Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Liewatch!

Somebody oughta start up a website just to catalog ’em all. It’d be a handy reference; of course, it’d also be a permanent, full-time job, one that you’d probably never really be done with.

Beyond “if you like your plan, you can keep it,” Obamacare was passed and implemented through a series of falsehoods.

Obama pushed the bill by pretending he was fighting against the special interests. When the Senate passed the bill in late 2009, Obama thanked them for “standing up to the special interests.” This bill was supported by the largest single-industry lobby group in the country – the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America — as well as the hospital lobby and the doctor lobby.

In a July 2009 Rose Garden speech, Obama specifically scolded the drug industry, which hurt the feelings of top drug lobbyists who were supporting the law. The White House afterwards assured these lobbyists that the mention was “an error” attributed to “a young speechwriter.”

The administration and its surrogates relied almost solely on misinformation to defend the law’s contraception mandate. The Obama campaign claimed that opponents of the mandate were trying to give employers the right to prohibit their employees from getting contraception. Obama surrogate Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said it was an “issue of whether or not to allow birth control.” This was a constant dishonest refrain of the Obama campaign.

Obama also claimed his bill would check the explosion in health care spending. The week the bill passed, the President humbly declared, “And everybody who’s looked at it says that every single good idea to bend the cost curve and start actually reducing health care costs are in this bill.”

In more candid moments, the bill’s authors sang a different tune. David Bowen, a former Senate staffer who helped craft the bill, explained in a 2010 briefing on K Street that under Romneycare, “There was a very conscious decision to do coverage first, knowing that that would bring on a cost battle second. … We certainly made the same decision. This is a coverage bill, not a cost-reduction bill.”

After signing the law, Obama continued to pretend it didn’t include any tax hikes for lower- and middle-class Americans. This was false. The bill curbed the use of tax-favored health savings accounts, shrunk the deductions for out-of-pocket health care costs, and created the individual mandate tax, the tanning tax and others.

Of course, this is merely the tip of a very large iceberg. But there’s a bigger and more important point to be made, involving this:

Honest Obamacare defenders say the president shouldn’t have promised to let Americans keep their insurance when he really meant that if Obama likes your health care plan, you can keep it.

“Vast swathes of policy are based on the correct presumption that people don’t know what’s best for them,” Barro wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, defending this approach.

And right there it is. People, it can’t be emphasized strongly enough: THIS IS WHAT PROGRESSIVISM IS. This is what they believe, this is the heart of their whole program, their whole ideology. This is why they believe what they believe, advocate what they advocate, and do what they do. It rests on twin pillars of presumption and arrogance: they are smarter than you, and they have the right to use the government to force you to do what they want, for your own “good.” Another prime example, as if any more were needed:

Before the Affordable Care Act, the worst of these plans routinely dropped thousands of Americans every single year. And on average, premiums for folks who stayed in their plans for more than a year shot up about 15 percent a year. This wasn’t just bad for those folks who had these policies, it was bad for all of us — because, again, when tragedy strikes and folks can’t pay their medical bills, everybody else picks up the tab.

Now, if you had one of these substandard plans before the Affordable Care Act became law and you really liked that plan, you’re able to keep it. That’s what I said when I was running for office. That was part of the promise we made. But ever since the law was passed, if insurers decided to downgrade or cancel these substandard plans, what we said under the law is you’ve got to replace them with quality, comprehensive coverage — because that, too, was a central premise of the Affordable Care Act from the very beginning.

So if you’re getting one of these letters, just shop around in the new marketplace. That’s what it’s for. Because of the tax credits we’re offering, and the competition between insurers, most people are going to be able to get better, comprehensive health care plans for the same price or even cheaper than projected. You’re going to get a better deal.

It’s a lie, of course. Note also how he tries to blame the insurance companies for being forced by his own goddamned law to cancel these policies, a line of argument we’ll be seeing liberal-fascist scum try to get a lot more mileage out of in the days ahead. Hey, anybody remember how the “greedy banks” were blamed for the collapse of the housing-finance industry after being forced by law to grant mortgages to people who had no way in the world to pay ’em back? If not, you damned well ought to; the stratagem worked pretty well for them that time, and they’ll definitely be dusting it off and trying it out again.

The truth you’ll never get from any socialist would-be tyrant: if you think you don’t need the kind of comprehensive coverage we’re using all the might of a too-powerful central government to ram this poison pill down your throat, think again. WE decide what’s suitable coverage for you, and if we say, for instance, that men or women well past their child-bearing years must pay for maternity coverage so we can redistribute that wealth as WE see fit, then that is exactly what you’ll do. You WILL buy what we tell you to buy, whether you can afford it or not, whether you really need it or not. Because WE’RE running your lives for you now, and you will have as little say in making your decisions as we can possibly arrange.

Get it through your heads, and keep it foremost in mind: this kind of coercion, which relies on raw dishonesty and deception to accomplish its intended goal of bringing every last man, woman, and child on the planet under its sway, is what you’re voting for when you vote for Progressivists. No matter what lies they tell to get elected or to swindle gullible or ill-informed fools into supporting yet another fascist edict, this is what they are really all about. When you vote for Progressivists, you are inviting the deadliest and most voracious of vipers into the nest of liberty. You are holding the match for a compulsive arsonist as he splashes gasoline around the foundation of just and proper self-government. You are voting for liars, and rewarding them for their abject lack of integrity. You are selling your birthright of liberty and self-determination for a mess of unappetizing and even toxic pottage. You are undermining the Constitution. You are throwing your freedom away.

And, in the end, you will deserve every last measure of what you get. You won’t like it, but you will deserve it. Because you will have taken a lot of better men and women down with you in your folly, indolence, and ignorance, and their sympathy for you when you get what’s coming to you is going to be, shall we say, severely limited.

I don’t want to hear another damned word about any supposed “good intentions” on the part of these people; they are evil, the whole sorry lot of them, and that’s all there is to it.

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Line up, pay up, shut up

How ya liking your Hope and Change bushwa now, suckers?

Before the October 1 rollout of Healthcare.gov, a key concern was whether the Affordable Care Act system would create a “death spiral” for insurers. That crisis could be precipitated by an unenthusiastic response from younger, healthier Americans. These are the people whose high premiums and low demand for services are necessary for the risk pools to assume the costs of covering pre-existing conditions at community-pricing rates, as well as buffering the premiums of older and needier Americans.

Which was the plan all along, and means the system is working exactly as intended: private insurance goes bust, clamor arises for another Big Government Solution, and bingo bango bongo: single payer, by manufactured popular acclaim. That piece was via Ed Driscoll, who delves a little deeper into the real motivations elsewhere, quoting Francis Spufford thus:

For much of the 80 years during which the USSR was a unique experiment in running a non-market economy, the experiment was a stupid experiment, a brute-force experiment. But during the Soviet moment there was a serious attempt to apply the intellectual resources of the educated country the Bolsheviks had kicked and bludgeoned into being. All of the perversities in the Soviet economy. . . are the classic consequences of running a system without the flow of information provided by market exchange; and it was clear at the beginning of the 60s that for the system to move on up to the plenty promised so insanely for 1980, there would have to be informational fixes for each deficiency. Hence the emphasis on cybernetics, which had gone in a handful of years from being condemned as a “bourgeois pseudo-science” to being an official panacea.

The USSR’s pioneering computer scientists were heavily involved, and so was the authentic genius Leonid Kantorovich, nearest Soviet counterpart to John Von Neumann and later to be the only ever Soviet winner of the Nobel prize for economics. Their thinking drew on the uncorrupted traditions of Soviet mathematics. While parts of it merely smuggled elements of rational pricing into the Soviet context, other parts were truly directed at outdoing market processes. The effort failed, of course, for reasons which are an irony-laminated comedy in themselves. The sumps of the command economy were dark and deep and not accessible to academics; Stalinist industrialisation had welded a set of incentives into place which clever software could not touch; the system was administered by rent-seeking gangsters; the mathematicians were relying (at two removes) on conventional neoclassical economics to characterise the market processes they were trying to simulate, and the neoclassicists may just be wrong about how capitalism works.

Which doesn’t mean that our present-day socialist morons are any more capable of learning from the past failures of their precious command-control-manipulate ideology than they ever have been. Because, y’know, this time will be diff’runt. As Kev Williamson notes:

Today, Khrushchev’s “cybernetic” approach has passed into disrepute—to the dust-bin of history—but faith in “scientific” and “rational” management of incomprehensibly complex economic systems remains a fixed fact of political life.

And that is because at the very heart of Progressivism is an intractable arrogance, and the kind of hubristic pride that always goeth before a pratfall of the truly epic proportions we’ve just witnessed with the Ogabecare vaudeville act. But fret not; all we really have to do is just lower our expectations a bit–quite a damned bit, in truth–and everything will automagically work out fine.

Earlier this week, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski tried to call the Healthcare.gov helpline and got an operator. That’s right: an operator! The call went through! MSNBC, the unofficial AV department of the Democratic party, had a scoop. The network tweeted out the big news along with a link to the video: “Mika called the Obamacare hotline and got through with no problems — right on air. WATCH.”

It’s a sure sign that the bar has been lowered to curb height when spinners are touting the exciting news that phone calls actually go through. Someone picked up the phone! Quick, hang that “Mission Accomplished” banner. Never mind that you simply cannot buy insurance from the exchanges over the phone. But the fact you can get someone on the line to tell you that is, I suppose, progress of a kind.

Still, the barely holding conventional wisdom on the right and left is that the website will get fixed eventually, the glitches will be de-glitched, and one day we’ll all look back and laugh at the fuss. That’s possible. But with every passing day it’s less likely.

Actually, it isn’t even remotely likely. The impending disaster is baked into the ideology, right from jump, every single time. Socialism, “liberalism,” fascism, whatever you want to call it, carries within itself the seeds of its own undoing–always and forever. It has never worked, and it never will work. That is neither accident nor coincidence. What it is, is inevitable. Jonah gets more specific:

That’s because insurance companies cannot survive Obamacare without the individual mandate. Under the law, they must offer insurance to anyone who needs it — often at an artificially low price at that. The only way they can make a profit is if the government upholds its promise to get millions of young, healthy people to sign up for more expensive insurance than they need. Take away the mandate — i.e., the penalty — and you make that virtually impossible. If the government tells insurance companies they still have to provide insurance to bad risks, it will be like the government telling Apple it has to sell iPhones at a loss. The insurance companies will sue. And as Dan McLaughlin of The Federalist notes, their lawyers will invoke the Obama administration’s arguments before the Supreme Court that the mandate was inseparable from the “must-issue” requirements under the law.

But even if, somehow, the insurance companies can be compensated for their losses on that front, the fact remains that the only people willing to put up with the North Korean–level customer service are people understandably desperate for health insurance. Those people aren’t likely to be young and healthy.

Which means that all you college-kid neohippie supergeniuses who lined up to vote for Ogabe–twice–need to dig deep and pay up, y’hear? And don’t even think about complaining about the mess you made of things in your ignorance, arrogance, and, yes, hubris. Just sit back and suck on it; Grandpa needs a new liver, and that money’s gotta come from somewhere. Just because you assumed it was going to be from someone else doesn’t mean it’s gonna work out that way.

See? Obamacare really isn’t all that bad after all. For those of us inclined to sit back and laugh at the sheep who will soon line up for the shearing of their young lives, parts of it are downright delicious.

Terrorists, seditionists, and arsonists oh my update! Via Glenn, more Democrat Socialists jump on the delay-and-defer bandwagon: “10 Senate Democrats sign Shaheen letter pushing for open enrollment extension.” Don’t let ’em do it. They had to pass it to find out what was in it; now that they are, keep their feet directly to the fire they lit under the former Constitutional Republic. In sum: Let. It. Burn. There’s no repairing their crumbling socialist edifice, and no reason for better men and women to even try.

Sheepish update! Also via Glenn: what the hell is she thinking?

Obamacare Fiasco Isn’t a Single-Payer Conspiracy
There’s a pretty popular conspiracy theory running around to the effect that this was the Barack Obama administration’s intent all along: Design this big Rube Goldberg apparatus that couldn’t possibly work, and when it fails, sweep in and “fix” things by enacting the single-payer scheme you wanted all along.

Perhaps they did want single payer all along, in their secret heart of hearts, but it’s ludicrous to think that they were capable of designing and pulling off a conspiracy of that magnitude.

Umm, Megan dear, you know I love ya and all, but, well, uhhh

In just about seven weeks, people will be able to start buying Obamacare-approved insurance plans through the new health care exchanges. But already, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is predicting those plans, and the whole system of distributing them, will eventually be moot.

“What we’ve done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever,” Reid said. When then asked by panelist Steve Sebelius whether he meant ultimately the country would have to have a health care system that abandoned insurance as the means of accessing it, Reid said: “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”

Reid cited the post-WWII auto industry labor negotiations that made employer-backed health insurance the norm, remarking that “we’ve never been able to work our way out of that” before predicting that Congress would someday end the insurance-based health care system.

Reid is hardly the only one to have admitted this, of course. But in the exalted circles of “serious” journalism, it isn’t politic to call a socialist by his proper name, much less to acknowledge the conspiratorial bent inherent in their ideological position…even when it’s more than adequately confirmed by their own words and nefarious works. Although I have to admit she’s probably right about their competence in pulling it off in the long run. Tracinski elaborates:

As my friend Jack Wakeland put it to me: “Obamacare can’t be fixed because it was designed to break.”

“Obamacare was designed to fail; to fail slowly and incrementally; to fail in a way that would convince people that private, for-profit health insurance companies are the reason why America’s catastrophically overpriced and malfunctioning health care system hasn’t worked, doesn’t work, and will never work. The architects of the Affordable Care Act wanted to ‘prove’ that third-party private insurance should be scrapped entirely and replaced with a single-payer system: straight socialism.

“The ACA was supposed to fail slowly and painfully over the course of two or three or four presidential election cycles (which is why Obamacare’s namesake, Barack Obama, saw to it that it wouldn’t be implemented until the second half of his second term). When the backlash came, it was supposed to come on some other president’s—preferably a Republican president’s—watch.

“But instead of failing on schedule, four or eight or twelve years from now—it has failed instantly, upon contact with reality.”

Just like all other socialist machinations. Always have. Always will. Conservatives need to keep their mitts off of it, keep their distance, keep denouncing it for what it is, and let nature take its inevitable course.

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“The prevailing political realities of the United States do not allow for any meaningful course correction”

Might as well get in the weekend’s Saturday Steyn while we’re catching up here.

The least dispiriting moment of another grim week in Washington was the sight of ornery veterans tearing down the Barrycades around the war memorials on the National Mall, dragging them up the street, and dumping them outside the White House. This was, as Kevin Williamson wrote at National Review, “as excellent a gesture of the American spirit as our increasingly docile nation has seen in years.” Indeed. The wounded vet with two artificial legs balancing the Barrycade on his Segway was especially impressive. It would have been even better had these disgruntled citizens neatly lined up the Barrycades across the front of the White House and round the sides, symbolically Barrycading him in as punishment for Barrycading them out. But, in a town where an unarmed woman can be left a bullet-riddled corpse merely for driving too near His Benign Majesty’s palace and nobody seems to care, one appreciates a certain caution.

By Wednesday, however, it was business as usual. Which is to say the usual last-minute deal just ahead of the usual make-or-break deadline to resume spending as usual. There was nothing surprising about this. Everyone knew the Republicans were going to fold. Folding is what Republicans do. John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are so good at folding Obama should hire them as White House valets. So the only real question was when to fold. They could at least have left it for a day or two after the midnight chimes of October 17 had come and gone. It would have been useful to demonstrate that just as the sequester did not cause the sky to fall and the shutdown had zero impact on the life of the country so this latest phoney-baloney do-or-die date would not have led to the end of the world as we know it. If you’re going to place another trillion dollars of debt (or more than the entire national debts of Canada and Australia combined) on the backs of the American people in one grubby late-night deal, you might as well get a teachable moment out of it.

Ahh, but as who knows how many teachers out there could tell ya, it’s kinda tough to teach anything to people who aren’t paying attention in the first place. This bit ought to sting pretty badly, had the GOP any capacity at all for shame:

The GOP was concerned about polls showing their approval ratings somewhere between Bashar Assad and the ebola virus, but it’s hard to see why capitulation should command popularity: The late Osama bin Laden’s famous observation about the strong horse and the weak horse has some relevance to domestic politics, too. Republicans spent a lot of time whining that, if Obama was prepared to negotiate with the Iranians, the Syrians, and the Russians, why wouldn’t he negotiate with the GOP? Well, the obvious answer is Rouhani, Assad, and Putin don’t curl up in a fetal position at the first tut-tut from Bob Schieffer or Diane Sawyer.

Ouch. You’ll want to read the rest of it, of course, all of which adds up to incontrovertible confirmation of Steyn’s underlying thesis as quoted in my title up there.

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Assistance sought

Times are tough out there, I know, and I think we all realize that they’re going to get a lot worse before they get better–which is by no means a given in a failing socialist shitrapy that has strayed as far from its moorings as this one has. Acknowledging all that, anybody in a position to do so ought to go over to Bill’s place and show him a little love. This blogging business is a costly one in more ways than just the distress and ennui I was talking about a week or so ago, and believe me, any help one can get with those costs is always deeply appreciated.

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Happy birthday toooo yoouuuuu…

That would be Instapundit, without whom a lot of us couldn’t really function as bloggers, and would probably never have bothered trying in the first place anyway. Bill says it best:

Glenn has done spectacularly well over the years, and one of the biggest recommendations for advancing rejuvenation technology is to keep him happy, healthy, and blogging for the next thousand years or so. But for everything he’s done since, I don’t believe he’s ever topped his iconic performance on September 11, 2001.

If you’ve forgotten that monumental showing, click the link and refresh your memory. In those twenty four hours, Glenn more or less single-handedly created the modern political Blogosphere. And much of what he wrote back then holds up just as well today.

How many MSM commentators can say the same?

Not many that I can think of. Hats off to ya, Glenn, and…well, thanks. Many, many happy returns, buddy.

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The most AMAZING, SHOCKING, and TRULY UNEXPECTED story of the decade!

Better sit down for this one, folks. It’s nothing less than absolutely staggering.

After Barack Obama’s bizarre claim that he goes skeet shooting all the time, and sources confirmed he hardly ever did, the White House felt compelled for some reason to release a photo of the President shooting a shotgun in mid 2012.

Hard to believe, I know, but it does appear that–for probably the first time in his miserable existence–the Lying Douchebag in Chief has come fairly close to telling the truth. Fairly close–there’s a pretty wide gulf between claiming to do something “all the time” as opposed to “rarely” or “once or twice”–but still, we’ll be big about it and credit the putz with exaggeration rather than outright dishonesty just this once. Will wonders never cease?

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Land of the unfree, home of the cowed and juvenile

Steyn on where we are:

I wasn’t joking, by the way, about the federal bureaucracy policing pumpkin pie consistency. It’s now part of a grand holiday tradition reflected in headlines that ought to be deeply embarrassing to a supposedly free people:

A Thanksgiving Meal, With The TSA’s Blessing

Meanwhile, Canadians, Mexicans, Britons, Australians, Indians, Swedes, Slovenes, Zambians, Papuans and just about everybody else except Saudis and North Koreans are free to eat Kinder Eggs, but in the United States at least three federal agencies are needed to prevent this life-threatening scourge from falling into the hands of the American people.

Even if this precautionary principle were entirely successful, even if – to use the Joe Biden test – it were to prevent one single death, what kind of functioning citizenry is likely to emerge from a government cocoon that treats them like a dimwitted, terrified, risk-averse ovine herd?

Fred on one of the things that got us here:

Why would a man deliberately set out to marry a woman in the Third World—or, if you prefer, the “developing world”? For any of several reasons, which men talk about in private but not when they might be overheard:

(1) North American women (say these men) have been so corrupted by angry feminism that they have the appeal of a menopausing crocodile with the hives. Yes, there are gradations, and many exceptions, but you don’t find out whether she is an exception until, if she isn’t, it is too late. And yes, the men having these views often have had bad experiences, and remain angry. Nonetheless they tend to have similar opinions: The average American woman these days is charming as a hung-over ferret but less useful (ferrets kill mice). We all know the signs. There are the frequent complaints about sexism, discrimination, machismo, the throwaway snotty remarks about the male ego, immaturity, and fear of commitment (they have the last one right, God knows). You get the feeling that too many gringas are coiled like rattlesnakes, looking for slights about which to be enraged. Together these constitute what I think of as “the chip.”

You have to be crazy to tie yourself to such a creature—stark bug-fuck.

(4) America is no longer a fit place to raise children. If you marry a gringa, she will in all likelihood expect to live in the United States. Your children will then go to the public schools, which are drug-ridden academic disasters with no hope of improvement in the time your kids will be in them.

Worse perhaps, they are propaganda mills instilling political correctness and weak character. You know the kind of thing: Sojourner Truth was the most important figure in the American Civil War, dodge ball is violence, Diversity is the only virtue of any importance, performance, grades, and competition are bad because some kids don’t do as well as others, schools exist to raise self-esteem, degraded English is admirable because it is what minorities speak and the purpose of schools is to make minorities feel good about themselves. The schools are run by women, usually stupid ones, and they try hard to feminize males. If you have boys, they stand a good chance of being forcibly drugged if they are bored and fidgety. The quality of the schools being what it is, they will be bored and fidgety.

You won’t be permitted to raise them. The government will do it.

These might seem like unrelated, peripheral issues. They assuredly are not.

(6) Money goes a lot further in the developing world, the government leaves you pretty much alone if you don’t do something really stupid, you aren’t gummed up in the developing police state in the United States and, for many men, especially the independent and self-directed, the Third World is just plain attractive.

(7) Finally, you might be sick of what the United States is becoming. More people are than will admit it. The surveillance, controlled press, propaganda, ever-increasing burden of rules and regulations—some weary of it. If you are a man who wants out for these reasons, then you are not leaving in search of a wife, but you will probably want one eventually.

Or, y’know, not. Back to Steyn for the sorry denouement:

Do you ever get the feeling America’s choo-choo has jumped the tracks? Joe Weisenthal says that the trillion-dollar coin is the most serious adult proposal put forward in our lifetime, “because it gets right to the nature of what is money.” As Weisenthal argues, “we’re still shackled with a gold-standard mentality where we think of money as a scarce natural resource that we need to husband carefully.” Ha! Every time it rains it rains trillion-dollar pennies from heaven. I believe Robert Mugabe made a similar observation on January 16, 2009, when he introduced Zimbabwe’s first one hundred–trillion–dollar bank note. In that one dramatic month, the Zimbabwean dollar declined from 0.0000000072 of a U.S. dollar to 0.0000000003 of a U.S. dollar. But that’s what’s so great about being American. Because, when you’re American, one U.S. dollar will always be worth one U.S. dollar, no matter how many trillion-dollar coins you mint. Eat your heart out, you Zimbabwean losers. As Joe Weisenthal asks, what is money? Money is American: Everybody knows that.

Meanwhile, I see the Bundesbank has decided to move 300 tons of German gold from the Federal Reserve in New York back to Frankfurt. It’s probably nothing. And what’s to stop the Fed replacing it with 300 tons of Boston cream donuts and declaring them of equivalent value? Or maybe 300 imaginary dead football girlfriends, all platinum blondes.

Memo to John Boehner and Paul Ryan: No one will take you seriously until you find some photogenic second-graders and read out their cute letters. “I want everybody to be happy and safe and fithcally tholvent.” They may have to practice.

And a perpetual adolescent shall lead them. But where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?

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All is not lost

See? There really is hope after all.

It’s not just Detroit, either. The tottering, bankrupt, possibly un-reformable federal government is perched atop some even more insolvent states, many of which contain intractable cities facing impossible crises. As with Detroit, these crises have been brewing for years. A particular set of bad decisions or political squabbles might grab headlines, but it’s really a matter of municipal voting cultures producing a long string of bad administrations. Whatever their shortcomings might be, the current mayor and city council didn’t make Detroit what it is today. Generations of residents did that. External economic factors surely played a major role, but in the end, it is the responsibility of local governments to deal with factors from beyond their borders. Throwing up their hands and declaring the whole thing an ungovernable mess is not an option, for the leadership of Detroit or any other city. Voters must demand better… and that means they’re going to have to compromise on some of their other demands.

While the current insanity of “fiscal cliff” negotiations make us wonder how long a system that regards $60 billion tax increases as the solution to trillion-dollar deficits can endure, the awful truth is that America’s collapse is likely to begin far from Washington, as the most bankrupt local and state governments implode, creating a shockwave that the hollow city on the Potomac cannot stand against.

Hey, whatever it takes, man.

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No cigar

Henninger misses on this one:

The election campaign of the 44th U.S. president is now calling another candidate for the American presidency a “liar.” This is a new low. It is amazing and depressing to hear this term being used as a formal strategy by people at the highest level of American politics.

“Liar” is a potent and ugly word with a sleazy political pedigree. But “liar” is not being deployed only by party attack dogs or the Daily Kos comment queue. Mitt Romney is being called a “liar” by officials at the top of the Obama re-election campaign. Speaking the day after the debate in the press cabin of Air Force One, top Obama adviser David Plouffe said, “We thought it was important to let people know that someone who would lie to 50 million Americans, you should have some questions about whether that person should sit in the Oval Office.”

The Democratic National Committee’s Brad Woodhouse said, “Plenty of people have pointed out what a liar Mitt Romney is.” Deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter says Republicans “think lying is a virtue.”

Explicitly calling someone a “liar” is—or used to be—a serious and rare charge, in or out of politics. It’s a loaded word. It crosses a line. “Liar” suggests bad faith and conscious duplicity—a total, cynical falsity.

The Obama campaign’s resurrection of “liar” as a political tool is odious because it has such a repellent pedigree. It dates to the sleazy world of fascist and totalitarian propaganda in the 1930s. It was part of the milieu of stooges, show trials and dupes. These were people willing to say anything to defeat their opposition. Denouncing people as liars was at the center of it. The idea was never to elevate political debate but to debauch it.

The purpose of calling someone a liar then was not merely to refute their ideas or arguments. It was to nullify them, to eliminate them from participation in politics.

Well, if it’s used correctly and eliminates the liars from politics, I’m okay with that. And there’s the rub: when a slimewad like Axelrod makes false claims about Romney and then calls him a liar, he’s, well, lying. We’re not supposed to notice that, or say anything about it? We’re supposed to quietly “harrumph-harrumph” up our shirt sleeves, meekly suggest, “not quite sporting, old chap; not quite playing the game. A sticky wicket, wot?” like a character in a Wodehouse novel, and thereafter consider the matter properly and sufficiently addressed?

Sorry, Dan; not me. Not here. Not ever.

You can call it “low-rent” if you like; I’d say it’s simply telling the truth, myself. And I’d also submit that refusing to call a spade a spade has done more harm to this nation than slinging a little well-earned mud around ever has.

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New books!

From our good friends Michael Totten and Kim DuToit (I copied Bill’s link to Amazon so he can make a nickel off it if you buy it; us OG’s gotta stick together, you know)– so you already know they’re good. Mike would like you folks to know that there’s also a Kindle version, available for half-price rat cheer.

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OG gettin’ older

Happy birthday to my long-time partner in blogging crime, Bill Quick. Bill and I have never met face to face, but I consider him a friend, almost an older (slightly), wiser alter ego of sorts, since we tend to agree on just about everything, and reach our conclusions through a very similar thought process and many shared ideals. Many happy returns to ya, buddy; yeah, getting old may suck, but as my mom always tells me when I complain about it, something I find myself doing more and more of lately: it beats the alternative, right?

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Tora, tora, tora!

Romney and his Gentry GOP spirit squad are fucking hopeless.

WASHINGTON — A group of high-profile Republican strategists is working with a conservative billionaire on a proposal to mount one of the most provocative campaigns of the “super PAC” era and attackPresident Obama in ways that Republicans have so far shied away from.

Timed to upend the Democratic National Convention in September, the plan would “do exactly what John McCain would not let us do,” the strategists wrote.

The plan, which is awaiting approval, calls for running commercials linking Mr. Obama to incendiary comments by his former spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., whose race-related sermons made him a highly charged figure in the 2008 campaign.

“The world is about to see Jeremiah Wright and understand his influence on Barack Obama for the first time in a big, attention-arresting way,” says the proposal, which was overseen by Fred Davis and commissioned by Joe Ricketts, the founder of the brokerage firm TD Ameritrade. Mr. Ricketts is increasingly putting his fortune to work in conservative politics.

The proposal suggests that Mr. Ricketts believes the 2008 campaign of Senator John McCain erred in not using images of Mr. Wright against Mr. Obama, who has said that the pastor helped him find Jesus but that he was never present for Mr. Wright’s politically charged sermons.

Which was a brazen lie, as is demonstrated by Ogabe’s ham-handed attempt to bribe Wright out of the public eye until after he had defrauded his way into office. But leave it to the Stupid Party to daintily avert their eyes from the untidiness of modern politics:

Unlike the Obama campaign, Gov. Romney is running a campaign based on jobs and the economy, and we encourage everyone else to do the same. President Obama’s team said they would ‘kill Romney,’ and, just last week, David Axelrod referred to individuals opposing the president as ‘contract killers.’ It’s clear President Obama’s team is running a campaign of character assassination. We repudiate any efforts on our side to do so.

Then you and the rest of the Queensberry GOP are going to get your stupid asses beaten like a big bass drum. Again. And you deserve to. Again.

There’s a certain grim pleasure to be taken from their no doubt shocked and horrified reaction to this blistering response from one of the dirtiest, sleaziest, most dishonest campaign organizations in history:

This morning’s story revealed the appalling lengths to which Republican operatives and SuperPacs apparently are willing to go to tear down the President and elect Mitt Romney. The blueprint for a hate-filled, divisive campaign of character assassination speaks for itself. It also reflects how far the party has drifted in four short years since John McCain rejected these very tactics. Once again, Governor Romney has fallen short of the standard that John McCain set, reacting tepidly in a moment that required moral leadership in standing up to the very extreme wing of his own party.

See what they did there? The ads haven’t even run yet, but Obama’s minions immediately hit back twice as hard, insisting that Romney run the kind of milquetoast campaign that sank McCain, and pretending to be oh-so-disappointed that their opponent would even consider using the truth against their socialist scumbag of a candidate. They seized the initiative once again from the prissy dopes in the Romney camp. They got out in front of the issue and used the opportunity presented by the Romney campaign’s weak-sister politesse for another smear, another misdirection.

“Hate-filled.” “Divisive.” “Character assassination.” All the things THEY are, all the things THEY do, all the diabolical stratagems THEY rely on, turned back on Romney in one genius blast of hypocrisy and deceit. Before the ad had even run. While Romney and the rest of the RINO camp wring their hands and whine over how uncivil it all is, and won’t everybody please take a look at the real issue as illustrated by our latest pie chart and Venn diagram on the effect of marginal tax rates on the manufacturing sector’s continued ability to skknnnxnxxxxxGGKMNNNKKKXXXXXSNOOOOOORRRRE….

Don’t get me wrong; I understand the idea that the actual candidate should try to remain above the fray, disavowing the necessary dirty work done by others on his behalf even as he tacitly, even clandestinely, supports it. I really do. In fact, so does Romney; it’s a tactic he used to great effect in the primaries against his conservative opponents.

But there is no damned reason in the world–not ONE–that Obama’s relationship with Wright and Wright’s influence on Obama, among many other perfectly legitimate considerations that have gone largely unexamined–should be off-limits. And especially not when Ogabe camp followers are out there digging up pointless, irrelevant incidents from Romney’s high school days and trying to exploit them by any means they can find.

With all that in mind, explain to me, if you can, how an exaggerated, hyperbolic statement like this fits in with that idea:

It’s clear President Obama’s team is running a campaign of character assassination. We repudiate any efforts on our side to do so.

“Character assassination”? ALL RICKETTS INTENDS TO DO IS TELL THE SIMPLE TRUTH, a truth that was deliberately and dishonestly obfuscated in 2008 by the Obama criminal conspiracy and their Old Media fellators. “Character assassination”? It’s character EXAMINATION, character EXPLANATION, character VETTING. There is nothing whatsoever underhanded about it. The Ogabe thugocracy would very much like to see such examination placed off-limits and beyond sanction. The Romney team just agreed to that, even using the Ogabe camp’s own language in so doing.

A much milder statement to the effect that Ricketts’ group “is not affiliated with and does not reflect the views of the campaign” or something equally bland and dry would have been more than enough. But no, the Romney stupes opened fire with both barrels…against their own side, just as they did in the primaries but would never dream of doing against Obama.

Which, I dunno, I guess tells us who Romney considers his real adversaries to be. Sad as that is.

Who knows, maybe Romney’s handlers do intend to go after Ogabe hammer and tongs at some later point in the campaign, and are trying to generate an above-the-sleazy-fray image now to fall back on later. But this fraud of a pResident is eminently attackable, on many fronts. And he damned well ought to be attacked, on all of them.

Whether Romney and the Gentry GOP deign to sully themselves and their sacred honor by acknowledging it or not, they’re in a tooth and nails, knife and chain fight to the finish here. They won’t win unless and until they start generating a strong offense. I don’t believe that repudiating the efforts of their own supporters this vociferously, using the terms of debate set by the enemy–yes, I said enemy, and I meant it–is the way to go about it. McCain’s stinging defeat ought to have demonstrated that clearly enough; just another lesson the GOP establishment refuses to learn, I suppose.

Update! Petition for unconditional surrender filed:

Joe Ricketts distances himself from Wright plan. A spokesman says it “reflects an approach to politics that Mr. Ricketts rejects.”

And the Ogabe junta’s seizing of the initiative pays off yet again. The ad will never be seen. Wright will remain concealed under his slimy rock. And the Gentry GOP wins another Pyrrhic victory.

Updated update! They just don’t get it.

I repudiate the effort by that PAC to promote an ad strategy of the nature they’ve described. I would like to see this campaign focus on the economy, on getting people back to work, on seeing rising incomes and growing prosperity — particularly for those in the middle class of America. And I think what we’ve seen so far from the Obama campaign is a campaign of character assassination. I hope that isn’t the course of this campaign.

Hope on, dumbass. See what it gets ya. Ed repeats a notion that I’ve railed plenty against already:

I agree with Romney and Rubin that the Wright issue is a loser in this election. Republicans have this notion that people are unaware of Jeremiah Wright’s ranting, but the truth is that voters largely didn’t care in the economic collapse; they just wanted a change. The best argument against Obama will be Obama’s record, and every moment spent by the Romney campaign or major outside PACs talking about anything other than the core issues of the 2012 campaign — jobs, economy, deficits, debt, and Iran — play into the distraction strategy that Team Obama is desperate to use.

However, it’s ridiculous to put the onus on Romney for the action of an outside super-PAC that might focus on Wright while the media has been pursuing the “Mormons are strange” trope for the last twelve months, at literally more than a story a day.

Sure, it’s ridiculous–and they’re going to do it anyway, no matter how nice you agree to play, no matter how shocked–SHOCKED–you profess yourself to be when they do, no matter how many times you declaim that they mustn’t, they couldn’t, they shouldn’t, they dasn’t. They’ve been doing such all along; it’s more than past time to stop assuming a sense of honor and fair play on their part that they demonstrably do not possess.

And it is by no means a “distraction” strategy on Ogabe’s part; it’s an “all of the above” strategy. He’s going to use anything and everything he possibly can, and it isn’t as if there just aren’t enough minutes in the day to do it. “Every moment spent” by the GOP attacking Ogabe–on his record, his beliefs, his shady associations, his character, everything–is a moment spent attacking Ogabe.

For all the talking we do about the fallaciousness of “zero sum game” thinking in certain contexts, we sure seem to have a problem grasping it ourselves in others.

Update to the updated update! Moe’s take is a quite different one than my own. It’d be nice if he was right, but I don’t think the GOP is either that smart or that ballsy; it goes against all the prior evidence. I’m sticking with Ace’s notion: “All Democrats need do is cry ‘hatred’ and everyone falls into line, like good little conditioned monkeys.” Pretty much, yeah. Let even a sotto voce mention of the word “racist!” be heard and it’ll send the Gentry GOPers diving under the bed in teeth-chattering, leg-wetting terror every time.

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The Golden Rule: unpleasantness begets unpleasantness

I apologize to my readers and denounce myself in advance for any discomfort caused by presenting this disturbing example of extremist hate speech:

Well, well, well. So Sandra Fluke has a record of denying free speech to others? In addition to giving a pass to Mr. Ed on the slut business? Free speech for Sandra Fluke but not Rush Limbaugh or those pro-lifers at Cornell? Interesting, yes? Hypocritical and thuggish, definitely. She also walked out in protest of the congressional hearing where supporters of religious liberty were allowed to speak. It turns out, as reported here, that Fluke is no struggling law student — she’s already a professional far-left genderist, long deeply into the leftist scam of judging others by skin color or gender.

We all know the answer as to what Andrew Breitbart would do in this situation. He would stand up to the bullies.

As everyone knows, as is the case with our moderate Muslim partners in peace in the Taliban and al Qaeda, if you stand up to them, you only create more extremism, more hate, more violence. No, the answer is for all decent people of good intentions to reason together in a polite and respectful way–an enlightened and sophisticated concept of which I suspect this thuggish Lord chap has little experience and no real understanding. I find his obstreperousness very off-putting, as I’m sure many of my fellow independent-thinking moderates do as well.

But it gets worse, if you can believe it. This Lord fellow goes on to list the sponsors of the dastard Limbaugh’s execrable radio hate-fest who have rightly dropped out of their sponsorship of bigotry, misogyny, and incivility, and provides contact information as well, presumably so that the knuckledraggers in Limbaugh’s audience can easily express their overwrought boorishness directly to the high-minded souls at said companies.

I don’t know who the dickens Lord thinks he’s helping or impressing by promoting wholesale loutish expressions of mindless disrespect, but I for one do not like the cut of his jib. And another thing: the little loop thingy at the top of the “C” and “T” of the Spectator’s logo reminds me quite unsettlingly of a hangman’s noose. I find it quite discomposing, as I’m sure many of you do. I wonder if they’d consider changing it if we asked them nicely?

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Now this is REALLY unhelpful

A truly unpleasant young man I happen to know personally has raised the bar on impertinence, actually creating a petition asking that our President resign his office!

I truly don’t understand why anyone would take the time and trouble to do such a spiteful thing. Our President is just trying to do the best he can for the good of all, and should always be given the benefit of the doubt. Such frivolous, unserious, and impolite actions as this make a lot of people uncomfortable, are disrespectful of duly-elected authority, and should therefore be outlawed, and the perpetrators never allowed to express their views in public again.

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A spot of bother

Oh my goodness gracious, this is rather shocking, isn’t it?

I asked you earlier (directly, by way of Twitter) if the GOP would be willing to issue a rejoinder to Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who claims Republicans are waging a War Against Women. I suggested the response be a call to Democrats to cease waging a War Against the Constitution and the Individual — specifically with respect to the First Amendment.

I’ve heard nothing in response.

So let me ask again. Because it seems the Democrats have become so sufficiently emboldened by their successes thus far at mandating “fundamental transformation” to rule of law — with but a few toothless protests from Republicans, who seem content to whine about only controlling 1/2 of 1/3 of the government — that they’ve decided to broaden the scope of their attacks on the First Amendment.

Liberty not protected is liberty willingly surrendered. And I’m not willing to surrender it.

Do your job.

Now now, young fellow, was it really necessary to make these unseemly complaints public? I’m really not sure I like the attitude represented by that last sarcastic remark, either. Who is he to suggest that an obviously accomplished professional, someone who has doubtless risen solely by merit to the important post he now holds, doesn’t comprehend his job? He should speak more carefully, lest by his insolence he render all hope of compromise lost, and with it, the chance for further societal advancement.

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Can’t anybody here be polite while playing this game?

I don’t see how anyone could call this taking the high road:

Did you know there is a war on women?

Yes, it’s true. Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, Matt Taibbi, and Ed Schultz have been waging it for years with their misogynist outbursts. There have been boycotts by people on the left who are outraged that these guys still have jobs. Oh, wait. Sorry, that never happened.

Boycotts are reserved for people on the right like Rush Limbaugh, who finally apologized Saturday for calling a 30-year-old Georgetown Law student, Sandra Fluke, a “slut” after she testified before congress about contraception.

At least the individuals Powers mentions in the second paragraph mean well, and have their hearts in the right place–unlike Limbaugh, who seeks only to divide rather than unite us as he should.

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Well, this is certainly unhelpful

Reliably unreasonable extremist James Taranto makes a needless complaint, quite possibly hurting some of our partners in Democracy’s feelings:

The kerfuffle was no fluke but a left-liberal set piece. It started 2½ weeks ago, when the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held hearings on the ObamaCare contraception mandate and its implications for religious liberty. The Washington Examiner’s Byron York reports that Democrats originally chose Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State over Fluke to testify for the anti-religious-liberty side.

Then they sandbagged the Republicans. They asked, too late, for Fluke to be subbed in for Lynn, then told Lynn not to bother showing up. When the hearing took place, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (this columnist’s congressman, but don’t blame us) demanded: “Where are the women?” Although it was the Dems who chose Lynn over Fluke and the second panel of witnesses included two female members, liberal media dutifully propagated the “Republican sexism” charge. A week later, House Democrats held a mock hearing where Fluke testified.

Thus this dishonest distraction was already well under way by Wednesday, when Rush Limbaugh famously joked: “What does it say about…Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex, what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception.”

On Saturday, Limbuagh acknowledged his mistake: “My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.” No doubt it’s satisfying to the left to have brought Limbaugh to heel, something that isn’t easy to do. And it’s true that Limbaugh’s ill-chosen words magnified the Fluke distraction.

Was it really necessary to say all this? It surely won’t help nurture the spirit of bipartisanship so necessary to the functioning of Good Government. Somebody should do something about this hate speech before someone gets hurt.

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Memmmmmries….

I have been sadly remiss in not mentioning the December installment of Jeff’s monthly fundraiser til now, for which lapse I am duly mortified. This time around, it also happens to be his tenth blogiversary, a milestone this hogwallow also passed a cpl-three months back, and which esteemed fellow OG Bill Quick will be passing at Christmas. Our old friend Stephen Green, who singlehandedly raised this blog’s traffic exponentially from the twenty or so hits a day at which it had previously languished until he linked the Tough Chicks post (kind of the first link to this joint by any of the “majors” out there if you don’t count Hawkgirl linking a brief remonstrance on quitting smoking which is now lost forever and forgotten) will also be reaching the decade mark soon, bless his heart.

What got me to thinking along the lines of the old days and the old gang is, Jeff has been reposting some of his golden oldies over at his place the last week or so. And, well, the boy has done some truly amazing stuff over the years. Smart, incisive, offbeat, unconventional, sidesplittingly funny–Jeff was pushing the limits of this form before anyone even knew what those limits were–before they even existed, before anyone even knew it was a “form.” He’s become more tightly focused since his recent return, and the various blog-wars he’s gotten caught up in here and there have left their scars, I’d guess. But after ten years, he still does this thing we do at a higher level than most, a level I can only aspire to and never possibly reach.

We’re all guilty now and then of taking this stuff too seriously, of letting it get to us and drag us down. We all walk the ragged edge of becoming bitter and cynical–how could you not, given what we see happening in this country these days? Jeff has struggled with that just like the rest of us, but somehow, I’ll guarantee you he still gets up in the morning after ten years of the long slog and does the same thing I do, the same thing all of us who have endured do: grabs that cup of coffee and heads for his news and blog bookmarks or RSS reader looking for the story that is going to annoy him, shock him, inspire him, amuse him, or otherwise goad him into producing more of those good, true words and then throwing them out there to see what sticks. To share them with whoever cares to come in and spend a few valuable minutes reading; to provoke a response from those bold enough to step out of the lurkers’ shadow and comment back.

I probably take it all less seriously than most; certainly less so than the really big dogs out there, who have to practically eat, sleep, and breathe politics every day because it’s how they make their living. Even if I considered myself astute enough to go full-time at it, I probably wouldn’t; music, bikes, old cars, my little girl, all of those things matter way too much to me to ever let mere politics take me from them to the degree required. I know politics MATTERS, and that we live in crucial times wherein we each must give of our best and all, but still. Making much more than an avocation of it might not be unhealthy for everybody, but I know it would be for me.

And I think now and then of some of those originals who are no longer posting, or that I’ve lost track of at least, and wonder where they are now and what they’re doing. I’ll toss some of the old blog names out there, and you can feel free to discuss your own reminiscences in the comments if you like: Hawkgirl; Spleenville; Cut On The Bias; Blogs Of War; Iraq The Model; Sergeant Stryker. USS Clueless. And of course Daily Pundit, Vodkapundit, Jeff’s old Creatical, Glenn. I used to be pretty tight in the internet sense with John Cole of Balloon Juice back in the day, but given his current political bent, I doubt he’d want to say a whole lot to me today, and I haven’t had any interaction with him in years. That’s okay; he was always a good guy to me, and disagree though we might–hell, do–now, I have no problem with him, and can’t imagine that I ever would.

All of which digression is by way of saying that you should go on over to Jeff’s, enjoy some good reads from the long-ago, sift through the archives a bit, and throw something in the tip jar if you can. It’s far too much of a struggle making ends meet these days for me to be able to chip in myself, and I hate that. But if I could, Jeff’s is certainly one of the tipjars I’d be hitting. He’s another one I consider a friend; he’s always been good to me, encouraging, supportive, and I’m glad he’s back in the groove again after his absence. You should be too. The blogosphere was a duller, less interesting place without him.

It sure is odd to ponder this history, to know it even exists at all. That all this came from just a bunch of folks upset over 9/11 and what we knew the response was going to be from certain quarters. Strange to think that there’s been real influence exerted over the course of human events by some pretty ordinary folks just sitting around drinking coffee, maybe smoking a cigarette (or worse), and just howling into the void, unable to keep silent, and taking advantage of a new way of sharing ideas with others they never met face to face, and likely never would.

If FederalGovCo ever gets the kind of control over the Innarwebs they covet, such a thing won’t ever happen again. Maybe it won’t anyway. But it did once, and it’s nothing short of marvelous.

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