Let’s make something clear here before we start. The argument in science, about climate change, isn’t whether or not man is contributing to climate change – it’s whether what man is contributing makes a big difference in the climate (and should therefore be addressed) or an insignificant contribution to climate change (and therefore “remedies” which are likely economy wreckers should be foregone). The former is the “alamrist” side. The latter is the skeptical side.
The science of the situation, i.e. the data, seems to support the skeptical side. So what you don’t want to fall into is the trap of agreeing that man is contributing nothing. Just by living we contribute to the mix. What skeptics are arguming is the contribution of man, in reality, is insignificant and doesn’t warrant huge costly taxes, significant change or monsterous government programs. Skeptics offer that the atmosphere doesn’t react signficiantly to rising CO2 produced by man (and that seems to be the case).
Therefore when you hear all this nonsense about skeptics denying man’s contribution to climate change, it is just that – nonsense. Every living creature contributes to the gasses which make up the atmosphere of our planet and some of those gasses do indeed have a role in climate. To deny that is silly. What we skeptics are saying is those contributions simply aren’t significant because their effect on climate is minimal and certainly nowhere near on par with natural events. When the alarmist thow out numbers like “97% of scientistst agree man is contributing to climate change” it is a partial truth. However, there’s a huge split among scientists as to how significant man’s contribution is to any climate change. But alarmists never go there.
In fact, we’re just in the middle of the latest round of “catastrophe hype” that the media has been complicit in for years. Whatever it takes to sell papers. Remember:
“U.S. Scientist Sees New Ice Age Coming,” said a Washington Post headline in 1971. “The world could be as little as 50 or 60 years away from a disastrous new ice age, a leading atmospheric scientist predicts.” The New York Times went one further, saying: “Climate Changes Called Ominous.” But it wasn’t just theory. “There is a finite probability that a serious worldwide cooling could befall the Earth within the next hundred years.”
Oh, yeah. I forgot about that. Not to mention forgetting about how we’d all be starved to death by now because the population wasn’t sustainable and … well, you know them all.
Which brings us to the latest attempt by the alarmists to redefine both the “problem” and the skeptics. Our buddy John Kerry in Indonesia over the weekend had this to say:
Kerry, who delivered the speech on Sunday in the capital, Jakarta, spoke critically about climate change sceptics adding that everyone and every country must take responsibility and act immediately.
“We simply don’t have time to let a few loud interest groups hijack the climate conversation,” he said, referring to what he called “big companies” that “don’t want to change and spend a lot of money” to act to reduce the risks.
He later singled out big oil and coal concerns as the primary offenders.
“The science is unequivocal, and those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand,” Kerry said.
Right. Interestingly, Indonesia is huge coal producer. Our boy Kerry knows how to pick ‘em.
Of course the science isn’t “unequivocal” where it counts. I.e. what is driving climate change (you know, beside the big yellow thing that appears in the sky each day like magic but is, for the most part, roundly ignored by alarmists – no pun intended) is, well, many natural forces. Our Earth has seen climate change for its entire existence. We have two warm periods in our past which were warmer that the warmest period of modern history. And we’re not warming now, despite increased CO2. So, if one wants to really do science, i.e. demand “unequivocal” proof, one has every right to be skeptical of the current science being pushed by the alarmists. Skepticism is the root of science.
And, of course, Kerry had to over dramatize the supposed problem in order to alarm the gullible even more:
John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, has stressed the importance of tackling climate change in a speech in Indonesia, saying that it may be the world’s “most fearsome” weapon of mass destruction.
Wow. That’s just a …. silly comparison.
But alarmists seem to pay no attention to reality as they push their mantra. For instance, Al Gore, Alarmist-in-Chief had this to say just a few days ago:
Earth’s ice-covered regions are melting. The vanishing of the Arctic ice cap is changing the heat absorption at the top of the world, and may be affecting the location of the Northern Hemisphere jet stream and storm tracks and slowing down the movement of storm systems. Meanwhile, the growing loss of ice in Antarctica and Greenland is accelerating sea level rise and threatening low-lying coastal cities and regions.
Not a word of that is true. None. The jet stream’s move south?
One of the Met Office’s most senior experts yesterday made a dramatic intervention in the climate change debate by insisting there is no link between the storms that have battered Britain and global warming. Mat Collins, a Professor in climate systems at Exeter University, said the storms have been driven by the jet stream – the high-speed current of air that girdles the globe – which has been ‘stuck’ further south than usual. Professor Collins told The Mail on Sunday: ‘There is no evidence that global warming can cause the jet stream to get stuck in the way it has this winter. If this is due to climate change, it is outside our knowledge.’
Who are you going to believe? Al Gore or Professor Collins? Who has the real chops. And note to that the Professor makes it clear that we don’t have the knowledge to make such a claim anyway. Not that such an impediment of factual knowledge ever stopped Al Gore.
Antarctic sea ice has grown to a record large extent for a second straight year, baffling scientists seeking to understand why this ice is expanding rather than shrinking in a warming world.
On Saturday, the ice extent reached 19.51 million square kilometers, according to data posted on the National Snow and Ice Data Center Web site. That number bested record high levels set earlier this month and in 2012 (of 19.48 million square kilometers). Records date back to October 1978.
So what do real scientists note?
“This modeled Antarctic sea ice decrease in the last three decades is at odds with observations, which show a small yet statistically significant increase in sea ice extent,” says the study, led by Colorado State University atmospheric scientist Elizabeth Barnes.
You might also remember that 2013 was the year the sophisticated models the alarmists base their claims upon said that the Arctic would be ice free. The gullible and true believers ate it up, and some even acted upon it.
Only six years ago, the BBC reported that the Arctic would be ice-free in summer by 2013, citing a scientist in the US who claimed this was a ‘conservative’ forecast. Perhaps it was their confidence that led more than 20 yachts to try to sail the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific this summer. As of last week, all these vessels were stuck in the ice, some at the eastern end of the passage in Prince Regent Inlet, others further west at Cape Bathurst.
Shipping experts said the only way these vessels were likely to be freed was by the icebreakers of the Canadian coastguard. According to the official Canadian government website, the Northwest Passage has remained ice-bound and impassable all summer.
D’oh! I think they ought to bill the forecasters for the cost of rescuing the yachts, don’t you?
So, I don’t know, given all of that, maybe we ought to be skeptical of the fidelity of the models and the science? You think?
I certainly do.
And Billy Nye? You’re an engineer and an actor – not a climate scientist. If you want to be among the alarmists, then be one. But do us all a favor and do it quietly.
This week, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss Venezuela and the Mark Steyn libel case.
The podcast can be found on Stitcher here.
As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Stitcher. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here.
Like they’re doing in New York City:
At her January inauguration, New York city council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito told her colleagues, “Now is the time to embrace our progressive moment and put our values into action.”
Whoo hoo … right? Yeah, not so much. What that means is your business is their business and privacy is a vestage of simpler, more conservative times (you know, like the time in which the Constitution of the United States was written). In the brave new world of progressive values, that old bit of parchment is passe.
One of the Democrat-dominated council’s first acts was to override former mayor Michael Bloomberg’s vetoes of bills from previous sessions. Then the 51-member legislative body got down to business: regulating the minutiae of New Yorkers’ lives, empowering city agencies to enter private property at will, and setting up task forces to study leisure activities.
At its semi-weekly “stated” meeting—where members pass bills and introduce new legislation—the council directed the Department of Health to develop a registry of convicted animal abusers, along the lines of the sex-offender registries that all states maintain. The registry would ensure that animal abusers cannot own animals for at least five years following their conviction or incarceration. Abusers will have to submit to annual reviews of their living situations, and pet stores and animal shelters will need to check the registry before selling an animal. Preventing animal abuse is a laudable goal, but the new law suffers from several deficiencies. For one thing, the Department of Health opposed its passage. The DOH has no enforcement capability or experience in monitoring criminals.
So where will the possible abuse probably occur? Yup … DOH.
But that’s nothing compared to this next beauty:
Meanwhile, Upper Manhattan councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez proposed a bill that would expand city workers’ authority to demand entry into many buildings. The bill, Intro 18, covers all buildings that receive tax benefits under Section 421-a of the tax code, which covers affordable housing. Councilmember Rodriguez’s bill would allow representatives of “any city agency” to access any such building for any reason—and “such request for access need not be made in writing.”
Intro 18 doesn’t specify which areas of a building must be made accessible to city employees, nor does it specifically limit the scope of the investigations. The bill comes with no memo explaining its intent, as is typically included when a bill makes its way through committee hearings. But one could reasonably imagine a scenario where an inspector wanted to check, say, if the affordable units in a rental building or co-op were outfitted with the same appliances and fixtures as market-rate units. According to the bill’s language, it appears the tenants or unit owners could be forced to open their doors to inspectors at any time. The potential for abuse is clear. Picture a series of minor administrative factotums waiting to have their palms greased to stave off endless inspections. Rodriguez’s bill suggests a city where private property is a privilege that can be taken away by a bureaucrat’s will.
And, of course, they’ll be “shocked, shocked I tell you” when, in 6 months, they uncover their first corruption scandal involving city employees or discover the bill is being abused by bureaucrats. Note that the bill is “proposed” for the time being. But it certainly reflects these progressive’s values, doesn’t it?
Another proposed bill reflecting those progressive values?
Another proposed law, Intro 8, addresses the grave problem of businesses claiming to be “environmentally friendly.” New Yorkers, a naïve and trusting group of rubes, apparently are getting snookered by greener-than-thou businesses. So much so that Brooklyn councilmember Vincent Gentile wants the city to establish an official “environmentally friendly” designation for which businesses can apply. The bill’s text calls for the Commissioner of Small Business Services to “coordinate with the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability and any other city agency or agencies that regulate businesses,” to devise categories of environmentally friendly businesses and non-environmentally friendly businesses. Should this it really be a top priority for the city council?
Should it? No. But will that stop them? No.
Perhaps topping them all, councilmember Ruben Wills of southeast Queens has submitted Intro 44, “in relation to the creation of a task force on the sport of cricket.” The bill’s multiple sub-sections and sub-sub sections describe the constitution of the task force and detail the making of appointments, filling of vacancies, and so on. After a year, the envisioned task force will deliver a report that “shall include specific recommendations on the following topics: i. funding sources for team equipment, uniforms, and umpires; ii. promoting cricket in New York City; iii. potential economic development initiatives.”
Cricket’s popularity in Pakistan, India, and Trinidad stems in part from the ease with which it can be played, pickup-style, with limited equipment: a ball, a bat, and some sticks for the wicket. Visit any playing field in central Brooklyn or eastern Queens and you’ll see plenty of people enthusiastically playing. It’s not clear why the city needs a task force to brainstorm “funding sources” for an already popular pastime.
Critical fraking stuff, no? Very important that Cricket be regulated in some form or fashion to the benefit of … NYC of course. Er, I mean NYC’s citizens.
If these are examples of progressive values, I’ll live in my backwater and more conservative/libertarian area where citizens, for the most part, continue to tell local pols to mind their own business not theirs and to ensure they pick up the trash on time and keep the roads clear.
The cult of the vicitim is alive and well in the US. It’s been fostered by politicians and lawyers who are open to the idea that one’s problems, whatever they are, are the fault of someone else.
And, given that doing so gives the pols more power (and the lawyers more money), the field is open for exploitation. Remember the tobacco settlement? Well guess who is next and why:
Lawyers are pitching state attorneys general in 16 states with a radical idea: make the food industry pay for soaring obesity-related health care costs.
It’s a move straight from the playbook of the Big Tobacco takedown of the 1990s, which ended in a $246 billion settlement with 46 states, a ban on cigarette marketing to young people and the Food and Drug Administration stepping in to regulate.
Yes, getting fat is the fault of “big food”. Being obese is just not your fault. So lets soak “Big Food” (and raise already high grocery prices through the roof, shall we?):
“I believe that this is the most promising strategy to lighten the economic burden of obesity on states and taxpayers and to negotiate broader public health policy objectives,” said Paul McDonald, a partner at Valorem Law Group in Chicago, who is leading the charge.
McDonald’s firm has sent proposals to AGs from California to Mississippi explaining how suing “big food” could help their states close budget gaps as billions in Medicaid expenditures eat a growing share of tax revenues.
In a letter to Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane last year, McDonald noted that the state faced a $3.7 billion budget shortfall in 2012 and had to cut back on certain services. The state’s total Medicaid burden that year was $10 billion — and getting a piece of that back could help close the gap.
Yes friends it is the “most promising strategy to lighten the economic burden on the states and taxapayers” … say what? Taxpayers? Aren’t they the one’s who will foot the bill for the “Big Food” pass-through of cost to litigate this idea and then, if the lawyers are successful, pay the settlement?
Name someone you know who isn’t a “food adicit” and doesn’t buy food from “Big Food”, will you? I’d be interested to meet them.
In the meantime, if this guy is successful in selling this to state AGs (and I’d not be surprised if they bit), the cost of food will go up as the cost of litigating this nonsense rises. After all, Big Government is now in charge of health care costs (something they’ve actually driven up) and are desperate for ways to make it cheaper.
You’re just a victim, slugger. And these guys have your best interests at heart, don’t you know? Let the demonization of Big Food begin.
As an aside, it is a bit ironic that the laywer pushing this full employment for lawyers scheme is named McDonald, no?
One of the most ironic and, if it weren’t so serious, amusing aspects of central planners is how they come to the conclusion that their plan – despite thousands of years of human nature – will manage to overcome human nature. What I mean by that akward sentence is they believe they can retrain us to like what they’ll make us do. Screw human nature. Screw the laws of economics. Screw just about every immutable law of nature. This crap sounded great in the beer haze of the dormitory among their liberal friends.
It’s a correlary of the “the only reason socialism hasn’t worked is we haven’t tried it my way” belief. And I do mean “belief”. An act of faith. More underpants gnomes.
The case in point? Megan McArdle brings it to us:
In December, I predicted that “doc shock” was going to be a major problem for the U.S. health-care overhaul, as people found out that the narrow networks insurers use to keep premiums low often don’t cover the top-notch doctors you’d like to see if you get really sick:
“If narrow networks could give everyone in the country access to health-care outcomes no worse than 90 percent as good as the folks with the best doctors at 75 percent of the price we’d pay for broader networks, the health-care wonks would jump on that deal as an unbelievable bargain. But I think it’s pretty clear that average folks don’t think like health-care wonks.
So what does ObamaCare do? Force people into narrow networks despite it being clear to anyone with the IQ of a turnip and a couple of years observing how humans do things, that narrow networks are going to fail.
“So even if narrow networks actually were better, people would resist them. And they’ll fight with every fiber of their being when you tell them to take their kid with leukemia to a community hospital rather than the top-notch children’s hospital nearby. Expect the fight over doc shock to be bitter and long — and to end when insurers cave and start adding pricey doctors back to their networks.”
That’s right … you’re relegated to whatever backwater network of care the particular insurance company you’ve been forced to buy from (or pay a tax too if you prefer) has contracted with. Want world-class care for your child? Tough beans. See your doc at the community hospital instead.
So what has happened? Well exactly what happened before when something like this was tried:
However much good, sound policy sense narrow networks might make, they are political poison. Regulators and politicians are going to find it very hard to withstand the appeals of constituents who have been restricted to the bargain basement of our nation’s health-care system. I simply don’t think they’ll be able to stand it for very long. This is basically what happened to the managed-care revolution that held down cost growth in the mid-1990s — people in those plans complained bitterly, in their capacity as both voters and employees. A combination of legal and market pressure forced insurers to open up their networks and approve more treatments. And then costs started rising again. As people begin using their Obamacare policies and start running into restrictions, the same sort of pressure will begin to mount.
But did our estwhile leaders learn anything from managed care’s failure?
Because, you know, they weren’t in charge at the time and besides, human nature is just overrated.
So, as with every other aspect of this nonsense, watch Obama do what is necessary to ensure the fewest number of people possible are hurt by this … until after midterms, at least and 2016 if Mr. “I can do whatever I want” can swing it.
Well the hits keep on coming with this atrocity of a law known as the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare. More and more negative nonsense keeps emerging as we get deeper and deeper into its implementation:
In his State of the Union address, President Obama urged Congress to “give America a raise.” Well, it turns out that Obama is giving America a $70 billion annual pay cut, courtesy of Obamacare.
That is the overlooked nugget in the new Congressional Budget Office report detailing the economic costs of Obamacare. While much attention has been paid to the report’s finding that Obamacare will reduce employment by as much as 2.5 million workers, buried on page 117 (Appendix C) is this bombshell: “CBO estimates that the ACA will cause a reduction of roughly 1 percent in aggregate labor compensation over the 2017-2024 period, compared with what it would have been otherwise.”
Translation: Obamacare means a 1 percent pay cut for American workers.
How much does that come to? Since wages and salaries were about $6.85 trillion in 2012 and are expected to exceed $7 trillion in 2013 and 2014, a 1 percent reduction in compensation is going to cost American workers at least $70 billion a year in lost wages.
It gets worse. Most of that $70 billion in lost wages will come from the paychecks of working-class Americans — those who can afford it least. That’s because Obamacare is a tax on work that will affect lower- and middle-income workers who depend on government subsidies for health coverage. The subsidies Obamacare provides depend on income. If your income goes up, your subsidies go down. This means Obamacare effectively traps people in lower-income jobs by imposing an additional tax on every dollar of additional income they earn. Working hard to earn a promotion or get a raise, or taking on additional part-time work — all the things people do to pursue the American Dream — are discouraged by Obamacare. As Keith Hennessey, former chairman of the White House National Economic Council, explains it, “Obamacare punishes additional work, education, job training and professional advancement, anything that generates additional income for those trying to climb into the middle class.”
Emphasis mine. Obamacare provides a disincentive to succeed (as do the majority of government welfare programs). And what is the old saying? If you want more of a behavior, reward it. Want less? Tax it.
The new twist? They then subsidize the cost when they’ve knocked the victim’s income down enough to make insurance unaffordable.
Meanwhile Congressional Democrats and the administration are agitating for a raise in the minimum wage. They take it away with one hand, try to ignore the fact that they’ve done so and demonize the GOP because they’re not pro-minimum wage (or said another way, they actually understand the economic impact of a minimum wage).
If ever there was a picture beside the definition of “dysfunctional government”, it would be this administration’s along with Congressional Democrats.
And beside the definition of “punching bag?” The GOP.
And no, that’s not a rhetorical question – it’s a real concern.
Even the left knows they’re in trouble for the 2014 midterms … or should be. John Judis of the New Republic:
What I’d point to instead is a comparison between where Obama and the Democrats stood in January 2010 and where they stand today. In January 2010, they were about to lose the Massachusetts senate race, and in November 2010 would lose 63 seats in the House and six seats in the Senate. If Obama and the Democrats’ numbers are better now than they were then, they may not be in trouble; but if they’re worse, the conventional wisdom is right. And they’re worse.
The most recent standard of comparison is the ABC/Washington Post poll that asked some of the same questions in January 2010. First, there are the questions about Obama. These are relevant because midterm elections are often referenda on the president and his party. In January 2010, Obama’s approval ratings were 53 approval to 44 percent disapproval of his “handling his job as president.” Today, 46 percent approve and 50 percent disapprove—a 13-point swing. In January 2010, 47 percent approved and 52 percent disapproved of his handling of the economy. Today 43 percent approve and 55 percent disapprove—a seven-point swing.
In January 2010, 57 percent of registered voters thought that Obama understood “the problems of people like you.” Forty-two percent did not. Today, it’s 47 to 52 percent—a 20-point swing. And there is a similar 20-point swing in the question of how much confidence voters have in Obama’s ability to “make the right decisions for the country’s future.” In short, the electorate has far less confidence in Obama now than they did in January 2010.
ABC—Washington Post didn’t ask the same questions about Democrats and Republicans in January 2010 that they asked today, but they did ask these questions in October 2010 on the eve of the Republicans’ sweep. In October 2010, voters thought Democrats would do a better job than Republicans handling the economy by 44 to 37 percent. Today, they think Republicans would do a better job by 44 to 37 percent—a 14-point turnaround. In October 2010, voters said (incredibly) that they preferred Democratic House candidates by 49 to 44 percent. Today, they prefer Republicans by 45 to 46 percent. The number for October 2010 may be inaccurate, but in any case, there is nothing in the current numbers to inspire confidence. In midterm elections, the Republicans have a built-in advantage that allows them to maintain their majority without winning a majority of votes.
To be as succinct as possible, the 2014 midterms are the Republican’s to screw up. And this is where Johnathan Last of the Weekly Standard points us toward the problem (one we’ve been hitting up here lately):
What could have accounted for these diminished prospects for Obama and the Democrats? Oh, it’s hard to say. Probably just tactical brilliance on the part of congressional Republicans. Yes, that’s the ticket. I mean, it’s not like there was a signal event that focused all political attention on a single issue. It’s not like there’s a Topic A that has been demoralizing Democrats, rallying Republicans, moving independents, and providing a constant stream of campaign fodder.
No, no, no, it’s not like there’s one subject which totally unites the Republicans and cuts against Democrats and—mirabile dictu!—where the news keeps getting worse for Obama with every passing week. As Homer Simpson would say, “Right, Lisa. Some wonderful, magical issue.”
So with the wind at their backs and the Democrats in disarray, late last week the Republican leadership decided that this was the perfect moment to change the conversation to…immigration reform!
To again be as succinct as possible, they’re on their way to screwing it up.
And they wonder why people call them the “stupid party.”
As this Obamanation known as ObamaCare contiunes to unroll and unravell, we find more and more incompetence evident. At this point, you mostly are so in awe (in a negative way) of how badly this was done, that all you’re left to do is shake your head in wonder. The latest:
Amy Goldstein of The Post reveals that the appeals process guaranteed in the Obamacare law does not actually exist. The story outlines an almost comical process that requires citizens who seek a fair hearing to have an innocent, HealthCare.gov-generated mistake corrected to fill out a seven-page paper form that is then inexplicably shipped to Kentucky, where it is entered into a government database that isn’t actually connected to anything. It’s a digital dead end for those who dare to complain. Typical. As a result, 22,000 Americans who have submitted an appeals request remain without proper coverage and they have no recourse. And, according to The Post, in the latest show of non-transparency from this administration, officials have “not made public the fact that the appeals system for the online marketplace is not working.” There is “no indication that infrastructure . . . necessary for conducting informal reviews and fair hearings had even been created, let alone become operational,” and administration officials are refusing to give any information as to when the appeals process might start moving. This is an administration that wants to hide things rather than fix things.
So, the appeals process is analogus to filling out a long paper form and then just throwing it into a dumpster for all the good it does the person filling out the form. But has the administration made it clear that the process is – well not broken, how about nonexistent? Nope. People are still required to fill our their appeals forms, submit them and wait. Except there is no mechanism in the current system for anyone to see, much less review, the submission. The appeal is entered into a data base and that’s the end of the process. Those waiting are left without recourse.
One more time for the morons in the establishment GOP – here’s your issue.
Or, if you continue to pursue immigration – here’s your sign.
Yes, I called it a surprise facetiously. Does Obama do anything that doesn’t fail (other than campaign)?
Meanwhile, two-faced government continues because, well you know, telling the real truth outloud just isn’t politically smart – especially with this administration’s record:
Two prominent Republican senators say that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told them — along with 13 other members of a bipartisan congressional delegation — that President Barack Obama’s administration is in need of a new, more assertive, Syria policy; that al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria pose a direct terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland; that Russia is arming the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and is generally subverting chances for a peaceful settlement; that Assad is violating his promise to expeditiously part with his massive stores of chemical weapons; and that, in Kerry’s view, it may be time to consider more dramatic arming of moderate Syrian rebel factions.
Kerry is said to have made these blunt assertions Sunday morning behind the closed doors of a cramped meeting room in the Bayerischer Hof hotel in Munich, as the 50th annual Munich Security Conference was coming to a close in a ballroom two floors below. A day earlier, Kerry, in a joint appearance with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on the ballroom stage, gave an uncompromising defense of the Obama administration’s level of foreign engagement: saying that,“I can’t think of a place in the world where we’re retreating.”
Really, Mr. Kerry?
Obama/Kerry’s Iran, Egypt, Afghanistan, Syria and Russian policies have been failures. Israel has taken to actually ridiculing US efforts. Saudi Arabia is said to be looking for a new patron in the Middle East.
And yet, given all of that, Kerry is still the loyal waterboy making false claims when anyone with an IQ higher than warm spit can see that during the Obama administration we’ve done nothing but retreat.
Being charitable, maybe Kerry meant we’re no longer retreating because, well, we’ve retreated about as far as is possible to retreat.
Oh, and yes, I saw the Obama/O’Reilly interview. It had the same gripping suspense and entertainment content as the Superbowl. In the case of Denver it was safety, interception, fumble, collapse. Obama was deny, deny, deny, blame, deny reality some more and then cast even more blame.
Peggy Noonan pretty much hits a home run today (well, it being Super Bowl weekend, maybe a touchdown analogy would be better). Here’s how she begins:
The State of the Union was a spectacle of delusion and self-congratulation in which a Congress nobody likes rose to cheer a president nobody really likes. It marked the continued degeneration of a great and useful tradition. Viewership was down, to the lowest level since 2000. This year’s innovation was the Parade of Hacks. It used to be the networks only showed the president walking down the aisle after his presence was dramatically announced. Now every cabinet-level officeholder marches in, shaking hands and high-fiving with breathless congressmen. And why not? No matter how bland and banal they may look, they do have the power to destroy your life—to declare the house you just built as in violation of EPA wetland regulations, to pull your kid’s school placement, to define your medical coverage out of existence. So by all means attention must be paid and faces seen.
Dead on. SOTU has become kind of like entertainment industry awards shows I guess … something else I never watch. What government can do to your freedom? Very real.
But she’s right, more and more Washington DC has become Oz. More and more it becomes delusional, more insular and more isolated from the real America. And that’s where Noonan goes – she does a riff on real America – i.e. “reality” – a state of being that progressive try to avoid at all costs:
Meanwhile, back in America, the Little Sisters of the Poor were preparing their legal briefs. The Roman Catholic order of nuns first came to America in 1868 and were welcomed in every city they entered. They now run about 30 homes for the needy across the country. They have, quite cruelly, been told they must comply with the ObamaCare mandate that all insurance coverage include contraceptives, sterilization procedures, morning-after pills. If they don’t—and of course they can’t, being Catholic, and nuns—they will face ruinous fines. The Supreme Court kindly granted them a temporary stay, but their case soon goes to court. The Justice Department brief, which reads like it was written by someone who just saw “Philomena,” suggests the nuns are being ignorant and balky, all they have to do is sign a little, meaningless form and the problem will go away. The sisters don’t see the form as meaningless; they know it’s not. And so they fight, in a suit along with almost 500 Catholic nonprofit groups.
Everyone who says that would never have happened in the past is correct. It never, ever would have under normal American political leadership, Republican or Democratic. No one would’ve defied religious liberty like this.
The president has taken to saying he isn’t ideological but this mandate—his mandate—is purely ideological.
It also is a violation of traditional civic courtesy, sympathy and spaciousness. The state doesn’t tell serious religious groups to do it their way or they’ll be ruined. You don’t make the Little Sisters bow down to you.
This is the great political failure of progressivism: They always go too far. They always try to rub your face in it.
She has other examples, but the way she wrapped up this portion is a pretty good summary of the state of Oz.
And we’re all the poorer and less free because of it.