Here are the week’s best pieces from WOW!
It is easy to dismiss the NBA booting noted jerk Donald Sterling as good riddance to bad rubbish isn’t it? I mean no one, and I mean no one is defending this old fool and his foolish, deplorable words, or his taste in skanks, I mean mistresses. So, a bigot shoots off his mouth, and his fellow owners choose to throw him under the bus, fine right? Well, maybe not. What happens when an NBA owner, or an owner in the NHL, NFL, or MLB, or coach, or GM are “outed” for some other thought crime. Let’s say the individual is found to support traditional marriage, or tighter border security, or to oppose abortion, or affirmative action? How far are we from the day when those are found to be views that are just not welcome in our hyper sensitive society? Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid has already asked the NFL to go after Redskins owner Daniel Snyder because he refuses to change the teams name. The Congressional Black Caucus wants sports leagues to crack down on any owner that is “racially insensitive”. Ask the former Mozilla CEO about his situation. So, get ready folks, get ready to have a new thought police that will decide who gets to own, or run what in America. I will allow Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks to give us a final thought
A day earlier, however, Cuban — while criticizing Sterling’s comments as “obviously bigoted, obviously racist” — called it “damn scary” that a precedent could be set.
“Regardless of your background, regardless of the history they have, if we’re taking something somebody said in their home and we’re trying to turn it into something that leads to you being forced to divest property in any way, shape or form, that’s not the United States of America,” Cuban said. “I don’t want to be part of that.”
There are those that will say that as long as the government is not coming after people for words they say, then our right to free speech is untouched. But, at a certain point we are soon going to be living in a nation where we have the freedom to speak, but might be to afraid to use it. A nation with defacto speech codes barring certain thoughts from being expressed, then, maybe a nation with speech codes dictating that we MUST express certain views or else. In short, a nation where anyone stepping out of line will be subjected to bullying, intimidation, and thuggery. A nation where expressing yourself on Twitter, Facebook, or your personal blog, or even in a private conversation might cost you your livelihood.
All I can say is “Wow!” Just when we’re all thinking this Obama administration is corrosively corrupt and consummately incompetent, they go and do something that just has to make us all pause and rethink our strongly held beliefs that the federal government is too massive and immovable to be either responsive to the needs of the citizenry or efficient. Here we are out here in flyover country, remote from all those coastal centers of incestuous intellectualism, pounding on our keyboards about all the predicted and daily unveiling failings of ObamaCare, and damn all if this Obama administration doesn’t go and show all us religious, gun-clingin’ fools that, by gosh, they can move with amazing alacrity when it
is important to America suits their agenda.
What I’m referring to, if you haven’t heard, is the absolutely amazing rapid response to a request by several Democrat senators, to do something, for Pete’s sake, about this horrendous, looming mandate (federal noncompliance fine) that’s going to really piss off some voters back in their home states if it isn’t delayed. What’s ever so surprising is that some of these solicitous senatorial signatories, Begich, Pryor, Landrieu, and Hagan, all of whom voted for this lame legislation, are up for re-election in November. My own senator, Mark Pryor, has suddenly rediscovered the importance of the bible in this campaign year and another senator to my south, little Mary Half-Moon Landrieu, who’s support for ObamaCare came at a hefty price, has discovered that maybe she shouldn’t have sold out, too cheaply or otherwise. Little Contrary Mary peddled her political posterior and now wants it back when her past is coming back to bite her.
But enough about senatorial weasels, let’s look at those improbably industrious administration ants who, unable to build their humongous health-care system and its online enrollment website in three-plus years, have managed to respond to the demands of those senators in less than a day. All I can say, once again, is “Wow!” That’s right, in just one day, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, under tremendous pressures to correct all the many problems with her legislative Frankenstein, amazingly found the time to sit down and compose this extensive missive to the concerned senators. This executive edict grants them their every wish, by exempting failed applicants to Obamacare who have lost their insurance due to the poorly thought through provisions of the original, recklessly passed legislation,so that they now will be considered as hardship cases and therefore exempt from the fines mandated for those who fail to obtain coverage.
But just put it out of your damned old suspicious, conservative minds that such an executive fiat is clearly illegal and unconstitutional and that those issues were probably not considered by these incompetent clowns in their haste to serve their needy allies:
Democrat senators… up for re-election.
I know, I know, you’re thinking it’s just another cynical set-up by an arrogant administration led by the most self-centered and inept president in our nation’s history.All you skeptics reading here who see this event as just another pre-planned, butt-covering move by this Keystone Kops administration, should lighten up just a bit and give some credit where credit’s due; such as for these corruptocrats who are clearly and cleverly competent at covering up their incomparable incompetence. Hey, when this hapless turkey can respond to a senatorial request and effect the requested policy change in less than a day, you have to put aside your suspicions of a political fix and give credit where credit is due.
Who do these bungling fools think they’re fooling?
We are currently learning whether the United States really needs a president. Barack Obama has become a mere figurehead, who gives speeches few listen to any more, issues threats that scare fewer, and makes promises that almost no one believes he will keep. Yet America continues on, despite the fact that the foreign and domestic policies of Barack Obama are unraveling, in a manner unusual even for star-crossed presidential second terms.
Abroad, American policy in the Middle East is leaderless and in shambles after the Arab Spring – we’ve had the Syrian fiasco and bloodbath, leading from behind in Libya all the way to Benghazi, and the non-coup, non-junta in Egypt. This administration has managed to unite existential Shiite and Sunni enemies in a shared dislike of the United States. While Iran follows the Putin script from Syria, Israel seems ready to preempt its nuclear program, and Obama still mumbles empty “game changers” and “red line” threats of years past.
We have gone from reset with Russia to Putin as the playmaker of the Middle East. The Persian Gulf sheikhdoms are now mostly anti-American. The leaders of Germany and the people of France resent having their private communications tapped by Barack Obama – the constitutional lawyer and champion of universal human rights. Angela Merkel long ago grasped that President Obama would rather fly across the Atlantic to lobby for a Chicago Olympic Games – or tap her phone – than sit through a 20th-anniversary commemoration of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan are beginning to see that the U.S. is more a neutral than a friend, as Obama negotiates with Putin about reducing the nuclear umbrella that protects America’s key non-nuclear allies. Perhaps they will soon make the necessary adjustments. China, Brazil, and India care little that Barack Obama still insists he is not George W. Bush, or that he seems to be trying to do to America what they seek to undo in their own countries.
The world’s leaders do not any longer seem much impressed by the president’s cat-like walk down the steps of Air Force One, or the soaring cadences that rechannel hope-and=change themes onto the world scene. They acknowledge that their own publics may like the American president, and especially his equivocation about the traditional role of American power in the world. But otherwise, for the next three years, the world is in a holding pattern, wondering whether there is a president of the United States to reckon with or a mere teleprompted functionary. Certainly, the Obama Nobel Peace Prize is now the stuff of comedy.
At home, the signature Affordable Care Act is proving its sternest critics prescient. The mess can best be summed up by Republicans’ being demonized for trying to delay or defund Obamacare – after the president himself chose not to implement elements of his own law – followed immediately by congressional Democrats’ seeking to parrot the Republicans. So are the Democrats followers of Ted Cruz or Barack Obama? Is Obama himself following Ted Cruz?
The problem is not just that all the president’s serial assurances about Obamacare proved untrue – premiums and deductibles will go up, many will lose their coverage and their doctors, new taxes will be needed, care will be curtailed, signups are nearly impossible, and businesses will be less, not more, competitive – but that no one should ever have believed they could possibly be true unless in our daily lives we usually get more and better stuff at lower cost.
More gun control is dead. Comprehensive immigration legislation depends on Republicans’ trusting a president who for two weeks smeared his House opponents as hostage-takers and house-breakers. Moreover, just as no one really read the complete text of the Obamacare legislation, so too no one quite knows what is in the immigration bill. There are few assurances that the border will be first secured under an administration with a record of nullifying “settled law” – or that those who have been convicted of crimes or have been long-time recipients of state or federal assistance will not be eligible for eventual citizenship. If the employer mandate was jettisoned, why would not border security be dropped once a comprehensive immigration bill passed? Or for that matter, if it is not passed, will the president just issue a blanket amnesty anyway?
In the age of Obama, we just ran up a $700 billion annual deficit and called it restraint, as if success were to be defined as not adding another $1 trillion each year to the national debt. The strange thing is that after the end of the Iraq War and the winding down in Afghanistan, forced sequestration, new taxes on high earners, and a supposedly recovering and revenue-producing economy, we are still running up near-record deficits. Stranger still, Obama is bragging that the deficit has been cut by billions – as if the 400-pound heart patient can be content that he lost 50 pounds in record time and so trimmed down to a manageable 350 pounds.
The Federal Reserve is pretty well stuck with near-zero interest rates. Even a slight rise would make servicing the huge debt nearly unmanageable. Yet continued record low interest, along with Obamacare, is strangling the economy. Millions of older Americans are learning that a mid-level government employee draws more in pension compensation than a private retiree receives in interest on 40 years’ worth of life savings.
“Millions of green jobs,” “cash for clunkers,” and “stimulus” are all now recognized as cruel jokes. Oddly, the more scandals come to light, the more immune the virtual president becomes. After the politicization of the IRS, the snooping on AP reporters, the Benghazi mess, the NSA eavesdropping, Fast and Furious, the multibillion-dollar overpayment in income-tax credits by the IRS, the Lisa Jackson fake e-mail identities, and the Pigford payments, the public has become numb – as if it to say, “Of course the Obama administration is not truthful. So what else is new?”
Three considerations are keeping the U.S. afloat without an active president. First, many working Americans have tuned the president out and simply go on about their business despite rather than because of this administration. If gas and oil leases have been curtailed on federal lands, there is record production on private land. Farmers are producing huge harvests and receiving historically high prices. Wall Street welcomes in capital that can find no return elsewhere. American universities’ science departments and professional schools still rate among the world’s best. There is as yet no French or Chinese Silicon Valley. In other words, after five years of stagnation, half the public more or less ignores the Obama administration and plods on.
Second, the other half of Americans gladly accept that Obama is an iconic rather than a serious president. Given his emblematic status as the nation’s first African-American president and his efforts to craft a vast coalition of those with supposed grievances against the majority, he will always have a strong base of supporters. With huge increases in federal redistributive support programs, and about half the population not paying federal income taxes, Obama is seen as the protector of the noble deserving, who should receive more from a government to which the ignoble undeserving must give far more. And if it is a question of adding another million or so people to the food-stamp or disability rolls, or ensuring that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon or that China does not bully Japan, the former wins every time.
Finally, the media accept that Obama represents a rare confluence of forces that promotes a progressive agenda. His youth, his charisma, his background, his exotic nomenclature, and his “cool” all have allowed a traditionally unpopular leftist ideology to enter the mainstream. Why endanger all that with a focus on Benghazi or the disaster of Obamacare? We have had, in the course of our history, plenty of Grants, McKinleys, Hardings, Nixons, and Clintons, but never quite an administration of scandal so exempt from media scrutiny.
As far as his image goes, it does not really matter to what degree Obama actually “fundamentally transforms America.” For the media, that he seeks to do so, and that he drives conservatives crazy trying, is seen as enough reason to surrender their autonomy and become ancillary to the effort. The media believe that once he is out of office, they can regain their credibility by going after the next president with renewed vigor as recompense.
In other words, the presidency has become a virtual office. Almost half the people and most of the media do not mind, and those who do just plod onward.
As Obamacare declines toward a possible fall, the assembled denizens of the professional Left are scrambling in earnest to register their excuses with the public. Thus far at least, the award for the most creative contribution goes to former labor secretary Robert Reich, whose Saturday paean to single-payer health care managed to combine all of the most dishonest talking points that have bubbled up since October 1 while constructing in tandem a counterfactual so dazzling that only the truest of apostles could be persuaded by it.
Reich’s column has the Upworthy-worthy title, “The Democrats’ Version of Health Insurance Would Have Been Cheaper, Simpler, and More Popular (So Why Did We Enact the Republican Version and Why Are They So Upset?).” In it, Reich claims that if “Democrats [had] stuck to the original Democratic vision and built comprehensive health insurance on Social Security and Medicare, it would have been cheaper, simpler, and more widely accepted by the public.” And, he adds for good measure, “Republicans would be hollering anyway.”
The underlying conceit here, that the Democratic party had the option of “sticking to the original vision” of single-payer but that it instead settled on Obamacare as part of some sort of grand compromise, is fairly popular among the law’s apologists these days. Republicans, this story goes, are opportunistic hypocrites who dropped their longtime support for a system that looked just like Obamacare the very moment that a black man was elected to the White House. Democrats, meanwhile, are presented as being too nice and too solicitous of their opponents, and criticized for having elected to placate the Republican party by forgoing pursuit of what they truly wanted: Medicare for all.
Reassuring as this tale might be to those who are worriedly surveying the damage that Healthcare.gov has wrought upon their project, it remains self-evidently absurd. Obamacare was passed into law without a single Republican vote; its passage led to the biggest midterm blowout since 1948; and repealing the measure has been, to borrow Harry Reid’s favorite word, the “obsession” of Republicans for nearly five years. It is a law based upon an idea that Republican leadership failed to consider, debate, or advance during any of the periods in which they have held political power – and one that they actively opposed when it was suggested in a similar form by President Clinton during the 1990s. If Republicans were desperate to get something done along the lines that Obama proposed in 2009, they have had a funny way of showing it over the past 159 years.
Champions of the Republican Idea Theory tend to respond to the presentation of these facts by charging that that the concept of an individual mandate was the product of a 1989 paper issued by the conservative Heritage Foundation (something its author vigorously denies), and that Republicans were so taken by the idea of forcing everybody to buy a private product that… well, actually herein lies the problem. Truth be told, Republicans were so taken with Heritage’s design that a grand number of two of them ever went so far as to introduce a federal bill based on it and Mitt Romney used it as the basis of reform in deep-blue Massachusetts. Oh, and Newt Gingrich once said something nice about it – in 1995. This, suffice it to say, is hardly a ringing endorsement.
Whatever historical weight the Left chooses to attribute to the Heritage proposal, it cannot change the salient fact that “Heritage” is synonymous with neither “Republican party” nor “conservative movement,” nor that, even if it were, such a link would serve only to confuse matters. As Avik Roy notes over at Forbes, the so-called “Heritage plan” was actually “killed” by another Heritage employee, Peter Ferrara, whose first act after leaving the organization was to campaign vehemently against the idea and to “[convince] 37 leaders of the conservative movement, including Phyllis Schlafly, Grover Norquist, and Paul Weyrich, to sign a petition opposing” it. Ferrara was joined in his opposition by the Cato Institute, the Galen Institute, and almost everybody on the Republican side of Congress.
Reich’s fantasy account of a restrained Democratic party does not hold up either. There is a devastatingly dull reason the bulletproof Democratic majority of 2008 didn’t build “comprehensive health insurance on Social Security and Medicare,” and that is that it didn’t have the votes. Indeed, with full control of the government, Democrats didn’t even have the votes to set up a public insurance option, let alone to take over the whole system. Long before Scott Brown was elected to the Senate, Ezra Klein was lamenting that the public option was dead on arrival. Joe Lieberman, Klein noted sadly, has “swung the axe and cut his deal cleanly, killing not only the public option, but anything that looked even remotely like it.”
Lieberman did this for a solid reason: Despite the best efforts of the president, the mooted health-care bill remained deeply unpopular throughout the legislative process, and the public option even more so. Americans, remember, didn’t even want the bill as it currently ended up, and they were so determined to stop it that the progressive stronghold of Massachusetts elected to the Senate a Republican who ran promising not only to “kill” that specific bill but also to end the Democratic party’s filibuster-proof majority. Are we honestly expected to suppose that if the proposal had been farther to the left, it would have had a better chance? Does the progressive movement really think that the public can be persuaded that Democratic legislators “compromised” with an intransigent opposition out of the goodness of their hearts? I think not.
As for Reich’s claim that a single-payer system would have been “more widely accepted by the public”: Is he joking? So acutely aware were the president and his allies in Congress of the fact that the vast majority of Americans did not want to lose their current insurance that, like so many traveling salesmen on the frontier, they just brazenly lied, promising things of their product that it could never possibly deliver and assiduously playing down the scale of the chance that their customers were taking. Again, with Obamacare as it is now, the president was forced onto the defensive, provoked into repeating as mantra that “if you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep your health-care plan” and into reassuring voters that “no one will take it away – no matter what.” One can only imagine what he would have had to promise if he had been peddling single-payer.
The New York Times’ Paul Krugman, who has dismissed the law as an “immense kludge” and is open about his preference for a Medicaid-for-all single-payer model, has managed to grasp that “the reluctance of workers who currently have good insurance through their employers to trade that insurance for something new” meant in practical terms that “the Affordable Care Act was probably all we could get.” It was indeed, and if the Republican party plays its cards right and can turn the disastrous rollout of the law into a setback not just to this particular scheme but to the technocratic model itself, it will be all that the Left “can get” for some time to come.
Nevertheless, as any good liar knows, it is the chaotic and amorphous opening days of any disaster that provide the opportunities for the most ambitious spin. Refusing to allow anything as prosaic as truth to intrude upon their fantasies, progressives are engaged in an audacious attempt to blame their opponents for their signature mistake and, worse, to pretend that the solution to the havoc wrought by magical thinking is to commission even more magic. “We must do what we can,” William F. Buckley Jr. wrote in a letter to Henry Kissinger, “to bring hammer blows against the bell jar that protects the dreamers from reality.” With Obamacare failing in precisely the ways that they predicted it would, conservatives have been given an extraordinary hammer. They must not let their opponents take it from their hands.
And if you have a problem with that, guess what?
Georgia Rep. John Lewis racist racist racist Republican racist racist President Obama racist racist racist RAAAAAAAACISM.
Racist racist racist racist racist racist… racist racist racist racist racist racist racist racist racist racist racist, racist racist racist racist racist racist racist racist racist racist.
Racist racist racist Republican racist racist racist Obamacare racist racist racist racist racist, Lewis racist: “Racist racist racist racist racist racist racist racist racist. Racist racist racist racist racist racist 50s, racist Southern racist racist racist Southern Manifesto racist racist racist racist racist racist 1954.”
Whoops! I accidentally put that through the English-to-Demspeak translator. Here’s the original text:
Georgia Rep. John Lewis on Tuesday compared Republican opposition to President Obama’s health-care law to racism.
The Democratic lawmaker made the comments… during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing with Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Referencing the numerous Republican attempts to repeal Obamacare over the last several years, Lewis said: “Just reminds me of another period in our history. Not so long ago during the 50s, many Southern senators signed a Southern Manifesto after the Supreme Court decision of 1954.”
Are you ready for the punchline? Have you guessed it already?
Ironically, while Lewis used the Southern Manifesto – which was in opposition to integration – to attack Republicans, 97 of the 99 politicians who signed it in 1956 were Democrats.
Yeah, but the other two were the real racists!
Dear Representative Lewis,
We’re sorry that some white people beat you up in the ’60s because they were racists. You did good, brave things, and you didn’t deserve that.
But it’s wrong to use that as an excuse, 50 years later, to lie about your political opponents.
Please stop it.
The United States of America
To start, something we can all agree on – Ted Cruz tends to evoke passionate emotions.
The left hates him because, well, he’s a human textbook in the art of annoying liberals. The right is more divided. Some conservatives dislike Cruz because they view him as an agitator for agitation’s sake.
Some conservatives dislike him because, well, they aren’t him. But for many conservatives, Cruz is the ultimate politician; a conservative gunslinger – no excuses, no prisoners, no retreat – quite literally, the Lone Star State Ranger.
Yet, regardless of how we as individuals feel about Cruz’s politics, for five reasons, he deserves our respect.
1) He’s intelligent
As his liberal Harvard Law Professor, Alan Dershowitz, put it, “Cruz was off-the-charts brilliant.”
While the Senator often takes flak for his statements in Congress, at speeches off the Hill, he tends to strike a slightly different figure. Passionate yes, but able to articulate the intricacies of his positions to a mix of audiences. If nothing else, we should celebrate the fact that a man who rose from humble beginnings is now at the intellectual forefront of shaping his party’s future.
2) He puts causes above political gain
Soaring speeches, relentless campaigning, marathon filibusters… No one can accuse Cruz of being a political crony. Let’s face it; he doesn’t seem desperate to win powerful friends. In fact, he’s reveled in torching bridges as much as building them.
Cruz’s relentless passion speaks to something. We might disagree with some (or all) of his opinions, –but we should respect Cruz’s commitment. By the authority of Texas voters, Cruz has been sent to Washington for a reason. He’s fulfilling it. Though he’s controversial at home as well as in DC, so far, the defining judges of Cruz’s ‘service’, Texan voters, remain more favorable in their opinion of him than they are negative. Of course, this may change, but until it does, Cruz can point to a continuing base of popular legitimacy. We should respect that.
3) He’s amusing
No one can accuse the Senator of being boring. His speeches are loaded with humor. And impressively for a politician, Cruz’s jokes include references to both modern social trends and cultural Americana. This isn’t silly, it’s crucially important. Regrettably, many Americans are far more interested in the Kardashians than they are in their own government. That’s not healthy for our democracy.
Yet, Cruz is helping to change this dynamic – he’s making politics more accessible and more engaging. When he sends syrup to Jon Stewart, he’s connecting with young Americans. When he compares ObamaCare to Dr. Seuss, he’s introducing levity to a DC dominated debate. Certainly, he’s differentiating himself from the callous, mindless oratory of Republicans like Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock.
4) He’s a political turbine
When it comes to Ted Cruz, you never know what you’re going to get. That makes his politics interesting. In turn, Cruz drags people out of disinterest and into the discussion. These days, Cruz is probably better at stirring up the liberal base than the president. For the well-being of our country, this catalytic quality is priceless. The main problem with contemporary American politics isn’t Cruz style intransigence. Instead, it’s the fact that many Americans ignore politics in general. They care enough to complain, but not enough to demand change. Cruz changes that equation. He’s a grenade against apathy.
5) He’s done nothing wrong
Listening to some commentators, you’d think that Cruz is an American Guy Fawkes. He isn’t. Rather, the senator is doing what most ambitious politician do – he’s applying the system to his own advantage.
It’s true, few of his actions could be regarded as bi-partisan in nature. But political service is about more than deference to common authority (as President Obama recently found out with his Syria authorization request in Congress). In the end, Cruz will be considered just as much for what he has prevented, as for what he has established. His is undoubtedly a risky proposition – 2016 Republican primary voters may come to regard Cruz harshly if the GOP loses key seats in the 2014 midterm elections. But Cruz’s record shouldn’t be written for a few more years.
Ultimately, the people of Texas will decide whether or not he deserves a second term. The American people will decide whether he gets the keys to another house.
In our system of government, Ted Cruz owes deference to two things alone – his oath and his office. Yes, many of us would prefer a more consensus oriented politician. Nevertheless, he’s an elected representative of America’s second most populous state. We don’t have to like him, we don’t have to vote for him, but paying heed to his pivotal role in our national political life, Ted Cruz deserves our respect.