Wednesday morning round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesWhether you devour this post in one fell swoop or nibble at it throughout the day, I can guarantee you a lot of food for thought:

The VA scandal is gaining traction, as word comes out that the VA already knew back in 2010 that hospitals were manipulating records. Robert Petzel, the top health official for the Department of Veterans Affairs, has resigned ahead of his previously announced retirement, showing that at least someone understands that part of taking responsibility for a job is that you look like you’re getting fired, or fire yourself, when you fail in that role.

Obama, who has never worked in the private sector, still hasn’t figured out that ordinary people, accustomed to private sector job losses for workplace malfeasance, believe it’s appropriate for heads to roll. How else can one explain that, not only is Obama keeping on VA Secretary Ric Shinseki, he’s praising him for a job well done.

***

The risks from the VA scandal extend beyond any immediate political fallout. Indeed, it may be more damaging than Obama & Co. ever imagined, not because it reflects badly on them but because it reflects badly on their entire world view — namely, Big Government:

Because the Democratic party simply is the party of government. It is the party that insists on the nobility, efficacy and intellectual superiority of government. The VA is at the intersection of all the things liberals insist are wise and good and just about government. It is government-run healthcare. It is the tangible fulfillment of a sacred obligation the government has with those who’ve sacrificed most for our nation. It is also the one institution and/or constituency that enjoys huge bipartisan support. The VA, rhetorically and politically, is more sacrosanct and less controversial than Medicare, Social Security, road building, the NIH, or public schools. We are constantly told that we could get so many wonderful, super-fantastic things done if only both sides would lay down their ideological blah blah blah blah and work together for yada yada yada. Well, welcome to the VA. How’s that working out for you?

***

Many commentators noticed that Jay Carney, when asked about the VA scandal, said the same thing he and the president have said about myriad scandals: “Hey, don’t ask us. We only learned about it on TV, just like the rest of you.”

You can tell that their feral little brains are thinking, “Yes! That should let them know that we had nothing to do with the scandal. It’s somebody else’s fault.”

It hasn’t seemed to occur to Obama or Carney that there’s another, better answer:  “The President was apprised yesterday about this issue and has already taken steps to deal with it.”  That answer would make the President sound like an executive, not an idiot. (Peter Wehner sees “epic incompetence” as the new presidential narrative.)

Jonathan S. Tobin sums up what the President’s chosen scandal tactic implies:

The fact that the White House resorted to what has become its standard second-term excuse for government scandal with a line about the president hearing about it on TV or by reading the newspapers raises serious questions about both his leadership and the intelligence of his staff. After all, surely it must have occurred to someone at the White House that using the same excuse about hearing of it in the media wasn’t likely to work after it had been employed with little success to distance him from the IRS and other scandals. Such intellectual laziness speaks to a West Wing that is both collapsing from intellectual fatigue as well as having acquired an almost complete contempt for both the press and public opinion.

***

While I’m on the subject of Obama’s incompetence, it seems that the intelligence community is pushing back against both that incompetence and the rank political dishonesty that sees that Obama administration falsely claiming that Islamic terrorism is declining, not increasing.

I feel very strongly that you shouldn’t get into pissing matches with the intelligence community because they probably know things about you that you would prefer no one else know. If this fight between the administration and intelligence heats up, I wonder if someone will start leaking interesting revelations about highly placed officials in the administration, including Obama himself.

***

James O’Keefe has an uncanny knack for exposing Leftist hypocrisy, corruption (financial, intellectual, and moral), and gross illegality.  He is back in spectacular style with a video showing three prominent Hollywood types agreeing to take money from an Arab oil sheikh (O’Keefe in disguise) in order to fund an anti-fracking film.

There’s nothing subtle about O’Keefe’s phony pitch, either. In a phone call with director Josh Tickell, O’Keefe explicitly states “My client’s interest is to end American energy independence; your interest is to end fracking. And you guys understand that?” Tickell is okay with that. “Correct. Yes, super clear,” he says.

While many people are shocked about environmentalists getting into bed with big oil in order to stop fracking, I was wondering more about their willingness to send money to Saudi Arabia, rather than to keep it at home.

Of course, O’Keefe just showed three fools in Hollywood. But what about the fact that real, not imaginary, Arab oil influence is huge in Washington, D.C. itself? Jeff Dunetz says that we need to pay attention to this very disturbing reality. Looking at the numbers, Dunetz points out that, not only is the UAE by far the biggest foreign lobby in D.C., the entire pro-Israel contribution (remember the “all powerful Jewish lobby” we keep hearing about?) is just 21% of the UAE’s contribution. Read the whole thing. It’s illuminating.

***

Chad Felix Greene, who is (I believe) gay, says that it’s not unreasonable for people to be wary of transgendered people. It’s not one of his best posts (he’s a very good writer, but this is a bit muddy because he tries to be respectful of all points of view, even as he challenges some of them), but my takeaway is this:

It’s not unreasonable to be dismayed when your chosen sexual partner reveals that he or she started out life as a member of the opposite sex.  This is true regardless of whether you’re homosexual or heterosexual.  Thus, both a man planning to bed a former man, or a gay man planning to bed a former woman, might be upset to learn about the partners gender history.

It is reasonable, however to refuse to deny the biological reality that underlies transgendered self-definition. Just because someone says “I am a woman,” doesn’t mean you have to pretend that the person once had or still has a penis. You can be respectful of that person’s self-identity (no bullying, teasing, or discriminating), but you don’t have to deny biological and historical reality.

***

Gay marriage is a done deal in America, folks. Although the Supreme Court addressed only the federal Defense of Marriage Act, courts across America are viewing that decision as a green light to overturn voters who said that, in their state, marriage is between a man and a woman. One really can’t blame the judges too much now that, years after those votes were originally cast, the same-sex marriage lobby’s endless advocacy means that 55% of Americans support gay marriage.

I’ve made it pretty clear that my opposition to gay marriage arises primarily because I foresee a coming clash between the First Amendment’s explicit guarantee that Americans have the right to exercise their religion freely and the newly created civil right to marry outside of the traditional boundaries of monogamous, heterosexual marriage. We already know that gay couples will sue business people who, for religious reasons, refuse to provide services for same-sex marriage ceremonies, although they are willing to do business with same-sex couples in all other matters. How long will it be before same-sex partners sue the Catholic Church or a Baptist ministry for violating their civil rights?

***

Spain has been Judenrein since 1492. That has done nothing to prevent the oldest hatred. (You can read more about Spain’s apparently atavistic antisemitism here.)

***

How can one resist Jonah Goldberg on “trigger warnings,” which are just the latest insanity to issue from America’s loony academic citadels? After noting that he doesn’t have a problem with obscure, privately run Leftist blog sites catering to every trigger from audio of snapping fingers to pictures of animals in wigs, Goldberg adds:

But as is so often the case, common sense is barely a speed bump for the steamroller of political correctness. Oberlin College’s Office of Equity Concerns advised professors to avoid such triggering subjects as racism, colonialism, and sexism. They soon rescinded it, perhaps because they realized that if such subjects become taboo, much of their faculty would be left with nothing to talk about.

***

While I’m quoting, I was just kvelling with glee over John Hinderaker’s masterful use of imagery and the English language in connection with Howard Dean’s lunatic claim that Republicans are no longer Americans:

A terrible sort of insanity has gripped the Democratic Party. On almost a daily basis, when you see the party’s leaders in action, you want to start edging toward the door, murmuring “Nice doggie. Nice doggie.”

[snip]

This is a very bad thing. We need two functional political parties, and these days the Democrats don’t get over the bar, no matter how low you set it.

[snip]

Reid and Pelosi are so low-rent that you feel embarrassed for them whenever you see them. Screening a video [about Charles and David Koch] that is sheer partisan libel in the United States Capitol–illegally, as best I can tell–is right up their alley.

Read the whole thing, please, both because it’s beautifully written and because it’s substantively informative and important.

***

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the fact that it was no surprise to me that the poorest of the poor aren’t rushing to sign up for Obamacare. Contrary to our middle class expectations, they don’t mind having the ER serve as their preferred provider. Getting top flight medical care for free on an as-needed basis is a better deal for them than having to pay a monthly fee (no matter how low) for some hard to reach little clinic that makes them jump through hoops just to see a dermatologist.

Thanks to Obamacare, it looks as if a significant number of formerly insured (i.e., people who lost their insurance because of Obamacare) are also finding that the ER is a good option. Some haven’t even tried to get new insurance. Some have gotten trapped in the Obamacare exchange. Some have been told that they’re the wrong sex. Some cannot accept the substandard care in their new, narrow coverage. Whatever the reason, they’re joining the bottom 1% in seeing the ER as first and best when it comes to medical treatment.

***

Monica Wehby, a pediatric neurosurgeon in Oregon, won the Republican party primary and will now challenge incumbent Democrat Jeff Merkley for Oregon’s Senate seat. No surprise, then, that Democrats have unearthed records showing that, in both a divorce and a contentious break-up with a boyfriend, the men contended that she was stalking, harassing, or even striking them. Neither sought restraining orders and the boyfriend has since become an enthusiastic (i.e., monied) supporter for her political campaign.

I’m dismissing the boyfriend stalking charge since he now supports her campaign. Whatever happened then, he clearly doesn’t think it affects Wehby’s ability to serve the people of Oregon and America.

The ex-husband charge (harassment and striking) intrigues me, because it reminds me very strongly of something that happened to a friend of mine. She and her husband were involved in a contentious divorce. Things came to a head when she went to his house (he owned it before they were married) to pick up some of her stuff. He refused to let her in, and said he would call the cops on her. She responded by yelling at him and swatting his chest.

You have to understand here that her soon-to-be ex stood at 6’2″ and was a burly man. My friend was 5’2″ and one of the physically weakest people I’ve ever met. She needed help lifting big binders. There was no possibility that she hurt or threatened him as she swatted him. Nevertheless, he had someone restrain her until the cops came along and then insisted that they arrest her.

My friend told me later that the cops apologized profusely for having to arrest her, because they recognized that the arrest was a travesty. Nevertheless, California law mandates that if a spouse says he was abused and demands that the alleged abuser gets arrested, then the alleged abuser must be arrested and prosecuted.

When the case went to trial, my friend was triumphantly acquitted and, I believe, the judge fined her ex for abusing both the divorce and criminal law processes.

That story makes me somewhat dubious about the claims from Wehby’s ex. In the context of a divorce, the problem nowadays isn’t just that one partner or another might become violent. It’s that one partner or another might lie about the other becoming violent.

***

She murdered two people and then lied about that fact when she came to America, got citizenship, and became an influential activist for Islamic interests in America. You and I might think that the victims in this case are the two dead men and the American people. Au contraire, my naive friends. She is the victim (of course).

***

The Marines are breathing a sigh of relief that one of their own finally got the recognition he deserved. Cpl. William Kyle Carpenter (ret.) will receive the Medal of Honor for throwing himself on a live grenade to save a comrade’s life. He was terribly injured in the blast.

Carpenter has mixed feelings about the honor:

“There are guys who I was with who didn’t come back, so it’s hard for me to wear this and have the spotlight on me the rest of my life when they lost their life on a hot, dusty field in Afghanistan and most people don’t even know their names,” Carpenter said. “Even at Walter Reed, I recovered with quadruple-amputees. How am I supposed to wear this knowing and seeing all the hardships that are much worse than mine that guys have gone through without any recognition?”

Carpenter sounds like a very worthy recipient for the nation’s highest military honor.  To fully appreciate just how worthy, check out this article and check out this video:

***

And to leave things on an equally uplifting, but somewhat more cheerful-in-a-silly-way note, here’s an adorable dancing two-year old. What I like particularly isn’t actually his dancing but is, instead, his “Vogue-ish” posing between dance moves:

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Comments

  1. says

    Feral little brains… I like that. These are after all urban machine politicians and their journolist lackeys (and no journolist is not a misspelling). I think sooner or later people will realize Obama is not a genius. Nor is David Axelrod. America was ready for Chicago lying thug politics and it simply got Chicago lying thug politics.
    Remember that the Democrats allowed Occupiers to destroy and occupy public place that weren’t theirs and that they are the least likely to contribute taxes to. Veterans who earned the monuments to them which were in public spaces that didn’t need to be closed were publicly crapped on. Those monuments belong to the veterans. They are thanks not a handout but under Obamaland you are just what is convenient to a low administration.
    Watch as they try to make this a racial issue and fail since so many minorities serve. Wake up people. All you have to lose are the low lifes jerking your chains.

  2. says

    Shinseki was the one that wanted 300k+ troops for Iraq. Maybe so he can have more body bags to prepare in his VA once he ascends to power? One should always imagine the worst the Left can do. Because the Left will surpass that imagination easily.
     
     

  3. Gringo says

    Jonah Goldberg quote:
    But as is so often the case, common sense is barely a speed bump for the steamroller of political correctness. Oberlin College’s Office of Equity Concerns advised professors to avoid such triggering subjects as racism, colonialism, and sexism. They soon rescinded it, perhaps because they realized that if such subjects become taboo, much of their faculty would be left with nothing to talk about.
     
    That is a howler. Which shows the lib PC contingent chasing their own tails. It is now tabu -our own chosen tabu, not the tabu of the troglodyte wingnuts- to avoid “triggering subjects.” Yet those very “triggering subjects” are what we obsess about. And our obsessing about these “triggering subjects” shows us how virtuous we are compared to the wingnuts.
    The libs keep pushing the fences. Two months ago, no one had ever heard about “triggering subjects.” Then it became the virtue de jour. No matter that it contradicted the previous virtue de jour, because all that counts is the current virtue de jour.
     
     

  4. says

    “How am I supposed to wear this knowing and seeing all the hardships that are much worse than mine that guys have gone through without any recognition?”
     
    A classic case of survivor’s guilt. The Vietnam veterans came home alone, never truly part of the unit since the unit would escape the battlefield on their own time (like Kerry).
     
    One way of dealing with this is to speak of one’s comrades in arms with pride, to carry on their teachings, and to keep their memories alive. While any single individual can do so for their comrades, it takes national recognition to push that through the limit. Thus one should not see a medal as a sign of individual recognition, but merely as a chance for one unit’s representative (and survivor) to speak for those that can no longer speak for themselves.
     
    When people ask you, “why do you have the Medal of Honor or what did you do to get that medal”, the answer is rather simple from an emotional context. You can always answer with, “the reason is because so and so made sure I survived and trained me well or what I did to get this is by keeping the memories of my comrade in arms alive in what I do”.
     
    But irregardless, most civilians will not understand the subtlety of these emotions and most people will not be able to answer the question. The question doesn’t make sense, after all, unless you have the right premises.
     
    A military must not only keep training readiness levels up beyond merely the paper fiction of war preparation, it must also save and preserve the souls and memories of the soldiers and fighters. A military without historical or traditional experience, is merely an empty husk of green rookies. Guilt, hate, regret, love, some of the most negative and most positive experiences are found on the battlefield, the line between death and life.
     
    The popular wisdom (for what that is worth) is that soldiers fight for their comrades. However, that’s not the entire picture. If soldiers only fought for their comrades in arms, they wouldn’t react so badly to Dear John letters nor would they fight in foreign countries for a country and family that’s not even close to the battlefield. War and battle is pain. In order to motivate people to join the fight, abstract or long term goals must be acquired, such as patriotism, or fighting for liberty, or making one’s family proud. But on the battlefield, to fight through the pain, requires a closer, more concrete reason for being there. Something that can be checked and tested all the time. Soldiers that only fight for their comrades are likely to desert, with their entire unit, or merely disobey orders and retreat from a battle to save themselves. Both are required, both are necessary. The priority or hierarchy of people’s motivations may be different, but it’s not the case that human beings can discard imagination for merely short term goals in life. Everyone, even the evil Leftists, need long term goals to live.
     

  5. says

    “You have to understand here that her soon-to-be ex stood at 6’2″ and was a burly man. My friend was 5’2″ and one of the physically weakest people I’ve ever met. She needed help lifting big binders. There was no possibility that she hurt or threatened him as she swatted him. Nevertheless, he had someone restrain her until the cops came along and then insisted that they arrest her.”
     
    Used to be the case that men, real men in command of themselves and thus in command of subordinate women and men, would have been too ashamed to let the public know they needed help with a woman or that a woman’s physical abilities required him to get external force to subdue her. It was the equivalent of needing help to go to the bathroom, tie your shoes, dress yourself, etc. Only kids needed that or weaklings.
     
    While there is always the possibility of injury, maiming, or death from physical contact (the only people that think otherwise are the ones that think it’s impossible to kill people using bare hands, absent strength), normally women need a really strong emotion or reason to use their max physical force: whereas males use physical force at the drop of the hat, for social competition reasons.
     
    People who are truly in command of themselves, can get people to do things their way, merely via force of will. Not force of arms, or force of the police, or a judge’s power.
     
    This is why I find it hilarious that Westerners consider themselves “educated” because of 4-12 years of formal education. If a person doesn’t even realize how humans and human society works, then what criteria are they “educated”? They aren’t.
     
    True freedom is when you win or fail because of how you use your personal power in the contest against other people. When people began to rely on courts and LEOs exclusively to anything else, they gave up that human freedom. They preferred to be equal under the law, but lost their liberty. The truly free aren’t equal. There are huge winners and huge losers. People felt pithy for women trapped in abusive relationships (so they elected Hussein to abuse all women, but that’s a tangent) so they wanted to use the power of society to help them. All that does is create dependency by women on society, instead of making women dependent on another person they can see and talk with.
     
    There are no such things as good systems, only good or bad people. If a system can keep and promote a lot of good people, whether you call it a dictatorship, a monarchy, or a democracy, then the total is good. But if the system is filled with bad people, then it might be the most so called “efficient” system in existence, but it would still be evil’s handmaiden.

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