June 9, 2014

Senior WH Official to Ron Fournier: VA Not Overhauled Because ‘We Don’t Do Small Stuff Well’

In a Monday National Journal column about how many Democrats are allegedly saying they have “quit” on Obama — claims I find quite hollow, given that no one asserting this has yet had the guts to go on the record — Ron Fournier quotes “a senior White House official” with a head-shaking take on the Veterans Administration scandal.

Specifically, “Questioning why the Veterans Affairs Department hadn’t been overhauled months ago as promised by Obama (actually that was seven years ago, plus six other times, Ron — Ed.), a senior White House official conceded privately to me, ‘We don’t do the small stuff well. And the small stuff is the important stuff.’” If the VA is “small,” what in the world is big? And for that matter, what have these people done well, big or small? I suspect that the rest of the press, and Fournier himself, would be absolutely livid if they became aware of such an ignorant statement made by someone in a Republican or conservative administration.

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So Much For the Supposedly Stronger Bounceback After the First-Quarter Contraction

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:01 pm

Via the AP’s Christopher Rugaber:

That weak first quarter (GDP) reading (of an annualized -1.0 percent) has caused many economists to lower their expectations for 2014 as a whole. The NABE (National Association of Business Economists) survey found that economists now project growth will be just 2.5 percent this year, down from a forecast of 2.8 percent in March.

The new forecast is still slightly above the annual average growth rate of about 2.2 percent since the recession ended in June 2009 and up from 1.9 percent in 2013. But stronger growth is needed to accelerate hiring and boost wage growth, which has been weak by historical standards.

B-b-b-b … But I thought the first quarter contraction meant that even more growth would be pushed into the second quarter and the rest of the year. What happened?

Answer: Fundamental Obamanomics — not the weather.

The press is still ignoring the GDP-related impact of March’s deeper than originally reported trade imbalance and steep revision to first-quarter productivity. If those have the impact one would expect, the first-quarter contraction reported later this month will be deeper, meaning that it will take longer for whatever growth occurs during the rest of the year to offset it.

Juan Williams Compares Bowe Bergdahl, Who Won’t Talk to His Family, to Biblical Prodigal Son

Both Time and the Wall Street Journal have reported that Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier released by his Afghan captors in exchange for five hardened Gitmo terrorists — or, in the alternative universe of the Los Angeles Times, five guys aged 43 to 47 who “are pretty old now” — will not contact his parents (WSJ’s headline says he “has declined to speak to his family”).

That news broke several hours after Fox News’s Juan Williams appeared on Chris Wallace’s Fox News Sunday and compared Bowe Bergdahl to the biblical prodigal son. The analogy didn’t even work at that point, as RedState poster Aaron Gardner explained this morning. Video of Williams’s wacky whine follows the jump:

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‘Cloward-Piven at the Border’

Filed under: Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:09 pm

John Hayward at Human Events “stole” my line.

Unfortunately, I haven’t used it in a post yet, so it’s fair game.

The term perfectly describes the planned madness at the border (links are in original; bolds are mine):

CLOWARD-PIVEN AT THE BORDER

Back in the Sixties, Marxists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven came up with a great strategy for overloading and collapsing democratic welfare states, paving the way for socialist tyranny.  Basically, the idea was to hit the system with a tidal wave of demands it couldn’t refuse, and couldn’t possibly fulfill.  The Left would then insist that the moral argument for the system remained intact, so the only way to meet those impossible demands was to scrap every vestige of Constitutional restraint and republican self-government, instituting a totalitarian system that in theory would forcibly restructure society to promote “fairness” and give all those government dependents what they “deserve.”  (In practice, of course, what you actually get is an iron-fisted dictatorship that cooks up reports to make itself look good, or simply tells the unhappy citizens to shut up and obey when things deteriorate to the point that no volume of phony reports can paper over the problems – say, when the glorious worker’s paradise of Venezuela runs out of tap water.)

Cloward and Piven were specifically interested in replacing welfare programs with a government-guaranteed annual income for everyone – an idea that still emerges from the more absurd quarters of the Left occasionally – but the basic idea of overloading the republican system and replacing it with centrally-planned tyranny can be applied in many different ways.  Take a look at the humanitarian crisis on the southern border, which I wrote about two weeks ago.  It has since burst onto the front pages with some astonishing stories, including leaked photos of illegal alien children – many of them 12 years old and younger – “warehoused” in overcrowded facilities, where there are growing concerns about sanitation and disease.  CBS News in Houston writes of unaccompanied minors sleeping on plastic boards in a Nogales, Arizona warehouse after being flown in from south Texas.  According to some estimates, there are nearly a thousand children in that warehouse now.

… This tidal wave of illegals is not an accident, and not entirely a result of conditions in Central America (which have deteriorated lately, but were already bad enough to inspire any sane person to seek a new life elsewhere.)  These people were summoned.  And now that they’re here, the system is collapsing beneath their weight.  In addition to the refugees flown to Arizona in the CBS News story above, the El Paso Times reports two planeloads of illegals arriving for processing.  ”The vast majority of individuals transferred were family units from Central America and Mexico with children,” according to an El Paso official.

… even though the Obama Administration had every reason to know they were coming, the immigration system was curiously unprepared to deal with them.  Cloward-Piven tactics work even better when the system is hollowed out and made ready for speedy collapse.

… the situation is dropped in our laps as a done deal, a fait accompli.  They’re here, they can’t be deported, there’s nothing we can do except give the amnesty chorus at least part of what it wants.  Turning this into a deliberate humanitarian crisis was a political power play.

Read the whole thing.

Apparently there’s no limit to the mayhem Barack Obama can and will unilaterally cause, and no limit to what he can do without substantive pushback from the House, the legislative body which, after all, is supposed to control the purse strings.

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (060914)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow. Other topics are also fair game.

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Propagandize much? Updating Saturday morning’s post (“Freed Taliban ‘Pretty Old Guy’ Says He’ll Fight Again the Day After LA Times Minimize Dangers”) — emailer Gary Hall informs me that the Times posted a longer item with a more dissembling headline on the same topic (“Most of 5 freed Taliban prisoners have less than hard-core pasts”) just a couple of hours later, and that the longer item is what made it to the paper’s front page.

Positivity: Nun wins ‘The Voice Italy,’ leads crowd in Our Father

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Rome (video at link):

Jun 6, 2014 / 10:22 am

In an emotional finale decided by Italian TV viewers, 25 year-old Sister Cristina Scuccia won the 2014 edition of The Voice Italy on June 5.

The Ursuline Sister of the Holy Family captivated millions with her talent and charisma. Upon winning 62 percent of the final vote, she told the audience, “I want Jesus to enter into here,” and led the crowds in praying an Our Father.

“I wish to thank everyone, my sisters, all the people who have supported me at this moment,” Sister Cristina said when she was announced the winner. She explained that her presence on the program was not about herself, but about “the one who is above. My ultimate gratitude is to the one on high.”

Sister Cristina’s mentor, J-Ax, said that the experience has been “incredible” and voiced hope that “this small change we have made together will allow you to go on. My advice, as I told you before, is that you can change things and be an important example out there.”

As was the case throughout the competition, Sister Cristina was accompanied during the finale by members of her community and her own family. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

NYT Goes After Bergdahl’s ‘Raggedy’ Unit Again, This Time in a Sunday Page A1 Report

On Thursday, the editorial board at the New York Times, reacting to the growing firestorm over the release of five hardened terrorists from Gitmo in return for the Army’s Bowe Bergdahl, went after Bergdahl’s “army unit’s lack of security and discipline.” It then incredibly claimed that a classified army report described in a separate Times dispatch that day suggested that those alleged conditions were “as much to blame for the disappearance” of Bergdahl as … well, the sloppy editorial didn’t specifically say.

On Sunday, two Times reporters continued the offensive against Bowe Bergdahl’s platoon and its members, apparently wanting readers to believe that the unit’s occasionally “raggedy” attire and alleged poor leadership somehow explain Bergdahl’s “disappearance.”

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