If oil were a major factor for prosecuting war in Iraq, it stands to reason the United States would be getting substantial amounts of it. It may come as a shock to Greenwald as well as a number of other Americans, but with regard to importing oil, the overwhelming percentage of our imported oil does not come from the Middle East. Canada and Latin America provide the United States with 34.7 percent of our imported oil. Africa provides another 10.3 percent. The entire Persian Gulf, led by Saudi Arabia at 8.1 percent, provides us with a total of 12.9 percent of our imported oil.
As recently as December 2012, Iraq provided the United States with approximately 14.3 million barrels of oil out of a total of about 298 million barrels imported, or 4.8 percent of our total imports. And as this chart indicates, we were importing the highest amount of oil from Iraq before we went to war to oust Saddam Hussein.
As for oil, if getting it was one of the primary reasons we liberated Iraq, subsequent developments have demonstrated that effort was a colossal failure. What we did get is something too many Americans conveniently forget: in the twelve years we’ve aggressively pursued terror, nothing remotely approaching a repeat of 9/11 has happened here. That so many Americans have forgotten the genuine context that precipitated war in both Afghanistan and Iraq is staggering.
Maybe the slogan is not really dying.
Because yes, it is staggering how much forgetting has been done, and by how many Americans, about the old Iraq. What we’re seeing here is a revolution in the strategies, tactics and methodologies for whipping up passion among a vast multitude, fooling large numbers of people into thinking centralized ideas were actually theirs, that they share an interest with the ones who really did come up with the ideas. Look at what has happened to gay marriage in such a short time, for example. A revolution exploding so quickly in transportation would look something like: Year N, we figure out how to float chunks of wood on water, with people on them; Year N+3, a successful moonshot. In medicine, it would look like: Monday, we build something called a “microscope” and use it to look at tiny things; by that Friday we cure Cancer. In computer science, it would be: transistor invented at 7:30 in the morning, by the evening-news hour we have iTunes. Like that.
It is worrisome that someone, somewhere — we are not entirely sure of who, although they’re probably democrats — has learned so much in so short a time about how to fool stranger-idiots into thinking they had ideas, and then learned how to say all the right things to externally inflame their passions. The ugliness, craziness and injustice that is inherent to all wars, helps a bit I suppose. But it doesn’t put the rest of us in a good light, that this is where the innovation goes, that this is where “we” have made the greatest strides in the quickest time.
Or, dealt it a serious blow, anyway; by advocating it, trying to defend it, and getting his ass handed to him on Bill Maher’s show.
Sam Harris writes:
I admit that I was a little thrown by Affleck’s animosity. I don’t know where it came from, because we hadn’t met before I joined the panel. And it was clear from our conversation after the show that he is totally unfamiliar with my work. I suspect that among his handlers there is a fan of Glenn Greenwald who prepared him for his appearance by simply telling him that I am a racist and a warmonger.
Whatever the reason, if you watch the full video of our exchange, you will see that Affleck was gunning for me from the start. What many viewers probably don’t realize is that the mid-show interview is supposed be a protected five-to-seven-minute conversation between Maher and the new guest—and all the panelists know this. To ignore this structure and encroach on this space is a little rude; to jump in with criticism, as Affleck did, is pretty hostile. He tried to land his first blow a mere 90 seconds after I took my seat, before the topic of Islam even came up.
See, part of this thing we today call “liberalism” is a belief that there are these bad thoughts out there that we have to eradicate, completely, like a disease. There’s not much distinction made there between the bad thoughts and the people who think them. That’s just political correctness, and we’ve had plenty enough time to become acclimated to it and see it for what it is. (As Steve Sailer said, it’s a “war on noticing.”)
Multiculturalism is the next higher gear in the acceleration. It labors under an inherent contradiction, namely that all cultures are equally valuable and yet certain cultures must be targeted while others are protected. We can noodle this out a bit further, but any more than that and we’re departing the narrow orbit of the Affleck satellite. As Rich Lowry explains it:
Affleck simply couldn’t handle the truth. He kept on insisting it is just a few bad apples who think this way. At one point, he tried to wave Maher and Harris off with a condemnation of the Iraq War, positing an implicit moral equivalence between an overly idealistic war of liberation and the stoning of apostates.
Affleck obviously isn’t a public official or a public intellectual. But he represents a dominant tendency within liberalism. Imagine a State Department staffed by less-glamorous Ben Afflecks. Imagine a president of the United States who shares his instincts. This is the Obama administration. It’s why, in part, it has always been so reluctant to speak of Islamic terrorism and extremism. It’s why the president says the Islamic State is not Islamic.
The nation is truly in peril if Bill Maher, of all people, is more clear-eyed than those running our government.
If recognizing truth relies on seeing things for what they really are, recognizing truth when dealing with people must begin with seeing what those people do. This is why P.C. is so dangerous. We have people who talk of these lone wolf terrorists, exhorting the rest of us not to read too much in and start showing ugly biases against Islam and so forth, some even going so far as to stage phony hate crimes. But what they really mean is: The actual terrorist attack didn’t happen. I mean, shucks, yeah it did of course, it just doesn’t mean anything. It should have no bearing on any decision made, no consequence. Kind of a “you didn’t build that” thing.
They don’t mean you should pretend that what happened, didn’t happen — but they’d be pleased as punch if you did pretend that. Get it yet? They’re so busy telling us what to think and what to do, that they’re effectively manufacturing their own reality. That’s the real problem with these less-glamorous Afflecks, and it seems we have quite a few of them walking among us.
So it’s good that the Number One Affleck give us such a clear perspective on how it all works, and let us see how poorly it comes off when presented with hard facts.
Yes or no?
I find the second half of the video more entertaining than the first. It seems there’s no softball soft enough, when you’re asking a proggy to evaluate the results of something (unless it’s a policy or administration he opposed).
Just before Labor Day, controversy erupted over President Obama’s garb at a presidential press conference — should he or should he not have worn a light tan summer suit when talking about ISIS? That was beside the point.
The issue isn’t the weight or color of his suit. The issue is that the suit is empty.
With almost six years of the Obama administration under our collective belts, the time has come to acknowledge a painful truth: This is an astoundingly idea-free presidency.
At that press conference, Obama stunned the world by saying, out loud and openly, that “we don’t have a strategy yet” on how to deal with ISIS. No president before him had ever said such a thing out loud, and for good reason: Having a strategy is the president’s job.
This inconstancy is the result of the administration’s elevation of cool and calm above all other qualities — leadership qualities like urgency, firmness, focus and determination.
The hard truth is that the Harvard Law Review editor and University of Chicago professor with two bestselling books to his name can’t formulate a policy to save his life, can’t oversee the implementation of the policies his administration has put in place and can’t adapt or rejigger them in a convincing way to take account of changing conditions.
We can all name the ideas of presidencies, from the New Deal to Reaganomics to the Bush Doctrine. Obama’s self-described strategy for world affairs is “don’t do stupid s – – -.”
His economic strategy is “print money.” These aren’t ideas. They aren’t even ideology. They’re voting “present.”
What matters most to this administration is surface. It’s why Obama made such a spectacular subject for a “HOPE” poster and why his choice of suit provoked so much discussion. As a two-dimensional object, he’s endlessly fascinating. Add the third dimension and he’s lost.
I have some dread for the day President Obama is out office. As much time as He spends golfing, I can’t see Him as the type of ex-President who keeps His mouth shut. Even now, every time Obama gets the feeling He’s starting to become irrelevant, that means the rest of us have to listen to yet another greatest-in-human-history speech. Once He’s out, He’s going to be feeling like that all the time. Uff da…
Math is hard when you’re a lib.
Who is this Joe Biden character, anyway?
Some people do happen to know Joe Biden is our Vice President. Some people are even big fans of his, or at least, would like others to be…whether or not they have a livelihood that depends on that in some way. But if you asked even them “What is remarkable and extraordinary about Joe Biden?” you’d get the same befuddled nonsense answers.
Which really says something. There are ways to work longer at, uh…public service, let us charitably call it, than Joe Biden has. But not many. He’s a pimple on the ass of Washington that’s been there since its adolescence and has never been lanced. Leaping in front of cameras the entire time, and yet, so few recognize who he is.
To coin a phrase, that’s a storybook, man. A big fucking deal.
Matt Forney, Why Men Love Michelle Jenneke…
Jenneke’s not that hot: she’s cute yes, but not stunning. Her “sexy” dancing is barely PG rated. In a world where videos of superhot, plastic-titted bimbos getting triple-fisted while gagging on horse cocks are just a click away, why would men rather watch an Australian 7 jumping up and down while fully clothed…
Her youthful beauty, her exuberance, her aura: these aren’t things that can be faked. Hundreds of thousands of years of evolution have honed men’s tastes for sweet, submissive, complimentary women.
I’m going to keep harping on it until I’m blue in the face, but what most women think is confidence is actually cuntiness. The standoffish, arrogant attitude common to “strong” and “independent” women is a pose they adopt to hide their insecurities…Michelle Jenneke, in contrast, looks at ease in her own skin…She smiles like a normal person, radiating joy and happiness.
Before feminism, just about every woman was Michelle Jenneke, or at least aspired to be.
“What most women think is confidence is actually cuntiness,” that one’s just too true for words. Every man who’s done some amount of dating, or just gone to public school, knows about this. In fact I’d say maybe there’s even a bit more going on: What most people think is comedy, from a female, is actually cuntiness.
A lot of women aren’t mean shrikes, but unfortunately, have never been taught how to behave like a lady.
What a lot of people seem to miss about this — aside from the fact that Ms. Jenneke, as an added bonus, can run fast and win races — is the simplicity of it. She isn’t actually rejecting hardcore militant ball-busting feminism, she’s just leaving it untouched. Whether she’s worldly and wise, or childish and naive, likewise is just not part of the picture because these things are not within scope of the effort. She’s not a world-champion beauty queen. Among the young and athletic, she barely registers above-average. Yet you hear things associated with her like “sexiest hurdler alive,” and it actually does fit well. Now how come that is?
The thing to be observed is not within her, it’s within us. Someone just getting out there and doing something, leaving the obligatory nastiness behind because she doesn’t have time for it. She’s just about the athletic pursuits, and having a blast while she goes about them.
People doing things they’re good at doing, and having fun. We’re supposed to have been obsessed with that, for years and years now, but oddly it makes an impression on us when we actually see it. It’s an impression that can only be made by the unfamiliar.
Hey, it’s their show — they can say whatever they want. But it is ridiculous how much they focus on somebody that they insinuate shouldn’t be taken seriously…
She left politics like, what, five years ago? And “We still hate her” is a weekly thing, even now?
It’s a bigger thing than The View, or Sarah Palin. We have quite a few people walking around among us nowadays, as free to live, work and vote as you and me, who are quick to identify problems but altogether lacking in cognitive thought when it comes to recognizing what a solution looks like. They seem to confuse “solution” with “consensus”; if we “all” agree on something, that’s as good as solving the problem, nevermind if the consensus has something to do with the stated problem.
The consensus, in fact, can be as disconnected from the problem as all-agreeing-to-hate-so-and-so. From there, they go literally years waking up each morning to find the problem the same as it was before, in fact, deteriorated. And their solution to that is to go back to the hatey-hate thing. I just don’t entirely understand it, although I suspect it starts with not seeing themselves as possessing any influence — the deteriorating conditions have to be someone else’s fault, maybe the fault of the object of their hatey-hate.
But that doesn’t explain the adrenaline rush. It’s more than a buzz, there’s a sense of moral imperative about it. They behave as if some problem is going unsolved if they fail to indulge. So they must have some sense, at least, of ownership. They certainly have the sense of urgency.
Conventional wisdom is that the decline in men’s labor force participation and the weakening of marriage as an institution are linked, but only in one direction. The standard narrative is that as men have (for whatever reason) worked less, marriage has been weakened because men are no longer filling the role of breadwinner. There is certainly some logic here, and this must be a least part of the explanation. However, in asserting that the connection works in only one direction the standard narrative requires a series of incredible assumptions.
The first assumption conventional wisdom requires is that a marriage based culture doesn’t create powerful incentives for married men to work hard and maximize their earnings. Denying the incentive marriage provides to men to work harder has left a cottage industry of sociologists and economists scratching their heads trying to figure out why marriage makes men more productive and doesn’t do the same for women. This incentive is denied despite the fact that we implicitly recognize that it is a powerful motivating force in other contexts. Every family court judge in the land knows that marriage creates strong incentives for men to work harder, which is why courts feel the need to assign income quotas (imputed income) to divorced men in order to keep them working as hard after the divorce as they did while married.
The second assumption is that the desire to marry in a marriage based culture doesn’t create an incentive for young men to work hard to signal breadwinner capability or at least breadwinner potential. To believe this, one would have to assume that young men aren’t aware that women place a high value on a man’s employment and earnings status when selecting a prospective husband. This is absurd. The reality is that sex is a powerful motivator for men (young and old); just ask any marketer.
The third assumption is that feminism and the sexual revolution never happened, or at least that they didn’t fundamentally change marriage patterns. Under this assumption, the only reason women are delaying or forgoing marriage is because women simply can’t find men with jobs. Yet we know this isn’t true. Feminists have completed a long and wildly successful march through all of our institutions, and young women are quite open about their plans to maximize their period of casual sex and only marry once they start to see their window of fertility close. The reality is that women are delaying marriage not because marriagable men are scarce, but because they perceive them as so abundant they don’t feel the need to hurry and lock one down.
No matter how you view it, we are paying a huge price for our decision to move from a marriage based family structure to a child support family model. Moreover, this price is going to continue to increase as the inertia left over from the former model fades away.
By way of Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm.
From the earlier post linked above:
Through a combination of legal and social “reforms”, the US now has what appears on the surface to be a dual family structure but is in legal reality a single family structure organized around the concept of child support. Where in the past a woman needed to secure a formal promise from a man in the form of marriage before she could expect him to support her and the children she bore, in this new structure the law declares that any man she has children by are bound to support her and her children whether she marries or not, and whether or not she honors her own marriage vows.
While men were motivated under the old family structure, they absolutely detest the new child support system of family formation. Under the old system a man who married before fathering children could reasonably expect access to his children and the opportunity to direct their upbringing (in concert with his wife). Under the new system the children are de facto considered the property of the mother, whom the state compels him to pay so she can direct their upbringing generally as she sees fit. Since the new system has removed the incentive for men to work hard to provide for their families, it has to rely instead on threats of imprisonment to coerce men into earning “enough” income. Where men used to take pride in the birth of their children and celebrate with cigars, large numbers of men now fear fatherhood more than anything.
Progressives have done the same thing with fatherhood that they’ve done with charity: Taken the spirit out of it, made it into a system of obligatory payments to some agent that may or may not have the trust of the person making the payments; but, they’re obligatory so what does it matter.
In both cases, it matters because if the sense of trust is no longer there, there may very well be a reason. Are our nation’s taxes really in concert with the goals of someone who wants to help the poor? Is child support really in concert with the goals of a father who wants to be a good one? The people pushing the hardest for higher taxes and more child support, don’t know, and don’t care to learn; but, they still get to brag about helping the poor, and the children, by obligating someone else’s money.
The problem is in there, somewhere, I think. We’ve allowed our entire culture to be reformed by people who really don’t give a fig about what it takes to make it strong, and keep going.
John C. Goodman, writing at Townhall.com, with a thing that makes you go “Hmmmm”…
As I have written before, although the left seems obsessed by the existence of inequality, the most interesting analyses of the phenomenon are on the right. For the most part, all the left does is deplore.
There are other interesting things in the more recent column, such as examples to be offered to support the conclusion. But I’m interested in the “how” and “why,” so I click on the earlier article and find:
If I were to reduce to a bumper sticker the way the left thinks about the world these days, it would read:
If I were to reduce to a bumper sticker the way the right thinks about the same subject, it would read:
Inequality happens for a reason
This is not a small distinction. For President Obama, inequality is the public policy issue du jour. And like lemmings, left wing editorial writers and bloggers can think of nothing else to write about. But here is something that may surprise you. The most interesting analyses of the problem are on the right, not the left. For the most part, all the left does is deplore. They seem to have no interest in understanding why we have a problem. (I have a theory on that below.)
Below, we find:
…[F]or know-nothings on the left there has always been the belief that the reason there is poverty is because there is wealth. That the high income earned by some is the cause of the low income earned by others. I’ve never seen Krugman say that. He’s too good of an economist to go that far.
But his columns give aid and comfort to people who harbor those beliefs. A Krugman column the other day entitled “The Undeserving Rich” had not one word to say about how a single billionaire had undeserved income. It made not a single connection between one person’s wealth and another person’s poverty. But it would be easy for an uncareful reader (especially a non-economist) to finish the column with the impression that there is a connection.
If your goal is class warfare — to inflame the passions of those who have less by making them angry at those who have more — writing about the behavioral causes of poverty does not advance your cause.
Who wants class warfare?
Obviously, democrats want it; the motivation for people to vote for them is dissipated, if feelings of jealousy are not dominant. But I’ve had my own theory that arouses more conflict than even that. Think about how much a newspaper costs in a city with crime, blight, corruption, dysfunction, employment problems, poverty, an education crisis, etc. Now think about how much a newspaper costs in Andy Griffith’s Mayberry USA.
We want news — need news — when there is a feeling that things are out of control, and we have to watch our backs. If everything is humming along, and the protection is good enough with Barney Fife roaming the quiet streets with his one bullet, well…newspapers are for auto trading and not much else. So say whatever else you want about this thing called “journalism,” but they have a vested interest.
Part of what’s gotten all screwy over the past couple generations is that they have consciously woken up to this. And so they have an unholy alliance with democrats now: They’ve figured out how to program us, and the programming now has to be all about this concern over “inequality.” And yet those who make the most noise about it, refuse to discuss cause and effect, in fact silence and shame others when they ask too many “HowCumThatIz” types of questions.
But we don’t need to be worried about inequality. What we need to worry about is lost and wasted human potential, which is a slightly but meaningfully different thing.
It’s the most brilliant illustration of the left wing’s disconnection from reality, and bureaucratic incompetence, in this generation, and it’s closing out its first year. How is it doing?
Both HHS and the Government Accountability Office have published reports confirming that the site continues to suffer from major security flaws and vulnerabilities that could give hackers access to private health data or even let them take control of the system. This problem persists a full year after healthcare.gov was launched, and after hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent fixing it.
Even if users’ data is not stolen, the system’s structural problems will prove annoying. For example, the system is set to auto-renew current customers who do nothing. But in an incredible oversight, it was not set up to recalculate Obamacare’s premium subsidies for the new coverage year unless an enrollee logs in and re-applies.
These might seem like minor annoyances compared to the price increases and forced cancellations (more of which are coming) that already have Americans so upset over Obamacare. But the fact that such problems persist a year later demonstrates how little thought went into this system.
Thanks to the government’s priority of keeping up appearances, healthcare.gov will probably not be impossible to use on the front-end this year, but the back-end remains a mess of shoestrings and band-aids, which means security threats and hassles for consumers will continue.
The director of the Secret Service, Julia Pierson, was questioned this past Tuesday by members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform regarding lapses in Secret Service Performance. The hearing focused primarily on an incident that took place on September 19. Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, allegedly jumped the White House fence, ran across the White House lawn, ran up a flight of stairs and through the North Portico door. He then allegedly entered the entrance hall, turned left and headed into the East Room, where he was tackled and subdued. A knife was allegedly found in his possession.
Despite Pierson’s acknowledgment during the hearing that “mistakes were made,” Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., was unimpressed. “I wish to God you protected the White House like you’re protecting your reputation here today,” he said.
Unfortunately, this is not the only recent Secret Security breach…
It is not only the Secret Service that lacks candor. So too does the man they’re supposed to be protecting.
During an interview that aired this past weekend on CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” Obama responded to criticism of his dealings with ISIS. “I think our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” he said. Notice that Obama did not say “we underestimated”; instead he said, “they underestimated.”
As humans, we all are influenced by our environment. If it is expected that we perform at our best, then we are more likely to perform at a high level. In sports, this tone is set by the coach or the general manager. But if no one sets the bar high, then we are more likely to turn in a mediocre performance. This also holds true for companies, institutions and bureaucracies. If one witnesses others omitting, spinning and realigning the truth to serve a purpose, then why should it be surprising when others do it as well?
We should hold not just the Secret Service, but all leaders in our government, to a standard of transparency, authenticity and responsibility for both success and failures.
It’s true. I recall a memorandum written by an executive under whom I was working, about fifteen years ago, dictating a sharp reversal of travel from his previous direction. I recall he put it right in the body of the text, “I am so angry with myself for going” the other way. Without understanding all of the details, I cannot say these were wise words to write. I can see a lot of scenarios under which what is lost exceeds what is gained; but, what he wanted to gain from including that, is crystal clear. Two things. One: Don’t bring up this question ever again, I regret the waste of resources, and we are not going back. Two — perhaps even more important: I am the boss. If I expect myself to admit to my mistakes, that implicitly means I’m expecting the same thing out of each and every one of you.
Since then, it seems our culture is gripped in a sort of “malaise” as they used to call it. And I have to agree that this incident does seem to be a part of that. The delivery of results, for far too many people occupying trusted positions, it seems that’s always someone else’s headache.
No longer does the leftist feel as compelled to make real arguments. All he needs to do now is shout “Racist!” or “War on Women!” and his job is done. He walks away feeling smugly satisfied of his own politically correct superiority, and the untrained observer is left addled at best, and possibly even swayed by the narrative.
So why they are so vicious? Why do people who self-describe as “compassionate” direct such vitriolic hate and assaults at their ideological opponents? How they can justify painting you as such a monster?
Simple: To them, you are a monster. You must be.
All three of the reasons, I see, have to do with this mindset of “We’re trying to build something wonderful, that means anyone who resists us is terrible.”
But, actually building something takes a lot of work. It’s boring. It involves an awful lot of thinking things out, in ways liberals don’t think. A lot of mundane measure-twice-cut-once stuff.
The thing about conflict is, it creates drama, and when you have drama you have a distraction. We see it every time some of President Obama’s policies lead to misery, which is often. WELL, the problem is, those terrible Republicans in Congress opposed His plan, or didn’t fund it properly, or some such.
It looks like a blame-game. And it is. But every now and then, a very disturbing piece of evidence will come out showing that liberals are drawn to this sort of conflict before the plan has even failed. It’s like they’re anticipating the failure, and therefore the need to search for scapegoats.
That, or the conflict is the whole point. Building things, in addition to demanding thought, isn’t fun to watch. “Us against them” is always exciting, especially to a juvenile mind. That’s my theory, anyway; why today’s liberals are so drawn toward noticing, calling-out, and caricaturing their opposition regardless of whether it’s before, during or after their latest Utopian plans have been engaged. It just doesn’t seem to matter.
Knee Pad Journalism: NY Times’ Peter Baker Absolves Obama in Secret Service Lapses
The same newspaper that crucified President George W. Bush for the Abu Ghrab scandal even though Bush was many, many layers of government removed from the American military guards at the heart of the Iraqi prison scandal has given President Barack Obama absolution for the gross incompetence of the Secret Service even though Obama is in direct contact every minute of every day with the agency charged with protecting his life.
Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent for the New York Times has written a churlish, excuse-making article published Tuesday night that at once hints Republican lawmakers want to see Obama killed and goes to great lengths to explain why the Obama has nothing to do with the failures of the Secret Service.
“President Obama must be touched by all the concern Republicans are showing him these days. As Congress examines security breaches at the White House, even opposition lawmakers who have spent the last six years fighting his every initiative have expressed deep worry for his security…”
“Yet it would not be all that surprising if Mr. Obama were a little wary of all the professed sympathy…”
“Coming just weeks before midterm elections, they said, the intense focus on the matter might further undercut confidence in the government Mr. Obama runs even though it was hardly his fault an intruder with a knife made it into the White House.”
“While the director of the Secret Service is appointed by the president, the White House under either party typically defers to the agency on how to handle the president’s security. Even when a president is angry at missteps — as reports suggest Mr. Obama was after a 2011 shooting at the White House when one of his daughters was home — he rarely expresses that publicly. For one, it might come across as impolitic. For another, it might offend the very people a president depends on most.
“So even though Mr. Obama had nothing to do with the various problems involving his security beyond appointing Ms. Pierson last year, his White House now finds itself in the position of defending the Secret Service to a degree.”
Baker gives Obama a pass on the dangerous incompetence of the Secret Service even though Obama has been intimately aware of the agency’s problems for years and is on his second term as president. Obama not only appointed the current director Julia Pierson in response to previous scandals, he also appointed the director’s superior, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
Hat tip to Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm.
Baker seems to think — or, perhaps more damning, to expect his readers to think — that it is normal for domestic political adversaries to wish violence upon each other. But the president’s safety is of paramount importance for institutional reasons independent of partisanship, ideology or personal sympathy. An attack against the president’s person is an attack against America’s constitutional order — the very order that provides for peaceable disagreements over policy.
Somewhere over on the Hello Kitty of Blogging, one of my connections reported a liberal colleague in the workplace using this line of attack: What’s up with these conservatives being so concerned about the Secret Service not doing their jobs? Aren’t you guys supposed to want Obama to get hurt and stuff?
Hopefully, they’re not all having that kind of thought on their own; it’s another talking point being disseminated from some central location. And maybe the New York Times is it. There is reason to sustain such hope; Barack Obama fans are not known for original thinking.
From some media quarters one hears the usual bureaucratic excuses. Politico’s Marc Ambinder argued last week that “there’s also a direct link between Friday’s security breach and Washington’s budgetary and political dysfunction…Years of leaner budgets and inconsistent direction from Congress and the executive branch have left the Secret Service–especially its Uniformed Division, which guards the White House–understrength for years.”
That Times editorial echoes the point: “The budget and size of the Secret Service . . . has fallen in the last few years. In 2011, the agency had about 6,900 staff positions; it now has about 6,600. Its budget fell from $1.9 billion in 2012 to $1.8 billion in 2013, in part because of automatic cuts demanded by Congress, and it has gone up only slightly since then.” But as The Wall Street Journal notes in an editorial today, “the truth is that the Secret Service budget of $1.7 billion for 2014 has doubled in real terms since 1998.”
Anyway, how many millions of dollars does it take to lock a door?
It all reminds us of an observation Peggy Noonan made in May, in a column pegged to the Veterans Administration scandal:
Barack Obama is killing the reputation of government. He is killing the thing he loves through insufficient oversight. He doesn’t do the plodding, unshowy, unromantic work of making government work. In the old political formulation, he’s a show horse, not a workhorse.
The president’s inattention to management — his laxity, his failure to understand that government isn’t magic, that it must be forced into working, clubbed each day into achieving adequacy, and watched like a hawk — is undercutting what he stands for, the progressive project that says the federal government is the primary answer to the nation’s ills.
He is allowing the federal government to become what any large institution will become unless you stop it: a slobocracy.
As John Podhoretz observes in the New York Post: “This seems to crystallize a more general feeling that stretches from Washington to the far reaches of the globe–the feeling that things are spinning wildly out of control and there’s no one even minimally competent enough at the highest reaches of American power to calm the gathering storm.”
The knee-jerk wagon circling about budget cuts sickens me, since I’m an Earth person with red blood who doesn’t live inside the beltway. Out here, you don’t get to demand more money after a glaring defeat, reasoning that little should have been expected of you since your budget was increased by only $1 billion instead of 2. Out here, regardless of what last year’s budget was, if you screw up too much that’s when the budget-cutting really begins.
It’s a different planet in there. Not even in the same galaxy.
Well, they found their scapegoat. Maybe her sacking is deserved. I’m not in a position to definitively say, although the above article about recent Secret Service screw-ups does paint a picture of an agency out of control. Maybe she knows a lot more about running the Secret Service than I do.
Maybe she does. But, her Wikipedia entry doesn’t demonstrate such a thing, too much…
Julia Ann Pierson is a former American law enforcement official. She served as the 23rd Director of the United States Secret Service. Pierson was appointed by President Barack Obama on March 27, 2013, and became the first woman to head the agency. Amidst a series of security lapses involving the agency, Pierson resigned on October 1, 2014.
Early life and education
Pierson is a native of Orlando, Florida. While she attended high school, she worked at Walt Disney World as a parking lot attendant, watercraft attendant, and in costume in Disney parades.
She was an Explorer in the Learning for Life program of the Boy Scouts of America in a post specializing in law enforcement chartered to the Orlando Police Department. She was the 1978 National Law Enforcement Exploring Youth Representative, leading the Law Enforcement Exploring division, and was selected as the National Law Enforcement Exploring chair.
She attended the University of Central Florida, graduating in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
Following graduation, Pierson served three years in the Orlando Police Department (OPD), patrolling the northeastern section of Orlando. She was one of the first female OPD officers assigned to a beat. She joined the United States Secret Service in 1984 as a special agent. She served in the Miami Field Office from 1984 to 1985, and the Orlando Field Office from 1985 to 1988. From 1989 to 2000, she served on the presidential protective details (PPDs) of Presidents George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. Between 2000 and 2001, Pierson held the position of special agent in charge of the Office of Protective Operations, and then as deputy assistant director of the Office of Administration from 2001 to 2005. From 2005 to 2006 she served as deputy assistant director of the Office of Protective Operations. From 2008 to her appointment as director, Pierson served as the chief of staff to the director, and as the assistant director of the Office of Human Resources and Training for the Secret Service.
Pierson was already the agency’s highest-ranking woman before being promoted to director. She was tasked with improving the image of the Secret Service, following the Summit of the Americas prostitution scandal. On September 30, 2014, while testifying at a United States House of Representatives hearing, Pierson faced Congressional criticism over the White House security breach of September 19, 2014. On October 1, 2014, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson accepted her resignation as director.
I don’t think her sacking is going to fix things. There is a lot of opportunity for improvement, here, but there is also a problem that is much bigger than Julia Pierson.
What’s remarkable about her? First paragraph: “…and became the first woman to head the agency.” Career: “She was one of the first female OPD officers assigned to a beat.” Next paragraph: “…was already the agency’s highest-ranking woman before being promoted to director.”
Reminds me of an office discussion of the up-and-coming Barack Obama, back in 2007: What has He accomplished? “Got elected to the Senate.”
I’m sure it will look, to some, like my concern is that we’re not promoting enough white guys. Nothing will ever change their minds. But my concern is actually that we’re losing the ability to recognize true excellence. We wouldn’t recognize a public servant possessing extraordinary and distinguishing ability, if he ran up and kicked us square in the balls.
Which he’d be sorely tempted to do, if ever he could find them. We seem to have lost them, lost our ability to recognize genuine achievement. It’s all “first black guy this” and “first woman that.”
If we meet a black guy who really does have these distinguishing abilities, or a woman who has them; if we as a society have any sort of unified response, let us say that that response is not one of recognition.
We’re living in a rather odd time right now. It’s always fun and rewarding to put an argument together, however ramshackle and slipshod it is, that some office demands a suite of abilities far more imposing than whatever its current occupant possesses. And that some sort of ejection is due, or overdue. Getting people sacked is fun! Criticism is fun!
But — we deserve people who have ability, if & when we recognize ability, when we take steps to reward it. Lately, we don’t, because we don’t and we don’t. This is the paradox of our time: We demand unique abilities, but we do not seek them out. If we happen to blunder into them it seems our first impulse is to punish, rather than reward.
Then we find our highest offices are saturated with the mediocre, and we get outraged about it. Huh. Well, okay.
There is a theory which has not yet been accurately formulated or given a name, but which is very widely accepted and is brought forward whenever it is necessary to justify some action which conflicts with the sense of decency of the average human being. It might be called, until some better name is found, the Theory of Catastrophic Gradualism. According to this theory, nothing is ever achieved without bloodshed, lies, tyranny and injustice, but on the other hand no considerable change for the better is to be expected as the result of even the greatest upheaval. History necessarily proceeds by calamities, but each succeeding age will be as bad, or nearly as bad, as the last. One must not protest against purges, deportations, secret police forces and so forth, because these are the price that has to be paid for progress: but on the other hand “human nature” will always see to it that progress is slow or even imperceptible. If you object to dictatorship you are a reactionary, but if you expect dictatorship to produce good results you are a sentimentalist.
…In the name of Socialism the Russian regime has committed almost every crime that can be imagined, but at the same time its evolution is away from Socialism, unless one redefines that word in terms that no Socialist of 1917 would have accepted. To those who admit these facts, only two courses are open. One is simply to repudiate the whole theory of totalitarianism, which few English intellectuals have the courage to do: the other is to fall back on Catastrophic Gradualism. The formula usually employed is “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.” And if one replies, “Yes, but where is the omelette?”, the answer is likely to be: “Oh well, you can’t expect everything to happen all in a moment.”
He prophesied the Obama phenomenon, and Detroit too, I suppose. Crushed eggs as far as the eye can see, and lots of obtrusive narratives about omelettes, but none to be found.
Or, we’re just too dumb to see the yummy, fluffy omelettes in front of us…
Via Hot Air, which adds:
The reason that people don’t “feel” the recovery is because it hasn’t been much of a recovery at all. The supposedly historic streak of private-sector job growth has barely kept pace with population growth for the last five-plus years of the technical recovery. We still have millions of workers sidelined, and job growth hasn’t gotten out of the 200K monthly range. Economic growth, which should have spiked after a sharp recession, has been in the 1.8%-2.2% annual range ever since. Obama takes credit for cutting deficits in half, but neglects to mention that it was his budgets that had to be cut from the $1.5-trillion deficit range, and that the deficit reductions for the next few budget cycles are based on wholly unrealistic expectations of economic growth. Our energy production growth has mainly come from the Bakken extraction in North Dakota and natural gas production from fracking, neither of which this administration supports; they just can’t do much about the former, and the EPA’s still working on the latter.
But, nothing a little speech-making won’t solve. Ever stop to think how much less President Obama would have to say, if His policies worked?
Things the way they are, we have to hear from Him several times a week now. Controlling the narrative is important when you’re selling a bad idea…
Update: A commenter at Gerard’s site demonstrates, perhaps inadvertently, how things have subtly changed…
The focus should be on on dissipating the ignorance, stupidity, greed and viciousness that results in unnecessary injury.
That is to say, why make an omelet if you’re going to have to break valuable shells? Why not figure our how to make a mutually nutritional salad so that all benefit, thrive, and cooperate.
Go build a Panama Canal or a system of reservoirs to prevent wasteful water runoff and to retain dry-season water supply.
So in Orwell’s time it was “Oh well, you can’t expect us to bake you an omelette in a moment.” In the age of Obama — aptly demonstrated not only in the comment, but in the video clip above — it’s more like “you don’t want an omelette, you don’t know what you want, we’ll tell you what you want and what you want is a salad.”
Meanwhile, the eggs are still smashed.
After many verifiable examples, he writes:
In other words, in the reprehensible vision of Eric Holder, how we look governs who we are. He either believes in the desirability of such racialist exceptionalism out of cultural and historic ignorance — given the contemporary evidence of where bumper-sticker racial, ethnic and religious jingoism inevitably leads — or he cynically assumes that the more the country is polarized racially, the more elites like himself are called on to adjudicate differences, and thus advance to positions that they might otherwise not have earned either by their prior record or their present display of minimal competence.
Then closes with,
The hypocrisy and demagogic manner in which Holder has done so may well teach other Americans to follow his reprehensible lead — and that will be unfortunate given that rare interracial violent crime is currently a mostly politically incorrect and taboo topic. Reasonable and educated people are not supposed to notice the disparate statistical rate in which blacks attack whites — at least until Eric Holder taught the country otherwise that race matters most in their lives and that they remain cowards should they not agree with him.
NOT ONE MORE! FREE OMAR!
We urge President Obama to immediately and publicly recognize that Mr. Omar J. Gonzalez, an oppressed migrant, was merely looking for a better life when he entered the White House after going over the classist, divisive and needless fence.
In the interest of White House diversity and what will surely result in adding to the rich tapestry of love and community, we further demand that the President reform the mean-spirited laws regulating access to the People’s House. For justice and peace, upon his next return from the back-nine, Mr. Obama must award permanent lawful WH residency to Mr. Gonzalez and his family, along with a permit to work there. Because.
END UNFAIR AND DEMEANING WHITE HOUSE ENTRY LAWS! JUSTICE FOR OMAR GONZALEZ AND ALL WHITE HOUSE MIGRANTS!
King’s sardonic petition was posted Saturday, one day after Gonzalez jumped Obama’s household fence and dashed inside one of the doors into the president’s house. The president’s bodyguard detained the man, and exiled him to a federal law enforcement facility outside the White House border.
That’s a very different reaction than Obama approved for the 200,000 Central Migrants who have crossed the nation’s border since 2009.
Obama allowed nearly all of the unskilled and poor migrants — including roughly 135,000 adults, youths and children who have arrived since October 2013 — to apply via the courts for Green Cards that would allow them to stay in Americans’ homeland. They’re allowed to apply regardless of education, productivity or possible criminal records.
Obama’s deputies have only repatriated about 300 of the 200,000 migrants.
Roughly 70 percent of the migrants are children and youths who claim to be aged 17 or below. Many of those are being sent to U.S. schools, where they’re expected to absorb education resources originally approved for Americans’ children, including the children of low-income African-Americans, Latino-Americans and white Americans.
The great banker-journalist Walter Bagehot said it well almost 150 years ago:
History is strewn with the wrecks of nations which have gained a little progressiveness at the cost of a great deal of hard manliness, and have thus prepared themselves for destruction as soon as the movements of the world gave a chance for it.
Every great civilization reaches a point of prosperity where it is possible to live your entire life as a pacifist without any serious consequences…
I think there is a certain worldview that comes from violent experience. It’s something like…manhood. You don’t have to be the world’s greatest badass to be a man, but you have to be willing to throw down when the time is right.
A man who has been in a fight or played violent sports has experienced more of life and manhood than a man who hasn’t. Fisticuffs, wrestling matches, knife fights, violent sport, duels with baseball bats, facing down guns, or getting crushed in the football field—men who have had these experiences are different from men who have not. Men who have trained for or experienced such encounters know about bravery and mental fortitude from firsthand experience. Men who have been tested physically know that inequality is a physical fact. Men who know how to deal out violence know that radical feminism’s tenets — that women and men are equal — are a lie.
Well: Not so sure about that last one. Or, let us say this: It may be a lie that women are the same as men, but it is not so much an untruth as it used to be, just a few short years ago, that men are the same as women. That one is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
By way of Gerard, again.
The rest of us rings true, though. I’ve been noticing for awhile, now, it seems there is one skill being gradually replaced by another. The older skill was made possible by weighing of consequences: How are you going to be building this bridge? Now, how are you going to be building it, knowing you will be among the people driving on it. It involves a certain way of thinking.
The newer skill is described in Thing I Know #435. I ain’t got it, or much of it, anyway…
I notice there is an ability some people have and some people do not have. We might think of it as the ability to comprehend definitions that have provide no objectively discerned meaning, applying interpretations that require the human element. Is this room tastefully decorated, is that joke funny, is it fun to watch that person give a speech. In our time, this ability is generally mutually exclusive from the ability to perceive truth. It isn’t hard to demonstrate: Was so-and-so only kidding when he said such-and-such. We see people heckled, ridiculed, scolded, for failing to “get the irony” or for having taken something too literally. The danger involved in diagnosing learning disabilities in, and prescribing medication for, these people is that it sidelines most of the people who might have the ability to get something useful built. An irony-genius, or denizen of a relative-reality universe, isn’t in a good position to build anything involving any level of complexity because you have to perceive hard, concrete, cause-and-effect relationships to do things like that.
Locklin closes with:
Teddy Roosevelt, my ideal President, kept a lion and a bear as pets in the White House and took his daily exercise doing jiu-jitsu and boxing. He even lost vision in an eye in a friendly boxing match while he was president. Our last three glorious leaders are men who kept fluffy dogs and went jogging…
I’m no great shakes: I’m a shrimpy egghead in a suit who thinks about math all day. I don’t train for fighting anymore, and my experiences with violence are fairly limited. Nonetheless, I judge people on these sorts of things. When I first meet a man, I don’t care what kind of sheepskins or awards he has on his walls. I don’t care if he is liberal or conservative. I want to know if they have my back in a fight. That’s really the only thing that matters.
I sit behind a desk and write code. I’m surrounded on all sides by Sergeants and Lieutenants and Warrant Officers and Majors and Colonels who dress in fatigues, and have to pass the Army’s PT. They’re not muscle-heads by any means, but at least they have a regimen, their bodies have to be up to code.
Mine, looks like I’ve been writing code.
But, there is a cycle taking place here. You do it wrong, the results suck, you show some certain level of humility and say “Those results, they stink on ice, I don’t like those.” Then you look for something under your control that you can change — which is an acknowledgment that that first go-round, you did something differently than the way you should have done it. Or, you did something you shouldn’t have done at all. Or, didn’t do something you should’ve.
Then, you get better results. Or not, which means you need to work on your skills figuring out what’s wrong, because now you’ve messed up the execution twice, and the post-mortem phase once.
What these girly-men who think in this “new” way all have in common is, they somehow can’t, or won’t, complete that cycle. The hundredth time they try something, their attempt will be indistinguishable from the first time they try something. They won’t, and maybe can’t, learn. They fail at that brand of personal improvement that relies on admitting that improvement is needed, or possible.