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Posts Tagged ‘Obama’
May 27th, 2016 at 12:52 pm
“Reset” Fail: Russian Approval of U.S. Leadership at Record Low 1%
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In this week’s Liberty Update commentary “Captain America, Barack Obama and Surrender of U.S. Internet Authority” we highlight the Obama Administration’s uninterrupted pattern of foreign policy failure to illustrate one reason its plan to surrender oversight of the open Internet to the “international community” is a toxic idea.

Perhaps nothing better represents Obama’s record of failure better than Russia, where he and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bungled their infamous “Reset” attempt.  For all of its efforts to placate Vladimir Putin to the detriment of U.S. allies like Poland and Ukraine, a new Gallup survey shows that Russians’ approval of U.S. leadership has fallen to a record low of 1%:

Just 1% of Russians approved of U.S. leadership in 2015 – the worst rating in the world last year, and the lowest approval Gallup  has measured for the U.S. in the past decade.  Remarkably, this is even worse than their previous record low 4% approval in 2014.”

It’s as if Obama and Clinton should receive commemorative shirts reading, “I Caved to Russian Dictators and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt.”   Regardless, neither Obama nor Clinton can claim a single substantive foreign policy success during their tenures.  It’s again something to keep in mind as the administration pursues its inexplicable goal of surrendering U.S. Internet oversight before he coasts into retirement and leaves the rest of us to deal with the consequences.

April 29th, 2016 at 11:42 am
GDP Report Confirms Our Commentary on Obama’s Economic Record
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In this week’s Liberty Update, we highlight the falsity of the persistent claim that Barack Obama somehow prevented a great depression:

[T]he federal government’s own economic data shows that Obama actually inherited an emerging recovery.  The American economy was already rebounding before he even officially became president.  What he has done is impose policies that have resulted in the slowest decade of economic growth in recorded U.S. history.”

Yesterday’s official report on first-quarter 2016 economic performance provided same-day confirmation.  More specifically, the U.S. Commerce Department announced that gross domestic product (GDP), the basic metric by which the economy is measured and by which recessions and recoveries are defined, grew at a disturbing 0.5%.  Not only is that number alarmingly low, it amounts to the worst mark in two years.  Echoing our own commentary, The Wall Street Journal emphasizes how this places Obama’s legacy in perspective:

The reality is that the first quarter is further evidence of what has been the weakest economic expansion in the postwar era.  The 0.5% growth is subject to revision but it follows 1.4% in the fourth quarter.  Growth over the last six months has averaged about 1%, and under 2% over the last 12 months…  The American economy hasn’t grown by more than 3% since 2005 (3.3%), the longest such stretch of malaise that we can find in the Bureau of Economic Analysis tables going back to 1930.  Even the Great Depression saw a snapback to rapid growth from 1934-1936.”

The explanation for that is simple.  Obama has pursued the most hyper-regulatory, big-government, wasteful-spending economic policy in U.S. history.   That’s illustrated among other things by his horrific deficit record, which saw four consecutive deficits in excess of $1 trillion dollars, and more accumulated debt than all previous presidents combined.  Until America has a president and Congress that pursue the proven supply-side policies that result in economic prosperity (see, e.g., Ronald Reagan), this will likely remain the new normal.

March 16th, 2016 at 7:54 am
Hear No Evil, See No Evil
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

March 7th, 2016 at 11:52 am
WSJ’s Crovitz: Emails Expose Obama Administration Illegality in Pushing Internet Regulation
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

On this day in 1876, twenty-nine-year-old Alexander Graham Bell received a patent for inventing the telephone.

Now 140 years later, the Obama Administration continues its counterproductive and legally dubious effort to regulate the Internet as if it were little more than an old-fashioned telephone service of the Bell variety.  CFIF and other free-market groups have consistently opposed that effort, and courts have repeatedly rebuked the Obama’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) various schemes to impose it.

Today, The Wall Street Journal’s “Information Age” columnist Gordon Crovitz details how a Senate committee has discovered evidence that the Obama Administration’s behavior in attempting to regulate the Internet as an old-fashioned utility violated the law.  In fact, even FCC regulators expressed shock at the degree to which their administrative independence was disregarded:

FCC staffers cited nine areas in which the last-minute change violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires advance public notice of significant regulatory changes.  Agency staffers noted ’substantial litigation risk.’  A media aide warned:  ’Need more on why we no longer think record is thin in some places.’  These emails are a step-by-step display of the destruction of the independence of a regulatory agency…  Mr. Obama’s edict resulted in 400 pages of slapdash regulations the agency’s own chief economist dismissed as an ‘economics-free zone.’”

Here’s why it matters in the real world, in terms of economics and innovation:  Crovitz notes that in just one year since Obama’s edict was imposed, “regulatory uncertainty has led to a collapse in investment in broadband.”  As CFIF has also detailed, he is correct in that unfortunate observation.

On a more encouraging note, however, Obama’s latest attempt to regulate the Internet in ObamaCare fashion is back before the same appellate court that has twice rebuked it on this issue.  As Crovitz wryly observes, “The Senate report should make fascinating reading for the federal appellate judges considering whether to invalidate the regulations…  The appeals court has plenty of evidence proving White House meddling with a supposedly independent agency.”

For the good of American consumers and continuing Internet innovation, we certainly hope so.

March 1st, 2016 at 10:51 am
Ramirez Cartoon: The Scarecrow
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

February 18th, 2016 at 12:57 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: The Hypocrite In Chief
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

January 15th, 2016 at 9:19 am
Obama’s Executive Action on Gun Control
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Cam Edwards, host of NRA News’ Cam & Co., discusses President Obama’s proposed executive action on gun control, how the president’s stated belief in the Second Amendment is inconsistent with his executive action, and why the executive actions will do nothing to stop violent crime.

Listen to the interview here.

January 13th, 2016 at 12:01 am
Ramirez Cartoon: The State of the Union
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

January 6th, 2016 at 10:52 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Obama’s Executive Action on Guns
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

Shooting At the Constitution

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

December 23rd, 2015 at 9:31 am
Entering 2016, Americans Say Big Government Is Greatest Threat
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

As 2015 draws to a close and the presidential election year of 2016 arrives, a new Gallup survey offers an overarching theme and context for the campaign.  Namely, after seven years of Barack Obama, who made it his goal to reverse Ronald Reagan’s legacy and rehabilitate Americans’ faith in big government, the public continues to identify it as the nation’s greatest threat:

Americans overwhelmingly name big government as the biggest threat to the country in the future.  The 69% choosing big government is down slightly from a high of 72% in 2013, the last time Gallup asked the question, but it is still one of the highest percentages choosing big government in Gallup’s 50-year trend.”

Notably, the percentage of Americans identifying big government as the nation’s biggest threat was just 35% in 1965, when the “Great Society” onslaught of spending and regulation and administrative state growth commenced.  Just as conspicuously, that percentage stood at 53% when Obama assumed office in 2009, but quickly shot upward to a record high of 72% as his own big-government agenda kicked into gear.

In addition to once again confirming Obama’s reverse-Midas touch, it demonstrates that the more that Americans get to know big government, the less we like it.  That provides an important lesson to frame the upcoming 2016 race.

December 8th, 2015 at 9:57 am
Iran: Obama’s Other Legacy “Achievement” Continues to Unravel
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Last week we highlighted the latest manifestation of ObamaCare’s ongoing failure, and noted how the emerging question is whether that law or Obama’s similarly disastrous Iran nuclear deal will prove the worse of his two signature “achievements” as president.  Well, don’t look now, but the Iran deal just staked its latest claim to that title:

Iran tested a new medium-range ballistic missile last month in a breach of two U.N. Security Council resolutions, two U.S. officials said on Monday…  All ballistic missile tests by Iran are banned under a 2010 Security Council resolution that remains valid until a nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers is implemented.  Under that deal, reached on July 14, most sanctions on Iran will be lifted in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.  According to a July 20 resolution endorsing that deal, Iran is still ‘called upon’ to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years.”

But not to worry – we can rely upon the U.N. to discipline Iran and steer it back into better behavior as a member of the “international community,” right?  Oh, wait:

In October, the United States, Britain, France and Germany called for the Security Council’s Iran sanctions committee to take action over a missile test by Tehran that month that they said violated U.N. sanctions.  So far, no action has been taken by the committee.”

Your move, ObamaCare.

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November 30th, 2015 at 3:56 pm
“Contained?” ISIS Captures First City Beyond Iraq or Syria
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Just hours prior to the terrorist massacre in Paris, Barack Obama foolishly claimed that ISIS was “contained.”  This morning, we awoke to more bad news, and additional refutation of Obama’s assertion.  Namely, ISIS has now captured Sirte, Libya, meaning that it now controls its first city beyond Syria or Iraq:

Even as foreign powers step up pressure against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the militant group has expanded in Libya and established a new base close to Europe where it can generate oil revenue and plot terror attacks.  Since announcing its presence in February in Sirte, the city on Libya’s Mediterranean coast has become the first that the militant group governs outside of Syria and Iraq.”

So much for “containment.” What has become undeniably clear is that Obama’s foreign policy generally, and anti-terrorism leadership specifically, are failures.  Fortunately, there will be a new Commander in Chief in just a few months.  But unfortunately, there’s a lot more damage that he can do before then.  The key for the American electorate is to choose a replacement who will bring improvement.

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November 20th, 2015 at 9:55 am
In Other News, ObamaCare Is Now a Slow-Motion Disaster
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

As ObamaCare enters the real world and departs Barack Obama’s “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” fantasy world, it is already proving a slow-motion disaster for Americans.  This week, The Wall Street Journal featured a front-page article entitled “Rising Rates Pose Challenge for Health Law,” and the news is grim:

Insurers have raised premiums steeply for the most popular plans at the same time they have boosted out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance in many of their offerings.  The companies attribute the moves in part to the high cost of some customers they are gaining under the law, which doesn’t allow them to bar clients with existing health conditions.  The result is that many people can’t avoid paying more for insurance in 2016 simply by shopping around – and those who try risk landing in a plan with fewer doctors and skimpier coverage.”

The report proceeds to describe the magnitude with greater specificity, and it is astonishing:

Premiums for individual plans offered by the dominant local insurers are rising almost everywhere for 2016, typically by double-digit percentage increases, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of plan data in 34 states where the Healthcare.gov site sells insurance.  More than half of the midrange ’silver’ plans are boosting the out-of-pocket costs enrollees must pay, while more than 80% of the less-expensive ‘bronze’ plans are doing so.”

Meanwhile, a new Gallup survey released this week shows that the percentage of Americans rating their healthcare quality as excellent or good has plummeted from 62% in 2010 when ObamaCare was enacted to 53% now.  The survey also reveals that the percentage who are satisfied with healthcare costs has actually declined from 26% in 2009 to 21% today.

As experience with ObamaCare increases with implementation, the situation promises to get worse by the day.  Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi passed, now we’re staring at the reality of what was in it.

November 16th, 2015 at 2:31 pm
Obama Shows More Anger Over Alleged Anti-Muslim Discrimination by Republicans Than Toward ISIS
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Barack Obama, the man who once dismissed ISIS “junior varsity” and labeled it “contained” mere hours before Friday’s deadly attacks in Paris, held a press conference this morning while attending the G-20 summit in Turkey.

It is worth watching in its entirety, if for no other reason than that he was forced to confront reporters challenging him about his pronouncements regarding ISIS and his anti-terrorism policies.  Most notable, however, is the fact that Obama, as usual, maintains a listless, detached, dispassionate, cold demeanor when discussing radical Islamic terrorism and the acts it undertakes.  But note his sudden change in tone, how animated and forceful he becomes when he shifts his focus toward fellow American political figures whom he accuses of anti-Islamic bigotry.  Would that Obama demonstrated the same hostility toward America’s overseas enemies as he does fellow Americans who happen to hold different political points of view.

It’s increasingly difficult for anyone to deny that Obama directs his disgust more toward fellow Americans than he does foreign terrorism.

November 13th, 2015 at 9:38 am
NY Times: Obama Years Have Devastated His Own Party
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Throughout Barack Obama’s tenure, we’ve understandably delighted in highlighting the “Reverse Midas” touch of this man who openly aspired to become a transformative president on the level of Ronald Reagan.  In a number of ways, he has actually accomplished that, although not in the way he had hoped.  From driving down trust in government to record lows to helping elect Republicans at the national and state levels with his unpopular behavior, Obama has indeed been transformative.

Today, The New York Times details the degree to which Obama has devastated his own party from within:

“While Mr. Obama’s 2008 election helped usher in a political resurgence for Democrats, the president today presides over a shrinking party whose control of elected offices at the state and local levels has declined precipitously.  In January, Republicans will occupy 32 of the nation’s governorships, 10 more than they did in 2009.  Democratic losses in state legislatures under Mr. Obama rank among the worst in the last 115 years, with 816 Democratic lawmakers losing their jobs and Republican control of legislatures doubling since the president took office – more seats lost than under any president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.  ’Republicans have more chambers today than they have ever had in the history of our party,’ said Tim Storey, an analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures.”

That devastation extends beyond the state level, as the report explains:

It has also meant a hollowing out of the roster of potential Democratic candidates for major races…  The absence of up-and-coming Democrats is evident in Washington, where the party leadership in Congress consists largely of aging veterans.  The average age of the three top Democratic leaders in the House is 75, while the three most senior Republican leaders – with the new Speaker of the House, Paul D. Ryan – average 48 years old.  There are a handful of young, ambitious members of the Democratic caucus, especially in the House, but it may be years before they are ready to play a bigger role on the national stage.”

So Barack:  mission accomplished?

November 9th, 2015 at 10:11 am
TechNotes: Latest Evidence Surrendering U.S. Oversight of Internet Is a Dangerous Prospect
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

CFIF opposes the Obama Administration’s effort to surrender longstanding U.S. oversight over the Internet to the so-called “global community” for many of the same reasons that surrendering any form of U.S. authority to international groups like the United Nations is a dangerous idea.

L. Gordon Crovitz, The Wall Street Journal’s weekly “Information Age” columnist, also opposes the prospective transfer of authority, and has emphasized the particular threat of Internet censorship by nations like China and Russia as a primary reason.  In today’s column entitled “China’s ‘Soft’ Power Exposed,” Crovitz highlights just the latest evidence justifying such fears.  Namely, witness the covert effort by the state-controlled China Radio International to control American radio stations:

Last week it came to light that Beijing’s state-run China Radio International secretly owns 60% of a U.S. company, G&E Studio, which leases stations and airtime in Washington, Philadelphia, Boston and San Francisco, among other cities.  Beijing uses similar subterfuges in Europe and Australia.  China went to great lengths to hide its role.  Reuters broke the story after deploying 39 reporters to investigate in 26 countries, including the review of ’scores of regulatory, zoning, property, tax, immigration and corporate records, including radio station purchase contracts and lease agreements.”

So why does that matter?  Because it parallels other ongoing efforts to censor content from the global Internet, including control of .xyz domain addresses and words like “freedom” or “democracy” or even “1989,” which was the year in which the Tiananmen massacre occurred.  Fortunately, as we have highlighted, there’s something Congress can do.  And as Crovitz concludes, “Congress should ask the U.S. Commerce Department to explain why it would allow Icann – which it oversees for now via a contract intended to protect the open Internet – to become the global enforcer of the Chinese regime’s censorship against Chinese citizens.  China’s plan to censor Web addresses highlights the folly of the Obama Administration’s plan to end U.S. protection for the Internet.”

Good advice, and we agree.

October 13th, 2015 at 4:25 pm
Congress Stands Up Against Obama’s Attempt to Surrender Global Internet Oversight
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In March of 2014, the Obama Administration foolishly announced its intent to relinquish oversight of Internet domain name functions to the so-called “global stakeholder community.”

That is a dangerous idea for innumerable reasons, as observers like L. Gordon Crovitz of The Wall Street Journal have chronicled well.  Among other risks, consider the piracy threat that surrendering U.S. oversight poses to critical American artistic industries like music and film.  Online piracy already constitutes an enormous problem to those world-leading industries, and allowing Internet governance to drift into a Hobbesian global abyss would only exacerbate that.  Or consider the censorship threat, as Crovitz recently referenced:

Since the launch of the commercial Internet, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann, has operated under a contract from the U.S. Commerce Department.  American oversight freed engineers and developers to run the networks without political pressure from other governments.  China and Russia can censor the Internet in their own countries, but not globally because Washington would block tampering with the “root zone” of Web addresses.”

Fortunately, some in Congress aren’t sitting passively as the Obama Administration attempt yet another international capitulation.  In a recent letter to U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, Senators Charles Grassley (R – Iowa) and Ted Cruz (R – Texas) and Congressmen Bob Goodlatte (R -Virginia) and Darrell Issa (R – California) remind the Administration that it cannot dispose of U.S. property without Congressional consent:

The Internet as we know it has evolved from a network infrastructure first created by Department of Defense researchers.  One key component of that infrastructure is the root zone file, which the federal government currently designates as ‘a national IT asset.’  Creation of the root zone file was funded by the American taxpayer and coordinated by the Department of Defense, and the file has remained under United States control ever since.  Under Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution, Congress has the exclusive power ‘to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States.’”

Surrender of Internet oversight to a “global community” increasingly dominated by the likes of China, Russia, Iran and other rogues poses a terrible risk.  Fortunately, our Constitution presents a roadblock to the Obama Administration’s latest folly.  Even more fortunately, we have people like Senator Grassley, Senator Cruz, Congressman Goodlatte and Congressman Issa ready and willing to defend it.

October 9th, 2015 at 10:28 am
New Poll: Americans Who Say Federal Gov’t Has “Too Much Power” Matches Record High
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

So it turns out that Barack Obama is succeeding in his effort to become a transformative president in the manner of Ronald Reagan after all.  Unfortunately for him, that’s because his presidency has reinforced rather than reversed Reagan’s axiom that “government isn’t the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”  Think of him as a Midas in reverse.

This morning, Gallup released a new survey on the question that it has asked Americans every year since 2002:  ”Do you think the federal government has too much power, has about the right amount of power or has too little power?”  Hardened by almost seven years under Obama, the number who say that it has too much power maintains its record high:

The 60% recorded in this survey ties the previous high from 2013 for the question, which Gallup has asked annually since 2002.  The solid majorities in 2013, 2014 and this year saying the federal government is too powerful differ significantly from the 51% Gallup measured in 2012.  That poll was conducted in the days after the Democratic National Convention that helped propel Barack Obama to a re-election win that year.  During President Obama’s first year in office in 2009, the percentage of Americans concerned with the power of the federal government was 51%.  By his second year in office, 2010, that percentage climbed to 59%, after the federal government passed the Affordable Care Act.”

Perhaps the worst news of all for Obama, his apologists and dead-end leftists is that the groups accounting for the record high are Democrats, moderates and liberals.  Conservatives, libertarians and Republicans have regularly responded that the federal government possesses too much power.  ”But now,” Gallup reports, “a majority of moderates (57%), as well as independents (64%), share that view.”

To the extent that Bill Clinton’s presidency was successful, it was because of his famous admission after electoral defeats that “The era of big government is over.”  Obama attempted a more hardened course, but that has only made his own presidency less successful and proved the wisdom of Clinton’s reluctant observation.

September 8th, 2015 at 4:56 pm
The Obama Legacy, Cont’d: Poverty Rate, Child Poverty, Business Closures Exceed Startups for First Time Ever
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Amid an excellent piece detailing the perils of minimum wage increases in today’s Wall Street Journal entitled “A Post-Labor Day, Minimum-Wage Hangover,” CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder provides yet another depressing snapshot of the emerging legacy of Barack Obama:

The real problem is that more than six years of progressive economic policies – higher taxes, more regulation, ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank and more – have eliminated opportunities.  The poverty rate remains at levels generally observed during recessions.  Child poverty is at its highest point in 20 years.  The U.S. Census Bureau reports that for the first time since it began compiling the data, business closures each year have been exceeding new business startups.  This is the result of an economy limping along at a 2.2% growth rate.”

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September 1st, 2015 at 9:16 am
Apocalypse Not, Cont’d: In 2008, ABC News Aired Some Amusing Climate Catastrophe Visions for 2015
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In our latest Liberty Update we highlighted in “10 Years After Katrina, Failed Global Warming Prophecies Accumulate” how global warming alarmists continue to rely on predictions of imminent doom, despite the fact that their record of prediction is one of failure after failure.

Add another glaring and amusing example to that list.  In 2008, ABC News ran a “news” feature entitled “Earth 2100.”  It’s worth watching the 9-minute clip, which suggests such possibilities as milk at $12.00 per gallon and gas at $9.00 per gallon, as recalled by The Daily Caller:

Newsbusters notes that then GMA anchor Chris Cuomo, who teased the special at the time, said to [Bob] Woodruff of the predictions, ‘I think we’re familiar with some of these issues, but boy, 2015?  That’s seven years from now.  Could it really be that bad?’

Woodruff replies, ‘It’s very soon, you know.  But all you have to do is look at the world today.  You know, you’ve got gas prices going up.  You’ve got food prices going up.  You’ve got extreme weather.  The scientists have studied this for decades.  They say if you connect the dots, you can actually see that we’re approaching maybe even a perfect storm.  Or you have got shrinking resources, population growth, climate change.  So the idea now is to look at it, wake up about it and then try to do something to fix it.”

In related news, gas recently dipped below $2.00 per gallon in many parts of the country.  So much for that.

As Barack Obama plays the role of broken record again on his boondoggle to Alaska, it’s imperative to keep in mind how a global warming alarm movement that constantly relies upon predictions of doom maintains a 25-year record of failed predictions.