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

Thursday, October 29, 2015


The CNBC moderators at last night's GOP debate should be given the Candy Crowley Award for media bias. You remember Crowley, the debate moderator who inserted herself into an exchange between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney during the 2012 debates, "correcting" Romney when he was right on the facts and the substance and Obama was wrong. The Award is granted to those "journalists" who do their utmost to make GOP candidates look bad while protecting Dem candidates at all cost.

The CNBC moderator's strategy during the debate was:
  • pit one candidate against another with aggressive questions that betrayed distaste for both
  • spin candidates past actions negatively, and then ask "why" they should even be considered for the presidency
  • stay away from any subject (e.g., our national debt, our foreign policy catastrophe, the IRS scandal, etc., etc.) that might allow the GOP candidate to criticize the Democrats
I'm not a big fan of Ted Cruz, but the Senator correctly and effectively called out the moderators to the cheers of the audience. It's about time!

For those readers who think accusations of media bias aren't warranted, ask yourself whether you've encountered or will encounter any the following legitimate questions (in the style of the CNBC moderators) during a Democrat debate:
  • Ms. Clinton—Bernie Sanders is a self-described socialist. Do you think that a socialist should be president of the United States? A follow-up, please. Some of Mr. Sanders positions on taxes, and regulations are what many call extreme. Are you in favor of a 90 percent tax rate on "the rich." If not, what specific tax rate do you think is appropriate?
  • Mr. Sanders—you traveled to the Soviet Union for your Honeymoon. Based on what you saw there, explain how your model of socialism is somehow different than the Soviet model and how will your proposals for high taxes, more debt, bigger government, and more centralized control allow the United States to avoid the fate of the Soviet Union?
  • Ms. Clinton—Based on emails you yourself sent to your family, you understood that the death of four Americans at Benghazi was a terrorist attack within hours. Yet, the next day you lied to bereaved family members as the bodies of their sons were returned home and told them the attack was about a video? Do you regret that lie?
  • Mr. Sanders—Do you condone what Hillary Clinton did in lying to bereaved families about Benghazi? Why do you think she and the Obama administration promoted those lies? And finally, is dishonesty an acceptable trait for President of the United States?
  • Ms. Clinton—Even after Lois Lerner of the IRS took the fifth before congress, even after clear evidence that the IRS was weaponized to attack opponent of Democrats, the Obama Justice Department found no grounds for an indictment of anyone at the IRS. Do you agree with that position, and do you believe that, as the president stated, there isn't a "smidgen" of evidence that there was wrong-doing?
  • Mr. Sanders—you note that the middle class is suffering and income inequality is serious. Democrats have controlled the presidency for 7 years and had complete control of government for 2 of those years. Why aren't you blaming your own party for the economic problems you note, and why should the people trust you, another Democrat, to do anything but continue the policies that you yourself have said are failed?
Give the bias that is pervasive throughout the media, you will never, ever hear questions with the tone and substance of these addressed to Democrat candidates.

Going forward, every time a "journalist" asks a GOP candidate a gotcha question, the candidate should response by handing him/her a list like the one I provided above, smile, and calmly say, "I'll answer your question gladly as soon as you or one of your colleagues asks Sanders or Clinton any one of these questions.


This comment from Ben Domenech summarizes the core issues nicely:
The problem with last night’s moderators was not an ideological problem, it was a hack problem. Hacks ask questions like “are you a comic book version of a campaign” or “how was liquidating your retirement account indicative of your irresponsibility”, serious liberals ask questions like “tell me about how your Obamacare replacement has a possibility of working – no, really, tell me.” There is a difference, and it is not about bias. It is about a modicum of seriousness and respect and intelligence.

This morning John Harwood is still, STILL tweeting that he accurately cited Tax Foundation analysis of Marco Rubio’s tax plan after the head of the Tax Foundation said he didn’t. We’re not mad at moderators for being tough – we’re mad at them for being dumb. There’s a difference.
Well, "dumb" and very biased to boot with no journalistic integrity that might lead to evenhandedness.


And this from Richard Fernandez characterizes the debates as a faux stage play and also brings up the specter of Candy Crowley:
... What Cruz and Rubio were challenging [in criticizing the biased moderators directly] were the rules of the play. The pertinent fact is that when an arbiter is no longer accepted by both parties as impartial, the conversation may continue, but only as argument, no longer as arbitration. The narrative collapses, unconstrained by the covers of a book.

The swordplay on stage which once the audience could safely regard as spectators has suddenly erupted into a real fight in their midst.

It’s interesting to contrast Cruz and Rubio’s challenge to the passive, almost deferential way with which Mitt Romney accepted the sandbagging of Candy Crowley in 2012 during his debate with Barack Obama. That moment may be remembered by some for its infamy, but it was also the last time the old pieties held sway; the final occasion when the conventions were silently accepted by those concerned.
In thinking about it, he's absolutely right.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Not Okay

In a number of recent posts, I've commented on "the narrative"—a story espoused by politicians, their supporters, and their trained hamsters in the media. The narrative is repeated continuously and reinforced by anecdotal media stories until those with neither the time or the interest to probe the narrative's validity accept it as conventional wisdom. When others question the narrative, its lack of a clearly defined factual basis, its outright lies and distortions, its melodramtic implications—the name-calling begins.

Rather than a factually based debate to prove that the narrative is, in fact, the true version of an event or projected outcome, those who ask legitimate questions about the narrative (no matter what it is) are called "deniers" or "obstructionists," or "mean-spirited," or simply "crazy." After all, it's much easier to promote ad hominem attacks than it is to defend a narrative that is based on a foundation of factual distortions or outright lies.

In less than two months, Barack Obama will travel to Paris for a major "summit" on climate change. The intent of the summit is to put policies into place that will somehow reduce the rate of change in climate. Forget for a moment the hubris of such a goal—after all, the world's climate is continually changing and has been for millions of years. But Obama's narrative, now adopted by hundreds of millions of others, is that human activity, specifically carbon production, is a primary cause of climate change. Unfortunately, the specific quantitative aspects of carbon's impact are unknown. But not to worry—the narrative states that any debate is over, that "99 percent" of scientists agree with the narrative, that only deniers question the validity of the broad claims embodied in the narrative. Those who believe the narrative dismiss statements by hundreds of serious climate scientists that the original "hockey stick" graph (developed by Michael Mann and promoted by Al Gore) that accelerated acceptance of the narrative and the data used to support it are fraudulent.

But back to the narrative. Yesterday's New York Times, a very strong supporter of the climate change narrative, presented a beautifully illustrated article entitled, "Greenland is Melting Away." With color photos of rivers running from glaciers through open land along with ice fissures and fractures, the NYT promotes the narrative that humankind and its production of carbon dioxide is responsible for it Greenland's melt.

Not surprisingly, many of the comments that follow the article (there were hundreds) reinforce the  narrative, some of the more extreme suggesting that this is a harbinger of human extinction—either you agree to stop climate change or you're in favor of the extinction of our species! A few commenters calmly mentioned the Medieval Warming Period (MWP) in which (more than a millenium ago) Greenland was, in fact, green. How, they asked, could that be? The warming after all, occurred long before oil or the gasoline engine, and at a time when the population of humans was relatively tiny by modern standards.

I'm happy to say that I scooped the NYT and its commenters by discussing Greenland way back in February of 2007. I wrote:
Have you ever wondered why Greenland, the Island in the North Atlantic covered with Glacial ice is called, well, “green” land? I thought it was probably a rueful joke. But I was wrong. Greenland was very green during the last Global Warming period (A.D. 800 – 1300). The Vikings actually farmed there. Later the earth began to cool, and the green land slowly became white with ice and snow.

Global warming more than 800 years ago? Must have been auto emissions, or industrial pollution. No, that can’t be. It must have been all the CO2 humans pumped into the atmosphere. Oh wait, that was before the industrial revolution when the population of the earth was about 300 million, just more that 5 percent of today’s.

Hmmm. Curious.
Protectors of the narrative are not to be cowed by the "Green" in Greenland . "It's not the warming that matters, they contend, "it's the rate at which warming is occurring, accelerating far too rapidly."

But how do they know that the  rate of warming today is substantially different than it was as the MWP approached? After all, there were no scientific instruments to measure temperature in the year 800 AD. Today's climate scientists use "proxy measures" (e.g., tree ring data or ice core samples) to determine temperatures from long ago, but the proxy measurements are inexact, localized, rife with interpretation problems, and are at best, guestimates of what really happened. Those who support the narrative take them as the gospel, but more serious climate scientists readily admit that proxy measures must be taken with a scientific grain of salt. When they are used as the basis for climate models, the model is built on inexact data and will therefore yield inexact results.

The bottom line—it's okay to question the narrative. You are not a "denier" or an "obstructionist," or "mean-spirited," or simply "crazy." You are, in fact, simply looking for clarity before serious policy decisions, affecting the live of hundreds of millions of people, are made. It okay to ask for scientific proof, quantitative results, and independently verifiable models.

It's not okay to suggest that the scientific debate is over, or that consensus has been reached when it has not. It not okay to accept fraudulent data without a question. It not okay to allow ideology to trump science. That's what the climate change narrative is doing, and that's not okay.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Those of us who opposed Obamacare from the beginning (I was one) had four major objections as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was rammed through a Democratic congress without a single GOP vote.
  1. Legislation that affects virtually every citizen (either directly or indirectly) and that will influence almost 17 percent of our economy should be developed with bipartisan consensus, not arm twisting, shady deals, and outright lies to get the legislation passed.
  2. Promises of government "savings" were laughable, given the structure of the law and the ridiculous assumptions that were made. Today, government itself acknowledges that the ACA is expected to cost the taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.
  3. Better coverage and lower premiums were promised, but the promises were not realistic. Exactly the opposite has happened. High deductibles and unaffordable premiums are the norm.
  4. "Everyone" would have medical insurance was the goal, but it was not a goal that was achievable under this law. It turns out that tens of millions still do not have policies. Even worse, the young, who were expected to participate in record numbers, have decided to take a pass.
All of this, coupled with a laughably incompetent roll-out of the program, continuing fraud and abuse allowing coverage of non-citizens and those ineligible for subsidies, growing medicaid rolls increasing taxpayer costs to exorbitant levels, and the lawless tendency to postpone and/or modify those elements of the ACA that might hurt the Dems politically, make the entire program a mess.

The Wall Street Journal delivered the bad news that Obama's trained hamsters in the media willfully avoid reporting:
Recruitment for 2015 is roughly 70% of the original projection, but ObamaCare will be running at less than half its goal in 2016. HHS believes some 19 million Americans earn too much for Medicaid but qualify for ObamaCare subsidies and haven’t signed up. Some 8.5 million of that 19 million purchase off-exchange private coverage with their own money, while the other 10.5 million are still uninsured. In other words, for every person who’s allowed to join and has, two people haven’t.

Among this population of the uninsured, HHS reports that half are between the ages of 18 and 34 and nearly two-thirds are in excellent or very good health. The exchanges won’t survive actuarially unless they attract this prime demographic: ObamaCare’s individual mandate penalty and social-justice redistribution are supposed to force these low-cost consumers to buy overpriced policies to cross-subsidize everybody else. No wonder HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said meeting even the downgraded target is “probably pretty challenging.”

The HHS survey shows three of four ObamaCare-eligible uninsured people think having coverage is important—but four of five say they couldn’t fit their share of the premiums into their budgets even after the subsidies. They’re not poor; they tend to have jobs in industries like construction, retail and hospitality but feel insecure financially; and they prioritize items like paying down debt, car repairs or saving to buy a home over insurance.

The law’s failure to appeal to the young and rising middle class is already cascading through the insurance markets. Researchers at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Urban Institute recently published a remarkable study of the industry barometer called medical loss ratios, or MLRs, and the pressure is building fast.
This is still another of many examples of the fantasy world of the Obama administration colliding with a harsh reality.

It's likely that the ACA will collapse under its own weight, but as it collapses, the medical insurance industry will be wrecked, medical care will suffer, the drain on the treasury will be unacceptable, and the people who need catastrophic medical coverage will go without.

The ACA never should have been voted into being. It combines bad policy, inexplicably bad implementation and political posturing into a toxic brew. It is failing badly. It needs to be significantly reformed in a bipartisan manner, or better yet, replaced.

Too bad we have an administration that thinks it never makes a mistake and is more interested in protecting this president's legacy than it is in helping improve medical coverage. Obamacare is an epic fail. Too bad Barack Obama refuses to accept that sad truth.

Monday, October 26, 2015

900 Days

It has been 900 days (!) since the IRS scandal broke. The Obama administration, the democrats in general, and their trained hamsters in the main stream media have allowed the weaponization of a major government agency against opponents of this president to fade into the fog of time. Not a single IRS employed person has been fired, nor has a single IRS policy has been changed. After all, Barack Obama has indicated that there was not a "smidgin" of proof that there was any wrong doing. That's a blatant lie, but the narrative has become ingrained.

Last week, we learned that Lois Lerner—you remember, the IRS exec who took the fifth, rather than testify about her role in targeting opponents of Obama—will skate free. The Obama Department of Justice will not bring any charges against her.

In an editorial, Investors Business Daily comments:
The Law: The Justice Department declined to file charges against IRS enforcer Lois Lerner, who singled out Tea Party groups for scrutiny on political grounds. With no accountability, it's now open season on dissidents.

Is there anyone out there subject to an Internal Revenue Service audit or a multiyear delay in approval for tax-exempt status who won't be concerned that the process is politically rigged against them?

That's the message the Justice Department sent when, in a classic Friday night news dump, it decided to not file charges against IRS tax-exempt groups chief Lois Lerner. In a letter to the House Judiciary Committee, Justice said that while it found "mismanagement, poor judgment and inertia," there was no case for a criminal prosecution.

This is absurd. Lerner was caught red-handed targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups, wrote partisan emails to prove it, then engaged in a massive cover-up effort — with a suspiciously crashed server, an oddly missing BlackBerry and plenty of excuses.

She evaded even more accountability by shielding herself with the Fifth Amendment in Congress. The consequences to her have been . .. retirement on a full pension with all her bonuses to a multimillion-dollar mansion in the deep D.C. suburbs.

As for her victims — and they were many — there is no justice. Now everyone, no matter what their political leanings, will wonder if they too are a political target by an out-of-control agency protected by the Justice Department.

Because that's the real consequence of this failure to hold Lerner accountable: A precedent has been set.
At the end of the day, it's the precedent that matters. First, this travesty has confirmed the notion that stonewalling is the preferred strategy when an administration confronts a scandal. Second, taking the fifth with no consequences is the preferred strategy when caught doing illegal things. Third, destroying critical evidence that impedes a criminal investigation will go unpunished and works well to hide the truth.

But the most important precedent goes to the next president or the one after that. Again from IBD:
The Democrats may giggle with glee at seeing another of their own skate free based on the president's executive actions through his DOJ flunkies.

But two can play that game. If a Republican as unscrupulous as Obama wins the election, the same banana republic politics in government will make Democrats the next victims.

The next GOP president may not be a gentleman of the George W. Bush variety. Political parties should be careful what they wish for.
Every president has a legacy. Obama's may very well be this awful precedent.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Contest of Narratives

Throughout the Obama era, it seems that it's the narrative that really matters. No matter what the subject, from healthcare to guns, from spending to taxes, from the racial divide to climate change, from the Middle East to the South China Sea, the appropriate narrative is repeated by administration spokespeople and friendly pundits and published widely by Obama's trained hamsters in the media. If the administration's narrative overcomes the narrative of its opposition, it's a win.

Objective truth, facts that somehow disprove the narrative, and even reality itself are often ignored. Only the narrative is important. For if enough people believe this president's narrative blindly, those in power will remain in power—after all, they own the narrative.

There are literally thousands of examples of this over the past seven years, but none more irritating (to me, at least) than the contention that both sides in the Israeli-palestinian conflict are equally at fault, that both perpetrate senseless violence, and that both have equal responsibility for the "cycle of violence." Obama's narrative, repeated by the president, his spokesman at the state department, by John Kerry, by Susan Rice, and countless others is (please excuse the language)—bullshit!

Ben Avni notes that:
The belief that reality is a contest between narratives, rather than a series of facts, has consequences — including a lot of blood spilled in Israel and the West Bank this week...

Arabs are convinced that Israel is set on destroying, desecrating or “Judaizing” Haram al-Sharif, the Jerusalem compound that includes al-Aqsa, Islam’s third-holiest site. As Abbas indelicately put it in a mid-September speech, the Jews are trying to “defile al-Aqsa with their filthy feet,” and must be stopped.

Israel points out that the arrangements that have existed since 1967, when it seized control of the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, are intact, and will remain so: A Jordanian trust, the Waqf, maintains the Mount.

Jews can visit, but not pray there.

In a perfect world, of course, disputes over religious narratives would be confined to heated debates among theologians. But from Salman Rushdie to Charlie Hebdo, we’re now used to the idea that blood follows indignation over real or imagined slights to Islam.

So Jerusalem officials know, as former Knesset member Israel Hasson told Israel Radio, that “you don’t need to test the level of gasoline fumes in the air with a torch.”

Not so in Ramallah. Once Abbas presented his al-Aqsa “narrative” in September, Palestinian youths heeded his call to spill blood for Jerusalem. They drove cars into pedestrians at bus stops, cut down passers-by with knives, meat cleavers and screwdrivers and otherwise attempted to kill Jews ...

Enter State Department spokesman John Kirby [and regular protector of this president's foreign policy], who said Wednesday, “certainly, the status quo has not been observed, which has led to a lot of the violence.”

Come again? That factually challenged statement followed Secretary of State John Kerry, who has his own “narrative”: Israeli settlement expansion is responsible for the violence. (State later walked back Kerry’s statement.)

And after pressure from Israeli and Jordanian officials, Kirby also retracted, tweeting, “Clarification from today’s briefing: I did not intend to suggest that status quo at Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif has been broken. We welcome both Israel’s & Jordan’s commitment to continued maintenance of status quo at Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif.”

But why’d State embrace a contention that’s so easily refutable to begin with? Alas, if narratives trump facts, Washington can pick and choose its reality, and further inflame an already tense situation.
Picking and choosing which aspects of reality are worthy of consideration, if any, is exactly the M.O. of this president. That's why he states emphatically that his policies in the Middle East have been successful, that the Iran nuclear deal is a good one, that after approving funding to arm and train Syrian rebels, he was really against the activity from the start (that actually might be true, but with so much spin, who knows?) and therefore, objective failure is not something that can be associated with him.

Of course, the use of the narrative to mislead goes far beyond the Middle East and foreign policy. To quote conservative commentator, Charles Krauthammer: "We’re living in an age where what you say and its relation with the facts is completely irrelevant ..."

Saturday, October 24, 2015


This month, the United Nations turns 70 years old. As with most liberal ideas, the UN began with the best of intentions—an international body designed to help ameliorate disputes between nations, assist those countries and peoples in desperate need, and generally serve as a forum from which good ideas for world peace and harmony could be espoused. After 70 years of corruption, ineffectiveness, and continually growing anti-American sentiment, the UN clearly has not achieved its high-minded goals.

Rick Moran comments:
... the biggest problem with the UN is its moral corruption. The fact that it’s an anti-American body shouldn’t be surprising given that most of the world is anti-American. Using the CIA as a scapegoat for the thug kleptocracies of the world is what we’ve come to expect.

But putting the worst violators of human rights on a human rights commission, or representatives of nations who enslave women on a women’s rights commission, and other transgressions against decency marks the UN as an immoral body that doesn’t deserve the support of the United States. Anti-liberty, anti-Semitic, anti-free speech, anti-free market — the UN stands in opposition to every value we hold dear.

To be clear, some of the work done by the UN needs an international home. The refugee crisis cannot be addressed by one country or even regionally. But perhaps setting up a private, non profit entity would do better — and be more efficient — at dealing with the crush of refugees.

As for the rest, the World Health Organization performed miserably in dealing with the ebola crisis. But what else is to be done with an international health crisis? Some international body has got to take charge or there would be even more chaos than there was.

Other UN bodies we could do without; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), who allowed Palestinian terrorists to use schools to store rockets, could be deep sixed; the International Telecommunications Union who is currently trying engineer the takeover of the internet; International Fund for Agricultural Development, an organization set up to alleviate rural poverty that has actually made the problem worse.

The need for international bodies to deal with international crisis is not at issue. The question is, should a corrupt, ineffective international organization be given 22% of its budget (27% of the peacekeeping budget) by the American taxpayer?
I agree with Moran's assessment. There is a need for some of the functions that the UN provides, but these functions can be provided without the concomitant corruption, wasteful bureaucracy, and brazen anti-American sentiment from an organization to which we contribute over $1 billion a year.

It's time for a UN makeover. The organization should move out of the United States to a location better suited to its anti-Western membership. The United States should reduce it's support to the average yearly contribution of the top ten contributing nations. If that leads to budgetary problems for the UN, the organization should reduce the size of its massive, unnecessary bureaucracy. It should eliminate the various "commissions" that do little to improve the plight of the oppressed and everything to harass and denigrate targeted countries.

The UN is an anachronism that provides the appearance of an effective world body. Appearances, however, can be deceiving. It might be possible to restructure the UN into a smaller, more effective organization, but that's highly unlikely. In its present form, it does relatively little that could be not be accomplished more effectively with smaller targeted organizations.

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Bombshell

In testimony before the Select Committee on Benghazi yesterday, Hillary Clinton did well. She was calm, projected an apparent command of the facts as she presented them, and produced no notable sound bites that will come back to haunt her. I suspect that her supporters are ecstatic and her handlers are pleased. There's only one fundamental problem—all of her testimony is suspect, because at its core, we now know to an absolute certainty that she knowingly lied in the days following the attack.

The Democrats on the committee were quick to accuse Trey Gowdy and the GOP members of partisan politics. That's rich, coming from a group that asked no substantive questions and acted as  hyperpartisan protectors of Hillary throughout the proceedings.

The GOP questioners got bogged down in too much detail that was, while important from an investigative point of view, sleep-inducing for the general public and far beyond the low information voters who make up a significant portion of Clinton's support. Other important questions remain unanswered. Hillary effectively obfuscated, filibustered, and took tangents that she knew would lead nowhere.From her point of view, that's a successful outcome.

There was one bombshell, but the trained hamsters in the media will ignore it. (For example, instead of leading with the bombshell, the New York Times emphasized the predictable partisan bickering that occurred during questioning.

The bombshell focused on a core question: Why did the administration lie about the cause of the attack and the people who perpetrated it? From the beginning, even casual observers realized that the Obama administration's repeated claim that the Benghazi attack was driven by spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim video was absurd. In fact, so absurd that it was insulting to those who listened while it was promulgated by Obama, Clinton, Susan Rice and many other administration spokespeople.

Once the truth was admitted over a week after Benghazi, the media willfully lost interest, and damage to Obama's presidential run was minimal. The administration, true to form, blamed the lies on the fog of war, conflicting intelligence reports, and any other excuse that would muddy the water.

To the bombshell. The committee uncovered emails written on the evening of the attack from Hillary to family members and close associates, including the Egyptian ambassador. In the emails she clearly stated that the attack was pre-planned by terrorists from an "al Qaeda-like group."

But publicly, she lied and attributed the attack to a video review gone bad. The "why?" is easy. To protect a president who was running for reelection on the slogan “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.” The implication, al Qaeda was crippled and the American economy was on the comeback. Turns out neither implication was true.

Kim Strassel reports:
Thanks to Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi testimony on Thursday, we now understand why the former secretary of state never wanted anyone to see her emails and why the State Department sat on documents. Turns out those emails and papers show that the Obama administration deliberately misled the nation about the deadly events in Libya on Sept. 11, 2012.

Don’t forget how we came to this point. Mrs. Clinton complained in her testimony on Capitol Hill that past Congresses had never made the overseas deaths of U.S. officials a “partisan” issue. That’s because those past deaths had never inspired an administration to concoct a wild excuse for their occurrence, in an apparent attempt to avoid blame for a terror attack in a presidential re-election year.

The early hints that this is exactly what happened after the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans cast doubt on every White House-issued “fact” about the fiasco and led to the establishment of Rep. Trey Gowdy’s select committee.

What that House committee did Thursday was finally expose the initial deception.
But in a way, all of this is old news. It was obvious from the beginning that Obama administration lied—knowingly, cynically, and repeatedly about Benghazi. Now Clinton's emails prove it beyond any doubt.

And because Obama and his Team of 2s lied about the perpetrators and the cause of the attack, there's no reason to believe their claims about any other of important questions that remain unanswered. To paraphrase a well worn progressive slogan, 'Hillary lied about how four Americans died.'


And this rather telling assessment from K.T. McFarland:
It was a masterful performance. She showed enormous discipline and nearly super-human stamina.

She let nothing slip. But in the end she let everything slip. She got a perfect score, but failed the test.

She didn't mean to, but she showed us a glimpse into her soul.

It was chilling.

We now know that when Secretary Clinton met the plane carrying the bodies of the four Americans who died at Benghazi that the Obama administration had initially lied about what happened.

She stood over the flag-draped coffins of four dead Americans knowing that the first narrative blamed their deaths on an Internet video, which caused a demonstration outside the consulate to turn into a deadly attack, when she already knew the truth.

She looked into the eyes of the families of the fallen heroes knowing all about that.

She always knew they died from a planned terrorist attack from an Al Qaeda-like group. That's what she told her family and foreign leaders according to newly released emails.

So why support the false narrative at the start? Because the Obama administration had an election to win eight weeks later, and a terrorist attack that killed four Americans didn't fit into that plan.
I have, for many years now, contended that the "soul" of this administration is rotten to the core. For them, it's not about what's best for their country, it's about what's best for them, for consolidating power, for promoting memes that purposely divide us, for demonizing opposing views. The "glimpse" that McFarland mentions shows us the ugly face of dishonesty.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


In the latest Donald Trump news, our intrepid GOP candidate and current front runner—you know, the guy who gives new meaning to the phrase 'vague claims and vacuous solutions'—has decided that the best way to attack Jeb Bush is to blame his brother (indirectly and vaguely, of course) for the 9/11 attacks. It goes without saying that a president Trump, who would have been in office for all of nine months, would never, ever have allowed the attacks to happen. True to form, Trump never indicates how he can make that assertion, but what else is new?

Meanwhile, in the latest Hillary Clinton news, our intrepid Dem candidate now has an uncontested path to the nomination given that Joe Biden decided not to enter the contest and Bernie Sanders has decided not to publicly question her ethics, decision-making or conduct as Secretary of State. Under investigation by the FBI for national security violations and appearing before a congressional select committee on Benghazi today, Hillary will continue her obfuscation (and outright lies) on her role before, during, and after the Benghazi terror attack. She'll tell us that the committee is conducting a 'witch hunt' and she'll appear forceful and strong to the swoons of the trained hamsters in the main stream media.

Daniel Henninger comments:
Just as Mr. Trump suggested responsibility for 9/11 lies somehow with former President Bush, Mrs. Clinton’s view has been that responsibility for the failure in Benghazi is so diffuse that no one is responsible, that asking questions about what happened is a political attempt to “come after me. ” What difference does it make is now the Democrats’ official account. As with Donald Trump’s politicized recollections of 9/11, Mrs. Clinton’s supporters are on board for her shriveled version of Benghazi’s reality.
What a spectacle it would be to have America’s highest office contested next year between these two.
Sadly, if our decision as voters boils down to a choice between bombastic claims of future greatness coupled with vague proscriptions for policy, and mendacious claims of innocence coupled with a continuation of the ruinous Obama years, "spectacle" isn't really the right word for this.


We've all seen it a hundred times, often affixed to the bumper of a Volvo or VW beetle. Every time I see it I can't help but smile. After all, who but barbarians, you know, folks who cut off heads or burn people alive, or kidnap young woman to use them as sex slaves, or label as "infidels" those who believe differently than they do, would disagree with the message.

But why do I smile when I see the message—set in stylized icons? Because those who decide it's a useful addition to their vehicle don't seem to understand its irony—after all, the word "coexist"  begins with the symbol of Islam, the crescent moon and star and that, like it or not, represents a problem.

Mark Steyn can be accused on many things, but being politically correct is not one of them. He writes:
The world divides into those who sincerely believe in that "Coexist" sticker and those who think it's a delusional evasion. After all, if it weren't for that big Muslim crescent "C" at the front, you wouldn't need a bumper sticker at all:

That peace-symbol "O"? It's Muslims, alas, who kill secular hippie pacifist backpackers in Bali nightclubs.

That equal-rights "E"? It's Muslims who take girls as their sex slaves in Nigeria and kill their own daughters and sisters in Germany because rape has rendered them "unclean".

The star-of-David "X"? It's Muslims who are currently stabbing and running over Jews in Jerusalem and then celebrating by passing out free candy.

In India, it's Muslims vs Hindus. In southern Thailand, Muslims vs Buddhists. The world is a messy, violent, complicated place, but as a rule of thumb, as I said all those years ago in America Alone, in most corners of the planet it boils down to: Muslims vs [Your Team Here].

Millions of complacent westerners genuinely regard Islam as merely another exotic patch in the diversity quilt, but I find it hard to believe that the leaders of liberal progressive political parties can be quite that deluded.
But it's not just "liberal progressive parties" (although they certainly lead the pack). Politicians along the spectrum from George W. Bush to Barack Obama, tell us with fervent voices that Islam is "the religion of peace." Do they really believe that?

I have to believe that most do not. Sure ... some progressives might honestly think that any attempt to call out Islam is "Islamophia." But if that's the case, why didn't those same progressives label the many justifiable criticisms and demands for reform of the Catholic Church during the sex abuse scandals that surfaced in the 1990s as "catholiphobia?"

Steyn, a Canadian, continues:
Most people want to think of themselves as "nice", and so it's easier to welcome the increasing presence of shrouded women on the streets of Canada as a deepening of our heartwarming embrace of self-affirmation-by-multiculturalism, rather than something that mocks any conventional notions of women's rights. Yet, whatever disquiet might be felt, they will take their signal from their politicians, and fall silent on the matter.
But faced with the exact opposite of "coexist," why should we remain silent? To be "nice?" Why don't major world leaders (say, the pope) call out Islam for not doing more to stop genocidal destruction of Christian communities throughout the Middle East? Why don't important feminists call out Islam for its treatment of woman? Why don't Professors of History call out Islam for not doing more to stop the wanton destruction of ancient sites and artifacts? Why doesn't the ACLU demand that anti-Semitic rhetoric be condemned in those mosques in which it is espoused? Why don't publishers demand that Islam censor the Imams who suggest that cartoons of Mohamed should be met with bloodshed and/or murder? That's a lot of whys?

But no worries. It all goes away if you put the "Coexist" bumper sticker on your car. That will make it all better, won't it?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Spill Blood

As murderous attacks by palestinians against Israeli civilians continue, Barack Obama and his Secretary of State, John Kerry, predictably cluck their tongues, draw a bizarre moral equivalence between Israel's actions to defend its people and palestinian attacks against Jews, call for "talks" whose ultimate goal is the dismemberment of Israel, and subtly continue their work to isolate and demonize the only democracy in the Middle East.

Tzipy Hotovely comments:
The latest surge of Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis has come in the immediate wake of explicit calls by the Palestinian leadership to “spill blood.” This well-orchestrated campaign of violence follows many years in which Palestinian children have been taught to idolize the murder of Jews as a sacred value and to regard their own death in this “jihad” as the pinnacle of their aspirations.

Such violence has deep roots. It goes back to the rampages at the behest of Haj Amin al-Husseini, a Muslim activist and at one point grand mufti of Jerusalem, in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. It continued with the fedayeen Palestinian militants in the 1950s and ’60s, and evolved into the terrorism of the Palestine Liberation Organization and Fatah under Yasser Arafat and now Mahmoud Abbas. Anyone who claims that Palestinian terror against Jews dates only to 1967, or is a response to Israeli settlements, should become more informed of the conflict’s history.

Yet the apathy shown by the international community to the death-culture fostered by Palestinian elites, and the unbalanced manner in which subsequent violence is often treated by the international media—as if there is any kind of symmetry between terrorists and their victims—is doing long-term, and possibly irrevocable, harm to generations of Palestinians.
The "international community," lead by Obama and Kerry, would like nothing more than for Israel to disappear. After all, in their delusional world view, that would "solve" the Muslim problem in the Middle East— Islamists would sit down with Christians and sing Kumbayah, Arab dictators would happily step down and each country would become a vibrant democracy, brutal civil wars would cease, poverty, unemployment and oppression in the Arab crescent would be eradicated, and peace would reign. Yeah, that's the ticket—just force the dismemberment of Israel and every structural problem in the Middle East would be gone.

It's jolting when fantasy—the operative Leftist world view—collides with reality. Hotovely continues:
Mr. Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, said the following on Palestinian television on Sept. 16: “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah. With the help of Allah, every martyr will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward.”
Yeah, that would be the same Abbas about whom Obama stated:
I commended President Abbas for the excellent work that he and Prime Minister Fayyad have been engaged in over the last several years in strengthening the security as well as improving the economic situation for his people. He’s done so through hard work and dedication, and I think the whole world has noticed the significant improvements that we've seen as a consequence of his good administration.
Is calling for the death of Jews and spilled blood "excellent work?"

But calling for the death of the Jews is S.O.P. for palestinian leaders. A video of Sheikh Mohammad Abu Rajab, demonstrated the best way to stab a Jew during a sermon in the Al Abrar Mosque in Rafah, Gaza. Yep, the poor beleaguered palestinians only want peace, don't they? I wonder—is that before or after they murder as many Jews as possible?

Of course, John Kerry suggests that this violence is due to Israeli "settlements" built on Israeli land. He said:
“What’s happening is that, unless we get going, a two-state solution could conceivably be stolen from everybody ... and there’s been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years, and now you have this violence because there’s a frustration that is growing.”
That statement was so ridiculous and factually incorrect that the State Department walked it back the next day. The so-called settlements are actually apartment blocks; no new apartment blocks have been built recently, but people who live there have had children—that's the "massive increase" that Kerry is talking about. Apparently, in the bizzaro world of John Kerry, Israelis shouldn't have any children if they live in apartment buildings that the palestinians covet.

So ... let's recapitulate. Barack Obama and John Kerry, their left-wing supporters, and their media hamsters think that both sides are equally to blame and that both sides commit terror, that stabbing civilians in the street and shooting the palestinians who commit those attacks are morally equivalent, that Israel is the aggressor and the palestinians are the "victim." In the fantasy world of the Left, all of this makes sense. In the real world, it is a delusional position that will do nothing to stop the slaughter throughout the Middle East. Unless and until Islam reformed, none of these problems will be resolved. But hey, that's reality, and the Left's narrative simply can't accommodate that.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Witch Hunt

This week Hillary Clinton appears before the special committee investigating the Benghazi incident. You remember, the incident in which (witch?) Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, and Barack Obama, among many in the administration falsely claimed that a terrorist attack was not a terrorist attack but instead a bad movie review. This mendacious claim continued for almost two weeks and occurred at a pivotal point in the 2012 presidential election, but that's the very least of it—as we will see in a few paragraphs.

After a stupendously stupid statement by House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, in which he implied that the committee was formed to ruin Hillary's poll numbers, the meme adapted by Clinton and the Democrats has been "Witch Hunt!" It will continue all week.

Every activity that occurs in Washington is political, so the Dems disingenuous meme is laughable, but for just a moment, let's assume that the committee was formed for political motives. In fact, let's assume that it is a "Witch Hunt."

That is no way obviates a series of critically important questions that need to be answered. In an earlier post, I noted three legitimate areas of investigation and the question associated with them:
Point (1). There is clear and irrefutable evidence that proper security precautions were not taken in Benghazi, even though they were requested by people on the ground. Even worse, there were limited resources available to protect the Ambassador Stevens even after serious reports of a pending attack were offered to State Department personnel. Who is responsible for these failures? Why were security resources withheld? Who approved withholding them?

Point (2). Americans were under deadly, coordinated fire for over eight hours. There is clear and irrefutable evidence that military resources were available to intercede, but were not used. Airpower was available, but was not used. Some on the ground claim that an order to "stand down" was issued, but because the administration and DoD stonewalled any legitimate investigation, that's hard to determine whether this is true. While the fighting continued, we were told that there was "not enough time" or that it was "impractical" to intercede. But how could military personal have known how much time would be available, given that the attack was on-going when they claim that decision was made? How does "practicality" come into play when Americans are under attack? Who gave the order NOT to intercede? Did it come from the DoD, the State Department, the White House? Where was the president physically during the attack? Where was the Secretary of State? Did they participate in decision-making, and if so, how? What real-time communications traffic occurred between State, the White House, and the military in North Africa, Southern Europe and on the ground in Libya? Why did so many senior military officers retire or get reassigned after the Benghazi incident?

Point (3). The White House and State department knowingly lied about the causes of the attack, falsely attributing it to the infamous anti-Muslim video as causation and a random mob as perpetrators (instead of a known Islamic terrorist cell). Both claims were provably false and were known to be false within hours of the attack. Yet intelligence reports were doctored, administration spokespeople lied repeatedly, and the Secretary of State (Hillary Rodham Clinton) lied about causation and the perpetrators, not for hours or a few days, but for over a week. Why? Who decided to mislead the public? Who crafted the false narrative? Who approved it? How heavily did political concerns come into play?
The Dems and Hillary can play the victim all they want, but the actions that occurred before, during, and after the Benghazi attack have NOT been adequately investigated—until now. Why? Because every investigation, including this one, has been thwarted every step of the way by an administration that stonewalled every information request. Even worse, Democrat committee members are there not to determine the truth, but to protect their president and Clinton.

Over the past 17 months, this committee has worked quietly to get answers—long before Hillary's campaign started. We won't get all of the answers, but hopefully, we will get some.

Sometimes, when there's a Witch Hunt there really is a witch.

UPDATE (10/20/2015):
Steve Hayes comments on the 'witch hunt" meme and whether it will allow Hillary to dodge still another ethical (criminal?) bullet:
This [the "witch hunt" meme] is unfortunate. But it doesn’t erase months of mendacity from Clinton and her supporters. A CBS poll out last week found that 71 percent of registered voters think it was inappropriate for Clinton to use a private email server as secretary of state. Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed are not satisfied with Clinton’s explanation of the controversy. A Fox News poll from last week, taken after McCarthy’s comments and the public claims from the former Benghazi staffer, found that voters by a 2-to-1 margin believe Clinton has been dishonest about the emails, and nearly half of those surveyed believe the congressional investigation should continue. It will. And though Clinton has attacked the committee as an arm of the Republican National Committee, she says she will appear before the panel, under oath, on October 22.

Clinton’s problems don’t end with the committee. Her main challenges now come from two sources that she cannot credibly dismiss as partisan: the FBI and the contents of her own emails.


- The FBI is expanding its investigation into the security of her server and the possible mishandling of classified materials.

- Last month, the FBI seized four servers from the State Department as part of its probe.

- A second tech company involved in providing security for Clinton’s emails, Datto, Inc., previously unknown to the public, agreed to cooperate with the FBI probe and will turn over its files to the bureau to assist with the investigation.

- Newly released internal emails from the first data company, Platte River, indicate that employees there believed there had been a “directive to cut the backup” of Clinton emails—that is, an order to reduce the amount of time the company would keep the Clinton data.

- An employee at Platte River also suggested a cover-up of some kind, writing to a colleague: “Starting to think this whole thing really is covering up some shaddy [sic] shit.”

Add to this the explosive information disclosed last week in a letter from Gowdy previewing the release of a new batch of Clinton emails. These are “new” emails only because the State Department initially refused to turn them over to the committee, saying they were beyond the jurisdiction of the Benghazi investigation.
It's very difficult to predict how all of this will work out. If the past is prologue, Hillary will skate. After all, she has the vast majority of the media behind her—a media that has steadfastly refused to investigate and expand upon information that has come to light.

Imagine for just a moment if a Secretary of State for a GOP administration, say, a John Bolton, had done exactly what Hillary did. Wall to wall investigations, breaking revelations, interviews with whistle blowers—every night—until Bolton was destroyed by the facts.

But Clinton is the candidate for president on the Democratic side. She is protected by the media, even if she is perceived as 'not left enough" for the trained hamsters and the Dem base.

There is one thing that just might keep Dems up at night. The FBI investigation. If it isn't corrupted by political pressure from the Obama administration (via the Justice Department), it just might lead to a criminal indictment. How's that for an image? It's mid 2016 and Hillary Clinton is running for president and then indicted on a felony charge. It's very, very unlikely, but it's not zero probability—and that, for Dems—is the stuff of nightmares.

Friday, October 16, 2015


Over the past few decades, we have moved into the era of the victim, exemplified by entire demographic groups and the activists who describe perceived or actual injustices suffered by them. In every case, the victim has been oppressed and therefore is given broad latitude to trumpet her victimhood, demanding redress from the powers that oppressed her. In most instances, it's the Left that champion the victims, offering (sometimes absurd) remedies for victimization and never stopping to consider the effects of the "help" that is provided.

Joseph Epstein comments:
In recent decades, vast numbers of people have clamored to establish themselves or the ethnic group or sexual identity or even gender to which they belong as victims of prejudice, oppression, and injustice generally. E. M. Forster wrote of “the aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate, and the plucky.” Owing to the spread of victimhood, we have today a large aristocracy of the suffering, the put-upon, and the unlucky. Blacks, gays, women, American Indians, Hispanics, the obese, Vietnam veterans, illegal immigrants, the handicapped, single parents, fast-food workers, the homeless, poets, and anyone else able to establish underdog bona fides can now claim to be victims. Many years ago, I watched a show on television that invited us to consider the plight of unwed fathers. We are, it sometimes seems, a nation of victims.

Victims of an earlier time viewed themselves as supplicants, throwing themselves on the conscience if not mercy of those in power to raise them from their downtrodden condition. The contemporary victim tends to be angry, suspicious, above all progress-denying. He or she is ever on the lookout for that touch of racism, sexism, homophobia, or insensitivity that might show up in a stray opinion, an odd locution, an uninformed misnomer. People who count themselves victims require enemies. Forces high and low block their progress: The economy disfavors them; society is organized against them; the malevolent, who are always in ample supply, conspire to keep them down; the system precludes them. Asked some years ago by an interviewer in Time magazine about violence in schools that are all-black—that is, violence by blacks against blacks—the novelist Toni Morrison, a connoisseur of victimhood whose novels deal with little else, replied, “None of those things can take place, you know, without the complicity of the people who run the schools and the city.”

Public pronouncements from victims can take on a slightly menacing quality, in which, somehow, the roles of victim and supposed antagonist are reversed. Today it is the victim who is doing the bullying—threatening boycott, riot, career-destroying social media condemnation—and frequently making good on their threats. Victims often seem actively to enjoy their victimhood—enjoy above all the moral advantage it gives them. Fueled by their own high sense of virtue, of feeling themselves absolutely in the right, what they take to be this moral advantage allows them to overstate their case, to absolve themselves from all responsibility for their condition, to ask the impossible and demand it now, and then to demonstrate virulently, sometimes violently, when it isn’t forthcoming.
It doesn't much matter whether the victim is a resident of a poor urban environment or a Hamas sympathizer living in Gaza, or an illegal immigrant, or a worker at a fast food restaurant, or a female college student. Activists for each group and the politicians who tend to sympathize with them will suggest that victimhood grants broad leeway in the behavior of the victim. The victim's narrative trumps actual facts on the ground, enabling the victim to rewrite history, make outrageous claims against those who he perceives as victimizers, and suggest this if there is no justice (a condition defined solely by the victim) there will be no peace. The victim's gaze is always outward, toward the perceived victimizer—never inward, toward the controllable actions that might lessen his sense of victimization. The victim rejects facts that don't fit her narrative, rejects rules that non-victims must follow, and rejects any suggestion that the victim herself might have some culpability for her situation.

Damn Emails

Well, I guess there's no reason for those of us who were concerned about Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server to be concerned any longer. Bernie Sanders tells us he's sick and tired of those "damn emails," so ... let's just drop it. After all, who might be just a bit concerned about Hillary's serial lies about nearly every aspect of the subject, about her ever-changing excuses, about her continual stonewalling (yeah, I know, she released "55,000" less-than-damning pages of email but conveniently forgot the ones that mattered), about her admitted destruction of 30,000 emails that were "personal," about her problematic connection fundraising for the Clinton Foundation, about potential influence peddling while Secretary of State, about an on-going FBI criminal investigation concerning the improper use and storage of top secret documents (you know, the same thing that got American hero, David Petraeus indicted and convicted) a few years ago, and, of course, about the email connection to her role in the Benghazi scandal.

But no worries, there's nothing to see here, we should just move along. After all, Bernie Sanders has spoken. Kim Strassel comments:
A candidate who was in it to win wouldn’t have given Hillary Clinton an assist with her email problem, or ignored her Clinton Foundation entanglements. Mr. Sanders radiates that he is too pure of heart, too sincere a liberal, too focused on “serious issues,” to deign to address Mrs. Clinton’s ethics. He brags that he doesn’t run negative ads; he deplores “political soap opera.” No doubt many of his supporters admire him for that. Mrs. Clinton certainly does. ( Bill Clinton will too, once he stops laughing.)

But that isn’t admirable high-mindedness; it’s a sellout that undercuts the core of Mr. Sanders’s message. The senator’s biggest attraction is that he promises to end business as usual. Mrs. Clinton is business as usual. She believes she is not bound by the same rules as the 99% of Americans Mr. Sanders claims to represent. She and her foundation are tied into, and daily profit from, the “billionaire” class that Mr. Sanders claims is the country’s biggest problem. So does he mean it?

Precisely because Mr. Sanders is high-minded (go read his September speech at Liberty University on the importance of a “moral life”), how can he be blasé about the prospect of a low-minded, crony-connected, morally flawed opponent ascending to the presidency? It would seem he’d have some obligation to his supporters to address that question.
Nah ... Bernie is only high-minded when he rails against "billionaires" and works hard to suggest that the United States should accelerate toward bankruptcy by following he mega-tax and mega-spend redistributionist policies.

The Dems and their media hamsters (literally) cheered Bernie's pronouncement on Hillary's email, but the rest of the country ... not so much.

This won't go away ... and it's not a vast right wing conspiracy that will keep it alive. It's Hillary's continuing effort to thwart any attempt at getting to the bottom of this. Here's why she can't come clean. If the truth ever were to come out (it probably won't), Hillary would no longer be a presidential candidate and would almost certainly be indicted for security law violations. The funny thing is, that punishment is minor if the other implications of this scandal were to be proven true.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Going South

As those of us who vehemently opposed Barack Obama's nuclear "deal" with Iran predicted, bad things have already begun to happen. Part of the idiocy was to give Iran $100+ billion in sanctions relief before Iran even had to demonstrate that it was abiding by the agreement (it will NOT abide by the agreement). It was obvious to anyone whose world view is based on reality as opposed to fantasy that Iran would use the new found money to foment trouble in the region. It has already begun to happen.

Richard Fernandez reports:
Suddenly Obama’s partners for peace are going out of their way to treat him like a nobody in the most insulting way. Reuters reports that “Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday banned any further negotiations between Iran and the United States”. This only weeks after receiving $100 billion dollars from the One and Iran won’t even take his call. To add insult to injury, Gen. John Campbell, commander of US forces in Afghanistan told the Senate that Tehran is arming the Taliban. Foreign Policy says that Iran has supplied Hezbollah with SA-22 SAMs and Yakhont surface-to-surface precision land attack missiles. A hundred billion doesn’t buy much gratitude these days. Iran couldn’t express their contempt more clearly if they took out a full page ad in the Washington Post.
Gee, I wonder what Hezballah is going to do with all of those missiles? Of course, Israel has no need to worry because Barack Obama "has their back." After all, this president has shown enormous strength and will in defending our allies in the Middle East, hasn't he? For example, a few days ago Obama's spokesman noted that Israel and the palestinians are equally responsible for the current violence, as palestinian youths walk up to civilians on the street and stab them. Can anyone say, "Delusional moral equivalence." The administration spokesman also had the gall to suggest that both sides are "terrorists." Yeah, Obama has Israel's back ... sure he does.

It's been less than 90 days since the Iran "deal" was signed and things are going south fast. Iran is only just beginning its demonic march toward regional hegemony.

And this from the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal:
President Obama and his foreign-policy admirers—a dwindling lot—hoped that the nuclear deal would make Iran more open to cooperation in the Middle East and with the U.S. Mark this down as another case in which the world is disappointing the American President.

Iran’s judiciary on Monday announced that Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post’s Tehran correspondent, has been convicted. He was on trial for “espionage.” Security forces arrested Mr. Rezaian and his wife, journalist Yeganeh Salehi, in July 2014. Ms. Salehi was later released, but the regime has held Mr. Rezaian “in a black hole for 14 months,” as his brother, Ali, told us. Mr. Rezaian, a U.S. citizen, has been denied even the basic rights the regime sometimes affords political prisoners, including bail and phone calls.

The timing of the conviction won’t escape students of history. Friday was the 444th day of his captivity. That was the number of days U.S. diplomats in Iran spent as hostages following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Mr. Rezaian’s conviction three days later is the mullah equivalent of mailing a dead fish to an adversary.

Mr. Rezaian’s brother also told us that “I’d like the U.S. government to say [about Jason’s detention]: This kind of behavior has consequences. Up to now this has had no consequences. What have been the consequences? It hasn’t stopped them from getting their nuclear deal. And it hasn’t stopped them from getting over half a billion a month in sanctions relief since we started talking to them.”
If you are to believe Obama's defenders (there are fewer and fewer as the weeks pass), this is all part of some opaque strategy, and Iran will make nicey-nice down the road. That's not a strategy, that's fantasy. Sadly, seven years in, that's about all we can expect from this administration.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Bait

The first Democrat debate is notable for one thing—the candidates didn't take the bait. That is, they didn't attack one another, focused their outrage on the GOP opponents, treated front-runner Hillary Clinton with kid gloves, and overall, performed reasonably well.

This compared to the second GOP debate in which the many candidates tore into each other, spent far too much much time arguing, and made themselves look out of step by emphasizing social issues that are clearly not going to win presidential elections for them. They spent far too little time focusing on the many, many failures that can be directly attributed to Democratic administration over the past seven years.

Part of that came from the difference in CNN moderators and tone. Jake Tapper, the CNN moderator of the second GOP debate, encouraged personal attacks via the structure and content of his questions, and the GOP candidates took the bait. The result was a series of verbal attacks that did nothing to distinguish one from another and made them all look petty.  CNN's Anderson Cooper did a good job, asked reasonably tough questions, but was much less aggressive about encouraging attacks. He didn't follow-up in a way that would have probed the veracity of many of the outrageously inaccurate statements that were made, and never even mentioned critically important domestic issues like the debt, underemployment, the failure of Obamacare's promises, to name only a few of the many missteps that can be tied to this Democrat president and therefore, the Dems themselves.

To the debate itself.

As I predicted, the discussion was pretty much class warfare all the time. It was as if all of the candidates (with the exception of Jim Webb) were trying to outdo one another with how much they wanted to tax "the rich" and spend, spend, spend. Oops, sorry—the operative phrase is "invest, invest, invest."

Sure, there was limited discussion of the implosion of the Middle East, blamed entirely on George W. Bush. Not a bad word about Barack Obama, who, if you are to believe the silence of the five Dem candidates, has done a masterful foreign policy job—despite the disintegration of Iraq and Afghanistan, genocide in Syria, the Russian takeover of Syria, an expansionist China, Crimea, the Ukraine, failed states in North Africa, ISIS, Iran's ascendance as a hegemon, and mass Muslim migration to Europe spurred by the chaos. It's 100% Bush's fault—all of it!

Democrat Bernie Sanders, the bombastic class warfare candidate, railed against "billionaires" as if there were billions of them, suggesting disingenuously, that raising taxes on them would fund his many proposed government programs. To shore up the youth vote, college would be "free." To shore up the senior vote, social security would be expanded. To shore up the middle class vote, universal health care would be provided. To shore up the independent vote—its jobs, jobs, jobs.  All derived magically through socialist programs emanating from a big intrusive government.

Of course, no realistic details were provided on how this would be paid for, but never mind. CNN's Anderson Cooper conveniently forgot to ask Bernie the price tag for all of his expansive programs—you know, the programs that would cost the shrinking pool of American taxpayers an estimated $17 trillion over 10 years.

And Hillary Clinton? She did a good job—from a political perspective. She was smooth, in command, and relaxed. Too bad she's a serial liar and an opportunist who "doesn't take a position until she takes a [poll tested] position."

I'm sure Democrats are beaming. Their guys did well in the debate.  As Bernie Sanders correctly observed, if the Dems can get enough low information voters to take another kind of bait and turn out in November, 2016, the Dems just might have a winning strategy.

Only problem is that debates and election victories are not governance. The bait—divisive class warfare politics coupled with a Big Government giveaways—might be good for winning elections, but its toxic for the country.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


In a comment contained in The Wall Street Journal, the commenter, defending the palestinians as they continue their blood lust of recent weeks, suggests that it's all Israel's fault. He writes that Israel is guilty of a "theft of hope" from the palestinians. I responded to him in the following way:
The palestinians have had every opportunity to build a peaceful society in which "hope" would blossom. Instead they are consumed with hatred, predisposed toward violence at the slightest provocation, taught anti-Semitism beginning in Kindergarten, raped economically by their corrupt leaders, eager to subjugate (or murder) woman, gay people, and anyone who genuinely proposes peace with Israel, and used as pawns by other Muslim countries in the region. They have become professional victims, promoting an anti-factual historical narrative that is, unfortunately, supported by poetic dupes in the West who wring their hands at the self-imposed "plight" of the palestinians. Until the palestinians address the cultural decay that pervades their society, they have stolen their own hope.
Bret Stevens (read the whole thing) provides a bit more detail about the palestinians and the "plight" along with a few comments on anti-Israel media bias that has become as predicable as it is contemptible":
If you’ve been following the news from Israel, you might have the impression that “violence” is killing a lot of people. As in this headline: “Palestinian Killed As Violence Continues.” Or this first paragraph: “Violence and bloodshed radiating outward from flash points in Jerusalem and the West Bank appear to be shifting gears and expanding, with Gaza increasingly drawn in.”

Read further, and you might also get a sense of who, according to Western media, is perpetrating “violence.” As in: “Two Palestinian Teenagers Shot by Israeli Police,” according to one headline. Or: “Israeli Retaliatory Strike in Gaza Kills Woman and Child, Palestinians Say,” according to another.

Such was the media’s way of describing two weeks of Palestinian assaults that began when Hamas killed a Jewish couple as they were driving with their four children in the northern West Bank. Two days later, a Palestinian teenager stabbed two Israelis to death in Jerusalem’s Old City, and also slashed a woman and a 2-year-old boy. Hours later, another knife-wielding Palestinian was shot and killed by Israeli police after he slashed a 15-year-old Israeli boy in the chest and back.

Other Palestinian attacks include the stabbing of two elderly Israeli men and an assault with a vegetable peeler on a 14-year-old. On Sunday, an Arab-Israeli man ran over a 19-year-old female soldier at a bus stop, then got out of his car, stabbed her, and attacked two men and a 14-year-old girl. Several attacks have been carried out by women, including a failed suicide bombing.

Regarding the causes of this Palestinian blood fetish, Western news organizations have resorted to familiar tropes. Palestinians have despaired at the results of the peace process—never mind that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas just declared the Oslo Accords null and void. Israeli politicians want to allow Jews to pray atop the Temple Mount—never mind that Benjamin Netanyahu denies it and has barred Israeli politicians from visiting the site. There’s always the hoary “cycle of violence” formula that holds nobody and everybody accountable at one and the same time.

Left out of most of these stories is some sense of what Palestinian leaders have to say. As in these nuggets from a speech Mr. Abbas gave last month: “Al Aqsa Mosque is ours. They [Jews] have no right to defile it with their filthy feet.” And: “We bless every drop of blood spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah.”

Then there is the goading of the Muslim clergy. “Brothers, this is why we recall today what Allah did to the Jews,” one Gaza imam said Friday in a recorded address, translated by the invaluable Middle East Media Research Institute, or Memri. “Today, we realize why the Jews build walls. They do not do this to stop missiles but to prevent the slitting of their throats.”

Then, brandishing a six-inch knife, he added: “My brother in the West Bank: Stab!”
Hmmm. I wonder why the NYT, LAT, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, the UK Guardian, and virtually every other major media outlet seems incapable of reporting the words of Abbas or the Imam.  Oh, wait ... it's because palestinian words and deeds don't fit the media narrative about the palestinians being victims in all of this, right? Besides, the left-wing reporters and editors who write pro-palestinian garbage are weeping too hard to see it all clearly. Why? Because the palestinians' "hope" has been stolen. They really don't want to identify who the thief actually is.

San Jose

I suspect that tonight's Democratic debate will be relatively predictable:
  • Media moderators will not pit one candidate against the other as they did in the GOP debates. It's highly unlikely that there will be a question to Bernie Sanders like: "Are you troubled that Hillary Clinton has so many high level connections with Wall Street?" or "Do you think that Ms. Clinton's use of a private email server shows any contempt for transparency?" It's equally unlikely that Hillary will be asked, "Do you believe that Senator Sander's proposed spending program will add to the national debt?" I hope I'm wrong about this, but we'll see.
  • The candidates (with the possible exception of the only moderate, Jim Webb) will focus their attention on class warfare. The "income inequality" meme will be used ad nauseum, and calls for "taxing the rich," contributing "fair share" will fill the air, along with proposals for more and more spending programs to "help those in need."
All of this income redistribution and spending talk will make the progressives in the audience beam. But before they get too excitied, let's allow a little reality to invade the progressive's big intrusive government (BIG) utopia.

San Jose, CA is a blue city that has done what all blue cities do. Over the years, it has negotiated very generous pensions for it public employee unions in exchange for unreserved support for Democratics. It works. Since 1967, every elected mayor in San Jose has been a Democrat. Every one.

There's only one problem—San Jose is going broke.  Lawrence McQuillan reports:
San Jose, in the heart of Silicon Valley, is home to eBay, PayPal and Cisco. Yet despite its enormous wealth, a San Jose house right across from a fire station burned down in 2013 because the station lacked fire trucks.

This year, police staffing is down in San Jose. Its roads are pocked with potholes. And again, fire engines are mothballed. How is all this possible?

The answer is that nearly 25 percent of San Jose’s budget pays for generous pensions — called “defined-benefit” plans — that guarantee retired city workers as much as 90 percent of their former salaries for life. That has left too little for core city services like policing and firefighting ...

In San Jose, pension costs exploded from $62 million in 2003 to nearly $210 million in 2013. So even though the San Jose Police Department budget skyrocketed nearly 50 percent during the past decade, police staffing fell 20 percent — because so much of the money was eaten up by the pensions.
San Jose is only one many blue cities that are in similar trouble—blue governance provides generous perks for a select few at the expense of services for all citizens. San Jose, along with Chicago, Detroit, and dozens of other blue cities, is a harbinger of what will happen nationally if the country adopts the kinds of tax and spend programs that will be proposed by the Democrat candidates tonight.

But hey, that's reality, and class warfare is a dominant progressive fantasy. As I've said many times in this blog, when reality and fantasy collide, reality wins every time. Tonight, there will be lots of fantasy. The problem is that reality will win in real life, even if the fantasy folks win elections. Don't believe me? Just take a look at San Jose.

Monday, October 12, 2015


Over the past few days, Iran has tested a new long-range ballistic missile—you know, the type of missile that can deliver a nuclear payload. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Iran test-fired a new generation of surface-to-surface ballistic missiles on Sunday, its state news agency reported, a move that could complicate the implementation of the country’s July nuclear deal even as its parliament ratified the historic pact’s outlines.

Iran tested a long-range missile called the Emad, which Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said was capable of precise control, according to a report from the Islamic Republic News Agency.

“We don’t ask anyone’s permission to enhance our defense power or missile capability and will firmly pursue our defense plans, particularly in the field of missiles,” Mr. Dehghan said. “And Emad is one of the outstanding examples of this.”

He didn’t specify the range of the new missile. Experts have previously suggested that similar missiles in the country’s arsenal can travel as far as 800 miles.
That puts the Iranian missile's range right in the center of Israel, not to mention a number of Arab capital cities. But no worries, if you believe the administration's national security advisor, Susan Rice, Bibi Netanyahu was a a racist, right-winger because he had the audacity to express concerns about just this eventuality. But no worries, this president tells us he has Israel's back.

Of course, the Obama administration's "good deal" with Iran did nothing to limit missile development work, so Iran is off to the races—and this, less than 90 days after the "deal" was signed with great fanfare by Barack Obama and his Team of 2s. One can only wonder what Iran will accomplish in the next 90 days and the 90 days following that.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Intifada III

No one has been paying much attention to the palestinians lately, so like a small child that demands that his parents give him time, the palestinians do the only thing they're really, really good at. They throw their version of a violent tantrum. Their leaders incite the populace using phony claims, their imams incite further anger from the mosque, and street gangs use violent attacks against Israeli civilians, police, soldiers and infrastructure to emphasize their "plight." Their intent, of course, is to provoke an aggressive response from the Israelis, after which, they will wail about the disproportionality of the response, the resultant physical damage to their "refugee camps," (actually cities with shopping malls, gas stations, hospitals and the like), the inevitable occurrence of civilian injuries, and the "war crimes" that have resulted.

Leftist politicians and their trained media hamsters in the West will cluck their tongues and condemn Israel for protecting itself, redouble their monetary support for the murderous Hamas regime, and look for UN sanctions against Israel. It's all so predictable, it would be laughable, if not for the carnage.

But as Intifada III ramps up, there's a new problem that Israel must face. The Obama administration does not have Israel's back. Freed of the need to raise money from Jewish Democrats, Obama can let his antipathy for Israel surface. His true feelings about the only liberal, democratic Middle Eastern nation are ugly indeed.

Jonathan Tobin comments:
Israelis witnessed more Palestinian terror attacks today as what may be a third intifada continued on its roads and cities. But whatever decisions the Israeli government takes in the coming days to defend its citizens, it knows one thing: the Obama administration doesn’t have its back. The discord between the two governments has reached the point where Prime Minister Netanyahu knows that no matter what it is said publicly, the White House can’t be trusted to back any moves it might be forced to make. That’s especially true since the White House hasn’t chosen to publicly admonish Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas for his failure to condemn the bloody attacks on Israelis or to cease stirring up hatred by exploiting fears about the future of the Temple Mount. But understanding their dilemma requires more than a review of the last week’s events or the maneuvering at the United Nations where the U.S. is still threatening to undermine Israel’s position.

The Israelis know that, as has been the case for the last seven years, the administration is always spoiling for a fight with them under virtually any circumstances. That’s why the excerpts from Dennis Ross’s upcoming book that were published today in Politico about the way the U.S. bypassed Israel during the Iran nuclear talks provide insight into more than just that series of events. The inclination of Obama and National Security Director Susan Rice to attack the Israelis rather than cooperate with them, up to the point where Rice played the race card in an effort to undermine Netanyahu, illustrates the extent of the damage that has been done to the U.S.-Israel relationship.

The headline on the Politico website for the Ross excerpts when it went up on Thursday morning was one that used a quote in which the State Department veteran claimed that Rice spread the word that “Netanyahu did everything but ‘use the N-word’ in his interactions with Obama over Iran. Later in the day, that was changed to the more neutral (and actually more in keeping with thrust of the content of the story) headline, “How Obama got to “Yes” on Iran.” But as inflammatory as that initial headline was, that one line was what has everyone talking about Ross’s book today. Indeed, although Ross’s purpose is to try to repair what he correctly terms the unnecessary damage to the alliance that was caused by the administration’s combative attitude toward Netanyahu, that false allegation by Rice actually tells us more about what’s wrong between Washington and Jerusalem than anything else.
Based on the catastrophic results of seven years of poor decisions and feckless action in the Middle East, Barack Obama and his Team of 2s have demonstrated how incompetence, driven by leftist ideology, creates chaos and damage that will take a generation to correct, if it can be corrected at all. But the Obama administration's attitude toward Israel, although quite consistent with Leftist ideology, demonstrates just how despicable the administration can be.

Even worse, the Democratic party has done nothing to push back against the Obama administration's anti-Israel positions. Yet, the Dems are only too happy to accept campaign contributions from American Jews while telling those same contributors that the Dems support Israel without reservation. Incredibly, a clear majority of American Jews support the Democratic party emotionally and financially. Despite clear anti-Israel bias, they refuse to accept that the party's leader is anti-Israel in word and deed.

As Intifada III heats up, watch Obama and his Team of 2s closely. Through silence and inaction, he will work hard to injure the Jewish state. It's what he does and what he wants.

As a distant aside, remember the Rev. Jeremiah Wright? That would be the same Jeremiah Wright who was the pastor of the Chicago church that Barack Obama attended for well over a decade. You know, the same Jeremiah Wright who Barack Obama said was his "mentor" and confidant, until Wright's anti-American and anti-Israel rhetoric became public. Then, straining credulity, Obama claimed he didn't know nor had he heard those statements and threw the good reverend under the bus.

This week, Wright spoke at an event sponsored by the noted anti-Semite, Louis Farrakan. The Hill reports:
Wright, who once served as pastor to President Obama, was one of several hours' worth of speakers in Washington, D.C., for an event called “Justice or Else!” that sought to channel the energy of the Black Lives Matter movement. Wright placed the event in historical context.

“The same issue is being fought today and has been fought since 1948, and historians are carried back to the 19th century… when the original people, the Palestinians — and please remember, Jesus was a Palestinian — the Palestinian people had the Europeans come and take their country,” Wright said.

He said African-Americans in the United States have much in common with Palestinians in Israel.
Hmmm. I wonder if the trained hamsters in the media will ask this president whether he agrees with Reverend Wright and his outrageous and historically inaccurate statement.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Boing ... Boing ... Boing

Over the past few weeks, we have watched Vladimir Putin's Russia become increasingly more aggressive in Syria. On the plus side, Russia is occasionally attacking ISIS and unconstrained by PC rules of engagement, just might hurt the "JV team." On the negative side, Russia in league with Iran in taking over the Middle East. In my view, Russian-Iranian support for Assad is not nearly as concerning as the potential long-term damage caused in the region and the consequent diminution of our position as a real player in the Middle East. The damage created by Barack Obama's Middle East policies may never be undone.

The Obama administration, scrambling to avoid the abject embarrassment that is being heaped upon it daily by events in Syria, argues that Putin is making a "mistake," that he is "on the wrong side of history," or that somehow (in their fantasy thinking), the Russian-Iranian alliance fits within some Obama secret strategy that is far too nuanced and complex for average people to comprehend.

Some argue that this is personal—that Putin is trying to humiliate Obama—a man who he views as feckless and weak. It's hard to know, but the effect of the Russian's actions achieves exactly that result, whether its personal or strictly business really doesn't matter.

Richard Fernandez takes a look at this:
The reason why Putin is focusing his efforts to humiliate and mock one single man is simple. President Obama’s penchant for personal rule has created a weakness that the Russian strongman will ruthlessly exploit. Ordinarily presidential prestige wouldn’t be much of a target if the republic’s institutions were working. A president is just another politician who can be replaced if he dies, is incapacitated or is discredited. After all America survived Franklin Roosevelt’s death at the height of World War 2 without a hitch — a transition which astonished Hitler no end. In a constitutional government the president is just another man, replaceable in a way that Russia supreme leader could never be.

Why should Obama’s ego represent such a target of vulnerability? Because Obama has thrown away the gigantic American institutional advantage by pursuing an opaque strategy from the narrowest of White House circles. He has taken foreign policy away from institutions, deprived it of bipartisan consensus in order to centralize it on his desk. Where it should have been diffuse it has become a cult of personality, a weak spot that Putin is relentlessly attacking. He knows that when a Messiah is shown in an ridiculous light, the cult falls.

As Bret Stephens pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, Obama set himself up unwittingly by ridiculing everyone in American government who disagreed with him. He turned the Democratic Party into aging collection of doddering has-beens and demonized all Republican rivals. He closed the doors on his colleagues turning a broad-based system of government into a pogo stick with himself hopping about on it. Now all Putin has to do is kick out the base and down he goes.
Boing ... boing ... boing ...

If this was only about Barack Obama, it would be perversely amusing. But it isn't. Bad actors (e.g., Putin and the Ayatollah) smell weakness. When they sense no resistance they will push the boundaries further and further until something breaks. That's a recipe for wider war, and that's the playing field that the man on the pogo stick has crafted.

Boing ... boing ... boing ... crash ... BOOM!

Thursday, October 08, 2015


I have warned about growing national debt since well before Barack Obama became president. George W. Bush, during his years as President, joined Democrats in their profligate spending binge, increasing debt year over year. But Obama doubled down on wasteful, unnecessary spending, making it a priority. During his tenure, our national debt has nearly DOUBLED, now approaching $19 trillion.

The Wall Street Journal reports:
Central banks around the world are selling U.S. government bonds at the fastest pace on record, the most dramatic shift in the $12.8 trillion Treasury market since the financial crisis.

Sales by China, Russia, Brazil and Taiwan are the latest sign of an emerging-markets slowdown that is threatening to spill over into the U.S. economy. Previously, all four were large purchasers of U.S. debt.
Do China, Russia, Brazil and Taiwan know something we don't? Are they concerned that our debt is growing to crushing levels or that even a whiff of 'default' is cause for concern. Who knows?

Ideologically driven economists (think: Paul Krugman) tell us that debt is good. Progressive politicians, supported by their trained hamsters in the media, cheer and keep right on spending.

In FY2015, we spent $402,435,000,000.00 (for innumerate progressives, that's $402 billion dollars) on the interest to service our debt. That's interest only!

This enormous and continually growing sum would be better spent on other things that actually might benefit infrastructure or national security. In fact, it might be be better to leave the money in taxpayers' pockets and reduce spending—a lot.

Nah, repeat after me—debt is good, spending is good, debt is good, spending is good ...

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Gig Economy

For the past seven years, Barack Obama and his supporters among the Democrats have presided over an economy that is so dismal and disfunctional that it sets negative historical records on a quarterly basis. Whether it jobs creation, the debt, or the labor participation rate, we continually think we've reached the bottom, but can't seem to find it.

Sure, Barack Obama inherited an economy crippled by the crash of 2008, and he deserved some leeway in addressing problems generated by that crash. But his seven year approach—a huge, but meaningless "stimulus" that created very few jobs, a string of tax increases (both direct and indirect) that acted as disincentives for investment, a healthcare program that put undue stress on small businesses, and a regulatory regime that suffocated many small companies,—acted as net negatives for the economy.

There is, however, one ray of hope—the so-called "gig economy." The UK Guardian describes it this way:
Today’s digitally enabled gig economy was preceded by marketplaces such as ELance and oDesk, through which computer programmers and designers could make a living competing for short-term work assignments. But the gig economy isn’t just creating a new digital channel for freelance work. It is spawning a host of new economic activity. More than a million “makers” sell jewellery, clothing and accessories through the online marketplace Etsy. The short-term accommodation platforms Airbnb, Love Home Swap and onefinestay collectively have close to a million “hosts”.

This explosion of small-scale entrepreneurship might make one wonder whether we are returning to the economy of the 18th century, described by the economist Adam Smith in his book An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. The economy Smith described was a genuine market economy of individuals engaging in commerce with one another.
From the perspective of Big Intrusive Government (BIG), the notion of a gig economy is anethema. After all, it's the wild west—young people accepting gig opportunities that provide value to others—on-the-fly.  After all, nice staid hourly or salaried employees, as opposed to contract workers and individual entrapreneurs, are easy to control, easy to track, easy to tax, and easy to manipulate. Independent contractors, not so much.

Nicholas Ballasy discusses one conservative view of the gig economy by quoting Congressman Jason Chaffetz on the subject. Ballesy reports:
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, expressed concern that the federal government might try to intervene in the “gig economy” and over-regulate companies such as Uber.

“One of the reasons I think this economy is flowing and this sector is flowing is because government hasn’t been involved. It has been the Wild Wild West. It has been tapping into that entrepreneurial spirit,” he said at a POLITICO discussion called “Generation Next: The Future of Work.”

“It’s been tapping into young people’s idealism that says you can make money. You can be an entrepreneur and you can do something without having to wear a tie. You can do it in your bathroom, if you would like, and you can do it at your own pace and your own creativity,” he added.

Chaffetz said he is “deeply concerned” the federal government is going to interfere and attempt to suddenly “save people from themselves.”

“I’m worried about that. I like the Wild West. I like the idea that entrepreneurs can thrive,” he said. “I worry that the government will come in and over-regulate it and create more barriers and slow people down.”

He also said there is a “generational” problem in Congress that could ultimately hurt the state of the gig economy, which is based on independent contract work.
The "Wild West" of a gig economy is BIG's worst nightmare. After all, what happens to crony capitalism? You know, the ability of BIG politicians and bureaucrats to reward their corporate friends and punish their corporate enemies? What happens to 'too big to fail?' What happens to withholding taxes from wage earners, who historically, never seem to protest just how much money is taken out of the paycheck? In fact, what happens to paychecks?

The gig economy rewards initiative and skill. It leads to unequal outcomes based on unequal abilities, enthusiasm, and risk-taking. In general, that's not something that the Left wants to see. But then again, almost every urban hipster really, really loves Uber and Etsy.

In my view, it's time to step back and allow the gig economy to flourish. In Chaffetz's language, BIG needs a "regulatory time out" in which it simply gets out of the way. We'll see if that happens.