Shutting Us Up (re-reprise)

Dennis:          Well, you can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just ‘cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!

Arthur:           Shut up!

Dennis:          I mean, if I went ‘round saying I was an emperor just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me they’d put me away!

Arthur:           Shut up!  Will you shut up!

Dennis:          Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system!

Arthur:           Shut up!

        —Michael Palin as Dennis, and Graham Chapman as King Arthur in Monty Python and the Holy Grail

 

Meet Erika Riemann.

In the Fall of 1945, the pretty teenager went to the first day of school in Mühlhausen, a small town tucked just inside what had recently become the Soviet-occupied zone of post-war Germany.  She and her friends were amused to see that the familiar portrait of Adolf Hitler was gone, only to have been replaced by a portrait of Josef Stalin in exactly the same place.  Thinking the Soviet dictator looked “a bit sad,” the mischievous schoolgirl took her mother’s lipstick and drew a bow on his moustache.

She was 14.

Two weeks later, the security apparatus came to ask her some questions.  When she finally returned home, it was January . . . 1954.

She was 22.

During the intervening seven years, Miss Riemann was beaten and coerced into a bogus confession of being part of a pro-Nazi resistance.  She was crowded into Soviet-repurposed former Nazi concentration camps with other political prisoners, and tortured.  She was stripped naked, herded into a former gas chamber, and told she was about to be exterminated (water, not gas later flowed through the “showerheads”).

She was repeatedly and systematically gang-raped by soldiers.

All because she drew a lipstick bow on a photograph.

Rusty, Stalin is dead, the Berlin Wall has come down, and the Soviet Union is gone.

You say that, but remember that silencing not only dissent but even non-conformity with the Party line is a staple of the totalitarian Left.  And while Eastern-Bloc communism may have more or less dissolved (albeit just in favor of a less overtly malevolent pan-European socialism), the Progressive movement hasn’t forgotten that the surest way to ensure conformity—and thus control—is to prevent the utterance of so much as a syllable out of line.  After all, it is easy to win a debate when the opposition is mute.

With that, consider the following from Campus Reform.  Washington State University students enrolled in Professor Selena Lester Breikss’ “Women & Popular Culture” course have been informed that they are in jeopardy of failing the class if they say anything that the good Professor in her infinitely superior judgment considers “oppressive and hateful.”  Among the examples of potentially oppressive—and therefore banned—terms listed in the syllabus include the obviously offensive “male” and “female.”

I guess we’re all now just Thing 1 and Thing 2.

And Professor Breikss is not alone at WSU.  Students in Professor Rebecca Fowler’s “Introduction to Comparative Ethnic Studies” are forbidden to use the term “illegal alien” lest they lose points.  In a class explicitly devoted to helping students recognize “how white privilege functions,” Professor Fowler explains that the use of the term “illegal alien” has caused an artificial popular association of all border crossings with countries in Latin America, ignoring that a considerable portion of illegals in the U.S. are from Asia.  Further, according to Professor Fowler, the perpetuation of “migrant illegality works to systematically dehumanize and exploit these brown bodies for their labor.”

Query how you make the leap from using the term “illegal alien” to the conclusion that people therefore assume all illegals are Hispanic.  To the extent that they do, perhaps that has something to do with the fact that more than half of illegals are in fact from Mexico, and 75% are in fact from Latin America.  More to the point, what does it matter whether anyone—whether because of demographic facts or semantics—believes all or most illegals are from Latin America?  If you are here illegally, you are here illegally, whether you speak Spanish or Mandarin.  And banning the use of the term “illegal” won’t make these people any less “exploited”—nobody made them come here and take jobs (if they don’t have jobs, there is no argument that anyone is “exploiting” them at all), and they are free to leave any time they want.

But the real issue is university faculty using threats and intimidation to silence speech that is contrary to their Progressive agenda.

It doesn’t stop there.  WSU Professor John Streamas admonishes white students in his “Introduction to Multicultural Literature” class to “defer” to non-white students (I’m not even sure what that means, but they’d damn well better do it).  Other WSU faculty apparently require students to acknowledge the continuing institutional oppression of racism, or that “we do not live in a post-racial world.”

And this is how it is with Progressives, because this is how it has always been.  I reported last year about students at Penn State—in a designated “free speech zone,” no less—were hindered in their effort to distribute copies of the United States Constitution (the document most antithetical to the Progressive agenda of totalitarian control by a self-appointed intellectual elite), and at College of Coastal Georgia students were threatened with a 15% grade reduction if they said “bless you” in response to someone sneezing (thus implicitly invoking God, contrary to explicitly atheist Progressive/Socialist ideology).  In the Washington State case, it isn’t controlling the narrative by preventing deviation from the cult of personality, it’s controlling the narrative by preventing deviation from the cult of victimhood.

A college campus is supposed to be an intellectual sanctuary where you question authority and established ideas, not sign rote statements “recognizing” some proposition as an unassailable truism.  A university is a place where the free exchange of thought and ideas—which obviously can only occur if one can express those thoughts and ideas—is supposed to lead to vigorous debate and, ultimately, an improved state of knowledge for all of mankind.  Think of it as a sort of Darwinist evolutionary soup where the fittest ideas survive, and weaker ideas are discarded.  Indeed, the very point of tenure—which you know every one of the professors mentioned above would defend to the grave as the most sacrosanct of their [non]God-given rights—is that a professor should not have to fear losing her position simply because of the ideas discussed in her classroom.

But the Progressives have taken over our universities and turned that idea on its head.  You would think that a college professor would be comfortable enough in his/her ability to defend the point to be able to engage a 19 year old kid.  But rather than prevail in the marketplace of ideas, the Progressive prefers to avoid the debate and ensure that the Progressive brand is the only idea on the marketplace shelf.  Universities are no longer great testing grounds of thought, but propaganda factories; and you will toe the line, or pay the price.

We see it time and again from the Left.  Instead of debate ideas on the merits, anything with which they disagree they label it, identify some group (or the planet) as its victim, then marginalize and demonize it.  If you want existing law enforced, the borders defended, and believe that the national motto should remain e pluribus unum—out of many, one—instead of e pluribus pluribus—out of many, many—then you are a racist and have no legitimate right to a voice.  If you believe “climate change” is bullsh#t, then you are a denier and have no legitimate right to a voice.  If you would rather not be forced at gunpoint to participate in a ceremony where Steve marries Bill, then you are a homophobe and have no legitimate right to a voice.  If you believe that Islam’s 1400 year track record of non-stop violence, and the explicitly-stated aims of a present-day rabid minority consisting of at least 160 million Muslims is reason for concern, you are an Islamophobe and have no legitimate right to a voice.  If you believe that innocent human life should be protected, or that at a minimum you shouldn’t be forced to pay the contraception bill for Sandra Fluke’s apparently almost inconceivably—pun intended—voracious sexual appetite, you are engaged in a “war on women,” and have no legitimate right to a voice.

Basically, you have no right to a voice.

God help you if you draw a bow on Obama’s moustache.

No Evidence Required

Sir Bedevere:             What makes you think she’s a witch?

Peasant:                      Well, she turned me into a newt!

Sir Bedevere:             A newt?

Peasant:                     I got better.

Crowd:                       Burn her anyway!

        —Terry Jones as Sir Bedevere, and John Cleese as the Peasant in Monty Python and the Holy Grail

 

Let me start by saying this up front: if you do things like commit rape and murder, you should have to face the consequences, including going to jail (or, in appropriate cases, facing the death penalty).

But you really should have to be convicted of that crime first.

Over the last few weeks a number of women have been coming out of the woodwork to accuse actor/comedian Bill Cosby of committing various forms of sexual assault at various points in the increasingly distant past.  The most recent is a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles telling an at least somewhat implausible tale of a 15 year old meeting Cosby on a movie set in 1974 along with her 16 year old friend.  According to the lawsuit, Cosby invited the girls to his tennis club where he got them liquored up, then took them to Hugh Hefner’s Playboy mansion and had the accuser perform sex acts on him.

The rather fanciful nature of the story raises obvious questions as to its veracity.  And wealthy celebrities like Cosby make easy targets for those who might want to extort a settlement check, particularly 40 years after the fact when there is little evidence left except her word vs. his (there is a reason we have statutes of limitations).  I note that the lawsuit comes not only 40 years after the alleged incident, but only after several others have made rape allegations against Cosby, giving this latest claim (and its accompanying demand to get paid) a certain “me too” piling-on quality.  But giving this accuser and the others the benefit of the doubt, the most we can say at this point is that we don’t know whether the allegations are true.

And that’s the point, but it doesn’t seem to be stopping the punishment train from rolling out of the station.  On Thursday the Navy announced that it was revoking the honorary title of Chief Petty Officer it bestowed on Cosby in 2011.  This follows NBC’s and Netflix’s cancellation of projects with Cosby, cable’s TV Land yanking reruns of The Cosby Show, and Temple University pressuring Cosby to resign from its board of directors.

All because of allegations.

As of this writing, William H. Cosby, Jr. hasn’t been convicted of anything.  He hasn’t been tried.  He hasn’t even been charged.  In point of fact, of the dozen or so women currently accusing Cosby, only one has even filed a civil lawsuit (it is worth noting that Cosby settled a lawsuit in 2006 brought by another woman making similar allegations).  I admit the number of accusers suggests there may be something to the allegations, but that in itself is not evidence that any one of the allegations is true.  Yet our modern politically-correct court of public opinion has already proceeded to the punishment phase.

And this is the disturbing trend in today’s world of instant internet news, where any accusation, innuendo, or rumor can go viral and become publicly entrenched as the “truth” before the actual evidence has a chance to emerge.  Worse, even when that evidence does emerge, too many allow their emotions to be manipulated to the point that they are unwilling or unable to look at it and distinguish reality from the false narrative pushed by those with other agendas.

Witness the situation in Ferguson, Missouri.

By now you know the meme: racist white cop guns down an unarmed black teen affectionately known as the “gentle giant” in cold blood (and possibly in the back) while the child had his hands up in an effort to surrender.  This was the story initially and continually pushed by the media, and egged on by the usual professional race-baiting, grievance-mongering crowd.  It quickly became the public truth, and thus Officer Darren Wilson was convicted of murder in the court of public opinion within hours of the shooting.

But as John Adams once observed, facts are stubborn things.

The grand jury—which actually had and looked at the evidence—saw things differently.  Michael Brown, the so-called “gentle giant,” was videotaped physically assaulting a shop owner while in the course of robbing the store minutes before the shooting.  Brown’s blood and DNA were on Wilson’s squadcar door handle, inside the car, and on Wilson’s gun, all of which supports Wilson’s story that Brown initially attacked him in the car and attempted to get Wilson’s gun when Wilson shot him the first time.  Three reviews of the autopsy—including one highly-publicized third review by a medical examiner hired by Brown’s family that, once conducted, quietly went away—all found wounds indicating that Brown was neither shot in the back (as first reported), nor with his hands up; they showed wounds consistent with charging forward, head down, as if to tackle.  Significantly, the autopsy results were not only consistent with Officer Wilson’s story, but also with the testimony of several black eyewitnesses who said Brown was charging at Wilson.  Based on this evidence, the grand jury declined to indict Officer Wilson.  But because the “truth” of what happened had already been established, the evidence didn’t matter.

The court of politically-correct public opinion had once again already moved on to sentencing.  Hence we now have protestors and even members of Congress running around blindly (ignorantly?) holding their hands in the air chanting “hands up, don’t shoot,” even though the testimony of black eyewitnesses and the physical evidence have fully discredited that version of events; in other words, the incontrovertible fact is that Michael Brown did not have his hands up when he was shot, but that fact is irrelevant to the protesters’ perception of the truth.

Other geniuses claim they just want “justice,” and to that end we needed to have a trial so all the facts could come to light.  To one who says that I say fine, let’s start by putting you on trial for murder.  You will undoubtedly react with righteous indignation and say there’s no reason to put you on trial, because there is no reason to suspect you committed murder.  To which I say:

ExactlyThere is no reason to put a man on trial when there is no reason to suspect he has committed a crime.

A grand jury doesn’t operate on the familiar “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard for conviction in a criminal trial.  It operates on a standard of “probable cause.”  And it’s a one-sided affair in favor of the prosection; the accused has no lawyer there to cross-examine witnesses, and does not get to put on a defense (yes, I know Officer Wilson got to testify, and that that’s unusual, but that’s neither totally unheard of (defendants generally don’t testify because they are invoking their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, not because they can’t) nor is it the same thing as presenting a defense case).  Yet despite a low threshold and a tilted playing field, the grand jury refused to indict; in other words, it wasn’t even close.

Under those circumstances, there is no more reason to put Wilson to the expense and anguish of a trial than there is anyone else.  But the myopic “justice seeker,” just like the race-baited protestor, isn’t interested in facts, because he has already established the truth in his own mind, evidence be damned.

It is a dangerous place where allegations alone warrant skipping past trial and conviction and moving straight to sentencing.  It is more dangerous still when allegations and rumor trump undeniable facts.

I have no idea whether Bill Cosby committed rape.  But rather than send him directly to be flogged at the pillory in the town square, perhaps we should take a deep breath and see what the evidence of the facts is first.

Saving Us From Nothing

“What are you doing, Dave?”

        —Douglas Rain as the voice of HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey

 

I suppose nothing should surprise me anymore.

I read last week that the Department of Homeland Security is getting into the business of fighting “climate change.”  Not EPA. Not NOAA.  Homeland Security.  You know, the federal agency created in response to terrorism that has all the guns and armored vehicles, and whose stated “vital mission” is “to secure the nation from the many threats we face.”

Under the guise of ensuring “disaster resiliency,” DHS has started conducting studies on the resilience of infrastructure such as roads and the electrical grid, and how to protect against what it claims are rising sea levels and saltwater intrusion.  Apparently, all of this stems from a heightened awareness in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, as though Sandy was in fact caused by “climate change.”  I can only assume from that chain of logic that there were no major hurricanes prior to the 1930s when evil mankind started to bake the planet.

Tell that to the 8,000 or so people killed by the Category 4 hurricane that struck Galveston, Texas on September 8, 1900 (Sandy, by contrast, was a Category 2 storm when it made landfall in the northeastern U.S.).

I’ll get to the “climate change” thing in a bit.  Let’s first just think for a minute about this.  DHS is worrying about polar ice caps and sea levels at a time when the border is so porous that investigative reporter James O’Keefe—the guy who brought down the ACORN scam—was able to wade across from Mexico, unmolested, while dressed as Osama bin Laden.  And if you think that’s not a significant issue, consider that the government is in the process of putting up a massive residence hall to house thousands of illegals on a 50 acre tract outside of San Antonio.  Or if strain on infrastructure is a concern, how about the 85,000 students speaking 85 languages other than English now crowding Las Vegas schools?  Or the fact that in Nashville—not exactly right on the border—the school population is now 20% Hispanic.  And because we’re not deporting the few people who do get caught and some 70% of them don’t show up for their immigration hearing, 40,000+ people a year are disappearing into this country even after DHS had them in custody. That, of course, is on top of the nearly a million a year we don’t catch.

The fact is that the immigrant population, legal and illegal, is at an all-time high, and DHS is doing essentially nothing to control it.  And before you start on me with the predictably ridiculous cry of racism, or the we’re a nation of immigrants tripe, I’m not against immigration or immigrants. What I’m against is uncontrolled immigration.  We have no idea who is coming into this country.  300,000 people in the last 3 years have come here from predominantly Muslim countries.  If even 10% of them accept some or all of the violent tendencies of the militant Islamists and sharia law—and as I’ve demonstrated before, that percentage has the potential, if not likelihood, to be considerably higher—we’re talking a group roughly the same size as the entire ISIS fighting force that’s sympathetic to a worldview that wants to impose sharia law and kill—literally—everyone who disagrees, and they’re already here inside the U.S.

And DHS does nothing, choosing instead to play around with barometers and weathervanes.

Not only is DHS essentially ignoring its most basic security function, but it’s diverting its attention and resources to a man-made climate change fantasy that is so politicized and bogus that even the founder of Greenpeace had to resign and distance himself from it.  Aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan does an excellent deconstruction of the data (to get all his slides and then some, look here), and it is interesting because he focuses less on cause/effect and the fraud and conflicts of interest (although he gets into those), and more on the magnitude of the observations in a historical context, even if you accept the alarmists’ data at face value (for detail on why you shouldn’t, watch here).  Among his points are these nuggets:

  1. Recent CO2 increases are insignificant, and not necessarily bad.

The “climate change” panic focuses on CO2 emissions.  Why?  Because if CO2 emissions are endangering the planet, then Government can regulate and tax all human activity, including breathing.  Rutan points out, however, that if you take a longer view of history than the 100 – 200 years typical of alarmists’ “analysis,” we are in fact in a period of relatively low CO2 levels.  During the age of dinosaurs, atmospheric CO2 levels were 6 – 8 times what they are today, and not only was the planet not catastrophically overheating, but it was immensely more fertile and covered in foliage than it is now.  Higher CO2 is better for plant growth and life in general.

Furthermore, the levels that have the alarmists all in a tizzy are miniscule.  The CO2 limit for confined spaces according to OSHA is 0.5%.  The average CO2 level over the time life has evolved on this planet has been about 0.3%. The level of increase the alarmists want you to be afraid of is something like 0.04%.

And because it’s only man-made CO2 that we can control, it’s worth noting that greenhouse gases make up only 2% of the atmosphere, and only 3.6% of that 2%  is CO2; 96.4% of greenhouse gases are something other than CO2 (mostly water vapor—you know, the stuff that turns into rain).  Of that 3.6% that is CO2, only 3.4% is caused by humans.  So man-made CO2 comprises a grand total of 0.12% of all greenhouse gas; 99.88% of all greenhouse gas is something other than human-emitted CO2, despite Al Gore’s mansions, private jet, and SUV.

  1. Any recent warming is neither unusual, nor a significant threat.

Rutan takes a similar tack when he looks at the data for temperature.  Alarmists focus on the last 100 – 200 years to argue that there’s a sudden and dangerous spike over the last century after what they suggest was an otherwise stable global thermometer since the dawn of time.  But as Rutan points out, even if you accept the alarmists’ data, that claim needs some broader context.

First, consider that the seasonal temperature fluctuation on earth (hottest summer day vs. coldest winter night) is about 200 degrees.  The average U.S. city experiences temperature changes of over 100 degrees over the course of a given year, and 25 – 30 degrees or more on any given day. In other words, the temperature changes fairly dramatically all the time.  The alarmists are all worried over temperatures that they “project” will rise about 3 degrees globally over the next 100 years.

Even if we assume that’s going to happen, this is not unusual behavior for the planet, and it long predates Man, much less planes, trains, and automobiles.  The fact is we are in a temperature trough relative to the last 2 million years.  But even focusing just on that trough over the last half-million years, according to Rutan we find that every 85,000 years or so we get a temperature spike; the rest of that time was ice age.  Over the last 11,000 years—pre-dating civilization, so you can’t blame it on Man—the earth has been in one of those ice age recoveries, but it is the longest, most stable, and coolest of those non-ice age periods.  And even within that “spike,” we are nowhere near the hottest time in history, the history of Man, or even in recorded history.  The earth was significantly hotter during the time of Moses, the time of the Egyptians, and the time of the Romans than it is today.  Yet it, and we, are still here.

This is what your Department of Homeland Security is spending its time and your money on.  It’s not securing the border, and it’s not deporting people who cross it illegally, even as ISIS is actively saying it plans to initiate attacks within the U.S.  Instead, it’s chasing rainbows in an attempt to protect you against nothing.

So I have two questions for you to ask yourself:

One, what do you think they’re really doing?

Two, do you feel safe?

**************************************

EDITOR’S NOTE:  This marks the 250th installment of Chasing Jefferson.  In my wildest dreams I never thought we’d get this far.  Thank you so much to all of you who have stuck with me and given me so much encouragement.

No Laughing Matter

“You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.”

        —Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride

 

Robin Williams was funny.

Say what you will about some of his politics, but the guy was funny.  Yes, Jumanji was pretty much a stinker, and yes, his manic tendency to race off-script down random rabbit trails could make him hard to watch in an interview sometimes.  But that simply showed us that for all his comic genius, he was all-too-human.  His was a rare entertaining talent, and he will be sorely missed.

One thing I’ve never heard him accused of, however, is being a racist.

Until now.

Apparently—I had to read this in a news report, because I don’t watch narcissistic award shows—Billy Crystal did a tribute piece at the Emmys in which he featured some clips of Williams doing stand-up.  In one of the clips, Williams—in his trademark ad-lib style—borrowed a scarf from an audience member, wrapped it around his head like a niqab (the article refers to it as a hijab, but Williams uses it to cover his whole face, which I understand is a niqab) and said in falsetto, “Welcome to Iran.  Please help me.”

And the Twittersphere went nuts, complaining that the bit was racist, that the show was racist for using it, or that it was insulting to Williams’ memory to make him look like a racist.

Basically, it was racist.

Huh?

I suppose I should expect this kind of lack of thought from people who not only sit down to watch the Emmys, but then feel compelled to get on Twitter to comment about the show.  But let’s take a look at this.

First, the bit had nothing to do with race.  Nothing.  “Racism” is the practice of racial discrimination; that is, drawing distinctions or being demeaning towards a group of people based on their race.  Williams was doing neither.

The niqab or hijab is not associated with any particular race, but with the religious/political doctrine called “Islam.”  In particular it is associated with the fundamentalist variety of Islam focused on sharia law.  That has nothing to do with race.  The Muslims in Saudi Arabia and Egypt are largely Arab, but those in Iran—the subject of Williams’ ad-lib—are not.  They’re Persian.  Women in all three places can be found behind head/face covering.  Ditto Turkey, where the Muslims are neither Arab nor Persian, but, well Turks.  In the Sudan, they’re black.  In the Russian Caucasus, it comes as no surprise that the Caucasians are white.  In Thailand they’re Thai, and in Indonesia they’re Indonesian.  In all of these places the sort of head covering Williams was mimicking ranges from common to required by law (as in Iran), and it’s all due to the ideas of Islam, which is not a race.

Repeat after me, class: It’s not about race.

Second, Williams was not mocking or demeaning the niqab/hijab or Muslims.  He was drawing attention to serious human rights issues that plague women under Islamic rule.  Now, apologists will tell you that the head cover is a symbol of chastity and modesty, but particularly in those places where its use is mandatory—as in required not by religious observance, but by national law, and enforced by modesty police (I kid you not)—it is also symbolic of the oppression that in many ways treats women as second-class, if not semi-slaves, and this was Williams’ point.

I touched on this in the last post, but consider that in fundamentalist Islamic societies, women cannot serve as witnesses in the prosecution of a man (or men) she accuses of raping her; only men are competent to testify, and she’d better come up with four of them who agree with her.  Otherwise, not only does the accused go free, but her accusation is now an admission of adultery, for which she may be executed, sometimes by stoning or beating.

Speaking of beating, under sharia, wife-beating is expressly condoned, the rationale being that the woman is to be subservient and obedient to her husband, who is her master.   Further on marital relations, the husband is allowed to take up to four wives, any of whom he may divorce—leaving her penniless and un-marryable—simply by saying “I divorce you” three times; vice-versa is not true for the wife in either case.  By the way, Islam also condones pedophilia; Mohammed—who is to be imitated in every way as the perfect model of human behavior—married one of his wives, Aisha, when she was six, and consummated the marriage when she was nine.  More recently, a Saudi cleric issued a fatwa in 2011 permitting marriage to girls as young as one.

If you’re a woman, not only must you wear that head cover, but many places you can’t go outside, even in broad daylight, without a male relative as an escort.  Nor are you permitted to drive a car.  Some places you can’t even go to school; that’s what the charming gentlemen of Boko Haram have been trying to enforce by kidnapping hundreds of girls in Nigeria.  And while we’re at it, although not really part of Islamic doctrine as such, we ought to take brief notice of the practice of “honor killings” and acid attacks prevalent in Islamic societies—usually committed by a close male relative—when Muslim girls refuse arranged marriages or simply become too Westernized.

This is what Robin Williams was trying to highlight when he donned the niqab, took on the character of an Iranian woman, and pled “Help me.”

Is that what you call “racism”?

That question highlights a much broader issue in that this loaded pejorative “racism” is thrown around so lightly these days it has ceased to have any meaning beyond “I don’t like what you did/said/thought.”  Particularly for the Progressive Left—and I’ll bet you dollars-to-donuts 100% of those who took the trouble to Tweet about an Emmys piece are big-time Leftys—“racism” has become the automatic charge for everything with which they disagree.

Don’t want U.S. judges applying foreign law to Americans in American courts?  You’re a racist.

Support requiring voters have sufficient I.D. to prove they are who they say they are (you know, the same thing most states require for you to collect welfare)?  You’re a racist.

Support tighter border security to prevent ISIS—or whatever they call themselves this week—from slipping in to start bombing American cities or spreading Ebola?  Guess what: you’re a big, fat racist.

Advocate eliminating the welfare regime that has destroyed the black family and trapped millions in an endless cycle of dependency and poverty?  Well, that’s because you’re a racist.

Think it’s a good idea to have school vouchers that not only force competition, but give impoverished black parents a means to send their kids somewhere other than the rat/gang/drug-infested hell-hole that is their local public school?  That makes you not only a racist, but anti-teacher, to boot.

Think affirmative action, alternative ethnic curricula, reduced admission standards, and modified grading scales treat minorities as inherently inferior and incapable, and set them up for failure by artificially inserting them into schools and jobs for which they would not otherwise qualify?  Then your name is Dr. Thomas Sowell, and you’re a racist even though you’re black.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King fought against real racism: fire hoses and police dogs, separate lunch counters, back-of-the-bus, and lynching.  He dreamed of a day when people would be judged not by the color of their skin, but on the content of their character.  Today’s Progressive Left has hijacked and weaponized that movement, and perverted Dr. King’s dream into a world where people are judged not by the content of their ideas, but by how their ideas can be misrepresented and then demonized as “racism” without further debate.

And that’s not funny.

Isn’t It Ironic

 

It’s like rain on your wedding day

It’s a free ride, when you’ve already paid

It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take

Who would’ve thought . . . it figures

        —Alanis Morissette, Ironic

 

WARNING: THIS PIECE HAS STRONG LANGUAGE; PARENTAL DISCRETION IS ADVISED

i∙ron∙ic  (ī ränˊik) adj.  1 meaning the contrary of what is expressed  2 using irony 3 opposite to what is or might be expected  Also i∙ronˊi∙cal—i∙ronˊi∙cal∙ly adv.

Just some quick observations today (in no particular order) for your consideration about the often curious positions the Federal government and the Progressive Left that runs it take these days.  I’m sorry, I haven’t linked to everything . . . time’s a bit short, I’m not getting along with my new laptop, and most of this is relatively undisputed common knowledge, even if not loudly reported in the media.

The Obama administration gave up five Taliban generals to spring an alleged Army deserter imprisoned in Afghanistan (actually Pakistan, but who’s counting?).  And so dire was Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl’s medical condition, there was no time to consult with Congress as required by federal law (thus justifying Obama’s unilateral enactment of an “urgent need” exception to the legislation passed by Congress).  Somehow just six weeks later he’s healthy enough to return to active duty.  Yet that same administration hasn’t lifted a finger to free a Marine rotting in a Mexican jail for making a wrong turn.

A photo I.D. is required to see the U.S. Treasury building, a facility each of us owns.   But the Left in Congress screams RACISM and the Department of Justice files a lawsuit any time a State has the audacity to require that same I.D. simply to ensure that people showing up to vote are in fact who they say they are . . .

. . . Yet it drops charges against New Black Panthers caught on tape intimidating voters at a polling place.

I’m just sayin’ . . .

That same Department of Justice—which reports to the President—also sues States to prevent them from enforcing existing federal border laws.  They say that’s an exclusive job for the federal government, and none of the states’ business.  But then when the feds fail to discharge that responsibility—and indeed the administration adopts a policy of almost total tolerance—the President comes asking the States for their help to house the all-too-predictable flood of illegals.

Speaking of the border crisis, the Progressive Left sees in it a grand and indeed holy humanitarian opportunity to serve God’s children.  Yes, that does tug at the heartstrings, doesn’t it?  Until you remember that these same people crying over Guatemalan and Salvadoran 19 year old “children” who are very much alive, have said absolutely nothing about the 50 million American babies lawfully killed in the U.S. since 1972 by conspiracies between their mothers, their mothers’ doctors, and the Progressive Left other than to complain that State statutes restricting the practice to the first six months of pregnancy are somehow a “war on women.”

While we’re at it, um, Your Holiness, I’ll wait here while you have a chat with Archbishop Cordileone (Archdiocese of San Francisco, Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) home diocese) about the ramifications of a parishioner publicly advocating a position so emphatically not consistent with the Church’s most fundamental moral tenet, because I know the Church is concerned about the sanctity of human life and wants those taking the sacraments to be “in communion” with the Church . . .

. . . I’m still waiting . . .

Yeah, still waiting . . . I mean, I think they still teach about Henry VIII being excommunicated over a divorce,don’t they, and he hadn’t even killed anybody, at least not at that point . . .

Shall I just move on, since the Church has no credibility any more on this issue when the second most public and powerful female on the planet consistently claims to be Catholic yet consistently declares herself  against human life and there is exactly zero reaction from the Church of which she laughably claims to be a part? . . .

OK

The Obama administration’s spy and security apparatus is tapping your phones, watching your email and internet traffic, and sending drones to shove GPS tracer chips up your backside while you sleep (okay, I mostly made the last one up—I hope).  Yet it has spent the last six years avoiding any substantive engagement with the press, and has fought tooth and nail to provide any information to Congress or to the American people about what it’s doing.

While it was shielding—or destroying—documents and stonewalling Congress, the administration also put up a fence to keep veterans and everyone else from accessing monuments on the National Mall.  And it maintains a fence patrolled by armed K-9 units to keep U.S. citizens away from the White House.  By the way, both facilities are owned by the American people, the very people being kept out.  Yet the Obama administration specially opened the National Mall for a pro-illegal-immigration rally, and steadfastly refuses to fully deploy a fence to help secure the Southern border. This, despite the 95% decrease in illegal border crossings in San Diego (recognized even by NPR) once the fence there was complete.

Obama and the Left crammed through Congress a sweeping takeover of some 1/6 of the economy with the passage of FUBARCare.  They passed that monstrosity over the loud objections of a significant majority of Americans in part on the promise that its requirement that people purchase a product whether they like it or not was not a tax.  Then having jammed it down the American peoples’ throats, they then defended the supposed constitutionality of that legislation before the Supreme Court on the basis that it was in fact . . . a tax.

The Obama administration funneled billions of dollars of taxpayer money to campaign donors via bad “loans” to dubious “green energy” startups like Solyndra, yielding little except sophomorish “aw shucks” jokes that “shovel-ready” wasn’t as shovel-ready as they thought.  Meanwhile it used the IRS—you know, the agency that collects that tax money in the first place—as a political weapon against Conservative groups.

And then lied about it.  And then covered it up.

The administration screams bloody murder that law-abiding citizens—presumably that’s you—need to be deprived of their Constitutionally-guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.  But that same administration shipped huge numbers of military grade guns—guns you are in fact already prohibited from owning in the U.S.—to the chronically homicidal Mexican drug cartels, resulting in hundreds of dead Mexicans and at least two dead Americans.

And then lied about it.  And then covered it up.

While it was busy arming Mexican drug lords with one hand, the administration with the other was deploying armed federal agents to “monitor” peaceful Tea Party rallies.   Yet when the “occupy” demonstrations spent weeks disrupting commerce, vandalizing private property, crapping on police cars, trafficking in illegal and dangerous drugs, and committing rapes, the administration and Progressive Left did, well, nothing—except cheer them on. 

Speaking of rape and cheering them on, the Progressive-controlled Democrat Party has been pushing the mantra of the Right’s “war on women” for several years.  Yet the keynote speaker at their 2012 national convention was serial cheater and sexual abuser Bill Clinton.

Are you kidding me? You’re going to accuse me of waging a war on women just because I don’t want to pay for your abortion, and you’re going to invite Bill-I-seduced-a-20-year-old-intern-to-blow-me-in-the-oval-office-and-then-I-ruin-her-life-on-national-TV-Clinton to headline your convention?

I don’t normally use this language in this space—In my private life, those who know me know better, so sue me—but there’s really no other way to put it: your government-of-the-people-by-the-people’s reaction to you is: fuck you.

That’s your federal government these days in the hands of the Progressive Left, where everything is doublespeak, and who wins and who loses has everything to do with who you are.  And have you noticed who’s always on the losing end, even if it means flipping prior logic on its head?

Isn’t it ironic? Yeah, I really do think.

The Audacity Of Blame

Molly:     I take it you’re a feminist.

Roy:        I’ve been called many things, but I ain’t never been saddled with that one.

Molly:      You should try being saddled sometime; smell of leather, sting of a whip.

        —Rene Russo as Dr. Molly Griswold, and Kevin Costner as Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy in Tin Cup

 

If you like watching the Progressive Left fail and flail, FUBARCare is already proving to be the gift that keeps on giving.  In recent developments: 

  • HHS’ Henry Chao testified before Congress that 30% to 40% of the FUBARCare website hasn’t even been built yet, including the mechanisms to allow you to pay for your new medical insurance policy (thus ensuring that you are actually covered), despite the law having been passed nearly four years ago, scheduled for launch October 1 (some 7 weeks ago), and the policy requirements taking effect 40 days from today;
  • Several cybersecurity experts testified before Congress that the website has major security flaws and is so badly at risk that it should be shut down;
  • The Leftist and cyber-savvy People’s State of Oregon has signed up exactly zero people on its State exchange to date;
  • A single mother in Washington State whom Obama hailed as an anecdotal FUBARCare success story had to drop her new coverage after changes in her subsidy made it unaffordable; and my personal favorite:
  • The website crashed on HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius when she tried to help a woman sign up during a staged-for-the-media event in Miami.

And that’s just some of the headlines from the last couple of days. 

CBS News, of all places, now reports Obama’s approval rating at 37% and dropping, while 61% now disapprove of FUBARCare.  Both are all-time lows.  7% somehow manage to say they think FUBARCare is working well, but I’ll bet you dollars-to-donuts 99% of them don’t know what it is, and the other 1% are Congressional Democrats.  Fully on the defensive, Obama on Tuesday amazingly actually had the steel kiwis to try to blame all the problems with FUBARCare on the Republicans

Are you kidding me?  The Republicans are to blame for FUBARCare?  Really?

Even for Obama, that level of impudence in refusing to accept responsibility for anything is breathtaking.  I’m half surprised he isn’t trying to blame George Bush specifically.  But, following up on a post from last week, here is where the GOP needs to ramp up its messaging and hoist Obama and the Democrats on their own petard.

I would launch a media blitz making sure the public understands what’s going on with this thing and who owns it.  First, I would stop calling it “Obamacare” and refer to it as “DemocratCare” (I prefer my “FUBARCare” label, but that won’t work for this purpose).  Then I would take to every conceivable media outlet and even take out TV time to point out:

  • Not one Republican participated in the drafting of DemocratCare—the Democrats wouldn’t permit it;
  • Not one Republican voted to pass DemocratCare—to the contrary, they did just about everything they could to prevent it;
  • Not one Republican participated in creating the tens of thousands of pages of regulations implementing DemocratCare;
  • Not a single Republican in Congress participated in the creation—or lack thereof—of the failing website, nor are they the ones crashing it;
  • Republican governors sued to try to stop DemocratCare;
  • Republicans in Congress tried to repeal DemocratCare–the Democrats in the Senate wouldn’t even take up debate;
  • Republicans in Congress tried to stop DemocratCare by defunding it—the Democrats shut down the government until that effort was ended; and
  • Republicans in Congress tried to delay DemocratCare—the Democrats refused, despite knowing since March that the website wasn’t ready and wouldn’t be ready.

The President is trying to shift the blame for this mess to the GOP, when the GOP had literally nothing to do with it.  To the contrary, the Republicans tried at every opportunity to protect you from this; it was the Democrats who forced this upon you over Republican opposition:

  • It was the Democrats who wrote DemocratCare behind closed doors;
  • It was the Democrats who told you DemocratCare had to be passed before you could even find out what’s in it;
  • It was the Democrats who passed DemocratCare in the Senate in the middle of the night without anyone having read the thing;
  • It was the Democrats who bragged that DemocratCare was “a big f#cking deal”;
  • It was the Democrats who campaigned in 2012 on how great DemocratCare was going to be.

Well, DemocratCare was passed and we’re now seeing what’s in it.  How’s that working?

  • It was the Democrats who, with nearly four years to work on it, couldn’t competently manage the construction of a website (even Al Jezeera, Al Qaeda, ebay, Amazon, the Girl Scouts, and the endless Obama campaign manage to do that);
  • If you are one of the millions who under DemocratCare have now lost a medical insurance plan you liked, or the 50 to 100 million now projected to lose their coverage in the future, it was the Democrats who lied to you that you’d be able to keep it;
  • If you are one of the millions who have seen a dramatic increase in the cost of your medical insurance, it was the Democrats who lied to you that DemocratCare was going to decrease costs for most Americans;
  • If you are one of the millions whose doctors are not included in the only medical insurance plans now available to you under DemocratCare, it was the Democrats who lied to you that you’d be able to keep your doctor;
  • If you are one of the millions who have either lost your job or had your hours reduced so your employer could avoid DemocratCare’s mandate for businesses with 50 or more full-time employees, it was the Democrats who lied to you that DemocratCare would create jobs;
  • If you become one of the millions who have to pay a penalty—er, tax—it was the Democrats who lied to you that DemocratCare would not increase taxes;
  • If you have children who will now be saddled with trillions of dollars of additional debt (that’s almost all of you), it was the Democrats who lied to you that DemocratCare would not add a dime to the deficit;
  • If you or someone you love becomes one of those who ends up dying because a shortage of doctors prevents you from obtaining a necessary procedure, it was the Democrats who lied to you that this kind of thing wouldn’t happen under DemocratCare;
  • And even if you’ve been fortunate enough not to have been personally impacted by DemocratCare (and you’re not, you just haven’t realized it yet), if you voted based on what you were told about it, it was the Democrats who lied to you about it all (and, for the more inquisitive among you, ask yourself “why did they lie to me about all these things?”).

And I’d intersperse these messages with Max Headroom-style stuttering sound bites of the President, Secretary Sebelius, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and any other Democrat I can find saying “I-I-I-I-I-I’m responsible-I’m responsible-I’m responsible for this.”

The Democrats own this, and the Republicans have to be able to message it.  It’s a winning issue that should cripple the Progressives for decades, but the GOP has to sell it hard, and sell it now.

If they can’t saddle the Democrats with this, they’re done.  And so are all the rest of us.

FUBARCare, Rights, and Contracts

And everyone here’s to blame

Yeah well everyone here gets caught up in the pleasure of the pain

Yeah, everyone here hides shades of shame

But looking inside we’re the same, we’re the same

And we’re all grown now, but we don’t know how

To get it back to good

           —Matchbox Twenty, Back 2 Good

 

In an opinion piece Tuesday on foxnews.com, Juan Williams argues that all the uproar over the President’s lies about you getting to keep your coverage is much ado about nothing, because it’s not the fault of Obama or FUBARCare that people are losing their medical insurance coverage.  As an initial point, it’s interesting that Williams makes no effort to say that the President didn’t say you could keep your coverage, or that the promise was in fact not a lie, but simply that because it’s not Obama’s fault—according to Williams—it’s not a lie that matters.

Whatever.

The more aggravating part of his piece, however, is his central thesis that Americans’ anger over the loss of coverage is misdirected.  To begin with, Williams minimizes the issue, contending that “only” some 2 million Americans are losing their insurance this month, and some will get “better” coverage and government subsidies, which sort of begs the question why we didn’t just go to a subsidy model like food stamps in the first place.  But more to the point, 2 million people is a lot, and at present it’s a whole lot more than the number of people who have gained insurance, which is a more than significant fact when you’re talking about a piece of legislation the central purpose of which was to see to it that more people had medical insurance than did before; Williams conveniently leaves that tidbit out.

Williams nevertheless says anger aimed at Obama and FUBARCare is misdirected, and should really be aimed at the insurance companies for cancelling their policies.  It is no more correct, according to Williams, to say that under FUBARCare government is “forcing” those companies to cancel policies any more than it is to say that government “forces” chemical companies not to dump toxic waste, or that government “forces” people to fix broken windshields.  Well, in point of fact, to the extent that the government via the power of law requires proper disposal of chemical waste or proper repair of vehicles, it indeed does “force” that behavior.  But the real issue is that Williams’ analogy is inapposite, and it reflects his fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of insurance, rights, and obligations.

When government enacts a law relating to waste disposal or vehicle repair, it is doing so to prevent the entities being compelled from engaging in a behavior that harms people.  There is a pre-existing right/obligation relationship in both instances.  I have a right not to be poisoned by polluted water, and the chemical company has a corresponding obligation not to poison me; the anti-dumping regulation merely enforces that pre-existing relationship.  Similarly, I have a right not to be harmed on the road, and you have a corresponding obligation not to harm me; the repair regulation again simply enforces what already exists.    

But there is no similar right/obligation relationship with respect to medical insurance, and this is where Williams leaves the reservation.  He complains that the cancellations are due to insurance companies’ refusal to do what they should have done all along, and that is revise their policies to provide all the “common sense, humane” goodies he says should have been there in the first place; all FUBARCare did was right this “terrible wrong” and stop greedy insurance companies from taking advantage of people and making profits by using “loopholes” to deny coverage.

Williams’ argument presumes that you somehow have a “right” to have your medical insurance policy cover all the things FUBARCare requires, and that the insurance company simply by virtue of existing has a corresponding obligation to provide them to you.  But no such right/obligation exists, and contrary to Williams’ apparent worldview, the insurance industry does not represent some sort of collectively-held natural resource upon which all of society has some right to draw. 

Insurance is a contract—an agreement—and those “loopholes” to which Williams refers are what are otherwise known as the terms of that agreement.  The ONLY right you have, and the ONLY obligation the carrier owes you, is what the two of you have agreed to in your insurance contract.  It is—or was, before FUBARCare—a voluntary arrangement (and don’t bother with the whole I-can’t-help-what-coverage-my-employer-provides thing; individual insurance has long been available, and if it really mattered that much to you, nothing prevents you from changing jobs to one that provides insurance benefits more to your liking); if you want contraception coverage, or a different lifetime cap, those policies were always available.  

But here’s the thing.  If you didn’t want those things, those policies were available, too.  You and your insurance carrier could enter into an agreement that didn’t cover, say, contraception and abortion services, and if you were a 65-year old who’s had a hysterectomy, it may very well make sense for you to do just that.  But under FUBARCare you can’t do that even if you want to, because Progressive elites like Williams think they know better than you do what coverage is “better” for you.  And this, Mr. Williams, is what’s got people so pissed off:  to the extent you’re talking about people losing coverage they liked—and those are by definition the people to whom the President’s promises about keeping coverage were made, not those who didn’t have insurance, or were somehow being cheated via inadequate coverage—it’s because in closing those “loopholes” you’ve forced them and their insurance company to alter their agreement and add terms neither of them wanted. 

Insurance companies aren’t cancelling policies because they are too evil to live up to their “obligation” to provide all the additional benefits the Left says everyone should have whether they want them or not.  They’re cancelling policies because all those added benefits—benefits FUBARCare now forces them to provide—have a cost, and this is the point that gets lost on people like Williams.  Health care in general, and insurance in particular, aren’t a magic top hat into which you can just reach and pull out whatever benefit you want.  Someone has to provide the services, and someone has to pay for them, and insurance policies are carefully calibrated actuarial propositions—that’s math, Mr. Williams—that ensure that premiums are set at sufficient levels to cover the cost of those benefits over the entirety of the risk pool and afford the profit without which the insurance company would not exist.  When government intervenes to mandate the coverage of additional benefits, the actuarial balance is altered, and either the extra cost of the additional benefits has to be covered by increased premiums and deductibles—as many are seeing—or the policy becomes financially unviable.  

Ironically, it is this very phenomenon that Williams now can’t bring himself to recognize that is the central basis for FUBARCare’s individual mandate.  Because there are increased costs associated with adding these benefits—and all these people who will supposedly be added to the ranks of the insured, if they can ever get on the website—they need people who won’t claim benefits to be enrolled in plans that pay for them anyway.  They need the sterile sextogenerian who will never need The Pill or an abortion paying premiums for those services in order to subsidize providing those benefits for others who do.  And, of course, the only way to get there is to force her out of her existing plan into one she does not want (and more to the point does not want to pay for).

So if you are one of those who liked your prior policy but either got canceled, or now face increased premiums and deductibles—either of which means you didn’t get to keep what you had—that is not because your insurance company simply didn’t want to do the right thing.  It’s because FUBARCare, pushed by Obama and passed to the wild cheering of people like Williams, fundamentally altered the financial mathematics of the deal.

And one suspects Williams really does know this, and what he seeks to avoid is admitting that he’s as much responsible for the lie and the mess as Obama.

Willful Blindness

Valerie:           Liar!  Liar!  Liiiaaarrr!

Miracle Max: Get back, witch!

Valerie:           I’m not a witch, I’m your wife.  But after what you just said, I’m not even sure I want to be that anymore!

          —Carol Kane as Valerie, and Billy Crystal as Miracle Max in The Princess Bride

 

Some of this would be really, really funny if it weren’t so damn dangerous.

It turns out that some people who thought FUBARCare was a great idea, that it was going to make life all peaches and cream for everybody, and that there was just no way in the world it would result in them losing their medical insurance—and you know who you are—are getting bitten in the ass by it.  In a closed-door meeting—gee, I wonder why it was closed-door?—Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) told members that his son had received a notice that his insurance was being canceled; Donnelly voted in favor of FUBARCare in 2009 when he was in the House.  The Washington Post, in a piece on consumer backlash over FUBARCare sticker shock told the story of one disillusioned FUBARCare supporter:

“Marlys Dietrick, a 60-year-old artist from San Antonio, said she had high hopes that the new law would help many of her friends who are chefs, actors or photographers get insured.  But she said they have been turned off by high premiums and deductibles and would rather pay the fine.

‘I am one of those Democrats who wanted it to be better than this,’ she said.

Her insurer, Humana, informed her that her plan was being canceled and that the rate for herself and her 21-year-old son for a plan compliant with the new law would rise from $300 to $705.  On the federal Web site, she found a comparable plan for $623 a month.  Because her annual income is about $80,000, she doesn’t qualify for subsidies.

A cheaper alternative on the federal exchange, she said, had a premium of $490 a month—but it was an HMO plan rather than the PPO plan she currently has.  ‘I wouldn’t be able to go to the doctor I’ve been going to for years,’ she said.  ‘That is not a deal.’”

Meanwhile, unions are striking or threatening to strike over job losses and cuts in hours caused by their employers’ efforts to deal with the compliance requirements of FUBARCare.

Told ya so.

I can almost understand if back in 2009 and 2010 you were one of those true believers, and you were just ignorant about how insurance works.  You could dismiss our warnings as the fear mongering rants of an extreme and racist Right.  But it’s impossible that you don’t see the reality now; and frankly you should be embarrassed at what is now the Obama administration’s doubling-down on the lie.

By now you’ve heard over and over again the reminders of the President’s promise that if you liked your medical plan and your doctor, you’d be able to keep them.  A large part of the reason you’re hearing about it over and over now, is, well, because he said it over and over.  Yesterday, unable to keep running from that pledge, the President took the position that he never actually made it; that what he really said was “you could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed.”  The trouble is, in the nearly thirty-odd times he’s gone on record with the if-you-like-it-you-can-keep-it promise, not once has he ever included that caveat. 

Not once.

In fact, on at least one occasion—in a 2009 speech praising the AMA for its support—he was beyond crystal clear that your ability to keep what you had was absolute:

“So let me begin by saying this:  I know that there are millions of Americans who are content with their health care coverage—they like their plan and they value their relationship with their doctor.  And that means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise:  If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor.  Period.  If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan.  Period.  No one will take it away.  No matter what.”

There was no hedging, no qualifying, no beating around the bush.  No matter how we reform health care—i.e., regardless of what’s in that law once we pass it to find out—you will keep your plan and your doctor, and no one will take it away no matter what.  Period.  Period.  He was trying to assuage the fears of people who wanted to keep the insurance and doctors they had, and he wanted them to understand and believe that they would be able to do so; he wanted them to rely on that assurance in choosing to support FUBARCare. 

In the law, we call that “fraud.”

For Obama now to argue that he was simply not as clear as he would have liked, and that what he was trying to convey was anything other than the plain, absolute assurance that no one would lose coverage under FUBARCare is pure fantasy.  He flat lied about you keeping your insurance.  It’s that simple.  He lied about it on purpose.  And now he’s lying about having told the lie in the first place.

The doublespeak spin on this is so childish, and so crude, that you should find it insulting.  People aren’t being canceled, they’re being “transitioned.”  People aren’t being screwed over in the transition, because although they liked their prior coverage and wanted to keep it, the new alternative coverage they don’t want that costs a hell of a lot more than their old coverage they did want is, in the Left’s infinite wisdom, “better.”  The FUBARCare website isn’t crashing, it’s just running slow.  And now the President says he didn’t really promise you could keep it, but only that you could keep it unless and until, and he just forgot to say the unless and until part.

You gonna believe me, or your lying eyes?

Yes, they think you’re that stupid, and only through an impossibly desperate act of self-deception can you not see that.  And it’s not the first time this Administration has brazenly denied the President said what 300 million people plainly saw and heard him say (and got him on videotape doing it).  They denied Obama told small business owners that they “didn’t build that.”  They denied Obama drew a “red line” on Syria.  But this latest attempt to deny ever making what was the repeated central sales pitch of Obama’s signature “achievement” would make even Eddie Haskell blush.  And yet his capacity to lie nonetheless appears to know no bounds.

This is what happens when you get blinded by your own ideology.  Reality will always be reality, and all your wishing and wanting won’t change that.  You’ve been lied to.  Some of us tried to tell you, and if you made a mistake that’s one thing.

But if you can’t at this point admit the reality that Obama lied to you, then you are a liar, too. 

Can You Hear Me Now?

Edwards:       Drop the weapon and put your hands on your head.

K:                    I warned him.

Edwards:       Drop the weapon!

K:                    You warned him.

Edwards:       Don’t make me kill you.

Jeebs:              You insensitive prick!  Don’t you know how much that stings!

—Will Smith as Edwards, Tommy Lee Jones as K, and Tony Shalhoub as Jack Jeebs in Men In Black

OK, everybody who’s surprised by the colossal failure of the rollout of FUBARCare raise your hand.

Mr. Obama, you can put yours down.

Amazingly, the Progressives are still trying with a straight face to defend this thing, and some are even having the brass stones to blame Republicans for the problems.  But by now it is impossible for any remotely rational person not to see what a pack of lies this has been:

But the FUBARCare debacle over the last week is hardly surprising; to the contrary, it was utterly predictable, because it is merely the most recent illustration of this Administration’s consistent display of incompetence and deceit.  Indeed, is there anything this Administration has touched that hasn’t turned out to be a gigantic steaming pile of cow flop covered with (f)lies?

Afghanistan

The primary goal of our military involvement in Afghanistan was to “get” Osama Bin Laden.  That was achieved—in Pakistan—on May 2, 2011, over two and a half years ago, yet Americans are still dying in Afghanistan.  At last count, over 700 Americans—more than during the entire Bush administration—have been killed there since Bin Laden’s death.  Why?  Perhaps if Obama attended a security briefing once in awhile he’d be aware that our armed forces are still engaged in that theater.

Benghazi

On September 11, 2012, four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in a series of military-style assaults on our consulate—sovereign U.S. soil—in Benghazi, Libya.  Although Stevens had repeatedly warned of the deteriorating situation and requested additional security, although escalating incidents over the preceding several months had led the British to close their facility, and although the 9/11 anniversary posed an obvious symbolic targeting date, the Administration refused to bolster security and left the diplomatic personnel in place.  Although the President knew about the attacks less than 90 minutes after they began, and although they took place over a period of some nine hours as the President and his staff watched in real time via surveillance drone, the President did nothing.  That weekend, Obama sent U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice all over the Sunday talk shows with a series of talking points blaming a silly internet video when they knew it was an al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist assault, while he ran around to multiple campaign fundraisers.  Obama later pledged to hunt down those responsible and bring them to justice, yet to date the only person jailed as a result has been the producer of the irrelevant internet film (who just recently got out of prison); no one in Libya has been arrested, and the Benghazi raid isn’t even among the crimes for which the Administration is offering a reward for information.

Economy and Budget

We’ve been told for several years now that we’re in a “recovery” from the Bush recession.  Obama has repeatedly said that he was focused like a laser on jobs, and that he “will not rest” until everyone has one.  Yet as of September, a full ten million people have left the workforce since Obama took office.  Workforce participation is now at a paltry 63%.  A recent Census Bureau report counts more people receiving means-tested government benefits (read: welfare) than with full-time jobs.  Meanwhile the national debt now exceeds $17 trillion, nearly double what it was when Obama took office (just under $10 trillion), Obama is continuing to spend at around a $4 trillion/year clip, and Harry Reid says “everybody” wants to pay more in taxes.

This is some rescue.

Fast & Furious

On December 14, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed in a gun battle with Mexican drug runners.  Guns used in the fight were traced back to Operation Fast & Furious, a Justice Department action in which illegal guns were deliberately permitted to be sold and transported outside the U.S. in an effort to track them to Mexican cartels.  Despite multiple memos and emails to Attorney General Eric Holder mentioning the program—including some from before Terry’s murder—Holder has steadfastly denied (read: lied) knowing anything about it.  Since then, he and the President have spent the better part of the last three years doing everything possible to avoid providing Congress, the American people, or the Terry family any information about it.

Government “Investments”

Obama the investment banker, in his infinite wisdom, illegally diverted $80 billion in TARP bailout money effectively to nationalize GM and Chrysler.  On the GM side alone, taxpayers are still out nearly $20 billion, and the GM stock still held by the government would have to triple in value for John Q. Public just to break even.  To put that in perspective, the first time in our entire history that the total federal budget reached $20 billion was 1942, and here we’re talking about the loss on a single piece of a single program.  Meanwhile as I have reported previously, Obama’s Energy Department has lost billions making high-risk loans to unproven “green energy” firms—many, not coincidentally, owned by huge Obama donors—that have gone belly-up.  And the few jobs “created” through the bailout and loans have in large part been overseas.  Not a particularly good rate of return.

IRS & NSA

When the IRS hasn’t been gearing up to serve as the jack-booted enforcers of FUBARCare, it turns out they’ve been selectively targeting conservative political groups to delay or deny them tax-exempt status.  Originally passed off as the isolated action of a couple of rogue low-level employees in Cincinnati, it is becoming increasingly clear that this was actually a deliberate program to weaponize the IRS as a political tool for the Left, overseen at the highest levels.  Meanwhile, we’re learning that the NSA has been—without a warrant—effectively spying on millions of innocent private U.S. citizens.  Once again, however, the Administration absolutely refuses to discuss either issue with Congress or the American people.

World Image

Obama took office pledging to restore America’s image in the world.  Then in his first official act, he embarked on a global apology tour, basically denouncing everything America has ever been or done.  Since then, he has displayed a breathtaking lack of leadership in the Middle East, he’s been horrifyingly weak in dealing with Russia, and he’s alienated and offended our European and Western Hemisphere allies by repeatedly getting caught spying on them (compounded by the fact that he never sits down with those leaders one-on-one to foster those relationships).  The Saudis have recently severed diplomatic ties.  And Obama’s relationship with Israel is so deteriorated that one suspects the only circumstance in which he wouldn’t piss on Benjamin Netanyahu is if the Prime Minister were on fire.  If there is left any nation that would count us as a friend, or at least acknowledge any respect for us, I don’t know who that would be.

At this point the grim reality has to be inescapable.  Even the true believers on the Left can’t avoid recognizing—without engaging in an unconscionable self-fraud—that this President is an embarrassingly epic failure.  He has accomplished exactly nothing positive, and the level of arrogance, ignorance, incompetence, and paranoia that permeates this Administration is unlike anything we’ve ever seen.  At the end of the day, we’re left with nothing but angry lectures, empty platitudes, cheesy staged political stunts, fundraisers, and golf.

And lies.  Upon lies.  Upon lies.

This is what you get when you elect a community organizer with literally zero real-world experience, whose sole drivers are a blind adherence to radical ideology, and a limitless thirst to erect a monument to his own ego, real-world results and consequences be damned.

Some of us tried to tell you . . .

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

“Senator Duvall is motivated by this absurd lust for power.  Now, this would be comic if it weren’t so damn dangerous.”

            —Gene Hackman as Defense Secretary David Brice in No Way Out

Last week Genius Joe told a group to whom he was speaking that:

“Gabby Giffords, my good friend, was shot and mortally wounded.” 

That will come as news to Ms. Giffords, who in fact survived a January 8, 2011 assassination attempt and has been touring the country to promote gun control legislation (presumably so long as that legislation doesn’t include her husband’s recently-purchased AR-15.)  But Biden’s gaffe is a good reminder that if you can bring yourself to put aside the policy implications and continuing erosion of the Constitution, the folks on the Left are often good for a really hearty laugh.

Hearken back a couple of weeks to the doom-and-gloom predictions leading up to “sequestration.”  One of the more comic forecasts came from Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA):

“We don’t need to be having something like sequestration that’s going to cause these jobs losses, over 170 million jobs that could be lost.”

170 million?  Really?

Now, no one has ever accused Rep. Waters of being a rocket scientist, but sometimes the depths of her ignorance and stupidity are simply breathtaking.  Instinctively, anyone with half a brain knows that her statement is bullcrap, even if you don’t know the specific numbers.  But what’s worse is the actual specific numbers are readily available:  five minutes looking at the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly jobs report tells you everything you need to know.

Ms. Waters claims with a straight face that 170 million people will lose their jobs.  But there are only about 310 million people total in the U.S.  About a quarter of them—77 million—are under 18, meaning the adult population in the U.S. is about 232 million.  About 15%—another 46 million—are 65 or older, and so are at or near retirement.  That means your adult working-age population is really only about 186 million.  If we assume that every single person between the ages of 18 and 65 is presently employed—a patently ridiculous assumption—Ms. Waters is predicting an unemployment rate of 91.3%.

If you honestly believe that’s coming, then you need to be building a bunker, not worrying about sequestration.  But it gets worse.

Not everyone in the working-age cohort is employed or even employable.  The January 2013 workforce was about 155 million, and it’s been around that figure for awhile.  143 million are employed.  So when Ms. Waters says 170 million jobs are going to be lost, she’s actually predicting the loss of more jobs than currently even exist.

Wow.  And you thought Greece had it bad.

Then there was Representative Charlie Rangel (D-NY) pushing gun control last week with this whopper:

“We’re talking about millions of kids dying — being shot down by assault weapons[.]”

“Millions” of kids being shot down by “assault weapons,” huh?

I did some looking at a compilation of data from the FBI’s annual crime statistics.  Over the half-century from 1960 to 2011, there were barely 900,000—908,965, to be exact—murders in the U.S. combined.  Children—I defined that as under 18, your mileage may vary—consistently make up about 10% of murder victims, which means that over that same time there have been about 90,000 children murdered.  Of course the annual totals tend to rise over time as the population increases, so the further back in time you go, the lower the annual figure.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say there haven’t been anywhere near a million kids murdered in the nation’s entire 236 year history.

Furthermore, those murder statistics were for all murders by all means.  Using 2011 as an example, firearms accounted for about 8,600 murders.  But that’s all firearms, not “assault weapons.”  The FBI doesn’t publish statistics on the use of “assault weapons,” but using all rifles as a proxy, in 2011 there were a grand total of 322 murders committed with those weapons.  That’s about 3.75% of all murders committed with a gun, and 2.2% of all murders.

Loss of life is tragic, no doubt.  The loss of young life is particularly so.  But in point of fact, “millions” of kids aren’t being murdered by any means.  “Millions” of kids aren’t being gunned down, and “millions” of kids aren’t being gunned down with “assault weapons.”  It’s more like a dozen.

To put this in perspective, consider that an estimated 195,000 people die annually from medical malpractice.  You are thirteen times more likely to die at the hands of a doctor or nurse than you are at the hands of a murderer.  You are twenty-two times more likely to be killed by a medical provider’s mistake than by a gun.  You are six hundred times more likely to be a fatal victim of medical malpractice than you are of a rifle, “assault”-style or otherwise.  Where are the cries for banning doctors or restricting the use of health insurance?

And this illustrates the danger behind the comedic absurdity of these kinds of statements.  Beware any time someone on the Left starts spewing numbers, because they just can’t help themselves.  In their zeal to bludgeon you into accepting their agenda, they quickly move from fact to exaggeration to hyperbole then off the cliff into outright lie.  And in so doing, they obscure the real truth.  Hundreds of millions of jobs and millions of dead children—sounds like a real problem, only it’s just not true.  Yet they continue to hide behind these fake numbers and shriek with righteous indignation at anyone who challenges their agenda, meanwhile all sense of scale gets lost.

Worse, these people keep getting re-elected, despite their insistence on publishing lie after demonstrable lie.  These things are easily fact-checked and debunked, yet it doesn’t matter.  And I don’t know whether their constituents are just that stupid, that lazy, or they are such true believers that the ends justify any means.  

I guess all that’s left to do is laugh.

*******************

BENGHAZI UPDATE:  It’s been 196 days since four Americans were killed in a military assault on sovereign U.S. territory, and the President still hasn’t addressed the nation on what happened, where he was, or why he did nothing and spoke to no one in his senior leadership at Defense, Intelligence, or State after being informed that the attack was in progress.  But in that time he’s been on vacation twice, and played 11 rounds of golf.