Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Cruising the Web

Well, at least they agreed to pay the military.

Democrats who claim that Obama's 2012 victory was a plebiscite on Obamacare might want to take a look at the exit polls.

Bradley Smith looks at the next Supreme Court case to examine part of the campaign finance laws. It sounds like a case that the same five-man majority that ruled in Citizens United might look favorably at chipping away once again at McCain-Feingold.

Europe is moving away from the welfare state.

Contrary to all the fear-mongering we were hearing a couple of years ago, polar bears are doing just fine.

Yup, we knew this. Now AP concludes that Obama and the Democrats are lying about their well-documented claims that people would be able to keep their insurance if you're happy with it, that everyone will have a lower premium, and that the cheapest option under Obamacare will cost about as much as a cell-phone bill.

Jonah Goldberg wonders what we're going to do with such an uninformed electorate.

Even the media admit that they plan to help Obama by putting the blame for the shutdown on the Republicans. It's nice when they're open about their own bias.

This is quite funny. The producer of the proposed CNN documentary on Hillary Clinton is throwing in the towel. Apparently, no Democrats want to talk on camera about her in fear of endangering possible jobs in a future Hillary administration. And they certainly don't want to participate in anything that will remind people of the Clinton scandals. And Ed Morrissey highlights what the producer realized after interviewing Bill Clinton. Like Bob Kerrey, Charles Ferguson realized that Bill Clinton is an unusually good liar. And the Clintons have also been raking in money since he left office. And they don't want that publicized.
In June, I attended a dinner for Bill Clinton, which was educational. Clinton spoke passionately about his foundation, about African wildlife, inequality, childhood obesity, and much else with enormous factual command, emotion, and rhetorical power. But he and I also spoke privately. I asked him about the financial crisis. He paused and then became even more soulful, thoughtful, passionate, and articulate. And then he proceeded to tell me the most amazing lies I've heard in quite a while.

For example, Mr. Clinton sorrowfully lamented his inability to stop the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which banned all regulation of private (OTC) derivatives trading, and thereby greatly worsened the crisis. Mr. Clinton said that he and Larry Summers had argued with Alan Greenspan, but couldn't budge him, and then Congress passed the law by a veto-proof supermajority, tying his hands. Well, actually, the reason that the law passed by that overwhelming margin was because of the Clinton Administration's strong advocacy, including Congressional testimony by Larry Summers and harsh public and private attacks on advocates of regulation by Summers and Robert Rubin.

Wow, I thought, this guy is a really good actor. And I also saw one reason why Hillary Clinton might not be thrilled about my movie. I discovered others. In Arkansas, she joined the boards of Walmart and Tyson Foods. One of the largest donors to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation is the government of Saudi Arabia. The Clintons' personal net worth now probably exceeds $200 million, and while earned legally, both the money's sources and the Clintons' public statements indicate a strong aversion to rocking boats or making powerful enemies.
Ed Morrissey concludes,
If the media is this intimidated by Hillary Clinton as a former Secretary of State, what would they be like in a Hillary Clinton presidency? And what does this tell us about the media’s performance during the Bill Clinton presidency? Perhaps the media should be warning us of this kind of manipulation rather than being silent about it in hopes for better access during a future period where the Clintons once again have their hands on the lever of power at the highest levels. Ferguson just did so — will other journalists do the same?
Well, if the Democrats decide they want to take a pass on another Clinton term, Elizabeth Warren is getting some on the left very excited.

Republicans could have a lot to learn from how Chris Christie does outreach to black communities.

Mark Steyn laments the new normal.
Obama’s pointless, traceless super-spending is now (as they used to say after 9/11) “the new normal.” Nancy Pelosi assured the nation last weekend that everything that can be cut has been cut and there are no more cuts to be made. And the disturbing thing is that, as a matter of practical politics, she may well be right. Many people still take my correspondent’s view: If you have old money well managed, you can afford to be stupid — or afford the government’s stupidity on your behalf. If you’re a social-activist celebrity getting $20 million per movie, you can afford the government’s stupidity. If you’re a tenured professor or a unionized bureaucrat whose benefits were chiseled in stone two generations ago, you can afford it. If you’ve got a wind farm and you’re living large on government “green energy” investments, you can afford it. If you’ve got the contract for signing up Obamaphone recipients, you can afford it.

But out there beyond the islands of privilege most Americans don’t have the same comfortably padded margin for error, and they’re hunkering down. Obamacare is something new in American life: the creation of a massive bureaucracy charged with downsizing you — to a world of fewer doctors, higher premiums, lousier care, more debt, fewer jobs, smaller houses, smaller cars, smaller, fewer, less; a world where worse is the new normal. Would Americans, hitherto the most buoyant and expansive of people, really consent to live such shrunken lives? If so, mid-20th-century America and its assumptions of generational progress will be as lost to us as the Great Ziggurat of Ur was to 19th-century Mesopotamian date farmers.

George Orwell, after attending a meeting of impoverished but passive miners, remarked sadly that “there is no turbulence left in England.” The Democrats, and much of the Republican establishment, have made a bet that there is no turbulence left in America, and the citizenry will stand mute before Obamacare’s wrecking ball. Unless they’re willing to accept a worse life for their children and grandchildren, middle-class Americans need to prove them wrong.
Ramesh Ponnuru argues that the Republicans' continued opposition to Obamacare is perfectly rational.
But there’s nothing wrong with continuing to resist Obamacare even though it has been on the books for three years. What would be strange is if Republicans ended their opposition to it. The law was, after all, passed over almost-unanimous Republican objections. Other large government programs haven’t seen as sustained a campaign against them, but they had more bipartisan support at the outset. Obamacare was unpopular with the public when it passed, and it has only become more so. Republicans generally think it will have bad effects on the economy and on health care. And it isn’t yet entrenched. Why wouldn’t they keep opposing it?
Making Choices
Most of what the law’s supporters call “sabotage” is perfectly legitimate political action. Obamacare’s architects envisioned a lot more cooperation from state governments than they’ve gotten so far. But the law allowed states to refrain from setting up insurance exchanges and from expanding Medicaid. States that exercise those options aren’t disobeying the law or even sabotaging it; they’re just making choices that the law’s supporters wish they would not. State governments can even (as some have) make it illegal for their officials to participate in Obamacare. That’s not “nullification”; it doesn’t require state officials to break any federal law.
Obamacare’s critics are actually doing a better job of obeying the legislation than the administration itself, which has repeatedly found creative ways around the law’s requirements or just acted as though it says things it does not say. Obamacare doesn’t authorize the federal government to offer tax credits and impose certain penalties in states that have opted not to create exchanges. The administration is nonetheless barreling ahead as though it does.
Robert Samuelson explains how we're moving towards a "spoils society."
What's emerging today is more self-interested and self-destructive. The dilemma of a rich society is that its prospects can be undermined by its very abundance. Countries preoccupied by distributional wars are distracted from production. The ambitions of many of its most talented members can be satisfied not by adding to the total output but simply by subtracting from someone else's. They are merely rearranging economic assets among themselves. If taken too far, this promises more political division and economic decline.
Speaking of such favoritism, the Obama administration has found such back-door ways to funnel money to Detroit. So now the race is on for other overextended cities to get some of those yummy federal handouts.
Congressman Jerry McNerney (D., Cal.) sent the White House a letter on Friday asking why "comparable assistance" was not offered to the San Joaquin Valley city of Stockton, which declared bankruptcy in 2012 and suffers from many of the same problems as Detroit. "This is not a time for favoritism," he wrote.

The Administration's back-door bailout of Detroit is pure political favoritism. It reinforces the belief among government unions that some cities are too-big-to-fail and rewards politicians who obstruct reform. Maybe if Illinois's politicians let their state and city pension deficits get worse, the White House will come to their rescue too.

Obamacare: the poor and young hit the most. This is what Obamacare has wrought.
According to an April survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 41% of 603 small business owners said they have delayed hiring because of the federal healthcare law. One in five already cut hours, while 20% have reduced payroll.

Mercer, a human resources consulting company, said its own survey found that 12% of all U.S. employers reported plans to reduce workers’ hours as a direct result of the Affordable Care Act. The impact was more pronounced in the retail and hospitality industries, with 20% of employers saying they will cut part-time hours.
Jonah Goldberg analyzes Terry McAuliffe's pretend libertarianism that he would not want to tell a business owner like the owner of the Washington Redskins that he should change the name of the team. This is so bogus. Liberals always want to tell private individuals and business owners should and shouldn't do.
Now, in what way is this remotely true? Don’t get me wrong, I think McAuliffe’s answer is basically right. And for all I know he won’t pressure the Redskins to change their name. But is that because he’s the sort of guy who doesn’t tell businesses what they should do? Or is it because he’s the sort of guy who says what audiences want to hear about their beloved football franchise? If the question was about businesses that refuse to comply with Obamacare’s requirement to pay for birth control, would he still be the sort of guy who doesn’t think politicians should be telling businesses what to do? Is he for no environmental regulations? Against all zoning? Is he now against civil-rights laws that tell business who. they must serve, hire, etc.?

I support some of those laws and I’m dead-set against others, but I’m not the issue here and I’m not the guy running for governor promising to never tell “businesses” what to do. The man made millions off his connections to government, exploiting government’s ability to tell businesses what to do. At the heart of his various greentech boondoggles was the idea that he and his partners could get rich(er) off the opportunities created when government tells businesses what to do. Terry McAuliffe coming out as an opponent of politicians telling businesses what to do is like the pope coming out against priests forgiving sins and giving communion.