Sunday, January 31, 2010

Democrat grief over HC--worth a Sunday read

"The Democrats' Five Stages of Grief Over Health Care"; Liberals mourn the death of their top legislative priority. by Peter Suderman of

Therapists looking to study the five stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, in that order—need look no further than Washington Democrats struggling to come to grips with the fact that the health care overhaul they spent nearly a year crafting is now dead. Every stage but the last is well represented. The only step left for Democrats is to accept that, after Republican Scott Brown's win in the Massachusetts special election, their signature reform effort is now lost.

The facts are plain for any objective observer to see. Brown, who ran a campaign focused on opposition to the Democrats' plan to remake the health care system, represents the 41st Republican vote in the Senate, meaning that Democrats can no longer break a united GOP filibuster. Consequently, for any future bill to pass in the Senate, it must have some Republican support.

Both the House and the Senate have already passed separate health care reform bills. But these bills differ significantly in their financing mechanisms, their special interest deals, and their treatment of federal funding of abortion. For reform to become law, the two legislative bodies must reconcile their differences and each pass a unified bill. But given the Republicans' unbreakable filibuster power, it's unlikely any reconciled bill could get through the Senate. Meanwhile, as a result of both longstanding policy disagreements and an upswell in political pressure stemming from the Massachusetts election, not enough members in the House are willing to accept the Senate bill as is.

Yet some Democrats are still insisting that something will pass. Still in denial are House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a few top members of Obama's administration, some of whom were, even as late as Sunday afternoon, still insisting that some type of health care reform—perhaps even the comprehensive Senate bill that was the final product of their year-long effort—would pass.

Their argument is that House Democrats could pass the Senate bill and amend it to their liking in reconciliation, a process which would allow the Senate to make changes without threat of a Republican filibuster. But this plan unrealistically expects House Democrats to agree to a bill that they oppose in hopes that the changes will go through later. Even more importantly, it simply ignores the fact that, as even Pelosi has admitted, there are not enough votes for this plan to work. The argument, then, is essentially a tautology—that if more legislators were willing to vote for the bill, it could pass.

But as is often the case in Washington, these official denials serve a political purpose as a face-saving mechanism designed to appease those who have moved on to grief's next stage, anger. Amongst the Democratic base of pundits, advocates, and activists, there is a widespread belief that the bill could be saved if only Barack Obama would exert more influence over Democratic members of Congress. But blaming the White House for its hands-off approach forgets that the strategy was far more successful than President Bill Clinton's distinctly hands-on micromanagement of HillaryCare in 1994.

Rather than blame the president, other Democrats have moved on to bargaining, floating the possibility that they might pass a series of scaled back reforms in multiple bills, likely focusing on popular insurance market regulations like prohibiting discrimination based on preexisting conditions.

That strategy, however, has two major problems. The first is that there is widespread agreement amongst health policy experts that, without unpopular provisions like a mandate, such a ban would be both costly and ineffective. The second is that drawing up and passing multiple new bills would take massive amounts of time and legislative effort, especially when one factors in the high likelihood that Senate Republicans would use all available procedural tactics to slow any bill's passage—and would, after that, still probably oppose such legislation entirely.

Given that the Senate has effectively washed its hands of reform, saying that it's now up to the House to move forward if it wants, and that the White House has signaled that it will move on to new legislative priorities, other reform supporters have resigned to depression. This response is particularly acute amongst the pundit class, many of whom seem to be vacillating back and forth between this and anger.

At this time, however, acceptance is still rare, and those who've flirted with it—like Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, who walked back a statement that "our respect for democratic procedures must rule out any effort to pass a health care bill as if the Massachusetts election had not happened"—have not yet fully embraced it. (No one ever said moving through the stages of grief was easy—or quick.)

If there is a lesson in the bill's collapse, and the ensuing anguish from disheartened Democrats, it is that those who put their faith in politics will most likely find that what they get in return is, in fact, more politics. So for those ailing Democrats whose belief in this bill has shaken their faith in the power of politics to produce political change, well, grief is a terrible thing, but as any therapist will say, it's never too late to get help.

Peter Suderman is an associate editor at Reason magazine.

Deal with O's free fall: denial, deluded, de-wacky

DP: To anyone but the O-bot koolaid drinkers, and paid hacks, the collapse is epic, undeniable, and bordering on bizarre (just read it, ok?):

Obama in Free Fall - Victor Davis Hanson - The Corner on National Review Online

A year ago, a number of "moderate" Republicans and Democratic stalwarts, in the gush of the inauguration, warned us of new Democratic majorities for years to come. A new race/class/gender dynamic would doom conservatives and their-old-white-guy party and its reactionary fellow-travelers. And, of course, the post-national, post-racial, post-modern president would hope and change his way to just about anything he wanted.

All of this was nonsense, but the narrative did mesmerize quite a lot of DC-NY pundits, who mistakenly fell for the Emanuel/Axelrod thesis that popular outrage at Wall Street banditry, weariness with Iraq, and the lackluster McCain campaign would translate into populist support for a kinder, gentler socialism.

And now? On every issue — more bailouts, more stimuli, more deficits, higher taxes, statist health care, cap and trade, diplomatic apologetics, the shunning of natural gas, oil, and nuclear in favor of "millions of green jobs" subsidized by billions in federal "stimulus" — the Obama position polls 5-15 points below 50 percent.

After Van Jones, Anita Dunn, the Skip Gates mess, the "tea-bagger" slurs, the attacks on Fox News, the Copenhagen dashes, the bowing, the apologizing, the reordering of creditors, the NEA obsequiousness, the lackluster overseas-contingency-operation front, the deer-in-the-headlights pause on Afghanistan, the pseudo-deadlines on Iran, Guantanamo, and health care, the transparency and bipartisanship fraud, and dozens of other things, Obama simply does not have the popularity to carry unpopular legislation forward. Indeed, he is reaching a point where he may poll more negatively than his agenda does. "Let me be perfectly clear" and "make no mistake about it" are now caricatures.

So where are we at twelve months? Obama showed the country his vision of where he wanted us to go; he had both houses of Congress, a toady media, and enormous personal popularity — and he is getting nowhere. Why? Because most Americans are vehemently opposed to taking their country in the direction that Obama, Pelosi, and Reid would prefer.

Since Obama is both inexperienced and apparently a stubborn ideologue, I think all we will be left with when the novelty wears off is rhetoric and euphemism. Obama will grow the deficit even larger and call it fiscal sobriety; he will push for higher taxes and suggest the entrepreneurial class is the same as the super-rich who "made out like bandits under Bush"; he will declare that his outreach to Chávez, Assad, Putin, and Ahmadinejad has been successful, even as those leaders incrementally and insidiously readjust their respective regional maps; he will borrow far more money than Bush did and copy his homeland-security protocols, while continuing to blame Bush for America's problems — hoping that $2 trillion of annual borrowing, along with a recovering world economy and the resilience of U.S. business, will bring a half-hearted recovery by November 2010.

That's about all you have, when you bet your holdings on European-style socialism and it proved a losing hand.

Gallup: Obama approval stuck under 50%

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Not just generic preference--Dems seen bad

CNN Poll: For First Time, More Say Dem Control Is Bad For Country The Plum Line/Greg Sargent:

The headline on the new CNN poll is this: “Most Americans applaud Democrats’ loss of supermajority.”

And that’s bad for Dems. But what’s worse for Dems is that the poll’s internals also show that for the first time since the Dem takeover of Congress, more say Dem control of Congress is bad for the country.

The poll finds that 48% of American adults say it’s “bad for the country that the Democratic party is in control of Congress,” versus only 45% who say it’s good. That’s within the poll’s margin of error, but it still isn’t good for Dems.

CNN asked that question nine other times since Dems took control of Congress. In every other instance, voters said Dem control was good for the country by a wide margin, almost always by double digits.

The poll also finds that for the first time since the 2006 takeover, the number who have an unfavorable view of the Democratic Party equals the number who view the Democratic Party favorably. That’s at 46% apiece.

The question is whether Dem leaders will decide they’re tanking because voters don’t like the health reform bill they’ve been trying to pass, making them decide to shelve it — or whether they’ll conclude that voters don’t like failure, making them redouble their efforts to pass something they can call a historic accomplishment. Anyone taking bets?

6 minutes to understand 1st amend't/ad issue

Why Obama pushes statist, redistributionist...

...collectivist policy at every turn (takeover of student loans--Why? Because he can!)


...The middle class is the great enemy of collectivist politics, under any of its names: progressivism, communism, fascism, or “liberalism.” As far back as Karl Marx, the apostles of collectivism have understood that they must subjugate the middle class before they can claim total victory.

The upper class isn’t a big problem – they don’t have the votes to block a collectivist agenda in a democracy, and they generally find ways to maintain, or increase, their power and wealth under a total State. The power of the State can be extremely valuable to them, for manipulating markets and thwarting upstart competitors. Many of them are willing to trade a little wealth for power, or find moral nourishment in supporting a collective agenda.

The members of the lower class are generally seen as the clients of a collectivist movement, the recipients of the social benefits it promises. Their desperation and anger become fuel for the movement, providing both righteousness and voting power. The collectivist only needs to conceal any hope of finding prosperity beyond the generosity of the State, and keep the lower class convinced that government is the only moral actor in the economy. Review the speeches of Barack Obama, and search for anything that suggests the poor should look anywhere beyond the government and its social programs for salvation.

The middle class is the great enemy of collectivist politics . . . Only they have the combination of voting power, money, and economic self-interest to see the growth of government as undesirable, and provide effective resistance. They generally view their interactions with government in a negative light – they’ve all spent time in the Department of Motor Vehicles mausoleum, spent hours wrestling with tax forms, or been slapped with a traffic citation they don’t think they deserved. They understand the inefficiency and emotional instability of government, and instinctively resent its intrusion into their lives. . . . The middle class is a vast group in a capitalist society, which is one of the things collectivists really hate about capitalism. Its upper reaches include the entrepreneurs and small business owners that bring economic vitality. Virtually every aspect of Obama’s agenda is designed to injure or burden small businessmen, and this is no accident.

 The middle class is a vast group in a capitalist society, which is one of the things collectivists really hate about capitalism. Its upper reaches include the entrepreneurs and small business owners that bring economic vitality. Virtually every aspect of Obama’s agenda is designed to injure or burden small businessmen, and this is no accident....

I realize all of the above sounds terribly sinister… and perhaps you find that appropriate, having reviewed the works of Saul Alinsky and the Cloward-Piven strategy of manufactured crisis. I believe it is crucial to understand that it doesn’t matter if the people engineering a collectivist state have sinister motives or not. In fact, the belief that their intentions make a difference is incredibly dangerous. It’s related to the catechism of the faculty-lounge Marxist, which holds that communism and fascism only failed because bad people were in charge of them....

Read the whole thing:

via Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds

Friday, January 29, 2010

Brown ripped off cowardly lyin' O's facade

"Goodwin's Perfect Thumb-Nail of Obama" [Jack Fowler via NRO]

Boy oh boy does New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin ever nail it today. From "End of O's Cowardly Lyin'":

We the people of the United States owe Scott Brown's supporters a huge debt of gratitude. They didn't merely elect a senator. They ripped the façade off the Obama presidency.

Just as Dorothy and Toto exposed the ordinary man behind the curtain in "The Wizard of Oz," the voters in Massachusetts revealed that, in this White House, there is no there there.

It's all smoke and mirrors, bells and whistles, held together with glib talk, Chicago politics and an audacious sense of entitlement.

At the center is a young and talented celebrity whose worldview, we now know, is an incoherent jumble of poses and big-government instincts. His self-aggrandizing ambition exceeds his ability by so much that he is making a mess of everything he touches.

He never advances a practical idea. Every proposal overreaches and comes wrapped in ideology and a claim of moral superiority. He doesn't listen to anybody who doesn't agree with him.

Obama's foolish, dangerous terror policy

DNI Blair Admits We Have No High-Value Terrorist Interrogation Capability [Marc Thiessen via NRO]

Much overlooked last week was this shocking admission from Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair: One year after Obama eliminated the CIA’s terrorist interrogation program, the administration still has not activated its supposed replacement — the so-called High Value Interrogation Group (HIG). In hearings last week, Blair said that the HIG should have been called in to interrogate the Christmas Day bomber — apparently unaware that there was no HIG to call in. In a statement “clarifying” his testimony, Blair stated that the FBI questioned Abdulmutallab using its “expertise in interrogation that will be available in the HIG once it is fully operational.”

In other words, by Blair’s own admission, the United States at this moment does not have a high-value terrorist interrogation capability — at a time when our country has once again come under terrorist attack. Of course, the administration did not think they needed such a capability — because they have stopped trying to capture high-value terrorists alive and bring them in for questioning. So when one landed in their lap unexpectedly, they had no idea what to do with him.

As I explain in Courting Disaster, the HIG is a joke — because the administration has limited the techniques at its disposal to those in the Army Field Manual. Police detectives and district attorneys across the country use more aggressive techniques than the Army Field Manual every day. The irony is, Obama has so denuded our terrorist interrogation capability that the Detroit police department has more tools at its disposal to interrogate a terrorist than the still non-operational HIG.

That is pathetic — and dangerous for our country.

The Islamization of the World

The Islamization of the World

"The Islamization of the World" [Mark Steyn]

Metronieuws has an interview with Afshin Ellian, a witness for the defense in the Geert Wilders trial in Amsterdam. If you don't read Dutch, there's an English translation here. (I've modified it slightly, because I think he missed a nuance here and there.) Here's the key passage:

You said the Wilders Trial reminds you of justice in your country of origin, Iran. Is that not somewhat exaggerated?

“The Netherlands, of course, is not comparable with Iran, but it's about perception. If you cannot say that Islam is a backward religion and that Mohammed is a criminal, then you are living in an Islamic country, my friend, because there also you cannot say such things. Here I'm free to say that Christ was a faggot* and Mary was a whore, but apparently I should stay off of Mohammed.”

(*Judging from the routine taunts of Muslim youth to ethnic European males on the streets of Amsterdam at night, the word "flikker" seems to be one bit of Dutch every immigrant picks up instantly.)

What the Wilders prosecution, the Danish cartoons, the Canadian "human rights" suits against Ezra Levant, Maclean's and me and many other ostensibly minor news stories all have in common is one consistent underlying principle - that Islamic law now applies to all.

If a Muslim doesn't want to show representations of Mohammed, good for him. But why can't Yale University Press?

If a Muslim doesn't want Winnie-the-Pooh's pal Piglet on his desk, go for it. But why can't a lapsed Anglican working for a British municipal council?

If a Muslim wants to fast during Ramadan, fast away. But why does a Brussels cop or a Scottish hospital worker have to ease up on the donuts?

We are making Islam the de facto established church of the western world. And, lest you think this near parodic prostration before Islamic supremacism is a purely European phenomenon, read the official whitewash of Fort Hood, which is one of the most disgusting and contemptible documents ever produced by the US military. The families of the dead should be furious at its craven evasions.

DP: Here is a You Tube of the opening statement by Mr. Wilders. Mute the sound and you can read the translation--it is stunning and rivetting. Below the You Tube is blog comment and link to text translation which is faster to read.

If one cannot say that the Islam is a backward religion, or that Mohammad was a criminal, or defame the Qur'an even by placing it on the bottom shelf of a public library, then one is living in an Islamic country.

Especially when one is free to say that Christianity is composed of nothing but fantasies and fairytales, to desecrate the Bible with filth and pornography, or say that Jesus was gay, fantasised about sex with prostitutes, or (if he existed at all) was a fraud and a liar.

Here is a transcript of Geert Wilders' opening speech as he is prosecuted for 'incitement to hatred', 'discrimination', and 'insulting Muslims'. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 15 months in prison.

Since participating in public debate has become a dangerous activity, it may not be too long before we see similiar trials in the UK (O, hang on...).

There is a very real sense in which Geert Wilders speaks for the liberties of us all:

Mr. President, members of the court, I would like to only use a few minutes of my right to speak.

And I would like to begin by saying that of all our attainments, freedom is the most precious and most vulnerable. It is what people have dedicated their lives to and what people have given their lives for. Our freedom in this country is the fruit of centuries. It is the result of a history that has no equal and has brought us to where we are today.

I believe with all my heart and soul that the freedom is threatened in the Netherlands. That heritage, which generations could only dream of, is precisely this freedom which is no longer a given fact, no longer a matter self-evidence....

Read the rest:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Republican that gets it & speaks out

Moving tales from abortion defectors

(DP: The Roe v. Wade pro-life march was last Friday but this is a timely post from NRO's Ed Whelan)

'Mugged by Ultrasound' [Ed Whelan]

On this anniversary of the Supreme Court’s atrocious decision in Roe v. Wade, I’d like to highlight this interesting Weekly Standard article, “Mugged by Ultrasound,” by David Daleiden and Jon A. Shields. The article discusses how “advances in ultrasound imaging and abortion procedures have forced [abortion] providers ever closer to the nub of their work,” causing emotional distress that has led to numerous defections to the pro-life cause. Some excerpts:

When [abortionist Lisa Harris] herself was 18 weeks pregnant, [she] performed a D&E abortion on an 18-week-old fetus. Harris felt her own child kick precisely at the moment that she ripped a fetal leg off with her forceps:

“Instantly, tears were streaming from my eyes — without me — meaning my conscious brain — even being aware of what was going on. I felt as if my response had come entirely from my body, bypassing my usual cognitive processing completely. A message seemed to travel from my hand and my uterus to my tear ducts. It was an overwhelming feeling — a brutally visceral response — heartfelt and unmediated by my training or my feminist pro-choice politics. It was one of the more raw moments in my life.…” [Harris remains in the abortion business.]

One of the first doctors to change his allegiance was Paul Jarrett, who quit after only 23 abortions. His turning point came in 1974, when he performed an abortion on a fetus at 14 weeks’ gestation: “As I brought out the rib cage, I looked and saw a tiny, beating heart,” he would recall. “And when I found the head of the baby, I looked squarely in the face of another human being — a human being that I just killed.” . . .

Kathy Sparks is another convert formerly responsible for disposing of fetal remains, this time at an Illinois abortion clinic. Her account of the experience that led her to exit the abortion industry (taken from the Pro-Life Action League website in 2004) reads in part:

“The baby’s bones were far too developed to rip them up with [the doctor’s] curette, so he had to pull the baby out with forceps. He brought out three or four major pieces. .  .  . I took the baby to the clean up room, I set him down and I began weeping uncontrollably. .  .  . I cried and cried. This little face was perfectly formed.”

As Daleiden and Shields sum it up:

This handful of stories is representative of many more. In fact, with the exception of communism, we can think of few other movements from which so many activists have defected to the opposition. Nonetheless, the vast majority of clinic workers remain committed to the pro-choice cause. Perhaps some of those who stay behind are haunted by their work. Most, however, find a way to cope with the dissonance.

The Corner on National Review Online

Can't spend or stimulate way to growth

Exploding Debt Threatens Economic Recovery by Sen. Sam Brownback via NRO

The latest U.S. national-debt figures are truly mind-boggling: According to the Treasury Department, for the twelve-month period ending Dec. 31, 2009, the federal government ran a deficit of $1.472 trillion, which is 116 percent greater than the deficit for the twelve-month period that ended December 31, 2008.

Since the first “stimulus” bill passed a year ago, some of us in Congress have been arguing that massive new federal spending as a strategy to spur economic recovery is sheer lunacy — the fiscal equivalent of trying to put out a fire in your house by dousing it with gasoline. Now a new study by economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff provides confirmation of our worst fears about the economic policies of this administration: The explosion in government debt puts at grave risk any potential economic growth in the U.S. for years to come.

According to “Growth in a Time of Debt,” which was recently presented at the American Economic Association, “the sharp run up in public sector debt will likely prove one of the most enduring legacies of the 2007–2009 financial crisis in the United States and elsewhere.” The wide-ranging study looked at the debt levels of 44 countries and included data from the last 200 years in order to get a comprehensive picture of the effect of debt on economic growth. The conclusion was clear: Very high government debt — classified as 90 percent or more of gross domestic product (GDP) — resulted in average growth rates a full 4 percent below those of countries with lower debt levels. Since annual growth in U.S. GDP has averaged considerably less than 4 percent over the past ten years, carrying a high national debt could mean the difference between a growing economy and a contracting economy.

After the recent binge of federal spending, our nation’s gross debt is scheduled to surpass 90 percent of GDP this year, and to approach 100 percent of GDP by the end of the decade. And this does not even include Democratic plans to establish a massive new health-care entitlement and impose costly new energy mandates on business. If all of these agenda items are accomplished, it is a safe bet that the national debt will surpass 100 percent of GDP within the next decade.

Is this really the path we want to set for ourselves as a nation? As it stands, we are dangerously dependent on China for the financing of our debt. If the Chinese government determines that America is no longer the sound investment that it once was, it will cease to provide this service that we have come to rely on so heavily. Who, then, will support our enormous deficit spending year after year?

The foolish notion of spending our way to prosperity is the polar opposite of the tradition of hard work, thrift, saving, and living within our means that made the United States an economic powerhouse and an example to the rest of the world...
Read the rest:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sad to have to puncture Mass. liberal bubbles

"Five Memes Destroyed by Scott Brown’s Victory"; Conventional wisdom was also defeated on Tuesday night. January 22, 2010 - by John Hawkins/Pajamas Media (DP: Use the link to read the extended explanation of each point)

On Tuesday night, Scott Brown shocked the world by defeating Martha Coakley and capturing the seat that Ted Kennedy held for more than 40 years. It was a momentous election, not just because it featured a Republican ending the Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority by capturing a seat in deep-blue Massachusetts, but because it shattered a number of memes that have been treated in many circles as conventional wisdom:

1. The GOP is just a regional party that’s limited to the south...

2. There has been a political realignment...

3. Health care reform is a winning issue for the Democrats...

4. Conservatives want to drive moderates from the party...

5. Barack Obama’s charisma can carry the Democrats through to victory.

Unreal--Obama's solution? More Obama!

(From the brilliant Jonah Goldberg): In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, the president offered his nuanced analysis of the Bay State Götterdämmerung and his first year in office.

In short: “I did nothing wrong.”

Well, with one caveat: “One thing I regret this year is that we were so busy just getting stuff done . . . that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people. . . . I think the assumption was, if I just focus on policy, if I just focus on the, you know, this provision, or that law, or are we making a good, rational decision here, that people will get it.”

Cue the record-scratch sound effect!

Look, Fidel Castro can get away with saying something like that. He’s been cloistered away on life support, unable to give his epic speeches to rent-a-crowds. But Obama? Barack Obama?

In his first year as president, Obama has broken all records for talking directly to the American people. According to CBS News, he has delivered 411 public “speeches, comments, and remarks” and 158 interviews — more than one public statement per day and roughly an interview every other day.

The supposedly aloof Obama already personalizes things more than a host on The View. Every address is so laden with “me,” “myself,” and “I,” you’d think he was trying to fix the economy with a massive stimulus of personal pronouns.

Obama is a near-permanent fixture not just of news-magazine covers but all magazine covers, including Men’s Fitness and American Dog — which, admittedly, he shared with a three-legged pooch named Baby. He’s schmoozed with Oprah and given plenty of in-depth interviews on 60 Minutes.

Next week, the president will give his first State of the Union address. If that seems strange, it’s because it will be his third nationally televised address to a joint session of Congress.

The only way the White House communications shop could cram more Obama down our throats would be if it required, as part of the health-care bill, that we have Obama-message receivers installed in our fillings.

The arrogance runs deeper . . .

Head start utterly fails to get results

DP: If an extensive study found home, charter, private schools did this poorly, it would lead the news and be prominant in newspapers. Since this makes a cherished, vaunted icon and example of how the federal gov't can do something "for the children," you probably haven't heard a peep:

OOPS: ‘Head Start’: The $166 Billion Fed Ed Failure. (Use link to read the whole piece)

“Head Start,” the flagship pre-kindergarten program introduced in 1965, has been a $166 billion failure. That’s the upshot of a sophisticated multi-year study just released by the Department of Health and Human Services.

An earlier iteration of the study, published in 2005, had found a few modest improvements in the language skills of participating students while they were enrolled in the program. But by the end of the first grade, even those few effects have disappeared, according to the follow-up released this month. Out of 44 separate cognitive tests given to former Head Start students at the end of the first grade, only two showed even marginally significant effects. The other 42 showed no statistically significant effect at all.

This study has gotten surprisingly little attention.

by Glenn Reynolds

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Here's how insignificant is O's "freeze"...

Re: Obama to Propose Three-Year Spending Freeze

Re: Obama to Propose Three-Year Spending Freeze [Veronique de Rugy]

How banal. Non-defense-non-homeland-security spending represents roughly 11 percent of total spending in FY2010. For instance, this year, out of a $3,754 billion total spending, the president would freeze $447 billion. It means that over $3.3 trillion would be allowed to grow and grow and grow and grow some more.

Check for yourself:

Political speech IS the 1st Amendment...

...what part of that simple truth don't the liberal/political/media elite get?
NEW YORK TIMES: Corporations shouldn’t have free speech rights, unless they’re us.

Meanwhile, some more sensible thoughts from Matt Welch:

Free speech really does mean free speech, and the laws that the “Citizens” ruling overturned directly and heinously restricted the stuff. Forget for the moment the broad characterization of the ruling — such as The New York Times claim that it “sweep[s] aside a century-old understanding” — and drill down to the individual case in question.

Citizens United, a conservative 501(c)(4) nonprofit that has funded a dozen political documentaries over the years, produced a critical documentary about Hillary Clinton in 2008 entitled “Hillary: The Movie.” By a decision of the federal government, which was enforcing the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (known more broadly as McCain-Feingold), this piece of political speech was banned from television.

Let’s boil it down to the essential words: Political documentary, banned, government.

You don’t have to be a First Amendment purist to intuit that political speech was, if anything, the most urgent subcategory covered by the First Amendment’s “Congress shall pass no law” restrictions. And you don’t have to be a Hillary-hater to imagine the shoe on the other foot. What if’s 501(c)(4), Campaign to Defend America, had been blocked by George W. Bush’s Federal Elections Commission from broadcasting “McCain: The Movie”? Wouldn’t that stink, too?
by Glenn Reynolds/Instapundit

Oh yeah, that Kerry VP pick--watta winner

JAMES TARANTO: “Have any of the people who are still complaining about John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running-mate expressed any regret at having supported John Kerry*, whose selection was, by any imaginable standard, much, much worse?”

by Glenn Reynolds

Sorry O/Gibbs/Dean: Gallup says it WAS HC Bill

"In U.S., Majority Favors Suspending Work on Healthcare Bill; Seven in 10 say Massachusetts election result reflects frustrations shared by Americans" by Jeffrey M. Jones PRINCETON, NJ --

In the wake of Republican Scott Brown's victory in Tuesday's U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts, the majority of Americans (55%) favor Congress' putting the brakes on its current healthcare reform efforts and considering alternatives that can obtain more Republican support. Four in 10 Americans (39%) would rather have House and Senate Democrats continue to try to pass the bill currently being negotiated in conference committee.

Monday, January 25, 2010

More on the gov't takeover of student loans...

"Obama's Student Loan Grab Will Cost Jobs, Eliminate Competition And Grow Government"

If a private company looked to corner the market on student loans, they'd be hauled before Congress. But the liberals in this Congress are looking to do that just that, a move that will cost private sector jobs, eliminate competition, allow government to profit from individuals needing to borrow money for education, and potentially prove financially disastrous for taxpayers in the end.

Net net, need money to go to school. Good, sign here, we are all socialists, now.

Regardless, should Harkin and Obama succeed, all private lenders would be excluded from making government-guaranteed student loans. There will be no government-guaranteed loan option for students other than federal loans (and, as the Journal notes, “The remaining 20% of the market that is now completely private will likely shrink further as lenders try to comply with regulations Congress created last year.”)

Democrats claim the bill would save millions, but they fail to mention it will cost jobs — tens of thousands of private sector jobs — (as if we could stand to lose jobs right now). Aside from that, the bill would obviously transfer even more control from the private sector to the government.

The history of student loans reveals a troubled past in which losses were hidden and liberals have been trying to take over the sector for decades, just as they are trying to do with health care today...

Ultimately, something like this could lead to government, not you, or anyone else deciding whether or not your children, or grandchildren are able to attend college or university. One can only imagine the choices government might be empowered to make were that to eventuate down the road. Given government's continuing trend to always over reach, there's every reason to fear such a system coming to pass one day. A government controlled system is not what freedom and open access to education are all about. Not today they aren't, anyway. Stay alert and get involved where you can.

Public sector unions--growing & raising taxes


The real takeaway in the BLS report is the transformation of the labor movement. A majority of union members in America (52 percent) now work for the government. This is up sharply from 49 percent in 2008. Put another way, Sherk finds, three times more union members now work in the Post Office than in the auto industry...

Collective bargaining gives government employees a strong incentive to support the highest possible level of taxation at every level of government. Here are a few recent examples of unions putting their muscle behind tax hikes at the state level:

...* California. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) spent $1 million on a television ad campaign pressing for higher oil, gas, and liquor taxes instead of spending reductions...

It’s easier to make demands on an industry that doesn’t have to compete in the marketplace.

via Instapundit by Glenn Reynolds

Its not the whole banking system--but a start

"The Quietest Trillion; Congratulations. You're about to own $100 billion a year in student loans."

The furor over President Obama's trillion-dollar restructuring of American health care has left his other trillion-dollar plan starved for attention. That's how much the federal balance sheet will expand over the next decade if Mr. Obama can convince Congress to approve his pending takeover of the student-loan market.

The Obama plan calls for the U.S. Department of Education to move from its current 20% share of the student-loan origination market to 80% on July 1, 2010, when private lenders will be barred from making government-guaranteed loans. The remaining 20% of the market that is now completely private will likely shrink further as lenders try to comply with regulations Congress created last year. Starting next summer, taxpayers will have to put up roughly $100 billion per year to lend to students.

For decades, loans carrying a federal guarantee have been the most common way of borrowing for college. After raising money in the private capital markets, lenders made the loans, paying a fee to the government for each one. The government covered most of the cost of defaults while allowing the private lenders to make a regulated return.

The system broke down after Congress in 2007 legislated a return so low that no private lenders could make money holding these assets. To keep the money flowing to student borrowers, the government began buying the loans from private originators last year. But this larger federal role was intended to be temporary, with an expiration date next summer.The news from Washington now is that rather than scaling back federal involvement, the pols want the U.S. Department of Education to be the exclusive banker to America's college students....

It's not a popular idea on campus. Loans directly from the feds have been available for decades, but the government's poor customer service has resulted in most borrowers choosing private lenders.

If the feds are now making and owning all such loans, expect default rates to soar. When the government hires contractors to collect on its loans, it pays them for simply calling the borrower, regardless of the result. Private lenders, on the other hand, make money from a performing loan and have a greater incentive to do careful underwriting and aggressive collection....
All of this is certain to pass the House, and the only chance for stopping it is in the Senate. If it passes, parents will soon have no choice beyond a Washington bureaucracy to borrow money for their college-bound children, and taxpayers will pay a fortune for the privilege.
DP: Read the entire article and remember that Obama wants to nationalize or control all, repeat all, the banking because that gives him control over everything:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Obama's Train Wreck of a Town Hall in Ohio

Earlier this week, during a radio interview, I had said that Obama's appearance for Martha Coakley on Sunday was one of the least effective stump appearances I had seen from a president. A lot of factors contributed to that - Coakley's literally yawn-inducing speech, the decision to use the president as an attack dog in the race, the president (or his speechwriter's) odd fixation on Scott Brown's truck, and so on.

But perhaps Obama is in a "stump slump." Maybe it's me; maybe I can't see any Obama speech as a good one these days. But today in Ohio, it seemed like the president was way off his game. I thought he was defensive, prickly, almost indignant that he's found himself in the tough spot that he's in.

He began by talking about how much he didn't like being in Washington, and apparently said something about the job being stifling. Sir, you spent two years trying to get this job.

One of his rallying cries as, "This is not about me!" Yes, Mr. President, but it's about the decisions you make and the policies you're trying to enact.

He made a reference to bankers who "click their heels and watch their stocks skyrocket." Was he going with a Dorothy in Oz metaphor? Do bankers click their heels?

"I won't stop fighting to bring back jobs here," worked as an applause line, but I wondered how it worked outside the venue. That insinuates he's been doing it for the first year, as unemployment has steadily increased. He's calling on Congress to "pass a jobs bill." I thought the stimulus was supposed to do that.

As Caleb Howe noticed, he said "I won't stop fighting to open up government" while breaking the promise about health care bill negotiations being on C-SPAN.

I realize he's using it to justify a new tax on banks, but I think "we want our money back" is a dangerous chant for a man who so steadily expands government spending.

UPDATE: A very out-of-rhythm speech was followed by some of the most obscure and unhelpful questions ever uttered at a town-hall meeting. I was left with a bit of sympathy for President Obama, as questioner after questioner asked about their own specific concerns, often way out of the president's duties, responsibilities, and realm of expertise: One guy was an inventor who wanted to give him a sales pitch, one woman lamented the impatience of the American people before complaining about a slow response from the state environmental agency over her toddler's lead poisoning, one guy wanted to read the president a poem; there was a woman who talked about the problem of finding students for her truck-driving school, an old lady who was upset that her Social Security didn't have a cost-of-living increase, and a guy who had the patent for some wind-turbine issue that he was in a fight with some company about. One poor soul raised his hand and just wanted to shake Obama's hand.

Obama on verge of epic fail

OUCH: Conrad Black: Incompetent Obama teeters on the edge. “He is increasingly perceived as having credibility problems and of being cold, cocksure, narcissistic and intoxicated by what he modestly called ‘the gift’ of his own articulation. And as president, he has been quite, and quite surprisingly, incompetent. . . . It has been a year of fecklessness, amateurism, and posturing. Less that is useful has been accomplished by this president in his first year than by any president since Herbert Hoover."

via Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds
Read the whole article:

The day Obamacare died (I lied, lied at every townhall in sight...)

This shows how unserious 0's terror policy is

"A Mistake that can be Rectified"

Eli Lake reports that Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair criticized the decision by FBI agents last month to question the Christmas Day airline bombing suspect as a criminal and not interrogate him as a terrorist. In testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Blair revealed a previously undisclosed disagreement among the Obama administration's top officials over the handling of the Nigerian who is accused of attempting to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas day. Stephen Hayes fills out the story:

Four top counterterrorism officials testified before a congressional committee that they were not consulted about how to handle the interrogation of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the al Qaeda operative who attempted to blow up Flight 253 on December 25, 2008. That group included all three senior Obama administration officials who testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday: Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security; Michael Leiter, chairman of the National Counterterrorism Center; and Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence. It also included FBI Director Robert Mueller.

With surprising candor, Blair, the nation's top intelligence official, explained that these officials were not deliberately excluded from the decisionmaking process in the immediate aftermath of the attack. Rather, he told the Senate Homeland Security Committee, there was no process at all.

"I've been a part of the discussions which established this high-value interrogation unit, [HIG] which we started as part of the executive order after the decision to close Guantanamo. That unit was created for exactly this purpose -- to make a decision on whether a certain person who's detained should be treated as a case for federal prosecution or for some of the other means. We did not invoke the HIG in this case," he said. "We should have."...

Blair admitted that Abdulmutallab was not interrogated for intelligence purposes because the Obama administration had not considered using the newly-created elite interrogation unit on terrorist in the United States...

Well, what does President Obama think? If the FBI agents made a mistake, as they obviously did, isn't this one mistake that can be fixed? The United States Attorney can dismiss the indictment against Abdulmutallab and turn Abdulmutallab over to the armed forces of the United States. I see no reason why Abdulmutallab can't be detained as an enemy combatant available for questioning as the president sees fit. Unless I'm missing something, it's not too late to try to rectify the mistake.

Rather than try to rectify the mistake, however, the administration went into damage control mode after the hearing. The damage the administration is concerned with correcting is to their public relations rather than to the national security of the United States. Will anyone call them on it?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

How's that anti-business, pro-jobs thing going?

...with over 10% unemployment, jobless nonrecovery and no real promising economic future--then there's the stock selloff on O uttering his banal bashing of, well, business:

"Obama Seen as Anti-Business by 77% of U.S. Investors"

Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. investors overwhelmingly see President Barack Obama as anti-business and question his ability to manage a financial crisis, according to a Bloomberg survey.

The global quarterly poll of investors and analysts who are Bloomberg subscribers finds that 77 percent of U.S. respondents believe Obama is too anti-business and four-out-of-five are only somewhat confident or not confident of his ability to handle a financial emergency.

The poll also finds a decline in Obama’s overall favorability rating one year after taking office. He is viewed favorably by 27 percent of U.S. investors. In an October poll, 32 percent in the U.S. held a positive impression.

“Investors no longer feel they can trust their instincts to take risks,” said poll respondent David Young, a managing director for a broker dealer in New York. Young cited Obama’s efforts to trim bonuses and earnings, make health care his top priority over jobs and plans to tax “the rich or advantaged.”

Carlos Vadillo, a fixed-income analyst at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in San Francisco, said Obama has been in a “constant war” with the banking system, using “fat-cat bankers and other misnomers to describe a business model which supports a large portion of America.” ...

The rest is at:

The liberal/media left

Courting Disaster with Christiane Amanpour by Paul M. at Powerline (You simply must link to original piece to get al the links, trust me that the You Tubes show the piling on of the media with their favored guest upon the overwhelmed lone conservative--see for yourself):

Marc Thiessen is the author of Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack , about which he wrote for us here. As White House speechwriter for George Bush, Thiessen was locked in a secure room and given access to the most sensitive intelligence when he was assigned the task of writing Bush's September 2006 speech explaining the CIA's interrogation program and why Congress should authorize it. Few men in a position to address the subject knowledgeably in public know more about these CIA operations than Thiessen.

Under the dispensation of the higher wisdom operative in the Obama administration, the CIA's enhanced interrogation program has been terminated. Obama not only put a stop to the CIA interrogation program, several months later he released sensitive documents detailing our interrogation methods of high-value terrorists. "With these actions," Thiessen writes, "Barack Obama did arguably more damage to America's national security in his first 100 days of office than any president in American history."

The CIA program was widely condemned as condoning torture. Indeed, the assertion that the interrogation techniques included torture has become an article of faith among the true believing left, among whom we must count the execrable Phillippe Sands. Paul Mirengoff recognized Sands as dishonest journalist of the year in 2008, when the competition was particularly stiff. Among the true believing left we must also count the ludicrous Christiane Amanpour of CNN. Amanpour is also dishonest, but she's not very smart either. If I had to choose between being waterboarded or having to listen to Sands and Amanpour for a protracted period of time, I'd need to think it over.

Yesterday Thiessen clashed with Amanpour and Sands on CNN. During the segment Thiessen confronted Amanpour with her wild misstatements about the CIA interrogations and disputed Sands's assertion regarding the inefficacy of the techniques in issue. I don't think Amanpour will be having Thiessen back any time soon. Why? Dare we say it? He made her look like she didn't know what she was talking about!

Part 2 of the CNN segment is here. Erick Erickson comments here ("Thiessen figuratively, picks up Amanpour, turns her over, and uses her to mop up the water left over from her failed attempt at an interview waterboarding of him"). Human Events comments here.

Among other reasoned, truthful critiques...

Indelicate Questions . . . [Nicole Gelinas]

President Obama promised today that "never again will the American taxpayer be held hostage by a bank that is 'too big to fail.'"

To that end, he pledged to work with Congress to prohibit commercial banks, whose smaller depositors benefit from FDIC insurance, from owning, investing, or sponsoring a hedge fund, private equity fund, or proprietary trading operations.

"It is not appropriate" for banks that indirectly benefit from FDIC insurance of their depositors to "turn around and use that cheap money to trade for profit," the president said.

Obama needs to explain how, exactly, such a prohibition would have prevented or alleviated the financial crisis in any significant way. Consider:

* Bear Stearns did not rely on FDIC-insured deposits. Yet the government had to bail it out in March 2008 (indirectly).

* AIG did not rely on FDIC-insured deposits. Yet the government had to bail it out in September 2008 (directly, and often).

* Lehman Brothers did not rely on FDIC-insured deposits. Yet the government's failure to bail it out in September 2008 set off a mass-scale panic.

* Non-bank money-market funds (by definition!) do not rely on FDIC-insured deposits. Yet the government had to guarantee them against losses in September 2008 to avert a run.

Obama's proposal would be brilliant — save for the needling inconvenience that it has nothing to do with reality.

— Nicole Gelinas, contributing editor to the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, is author of After the Fall: Saving Capitalism from Wall Street — and Washington.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Transparency=cameras will leave so Obama can be told the truth

Climategate 101: review of the scandal

Climategate: The End of the Beginning

A review of Climategate: The CRUtape Letters, the first book on the game-changing data leak. (Also see Roger L. Simon's PJTV interview with the book's author:"Climategate Heats Up As Liberal Author Jumps Ship")

January 20, 2010 - by Charlie Martin via Pajamas Media

The world of climate science — climate change, global warming — has changed radically in the last two months. On the night of November 19, a compressed archive containing emails and files from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) leaked and was quickly disseminated throughout the world. This archive was made available on an FTP server in Siberia, and mysterious comments were posted on several blogs pointing to the file. This leak, and the scandals that followed, quickly became known as Climategate, and the contents of the compressed archive as the Climategate files.

Steven Mosher and Thomas Fuller were among the very first to notice the files. Mosher called the world’s attention to them in a comment on the Blackboard, Lucia Liljegren’s blog. Climategate: The CRUtape Letters is the first book covering the files and other documents uncovered during the first weeks of the scandal.

Even on first look, it was clear the Climategate files told a fantastic and fascinating story of professional conflicts, probable scientific misconduct, and possibly even crimes committed by some of the scientists most closely associated with the theory that human emissions of “greenhouse gases” — primarily carbon dioxide, along with methane and some others — were leading to significant climate change.

This theory of anthropogenic global warming, or AGW, became the basis for claims of a climate crisis that must be solved. The UN chartered a nongovernmental organization, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to assess the scientific evidence and determine if climate change posed a risk to mankind.

At the same time, ex-U.S. Vice President Al Gore became an independent filmmaker. His documentary An Inconvenient Truth, with its dire predictions of rising sea levels, melting ice caps, disappearing glaciers, and general catastrophe, won an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Gore and the IPCC shared a Nobel Peace Prize. The science, we were told, was settled.

While this was going on, a small, ad hoc group of scientists and interested laypeople, the “global warming skeptics,” were examining the work on which the IPCC reports were based.

Steven McIntyre of the Climate Audit blog was trying to replicate the IPCC conclusions and having little success. Methods turned out to be flawed and faulty, raw data wasn’t even available through a Freedom of Information Act request, and there seemed to be a haunting similarity to the reasons offered by different research groups. The data McIntyre could obtain suggested that there were serious technical flaws in some of the work on which the AGW theory seemed to depend, but those papers proved hard to publish. Processes changed, and editors seemed to be working to avoid publishing what should have been significant research...

A section of politically active scientists, policy makers, politicians, and NGOs in effect put on white coats and told us that our planet was gravely ill, and that we needed to follow their prescriptive advice to save ourselves from a deadly disease. That’s really how they framed the discussion, and they classified everyone who disagreed as a denier, like a smoker dismissing his cough and waving away the x-rays. …

They may protest that the diagnosis is too technical for the patient to understand and that their actions are for the patient’s good. They may even believe it. But we call it quackery.
The danger here is that politics have subverted the process of science. If anthropogenic global warming is not true, it has at the least led to wasting billions of dollars on approaches to reduce the impact of what was, at bottom, a fantasy.

DP: The entire article is very worth reading, and contains numerous links to sources, etc, if you wish to be informed about all the hubbub:

Good thing Giethner, Frank, Rangel aren't contractors

(via Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds): WITHOUT A HINT OF IRONY: President Obama Blocks ‘Tax Cheats’ From Government Work. “President Obama today issued a presidential memorandum directing the Office of Management and Budget, the Treasury Department, and other federal agencies to block contractors who are delinquent on their taxes from receiving new government contracts. The memorandum also directs the IRS to review the accuracy of companies’ tax delinquency claims and asks Congress to enact enforecement tools.”

UPDATE: Reader Robert Belle writes: “Wow! It’s almost as if Taxes are for the little people, or something…”

ANOTHER UPDATE: From Skippy: You’re all working for nobody but me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How do those tea bags taste now...

MARY KATHARINE HAM: Press suddenly changing tune on Tea Party Movement. “As of last night, the media have finally started to change their tune on the Tea Party movement. I was shocked to hear Chris Matthews concede that Democrats had not learned to talk to those critical of the administration, to assuage their worries. Perhaps that was partly because their picture of those critics was painted by…Chris Matthews, who called 60-something veterans ‘terrorists,’ and compared peaceful protesters to aspiring Timothy McVeighs. Maybe that had something to do with the lack of engagement.”

via Instapundit/Glenn Reynolds

About that change--it's the peoples turn

ROGER KIMBALL: “Bringing about ‘redistributive change’ is what the Obama administration is all about. The victory of Scott Brown is a reminder that even in the most liberal state in the Union, that statist imperative inspires fear and loathing, not support.” (via Instapundit--Use link to read whole piece)

Thinking of Mark Levin's "Liberty vs. Tyranny"

"Liberty 1, Tyranny 0 After Brown’s Big Win"by Tom Blumer (multitude of links at original, plus page 2)

In electing Scott Brown to what the elites believed was Ted Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat one day shy of the anniversary of Barack Obama’s inauguration, Massachusetts voters have delivered an irrefutable repudiation of the president, his agenda, and the people in Congress who support him.

Make no mistake. All the attempted post-election distancing in the world won’t change the fact that this election was all about Dear Leader, who has seemingly done everything he can to earn the “punk” moniker I applied to him on Election Day in 2008, and a Congress that has rubber-stamped his wishes, often without even reading the bills his acolytes have prepared. Fox’s Charles Krauthammer noted that the Brown campaign succeeded in making the election “a referendum on the Obama agenda and also on single-party rule in Washington.” Obama’s last-minute decision to appear in Massachusetts on Sunday in an attempt to stop the bleeding merely confirmed that obvious fact.

Only fourteen months after his Bay State defeat of John McCain by 26%, Washington’s favored U.S. Senate candidate failed by a greater margin than Walter Mondale lost to Ronald Reagan in 1984. That year, Reagan carried Massachusetts by 2.8% on the way to his 49-state reelection landslide.

The more-than-30-point swing from November 2008 and the comparison to Reagan’s win are both important metrics. They demonstrate just how resounding the following rejection notices sent to Barack Obama and Congress, by voters in what is still virtually the most reliably liberal state in the union, really are:

•Rejected — Predatory, life-threatening designs on the nation’s health care system.

•Rejected — Micromanagement of virtually every aspect of our daily lives and drastic reductions in living standards, all in the name of environmental purity, championed by pseudo-scientists who are in reality proven scam artists.

•Rejected — Out-of-control, crony-favoring spending that has “stimulated” nothing but the growth of crowds at the unemployment office.

•Rejected — Government-sponsored bailouts, takeovers, and looting of private businesses, through the bankruptcy courts, the tax system, or the exercise of clearly condoned mob action.

•Rejected — The condescending elitism that ridicules plumbers and people who drive trucks while all too often funneling their tax money to the undeserving.

Voters in the often wayward Cradle of Liberty looked danger in the eye, stood up, and said, “Enough.” Tuesday’s takeaway is this: if Obama & Co. can’t sell their agenda there, it’s an epic fail everywhere.

So now what?...

Read the rest of this excellent piece--that includes criticism of both Brown and Romney:

Hey Keith, Obama: How do those tea bags taste?

(Roundup from Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds--use links):


Also: WOLF BLITZER: Three statewide elections in three states Obama won, where Obama campaigned for the Democrat. All three won by Republicans. What message does this send?

Alex Castellanos: If you can’t hide in Massachusetts, you can’t hide anywhere.

TOM BLUMER: Liberty 1, Tyranny 0.
SYMPATHY FOR THE PRESIDENT FROM ALTHOUSE: “Poor Obama! It’s the eve of the anniversary of his inauguration. The State of the Union was supposed to be very grand. And now what? He has been repudiated! He made this election a referendum on the Democrats agenda, and the people of Massachusetts, the most liberal state, gave him a resounding no. Now, I think that could be good for Obama. He’s a man of change. Let him change. I hope he becomes the President I thought he could be when I voted for him.”
POLL: Massachusetts Voters Evenly Split On Tea Party Movement. If they’re evenly split in freakin’ Massachusetts, well, then . . . .

UPDATE: We Are All Tea Partiers Now. The people, united, will never be defeated. (Use link to see suggested Newsweek cover based on the infamous "We are all socialists now" cover)

(via Glenn Reynolds/Instapundit)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Don't be misled--Indies are the weathervane

Use the link below to see, graphically, how the independants in almost every election have been the weathervane for the winner: for Bush in 2000, Obama in 2008, for Dems in 2006. Then came the political earthquakes in Virginia, New Jersey, in which Independants voted 2 to 1 for the Republican; now, the verdict of Indies in the bluest-of-blue Massachusetts went for the Rep'n by 3 to 1.

De-throning Pelosi and Reid is now likely-to-inevitable:

US behind Canada for econ-freedom--really!

"Hong Kong remains world's freest economy: report" AFP via Brietbart
Hong Kong remains the world's freest place to do business while the United States has lost its claim to an unrestricted economy, according to an annual report published Wednesday.

Hong Kong, a former British colony which was returned to China in 1997, edged out rival Singapore to claim top spot for the sixteenth consecutive year in the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom.

Australia and New Zealand grabbed third and fourth spot respectively.

The report is compiled by The Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington-based think tank, and The Wall Street Journal.

Ireland, Switzerland, Canada, the United States, Denmark and Chile rounded out the top ten list, which is based on criteria including economic openness, trade, the efficiency of domestic regulators, and the rule of law.

But Canada pushed the US from the top seven economies deemed to have an entirely free economy due to "notable decreases in financial freedom, monetary freedom, and property rights," the report said.

"The US government?s interventionist responses to the financial and economic crisis that began in 2008 have significantly undermined economic freedom and long-term prospects for economic growth," the report said.

Read more:

Truth from SF mayor, Dem fundraiser, TP guy and, from Nancy Pelosi--sheer delusional denial

"Tight Massachusetts race alarms California Dems" Carla Marinucci,Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Political Writers

The possible loss of a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts has Democrats on edge 3,000 miles away in California, where party activists fear a GOP upset today could trigger a conservative wave and swamp health care reform and the 2010 midterm elections.

"Regardless of the outcome ... this should be a gigantic wake-up call to the Democratic Party - that we're not connecting with the needs, the aspirations and the desires of real people right now," said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom...

But Democrats also considered the ripple effects on coming elections in the nation's most populous state.

"We better get our act together - and quickly," Newsom said. Voters "are so angry. They don't feel that we're paying attention to their needs, in terms of their jobs, and what's going on at the grassroots, in their neighborhoods."

With just 10 months until the 2010 midterm election, the mayor's remarks underscore how the Brown-Coakley race has set off alarms in Democratic-leaning California, which is holding two high-profile elections this cycle.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, a three-term Democrat, faces a re-election challenge - with three Republicans vying to defeat her: former Rep. Tom Campbell, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore of Irvine.

Boxer polled no more than 46 percent of the vote against any of the three in a Rasmussen Poll released Friday.

And with GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger termed out, former two-term Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown will face one of two wealthy GOP challengers: former eBay CEO Meg Whitman or state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

Worse than a canary

For Boxer, a favorite Republican target, a GOP win in Massachusetts would be a particularly dark sign representing "not just the canary in the coal mine," said Wade Randlett, a leading Silicon Valley fundraiser for Obama. "It's the flock of dead ravens landing on the lawn."

But Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking to reporters Monday, expressed confidence in Boxer - and in Democrats' prospects in California. She insisted that - whatever the outcome - the results today will in no way represent a repudiation of the Obama administration, especially on the matter of health care reform.

"Certainly the dynamics will change depending on what happens in Massachusetts," she said. "But it doesn't mean we won't have a health care bill."

Still, "if Brown wins, then Tea Party supporters will smell blood in California," said Joe Wierzbicki, coordinator of the Tea Party Express, a conservative organization that counts roughly a quarter of its 353,000 supporters in California.

"This would be a sign that the momentum in general is in the direction of the Tea Party movement," he said...

But Newsom said the Republican resurgence in Massachusetts suggests "there's real intensity and fervor out there, as represented by the Tea Party" activists expressing anger at government spending and at job losses.

"This is real," he said. "At our own peril, we dismiss these tea parties as ... some sort of isolated extremism. ... It's not."

Read more:

Read more:

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

They'll cheat their way to socialist/fascist state

"Democrats’ Plan for Election 2010: Cheat" The oily mechanisms that Democrats can use to tilt the vote in their favor this year and beyond by Sarah Durand via Pajamas Media

Destroying the integrity of U.S. elections has been a longtime project for the far left. For over a decade, elected Democrats have manipulated the American people into believing their counterfeit altruistic intentions to enable more citizens to vote. Though largely flying under the radar, they’ve been looking for ways to use our legislative system to trump up fraudulent votes and their subterfuge knows no boundaries.

In 1993 Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act, commonly called “motor voter.” Under the deception that it would boost voter turnout, the bill laid the foundation for much of the voter fraud we’ve seen over the last 15 years...

Although motor voter was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton, the bill is also tied to our current president. In 1995, then-attorney Barack Obama successfully fought for the law in an Illinois court on behalf of ACORN. Later, in true you-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours spirit, ACORN returned the favor, running Obama’s illegal get-out-the-vote campaign that led to his 2008 presidential win. However, the campaign should be best known for prompting investigations of ACORN voter fraud in 13 states...

Since the passage of motor voter, liberals have become even more ambitious, attacking the integrity of the election process through the Soros-funded Secretary of State Project (SoSP). Because each state’s SoS is responsible for overseeing elections, leftists believe that if they control the SoS, they control the outcome of the elections. The main goal of the SoSP is to secure the election of far-leftist secretaries of state who have no problem throwing out thousands of Republican votes, while counting votes of the deceased, illegal aliens, and Mickey Mouse instead...
One of the stated goals of the SoSP is “universal, automatic, and portable voter registration.” Currently, many liberals in Congress are fighting to grant this wish through a universal voter registration bill. This bill would be a federal mandate that gives the federal government power over the state governments’ election processes. According to John Fund of the Wall Street Journal, “The feds will tell the states: Take everyone on every list of welfare recipients, take everyone on every list of unemployed you have, take everyone on every list of property owners, all driver’s license holders, and register them to vote, regardless of whether they want to be.”...
Universal voter registration was a longtime goal of Columbia University professors Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven of the Cloward-Piven Strategy. The goal of their political strategy is to overthrow the current system of government and replace it with socialism. Newsmax’s James Walsh reported on this issue in 2008, stating, “By advocating massive, no-holds-barred voter registration campaigns, [Cloward and Piven] sought a Democratic administration in Washington, D.C., that would redistribute the nation’s wealth and lead to a totalitarian socialist state.”...
But history tells us that if we open the door to voter fraud, ACORN and the like will walk through it. The combination of Soros money, corrupt leaders, and Ahmadinejad-esque election laws is a perfect recipe to force us into a fascist, interminable oligarchy where we the people have no voice. The legislation of this generation is enslaving the next; another example of “chains we can believe in.”

Informed conservatives saw it coming last year

Prolonging the Recession

(via Powerline by John Hinderacker)
Today's economic news is very bad--another 85,000 jobs lost in December, and unemployment stuck at 10 percent. In Monday's Wall Street Journal, economists Gary Becker, Steven Davis and Kevin Murphy explained how the Democrats' failed economic policies have helped to lengthen and deepen the current recession:

In terms of U.S. output contractions, the so-called Great Recession was not much more severe than the recessions in 1973-75 and 1981-82. Yet recovery from the latest recession has started out much more slowly. For example, real GDP expanded by 7.7% in 1983 after unemployment peaked at 10.8% in December 1982, whereas GDP grew at an unimpressive annual rate of 2.2% in the third quarter of 2009. Although the fourth quarter is likely to show better numbers--probably much better--there are no signs of an explosive take off from the recession. ...

In terms of discouraging a rapid recovery, other government proposals created greater uncertainty and risk for businesses and investors. These include plans to increase greatly marginal tax rates for higher incomes. In addition, discussions at the Copenhagen conference and by the president to impose high taxes on carbon dioxide emissions must surely discourage investments in refineries, power plants, factories and other businesses that are big emitters of greenhouse gases.

Congressional "reforms" of the American health delivery system have gone through dozens of versions. The separate bills passed by the House and Senate worry small businesses, in particular. They fear their labor costs will increase because of mandates to spend much more on health insurance for their employees. The resulting reluctance of small businesses to invest, expand and hire harms households as well, because it slows the creation of new jobs and the growth of labor incomes. ...

Even though some of the proposed antibusiness policies might never be implemented, they generate considerable uncertainty for businesses and households. Faced with a highly uncertain policy environment, the prudent course is to set aside or delay costly commitments that are hard to reverse. The result is reluctance by banks to increase lending--despite their huge excess reserves--reluctance by businesses to undertake new capital expenditures or expand work forces, and decisions by households to postpone major purchases.

Several pieces of evidence point to extreme caution by businesses and households. A regular survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) shows that recent capital expenditures and near-term plans for new capital investments remain stuck at 35-year lows. The same survey reveals that only 7% of small businesses see the next few months as a good time to expand. Only 8% of small businesses report job openings, as compared to 14%-24% in 2008, depending on month, and 19%-26% in 2007.

The weak economy is far and away the most prevalent reason given for why the next few months is "not a good time" to expand, but "political climate" is the next most frequently cited reason, well ahead of borrowing costs and financing availability. ,,,

Government statistics tell a similar story. Business investment in the third quarter of 2009 is down 20% from the low levels a year earlier. Job openings are at the lowest level since the government began measuring the concept in 2000. The pace of new job creation by expanding businesses is slower than at any time in the past two decades and, though older data are not as reliable, likely slower than at any time in the past half-century. While layoffs and new claims for unemployment benefits have declined in recent months, job prospects for unemployed workers have continued to deteriorate. The exit rate from unemployment is lower now than any time on record, dating back to 1967. ...

These facts suggest that it was a serious economic mistake to press for a hasty, major transformation of the U.S. economy on the heels of the worst financial crisis in decades.

What we are seeing, in other words, is Barack Obama's economy--the foreseeable consequence of the terrible economic policies that he, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have imposed or threatened to impose on the nation. There will of course be a recovery, as always; but that recovery will be much stronger and faster if Congress makes clear that it will block any further assaults on the economy in the form of cap and trade, massive tax increases, and so on.
Read the entire WSJ article:

Deconstructing Axelrod's prevarications

"Axelrod v. Rove on Deficits" [Stephen Spruiell via NRO]

Look, you're not going to get a robust defense of the Bush administration's spending record out of me, but I will make four points regarding David Axelrod's attempt to pin the country's rotten fiscal shape on Bush:

1. Axelrod stretches the truth to justify Obama's massive stimulus bill. He writes:

Economists across the political spectrum agreed that to deal with this crisis and avoid a second Great Depression, the government had to make significant investments to keep our economy going and shore up our financial system.

Not really. The Cato Institute published a letter signed by 200 economists stating that "we the undersigned do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance."...

That is why President Obama and Congress crafted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Despite Rove's assertion, it is widely accepted that the difficult but necessary steps Obama took have helped save our economy from an even deeper disaster.

Widely accepted? Really?

TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the economy?

March 2009: 57 percent approve, 33 percent disapprove.

January 2010: 41 percent approve, 54 percent disapprove

The stimulus is Obama's signature economic achievement, and public approval of his handling of the economy reaches a new low every month.

2. Axelrod claims that the Obama administration heroically prevented TARP from bankrupting the country:

And while Rove conveniently ignores that it was President Bush — not Obama — who signed into law the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program bailout for banks, the Obama administration's rigorous stewardship added transparency and accountability that have cut the expected cost of that program by two-thirds.

Not true. An unexpected rally in the stock market and unlimited support from the Federal Reserve helped the banks pay back their TARP money ahead of schedule...

Also, Axelrod leaves out the part where Obama plans to spend these "savings" on another stimulus package. As Keith Hennessey has noted, this is a gimmick that will unambiguously add hundreds of billions to the deficit.

3. Axelrod writes:

As a start, the president proposed billions of dollars in cuts, and he'll continue to fight for them and others in the upcoming budget. An analysis by the Washington Times concluded that in this first year, Obama had been more successful in getting his proposed cuts through Congress than his predecessor was in any of his eight years in office.

$6.9 billion is not a lot to brag about, especially when you immediately plow the "savings" into spending increases elsewhere.

4. Again, I'm not here to defend Bush's spending record. But I will say this: At least Bush tried to tackle the looming Social Security train wreck, which liberals at the time labeled a "fake crisis." By contrast, Obama is pushing a new hugely expensive new health-care entitlement in a mind-boggling display of obliviousness to the country's parlous fiscal shape...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bank tax to special interest health carve out...

...gross hypocrisy is thy name:

Krauthammer's Take [NRO Staff]

On the bank tax announced by President Obama yesterday:

This is being sold with incredible demagoguery as a payment. The president says: “I want my money back.”

In fact, the majority of banks have repaid. Some of the banks never received any of the TARP money, and some of them were forced into receiving [it] at the point of a gun in the Bush administration.

And, as you pointed out, the real delinquents here, GM and Chrysler, are not being asked to pay anything because of Democratic ties with Michigan and the UAW.

Now, there is merit here if it [the bank tax] were portrayed in a different way. The banks, the larger banks, have, as a result of what happened in '09 and '08, an implicit understanding around the world that the U.S. government will step in [if they fail]...
But this is not how it's portrayed. The way Obama is selling it, it is a punishment for old behavior [causing the crisis in the first place] rather than a fee that you would collect in return for a certain advantage [implicit government guarantee] as a result of what happened in 2008 and 2009. …

On Obama’s deal with union executives on taxing health-care plans:

The hypocrisy here is really staggering. This is the president who ran on a premise that he would bring new politics, where the special interests would not write the bills, where this would be a politics of the people, that there would be transparency. And this is the most corrupt, deal-swapping piece of legislation in memory.

What you have is a bill being written by Democratic constituencies on behalf of Democratic constituencies.

Here [with the “Cadillac” insurance plans], of course, are the union members who are getting a break.

And the biggest corrupt deal of all is what's not in the bills. The biggest drain on health care in the country — huge, in the hundreds of billions a year — is the unnecessary procedures and practices as a result of a legal malpractice system out of control, defensive medicine. Everybody understands that.

There is not a word about it [malpractice reform] in the bills. That's because the trial lawyers own the Democratic party.

This is a bill where if you are a Democratic constituent like a member of a union, you get a break. Or if you are a trial lawyer, you get a break. If you are not, you pay for everybody else.