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Ed Driscoll

‘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:

 

Quote of the Day

November 20th, 2014 - 5:01 pm

Actually I think the whole racial angle on Cosby should be turned on its head: How come Roman Polanski’s film career wasn’t ended after a conviction for rape? Or Woody Allen’s career after the facts of his behavior emerged? And if we’re now going to end careers over old charges, can Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey now get their due against Bill Clinton, whose sexual assaults didn’t end his career. To the contrary, he is honored as if he were the Dr. Huxtable of politics. The double standard here is obvious: if you’re a powerful (liberal) white man, you can survive being a rapist. Maybe the liberals are ironically right for a change.

Steve Hayward, Power Line, today.

“Influential gay rights advocate and top Obama donor, Terry Bean, and alleged former boyfriend arrested,” Brett Decker writes in USA Today:

This story was first reported by the local press, and there have been vague references to sexual trouble for Bean and Lawson since June, but the national media has not picked it up. That oversight is politically convenient for President Obama as he tries to pull off one of his riskiest political moves ever with his amnesty executive order.

If one of President George W. Bush’s bundlers would have been charged with child rape, make no mistake about it, the media feeding frenzy would have been uncontrollable – which would be legitimate given the severity of the allegation. The silence surrounding Terrence Bean exposes the national media’s partisan double standard in obscene detail.

In 2003, after it was obvious that CNN had been in the tank for Saddam Hussein, Eason Jordon, the network’s then-president, wrote a mea culpa in the New York Times titled “The News We Kept To Ourselves.”

The MSM sure has been keep a lot of news to itself since 2008, haven’t they? Two guesses as to why.

“Jeff Fager has stepped down as chairman of CBS News, leaving full command of the news division to David Rhodes, two sources at the network told POLITICO on Thursday,” Dylan Byers reports:

Fager, who spent four years as chairman, will return to CBS’ “60 Minutes” full-time as executive producer, effective at the beginning of the new year. Rhodes, who Fager hired as president four years ago, will remain in that role and assume sole leadership of the division.

As the Daily Caller noted in May of 2013, “Top Obama official’s brother is president of CBS News, may drop reporter over Benghazi coverage.” That reporter was Sharyl Attkisson who has since left CBS:

“We still don’t know who changed talking points but have had at least 4 diff explanations so far,” Attkisson tweeted on November 27, 2012.

But on Friday, ABC News reported that the Benghazi talking points went through 12 revisions before they were used on the public. The White House was intimately involved in that process, ABC reported, and the talking points were scrubbed free of their original references to a terror attack.

That reporting revealed that President Obama’s deputy national security advisor, Ben Rhodes — brother of CBS News president David Rhodes — was instrumental in changing the talking points in September 2012.

ABC’s reporting revealed that Ben Rhodes, who has a masters in fiction from NYU, called a meeting to discuss the talking points at the White House on September 15, 2012.

Curiously, the relationship between the two Rhodes isn’t referenced in Byers’ story above, or in this article on Jeff Fager stepping down at the Huffington Post.

Unexpectedly.

Related: “Bombshell: Email Proves that White House, DOJ Targeted Reporter Sharyl Attkisson,” from Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler. I’m sure CBS will want to blow the lid off this story…

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.

yglesias_sophistry_8-10

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?

Quote of the Day

November 19th, 2014 - 11:52 am

“Send this police chief to Ferguson because this is the TRUTH they need to hear!” The Right Scoop blog notes:

Man oh man this is awesome. Police Chief Edward Flynn spoke to reporters on November 6 after a Fire and Police Commission meeting concerning the shooting of Dontre Hamilton. And he doesn’t hold back with the brazen truth about people who care more about a black teen shot by a cop than they do about all the violent crimes against blacks in Milwaukee, something he says is the true threat to the racial disparity.

Spot on. Watch the whole thing.

 

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.

Promise Meets Expiration Date

November 19th, 2014 - 10:52 am


What could go wrong?

This Is CNN

November 19th, 2014 - 10:37 am

DON LEMON: You — you know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it.

JOAN TARSHIS: Oh. Um, I was kind of stoned at the time, and quite honestly, that didn’t even enter my mind. Now I wish it would have.

LEMON: Right. Meaning the using of the teeth, right?

TARSHIS: Yes, that’s what I’m thinking you’re –

LEMON: As a weapon.

TARSHIS: Yeah, I didn’t even think of it.

LEMON: Biting. So, um –

TARSHIS: Ouch.

Ouch indeed. Perhaps Lemon should have also asked Joan Tarshis, one of several women accusing TV legend Bill Cosby of rape, ‘is it preposterous’ to think that generating a black hole in the universe might have prevented Cosby’s alleged assault?

Related: “Conservative Guest Asks CNN Anchor to Define ‘Automatic Weapon’ — [Lemon's] Response Is Leaving Viewers Stunned,” and more examples of Lemon’s bias and gaffes here and here.

More:Rape Allegations: Media Hunts Bill Cosby, Celebrates Bill Clinton.”

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.

All of #GruberGate in Two Minutes

November 18th, 2014 - 12:42 pm

Exit quote via Iowahawk: “Dear Tea Party people: say what you want about Gruber, but it wasn’t you he was calling stupid.”

Update: “New White House Spin: Those Gruber Videos About How We Were Lying To You In 2009? They’re From Way Back In 2009!”

See, if it’s from 2009, that’s really old, because Obama had just taken power. But if the opportunity exists to blame Bush or Reagan? Timeless.

This Is CNN

November 18th, 2014 - 10:48 am

“Two Palestinian terrorists entered a Jerusalem synagogue today and launched an attack on the worshipers using guns and meat cleavers. The terrorists killed four and wounded several more before they were killed by police,” Bryan Preston writes at the PJ Tatler. “CNN’s Chyron operators got just about everything wrong that they could possibly get wrong during a report on the attack.”

Bryan has the video, which contains the screen cap in the above tweet. As Twitchy asks, “Unbelievable! Was this horrible Jerusalem terror attack CNN graphic a gaffe or foul bias?” Given CNN’s sympathies in the Middle East, I know which direction I’d bet. But either way, today’s debacle is yet another black hole for Time-Warner’s once-proud, now flailing news network, these days reduced to being “That irritating noise you hear at the airport,” as Kathy Shaidle writes.

Update: “#HowCNNWouldReport.”

The Ominous Parallels

November 17th, 2014 - 9:49 pm

In “Hartache,” Noemie Emery of the Weekly Standard compares and contrasts two infamous Democrat presidential candidates wildly overhyped by their party operatives in the MSM who later famously crashed and burned due to Icarus-level hubris:

[Gary] Hart and Obama each had an iron-clad faith in his own claim to genius, and many believed them, partly because they looked like the kind of people journalists thought should be intelligent, and partly because their sort of intelligence—glib, facile, and good at the right sort of patter—was the same sort that these journalists had. Thus presidential historian Michael Beschloss called Obama (before he took office) “the smartest man ever elected as president,” and Bai takes Hart at his own self-estimation, as a “brilliant and serious man, perhaps the most visionary political mind of his generation .  .  . the flat-out smartest politician I had ever met.” Hart’s gift, as Bai put it, “was to connect politics and culture and theology and technology seamlessly and all at once—to draw from all available data points .  .  . a larger picture of where everything was headed. .  .  . Hart himself would tell me, ‘I have only one talent. I can see farther ahead than most people. And I can put pieces together in constructive ways, both to avoid disaster and to capitalize on change.’ ”

Alas, as it happened, “avoiding disaster” was not one of Hart’s strong points, and the man many thought capable of saving the world and the country proved a genius at destroying himself. Hart worshipped John Kennedy and imitated him down to his gestures and weakness for women, seeming to think he was back in the ’50s and ’60s, when presidents’ affairs and those of their peers had gone unremarked on, or perhaps in the days of the 1940 election, when Wendell Willkie made campaign speeches from his girlfriend’s apartment and Franklin Roosevelt’s train would make stops in New Jersey so the president could see his old flame. Hart’s first mistake was to ignore the extent to which Chappaquiddick and Watergate had collapsed the old walls between public and private, increasing suspicion of public officials and making dissembling seem the worst of all sins. His second mistake was to lie, which turned his private life into a public and character issue, into which the press felt entitled to dig. In Whose Broad Stripes and Bright Stars, their book on the 1988 contest, Jack Germond and Jules Witcover give a detailed list of the people Hart lied to, including reporters, old friends, and campaign consultants who had agreed to work for him only after being assured by him or his allies that the rumors about his many adventures with women were either false or else a thing of the past.

Nonetheless, one woman refused to join the campaign, saying, “Everybody here knows that he’s fooling around with a woman in Florida, and that he came out of a bar a few nights ago with another guy and two other women. .  .  . I can’t work for him.” He assured aides that nothing was wrong even as he was arranging a weekend in Washington with the woman in Florida. Reporters from two different news organizations warned his campaign they were thinking of tailing him, which perhaps was in Hart’s mind when he dared E. J. Dionne to “follow me around. I don’t care. I’m serious .  .  . go ahead. They’ll be very bored.”

Flash-forward to today; “Obama Encouraged Us to ‘Pull Every Clip’ On Obamacare So We Did,” David Rutz writes at the Washington Free-Beacon. Speaking of ominous parallels* note the exceedingly Hart-like goading from the semi-retired former president at the start of the video:

* Yes, the homage to a book referencing an infinitely more sinister form of nationalized socialism was intentional.

The New York Times Drops the Mask, Yet Again

November 17th, 2014 - 1:57 pm

The Gray Lady opposes Cuban doctors becoming US citizens. No really:

In Africa, Cuban doctors are working in American-built facilities. The [Ebola] epidemic has had the unexpected effect of injecting common sense into an unnecessarily poisonous relationship.

And yet, Cuban doctors serving in West Africa today could easily abandon their posts, take a taxi to the nearest American Embassy and apply for a little-known immigration program that has allowed thousands of them to defect. Those who are accepted can be on American soil within weeks, on track to becoming United States citizens.

There is much to criticize about Washington’s failed policies toward Cuba and the embargo it has imposed on the island for decades. But the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program, which in the last fiscal year enabled 1,278 Cubans to defect while on overseas assignments, a record number, is particularly hard to justify.

It is incongruous for the United States to value the contributions of Cuban doctors who are sent by their government to assist in international crises like the 2010 Haiti earthquake while working to subvert that government by making defection so easy.

American immigration policy should give priority to the world’s neediest refugees and persecuted people. It should not be used to exacerbate the brain drain of an adversarial nation at a time when improved relations between the two countries are a worthwhile, realistic goal.

“Unexpectedly” though, the Times is perfectly fine with expatriation working in the other direction:

Yup, I gotta confess, that now-famous picture of a U.S. marshal in Miami pointing an automatic weapon toward Donato Dalrymple and ordering him in the name of the U.S. government to turn over Elian Gonzalez warmed my heart. They should put that picture up in every visa line in every U.S. consulate around the world, with a caption that reads: ”America is a country where the rule of law rules. This picture illustrates what happens to those who defy the rule of law and how far our government and people will go to preserve it. Come all ye who understand that.”

And I was also warmed by the picture of Elian back in his father’s arms. Some things you can fake — like a 6-year-old wagging his finger on a homemade video and telling his father to go back to Cuba without him — and some things you can’t fake. That picture of Elian and his father illustrated the very parent-child bond that our law was written to preserve.

“Foreign Affairs; Reno for President,” Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, April 25, 2000.

And don’t get Friedman started on the joys of dictatorship, or other voices at the Times on the horrors of the American Constitution.

I missed the memo — when did the Times turn into the real-life version of the Onion?

H/T:

Related: Nicholas Kristof channels his inner Margaret Sanger: “‘Should be stopped’ was code for sterilization, and now we’re seeing its return in a new form. Nicholas Kristof’s column today in the New York Times is right out of the old progressive songbook.”

Has there ever been a new progressive songbook?

More: “New York Times Wants Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants, None for Cuban Doctors Trying to Come Here Legally.”  As someone noted on Twitter, perhaps they Gray Lady is afraid that most Cuban doctors will vote (R) upon arrival.