PJ Media encourages you to read our updated PRIVACY POLICY and COOKIE POLICY.

Search Results

YOU CAN TRUST THEM THIS TIME: Gmail’s ‘Confidential Mode’ arrives on mobile devices.

Once you’ve turned on confidential mode for a specific email, you can set an expiration date and passcode so that you can restrict access to the email either in the web interface or via SMS. Recipients of these confidential emails won’t be able to copy, paste, download, print or forward the message, and attachments will be disabled.

That doesn’t stop anyone from taking a screenshot of your message, however. As Google notes, “Although confidential mode helps prevent the recipients from accidentally sharing your email, it doesn’t prevent recipients from taking screenshots or photos of your messages or attachments. Recipients who have malicious programs on their computer may still be able to copy or download your messages or attachments. This feature isn’t available for G Suite customers at this time.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) digital privacy advocacy group thinks that this new mode isn’t secure at all, and might even lend users a false sense of security.

Now why would Google want to do that?


BUH-BYE: Disney to give Netflix the white-gloved Mickey middle finger in 2019.

Starting in 2019, Disney will operate its own paid video-streaming service. This news came about as Disney announced on Tuesday that it would acquire a majority stake in a video-streaming company called BAM Tech. (Following a 2016 stock purchase, Disney had previously owned a 33-percent stake in BAM Tech.)

Currently, Disney has an exclusive deal with Netflix for streaming its films and TV series; the deal began in 2012 and expanded last year. Terms for that deal, particularly its expiration date, were never publicly disclosed. It’s possible that the Netflix deal’s expiration will line up perfectly with the launch of what Disney describes as “the exclusive home in the US for subscription-video-on-demand viewing of the newest live-action and animated movies from Disney and Pixar.” This paid online service will also include a selection of classic Disney and Pixar content, along with “original movies, TV shows, short-form content, and other Disney-branded exclusives” made exclusively for the streaming service.

Disney already has two or three (more?) of its own streaming channels with original content, but given the breadth and depth of their library and production studios, they’ll probably do just fine with one more.

But then there’s this:

This announcement will bear fruit sooner for the Disney subsidiary ESPN, whose own dedicated sports-streaming service will launch in 2018. This as-yet-unnamed subscription service will deliver broadcasts from leagues like the NHL, MLB, and MLS (the NBA and NFL will not be included).

In the last couple of years, you can’t even give away ESPN for free.

DRUG EXPIRATION DATES: Largely meaningless.

I’VE LONG SUSPECTED THIS: That Drug Expiration Date May Be More Myth Than Fact.

DREAM ON: Trump Will Allow ‘Dreamers’ to Stay in U.S., Reversing Campaign Promise.

The Department of Homeland Security announced late Thursday night that it would continue the Obama-era program intended to protect those immigrants from deportation and provide them work permits so they can find legal employment.

A fact sheet posted on the department’s website says immigrants enrolled in the 2012 program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, “will continue to be eligible” to renew every two years and notes that “no work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates.”

Immigration rights activists, who have fiercely battled Mr. Trump’s travel ban and increased enforcement of other immigration laws, hailed the decision.


The decision is a reversal from Mr. Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric during the campaign and is likely to disappoint some of the president’s most ardent supporters, who view program started by former President Barack Obama as an illegal grant of amnesty.



This week the Draft Bernie for a People’s Party got a rather high-profile devotee in Harvard professor Cornel West, who used an op-ed in The Guardian to announce his imminent departure from the Democratic Party.

“We must admit that the Democratic Party has failed us, and we have to move on,” he wrote. “Where? To what?”

The People’s Party, he added, “builds on the ruins of a dying Democratic Party and creates new constituencies in this moment of transition and liquidation.”

West, a professor of The Practice of Public Philosophy, did a fair amount of public philosophizing about the 2016 election, insisting that it was one “which Democrats lost more than Republicans won” in large part because the party “put forward a Wall Street-connected and openly militaristic candidate with little charisma.”

Ouch! It’s enough to make you feel sorry for poor Hillary. And apparently the current darling of Democratic progressives, Massachusetts’ Sen. Elizabeth Warren, just won’t do.

“Only the ubiquitous and virtuous Bernie remains true to the idea of fundamental transformation of the party — and even he admits that seeking first-class seats on the Titanic is self-deceptive and self-destructive,” West wrote.

As for issues, well, the movement wants single-payer health care, is opposed to fracking, opposed to TPP (just like Donald Trump) and West in particular is “opposed to Israeli occupation” (it’s unclear whether that means simply the West Bank).

And, of course, there is the matter of age. Sure, Bernie’s a robust 75 today, but that would make him 79 in 2020. Guess there’s no expiration date on lefties.

Old people with old ideas, running as the party of youth.


“Peak oil” supply concerns have been dismissed as groundless foolishness in recent years, with the American shale revolution acting as the nail in the coffin of the notion peddled by doomsaying greens. But though oil production is booming around the world, and despite the fact that a global glut has brought crude prices down to less than half of what they were 28 months ago, there’s a new “peak” concern for crude: namely, that demand for oil is going to begin to fall within the next 20 years.

Unlike those fears over hydrocarbon scarcity, there are some concrete reasons to be concerned about the future of oil demand. Electric vehicles are gaining market share, and because they don’t run on refined petroleum products, their ascendancy will naturally impact the oil sector. But the global economy is intricately tied to the oil industry, and if demand does peak around 2030, trillions of dollars of economic activity could be affected.

Meh. Frack, baby, frack.

P.S.: Remember when Obama said “we can’t drill our way out” of high oil prices? Expiration date passed!

UPDATE: From the comments: “Remember when that dope Sarah Palin said we could drill our way out? That was after her dumb remarks about Russia being a threat. No place in politics for the likes of her!”

EXPIRATION DATE, REACHED: Obama says Afghanistan troops levels won’t be cut as he once pledged.

EXPIRATION DATE, PASSED: Obama promised transparency. But his administration is one of the most secretive.

28 PAGES OF CLASSIFIED DOCS FROM 9/11 REPORT NEED TO BE RELEASED: “Although no official hint has ever come from either the Bush or Obama White House, it is widely accepted that the redacted information refers extensively to Saudi Arabian involvement in the worst terrorist attack in American history…President Obama promised the 9/11 families not once, but twice, that he would declassify the material. He has failed to keep those promises.”

Dude, that’s so harsh; these are simply promises that reached their expiration date before fruition.



LAWS ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: One of President Reagan’s least-heralded but significant reforms was passage of the 1984 law that put an expiration date on the excessively generous and immensely costly Civil Service Retirement System for federal workers. That law said all employees hired on or after Jan. 1, 1984, would be covered by the then-new Federal Employee Retirement System. Where the CSRS was a defined benefit program, the FERS is a defined contribution program that makes the employee a genuine participant in his or her retirement planning.

So what’s the news here now 32 years later? The 1984 law required federal agencies to fully fund their employees’ pensions, just like the private sector has been required to do for decades. But, as the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group’s Katie Watson reports today, agencies have ignored the law with the tacit consent of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which oversees both CSRS and FERS.

“For years, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has been taking tax dollars from the U.S. Treasury to fund a growing gap in retirement payments … The OPM funded $23 billion, or 28 percent of all payments in fiscal year 2015, in that manner,” according to Watson. The federal pension system, by the way, is the fourth largest such benefit program in the entire world!

And OPM has been doing it for so long that the pension gap – the amount required to fully fund present and projected benefits versus how much has actually been set aside for that purpose – is now estimated at $1 trillion.  “The taxpayers are being hosed,” former federal internal auditor Tom McKinney told Watson. McKinney analyzed the federal pension system for Truth In Accounting, a non-profit group pushing for honest accounting of federal spending and debt.

YOU STAY CLASSY, NASA. Watch: NASA’s chief climate scientist Gavin Schmidt claims Texans won’t listen to ‘liberal, Jewish atheist from NYC’ about ‘global warming.’

But why would they, when it’s all too late anyhow, as the expiration date has come and gone on NASA’s James Hanson’s claim in January of 2009 that Obama only had four years to save the earth.

HMMM: Did Obama Just Throw Hillary Under the Bus With His Immigration Announcement?

It does seem very strange — and claims that Obama is playing ninth-dimensional chess and Batman gambits have long reached their expiration date. So what is the political goal here?

THAT ONE HIT THE EXPIRATION DATE IN NOVEMBER OF 2008: Flashback: Obama Promises No Vacations For Himself As President.


Another crisis that the Obama Administration thought it had successfully relegated to the back burner appears to be furiously bubbling up again. . . .

When Obama came to office, he promised to pull out of Iraq and focus on fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, which he said was the necessary war, the one we needed to win. And yet Afghanistan is currently another example of the dangerous world Obama will leave behind. Unless things change pretty dramatically next year, some thick and urgent dossiers will await the next inhabitant of the Oval Office. The world the President is preparing to leave behind him increasingly doesn’t look like the one he promised on the campaign trail in 2008.

Expiration date, reached.

THE FORCE AWAKENS: Saw the new Star Wars movie yesterday afternoon in San Jose; the theater was virtually packed; standing a few people behind us in line was a paunchy fellow in Han Solo’s red-striped pants and collarless pullover from the Empire Strikes Back; another gentleman wore a “HAN SHOT FIRST!” T-shirt. A woman in a wheelchair was sporting Princess Leia bun-shaped earmuffs. As in 1999, everyone cheered when the Star Wars logo appeared and John Williams’ triumphant score roared back to life. Unlike 1999’s The Phantom Menace and the rest of the prequels, the crowd applauded at key moments throughout the movie: the surprise first appearance of the Millennium Falcon; the first appearance of its best-known pilot and navigator; the first appearance of everyone’s favorite pair of robotic comedic relief, and the first appearance of Princess, err, General Leia.

Beyond that, no spoilers; I’m pretty sure everything I just mentioned can be seen in the film’s trailers. As someone tweeted on Friday, “This No-Star-Wars-Spoilers thing is the closest I’ve seen Americans work together since 9/11.” I’m not sure when the expiration date expires for that consensus, but for now, if you’d like more detailed — and equally spoiler-free reviews, check out Kyle Smith in the New York Post, John Nolte at Big Hollywood, C.T. Rex at Hot Air, and “Yid With Lid’s” Jeff Dunetz.

If there’s a consensus they share, it’s this, as Nolte wrote:

In ways big and small, TFA’s main story is shockingly similar to “A New Hope,” which is actually a distraction as you compare the two.

Overall, I walked away with the sense that Abrams is using TFA to cleanse the franchise’s palate. Disney wants to pop one of these out every year until the end of time, and TFA feels like an apology, a repentance for the sins of creator George Lucas. Abrams and Disney are saying, “We hear you. We’ve fixed it. Let’s kiss and make up so we can hold hands and walk off into a marvelous future together.”

Which makes the achievement of 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back all the more rarefied — the only Star Wars sequel that both unabashedly worked and didn’t crib major plot elements and story beats from the original 1977 movie.

But unlike the clunky, cringe-inducing (“Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo!”) prequels, The Force Awakens is a fun, enjoyable ride, and a seamless merging of physical sets and atmospheric special effects. And atmosphere seems to be the right word — unlike the other movies, several of the major spacecraft battles were fought in planetary atmospheres, adding, particularly in the climactic shootout, the weather enveloping the ships. It was as they were returning to the original source material for the Death Star trench scenes, WWII aerial dog-fighting movies such as 633 Squadron and The Dam Busters.

There is one thing that’s troubling me, one of those once you see it, you can’t unsee it things. Lucas has said that buried deep within the subtext of the original Star Wars was a parable about the Vietnam War, with Palpatine as Nixon and eventually, the Ewoks as the Vietcong. (No, really.) Lucas would later claim that Revenge of the Sith was had overtones concerning the War On Terror. And as numerous bloggers wrote, J.J. Abrams’ second Star Trek movie, Star Trek into Darkness was an exercise in 9/11 trutherism and Michael Moore-style conspiracy theories. So am I seeing things with 500 stormtroopers tromping around The Force Awakens with black Ws – Dubyas, get it? get it? – cut into the mouthpieces of their newly revised headgear?

It’s just a weird coincidence…right?


ANOTHER OBAMA EXPIRATION DATE REACHED: White House Supports Privacy Destroying CISA, Despite Past Promises It Would Not.

FBI DIRECTOR: Obama’s Full Of Crap.

President Obama does not receive briefings about the FBI’s investigation into the personal email setup Hillary Clinton used as secretary of State, bureau Director James Comey said on Wednesday.

As a result, Obama should have no way of knowing how the inquiry is proceeding, Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee, despite the president’s apparent dismissal of concerns about impropriety.

We all know that Obama says whatever he wants, without worrying about the facts. If the facts turn out differently, well . . . expiration date reached!

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Vet’s mom forced to sell Obama letter to cover VA failures he promised to fix.

The mother of an injured Army veteran of the Iraq war is selling a rare letter from President Obama to cover her son’s medical and personal expenses despite the president’s handwritten promise to do “everything we can over the next four years to support your family.”

Cherry McKimmey told Secrets, “Something good might as well come out of that. It is doing no good lying in my drawer. It means absolutely nothing to me.”

Expiration date, reached.


President Obama on Monday promoted an official to be his top adviser in the fight against the Islamic State, one he fired from his presidential campaign in 2008 for talking to Hamas.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Rob Malley, now a senior director at the National Security Council, would be his senior adviser for the counter-Islamic State program. Malley, a Clinton administration alumni, will work closely with Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter the Islamic State, Earnest said.

Malley was fired from then-Sen. Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign in 2008 for meeting with Hamas officials when he was an informal adviser to the campaign. Obama at the time was downplaying the idea he would negotiate with groups opposed to Israel.

Why it’s as if every campaign promise of Barack Obama came with an expiration date or something.

PROMISE MEETS EXPIRATION DATE: 15 Times Obama Said He Would Not Put American Boots on the Ground in Syria:

Earlier: 36 times Obama promised “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan:”

Related: A Long Post: The [Previously!] Complete List of Obama Statement Expiration Dates.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: Unconstitutional war against ISIS expands to include ground combat by US forces.

This expansion of the US role further underscores the reality that we are waging a real war against ISIS, one that, under the Constitution, requires congressional authorization. It is no longer possible (if, indeed, it ever was) to describe this as just a few small-scale air strikes. Yet, even after more than a year of combat operations, no such authorization is in sight.

The Obama administration has offered a variety of legal rationales for its policy, including claims that it falls within the president’s inherent executive authority, or that it is authorized by the 2001 Authorization for Use Military Force against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, or the 2002 Iraq AUMF. But each of these theories has serious flaws. Other, perhaps even more questionable, rationales of the administration’s action have been put forward by controversial Berkeley law professor and former Bush administration official John Yoo. I criticized Yoo’s here, though I do give him credit for consistency in defending Obama using the same logic that he endorsed during the Bush administration. Yoo, in fact, epitomizes the kinds of broad Bush-era theories of presidential power that then-Senator Obama denounced when he first ran for president in 2008.

Yes, Obama’s the hypocrite here. But that’s hardly a surprise, given the many 2008 Obama statements that have passed their expiration date.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: OOPS: Watch Obama Promise That He’d Never Send Troops To Syria.

Jim Geraghty really needs to update his already lengthy 2010 post, The Complete List of Obama Statement Expiration Dates.

EXPIRATION DATE, REACHED: OOPS: Watch Obama Promise That He’d Never Send Troops To Syria.

SYRIA IS OBAMA’S WATERGATE, Michael Goodwin writes:

What did he know and when did he know it? The immortal question about Richard Nixon and Water­gate should be posed to Barack Obama about Syria. What and when did he know about Vladimir Putin’s axis-of-evil coalition?

The significance is not limited to Syria. The question goes to the heart of the Iran nuclear deal, especially the timing of the congressional votes.

Imagine Obama trying to sell the Iran deal now. With Russia, Iran and Iraq working together to muscle the United States aside and defend Bashar al-Assad, the president couldn’t possibly argue that the nuke deal would help stabilize the Middle East. Nor could he argue that Russia could be trusted to help enforce ­restrictions on Iran.

The strong likelihood that Obama would have lost the Iran vote if Congress knew then what the world knows now suggests the possibility the president concealed the Russian plan until the Iran deal was done. That view fits with his single-minded determination to get a deal at any price, including making key concessions and downplaying Iranian threats to Israel and the United States.

After all that, what’s another lie?

Don’t think of Obama’s approach to the Middle East as a lie — think of it merely as a series of promises reaching their expiration dates.


“I just want to be absolutely clear. Alright, So I don’t want any misunderstanding when you all go home and you are talking to your buddies and you say, ah ‘He wants to take your guns away.’ You’ve heard it here, I’m on television so everybody knows it. I believe in the Second Amendment. I believe in people’s lawful right to bear arms. I will not take your shotgun away. I will not take your rifle away. I won’t take your handgun away.”

Barack Obama today:

President Obama delivered an angry statement on the Thursday shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, OR. “Each time we see one of these mass shootings,” he said from the White House briefing room podium, “our thoughts and prayers are not enough.

In a 15-minute statement, Obama stressed that the US is “the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every couple of months.” He praised the gun control efforts in Australia, a nation that conducted a mass confiscation of firearms from its citizenry.

As Ben Shapiro adds, “President Obama was having a bad political day on Thursday:”

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin had humiliated him in Syria, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had excoriated his Iran deal before the United Nations, and his Secret Service had been caught leaking information about a Republican congressperson.

Then the clouds parted for the deeply cynical president — the same president who routinely ignores shootings in inner cities across the country, or attributes them to generalized American racism. News broke of a mass shooting at a community college in Oregon. And before waiting to find out all the facts, he leapt directly into political controversy, redirecting the national conversation once again toward useless gun control measures.

And the palace guard MSM are all too happy to play along.

THE GREAT STAGNATION: Growing Input-Outcome Disparity In Biomedical Research. “Why does this matter? Our lives depend on the rate of advance of biomedical treatments. We all have an expiration date on our bodies absent some really big advances in methods to rejuvenate aging bodies. How many decades do you have left to live? Not as many as you would have if only increased spending on biomedical research had translated into a more rapid rate of progress in the development of gene therapies, cell therapies, and other therapies needed for tissue repair and rejuvenation.”

NEWS YOU CAN USE: All about vitamin expiration dates.

FOOD EXPIRATION DATES: They’re more of a guideline, really.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Obama Has a $100M Plan to Fill the Tech Talent Shortage.

At its core, TechHire aims to convince local governments, businesses, and individuals that a four-year degree is no longer the only way to gain valuable tech skills.

“It turns out it doesn’t matter where you learned code, it just matters how good you are at writing code,” Obama said. “If you can do the job, you should get the job.”

That’s an idea that training startups like Codecademy and General Assembly, as well as online course companies like Coursera, have been pushing for years. Now, the White House is urging businesses and local governments to embrace that concept, as well.

In Silicon Valley, the idea of non-traditional training as a viable alternative to college is a familiar concept. In the rest of corporate America, not so much.

All is proceeding as I have foreseen. And this is terrible news for four-year institutions if it takes off. Kind of ungrateful of Obama, since higher ed was his biggest source of donations and manpower, but hey, expiration dates. . . .

EXPIRATION DATE, REACHED: 20 Times Obama Administration Officials Said No Iran Deal Is Better Than a Bad Deal.

EXPIRATION DATE, REACHED: Senator Obama: ‘Irresponsible’ For FCC To Vote On Rules Unreleased To The Public. That Senator Obama seemed like a sensible fellow. Too bad he’s not President now.

ROLL CALL: Cruz Says Fate of ‘Dangerous’ Lynch Up to McConnell.

Sen. Ted Cruz called attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch’s immigration views “dangerous” Wednesday and questioned whether Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., should even have the chamber consider her nomination.

“That is the decision the majority leader is going to have to make. I believe we should use every constitutional tool available to stop the president’s unconstitutional executive action. That’s what Republicans, Republican candidates all over the country said over and over again last year,” the Texas Republican said in a brief interview with CQ Roll Call as the daylong Judiciary Committee hearing on Lynch’s nomination neared conclusion.

Given that Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, said that committee members will have a week to submit questions in writing once the hearing portion with outside witnesses concludes, it’s unlikely Lynch would be lined up for time on the floor before the Presidents Day recess next month. The timing could coincide with the expiration in funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which is also caught up in Republican opposition to President Barack Obama’s action on immigration.

“For several months now, I’ve called for us to use every constitutional check and balance we have to rein in the president’s illegal action. That includes using the confirmation power given by the Constitution as a direct check on the executive,” Cruz said. “In my view the majority leader should announce the Senate will not confirm any executive or judicial nominees in this Congress, other than vital national security positions, unless and until the president rescinds” the executive actions granting deferred action to almost 5 million of undocumented individuals.

While the attorney general position is exempt from that proposed blockade, Cruz nonetheless sounded skeptical that Lynch in particular should be allowed to advance.

Trouble is, pretty much anybody Obama would nominate would be just about as bad.

WASHINGTON POST: In Mr. Obama’s own words, acting alone is ‘not how our democracy functions.’

Two thoughts: (1) Expiration date. (2) What makes you think he cares about our democracy?

EXPIRATION DATE, REACHED: White House says photo ops have some value, after all.


When the President of the United States is telling 20 somethings not to enter his own profession, you know it’s in for a radical downsizing. Luckily, it seems law schools themselves are adjusting to this new reality. Some are cutting their class sizes, others are exploring reducing or eliminating the third year of law school. But these are only small starts, and only a small number of schools are considering them. Law schools need to do more to get in front of the market collapse and make radical changes before the changes are forced on them in a more painful way. If the President himself coming down against more lawyers doesn’t motivate them, we don’t know what will.

I mean, every statement has an expiration date.

FEET OF CLAY: ABC’s Jonathan Karl Casts Doubt on Obama’s Supposed Top Foreign-Policy Achievements.

Related: Remember When Obama Was Boasting about His Iraq Policy? Expiration Date: Reached.

ALL OBAMA PROMISES COME WITH EXPIRATION DATES: “Obama’s Biggest Lie: The ACA Will Lower Health Care Spending,” from Ed Morrissey at the Fiscal Times.

EXPIRATION DATE REACHED: Labor union officials say Obama betrayed them in health-care rollout.

ANDREW MALCOLM: Finally, the media revolt against another empty Obama vow. “What makes the current festering feud between the press corps and Jay Carney of news interest is the now-familiar disparity between Obama’s over-blown promises and his chronically underwhelming delivery on those vows. Sentient Americans will remember Obama’s vow that his would be the most transparent presidential administration in history.”

Yeah, not so much. Expiration date hit.

BROKEN PROMISE: White House: Obama hasn’t yet signed up for Obamacare.

President Obama has yet to make good on the administration’s promises that he would sign up for health insurance on the new government exchanges, the White House acknowledged on Monday.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said that Obama has not signed up for Obamacare and that he did have a reason for the delay.

A reporter pressed Carney on whether the White House would make it an open-press event if and when Obama does enroll.

“I’ll get back to you,” Carney replied.

Shortly after Obama signed the new health care law in March 2010, a White House official said the president planned to walk the walk and sign up for the insurance exchanges his law created.

“The president will participate in the exchange,” an administration official told USA Today at the time.

Expiration date, hit.

ISN’T THIS KIND OF AN ADMISSION THAT THE OBAMA “RECOVERY” STINKS? “The Obama administration on Friday came out strongly in support of extending long-term unemployment insurance past its current expiration date.”

AT AMAZON, select new releases in jewelry.

Plus Gift Cards galore. With no expiration date.

EXPIRATION DATE: “There is no future left for Jewish communities in Europe.” “The fact is that while intellectually one can distinguish anti-Israeli fervor from anti-Semitism, in reality, on the streets of Malmö and Paris, and elsewhere in Europe, they are one and the same.”

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Despite Administration Promises, Few Signs of Change in Drone Wars.

There were more drone strikes in Pakistan last month than any month since January. Three missile strikes were carried out in Yemen in the last week alone. And after Secretary of State John Kerry told Pakistanis on Thursday that the United States was winding down the drone wars there, officials back in Washington quickly contradicted him.

Smart diplomacy! Plus:

More than two months after President Obama signaled a sharp shift in America’s targeted-killing operations, there is little public evidence of change in a strategy that has come to define the administration’s approach to combating terrorism.

Boy, that statement hit its expiration date within minutes.


EXPIRATION DATE ARRIVES: Outraged Liberals Say Obama Is About To Screw Over The Very People Who Got Him Elected.

I DON’T THINK THEY HAVE MUCH TO WORRY ABOUT: Senate Democrats pepper Obama with questions about entitlement reform. “Democrats emerged from the Senate’s Mike Mansfield Room publicly declaring party unity. But behind closed doors, liberals in the Senate caucus raised reservations about Obama’s readiness to consider cuts to Social Security benefits and his support for a deficit-reduction package evenly split between spending cuts and tax increases.”

On the other hand, it’s expiration dates all the way down.

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: British Hospital Carnage a Window into US Future.

The scandal surrounds a recent hospital report’s findings that Stafford Hospital in Staffordshire ignored even the most basic standards of treatment to disastrous, and disgusting, effect. . . .

As the piece goes on to explain, the hospital’s actions sprung from its single-minded pursuit of cost control. It drastically reduced its operating budget in hopes of qualifying for foundation-trust status, a legal category that would grant it more freedom from central government control. It’s a textbook case of how structural incentives in government-dominated health care systems can lead to terrible outcomes.

Blue model partisans claim that the American health care system is one of the worst in the world in terms of bang for the buck. Many single-payer systems are indeed cheaper than ours, but this is only half the story, and this new report suggests that the other half of the story—quality of care—isn’t always as rosy as official metrics show.

Expect problems like this to crop up in the U.S. as Obamacare moves us further down the road of wonk-based health care, with well-intentioned, top-down reforms that sow chaos across a complex system.

Related: Obamacare Fail: CBO Predicts Drops in Health Coverage.

When Obama took to the stump for health care reform, one promise came through loud and clear: “If you like your insurance, you can keep it.” That promise is officially about to be broken, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Millions of employees will soon be dropped from health insurance coverage as new provisions of the law go into effect. . . . The CBO also projected that 5 million fewer people will gain health insurance coverage over the next decade than originally expected.

Expiration date, reached.

ANOTHER STATEMENT HITS ITS EXPIRATION DATE: Obama Chickens Out, Says A Million EVs By 2015 Not Important.

DOE backpedals furiously from a goal set out in a 2011 State of the Union speech, where President Barack Obama announced what he called “Apollo projects of our times.” One of them was the goal for the United States to be “the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.”

“Whether we meet that goal in 2015 or 2016, that’s less important than that we’re on the right path to get many millions of these vehicles on the road,” an unnamed Energy Department official told Reuters.

Reuters notes that “demand for hybrids and electric vehicles has been weaker than expected.” Government money was poured into black holes.

Actually, supporters’ pockets. And that’s racist.

ANOTHER OBAMA STATEMENT HITS ITS EXPIRATION DATE: “The president told me I would get immediate help.”

JAMES TARANTO: Get ready for higher taxes and no spending reform. Remember when Obama promised us “net spending cuts” that would halve the deficit by the end of his term? I guess that statement hit its expiration date.

THEY’RE NOT FLIP-FLOPS, THEY’RE MERELY PROMISES THAT HAVE MET THEIR EXPIRATION DATE: “Obama Says To Look At ‘Videotape’ For His Flip-Flops” — perhaps surprisingly, Buzzfeed does just that.

Gary Hart could not be reached for comment.

(For Jim Geraghty’s complete (?) list of Obama statement expiration dates, click here.)

PROMISE MEETS EXPIRATION DATE — if only temporarily. Remember this classic moment from 2008? Sure you do:

[youtube 4aTf5gjvNvo]

The Obama administration is betting that Ohio and Virginia voters have forgotten: Environmental Group Demands Obama Pull Pro-Coal Obama Ad Spot.

By the way, if environmentalists really want to show their anger, they can cast their votes to Green Candidate Jill Stein.

As with the anti-war left, whom they just declared tin-foil hat wearers, the Obama Campaign can trash their base because they’re cynically assuming there’s nowhere else for them to go — here’s your chance to prove them wrong.

RELATED: Gas, Diesel, Mitt.

DEBATE PREP: “Obama Retreats To Spartan ‘Debate Gym’ To Prepare for Bout, Like Rocky In Rocky III and Rocky IV. Just Kidding, He’s Practicing at a Las Vegas Luxury Golf Course.”

Wait, I thought going to Las Vegas was a bad thing for Americans to do. Oh well, promises, expiration dates, etc.

HITTING THE EXPIRATION DATE KINDA FAST: 1 day after railing about vouchers, Obama admin to send 2 million poor seniors into … vouchers.

ANOTHER OBAMA STATEMENT HITS ITS EXPIRATION DATE: “I Am Pledging To Cut The Deficit We Inherited By Half By The End Of My First Term In Office.” The Romney ads write themselves. Check out the video and graphics at the link.

EXPIRATION DATE: Reminder: Team Obama said in ’09 stimulus would have unemployment below 6% by 2012.

The report, entitled “The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan,” was released on Jan. 9, 2009. It was put out by the office of the president-elect was written by economists Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein. Romer would become chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers for President Obama. Bernstein was Vice President Biden’s chief economic advisor.

Page four of the report features a chart projecting the unemployment levels with and without the stimulus. With the stimulus, the Romer and Bernstein predicted that unemployment would never rise past 8 percent, and would peak just under that in the third quarter of 2009 before steadily declining to around 5.6 percent by today. Without the stimulus, they predicted that unemployment would peak around 9 percent in the third quarter of 2010 before declining to around 6 percent today.

The then-Democrat majority Congress passed the $819 billion stimulus bill later that month. The projection turned out to be one of the few things connected to it that was shovel-ready. The unemployment rate reached 10.1 percent in late 2009. It has declined since then but has remained above 8 percent for 41 months straight, a record.

Let’s have that graphic one more time:

Of course, there’s this caveat: “One note: the report assumed that the unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2009 would be 7.5 percent. It was in fact 8.2 percent. Economist Lawrence Lindsey later adjusted their forecast to reflect this and found that it projected unemployment to be about 6.3 percent by this time.”

Well, okay then. Obama defenders sometimes say that, well, Obama didn’t realize how bad the recession was going to be. But that hardly helps. It merely indicates the general problem with central economic planning — the planners never really know what’s going on. The fact is, he spent nearly a trillion dollars on a “stimulus” that was largely wasted (or stolen) and that didn’t deliver anything like the results he promised when selling it. Obama’s stimulus didn’t help, and Obama’s policies in general took a bad situation and made it worse.

REMEMBER WHEN HE PROMISED TO RAISE A BILLION DOLLARS? Obama Supporters Barraged With Pleas for Cash. “Each plea for money from President Obama and his allies has become more urgent and desperate than the last.” Another promise that hit its expiration date, I guess.

Related: Obama now issuing instructional videos on how to send him money. “Key quote from a guy who broke his promise four years ago to accept public financing so that he could assemble the most lucrative campaign in American history: ‘We don’t get some of the massive checks that the other side does.’ That tearing sound you hear is the sound of your heart breaking.”

WHAT’S THE CAPITAL OF ISRAEL? Another Obama FlipFlop. As Jim Geraghty noted ages ago: Everything he says has an expiration date. Every single thing.

And the whole MyBuyersRemorse.com thing is clever.

Meanwhile, on the more positive side: Believe In The America You Built.

WELL, THAT’S ANOTHER ONE PAST ITS EXPIRATION DATE: Obama Promised In 2008 He Would Not Run Negative Ads.

THAT STATEMENT HAS PASSED ITS EXPIRATION DATE: Obama in 2010: Raising Taxes Will Lead to ‘More Folks Potentially Losing Jobs.’

CHANGE: Obama campaign call affirms money anxiety. Remember when he was bragging about how he was going to raise a billion dollars? Just another Obama statement that’s hit its expiration date, I guess.

EXPIRATION DATE, HIT: Obama yesterday: #DontDoubleMyRate; Obama today: Let the rates double!

OBAMA FLIPFLOPS: “Suddenly, Mitt Romney is a big old right-winger.” Well, as Jim Geraghty famously noted, every Obama statement comes with an expiration date. Every single one.

THE HILL: Obama Hot Mic Gaffe Lets Republicans Call Him Unprincipled. “Republicans used an unscripted remark by President Obama on Monday to label him as someone who could easily change his positions if he wins reelection.”

Every Obama statement has an expiration date. Every single one.

PAST ITS EXPIRATION DATE: Obama in 2004: I’d launch airstrikes to stop Iran from going nuclear.

MOVING TARGET: The Obama administration has shifted its legal arguments as it prepares to defend the president’s healthcare law before the Supreme Court. “The shift moves the focus of Justice’s argument from the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to the Necessary and Proper Clause, which says Congress can make laws that are necessary for carrying out its other powers. The briefs give a long history of failed efforts to expand healthcare coverage and say the new law’s purpose was to reform the overall system.”

The technical term here is “mere post-hoc rationalization.”

Related: CBO report says healthcare law could cause as many as 20M to lose coverage. “Republicans immediately pounced after the new numbers came out because they appear to violate Obama’s pledge that people who like their health plans will be able to keep them. Last year, CBO’s best estimate was that only 1 million people would lose employer-sponsored coverage.” All of Obama’s promises have an expiration date.


What makes a driver’s license useful as ID is that you need it to drive, meaning that people will keep close tabs on theirs, giving rise to a presumption that if you have it, it’s probably yours. (And if you lose yours, you’ll report it lost, which would show up in the computer if anyone checked — not that they do — so you can get a new one.) An expired license, on the other hand, is just trash, and could be recovered from a dumpster and used with its proper owner none the wiser.

But, you know, nobody checks that. I’ve been to the White House several times (pre-9/11) and nobody ever looked at the back of the license — even though if you just look at the front, it shows an expiration date that’s well in the past. The only person who’s ever flipped it over to check for the renewal sticker on the back was the cashier at a convenience market where I was buying beer. Give that guy Tom Ridge’s job!

I hope that security at the White House is better now, but I don’t think it’s improved all that much elsewhere.

SO WHAT’S THE EXPIRATION DATE? President Obama promises to buy a Chevy Volt, after his second term. Well, as one of the One Percent, he can afford it.


The American Catholic Church, from left to right, is now being handed a lesson in the hierarchy of raw political authority. One hopes they and their supporters will recognize that they have not been singled out. The federal government’s forcings routinely touch other groups in this country—schools, doctors, farmers, businesses. The church’s fight is not the whole or the end of it.

Since he appeared, no other word has been invoked more often to describe Barack Obama’s purposes than “transformative.” Last year, Mr. Obama began to be criticized by some of his supporters for being insufficiently transformative while holding the powers of the presidency—this despite passing the biggest social entitlement since 1965, an $800 billion stimulus bill, raising federal spending to 24% of GDP and passing the Dodd-Frank restructuring of the U.S. financial industry. Naturally an interviewer this week asked Mr. Obama why he hadn’t been more “transformative.” The president replied that he deserved a second term, because “we’re not done.” In term two, it will be Uncle Sam, Transformer.

Transformed into a place where what Washington wants matters more than what you believe.

Related: Eleanor Clift: Did Obama Pick The Contraception Fight To Fire Up His Base?

UPDATE: The Anchoress: You Bet It’s War.

Next: A requirement that mosques sell bacon.

MORE: Hispanics jumping Obama ship over contraception flap.

MORE STILL: A steaming pile of sexism from Hillary Rosen: “This public debate on whether or not the Obama administration’s sensible policy on covering birth control has turned into a boys against the girls fight. And the boys are out of touch and out of line.”

Shut up, boys. This issue is owned by women.

Related: Senate Democratic Women Are Boycotting Morning Joe. Join the club, ladies. Although for most of us, it’s not so much boycotting as forgetting it exists.

FINALLY: Another Rube Self-Identifies:

Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan says President Barack Obama hasn’t kept his promise, when it comes to the new White House policy on contraception.

Sources told CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer that Archbishop Dolan feels betrayed after his meeting with the president on the issue late last year.

“All statements from Barack Obama come with an expiration date. All of them.”

SHOULD THE WHITE HOUSE RELEASE THE PHOTOS OF OSAMA’S DEMISE? Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) describes them as remarkably graphic, but that shouldn’t be all that surprising — war’s been hell for a very long time. But as the Anchoress writes (and click over for more links on this topic than just this excerpt):

Should the White House show the pictures of the dead bin Laden? I’m of two minds. Mussolini was shown in death, so why not bin Laden? I am not feeling especially worried about terrorists “hating us more” for showing the pictures. They’ve been hating us pretty steadily since the 1970’s, so it seems a vague and cowardly argument, to me.

By the same measure, though I did agree with President Obama that there was no need to “spike the football.” So I take a dim view of the fact that this utterance seems to have come with the usual expiration date, as he seems to be spiking it for fun and profit with some regularity, lately, and with his usual and long-standing lack of generosity.

Recall that when Sarah Palin stepped into the GOP ticket in ‘08, Obama and his crew could not even be generous enough to call her the Governor of Alaska, instead deriding her as a “small-town” mayor. He has not grown any more gracious in office, as this demonstrates, so color me unimpressed.

Moreover, I am getting the sense that President Obama has discovered that there is value — when all of your domestic policies are tanking or proving unpopular, ineffective or just not real — to being a wartime president, and he seems to see no irony at all in the fact that nabbing bin Laden would not have been possible if he had succeeded in blocking the Bush policies he so ardently fought while in the senate.

I keep wondering what the ego-gratifying “new cowboy/wartime president” suit may escalate down the road.

Veteran liberal columnist and MSNBC contributor Howard Fineman seems a bit worried about what will happen to the president further down the road as well.

BLACK FLIGHT: “Blacks are leaving San Francisco faster than any other major US city, citing ‘substandard schools, a lack of affordable housing and the dearth of jobs and black culture,'” the San Francisco Chronicle reports, as spotted by Richard Fernandez at the Belmont Club, who has much more on the topic. Richard adds that San Francisco is far from the only American city from which blacks are deserting at record rates.

To add to San Francisco’s unique structural woes, it’s worth noting, as the SF Examiner did recently, that the city is “becoming a child-free zone as [its] youth population declines.”

Nanny State Utopias sure seem to come with expiration dates, don’t they?

ANOTHER RUBE SELF-IDENTIFIES: YOU CAN CALL ME “SMUG” AS LONG AS YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THE STING. You were played. I told you so at the time. The whole hope-and-change thing was an obvious con, and you were among the rubes who fell for it anyway. And yeah, I’m rubbing it in.

And, heck, I’ll link this while I’m at it. How things change. Given what’s going on, why wouldn’t I be smug?


ANOTHER UPDATE: Moe Lane emails: “I will admit to a certain amount of smug, myself. I mean, it’s not like we didn’t tell these rubes, over and over and over again. Jim Geraghty especially, back in November 2008…”

And Moe’s rubbing it in, too. Why not? It’s the chief pleasure offered by this miserable administration. And, as I said right after the election, you’ve got to take your fun where you find it.

MORE: Reader Michael Hankamer writes: “So I guess that recognition that Obama is a dunce, was always a dunce, and forever will be a dunce is the new definition of ‘uber-partisan.'” So it would seem. But since that characterization seems merely to increase the sting, I’m okay with it this time. . . .

And Prof. Stephen Clark writes: “By all means, rub their whole faces in the facts of this latest intervention. To be clear: if the left and Democrats generally do not savage this President in much the same manner they savaged Bush, if they are not out in the streets protesting, if they are not opposing his reelection, if they are not demanding his impeachment and trial, if they are not hoping for his very death, then they will have shown themselves to be every bit the craven hypocrites that many have long claimed.” I have not yet begun to rub it in.

WELL, I FELT LIKE MY LIFE HAD LASTED TOO LONG just reading this column by Jon Weiner.

More seriously, I’ve had some thoughts on the subject of life-extension here and here. Also here.

EVERY PROMISE HAS AN EXPIRATION DATE — but even “Save the Whales?” Obama Under Fire for Backing Deal to Lift Global Ban on Commercial Whaling. “Environmentalists, already peeved with the administration’s handling of the Gulf oil spill, are accusing President Obama of breaking his campaign pledge to end the slaughter of whales. The Obama administration is leading an effort within the International Whaling Commission to lift a 24-year international ban on commercial whaling for Japan, Norway and Iceland, the remaining three countries in the 88-member commission that still hunt whales.”

EXPIRATION DATE: Orszag: The president never “pledged” no new taxes; he simply “preferred.”

Hmm. Let’s go to the video. “A firm pledge” doesn’t mean “pledge” now, huh?

AN ANTIVENOM CRISIS? “Wyeth kept up production of coral snake antivenom for almost 40 years. But given the rarity of coral snake bites, it was hardly a profit center, and the company shut down the factory that made the antivenom in 2003. Wyeth worked with the FDA to produce a five-year supply of the medicine to provide a stopgap while other options were pursued. After that period, the FDA extended the expiration date on existing stock from 2008 to 2009, and then again from 2009 to 2010. But as of press time, no new manufacturer has stepped forward.”

EXPIRATION DATE REACHED? Robert Gibbs finally admits the Obama Admin has no intention of pushing DADT repeal in 2010.

DAWN JOHNSEN WITHDRAWS HER NAME. I predict that the next nominee will be no more to conservatives’ liking, but will have less of a track record, and less concern with reputation, so I score this as, at best, a Pyrrhic victory — which is why I argued against the block-Johnsen campaign.

UPDATE: Reader Mike Behrens says that I’m wrong:

There was no way for the Republicans to block this. Obama had a filibuster-proof Senate for a long time and a Senate Committee supermajority and yet Johnsen wasn’t confirmed. Why is that? Perhaps, because he is following Bush’s counterterrorism strategy and Johnsen’s appointment, given her views on how terrorism should be handled, gave him second thoughts on whether he wanted her there overlooking things. Everything has an expiration date and a place under the bus is reserved in advance for all things.

Hmm. Good point.

WHAT? OBAMACARE WON’T COVER PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS? Tom Maguire has not just one, but two lengthy posts on the subject.

And Ann Althouse wonders about process: “If they screwed up something that important, what else did they screw up? Or do you think they deliberately gave the insurance companies that loophole, in which case, the question is what other surprises are tucked away in the 1000s of pages of fine print?”

UPDATE: Related: The Complete List of Obama Statement Expiration Dates.

MATT WELCH: The president’s habit of telling untruths.

The president, who promised in both word and style to usher in a “new era” of Washington “responsibility,” routinely says things that aren’t true and supports initiatives that break campaign promises. When called on it, he mostly keeps digging. And when obliged to explain why American voters are turning so sharply away from his party and his policies, Obama pins the blame not on his own deviations from verity but on his failure to “explain” things “more clearly to the American people.”

It’s funny — all he had to do to be a success was to live up to the kind of Presidency he promised. But he didn’t, and it appears that he couldn’t. Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Reader Kevin Greene writes:

The best example of this is health insurance mandates. The President defeated Hillary Clinton for the nomination of his party by telling Americans that it was wrong to require people to purchase insurance. Now, as President, he is trying to force people to purchase health insurance. And threatening IRS audits and fines. And he claims to not understand the opposition to this proposal.

People didn’t get the “expiration date” business . . . .

NEW YORK POST: The Revenge Of Joe The Plumber.

Remember Joe the Plumber?

He was the blue-collar dude who confronted Barack Obama late in the 2008 campaign with this challenge: “Your new tax plan’s going to tax me more, isn’t it?”

Nonsense, replied the candidate: “From 250 [thousand dollars a year] down, your taxes are going to stay the same.”

Indeed, he insisted, 95 percent of “working people” would see their taxes go down in his administration.

Well, think again.

A year into his presidency, Obama now says he’s “agnostic” on what was the principal plank in his economic platform: No tax hikes for individuals making $200,000 a year or less — or for households with a combined annual income under $250,000.

Every promise comes with an expiration date. Every single one.

THIS MAKES ME FEEL GREAT ABOUT THE WAR ON TERROR: “A couple of aspiring reality-TV stars from Northern Virginia appear to have crashed the White House’s state dinner Tuesday night, penetrating layers of security with no invitation to mingle with the likes of Vice President Biden and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. . . . While the White House offered no official explanation, it appears to be the first time in modern history that anyone has crashed a White House state dinner. The uninvited guests were in the same room as President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, although it is unknown whether they met the Obamas and the guest of honor.”

Good thing they weren’t terrorists or something. This isn’t a huge shock to me, though. I visited the White House back in the ’90s and they took my Tennessee driver’s license as ID. Back then, when it expired, you got a renewal sticker that went on the back. The security guy looked at the front of my license, which showed an expiration date a year in the past, but never looked at the back. Not long after I noticed that when I bought beer at a Weigel’s convenience store, the guy immediately looked at the back. . . . One hopes the White House security will get an upgrade.

Related thoughts from Roger Simon: Crashergate: What if my Facebook friends all came for Thanksgiving?

DAVE WINER: “I assumed that because we elected Obama to end the war in Iraq that it went without saying that the war in Afghanistan would be ended as well. Apparently not so.”

Nothing goes without saying. And every promise has an expiration date. Every single one.

UPDATE: “Dave Winer should have been paying closer attention.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Louis Abelman didn’t quite get this, which was perhaps a bit too pithy unless you’ve been paying close attention. Here’s what I sent him by way of clarification:

Well, you hate to spell this stuff out as it spoils it. But here goes:

(1) Nothing goes without saying — Obama’s “atmostpherics” were designed to fool people like Dave, but if you paid attention, which Dave didn’t you saw that the atmospherics pointed one way and the statements the other. (2) Every promise has an expiration date — remember, he promised to get us out of Iraq posthaste? And yet . . .

Okay, maybe it was too pithy, I’ll grant you that, though it seemed clear to me.

And if mocking Dave Winer is wrong, I don’t want to be right!

And Lou commented, “Dang! I never get this Limbaugh parody style. Seriously, I feel like a humorless liberal scold every time. Which is the point? Cheers.” Well, it’s not the point. But it sometimes comes of responding to what you expect people to be saying as opposed to what they’re actually saying. And, to be fair, sometimes I’m a bit too pithy. But that’s supposed to be part of the charm.

HEALTH CARE BILL WILL BE WRITTEN ON C-SPAN: A pledge from President Obama. Er, I mean, candidate Obama. Guess it’s past the expiration date now . . . .


Related: The Mother Of All Expiration Dates.

HMM: AXELROD: OBAMA WON’T RULE OUT MIDDLE-CLASS TAX HIKE. That’s funny. I thought he already had. Guess that one’s hit its expiration date . . . .

HOPE AND CHANGE! Earlier this week, the White House officially abandoned President Obama’s “Sunlight before Signing” pledge. Those pledges all have expiration dates. All of ’em.

ANDREW SULLIVAN FIGURES OUT WHO THE RUBES ARE: “I have a sickeningly familiar feeling in my stomach, and the feeling deepens with every interaction with the Obama team on these issues. They want them to go away. They want us to go away. . . . Yesterday, Robert Gibbs gave non-answer after non-answer on civil unions and Obama’s clear campaign pledge to grant equal federal rights for gay couples; non-answer after non-answer on the military’s remaining ban on honest servicemembers. What was once a categorical pledge is now – well let’s call it the toilet paper that it is.”

In entirely unrelated news, Obama has also flip-flopped on releasing the “torture” photos. Meet the new boss, yada yada. All of this was entirely predictable. And yet, his election was a matter of fierce moral urgency about which there could be no serious disagreement. . . .

UPDATE: More hope and change! Indefinite Detention Weighed. “The Obama administration is weighing plans to detain some terror suspects on U.S. soil — indefinitely and without trial — as part of a plan to retool military commission trials that were conducted for prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”

Previously: “You were expecting a Chicago machine politician to show an enthusiasm for civil liberties?”

ANOTHER UPDATE: In the comments at Politico, limited sympathy for Andrew’s plight. My favorite: “Gee, it seems like I’ve lived through this before.”

And this rings true: “Shoulda stuck with conservatives sully, we woulda kept ya around. Chicago style politics just uses you until you run out of use. You have run out my friend.” As Jim Geraghty notes: “All statements from Barack Obama come with an expiration date. All of them.”

I talk to the wind. The wind cannot hear. And I don’t look as good as Kirsty Hawkshaw when I do it. . . .


The chief causes of natural death among the elderly form a concise set: Heart disease and cancer are the big killers, with strokes, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, or opportunistic infections claiming most of the rest. Until recently, we’ve focused on attacking each of these diseases separately, but we’ve made little progress; despite developed countries’ collectively spending untold billions of dollars pursuing this elusive goal, eventually something from the same old rogue’s gallery seems to arrive for everyone.

This could all soon change, thanks to a recent, astonishing discovery of genetic pathways that defend against aging. This has opened up, for the first time, the possibility that we can develop medicines that will not only help us live longer but also reach the ends of our lives more gracefully, free from the pernicious diseases that would otherwise plague us. In other words, with the help of drugs already in human trials, there is now a chance that you will be able to dance at your great-granddaughter’s wedding just as you did at your own. . . . During the Victorian era, children commonly died of illnesses like measles, mumps, and whooping cough; surely, no one would suggest today that we eliminate prenatal care, vaccines, or water purification in order to return to a more “natural” state. Now that we have the technology to eliminate the scourge of infant mortality, it would be immoral to not use it. In truth, we’re fighting aging and extending lifespan every time a doctor prescribes a statin drug or recommends a healthier diet to a patient. And the fact remains that science has not yet discovered an indisputable biological “expiration date” for a human life, nor is there good evidence that one exists.

In time, the idea of an inevitable, debilitating decline starting at age 50 will seem as horrifying and primitive as it does for us, in the age of potent antibiotic cocktails, to imagine a young person in the 19th century dying from an infection caused by a splinter.

Read the whole thing. Er, and faster, please . . . .


Hope, change, and every action or promise has an expiration date!

MY EARLIER POST ON ATRIOS AND EX POST FACTO LAWS got me thinking — some of the backlash against things that the Bush Administration has been doing probably stems from a lack of understanding of just how bad the law has always been in many areas, leading to a false impression that things represent shocking new departures from the Constitution when they really represent . . . er, . . well-settled departures from the Constitution. Search, seizure, and privacy law, of course, was already seriously damaged by the Drug War long before Bush ever took office, something that tends to be forgotten in discussions of FISA or the Patriot Act. But it goes beyond that sort of thing. Sweeping Executive authority, for example, is nothing new.

One of my favorite examples of this is a case I used to teach back when I taught International Business Transactions, a Ninth Circuit case called U.S. v. Spawr Optical Research, 685 F.2d 1076 (9th Cir. 1982). As far as I can tell, it’s not online for free anywhere. But here’s the gist: Spawr was charged with selling laser mirrors to the Soviet Union in violation of U.S. export law. It seemed as if Spawr had a pretty strong defense, in that the governing statute, the Export Administration Act, had expired at the time the sale took place.

But President Ford had issued an Executive Order extending the statute despite its expiration — yes, you read that right — and the Ninth Circuit held that this act by the President was within his legal powers under another statute, the Trading With the Enemy Act. Here’s an excerpt, with footnotes omitted:

In light of the pending expiration of the Export Administration Act of 1969 (EAA),[FN3] President Gerald Ford issued Executive Order No. 11940[FN4] on September 30, 1976 to maintain the EAA regulations forbidding the shipment of specified strategic items to certain foreign countries. He acted pursuant to s 5(b) of the Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA), 50 U.S.C. app. ss 1-44. When the Order was issued and while it remained in effect, the TWEA empowered the President, during a presidentially-declared national emergency, to “regulate, .. prevent or prohibit … any exportation of … or transactions involving any property in which a foreign country … has any interest.”Id. at s 5(b) (1)(B).[FN5] Rather than declare a new national emergency to support the Executive Order, President Ford relied on the continued existence of national emergencies declared in 1950 by President Truman relating to the Korean War and in 1971 by President Nixon concerning*1080 an international monetary crisis.

The Spawrs exported laser mirrors for the second Soviet Order, however, after the EAA had expired and before it was reenacted on June 22, 1977,[FN6] when the sole basis for the regulations was the Executive Order. The Spawrs assert that the Order did not preserve the export regulations and, therefore, the Government lacked authority to prosecute them for their exporting mirrors for the second Soviet orders because: (1) there was no genuine national emergency, (2) the regulations were not rationally related to any emergency then in existence, and (3) the lapse of the EAA shows that Congress intended to terminate the regulations.

Former section 5(b) of the TWEA delegated to the President broad and extensive powers; “it could not have been otherwise if the President were to have, within constitutional boundaries, the flexibility required to meet problems surrounding a national emergency with the success desired by Congress.” United States v. Yoshida International, Inc., 526 F.2d 560, 573 (Cust. & Pat.App.1975) (footnote omitted). Wary of impairing the flexibility necessary to such a broad delegation, courts have not normally reviewed “the essentially political questions surrounding the declaration or continuance of a national emergency” under former s 5(b). Id. at 579.[FN8] The statute contained no standards by which to determine whether a national emergency existed or continued; in fact, Congress had delegated to the President the authority to define all of the terms in that subsection of the TWEA including “national emergency,” as long as the definitions were consistent with the purposes of the TWEA. 50 U.S.C. app. s 5(b)(3). In the absence of a compelling reason to address the difficult questions concerning the declaration and duration of a national emergency under former s 5(b), we decline to do so.

Moreover, the EAA apparently was allowed to lapse only because Congress could not resolve questions relating to the antiboycott provisions. See Arab Boycott Hearings on S. 69 and S. 92, Before the Subcommittee on International Finance of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, 95th Congress, 1st Sess. 1 (Senator Stevenson) (1977). The Spawrs have offered no evidence that Congress intended to dismantle the export controls.

In conclusion, even under the demanding scrutiny the Spawrs argue is appropriate because of the criminal nature of this case, *1082 it is unmistakable that Congress intended to permit the President to use the TWEA to employ the same regulatory tools during a national emergency as it had employed under the EAA. We, therefore, conclude that the President had the authority during the nine-month lapse in the EAA to maintain the export regulations.

So Congress had basically delegated all the authority within the Export Administration Act to the President anyway, allowing him to, in effect, enact a statute by issuing an Executive Order. And it doesn’t matter that Congress let the Export Administration Act expire, because the court “knew” that the expiration was for other reasons. And anyway, Congress had already given the President power to make whatever export laws he wanted to make via executive order regardless.

Worth noting, just in case you thought that sweeping Executive power in these areas was something new.

UPDATE: Reader Dan MacLaughlin emails:

“President Gerald Ford issued Executive Order No. 11940 on September 30, 1976.”

Was this, perhaps, on the recommendation of his then-Chief of Staff, Dick Cheney?

Not that I disagree with your larger point – lurid examples from the New Deal era are easy enough to come up with. But Cheney, at least, has been a consistent advocate of broad executive powers for many years, whether he was in the Executive Branch, Congress or private life.

Heh. I have no idea whether Cheney had anything to do with this decision or not. The answer is probably not, as it probably came from the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Export Administration (now the Bureau of Industry and Security). But I don’t really know.

PERHAPS THIS IS BECAUSE IT WAS ALWAYS A CROCK, but The New York Times notices that ending the assault weapons ban didn’t matter:

Despite dire predictions that the streets would be awash in military-style guns, the expiration of the decade-long assault weapons ban last September has not set off a sustained surge in the weapons’ sales, gun makers and sellers say. It also has not caused any noticeable increase in gun crime in the past seven months, according to several metropolitan police departments.

The ban was symbolic legislation, designed to bolster the media profiles and direct-mail efforts of gun control lobby groups, while building momentun for eventual complete gun confiscation (something that some gun-control enthusiasts admitted, and others unconvincingly denied). It failed at that, and in fact succeeded mostly in costing the Democrats control of the legislative and executive branches.

UPDATE: More thoughts here and, in the comments, here. (“I never wanted a semi-automatic rifle until the government told me I could not have one.”)

THE EXPIRATION OF QUOTAS UNDER THE MULTIFIBER ARRANGMENT isn’t big news, but it ought to be. Aaman Lamba has more. I spoke with an expert on this last year, and he said he thought it would mean devastation to the textile industries of Cambodia and Bangladesh, and probably pretty much everyone else besides India and — especially — China, who would clean up.

UPDATE: Virginia Postrel emails that it’s gotten a lot of attention in the business pages. Not much of that seems to show up on this Google News search, but I confess that I didn’t go any further than that in looking to see how much play it’s gotten. I had actually meant to write a TCS column on this before the end of the year, but events intervened.

IT’S A SPECIAL ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN EXPIRATION EDITION of Alphecca’s usual weekly media gun report.

I notice that Kerry was making a lot of noise about the Assault Weapons ban expiring, after being very quiet on the subject until recently, and after trying — albeit ineffectually — to burnish his pro-gun credentials as recently as last week.

I take this as a sign that the Kerry campaign now expects to lose, and has shifted to a rally-the-base mode intended to protect downticket candidates. I could be wrong, of course, but that’s how it looks to me. More evidence here.

It’s also worth reading Dave Kopel’s take on the AWB expiration, and this piece by Timothy Wheeler.

UPDATE: An, er, alternate theory of what Kerry’s about, here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jacob Sullum says that Kerry has played a constructive role: “As the federal ‘assault weapon’ ban expires, we can thank John Kerry for demonstrating the stupidity of targeting firearms based on features that have nothing to do with their lethality or their suitability for crime.”