Category Archive 'Lies'
03 May 2014

Why the Benghazi Cover-up?

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BenghaziPuzzle

Victor Davis Hanson has several theories. I like this one.

Blaming the filmmaker offered liberals the chance to affirm that reactionaries and bigots are the source of much of the world’s troubles. Therefore, jailing Mr. Nakoula was loud validation of the Obama Administration’s progressive, multicultural bona fides, and proof that Obama has zero tolerance for such “hate speech.” That narrative became important for practical reasons as well: did the Administration really wish to defend itself from the charge that it had arrested and jailed Nakoula on a trumped up parole violation when his video had nothing to do with violence in Libya? Moreover, by blaming a filmmaker, the administration de facto conceded that some sort of unjustified provocation had occurred, as if reactionary “hate speech” earns retribution that falls on the innocent.

Read the whole thing.

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Jonah Goldberg tackles the same question.

There is an enormous amount of theorizing about what the “real story” behind Benghazi really is. To me it’s always been obvious. The White House was caught off guard — for reasons stemming both from ideology and incompetence — on September 11, 2012. As they have after virtually every other (jihadist) terrorist attack on Americans, they acted as if it had absolutely nothing to do with them. As with the Times Square bomber, the Fort Hood shooter, and other Islamist assaults, there’s always some other reason for the bloodshed, some attempt to claim, at least for a while, that this was an “isolated incident” with no broader implications for the War on Terror or Obama’s foreign policy. Admittedly, even this White House understood that spinning the Benghazi attack as an isolated incident wasn’t going to work (such intense spinning could risk irreparable scrotal torsion). So they went with the story about the video. …

Of course, the White House and its defenders insist that they really believed the video was to blame. This strikes me as a lie, for the most part, if not initially than certainly over time. But even if that’s true, that’s no exoneration. As I said, there was a mix of incompetence and ideology at work. As an ideological matter, that this White House could convince itself for hours — never mind weeks — that this terror attack was all about the video is incredibly damning, if true. And, as I argue in my column today, the fact that the once-proud champions of civil liberties under George W. Bush were perfectly happy to throw the First Amendment under the bus is even more damning.

Given that the Benghazi attack came during the thick of the presidential election, it’s no surprise that the White House’s political and ideological instincts overpowered everything else. It’s no surprise, either, that the press’s instincts pointed in the same direction. It’s really non-surprises for as far as the eye can see.

Obviously there are still some unknowns worth knowing, and they might be surprising — like the exact details of how and why the response was so non-responsive. Just because the White House and State Department were unprepared shouldn’t mean that the professional military was too. The exact nexus between the political screw-up and the military’s failure to “run to the sound of gunfire” hasn’t been established. Ditto, the question of “What the hell was Barack Obama even doing that night?”

02 Apr 2014

“A Phony Number, and Wonderfully Precise”

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Krauthammer discusses Obamacare sign-up numbers on Fox News. link (Embeded video had unremovable autoplay.)

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The Daily Mail is not buying it.

A triumphant President Barack Obama declared Tuesday his signature medical insurance overhaul a success, saying it has made America’s health care system ‘a lot better’ in a Rose Garden press conference.

But buried in the 7.1 million enrollments he announced in a heavily staged appearance is a more unsettling reality.

Numbers from a RAND Corporation study that has been kept under wraps suggest that barely 858,000 previously uninsured Americans – nowhere near 7.1 million – have paid for new policies and joined the ranks of the insured by Monday night.

24 Mar 2014

“Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics”

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Judith Levy, editor of Ricochet, went through 175 responses to The Edge’s 2014 inquiry: What scientific idea is ready for retirement?, and selected a few responses offering very likely the best candidate: statistics.

Emanuel Derman, professor of financial engineering at Columbia, wrote that the power of statistics is an idea worth retiring:

    …nowadays the world, and especially the world of the social sciences, is increasingly in love with statistics and data science as a source of knowledge and truth itself. Some people have even claimed that computer-aided statistical analysis of patterns will replace our traditional methods of discovering the truth, not only in the social sciences and medicine, but in the natural sciences too.

    … Statistics—the field itself—is a kind of Caliban, sired somewhere on an island in the region between mathematics and the natural sciences. It is neither purely a language nor purely a science of the natural world, but rather a collection of techniques to be applied, I believe, to test hypotheses. Statistics in isolation can seek only to find past tendencies and correlations, and assume that they will persist. But in a famous unattributed phrase, correlation is not causation.

    Science is a battle to find causes and explanations amidst the confusion of data. Let us not get too enamored of data science, whose great triumphs so far are mainly in advertising and persuasion. Data alone has no voice. There is no “raw” data, as Kepler’s saga shows. Choosing what data to collect and how to think about it takes insight into the invisible; making good sense of the data collected requires the classic conservative methods: intuition, modeling, theorizing, and then, finally, statistics.

Science journalist Charles Seife wrote that “statistical significance” is almost invariably misused, to the point that it has become

    a boon for the mediocre and for the credulous, for the dishonest and for the merely incompetent. It turns a meaningless result into something publishable, transforms a waste of time and effort into the raw fuel of scientific careers. It was designed to help researchers distinguish a real effect from a statistical fluke, but it has become a quantitative justification for dressing nonsense up in the mantle of respectability. And it’s the single biggest reason that most of the scientific and medical literature isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
04 Nov 2013

Shameless Lies

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Eratosthenes wonders aloud how liberals like Obama can lie so blatantly without shame or inhibition.

I was thinking about Barack Obama. And, other liberals. Some of the stuff that comes out of them is just so obviously untrue you have to think, “How did you think you’d be able to sell that line of baloney?” In the President’s case, the one thing that keeps coming up over and over again is “I first found out about this in the last day or two, from reading the newspapers just like you” and now that He knows about it, “nobody is angrier about this than I am.”I know there is a hardcore segment of our population that is still gaga over Barack Obama, but is anyone actually buying this swill?

I think it’s a behavior learned from childhood — to go ahead and try & sell it, no matter how ridiculous it is. I think it’s bad parenting. Was going to start a blog post about it called Bad Mothering or something, but that would have been an exercise in just trying to tick people off, which isn’t healthy. However, the problem must start there. An important part of a parent’s job, and unfortunately it seems to fall disproportionately onto the mothers, is to send the message “That’s not going to fly, if you really want to go through life lying you need to get better at it.” That must be the problem, for there’s only one alternative and I don’t find the alternative credible. I can’t believe Barack Obama and His inner circle meet behind closed doors, go through all their shrewd calculations about what spin will & won’t work, and with all their P.R. talents come to the conclusion that the most winning strategy available to them is: Obama goes out and says “I had no idea this was going on…”…again…for the fifty-seven billionth time or whatever. It must be something far more primitive. Like a gag reflex. The aid comes up and says “Sir, questions are being asked about when You knew the website was going to take a crap,” and inside Obama’s head the instinct is activated — it’s worked this way since childhood. “Barack, did you know such-and-such?” and “No Mom, I had no idea” has always worked. Since the umbilical cord was cut. If something has always worked since then, that can be a powerful motivator.

Obama-Enigma starts to achieve resolution and make more sense when you open yourself to the possibility that President Obama, far from being a deity who hung the moon and sprinkled the stars across the inky canvas of heaven, is actually a tiny man who lives in a tiny world. Someone says “did You know” and the answer is “had no idea.” It’s just expected. And so I think, due to bad mothering, the boss says “had no idea” and the underlings…well, who the heck are they to question it? And so, I infer, they sprint off to the telephones and the computer keyboards and the podiums, and repeat it. Only after that does any real rational thinking enter into it, and of course by then the thinking is institutional, it says “Now that we’ve said it we’ve got to stick to the story.”

These lefty politicians seem to be trying to make a name for themselves, showing off what bad mothering they had. How naturally it comes to them to peddle such clear and obvious lies. It’s like they’ve figured out, the democrat politicians who rise to the power structure and get nominated for the big offices every two years, are the ones who have no shame. Shame weighs you down. So you rise to the top by showing off that you don’t have any.

26 Jan 2013

David Mamet Debunks Gun Control

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According to US Dept of Health and Human Services
There are roughly 700,000 employed physicians in the U.S
There are roughly 120,000 accidental deaths caused by physician per year
That means there are roughly 0.171 accidental deaths per physician per year

According to the FBI
There are roughly 80, 000, 000 gun owners in the U.S
There are roughly 30,000 gun-related deaths (accidental/non-accidental) per year
That means there are roughly 0.000375 deaths per gun owner per year


David Mamet
takes on Gun Control in Newsweek no less:

The Left loves a phantom statistic that a firearm in the hands of a citizen is X times more likely to cause accidental damage than to be used in the prevention of crime, but what is there about criminals that ensures that their gun use is accident-free? If, indeed, a firearm were more dangerous to its possessors than to potential aggressors, would it not make sense for the government to arm all criminals, and let them accidentally shoot themselves?

Read the whole thing.

28 Dec 2012

Look at Britain to See Where Empirical Solutions to Violence Finally Lead

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One of my Yale classmates yesterday forwarded this New York Times editorial denouncing the National Rifle Association’s efforts to prevent sophistors, economists, calculators, and “leading experts” on violence from artfully collecting data and massaging statistics in order to produce a scientific, apparently empirical case favoring gun control.

Why would the naughty NRA oppose data collection and scientific research by well-credentialed experts?

The NRA sensibly opposes these so-called empirical studies because it knows that when you get to establish the principles used for collecting data and the methodologies employed in arranging the assembled information and evaluating the results, you possess the ability to prove any case you want to prove, empirically. The NRA knows that figures lie and liars figure, and that there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Where does such empiricism lead? Just look at Britain where conventional pocket knives are banned as “offensive weapons” and “leading experts” have been calling in recent years for a ban on pointed kitchen knives.

[Accident & Emergency] doctors are calling for a ban on long pointed kitchen knives to reduce deaths from stabbing.

A team from West Middlesex University Hospital said violent crime is on the increase – and kitchen knives are used in as many as half of all stabbings.

They argued many assaults are committed impulsively, prompted by alcohol and drugs, and a kitchen knife often makes an all too available weapon.

The research is published in the British Medical Journal.

The researchers said there was no reason for long pointed knives to be publicly available at all.

They consulted 10 top chefs from around the UK, and found such knives have little practical value in the kitchen.

None of the chefs felt such knives were essential, since the point of a short blade was just as useful when a sharp end was needed.

The researchers said a short pointed knife may cause a substantial superficial wound if used in an assault – but is unlikely to penetrate to inner organs.

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They won’t stop with taking away our guns. As the example of Britain shows, they will go to the most absurd lengths in criminalizing innocent and harmless possession of marginal examples of weapons in their fanatical pursuit of the elimination of every kind of risk and hazard by the calculative power of human reason operating through the coercive agency of the state.

A disabled caravanner who kept a penknife in his glove compartment to use on picnics has blasted the authorities after being dragged through court for possessing an offensive weapon.

Rodney Knowles, 61, walks with the aid of a stick and had used the Swiss Army knife to cut up fruit on picnics with his wife.

Knowles yesterday admitted possessing an offensive weapon at Torquay Magistrates Court. He was given a conditional discharge.

But speaking after the hearing, he said: ‘It’s a stupid law. Now I have a criminal record.’

18 Oct 2012

Obama: On Whether Free Enterprise Works or Not

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(image via Vanderleun)

A lot of reactionaries like myself have described Barack Obama as “a socialist,” “a Marxist,” and “a Communist.” How could we possibly have thought that about someone who, in his closing statement at the Second 2012 Presidential Debate, delivered this encomium to Capitalism and Free Enterprize:

At 1:34:17:

I think a lot of this campaign, maybe over the last four years, has been devoted to this notion that I think government creates jobs, that that somehow is the answer.

That’s not what I believe. I believe that the free enterprise system is the greatest engine of prosperity the world’s ever known.
I believe in self-reliance and individual initiative and risk takers being rewarded. But I also believe that everybody should have a fair shot and everybody should do their fair share and everybody should play by the same rules, because that’s how our economy’s grown. That’s how we built the world’s greatest middle class. . . .

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This sounds enough like Barry Goldwater to make poor Bill Ayers go out and commit seppuku in Grant Park. But that would assume that Barack Obama was expressing himself with sincerity. In reality, Barack Obama, in his closing statement at that Second Debate, was fraudulently trying to position himself as a mainstream centrist believer in the American system, which he really is not. In the statement above, he is not expressing his real position. He is blowing smoke in an effort to conceal it.

The real Barack Obama is the Barack Obama who tried to revive turn-of-the-last-century Progressivism in a speech delivered lat December in Osawatomie, Kansas:

15:06:

[T]here’s been a certain crowd in Washington for the last few decades who respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes — especially for the wealthy — our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty.

Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That’s in America’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the ‘50s and ‘60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade. (Applause.) I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory. . . .

John Lott noticed the contradiction between exactly the same two Obama statements.

16 Oct 2012

Will Hillary’s Leap Under the Bus Be Enough?

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In a last desperate attempt to save Barack Obama’s hopes of re-election, Hillary Clinton took a leaf from Charles Dickens’ Sydney Carton, and did the “far, far better thing,” taking responsibility for the failure to provide security for the consulate in Benghazi and for the long series of misstatements, fabrications, and falsehoods describing the carefully-planned terrorist attack calculatedly timed to occur on 9/11 as a spontaneous mob outburst provoked by an obscure video.

Hillary Clinton, of course, does not fully resemble Sydney Carton. She is not going to the guillotine. She is only “accepting responsibility,” which in the manner of liberal democrats amounts only to issuing a statement tacitly eating crow on a single occasion. It does not mean resigning from office, ending one’s political career, or otherwise actually being subject to any real penalty or punishment.

One rather thinks that the reverse is probably the case. Hillary’s sacrifice must be part of a private arrangement made between Barack Obama and the Clintons. Barack Obama must have entered into some bargain promising Hillary some highly valuable future compensation, something along the lines of his complete support in the quest for the democrat nomination in 2016 combined with the delivery of his donors (Soros in particular) in return for Hillary assuming the role of scapegoat and going through the charade of throwing herself under the bus.

We have had the public ceremony of accepting responsibility and shame, but the question remains: Will this modest sacrifice of Hillary’s amour propre suffice to satisfy the curiosity of the media and the voting public’s wrath? It seems unlikely to me. Republicans in Congress are still demanding more specific and concrete explanations of why Ambassador Stevens’ requests for more security were denied and are still going to want to know who exactly decided to fabricate the false narrative given by UN Ambassador Rice and others. The spotlight will fall on Barack Obama directly at tonight’s Town Hall Debate, and it seems unlikely that even Hillary Clinton’s noble sacrifice will succeed in sheltering the president from pointed questions.

When Forbes Magazine is publishing editorials titled Pants On Fire: Obama Scrambles For Cover As Benghazi Lie Explodes, a press conference ceremony of the acceptance of responsibility by a subordinate is simply not going to be enough to stop the bleeding.

Barack Obama is not a truthful man. He was not truthful in his campaign promises. He is not truthful in the way he consistently belittles and makes strawmen of political opponents. He is not even truthful about his own life story. In 2008, Barack Obama was able to take advantage of very powerful, deeply reflexive cultural impulses which promoted him instantly to the highest ranks of media godhood and which surrounded him with a protective cloak of adoration which totally precluded any serious critical scrutiny. Bill Ayers? “Just a guy I ran into a few times.” Revered Wright goddamning America? “Gosh, I never heard that particular sermon.” Things are different four years later. There is blood in the water right now. We are twenty-odd days from a presidential election. Hillary Clinton’s little gesture of loyalty is not going to make the Benghazi debacle and the investigation of the coverup go away.

08 Aug 2012

“Romney Killed This Guy’s Wife”

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Priorities USA Action, an independent expenditure PAC, with roughly $21 million dollars to spend provided by Dreamworks, a bunch of unions, some law firms, McKinsey (!), and a number of liberal-owned companies, produced the hardest-hitting ad directed at Mitt Romney so far.

The attack ad says:

“When Mitt Romney and Bain shut down the plant, I lost my health care. A short time after that, my wife became ill. I don’t know how long she was sick. . . . I took her to the Jackson County hospital, and admitted her for pneumonia, and that’s when they found the cancer. By then it was stage four. . . . She passed away in 22 days.”

AllahPundit responded:

Romney stopped doing work for Bain in 1999; the steel plant in question here closed down in 2001; Soptic’s wife passed away in 2006; and yet, Romney’s somehow culpable. Perfection. You know what’s really interesting about this spot? It’s not even a health-care ad. It’d be sleazy under any circumstances, but there’d at least be a concrete policy angle if Burton was selling it as an argument for, say, single-payer, to decouple insurance from employment. He’s not. There appears to be no actual policy argument here at all, unless The One now opposes layoffs on principle, for fear that someone somewhere might be left without insurance. Is that where our very pro-business president — seriously, just ask him — is now at? As John Sexton says, does this mean O himself is on the hook until 2014 for any deaths that resulted from GM dealerships being closed in 2009? I thought workers bore some responsibility to find a new job with insurance after they’re laid off, but if he wants to take the blame for human tragedies at Government Motors, fine by me.

Even CNN describes the ad as “not accurate.”

03 Jul 2012

“Constitutional as a Tax!”

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25 Jan 2012

That State of the Union Address

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A number of Cato Institute scholars fisk Barack Obama’s 2012 State of the Union Address.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

07 Jun 2011

Weiner Roast

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Anthony Weiner in full denunciatory mode on the House floor.

Victor Davis Hanson welcomes Anthony Weiner to the ever-lengthening list of fallen liberal moralists.

Nemesis is always hot on the trail of hubris, across time and space, and the goddess has been particularly busy in destroying the carefully crafted images of Bono, John Edwards, Timothy Geithner, Al Gore, Eliot Spitzer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Anthony Weiner, and a host of others. What do their tax hypocrisies, sexual indulgences, and aristocratic socialist lifestyles all have in common?

Collectively, they represent a self-appointed or elected global elite that oversees, lectures about — in sanctimonious fashion — the ethical responsibilities of the redistributive state.

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Allahpundit reports that ABC news has been forwarding vindictively to everyone the following video from a little ways back in which Weiner asserts his innocence and defiantly confronts his interviewer. AllahPundit tells us that he himself feels uneasy watching Weiner’s unabashed and brazen dishonesty, that there is about it a disturbing abnormality, a whiff of the Bates Motel… something that makes his skin crawl.

How creepy? Creepy enough that ABC posted this footage (which was recorded a few days ago, of course) just within the past hour and then sent around the link via e-mail. I didn’t go hunting through their archives for it, in other words; they’re pushing it on people tonight themselves because, understandably, they (a) want to atone for having aired this guy’s lies as news last week and (b) presumably want the world to see what an almost pathologically fluid liar he was when cornered. The last 80 seconds of it will have you squirming in your seat — not only the way he claims to be the innocent target of a hoax but his insistence on lecturing the interviewer for assuming the worst, taking care to maintain accusatory eye contact the whole way. It’s genuinely disturbing.

If, like me, you felt bad for him when he choked up at his presser today, spend four minutes watching this. It’ll straighten you right out.

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The New York Post wins the headline-of-the-day award.

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The Anchoress comments on the impact of the Weiner scandal on the press, particularly on Barbara Walters.

To my way of thinking, the saddest part of this story is Barbara Walters devolution; this once-respected newswoman nears the end of her distinguished career by playing as ghastly a non-sequitur as I’ve ever heard, saying (in essence) if Sarah Palin ‘can ride around on her bus,’ Weiner Can Stay in Congress.

When Joy Behar, of all people has to defend Sarah Palin from your bizarrely gratuitous swipe, you know you’ve let your hate lead you too far into Whackyland.

Listen (if you can stand the noise of this show) to Walters talking about how she “knows” Weiner and “knows” his wife, who of course works for Hillary Clinton, whom she also knows.

This is the problem with the mainstream media in a nutshell. They “know” the people they’re supposed to be covering, and they consider themselves “friends” of those people. And it has ruined them. As you listen to Walters, all you see is passionate advocacy; not a newswoman concerned with the truth of a story, but a partisan doing everything she can to divert attention from a story she doesn’t like — even to comparing a private citizen on a bus to a sitting congressman having some sort of cyber-engagement in his office — and championing her “friend.”

This has never been a nice story, which is why I haven’t written about it until now. But I still am less interested in Weiner than in how the press reacted to this story. Some were willing to believe him, simply because he said they should. Some seemed like they didn’t want to believe him, but didn’t want to not believe him, even more. The usual partisans tried to blame and smear the usual partisans.

We don’t actually have a genuine press any more.

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