For once, @statedeptspox Jen Psaki and I agree

December 5, 2014

Jen Psaki hashtag

We’ve met Jen Psaki before, when she and her deputy, Marie Harf, became the public faces of “Hashtag Diplomacy,” bringing the conduct of American foreign affairs to an embarrassing new low.

Now, I have to admit, I have some sympathy for Ms. Psaki; it can’t be easy to day after day repeat the fatuous talking points she’s given in defense of the administration’s incompetent foreign policy. And, in fact, the strain may be getting to her; after giving another non-answer to a reporter’s question, she admitted the talking point was ridiculous.

Only she forgot the mic was open:

After Associated Press reporter Matt Lee pressed her to comment on Egypt’s decision to clear former President Hosni Mubarak of murder, Psaki gave one of her typical non-answers read straight from the page:

“Generally, we continue to believe that upholding impartial standards of accountability will advance the political consensus on which Egypt’s long-term stability and economic growth depends,” Psaki said.

Lee was astonished at the response, and took the opportunity to point out that the answer was meaningless.

“Wow, I don’t understand that at all,” Lee said. “What you said says nothing. It’s like saying, ‘We support the right of people to breathe.’”

Psaki declined to give any further comment to reporters during the briefing. However, as the lights dimmed, Psaki was exasperated and told Lee how she really felt, not realizing her microphone was still on.

“That Egypt line is ridiculous,” Psaki said.

Ooops…

Check the Free Beacon for video of this unintentional moment of public candor.

via American Thinker and sodagrrl

Advertisements

Theater of the Absurd: taxes force Spanish theater to sell porn to stay open

December 5, 2014

“Detrás de la puerta verde?”

Here’s another wonderful example of the ridiculous situations created when a bloated, unsustainable social welfare state forces politicians to tax anything and everything they can think of in order to feed the beast. In this case, a Spanish theater that presents the plays of Spain’s “Shakespeare” has to sell pornography to reduce its crippling tax burden:

Crippled by colossal tax rates and falling ticket sales, the Spanish cultural sector is taking creative action to cut its tax bill, including one theatre which has changed its main business to pornography to avoid having to pay high taxes.

The tax charged on cultural performances in Spain has shot up from eight to twenty-one percent since 2011 as the government attempts to balance the books, and has drawn a broader range of products into the local VAT-like ‘sales tax’. Some have noted the uneven application of the new higher taxes, which have hit high culture but not erotica and magazines.

Theatre director Karina Garantivá said: “It’s scandalous when cultural heritage is being taxed at 21 percent and porn at only at 4 percent. Something is wrong”. Her company, which performs works by the “Spanish Shakespeare” Pedro Calderón de la Barca has decided to circumvent the new, punitive taxes by registering as a distributor of pornographic magazines – and is offering free performances.

Punters buying €16 worth of hardcore-swingers magazine Gente Libre from the company receive a ‘free’ ticket to a performance of the highly regarded 17th century comic drama El Mágico Prodigioso.

Garantivá said the law as it stands made theatres feel as if they were “in a straitjacket, suffocated”, and that “We want people to ask what kind of a society makes this kind of decision. That they compare pornography and Calderón … and reach their own conclusions”.

A tax on “cultural performances?” That might make even gentry liberals here howl in outrage.

Ms. Garantivá asks the right question in the above highlight, but I have to wonder if someone raised in Spain’s all-encompassing social welfare system could easily come to the right answer? The problem is welfare statism itself, which spends far more than it can afford and faces continual pressure to spend even more to support an aging population, while dealing with a declining birth rate. The government’s increasing tax demands thus fall on a shrinking tax base, taking more per person. It’s a recipe for economic stagnation at best and collapse at worst. It’s a growing problem confronting much of Europe, but the people most burdened by the taxes often shriek the loudest at any effort to cut taxes and benefits to more rational levels. And we’re not all that far behind.

Meanwhile, you also have to wonder about politicians who tax “Shakespeare” more than smut.