Why do our well-meaning elites so often worry about humanity in the abstract rather than the real effects of their cosmic ideologies on the majority? The dream of universal health coverage trumped the nightmare of millions of lives disrupted by the implementation of it. Noble lies, with emphatics like “Period!” were necessary to sell something that would hurt precisely those who were told that this was going to be good for them. A myriad of green mandates has led to California’s having the highest-priced gasoline and electricity in the continental United States, a fact that delights utopians in San Francisco and in the long run might help the rest of us, but right now ensures that the poor of the state’s vast, hot interior can scarcely afford to cool their homes or drive to work. Fresno on August 1, after all, is a bit warmer than Berkeley or Menlo Park.
In a word, liberal ideology so often proves more important than people. Noble theories about saving humanity offer exemption from worry about the immediate consequences for individual humans. In a personal sense, those who embrace progressive ideas expect to be excused from the ramifications of their schemes. For the elite who send their kids to prep schools and private academies, public charter schools for the poor are bad, given that they undermine the dream of progressive, union-run education that has turned into a nightmare for those forced to enroll in it.
Recently, pundit Margaret Carlson wrote an op-ed lamenting the fall of Lois Lerner, as if her decline were due to a McCarthyesque hit. But Lerner staged her own dishonest disclosure of impropriety. She set up a phony, preplanned question that might offer her a platform to contextualize her unethical behavior. Despite her protestations that the IRS’s violations all emanated from a rogue office in Ohio, Lerner or her colleagues were in contact with Democratic enablers at the House Oversight Committee and the Department of Justice to find ways to thwart conservative tax-exempt organizations before the 2012 election. Continue reading “Elites’ Sacrificial Victims”→
Just a handful of legislative acts might still save California. Here are 12 brief examples:
1. The Hetch Hetchy Smelt and Salmon Act
This so-called “Skip a Shower, Save a Smelt Act” would transfer control of the Hetch Hetchy reservoir releases from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The legislation would dismantle sections of the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct west beyond the San Joaquin River, stop the present unnatural diversion of fresh water to San Francisco, and allow instead Hetch Hetchy fresh water to resume natural flows to the San Joaquin River — thus allowing the San Joaquin River and Tuolumne River to recover their salmon populations.
Lots of things that should have happened in 2013 did not.
We were supposed to have long ago reached “peak oil” and an age of always-higher gas prices. Wind and solar power — and a reduced lifestyle — were our dismal future. Continue reading “The Year of the Dud”→
About every day or so, a throat-clearing Middle East pundit weighs in to warn us of the Obama’s administration’s dereliction of traditional American engagement. They rightly lament “lead from behind” in Libya. After Benghazi, Libya has turned into something like Somalia. Far more are dying there from sectarian chaos than during the latter years of the hated Moammar Gaddafi’s dictatorship.
The Sunni reactionary establishment of the Gulf is right to deplore Obama’s incoherent flip-flop-flips in Egypt and Syria. The oil lords logically conclude that a directionless president will do nothing to stop Iran’s race to get a bomb — and all the subsequent Middle East WMD catch-ups to match it.
Even Obama’s pet Turkey seems confused that its favorite administration is now nowhere to be seen. The Iraqis were given a fresh start after the surge and hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. aid — and still claimed that they wanted the U.S. out. Obama gladly called their hand. Now, left to themselves, they are reverting to the pre-surge violence, whining about security and sectarianism — and back asking us for even more money. Rule One: never bluff an isolationist to yank all his forces from your country. Continue reading “The Double-Dealing Middle East Is Double-Dealt”→
Washington has a bad habit of naming laws by what they are not.
These euphemisms usually win temporary public support. After all, who wants to be against anything “affordable”? But on examination, such idealistically named legislation usually turns out to be aimed at special interests and the opposite of what voters were promised.
The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010,” otherwise known as Obamacare, frontloaded for immediate enactment some popular freebies. Who would oppose keeping children on their parents’ health coverage until age 26, or prohibiting denial of insurance for those with pre-existing illnesses?
Then, three years later and with two elections out of the way, the tab for all the perks suddenly came due. The law turns out neither to protect patients from rate hikes nor to make health care affordable. In fact, the administration promises of 2009–10 are becoming the nightmare of 2013. Continue reading “Beware of Beautifully Misnamed Laws”→
The problem with negotiating with President Obama is not necessarily that he sometimes makes things up, but that he always sort of makes things up. Take a single recent October 8 press. All at once, the president used a weird assortment of similes and allusions to brand ad nauseam his opponents as little more than ransom takers, house burners, defaulters, global-economy crashers, nuclear-bomb users, extremists, threateners, extortionists, hostage takers, plant burners, and equipment breakers. He then bragged that domestic oil and gas production on his watch are at an all-time high—true, but he left out the salient fact that such gains are entirely the result of exploration on private lands, given that under his administration new federal oil and gas leases have by intention radically slowed. In 2010 actual oil and gas production on federal land hit historic lows. Ditto Obama’s brag that he lowered the deficit by half. If that claim turns out to be true, it is largely because of congressionally imposed sequestration cuts he opposed and record-low interest rates of scarcely over 2 percent that reflect a moribund Continue reading “Sort of True, Sort of Not”→
The deficit this year may fall to below $700 billion, but that is still huge at a time of a record near $17 trillion in debt, and comes despite a supposedly recovering economy and more revenue, despite recent sequestration cuts, despite dramatic gains in U.S. domestic energy production, despite the return of the Clinton-era tax hikes to the top brackets, and despite the end of the war in Iraq and the wind down in Afghanistan.
Wars, tax cuts on the wealthy, and out-of-control defense spending were all in the past variously cited as causing these huge deficits. In fact, the more compelling causes were always chronically slow economic growth, out-of-control federal spending, and the exemption of nearly half of America from paying any income tax at all.
Amid all the charges and countercharges in Washington over the government shutdown, there is at least one common theme: Barack Obama’s various charges always lead to a dead end. They are chaos, and chaos is hard to understand, much less refute. Continue reading “Obama as Chaos”→
The modern West demonstrates a phenomenon unknown in history––unprecedented wealth, technology, and access to information combined with abject stupidity. Wisdom once known by every village explainer and cracker-barrel crank has been discarded and replaced with phony “sciences” making claims about human nature and behavior that are based on nothing other than false assumptions, political ideology, and wishful thinking. Whether it’s foreign policy, managing the economy, or teaching the young, our leaders institute policies that violate the traditional wisdom accumulated by generations of human experience. Continue reading “Rich, Arrogant, and Stupid”→