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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cruising the Web

The President figures that we're all too dumb to realize how well the country is doing.

And the FBI thinks we're plenty stupid and can't figure out that there is a connection between radical Islam and the beheading in Oklahoma despite having a Facebook postings admiring ISIS and bin Laden and cheering the murders on 9/11. But then this has been a trend by law enforcement and this administration. And why is the man who threatened to behead a coworker being charted with terrorism and the guy who actually beheaded a coworker isn't?

But then depending on the stupidity of Americans is rather a staple of this administration's approach to policies. Josh Kraushaar, no conservative ideologue, writes at the National Journal, no conservative rag, about what he calls "Obama's Pass-the-Buck Presidency."
In attempting to downplay the political damage from a slew of second-term controversies, President Obama has counted on the American people having a very short memory span and a healthy suspension of disbelief. The time-tested strategy for Obama: Claim he's in the dark about his own administration's activities, blame the mess on subordinates, and hope that with the passage of time, all will be forgotten. Harry Truman, the president isn't. He's more likely to pass the buck.
Obama's tendency to blame others for his own mistakes isn't limited to his failure to understand the threat from ISIS.
The elements of the administration's blame, deny, and wait-it-out communications strategy has been front and center amid all the recent controversies. When the administration badly botched the launch of the health care exchange website, Obama said he was "not informed directly that the website would not be working the way it was supposed to." This, for his signature achievement in office. Blame was later pinned on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who left the administration in April.

When officials at the Internal Revenue Service improperly targeted conservative outside groups for scrutiny, Obama first feigned outrage, saying he had "no patience for" the misconduct. But months later, as the public's anger subsided, Obama said there "wasn't even a smidgen of corruption" at the agency, and the administration has done little to hold anyone accountable since.

After CNN reported that Veterans Affairs Department offices covered up long wait times at several of its facilities, former Obama press secretary Jay Carney said, "We learned about them through the [news] reports." Long wait times were hardly a secret, with Obama himself campaigning on VA reform as a candidate. To his credit, Obama signed legislation reforming the VA and replaced embattled Secretary Eric Shinseki. But the president himself escaped much of the blame, even though he was clearly familiar with the long-standing problems that the agency faced.

The administration's approach to controversies was best crystallized by former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, who deflected criticism about allegations that talking points on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, were altered for political reasons. "Dude, this was two years ago," he told Bret Baier of Fox News. The remarks were perceived as flippant, but they underscored the success of the administration's public-relations strategy. Buy enough time, and inevitably problems tend to go away—especially in today's attention-deprived environment.

The difference between bureaucratic incompetence and not being fully truthful with the American public is a big one. In the aftermath of scandal, it's easy to understand why the administration, when choosing between portraying the president as disconnected or dissembling, has chosen the former. But throughout his presidency, Obama has acted far from detached. In his second term, he's relied increasingly on loyalists who are less likely to push back against the president's wishes. It's hard to square a president who reportedly is micromanaging airstrikes in Syria with a president who was unaware of the growing threat from Islamic extremists, which had been increasingly trumpeted on the network news.

Roger Simon expands on this theme by writing how many educated liberals are actually on low-information voters."
There are a number of people who are at least somewhat cognizant of quantum mechanics to whom the details of the issues of the day are just as unfamiliar — the modern liberal intelligentsia. I’m not talking about the punditocracy here, the Thomas Friedmans of the world, who are certainly aware of the issues (well, more or less) even if they evaluate them in peculiar ways. I’m talking about the workaday liberal, the well-educated professionals who are our friends, relatives and neighbors. They are, increasingly, low information voters, living in willful or perhaps willed blindness.

Jay Cost is also zeroing in on the Democrats' dependence on hoping that voters are ignorant. He discusses the two models of representation: delegate and trustee. For the delegate model, voters send someone to the legislature to vote the way the constituents want. For the trustee model, voters trust their representatives to use their own good judgment when voting since their constituents don't have the time or inclination to stay informed about issues. As Cost writes, the Democrats have a new model.
It seems that the Democrats have been developing a third model of representation of late: Call it the “sneak it past the rubes” theory. Under this approach, you pre-sent yourself to your constituents as an independent voice, not in hock to the national Democratic party, so as to get elected. Then the national party allows you generally to vote with your constituents, on the understanding that when the chips are down you will vote with the liberal leadership. Then you hope that the “rubes” back home can be sufficiently distracted by the “war on women” or some other phony issue that they’ll return you to office. And if they choose not to, there will be a consolation prize: a cushy, well-connected job as a lobbyist (Blanche Lincoln) or law firm adviser (Byron Dorgan) or association CEO (Ben Nelson) or strategic adviser in PR (Kent Conrad) in Washington, where you are more at home anyway, or even a job out of town as an ambassador (Max Baucus).
Cost then applies this model to what the Democrats are hoping will happen in Kansas when they persuaded their own nominee to drop out and make the race between Pat Roberts and a supposed independent, Greg Orman.
Over the last decade, Orman has contributed overwhelmingly to Democrats, he briefly ran in 2008 as a Democrat to try to unseat Roberts, and a perusal of his positions—especially on abortion—suggests he is to the left of the average Kansas voter. Perhaps needless to say, he will not commit to repealing Obamacare.

Bottom line: Greg Orman is a Democrat running as an independent. So this is a variant of the game Democrats have been playing for years now, with an extra layer of deception: Find a candidate who can win over Republican voters in red states by talking about his independent-mindedness, and when he gets to Washington he’ll be there when you really need him. It’s “sneak it past the rubes” minus the party label.
If the Democrats get away with this "sneak it past the rubes" tactic this year in states like Kansas or North Carolina or Louisiana, they'll keep on trying it.

This is why the White House should stop using the term ISIL.

Victor Davis Hanson explains the real damage Eric Holder had done to the nation.
he will be known mostly for re-teaching Americans to think of race as essential, not incidental, to our characters.

He accomplished that unfortunate legacy in a number of ways. Holder waded into the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown fatal shootings before all the facts were known in a manner no local public prosecutor would dare do so. He claimed that the unpopularity of Barack Obama was due to racial animosity, apparently forgetful that not long ago, in the era of Bush Derangement Syndrome, novels and movies were published and produced fantasizing about the assassination of George W. Bush, who was compared to Nazis and fascists, by everyone from Al Gore to John Glenn. I assume Holder was then quiet about such alarming disparagement of his president; and also I assume that when Obama in 2009 had near 70% approval ratings, for Holder the nation was anything but cowardly.

Of course, Holder infamously called Americans “cowards” for not being as obsessed in the same way with race as he was. He referred to African-Americans as “my people,” a sloppy aside that might have gotten any other attorney general fired for such cheap ethnic chauvinism — except that his own boss had once called for Latinos to punish “our enemies” and on the campaign trail had talked of “typical white person.” Holder chose to drop the New Black Panther case in a way that highlighted racial matters — apparently coming armed with clubs to a voting precinct is hardly unusual — in the same way that he suggested that those states that might require an ID to vote (in the manner we produce IDs to write a check or use a credit card) were racist, in the same way that he suggested that states like Arizona that wanted federal immigration law enforced were acting out of racialist motives.

In other words, in the reprehensible vision of Eric Holder, how we look governs who we are.

Our brilliant State Department scheduled a White House dinner to honor Indian Prime Minister Modi while he's in the middle of a religious fast. And the hapless Department spokeswoman, Jennifer Psaki had to defend this mess.
State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki was forced to defend the decision to hold the dinner on the holy day.

“I’m just wondering if anyone thought it was really that much of a good idea to host and dinner and lunch for the visiting president who is the middle of a fast,” asked Associated Press reporter Matt Lee.

“We certainly understand that and recognize it and respect it, his fast. It’s a way of honoring an individual,” Psaki responding.

“Are these people going to be actually eating in front of him?” Lee followed up.

“I don’t have the menu in front of me, Matt,” Psaki said.

Lee explained that the optics could be offensive.

“So he’s going to be sitting there drinking his water or lemon flavored water and everyone else is going to be chowing down on a four course meal in front on him?” the reporter asked.

“We can check and see what the menu is if it’s of interest to you,” Psaki replied.

“Is there actually going to be food served?” pressed Lee. “It seems a little impolite if someone can’t eat because they’re doing a religious [fast]. You wouldn’t invite a practicing Muslim to lunch in the Middle of Ramadan would you?”

“It seems kind of odd they would choose an event and then a lunch with someone who can’t eat,” Lee said.

Psaki responded that the overarching goal of the meals are to “to honor the visit” by Modi.
Why can't they just admit that they did something idiotic and that they'll reschedule the dinner? I guess this administration just won't ever acknowledge that they made mistakes.

Don't hold your breath for Boehner to be ousted by a coup from the right.

The Swiss voted overwhelmingly
against moving from private health insurance to a state-run scheme. Wouldn't it have been nice to have had a referendum on Obamacare instead of the corrupt process that was used to force it through?

The Kurds are not happy with U.S. airstrikes against ISIS. They think we're not going at it hard enough. That might help explain why ISIS has advanced to the outskirts of Baghdad. Bryan Preston links to a CNN interview with a defector from ISIS who agrees that our attacks aren't doing all that much damage to ISIS. And they're borrowing a tactic from Hamas by hiding weapons among civilians.

So if the intelligence community made a mistake, as Obama claims, about the rise of ISIS, does that mean that "they lied and people died?"

Members of the intelligence community are not happy about being dossed under the bus. There were plenty of public statements by members of Obama's intelligence team early this year warning about ISIS. Of course, this wasn't in accord with Obama's claim that the "boundless war on terror" is over or that we were withdrawing from Iraq in 2011 and "leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq."

And Lee Smith asks a pertinent question: If the intel was so bad on ISIS, can we trust it on Iran as the President basically gave up on any attempt to stop Iran from going nuclear?

OUr wonderful representatives in Congress are regularly missing about 2/3 of their committee meetings. Maybe those meetings are a waste of time, but I bet they'd never admit that.

It's not going to help Iowa Democratic senatorial candidate Bruce Braley tout his record on veterans when voters learn that he missed 79% of the hearings on the VA. It's not going to be defense to say well, other representatives miss their meetings also.

Advertising online may be more determinative this year than TV advertising.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Cruising the Web

Obama has thrown his intelligence team under the bus, saying that they underestimated the rise of ISIS. However, they did warn him about ISIS. He just chose to ignore them.
Nearly eight months ago, some of President Obama’s senior intelligence officials were already warning that ISIS was on the move. In the beginning of 2014, ISIS fighters had defeated Iraqi forces in Fallujah, leading much of the U.S. intelligence community to assess they would try to take more of Iraq.

But in an interview that aired Sunday evening, the president told 60 Minutes that the rise of the group now proclaiming itself a caliphate in territory between Syria and Iraq caught the U.S. intelligence community off guard. Obama specifically blamed James Clapper, the current director of national intelligence: “Our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that, I think, they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” he said.

Reached by The Daily Beast after Obama’s interview aired, one former senior Pentagon official who worked closely on the threat posed by Sunni jihadists in Syria and Iraq was flabbergasted. “Either the president doesn’t read the intelligence he’s getting or he’s bullsh***ing,” the former official said....

n prepared testimony before the annual House and Senate intelligence committees’ threat hearings in January and February, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the recently departed director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said the group would likely make a grab for land before the end of the year. ISIS “probably will attempt to take territory in Iraq and Syria to exhibit its strength in 2014." Of course, the prediction wasn't exactly hard to make. By then, Flynn noted, ISIS had taken the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, and the demonstrated an “ability to concurrently maintain multiple safe havens in Syria.”
How many more people would not have been murdered or terrorized if the President had acted decisively earlier? How many women would not have been raped and enslaved? How much easier would the fight against ISIS been today if President Obama had heeded these warnings? If he truly never saw these warnings, he should be raising holy hell with his briefers.

This is a depressing statistic.
Almost 1 in 4 Americans between the ages of 25-54 (or prime working years) are not working.

"There are 124.5 million Americans in their prime working years (ages 25–54). Nearly one-quarter of this group—28.9 million people, or 23.2 percent of the total—is not currently employed. They either became so discouraged that they left the labor force entirely, or they are in the labor force but unemployed. This group of non-employed individuals is more than 3.5 million larger than before the recession began in 2007," writes the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee.

"Those attempting to minimize the startling figures about America’s vanishing workforce—workplace participation overall is near a four-decade low—will say an aging population is to blame. But in fact, while the workforce overall has shrunk nearly 10 million since 2009, the cohort of workers in the labor force ages 55 to 64 has actually increased over that same period, with many delaying retirement due to poor economic conditions.

It's really funny about how the Democrats keep pretending that they're being way outspent by Republicans and conservative outside groups when they're the ones who are way in the lead in campaign spending this time around. It's the only thing keeping some of them in the running.
In the 11 Senate races where independent expenditures by outside groups are a significant factor, Democrats have spent about $18 million more on aggregate than the Republicans. When it comes to negative ads, the kind Democratic candidates complain about so often, their advantage is even larger. Left-leaning groups have spent about 70 percent more on negative ads than their GOP counterparts.

Heather MacDonald explains what President Obama could have said about Ferguson if he were so inclined to pontificate on the subject before the world at the United Nations.
All the more important, then, for Obama to set the record straight. The idea that the Ferguson riots were the result of a predatory police force tantamount to sectarian murderers in the Middle East is a poisonous calumny. The threat to America’s blacks comes almost exclusively from other blacks, not from the police. Every year, thousands of African Americans are gunned down by other African Americans, with no attention from the media and local government officials. The homicide death rate for blacks in Los Angeles, for example, like in most other American cities, is ten times that for whites. It’s not whites or police officers who are gunning down black Angelenos, it’s other blacks, killing in cold blood, also at ten times the rate of white and Hispanic homicide commission combined.

This last Saturday, a 14-year-old girl was killed on the streets of Paterson, New Jersey, in a drive-by gang shooting. She is the sixth homicide death in the area since a 12-year-old girl was shot in the head while riding a scooter in July. It is a virtual certainty that the perpetrators were black, like their victims. Obama and Eric Holder will have nothing to say about these homicides. In fact, the only government representatives who work day in and day out to stop the black bloodbath are police officers. But they cannot provide protection to law-abiding residents of high-crime areas without generating racially disparate police statistics—like stops and arrests—that the ACLU and the Justice Department can use against them. The only way to avoid generating such statistics would be to back off from policing in high-crime areas....

Few are the departments that don’t try to forge bonds with their communities but their officers are still met with resistance, abuse, and hatred from criminals and their associates, and from ordinary people who have been fed a steady diet of anti-police propaganda. It would have been refreshing if Holder had called on the community to cooperate with the police by providing witness testimony after shootings and other crimes. Instead, the attorney general touted his department’s effort to ensure “that everyone who comes into contact with the police is treated fairly” (emphasis in the original), implying that differential police treatment is a serious problem.

President Obama’s preposterous comparison of the Ferguson shooting to sectarian violence has done a disservice to the nation’s police forces. Such rhetoric only ensures that more young black men resist legitimate arrests and escalate police encounters into more fateful territory.
Hans von Spakovsk,y who has literally written the book on Eric Holder (and a very eye-opening book it is, lists the seven worst things Holder did as Attorney General.

Emma Watson seems more concerned about first-world problems for women than the real tyranny and violence against women around the world.
Again, this is all great, in theory. I mean, who likes violence or discrimination against women? But wait: a bunch of UN members apparently do. Iran seems to like it, as a nation that regularly stones rape victims. Sudan regularly enforces the practices of child marriage and ritual female genital mutilation. China’s official state policies encourage countless sex-selective, anti-female abortions every year. I could go on and on. The plight of many women worldwide is really quite unbelievable and sad, and it makes me feel lucky to be an American.

When I read the glowing reviews of Watson’s address to that sprawling, international body—Vanity Fair called the speech “game-changing,” People magazine called it “powerful,” and CNN called it “moving”—I was sure she let loose, unflinching, setting these countries straight regarding their supporting role in the real-world, epic oppression of women.

If you’ve been following modern feminism for a while, I don’t even need to tell you I’m joshing. While Watson, to her credit, did give a few shout-outs to actual oppression around the globe—child brides and uneducated girls in Africa, specifically, along with an admission that “not all women have received the same rights I have”—her speech was an unfortunate reflection of the “we’re all victims,” zero-sense-of-proportion mishmash that makes up modern Western feminism.

If you don’t believe me, here is what Emma Watson, Hollywood actress, actually complained about before a body of 192 member states, some which have more terrifying dictatorships than others: 1. She was called “bossy” as a child; 2. She was sexualized by the media as a young movie star; 3. Many of her girlfriends quit their sports teams because they didn’t want to grow muscles; 4. Many of her teenage male friends, being teenage males, were unable to express their feelings.

Remember how Beyonce had that “FEMINIST” sign behind her at the MTV Video Music Awards? At times, I’m sorry to say, Watson kind of needed a giant “FIRST-WORLD PROBLEMS” sign behind her at this UN speech. “I think it is right that I am paid the same as my male counterparts,” Watson continued. “I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body.” (Here, of course, was a bout of wild applause.) “I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that will affect my life.” (Good thing all women think the same!)

“But, sadly,” Watson continued, “I can say there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to see these rights.” This line, while patently absurd, was also actually quite genius, as it made everyone at the UN feel pretty darn good about themselves. I personally picture Kim Jung Un in his weird little suit, stray donut crumbs on his face, looking around and thinking, “Hey, nobody’s done it! We can’t feel that bad!”
Yeah, a real game-changer.

This is how sexual violence has been defined down. At the University of Michigan sexual violence has a very broad definition including "discounting the partner's feelings regarding sex" or "criticizing the partner sexually" or "withholding sex and affection." The definition of sexual violence now includes any sort of boorish behavior.

Apparently, the Democrats' phony complaints about a Republican war on women aren't going over so well in Colorado.

Just as Republicans warned, Obamacare spending is way ahead of any of the administration's predictions.

How can the police say that the motives of the guy who beheaded a woman in Oklahoma had noting to do with Islam. Did they even check out his Facebook page where he had pictures and posts admiring Osama bin Laden and ISIS?> I guess the police were just following the model of the Obama administration who labeled the murders at Fort Hood as workplace violence.

Sean Trende presents a very interesting analysis of what we can and cannot infer from the poll results at this point in the Senate races.

Well, this certainly isn't an argument for Rick Perry's possible run for the nomination.
Nearly $222 million given by Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s job-creating fund was given to those who never applied.
The whole reason to elect a governor is because he or she would presumably have experience running something bigger than a campaign committee or a senatorial office, but not if the governor didn't demonstrate suitable oversight of one of his big initiatives. We've had enough of that already.

The real JV team is the bunch of people Obama now has on his national security team.
n retrospect, it is clear, the first Obama term—when Gates was at Defense (followed by Panetta), Panetta at CIA (followed by General David Petraeus), Hillary Clinton at State, Admiral Mike Mullen at the Joint Chiefs, and retired General Jim Jones at the National Security Council—was a golden age (by Obama standards) when there were grown-ups more or less in charge of U.S. foreign policy. Obama at first tended to accede to the advice of his more seasoned foreign policy hands because as a first-term senator he was acutely aware of his own lack of experience or credibility in the field. Thus, he delayed his Iraq pullout, maintaining 50,000 troops there until nearly the end of 2011; he tripled troop numbers in Afghanistan to pursue a more robust strategy against the Taliban; and he continued most of George W. Bush’s second-term counterterrorist policies while actually increasing the number of drone strikes in Pakistan. Even then, Obama’s caution often intruded in ways that undercut his stated goals: For example, he insisted on an 18-month timeline on the Afghanistan surge, which Gates, Clinton, Petraeus (then at Central Command), and others accepted only reluctantly as the price of having a surge at all. But, however reluctantly, Obama acted more toughly during his first two years in office than his campaign rhetoric would have predicted.

Ah, for those good ol’ days. Today, by contrast, U.S. foreign policy is shaped by Joe Biden, Chuck Hagel, John Kerry, Susan Rice, and John Brennan, among others, with deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes the most frequently quoted spokesman. It tells you something that the most hawkish of the lot is Kerry, but he has dissipated much energy and credibility in futile efforts to jumpstart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. His major achievement to date is to broker a power-sharing accord in Afghanistan between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah that may or may not hold together.

Still, it’s hard to be too harsh on Kerry or any of the other cabinet members when clearly the driving force behind U.S. foreign policy is the president himself. Obama suffers from the not uncommon defect of the intellectually able: He imagines that he is always the smartest guy in the room and thus has trouble taking advice that does not accord with his own predilections.

The Washington Post needs to do better fact-checking of itself.

Barack Obama sure thinks well of himself.

This is funny. Apparently, a lot of famous novelists don't consider themselves as inserting much symbolism into their works. That would be a real blow to English teachers everywhere.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Cruising the Web

Hans von Spakovsky who, along with John Fund, wrote a book describing the depredations that Eric Holder had made at the Justice Department, Obama's Enforcer, explains how Eric Holder politicized the Justice Department.
Mr. Holder is also responsible for spearheading an unprecedented politicization of the Justice Department, which should be of great concern to anyone who cares about the rule of law and the impartial administration of justice.

Why care about who runs the U.S. Justice Department? It matters because Justice is one of the most powerful executive branch agencies in the federal government. It has enormous discretionary power to pursue people accused of breaking the law and to exert major influence over social, economic and national security policies by the enforcement (or non-enforcement) choices made by its top officer.

Justice requires someone who understands that, while the attorney general is a political appointee, he (or she) has a sworn duty to uphold the Constitution and enforce the law in an objective, non-political manner. For the most part, Eric Holder failed in the execution of that duty.

Mr. Holder is the first attorney general in history to be held in contempt by the House of Representatives. He earned this dubious distinction by refusing to turn over documents related to what may be the most reckless law enforcement operation ever undertaken by the Justice Department: Operation Fast and Furious.

During his tenure, the Justice Department launched more investigations and prosecutions of leaks than all prior attorneys general combined, while studiously ignoring high-level “friendly leaks” by White House officials designed to make the president look tough in the fight against terrorism.

Mr. Holder racialized the prosecution of federal anti-discrimination laws and led an unprecedented attack on election integrity laws, thus making it easier for people to commit voter fraud.

His handling of national security issues and his reinstitution of the Clinton-era criminal model for handling terrorists have endangered national security and the safety of the American public.

Mr. Holder has tried to restrict pro-life protesters’ First Amendment right to speak, has prosecuted American companies (under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) for behavior that is routine among government officials, and has on numerous occasions ignored his duty to defend the law and to enforce statutes passed by Congress.

In clear violation of civil service rules, Mr. Holder filled the career ranks of the Justice Department with political allies, cronies and Democratic Party donors.

He treated Congress with contempt and did everything he could to evade its oversight responsibilities by misleading, misinforming and ignoring members of Congress and its committees.

For these reasons and many others, a former career lawyer who served in the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations told us that, in his opinion, “Holder is the worst person to hold the position of Attorney General since the disgraced John Mitchell, who went to jail as a result of the Watergate scandal.” This is quite a criticism given that many DOJ veterans believe that the Department reached its nadir under Mitchell.

But in comparison to Holder, Mitchell seems like an amateur in corrupting the law enforcement duties of the Justice Department to carry out the political objectives of President Obama.

The many cases in which judges have accused DOJ prosecutors of engaging in prosecutorial abuse during Holder’s tenure shows, unfortunately, the extent to which this modus operandi has seeped into the lower levels of the Department.
Read their book to get the really alarming details of what the Obama-Holder alliance has done to the Department of Justice. Their damage will be hard to eradicate since Holder hired people of similar views as career bureaucrats who will be there long after Obama has left office. Good riddance to Holder, but don't think that this is the end of his brand of politicized justice.

Matthew Continetti comments on the story from the NYT's Amy Chozick about the close supervision that reporters following Hillary Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative are under, even to the extent of having an aide follow them to the bathroom and wait for them outside the stall.
I am tired of the double game the Clintons have been playing since last year, when Hillary left the Obama administration and began plotting her 2016 campaign: the passive-aggressive, push-pull tactic of complaining about and condemning supposedly harsh media coverage even as she and her husband and their minions use access and connections to advance their preferred narratives, bullying reporters and outlets who do not conform, and responding to press inquiries with snark and insults and flip and mendacious retorts.

What is more I am tired of the mainstream media’s complicity in the manipulation and goaltending, the manner in which reporters for establishment outlets accept the Clintons’ absurd regulations and spin, for reasons that are baffling and mysterious to me: whether it is out of ideological or partisan bias, or journalistic self-interest, or the calculation that one day bills will have to be paid, the scribbling will have to end, and jobs in the White House or at SKDKnickerbocker will have to be obtained.

There was no mass protest over the despotic rules at the Clinton Global Initiative. Chozick’s complaint did not become a rallying cry for press freedom. No major institution threatened not to cover next year’s meeting. Marty Baron, the executive editor of the Washington Post, tweeted a quote from one of his writers, Chris Cillizza, who said the Clintons “have as dim a view of the political press as any modern politician.” Perhaps that view is justified. Look at how easily the Clintons overpower “the political press.” Look at the Anaconda Vise in which they hold the mainstream media.

Did the metro dailies use this week’s conference to follow up on Chozick’s reporting from last year on the conflicts of interest and ethical dilemmas and outrageous spending at CGI and the Clinton Foundation? To reexamine Alec Macgillis’s long 2013 profile of Bill Clinton’s protégé Doug Band, whose consultancy is mixed-up in the foundation’s and the initiative’s partnerships and sponsorships and commitments? To conduct even the most mundane inquiry into whether there is anything left to reveal about Hillary Clinton’s past?

Let’s see. “At Clintons’ 3-Day event, Hillary basks in a candidate’s dream setting,” read the headline in the Los Angeles Times. “Clinton world braces for big news on baby front,” read the headline in the Wall Street Journal. “Clinton wonk party outshines U.N. meeting,” read the headline in the Washington Post. USA Today ran items on the pledge that soda companies made at the event to cut calories by 20 percent in 10 years, on Hillary Clinton’s backing of President Obama’s Syria policy, and on Bill Clinton’s truism that the country has become more tolerant of racial and sexual minorities. The Times ran an article on the soda spiel too. (links in original)
As Continetti writes, the MSM ignores so much of the sleaze still surrounding the Clintons and it is the more ideological press, both conservative and liberal, that are reporting on real scoops.

Tom Doughtery writes at Practical Politicking that the Tea Party might not be as conservative a force as is claimed if we look at the impact that they've had on the ideological voting by those in Congress who have been supposedly voted in by the Tea Party.

The Democrats' hypocrisy on outside money is really striking. As Harry Reid continually rails against the Koch Brothers, independent groups funded by liberal billionaires and labor unions have considerably out-raised and are now out-spending conservative independent groups.
mong the groups reporting the biggest political ad spending, the 15 top Democrat-aligned committees have outraised the 15 top Republican ones $453 million to $289 million in the 2014 cycle, according to a POLITICO analysis of the most recent Federal Election Commission reports, including those filed over the weekend — which cover through the end of last month.

The analysis shows the fundraising edge widening in August, when the Democratic groups pulled in more than twice as much as their GOP counterparts — $51 million to $21 million. That’s thanks to a spike in massive checks from increasingly energized labor unions and liberal billionaires like Tom Steyer and Fred Eychaner.

So, even as Democrats like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are working methodically to turn conservative megadonors like the big-giving conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch into the boogeymen of 2014, the party itself is increasingly relying on its deepest pockets as the best chance of staving off a midterm wipeout forecast by oddsmakers.

For example, Steyer, a retired San Francisco hedge fund billionaire, on Aug. 15 stroked a $15 million check to his own NextGen Climate Action super PAC that single-handedly exceeded the combined monthly total raised by the two GOP congressional campaign committees. And his political lieutenant, Chris Lehane, hinted that Steyer, one of the biggest individual donors of 2014, may give more to his super PAC than his $50 million pledge, which Lehane said “should not be seen as a ceiling.” Steyer’s spending — and that of other Democratic billionaires — has helped fuel an advertising gap favoring the party’s candidates in key races across the country.
The WSJ also comments on this hypocrisy from the Democrats.
After the DSCC, the biggest spender has been Mr. Reid's very own Senate Majority PAC. Run by former Reid aides, this Super PAC's only mission has been to trash Republican challengers to take their approval ratings as low as those of Democratic incumbents. The group has already raised more than $32 million, with $16.5 million in TV ads reserved through Election Day.

Senate Majority PAC can take unlimited donations, which makes it an ideal campaign vehicle for Democratic billionaires. Nearly two-thirds of its $32 million have been contributions of $500,000 or more.

The populist roll call includes $5 million from fossil fuel investor turned climate change evangelist Tom Steyer, Chicago media magnate Fred Eychaner ($4 million), former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ($2.5 million) and hedge-fund founder James Simons ($2 million). Some $6.6 million comes from unions (via coerced dues), and nearly $4 million in $250,000 gifts from the likes of trial lawyers ( Peter Angelos, David Boies ) and tech and media moguls ( Google's Eric Schmidt, recording executive Jerry Moss).

The same Democratic 1% are funding most of the left's campaign apparatus this year. Mr. Steyer gave $7.5 million to his own Super PAC, NextGen Climate, which is advertising false accusations against Iowa GOP Senate candidate Joni Ernst. Mr. Bloomberg gave $2 million to the Emily's List PAC, which is spending millions to lambaste North Carolina Republican Senate nominee Thom Tillis as hostile to women and education.

George Soros gave $500,000 to a PAC supporting House Democrats and another $500,000 to the League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund, which recently ran an ad (irony alert) accusing the Koch Brothers of trying to "buy" the New Hampshire Senate seat for Republican Scott Brown. Houston mega-lawyer Amber Mostyn gave $250,000 to the Planned Parenthood PAC, which is attacking Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner in Colorado.,,,

Throw in millions from labor unions, and the GOP is getting outspent in nearly every competitive Senate race. Republicans are suffering in part because of donor wariness after the Senate failures of 2010 and 2012. But many GOP donors have been scared by IRS targeting and audits of wealthy Republicans, prosecutorial attacks like the one in Wisconsin against Gov. Scott Walker's allies, and the Democratic demonization of GOP contributors. Not everyone has the thick skin of Charles and David Koch.

Many GOP donors try to avoid becoming political targets by writing checks to 501(c)(4)s, which don't have to disclose donor names. But under IRS rules these groups are largely limited to issue ads that don't advocate for or against a candidate. Super PACs like Mr. Reid's can say whatever they want, but 501(c)(4)s can't respond in kind on behalf of GOP challengers.

Money spent on campaigns is political speech, and these Democratic fat cats are exercising their First Amendment rights. Good for them. But Democrats and their media megaphones ought to spare us the lectures about the Kochs or Sheldon Adelson or other donors on the political right.

These denunciations have nothing to do with political principle but are attempts to intimidate conservative donors so that wealthy liberals can dominate the election. If Harry Reid holds his Senate majority, his rich retainers will be the reason.

John Kass wonders why those racial activists who rushed to Ferguson aren't flooding into Chicago to protest the murders of young black children by gang violence. Does the death of a black child only matter if the murderer is a white person?

If Greg Orman, running as an independent in Kansas against Pat Roberts, were really so independent why are there so many links between his campaign and Democrats?

Allysia Finley points out how some Republicans who have huge balances are not opening up their purse strings to help win a Republican majority in the Senate.
One perk of sitting on the Senate Banking Committee, as Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby has for three decades, is that its regulated industries provide a deep-pocketed donor base. But to adapt scripture, to whom much is given, much should be required.

Mr. Shelby has amassed $17.8 million in his war chest, according to his campaign committee's second-quarter filing with the Federal Election Commission. His committee has spent about $179,000 this cycle, which includes $4,400 at the Senate Gift Shop and $1,000 at Chick-fil-A. That's a lot of cole slaw and chicken nuggets. The Senate baron has also rung up $10,400 at Capitol Hill's posh private 116 Club.

Yet the 80-year-old incumbent has donated a mere $17,400 from his cash pile for the National Republican Senatorial Committee in a year where Senate control hangs in the balance. The fifth-term senator doesn't face voters for another two years and hasn't had a formidable challenge since his election in 1986. It's plausible that Mr. Shelby is hoarding the cash in anticipation of a primary challenge.

Charles Krauthammer explains what will have to be our role in what is probably an endless war against jihadists. We won't be able to destroy them and will have to hope to contain them.
Or to put it in a contemporary Middle East context, this kind of long-term combination of rollback and containment is what has carried the Israelis successfully through seven decades of terrorism arising at different times from different places proclaiming different ideologies. There is no one final stroke that ends it all. The Israelis engage, enjoy a respite, then re-engage.

With a bitter irony born of ceaseless attacks, the Israelis call it "mowing the lawn." They know a finality may come, but alas not in their time. They accept it, and go on living.

Obama was right and candid to say this war he's renewed will take years. This struggle is generational. This is not Sudan 1898. There is no Omdurman that defeats jihadism for much of a century.

Today jihadism is global, its religious and financial institutions ubiquitous and its roots deeply sunk in a world religion of more than a billion people. We are on a path -- long, difficult, sober, undoubtedly painful -- of long-term, low intensity rollback/containment.

Containment-plus. It's the best of our available strategies. Obama must now demonstrate the steel to carry it through

What a coincidence. Kay Hagan's husband owns a company that received nearly $400,000 in federal grants from the stimulus package that Hagan voted for.

Ross Douthat explains why people are talking about a Romney candidacy.
Part of the answer can be found in Henry Olsen’s helpful analysis, from earlier this year, of how exactly Republican presidential primaries tend to shake out. Olsen offered a four-group typology of G.O.P. primary voters — secular conservatives, religious conservatives, moderate conservatives and Rockefeller-Republican centrists — and argued that the nomination almost always goes to the candidate who can rally the moderate conservatives and co-opt elements from the other constituencies while fending of challenges from the right and (sometimes, though less often) the center. There are different ways to do this (as evidenced by George W. Bush and John McCain’s very different paths to the nomination), but the trick doesn’t change that much from cycle to cycle — you want to seem conservative enough but not too right-wing, electable but not a liberal sellout, a safe choice for donors who also makes the party’s activists feel respected. You don’t win by running against those activists (as McCain did in 2000, and Jon Huntsman did in 2012), and you also don’t win by running as an ideological insurgent; you win by straddling dispositional and ideological conservatism, raising lots of money, and promising the best chance of victory in November.

So where are all the peace protests against Obama's actions in the Middle East that we saw when a Republican was in the White House? As Deb Saunders points out, Obama has authorized attacks in seven countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Syria.
Seven countries. Where are all the peace activists? Maybe some of them are numb because they can't muster up as much indignation when a Democrat beats the drums of war. Or maybe they are numb because they've realized peace isn't that easy.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cruising the Web

Michelle Obama is still badmouthing her own country as she worries about how women in America still face a daily struggle. Sure, there has been a lot of progress, but we are still not "anywhere near full economic, political, and domestic equality in the United States." Oh, please. Christina Hoff Sommers is exactly right when she argues that feminists have a vested interest in promoting myths about how rotten things are for women today.

Jonah Goldberg makes a similar point as he aims a skeptical eye on the White House's efforts to convince people that 1 in 5 women on college campuses have been raped.
The “It's On Us” PR stunt is not an exception; it is par for the course. To listen to pretty much anyone in the Democratic Party these days, you'd think these are dark days for women. But by any objective measure, things have been going great for women for a long time, under Republicans and Democrats alike.

The “It's On Us” PR stunt is not an exception; it is par for the course. To listen to pretty much anyone in the Democratic Party these days, you'd think these are dark days for women. But by any objective measure, things have been going great for women for a long time, under Republicans and Democrats alike....

Obviously, this isn't all about elections. There's a vast feminist industrial complex that is addicted to institutionalized panic. On college campuses, feminist and gender studies departments depend almost entirely on a constant drumbeat of crisis-mongering to keep their increasingly irrelevant courses alive. Abortion rights groups now use “women's health” and “access to abortion on demand” as if they are synonymous terms. The lack of a subsidy for birth control pills is tantamount to a federal forced breeding program.

Sure, women still face challenges. But the system feminists have constructed cannot long survive an outbreak of confidence in the permanence of women's progress. The last thing the generals need is for the troops to find out that the “war on women” ended a long time ago — and the women won.

According the NLRB, an employee can cuss out a boss in front of customers and can't be fired.
Authors Frederick Braid and Loren Forrest note a recent case in which the board sided with an employee of an auto dealership who cursed out the owner in a meeting to discuss compensation. The employee used words not fit for a family newspaper as he insulted the business owner, called him "stupid," told him that nobody liked him and that he would regret it if he fired the abusive employee. After the dealership went ahead and fired the worker, the NLRB ruled that the business had violated the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRB said the employee's behavior was neither "belligerent" nor "menacing."

In a case involving Starbucks Corp. , report Messrs. Braid and Forrest, "the Board again reinstated an employee" who engaged in profanity-laced tirades against his manager. "The first tirade occurred when the employee felt that his manager was slow to assist him during a busy day at Starbucks. Instead of thanking his manager for the requested assistance, which the manager provided, the employee said, 'about damn time.'" The worker then used foul language and told his boss to "do everything your damn self."

The Nanny state now involves studying people's garbage.
The Seattle City Council passed a new ordinance Monday that could mean $1 fines for people who toss too many table scraps into the trash.

Under current Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) rules, people living in single-family homes are encouraged but not required to dispose of food waste and compostable paper products in compost bins....

Under the new rules, collectors can take a cursory look each time they dump trash into a garbage truck.

If they see compostable items make up 10 percent or more of the trash, they’ll enter the violation into a computer system their trucks already carry, and will leave a ticket on the garbage bin that says to expect a $1 fine on the next garbage bill.

Politicians today have lost the power of persuasion.
But in the last decade or so, persuasion in politics has become like cursive writing in high school; it’s a lost art.

George W. Bush, for example, genuinely wanted to convince people he was right about Iraq. But he had absolutely no talent for persuasion; nor, alas, did he have the sense to bring anyone who did have a talent for persuasion into his administration. After two terms in the White House, the total number of Americans who changed their minds in favor of the Iraq War was, roughly, zero.

President Obama is on-track to match that sorry record. He exudes contempt for anyone who disagrees with him about the war, Obamacare, or about any other issue; when he speaks, it’s obvious from his choice of words and body language that he doesn’t think it’s worth his valuable time to try and convince people who are just too stupid to understand.

It’s getting worse. Can you name even one of the likely presidential contenders who has displayed the inclination — let alone the skill — to convince people to actually change their minds about an issue? Neither can I.

In politics, the alternative to persuasion is playing to the base. You identify your natural supporters — libertarians, social conservatives, labor unions, soccer moms, Tea Party activists, or whomever — and then you throw as much raw meat at them as you can. You tell them whatever they want to hear, precisely as they want to hear it. You don’t worry that voters who aren’t part of your base won’t understand what you’re talking about, or may be offended by the words you use to make your points; in fact, offending other voters is one of the best ways to convince the base that you’re their guy or gal.

Now this is an inspirational story about three Irish girls who won the Google science fair this year as they worked in their back yard to find a new way to increase the output of plants by using a helpful bit of bacteria. They are modern day Norman Borlaugs, the man who has saved more lives than anyone else in history.

Obama is so eager to have moral equivalence that he ends up being offensive. First he had to bring in Ferguson, Missouri in his speech to the UN today. What did that have to do with the state of the world today? And whatever the crowds in the street might think, or Eric Holder and Barack Obama might like to believe, there is still a judicial process going on in Ferguson and would be better if federal officials would just let that process go forth. But then he had to strike a note of equivalence in talking about Gaza and Israel.
“The situation in Iraq, Syria and Libya should cure anyone of the illusion that this conflict is the main source of problems in the region; for far too long, it has been used in part as a way to distract people from problems at home. And the violence engulfing the region today has made too many Israelis ready to abandon the hard work of peace,” he said as he opened the 69th General Assembly in New York.
Balderdash! The Israeli government would be thrilled to have peace. What is he implying? That Israel went into Gaza just because they don't want peace? If they were truly so desirous of war, think of how many Palestinians Israel could kill if they really wanted to unleash their full power. They fought that recent war with one hand tied behind their backs as they did as much as they possibly could to minimize civilian casualties. But in President Obama's views, it's all about Israel wanting to abandon the "hard work of peace."

And then he stuck in a bit of praise for a Muslim cleric who supported a fatwa on killing U.S. soldiers.
Concern over the administration’s relationship with Bin Bayyah started as early as 2013, when outrage ensued after he was reported to have met with Obama’s National Security Council staff at the White House.

While Bin Bayyah has condemned the actions of groups such as Boko Haram and ISIL, he also has taken controversial positions against Israel.

He issued in 2009 a fatwa “barring ‘all forms of normalization’ with Israel,” according to a Fox report on the White House meeting.

Additionally, the notorious 2004 fatwa permitting armed resistance against U.S. military personnel in Iraq reportedly stated that “resisting occupation troops” is a “duty” for all Muslims, according to reports about the edict.

Patrick Poole, a reporter and terrorism analyst who has long tracked Bin Bayyah, expressed shock that the Obama administration would endorse the cleric on the world stage.

“It is simply amazing that just a few months ago the State Department had to publicly apologize for tweeting out it’s support for Bin Bayyah, only to have Barack Obama go before the leaders of the entire world and publicly endorse Bin Bayyah’s efforts,” Poole said.
Doesn't anyone in this administration look over such speeches so they can keep the President from making these sorts of mistakes?

These are the TV programs that no politicians should advertise on.

I'm glad that TSA can keep us safe from dangerous conservative reporters.

Reporters can get a look at what their future will be like under their coming Clinton overlords. They even assign aides to follow reporters to the bathroom when they cover Hillary at the Clinton Global Initiative. Chris Cillizza explains why this matters.
But, the episode also reflects the dark and, frankly, paranoid view the Clintons have toward the national media. Put simply: Neither Hillary nor Bill Clinton likes the media or, increasingly, sees any positive use for them....

“If a policymaker is a political leader and is covered primarily by the political press, there is a craving that borders on addictive to have a storyline," Bill Clinton said in a speech at Georgetown University back in April. "And then once people settle on the storyline, there is a craving that borders on blindness to shoehorn every fact, every development, every thing that happens into the story line, even if it’s not the story.”

That view, according to a terrific story by Politico's Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman over the summer, informs and impacts the Clintons' thinking on a 2016 bid. Write the duo: "As much as anything else, her ambivalence about the race, [Clinton sources] told us, reflects her distaste for and apprehension of a rapacious, shallow and sometimes outright sexist national political press corps acting as enablers for her enemies on the right."

It also colors how the media is treated during the long runup to Clinton's now-expected bid. While Chozick's experience may be on the extreme end of the spectrum, reporters who have spent any amount of time on the trail with the Clintons -- including during their recent trip to Sen. Tom Harkin's Steak Fry -- describe a candidate and an operation that always assumes the worst of the press horde and acts accordingly.
Cillizza goes on to look at Hillary Clinton's poor relations with the media in the 2008 campaign and is not encouraged that anything would be different 2016. Noah Rothman notes that the media are only upset with the Clintons when it affects them.

John Hinderaker, for his sins, watched some of The View and caught Rosie O'Donnell giving her ignorant opinion that we're now bombing Syria because she thinks "Syria has a lot of oil" and that we have "a financial agenda" for Obama's actions there.
O’Donnell’s comments are astonishingly stupid. For one thing, Syria has very little oil: it produces less than 1/2 of 1% of the world’s petroleum. Whereas we, the United States, are the number one source of fossil fuel energy. And how would bombing ISIL give the U.S. access to more oil, at rates somehow cheaper than those at which we can develop our own endless petroleum resources? At over $1 million per Tomahawk missile, isn’t this doing it the hard way? Not to mention that, on a best case scenario, we don’t own whatever minimal amounts of oil may be beneath Syria’s soil. (This is a minor, legalistic detail that doesn’t occur to low-IQ liberals.)

So what is the point? What do Syria’s tiny petroleum reserves have to do with our bombing of ISIL? It seems obvious that the answer is: Nothing. Yet liberals are so stupid, or, to be charitable, so irrationally wedded to outmoded memes, that they can’t resist babbling about oil, even as North Dakota produces more petroleum than Syria could ever dream of. What, exactly, is the “financial incentive” behind our effort to retaliate against ISIS brutality?

With all the interest recently in the Democratic database and application of technology to its get out the vote campaigns, David Foster provides a fascinating look at how the Kennedy campaign used computer analyses in the 1960 campaign to decide how JFK should address the religion question.