Friday, April 30, 2010

Economists: The stimulus didn't help

Economists: The stimulus didn't help By Hibah Yousuf CNN Money

NEW YORK ( -- The recovery is picking up steam as employers boost payrolls, but economists think the government's stimulus package and jobs bill had little to do with the rebound, according to a survey released Monday.

In latest quarterly survey by the National Association for Business Economics, the index that measures employment showed job growth for the first time in two years -- but a majority of respondents felt the fiscal stimulus had no impact.

NABE conducted the study by polling 68 of its members who work in economic roles at private-sector firms. About 73% of those surveyed said employment at their company is neither higher nor lower as a result of the $787 billion Recovery Act, which the White House's Council of Economic Advisers says is on track to create or save 3.5 million jobs by the end of the year.

That sentiment is shared for the recently passed $17.7 billion jobs bill that calls for tax breaks for businesses that hire and additional infrastructure spending. More than two-thirds of those polled believe the measure won't affect payrolls, while 30% expect it to boost hiring "moderately." ...

The Numbers Were A Lie All Along

Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion: The Numbers Were A Lie All Along

The gloss is off the Obamacare rose, if it ever were there. The Office of the Actuary of Medicare has released a report which finds that Obamacare will increase, not decrease, health care costs, and ... (wait for it because you never would have guessed) ... the financial assumptions were unrealistic!

Shocked, shocked.

As reported by AP:

President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law will increase the nation's health care tab instead of bringing costs down, government economic forecasters concluded Thursday in a sobering assessment of the sweeping legislation.

A report by economic experts at the Health and Human Services Department said the health care remake will achieve Obama's aim of expanding health insurance — adding 34 million Americans to the coverage rolls.

But the analysis also found that the law falls short of the president's twin goal of controlling runaway costs, raising projected spending by about 1 percent over 10 years. That increase could get bigger, however, since the report also warned that Medicare cuts in the law may be unrealistic and unsustainable, forcing lawmakers to roll them back.

The CBO numbers were rigged, because the CBO was forced to follow unrealistic assumptions in its forecasts.

We said it, the American people understood it, but the Democrats forced the bill through anyway. They must pay the price in November.

Update: Now it makes sense. The Democrats refused to delay the vote on Obamacare even though the Medicare Actuary was not able to complete his analysis and cost estimates in time for the vote. In light of this report, it is clear why the Democrats didn't want to wait. They could game the CBO, but not the Medicaire Actuary.

Also, the full report is here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

No More Beer Summits: Tea Party ‘N-Word’ Incident Didn’t Happen, And the Congressional Black Caucus Owes America an Apology

No More Beer Summits: Tea Party ‘N-Word’ Incident Didn’t Happen, And the Congressional Black Caucus Owes America an Apology by Andrew Breitbart

Rep. Andre Carson wants to change the subject. I don’t blame him.

On April 13, 2010 he told AP reporter Jesse Washington, “I think we need to move toward a dialogue that explores why this kind of divisive and reprehensible language is still making it into our political debate.”

The “divisive and reprehensible language” that Rep. Carson is referring to is his claim that while he left the Cannon office building on March 20 with Rep. John Lewis, they were verbally assaulted by health care protesters hurling the “N-word” at them. He said the scene was so hostile he “expected rocks to come” when he was coming out of Cannon.

I wanted to see the evidence. I wanted the truth. In the course of our search we have actually uncovered further video evidence that casts serious doubt on Rep.Carson’s claims:

Now this story is much more important than the accusation of fifteen racists among the thousands of protesters that day. This is now about the accusers.

It’s not just that Congressmen Carson’s accusation of an extraordinary racist verbal assault by the tea party participants on March 20 doesn’t appear to have occurred, it’s that the accusers have now gone into the bunker and, having raised the incendiary subject, are doing everything they can to avoid the discussion. Why? What’s changed?

When the accusation was made, the mainstream media made it the number one topic on every news show. The Democratic Party was leading the discussion. But when confronted on the baseless accusation, without even a modicum of evidence that it actually happened, other than an assertion, the Democratic Party, and its symbiotic allies the mainstream media, want to have another “beer summit.”

No. The Democratic Party and the political left cannot use the race card to shut up its opponents based upon pure fabrication any longer. This failed tactic ultimately serves to mitigate accusations of real racism — which we are not saying doesn’t exist.

When I offered a reward of $100,000 to be donated to the United Negro College Fund if anyone produced video and audio evidence that this occurred, I was accused of a publicity stunt (because everyone knows that the best way to get publicity in America is to accuse a civil rights icon of lying about racism). Rep. Carson himself suggested that my challenge was “a veiled attempt to justify actions that are simply unjustifiable.” Get it? He calls protesters racist and if you ask him to prove it, you’re a racist, too.

Needless to say, no one has claimed the $100,000.

But, I have taken my search one step further. I’ve asked some of the contributors to Big Government to also actively search for video. We have spent the last three weeks searching for any evidence that might support the allegations, without any help from the accusers. The primary accuser, Congressman Carson, who audaciously claimed the crowd screamed the “N-word fifteen times,” would not return our call. So we have gone part way to try and piece together the events of March 20.

Not only is the audio devoid of any racial slur, but the scene at Cannon clearly shows the congressmen coming down the steps completely unobstructed, and with a clear path to the Capitol. And, when we juxtapose the audio accusation Rep.Carson made moments after the alleged event occurred with actual video footage of the moment Rep. Carson claims he first heard the racial slur, it is as plain as day that Congressman Carson was not isolated by a mob and facing a racist throng that could conceivably hurl rocks at him. As you can see for yourself.

How many more “Duke Lacrosse” faked events should America endure? The list from Madonna Constantine at Columbia University all the way back to Al Sharpton’s unforgivably grotesque Tawana Brawley case, the media plays its role to divide this country on its most sensitive schism: race.

The grassroots and the million-strong Tea Party have been forced to be held accountable against every discussion of vile racism even though they have been proven to do nothing wrong.

The false accusation of racism grants left-wing hooligans carte-blanche to act out on their dehumanized Tea Party counterparts. That’s what the intention was with the false accusation. That was the game plan. It ties together with the similar strategy as employed by Pres. Clinton and Richard Trumka to compare tea partiers and the environment they are creating to a petri dish of hate that will spawn the next Timothy McVeigh or Lee Harvey Oswald.

The left is playing with fire. They are playing fast and loose with the facts and making things up when there are no facts at all. Just because the media (the left’s main enabler), wants to forget about it and move on doesn’t mean we will. We will remain on this case until it reaches closure.

As long as this false narrative lives to fuel the hatred of the activist left, which has on many occasions been acted out against Tea Party activists and other law abiding protesters, we will keep this story at the editorial forefront.

It is a slander with real-world repercussions.

The absence of a real investigation by a press that played up the accusations is a more-than-tacit admission that they were hoping the allegations were true. When I mentioned the lack of response to the $100k offer to Politico’s Ben Smith, he messaged me on Twitter: ‘I think you’ve pretty much won this one, no?’

But how does that “win” manifest itself? On April 15, the day of the Tax Day Tea Party in front of the White House, and being interviewed by ABC’s Terry Moran for Nightline set to air Tuesday night, I passionately defended the movement against the powerful racism charge that has been greatly pushed by the Congressional Black Caucus’s accusation of a 1960 Selma-like incident near the Capitol.

At least twice during the spirited questioning by Moran, bystanders screamed “racist” at me.

The power of the propaganda. The power of the repeated accusations. The power of the relentless race-based line of questioning. They are all adding up to the liars and slanderers getting exactly what they wanted. The Tea Party is marred by racism charges while Congressman Carson, at the least, should be facing an ethics investigation, and a civil rights legend should be asking for forgiveness for allowing for the hateful lie to stand.

The “win” Ben Smith speaks of comes in the form of silence. Our nation is split down the middle and the press has chosen to play for one side and one side only.

Congressman Carson refuses to respond to our requests because he can’t answer questions that deserve answers. The press is drawing a line in the sand for those that are doing the job the press should be doing: “Are you calling a civil rights legend a liar?”

Unfortunately, I am. And the mainstream media are as complicit in this lie as Congressman Lewis.

What Kind of Socialist Is Barack Obama?

What Kind of Socialist Is Barack Obama?

Jonah Goldberg via Commentary

The assertion that Barack Obama is a socialist became a hallmark of the 2008 presidential campaign. His opponent, John McCain, used Obama’s own extemporaneous words to an Ohio plumber as Exhibit A: “When you spread the wealth around,” Obama had said, “it’s good for everybody.” That, McCain insisted, sounded “a lot like socialism,” as did Obama’s proposals to raise taxes on the wealthy and high earners for the explicit purpose of taking better care of the lower and middle classes with that redistributed money.

Republicans believed they had hit a rhetorical mother lode with this line of argument in 2008, but their efforts to make hay of Obama’s putative socialism proved unedifying, if not outright comic. The National Committee of the Republican Party even formally considered a resolution on whether the Democratic party should change its name to “the Democratic Socialist Party” of the United States. The stunt was shelved infavor of compromise language lamenting the Democrats’ “march toward socialism.”

Fourteen months into his presidency, in March 2010, Obama succeeded in muscling through Congress a partial government takeover of the national health-care system. That legislative accomplishment followed Obama’s decision a year earlier, without congressional approval, to nationalize two of the country’s Big Three automobile companies. In the intervening months, he had also imposed specific wage ceilings on employees at banks that had taken federal bailout money—the first such federal wage controls since an ill-fated experiment by Richard Nixon in 1971. Obama also made the federal government the direct provider of student loans, and did so by putting that significant change in American policy inside the larger health-care bill. In a September 2009 press conference, Obama suggested that a publicly funded health-care system might help “avoid some of the overhead that gets eaten up at private companies by profits and excessive administrative costs”—thus mistaking the act of making money, the foundational cornerstone of capitalism itself, with the generation of unnecessary expenses.

Given his conduct and rhetoric as president, we have every reason to reopen the question from 2008 and ask, quite simply, What kind of socialist is Barack Obama? ...

The rest is a very insightful, powerful analysis:

Myths, lies and downright stupidity--Stossel

(From John Stossel):

On my Fox Business show this week (Thursday at 8pm & Midnight ET): Myths, lies and downright stupidity. In 40 years of reporting, I’ve learned that much of what people believe, and what the media reports, is myth. “Capitalism is cruel” and “business is evil” are myths popularized by the MSM and Hollywood. But, as radio host Michael Medved explains, business is more fair and more reliable than government. Where do you get better service, he asks, Starbucks or at the DMV?

In my syndicated column this week, I look at a range of business myths that Medved writes about:

Medved's second myth is that when the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. This is the old zero-sum fallacy, which ignores that when two people engage in free exchange, both gain -- or they wouldn't have traded. It's what I call the double thank-you phenomenon. I understand why politicians and lawyers believe it: It's true in their world. But it's not true in business.

"If you believe that when the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, then you believe that creating wealth causes poverty, and you're an idiot," said Medved. "One of the things that I hate is this term 'obscene profits.' There are no obscene profits ... . (The current economic downturn shows) "that when the rich get poorer ... everybody gets poorer."

... I'm also bugged when people argue that today's problems prove that capitalism "failed." What failed? We had a correction. A bubble popped. But from 1982 to now, the Dow rose from 800 to 11,000. Had it happened without the bubble, we'd say this is one of the great boom periods.

Full column here.

Read more:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hysterics against Arizona  The state is only seeking to enforce the nominal immigration policy of the United States; the federal government should try it sometime.

(Use the link to read this excellent article by Rich Lowry on the AZ law--it's copyrighted so no excerpts posted here)

The left dividing America, citizens

The Divisive Left  by Shannon Love via Chicago Boyz

Every leftist today seems to honestly believe that they seek an equitable society in which all people of all persuasions live together in peace. When asked, they will proudly point out all the rhetoric they spout about inclusion and harmony. They will say that proves they bring people together.

In reality, the implicit assumptions behind leftists’ rhetoric foster suspicion, paranoia and outright hatred between Americans. Every time they open their mouths or touch a keyboard, leftists sow discord and hostility in American society and divide neighbor from neighbor.

Leftists induce everyone to see themselves as personally continually under threat from their fellow citizens. They induce everyone to believe that everyone else in society will cheat them or otherwise treat them unfairly. They induce everyone to think of themselves as individuals and groups constantly under siege and attack by virtually everyone else in America.

For an example of this one need look no further than the President’s own rhetoric. Every time he speaks about almost any issue, he pushes the implicit view that one group of Americans is cheating or attacking another group and that only people like himself can save them.

Take for example this recent statement [h/t Instapundit]:

“This year, the stakes are higher than ever,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks provided by Democratic officials. “It will be up to each of you to make sure that young people, African Americans, Latinos and women who powered our victory in 2008 stand together once again.

Obama is saying that the listed groups depend on Obama to get a fair deal in America. The “stakes” that are higher is the protection of the state against the dishonest and threatening actions of other Americans.

For women to support Obama because they are women, they must view non-women as a threat. They must mistrust men and believe they need Obama in charge of the violent power of the state so that he can protect them from the dangerous men.

For African-Americans to support Obama because they are African-Americans, they must view non-African Americans as a threat. They must believe that they cannot trust non-African Americans to the point that they need Obama in charge of the violent power of the state so that he can protect them from the dangerous non-African Americans.

For Latino-Americans to support Obama because they are Latino-Americans, they must view non-Latino Americans as a problem. They must believe that they cannot trust non-Latino Americans to the point that they need Obama in charge of the violent power of the state so that he can protect them from the dangerous non-Latino Americans.

And on down the list. Every speech on domestic policy that the President gives paints one group of Americas as evil and tells everyone else they need the government, headed by Obama, to protect them from their evil neighbors.

By shear process of elimination, the most dangerous Americans, the ones everyone else needs Obama’s government to protect them from, must be middle to upper-middle class white people who work in business and especially those who own businesses large and small…

… which is the demographic at the heart of the Tea Party.

The apparent sincere belief by many on the left that the wide spread Tea Party members are evil, violent people springs precisely from decades of indoctrination in which leftists are progressively trained to view their fellow Americans as evil, dangerous people from whom the benevolent state must protect them. They are especially trained to view white business people as evil. When they see a collection of white, small-to-medium-sized business-owners/self-employed, they automatically see a group of evil and dangerous people. They can’t help it. This is all they’ve been taught and all they say to each other.

This is much worse than smearing people out of cynical manipulation. They really do believe that people in the Tea Party are the monsters.

Bismarck said that war was the heart of the state. It’s more accurate to say that the suspicion, mistrust, fear, anger and hatred that drive entire peoples to war are the real heart of the state. All government action is grounded in violence, and to justify using government violence against others, the people must believe those others to be a threat. For the state to thrive, people must fear and hate others.

Fostering hate and fear is what leftists have been doing for the last 50 years. But whereas the traditional war monger casts foreigners as a threat, leftists tell people it is their neighbors that are the threat. In the long run, that is much worse.

Leftists haven’t yet driven themselves into such a delusional frenzy that they will resort to violence but that has historically been the end point of this kind of politics.

Far from healing divisions and creating a more cohesive and inclusive society, Obama and his cohorts are infecting us with suspicion, paranoia and hatred of one another. How long can we survive as a people when the majority of Americas believe that all other Americans are out to get them?

We need to start calling leftists out on this matter and make them and others aware of how hateful and divisive they are. We need to point out the implicit paranoia and hatred contained in almost every left wing speech. We need to remind them that it is they and not non-leftists who say that one group of Americans is a threat to other Americans.

We need to remind leftists that childhood is over and that is it time for them to stop living in their fantasies, and to look at the real implications of what they say and the real consequences of the actions that spring from their rhetoric.

Surprise! ObamaCare to increase health costs

America under ObamaCare, Day 31: Surprise! ObamaCare to increase health costs
via Laura Ingraham

Report: Health overhaul will increase USA's tab

President Obama's health care overhaul law will increase the nation's health care tab instead of bringing costs down, government economic forecasters concluded Thursday in a sobering assessment of the sweeping legislation.

A report by economic experts at the Health and Human Services Department said the health care remake will achieve Obama's aim of expanding health insurance - adding 34 million Americans to the coverage rolls.

But the analysis also found that the law falls short of the president's twin goal of controlling runaway costs. It also warned that Medicare cuts may be unrealistic and unsustainable, driving about 15% of hospitals into the red and "possibly jeopardizing access" to care for seniors.

The mixed verdict for Obama's signature issue is the first comprehensive look by neutral experts.

In particular, the warnings about Medicare could become a major political liability for Democratic lawmakers in the midterm elections. Seniors are more likely to vote than younger people and polls show they are already deeply skeptical of the law.

The report from Medicare's Office of the Actuary carried a disclaimer saying it does not represent the official position of the Obama administration. White House officials have repeatedly complained that such analyses have been too pessimistic and lowball the law's potential to achieve savings.

The report acknowledged that some of the cost-control measures in the bill - Medicare cuts, a tax on high-cost insurance and a commission to seek ongoing Medicare savings - could help reduce the rate of cost increases beyond 2020. But it held out little hope for progress in the first decade.

"During 2010-2019, however, these effects would be outweighed by the increased costs associated with the expansions of health insurance coverage," wrote Richard S. Foster, Medicare's chief actuary. "Also, the longer-term viability of the Medicare ... reductions is doubtful." Foster's office is responsible for long-range costs estimates...

A separate Congressional Budget Office analysis, also released Thursday, estimated that 4 million households would be hit with tax penalties under the law for failing to get insurance.,-Day-31:-Surprise!-ObamaCare-to-increase-health-costs/487126796229904846.html

Democrats at the Edge of the Cliff

Democrats at the Edge of the Cliff Democrats are spending trillions at the worst possible moment, with a new poll showing public trust in government at a historic low of 22%.By DANIEL HENNINGER

There was always something eerie about the way the Democrats said their health-care legislation was what the American people had waited "70 years" for. Invoking the ghosts of 1939 was kind of creepy. Then when the moment in history finally arrived, history got no votes from the other party. Whatever the politics, there was something ominous about all this. One felt something else was going on.

A Pew Research Center report just out, the one that says trust in government is at an "historic low" of only 22%, looks like the something else.

Dig past the headline of the Pew study and one discovers why Bill Clinton is insinuating that "demonizing" government could cause another Oklahoma City bombing. If these numbers are at all close to reality, something one can hardly doubt just now, the American people have issued a no-confidence vote in government, at both the national and state level. To the extent one believes in the "consent of the governed," consent is being eroded.

Daniel Henninger says that the American people have issued a no-confidence vote in government.

The survey compares views sampled in 1997 with now. The "now" is the Democrats' problem. The survey took place this mid-March. After one year of the charismatic, ever-present Barack Obama, after passage of the party's totemic health-care bill, after spending zillions on Keynesian pump-priming, the American people—well beyond the tea partiers—have the lowest opinion ever of national government.

A year ago, 54% said government should exert more control over the economy; a year later it's 40%.

Some 58% say Uncle Sam is interfering too much in state and local affairs; 53% want "very major reform" of the federal government. After health care passed in March, Pew re-sampled in early April: Trust in government rose—to 25% from 22%. Inspector Clouseau would call that a "bmp."

Pew concludes: "A desire for smaller government is particularly evident since Barack Obama took office." That's pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey without blindfolds. ...

The Democratic Party is on the edge of an electoral cliff with a long fall to the bottom. No wonder they're seeing a demon under every bed.

Write to

For the rest:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Whose country is this?

Whose country is this? by Patrick J. Buchanan © 2010

With the support of 70 percent of its citizens, Arizona has ordered sheriffs and police to secure the border and remove illegal aliens, half a million of whom now reside there.

Arizona acted because the U.S. government has abdicated its constitutional duty to protect the states from invasion and refuses to enforce America's immigration laws.

"We in Arizona have been more than patient waiting for Washington to act," said Gov. Jan Brewer. "But decades of inaction and misguided policy have created an unacceptable situation."

We have a crisis in Arizona because we have a failed state in Washington.

What is the response of Barack Obama, who took an oath to see to it that federal laws are faithfully executed?

He is siding with the law-breakers. He is pandering to the ethnic lobbies. He is not berating a Mexican regime that aids and abets this invasion of the country of which he is commander in chief. Instead, he attacks the government of Arizona for trying to fill a gaping hole in law enforcement left by his own dereliction of duty.

He has denounced Arizona as "misguided." He has called on the Justice Department to ensure that Arizona's sheriffs and police do not violate anyone's civil rights. But he has said nothing about the rights of the people of Arizona who must deal with the costs of having hundreds of thousands of lawbreakers in their midst.

How's that for Andrew Jackson-style leadership?
Obama has done everything but his duty to enforce the law.

Undeniably, making it a state as well as a federal crime to be in this country illegally, and requiring police to check the immigration status of anyone they have a "reasonable suspicion" is here illegally, is tough and burdensome. But what choice did Arizona have?

The state has a fiscal crisis caused in part by the burden of providing schooling and social welfare for illegals and their families, who consume far more in services than they pay in taxes and who continue to pour in. Even John McCain is now calling for 3,000 troops on the border.

Police officers and a prominent rancher have been murdered. There have been kidnappings believed to be tied to the Mexican drug cartels. There are nightly high-speed chases through the barrios where innocent people are constantly at risk.

If Arizona does not get control of the border and stop the invasion, U.S. citizens will stop coming to Arizona and will begin to depart, as they are already fleeing California.

What we are talking about here is the Balkanization and breakup of a nation into ethnic enclaves. A country that cannot control its borders isn't really a country anymore, Ronald Reagan reminded us.

The tasks that Arizonans are themselves undertaking are ones that belong by right, the Constitution and federal law to the Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Homeland Security.

Arizona has been compelled to assume the feds' role because the feds won't do their job. And for that dereliction of duty the buck stops on the desk of the president of the United States.

Why is Obama paralyzed? Why does he not enforce the law, even if he dislikes it, by punishing the businessmen who hire illegals and by sending the 12 million to 20 million illegals back home? President Eisenhower did it. Why won't he?

Because he is politically correct. Because he owes a big debt to the Hispanic lobby that helped deliver two-thirds of that vote in 2008. Though most citizens of Hispanic descent in Arizona want the border protected and the laws enforced, the Hispanic lobby demands that the law be changed.

Fair enough. But the nation rose up as one to reject the "path-to-citizenship" – i.e., amnesty – that the 2007 plan of George W. Bush, McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama envisioned.

Al Sharpton threatens to go to Phoenix and march in the streets against the new Arizona law. Let him go.

Let us see how many African-Americans, who are today frozen out of the 8 million jobs held by illegal aliens that might otherwise go to them or their children, will march to defend an invasion for which they are themselves paying the heaviest price.

Last year, while Americans were losing a net of 5 million jobs, the U.S. government – Bush and Obama both – issued 1,131,000 green cards to legal immigrants to come and take the jobs that did open up, a flood of immigrants equaled in only four other years in our history.

What are we doing to our own people?

Whose country is this, anyway?

America today has an establishment that, because it does not like the immigration laws, countenances and condones wholesale violation of those laws.

Nevertheless, under those laws, the U.S. government is obligated to deport illegal aliens and punish businesses that knowingly hire them.

This is not an option. It is an obligation.

Can anyone say Barack Obama is meeting that obligation?

Logical reasons why Texas better than Calif.

MICKEY KAUS: Why is Texas doing so much better than California? “Dan Gross outlines some reasons: the energy industry is relatively recession proof, plus Texas is so big it can create its own ‘green’ wind power jobs to power its cities without having to cooperate with neighboring states. … Gross leaves off another potential factor, though: Texas has a relatively low rate of unionization–about a third of California’s. That means a) fewer rigidities in the labor market, allowing it to adjust to the market more quickly–tiny quick wage cuts for a lot of people, for eample, mean employers don’t have to lay people off as quickly b) fewer rigidities in organization structure–they don’t have UAW-style work rules at Dell; and c) the absence of the public sector union ‘death-grip on state and local government’ and politics and finances, which has helped produce near-bankruptcy at the state level (and actual bankruptcy in Vallejo).”

by Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit

Monday, April 26, 2010

Obama and the New Civility - Victor Davis Hanson - National Review Online

Obama and the New Civility - Victor Davis Hanson - National Review Online

During the Bush years a dangerously heated rhetoric became commonplace. Now, lo! a new age has dawned.

It was sometime early this year that Americans finally learned the rules of proper political discourse — another dividend from the Obama administration. We can all be grateful for our new bipartisan protocols, which will go something like the following.

It will be considered childish to caricature a stressed president for mangling his words, whether “nucular” or “corpseman.” If, from time to time, the commander-in-chief flubs up and says something stupid like Bush’s “Is our children learning?” or Obama’s “Cinco de Quatro,” we have learned to accept that such slips are hardly reflective of a lack of knowledge. The old “gotcha” game is puerile and, thankfully, is now a thing of the past.

Nor should we ever refer to any elected administration as a “regime” — that unfortunate habit of the likes of Maureen Dowd, Chris Matthews, and various talk-radio hosts. Thank God, we in 2010 all recognize the pernicious effects of such near-treasonous rhetoric.

At last there is a return to civility. If we were confused in recent years as to whether “hate” was a permissible word in public discourse — as in the outburst of Democratic national chairman Howard Dean, “I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for,” or the infamous essay by The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait that began, “I hate President George W. Bush” — we now accept that such extreme language in the public arena is not merely uncivil, but is an incitement to real violence. The use of the word “hate” at last has become “hate speech.”

With Rep. Joe Wilson’s improper outburst to President Obama — “You lie!” — we also have at last come to appreciate that those in Congress have a special responsibility not to use incendiary language to defame our government officials. That’s why we now lament Rep. Pete Stark’s slur of George W. Bush from the House floor as a “liar” — the same Rep. Pete Stark who said of our troops that they had gone “to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement.”

But since 2009 Americans have finally learned that our soldiers are sacrosanct and must not be smeared — as in Sen. Richard Durbin’s characterization of American military personnel as synonymous with Nazis, Stalinists, or Pol Pot’s murderers; as in the late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s comparison of American troops to Saddam’s lethal jailers; as in Sen. John Kerry’s smear of our soldiers as acting in terrorist fashion. Evocation of Nazi or Brownshirt imagery particularly coarsens the public discourse; it demonizes opponents rather than engage them in real debate. So we can all concur now that Sen. John Glenn, Sen. Robert Byrd, and former vice president Al Gore spoke quite improperly when they compared their president’s governance to that of the Third Reich.

Our military officers deserve special consideration. No senator should ever again accuse a wartime theater commander of telling an untruth (“suspicion of disbelief”). Major newspapers should not extend discounts to pressure groups that defame our officers with cheap slurs such as “General Betray Us.” All that is dangerous rhetoric. Indeed, it risks undermining our noble bipartisan efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
We now know that environmental terrorists of the sort that spike trees, torch forestry equipment, blow up people with letter bombs, or wage anti-globalization urban violence are engaging in the same sort of behavior as are the unhinged militias. Therefore we must all be careful, left and right, in criticizing our government — lest either another Ted Kaczynski becomes too inflamed by Al Gore’s accusatory furor about environmental desecration, or a Michigan militia member goes over the top after hearing a talk-radio rant about Barack Obama.

Ever since Dwight Eisenhower hit the back nine, critics have snickered at golf-playing presidents — as if their polo shirts, shades, and splashy caps were revelations of aristocratic disdain for the rest of us, or as if they were engaging in a sort of loafing amid world crises. Not now. We have come to realize that presidents should play golf — in fact, lots of it — both for needed relaxation and as a reminder that it is no longer a sport of the elite.

With the appropriate criticism of former vice president Dick Cheney’s public attacks on the Obama anti-terrorist protocols, we have established that vice presidents emeriti, by virtue of the dignity of their positions, should not engage in partisan hits on subsequent administrations. Cheney’s slights remind us why there was once media outrage when former vice president Al Gore said of President Bush, “He lied to us,” “He betrayed this country,” “He played on our fears” — or when he dismissed Bush’s Internet supporters with the slur of “digital Brownshirts.”

We have always been worried about presidential braggadocio. Just as we came to realize that George Bush’s “bring ’em on” and “dead or alive” were unnecessarily polarizing, so too talk of bringing a gun to a knife fight, or predictions that a supporter would “tear up” a talk-show host, or remarks about “fat cat” bankers are unnecessary presidential provocations.

In other words, with the presidency of Barack Obama, the nation has collectively established at last the proper parameters of political rhetoric and conduct. What was the norm in the past is now recognized as coarse, if not dangerous — and so won’t be repeated in our future.

— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, the editor of Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome, and the author of The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern.

Dr K on Obama/Tea Party/Clinton/Vat outrages

The Corner - National Review Online Dr K on Obama/Tea Party/Clinton/Vat:
Krauthammer's Take [NRO Staff]

On President Obama’s remarking of the Tea Party movement that “You would think they would be saying thank you”:

I think it was Obama with his usual condescension — except he ratcheted it up to Code Orange into snootiness — where he looks down his nose at the gun-and-god crowd, the lumpenproletariat, as he sees it. And he ridicules them because they're not grateful enough to him.

And look, it's quite obvious what he’s talking about. He thinks that they are stupid because they don't recognize that he hasn't raised their taxes.

The point is the movement began a year ago before there were any hikes in taxes, but it was a prescient movement: it understood — and it wasn't really that hard to see, although a lot of the press entirely overlooked it — that if you’re going expand the government hugely (as he has) you’re going to have to end up raising taxes. There‘s no other way.

That's why we’re all talking about a VAT.

He’s assuming that these people are paranoid or agitated because they are expecting that taxes are going to rise. We just had the chairman of the Federal Reserve, who’s not exactly a member of the Tea Party, say exactly that. In order to sustain our economy, we’re going to have to raise taxes.

So it's a fact. And I think it is in his character to ridicule — this is a man on the day he won the Democratic nomination said that day would mark a day on which the earth began to heal and the oceans recede. So he does not have a low opinion of himself.

On Bill Clinton’s comparing the rhetoric preceding the Oklahoma City bombing to that of the Tea Party movement:

I think it's disgusting. It's a replay of what he did — his administration did — after Oklahoma City. Remember, that happened shortly after he got crushed in the mid-term elections, the Gingrich revolution, that he began his comeback by exploiting Oklahoma City and implying — and having his minions imply — that it was a result of Newt and Rush and all the agitated, angry white males, as it was called by the media at the time. This is a replay.

When there was dissent in the Bush years, he was called a Nazi, Cheney a war criminal, and there was actually a play on the assassination of George Bush — you didn't hear a word from him or others about agitated language.

When a Republican is in power, dissent is the highest form of patriotism. And when a Democrat is in power, dissent is near treasonous and a call to mutiny and insurrection. This is really disgraceful.

On the increasing talk of VAT:

Well, here is the syllogism. If you enact Obamacare, it follows as the night after the day that you have to have a VAT, and the reason is if you legislate yourself, as we just have done, into European levels of entitlements, you are going to have European-level taxation — or you will end up with Greek levels of debt.

And the easier option, ultimately, is going to be the VAT. It's not going to be today. It won't even happen after the 2010 elections, but I assure you if Obama is re-elected it will all of a sudden be a big issue and a big proposal of Democrats.

What's behind the anti-Tea Party hate narrative?

What's behind the anti-Tea Party hate narrative? Washington Examiner by Byron York

(AP File)

There's a new narrative taking hold in the wake of the recent Tea Party protests and the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing: The Tea Partiers' intense opposition to the Obama administration has led to overheated political rhetoric, which could in turn lead to violence, perhaps as devastating as Oklahoma City.

Former President Clinton is the leading voice of this new narrative. In newspaper interviews, television appearances and a widely discussed speech Friday, Clinton said it's "legitimate" to draw "parallels to the time running up to Oklahoma City and a lot of the political discord that exists in our country today."

"Watch your words," warned ABC News, reporting that Clinton "weighed in on the angry anti-government rhetoric, ringing out from talk radio to Tea Party rallies."

The reports dovetailed with earlier media stories depicting Tea Party gatherings as angry mobs, accusing protesters of throwing racial epithets at black lawmakers and of making threats of violence. The implication was that all this could be part of a nationwide trend. "Just this month, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that it had tracked an explosion in extremist anti-government patriot groups fueled, in large part, by anger over the economy and Barack Obama's presidency," NBC's David Gregory said on "Meet the Press" in early April. "In this highly charged political atmosphere, where you've got so much passion, so much disagreement, this takes it, of course, to a different level."

How did this story line grow? Many of the claims that extremism is on the rise in America originate in research done by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based group that for nearly 40 years has tracked what it says is the growing threat of intolerance in the United States. These days the SPLC is issuing new warnings of new threats. But today's warnings sound an awful lot like those of the past.

In 1989, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of skinheads, saying, "Not since the height of Klan activity during the civil rights era has there been a white supremacist group so obsessed with violence. ..."

In 1992, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of other white supremacist groups, which it claimed had grown by 27 percent from the year before.

In 1995, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of right-wing militias.

In 1998, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of Internet-based hate groups, which according to one press account had "created the biggest surge in hate in America in years."

In 1999, the SPLC warned that the growing threat of Web-based hate groups was growing even more, with a 60 percent increase from the year before.

In 2002, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of post-Sept. 11 hate groups, which it said had grown 12 percent between 2000 and 2001.

In 2004, the SPLC warned (again) of the growing threat of skinhead groups, whose numbers it said had doubled in the previous year.

In 2008, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of hate groups overall, whose number it said increased 48 percent since 2000.

And in 2010, just a few weeks ago, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of "patriot" groups, which it said increased by 244 percent in 2009.

In the world of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the threat is always growing. Ronald Reagan's policies led to a growing threat. The first Gulf War led to a growing threat. The election of Bill Clinton led to a growing threat. The Internet led to a growing threat. Sept. 11 led to a growing threat. The war in Iraq led to a growing threat. Is it any wonder that Obama's presidency has, in the SPLC's estimation, led to a growing threat?

Hate groups do exist across the political spectrum, and have for a long time. But they have nothing to do with the expressions of frustration over deficits, taxes and Obamacare that we have heard at so many Tea Party gatherings. That frustration, felt by Republicans, independents and even some Democrats, is an entirely mainstream reaction to the sharply activist course the president and congressional leadership have taken. While the level of frustration is indeed a threat, it is a political threat. Ask Democrats running in this November's elections.

It's important to distinguish between a political threat and a physical one. As Clinton might say, the hate accusers should watch their words.

Byron York, the Examiner's chief political correspondent, can be contacted at His column appears on Tuesday and Friday, and his stories and blog posts appear on

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Vignettes of leftie/union thug violence

From Gateway Pundit by Jim Hoft

Last Wednesday union thugs rammed their way through the Boston Tea Party Rally where Sarah Palin was speaking. They threw punches, insulted protesters, and screamed through a bullhorn. On Thursday, two democratic officials, Steve Belosi and John Durajczyk stood up, screamed and disrupted Lt. Governor Peter Kinder during his tea party speech in St. Charles, Missouri. One of the thugs screamed at an elderly woman until she started crying. At the Sacramento tea party rally Martin Francis Brown rushed the stage and started screaming until he was slammed down on the back. Of course, these stories were ignored by the democratic-media complex. It didn’t fit their narrative.

So, it comes as no surprise that the state-run media largely ignored this story today… Democratic donor Erik Lawrence Pidrman was arrested late Sunday for threatening to murder Republican Representative Ginny Brown-Waite.

Erik Pidrman threatened to murder GOP Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite. (WTSP)

FBI agents arrested a Spring Hill man late Sunday for threatening to kill Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL).

The Orlando Sentinel reported:

FBI agents and officials with the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office say they have arrested a Spring Hill man on a charge of threatening harm against U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite.

The Brooksville Republican’s office received a “telephonic threat” on March 25 from an unidentified male, authorities said.

Late Sunday, FBI agents and Hernando deputies arrested Erik Lawrence Pidrman, 66, at his Spring Hill home in connection with the threat. The charge is “threatening to assault or murder a US official,” according to FBI Special Agent Dave Couvertier.

Hernando deputies and the FBI started a joint investigation after Brown-Waite’s Brooksville office received a telephonic threat.

This investigation is ongoing and the United States Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Florida, will handle the prosecution.

Brown-Waite’s office released a text of the voicemail soon after it was received March 25.

The caller stated: “Just wanna let you know I have 27 people that are going to make sure that this [expletive deleted] does not live to see her next term. Good-bye.”

Brown-Waite contacted the Capitol Police and the Hernando County Sheriff after receiving the message.

Hat Tip Kyle

Pidrman was arrested on drunk driving charges in 2006.

Pidrman gave $250 to Hillary’s campaign in 2008.

By the way… Bill Clinton today warned of “a slippery slope from angry anti-government rhetoric to violence like the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.” Maybe he should send a copy of his speech to his wife’s donor list. It could be a lifesaver.

For original and all of the multitude of links:



According to the blog that broke the story, Watch Sonoma County, “North Bay firefighters launched a boycott of a Napa Valley winery this weekend after its owner criticized their wages and benefits in a letter published in the St. Helena Star.” But more than a boycott was launched, as the winery owner has received veiled threats online from some public safety employees, potentially refusing to fight a fire at his home or winery, or save him from choking in a restaurant.

Let’s hope this story isn’t true, but it is, alas, believable.

by Glenn Reynolds

The French Quarter Attack WAS Political…

The French Quarter Attack WAS Political…  by macaoidh …you have to more or less suspend disbelief not to recognize that.

But based on various agendas, it seems like that’s what’s going on. Beyond the reactions of left-wing journals, when those sources have reacted to this story at all, we notice that Allahpundit at and Michelle Malkin have both gone out of their way to disparage the idea that the attack had to do with politics.

The attack was political. But, and I think I’ve been clear on this and hopefully in this post I’ll be even clearer, while it was political it doesn’t appear that it was partisan. A distinction like that used to be fairly easily understood.

For those who don’t grasp the difference between political and partisan, it’s pretty simple. In our modern parlance, partisan means Republicans vs. Democrats. Political can include everything else. Like, for example, anarchist revolutionaries.

How do we know this attack was political? Well, three developments in the story of the beating of Allee Bautsch and Joe Brown last Friday in the French Quarter have served to make it almost patently obvious that Bautsch and Brown were attacked out of a political motive…

1. Louisiana GOP chairman Roger Villere told Hayride contributor Walter Abbott that he was chased by protestors outside of Brennan’s into a cab. Villere said that he couldn’t leave the restaurant through the front door when it was time to depart the fundraiser because the protestors had blocked that entrance; and when he and his group left through the kitchen to the back door, they were seen and pursued. Villere caught a cab in the nick of time and made a getaway.

2. The police report of the incident makes clear that when Bautsch and Brown left the restaurant an hour or so later, there were still protestors on hand. Those protestors immediately set to making catcalls to the couple, and as they headed for the car they immediately realized they were being pursued just like Villere had been. The fact that the demonstrators pursued both Villere AND Bautsch and Brown is a chilling one; it also calls into doubt any explanation for the attack other than a political motive. While the NOPD has obviously taken scrupulous pains not to make public statements to the effect that politics was involved, the police have also not ruled it out. Sgt. Nick Gernon of the 8th District, who is heading the investigation (I’ve been reliably informed that despite the widespread disparagement of the NOPD both in the New Orleans area and elsewhere, Gernon is a first-rate detective committed to running a thorough inquiry) has not spoken to the media to date so there is no reason to discount a political motive. And I could have predicted to you from the beginning of this saga that the NOPD was not going to announce a political motive publicly until suspects were identified and arrested; that NOPD Public Information Officer Bob Young let the cat out of the bag and made statements to the effect that politics was involved before hustling back to the status quo was a mere momentary departure from that expectation.

3. Bautsch’s mother Della Berning’s appearance with Megyn Kelly on Fox News, which Connie Hair of Human Events has transcribed, makes clear, as does the police report, that the catcalls and insults hurled at Bautsch and Brown were “all about money.” The police report quotes Brown as recalling one of them was “You think you’re f**ing special” and that there were comments as to how sharply attired the pair were. Let’s remember that both the protest of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference venue at the Hilton Riverside and the redirect to Brennan’s were organized by the Iron Rail Book Collective, whose nature we’ve documented ad nauseam here – the Iron Rail Gang are self-described anarchist revolutionaries, and as Mick Wright at the Tennessee Conservative blog does a devastating job of demonstrating through photo evidence found on the internet from the protests at both venues, they were quite explicit in manifesting that identity during the events in question. Not only that, the Iron Rail people initially bragged about “lots of confrontations” last Friday and how “New Orleans bared its teeth and snarled, and rich plutocrats shat themselves in fear” before the light of scrutiny was shone on them – at which time rather than issue pointed and explicit denials of any role in what happened to Bautsch and Brown, they took down Facebook pages and YouTube videos which documented their protests both at the Hilton and at Brennan’s.

I hardly think it’s necessary to spell this out, but a communist anarchist who makes disparaging remarks based on socioeconomic circumstances about someone he suspects to be a conservative Republican before descending upon said Republican and beating him or her savagely is doing so from a political motive. Economics + communism = politics. It’s not brain surgery. Particularly given that the anarchists’ propaganda both before and after the event was shot through with hateful references to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s “rich friends” and so on.

Given that we now know that people who were at the protest at Brennan’s pursued attendees at the fundraiser on two occasions and successfully attacked attendees once, one has to be incredibly suspicious that Daniel Mauch and Joanna Dubinsky would have “gone dark” the way they did. Perhaps it’s not an admission of guilt, but any cop will tell you that it’s classic guilty behavior. They might as well have fled in a white Bronco.

So obviously this attack was political. But that doesn’t mean it was the work of Democrats. There are other people in the world outside Republicans and Democrats. There are the white supremacists, skinheads and neo-Nazi types, for example. And while it’s a favorite tactic of Democrat political types to paint conservatives as ideological kin to those folks, there are scant few on the mainstream Right with any affinity or common cause at all to be had with that fringe element.

I would like very much to think that anarcho-communists such as those you’ll find at the Iron Rail Book Collective are analogous to the white supremacist crowd, in that conservatives can agree they don’t represent the views of or share any allegiance with the mainstream Left.

It appears fairly clear that last Friday, the Iron Rail Gang was able to bamboozle a few mainstream Democrats, namely some well-meaning but easily duped students and professors at the University of New Orleans, into attending their protest at the Hilton. After all, they roped in a brass band for a second line march on a Friday afternoon, and anyone with a knowledge of New Orleans and its traditions knows that a second line is a good way to draw a crowd in the Big Easy. That the protest was couched in the relatively mainstream policy ends of restoring budget cuts in higher education and rebuilding a public hospital knocked out of commission by Hurricane Katrina when Jindal has chosen a different path was a nice way for the anarchists to put a veneer of respectability on their event. If you’ll look at the PDF files of the flyers the Iron Rail people created for the event and hosted at their web site (see the single-sided one here and the double-sided one here), they look relatively inoffensive. The two-page flyer says that Jindal “and his Republican fat cats are destroying Louisiana healthcare: closing hospitals, firing workers,” which is red meat, but not particularly ominous.

But there was also an eight-page brochure the group put together that did not appear on the Facebook event page for the protest (since removed – there were 209 people who had RSVP’ed for the event and from that roster we found Mauch and Dubinsky), and that brochure was much more ominous. It listed several “Points of Unity,” among them being:

- The SRLC is not welcome in NOLA without a fuss

- Recognize healthcare as a basic human right

- Oppose police oppression, the prison-industrial complex, and the dominant culture of militarism

- Recognize the need for active resistance to confront all forms of oppression, respecting a diversity of tactics

The brochure also contained a map of the five hotels at which SRLC delegates were primarily staying, which is extremely disturbing, on the same page as this statement:

The SRLC is being held the same weekend as the French Quarter Festival. Centered at the Hilton Riverside Hotel at the confluence of Poydras St. and Convention Center Blvd, the SRLC will bring a multitude of unwelcomed outsiders during a traditionally New Orleanian celebration.

On page 6 of the brochure was the following:

Saturday, April 10 – all-day – Street Theatre & Direct Action

We welcome everyone, organizations and individuals alike, to take some time to send their own personal message to the SRLC and its attendees. Saturday is a day of direct action, a time for people to take to the streets, autonomously, and demonstrate their opposition to the policies and politics of the Republican party. While the focus of our Second Line will be about the destruction of health care, inequity and oppression in our city affect all aspects of our daily lives: education, employment, police, the prison-industrial complex, etc. To the streets! Show Jindal his harmful politics are not welcome in New Orleans. Our numbers are many, let our presence reflect our dissatisfaction with the status quo. The Republicans do not offer solutions. The people have the power. Let that be shown.

It must be said that very little happened on Saturday, though before he pulled it down Daniel Mauch posted on his Facebook page that he was open for more “mischief” and for those interested to call him. Page 6 of the brochure also said:

SRLC attendees will be spending most of their time in the CBD and the French Quarter. Show them that ignoring the health and well-being of the people for corporate profit will not go unnoticed.

Mauch, who talked to Tennessee Conservative’s Mick Wright for an hour outside of the Hilton, was in possession of a flyer announcing the “afterparty” protest at Brennan’s, which he gave to Wright while scrawling both the address of the Iron Rail Book Collective and the name of the YouTube account which once hosted the protestors’ video files. On those videos Dubinsky could be seen inviting the protestors at the Hilton to join her at Brennan’s. As said above, both have taken actions in the last 48-72 hours which can be construed as covering their online tracks.

It is in light of the above that one can conclude, perhaps to the exclusion of anything else, that the attacks on Bautsch and Brown which are documented in the police report and in Bautsch’s mother’s account originated from Brennan’s protestors. The protests at Brennan’s were much more hostile and intense than at the Hilton, where a larger group which included more mainstream types constituted the majority of the demonstrators. The brass band wasn’t playing at Brennan’s, either; this was no cute second-line march. The well-meaning folks at the first protest were obviously peeling off by the time the Brennan’s affair was winding down, and as such this thing wasn’t about ordinary Democrats.

As I said above, the group which needs intense scrutiny here are the anarchist revolutionaries of the Iron Rail Book Collective, who organized a party-like protest at the Hilton with the express purpose of distilling it into something much more sinister at Brennan’s. The attack came from demonstrators at that protest, and as such it was political. It only becomes partisan if, and I very fervently hope there is no reason to believe this would happen, the mainstream Left chooses to stand with, act as apologist for or condone the actions of anarchist revolutionaries.

But for those, including some on the Right, who insist upon distilling all matters political into the neat little buckets of elephants and donkeys this distinction is perhaps impossible to perceive. If that’s the case, and if the Right can’t distinguish Democrats from anarcho-communists while the Left sees Republicans as a worse political enemy than the students of The Coming Insurrection, we are in a lot more trouble than we think.

For the original with links:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

An alarming outbreak of 'regime' amnesia

An alarming outbreak of 'regime' amnesia Washington Examiner

By: Byron York Chief Political Correspondent

Time's Joe Klein got some attention over the weekend when he said, on "The Chris Matthews Show," that statements from Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are "right up close to being seditious." What received less attention was the statement immediately following Klein's, from New York magazine's John Heilemann, author of the best-seller Game Change. "Joe's right, and I'll name another person," Heilemann said. "You know, name Rush Limbaugh, you know, who uses this phrase constantly, talks about the Obama administration as a 'regime.' That phrase, which has connotations of tyranny."

Heilemann's accusation echoed one that Chris Matthews himself made on MSNBC's "Hardball" April 2, when he denounced Limbaugh's use of the word 'regime.' "I've never seen language like this in the American press," Matthews said. "We know that word, 'regime.' It was used by George Bush, 'regime change.' You go to war with regimes. Regimes are tyrannies. They're juntas. They're military coups. The use of the word 'regime' in American political parlance is unacceptable, and someone should tell [Limbaugh] to stop using it." A quick search of the Nexis database revealed more than 6,500 uses of the word "regime" to refer to the Bush administration since January 20, 2001, in the New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, and, yes, by Chris Matthews himself.

So now John Heilemann has spoken up. Which leads to an obvious question. Has Heilemann himself ever used that word, with its "connotations of tyranny"?

A search of the Nexis database shows four recent examples of Heilemann using "regime" to refer not to tyrannies but to American domestic politics. He even used the phrase "Obama regime." For the record:

For the rest:

How Could We Be So Stupid? Let Us Count the Ways

How Could We Be So Stupid? Let Us Count the Ways

We are going to pile up another $3 trillion in national debt in just the first two years of the Obama administration. If the annual deficit should sink below $1.5 trillion, it will be called fiscal sobriety.

Why, when we owe $12 trillion, would the Obama administration set out budgets that will ensure our collective debt climbs to $20 trillion? Why are we borrowing more money, when Medicare, Social Security, the Postal Service, Amtrak, etc. are all insolvent as it is?

What is the logic behind something so clearly unhinged?

I present seven alternative reasons — some overlapping — why the present government is hell-bent on doubling the national debt in eight years. Either one, or all, or some, or none, of the below explain Obama’s peculiar frenzied spending.

1) Absolutely moral and necessary?

The country is in need of massive more entitlements for our destitute and near to poor. Government is not big, but indeed too small to meet its moral obligations. Deficits are merely record-keeping. Throwing trillions into the economy will also help us all recover, by getting us moving again and inflating the currency. And we can pay the interest easily over the next 50 years. Just think another World War II era — all the time.

So big spending and borrowing are genuine efforts of true believers to make us safe, secure, and happy.

2) “Gorge the beast”

The spending per se is not so important, as the idea of deficits in general will ensure higher taxes. Nationalized health care, cap and trade, new initiatives in education, more stimulus — all that and more is less important than the fact that huge defects will require huge new taxes, primarily from the upper-classes. I see no reason why the total bite from state income, federal income, payroll, and health care taxes cannot soon in theory climb to 70% of some incomes (e.g., 10% state, 15.3% FICA, 40% federal, 3-5% health care). In other words, “redistributive change” is the primary goal. This aim is premised on the notion that income is a construct, if not unfairly calibrated, then at least capriciously determined — requiring the more intelligent in the technocracy to even out things and ensure an equality of result. After all, why should the leisured hedge-funder make all that more after taxes than the more noble waitress?

So big spending and borrowing mean big deficits, and that means taxing the greedy and giving their ill-gotten gains to the needy.

3) Big Brother?

Or does rampant borrowing for government spending reflect our despair over the inability of millions to know what is best for themselves? For democracy to work, all of us must fully participate. But because of endemic racism, sexism, class bias, and historical prejudices, millions of Americans do not have access to adequate education and enlightenment. Therefore, a particular technocratic class, with requisite skill and singular humanity, has taken it upon themselves to ensure everyone gets a fair shake — if only government at last has the adequate resources to fix things. If it proves problematic for one to register and vote, then there will be a program to make 100% participation possible. If some of us are too heavy and too chair-bound, we can be taught what and how to eat. If some of us do not study, we can adjust academic standards accordingly. In one does something unwise, like buying a plasma TV rather than a catastrophic health care plan, then we still can ensure he is covered. In other words, an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-moral guardian class requires resources to finish the promise of participatory America. After all, why would we allow the concrete contractor to “keep” 70% of his income only to blow it on worthless things like jet skis or a Hummer in his garage or a fountain in his yard — when a far wiser, more ethical someone like Van Jones could far more logically put that now wasted capital to use for the betterment of the far more needy?

So big spending and borrowing mean 300 million will have their capital spent wisely as their collective labor and efforts are channeled into proper directions — as determined by sober and curious government overseers, not the ignorant who might selfishly spend capital only for indulgence.

4) Good work if you can get it — and loyal customers for life

I can’t quite figure out why we are to believe that all these government grandees are doing us a public service by “sacrificing”— that is, by going into government. Statistics show that “public service,” with its myriad benefits and pensions, pays far better than comparable work in the private sector. I accept there are lots of mega-millionaire Senators and Representatives for whom politics is an epiphenomenon. But even here the “free everything” and the sense of entitlement and influence are powerful narcotics. In sum, when one exponentially grows government and borrows trillions, one creates a sort of virtual court at Versailles, where hundreds of thousands flock to a GS enclave. Each manager has a sub-manager who has sub-sub managers — like the descending root system of an old oak. I think that Obama and Co., in part, borrow trillions of dollars to provide prestige and work for hundreds of their Ivy-League cronies, and thousands of loyal bureaucrats, and hundreds of thousands of loyal organizers, and millions of constituent voters — who all might otherwise not have it so good. And all that, of course, requires a lot of money as we presently witness.

So big spending and borrowing mean work for millions, from the Ivy League thinker to the high school drop out who all understand that government is to serve those in government.

5) A Sort of Nihilism

No one really knows the final effect of mega-deficits and staggering debt on a country the size of the U.S. Perhaps inflation is the only mechanism to get out of our “record keeping” dilemma. Deficit promoters, after all, also believe money is a sort of construct, artificially valued and privileged. By printing more money, we simply cheapen the value of that already in existence. Those who don’t have money get some; and those who do, find what they have is worth less. Why protect the capitalist hoarding class, rather than the indigent class in need of money in their pocket?

So big spending and borrowing mean more money for those who don’t have it, and less value for those who do.

6). Infantilism

The Obama administration really doesn’t care much about deficits or debt, in the manner that the profligate credit-card user cannot be bothered about mundane silly things like balancing a checkbook as he shops for vital presents for his family. We must spend what is necessary, and let others worry where the money is to come from. In more practical terms, growing the debt by $1.5 trillion per year is a lot more fun than having to squeeze out surpluses to pay down the existing $12 trillion. We can blame Bush before us for his $200-500 billion annual deficits, and we can blame conservatives after us who must either raise taxes or cut spending in massive fashion to clean things up. Either way, we achieved the progressive agenda in four years, and will leave it to those heartless after us to worry about their accounting games. Our legacy is that we cared for people, not ledgers.

So big spending and borrowing are things for geeks and nerds to worry about later; right now we are doing the right thing for the right people — and can’t be worried.

7). Screw You! — one, big temper tantrum

Nothing makes a conservative madder than higher taxes, bigger government, and more borrowing. Well, we’re in power now; you’re not. Elections matter and you guys lost. In the same manner that should Obama wish to bow — once, twice, three times — he bows, and cares not a lick if Sean Hannity is mad about it, so too Obama borrows and spends, and gets a sort of delight from the right-wing hysteria that follows (cf. his jokes about the reaction to the passage of health care).

(I remember a college dean once who, when his responsible wife warned him at a party at his house about the red wine and the white carpet, turned his glass over and poured it out on the rug, with a sneer, “So there.” [We are either the rug or the housewife of the story.]) Borrowing and spending is a sort of tantrum — all the more delicious, the more angry our adversaries become.

So big spending and borrowing enrage right-wing nuts and that is all to the good.

I went on at length with all these hypotheses, because it is inexplicable how sane people could do such insane things.

Call it "reform"--the ticket to control our $$$

Need to Know by Laura Ingraham

6 things you need to know about the Obama/Dodd financial reform bill research:

1. Obama-Dodd Bill Creates $50 Billion Permanent Bailout Fund That Senate Democrats Plan To Keep. (Page 277, S. 3217, Restoring American Financial Stability Act Of 2010, Introduced 4/15/10; Carrie Budoff Brown, "Dems Stand By $50B Fund," Politico, 4/19/10)

2. Obama-Dodd Bill Could Lead To More Taxpayer-Funded Bailouts By Expanding Federal Reserve's Power To Establish "Policies And Procedures Governing Emergency Lending." (Page 1365, S. 3217, Restoring American Financial Stability Act Of 2010, Introduced 4/15/10)

3. Obama-Dodd Bill Could Make Taxpayer-Funded Bailouts Even More Expensive By Allowing FDIC To Make "Additional Payments" To Firms That Backed Failed Financial Companies. (Page 245, S. 3217, Restoring American Financial Stability Act Of 2010, Introduced 4/15/10)

4. Obama-Dodd Bill Uses Taxpayer Dollars To Guarantee Debt Of Banks And Bank Holding Companies Through The Power Of The Federal Reserve And FDIC. (Page 1379, S. 3217, Restoring American Financial Stability Act Of 2010, Introduced 4/15/10)

5. Obama-Dodd Bill Could Institutionalize Bailouts By Allowing A New Financial Oversight Council To Determine Which Companies Are "Too Big To Fail." (Page 35, S. 3217, Restoring American Financial Stability Act Of 2010, Introduced 4/15/10)

6. Federal Trade Commission Fears That Obama-Dodd Bill Could Have "Overall Result" Of "Less Protection For Consumers, And Fewer 'Cops On The Beat.'" (Federal Trade Commission, Letter To Sen. Hutchison, 4/16/10)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pres. Clinton shamelessly mirepresenting

Well Said, But Mr. President . . . [James Carafano via NRO]

Violent extremism of any stripe is beyond the pale. The intentional murder of innocents remains one of the world’s ultimate evils. If only everyone speaking on the issue of anti-government extremism chose their words as carefully as President Clinton.

Alas, the talking heads of MSNBC have not. They have used the anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing to declare open season on almost anyone right of center.

The suggestion by Oklahoma lawmakers that they might want to form a state defense force is completely legal and appropriate under both the federal and state constitutions. Yet MSNBC commentators labeled the idea, without any evidence other than innuendo, a precursor to the next civil war.

And for MSNBC, baseless commentary like this runs only against the right. Think back to its coverage of Code Pink and the antiwar protests of the Bush administration. None of its commentators fretted over whether the protesters would lead to a resurgence of left-wing violence such as that practiced by the Weather Underground, the Blank Panthers, or the Symbionese Liberation Army. That would have been totally inappropriate — but no more so than what it’s eagerly doing now with conservative protesters.

When MSNBC demonizes tea-party demonstrators and other conservative activists as aiding and abetting political violence, it’s hard to see it as anything other than partisan fear-mongering of the worst sort. The surest way to incite violence is to suppress legitimate dissent.

Black tea party attendees say...

What Democrats Mean By "Civility"

What Democrats Mean By "Civility"  by John at Powerline:

The Democrats are big on civility these days, or pretend to be, anyway. When Congress returned from its Easter recess, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer took the opportunity to call for restraint:

"There are obviously clearly differences of opinion in the country and among members of Congress and between the parties," Hoyer told reporters. "But that debate ought to be civil, it ought to be constructive, and it ought to be designed to educate the public, not to incite the public."

Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum, who represents St. Paul and environs, wasted no time explaining what Hoyer meant. On the House floor on Tuesday, she claimed that today's conservatives, especially Tea Partiers, are just like Timothy McVeigh. She did so, of course, in the name of "civility:"

Madam Speaker, today I rise to remember the victims of the 1995 terrorist attack in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people. This act of American terrorism was committed by a man who viewed the federal government as such a threat that it justified mass murder.

I applaud my colleague from Oklahoma for her resolution because it serves as a reminder that right-wing, anti-government extremist groups are on the rise today. ...

Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center states, 'Individuals associated with the Patriot movement during its 1990s heyday produced an enormous amount of violence, most dramatically the Oklahoma City bombing...'

Today, Mr. Potok states, 'as the movement has exploded, so has the reach of its ideas, aided and abetted by commentators and politicians...'

Got that? The "Patriot" movement, which was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing, "has exploded" today. And conservative commentators and Republican politicians are behind it. She continued:

Only last month a Fox News commentator, with Members of Congress next to him, rallied a Tea Party crowd by disparaging Congress and calling the crowd 'all these Tim McVeigh wannabes here' to the crowds cheers and applause.

This was the only "evidence" McCollum offered to tie Tea Partiers to Timothy McVeigh--the ostensible subject of her speech--but even McCollum isn't dumb enough to fail to understand that Sean Hannity was making a sarcastic reference to the Democrats' absurd claim that Tea Partiers have something in common with the mad bomber. He was, in other words, ridiculing McCollum's claim, not supporting it.

She continued by renewing her call for civility:

The Members of this House Democrats and Republicans - have a duty and an obligation to end the dangerous name-calling that can only inspire the extremist militias and phony patriots.

Sure. And McCollum's contribution to "ending name-calling" consists of saying that her political opponents are would-be mass murderers. Such is the twisted logic that dominates today's Democratic Party.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Permanent Bailout--permanent manipulation

Permanent Bailout by John at Powerline

It's deja vu all over again: the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats are trying to rush a 1,400-page financial regulation bill through Congress before anyone finds out what is in it. As Paul noted yesterday, the issue polls well and the Dems are desperate for a winning campaign theme.

The financial services industry is already heavily regulated; some would say that is more the problem than the solution. What would the Democrats' new layer of regulation accomplish? Republicans charge that the bill institutionalizes federal bailouts, making them a permanent feature of the regulatory landscape. Economist Larry Linsdey explains in a memo to John Boehner:

To date, public attention has focused on whether the bill is a "bailout" bill that will keep "too big to fail" alive. You be the judge. First, the bill contains a $50 billion fund for resolution of systemically risky institutions. The bill allows a 2/3 vote of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to deem any firm (financial or non-financial) as coming under its rubric and then authorizes the FDIC and Treasury Secretary to treat each of the firm's shareholders and creditors as they choose, without regard to bankruptcy law. Second, the bill gives the Treasury and the FDIC authority to grant an unlimited number of loan guarantees to systemically risky institutions. No Congressional authorization or appropriation is required. Third, the bill gives the Fed the authority to fund any "program" to assist these institutions accepting as collateral anything it deems appropriate. So perhaps too big to fail is dead. How could any firm actually fail when all of its debt could be guaranteed by the Treasury, the Fed could print money to assist it, and just in case, there was $50 billion sitting around to reassure nervous creditors that they would be repaid regardless what contract or bankruptcy law said? Needless to say, the large Wall Street firms aren't complaining; they will permanently benefit from having lower borrowing costs thanks to these provisions, the same way Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac enjoyed implicit guarantees.

Wall Street has supported Democrats two-to-one over Republicans in recent campaign cycles. This, perhaps, is the payoff the Street has been waiting for.

It is also worth noting that the bailout bill, like the health care takeover and other Obama-era legislation, is national socialist in nature. The banks remain nominally private, but will be controlled by, and gradually turned into instruments of, the national government.

UPDATE: A reader adds:

I have spent the last 15 years of my life in a senior position in the financial services industry. It is indeed a highly regulated industry.

Some of that regulation is necessary and effective. Much of it is not. Regulation has managed to all but destroy the sub $1B IPO market that was the life blood of innovation, capital access and venture capital returns. As a result, Silicon Valley has become Death Valley and the venture industry is scrambling to even justify itself. AOL, Intel, and Apple are just a few of the names that started life as scrappy, shaky efforts holding on by their fingernails and looking to hopeful, risk-taking money in the public markets. None of those companies could be built today.

Why didn't the dot com bust of 2001 bring down the whole economy? Because there WERE consequences in failure and there was no bailout.

Instead of addressing real problems like the death of venture industry at the hands of Elliot Spitzer and Sarbanes Oxley, the Dodd financial reform package embraces one of the self-serving myths of the financial crises.

Hank Paulson and Timothy Geithner were convinced they "didn't have enough tools" to deal with financial crisis. The Dodd package is designed to "provide them tools". As we know, Washington is like the proverbial hammer for which every problem is a nail. See a problem? Throw "regulation", however misguided, at it. Now they have just added hard cold cash to the equation. And of course you can always trust Washington with a check book.

The real problem was that Paulson and Geithner were simply too incompetent to use the tools at their disposal and too conceited and arrogant to recognize that thousands of highly professional and highly capable financial services executives could and did do just fine without them. The vast majority of banks and brokerages in the country were perfectly healthy. An excellent study by the Minneapolis Fed confirmed that. The investment bank I worked for split itself into "bad bank" and "good bank" a year before the crisis after it saw Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac start to pull back from the sub-prime market. Did our firm get a bailout? No. Bad bank sucked wind. Good bank prospered. End of story. Risk contained.

The crisis was first and foremost a political crisis driven by opportunists and ignorami. The problem was simple: $2T of over-rated and mis-priced AAA mortgage backed securities has been pumped in to the financial system. Much of the blame for that fakery rested on the government itself. Instead of laser focusing on that problem (which Ben Bernanke eventually took care of by monetizing $1T of long dated securities in February of 2009), the Dodd Frank Pelosi Reid crowd launched into pure ignorant hysteria. This confidence-rattling hysteria, Hank Paulson's wheeler dealer approach to the problem, and confusion around the application of Basel II accounting rules on valuing balance sheets, did as much to shake the markets as any "greed" on Wall Street.

Obama Zombies Versus Countercultural Conservatives

Obama Zombies Versus Countercultural Conservatives by Orit Sklar

by Orit Sklar College campuses have become the most intolerant environment for free speech in America over the last few decades, with conservative students, speakers, and ideas in the crosshairs of hostile leftist professors and administrators who use their resources to advance a radical political agenda while suppressing the opposition. For years this was treated as a problem that was isolated to the campus community, but during the 2008 presidential campaign, the country learned that this problem breached the campus wall without a single sandbag laid down to reinforce it. In Jason Mattera’s Obama Zombies: How the Liberal Machine Brainwashed My Generation, he demonstrates how comprehensively the Obama campaign hijacked an entire voter generation to win the election. The good news is that, by heeding Mattera’s advice, the Obama Zombies – and the country — can be saved.

In a hilarious but core-shaking manner, Jason outlines the strategy employed to convince — better, buy off — the “Millenials” to vote for the “cool” candidate. It had absolutely nothing to do with the issues and nothing to do with the candidates’ shadowy background, should-have-sunk-him associations, or thin experience. Young people were looking for a hero and a handout. They bought into promises “Their One” couldn’t possibly keep and didn’t much bother to think about how destructive to their own present liberty and future prosperity those false promises were in the first place.

As Mattera writes in Obama Zombies:

But perhaps one of the Team Obama’s best and most effective uses of rockers like Dave Matthews came in the form of a little something I like to call the “Dave Matthews Electoral Magnet” tactic. … As Clinton was speaking, B.H.O.’s minions began handing out free Dave Matthews tickets. You can imagine the viral marketing effect, with college kids burning up their texting keyboards and mad dialing on their iPhones to tell their soon-to-be-Zombified friends that, “Dude, Obama is hooking us up with free Dave Matthews tickets. Leave the Slick Willy speech and come get the free tickets, bro!”

What happened to John F. Kennedy’s “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”? Instead college students showed the country that their blind allegiance could be bought for a measly concert ticket. The Millenials “sold their souls for rock ‘n roll.”

How retro.

This generation, of all voting blocs, should have been most skeptical of candidates that were going to make it harder for them to find a job after graduation, force them to pay more of their income in taxes, and not address the bankruptcy of the Social Security system. What of individualism? “It’s all about me” became “It’s all about B,” as mobs of fresh-faced, foul-mouthed post-Americans swarmed the polls, climbing over one another in a Pamplona bull-charge to surrender their liberty. For a logo. The same logo every other non-conformist imagined was his or her own.

Not surprising, I suppose, as these young men and women have been corrupted in the indoctrination cesspools of America. Critical thinking has been replaced by reflex — all twitches being leftist and anti-American. The prevalence of classroom bias — not to mention the draconian infringements on campus free speech — from the overwhelmingly leftist professors has an effect on the captive, impressionable first-time voters. When one third of faculty identifies America as the “greatest threat to global stability,” is it surprising that young voters believed Obama’s campaign mantra? With more students attending college over the years, increased exposure to college faculty and the deterioration of young minds has gone hand in hand. “The closing of the American mind” is but a quaint memory. The Era of O has Magic-Bulleted the young American mind. Just look at the reaction Obama receives from college students — captivated would be an understatement:

At the University of Pennsylvania, students who had packed a gymnasium erupted into chants of “yes, we can” from the bleachers. Obama acolytes at Emerson College in Boston were equally apoplectic, with one female student proclaiming “Oh my God!” in the midst of covering her mouth in utter disbelief, like a prepubescent girl at a Jonas Brothers concert.

This is not a natural reaction or behavior at the sight of a mere mortal. Obama was placed on a pedestal that is reserved for no mere mortal.

Obama’s image as calm, cool, and collected among college students was perpetuated by the media and the music and movie industry heavyweights, namely MTV and “non-partisan” initiatives that clearly promoted Obama and liberalism directly on college campuses or at events populated with college students. With their help, he attracted record breaking crowds on par with music concerts with all the attendant shrieking, fainting, and groupie fantasies.

The Obama campaign was masterful in manufacturing an irrational devotion to a man who remains today an unknown quantity, even among the most zealous Zombies. Not really all that shocking in the reality show age in which the first girl kicked off the show, during her nasal-flood farewell, declares people she’s known for six minutes “amazing” and “some of my best friends” and the experience as “life-changing.” The campaign’s groundbreaking manipulation of social media faux communities (Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and text messaging), and the massive staff deployed to support the operation, fitted the emperor with the implausible wardrobe of the transformative, transcendent, inevitable, and inescapable quintessential figure of our generation. “The change we’ve been waiting for.”

Republicans were destined to lose big in 2008. But as Jason points out: while Obama had all the usual suspects in his camp — a personality-obsessed pop culture, a complicit liberal media machine, and university indoctrinators — 58 million people voted against Obama, and many more would have had it not been for the Republicans’ Mistake Machine, the centerpiece being the nomination of John McCain and the ensuing antiquated, ineffective, and lifeless campaign.

Despite the fact that McCain was not the “conservative” candidate, after the election, many in the media, the Democratic Party, and even some center-right pundit-elites were proclaiming the death of conservatism. They were wrong then as they are now. Conservative principles are ageless and will always be the best solutions for America as long as our country is to remain the hope of the Earth. Candidates can win on a platform based on conservative principles — limited government, free markets, a manly approach to national security, and a non-bowing foreign policy — if they heed the lessons and battle plan put forth in Obama Zombies.

This is not a lost generation — mind you, it was only six years before the 2008 election that today’s youth were reportedly more conservative than their elders — if we all make an effort to unapologetically advance conservatism — Americanism — and join the “countercultural conservative battle.”

Orit Sklar is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. Orit is known nationwide for her advancement of First Amendment rights and academic freedom on American university campuses, and is the co-recipient of the 2009 Ronald Reagan Award from the American Conservative Union. She can be reached at