“they have a saying in Chicago: ‘Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action’.”
“they have a saying in Chicago: ‘Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action’.”
This is a strange piece in the NYT, with White House aides spinning furiously. What’s really odd about the piece is all the references to fictional presidents in the movies and on TV. That’s very strange. We don’t see CEO’s imagining themselves as characters in obscure films about business, for example. This is a most peculiar crowd, but maybe not so much since they seem to live in a world of fantasy and fiction.
In case you’re unfamiliar with Law & Order, whether the original, SVU or CI, there are a couple of rules when approached for a friendly conversation with investigators: lawyer up and shut up being notable among them. Even a smart lawyer like Scooter Libby ignored this advice. Both Michael Ledeen and Hugh Hewitt give advice to those who may be implicated in our current or coming scandals (don’t you think there will be others?), namely to move quickly in lawyering up or they’ll get worse counsel at a worse price.
Also, Thomas Lifson has an interesting piece on how the scandal avalanche may be affecting the MSM. It will be interesting if it turns out to be true.
Robert Samuelson discusses health care in Oregon:
the uninsured annually had 5.5 office visits, used 1.8 prescription drugs and visited an emergency room once. Almost half (46 percent) said that they “had a usual place of care,” and 61 percent said that they had “received all needed care” in the past year. About three-quarters (78 percent) who received care judged it “of high quality.” Health spending for them averaged $3,257…
when people were covered by Medicaid, many of these figures rose. The annual number of office visits went to 8.2; the number of drugs, to 2.5; the share of patients with a usual place of care, to 70 percent; the proportion receiving all needed care, to 72 percent. Preventive care also increased. The share of patients receiving screening for cholesterol moved from 27 percent for the uninsured to 42 percent; the share of women older than 50 having mammograms jumped from 29 percent to 59 percent; the share of men older than 50 getting PSA tests for prostate cancer doubled, from 21 percent to 41 percent. Spending rose to $4,429.
Unfortunately, the added care and cost didn’t much improve physical health. The study screened for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and the risk of heart attack or stroke. No major differences were detected between the uninsured and Medicaid recipients.
So: 2700 very expensive pages not only creates chaos and unemployment, but is pretty much a total waste of time.
And there’s this from the WaPo: “Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has gone, hat in hand, to health industry officials, asking them to make large financial donations.” Knowing what we know now about the administration, what happens to those who say no to her?
So the AP was investigated for a national security breach? Maybe it’s true though we doubt it. Such fealty to national security matters would be an aberration from business as usual for this crew, though it is excellent cover story for snooping on hundreds of journalists and their sources. Remember Blair Hull? Jack Ryan? Sharon Bialek? It’s the Chicago Way to have dossiers on everyone. Who knows when you’re going to need them?
A couple of other points. The AP story is fishy from a variety of perspectives, including that it focuses on phone calls but makes no mention of other electronic communications. What about all the text messages and emails, which is the way that much if not most of journalistic communication is done today? Surely if the government wanted blanket information it would have gotten all that traffic as well. Details dribble out, in scandal after scandal, from Fast and Furious to Benghazi and this. And the final point: what are the scandals that we still don’t know about?
There’s a fellow named Ben Rhodes (b. 1977) who has been getting some attention of late. He was just past 30 when he wrote the inane Cairo speech of 2009. Politico had a rather breathless piece on the writing of the speech at that time. He is or was the only speechwriter on foreign affairs for the White House, and so Ed Lasky zeroes in on him when it comes to the bad fiction delivered on Benghazi. We’ll see how that develops.
One shocking thing we learned in reading the Politico piece is that Rhodes is or was the senior speechwriter. The other speechwriter, Jon Favreau, is four years younger and started writing for the Chicago team when he was 24 or so. So when the administration gets its history wrong on everything from D-Day to the Berlin Airlift, there’s a reason. The facts are coming from young ignoramuses who don’t know much American history.
The American people ought to be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be fooled by two dolts in dunce caps. Far worse than that, however, is that the media celebrate their work by deifying the fellow who delivers the rubbish they peddle. Imagine: a country of 300 million taken in by two young fools and a guy with a mellifluous voice.
Sometimes it’s the Tonight Show that’s watching you, sometimes it’s Bloomberg. NYT:
There are now more than 315,000 Bloomberg terminal subscribers worldwide who rely on the desktop computer for research, trading, communication and a constant stream of financial information and news. But as it turned out, what the subscribers were doing was not always confidential. Bloomberg reporters used the “Z function” — a command using the letter Z and a company’s name — to view a list of subscribers at a firm. Then, a Bloomberg user could click on a subscriber’s name, which would take the user to a function called UUID. The UUID function then provided background on an individual subscriber, including contact information, when the subscriber had last logged on, chat information between subscribers and customer service representatives, and weekly statistics on how often they used a particular function…
A preliminary analysis at Bloomberg revealed that “several hundred” reporters had used the technique…problems, which became public on Friday, started at JPMorgan Chase last summer, when the bank suffered a multibillion-dollar trading loss. Some Bloomberg reporters called the bank, people briefed on the call said, to question whether the traders responsible for the loss had been fired. They cited the fact that the traders had gone silent on the terminal. The bank, the people said, objected to the reporting technique, but did not formally reach out to Bloomberg executives to complain. Yet bank officials soon discovered that other Bloomberg reporters were using the approach on other stories unrelated to the trading loss.
There’s an amusing and hysterical article at Salon about giving up burgers to save the earth or some such. And now the NYT also reports on CO2 reaching 400PPM somewhere. You know how we take this news. Yawn. We wouldn’t mind it if earth was a little warmer, not that there’s any recent evidence of that. Anyhow, here’s a thought: why not build a Kandor on earth, an enclosed environment given its own atmosphere, this one with, say, 2000PPM CO2. Let’s see what the results are. Maybe this has already been done, but we haven’t read about it. Probably pretty expensive, but surely less expensive than the things proposed by the catastrophic AGW crowd (which India, China, etc. will never implement anyhow). And you can charge admission to defray the costs.
(At BOTW, Taranto points out that non-CO2 particles are also at an alarmingly high number: 996,600PPM.)
The New Yorker:
the mere existence of the edits — whatever the motivation for them — seriously undermines the White House’s credibility on this issue. This past November (after Election Day), White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that “The White House and the State Department have made clear that the single adjustment that was made to those talking points by either of those two institutions were changing the word ‘consulate’ to ‘diplomatic facility’ because ‘consulate’ was inaccurate.”
Remarkably, Carney is sticking with that line even now. In his regular press briefing on Friday afternoon (a briefing that was delayed several times, presumably in part so the White House could get its spin in order, but also so that it could hold a secretive pre-briefing briefing with select members of the White House press corps), he said:
The only edit made by the White House or the State Department to those talking points generated by the C.I.A. was a change from referring to the facility that was attacked in Benghazi from “consulate,” because it was not a consulate, to “diplomatic post”… it was a matter of non-substantive factual correction. But there was a process leading up to that that involved inputs from a lot of agencies, as is always the case in a situation like this and is always appropriate.
This is an incredible thing for Carney to be saying. He’s playing semantic games, telling a roomful of journalists that the definition of editing we’ve all been using is wrong
There are a number of takeaways from this. First, the MSM apparently really believed their guy when he spoke rubbish and grandiosity lo these many years. They believed their guy even though most every word that came out of his mouth was to be measured in terms of its political usefulness, not by its truth. That accounts for the tone of surprise and incredulity in the New Yorker piece.
Second, the White House is equally unprepared and surprised. As we know from the days of Richard Nixon and Ron Ziegler, the press secretary’s orders come straight from the top. So when Carney looks like a buffoon telling lies that are long past their sell-by date, it’s because there’s confusion, disorganization and maybe even a little panic at the top. And why wouldn’t there be? Here was this Chicago Way politician with a nice voice getting treated as a god. Heaven on earth.
The MSM is now coming to grips with the fact that, despite it was Republicans saying so, there actually was a cover-up and they ignored it because they wrote it off as partisan politics. Oops! Whether the media get to the central issue is another matter. Contrary to the received wisdom in these matters, the cover-up is not always worse than the crime. In Ron Ziegler’s “third-rate burglary” that was true. In Benghazi, the opposite is the case. The crime in Benghazi was not taking whatever diplomatic and specifically military actions that might have saved four lives. Whether or not the efforts would have been successful is not the issue; orders to “stand down” are the issue. We know where the order came from. Whether the media are willing to go there is another thing entirely.
The media have started to wake up. How far will it go in this much-more-serious-than-Watergate scandal? PL:
Obama and Hillary Clinton are on trial — not yet before a court, but in the minds of thoughtful people everywhere. It appears (given the limited evidence we have so far) that they were grossly negligent before Benghazi, criminally incompetent that night of the attack, and then that they aided and abetted a conspiracy to lie about the murders—all for the obvious political reasons and because Obama and Clinton (and nearly all their leftist friends) believe that Americans are stone-stupid. But the real trial deals with other suspects.
It is the Democratic Party that’s on trial today; and to a lesser extent, America’s mainstream media. For Democrats (and especially Democratic senators) it is put-up-or-shut-up time: are they Democrats or Americans first? Obviously their first instinct was to defend the Democratic administration. Republicans would have done the same. But starting with the Hayes story on the Rice propaganda points (and the neo-Soviet process that turned them from truth to lies), and then the Issa hearing Wednesday (and a recent ABC news piece focusing again on the phonied-up talking points), no honest observer can fail to suspect this administration of doing unspeakable things. It is Congress’s duty to find out the truth.
How would Republicans act if a GOP administration were under this sort of cloud? We know exactly how. It was the radically partisan Edward Kennedy who proposed that a senate select committee investigate Watergate—but in February 1973, the Senate voted unanimously to create that committee. Republican Senator Howard Baker was vice chairman, and asked the key question: ”What did the president know and when did he know it?” Which Democratic senator will ask that question today, now that the issue isn’t breaking-and-entering but lying about four murders, including the murder of an American ambassador? Which cabinet member will be Eliot Richardson and resign rather than continuing to be part of a coverup?
Bonus fun: the administration is doing other things to copy Nixon’s paranoid and perhaps criminal behavior. And finally, one of the worst aspects of this sordid affair is that it undid the US’s relationship with the moderate President Magariaf of Libya. We threw it all away, and for what?
It appears David Petraeus is talking. Weekly Standard:
The original CIA talking points had been blunt: The assault on U.S. facilities in Benghazi was a terrorist attack conducted by a large group of Islamic extremists…“with ties to al Qaeda”
Someone with access to White House / State Department emails is also talking. Here’s the beginning of the final one of the 12 revisions obtained by ABC prior to the Rice talk-show marathon five days after the attack:
The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo
One of the State Department employees who was punished has written a poem about his lynching by the Queen’s servants. There are many people unhappy that they have been thrown under the bus in the most inept cover-up ever. Everyone knew exactly what happened day one, and yet the leadership at the State Department and the White House conspired to create an unnecessary false narrative. It’s not hubris as long as the media stay tame.
The superiority of market processes to political processes is not in origin moral but technical. The useful knowledge in any modern society is distributed rather than centralized…Markets work for the same reason that the Internet works: They are not organizations, but disorganizations. More precisely, they are composed of countless (literally countless, blinking into and out of existence like subatomic particles) pockets of organization, their internal structures and relationships to one another in a constant state of flux. Market propositions are experimental propositions. Some, such as the iPhone and the No. 2 pencil, are wildly successful; others, such as New Coke or Clairol’s Touch of Yogurt Shampoo, are not. Products come and go, executives come and go, firms come and go…
Politics creates the immortal corporation. Amtrak and the U.S. Postal Service are two institutions that would have failed long ago if not for government support — subsidies for Amtrak, the government-chartered monopoly on letter delivery for the postal service. The cost of their corporate immortality is not only the waste associated with maintaining them, but also the fact that their existence prevents the emergence of superior alternatives. No sane person would invest 12.5 percent of his income in Social Security in 2013, but we are compelled to do so, and so the bankrupt enterprise continues as though it were not tens of trillions of dollars underwater. A political establishment is a near-deathless thing: Even after the bitter campaign of 2012, voters returned essentially the same cast of characters to Washington, virtually ensuring the continuation of the policies with which some 90 percent of voters pronounced themselves dissatisfied. No death, no evolution…
Washington is packed to the gills with people who believe that they have the ability to design an intelligent national health-care system, but there is not one who does — no Democrat, no Republican, no independent. The information burden is just too vast. Washington is not only full of people who do not know what they are talking about, it is full of people who do not know that they do not know what they are talking about.
We’re talking about the media of course. Afghanistan, who cares? Benghazi, no big deal! First Amendment, fuggedaboutit! Guys in Boston, who even remembers that? Look over here quick: some girl stabbed her boyfriend and some other girls were trapped in a cellar by some guys! Now that’s the important stuff. Each day we’re amazed that things have sunk so low, and each day there’s a new decline.
This is a middle school today in America. The message is bad enough, but what is worse is that this method of communication apparently conveys wisdom and credibility to its audience instead of ignorance and vulgarity.
Perhaps the thing that we find most offensive about the Senate immigration bill is that it does not appear to take itself seriously as a law that intends to be implemented in its details. There is precious little in the bill that addresses in a serious way how the massive enterprise it envisions is to be put into practice. And where there is implementation language, it is often ludicrous.
Here’s a bit from the section labeled Interior Enforcement, Sec 201, Additional Immigration. It is unclear from the language if relatives of those who have Z Visas residing in foreign lands would be covered by this subsection. If so, those cases alone could number potentially in the tens or hundreds of thousands. Note that only 50 immigration lawyers, if even that many, are being added to the Department of Justice to litigate the cases covered in this section:
(b) Department of Justice.-
(1) JUDICIAL CLERKS-The Attorney General shall, subject to the
availability of appropriations for such purpose, appoint necessary
law clerks for immigration judges and Board of Immigration
Appeals members of no less than one per judge and member. A
law clerk appointed under this section shall be exempt from the
provisions of subchapter I of chapter 63 of title 5 [5 USCS §§
6301 et seq.]
(2) LITIGATION ATTORNEYS.-In each of the fiscal years 2008
through 2012, the
Attorney General, subject to the availability of appropriations for
such purpose, shall increase the number of positions for
attorneys in the Office of Immigration Litigation by not less than 50…
50 litigators, budgetary conditions permitting. That’s some serious enforcement. At two lawyers per case and a case resolved every three months, this group could resolve as many as 100 cases a year. Maybe more.
It’s hard to conceive of 12 million people as a line of men, women, and children who need to be processed in some manner or other, many with particular needs and oddities of their cases, many with so-called “routine” cases, whatever they are. Imagine it as 120 Super Bowls, all being played at once. Crowds of 100,000 line up at 120 equivalents of the Rose Bowl around the country. Assume that each one of the newly legal wants to pay the cashier and be admitted to the game of being able to work legally in America. (For a moment we’ll leave aside the requirement that the applicant has to leave the country before applying.) But the cashier can’t just sell tickets.
The cashier has to inspect the papers of each of the 100,000 people standing in line to buy a ticket. The cashier has to run a background check on the ticket buyer, which is supposed to be done within 24 hours. The background check may involve the cashier in communications with towns and villages in foreign countries. The cashier has to do further investigations if something on the background check comes up spotty or incomplete. The cashier then has to ask the ticket buyer to get out of line and stand to one side. The cashier has to consider what will be done with the ticket buyer’s younger brother who is next in line, and with the ticket buyer’s 8 year old daughter, who also wants to go to the game and who was born in Pasadena. Can she be admitted without adult supervision while her father is waiting off to one side? And all this is repeated 100,000 times at the Rose Bowl, and there are 120 Rose Bowls around the country. How long do you think that would take before all could be admitted, given these procedures? 3 years, 5 years, 10 years?
And that’s if there were cashiers available today and they and their superivsors knew what to do. Here’s our point: there are no cashiers today, no supervisors. The bill puts in place zero cashiers on day one, and there is no Employment Manual for any that get hired on how to do the newly created tasks outlined in the bill. And yet, the moment the bill is signed, 12 million people, or 100,000 people lined up at 120 Rose Bowls around the country, have been told to expect that they can buy a ticket. What are the chances that they will be admitted without even buying a ticket, given the ridiculous situation the Senate bill sets up?
Forget the mockery of border law enforcement that is today’s sad story, and will continue to be so under this new law. The Senate immigration bill mocks itself, because it does not even take its own enforcement seriously.
Michelle Malkin has compiled an excellent list of the paperwork backlogs that already exist under the current system. Adding another 12 minllion to a paperwork backlog already numbering in the millions is an indication of how seriously Congress takes itsel in the matter of law enforcement versus the appearance of good intentions.
The more you know about government finances, the harder it is to take the budget theater in Washington seriously. The president boasts that non-defense discretionary spending is at “its lowest level as a share of the economy since the Eisenhower administration,” but that measure ignores about 81 cents out of every dollar Washington spends. The tiny reductions in spending growth imposed by the sequester have been for the most part shrugged off by the people, though they have produced a great deal of angst and wailing in Washington — not only from the politicians, but also from such private-sector beneficiaries as defense contractors. This is an almost entirely meaningless debate. The total fiscal overhang of our federal, state, and local governments — their combined debt and unfunded liabilities — is around $140 trillion, and growing. That is about twice the annual economic output of human civilization, and nearly the value of all the financial assets in the world. It is something close to a mathematical certainty that those debts and obligations will not be made good on at their present value. The real debate for the next 30 years is not how we go about paying our bills, but how we go about not paying them.
Of course the deficits are unfinanceable. If the professoriat and the media could give up believing in utter nonsense, we could make things a lot better by fully exploiting our oil and gas resources and privatizing everything in government that business does better. Oh well, dream on!
more than six out of 10 women who give birth in their early 20s are unmarried. That is census data, from census demographers, from the very government that then becomes responsible for many, if not most, of those unmarried women and children. If that isn’t an astonishing statistic, it should be.
Total employment rose by 293,000 during April, but part-time jobs increased by 441,000. As a result, full-time jobs declined by 148,000. The number of “full-time-equivalent” (FTE) jobs only increased by 73,000. This was not enough to keep pace with the growth of our working-age population, so the “FTE jobs ratio” (the number of FTE jobs per 100 working-age Americans), fell…The April jobs numbers describe a mass replacement of full-time workers with part-time employees, coupled with a fall in the length of the average workweek. This happens to be precisely what you would expect, given the perverse incentives baked into Obamacare, which took effect on January 1…During April, the FTE jobs ratio fell for the fifth month in a row, to 53.09. The earliest warning signal for every recession since 1955 (the first year for which the data is available) has been a significant, sustained decline in this ratio…
It is now 76 months since our latest employment recession started. America’s FTE jobs ratio is still down by 5.10 from its peak, and is only 0.56 above its low point of the cycle. In contrast, at the same point during the Reagan recovery, the FTE jobs ratio was 2.01 above its prior high, having risen by 4.80 from its nadir. The numbers show that Reaganomics were vastly more effective than progressive economics during the first 76 months after the onset of their respective employment recessions.
Rubio: Illegals will pay fines or be deported! Ambassador of Amnesty…Don’t pretend you’re suddenly going to deport millions of people. Move to stop the flow of new illegals. When that’s accomplished – e.g. through E-verify, a fence, and a visa-checking system – and when those enforcement mechanisms have survived court challenges, then try to bring illegals out of the shadows. At that point, some years down the road, with the future illegal flow cut off (and “chain migration” curtailed), you can afford to be honest about how mean you are willing to be.
Talk about fast. Marco Rubio has jumped the shark in record time. First he was all over talk radio pitching the ridiculous deal he did with Chuck Schumer, and then he was all over talk radio pitching how he wanted input to change the ridiculous deal he did with Chuck Schumer. If this is what the GOP is pinning its hopes on, things don’t bode well for the future. HT: PL
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