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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cruising the Web




Boy, how times change. The generation that fell so deeply in love with Barack Obama is now over their romance with him.
More than half – 51 percent – of America’s millennials who say they will “definitely be voting” in November prefer a Republican-run Congress, with only 47 percent favoring Democrat control, according to a Harvard Institute of Politics poll.

This marks a significant departure from the institute’s findings before the 2010 midterm elections, when America’s 18-29 year olds who were definitely voting favored Democrats 55 percent to 43 percent....

What’s more, the poll found that only 43 percent of millennials approve of President Obama’s job performance, while 53 percent disapprove. It is his second-lowest rating in the institute’s polls since he took office. The figures are only slightly worse for Obama among those who will “definitely be voting”: 42 percent approve, 56 percent disapprove.

The results showed a stark divide in presidential approval along racial and ethnic lines. Only three in 10 young whites approve of the president’s performance, while nearly eight in 10 young blacks approve. Hispanic youth approval fell to 49 percent, down from 60 percent just six months ago.
This generation has come of age during a great slowdown of the economy. Every year I see my students go off to college full of dreams for whichever career they've been thinking about. Some do find the jobs they're hoping for. But some come back and seem almost ashamed that they haven't found the sort of job they hoped for or any job at all. And often it is some of my brightest students who are having trouble finding jobs in the careers they've been dreaming about. So much for "hope and change." There have been changes, but not the ones they hoped for.

Stephen Hayes refutes the trope the media have latched on to - that this is an election "about nothing." Au contraire. There are two different ideologies for voters to choose from. They just don't seem to be choosing the one that the MSM prefers.
Not only is this election not about nothing, it is being fought over exactly the kinds of things that ought to determine our elections.

It’s about the size and scope of government. It’s about the rule of law. It’s about the security of the citizenry. It’s about competence. It’s about integrity. It’s about honor.

It’s about a government that makes promises to those who have defended the country and then fails those veterans, again and again and again. It’s about a president who offers soothing reassurances on his sweeping health care reforms and shrugs his shoulders when consumers learn those assurances were fraudulent. It’s about government websites that cost billions but don’t function and about “smart power” that isn’t very smart. It’s about an administration that cares more about ending wars than winning them, and that claims to have decimated an enemy one day only to find that that enemy is still prosecuting its war against us the next. It’s about shifting red lines and failed resets. It’s about a president who ignores restrictions on his power when they don’t suit him and who unilaterally rewrites laws that inconvenience him. It’s about a powerful federal agency that targets citizens because of their political beliefs and a White House that claims ignorance of what its agents are up to because government is too “vast.” In sum, this is an election about a president who promised to restore faith in government and by every measure has done the opposite.

As even Barack Obama acknowledges, the upcoming election is about his policies and those elected officials who have supported them. It’s about an electorate determined to hold someone responsible for the policy failures that have defined this administration and the scandals that have consumed it—even if many in the fourth estate will not.
Maybe the reason some in the media are arguing that this is an election about nothing is because it's really an election about Barack Obama. And the verdict isn't favorable. And it's not a problem that the President can fix by shuffling out some of his staff and cabinet members.

Sean Trende examines the theory of an "emerging Democratic majority" and concludes what I thought when I first heard about it. American history is full of elections when one party seemed to be so dominant that the other party would wither away. And then just a few elections later, the situation reverses. That is the beauty of our system - it leads to some sort of leavening between the parties so no party achieves a permanent majority. Once the party achieves dominance, they start going too far in reading the mandate from the American people and eventually the voters want to try someone else. That is why the Reagan years didn't lead to a permanent Republican majority and the Clinton and Obama years certainly didn't achieve partisan dominance.

William Voegeli remembers when liberal writers thought that conservatives can't govern because they don't trust government. And now Voegeli argues that liberals have trouble governing. They make excuses for the failures of the Obama administration that the problem was that they needed to work harder at implementing their policies.
How is it possible that grownups, ostensibly dedicated to the proposition
that government can solve problems, must learn such an elementary lesson
over and over? One explanation for this anomaly is that liberals are,
regarding any social ill, adamant that government do something, but
unconcerned about whether it accomplishes anything.

Noble goals remain noble whether they’re attained or not. And liberals can easily demonstrate their own nobility by demanding new programs and bigger budgets, as opposed to the hard work of making sure existing programs are effective, or are abandoned if they can’t be made effective. If, as Georges Clemenceau said, war is too important to be entrusted to soldiers, the Obama administration may end up demonstrating that social problems are too important to be remedied by liberals.

Timothy writes on "Kay Hagan's corporatism and cronyism" and how it has enriched both her campaign treasury and her family members. It's not a pretty picture.

The repellent Democratic congressman, Alan Grayson, is refusing to support his estranged wife and children who are now living on food stamps. He argues that she wasn't legally divorced from her first husband so their marriage wasn't legitimate. But those are still his children. Isn't he legally required to contribute to their support? After all, he's the 17th riches member of Congress.

This isn't felicitous news about Scott Walker's Democratic opponent in Wisconsin, Mary Burke. The man who supervised her when she worked for her father's company, Trek Bicycle, is now saying that she was fired for her incompetence. And it was her own brother, John Burke, who had to argue for her to be let go.
According to Albers, it was John Burke who first sounded the alarm that the European division was struggling mightily.

“Her performance in Europe was not good,” he says. “We were losing a lot of money for us at the time. I don’t remember the amount, but it was considered significant based on where we were [as a company] at that particular point in time.”

“And also, we were encountering personnel/people problems over there. The people were threatening to leave the company. Many of them were.”

Primarily, Albers contends, because of the managerial style of their supervisor, Mary Burke.

“Her way of managing was kind of a ‘her way or the highway’ kind of approach to things,” Albers explains, adding that her subordinates “felt that she wouldn’t listen to them and was just imposing things on them that didn’t make sense.”

“So because of all that—which had gone on for a while, obviously—John Burke went to his father basically saying, ‘We need to make a change over here.’ Obviously, being a family situation, this was extremely sensitive and very difficult to pursue. So Dick Burke came to me and said, ‘Before anything is done here, would you go over there and give me your thoughts on what the situation is like?’”

Albers flew to Trek’s European headquarters and quickly discovered that John Burke wasn’t exaggerating.
And now she wants to run the state of Wisconsin. This is not a great job recommendation.

How false accusations of domestic abuse ruined one NBA player's chance at a career.

CBS has no comment on Sharyl Attkisson's accusations about how they protected Obama from negative stories about his administration. Typical.
James Taranto ponders the inconsistencies of the administration's position on quarantining servicemen and women who are returning from West Africa all the while pressuring states and offering up presidential photo ops to resist mandatory quarantining returning civilians including medical personnel who have worked with Ebola patients. The administration can't explain why there should be such completely different policies.
Let us suggest two practical distinctions, either or both of which may explain the disjunction in policy. The first is that forestalling the military quarantine order would have required Obama to overrule a recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—that is to say, to make a decision. Pressuring the governors, by contrast, involves only behind-the-scenes kibitzing and public bloviation.

The second is snobbery. Recall that quote from Nurse Hickox’s lawyer: “She’s a very good person.” She and others like her, according to the president, are doing God’s work, and—in pointed if inaccurate contrast to military servicemen—are “experts.” The logic would go something like this: You can’t quarantine her. She’s one of us.

When the going gets tough, all the Democrats have left is despicable race-baiting.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cruising the Web

The administration is getting lost in their excuse-making about why soldiers who are, according to them not working with patients, should still undergo quarantine when they return, but medical workers who have been in direct contact with Ebola patients, don't need such quarantine. They're trying to argue that the military aren't volunteering to go to West Africa so we can treat them differently. Josh Earnest gives the example of the haircuts that those in the military must undergo in contrast to civilians. As Noah Rothman writes,
I’m not trying to be reflexively contrary, but how does it make any sense that soldiers whose movements and mission is “circumscribed” should be isolated and monitored, but voluntary health care workers, who cannot be tracked, should not be avoid being quarantined if they are suspected of displaying Ebola-like symptoms?

Moreover, if the aim is not to scare health care workers from voluntarily traveling to West Africa, what does he think an involuntary quarantine of American troops will do? Did I miss the conscription act that the president signed into law? Why wouldn’t think cavalier disregard for the interests of American troops serving at their own discretion overseas have a depressing effect on future enlistments?

The White House’s logic simply does not make any sense.

In the fight against this Ebola outbreak, the United States and the West in general are winning a number of victories. The spread of the infection appears to be slowing in West Africa, and health care workers who are treated at an early stage of Ebola infection in the United States have made remarkable recoveries.

The administration’s defensiveness on the issue of quarantine, and the partisan and inconsistent way in which it has attacked those who have embraced this precautionary measure, only saps the public of more faith in government officials to be able to contain the spread of this disease dispassionately and with a modicum of competence.

Maybe this is why people are suspicious about plans to allow returning medical workers to isolate themselves in a responsible manner.
The city’s first Ebola patient initially lied to authorities about his travels around the city following his return from treating disease victims in Africa, law-enforcement sources said.

Dr. Craig Spencer at first told officials that he isolated himself in his Harlem apartment — and didn’t admit he rode the subways, dined out and went bowling until cops looked at his MetroCard the sources said.

“He told the authorities that he self-quarantined. Detectives then reviewed his credit-card statement and MetroCard and found that he went over here, over there, up and down and all around,” a source said.

Spencer finally ’fessed up when a cop “got on the phone and had to relay questions to him through the Health Department,” a source said.

Officials then retraced Spencer’s steps, which included dining at The Meatball Shop in Greenwich Village and bowling at The Gutter in Brooklyn.
Meanwhile, no one can find our new Ebola Czar, Ron Klain. But he was available for that first-day photo op.

Oh, and don't trust blood tests to tell us whether a person is going to develop the virus. It only shows up in the blood just about the time when the infected person is about to be infectious.

Jeffrey Goldberg has an eye-opening article in The Atlantic about how the Obama administration really regards Bibi Netanyahu. Apparently, they just can't stand the Israeli prime minister. One senior official calls him "a chickens**t." They blame him totally for the fact that there has been no peace concluded between the Palestinians and Israel.
Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and “Aspergery.” (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list.) But I had not previously heard Netanyahu described as a “chickenshit.” I thought I appreciated the implication of this description, but it turns out I didn’t have a full understanding. From time to time, current and former administration officials have described Netanyahu as a national leader who acts as though he is mayor of Jerusalem, which is to say, a no-vision small-timer who worries mainly about pleasing the hardest core of his political constituency. (President Obama, in interviews with me, has alluded to Netanyahu’s lack of political courage.)

“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the official said, expanding the definition of what a chickenshit Israeli prime minister looks like. “The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not [Yitzhak] Rabin, he’s not [Ariel] Sharon, he’s certainly no [Menachem] Begin. He’s got no guts.”

I ran this notion by another senior official who deals with the Israel file regularly. This official agreed that Netanyahu is a “chickens**t” on matters related to the comatose peace process, but added that he’s also a “coward” on the issue of Iran’s nuclear threat. The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. “It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”
So the U.S. pressured him not to attack Iran and when he doesn't, they conclude that he's a “chickens**t” That makes sense. They just can't hate Netanyahu enough. We don't hear this sort of characterization from leaks about what the administration thinks of Hamas leaders or the leaders in Iran or Turkey's Erdogan or any other leader in the Middle East. Only our ally gets this sort of disdain. Netanyahu is the world leader who "frustrate[s]" the White House and State Department the most. How telling.

Wouldn't a story like this perhaps put Putin on the list of most frustrating world leaders?
Hackers thought to be working for the Russian government breached the unclassified White House computer networks in recent weeks, sources said, resulting in temporary disruptions to some services while cybersecurity teams worked to contain the intrusion.

Bret Stephens explains why Israel is, in turn, so fed up with this administration.
The real problem for the administration is that the Israelis—along with all the other disappointed allies—are learning how little it pays to be on Barack Obama’s good side. Since coming to office in 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed, against his own inclination and over the objections of his political base, to (1) recognize a Palestinian state; (2) enforce an unprecedented 10-month settlement freeze; (3) release scores of Palestinian prisoners held on murder charges; (4) embark on an ill-starred effort to reach a final peace deal with the Palestinians; (5) refrain from taking overt military steps against Iran; and (6) agree to every possible cease-fire during the summer’s war with Hamas.

In exchange, Mr. Kerry publicly blamed Israel for the failure of the peace effort, the White House held up the delivery of munitions at the height of the Gaza war, and Mr. Obama is hellbent on striking whatever deal the Iranians can plausibly offer him.

Oh, and Mr. Kerry also attributes the rise of Islamic State to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Maybe if the Israelis grovel a bit more, Mr. Obama will oblige them by recognizing a Palestinian state as his parting act as president. Don’t discount the possibility.

The CW is that Obamacare isn't an issue in this election. But are people really going to forget this fact?
The Affordable Care Act was supposed to make health care more affordable, but a newly released study of insurance policies before and after Obamacare shows that average premiums have skyrocketed, for some groups by as much as 78 percent.

Average insurance premiums in the sought-after 23-year-old demographic rose most dramatically, with men in that age group seeing an average 78.2 percent price increase before factoring in government subsidies, and women having their premiums rise 44.9 percent, according to a report by HealthPocket scheduled for release Wednesday....The premium increases for 30-year-olds were almost as high as for 23-year-olds — 73.4 percent for men and 35.1 percent for women — said the study, titled “Without Subsidies Women & Men, Old & Young Average Higher Monthly Premiums with Obamacare.”

D.C. McAllister proposes how to reach "Wal-Mart moms."

Typical. Harry Reid's PAC is trying to connect Thom Tillis to Trayvon Martin's death. And they don't care if they distort the facts in the case in order to make their tendentious claims.

The WSJ explains how "Obama soaks the rich, drowns the middle class."
The curse of the U.S. economy today is the downward trend in “take-home pay.” This is the most crucial economic indicator for most Americans, but when President Obama said in a recent speech at Northwestern that nearly every economic measure shows improvement from five years ago, he conspicuously left this one out.

Most workers’ pay has not kept up with inflation for at least six years. Even as hiring picked up over the past year, wages and salaries have inched up by 2%, barely ahead of inflation. This probably explains why half of Americans say the recession never ended. They are experiencing what Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen last week described as “stagnant living standards for the majority.”

Why aren’t wages rising? There are several reasons, including that many jobs today don’t pay as well as the ones lost during the recession. ObamaCare has made health insurance more expensive for businesses—as the nation’s biggest employer, Wal-Mart , recently reported—and that takes a bite out of take-home pay. Yet one factor is often overlooked: the tax increase on “the rich” at the beginning of 2013....

The overall effect of the 2013 tax hike was not minor. The highest income-tax rate on small business income has risen to almost 42% from 35%. That’s a 20% spike in the small business tax for successful companies. When the government takes more, there is less to plow back into the business or invest elsewhere.

This may help explain the paradox that even as American businesses today are generally efficient and highly profitable, they aren’t reinvesting in new plants, equipment and technology or hiring more workers at the pace they normally would. Business investment was up last quarter—a hopeful sign—but over the recovery the trend has been sluggish.



Bruce Fein argues for something I've always believed in. We should stop electing judges.

Mickey Kaus has fun mocking the MSM's desire to pretend to be running a neutral story that isn't actually a neutral storyline, what he calls a NSL.
The “gridlock” line isn’t neutral, of course. What would ending gridlock look like? Maybe, to the MSM, a non-gridlocked agenda is as “obvious” as it is to David Brooks. But it’s still an agenda. Front and center in this agenda currently is some kind of immigration amnesty deal. Sure, you could break the immigration gridlock the other way — with a focus on border enforcement before amnesty. But that’s not the break the MSM has in mind — and anyway President Obama would never sign it. So “voters want to end gridlock” translates smugly into “voters demand what the MSM, including NBC, wants,” if not precisely what the Democratic president wants.

Does it matter that this may in fact get the reality of the midterms 180 degrees wrong — voters seem poised to vote against amnesty and for an focus on border security, for example, against breaking the gridlock the “obvious” MSM way?

There's good news and bad news for each party in the early vote data. One might as well read tea leaves. Unfortunately for pundits, we won't know until after the election if the early-voting totals correlate at all with the entire election vote totals.

Millennials want jobs and having rap stars pander to them isn't enough.

According to Gallup, the issues that the Democrats have been pushing such as gun control, global warming, or a supposed "war on women" are not issues that voters are concerned about.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cruising the Web

Sharyl Attkisson has a book coming out next week about her experiences working for CBS trying to cover Obama scandals such as Fast and Furious, spending on the stimulus, and Benghazi. She's won numerous awards for her investigative journalism, but that didn't seem to help when she started digging too deeply into Democratic scandals. Kyle Smith has a profile of Attkisson detailing how the Obama administration, as she titled her book, stonewalled her investigations.
Sharyl Attkisson is an unreasonable woman. Important people have told her so.

When the longtime CBS reporter asked for details about reinforcements sent to the Benghazi compound during the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack, White House national security spokesman Tommy Vietor replied, “I give up, Sharyl . . . I’ll work with more reasonable folks that follow up, I guess.”

Another White House flack, Eric Schultz, didn’t like being pressed for answers about the Fast and Furious scandal in which American agents directed guns into the arms of Mexican drug lords. “Goddammit, Sharyl!” he screamed at her. “The Washington Post is reasonable, the LA Times is reasonable, The New York Times is reasonable. You’re the only one who’s not reasonable!”

Two of her former bosses, CBS Evening News executive producers Jim Murphy and Rick Kaplan, called her a “pit bull.”
That was when Sharyl was being nice.

Now that she’s no longer on the CBS payroll, this pit bull is off the leash and tearing flesh off the behinds of senior media and government officials. In her new memoir/exposé “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington” (Harper), Attkisson unloads on her colleagues in big-time TV news for their cowardice and cheerleading for the Obama administration while unmasking the corruption, misdirection and outright lying of today’s Washington political machine.
And she's also exposing how CBS was shilling for Obama and blocking negative stories about the administration.
Reporting on the many green-energy firms such as Solyndra that went belly-up after burning through hundreds of millions in Washington handouts, Attkisson ran into increasing difficulty getting her stories on the air. A colleague told her about the following exchange: “[The stories] are pretty significant,” said a news exec. “Maybe we should be airing some of them on the ‘Evening News?’ ” Replied the program’s chief Pat Shevlin, “What’s the matter, don’t you support green energy?”

Says Attkisson: That’s like saying you’re anti-medicine if you point out pharmaceutical company fraud....

Attkisson mischievously cites what she calls the “Substitution Game”: She likes to imagine how a story about today’s administration would have been handled if it made Republicans look bad.
In green energy, for instance: “Imagine a parallel scenario in which President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney personally appeared at groundbreakings for, and used billions of tax dollars to support, multiple giant corporate ventures whose investors were sometimes major campaign bundlers, only to have one (or two, or three) go bankrupt . . . when they knew in advance the companies’ credit ratings were junk.”

....One of her bosses had a rule that conservative analysts must always be labeled conservatives, but liberal analysts were simply “analysts.” “And if a conservative analyst’s opinion really rubbed the supervisor the wrong way,” says Attkisson, “she might rewrite the script to label him a ‘right-wing’ analyst.”

In mid-October 2012, with the presidential election coming up, Attkisson says CBS suddenly lost interest in airing her reporting on the Benghazi attacks. “The light switch turns off,” she writes. “Most of my Benghazi stories from that point on would be reported not on television, but on the Web.”
She's not a conservative ideologue, but it's amazing how covering this administration fairly makes her sound like a conservative. It also demonstrates how different things might have been in 2012 if more reporters had demonstrated her dogged fairness.

The Hill profiles the GOP's rising female stars.

This NYT story about how the IRS has seized accounts of individuals who weren't even under any suspicion is just flabbergasting.
For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest cash-only restaurant. For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away — until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her that they had seized her checking account, almost $33,000.

The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes — in fact, she has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.

“How can this happen?” Ms. Hinders said in a recent interview. “Who takes your money before they prove that you’ve done anything wrong with it?”

The federal government does.

Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up.
How does this even happen? It shows how far the IRS has grown beyond just trying to collect revenue. Once again the Institute for Justice is on the side of the angels.

If you thought that Louisiana's screwy jungle primary system was going to cause problems, add this into the mix.
If Louisiana State University’s two conference losses earlier this year had briefly quieted anxious chatter in Bayou State political circles, the school’s Oct. 25 victory over Ole Miss has both college football fans and Senate campaigns in the state keeping a close eye on the rest of the season.

The Southeastern Conference is holding its championship game Dec. 6, the same day Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu and Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy — both LSU graduates — would face off in a runoff if neither takes a majority of the vote on Election Day.

The issue for the campaigns: The game is in Atlanta, and if LSU qualified, tens of thousands of voters would be out of state on that day to cheer on the Tigers. Motivating turnout on a Saturday a few weeks before Christmas is never easy, but the exodus of a portion of the voting base — or simply not paying as much attention to politics — would add an unpredictable wrinkle.
Roll Call looks back at 10 moments this election season that had an important impact on the races.

Another great ad targeting Bruce Braley for suing over chickens.

James Hamblin at The Atlantic catches up with Dr. Steven Hatfill - remember him - he was the doctor whose reputation was trashed by being connected to the anthrax poisoning and being named as a person of interest even though no proof was ever found. Hatfill is actually an expert on communicable diseases and he has some disturbing warnings about what we don't know about Ebola.

How could the Obama administration not have thought through their policy on whether soldiers returning from West Africa should be quarantined? How did they get to the position that soldiers returning are now being quarantined at the same time that the administration is arguing against quarantines for people entering the U.S. from the same area, including medical workers who have been working with Ebola patients? Every day we have some fresh example of how slipshod the policymaking is on Ebola. The President sent American troops over to West Africa and yet they hadn't figured out how to bring them back safely? Amazing. The CDC keeps contradicting itself. As Mary Katharine Ham writes of the questions that White House correspondents are asking at the press briefing: "Let's be real; you're making this up as you go, right?" Sure seems that way.

If you thought the Hobby Lobby decision had clarified the role of forcing employers to violate their religion when it comes to abortion, think again. California is now ordering churches to fund elective abortions. Don't they have any Constitutional scholars in their government?

Philip Klein is thinking about Hillary Clinton's Kinsey gaffe when she said last week, "Don't let anybody tell you that, you know, it's corporations and businesses that create jobs.” Now she's backtracking and saying she "short-handed" her supposed point about outsourcing. Klein thinks that Hillary's misspeaking is what happens when she tries to "co-opt" Elizabeth Warren's populism.
To be clear, this one comment isn't going to be an issue for Clinton assuming she seeks the presidency in 2016. But it is illustrative of how Warren's presence in a Democratic nomination fight could create problems for Clinton, even if the Massachusetts populist doesn't ultimately prevail.
Hillary is quite awkward when she tries to fake her populism. Such a challenge to her from the left could create lots of such gaffe-filled moments for Hillary.

CNN realizes that there is a reverse gender gap this year for Democrats among men.

Yup, the UNC academic scandal is now a punchline on SNL. That is not good.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cruising the Web

Oh, my! SNL didn't go there, did they? Yes, they sure did. How the mighty have fallen when SNL makes fun of Obama much as they would have any ordinary politician instead of trying to pretend that somehow he is above satire. And to add insult to injury, they chose to do this right before the elections.

What a coincidence. The USDA has somehow misplaced key documents that would have clarified Senator Hagan's family's role in getting grants through the stimulus.

Mollie Hemingway is sick of the media lecturing us about how we shouldn't be so concerned about Ebola.
More than anything, though, I just want reporters to stop lecturing me about how interest and concern about the deadly Ebola virus means I’m panicking. I’m not panicking. But I’m sure as heck not going to calm down because the same profession that knows little about everything else in the world is telling me that they’ve totally got this complex viral outbreak down pat.

I don’t know if we’re just witnessing some sort of dramatic self-soothing technique or if it’s disdain for typical Americans or if it’s some kind of psychological trauma related to journalists’ inability to deal with the failures of the administrative state and progressive ideology. And I don’t care. But there is no doubt that the single most annoying thing about media coverage of Ebola is the hair-trigger response of some to disdain any discussion of Ebola as panic.
Maybe if the health officials hadn't been so arrogant in the beginning telling us not to worry our little heads about the possibility of it spreading in this country, people wouldn't be so skeptical when they rush to assure us now.

George Will exposes how Democratic politicians have perverted the use of law in Wisconsin in order to try to take down Scott Walker.
The early-morning paramilitary-style raids on citizens’ homes were conducted by law enforcement officers, sometimes wearing bulletproof vests and lugging battering rams, pounding on doors and issuing threats. Spouses were separated as the police seized computers, including those of children still in pajamas. Clothes drawers, including the children’s, were ransacked, cellphones were confiscated and the citizens were told that it would be a crime to tell anyone of the raids.

Some raids were precursors of, others were parts of, the nastiest episode of this unlovely political season, an episode that has occurred in an unlikely place. This attempted criminalization of politics to silence people occupying just one portion of the political spectrum has happened in Wisconsin, which often has conducted robust political arguments with Midwestern civility.

From the progressivism of Robert La Follette to the conservatism of Gov. Scott Walker (R) today, Wisconsin has been fertile soil for conviction politics. Today, the state’s senators are the very conservative Ron Johnson (R) and the very liberal Tammy Baldwin (D). Now, however, Wisconsin, which to its chagrin produced Sen. Joe McCarthy (R), has been embarrassed by Milwaukee County’s Democratic district attorney, John Chisholm. He has used Wisconsin’s uniquely odious “John Doe” process to launch sweeping and virtually unsupervised investigations while imposing gag orders to prevent investigated people from defending themselves or rebutting politically motivated leaks.
Apparently, "by any means necessary" is perfectly fine if it takes down a Republican.

Where is the gratitude? Democrats are busy blaming Obama for their predicament in this year's elections. Many of them owe their election to Obama in 2008 and his fundraising prowess is going far to help them equalize things this year.

The depth of +corruption in Colorado's vote-by-mail reform is striking.
Coloradans now vote universally on mail-in ballots, whether they want to or not. Democrats passed and signed the 2013 Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act with zero Republican support — just like Obamacare. Some 3.6 million such ballots have reached active voters and even those who last voted in 2008. That’s right. People who have avoided the polls for the last six years — whether from ignorance, boredom, disillusionment, relocation, or even death — have had ballots mailed to their last known addresses.

“I’m going to people’s houses where they’re getting seven ballots to a household,” Republican state senator Ted Harvey told the Washington Times. “Their children when they were 18 registered to vote there. They’re now 30 years old and living somewhere else, but now that their inactive voting status is now active, the clerk and recorders are required to send them ballots. . . . If Mom and Dad wanted to, they could vote them.”

“We have a lot of the adult-children-not-living-at-home problem here,” Marks says. “I frequently have run into parents who vote the ballots and forge the signatures of their kids and think it is okay ‘because the government sends us the ballots.’” For her relentless efforts to cleanse Colorado’s elections of often-Democrat-inspired mischief, the Denver Post calls the former trucking-company executive “the Queen of Pain.”

In another potential headache, “harvesters” will collect ballots door-to-door. Citizens legally may gather up to ten ballots and mail them or deposit them in unsupervised, official drop boxes. This is admirable for, say, a granddaughter helping her elderly relatives. However, nothing prevents a political activist from gathering ten ballots on Monday, ten on Tuesday, and ten more on Wednesday.

“If it’s over ten, that’s a violation,” Colorado secretary of state Scott Gessler told KUSA-TV. “How you catch that? We don’t have those systems in place right now.”

Even worse, if harvested ballots favoring the “wrong” candidate vanish — well, stuff happens.

Las Vegas Review Journal writer Sherman Frederick ponders how long Obama's shadow will haunt the Democrats.

TNR writer Noam Scheiber tries to argue that it was a good thing that Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio lied to the public about whether or not the latest Ebola patient, Dr. Craig Spencer had actually followed protocols for self-quarantining by staying away from the public since he'd returned from Guinea. Schreiber thinks that this was a worthwhile lie to prevent panic among New Yorkers if they heard that the doctor had traveled the subway to a bowling alley and eaten in a restaurant. What Schreiber missed is that the truth was going to come out. And when it did people's trust in their government's response would decline even more. And in the face of a health crisis, that trust is very important and a crucial factor in preventing the sort of panic Schreiber worries about.

Fed Barnes explains which party is the real party of the rich. And my state's senatorial contest is a perfect example.
Hagan has outraised Tillis, the state house speaker, $19.2 million to $4.8 million. But that’s only one measure of her money advantage. Liberal and Democratic groups have devoted $26.3 million to going after Tillis—a chunk of it on ads while he was still running in the Republican primary—and another $4 million touting her. Conservative and Republican groups were unable to neutralize the anti-Tillis barrage. They’ve spent $17.3 million against Hagan and $10.9 million to promote Tillis. In overall campaign spending, Hagan tops Tillis by $53.7 million to $33 million. This, however, doesn’t count undisclosed millions in “issue ads” criticizing Hagan by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group.
Two non-partisan researchers, Jesse Richman and David Earnest post at their Monkey Cage blog an analysis that non-citizens are voting in federal elections. And they may well have swung some close elections.
How many non-citizens participate in U.S. elections? More than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 samples indicated that they were registered to vote. Furthermore, some of these non-citizens voted. Our best guess, based upon extrapolations from the portion of the sample with a verified vote, is that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent of non-citizens voted in 2010.

Because non-citizens tended to favor Democrats (Obama won more than 80 percent of the votes of non-citizens in the 2008 CCES sample), we find that this participation was large enough to plausibly account for Democratic victories in a few close elections. Non-citizen votes could have given Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health-care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) won election in 2008 with a victory margin of 312 votes. Votes cast by just 0.65 percent of Minnesota non-citizens could account for this margin. It is also possible that non-citizen votes were responsible for Obama’s 2008 victory in North Carolina. Obama won the state by 14,177 votes, so a turnout by 5.1 percent of North Carolina’s adult non-citizens would have provided this victory margin.
Allahpundit worries how the votes of non-citizens could affect this year's elections.
There are a bunch of races this year that could end up with whisper-thin margins of victory as well — Perdue versus Nunn in Georgia, Cassidy versus Landrieu in Louisiana, Tillis versus Hagan in North Carolina, even Gardner versus Udall in Colorado. If Democrats eke out victories in a few of those by a few thousand or even a few hundred votes, why would you believe after reading this study that those victories were fairly earned? And remember, as a Twitter pal points out, the numbers in the study are based on non-citizens who admitted to voting when asked. How many voted and were smart enough not to cop to it?

Does anyone think that this sort of hyperbole help the Democrats?
Appearing on CNN’s “State Of The Union,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, agreed that the GOP is scarier that either Ebola or the terrorist organization ISIS.

Host Candy Crowley played an ad attacking Colorado Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner as “too extreme for Colorado.” After the clip, Crowley said, “So we’ve heard this in previous elections, too extreme, too extreme their Tea Party, we can’t work with them. So, it seems that the Democrats’ overall message is yes, ISIS is scary. Yes, Ebola is scary but Republicans are a lot scarier.”

The response from Wasserman Schultz was, “Well, that’s right.”

One doctor explains how Obamacare has succeeded only in moving his patients from their private insurance plans into Medicaid.
Thirty years of experience in private medical practice uncovers many ironies. For example, recently several of my patients who had been paying for their own individual health insurance informed me that they were forced off private insurance and placed into Medicaid when they signed up for health care at Healthcare.gov. This unwanted change—built into ObamaCare with the intention of helping patients—has harmed them by taking away their freedom to choose a health-care plan that works best for them.

This is not an unusual phenomenon. A recent Boston University/Harvard Medical School study suggests that up to 80% of people participating in ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion have been shifted off their private insurance. These patients’ plans—that they liked, and were told they could keep—did not meet Affordable Care Act requirements, and were wiped out. Healthcare.gov offered them Medicaid.

But the irony doesn’t stop there. Even if my patients save money by no longer paying premiums, they suffer in the long run by being trapped in a subpar health-care system. A Medicaid card does not translate into quality medical care. In some cases, it does not translate into medical care at all.

Only 45% of doctors are now accepting new Medicaid patients, according to a recent survey by the health-care company Merritt Hawkins. This number has dropped from 55% in the past five years. In some cities—Dallas and Minneapolis, for example—as few as 23% of doctors are seeing new Medicaid patients. As ObamaCare vastly expands the number of patients on the Medicaid rolls—three million new patients, by last count—this threatens these patients’ well-being.

Fewer doctors means long waits to see primary-care providers and even longer waits to see specialists. This invariably leads to worse health outcomes for those patients; that’s why numerous studies have shown Medicaid patients have significantly worse outcomes than those with private insurance. Medicaid patients were twice as likely to die in the hospital after undergoing major surgery than those on private insurance, according to a 2010 study from the University of Virginia published in the Annals of Surgery. The research also showed that patients who had no insurance at all were 25% less likely than those on Medicaid to have an “in-hospital death,” and that Medicaid patients have the longest stays and highest hospital costs.

It would be one thing if these patients previously had no insurance—subpar health care is after all better than no care. Yet up to 80% of these new Medicaid patients previously had private insurance. Thanks to ObamaCare, they have been shunted into a second-class health-care system.
Remember this when you hear phony statistics about how many people have been covered by Obamacare. The great majority of them are people who have been forced unwillingly into Medicaid.
Michael Hirsh, no right-wing mouthpiece wonders if Obama's national security team is really a "team of bumblers" and if Susan Rice and Chuck Hagel are equal to the challenges that they're facing.
When President Obama, after months of equivocation over how to respond to the takeover of parts of Iraq and Syria by radical militants, announced in September that the United States would “lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat,” the White House swung quickly into action, sending proposed legislation to train and equip Syrian rebels to Capitol Hill that same day.

Unfortunately, the White House failed to consult with the Pentagon—which would be doing most of the rolling back—on the timing or details of the announcement.

According to multiple sources, behind the scenes a few things went badly awry in the launch of Obama’s new policy. First, the Pentagon was surprised by the president’s timing, according to a senior defense official. “We didn’t know it was going to be in the speech,” he said, referring to Obama’s Sept. 10 address to the nation. Second, the White House neglected to give Pentagon lawyers a chance to revise and approve the proposed legislative language before it went to the Hill, which is considered standard practice. Staffers working for Rep. Buck McKeon, the Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said they were appalled by what they saw: language so sloppy that it failed to mention adequate protections against so-called “green-on-blue” attacks by trainees on American troops, and effectively left the Defense Department liable for funding the mission against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)—even though the president was telling members of Congress he didn’t need money for this new mission, since the Saudis were putting it up. “What came over would have not have been a mission the DoD could have executed,” says a senior Republican committee staffer.

Andrew McCarthy refutes the idea that there are "lone wolf" actors out there who are not related to worldwide terrorism.
That once useful term of art is now used to convey two carefully crafted, politically correct narratives. For government officials and investigators, the “lone wolf” label has come to mean the atrocity in question cannot be categorized as “terrorism,” no matter how many “Allahu Akbars!” are shouted as bullets fly, bombs blast, or heads roll. For the commentariat, “lone wolf” signifies that the Muslim in question — whether a lifer or a “recent convert” — has “self-radicalized,” spontaneously becoming a wanton, irrational killer.

These two story lines transparently suggest that the government has quelled al-Qaeda and that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. Though President Obama frequently makes both claims, they are delusional.

“Lone wolf” is actually a surveillance-law concept that signifies the antithesis of the government’s newfangled “no terrorism here” usage. Moreover, the term is utterly useless to our understanding of how, and by what, Muslims are “radicalized.”
McCarthy explains how Congress created the "lone wolf" classification to allow authorities to conduct surveillance on a suspect even if they couldn't establish a connection to a foreign terrorist organization.
Significantly, the statute makes precisely the opposite assumption that government officials now make when they label someone a “lone wolf.” The law says that if a person is engaged in what appears to be terrorist activity, the involvement of a foreign terrorist organization should be presumed and need not be established. So as conceived and codified, the lone-wolf designation means the government should regard a suspect as a terrorist, not strain against all evidence and logic to regard him as a non-terrorist.
Steven Hayward, author of the best biography of Ronald Reagan, writes in the Washington Post about what made Reagan's 1964 speech, "A Time for Choosing," at the GOP convention that year such a great speech and how it still is today such a model for Republicans today.
Reagan also understood that narrative can be more effective than abstractions or slogans alone. Goldwater and conservative intellectuals back to Robert Taft tended to argue from abstract principles, with less emphasis on story and concrete examples. Reagan’s rhetoric represented a potent shift. After a blizzard of numbers about government profligacy, he turned to a vivid story:

“Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, ‘We don’t know how lucky we are.’ And the Cuban stopped and said: ‘How lucky you are? I had someplace to escape to.’ And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.”

Of course, this sort of anecdote has endured as a standard trope of political speeches today.

Another notable aspect of Reagan’s rhetorical strategy was claiming populism for the right. He asserted that it was now progressive liberalism, with its embrace of ever-expanding “administrative government,” that represented the elitist force in American politics: “This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government, or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

This complaint, made before the huge growth spurt of federal regulatory agencies in the 1960s and 1970s, is even more salient today, when the White House relies so heavily on executive orders and policy czars, and more and more problems are being addressed by bureaucratic fiat rather than congressional legislation.

Reagan didn’t divide Americans along the typical interest group or class lines. Unlike Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remark or the “makers and takers” theme popular with many conservatives today, Reagan portrayed big government as opposing the interests of all Americans, not just the entrepreneurial or property-owning class that forms the GOP’s core constituency.