Saturday, July 31, 2010

Independents turning away from Obama, Dems

Independents turning away from Obama, Dems The Daily Caller - Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment

By LIZ SIDOTI - Associated Press

MEDIA, Pa. (AP) — Democrat Joe Sestak — a son of the Philadelphia suburbs — needs the independent voters in his backyard as he campaigns for a Senate seat in a swing state that may tilt Republican this year.

Independents have been turning away from President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, frustrated with the economic downturn and administration initiatives, even in Pennsylvania where Obama won by double-digits two years ago. Sestak, a two-term congressman, has his work cut out for him.

“To vote for any of them right now, I’m not really sure I could. It’s too early to say,” says Tori Fisher, 45, an artist selling handmade jewelry at a picnic table down the street from Sestak’s bustling campaign headquarters.

Fisher backed Obama two years ago and Democrats in 2006 but says “all of my friends feel frustrated” with the president’s policies. “All of them could be doing a better job,” she said of the Democrats controlling the White House and Congress.

On a nearby park bench, Albert Davis, 63, calls his previous support for Obama unfortunate. He faults the president and his party for their handling of the troubled economy, the soaring budget deficit and the new health care law.

“I thought he could straighten this country out,” he says. “I may have been wrong.”

Davis doesn’t know how he’ll vote this fall — “if I vote.”

Although Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 1.2 million in Pennsylvania, independent voters, especially those in the so-called collar counties around Philadelphia, have proved decisive in elections in this swing state. They are seen as key to victory in the competitive Senate race between Republican Pat Toomey, a former congressman who once headed the anti-tax Club for Growth, and Sestak, who defeated Sen. Arlen Specter, a former Republican who switched parties to run in the May 18 Democratic primary.

A recent poll showed Toomey with a clear advantage among independent voters, and the same Quinnipiac University survey showed Obama’s approval under 50 percent in the state. The president has lost considerable ground among Pennsylvania independents.

In 2006 and 2008, independents frustrated with then-President George W. Bush and the war in Iraq pushed Democrats to House and Senate wins across the country. Among the winners was a retired admiral and political novice named Sestak who captured a district that encompasses the one-time factory town of Conshohocken and the wealthy enclaves of the Main Line. This year, voters unaligned with a political party are disgruntled with the direction of the country, the Democratic-controlled Congress and Obama — and appear poised to punish the party in power.

Nationwide, a recent Pew Research Center survey showed Republicans with an edge over Democrats — 44 percent to 36 percent — among independents. At this point in 2006, independents backed Democrats 47 percent to 32 percent.

With independents so critical to victory, each Senate candidate is casting the other as an extreme ideologue out-of-step with voters on economic issues.

“Pat Toomey, someone I like, will always side with Wall Street and big oil … but I’ll stand up and fight for the working family and what they need,” says Sestak, painting Toomey as far too conservative for the state. Sestak regularly hammers the former Republican congressman on his support for drilling in Lake Erie and his House votes on measures that included tax breaks for corporations.

Read more (including page 2):

Think Progress Ripped Content From Tea Party Video To Create Fraudulent Racism Claim

Think Progress Ripped Content From Tea Party Video To Create Fraudulent Racism Claim

by Bob Owens

You would have thought that the three separate entries I dedicated to exposing the lies yesterday in this article and video by the progressive propagandists at Think Progress, I would have said all there is to say.

But there is more… and it is shocking.

Remember “Activist 2,” the Saint Louis Team Party infiltrator, that claimed “I’m a proud racist, I’m white?”

It seems that Think Progress used a clip from this video, a video entitled “Proof that the Tea Party is not racist.”

The guys at SharpElbows.Net thwarted this infiltrator, heavily documenting his attempt to mingle with Tea Party protesters in Saint Louis.

Think Progress misrepresented everything this video and the Tea Party stands for, and against.

If staffers, including editor-in-chief Faiz Shakir should not be terminated for this behavior, I’d like to know why.

(For all additional links):

Friday, July 30, 2010

Oil spill disaster: Locals did well; feds not so much

James Carafano: Feds haven't treated spill like national disaster Washington Examiner

By: James Carafano/Examiner Columnist

It was the worst of times.

At 6:10 a.m., Katrina made landfall near Buras-Triumph, La., winds howling at 125 miles an hour. Within hours, it destroyed or degraded most of infrastructure in a 90,000-square-mile area and disrupted the lives of millions.

Emergency responders faced a logistical nightmare. Everything essential to speeding aid -- transportation networks, power and communications -- was wiped out. A veteran responder likened the challenge to "landing an army at Normandy, with a little less shooting."

When catastrophes occur, rescue, relief and remediation resources must respond immediately. Moreover, the people must have confidence that their leaders, at all levels of government, are on top of the situation and doing the right things to make matters better.

In the wake of Katrina, the national effort fell short. Washington was slow to respond. But once the feds got their act together, they turned in a pretty impressive performance.

The Coast Guard performed magnificently, rescuing more than 33,000 victims under harrowing conditions. Tens of thousands more, including those at the Superdome and Convention Center, were evacuated before dehydration, hunger, exposure or disease could exact a toll.

Hundreds of thousands were sheltered around the country. And billions in recovery assistance poured in.

The leadership of New Orleans and Louisiana state officials, on the other hand, proved completely ineffectual.

What a difference a half of a decade makes. The response of state and local leaders to the Gulf oil spill would make the Founding Fathers proud. (Federalism works!)

This should come as no surprise. After all, the locals are the people closest to the problem. They have the most at stake. They care.

And this time, they were prepared.

After Katrina, Louisiana transformed its disaster response system from one of the nation's worst into one of the best. The Louisiana National Guard has been particularly impressive. A few weeks ago, it had more than 1,000 soldiers deployed and working on oil containment and cleanup.

After Katrina, Louisiana transformed its disaster response system from one of the nation's worst into one of the best. The Louisiana National Guard has been particularly impressive. A few weeks ago, it had more than 1,000 soldiers deployed and working on oil containment and cleanup.

This time, it's the federal leadership that has been pathetic. Indeed, the White House's lethargic and pettifogging response to the situation has exacerbated the disaster.

The trick to fighting the spill is to keep oil from getting ashore and into the marshlands and estuaries. That means moving fast.

Instead, the federal government opted for a centralized response that requires multiple layers of approval before a slick can be sucked up.

After weeks of pleading and cajoling by state officials, the feds finally allowed them to set up Forward Operating Branches -- teams of state and local experts in each parish that can provide a quick assessment and response. That has helped some.

But state and local officials are still pulling their hair at what seems to them like Washington's peacetime attitude to wartime conditions.

The poster child of federal ineptness has been the multilayered and time-consuming permit process that state and local officials are forced to go through before they can erect oil barriers or start cleanup operations in newly contaminated locations. Locals who know what to do and want only to "get on with the job" must first run a gauntlet of review-and-approval by numerous federal agencies who seem more concerned with preserving the sanctity of their regulations than containing and capturing the oil before it kills more wildlife and poisons the ground.

Today, after three months of leaks, the wellhead appears to be capped. But unless Washington starts treating the 180 million-gallon spill like the disaster it is, it may yet succeed in turning it into a catastrophe that will cripple the entire Gulf region's economy and way of life for years to come.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

What an example (from Obama) of someone abusing the law and system to get her $$

UPDATE: White House Reacts to Guest's Criminal Past
President Barack Obama posed with a Charlottesville resident at a White House event on July 19. Court records show she's been found guilty of two crimes and now the White House says she wouldn't have been invited if officials had known about her past.

Reporter: Jessica Jaglois
White House Reacts to Guest's Criminal PastWoman Convicted of Drug Fraud Joins Obama at the Podium

(CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA) -- In his daily press briefing Thursday afternoon, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the White House would have never invited Leslie Macko to pose with President Obama had they known about her criminal past.

"Had that type of information been made available," said Gibbs. "She would not have participated in the event here."

Macko, a Charlottesville resident, stood next to President Obama as his example of the need to extend jobless benefits.

"We need to extend unemployment compensation benefits for women like Leslie Macko, who lost her job at a fitness center last year, and has been looking for work ever since. Because she's eligible for only a few more weeks of unemployment, she's doing what she never thought she'd have to do. Not at this point, anyway. She's turning to her father for financial support," Obama said in his speech at the White House on July 19th.

Macko was once employed at ACAC Fitness and Wellness Center in the Albemarle Square Shopping Center. However, in April 2009, a month after being found guilty of prescription drug fraud, she lost her job as an aesthetician in the spa at ACAC.

ACAC CEO Greg Wells told the Newsplex that Macko was not terminated nor discharged because of any illegal activity, but Wells would not comment on the condition of her termination.

CBS19 also learned Thursday that Macko has had more than one run-in with the law. In June of 2007, Macko was charged with grand larceny. The charge was reduced in court to petit larceny, and she was sentenced to two years probation.

Press Secretary Gibbs was also asked if the White House performed a background check on Macko before her appearance with the President.

"I don't know the specifics," Gibbs said. 'But it's safe to say, had we known [about the charges against her] she wouldn't have been here."

In a written statement to Fox News, a Secret Service spokesman says, "We do not comment or confirm the existence of anyone's criminal history or lack thereof. Anyone who is granted access to the White House or any venue that we protect does so only after an assessment of dangerousness is made."

The Legal Aid Justice Center, which represented Leslie Macko in her claim for unemployment benefits, released this statement to the Newsplex Thursday evening:

"Between March 2005 and April 2009, Ms. Macko was employed as an aesthetician by ACAC. When she was terminated in April 2009, Ms. Macko applied for unemployment benefits. On June 15, 2009, Ms. Macko was determined to be qualified for unemployment benefits. ACAC appealed that determination. After a hearing on the merits of Ms. Macko's case, the original determination was affirmed on September 14, 2009.

Ms. Macko was convicted of two unrelated misdemeanors. Throughout the unemployment proceedings, ACAC never alleged that Ms. Macko's termination was related to those cases."

CBS19 contacted Leslie Macko about the conviction, and she declined to comment until she speaks with her attorney.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The current version of cap-and-tax scam

Who Benefits?

by John Hinderacker/Powerline

That question is often asked in the context of criminal investigations. Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), applies it to the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act (APA):

Although the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act (APA) appears dead, Senator Reid announced he will introduce yet another version of cap-and-tax this month by any other name. But both the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and EPA have produced studies showing that cap-and-tax will be economically harmful. The CBO report is a solid, prudent review of three studies: Resources for the Future, Brookings Institution, and CRA International. All report that significant declines in total employment will result from APA. ...

In spite of its harmful consequences, with the worst year-long unemployment rate since 1982, cap-and-tax continues to reappear. To understand why, it is useful to further examine APA to grasp the financial incentives involved. Most macroeconomic studies (economy-wide) do not examine the incidence of the tax (who actually pays the tax) and, correspondingly, the incidence of the subsidy (who reaps the benefits). A study by Chamberlain Economics does.

APA establishes allowances for carbon dioxide emissions which decline every year. Part is sold at auction to establish a controlled range of prices and part is distributed free to favored industries that can be sold or traded, ideally within the controlled range of prices. Using the mean of estimated prices in APA, Chamberlain Economics estimates the value of the of the part distributed free during the 2013 to 2034 life of the program as $2.1 Trillion - about the amount of total Federal revenues in 2009. The largest beneficiary is the electricity industry to the tune of $870 Billion.

Politicians claim the value of the free allowances to the electricity industry will then flow to the consumers of electricity. Chamberlain uses established microeconomic theory backed by empirical studies to show that much of the value will flow to the shareholders of the companies that are generally in the highest income group. Thus, the entire scheme results in a massive transfer of wealth from the lower and middle income groups to the wealthy. No wonder Duke Energy declared cap-and-trade will give share holders a $1,000,000,000 (Billion Dollar) profit.

Very interestingly, the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) industry, basically non-existent with an unproven technology, receives $246 Billion in free allowances - twice the 2009 budget for California. Given the sheer volume of carbon dioxide involved, it is highly unlikely that CCS will ever become viable. ...

Using EPA numbers and established models from government agencies such as the U.S. Bureau of Economic Statistics, Chamberlain estimates the cap-and-trade decline in employment would be 716,000 by 2020 and 5.1 million by 2050. The estimated decline in wages would be $32 Billion by 2020 and $236 Billion by 2050.

The entire anti-carbon movement is a fraud and a hoax. If we lived in a country with an inquisitive, objective or two-party press, reporters would be climbing all over this story. Once again, however, our reporters and editors avert their eyes as the Obama administration plots to reward its favored constituencies. This is what, in a dimly-remembered era, was called "corruption."

The Democrats' November Death Wish

The Democrats' November Death Wish

by: Hugh Hewitt at 8:54 AM

"Republican candidates now hold a 10-point lead over Democrats on the generic Congressional ballot," according to the most recent Rasmussen Report survey of likely voters.

The worst news for Democrats? "Voters not affiliated with either party prefer the Republican candidate by a 44% to 23% margin," according to Rasmussen.

Against this backdrop the Democrats refuse to extend the Bush tax cuts, refuse to fix the death tax which will skyrocket at the end of the year without action, and refuse to address the wild spending which has driven the deficit to levels that risk a fiscal stroke.

What do the Congressional Democrats instead offer as the key legislative debate? A manifestly unconstitutional attempt to advantage themselves in elections via the so-called "DISCLOSE Act," an absurdly partisan ploy to keep union campaign spending robust and concealed while crushing the ability of almost all other groups --except the NRA, the Sierra Club and a few other favored special interests-- from impacting elections.

Not one Republican will support this proposal in the Senate, thus dooming it. But not before most if not all Senate Democrats will go on record supporting this obvious assault on the First Amendment three months before the conclusion of an election cycle where concern over the Constitution and worries over the imbalance of power in D.C. are driving the vote. Liberal commentators are ignoring the transparent attempt by Chuck Schumer to protect the left's money machine at a cost of a carve out for the NRA, but new media has already shattered the attempt to pass this off as "campaign finance reform." Every time the president or one of the union-dependant Democrats speaks up on behalf of the law, the majority of voters just laugh at the shamelessness of the ploy. Democrats continue to think that voters are as dumb as rocks, but they aren't, and on this issue they know the score.

The Manhattan-Beltway media elite have fundamentally misunderstood or refused to believe what is happening in front of their eyes, and their blindness has apparently led the MSM-addicted Congressional Democrats to ignore the issues that do concern voters while pushing forward an agenda that deeply offends an already outraged electorate. The president's deep-seated ideology similarly renders him incapable of understanding the depth of the rejection of his agenda that is sweeping the country.

Taken all together the Democrats are not merely headed towards a political cliff, they are sprinting towards it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Yet another violent, GOP hating thug

Here's the link to the full-size video:

Thoughts on why we don't get smaller gov't...and why that may change

A DANGEROUS DISAFFECTION. “There have been several occasions when the American people have voted for smaller government; most notably in 1972, 1980 and 1994. But it really doesn’t matter. You can vote for limited government, but you can’t get it; the political class won’t let you. This is not to assert the silly proposition that there is no major difference between Democrats and Republicans. The fiscal disaster that we have witnessed since the Democrats took control of Congress in 2007 proves the contrary. But still: experience shows that voting for Republicans hasn’t been enough to offset the power of the political class. . . . It remains to be seen whether the American people can finally break the grip of a political class that remains determined to run their lives and misappropriate trillions of dollars of their wealth. It will be, I think, a close-run thing. In the meantime, there is no mystery as to why most Americans do not regard the federal government as legitimate in Jeffersonian terms.”

by Glenn Reynolds

Tech issues resolved--new posts to follow--stay tuned

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Computer problems prevent further posting of content until resoved by technician Wednesday

The Radicalism of the Anti-Arizona Suit - Rich Lowry - National Review Online

The Radicalism of the Anti-Arizona Suit - Rich Lowry - National Review Online by Rich Lowry

The Radicalism of the Anti-Arizona Suit

The state’s immigration law is reasonable; the suit against it isn't.

If nothing else, the state of Arizona has smoked out the Obama administration.

To make the case that the Arizona immigration law conflicts with, and therefore is preempted by, federal law, the Justice Department has to make an extraordinary claim — that the federal laws as written don’t matter so much.

The drafters of the Arizona statute, S.B. 1070, were careful to mimic specific federal laws, but that’s not good enough. The state’s law would pass constitutional muster only if it tracked exactly with the executive’s enforcement priorities. As the suit puts it, “S.B. 1070’s mandatory enforcement scheme will conflict with and undermine the federal government’s careful balance of immigration enforcement priorities and objectives.”

In other words, such mandatory enforcement of the law conflicts with the executive’s discretionary enforcement of the law. If Arizona’s statute is in keeping with the letter of the laws as passed by Congress, so what? The executive can selectively pick and choose which elements of those laws to honor, and then on that basis quash state statues even if they mirror the handiwork of Congress.

It’s as if Congress is merely an advisory body in this area, and the administration wants to lift the power over immigration policy out of Article 1 of the Constitution and deposit it in Article 2. The administration is forced into this sweeping argument out of its desperation to overturn the Arizona law and its limited grounds to do so on any common-sense basis.

The courts have upheld the ability of state law enforcement to check on a person’s immigration status, ask for his documents, and confirm his status with the federal government. And it’s simply not the case that any state statute regarding immigration is preempted by federal law. In 1976, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld a California law prohibiting employers from hiring illegal aliens against a preemption challenge.

By any reasonable standard, Arizona is assisting the federal government. The state is identifying people that Congress has deemed to be in the country unlawfully and bringing them to the attention of the feds. Why would the federal government even want to cry foul?

It all comes back to that delicate balance. The suit says, “S.B. 1070 conflicts with and otherwise stands as an obstacle to Congress’s demand that federal immigration policy accommodate the competing interests of immigration control, national security and public safety, humanitarian concerns, and foreign relations.”

And all that amounts to an indirect way of saying that the Obama administration is willing to tolerate the presence of millions of illegal aliens in this country, and that, as far as it’s concerned, this preference constitutes the unalloyed law of the land.

There would be an unassailable method for the federal government to push back against Arizona. Congress could repeal 8 USC 1304(e) and 1306(a), the provisions in the federal code invoked in the Arizona statute (they make it illegal for aliens not to carry registration documents and for aliens to fail to register). Then, Congress could pass an immediate amnesty, relieving the current population of illegal aliens of the burdens of their unlawful presence.

Simple and clean. But not easy, since it would require the assent of democratically accountable legislators. The Obama administration prefers to rely on the sheer assertion of administrative authority. Its suit against Arizona posits a kind of virtual amnesty. If its claims pass muster in the courts, the most aggrieved institution shouldn’t be the state of Arizona, but the United States Congress.

— Rich Lowry is editor of National Review.

Friday, July 23, 2010

O's inexplicable and offensive policies

The Corner - National Review Online

The Art of Blowing It Bigtime [Victor Davis Hanson]

At the root of the president’s problems lies an erosion of public trust in his competence and his credibility. Voters simply do not believe much of what he says any more, whether or not they otherwise agree with his agenda. The old tonic, teleprompted “hope and change” banalities, has become a caricature, and his empty gestures are fooling few these days.

Borrow nearly $800 million to prevent 10 percent unemployment? Joblessness hit that mark anyway, leaving the president to claim credit for its not going to 15 percent. Close Guantanamo? Two years later, it is now supposedly Congress’s fault that he cannot. The deficit? It’s odd to brag about cutting a few billion while running up over $1.5 trillion in new annual debt. Immigration? He has talked about getting tough on employers, but at the same time has sued Arizona and given up on the fence. Bush’s once-demonic anti-terrorism protocols? Current policy is to adopt them all and step up the targeted killings while using “reset” euphemisms.

Going negative on Republicans and appealing to his shrinking base will not hide the fact that, on just about every issue he’s contemplating — amnesty, cap-and-trade, deficit spending, higher and new taxes — he’s polling worse than on health care, which lost him 10 points in the polls.

And rather than presenting the public with pleasant people to carry through this unpopular program, we get instead Van Jones and Anita Dunn, the energy secretary and his lunatic assertions on California farms, the labor secretary and her silly videos assuming non-enforcement of immigration laws, a NASA chief who blathers about making Muslims feel good, and a new recess-appointed health czar who praises redistributive health care. And Climategate and Al Gore’s implosion discredited cap-and-trade exactly when Obama was ready to push it down the nation’s throat. Not pretty, all that.

What is strange about all this is how the clueless behavior only intensifies. We expect each day another crazy outburst from another fringe appointee, another “battle” to push through something the public does not want — all overseen by the “healer” of “no more red state/blue state” fame.

In short, in just 18 months, Obama has ended talk of permanent Democratic majorities and may well do to the Democratic party what Carter did in 1980 and Clinton in 1994, all while taking a once-obsequious press down with him. With idols like Obama, Mort Zuckerman, Chris Matthews, and Evan Thomas hardly need enemies.

Overseas, so far, our nation has been lucky, but the world abroad is likely to reap what Obama has sown, and soon. “Bush did it” whining, “reset” diplomacy, outreach to thugs, serial apologies, and a habit of treating allies as neutrals or enemies and enemies as new friends — with this kind of foreign policy, some bad actor is bound to try a Falkands, a Kuwait, or a Georgia to gauge our response, which in turn will determine the behavior of other nefarious agents.

Stranger still, all this took place in a period when Obama had all the cards of public good will — furor at Republicans between 2006 and 2008, Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, and a media with hagiographic tendencies. It’s hard to blow all that in less than two years, but that’s where we are.

Nice take-down of rabid NAACP lunacy

The Corner - National Review Online

The NAACP Joins the Club [Michael Graham]

I’d like to welcome the NAACP to the pantheon of liberals and left-wing organizations making false allegations of racism against the tea-party movement. They join the proud ranks of Speaker Pelosi (who accused us of brandishing swastikas), Congressman Baird (who called us “brown shirts”), and Keith Olbermann (who has called us, well, everything).

Now it’s the NAACP that’s labeling elements of the tea-party movement “racist” and claiming our goal is “to push our country back to the pre–civil rights era.”

To anyone with even a passing knowledge of the tea-party movement, this is nonsense. Tea partiers wave signs about debt, spending, and health care, not busing or segregation. The NAACP’s charge is insulting to typical Americans (like my mom) who’ve attended tea parties; it is demeaning to the legacy of the NAACP.

So why are they doing it? The answer can be found on the front page of the Washington Post: Nearly 60 percent of Americans say they lack confidence that President Obama will do the right things for America. The November election is looking uglier every day.

So Michelle Obama’s speech at the NAACP convention urged black voters to get “intense,” and the NAACP political hacks whipped up this resolution to inspire division and anger — and, they hope, drive up turnout in November. Desperation and shamelessness are both on display in this resolution.

False accusations of tea-party racism are so common they’ve become tedious. The NAACP resolution makes only half-hearted efforts to provide evidence; it includes accusations that are unfounded (that someone yelled the n-word at Rep. John Lewis during a D.C. rally) and blatantly untrue (the now-disproven claim that a tea partier spat on a black congressman).

But even if allegations of individual bad behavior were true, what’s that got to do with the mission and message of the tea-party movement? Have a handful of people shown up at tea-party rallies with offensive signs? Of course they have. There have been thousands of rallies and millions of attendees — so what?

Louis Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright — both openly racist conspiracy theorists — have been featured speakers at NAACP events. So has Al Sharpton, even after the Tawana Brawley spectacle and the loss of life at Freddie’s Fashion Mart.

Does this make the NAACP an organization of racist, anti-Semitic loons? Or is it the case that any large organization dealing with issues people feel passionate about is going to attract extremists and nuts?

The difference is, when you’re looking for loonies at a tea-party rally, they’re on the fringe. When you’re looking for them at liberal events, they’re on stage.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Poll: Obama vs any Republican--O loses

Obama vs. Huckabee John Hinderacker/Powerline
This will give the Democrats heartburn: in a preview of possible 2012 matchups, Public Policy Polling finds Mike Huckabee leading Barack Obama 47-45 percent. Mitt Romney holds a slightly larger 46-43 lead, while Obama currently is tied with Sarah Palin, 46-46. Newt Gingrich leads Obama by one point, too.

This shouldn't be taken too seriously, except as one more index of how far President Obama has fallen in the public's estimation. That is especially true for independents, who favor Romney over Obama 48-35. The fact that all of the Republicans do almost the same indicates that at this early stage, voters are basically comparing Obama against "somebody else." For Democrats, the fact that somebody else--anybody else--is doing so well at this stage can only be one more source of worry.

Stimulus failed, we know it, O lies about it

Morning Bell: Why the Obama Stimulus Failed
Today, President Barack Obama will attend a groundbreaking ceremony in Holland, Mich., for a South Korean-owned factory that will make batteries for electric cars. The purpose of the trip is to highlight the “success” of the President’s $862 billion economic stimulus package which the White House claimed yesterday has already “saved or created” 3 million jobs. Specifically, this factory is being subsidized by $151 million of stimulus funds from an even larger $2 billion honey pot of stimulus money set aside for electric car battery investments. This one plant is expected to employ 300 workers. That works out to more than $500,000 per job created. $500,000 per job. This plant, in a nutshell, explains why the President’s stimulus plan has been an objective failure.

The American people know the President’s stimulus has failed. A new CBS poll out today shows that 74 percent of Americans believe the Obama stimulus either damaged the economy or had no effect. And a Washington Post poll released Tuesday again showed that a majority of Americans disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the economy. So how on earth can the White House claim they “saved or created” 3 million jobs? By rerunning the same economic models that predicted the stimulus would prevent unemployment from ever rising above 8%. That’s right. The White House’s 3 million jobs number is not based on any real world data.

So what does the actual objective real world data show? When the President first began selling his stimulus plan to the American people in November 2008, he promised it would create 2.5 million jobs. But as employment fell at the end of 2008, President-elect Obama increased his employment promise by one million to 3.5 millions jobs created. At the time, employment stood at about 134.3 million. Using these two data points, one can objectively establish the Obama jobs target for December 2010 at 137.8 million. Fast forward to July 2010 and the latest jobs report shows total U.S. employment at almost 130.5 million. This means President Obama’s stimulus has failed to meet its own standard for success by 7.4 million jobs.

Why has the President’s $862 billion stimulus failed by 7.4 million jobs? Because government spending does not stimulate economic growth. All it does is move resources away from one sector of the economy to another. And government has a horrible track record at efficiently allocating resources. All that really happens is that, on net, jobs get destroyed in the transfer process.

That brings us back to Holland, Michigan. Maybe this new battery plant is worth investing millions of dollars in. Maybe it will eventually turn a profit. But maybe not. The issue is, “Why is this any of the government’s business?” We used to be a capitalist country. We’re supposed to have vibrant capital markets that make these decisions using market principles. Instead we have the Obama administration acting as a venture capital fund picking winners and losers not based on economics, but on political priorities (in this case global warming).

And this is where the President’s war on the rule of law and audacious domestic agenda come into play. The White House claimed yesterday that the Obama stimulus has encouraged $280 billion in private sector spending. The facts do not support this. In reality annual private fixed nonresidential investment has fallen by $327 billion since the recession started— a 19 percent drop. Businesses are not investing because of the vast economic uncertainties the Obama administration is creating.

Will secured creditor contracts be honored in court? Or will the Obama administration rip up those contracts? How much does it cost to hire a new employee? No one will know until thousands of pages of Obamacare regulations emanate from the IRS and HHS. How much will energy cost? That depends on how draconian the Obama EPA global warming regulations are. What are the rules for financial markets? You better have the cash for an army of good lawyers, because the 2,300-page Dodd-Frank bill touches every aspect of financial markets and requires 243 new rule-makings by 11 different federal agencies.

The Obama administration’s massive spending and regulatory expansion is not helping economic recovery. It is actively thwarting it.

(Go to linked article for multitude of links and sources):

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Tea Party Isn’t Racist: It’s The NAACP That’s The Throwback

TUNKU VARADARAJAN: The Tea Party Isn’t Racist: It’s The NAACP That’s The Throwback.

“The NAACP, this vestigial bone on the American body politic, has thrust itself into the headlines by voting, at its annual meeting Tuesday, to censure as ‘racist’ the Tea Party movement. This controversial public rebuke—delivered a day after the first lady, Michelle Obama, addressed the NAACP’s conference—has opened up a raw, new racial front in the run-up to the November elections. In effect, the self-congratulatory, post-racial Obama camp is reaching for the crudest weapon in the Democratic arsenal: the racial blunderbuss. . . . The NAACP senses—knows—that the electoral momentum is building inexorably against President Obama. And they hope to slow it by playing the race card.” They’re desperate. But the weapon isn’t what it used to be, thanks to greeting-card overuse and the like.

Plus this: “If black Americans are suffering due to our current economic woes, Obama’s own policies are hardly helping them. The NAACP can’t bitch about ‘the Man’ anymore because the Man is Obama. And so instead it turns its racially monolithic vituperation on the Tea Party, which has never been in power, and has had no impact on the economic condition of black Americans—except to advocate policies (smaller government, lower taxes, radically reduced deficits, etc.) that would likely improve the standard of living of all Americans (blacks included). In fact, the Tea Party is a greater friend of black Americans, one might say, than the administration, and is much more representative of America than the NAACP.”

UPDATE: “The NAACP is now a political arm of the White House”

by Glenn Reynolds

You just knew O-dems blowing tax cut smoke

The Corner - National Review Online

Scapegoating the Tax Cuts [Brian Riedl]

President Obama and congressional Democrats continue to blame the trillion-dollar budget deficits on the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. For the Left, these tax cuts are the height of Republican fiscal irresponsibility, which ought to rob the GOP of any right to criticize runaway Democratic spending.

With the tax cuts set to expire after December 31, Congress has not yet scheduled a vote to extend any of them. It is becoming increasingly likely that Congress will let all of them expire, not just those for “the rich.” This means halving the child credit, reinstating the marriage penalty, raising the bottom tax rate by one-third, and substantially hiking tax rates on investors, small businesses, and the middle class. And don’t forget a 55 percent estate tax rate.

My op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal shows that — despite intense blame — the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts play a relatively small role in past and future budget deficits:

● They are responsible for just 14 percent of the swing from projected budget surpluses to actual deficits between 2002 and 2011 (and the tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000 account for just 4 percent of the swing).

● The president’s claim that future budget deficits are “the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program” is based on a methodology that fails basic statistics — and is still wrong even by that methodology.

● Take the default, current-policy budget baseline projection for the next decade. Even if all the tax cuts are extended (and the AMT is patched), revenues are still set to surpass the historical average of 18 percent of GDP by the end of the decade. The reason the 2020 deficit will be 6 percent of GDP above its historical average, is because federal spending will be 6 percent of GDP above its historical average. It’s the spending, stupid.

The op-ed is here. The more detailed report (with several charts) is here.

— Brian Riedl is Grover M. Hermann fellow in federal budgetary affairs at the Heritage Foundation.

Monday, July 19, 2010

O using crisis to impose race-base policies

Backwards on civil rights Scott Johnson/Powerline

The current Congress is working hand in glove with the Obama administration to take us ever further backwards on civil rights. This week's example is section 342 of the Dodd-Frank bill.

The bill generally grants the federal government ever greater power over the financial services industry. As Diana Furchtgott-Roth noted last week, section 342 of the bill requires all federal agencies governed by the bill establish an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion responsible for "all matters of the agency relating to diversity in management, employment, and business activities."

Among other things, these offices must "develop standards" for "assessing the diversity policies and practices of entities regulated by the agency." That means the whole financial industry. Financial regulation and affirmative action all in one. It is a "major power grab."

The U.S. Civil Rights Commission is not standing idly by. Yesterday four individual commissioners -- Peter Kirsanow, Gail Heriot, Ashley Taylor and Todd Gaziano -- sent a letter to Senate leaders opposing the bill's affirmative action provisions. It is not an official Commission later, since the commissioners sought to get the letter out before the bill is voted upon this week. The letter was signed by four of the eight commissioners. The more interesting paragraphs in the letter sent by the four commissioners run this way:

The potential for abuse should be obvious, but sadly sometimes it is not to those who are unfamiliar with the workings of governmental and corporate bureaucracies. All too often, when bureaucrats are charged with the worthy task of preventing race or gender discrimination, they in fact do precisely the opposite: Consciously or unconsciously, they require discrimination by setting overly optimistic goals that can only be fulfilled by discriminating in favor the groups the goals are supposed to benefit. Those who are regulated by, or do business with, a federal agency are understandably eager to please that agency. When the agency says, "Jump!," they know the financially smart response is, "How high?," not "We're concerned that your diversity goals cannot be achieved without tilting the playing field in favor of one group or another--something we believe the law and the Constitution forbid."

n this case, the bureaucrats are not even being asked to prevent discrimination, but to ensure "fair inclusion." The likelihood that it will in fact promote discrimination is overwhelming.

For these reasons alone, we would oppose Section 342 and recommend its deletion from the Dodd-Frank bill. But there is another, equally important aspect of Section 342 that concerns us. Some legislators have evidently come to think of women and minorities as just another constituency whose leaders must be brought on board with incentives when major legislation is being considered. The notion that legislation should include "a little something" for everyone is troubling in any context, but it is especially troubling in the context of race and gender, given the requirements of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.

This is another area where Obama and the Democrats stand athwart public opinion. Yesterday's Rasmussen poll on affirmative action showed only 32 percent of those polled supporting "affirmative action," while 46 percent opposed it.

The question asked appears to have been something straightforward like, "Do you support affirmative action?" If so, it shows racial and gender preferences are getting even less popular. They've always been massively unpopular when the question asked is clear. But a vague question like "Do you support affirmative action?" used to get a plurality.

A Gallup poll released the day after the Supreme Court's Grutter and Gratz decisions in 2003, for example, showed a bare plurality (49 percent) supporting "affirmative action" broadly (presumably including such non-controversial aspects as outreach); a distinction was made between that and preferential standards. A strong majority (69 percent) said that college applicants "should be admitted solely on the basis of merit, even if that results in few minority students being admitted." Only 27 percent took the position that an applicant's race should be taken into consideration "even if that meant admitting some minority students who otherwise would not be admitted."

A different poll, worded somewhat differently, conducted by the Washington Post in 2001, showed 94 percent of whites and 86 percent of blacks agreeing that hiring, promotions, and college admissions should be based "strictly on merit and qualifications other than race/ethnicity." That poll may overstate the opposition to racial preferences, though that is something that is not easy to do.

The great victory of the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of moral persuasion: King persuaded Americans that it was wrong and deeply un-American to treat citizens differently based on the color of their skin. That victory of moral persuasion was translated into the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the law that prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, or sex in wide areas of American life. It's been downhill more or less ever since, and the Dodd-Frank bill is geared to contribute mightily to the descent when it is passed this week.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

O's lie that HC mandate not tax falls apart

Changing Stance, Administration Now Defends Insurance Mandate as a Tax By ROBERT PEAR/NYTIMES

WASHINGTON — When Congress required most Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, Democrats denied that they were creating a new tax. But in court, the Obama administration and its allies now defend the requirement as an exercise of the government’s “power to lay and collect taxes.”

And that power, they say, is even more sweeping than the federal power to regulate interstate commerce.

Administration officials say the tax argument is a linchpin of their legal case in defense of the health care overhaul and its individual mandate, now being challenged in court by more than 20 states and several private organizations.

Under the legislation signed by President Obama in March, most Americans will have to maintain “minimum essential coverage” starting in 2014. Many people will be eligible for federal subsidies to help them pay premiums.

In a brief defending the law, the Justice Department says the requirement for people to carry insurance or pay the penalty is “a valid exercise” of Congress’s power to impose taxes.

Congress can use its taxing power “even for purposes that would exceed its powers under other provisions” of the Constitution, the department said. For more than a century, it added, the Supreme Court has held that Congress can tax activities that it could not reach by using its power to regulate commerce.

While Congress was working on the health care legislation, Mr. Obama refused to accept the argument that a mandate to buy insurance, enforced by financial penalties, was equivalent to a tax.

“For us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase,” the president said last September, in a spirited exchange with George Stephanopoulos on the ABC News program “This Week.”

When Mr. Stephanopoulos said the penalty appeared to fit the dictionary definition of a tax, Mr. Obama replied, “I absolutely reject that notion.”

Congress anticipated a constitutional challenge to the individual mandate. Accordingly, the law includes 10 detailed findings meant to show that the mandate regulates commercial activity important to the nation’s economy. Nowhere does Congress cite its taxing power as a source of authority.

Under the Constitution, Congress can exercise its taxing power to provide for the “general welfare.” It is for Congress, not courts, to decide which taxes are “conducive to the general welfare,” the Supreme Court said 73 years ago in upholding the Social Security Act.

Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, described the tax power as an alternative source of authority.

“The Commerce Clause supplies sufficient authority for the shared-responsibility requirements in the new health reform law,” Mr. Pfeiffer said. “To the extent that there is any question of additional authority — and we don’t believe there is — it would be available through the General Welfare Clause.”

The law describes the levy on the uninsured as a “penalty” rather than a tax. The Justice Department brushes aside the distinction, saying “the statutory label” does not matter. The constitutionality of a tax law depends on “its practical operation,” not the precise form of words used to describe it, the department says, citing a long line of Supreme Court cases.

Moreover, the department says the penalty is a tax because it will raise substantial revenue: $4 billion a year by 2017, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

In addition, the department notes, the penalty is imposed and collected under the Internal Revenue Code, and people must report it on their tax returns “as an addition to income tax liability.”

Because the penalty is a tax, the department says, no one can challenge it in court before paying it and seeking a refund.

Jack M. Balkin, a professor at Yale Law School who supports the new law, said, “The tax argument is the strongest argument for upholding” the individual-coverage requirement.

Mr. Obama “has not been honest with the American people about the nature of this bill,” Mr. Balkin said last month at a meeting of the American Constitution Society, a progressive legal organization. “This bill is a tax. Because it’s a tax, it’s completely constitutional.”

Mr. Balkin and other law professors pressed that argument in a friend-of-the-court brief filed in one of the pending cases.

Opponents contend that the “minimum coverage provision” is unconstitutional because it exceeds Congress’s power to regulate commerce.

“This is the first time that Congress has ever ordered Americans to use their own money to purchase a particular good or service,” said Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah.

In their lawsuit, Florida and other states say: “Congress is attempting to regulate and penalize Americans for choosing not to engage in economic activity. If Congress can do this much, there will be virtually no sphere of private decision-making beyond the reach of federal power.”

In reply, the administration and its allies say that a person who goes without insurance is simply choosing to pay for health care out of pocket at a later date. In the aggregate, they say, these decisions have a substantial effect on the interstate market for health care and health insurance.

In its legal briefs, the Obama administration points to a famous New Deal case, Wickard v. Filburn, in which the Supreme Court upheld a penalty imposed on an Ohio farmer who had grown a small amount of wheat, in excess of his production quota, purely for his own use.

The wheat grown by Roscoe Filburn “may be trivial by itself,” the court said, but when combined with the output of other small farmers, it significantly affected interstate commerce and could therefore be regulated by the government as part of a broad scheme regulating interstate commerce.

Hear from the "real deals" on Tea Party racism

(For full screen version, use link):

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Blogger captures the coming battle lines

A Time To Choose Sides (from Jacobsen at Legal Insurrection)

In an upcoming issue of The Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol pens an editorial in which he argues that while "we are not not now quite at a founding moment, or even a re-founding moment," we are approaching a point of political crisis which will be a "decisive moment for the country."

The impetus for such crisis, according to Kristol, is the economic and cultural collapse of the liberal welfare state to which Democrats cling with a political death grip (my terminology).

Kristol simply is giving voice to what so many of us already knew.

Barack Obama was not elected because of a progressive political shift in the nation. The nation remains a country which believes, according to polling by James Carville and Stan Greenberg, that:

"The best way to improve our economy and create jobs is to cut government spending and cut taxes so businesses can prosper and the private sector can start creating jobs."

Yet everything the Democrats do goes in the opposite direction.

Not to belabor the point made here hundreds of times, but over two thousand pages of Obamacare legislation will result in several thousand pages of regulations which will control the most intimate and important aspects of our lives; cap-and-trade legislation and regulations will control the means of production; financial regulation has devolved into social planning; and it goes on and on.

We did not need to reach this point.

What should have been a passing financial crisis has been used by the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress to achieve what -- in the famous words of Rahm Emanuel -- could not otherwise be achieved.

Democrats took advantage of a crisis, and then doubled-down by massively increasing our national debt to advantage preferred political constituencies.

The answer should have been to grow the pie, not to redistribute the slices, but that alternative is off the table with Democrats in control.

"Free the economy" should be the chant.

We are coming to the point at which Americans will have to choose sides. Will it be the bottom-up free enterprise model upon which this country was built, or the top-down command economy in which Washington, D.C. politicians and government employees centrally plan the economy and our lives?

Whatever the imperfections of our economic system, Americans clearly do not want the alternative.

Democrats will pay the price politicially for kicking the nation when it was down, for using a crisis to force through what the American people did not want, and for insulting those who objected.

The Democratic death grip is about to be broken. Because we still have choices.
(Here's the famous "Mama Grizzly" You Tube):


Friday, July 16, 2010

What an idea: learn from Danish HC failure to improve America's free market for health care

(Full screen video):

Media simply uninterested in Tea Party truth

A message to ABC et al.
by Scott Johnson/Powerline

Reader Greg Farrell has written ABC in connection with Huma Khan's report on the NAACP resolution condemning the Tea Party movement; Greg has sent us a copy of the message. Here it is:

My name is Greg Farrell. I was at the Tea Party gathering on March 20 and I was also outside the Cannon Building when the black congressmen who claim to have heard racial epithets walked down the stairs and out of the building and across the street to the Capitol. I was also there when they returned and went back inside of the Capitol Building.

I like hundreds of others who were at this location did not hear or see any racial behavior from anybody gathered around these Congressmen. My testimony has been published on Power Line, Red State and American Thinker. And to this day, despite financial rewards up to $100,000 from Andrew Breitbart, nobody has ever produced any evidence to validate the claims of racial epithets being screamed.

I've also had exchanges with the Washington Post ombudsman Andy Alexander and McClatchy News investigative editor Jim Asher who after all was responsible for spreading this lie like wildfire for the other media outlets to latch onto and to irresponsibly repeat without any hesitation.

I was wondering if you guys at ABC News, especially Huma Khan, would like to ask me my version of the events that day on March 20th. I can prove my location via digital photos I took that day. After all, Khan did take the time to listen to NAACP President Ben Jealous's version of events yet he wasnt even there. Or would that somehow wrinkle the precedent the Mainstream media and leftwing America work so hard to portray the Tea Party as unhinged racists.

Well, you know my name and email address if you choose to go against the grain and you are more than welcome to check out the Power Line series regarding this matter. Here is the latest link which consists of links to many others as this story unfolded. Or you can just as easily contact me at [email address omitted].

Greg is shooting at a moving target. The Associated Press has filed a story on the NAACP resolution that is even worse than ABC's. It includes the canard previously circulated by the AP's Jesse Washington last April to the effect that "A white lawmaker said he also heard the epithets[.]"

The "white lawmaker" in issue is North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler. When James Taranto contacted Shuler's office to follow up on Washington's story, Shuler's spokesman told Taranto that Shuler was not walking with Cleaver and did not hear the "n-word." Perhaps word hasn't reached the AP.

For original and lingks:

Whatever “green jobs” are, we don’t want them.

Green Economics and the Void of Desire by Doctor Zero

Whatever “green jobs” are, it’s very clear America doesn’t want them.

President Obama has been pushing a proposal that would spend over a million dollars for each permanent “green job” created in a solar-power boondoggle. Billions were placed at the disposal of avowed communist Van Jones to create these sparkling emeralds of environmentally sensitive employment, even though no one in the Administration can explain what they are.

If Americans wanted “green” jobs and industries, they would pay for them. There’s some interest in such things, of course. You’ll probably see a Prius or two on your drive home today. It’s great when people choose to make such purchases of their own free will, based on valid information.

Of course, that’s not how the “Green Economy” works. Consumer decisions are driven by false information, batted into their faces with rotting hockey sticks by con artists and fanatics. Most of the decisions aren’t made by consumers at all. The government created the Green Economy through propaganda, regulations, and subsidies. Many on the Left, including the President, have openly stated their desire to push gas prices higher, so Americans will behave according to the designs of the environmentalist movement.

Does this mean Americans are completely uninterested in eco-friendly technology or alternative fuels? Not at all. Most of us would dearly love to have cold-fusion cars, or cheap solar electricity. However, we are not willing to compromise our standard of living to have them right now, when they’re not adequate substitutes for fossil fuels. The more extreme manifestations of environmentalist fanaticism, beginning with the devastating cap-and-trade bill, will begin pushing us back into a pre-industrial economy.

We don’t want the higher prices and reduced standard of living that would accompany this transformation, especially when we know we’ve got untapped oil resources like the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve, declared off-limits by religious edict from the Church of Gaia in defiance of logic. Our national consensus is to wait until these alternative energy technologies reach maturity, and deliver acceptable performance at reasonable prices. Competition will then transition us smoothly to alternative energy.

A correspondent who works with solar technology puts it this way:

Solar power is something I firmly believe in. It’s not a daydream but it is a dream. Solar power has been around for over 100 years but as an industry it is still in its infancy. We can’t replace conventional power generation and probably won’t be able to for another century if even then.

The problem with Obama’s approach is that it’s some sort of bastardization of supply side economics. He is directly subsidizing manufacturers. So what we end up with is a huge solar array out in the desert and lalala it won’t really do much, (but will make some Spanish corporation a tidy sum.) This is still America (so far anyway) and to be successful first you find or create demand for a product.

This is all very reasonable, and perfectly in tune with the desires of most Americans… but government is coercive force, so what we want doesn’t matter. Massive resources are seized from the free market, and forced into a Green Economy full of pretend jobs, and projects that have more in common with black holes than yellow suns. The animating principle of radical environmentalism is that freedom is dangerous, and cannot be allowed, because the survival of the planet is at stake. This is what makes it such a perfect fit as the State religion of a socialist elite. Its sacrament is antimatter to libertarian capitalism: righteous tyranny. One of the scientist-priests of this religion, James Lovelock, went so far as to suggest “it may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while” because “the inertia of humans is so huge that you can’t really do anything meaningful.”

As you can see from those million-dollar “green” jobs, the pursuit of righteous tyranny is hideously expensive. That’s because it shifts control of our society to a lesser intelligence.

What do I mean by this? Consider the purchasing and investment decisions of our three hundred million citizens as a widely dispersed intelligence of tremendous complexity. Resources are allocated through a vast number of individual decisions, made with impressive speed. Each citizen becomes one element of a mighty network. It is capable of intuition, as sophisticated communications allow consumers to react to trends and opportunities in a cascade of email, website postings, phone calls, and casual conversation. It is creative, because it’s not restrained by ideology or central directives. People adopt new technologies with astounding speed. With apologies to Alvin Toffler, the only “future shock” nowadays is felt by manufacturers, as the best high-tech products go from the expensive indulgences of trendy nerds to household items in a matter of months.

Obama-style command economics are a far more primitive form of intelligence. They are directed by small groups of people wearing ideological blinders. Politically unacceptable alternatives are ruled nonexistent. Command economies move with glacial speed, receiving corrective input only once every couple of years at the ballot box. They are wasteful, as vast resources are allocated to pay off valuable constituencies, or absorbed by a useless political class through graft.

When the government uses taxes, regulations, and subsidies to force the free market where it doesn’t want to go, wealth and value disappear into the gulf between the choices made by citizens, and the State compulsion that destroys them. This is the Void of Desire, filled with the dust of shriveled possibilities. It grows larger and more expensive as coercion meets the law of diminishing returns, using increasingly ridiculous spending – and harsh penalties – to impose its mandates on a resentful, or fearful, populace.

You can see thousands of jobs, and billions in market value, vanishing into the void between our desires and Barack Obama’s failed ideology. Soon the cost will become so unbearable that he and his accomplices will be swept out of office, and we can adopt a sane energy policy that leaves us wealth enough to create those alternative technologies of the future… which will inevitably grow from expensive boondoggles into priceless treasures, given enough time.

Or else we will find out if America is willing to submit to James Lovelock’s philosophy. The Void of Desire will either be sealed… or it will become all-consuming.

Cross-posted at

Thursday, July 15, 2010

No Pony Under the Tree After All: The Left Begins To Come To Terms With the Looming Catastrophe Of Hope and Change

No Pony Under the Tree After All: The Left Begins To Come To Terms With the Looming Catastrophe Of Hope and Change

You know things are really starting to go south for the Obama administration when its journalistic functionaries and spear-carriers on the left are starting to openly fret and worry as they begin to feel November’s chill wind blowing. The visions of historic change, social justice and a plum government job are gradually being replaced by nightmares not just of defeat but repudiation. The racket has been exposed by its own audacity.

First up is Ruth Marcus, of the deeply compromised Washington Post. What used to be merely a center-left news organization that nevertheless played relatively fair and boasted some outstanding writers has devolved into a poor imitation of the Huffington Post, replete with White House operatives and partisan hacks. By comparison with many of her colleagues, the liberal Marcus looks like Stewart Alsop. Here she is, writing about Obama’s recess appointment of Dr. Death Panels himself, Donald Berwick: ...

(Go to linked original for the compelling case made in the original)

(The piece concludes): ...The reason the left loses is, paradoxically, because of its periodic successes: once in power the mask slips, they cannot control themselves and so the people ultimately recoil and cue up “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by the Who. But of course they do, and so Tomasky’s “pitched ideological battle” — the struggle for the soul of the American experiment — goes on.

If IRS can't handle burdens of O-Care ... America?

IRS: We don’t have the resources to handle ObamaCareShare209posted at 1:30 pm on July 11, 2010 by Ed Morrissey /Powerline

In the waning days of the ObamaCare debate, Republicans warned repeatedly that the IRS would need thousands of new agents to enforce the new health-insurance mandate, and that the bill didn’t provide enough resources to fund them. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) estimated that it would take 15,000 new agents, while Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) said that the IRS would need at least $5 billion more than what Democrats allocated for the first ten years of the program. Now the IRS’ independent watchdog says Republicans were right, and that Congressional Democrats and the White House seriously underestimated enforcement costs:

A warning that federal tax officials will need more congressional funding to administer the Democrats’ health reform law has rekindled the partisan debate over its cost effectiveness.

Senior Republicans have said for months that the new responsibilities required of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under the legislation would saddle the agency with billions of dollars in additional costs — expenses not accounted for in the bill.

A Wednesday report from the National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA), an independent watchdog within the IRS, backed those claims, finding that the agency currently lacks the resources to take on the new duties. …

“Before ObamaCare passed, [Minority Leader John Boehner] and others warned that it would require an army of new IRS agents,” Boehner (R-Ohio) spokesman Michael Steel said in an email. “Democrats denied it. Now we know the truth.”

So how much will the IRS need? No one knows — and that’s the point that Republicans have been making all along. The NTA can’t figure it out, the IRS can’t estimate it, and the Democrats never seriously attempted to determine it at all. Like many other provisions of ObamaCare, they simply made up cost numbers in order to argue that the bill would be deficit neutral.

Even Democratic Senator Max Baucus, one of the original authors of ObamaCare, admitted as much in response to the NTA assessment:

The office of Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Finance Committee, echoed that, saying Friday that funding and staffing levels won’t be decided until the IRS comes up with an implementation strategy.

“Until those factors are determined,” a Finance aide said in an email, “it’s premature to specify what the IRS will need, and certainly premature to infer the IRS won’t be able to handle it.”

That certainly is true — and again, exactly what Republicans pointed out in the debate. No one knows what the costs will really be for enforcement of the mandate, which means no one knows whether this is a deficit-neutral system at all. These costs and enforcement strategies should have been determined before passage of the bill, not left as an ambiguous fog in the very middle of how Americans will have to interact with government once ObamaCare gets fully implemented.

In fact, Congress should never have passed ObamaCare at all, since these issues clearly go beyond its competence, and this is yet another piece of evidence of just how far over their heads this got.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

NASA obsequiousness to Islam symptomatic

One Giant Leap (Backward); Liberalism is caught in something of a Catch-22.

‘Waste anything but time.” That was the motto of the teams behind NASA’s Apollo missions. That spirit has long since evaporated. Today’s NASA is pulled by a million missions, from improving education and spinning off more products like Tang to its latest call of duty: telling Muslims how good they are at math.

NASA chief Charles Bolden recently told Al-Jazeera TV that President Obama charged him with three crucial missions: (1) “help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math”; (2) “expand our international relationships”; and (3) “perhaps foremost,” Bolden explained, Obama “wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world . . . to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science . . . and math and engineering.”

We’ve gone from “waste anything but time” to “waste everything, especially time” in about a generation.

Liberalism is caught in something of a Catch-22. Under Obama, liberals are determined to reinvigorate the reputation of government, to prove that only the state can get important things done. That is why the Gulf oil spill, for instance, is so vexatious for the White House and its liberal supporters. Why can’t the government be more nimble and resourceful?

It was one thing when the feds failed after Hurricane Katrina, liberals reasoned, because Bush didn’t like government. This was not only untrue, it overlooked the fact that the permanent government bureaucracy is on liberal autopilot. Regardless, Obama is different. He loves government; he sees it as the most noble of callings. That’s why he wants to make student loans much cheaper for kids who go to work for the government, and it’s why he wants government jobs to pay so much better than private-sector ones.

According to contemporary liberalism, the government is the control room of society, where problems get solved, where institutions get their marching orders, where the oceans are commanded to stop rising. Each institution must subscribe to the progressive vision: All oars must pull as one. We are all in it together. We can do it all, if we all work together. Yes, we can.

In my book, Liberal Fascism, I called this phenomenon the “liberal Gleichschaltung.” Gleichschaltung is a German word (in case you couldn’t have guessed) borrowed from electrical engineering. It means “coordination.” The German National Socialists (Nazis) used the concept to get every institution to sing from the same hymnal. If a fraternity or business embraced Nazism, it could stay “independent.” If it rejected Nazism, it was crushed or bent to the state’s ideology. Meanwhile, every branch of government was charged with not merely doing its job but advancing the official state ideology.

Now, contemporary liberalism is not an evil ideology. Its intentions aren’t evil or even fruitfully comparable to Hitlerism. But there is a liberal Gleichschaltung all the same. Every institution must be on the same page. Every agency must advance the liberal agenda.

And this is where the Catch-22 catches. The dream of a nimble, focused, problem-solving government is undone by the reality of hyper–mission creep. When every institution is yoked to an overarching philosophy or mission, its actual purpose can become an afterthought. In 2005, volunteer firefighters from all over the country offered to help with Katrina’s aftermath. But FEMA sent many of them to Atlanta first to undergo diversity and sexual-harassment training (which most already had).

Such examples are everywhere. What is political correctness other than the gears of the liberal Gleichschaltung? The financial crisis was worsened because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac became tools for liberal social engineering. Let’s not even mention public schools.

The White House is determined to be a great friend (i.e., servant) to the unions, so everything from the stimulus to the automaker buyout to the Gulf spill must first pass union muster. Remember those vital, “shovel-ready” weatherization jobs the stimulus was supposed to pay for? The Labor Department delayed them for nearly a year while trying to figure out how to comply with pro-union “prevailing wage” rules for each of more than 3,000 counties.

Liberalism has become a cargo cult to the New Deal, but many of the achievements of the New Deal would be impossible now. Just try to get a Hoover Dam built today.

President Obama likes to say that “if we could put a man on the moon,” we can do anything, from socializing medicine to abandoning fossil fuels. That’s nonsense on stilts for a host of reasons. But it’s also ironic, given that we can’t even put a man on the moon anymore. Not when NASA’s foremost priority is boosting the self-esteem of children and Muslims.

— Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. © 2010 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Whitewashing Black Racism--indulging hate by New Black Panther Party for whites

Whitewashing Black Racism - Michelle Malkin - National Review Online

Team Obama and its media water-carriers are exhibiting the very racial cowardice they once purported to condemn.

Why haven’t national media outlets reported on the vile and violent rants of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) thugs whose 2008 voter-intimidation tactics got a pass from the Obama administration? Simple: Radical black racism doesn’t fit the Hope and Change narrative. There’s no way to shoehorn Bush-bashing into the story. And, let’s face it, exposing the inflammatory rhetoric of the Left does nothing to help liberal editors and reporters fulfill their true calling — embarrassing the Right.

This week, Justice Department whistleblower J. Christian Adams came forward with damning public testimony about how Obama officials believe “civil-rights law should not be enforced in a race-neutral manner, and should never be enforced against blacks or other national minorities.” In the wake of Adams’s exposé on how the Obama Justice Department abandoned default judgments against the NBPP bullies for the sake of politically correct racial politics, a shocking video clip of one of the lead defendants in the Philadelphia voter-intimidation case resurfaced on the Internet. It shows bloodthirsty King Samir Shabazz during a 2009 National Geographic documentary interview spewing: “You want freedom? You’re gonna have to kill some crackers! You’re gonna have to kill some of their babies!”

These NBPP death threats and white-bashing diatribes are nothing new to those who have tracked the black-supremacy movement. In August 2009, nearly a year ago, I reported on a sign on display outside NBPP defendant (and elected member of Philadelphia’s 14th Ward Democratic Committee) Jerry Jackson’s home. It reads: “COLORED ONLY: No Whites Allowed.” In July 2009, I interviewed poll watcher/witness Christopher Hill, whom Shabazz and Jackson called “cracker” several times while Shabazz brandished his baton.

“They physically attempted to block me,” Hill recounted. He also saw a group of elderly ladies walk away from the polling site without voting while the duo preened in front of the entrance. “If you’re a poll watcher, you shouldn’t be dressed in paramilitary garb,” Hill said, as he wondered aloud at what would have happened if he had shown up in the same sort of costume.

In May 2009, I reported on the affidavit of civil-rights attorney and poll watcher Bartle Bull, who witnessed the NBPP thuggery in Philadelphia and reported on billy-club-wielding Shabazz’s Election Day boast: “You’re about to be ruled by the black man, cracker.”

In the fall of 2008, just days before he showed up to hector white poll workers, Shabazz told the Philadelphia Inquirer:

“I’m about the total destruction of white people. I’m about the total liberation of black people. I hate white people. I hate my enemy. . . . The only thing the cracker understands is violence. . . . The only thing the cracker understands is gunpowder. You got to take violence to violence.”

The desire to kill, subordinate, and demonize white people is a staple of NBPP propaganda. An NBPP Trenton, N.J., chapter “block party” music video posted on YouTube calls on black followers to “bang for freedom,” “put the bang right into a cracker’s face,” and “if you’re going to bang, bang for black power . . . hang a cracker. . . . If you’re going to bang, bang on the white devil . . . burying him near the river bank with the right shovel. . . . Community revolution in progress . . . banging for crackers to go to hell, we don’t need ’em.”

Chanting “Black Power,” Minister Najee Muhammad, national field marshal for the New Black Panther Party, and Uhuru Shakur, local chairman of the Atlanta NBPP chapter, issued a pre–Election Day 2008 threat to “racists and other angry whites who are upset over an impending Barack Obama presidential victory.” Said Muhammad: “Most certainly, we cannot allow these racist forces to slaughter our babies or commit other acts of violence against the black population, nor our black president.”

That’s rich, given that the only racists talking about slaughtering babies are the ones with New Black Panther Party patches on their puffed chests.

If a tea-party activist threatened to kill the babies of his political opponents, it wouldn’t just be front-page news. It would be the subject of Democrat-led congressional investigations, a series of terrified New York Times columns about the perilous “climate of hate,” a Justice Department probe by Attorney General Eric Holder, a domestic terror alert from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and another Important Teachable Moment Speech/Summit from Healer-in-Chief Barack Obama.

But with the racism shoe on the other foot, Team Obama and its media water-carriers are exhibiting the very racial cowardice Holder once purported to condemn. Thanks to Obama’s feckless Department of Injustice, these black-supremacist brutes are free to show up on the next national Election Day at polling places in full paramilitary regalia with nightsticks, hurling racist, anti-American epithets at those exercising their right to vote and at those protecting the integrity of the electoral process.

The reaction of our national media watchdogs: Shhhhhhhh.

— Michelle Malkin is the author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies (Regnery 2010). © 2010 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Yes, the oil on Gulf shores is Obama's fault

Gulf State Officials Should Defy Obstructionist Feds - Deroy Murdock - National Review Online

In the oil-spill cleanup, Obama has been detached, while his fusspot bureaucrats have been all too busy.

Crude oil has reached Lake Pontchartrain. How did it get there? Ask the listless Obama administration, which rarely misses a chance to put its collective feet up on the desk, even as petroleum batters the Gulf Coast, its wildlife, and the economies of the Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and (as of Sunday) Texas shorelines.

Now that a half-ton of tar balls, oil sheen, and other waste has seeped into Lake Pontchartrain, the majestic city of New Orleans essentially is surrounded by a crescent of petroleum to its south, east, and north.

This would be bad enough if the federal government were toiling away to protect New Orleans, the state of Louisiana, and its neighbors from BP’s oil geyser, which has gushed some 4.86 million barrels of raw petroleum over the past 81 days. Instead, the Obama administration repeatedly has prevented state and local officials from trying to save the people, habitat, and creatures of this precious part of the American landscape.

Most recently, Louisiana officials were stunned that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rejected their proposal for rock barriers to keep oil out of Barataria Bay, an estuary popular with local fish and wildlife. These non-toxic rocks, the Corps fretted, might rechannel tidal flows in a potentially damaging way. Well, maybe. But if your house is burning down during an electrical storm, go ahead and call 911. Don’t sit there paralyzed in fear because a lightning bolt might electrocute you as you phone the fire department.

“Only a government bureaucrat would say rocks are more harmful to our water than oil,” Gov. Bobby Jindal (R., La.) told the Baton Rouge Advocate. The Corps on Saturday nixed Jefferson Parish’s request to build five rock dikes in passes leading to Barataria Bay. “The Corps took weeks to review the plan only to reject it today, and this denial is another unfortunate example of the federal government’s lack of urgency in this war to protect our coast,” Jindal added.

“One of the things that really gets me is they didn’t offer us an alternative plan and they didn’t offer us a plan of their own,” Grand Isle mayor David Camardelle remarked. “They just said, ‘No.’”

Early in this crisis, Jindal asked Washington if Louisiana could build sand barriers to protect the sensitive shoreline that yields so many of the oysters, shrimp, and fish that delight diners from the French Quarter to the Golden Gate. While BP’s oil slick crept towards the coast, the Environmental Protection Agency pondered this request. After researching its collective navel for five weeks, EPA finally vetoed the sand barriers, presumably because sand ruins a shrimp’s day far more than does petroleum. By then, the oil had washed in, which made the whole point painfully moot.

In mid-June, the Interior Department and the Corps of Engineers blocked yet another sand-berm proposal, this time because the sand allegedly would threaten birds on Louisiana’s Chandeleur Islands.

“The Department of the Interior’s continued insistence that this dredge area is a bird rookery makes it clear that they are confused about what it is that they are protecting — and perhaps have never been to the Chandeleurs at all,” complained Garrett Graves, chairman of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. “There isn’t a place for a bird to land for over a mile away.”

Three days into this catastrophe, Holland offered to dispatch four state-of-the-art skimmer boats to help mop up this mess. This group of boats could collect 146,000 barrels of oil daily, more than double the entire amount spewing from the crippled well. Despite such promise, the Obama administration told the Dutch to keep their boats to themselves. As Dutch consul general Geert Veeser told Radio Netherlands, Team Obama’s reply was: “Thanks for your help, but at the moment we can manage ourselves. And that was it.”

“After a seven-week delay, the U.S. government finally reconsidered the offer and the Dutch ships have been permitted to operate in the Gulf,” explained a July 1 report by the House Government Oversight Committee. “This bureaucratic delay prevented the cleanup of more than 7 million barrels of oil at the source, which is more than 100 times the volume that BP reported collecting in the same timeframe. Deploying the Dutch skimmers immediately might have prevented the oil from ever reaching Louisiana’s shores.”

As early as May 5, twelve other nations and the U.N. volunteered to send boats, equipment, and personnel. The Obama administration rejected them all. In fact, thanks to federal impediments, a group of Norwegian skimmers steaming toward the Gulf actually had to turn around, even though David Dysart, St. Bernard Parish’s homeland-security director, said he and his colleagues were “salivating over the prospect of getting this equipment.”

Not until Day 70 (June 29) did the State Department finally accept less than half of the assistance offered by 27 countries and six international agencies. As if he had morphed into the Left’s smuggest caricature of George “Go It Alone” Bush, Obama embraced a destructive unilateralism rather than a multilateral approach that would have helped the environment along with working-class fishermen, shrimpers, and oystermongers.

Luckily for Obama’s Big Labor allies and contributors, the Jones Act proved more durable than did the levees in Hurricane Katrina. This protectionist law remained in place for nearly two and a half months, shielding American skimmer-boat and relief-vessel crews from any of those pesky overseas sailors who were so eager to help.

According to Radio Netherlands, the EPA barred some vessels that suck in contaminated seawater, remove most of the oil, and then squirt water overboard, because that treated water remains slightly oily, although far less so than the black and red slicks that darken the waves. The boneheads at the EPA could not recognize that these ships discharge marginally oily water as the result of a valuable filtration process. After about two months of such lunacy, the EPA finally relented, and these floating vacuum cleaners are now moving into place.

The Coast Guard, reports Winston Groom in The Weekly Standard, shuttered a dozen barges for much of June 18. They successfully had been sucking oil from the Gulf’s surface, but the Coast Guard said it wanted to make sure that these vessels carried enough life vests and fire extinguishers. How stupid. Why not hand out such gear, if it’s needed, in the morning, as these barges set sail? Alternatively, why not visit these boats while they are on duty, hand the crews any emergency gear they require, and then speed out of the way?

OSHA regulations are alive and well on Gulf beaches. Even the most enthusiastic clean-up workers frequently must stop scrubbing the sands free of oil. Long, mandatory breaks punctuate what should be a relentless campaign to save the Gulf Coast. Every 20 minutes of work must yield to 40 minutes of rest. Every 40 minutes of cumulative labor, in turn, triggers an unbroken hour off duty.

“No-Drama Obama” could halt such counterproductive nonsense by knocking heads together and instructing the eco-crats in his organizational chart to get the job done or stand down and let others do so. This is called leadership. Obama should look into it.

If Rudolph W. Giuliani were president, Louisiana’s barriers would have been built soon after the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20, killing eleven oil-rig workers and launching this catastrophe. A President Giuliani would have welcomed foreign assistance (just as Mayor Giuliani applauded international firefighters at Ground Zero), especially from high-tech boats that could have stopped deadly oil slicks as they floated relatively harmlessly for weeks before touching the tide line. Giuliani would have told union laborers that there is more than enough work for everybody in this national calamity; if our foreign friends want to help us defeat this slippery enemy, then move them to the front lines.

Rather than a competent manager, America has a chief executive with a golden tongue, some elegant suits, and an inability to guide his administration. The feds should assist, not impede, local and state leaders as they try to shield their constituencies from this venomous sea monster. While one might forgive a certain amount of confusion early on, it is inexcusable and appalling that Obama-administration officials told Jefferson Parish last Saturday that it could not use rocks as a temporary prophylactic against incoming crude oil.

Team Obama, the Washington bureaucracy, and their field agents pose a clear and present danger to the Gulf Coast’s entire population — both humans and wildlife. With tar balls as big as ping-pong balls now soiling Galveston, Texas — making this a five-state crisis — the region’s mayors and governors should respond to this emergency by openly defying federal officials who demand inaction while pelicans gag on oil and oysters drown in BP sauce.

Jefferson Parish should deploy those rocks. Louisiana should shift that sand into place. If Washington keeps restricting prospectively helpful foreign ships, as it still is doing, Gulf Coast governors should invite them to sail into position to protect their states’ sovereign shores.

And if the feds want to prevent these American citizens from saving people, property, and wildlife from 60,000 barrels of fresh petroleum daily, let Team Obama go down there and physically stop them.

— Deroy Murdock is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.