It’s hard to say which fact about Kim Kardashian annoys the MidEast kingdoms more, her skeeviness or her support for Israel. The latter is the safer way to bet.
Kardashian, the curvy beauty who shot to prominence after an infamous sex tape of her emerged in 2007, is in Kuwait and will also visit Bahrain to launch a pair of Millions of Milkshakes franchises in malls.
What will Michelle Obama say about that?
‘Her values clash with our traditions as a religiously committed people,’ Mohammad Al Tabtabai, a Kuwaiti preacher, told the Gulf News. ‘Her visit could help spread vice among our youth.’
In neighbouring Bahrain, *conservative lawmakers blasted the reality TV star and tried to keep her out of the island nation, arguing that she is ‘an actress with an extremely bad reputation’.
But the deeply conservative and religious nations may not offer her a warm welcome because of controversies surrounding the x-rated video, her short-lived marriage to NBA star Kris Humphries and a recent furore over her tweets supporting the people of Israel during the recent conflict with Palestine.
Someone needs to get their facts right. Kim Kardashian is not an actress.
She might, however, be a subversive weapon against the Islamist despots.
*The media loves to use the term “conservative” as an umbrella to describe anyone from the Islamists who dominate the MidEast to the Communists who fought against Boris Yeltsin back in the 1990s. In this context, it has nothing to do with US conservatives, but expect some idiot liberals to conflate the terms anyway.
Texas is a very big, small-government state. No place on earth is perfect, but Texas does an amazing job of leaving the law-abiding alone while dealing with crime and, according to Forbes, has managed to keep its takers-to-makers ratio viable despite the graying of America at large. The trade-off for all this, according to what’s left of the Texas left, is that we’re not properly educating the next generation because we’re not spending enough per pupil in the classroom. When Gov. Rick Perry rejected President Obama’s “Race to the Top” game because it came with tricky federal strings, the Texas left derided him and mocked him. They insist that Texas under our dullard governor is falling behind.
Well. That idea has been shot down. Comparable big blue states spend more, but graduate fewer students, than Texas.
The Department of Education has just released its first state-by-state comparison of education statistics, and the report has a few surprises. Texas performed extremely well, tying five other states for the third-best graduation rate in the country, at 86 percent.
And Texas isn’t the only high-performing red state: Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota and Tennessee all place within the top ten as well. Meanwhile, New York, Rhode Island, and California, all of which take a traditional, high-spending, blue model approach to education, are closer to the middle of the pack , with graduation rates in the mid-70s.
The blue state model is a failure across the board. It doesn’t deal well with past promises made under threat from the unions, it fails to deal with the present reality of a weak economy and insane government spending, and it is now shown to be failing to keep up with the future as well. The blue state model is running out of money to steal from one batch and promise to hand out to another. But the arrogant blue staters keep exporting their poisons on us anyway.
We’re more than fed up with that.
As for our dullard governor, he is the only one to come up with something that has a chance to bend the higher education cost curve back toward sanity: the $10,000 university degree. Due to Texas’ outsized influence, if that initiative succeeds here it may drive similar changes elsewhere, making higher education affordable for millions who cannot afford it, at least without going into crippling debt, now.
I’m still trying to get my head around a glaring issue related to the Benghazi attack. On the subject of who changed the CIA’s talking points regarding the attack, how can we not know who did it?
The attack occurred on 9-11-12, right? According to Gen. David Petraeus, the Central Intelligence Agency initially assessed the attack as a terrorist strike carried out by Ansar al-Sharia, a Libyan offshoot of al-Qaeda. But despite that initial assessment, Petraeus, then head of the CIA, told Congress on 9-14 that the attack had started with a protest about a movie. Why did Petraeus say that?
On 9-14, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blamed the movie in her address at the transfer of remains ceremony. Why did she do that?
On 9-16, Ambassador Susan Rice blamed the attack on a protest when she appeared on five Sunday political shows. Why did she do that? Who changed both Rice’s and Petraeus’ talking points during the five days from the attack to Rice’s star turn?
For about ten days after Rice’s five-spot, President Barack Obama continued to blame a movie and dodge the possibility that Benghazi was a terrorist attack. He blamed the movie six times during his address at the United Nations on 9-26. Why did he do that?
We’re told now that someone within the office of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper changed the talking points. We’re told that that person was not Clapper himself. The DNI’s office is apparently at a loss to determine who did change the talking points.
How is this possible?
John McCain is a menace to American national security and should not be entrusted with the supervision of small animals, let alone be considered the elder GOP statesman on foreign policy.
There, I said it.
Over the past two years, McCain has taken virtually every position with respect to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and repeatedly proved to be catastrophically wrong.
Rewind to the early days of the so-called “Arab Spring”. In February 2011, as Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was telling Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood was a “largely secular organization” and Obama himself went on national TV and said that the Muslim Brotherhood didn’t have a majority support in Egypt, McCain gave an interview on the topic with the German daily, Der Speigel.
As the fires of revolution were burning in Egypt and long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak was in his last days in office, McCain rightly warned that the Muslim Brotherhood should play no role in any transitional government:
SPIEGEL: What is your assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood?
McCain: I think they are a radical group that first of all supports Sharia law; that in itself is anti-democratic — at least as far as women are concerned. They have been involved with other terrorist organizations and I believe that they should be specifically excluded from any transition government.
SPIEGEL: Are you afraid that someone like Mohamed ElBaradei is instrumentalized by the Muslim Brotherhood?
McCain: Oh yeah, I think it’s very clear that the scenario is very likely he could be their front man. He has no following nor political influence in Egypt. After all, he has lived outside of Egypt for most of his life.
SPIEGEL: A certain role of the Muslim Brotherhood in the transition process in Egypt seems acceptable to the Obama White House. Does that concern you?
McCain: It concerns me so much that I am unalterably opposed to it. I think it would be a mistake of historic proportions.
So far, so good. And yet McCain said he was “unalterably opposed” to the Muslim Brotherhood playing any transitional role in Egypt.
And yet a year later McCain and his pal Lindsey Graham were in Cairo following the arrest of more than a dozen US NGO workers, including the son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, appealing for the release of the Americans.
Prior to the trip, in an interview he gave to Fox News McCain began to modify his stance and pushed back on Hannity’s criticism of the group:
In the case of Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is split. They have not obtained power yet. There are groups of them that want to have good relations with us. They may be an Islamic country, Israel is a Jewish state. So let’s wait and see.
See, the Muslim Brotherhood is just like Israel! And they’re split!
The report that McCain and Graham gave to the US media after their meeting with the Muslim Brotherhood was that the group could be dealt with, as expressed by Graham to the Wall Street Journal:
“After talking with the Muslim Brotherhood, I was struck with their commitment to change the law because they believe it’s unfair,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), who was traveling with Mr. McCain. Mr. Graham and other lawmakers praised the Brotherhood, whose Freedom and Justice Party won a plurality of nearly 50% of the seats in Parliament, as a strong potential partner for the future of U.S. relations with Egypt.
That marks a dramatic change from several months ago, when some Republican politicians reacted warily to the Brotherhood’s rising clout. In April 2011, Mr. Graham said he was suspicious of the Brotherhood’s “agenda,” and that “their motives are very much in question.”
“I was very apprehensive when I heard the election results,” Mr. Graham said on Monday. “But after visiting and talking with the Muslim Brotherhood I am hopeful that…we can have a relationship with Egypt where the Muslim Brotherhood is a strong political voice.”
In a statement McCain gave during that same Cairo trip he acknowledged meeting with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and expressed the support of the US for all parties involved in the new parliament:
Instead, we traveled here to meet with newly elected members of the Parliament from across the political spectrum, with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces – and to participate in a conference with Egyptian and American businesses that seek to increase prosperity and development in both of our peoples. With all of these different groups, we have reaffirmed the support of the United States, and the Congress in particular, for the sovereignty and aspirations of the Egyptian people – and conveyed our strong desire to cooperate, as partners and friends, with the new democratic government.
But no sooner had McCain and Graham left Egypt than the Muslim Brotherhood rejected McCain’s comments that they played a “constructive role” in ending the stand-off over the NGO workers:
Senior members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood have reacted angrily to statements by US Senator John McCain in which he thanked the group for its role in lifting the travel ban on indicted foreign NGO workers…
Freedom and Justice Party (FJP)MP Farid Ismail on Friday insisted that neither the Brotherhood nor its political arm the FJP helped lift the travel ban…
McCain said, “Last week in Cairo, we had meetings with the speaker of parliament and other newly elected parliamentarians from across the political spectrum, with leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, and with Field Marshal Tantawi and other members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. These meetings reassured us that people of goodwill in both countries were working diligently to find a positive resolution to the recent crisis.
“We are encouraged by the constructive role played over the past week by the Muslim Brotherhood and its political party, the Freedom and Justice Party. Their statement of February 20 was important in helping to resolve the recent crisis.”
Two months later comments McCain made during that trip would come back to haunt him, as it was reported that McCain had approved the presidential candidacy of Muslim Brotherhood senior leader Khairat al-Shater. The Egyptian daily Shorouck reported:
Muslim Brotherhood sources told ‘Shorouck’ that deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Khairat Al-Shater, discussed the decision of his candidacy for the presidency with U.S. Senator John McCain two months ago, and that the latter had assured him no objection of the Brotherhood becoming president. (Google translation)
What makes McCain’s approval of Shater’s candidacy is that it broke a pledge the Muslim Brotherhood made that they would not run a candidate for president. And just a few days after McCain’s endorsement of Shater was made public, so too was video of a speech Shater had given where he had promised that under a Muslim Brotherhood-led government, “every aspect of life is to be Islamicized”.
Whether knowingly or unknowingly, McCain had backed the most hardline elements of the Muslim Brotherhood.
So McCain had twice been played the fool for the Muslim Brotherhood.
But rather than take a pause and considering how he had been played, McCain waded right back into the thick of it again, lashing out at Rep. Michelle Bachmann on the floor of the Senate for daring to raise questions about the influence of Muslim Brotherhood in the Obama administration, particularly Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who Arab media sources, including Al-Jazeera, had reported several years prior the membership of several of her family members, including her brother and mother, in the Muslim Brotherhood.
In retrospect, Bachmann’s concerns about the Muslim Brotherhood seem prescient.
Then in September, McCain was again attacking fellow Republicans for introducing a resolution to end aid to Egypt and Libya after the 9/11 attack on the Cairo embassy and the terror attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans, saying that “cutting aid would be foolish”.
So what’s McCain’s position today after Egyptian president (and Muslim Brotherhood leader) Mohammed Morsi’s seizure of dictator’s powers last week? McCain said on Sunday that the U.S. should consider withholding aid from Egypt — the very position he declared “foolish” and attacked fellow Republicans for just a few weeks ago.
What the most charitable reading of John McCain’s record on the Muslim Brotherhood would show is that he suffers from severe senility marked by rare occasions of lucidity. In the US Senate, that’s certainly nothing new. But why should anyone in the Republican Party or the American public put any trust in what John McCain has to say about anything?
With John McCain showing at least three different faces on the Muslim Brotherhood, who only knows which face we will see next. Regardless, we can fairly expect he’ll be wrong.
- ‘Mind Your Own Beeswax!’: How Social Conservatives Can Win By Losing, by Roger L Simon. On gay marriage, it’s the fourth quarter, the score is about 80-0 and you’re on the your own five yard line with two minutes to go.
- A $12 Minimum Wage in Retail? By Tom Blumer. A lefty organization tries to repeal supply and demand
- Conservative Stockholm Syndrome, by Mary Grabar. Republicans need to shake off the false guilt and false reality that they have been imprisoned by.
- The Truth About Who Really Murdered Yasir Arafat, by Barry Rubin. The Middle East is, of course, the place where conspiracy theories abound. Yet what can one say of those in the West who swallow every slander against Israel?
- Feinstein, Tea Party Sen. Lee Wage War on Obama’s Indefinite Detention Powers, by Bridget Johnson. Their top lieutenant? Rand Paul, who’s threatening filibuster and warns Americans on the right could be in the government’s sights.
- Rice Hill Tour, Day 2: The Terrain’s Getting Rougher, by Bridget Johnson. GOPs leave meetings with her less impressed, more doubtful than before.
- Washington Post Goes Full Bigot, by Bob Owens. The paper prints an editorial suited for the Dearborn Independent.
- Your Wednesday Dose of Doom and Gloom, by Stephen Green. Greece is the word that you heard. It’s got a groove, it’s got a feeling, it’s got…hyperinflation.
- Mies van der Rohe: Creating the Architectural Language of 20th Century America, by Ed Driscoll. A review of Mies van der Rohe: A Critical Biography, New and Revised Edition by Franz Schulze and Edward Windhorst.
The Environmental Protection Agency has “temporarily suspended” BP from new contracts with the federal government. The agency’s release:
EPA is taking this action due to BP’s lack of business integrity as demonstrated by the company’s conduct with regard to the Deepwater Horizon blowout, explosion, oil spill, and response, as reflected by the filing of a criminal information. On November 15, 2012, BP agreed to plead guilty to eleven counts of Misconduct or Neglect of Ship Officers, one count of Obstruction of Congress, one misdemeanor count of a violation of the Clean Water Act, and one misdemeanor count of a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, all arising from its conduct leading to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 people and caused the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.
For the Deepwater Horizon investigation, EPA was designated as the lead agency for suspension and debarment actions. Federal executive branch agencies take these actions to ensure the integrity of Federal programs by conducting business only with responsible individuals or companies. Suspensions are a standard practice when a responsibility question is raised by action in a criminal case.
The BP suspension will temporarily prevent the company and the named affiliates from getting new federal government contracts, grants or other covered transactions until the company can provide sufficient evidence to EPA demonstrating that it meets Federal business standards. The suspension does not affect existing agreements BP may have with the government.
Two BP rig supervisors and a former BP executive pleaded not guilty Wednesday to criminal charges stemming from the deadly explosion.
Senators who’ve heretofore remained fairly neutral on the question of a possible Susan Rice nomination for secretary of State are now signaling doubts about whether she could be confirmed.
In other words, her two-day trip to the Hill is having the opposite effect she and President Obama likely hoped.
“I do think that her meetings up here have raised lots of questions. And there are more reservations about her now than there were before. And that’s a problem for her at least with Republicans here in the Senate,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.C.) said today on CNN.
“Whether or not she could get confirmed, I don’t know. But I think she would have a considerable amount of opposition just based on the reaction some of my colleagues have had to the discussions they’ve had with her here the last couple days,” he added.
Thune characterized Rice as “somebody who hasn’t been willing to answer some of the hard questions that many of my colleagues have had regarding the situation in Benghazi.”
“I think that demonstrates questions about her judgment and how she would be — how independent she would be as secretary of state. And that’s obviously something very important in a secretary of state,” he said.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Rice was able to answer some, but not all, of her questions.
“Ambassador Rice not only received the unclassified talking points which are very brief and not very helpful, but she also had access to classified information in the president’s daily intelligence brief,” Collins said on CNN. “…I think what she chose to do was to put more emphasis on those reports that supported the narrative of the nonexistent protest of the video being the direct or primary cause of the attacks on our people rather than painting the fuller picture which was much more complex.”
Collins said Rice told her that she agreed to go on the Sunday news shows after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton refused.
“I think she just should have said no and that someone from the White House should have represented the views that the administration wanted put forth those days,” the senator said.
Rice and Collins met for 75 minutes today. Rice also sat down with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).
“I know that at some point, I may play a semi-important role in who the next secretary of state may be. I would just ask the president to step back for a moment and realize that all of us here hold the secretary of state to a very different standard than most Cabinet members,” Corker, the incoming ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) leaves Congress, told reporters outside the meeting.
“We want someone of independence, someone that — we understand is going to support the administration and their efforts — but somebody who’s transparent and direct,” Corker added.
Yesterday, leading Rice critics Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) declared they were more troubled after meeting with the ambassador over Benghazi.
Obama wouldn’t answer a question during remarks at his cabinet meeting today about whether he thought the Hill was being fair Rice. He did tell reporters, though, “Susan Rice is extraordinary. I couldn’t be prouder of the job that she’s done as the USPR.” At which point, his appointees applauded.
I’m thinking that this may be the creepiest story I’ve seen in a while. If this is where our culture is or is going, we’re beyond saving until the rapture or the Sweet Meteor of Death finally strikes.
No one would dispute the old adage ‘sex sells’, though some may voice concerns when the ‘sex’ part of the deal involves the seller’s scantily-clad young daughter.
In a bid to sell his vintage car on eBay, Kim Ridley, from Oregon, decided to enlist the help of his 20-year-old daughter Lexxa – by getting her to pose provocatively with, and on, the car so he could upload them to his eBay site.
More than a dozen images show the tattooed, pierced-lip, bottle blonde leaning over the Z-Series, some with a birds-eye-view shot of either her cleavage or butt cheeks – which are just about covered with a pair of black panties.
Yeah. Her name is Lexxa. Two x’s. You can see the pics at the link. They’re…odd. Considering that she’s his daughter.
Father of the Year had a sanguine attitude when questioned about his choice.
‘If I felt bad about it, I wouldn’t do it.’
Sociopaths everywhere nod in agreement.
Father of the Year was even cool when one prospective buyer compared Lexxa to a porn model.
Under the ‘Questions and Answers about this item’ category, one user asked: ‘Does buying the car include a free “ride” with the porn star ?’ to which Mr Ridley says: ‘Nice way to talk about my daughter!!!! But sure———-!!!! Hit the buy it now!!’
I repeat: She is his daughter.
According to the auction page, “Social justice advocate Sandra Fluke will help you harness the power of activism and/or advocacy with this strategy session. You bring the expertise on your issue, and Sandra will bring her sharp strategic mind and national experience.”
A reliable source has informed me that the auction is authentic. But if you were hoping for face-to-face time with Ms. Fluke, I’m afraid that’s not on the menu: The auction page states: “Advice session will take place by phone or Skype at a mutually convenient time. The item is one session of up to one hour.”
Unfortunately, “All sales are final,” according to the rules. So no refunds, even if you end up dissatisfied with your experience.
Didn’t Winston Churchill have a witty quote about haggling over prices?
Senate Republicans today introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would monetarily punish the Palestinians and any complicit United Nations entity or country if the Palestinian Authority is granted upgraded status.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to launch a fresh bid tomorrow for non-member observer state status at the General Assembly.
Countries that have vowed to support the drive for UN-baptized statehood include France, Spain, Norway, Denmark and Switzerland. Hamas has also joined hands with Abbas in support of the bid.
The amendment from Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) would cut 50 percent of the total U.S. funds to the PA and also to any U.N. entity that grants the Palestinians a status change. It also cuts all U.S. foreign assistance to any country voting for the status change by 20 percent.
“The best path to a true and lasting peace is through direct negotiations between the two parties — not through manipulations at the United Nations,” said Barrasso. “The Palestinian Authority’s attempt to change their United Nations’ status is a purely political maneuver that will circumvent direct peace process negotiations with Israel.”
The U.S. threat to use its veto power stopped the PA’s last attempt. “We’ve obviously been very clear that we do not think that this step is going to bring the Palestinian people any closer to a state, that we think it is a mistake, that we oppose it, that we will oppose it,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said at Monday’s press briefing. “The Secretary was very clear with President Abbas when she was in Ramallah last week that our position on this has not changed, and we are continuing to make that clear, not only directly to President Abbas and the Palestinians, but also to all of our UN partners as well.”
“If the Palestinians move forward with this irresponsible plan, they will violate international agreements, undermine the peace process and threaten the security of our ally,” Barrasso said. “My amendment makes it clear that undermining the peace process comes at a cost.”
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has released a study that predicts a whole lot of pain will result from looming Environmental Protection Agency regulations. In a press release, NAM says that the regulations will “cost manufacturers hundreds of billions of dollars and cause the loss of several million jobs.”
The study look at the cumulative effects of the EPA’s final Utility MACT and Boiler MACT rules, the pending Coal Combustion Residuals and Cooling Water Intake Structures regulations, the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone. Those effects, according to the study, are massive and negative.
Key findings of the report include the following:
· The annual compliance costs for all six regulations range from $36 billion to $111.2 billion (by EPA estimates) and from $63.2 billion to $138.2 billion (by industry estimates).
· The total capital expenditures for all six regulations range from $174.6 billion to $539.3 billion (by EPA estimates) and from $404.5 billion to $884.5 billion (by industry estimates).
None of these regulations have even come up in Washington’s increasingly surreal fiscal cliff talks. President Obama’s attitude to it all seems to be “America, this is going to hurt you a lot more than it’s going to hurt me.”
An Egyptian court has tried and sentenced seven Americans in absentia for their roles in the “Innocence of Muslims” YouTube clip that the Obama government erroneously blamed for a terrorist attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya. In a not at all funny story, the Associate Press quotes Rev. Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who was among those condemned to death by a full blown court for having no actual role in making a movie that hardly anyone knew anything about before 9-11-12.
In a telephone interview Wednesday, Jones said the ruling “shows the true face of Islam” – one that he views as intolerant of dissent and opposed to basic freedoms of speech and religion.
Now, why would that hayseed Jones view as intolerant of dissent and opposed to basic freedoms, a religion that had just condemned him to death from several thousand miles away? Crazy old coot.
Here in Obama’s America we’re so much better and more enlightened about these things. We merely publicly identify Islamist targets and then stick them in jail on technicalities, while our president declares to whom the future does and does not belong. Surprisingly, or not, the president believes the future does not belong to the very people that the Egyptian court just sentenced to death.
Why, it’s just crazy to think that Obama’s Middle East policies are objectively pro-Islamist.
The Senate’s avowed socialist is urging his colleagues to shut up about the Simpson-Bowles plan as a common-sense base of compromise for fiscal cliff negotiations.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said that the plan from President Obama’s bipartisan deficit reduction commission “will cause major economic pain to virtually every American while lowering tax rates for millionaires, billionaires and large corporations.”
Obama himself hasn’t embraced the recommendations of President Clinton’s chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), but lawmakers have generally touted the mix of spending cuts and revenue raising as the best starting point for a deal. Bowles met today with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and business leaders.
“I believe the probability is that we’re going over the cliff, and I think that would be horrible. I think it would be devastating to the economy,” Bowles said at a breakfast in Washington this morning, putting the odds of cliff-plunging at one in three.
In his letter circulated to Democrats, Sanders highlighted in bold, large font Bowles compliments of Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget plan as “a sensible, straightforward, honest, serious budget.” He also nitpicked that Bowles has been a board member at Morgan Stanley since 2005 “and made a fortune as a Wall Street investment banker as many of you know.”
Sanders accused Simpson of making “rude, inaccurate, and derogatory statements” about Social Security — and included Simpson’s famous 2010 quote about the entitlement program being “like a milk cow with 310 million tits.”
“You may also be unaware that Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson endorsed Congressman Charles Bass (R-N.H.) against progressive Democrat Ann McClane Kuster,” he continued, noting that the congressman voted for Ryan’s budget. Bass lost re-election.
Sanders outlined the points in Simpson-Bowles that he believes Democrats should object to, including using a new formula to determine cost-of-living increases for current retirees and VA beneficiaries, raising the retirement age to 69, raising student loan interest rates, and increasing premiums for Medicare and Medicaid.
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said leadership had a “constructive conversation” with Bowles, who is trying to act as an intermediary between Republicans and the White House.
“Everyone in the room is committed to reaching an agreement that will prevent us from going over the cliff by spurring economic growth and reducing the debt burden on hard-working Americans,” McCarthy said. “If the president truly wants a ‘balanced approach,’ the White House must outline cuts and reforms to address Washington’s out-of-control federal spending.”
Old White Men
—apologies to Stephen Foster and “Old Black Joe”
Gone are the days when America was strong
Gone the days when public schools taught right from wrong
Gone the days of freedom that we enjoyed then
I hear “progressive” voices sneering, “Old White Men”
They’re coming, they’re coming, to stripmine cash again
To fund programs with what they take from “Old White Men”
Why do they seek to take what I’ve worked to own?
Why do they seek to reap where they have not sown?
Preferring to upon government depend
And sneering at maxims of thrift from “Old White Men.”
They’re coming, they’re coming, to stripmine cash again
To fund programs with what they take from “Old White Men”
Will they e’er learn that “free stuff” isn’t free?
That the price paid for “free stuff” is your liberty?
Or will they just demand more handouts again,
Be supported forevermore by “Old White Men?
They’re coming, they’re coming, to stripmine cash again
To fund programs with what they take from “Old White Men”
How incoherent was the Nov. 6 election result? Try this. A 54% majority now does not think that it is the government’s responsibility to make sure that all Americans have healthcare coverage. But a smaller majority just backed the president who rammed a one-size-fits-all healthcare regime through into law. A larger majority than either of these (56%) opposed ObamaCare when it was passed.
For the first time in Gallup trends since 2000, a majority of Americans say it is not the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage. Prior to 2009, a majority always felt the government should ensure healthcare coverage for all, though Americans’ views have become more divided in recent years.
The current results are based on Gallup’s annual Health and Healthcare poll, conducted Nov. 15-18 this year.
The shift away from the view that the government should ensure healthcare coverage for all began shortly after President Barack Obama’s election and has continued the past several years during the discussions and ultimate passage of the Affordable Care Act in March 2010. Americans are divided on that legislation today — 48% approve and 45% disapprove — as they have been over the last several years.
Republicans, including Republican-leaning independents, are mostly responsible for the drop since 2007 in Americans’ support for government ensuring universal health coverage. In 2007, 38% of Republicans thought the government should do so; now, 12% do. Among Democrats and Democratic leaners there has been a much smaller drop, from 81% saying the government should make sure all Americans are covered in 2007 to 71% now.
So, about 71% of Democrats subscribe to socializing healthcare coverage, and the rest of us are forced to go along with them, despite the fact that a majority oppose what the Democrats believe in and do.
The left still doesn’t hold anything like a majority on its long-term goal:
One thing that has not changed is that Americans still widely prefer a system based on private insurance to one run by the government. Currently, 57% prefer a private system and 36% a government-run system, essentially the same as in 2010 and 2011. Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the percentage of Americans in favor of a government-run system ranged from 32% to 41%.
But thanks to unpopular ObamaCare, we’re bound to get to the left’s long-term goal anyway.
Jennifer Rubin notes that President Obama comes in for criticism from some newspaper editorial boards today because he has chosen to campaign rather than negotiate.
The Post editorial board, which endorsed Obama in part because “the president understands the urgency of the problems as well as anyone in the country and is committed to solving them in a balanced way,” now warns: “Since his reelection, Mr. Obama has fueled a campaign-style effort to pressure Republicans to give ground on taxes. That’s fine, but it won’t be enough. At some point, he has to prepare the American people — and his own supporters most of all — for the ‘hard decisions’ required to put the country on a sound financial footing. That means spending cuts, it means entitlement reform, it means compromise, it means a balanced solution that will please neither House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) nor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Only one person is in a position to make it happen.”
The Post’s editorial board is not alone. USA Today’s ed board also cautions that Democrats need to get serious on entitlement reform: “During Monday’s briefing at the White House, press secretary Jay Carney repeated the theme: ‘We should address the drivers of the deficit, and Social Security is not currently a driver of the deficit — that’s an economic fact.’ Well, saying it’s a fact doesn’t make it so.” Echoing Republicans’ current complaint, the USA Today editorial board asks, “How exactly do Democrats expect Republicans to bend on their destructive refusal to raise taxes if Democrats won’t bend on their destructive refusal to trim unsustainable benefit programs?”
Where did the Post ever get the idea that Obama “understands the urgency of the problems as well as anyone in the country and is committed to solving them” in a balanced or any other way? Where? Obama does not believe and does not say that hiking taxes on the rich will fix anything. Other Democrats claim that raising taxes back to the Clinton-era rates will help, but Obama himself is campaigning to keep the Bush-era tax cuts in place. Obama has no experience solving any problem of any scale, ever. He was a shakedown artist who decided that politics would allow him to perpetrate his shakedowns on a grander scale (and he was right!). Obama’s opponent, whom the Post rejected, was a man known for fixing huge economic problems. Mitt Romney’s entire professional career consisted of fixing things other people had screwed up. But Obama successfully cast him as a vulture capitalist meanie, with the Post’s help. The only place from the which the Post could possibly have drawn the conclusion that Obama is interested and capable of fixing anything is from its own collective posterior.
These editorials will have precisely zero impact on Zero’s strategy or thinking. He’s playing a longer game than anyone in the mainstream media will admit, whether they know what he’s up to or not. They won’t admit that Obama is setting the table for a crisis that he has no intention of letting go to waste.
Of course he does. He supports any effort to end any impediment to his power.
“The President has said many times that the American people are demanding action,” White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement to The Huffington Post. “They want to see progress, not partisan delay games. That hasn’t changed, and the President supports Senator Reid’s efforts to reform the filibuster process.”
“Over the past few years important pieces of legislation like the DREAM Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, and the American Jobs Act weren’t even allowed to be debated, and judicial nominations and key members of the administration are routinely forced to wait months for an up-or-down vote,” Pfeiffer added. “The American people deserve a United States Senate that puts them first, instead of partisan delay.”
This endorsement of Reid’s effort to reform the filibuster is the firmest White House statement to date on the matter.
The American people aren’t demanding any such action. A bare majority of the voters re-elected Obama with little idea of what he plans, because he didn’t detail his plans. But Republicans retain control of the House and a majority of the governorships. Republicans might have captured the Senate, if not for a few numbskulls. A tweak here and there and Romney might have defeated Obama. Neither party has a mandate to do much of anything. If the American people did anything on Nov. 6, they endorsed gridlock with a celebrity atop the mess. And even that might be a stretch. Honestly, Nov. 6 was among the most incoherent elections I can recall.
Saying that the “American people are demanding action” sounds nice, but the line is really just a weapon of mass deception.
Obama’s Contribution to Fiscal Policy: A Twitter Hashtag #My2K that Admits that Bush Tax Policies Were Right
President Obama jumped head first into the fiscal cliff negotiations today, not by sitting down to actually negotiate with anyone, but by making a pest of himself and an army of pests of his supporters. He rolled out a Twitter hashtag designed to put pressure on congressional Republicans.
Mr. Obama is promoting the hashtag #My2K to continue to the conversation about a potential tax increase on the middle class if Bush-era tax cuts are allowed to expire. The keyword #My2K was chosen specifically because, according to the White House, a middle class family of four could see a tax increase of about $2,220.
So Barack Obama is now campaigning on Twitter to preserve tax policies that he has derided for more than four years? Yeah, that’s our president. Campaign against something because your base hates it, then embrace it because it’s actually the right policy. Bonus: His base won’t care!
The #My2K campaign is an admission that Bush’s tax policies ought to be preserved, but don’t expect the president or his supporters to admit that. Don’t expect the media to call him out on it either. He may get one or two jibes about it from Ed Henry or Jake Tapper at the White House press flogging, which could go viral if the exchanges get hot enough, but that’s about it.
Please don’t misunderstand this post, either. I was among those who derided Obama’s leadership by Twitter cycle before Nov. 6, but it clearly worked for him. It may work for him here too.
Keith Hennessey writes that in the fiscal cliff negotiations, President Obama is bluffing when he threatens to veto any deal that does not include a big tax hike on the rich.
It’s a good piece, but I’m not sure that it’s right. Here’s the heart of the post.
This conventional wisdom makes three key assumptions.
- The President’s top economic policy priority is his fiscal policy goal (raising taxes on the rich).
- In a veto / no bill / blame game scenario, the President can shift most of the political blame to Republicans.
- He will make his veto decision on these two bases: fiscal policy and relative political blame.
Key flaw in the conventional wisdom: The President’s veto decision is not about tax increases or political blame; it’s about causing a recession in 2013.
I make different assumptions.
- If there is no bill, the U.S. economy will probably dip into recession for much/most/all of 2013, and it’s impossible to predict whether such a recession would be short-lived.
- A 2013 recession would be terrible for the country and terrible for the Obama Presidency. It would limit the President’s options across his entire policy agenda, economic and non-economic. And it could define and dominate his entire second term.
- President Obama believes #1 and #2, and therefore avoiding the risk of triggering a recession with his veto is an even higher policy priority than his fiscal policy goal.
- The President wants to get things done. He cares more about his own chances for policy success (across the entire breadth of his agenda, whenever he figures out what it is) than he cares about relative political blame. A scenario in which Republicans get most of the blame for a veto-triggered recession is still a loser for him if it means he can’t accomplish his second term goals.
If my assumptions are correct, then the President cannot afford to veto a bill and have no compromise enacted.
But what if the president isn’t actually interested in getting things done? Or, to focus in a bit, what if the things the president wants to get done are not the things presidents usually want to get done?
US Ambassador Susan Rice tweeted this last night.
As Pres. Obama has said, hope cannot be imprisoned & aspirations cannot be killed. But we must continue to speak for those who are silenced.
— Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) November 28, 2012
Two years ago, President Barack Obama spoke at a Republican retreat. In his speech, he lauded the bipartisan deal-making that occurred between President Ronald Reagan and then House Speaker Tip O’Neil that restored the solvency of Social Security for another generation. Obama said:
The major driver of our long-term liabilities, everybody here knows, is Medicare and Medicaid and our health care spending. Nothing comes close.
Social Security we could probably fix the same way Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan sat down together and they could figure something out. That is manageable.
Medicare and Medicaid, massive problem down the road. That’s where — that’s — that’s going to be what our children have to worry about.
Well, Medicare and Medicaid aren’t just something our children have to worry about. Both plus the massive expansion of the welfare state during Obama’s term have become problems we have to worry about now. But Obama has chosen not to sit across the table from House Speaker John Boehner and hammer out a deal. He has chosen to go out campaigning instead.
Administration officials said Obama will hit the road this week for a campaign-style series of events with ordinary Americans, including a visit to a toy manufacturer in suburban Philadelphia on Friday. That trip and others will be aimed at increasing pressure on Congress to reach an agreement on heading off a series of automatic spending cuts and tax increases that are scheduled to begin in January.
This tactic comes as a surprise only to those who haven’t been paying attention, which describes about 50.6% of the country now. Barack Obama has zero experience in negotiating with people who don’t agree with him, and zero experience managing anything successfully other than a pair of campaigns. But we’re stuck with him for another four years.
Meanwhile in Washington, eyes focus on Grover Norquist because the Democrats and their media PR operatives have made him a target. Targeting him is fine, but it should never be confused for leadership. Some Democrats have made small nods in the direction of “entitlement reform” but none of them are really addressing one of the greatest drivers of our national debt: Welfare. They’re talking Medicare and Medicaid, but not the tilting of the scales toward dependency and away from work that has happened with alarming speed since Barack Obama’s first inauguration. A new report from Pennsylvania — which supported Obama’s re-election this month — spells out the shift in detail.
[F]or increasingly more it is now more lucrative – in the form of actual disposable income – to sit, do nothing, and collect various welfare entitlements, than to work. This is graphically, and very painfully confirmed, in the below chart from Gary Alexander, Secretary of Public Welfare, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (a state best known for its broke capital Harrisburg). As quantitied, and explained by Alexander, “the single mom is better off earnings gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045.“
When you can make more money sitting around than you can by working, who wants to work?
More important, who in Washington wants to bring this up? Who wants to bring up the fact that federal welfare spending increased 32% from 2008 to 2011? Who wants to bring up the fact that we’re now spending over $1 trillion per year on all the myriad federal welfare programs? Who wants to bring up the fact that part of the increase is surely due to the fact that Obama’s government advertised food stamps to middle class Americans who have jobs and own their homes and cars, but who nonetheless have gone on the dole because they can?
The Democrats know that the increased welfare spending positioned them as the guarantors of government largesse to enough people to swing an election in troubled economic times their way, so they won’t bring it up. Cuts now all but guarantee that they will lose seats in 2014. Republicans are still shell-shocked from Nov. 6 and in no mood to push an issue that Obama and his media PR flaks will spin as racist.
So the unreal Beltway false fiscal cliff negotiations will go on. We’re all watching a bunch of hack magicians pull lame sleight of hand tricks while the theater burns down around us.
This painting called “The Truth” by Michael D’Antuono is our most outrageous photo caption contest ever.
Here is an explanation from The Boston Globe website:
A painting that was removed from an art installation in New York City because of public backlash is now on display at the Bunker Hill Community College Art Gallery, sparking outrage as well as an outpouring of support for the artist. The portrait depicts President Obama as Jesus, wearing a Crown of Thorns with his arms outstretched.
Michael D’Antuono’s painting, which is called ‘The Truth,’ is part of a larger exhibit ‘Artists on the Stump: The Road to the White House 2012.’ According to the gallery’s website, the exhibition is an opportunity for artists to ‘weigh in on the issues, candidates and country.’
“Some of our shows are meant to be thought provoking,” said Karen Norton, spokeswoman for Bunker Hill Community College. “The exhibit was intended to coincide with the presidential election, and it represents different points of view pertaining to politics and our political leaders.”
So now Tatler readers have an opportunity to weigh in with “different points of view pertaining to politics and our political leaders” and caption this painting in an appropriate manner.
My personal opinion is that the above named painter will experience a very hot climate at the end of his days.
Due to the absurd nature of this image, we are suspending normal contest rules of civility and decorum which means just go for it!
The contest winner will receive many blessings from my experienced, professional team of personal guardian angels.
One of the bigger political stories of the past few days has been the backlash by some members of the GOP to the manner in which Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform wields some legislators’ tax pledges as a bludgeon to Grover’s own agenda.
Some of the criticism of these lawmakers is on target as they lose their nerve following Obama’s reelection and are contemplating various “revenue enhancements” or “tax reform” schemes as mechanisms to raise taxes on American citizens. Fair enough.
But that in no way makes Grover Norquist the guy in the white hat as a review of his record shows. Not only did Norquist endorse increases in government spending (which we now have to pay for), but his record shows that Grover Norquist’s primary interest in DC is not the taxpayers but no one other than Grover Norquist and whomever is paying for his time (and it sure ain’t the taxpayers).
Let’s review some data points:
In Sept 2003, Norquist was the main cheerleader and defender of the increases in government spending under President Bush and the GOP-controlled US House and Senate, claiming that these spending increases were to “make government more effective“:
Some other conservatives see it differently. Grover Norquist, founder of the Americans for Tax Reform, says much of the growth is short-term and aimed at programs to make government more effective, helping conservatives to meet long-term goals of shrinking government. He cited Mr. Bush’s education initiative requiring more student testing as an example that could eventually bring school costs down. “We are going to find that there are failures in the public-school system. Are we building the case for school choice, for defeating teacher’s unions? I think you can argue that we are, that we are investing in order to reform.”
Clearly, those spending increases haven’t made government more effective or lowered spending in the long-term as Grover promised.
In June 2011, Norquist was battling with Sen. Tom Coburn, who wanted to end ethanol subsidies. But Norquist said he considered ending billions in government handouts without cutting the same amount as a violation of the ATR tax pledge. Again, fair enough, but just a few weeks later Norquist was telling the Washington Post editorial board that allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire would not be considered a tax increase:
WITH A HANDFUL of exceptions, every Republican member of Congress has signed a pledge against increasing taxes. Would allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire as scheduled in 2012 violate this vow? We posed this question to Grover Norquist, its author and enforcer,and his answer was both surprising and encouraging: No.
In other words, according to Mr. Norquist’s interpretation of the Americans for Tax Reform pledge, lawmakers have the technical leeway to bring in as much as $4 trillion in new tax revenue — the cost of extending President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for another decade — without being accused of breaking their promise. “Not continuing a tax cut is not technically a tax increase,” Mr. Norquist told us. So it doesn’t violate the pledge? “We wouldn’t hold it that way,” he said.
It does seem at times that Norquist’s interpretation of the ATR pledge has frequently coincided with whomever his lobbying clients are at the time.
His record also shows that he has no real regard for the conservative movement he tries to wrap himself up in, as demonstrated following the investigation, arrest and conviction of his pal Jack Abramoff, where the investigation showed that Norquist whored out the conservative movement to a wide variety of interests, including Indian casinos, Marianas Island sweat shops and nefarious foreign governments.
Let’s also not forget Norquist’s lobbying on behalf of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to continue the homeownership tax credit, which as Erick Erickson noted directly contributed to the housing bubble and collapse at the expense of billions to the American taxpayers.
But in October 2010, Norquist was on CNN blaming the collapse on Freddie and Fannie:
NORQUIST: You may have missed this, but Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac brought us this collapse. Those were the two things the Democrats refused to fix.
SPITZER: No, no, I agree with you that they were…
NORQUIST: This was criminal negligence on the part of Barney Frank and Dodd.
SPITZER: They were huge participants, but there were multiple parties involved. I think everybody was…
NORQUIST: No Fannie Mae, no Freddie Mac, we wouldn’t have the collapse.
SPITZER: No, that’s not quite the case. Fannie and Freddie contributed in a very significant way as did…
NORQUIST: With trillions. You keep — I give you trillions and you tell me that’s not a big enough number.
SPITZER: This was multiple links in the chain. And that’s why if you want to say just Fannie and Freddie, you’re wrong. If you want to say they’re part of it along with the mortgage banks and the brokers and the people who actually were taking out mortgages improperly, then you have the full picture.
NORQUIST: And Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton’s laws which forced your bank to lend to people who can’t afford to, so that everybody got screwed by the misdirection of capital.
Hypocrisy, thy name is Norquist.
Speaking of hypocrisy, in the late 1990s, Norquist teamed with Christian Coalition executive director Randy Tate to help sell social conservatives on the Defense of Marriage Act. In fact, I was in some of those meetings, including one where Norquist and Tate publicly browbeat a female intern for the Eagle Forum for raising the objections of her organization to using the Commerce Clause as the basis for the legislation and how that might undermine federalism and states rights. Yet now Norquist sits on the advisory board of GOProud, which is working to overturn the same act claiming it should be a states rights issue.
Norquist’s record gets worse.
Not only has he sold his influence to the highest bidder, some of those that Norquist gave entry to the GOP corridors of power were downright dangerous.
Take for instance Norquist escorting Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror leader Sami al-Arian into the White House for a meeting with Karl Rove. During Al-Arian’s terror support trial, his attorney specifically cited the top Republican government officials that Al-Arian had met with courtesy of Norquist’s introductions as a defense that his client couldn’t possibly be a terrorist leader. When Al-Arian plead guilty to terror support, the federal judge noted that Al-Arian had been “an active leader” in the terror group.
Where were the apologies by Norquist for exposing Republicans to such a dangerous individual? In fact there were none. Rather, he attacked as racists, bigots and Islamophobes anyone who dared raise issue for his new-found terrorist friends.
Nor were there any apologies, but rather a cover-up, when one of his lobbying firm’s clients, Abdurahman Alamoudi, came under fire for his terrorist associations. In response to those news reports, Norquist’s firm altered their lobbying disclosure forms naming Alamoudi as their client to try to conceal the relationship:
Lobby disclosure forms originally filed by [David] Safavian’s firm [co-founded with Norquist], Janus-Merritt Strategies, show that it represented Alamoudi, a prominent Muslim activist, until 2001. Alamoudi has since been convicted and imprisoned for accepting money from the Libyan government as part of an alleged plot to assassinate the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.
Janus-Merritt Strategies changed its lobby disclosure forms in 2001 to indicate that its client was not Alamoudi but Jamal Barzinji. In March 2002, Barzinji was named in a search warrant affidavit filed by a Customs Service official as “the officer or director” of a group of entities in Northern Virginia “controlled by individuals who have shown support for terrorists or terrorist fronts.” No charges have been filed against Barzinji, and he has denied any wrongdoing.
The Treasury Department later identified Alamoudi as one of Al-Qaeda’s top North American fundraisers.
Alamoudi even spoke at an anti-Israel hatefest in October 2000 co-sponsored and promoted by Norquist’s Islamic Institute, where Alamoudi led the crowd gathered in Lafayette Park across from the White House making his support for terrorists crystal clear, saying:
“I have been labeled by the media in New York to be a supporter of Hamas,” Alamoudi told a crowd of about 3,000 people in Washington’s Lafayette Park on Saturday who were protesting U.S. Mideast policies. “Anybody support Hamas here?” Alamoudi asked three times, as the crowd roared its approval.
“Hear that, Bill Clinton?” he continued. “We are all supporters of Hamas. I wish they added that I am also a supporter of Hezbollah. . . . Does anybody support Hezbollah here?”
The crowd again roared its approval as Alamoudi repeated the question.
“I want you to send a message,” he told his audience. “It’s an occupation, stupid. . . . Hamas is fighting an occupation. It’s a legal fight.”
And yet Norquist continued to push Alamoudi, even arranging for the Al-Qaeda financier (who was funneling money for Osama bin Laden since as early as 1993) to appear with President Bush just days after the 9/11 attacks.
And when other Norquist lobbying clients (and donors to Norquist’s organizations) were raided by the US Customs Service in the Operation Greenquest terror finance investigation, Norquist immediately sprung into action, arranging a meeting for his clients with then-Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill. With considerable money being directed to a number of GOP candidates, the investigation was quietly shut down by the Bush administration over the strong objections of the federal investigators on the case.
So in conclusion, while those cowardly GOP souls who seem eager to collapse to Obama’s demands for higher taxes are clearly in the wrong, the evidence shows clearly that Grover Norquist is not the anti-tax, limited government advocate he would have you believe.
Norquist’s record is that he will cheer unfunded government spending increases when it suits his own interests, and will shift his interpretation of the ATR no-tax pledge depending on who is lobbying clients are or what special interests he is protecting. As seen with the Defense of Marriage Act and his lobbying for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, he will take both sides of the issue given enough time. The Abramoff scandal showed that he willingly whored out the conservative movement to the highest bidder. And his promoting terror leaders, such as Sami al-Arian and Abdurahman Alamoudi, along with his attempts to scuttle the Operation Greenquest terror finance investigation targeting his lobbying clients and friends, shows he has no reservations putting his own financial interests ahead of those of the country.
Make no mistake: Grover Norquist is the problem with Washington DC, not the solution.
- Iran May Be Close to a Plutonium Bomb, German Defense Experts Warn, by David P. Goldman. Western negotiators previously ignored Iran’s light nuclear reactor, on the grounds that it constituted peaceful use of energy.
- UK City Council Removes Foster Children from Conservative Parents, by Mike McNally. Thought police.
- ‘Major Hasan Syndrome’ at the Los Angeles Police Department? By Jack Dunphy. Once again, incompetence and even criminal behavior get ignored for the sake of diversity.
- European Disintegration: Animal Prostitution, by J. Christian Adams. Behold Germany’s “erotic zoos,” where you can pay a pimp for “personal time” with his flock of sheep.
- Rice Bombs in Meeting with Senators, by Andrew C. McCarthy. The Obama administration’s problem is reminiscent of the shoddy defense lawyer who is so taken in by his own spin that he can’t understand why others see right through it. More: Poll: Majority Thinks No One In the White House Intended to Mislead on Benghazi
- Gun, Ammo Sales Skyrocket in Wake of Obama Reelection, by Bob Owens. Both close-in self-defense weapons and guns often targeted by gun-control politicians are selling.
- Right-Wing Commentators and the Problem of Decorum, by Andrew Klavan. In an empire of lies, only a crazy man would speak the truth.
The last time I saw Andrew Breitbart, he was angry.
We were in Manchester, New Hampshire, and it was the night before the primary. I was one of a zillion bloggers and writers and scribes who had descended on the town to get a few stories and then move on to the next primary or caucus or whatever. So the date was January 9, not that I remembered that. I had to look it up. That part of 2012 kind of runs together for me, but I remember the conversation with Andrew very well.
I had what might be called a long distance friendship with Andrew. We had had a silly run-in when I was working at Hot Air, which was almost entirely my fault, but we resolved that and eventually became friends. That’s how Andrew was. I don’t think he held personal grudges despite his reputation for relentlessly picking away at liberals. The reason that he picked at Eric “Earache” Boehlert at Media Matters wasn’t personal. He picked at Earache because of what he represented, the intolerant, angry and dishonest left that always claims the moral high ground while acting in the lowest and most underhanded manner. Andrew hated that. He loved exposing and ridiculing it.
So I’m at the headquarters hotel in Manchester, having run into Stacy McCain at some point. Stacy and I go to Radio Row and there’s Andrew, doing a hit on Fingers Malloy’s radio show. Of course, Andrew knew everybody in the room and everybody knew him. You couldn’t ignore him if you tried.
As I said, we were long distance friends. We seldom communicated outside of big events, but when we saw each other we made a point to say hello and spend a few minutes catching up.
He finished up on the show and did that Breitbart thing of greeting you loudly and making sure everyone around said hello to everybody else. He told a joke about me, not mean-spirited as I wasn’t actually the target, and then we walked down to the hotel’s restaurant. It was packed and we couldn’t get a table for quite a while. So we stood around outside the door waiting, and Stacy saw someone he knew and wandered inside. As I said at the top of this piece, Andrew was angry. He held a flyer in his hand that advertised a GOProud party. Andrew had championed GOProud in its battle with CPAC. But the flyer he held advertised a party, and *he was afraid that the campy innuendo of the flyer would offend social conservatives. That upset him, because he saw it as fractious to the conservative cause. He knew that while social cons and GOProud would have longstanding disagreements, if they could agree on some basic things, they could be on the same winning team.
Andrew came at his support for GOProud from where and what he was, a libertarian conservative. I come at my social conservative beliefs from where and what I am, a Southern Baptist from Texas. He was a West Coast Hollywood conservative turned off by the aggressive hypocrisy and fundamental dishonesty of liberalism. I come at my conservatism from a totally different direction. Andrew was one of the few people who could be a neither/both kind of guy at the same time.
Andrew showed me the flyer, and I had to admit that it was bad and it was not the kind of thing I would have created, nor was it anything that surprised me overmuch. It was upsetting but not particularly shocking. Social cons get kicked in the teeth by the dominant culture and even by our fellow Republicans all the time. We do our share of kicking too. The flyer kind of rolled off my back. At that point I was still more worried about Romney rolling to the nomination than some flyer. The Perry miracle never came.
But Andrew wouldn’t let it go. He kept talking about how dumb it was, how it was the kind of thing we need less of if we’re going to defeat the left, how it was an insult.
Some of this was just his personality. “Laid back” was not a term that anyone would associate with him. But he was right to be angry, too, about the unnecessary divisiveness of it all.
Andrew was never, as far as I know, an addition by subtraction guy. He never saw the solution to any of the conservative movement’s problems in purges or “If we would only get rid of this group we would win more.” He didn’t spend a lot of his time going after any particular faction on our side, however he might have disagreed with them. He trained his fire and passion on the other side and tried to win more people to our side.
So why bring all of this up now?
I’m not really sure, to be honest. It’s just been on my mind. After an election, whether a party wins or loses, you always have people in this group or that group within the party use the outcome to push their longstanding agendas. This is especially true after a defeat. In the wake of last week’s loss, it has proven to be all too tempting for our various factions to slam each other rather than train our fire on the other side. “We have to get rid of the social cons,” or “We have to lose the RINOs.” They are, essentially, calling to get to four by subtracting two from two.
I don’t know whether Obama would have won had Andrew survived. We’ll never know that, of course. I’m not sure even Tornado Andrew could have undone the political effects of Hurricane Sandy or fixed the GOP ground game. We certainly lost a lion and a lightning rod when we lost him. But I do know that his reaction to the defeat would not have been to go about purging the movement of any particular faction. He would have come back the next day fighting with all of his might for the whole cause, to rally as many people as he could to it.
*I’ve edited that sentence to more accurately reflect the flyer and why it bothered Andrew.
Winston Churchill has been quoted as saying, “Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.”
And any man who writes on politics for New York Magazine has neither heart nor brains — especially if his name is Jonathan Chait:
How doomed are conservatives? Pretty doomed, if you look carefully at the Pew Research Survey’s close analysis of the youth vote in the 2012 elections. The Republicans’ long-term dilemma has generally been framed in racial terms, but it’s mainly a generational one. The youngest generation of voters contains a much smaller proportion of white voters than previous generations, and those whites in that generation vote Republican by a much smaller margin than their elders. What’s more, younger voters supported President Obama during the last two election cycles for reasons that seem to go beyond the usual reasons — social issues like gay marriage and feminism, immigration policy, or Obama’s personal appeal — and suggest a deeper attachment to liberalism. The proclivities of younger voters may actually portend a full-scale sea change in American politics.
Chait needs a quick trip to the Wizard of Oz. In addition to heart and brains, he might see if the old humbug has any common sense rattling around in that sack.
The transformation of the young from liberal to conservative begins when they get their first paycheck as teenagers. The look of shock and dismay on these kids’ faces would be comical if you didn’t remember having the same look on your face when you got your first paycheck. “What’s FICA?” they wail. The disbelief they feel that the government would take so much — enough to fill up their gas tanks or get a couple of CDs — is not quite a Road to Damascus moment, but it certainly gets the wheels turning.
Feeling this way doesn’t make them any less compassionate for those less fortunate, or resentful of those on the dole. But it is their first lesson in understanding the adage that all those who can’t wait for their “free” health care under Obamacare seem to have forgotten: “There is no free lunch.” The first step in the transformation of liberal to conservative is a cognitive one — the understanding that funding the government so that it can bestow all those benefits is a fine thing in the abstract. But when it comes to you having actual skin in the game when the government taxes you for those benefits, your perspective is altered dynamically.
Frankly, I’m surprised that a pollster could find a majority that even knows why Benghazi is in the news. So…progress!
On Libya, 54% of the country is dissatisfied with the administration’s response to the Benghazi attack, with only four in ten saying they’re satisfied with the way the White House handled the matter.
“But that dissatisfaction is not because Americans see a cover-up,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Only 40% believe that the inaccurate statements that administration officials initially made about the Benghazi attack were an attempt to deliberately mislead the public. Fifty-four percent think those inaccurate statements reflected what the White House believed to be true at the time.”
Well, that’s what a media blackout buys you.
There is no way that the White House believed that its Benghazi started from a movie schtick was true. No way.
Setting Ambassador Susan Rice aside for a moment, as she is really just one player in a multi-act play, the White House knew thanks to real-time information from the battle that it was a terrorist attack led by Ansar al-Sharia. That group had been identified as early as August by Library of Congress research as an al Qaeda branded Islamist group. The White House also knew that the Cairo attack was not a mere protest, but was a pre-planned attack. There was nothing save one terrorist exhorting his fellow attackers to use the Cairo protest as cover, to suggest that a movie had had anything to do with the attack.
The White House also knew that the Benghazi attack presented strong evidence that its campaign claim — al Qaeda is on the run — was not true.
For two weeks, all the way past Rice’s Sept 16 cavalcade of crap to President Obama’s shameful performances on The View and Letterman, right through his disgraceful speech at the United Nations, the Obama White House tried to keep the protest charade going. They jailed a movie producer. They attacked the First Amendment. The president declared that the future does not belong to those who “slander” Muhammad.
The media has an awful lot to work with in all of that, but has chosen not to pursue it with any zest. A few questions that the media could be, but are not, asking:
1. Who decided to blame a movie, and when did they make that decision?
2. Who changed the talking points from the CIA version, which identified al Qaeda, to the version that Rice and Obama used for two weeks?
3. Why did they make those changes?
4. Why haven’t then been identified and fired?
5. Did anyone on the Obama campaign play any role in the public Benghazi message?
6. If so, who, and what role did they play?
7. Why was Susan Rice tasked with appearing on the Sunday shows on Sept. 16 to explain Benghazi when, as President Obama recently said, she had nothing to do with Benghazi?
8. Doesn’t that tasking suggest that, at a minimum, someone who did have something to do with Benghazi had or has something to hide?
9. Why has the White House chosen not to release any photos from the Situation Room taken during the attack?
And so forth. But the media aren’t asking any of those questions.
So the majority of Americans aren’t aware that they’ve been misled.
Which is the point of misleading people, isn’t it?
Politico’s Dylan Byers reports that the AP is eliminiating such terms as “ethnic cleansing,” “Islamophobia” and “homophobia” from its official lexicon:
The online Style Book now says that “-phobia,” “an irrational, uncontrollable fear, often a form of mental illness” should not be used “in political or social contexts,” including “homophobia” and “Islamophobia.” It also calls “ethnic cleansing” a “euphemism,” and says the AP “does not use ‘ethnic cleansing’ on its own. It must be enclosed in quotes, attributed and explained.”
“Ethnic cleansing is a euphemism for pretty violent activities, a phobia is a psychiatric or medical term for a severe mental disorder. Those terms have been used quite a bit in the past, and we don’t feel that’s quite accurate,” AP Deputy Standards Editor Dave Minthorn told POLITICO.
Bravo for the AP. Personally, I have found “Islamophobia” one of the most deliberately misleading locutions to appear in some time. Those accused of it are usually not phobic of Islam at all, but disdainful of it on an ideological basis.
So you think you’re a committed Republican? You think that you have what it takes to stage a successful protest?
If you want to see what you’re up against, and see just how committed Democrats are to winning — then just click here. Or don’t, if you’re at work or don’t want to lose your lunch.
Those people stripped down to nothing in Washington in the wintertime to protest even the possibility of entitlement reform in the fiscal cliff negotiations. They came up with catchy rhyme and everything. Deep thoughts about our nation’s fiscal plight? Nah.
They laugh at your notion of “commitment.”
Side note: The Politico reporter who snapped that pic proudly fronts his awards from leftist advocacy groups right there in his Twitter bio. Conflict of interest, Politico? Apparently not. That kind of “reporting” truly is among the things we’re up against.
Those of us in flyover country keep thinking that silly, stupid protests like a bunch of people getting naked and yelling banalities at the House speaker will turn off voters. Yet “reporters” like the Politico’s man treat them as credible, and Democrats keep winning elections.
Section 4205 of ObamaCare mandates that any pizzeria with more than 20 outlets must post detailed nutrition information in their restaurants. The Tatler covered this insanity on November 20. The regulation makes no sense — most pizza customers never set foot in any physical store when ordering carryout or delivery pizza – and will end up costing millions of dollars and thousands of jobs. Add to that, how is a mandate forcing restaurants to post nutrition information regarding the 34 million ways to make a pizza relevant to bringing health insurance costs down?
The FDA has yet to hand down its final rules on how the regulation will be carried out and enforced. In advance of that, which should happen before the end of 2012, Steve Forbes and the Washington Times have both come out in favor of repealing Section 4205. Forbes accurately calls the FDA “food police,” while the Times notes that 4205 also hits grocery stores that offer bakery and deli type foods.
The signage overload is also headed for grocery stores that feature items like fresh bakery goods and food bars. Store owners must either slap up the signs everywhere or label each individual product. The problem is that suppliers, ingredients and recipes constantly change. If a store wants to offer something different, it will have to cough up around $500 to ship the product to a lab for testing and certification. This ultimately affects the products stores will be able to offer consumers. “It forces you into a central kitchen,” said Jennifer Hatcher, a senior vice president for the Food Marketing Institute, which represents 26,000 retail food stores. “It eliminates creativity and regional variation.”
And again, how can this kind of regulation possibly bring health insurance costs down? How can it help more Americans obtain health care? Wasn’t bringing health insurance costs down, not creating more bureaucracy, supposed to be the point of the health care law?
The congressman who infamously said during the ObamaCare debate that Republicans want poor people to “die quickly” is coming back to the House in January, and got kicked out a Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving for trying to unionize workers.
Grayson was ousted from office in the 2010 midterm elections by Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.). Due to redistricting this year, though, the liberal firebrand was able to run against personal-injury lawyer and conservative talk-show host Todd Long — and defeated him 63 percent to 37 percent.
He was one of six Democrats who lost their House seats in 2010 to come back and win seats in redrawn redistricts.
Grayson, however, touted his win as the “biggest comeback in the history of the US House of Representatives” in an email to supporters.
Other gems over the years from Grayson: “I have trouble listening to what [Dick Cheney] says sometimes, because of the blood that drips from his teeth while talking.”
And: “Scientists have studied for years this difficult question of why some people have a conscience and some people don’t: Some people are called Democrats, and some people are called Republicans.”
Instead of spending Thanksgiving with his wife and five children, Grayson headed to a Wal-Mart store (which, like many other stores starting Black Friday early, opened Thursday night) to hand out bags containing a turkey sandwich, chips and “a letter explaining what their rights are to organize.”
The cops were called, but Grayson was escorted out of the store by Wal-Mart security staff, he told CNN today. A few days ago in a Huffington Post column lauding his actions, though, he said the cops kicked him out.
“The important thing is we showed workers what their rights are. Wal-Mart tries to keep them in the dark and we showed that they’re not alone. That people care that we want the working poor to have a better life in America,” he said on CNN. “All the people who have those jobs suffer from the fact that we have 8 percent unemployment. We all suffer from the fact that Wal-Mart underpays its employees. The average associate at Wal-Mart makes barely $1,200 a month. That’s $1,200 a month, could you live on $1,200 a month? I couldn’t.”
Grayson claimed Wal-Mart employees cost taxpayers more than $1,000 each in Medicaid and food stamps. “The minimum wage needs to be higher. And Wal-Mart and other employees need to pick up the tab on insurance and coverage for their employees and stop handing that tab off to the taxpayers,” he said.
Wal-Mart covers 1.1 million employees and dependents, and announced last month a program allowing employees to get heart, spine and transplant surgeries at six of the nation’s most prestigious hospitals at no cost.
Still, Grayson is trying to rile up workers to unionize.
“But the Wal-Mart employees in general are afraid. They’re being intimidated. They’re being told in many cases if you even talk about union you’ll be fired,” he said.
Wal-Mart reported better sales than last year despite Black Friday protests, and said even more employees showed up for their shifts than on the same day last year.
“The protests aren’t meant to stop people from shopping. The protests are meant to inform workers of their rights to organize under the law and under the constitution and to make sure that they understand that they’re not alone, and they will be protected if they exercise their rights,” Grayson said. “It’s not meant to raise prices, not meant to interfere with shopping. It’s meant to organize people who desperately need to be organized to make a better life for themselves.”
UN Ambassador Susan Rice met today with her biggest Hill critics on Benghazi — Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) — in an attempt to stem furor over her potential nomination for secretary of State.
But her attempt to smooth waters didn’t seen to have the intended effect. “I’m more disturbed now than I was before,” Graham told reporters afterward.
Rice issued a statement after the meeting, which included Acting CIA Director Michael Morell, to discuss her Sept. 16 comments that blamed protests over an anti-Muhammad video for the deadly attack on the diplomatic facility.
“I appreciated the opportunity to discuss these issues directly and constructively with them,” Rice said. “In the course of the meeting, we explained that the talking points provided by the intelligence community, and the initial assessment upon which they were based, were incorrect in a key respect: there was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi.”
“While we certainly wish that we had had perfect information just days after the terrorist attack, as is often the case, the intelligence assessment has evolved,” she continued. “We stressed that neither I nor anyone else in the Administration intended to mislead the American people at any stage in this process, and the Administration updated Congress and the American people as our assessments evolved.”
“In real time it was a statement disconnected from reality. If anybody had been looking at the threats coming out of Benghazi, Libya it was jump out at you, this was — an al-Qaeda storm in the making,” Graham said. “I’m very disappointed in our intelligence community. I think they failed in many ways. But with a little bit of inquiry and curiosity, I think it would be pretty clear that to explain this episode as related to a video that created a mob that turned into a riot was far afield.”
If the American people were given incorrect information five days after the attack, and more bad info by President Obama even after that, the senator continued, “Should they have been giving the information at all? If you can do nothing but give bad information, isn’t it better to give no information at all?”
“So my belief is not only is the information bad — and I’m more convinced than ever that it was bad — it was unjustified to give the scenario as presented by Ambassador Rice and President Obama three weeks before an election,” Graham said.
Ayotte said she was “more troubled today knowing… it’s certainly clear from the beginning that we knew that those with ties to al Qaeda were involved in the attack on the embassy.”
“Obviously the changes made to the unclassified talking points were misleading. But just to be clear, when you have a position where you’re ambassador to the United Nations, you go well beyond classified talking points in your daily preparation and responsibilities for that job,” Ayotte said. “And that’s troubling to me, as well, why she wouldn’t have asked.”
Graham said senators are “not even close to getting the basic answers” and promised they’d remind Democrats of their opposition to John Bolton if they fuss about a holdup of a Rice nomination.
“Our Democratic friends felt like that John Bolton didn’t have the information needed to make an informed decision about Ambassador Bolton’s qualifications, John Bolton to be ambassador,” he said. “And Democrats dug in their heels saying we’re not going to vote, we’re not going to consider this nomination until we get basic answers to our concerns.”
“At least Hitler could draw a crowd.” So says Stephen Green, to the news that Sandra Fluke is a candidate for Time‘s Person of the Year.
I’m going to break with my fellow astonished conservatives and praise Time‘s choice. I can think of no better person to represent the current zeitgeist of the culture than Sandra Fluke.
Miss Fluke, a 30-something law student at one of the most prestigious universities in the nation, shot to fame when she testified before Congress that yes, people such as herself should be given free stuff. Never mind that nothing in this world is free, and never mind that some people might object to being forced to pay for the lifestyle choices of others. Never mind all of that, just give me stuff. Never mind that my demand for free stuff violates other people’s freedom of conscience. Just give it to me, and shut up.
Upon graduation, Fluke can expect to make more money in one year than many Americans can expect to make in several years. Economic hardship is not in her future. If she goes the route of becoming a public face of the Democrats in one way or another, she can expect not only money but real power and influence. She will be granted these things not because of anything she achieved, and not because she is unusually persuasive, but because she is forthright in saying that she is entitled to it all, and more. This entitlement mentality is a threat to the country’s fiscal health, but never mind that.
People like Sandra Fluke re-elected Barack Obama to the presidency. She is the perfect choice for Person of the Year.
TIME has floated an initial list of candidates for its Person of the Year award. The editors choose, of course, but they’ve also opened up polling through Dec. 12 to gather reader opinions.
Candidates include Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi, and Russian punk rebels Pussy Riot.
Tyrants get representation, with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un on the list. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who just flashed his dictator stripes, also gets a nod.
Among the political picks? Vice President Joe Biden (“His verbal flubs and foibles can make him a punch line for Republican critics and occasionally even irk his own boss”), Michael Bloomberg, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton, President Obama, Mitt Romney, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).
Some of the left-field choices? Stephen Colbert, Undocumented Immigrants, and Sandra Fluke.
Here is how the polling is going thus far. Luckily, an especially worthwhile candidate is getting a good share of “definitely” votes.
Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old Enemy No. 1 of the Taliban, is recovering in a British hospital after being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman while going to school on Oct. 9. And that’s exactly what she was fighting for: the right to go to school, free of fear, free to achieve whatever she wants without being under the thumb of Islamist forces.
TIME writes that Malala “has become an inspiration not only in her native Pakistan — where the culture wars over women’s rights and religious diversity have taken many violent turns — but all around the globe.”
“Malala is now a first name that hundreds of thousands of people know. But in a way, hers is an even more moving story, because the saga is not just of a brave young girl but also of a father willing to risk local opprobrium to raise his daughter — not a son — as a proud example for the world.”
There are probably some bloggers who have never been pwned by The Onion — reporting on a story that originally appeared in the satirical publication as if it were the real deal.
I’m not one of them. I was taken in several years ago and was forced to issue an embarrassing retraction.
So I know exactly how the Chinese party newspaper, The People’s Daily, feels today.
The online version of China’s Communist Party newspaper has hailed a report by The Onion naming North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as the “Sexiest Man Alive” – not realizing it is satire.
The People’s Daily on Tuesday ran a 55-page photo spread on its website in a tribute to the round-faced leader, under the headline “North Korea’s top leader named The Onion’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2012.”
Quoting The Onion’s spoof report, the Chinese newspaper wrote, `’With his devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman’s dream come true.”
“Blessed with an air of power that masks an unmistakable cute, cuddly side, Kim made this newspaper’s editorial board swoon with his impeccable fashion sense, chic short hairstyle, and, of course, that famous smile,” the People’s Daily cited The Onion as saying.
The photos the People’s Daily selected include Kim on horseback squinting into the light and Kim waving toward a military parade. In other photos, he is wearing sunglasses and smiling, or touring a facility with his wife.
People’s Daily could not immediately be reached for comment. A man who answered the phone at the newspaper’s duty office said he did not know anything about the report and requested queries be directed to their newsroom on Wednesday morning.
It is not the first time a state-run Chinese newspaper has fallen for a fictional report by the just-for-laughs The Onion.
In 2002, the Beijing Evening News, one of the capital city’s biggest tabloids at the time, published as news the fictional account that the U.S. Congress wanted a new building and that it might leave Washington. The Onion article was a spoof of the way sports teams threaten to leave cities in order to get new stadiums.
A 55 page photo spread? I don’t know what’s goofier; the paper actually believing Kim is the sexiest man alive or devoting so much space to the subject in the first place.
I really hope they don’t can the editor responsible for this fiasco. Far more discerning and intelligent people than he have been taken in by an Onion story.