Looking At The Complete Picture

Every now and then someone comes along who sums up a situation beautifully–succinctly and with humor. Victor Davis Hanson has done that in an article posted at American Greatness yesterday. The article is titled, “The Circus of Resistance.”

Here are a few wonderful observations by Professor Hanson:

Democratic senators vied with pop-up protestors in the U.S. Senate gallery to disrupt and, if possible, to derail the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. U.S. SenatorCory Booker (D-N.J.) played Spartacus, but could not even get the script right as he claimed to be bravely releasing classified information that was already declassified. I cannot remember another example of a senator who wanted to break the law but could not figure out how to do it.

Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), former Harvard Law Professor who still insists she is of Native American heritage, called for the president to be removed by invoking the 25th Amendment. Apparently fabricating an ethnic identity is sane, and getting out of the Iran deal or the Paris Climate Accord is insanity and grounds for removal.

…To cut to the quick, the op-ed was published to coincide with the latest Bob Woodward “according-to-an-unnamed-source” exposé, Fear. The intent of anonymous and the New York Times was to create a force multiplying effect of a collapsing presidency—in need of the Times’ sober and judicious handlers, NeverTrump professionals, and “bipartisan” Democrats of the sort we saw during the Kavanaugh hearing to “step in” and apparently stage an intervention to save the country.

Had the Woodward book not been in the news, neither would be the anonymous op-ed. And of course, the Times, in times before 2017, would never have published a insurrectionary letter from an unnamed worried Obama aide that the president was detached and listless—playing spades during the Bin Laden raid, outsourcing to Eric Holder the electronic surveillance of Associated Press journalists, letting Lois Lerner weaponize the IRS, and allowing his FBI, CIA, and Justice Department to conspire to destroy Hillary Clinton’s 2016 opponent.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. It is beautifully written. The article takes the time to remind us of past events as well as the current lunacy. It also reminds us that although President Trump often refers to some members of the press as ‘fake news,’ he has not followed in the steps of the previous administration by monitoring on the sly the communications of Associated Press reporters or the private emails of a Fox correspondent, or using his Justice Department and FBI hierarchy to delude a FISA court in order to spy on American citizens.

President Trump was elected by ordinary people like you and me who decided that we wanted our country back. The elites who like running things their way instead of our way do not approve. We will continue to see evidence of that for as long as President Trump is in office.

Intimidating The Press

Yesterday Peter Wehner at Commentary posted an article about the recent dust-up between President Obama’s White House and the press. He cites an article in the National Journal posted on Thursday and written by Ron Fournier. Mr. Fournier details some of his encounters with an official in the Obama White House.

The article at National Journal reports:

As editor-in-chief of National Journal, I received several e-mails and telephone calls from this White House official filled with vulgarity, abusive language, and virtually the same phrase that Politico characterized as a veiled threat. “You will regret staking out that claim,” The Washington Post reporter was told.

Once I moved back to daily reporting this year, the badgering intensified. I wrote Saturday night, asking the official to stop e-mailing me. The official wrote, challenging Woodward and my tweet. “Get off your high horse and assess the facts, Ron,” the official wrote.

Mr. Fournier responded with the following:

“I asked you to stop e-mailing me. All future e-mails from you will be on the record — publishable at my discretion and directly attributed to you. My cell-phone number is … . If you should decide you have anything constructive to share, you can try to reach me by phone. All of our conversations will also be on the record, publishable at my discretion and directly attributed to you.”

He has not heard from the official since. Cockroaches scatter when you turn on the light.

Mr. Fournier concludes at the end of his article:

This can’t be what Obama wants. He must not know how thin-skinned and close-minded his staff can be to criticism.

Peter Wehner at Commentary has a different conclusion:

I actually believe this conduct can be what Mr. Obama wants. He is himself quite thin-skinned and closed-minded, so it makes perfect sense for his staff to be as well. And while the press coverage they get often ranges from favorable to fawning, it is never good enough for them. The job of intimidation is a full-time one, after all, and it clearly works with some journalists.

One of the extraordinary talents the president has is projecting an image of decency and civility while giving home to staffers who are known for being abusive and threatening.

It’s perfectly appropriate to judge a president by his White House staff. And Ron Fournier has done us the favor of lifting the curtain, just a bit, on this one.

I truly believe that we currently have a White House full of Chicago thugs.

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Separating Truth From Fiction

Sequestration will take effect on Friday, March 1.To hear President Obama describe it, sequestration will be the end of life as we know it in America.

There were two articles posted in the Washington Post on Friday–one written by George Will and one written by Bob Woodward. George Will describes sequestration as a manufactured crisis, and Bob Woodward states that sequestration was initiated by Jack Lew, Rob Nabors, and President Obama (contrary to the claims of the President that it was the Republican’s idea).

George will reminds us that that USS Truman was delayed in deploying to the Persian Gulf. He is not convinced that this was necessary. He states:

The Defense Department’s civilian employment has grown 17 percent since 2002. In 2012, defense spending on civilian personnel was 21 percent higher than in 2002. And the Truman must stay in Norfolk? This is, strictly speaking, unbelievable.

George Will reminds us of previous crises that never quite materialized:

Remember when “a major cooling of the climate” was “widely considered inevitable” (New York Times, May 21, 1975) with “extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation” (Science magazine, Dec. 10, 1976) which must “stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery” (International Wildlife, July 1975)? Remember reports that “the world’s climatologists are agreed” that we must “prepare for the next ice age” (Science Digest, February 1973)? Armadillos were leaving Nebraska, heading south, and heat-loving snails were scampering southward from European forests (Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 27, 1974). Newsweek (April 28, 1975) said meteorologists were “almost unanimous” that cooling would “reduce agricultural productivity.”

We’ve been here before.

Bob Woodward reports:

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

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

Why does this matter?

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

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

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

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

Make no mistake–the purpose of all this panic is to create an atmosphere where Americans are willing to raise taxes–even on the middle class. The tax increases will be on everyone. The panic over sequestration is necessary to pave the way for those taxes.

As I said, we have been here before.

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Working Together Is Really Difficult If It’s Something You Don’t Want To Do

The Washington Examiner posted an article about two defining moments of the Obama Administration. Both moments explain why the Obama Administration does not seem to be able to find common ground with the Republicans.

The first defining moment came early in the first term:

As recounted in Bob Woodward‘s book “The Price of Politics,” just three days after he was inaugurated, Obama invited House Republicans to the White House to talk about how he could incorporate their ideas into the then-unwritten stimulus bill.

At the meeting, Minority Whip Eric Cantor distributed a five-point Republican stimulus plan that included tax cuts for the poorest Americans, tax cuts for small businesses, no taxes on unemployment benefits and a new homebuyer tax credit.

At the time, it was entirely possible that Obama could have taken some, or even one, of these ideas and included them in his almost $1 trillion stimulus plan. If he had, he surely would have gotten at least some Republican votes for his stimulus bill.

Instead, Obama told Cantor, “I can go it alone. … Look at the polls. The polls are pretty good for me right now. Elections have consequences. And Eric, I won.” Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, was even more frank: “We have the votes. F–k ’em.”

As a result, Obama’s final stimulus bill had zero Republican ideas in it. Not surprisingly, it also got zero Republican votes. The tone for Obama’s presidency had been set: all partisan scorched earth all the time. And it’s been that way ever since.

Unfortunately, things have not gotten better since then:

Obama’s secretary of the treasury was an odd choice for a negotiating point man to begin with. Boehner and other Republican leaders had previously called on Geithner to resign. His relationship with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., can best be described as confrontational. Geithner, and his perma-smirk, were not exactly signs that Obama was interested in a deal.

Sure enough, last Thursday the details of Geithner’s offer leaked. Not only did Geithner ask for $1.6 trillion in tax hikes (double what Obama campaigned on); not only did Geithner ask for new stimulus spending; not only did Geithner ask for an extension of “emergency” unemployment benefits; but he also asked for an infinite increase in the debt limit. That was the last real piece of leverage Republicans had.

The Geithner proposal completely killed any chance House Republican leaders had of convincing their members that Obama was an honest partner for anything — let alone major tax and entitlement reform.

I don’t know if we will be going over the fiscal cliff. I do know that a bad deal might be worse than no deal. It is unfortunate that America elected a President who does not seem to understand the concept of compromise.

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Everything I Thought I Knew About Watergate Probably Isn’t True

A few months ago I heard a snippet of an interview of someone who had written a book about Watergate (unfortunately I don’t remember the name of the book) and thought, “This contradicts everything I have ever heard or remember about the Watergate scandal.” Since then I have occasionally come across more information that makes me wonder about what I read and heard at the time. The interview I heard dealt with some of the connections between some of the main players and the political opponents of the Nixon administration. As we approach the 40th anniversary of the Watergate break-in, it seems as if more information is coming out.

Pat Buchanan posted an article at Human Events today which adds to the debate on what Watergate was actually about.

Mr. Buchanan points out:

During Watergate, Woodward and Bernstein sought to breach the secrecy of the grand jury. The Post lawyer, Edward Bennett Williams, had to go to see Judge John Sirica to prevent their being charged with jury tampering.
   
No breach had occurred, we were assured.
   
We were deceived. 
   
According to Himmelman, not only did Bernstein try to breach the grand jury, he succeeded. One juror, a woman identified as “Z,” had collaborated. Notes of Bernstein’s interviews with Z were found in Bradlee’s files.
   
Writes Himmelman: “Carl and Bob, with Ben’s explicit permission, lured a grand juror over the line of illegality …”
   
This means that either Woodward, Bernstein and Bradlee lied to Williams about breaching the grand jury, or the legendary lawyer lied to Sirica, or Sirica was told the truth but let it go, as all were engaged in the same noble cause — bringing down Nixon.
   
Who was that grand juror? Woodward, Bernstein and Bradlee know, but none is talking and no one is asking. The cover-up continues.

This is one of those situations where we may never know the truth. The biggest danger to us is assuming that everything we have heard or read so far is true. Hopefully the people involved in what happened after the Watergate break-in will begin to tell the entire story as they pass from the scene.

 

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