Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cruising the Web

Misleading the public once might be an oversight, but now we're getting the third shoe to drop in the IRS story is two shoes too much. First they told us that Lois Lerner's emails were missing because of a hard drive failure on her personal computer. Now we're hearing that there were actually six other IRS employers involved in the IRS scandal whose emails are missing. And finally, we find out that the IRS knew this as early as February of this year, but just got around to telling Congress this past week even after the IRS commissioner told the House committee that the IRS would deliver all the emails in May. And this is all happening besides federal law which requires the IRS to store emails in a separate location. The law even requires for those emails to be printed out. Which just goes to show that the government can have very silly laws and the IRS was, apparently, breaking those federal regulations with a really dumb back-up system. They would have been better off using gmail than their own system.

In case you're keeping count, here are five times that President Obama went around Congress when legislation had stalled.

John Kerry doesn't agree with Hillary Clinton's recent statement that the five Taliban leaders released in exchange for Sgt. Bergdahl are "not a threat to the United States."

Hillary Clinton told the NYT that the Bible had the biggest influence on her thinking when asked about the one book "that made you who you are today, what would it be?". Remember when liberals snickered when George W. Bush said that Jesus Christ was the philosopher who influenced him the most? How is Hillary's statement any different?

The NLRB has ruled that businesses can't fire an employee for using profanity either against the business owner or manager, even in front of customers.

Sounds reasonable: "Friends don't let friends read Dana Milbank."

One British writer is not impressed with Obama's foreign policy and the results of the US's withdrawal from its leadership role in the world. And Iraq is just the latest example after Syria and Ukraine.
In the case of Iraq, so great has been the White House preoccupation with not being Bush-like that it has no other policy. Colin Powell, the former US Secretary of State, famously invoked the “Pottery Barn rule” – “You break it, you own it”. Mr Obama thought that he did not break it himself (which was true), and drew the mistaken conclusion that therefore he did not own it. He did own it, simply because he is President of the United States. When he disowned it, in 2011, he ensured that it would break once more. No doubt his administration is right in all the hard things it lays at the door of the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki. But that is no self-exculpation. America left the country to him, declaring it stable. Yesterday, Mr Obama described the current situation as a ''regional problem’’, which wrongly implies that it’s not much to do with him.

It could be that Mr Obama truly believes that American power can no longer be sustained in the world, though this is not what he says. It could even be that he is right. Certainly China is rising and the US is not, and he is wise to “pivot” to Asia with this in mind. But he does not have a scheme of orderly withdrawal from global responsibilities, or of better burden-sharing. Rather than reshaping existing institutions such as Nato for new circumstances, he tends to let them decay.
Charles Moore, the author of this essay, then wonders if all those Europeans who have spent decades bemoaning the extent of American power are now happy to see the U.S. withdraw from exercising that power.
All my life, many people, by no means all of them on the Left, have complained about the extent of American power. They have seen it as bungling, bullying, crude, even oppressive. Sometimes, particularly in regard to the Middle East, they have been right. Europhiles have sought to counter American power by building up the EU’s strength. Nationalists have sought to expel it and be “ourselves alone”. But they have said these things and made these gestures in the knowledge that US power has been real. Will they be pleased if what they thought they wished for is actually happening? It feels as if the world is in for a more dangerous time than any since the Carter/Brezhnev era of the late Seventies – or worse, because more unpredictable.
As terrible as it was for subject nations to be controlled by the Soviet Union, I would guess that most would prefer that tyranny than the control of Islamist terrorists such as ISIS.

As the Middle East is imploding, President Obama is talking about global warming and playing golf. Typical.

Peggy Noonan contrasts Nixon's IRS scandal with today's IRS scandal.
The mischief of the Nixon administration was specific to it, to its personnel. When Chuck Colson left, he left. All the figures in that drama failed to permanently disfigure the edifice of government. They got caught, and their particular brand of mischief ended.

But the IRS scandal is different, because if it isn’t stopped—if it isn’t fully uncovered, exposed, and its instigators held accountable—it will suggest an acceptance of the politicization of the IRS, and an expected and assumed partisanship within its future actions. That will be terrible not only for citizens but for the government itself.

And the IRS scandal will also have disfigured government in a new and killing way. IRS scandals in the past were about the powerful (Richard Nixon) abusing the powerful (Edward Bennett Williams). This scandal is about the powerful (Lois Lerner, et a.) abusing the not-powerful (normal, on-the-ground Americans such as rural tea-party groups). If it comes to be understood that this kind of thing is how the government now does business, it will be terrible for the spirit and reality of the country.

So many of those who decide what is news cannot, on this issue, see the good faith and honest concern of the many who make this warning. And really, that is tragic.

Reasons why the GOP shouldn't fear Hillary Clinton's candidacy.

Some bad timing comes back to bite both Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Chalres Lipson describes how Obama's presidency keeps spiraling down.

Poor Barack Obama. Apparently, he needs a full eight years to recover from the Bush '43 presidency. Bush is still to blame even though Obama was taking a victory lap on Iraq in 2010 and 2011.

So here's a weird story - the mayor of San Marino in southern California has had to resign when video of him tossing a bag of dog poop onto a neighbor's walkway surfaced.

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