Friday, October 24, 2014

Cruising the Web

So learning that the newest Ebola victim passed through the enhanced screening at the airport and still was admitted when he arrived and then rode the NY subway make the administration rethink their policies on allowing people into the country from areas of Africa with high infection rates?

The lie that the Obama administration told the country about releasing illegal immigrants with dangerous criminal backgrounds should be the modern equivalent of the Willie Horton story. USA Today reports,
The records, obtained by USA TODAY, show immigration officials released some undocumented immigrants who had faced far more serious criminal charges, including people charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide.

The release sparked a furor in Congress. Republican lawmakers accused the Obama administration of setting dangerous criminals free. In response, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it had released "low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal records," a claim the administration repeated to the public and to members of Congress.

The new records, including spreadsheets and hundreds of pages of e-mails, offer the most detailed information yet about the people ICE freed as it prepared for steep, across-the-government spending cuts in February 2013. They show that although two-thirds of the people who were freed had no criminal records, several had been arrested or convicted on charges more severe than the administration had disclosed.
Back in 2013 the administration assured us that the people being released did not have backgrounds involving serious crimes. Now we find out that people charged with such serious crimes as "kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide." If anyone is harmed by one of those released by the Obama administration, just imagine how that would play in any debate over immigration reform. Why would the administration have allowed this to happen? Is it just incompetence? Is this a story that we'll hear the President is seething about?

Charles Krauthammer discusses the curious dispassionate and bewildered responses of Barack Obama to what goes on in his own administration. We are constantly being told, whenever some scandal breaks out about his government's incompetence or corruption about how angry the President is.
These shows of calculated outrage — and thus distance — are becoming not just unconvincing but unamusing. In our system, the president is both head of state and head of government. Obama seems to enjoy the monarchial parts, but when it comes to the actual business of running government, he shows little interest and even less aptitude.

His principal job, after all, is to administer the government and to get the right people to do it. (That’s why we typically send governors rather than senators to the White House.) That’s called management. Obama had never managed anything before running for the biggest management job on earth. It shows.

What makes the problem even more acute is that Obama represents not just the party of government but a grandiose conception of government as the prime mover of social and economic life. The very theme of his presidency is that government can and should be trusted to do great things. And therefore society should be prepared to hand over large chunks of its operations — from health care (one-sixth of the economy) to carbon regulation down to free contraception — to the central administrative state.

But this presupposes a Leviathan not just benign but competent. When it then turns out that vast, faceless bureaucracies tend to be incapable, inadequate, hopelessly inefficient and often corrupt, Obama resorts to expressions of angry surprise.

He must. He’s not simply protecting his own political fortunes. He’s trying to protect faith in the entitlement state by portraying its repeated failures as shocking anomalies.

Unfortunately, the pretense has the opposite effect. It produces not reassurance but anxiety. Obama’s determined detachment conveys the feeling that nobody’s home. No one leading. Not even from behind.
Joshua Green writes in Business Week about this same trait of the President. He apparently is "too cool for crisis management."
Administration veterans describe Obama’s crisis-management process as akin to a high-level graduate seminar. “He responds in a very rational way, trying to gather facts, rely on the best expert advice, and mobilize the necessary resources,” says David Axelrod, a former White House senior adviser. On Ebola, Obama’s inner circle has included Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, along with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, and Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco. By all accounts, Obama treats a crisis as an intellectual inquiry and develops his response through an intensely rational process. As former CIA Director Leon Panetta said recently in a TV interview, “He approaches things like a law professor in presenting the logic of his position.”

Joel Kotkin describes how leftward the Democratic Party has grown this century.
While the media tends to dismiss the right-wingers of the GOP as “wingnuts,” it typically refrains from categorizing even the extreme left of the Democratic Party in a similar manner.

President Barack Obama has accelerated this leftward trend in two ways. First, his administration, particularly in contrast to that of former President Bill Clinton, has laid the rhetorical basis for a move to the left by shifting the party agenda on social, environmental and economic policies. Clinton may have declared that “the era of big government is over,” but under Obama an ever-expanding federal government has become the essential raison d’être for the party.
Yet if Obama’s soaring rhetoric set the stage, his weak record of achievement has sparked mounting concern among left-leaning activists. Obama’s success has hinged in part on the far-left portions of the party controlling their more-fevered passions, particularly about ever-increasing income inequality and bans on fossil fuel use.

But now many on the political left are openly critical of the president, notably for his close ties to the moguls of Wall Street and Silicon Valley. These moguls have been the predominant beneficiaries of his economic policies while middle-class incomes have continued to languish – and even fall.
We used to talk about Blue Dog Democrats. But they've either become Republicans or left politics. After this year's election, we'll have fewer and fewer Democrats who can lay any pretense to calling themselves moderates.

Ron Brownstein offers up his thesis that the difference between which people come out to vote in a presidential versus midterm election is creating quite a divide in our politics. And that divide is both racial and generational.

Andrew McCarthy reminds us of the role our new Ebola czar had in funding Solyndra.

Charles C. W. Cooke looks at the difference in how the media treat Sarah Palin's family and how the son of the actual vice president is covered. Liberals exulted at the story of the Palin family being involved in a brawl and didn't seem at all upset at the details of a young woman being pushed to ground and dragged around by her feet by a guy in the bar and then robbed. In fact, they laughed about it and seemed to think it was the funniest thing and seemed to forget all their sanctimonious pronouncements condemning violence against women. As Cooke writes, this is quite different from the media's reaction to the story that Joe Biden's son had to leave the Navy Reserves because of cocaine use. The breaking of the law by the son of the actual vice president hasn't received a scintilla of the coverage that the attack on the daughter of a woman who ran for the vice presidency six years ago.
The third question, as The Week’s Matt Lewis observes, is this: “If Bristol Palin was physically and verbally assaulted by a man, shouldn’t we be up in arms about that, and not about her reaction”? This lattermost wringer is all the more poignant in light of the current focus on domestic violence and sexual assault, and our tendency to regard each and every incident in which a man uses his superior strength for ill as evidence of a broader “war on women” or a “culture of rape.” Who among us can say with a straight face that, if Malia Obama had been attacked at a party or at a concert or at her school, the headlines would have focused on her reaction to the onslaught? Likewise, if Chelsea Clinton had been pushed to the floor, dragged across the grass, and robbed, would we really be breaking down the language she used in the aftermath? It couldn’t be, could it, that Palin’s unfashionable social views, her abrasive character, and the general dislike for those who admire her, have led the political and journalistic classes to side, cackling, with the mob?

Such questions, at this point, are unfailingly clichéd. But, as a critic of Palin’s I will ask them once more in the vain and weary hope that my perspective will make a difference. The measure of a fair man is that he treats those whom he loathes as fairly as he treats those whom he loves. If Sarah Palin is our guide, there are few fair men left.