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Ed Driscoll

Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal

Standup Comic In Chief’s Zany Bedpan Humor

November 21st, 2014 - 3:02 pm

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

Obama’s finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don’t even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. The other great leaders I’ve heard guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence.

Ezra Klein, January of 2008.

“America is not a nation that accepts the hypocrisy of workers who mow our lawns, make our beds, clean out bed pans, with no chance ever to get right with the law.”

—The president today in Las Vegas (appropriately enough), as transcribed by C-Span. Mockery on Twitter was, not surprisingly, swift and appropriately brutal. As one Twitter wag responded to the president’s inane remarks, “And we have reached peak ‘If it were Bush’. Thanks for playing everyone.”

Update: Hillary isn’t covering herself in glory either today. Shot:

Chaser:


Cringe, indeed.

The Ultimate Friday Afternoon Document Dump

November 21st, 2014 - 2:32 pm

mussolini_obama_lerner_forward_6-13-13-1

“30,000 missing emails from IRS’ Lerner recovered,” according to the Washington Examiner:

In all, investigators from the inspector general’s office combed through 744 disaster recovery tapes. They are not finished looking.

There are 250 million emails ion the tapes that will be reviewed. Officials said it is likely they will find missing emails from other IRS officials who worked under Lerner and who said they suffered computer crashes.

Investigators said the emails could include some overlapping information because it is not clear how many of them are duplicates or were already produced by Lerner to the congressional committees.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee he chairs will be one of the committees that will examine the emails.

“Though it is unclear whether TIGTA has found all of the missing Lois Lerner e-mails, there may be significant information in this discovery,” Issa told the Examiner. “The Oversight Committee will be looking for information about her mindset and who she was communicating with outside the IRS during a critical period of time when the IRS was targeting conservative groups. This discovery also underscores the lack of cooperation Congress has received from the IRS. The agency first failed to disclose the loss to Congress and then tried to declare Lerner’s e-mails gone and lost forever. Once again it appears the IRS hasn’t been straight with Congress and the American people.”

And…? Other than the (admittedly enjoyable) videos of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen appearing regularly on Capital Hill as Trey Gowdy’s punching bag, will there be any real consequences to the agency for its malfeasance?

(H/T: SDA)

Update: “That’s a lot of emails. But remember when the New York Times asked its readers to ‘crowdsource’ the review of 24,000 of Sarah Palin’s emails?”

More:

Sarah Palin committed no crime other than being a conservative woman. Lois Lerner has been implicated in using the power of the IRS to stifle the First Amendment rights of thousands of Americans and conservative Tea Party groups.

Surely, the media will investigate these newly found Lois Lerner emails more aggressively than they looked into Palin’s emails. Right?

Of course they will.

‘The Nihilist in the White House’

November 21st, 2014 - 1:49 pm

“This White House seems driven—does it understand this?—by a kind of political nihilism. They agitate, aggravate, fray and separate,” Peggy Noonan wrote last night:

ObamaCare, whose very legitimacy was half killed by the lie that “If you like your plan, you can keep it,” and later by the incompetence of its implementation, has been done in now by the mindless, highhanded bragging of a technocrat who helped build it, and who amused himself the past few years explaining that the law’s passage was secured only by lies, and the lies were effective because the American people are stupid. Jonah Goldberg of National Review had a great point the other day: They build a thing so impenetrable, so deliberately impossible for any normal person to understand, and then they denigrate them behind their backs for not understanding.

I don’t know how ObamaCare will go, but it won’t last as it is. If the White House had wisdom, they’d declare that they’d won on the essential argument—health coverage is a right for all—and go back to the drawing board with Congress. The only part of the ObamaCare law that is popular is its intention, not its reality. The White House should declare victory and redraw the bill. But the White House is a wisdom-free zone.

The president’s executive action on immigration is an act of willful nihilism that he himself had argued against in the past. It is a sharp stick in the eye of the new congressional majority. It is at odds with—it defies—the meaning and message of the last election, and therefore is destructive to the reputation of democracy itself. It is huge in its impact but has only a sole cause, the president’s lone will. It damages the standing of our tottery political institutions rather than strengthening them, which is what they desperately need, and sets a template for future executive abuse. It will surely encourage increased illegal immigration and thus further erode the position of the American working class.

Jonah’s latest G-File (emailed today, online tomorrow) illustrates just how craven Mr. Obama can be. I don’t believe the president is a crypto-Muslim — he’s far t00 in love with himself to worship Allah, as one wag has noted — but note this disgusting bit of theater:

One last item I don’t want to fall down the memory hole. I was going to write a whole column on this, but Mona Charen beat me to the punch. Still, my jaw dropped when I heard Obama’s reaction to the beheading of Peter Kassig.

“ISIL’s actions represent no faith,” Obama said, “least of all the Muslim faith which Abdul-Rahman adopted as his own.”

Abdul-Rahman was Kassig’s Muslim name, which he adopted only while being held captive by Islamists. Perhaps the conversion was sincere, though I suspect Kassig did it to stay alive and certainly under duress and I can begrudge him it. Either way, there’s something disgusting about using Kassig’s Muslim name in order to score a propaganda point.

It’s even worse when that propaganda point is so incandescently stupid.

As Mona notes (and as I argued here), no one except Barack Obama thinks it’s a revelation that the Islamic State kills Muslims. No Kurd, no Shia, no moderate Sunni stays in his home when the Islamic State is at the gates, and says “Hey, we’re Muslim and Muslims don’t kill Muslims. We’ve got nothing to worry about.”

But it’s the phrase “least of all the Muslim faith” that is truly infuriating. Least of all? Really? So other faiths are more implicated in this atrocity than Islam? Which ones? Does he really mean to be suggesting that while the Islamic State’s actions “represent no faith,” if we have to assign blame, Islam is the least culpable? Could a team of rhetoricians, theologians and logicians working around the clock in some Andromeda Strain bunker beneath the Nevada desert come up with an argument that puts even a scintilla more blame at the feet of, say, the Lutherans or Quakers? On the one hand we have a bunch of dudes who shout “Allāhu Akbar!”, memorize the Koran, and rape and murder in the name of the Islamic State. On the other hand, we have a grab bag of Buddhists, Jews, Seventh Day Adventists, and Southern Baptists. And the one faith least implicated here is Islam? Really. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

Heh. But then, along with cynicism, crazy is the currency of the Beltway at the moment.

Update: Bedpans.

Nihilism on the Edge of Town

November 21st, 2014 - 1:08 pm

“The temptation is to laugh at Bruce Springsteen and his admirers,” Ryan Cole writes in the Weekly Standard, in “Born to Rant:”

Springsteen embraced the imagery, iconography, and gestures of the genre. He threw on a leather jacket, sculpted his sideburns, and posed broodingly in Corvettes and Cadillacs. Then he name-checked John Steinbeck and Flannery O’Connor, sang of American decay and inequality, and rebuffed Ronald Reagan, whose reelection campaign had the nerve to assume that “Born in the USA”—a gloomy song about a homeless Vietnam veteran dolled up with a misleadingly anthemic chorus and sold with imagery of Springsteen draped in Old Glory—was actually a statement of patriotism. Which is not to say that Sprinssteen isn’t a patriot. It’s just that he articulates progressivism’s brand of national pride: America is noble in theory, nightmarish in reality; cool around the edges, but rotten to the core.

James Wolcott, writing in Vanity Fair, once quipped that it was almost as if Springsteen was “built to rock-critic specifications.” Others, such as Fred Goodman in Mansion on the Hill: Dylan, Young, Geffen, and Springsteen and the Head-on Collision of Rock and Commerce (1997), have suggested that his career since partnering with Landau has been one long and meticulously plotted public relations exercise to present the Boss as a rock ’n’ roll holy man.

If that’s the case, it has worked: Springsteen has sold and continues to sell millions of albums, and his shtick is catnip to baby boomers. In fact, a standard component of Springsteen hagiography is the breathless recollection of that moment, long ago, when the author, young and searching for truth, first stumbled across the Boss’s magic. For David Brooks, it was February 1975, when he caught a live performance on WMMR in Philadelphia. For David Remnick, it was November 1976, from his perch on the balcony of New York City’s late Palladium. It was heady stuff, no doubt—and it forged four decades of adoration, which often gives the impression that some writers view Bruce Springsteen the same way young boys do, say, Superman.

And yet, despite the comparisons to Elvis Presley, as well as to Chuck Berry, both of whom created music that was an amalgamation of prior American styles, Springsteen’s work is strikingly inorganic. With its fist-pumping chord changes, cluttered arrangements full of guitars, runaway xylophones, and honking saxophones, layered behind his maudlin, over-emoting voice, with its affected “heartland” accent, Springsteen’s music is meticulously processed and choreographed, akin to ersatz rock show tunes conceived by a committee of rock critics and Broadway producers.

Coming of age in the pre-Beatles era in which critics began to treat rock music as Serious High Art, Presley and Chuck Berry viewed themselves as performers. A very different role than the strange working class yet cult-like figure that Bruce proffers, more so to adoring critics, than his fans, the majority of whom simply want to boogie and luxuriate in the hits and those golden memories of seedy small town New Jersey, circa 1975. And as Cole writes, Springsteen offers up endless portraits of working class losers, but little opportunity for transcendence, despite Springsteen’s own staggering achievements:

Springsteen’s songs, in fact, often overlook how dynamic this land truly is: In his telling, untouchable corporations, cruel lawmen, and lawless leaders inevitably block the working folks’ access to the American Dream. You need not turn a blind eye to America’s deficiencies to see how incomplete this picture is, as summed up by “The River,” the title track from Springsteen’s 1980 album. Its young protagonist takes his love down to the aforementioned river and impregnates her. Then comes the shotgun wedding and the union card (I got a job working construction for the Johnstown Company / But lately there ain’t been much work on the account of the economy). As Springsteen sings, Man, that was all she wrote. But isn’t the Boss’s success and fortune—he is, after all, the son of a working-class father, as his admirers never tire of pointing out—evidence against the inevitability of his own narrative?

But if Springsteen’s characters pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and made something of their lives, they’d be (a) off the dole, (b) America wouldn’t be the 3000 mile-wide hellhole that Springsteen (and Landau’s) ideology demands that it to be and (c) they’d be less likely to vote for whichever Democrat political candidate Springsteen and Landau are plumping for that year. So instead, Bruce is born to run — on a golden treadmill to nowhere. Too bad; those albums from The Wild, The Innocent through Burn in the USA before Springsteen became as, Paul Shaffer’s Don Kirshner would say, “a viable commercial product,” were pretty awesome.

Related: “Despite highest poverty numbers in 50 years, Obama okays illegals to compete for jobs in US.” Sounds like the underpinnings of a great Springsteen song on the plight of the American working man, if only the Boss weren’t completely in the tank for Barry and whatever his political whims are this week.

#Grubergate and ‘Low Information Experts’

November 21st, 2014 - 12:02 pm

Note the acronym those first letters form,  James Bovard writes at the Washington Times:

Unfortunately, contemporary Washington is calibrated to defer to experts who defer to politicians, providing an intellectual Praetorian Guard for the constant growth of a leviathan. As Denver University professor David Ciepley noted, “Starting in the First World War, and much more so during the New Deal and World War II, American social scientists became part of the autonomous state themselves, helping staff the mushrooming government agencies.” The closer that intellectuals get to politicians, the more weaselly they usually become.

Playing off Mr. Gruber’s derision of average Americans, one wag suggested a new acronym — L.I.E. — for Low Information Experts. Mr. Gruber and many other professors have gotten rich by pretending that government is far more competent than it actually is. Economist Robert Skidelsky, writing about the history of modern socialism, observed that “the collectivist belief system existed independently of the facts of modern life.” The same is true of the academic cadre who profit by vindicating endless government interventions that breed chaos and dependency.

The shenanigans by which Obamacare was enacted vivify how far this nation has fallen from the Founding Fathers’ ideals. We increasingly have a caretaker democracy in which rulers dupe and punish citizens for their own good. Supposedly, voters still enjoy self-government because they are permitted a token choice in who will deceive and shackle them.

‘Low Information Experts’ and its resulting acronym certainly sums up Websites such as Washington Post castaway Vox.com — as one of its founders will admit in his more candid moments:

yglesias_sophistry_8-10

And certainly Politico’s Glenn Thrush and BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith are certainly more than willing to became rather “unexpectedly” incurious as journalists when it suits advancing socialist power.

Speaking of the latter fellow and the controversy he currently finds himself in given that, as Sean Davis writes at the Federalist, “BuzzFeed’s Executive Chairman Is Invested In Uber’s Competition,” here’s a question asked and answered:

By the way, the Daily Caller reports today that “House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa is calling on MIT economist and so-called Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber to testify next month about ‘transparency failures and outright deceptions surrounding Obamacare.’”

Pass the popcorn.

Related: “Ben Smith BenSmiths Buzzfeed’s Stake in Uber Hit Piece.” Unexpectedly.

“Thanks to Obama jumping the gun and supposedly addressing the humanitarian concerns of those already here, Republicans have the opening to argue that the serial approach is now the best way to solve the problem. That is what I meant by political jujitsu,” Ed Morrissey writes:

In jujitsu, one does not confront an opponent’s strength head on, but uses it against him. Obama clearly wanted to make himself look like the compassionate actor in this debate, and Republicans the heartless, cruel nativists. Instead of trying to fight that battle, make Obama own it and bypass it for the real battle the GOP wants to win on border security. Make Democrats vote against a border security bill, and make Obama veto one while his own amnesty remains in place.

How many Senate Democrats would be willing to sustain that veto before the 2016 election? I’m betting not too many. But Republicans have a perfect opportunity to turn the debate in that direction now and force Obama and his shrinking number of allies on Capitol Hill to go on the record.

Glenn Reynolds adds, “You know, if one of the GOP big-money donors — I’m looking at you, Sheldon Adelson — is smart, he’ll fund a welcome-wagon operation in swing states. Reach out to these newly-amnestied immigrants, help them get jobs, connect them with social services, offer them American civics education to help integrate, register them Republican. . . .”

And perhaps the best proposal of all is by Drew M. at Ace of Spades’ blog. “Let Obama Give The State Of The Union Somewhere Else:”

Yes the media will be apoplectic about this. Good, that’s the point. This is a serious moment in our nation’s history. I’ve not seen a single Republican, even ones who strongly support legislative amnesty, support the President on this. The outrage caused by what is an extreme step will help to focus the nation on the threat to our constitutional order.

The President and his supporters have repeatedly said the “prosecutorial discretion” he claims is well within in the law and his power. Well, not inviting the President to speak to the assembled members of Congress is well within the discretion and power of the Speaker of the House.

[Note: This is meant as an addition to the de-funding and nomination blocking ideas, not instead of them]

Drew’s suggestion would be a particularly devastating example of political jujitsu, but it would require Boehner and Mitch McConnell to grow spines sufficient to deal with, as Drew puts it, an apoplectic assemblage of DNC operatives with bylines. Which means it probably won’t happen, and more’s the pity.

Update:

 

“Democrats across print, web, and cable media have been repeating the claim that Obama is doing nothing more than what Presidents Reagan and Bush 41 did first.” Not true, Gabriel Malor writes at the Federalist:

In 1986, faced with a large and growing population of illegal aliens, Congress created a new, time-limited form of immigration relief for certain aliens who, among other things, had to have come to the United States more than six years previously. This is the much ballyhooed Reagan amnesty. It was, unfortunately, riddled with fraud in its execution, the uncovering of which is still roiling the immigrant community. But even setting that aside it left President Reagan with a moral dilemma. Congress’ amnesty was large—just shy of 3 million people—and it had the unanticipated effect of splitting up freshly-legalized parents from their illegally-present minor children who did not qualify for relief.

So Reagan, seeing this family unity problem that Congress had not anticipated or addressed when it granted amnesty to millions of parents, issued an executive order to defer the removal of children of the people who had applied for immigration amnesty under Congress’ new law. He allowed those children to remain in the United States while their parents’ applications for amnesty were pending. A few years later, Bush 41 extended this bit of administrative grace to these same children plus certain spouses of the aliens who had actually been granted immigration amnesty under Congress’ new law.

Congress, though it had desired to grant amnesty, had not considered and not included the spouses and children. Importantly, nor had it excluded them. So Presidents Reagan and Bush 41 filled that statutory gap. “What do we do with spouses and children?” INS asked. “Well,” the executive branch leaders said, “defer their deportation. Decline to exercise your lawful authority for the particular cases that are related to those Congress has offered amnesty.”

These Reagan and Bush 41 executive actions were obviously different than what Obama is doing now.

Read the whole thing.

‘The wide-eyed idealist turned out to be an emperor,” Charles C.W. Cooke writes at NRO. But then, it’s only a matter of time before all men of the left reveal their inner liberal fascist:

Modest Republican efforts to limit the tool in judicial nominations, Obama claimed in 2005, were illustrative of an “ends justify the means mentality” that would see the “right of free and open debate . . . taken away from the minority party” in the name of short-term expedience. “We’re here to answer to the people, all of the people, not just the ones that are wearing our particular party label,” he said. “What [voters] don’t expect is for one party, be it Republican or Democrat, to change the rules in the middle of the game so they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet.” Even more important: The “nuclear option” — whereby the filibuster is abolished by a simple majority — “doesn’t serve anyone’s best interests and it certainly isn’t what the patriots who founded this democracy had in mind.”

Senator Obama was joined in this judgment by leading Democrats, who together made a stirring case in favor of retention. The judicial filibuster, Harry Reid exclaimed, is “part of the fabric of this institution we call the Senate” and an “integral part of our country’s 214 year history.” Chuck Schumer described the device as “an important check and balance, to be preserved not vaporized.” Dianne Feinstein warned that, “blinded by political passions, some are willing to unravel our government’s fundamental principle of checks and balances.” Patty Murray agreed, accusing Republicans of “attempting to dismantle the checks and balances that our founding fathers created.” Without the mechanism, Murray contended, the Senate might become a “rubber stamp for the president.” And, as so often, Joe Biden put it best, proposing that to do away with the filibuster without the approval of a supermajority was “an example of the arrogance of power” and a “fundamental power grab.”

Those “patriots who founded this democracy” must have changed their minds since 2005, for, when the system proved too destructive to Obama’s agenda, he not only happily endorsed its abolition but got on board with the “nuclear option” that he had once so vehemently denounced. The filibuster was “not what our Founders envisioned,” Obama told the press in November of 2013. And then he chastised those who would defend the mechanism for their reliance upon “arcane procedural tactics.”

Today, the transformation of Barack Obama from wide-eyed idealist to bitter imperator will finally be completed. Amid the glitz and the artifice of Las Vegas, the last vestiges of the one we were waiting for will be swept ignominiously away, leaving only power, cynicism, and partisanship in their stead. There was a time when our 44th president claimed to stand for transparency, modesty, moderation, tolerance, humility, reason, and calm. Today, just feet from Caesars Palace, he will don the robes of the emperor and spin minor discretion into gargantuan usurpation, all norms and touchstones be damned. However convincing are the promises of the ambitious, Lord Acton always has the last laugh.

Was Mr. Obama lying then or is he lying now? Obama stooges such as Jonathan Gruber, Matt Yglesias, Dan Rather and Toure say: yes.

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On the other hand, it’s not like lying isn’t a bipartisan sport at times: “Republicans Can Defund Obama’s Executive Order, They Just Don’t Want To,” Sean Davis writes at the Federalist.

The Gray Lady is not happy about a lawless, out of control White House, and demands checks and balances be put in place after November’s stunning election results:

Ask a long-serving member of the United States Senate — like, say, Patrick Leahy of Vermont — to reflect on the Senate’s role in our constitutional government, and he will almost invariably tell you a story from our nation’s founding that may or may not be apocryphal. It concerns an exchange that supposedly took place between Thomas Jefferson and George Washington in 1787, the year of the constitutional convention in Philadelphia. Jefferson, who had been serving as America’s ambassador to France during the convention, asked Washington over breakfast upon his return why he and the other framers created a Senate — in addition to the previously planned House of Representatives and presidency — in his absence.

“Why did you pour that coffee into your saucer?” Washington reportedly replied.

“To cool it,” Jefferson answered.

“Even so,” Washington said, “we pour our legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it.”

The United States Senate has been called the world’s greatest deliberative body. By serving six-year terms — as opposed to the two-year terms in the more populist and considerably larger House of Representatives — senators are supposed to be able to stand above the ideological fray and engage in thoughtful and serious debate. What’s more, the filibuster rule allows a single senator to halt the creep of political passions into the decision-making process by blocking a given vote.

Perhaps nowhere is the ethos of the Senate, this commitment to principle over politics, more memorably captured than in the classic 1939 film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” when Jimmy Stewart, who plays an idealistic freshman senator wrongfully accused of graft, refuses to yield the floor until he has cleared his name. (After almost 24 hours, he winds up passing out from exhaustion but is ultimately exonerated.)

“We’re supposed to be the conscience of the nation,” Senator Leahy told me recently in his Washington office, which is decorated with New England folk art, including a print of a dog and cat cuddling on a throw rug that looks as if it could be on loan from a bed-and-breakfast in his home state.

Leahy is one of Congress’s so-called Watergate babies. He was elected to the Senate following Nixon’s resignation in 1974, and his arrival on Capitol Hill coincided with the sweeping bipartisan effort to investigate the Nixon administration’s abuses of executive power. “There was a sense inside the Senate among both Republicans and Democrats that the government had gotten off course and that we had a responsibility to find out what happened,” Leahy recalled.

Strong stuff. Of course, it was published on November 7th 2008, and the Times would go on to quickly forget its own words — if they even believed them in the first place. Since then, the paper has reveled in the glory of one-party government (as long as it’s as far to the left as possible) and nuking the Constitution.

No doubt, the only reservations the Carlos Slim-backed newspaper has on Obama’s amnesty is what a President Cruz or President Walker might do with such a precedent established. In the meantime, as Roger Kimball writes today, “It’s not every day that you get to have a ringside seat at the birth of tyranny.  Tune in tonight and you might have that dubious privilege.” The Times in particular should love their front row seats.

Related: “Watch Obama Admit That Obama’s Immigration Executive Order Is Illegal.”

Well, it’s not like the man held himself out as a professor who used to teach the Constitution while running for the presidency or anything.

Exit quote:

GruberGate’s Insider Problem

November 19th, 2014 - 5:49 pm

“So when I see journalists saying that Gruber’s revelations don’t matter because he’s just kind of awkwardly saying something that everyone knew, I get a little jittery,” former(?) Obama supporter Megan McArdle writes at the house organ for crony socialism, Bloomberg.com:

That politicians should try to exploit the accounting rules was inevitable; that is what people do with accounting rules. I’m not saying that’s what the rules are for, or that they do no good; I’m just saying that about eight seconds after your rules are made, some bright Johnny will start figuring out a way to game them.

What is not inevitable is that journalists should effectively sanction this by saying it’s no big deal. We don’t have to get elected, after all. And those politicians and policy makers aren’t our bosses; the reading public is.

Now who’s being naive, Kay?

Unexpectedly!

November 19th, 2014 - 11:29 am

“Another Keynesian Fail: Japan ‘Unexpectedly’ Falls Into Another Recession,” Tom Blumer writes at NewBusters:

There were several more of those infamous “U-word” (“unexpectedly”) sightings yesterday in the business press, as Japan — to the surprise of no one who has successfully avoided the Keynesian koolaid — reported that its economy shrank for the second quarter in a row, officially falling into yet another recession.

The U-word hit the trifecta, appearing in reports at the Associated Press, Bloomberg and Reuters.

The Keynesian clowns who are running economic policy in the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and who describe their program as “Abenomics,” really thought that raising the country’s national sales tax by 60 percent from 5 percent to 8 percent would cause only one quarter of pain, that the country would return to a growth trajectory after that, and that it could handle yet another planned steep sales tax increase.

“Instead, here’s what happens,” Tom writes, along with the gory economic details.

Who could have predicted such results, except for, well, just about everybody who isn’t invested in FDR-era Keynesianism or its supersized Obama version, crony socialism?

QED:

Related: “Where are all the startups? More on America’s economic calcification,” from James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute.

Earth in the Grubering

November 18th, 2014 - 1:40 pm

“New term: ‘Grubering’ and how it applies to Climate Alarmism,” as spotted by the Watts Up With That climate Blog:

I think that no other word describes what we have seen in the climate debate quite as well as Grubering.  The Climategate emails are full of discussions about how to “sell” the public on CAGW through a campaign of lies and exaggerations.  There are many discussion about how the public could not possibly understand such a complex subject.

The late Stephen Schneider puts it succinctly:

On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.

You can see Schneider in full Grubering action by comparing his doomsday rhetoric over a three decade period in this clip:

As the Watts Up With That blog notes:

Our critics sometimes dismiss skeptics as “conspiracy theorists” noting how unlikely it would be that thousands of  scientists would collude.   They miss the point.  We now know that Grubering takes place — we see it laid bare in the Obamacare campaign.  It was not strictly a “conspiracy”.  Rather it was an arrogant belief that lying was necessary to persuade a “stupid” public to adopt the policy preferences of the politicians and the academics in their employ.  Its Noble Cause Corruption, not conspiracy, that is at the root of this behavior.

Grubering also helps to define the relatively recent trend on the left not just to lie — that’s always been a component of the left — but to openly admit to lying as an unalloyed good to advance the Noble Cause.

Architects of Fortune

November 17th, 2014 - 12:06 pm

How badly did Gruber screw the pooch? So badly that even CBS’s dinosaur arch-liberal Bob Schieffer has noticed, Jack Coleman notes at NewsBusters, along with a minor fisking of some of Schieffer’s loopier statements:

SCHIEFFER: I’ll be honest — while I favor health insurance (a show of hands for all those opposed to health insurance, and auto insurance, and homeowners’ …?) I am not wild about the new plan and how it became law either. (Welcome to the club, Bob, mere half-decade late). But here is my question for Mr. Gruber — if all this was as bad as you say, why did you take the money you earned as an adviser? Nor is it too late to give it back. What we have here is another example of the sorry state of American politics where people take money for things in which they don’t believe and whether it’s good for the American people is not even a question. As for the president, he may want to consider that old politician’s prayer — Lord, I can take care of my enemies, just protect me from my friends.

Why would Gruber return his taxpayer-provided “consulting” fees? As Coleman adds, “Gruber was instrumental in getting this monstrosity enacted into law. Return money for a job well done? Yeah, right. His only fault, at least to liberals, is in the man’s apparently manic, post-legislative compulsion to spill all about ‘dirty secrets.’”

Gruber is certainly useful to the left right now as a scapegoat. He allows them to say, “look how badly we were duped!” during the early years of the Obama regime when they went all-in to push his programs, not the least of which, Obamacare.

CBS, along with the rest of the Democrat operatives with bylines might want to take advantage of that opportunity.

Consider it a Christmas miracle

Nowhere to Run to, Baby; Nowhere to Hide

November 16th, 2014 - 10:57 am

“Dear Democrats, Don’t Even Think about Running from Jonathan Gruber:”

It’s clear that Obamacare has been very, very good for Mr. Gruber. It’s equally clear that there’s no credible way for Democrats — state or federal — to run from him now. No one believes that he is solely responsible for Obamacare, but he was certainly instrumental — not just in its architecture but also in the critically important role of selling it to the American people. Democrats, including the White House, were proud of his involvement, eager to parade him in front of the public, and considered his involvement a “key requirement for . . . legislative proposals to be put forth for Congressional consideration.”

So, when Gruber states repeatedly that the law was deliberately opaque, that subsidies are not available through the federal exchanges, and that Obamacare’s drafters were deliberately attempting to exploit perceived voter “stupidity,” he was most definitely in a position to know. The Obama administration owns his comments. Every single one.

Read the whole thing.™

Related: “A reminder: Jon Gruber was used to attack Romney for Romneycare.”

Oh and an Allahpundit-esque exit question: “So how long will it be before Barack Obama is forced to walk back his definitive declaration that he never knew the ACA was crafted so as to mislead the people’s representatives who passed it?”

Especially when “Democrat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Admits: ‘We All Knew’ Obama was Lying About Obamacare (Video).”

— Ed Carson (@IBD_ECarson) November 15, 2014

“Voxplaining In Action.”

All the President’s Snipe Hunters

November 14th, 2014 - 3:20 pm

“In a rather bizarre move Friday, the Washington Post published an appeal to Fox News  to ‘Investigate Gruber’s Remarks,’” John Nolte writes at Big Journalism:

The Post’s argument is a snipe hunt. If Fox News did exactly as the Post requested, history proves it would change nothing. The important investigative work Fox has already done on stories like Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS, and even ObamaCare, are usually ignored, downplayed, or Media Matters’d by the likes of the Washington Post.

If six freakin’ videos aren’t enough to grab the media’s attention, nothing will. And even if Fox News did dig up a bigger bombshell a few weeks from now, the MSM would dismiss it as “old news.”

After six years of President Obama, how the media works its protection racket is not a secret.

Although the Post is one of the few mainstream media outlets to cover Gruber’s remarks, the Post has also been careful to  spin the story as either a partisan issue (using headlines about how Republicans are outraged) or as an outright nothingburger (this is how the sausage is made).

[WaPo blogger Erik Wemple] seems to want to argue that a story — backed by six videos of a man frequently trotted out as an ObamaCare expert by high-ranking Democrats like Nancy Pelosi — isn’t quite buttoned up,  or isn’t a story until the whole story can be told.

Geez, wait’ll Wemple discovers Woodward & Bernstein — that is, if anybody still remembers them at the Post.

Powerful Socialist One Percenter plays age and sexism victim card:

She also hinted that there was implicit sexism in the constant rhetoric of “will she or won’t she.”

“When was the last time you asked Mitch McConnell … ‘aren’t you getting a little old, Mitch?’” said Pelosi of the Republican senator from Kentucky.

McConnell, who is 72, has been in Senate GOP leadership since 2003 and the minority leader since 2007. He was earlier on Thursday elected Senate majority leader for the 114th Congress.

At 74 years old, Pelosi has been in House Democratic leadership since 2002 — and has been at the very top of the caucus power structure since 2003.

When was the last time that McConnell’s age was pointed out? Likely in every article written by Pelosi’s fellow Democrats with bylines, whenever they profiled McConnell’s hapless would-be opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes age 35, and while she was dallying with running against McConnell, Ashley Judd, age 46. Check out this Atlantic puff-piece on Grimes from last year:

Besides her staunch opposition to requiring a voting ID and an unsuccessful legislative push this year for online balloting for overseas military, Grimes is bereft of public-policy positions. “She doesn’t like to deal with the press. They keep her in a pretty tight cocoon. You tend to run into a wall unless the issue is on her terms, which is odd for a secretary of state,” observed one longtime political reporter in the state who requested anonymity to speak without restraint.

But the generational and demographic contrast with the dour, characterless 71-year-old McConnell couldn’t be brighter. In her first campaign email to supporters, she began to outline her frame of McConnell as a stick-in-the-mud, promising to “build a Kentucky that we can all be proud of. One that isn’t dead-set on obstructionism.” The frame Grimes hopes to construct: She’s for what works for Kentucky; he’s Senator Gridlock.

“While McConnell’s certainly a formidable opponent, people are tired of the same old thing. They’re going to associate McConnell with some of the problems. That’s baggage he has,” said Johnson. “I think the energy’s going to be on her side. She’s an up-and-comer in the party. I don’t think the Tea Party’s going to come out energized for McConnell. I think she can win it.”

In retrospect, so much for that idea, but as with how the MSM framed the 2008 election as being between rookie Senator Barack Obama and his dissipated opponents Hillary Clinton and John McCain, the media had no problems pointing out McConnell’s age.

On the other hand, Pelosi’s tone-deaf effort at playing the victim card was far from the dumbest gaffe she made today.

Call Obama’s Bluff

November 10th, 2014 - 9:09 am

“Obama to Boehner: You’ve got until the end of the year to pass an immigration bill or else I order executive amnesty,” Allahpundit writes at Hot Air:

The fear among liberals who are jittery about executive amnesty is that it’ll set a precedent that can be exploited by his Republican successor. E.g., President Ted Cruz could decide to lower income tax rates unilaterally, by executive order, while Congress bickers about tax reform. You would think, then, that O would go out of his way to explain why amnesty isn’t like taxes or health care or anything else but rather something unique and therefore without precedential value. Instead, Obama makes an expansive argument: His point here, essentially, is that there’s no real harm in him acting unilaterally because Congress can always pass a bill superseding his order. In that case, there’s nothing stopping President Cruz from installing a flat tax or suspending ObamaCare or anything else the GOP wants to do. So long as there are enough Republicans in Congress to deny Democrats a veto-proof majority in both chambers, his actions can’t be undone until a Democrat replaces him in the White House. The One’s setting an unbelievably terrible precedent — and making no effort to limit it. Wow.

And to think Mr. Obama used to pass himself off as a Constitutional scholar and rail against President Bush for his perceived damage to the Constitution. Good times.

But like Obamacare, Obama should entirely own this clusterfark, as Ace noted last week:

All Obama is threatening to do is to make his lawlessness a matter of public record, which he can no longer hide via the cover that the media provides to him.

Why should we work very hard at all to protect Obama and the Democrats from the wrath of the public?

I’m sure the Hillary campaign will love the fallout.

Click over to the Daily Signal for the video:

In a newly surfaced video, one of Obamacare’s architects admits a “lack of transparency” helped the Obama administration and congressional Democrats pass the Affordable Care Act. The conservative group American Commitment posted Jonathan Gruber’s remarks, reportedly from an Oct. 17, 2013, event, on YouTube.

“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” says the MIT economist who helped write Obamacare. “And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass.”

Of course, Obamacare only came into being because of the Democrats’ wins in the House and Senate in the 2006 midterms — about which, back in 2008, then-Congressman Paul Kanjorski told his constituents that his fellow Democrats lied about to win votes:

Now, I’ll tell you my impression. We really in this last election — when I say “we,” the Democrats — I think pushed it as far as we can to the envelope. We didn’t say it, but we implied it, that if we won the congressional elections, we could stop the war.

Now, anybody who’s a good student of government would know it wasn’t true. But you know, the temptation to want to win back the Congress, we sort of stretched the facts.

And Mr. Obama “stretched the facts” in the years since at least 36 times in speeches to promote Obamacare that if voters “liked their plans they could keep their plans,” a lie so big that even Democrat house organ Politifacts was forced to declare it “lie of the year” last year.

And then there are all of the Democrats’ operatives with bylines who admit they’re perfectly OK with lying to their readers and viewers.

The left have displayed enormous condescension to voters in recent years; lying is merely one manifestation of that. And they wonder why they got clobbered last week.

The Antediluvian Barack Obama

November 8th, 2014 - 7:49 pm

In “The enigma of Barack Obama,” Hot Air quotes an excerpt from Robert Draper’s Wall Street Journal review of a new Obama bio by NBC’s Chuck Todd, or as Draper refers to him, Gray Lady-style, “Mr. Todd.” This passage is a hoot:

Mr. Todd says that it has been easier for Mr. Obama to be “playing hardball with members of his own party” than with Republicans and that “nothing irks Mr. Obama more than the idea that he’s somehow a leftist or liberal; he believes that most of his ideas are old Republican ideas from another era.” Yet none of this is thoroughly explored in the book, and what we’re left with is an amorphous composite sketch of an undefined subject.

Old Republican ideas from another era?” What era is that — Teddy Roosevelt in the late 19th and early 20th century? I knew Obama thought of himself as the successor to Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ and Bill Clinton, but I had no idea his worldview was that ancient. But then, whatever gets you through the night, I guess.

And speaking of whatever gets you through the night, no wonder “Mr. Todd” and the rest of the media love Obama so much — he thinks he’s as “objective” as they think of themselves. Just ask “Mr. Todd.”