Lies, damn lies, and Paul Krugman

March 17, 2014

Paul Krugman, doing the old Paul Krugman thing, explains that nothing but racism can explain Republicans’ otherwise-inexplicable political views. He can produce two examples, the first of which is:

We are told, for example, that conservatives are against big government and high spending. Yet even as Republican governors and state legislatures block the expansion of Medicaid, the G.O.P. angrily denounces modest cost-saving measures for Medicare.

Now, let’s pretend, just for a moment, that the politics of Medicare isn’t much more easily explained by age politics than race politics. Krugman doesn’t specify what “modest cost-savings for Medicare” Republicans have angrily denounced. I assume he is referring to Obamacare’s deep cuts to Medicare Advantage, which — not modest at all — virtually kill the program. Krugman really can’t think of any reason other than racism why any Republican might oppose Obamacare.

In fact, he’s being even more dishonest than that, if you consider what Medicare Advantage is. Medicare Advantage allows the elderly to obtain private health insurance using Medicare. By killing Medicare Advantage, Obamacare forces all those people back onto the government plan, thereby increasing the reach of big government. But sure, the only reason a small-government Republican might oppose that would have to be racism. . .

Krugman’s other example is simply an outright lie:

Or we’re told that conservatives, the Tea Party in particular, oppose handouts because they believe in personal responsibility, in a society in which people must bear the consequences of their actions. Yet it’s hard to find angry Tea Party denunciations of huge Wall Street bailouts, of huge bonuses paid to executives who were saved from disaster by government backing and guarantees.

This is utter nonsense. It’s not remotely difficult to find Tea Party denunciations of the financial bailout. (Here’s a link, but no one who identifies with the Tea Party will have any need to click it.)  Obviously Krugman has never been to a Tea Party rally, and doesn’t watch Fox News, and I’m sure doesn’t have any Tea Party friends either. But that doesn’t let him off the hook; as a prominent political commentator, he ought to know something about the body politic, or at least he should find out before slinging spurious accusations of racism.

Unless he doesn’t care whether it’s true. After all, most of his readers don’t have any Tea Party friends either, so they won’t know any better.

(Via Instapundit.)

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Ukraine update

March 6, 2014

The Russian Navy Some people having no connection to Russia whatsoever has sunk an old Russian warship to block the exit from Ukraine’s naval base in Crimea.


In loco parentis

March 6, 2014

In government-run schools, bureaucratically dictated procedures reign supreme, and common sense is nowhere to be found:

A Minnesota public high school was so committed to obeying its fire drill policy to the exact letter of the law that it forced a female student–dressed only in a swimsuit, and sopping wet–to stand outside in the freezing cold for ten minutes. As a result, she suffered frostbite.

Administrators wouldn’t let the student retrieve her clothes, sit in a car or wait inside another building, according to WCCO.

Someone ought to be prosecuted, but I expect no one will even be fired.

(Via Instapundit.)


Iron Beam

March 1, 2014

Years ago, liberals made an ideological commitment to the idea that missile defense was impossible. It’s easy to understand how: Reagan was for it, and liberals were against everything he was for. Why they’ve never been able to shed that position in the ensuing decades is truly a puzzler. Despite all the things modern technology has accomplished (including successes in missile defense!), missile defense is the one thing that liberals believe is impossible.

But while America’s implementation of missile defense has been desultory, Israel hasn’t had the luxury of being able to accommodate its defense nay-sayers. They have implemented a system, and it works. Their Iron Dome system shoots down incoming rockets from Gaza, allowing their citizens to live normal lives while under constant attack.

But it’s expensive, so the Israelis have developed a cheaper solution:

At $100,000 a pop, missile interception isn’t cheap. And that’s why Israel is investigating lasers. Last week Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, the company behind the Iron Dome, unveiled its new Iron Beam system, a less expensive and more versatile laser-based addition to Israel’s defensive arsenal. The Iron Beam, which could be deployed as early as 2015, will reportedly vaporize short-range rockets, mortars, and even drones using high-kilowatt lasers.

“It’s exactly like what you see in Star Wars,” Amit Zimmer, a company spokesperson, told the Associated Press. “You see the lasers go up so quickly, like a flash, and the target is finished.”

I’ll be watching this with interest. The liberals have been very clear that shooting down missiles with lasers is impossible.


Kitty Genovese, a story of media dishonesty

March 1, 2014

The Kitty Genovese murder is the classic story of “bystander apathy”, the phenomenon that people are prone to do nothing when they think there are others around who could help. The phenomenon may well be real (psychologists say so), but it turns out the story was a lie:

Word of the attack spread though the building. A woman named Sophie Farrar, all of 4-foot-11, rushed to the vestibule, risking her life in the process. For all she knew, the attacker might have still been there. As luck would have it, he was not, and Farrar hugged and cradled the bloodied Genovese, who was struggling for breath. Despite the attempts of various neighbors to help, Moseley’s final stab wounds proved fatal, and Farrar did her best to comfort Genovese in the nightmarish ­final minutes of her life.

The murder of Kitty Genovese shifted from crime to legend a few weeks later, when The New York Times erroneously reported that 38 of her neighbors had seen the attack and watched it unfold without calling for help. The Times piece was followed by a story in Life magazine, and the narrative spread throughout the world, running in newspapers from Russia and Japan to the Middle East.

New York became internationally infamous as a city filled with thoughtless people who didn’t care about one another; where people could watch their neighbors get stabbed on the street without lifting a finger to help, leaving them to die ­instead in a pool of their own blood. . .

But as journalist Kevin Cook details in his new book, “Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime that Changed America” (W.W. Nor­ton), some of the real thoughtlessness came from a police commissioner who lazily passed a falsehood to a journalist, and a media that fell so deeply in love with a story that it couldn’t be bothered to determine whether it was true.

The primary culprit? The New York Times, of course.

UPDATE: More here. (Via Instapundit.)


DOJ defends election fraud

March 1, 2014

The Obama administration, yet again, is taking steps to defend election fraud:

Justice Department lawyer Bradley Heard was in court today trying to stop Kansas from ensuring that only citizens register to vote. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, relying on a United States Supreme Court opinion of last year, asked the federal Election Assistance Commission to permit him to ensure that only citizens were registering to vote.

The Obama administration has been utterly consistent on this issue. They are always against any measures to protect the integrity of elections. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to draw an inference from that.


What?!

March 1, 2014

The New York Times says it had a reporter on the scene during the Benghazi attack.

There has been a bit of public interest in the Benghazi attack, so why haven’t we heard from this guy? One possibility — never to be discounted with the NYT — is they are simply lying. But suppose it’s true. They must not want us to hear what he saw! And, given the NYT’s well-known partisan stance, it’s not hard to draw conclusions.


Politics drove IRS scandal

March 1, 2014

The Democrats want us to believe that the IRS scandal had nothing to do with politics. This was never very plausible, but now is categorically contradicted by the record:

Mr. Obama wants Americans to believe that the targeting resulted from the confusing tax law governing nonprofits, which he says was “difficult” to interpret and resulted in mere “bureaucratic” mistakes. . .

House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp blew up this fairy tale at Wednesday’s hearing with new IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. Mr. Camp unveiled a June 14, 2012 email from Treasury career attorney Ruth Madrigal to key IRS officials in the tax-exempt department, including former director Lois Lerner.

The email cites a blog post about the political activity of tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups and reads: “Don’t know who in your organizations [sic] is keeping tabs on c4s, but since we mentioned potentially addressing them (off-plan) in 2013, I’ve got my radar up and this seemed interesting.” . . . The IRS typically puts out a public schedule of coming regulations, and Mr. Camp noted that in this case “off-plan” appears to mean “hidden from the public.” . . .

The IRS hyper-scrutiny of conservative groups only began in 2010 amid the Obama Administration’s larger political attack on political donors like the Koch brothers, and emails show that IRS officials were acutely aware of this political environment. In February 2010, for example, an IRS screener in Cincinnati flagged an application to his superiors noting: “Recent media attention to this type of organization indicates to me that this is a ‘high profile’ case.”

What the Obama administration is trying to get away with here is a truly breathtaking exercise in political chutzpah. They are trying to use their own misconduct as an excuse to change the rules to codify their own misconduct.

What’s sad is they always do this, and usually get away with this. I remember how in the late 1990s or early 2000s, the Democrats, caught red-handed violating campaign finance laws, used their own crimes to justify “reforming” campaign finance to give themselves greater advantages.

(Previous post.)


Outside special interests

March 1, 2014

I forgot to crow about this when it happened a couple of weeks ago:

Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, Tenn., have rejected the United Auto Workers, shooting down the union’s hopes of securing a foothold at a foreign-owned auto plant in the South.

The vote was 712 to 626, said the UAW, which blamed the loss on “politicians and outside special interest groups.”

“Outside special interest groups”? The UAW is the outside special interest group.


The scientific method

March 1, 2014

The scientific method is about turning hypotheses into testable predictions, and then testing them. So who are the scientists here?

It turns out that a 200-year-old publication for farmers beats climate-change scientists in predicting this year’s harsh winter as the lowly caterpillar beats supercomputers that can’t even predict the past.

Last fall, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) predicted above-normal temperatures from November through January across much of the continental U.S. The Farmers’ Almanac, first published in 1818, predicted a bitterly cold, snowy winter.

The Maine-based Farmers’ Almanac’s still-secret methodology includes variables such as planetary positions, sunspots, lunar cycles and tidal action. It claims an 80% accuracy rate, surely better than those who obsess over fossil fuels and CO2.

Now I can’t testify to the accuracy of any of these claims; they are — as they say — too good to check. But it is certainly the case that the climate scientists haven’t been making predictions that come true.

(Via Instapundit.)


News from the future

March 1, 2014

Soon, when the federal government is running all medical care in the United States, we’ll see stories like this:

Employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) destroyed veterans’ medical files in a systematic attempt to eliminate backlogged veteran medical exam requests, a former VA employee told The Daily Caller. . .

“The committee was called System Redesign and the purpose of the meeting was to figure out ways to correct the department’s efficiency. And one of the issues at the time was the backlog,” Oliver Mitchell, a Marine veteran and former patient services assistant in the VA Greater Los Angeles Medical Center, told TheDC.

Oops, that’s not the future, that’s the past, coming from the VA, where the federal government already runs health care. In order to improve their “efficiency”, they cancelled exam requests, and then destroyed medical records so that no record of those requests would exist.

But since the federal government will be running all medical care before long, it’s also the future.


Democrats say criminals are qualified to serve in California senate

March 1, 2014

The Sacramento Bee reports:

Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked a move to expel their Democratic colleague Sen. Rod Wright by sending a Republican proposal to the Rules Committee, where it could permanently stall.

Sen. Steve Knight, a Republican from Palmdale, introduced a resolution to expel Wright from the Senate because a jury found him guilty of eight felonies last month for lying about living in the district he represents.

There was a time that Democrats felt it necessary to maintain the appearance of decency, but now they are all about the naked exercise of partisan power. They have no other principles.

(Via Hot Air.)


The price of weakness

March 1, 2014

Russia invades Ukraine, President Obama wags his finger. Satisfied that Obama will do nothing (if he had had any doubt at all), Putin is now preparing to escalate his invasion:

Russian President Vladimir Putin received permission Saturday from parliament to mobilize the country’s military in Ukraine.

Putin says the move is needed to protect ethnic Russians and the personnel of a Russian military base in Ukraine’s strategic region of Crimea. The request comes a day after President Obama warned Moscow that “there will be costs” if it intervenes militarily in Ukraine.

Putin move appears to formalize what Ukrainian officials described as an ongoing deployment of Russian troops in the strategic region of Crimea. His motion loosely refers to the “territory of Ukraine” rather than specifically to Crimea, raising the possibility that Moscow could use military force in other Russian-speaking provinces in eastern and southern Ukraine where many oppose the new authorities in Kiev.

Obviously Putin doesn’t need parliamentary permission to do anything, so this amounts to an announcement.

As it turns out, the United States is obligated by treaty to come to Ukraine’s aid:

A treaty signed in 1994 by the US and Britain could pull both countries into a war to protect Ukraine if President Putin’s troops cross into the country. Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine – agreed to the The Budapest Memorandum as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Technically it means that if Russia has invaded Ukraine then it would be difficult for the US and Britain to avoid going to war.

Oh, please. Obama doesn’t even obey his own health care law that he advocated and signed himself. Do you think he’s going to war because of a treaty? Hardly.

POSTSCRIPT: Now we have to take a trip down memory lane. Remember this “gaffe”?

uh oh. New Romney gaffe. He just called Russia the “number one geopolitical foe” of the United States. @wolfblitzer called him out.

Ha ha, what a dope. To his credit, Romney stuck to his guns despite mockery from the liberal media.

And then there’s this:

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin warned that if Senator Barack Obama were elected president, his “indecision” and “moral equivalence” may encourage Russia’s Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine. . .

For those comments, she was mocked by the high-brow Foreign Policy magazine and its editor Blake Hounshell, who now is one of the editors of Politico magazine. . . Hounshell wrote then that Palin’s comments were “strange” and “this is an extremely far-fetched scenario.”

Far-fetched indeed. This reminds me of how Ronald Reagan understood the Soviet Union much better than any of the foreign-policy “experts” who mocked him.


“Gun safety demonstration”

March 1, 2014

The Huffington Post breathlessly headlines:

Man Accidentally Kills Self With Gun During Demonstration On Gun Safety

This sounded strange, since gun safety lectures generally comply with the rules of gun safety, so I clicked through to find out what they were talking about. Here’s what happened:

The 36-year-old man, whose name has not been released, was showing his girlfriend how his three handguns are safe when they aren’t loaded, according to the Detroit Free Press. He was attempting to demonstrate the safety of the handguns by holding them to his head and pulling the trigger.

So, this isn’t a gun safety demonstration. It’s the opposite of a gun safety demonstration. It’s a gun stupidity demonstration. There are various versions of the gun safety rules, but all of them include this one (this formulation is by the NRA):

ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
This is the primary rule of gun safety. A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage.

Clearly no one at the Huffington Post, from the article’s author to its editors (actually, does the Huffington Post have editors?), knows anything about gun safety. A better headline would have been:

Man Accidentally Kills Himself While Screwing Around With Gun