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

Friday, January 31, 2014


Just imagine for a moment that Mitt Romney had been elected President in 2012. Imagine further that a progressive intellectual (e.g., Michael Pollen, Matt Yglesias, Bill Moyers, Arianna Huffington) who had been consistently critical of conservatives and his administration had mistakenly ran afoul of campaign finance laws by making a relatively small contribution to a losing candidate. Imagine still further that the conservative administration's justice department levied a criminal felony indictment against the progressive intellectual.

How do you think the broader main stream media would react? I think you know the answer. There would be a firestorm of protest which would last for weeks, if not longer, a clarion call for congressional investigation into the administration's intimidation of its opponents. Hundreds of gauzy puff pieces extolling the virtues of the indicted would appear. Basically, the progressive intellectual would become a hero.

Of course this wouldn't happen. Mitt Romney is too good a man and too competent a leader to create such a firestorm -- and besides, this is all just imagining.

Now ... to the case of Dinesh deSousa—a conservative intellectual who has suffered the exact fate I imagined, but this time for real under the Obama administration. Paul Rahe comments:
Not much attention has been paid in the mainstream press to the arrest and indictment of Dinesh D'Souza for supposedly breaking the campaign finance laws by reimbursing those whose money he collected in his role as a bundler for Wendy Long's [losing] run for the Senate in New York in 2012.

But then the same mainstream press has been notably reluctant to look into the charges that the IRS persecuted Tea-Party groups and that Erich Holder's Department of Justice whitewashed the affair.

This administration's partisan use of prosecutorial discretion to harass conservatives and Republicans more generally is one of the great scandals of our time. But, to be fair to the Obama administration, so is the partisan bias of the mainstream press.
Indeed, as I have stated many times in this blog,"this administration's partisan use of prosecutorial discretion to harass" its opponents is a scandal that makes Watergate pale by comparison, and yet ... crickets. Obama's trained hamsters in the media simply look away.

Alan Dershowitz is a liberal in the 'old school' definition of the term. He's a life-long democrat and a good man. He is quoted in a Newsmax article as stating:
"This is an outrageous prosecution and is certainly a misuse of resources," charged Dershowitz. "It raises the question of why he is being selected for prosecution among the many, many people who commit similar crimes.

"This sounds to me like it is coming from higher places. It is hard for me to believe this did not come out of Washington or at least get the approval of those in Washington."
Past administrations (lead by good and decent men) would avoid even the appearance of intimidation. They would likely look the other way if a minor campaign finance violation occurred or at most, provide a slap on the wrist, just to be certain that they were not perceived as misusing the full power of the federal government against their opponents.

But not the Obama administration. They know the trained media hamsters will ignore their oppressive actions and remain silent. As a consequence, Eric Holder brings a felony indictment, violating past precedent and common decency in such matters. And the IRS continues to target Obama's opponents.

Hope and change, baby, hope and change.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Kerry Plan

With Barack Obama and his continually shrinking band of ardent supporters so heavily focused on class warfare, it's surprising that he has any time at all for foreign policy. In fact, maybe that's a good thing. As disastrous as this president's domestic policy has been ("disastrous might actually be too kind) with a stagnant economy, skyrocketing debt, unrestrained federal spending, domestic scandals that led to government persecution of his political opponents, Barack Obama's foreign policy has been a an even worse litany of failures.

Before they can practice, physician's take the Hippocratic oath that states (in part), "First Do No Harm." Unfortunately, Obama and the geniuses at the State Department take no such oath. They have made decisions and taken actions that have done harm, serious harm.

Under the leadership of past Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, we've seen Egypt descend into chaos, Syria escalate a civil war into a humanitarian disaster, Libya go out of control, Iran get ever closer to a nuclear weapon while playing this president as if he were an idealistic 6-year old, al Qaida grow stronger (testimony yesterday by Obama's own national security staff confirms this) despite lies promulgated by this president in the run-up to the 2012 election), nuclear armed North Korea careen from belligerence to irrationality, China flex its muscles in an unprecedented manner, Iraq and Afghanistan slowly slip back toward Islamist control ... yeah, just a remarkable record!

And now, the new genius at the State Department, John Kerry, has decided that his goal is to pressure Israel into a "peace agreement" that is neither tenable nor advisable. Obama supporter Thomas Friedman describes the outline of the plan:
The “Kerry Plan,” likely to be unveiled soon, is expected to call for an end to the conflict and all claims, following a phased Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank (based on the 1967 lines), with unprecedented security arrangements in the strategic Jordan Valley. The Israeli withdrawal will not include certain settlement blocs, but Israel will compensate the Palestinians for them with Israeli territory. It will call for the Palestinians to have a capital in Arab East Jerusalem and for Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. It will not include any right of return for Palestinian refugees into Israel proper.
If the "Kerry Plan" sounds familiar, that's because it's basically the same plan that has been proposed for the past 4 decades. In fact, it's a plan that Israel entertained, but the palestinians rejected, not with words, but with the intifada and rockets.

But no matter, the great success of every other Obama foreign policy initiative (see the list above) emboldens him to crate a similar "success" in Israel. God help Israel.

Kerry—not the brightest bulb in the chandelier—seems to have forgotten to address some key questions before he proposes his plan:
  • Exactly who is Israel to negotiate with? Who has authority to speak for all palestinians when each faction hates the other?
  • Why, as a very first step, before negotiation even begins, hasn't palestinian leadership acknowledged Israel's right to exist?
  • How will Hezballah in Lebanon fit into all of this? As part of the negotiated settlement that stopped Israel's attack during the Lebanon war, the UN was supposed to keep Hezballah from acquiring missiles from Iran and Syria. Now, 40,000 missiles later ... well, you get the picture?
  • Why should Israel trust the Obama administration to provide "security arrangements" when Obama has back-stabbed many of its allies in the region?
But no matter. For John Kerry, these are just piffles.

The past five years have indicated that Barack Obama has learned nothing from his foreign policy failures. In fact, I'm not even sure he recognizes them as failures. And that's probably the scariest part of all.

Update (2/3/2014):
Just when you think there's no way the Obama administration could make still another foreign policy blunder in the Middle East, John Kerry steps up to the plate. Here's Kerry this week indirectly legitimizing the anti-Israel boycott conduced by leftist organizations in both the US and Europe:
"You see for Israel there's an increasing de-legitimization campaign that has been building up. People are very sensitive to it. There are talk of boycotts and other kinds of things," Kerry said. "Today's status quo absolutely, to a certainty, I promise you 100 percent, cannot be maintained. It's not sustainable. It's illusionary."
Instead of castigating the left-wing academics and "activists" who have been conducting this anti-Israel campaign for years, Kerry suggests it can work. He is, not to put to fine a point on it, an idiot. One wonders what that makes the guy who hired him.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Year of (In)action

Prior to the State of the Union, Marc Thiessen wrote:
As Obama prepares to stand before the nation, majorities say they disapprove of his handling of their top two priorities — the economy and health care — and 63 percent of Americans say they do not have confidence in his ability to make the right decisions for the country. His approval ratings are nearly identical to those of President George W. Bush at the same point in his presidency.

That is a problem, but it is not his biggest problem.

Obama’s biggest problem is that his lie of the year in 2013 — “if you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan” — hangs over his speech and will continue to haunt him in 2014.

Thanks to that false promise, half the country now says Obama is not “honest and trustworthy.” When people stop trusting you, they stop listening to you as well.
Thiessen is absolutely correct. Obama has demonstrated repeatedly that his word cannot be trusted. That his promises are empty. That his motivation is always hyperpartisan. Why would anyone listen to what he has to say now?

But people do listen, and what they heard was ... well, the same old, same old. As expected, the president's state of the union address was a combination of class warfare, partisan divisiveness, mendacious claims about the economy, and empty promises. But there was also something mildly pathetic about it. Every issue he decried has, at least in large part, been of his own making ... the lack of trust in government, the growing gap between rich and poor, the plight of the middle class, the disastrous introduction of Obamacare, There's really no point in belaboring any of this.

Even after five years, the president refuses to embrace his political opponents and negotiate solutions that might be acceptable to all. He suggests that GOP obstructionism is the problem, but he has done absolutely nothing to bring the opposition to the table and refuses to negotiate on any substantive issue. The job of a competent president—LBJ, Ronald Regan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton—is to negotiate with people who oppose you, and in so doing, create what Barack Obama has now labeled "a year of action."

In a bistering critique of Obama, Victor Davis Hanson writes:
Obama has all but given up on the third branch of government since he lost control of it in 2010: “And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward in helping to make sure our kids are getting the best education possible, making sure that our businesses are getting the kind of support and help they need to grow and advance, to make sure that people are getting the skills that they need to get those jobs that our businesses are creating.”

There are lots of creepy things about such dictatorial statements of moving morally backward in order to go politically “forward.” Concerning issues dear to the president’s heart — climate change, more gun control, de facto amnesty, more massive borrowing supposedly to jump-start the anemic, jobless recovery — Obama not long ago had a Democratic supermajority in the Senate and a strong majority in the House. With such rare political clout, he supposedly was going to pass his new American agenda.

Instead, all he got from his Democratic colleagues was more borrowing and Obamacare. In the case of the latter, the bill passed only through the sort of pork-barrel kickbacks and exemptions to woo fence-sitting Democratic legislators that we hadn’t seen in the U.S. since the 1930s. And for what? Obamacare (be careful what you wish for) is proving to be the greatest boondoggle in American political history since Prohibition. If Obama sincerely wished to work in bipartisan fashion with Congress, he probably could easily get a majority vote to build the Keystone XL Pipeline, or a backup sanction plan against Iran in case his own initiatives fail.
The sad reality is that Congress is the only thing that Obama has left. Instead of starting anew (as Bill Clinton did) to accomplish a few things that might be achieved in bipartisan fashion, it appears that he'd rather use Congress as an excuse for his own lack of action during the past five years. For Obama, the real problem is that negotiation requires compromise, it requires the courage to get less than an optimal solution, but at the same time, more than no solution, it requires leadership, experience, and good will. None of those things are present as we move into another "year of (in)action."

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Kyle Smith, in a piece about New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo, NY City Mayor Bill deBlasio and Barack Obama, uses an illusion that I'll paraphrase here:

Shepard Fairey, is an artist who, more than any other media or entertainment celebrity, made Barack Obama into an icon. His HOPE painting—you know, the one with a posterized image of Obama in red, white, and blue, staring off into space—appeared endlessly in the run-up to this president's first election.

It's interesting to note that Fairey became famous much earlier for a poster that is sometimes referred to as "Obey Giant."
It's ironic, and in a strange way mildly prescient, that the word OBEY plays a big role in the popularity of the poster.

Today, many years after the OBEY poster emerged, we have an administration that is acting as if it must be obeyed. It insists that those who disagree to bend to a big-government ideology that promotes spending, debt, and dependency are somehow extremists who need to be punished. Those who disagree haven't "obeyed," and as a frightening consequence, are increasingly set upon by powerful government agencies.

In what is a scandal that is significantly more serious than Watergate, the IRS targeted tea party groups who did not obey the president's ideology during the 2012 election cycle. Most objective observes now admit that the intimidation program emanated from Washington (not Cincinnati as the administration claimed), but the administration's stone-walling and all-to-convenient media disinterest has kept details murky. More recently, a group of conservative Hollywood types (yes, they do exist) have been targeted in the same way.

In a frightening escalation, the latest instance of government intimidation of those who don't OBEY has moved from groups to individuals. Consider the case of a conservative academic and film-maker, Dinesh DeSousa, a soft-spoken, brilliant social commentator who made the surprise hit film last year entitled, 2016. It's a hard look at Barack Obama, his background, his extreme ideology, and the people, places, and occurrences that shaped the man. It predicts how Obama's presidency will change this nation and what we'll be like in 2016. It received almost no mention by Obama's trained media hamsters and yet drew extremely large audiences for a documentary film.

Last week, Obama's justice department alleged that DeSousa made illegal campaign contributions of $20,000 to the loser of the recent NY Senate race and indicted DeSousa on felony charges. Assuming that the charges are correct, similar instances happen quite frequently (even, gasp, to Democrats). In fact, there is copious evidence that the Obama campaign received illegal contributions in both 2008 and 2012. Yet, no criminal charges were brought and no prosecution was initiated.

Obama supporters argue that the justice department action is coincidental. Really ... they do.

DeSousa's contribution did not affect the outcome of the senatorial election (his candidate lost), they were quite small, and they were made by an individual to a college friend. And yet, criminal charges. Sure, that's just a coincidence.

Those on the Left hyperventilate when they (correctly, I might add) criticize the abuses and intimidation that occurred during the McCarthy era. As the months pass, the escalating actions of the Obama administration have a distinctly McCarthyesque feel to them. But the IRS scandal? Crickets. DeSousa? Still more crickets. Hmmm. I guess it's all about who is being intimidated, isn't it?

Kyle Smith comments:
As President Obama put it (in the process of urging Latinos to think along these lines), “We’re gonna punish our enemies, and we’re gonna reward our friends.”

The Shepard Fairey poster that turned out to be most apposite to how things would work in the new liberal wonderland was not the one of a serene President Obama captioned, “HOPE.” It was the one of a glowering wrestler captioned, “OBEY.”
But no worries. There's nothing to worry about as long as you OBEY.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Virtually no one, except possibly members of this administration, would argue that an economic recovery over the past five years has been robust. Unemployment remains high with the percentage of people who have given up looking for jobs growing every quarter, GDP is stagnant and far too low, spending remains out of control (tempered only by a Sequester that was roundly condemned in Washington), debt now approaches $17.3 trillion, and the Fed keeps printing money (QE-4?) in an effort to keep it all from collapsing.

The president suggests that "income inequality" is the most important issue of the day, implying that if only the rich made less money, the 99 percent would make significantly more. Of course, this, like most aspects of current administration policy, is pure fantasy. Throughout modern history, the divide between rich and poor closes only when the economy is robust, when good jobs are plentiful, when moderate and large businesses are growing, when the government gets out of the way, enabling small businesses to grow into bigger ones.

Income inequality will always be with us—people simply do not have equal ambition, intelligence, enthusiasm, drive, risk tolerance, mobility, social skills, dexterity, ... the list of characterics that lead to "success" is long and complex. To believe that it's simply a matter of the proper mix of big government incentives, programs, and entitlements is folly. In fact, to believe that in a modern post-industrial, information-driven economy, it's simply a matter of education is also folly. Sure, education is important, but it's only one of a number of critical success factors.

In speech after speech over the past few years, the president has stated that every child should go to college. He has encouraged the expansion of a corrupt and dishonest college loan program to make that happen. The result: many people do go to college, but they enter into programs (e.g., gender studies, philosophy, journalism, puppet arts) that have little hope of helping them get a good job upon graduation. However, one thing is certain—many of the young people who enter college today will emerge with a meaningless degree and very meaningful and crushing college debt.

CNNMoney reports:
Economists call that figure the "mal-employment" rate, and right now it tops 36% for college-educated workers under the age of 25, according to figures crunched by Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University.

"People don't go to college to be a waiter or a bartender," Sum said. "They lose and we lose."

The official unemployment rate for grads under age 25 was 7% in May, but that doesn't reflect all those who are under-utilized in one way or another. Nearly 8% of grads are working part-time, but would like full-time positions. These workers aren't counted in the mal-employment rate.

Not surprisingly, hospitality and retail are the most common occupations of the mal-employed. Of the nearly 3 million recent college grads, 152,000 are working in retail sales and nearly 100,000 work as waiters, bartenders or in other food service posts. Another 80,000 serve as clerks or customer service representatives, with 60,000 working in construction or manual labor.

Your major matters. Those with degrees in accounting, engineering or computer sciences are much more likely to find college-level work than those who focus on fields like "sports and recreation" or "regional studies," researchers have found.
In an ironic twist of fate, the very young people who vigorously supported this president and his promises of hope and change are now reaping the outcome, mal-employment coupled with heavy college-related debt.

In his blog, Matt Walsh tells his personal story. He was a very poor student, hated school, and was pushed to go to college. He refused, and through hard work became a successful writer. Here's what he writes:
... There are millions just like [me]. Sadly, some of these tales follow a slightly different path. Many times, that kid who’s being choked to death by “formal education” will eventually get suckered into going to college. He’ll go, not because he needs to be there, nor because it’s the best thing for him, but just because. Because because, and that’s all.

So he’ll amass a gigantic debt, miss out on four or five years that could be spent honing his specific skillset, and end up exactly where he could have been, and would have been, without college. Only now he’s 28 thousand dollars in the hole and half a decade behind the curve.

Something has to change. Listen to me on this one. Something HAS to change. This can’t continue. It is not a sustainable model. There are millions of kids with no assets, no plans, and no purpose, taking out enormous loans to purchase a piece of paper they’ll likely never use. It can’t go on this way.

While student loan debt, already over a trillion dollars, continues to set new records every year, so too do college presidential salaries. They essentially dupe gullible young adults into purchasing 90 thousand dollar cars that will sit in the garage and never be driven, and they make out like bandits.

I hear plenty about the corrupt hucksters on Wall Street, why aren’t we talking about the wealthy con artists in academia who turn absurd profits by convincing broke kids to bankrupt themselves?

Obviously it ought to go without saying that some people do need college: doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. Nobody disputes that. But the rest of us must radically rethink our attitudes towards “higher education.”

Total student debt has gone up by 275 percent in the last decade. How far will it climb, how many more kids will be thrown to the wolves, before we change direction? Since I was born, college tuition rates have gone up by 500 percent. FIVE HUNDRED PERCENT. Why do we send guys like Bernie Madoff to prison while the academic elite get away with gouging an entire generation to death?
Matt Walsh sheds some light on the harsh reality of modern college education and its debt ridden aftermath. As usual, when political fantasy crashes into reality, fantasy loses every time.

Update (1/22/2014):

In writing about another subject entirely, James Taranto makes a very cogent comment about the higher education industry. He calls it:
... a predatory and lightly regulated industry that markets itself via appeals to economic insecurity. thereby inducing millions of young Americans to take on often-crushing debt
If you think about it for a second, there is a mildly predatory aspect to higher education. The industry implies that one cannot succeed economically without what they offer, and then they offer a wide array of majors that are just about useless. Interestingly, even a useless degree will work when the economy is good, but hope and change has led to an economy that is stagnant and in some respects, getting worse.

It's fascinating that a president who expresses outrage about "inequality" and suggests that he is sympatico with young people is oddly silent about predatory actions aimed at young people. Since he's very anxious to regulate, how about a warning label on every college catalog along the lines of:
WARNING: Many of the courses and some of the majors offered by this institution of higher education will be highly unlikely to prepare you for meaningful employment after you graduate.

Friday, January 17, 2014

There There

As the Obama presidency grinds on, significant domestic policy failures, incompetence, mendacity, and foreign policy incoherence have become a national embarrassment. Maybe that's why many supporters of this president have gravitated toward incoherence themselves. In denial of a long list of significant leadership problems, Obama's supporters in his party and the media have gravitated toward fantasy thinking—that all is good, that debt doesn't matter, that the President is succeeding, that big government is the best way forward, that our foreign policy has some strategic coherence, that ... well, you get the picture.

As an all too typical example, let's consider progressive writer Paul Waldman and his claim that what makes the Obama presidency so remarkable is the lack of scandal. He writes:
If you ask many Republicans, they'll tell you that Barack Obama himself and the administration he leads are deeply, profoundly, fundamentally corrupt. It isn't just that they have the wrong values or the wrong policy priorities, but rather that they are practically a band of criminals bent on destroying America and unconcerned about what violations of law and morality they commit as they cut a swath of misery and destruction across our nation.

For some on the right—the cynical politician, the carnival-barking radio host—these ideas are a tool to use in a partisan game. They understand that the picture is an absurd one, but they also know it's useful in keeping the rabble roused. But for many others, from ordinary voters to Republican lawmakers, it's something they sincerely believe. So five years into this presidency, where do we stand with the scandals that were supposed to lead to Barack Obama's downfall? The truth—no doubt a painful one for Republicans—is that there's almost no there there. Or more precisely, what we have are a number of disconnected screw-ups and errors in judgment, most of which are not even worthy of the name "scandal." Given the last few decades of history, and given the size and scope of the federal government, that's quite an achievement.
There's "no there there," huh? In many posts on this blog, I have provided more than enough "there" that clearly and thoroughly refutes Waldman's ridiculous contention. I won't repeat the facts here.

But it worth considering his claim from the point of view of what we don't know. In virtually every Obama scandal (and yes, these are true scandals) the profile has been the same.

A scandal (e.g., gun running to Mexico, Benghazi, the IRS, the AP investigation, the NSA, the lies surrounding Obamacare) surfaces, the vast majority of the main stream media reports bits and pieces and then goes into defensive mode:

- after a day or two, the story is called a political witch hunt,
- almost no probing investigative journalism takes place,
- the important questions are completely disregarded (e.g., how far into the administration did the coordination of the IRS bullying go? why did the administration knowingly lie about the underlying cause of Benghazi? why did Obama repeatedly lie about Obamacare?)
- the story is quickly buried on the back pages, and finally
- the story disappears from the media's reporting.

The media's complicity is aided and abetted by the administration's stonewalling and mendaciousness. Curiously, the media refuses to probe the stonewalling and works very hard to disregard the lies ("misspoke" is often the operative word).

Contrast this, for just a moment, with the media's wall to wall coverage, enthusiastic investigations, and "breaking news" on Bridgegate—a local political story about political payback and pettiness in the administration of a governor who might run for the presidency, and who spent more time answering probing media questions (at least there were probing media questions) about his scandal in two weeks than Barack Obama spent in two years.

People like Paul Waldman live in fantasy, not because they're stupid, but because it serves their need to continue the fiction that this president is competent and honest. Just because questions remain unanswered does not mean that salient (and potentially damaging) answers don't exist. Stated another way, if the Obama administration has nothing to hide, why not stop the stonewalling and come clean on all of the "scandals" that Waldman thinks don't exist.

But that won't happen. With the help of his trained hamsters in the media, true scandals evaporate into the mist of memory, allowing people like Waldman to print revisionist arguments that the scandals never existed in the first place.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Times Way

The pejorative phrase, "The Chicago Way," is often used to describe corrupt and mendacious behavior by the Obama administration. It's laughable, therefore, that the geniuses on The New York Times Editorial Board use a play on the phrase in an editorial critique of Chris Christie. Entitled "The Christie Way," the editorial begins:
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey tried to change the subject on Tuesday with his annual State of the State speech, talking about longer school days and reducing urban crime. But there is no diverting attention from the unanswered questions about how Mr. Christie and his close advisers have used his office to mete out rewards or punishment for political reasons.

The give and take of politics is one thing. But Mr. Christie’s team crossed that line into political abuse.

Let assume for a moment that Christie is guilty of everything that Democrats and their media allies accuse him of. Let's assume that he's corrupt, vindictive, dishonest ... the whole nine yards. Editorial outrage would therefore be in order.

Except ... the outrage is coming from a group of editors (trained hamsters) who have worked assiduously to protect the Obama administration during its myriad national scandals. They have shown very little curiosity about events associated with each scandal, there has been almost no continuing reporting on each scandal, they have very little interest in placing news about each scandal on page one, and they shamelessly promulgate the administration line on each scandal (think "phoney").

The Obama scandal most analogous to the Christie mess—but far, far, more serious in scope, lawless, vindictiveness, and blatant dishonesty—is the use of the IRS to intimidate political opponents of this president.

More than 250 days after the IRS itself announced wrong doing, the Obama administration, with the help of trained hamsters on the NYT editorial board, have successfully stonewalled the issue. The FBI "investigation" headed on the civilian side by an major Obama donor, has done little to investigate, but has announced that no criminal action would be taken before the investigation has been completed. Most groups who were the targets of the IRS weren't even questioned—so much for completeness.

So ... where's the outrage from the media? Just imagine for a moment that an IRS executive under a Republican president took the 5th when asked to testify before congress while targeting, say, You can bet your life the media wouldn't buy into the mendacious claim that the scandal was "phoney."

But this president is a Democrat so "the Chicago Way" holds sway—stonewall, lie, misdirect, pressure critics, and know that the trained hamsters in the media will be your ally.

That's The Times Way.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Bridge

The Media Research Center reports that over the past week, the main stream media has spent 17 times as many broadcast minutes discussing, dissecting and analyzing the political ramifications of the Gov. Chris Christies' bridge scandal as they have discussing, dissecting and analyzing the President Obama's IRS scandal. Think about that for a moment.

There's absolutely no doubt that Christies' top political advisors launched a petty political attack again the Mayor of Fort Lee (for not supporting Christie) and that the lane closures that resulted at the George Washington Bridge inconvenienced thousands for a period of three days. It was wrong, stupid, and an prima facie example of why (even at the state level) government should be reigned in and its power reduced.

But contrast the bridge scandal to the IRS scandal (or for that matter the Benghazi scandal). Because of stonewalling by the Obama administration and studied disinterest by his trained hamsters in the media, the administration has gotten away with the political targeting of large numbers of American citizens, not at the entrance of the GWB, but across the nation. In a nixonesque move, the Obama administration targeted its opponents using the full power of the IRS, forcing them to expend time and money needlessly and reducing their ability to raise funds during the last presidential campaign. That wasn't petty, it was criminal. But if you'd like petty, consider that Obama shut down outdoor national monuments during a 17 percent shutdown of the Federal government solely to increase public discomfort.

Instead of holding a full news conference addressing the IRS scandal (as Christie did less than a week after the story broke), Barack Obama stonewalled. Instead of owning up to responsibility for the actions of the IRS (as Christie did less than a week after the bridge story broke), Barack Obama was largely silent. Instead of firing those responsible (as Christie did less than a week after the story broke), Barack Obama punted, allows miscreants to retire with full pension. Instead of directly and publicly apologizing for the actions of his administration (as Christie did less than a week after the story broke) Barack Obama obfuscated. An interesting study in contrasting styles of leadership.

The media will keep digging gleefully into the bridge scandal, hoping to find more juicy tidbits. It's disgusting but not the least bit surprising that the same level of media interest has not been evidenced by a true scandal with national, not local ramification.

The "bridge" vs. the "IRS." You decide which scandal deserves more national attention. The ask why the ratio of coverage is 17:1.

Update (1/13/2014):
In coverage that is so over-the-top that it's literally become a laughing matter, the media has decided that a local "traffic holocaust" precipitated by the petty and stupid actions of the administration of Chris Christie is a perfect way to metaphorically assassinate a potential challenger of their newly chosen One — Hillary Rodham Clinton. Following the media's anti-Mitt Romney playbook, they may very well have succeeded.

Derek Hunter comments in a hilarious take on the recent main stream media coverage:
To CNN, thank you! Your wall-to-wall coverage in this time of national tragedy has been second to none. The courage you’ve shown in uncluttering your airwaves of the “phony scandals” you’ve been covering [very, very sparingly] over the past five years so we could know more and more and more about this is commendable ...

To the rest of the mainstream media, you too have shown courage in our time of need. When the three national network newscasts spent more time on the New Jersey traffic holocaust in 24 hours than the Internal Revenue Service targeting and intimidating American citizens over their political beliefs since July 1 by a factor of 44, I knew justice finally had come to America.

To Lois Lerner, wow. The word “hero” is thrown around a lot these days, but rarely is it so fitting. The way you refused to let the nation be distracted by hearing why you ordered the IRS to target political opponents of the president of the United States … it’s like, it’s like … it’s like it was you yourself standing in front of that tank in Tiananmen Square. And when you courageously went on a four-month paid leave before retiring with full benefits and pension rather than speaking or resigning will be taught in elementary schools well into the next millennium.

To Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department, your leadership in launching a possible criminal investigation into the driving delays in New Jersey brought a tear to my eye. I only hope your efforts to uncover the cause of this brake pad genocide does not distract you from the important work of reading journalists’ emails and persecuting potential “leakers.” And I hope against hope this avalanche of idling didn’t delay delivery of any of the thousands of yet-unaccounted-for guns you forced gun stores to sell to Mexican drug cartels, then almost immediately lost track of. It’s “fast and furious,” not “traffic jam and furious,” right?

To Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Ty Woods, nice try. Sure, you waited eight hours for help that didn’t come and wasn’t even sent. You begged for months for more security, but you were ignored because you weren’t causing people to move slowly across a bridge. Your continued attempts to distract attention from real issues facing Americans, such as getting home late from work, have failed as badly as your attempt to disrupt President Obama from getting sleep the night before a big fundraiser and campaign event in Las Vegas. If you wanted people to care, you shouldn’t have gotten yourselves murdered while your repeated pleas for help were ignored by President Obama and Hillary Clinton. You should have driven at a snail’s pace into New York, preferably in a Prius.
Perfectly said. It seems that the only way to combat the Obama's trained media hamsters is with the ridicule they so richly deserve.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014


Past Secretary of Defense under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Bob Gates, has created quite a stir among the political class with his new memoir, Duty. It provides a inside-Washington look at the current state of leadership in this country and it is, to put it mildly, not kind to Barack Obama. For those who haven't read excerpts, The Daily Beast and The Wall Street Journal both provide excellent summaries. Suffice to say that Bob Gates has nothing good to say about the Congress and very little good to say about this President.

Gate's portrait of Barack Obama and his administration comes as no surprise to those of us who saw through the media-manufactured and closely controlled image of the candidate and then President and his people. So in a way, Gates provides confirmation, but little that is surprising.

Richard Fernandez comments of Gate's book:
Catching a glimpse of how Washington works through vignettes is fascinating. It seems to be a city populated with ghosts, whose projected images are more substantial than the actual persons themselves. It’s the Hologram, not Princess Leia that actually seem to matter. The miniature figures are on closer inspection such miserable specimens they are hardly worth notice, no more noteworthy then DMV clerks until one realizes they have the power of life and death over billions.

But they are a population which has lost all sense of purpose. Lying is no longer an act that is attended by much danger, but an actual patriotic duty. Lives or lost health seem not to count for much. The whole place is bathed in haze where words like “victory, jobs, honor” have blurred out so much you can hardly make them out except in dim outline. Do these concepts still exist? Or is it all about spin, news cycle and make-up?

What will it take to jar things back into focus? That is perhaps the biggest unanswered question of 2014. And what would anyone take for an answer?

I would add that my disappointment in Robert Gates is not because he was the worst man in the administration, but rather because he was probably one of the better. Times of trial are paradoxically harder on men who must struggle with their consciences than on those who are unburdened by them. But there is the understandable temptation to go along; to persuade oneself that leaving the field would only result in the SECDEF position going to a hack. Better to moderate things from the inside. Better … better… until in 2009 he wanted to resign but was persuaded to stay on out of loyalty to the institution perhaps. And thus is honor turned upon itself.

There comes to mind the famous speech of the character “Ernst Janning” in the movie Judgment at Nuremberg. Janning played the part of a decent judge fallen in with Nazi officialdom. The allied tribunal hears witness after witness testifying to his sterling character. It is enough to get him off but near to acquittal he makes a statement indicting himself. ‘I am guilty’, he said, ‘guiltier than anyone, because unlike these morons on the stand with me, I knew better than they.’
I believe that Gates, a good man, stayed because he thought he could temper the incompetence, the divisiveness, and the incoherence of a President and a staff that were in far over their heads. But in the end, no single person can stop the onslaught. Depressing.

Thursday, January 02, 2014


In his opening commentary for the new year, Jonah Goldberg discusses the "partisanship and polarization" that has become endemic in Washington and around the country. He suggests that partisanship leads to a healthy democracy, but polarization is both counterproductive and corrosive.

Rather than assessing who is to blame, he suggests that people who have adopted one of the two dominant political philosophies exhibit psychological characteristics that have led to polarization. He writes:
So I have small suggestions for New Year’s resolutions for both the Right and the Left in 2014. For liberals, maybe you should try to accept the fact that you’re not the non-conformists you think you are. And for conservatives, perhaps you should consider that you’re not necessarily the irrefutable voice of “normal” Americans.

The thought occurred to me while reading “The Liberal Illusion of Uniqueness” in the journal Psychological Science. Apparently it’s a well-established finding that liberals tend to think their views are more rebellious than they are. They feel a “need for uniqueness.” And that need can stand in the way of seeking commonality with other Americans.

Conservatives don’t crave uniqueness. In fact, they are more likely to overestimate the extent to which there is a consensus around their beliefs. In other words, liberals bristle at the notion that they’re conventional thinkers, while conservatives are too quick to assume everyone thinks like them.
I think this analysis, although overly simplistic, may, in fact, be close to accurate. Recall that my blog credo is: "The further to the Left or the Right you move, the more your lense on life distorts." I believe that as much or more today as I believed it when I set this site up many years ago.

For the past five years, the extreme Left has held sway in positions of power. We're seeing the results of their handiwork every day. Unprecedented national debt, unrestrained government expansion, incompetent execution of government, and incoherent foreign policy. For the Left, it seems that words matter far more than execution of competent actions, that intent matters more than actual results.

For the preceding eight years, the Right held power. They were considerably more competent with domestic legislation, and shockingly, considerably more sensitive to personal privacy and governmental transparency. But they had their own fantasies about the spread of democracy in places that are neither ready nor willing to accept it. As a consequence, they embarked on foreign adventures that were, with hindsight, ill-advised and destructive. And they continue to promote stances on social issues (e.g., abortion, gay marriage, gun control) that are out of step with a 21st century society.

The key arbiter of the profound differences between the Left and the Right is the mainstream media. It's job is to keep both sides honest, not to promote one side while demonizing the other. Sadly, the MSM has failed to do its job, particularly in the past five years. They have allowed an incompetent ideologue to govern with relatively little investigation or criticism. They have buried important stories (e.g., the IRS scandal) and never questioned or investigated the lies that led to the creation of Obamacare. The MSM is supposed to provide a check on unrestrained executive power, you know, the old leftist phrase, "Speaking truth to power." Instead, the MSM became, under Barack Obama, his praetorian guard, protecting him by omission and commission. In so doing, it did a great disservice to the American people and in many ways, helped to foster polarization and its many corrosive effects.