September 10, 2015

Click on WORD or PDF for full content




Streetwise Professor posts on the Bergdahl indictment. Says the Pentagon has flipped a well deserved bird to the president.

The Bowe Bergdahl case largely disappeared from view, likely because it was overtaken by so many other foreign policy foulups. The Isis explosion. The Syria implosion. The Iran capitulation.

But the story re-emerged yesterday. Well, sort of re-emerged: the coverage has been muted, at best, despite the fact that the charges are sensational.

Not only did the Pentagon charge Bergdahl with desertion: they charged him with “misbehavior before the enemy,” which could result in his incarceration for life. This is about the most serious charge that can be brought. …

… The White House fought tooth and nail to stop the Pentagon from charging Bergdahl: bad optics, dontcha know, to have embraced a deserter’s family in the Rose Garden, and to have traded 5 hard core terrorists for him.

The Pentagon not only defied Obama on this: they doubled down and charged Bergdahl with cowardice before the enemy. A charge almost never used. So the Pentagon is saying: Mr. President, you embraced the family of an utterly dishonorable coward in the Rose Garden, and traded five terrorists for him.

FU, in other words. …




Nice essay on unintended consequences by Kevin Williamson.

News item: There is a new cholesterol-control drug on the market, Repatha, which is enormously beneficial to people who suffer serious side effects from the statins commonly used to control cholesterol or who derive no benefit from statins. Some 17 million Britons are potential beneficiaries of the drug, but they will not be able to use it, because the United Kingdom’s version of Sarah Palin’s death panel — which bears the pleasingly Orwellian name NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence — says it is too expensive. The United Kingdom’s single-payer health-care system is effectively a monopoly, and not an especially effective one: Cardiovascular-disease mortality rates in the United Kingdom are nearly 40 percent higher than in the United States. That’s not nice. And it isn’t what was supposed to happen. … 

… In the social sciences, the term of art for these developments is “unintended consequences.” Some unintended consequences are unforeseeable, but many are not. They are at least partly foreseeable, even if unintended, and our good intentions do not entitle us to blind ourselves to reality. Demand curves slope downward: When you raise the price of something — a ton of coal, an hour of labor — then the quantity demanded will be lower than it would have been at a lower price. …

… Some outcomes are positively perverse. In the 1960s, the federal and state governments began imposing more demanding liability standards on businesses in the belief that if a firm faces greater liability, then it will be more responsible when it comes to risky activities. The result wasn’t more corporate responsibility, but more widely dispersed corporate responsibility, as the economists Al H. Ringleb and Steven N. Wiggins showed. Instead of higher corporate safety standards, there was a proliferation of small corporations, the number of which, they calculated, was about 20 percent higher than it would have been with different liability rules. Why? Because businesses outsourced high-risk tasks to small, specialized firms with relatively little in the way of assets, meaning that they could simply declare bankruptcy and liquidate when faced with a large judgment. …

… When Paul Krugman welcomed the inflation of a housing bubble to offset a collapsing stock-market bubble in 2002, he didn’t understand that he was urging a policy that eventually would kneecap the world’s economy. But he’s only a Nobel laureate in economics and so cannot be expected to think very much about the big picture. …




David Harsanyi says environmentalists will lose and that is good for the human race.

… If there were any chance environmentalists could “win,” as Chait claims, rolling back hundreds of years of progress rather than waiting for the technological breakthroughs that will organically allow us to “transition” away from fossil fuels, the world would be in trouble. Thankfully, they can’t win. Not because Republicans hate science or because anyone Democrats disagree with is bought off by shady oil men, but because, in the end, neither they nor I nor you are giving up our lifestyles in any meaningful way.

For us, the Chinese, Indians, Nigerians, and everyone else, that’s great news.  The environmentalist is free to embrace  fantasy and then fatalism, or they can start figuring out ways to acclimate to this new reality.




Hillary says she’s sorry. Ron Fournier asks, “Sorry for what?” And then he says there are nineteen questions she should answer. 

“I’m sorry about that,” Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton said six years after seiz­ing con­trol of gov­ern­ment email and after six months of deny­ing wrong­do­ing. Just this week, it took three dif­fer­ent in­ter­views in four days for her to beg the puni­est of par­dons: “I do think I could have and should have done a bet­ter job an­swer­ing ques­tions earli­er.”

You think? By any ob­ject­ive meas­ure, the Demo­crat­ic pres­id­en­tial front-run­ner has re­spon­ded to her email scan­dal with de­flec­tion and de­cep­tion, shred­ding her cred­ib­il­ity while giv­ing a skep­tic­al pub­lic an­oth­er reas­on not to trust the in­sti­tu­tions of polit­ics and gov­ern­ment.

An apo­logy doesn’t fix that. An apo­logy also doesn’t an­swer the scan­dal’s most im­port­ant ques­tions. 

1. While apo­lo­giz­ing in an ABC in­ter­view on Tues­day, you said, “What I had done was al­lowed, it was above board.” You must know by now that while the State De­part­ment al­lowed the use of home com­puters in 2009, agency rules re­quired that email be se­cured. Yours was not. Just nine months in­to your term, new reg­u­la­tions re­quired that your emails be cap­tured on de­part­ment serv­ers. You stashed yours on a home-brewed sys­tem un­til Con­gress found out. Why not ad­mit you vi­ol­ated policy? Why do you keep mis­lead­ing people? 

2. If what you did was “above board,” then you wouldn’t ob­ject to all ex­ec­ut­ive branch of­fi­cials at every level of gov­ern­ment and from both parties stor­ing their email on private serv­ers – out of the pub­lic’s reach. Tell me how that wouldn’t sub­vert the fed­er­al Free­dom of In­form­a­tion Act and “sun­shine laws” in every state? …




Shannen Coffin in National Review says there have been a lot of thing for Hillary not to think about.

Hillary Clinton told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell in an interview last week that she just didn’t think about things when she set up her private server to use exclusively as her official e-mail while secretary of state. She “was not thinking a lot when [she] got in. There was so much work to be done. We had so many problems around the world.” Understandably, she “didn’t really stop and think what kind of e-mail system will there be.”

So she didn’t think when she paid a former campaign staffer to build the server and set up “” e-mail addresses for herself and close State Department aides, including her deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin.

She didn’t think when she hired that campaign staffer at the State Department, but continued to pay him off the federal books for his services in maintaining her secret server.

She didn’t think when she neglected to report her server to the Department of Homeland Security, as required by law, so DHS could audit the security of her system as part of its mission to protect the government’s Internet security.

She didn’t think, when she …




Hillary’s gonna get a new image. Jonah Goldberg reacts.

What if this is as good as it gets?

You have to wonder if that’s what Hillary Clinton’s handlers are saying to each other right about now.

Of course, that’s not what they’re saying in public — or on background to the press.

The New York Times reported this week that Clinton plans to be spontaneous from now on:

“There will be no rope lines to wall off crowds, which added to an impression of aloofness. And there will be new efforts to bring spontaneity to a candidacy that sometimes seems wooden and overly cautious.”

I don’t blame Times reporter Amy Chozick for being so passive in her writing. But just for the record, there was no “impression” of aloofness. There was — and always has been — aloofness. Nor did the candidacy “seem” wooden and overly cautious. It is wooden and overly cautious, because Clinton is wooden and overly cautious.

And that won’t change.

Consider what you just read. The Clinton team is responding to the fact that Clinton is inauthentic and scripted by floating a trial balloon to the New York Times about her plan to be spontaneous.

The Clinton campaign is officially only five months old. But the real campaign is closer to 20 years old. …