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Ed Driscoll

The Future and its Enemies

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The Washington Times reported on Tuesday that:

Talk of impeachment was cooked up by a White House desperate for something to rally Democrats ahead of November’s elections, House Speaker John A. Boehner said Tuesday, flatly ruling out any action on the controversial suggestion.

“We have no plans to impeach the president. We have no future plans,” Mr. Beohner said. “Listen, it’s all a scam started by Democrats at the White House.”

But PJM’s own Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, has a very different take, both in terms of Mr. Obama, and of the general concept of impeachment itself.

During our interview, Andrew will discuss his latest book, Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment. Andrew tells me, “As Madison put it, impeachment was indispensable in the minds of the framers, as a mechanism for Congress to be able to prevent one of the things that they were extremely worried about during the drafting of the Constitution. Which was the possibility that this incredibly powerful new office that they were creating, the President of the United States, where all of the executive power would be reposed in one official. [The founders worried] that that official could become like a monarch; could become basically what the Revolution had fought against in the first place.”

And there’s little doubt that President Obama thinks of himself of having king-like powers, far removed from the controls of Congress.

During our interview, Andrew will discuss:

● How the Founding Fathers thought of impeachment.
● Is he worried about Democrats fundraising off his new book?
● What does McCarthy think of John Boehner’s plan to sue Obama?
● His thoughts on Congress’s investigations of Benghazi and the IRS scandal.
● If McCarthy was drafting the articles of impeachment for Barack Obama, what would they include?

And much more. Click below to listen:

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Yes, Next Question

July 28th, 2014 - 11:35 pm

“Is the Obama administration losing touch with reality?”, Mark Tapscott asks at the Washington Examiner. Considering that Barack Obama alternated posing next to Styrofoam Roman columns and uttering quotes such as, ”We’re going to keep on praising together. I am confident that we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth,” during his in 2008 presidential bid, this administration and reality were never on very good terms to begin with. But as Tapscott writes, their relationship is much more strained these days:

There is an air of unreality about the Obama crew these days that became starkly evident last week with a letter to Congress from National Security Advisor Susan Rice seeking repeal of the 2002 authorization for the invasion of Iraq and White House press secretary Josh Earnest claiming Republicans are seriously seeking to impeach his boss.

House Speaker John Boehner and every other top GOP leader has denied it, but that didn’t stop Earnest and the Democratic fundraising machine from insisting that impeachment is “part of their agenda.”

Similarly, Rice claimed repealing the 2002 law is needed to “give Americans confidence” that U.S. “ground forces will not be sent into combat in Iraq” even though House GOPers were preparing to approve a resolution saying U.S. ground forces should not be sent back to Iraq.

But then seeing the Obama administration publicly weaving such fantasies isn’t really surprising, considering they’ve argued for years that one half of one-third of the federal government is responsible for all of America’s problems.

Aaron Hanscom, our lead editor and textual master of ceremonies on the PJM homepage asked me the other day if any president had checked out as dramatically from current events in my lifetime. I told that while it’s a little before my time, the closest analogy that comes to mind is the Wilson Administration, which attempted to maintain the fiction that its namesake was still running the show after Wilson’s devastating stroke in October of 1919, exhausting himself while attempting to pass the League of Nations. Wilson would linger on in office until being mercifully relieved by Republican Warren Harding in February of 1924 as a shell of a man; even Wikipedia notes:

[Post-stroke, Wilson] was insulated by his wife, who screened matters for his attention and delegating others to his cabinet heads. Eventually, Wilson resumed his attendance at cabinet meetings, but his input there was perfunctory. By February 1920 the President’s true condition was public. Nearly every major newspaper expressed qualms about Wilson’s fitness for the presidency at a time when the League fight was reaching a climax, and domestic issues such as strikes, unemployment, inflation and the threat of Communism were ablaze. Neither his wife nor his physician nor personal assistant were willing to assume authority to take upon themselves the certification required by the Constitution to declare his “inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office”. This complex case became an inducement for passage of the 25th Amendment.

It took a stroke to effectively end the Wilson presidency; it simply took Obama discovering that the world and the Beltway are mean places full of mean people who keep saying no to him — to  him! — the ‘Bam Who Would be King for Wright’s sake! — for him to take his golf ball and go home.

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Tweet of the Day

July 28th, 2014 - 7:57 pm

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Boom.

In Johnson’s piece on “Michelle Nunn’s Campaign Plan,” she wrote:

Her strategists are optimistic that the media won’t prove much of an obstacle. They write that at some point her opponent, who at the time the document was written had yet to be determined, will be “shoveling research” against her. But they say they anticipate they will often have “fair warning” about negative news stories and can work to “kill or muddy” them.

That dovetails remarkably well with an observation Bill Clinton told the Washington Post in 2006:

There is an expectation among Democrats that establishment old media organizations are de facto allies — and will rebut political accusations and serve as referees on new-media excesses.

“We’re all that way, and I think a part of it is we grew up in the ’60s and the press led us against the war and the press led us on civil rights and the press led us on Watergate,” Clinton said. “Those of us of a certain age grew up with this almost unrealistic set of expectations.”

And Jay Bookman of the Atlanta Journal Constitution seems determined to prove both Bill and Michelle Nunn correct:


Indeed.

Wasting Away Again In Obamaville

July 28th, 2014 - 4:19 pm

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Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

On Tuesday, the chief human resources officers of more than 100 large corporations sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urging quick passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

The officials represent companies with a vast array of business interests: General Electric, The Walt Disney Company, Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, McDonald’s Corporation, The Wendy’s Company, Coca-Cola, The Cheesecake Factory, Johnson & Johnson, Verizon Communications, Hewlett-Packard, General Mills, and many more. All want to see increases in immigration levels for low-skill as well as high-skill workers, in addition to a path to citizenship for the millions of immigrants currently in the U.S. illegally.

“Companies lay off thousands, then demand immigration reform for new labor,” Byron York, the Washington Examiner, September 11, 2013.

But where to house all those illegal immigrants flooding the border to replace American workers? The big box stores emptied out by the Obama economy, of course:

The Obama administration is reportedly looking to house illegal immigrant juveniles in empty big box stores and even airplane hangars across the nation.

According to a report in The New Republic, “in recent weeks, FEMA representatives have sent mass emails to advocacy networks throughout the country soliciting potential detention facilities and offering guidelines for acceptable spaces.” Suggestions for “workable locations” include “Office space, warehouse, big box store, shopping mall with interior concourse, event venues, hotel or dorms, aircraft hangers [sic].”

“Report: FEMA Looking to House Illegals in Empty Big Box Stores, Aircraft Hangars,” Tony Lee, Big Government, yesterday.

Strengthening the American economy: the parties intertwined in the deeply dysfunctional corporatist marriage between the left and big business just might be doing it wrong.

Update: As Investor’s Business Daily notes, “Democrats Admit Amnesty Is For Political Purposes,” which also explains why their enabling friends in big business are so eager to go along.

Truman Shrugs

July 28th, 2014 - 12:44 pm

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“Is Barack Obama John Galt?”,  John Hinderaker provocatively asked yesterday at Power Line:

Now, Barack Obama has decreed that the American Atlas should shrug. Weary of its burdens and tired of being blamed for the world’s problems, America is withdrawing from its global leadership role. And the result, as in Atlas Shrugged, is disaster. Everywhere one looks, there is turmoil and violence. Russia is resurgent; China threatens Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines; Iraq’s Christians are being wiped out; Iran’s nuclear weapons program proceeds apace; the Sunni Gulf states seek new alliances; the Taliban is retaking Afghanistan; American diplomatic personnel are withdrawn from Libya as that country descends into chaos; al Qaeda extends its influence in Africa. The list goes on and on. The United States has gone Galt–everywhere except Gaza, where we are playing a discreditable role in support of a terrorist regime–and the forces of evil and disorder are on the march.

Of course, the analogy ultimately breaks down. In Atlas Shrugged, the world’s producers go on strike in order to show that the Left is wrong. Barack Obama has withdrawn the United States from its leadership role, not in order to demonstrate that the Left’s critiques are wrong, but because he believes them to be right. Unlike the producers in Atlas Shrugged, Obama means for the U.S. to “go Galt” permanently.

It’s an interesting analogy, though perhaps not built around the right person. As John concedes, Barack “You didn’t build that” Obama is no John Galt. (And certainly no Howard Roark, to justify a rerun of the Photoshop I created in 2012.) But he can be seen in many ways to be something akin to Harry Truman. Both were machine hack Democrats, who assumed the office of the presidency deep into global struggles against anti-Semitic terror-based ideologies. Like Obama sitting in the pews of Trinity United rapturously drinking in the poisoned words of Rev. Wright, Harry Truman was raised in a crudely racialist environment:

Many who are aware of Harry Truman’s support for Israel and his desegregation of the armed forces are shocked by the anti-Semitic statements contained in his recently discovered 1947 diary. But Truman’s bigotry comes as little surprise to historians who have studied the man and his career.

Truman’s ugly comments about Jews being “very, very selfish” and, as such, not caring “how many Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks get murdered,” or his charge that “neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the underdog,” are distressingly consistent with his disparaging views about other racial and ethnic minorities. As a younger man, he wrote in a 1911 letter to his wife, Bess: “I think one man is as good as another so long as he’s honest and decent and not a n***er or a Chinaman.”

Even his reverential biographer, Merle Miller, admitted in the Truman biography “Plain Speaking” that later in life “privately Mr. Truman always said ‘n***er’; at least he always did when I talked to him.” He also often privately referred to Jews as “kikes.”

And like Obama’s Manichean demonization of his political enemies (and like his former boss, FDR), Truman was perfectly prepared to max out the Godwin meter if it suited his career, believing that the ends would justify the means and that such transgressions would largely be airbrushed out of history.

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Victor Davis Hanson knows why:

Glance about — Central America, Venezuela, China, Russia, Ukraine, Crimea, Gaza, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Turkey, etc. — and the world outside the West is mostly a nasty place.  The three common denominators in all these catastrophes are the usual demagogic leaders blaming someone else for their people’s own self-inflicted miseries, a comfortable West that shrugs that somehow all these depressing things and mean people will just go away — and a tired global enforcer whose community organizer leader went into retirement and offers “make no mistake about it” warnings between swings on the golf course.

Read the whole thing.

US Evacuates Embassy in Libya

July 27th, 2014 - 12:05 pm

“The United States suspended operations at its embassy in Libya Saturday and evacuated its diplomats to neighboring Tunisia under U.S. military escort amid a significant deterioration in security in Tripoli as fighting intensified between rival militias, the State Department said,” according to a Fox News report:

“Due to the ongoing violence resulting from clashes between Libyan militias in the immediate vicinity of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, we have temporarily relocated all of our personnel out of Libya,” spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

The withdrawal underscored the Obama administration’s concern about the heightened risk to American diplomats abroad, particularly in Libya where memories of the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in the eastern city of Benghazi are still vivid and the political uproar over it remain fresh ahead of a new congressional investigation into the incident. A senior military official told Fox News the Pentagon has been advising the State Department leave the post for weeks.

“Securing our facilities and ensuring the safety of our personnel are top department priorities, and we did not make this decision lightly,” Harf said. “Security has to come first. Regrettably, we had to take this step because the location of our embassy is in very close proximity to intense fighting and ongoing violence between armed Libyan factions.”

American personnel at the Tripoli embassy, which had already been operating with limited staffing, left the capital around dawn and traveled by road to neighboring Tunisia, according to Harf. Roughly 70 embassy staffers were driven out of the city in a caravan by 80 Marines, Fox News has learned.

Former President Obama is on the case, though.

Nahh, just kidding. He’s on the links, of course:

As Twitchy notes, “Ouch! World in turmoil, President Voting Present golfs; Newt Gingrich brutally nutshells:”

Mark Steyn brutally nutshells as well:

Dinesh D’Souza has a new movie out called America: Imagine A World Without Her – but we don’t really have to “imagine”, it’s happening before our eyes. Nothing difficult and complicated about it: in this decline and fall, the Emperor simply went fundraising.

At any rate, Jamie Weinstein sat in for Hugh Hewitt this week, and took me on a brisk trot round current topics:

MARK STEYN: Well, what’s going on in the world is of very little interest to President Fundraiser. He’s got other priorities, and the rest of the planet, as I believe it’s marked on the State Department maps, can go take a hike… There’s a vacuum of American power. And John Kerry is the physical presence of American absence. Nobody wants to see him. Nobody wants to do the handshake. Nobody wants to pose for photographs.

Finally, at the Belmont Club, Richard Fernandez contrasts additional news of fresh global disaster and concludes, “This is Obama Tranquility Base bidding you goodnight.”

Quote of the Day

July 25th, 2014 - 5:52 pm

So, I’m skeptical of the death penalty’s administration because the criminal justice system is a disaster. But, assuming guilt, I don’t really care much about the morality of killing people. The nation-state is all about killing people. Its sole reason for existing is that it’s better at killing people in large numbers than any other form of human organization. If you don’t like the idea of the state killing people, you don’t like the idea of the state. If you don’t realize this, it’s because your thinking is confused.

—Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit.com, today.

‘Obama: Stop Me Before I Invade Iraq!’

July 25th, 2014 - 4:04 pm

As Daniel Greenfield writes at Front Page, “This is probably one of the more confusing stories to come out of a completely confused administration:”

The Obama administration is calling on Congress to fully repeal the war authorization in Iraq to ensure that no U.S. troops return to the country, which is under siege by the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS).

White House national security adviser Susan Rice petitioned Speaker of the House John Boehner (R., Ohio) in a letter Friday to completely repeal the war authorization, officially known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq, or AUMF.

“With American combat troops having completed their withdrawal from Iraq on December 18, 2011, the Iraq AUMF is no longer used for any U.S. government activities and the administration fully supports its repeal,” Rice wrote. “Such a repeal would go much further in giving the American people confidence that ground forces will not be sent into combat in Iraq.”

Wait, the Obama administration is actually claiming it will cooperate with a GOP-led Congress? Perhaps they could demonstrate their sincerity by first complying with its subpeonas. I know — I keed, I keed.

In the meantime, Greenfield has the perfect metaphor for this latest absurdity from the administration led by the recently retired President Obama. (Language alert, for obvious reasons. Please address all complaints to Mel Brooks and/or Warner Brothers Pictures, a division of Time-Warner-CNN-HBO):

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“The very expensive death of the Chevy Volt,” as diagnosed by John Hayward at Breitbart.com:

I’ve been a student of the Chevy Volt electric-car debacle since the first time I took a stab at figuring out the actual per-unit cost of each car, with the subsidies figured in.  The thing launched with a sticker price of $41,000, but direct state and federal subsidies – i.e. taxpaying chumps forced at gunpoint to pay for part of your shiny new electric car – could take it down to $33,500 or less.  But if you figured in all the subsidies those taxpayer chumps were forced to give manufacturers, they really cost at least $81,000 apiece.  You paid $33k or so, while people who will never drive a Volt, and maybe never buy a Chevy, covered the rest.

Later Voltologists suggested I was being far too generous to this boondoggle, because the subsidies indirectly drawn into production of the vehicle and its battery were far larger than the direct nuts-and-bolts subsidies I was counting.  It has been suggested the real unit cost was closer to $200,000 per car.

Hayward goes on to note:

Well, here we are in 2014, and it can be decisively stated that skyrocketing Volt sales are not in the cards.  In fact, Detroit News reports that the European version of the Vault is being scrapped completely.  As for domestic sales…

Volt sales have also struggled and never met GM’s initial forecasts for sales growth.

Volt sales fell 34 percent in June in the United States to 1,777 and are down 12.6 percent this year to 8,615. GM cut prices of its plug-in hybrid Volt last year. It’s also offering hefty incentives for its slow-selling plug-in Cadillac ELR, which has sold just 390 vehicles in the first half of the year.

Last September, then GM CEO Dan Akerson told The Detroit News the automaker would take on upstart EV automaker Tesla Motors. Akerson said the Detroit automaker plans to confront Tesla via its Cadillac brand.

“If you want to compete head-to-head with Tesla, and we ultimately will, you want to do it with a Cadillac,” he said.

Yes, and you want to do it with your own money, you corporate parasite.  What’s the big strategy for the crippled Volt taking down the arthritic Tesla in the Who-Gives-A-Damn electric car micro-market?

While GM will cheerfully continue rake in tax payer dollars to build their hybrids, their deep down sense of shame is perhaps reflected in their recent ad for the coal-powered Cadillac, whose strutting theme is the antithesis of the welfare state, corporate and otherwise:

Obamacare’s Orwellian Godfather

July 25th, 2014 - 12:37 pm

“‘He who controls the past controls the future,’ observed George Orwell. ‘He who controls the present controls the past.’ This, in one pithy, symmetrical little maxim, has been the story of Obamacare from its conception to the present day,” Charles C.W. Cooke writes at NRO:

Today, we are witnessing the fall from grace of the progressive health-care wonk, Jonathan Gruber, a primary architect of Obamacare who is renouncing his previous testimony with all the giddy enthusiasm of a veteran clerk in the Kruschev administration. Once upon a time, Gruber was admirably honest on the subject of how his creation worked, and what it did and did not permit the federal government to achieve. On a tour of the country in 2012, Gruber urged recalcitrant states to set up their own health insurance exchanges, explaining in no uncertain terms the consequences of their declining to do so. A video unearthed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute shows Gruber not merely laying out how the law works, but why it works as it does. “What’s important to remember politically about” Obamacare, Gruber explains, in what he happily refers to as a “verifiable, objective” presentation, “is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits.” Why not? Because, while the federal government is permitted to establish an exchange per se, it is not permitted to offer any tax subsidies through it. “The law,” Gruber records flatly, “says if the states don’t provide [the exchanges], the federal backstop will. The federal government has been sort of slow in putting out its backstop, I think partly because they want to sort of squeeze the states to do it.” This, Gruber contended, was a “blatant enough political reality,” and one that he hoped would be enough for states to “get their act together and recognize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges” — billions of dollars, he went to great lengths to clarify, that would not be available through a federal exchange. No state exchange, he explained, no money.

“Fast forward a year or so, though, and you will see Gruber radically change his tune,” Cooke writes, adding, “We have always been at war with Eastasia.” Read the whole thing.

But then, we have always been at war with Eastasia:

‘Make that Juicebox a Double’

July 25th, 2014 - 11:30 am

As Twitchy reported, a video showing Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber admitting in 2012 that residents of states that don’t establish their own health insurance exchanges won’t receive Obamacare subsidies has been making the rounds and sticking in liberals’ already-crowded craws. But as we all know, it’s not really a party until Ezra Klein shows up. Fortunately for us, the King of the JuiceVoxers didn’t disappoint:”

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Click to enlarge schadenfreude.

But actually, someone did tell Ezra:

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Oh, and Matt’s surprised he got played as well. “Definitely a weird thing that happened!”

 

Fly the Unfriendly Skies

July 24th, 2014 - 3:05 pm

Gerard Baker of the Wall Street Journal tweets, “2014 is already the deadliest year for air travel since 2010, data show.”

Meanwhile, PJM’s David Steinberg spots an alarming bit of synchronicity in a Drudge-linked post: “Boeing 777s, After 18 Spotless Years, Crash Three Times Since July 2013:”

The disappearance of MH370 certainly appears to have been terror — the pilot intended to at least hijack the flight, though I have yet to hear evidence that he chose a 777 for any reason relating to the product itself. And MH17 most definitely was taken down by terror, though intercepted recordings point to the malicious operators of the Buk having not intended to target a passenger craft, much less a 777 specifically.

The San Francisco crash, strange at was, was stranger still in that a fatality occurred when a survivor was struck by an emergency vehicle.

In a year, 540 people have perished on one of the safest, soundest transports ever created — and it’s still just as safe as ever. Crazy world.

It’s always been a crazy planet; as Michael Ledeen recently wrote, “The World Is Returning to Normal:”

Of all the popular myths about “how the world works,” the most dangerous to us at this moment is the one that goes “peace is normal, war is an aberration.”  Truth is, war is normal and peace very unusual.  We’ve lived through a happy time, ever since the Second World War.  Thanks to American superpower, and the destruction of the totalitarian regimes in Rome, Berlin and Moscow, we’ve had a happy period of relative peace.  Very few big wars.  Little genocides (China is exceptional, but they changed to accommodate the global pattern).  Deterrence (as in “mutual assured destruction”) mostly worked.

That was a rare time.  Now we’re getting back to normal.  There’s a good reason for that old Roman wisdom “if you want peace, prepare for war.”  It’s because “peace” most always happens when somebody wins a war, and then imposes conditions on the losers.  That’s what “peace conferences” are all about.  Our recent happy time was the result of war, and our adoption of the Roman wisdom.  We smashed our enemies, we created military alliances to deter our new enemies (NATO, etcetera), we built and maintained a big arsenal on land, air and sea.

We prepared for war to make peace possible.

As Michael notes, in the past, the world was made safer when men who had America’s best interest at heart were in power and the notion of America as the world’s policeman was met with, well, perhaps a sneer from our enemies, but not a dismissive eye roll and chuckle.

Related: “President To Dem Donors: ‘You’re Chronicling The Slow Deterioration Of Barack Obama.’” And funding the rapid deterioration of America itself. (Not to mention the rest of the world as well.)

“Let me save you a bunch of time: All the news overseas is bad this morning. Bad, bad, bad,” Jim Geraghty writes:

Breaking news out of Algeria:

An Air Algeria-operated MD83 carrying 116 passengers and crew disappeared en route from Burkina Faso in Africa to Algiers, the aircraft’s owner said.

The plane, which took off in the west African country shortly after midnight, was supposed to land at 05:10 a.m. local time, Swiftair, a charter company based in Spain said in a statement today. The plane carried 110 passengers and six crew.

“There has been no contact with the plane until now,” Swiftair said. “Emergency teams and the company’s personnel are working to figure out what happened and will notify people as further information is available.”

Ukraine: “While Kiev made significant advances against rebels in the country’s east in recent days, Ukrainian and U.S. officials say Russian weapons are continuing to pour over the border. The escalation in fighting suggests Russian President Vladimir Putin has no intention of dialing back his support for the separatists, denting Western hopes that international attention from the airliner crash would force him to change course.”

In contrast, a “tiny bit of good news” spotted by Jim out of Israel…

“Under pressure from Israeli and American officials, the Federal Aviation Administration lifted a temporary ban on flights by American carriers to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport late on Wednesday night.” The European airlines are reinstating flights.

…Followed by more grim news from Europe, which reads like the continent is reverting back to 1930s-era antisemitism.

Meanwhile, Time magazine, as Ed Morrissey notes at Hot Air, is running the following cover:

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Naturally, Time-Warner-CNN-HBO has a serious case of amnesia as to how we got here. To refresh their memory, here’s the man they propped up in 2008 holding a copy of Time columnist and CNN droning head Fareed Zakaria’s then new book, which portrayed the brave new “Post-American World” as if it were a good thing. Here’s CNN clearing a path for Barack Obama in mid-2008 via “The Wright-Free Zone”:

In November of 2008, even before he took office, Time magazine declared Barack Obama the next FDR. Apparently, now Time-Warner-CNN-HBO is surprised to see a similar amount of moral relativity from this president in regards to Russia and Putin as FDR displayed towards Stalin and the Soviet Union.

No one perhaps more so than Candy Crowley of CNN, who asked Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) if she “believes that U.S Russian relations are now at cold war levels.”

Feinstein responded yes.

Gee, who knew?

And who did everything she could to derail Romney’s chances in 2012? But of course:

I’m not sure which is worse — Time-Warner-CNN-HBO feigning surprise that the world has ended up as ugly as it has during the administrations that they greased the skids for twice, or their amnesia regarding their complicity. But in any case, today’s news of fresh disaster was sadly all too predictable — and avoidable.

Update: “How Our World Fell Apart,” from Ed Klein at Townhall. For my interview earlier this week with Ed, click here.

Well, of course. But it’s always nice to have confirmation:

“The longer individuals were exposed to socialism, the more likely they were to cheat on our task,” according to a new study, “The (True) Legacy of Two Really Existing Economic Systems,” from Duke University and the University of Munich. The team of researchers concluded this after working with 259 participants from Berlin who grew up on opposite sides of the infamous wall.

When playing a dice game that could earn them €6 ($8), subjects originally from the East, which was for four decades under socialist rule, were more likely than their market economy counterparts in West to lie about how they fared. The Economist explains the task:

The game was simple enough. Each participant was asked to throw a die 40 times and record each roll on a piece of paper. A higher overall tally earned a bigger payoff. Before each roll, players had to commit themselves to write down the number that was on either the top or the bottom side of the die. However, they did not have to tell anyone which side they had chosen, which made it easy to cheat by rolling the die first and then pretending that they had selected the side with the highest number. If they picked the top and then rolled a two, for example, they would have an incentive to claim—falsely—that they had chosen the bottom, which would be a five.

The results were that “East Germans cheated twice as much as West Germans overall,” leaving the researchers to conclude the “the political regime of socialism has a lasting impact on citizens’ basic morality.”

And then there’s the game that asks: who goes national socialist? 

Popular during the predecessor regime to the former East and West Germany and increasingly en vogue today.

Update: QED.

“It’s a genuine pleasure to watch Trey Gowdy work,” Jim Treacher writes. “Why should he bother to hide his contempt for someone who holds such obvious contempt for the truth, and for United States taxpayers?”

Meanwhile,  Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings — who doesn’t know the names of the Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee –  “calls for end to ‘public harassment’ of IRS chief John Koskinen,” Glenn Reynolds notes, adding that “Naming and shaming is all we’ve got, when the machinery of government has been totally politicized.”

It’s Deja Socialism All Over Again

July 21st, 2014 - 7:26 pm

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

“Elizabeth Warren Would Be the Most Liberal Democratic Nominee Since 1972.”

– Headline, FiveThirtyEight, today.

“Study: Obama most liberal senator last year — A new study suggests Obama had the most liberal voting record in 2007.”

– Headline and lede at CNN, January 31st, 2008.

In both cases, the headline writers spelled Leftist wrong — and in both cases, the far left senators had nightmarish theme songs to kick off what seemed at the time like longshot presidential bids. And in both cases — well, if I was Hillary’s campaign advisor, I’d be more than a little worried right now.

Minor language and sanity warnings apply:

The Bear Is Loose

July 21st, 2014 - 2:51 pm

Former President Barack Obama’s* penchant for fundraising during world crises is explored by Matthew Continetti at the Washington Free Beacon:

“The bear is loose!” President Obama has been saying, whenever he leaves the White House to visit Starbucks, or sandwich shops, or burger joints, or BBQ shacks, or neighborhood diners, in his increasingly rote and pathetic attempts to “connect” with “real people.” Obama, we have been told, is frustrated, “restless,” bored with the responsibilities and chores of office. He thinks of himself as the bear—intimidating, wild, untamed, roving—escaping his den. But he is flattering himself. Obama is not the bear. He is the cub: aimless, naïve, self-interested, self-indulgent, irresponsible, irresolute. The bear is in Moscow.

As Steve Green writes, “That might be the single most devastatingly accurate paragraph I’ve ever read about Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom, but you’ll want to read the whole thing.” An earlier president knew who the bear was, and take him seriously — and was ultimately rewarded for his efforts:

*Hey, if Obama has decided to check himself out of the day to day process of what was once called “running of the federal government,” he should be titled accordingly…

The Sleeping Policeman

July 21st, 2014 - 12:28 pm

Greg Gutfeld writes that when America had executive leadership, we used to understand “that small matters when confronted, as a group, can prevent bigger matters. Now we see everything as ‘not our business,’ without taking the next step and asking, ‘Then whose business is it?’

So what should be done here about that field of horror in Ukraine? What should the leader of the free world do?

That field is no longer a war zone. It is an international crime scene, and we must lead the way, immediately, to secure it. And save the evidence, and seek justice. If Putin sees this as troubling, then it is up to him to make the “hard choices,” lend a hand—or back off and vote “present.”

Here’s a plan: 12 nations had victims on that plane. Those nations must be assembled together into a force of investigators, by the United States, who are pretty good at this kind of thing. That crew must go to the site, asap.

Of course, we must demand a cease fire, and all “bystanders” currently in control (or rather, standing in the way), must go. It’s not up to Russia; it’s up to the Dutch, the Malaysians, the US, Australia, etc. The sooner we stop the movement of wreckage, evidence and bodies, the better. We must comb the area and track down all witnesses, if they haven’t already been terrified into silence.

We need those black boxes and must fly their manufacturers in to determine whether they’ve been tampered with (once we retrieve them). If the boxes are gone, then an investigation must determine where they went. And if they’re in Moscow, those boxes must come back—or become the costliest of Putin’s possessions. According to the latest reports, the rebels claim they’ll be handing these boxes over, but it would be foolish at this point to believe it.

Oh please, let’s see the Obama administration forcefully demand the black box from the plane be recovered in a condition where the data can be retrieved. In the areas of record keeping and data recovery, the Obama administration is absolutely unimpeachable….

As for America being a sleeping policeman, hey, its attorney general is forever vigilant when it comes to “homegrown violent extremists” — whom he defines as anybody who disagrees in the slightest with whatever the Obama administration’s worldview is on any given day.

The O By Numbers

July 21st, 2014 - 10:55 am

As Twitchy notes, “Obama by the numbers puts things in devastating perspective.” They link to the Washington Post’s “The Fix” blog which notes:

According to author Brendan J. Doherty, from 2008 to 2012 Obama went to 321 events, compared to just 80 for Ronald Reagan.  And, as the chart below shows, he’s done 72 events in his second term – 34 this year alone. So far, he’s ahead of  the pace of George W. Bush, who had been to 30 events at this point in 2006. In his two presidential terms combined, Bush hosted 318 fundraisers. Obama has already smashed that number with 393 events to date.

Talk about the law of diminishing returns — and expectations.