The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Regular readers of this blog know my position on the mainstream media (MSM) all too well. In the view of most rational, objective observers, the MSM has exhibited unrepentant, left-leaning political bias, coupled with fawning adoration of the current President, coupled with a surprising lack of curiosity about a long list of scandals and poor policy decisions that would cause a media uproar if they occurred under of republican president. The MSM selectively edits the news, removing any story that might reflect badly on this White House and this president. It has become a propaganda arm for the Obama administration.

Although it might sound outrageous at first blush, over the past five years the MSM has become analogous to Pravda—the duplicitous state run media that was the mouthpiece of the now defunct Soviet Union.

Rather than providing an adversarial voice that (to use a phrase beloved by the left) 'speaks truth to power,' the MSM is complicit in assisting the powerful in their efforts to stonewall the truth, distract and divide the American public, and gaslight those who ask unpleasant questions. The MSM has ruined its reputation as objective arbiters of the American scene and in doing so, has done an enormous disservice to the American people.

Ironically, the MSM has also done an enormous disservice the Barack Obama, a fantasy figure that it helped to construct in 2008 and now works so hard to protect. Richard Fernandez comments:
The mainstream media is one of the biggest liabilities of the administration. It allows it to lie to itself; to continue believing that everything is alright long after the last person will have moved out of its decaying cities. The media lets Washington bury its mistakes in print. But as we well know in this Age of Zombies, anything buried that ain’t dead will walk the earth again.
Indeed, when fantasy and delusion run head-on into reality, it is reality that ultimately prevails.

Barack Obama and his MSM allies can tell the American public that every scandal is phony, that economic growth can be fostered by income redistribution, that serious foreign policy blunders are, well, just business as usual. They can characterize the fantasy Obama as a victim of meany GOP pols, and never question his inept, divisive leadership. They can look the other way at places like Detroit, never probing to better understand why this bankrupt blue city is in such severe trouble. They can gaslight political opponents and critics alike, and they can bury poor administration decisions, policies and scandals to protect their fantasy president. But in the end "anything buried that ain’t dead will walk the earth again."

Friday, July 26, 2013


Let's reconsider Barack Obama's outrageous comment about the many significant scandals that have plagued his administration over the past year. It his latest content-free "pivot" speech on the economy, he lamented his opposition's relentless focus on wrong-doing:
But with this endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball. And I am here to say this needs to stop. (Applause.) This needs to stop.
Yeah, unethical and illegal behavior does tend to force folks to take their eye off the ball. And certainly, when an administration is corrupt in many of it undertakings, it's only natural that they and their leader would want it all to "stop."

But there's more to this. Obama, many democrats, and his legion of media lapdogs are engaged in a coordinated effort to delegitimize any effort to investigate the many cases of breathtakingly poor judgement or outright wrongdoing that have been laid at this administration's doorstep.

As a consequence of Barack Obama's use of the phrase "phony scandals," Bryan Preston writes:
Obama declared that the IRS targeting of his political critics no longer outrages him, just as the scandal crept up into the agency’s chief counsel’s office. It’s no longer an outrage, though we have not yet gotten to the bottom of it. It’s “phony,” as is Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the terrible rollout of Obamacare, the EPA’s war on coal and its secret collusion with activist groups in violation of the Clean Air Act. All of that is just so much phony distraction and posturing. The Obama administration spies on the media — phony scandal. No answers for the families of the dead of Benghazi — phony distraction. Not real. Body counts, leaving Americans behind to die — fake and fake. If the IRS scandal was real, well, the FBI would have interviewed the victims by now, wouldn’t it? It hasn’t, so the scandal is phony. You’re crazy for thinking that it’s real.

Barack Obama is gaslighting America. He is striving to make any focus on his real scandals appear nutty, out of bounds, insane, and illegitimate.

Wikipedia defines Gaslighting in the following way:
Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity.[1] Instances may range simply from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.

The term "gaslighting" comes from the play Gas Light and its film adaptations. The term is now also used in clinical and research literature.
Indeed, Barack Obama and his supporters believe that if they act outraged enough, if they keep repeating the mantra that "there's no there, there," if they keep insisting that it's all political (which it is), but that their motivation occurs at a higher moral plane that is apolitical (which is absolutely NOT the case), we'll all just move on. As I've said before in this blog, Obama and his supporters might actually prevail. Gaslightling does a number of the victim (i.e., the majority of American citizens who want ethical leadership and apolitical government agencies), making a citizen "doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity."

Looking back on it, Obama and his supporters used gaslighting during the 2008 presidential campaign whenever odd relationships, questionable business dealings, curious personal associations, weak or suspect positions, made the Presidential candidate look bad. They expressed outrage, suggesting that it was all a GOP conspiracy, all ginned up out of the ether, all just nonsense. It wasn't, but that didn't matter—gaslighting worked. They're trying it again on a much bigger stage with more more significant consequences. We'll see what happens.


And this insightful comment from Peggy Noonan is right on target:
One irony here is that the Obama White House, always keen to increase the reach and power of government, also seems profoundly disinterested in good governing. It is strange. The long-term project of liberalism involves encouraging the idea of faith in government as a bringer or guarantor of greater justice. But who needs more government if government works so very badly, and is in its operations unjust?

This White House is careless with the reputation of government [e.g., the plunging reputation of the IRS or the NSA]. They are a campaigning organization, not a governing one.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Plodding Onward

If giving speeches over a five year period improved a poor economy, the United States would now be in boom times—GDP growth would be in the 5 - 6 percent range, unemployment would be below 5 percent, the Middle Class (you know, the Group that Barack Obama professes to care so much about) would be thriving. This week, the president embarks on still another speech-giving tour—grand platitudes peppered with concern about "inequality" and the plight of the Middle Class. The editors of The Wall Street Journal comment:
The President summed up his economic priorities close to the top of his hour-long address. "This growing inequality isn't just morally wrong; it's bad economics," he told his Galesburg, Illinois audience. "When middle-class families have less to spend, businesses have fewer customers. When wealth concentrates at the very top, it can inflate unstable bubbles that threaten the economy. When the rungs on the ladder of opportunity grow farther apart, it undermines the very essence of this country."

Then the heart of the matter: "That's why reversing these trends must be Washington's highest priority. It's certainly my highest priority."

Which is the problem. For four and a half years, Mr. Obama has focused his policies on reducing inequality rather than increasing growth. The predictable result has been more inequality and less growth. [emphasis mine] As even Mr. Obama conceded in his speech, the rich have done well in the last few years thanks to a rising stock market, but the middle class and poor have not. The President called his speech "A Better Bargain for the Middle Class," but no President has done worse by the middle class in modern times.

By now the lackluster growth figures are well known. The recovery that began four years ago has been one of the weakest on record, averaging a little more than 2%. And it has not gained speed. Growth in the fourth quarter of 2012 was 0.4%. It rose to a still anemic 1.8% in the first quarter but most economists are predicting even slower growth in the second quarter.
Barack Obama's economic model (if you can call it that)—growing the size of government, actively increasing the number of people who get government assistance, raising taxes not only on the wealthy, but also on everyone else—is the same model that in microcosm lead to Detroit's bankruptcy. But he plods onward, unquestioned by his own party, unopposed by a fawning media, and unconcerned about a national debt that will exceed $17 trillion by the end of this year.


As an amusing aside, in his kick-off 'economic' speech, Barack Obama stated: “Too often, Washington has made things worse.”

Um, I thought Barack Obama was POTUS, you know, the guy who has management responsibility for the entire federal government, the guy who is supposed to interact with Congress and through negotiation accomplish a few things, the guy is is supposed to propose a realistic federal budget, the guy who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, WASHINGTON, DC.

Obama's tedious attempts to suggest that he is somehow not an insider, is not the #1 player in WASHINGTON, DC, is not the leader of a political party is ... well ... dishonest to the extreme. His attempts to somehow characterize himself as a victim of political forces that are beyond his control, rather than the most powerful political operator in WASHINGTON, DC is ... well .. disingenous. And yet, his supporters parrot his claims of victimization as if they were real. Hah.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

75 Days

It has now been 75 days since the IRS scandal first broke. Supporters of the president call the entire episode a "distraction" and label the investigation of the scandal "political." At the same time they refuse to entertain the suggestion that IRS targeting of ideological opponents of Barack Obama in an election year was in any way political. This, of course, is similar to the actions of supporters of Richard Nixon, whose considerably less serious Watergate scandal during his presidency resulted in his resignation many years ago.

At the same time, the mainstream media has now dropped any pretense of unbiased and objective reporting and has decided to spike the entire story. When a baby was born to the royal family, the MSM spent dozens of hours and hundreds of pages of coverage on the infant. The IRS scandal during that same time got exactly zero coverage by the MSM.

And yet, the investigation proceeds, getting ever closer to the White House. Last week I noted that concrete evidence of involvement by Obama's political appointee, William Wilkins, the IRS Chief counsel based in Washington, DC, was noted in committee testimony. This week we learn that Wilkins met with Obama two days before the first IRS action to target the president's opponents occurred. Just a coincidence, right? I wonder why there's no mention of this interesting coincidence in the NYT, the LAT, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, PBS, or a hundred other media outlets?

James Taranto comments:
As this column has argued before, the higher this scandal goes, the better it is for the country. We say that not because we don't care for Barack Obama--let's be honest, a President Biden would be no bargain either--but because the president can be held accountable if it turns out he or his top aides essentially instructed the IRS to steal the 2012 election. A corrupt administration can be dealt with, as Richard Nixon's was 40 years ago.

By contrast, if career IRS employees acted on their own, it means the integrity of American democracy itself is threatened by an out-of-control administrative state. In that case, how to solve the problem is not at all clear.
Was this, as Obama's supporters suggest, just a rogue IRS operation precipitated by "confusion" with no political agenda? To be honest, that contention strains credulity, and when complemented by a consistent stream of lies ("the Cincinatti office did it") and stonewalling (think: acting IRS commissioner Danny Werfel who is either incompetent, terminally forgetful, or willfully ignorant of his own organization) and administration/Justice Department obfuscation, this is a big story.

With the help of his Praetorian guard in the media and Democrats who are doing everything possible to derail the investigation, Barack Obama may emerge unscathed. That will be good for Barack Obama, but very bad for the country.

Update (7/25/13):

Yesterday at the start of a new round of vacuous speeches on the economy, Barack Obama said that the many scandals that are plaguing the most corrupt administration in my lifetime were "distractions, political posturing, and phony scandals." Really? The IRS released tax records illegally (think: Christine ODonnell) and targeted his political opponents in any election year. That's a "phony" scandal. This after the president (two months ago) initially expressed outrage saying: “If you’ve got the IRS operating in anything less than a neutral and non-partisan way, then that is outrageous, it is contrary to our traditions. And people have to be held accountable, and it’s got to be fixed. . . . I’ve got no patience with it. I will not tolerate it.”

As James Taranto notes: "We’re sure his outrage over the phony scandal was genuine."


And his media puppy dogs wag their tails and don't ask the obvious questions. Disgusting.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Four the past five years, I've argued that the problems faced by many European countries—low GDP, high unemployment, low productivity, significant entitlement burden, and a lack of any real effort to correct these problems—were a harbinger of our future in the United States, if we continue on the road to bigger government, uncontrolled entitlements (including disastrous new ones like Obamacare), and a debt burden that approaches 100 percent of GDP. Our current 'leadership' insists that our problem is that we haven't spent enough and that income redistribution via higher taxes will solve our ills. In essence that is the blue social model, and it is demonstrably flawed (think: Greece, Portugal, Spain). But that's Europe and we're different, right?

Now the first glaring failure of the blue social model in the USA has made front page news. Detroit, MI has declared Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Walter Russel Mead summarizes:
Detroit’s situation seems almost unprecedented, and it’s not clear how the city can best respond to it. The unions’ biggest problem is that Detroit simply cannot pay their pension claims without destroying city services. Detroit doesn’t have the money to provide even minimal services to its current population while paying off the large numbers of retired workers, many of whom hail from times when the city was larger and richer.

Because there is no money, there is no solution that gives the unions the relief they seek. Total obedience to the state constitutional mandate might not be possible, and that’s a problem. The government can pass a law saying that everyone has a constitutional right to a free trip to the moon, but if it doesn’t build the spacecraft that can get you there the right is void.
Stated even more succinctly, the money has run out and many of the citizens who provided the money have left the city. For the past 60 years, Detroit has been run by Democrats who applied the blue social model. Working with both public and private sector unions whose membership repeatedly elected them, Democratic city leaders agreed to fiscally irresponsible entitlements, programs, and projects. As taxes rose to fund these irresponsible agreements, people and businesses who shoulder the burden of the taxes required to pay for them left the city. Municipal debt rose. Population fell from 2 million in the mid-1960s to 700,000 today. As the tax base shrunk, the number of people who demanded public assistance and those who demanded public pensions grew dramatically. The math simply wasn't sustainable.

As Glen Reynolds says, "Something that can’t go on forever, won’t. Debts that can’t be repaid, won’t be. Promises that can’t be kept, won’t be."

You'd think that Barack Obama and his supporters would soberly consider Detroit's situation and re-evaluate their headlong rush to put our entire country in the same dire straits. That won't happen. You'd think the Democrats would soberly consider Detroit's situation and stop class warfare rhetoric and obstruction of entitlement reform. That won't happen either. The false promises will continue, spending will grow unabated, and everything will be fine, until it won't.

Friday, July 19, 2013


New and serious revelations that the IRS targeted, delayed and denied 501(c)-tax-exempt treatment for opponents of Barack Obama during an election year was compounded yesterday when IRS officials testified that the effort was coordinated out of Washington, DC by senior IRS officials, including appointees of the President. It's not the least bit surprising that many Democrat politicians, Obama's Left-wing supporters, and the President's Praetorian guard in the media are doubling their efforts to tell the public that there's no scandal, that the entire investigation is political (in what can only be called breathtaking hypocrisy, they claim at the same time IRS actions were not political), and that it's time to move on.

This position is exemplified by an editorial in USA Today as reported by CNN:
"No political operatives from the Obama campaign or the White House have been linked to any of the IRS' activities," the editorial said. "What's more, it has become increasingly clear that confusion on the part of IRS employees, rather than a starkly political motive, was the primary cause of the delays."
So ... it was just "confusion," huh? Senior IRS official Lois Lerner took the fifth because she was confused. Just because there have been no direct links to the administration established yet, we're supposed to believe that there will be no links established going forward as congressional committees work around the pervasive stonewalling that would have caused media outrage and investigation under any GOP administration.

Peggy Noonan comments on the "evolution" of stonewalling for this growing scandal:
Rep. Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican, finally woke the proceedings up with what he called "the evolution of the defense" since the scandal began. First, Ms. Lerner planted a question at a conference. Then she said the Cincinnati office did it—a narrative that was advanced by the president's spokesman, Jay Carney. Then came the suggestion the IRS was too badly managed to pull off a sophisticated conspiracy. Then the charge that liberal groups were targeted too—"we did it against both ends of the political spectrum." When the inspector general of the IRS said no, it was conservative groups that were targeted, he came under attack. Now the defense is that the White House wasn't involved, so case closed.
Hmmm. If this is such an open and closed case of "confusion," why the evolving defense mounted by the White House? Why all the lies? Why the pervasive stonewalling?

Let's assume for a moment that there was nothing political about this (and I do not), why on earth would House democrats or for that matter the Left-leaning media not want to investigate a rogue federal agency that has the power to make every citizen's life miserable? Why would they suggest that it's time for the investigation to stop? After all, if it can happen to the Tea Party, a rogue IRS, if allowed to continue its current modis operandi, could target or Think Progress at some point in the future. Why aren't Obama supporters in politics and the media concerned?

Peggy Noonan summarizes the implications of testimony that the IRS Chief Counsel's office in DC was involved:
Still, what landed [at yesterday's congressional hearing] was a bombshell. And Democrats know it. Which is why they are so desperate to make the investigation go away. They know, as Republicans do, that the chief counsel of the IRS is one of only two Obama political appointees in the entire agency.
So ... one of only two political appointees in the IRS was involved in IRS wrongdoing at very senior levels of the agency. Interesting coincidence, wouldn't you say?

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Over the past five years, the so-called "Arab spring" has morphed into a spring board for Islamists. During that time, a string of foreign policy failures have damaged our credibility in the Middle East and worse, made the United States look indecisive and weak. Public hatred of the United States throughout the Arab World (Egypt is a good example) makes the Bush years look like a love-in by comparison. And an abdication of U.S. leadership can only lead to even worse things in the future.

In Libya, the ill-conceived overthrow of the dictator Mohamar Kaddifi (promoted as an attempt to avert a 'humanitarian crisis") lead to internecine warfare among rival Islamist gangs and released tens of thousands of dangerous weapons (e.g., surface to air missiles capable of taking down a commercial airliner) into the region, many winding up in the hands of al Qaida affiliated groups. Kaddafi's overthrow led to Benghazi (remember Benghazi?), the death of a US ambassador, and the subsequent Obama administration coverup that is on-going to this day.

In Egypt, "democratic elections" resulting the empowerment of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood (who were courted for a time by President Obama and are far, far from the "moderates" his administration implied they were). Things in Egypt got so bad so quickly that President Mohammad Morsi (a Muslim brotherhood member) was overthrown by Egypt's military (a good thing).

In Syria, the dictator Bashar Hafez al Assad has used brutal methods to overcome opposition (much of it Islamist based) in what has become a real humanitarian crisis and civil war. Rather than acting early when there may have been an opportunity to affect the outcome, the Obama administration sat on its hands. Now Assad will likely remain in power (which may be a better outcome than an Islamist Syria).

In Jordan, al Qaida affiliated groups are posing an increasing threat to the stability of a reasonably moderate country. Sudan and Somalia are failed states. The entire Arab crescent is a mess. In Lebanon, Hezballah thugs hold an otherwise moderate country hostage.

So what is the tired old meme reintroduced by the Obama administration and it's new Secretary of State, John Kerry. Yesterday, John Kerry stated:
Peace is in the common interest of everybody in this region. And as many ministers said to me today in the meeting that we had – many of them – they said that the core issue of instability in this region and in many other parts of the world is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The only way to resolve that is through direct negotiations, and the only ones who can make that happen are not President Obama, John Kerry, Nasser Judeh, but it is the parties themselves. They have to make that decision.
So now the Obama administration and it's Secretary of State parrot the old, discredited Arab meme that "core issue of instability in this region" is attributable to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The Left, of course will lap this up, even though it is demonstrably untrue. But worse, it's a feint—an attempt to draw attention away from the many serious foreign policy failures of this President and at the same time using a strategy that has become S.O.P. for this administration, laying the blame elsewhere—in this case on Israel.

At a time when the Middle East is imploding, you'd think that this president would have better things to do than attempt to resurrect peace talks when the Palestinians have no interest in peace (unless, of course, Israel ceases to exist) and the Arab world has every interest in using the "conflict" as an excuse for their own miserable economic and cultural failures.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

At Its Core

Having spent six years of my career as a full-time professor, it's been my impression that those with a "Prof" in front of their name should be measured in their thinking, should base their conclusions not on anecdotal evidence or an individual instance of a phenomenon (no matter how compelling), but on broad and clearly measurable societal or scientific data, and should fight to dampen the impact of emotion when developing a thesis, relying instead on clear, objective thinking. It was therefore with considerable chagrin that I read the following, written by Harvard Professor Lawrence D. Bobo:
America is racist at its core. I used to doubt this simplistic claim. Today I cannot. The murder of Trayvon Martin demands total, simple, honesty. A jury in Florida failed us. We have not seen a moral failure this grave since a similarly all-white jury in Simi Valley, Calif., in 1992 acquitted the four LAPD officers who beat Rodney King.

Writing in the same year as that ill-fated verdict, the distinguished civil rights lawyer Derrick Bell declared that "racism is an integral, permanent and indestructible component of this society." In most circumstances, I treat this declaration as a foil: a claim to be slowly picked apart as, at best, too easy and, at worst, deeply unfair and wrong. Not today.

The most elemental facts of this case will never change. A teenager went out to buy Skittles and iced tea. At some point, he was confronted by a man with a gun who killed him. There is no universe I understand where this can be declared a noncriminal act. Not in a sane, just and racism-free universe.
What is even more troubling than Professor Bobo's comments is that they reflect the narrative that has been promulgated by dozens of major media outlets, hundreds of left-leaning commentators, and tens of thousands of progressives.

There is no point in relitigating the Travon Martin case. Let's assume for a moment that Professor Bobo is correct, that the jury erred, that Zimmerman is guilty, and that a Hispanic man shot an African American teenager with no provocation and no cause. None. That he was driven by racism, and that no other factors or facts come into play. Can we therefore conclude from this individual instance that "America is racist at its core"?

That would be the same America that has made significant strides in civil rights in the last 50 years, beginning with the the civil rights act in the 1960s and culminating with the election of an African American by a majority of all voters as President of the United States in 2008. Have our efforts as a country been perfect? Of course not! But they have been significant and impactful. Have we achieved a "racism-free universe"? No, we have not—as long as individual human foibles and cultural differences exist among people of all races, a "racism-free universe" will be difficult to achieve.

Is there still room for improvement? Of course there is. And with every passing year, increased emphasis on diversity, education, and understanding will provide positive results.

But racist at our core? I think not.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


For those of a certain age, the name Daniel Ellsberg conjures images of a government whistleblower who presented damning evidence against the Vietnam war. Lauded by the anti-war left, Ellsberg was prosecuted by Richard Nixon, a president who was ultimately forced out of office because of a series of serious ethical/criminal lapses. One of those lapses is described by Peggy Noonan:
The domestic side of Richard Nixon’s White House, from policy to politics, had the aspects of a kind of malevolent screwball comedy. In August 1971, aides to Nixon discussed a covert operation to get damaging information on Ellsberg from his psychiatrist. The following month they burgled the office of Lewis Fielding. They didn’t find anything.

Ellsberg went on trial in early 1973, charged with theft of classified documents, conspiracy, and other charges related to espionage. During the trial the break-in of Dr. Fielding’s office was revealed. So was evidence that Ellsberg had been wiretapped without a court order. His defense team, learning all this for the first time, was incensed, and the judge himself either felt or imitated umbrage. The government’s actions, he said, “offend a sense of justice.” The events surrounding the case were “bizarre” and had “incurably infected the prosecution of this case.”

Fast forward to another president whose administration has "aspects of a kind of malevolent screwball comedy." As usual, an Obama-friendly media has given short shrift to still another, small, but persistent scandal that involved the Obama state department, Hillary Clinton, and the aggressive of a government whistle blower, Aurelia Fedenisn. Noonan fills in some details:
[Fedenisn is] a former investigator in the Inspector General’s office in the State Department. Agents for the [State] department had been working on investigations that uncovered serious and criminal wrongdoing. Their work, they said, was subject to influence and manipulation by higher-ups at the department. Agents told the IG’s office they were told to stop investigating a U.S. ambassador in a sensitive post who solicited prostitutes in a public park. Fedenisn, a 26 year veteran at State, went public. John Miller of CBS News broke the story on June 11.

Schulman [Fedenisn's lawyer] says that since Fedenisn blew the whistle, she has been subject to attempts at intimidation. “They had law-enforcement officers camp out in front of her house, harass her children, and attempt to incriminate herself,” he said.

But here's where it gets Nixonesque. Again from Noonan:
Foreign Policy magazine’s online news site, The Cable, ... noted that the office of a law firm that represents State Department whistleblower Aurelia Fedenisn had been broken into. Citing the reporting of a local Fox TV affiliate in Dallas, The Cable said the burglars took three computers and broke into a locked metal filing cabinet. Other items of value—silver bars, electronic and video equipment—were left untouched. KDFW aired video footage from a security camera showing two people, a man and a woman, entering the office building in which the law firm, Schulman & Mathias, is located.

Cary Schulman, Fedenisn’s lawyer, told The Cable: “It’s a crazy, strange and suspicious situation.” He said he thinks whoever broke in was “somebody looking for information and not money.” His most “high-profile case” is Fedenisn’s, and he couldn’t think of “any other case where someone would go to these threat lengths to get our information.”

Hmmm. You'd think that the Nixon-Obama parallels would be ... well, obvious. You'd think that the media would be on this with much the same enthusiasm they showed when the Ellsberg burglary story broke. You'd be wrong.

But no matter. Just another simmering scandal, another case of potential unethical behavior on the part of the administration. But Obama supporters think this (and every other lie, ethical lapse, and potentially criminal act) is just a "distraction." Funny that those Obama supporters who were around during the Nixon years didn't feel the same way about that corrupt president.

Thursday, July 04, 2013


Four years ago this month, as Barack Obama and congressional Democrats began the long hyperpartisan slog that eventually resulted in Obamacare, I wrote:
It’s as if Boeing Aircraft designed a new airplane seating two thousand people, but decided that a six-month engineering effort was all that was required and no prototyping or testing was necessary. “Load the plane up and let’s fly her. After all, we need to go to market with this sucker.” Most observers would call that line of thinking irresponsible.

The health care legislation that the President is suggesting will carry 300 million people, and he is, in essence, suggesting “Load it up and let’s fly her.” No real engineering, no prototyping, no testing, no time for detailed analysis of consequences.


Just this week, in a cynical political move that has become the hallmark of the Obama administration, major elements of the ACA (Obamacare) have been postponed until after the mid-term elections.

The Wall Street Journal comments:
But all of a sudden on Tuesday evening Mark Mazur—you know him as the deputy assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy—published a blog post canceling the insurance reporting rules and tax enforcement until 2015 as Washington began to evacuate for the long Independence Day weekend. Enjoy the holiday, mate.

White House fixer Valerie Jarrett tried to contain the fallout with a separate blog post promising that ObamaCare is otherwise "staying the course." That's true only if she's referring to the carelessness and improvisation that have defined the law so far.

The ACA—as Democratic Senator Max Baucus tells us today, and those of us who opposed the ACA from the beginning argued years ago—is an unmitigated “train wreck.” As a consequence of a massive big government intrusion into the private sector, businesses will layoff workers or will redefine full-time to part time jobs or will dumb-down the insurance coverage that currently exists. At the same time insurance rates will rise (in some case dramatically) and as 30 million uninsured people enter the system, the quality of care will be stressed to the breaking point.

Charles Krauthammer observes:
Cynicism is always the right assumption when dealing with this administration ... Look, in the end the bill [ACA] is a massive transfer of wealth from the young to the old.

Young people are going to be paying double and triple what [they] would ordinarily be paying in health insurance if the premium were linked to the risk, which is the way that would be for the last 600 years in insurance. But it's not; it's linked to what Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid agreed upon as the risk ratio. So they are going to be doubling and tripling, and the free lunch part of this affair is now over.
Because all of the negative effects of the ACA—higher costs, coerced coverage, economic dislocation for more than a few workers, to name just a few—were about to begin before mid-term election, it seemed best to delay the pain. That's not only cynical, it also dishonest. But why should that surprise anyone.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Bad News

Looking back, an ideologically extreme candidate was elected to the presidency. He made promises of moderation. He made claims that he could solve economic problems, government incompetence, and the plight of the poor. He condemned government intrusions of privacy. He suggested that he would be far more transparent that his predecessor and would govern all the people with a moderate hand. He was endorsed by many world leaders.

But as many of us warned, he adopted an extreme ideology. He demonized his political opponents and was intolerant of their views. He forced through legislation that many citizens violently opposed. His government was rife with scandal. His advisors stonewalled any attempt at transparency. His management of the economy was disastrous with heavy indebtedness, significant unemployment and a malaise that would not go away. His foreign policy rejected allies and embraced enemies. His rule was a study in incompetence peppered with arrogance.

Today, Mohammed Morsi, the President of Egypt was removed from office in a military coup. To their credit, it took the Egyptian people only 13 months to recognize their error, and in a strange variation on the Arab spring, they demanded change and got it.

Egypt is in very serious trouble, even post-Morsi. There is absolutely no guarantee that things in Egypt will improve, and they just might get worse (although that’s hard to envision). But this Muslim Brotherhood ideologue was bad, bad news … it’s good that he’s gone.

By the way, if you re-read the first two paragraphs of this post, you might see a few similarities in a more local context. Looks like “bad news” leaders are more common than one might think.