Patterico's Pontifications


Politico Employs Classic Methods of Leftist Bias Re the VA Head

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:11 pm

Politico follows the usual lefty playbook when it comes to portraying a screw-up by a member of a Democrat administration. Don’t focus on the screw-up. Focus on the attacks by the political opponents of the guy who made the screw up.

As I observed 12 years ago of the Los Angeles Times (but the criticism holds for any Big Media publication):

When the paper disagrees with criticism of a candidate, it is portrayed as an attack by political opponents. When the paper agrees with the criticism, the criticism becomes a mysterious and disembodied (but ever-growing) entity.

In another old post, I even took an article full of descriptions of attacks by Republicans (“seized on” and “threw [some leftist] on the defensive” and so forth), and rewrote it to show how you could spin it the opposite way.

The Politico piece has the classic “seized on” and “lashed out” formulations, as well as the sympathetic portrayal of the guy from the Democrat administration all hunkered down, just defending himself from all that Republican attacking. I won’t link it. Just Google “Republicans lash out at VA secretary for ‘Disney’ comparison” if you want to read it. Here is an excerpt:

Republicans are lashing out at Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald after he invoked Disney when talking about how veterans’ care should be judged.

McDonald on Monday was talking to reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast when he referenced the amusement park owner as he hit back at critics focused on long wait times for veterans seeking medical care.

“What really counts is how does the veteran feel about their encounter with the VA. When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important? What’s important is what’s your satisfaction with the experience,” he said.

Republicans quickly seized on the comments, holding them up as the latest example of the Obama administration’s callous approach to veterans.

See? Republicans are “lashing out” and “seized on” the comments, while the VA head simply “hit back” — as you do when you are the victim of a bunch of “lashing out” (which sounds awful mean).

This is how they take some dipshit who isn’t doing squat to help veterans, and who makes a callous and jaw-dropping statement about it, and somehow turn him into the victim. Meanwhile, veterans are dying right and left, but never mind all that.

It’s good to just sit back and analyze this crap from time to time. They never ever stop doing it.

I hate them all.

Trump’s New Political Ad: “He Starts To Bite On My Top Lip And I Try To Pull Away From Him”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:06 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Is Hillary really protecting women?

A video posted by Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on

Also, during an interview last week, Trump fired a shot at the Clintons when he used the word “rape” with regard to Bill Clinton .

The Clinton camp pushed back:

“Trump is doing what he does best, attacking when he feels wounded and dragging the American people through the mud for his own gain. If that’s the kind of campaign he wants to run, that’s his choice.

No response from either Bill or Hillary Clinton about this new ad.


Oklahoma Pushes Back To Maintain “Public Peace, Health, And Safety”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:48 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Oklahomans aren’t happy about President Obama’s “sweeping decree”:

Oklahoma lawmakers have introduced a bill that would allow students to request on religious grounds that their public schools provide a bathroom or other facility that bars transgender people.

The bill appears to be one of the first state-level legislative actions to challenge the Obama administration’s directives, issued last week, that said students must be allowed to use the facilities that match the gender they identify as, even if that is different from their anatomical sex.

The bill defines “sex” as “the physical condition as being male or female, as identified at birth” by an individual’s anatomy”.

Under the bill, a student claiming a “sincerely held religious belief,” would be able to request a “religious accommodation” and be provided with the use of a restroom, shower, or locker room used solely by other students born with the “same anatomical sex” as their own.

Hmm… high schoolers in various states of undress, showers, and the opposite (biological) sex all in the same place. What could go wrong?? (It could just be me, but it doesn’t seem like the average self-loathing, insecure, shy teenager would really want to shower or be in various states of undress in front someone of the opposite (biological) sex. Are teenagers really that different today??)

Last week, Oklahoma also accused the president of Constitutional overreach with regard to his bathroom edict:

Senate Concurrent Resolution 43 calls upon Oklahoma’s elected U.S. representatives to “file articles of impeachment against the President of the United States, the Attorney General of the United States, the Secretary of Education and any other federal official liable to impeachment who has exceeded his or her constitutional authority.”


VA Secretary: Nobody Gets Upset at Disney for the Long Lines, So Why Get Mad at the VA?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:52 pm


Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald on Monday compared the length of time veterans wait to receive health care at the VA to the length of time people wait for rides at Disneyland, and said his agency shouldn’t use wait times as a measure of success because Disney doesn’t either.

“When you got to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important? What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience?” McDonald said Monday during a Christian Science Monitor breakfast with reporters. “And what I would like to move to, eventually, is that kind of measure.”…

The VA secretary said most veterans report being satisfied with their care and argued that the average wait time for a veteran seeking VA treatment is only a matter of days.

Allahpundit has the best comment:

VA secretary: You don’t judge your experience at Disneyland based on the wait times, do you?

If there was a chance you’d die while in line for Space Mountain, I’m thinking you might.

People are wondering on Twitter how long it’ll be before the VA introduces a Fastpass+ program for vets.

Let’s forget the fact that we’re talking about life and death here, and not an amusement park.

If you don’t like Disney, you have a choice, which includes any of several other amusement parks, or even staying home.

If you don’t like government-run health care, you have a choice: dying, or living without health care. Not much of a choice, really.

He’s a dipstick, but he expresses the government mentality well.

“The new overtime rules will affect millions of middle-class Americans” — Huh?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:45 am

I’m confused! Millions of people work for the same company?

Oh, the federal government rules about overtime pay. Of course! How could I forget?! Well, let’s see what Congress has done this time. Newsweek:

Melissa Agnello earned her Ph.D in microbiology last year from the University of California at Los Angeles, an impressive achievement that unlocked her ability to wave goodbye to a decade of student poverty and… be a little less poor. She’s doing post-doctoral research now at the school, studying the microbiome, the bacteria that live on the human body. The job pays $42,800 a year, which would be a king’s ransom in rural Arkansas but in southern California it means a 45-minute commute to work from the place she and her husband can afford to live. It’s also a position that pays no overtime, even though Agnello doesn’t really have any duties that might be considered managerial, exempting her from overtime law. When she works 60 hours in a week, she makes the same amount of money as when she worked 40.

Plenty of American workers and plenty of international workers have it worse. But things are looking up for Agnello and an estimated 12.5 million workers across the country in the wake of an Obama administration change to the Fair Labor Standards Act announced last week, raising the salary threshold for overtime pay. By the first of the year, Agnello will either see her pay jump to $47,476, or she’ll be able to start clocking every hour she works above 40 to earn time and a half. By this time next year, she’s hoping, she’ll be able to ease a little farther away from a constant worry about money and start saving for a house, think about a family, and “stop being a starving student, which I’ve felt like for a long time.”

Isn’t that wonderful? She’ll make almost $5000 more per year! Hooray! And as we all know, that money magically comes out of nowhere. Employers having to pay more can’t possibly cause higher prices, or taxes, or unemployment.

That, of course, was sarcasm. This appears to be, essentially, a government-mandated rate hike for certain workers:

Eric Cook is associate director of human resources services at Mammoth HR, a Portland, Ore.-based consulting company that advises mostly small businesses that can’t afford their own separate human resources departments. . . . . What most of Cook’s clients are planning to do is give their employees raises, bumping them up somewhere above the new threshold of $47,476, which will allow them to continue having workers put in more than 40 hours a week without overtime.

Yup, Congress really screwed the pooch this time! But wait! What was that line? “[A]n Obama administration change to the Fair Labor Standards Act”??

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 10.48.26 AM

The “Fair Labor Standards Act” sounds like a law. What is all this about the “Obama administration” changing a law?

Not being a labor lawyer, I don’t know whether this is another example of Obama overstepping his bounds and changing statutory language without Congressional authorization, or another example of Congress abandoning its lawmaking power and giving excessive power to the federal bureaucracy. What I do know is that no executive should be able to announce new rules about how much private employers must pay their workers. Even if we assume that the federal government has such a power, that power resides in Congress, not the executive.

Mike Lee talks about the overweening regulatory state in his books Our Lost Constitution and The Freedom Agenda (which I recently finished). We have lost all accountability, and are ruled by bureaucrats. They serve as lawmaker, judge, jury, and executioner.

We have to start fighting this.

P.S. Obama, of course, uses a Keynesian analysis to explain why this is great policy:

“This is a step in the right direction to strengthen and secure the middle class by raising Americans’ wages,” Obama wrote in an email to supporters. “When workers have more income, they spend it—often at businesses in their local community—and that helps grow the economy for everyone.”

I don’t know why we don’t just federally mandate that every worker in the nation receive a $50,000 per year salary increase. Why, just think of all the money that would be circulating in the economy!

If you’re interested in learning more about why such arguments are fallacious, you could do worse than to poke around Tom Woods’s Liberty Classroom. There is a whole course on Keynesianism and its fallacies. Poke around the free Liberty Classroom samples here.

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