Friday, June 20, 2014

Cruising the Web

James Poulos of The Daily Beast thinks that the arrogant insouciance of the Obama administration over the IRS scandal will come back to bite them.
One doesn’t need reams of reports or public-opinion polls to understand the gut plausibility of an IRS scandal in full flower. Yet the Obama administration seems not to have imagined that this burgeoning problem might require more attention than anything else Republicans are screaming about. Rather than a president in over his head, Obama is behaving like a president who doesn’t believe the onus should be on him to head off an appearance of impropriety at the pass.

No matter how old-school the IRS scandal feels, that na├»ve arrogance feels rather new on the scene—the sort of attitude given off by people who believe deep down that if you have the correct stance on policy, you ought to be immune to political attack....

Leading Democrats, not just in the White House, have been lulled into a false sense of security by what they see as the manic, knee-jerk criticism that dominates the right wing. Obama’s reputation for neglecting problems he sees as beneath him has been cast in an even more unflattering light by the varieties of dismissiveness on display in his party. Whether it’s Hillary Clinton’s trademark evasive laugh or Nancy Pelosi’s infamous incomprehension of the constitutional issues surrounding Obamacare, too many top Democrats are seen too often acting as if no reasonable opposition to their agenda can even exist.
Well, if your attitude is that the only reason someone would oppose Obama's policies is due to racism or evil intent, why should they care about anything Republicans say? It's worked for them so far.

Philip Klein sees bad news for liberals in the public's response to a poll question about the VA scandal finding that 61% of those surveyed blamed the scandal on "longstanding government bureaucracy."
On the surface, it would seem to be good news for the left that the public doesn't pin the blame on Obama. But as I detailed in a column last month, liberals once touted Veterans Affairs hospitals as evidence that government-run health care could work and even outperform the public sector.

To the extent that Americans see problems as connected to Obama’s incompetence, it still provides an opening for another Democrat to implement the liberal agenda. But if Obama-era failures make Americans more skeptical about federal bureaucracy in general, it makes things that much more difficult.

Deroy Murdock imagines how the Bergdahl swap would play during WWII.

Harry Reid has once more gone around the truth bend in ranting about the Koch Brothers. Apparently, the Kochs are the only billionaires involved in trying to influence politics.
Early in his remarks, Reid complained that recent campaign-finance decisions have created a political environment where “one side’s billionaires are pitted against the other side’s billionaires. ”Except one side doesn’t have many billionaires,” he said.

Maybe Reid isn’t the guy Democratic fundraisers like to put forth for donors, but the Left has plenty of prominent billionaire supporters – most prominently, environmentalist tycoon Tom Steyer, who pledged to spend $100 million in the midterm election cycle. Other billionaire Dems include hedge-fund manager James Simons, former Qualcomm executive Irwin Jacobs, Warren Buffett, and George Soros, and more.

So how come a prominent Democratic politician can make comments built on his self-proclaimed gifted "gaydar" to say that Eric Cantor lost election because he was just too effeminate? Here is former governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer offering his political analysis.
“Don’t hold this against me, but I’m going to blurt it out. How do I say this . . . men in the South, they are a little effeminate,” he said. “They just have effeminate mannerisms. If you were just a regular person, you turned on the TV, and you saw Eric Cantor talking, I would say — and I’m fine with gay people, that’s all right — but my gaydar is 60–70 percent. But he’s not, I think, so I don’t know. Again, I couldn’t care less. I’m accepting.”
I'm sure the media will be rising up to demand an apology from Schweitzer and to ruin any future he might have been thinking about in politics, including a possible run for the 2016 nomination. Just imagine if Governor Rick Perry had said that.

Jim Geraghty is not impressed with the "mush" that Hillary Clinton puts out when asked questions.
Her town hall on CNN last Thursday, hosted by Christiane Amanpour, was a master class on speaking extemporaneously for an hour and appearing to answer questions about the toughest issues of the day without actually saying anything someone could disagree with.
Amanpour and the questions from the audience began with the worsening chaos in Iraq. Hillary responded, “I think it’s imperative that the government of Iraq, currently led by Maliki, be much more inclusive, much more willing to share power, involve all the different segments of Iraq.”

Indeed, it would be great if Maliki were that kind of leader or there was any indication he wanted to govern in that way. But at this point, there’s not much reason to think he’s capable of that.

Perhaps sensing that her initial answer sounded more like wishing than offering a sense of an appropriate U.S. response, Hillary added, “If Maliki is not the kind of leader who can do that, then the Iraqi people need to think seriously about the kind of leader they need to try to unite Iraqis against what is a terrible, imminent threat from these most extreme terrorists.”

Think seriously, Iraqi people!

Earlier this week, her successor as secretary of state, John Kerry, continued his habit of altering U.S. policy by speaking off the cuff, suggesting the U.S. could cooperate militarily with Iran against ISIS. Hillary’s response to working with Iran:

“When it comes to third parties, whether they be Iran or any of the other countries in the region, that has to also be carefully thought through.”

Think through carefully, U.S. policymakers!

On immigration, she pronounced, “The horror of a father or a mother going to work and being picked up and immediately whisked away and children coming home from school to an empty house and nobody can say where their mother or father is, that is just not who we are as Americans.”

She boldly staked out a position opposing child abandonment as a consequence of deportation policy.
But, but, but remember that she is a woman who prides herself on making "hard choices." but she's a Democratic woman, so why would anyone demand anything beyond mush from her? Her double X chromosomes is her most important electoral recommendation. Any demand for non-mushy answers is just part of that Republican war on women.

Do the Democrats have anything besides lies to use as a playbook for election?
In Louisiana, Sen. Mary Landrieu and liberal interests have $1.4 million in summer ads accusing GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy of supporting "government-run health care." FactCheck.Org calls this "pure invention" and "audaciously false." Democrats don't care. By wrapping ObamaCare around Mr. Cassidy, they hope to help nominate a weaker GOP candidate against Mrs. Landrieu.

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich and a super-PAC funded by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have reserved $1.4 million in summer ad time so far. After failing to convince voters that Alaska's former attorney general and natural resources commissioner was not an Alaskan, they are now accusing Republican Dan Sullivan of limiting where Alaskans "can hunt and fish." That is false.

Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor and liberal groups have bought $1.7 million of ads this summer to trash GOP Rep. Tom Cotton for supporting an increase in the Social Security retirement age. Mr. Pryor has been on record supporting this change since 2011.

David Harsanyi picks apart Vox's Max Fisher's essay, "The End of 'Both Sides'" that basically blames the Israelis for the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Apparently, Fisher finds excuses for kidnapping teenagers because, well, they're Israelis.
Now, it would be waste of time to point out every context-free historical tidbit Vox employs to hang the entire conflict around Israel’s neck. We’ve heard it all before. What is worthwhile, though, is pointing out the morally contemptible rationale it offers regarding today’s events. Here’s one for starters:
As children, the kidnap victims surely cannot and should not be held personally culpable, but they could be considered an extension of the occupation, which has been far from a peaceful endeavor.
The kids didn’t exactly get what was coming, Fisher makes that clear, but anyone could understand why this sort of thing happens. Three children studying at a religious school in Hebron, one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world, a city that Palestinians officially agreed to share in 1997, could, reasonably, be seen as extension of the occupation. Fisher goes out of his way to tell us that the Israeli-controlled stretch of Hebron “seeps with paranoid rage” about “Arab violence” (or, so-called Arab violence, as Fisher’s quotation marks insinuate)— though he does save us any discussion of the all-encompassing and deep-seated paranoia, anti-Semitism and anti-Western hysteria that plagues Palestinian society.

And as he catalogs the injustices Arabs face, including checkpoints — erected after Fatah, cajoled by the Jews, sent militants to murder over a thousand Israelis during Intifada 2 — Fisher points out that the “entire population” of “middle-aged and older men who work for Hamas’s political branch (remember that they are also a political party)” were also detained. You know, just another asymmetrical response deployed by Israel. Because, as you can imagine, Hamas is super diligent in compartmentalizing its political and terrorist operations.

So just to recap: Three teens could be seen as an extension of a brutal occupation. Hamas’ political organization should not be put out by Israel. Collective punishment that ropes in Hamas is bad. Collective terror that ropes in a trio of hapless Yeshiva students could be understandable.
This is Vox's attempt to explain the world to us. It is totally contemptible.

Not quite what the President promised: Average increases in individual's health insurance premiums under Obamacare was 49%. Guy Benson highlights this tidbit:
Across the country, for men overall, individual-market premiums went up in 91 percent of all counties: 2,844 out of 3,137. For 27-year-old men, the average county faced 91 percent increases; for 40-year-old men, 60 percent; for 64-year-old men, 32 percent. Women fared slightly better; their premiums “only” went up in 82 percent of all counties: 2,562 out of 3,137. That’s because Obamacare bars insurers from charging different rates to men and women; prior to Obamacare, only 11 states did so. Because women tend to consume more health care than men, the end result of the Obamacare regulation is that men fare somewhat worse. Relative to men, the average rate increase for women was less extreme: 44 percent for 27-year-olds; 23 percent for 40-year-olds; 42 percent for 64-year-olds.
And expect more increases for 2015.

Kevin Nicholson explores the fantasy world in which Obama and his allies live.
Through these events, the gaping disconnect between the would-be world inhabited by President Obama and his allies in the media and academia, and the reality that actually governs the world, has been laid bare. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the recent failures that have engulfed the Obama administration are all related to the military. Reality hits home quickly in military matters; military affairs are not an area where you can play, as the leadership and elected officials of the left have long been playing, an elaborate game of pretend. This game has allowed them to extol the virtues of a fundamentally flawed VA in pursuit of healthcare-related political victories, and to trade Taliban commanders for AWOL privates against the advice of military professionals. The same attitude enables President Obama and his allies to conclude that, since they never supported the war in Iraq in the first place, they therefore had no responsibility to make sure that the conflict was resolved responsibly.

Why can't the State Department even make a courtesy call to the mother of the Marine held in a Mexican jail after making a wrong term?

So ISIS has seized Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons facility. Wait, wait. How can that be? I thought there were no WMD in Iraq.

Yes, indeedy, transporting oil on trains has become seriously dangerous. And this is what the Obama administration seems to prefer over building one more pipeline.

I see that Duke University finally changed the name of the freshman dorm, Aycock Hall, to respond to protests that they should have a dorm named after a Democratic governor who came to power in 1900 after a viciously run campaign based on white supremacy. I'm still waiting for my state to wake up and remove his statue from Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. We're represented by this guy and Zebulon Vance, governor during the Civil War. There are so many worthy North Carolinians that I don't see why we should be celebrating a Civil War leader and a white supremacist. My vote is for Levi Coffin, one of the founders of the Underground Railroad, and David Brinkley.