You keep using that word

September 17, 2014

School bans Chick-fil-A, because it represents an improper political stance. And that’s at odds with “inclusivity and diversity”:

With their political stance on gay rights and because the students of Ventura High School and their parents would be at the event, I didn’t want them on campus,” [Principal] Wyatt told the newspaper. . .

“We value inclusivity and diversity on our campus and all of our events and activities are going to adhere to our mission,” Ventura Unified School District Superintendent Trudy Tuttle Arriaga said.

If they were to look those words up in a dictionary (schools still have those, right?), they’d be surprised by what they found.

(Via Instapundit.)


Gawker: the world will be a better place if you let criminals do their thing

September 15, 2014

With no apparent irony:

On Friday, a white lady named Clara Vondrich had her iPhone stolen out of her hand in Williamsburg but was able to catch one of the thieves, a 13-year-old boy. This story . . . taught us all important lessons about what not to do when you’re able to capture your own child mugger. . .

The boy will now enter New York’s vaunted juvenile justice system, which will likely [expletive] his life even further, simply because he snatched a white lady’s iPhone in Williamsburg.

If you are nonviolently mugged by a child, continue to let him run along with his friends. The world will be a better place.

Let the criminals steal; the world will be a better place. Amazing. And bonus leftism points for irrelevantly bringing up the victim’s race four times (twice in the excerpt).

Gawker speaks for no one, of course, but it’s illustrative of the sickness of today’s left.

(Via Vox Popoli.)


How we got here

September 12, 2014

The following are required reading to understand how Iraq, quiescent in 2009 (so much so that the Obama administration was actually taking credit in February 2010), got into the terrible state it’s in today:

  1. Why we stuck with Maliki — and lost Iraq” details how the United States acquiesced to Nouri al-Maliki’s coup (supported by Iran) in 2010.
  2. Obama’s Disastrous Iraq Policy: An Autopsy” gives the sequel, how Iraq disintegrated under Maliki’s increasingly tyrannical rule, while US policy was “Let Maliki do whatever he wants so long as he keeps Iraq off the front page.”
  3. Finally, when the New York Times’s Baghdad bureau chief was asked to evaluate the Obama administration’s Iraq policy:

    Q. How do you rate the Obama administration’s actions in Iraq? What did they do right? What did they get wrong?

    A. It’s not my job to rate the Obama administrations actions in Iraq. But I will tell you that after 2011 the administration basically ignored the country. And when officials spoke about what was happening there they were often ignorant of the reality. They did not want to see what was really happening because it conflicted with their narrative that they left Iraq in reasonably good shape. In 2012 as violence was escalating I wrote a story, citing UN statistics, that showed how civilian deaths from attacks were rising. Tony Blinken, who was then Biden’s national security guy and a top Iraq official, pushed back, even wrote a letter to the editor, saying that violence was near historic lows. That was not true. Even after Falluja fell to ISIS at the end of last year, the administration would push back on stories about Maliki’s sectarian tendencies, saying they didn’t see it that way. So there was a concerted effort by the administration to not acknowledge the obvious until it became so apparent — with the fall of Mosul — that Iraq was collapsing.

    (Capital letters added, and emphasis mine.) (Via Hot Air.)

If we are going to re-engage with Iraq now; well, it’s necessary. But we need to do it on the basis of reality, not Obama administration fantasy, and I have little confidence that we will.


Rationing kills

September 11, 2014

Yes, Virginia, health care rationing does kill people:

A Herceptin-style drug that can offer some women with advanced breast cancer nearly six months of extra life has been turned down for use in the NHS because of its high cost.

In draft guidance now open to consultation, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) blames the manufacturers, Roche, who are asking for more than £90,000 per patient, which is far more than any comparable treatment.

In a free country, you would decide for yourself whether 6 months of life would be worth the cost. Or at least you would decide whether health insurance that covers 6 extra months of life would be worth the cost. Not in the UK. In the UK they tax away nearly half your income, promising to provide you health care, and then they don’t do it.

Sure, you can still pay for it yourself (in the UK — this is actually illegal in Canada), but they’ve already taken half your money, and you still need food, shelter, etc.


$#*! my president says

September 11, 2014

Even the New York Times is noticing that Barack Obama is out of touch with reality:

When President Obama addresses the nation on Wednesday to explain his plan to defeat Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria, it is a fair bet he will not call them the “JV team.”

Nor does he seem likely to describe Iraq as “sovereign, stable and self-reliant” with a “representative government.” And presumably he will not assert after more than a decade of conflict that “the tide of war is receding.”

As he seeks to rally Americans behind a new military campaign in the Middle East, Mr. Obama finds his own past statements coming back to haunt him. Time and again, he has expressed assessments of the world that in the harsh glare of hindsight look out of kilter with the changed reality he now confronts. . .

“I don’t think it is just loose talk, I think it’s actually revealing talk,” said Peter H. Wehner, a former adviser to President George W. Bush now at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. “Sometimes words are mistakes; they’re just poorly put. But sometimes they’re a manifestation of one’s deep belief in the world and that’s what you really get with President Obama.”

Asked for comment, the White House fell back on their old, tired, “what about the WMDs?!” They’ve got nothing else.

I actually think it’s worse than Wehner suggests. I don’t think Obama’s statement reveal his deep beliefs; on the contrary, I think they confirm that he can’t “even fake an interest in foreign policy” (as a prominent Democrat put it). Obama is a purely political animal; everything he says in regard to foreign policy is an effort to dispense with it, so he can return to what really drives him, which is advancing his domestic agenda.

(Via Instapundit.)


Never forget

September 11, 2014

9/11


Funny but sad

September 10, 2014

Jim Treacher:

“Knock knock.”
“Who’s there?”
“ISIL.”
“ISIL who?”
“ISIL have no idea what to do about this $#!+.”
— @BarackObama to WH Press Corps, 9/10/14

(Via Instapundit.)


IRS bombshell

September 10, 2014

If you had any doubt that the Justice Department’s “investigation” of the IRS scandal was being run politically, doubt no longer. The Justice Department is coordinating its actions with the Democrats:

Justice Department Director of Public Affairs Brian Fallon called the House Oversight Committee Friday evening and mistakenly spoke to Republican staff thinking he was speaking to Democrats, according to a spokesman for Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

In that call, Fallon said his agency was about to turn over some IRS documents. He stated that he was not being allowed to release the material directly to the media, but that he wanted to get it into the hands of certain reporters “before the [Republican] Majority” had the chance to share it. That’s according to a letter Issa sent yesterday to Attorney General Eric Holder. . .

As the telephone conversation continued, Issa’s staff says Fallon realized he was speaking to committee Republicans instead of Democrats and “walked back” the conversation.

This is plainly improper. Elijah Cummings (the lead IRS-defender among House Democrats) dismissed the incident, of course.

(Previous post.) (Via Instapundit.)


Oh good lord

September 9, 2014

Harry Reid decides to waste the Senate’s time debating a constitutional amendment to repeal the Freedom of Speech, and somehow it’s the Republicans’ fault:

After all his complaints about Republican obstruction this year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expressed frustration last night after Republicans helped guarantee a floor vote on a measure he supports.

The Nevada Democrat has accused Senate Republicans of chicanery for voting to advance to the Senate floor a Democratic constitutional amendment allowing Congress to regulate all campaign speech and spending.

After Monday’s bipartisan 79-18 vote, Reid vented to reporters that Republicans were trying to “stall” the Senate, indicating that he never intended for the campaign finance amendment by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., to go to a real floor debate.

What an ass.

(Via Instapundit.)


The “free speech movement” never was

September 8, 2014

Ken White notes that Berkeley’s chancellor is giving lip service to the “free speech movement” it spawned, while simultaneously neutering it by drawing a distinction between free speech and “political advocacy”. Of course, anyone with any knowledge of the Constitution knows that political speech (“advocacy”) was the entire point of the Freedom of Speech.

As White put it:

Political advocacy is not distinct from free speech. Political advocacy is the apotheosis of free speech.

Berkeley’s chancellor is hardly alone. The very same people who used to celebrate free speech on campus hate it now. It’s not hard to see why.

The “free speech movement” arose when leftist ideology was a minority opinion. Free speech was important to leftists so they could be heard. Today, leftist ideology is a majority opinion, at least on college campuses, if not yet nationally. What use is free speech to them now? Free speech now means their opponents can be heard.

I wasn’t there at the time, but the left’s behavior today proves that (broadly speaking) they didn’t care about free speech per se, they cared about leftism.

(Via Instapundit.)


Religious intolerance at Cal State

September 7, 2014

The California State University is following Vanderbilt and Michigan, banning Christian groups from campus. As in previous cases, the pretext is that they do not admit “all comers” if they require leaders to be Christian.

Of course, all campus groups choose leaders who ascribe to the group’s beliefs. (Just try to get elected president of the College Republicans/Democrats if you’re a Democrat/Republican.) Christian groups are being penalized for being forthright about it.


Venezuela circles the bowl

September 7, 2014

How badly have the Chavistas ruined Venezuela’s oil industry? Venezuela is in talks to begin importing oil.

(Via Instapundit.)


Never mind

September 6, 2014

Just a few weeks ago, President Obama was proclaiming his success in destroying Syria’s chemical weapons:

Today we mark an important achievement in our ongoing effort to counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction by eliminating Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpile. The most lethal declared chemical weapons possessed by the Syrian regime were destroyed by dedicated U.S. civilian and military professionals using a unique American capability aboard the M/V Cape Ray – and they did so aboard that U.S. vessel several weeks ahead of schedule.

Or not:

The United States expressed concern on Thursday that Syria’s government might be harboring undeclared chemical weapons, hidden from the internationally led operation to purge them over the past year, and that Islamist militant extremists now ensconced in that country could possibly seize control of them.

(Via Instapundit.)


OMG

September 6, 2014

AP reports:

The IRS says it has lost emails from five more workers who are part of congressional investigations into the treatment of conservative groups that applied for tax exempt status. . . The agency blamed computer crashes for the lost emails. In a statement, the IRS said it found no evidence that anyone deliberately destroyed evidence.

What we’re seeing here is confidence on the part of the IRS. They believe that they can do anything, and there will never be any consequences. Sadly, they’re probably right.

(Previous post.)


Obama missing at NATO summit

September 4, 2014

The prominent Democrat who said that President Obama can’t “even fake an interest in foreign policy” sure wasn’t joking. The NATO summit — at which western powers were supposed to reaffirm their commitment to collective security in the face of Russian agression — opened today. Obama didn’t even show up:

President Obama was nowhere to be found during the beginning of a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine commission in Wales on Thursday. Obama was “noticeably absent” from the start of the meeting, according to a White House pool report, although U.S. Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute was in attendance.

Oh yeah, just send the ambassador. That’ll show Putin how serious you are.

If half of life is just showing up, Barack Obama isn’t even half a president.

(Via Instapundit.)


The horror of government-run medicine

September 2, 2014

The horrifying story of two parents fighting against the United Kingdom to obtain treatment for their cancer-striken child:

  1. Doctors successfully remove the boy’s tumor.
  2. To prevent cancer returning, the parents seek proton-beam treatment in place of ordinary radiation treatments.
  3. Doctors refuse.
  4. The parents suggest that they could pay for the treatment themselves.
  5. Doctors say no: you have to accept our recommendation, or else.
  6. Or else what? The doctors threaten that if the parents keep demanding treatment, they will impose a restraining order that will bar the parents from seeing their son.
  7. The parents check the child out of the hospital and leave the country.
  8. Story over? Oh no. The NHS contacts Interpol and issues an international missing person notice to find the boy.
  9. Staff at a Spanish hotel (where the parents are staying while they raise money for treatment) report them to the police.
  10. Spanish police arrest the parents, and extradite them back to the UK.
  11. After a flurry of bad press, the Prime Minister intervenes. The parents will not be prosecuted.
  12. The boy doesn’t get the treatment, but the parents aren’t barred from seeing the boy.

This is what passes for a happy ending when dealing with the NHS: Your boy doesn’t get treatment, but at least you don’t get punished for trying.

For its part, the police “make no apology” for their actions. And why would they? They’re the government.

This is why government-run health care is so much worse even than a cheap, badly-run HMO. With an HMO, you can fight for treatment. You might fail, but at least you can’t be punished for trying. With the NHS, the people who pass judgement on your care are the same ones who, if you annoy them, can take your children away.


Burglary is for amateurs

August 29, 2014

I’ve always wondered why Richard Nixon’s goons bothered to burglarize the Democratic party headquarters. Why didn’t he just open a phony investigation and seize the documents? That’s been accepted practice by Democrats going back at least to FDR, and it continues today:

Conservative targets of a Democrat-launched John Doe investigation have described the secret probe as a witch hunt. . .

Subpoenas also demanded the conservatives’ bank records, “emails from every major private email provider” and other information in what some have described as a mini-NSA (National Security Agency) operation in Wisconsin. . .

Chisholm, a Democrat, launched the dragnet two years ago, and, according to court documents, with the help of the state Government Accountability Board, the probe was expanded to five counties. The John Doe proceeding compelled scores of witnesses to testify, and a gag order compelled them to keep their mouths shut or face jail time. . .

Among other documents, prosecutors sought “all call detail records including incoming and outgoing calls,” “billing name and information,” “subscriber name and information including any application for service,” according to the conservatives’ court filing. . .

In one particularly dramatic demand, the prosecutors’ request for emails was unlimited: the subpoenas require “all information stored in an account including (but not limited to) incoming and outgoing mail.”

“Thus, a target’s mail from well before those dates could be seized if it was simply ‘stored’ in the account during the relevant period, including in the deleted items folder,” the plaintiffs’ court document states.

(Via Legal Insurrection.)


The middle ground

August 29, 2014

I meant to post this cartoon a month ago:

meet-hamas-halfway


OMG

August 29, 2014

“We don’t have a strategy yet.”

I wish he would have just lied.

But worse than his admission that he has no strategy, was his position — classic too-clever-by-half Obama material — that it would somehow have been inappropriate to have a strategy for dealing with ISIS. That’s utter nonsense, as confirmed by the White House making the rounds today emphasizing that, despite what the president said, they absolutely, positively, really, really do have a strategy.


The sun has truly set on the British Empire

August 27, 2014

When Indians complained about the British interfering with suttee (the Indian practice of burning widows alive on their husbands’ funeral pyre), General Charles Napier (1782-1853) told them:

Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. . . Let us all act according to national customs.

Great Britain used to bring civilization to the far corners of the globe. Now they can’t even bring it to their own country:

The sexual abuse of about 1,400 children at the hands of Asian men went unreported for 16 years because staff feared they would be seen as racist, a report said today.

Children as young as 11 were trafficked, beaten, and raped by large numbers of men between 1997 and 2013 in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, the council commissioned review into child protection revealed. And shockingly, more than a third of the cases were already known to agencies.

But according to the report’s author: ‘several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist’. . .

In two cases, fathers had tracked down their daughters and tried to remove them from houses where they were being abused – only to be arrested themselves when police were called to the scene.

This went on for sixteen years with the full knowledge of the authorities, who would rather allow thousands of children to be raped than called racist.

And that fear seems to persist even in the wake of this horror. Even in a story that centers around the horrifying consequences of hyper-sensitivity to racism, this BBC story can’t bring itself to say precisely what the authorities were being hyper-sensitive about. The story has no photographs of the perpetrators, it never uses the word “Pakistani” or even “Middle Eastern”, and it only even uses the word “Asian” (60% of the world’s population) as part of a quotation.

Oh, and by the way:

No council employees will face disciplinary action in a town where 1,400 children suffered sexual exploitation in a 16-year period, the local authority’s chief executive has said.

Glenn Reynolds adds:

Perhaps they need to consider the possibility that there are worse things than being thought racist. Of course, if that idea were to spread, a powerful tool of social control would vanish.

Alas, over sixteen years every one of them must have considered that possibility at some point. And rejected it.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds adds again:

The legal system is, ultimately, an ancient bargain: Renounce your mob violence and blood feuds and we will provide you with justice. It could be argued that such a default as this calls the whole bargain into question, and justifies self-help along ancient lines.


Ministry of Truth

August 26, 2014

Oh, this isn’t sinister at all:

The National Science Foundation is financing the creation of a web service that will monitor “suspicious memes” and what it considers “false and misleading ideas,” with a major focus on political activity online.

The “Truthy” database, created by researchers at Indiana University, is designed to “detect political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution.”

“Social pollution.” What a lovely term that is.

(Via Instapundit.)


Venezuela circles the bowl

August 22, 2014

Hugo Chavez is dead, but his policies that have ruined Venezuela live on. Rampant inflation leads to price controls, which lead to shortages, which lead to rationing, which leads to draconian rationing. Chavez’s heir is determined to carry “Bolivarian” economics to the bitter end:

Venezuela’s food shortage is so bad the country is mandating that people scan their fingerprints at grocery stores in order to keep people from buying too much of a single item.

President Nicolas Maduro says a mandatory fingerprinting system is being implemented at grocery stores to combat food shortages. He calls it an “anti-fraud system” like the fingerprint scan the country uses for voting.

UPDATE (9/2): Is the phrase “critics said” really necessary here?

Critics said the new system is tantamount to rationing and constitutes a breach of privacy.


Government is a racket

August 22, 2014

Joe Biden has something to hide:

Vice President Joe Biden’s office stonewalled a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for his travel expenses, according to Ronald Kessler’s new tell-all book on the Secret Service, The First Family Detail.

Kessler, a former Wall Street Journal and Washington Post investigative reporter, filed a FOIA request in April 2013 with the Air Force for the details and costs of Biden’s personal trips. . . According to Kessler, Biden’s then-deputy counsel Jessica Hertz took over the FOIA case from the Air Force and ordered it not to release the 95 pages of documents it had compiled in response to Kessler’s request.

They had already compiled the records, and Biden’s counsel ordered them covered up. Why would he cover up his travel expenses? Here’s why:

The records were eventually released to Kessler by an Air Force officer who “was outraged that Biden’s office would taint the Air Force by politicizing its FOIA process.”

The records show Biden’s trips—which include multiple daily flights between Washington, D.C., and Wilmington, Delaware—cost taxpayers nearly $1 million between January 2009 and March 2013. This does not include crew costs or the cost of ferrying Biden between the vice president’s residence at the Naval Observatory and Andrews Air Force Base.

“Every three or four weeks when it’s warm, Biden gets up there on Saturday and then will fly back on Air Force Two,” a Secret Service agent told Kessler. “While Air Force Two is sitting on the tarmac at Andrews, he goes up and plays golf with the president at Andrews Air Force Base, gets back on the plane, and flies back to Delaware. . .”

An Air Force source also told Kessler that Biden regularly schedules single events in Arizona so he can fly there on the public dime to play golf.

This is a guy who poses (laughably, but determinedly) as the common man, a man who takes the train between Delaware and DC. In fact, he takes his personal Air Force plane every day, and likes to jaunt about the country to play golf.


AP violates its own style guide

August 22, 2014

The Associated Press, reporting a story you’ve probably heard:

County Autopsy: Unarmed teen short 6 to 8 times

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — A St. Louis County autopsy has found that the unarmed black teenager killed during a confrontation with a white police officer was shot six to eight times.

This, and several other AP stories, give the deliberate impression that Michael Brown was a child, when in fact he was a very large 18-year-old adult. Avoiding this sort of misleading impression is presumably why the Associated Press forbids using the word “teenager” this way:

youth Applicable to boys and girls from age 13 until 18th birthday. Use man or woman for individuals 18 and older.

Why would the AP break its own rules? Indeed, why would they break their own rules to mislead the public on a point that, legally at least, doesn’t even matter? (After all, killing an adult, if unjustified, is just as bad — legally speaking — as killing a child.)

There seems to be only one conclusion. Their purpose here is not to report the facts; their purpose is to create outrage. The killing of a child is more outrageous, so that’s what they reported, even though it’s not what happened.

(Via Hot Air.)


Drunk drivers take note

August 22, 2014

Mothers Against Drunk Driving can be bought off.


Resolute ignorance

August 22, 2014

Okay, CNN anchor Don Lemon doesn’t know the difference between an automatic weapon, and a semi-automatic (i.e., non-automatic) weapon:

If you don’t even know what the terms mean, you have no business reporting on gun policy. But this is much worse than merely that, because Lemon’s guest explains the difference to him, and Lemon says (paraphrasing): I don’t care; I prefer to use the word incorrectly.

There’s a word for using the wrong word when you know it’s the wrong word; it’s called lying.

POSTSCRIPT: The particularly galling thing about this, as Charles C. W. Cooke points out, is that recent gun control efforts have centered on making fine, nearly meaningless distinctions. Bill Clinton’s now-defunct assault weapons ban prohibited weapons with two or more scary-looking features. Here you have a major functional difference (automatic fire vs. single fire) and the liberals dismiss it with contempt.


Spiked

August 18, 2014

Simon and Schuster spikes a book proposal about Bowe Bergdahl because it might make Obama look bad:

“I’m not sure we can publish this book without the Right using it to their ends,” Sarah Durand, a senior editor at Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, wrote in an email to one of the soldiers’ agents.

“[T]he Conservatives are all over Bergdahl and using it against Obama,” Durand wrote, “and my concern is that this book will have to become a kind of ‘Swift Boat Veterans for Truth'” — a reference to the group behind a controversial book that raised questions about John Kerry’s Vietnam War record in the midst of his 2004 presidential campaign.

It’s interesting to see a publisher admit openly that it is more interested in protecting Obama than in making money.

POSTSCRIPT: The original Yahoo article isn’t loading now, but it’s still in the Google cache for now.


The most transparent administration in history

August 18, 2014

Under the Obama administration, “FOIA Denial Officer” is an actual job title.

(Via Instapundit.)


Modern politics

August 18, 2014

A leaked document from the campaign of Michelle Nunn, the Democrat running for Senate from Georgia, is frank about their plans to win by cobbling together a coalition of various minorities.

According to my skim of the document, it almost completely ignores issues and policy positions. The only three ways that issues come up at all are (1) in the context of groups of people to appeal to or at least to neutralize (that is, farmers, gun owners, and small business owners), and (2) a schedule of when to decide what Nunn believes on various issues (too bad for “rural issues”, which somehow comes in #22 on a list of 21 issues on page 62), and (3) Obamacare’s cancellation notices, which (page 141) are totally not at all a bad thing.

It’s been clear for some time that the Democratic party has nothing to offer the people at large, and is merely a coalition of tribes, but it’s striking to see it all written out so frankly.


New Jersey

August 8, 2014

The state that doesn’t understand the difference between good guys and bad guys:

The same judge and prosecutor who let professional football star Ray Rice avoid a trial after beating his wife unconscious are pushing forward with the prosecution of Shaneen Allen, a single mother who carried a gun into New Jersey without realizing her Pennsylvania permit didn’t apply there.

What is wrong with these people?

(Via Instapundit.)


Commander-in-chief

August 8, 2014

After Obama ignored ISIS when American intervention could have been decisive, and continued to ignore ISIS as they unleashed a reign of terror across northern Iraq, the ISIS’s horrifying genocide finally shamed Obama into action:

Arguing that the U.S. could not ignore the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, President Obama Thursday night announced that he had authorized limited air strikes, one of the boldest military moves of his presidency.

Except not really:

U.S. fighter jets launched a “targeted” airstrike on Friday against Islamic militants in Iraq, just hours after President Obama authorized military action to protect U.S. personnel and Iraqi civilians.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Friday that two F/A-18 jets dropped 500-pound bombs on a piece of artillery and the truck towing it. The Pentagon said the military conducted the strike at 6:45 a.m. ET, against terrorists with the Islamic State (IS), the group formerly known as ISIS.

We bombed one artillery piece. That’ll show ‘em.

Still, this action might make the enemy nervous. Except Obama took pains to reassure the enemy:

As Commander-in-Chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq.

It’s a basic tenet of foreign crisis management always to be ambiguous about how far you will go. Ambiguity is a powerful weapon; it forces the enemy to worry about your full capabilities, rather than your self-imposed limits. If you want to have a significant impact, you never rule out doing more.

Unless you’re an idiot, or you just don’t care.

UPDATE: Subsequently, we did bomb ISIS some more, which is good.


Business as usual

August 8, 2014

The latest from the “most transparent administration in history”:

A key ObamaCare official involved in the rocky rollout of Healthcare.gov likely deleted some of her emails that are now being sought as part of an investigation into the problems by a House committee, Fox News confirmed Thursday.

The Department of Health and Human Services informed House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa in a letter Thursday that some of the emails belonging to Marilyn Tavenner, who leads the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, may not be “retrievable.” . . .

[T]he department believes that was due to sloppy records-keeping not an attempt to conceal information.

Of course. It’s never an attempt to conceal information. This administration’s good record has earned the benefit of the doubt.


The first casualty of Hamas is truth

August 8, 2014

The media’s practice of reporting Hamas’s fabricated casualty reports as if they were fact is flatly dishonest. There’s absolutely no excuse for it. Hamas’s official policy, announced in the open, is to falsify their casualty statistics:

Anyone killed or martyred is to be called a civilian from Gaza or Palestine, before we talk about his status in jihad or his military rank. Don’t forget to always add ‘innocent civilian’ or ‘innocent citizen’ in your description of those killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza.

If you know it’s a lie, and you report it anyway, you are a liar.

It’s impossible to know what the real civilian toll is, since the only people who could say won’t tell the truth, but we can see that military-aged males are strikingly overrepresented among the “civilian casualties”, while women and children are strikingly underrepresented.

POSTSCRIPT: As far the actual civilian casualties go, don’t forget that Hamas’s policy is to maximize them, not only on the Israeli side but on their own.


Let them eat nothing

August 8, 2014

John Kerry says that children in Africa are starving, and Africa should refrain from developing new farmland. No joke:

During the Africa Summit “Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate” panel, Secretary of State John Kerry told an audience that “8,000 children die every day” and in sub-Sahara Africa, one in four suffer from chronic hunger.

Then a few minutes later, he stressed how creating new farms would cause too much carbon pollution so they need to discourage more farm land.

He was for food before he was against it.

His argument was that we should improve yield from existing farms, rather than create new farms, as if agriculture was an either-or proposition. At some point idiots become functionally indistinguishable from monsters, and Kerry is well past that point.


This is CNN

August 7, 2014

(Title shamelessly stolen from Rick Wilson.)


Obama foreign policy

August 6, 2014

Genocide:

On Wednesday, Qaraqosh, the largest Christian town in northern Iraq’s Nineveh province, came under assault from the Islamic State, and all 50 to 60,000 of its residents have fled to Erbil in Kurdistan. . .

The enormity of the humanitarian crisis of the cascading exodus from Nineveh was overshadowed, though, by the early reports indicating genocide is taking place against the people of Sinjar, who are mostly followers of the Yazidi religion but also include some Christians.

America’s response is to issue a statement:

We urge all parties to the conflict to allow safe access to the United Nations and its partners so they can deliver lifesaving humanitarian assistance, including to those Iraqi families reportedly encircled by ISIL on Mount Sinjar.

We urge them?! Does the administration think ISIS is doing this by accident?

And lest you think that the title, calling this Obama’s foreign policy, is too harsh, let’s remember that Obama specifically said that he would accept genocide as the price of leaving Iraq:

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday the United States cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems and that preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn’t a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there. . .

Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, said it’s likely there would be increased bloodshed if U.S. forces left Iraq. . .


Down NPR’s memory hole

August 1, 2014

When the Senate defeated President Obama’s awful nominee to head the DOJ’s civil rights division, NPR reported it this way:

A handful of southern Democrats joined Republicans yesterday to defeat President Obama’s choice to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division. . .

NPR wanted to paint Adegbile’s detractors that way because in the NPR lexicon, “southern” is code for racist. Leaving that matter aside for now, the Democrats who jumped ship were from Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia. Only three of those states could be considered southern under even the broadest possible definition. Certainly none of them are from the Deep South.

But rather than omit their error, NPR covered it up, rewriting the story to begin:

A handful of Senate Democrats joined Republicans yesterday . . .

Not only did they change the story on the transcript, they actually went so far as to re-record it with the revised script.

This is so astonishing that you wonder if people simply misheard Werthheimer; if she really said “Senate” all along. Nope, Will Collier had the foresight to save the original.


Internet censorship

August 1, 2014

What gets me about every internet censorship story is how they always deny using political criteria to block websites, when that is quite obviously exactly what they are doing. As just the latest example:

I also spent some time on the phone with Hyatt representatives. Well, most of that time was on hold, actually, but I did eventually get two bright, human voices. Both of them assured me no political line was being enforced.

Oh good. Your criteria blocks Drudge, Instapundit, and Power Line, while allowing Daily Kos and Talking Point Memos, but since you say it’s not political, we won’t worry about it.


LightSquared

August 1, 2014

The LightSquared debacle still isn’t quite over; the remains of the politically connected company are now suing the government over its denial of a permit to operate. Since I was strongly opposed to LightSquared’s effort to make money by breaking GPS, I thought I should note Richard Epstein’s contrary take.

Epstein is a very smart guy, so maybe there’s something to this, but I don’t see how to reconcile his position with the expert testimony on LightSquared’s scheme.

(Previous post.)


Our lawless administration

August 1, 2014

The Washington Post reports:

Over the past 2-1/2 years, the Obama administration has published hundreds of rules — on how wheelchairs should be stowed aboard U.S. aircraft, how foreign trade zones should be regulated, how voting assistance should be provided for U.S. citizens overseas and so on.

There’s a problem, however: Technically speaking, these and about 1,800 other regulations shouldn’t be in effect, because they weren’t reported to Congress as required. Yet there is little that lawmakers or the courts can do about it. . .

Under a 1996 statute, most federal rules are supposed to be reported to the House and Senate in paper form and to the Government Accountability Office electronically. But since the start of 2012, that hasn’t happened for many of the regulations put out by the Obama administration, either because of bureaucratic oversight or because they were considered too minor to be reported. . .

But there’s another catch: Congress also barred such rules from judicial review. Two federal appeals courts and two district courts have upheld this principle even when the regulation in question was not submitted to Congress as required. Since Congress cannot pass a resolution of disapproval for a rule until it receives it, this means neither lawmakers nor the courts can step in and demand that agencies submit the required paperwork.

(Via Instapundit.)


Iron Dome can do anything!

August 1, 2014

Apparently, so believes Alison Grimes, Democrat running for Senate in Kentucky:

Democratic Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes says Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system prevents Hamas terrorists from tunneling into Israel.

Grimes was asked about foreign policy and the conflict between the Israelis and Hamas during a recent interview with the Lexington Herald Leader. . . “The Iron Dome has been a big reason why Israel has been able to withstand the terrorists that have tried to tunnel their way in,” Grimes was quoted as saying.

(Via Hot Air.)


It goes without saying

July 25, 2014

If Obama won’t follow his own health care law, he certainly won’t follow his own website privacy policy. I do find it amusing that he uses the same tracking company as YouPorn.com though.


War on women

July 24, 2014

While the Democrats prattle on about how allowing a Christian employer to decline to supply abortion drugs somehow constitutes a “war on women”, Islamists in Iraq show what a real war on women looks like:

A top UN official in Iraq has said the Sunni Islamist group Isis controlling the city of Mosul is seeking to impose female genital mutilation. All females aged 11 and 46 in the northern city must undergo the procedure, according to an Isis edict, UN official Jacqueline Badcock said.

While Democrats see a fierce moral urgency to ensuring that every employer in America pays for abortion drugs, they are curiously indifferent to women and girls in Iraq having their genitals amputated. It would unfair to say that Democrats actually support Isis, but it is fair to say that they are ready to acquiesce to whatever Islamists want to do in Iraq.

This was obvious (to me, anyway) as far back as early 2008, when I posted this proposed ad:

(Video shows a teenaged Iraqi girl.) This is Amira. She lives in Iraq. She has had a difficult childhood: she saw her father and uncle carried away for speaking critically of Saddam Hussein. [Adjust details as appropriate.] But now Amira is free, and she has dreams for her life. She wants to travel, to study and become an artist, or a doctor.

(Video shifts to Al Qaeda thugs.) But there are some who don’t want Amira to realize her aspirations. Men who subscribe to a perverted form of Islam and wish to impose it on her country, and indeed the world. (Brief collage of Taliban and Iranian atrocities.) These men come into her country and set off bombs, hoping to terrorize her people into obedience. (Aftermath of a car bomb.)

(Screen splits, with Amira on one side and the U.S. Capitol on the other.) Will America continue to stand with Amira, or will we abandon her to her enemies? This November, you will help make that decision.

Alas, America did decide to abandon Amira to her enemies.

It took a long time for the chickens to come home to roost, since we went ahead and won the war before Obama came into office. Having defeated the Islamists in Iraq, it took years of American apathy before the Islamists were again strong enough to threaten to take power. Nevertheless, this outcome was nigh inevitable the day Obama failed to arrange a Status of Forces agreement that would have kept some American troops — and some American influence — in Iraq.

Indeed, Obama ensured that no one could misunderstand when he announced to the world in 2007 that even preventing genocide wasn’t a good enough reason to keep troops in Iraq.

Democrats love the “war on women” narrative because it advances their power and creates opportunity for graft. Preventing the actual war on women does nothing of the sort, so it doesn’t interest them.


Hooray for prescriptive grammar

July 16, 2014

OMG the emperor has no clothes!

July 12, 2014

It took six years, but the press corps is finally opening mocking President Obama.


Neatly tying two scandals together

July 4, 2014

Last summer, the Veterans Administration shifted staff from dealing with veterans to helping with Obamacare enrollment, charges a whistleblower due to testify before Congress next week.


Sonia Sotomayor is bad at logic

July 4, 2014

Justice Sonia Sotomayor (joined by Justices Ginsberg and Kagan), is upset with the rest of the rest of the Supreme Court:

Those who are bound by our decisions usually believe they can take us at our word. Not so today. . . That action evinces disregard for even the newest of this Court’s precedents and undermines confidence in this institution.

The context of this bellyache is an injunction issued by the Supreme Court barring the enforcement of the Obama administration’s birth control mandate against Wheaton College. Myriad religious organizations, including Wheaton, complained that complying would violate their religious beliefs. The administration then responded with a bogus “accommodation”, wherein the organizations would file a form objecting to the mandate, at which point pretty much the same thing would happen: the health insurer would issue a separate policy just for birth control, and pass the cost on to the organization. The various religious organizations weren’t fooled by this legerdemain.

The basis for Sotomayor’s complaint was a section in the majority opinion in the Hobby Lobby case that read:

In fact, HHS has already devised and implemented a system that seeks to respect the religious liberty of religious nonprofit corporations while ensuring [blah blah blah]. . . We therefore conclude that this system constitutes an alternative that achieves all of the Government’s aims while providing greater respect for religious liberty.

Thus, Sotomayor, et al. complain, the majority already approved the “accommodation” and are now going back on it. But they are not.

Under the RFRA, the government cannot burden religious freedom unless it is the least restrictive means to accomplish a compelling state interest. Nothing here says that the accommodation is the least restrictive means. To the contrary, it says only that the accommodation is a less restrictive means than the mandate that the administration sought to impose on Hobby Lobby, and therefore the mandate cannot be the least restrictive means. (ASIDE: The majority opinion also never found that free birth control was a compelling state interest, either.)

It’s sad that three Supreme Court justices don’t understand the basic logical distinction between “less” and “least”.

TANGENTIAL POSTSCRIPT: However, if you want an example of the Supreme Court going back on its word, there’s New Haven v. Briscoe from 2012. In that case, Supreme Court waffling left the hapless city of New Haven with no way to follow the law. In 2009, the city set aside the results of a firefighters test because no black applicants passed the test and they were afraid of a discrimination lawsuit on the basis of disparate impact (the theory wherein you can find racial discrimination based purely on numbers, without any evidence of actual discriminatory policy or conduct). The Supreme Court said they were wrong to set aside the test, adding:

If, after it certifies the results, the City faces a disparate-impact suit, then in light of our holding today it should be clear that the City would avoid disparate-impact liability based on the strong basis in evidence that, had it not certified the results, it would have been subject to disparate–treatment liability.

This certainly sounds like the Court saying that New Haven was safe from a disparate impact suit. But when such a such a suit duly appeared, the lower court found for the plaintiff, and the Supreme Court wouldn’t even grant cert. The city, quite literally, was sued successfully for obeying the Supreme Court.

Strangely, I don’t remember a strongly worded dissent in that case.


There is no two-state solution

July 3, 2014

You can’t make peace in the Middle East with a two-state solution, because one of the parties — the Palestinians — doesn’t want it. A poll of Palestinians finds that only 27% favor a two-state solution. Even fewer (10%) favor a one-state solution in which Jews and Arabs have equal rights. The vast majority (60%) want all the Jews driven out.

The West persists in pushing a two-state solution because it seems really reasonable to us, but it’s doomed because the Palestinians don’t want it. Israel goes along with the negotiations in order to seem reasonable to us, but they know by now that those negotiations are pointless.

The only way Israel can have peace is to make the Palestinians unable to hurt them. One way to do that would be to wipe them out — that’s what 60% of Palestinians would do to Israel if they could — but the Israelis, being civilized people, won’t do that. Instead, they settle for a security fence and a blockade. Naturally, the Western left opposes the security fence and the blockade.

(Via ElderOfZiyon.)


Shocking

July 3, 2014

A White House panel appointed to approve President Obama’s domestic spying program has approved President Obama’s domestic spying program.


Killed by Obamacare

July 2, 2014

I believe this Nevada woman is the first to be killed by Obamacare:

A Nevada woman taking part in a class-action lawsuit against Nevada’s Obamacare exchange contractor over coverage delays passed away Monday due to complications from her illness, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal. . .

The family says Rolain’s tumor was treatable last fall when diagnosed, but became fatal by this spring as she waited for the Obamacare exchange to communicate her coverage to the insurance company. Both Rolain and her husband’s health insurance took effect in March, according to the exchange, but the couple alleged that they were told the coverage wouldn’t be in effect until May, according to the Review Journal.

So this is great news. Obamacare is cutting health care costs already!


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