I got a bit of a kick out of a John Fund article that asserted that Hillary’s Democratic backers were getting panicky about Hillary Clinton’s chances amid the current scandals.
Here’s where I got a bit of a laugh:
Democrats privately believe that the Clintons can recover from the e-mail and foundation scandals because it’s unlikely reporters will ever find a “smoking gun” that explicitly links foreign donations with public actions. But Democrats also know that other scandals may soon be unearthed. And if they do, not only will Hillary Clinton prove unable to establish herself as an “authentic” candidate, she also will establish herself as a pro at conducting an “authentic” cover-up.
Seriously? One more scandal? A few more scandals?
What IS the magic number? Please tell us.
Bill Clinton’s speaking fees go up and his speeches just happen to be in countries where the Secretary of State – that’d be Hillary Clinton – can help them get what they want. The foundation they both are a part of spends 10 to 15% of 500 million dollars on the charities it supposedly is fundraising for. The woman’s emails when she was Secretary of State are gone – well, except those she chose to have us see. And her emails about the foundation?
Private and on the same server that she willfully set up in contravention of a well known rule that required her to do her official business on her official email address.
But, you know, there’s no “smoking gun”.
Yeah, if you’re a crack addict with the IQ of a turnip.
These are the Clinton’s though, and there seems to be no end to the number of times this criminal gang is let off the hook. Laws, you see, are for the little people.
The new Senate is only a few days old and they’re at it already. Of course, roles have been reversed:
Democrats launched the first filibuster of the new Congress on Thursday, objecting to the GOP’s effort to try to bring the Keystone XL pipeline bill to the floor early next week.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to schedule action early next week on the bill, and promised an open process, including allowing both sides to offer amendments to the bill — an attempt to break with the previous few years, when Democrats controlled the floor and kept a tight lid on amendments.
Now that was mostly the status quo of the last Senate with two exceptions.
-Democrats are in the minority and determined to obstruct the Repblican majority
-Democrats are filibustering just to filibuster. Republicans filibustered because former Senate Majority Leader Reid refused to allow any amendments to bills he brought to the senate floor. McConnell has said the GOP will welcome amendments, a process which allows open and bi-partisan participation.
Yet that’s not good enough for Democrats – which sort of foretells what this session of the Senatorial side of Congress will likely look like from here on. It seems less likely that this is all about Keystone, since the pipeline has bi-partisan support. Instead, this is just petty and spiteful Democrats refusing any sort of appeasement/olive branch from the GOP.
Which should tell the GOP something, if they’re smart enough to pay attention.
The “this”? Keystone XL pipeline. Why is the president at all involved in this decision? Why is he threatening a veto if the Republican Congress passes a bill authorizing it?
The nation’s pipelines are a transportation system. Pipelines enable the safe movement of extraordinary quantities of energy products to industry and consumers, literally fueling our economy and way of life. The arteries of the Nation’s energy infrastructure, as well as one of the safest and least costly ways to transport energy products, our oil and gas pipelines provide the resources needed for national defense, heat and cool our homes, generate power for business and fuel an unparalleled transportation system.
The nation’s more than 2.6 million miles of pipelines safely deliver trillions of cubic feet of natural gas and hundreds of billions of ton/miles of liquid petroleum products each year. They are essential: the volumes of energy products they move are well beyond the capacity of other forms of transportation. It would take a constant line of tanker trucks, about 750 per day, loading up and moving out every two minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to move the volume of even a modest pipeline. The railroad-equivalent of this single pipeline would be a train of 75 2,000-barrel tank rail cars everyday.
Pipeline systems are the safest means to move these products.
The source? The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the Department of Transportation. Yes, that’s right, the US government. Executive branch.
Note the facts – 2.6 million miles of pipeline safely moving petroleum products 24/7. Look at would be required without them.
Oh, wait, look what’s required without Keystone – trucking and railcars, of course. And who has a major stake in those operations continuing? You know how this works … follow the money.
Can you say “cronyism”?
Sure you can.
The most “transparent administration”, ever!
Btw, GOP … make his veto it or forever be held as the cowards most think you are (after all, you didn’t even have the courage to dump Boehner).
As you’ve probably surmised, I’m taking a bit of a break the last two weeks of the year. Decompress, catch up on other things and generally relax. That said, I was happy to see that Erb and the anti-Erb have managed to provide the best in entertainment for the QandO faithful.
Looks like the anti-police riots and ambushes are reaching their natural end. That’s what happens when you overreach. I’m not at all implying that some protest isn’t necessary or warranted. But when it goes beyond that to murder, well, then you’re likely to lose any sympathetic audience you might of had prior to that. And that’s pretty much what has happened.
I’m also finding if pretty interesting to watch de Blassio sink in his own man-made rhetorical swamp. Great choice, NYC. Now live with it.
Of course we’re having to live with the choice of enough of America’s voters that we’re into year 6 of the 8 year nightmare presidency. And what do we have on the horizon? More of the same. A Bush/Clinton run? If so, we’re worse off than I think. No more of either family … please!
As for Elizabeth Warren? Yeah, let’s again go for a junior Senator who has never run anything or done anything except claim minority status to get a good paying gig in academia that certainly didn’t tax her “work ethic”. Let’s again let some smooth talking “populist” promise us the moon and deliver Ecuador. And, yes, I’m talking to the press.
The GOP? Name someone with a chance for a nomination and you’ll likely name someone I wouldn’t want anywhere near the Oval Office.
Then there is the GOP Congress. It appears Obama is saying he will have a new use for his pen these last two year – the veto pen. I say that’s good news. Here’s a chance for the GOP and Congress to use an opportunity to drop the onus for being obstructionist on the President. If they have the plums to do that. By the way the “obstructionists” in the past wasn’t the GOP but Harry Reid who wouldn’t bring passed House legislation to a vote in the Senate (not that the press ever caught on) – that problem, theoretically, no longer exists). Do I have any faith the Congressional GOP will inundate the President with legislation he will have to sign or veto? No. None. Recent history gives me no warm and fuzzy about that – especially while McCain and Graham are still in the Senate. Look for McCain and his lapdog Graham to again resurrect the “Maverick” brand and spend as much time as Reid screwing up any plans the Senatorial GOP might have to push legislation to Obama’s desk.
Oh …. guess what the NY Times has discovered? There may not be enough doctors to cover any expanded insurance rolls … especially Medicaid. Why? Well for one thing, there are a finite number of doctors that can see a finite number of patients and having insurance hasn’t changed that fact one bit. But, what is a determiner in who may or may not get to see a doctor is how much that doctor gets reimbursed for his/her work. And Medicaid is cutting that amount by about 43%. That means doctors will likely opt out of seeing Medicaid patients (or at least new ones). In essence then, not much changes in the real world despite the utopian plans of our betters. While more may have insurance, emergency rooms will be the “primary care” unit for most and “preventive care”, a supposed goal of this abomination we call ObamaCare, is still a fantasy without realization. Funny how ignoring immutable facts (number of doctors and how humans respond to incentive or lack thereof) always ends up with predictable results.
Bah … enough. I’m supposed to be taking a break.
See you next year. In the meantime, happy New Year!
First I’d like to say that my position on torture is well known and not what this post is about. It’s about intent and timing. The subject just happens to be torture, or enhanced interrogation techniques, if you prefer.
Secondly, I’d like to point out that we’ve been through this before – this is truly old news. This has been investigated. It’s been commented upon and debated. It is something that anyone who follows the news and politics has been aware of for years.
So why, then, in a lame duck session after which Senate Democrats lose their majority, does an idiot like Sen. Diane Feinstein decide that this is something that must be released now. What is the utility of this report? What is the intent of releasing it now? What positive does a biased report that only casts America in a bad light in the middle of a war bring to the table?
Biased, you say? How do you know that? Well here’s a clue:
The outgoing Democratic leadership of the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on C.I.A. rendition, detention and interrogation of terrorists in the years following the 9/11 attacks. But here’s a red flag: Not one person who managed or ran the interrogation program was interviewed.
Not one? So what sort of “report” was it then? What sort of “investigation” took place? Again, regardless of your views on “torture” this is pure politics. And bad politics at that. It is a smear dressed up as something to take seriously.
Why does it matter? Because the way this “report” was generated colors the notional facts it professes to share. Many of the “revelations” of C.I.A. techniques and black sites are old hat to most. Some approve; others don’t. Fair enough, and in a democracy, such a debate is worthy. The larger challenge comes in determining the efficacy of these techniques. Opponents insist (fueled less by fact and more by their sense of righteousness) that enhanced interrogation doesn’t work. So claims the outgoing chairman, of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein.
Here is the problem: Her claim is false. And taken in conjunction with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s unwillingness to interview the targets of their critique, one can only assume that much of the rest of the document is also tainted.
When you dig down to the very bottom of it, you realize its written to support a narrative. It is the same sort of garbage we have seen in the Rolling Stone story about the rape at U Va. As with this report, the “journalist” involved never interviewed anyone who might shed a different sort of light on the rape story. She never verified much of anything. It was all about supporting a narrative.
Rape is bad. Yes, it is. We all accept and understand that. But false and embellished accusations are bad too. That’s what no one ever seems to say on the “rape is bad” narrative side of the house. Additionally, there are two sides to every story – and if you want to report factually, you include both sides. If you’re interested in pushing a narrative, then you don’t.
Hiawatha Bray sums up today’s journalism rather nicely and it applies to this biased piece of garbage Feinstein’s committee produced as well.
What’s wrong with journalism? Lots of stuff. But this is one of the worst features of our industry. All too many of us approach stories with preconceived “narratives.” What matters is not what’s actually going on; it’s whether a particular event gives us the chance to tell some story we already want to tell. If the story is that frat boys are incorrigible rapists, that’s how the story gets spun. What actually happened is of secondary importance. And that’s how we can get a student journalist–contra an earlier draft, I’m not sure she’s actually a journalism major–who can say without embarrassment that the facts of a story are not all that important. This is scary stuff. The only thing we have to offer as journalists–the only thing that’s worth a twopenny damn–is accurate, trustworthy information. If the facts in our stories can’t be relied upon, then those stories are worthless, regardless of what “noble cause” they’re designed to advance. To me it seems horrifying that it’s necessary to explain this.
It is the same story with this report that Feinstein, et. al, have decided must be published now. Old news, repackaged, biased to come to a particular conclusion and intended, apparently, to embarrass the US. Not to mention it is something which will further endanger our military in a time of war. And, of course, provide wonderful propaganda and recruiting material for our enemies (who, per some reports, are already using it). And then there are the useful idiots who will revel in this diminishing of the country’s image.
How this helps the US is beyond my comprehension I guess. It is something we’ve confronted and dealt with years ago. The country is divided over the use of certain “techniques”. And, we’ve seen a Democratic majority in government for 6 years who had the ability to ensure that whatever they believed about such use of these techniques was curtailed or eliminated. What was the utility of this report except, as a friend of mine said, a willful “eff you” by the outgoing Senate majority?
Just when you think this sort of politics can’t get any worse … it does.
UPDATE: Well, of course. Feinstein’s “mission accomplished”:
A United Nations human rights official is calling for individuals who carried out, planned or authorized abusive practices against al-Qaeda detainees in the aftermath of 9/11 to be put on trial, saying the U.S. was obliged under international law “to bring those responsible to justice.”
He also warned Tuesday that perpetrators could be prosecuted anywhere in the world, noting that “torture is a crime of universal jurisdiction.”
Meanwhile the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the Senate Intelligence Committee’s release of a declassified portion of a report on CIA interrogation and detention programs was insufficient, calling for the full 6,000 page report to be released, and for “accountability” for those who overstepped the mark.
Or something. That’s what Charlie Cook covers in National Journal. Cook is a Democratic political expert of some repute and as honest as one can find in that genre. I’ve read him a lot over the years and have found him to certainly lean to the left but also display a level of honesty that is unusual for his ilk.
So, anyway he goes into a 3 or 4 paragraph analysis as to why the Dems are weak, but it is essentially summed up in the subheading of the article:
They have subordinated their traditional focus on helping working-class Americans move up the economic ladder in favor of other priorities.
That’s why I think Obama’s unilateral immigration amnesty is all set to bite them in the posterior. If the GOP frames it correctly it is tailor made to emphasize the very point made above. Down economy. Jobs at a premium. Working class Americans hurting. And what do the Democrats do? Applaud introducing 5 million illegal workers into an already tough labor market.
How does that serve “working-class America” from which most of those jobs are likely to go? Or should have, anyway? How do you make the case you’re still the party of working-class America when you do everything in your power to put others in front of them?
Like I said, handled properly this is a winner. But then, we’re talking the GOP, so don’t hold your breath.
Desperate for something positive to put before Louisiana voters prior to her Senate run-off, Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu is looking for an apparently illusive 60th Senate vote – from her Democratic colleagues.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and other supporters of the Keystone XL oil pipeline are stuck at 59 votes — one vote shy of the supermajority they need to move their bill forward on Tuesday.
Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said Monday that they would vote against moving forward with the legislation, making it unclear whether supporters had a path to the magic number of 60.
Rockefeller had appeared to be one of the last possible converts Monday evening, and supporters were pressuring the retiring senator to join their side.
But he told reporters on Monday that he was firmly against the proposed pipeline: “I’ll be voting ‘no,’ ” he said.
Landrieu seems to think she has it, but the numbers don’t add up, at least at this point. There may still be some hope for her, but it is slim:
Every Republican in the Senate is expected to back the measure, and 10 Democrats have signed on to legislation that Landrieu is sponsoring, along with Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.).
Sens. Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) have also promised Landrieu that they will vote in favor of the pipeline, which would carry fuel from the Alberta oil sands in Canada to the Gulf Coast.
That gives Landrieu a firm 59 votes, but it’s not enough to move forward.
With Rockefeller a “no,” the best hope for Landrieu might be Independent Sen. Angus King (Maine), who told reporters on Monday that he is leaning against the measure.
Noting that he could be a pivotal vote, King also said of the roll call vote on Tuesday: “Wait till they get to the Ks.”
Sen. Chris Coons, who was previously considered a firm “no” on the Keystone vote has been talking to Landrieu about the bill.
“He cares for Senator Landrieu a lot, so he’s listening to what she has to say,” Coon’s spokesman Ian Koski said in an email Monday evening.
“But I have no reason to believe his position has changed,” Koski added.
And, of course, even if she does manage to convert one of those two, which seems unlikely, there’s Obama:
Even if the legislation is approved by the Senate, however, it is likely to be vetoed by Obama.
He said last week that lawmakers should not “short-circuit” the federal review of the pipeline that is already underway.
“I’ve been clear in the past. … My position hasn’t changed, that this is a process that is supposed to be followed,” Obama said at a press conference in Burma.
This is Obama thinking he’s playing “hard ball”. In fact, it is Obama playing his favorite game, throwing someone under the bus. So it’s likely “good bye Senator Landrieu”. The fact that Keystone would create jobs in a down economy is moot. Ideology trumps. And it is much more important, after the drubbing the voters gave the green agenda early in the month, to keep the Tom Steyers of the world happy than it is to support one unimportant Senator in a mostly red state anyway. Her reward for voting for and supporting ObamaCare in the Senate? Stiffed in her hour of need by her party. Irony.
Landrieu, naturally, will blame her pending loss on the “racism” and “sexism” of the South – after serving 18 years in the Senate.
Actually, the “American voter” wasn’t as stupid, as Jonathan Gruber claimed, because, as he admits numerous times, they had to resort to outright fraud to get the ACA past those voters. Brian Faughnan summarizes:
So Gruber is previously on the record saying Obamacare subsidies are available ONLY in states that set up exchanges – not in all states. He has also said the law was sold in a deceptive way to fool stupid voters. Now we see him claim that the Affordable Care Act was actually a way to get rid of employer-provided health care, but it had to be done secretly so the American people would go along with it:
“It turns out politically it’s really hard to get rid of,” Gruber said. “And the only way we could get rid of it was first by mislabeling it, calling it a tax on insurance plans rather than a tax on people when we all know it’s a tax on people who hold those insurance plans…
Gruber explains that by drafting the bill this way, they were able to pass something that would initially only impact some employer plans though it would eventually hit almost every employer plan. And by that time, those who object to the tax will be obligated to figure out how to come up with the money that repealing the tax will take from the treasury, or risk significantly adding to the national debt.
“What that means is the tax that starts out hitting only 8% of the insurance plans essentially amounts over the next 20 years essentially getting rid of the exclusion for employer sponsored plans,” Gruber said.
But to these ethically crippled jerks, it’s not fraud, it’s “clever(ness)”:
A video that surfaced this week shows Gruber telling a Rhode Island audience in 2012 how the feds will collect a tax on high-end policies without families realizing they’re actually paying the tax via insurers: “(I)t’s a very clever, you know, basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.”
Basic “exploitation” – comforting to know that your government actually and purposely was deceitful with the aim of fooling the public into accepting something the law wasn’t. Name a fraudster anywhere who doesn’t think he’s “clever”.
Now tell me — what do we usually call such attempts?
And what do we do with those who attempt to defraud the public?
We put them in jail.
But, you know, that would be “accountability”.
We apparently don’t do “accountability” in the US. So fraudsters are free to brag about how they did what they did without worrying about facing any consequences.
And the left – well, here’s what they’re worried about:
Former White House press secretary Jay Carney told CNN that Gruber’s remarks in general were “very harmful politically to the president.”
You’ve probably seen this quote floating around, or at least part of it. You need to read the whole thing. It’s about how those without principles, who want something passed into law, calculate how to word it and present it so the American people can be fooled into accepting it. Everything is acceptable in terms of methods. In this case the person is talking about ObamaCare, aka the ACA:
“You can’t do it political, you just literally cannot do it. Transparent financing and also transparent spending. I mean, this bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes the bill dies. Okay? So it’s written to do that,” Gruber said. “In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in, you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed. Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical to get for the thing to pass. Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”
So we have the CBO which is supposed to score bills and tell us how much they’ll cost, whether or not it is a tax, etc. This crew intentionally wrote it so it couldn’t be construed as a tax. That gives you a little idea of how hard the Supreme Court had to stretch to make it one, and thereby “Constitutional”. Most importantly, it was the presentation that was important and about as opaque concerning the facts as possible.
Not everyone was fooled. Many understood that someone had to pay for this, understood that it was going to be the healthy and said so. Ignored.
What did the “architects” count on? “The stupidity of the American voter” – and now they’re crowing about it. They used it. They counted on it.
Finally read the last sentence. This jerk is pleased with the outcome because he’d “rather have this law than not”. So deceit and trickery are okay. “By any means necessary”.
Is that a principle your government is supposed to represent?
It seems like every pundit in the world is now ready to give the GOP Congressional majority advice on what they should do for the next two years. It would be nice if they’d tell the lame duck Dems and President how they should act as well. But I’m of the opinion these will be a very interesting two months.
The question I have, after the Republican victory, is what lessons they’ve learned from this big win? Here are a few that I think they should keep in mind:
1. While this was a big win, it doesn’t signal that the same will happen in 2016. We heard that sort of “wisdom” spouted after the impressive GOP win in 2010 – momentum from 2010 was sure to sink Obama in 2012. But it didn’t at all translate in the 2012 presidential race. Lesson: while there may be some momentum, what happens in the next two years is much more important than what happened on Tuesday.
2. Guess who focused on social issues? Guess who lost? “The war on women” was beaten to death. In fact, Colorado’s Mark Udall was being referred too as “Mark Uterus” with his almost singular focus on that. And then there was Wendy Davis’ attempt to cash in on it. Climate change was also a bust. Republicans were disciplined, focused on ObamaCare, the economy, jobs, etc. It paid off. You have to wonder if they’ll remember that. There are plenty of important and broad issues to campaign on. You don’t have to resort to divisive wedge issues to rally your base as those type issues tend to alienate badly needed independents. Lesson: stay focused on broad national issues and present solutions.
3. If I were to take anything from the election, it wouldn’t be Harry Reid’s interpretation. Reid now thinks everyone should “work together” because, you know, that’s what the American people want. Of course, Harry Reid knows next to nothing about what the American people want and has proven that time and time again. Certainly, if possible, bi-partisan is good. If not, then screw em. Yes, I know that with Obama in the White House, most of what they do is likely to be vetoed. But then it is up to him to explain why nothing is happening, not the Republicans. He becomes the “obstructionist“. Politics 101. Of course the GOP has flunked that course many times. Lesson: do your job and make the other party do theirs. If they do, then it helps build a very nice case that they need to go.
There are probably many more you can think of. I’m pitching these up here because they seem to me to be common sense lessons from this election. Yes, impressive win. Got it. Now what? What have you learned?
Well, if history is any indicator, many of the same lessons have been available to the GOP in other elections and they’ve essentially ignored them. The question of this day is “will they repeat history”?