Lame Spin
Lame Spin


Blog From
March 19th, 2014

In the movie, Young Frankenstein, Dr. Frankenstein was puzzled by his creation’s behavior and asked his assistant, Igor, “Who’s brain did I put in?” Igor, misunderstanding the ‘abnormal’ label on the jar that previously held the brain, replied, “Abby Normal”. That pretty much also describes Obama’s international strategy. He pulled it right out of the Abby Normal jar on Igor’s foreign policy shelf.

To the maelstrom of criticism following his empty threats over the Ukraine invasion, Obama’s supporters respond that he’s doing everything he can. To them, that’s the beginning and end of the discussion. Therein lies the problem. The pro-Obama camp assesses Obama’s actions by the actions themselves, which is to say by nothing at all. There is no attempt to use an objective measuring stick or even suggest that something else might be done. It’s a tacit acceptance of the inadequate, the unsatisfactory, the Abby Normal.

Obama’s deficiency in both policy and performance should first shock and then enrage American voters. In the shrinking world where accomplishment still counts, there are several things that Obama should have done. They’re not brain teasers, either. If Sarah Palin, in 2008, could accurately predict the Ukraine invasion, which she did, then it had to be blindingly obvious to Obama’s foreign policy luminaries.

The very first thing President Obama should have done was permit the completion of the Keystone pipeline. Attacking Russia economically is the surest and safest long-term play. The Russian economy depends on foreign trade, including oil exports to the EU and Eastern Europe. The pipeline would allow the U.S. to displace Russia as a source of oil to strategic locations. Instead, Obama allowed the pipeline to be taken hostage by his uber-liberal base. Today, five years later, it remains at a standstill despite the green lightgiven by his own State Department.

The second thing Obama and his people should have done was craft responses to challenges in much less bellicose terms. Drawing red lines that disappear and promising consequences when none follow do not deter. But, they do underscore an impotence that encourages increasing challenges, both in frequency and degree. When it’s nothing but amateur hour in the Oval Office, the professionals come out to play.

Not only do Obama’s responses embolden belligerent countries, they create significant doubts in our allies. Vice President Biden is now on a quickie tour of Poland and Lithuania, trying to placate fears of Russian aggression against them. He’s having a rough time of it. His “we’re in this together” pitch is not particularly convincing. Obama’s promised “bedrock commitment” seems much more like quicksand.

Obama did send twelve F-16s to Poland in early March. Some of them went as part of standard rotations, others as saber rattling. Regardless, the show of force was a bust as the Crimea referendum and Russia’s annexation proceeded apace thereafter. Sending the aircraft may have had the desired effect if Obama had not repeatedly demonstrated his lack of follow-through on the international stage.

EU countries have also criticized the Crimea annexation. However, despite Biden’s assurances to the Poles that the Russians face additional sanctions by the EU, those countries are not in agreement. For example, they cannot even agree to Russia’s ouster from the G-8. They are even more divided regarding any economic reprisals, fearing a retaliation in kind from Putin.

Obama’s incompetence in foreign policy matters was not discovered just this year or even in August 2012 when he used his red line eraser. It first came to light during his extended international apology tour in 2009. He could not wait to denounce his country’s place on the world stage and begin its erosion. That is when he first took Abby Normal off the foreign policy shelf. For that, and his long line of subsequent blunders, he earns this week’s Lame Spin Award.

Posted in Lame Spin



Lame Spin


Blog From
March 13th, 2014

Turns out, Obama’s signature legislation is really the ACA Con, a joke, a fraud. There have been so many delays and exemptions, the law has become the Avoidable Care Act. For those who prefer to run their own lives, Obamacare is the best thing to come down the liberal pike in quite some time. Much ado about not very much except, of course, cost. That’s huge.

Obama’s pride and joy may look like the biggest government power grab in our domestic history, but it’s been a flop. Through the first of March 4.2 million have supposedly signed up. But, 20% of those are beingbounced for failure to pay their first premiums. As bad, only 25% of enrollees are in the coveted 18 – 34 age group. 83% of the sign ups were already receiving financial assistance.

Potentially more disastrous, observers believe that the President’s latest exception to the ACA individual mandate effectively ends the mandate completely. Individuals who don’t sign up can claim a “hardship” exemption, meaning they pay no penalty, if they experienced a hardship in attempting to sign up.

The “hardship” encountered in attempting to sign up is not defined. Economist and former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin opined that almost any excuse qualifies. He listed examples such as difficulties on the Obamacare website, the ACA plans are just too expensive or they don’t cover a particular affliction. The end of the individual mandate spells much higher premiums for those who have signed up.

With most of the country against Obamacare, Republicans are using it as a wedge issue to separate Dems from their traditional voting blocs. In the first such test just this week, the GOP candidate prevailed in a congressional special election in Florida. Not a good omen for Democrats. Even the revelation during the campaign that the Republican victor killed a pedestrian 25 years ago did not tip the scale.

Worse politically, Obama won the district in both 2008 and 2012. And the Dem candidate outspent the victor by more than 3 to 1 in television advertising. The district is split almost evenly between Democrat and Republican voters with a large percentage of Independents.

The mid-term elections in the fall will be more of a test of the electorate’s degree of consciousness than the ACA Con. The book is written on the monumental failure of Obamacare to accomplish anything other than enormous cost overruns. The only question is whether voters are aware of it. A wide awake electorate should put the Avoidable Care Act in a deep and permanent sleep.

Posted in Lame Spin



Lame Spin


Blog From
March 7th, 2014

In an appearance at UCLA this week, Hillary Clinton claimed that, as Secretary of State, she acted with rugged pragmatism in dealing with Russia. According to Clinton, her tough girl approach was designed to ensure that the U.S. would meet its goals.

It sounds laudable enough, except for one small detail. Truly assessing Clinton’s claims is impossible because it’s impossible to identify the goals of the Obama Administration in any aspect of its foreign policy. For this obfuscation, the President wins this week’s Lame Spin Award.

Goals aside, Obama’s means and methods are readily discernible. He fires off endless strings of moralistic platitudes and drops ridicule bombs with abandon. These tactics are very familiar here at home as Obama commonly uses them to dispatch those who disagree with his domestic policy.

But on the world stage inflammatory rhetoric is purely for public consumption. Neither Russia nor any other country is moved by it. Based on recent polls in the U.S., our voters are beginning to ignore it as well.

As if to acknowledge this failing, Obama is reaching beyond rhetoric after the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. He is attempting to isolate Russia in the international community. He wants economic ties cut, visas denied to Russian citizens and similar punitive actions. It remains to be seen how these tactics will play out in the end and Russia’s reaction to them.

Meanwhile, back to the goals’ question. Clinton referred to a list of Administration objectives in 2009 after a lack of meaningful U.S. response to the Georgia invasion the previous year. They included an arms control agreement, trying to get Russian support for U.S. troops in Afghanistan and trying to get Russia into the World Trade Organization.

In fact, the New Start treaty was signed in February 2011. And the Russian Federation was welcomed as the 156th member of the WTO in August 2012.

Afghanistan is a more complicated situation. Perhaps in remembrance of the U.S. opposition to the 1979 Russian invasion, Putin has never really supported our presence in the country.

Curiously, at the end of last year, the Pentagon spent over $1 billion for 63 Russian-made helicopters for Afghanistan’s security force. In making the purchase, the Pentagon bypassed the American-made Chinook helicopter in favor of the Mi-17. The Russian company that sold the Mi-17s also supplied Russian arms to the Syrian government in its war of genocide against the Syrian people.

Members of Congress were “stunned” by the choice. The Pentagon, which had condemned the Russian company for arms sales to Syria, was unable to provide a clear reason for the Mi-17 purchase. One wonders what the actual motivation was. Whatever the answer may be, the episode certainly does not provide grist for Obama’s platitudes mill.

So, what is Obama’s goal in steering our relationship with Russia? Containment? Tough love? Retreat? Other? Five years ago this week, Clinton as Secretary of State tried to refresh relations with the Russians. Presenting her counterpart with a plastic button, they both pushed it to signify an unspecified new start between the two countries.

As if the plastic toy were not cheesy enough, Clinton, who is not fluent in Russian, used the wrong word for ‘reset’. The word she used means ‘overcharged’. The error of that moment may turn out to be the only true assessment of the relationship uttered by any Obama Administration official.


Under Obama’s recently unveiled $4T budget, by 2020 we’ll spend more on debt interest than our entire military budget. The clouds are beginning to part on Obama’s big picture foreign policy.

Posted in Lame Spin



Lame Spin


Blog From
February 27th, 2014

At least as far as Obamacare goes, the Dems have taken the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” to heart. In this mid-term election year, they’ve decided not to fix the law, probably because the only solution is to go back to the drawing board. They’ve also decided not to ignore it, probably because it’s too big to ignore.

So, Democrats in Congress have decided to stand united in support of the President’s signature legislation. This is the same strategy they adopted last November in the midst of the website rollout debacle. It didn’t work then and it’s not likely to work now. With a 39% approval rating based on Obamacare’s history of messy problems and worse consequences, Democrats united seems a particularly weak response.

Nevertheless, just this week, the all-for-one strategy was in full force. Yesterday, Harry Reid, taking to the Senate floor, stated:

“Despite all that good news, there’s plenty of horror stories being told. All of them are untrue, but they’re being told all over America.”

According to the Senate Majority Leader, the horror stories are found in ads funded by the Koch Brothers and statements in “Republicans’ stump speeches.” The statements include, of course, the real life impact of lost doctors, hospitals and policies, unwanted coverage, higher costs and fewer choices. Choosing to label these realities as lies is probably not the best strategy.

On Tuesday of this week, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, referring to this spring’s projected number of Obamacare enrollments, stated in a Huffington Post interview:

“First of all, 7 million was not the administration. That was a CBO, Congressional Budget Office, prediction when the bill was first signed. I’m not sure where they even got their numbers. Their numbers are all over the board. The vice president has looked and said it may be closer to 5 to 6.”

They got their numbers from Sebelius herself. She set the 7 million-enrollee figure on at least two prior occasions. The first was on June 24, 2013. The second was on September 30, 2013 when she stated to NBC:

“I think success looks like at least 7 million people having signed up by the end of March 2014.”

Tuesday turned out to be a busy day for Obamacare proponents. The President claimed that the current number of Americans who have selected coverage is 4 million. He did forget to put that number in context, though. Like, how pathetically low it is, especially in light of the more than 6 million Americans who lost their policies last fall. However, it does explain Sebelius’s denial of the 7-million signup goal.

Also significantly absent from the President’s claim is the number who have paid their Obamacare premiums, a critical indicator that the Administration keeps to itself. The Administration also withholds specifics on the demographics of those who have selected coverage. In our Country, 20% of the populationconsumes 80% of healthcare dollars, which explains the need for healthy young people to buy Obamacare policies. But, are they?

In the same Tuesday speech, Obama claimed that working to enroll people in Obamacare was “God’s work”. But, bestowing Divine approval on his legislation won’t get him many votes unless, of course, the Heavenly Father is registered somewhere in the Country. We do know where this leaves the nuns of the Little Sisters of the Poor who are suing Obama over the law’s contraceptive mandate.

The day before Obama conferred the Almighty’s benediction, The Washington Post awarded him four Pinocchios for his February 20 statement that:

“We’ve got close to 7 million Americans who have access to health care for the first time because of Medicaid expansion.”

The real number, which won’t be finalized for a while, lies between 1.1 million and 2.6 million. Obama’s falsehood was an attempt to credit Obamacare with phantom signups.

The President is no stranger to prevarication. He won three of the Post’s top ten 2013 Pinocchios for a series of whoppers on different subjects. He also was awarded PolitiFact’s biggest lie of 2013 for his “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”  He, Reid and Sebelius also get this week’s Lame Spin Award.

The persistence encouraged in the “If at first you don’t succeed” adage is also the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. With Obamacare and its falling approval ratings, persistence in adopting the same support strategy seems very much like insanity, especially after this week’s performances. Someone should let the Democrats know.

Meanwhile, the Little Sisters are back at the Home drawing Pinocchio’s nose on Obama’s pictures.

Posted in Lame Spin



Lame Spin


Blog From
February 20th, 2014

George Orwell’s dystopian novel, ‘1984’, portrays a dreary, tyrannical society where thought and behavior are tightly controlled by a socialism-based totalitarian regime.

According to the book’s title, its harsh reality was to arrive a mere 35 years after its 1949 publication. It turns out that Orwell, who died the following year, was a tad premature. His future may actually have arrived in 2014, 65 years after the tome debuted.

In ‘1984’, the repressive regime is at war with the entire world including its own populous. It primary weapons against the latter are thought and behavior control. Thought control is accomplished through the Ministry of Truth, the Thought Police and thoughtcrimes. Behavior is controlled through constant surveillance. “Big Brother” and “Big Brother Is Watching You” are creations in the book.

All of this sounds extreme by today’s reality, but extreme ends start with small beginnings. The extreme that ‘1984’ describes isn’t as far-fetched this year as it was last.

An FCC initiative, called “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs”, or CIN, set to begin this spring, is the first step toward controlling newscast content. CIN agents, armed with questionnaires, will interrogate news editors and station owners on a range of content topics.

The topics include how stations pick their stories, how often they cover “critical information needs”, their responsiveness to underserved populations and their perceived bias. The FCC is the sole determiner of critical information needs, the definition of underserved populations and what constitutes perceived bias.

CIN agents will inquire about each station’s broadcast philosophy and why particular individuals were selected for news interviews. Agents will “suggest” broadcast topics with heavy emphasis on social issues important to the Administration. Of course, the FCC is also the licensing agency for the stations.

The FCC is also considering the placement of government monitors in the stations, but not the TV or computer variety. They are like hall monitors, real people who sit around with their note pads writing down all of the things they don’t like. Talk about chilling. It’s freaky, as well. Maybe it’s part of Obama’s full employment plan. But, it would be better if the monitors were among those who decide to stop working and have their neighbors pay for their healthcare.

About those little inroads on thought control that become super highways, it usually happens when no one is looking, except the government. Having learned nothing from the NSA phone spy revelations, the Federal government is now proposing license plate tracking.

Under the proposal, selected private contractors would fan out across the Country photographing vehicle license plate numbers indiscriminately. The images will be stored in a database accessible to federal agencies. One excuse is to catch illegals through the license plates, which is ridiculous since the Administration rarely enforces immigration laws against those inside the Country. Chalk one Lame Spin Award up for that one.

Even if sincere, the eye-spy excursions aren’t likely to catch anyone. The photos have to be processed back at the shop by which time the vehicles are long gone. What isn’t gone are the images of millions of license plate numbers and vehicle drivers.

Big Brother is watching us and now is the time for us to watch back. And exercise some control over our own thoughts. Be on the look out for a ballot box coming to a polling booth near you.

Posted in Lame Spin



Lame Spin


Blog From
February 13th, 2014

It explains a lot. Critics have chalked up Eric Holder’s chronically strange behavior to cluelessness. In reality, he’s been asleep for a very long time like Rip van Winkle, the Washington Irving character who slept for 20 years. But, instead of sleeping peacefully like van Winkle, Rip van Holder is a chatty somnambulist.

His secret was discovered earlier this week during a presentation at Georgetown University Law Center. The subject was the re-enfranchisement of felons. According to Holder, reinstating the right to vote in federal elections lowers the recidivism rate while persisting in withholding the vote is racist.

This sounds all well and good as far as it goes. The trouble is, thirty-nine of our fifty states reinstated the right to vote to non-violent felons years ago, a fact Holder neglected to mention. His omission gave away his condition. He slept through the re-enfranchisement enactments in these states, so he believes that he’s living in the time before the changes became law.

In the same presentation, Holder praised a former Governor of Virginia for signing a state law that restored felon voting rights. The law was passed barely in the nick of time for the ex-Governor as Holder’s Justice Department just indicted him on several felony counts. Rip Van Holder must have snoozed his way right through the indictment and the accompanying publicity.

One editorial on Holder’s Georgetown speech opined that the Attorney General’s motivation was less civil rights and more political. Two university studies reported that the 2000 presidential election probably would have gone to the Dems but for the disenfranchisement of felons. These studies are based on, among other things, the likelihood that felons will vote Democrat rather than Republican.

Felons swaying elections is not new, of course. But setting up a connection from prison cell to voting booth seems to require more dexterity than sleepy Eric can manage. Just in case he is trying to manage it, he gets this week’s Lame Spin Award.

In retrospect, Holder has been sending signals of his chronic sleep state for quite a while. And it isn’t merely his sleep-inducing lack of dynamism. He obviously snoozed through the law school class that teaches the fundamental difference between conduct committed by military combatants and civilian criminals. Otherwise, he would stop trying to prosecute terrorists in civilian courts and let military justice take its course.

Who can forget the Fast & Furious debacle? Holder denied knowledge of the idiotic yet deadly scheme until after the first damage had been done. He’s probably right. It is difficult for reality to intrude when you’ve got a first class seat on the dreamland train.

Holder refused to file terrorism charges in the Fort Hood massacre case, despite the clearer than glass motive. Sleeping through the years when terrorism hit our shores has that effect. But, the Attorney General was bothered enough by persistent newsgathering efforts that he pursued investigations into the Associated Press and Fox News Reporter James Rosen. Naturally, he denied any knowledge of those efforts. More cases of sleeping at the office.

Even before he became Attorney General Holder was asleep at the wheel. Back then, he insisted before the U.S. Supreme Court that the Second Amendment right to bear arms only protects state militias, not individuals. Definitely Revolutionary War flashback time.

We could go on and on but we’re getting very sleepy.

Posted in Lame Spin