American astronomer J. Allen Hynek shuffled off this mortal coil in 1986, but I wonder what he would have made of this week’s State of the Union address, which as far as I can tell vindicated a good bit of his research. Hynek tried to codify relative strangeness by outlining differences between “close encounters” of the first, second, and third kinds. His 1972 book explaining that classification impressed filmmaker Steven Spielberg back in the day, and could be understood as an ascending scale of oddity, depending on whether you saw an unidentified flying object, noticed that the UFO had an effect on your environment, or swore on top of the two previous impressions that an inexplicably animated creature of some sort was also present.
The Obama Watch
Obama doesn’t believe in opportunity so much as opportunism. In Tuesday night’s State of the Union, he made slippery use of the word opportunity as a euphemism for more big government.
Other presidents would have said that a love of “freedom” united all Americans. But Obama changed freedom to “opportunity”: “what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all — the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.”
Obama prefers the word opportunity to freedom, as opportunity implies a large government role in creating it. At the same time, trying to improve his slumping poll numbers with more moderate language, he didn’t want to talk blatantly about government-mandated equal outcomes. But that’s what “opportunity” essentially means under his political philosophy.
“It is very important to silence the man who first cries out, ‘the king is naked,’ before others pick up the cry.”
— Valentin Moroz, Soviet Dissident
It’s State of the Union night.
And the state of Obama’s America is not good.
The news is out. The king is naked. The Emperor has no clothes.
• Jobs: Ninety-two million Americans are out of the workforce.
• Health Insurance: Five-plus million Americans who had health insurance have now lost that health insurance. As many as 25 million more could lose their insurance this year. All of it due to Obamacare.
The big story that’s simultaneously being spotlighted from the Vatican to the White House, from Oxfam to newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio in New York City, is economic inequality and the purportedly overly-skewed and unjust distribution of wealth.
“The human rights group Oxfam reported that the wealth of the world's 85 richest people is equal to that of the poorer half of the world's population,” reported Voice of America on January 20.
In other words, the wealth of a little group of people who can easily fit into two Mercedes party buses is equal to the combined wealth of the 3.5 billion people who make up the bottom half of the world’s population.
That’s nothing new. Wrote Jeffrey Goldberg in 2011 in Bloomberg Businessweek, regarding the Wal-Mart heirs, “In 2007, according to labor economist Sylvia Allegretto, the six Walton family members on the Forbes 400 had a net worth equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans.”
In other words, six people who can fit nicely into a new Cadillac Escalade have more dough than a third of all Americans.
December 25, 2013: The CNN headline was blunt:
Egypt’s interim Cabinet officially labels Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group
Began the story, which was reported in one media outlet after another:
(CNN) — Egypt’s interim government officially declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization on Wednesday, blamed it for a bombing this week that killed 16 people, and announced that anyone who is a member of the group will be punished.
Hossam Issa, the interim minister of higher education and a deputy prime minister, announced the Cabinet’s decision on state-run al-Masriaya television.
The government reiterates that there will be no return to the past under any circumstances and Egypt, the state and the people, will never succumb to the terrorism of the Muslim Brotherhood whose crimes have gone far beyond all moral, religious and human limits,” he said.
The government also will punish anyone giving the group financial support, Issa added.
Congressional speeches are generally hot air, politicians blathering to a largely empty chamber. But on January 9th a discussion in the House of Representatives soared above that mediocrity. For those Americans who worry that Congress no longer cares about preserving the Constitution, the words below will provide reassurance that there are a few people with backbone in Washington, D.C.
Congressman Tom Rice (R-South Carolina) and several of his 29 co-sponsors defended their resolution calling on the House of Representatives to sue President Obama in order to compel him to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” as the U.S. Constitution commands. They cited his changes to Obamacare by fiat, his defiance of U.S. immigration law, and his waiving the federal work requirement for welfare benefits.
The mystery is solved. So many earnest Republicans were puzzling over Chris Christie and his apparent affinity of the company of President Obama. Now we know the answer. He is cut from the same cloth of dirty politician.
Obama is a brutal punisher of all who dare stand up to his agenda or his party or him. He was only in office a few months and already he was using his leverage over General Motors and Chrysler to shut down successful dealerships for those brands. Why shutter the ones making money at a dire moment in the history of those corporations? Simple. They were owned by Republicans.
When the Supreme Court issued the Citizens United decision allowing campaign contributions by corporations, Obama insulted them in public during his State of the Union address. He could not gain sympathy if he criticized their view fairly, so he misrepresented their position to soften it for the scalpel. Nothing like this had ever been done before in the history of the presidency or of the Court for that matter. Apparently, Obama thought Teddy Roosevelt meant this kind of behavior when he called the presidency a bully pulpit.
There’s a good chance you didn’t hear about it, given the media’s devoted protection of Barack Obama, but our president didn’t attend church this Christmas. He did manage a family vacation in Hawaii, during which he attended a golf course three times and a basketball game once, but he couldn’t manage to attend an hour-long Christmas service.
If you accidentally dropped your most treasured piece of jewelry into the toilet just as you were flushing, you’d scream, you’d cry, and you might tell a sympathetic friend…unless you were just too embarrassed.
Among President Obama’s formerly greatest champions — minorities, unions, so-called journalists and young voters — the swirling-into-oblivion administration has engendered a remarkable sullen silence, given their loss, as they passively give up on recovering their once-loved gem, now sullied by this government’s own political excrement.
Covered with the stench of debacles including Obamacare, the NSA, Syria, Benghazi, the IRS, and the AP, while demonstrating a level of incompetence so great that it must give pause to all but the most committed members of the cult of unlimited government, few liberals will be willing to dig through the muck to reclaim their once-prized possession.
While the media like to focus on Tea Party froth and Republican infighting, the key to the 2014 and 2016 elections is the effect of the Obama flush on his key supporters’ desire to vote for Democrats, or to vote at all.
Leadership can mean many things to many people. But it’s absence is obvious, as it was with President Barack Obama, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and British Prime Minister David Cameron snapping a “selfie” Tuesday like teenagers at a rock concert and not dignitaries celebrating the life of former South African president Nelson Mandela at his funeral. His funeral. And this was not just any funeral. It was one for a man who led the fight to end apartheid in South Africa and “the great liberator” who “makes me want to be a better man” in Mr. Obama’s soaring words that he spoke at the funeral.
Taking that photo and his flirting with Ms. Thorning-Schmidt undermined his speech. It said: I am outside the rules. I am the center of attention. I don’t have to follow protocol because I am the protocol.