Hat Tip: BB
Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber and his Obamacare comic book for stupid Americans.
Net neutrality: Throttling innovation, for the greater good
The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.
“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.” – Thucydides
“They have healed also the hurt of my people lightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace”. – Jeremiah 6:14
“Let there be no mistake. We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated.” – Canadian PM Stephan Harper, addressing the nation after the Ottawa jihad attack on parliament, Oct. 23, 2014
“Only the dead have seen the end of war.” – George Santayana
This week’s winning essay, Joshuapundit’s – The Day The World Stopped, was written on Armistice Day (called Remembrance Day in Canada, Australia, the UK and other parts of the Commonwealth) and consists of my reflections on that day, then and now. Here’s a slice:
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
– Lt. Colonel John McCrae, Canadian Army Medical Corps (1872-1918)
The poem above is a product of World War One, the great scar of history that changed the world and differentiated between ages. As you can tell by the dates, the writer became one of the millions who died in the carnage.
96 years ago today, November 11, 1918 started out as a day like any other day. Men sat in their trenches, looking at each other over the blasted and tormented ground that was No Man’s Land where so many of their comrades had fallen, where the very earth was gorged with blood and pain.
According to the accounts of those who were present, there was no air of celebration. The orders had come through that the Great War was to end on November 11th, 1918 at precisely 11 AM local time, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, but many of the soldiers refused to believe it, thinking it was a trick to lure them into exposing themselves to enemy fire.
The gods of war held sway until the last minute. Among the soldiers of the British Commonwealth,there are 863 who are recorded as having died on that November 11th. The constant din of machine guns, cries, small arms fire and artillery continued.
Colonel Thomas Gowenlock, who served as an intelligence officer in the American 1st Division was in the trenches that day.The orders had come through, but no one was completely certain they would be obeyed by either side, or that the armistice would last:
Official Radio from Paris – 6:01 A.M., Nov. 11, 1918. Marshal Foch to the Commander-in-Chief.
1. Hostilities will be stopped on the entire front beginning at 11 o’clock, November 11th (French hour).
2. The Allied troops will not go beyond the line reached at that hour on that date until further orders.
Colonel Gowenlock wrote later that he drove over to the bank of the River Meuse to see if the war would really end. He wrote later that even with the orders for an armistice, the shelling was heavy on both sides.
“It seemed to me that every battery in the world was trying to burn up its guns. At last eleven o’clock came – but the firing continued. The men on both sides had decided to give each other all they had-their farewell to arms. It was a very natural impulse after their years of war, but unfortunately many fell after eleven o’clock that day.”
“…at the front there was no celebration. Many soldiers believed the Armistice only a temporary measure and that the war would soon go on. As night came, the quietness, unearthly in its penetration, began to eat into their souls. The men sat around log fires, the first they had ever had at the front. They were trying to reassure themselves that there were no enemy batteries spying on them from the next hill and no German bombing planes approaching to blast them out of existence. They talked in low tones. They were nervous.
After the long months of intense strain, of keying themselves up to the daily mortal danger, of thinking always in terms of war and the enemy, the abrupt release from it all was physical and psychological agony. Some suffered a total nervous collapse. Some, of a steadier temperament, began to hope they would someday return to home and the embrace of loved ones. Some could think only of the crude little crosses that marked the graves of their comrades. Some fell into an exhausted sleep. All were bewildered by the sudden meaninglessness of their existence as soldiers – and through their teeming memories paraded that swiftly moving cavalcade of Cantigny, Soissons, St. Mihiel, the Meuse-Argonne and Sedan.
What was to come next? They did not know – and hardly cared. Their minds were numbed by the shock of peace. The past consumed their whole consciousness. The present did not exist-and the future was inconceivable.” *
We, who have grown up with the memory of wars like Vietnam with its 50,000 dead and Iraq with its 4,000 can barely conceive of what 5 years of total, merciless war was like. A whole social order overturned and a generation literally cancelled out, with over one million dead from the British Commonwealth and Empire, almost a million and a half Frenchmen, over one hundred thousand Americans and over 2 million Germans – something like 10 million military dead on both sides, and probably 6-7 million civilians who joined them.
It was a horror so complete that for the men who fought it, it became a way of life to the point where many of them had difficulty adjusting to any other, even if they survived.When the guns stopped it was as if the world had stopped.
And yet, as Lt. Colonel McCrae’s poem tells us, that sacrifice was not meaningless. And today is a day to remember that.
In Canada, where Veteran’s Day is called Remembrance Day, there was a special ceremony.
In Britain and Australia, Canada and other Commonwealth countries, today is known as Remembrance Day, a name that dates from the Great War so many never came home from. The red poppies, mentioned in Lt. Colonel McCrae’s poem are a symbol worn by millions – to remember.
Today, Canadians rededicated their memorial to those whom fell in the Great War in honor of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who were casualties of a newer war..one as yet undeclared, but no less of a sacrifice for freedom.
The Canadians are not the only ones who have lost men and women to this undeclared war that, at least here in America, doesn’t dare speak its name..not yet. Instead, there are attempts to hide it behind names like ‘workplace violence.’
There are defining moments in history. Sometimes, many of the men and women involved in them are aware of it as much as those whom come after them. Others remain unseeing of what is unfolding, and it is only revealed to them later.
We are in the middle of such a defining moment, whether we realize it or not.
More at the link.
In our non-Council category, the winner was Andrew McCarthy in the NRO with Amnesty and Impeachment, submitted by Nice Deb.
McCarthy, a very skilled former federal prosecutor as well as a brilliant writer (full disclosure… I’m halfway through my review copy of his new book, Faithless Execution), answers the question on many people’s minds right now – if President Obama orders amnesty for illegal migrants by executive order, can he be impeached? His answer may surprise you.
Here are this week’s full results. Only The Razor was unable to vote this week, but was not subject to the 2/3 vote penalty for not voting:
- *First place with 3 2/3 votes! – Joshuapundit – The Day The World Stopped
- Second place with 2 votes – The Right Planet – Ignoring Communism’s Crimes Against Humanity
- Third place with 1 2/3 votes – Bookworm Room – America’s morality vacuum – if you’re the right victim class, if it feels good, do it
- Fourth place with 1 1/3 votes – The Noisy Room – America’s Fire Sale – BlackEnergy Cyberterrorism – ‘Trojan Horse’ Bug Lurking in Vital US Computers Since 2011
- Fifth place with 1 vote – Simply Jews – On the American political discourse: the poisonous bitterness of the losers
- Sixth place with 2/3 vote – VA Right! – My ‘Citizen’s Time’ Comments at the Hanover School Board Meeting on the 9/11 “Blame America” Video
- Seventh place *t* with 1/3 vote – The Independent Sentinel – Obama Moves to Make the Internet a Public Monopoly
- Seventh place *t* with 1/3 vote – GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD – Dear Supreme Leader
- *First place with 3 votes! – Andrew McCarthy/NRO – Amnesty and Impeachment submitted by Nice Deb
- Second place with 1 2/3 votes – Sultan Knish – The Democratic Party’s Civil War Is Here submitted by The Independent Sentinel
- Third place *t* with 1 1/3 votes – Isi Liebler – Obama Is Seeking A Confrontation With Israel submitted by The Watcher
- Third place *t* with 1 1/3 votes – Daniel Greenfield/Frontpage Mag – Are You There Allah? It’s Me, John Kerry submitted by The Noisy Room
- Fourth place *t* with 1 vote – The Navy Times – China Truth-Teller Fired by U.S. Navy submitted by GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD
- Fourth place *t* with 1 vote – Texpatriate – Texas Will Never Turn Blue submitted by Rhymes with Right
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote – Anne’s Opinions – Outrageous Outrage Over The Temple Mount submitted by Simply Jews
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 votes – Points And Figures – The State of Illinois Has Hope, and Needs Change submitted by The Glittering Eye
- Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote – Kurt Schlichter – A Massive, Humiliating And Awesome Rejection submitted by Joshuapundit
See you next week!
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum and every Tuesday morning, when we reveal the week’s nominees for Weasel of the Week!
And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.
It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it… or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.
By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber’s comments regarding the “stupidity of the American voter” necessitating legislators to craft the Obamacare law in such a way that voters wouldn’t understand its impact, have sparked outrage, mostly from conservatives. But while Americans are focusing on comments that Gruber has now retracted, they should also pay attention to the real misinformation that he has been peddling about the signature health care legislation all along.
“He called you stupid,” writes Ron Fournier for National Journal. “He admitted that the White House lied to you. Its officials lied to all of us—Republicans, Democrats, and independents; rich and poor; white and brown; men and women,” and that “the law never would have passed if the administration had been honest about the fact that the so-called penalty for noncompliance with the mandate was actually a tax.”
“Liberals should be the angriest,” said Fournier. He said that he has “to admit, as a supporter, that Obamacare was built and sold on a foundation of lies. No way around it.” We say, welcome to Obamaland. It’s not just Obamacare, it’s pretty much everything they are selling. But it’s good to see someone from the mainstream media acknowledging this, however belated it may be. Actually, Fournier has been one of the more honest members of the liberal media. Hopefully, this will help inform his judgment on other issues as well, such as the IRS and Benghazi scandals.
But Gruber’s initial comments about this legislation’s authors deceiving voters haven’t generally received attention in the mainstream media. Most have ignored it. Howard Kurtz, host of the Fox News Channel’s “Media Buzz” went on “The O’Reilly Factor” and called it a “virtual blackout,” and “inexcusable” how the media have ignored this story. Others are trying to spin it to help the Obama administration. The Washington Post, for example, has praised Gruber as “the man who’s willing to say what everyone else is only thinking about Obamacare.” And New York Times writer Josh Barro went on MSNBC and justified Gruber’s comments, saying, “So, the public puts politicians in a position where the only thing they can do to make the public happy is lie and so, people lied.” Apparently, the ends justified the means for Barro. Anything to get the President’s signature health reform through Congress.
As Rush Limbaugh said, imagine how the media would have reacted if a former George W. Bush adviser had said they had lied about weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, because Americans were too stupid to otherwise support going to war to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
Gruber backed away from his “stupidity of the American voter” contention in an appearance on “The Ronan Farrow” show on MSBNC, saying he spoke “off the cuff” at an academic conference and “inappropriately.” But this isn’t the first time he’s used that excuse.
“I think what’s important to remember politically about this is, if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits,” Gruber said to a small audience in 2012 during a controversy that erupted this July, according to The Washington Post. “But your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying to your citizens, you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country.”
“The comments, which were made during a question-and-answer session two years ago, appeared to corroborate a claim by the law’s detractors that the federal government intentionally coerces the states into creating their own exchanges by withholding funding if states fail to do so,” reports Jose A. DelReal for The Washington Post. Gruber claimed at the time his comments were “off-the-cuff” and therefore should be dismissed, just like this time.
In explaining his most recent gaffe during the MSNBC appearance, Gruber said, “This is something we see going back, actually, through the Clinton and Bush presidencies, which is that public policy that involves spending is typically less politically palatable than policy that involves doing things through the tax code.”
Gruber’s MSNBC appearance was artfully done, a clearly scripted performance, likely using a teleprompter. His eyes appeared to read left to right as he butchered the word “palatable” on television, in a performance reminiscent of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s “myzled” gaffe from last year, when she was caught misreading an answer from a teleprompter on MSNBC. Has MSNBC sunk so low that it rehearses statements with high-profile favored guests like Gruber to ensure that their speakers’ messages get out properly and they don’t mess up spontaneously on air?
There can be no other explanation for Gruber’s pronunciation of palatable as pu-LATE-able, other than that he was reading it from a teleprompter. After all, he is an MIT professor. See him pronounce it here at the 1:58 mark, but you should listen to the whole interview. One might call such shenanigans the delivery of packaged press releases instead of news. Or perhaps helping to walk back an ideological ally from going off the ledge, and taking Obamacare with him.
Gruber moved on to comment to Farrow about the Supreme Court’s recent decision to take up King v. Burwell, calling the debate over whether the law allows the federal government to allocate subsidies through the federal exchanges as based upon a “typo.” “It’s not really tortured language, it’s just a typo,” he argued. He blamed former Senator Scott Brown’s (R-MA) election for gridlock and the inability to put the Senate bill through conference. Therefore, he argues, the “typos” in the law were not eliminated before the Senate version was passed.
Accuracy in Media predicted earlier this year that this debate over federal subsidies could go to the highest court in the land. This is not just about whether this lawsuit “guts” Obamacare, but whether law will be interpreted based upon its plain language, making it a more than appropriate subject of inquiry for the Supreme Court.
The liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, on the other hand, accuses the judges of political corruption for taking up the case in the first place. “Judges who support this cruel absurdity aren’t stupid; they know what they’re doing,” he writes. “What they are, instead, is corrupt, willing to pervert the law to serve political masters. And what we’ll find out in the months ahead is how deep the corruption goes.”
Krugman’s argument is also based upon the idea that this is just a “typo” in the law. Slate Magazine classifies it as just a “glitch.” “That could change on account of a glitch in the ACA, which can be read to say that you can only get a subsidy if you signed up on a state-managed exchange,” reports Slate. “If the Supreme Court signs off on this interpretation, the federal government cannot subsidize insurance for the less well-off in any state that has declined to set up its own exchange.”
“Subsidies, in the form of tax credits, are a crucial element of the Affordable Care Act,” reported The New York Times earlier this year. “Without them, insurance would be unaffordable to millions of Americans.”
What these subsidies are, in reality is a form of taking from the rich or the healthy to give to the poor or the sick. If that’s what the backers of the law wanted, they should have said so, and gone ahead and passed it honestly, instead of through a series of known-to-be lies.
And the allocation of subsidies to citizens within states without exchanges is hardly a debate about a typo, argues Professor Jonathan Adler of Case Western University. “The one appellate court to agree with Krugman conceded ‘there is a certain sense to the plaintiffs’ position’” that subsidies are only for states with exchanges, writes Adler. “Yet, according to Krugman, only those who are ‘hostile’ and ‘corrupt’ could reach such a conclusion.”
Adler roasts Krugman, and pundits who call the plaintiffs’ case based upon a “typo.”
“This is a popular argument among pundits, but it’s not made by the government or more knowledgeable legal experts—and for good reason: It’s a weak argument,” writes Adler. “The government’s strongest argument is not that there is a typo, but that the entire statute, construed as a whole, allows for what the IRS did, even if only because the text is sufficiently ambiguous to allow for the IRS’s interpretation.”
But the reality is that the language is in there for one specific reason. It was demanded by then-Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE), for his 60th vote to pass the legislation. He saw it as a way to incentivize states to form exchanges, and not rely on the federal government’s exchange. So it wasn’t a typo—which is when you type something by mistake—it was a concession.
Another popular talking point for pundits is the idea that 10 million people have gotten health care under Obamacare so far. This is a highly deceptive number, as it takes into account the Medicaid expansion, as well as counting those people who lost (or left) their private and employer health insurance to join the exchange. In other words, some of the counted persons were already insured, and now get their insurance under Obamacare instead.
Gruber continued the myth that 10 million people had gained health insurance in his MSBNC appearance, as well. But the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal estimates that there is a “net increase in private-sector coverage” of 2.46 million people. That’s a long way from 10 million.
Besides, how many people are paying higher premiums, higher deductibles, have lost their network or primary care doctor, have had to accept a part-time job instead of a full-time job because that is what the perverse incentives of Obamacare have created? And what about the 30 to 40 million who were uninsured when this process started?
We’ll also find out shortly if they have solved their computer issues during the past seven months that enrollment was shut down. And don’t forget the 20,000-plus pages of “regulations” and taxes piled onto Obamacare after the bill became law.
To add to the Democrats’ embarrassment, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)—who said during the legislative process that “We have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it,”—is now denying even knowing who Jonathan Gruber is, and saying that he didn’t help write the law. But thanks to videotape and the Internet, Fox News has shown that Pelosi’s office issued a press release that cited Gruber by name for his analysis, and she referred to him during a press conference. It’s possible that she just forgot, but either way, it added to Obamacare’s very bad week.
As Gruber admits, pundits, architects, and supporters of Obamacare tried to deceive the American voter through obtuse, tortured legislative language at the time of its passage. But the decision to conceal the real failures of Obamacare didn’t stop when the law passed; such efforts are ongoing.
By: Diana West
There are several ways to see the National Cathedral’s decision to host Islamic Friday prayers this week.
First, the facts. The service is the brainchild of the Rev. Canon Gina Campbell, the Episcopal cathedral’s director of liturgy, and South African Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool, a Muslim, who is delivering the sermon. Invitation-only guests include Masjid Muhammad of The Nation’s Mosque, representatives of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).
That’s some roster if playing “Spot the Muslim Brotherhood Front” is a hobby. Clearly, it’s not the professionals’ pursuit. On being quizzed by the Daily Caller, for example, cathedral spokesman Craig Stapert had no idea that two of the invited groups were unindicted co-conspirators in the landmark Holy Land Foundation Hamas-financing trial.
A kewpie doll to the reader who can pick out the unindicted co-conspirators in the cathedral’s guest list (ISNA and CAIR — right!). A cigar to anyone who knows the name of the man who is both ISNA president and ADAMS executive director (Mohamed Magid). And which group tops the “list of our organizations and the organizations of our friends” in the Muslim Brotherhood document explaining the “Civilization-Jihadist Process” underway in the U.S.?
Here’s another hint. The U.S. government entered this “Explanatory Memorandum” into evidence during the 2009 Holy Land Foundation trial. It explains that the organization’s secret “work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by (Westerners’) hands and by the hands of believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” The answer, of course, is ISNA.
Speaking of the Muslim Brotherhood, here’s a bonus question: Where did the first delegation of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to visit the U.S. make a beeline from the airport to visit? The residence of South Africa’s Ebrahim Rasool, reports South African news site City Press.
Conservative media, noting the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas links of the cathedral invitees, quickly dubbed the prayer service “Islamist,” which they define as a radical fringe separated from Islam’s vast mainstream by the “Islamist’s” adherence to sharia.
Is this correct? Not according to an array of polls that show that solid majorities of Muslim populations in the Islamic world (Pew) and in Europe (Gustav Stresemann Foundation) want to live under sharia. Even in the United States (Wenzel Strategies), 39 percent of Muslims wish to be judged by sharia, while one in eight believe parodies of Islam should be punishable by death. (Nine percent were undecided!)
Meanwhile, the Episcopal Church blindly, blithely thinks the cathedral’s Islamic service “demonstrates an appreciation of one another’s prayer tradition.”
In fact, it is against Islamic law for Muslims to hold Christianity or Judaism in the same regard the Episcopal Church is now showing Islam. Indeed, Islamic law “abrogates” (cancels) Christianity and Judaism as “previously revealed religions (that) were valid in their own eras,” but are no longer — not after the advent of Islam in the 7th century.
I am quoting above from “Reliance of the Traveller,” the authoritative Sunni law book, which, in explaining the “finality” of Islam (page 846), asserts that it is “unbelief (kufr) to hold that remnant cults now bearing the names of formerly valid religions, such as ‘Christianity’ or ‘Judaism,’ are acceptable to Allah” post-Mohammed. (“Unbelief,” meanwhile, is an act of Islamic apostasy and punishable by death.) Clearly, no devout Muslim can show “appreciation” for the “prayer tradition” of a “remnant cult.” The sharia textbook is definitive about this point, adding: “This is a matter over which there is no disagreement among Islamic scholars.”
Not surprisingly, then, Ebrahim Rasool’s prayer-service statement conveys no interfaith reciprocity. Instead, he presses the need to “embrace our humanity and to embrace faith” — not “our faiths” (plural). As usual, Islamic “outreach” is a one-way, non-ecumenical street.
But how could it be otherwise, according to Islam’s own teachings? Islamic expert Andrew Bostom notes that the Koranic prayers Muslims recite daily and specifically on Fridays “include, prominently, Koran suras (chapters) 1, 87 and 88.” Sura 1, verse 7, he notes, is repeated up to 17 times per day by observant Muslims. It calls on Allah to guide Muslims “to the straight path, to the path of those you have blessed, not those who incurred (Your) wrath, nor of the misguided.” The former group (“wrath”) is Jewish; the latter (“misguided”) is Christian.
This is not exactly a “prayer tradition” that encourages the “appreciation” Episcopalians undoutbedly expect.
It gets worse – at least for Christians and Jews. Typically, Friday “Jum’ah” prayers, following Mohammed’s own example, include Suras 87 and 88, Bostom explains. These verses are almost palpably acrid with hell-fire and humiliation for Christians and Jews, according to authoritative Koranic commentaries.
Most conservatives will look at this cathedral event as a milestone for “Islamism” — as though Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations and their activities have little intersection with Islam itself.
Does that make sense? Not when the anti-Christianity, anti-Judaism law under consideration here is itself Islamic — as quintessentially Islamic as the prayers themselves. And not when sharia is the codifed mainstay of Islam.