Archive for Politics

Conservatives Are Bad, But Did You Know We Were This Bad?

A little background, helpfully provided by James Taranto:

One explanation for this phenomenon comes from social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, author of “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.” Todd Zywicki, coincidentally on the same day Cuomo made his remark, summed up the relevant finding in a Volokh Conspiracy post:

Haidt reports on the following experiment: after determining whether someone is liberal or conservative, he then has each person answer the standard battery of questions as if he were the opposite ideology. So, he would ask a liberal to answer the questions as if he were a “typical conservative” and vice-versa. What he finds is quite striking: “The results were clear and consistent. Moderates and conservatives were most accurate in their predictions, whether they were pretending to be liberals or conservatives. Liberals were the least accurate, especially those who describe themselves as ‘very liberal.’ The biggest errors in the whole study came when liberals answered the Care and Fairness questions while pretending to be conservatives.” In other words, moderates and conservatives can understand the liberal worldview and liberals are unable to relate to the conservative worldview, especially when it comes to questions of care and fairness.

In short, Haidt’s research suggests that many liberals really do believe that conservatives are heartless bastards–or as a friend of mine once remarked, “Conservatives think that liberals are good people with bad ideas, whereas liberals think conservatives are bad people”–and very liberal people think that especially strongly. Haidt suggests that there is some truth to this.

How often have we said this ourselves? (Other than all the time?) It helps me, anyway, to have been a liberal for many years myself. I know the thought processes (to be generous), the denial, the sacrifice of reality for dogma. I consider my liberal self to be an unfinished version of my better self. I’m still not finished, mind you, nothing so smug and self-satisfied as that, but I could never go back—and it would be back—to modern American/Western liberalism.

But let’s look at a few less evolved people, shall we? Taranto names two:

[Mayor Bill] de Blasio launched an attack, or rather reinforced one, on a minority he can afford to alienate. Breitbart.com’s Kerry Picket reports the mayor “emphatically backed New [York] Governor Andrew Cuomo’s controversial remarks that ‘extreme’ conservatives . . . ‘have no place in the state of New York.’ ”

“I stand by that 100%,” said the mayor.

[Cuomo said:] “Right to life, pro-assault weapons, anti-gay–if that’s who they are, they have no place in the state of New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”

Cuomo’s statement was a gaffe, though one suspects it was a Kinsley gaffe, an inadvertent disclosure of his true feelings. De Blasio’s endorsement of it, by contrast, was unquestionably purposeful. “I agree with Gov. Cuomo’s remarks,” he said. “I interpret his remarks to say that an extremist attitude that continues the reality of violence in our communities or an extremist attitude that denies the rights of women does not represent the views of New York state.”

These were no pissant pipsqueaks, but the Mayor and Governor of New York City and State. Conservatives are not only demonized (anti-gay, pro assault weapons, holders of “extremist attitudes” that perpetuate violence and subjugate women), but as such, they cannot live among decent people. Would you want to live next to Charles Manson?

But Cuomo and de Blasio are pissant pipsqueaks next to the President of the United States:

“There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black president.”

Says the recently reelected Barack Obama. America as a whole seems to like the idea of a black president. Or, to give America more credit than it deserves, it likes the idea of Barack Obama as president. (He wasn’t the first black candidate, just the first successful black candidate.) Still, there’s no denying that his race (the black half) was more responsible than anything else in putting him on the political map. Just about every white supporter I know has said it.

Even Obama acknowledges it:

“Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black president,”

Maybe? Did you think it was your effervescent personality? Your sharp wit? Your uncanny ability at bird calls? “Maybe some white folks…” No [bleep], Sherlock.

And you know who it is poisoning the minds of those “folks” who don’t like him. Why, none other than:

“Another way of putting it, I guess, is that the issue has been the inability of my message to penetrate the Republican base so that they feel persuaded that I’m not the caricature that you see on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh, but I’m somebody who is interested in solving problems and is pretty practical, and that, actually, a lot of the things that we’ve put in place worked better than people might think. And as long as there’s that gap between perceptions of me within the average Republican primary voter and the reality, it’s hard for folks like John Boehner to move too far in my direction.”

Got that, “average Republican primary voter”? (Is that a synonym for “typical white person”? A cousin of a “bitter clinger” to guns and religion?) You don’t see “reality”, but a shucking and jiving “caricature” depicted by Rush Limbaugh (pbuh) and Roger Ailes. Maybe you’re not so bad, after all. Just incredibly stupid. So there’s hope.

Oh wait. Maybe not:

RUSH: … So yesterday the New Yorker releases more pages from their interview with Obama in which Obama blames me and Fox News for the fact that he is not as popular as he used to be.

And then later that same day, Chuck-U Schumer heads out to the Center for American Progress to make a speech, and he mentioned me and Fox News five times. Here’s the first…

SCHUMER: What gives this group such undue power? The power of the message machine led by Fox News, the Drudge Report, and the Rush Limbaughs that can broadcast the same exaggerated and even false messages instantaneously are all means that the Tea Party has used to gain ascendancy.

The underlying unrest that allowed the movement to ascend can be found in economic as well as cultural and social forces that in combination have greatly unsettled the American psyche. The first and most important phenomena is a phenomena that Democrats have recently begun to address, the decline in middle class incomes. When the Tea Party elite came in and said, “Government is your problem,” we didn’t say, no, it’s part of the solution. The American people became frustrated, sour, and angry, and the Tea Party elites, unchallenged, tapped into that anger with their pied piper solutions.

Tea Party “elites”? Tea Party “ascendancy”? Who? Since when? Barack Obama is still president, Harry Reid still runs the Senate, and John Boehner, Republican, hates the Tea Party more than both of them put together!

Schumer is just making [bleep] up! And he wasn’t done:

SCHUMER: These people are wealthy, hard right, narrow, people who don’t want to pay taxes, people who say, “I created my business all by my myself. How dare your government tell me what to do with it?” Government paved the roads and built the airports so they can ship their products. Government educated the workers that make their companies run and purchase their products. They conveniently ignore these facts. Over the years, they built a powerful and successful message machine that amplified and sold this anti-government theory to their followers. The Rush Limbaughs, the Fox Newses agree with the plutocrats and spread their propaganda to the masses.

I’ve been wanting to make this point to the “you didn’t build that” crowd for a long time: Romania has paved roads and airpots; so does Zimbabwe. Where are their thriving economies? If that’s all it took, poor countries would become instantly rich with the application of tarmac and blacktop. Stop it.

You really have to hear the contempt, the loathing, dripping from Schumer’s voice. He echoes Obama, but without his “cleanliness” or his “optional Negro dialect” (™ Joe Biden and Harry Reid respectively). I can’t be certain that he and Obama and Cuomo and de Blasio (and Reid and Pelosi, et al) actually feel this much hatred for their conservative fellow citizens—I truly hope note—but their base does. We all know people who hate us this much; we’re related by blood to some. This is their red meat.

We just ticked over into an election year, so we should expect only more. What else do the Democrats have? Obamacare? Loser issue. Immigration? Loser issue. Economy? Loser issue. Peace and respect around the world. Major loser issue.

In politics as in law: “If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table.”

That thumping you hear is the entire Democrat-Media Complex pounding the table. Get used to it.

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Why, Exactly Why, Is Obama Such An Atrocious President?

Yes, he’s a dolt, yes, the economy is weak, our foreign policy is in shambles, the health care law will cost thousands their jobs and maybe America will end up with fewer Americans with health insurance, and he’s arrogant to boot. But to quote one of my kids, who got real persistent and particular one day: “Yes, Mommy, I understand there’s a sperm and an egg, but how, exactly how, do they get together???” In the spirit of that question, what, exactly what, makes this guy worse than so many others?

And I woke up this morning with the particulars:

Obama has a Nixonian respect for the Constitution and the rule of law. (I realize that this is unfair to Richard Nixon).

Obama has a Carteresque way with both foreign policy and the domestic economy, with quite a bit of Carter’s condescending arrogance thrown in.

Obama has a Kennedy era teeny-bop press, in love with his handsome features, lovely wife and daughters, his sexy golf moves, and his inspiring speeches. The Beatles didn’t have it this good.

As a result:

America has a lawless, arrogant, incompetent leader who has lowered our international standing, tortured our economy, and cheapened our culture. And we don’t have a media to help us to understand this.

- Aggie

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Vote the John Not the Johnson

New York voters seem to forgive some of their reprobates but not others:

With no gender gap and a lead among black voters of more than 3-1, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer tops Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer 56 – 37 percent among likely Democratic primary voters in the race for New York City comptroller, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

“Everyone seems to be against former Gov. Eliot Spitzer except the voters, especially black voters,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Again there is a measurable racial gap, but almost no gender gap. Spitzer’s behavior disqualifies him, 29 percent of white voters and 13 percent of black voters say.

I have no comment on the racial disparity, but I do wonder why Anthony Weiner can’t get the same love Spitzer gets. The Big Apple electorate prefers their pervs to use their bodily appendages for their intended purposes, and not as subjects of self-portraits. I guess I see their point.

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Weiner Stands Alone…

Vows to come from behind: (Well, he does!)

As the field of candidates, which also included former City Comptroller Bill Thompson, debated local issues, Weiner stepped in to paint himself as an outsider.

“This is the problem: They all come from basically the same place. They’ve been part of municipal government for decades now,” he argued. “If you want someone truly independent, who’s going to stop this noise … you have a choice here.”

Turning to Weiner, Quinn begged to differ.

“Not for nothing, you were in government your whole career until you had to resign from government, so I’m not sure why you’re finger-pointing at people in government,” she said.

Tuesday’s debate came hours after a new poll showed a dramatic switch in the race. According to the Quinnipiac University survey, de Blasio jumped to the front of the pack with 30% of support among likely Democratic primary voters.

Quinn, the former front-runner, fell behind with 24% and Thompson came in at 22%, just four weeks before the September 10 primary. Weiner remained behind all three at 10%, while Liu had 6% support.

New York city and state politics steered me toward conservatism. Reading about these mental midgets, I can’t understand what took so long. Back in my day, it was Koch, Dinkins, Maloney, et al—plus the Donald Mannes-led menagerie of corrupt local pols, all Democrat. I left NYC before Giuliani ran, but had already committed to voting for him when he did. (And he’s hardly a Conservative with a capital C.)

But every clown show needs a top clown. And in Anthony Weiner the Democrats have the very reincarnations of Bozo, Emmett Kelly, and Bello Nock in one party member (pun very much intended).

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Justice Thomas Is Amusing

Watch to the end.

- Aggie

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OMG

Very, very stupid antics in Oregon

Teachers were shocked and caught off guard when an Oregon school held a school shooting drill.

The Oregonian reports Pine Eagle Charter School in Halfway held the drill last Friday as children were home for an in-service day. Two masked “gunmen” burst into a meeting room holding 15 teachers firing blanks. Teachers only realized it wasn’t a real shooting when none of them were bleeding.

“There was some commotion,” school principal Cammie DeCastro told The Oregonian.

Teachers were frightened about what happened.

“I’ll tell you, the whole situation was horrible,” Morgan Gover told the paper. “I got a couple in the front and a couple in the back.”

The school held the unplanned drill in hopes to better educate teachers on how to deal with a school shooting. Of the 15 teachers in the room, only two would have survived.

“For us not to know how we were going to respond is leaving us open,” DeCastro told The Oregonian.

I’m surprised no one had a heart attack and I wonder if someone will sue. Astonishingly poor judgement.

And I wouldn’t be terribly shocked to learn that some nut has read about this and planned an attack, assuming that teachers will believe the bullets are blanks. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

- Aggie

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Conclave

Gather round, Bloodthirstani, your ol’ pal BTL needs your collective brain power.

This Tuesday is a special primary election to fill the seat vacated by John Kerry (though lord knows it was vacant most of the time he filled it). There are two Democrats and three Republicans vying in their respective primaries.

As an Independent (we call it Unenrolled), I can vote in either primary, for any candidate. Here’s my quandary.

Do I vote Democrat, and pick the moonbattier of the two (Ed Markey), in the hope that he’ll drive centrist voters to the Republican in the general election? Or do I vote for the lesser of two moonbats in Steve Lynch, given that either Democrat will likely win. Lynch is no conservative, not by a long shot, but he’s a human being—unlike that utter imbecile Markey. Markey has been my Congressman for almost 20 years, yet until recently I couldn’t have picked him out of a line-up and could never remember he was my rep (Frank? Delahunt? Tierney? Markey???)

Of the three Republicans I can tell you very little. One, someone named Michael Sullivan, has the endorsement of Red Mass Group, a statewide Republican advocacy organization. He’s a former US Attorney, and ran the Bureau of ATF for the last three years of Bush’s term. Another candidate, Gabriel Gomez, has an admirable resume—ex-Navy Seal, Republican Latino—but he has a habit of sucking up to the Democratic state hierarchy. He’s not beloved by conservatives. Then there’s another guy.

So what do I do? Vote strategically in the Democratic primary—and if so for the crazier or the safer of the two—or vote for the Republican I like better? Or for the Republican I think can win (if they’re not one and the same)?

Answers by Tuesday, please.

PS: I used to say that the only way someone named Sullivan could lose an election in Massachusetts was to another candidate named Sullivan. That assertion is in some doubt.

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Obama’s IRS Tells Agents It Can Snoop On Emails Without Warrant

Yes We Can!

The Internal Revenue Service believes it doesn’t need permission to root through emails, texts or other forms of electronic correspondence, according to recently released internal agency documents.

The documents, which were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the American Civil Liberties Union, reveal that tax department agents have been operating under the assumption that they can bypass warrants. The ACLU claims this would in turn violate the Fourth Amendment.
According to a 2009 IRS employee handbook, though, the tax agency said the Fourth Amendment does not protect emails because Internet users don’t “have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications.”

A lawyer for the agency reiterated the policy in 2010. And the current online version of the IRS manual says that no warrant is required for emails that are stored by an Internet storage provider for more than 180 days.

“This is an affront not only to our system of checks and balances, but also to our fundamental right to privacy,” Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall said in a statement Thursday, adding that he wants Congress to overhaul the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
“In the meantime, I urge the IRS to reconsider its overreach,” he said.

During the Bush years, the Left would have taken over the streets. Our rights! Our rights! But they are sleeping in this decade. File this one under Liberal Fascism, BTL.

- Aggie

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Conservatives Fight Back

President of Bowdoin picks on the wrong guy

One day in the summer of 2010, Barry Mills, the president of Bowdoin College, a respected liberal-arts school in Brunswick, Maine, met investor and philanthropist Thomas Klingenstein for a round of golf about an hour north of campus. College presidents spend many of their waking hours talking to potential donors. In this case, the two men spoke about college life—especially “diversity”—and the conversation made such an impression on President Mills that he cited it weeks later in his convocation address to Bowdoin’s freshman class. That’s where the dispute begins.

In his address, President Mills described the golf outing and said he had been interrupted in the middle of a swing by a fellow golfer’s announcement: “I would never support Bowdoin—you are a ridiculous liberal school that brings all the wrong students to campus for all the wrong reasons,” said the other golfer, in Mr. Mills’s telling. During Mr. Mills’s next swing, he recalled, the man blasted Bowdoin’s “misplaced and misguided diversity efforts.” At the end of the round, the college president told the students, “I walked off the course in despair.”

Word of the speech soon got to Mr. Klingenstein. Even though he hadn’t been named in the Mills account, Mr. Klingenstein took to the pages of the Claremont Review of Books to call it nonsense: “He didn’t like my views, so he turned me into a backswing interrupting, Bowdoin-hating boor who wants to return to the segregated days of Jim Crow.”

The real story, wrote Mr. Klingenstein, was that “I explained my disapproval of ‘diversity’ as it generally has been implemented on college campuses: too much celebration of racial and ethnic difference,” coupled with “not enough celebration of our common American identity.”

For this, wrote Mr. Klingenstein, Bowdoin’s president insinuated that he was a racist. And President Mills did so, moreover, in an address that purported to stress the need for respecting the opinions of others across the political spectrum. “We are, in the main, a place of liberal political persuasion,” he told the students, but “we must be willing to entertain diverse perspectives throughout our community. . . . Diversity of ideas at all levels of the college is crucial for our credibility and for our educational mission.” Wrote Mr. Klingenstein: “Would it be uncharitable to suggest that, in a speech calling for more sensitivity to conservative views, he might have shown some?”

Pretty typical story so far: Conservative refuses to donate money to Moonbat Univeristy and President Moonbat calls him racist. Here’s the twist:

A few months later, Mr. Klingenstein decided to do something surprising: He commissioned researchers to examine Bowdoin’s commitment to intellectual diversity, rigorous academics and civic identity. This week, some 18 months and hundreds of pages of documentation later, the project is complete. Its picture of Bowdoin isn’t pretty.

Funded by Mr. Klingenstein, researchers from the National Association of Scholars studied speeches by Bowdoin presidents and deans, formal statements of the college’s principles, official faculty reports and notes of faculty meetings, academic course lists and syllabi, books and articles by professors, the archive of the Bowdoin Orient newspaper and more. They analyzed the school’s history back to its founding in 1794, focusing on the past 45 years—during which, they argue, Bowdoin’s character changed dramatically for the worse.

Published Wednesday, the report demonstrates how Bowdoin has become an intellectual monoculture dedicated above all to identity politics.

The school’s ideological pillars would likely be familiar to anyone who has paid attention to American higher education lately. There’s the obsession with race, class, gender and sexuality as the essential forces of history and markers of political identity. There’s the dedication to “sustainability,” or saving the planet from its imminent destruction by the forces of capitalism. And there are the paeans to “global citizenship,” or loving all countries except one’s own.

The Klingenstein report nicely captures the illiberal or fallacious aspects of this campus doctrine, but the paper’s true contribution is in recording some of its absurd manifestations at Bowdoin. For example, the college has “no curricular requirements that center on the American founding or the history of the nation.” Even history majors aren’t required to take a single course in American history. In the History Department, no course is devoted to American political, military, diplomatic or intellectual history—the only ones available are organized around some aspect of race, class, gender or sexuality.

One of the few requirements is that Bowdoin students take a yearlong freshman seminar. Some of the 37 seminars offered this year: “Affirmative Action and U.S. Society,” “Fictions of Freedom,” “Racism,” “Queer Gardens” (which “examines the work of gay and lesbian gardeners and traces how marginal identities find expression in specific garden spaces”), “Sexual Life of Colonialism” and “Modern Western Prostitutes.” [Note: Bowdoin charges $58,00/year in tuition. - Aggie]

Regarding Bowdoin professors, the report estimates that “four or five out of approximately 182 full-time faculty members might be described as politically conservative.” In the 2012 election cycle, 100% of faculty donations went to President Obama. Not that any of this matters if you have ever asked around the faculty lounge.

“A political imbalance [among faculty] was no more significant than having an imbalance between Red Sox and Yankee fans,” sniffed Henry C.W. Laurence, a Bowdoin professor of government, in 2004. He added that the suggestion that liberal professors cannot fairly reflect conservative views in classroom discussions is “intellectually bankrupt, professionally insulting and, fortunately, wildly inaccurate.”

Perhaps so. But he’d have a stronger case if, for example, his colleague Marc Hetherington hadn’t written the same year in Bowdoin’s newspaper that liberal professors outnumber conservatives because conservatives don’t “place the same emphasis on the accumulation of knowledge that liberals do.”

In publishing these and other gems, Mr. Klingenstein and the National Association of Scholars hope to encourage alumni and trustees to push aggressively for reforms. They don’t call for the kind of conservative affirmative action seen at the University of Colorado, which recently created a visiting professorship exclusively for right-wingers. Rather, Mr. Klingenstein and the NAS want schools nationwide to stop “silent discrimination against conservatives.” Good luck.

The only part of that that I disagree with is the “silent criticism of conservatives” line. There is nothing silent about it. Hang out in any coffee shop in Cambridge, or better yet, go to a cookout or a dinner party anywhere in the vicinity. You’ll hear the non-silent rants.

- Aggie

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Should The US Pull Out Of Chicago?

Should the U.S. pull out of Chicago?
Body count: In the last six months, 292 killed (murdered) in Chicago,
compared to 221 killed in Iraq; and Chicago has one of the strictest
gun laws in the entire US!

President: Barack Hussein Obama
Senator: Dick Durbin
House Representative: Jesse Jackson, Jr.
Governor: Pat Quinn
House leader: Mike Madigan
Atty. Gen.: Lisa Madigan (daughter of Mike)
Mayor: Rahm Emanuel

The leadership in Illinois – all Democrats.
Thank you for the combat zone in Chicago.
Of course, they’re all blaming each other.
Can’t blame Republicans; there aren’t any!

Chicago school system rated one of the worst in the country.
Can’t blame Republicans; there aren’t any!

State pension fund $78 Billion in debt, worst in country.
Can’t blame Republicans; there aren’t any!

Cook County ( Chicago ) sales tax 10.25%, highest in country.
Can’t blame Republicans; there aren’t any!

This is the political culture that Obama comes from in Illinois.
And he is going to ‘fix’ Washington politics for us?

George Ryan is no longer governor. He is in the big house.
Of course he was replaced by Rob Blagojevich who is…
that’s right, also in the big house.
And Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. resigned a couple of weeks ago.
That’s because he is fighting being sent to……..right again, the big house!

The Land of Lincoln , where governors make our license plates!

(I don’t know who wrote this, but I thought you would enjoy reading it.)

- Aggie

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Bob Woodward: President Obama Lying About Sequester

He uses several terms: “not accurate”, “misstatements”, etc., but they all mean lying.

If Bush were President, the media would be screaming that the administration, from the President down, are all liars. So I have reprinted Woodward’s careful discussion in full, partly so you can see what happened, and partly so you can marvel at the kid gloves.

Misunderstanding, misstatements and all the classic contortions of partisan message management surround the sequester, the term for the $85?billion in ugly and largely irrational federal spending cuts set by law to begin Friday.

What is the non-budget wonk to make of this? Who is responsible? What really happened?

The finger-pointing began during the third presidential debate last fall, on Oct. 22, when President Obama blamed Congress. “The sequester is not something that I’ve proposed,” Obama said. “It is something that Congress has proposed.”

The White House chief of staff at the time, Jack Lew, who had been budget director during the negotiations that set up the sequester in 2011, backed up the president two days later.

“There was an insistence on the part of Republicans in Congress for there to be some automatic trigger,” Lew said while campaigning in Florida. It “was very much rooted in the Republican congressional insistence that there be an automatic measure.”

The president and Lew had this wrong. My extensive reporting for my book “The Price of Politics” shows that the automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House and were the brainchild of Lew and White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors — probably the foremost experts on budget issues in the senior ranks of the federal government.

Obama personally approved of the plan for Lew and Nabors to propose the sequester to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). They did so at 2:30 p.m. July 27, 2011, according to interviews with two senior White House aides who were directly involved.

Nabors has told others that they checked with the president before going to see Reid. A mandatory sequester was the only action-forcing mechanism they could devise. Nabors has said, “We didn’t actually think it would be that hard to convince them” — Reid and the Republicans — to adopt the sequester. “It really was the only thing we had. There was not a lot of other options left on the table.”

A majority of Republicans did vote for the Budget Control Act that summer, which included the sequester. Key Republican staffers said they didn’t even initially know what a sequester was — because the concept stemmed from the budget wars of the 1980s, when they were not in government.

At the Feb. 13 Senate Finance Committee hearing on Lew’s nomination to become Treasury secretary, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) asked Lew about the account in my book: “Woodward credits you with originating the plan for sequestration. Was he right or wrong?”

“It’s a little more complicated than that,” Lew responded, “and even in his account, it was a little more complicated than that. We were in a negotiation where the failure would have meant the default of the government of the United States.”

“Did you make the suggestion?” Burr asked.

“Well, what I did was said that with all other options closed, we needed to look for an option where we could agree on how to resolve our differences. And we went back to the 1984 plan that Senator [Phil] Gramm and Senator [Warren] Rudman worked on and said that that would be a basis for having a consequence that would be so unacceptable to everyone that we would be able to get action.”

In other words, yes.

But then Burr asked about the president’s statement during the presidential debate, that the Republicans originated it.

Lew, being a good lawyer and a loyal presidential adviser, then shifted to denial mode: “Senator, the demand for an enforcement mechanism was not something that the administration was pushing at that moment.”

That statement was not accurate.

On Tuesday, Obama appeared at the White House with a group of police officers and firefighters to denounce the sequester as a “meat-cleaver approach” that would jeopardize military readiness and investments in education, energy and readiness. He also said it would cost jobs. But, the president said, the substitute would have to include new revenue through tax reform.

At noon that same day, White House press secretary Jay Carney shifted position and accepted sequester paternity.

“The sequester was something that was discussed,” Carney said. Walking back the earlier statements, he added carefully, “and as has been reported, it was an idea that the White House put forward.”

This was an acknowledgment that the president and Lew had been wrong.

Why does this matter?

First, months of White House dissembling further eroded any semblance of trust between Obama and congressional Republicans. (The Republicans are by no means blameless and have had their own episodes of denial and bald-faced message management.)

Second, Lew testified during his confirmation hearing that the Republicans would not go along with new revenue in the portion of the deficit-reduction plan that became the sequester. Reinforcing Lew’s point, a senior White House official said Friday, “The sequester was an option we were forced to take because the Republicans would not do tax increases.”

In fact, the final deal reached between Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2011 included an agreement that there would be no tax increases in the sequester in exchange for what the president was insisting on: an agreement that the nation’s debt ceiling would be increased for 18 months, so Obama would not have to go through another such negotiation in 2012, when he was running for reelection.

So when the president asks that a substitute for the sequester include not just spending cuts but also new revenue, he is moving the goal posts. His call for a balanced approach is reasonable, and he makes a strong case that those in the top income brackets could and should pay more. But that was not the deal he made.

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE??? I just had to write that, to see what it would feel like to be Hillary Clinton. To shout out the truth.

Ok, now back to the Happy Meal: Republicans, Bad! Democrats, Good. :) :)

- Aggie

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The 4 Biggest Obama Care Lies

Where to begin?

1. We can’t afford our current health care system. ObamaCare reduces costs:

…The president, citing the work of several health-policy experts, claimed that improved care coordination, investments in information technology, and more efficient marketing through exchanges would save the typical family $2,500 per year.

That was then. Now, even advocates for the law acknowledge that premiums are going up. In analyses conducted for the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Colorado, Jonathan Gruber of MIT forecasts that premiums in the non-group market will rise by 19% to 30% due to the law. Other estimates are even higher. The actuarial firm Milliman predicts that non-group premiums in Ohio will rise by 55%-85%. Maine, Oregon and Nevada have sponsored their own studies, all of which reach essentially the same conclusion.

I have a dear friend who is an attorney in the midwest. As a self-employed guy, his coverage is exactly half of ours in Massachusetts. I cannot wait, simply cannot wait, for Americans to get the full bill for ObamaCare. BTL and I talked and talked, presented evidence based on the fact that Massachusetts has beta ObamaCare, and no one listened. Time to pay up.

2. Our deficits will go down as health care costs decrease.

Increases in the estimated impact of the law on private insurance premiums, along with increases in the estimated cost of health care more generally, have led the Congressional Budget Office to increase its estimate of the budget cost of the law’s coverage expansion. In 2010, CBO estimated the cost per year of expanding coverage at $154 billion; by 2012, the estimated cost grew to $186 billion. Yet CBO still scores the law as reducing the deficit.

So they’re still lying.

3. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.

This claim is obviously false. Indeed, disruption of people’s existing insurance is one of the law’s stated goals. On one hand, the law seeks to increase the generosity of policies that it deems too stingy, by limiting deductibles and mandating coverage that the secretary of Health and Human Services thinks is “essential,” whether or not the policyholder can afford it. On the other hand, the law seeks to reduce the generosity of policies that it deems too extravagant, by imposing the “Cadillac tax” on costly insurance plans.

Employer-sponsored insurance has already begun to change. According to the annual Kaiser/HRET Employer Health Benefits Survey, the share of workers in high-deductible plans rose to 19% in 2012 from 13% in 2010.

That’s just the intended consequences. One of the law’s unintended consequences is that some employers will drop coverage in response to new regulations and the availability of subsidized insurance in the new exchanges. How many is anybody’s guess. In 2010, CBO estimated that employer-sponsored coverage would decline by three million people in 2019; by 2012, CBO’s estimate had doubled to six million.

I disagree slightly. I think the intended consequence is for the law to fail, and then for a panicked public to demand single payer health care.

4. The law will increase productivity.

In 2009, the president’s Council of Economic Advisers concluded that health reform would reduce unemployment, raise labor supply, and improve the functioning of labor markets. According to its reasoning, expanding insurance coverage would reduce absenteeism, disability and mortality, thereby encouraging and enabling work.

This reasoning is flawed. The evidence that a broad coverage expansion would improve health is questionable. Some studies have shown that targeted coverage can improve the health of certain groups. But according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Economic Research Initiative on the Uninsured, “evidence is lacking that health insurance improves the health of non-elderly adults.” More recent work by Richard Kronick, a health-policy adviser to former President Bill Clinton, concludes “there is little evidence to suggest that extending insurance coverage to all adults would have a large effect on the number of deaths in the U.S.”

The reasoning is flawed because insurance isn’t health care. And no matter how many times we said it, the public couldn’t grasp the difference. (But Aggie – the public opposes ObamaCare! Really? Then they should have voted for Romney.)

I had an interesting conversation with someone who runs a health care enterprise. She told me that ObamaCare will fail and be replaced with a single payer system – and intentionally so – and that we should have done that in the first place. She is untroubled by the fact that a 2,000 page bill was passed without being read, or that it is failing before implementation. “That was the only way to get single payer in our country.”

So that’s that. We have the government we deserve.

- Aggie

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