A solemn imposter. Also—fortunately—a safe one, although no one seems to know who he is or how he got there. He was so close to Obama and other world leaders that he could have touched them, but he did them no harm except to pretend to translate their words into sign language, although deaf people immediately recognized that his signs were meaningless gibberish.
That is so absurd, so unbelievably negligent, that it outdoes any Saturday Night Live skit or Onion article. And speaking of Saturday Night Live, this is what almost immediately came to mind:
[ADDENDUM: From a commenter at Ace's---"Dan Rather said 'He was fake but accurate.'"]
I saw this CNN documentary the other night and it was excellent—really moving. It includes an inspiring religious element as well. It’s going to be repeated on CNN on Thursday December 12 and Saturday December 14 at 9PM and 11 PM Eastern Time.
Yes, yes, I know Yahoo email is nowhere near as important as Obamacare. But still, the situation is similar enough that I wonder if this sort of thing is a trend.
I’ve railed against Yahoo email’s “new, improved [sic]” version before. I’m not the only one; just Google “I hate Yahoo email” and start clicking. It’s a regular festival of rage. What’s more, Google all you want, but you won’t come up with many people defending it except the executives who designed and pushed it for whatever mysterious and unfathomable reasons of their own.
Here are the similarities to Obamacare, for what its worth:
They didn’t ask us if we wanted it.
It reduces options rather than adding them.
Each attempt to fix it has only made it worse.
People are rageful about it and no one’s listening who’s in a position of power; it appears they will champion it forever.
They have put out BS statements about how great it is and pretend to be responsive as they trash it further.
They do not listen to suggestions.
They lied about it to begin with, telling us this great change was coming.
If we liked our old email, we can’t keep it—although I have to say in Yahoo’s favor that, unlike Obama and the Democrats, they never promised we could keep it. In fact, they explicitly warned us we could not.
Lat night when I read Ace’s prediction and his reasons for it, I strongly suspected he had nailed it. And so he had. His point has nothing to do with the present Pope and his actual beliefs and everything to do with Time‘s perception of those beliefs and the political use the editors think they can make of them.
Time’s interest: One part Power to the People agitation, one part multiculti uplift. Sprinkle liberally with a call for Hope and Change…
I predicted this yesterday, including the reasons they’d offer for their choice.
This is not because I am good at prediction; this is because the leftwing media is so very kneejerk and predictable. They claim to be neutral and objective. And yet someone can predict every single one of their news judgements by proceeding from the rule that they will make whichever judgement best serves the Progressive Socialist Transnationalist Cause…
Suppose I’m in a shady casino. I’m playing craps. I’m given a pair of dice by the pit boss, to throw to determine the results of a particularly large bet. I object and say I believe the dice are loaded, and will come up craps. He insists they are fair dice, and could come up with any dice tally.
If my prediction — that the dice will come up craps on anything important — is always correct, that casts a great deal of doubt on crooked house’s claim that the dice are fair, doesn’t it? They claim any score can come up; I claim it will always come up craps when they need it.
If it always comes up craps, then I am right, and they are lying.
If they’re not actually in service of the Progressive Socialist Transnationaist cause, why is it that any moderately-informed observer can predict every single one of their judgements by employing this rule?
Indeed. I have no objection to their pick of Pope Francis, and no objection to the Pope himself. But the MSM has become boring in its predictability and its bias. However, it has not become boring in the amount of influence it still wields. Time may have a low circulation, but it’s just one of many many sources that all position themselves falsely as “objective” and that all combine to strongly affect and even shape the opinions of huge numbers of people.
Posted by neo-neocon at 2:54 pm. Filed under: Press
…T]he Ryan-Murray budget deal makes a trade that most Republicans would likely prefer not to make. It balances higher spending in the near term against longer-term reductions that, combined with increases in user fees, will reduce the deficit over ten years. But since promised future reductions can be reversed, Republicans are being asked to trade certain cuts today for uncertain cuts down the road.
Still, many Republicans might rationally choose to do so, for five reasons. First, the deal is microscopic, so small as to amount to economic rounding error. Second, it reduces government pensions by changing an indexing formula, a method that might have a better chance of sticking than more straightforward reductions, making these future cuts more certain than most. And if the new indexing continues forever, then spending will drop in the long run by much more than it will increase over the next two years. Third, if House Republicans pass this, it will reduce uncertainty and help the economy. Fourth (though this weakens the previous point some), the deal appears not to lift the debt limit, so they can play that game again if they want to. Finally, assuming that the debt-limit increase is not going to lead to another showdown next year, this deal allows Republicans to talk about Obamacare all next year.
For Democrats, who might prefer not to talk about Obamacare next year, and who wanted to increase unemployment-insurance benefits, it seems like a weak deal as well. Such is the fruit of bipartisan negotiation.
When I heard there was a budget deal, and that the deal didn’t amount to much, I had two thoughts. The first was, “Most conservatives probably aren’t going to like this; they’ll consider it just another case of weak Congressional Republican gruel and lack of Republican spine.” The second was, “Good. The Republicans weren’t going to win this battle anyway, and this deal will take away the Democrats’ most potent argument against them—the one that hurt them so much earlier this fall, the obstructionist argument—and allow Republicans to focus on the awfulness of Obamacare.”
The way I look at it is this: the best way to combat the Democrats is to win majorities in Congress next year, and to vote for people who are conservative enough to actually stick to their principles in the exceedingly tempting and corrupt atmosphere of Washington DC (no mean feat that, and it’s somewhat unpredictable who will stand firm and who will not). Republicans and/or conservatives can bluster all they want from a minority position, but it’s a weak position nonetheless and the way to get something going is to be in charge, particularly now that the Democrats have used the nuclear option to cement majority rule. I’m not in favor of the nuclear option, but what’s done is done and it cannot be undone, so Republicans should poise themselves to take advantage of it.
Here’s Paul Ryan on the budget deal. He seems very sensible to me (although somehow I strongly suspect that some of you will differ, and strongly):
As a conservative, I deal with the situation as it exists,” Ryan said. “I deal with the way things are, not necessarily the way things I want them to be. I’ve passed three budgets in a row that reflect my priorities and my principles and everything I wanted to accomplish. We’re in divided government. I realize I’m not going to get that. So I’m not going to go a mile in the direction I wanted to go to, but I will take a few steps in the right direction. This agreement takes us in the right direction, from my perspective, for the very reasons I laid out before.”
Repeat after me: the perfect is the enemy of the good, or of the good-enough-for-now.
I’m second to no one in the strength of my alarm and disapproval at President Obama’s policies, both domestic and foreign. And I’m well aware of his kowtowing to dictators, as well as his leftism.
But he was in a lose/lose position here. Perhaps with advance planning there was a way for Obama to have avoided being backed into a situation in which he either had to shake Castro’s hand or cause a disruption by theatrically refusing to do so. And perhaps Obama has a secret affinity with someone like Raul and his older brother Fidel. Perhaps Obama even regrets the fact that Che wasn’t there to have his hand shaken, as well.
But as I said, on this score I’m going to give Obama at least a half-pass. To have turned away from Raul on such an occasion would have caused a different sort of commotion, although I actually think it would have been very appropriate.
At least Obama didn’t bow to him.
I’m much more disturbed by Obama’s official policies than by this act of protocol. The latter only takes on its significance because of the problems with the former, as a symbol of what Obama is doing on a larger scale.
Obamacare was pushed through Congress at high speed, without much debate and without the usual haggling. The reason was that, like thieves in a hurry to grab everything and get out safely, Democrats were eager to move it through while they still had the time and momentum to succeed.
They figured they’d iron out any problems later, and in the meantime would try to sell the Act to a reluctant public. Spinning and outright lying were delaying tactics until the longed-for day when Obamacare would be implemented and people would love it—that is, enough people would love it, and it would become the new normal, assuring Democrats of a built-in constituency of grateful recipients fearful that a vote for any Republican would do away with their new-found benefits.
And maybe it will end up working out just like that.
But speed had some drawbacks. The bill was so long and so convoluted, its effects so manifold and various, that some of the consequences were bound to hurt groups the Democrats didn’t want to hurt. One such group, of course, was unions. But that was taken care of by a handy—if unconstitutional, but who cares except a few conservatives?—waiver.
Maybe this new wrinkle will ultimately be handled in a similar manner. But in the meantime, marvel at the wonder of it all:
The U.S. Department of Labor takes the term ‘volunteer’ literally, but the IRS says volunteer firefighters are technically employees if they’re on the job more than 30 hours per week, making them subject to Obamacare’s employee-mandate rules…
Since the Obamacare law doesn’t specifically carve out an exemption for them, fire departments where 50 or more people work – either as volunteers or officially as employees – are expected to provide health insurance for every one of them.
In towns with more than one volunteer fire department, all the staffers will likely be lumped together for tax purposes, pushing many municipalities above the 50-worker threshold.
That could cost departments of life-savers hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Those that dump their volunteers into the federal insurance exchanges would still have to pay an annual $2,000 fine for each ‘employee’ after the first 30.
“I can tell you right now we can’t afford it,” East Derry, Pennsylvania Fire Company Chief Edward Mann told the Patriot-News. “While a volunteer fire department may not have a payroll, the rest of it isn’t free. The only part that is free is the labor.”
The article goes on to mention that 71% of America’s fire departments are volunteer, while another 16% are mostly volunteer. Many would be in big, big trouble because of Obamacare.
I predict another waiver.
Obamacare is well on its way to creating a more stratified system of health insurance than existed before, and has already created dangerous precedents for the extension of unchecked executive power. Nice.
I understand conservatives wanting to primary Republicans in Congress who are RINOs who vote with the opposition, especially if said RINOs come from states where there is a decent possibility of a more conservative option being elected.
Maine’s Susan Collins, for example, would come under the first definition (a RINO extraordinaire), but not in the least under the second (a state where there’s the possibility of someone more conservative winning). Primary her and you’ve lost a sometime-Republican seat and ended up with a Democratic one that will help further the Democratic majority.
But Congressman Steve Stockman primarying someone like John Cornyn of Texas? Or Milton Wolfe against Pat Roberts of Kansas? They both seem to be counterproductive and destructive wastes of time, money, and effort. Like DrewM at Ace’s, I think the following are the circumstances under which primary challenges make sense:
So who should be the focus of targeted primary challenges?
For me it’s three basic things:
1. A lukewarm voting record
2. A record of vocal opposition to conservatives, especially when coupled with a history of “reaching across the aisle”.
3. A record of abandoning our side on key votes.
There’s a lot of understandable and justified anger at Republicans in Congress. But the danger is that it will work to the detriment of electing more conservative candidates and will end up—as it sometimes did in 2012—furthering the election of more liberals. In and of itself, anger doesn’t tend to enhance people’s judgment, although it can fuel their energy. Conservatives need to channel their anger in ways that don’t hurt their own cause.
[NOTE: The title of this post is taken from Proverbs 11:29, "He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind."]
I never thought much of this “end of history” stuff in the first place. Perhaps I didn’t quite get what Fukuyama was saying, but it seemed absurd to me. History may repeat itself and rhyme and all that (with no end in sight), but it also has a lot of tricks and black swans up its voluminous sleeves.
Here’s a clarification of some common misunderstandings of what Fukuyama was writing about in 1992 what he declared “history” to be at an end:
The most basic (and prevalent) error in discussing Fukuyama’s work is to confuse “history” with “events”. Fukuyama claims not that events will stop occurring in the future, but rather that all that will happen in the future (even if totalitarianism returns) is that democracy will become more and more prevalent in the long term, although it may suffer “temporary” setbacks (which may, of course, last for centuries).
Some argue that Fukuyama presents “American-style” democracy as the only “correct” political system and argues that all countries must inevitably follow this particular system of government. However, many Fukuyama scholars claim this is a misreading of his work. Fukuyama’s argument is only that in the future there will be more and more governments that use the framework of parliamentary democracy and that contain markets of some sort.
I don’t see why, and the last five years has only deepened my skepticism, although I hope Fukuyama was right.
But let’s get back to Mead, who has a gloomy point of view about current history (is that an oxymoron?), one that I share:
Iran should be giddy with joy; pro-administration commentary from the White House and its media allies has focused on the nuclear technicalities to paint the deal as a success, but there is no disguising the immense diplomatic gains that Tehran made…After the nuclear deal came more joy for Tehran; as the New York Times reports, morale is flagging and unity is fraying among the Syrian opposition even as Butcher Assad’s ground forces continue to grind out more gains…President Putin, meanwhile, is giving hearty thanks for one of Russia’s biggest successes since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Kremlin is high-fiving its stunning, come-from-behind victory as Ukraine said a polite “No thank you” to the European Union’s offer of an economic association agreement…Putin may not be able to hold onto his prize, but for now he can justly boast of having outwitted and bested the EU on one of the biggest issues of the day.
The entire piece as worth reading, as Mead goes on to analyze why the US is failing to look out for its own strategic interests and what should be done about it. He believes that time is of the essence, and that “the longer we wait, the harder and more urgent our task will become.” Nowhere in his essay, however, does he seem to acknowledge that our losses during the Obama administration just might have been both strategic and intentional, and that those in charge may be deliberate rather than naive.
Posted by neo-neocon at 8:58 pm. Filed under: History
Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon. Read More >>