Fraud

“Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”
— Barack Obama, January 21, 2009

From Yahoo News:

The Obama administration set a record again for censoring government files or outright denying access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.

The government took longer to turn over files when it provided any, said more regularly that it couldn’t find documents and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy.

It also acknowledged in nearly 1 in 3 cases that its initial decisions to withhold or censor records were improper under the law — but only when it was challenged.

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Moral Manipulation

From Jason Riley:

Ferguson, Mo., in 2015 is not Selma, Ala., in 1965. Black people in America today are much more likely to experience racial preferences than racial slights. The violent crime that is driving the black incarceration rate spiked after the civil-rights victories of the 1960s, not before. And if voter-ID laws threaten the black franchise, no one seems to have told the black electorate. According to the Census Bureau, the black voter-turnout rate in 2012 exceeded the white turnout rate, even in states with the strictest voter-ID requirements.

The socioeconomic problems that blacks face today have nothing to do with civil-rights barriers and nearly everything to do with a black subculture that rejects certain attitudes and behaviors that are conducive to upward mobility. Yet Mr. Obama has a political interest—and the civil-rights industry has a vested interest—in pretending that the opposite is true.

“Liberalism in the twenty-first century is, for the most part, a moral manipulation that exaggerates inequity and unfairness in American life in order to justify overreaching public policies and programs,” writes the Hoover Institution’s Shelby Steele in “Shame,” his timely new book on political polarization and race relations in the U.S. This liberalism, he adds, is “not much interested in addressing discrimination case by case; rather, it assumes that all minorities and women are systematically discriminated against so that only government-enforced preferential policies for these groups—across the entire society—can bring us close to equity.”

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Not Grandmother-in-Chief Material

From Jonah Goldberg:

In the wake of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s fairly disastrous press conference at the United Nations on Tuesday, there’s only one conclusion shared by all parties: This was not how it was supposed to go.

This was supposed to be the month Clinton led with her chief selling point: her gender. She had put together a whole “I Am Woman, Hear Me Bore” speaking tour in which women’s issues — particularly the women’s issues that poll well among women who care a lot about women’s issues — would be the main subject.

The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation unveiled a big foofaraw over Hillary’s “No Ceilings” campaign. What a wonderfully convenient theme for Mrs. Clinton’s massive and mysterious foundation, given that smashing the “highest glass ceiling” — i.e., the presidency — is the central rationale of her planned presidential bid. It was just a coincidence that the tax-exempt foundation with her name on it happened to be rolling out a big light show on that very subject during the rollout of her presidential campaign.

It was all carefully scripted, because everything Hillary Clinton does is carefully scripted. Normally, that’s a figurative expression. But with Clinton, when things are carefully scripted, they are literally carefully scripted.

On Monday, Hillary had a “No Ceilings” event at the Clinton Foundation. After her opening remarks, the Associated Press reported, she declined to take any questions. “When she sat down to lead more informal conversations with invited speakers, participants appeared to be reading from teleprompters.”

I’ll give the AP reporters a pass on this odd locution, since they at least conveyed the truth to the reader. But for the record, a dialogue between people on a stage in which they read from teleprompters is not an “informal conversation” — it’s a play.

The trouble for Clinton is that, despite all of her preparation, all of her coordination, the world is going off her script. And for a woman who thinks off-the-cuff speaking is switching from her prepared remarks to her prepared notecards, that’s a scary place.

That is surely why she set up her own private Internet server. Four times at the U.N., Clinton said she had created her “home-brew” e-mail system simply for “convenience.”

“I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal e-mails instead of two,” she said.

Never mind that it’s much easier to set up two e-mail systems on one device than it is to set up a whole dark server hidden from the government. And leave aside that a woman who travels with a very large entourage on non-commercial flights could probably manage two devices.

I’m sure she’s right. She set up the server for convenience — but not the convenience of sparing her the load of an additional four-ounce phone. When you want to hide what you’re doing, a private server is definitely the way to go.

Hillary has only two comfort zones: deep in a bunker or high on a pedestal. Drag her out of the former or knock her off the latter and she’s at sea.

In her very brief press conference Tuesday, she essentially admitted to the transgression she’s been accused of for the past week. She admitted to deleting thousands of e-mails. She turned over the public e-mails she deemed safe to give to the public and kept the rest, saying they were private, anointing herself to be the sole arbiter.

“I fully complied with every rule that I was governed by,” she said. And: “I have no doubt that we have done exactly what we should have done.”

This hints at the attitude that binds her and her husband: the belief that they are governed solely by what they choose to be governed by and what they do is right because they have done it.

The problem for Hillary is she can’t sell it. That’s why she prefers everything to be scripted. For example, Mrs. Clinton needed to tell the public not to ever come looking for any more e-mail from her, including the allegedly private ones she chose not to share. So she claimed they no longer exist.

“At the end, I chose not to keep my private, personal e-mails — e-mails about planning Chelsea’s wedding or my mother’s funeral arrangements, condolence notes to friends.”

Clinton’s vast marketing division has been toying with rolling her out as the “Grandmother in Chief.” Well, here’s a tip: Grandmothers save that kind of stuff.

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Americans Are Fools If They Accept This

From Mark Steyn:

I’ll be talking about today’s Hillary Clinton press conference later tonight with Sean Hannity on Fox News, but it was an amazing performance. Amazingly wooden and unconvincing, of course, but in a sense that was part of its brazenness. Its sheer implausibility underlined her central message: Yeah, and what are you gonna do about it?

Most political figures would be terrified at having to advance this thin a defense in public:

Oh, well. I didn’t have a government email address because I didn’t want to be forced to carry “two devices”. Who’d she get that one from? Bill? “Aw, honey, you know I couldn’t possibly be arkansashorndog@yahoo.com, and distinguishingcharacteristics@gmail.com, and cigaraficionado@aol.com, and hotmale@hotmail.com, and youmightwanttoputsomeiceonthat@clintonmentoring.com, and all the rest, because I’d have to have 12 different devices. And, if I had 12 different desktops on the desk, there’d be no room for the intern, would there?”

But apparently it’s easier to set up your own email domain on a personal server at your home than ask a State Dept underling if there’s anybody there who can figure out how to get two email addresses on one “device”. And apparently your reluctance to carry two “devices” trumps anything so footling as the law. And, in any case, you said on camera just two weeks ago that you had an iPhone and a Blackberry.

Hillary announced today that she’d deleted everything other than the 55,000 pages of emails she handed over to the government. And, while 55,000 sounds like a lot, it boils down to fewer than 38 a day for a four-year term. The average person in work has over 120 business-related emails a day. So Hillary’s 55,000 sounds a little on the low side. Happily for her, she handed them over to the feds as print copies only, so Trey Gowdy is going to have to wait until some State Dept minion has scanned them all in in a searchable form before he can enter search terms like “Benghazi”.

The risibilty of these defenses is the point. To reprise one of my favorite Theodore Dalrymple quotes:

In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better.

That’s why all this stuff is coming out now. If Hillary can get away with something so obviously and uniquely and intentionally wrong, and that compromises national security to boot, and for which she offers nothing but the most laughable explanations, then she will have set the rules for the next 18 months. If she can make the court eunuchs of the media and the Democrats’ own base complicit in this absurd and unconvincing lie, they’re hardly in a position to complain about all the others in the months ahead.

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The Honesty Gap

From Thomas Sowell:

There may be some poetic justice in the recent revelation that Hillary Clinton, who has made big noises about a “pay gap” between women and men, paid the women on her Senate staff just 72 percent of what she paid the men. The Obama White House staff likewise has a pay gap between women and men, as of course does the economy as a whole.

Does this mean that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both discriminate against women, that they are themselves part of the nefarious “war on women” that so many on the left loudly denounce? The poetic justice in the recent “pay gap” revelations is that the fundamental fraud in the statistics that are thrown around comes back to bite those who are promoting that fraud for political purposes.

What makes such statistics fraudulent is that they are comparing apples and oranges.

Innumerable studies, going back for decades, have shown that women do not average as many hours of work per year as men, do not have as many consecutive years of full-time employment as men, do not work in the same mix of occupations as men and do not specialize in the same mix of subjects in college as men.

Back in 1996, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that young male physicians earned 41 percent higher incomes than young female physicians. But the same study showed that young male physicians worked over 500 hours a year more than young female physicians.

When the study took into account differences in hours of work, in the fields in which male and female doctors specialized and other differences in their job characteristics, “no earnings difference was evident.” In other words, when you compare apples to apples, you don’t get the “gender gap” in pay that you get when you compare apples to oranges.

This is not peculiar to the medical profession. Nor was this a new revelation, even back in 1996. Many studies done by many scholars over the years — including female scholars — show the same thing, again and again.

A breakdown of statistics in an old monograph of mine — “Affirmative Action in Academia” — showed the pay differential between women and men evaporating, or even reversing, as you compared individuals with truly comparable characteristics. This was back in 1975, forty years ago!

There might have been some excuse for believing that income differences between women and men were proof of discrimination back in the 1960s. But there is no excuse for continuing to use misleading statistics in the 21st century, when their flaws have been exposed repeatedly and long ago.

Many kinds of high-level and high-pressure careers require working 50 or 60 hours a week regularly, and women with children — or expecting to have children — seldom choose those kinds of careers.

Nor is there any reason why they should, if they don’t want to. Raising a child is not an incidental activity that you can do in your spare time, like collecting stamps or bowling.

If you trace the actual history of women in high-level careers, you will find that it bears no resemblance to the radical feminist fable, in which advances began with the “women’s liberation” movement in the 1960s and new anti-discrimination laws.

In reality, women were far better represented in professional occupations in the first three decades of the 20th century than in the middle of that century. Women received a larger share of the postgraduate degrees necessary for such careers in the earlier era than in the 1950s and 1960s.

The proportion of women among the high achievers listed in “Who’s Who in America” in 1902 was more than double the proportion listed in 1958. The decline of women in high-level careers occurred when women’s age of marriage and child-bearing declined during the mid-century “baby boom” years.

The later rise of women began when the age of marriage and child-bearing rose again. In 1972 women again received as high a proportion of doctoral degrees as they had back in 1932.

The truth is not nearly as politically useful as scare statistics. The “gender gap” is not nearly as big as the honesty gap.

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