House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi went on NBC’s “Meet the Press” yesterday and demonstrated an impressive tenacity. She holds fast to her talking points with such tenacity that Lawrence Taylor in his prime couldn’t have ripped a football from her grasp.

I love how Pelosi (and interviewer David Gregory) seem oblivious to the fact that if the people in question already have a health care plan that Obamacare is now making illegal, the fact that now they can’t be denied for a pre-existing condition isn’t exactly a selling point—they already had a plan.

This next one demonstrates similar tenacity. Commentator Zerlina Maxwell has been handed the talking points and not even the 16-ton weight of reality can knock it out of her relatively empty head.

Two points to make:

  1. At  about 2:45 Maxwell makes the point that she’s currently uninsured. Here’s someone who has quite nice clothes, is a New York Daily News contributor, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t show up on Fox News for free, confessing that she’s irresponsible and currently does not have insurance.
  2. At about 3:10, in response to the obvious truth (Maxwell: “That’s Not True.”) that young people are needed to pay to make the exchanges work says that people will sign up for insurance—particularly women—will buy insurance because they “don’t want to roll the dice” and then she plays the “gender” card.

Try to get into Maxwell’s head for a minute (there’s a lot of free space, we can all fit in) and try to reconcile the fact that she doesn’t have insurance right now (by choice!) and that its somehow sexist to suggest that young women will be hesitant to buy expensive insurance they likely won’t need (as she is currently doing).

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Politics ain’t beanball.

Despite repeated claims that America is more divided politically now than ever (often forgetting the unpleasantness from 1861-65 during which many feelings were hurt), modern-day politics aren’t really appreciably nastier than they have been for the past two centuries. (I heartily recommend Edward J. Larson’s “A Magnificent Catastrophe” on the election of 1800 as evidence of this fact.)

Once upon a time, the same could be said for journalism. There were Democrat papers and there were Republican papers (and Whig papers, etc.). Journalists took sides.

Then, about 50 or so years ago, in a fit of marketing genius, newspaper publishers sought to sell papers to both the left and right by trumpeting unbiased journalism. Journalism ceased to be a trade that was learned in actual newsrooms and became some sort of higher calling learned at universities. (Blame Woodward and Bernstein.)

If they believed it for a few decades, it’s become clear since then that journalists are no better than any other human being at putting aside their preconceptions and biases—they’re just better at hiding them.

On cable news, we’ve largely returned to the days of journalists (or commentators or analysts) having opinions and not being afraid to share them. Fox News came out with a more conservative take on the news (which I would argue puts them pretty close to the political middle) and about five years ago, MSNBC, languishing in 3rd place in the cable news ratings, decided to tack leftward.

And all this is perfectly fine. I’m for more speech, not less. More debate, not less.

But I also believe there’s such a thing as “polite company” and that certain acts should result in public shunning and that employers should be willing to sack employees that step over the line of decency.

Which is to say, MSNBC should fire host Martin Bashir first thing tomorrow morning for this:

MARTIN BASHIR: It’s time now to clear the air. And we end this week in the way it began – with America’s resident dunce, Sarah Palin, scraping the barrel of her long deceased mind, and using her all-time favorite analogy in an attempt to sound intelligent about the national debt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN: Our free stuff today is being paid for by taking money from our children, and borrowing from China. When that note comes due – and this isn’t racist, so try it. Try it anyway. This isn’t racist. But it’s going to be like slavery when that note is due.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASHIR: It’lll be like slavery. Given her well-established reputation as a world class idiot, it’s hardly surprising that she should choose to mention slavery in a way that is abominable to anyone who knows anything about its barbaric history. So here’s an example.One of the most comprehensive first-person accounts of slavery comes from the personal diary of a man called Thomas Thistlewood, who kept copious notes for 39 years. Thistlewood was the son of a tenant farmer who arrived on the island of Jamaica in April 1750, and assumed the position of overseer at a major plantation. What is most shocking about Thistlewood’s diary is not simply the fact that he assumes the right to own and possess other human beings, but is the sheer cruelty and brutality of his regime.

In 1756, he records that “A slave named Darby catched eating canes; had him well flogged and pickled, then made Hector, another slave, s-h-i-t in his mouth.” This became known as Darby’s dose, a punishment invented by Thistlewood that spoke only of the slave owners savagery and inhumanity.

And he mentions a similar incident again in 1756, this time in relation to a man he refers to as Punch. “Flogged Punch well, and then washed and rubbed salt pickle, lime juice and bird pepper; made Negro Joe piss in his eyes and mouth.” I could go on, but you get the point.

When Mrs. Palin invoked slavery, she doesn’t just prove her rank ignorance. She confirms that if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, then she would be the outstanding candidate.

This is beyond the pale. I have no doubt that had a Fox News host suggested similar “punishment” for Kathleen Sebelius (to pick another female, former governor) that he would be gone before you could tweet it. The typical media watchdogs would jump from zero-to-handwringing in less than a second. Yet, CNN’s “Reliable Sources” didn’t utter a peep about it. Neither did Fox News’ “Media Buzz” hosted by longtime media critic Howard Kurtz. The Columbia Journalism Review apparently doesn’t work weekends.

And the kicker is that Bashir is faux outraged that someone would compare slavery to anything other than slavery (comparing slavery to debt  is not an original analogy that Palin was the first person ever to make). Just two years ago, Bashir didn’t hesitate to compare those who oppose gay “marriage” to wanting a return to slavery. So, traditional marriage support=slavery, debt ≠ slavery. (So those of you playing at home can keep everything straight, no pun intended.)

Remember this the next time the holier-than-thou left starts preaching about “civility:” liberals’ pleas for civility are nothing more than a polite request for their political foes to shut up.

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Well, Obamacare is  a complete fustercluck, which is what every conservative was saying four years ago. The mainstream media, however, has just discovered that not only has President Obama been telling a whopper of a lie for the past  four years, but that he knew it was a lie when he was telling it.

As President Barack Obama pushed for a new federal health law in 2009, he made a simple pledge: If you like your insurance plan, you can keep your plan. But behind the scenes, White House officials discussed whether that was a promise they could keep.

When the question arose, Mr. Obama’s advisers decided that the assertion was fair, interviews with more than a dozen people involved in crafting and explaining the president’s health-care plan show.

But at times, there was second-guessing. At one point, aides discussed whether Mr. Obama might use more in-depth discussions, such as media interviews, to explain the nuances of the succinct line in his stump speeches, a former aide said. Officials worried, though, that delving into details such as the small number of people who might lose insurance could be confusing and would clutter the president’s message.

“You try to talk about health care in broad, intelligible points that cut through, and you inevitably lose some accuracy when you do that,” the former official said.

The former official added that in the midst of a hard-fought political debate “if you like your plan, you can probably keep it” isn’t a salable point.

Just to remind you what that looked like:

So, after four years of that, Obama came out earlier today with this:

 Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed. So we wrote into the Affordable Care Act, you’re grandfathered in on that plan. But if the insurance company changes it, then what we’re saying is they’ve got to change it to a higher standard.

Of course, that’s not what “we said.” It’s not what “he said.” It’s not something anyone said.

It’s a twist on the line various Obama apologists have been trying to sell for the past couple weeks: “If you liked your plan you’re a complete moron because the government knows better than you, you inbred hick.”

For those of you with employer-sponsored health plans who have bought the line that his is only affecting 5 percent of Americans (about 15 million) and your current coverage is safe, think again. Obama’s extralegal delay of the employer mandate has put off your reckoning until this time next year (good luck in the midterms Democrats!).

To save those of you who don’t click on links having to read anything other than what I write, here’s the important part:

Mid-range estimate: 51% of employer-sponsored plans will get canceled

And, of course, the purported goal of Obamacare was to get everyone health insurance. How’s that going?

But the biggest failure of all is still a few months away. This is the essence of the law – that it will reduce the numbers of uninsured. It will not. It is far more likely to raise the numbers of people without insurance coverage.

Follow the link for the reasons why, which, once again, were obvious to conservative critics of the law from the beginning.

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Honestly, keeping on top of the hacks a “Politifact” could be a full-time job. Maybe the Koch Bros. could hire me at an exorbitant rate to school Politifraud on their own rules.

Today’s case in point is a purported fact-check of Ann Coulter.

For the record, I’m not a fan of Coulter. I haven’t read any of her books. I think she’s a bomb-thrower and probably hurts the conservative cause more often than she helps.

Having said that, this “Truth-O-Meter” ruling of “Pants on Fire” is ridiculous. It’s almost as if they want to goose their embarrassing bias numbers the next time Bryan White analyzes their False vs. Pants on Fire ratings.

What’s the heavy, policy-laden analytical statement that Politfarce interviewed seven different people to determine it’s veracity?

No doctors who went to an American medical school will be accepting Obamacare.

Does that even pass the smell test? I mean, Democrats go to medical school too. Won’t those bleeding hearts of the left take Obamacare patients even if it means they’ll have to lease a Lexus for three years instead of two?

I refer you once again to Politifarce’s so-called “Principles” and the “rules” they apply when choosing statements to check.

In deciding which statements to check, we ask ourselves these questions:

  • Is the statement rooted in a fact that is verifiable? We don’t check opinions, and we recognize that in the world of speechmaking and political rhetoric, there is license for hyperbole.
  • Would a typical person hear or read the statement and wonder: Is that true?

Because I have at least two brain cells to rub together, I can assure the drooling incompetents at Politifarce that the point Coulter was making through use of hyperbole (maybe you guys should look it up) is that Obamacare will run into the same problem that Medicare has run into (and actually exacerbate it), which is doctors will limit the number of patients they will see on Obamacare because it won’t pay enough to cover their costs.

This is one of those rare fact checks that tells us a lot not just about Poltifarce, but also how they view people who actually read Coulter’s columns—conservatives. Look at that second rule I quoted above. Would a typical person think Coulter’s statement was true?

I can assure you that Politifact’s writers and editors don’t know anyone who would believe it to be true. But you dumb, mouth-breathing conservatives would. And since all of us NPR-listening, soy-half-caf-latte-sipping elites know all you red-state residents have a lower IQ than the University of Oregon football team scores before halftime, we need to fact-check this so we can refer you dummies to it when we deign to have a brief conversation with you before going to see Robert Reich’s new documentary at the local art house theatre.

From a “red-state” voter in a blue state, I kindly encourage you hacks at Politifarce to sod off.

 

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To say I’m disgusted by the media’s so-called “fact-checkers” would be an understatement. Though they purport to hold themselves to some higher-standard for truthfulness than their “unbiased” colleagues, the truth is that they’re just peddling the same crap product in a slightly different package.

Over the past week, a couple of “fact checks” from Politifraud have caught my eye.

The first was this one by Rep. Jeb Hensarling that earned a “Pants on Fire”—the rating Politifact gives to Republicans it doesn’t like, but is not necessarily an indicator of actual truthfulness.

“Mr. Speaker,” Hensarling said, “we are debating should members of Congress get a better deal than every other American in Obamacare? House Republicans say, ‘No, that’s not fair. That’s not equal protection under the law.’ Yet, our friends on the other side of the aisle (Democrats) are now saying, ‘No, no, no.’ They’re going to protect this sweetheart deal. …

“Now members of Congress, thanks to the Obama administration, are going to be the only people in America to get subsidies in the Obamacare exchanges. Is this fair, Mr. Speaker? I think not. Clearly, the other side of the aisle wants to preserve this special deal for Members of Congress granted by the President of the United States.”

It’s pretty obvious to anyone who’s closely followed Obamacare’s implementation vis a vis Congress what Hensarling was referring to, a fact that Politifact later acknowledges.

The problem arose in the drafting of the law. For most Americans who have employer-based insurance, the employer pays a majority of the cost of insurance. But the version of the health care bill signed into law doesn’t include an explicit mechanism to allow the federal government to pay its employer share of congressional employees’ health insurance if they use the exchanges, now called marketplaces. (Here’s a rundown of how this drafting error occurred.)

Without a fix, congressional employees would have to foot the entire cost of their health insurance when buying insurance on the exchange — a financial hit that could go well into the thousands of dollars. To fix this problem, the Office of Personnel Management, which serves as the federal government’s human resources office, issued a ruling that allowed the same money that would have been spent on the employer’s old health insurance to instead be spent on whatever they purchased on the Obamacare marketplaces.

Obamacare critics have portrayed this as a special exemption to protect politically connected lawmakers and staff, one that was unavailable to the public at large. So some lawmakers backed an effort by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., to revoke the employer’s premium cost-sharing for members of Congress, aides and other political appointees. As the House and Senate debated how to proceed to end the shutdown, passage of a funding bill with the Vitter Amendment attached was floated as a possibility.

Politifraud’s hand-waving then begins:

Will members of Congress be “the only people in America to get subsidies in the Obamacare exchanges”? Hardly — the tax credits commonly known as subsidies under Obamacare were being put into place starting Oct. 1, the same day the shutdown began. Anyone within a specified income range who purchases insurance on the Obamacare marketplace will be eligible for subsidies in the form of tax credits. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that by 2017, about 24 million Americans will be buying insurance on the Obamacare marketplaces, many of them with federal subsidies. Only time will tell how many Americans eventually sign up, but it’s almost certainly going to be more than the roughly 30,000 people who work in the legislative branch.

The point Hensarling was making, which is obvious to anyone with half a brain (which explains Politifraud’s problem), was not that no one was getting subisides, but that Congressional staffers, many of whom make north of $100,000 a year, would be the only ones at that income level who get subsidies from the federal government. The Kaiser Family Foundation has a helpful calculator that proves the point.

Will Members of Congress even get “subsidies”? Not really. All lawmakers and many staffers won’t qualify for the subsidies we discussed above because their income is too high. Instead, what lawmakers and staff will qualify for is better described as employer cost-sharing — an allotment of money that works exactly the same way as it does for the majority of Americans who get employer-based health care, and that long predated the beginning of the Obamacare exchanges. For Americans who have employer-sponsored health insurance, the employer pays a share of the premiums. In this case, that “employer” is the federal government.

So, with the second sentence in bullet point two, Politifraud announces bullet point one to be a crock. Let’s take the rest of this at face value and ignore the word games Politifraud is playing. Let’s call this “employer cost-sharing” and substitute Politifraud’s preferred wording back into Hensarling’s original statement. Does the statement become true? Why, yes it does. These are the only people in the exchanges that will have their employer “cost-sharing” their premiums.

Is this a “sweetheart deal”? Quite the opposite. Under the law as enacted, lawmakers and congressional aides are actually treated more harshly than any other American.

Tell that to the millions of Americans experiencing Obamacare sticker shock.

Is this “thanks to the Obama administration”? The Obama administration isn’t entirely blameless — in the rush to sign Obamacare into law, the president overlooked or ignored the problem looming in the legislative language, and his administration did approve the “fix.”

Yes, it’s three years later and Politifraud ignores the fact that the language in the law is what it is because that’s the only way it could pass Congress after the election of Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts after he pledged to vote against Obamacare. Politifraud also glosses over the fact that there’s no statutory (read: “legal”) basis for the Obama administration to “fix” the law as he has.

Then this week, Politifact went from fraud to farce.

Did Obama shut down the ocean as part of the shutdown?

We dove in to search for answers. Has Obama shut down the ocean as part of the federal government shutdown? The key to the answer was close to home for PolitiFact Florida: the Florida Keys.

And what did these self-important hacks discover?

Our ruling

Claims about the federal government shutdown include this one circulating on Twitter: “Obama has jumped the shark and ordered the ocean closed!”

The tweet linked to an article in Breitbart that explains that the shutdown means that the Dry Tortugas and the Florida Bay are closed as a result of the shutdown. That means that 1,100 square miles of prime fishing is off limits — a blow to fishing charter companies and others that benefit from that access. Biscayne National Park is also off limits.

But it’s an exaggeration to state that Obama has tried to shut down the entire ocean — or even to suggest that he has shuttered the Atlantic Ocean or all of the waters in the Keys. Tourists and locals can continue to fish, swim and play in the ocean, even in the Keys.

We throw a big ol’ bucket of ocean water from the Keys on this claim and rate this claim False.

In their effort to protect their lord and savior, Barack Obama, from himself, Politifarce conveniently disregarded two of  their own rules on what statements deserve their attention:

In deciding which statements to check, we ask ourselves these questions:

  • Is the statement rooted in a fact that is verifiable? We don’t check opinions, and we recognize that in the world of speechmaking and political rhetoric, there is license for hyperbole.
  • Would a typical person hear or read the statement and wonder: Is that true?

But hey, at least they issued a ruling. It was just last month that they conspicuously declined to issue a ruling on whether President Obama had ever set a “red line” on Syria, instead attempting to put a laughably “Pants on Fire” statement “in context” (a tack taken by the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler as well).

They aren’t unbiased arbiters of truth; they’re political hacks.

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I really shouldn’t be surprised when the media lazily lies to promote President Obama’s and the Democratic Party’s agenda. Driving into work this morning I caught the on-the-hour report by Associated Press Radio News’ Rita Foley. Foley characterized the last continuing resolution passed by the GOP House as “gutting Obamacare.”

For the record, that “gutting” was to delay (not defund) the individual mandate—as President Obama has done with the business mandate (extra-legally)—for one year and forcing members of Congress, their staffs and the executive branch to participate in Obamacare exchanges without the benefit of Obama’s extra-legally approved subsidies.

Those two items are so crucial to Obamacare that removing them are tantamount to “gutting” the entire 2,000+ page law and its tens of thousands of pages of regulations.

Really?

The bad news is that Foley isn’t alone in her Democrat party hackitude.

Yesterday, MSNBC analyst Mark Halperin conceded that the press was “largely sympathetic” to the Democrats’ shutdown argument and examples of ostensibly “straight” news reporting following that line were identified in the Washington Post and Associated Press reporting.

The mainstream media are not objective, unbiased observers. They’re partisans and should be treated as such.

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They say familiarity breeds contempt and my 15 years in newspapers certainly did that for me. Today’s example that got my Irish up was this editorial in the Fresno Bee arguing for Gov. Jerry Brown to sign a raft of draconian gun laws. The passage that was particularly despicable was this one:

California led the nation in 1989 when Gov. George Deukmejian, a Republican, signed a bill banning assault weapons after the Cleveland Elementary School shooting in Stockton.

Ever since, gun manufacturers have found ways to evade the restrictions, and lawmakers have responded by trying to tighten the law. Steinberg’s bill would end the argument by banning future sales in California of semi-automatic guns that can accept detachable clips, which can be emptied and rapidly replaced.

As was hammered home Monday by the shooting in Washington that killed 12 people, not including the shooter, a deranged gunman can quickly do horrendous damage.

Assault weapons? The Washington Navy Yard shooter used a shotgun. Not an “assault weapon” (defined by know-nothing journalists and gun-grabbing Democrats as scary black guns with the shoulder thing that goes up), but a Joe Biden-approved shotgun.

This formulation by the Bee editorial writers is the height of deceit and dishonesty. Once upon a time journalists would claim to simply be telling the truth, no more. Now, they are lying propagandists.

The Fresno area isn’t a particularly “blue” part of the state and I would hope that Bee subscribers and advertisers would take note of the contempt the newspaper has for law-abiding gun owners.

I hope the Bee goes out of business.

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I can’t begin to describe the level of stupid in this:

Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, hoped that a team of UN investigators — many of whom, presumably, have a longstanding relationship with Iranian leaders — could write a report that would convince Iran to abandon its ally at the behest of the United States.

“We worked with the UN to create a group of inspectors and then worked for more than six months to get them access to the country on the logic that perhaps the presence of an investigative team in the country might deter future attacks,” Power said at the Center for American Progress as she made the case for intervening in Syria.

“Or, if not, at a minimum, we thought perhaps a shared evidentiary base could convince Russia or Iran — itself a victim of Saddam Hussein’s monstrous chemical weapons attacks in 1987-1988 — to cast loose a regime that was gassing it’s [sic] people,” she said.

Seriously? If she wrote a really good report, then Iran would abandon their client state Syria? Why has this brilliant strategy not been brought to bear on the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process? Ms. Power can get out her word processor and write a brilliant report on why the Palestinians shouldn’t want to drive the Jews into the sea and, voila, problem solved.

On the other hand, I would advise the Israelis to try to intercept and “reports” from Hezbollah or the PLO.

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I’m not sure I could have come up with a solution to Syria.

I’m also pretty sure I couldn’t have done a worse job than President Obama.

Last year, with his customary self-importance, President Obama laid down his famous red line: If Bashir Assad used chemical weapons, there would be serious repercussions. This stance was applauded by Obama’s sycophants in the press corps (by which I mean the entire press corps) and all of the talking heads at the Washington dinner party circuit.

And then President Obama did nothing.

He didn’t talk to our allies.

He didn’t threaten Syria’s benefactors in Tehran.

He didn’t take a strong stance with Syria’s benefactors in Moscow (remember the “more flexibility” comment caught on a hot mike the media wasn’t terribly interested in during the 2012 election cycle?).

No, the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s force of charisma and dazzling smile were going to be enough to keep the tyrant in Damascus in line.

Until they weren’t.

Chemical weapons have been used—repeatedly.

And Obama’s reaction has been amateurish at best and downright insane at worst.

First, there were the months of waffling after a handful of small-scale chemical attacks. You had numerous reports that intelligence officials were confirming chemical attacks had taken place, but the White House formally refusing to confirm or deny. Then came the August attack that killed more than 1,000. The pictures and video of bodies wrapped in sheets showing no external wounds and video of people foaming at the mouth were too much to continue the “wait-and-see” approach.

Last week, the White House finally said it would act in an “Animal House” sort of way. The chemical weapons use in Syria “requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part!” “We’re just the guys to do it.”

How else would you explain White House flack Jay Carney telling reporters that the then-imminent Syria attack wouldn’t have as one of its goals actually killing Assad? Seriously?

Then Obama found out that the British weren’t coming.

And the pollsters started telling him that he hadn’t laid the groundwork for getting the American people’s support for the kind of attack that he was contemplating.

So, how did Mr. Foreign Policy President respond? He made a brief statement Saturday morning of Labor Day weekend as most Americans who weren’t out travelling were watching the first weekend of college football. It’s likely that fewer people bothered watching Obama’s remarks than tune into MSNBC on a typical weeknight.

And what did he say? Did he make an impassioned case for attacking Syria? Nope, he announced that he was going to ask Congress to vote on his little escapade—after more than a week saying he didn’t need their OK.

And Obama’s adoring press lapped it up. Case  in point is this guy’s laughable analysis of Obama’s history-defying decision to go to Congress. I suspect Obama’s really constipated with this guy’s head up his rectum all the time. Read that article really closely for any indication that the hated George W. Bush went to Congress for their OK to use military force not once, but twice.

After calling for Congress to vote on this very important humanitarian mission, did President Obama ask for them to come back from their August recess early to vote on this?

Nope.

Did he get on the phone and start calling members of congress to explain the situation? Did he ask them to the White House to discuss possible military options?

Nope.

Did he go golfing?

Yes.

I don’t know what the right answer is. I don’t know what Congress will or should do. What disgusts me is that the mainstream media isn’t pointing out the cheap politics of this maneuver.

If Congress OKs his Syrian adventure and it’s “successful” (however that is determined), Congress’ approval becomes a footnote.

If Congress OKs his Syrian adventure and it goes poorly, it’s Congress’ fault (somehow).

If Congress votes it down, well, it’s all those Republicans fault (yes, they only control one house, but the media hasn’t figured that out after 2+ years).

The best suggestion I saw was that House Republicans should just pull an Obama and vote “present.” Let Obama see how many of his fellow Democrats he can out as feckless hypocrites when it comes to the use of American military power against evil men.

If we’re lucky, right about now Obama is finally beginning to realize that his charm, his “hope,” and his apologetic foreign policy approach is a failure. It’s just unfortunate that we had to get to this point for reality to set in.

If he still doesn’t realize it, then the depth of his narcissism is truly staggering.

On a related note: Anyone heard from Cindy Sheehan lately?

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