Roger L Simon writes: I have no idea if Republicans will end their circular firing squad and unite sufficiently to right our country, but one thing seems abundantly clear from the events of the last weeks, including Tuesday’s election in which Terry McAuliffe barely eked out a victory over the unexciting Ken Cuccinelli. Liberalism in our country is in a more precarious position than ever. It may not even really exist.
Liberalism as practiced in today’s America is a chimera, not actually an ideology but an alliance of interest groups controlled by elites for the preservation of their (the elites’) wealth and power. The interest groups often seem to be working against their own advantage by being so affiliated (e. g. African-Americans are in the worst shape in years under Obama), but not the elites who have been able to thrive. These elites are also able to appear altruistic to themselves and others while behaving in manners that are hideously selfish and atrocious to the common good. Liberalism is not so much an ideology in our society as it is a shield, a defense mechanism for a lifestyle.
This accounts, in part, for all the lying and bumbling in the face of the Obamacare debacle from the president on down to his hapless porte-paroles Jay Carney and Deborah Wasserman-Schultz (who apparently is so flummoxed she cannot pronounce the word “misled”). None of them ever knew what the healthcare legislation was in the first place in anything approximating serious detail. That would have been been too much of a bother when it was just a pose. It was never really about people’s health anyway — it was for show. Read the rest of this entry »
Scientific Reality Limits White House Damage-Control Options: Obama ‘Can’t Go Back in Time’ says CarneyPosted: November 5, 2013
Washington (CNN) – The repeated vow from President Barack Obama that those who like their health insurance can keep it may be causing the administration grief – but it can’t be changed now, Obama’s press secretary conceded Tuesday.
“The President, as awesomely powerful as the office is, can’t go back in time,” Jay Carney said at his daily press briefing when asked by CNN whether Obama would “use those same words again.”
The White House and Senate Democrats may need a refresher course on how to leak a juicy story.
The White House today was forced to backtrack on a rumor Obama administration officials started about a Republican House leader who purportedly insulted President Obama to his face, telling the president, “I cannot even stand to look at you.”
Turns out, it never happened.
How do we know?
The same White House that was responsible for starting the buzz now says there was a “miscommunication” and a “misunderstanding.”
Here’s how it went down:
During The Shutdown:
House Republican leaders and committee chairmen met with the president at the White House to discuss the government shutdown and debt ceiling on Oct. 10. Vice President Joe Biden, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors also sat in on the meeting.
Jay Carney continued to dodge questions about the various problems plaguing Obamacare’s online exchanges today, by pleading ignorance and repeatedly pointing reporters’ questions to the Department of Health and Human Services. At the end of Tuesday’s daily briefing, after offering one last referral to HHS, Carney walked out of the room as frustrated reporters continued to ask him questions.
- Jay Carney Claims The Obamacare Website Isn’t Failing
- Taranto: Vaporcare
- Again, This Woman Moderated A Debate In 2012
- Russia’s Demographic Revolution
- Man Spends 4.5 Hours On Obamacare Hotline And Still Can’t Sign Up
- Healthcare.gov Is Walking Dead
- Another Journalist Joins The Obama Administration
- Obamacare Website Failed Just Days Before Launch
- Race Hustling Results
- Police Officer Fired After Shooting And Pepper Spraying Squirrel
- What If They Gave A Shutdown And No One Care?
- Even Some Lefty Journalist Are Openly Talking About The Obamacare Failure
- Rand Paul Pushes Constitutional Amendment For Congress
- Unions Vs. Obamacare
- Only 148,000 Jobs Added Last Month
- Small RI Town Seeks Recall Of Town Council Over Obstruction Of Concealed Carry Permits
- Dad Gets Emotional Over His Son’s Grades
- Jay Leno Riffing On Obamacare
- Waiting As Long As He Can, Jon Stewart Finally Has To Address The Obamacare Failure
- Man Buys Ticket To Game 1 Of World Series For Six Dollars
Josh Rogin reports: Former Washington Post writer Laura Blumenfeld on Monday became the latest in a long list of journalists who have joined the Obama administration when she took up an appointment in the State Department’s Middle East office.
A speaker of Arabic and Hebrew, Blumenfeld will now be in charge of strategic communications in the State Department’s office handling negotiations for Secretary of State John Kerry’s Middle East Peace Process. Kerry has tapped former Ambassador to Israel and Brookings Institution scholar Martin Indyk to lead that effort inside the Obama administration. Read the rest of this entry »
Alex Castellanos writes: Damn those extreme Republicans. President Obama and White House press secretary Jay Carney have found Republicans guilty of extortion and blackmail. Joe Biden, per a report in Politico, once christened Republicans as terrorists.
Liberals have led a media assault, calling the GOP anarchists, jihadists, “gun to head” hostage takers, and the political equivalent of the Taliban. White House advisor Dan Pfeiffer has likened Republicans to suicide bombers “with a bomb strapped to their chest.”
What could be more extreme?
The Democratic Party.
Jonah Goldberg notes: Last week I wrote a column accusing the president of having a vindictive streak — of deliberately trying to make the lives of average Americans worse just so he could score ideological and political points.
We already knew from how he handled the budget sequester that Obama liked this approach. He ordered Cabinet secretaries not to do their jobs — i.e., to manage as best they could under spending restraints — but instead to find ways to make the cuts needlessly painful for innocents caught in the Beltway crossfire.
They dusted off the same playbook for the shutdown. As one park ranger told the Washington Times, “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can.”
Admittedly, the case was circumstantial. There was no smoking gun. What was really needed was a confession.
Administration’s tactics, which include using Espionage Act to pursue leakers, have had chilling effect on accountability – study
Karen McVeigh writes: Barack Obama has pursued the most aggressive “war on leaks” since the Nixon administration, according to a report published on Thursday that says the administration’s attempts to control the flow of information is hampering the ability of journalists to do their jobs.
The author of the study, the former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie, says the administration’s actions have severely hindered the release of information that could be used to hold it to account.
Downie, an editor during the Post’s investigations of Watergate, acknowledged that Obama had inherited a culture of secrecy that had built up since 9/11. But despite promising to be more open, Obama had become “more aggressive”, stepping up the Espionage Act to pursue those accused of leaking classified information. Read the rest of this entry »
This is ridiculous and perverse. President Barack Obama has used an expansive — and some legal scholars believe extreme — interpretation of his powers to unilaterally rewrite key provisions of the No Child Left Behind law, the sweeping 2002 measure that drastically reshaped federal education policies. In similar fashion, the president has unilaterally rewritten key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, his sweeping 2010 measure that is drastically reshaping federal public health policies. His administration has also essentially rewritten federal laws governing illegal immigration and penalties for drug possession.
Just this month, the federal government has authorized the spending of billions of dollars since the partial shutdown began without explicit congressional approval. Contrary to the Obama administration’s representations, there are not hard, definitive rules governing how the executive branch must act during these budget fights. That is reflected in the amazingly arbitrary ways that the federal government has shuttered some services and agencies but not others — often with the barely hidden goal of making people suffer to build pressure on House Republicans to give in to the White House. For one of hundreds of examples, the Armed Forces Network serving U.S. military personnel abroad still shows news — but it has stopped showing NFL games, blaming the shutdown.
This is obnoxious enough. In denying death benefits to the relatives of fallen U.S. soldiers, however, the Obama administration has broken new ground in its budget theater. This decision is accurately described as depraved.
Are “suicide bomber”, “hostage taker”, and “terrorist” no longer the Democrats’ chosen smear words?
Without ever apologizing for the overheated rhetoric and blood-soaked violence-themed verbal attacks on Republicans, it appears a decision has been made in the White House to take things down a notch. Perhaps negative polling led them to make adjustments, or focus-tests produced better results using a new approach?
The new tone? Obama’s now a victim. He feels threatened. There’s a threat of default. Threat is the new meme. The instructions have been distributed, and they’re being followed by Democrat talking heads with predictably tiresome repetition.
Jay Carney seemed to shift to the same key word…repeatedly.
“…the need for Congress to pass a budget, open the government, pass a bill so that the United States can pay its bills and, therefore, not continue to do or threaten damage to our economy. … And even in the meetings with the president, some of which were productive and thoughtful, Republican lawmakers never came back with a compromise proposal of their own. But he is ready to do that, just not under threat of shutdown, not under threat of default. … It is our view, as I think both those officials stated this morning, that since the whole purpose of this argument is to remove uncertainty — the uncertainty created by the threat of default, the threat of not raising the debt ceiling… In 2011, Republicans in Congress decided really for the first time in our history to threaten default if they didn’t get what they wanted out of negotiations over the budget. And that threat, once people realized it was real, caused significant harm to our economy. Default did not happen, but the threat of it caused harm. It was measurable harm and it included a downgrading of the United States for the first time in our history. … There’s — so we saw what happened when you mess around with this, when you threatened default in 2011, and you saw what happened when Congress does what it has traditionally done, which is raise the debt ceiling without making these kinds of threats. … Our position has been from the beginning that the debt ceiling ought to be raised without drama or delay and that the problem around these votes has always been the uncertainty created by threats… continue to have these suggestions from Republicans that they would threaten default if they don’t get what they want. … We know from the 2011 experience, and you saw the report from the Treasury last week, what even the threat of default can do to our economy… The president is very eager to start that process again, but not under threat of default and not under threat of continued shutdown. … raising of the debt ceiling has been attached to something, but there hasn’t been a threat made by one party or the other to withhold payment or, you know, allow for default if they don’t get what they want. … As I’ve said in the past, how Congress fulfills it, as long as they fulfill it without drama or delay, without brinkmanship, without threatening default is up to them. … not with the government shutdown and not with the threat of a shutdown. Etc.
Old and busted: Gun to the head
New Hotness: Threat
In last Friday’s Wall Street Journal, the now-famous unnamed White House source proclaimed that there’s no reason to move to end the shutdown, because “we’re winning.” What do you want to bet that the same winning White House got some focus polling results over the weekend that said they weren’t actually winning friends and influencing people by likening their political opponents to suicide bombers?
My guess? Someone advising the President decided to morph the analogy…
Read the whole thing.
Cross-pollination accelerates: News media’s revolving door to Obama White House blurs objectivity as more journalists cross overPosted: September 26, 2013
Jennifer Harper reports: News media and politics in the age of Obama have grown uncomfortably close. So many journalists have found employment in the Obama administration that the phenomenon has become a story itself, with a dozen news organizations tracking the cross-pollination between the two and speculating on the implications. The current count of press turncoats varies from a low of 15 reported by The Daily Beast to a high of 24 as reported by The Atlantic.
“I’m often surprised when I hear about colleagues leaving journalism for government or government relations. I can’t imagine doing anything else, although I understand how the news business can turn sour for some people,” said veteran newsman Mark Knoller, White House correspondent for CBS News.
“My experience in dealing with former journalists now serving as government spokespersons or officials is mixed. Some of them understand the information I’m seeking and why — and are most helpful,” he said. “But some others strike me as having turned to the dark side and seem more interested in denying information than providing it.” Read the rest of this entry »
Translation into standard English: “Obama lost big on gun control the last time he tried to use the actions of an insane murderer politically. He was humiliated and enraged by the betrayal of his subjects. And we haven’t figured out yet how to cynically exploit this shooting. So, he just made a rote statement of concern and then got back to his usual crap: lies, blame-dodging, etc….
Denial, evasion, “Let me be perfectly clear” — is this 2013 or 1973?
The truth about Benghazi, the Associated Press/James Rosen monitoring, the IRS corruption, the NSA octopus, and Fast and Furious is still not exactly known. Almost a year after the attacks on our Benghazi facilities, we are only now learning details of CIA gun-running, military stand-down orders, aliases of those involved who are still hard to locate, massaged talking points, and the weird jailing of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.
We still do not quite know why Eric Holder’s Justice Department went after the Associated Press or Fox News’s James Rosen — given that members of the administration were themselves illegally leaking classified information about the Stuxnet virus, the Yemeni double agent, the drone program, and the bin Laden document trove, apparently to further the narrative of an underappreciated Pattonesque commander-in-chief up for reelection.
A pathetic new scandal defense
During his speech on the economy last month in Galesburg, Illinois, Barack Obama suggested Washington should stop focusing on an “endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals.” He repeated the line about “phony scandals” in another speech on July 25 and in his weekly address on July 27. Obama, whose approval rating has been falling since the spring, has been rocked by months of scandal coverage. His administration’s strategy to change the subject, it seems, is to channel its inner Holden Caulfield.
White House press secretary Jay Carney kicked things off a few days before Galesburg during his daily briefing with reporters, cautioning Washington not to be “buffeted about” by “fake scandals.” The next day, Carney spoke about “phony scandals” that have “captured the attention of many here in Washington.” The narrative was set by July 24, the day of Obama’s speech, when Carney told MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough: “It shouldn’t be on the skirmishes that cause gridlock, it shouldn’t be on the phony scandals that have consumed so much attention here, all to come to naught.”
Which scandals, exactly, are the phony ones? When pressed, one White House official pointed to the investigation into the IRS’s extra scrutiny of conservative and Tea Party groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Pew Polling firm has found an interesting change in the way President Obama is being described, with the use of words like “incompetent” and “liar” on the rise.
The latest Pew poll finds that one-word impressions of Obama are turning negative more often than they have in the past. Until now, Pew says, these wholly negative one-word impressions were “rare.”
The survey finds that the one-word impressions people have of Obama have changed a great deal throughout his presidency. Terms like incompetent and liar now are among the most frequently used words to describe Obama. In April 2009, when his job approval was at 63%, these words were rare.
Pew also found that the word “socialist” is used in nearly the same proportion as it has been used since he first took office, showing that the President has not succeeded in knocking down the perception that he is a socialist.
The President is also viewed negatively on civil liberties.
“Yet Obama receives some of his worst marks for how he is handling privacy and civil liberties,” Pew reports. “Just 42% approve while 51% disapprove.”
Further, it is Independents that view Obama most negatively on civil liberties. Only 28 percent of Independents view Obama positively on his handling of civil liberties, while 52 percent view him negatively.
The views on Obama’s legacy are decidedly mixed. 31 percent say that his presidency is a failure, 33 percent say it is too early to tell, while 34 percent say it is a success.
But the poll also shows that Obama’s approval rating is holding relatively steady and is still in the high 40s. 43 percent of those polled have a negative view of his performance as president.
The poll queried 388 Republicans, 487 Democrats, and 575 self-declared Independents.
With an assist from Elijah Cummings, the media is now casting the IRS targeting of conservative groups as a Cincinnati-originated brainchild of a self-described conservative Republican, John Shafer, who, well, let’s let McClatchy tell the tale:
Shafer described himself as a conservative Republican and explained how applications that met criteria that the IRS has since called inappropriate were selectively screened. The criteria included buzzwords such as constitution, Bill of Rights and other tea party themes referring to the Founding Fathers. These words caused applications to be pulled aside and sent to what’s called Group 7822. He did not say how the criteria were developed or by whom.
He said the tea party cases were called “emerging issues” by agency officials, apparently because they had received media attention.
“Each case is again reviewed and the determination is made on the facts and circumstances within that case,” he said. Asked what caused an emerging issue, “I 100 percent do not know, OK?” he answered. “What I would do is go into the electronic system and I would transfer these cases to Group 7822.
So there you have it. Nothing to see here. Move along. A Republican started the whole thing, inoccently referring applications to “Group 7822,” and the rest is history.
Yet this story dramatically understates the extent of targeting. Rather than serving as “patient zero” of the scandal, Mr. Shafer was but a cog in a much larger machine of partisan and unlawful targeting. As I’ve said before, at the ACLJ we represented 27 tea-party groups initially embroiled in this scandal, we filed suit against the IRS on behalf of 25 (full disclosure: I’m a lawyer on the suit), and we’ll shortly be amending the complaint to add more than a dozen additional plaintiffs. During the last 18 months, we’ve dealt with Group 7822, but we’ve also dealth with eleven other IRS groups (including groups in California) and a Washington division: Group 7821, Group 7823, Group 7824, Group 7827, Group 7828, Group 7829, Group 7830, Group 7838, EOG-7887, EOG 7888, and the Tax Exempt and Government Entitites Division in Washington, D.C.
This list encompasses only our orginal clients. We expect other IRS groups to be implicated as requests for help continue to pour in.
Every time the administration or its Democratic allies in Congress have tried to minimize or explain away the scandal, at the ACLJ we’ve released documentary evidence decisively refuting their factual assertions. Every time. And it’s documentary evidence the IRS provided us in the course of more than a year of communications.
In other words, they knew we had contradictory evidence, yet spun anyway — hoping the media would buy their story.
The IRS abuse is severe, it has always been widespread, and — crucially — it is ongoing. Even as Represenatitive Cummings not long ago declared “the case is solved” and Jay Carney claimed that all misconduct had stopped more than a year ago, many of our clients still don’t have their tax exemptions. Some even received intrusive additional inquiries as recently as last month.
It strains credulity to believe that a gang of low-level employees initiated and sustained a multi-group, multi-state campaign of targeting that lasted — for some conservative applicants — through two full election cycles. The case is not “solved.” To paraphrase John Paul Jones, we have not yet begun to investigate.
Now that Obama’s misdeeds are under examination, the MSM struggles to contain its own crisis: How to manage it?
What follows is an inside-baseball, navel-gazing example of media in crisis-mode, trying to reconcile its loyalty to Obama, the idea, and the reality of Obama, the president. An heroic effort to balance its habit of covering for him—their hearts-a-breaking for the cherished Democratic Party ideals Obama is systematically undermining—and its unavoidable confrontation with the reality of how their chosen President and his Administration actually operates.
To help comfort their readers, gallons of fabric-softener must added to the ink. Softer, softer, please. The President’s spectacular failure to deliver on promises of transparency…this is too harsh.
What’s the brand of fabric softener this week? The euphemism brigade brings you this phrase: Public relations. It’s not a scandal. It’s not a violation of his sworn Oath of Office. No, it’s a public relations crisis. A narrative about how the White House manages perceptions and expectations.
It’s a story about how the White House is managing a crisis… of crisis management.
Do you have a headache yet? Here, rest your head on a soft pillow. Courtesy of the LA Times.
In case you can’t make it to their thoughtfully-nuanced concluding sentence, let me give away the ending.
“But he also argued that openness isn’t always the most important value — that sometimes the nation’s security is at stake. The challenge, he said, is in “striking the right balance.”
Now that we’re striking the right balance…don’t you feel better?
Caught in a public relations crisis, the administration has released internal emails and details of closed-door discussions. But the sharing has still been selective.
The Obama administration is caught in a public relations crisis, sharing too little and too late after a promise to be the most open presidency in American history.
WASHINGTON — The White House decided to release internal emails about the deadly attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya — but only after summaries of the exchanges had leaked.
The president’s spokesman disclosed details of closed-door discussions about a report that found the IRS targeted conservative groups — but did so in a drip-drip-drip fashion that only raised more questions.
And in a speech meant to expose the top-secret drone program to public examination, President Obama shrouded key details, such as whether the CIA would still use drones.
Caught up in a public relations crisis, White House officials have drawn open a few curtains, revealing once-secret documents and answering queries that they would ordinarily have dismissed with an eye roll.
But the sharing has been selective and done under duress. It has come in fits and starts to an administration that promised to be the most open in American history.
Many allies of the president think that with this burst of sunshine he has arrested the run of bad news and taken charge of the “narrative.” Even in some Obama-friendly quarters, though, the sharing is seen as too little and too late, and all the more disappointing for the high hopes Obama had set for transparency at the outset of his presidency.
Civil liberties advocates are disappointed that Obama’s drone speech glossed over some of the more difficult legal and moral aspects of targeted killings. The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, a Democrat, questioned the candor of former officials at the Internal Revenue Service.
Lanny Davis, who handled scandals for the Clinton White House, has been critical of the Obama administration.
“The nontransparency instinct of the Obama White House is more about not understanding effective, proactive crisis management,” said Davis, who remains an Obama supporter. “The idea is to inoculate by being transparent.”
President Clinton survived scandals with the help of advisors known for strategically leaking information that was damaging. One tactic was a document “dump” delivered Friday evening in the hope the story would be old news by Monday.
“You help write bad stories,” Davis said. “That’s counterintuitive. But you know this stuff is coming out, so it’s to your advantage to get it all out quickly, all completely, and make sure it’s over and done.”
Obama set out to do more than just play defense against scandal. Right after taking office, he sent a memo to federal agencies and promised an “unprecedented level of openness in government.” His was the first modern administration to release White House visitor logs.
Before long, though, advocates for open government began to complain that the administration was resisting public records requests and going after whistle-blowers and leakers with vigor.
Then news broke that the Department of Justice had subpoenaed phone records of the Associated Press and emails of a Fox News journalist in pursuit of government leakers. The media peppered the White House with questions about its commitment to the 1st Amendment.
Obama aides went to work to allay concerns. They called in veterans of past administrations and campaigns to ask for advice. Democratic strategists say they talked about candor.
Tad Devine, senior advisor to former Democratic presidential nominees Al Gore and John F. Kerry, thinks the Obama team is embracing the idea. “They understand that by putting out a lot of information they reduce the risk that the Republicans can convince people and the press that they are hiding something,” Devine said. “They also understand that time is their enemy in dealing with issues of this nature.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has recently entertained a much wider variety of questions, disclosing names of senior staffers involved in internal meetings and even talking about a conversation he had with Obama about media freedoms. He usually declines to “read out” such events.
Still, administration officials let their account of the IRS troubles evolve — particularly regarding the question of when the White House learned the agency was inappropriately targeting groups that sought tax-exempt status by singling out those with the words “tea party” or “patriots” in their applications.
The White House has struggled to “give accurate information on a timely basis,” said Martha Joynt Kumar, a political science professor at Towson University who studies the White House and its relationship with media.
“In this case, you can see they’ve been slow to gather the facts, and it has damaged them,” Kumar said. “It has kept the story rolling and makes it appears as though they’re not on top of it.”
More >> via the LA Times
Supreme Court: ‘There Is No Bar to this Nations Holding One of Its Own Citizens as an Enemy Combatant’Posted: April 22, 2013
Via William Kristol
A lawyer writes in:
One note about the “enemy combatant” controversy, including Jay Carney’s new dumb statement confusing “enemy combatant” status with “military commission” trials. Take a look at the Supreme Court’s decision in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004), the case that involved a U.S. citizen who was an enemy combatant.
The court plainly ruled in that case that U.S. citizens can be held as enemy combatants. The court’s four-justice plurality (which included O’Connor, Breyer, Kennedy, and Rehnquist) was unequivocal on this: “There is no bar to this Nation’s holding one of its own citizens as an enemy combatant.” And while the U.S. cannot hold an American enemy combatant “indefinitely,” it is a “clearly established principle of the law of war” that detention can last as long at the hostilities do.
Now, the Court later held (in Boumediene v. Bush (2008)) that persons deemed to be “enemy combatants” have a right to challenge that designation in court. But that did not change the court’s previous holding that U.S. citizens can be enemy combatants. Nothing in the law stops President Obama from determining whether Dzhokhar Tsarnaev an “enemy combatant.” It can go ahead and choose to try him in criminal court, rather than a military commission, but that’s a completely different question.
The White House has not held a press briefing in the last 15 days, according to records on the White House’s website. The last one was held on September 24, 2012, by White House press secretary Jay Carney.
- Hey, how come Jay Carney’s not holding televised press briefings anymore? (hotair.com)
- Why is the White House Schedule Empty? (dprogram.net)
- WH Won’t Comment on Prior Security Requests From Consulate (commentarymagazine.com)
- White House Disses Drudge Report: ‘Be Mindful of Your Sources’ (investmentwatchblog.com)