Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Cruising the Web

Jonah Goldberg ponders the anniversary of World War One and how it changed America, particularly our government as the progressives of that era looked at the war as an opportunity to do everything they'd always wanted to do in running the government. And all that they did became a model to follow for both the New Deal and World War Two.
"I believe it is no exaggeration," wrote sociologist Robert Nisbet, "to say that the West's first real experience with totalitarianism — political absolutism extended into every possible area of culture and society, education, religion, industry, the arts, local community and family included, with a kind of terror always waiting in the wings — came with the American war state under Woodrow Wilson."

Wilson introduced domestic spying, censorship, violent political intimidation of opponents and economic statism into the American DNA. Pro-Wilson intellectuals celebrated the "social possibilities of war," in the words of John Dewey. By that they meant the ability to force Americans to, as Frederick Lewis Allen put it, "lay by our good-natured individualism and march in step." The enduring notion that experts could plan the economy from Washington was largely born in Wilson's "war socialism.
Meanwhile, Britain has found a very cool way to commemorate the beginning of World War One.

Jennifer Rubin reminds us that, despite the Democrats' claims that it is all the Republicans' fault that Congress has achieved so little in the recent past, it is really the Senate where legislation has died. Nothing seems to happen there. And that is by design by Harry Reid; it's not due to filibusters from the Republicans.
The Senate has not voted on jobs bills sent by the House, any “fix” for Obamacare or a domestic energy development bill. The Senate will not take up a real vote on the Keystone XL pipeline. It will not take up Iran sanctions. It did pass Veterans Affairs legislation and Iron Dome funding, not exactly difficult votes. Other than that, not much of consequence has gone on in the Senate, but not because of Republican objections. The GOP would love to take up many of these subjects, debate them and offer amendments; it is Reid who either won’t take up meaty issues or won’t allow any minority amendments, a practice he has taken further than any modern Senate leader. Speaking to the press on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said succinctly: “Well, if you look at the last six years, the president and his people, I think, believed they got just about everything they wanted legislatively the first two years.”

In essence, the Senate has become an adjunct of the White House. Reid’s side comes up with no innovative (or even non-innovative) initiatives of its own and doesn’t allow any from the GOP. It changed the Senate rules to rubber-stamp Obama appointees and won’t allow votes on things that will make the White House uncomfortable. It is not that the Senate has been unproductive; that would be an improvement. Rather, it has been counterproductive time and again. It propagates nasty partisanship. “The Senate majority did not want the president to be challenged on anything, which of course leaves him free to pursue his agenda through the bureaucracy, all of whom work for him,” McConnell said. He pointed out, “And of course that serves the president’s purpose because it gives him a Congress to run against and it gives him the freedom of his bureaucrats to pursue his agenda, largely unimpeded by the kind of restrictions on the spending process that Congress would normally write in to appropriation bills if they ever passed them.”
Obama and the Democrats love to blame the Republicans and just hope that the public doesn't realize that the real paralysis comes from Harry Reid's Senate. Whenever there is a tough issue, Reid makes sure that it won't come up to a vote because he's either afraid a bill he doesn't like will pass or because he wants to protect Democrats from having to take tough votes. Well, that's why the voters sent there, not to simply posture and point fingers of blame at the House Republicans.

Hey, Floridians! How happy are you about that 13% increase in your Obamacare health insurance plans? But don't feel sorry for those in Florida; those Obamacare rate increases are coming to a state near you.
f you like your Obamacare plan, you can keep it—but you might end up paying a whole lot more.

People who decide to stick with the coverage they've already gotten through Obamacare, rather than switching plans, are at risk for some of the biggest premium spikes anywhere in the system. And some people won't even know their costs went up until they get a bill from the IRS.

Insurance plans generally raise their premiums every year, but those costs are just the tip of the iceberg for millions of Obamacare enrollees. A series of other, largely invisible factors will also push up many consumers' premiums.

Anne Applebaum has trouble figuring out if Hillary Clinton's Hard Choices is actually meant to be a book.
For this reason, Hard Choices presents the reviewer with an existential problem: is it actually a book? Is it even intended to be a thing that people sit down and read, cover to cover? Or is it rather a collection of carefully crafted messages, each designed to reach a particular person, or to deflect a particular criticism, or to inspire a certain kind of remark? When my husband, who happens to be the foreign minister of Poland, saw the book on my desk, he picked it up, flipped to the index, and checked to see if he is mentioned. (He is.) I have absolutely no doubt that over the past several weeks that same action was performed by dozens of people in dozens of capitals around the world.

Of course Clinton and her team anticipated, and helped to arrange, the media frenzy, and they knew that many would read the index before the book. Each description therefore reads as if it had been vetted for that purpose. In Hard Choices, almost all of Clinton’s colleagues are admirable people who are a “living embodiment of the American Dream,” or a “terrific communicator” who works hard while always remaining decent, passionate, and unstoppable. If they are slightly difficult colleagues, they might be a “creative thinker” (Rahm Emanuel) or have a “bulldozer style” (Richard Holbrooke) with which the secretary nevertheless learned cheerfully to live.

Her foreign partners are much the same. In general they are “consummate professionals” and “enjoyable company.” A few, such as ex–French President Sarkozy, can even be “fun.” And even with more challenging interlocutors, such as the Chinese official Dai Bingguo, Clinton usually manages to speak “deeply and personally about the need to put the U. S.-China relationship on a sound footing for the sake of future generations.” Do not read Hard Choices if you seek a nuanced analysis of the people who run the world’s foreign policy, let alone any juicy gossip. Even the “candid” photos look staged: Hillary, Bill, and Bono sitting at a piano, for example.
Now, who would be surprised that Hillary Clinton has produced a book notable for its phoniness.

Politico has an interesting short documentary about the famous Dukakis-in-a-tank ad.

Eugene Volokh posts the transcript of a Democratic member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights who doesn't think that, just as minors should not be given the death penalty, college students should not have total First Amendment rights because their young brains just aren't mature enough.

More plagiarists in the news. Rick Perlstein's new book on Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan plagiarized Craig Shirley's excellent book Reagan's Revolution about Reagan's race in 1976 for the Republican nomination. And it turns out that Mary Willingham, the UNC whistle-blower who has gone public about how the university was shortchanging its athletes of a true education, had plagiarized parts of her Masters thesis. The rules are so easy. Why can't people follow them? We expect high schoolers to follow them. Professional writers and graduate students should also be able to.

President Obama: Clueless and oblivious, but still completely arrogant.

Just a reminder of this administration's economic ignorance as a report demonstrates that Cash for Clunkers cost the auto industry about $2.6 to $4 billion.

Jed Perl writes in the New Republic of all places about how the Left is destroying art.

How typical - Jimmy Carter thinks that the U.S. should be recognizing the legitimacy of Hamas. And he throws in a condemnation of Israel while he's at it.

Earth to Joe Biden: Africa is not a nation. It's a continent. Some of us learn that in elementary school.

Thomas Sowell writes on all the stupidity becoming manifest recently.

Politico analyzes the secret of Megyn Kelly's success. If it's so obvious, why don't other news anchors emulate her?