EnduringSense

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Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Attack on Constitution’s First Amendment

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 21, 2017

The U.S. Constitution is a remarkable document, including the United States’ supreme law. The Constitution initially paved the way for 13 diverse colonies to come together and form a Federation by preserving rights of each colony (state). Its fair and stable legal platform played a huge role in the Country’s success.

Amending the Constitution was purposely made difficult to inhibit changes made on the political whims of populists. Amendments require the calling of a Constitutional Convention or two thirds supermajorities in both houses of Congress. Still, the Constitution has been amended 27 times by Congress, including the pivotal Bill of Rights with its 10 amendments made in 1791.

The First Amendment under the Bill of Rights states:bill-of-rights

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The First Amendment, free speech has come under attack in recent years through the use of political correctness with its social pressures. More recently, some on the Left have been more transparent in efforts to inhibit speech with increased ferocity since Donald Trump’s election.

This Blogger recently discussed the First Amendment with a slightly left-of-center acquaintance who would curtail speech in the name of public safety. In justifying the control of speech, he used the example of crying fire in a crowded movie theater and its risk of creating injury. He equates this example to those who take an anti-illegal immigrant philosophy in America, believing that it leads to attacks on immigrants or aliens. This author believes the comparison is a canard used to curtail the discussion of disagreeable ideas.

Inhibiting free speech, either through social pressures or the legal system, is a slippery slope traveled in the past. McCarthyism was a hammer used by the Right to inhibit the speech of liberals in the 1950s. A similar tactic is now in vogue by the Left, but for a different political agenda. For those who dare to discuss immigration policy, religion security issues, sexual mores, or social benefits, for example, are microphone labeled bigots, homophobic, Islamaphobic, or as Hillary said, “deplorable”.

The key issue with any attack on free speech should be how do we choose who gets to determine what constitutes calling the fire in a theater? Should the curtailing be to the benefit of ones’ political views, they are more likely to agree with the First Amendment attack. However, sooner or later the opposing side gains power and that is why the slippery-slope should concern all, irrespective of political views.

In a relevant example, a few years ago Harry Reid used the nuclear option in the Senate to allow Democrats to use a simple majority to get Obama appointments approved quickly. Previously this required a 60-vote Senate majority. Reid justified this drastic action claiming the Republicans to be the “party of no”, inferring that the step was required to keep government moving. Obama and fellow Liberals were all too happy to go along, irrespective of future consequences. Now, Trump and the Republicans have the use the nuclear option and the Democrats are screaming.

The Senate’s 60 vote requirement was created to make political appointments bipartisan, not easy. Similar to the Second Amendment, this rule had the long-term good of the Country behind it, with the goal of further legitimizing presidential power. The nuclear option has increased polarization and the divide in the Country and government. Instead of looking to Reid’s or Obama’s role in increasing political divisiveness, Trump is demonized for appointments.

Americans on the Left and Right would do well to look at the Constitution is a set of laws created to protect the long-term interest of all. Those that would mold it to fit their short-term agendas do so at the peril of their own future rights.

Posted in Constitution | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Barack Obama’s Legacy

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 12, 2017

According to one classical definition, “legacy” is “anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor”. American presidents often consider their potential legacies as they are leaving the White House. During the waning weeks of the Obama administration this has been a focus of the President.

Since the election of Donald Trump and the defeat of the President’s Party, Obama has taken steps that are legacy focused. Perhaps the most surprising was his anti-Israeli vote (abstention) in the United Nations where he broke decades of American precedent only after there would not be political consequences. In addition, the President and some advisers have been making speeches in attempt to write history in advance. While legacies are ultimately viewed as positive or negative, they are created by history and historical facts, not political narratives.

Prior to the New Year, Obama was asked by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria about his biggest policy disappointment. Obama’s response:

pew-study-gun-control“If you ask me where has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied, it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient common sense gun safety laws.”

While gun control is an issue with thoughtful people on both sides of the debate, the President placing it as his biggest disappointment shows a disconnect with the American People. According to a 2016 Pew Research poll, those in favor of gun rights is at its strongest since the study began. During the same period, support for gun control is at its lowest.

Most Americans agree, irrespective of Obama’s recent pronouncements, that race relations in the United States has deteriorated during the past eight years. On the economic front, wealth disparity in the United States has grown. Internationally, the US’s relations with China and Russia deteriorated and the Middle East has become an even greater firestorm. Given these realities it is rather incredible for President Obama to claim his greatest disappointment with his administration relates to the failure to increase gun control. If this illogical conclusion is not the result of the President being out of touch with the electorate, it then must be chalked up to an attempt to deflect from the more serious problems that have grown under his watch.

Eight years ago Barack Obama became President with great opportunity. Five days before taking the oath he said: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Obama’s legacy will ultimately be created by the results of the policies implemented under his watch, not by preemptive speeches.

Posted in President Obama | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Liberal Law Professor Alan Dershowitz Slams Obama

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 29, 2016

Since the election of Donald Trump, liberal pundits have come up with all sorts of excuses for the outcome. At best they look to voter apathy on the Left. More troubling excuses include racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., the “deplorables” according to Hillary Clinton. These head-in-the-sand excuses ignore the weakness of candidate Hillary Clinton and the difficult economic state many Americans find themselves in, which as not improved under Obama’s Presidency.

The excuse-making machine on the Left has ignored the fact that many liberals are displeased with the Obama Presidency. Many expressed this dissatisfaction by supporting Socialist Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary. Others have come out more recently with President Obama throwing Israel under the bus.

Last week the United Nations held a vote that basically blames Israel for the stalled Middle East peace process. While hidden behind the narrative that the vote was about Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the vote was a much more general combination of Israel. Such anti-Israeli votes in the Security Council have become commonplace in recent decades. However, votes the United States has historically used its veto power to block them. Incredibly, this lame-duck president in his last three weeks of office went against American policy back by both Republicans and Democrats and abstained, allowing the condemning of Israel to pass.

The outcry against Obama’s decision has been crosses political parties with many prominent Democrats coming out quite vocally in opposition. One example is Alan Dershowitz, a retired Harvard Law school professor who has been a lifetime Democrat and supporter of Barack Obama. His comments, included in the videos below, include:

He defined the president’s handling of the resolution as a “bait and switch”:

He pulled a bait and switch. He said to the American public ‘Oh this is all about the settlements deep in the West Bank’ and yet he allowed his representative to the U.N. to abstain, which is really for, a resolution that says Jews can’t pray at the Western Wall. Jews can’t live in the Jewish quarter where they’ve lived for thousands of years. And he’s gonna say ‘Whoops. I didn’t mean that.’ Well, read the resolution. You’re a lawyer. You went to Harvard Law School.”

Dershowitz went on to call Obama one of the worst presidents ever on foreign policy. Strong words from a liberal Democrat!

While this Blogger agrees with Dershowitz’s comments, the good Professor and others from intellectual Left bear responsibility for Obama’s policies and duplicity. It was known before Obama’s first election that he held questionable/radical political views and had contacts with some shady characters including Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayres of Weather Underground fame and others. Many on the Left made excuses for these associations, giving Obama a pass. Now, as Rev. Wright once so infamously said: “the chickens have come home to roost”.

 

Posted in Israel, President Obama | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Trump Transition

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 22, 2016

We will shortly have a new president, one from a different political party. This Blog wishes the new president success in addressing the issues the Country faces. This hopefully is the desire of all Americans, irrespective of political leanings.

Given it has been eight years since we have prepared for a new president, it is an appropriate time to reflect on changes that have occurred during this period. Blog reader Jim Mahoney shares his reflections in the post below “A Tale of Two Transitions”. As Jim concludes: “They [the media and the Left] have painted a caricature of Donald Trump as being so buffoonish and inept, that he will hit a home run if he comes into office acting even halfway presidential.” This Blog will hold Donald Trump to a much higher standard.

A Tale of Two Transitions, By Jim Mahoney

Remember back in November 2008? Barack Obama had just won the election and expectations for his presidency were running white hot for no apparent reason. Throughout the campaign liberals, the media and the Obama campaign constantly reminded us about his high level of intelligence and capability and the official narrative was that he would easily be able to solve all of the country’s problems. This led some of us at the time to question exactly what in his background made him so qualified. For those who may not remember, here is a rundown of Barack Obama’s resume.

By his own admission, Obama had a lackluster high school academic career in which he spent most of his time smoking pot with his friends in the Choom Gang. That didn’t prevent him from being accepted to Occidental College and later transferring to Columbia University in his junior year. After graduating in 1983 he had brief stints as a research associate at a New York Public Interest Research Group and as the Director of the Developing Communities Project on Chicago’s South Side.

Obama entered Harvard Law School in the fall of 1988, where he was selected as an editor of the Harvard Law Review at the end of his first year, president of the journal in his second year, and two years as a research assistant to the constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe. After graduation, he was an associate with Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, a 13-attorney law firm specializing in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development. He also taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School as a Senior Lecturer until 2004.

Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996, where he developed a habit of voting “Present” to avoid taking a stand on any tough issues that might give him a legislative paper trail.   Sensing an opportunity to run for the United States Senate, Obama became an early opponent of the George W. Bush administration’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. The Illinois U.S. Senate seat was open in 2004, giving Obama the opportunity to win a landslide victory in the March Democrat primary. The primary victory made him an overnight rising star in the Democrat Party and led to him being selected to deliver the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Obama’s expected opponent in the general election, Republican primary winner Jack Ryan, was forced to withdraw from the race in June 2004 after sealed court records from his divorce proceedings were made public. With no viable opponent, Obama won the November 2004 general election with 70% of the vote. After serving 144 days in the United State Senate, Obama was suddenly on the fast track to the Presidential nomination and ultimate victory.

Bear in mind that this biographic information came from the left-leaning Wikipedia website, which presumably would give the most glowing accounting of Obama’s accomplishments. Even if we accept Obama’s resume as fact, (and we have no choice since none of his school transcripts have ever been made public), there is nothing in his official background to suggest he had any executive experience or that he was even remotely capable of addressing the complex level of economic and structural problems facing the country at that time. Of course, in what rapidly became standard operating procedure for the Obama administration, anyone who dared to question the party line on any aspect of Obama’s intelligence, experience or intentions, even based on legitimate policy differences, was preemptively labeled a racist. What is now abundantly clear in hindsight is that with his wafer-thin resume, Obama was probably the emptiest suit to ever occupy the Oval Office.

obama-pres-electThe media were deeply invested in the charade, and they dutifully played along by immediately shifting all attention away from George W. Bush, other than to continually highlight his falling poll numbers, and turned the spotlight almost exclusively on Barack Obama. During the transition period, we received daily briefings and pronouncements from Obama. He even created something called the “Office of the President Elect”, complete with a sign for his podium. There is no provision in the Constitution for such an office, which should have been our first indication of how Obama planned to govern for the next eight years. Of course, the press covered all things Obama with all of the seriousness of a presidential press conference. They breathlessly reported each day’s pronouncement and the brilliance of each of Obama’s cabinet announcements. Concurrently, the media initiated the narrative that since there were so many problems created by the Bush administration that needed to be addressed, “some people” thought it was a shame that Obama had to wait until January 20th to take office. They longingly wished the Constitution could be changed so he could take office immediately and get right to work curing all of the nation’s ills.

Contrast the coronation atmosphere created for Obama with the hostile reception being given to the incoming Trump administration. The media’s emphasis is still squarely on Obama as they cover his world tour “explaining” Donald Trump to world leaders and they cheer his last minute flurry of unconstitutional executive orders in an attempt to institutionalize his policies into the future. Any coverage of Trump consists of highlighting the controversies of the ongoing protests against his election, the attempted liberal hijacking of the Electoral College, hit pieces on his Cabinet choices and comparisons to Hitler. They are performing a full court press to cast him as an illegitimate president before he even takes office.

If you look at Donald Trump’s Wikipedia page to get an indication of his background and experience you will have to wade through paragraph after paragraph detailing active and pending litigation against him, unsubstantiated sexual misconduct allegations, his bankruptcies and aspersions on his legitimate use of the Federal Tax Code. However, if you do a little digging, you will find that Trump graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1968 and followed his father into a career in real estate development. He was made head of the company in 1971, and expanded it beyond real estate development into the successful, multinational organization it is today. Based on his 45 years of experience running large companies, managing complex projects and recruiting and evaluating talent, it certainly appears that Donald Trump is far more qualified than Barack Obama to tackle the problems of a bloated, out of control federal government bureaucracy. After all, the federal government is the nation’s largest creditor, debtor, lender, employer, consumer, contractor, grantor, property owner, tenant, insurer, health-care provider, and pension guarantor. In many respects it is similar to a large company in need of effective management, which is right in Donald Trump’s wheelhouse.

Despite the manufactured feel-good stories coming out of the Obama administration, this country faces problems today that are even more ominous than they were in 2008. Consider the following troubling statistics:

  • There are currently 96 million Americans out of work, over twice as many as when Obama took office;
  • The US debt stands at 19.8 trillion; after Obama added more to the national debt than all of his predecessors combined;
  • One in six households currently has no adult in the workforce;
  • Our total debt now stands at 106% of GDP;
  • 45 million Americans are living in poverty and receiving food stamps, up from 32 million when Obama took office; and,
  • Obama is the only president who never achieved a 3% growth in the economy in any year of his presidency.

This country is on its back, and when you add in the problems of a federal government unmoored from the Constitution, unchecked illegal immigration, unvetted Islamic refugees and worldwide tensions we need some help fast. Could you imagine the reaction of liberals and the media if we were to suggest that with all of these major problems facing the country it would make sense for Donald Trump to be able to take office right now to start fixing things rather than waiting until January 20th? The same mainstream media that protected Obama and amplified his meager accomplishments are already in full attack mode against Donald Trump and anyone who dares to support him. The mask has finally come off the media in this election cycle. We used to think they were cheering liberal candidates from the stands, now we know they are really sitting on the bench. However, Trump understands something that made Ronald Reagan so effective; the value of bypassing the media filter and delivering his message directly to the American people – and public seems to be responding positively. The stock market is hitting new highs and a recent poll showed that 70% of Americans surveyed are feeling optimistic, the highest level since 2004.

In many respects, Donald Trump was created by the media. They built him up during the primaries, believing he would be the weakest candidate to face Hillary Clinton, secure in the belief they could tear him down at the right time during the general election. His tendencies to say what’s on his mind and shoot from the hip were also great for their ratings. What the media failed to consider was that his message was resonating with a sizeable portion of the American people who felt the country is on the wrong track. They are tired of the lackluster economy of the past eight years, they are tired of massive government intrusion into every aspect of their lives and they are tired of having their traditions and beliefs ridiculed by elitists.

So buckle up everyone, because the over-the-top behavior we’re currently seeing from liberals and the media will only harden and intensify over the next 8 years. At the same time, liberals have really overplayed their hand. They have painted a caricature of Donald Trump as being so buffoonish and inept, that he will hit a home run if he comes into office acting even halfway presidential. There will be no honeymoon period with the press for the incoming administration, but positive results Trump achieves will speak the loudest.

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Syrian Carnage Continues With Fall of Aleppo

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 15, 2016

It is reported that over 400,000 civilians have died during Syrian conflict in the past five years.  This week it culminated in the refugee stampede out of Aleppo, as the Syrian government with assistance of Russia, basically bombed that city into the Stone Age.

In the early stages of the Syrian conflict the Obama Administration threatened “redlines” that the Syrian government then crossed without consequence.  The Administration also boldly announced on various occasions that the regime of Bashar alAssad’s days were numbered.  Yet the tyrant remains in power years later.

While the situation in Syria is complex, it is clear that the United States and its allies have failed to stem the carnage.  This has not only led to misery for the Syrian people, but also a strengthening of the positions of Russia and Iran in that part of the world.

Irrespective of history or the facts, the Obama Administration refuses to knowledge the shortcomings of its policies relating to Syria.  This was exemplified this week by an exchange between Associated Press correspondent Brad Klapper and State Department spokesman John Kirby.  During that exchange included in the video below, Klapper asked what changes the State Department would make to its failed Syrian policies:

BRAD KLAPPER: You failed repeatedly doing the same thing over and over again, which is a combination of trying to bring together people in some sort of talks with an imperfect ceasefire.  Then when things go badly you get really angry and accuse them of war crimes or crimes against humanity and then nothing ever changes.

You haven’t succeeded once.  You’ve talked about successes sometimes with Russia which looks to everyone like tactical retreats and momentary pauses.  So what are you doing differently to prevent more of the same?

After significant obfuscation, Kirby then rejected any US culpability in the Syrian carnage stating:

KIRBY: What I disagree with is where the failure lies.  The failure lies on the part of the regime and its backers to act with any sense of moral standards for human behavior.

Kirby’s diplomatic two-step would be comical if the resulting policies were not so devastating for the Syrian people.  While the options available to the US may have been limited, it is clear that those implemented by the Obama Administration failed.  The government’s unwillingness to admit to this obvious reality demeans its credibility.  This obfuscation is repeated on a daily basis by governments worldwide, which has led to a growing chorus of discontent by the People.  This discontent was exhibited in the UK’s vote for Brexit, Italy’s recent referendum that led to its prime minister resigning, and the election of Donald Trump in the United States.  The ruling class worldwide is tone-deaf to those that they are supposed to serve.  We can expect more of the political elites to be thrown out of office at the People’s discontent rose.  Less certain is the quality of the replacements.

 

Posted in Middle East, Syria | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Making Sense of the Trump Election

Posted by Steve Markowitz on November 20, 2016

With the presidential election behind us, pundits attempt to analyze and explain the results.  Some on the Right interpret the Trump victory as a conservative mandate.  Others on the Left blame Hillary Clinton’s poor campaigning skills or the low intelligence of voters for the loss.  Such conclusions from both sides miss the greater meaning of the election, which is a continuation of the political paradigm shift worldwide.

In the United States the shift began with the Tea Party after Obama’s first election.  It continued with Democrats losing power in both subsequent mid-term elections.

trumpThe United Kingdom voted for Brexit, to disconnect themselves from the European Union.  Similar to the US presidential election, expert pollsters indicated Brexit would not occur.  Just like in the United States the People proved the experts out of touch.

The paradigm shift is the result of the failure of Progressive governments to meet the needs of the People.  While governments bailed out banks in 2009 to the benefit of the wealthy, and continually come up with social programs for the less fortunate, they have ignored the needs of the middle class whose financial well-being has been eroded.

The forces that led to Brexit and the election of Donald Trump will continue to pick up momentum.  As governments continue with the same failed policies, they will lose legitimacy and be voted out.  These forces will likely lead to the breakup of the European Union, as well as increased European nationalism.

John Mauldin recently published an article titled This Could Be Our 1989” that helps explain the eroding authority of Progressive governments.  He begins by quoting Jeffrey Tucker of the Foundation for Economic Education who correctly said:

“All these details of the Trump platform are still important, but strike me as less relevant to what we can expect going forward.  The more I look at it, the less it seems to me that the election results are less about what Trump believes and more about what he represents: a fundamental shattering of an old paradigm.  And I’m finding the widespread commentary that this represents some kind of triumph of racism, misogyny, etc. etc., to be superficial and even preposterous.  And you know this if you visit with any regular voter.

What lies in ruins here is not common decency and morality – much less the character of a whole people and nation – but rather an anachronistic, arrogant, entitled, smug, conceited ruling elite and ruling paradigm.  You can see this in the clues that show that the vote was not so much for a particular vision of one man, but against a prevailing model of managing the world.” [Emphasis added.]

Mauldin then goes on to offer some logical conclusions relating to not only the Trump election, but also the paradigm shift in political power unfolding before us.  This includes:

  • When I read (somewhat bemusedly) that the halls of power in Europe are in an uproar over our election, I think that they should be. Not because Trump is now president but because elites everywhere – the people who “know” how the world should be run and expect the “little people” to stay in line – are an endangered species”.  Yes, these elites have much to fear as they watch their base of power disintegrate.
  • “It is up to the leadership of countries and communities to make sure that everyone is protected – equally – and to do so without burdening future generations with the task of paying for the solutions they come up with.” For decades governments worldwide have ignored the plight of the middle class who are now revolting at the ballot box.
  • The old institutions are not up to the task of managing a world awash in massive and ever faster technological and social changes that are not leaving us enough time to adjust. We went from a world where 50% of us worked on family farms to where less than 2% do today, but that took 8-10 generations.”  Many of the institutions that Mauldin is referring to were created shortly after World War II.  It is not surprising that they are not working in this rapidly changing world.  Expecting the ruling political class to implement change that while necessary, would diminish their power, is illogical.  It is also not surprising that the old guard claims that incoming change endangers society.

Mauldin concludes that those shaking at the idea of a Trump presidency should “get a grip”, reminding us that the power of US presidents are quite limited by the Constitution.  While Progressives, including the current president, have suggested that the Constitution should be a living document that can be morphed to their political agenda, many in this country, including real conservatives, conclude otherwise.  Strict interpretation of the Constitution and the powers it gives the office of the presidency inhibits any president, including Trump, from significant overreach.

The American People have spoken.  They are demanding change and have elected Donald Trump to carry out that mandate.  Time will tell if he is up to the task.  Should he not, he will be voted out by the same group that have given him the office he will shortly command.

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Obama’s View of Hillary in 2008 Versus 2016

Posted by Steve Markowitz on August 15, 2016

Barack Obama once said words matter.  His words, however, don’t seem to matter all that much.  Below is a rather hilarious video put together showing Obama’s view of Hillary when she was an opponent in 2008, versus today when she is the candidate for the presidency for his party.  If words truly matter, either Obama was disingenuous in 2008 or he is being disingenuous in today.

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Obama’s Legacy: Increased Executive Branch Power

Posted by Steve Markowitz on August 14, 2016

When asked about Barack Obama’s legacies, supporters will universally list Obamacare as number one.  As for the problems the country faces, Obama has had a Teflon coat with supporters either ignoring the issues or blaming them on his predecessors.  Problems include the growth of international terrorism, the Middle East in flames, and significantly increased racial tensions in the Country.  Under the radar is perhaps one of the most dangerous Obama legacy; significantly increased power within the presidency and executive branch of government.

The New York Times published an article by Applebaum and Schear titled Once Skeptical of Executive Power, Obama Has Come to Embrace It that chronicles Obama’s power grab.  The article concludes that Obama, who prior to becoming president was publicly critical of executive power, has since embraced it stating: “Mr. Obama will leave the White House as one of the most prolific authors of major regulations in presidential history.”

The Times also states:

  • “Blocked for most of his presidency by Congress, Mr. Obama has sought to act however he could. In the process he created the kind of government neither he nor the Republicans wanted — one that depended on bureaucratic bulldozing rather than legislative transparency.”
  • “The Obama administration in its first seven years finalized 560 major regulations — those classified by the Congressional Budget Office as having particularly significant economic or social impacts. That was nearly 50 percent more than the George W. Bush administration during the comparable period, according to data kept by the regulatory studies center at George Washington University.”
  • “The Obama Era …. And it has imposed billions of dollars in new costs on businesses and consumers.”

obamaThe Times offers concern with the growth of the executive branch and regulations quoting Robert Hahn, a regulatory expert at Smith School at the University of Oxford: “The big issue that I grapple with is that the regulatory state keeps growing.  And as it keeps growing, when does it become too much?”  We have already crossed that chasm.  On the economic front the country has been in the midst of the slowest recovery since the Great Depression.  Socially, the dissatisfaction in the inner cities is at a level not seen in decades.

Since embracing increased executive authority, Barack Obama has spoken arrogantly of this power stating: “an increasingly dysfunctional Congress: … Where they won’t act, I will.”  In addition: “Whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”  These are remarkable statements from someone supposedly expert in the Constitution.  The Constitution divides our government into three branches, equally dividing power.  Its purpose is clear, to stop any branch or individual from having their way with law, irrespective of the validity or quality of their proposed action.

While the Obama power grab and myriad of regulations are negatively impacting the country now, there is a more sinister impact to come.  Future presidents will be intoxicated by power and likely bring more authority to the Executive Branch, at the expense of individual freedom for Americans.

Posted in Governmental Intervention, President Obama | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Government Threatening Landlords who Reject Tenants with Criminal Records

Posted by Steve Markowitz on April 10, 2016

Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe penned an op-ed titled “If you don’t rent to criminals, are you a racist? It points out yet another grotesque example of governmental overreach that not only infringes on rental property owners’ rights, but also will ultimately lead to negative consequences for a broad spectrum of renters.

Last week the Obama administration’s Department of Housing and Urban Development warned/threatened landlords about refusing to rent to individuals with criminal records. They \ justified this overreach by stretching the intent of The Fair Housing Act that makes it illegal to discriminate on the sale or renting of housing based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin. HUD’s guidance states: “Because of widespread racial and ethnic disparities in the US criminal justice system criminal history-based restrictions on access to housing are likely disproportionately to burden African Americans and Hispanics. . . . [T]herefore such a practice would violate the Fair Housing Act.”

This is an incredible stretch of executive branch authority and another example of a laws reasonable intent being distorted by unelected bureaucrats. It was never intended that The Fair Housing Act would protect convicted criminals. Using HUD’s logic there are a myriad of federal agencies from the CIA to the Secret Service whose actions are racist. If there is a problem with the criminal justice system, then it is the Congress’s and the Justice Department’s responsibility to fix the defects.

As Jacoby points out, people who rent housing not only desire reasonable rental fees, but also want clean and safe environments.  These renters’ neighbors are chosen by landlords who they hope will choose wisely.  In a free market a landlord is most likely to achieve profits by offering desirable living spaces.  While property upkeep is an important part of this formula, so are the clientele who become renters and renters’ neighbors.  Should this include unrepentant individuals with criminal records, with the record showing a high recidivism rate for criminals, as the song goes, “there goes the neighborhood”.

In the short run HUD’s actions might assist some with criminal records having greater access to housing.  In the longer run, however, a broad spectrum of renters will be hurt as landlords not only relax standards as to who they will rent to, but also likely have less concern for property upkeep.  The result will be increased blight in the inner cities, adding to the mess created in most large cities by governmental overreach and social engineering.

While HUD’s action is ill-conceived, there may be a more insidious motivation to it.  Grand governmental interventions often modify the discussion allowing deflection of the real issues facing America’s inner cities.  This includes the disintegrating education systems, increased unemployment rates especially among minorities, growing crime, and civil dissatisfaction that have been increasing in recent decades. If you are a Progressive, you are likely to blame those with more conservative views, i.e. Republicans.  However, most large American cities have been run by liberal Democrats for decades.  It is therefore more likely that Progressive social engineering is at the heart of the failings.  Forcing landlords to rent to those with criminal records will not positively impact one of these root causes.

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CNN Exposes shallowness of Trump and Obama

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 31, 2016

During a recent 24-hour period, two different CNN anchors exposed shallow aspects of two very different politicians.

Earlier this week President Obama went on the attack of the news media at an awards dinner for journalist.  His attack related to the media’s coverage of the 2016 presidential primaries.  In typical narcissistic form, Obama praised the media for asking “really tough questions” during his first run for the presidency in 2008.  Taking it further he then chided the media for not doing the same this year.  Translation, during 2008 you held me (Obama) to a high standard, but are not doing so to for the Republicans today.  This claim is comical.

Barack Obama was perhaps the most coddled presidential candidate to run for the office.  During 2008, some in the media actually went so far as to publicly state that they had an emotional attachment to Obama.  Since being elected, the President made many unbroken promises, but was never taken to task by the media for them.  Examples include how his first major bill, the Stimulus Package, would lower unemployment, as well as calling ISIS the “JV team”.  Who can forget the President going to the United Nations two weeks after the terrorists attack on America’s Benghazi consulate and ludicrously blaming them on some obscure video?

After listening to Obama’s media bashing, CNN reporter Jake Tapper appropriately chastise the President for his administration’s lack of transparency stating (see video below):

Was President Obama the right messenger?”, and “Mr. President, with all due respect … Maybe, just maybe, your lecturing would be better delivered to your own administration.”

Donald Trump is never one to be overshadowed by another politician’s outrageous statements.  During a town hall interview this week with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Trump’s justification for his attacks on Ted Cruz’s wife was appropriately compared to the actions of a five-year-old, as seen in the video below.

While Donald Trump and Barack Obama are very different politicians, they have at least a few traits in common; an inability to accept criticism or responsibility for their actions..

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