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‘In Which Unidentified U.S. Officials’

bibi-ap

Israeli Leader Responds to Harsh US Criticism

Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks to parliament followed a report in The Atlantic this week in which unidentified U.S. officials lambasted the Israeli premier for his settlement policies and for undermining American peace efforts

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s prime minister said Wednesday that recent verbal attacks against him from the United States were merely because he was “defending Israel” and vowed to carry on with his policies despite the vitriolic Benjamin-Netanyahurhetoric.

“Our supreme interests, with security and the unity of Jerusalem first and foremost, are not among the top concerns of those anonymous elements that are attacking us and me personally.” 

Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks to parliament followed a report in The Atlantic this week in which unidentified U.S. officials lambasted the Israeli premier for his settlement policies and for undermining American peace efforts.

“The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit.”

 — this official said, referring to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, by his nickname.

The officials derided Netanyahu as cowardly and recalcitrant, among other insults. The report reverberated throughout Israel, with some coming to the prime minister’s defense while others pointing to them as an indication of just how bad relations between the two close allies have gotten under Netanyahu’s watch.

Netanyahu responded that those who attack him do so only because he defends Israel, and stressed that he was “not prepared to make concessions that will endanger our state.”

“Our supreme interests, with security and the unity of Jerusalem first and foremost, are not among the top concerns of bibi-hotairthose anonymous elements that are attacking us and me personally,” he said.

“We think such comments are inappropriate and counter-productive. Despite the extremely close relationship between the U.S. and Israel, we do not agree on every issue.”

– National Security Council Spokesman Alistair Baskey

National Security Council Spokesman Alistair Baskey said the comments in The Atlantic do not reflect the views of the administration.

“We think such comments are inappropriate and counter-productive,” he said, before adding. “Despite the extremely close relationship between the U.S. and Israel, we do not agree on every issue.”

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There have been growing concerns of a new crisis in Israeli-U.S. relations after U.S. officials said the Obama administration last week refused Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon‘s requests to meet several top national security aides. The rejection followed negative comments Yaalon made about Secretary of State John Kerry. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hispanics on GOP Senate: Sure, Why Not?


Washington Post: The Americans Who Don’t Trust Either Party are Voting for…


Susan Page: Obama Administration Most ‘Dangerous’ to Media in History

At some point, a compendium of condemnations against the Obama administration’s record of media transparency (actually, opacity) must be assembled. Notable quotations in this vein come from former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramsonwho said, “It is the most secretive White House that I have ever been involved in covering”; New York Times reporter James Risen, who said, “I think Obama hates the press”; and CBS News’s Bob Schiefferwho said, “This administration exercises more control than George W. Bush’s did, and his before that.”

“It is the most secretive White House that I have ever been involved in covering.”

– Jill Abramson

USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page has added a sharper edge to this set of knives. Speaking Saturday at a White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) seminar, Page called the current White House not only “more restrictive” but also “more dangerous” to the press than any other in history, a clear reference to the Obama administration’s leak investigations and its naming of Fox News’s James Rosen as a possible “co-conspirator” in a violation of the Espionage Act.

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The WHCA convened the event both to strategize over how to open up the byways of the self-proclaimed most transparent administration in history, as well as to compare war stories on the many ways in which it is not. Peter Baker, the veteran Washington reporter from the New York Times, provided perhaps the best instance of White House-administered madness. In covering a breaking story recently, Baker received a note from a White House handler indicating that President Obama had been briefed on the matter in question.

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That information came to Baker “on background.” The gist: Not from me — a meeting has occurred..

Other gripes: Correspondents took aim at large-scale “deep background” briefings — attended by up to 40-odd reporters — at which ground rules specify no names for the officials in attendance and no quotations of anything they say. ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl spoke of covering the Boston Marathon bombings. As the story developed, Karl noted that the White House wasn’t giving out any information at all. So he went around it and found out that the feds were sending their high-value interrogation team to Boston. “No way I would have gotten that out of the White House,” said Karl. Read the rest of this entry »


The Gangsters of Election 2014: The Paramilitary Arm of Wisconsin Progressive Democrats’ Campaign to Defeat Scott Walker

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The Nastiest Political Tactic this Year

imrs.phpThe early-morning paramilitary-style raids on citizens’ homes were conducted by law enforcement officers, sometimes wearing bulletproof vests and lugging battering rams, pounding on doors and issuing threats. Spouses were separated as the police seized computers, including those of children still in pajamas. Clothes drawers, including the children’s, were APPROVED-STAMP-panic-redransacked, cellphones were confiscated and the citizens were told that it would be a crime to tell anyone of the raids.

“Such misbehavior takes a toll on something that already is in short supply: belief in government’s legitimacy.”

Some raids were precursors of, others were parts of, the nastiest episode of this unlovely political season, an episode that has occurred in an unlikely place. This attempted criminalization of politics to silence people occupying just one portion of the political spectrum has happened in Wisconsin, which often has conducted robust political arguments with Midwestern civility.

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Because of Chisholm’s recklessness, the candidate he is trying to elect, Burke, can only win a tainted victory, and if she wins she will govern with a taint of illegitimacy.

From the progressivism of Robert La Follette to the conservatism of Gov. Scott Walker (R) today, Wisconsin has been fertile soil for conviction politics. Today, the state’s senators are the very conservative Ron Johnson (R)and the very liberal Tammy Baldwin (D). Now, however, Wisconsin, which to its chagrin produced Sen. Joe McCarthy (R), has been embarrassed by Milwaukee County’s Democratic district attorney, John Chisholm.

“Chisholm’s aim — to have a chilling effect on conservative speech — has been achieved by bombarding Walker supporters with raids and subpoenas: Instead of raising money to disseminate their political speech, conservative individuals and groups, harassed and intimidated, have gone into a defensive crouch, raising little money and spending much money on defensive litigation.”

He has used Wisconsin’s uniquely odious “John Doe” process to launch sweeping and virtually unsupervised investigations while imposing gag orders to prevent investigated people from defending themselves or rebutting politically motivated leaks.

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks in Chicago. (Kamil Krzaczynski/AP)

According to several published reports, Chisholm told subordinates that his wife, a teachers union shop steward at her school, is anguished by her detestation of Walker’s restrictions on government employee unions, so Chisholm considers it his duty to help defeat Walker.

[More Dirty Tactics in Wisconsin Governor’s Race]

[Also see - Gangster government — Michael Barone’s description of using government machinery to punish political opponents or reward supporters]

In collaboration with Wisconsin’s misbegotten Government Accountability Board, which exists to regulate political speech, Chisholm has misinterpreted Wisconsin campaign law in a way that looks willful. He has done so to justify a “John Doe” process that has searched for evidence of “coordination” between Walker’s campaign and conservative issue advocacy groups. Read the rest of this entry »


Judge: IRS Free Speech Suppression A-OKAY

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IRS’s Harassment of Citizen Groups to Chill Opposition, Protect Incumbent Party, and Influence Presidential Election Outcome Approved by Federal Judge

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The IRS notched a major legal victory Thursday after a federal judge dismissed lawsuits brought by more than 40 conservative groups seeking remedies for being singled out in the tea party targeting scandal.IRS_logo

“[T]he Court is satisfied that there is no reasonable expectation that the alleged conduct will recur, as the defendants have not only suspended the conduct, but have also taken remedial measures to ensure that the conduct is not repeated.”

Judge Reggie Walton of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia threw out almost all counts brought against the tax-O-SMDGE-CONDENSEDcollecting agency in two cases, ruling that both were essentially moot now that the IRS granted the groups their tax-exempt status that had been held up for years

Translation: “They promised not to do it anymore, so it’s okay”

The decisions have major implications for tea party groups suing the IRS over the issue. It appears they have a tough case to make because the IRS, since the controversy broke in 2013, has approved most tea party groups’ applications, which, according to Walton, keeps the court from hearing their cases.

“After the plaintiff initiated this case, its application to the IRS for tax-exempt status was approved by the IRS. The allegedly unconstitutional governmental conduct, which delayed the processing of the plaintiff’s tax exempt application and brought about this litigation, is no longer impacting the plaintiff,” Walton said in his decision to throw out True the Vote’s lawsuit against the IRS.

“The judge, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, also said the groups couldn’t receive monetary relief from individual IRS officials, such as ex-IRS official Lois Lerner, because of the ‘chilling effect’ it would have on tax administration.”

(Chilling political speech of opposition groups is okay, but risking a potential chilling effect on the IRS? No! We can’t have that!)

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His reasoning was similar in the second case, where 41 conservative groups banded together to sue the IRS for similar misconduct: “[T]he allegedly unconstitutional governmental conduct … is no longer impacting the plaintiffs. … Counts … are therefore moot.”

IRS-moron

The judge, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, also said the groups couldn’t receive monetary relief from individual IRS officials, such as ex-IRS official Lois Lerner, because of the chilling effect it would have on tax administration.

The same judge in August rejected True the Vote’s bid for a court-appointed forensics expert to hunt Lerner’s lost emails, another blow to conservatives seeking outside experts to take the lead on the IRS investigation. Two years’ worth of the former head of the tax-exempt division’s emails were erased in a hard drive crash in 2011, the IRS says. Read the rest of this entry »


The Truth About the Minimum Wage

From the Foundation for Economic Education: People don’t like to think that anyone’s labor is worth less than the minimum wage. Someone might end up flipping burgers for $5.00 an hour. You might think the minimum wage is a way of paying some sort of dignity premium–hence language like “livingteen-worker wage.” People with such good intentions look at the direct beneficiaries of these policies, say, burger flippers now making $7.50 an hour. They pat themselves on the back. But they rarely count the invisible costs: willing human beings who never get hired in the first place.

[Also see - Fast Food Management and Customers Alike Have Every Reason to Tell Big Labor: 'Go Pound Sand']

“But $5.00 an hour is not enough to live on!,” they’ll say. For whom? A teenager living at home with his parents? An elderly person who wants simply to stay active? A single mom with three kids? A single woman sharing an apartment with 2 roommates? Of course, not all of these people could live off of $5.00 an hour. But some of them could given the opportunity. Concerns about those who couldn’t don’t justify minimum wages even if we ignored the invisible costs of the policy, which include reduced margins to businesses that might otherwise grow (and hire more people).

In other words, if you take off the bottom two rungs of the income ladder, many will never climb it. That’s the effect of the minimum wage. The more cynical side of me says that’s how many politicians and the overpaid teamsters want it.

Enjoy this great video and some timeless pieces on the minimum wage by some of FEE’s excellent scholars.

-The Editors

The Truth About the Minimum Wage

Further Reading:

Minimum Wage, Maximum Folly by Walter Williams

“While there is a debate over the magnitude of the effects, the weight of research by academic scholars points to the conclusion that unemployment for some population groups is directly related to legal minimum wages. The unemployment effects of the minimum-wage law are felt disproportionately by nonwhites. A 1976 survey by the American Economic Association found that 90 percent of its members agreed that increasing the minimum wage raises unemployment among young and unskilled workers. It was followed by another survey, in 1990, which found that 80 percent of econo­mists agreed with the statement that increases in the minimum wage cause unemployment among the youth and low-skilled. Furthermore,­­ whenever one wants to find a broad consensus in almost any science, one should investigate what is said in its introductory and intermediate college textbooks.­ By this standard, in economics there is broad agreement that the minimum wage causes unemployment among low-skilled workers.”

Raising the Minimum Wage Will Do No Harm? It Just Ain’t So! by Richard McKenzie

“With the money-wage hike and the reduced benefits, workers can be left worse off since the fringes and slack work demands taken away were provided in the first place because workers valued them more highly than the wages forgone for those benefits. Given the findings of his own as well as other researchers’ studies, Wessels deduces that every 10 percent increase in the hourly minimum wage will make workers 2 percent worse off.” Read the rest of this entry »


‘I Tried to Vote for a Republican and the Machine Registered a Vote for a Democrat’

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CHICAGO — Paul Miller reports: Early Voting in Illinois got off to its typical start Monday, as votes being cast for Republican candidates were transformed into votes for Democrats.

Republican state representative candidate Jim Moynihan had trouble voting for himself on Monday when early voting started inJimMoynihan-FB-Photo Illinois.

“I tried to cast a vote for myself and instead it cast the vote for my opponent.”

“You could imagine my surprise as the same thing happened with a number of races when I tried to vote for a Republican and the machine registered a vote for a Democrat.”

The conservative website Illinois Review reported that “While using a touch screen voting machine in Schaumburg, Moynihan voted for several races on the ballot, only to find that whenever he voted for a Republican candidate, the machine registered the vote for a Democrat in the same race.

[See Pundit Planet's Ongoing Coverage of Voter Fraud]

Republican state representative candidate Jim Moynihan went to vote Monday at the Schaumburg Public Library.

[Also see - What could go wrong? Volunteers go door-to-door ‘ballot harvesting’ in Colorado]

He notified the election judge at his polling place and demonstrated that it continued to cast a vote for the opposing candidate’s party. Moynihan was fund-bookeventually allowed to vote for Republican candidates, including his own race.

 [A good time to check out John Fund's book "Who's Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk" available from Amazon.com]

Moynihan offered this gracious lesson to his followers on Twitter: “Be careful when you vote in Illinois. Make sure you take the time to check your votes before submitting.” Read the rest of this entry »


NYTimes’ Condescending Quote of the Day

dem-panic

You Know Who’s Dumb? You Are. Know Who’s Smarter? New York Times

“Few voters know that the 2009 stimulus bill contributed heavily to the nation’s economic recovery, saving and creating 2.5 million jobs.”

White House talking points, in the New York Times? Never!

 


Obama’s Blues: ‘The Thrill is Gone Baby, The Thrill Has Gone Away From Me’

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B.B. King  – Crossroads Festival 2010


POLL: America Is OUT OF CONTROL

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out-of-control

Brietbart.comPolitico Poll: 64% Believe America Is Out of Control


Meet Ron Klain, Ebola Czar: Management Experience, Handing Out Stimulus Money

Ebola-Czar

For the WashingtonExaminerByron York writes: President Obama’s choice of veteran Democratic politico Ron Klain to serve as Ebola czar stunned many Republicans. Their first objection is that Klain has no experience in public health or infectious diseases. But in a larger sense, GOP critics see Klain, a former chief of staff for Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden, more as a political operative than a potential leader of the fight against Ebola.

 “He’ll control the message better than most people would, which is really important from an economic standpoint, from a health standpoint, but it’s also important from a political perspective.”

– Anonymous Democratic donor

NON-STOP-PANIC-2

What qualifies Klain for the job, the formal title of which is Ebola Response Coordinator? First, the White House makes no claim of any expertise in health matters. Instead, officials point to Klain’s impressive Washington resume — the jobs with Gore and Biden, plus chief of staff for Clinton administration Attorney General Janet Reno and top positions with Senate Democrats.

Ebola-czar-rice-report-townhall

Susan Rice: the woman who went on five Sunday talk shows to lie about a YouTube video being responsible for the 9/11 attack in Benghazi. She is also the same person who said alleged Army deserter and Taliban sympathizer Bowe Bergdahl served with honor and distinction.

But those are job titles. What specifically has Klain done in those positions that would prepare him for the Ebola assignment? White House officials cite Klain’s work in Biden’s office, overseeing the dispensing of billions of federal dollars through the American Recovery Act, better known as the stimulus, as evidence that Klain can handle a problem like Ebola. Read the rest of this entry »


Hiding Politically Unpopular Policies from Voters, Obama Puts Top Priorities in their Proper Place: The Back of the Bus

“This whole place is paralyzed. Everything was kicked down the road.”

President Obama is taking time out from his much-trumpeted “year of action” to observe a period more important to his Democratic allies in Congress: the season of campaigning.

Obama Super PACS

One by one, the Obama administration is setting aside key priorities, in the hope that voters won’t do the same to his fellow Democrats.

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“We wish they would be as good as their rhetoric. We want them to step up and deliver. If they don’t, who’s going to?”

– Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch

Immigration reform, once deemed a pressing back-to-school item, will wait at least until the winter holidays.

Enrollment in Obamacare will start six weeks later than last year. The climate will warm at the same rate, with new regulations pending. [Reality check: Globe hasn't warmed in 19 years]

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“It looks like the president and the Democrats are playing politics with people’s lives.” 

– Frank Sharry, America’s Voice, one of many pro-amnesty, open-borders pressure groups.

The latest addition to the not-to-do list came this week, when the White House put off an announcement on the president’s nominee for attorney general, a pick he has been privately thinking about a long time.

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White House aides smile and defend the strategy, saying privately that they’re trying to be sensitive to the concerns of Democrats, especially senators in tough election races.

“He promised me a dollhouse. Democrats are playing politics with everything! I hate Obama!”

– Daughter of celebrity Obama fundraiser

The White House is trying to avoid being held responsible for Democrats losing control of the Senate in the midterm election in three weeks, especially when administration officials still hope to get a few things done during the final two years of Obama’s presidency and will need help from Democrats who remain in office. Read the rest of this entry »


Lightning in a Bottle: IRS Finally Approves Tax-Exempt Applications After Only 4 Years

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Even if we didn’t have proof that Lois Lerner and the IRS had deliberately targeted conservative non-profit groups whose names included words like “Tea Party” and “patriots,” this could just been seen as another example of big government inefficiency and incompetence. Thing is, we know that conservative groups’ applications were held up through several election cycles to keep them from influencing the vote.

American Center for Law and Justice attorney Miles Terry writes today that two more conservative groups have had their tax-exempt applications approved — after a more than four-year delay.

Terry writes:

Laurens County Tea Party and Allen Area Patriots both applied for tax-exemption in July of 2010. It took the IRS more than four years to review their applications and approve these groups.

Of our 41 clients, 28 have now been approved, and seven groups are still awaiting approval. One of these seven groups, Albuquerque Tea Party is less than two months away from “celebrating” five years since they originally applied for tax-exemption. To date, they have still not been approved.

C’mon, IRS. Get it together…(read more)

Twitchy


[PHOTO] Richard M. Nixon Wants to Know

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The Hill: Asking the Wrong Question

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editor-commen-deskHeadline corrected! Where do we begin? A brief scan of media reactions offers some clues. For example, The Hill Just Can’t Figure Out Where Obama Went WrongSurely, Obama’s Low Approval Ratings Can’t Be Blamed On Any Scandal, can it?  When did Obama check out? Obama never checked in. As an exercise in reality-denial, The Hill gives us a textbook instruction manual for how to write about a controversial topic without saying anything that might reflect too badly on anyone, or offend anyone in power. Though to be fair, it’s not a bad article, on second reading. It has a few pithy quotes.

Though overdue, it’s the kind of question that haunted the G.W. Bush’s unpopular presidency, but for Obama’s predecessor, those loaded questions began moments after he was inaugurated, rather than held back for six years. And the answers were far less forgiving. The writers–blinded by GOP distrust reinforced by institutional 51O63wb9qqL._SL250_bias–were often a lot less rational.

[Order Panetta's "Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace" from Amazon.com]

For Obama, an honest account of “what went wrong?” would (and has, and will, for decades) fill mountains of books, exceeding the storage capacity of Amazon warehouses worldwide. We can look forward to an avalanche of unreadable academic literature, notes from unattended think-tank symposiums, and stacks of unsold finger-pointing White House staff (see above) autobiographies…

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We deserve better. It has potential! It could inspire crime thrillers, Shakespearean tragedies, comic books, horror movies, and for future generations, Epic Decline-of-Empire postmortems! Truly, the question posed here is impossible to address adequately in anything less than 30 volumes. My modest headline correction offers a manageable approach. We’re not aiming for a Pulitzer here, just tryin’ to make a deadline.

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For The HillAmie Parnes writes:

Fewer than two years ago, President Obama was elected handily to his second term, becoming the first Democrat since FDR to twice win an outright majority of the popular vote.

Now, Democrats in competitive Senate races hope he stays as far away as possible, previous heartlands of support such as Iowa have turned against him and his approval ratings are languishing in the low 40s — sometimes lower.

“He should say ‘Look, all three of us now face the same choice. … Do we want to spend the next two years messaging and preparing for 2016 or would we like to spend a few months legislating?’ ”

Political observers, from former Obama aides to staffers who served in previous administrations, say something is going to have to change if the president is to achieve anything at all in his last two years in office.

“I’m still struggling to figure this out. I think a lot of it boils down to this mindset that, ‘we all have the answers and we’re smarter than everybody else and we can do this.’ ”

– Unamed former administration official

“It is a near metaphysical certainty that in his last two years, he’ll confront the same House he has in the last four years,” said William Galston, a senior fellow of governance studies at the Brookings Institution who served as an adviser to former President Clinton during his White House years.

“So the question is, how are they going to deal with that? If they deal with the same House in the same way, they’ll get the same results.”

Galston advised a different approach. Obama would be “well-advised” to reach out to the Republican congressional leadership immediately after the midterm elections, he said, and should resist the temptation to dig deeper into a partisan trench. Read the rest of this entry »


Election Fraud Operation Planners Celebrate Arkansas Voter I.D. Law Smackdown

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“Whew! I’m so glad I can get back to work. I was down to my last trunk load of Obamaphones.” 

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 “I got big plans tonight. Couple shots of Crown Royal, and a fine cigar. Then catch a bus to Arkansas.”

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“When the Clintons called me with the good news, I knew we were back on the gravy train”

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“I don’t see what the big deal is. I still vote the regular way, only two or three times.”

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“Hot damn. Lordy lordy. Hot damn!” 

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“I can’t do anything for Democrats this year cause I’m still on parole, but I’m gonna celebrate anyway!”

Read the rest of this entry »


Cheap Oil Pops the Green Policy Bubble

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Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. writes: Tesla, an electric-car company on which the political class has showered subsidies, rolled out its newest model last week, complete with high-tech safety features like lane-departure warning, blindspot monitoring, collision avoidance and self-parking. Tesla’s stock promptly dropped 8%, though probably not because these mundane features long have been available in other luxury models.

At $2.99, the price to which gasoline had fallen at some California stations last week, electric cars becoming a mass-market taste and not just an item for wealthy hobbyists recedes from probability. If Democrats especially start to find it politically no longer saleable to subsidize a toy for the rich, the company may be in real trouble.

Since World War I, the retail price of gasoline has fluctuated in a band between $2 and $4 (using 2006 dollars as a benchmark). Since the 1970s, though, politicians have repeatedly wedded themselves to policies premised on the idea that oil prices can only go up, up, up, in prelude to oil running out altogether. Read the rest of this entry »


Islamic State Militants’ Redraw Borders, Fracturing Iraq’s Fragile Cohesion


Bitter Concession Speeches The Only Things Americans Looking Forward To In Upcoming Midterms

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“I mean, the election would be a total waste of time if not for that moment when the candidate has to go out on stage and tell all the people who worked so hard for him that he failed and that their shared dream is suddenly gone.”

WASHINGTON—Calling them the only things remotely worthwhile about next month’s elections, the American public confirmed Wednesday that the dozens of bitter concession speeches to be given by losing candidates are the sole aspect of the upcoming midterms they are looking forward to.

“I really don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t look ahead to a bunch of people half-heartedly chanting their candidate’s name to make him feel better.”

“Honestly, all that matters is that I get to watch some defeated politician stiffly read some remarks and offer a totally disingenuous congratulations to the victor,” said Des Moines, IA, resident Lindsey Abbot, one of the millions of American voters whose only consolation on election night will reportedly be finding out who will lose their composure as they apologize for letting down their supporters. Read the rest of this entry »


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