Tag Archives: Barack Obama

American Sense of Life vs. Hollywood

Although it’s old news, I learned about it only in the last week or so via Facebook: “A bipartisan group of Congressmen introduced a bill [in May of this year] that would stop costly first-class flights by lawmakers at taxpayer expense and force representatives and senators to fly coach.” The four Congressmen who sponsored the bill are evidence that at least some in Washington have retained an important element of what Ayn Rand called the “American Sense of Life.” In her essay, “Don’t Let It Go,” she described various aspects of this sense of life, this implicit philosophy that American share and that, Rand thinks, has saved us (so far) from being taken over by a totalitarian dictator. One aspect, Rand wrote, is that Americans “feel that a government official is a human being, just as they are, who has chosen this particular line of work and has earned a certain distinction.” So, while we may feel respect for our government officials, “it is the respect of equals.”

Travel west to Hollywood and you’ll find quite a different attitude. Gwyneth Paltrow, herself a celebrity who one would think would see herself as equal to a politician, apparently fell all over herself when introducing Barack Obama at a fundraiser in her home. “You’re so handsome that I can’t speak properly,” quipped the recently consciously uncoupled actress.

What’s even more disturbing is that Paltrow seems to see no problem with the idea of Obama being exempt from the rule of law, from the Constitutional limitations that plague mere mortal presidents: β€œIt would be wonderful if we were able to give this man all of the power that he needs to pass the things that he needs to pass,” she said.

Travel north to Silicon Valley for the most heartening example of the American Sense of Life—in particular, the focus on achievement and independence—that I’ve read about this week. Jony Ive, in a rare on-stage interview, described how Steve Jobs taught him about the importance of focus, and how he agreed with Jobs that, if you said no to other activities, opportunities or projects, it was not a sacrifice because “I wasn’t vaguely interested in doing those things anyway….” (I assume he meant that, in the context of what he was currently working on, he wasn’t vaguely interested in doing those things he said no to.)

Even more awesome than that was an exchange Ive recalls having with Jobs over the latter’s famously harsh critiques of the work product of members of their design team. Ive asked Jobs whether he would consider softening the critiques.

And he said, ‘Well, why?’

And I said, ‘Because I care about the team.’

And he said this brutally brilliantly insightful thing, what he said was, ‘No Jony, you’re just really vain.’

‘Oh.’

‘No, you just want people to like you. And I’m surprised at you because I thought you really held the work up as the most important, not how you believed you were perceived by other people.’

And I was terribly cross because I knew he was right.

I sure hope Ive stays at Apple, and stays healthy and productive, for the rest of a very long life. (Much longer than 75!)

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Squandering Political Capital

While there’s little chance of this story distracting from Obama’s failure effectively to deal with ISIS/Ebola/Economy, the White House is facing another scandal as the Washington Post reports that Obama aides “knew of possible White House link to Cartagena, Columbia prostitution scandal.” The article states that “new details drawn from government documents and interviews show that senior White House aides were given information at the time suggesting that a prostitute was an overnight guest in the hotel room of a presidential advance-team member β€” yet that information was never thoroughly investigated or publicly acknowledged.”

Read more here. Even if no particular action is taken in response to the latest of many lies told by the Obama administration, it’s nice to see what little credibility he has left be further eroded. It’s not surprising to see that, as this AP Story reports, Obama allies are “getting harder to find.”

It may turn out that during the last two years of his presidency, all Obama will have is his pen and his phone—without many people being willing to pick up the phone. (Certainly government bureaucrats should be less willing to pick up the phone, if they don’t want to end up in Lois Lerner’s situation.)

While I’m happy to see Obama squander what little political capital he has left, I was sorry to see this week that Ted Cruz—who may be the best, potentially electable candidate for 2016—denounced the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear any of the same-sex marriage cases. He has even vowed to introduce a Constitutional Amendment defending “traditional marriage.” I have loved Cruz’s principled stand on free speech, Obamacare, and other crucial issues, and here I think that Cruz is not only wrong (I support same-sex marriage), but that he is also wasting time, energy and political capital. I feel like I could quote right back to him the beginning of the speech he made in opposition to the Senate Democrats’ proposed Constitutional Amendment to curb free speech. In fact, I hope the Democrats do that.

Given that the 2014 elections are nearly upon us, I was happy to see Jason Mattera help Senate Majority Fossil Harry Reid squander a bunch of his political capital this week. It seems Mr. Reid doesn’t like being questioned about his multi-million-dollar net worth. Reid’s “aide” (as one source called him) actually physically attacked Mattera, who was doing nothing more than asking Reid how he made so much money while living on a government salary his entire career. Reid has vehemently denounced the Koch brothers, who spend their own money to influence politics so that politics doesn’t have as much influence over our lives. In the meantime, Majority Fossil Reid has apparently used political influence—and our tax dollars—to line his own pockets. It’s time we showed him the door.

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A Three-Video News Sandwich

Last night Jimmy Kimmel criticized Obamacare in his monologue, and even aired a fake ad that told the truth about the program: Obamacare is designed so that young and healthy Americans subsidize the health care costs of older and sicker Americans. Check out the video. Yes, it would have been better if Kimmel had named altruism as the root cause of Obamacare getting passed by Congress (the video says it’s because only older people vote), but in today’s context this is relatively bold.

What I’d love is for Kimmel and other popular talk show hosts to start taking Obama to task for his liberal use of executive orders. Obama held a press conference yesterday in which he announced his intention to use executive orders, along with his power to “convene Americans from all walks of life” in order to “move the ball forward” on his egalitarian agenda. He said he’ll be meeting with his cabinet members to see how far he can push the envelope to, in effect, legislate without any legislation being passed. Check out the video of Obama’s statement (if you can stomach it) here at The Right Scoop.

If you watched that video and are thoroughly disgustipated, you could use the lift you’ll get from watching the next video, Senator Ted Cruz’s Q & A with President Obama’s advisory panel on privacy. Cruz does a decent job pressing the panel on NSA overreach, but I think he could have gone further and pointed out the problems that would exist even if the telephone companies are compelled to retain Americans’ telephone metadata, as a substitute for the current NSA bulk metadata collection program. One of the panel members even suggested that a single private company, as opposed to the NSA, could be hired to store all the data, if there were concerns about the efficiency of having each telephone company store the data separately. That arrangement would likely be even worse than what we have now, and yet Cruz didn’t object when the idea was raised.

My nitpicky criticisms aside, what is also commendable about Cruz’s questioning of the panel is the language he uses with respect to the jihadists who have committed terrorist attacks on our soil in the years since 9/11/01. He repeatedly refers to the massacres in Fort Hood and Boston as “terrorist attacks,” and blames “Jihad” for them. This is important because the Obama Administration calls the Ft. Hood massacre an instance of “workplace violence,” and has scrubbed references to Islam from various counter-terrorism training materials. Cruz argues that these attacks might have been prevented if Hassan and the Tsarnaev brothers had been given appropriate scrutiny and surveillance.

Check it out:

Cruz continues to be the politician in Washington who gives me the most hope. Now only if he would read my piece on the third-party doctrine πŸ™‚

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