Search Results

SO TRUMP IS A WHITE OBAMA?: Reihan Salam has column in Slate (he is also an executive editor of National Review, btw), “I Can’t Hate Donald Trump: I Do Hate Republicans Who’ve Enabled His Remarkable Popularity.”  The thesis seems to be that Trump is essentially a “white Obama” whose campaign is a dog whistle for working class whites:

I can’t bring myself to hate Donald Trump. Part of this is a quirk of biography. Like a lot of native New Yorkers around my age, I find his outer-borough accent so comfortingly familiar that I can’t help but smile whenever I hear his voice, even when he’s saying something outrageously offensive. To a certain kind of smart, scrappy, lower-middle-class New York youth in the ’80s and ’90s, Trump was the living embodiment of gaudy success—a kind of mash-up of Santa Claus, Scrooge McDuck, and Vito Corleone. . . .

Trump is strongest not in the metropolitan corners of America, where he’s spent most of his life. Rather, his strongholds are the mostly overlooked sections of the South, Appalachia, and the rural and semi-rural North. . . .

Many have been struck by the overwhelming whiteness of Trump’s campaign, not least the small number of self-identified “white nationalists” who’ve rallied around his campaign. I would argue that the Trump coalition illustrates how whiteness as a category is so expansive as to be almost meaningless. The Scots-Irish or “American” whites who see Trump as their champion are profoundly different from the metropolitan whites who dominate the upper echelons of U.S. society—so much so that the convention of lumping them together as “white” detracts far more from our understanding of how they fit into our society than it adds to it. J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, a forthcoming book on the place of Appalachian whites in modern America, estimates that roughly one-quarter of whites belong to the Scots-Irish tribe that has embraced Trump. If we were to separate out these Americans as a race or ethnicity unto themselves, Vance writes, we would finds rates of poverty and substance abuse that would shock our national conscience. But we don’t generally collect detailed statistics on the Scots-Irish. . . .

When Barack Obama first emerged on the political scene, he excited voters who saw in him a reflection of their own experiences. His mixed ancestry, his upbringing as the son of an intellectually curious and at times very poor single mother, and his experience of upward mobility through higher education—all of these experiences resonated with Americans who’d had similar journeys, and who felt validated by Obama’s narrative.

Trump and Obama are almost as different as one American can be from another. Nevertheless, Trump has built a gut-level connection that is no less formidable, and with an entirely different set of Americans. . . .

I’m not sure what makes Salam think that Americans of “Scots-Irish” descent are poor Appalachian hillbillies with substance abuse problems. This odd racial stereotyping aside, Salam is simply wrong that Trump’s primary support emerges from poor, uneducated whites, an unsupportable myth I’ve written about before that keeps getting repeated by the GOPe and Democrats alike.

More importantly, I hardly think that a platform of issues that are important to all Americans–national security, jobs, immigration (all of which are intimately related)–is fairly characterized as a racial dog whistle, unless one believes that these issues are particularly “white” (or more specifically,
“Scots-Irish”) issues.

Salam’s column suggests to me that while elites may abhor finding themselves in political association with the unwashed masses (i.e., working class whites), they can’t seem to help themselves because like the masses, there’s something about Trump that they can’t help but like. It suggests that Trump’s political umbrella is (at least potentially) larger than many have acknowledged. Could it also be that Trump holds the potential to unite, rather than divide? Only time will tell.

KAMALA HARRIS: The Next Obama? She’s got more of a record than he had, and it’s pretty bad.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Sanders and Trump are selling magic.

Take Sanders’ New Hampshire victory speech. It promised the moon: college education, free; universal health care, free; world peace, also free because we won’t be “the policeman of the world” (mythical Sunni armies will presumably be doing that for us). Plus a guaranteed $15 minimum wage. All to be achieved by taxing the rich. Who can be against a “speculation” tax (whatever that means)?

So with Trump. Leave it to him. Jobs will flow back in a rush from China, from Japan, from Mexico, from everywhere. Universal health care, with Obamacare replaced by “something terrific.” Veterans finally taken care of. Drugs stopped cold at the border. Indeed, an end to drug addiction itself. Victory upon victory of every kind….

Sanders’ magic potion is socialism; Trump’s is Trump.

Someone should write a book about how that works.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG: John Schindler: Mounting Evidence Putin Will Ignite WWIII. By letting Putin get away with whatever he likes in Syria, Obama has created a deeply dangerous situation.

Relations between Russia and Turkey have been dismal since late November, when a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian bomber on the border with Syria, killing its pilot. That began a war of words between Moscow and Ankara that ought to concern everyone, since the former has several thousand nuclear weapons and the latter is a member of NATO.

Kremlin propaganda against Ankara has increased of late, setting the stage for further confrontation. As I explained here last week, Russian media outlets initially blamed the Sinai crash of Metrojet 9268 last autumn on the Islamic State, an atrocity which killed 224 innocents, nearly all of them Russians—a quite plausible claim. However, the Kremlin has abruptly shifted course and now blames the mass murder on Turkish ultranationalist terrorists, without any evidence provided to support that explosive assertion.

Where things may be going between Russia and Turkey, ancient enemies who have warred many times over the centuries, was evidenced this week, when the Kremlin announced large-scale surprise military exercises in the regions of the country that are close to Turkey. Troops were moved to full combat readiness, the last stage before a shooting war, with Sergei Shoygu, the Russian defense minister, announcing on TV: “We began our surprise check of the military preparedness in the Southwest strategic direction.”

That would be the direction of Turkey. These snap exercises involve the Southern Military District and the navy’s Black Sea Fleet, which are deeply involved in Russia’s not-so-secret secret war in eastern Ukraine. However, they also involve the navy’s Caspian Sea flotilla, which is nowhere near Ukraine.

Well, we’ve got John Kerry and Barack Obama standing between us and World War III, so . . . Duck and Cover!

ANDREW MALCOLM: Dem debate: Fierce grilling except for emails, FBI, Top Secret, Benghazi, debt and….

Of the 16,000 words uttered by Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and moderators Gwen Ifil and Judy Woodruff, not one of them concerned Clinton’s deepening email scandal. Not one mention of the words email, e-mail, private server or FBI.

Not a single media question or opponent mention of the huge legal cloud hanging over the party’s presumptive nominee. Nor of the ongoing FBI investigation into unauthorized use of her unsecured private email server for government business, including loose handling of Top Secret documents endangering national security intelligence-gathering and covert operations.

Not any reference to the State Department Inspector General’s subpoena to the Clinton Foundation exploring possible connections between foreign government donations possibly trying to curry favor during Clinton’s four-year tenure as Obama’s secretary of State.

Oh, and not a single word either about Benghazi, the murder of four Americans there, the phony video excuse, the lack of rescue or reinforcement attempts and any Clinton responsibility for the well-documented poor consulate security. Nothing on tax or entitlement reforms. National debt.

A complete pass for Hillary Clinton. Whoosh! Home free. Other than that, it was a serious grilling about being female, admiring Obama, taxing the rich more, free stuff and other liberal issues.

It’s as if Judy Woodruff, Gwen Ifill, and PBS were just trying to help the Democrats or something.

WHY OBAMA SAYS ‘THAT’S NOT WHO WE ARE’: “Calling people un-American, or challenging their love for America, thus runs afoul of liberal lore and Obama’s own rhetorical code. So he reaches for a subtle phrase with less baggage. ‘That’s not who we are’ implicitly accuses political opponents of being apart from the American ideal, of being ‘other.’”

At least until next year, when there’s a good chance the left will believe that dissent is patriotic once again. (Despite that whole “last refuge of a scoundrel” thing they concurrently believe.)

Related: 14 Times Barack Obama’s Rhetoric Made Politics Less Civil.

APPARENTLY WE SHOULD GET ON A BOAT* AND LEAVE AMERICA ASAP, John Podhoretz writes in the New York Post, after watching last night’s Hillary-Bernie debate:

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were essentially auditioning last night for the role of Snake Plissken. Do you remember Snake Plissken? He was the eyepatch-wearing hero of “Escape from New York,” the 1981 science-fiction picture in which Manhattan has become a prison and Snake Plissken is the only guy who can find the way out.

Only the America from which they want to liberate us is Barack Obama’s America. Oh, they don’t say as much. Hillary blames the Koch brothers. Bernie blames millionaires and billionaires and the campaign-finance system. They both blame the Republicans.

But let’s face it: It’s Obama’s world. They and we are all just living in it.

And what a world. “There is,” Sanders said, “massive despair all over this country.” Wages low. Millions in prison.

Bernie and Hillary are both admitting what a wretched failure Obama has been as president. Why would America want to give his party another four years?

* Or perhaps a starship, based on Hillary’s retro-futuristic final frontier-ready togs last night.

ANOTHER OBAMA MIDEAST DEBACLE: Petraeus doubts Syria can be put back together again.

Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus expressed doubt in a recent interview with The Hill that Syria can be pieced back together after a nearly five-year civil war.

“Can Syria actually be put back together again? It is by no means clear that it can be put together again; in fact, I tend to think not, but we shall see,” he said in an interview last week.

He made the comments as Secretary of State John Kerry tries to save a struggling peace process between the Shiite-backed Syrian government and Sunni opposition rebels. The conflict helped fuel the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Kerry is pushing for a cease-fire in Syria in order to get the process back on track when talks resume on Feb. 25.

But Russia has in recent weeks stepped up air attacks on the rebel groups, shoring up Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government and making it less likely to participate in a process that calls for him to step down.

Retired Amb. Ryan Crocker, whom President Obama picked as ambassador to Afghanistan in 2011, predicted in December that the negotiations will be futile as long as Assad believes he will prevail.

“I have the highest regard for Secretary Kerry, but this effort at a political negotiation is going to go nowhere because the Russians, the Iranians and Bashar al-Assad think they’re on a roll — why should they negotiate?” Crocker said.

The administration said that without a political solution, it will have to consider a plan B involving military options, though officials have not said what they will be.

The plan is to provide the illusion of activity until January of 2017, then leave the problem for Obama’s successor. At this point, that’s pretty much their strategy for everything.

NOT LIVING UP TO THE HYPE: Bernie Sanders’ Political Revolution Is Off to a Slow Start: He has pledged to mobilize millions of new Americans to transform politics, but so far, Democratic turnout is down.

The first tests are in, and the signs of a revolution at the ballot box are scant. Rather than a surge of the previously disaffected, Democratic turnout was down in the first two states to hold contests in the nomination race—by 28 percent in Iowa and 13 percent in New Hampshire.

In Iowa, 172,000 Democrats took part in the party caucuses. The number in 2008 was 240,000.

In the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, 251,000 Democrats voted. The number in 2008 was 288,000.

In other words, the grassroots enthusiasm, vast small-dollar donations, and massive crowds at Sanders’ rallies so far hasn’t translated into historically greater voter turnout for his party.

Meanwhile, Republican voter turnout is up from 2008 levels—by 15,000 in Iowa, and 33,000 in New Hampshire.

The numbers pose a challenge to Sanders’ argument that he’d succeed where President Barack Obama failed in mobilizing Americans to transform the political process. It also may bolster one of the main lines of attack by Hillary Clinton—that Sanders is making promises he can’t keep.

To be fair, Bernie’s making promises he can’t keep, but Hillary’s making promises she won’t keep.

IF HE HAD A MIND, HE MIGHT BE DANGEROUS: David Brooks is still in love with the crease in Obama’s pants.

‘IT’S LIKE THE DAY BEFORE WORLD WAR ONE’: EUROPEAN CHIEF’S STARK WARNING OVER SCALE OF REFUGEE CRISIS.

Don’t worry – I’m sure President Ash Carter is monitoring the situation carefully.

THE VIEW OF THE WORLD FROM 9th AVENUE: One fun element of Democrat presidential primaries? Reading how much leftwing elites truly despise the base of Democrat voters. As John Nolte writes today at Big Government, “Prominent Hillary Clinton Supporter Smears Working Class Dems as Racist:”

Obviously frustrated by Hillary Clinton’s collapsing presidential campaign (her second in a row!), The Nation’s Joan Walsh, a frequent MSNBC contributor and high-profile Hillary supporter, took to her verified Twitter account Thursday to attack working class Democrats as racists.

“I wonder if Clinton’s troubles with white working class,” Walsh mused, “which she carried in ’08, have anything to do with the president she served[.]”

The insinuation isn’t at all subtle. Walsh is suggesting that white working class Democrats have moved away from Hillary because she served in the cabinet of a black president.

This is a bizarre strategy from Team Hillary, especially after the catastrophic results from New Hampshire Tuesday night, where Hillary lost the woman vote to 195 year-old socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

It may be bizarre, but this is what Democrat elites do; in April of 2008, in the midst of Pennsylvania primary season, Obama-supporting screenwriter-director Nora Ephron (who passed away in 2012) took to the pages of the Huffington Post to write a nasty screed titled “White Men:”

This is an election about whether the people of Pennsylvania hate blacks more than they hate women. And when I say people, I don’t mean people, I mean white men. How ironic is this? After all this time, after all these stupid articles about how powerless white men are and how they can’t even get into college because of overachieving women and affirmative action and mean lady teachers who expected them to sit still in the third grade even though they were all suffering from terminal attention deficit disorder — after all this, they turn out (surprise!) to have all the power. (As they always did, by the way; I hope you didn’t believe any of those articles.)

To put it bluntly, the next president will be elected by them: the outcome of Tuesday’s primary will depend on whether they go for Hillary or Obama, and the outcome of the general election will depend on whether enough of them vote for McCain. A lot of them will: white men cannot be relied on, as all of us know who have spent a lifetime dating them. And McCain is a compelling candidate, particularly because of the Torture Thing. As for the Democratic hope that McCain’s temper will be a problem, don’t bet on it. A lot of white men have terrible tempers, and what’s more, they think it’s normal.

If Hillary pulls it out in Pennsylvania, and she could, and if she follows it up in Indiana, she can make a credible case that she deserves to be the candidate; these last primaries will show which of the two Democratic candidates is better at overcoming the bias of a vast chunk of the population that has never in its history had to vote for anyone but a candidate who could have been their father or their brother or their son, and who has never had to think of the president of the United States as anyone other than someone they might have been had circumstances been just slightly different.

Hillary’s case is not an attractive one, because what she’ll essentially be saying (and has been saying, although very carefully) is that she can attract more racist white male voters than Obama can. Nonetheless, and as I said, she has a case.

Classy stuff — which also reveals much about what Ephron thought about the people who paid to see her movies. In her column today (at Salon, where Joan Walsh served as editor for many years, ironically enough), Camille Paglia spots another leftist dowager (her word) lashing out at the base:

Despite emergency efforts by Gloria Steinem, the crafty dowager empress of feminism, to push a faltering Hillary over the finish line, Sanders overwhelmingly won women’s votes in every category except senior citizens. Last week, when she told TV host Bill Maher that young women supporting the Sanders campaign are just in it to meet boys, Steinem managed not only to insult the intelligence and idealism of the young but to vaporize every lesbian Sanders fan into a spectral non-person.

Steinem’s polished humanitarian mask had slipped, revealing the mummified fascist within. I’m sure that my delight was shared by other dissident feminists everywhere. Never before has the general public, here or abroad, more clearly seen the arrogance and amoral manipulativeness of the power elite who hijacked and stunted second-wave feminism.

Oh I don’t know – that sort of arrogance is on rather prominent display every four years. It’s as if Democrat elites believe that their base care for little more than clinging to their racism, sexism, guns and religion. (Obama’s infamous crack in 2008 was in the context of trying to win the same Pennsylvania Democratic primary that inspired Ephron’s racist “White Men” screed above.)

So why all the anger from leftist elites directed at their base? Perhaps it’s because, as Ace of Spades noted in 2011, “Our elites are fixated on how disappointed they are with the tawdry public precisely because that allows them to avoid examining their own colossal failures.”

THE GROWING STENCH OF CLINTON CORRUPTION: The Washington Post is reporting that the “Clinton Foundation Received Subpoena From State Department Investigators.”

Investigators with the State Department issued a subpoena to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation last fall seeking documents about the charity’s projects that may have required approval from the federal government during Hillary Clinton’s term as secretary of state, according to people familiar with the subpoena and written correspondence about it.

The subpoena also asked for records related to Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide who for six months in 2012 was employed simultaneously by the State Department, the foundation, Clinton’s personal office, and a private consulting firm with ties to the Clintons.

The full scope and status of the inquiry, conducted by the State Department’s inspector general, were not clear from the material correspondence reviewed by The Washington Post. . . .

The potential consequences of the IG investigation are unclear. Unlike federal prosecutors, inspectors general have the authority to subpoena documents without seeking approval from a grand jury or a judge.

But their power is limited. They are able to obtain documents, but they cannot compel testimony. At times, IG inquiries result in criminal charges, but sometimes they lead to administrative review, civil penalties or reports that have no legal consequences.

POWERBALL: A Federal judge today ordered the State Department to release all Clinton emails by Feb. 29. 

Until now, the State Department has been posting Clinton emails about once a month on its website. The plaintiff in the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit before [judge Rudolph] Contreras’ court, reported Jason Leopold of Vice News, has complained that the slow pace of production, with an additional deadline extension requested by the State Department, would delaying some of the most potentially explosive Clinton documents until after important early Democrat presidential primaries.

Politico notes that even the new court-ordered release schedule will deliver two batches of emails after the Nevada caucuses on February 20, and one batch after the Democrat’s South Carolina primary on February 27.

The State Department wanted to deliver one batch on February 13 and another at the end of the month; the court-imposed schedule will ensure more emails are released before each of the two upcoming primary contests. Unfortunately, some of the hottest Clinton emails will still be dropped just a day before the Super Tuesday primary.

Contreras remains very annoyed with the State Department. Politico quotes his order as follows: “The court expects that defendant will endeavor to avoid any additional delay. Therefore, it is FURTHER ORDERED that defendant shall promptly bring any unanticipated problems to the court’s attention.”

Judge Contreras (himself an Obama appointee) is apparently under the odd impression that the Obama Administration is beholden to the rule of the law.

HOW IT MUST BURN THE GOPe: They couldn’t figure this out by themselves, so the voters are giving them a little remedial lesson. Stephen Moore explains, “America Trumped: Trump is the Anti-Obama in Every Way.”

It is striking that Trump is the anti-Obama in every way. Obama blames America first for every problem on the earth, from global warming to terrorism. Trump emanates love for America and pledges to “make America great again.”

Obama hates business. Trump runs businesses.

Obama is a pessimist. Trump is an optimist.

Obama is an elitist. Trump is a populist.

Obama ‎is a college professor and a community organizer. Trump is a job creator and a profit maker.

Obama is incompetent. Trump is a professional — he exudes competence. . . .

In February 1980 the Republican establishment said that a staunch conservative Hollywood actor could never be president ‎and he won two landslide elections. Trump isn’t Reagan — but he’s one of the most talented retail politicians in modern times. For nine months everyone has been underestimating this man, saying that he was surely going to go away. He’s not going away. He’s rising and proving his critics on the left and right dead wrong. That’s Reaganesque.

Cruz has many of these qualities, too, but may have narrower appeal than Trump. Both are populists, running on a long-overdue theme of patriotism. With either candidate, the GOPe is getting a long-overdue spanking.

HILLARY CLINTON WAS A NATIONAL SECURITY DISASTER AS SECRETARY OF STATE: That seems to be the emerging consensus among military intelligence experts willing to go on the record about the damage done to national security by Clinton’s use of an unsecured home-brew email server to do official business. Calling for Clinton to “step down” from the presidential race is Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn (Ret.), who was President Obama’s head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, according to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s Richard Pollock:

“Flynn and other high-ranking former intelligence officials told TheDCNF they are alarmed that some of the nation’s most highly classified documents contained in a secretive program called the Special Access Program (SAP) were transferred to Clinton’s unclassified home server.

“The documents ‘had to be moved off electronically or removed out of the secure site physically, then it had to be put onto an unclassified email system,’ Flynn said. ‘Someone who does this is completely irresponsible, but totally unaccountable and shows a streak of arrogance to the American public that is unworthy of anyone thinking they can run for President of the United States.’

“’This is unbelievable,’ Flynn said. ‘I don’t think anybody should be talking about her being potentially the next President of the United States.’”

BEN SHAPIRO on How Attitude Trumped Conservative Thought:

On Monday, grassroots Republican favorite Donald Trump repeated the phrase when an audience member called Ted Cruz a “p—-.” He came to this conclusion after determining that Cruz wasn’t sufficiently gung-ho about waterboarding possible terrorists. Asked to define conservatism at the last Republican debate, Trump stated, “I think it’s a person who doesn’t want to take overly risks. I think that’s a good thing.”

On Tuesday, establishment Republican favorite columnist David Brooks of The New York Times wrote a column called “I Miss Barack Obama.” In it, he pilloried Senators Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and lamented that Obama “radiates an ethos of integrity, humanity, good manners and elegance that I’m beginning to miss.” In October, Brooks defined conservatism thusly: “conservatism stands for intellectual humility, a belief in steady, incremental change, a preference for reform rather than revolution, a respect for hierarchy, precedence, balance and order, and a tone of voice that is prudent, measured and responsible.”

Neither of these definitions are correct, of course. But the fact that Trump and Brooks largely agree on the definition of conservatism while fighting each other tooth and nail demonstrates why conservatism is losing.

Read the whole thing, though missing from the article is the damage done by George W. Bush; as good a man as he personally is, the notion of “compassionate conservatism” (read: “big government conservatism”) and statements such as  “We have a responsibility that when somebody hurts, government has got to move” (ditto) did much to damage the brand of conservatism. They led inexorably — or perhaps sprang from — what Shapiro describes as the idea that “At some point, Republicans forgot that their job was to determine the best face for a conservative philosophy, and instead substituted the face for the philosophy. The conservatism simply fell away.”

BUILDING A BRIDGE TO 1995: Hillary Reaches Base With AOL Login Page Ad.

Earlier: Hillary Clinton Puzzled by the Phrase ‘Went Viral,’ and “Like with a cloth or something?”

If Hillary had an (R) after her name, these gaffes would be framed as her supermarket scanner moment, or her inability to use email. (If only.) We’ll know the media is as serious as they were in 2008 about taking her out when they start painting her as out of touch. Or as Stephen Miller recently wrote, “As painful a sight as it is to see a media that sold Obama as the essence of youthful charismatic hope reduced to selling what’s left of their integrity out to make the most uncool and aged candidates palatable, it works if there’s no pushback to it.”

In the meantime, as John Nolte of Big Hollywood likes to say, “Democrats sure got it good.”

YOU WENT FULL PROGRESSIVE CHRIS MATTHEWS — NEVER GO FULL PROGRESSIVE: Ted Cruz “operates below the level of human life,” Matthews tells his fellow MSNBC denizens on Morning Joe today:

Matthews remarked Cruz had a “troll-like quality” that was “below the level of human life,” said there was a “darkness“ to Cruz’s character that frightened him, and suggested that Cruz, a Cuban-American, is a “theocrat” who views President Obama like Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

“The thing about—there’s a troll-like quality to Ted Cruz,” Matthews said. “He operates below the level of human life.”

“OK, Chris, that’s a little tough,” host Joe Scarborough said. “You have not gotten sleep.”

“Am I allowed to have an opinion?” Matthews asked. “I think he appeals to people’s negativity rather than their joy. I don’t think people feel good about voting for Cruz. I don’t know what it is he appeals to.”

Well, driving crazed establishment lefties such as Matthews utterly insane is certainly a good start. In late January, Matthews was forced to apologize for his racist crack “wondering who would want to watch a Donald Trump-less debate with ‘two Cubans’ — Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz,” as Buzzfeed reported, adding this unintentionally ironic passage:

The remarks are the second time Matthews has been criticized for comments he made about Rubio and Cruz. In November, he questioned whether they are truly Hispanic, calling them “Cuban nationals.”

“People have been going to management, not just Latino employees, but people have been going to management and complaining sort of like ‘What the f**k? Did that really happen on our air?’” an NBC employee said.

Many of the people at NBC that spoke with BuzzFeed News posed the hypothetical of what would have happened had Matthews been talking about someone else. “Can you imagine if someone said what’s up with two old white people debating among the Democrats? Or two Jewish people or two black people?” a second staffer said.

The remarks come amid MSNBC’s long-running attempts to keep its talent and voice in line with its diverse, progressive brand.

Well, considering how deeply racism was baked into the brand of “Progressivism” right from the start, Matthews is certainly behaving well in-line. Almost to the point where his language at MSNBC “reminds me of the ’30s in another country” — as a legendary broadcaster might say.

TO BE FAIR, IT’S JUST THERE AS A BASE-PLEASING ELECTION YEAR GESTURE: Obama’s Oil Tax Is Running on Empty.

President Barack Obama’s proposal to levy a $10-a-barrel tax on oil reminds me of an eternal truth that applies to almost all working humans: Once you know you are on short time, about to be transferred or discharged, a certain puckish insouciance seeps into the performance of your daily duties.

Presidential budgets are always more wish list than “To Do,” of course. Assumptions are made, hopeful suggestions offered, and then Congress chuckles and says “Good one, chief” before returning to whatever they were doing before. This is especially true when the opposition controls both legislative houses. And it is most very especially true during the last year of a presidency, when a lonely nation’s eyes turn toward the folks vying to replace you. . . .

After almost eight years of minimal economic growth, the fall in oil prices has brought some welcome relief to strained household budgets. Many U.S. oil companies are losing money, particularly the shale oil folks, making the workers and local economies that depend upon them anxious. Jacking up the price of gas and home heating oil is going to upset all those people, who will in turn do their best to upset any legislators who propose such a thing. Congressional Republicans are certainly not going to stick out their necks for an opposition-party president with whom relations have never been warmer than “testy.”

The administration has made some gestures toward mitigating this opposition, notably by claiming that the tax will be paid by oil companies. But this is obvious nonsense. Oil companies currently have few profits from which to pay the tax. Whoever is responsible for filing the paperwork, the cost will be paid by consumers in higher fuel prices, and the administration surely knows this.

They know, but when have they ever cared that something they said was untrue?

DESPERATION: Hillary Hires Ex-Obama Aide In Bid for Youth Vote.

BRYCE COVERT: “Of course Hillary Clinton is a victim of sexism

Of course.

Clinton’s staggering loss in New Hampshire has nothing to do with her party’s hard leftward shift under Barack Obama, youthful enthusiasm for an anti-establishment opponent in a season of anti-establishment fever in both parties, voter preference for a local candidate, misgivings about her handling of Top Secret information as Secretary of State, her lack of accomplishments as SecState or as a Senator, or her own poorly managed campaign.

No, the voters of New Hampshire — largely the same voters who saved Clinton’s campaign with a convincing win over Obama in 2008 — suddenly noticed the Clinton is a woman and decided “We can’t have that!”

Of course.

MICHAEL WALSH: Breaking: Supes Put Obama’s ‘Global Warming’ Regs on Ice –Huge blow to EPA gremlins, klimate-change kooks.

THIS IS VERY BIG BREAKING NEWS: The Supreme Court has stayed the Obama Administration’s vastly overreaching Clean Power Plan:

The surprising move on Tuesday is a blow to the administration and a victory for the coalition of 27 mostly Republican-led states and industry opponents that call the regulations “an unprecedented power grab.”

By temporarily freezing the rule the high court’s order signals that opponents have made a strong argument against the plan. A federal appeals court last month refused to put it on hold.

The plan aims to stave off the worst predicted impacts of climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions at existing power plants by about one-third by 2030.

Appellate arguments are set to begin June 2.

The decision to stay the regulation was along ideological lines, 5-4.

CAM NEWTON NOW OWES THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA TONS OF MONEY AFTER THE SUPER BOWL: “Losing means his effective tax rate will be a whopping 198.8%. Oh yeah, he will also pay the IRS 40.5% on his earnings.”

“In other words, Cam Newton will pay a Barack Obama-style flat tax. The rules are very simple. The government simply takes all your money. Or, in this case, more than all your money. So it’s akin to a French-style flat tax.” Perhaps that explains why he was so enraged during his disastrous press conference:

What matters if that he’ll be paying about $101,000 of extra tax simply because the game took place in California.

However, if the Super Bowl was in a city like Dallas and Miami, there would have been no additional tax.

The good news, at least for football fans, is that Cam Newton has a contract that prevented him from staying home and skipping the game. So he didn’t have any ability to respond to the confiscatory tax rate.

Many successful taxpayers, by contrast, do have flexibility and they are the job creators and investors who help decide whether states grow faster and stagnate. So while California has the ability to pillage Cam Newton, the state is basically following a suicidal fiscal policy because other people can choose to stay away.

At least for the moment; ponder the long-term implications of this headline: “Millennials have a higher opinion of socialism than of capitalism.”

What could go wrong this time?

Related: Needless to say, the Panthers’ fate on Sunday was already sealed before they entered the stadium: Obama picked them to win the Super Bowl.

SHORTER DAVID BROOKS: Barack Obama is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life. And his pants creases are perfect.

Oh, and did you know, “The first and most important of these is basic integrity. The Obama administration has been remarkably scandal-free. Think of the way Iran-contra or the Lewinsky scandals swallowed years from Reagan and Clinton. We’ve had very little of that from Obama. He and his staff have generally behaved with basic rectitude.”

Oh the fun we’re all going to have when Brooks discovers Fast & Furious, the IRS Scandal, “Richard Windsor,” and the ramifications of the deal with Iran sometime in February of 2017.

Plus it’s fun watching Brooks contradict himself in his conclusion:

No, Obama has not been temperamentally perfect. Too often he’s been disdainful, aloof, resentful and insular. But there is a tone of ugliness creeping across the world, as democracies retreat, as tribalism mounts, as suspiciousness and authoritarianism take center stage.

Obama radiates an ethos of integrity, humanity, good manners and elegance that I’m beginning to miss, and that I suspect we will all miss a bit, regardless of who replaces him.

Geez, David — Maureen Dowd already warned you what could happen when you break into her stash box.

Related: Joe Wilson vindicated.

More: Five Huge Problems with David Brooks’ ‘I Miss Obama’ Puff Piece.

MONEY HE’S FLEECED FROM TAXPAYERS, DUH: CBS Interview Devolves Into Asking Obama What’s in His Pockets.

NO. NEXT QUESTION? Is There A Libertarian Case For Bernie Sanders?

After the debacle that was “Obamatarianism” in 2008, libertarians may need to realize that they often feel culturally closer to the left, but that’s an artifact of the left’s control of culture, and doesn’t represent any actual commonality with a cause that has nothing to do with liberty.

WHAT ARE NEW YORK OFFICIALS HIDING ABOUT THE FAILURE OF THE BIGGEST OBAMACARE CO-OP? Richard Pollock of the Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has been all over the 23 Obamacare co-ops established in 2011 at a cost of $2 billion since their inception. Health Republic, the largest of the tax-funded health insurance co-ops intended to compete with for-profit commercial health insurers, has been a particular Pollock focus because founder Sara Horowitz is a long-time political ally of President Obama. Horowitz got $355 million for Health Republic, plus $109 million for the New Jersey operation and $60.6 million for the Oregon co-op.

When Health Republic failed last Fall, it left 210,000 New Yorkers scrambling for new coverage during the holiday season. Pollock has been after documents explaining why the co-op failed but has run into brick walls. The latest one is a rejection by the New York Department of Financial Services. Doctors and hospitals in the Empire State could lose nearly $300 million in unpaid bills for services rendered to Health Republic policyholders. The DFS was established in 2011 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. One of his political proteges ran DFS until last May when he abruptly resigned. The stench here is getting stronger.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN, OCCASIONED BY THE 1000th DAY OF THE IRS SCANDAL: Washington’s culture of corruption rots on: When bureaucrats are above the law, ordinary Americans may want to follow suit.

A COMPETENT POLITICAL CLASS COULD HAVE AVOIDED THIS, INSTEAD OF POURING GASOLINE ON THE FLAMES, AND RICHARD COHEN, AS USUAL, HAS IT EXACTLY BACKWARD: The rising storm of ethnic fear in Europe and the United States.

The problem in both Europe and the United States is not just a huge influx of migrants, but a lack of political leadership. The exceptions are Barack Obama here and Angela Merkel in Germany. Merkel showed extraordinary leadership in allowing about 1 million Syrian migrants to settle in Germany. Obama has been stingy in his welcome — about 2,500 migrants had arrived in the United States as of late last year — but he has been generous in his embrace of the Muslim community. Trump, characteristically, mischaracterized the president’s recent visit to a mosque, saying he had gone to apologize. For Trump, no lie is too low.

What both the United States and Europe need now are more leaders who know how to say, “Hold on a minute. Let’s work this out.” Instead, we get calls for mass deportations, closing borders, confiscation of wealth. In Europe, Hungary has veered right and turned ugly. Poland is leaning that way. France is showing a little Vichy, and Germany is shivering with second thoughts.

More Obama and more Merkel = more gasoline.

THIS IS CNN: Under Sanders, income and jobs would soar, economist says.

Well, CNN got the headline it wanted; buried in the article are the minor details that “Gerald Friedman, a University of Massachusetts Amherst economics professor…believes in democratic socialism like the candidate.” Friedman’s “analysis” wasn’t “commissioned by the candidate, though Sanders’ policy director called it ‘outstanding work.’”

I’m sure Sanders, like Obama before him, appreciates the ability for CNN to run what is essentially a campaign press release; Friedman routinely cranks out fanboy-style articles in support of Bernie. Though unspoken in this article is the question: why didn’t Obama, whom CNN wrecked whatever was left of its reputation to champion, implement this model, particularly in his first two years, when his party controlled both houses of Congress?

Related: CNN’s Anderson Cooper “Jokes Clinton Campaign Like Struggling Cable TV News Show.”

Well, he certainly has plenty of experience with that issue.

THE MAN FROM GOPe: ‘Lost his damn mind?’ Jeb! says he’d ‘eliminate’ Citizens United ruling. “Which one of you made the Jeb logo with the flaccid exclamation point? [Because] now would be a good time to pull it out.”

Related: Or perhaps now would be a good time for Jeb to pull out: “Bush: ‘I will not blame Barack Obama for a single thing.’”

BLUE ON BLUE: Clinton attacks on Sanders make Dems nervous.

Hillary Clinton’s White House campaign is going negative against her left-wing rival Bernie Sanders — and a lot of unaligned Democrats think that’s a bad idea.

Her husband, former President Clinton, is leading the charge, hitting Sanders supporters as sexist on Sunday while accusing the Vermont senator of muddying facts.

The attacks come as Hillary Clinton faces a defeat — perhaps a heavy one — in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, according to opinion polls.

Clinton barely defeated Sanders in last week’s Iowa caucuses, and Monday brought rumblings of a possible staff shake-up.

The shift by the Clinton team to a more aggressive footing evoked memories for some of her 2008 campaign against Barack Obama, when Bill Clinton and other surrogates mounted attacks that were widely seen as counter-productive.

Clinton supporters worry that history might be repeating itself, and that the former president’s attacks could boomerang on his wife by turning off large swathes of the Democratic electorate.

“I know what’s happening: He is just pissed off,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon. “He hears the attacks. He saw how close things were in Iowa and he thinks they’re 20 points or whatever down in New Hampshire, so he blows up.

“When he speaks reasonably and in the true Clinton style, he is very effective,” Bannon added. “But when he goes crazy because he’s pissed off about the thing, that hurts her.”

Bill Clinton’s aggressiveness, those in the orbit of the Clintons say, is rooted in at least two factors.

First of all, the former president has believed for some time that the campaign has not been vigorous enough in countering Sanders’s populist rhetoric.

Secondly, Bill Clinton was conspicuously unhappy with the Iowa result, allies maintain — despite the campaign’s desire to put a brave face on the outcome and Hillary Clinton’s remark on caucus night that she was breathing a sigh of relief.

One ally said Bill Clinton was “peeved”; another, more colorfully, described his mood as “rip shit.”

Or something that rhymes with that.

QUESTIONS NOBODY IS ASKING: “Does America Need More Hitler Humor?”

Still though, give the Atlantic some credit for consistency;  in an item published there in 2007, the year before Andrew Sullivan discovered his true calling as America’s foremost uterus detective, the excitable one wrote a blog post whose headline described GWB as “The Weimar President.” As I asked at the time in response, “I can only guess that Andrew believes that President Bush is an elderly figurehead leading a weakened but relatively benign quasi-socialist administration suffering the ravages of hyper-inflation and that Hillary, Obama or whoever his successor is, is the next Hitler, about to install a terribly malevolent war machine and concurrent massive welfare state?”

Glad to see that the Atlantic is keeping the theme rolling as another socialist with aspirations of nationalizing the economy is rising in the polls.

TRUMP: MAYBE OBAMA DOESN’T WANT TO DEFEAT ISIS.

Whatever would give him that impression?

isis climate change cartoon

UM…. Obama may be Ensnared in the Clinton Email Scandal.

WELL FOR STARTERS, NIXON WAS COMPETENT: Trump, Clinton, Obama actually make Nixon look good.

NO, BUT DO WE HAVE A CHOICE? Can The Economy Take Another Obama Punt Gun Blast?

MY USA TODAY COLUMN, OCCASIONED BY THE 1000th DAY OF THE IRS SCANDAL: Washington’s culture of corruption rots on: When bureaucrats are above the law, ordinary Americans may want to follow suit.

BUT IT WOULD MAKE TOO MUCH SENSE: Pressure on Lynch to Step Aside in Clinton Email Probe.

If the FBI finds sufficient evidence to launch a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton or one of her top aides for mishandling classified information, Lynch’s Justice Department will have to decide whether to press ahead.

Even if no evidence of wrongdoing is found, Clinton’s many critics are unlikely to take the word of an appointee of President Obama’s and will doubt that justice has been served.

Already, top Republicans are calling for a special prosecutor to be brought in and evaluate the situation.

No. 2 Senate Republican John Cornyn (Texas) took to the floor of the Senate last week to call for a special counsel to be appointed “because of the conflict of interest by asking Attorney General Lynch to investigate and perhaps even prosecute somebody in the Obama administration.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) agrees that Lynch ought to consider a special counsel, a representative said, to reassure the country that decisions are made “without regard to any political considerations.”

The Justice Department, however, has so far declined the request.

“This matter is being reviewed by career attorneys and investigators and does not meet the criteria for the appointment of a special prosecutor,” department spokeswoman Melanie Newman said in a statement. . . .

Maybe this explains why Hillary is “one hundred percent confident” that nothing will come of the FBI investigation.

The current federal regulations relating to the appointment of a special counsel state that the Attorney General “will” appoint a special counsel when:

he or she determines that criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted and

(a) That investigation or prosecution of that person or matter by a United States Attorney’s Office or litigating Division of the Department of Justice would present a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances; and
(b) That under the circumstances, it would be in the public interest to appoint an outside Special Counsel to assume responsibility for the matter.
But hey, I’m sure that Lynch can be impartial. After all, just because she received her first appointment as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York thanks to the nomination of then-President Bill Clinton, and her second stint as U.S. Attorney and elevation to AG thanks to President Obama (who told 60 minutes that her use of an unsecured email server did not endanger national security), this doesn’t reasonably suggest that Lynch would feel pressure to deep-six criminal charges against the Democrats’ equivalent of the Queen.
Nothing to see here. Move along.
move-along-now-nothing-to-see-here

LORD, MAKE ME VOTE FOR HILLARY — BUT NOT YET: “Bernie Sanders’ Female Supporters Want To Break The Gender Barrier… Just Not Now

“I’m a 65-year-old woman. A Democrat. I’ve always voted Democrat,” said Maryclaire Heffernan, a Sanders supporter from Candia, New Hampshire. “It’s a tough one. I voted for Obama twice. So I’ve already not voted for Hillary once … If Hillary is the nominee I would absolutely support her. However, I am concerned about where we are and think if we don’t think big, we have to stop thinking around the edges or holding the edges in place.”

“I do feel bad about it,” she added, a tinge of pain visible on her face. “And I have dear friends who would kill me for saying that out loud.”

At Sanders’ rallies here in New Hampshire, you meet plenty of women just like Heffernan.

There’s just no denying the hotness of Bernie’s appeal.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN, OCCASIONED BY THE 1000th DAY OF THE IRS SCANDAL: Washington’s culture of corruption rots on: When bureaucrats are above the law, ordinary Americans may want to follow suit.

POLITICO: HILLARY’S CAMPAIGN ON VERGE OF A SHAKEUP: It sounds like a disorganized mess. Write Glenn Thrush and Annie Karni, “Ultimately, the disorganization is the candidate’s own decision-making, which lurches from hands-off delegation in times of success to hands-around-the-throat micromanagement when things go south.” Also:

from the beginning, there have been deeper issues simmering within the cheerfully-decorated Brooklyn headquarters — and much of that had to do with a disconnect between the candidate and her campaign. Over the summer while her campaign was bogged down in the email controversy, Clinton was deeply frustrated with her own staff, and vice versa. The candidate blamed her team for not getting her out of the mess quickly, and her team blamed Clinton for being stubbornly unwilling to take the advice of campaign chairman John Podesta and others to apologize, turn over her server, and move on. The entire experience made her a deeply vulnerable frontrunner out of the gate, and underscored a lack of trust between Clinton and her operatives, many of whom were former Obama staffers that she didn’t consider part of her inner circle of trust.

Read the whole thing.

 

THE DECEIVING OF MADELEINE ALBRIGHT. At NewsBusters, Tom Blumer writes:

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin referred to Madeleine Albright’s somewhat well-known saying, found on a Starbucks coffee cup, that “There’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t help other women.” At the time, Albright, who served as Secretary of State under Bill Clinton, huffed: “Though I am flattered that Governor Palin has chosen to cite me as a source of wisdom, what I said had nothing to do with politics.” She naturally followed that statement with an intense political attack on Palin and GOP presidential nominee John McCain.

Now that Democrat Hillary Clinton is running for president and is in danger of losing the New Hampshire primary by a substantial margin, Albright has decided that her statement has everything to do with politics, and that women who don’t support Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy and vote for her deserve that “special place in Hell.”

This morning Larry Klayman’s Freedom Watch linked to Jeff Jacoby’s 1997 Boston Globe article, “The Deceiving of Madeleine Albright:”

I have much esteem for Albright as a public official. She is assertive and principled, a welcome contrast to the timid Warren Christopher and the arrogant James Baker. A loathing of appeasement is her foreign policy rudder. “The mindset of most of my contemporaries is Vietnam,” she has said. “My mindset is Munich.” Those are the words of a potentially great secretary of state.

But something rings false in her reaction to the news that her family was Jewish. Was this really a bolt from the blue? Did she honestly have no inkling until this month that the Nazis murdered three of her grandparents, her aunt, her uncle, and her 11-year-old cousin Milena?

“A major surprise for me,” says Albright. Yet for years, it turns out, people had been sending her letters with information about her family. Four times the mayor of her father’s hometown in Bohemia had written to her, enclosing detailed material about her parents and grandparents. Albright never replied; her aides say she was too busy to see the letters. Perhaps she was.

Read the whole thing.

And Zero Hedge asks if “There’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t help other women,” then why didn’t Hillary support Zephyr Teachout in 2014 “also a ‘progressive,’ as ‘first woman governor’ of New York? Seems appropriate for someone asking for support on the basis of “first woman president.” Perhaps Clinton thought Teachout was the wrong woman to be the first woman governor of NY.”

Say, I wonder if CNN will ask Hillary about that — nahh, actually, I don’t.

UPDATE: “Time for Team Hillary to break out the gender card for young liberal women who prefer Sanders,” just as Team Obama played the race card against her in 2008.

WELL, THIS SHOULD PUT AN END TO DEMOCRATIC ATTACKS ON THAT EVIL “FOR PROFIT” EDUCATION: Apollo Sold to Investors With Obama Ties. “Apollo Education Group, Inc., which owns the University of Phoenix and is a major player in for-profit higher education, this morning announced a deal to be sold to a consortium of investors, including the Vistria Group, funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management and Najafi Companies, for $9.50 per share. The deal is a $1.1 billion transaction. When the deal closes, Tony Miller, chief operating officer and partner of the Vistria Group and former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, will become chairman of the Apollo Education Group board.”

MY USA TODAY COLUMN, OCCASIONED BY THE 1000th DAY OF THE IRS SCANDAL: Washington’s culture of corruption rots on: When bureaucrats are above the law, ordinary Americans may want to follow suit.

KEEPING AMERICA SAFE, OBAMA EDITION: Pentagon Orders Commanders to Prioritize Climate Change in All Military Actions.

The Pentagon is ordering the top brass to incorporate climate change into virtually everything they do, from testing weapons to training troops to war planning to joint exercises with allies. . . .

The directive, “Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience,” is in line with President Obama’s view that global warming is the country’s foremost national security threat, or close to it.

. . .

Climate change must be integrated in:

• Weapons buying and testing “across the life cycle of weapons systems, platforms and equipment.”

• Training ranges and capabilities.

• Defense intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance.

• Defense education and training.

• Combatant commander joint training with allies to “assess the risks to U.S. security interests posed by climate change.”

• Joint Chiefs of Staff collaboration “with allies and partners to optimize joint exercises and war games including factors contributing to geopolitical and socioeconomic instability.”

Yes, this makes sense. I can see why the President of the United States would direct our military to prioritize climate change, since all those military exercises, training, weapons tests, humvees and other military vehicles–not to mention actual weapons use–add to our carbon footprint, maybe as much as Air Force One or Obama’s limousine-and-SUV motorcade.

I mean, really, since climate change is a bigger threat than radical Islamic terrorism, we probably ought to just eliminate the military entirely. And the President should use a bicycle or sailboat to travel. The safety of the planet depends on it!

isis climate change cartoon

BILL CLINTON UNLOADS ON BERNIE SANDERS:

For weeks, former president Bill Clinton has been the doomsday device of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign — a mighty weapon capable of doing great good or harm to her campaign — so held in reserve until absolutely needed.

Now, as Hillary Clinton — who barely won the Iowa caucus last week — seeks to seize momentum from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in his own backyard days ahead of the New Hampshire primary, that moment of truth has come. The former president, uncharacteristically quiet in recent weeks even as Republican contender Donald Trump called him “an abuser,” struck out at Sanders Sunday, according to reports from Bloomberg, Politico and the New York Times, while campaigning for his wife in New Hampshire, leveling charges that the senator is hypocritical and that some of his followers are sexist.

The former president appeared to get the most mileage out of his criticism of “Bernie Bros” — the name given to some supposed young male supporters of the Vermont senator. Bill Clinton did not use the term — but he offered quite the critique. As Politico noted, Clinton accused these people, some of whom have been denounced by Sanders, of sexist behavior online.

That last line is rich with irony — but so is the entire story. Bill Clinton never wavered in his support of President Obama, even as Obama moved their party hard to the left, undoing virtually all of Clinton’s policies from the ’90s. Hillary has been forced to embrace those policies, but not even she can move far enough left to thwart the avowed socialist, Bernie Sanders.

The Sanders candidacy is the inevitable result of the Obama presidency, which the Clintons helped to advance every step of the way since Obama’s coronation in Denver eight years ago.

Much like Hillary has always enabled Bill’s sexual appetites, Hillary now risks being denied her own coronation — after spending eight years enabling the machinations of a far-left President.

REMEMBER WHEN OBAMA WAS GOING TO GET ALONG WITH THE EUROPEANS, UNLIKE THAT DUMB COWBOY BUSH? Distrust of US surveillance threatens data deal.

European privacy regulators are putting U.S. surveillance practices under the microscope, this time with a crucial transatlantic data deal hanging in the balance.

Legal and privacy advocates say European nations are poised to strike down the deal if they decide the U.S. hasn’t done enough to reform its spying programs.

The new test comes after the European Commission and the Commerce Department — after months of tense negotiations — reached a deal this week permitting Facebook, Google and thousands of other companies to continue legally handling Europeans’ personal data.

Critics though have long warned that unless the U.S. overhauls its privacy and national security laws, there is no legal framework that can stand up in European court, where privacy is considered a fundamental right under the EU Charter.

The joke, of course, is that the Euros are doing just as much spying.

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: Pentagon orders commanders to prioritize climate change in all military actions.

Earlier: Obama Spares ISIS Oil Facilities to Save the Earth.

As Glenn suggested last week, “Republicans should add a rider cutting limiting Presidential use of Air Force One to a single trip per month, effective immediately. For the environment!”

Yes, help save Gaia by breaking the president’s painful addiction to binge flying!

THIS IS SOMETHING TO WORRY ABOUT, ACTUALLY, NOT JUST TO DERIDE: Joel Kotkin: Millennials heed the siren call of socialism.

The biggest story this election season is not Donald Trump or the fortunes of the two winners in Iowa, the unattractive tag team of Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton. For all their attempts to seem current and contemporary, these candidates – and Trump as well – represent older, more established elements in American life, such as evangelicals, nativists and, in Hillary’s case, the ranks of middle-age women, seniors and public-sector unions.

The biggest and most important development has been the massive support among the new generation of voters for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and his open embrace of socialism. In Iowa’s Democratic caucuses, which ended with Clinton and Sanders in a virtual tie, young people opted for Sanders at an almost inconceivable rate of 84-14. In 2008, Barack Obama won this segment, claiming only a 57 percent majority.

So we are seeing the embrace of an openly socialist septuagenarian by a generation that, within a decade, will dominate our electorate and outnumber baby boomers as soon as 2020. That should put more conventional politicians, and business, on notice. Whether you are a Republican, a free-marketer or, even a Democratic-leaning crony capitalist, be afraid – be very afraid.

For the first time since labor leader and presidential candidate Eugene Debs in the early 20th century, Americans are flocking in big numbers to a politician who rejects the efficacy of capitalism and seeks to create a new, notionally fairer, system. Now, as then, the reason to support socialist ideas – some of which were implemented during the New Deal – lies with the palpable failures of capitalism. Polls of millennials show consistently that economic issues, such as jobs and college debt, are their dominant concerns.

Well, decades of long-marching through the institutions are bearing fruit for the left. Time for a counterassault.

OH, HAI SHOCKED FACE, I HADN’T SEEN YOU TODAY YET: Obama bullied bank to pay racial settlement without proof: report.

AND THEY DON’T EVEN WAIT TILL 3 AM: Obama’s foreign-policy hell: The 1980s just won’t stop calling.

FLASHBACK: How Federal Workers Became Obama’s Private Army.

EVERYTHING HE’S DONE ON GUN CONTROL MAKES SENSE NOW: “Barack Obama might seem an unlikely investor in the firearms industry. But the U.S. president, a fierce advocate for gun regulation, has money in a pension fund that holds stock in gun and ammunition companies.”

I wish I’d bought Ruger and S&W stock in 2009.

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: Obama Spares ISIS Oil Facilities to Save the Earth.

THANKS TO FRACKING, THAT TSUNAMI SHOULD BE DRYING UP SOON: ‘Tsunami of money’ from Saudi Arabia funding 24,000 Pakistan madrassas.

While other people talk, the frackers are doing more to save Western Civilization than those allegedly charged with its preservation. And all despite the hostility of the Obama Administration, and many other Western governments.

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: America’s Economic Freedom Has Rapidly Declined Under Obama.

HOW MUCH WORSE COULD IT BE RIGHT NOW? Bernie Sanders will ‘absolutely’ change US-UK defence relationship if elected president. Sanders campaign says US tired of ‘defending the rest of the world’ as surging candidate closes gap with Hillary Clinton in national polls.

Imagining the very worst, immediately after entering the Oval Office, I could see him taking a bust of Winston Churchill that’s been in the White House for years, and mailing it back, just to symbolically flip England the bird. Then just to childishly pour salt in the wound, he’ll give the queen an iPod full of his speeches. He’ll claim he’s too exhausted to host the prime minister. Then he’ll declare that in reality, France is our strongest ally, and keep up the socialist virtue signalling by constantly referring to the Falklands as “the Maldives.”

Oh wait

UM, REALLY? Obama compares his work on the economy to his gym routine.

Because I’ve seen his workout video.

PRIORITIES: As Zika Virus Reaches D.C., Congress Calls for Action.

As the Zika virus reaches the United States and the nation’s capital, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are calling for an urgent response to prevent its spread, and are scheduling briefings and committee hearings to address it.

District of Columbia health officials confirmed this week three cases of the virus in D.C., including one pregnant woman. On Friday, Senate Democrats wrote to President Barack Obama, calling for an “urgent and aggressive response” to the virus.

“We believe that a well-coordinated interagency response plan, coupled with strong investments in our research and response programs, is critical to addressing the Zika virus,” the senators wrote.

They called on the president to take a series of steps including directing USAID and the Department of Health and Human Services to analyze gaps between international and national responses; developing a national strategy to monitor, identify and report infections; increasing research efforts; and coordinating federal agencies.

If only there were some . . . substance that would kill mosquitoes en masse.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Aetna Joins Growing Chorus Warning About ObamaCare Failing.

MORE OF OBAMA’S UNDER-THE-RADAR GUN CONTROL: OSHA is going after ammo manufacturers.

NEARLY TEN PERCENT OF COUNTRY UNEMPLOYED UNDER OBAMA, BERNIE SANDERS CLAIMS:

“There’s another government statistic that comes out at the same time that does not often get reported, which looks at unemployment not only for those who don’t have jobs, but those who are working part-time when they want to work full-time,” Sanders said at an event in Manchester, N.H.

“And that’s a lot of people in this country. And those people in high unemployment areas who have given up looking for work,” he added. “When you add all that together, you’ve got 9.9 percent unemployment, which is a serious problem.”

And speaking of “All the President’s Stenographers,” naturally The Hill soft-pedals Sanders’ claim under the milquetoast headline, “Sanders lukewarm on jobs report.”

Unexpectedly — as Obama’s stenographers at Bloomberg have been saying since early 2009 whenever there’s bad economic news.

Related: What jobs? Bureau of Labor Statistics says 665,000 job LOSSES.

ALL THE PRESIDENT’S STENOGRAPHERS: Washington Post airbrushes Obama’s mosque visit:

However, the Islamic Society of Baltimore is affiliated with the Islamic Society of North America, which federal prosecutors in 2007 named a radical Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas front and an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator in a scheme to funnel more than $12 million to Hamas suicide bombers.

Moreover, according to Investor’s Business Daily, the mosque was led for 15 years by a radical cleric — Imam Mohamad Adam el-Sheikh — who once represented a federally designated al-Qaida front group. El-Sheikh also has argued for the legitimacy of suicide bombings. And ISB board member and vice president Muhammad Jameel has blamed American foreign policy — namely, U.S. support for Israel — for terrorism and the rise of Osama bin Laden.

I appreciate the sentiment that made President Obama want to visit a mosque. But by failing properly to vet the venue, and indeed reportedly letting the Council on American-Islamic Relations choose the site even though the FBI has banned this outfit from outreach because of known ties to the Hamas terrorist group, it’s questionable that Obama did the the cause of interfaith understanding any good.

Related: “Say, where’s that Obama/Khalidi tape? Why won’t the L.A.Times release it? Oh, who am I kidding? They won’t release it because it would make Obama look terrible. What other reason can there be?”

CHANGE — DEMOCRATS’ SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL PLUNGED TEN POINTS SINCE 2014:

Back in 1992 when Bill Clinton was running against George H.W. Bush, if Israel was your issue, you voted for Clinton because he was rightly viewed as more pro-Israel than Bush.

Twenty-four years ago, supporting Israel carried no cost for Clinton. According to Gallup, in 1992, 52 percent of Democrats were pro-Israel.

On the other hand, Bush was probably harmed somewhat for the widespread perception that he was anti-Israel. In 1992, 62% of Republicans were pro-Israel.

Over the past 15 years, the situation has altered considerably.

Today, Republicans are near unanimous in their support for Israel. According to a Gallup poll from February 2015, 83% of Republicans support Israel.

Only 48% of Democrats do. From 2014 to 2015, Democratic support for Israel plunged 10 points.

The cleavage on Israel is particularly acute among partisan elites.

As Caroline Glick writes, “Part of the reason Obama is acting with such urgency and intensity is that he knows that regardless of who is elected to replace him, the next president will not be as viscerally hostile to Israel or as emotionally attached to Islam as he is.”

That really would be a welcome change. Read the whole thing.

Related: A February 2015 post at the Israel Matzav blog titled “Can’t say we didn’t warn you: Most Democrats don’t sympathize with Israel” has the Gallup poll chart illustrating the plunge that Glick describes above

OBAMAPHRENIA:

Shot: “We’ve recovered from the worst economic crisis since the 1930s.”

Obama’s Twitter account today.

Chaser: “President Obama Explains How Surging Bartender Jobs Are Unequivocally Good.”

Headline at Zero Hedge today.

The econo-bloggers there ask, “We wonder which ‘economy’ President Obama will discuss…The ‘Bartender’ Recovery,” which links to a chart showing the growth of waiter and bartender jobs versus manufacturing jobs since December of 2007. “Or the ‘Foreign Worker’ Recovery,” followed by a chart which shows the massive expansion of foreign-born workers since December of 2007.

Hangover: “Citi: World economy seems trapped in ‘death spiral.’”

Headline, CNBC today.

As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard adds at the London Telegraph, Jaime Caruana, general manager of Europe’s Bank for International Settlements, “said an ‘illusion of sustainability’ has blinded borrowers and debtors, lulling them into a false of security when credit was easy and asset prices were rising. This illusion can die in the blink of an eye. ‘The turning of the financial cycle can be quite abrupt,’ he said.”

We’ve seen this movie before, haven’t we? Just ask President McCain:

Update: And speaking of shots, chasers, and hangovers, “‘Incredible’! Obama admits lingering ‘hangover’ in jobs report (but guess who’s to blame!).”

Presumably, all those bartenders he’s given jobs to? (Err, including me, as I’m duly licensed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission…)

YEAH, THEY’RE ALSO PRETTY MUCH DEFYING OBAMA: Lone Star Shale Producers Defy OPEC.

For a state that prides itself on being “bigger” in every sense of the word, Texas is managing to handle smaller oil profit margins awfully well, as a number of producers in the state’s two shale basins are keeping output up despite plunging prices. . . .

And even as some producers find ways to turn a profit with today’s profits, many in the industry that have seen their margins erased are nevertheless still busy pursuing a forward-looking strategy: drilling but not yet fracking wells. This approach essentially lines up projects to bring online the minute prices rise high enough to justify them. This so-called “fracklog” is a widespread phenomenon, and it’s growing. For Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world’s petrostates, that’s a terrifying prospect, because it means what if and when we see the global glut erased and prices start trending back upwards, these new American supplies will flood the market and bring those prices right back down again.

And while producers amass this fracklog, plenty of companies are innovating ways to keep output up despite the fact that America’s oil benchmark is currently lingering below $32 per barrel. The shale boom isn’t done yet.

The Frackers are doing more to save Western civilization than pretty much anyone else. Certainly more than the Obama Administration or the EU.

WASTING AWAY AGAIN IN AN OBAMAVILLE: The Streets of San Francisco: ‘Super Bowl City’ Meets Tent City. A city in the grip of a housing crisis just spent $5 million on the Super Bowl. Yes, people are angry.

Other than a temporary respite on election night when a candidate with a (D) after his name wins, what other emotion is the left capable of?

By the way, spot the buried lede! Far left Nation magazine suddenly discovers far left San Francisco is a basket case. Or as even the San Francisco Chronicle was forced to admit last year, “People come here thinking of this as the center of innovation and entrepreneurship, and they see a street scene that looks like something out of a Third World country.” These things happen when your last Republican mayor left office over half a century ago.

obamaville_11-21-11

NOTHING SAYS “VOTE DEMOCRAT IN 2016″ LIKE A GOVERNMENT-MANDATED GAS PRICE INCREASE: Obama goes full YOLO: Proposes raising gas prices in final budget.

President Obama is expected to include a proposed $10 “fee” on every barrel of oil in his final budget. Obama suggests the “fee” (read: tax) will be paid for by evil oil companies (aren’t they just the worst?), but in reality, we all know the price will be passed along to consumers.

We just got low gas prices back, and this is what we get from the administration?

This is how big government operates. People are finally getting a break in their pocketbooks, so the government looks for a way to stick it to them. Obama knows that people did pay the higher price for gas, so why not go back to that again and make government the beneficiary?

Republicans should add a rider cutting limiting Presidential use of Air Force One to a single trip per month, effective immediately. For the environment!

GALLUP: Red States Outnumber Blue for First Time in Gallup Tracking.

Gallup’s analysis of political party affiliation at the state level in 2015 finds that 20 states are solidly Republican or leaning Republican, compared with 14 solidly Democratic or leaning Democratic states. The remaining 16 are competitive. This is the first time in Gallup’s eight years of tracking partisanship by state that there have been more Republican than Democratic states. It also marks a dramatic shift from 2008, when Democratic strength nationally was its greatest in recent decades.

The Competitive column includes formerly-blue Pennsylvania and the upper Midwestern states of Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. All five went for Barack Obama in the last two elections, and hold a total of 62 electoral college votes in 2016.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON’S Lessons From the California’s Drought:

Government failure was not just due to acts of commission, but of omission as well. In four years, not a single new reservoir was begun, despite warnings that the state’s reservoir capacity long ago was fossilized—designed for a state of 20 million people, not the present 40 million.

Had the state begun work on a few of the long-planned tertiary reservoirs of the now neglected California Water Project—the Sites, Los Banos Grandes, and Temperance Flat projects—the reservoirs would now be nearing completion and ready to capture nearly four-million acre-feet of additional water runoff, should 2016 prove to be a “wet” year.

If Californians have learned anything, it is that droughts are survivable only to the degree that the state’s reservoirs have water, that water projects must follow their original and contracted purposes (irrigation, flood control, hydroelectric power, and recreation), and that finite aquifers are replenished only by surface irrigation water deliveries that both recharge the water table and preclude the need for subterranean pumping. Because of the state’s failure to initiate a new reservoir, the next drought will hit 50 or 60 million state residents—with the ability to survive only a year or two, not four years, of reduced rain and snowfall.

The environmental movement helped to intensify rather than alleviate the drought. Both Governor Brown and President Obama—contrary to the exegeses of reputable climatologists and meteorologists—ignored the demonstrable and historical role of the El Niño effect. Instead they quickly politicized the drought by blaming generic global warming as the culprit, and then suggested that the cure was a reduction in carbon emissions. There is some irony in the fact that what seems to cause California’s frequent droughts is not the supposed man-caused global warming of recent years, but a natural and slight cooling of the Pacific Ocean that, as its centuries-long wont, helps to alter storm pathways over Western North America.

But building a $100 billion-plus high-speed rail or mandating that California public utilities over the next four years meet targets of 33% renewable energy use will not prevent a periodic drought. Such boondoggles will only ensure less funding for proven drought solutions, such as building more reservoirs, pipelines, and canal transfer systems.

The California legislature has dealt with a number of issues since the beginning of the drought in 2012—mandating transgendered restrooms, outlawing the use of hunting dogs in the pursuit of bobcats and bears, and proposing a vast increase in the state gas tax in a state that currently suffers the continental United States’ most expensive gasoline prices. Yet reservoir construction was not among such high priority considerations, despite voters’ overwhelming passage in 2014 of a $7.4 billion water bond that included the building of one or two new reservoirs—none of which are even close to being started.

Read the whole thing; alas no one in Sacramento ever will.

THE HILL: Limbaugh: Obama ‘constantly denigrates Christians.’

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said Thursday he wonders why President Obama is a Christian given how often he discusses Islam instead.

“President Obama is routinely defending [Islam], talking it up, promoting it,” he said on his broadcast that afternoon. “He says it’s the most peaceful, giving religion out there, that the mosque’s call to prayer is one of the most beautiful sounds in the world.”

“My question is, given all this, why did he choose to become a Christian,” he added. “I’ve always wondered that. He’s such a defender and promoter of Islam, and, on the other hand, he and his party are constantly denigrating Christians.”

Limbaugh argued that Obama does not hold Christianity in high regard.

“He says he is one, [but] at the same time, he’s out there, and look what he says about Christians,” he said. “Look, he talks about them as ‘bitter clingers’ and [says that] they hold onto their guns when they’re nervous.

“I don’t care what the issue is, whether it’s guns, whether it’s gay marriage, any cultural or social issue, or the ‘bitter clinger’ comments. How did he end up choosing Rev. [Jeremiah] Wright’s church given his public statements on all this?”

How, indeed?

WHY DO DEMOCRATS HATE THE POOR AND MIDDLE CLASS SO? Obama to propose $10-a-barrel oil tax.

Should be fun hearing what Hillary has to say about this, since in the spring of 2008, she “lined up with Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, in endorsing a plan to suspend the federal excise tax on gasoline, 18.4 cents a gallon, for the summer travel season:”

(Curious how high American gas prices were in that period after Democrats retook both houses of Congress in 2006, and before the oil industry adopted the policy of “drill, baby dill,” to coin a phrase from the fall of 2008.)

 

 

THE “BENEFITS” OF DIVIDING US BY RACE, BELIEF, ORIENTATION AND SHOE SIZE: Obama’s ‘diversity’ diktat is a giant gift to lawyers.

IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE GOING TO NEED A BIGGER BLOG: What Obama’s Mosque Speech Missed.

DREAMS FROM MY FATHER?* EARTH IN THE BALANCE? IT TAKES A VILLAGE? The book most people have lied about reading – and it’s not War and Peace.

* We know conclusively no one in the MSM ever read that book — heck, the only time Obama himself may have read it was when he recorded the books on tape version.

MORE OF THIS, PLEASE: Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) have an oped in NRO, “A Stronger Congress, a Healthier Republic.”

The federal government is broken. And while there is plenty of blame to go around, only Congress can fix it.

We don’t mean this as an indictment of any one leader or party, because the dysfunction in Washington today has accreted over decades, under Houses, Senates, and presidents of every partisan combination, as well as the many different justices of the Supreme Court. . . .

The stability and moral legitimacy of America’s governing institutions depend on a representative, transparent, and accountable Congress to make its laws. For years, however, Congress has delegated too much of its legislative authority to the executive branch, skirting the thankless work and ruthless accountability that Article 1 demands and taking up a new position as backseat drivers of the republic.

So today, Americans’ laws are increasingly written by people other than their representatives in the House and Senate, and via processes specifically designed to exclude public scrutiny and input. This arrangement benefits well-connected insiders who thrive in less-accountable modes of policymaking, but it does so at the expense of the American people — for whose freedom our system of separated powers was devised in the first place.

In short, we have moved from a nation governed by the rule of law to one governed by the rule of rulers and unelected, unaccountable regulators. Congress’s abdication, unsurprisingly, has led to a proliferation of bad policy and to the erosion of public trust in the institutions of government. Distrust, also unsurprisingly, is now the defining theme of American politics. . . .

That is why we have joined with eight colleagues in the House and Senate to develop and promote a new agenda of structural reforms that will strengthen Congress and reassert its vital role in our society. We call it the Article 1 Project (A1P). . . .

First, Congress must reclaim its power of the federal purse. Our formal budget process, which dates to 1974, has fallen apart, and we must restructure it for a post-earmark world. We need to bring entitlement programs back onto the actual budget and bring self-funding federal agencies back under annual appropriation.

Second, we need to reform legislative “cliffs” that loom behind expiring legislation — at the end of the fiscal year and when the federal debt nears its statutory limit — to realign the incentives of the American people and their government.

Third, Congress must take back control of actual federal lawmaking. Today, the vast majority of federal laws are unilaterally imposed by executive-branch agencies. The bureaucrats in these agencies then serve as police, prosecutors, and courts in the ensuing cases. All major regulations should be affirmatively prioritized and approved by a vote of Congress.

Finally, we must clarify the law governing executive discretion, which right now allows presidents and federal bureaucrats to ignore or rewrite federal statutes, so long as they have a clever enough reason.

Yes, yes, yes, and yes to these four commonsense proposals. But they are only a small start in the right direction. Congress’s voluntary abdication of its legislative power since the early twentieth century is perhaps the single most significant flaw in our constitutional architecture– and one that the founding generation never foresaw. As James Madison expressed it in Federalist No. 48:

[I]n a a representative republic where the executive magistracy is carefully limited, both in the extent and the duration of its power; and where the legislative power is exercised by an assembly, which is inspired by a supposed influence over the people with an intrepid confidence in its own strength . . .  it is against the enterprising ambition of this department [the legislature] that the people ought to indulge all their jealousy and exhaust all their precautions.

Like Dorothy and her ruby slippers, Congress has always held the power to “go home” and restore the Constitution’s separation of powers. It can simply click its collective heels and, well, legislate, particularly in areas such as the power of the purse and passing statutes that carefully circumscribe (and limit judicial deference to) the unconstitutional “fourth branch” of the administrative state.

Of course the success of the Article I Project (or any similar effort) will require either: (1) a President who does not veto any such laws (i.e., a Republican President); or (2) a veto-proof supermajority of two-thirds of both chambers of Congress (i.e., a House and Senate comprised of at least two-thirds GOP members). Sadly, the Democrats have shown zero willingness in restoring Congress’s constitutional power, and have indeed cheered President Obama’s incessant executive power grab.

ACTUALLY, IF YOU BELIEVE IN DEMOCRACY, THIS IS AN ARGUMENT FOR THE “SPOILS SYSTEM.”

“The civil service will interpret a Donald Trump presidency as damage and route around it.”

That was the recent consensus at one of those infamous Washington dinner parties that so repulse Trump fans. (What can I say? We in Washington also have to eat. And while we do, we talk about politics.)

The line, of course, was a play on a gleeful old hacker credo: “The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” But it was offered in earnest, and on reflection, I think it’s correct. . . .

Washingtonians, unlike the people making the demands, actually have to analyze the feasibility of these various sorts of requests. When they do, they quickly see that they are impossible, and set about finding innovative ways to ignore them. The insiders who need to get elected nonetheless say, “Yup, I’ll get right on that,” and then ignore them.

The civil service, on the other hand, has been eager to self-weaponize on Obama’s behalf. Which is why the argument that the bureaucracy’s behavior is just a result of realism and circumstance rings hollow.

OBAMA TO PROPOSE UNDERMINING OBAMACARE?: Yep, you read that right. The Washington Examiner is reporting that President Obama’s budget proposal is expected to include a narrowing of Obamacare’s so-called “Cadillac tax” of 40 percent on benefits-rich health insurance plans.

Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Jason Furman and chief economist Matthew Fiedler wrote that the budget, to be published next week, will propose raising the threshold for the cost of plans affected by the tax.

The change, they wrote, will prevent the tax from “creating unintended burdens for firms located in areas where health care is particularly expensive.”

The Cadillac tax was made law as part of the funding for Obamacare. It is also intended to slow the growth in health care costs created by the existing incentives in the tax code. . . .

While the tax is popular among economists, it is opposed by unions that have bargained for costly expensive plans as well as by business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Congress and is generally viewed unfavorably in Congress. Congress voted in December to delay the imposition of the 40 percent excise tax from 2018 to 2020.

No one ever thought the Cadillac tax was politically sustainable, long-term, precisely because of the vigorous opposition by unions, who give so generously to Democrats every election cycle.  So it was always a “fake” revenue raiser for Obamacare. The problem, however, is that the Cadillac tax is one of the largest revenue sources within Obamacare–an estimated $108 billion over a ten-year period.

When you narrow, or eliminate, this revenue source, suddenly Obamacare becomes much more expensive than the rosy “deficit reducing” bill of goods sold to the American people. As Obama told the American people in his address to a Joint Session of Congress on health care in September 2009:

And here’s what you need to know.  First, I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future.  (Applause.)  I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period.  And to prove that I’m serious, there will be a provision in this plan that requires us to come forward with more spending cuts if the savings we promised don’t materialize. . . .

Now, add it all up, and the plan I’m proposing will cost around $900 billion over 10 years — less than we have spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and less than the tax cuts for the wealthiest few Americans that Congress passed at the beginning of the previous administration.  (Applause.)  Now, most of these costs will be paid for with money already being spent — but spent badly — in the existing health care system.  The plan will not add to our deficit.

Of course, this promise–that Obamacare would not add to the deficit–was completely false. But when you begin to narrow or repeal Obamacare’s major revenue-raising provisions such as the Cadillac tax, the deficit problem grows even worse.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m certainly not advocating for keeping the Cadillac tax, or any other provision of Obamacare. The whole thing was a massive, ill-considered jumble from day one, and it should never have been rammed through Congress via reconciliation. We are all now literally paying the price of such a raw political maneuver.

But when the namesake of Obamacare begins to propose repealing/narrowing the most significant revenue generating provisions of his own (only) major legislative achievement, you know something is seriously rotten in the state of Denmark. Obama is (predictably) throwing a bone to the Democrats’ union constituency, but it only emphasizes how Obamacare was and still remains, at its core, nothing but a stinky pile of crony capitalist payoffs to every single affected sector of economy. Even Obamacare’s Cadillac tax “punishment” of high-value union health plans turned out to be a ruse.

FEEL THE BERN!

bernie_sanders_attacks_hillary_2-3-16

As the above tweet illustrates, Camp Bernie is following the model that Obama’s minions used so successfully in early 2008: Treat Hillary as the de facto Republican in the race. Whether that approach works when most of the MSM is on Hillary’s side this year remains to be seen, however — but the far left Democrat base certainly ate it up in 2008.

CHANGE! Goodbye CFLs?

Remember when the CFL was presented as the Future of Lightbulbs? We’d all be thrilled to replace our archaic incandescents with high-tech CFLs. Just to hasten us along in the proper direction, the old bulbs were banned, lest people go all squirrelly and anti-social and prefer them to CFLs. Then came LED bulbs, which were A) better, and B) didn’t require opening every window in the house and wearing gas masks if you dropped one. Well:

GE just announced that it no longer make or sell compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) lightbulbs in the US. The company will wind down the manufacturing of CFL bulbs by the end of 2016, and it will begin to shift its focus on making the newest and most energy-efficient lightbulbs, LEDs.

Between destroying the incandescent lightbulb, championing its stillborn hazardous replacement, bringing you the current incarnation of NBC and MSNBC, ushering Obama into the White House and sponsoring Vox.com, GE’s really spent the last decade covering itself in corporatist glory. Take a bow, fellas.

IT’S NOT A SCANDAL, IT’S A CRIME: More Clinton emails to be labeled ‘top secret,’ lawmaker says.

A Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee warned on Wednesday that the Obama administration will declare that additional emails from Hillary Clinton’s personal server have been classified at the highest level.

“The press has reporting there’s been 22 emails. There’s actually more than that,” Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) said on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” on Wednesday.

“They do reveal classified methods. They do reveal classified sources and they do reveal human assets,” he added. “I can’t imagine how anyone could be familiar with these emails, whether they’re sending them or receiving them, and not realize that these are highly classified.”

Stewart told the Washington Examiner there are seven additional emails that will be marked as “top secret,” in addition to the 22 emails that were revealed last week.

The State Department last week acknowledged that additional emails could be classified at the top secret level, but declined to confirm Stewart’s claim on Wednesday.

“As you know, there’s more emails that we still need to be released through the Freedom of Information Act,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters. “I’m not aware of any additional specific classification issues, so when we have more and we’re in a position that we can talk about the next tranche, we will.”

Confirmation that there were more highly classified emails on Clinton’s server would only add to the controversy that has chased her Democratic presidential campaign. Criticism has mounted that Clinton’s “homebrew” email setup may have jeopardized official government secrets.

Remember: She used her “homebrew” email setup in a deliberate effort to avoid political scrutiny of her actions. And, presumably, she did that because her actions were shady, and quite possibly illegal. As a result, the country’s secrets were exposed to our enemies, and people may have died.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: “Obama Is Pressed to Open Military Front Against ISIS in Libya

That country seemed so much more peaceful before Obama and Clinton initiated an illegal and unnecessary war of choice there.

ROGER SIMON ON OBAMA’S ISLAMOPHOBIA.

Read the whole thing.
obama_iran_surrender_article_grid_2-3-16-1

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED. Obama’s Legacy: The amazing decline of the blue state.

For the first time since Gallup began measuring party affiliation nationwide, there are now more red states than blue ones. Twenty states are either solidly Republican or leaning Republican, while just 14 are solidly or leaning Democratic. The remaining 16 are competitive between the two parties.

“This is the first time in Gallup’s eight years of tracking partisanship by state that there have been more Republican than Democratic states,” writes Gallup’s Jeffrey M. Jones. “It also marks a dramatic shift from 2008, when Democratic strength nationally was its greatest in recent decades.” (Gallup defines a state as “solid” for a party if that party has a 10-point or larger voter ID edge; a “leaning” state is one where a party has a five to 10 point edge.)

The shift in party affiliation over the past seven years is absolutely incredible. In 2008, there were 35(!) states that were either solidly or leaning Democratic, five solid or leaning Republican and 10 judged as competitive. The following year there were 33 Democratic states, 12 competitive states and, still, five Republican ones.

From 2008 to 2015, Democrats went from a 30-state lead to a six-state deficit when it comes to states solidly or leaning their way on party affiliation. That is simply stunning.

Gallup’s findings are in keeping with what I think is the most under-told story of the Obama years: Republicans have made massive gains at virtually every level of government other than, of course, the White House.

One reason, I think, is that the further you get from the White House, the less influence the national media have. This is consistent with Tim Groseclose’s research suggesting that in the absence of media bias on behalf of the Democrats, America as a whole would have the politics of Texas.

NOT THE ONION: DONALD TRUMP REPORTEDLY NOMINATED FOR NOBEL PEACE PRIZE FOR ‘VIGOROUS PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH IDEOLOGY.’

And why not? To the regret of its former secretary, far stranger people have won the prize already; Trump would be in excellent company:

obama_trump_logos_8-2-15-1

WHY HAVE WE ALL FAILED OUR WONDROUS LEADER SO BADLY? Obama at Mosque: ‘Betrays Our Values’ to Say ‘Islam Itself’ at Root of Terrorism.

Huh — I can remember when Obama thought American values were so evil, he was all for “fundamentally transforming” them.

Good to see though that Obama is now perfectly fine with one group of Americans bitterly clinging to their God and weapons. I guess he’s “grown in office” that way, to borrow from the old MSM cliche.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: It’s Now Racist to Wear Toe Rings.

Oh, of course it is. But is the reverse true? By that “logic,” minorities such as Barack Obama and Al Sharpton should not be wearing Savile Row-inspired business suits.

WHY ARE CORPORATIONS INCREASINGLY LEFTIST?

Because the people who run them are. In the case of the oil industry, as Katherine Mangu-Ward of Reason noted a decade ago, in the 1990s, “environmental activists across the nation bought their own ties and started dealing with corporations as almost-equal partners in planet saving. Businesses in turn learned that it’s pretty easy being green,” thus paving the way for the full-on corporatism and crony venture socialism of the Obama era.

And because the people they cater their products to are. The TV series Mad Men increasingly failed as watchable television after its first couple of seasons. But consider the the arc of the series. It begins in 1960 with Don Draper crafting Lucky Strike pitches to conservative smokers in 1960. In the final moments of the series finale, Draper attends an uber-’70s est session in Big Sur and comes away with the brainstorm to craft the proto-multi-culti Stepford-hippy populated “I’d like to teach the world to sing” Coca-Cola commercial. This neatly sums up how the advertising industry responded to coastal elites moving more and more perilously leftward in the 1960s and ’70s.

To build on what Aaron Clarey wrote in the headline link above, Whole Foods have devoted their entire business model to catering to this demographic — which was all fun and games until libertarian-leaning CEO John Mackey came out against Obamacare as “tantamount to ‘fascism’ because ‘the government doesn’t own the means of production, but they do control it.’” That’s an accurate definition of the F-word, but good luck both explaining that to your core audience and keeping them as customers; Mackey quickly capitulated to the mob.

WHAT COULD GO WRONG? Obama Visits Muslim Brotherhood-Aligned Mosque.

Related: “Obama defends the faith,” Scott Johnson writes at Power Line.

OBAMA LIED, THE DEBT CEILING DIED: Veronique de Rugy reports for National Review.

Well, as it turns out, documents subpoenaed by the House Financial Services Committee reveal that during the 2013 debt ceiling debate, ”the Obama Administration is not only capable of prioritizing payments in case the nation’s borrowing authority is not raised, it has run ‘tabletop exercises’ to prepare for such a contingency – contradicting earlier public statements from Treasury officials.”

Here are some tidbits from the committee’s press release:

Made public for the first time, records turned over to the Committee in response to the subpoena show the Federal Reserve Bank of New York previously made plans to prioritize Social Security, veterans’ benefits, and principal and interest payments on the debt over other government obligations.

The Administration, however, directed the New York Fed to withhold this information from the Committee because “Treasury wants to maximize pressure on Congress by limiting communications about contingency planning,” according to a previously undisclosed internal email of the New York Fed….

Efforts by the Obama Administration to keep its contingency planning a secret were met with objections from officials at the Federal Reserve and the New York Fed, who described the approach in an email as “crazy, counter-productive, and add[ing] risk to an already risky situation.”

The next time someone accuses the GOP Congress of playing chicken with the economy, show them this link.

WELL, HE’S A FOX GUARDING THE HENHOUSE: I’m referring to President Obama, who has a constitutional duty to faithfully execute the law, making him the chief guardian of the rule of law.

Obama’s track record on fulfilling this constitutional duty has been consistently abhorrent–the worst in history–so perhaps this is merely another transgression that will trigger a collective yawn from the mainstream media. But nonetheless, Andy McCarthy cogently explains “Obama’s Growing Conflict of Interest in the Clinton Email Scandal.”

[C]lassified information so pervades the thousands of pages of e-mails communicated through and stored on Mrs. Clinton’s unsecured, homebrew server system that the court-ordered disclosure process has ground to a halt. . . .[I]t turns out [her emails] were so threaded with classified information that the State Department and intelligence agencies have fallen hopelessly behind the court’s disclosure schedule: The task of reviewing the e-mails and redacting the portions whose publication could harm national security has proved much more complicated than anticipated. Thousands of remaining e-mails, and any embarrassing lapses they contain, will be withheld from voters until well into primary season.

So egregious have the scandal’s latest developments been that a critical State Department admission from last week has received almost no coverage: Eighteen e-mails between Mrs. Clinton and President Obama have been identified, and the government is refusing to disclose them. The administration’s rationale is remarkable: Releasing them, the White House and State Department say, would compromise “the president’s ability to receive unvarnished advice and counsel” from top government officials.

Think about what this means. Not only is it obvious that President Obama knew Mrs. Clinton was conducting government business over her private e-mail account, the exchanges the president engaged in with his secretary of state over this unsecured system clearly involved sensitive issues of policy. Clinton was being asked for “advice and counsel” — not about her recommendations for the best country clubs in Martha’s Vineyard, but about matters that the White House judges too sensitive to reveal. . . .

If the administration is refusing to disclose the Obama-Clinton e-mails because they involved the secretary of state providing advice and counsel to the president, do you think those exchanges just might touch on foreign-government information, foreign relations, or foreign activities of the United States — deliberations on which are presumed classified?

Will anyone in the press corps covering the White House and the State Department ask administration officials whether this is the case? .  . .

To summarize, we have a situation in which (a) Obama knowingly communicated with Clinton over a non-government, non-secure e-mail system; (b) Obama and Clinton almost certainly discussed matters that are automatically deemed classified under the president’s own guidelines; and (c) at least one high-ranking government official (Petraeus) has been prosecuted because he failed to maintain the security of highly sensitive intelligence that included policy-related conversations with Obama.

From these facts and circumstances, we must deduce that it is possible, if not highly likely, that President Obama himself has been grossly negligent in handling classified information. He discussed sensitive matters on a non-government, non-secure e-mail system that could easily be penetrated by foreign governments (among other rogue actors). By doing so, he left an electronic- and paper-trail that was outside the government’s tightly secured repositories for classified information. He also personally indulged, and thus implicitly endorsed, Clinton’s use of private e-mail to do government business.

Law enforcement investigations are supposed to proceed independent of political considerations, but I’d wager few people believe the decision whether to indict Mrs. Clinton will be made by Attorney General Loretta Lynch alone. It will be the president’s call. In making it, he may face a profound conflict of interest. A prosecution of Clinton might expose that Obama engaged in recklessness similar to Clinton’s, albeit on a far smaller scale. Moreover, Clinton would likely argue in her defense that the president, who is ultimately responsible for safeguarding classified information, not only authorized Clinton to use private e-mail but knowingly used it himself in order to communicate with Clinton.

I’m not so sure about the “far smaller scale” conclusion. But that aside, gosh, I’m shocked that an inexperienced, insouciant, and narcissistic President would be so careless with our national security. And so corrupt.

RESET: NATO reports Russian submarine activity “equalling or even surpassing Cold War levels.”

The North Atlantic was again and area “of concern” for the alliance, Vice Admiral Clive Johnstone, Commander of NATO’s Maritime Command, said, with the commanders of his submarine cells currently reporting “more activity from Russian submarines than we’ve seen since the days of the Cold War”.

Not only are Russian submarines returning to Cold War levels of operational activity, but Russian submarines have made a major jump in technological performance, Vice Adm Johnstone said, with NATO seeing “a level of Russian capability that we haven’t seen before”.

Russia, he said, “through an extraordinary investment path not mirrored by the West” has made “technology leaps that [are] remarkable, and credit to them.” Russian submarines now “have longer ranges, they have better systems, they’re freer to operate”, he said. The alliance has also “seen a rise in professionalism and ability to operate their boats that we haven’t seen before”, noted Vice Adm Johnstone, adding, “that is a concern”.

The US however still leads in deployments of sick burns.

WE START OFF WITH MY SHOCKED FACE: The Obama Administration Misled Americans During the 2013 Debt-Ceiling Debate.

THE REAL IOWA HEADLINE IS REPUBLICAN TURNOUT: While everyone is disputing how to spin the post-Iowa momentum–did Hillary “really” win, or did Rubio “really” come in second–the real headline is that the turnout numbers suggest strong Republican enthusiasm and significantly depressed Democratic enthusiasm:

Eight years ago, when Clinton was the favorite to defeat Barack Obama and John Edwards in the caucus, around 220,000 Democrats turned out. The Democrat turnout was almost double the Republican turnout, a clear sign of Democrat enthusiasm after 8 years of the Bush Presidency.

This year, however, just over 170,000 Democrats turned out to caucus, in a contest that was widely regarded, and broadcast by the media, as a nail-biter. Despite a massive turnout operation by the Clinton campaign and record-breaking rallies from Bernie Sanders, Democrat turnout dropped around 25 percent from 2008.

The Republican turnout was around 180,000, the highest turnout in its history. It is also the first time more Republicans turned out when both races were contested.

Indeed, the Republican turnout of 180,000 was about 60,000 more than the turnout in 2012, which was itself a record Republican turnout.

Overall, the Republicans experienced a 50 percent increase in turnout over 2012, whereas the Democrats experienced a 23 percent decrease.

If this enthusiasm gap continues through the general election, the Democrats will really need to work overtime on voter fraud to have a decent shot at the White House.

CHINESE SUPERSONIC STEALTH AIRCRAFT: What’s Causing Sonic Booms Along the Eastern Seaboard? ​There have been two in the span of three days and no one seems to know why. It’s so pre-Obama that this story assumes that any “military exercises” going on must be ours.