Wait, it’s not a hoax? Are they serious? Early Friday morning, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that Barack Obama would receive a consolation prize for losing out on the 2016 Olympics — namely the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
Here in our humble editorial shop, our first reaction was, naturally, to spew coffee on our keyboards. Our second reaction was to wonder, For what? There’s been no signing of peace treaties, no ending of wars, no stopping of nuclear proliferation. Obama hasn’t stood up for human rights in China, hasn’t denounced the oppression of women in the Muslim world, hasn’t stared down brutal dictators such as Castro, Chavez, Kim and Ahmadinejad. Again, we ask: For what?
The Nobel Committee explains that it was “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” and the fact that he has “created a new climate in international politics.” Didn’t Al Gore get the award two years ago for seeking to stop climate change?
Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Nobel Committee, gushed, “Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future.” In other words, it was the Nobel Prize for Narcissism. Unfortunately, the committee did not pass out barf bags prior to the announcement.
Apparently, the fact that the community organizer took up residence in the White House less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline was not as important to the committee as being able to give a slap in the face to his resolute predecessor, George W. Bush. It certainly sends a message against actually winning in Afghanistan.
The president joins other you’ve-got-to-be-kidding winners Jimmy Carter, who is largely responsible for present-day Iran, Gore, who does nothing but scare people about global warming, and Palestinian terrorist Yasser Arafat, who assumed room temperature in 2004. Obama’s win is one more sign that the award has long since jumped the shark.
Blogger Eugene Volokh has started a great list of the “Top Ten Reasons Obama Won the Nobel Peace Prize.” Among our favorites are these: “For extraordinary diplomacy at the Gates-Crowley ‘Beer Summit’”; and a reader’s suggestion, “He was the 10th caller.”
As we all know by now, last Thursday, Barack Obama took time away from a raging war and a terrible economy to fly to Copenhagen to lobby in person for the 2016 Olympic Games to be hosted in his “home” city of Chicago. The Windy City was blown out of the competition in the first round, though, and the Games eventually went to Rio de Janeiro, taking the Olympics to South America for the first time.
But here’s the kicker. Not only was Obama’s own political capital spent, but he squandered taxpayers’ capital as well. The Pentagon recently estimated the cost of flying Air Force One at $100,219 an hour — without Obama on board. At that rate, Obama’s 14-hour excursion tapped taxpayers for at least $1.4 million. Other passengers jacking up the price included White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. First lady Michelle Obama traveled to Copenhagen separately, though she claimed she was making a “sacrifice” to do it.
Assorted leftists had a conniption over the results, with some, including the “Reverend” Jesse Jackson, going so far as to blame — wait for it — George W. Bush for the worldwide ill will that cost Chicago the Games. “The way we [refused to sign] the Kyoto Treaty, we misled the world into Iraq. The world had a very bad taste in its mouth about us,” Jackson complained. Never mind that Kyoto was unanimously rejected by the U.S. Senate in 1997, four years before Bush took office.
Fortunately, Obama can finally claim to have actually saved jobs. Nine of them, to be exact. The first-ever White House Olympic Office will stay in business, continuing to employ its staffers. Doing what, we don’t know.
Finally, if there’s one thing Obama’s Olympic Fail settled, it’s that we can’t compare him to Adolf Hitler in all things. At least Hitler brought the Olympics to Berlin.
“Hey Chicago, has it ever occurred to you that maybe the International Olympic Committee just isn’t that into you? It’s not as though the choices were to hold the games in the Windy City or cancel them altogether. Maybe the IOC delegates chose Rio de Janeiro on the basis of its merits as a venue. The notion that it must have been motivated by hatred of America reflects a most unattractive combination of arrogance and self-pity. –Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto
The normally reliable Congressional Budget Office released a report on the Democrats’ proposed takeover of the health care system this week. The report absurdly claimed that a Senate panel’s $829 billion package would not add to the federal deficit. As we reflect that George W. Bush’s Medicare prescription drug program alone created $7 trillion in unfunded liabilities, it appears that the CBO is using a lot of outcome-based math for its calculations.
The CBO’s report, however, is not exactly hard and fast. As Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) points out, “This is an estimate of a concept, not a formal cost analysis of an actual bill.” No matter. The Leftmedia are gleefully reporting the “no new debt” part of the report without that unfortunate detail. It’s all part of trying to get the so-called fiscally conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats to heel and vote for the bill.
There are other details worth mentioning. For example, the plan would still leave uninsured 16 million of the supposed 47 million currently uninsured. And Democrats claimed no one would be left behind.
According to The Washington Post, “[T]he package would raise $200 billion more by levying a 40 percent excise tax on high-cost insurance policies — the ‘Cadillac’ plans that cost more than $8,000 for individuals or $21,000 for a family.” The House plans to slap a “surtax” on income above $500,000 rather than impose the “Cadillac” tax.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says she’s open to a value-added tax, or VAT, to help finance the plan. “Somewhere along the way, a value-added tax plays into this,” she said. “Of course, we want to take down the health care cost, that’s one part of it. But in the scheme of things, I think it’s fair to look at a value-added tax as well.”
The VAT is a tax on manufacturers and distributors at every stage based on the “value” added to a product by each additional step, and it’s largely hidden from consumers. As a result, it’s attractive to politicians — even ones who promised not to raise taxes on the middle class. Almost every European country with socialized medicine also has a VAT, and if the health care takeover is accomplished, then the same should be anticipated for the United States.
With all of these shenanigans, is it any surprise that Democrats defeated an amendment to post the bill online for the American people to read before the vote? Indeed, rather than adhering to Barack Obama’s promise of transparency, the Heritage Foundation’s blog, The Foundry, details “the four part scenario that would railroad the bill through the Senate using a very unusual closed door procedure to craft the bill with no input from the American people.” This includes some legislative tricks such as attaching it to an unrelated tax bill or using reconciliation, meaning only 51 votes, not the filibuster ending 60, are required in the Senate.
“When you cut through all the noise and all the distractions that are out there, I think what’s most telling is that some of the people who are most supportive of reform are the very medical professionals who know the health care system best.” –Barack Obama before a Rose Garden gathering of about 150 Obama-activist doctors in white lab coats — that the White House passed out, the better to stage the photo op
The truth, however, as noted in a recent Investor’s Business Daily poll, is that two-thirds of doctors oppose ObamaCare, and nearly half said they would consider leaving medicine if it passes.
“I don’t expect to actually read the legislative language [of the health care bill] because reading the legislative language is among the more confusing things I’ve ever read in my life.” –Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE)