques Guidelines (CTGs) that provide an analysis of the available, cost-effective technologies for controlling VOC emissions from covered oil and gas sources. States would have to address these sources as part of state plans for meeting EPA’s ozone health standards.

·         CTGs give states critical information on cost-effective control technologies.  States have some discretion in applying these guidelines to individual sources.

·         Many controls to reduce VOCs also reduce methane as a co-benefit.  The CTGs that EPA issues also will also provide states and any tribes that choose to do so with a model they can put in place to address emissions from sources in other areas where oil and gas activities are concentrated.

·         EPA plans to propose CTGs in the summer of 2015, and issue final guidelines in 2016.

 

Industry Action to Reduce Methane Emissions

 

·         In addition to regulatory activities, several voluntary efforts to address these sources are underway, including EPA’s plans to expand the successful Natural Gas STAR Program by launching a new partnership in collaboration with key stakeholders later in 2015.

·         Under the new program EPA will work with the departments of Energy and Transportation and leading companies, individually or through broader initiatives such as the Downstream Initiative or the One Future Initiative, to develop and verify robust commitments to reduce methane emissions.

  ·         Voluntary efforts to reduce emissions in a comprehensive and transparent manner have the potential to yield significant methane reductions in a quick, flexible and cost-effective way. Achieving significant reductions through these voluntary industry programs and state actions could reduce the need for future regulations. The Administration stands ready to collaborate with participants in these and other voluntary efforts, including in the development of a regime for monitoring, reporting and verification.
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Team Obama Digs US The 19TH Hole http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2015/01/12/team-obama-digs-us-the-19th-hole/ http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2015/01/12/team-obama-digs-us-the-19th-hole/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 04:18:55 +0000 http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/?p=132753 It is hard to catalog, let alone rank, all the foreign policy, national security and diplomatic screwups of the Obama Administration. Some are plain deadly, like Benghazi and the miscalculations on Iraq and Syria which led to the rise of ISIS. Some brim over with disrespect, like the tone deaf failure to send a high profile American delegation to the unity rally in Paris after the terrorist murders last week. Some are demoralizing, such as the hacking attack on US military social media accounts.

centcom hacked screenshot

The central theme that unites them is the hubris of Team Obama and their reluctance to admit there even is a high stakes war on terror. In the Obama playbook, inherent sophistication and intellectual brilliance are enough to ensure success. So the president golfs, goes on endless vacations, pretends everything is normal and lectures the nation on the economy and more redistribution schemes (#FreeCommunityCollege!) while the world unravels.

During the Bush years, liberals and progressives couldn’t jet to Europe fast enough to denounce the Bush administration’s approach to combating terrorism, often maligning our military (during wartime) in the bargain. And now? How did Barack Obama react to one of the most spectacular terrorist attacks in history, in the capital of a key US ally, the City of Lights, and which struck at the heart of the West’s cherished values of freedom of expression and religion. Zip, nada, zilch, next-to-nothing. Obama didn’t even vote “Present” on this one.

Merde!

Image credit- 18th Hole at Pebble Beach, by Tewy

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Heritage: House GOP Agrees to Expansive Plan Blocking Obama’s Immigration Actions http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2015/01/12/heritage-house-gop-agrees-to-expansive-plan-blocking-obamas-immigration-actions/ http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2015/01/12/heritage-house-gop-agrees-to-expansive-plan-blocking-obamas-immigration-actions/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 14:42:33 +0000 http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/?p=132730 House Republicans will vote on far-reaching legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security through September and undo President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

After considering several proposals, the agreement favored by House leaders would prevent Obama from implementing his recent executive actions to defer deportation for up to 5 million immigrants living in the United States illegally and granting them work permits.

The legislation also would bar Obama from taking similar independent action in the future.

>>> House GOP Plots Attack on Obama Immigration Actions

In a move that surprised some Republicans, the legislation would strip protections provided to “Dreamers” under Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The policy benefits young people whose parents brought them to the United States illegally when they were children.

“If the GOP is serious about winning the fight in the Senate, we’ll begin to see pressure mount on red state Senate Democrats,” says @DanHoller

The Republican plan also limits the impact of the Obama administration’s 2011 “Morton memos,” which prioritize the enforcement of immigration laws to a subset of illegal immigrants who have been convicted of crimes.

And it restores the “Secure Communities” enforcement program that Obama ended with his executive actions, while also forcing state and local officials to comply with so-called ICE detainers, in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement asks local law enforcement agencies to keep immigrants in custody, even if they would “otherwise be released.”

The underlying Homeland Security spending bill does not yet include language limiting Obama’s immigration initiatives, but Republicans say those provisions will be added via amendments.

Republicans approved a deal in December that funded the Homeland Security department until Feb. 27, punting a longer-term agreement until early this year so that a GOP-controlled Congress could tie the spending to Obama’s immigration actions.

Photo: Dennis Brack/CNP/AdMedia

Politico and the New York Times, among others, are reporting that the House bill is unlikely to pass the Senate, where the Republican majority will need at least a half-dozen Senate Democrats to advance legislation.

Conservatives expect that GOP leadership will begin to pressure Democrats representing red states to support the legislation.

“If the GOP is serious about winning the fight in the Senate, we’ll begin to see pressure mount on red state Senate Democrats,” said Dan Holler, communications director of Heritage Action for America. “Conservatives will be looking to see if party-affiliated groups like the NRSC and the Rove-type groups put some muscle into the effort to stop Obama’s amnesty.”

Pro-immigration groups, on the other hand, argue that Republicans are misguided to prioritize undoing Obama’s executive actions as one of its first projects of the new Congress.

“It is outrageous and it is noteworthy that the House leadership has embraced the most extreme proposals from the most extreme members of their caucus,” Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, an immigration advocacy organization, told the New York Times. “It is nothing short of breathtaking that this is their first move coming out of the box in 2015 when they get the reigns of power.”

Obama, meanwhile, would likely veto legislation that undoes his immigration plan.

Republicans, however, hope to put the president in a difficult position, trying to frame the debate to say that Obama would be responsible for a shutdown of the Homeland Security department if he were to veto the legislation.

 

From The Daily Signal by Josh Siegel

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Heritage: Why Free Community College Is Anything But Free http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2015/01/11/heritage-why-free-community-college-is-anything-but-free/ http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2015/01/11/heritage-why-free-community-college-is-anything-but-free/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 04:07:09 +0000 http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/?p=132709

The Obama administration announced Thursday that it will propose two years of “free” community college, paid for by taxpayers, for students maintaining a “C” or better average. The federal government would finance three-quarters of the costs, and the administration says it hopes the remainder would be financed by states.

Just 20 percent of community college first-years complete their program within three years.

The White House claims the proposal will save students $3,800 per year in tuition costs. When asked about the cost of the proposal to taxpayers, the administration said it did not yet have a price tag, but that the cost would be “significant,” according to Politico. President Obama is expected to share more details of the plan in his Jan. 20 State of the Union address.

The administration’s proposal begs certain questions. Low-income students already have access to federal Pell Grants, which can be used to finance their tuition obligations at a community college. Indeed, the number of Pell recipients has doubled since 2008. So the proposal will serve as little more than a federal handout to the community college system.

And it’s a system that hasn’t exactly produced stellar outcomes. Just 20 percent of students who begin community college each year complete their program within 150 percent of the standard time, according to the U.S. Department of Education. And, as the Cato Institute’s Neal McCluskey found:

According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, only 20 percent of community college students transfer to four-year schools, and only 72 percent of those will have finished or remained enrolled four years later. So, from what we can tell, we are looking at completion for just around 34 percent of community college students.

And what is to prevent community colleges from escalating tuition and fees once the federal government – via taxpayers – begins paying the tab? The White House says the federal government will pay three-quarters of the costs of “average” tuition at community colleges, but we’ll most certainly see that “average” increase in the years to come thanks to this new federal largesse.

Then there is the impact on the K-12 system. More than one-third of students have to take remedial courses when they enter college, as they leave high school unprepared for university-level work. Free community college would put even less pressure on high schools to produce graduates who are prepared for college-level work, as they could expect the new free community colleges to fill in what the high schools are failing to do. The proposal is more likely to produce a six-year high school system than a two-year gratis workforce preparation experience.

The administration’s proposal is another step toward the White House’s goal of a “cradle-to-career” education system, starting with free preschool and now free community college. And then, even if a student does accrue debt in this new federally funded free-for-all, the administration has capped loan repayments at 10 percent of discretionary income, and any remaining balance is forgiven by the taxpayers after 20 years. And those benefits are even more generous for individuals who work in “public service,” largely defined as government jobs.

Once again, the administration is pursuing initiatives to subsidize rising costs, instead of working with Congress on policies that actually would address the driver of college cost increases: the open spigot of federal student aid. Over the past several decades, college costs have risen at more than twice the rate of inflation, thanks in large part to federal subsidies.

Allow markets in higher education to work by limiting federal subsidies instead of increasing them, and costs will fall for students attending colleges of all types.

 

From The Daily Signal by Lindsey Burke

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Heritage: The Private Sector, Not Obama, Created This Recovery http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2015/01/05/heritage-the-private-sector-not-obama-created-this-recovery/ http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2015/01/05/heritage-the-private-sector-not-obama-created-this-recovery/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 14:57:47 +0000 http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/?p=132329

It only took six years, but we’re finally starting to see the U.S. economy kick into gear.

This isn’t a story of government-directed growth, but the opposite—Washington’s role in the economy starting to shrink after years of Obama administration activism. The private sector is starting to take over.

Let’s start with the positive news.

Economic output soared in the third quarter at a rate of 5 percent. That comes on top of 4.6 percent growth in the second quarter. It appears that the U.S. economy has clawed out of its anemic 2 percent growth rut of the past five years and that we are now shifted into a higher gear with 3 percent-plus as the new normal.

The growth was propelled by a big rise in business investment, up nearly 9 percent, personal consumption up 3.2 percent and exports up 4.5 percent. Government spending, which is a negative for the economy, grew by 4.4 percent thanks to a big rise in military spending, but domestic spending is still restrained.

The news was so good that even the threat that the Federal Reserve will now have an excuse to raise interest rates couldn’t deter the bulls on Wall Street.

What’s generating the growth?

A huge factor has been the fall in energy costs. As the oil price fell from $105 a barrel this summer to close to $70 by September, the cost of oil imports tumbled. Imports fell by nearly 2 percent, and this alone added almost 0.2 percentage points to gross domestic product growth.

Even that badly understates the economic windfall from cheap energy. Production costs fall when energy costs do, so the supply of American-produced non-oil and non-gas products, such as manufactured goods, rise when gas is cheap. With prices lower now in this quarter, the good news story rolls on. Thank you, fracking.

Businesses are clearly feeling less fearful about investing, and some of the negative, wet-blanket effect of Obama’s anti-business, anti-shareholder agenda has dissipated as the Republican Congress repels his worst ideas—cap and trade, minimum wage hikes, new taxes on the energy industry and massive new spending initiatives out of Washington.

Gridlock now looks to be built into the political system for the next two years, and in many ways that’s reassuring.

One troubling feature of the GDP report was that the largest contributor to personal consumption growth was health care spending.

This is the Obamacare effect—and the big rise in spending is more concrete evidence that Obamacare is driving the cost curve up, not down.

Rising health costs is nothing to celebrate. It’s further evidence that Obamacare is still a giant negative on the real economy, but the betting is Congress will at the least trim back some of its worst features.

Despite the boost in military spending in the last quarter, the biggest story of the U.S. economy over the past three years has been the retrenchment of government spending.

Federal spending has fallen from above 23 percent of GDP in 2011 to just under 20 percent of GDP in the last quarter, according to an analysis by Dan Clifton of Strategas, an economic policy consulting firm. This is creating an anti-Keynesian boost to growth, because the government is taking fewer private-sector resources each month.

This recovery from recession is still nearly $2 trillion behind where it should be if we had a Reagan-paced boom. This is still one of the most anemic recoveries, though it is clearly picking up steam. Wages are still flat for most workers.

Republicans could keep growth in the 3 percent to 4 percent range by picking off the low-hanging fruit of economic policy proposals. These include the Keystone XL pipeline, corporate tax reform and slamming the brakes on the Obama regulatory assault. It also would be helpful for Congress to pass a law allowing the repatriation of foreign capital back to the United States at a 5 percent tax rate, to provide even more jobs.

Obama, despite his executive branch power grabs, is mostly a lame duck, and that’s what investors have been waiting for. Businesses and investors now believe that less is more when it comes to Washington. For the most part, they are probably right. This is a recovery that the private sector is creating. And, no, Mr. President, you didn’t build that.

 

Originally appeared in the Washington Times.

From The Daily Signal by Stephen Moore

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The Top Fifteen Obama Gaffes http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2015/01/05/the-top-fifteen-obama-gaffes/ http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2015/01/05/the-top-fifteen-obama-gaffes/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 14:47:10 +0000 http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/?p=132306 Just an update and refresher. President Obama has made several major blunders over the years. The following are arguably his top 15 gaffes thus far.

1) ….ten thousand people died — an entire town destroyed.

“In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died — an entire town destroyed.”

Regarding a Kansas tornado that killed 12 people

2) “I’ve now been in 57 states — I think one left to go.”

During a campaign event in Beaverton, Oregon.

3) It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns…

“It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Obama trying to explain why he has difficulty winning over some working-class voters.

4) Fallen heroes — and I see many of them in the audience here today.

“On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes — and I see many of them in the audience here today — our sense of patriotism is particularly strong.”

5) Israel is a strong friend of Israel’s

“Let me be absolutely clear. Israel is a strong friend of Israel’s. It will be a strong friend of Israel’s under a McCain…administration. It will be a strong friend of Israel’s under an Obama administration. So that policy is not going to change.”

Spoken while visiting Amman, Jordan on July 22, 2008.

6) The middle east is obviously an issue that has plagued the region for centuries.

“The Middle East is obviously an issue that has plagued the region for centuries.”

Said while in Tampa, FL on Jan. 28, 2010.

7) Says that grandmother …is a typical white person…

“The point I was making was not that Grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn’t. But she is a typical white person, who, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know, you know, there’s a reaction that’s been bred in our experiences that don’t go away and that sometimes come out in the wrong way, and that’s just the nature of race in our society.”

is campaign staff.

“Two days later, the ‘Apple 1984 ad’ spoof was revealed to be the creation of a political operative employed by a firm overseeing technology for Obama’s campaign. The Obama campaign later said it ‘had no knowledge and had nothing to do with the creation of the ad,’ and the creator was fired.”

Read the rest at RedState

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Obama releases five more Gitmo prisoners overnight http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2014/12/31/obama-releases-five-more-gitmo-prisoners-overnight/ http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2014/12/31/obama-releases-five-more-gitmo-prisoners-overnight/#comments Thu, 01 Jan 2015 00:46:03 +0000 http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/?p=132106 Get ready to see more acts of terror committed by these men soon.

From The Washington Times:

President Obama released five more prisoners from Guantanamo Bay Naval Base overnight, Fox News reported. They were held for more than a decade and were sent to resettle in Kazakhstan.

The men were arrested in Pakistan following the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, but were never charged, The Daily Mail reported. Three of the men were from Yemen and identified by The Daily Mail as: “Asim Thabit Abdullah Al-Khalaqi, who is about 46; Muhammad Ali Husayn Khanayna, who is about 36; and Sabri Mohammad al Qurashi, about 44.”

Click here to read the rest.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/dec/31/obama-releases-five-more-gitmo-prisoners-overnight/#ixzz3NWfcPTWJ
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

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The Media Baits New Race And Sex Traps- Results TBA http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2014/12/09/the-media-baits-new-race-and-sex-traps-results-tba/ http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2014/12/09/the-media-baits-new-race-and-sex-traps-results-tba/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 18:52:57 +0000 http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/?p=129748 Let’s make one thing perfectly clear, as Richard Nixon used to say. Anytime we let the left direct the narratives of our national conversation, the results will not help our cause, regardless of whether we win the argument.

One has to admire the finesse with which the liberal media has shifted attention away from the Democrats’ blowout defeat in November. Agitate Ferguson, throw in some Sharpton, get an assist from the tragic death of Eric Garner (whose family told Sharpton to get lost for the funeral), and then revive the War On Women theme. Push tales of the Primeval Sexist Male with the Bill Cosby and Lena Dunham controversies. (Note- it is OK to bang the drum for the Oversexed Black Male stereotype if the accused has conservative leanings- otherwise shift the conversation to White Privilege.)

How will it all turn out? The Lena Dunham meme continues to unravel as the vetting process identifies all the inconsistencies. It turns out that Identifiable Conservative Rapist Barry may not, er, be named Barry. Oh, well. But the bogus debate over White Privilege lets the Obama Administration gloss over the disastrous impact of its leftist agenda, from open borders to job-killing economic policies, on African Americans.

Some practical advice. Conservatives do need to make their views known on the latest obsessions of the chattering classes. But we must not let these discussions obscure more fundamental realities. Obama lied to the nation on health care. There is a legal and humanitarian crisis on the border. The Justice Department is out of control. The IRS was used to punish political enemies. Our national security is in a shambles. Iraq went down the drain, and Afghanistan could go the same way. A slow growth, crony capitalist economy is robbing the young of their future.

Kind of makes those post 19th hole lectures by the president kind of offensive, no?

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Is It Stagecraft Or Statecraft? http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2014/12/01/is-it-stagecraft-or-statecraft/ http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2014/12/01/is-it-stagecraft-or-statecraft/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 16:30:34 +0000 http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/?p=128483 In the days surrounding President Obama’s 2009 inauguration, much was made of connections between Mr. Obama and his lightly-seasoned, former Illinois Congressman predecessor, Abraham Lincoln. Especially lauded was President Obama’s choice to include Democratic primary rival Hillary Clinton and Bush Defense Department holdover Robert Gates in a latter-day cabinet “team of rivals” (borrowing the name of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s 2005 bestseller about Lincoln’s leadership).

With the apparently forced departure of Gates’s replacement, former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, more than one commentator has noted (see here and here) that the “team of rivals,” if it ever was, is certainly no more.

More important still is the deep gap that is now evident between the statesmanship of the two men, surprisingly well illustrated in the ways they use the words and wisdom of William Shakespeare.

Barry Edelstein, then director of New York City’s Shakespeare in the Park, opined in a 2009 New York Times essay titled “Shakespeare for Presidents” that Barack Obama, as an admirer of the Shakespeare devotee Lincoln, “seems primed to join the ranks of Bard-quoting presidents.” After all, the newly-elected president listed Shakespeare’s Tragedies as one of his favorite books on his Facebook site, and was obviously more intelligent than his predecessor, George W. Bush, who claimed he had “read three Shakespeares.”

Yet there’s been no Brave New World of a Bard-quoting Barack. Through six years, the President’s use of Shakespeare has been as uninformed as it has been infrequent. Mr. Obama’s allusion to Richard III in his First Inaugural (“in this winter of our hardship”) implies, in the context of the rest of the Duke of Gloucester’s telling soliloquy, that the president intends to turn good times to bad for his own advantage (paging conservative pop psychologists), rather than the opposite, as the rest of the inaugural address promised.

Meanwhile, the president’s accidental suggestion that England was 600 years past her prime in a 2011 Richard II-quoting toast to Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (“This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England”) was luckily (for him) overshadowed by his misunderstanding of royal protocol during the playing of “God Save the Queen.”

President Obama, like many other appropriators of familiar literary references, uses Shakespeare where Shakespeare appears to make the president’s point: where, like a pretentious academic at a college or university cocktail party, he calls Shakespeare as a witness in making his already-prejudged case.

Lincoln found something different in Shakespeare, a wise instructor in the art of statesmanship, inextricably linked to the moral universe that both men inhabited across more than two centuries and three thousand miles of ocean. For Lincoln, Shakespeare’s art amounted to no mere play-writing for the sake of play-acting, but an effort to enable mankind to understand human affairs better. Lincoln was so adamant on this front that one scholar, Douglas L. Wilson, notably relates that the president told his portrait artist, “It matters not to me whether Shakespeare be well or ill acted; with him the thought suffices.” It was the substance, not the style, that mattered.

Lincoln’s close reading of the thoughtful Shakespeare was time well spent for an American president. Shakespeare’s corpus is filled with statesmen who are sometimes better at acting than leading. The difference between those leaders who effectively are able to keep (and/or resume) the peace and those putting on a good show is significant. Great leaders sometimes employ stagecraft in the pursuit of statecraft, but never as a substitute for it. Carefully-controlled “optics” and rhetorical “pivots” may be a necessary part of contemporary politics, but when these means are pursued like ends, the serious work of executive administration is neglected.

For example, consider a conflict involving Dakota Sioux, local settlers, and the Union Army that erupted in Minnesota during the Civil War. When the war ended, a military tribunal condemned 303 Dakota warriors to be hung, pending what was expected to be a perfunctory review of the matter by President Lincoln.

Instead, Lincoln carefully reviewed each case, granting clemency to the 265 for whom there was no direct link in the documentary record to the rape or murder of settlers. After Lincoln narrowly carried Minnesota in the 1864 presidential election, one local politician suggested he would have won more easily if he had hung more Indians. Lincoln replied in cold seriousness: “I could not afford to hang some men for votes.”

Nowhere is the president more powerful or the presidency more serious than in making the life-or-death decisions inherent in his roles as both commander-in-chief and, in light of his pardoning power, chief dispenser of the nation’s mercy. Alexander Hamilton links these powers in his brief Federalist 74, showing how both were wisely entrusted to a single executive by the Constitutional Convention.

In the essay, Hamilton builds upon his earlier argument in Federalist 70 that “[e]nergy in the Executive is a leading character in the definition of good government” by first highlighting the President’s constitutional role as “commander-in-chief”:

[quote_box_center]Of all the cares or concerns of government, the direction of war most peculiarly demands those qualities which distinguish the exercise of power by a single hand. The direction of war implies the direction of the common strength; and the power of directing and employing the common strength, forms a usual and essential part in the definition of the executive authority.[/quote_box_center]

Given Hamilton’s earlier catalog of those things an energetic presidency would hopefully secure (the community against foreign attacks, a steady administration of the laws, property, and the people’s liberty), his defense of the executive as a singular commander-in-chief is entirely predictable. But less apparent (although conjoined in the first clause of Article II, Section II of the Constitution) is the connection between the advantages of having a President unilaterally administer mercy and war. What explains the connection? Hamilton writes:

[quote_box_center]But the principal argument for reposing the power of pardoning in this case to the Chief Magistrate is this: in seasons of insurrection or rebellion, there are often critical moments, when a well-timed offer of pardon to the insurgents or rebels may restore the tranquility of the commonwealth; and which, if suffered to pass unimproved, it may never be possible afterwards to recall.[/quote_box_center]

A president who can see the right moment and is willing to seize it can promote the public peace with a timely act of mercy just as, in other circumstances, he might do the same with an act of war. To do either, however, he must view himself as a vigilant defender of his regime’s (not his party’s) peace in all seasons.

Reduced to Lincoln’s terms, none but the most Richard III-like president would choose votes over lives. But it is not always obvious before one investigates that one is being asked to trade lives for votes–and we are all too comfortable trading at least the prosperity of some for the votes of others.

The political side of Progressivism, in fact, takes such choices for granted, as in the president’s executive amnesty, his original campaign promise to cut taxes for 95% of “working families” and raise them for the heavily-outvoted rest, and his myriad promises to promote the interests of the middle class.

Sometimes the political math adds up and sometimes–more recently for the president–it doesn’t. But such casuistry always subtracts from the true peace of the community. Much better to heed, as Lincoln so often did, Hamlet’s advice to the players come to perform at his castle:

[quote_box_center]

Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion

be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the

word to the action; with this special o’erstep not

the modesty of nature: for any thing so overdone is

from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the

first and now, was and is, to hold, as ’twere, the

mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature,

scorn her own image, and the very age and body of

the time his form and pressure.

[/quote_box_center]

 

Application: Let political rhetoric serve political ends suited to the “very age and body of the time” and, in so doing, promote “a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

David Corbin is a Professor of Politics and Matthew Parks an Assistant Professor of Politics at The King’s College, New York City. They are co-authors of “Keeping Our Republic: Principles for a Political Reformation” (2011). You can follow their work on Twitter or Facebook.

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