You know there’s a Democrat in office when NPR runs this story:
Is Slow Growth Actually Good For The Economy?
UPDATE: Apparently recognizing how preposterous their headline was, NPR has changed it.
Our federal government can be divided into two parts. One part is exemplified by activities like keeping terrorists from killing us. The other part is exemplified by activities like ensuring that Catholics buy contraceptives.
You can learn a lot about someone by asking which part of the government they think is the good part.
CNN says the Obama-eats-dogs story came from the Romney campaign. Not that there would be anything wrong with that, but it’s not true. The story came from Jim Treacher, a blogger with the Daily Caller.
However, I’ll bet that Romney would be more than happy to answer everything on the Daily Caller, if Obama is answerable for everything on the Huffington Post.
(Via Jim Geraghty.)
Well, I’m glad they cleared that up. I’m sure that 72 hours was plenty of time for a thorough investigation.
Seriously, given all we’re learning about the pervasive problems in the Secret Service, is it really likely that the political side is completely innocent? Maybe the possibility merits more than a 3-day glance.
What? There’s a welfare system for right-wing bloggers? How come I never got mine?
I think these stories are related:
Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said that “no one knows” if gasoline prices in the United States will reach $9 per gallon, and acknowledged that the possibility is outside his control.
President Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar confirmed that the administration has gotten “more strict on denying drilling permits” since the Deepwater Horizon, though he contended Obama is also pursuing an effective all-of-the-above energy strategy.
The possibility is outside his control in the short-term, but in the long-run he certainly does have the ability to make a difference. He’s just refusing to do it.
POSTSCRIPT: Since President’s Obama strategy favors energy from the sky (wind and solar), but opposes energy from the ground (coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear), I think a more apt phrase would be all-of-the-above but none-of-the-below.
The Obama administration’s latest great idea:
The Department of Labor is poised to put the finishing touches on a rule that would apply child labor laws to children working on family farms, prohibiting them from performing a list of jobs on their own families’ land.
Under the rules, most children under 18 could no longer work “in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials.”
“Prohibited places of employment,” a Department press release read, “would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.”
The new regulations, first proposed August 31 by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, would also revoke the government’s approval of safety training and certification taught by independent groups like 4-H and FFA, replacing them instead with a 90-hour federal government training course.
The Labor Department has reportedly withdrawn the proposal already in the face of public outrage. It seems America isn’t ready for a war on family farms just yet.
But why did the Obama administration want to do this in the first place? A payoff from big agro concerns? I don’t get it.
The execrable HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admits that she did not seek any legal advice before issuing her mandate requiring everyone, Catholics included, to pay for contraceptives and abortifacients as part of their health care.
If she had, her lawyer might have told her that the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Who wants to hear that sort of thing?
(Via the Corner.)
The Hill says:
Nearly 70 percent of all guns found in Mexico came from the U.S. over the past four years, according to data released by the federal government on Thursday.
Simply untrue. The data say no such thing. The data say that 70% of the guns that Mexico submitted to US authorities for tracing came from the United States. Since Mexico only does so with guns that it already believes are from the United States, this statistic says almost nothing.
(Via the Corner.)
The Guardian de-corrects:
The caption on a photograph featuring passengers on a tram in Jerusalem observing a two-minute silence for Yom HaShoah, a day of remembrance for the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust, wrongly referred to the city as the Israeli capital. The Guardian style guide states: “Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel; Tel Aviv is”
In point of fact, Israel’s capital is in Jerusalem. All the branches of Israel’s government are headquartered there. But for ideological reasons, the Guardian doesn’t want Israel’s capital to be in Jerusalem, so they report that the capital is in some other city where in fact it isn’t. Simply bizarre.
(Via the Corner.)
Ezra Klein explains to us in the Washington Post that the reason we won’t have a budget again this year is because those dirty Republicans wouldn’t just sign on to Conrad’s (D-ND) plan. Those jerks insisted on debating the plan and offering amendments. What do they think they’re doing?!
A group of Democrats led by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and including Nancy Pelosi want to amend the Bill of Rights as a reaction against the Citizens United decision.
Their proposed “People’s Rights Amendment” would strip constitutional protections from any group that is organized as a corporation. As Eugene Volokh explains, that includes most churches, newspapers, and nonprofits, so the proposed amendment would eviscerate the freedoms of religion, speech, and the press.
These liberals’ basic problem here is a deep misunderstanding of the logic of Citizens United: Contrary to common misunderstanding, the landmark decision did not rule that corporations constitute persons. On the contrary, it ruled that corporations are made up of people. They are groups of people who have chosen to organize their activities using a certain provision of law.
Corporations have no speech rights of their own, but they people who make up the corporation have free speech rights, and those rights are not attenuated merely because they have chosen to organize their activities in a particular way. Thus, any effort to eliminate the rights of corporations really only eliminates the rights of individuals.
The world that these Democrats claim to want is a world in which individuals have rights, but they cannot band together to exercise those rights. Each man exercising his rights must stand alone.
Back when the Occupy movement was in the news, its apologists tried to explain away the movement’s anti-Semitism the same way as every other disgusting and/or criminal aspect of that movement: “Oh, those guys aren’t part of our movement; they’re just hanging around.”
It’s just amazing how many people at the Occupy encampments weren’t part of the Occupy movement. Even the Occupy’s movement’s anti-Semitic founder is somehow not representative of the movement.
But let’s hear how they explain anti-Semitic cartoons on the movement’s official Facebook page.
In honor of Earth Day:
New research from Pew finds that Republicans are better informed than Democrats:
On eight of 13 questions about politics, Republicans outscored Democrats by an average of 18 percentage points, according to a new Pew survey titled “Partisan Differences in Knowledge.”
The Pew survey adds to a wave of surveys and studies showing that GOP-sympathizers are better informed, more intellectually consistent, more open-minded, more empathetic and more receptive to criticism than their fellow Americans who support the Democratic Party.
“Republicans fare substantially better than Democrats on several questions in the survey, as is typically the case in surveys about political knowledge,” said the study, which noted that Democrats outscored Republicans on five questions by an average of 4.6 percent.
The study found that Republicans understand Democrats much better than vice versa, which is just what you would expect given the liberal slant in the legacy media. Republicans can’t help but learn what Democrats think, since it’s splattered across the media. On the other hand, Democrats can easily avoid learning anything about Republicans, and clearly many do.
But it’s not just the media, the study all found that Democrats had a greater desire to avoid learning about Republican ideas than vice versa:
A March 12 Pew study showed that Democrats are far more likely that conservatives to disconnect from people who disagree with them.
“In all, 28% of liberals have blocked, unfriended, or hidden someone on SNS [social networking sites] because of one of these reasons, compared with 16% of conservatives and 14% of moderates,” said the report, tiled “Social networking sites and politics.”
The report also noted that 11 percent of liberals, but only 4 percent of conservatives, deleted friends from their social networks after disagreeing with their politics.
The study also found that Republicans were more intellectually honest:
A March Washington Post poll showed that Democrats were more willing to change their views about a subject to make their team look good. For example, in 2006, 73 percent of Democrats said the GOP-controlled White House could lower gas prices, but that number fell by more than half to 33 percent in 2012 once a Democrat was in the White House.
In contrast, the opinions of GOP supporters were more consistent. Their collective opinion shifted by only a third, according to the data.
(Via Power Line.)
I want to take the occasion of Tina Brown’s (editor of the Daily Beast and its new subsidiary, Newsweek) latest attack on the late Andrew Breitbart to set the record straight. First, what Brown said:
Breitbart didn’t report anything. What Breitbart did, really, was he was a provocateur. He was a death by 1,000 tweets. He was, you know, quite happy to take the flying sound bite – any sound bite – and misapply it in its context and create an absolute mayhem for the person concerned like he did for poor Shirley Sherrod who was the obscure official in the Agriculture Department. He gave the impression by the cutting of her words in a tape that he released that she was giving racially motivated financing decisions when she was doing the opposite.
This is a complete lie. The left has had great success in promulgating this lie, but there’s not a word of truth in it.
Breitbart’s original article has disappeared from the site, but you can find it on the Wayback Machine. The archive’s first capture of the article is here. The text contains the context of Sherrod’s remarks in every particular:
In the first video, Sherrod describes how she racially discriminates against a white farmer. She describes how she is torn over how much she will choose to help him. And, she admits that she doesn’t do everything she can for him, because he is white. Eventually, her basic humanity informs that this white man is poor and needs help. But she decides that he should get help from “one of his own kind”. She refers him to a white lawyer.
To reiterate: It’s an lie to say that Breitbart was trying to hide the context; he made the context completely clear. The video — the infamous “edited video” — similarly carried all these details.
In fact, Shirley Sherrod was never Breitbart’s target. Sherrod was not so obscure as Brown suggests (she was actually a lightning rod for criticism, which is why the Obama administration was so eager to get rid of her), but Breitbart didn’t care about her. He was attacking the NAACP:
We are in possession of a video from in which Shirley Sherrod, USDA Georgia Director of Rural Development, speaks at the NAACP Freedom Fund dinner in Georgia. . . Sherrod’s racist tale is received by the NAACP audience with nodding approval and murmurs of recognition and agreement. Hardly the behavior of the group now holding itself up as the supreme judge of another groups’ racial tolerance.
The NAACP had just condemned the Tea Party as racist, and Breitbart was demonstrating that the NAACP — or at least its members at the meeting in Georgia — were the real racists. The fact that Sherrod had a moral epiphany by the end is a defense for Sherrod, but not for the NAACP, who cheered her reluctance to help the white farmer without knowing the end of the story.
The Obama administration quickly fired Sherrod, in part because they were glad of an excuse to be rid of her, but mostly to change the subject. The NAACP, unlike Sherrod, was valuable, and they needed to put the focus somewhere else.
This story is being used to tarnish the legacy of a great man, and it needs to be set straight.
The FBI has abruptly ceased sharing intelligence with state and local officials. I can’t fathom why they would do such a thing.
The Obama campaign has made clear that the main thrust of its attack against Mitt Romney will be to cast him as “weird”:
“Unless things change and Obama can run on accomplishments, he will have to kill Romney,” said a prominent Democratic strategist aligned with the White House.
The onslaught would have two aspects. The first is personal: Obama’s reelection campaign will portray the public Romney as inauthentic, unprincipled and, in a word used repeatedly by Obama’s advisers in about a dozen interviews, “weird.”
A major part of that strategy is to attack Romney’s Mormonism. President Obama himself would prefer to keep his hands clean, but he has surrogate aplenty. One of them is Montana’s Democratic governor Brian Schweitzer, who attacked Romney for being descended from polygamists:
The Daily Beast contacted the office of Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer today to talk about whether his state would be in play in the 2012 presidential election. About a half hour later, the governor called back, and he had a lot to say. He didn’t think that Montana would be a swing state, but the Democrat did say that Mitt Romney could have issues nationally because his father was “born on a polygamy commune in Mexico.” . . .
Women, he said, are “not great fans of polygamy, 86 percent were not great fans of polygamy. I am not alleging by any stretch that Romney is a polygamist and approves of [the] polygamy lifestyle, but his father was born into [a] polygamy commune in Mexico.”
Romney’s father and grandfather were monogamous, but his grandfather lived in a community that accepted polygamy. What a pathetic line of attack.
And ill-advised too: Barack Obama comes from a long line of polygamists:
The line of polygamists in Obama’s family can be traced back generations in western Kenya, where it was an accepted practice within the Luo (pronounced LOO-oh) tribe. His great-grandfather, Obama Opiyo, had five wives, including two who were sisters. His grandfather, Hussein Onyango, had at least four wives, one of whom, Akumu, gave birth to the president’s father, Barack Obama, before fleeing her abusive husband. Obama Sr. was already married when he left Kenya to study at the University of Hawaii, where he married again.
Schweitzer is forgetting that Obama’s background is much weirder than Romney’s. It’s easy to forget that, when the media has buried it so effectively. But if the Obama campaign pursues the “weird” attacks on Romney, this stuff is going to come out.
(Via Gateway Pundit.)
A contest run by the British National Army Museum has named George Washington as the most formidable foe faced by Great Britain since the 17th century.
I find this a little surprising. Washington scored some brilliant victories, but he also made some big mistakes, particularly on Long Island. I would have picked Napoleon, who came in third.
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan says her job now is pretty much the same as her old job as Solicitor General.
Here’s something I didn’t know: Labor unions want their contracted wages to be the maximum permitted wages, and actually go to the NLRB to block bonuses or individual raises. Amazing.
A bill now in Congress would allow companies to pay their workers more than the union-contracted wage.
Apparently, Greenpeace feels it’s losing the debate:
Don’t the deniers have a right to free speech?
There’s a difference between free speech and a campaign to deny the climate science with the goal of undermining international action on climate change. However, there’s also responsibility that goes with freedom of speech – which is based around honesty and transparency. Freedom of speech does not apply to misinformation and propaganda.
Campaigning to undermine international action isn’t free speech? Thanks for clearing that up.
(Via the Corner.)
CNN is reporting this comment by Ted Nugent as a death threat:
If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will be either be dead or in jail by this time next year.
CNN excises all the context for this comment, and invites the viewer to believe that Nugent is threatening to try to assassinate the president. But there’s nothing of that in what Nugent actually said.
Nugent was saying that, if re-elected, President Obama would confiscate everyone’s guns. When the agents came for his (Nugent’s), he would refuse to give them up. Afterward, he would either be dead or in jail.
It’s hyperbolic, but he’s not threatening anyone. Suggesting otherwise is pure slander.
UPDATE: The always-absurd Debbie Wasserman-Schultz doesn’t disappoint:
U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Convention, responded earlier this week, saying “threatening violence – or whatever it is that Nugent’s threatening – is clearly beyond the pale.”
To paraphrase: “I don’t really know what he meant, but I’m sure it was beyond the pale.” Awesome.
Federal law requires the Congress to adopt a budget every year, but for the last few years, the Democrats have ignored the law. They don’t want a budget because it would require them to go on record with their spending priorities.
Perhaps because of an attack of conscience, the Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) decided that the Senate would fulfill its statutory duty this year. Starting this week, the Senate Budget Committee would begin considering a budget.
But now Harry Reid has scuttled the process. The Senate will not take up a budget until after the election, if at all.
I must confess, I just don’t get this attack: In 1983, when Mitt Romney took his family on vacation, with seven people and luggage he didn’t have room in the car for the family dog. Rather than leave the dog behind, he jury-rigged a dog carrier on the roof of the car.
Somehow, this shows that Romney is cruel towards animals. How? I don’t get it. If Romney had actually “strapped the dog to the roof of the car,” as his detractors like to say, I would understand it, but he didn’t. He attached a dog carrier to the car’s roof rack, and constructed a windshield to protect him. How is that any different from a dog riding in the back of a truck?
To me, this story speaks of ingenuity and resourcefulness. It also speaks of a man who wanted to bring his dog on vacation, rather than leave it at a kennel.
I can certainly understand that the Obama campaign would rather talk about anything other than their candidate’s record in office. Nevertheless, I’m still puzzled by David Axelrod saying that loving dog owners transport their dogs in limousines, like Barack Obama. Most dog owners don’t have limousines. Isn’t it a little . . . off message to mock Mitt Romney for not having a limousine?
POSTSCRIPT: Romney brings his dog on vacation, Obama eats dog. Yes, the jokes write themselves. Even funnier than the jokes are the Obama surrogates earnestly making drawing distinctions between the Romney vacation story and the Obama dog-eating story. The truth is, both stories are nothing. What’s telling is which campaign wants to focus on the dog stories (Obama’s), and which campaign wants to talk about the economy (Romney’s).
UPDATE: Exactly right.
“Cyberbullying” rules are being used to protect authorities from criticism.
UPDATE: Fixed the missing link.
The White House admits that its proposed “Buffett rule” (a tax hike on millionaires, defeated — for now — in the Senate) is not intended to generate revenue or reduce the debt. In fact, the Buffett rule would actually reduce revenue and add $793 billion to the debt.
So why do it? Spite. Barack Obama has made this clear since his presidential campaign, when he said he would be willing to sacrifice revenue in order to hurt investors.
Of course, he calls it “fairness”. As if a policy that hurts someone and helps no one could possibly be fair. I’ll let Frank J give this notion the respect it deserves:
That’s not what the Buffett Rule is about; actually doing anything even slightly useful is far beyond your wildest dreams. This is just about “fairness”. Because when people don’t have a job and can’t afford basic necessities, fairness is what we’re all most worried about. “Don’t worry, honey, we’ll feed our family on fairness.” “We don’t have to worry about retirement; we have a 401k filled with fairness.”
POSTSCRIPT: Yes, I realize that the bill would also protect some people from being hit by the AMT, and that constitutes helping someone. But that’s just legislative vote-buying. Obama has specifically endorsed, as “fairness”, the notion of hurting someone to help no one.
Moreover, the AMT is a good case in point. It was designed to hit a very small number of taxpayers (about 30, if memory serves), which is probably narrower than the Buffett rule. But over time it has grown to hit millions. The Buffett rule would do the same.
Even at this late date, the Obama administration is trying to cover-up the Gunwalker scandal. The White House won’t let Congressional investigators take testimony from Kevin O’Reilly, formerly the White House National Security Director for North America. O’Reilly was informed of Fast and Furious, and his testimony could shed light on how high that information went.
O’Reilly wants to testify, but the White House won’t let him:
“[O’Reilly’s] personal attorney indicated that he’s more than willing to talk to the committee, on the record, under oath”” [Rep. Jason] Chaffetz told Kelly during her Friday afternoon broadcast. “It is only the White House and the White House Counsel that is saying they will not make him available.”
Innocent people rarely behave this way.
Esquire gets the facts of the Cornhusker Kickback wrong:
Thanks [Ann Althouse] for the link, but, seriously, I know there are better things to do in Wisconsin than to be this publicly dim. . .
But this part is seriously hilarious.
We know that the Cornhusker kickback — AKA the Nebraska Compromise — was a deal made by Harry Reid to get the vote of Senator Ben Nelson, the last hold-out among the Democrats. The state of Nebraska got 100% funding for Medicaid, unlike all the other states, so that extra funding to Nebraska approaches vote-buying.
Actually, what we know is that the “Cornhusker kickback” — a rightwing term of art — is not in the Affordable Care Act at all. Scalia was repeating something he heard on his radio or on his TV. It was eliminated before the bill passed. So Scalia was constructing his “hypothetical” around something that is no more part of the ACA than the public option is. He’s just not trying very hard anymore. Neither, apparently, are many of his defenders.
What’s great about this is the height of smugness that this Esquire columnist achieves while getting the facts completely wrong.
In fact, the Cornhusker Kickback was not eliminated before the bill passed. It was part of the Senate bill that the Democrats were not able to amend because Scott Brown has been elected. As a result, the House had to pass precisely the Senate bill. The House also passed a second bill (the “reconciliation sidecar” it was called) that removed the Cornhusker Kickback and some other provisions unpalatable to House Democrats (such as taxes on high value health plans favored by unions). The second bill passed the Senate under reconciliation (so only fifty-one votes were required) and amended the first bill.
Moreover, every single thing that Althouse wrote in that quote was accurate: The Kickback was a deal made between Reid and Nelson to buy Nelson’s vote, and it would have given Nebraska 100% funding for Medicaid.
The only reason the Kickback isn’t part of the law now is it was so outrageous that Democrats had to repeal it. Nevertheless, less-publicized special provisions for at least five other states are still in the law.
When you mock someone’s command of the facts, you would do well to get the facts straight yourself.
POSTSCRIPT: If I wanted to be smug, I would also correct his use of the phrase “term of art”, but I’ll let that go.
An interesting note in the Obama administration’s battle to force Catholics to provide contraceptives and abortifacients: President Obama lied to Archbishop Dolan, telling him that the administration would ameliorate the mandates and then doing no such thing. Dolan was surprised and dismayed by this, but really shouldn’t have been.
Will this help Catholics to learn that they are supporting a party that despises them? Better late than never.
In most recessions, employment participation experiences a moderate drop and then a rebound, but not so in the Obama economy. Here’s an astonishing chart:
Something historically bad has happened. So many people either have been unable to find work, have given up on finding work, or have found that work no longer pays enough to be worth having, that employment participation has reversed three decades of progress and returned to the Carter era.
(Via The Transparency Revolution.)
The Obama administration has banned new coal-fired power plants. Is anyone surprised that his announced “all of the above” energy strategy was a lie?
To the Washington Post’s “fact-checker” column, a statement that is indisputably true can still be false, if it is cited as part of an argument that it only imperfectly supports.
A few days ago, it was the Romney campaign’s statement that 90% of the 740k jobs lost under President Obama were held by women. The statistic is true, but it’s still somehow false (they actually said “true but false”!) because, er, well, um, it might not really be Obama’s fault.
In the latest example, the Post admits that Romney’s statement that Obama has added nearly 150,000 thousand federal employees is true, but says that the statement is somehow still false (“significant omissions and/or exaggerations”) because it was cited while on the topic of Obama’s legion of new regulators and not all of those 150k employees were regulators.
You see how this works? You want to cite the number of new regulators. There are tons of them (thousands from Obamacare alone), but it’s hard to come up with a precise number. You could try to estimate it, but then the “fact-checker” would quibble with your numbers and call you a liar. So instead you cite a statistic that is apposite (that two numbers are certainly correlated) and indisputable, but you still get called a liar because the figure only imperfectly supports your thesis.
Good lord, can you imagine if that standard were applied evenly? How often does the left cite facts that only imperfectly support their argument (if at all)? Essentially everything they say fits into that category:
A small fraction of Americans have trouble getting affordable health insurance, therefore we must nationalize the health insurance industry. A woman claims to spend over $1000 per year on contraception, therefore Catholics must be forced to dispense contraceptives and abortifacients. Warren Buffett masterfully exploits tax shelters, therefore we must leave the tax shelters in place but hike the top tax rate that Buffett isn’t paying anyway.
(Via Don Surber.)
The press usually doesn’t admit to this sort of thing:
Washington Post columnist Patrick Pexton made a rather startling admission in the paper’s Sunday edition:
The Post never meant for their recent story about how President Obama’s health care law expands the budget deficit to become a viral Internet sensation. In fact, they deliberately tried to bury the story.
Putting the story (inside the paper) on A3 was the right judgment for a print publication. (Story author Lori) Montgomery urged her editors, correctly, not to put it on the front page: it wasn’t worth that.
The story in question was titled “Health care law will add $340 billion to deficit, new study finds.” It pointed out that the administration had double-counted Medicare savings in the law and once you adjusted for that it added to the deficit rather than reducing it, as the White House has claimed. . .
Pexton, the Post’s resident ombudsman . . . admits that they are ambivalent about this success, calling story’s popularity a reflection of our “our reactive, partisan, hyperventilating media culture.”
A study has found that the government’s rigged estimates were rosy by half a trillion dollars, and to the Washington Post, that’s not news.
Pexton tried hard to make the case that the story was worth being buried, arguing that various official reports undermine the independent study, but he’s very selective about the evidence he is willing to admit:
Even the official referees say that the CBO score was inaccurate, including the score’s own author. But the Post doesn’t want you to know that.
The latest in President Obama’s “smart diplomacy”:
Seriously, how did people get the idea that this guy was competent to be president?
A good ad from the RNC:
Oh, and this one is even more to the point:
There is no “war on women”, except as just one front in President Obama’s war on nearly everyone (women, men, catholics, jews, evangelicals, children, the elderly, rich people, people who want to be rich, automobile drivers, automobile bondholders, medical companies that didn’t support Obama enough, medical companies that did support Obama enough (suckers!), Alaskans, Louisianans, gun owners, would-be gun owners, ISPs, people who want the lights to come on quickly, etc.).
But since the Democrats have proclaimed it a war, let’s look at some facts:
Now the Democrats claim that they never accused Republicans of waging a war against women. To make that work, you have to discount Joe Biden, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Barbara Boxer, Benjamin Cardin, MoveOn.org, MSNBC, James Carville, Talking Points Memo, Emily’s List, NARAL, and at least seven other Democratic representatives.
Joe Biden says that President Obama’s decision to take out Osama Bin Laden was the most audacious military operation in 500 years:
You can go back 500 years. You cannot find a more audacious plan. Never knowing for certain. We never had more than a 48 percent probability that he was there.
A detachment of ten US Marines setting out to defeat the city of Derne, Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, Hitler invading France through the impassible Ardennes Forest, the British retaking the Falkland Islands, America bringing down the Taliban with just special forces and air power — all that is nothing compared to Obama sending Seal Team Six to take down a house, says Joe Biden.
But the sad thing about this isn’t the hyperbole, but the Democratic posturing that the operation was audacious at all. Does anyone think that President Bush would have hesitated for a moment? He would have authorized the mission in a heartbeat. So would have Al Gore (“The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass.”).
Obama made the right decision, and gets the credit for it. But making it out as though this easy decision were hard (much less the hardest decision since around the Battle of Ravenna) shows him not as audacious, but the opposite.
John Hinderaker notes a troubling story:
It isn’t surprising that a Muslim extremist has offered a $10 million bounty on the heads of George Bush and Barack Obama, but it is a little shocking that the extremist in question is a member of the House of Lords . . .
In Denmark you can be tried on “hate speech” charges for remarks made in private. Truth is not a defense, and if you’re acquitted, prosecutors can just try you again. This is what happened to Danish journalist Lars Hedegaard.
Put more succinctly, Denmark is not a free country.
UPDATE: The Danish Supreme Court has reversed Hedegaard’s conviction, but it did so without overturning the law that was used to persecuted him.
Harry Reid, looking for political cover for his continued failure to adopt a budget (as required by law), asked the Senate parliamentarian to rule that last year’s Budget Control Act prohibits the Senate from voting on a budget. The parliamentarian, who Reid appointed, refused to do so, since in fact the Budget Control Act does no such thing.
President Obama says that it would be “unprecedented” for the Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare:
I am confident the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected congress.
Wow, every single thing in this sentence is false. Clearly, Obama is not confident. The law was not passed by a strong majority (four votes in the House and zero in the Senate). The Congress was not democratically elected (the winning margin in the Senate came from Paul Kirk, who was appointed to the body after Edward Kennedy died — an appointment that required an 11th hour change in the law).
But most absurd is the suggestion that it would be unprecedented for the Supreme Court to strike down a law, even if all those things were true. Judicial review has been part of our system since Marbury v. Madison in 1803 struck down a provision of the Judiciary Act of 1789. The Judiciary Act was adopted in the very first session of the United States Congress. All told, the Supreme Court has struck down 165 laws as unconstitutional.
How could a man who taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago say such a thing? Did he never teach Marbury v. Madison? As it turns out, no, he didn’t. Obama taught Constitutional Law III, which covers exclusively the 14th Amendment. So Obama never taught separation of powers or checks and balances, which makes a lot of sense when you consider his actions.
A three-judge panel for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered the Justice Department to explain by Thursday whether the administration believes judges have the power to strike down a federal law.
One justice in particular chided the administration for what he said was being perceived as a “challenge” to judicial authority — referring directly to Obama’s latest comments about the Supreme Court’s review of the health care case.
The Justice Department, of course, had to acknowledge the principle of judicial review, although it laughably asserted that Obama’s remarks were consistent with it.
Obama later tried to walk back his remarks:
He spoke slowly, with long pauses, giving the sense that he was speaking with great thought and precision: “Well, first of all, let me be very specific. Um [pause], we have not seen a court overturn [pause] a [pause] law that was passed [pause] by Congress on [pause] a [pause] economic issue, like health care, that I think most people would clearly consider commerce. A law like that has not been overturned [pause] at least since Lochner, right? So we’re going back to the ’30s, pre-New Deal.”
Again, Obama doesn’t sound much like a constitutional scholar here, or he would have known that Lochner was in 1905, not during the 1930s. But that’s a nitpick. More to the point, it’s complete nonsense. The Supreme Court has struck down provisions from plenty of economic laws since 1905; including Sarbanes-Oxley just two years ago.
More generally, the problem here is that Obama doesn’t understand (or willfully misrepresents) what judicial activism means. In his original remarks, before the walkback, Obama went on to say:
I just remind conservative commentators that for years we have heard the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint. That an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.
No. Judicial activism is when the courts render decisions based on their political preferences, rather than on meaning of the law. It’s not judicial activism whenever the Supreme Court strikes down a law. On the contrary, if the law is unconstitutional, it would be judicial activism to leave it standing.
Unfortunately, progressives tend not to believe (or tend not to care) that the law has any meaning independent of current politics. For example, Obama cautioned the court:
The justices should understand that in the absence of an individual mandate you cannot have a mechanism to ensure that people with pre-existing conditions can actually get health care.
Again, that’s complete nonsense, but again, that’s beside the point. The point is, this is a policy argument, not a legal argument. Only a judicial activist would even find it relevant.
POSTSCRIPT: Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to be working. Even Obama’s own allies are saying publicly that his attack on the Supreme Court is ill-considered. And the Supreme Court’s approval rating has risen dramatically since Obama began his attack.
James O’Keefe strikes again:
The New York Times has an opinion piece decrying the efforts of social scientists to employ the scientific method:
Many social scientists contend that science has a method, and if you want to be scientific, you should adopt it. The method requires you to devise a theoretical model, deduce a testable hypothesis from the model and then test the hypothesis against the world. If the hypothesis is confirmed, the theoretical model holds; if the hypothesis is not confirmed, the theoretical model does not hold. If your discipline does not operate by this method — known as hypothetico-deductivism — then in the minds of many, it’s not scientific.
Such reasoning dominates the social sciences today. . . But we believe that this way of thinking is badly mistaken and detrimental to social research. For the sake of everyone who stands to gain from a better knowledge of politics, economics and society, the social sciences need to overcome their inferiority complex, reject hypothetico-deductivism and embrace the fact that they are mature disciplines with no need to emulate other sciences.
There’s no question that the social sciences are handicapped by the difficulty in doing controlled experiments. But does that mean they shouldn’t even try? They offer no real argument in support of their position.
In fact, the argument that they try to make exposes a complete misunderstanding of the scientific method. They argue that the scientific method is unnecessary because of various examples in which the sciences made do with mathematical proofs in place of experiments.
Okay, great! But understand that mathematical proof is better than experimental evidence, not worse. Proof offers us certainty, but it’s only available to certain domains. Unlike mathematics, logic, and much of computer science, the physical sciences have to settle for experimental evidence, because they cannot get the certainty that comes from mathematical proof.
I’ll happily allow that social scientists, or any scientists, can set aside experimental testing of their hypotheses in favor of something better. But the authors aren’t arguing for that. Instead they make the unjustifiable leap to the notion that because experimental testing is not always necessary, we can settle for something worse. That’s nonsense.
In a new atrocity from the horror show that is the British NHS, a British man is denied medical care because he is too old:
When Kenneth Warden was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer, his hospital consultant sent him home to die, ruling that at 78 he was too old to treat. Even the palliative surgery or chemotherapy that could have eased his distressing symptoms were declared off-limits because of his age.
The NHS sentenced this man to death, and wouldn’t even treat his suffering. Universal coverage does not mean universal access.
But don’t worry, nothing like that could ever happen here. . .
POSTSCRIPT: The story actually has a happy ending, but it’s one that makes the NHS’s judgement even worse. After the man was denied care by the socialized medicine system, she man’s daughter paid to send him to a private doctor:
Thanks to her tenacity, Kenneth got the drugs and surgery he needed — and as a result his cancer was actually cured. Four years on, he is a sprightly 82-year-old who works out at the gym, drives a sports car and competes in a rowing team.
So the NHS wanted to leave this man to die who actually could be saved. Lesson: if you want to get better, you need to be in charge of your medical care, not the government.
Unfortunately, not many people can afford to do what the man’s daughter did. When you’re already paying for “universal” medical care, most people can’t afford to pay a second time for private care. Moreover, under the Canadian system (which Democrats want to enact here), it’s not even allowed.
The White House gave the Treasury Department just one day to review the federal government’s ill-fated loan to Solyndra:
The U.S. Treasury Department was given one day to review Solyndra LLC’s $535 million U.S. loan guarantee after learning the Energy Department was ready to announce the award, according to a Treasury audit.
While Treasury staff say they had enough time to review the loan, internal e-mails cast doubt on whether staff suggestions were addressed by the Energy Department, the Treasury’s Inspector General’s Office said yesterday in the report.
Officials in the White House’s Office of Management and Budget told the Treasury Department that the announcement of a conditional commitment to Solyndra was imminent. The department had one day to review the terms of the guarantee to accommodate an Energy Department press release.
Thanks to Barack Obama, I can now fill up my truck for the price of 2 light bulbs!
I’ve resisted commenting on the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida because I don’t know what really happened. With all the contradictory statements being made, I’d rather let the justice system sort things out. I certainly don’t trust the media to sort things out, and here’s a good example of why:
This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.
That sounds pretty damning. Clearly Zimmerman was racially motivated.
Except that’s not what he said. This is what he actually said:
ZIMMERMAN: This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.
911 OPERATOR: Okay. And this guy, is he white black or Hispanic?
ZIMMERMAN: He looks black.
NBC deleted Zimmerman’s expressed reasons for suspecting Martin was “up to no good”, and also deleted the 911 operator’s direct question about Martin’s race, which Zimmerman answered. Their dishonest editing completely changed the exchange from one with no racial bias whatsoever into one with a clear bias. Put more simply, NBC lied.
ASIDE: It’s possible that Zimmerman’s motive was racial nonetheless. I can’t claim to know. But the 911 tape is not evidence of it.
NBC reportedly has launched an internal investigation into the matter. These things usually end in a whitewash, but we’ll see.
UPDATE: As predicted:
During our investigation it became evident that there was an error made in the production process that we deeply regret. We will be taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future and apologize to our viewers.
That is the full statement. NBC lies in order to further inflame racial tensions in an already tense racial controversy, and all we get is “oops, sorry”. No apology at all to the man they slandered. No disciplinary action.
Through his, even more than through the original offense, NBC shows that the truth is just not a priority.
Also, Richard Epstein comments on NBC’s non-apology.
UPDATE: Talk Left discovers that the Today piece was the second time that NBC aired the dishonest edit. Also, NBC’s Miami affiliate made the dishonest edit several times on their website (and presumably on the air as well), in articles that are still posted (for example). All of which seems to deny NBC their “one guy made a mistake” defense. (Via Instapundit.)
UPDATE: Tom Maguire isn’t letting go.
This Patterico post on severability in the context of Obamacare expresses what I’ve thought for a long time. If the courts strike down a law as unconstitutional, then in the absence of any severability provision that says exactly what should remain, the court should strike down the bill in its entirety. Anything else is an arrogation of legislative authority.
Unfortunately, that not what the courts do. Instead, they try to find some constitutional subset of the bill that the Congress might have passed instead. But this is precisely what the courts are not competent to decide: to resolve the political question of what Congress is willing to do.
Firstly, the Supreme Court does not have the necessary insight to answer the question. No one does. Even members of Congress who have legislated for decades cannot predict what Congress will do. But, secondly, even if they did have the insight, legislating is a dynamic process, not a static process. Put in computer science terms, the legislative branch maintains a state, and that state is altered by the legislative process. Allegiances shift, favors change hands, special elections are won and lost. Even if the Court could simulate that process, it certainly could not enact its result.
Instead, the Supreme Court sets itself the task of acting as a secondary legislature, tasked with drawing up, using only the delete key, a new bill that holds together under the Court’s various rules. They have no business doing so.
At last, a law against distracted walking. Our long national nightmare is over.