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Monday, October 27, 2014

Cruising the Web

Oh, my! SNL didn't go there, did they? Yes, they sure did. How the mighty have fallen when SNL makes fun of Obama much as they would have any ordinary politician instead of trying to pretend that somehow he is above satire. And to add insult to injury, they chose to do this right before the elections.

What a coincidence. The USDA has somehow misplaced key documents that would have clarified Senator Hagan's family's role in getting grants through the stimulus.

Mollie Hemingway is sick of the media lecturing us about how we shouldn't be so concerned about Ebola.
More than anything, though, I just want reporters to stop lecturing me about how interest and concern about the deadly Ebola virus means I’m panicking. I’m not panicking. But I’m sure as heck not going to calm down because the same profession that knows little about everything else in the world is telling me that they’ve totally got this complex viral outbreak down pat.

I don’t know if we’re just witnessing some sort of dramatic self-soothing technique or if it’s disdain for typical Americans or if it’s some kind of psychological trauma related to journalists’ inability to deal with the failures of the administrative state and progressive ideology. And I don’t care. But there is no doubt that the single most annoying thing about media coverage of Ebola is the hair-trigger response of some to disdain any discussion of Ebola as panic.
Maybe if the health officials hadn't been so arrogant in the beginning telling us not to worry our little heads about the possibility of it spreading in this country, people wouldn't be so skeptical when they rush to assure us now.

George Will exposes how Democratic politicians have perverted the use of law in Wisconsin in order to try to take down Scott Walker.
The early-morning paramilitary-style raids on citizens’ homes were conducted by law enforcement officers, sometimes wearing bulletproof vests and lugging battering rams, pounding on doors and issuing threats. Spouses were separated as the police seized computers, including those of children still in pajamas. Clothes drawers, including the children’s, were ransacked, cellphones were confiscated and the citizens were told that it would be a crime to tell anyone of the raids.

Some raids were precursors of, others were parts of, the nastiest episode of this unlovely political season, an episode that has occurred in an unlikely place. This attempted criminalization of politics to silence people occupying just one portion of the political spectrum has happened in Wisconsin, which often has conducted robust political arguments with Midwestern civility.

From the progressivism of Robert La Follette to the conservatism of Gov. Scott Walker (R) today, Wisconsin has been fertile soil for conviction politics. Today, the state’s senators are the very conservative Ron Johnson (R) and the very liberal Tammy Baldwin (D). Now, however, Wisconsin, which to its chagrin produced Sen. Joe McCarthy (R), has been embarrassed by Milwaukee County’s Democratic district attorney, John Chisholm. He has used Wisconsin’s uniquely odious “John Doe” process to launch sweeping and virtually unsupervised investigations while imposing gag orders to prevent investigated people from defending themselves or rebutting politically motivated leaks.
Apparently, "by any means necessary" is perfectly fine if it takes down a Republican.

Where is the gratitude? Democrats are busy blaming Obama for their predicament in this year's elections. Many of them owe their election to Obama in 2008 and his fundraising prowess is going far to help them equalize things this year.

The depth of +corruption in Colorado's vote-by-mail reform is striking.
Coloradans now vote universally on mail-in ballots, whether they want to or not. Democrats passed and signed the 2013 Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act with zero Republican support — just like Obamacare. Some 3.6 million such ballots have reached active voters and even those who last voted in 2008. That’s right. People who have avoided the polls for the last six years — whether from ignorance, boredom, disillusionment, relocation, or even death — have had ballots mailed to their last known addresses.

“I’m going to people’s houses where they’re getting seven ballots to a household,” Republican state senator Ted Harvey told the Washington Times. “Their children when they were 18 registered to vote there. They’re now 30 years old and living somewhere else, but now that their inactive voting status is now active, the clerk and recorders are required to send them ballots. . . . If Mom and Dad wanted to, they could vote them.”

“We have a lot of the adult-children-not-living-at-home problem here,” Marks says. “I frequently have run into parents who vote the ballots and forge the signatures of their kids and think it is okay ‘because the government sends us the ballots.’” For her relentless efforts to cleanse Colorado’s elections of often-Democrat-inspired mischief, the Denver Post calls the former trucking-company executive “the Queen of Pain.”

In another potential headache, “harvesters” will collect ballots door-to-door. Citizens legally may gather up to ten ballots and mail them or deposit them in unsupervised, official drop boxes. This is admirable for, say, a granddaughter helping her elderly relatives. However, nothing prevents a political activist from gathering ten ballots on Monday, ten on Tuesday, and ten more on Wednesday.

“If it’s over ten, that’s a violation,” Colorado secretary of state Scott Gessler told KUSA-TV. “How you catch that? We don’t have those systems in place right now.”

Even worse, if harvested ballots favoring the “wrong” candidate vanish — well, stuff happens.

Las Vegas Review Journal writer Sherman Frederick ponders how long Obama's shadow will haunt the Democrats.

TNR writer Noam Scheiber tries to argue that it was a good thing that Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio lied to the public about whether or not the latest Ebola patient, Dr. Craig Spencer had actually followed protocols for self-quarantining by staying away from the public since he'd returned from Guinea. Schreiber thinks that this was a worthwhile lie to prevent panic among New Yorkers if they heard that the doctor had traveled the subway to a bowling alley and eaten in a restaurant. What Schreiber missed is that the truth was going to come out. And when it did people's trust in their government's response would decline even more. And in the face of a health crisis, that trust is very important and a crucial factor in preventing the sort of panic Schreiber worries about.

Fed Barnes explains which party is the real party of the rich. And my state's senatorial contest is a perfect example.
Hagan has outraised Tillis, the state house speaker, $19.2 million to $4.8 million. But that’s only one measure of her money advantage. Liberal and Democratic groups have devoted $26.3 million to going after Tillis—a chunk of it on ads while he was still running in the Republican primary—and another $4 million touting her. Conservative and Republican groups were unable to neutralize the anti-Tillis barrage. They’ve spent $17.3 million against Hagan and $10.9 million to promote Tillis. In overall campaign spending, Hagan tops Tillis by $53.7 million to $33 million. This, however, doesn’t count undisclosed millions in “issue ads” criticizing Hagan by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group.
Two non-partisan researchers, Jesse Richman and David Earnest post at their Monkey Cage blog an analysis that non-citizens are voting in federal elections. And they may well have swung some close elections.
How many non-citizens participate in U.S. elections? More than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 samples indicated that they were registered to vote. Furthermore, some of these non-citizens voted. Our best guess, based upon extrapolations from the portion of the sample with a verified vote, is that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent of non-citizens voted in 2010.

Because non-citizens tended to favor Democrats (Obama won more than 80 percent of the votes of non-citizens in the 2008 CCES sample), we find that this participation was large enough to plausibly account for Democratic victories in a few close elections. Non-citizen votes could have given Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health-care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) won election in 2008 with a victory margin of 312 votes. Votes cast by just 0.65 percent of Minnesota non-citizens could account for this margin. It is also possible that non-citizen votes were responsible for Obama’s 2008 victory in North Carolina. Obama won the state by 14,177 votes, so a turnout by 5.1 percent of North Carolina’s adult non-citizens would have provided this victory margin.
Allahpundit worries how the votes of non-citizens could affect this year's elections.
There are a bunch of races this year that could end up with whisper-thin margins of victory as well — Perdue versus Nunn in Georgia, Cassidy versus Landrieu in Louisiana, Tillis versus Hagan in North Carolina, even Gardner versus Udall in Colorado. If Democrats eke out victories in a few of those by a few thousand or even a few hundred votes, why would you believe after reading this study that those victories were fairly earned? And remember, as a Twitter pal points out, the numbers in the study are based on non-citizens who admitted to voting when asked. How many voted and were smart enough not to cop to it?

Does anyone think that this sort of hyperbole help the Democrats?
Appearing on CNN’s “State Of The Union,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, agreed that the GOP is scarier that either Ebola or the terrorist organization ISIS.

Host Candy Crowley played an ad attacking Colorado Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner as “too extreme for Colorado.” After the clip, Crowley said, “So we’ve heard this in previous elections, too extreme, too extreme their Tea Party, we can’t work with them. So, it seems that the Democrats’ overall message is yes, ISIS is scary. Yes, Ebola is scary but Republicans are a lot scarier.”

The response from Wasserman Schultz was, “Well, that’s right.”

One doctor explains how Obamacare has succeeded only in moving his patients from their private insurance plans into Medicaid.
Thirty years of experience in private medical practice uncovers many ironies. For example, recently several of my patients who had been paying for their own individual health insurance informed me that they were forced off private insurance and placed into Medicaid when they signed up for health care at Healthcare.gov. This unwanted change—built into ObamaCare with the intention of helping patients—has harmed them by taking away their freedom to choose a health-care plan that works best for them.

This is not an unusual phenomenon. A recent Boston University/Harvard Medical School study suggests that up to 80% of people participating in ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion have been shifted off their private insurance. These patients’ plans—that they liked, and were told they could keep—did not meet Affordable Care Act requirements, and were wiped out. Healthcare.gov offered them Medicaid.

But the irony doesn’t stop there. Even if my patients save money by no longer paying premiums, they suffer in the long run by being trapped in a subpar health-care system. A Medicaid card does not translate into quality medical care. In some cases, it does not translate into medical care at all.

Only 45% of doctors are now accepting new Medicaid patients, according to a recent survey by the health-care company Merritt Hawkins. This number has dropped from 55% in the past five years. In some cities—Dallas and Minneapolis, for example—as few as 23% of doctors are seeing new Medicaid patients. As ObamaCare vastly expands the number of patients on the Medicaid rolls—three million new patients, by last count—this threatens these patients’ well-being.

Fewer doctors means long waits to see primary-care providers and even longer waits to see specialists. This invariably leads to worse health outcomes for those patients; that’s why numerous studies have shown Medicaid patients have significantly worse outcomes than those with private insurance. Medicaid patients were twice as likely to die in the hospital after undergoing major surgery than those on private insurance, according to a 2010 study from the University of Virginia published in the Annals of Surgery. The research also showed that patients who had no insurance at all were 25% less likely than those on Medicaid to have an “in-hospital death,” and that Medicaid patients have the longest stays and highest hospital costs.

It would be one thing if these patients previously had no insurance—subpar health care is after all better than no care. Yet up to 80% of these new Medicaid patients previously had private insurance. Thanks to ObamaCare, they have been shunted into a second-class health-care system.
Remember this when you hear phony statistics about how many people have been covered by Obamacare. The great majority of them are people who have been forced unwillingly into Medicaid.
Michael Hirsh, no right-wing mouthpiece wonders if Obama's national security team is really a "team of bumblers" and if Susan Rice and Chuck Hagel are equal to the challenges that they're facing.
When President Obama, after months of equivocation over how to respond to the takeover of parts of Iraq and Syria by radical militants, announced in September that the United States would “lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat,” the White House swung quickly into action, sending proposed legislation to train and equip Syrian rebels to Capitol Hill that same day.

Unfortunately, the White House failed to consult with the Pentagon—which would be doing most of the rolling back—on the timing or details of the announcement.

According to multiple sources, behind the scenes a few things went badly awry in the launch of Obama’s new policy. First, the Pentagon was surprised by the president’s timing, according to a senior defense official. “We didn’t know it was going to be in the speech,” he said, referring to Obama’s Sept. 10 address to the nation. Second, the White House neglected to give Pentagon lawyers a chance to revise and approve the proposed legislative language before it went to the Hill, which is considered standard practice. Staffers working for Rep. Buck McKeon, the Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said they were appalled by what they saw: language so sloppy that it failed to mention adequate protections against so-called “green-on-blue” attacks by trainees on American troops, and effectively left the Defense Department liable for funding the mission against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)—even though the president was telling members of Congress he didn’t need money for this new mission, since the Saudis were putting it up. “What came over would have not have been a mission the DoD could have executed,” says a senior Republican committee staffer.

Andrew McCarthy refutes the idea that there are "lone wolf" actors out there who are not related to worldwide terrorism.
That once useful term of art is now used to convey two carefully crafted, politically correct narratives. For government officials and investigators, the “lone wolf” label has come to mean the atrocity in question cannot be categorized as “terrorism,” no matter how many “Allahu Akbars!” are shouted as bullets fly, bombs blast, or heads roll. For the commentariat, “lone wolf” signifies that the Muslim in question — whether a lifer or a “recent convert” — has “self-radicalized,” spontaneously becoming a wanton, irrational killer.

These two story lines transparently suggest that the government has quelled al-Qaeda and that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. Though President Obama frequently makes both claims, they are delusional.

“Lone wolf” is actually a surveillance-law concept that signifies the antithesis of the government’s newfangled “no terrorism here” usage. Moreover, the term is utterly useless to our understanding of how, and by what, Muslims are “radicalized.”
McCarthy explains how Congress created the "lone wolf" classification to allow authorities to conduct surveillance on a suspect even if they couldn't establish a connection to a foreign terrorist organization.
Significantly, the statute makes precisely the opposite assumption that government officials now make when they label someone a “lone wolf.” The law says that if a person is engaged in what appears to be terrorist activity, the involvement of a foreign terrorist organization should be presumed and need not be established. So as conceived and codified, the lone-wolf designation means the government should regard a suspect as a terrorist, not strain against all evidence and logic to regard him as a non-terrorist.
Steven Hayward, author of the best biography of Ronald Reagan, writes in the Washington Post about what made Reagan's 1964 speech, "A Time for Choosing," at the GOP convention that year such a great speech and how it still is today such a model for Republicans today.
Reagan also understood that narrative can be more effective than abstractions or slogans alone. Goldwater and conservative intellectuals back to Robert Taft tended to argue from abstract principles, with less emphasis on story and concrete examples. Reagan’s rhetoric represented a potent shift. After a blizzard of numbers about government profligacy, he turned to a vivid story:

“Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, ‘We don’t know how lucky we are.’ And the Cuban stopped and said: ‘How lucky you are? I had someplace to escape to.’ And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.”

Of course, this sort of anecdote has endured as a standard trope of political speeches today.

Another notable aspect of Reagan’s rhetorical strategy was claiming populism for the right. He asserted that it was now progressive liberalism, with its embrace of ever-expanding “administrative government,” that represented the elitist force in American politics: “This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government, or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

This complaint, made before the huge growth spurt of federal regulatory agencies in the 1960s and 1970s, is even more salient today, when the White House relies so heavily on executive orders and policy czars, and more and more problems are being addressed by bureaucratic fiat rather than congressional legislation.

Reagan didn’t divide Americans along the typical interest group or class lines. Unlike Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remark or the “makers and takers” theme popular with many conservatives today, Reagan portrayed big government as opposing the interests of all Americans, not just the entrepreneurial or property-owning class that forms the GOP’s core constituency.


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