Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cruising the Web

Here's a true sign of how far Obama has fallen - the networks aren't going to air his prime-time address tonight.

Thomas Sowell slashes away at the idea that it is the "legacy of slavery" that is keeping blacks poor today.
Kristof’s other “overwhelming” evidence of the current effects of past slavery is that blacks do not have as much income as whites. But Puerto Ricans do not have as much income as Japanese Americans. Mexican Americans do not have as much income as Cuban Americans. All sorts of people do not have as much income as all sorts of other people, not only in the United States, but in countries around the world. And most of these people were never enslaved.

If we wanted to be serious about evidence, we might compare where blacks stood a hundred years after the end of slavery with where they stood after 30 years of the liberal welfare state. In other words, we could compare hard evidence on “the legacy of slavery” with hard evidence on the legacy of liberals.

Despite the grand myth that black economic progress began or accelerated with the passage of the Civil Rights laws and “War on Poverty” programs of the 1960s, the cold fact is that the poverty rate among blacks fell from 87 percent in 1940 to 47 percent by 1960. This was before any of those programs began.

Over the next 20 years, the poverty rate among blacks fell another 18 percentage points, compared to the 40-point drop in the previous 20 years. This was the continuation of a previous economic trend, at a slower rate of progress, not the economic grand deliverance proclaimed by liberals and self-serving black “leaders.”

Ending the Jim Crow laws was a landmark achievement. But, despite the great proliferation of black political and other “leaders” that resulted from the laws and policies of the 1960s, nothing comparable happened economically. And there were serious retrogressions socially.

Nearly a hundred years of the supposed “legacy of slavery” found most black children being raised in two-parent families in 1960. But thirty years after the liberal welfare state found the great majority of black children being raised by a single parent.

The murder rate among blacks in 1960 was one-half of what it became 20 years later, after a legacy of liberals’ law-enforcement policies.
The evidence goes on and on. It's amazing what happens when factual evidence is put up against emotional arguments.
If you know someone who would benefit from such arguments, I would suggest any book by Sowell as a present.
Or Sowell himself recommends Jason Riley's new book.
If we are to go by evidence of social retrogression, liberals have wreaked more havoc on blacks than the supposed “legacy of slavery” they talk about. Liberals should heed the title of Jason Riley’s insightful new book, Please Stop Helping Us.
Taking the opposite view from many black liberals, Juan Williams celebrates black Republicans who were elected to Congress this year.

David Brooks is so very disappointed in Barack Obama. When once it seemed to be enough that Obama had crisp creases in his pants, now The One is just not playing politics in the way that Brooks approves. What is funny is how Brooks bemoans how Obama is getting sucked into the sort of obstructionism that he used to oppose. Oh, please. Where is the evidence that Obama ever worked in a bipartisan fashion whether as a senator or as president to craft substantive policy proposals?

Ramesh Ponnuru makes mincemeat of some of the arguments that liberals are making now about why Obama is right to go ahead with his plans for executive amnesty.
The second response is that the president has to act because the system is broken. Nathan Pippenger, writing at Democracy's blog, argues that the president is striking a mighty blow against "the normalization of dysfunction." This is very different, he says, from saying that the president should act whenever he doesn't get his way. But he never explains the alleged difference. The closest he comes is to complain that House Republicans haven't held a vote on the Senate immigration bill and that they haven't followed through on promises to pass one of their own.

I tend to think that the House's failure to pass a deeply flawed Senate bill is a sign of the political system's health, even if the status quo isn't anybody's ideal. But let's assume for the sake of argument that the bill is worth enacting. The House's failure to go along doesn't give the president a license to do what he pleases. Pippenger suggests that the presence of millions of illegal immigrants in our country may constitute a "crisis," but doesn't fully endorse the idea. He was right to stop short. Illegal immigrants and the rest of us have managed to put up with this -- again, admittedly less-than-ideal -- situation for years. The president himself decided that action could wait until after the election. There's no justification for dispensing with the normal mandate that legislation is required for major policy changes.

The alternative isn't for the president to "surrender." It's for him to accept the limits of his constitutional authority.
Meanwhile, Mark Krikorian looks at the amnesties that Reagan and George H.W. Bush signed and how they were nowhere on the scope that Obama is contemplating.
Whatever their merits, the Reagan and Bush measures were modest attempts at faithfully executing legislation duly enacted by Congress. Obama’s planned amnesty decree is Caesarism, pure and simple. “Precedent” isn’t the right word for the Obama crowd’s invocation of Reagan. The right word is “pretext.”
We cannot establish the precedent that, whenever a president doesn't get Congress to pass a policy proposal he likes, he can go ahead and do it on his own authority. Barack Obama used to understand that. As Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post demonstrates, Obama is quite clearly reversing himself from previous statements he'd made that the President doesn't have the power to do this sort of executive order absent action from Congress. In fact he has said so 22 separate times.

Daniel Henninger explains the real problem for Democrats in the Gruber videos.
The problem is not one MIT economist’s arrogance. The problem is that the technocracy itself has become a political problem for the Democratic Party.

For some 80 years, that technocracy has been the life force of the Democratic Party. Now it’s a kind of noxious green sludge consuming the party.

Calling itself “the administrative state,” a technocratic army of social scientists, lawyers and bureaucrats has kept the Democratic Party supplied for decades with the policy details behind its promises to the electorate. ObamaCare was going to be one more victory march into the end zone of federal entitlements with a playbook designed by Jon Gruber and the other grandchildren of the original administrative elites.

But no one’s popping champagne for this one. When 50 years from now historians search for evidence of when the Democratic Party’s decline began, they’ll fix on this famous blurting of the truth about ObamaCare by House Speaker Pelosi: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.”
For over a century, liberals have put forth the idea that they have good intentions to help people and when you put those intentions together with running the government through the benevolent actions a disinterested experts, they could achieve great things. Unfortunately, the results don't bear out these assumptions.

Jon Stewart has a lot of fun ridiculing "Petty Woman" Nancy Pelosi who stuck by antiquated caucus rules to prevent Tammy Duckworth from voting by proxy since Duckworth is eight months pregnant and has been advised by her doctor not to travel to Washington.
"Seriously, you should go." Ouch.

Pelosi argued that she didn't want to create a precedent whereby all sorts of members would be ducking their responsibilities and skipping important caucus meetings. But there was an alternative that has been used for decades. Someone who was going to vote the opposite of Tammy Duckworth could have abstained and thus made moot Duckworth's absence. A thoughtful Speaker could have facilitated such a maneuver. But not the Petty Woman.

And the precedent argument is so bogus. As Christine Rousselle writes,
The "slippery slope" argument is essentially moot--there simply are not that many pregnant congresswomen to merit alarm.
Apparently, House Democrats were not impressed with Pelosi's pettiness and voted down her candidate for the House Energy and Commerce Committee anyway.