Clueless

President Obama gave the commencement speech at West Point yesterday. The speech was a complete embarrassment, yet the graduating cadets remained as professional and respectful as ever.

I’m not sure I would have been able to be so classy.

CNN’s Jim Clancy described the President’s reception at West Point as “icy”. Charles Krauthammer called his speech “literally pointless”. Even the Washington Post reported that his speech reeked of a “takedown of Rand Paul”.

In short, the President picked the most inappropriate time and place possible to pontificate about his foreign policy.

Rather than laud the success of the cadets, rather than applaud their achievements in difficult times, rather than send an inspiring message about their futures as officers in the US Army, President Obama stumped about himself. He defended his beliefs (and so in a very broken, hard-to-follow fashion). This is what happens when we have a President who has no military experience or understanding of foreign policy: we get a guy who will use a revered tradition to tell his detractors to piss off.

It was like watching a train wreck, to be quite honest. After making a remark about the class of 2014 being the first to be less likely to go into combat since 9/11, he turned his commencement speech into a rant. He started chastising those who don’t believe that America is at her strongest, saying that we are engaging in partisan politics. He pitifully whittled the war debate down to those who want war and those who want diplomacy. Yet again, he compared himself to his predecessor – George W. Bush – in a thinly-veiled swipe at the man. Then, after saying in his first year in office that he didn’t believe in American exceptionalism, he suddenly changed tack and said he believed in it “with every fiber of my being.”

He also said in no uncertain terms that we really don’t need the military. He said we had the greatest military in the world, then said, “but just because we have the biggest hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.” Huh? So his message is, “good job on graduating, but we don’t really need you”?

President Obama is as classless as he his clueless.

The First Lady is just as bad. She famously posed with a sign that bore the hashtag “bringbackourgirls”, making a cheap statement on Twitter about the Boko Haram terrorist group that kidnapped more than two hundred school girls and threatened to sell them into sexual slavery if the Nigerian government refused to release several imprisoned terrorists. I have to ask, what on Earth makes anyone think that a terrorist organization (one that our esteemed former Secretary of State vociferously defended) is going to respond to a social media campaign? The attempt to shame them into submission is incredibly juvenile and proves just how little President and First Lady Obama understand about foreign policy issues. I mean…Twitter? Really? Is this the new face of liberal politics?

Mrs. Obama’s school lunch program has also come under fire. Students who found lunches based on her new guidelines inedible started posting pictures of their new lunches on social media. Schools started losing money because students weren’t buying lunch. Why would they buy something that smells and tastes awful? My foster daughter tells me that her school lunches are so bad that even though she gets them for free, she won’t touch them – she says a kind of barbecue sandwich with no meat in it, imitation steak sandwiches and overcooked tater tots are the usual fare, and the salad bar is no better.

Congressional Republicans have been trying to pass a bill that would make it easier for schools to give the choice to parents and students on whether to follow the guidelines that limit the amount of fat, sodium, and sugar that kids are eating. The First Lady’s response? A temper tantrum. While her daughters attend an elite private school and get the best food money can buy, public school kids are turning to Chee-tos and candy bars to replace the disgusting alternatives now offered in their schools – and Mrs. Obama is pushing the fact that, as a mom, she cares. She openly attacked the attempt, ignoring the fact that even the School Nutrition Association thinks the guidelines are too strict and expensive, as “unacceptable.”

I’m sorry. I was unaware that she had been elected to any office.

I feel like we’re hearing Marie Antoinette ignorantly pan, “let them eat cake!” The First Family wants for nothing, and they have no idea how much it costs to eat the way they do. They are not interested in how this sort of thing affects the middle class or even the poor. I swear, the next thing we hear from her is going to be, “well, if you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat it!” The day she goes to my girl’s high school and eats what the students are expected to eat – and DOESN’T gag – I’ll believe she gives a damn.

Whatever

It continually amazes me just how many people are willing to keep defending Obamacare and all of the problems it is causing.

President Obama promised us before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law that “if you like your insurance plan, you can keep your insurance plan. I guarantee it.” We are rapidly finding, however, that many of us can’t keep our health insurance plans. An insurance plan can’t simply change; if the cost or the benefits go over a certain threshold (and that threshold is not very high), the plan is cancelled and a new one is rolled out in its place. Thanks to Obamacare, a lot of people who had only bought enough insurance to cover catastrophic injuries or illnesses have lost their plans. It is now estimated that over two million Americans have lost the insurance plans that they liked – all because Obamacare required that insurance cover everything and the kitchen sink. I have friends who deliberately bought that kind of insurance. They had enough money to pay for basic doctor visits and they intended to use their insurance for exactly what it was meant to cover: high-cost emergencies. They liked their plans, and Obamacare is the sole reason they’re unable to keep their plans.

Don’t tell the Democrats, though. They don’t care. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Mr. “I will not yield to this monkey court”, went on Megyn Kelly’s show and claimed that the policies are being cancelled because the insurance companies are somehow seeing the light. He said, “the bottom line is, if you’re selling a lousy policy at a price that’s too high, nobody’s going to buy it. And so they’re cancelling these policies because they know people won’t buy them.” Megyn pointed out that people WERE buying them and they were happy with them. Pallone replied, “they’re not going to buy them anymore when they have a better alternative!” (Really? You call shotgunning someone into buying a policy that has to cover everything “willingly buying a better alternative”?) Incredibly, when Megyn asked, “why do you get to decide what’s lousy?” Pallone responded, “it’s capitalism!”

Quite literally all Pallone could say was that nobody is going to buy “lousy” plans when there’s a better alternative. What he’s willfully ignored is the fact that there has ALWAYS been a better alternative, and people still opted to buy these supposedly lousy plans because they liked them. The ACA had nothing to do with “providing a better alternative.” Even the Democrats who are admitting that plans are being cancelled because of Obamacare requirements are being completely flippant about the situation – all the way up to the President.

President Obama, rather than answer for his lie, had the audacity to tell people yesterday at Boston’s Faneuil Hall to shop for a better plan. He said, “if you’re getting one of these letters, just shop around in the new marketplace. That’s what it’s for. Because of the tax credits that we are offering, and the competition between insurers, most people are going to be able to get better, comprehensive healthcare plans for the same price or even cheaper than projected.”

First of all, you have done nothing to create competition between insurers. You have mandated that everyone buy insurance, so the companies know that they have a guaranteed customer base. Second, your tax credits aren’t going to come close to covering the out-of-pocket increases that I’m now paying. Third, my employer only offers insurance from one company; if I buy my own, including in the government marketplace, it’s going to cost exponentially more. None of this nonsense has made anything more affordable for me. Originally, the claim was that the ACA was supposed to eliminate the people who use the ER as their primary source of health care. Instead, it has only subsidized those people to continue doing that by forcing people like me to pay more up front. I’m not impressed.

It is not up to you to determine what is good enough for my coverage. It’s not up to you to tell me that I don’t have enough coverage or that my plan is “lousy”. It’s none of your business whether I’m insured and you have no right to tell me that I have to have coverage and that the coverage I have is required to cover maternity care, birth control, and OB/GYN. You are not here to rule me and you are not here to decide what is best for me. If you are capable of taking on the power to tell me what’s good for me, then you are one short step away from taking on the power to determine whether I’m worth spending healthcare resources on, and I have a very serious problem with that.

Kathleen Sibelius made an embarrassingly poor appearance before Congress yesterday. After taking full responsibility for the utter failure that is Healthcare.gov, Representatives grilled her on several aspects of the ACA. When asked if she would sign up for Obamacare, Sibelius first tried to skirt the question by claiming it was somehow “illegal” for her to sign up for it. Then, when pressed on whether she would if she were able, she refused to answer. During that testimony she was caught on a hot mic saying, “don’t do this to me!” As if that wasn’t bad enough, when asked whether President Obama bore any responsibility for this incredible failure, Sibelius only said, “you clearly…whatever.” Of course, we all know that Sibelius likely wasn’t the person responsible for deciding who would build and run the website, so one must ask what she’s going to get for falling on her sword in front of Congress over this behemoth of a Greek tragedy.

For the $634 million the Obama administration has poured into the mockery of a website that hasn’t worked for more than twenty people this month, they could have set up a $1 million account for every man, woman, and child in America and earmarked it specifically for their healthcare, and they would have had more than $300 million to spare. They wouldn’t have even needed a crappy website to keep track of it all.

The license being taken by this administration is breathtaking. How are they combating their poor image? They do an end run around those of us who aren’t willing to live with the imposition of these decrees by labeling us as extremists, terrorists, and racists. The media that is supposed to keep us informed is, instead, complicit. Pay no attention to that Tea Party behind the curtain, though. They’re irrelevant.

Whatever.

Make It Hurt

I can still remember the big government shutdown in 1995. November of that year, feuds over then-president Bill Clinton’s demands for budget concessions on public health (including Medicare), education, and environmental issues (remember the “hole in the ozone” that nobody ever talks about anymore?) drove the Republican-led House to force the government into a shutdown that lasted nearly a month. After national parks were closed, Jay Leno made the joke that “they put a guy out front to tell people, ‘don’t look at that!'” National parks were closed, but now that we’re in the middle of another shutdown Obama is taking it a hell of a lot further than last time.

They haven’t just closed down the parks. Rangers have been ordered to step outside their jurisdiction and actually put cones and barriers up on highways to block off scenic overlooks, with the purpose of stopping people who are only passing through from pulling over to take pictures. Open-air war memorials – particularly the WWII memorial and the Vietnam memorial wall – have had barricades put up. At the Vietnam wall, when veterans and other visitors crossed the barriers to pay their respects, police officers chased them off. At the WWII memorial, which sees a couple of “honor flights” every week bringing dying WWII veterans to pay their final respects, barriers had to be crossed by Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS) to lead the vets into the memorial. The entire memorial is outdoors. As in, requiring no personnel to staff it. Other outdoor memorials closed include the 2nd Infantry Division (WWI) memorial and the Iwo Jima memorial.

One volunteer took home a section of the “police line” crime scene tape that had been erected to keep people out. The Park Service threw President Obama under the bus – they confirmed that the order to close the memorials came straight from the White House.

Something else I don’t remember happening in 1995: the FBI ending all meetings with the public. One of my closest friends just told me something that made my blood run cold. She called the local FBI office to report that a known pedophile with a serious mental illness has been released from an institution and is delusional and dangerous. The secretary who answered replied, “I’m sorry, ma’am, but you’ll have to start with local police. We had to suspend meetings with the public to report criminal activity because of the shutdown.”

In other words? Now is the time to go nuts on that criminal enterprise you’ve been building. The FBI (and likely the ATF and DEA) aren’t taking reports right now.

Other friends have reported that websites set up through the Library of Congress have been shut down. College students facing assignment deadlines can’t do the research they need to do because all they see is a white screen saying that the site has been shut down. What nobody has questioned yet, beyond the ridiculous “why?” that we should be asking, is how they’re paying for all of this.

It costs money to rent barricades and put up signs. It costs money to station park rangers and police officers in front of parks and monuments. It costs money to send someone out to shut off scenic overlooks. It costs money to send Secret Service agents to stand outside of an outdoor monument and tell people to go away. It costs money to take a website offline and replace it with a “closed” sign. None of these things are inexpensive. It costs more to put the barriers up around the WWII memorial than it does to just let people in. There are probably more police and park rangers on duty now than there are normally.

Most of this isn’t necessary. Some of it, like suspending the ability of the FBI to take reports, is downright dangerous. All of it is the result of President Obama throwing a temper tantrum and saying, “I’m not your friend anymore, so you can’t play in my yard!” He figures that if he can make it hurt, even in the smallest of ways, that people will side with him and beg the Republicans to just cave in and let him do what he wants to do. Unfortunately, Democrats are defending him. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have even urged Democrats in the House and Senate to vote “no” on funding for veteran’s benefits just to make sure they’re still in Dear Leader’s good graces. For her part, Pelosi tried to use the line that voting for anything less than full government funding is “using veterans as a bargaining chip.” It’s literally all or nothing with the Democrats right now, but Obama quietly signed a bill allowing the troops to keep receiving their pay during the shutdown.

Not that I’m upset about that. I just can’t figure out how they can excuse paying the currently-serving troops and ignore the disabled veterans who still need their healthcare.

What’s absolutely unforgivable (only slightly moreso than refusing to care for our disabled vets) is that elderly residents on Lake Mead have been forced from their homes. Why? Their homes sit on federal land, so because of the shutdown, they all have to leave. If they can do this, they can do anything. The media is practically asleep. The only channel that is reporting the truth about some of these outrageous violations of our basic rights in the name of this shutdown is Fox News. MSNBC is reporting that Spite House is calling on the GOP to pass a “clean” spending bill. CNN is reporting that Boehner is calling default our “current path”. ABC is reporting that Boehner won’t make a move without Obama agreeing to even talk to GOP representatives. In reality, the only way that any of the realities of what the Democrats are doing right now is seeing the light of day is alternative media.

Obama’s own Twitter account laid the blame for the shutdown solely on the Tea Party. Someone please explain something to me…Obama and his cronies are swearing up and down that they will never sign any bill that doesn’t raise the debt ceiling (something that, in 2008, he had called “irresponsible”) and strips ANY funding from Obamacare (even though Dear Leader himself has made over 100 changes to the bill by executive order – including giving a complete exemption to members of Congress), yet they’re accusing the Republicans of refusing to negotiate. I’m sorry, but how does that work? You take everything off the table and then walk out of the room because the other guy won’t compromise? What, are you twelve years old?

The Spite House may end up winning something in the end here, but they will continue to do everything they can to make it hurt until they do get what they want. I can only hope that the GOP stays strong and refuses to back down. Negotiation means both sides come to an agreement. This isn’t diplomacy – it’s bullying.