Incompetence reigns supreme

Victor Davis Hanson in Townhall:

In October of 1962, America worried whether an untried young president, John F. Kennedy, could keep us safe from nuclear-tipped missiles from nearby communist Cuba.

Today’s October worries are more insidious: the Ebola virus, the macabre Islamic State, a tottering stock market, a bellicose Russia, and a crisis of confidence in our government.

Much of what the Obama administration and the Centers for Disease Control initially swore about the Ebola virus proved false. The virus really did infect Americans at home, despite assurances that there was “no significant risk.” There always was a danger of infected West Africans entering the U.S. CDC protocols did not protect nurses.

Banning all travel from West African countries where the virus is epidemic may not stop Ebola from spreading throughout the U.S. But the administration still cannot offer convincing reasons why we should not try just that. Instead, a purely medical decision seems hopelessly embedded in the administration’s usual politically correct spin.

The stock market is wobbly, and for good reason. A record number of Americans have dropped out of the workforce.

Six years of piling up more debt, raising taxes, issuing more regulations, perpetuating deficits, slashing defense, expanding social programs and creating vast new bureaucracies have only stifled economic growth. Obama has no interest in trying something other than boilerplate Keynesian borrowing.

Once-unimpeachable federal agencies now appear as 19th-century tribal fiefdoms.

The National Security Agency lied about monitoring the communications of average Americans.

Almost nothing in Obama’s lectures about the new unaffordable Affordable Health Care Act proved accurate.

The once-hallowed Secret Service seems incompetent and scandal-ridden.

NASA is hardly recognizable. Its director said that the agency’s first concern was not our continued reliance on Vladimir Putin’s space rockets, but Muslim outreach.

Homeland Security’s panty raid

Peter Suderman in Reason: In 2002, the Bush administration issued a formal proposal outlining the reasoning for the creation a new, cabinet-level bureaucracy, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Flash forward to 2014. The Department of Homeland Security has a $39 billion annual budget.

It is fighting the fight against our invisible enemies, and taking on the unknown threats of the future.

By confiscating baseball-themed women’s underwear from enthusiastic local retailers.

The Kansas City Star reports on Peregrine Honig, who created the design for “Lucky Royals” women’s boyshorts, featuring the words “take the crown” and a “KC” logo emblazoned on the rear, in honor of the Kansas City Royals baseball team making it to the World Series.

Honig was going to sell the boyshorts in her store, Honig’s Birdies Panties. Then a pair of DHS agents stopped by. As the Star reported: “Homeland Security agents visited the Crossroads store and confiscated the few dozen pairs of underwear, printed in Kansas City by Lindquist Press.

“They came in and there were two guys,” Honig said. “I asked one of them what size he needed and he showed me a badge and took me outside. They told me they were from Homeland Security and we were violating copyright laws.”

She thought that since the underwear featured her hand-drawn design that she was safe. But the officers explained that by connecting the “K” and the “C,” she infringed on Major League Baseball copyright.

They placed the underwear in an official Homeland Security bag and had Honig sign a statement saying she wouldn’t use the logo.

Don’t you feel safer now?

‘A Time for Choosing,’ at 50

Jeffrey Lord in the American Spectator: October 27, 1964. Fifty years ago. It was a Tuesday night, one week from election day. As the Johnson-Goldwater campaign wound to its end, with Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society liberalism he was championing poised to win in a landslide over GOP nominee Senator Barry Goldwater, Americans turned on their television sets to see one last political commercial. They quickly discovered a very familiar face in a very unfamiliar setting.

Actor Ronald Reagan, longtime movie and TV star, newly the host and occasional star of Death Valley Days, a weekly TV series based on the old West, was introduced by an off-screen voice for a “thoughtful address” sponsored by the Goldwater campaign. Suddenly, there was actor Reagan (here) standing behind a bunting-draped podium in front of a live audience.

For the next 30 minutes, Reagan, fully aware of Goldwater’s impending loss, sailed directly against the prevailing political winds. He made the case for conservatism, illustrating repeatedly what biographer Steven F. Hayward terms Reagan’s belief that “government is a threat to liberty.”

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