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Posted at 7:45 AM ET, 02/11/2011

Morning Bits

By Jennifer Rubin

Elliott Abrams explains what went wrong in Egypt. "The Brotherhood thrived underground and in the mosques, while a moderate who had the audacity to run against President Mubarak in 2005, Ayman Nour, was then imprisoned for four years. This suggests that Egypt's forthcoming transition to democracy will be extremely difficult and may falter, because the Mubarak regime did literally nothing in 30 years to prepare Egypt for it. The Administration was warned about all of this a year ago, and told that if Mubarak stole the November 2010 parliamentary elections and tried to install his son as his successor, Egypt was in for real turbulence. He did both--and now Egypt is reaping the whirlwind. . . . Unfortunately that advice to the Administration was not heeded--or not well enough anyway; the Administration was largely passive and hardly reacted when Mubarak stole yet another election last Fall."

Republicans begin to explain what is wrong with ObamaCare. CBO confirms that ObamaCare will kill 800,000 jobs.

Peter Berkowitz explains what is wrong with popular conservative figures simply bashing elites. "Overall, their sweeping indictment, which inspired a good deal of Tea Party activism, has been good for democracy in America. By rousing large numbers of citizens of differing political inclinations last November to demand more effective and responsible representation, the indictment served the cause of self-government. But dwelling on the vices of contemporary elites can also present dangers to the cause of freedom. . . . It frequently runs the risk of obscuring the dependence of constitutional democracy in America on the cultivation of excellence.

James Capretta explains what is wrong with liberals' thinking on "bending the cost curve" on health-care costs. "Bending the cost curve is not a matter of simply paying less for a service. What's needed is real and continuous productivity improvement in the health sector: doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, labs, clinics, and others finding better ways to deliver higher-quality care at less cost. Because if productivity in the health sector does not rise, then payment-rate reductions will simply drive willing suppliers of services out of the marketplace." Read the whole thing.

This explains what's wrong with focusing on Israeli settlements as the reason we don't have peace in the Middle East. "As part of a TV campaign to 'support women's issues' in the Arab world, a TV clip presenting several 'model women' was broadcast on more than 50 Arab TV stations including Palestinian Authority TV. One of the women promoted as role models for Arab women today is famous for her terrorist attack that killed dozens, and another is famous for celebrating the Martyrdom deaths of her children."

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's office explains what is wrong with his prior statement calling the Muslim Brotherhood a secular organization. It really doesn't inspire confidence, does it?

At some point you have to really wonder what is wrong with the Obama brain trust. "CIA Director Leon Panetta helped touch off an avalanche of erroneous expectations Thursday when he testified that there was a 'strong likelihood' that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak would step down by the end of the day."

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 11, 2011; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Bits  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Thursday feature: A turn to lighter fare
Next: Obama ignored by Mubarak -- again


what are the odds on how long until Egypt's next bread riots overwhelm the twitterers in Tahrir Square, where the tent villages are starting to look like a public health disaster in the making?

hard to see how Egypt transitions well...just read about Tunisia, which is increasingly unstable, and the tourists still absent. Getting rid of ben Ali did not bring instant change.

as to DNI Clapper? He gets a paycheck and full benefits? Oh to be the fly on the wall when FBI's Mueller had his private chat with Clapper after that hearing :)

My prediction is Jordan is next.

Posted by: K2K2 | February 11, 2011 8:14 AM | Report abuse


But dwelling on the vices of contemporary elites can also present dangers to the cause of freedom. . . . It frequently runs the risk of obscuring the dependence of constitutional democracy in America on the cultivation of excellence.

I'm not sure if this is Berkowitz or Rubin commenting (there's no close quote on this excerpt), but regardless it ignores the critical fact that many of our elites are elite only in their internals of their own fevered imaginations. That's right, I'm thinking about you Barry, and you Nancy, and you Harry, and you Barney. I could easily go on for an hour here. Katie. Chris. Keith. Matt. Anderson.

Rinse, lather and rinse some more.

The ability to win (or steal) an election here or there, or rise to the power seats in academia or media through PC bleating proves nothing about worthiness of any measure.

The problem with this current crop of elites is that they are the least-genuine and least-qualified elites in the history of the Republic. In fact, they are a poison, in the true meaning of the word.

Hard to see how anyone other than the willfully blind could miss that.

Posted by: VideoSavant | February 11, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse

" CBO confirms that ObamaCare will kill 800,000 jobs."

no it didn't... unless you use an edited version of what was said like in this video.

you can watch the whole thing on C-Span..

Posted by: newagent99 | February 11, 2011 8:29 AM | Report abuse

To date Clapper has done nothing that instills any confidence in his ability to direct the intelligence community. He’s got a good resume and were Clapper some backroom advisor or Ph.D. called out periodically to expound on nuggets uncovered in esoteric research, his demeanor and utterances could be excused. But he’s supposed to direct (oversee and control!) our intelligence assets, and he does not appear able to find his own, even with a hint and both hands.

Let’s just pitch the whole NID apparatus and return to our previous structure with the CIA in charge. I’m confident that DCI Panetta would be much better prepared and much less disposed to making silly comments.


Posted by: SCMike1 | February 11, 2011 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Are you capable of writing anything that doesn't support Israel and demonizes arabs?

There was a purer, more honest version of you on the boob-tube the other night. It was in the form of one Joan Rivers who, when asked about how she votes said simply; "death taxes and Israel." A simple paraphrase of your own pathetic bio-blurb. Refreshing perhaps, but still disgusting.

Posted by: mot2win | February 11, 2011 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Here's the link to the Berkowitz piece:

Posted by: SCMike1 | February 11, 2011 8:59 AM | Report abuse

“[Bashing contemporary elites] frequently runs the risk of obscuring the dependence of constitutional democracy in America on the cultivation of excellence.” Aye, spoken like a true elitist.

Au contraire. Many – and I would hope most – accept and agree with Montesquieu’s principle that democracies are maintained and preserved, or not, by the virtue of their citizens. The lack of virtue, especially among our liberal elitists, is dramatically dragging our nation down. Bashing is them is patriotic.

Posted by: nvjma | February 11, 2011 9:00 AM | Report abuse


In fact, he did say that. Maybe you take comfort that not all of these 800,000 jobs will be annihilated until later in the decade.

Spin, spin, spin. Face it buddy, Obamacare is an job-killing turd that cannot be polished no matter how many times you breathe upon it and rub it together in your hands.

Posted by: VideoSavant | February 11, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

It's net a reduction in labor that workers choose to supply, not in the supply of jobs.

"The report, published in August, said, "The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the legislation, on net, will reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by a small amount—roughly half a percent—primarily by reducing the amount of labor that workers choose to supply … That net effect reflects changes in incentives in the labor market that operate in both directions: Some provisions of the legislation will discourage people from working more hours or entering the workforce, and other provisions will encourage them to work more.”"

"CBO said one reason fewer people will choose to work is that many low-income people will have more money in their pockets as a result of the law expanding Medicaid and providing federal subsidies for many who buy insurance privately. "The expansion of Medicaid and the availability of subsidies through the exchanges will effectively increase beneficiaries’ financial resources," CBO said. "Those additional resources will encourage some people to work fewer hours or to withdraw from the labor market."
Another reason that people might work less is that the new law requires insurance companies to cover preexisting conditions, and also limits their ability to charge higher rates for older persons who buy policies for themselves. "As a result, some older workers will choose to retire earlier than they otherwise would," CBO said.
To be sure, some jobs will indeed be lost, CBO said. That’s because the new law requires many businesses to pay a penalty if they do not provide health insurance to their workers. That "will probably cause some employers to respond by hiring fewer low-wage workers," CBO said. But it also said these firms may hire more part-time or seasonal workers instead. CBO did not estimate the number of jobs likely to be affected either way."

Posted by: jonmower | February 11, 2011 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Spin, spin, spin. Face it buddy, Obamacare is an job-killing turd that cannot be polished

It's only worth a s--t (1)if you can't buy insurance because you're broke or (2)you have a pre-existing condition. That's its only value. If it doesn't do #s 1&2,then it's not worth a s--t to anybody.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 11, 2011 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Since about 1/3 of Americans have a pre-existing condition and 50 million of them are uninsured, it would seem it would be worth something to a lot of people.

Posted by: MsJS | February 11, 2011 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Since about 1/3 of Americans have a pre-existing condition and 50 million of them are uninsured, it would seem it would be worth something to a lot of people.
Posted by: MsJS

It means a lot to me also,I have two kids with pre-existing conditions that are now on my insurance* until they're 26. In the case of VideoSavant,I assume that OCARE does nothing for him.
*It costs me 300 $s a month for them,but without OCARE,I couldn't buy insurance for them at any price.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 11, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Boehner/proposes 100 Billion in cuts.

Paul/proposes 500 Billion in cuts.

Who has the better plan?

Posted by: rcaruth | February 11, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Commentors above have made cogent points about "Elites" and while some of those mentioned above did go to "elite schools" (e.g. Anderson Cooper to Yale, Katie to Virginia but was in state and the idiotic inanities she moths betray nothing of genuine erudition and sophistication) it is somewhat problematic to condemn talent, excellence and achievement.

Still, the problem is that even genuinely gifted and accomplished individuals are much more inclined to embrace shallow, incoherent, and absurd shibboleths like Catastrophic Global Climate Disruption, Kenesian economics, the centrality of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict to the problems of the Middle East and to support laughably ridiculous and harmful policies like Green Jobs and Obamacare. Melanie Phillips has written on the subject.

To thrive as a nation, however, we are desperately in need of right thinking elites and of these there is a huge shortage. That such elites are much better represented on the Supreme Court than in the general student body and groups of alumni of the august institutions that produce its members indicates that such right thinking exists to a far greater extent in the polity than in these institutions.

Posted by: cavalier4 | February 11, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Congratulations on "informing" your readers tres-Pinnochios-style. :-)

Posted by: jonmower | February 11, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

"Young, stupid and Republican is no way to go through life."

Fewer elderly working at McD's for the employer provided "healthcare" does not mean fewer actual jobs.

Stupid or lying....

Posted by: gregroa | February 12, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

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