Larry Connors, since-forever KMOV-TV anchor, gets to take a few days off:
The station is examining Conners’ recent allegations that he was targeted by the Internal Revenue Service after interviewing President Barack Obama.
“He’s not suspended. We just all thought it made sense (for him) to take a few days off,” news director Sean McLaughlin said Thursday.
“We take this very seriously, and we don’t expect this to drag on. We’re still looking into the situation and weighing our options,” he said.
As I wrote the other day, Connors is a local institution — I was watching him in junior high three decades ago. McLaughlin may very well be playing with fire on this one.
(Hat tip, Nolte.)
From Senator Rand Paul:
Today, Senate Democrats placed a hold on Sen. Rand Paul’s recent resolution that condemns the targeting of Tea Party groups by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and calls for an investigation into this practice.
“This resolution is not about Republican vs. Democrat or conservative vs. liberal. It is about arrogant and unrestrained government vs. the rule of law. The First Amendment cannot and should not be renegotiated depending on which party holds power,” Sen. Paul said. “Each senator took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, yet Senate Democrats chose to block my resolution and thus refused to condemn the IRS for trampling on our First Amendment rights. I am incredibly disappointed in Washington’s party politics and I am determined to hold the IRS accountable for these unjust acts.”
The problem is exactly that it’s about an “arrogant and unrestrained government vs. the rule of law.” Unrestrained government doesn’t take kindly even to modest critiques, and Harry Reid is one of its most arrogant enforcers.
Jill Lawrence wants to know if this is “the end” for Eric Holder:
The attorney general has been in the middle of controversies over whether to shut down Guantanamo Bay prison and whether to try suspected terrorists in U.S. courts. He has defended the U.S. right to wage drone strikes, to stage the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, and to use lethal force against a leader of al-Qaida who was also U.S. citizen.
He also was a lightning rod for conservative complaints about Fast and Furious, a federal sting that allowed U.S. weapons to fall into the hands of suspected gun smugglers on the theory that they could then be tracked to Mexican drug cartels. Instead, hundreds of the guns went missing, and many of them have been linked to crimes. One of them was the December 2010 killing of Brian Terry, a border patrol agent.
Lawrence says it’s “unclear how Holder fits into the latest firestorm.”
But isn’t that the problem here? We have a four-year-old running history of increasing lawlessness and abuses of power, either at the behest of, or right under the nose of our nation’s chief law enforcement officer.
He should have been gone a long time ago, and it’s shameful that the press began to pay real attention only once they’d found out the AG had gone after one of its own.
Non-shocker of the day:
Insiders with ties to the Obama administration tell The Cable that U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has become the heir apparent to National Security Advisor Tom Donilon — a post at the epicenter of foreign-policy decision making and arguably more influential than secretary of state, a job for which she withdrew her candidacy last fall amid severe political pressure.
Well of course Rice is up for promotion. She didn’t bungle the media response to Benghazi. She went out on five shows one morning at lied with the reptilian-cool precision of a sociopath. That’s the major prerequisite for moving up the vile prog food chain, and they love her for it.
The stench gets stinkier and the corruption gets deeper:
Several Soros-funded groups including the Campaign Legal Center, Democracy 21, the Center for Public Integrity, Mother Jones and Alternet have worked to pressure the IRS to target conservative nonprofit groups. The subsequent IRS investigation flagged more than 100 tea party-related applications for higher scrutiny, including applications that included the words “Tea Party” and “patriot.”
The IRS scandal can be traced back to a series of letters that the liberal groups Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and Democracy 21 sent to the IRS back in 2010 and 2011. Both groups were funded by George’s Soros’s Open Society Foundations. The CLC received $677,000 and Democracy 21 got $365,000 from the Soros-backed foundation, according to the Foundation’s 990 tax forms.
That’s from Mike Ciandella at CNS News, but we also have a little something from the Wall Street Journal:
To monitor compliance with these [new ObamaCare tax] rules, the IRS and HHS are now building the largest personal information database the government has ever attempted. Known as the Federal Data Services Hub, the project is taking the IRS’s own records (for income and employment status) and centralizing them with information from Social Security (identity), Homeland Security (citizenship), Justice (criminal history), HHS (enrollment in entitlement programs and certain medical claims data) and state governments (residency).
The data hub will be used as the verification system for ObamaCare’s complex subsidy formula. All insurers, self-insured businesses and government health programs must submit reports to the IRS about the individuals they cover, which the IRS will cross-check against tax returns.
But don’t worry. Tyranny isn’t “lurking just around the corner.”
From the Daily Mail:
When a Tennessee lawyer asked the IRS for tax-exempt status for a mentoring group that trained high school and college students about conservative political philosophy, the agency responded with a list of 95 questions in 31 parts, including an ultimatum for a list of everyone the group had trained, or planned to train.
‘Provide details regarding all training you have provided or will provide,’ the IRS demanded. ‘Indicate who has received or will receive the training and submit copies of the training material.’
So John Boehner wants to know who’s going to jail? You can start with whoever wrote that letter.
And I do mean start.
When you look at this war strictly as a military struggle, you notice something weird: over two years of fighting, the lines are almost totally static. The Alawites, Assad’s Shi’ia-ish people, have withdrawn from most of inland Syria — the flat, dry country where the Sunni dominate. But Assad’s troops and militias are still fighting for Aleppo, the biggest city in the Sunni inland region, and they’re holding on strong in their coastal home region. The Kurds have assumed control of their enclaves in the north and northeast with some help from their PKK friends in Turkey. Roughly speaking, the Alawites, who always looked like sure losers, have held their own and even pushed back, despite being only about 10% of the population, and having a tradition of being considered weird hicks by other Syrians.
If you look at a map of sectarian demographics in Syria, and superimpose it on a map showing areas of Assad control and rebel-held regions, you’ll see that the two maps are almost identical. And the front lines haven’t changed much since the Sunni grabbed control of their neighborhoods two years ago. Syria makes the Western Front of WWI look like the Paris-Dakar Rally by comparison. The lines held by the Sunni, Shi’ia and Kurds barely move.
Two years of hard fighting against hardening lines. Had President Bush done what he should have done in 2003, and recognized a Free Kurdistan in northern Iraq, then Syria’s Kurds would have something positive to aspire to, and even to merge with. But right now Syria is indeed looking more like Somalia — but with more peoples, deadlier weapons, and more deeply-felt grievances.
Ten years might be understating it.
At around 18:45 UTC OpenDNS resolvers saw a significant drop in traffic from Syria. On closer inspection it seems Syria has largely disappeared from the Internet.
The graph below shows DNS traffic from and to Syria. Although Twitter remains relatively silent, the drop in both inbound and outbound traffic from Syria is clearly visible. The small amount of outbound traffic depicted by the chart indicates our DNS servers trying to reach DNS servers in Syria.
Here’s where I would promise to keep you posted, but who knows when anyone will be able to speak out again from Syria.
Aren’t you glad we don’t have to be internationally humiliated by the Bush gang anymore?
For reasons unknown (or not) Weather Underground bomber and Obama political-career launcher felt it necessary to distance himself from the Tsarnaev brothers:
Ayers, the former Weather Underground co-founder who proudly led his organization in the successful bombings of dozens of American targets, including the U.S. Capitol, Pentagon, and State Department, on Saturday distanced himself from his tactical and ideological cousins, the Tsarnaevs. It was a clumsy deceit, easily disproven.
“I get asked about violence when what I did was some destruction of property to issue a scream and cry against an illegal war in which 6,000 people a week are being killed,” the Akron Beacon-Journal reported Ayers as saying in response to a reporter’s question. “Six thousand a week being killed and I destroyed some property. Show me the equivalence. You should ask John McCain that question.… I’m against violence.
“To conflate a group of fundamentalist people [in Boston] who are nihilistic in some way with a group of people who spent their lives trying to oppose the murder of 6,000 people a week… and still the killing went on. And still the killing went on. What would you have done? There’s no equivalence [with Boston]. Property damage. That’s what we did.”
Two things you should know. The first is, Ayers did get people killed. They were his own, incompetent, people. But still. And they got themselves killed trying to kill others. It was never just about “property damage.”
The second thing is, please notice that Ayers still supports violence in support of political causes. It’s OK to blow stuff up if you don’t like something. Forty years later, he’s still defending blowing stuff up.
On the night of the Benghazi terror attack, special operations put out multiple calls for all available military and other assets to be moved into position to help — but the State Department and White House never gave the military permission to cross into Libya, sources told Fox News.
The disconnect was one example of what sources described as a communication breakdown that left those on the ground without outside help.
“When you are on the ground, you depend on each other — we’re gonna get through this situation. But when you look up and then nothing outside of the stratosphere is coming to help you or rescue you, that’s a bad feeling,” one source said.
Multiple sources spoke to Fox News about what they described as a lack of action in Benghazi on Sept. 11 last year, when four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed.
“They had no plan. They had no contingency plan for if this happens, and that’s the problem this is going to face in the future,” one source said. “They’re dealing with more hostile regions, hostile countries. This attack’s going to happen again.”
This is what happens when you put diplomats in charge of military affairs, and dilettantes in charge of the State Department.
And amateurs in the White House.
What a twofer I found for you today. First up, TTAC’s Ed Niedermeyer has a piece in the Wall Street Journal headlined “General Tso’s Motors,” which has got to be the best headline you’ll see all week. But he also tells the story of GM the White House doesn’t want you to know:
GM’s investments aren’t merely about meeting Chinese demand, which has actually slowed in recent years. According to statements to the press made by company officials at the Shanghai Auto Show, GM is targeting 100,000-plus exports of Chinese-made cars this year, a record, with export growth likely to be more than 50%.
Once merely an important growth market, China is fast becoming GM’s global export base, and the change can be seen in the very structure of the company. Before last year, GM’s vice president for global manufacturing was a North American-focused executive based in Detroit. Now the person holding that position is the president of GM’s international operations, overseeing the company’s ventures in China, Korea and Russia.
As the result of the company’s new emphasis, GM China President Bob Socia says that Americans “could very well” soon find Chinese-made GM cars on showroom floors. “There is no reason why we can’t be exporting to the [United] States,” he told a reporter for the website Autoblog at the Shanghai Auto Show.
But GM selling cars made in China at American dealerships probably isn’t what the federal government, in late 2008 under President Bush and then under President Obama, had in mind when it came to GM’s rescue.
How’s that for a great return on your billions of tax dollars? Then again, with Obama’s track record of picking stinker investments, maybe there’s no real surprise here.
But that’s nothing compared to the machinations going on at FIAT, which the White House unceremoniously (Ha! Just kidding! Teh Won does everything with as much pomp as your tax dollars can buy!) presented the Italian automaker. Autoextremist Peter M. De Lorenzo has that story:
In Brent Snavely’s piece in the Detroit Free Press today (4/29), the true measure of Sergio Marchionne’s purpose in life is exposed for all to see. Gifted Chrysler by the U.S. Government and funded on the backs of you and me, the U.S. taxpayer, Marchionne is now using Chrysler to sustain that miserable excuse of a car company called Fiat.
The Italian automaker – and that term should be applied very loosely in this case – is on the ropes. Paralyzed by a byzantine network of unions, plagued by serial incompetence (except for its show pony Ferrari division, of course), and buttressed by a relentlessly inept Italian government that manages to make our current bumblers in Washington look like direct descendants of our Founding Fathers, Fiat is now officially on the U.S. taxpayers dole, thanks to Sergio and his grand little plan. Every last dime of Chrysler’s profitability is now being used to prop up Fiat, an industry embarrassment that should have been left for dead long ago.
Think about that for a moment.
I am thinking about it, and it isn’t doing a thing for my blood pressure. Not a good thing, anyway.
So, to recap. We taxpayers ponied up the money for Chrysler’s revamped lineup, the profits from which are going to prop up unsustainable union jobs at an unsustainable company in an unsustainable foreign country. And as soon as Marchionne cons banks out of enough money to buy Chrysler’s outstanding shares, then all of Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep’s profits will wind up in FIAT’s sinkhole.
GM on the other hand retooled its lineup with our tax dollars, the profits from which are going to build more plants in China to build cheap-ass cars to sell to unemployed Americans.
In Washington, this is called “Saving the American auto industry.”
The California Assembly is trying to close one of ObamaCare’s loopholes — you know, the one that might keep some small businesses from strangulating completely on the law’s onerous requirements:
California AB 880: “This bill would make it unlawful for a large employer to, among other things…reduce an employee’s hours or work…if the purpose is to avoid the imposition of the penalty. A violation of those provisions would result in a penalty of 200% of the penalty amount the employer would have paid for the applicable period of time.”
At some point the Golden State is just going to have to go whole-hog and outlaw private employment absolutely.
Writing for RCP, Alexis Simendinger says the President’s “second term agenda [is] still on track.” We’re going to have to take this item one at a time in sort of a mini-fisking. Because we’re mean like that. And because, dear Lord, does Simendinger deserve it. Let’s begin.
On international policy, Obama recalibrated his earlier “red line” rhetoric that use of chemical weapons or the movement of chemical stockpiles in Syria would prompt an escalation in U.S. involvement in the 2-year-old civil war there.
One does not “recalibrate” a red line. Or else it isn’t a red line, it’s a pink fuzzy area, like a Hello Kitty body pillow. (I don’t actually know if such a thing exists, nor do I want to.) What the President has done is retreat on Syria, which is pretty much the exact opposite of “on track.”
The president also suggested the Boston bombings appeared to be the work of “self-radicalized” individuals living in the United States and working alone, not in collaboration with a terrorist organization. “We want to leave no stone unturned,” he explained, when asked about the U.S. intelligence review under way.
Just this morning, three more people were arrested in connection with the Second Boston Massacre, and it’s been revealed that the Tsarnaevs were deeply immeshed enough with fellow jihadis that they’d caught the eye of the Russian and the Saudi governments. That’s an awful lot of self-radicalized lone wolves all working alone together locally around the world.
“I feel confident that the bipartisan work that’s been done on immigration reform will result in a bill that passes the Senate and passes the House and gets on my desk. And that’s going to be a historic achievement,” he said.
One of the Senate bill’s authors, Marco Rubio, says the bill “can’t pass the House.”
Having warned that the sequester was bad policy that would unsettle many Americans who rely on federal services and support, Obama sought credit Tuesday for being the siren, and chafed that he has nevertheless become a target, especially among lawmakers who lament the impact just weeks after celebrating $86 billion in overall spending reductions over a span of seven months.
Even Ezra “Journ-O-List” Klein says the President and the Democrats have lost on the Sequester. American airline passengers certainly won, despite Teh Won’s best efforts to inconvenience us into acquiescence.
The rest of Simendinger’s stunningly awful piece is devoted to Obama’s inability to get Congress to do anything he wants on Gitmo, fixing the massive ObamaCare fiasco, or enacting his “smart cuts” or whatever in place of the sequester.
But other than being derailed on every issue he’s pursuing, the President’s second term agenda is totally on track.
Here’s the mogul talking on Bloomberg TV:
“There are some magazines that have no competition essentially in their field, luxury magazines,” the Washington Free Beacon reports Diller said. “Advertisers must advertise in them. But for a news magazine … it was not possible to print it any longer. So we said we will offer a digital product. We have a very, very solid newsroom, and we’ll see. I don’t have great expectations. I wish I hadn’t bought Newsweek. it was a mistake.”
Well, he did pay one whole dollar for it.
Here’s the Bloomberg columnist on President Obama’s second First 100 Days:
The White House thought a comfortably re-elected president would have more clout, and face less-resistant Republicans, to strike a compromise on the deficit, avoid the mindless across- the-board sequestration cuts, pass a gun-control measure, and immigration overhaul and get Congress to embark on a broad, new agenda, including universal preschool education, a higher minimum wage, an ambitious infrastructure program and something on climate change.
Let’s talk about this word “clout” for a moment. Clout — to do what? It’s all well and good that Hunt thinks Obama and Congress should be reducing the deficit and eliminating the sequester (at the same time?) and passing gun control and overhauling immigration and all the Progressive BS he means by a “broad, new agenda.”
But Obama didn’t run on any of that in 2012. His platform, boiled down, was “Mitt Romney is evil and I’ll raise taxes on the rich.”
Well, OK then. Obama defeated the evil rich dude, and then he got his tax hikes.
He doesn’t have the clout to do anything else, because he never mobilized the electorate to push for anything else. What Obama said he set out to do, he’s done. Now he gets to twiddle his thumbs from now until January 20, 2017 — and he knows it.
And so does Al Hunt.
Li’l Kim is singing the blues in his Pyongyang pleasure bunker. First, nobody coughed up the food & fuel aid he was expecting in exchange for not nuking Seoul. Now, things are even worse:
The last six weeks have made it clear to the North Korean leadership that they have lost control of information. News of how the outside world is reacting to all the threats, and how those threats look to the rest of the world, is quickly getting to most North Koreans. The secret police (who monitor public attitudes) are reporting that people have a low opinion of their government and the current threats of war have not changed that. The secret police also point out that a lot of North Korean propaganda, especially the stuff insisting that North Koreans have it better than people of other countries (like China, South Korea, and Japan) is considered a bad joke by most North Koreans, and a growing number of them are openly mocking the mandatory lectures and demonstrations they must attend. This is ominous, the fact that the people are losing their fear of retaliation. This is what happened in Eastern Europe in 1989, when all the communist governments there collapsed in a few months. North Korean leaders studied that event carefully and concluded that they had their people under control, that the people still feared their leaders. The decline in fear is scary news indeed because North Korea is basically a police state and without a lot of fear, that sort of government does not work.
When the Kim Dynasty ends — soon — it won’t end well. Gorbachev wisely declined to send in the tanks in 1989, but Jong-un likely has no such compunctions. The South can’t move in, because that would be anathema to Beijing. So Beijing is someday going to get stuck with 22 million screaming, starving babies.
Serves ‘em right.
Rates in Maryland set to soar 150% next year as ObamaCare’s Happy Fun Provisions go into full effect:
Taking those factors into account, CareFirst premiums for individual plans could rise as high as 150 percent next year for healthy young men and decrease slightly for someone older and sicker, Burrell said.
One current popular CareFirst plan with a $2,700 deductible costs “less than $115 per month” for men under 30, said Mark Hammett, a broker at Kelly & Associates Insurance Group in Hunt Valley, Md. [Emphasis added]
That’s via Nick Gillespie who says the news comes from
health-care giant Kaiser of Obamacare’s likely impact on insurance costs in Maryland, “an important state to watch because it has embraced Obamacare’s insurance reforms, setting up its own marketplace.”
Blue means bluer than blue can be.
Via Andrew Johnson, it’s Congressman Hank Johnson defending the National Strategic Crony Helium Reserve:
And we might need those balloons to keep Guam afloat.
One in five American households are on the food dole — that’s up from one in six during the Great Recession:
The most recent Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP) statistics of the number of households receiving food stamps shows that 23,087,886 households participated in January 2013 – an increase of 889,154 families from January 2012 when the number of households totaled 22,188,732.
The most recent statistics from the United States Census Bureau– from December 2012– puts the number of households in the United States at 115,310,000. If you divide 115,310,000 by 23,087,866, that equals one out of every five households now receiving food stamps.
I think this clip perfectly explains Obama’s Syria policy, except that the wrong character ends up falling down the cliff.
Since I’m no longer required to watch the Sunday morning shows, I don’t. Because ew. But that means I miss some classic moments like this one, of former Obama advisor Zeke (Rahm’s bro) Emanuel admitting that, yep, ObamaCare is causing premiums to rise.
That dovetails nicely with David Freddoso’s report on how Congress is wriggling to get out from under the ObamaCare mandates they burdened themselves with on that fateful March day in 2010:
Congress actually bound itself, by law, to dump its employees’ health plans and force them into the exchanges. It was something Republicans (I think rightly) insisted on as a condition of imposing Obamacare on the rest of America, and Democrats went along.
But it means that staffers on the Hill — many of them new hires within the last year or two, and making pretty low wages for D.C. — will be the first to feel the pain that their immediate predecessors decided to inflict on millions of others. Unfortunately, the people who actually inflicted the pain by drafting and passing Obamacare are former Democratic staffers and members who have since gone on to high six-figure jobs lobbying and (ahem) “consulting” for the drug, health care and insurance industries. (Why, someone has to help companies comply with the law they wrote!)
Freddoso concludes with a peek inside John Boehner’s brain:
But he has to be smiling on the inside about the political result, because there’s no way for him to lose. If the talks fail, then all the sob stories about congressional staff and complaints about a “brain drain” on Capitol Hill become an automatic indictment of Obamacare. If the talks succeed, and Congress does exempt itself, the potential blowback for Democrats in 2014 is limitless.
Sure, it’s nice politics. But it’s still crappy policy, and one which is already costing Americans money and putting up big barriers between us and our physicians.
That’s the question The Daily Beast’s Peter Beinart is asking:
The day after last week’s attack in Boston, David Sirota wrote a column for Salon entitled “Let’s Hope the Boston Marathon Bomber is a White American,” arguing that this would limit the resulting crackdown on civil liberties. At first, conservatives were appalled. Then, when police fingered the Tsarnaev brothers, they were triumphant. “Sorry, David Sirota, Looks Like Boston Bombing Suspects Not White Americans,” snickered a headline in Newsbusters. “Despite the most fervent hopes of some writers over at Salon.com,” added a blogger at Commentary, “the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombing are not ‘white Americans’.”
But the bombers were white Americans. The Tsarnaev brothers had lived in the United States for over a decade. Dzhokhar was a U.S. citizen. Tamerlan was a legal permanent resident in the process of applying for citizenship. And as countless commentators have noted, the Tsarnaevs hail from the Caucasus, and are therefore, literally, “Caucasian.” You can’t get whiter than that.
So why did conservatives mock Sirota for being wrong? Because in public conversation in America today, “Islam” is a racial term. Being Muslim doesn’t just mean not being Christian or Jewish. It means not being white.
I’m going to go out on a limb here, and guess that not one of the victims that day was thinking, “I hope I didn’t just get my leg blown off by a white American.” And nobody I read was talking at all about race — until Sirota made his stupid accusation. Then suddenly we had to talk about race, because Left needs to talk about something, anything, other than…
Look, we know that when Sirota mentioned white men, what he really meant, what he was really hoping for, was that the killer was a white American Protestant. Catholic would be OK, too, just so long it he was a churchgoer. Better still if he was from Texas or one of those other low-sloping-forehead flyover states. What Sirota most emphatically did not mean by “white man” was a couple of dedicated jihadis from Russia’s violent southern fringe who happen to have white skin.
Race is mostly BS. Ideology is everything.
And the Tsarnaevs were purveyors of a murderous and destructive ideology, and one that finds aid and comfort in incensed racial ramblings of Sirota and Beinart.
Here’s company vice president Tod Cohen in today’s USAToday:
The Internet is a key part of 21st century retail for businesses of all sizes. Jon Gonzales is a great example. He has a growing computer accessories business in Virginia. Because he uses the Internet, his business sells across the country. But make no mistake, his small business is nothing like the giant national retailers that combine stores, distribution centers and Internet sites. Those businesses are located around the country so they are required to collect sales taxes in every state. Now there is a proposal to require small businesses operating out of only one state to do the same.
This new legislation would suddenly treat Jon like a giant business with teams of tax lawyers and accountants. The reality is that Jon’s sister Roceta handles the accounting and taxes. That’s the accounting and tax team. Complying with 9,600 tax jurisdictions nationwide, and more menacingly, being audited and threatened with litigation by tax authorities around the country, is daunting. The family-run business worries about its survival.
Cohen’s solution? An exemption for businesses with “less than $10 million in Internet sales or fewer than 50 employees.” But really, that’s no solution at all. All these “favors” we dole out to small business just create hurdles to them becoming larger. And big business can afford the largess, being further insulated from competition.
It’s time we stopped treating small business any differently from big business — and far past time we stopped treating any business like a chump to be squeezed.
Want to know where the jobs went? Look at Washington’s desperation to tax any and everything that moves.
And that’s according to the deck-stackers at the Washington Post. Read:
A plurality of Americans–47%–say they are either “angry” or “disappointed” with the Senate’s action on gun legislation, far different from the amount of people who strongly approved the proposal before the vote. Meanwhile, 39% say they are “relieved” or “happy” about the vote.
Maybe the President’s post-vote temper tantrum had something to do with the previous “90% support” getting cut very nearly in half.
I have a real thumb-sucker for you from today’s New York Times. That’s probably a dog-bites-man lede, but you might get a kick out of the sheer blatancy of this piece by Michael Shear and Peter Baker on the president’s big gun-control fail. Here’s how it opens:
Senator Mark Begich, Democrat of Alaska, asked President Obama’s administration for a little favor last month. Send your new interior secretary this spring to discuss a long-simmering dispute over construction of a road through a wildlife refuge, Mr. Begich asked in a letter. The administration said yes.
So the premise is, Begich asked the administration for a favor, and the administration obliged. But what did that nasty closet-Tea Party ingrate do? I won’t keep you in suspense:
Four weeks later, Mr. Begich, who faces re-election next year, ignored Mr. Obama’s pleas on a landmark bill intended to reduce gun violence and instead voted against a measure to expand background checks. Mr. Obama denounced the defeat of gun control steps on Wednesday as “a shameful day.”
Mr. Begich! Prisoner of the NRA! Shameful ingrate!
Thank goodness Shear and Baker are here to connect those dots for us, to smoosh those Venn circles together into one big blob of… evil.
See, the bill was intended to reduce gun violence, and who cares if it wouldn’t. Because of intentions, you see. But how did the bill play back home in Alaska? What were Begich’s constituents telling him? Does Begich have any strong convictions regarding expanded background checks? Let’s see what Shear and Baker reported on those questions:
[SMALL CHILD COVERS EARS AND SHOUTS "NANANANANA I CAN'T HEAR YOU"]
[FULL-ON SERGEANT SCHULTZ SAYING HE KNOWSSS NOZHING!]
Everyone knows you never go full Sergeant Schultz. Anyway, let’s see what was in the story’s third graf:
But Mr. Begich’s defiance and that of other Democrats who voted against Mr. Obama appear to have come with little cost. Sally Jewell, the interior secretary, is still planning a trip to Alaska — to let Mr. Begich show his constituents that he is pushing the government to approve the road.
Golly-gee-gosh-darn it, that Obama is just too geewilickers nice to everybody. Why, sequester ungrateful vote or not, the president is probably going to get that road built. And maybe hand-paint smiley faces along the length of it.
See? The president is just too good, too sweet, too flawless to play the Washington game — and that’s the only reason he ever loses.
And if The One is just too driven-snow pure to twist Begich’s arm? Well, then the NYT is more than happy to do the job for him.
It’s more than you wanted to see, but less than you feared.
His single tweet so far is a link to his 64-point plan to “keep New York City the Capital of the Middle Class,” which probably involves shoveling more money at Wall Street.
I’m also assuming another good step is to not post pictures of your junk to Twitter.
Michael Barone looks at President Obama’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week, and… well, I’ll just give you the bullet point version of events “spinning out of control”:
• The Second Boston Massacre was a “reminder that this free and open country remains a soft target. There is no way we can be entirely safe.
• The Senate voted down gun control proposals, with the closest vote coming on the background check provision sponsored by Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin.
• In the Rose Garden, Obama spoke angrily and called the votes “pretty shameful.”
• This was a test of Organizing for America, the offspring of the Obama presidential campaign.
• In the Senate Finance Committee’s hearings on Obamacare, as committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, told Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, “I just see a train wreck coming down.”
• Similar disarray was apparent on foreign policy in hearings Thursday, as noted by the American Interest’s Walter Russell Mead.
Barone concludes, “George W. Bush and his party suffered at the polls in his second term after things seemed to be spinning out of control in New Orleans and Iraq.”
Being President is hard. Being a lame duck — especially one with still-immodest ambitions — is harder.
What Barone didn’t mention is the likely effect of the Boston bombing on Obama’s next big push, for the Gang of Eight immigration reform. Poll after poll shows that Americans want increased border security first. And what we had in Boston was a case where we couldn’t keep terrorists out, even when the FBI gets a tip from the Russians.
But the Democrats have got to keep making Democrats out of “victims” groups, so Obama can’t afford to let immigration go. That’s unlike his big gun control fail, which was strictly optional. Entertaining, but optional.
Pass the popcorn?
“Since President Obama came into office, SNAP participation has increased at 10 times the rate of job creation, the annual spending on SNAP has doubled, and one in seven Americans now participates in SNAP,” [GOP Senator John] Thune said in a statement.
“This explosive growth in both the SNAP enrollment and federal cost of the program is alarming and requires lawmakers to take cost-effective legislative control measures,” he added.
Obviously the problem is that Republicans are mean.
So here’s a thing the Media Matters “Senior Fellow” tweeted today, screencapped for all eternity.
Just like Columbine. Just like white, suburban, Christian kids. You know, the real enemy.
I didn’t think Boehlert could stoop any lower than he does every two weeks, just cashing his paycheck.
I was wrong.
So, ObamaCare is unloved by the public, it’s small-business protections can’t be implemented on time, has its pilot program already running out of money, has the Fed squealing that it’s costing jobs, screws the young, hurts the poor, is reducing fulltime workers to parttime drudgery, is forcing premiums to go up-up-up, is adding more than $6 trillion-with-a-T to longterm deficits, will force seven million workers off private insurance, is eliminating coverage for spouses and dependents, and has at least one union screaming for relief, all to the point where even Democrats are calling for at least a partial repeal…
…and this has Kevin Drum saying, “I’ll bet that by this time next year it will be up and running and basically doing its job.”
Actually, the problem might be that ObamaCare is doing its job.
Over at Politico, here’s how Glenn Thrush and Reid Epstein see yesterday’s Senate vote on gun control:
Never before had President Barack Obama put the moral force and political muscle of his presidency behind an issue quite this big — and lost quite this badly.
The president, shaken to the core by the massacre of 26 innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary School, broke his own informal “Obama Rule” — of never leaning into an issue without a clear path to victory — first by pushing for a massive gun control package no one expected to pass, and then sticking through it even as he retrenched to a relatively modest bipartisan bill mandating national background checks on gun purchases.
Ignore the spin there, where they claim that Obama made his big push because he just cares so much, unlike all you mean conservatives who want children to die of gun poisoning or whatever. But the fact is, yes, Obama spent a lot of his political capital, maybe all of it, for nothing. He got the vote he demanded, but couldn’t get the votes he needed.
But there’s more to it, and for that let’s go to Powerline’s John Hinderaker:
But why was Obama so angry? I wrote here that it was odd for Obama to make gun control the signature issue of his second term, since there has never been any chance of significant gun control legislation being enacted. It couldn’t possibly get through the House. So why, today, was he so irate about its failure in the Senate?
As we have noted more than once, pretty much everything Obama does is intended to stir up the Democratic Party’s base to drive turnout in 2014. Obama knows he can’t do much of anything as long as the GOP holds the House, so his primary goal is to stoke outrage on the left, in hopes that 2014 will look like 2008 and 2012, and not like 2010.
It’s a strange strategy, especially given that only 4% of Americans think gun control is the top issue facing the nation — and those 4% were likely Democrat voters in 2014, anyway. And then there’s the other risk Obama took and lost: GOP voters saw their Senators — most of their Senators — stand firm on an issue they care deeply about.
But Obama only knows how to stir up his base by using anger, fear, and resentment. Instead, he’s inadvertently given conservatives a positive reason to show up at the polls next year, while simultaneously demonstrating to his base that their duck is very lame indeed.