Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Way back in January I wrote over at Forbes about how the Democrats have become the party of the rich:
If you brought back either of the Roosevelts—Teddy or Franklin—from the grave, the most astonishing thing they would find is that the “malefactors of great wealth” have become the benefactors of today’s liberalism, and Democrats have become the party of the rich. In the economic crisis of the 1930s, the rich hated FDR. Most of today’s rich love Barack Obama—so much so that Washington D.C. area airports ran out of space to handle all of the private jets flying in the well-heeled for both of his inaugurals. Forget the “limousine liberals” of the 1960s and 1970s, sending their own kids to private schools while advocating forced busing for everyone else; behold today’s burgeoning class of “Gulfstream liberals,” who jet about the globe while fretting about global warming.
Now the Associated Press has figures for the election season just past, and surprise, surprise, surprise!
For as often as Democrats attack the conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch for their heavy spending on politics, it’s actually the liberal-minded who shelled out the most cash in the just completed midterm elections.
Among the top 100 individual donors to political groups, more than half gave primarily to Democrats or their allies. Among groups that funneled more than $100,000 to allies, the top of the list tilted overwhelmingly toward Democrats — a group favoring the GOP doesn’t appear on the list until No. 14.
The two biggest super PACs of 2014? Senate Majority PAC and House Majority PAC — both backing Democrats.
In all, the top 10 individual donors to outside groups injected almost $128 million into this year’s elections. Democratic-leaning groups collected $91 million of it.
Among the 183 groups that wrote checks of $100,000 or more to another group, Democrats had a 3-to-1 cash advantage. The biggest player was the National Education Association, at $22 million. Not a single Republican-leaning group cracked the top 10 list of those transferring money to others.
Meanwhile, CrowdPac, as reported by Business Insider, has done a profession-by-profession analysis of political giving, and surprise, surprise, surprise, the entertainment industry and college professors lean heavily Democratic. But there are some surprises, such as the apparent fact that auto dealers and the pharmaceutical industry lean slightly to the left in their political giving. This is probably because of the strong-arming of the auto bailout and Obamacare. (From what some auto dealers told me about the strong-arming that came with the GM bailout, it ought to be the kind of national scandal that would make a reporter’s career—if we had any reporters not in the bag for Democrats.) The most conservative professions: mining, agriculture, oil and gas, real estate. In other words, people who make the material goods the service and knowledge sectors depend on.
Here are some of the summary charts, but do read the whole thing for everybody:
Crowdpac 1 copy
Click to embiggen.
Crowdpac 2 copyCrowdpac 3 copyCrowdpac 4 copyCrowdpac5 copyCrowdpac 6 copy


In his regular Wednesday email to subscribers (you can subscribe at no cost here), the Weekly Standard’s Jonathan Last draws attention to Allahpundit’s December 18 Hot Airpost “White House aides: Obama feels liberated and ready to be the president he always wanted to be.” Allahpunit takes up the implications of the Obama administration’s thawing of relations with Cuba in the context of the administration’s ongoing negotiations with Iran. Submitted for your consideration:
[Obama's] “excellent year” [as an Obama aide called it] involved every Democratic incumbent in the country running away from him and his low-40s approval rating, only to see them wiped out anyway in a mammoth nationwide anti-Obama backlash. You could understand him feeling liberated if Democrats had run on his policies and outperformed expectations; he would have pointed to that, not unjustifiably, as a mandate. Instead, “liberation” to Obama meant postponing virtually every major initiative until after voters were safely out of the way. He saved net neutrality for the week after the election; he saved executive amnesty for two weeks after; and who knows how soon the Cuba deal could have been struck if Obama wanted it done before November 4th. What he feels liberated from, in other words, is democratic accountability, which is not the sort of thing you want to hear from a guy who’s already blazed new unconstitutional trails in executive lawmaking. If this is what he’s doing in the first flush of “liberation,” what’s he going to be doing in the homestretch of his presidency in 2016, especially if Hillary has a safe-ish lead against her Republican challenger? You trust a man who’s reflected wistfully to his inner circle that it’d be easier to be president of China, don’t you? Especially with a sympathetic media cheering on his dubious, just-try-to-stop-me “winning streak.”
That reminds me of something I thought yesterday when the Cuba news was first breaking. One of the momentous but less remarked upon consequences of the deal with Castro is that it makes a nuclear deal with Iran much more likely, no? One striking thing about it, as a million different people have already observed, is how little Obama got in return for it. No major concessions on human rights, no concessions on moving towards democracy, no guarantees that American capital flowing into Havana won’t go straight into Raul’s and Fidel’s pockets. He handed the Castros U.S. recognition of their legitimacy in exchange for basically nothing. What he did get, though, was something important to him personally – something for his “legacy,” an extra line on his presidential resume about how he reopened Cuba when his predecessors had kept it closed for 50 years.
If legacy-building is job one for his foreign policy then a terrible deal with Iran on nukes becomes more feasible. It’s a logical sequel to the Cuba deal: If detente with an impotent Havana is a big success, how much bigger of a success it would be to achieve detente with the Shiite menace that’s been undercutting America for 35 years.
In the last quoted paragraph, I think that should be “detente” in scoff quotes. Implicit in Allapundit’s analysis is the understanding that any deal with Iran will not involve any lessening of the Iranian regime’s hostilities against the United States. In any event, whole thing here.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Race Card’s Steep Cost

The Race Card’s Steep Cost 
As the NYPD deaths show, demagogues’ constantly taking cheap shots at the police can end in tragedy. 
(Alex Wong/Getty)
Thomas Sowell 
The cold-blooded murder of two New York City policemen as they sat in their car is not only an outrage but also a wake-up call. It shows, in the most painful way, the high cost of having demagogues, politicians, mobs, and the media constantly taking cheap shots at the police.
Those cheap shots are in fact very expensive shots, not only to the police themselves but to the whole society. Someone once said that civilization is a thin crust over a volcano. The police are part of that thin crust. We have seen before our own eyes, first in Ferguson, Missouri and then in other communities, what happens when there is just a small crack in that crust, and barbarism and arson burst out.
That can happen anywhere. So can what happened in New York. “Send not to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.”
It is a painful irony that, on the eve of the murders of these two police officers in New York, some of the city’s police were already saying that, in the event of their deaths, they did not want Mayor Bill de Blasio to attend their funerals.
We can only hope that Mayor de Blasio has some residual decency, so that he will not defile these two officers’ memorial services with his presence. No politician in the country has done more to play the race card against the police and spread the notion that cops are the big problem in minority communities.
It so happens that the police officers killed were both members of minority groups — Officer Rafael Ramos, Hispanic, and Officer Wenjian Liu, Asian. It so happens that a substantial part of the New York City police force are members of minority groups.
But you might never know that from the story told by demagogues who depict the black community as a “colonial” society being “occupied” by white policemen who target young blacks. Mayor de Blasio joined the chorus of those saying that they have to warn their black sons how to cope with this situation.
“What can we say to our sons?” some demagogues ask. They can say, “Don’t go around punching strangers, because it is only a matter of time before you punch the wrong stranger.”
Mayor de Blasio has made anti-police comments with Al Sharpton seated at his side. This is the same Al Sharpton with a trail of slime going back more than a quarter of a century, during which he has whipped up mobs and fomented race hatred from the days of the Tawana Brawley “rape” hoax of 1987 to the Duke University “rape” hoax of 2006 and the Ferguson riots of 2014.
Make no mistake about it. There is political mileage to be made siding with demagogues like Al Sharpton who, as demagogue-in-chief, has been invited to the White House dozens of times by its commander-in-chief.
Many in the media and among the intelligentsia cherish the romantic tale of an “us” against “them” struggle of beleaguered ghetto blacks defending themselves against the aggression of white policemen. The gullible include both whites who don’t know what they are talking about and blacks who don’t know what they are talking about either, because they never grew up in a ghetto. Among the latter are the President of the United States and his attorney general.
Such people readily buy the story that ghetto social problems today — from children being raised without a father to runaway rates of murder — are “a legacy of slavery,” even though such social problems were nowhere near as severe in the first half of the 20th century as they became in the second half.
You would be hard pressed to name just five examples from the first half of the 20th century of the kinds of ghetto riots that have raged in more than a hundred cities during the second half. Such riots are a legacy of the social degeneracy of our times.
Calling this social degeneracy “a legacy of slavery” is not just an excuse for those who engage in it, it is an excuse for the ideology of the intelligentsia behind the social policies that promoted this degeneracy.
Let those who have laid a guilt trip on people in our times, for evils done by other people in past centuries, at least face their own responsibility for the evil consequences of their own notions and policies. If they won’t do it, then the rest of us need to stop listening gullibly to what they are saying.
The race card is nothing to play with. It can ruin us all.
— Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His website is © 2014 Creators Syndicate Inc.


Just before Christmas, the Commerce Department announced that third quarter GDP growth came in at an upwardly-revised 5% annual rate. Nearly everyone hailed this as wonderful economic news. The New York Times celebrated the apparent return to rapid growth:
[H]ere, for the holidays, is the festive news: The economy roared ahead at a 5 percent annual growth rate in the July through September quarter, the fastest quarterly growth since 2003. …
The biggest revision that boosted G.D.P. was in personal consumption spending, the biggest engine of overall economic activity, which rose at a 3.2 percent annual rate, not the 2.2 percent rate earlier estimated.
But what drove that upward revision in personal consumption? The Times suggests that lower gas prices were a factor, and to be sure, falling gas prices are great news for consumers. But Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge takes a closer look at the data, and recalls a prediction he made at the end of the first quarter:
Back in June, when we were looking at the final Q1 GDP print, we discovered something very surprising: after the BEA had first reported that absent for Obamacare, Q1 GDP would have been negative in its first Q1 GDP report, subsequent GDP prints imploded as a result of what is now believed to be the polar vortex. But the real surprise was that the Obamacare boost was, in the final print, revised massively lower to actually reduce GDP!
This is how the unprecedented trimming of Obamacare’s contribution to GDP looked like back then:
Healthcare Contribution_0
Of course, even back then we knew what this means: payback is coming, and all the BEA is looking for is the right quarter in which to insert the “GDP boost”. This is what we said verbatim:
Don’t worry though: this is actually great news! Because the brilliant propaganda minds at the Dept of Commerce figured out something banks also realized with the stub “kitchen sink” quarter in November 2008. Namely, since Q1 is a total loss in GDP terms, let’s just remove Obamacare spending as a contributor to Q1 GDP and just shove it in Q2.
Stated otherwise, some $40 billion in PCE that was supposed to boost Q1 GDP will now be added to Q2-Q4.
And now, we all await as the US department of truth says, with a straight face, that in Q2 the US GDP “grew” by over 5% (no really: you’ll see).
Well, we were wrong: it wasn’t Q2. It was Q3, albeit precisely in the Q2-Q4 interval we expected.
Fast forward to today when as every pundit is happy to report, the final estimate of Q3 GDP indeed rose by 5% (no really, just as we predicted), with a surge in personal consumption being the main driver of US growth in the June-September quarter. As noted before, between the second revision of the Q3 GDP number and its final print, Personal Consumption increased from 2.2% to 3.2% Q/Q, and ended up contributing 2.21% of the final 4.96% GDP amount, up from 1.51%.
So what did Americans supposedly spend so much more on compared to the previous revision released one month ago? Was it cars? Furnishings? Housing and Utilities? Recreational Goods and RVs? Or maybe nondurable goods and financial services?
Any of those would have been good news. But no: the “personal consumption” that drove the supposed economic boom in the third quarter was the increased cost of Obamacare, spending that had been moved from the first quarter to make the third quarter look better:
Actually no. The answer, just as we predicted precisely 6 months ago is…well, just see for yourselves.
Final Q3 GDP contribution_2_0
In short, two-thirds of the “boost” to final Q3 personal consumption came from, drumroll, the same Obamacare which initially was supposed to boost Q1 GDP until the “polar vortex” crashed the number so badly, the BEA decided to pull it completely and leave this “growth dry powder” for another quarter. That quarter was Q3.
We can only hope that exploding Obamacare costs don’t drive “personal consumption” any higher in future quarters, and also that this sort of statistical manipulation comes to an end when the endlessly corrupt Obama administration finally departs the scene.

Don's Tuesday Column

THE WAY I SEE IT   by Don Polson  Red Bluff Daily News   12/30/2014

   Spreading wealth creates takers

Here are some end-of-2014 items that haven’t gotten nearly the notice and attention they have deserved; readers are free to conclude why.
The most recent announcement that America’s economy grew at a 5 percent annual rate in the 3rd Quarter (Q3 being July 1 through September 30) drove all sorts of chest thumping by Obama acolytes, defenders and hacks about the (supposedly) strong recovery. Some conservatives and Republicans had no discouraging words. Many of us, however, take any message from Emperor Obama and his state mouthpieces with healthy skepticism, confident that counter-narratives will be found, buried in the details.
Our skepticism is not only justified, but also proven correct about such statistical exuberance and recovery pronouncements. Look up, at, a December 26 post, “About That 5% GDP Growth Rate…” that cites the analysis of Tyler Durden,, in, “Here Is The Reason For The ‘Surge’ in Q3 GDP.” The bottom line: sleight-of-hand, smoke and mirrors created the 5% rate, and the so-called economic recovery.
The Bureau of Economic Advisers (BEA, or the economic branch of Emperor Obama’s propaganda operation) arbitrarily assigned a surge in health care spending, present in the previous 6 months of 2014, to the most recent quarter. Reason? Goose the numbers for the predictable political and PR gain. You see, when the economy grows due to increased sales of actual goods and services in the free market, that’s a good thing. Government spending has no such economy-growing effect, coming from taxes (money not spent by consumers), borrowing (money to be paid back from future taxes) or inflation (diminishing the value of citizens’ money against rising prices).
Heath care spending, absent government interference, is a part of the “consumer spending” segment of the economy. Obamacare (Affordable Care Act—ACA) is clearly a major interference in the health care system, as evidenced by the proliferation of mandates, taxes and regulatory requirements. In spite of promises and projections to the contrary, i.e. that Obamacare would “bend the cost curve down,” the health care law’s unintended actual consequence has been to artificially balloon spending on health care through higher premiums, deductibles and costs.
So, the left wants it both ways: First, they predict rosy scenarios of reduced spending on health care/insurance from the ACA; then they boast about an improving economy based only on the artificially inflated health spending resulting from Obamacare. That gets folded into the rest of the “real goods and services” like durable goods, software, financial services, manufacturing, etc. All backed by supposedly objective, “official” BEA statistics. What shameless manipulation.
Regarding our individual or collective perception of abundance and economic growth, a chart by Veronique de Rugy, titled “Total Spending per Capita by Major Spending Categories,” illustrates the long-term trend of federal spending per person over 52 years. The 3 categories used, “discretionary,” “mandatory” and “interest,” show the cost to each American rising from around $4,000 in 1962 to a mind-blowing $12,000+ in 2009 (over $11,000 in 2014).
Adjusted to 2014 dollars, the trend tells us that a family of four pays not only $12,000x4, or $48,000, but also pays around $32,000 more per year than they would have in 1962. Moreover, “discretionary” spending has remained relatively flat around $4,000 per person per year. Folks, it’s the “mandatory” spending that has ballooned from $1,000 per person to about $7,000. My guess is that you would find military spending flat or declining over 52 years, leaving the overwhelming growth due to “entitlements,” or income-based transfers.
I posted another chart at on December 11: “New CBO study shows that ‘the rich’ don’t just pay their ‘fair share,’ they pay almost everybody’s share.” It broke down the amount of federal dollars received and paid, for 5 income segments. The richest two segments, with average incomes of $83,000 and $235,000 respectively, are the only ones that actually pay, on average, more than they receive ($700 and $46,500). The bottom 3 quintiles (incomes averaging about $15,000, $30,000 and $50,000) are receiving more than they pay in taxes ($8,600, $12,500 and $9,100 respectively).
The conclusion in all of this is that America has truly “progressed” (to use leftist jargon) into a redistributionist, rich-pay-poor-receive, more-folks-in-the-wagon-than-pulling-it, model. We’ve descended from a nation where most people proudly provided for themselves from their own labors and ingenuity, to a nation where most people depend on someone else paying more taxes than they receive in benefits. The Not-So-Great Society has created a virtual nation of takers.
An economically ignorant Obama, on 9/2, “calls for higher wages to rev economy” (AP). Only an economy where the collective and individual burden of government is light or declining will allow, inspire and encourage the entrepreneurial, free market job creation that drives higher wages. Obamacrats will never get, let alone accept, that economic reality.
“Obama wants election about the economy, not him,” (AP, 10/10). Voters rejected the Emperor and his pathetically weak recovery. Both Obama and his ideologues are economically clueless on how to change this: “Labor Force Participation Remains at 36-Year Low” (, 12/5). Obama and his Democrats have truly created a “jobless recovery.”

Monday, December 29, 2014


Beginning way back in 2002, we wrote about International A.N.S.W.E.R., a Communist organization that was founded in September 2001 and that organized substantial antiwar demonstrations during the Bush administration. A.N.S.W.E.R. embodied within itself the seeming contradiction between the far left and Islamic extremism: it enthusiastically supported both Kim il Jung and Saddam Hussein, and is directed in part by the Muslim Student Association. Our earliest posts on A.N.S.W.E.R. have been lost in our various database moves; the first one that survives is this brief post from January 2003. At one time I did some research to try to figure out where A.N.S.W.E.R.’s money comes from. From publicly available filings I could deduce that they are supported by a handful of rich benefactors, but I couldn’t identify who they were.
We haven’t paid attention to A.N.S.W.E.R. for a while, but their current web site suggests that the Islamic element has become more pronounced:
A distinguishing feature of the organizing principles and work of the answer coalition, in contrast with the traditional U.S.peace movement was its uncompromising support in defense of the rights of the Palestinian people.
In April 2002, the ANSWER Coalition organized the largest demonstrations in solidarity with the Palestinian people in U.S. history, of more than 100,000 people.
ANSWER, which at its core included a partnership between Arab and non-Arab activists, fought a long and successful battle against excluding the Palestinian struggle for self-determination from the anti-war and peace movement. In the years since, we have mobilized across the country to stop the repeated assaults against and massacres of the people of Gaza.
Most recently ANSWER lead a march of 50,000 people in Washington, D.C. on August 2, 2014 to protest the Israeli massacre against people in Gaza.
ANSWER has mobilized against the illegal coup and UN occupation of Haiti, against the illegal blockade of Cuba, and the illegal ‘regime change’ war on Libya.
We are actively fighting against the ongoing occupation of Afghanistan, the renewed assaults on Iraq and Syria, the drone attacks on Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia, among others.
But that doesn’t mean that A.N.S.W.E.R. has given up on Communism. The front page of itssite currently celebrates Barack Obama’s collaboration with the Castro regime with the banner headline “The Cuban Five Are FREE!”
Given all of that, we shouldn’t have been surprised to see that the current demonstrations in New York against the police are being led by the Communist, pro-terrorist International A.N.S.W.E.R. This is from the organization’s Twitter feed:
Embedded image permalink
In front of the plaza now to
A.N.S.W.E.R. is close to unique, in that it advocates for pretty much every form of evil in the world. Who pays for it, what masters it serves, remains unknown. But that evil infuses its every act, is obvious.

Obama, a One-Man Revolution

Obama, a One-Man Revolution 
In his “fourth quarter,” he feels free to ignore popular opinion, the rule of law, and Congress. 


Until now there were two types of peaceful American change. One was a president, like Franklin D. Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan, working with Congress to alter American life from the top down by passing a new agenda. The other was popular-reform pressure, as happened in the 1890s or 1960s, to change public opinion and force government to make new laws or change existing ones.
Barack Obama has introduced a quite different, third sort of revolution. He seeks to enact change that both the majority of Americans and their representatives oppose. And he tries to do it by bypassing Congress through executive orders and presidential memoranda of dubious legality.
Take so-called climate change. Even when Obama enjoyed a Democrat-controlled Congress, he could not ram through unpopular cap-and-trade legislation. Now he promises to reduce carbon emissions through executive orders. He just signed a climate-change “accord” with China, bypassing the U.S. Senate, which by law must approve treaties with foreign powers.
Polls show that a majority of Americans oppose amnesties and want immigration laws enforced. The 2014 midterm elections were a reminder of those realities. No matter. Obama just did what for six years he warned was illegal: bypass immigration law and grant millions exemptions from enforcement through what he once called “a pen and a phone.”
For over a half-century, both Democratic and Republican administrations and Congresses have excluded Cuba from normal U.S. relations. The Castro regime once hosted nuclear missiles pointed at the U.S. It sent expeditionary forces around the globe to spread Communism. It executed opponents, and it still locks up tens of thousands of political prisoners. It drove more than a million refugees to U.S. shores.
Obama knew there was neither popular nor congressional support to reestablish normal ties, especially given that the elderly dictators the Castro brothers are soon to pass on. The traditional props for Cuba’s failed Cuban economy – Russia and Venezuela – now have failed economies of their own.
Easing up on Cuba makes about as much sense as if Reagan had given up on the Cold War in 1981, on the principle that prior opposition to Communism for over a half-century had failed to collapse the tottering Soviet Union.
Obama is said to feel liberated in his revolutionary mode, without worry of either midterm elections or his own reelection. He promises in his “fourth quarter” to enact more executive orders that will radically transform America, despite potential opposition from voters and the Congress. 
In part the Obama revolution is linguistic. Words have been reinvented to mask unpleasant reality. Executive orders are “presidential memoranda,” to disguise their ubiquity. Costly Obamacare is an “Affordable Care Act.” Treaties are mere “accords” that do not need to be ratified by the Senate. Deportations are redefined to create a false sense that immigration law is enforced. Terrorism is disassociated from its Islamic roots through euphemisms like “man-caused disaster.”
In part the Obama revolution is bureaucratic. Old agencies are reinvented for new progressive missions. The NASA director promised to pursue Muslim outreach. The IRS went after political opponents. The actions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement are selective, and predicated on politics that are deemed favorable to the long-term Obama agenda. Whether the Department of Justice under Eric Holder intervened in a case was predicated on race, class, and gender criteria rather than just the legal merits.
In part the Obama revolution is a war to divvy up the nation by race, class, and gender. Differences are all stoked through various made-up wars. Incendiary presidential advisers like Al Sharpton, inflammatory rhetoric such “nation of cowards” and “punish our enemies,” and presidential commentary on controversies such as the Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown cases inflame and divide.
After six years of Obama’s tenure, the president’s approval rating is just above 40 percent. He has lost more congressional seats during his administration than has any president in over a half-century. His party is in shambles, with historic midterm losses in state legislatures and governorships.
Obama’s promised new legislation — gun control, climate change, Obamacare — was either rejected by Congress or passed but found to be both unpopular and nearly unworkable. Positive changes — such as lower gas prices brought on by new American oil and gas discoveries and innovative new methods of extraction — came despite, not because of, Obama.
Yet the president presses on with his unpopular agenda, believing, as did Napoleon, that he alone is the revolution — intent to ignore popular opinion, the rule of law, and Congress. He assumes that his mastery of the teleprompter and iconic status as the first black president exempt him from congressional censure or outright public revolt.
In the next two years, we will see presidential overreach that we have not witnessed in modern memory.
— Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author, most recently, of The Savior Generals. You can reach him by e-mailing © 2014 Tribune Media Services, Inc.