Archive for the 'Domestic Politics' Category

“So how is that working out for you, Mr President?”

Good Friend Bruce McQuain picks up on a story I noticed yesterday. Rather than rehash it, I’ll let him lay it out:

Greg Mankiw reminds us of this bit of fantasy:

What we are not doing — what I have no interest in doing — is running GM. GM will be run by a private board of directors and management team with a track record in American manufacturing that reflects a commitment to innovation and quality. They — and not the government — will call the shots and make the decisions about how to turn this company around. – President Barack Obama

And this bit of reality:

Federal support for companies such as GM, Chrysler Group LLC and Bank of America Corp. has come with baggage: Companies in hock to Washington now have the equivalent of 535 new board members — 100 U.S. senators and 435 House members.

Since the financial crisis broke, Congress has been acting like the board of USA Inc., invoking the infusion of taxpayer money to get banks to modify loans to constituents and to give more help to those in danger of foreclosure. Members have berated CEOs for their business practices and pushed for caps on executive pay. They have also pushed GM and Chrysler to reverse core decisions designed to cut costs, such as closing facilities and shuttering dealerships.


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I know, let’s compare ourselves to Jimmy!!!

Let’s compare ourselves to other successful Democratic Presidents.

Brilliant I say! BRILLIANT.

Planting Trees

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If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

What do tea parties, Glenn Beck, Fox News, and the US Chamber of Commerce have in common? All are demonized opponents of the Obama administration, and more popular then ever.

“If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

This seems to be the case, not only for Jedi Knights, but also opponents of the Obama administration (or at least those on their enemies list.)

Cases in point:

Tea party and the 9/12 DC Protest:

Does anyone think these would have had such widespread, and non-partisan support as they have if the Obama administration (and their MSM sycophants) hadn’t demonized and belittled the people attending them.

Glenn Beck

Beck’s indignant critiques of the Obama administration and gloomy outlook on the nation’s financial health have found near-instant resonance. His eponymous 2 p.m. PST program averaged nearly 2.2 million viewers last month — double the number the time slot attracted the previous February and a remarkable amount for the afternoon. That made “Glenn Beck” the third most-watched program in all of cable news for the month, after Bill O’Reilly’s and Sean Hannity’s evening shows.

“I look at the ratings every day shocked,” Beck said on a recent afternoon, sitting shoeless in his Midtown office as snow pelted the Manhattan skyline behind him.

But he believes he knows why viewers are tuning in: “People know in their gut that something’s not right. They’re not getting the truth.”

Fox News as a whole:

The August ratings are out, and once again, the ratings for the Fox News Channel are phenomenal.

Rather than throwing a million pieces of data that every channel is spinning into madness, I ask you to consider just this one: On Sunday night, the third episode of AMC’s highly-publicized and much-discussed series, “Mad Men,” drew an audience of 1.6 million viewers at 10 p.m. when it debuted. Throughout the month of August, Fox News Channel averaged an audience of 2.29 million viewers during every single hour of prime time. And some nights, Bill O’Reilly drew an audience twice as large as that of “Mad Men.”

US Chamber of Commerce:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is on track to exceed last year’s fundraising by more than $10 million, thanks in part to the Obama administration’s decision to target the pro-business group, according to the organization’s president.

President Tom Donohue told that even though a few companies have left the chamber over its opposition to President Obama’s domestic policies, the organization is actually benefiting from its place in the White House crosshairs.

“There are some longstanding members that wanted to step up and help more,” he told The public friction with the White House comes in the midst of a $100 million fundraising campaign for the chamber.

The White House, while claiming that it hasn’t tried to encourage any business to part ways with the chamber, has been cutting the business group out of the loop by dealing directly with member executives. Obama and his aides have criticized the group publicly for its opposition to legislation dealing with climate change, health care and financial regulation.

Another interesting point revealed in the above quote. Unions and community organizing are great, unless they oppose you, in which case it’s fine to just bypass them.


Don Surber notes that CNN’s numbers dropped 68% in prime time during the same period. President Obama’s polling numbers are showing a similar drop. Couldn’t be related, could it. (H/T instapundit)

Thanks for the instalanche… and welcome Instapundit readers.

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Brain-dead Conservatism?

Ann Althouse linked this commentary from the Washington Post yesterday.

“During the glory days of the conservative movement, from its ascent in the 1960s and ’70s to its success in Ronald Reagan’s era, there was a balance between the intellectuals, such as Buckley and Milton Friedman, and the activists, such as Phyllis Schlafly and Paul Weyrich, the leader of the New Right. The conservative political movement, for all its infighting, has always drawn deeply from the conservative intellectual movement, and this mix of populism and elitism troubled neither side.”

Reading it I thought that the likely reason for an apparent lack of intellectual leadership in the conservative movement was because everyone was too busy trying to shut up the populists and remake the Republican Party or redefine conservative as something smarter by insisting that it shed the unwashed masses.

Which is what I was reminded of when I saw this about McCain. (And “compared to what?” was a laugh out loud moment, Bruce.)


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Uncommon insight

The Saddest Lede on the Internet Today.
Says Ric Locke on his new blog.   And what was the lede?     “Americans believe that the normal state of things is not-violence.”

Do you suppose that’s true? That that’s why we have such absurdities as people climbing in zoo cages to cuddle the animals? It would explain a lot of things.

The blog article he links goes on to make some sort of argument that the normal state of capitalism is violence and that people should think about why we put up with it…. or something like that.

It’s shocking to me, even though I’m used to the notion, that people do not realize that violence and war are the normal state of things and that civilization is what we impose upon the natural state. (And yes, there are people who seem not to realize that the cuddly animals really will not act all loving and peaceful because they have an uncorrupted ability to tell that you don’t mean harm.)

I think that sometimes libertarians are too convinced that they aren’t talking about imposing order and miss the truth of it, (or at least those opposed to libertarian ideas are convinced that libertarians oppose the imposing of order.)     That’s not the difference between libertarian ideas and those ideologies that consider themselves more caring.    The difference with libertarian ideas and with capitalism is that those things work as much as possible with the reality of human nature while recognizing what human nature is.    Which is violent… just like the rest of nature is violent and unforgiving.

Viewing capitalism as the source of unfairness, vice and violence ignores the truth.    Failing to understand the truth of nature and human nature, to face it squarely, means that the proposed cure for social ills will invariably make them far worse.     As Ric says:

It would explain, for instance, why the writer of that article is able to regurgitate a century and a half of Socialist propaganda and get commenters calling it “insightful”. Two centuries of modern capitalism have resulted in such ease, such comfort, such near-total safety and security, that Americans (at least, some Americans) don’t just take it for granted but consider it the normal state of affairs, so much so that they are ready and willing to smash the structures that created it, in the confident “knowledge” that the safety and prosperity will remain because they are “normal”.

He’s a smart guy. Check out his blog.

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Bogus Civility

Finally someone said what I’ve been thinking about this constant call to civility:

Have we transformed into so brittle a citizenry that we are unable to handle a raucous debate over the future of the country? If things were quiet, subdued and “civil” in America today, as Pelosi surely wishes, it would only be proof that democracy wasn’t working. (Please read the whole article.)

Sure, Pelosi wishes that everyone would behave already, but it is also often conservatives and others arguing over the proper way of dissenting rather than just dissenting already. There seems to be a practical meltdown in areas of the conservative blogosphere over comportment… the theory seeming to be that passion is off-putting to the all-important center. In order to win, therefore, we need to be bland.

Frankly, I think that other than those in power who would rather not be bothered by opposition, it’s only people without ideas who are arguing over civility.


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Water Under the Bridge

So Joe Wilson apologized for the outbreak during President Obama’s latest cheer leading session for health care/insurance reform.

While his behavior was inappropriate, he did have a point that Obama was not quite truthful with the facts. Otherwise there wouldn’t have been a flurry of activity to bar illegal immigrants from getting coverage under any current plans.

Wilson apologized again Thursday morning, though he also says a massive loophole could wind up in the health care bill: no requirement to prove citizenship for health care coverage.

Among three House committees to pass bills for health reform, only one expressly bans federal funding for proving health coverage to illegal immigrants.

“The Congressional Research Service has indicated that indeed the bills that are before Congress would include illegal aliens,” Wilson said. “And I think this is wrong.”

Indeed, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service study found that the House health care bill does not restrict illegal immigrants from receiving health care coverage.

House Republican Minority Leader John Boehner amplified the complaint that without proof of citizenship, illegal immigrants could be insured.

“There were two opportunities for House Democrats to make clear that illegal immigrants wouldn’t be covered by putting in requirements to show citizenships,” he said. “Both of those amendments were, in fact, rejected.”

In the Senate, Democrats in the so called “Gang of Six,” a group of bipartisan senators on the Senate Finance Committee which is the last panel yet to release its bill, began moving quickly to close the loophole that Wilson helped bring greater attention to.

“We absolutely assure that those who are here illegally would not get the benefit of any of these initiatives,” Sen. Kent Conrad said.

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Time for a Rum Revolt…

This just has me speechless… (or wordless…)

Under the agreement, London-based Diageo PLC will receive tax credits and other benefits worth $2.7 billion over 30 years, including the entire $165-million cost of building a state-of-the-art distillery on the island of St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, a U.S. territory.

“The U.S. taxpayer is basically being asked to line the pockets of the world’s largest liquor producer,” says Steve Ellis, the president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog organization.

Some of the points Ed Morrissy is pointing out, which is the reason for my not thinking straight…

  • Puerto Rico will lose 300 jobs in this move
  • Puerto Rico uses 90% of its tax revenues from rum on public welfare. The loss of revenue will cut those funds just in time to have even more people unemployed.
  • Diageo produces about $103 million in tax receipts
  • I think if this is what passes for “smart leadership” in Washington, I’ll take the status-quo for $1000, Alex.

    Go read the whole thing for updates.

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Parsimonious Democrats & Altruistic Republicans

(FNC via HotAir)

The latest Fox/Opinion Dynamics poll on health care reform has an interesting finding buried midway through it. Respondents who expressed support for the Democratic plan were asked for their reasons. Interestingly, the  most obviously altruistic motive –that the reforms would expand health insurance coverage for children and the poor– was most popular among Republicans (21%) and Independents (29%) .  A reason that was comparatively unpopular among Democrats (8%). Indeed, the altruistic motive is the top specific reason Republicans and Independent supporters of the bill supplied.

Doubly interesting was the finding that the most popular specific reason among Democrats for supporting the bill, was the most private: that it would personally benefit their own family. Democrats were also fond of the plan’s potential to reduce their own individual costs (14%),  a parsimonious motive which was substantially less popular among Republican (8%) and Independent (4%) supporters of the plan.

I’m not sure I would have anticipated these results. They do beg the question of  whether some Democratic advocates of the plan are as selflessly motivated as they contend. As for the apparent altruism of Republican and Independent supporters however, it should be observed that since the poll also reveals almost everyone except Democrats now opposes the plan (only 27% of Independents and 8% of Republicans favor it), their sample sizes were inevitably smaller, and thus potentially less representative.

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Sarah and Todd sizzle

From The Other McCain at Hot Air:

“Now, here’s my idea: I told my source to give my phone number to . . . uh, two sources in Wasilla, Alaska, if you get my drift. Because I’ve made my living as a professional journalist since 1986, I’m not really so good at this newfangled making-stuff-up business, but I’d be willing to give it a try:”

What follows is definitely worth the time, the effort and the link.

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Some Lenders Object, Why Not Others?

20 Chrysler lenders or about 30% of the debt Chrysler owes lending institutions are objecting to getting fleeced in the governments planned “surgical bankruptcy” plan. In a normal bankruptcy the senior secured creditors (the lenders) are first in line, while unsecured lenders (UAW) and equity holders are last. This is the basis for the lenders’ complaint:

Creditors object to the way the restructuring benefits the United Auto Workers union, which is an unsecured creditor, for the $10.6bn Chrysler owes to its retiree healthcare fund.

“What’s happening is the senior secured creditors are going to get 29 cents on the dollar and the unsecured creditors are going to get $10bn,” said Mr Lauria.

Now I think the obvious unasked question is, if the lenders are getting such a raw deal, why are only these institution objecting? what about the other lenders making up 70% of the loans? Your indirect answer is present toward the last half of the article.

Chrysler’s four main banks – JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup – had received about $90bn in government bail-out [TARP] cash.

Now we see why these banks are going along with losing all this money. They are scared of the government’s wraith. After Congress almost retroactively changed their contracts with AIG, and Attorney Generals outright threatened AIG executives physical well being, these TARP banks realize that the government is NOT bound by following the rules of law and can punish them for not acting in the government’s best political interest, namely, making sure the UAW is placated.

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New GOP 2012 Challenger: Gary Johnson?

2012 could be an interesting year for GOP presidential candidates if it features both Mark Sanford and Gary Johnson. This, along with the tea party movements, seems to be an outgrowth of the Ron Paul candidacy, perhaps similar to what happened to the Democrats after the Dean candidacy.

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Tea Party Turnout Totals

Texas leads the way with 18 protests and 64,000 attendees.

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List of All Tea Party Protests

A pretty comprehensive list for Texas here. I roughly estimate around 64 protests planned for just Texas. You’ll note that other states are listed on the right. I’m closer to the Sugarland one and may check it out. I’m curious to see just how big it will be, especially considering there’s about 4 other Tea Party protests planned for the Greater Houston area.

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Happy Tax Freedom Day

Today is the day that we have earned enough to pay its tax burden for the year. This year’s day comes earlier than last year, though this is due to recent stimulus effects. Before you start to celebrate though, Doug Bandow warns us that the future does not look good on the tax burden front.

Runaway spending ensures that this year’s TFD will be dwarfed by future TFDs. Some day someone will have to pay off the debts being run up today. The Obama administration’s budget figures are bad enough, but they almost certainly rest upon unrealistic economic expectations. The CBO again offers a sobering analysis: “CBO’s estimates of deficits under the President’s budget exceed those anticipated by the administration by $2.3 trillion over the 2010-2019 period.”

What do do about it? Many are taking to Tea Party protests. While Jon Henke defends the protests from Paul Krugman’s libel.

Yet, in today’s New York Times column (in which he makes some reasonable points about the sad state of the Republican Party), Paul Krugman grossly misuses a term to libel a variety of people.

Last but not least: it turns out that the tea parties don’t represent a spontaneous outpouring of public sentiment. They’re AstroTurf (fake grass roots) events, manufactured by the usual suspects. In particular, a key role is being played by FreedomWorks, an organization run by Richard Armey, the former House majority leader, and supported by the usual group of right-wing billionaires. And the parties are, of course, being promoted heavily by Fox News.

What Freedomworks and various other organizations are doing is not “astroturf” any more than the anti-war protests of some years back were astroturf because ANSWER and helped organize people around those events.  Astroturfing is paid activism by an organization; it is not genuine grassroots activism that funded groups are simply helping to organize.

Update: More piling on from my home town Tea Party site.

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To Big To Fail

Over at Instapundit, Glenn has been keeping an eye on both the Tax Day Tea Party and the New Way Forward demonstrations.

Reading about what the left is doing, I have to think, that if the left thinks banks that are “to big to fail” should be broken up, then what about government programs like social security, medicare, and medicaid?

Surely, these are just as big, and they are to important to fail. Shouldn’t these also be broken up??

And once they’re done with the banks, and the auto industry, what are they going to find “to big to fail” then???

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Send in the SEALS

Well, here’s a true foreign crisis to test the President with.

My response is noted in the title. And we should kill the pirates. In fact, after rescued the hostages, and killed the pirates, we should get all Jeffersonian with the rest of them.

Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk confirmed that the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama had been attacked by pirates about 500 km (300 miles) off Somalia and had probably been hijacked. The company said it had 20 American crew on board.

A spokesman for the U.N.’s World Food Program (WFP) in Nairobi told Reuters that among the vessel’s cargo were 232 containers of WFP relief food destined for Somalia and Uganda.

At least the administration has already , although a weak one, so far.

A presidential spokesman says the White House is assessing a course of action to resolve the hijacking of a U.S.-flagged ship off the coast of Somalia.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday that the White House was monitoring the incident closely. Said Gibbs: “Our top priority is the personal safety of the crew members on board.”

Keep checking back for updates when they’re available.

I’m not the only one following this: may have already retaken their ship. Should be an interesting story once we hear the whole truth. (hattip to tigerhawk) And there’s what I get for going out to lunch.

And it looks like Dam Riehl had the same idea as me… This mission would have been exactly why we have SEAL team 6, (now called the Naval Special Warfare Development Group,) isn’t it.


Well, I would have to say President Obama, and the Navy SEALs get passing marks for the resolution to this crisis. The bits-n-pieces to the story that I’ve heard are the stuff that will make great bar fodder when these SEALs cozy up for a brew. Two teams, parachuting at night in the seas near the Navy ship, to be picked up. 3 simultaneous shots from the deck of 1 ship into a towed lifeboat, taking at all three targets.

I’m sure if asked, all the SEALs involved would say it was “all in a days work.” Surely they deserve a moment of praise and adoration, even if they personally will be kept in the shadows as part of their mission.

And to all the second guessing about President Obama’s actions out in punditstan, we wouldn’t have done this to President Bush, so why disrespect the office now.

The scene got “tenuous” according to one official, shortly after the three pirates agreed to let the Bainbridge tow their boat. The sea conditions were worsening and the lifeboat was “floundering” before pirates acknowledged that by establishing a tow, it would be a smoother ride.

But sometime soon after the boats were hooked together, shots were fired from the lifeboat and the pirates were seen holding a gun to Captain Phillips back. Acting on a standing order from President Obama to move in when Phillips was in “imminent danger” snipers were ordered to fire.

They established clear head shots on all three pirates. One of the pirates was visible through the front window, and the other two were revealing their heads through the top hatch, presumably to get fresh air. It would be their last breath.

As to what this might portend for the future, one data point does not make a trend.

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Iraq – We’re Winning!!!

A funny thing happened on the way to Iraq, President Obama declared that we’re winning.

Anyone who’s been keeping up to date knows we’ve been making great progress, and I say, winning in Iraq. President Obama acknowledges the courage and sacrifice of our troops, while ignoring the sacrifice of the Iraqis, and the choices President Bush made to enable progress to be made.

Under enormous strain and under enormous sacrifice, through controversy and difficulty and politics, you’ve kept your eyes focused on just doing your job. And because of that, every mission that’s been assigned — from getting rid of Saddam, to reducing violence, to stabilizing the country, to facilitating elections — you have given Iraq the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country. That is an extraordinary achievement, and for that you have the thanks of the American people. (Applause.) That’s point number one.

Point number two is, this is going to be a critical period, these next 18 months. I was just discussing this with your commander, but I think it’s something that all of you know. It is time for us to transition to the Iraqis. (Applause.) They need to take responsibility for their country and for their sovereignty. (Applause.)

And in order for them to do that, they have got to make political accommodations. They’re going to have to decide that they want to resolve their differences through constitutional means and legal means. They are going to have to focus on providing government services that encourage confidence among their citizens.

All those things they have to do. We can’t do it for them. But what we can do is make sure that we are a stalwart partner, that we are working alongside them, that we are committed to their success, that in terms of training their security forces, training their civilian forces in order to achieve a more effective government, they know that they have a steady partner with us.

Something’s missing from this. Oh yeah, an acknowledgment that Iraqis have made a huge commitment, and have sacrificed much more then we have towards achieving these goals.

Nor did he, or the press mention that Iraqis already have control of a large number of the provinces, and has been making tremendous progress in the last 2 years.

As of November 2008, 13 of Iraq’s 18 provinces have successfully transitioned to Provincial Iraqi Control (PIC). In fact, the current report, shows that the same provinces that hadn’t transitioned, are still the areas of concern for further transitioning.

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Obama Fires Izzo

awards Michigan State 18 points.

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The 90% Myth – Only 17% of Guns in Mexico Come from US

You’ve probably heard all over the media and from the politicos about the out of control crime in Mexico. And of course 90% of the guns used come from the US so therefore we need to take away your guns. Leaving aside the dubious logic of citizens having to give up their rights because the Government cannot secure our border there’s one thing about that statistic everyone needs to know, it’s not true.

The fact is, only 17 percent of guns found at Mexican crime scenes have been traced to the U.S.

What’s true, an ATF spokeswoman told, in a clarification of the statistic used by her own agency’s assistant director, “is that over 90 percent of the traced firearms originate from the U.S.”

But a large percentage of the guns recovered in Mexico do not get sent back to the U.S. for tracing, because it is obvious from their markings that they do not come from the U.S.

“Not every weapon seized in Mexico has a serial number on it that would make it traceable, and the U.S. effort to trace weapons really only extends to weapons that have been in the U.S. market,” Matt Allen, special agent of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told FOX News.

So basically what it’s saying is that 90% of US weapons come from the US. Our very own gun control and government regulation is creating this misperception because the government requires guns to be traceable.

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Why the AIG Mess is Ignorant Populism of the Worst Kind

Via Greg Mankiw comes this letter by a Mr. Desantis published in the NYTimes. The government is spinelessly trying to punish the very people who’s help it most needs. It’s almost tragic really.

I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in — or responsible for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage.

After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.

And I think I find Andrew Cuomo’s actions the most deplorable. The head of the law and order of the state of New York, residing in an office dedicated to due process and innocent until proven guilty, used his powers and office to threaten and intimidate these people’s privacy and it’s not really a stretch to imagine, their very lives. Cuomo should resign in shame immediately for such a gross misuse of his office, but instead he will be thrust on people’s shoulders as a hero. A sign of the times, to be sure.

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Political Slogan Bad Timing

After working very hard and soliciting thousands of ideas for a slogan to attack and bring more attention to Rush Limbaugh, the DNC has settled on, “Americans didn’t vote for a Rush to failure”.

This slogan seems like especially bad timing with the currently Obama talking point being headlined today, “Obama Claim: Done More in 30 Days Than Other Presidents

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Have National Politics Urbanized?

For those of us not living in the concentrated sprawl of the coastal and Midwestern metropoli, it is often extremely perplexing how urban Democratic mayors in places like Chicago and Philadelphia can compile lengthy and embarrassing records of incompetent and failed policies, yet remain wildly popular within their urban constituencies. Even as these mayors accumulate massive public debts while governing with a seeming indifference to economic and developmental realities, there is often a certain immutability to their popularity. It is doubly surprising how mayoral characters of this sort are consistently reelected to office in enormous majorities, frequently over vastly superior Republican opponents.

It occurs to me that as the United States becomes ever more urban concentrated, is it not conceivable that we should expect to see this bizarre phenomenon replicated in national politics?


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What passes for moral clarity

Creating a human embryo for the purpose of experimentation and destruction = Good.

Creating a  human embryo for the purpose of creating a born human person = Bad.

How does it work that way?

Also, some argue that Obama’s statements opposing human cloning are misleading. Derrick Jones, spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee, said the administration has left the door open to create, and then destroy, embryos through cloning for the sole purpose of harvesting stem cells.

And he’s right. If a person believes that we ought to worry about it or not, this is what happens. An embryo, quite often a clone, is created and then destroyed. The difference is that we don’t value that bit of cells, not that we don’t agree with cloning.    Nothing at all wrong with cloning if the clone is destroyed.

So what is it that makes anyone who approves of the clone and destroy method, disapprove of the clone and birth method?    Obama seems to think that the difference is crystal.

“We cannot ever tolerate misuse or abuse. And we will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction,” Obama said. “It is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society.”

Wow. No place in any society. Bad, bad, bad.

Why? What does he think a “clone” is? Why is it so clearly wrong to create an embryo and let it live?

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Houston Tea Party

I didn’t get to make it out, as I work almost 30 miles away, but here’s the video:

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They say you wanna Revolution!

Come one, come all. Anyone interested in attending a mass rally protesting the mess our government is, come join Hoosiers for Fair Taxation on March 25th at the capital building in Indianapolis.

They are also calling for volunteers, and there are sponsorship opportunities for anyone willing to donate money.

Keep an eye on their blog to stay informed about this.

Hoosiers for Fair Taxation were ahead of the times 2 years ago, as they held a Tea Party to protest the property tax increases that occurred in Indiana at that time.

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Houston’s Own Mortgage Bailout Bad Idea

Kinda. Basically the city of Houston wants to take public money and give it to private individuals to help them pay off loans and improve their credit scores to help them get approved for a mortgage loan. Judging from the comments, the public is not reacting positively to this.

Credit scores do actually mean something and they are used for a reason. They’re a reflection of your financial trustworthiness and giving people tax payer money to improve their score isn’t going to magically make them actually responsible and trustworthy. Government can’t just treat loan standards and credit scores like some game where they’ve found the cheat code, it creates problems, just ask Freddie and Fannie Mae and their subprime loans.

Edit: Mayor Bill White has removed the city council’s agenda.

Council members are now professing their “embarrassment” about the proposal, which has hit the national news circuit, including

“This issue has hit a nerve across this country,” said Councilwoman Anne Clutterbuck. “Not just here in the city of Houston. Giving people the ability to increase their credit score artificially because we’re allowing them to pay off their credit cards is exactly what got us into this (national economic) crisis in the first place.”

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Chicago Tea Party

Rick Santelli just went off on Obama’s housing proposal live on CNBC from the commodities trading floor in Chicago.

It’s now the headline on Drudge:

VIDEO: ‘The government is promoting bad behavior… do we really want to subsidize the losers’ mortgages… This is America! How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage? President Obama are you listening? How about we all stop paying our mortgage! It’s a moral hazard’… MORE…


Who is John Galt?

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Texas Bill Introduced to Reassert 10th Amendment Rights

H.C.R. 50 has been introduced to the Texas House. Authored by Texas State Representatives Brandon Creighton, Bryan Hughes, and Leo Berman, it reasserts Texas’s rights of sovereignty under the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution.

RESOLVED, That the 81st Legislature of the State of Texas
hereby claim sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the
Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise
enumerated and granted to the federal government by the
Constitution of the United States; and, be it further
RESOLVED, That this serve as notice and demand to the federal
government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective
immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these
constitutionally delegated powers; and, be it further
RESOLVED, That all compulsory federal legislation that
directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal
penalties or sanctions or that requires states to pass legislation
or lose federal funding be prohibited or repealed; and, be it

It was only introduced yesterday, but it will be very interesting to see if this passes.It would be really amazing to see a resurgence in the 10th Amendment.

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Pitchfork Time?? How about Shovel Time!

Glenn Reynolds ponders “IS IT PITCHFORK TIME? Dang, I don’t own a pitchfork. Oh well, they’re not too expensive. Maybe mail a bunch to Congress, first . . .”

I think shovels would be a more appropriate gift to send to our Congressmen. They must be standing knee deep in cow manure to believe their doing what’s best for the nations economy. And it would also give them a head start on their “shovel ready” projects.

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Late Night in the Halls of Congress

Well, the final text of the spendathon bill is out, looks like it was a late night in the halls of Congress.

Interesting that they chose not to create a searchable PDF, but scanned in a printed version, with markups.

hr1_legtext_cr.pdf – Created 2/12/2009 11:44:51 PM Modified 2/13/2009 12:40:12 AM
hr1_legtext_crb.pdf – Created 2/12/2009 11:55:17 PM Modified 2/13/2009 1:19:36 AM

hr1_cr_jse.pdf – Created 2/12/2009 10:22:08 PM Modified 2/13/2009 1:02:34 AM
hr1_cr_jseb.pdf – Created 2/12/2009 10:22:44 PM Modified 2/13/2009 1:26:21 AM

So much for promises of transparency by the Obama administration.

So much for the post-partisan Presidency.

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A Rose By Any Other Name

Sounds like they want the Fairness Doctrine to me. If they want this fight, then broadcast TV ought be included. More over at QandO.

“If markets cannot produce what society really cares about, like a media that reflects the true diversity and spirit of our country, then government has a legitimate role to play,” he said.

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Name That Party

Any guesses what party this state rep. belongs to? Answer after the break.

While local and national media swarmed Henrietta Hughes for interviews, Chene Thompson, wife of State Rep. Nick Thompson, grabbed Hughes’ hand and offered them a house.

The house is in LaBelle, the first home Chene Thompson bought after law school.
“Just give me the opportunity to help you,” Chene Thompson told her.

Politician doing a good deed. No mention of party.


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Mr Bad Example

Isn’t there an energy crisis or something that we all have to worry about?

Guess, we can just call him “Mr Bad Example,” and be done with it.

The capital flew into a bit of a tizzy when, on his first full day in the White House, President Obama was photographed in the Oval Office without his suit jacket. There was, however, a logical explanation: Mr. Obama, who hates the cold, had cranked up the thermostat.

“He’s from Hawaii, O.K.?” said Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, who occupies the small but strategically located office next door to his boss. “He likes it warm. You could grow orchids in there.”

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Sarah Palin in the Eye of the Beholder

With news that Governor Palin started her own political action committee at SarahPAC, she has entered the punditry discussion again, and yet again provokes strong responses, though as Josh Painter shows, little consensus. Many of the descriptions have to be read together to get the full effect of the dissonance.

So, is Sarah Palin the right wing extremist McCain staffers and leftists believe her to be? Is she the fundie theocrat secular leftists say she is?  Is she the “neocon” portrayed by careless conservatives? Is she a populist, as some liberals claim? If the governor is a populist, is that populism as disingenuous as the looser cannons on the left insist it is? Is she a leftist, as Big Oil’s useful idiots would have us believe? Is she the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan that his own elder son sees? Or is Gov. Palin a centrist, as the Alaskan pundit says she has governed? Did Pat Buchanan hit it closest to the mark of all the pundits quoted here, calling her a traditionalist?

It’s a question unfortunately, that will need to be answered to the public. James Pethokoukis of U.S. News & World Report’s Capital Commerce blog has some homework ideas on how to do this. I would also love to see more writing and commentary like this. I think it will be important to remember that when answering this question to the public, the response needs to come in many parts, only one of which should be in the traditional media. She could take a few pointers from Fred Thompson and Jon Henke with the other parts using the new media and youtube and other social sites.

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Obama Snubs MOH recipients

In a sense, this is surprising to me. I thought Obama had more political sense to him then this. It might have been his handlers fault. That’s being generous though.

In this case, the American Legion, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and the Paralyzed Veterans of America, as well as other veteran’s groups, were sponsoring their gala that has coincided with the inaugural evening since Eisenhower took office in 1953. In total, nine presidents and 56 years have gone by, and each inaugural evening the new president arrived to thank the veterans and Medal of Honor recipients in attendance. As one of the “unofficial” balls, it meant quite a bit to have the president show up and make an appearance.

Except this time.

The president and first lady, for the first time in those ensuing 56 years, did not make an appearance at the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball. In attendance at the gala were 48 of the 99 living recipients of our nation’s highest honor. Of the 99 who are still with us, not even half are in any condition or possess the wherewithal to travel to such an event. And by the next inauguration, likely half of those won’t be with us.

This ball was hosted by the Medal of Honor Society.

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Is Today “Historic?”

In one sense, today is an historic day. We’ve now sworn in our 44th President, in yet another peaceful transition of the leadership of our government.

But it seems to me that the only other way to see this day as historic is to view Obama based on his skin color. Isn’t that exactly the opposite of what MLK was getting at.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I think the celebration is over the top, both in cost, and extravagance. The liberal double-standard is in play, as President Bush spent less on his parties, and was derided more. But, such is neither here nor there.

I expect President Obama will not meet the rather high expectations of his supporters, nor the worst fears of his detractors.

May God keep President Obama and our country safe.

Some other interesting quotes that come to mind right now.

I submit to you that if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.

* Speech in Detroit, Michigan (1963-06-23)

Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy.

* The Measures of Man (1959)

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Tracking Obama’s Campaign Promises

Here’s a site to add to your bookmarks and check every once in awhile. It’s a site called set up by the St. Petersburg Times to keep track of all 510 of might as well call him President now Obama’s campaign promises. He’s already got 2 listed as completed and none as broken. So far so good. No. 502: Get his daughters a puppy is still listed as “in the works.” though. Guess he hasn’t decided whether to follow through with that poodle poll yet.

(H/T Ronald Bailey at Reason)

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How to Show Off Your Conservation Credentials

Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) decided he wanted to show off how green he was by driving an electric car being developed in his district to his swearing in at the Capitol in D.C. Of course no electric car actually has enough juice to make the 300 mile trip. So what’s a feel good conservationist to do?

Massa drove one fuel cell car while a hybrid SUV towing an additional SUV followed along. Once he got half way, he switched to new fuel cell car. The empty fuel cell was then towed back by the first SUV. As he continued on his journey, the second SUV followed. Once Massa arrived in DC, the second SUV then towed the second fuel cell car back to NY.

I have to wonder if at any point while hatching this stunt that someone didn’t tell Rep Massa that by showing off his green technology he was wasting a ton of energy and polluting? Was he just too dense to know or just too callus to care?

(H/t: Radley Balko)

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Resolution to Repeal the Twenty-Second Amendment

Rep. José Serrano introduced a bill to do just that last week. Not sure why. I would think it had something to do with Obama being president, but he also introduced the same bill in 2005.

(H/T: Euguene Volokh)

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Taxation without Representation

The current bailout mania, and the long going practice of spending our way into debt, ought to be considered the highest form of “taxation without representation” as the government is taxing the future revenue of people who, at the moment, can not vote, may not even be born, or who currently are not US citizens.

The injustice of it all!!!

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The Rise of Decline

You know you’re in an American recession when British observers start reflecting on the inevitability of American decline, and volunteering their allegedly privileged perspective gained from the fall of the British Empire (Mark Steyn, as always, excepted). So it is that Matthew Parris joins an old tradition and writes this of the incoming Obama administration:

Though he may not yet know it, the role for which the US President-elect has been chosen is the management of national decline.
(The Times)

It should still be within our memory of course, that it was widely believed that Richard Nixon held this dubious distinction in 1968. Indeed, Nixon himself believed it, and his assessment that the United States had passed into decline informed almost all of his foreign policies. Mr. Parris’ countryman, the historian and strategist Paul Kennedy, had thought even more seriously on this issue and concluded in 1987 that the apex of American power had been reached in the 1970s, after which the United States had passed into another ultimately nonexistent long-term decline.

Retrospectively, this is all rather embarrassing. The United States is naturally vastly more powerful today than it was in the 1960s or 1970s, and the structure which enabled those gains commercially, socially and politically, remains unassailed. Given past experience, it’s entirely likely in coming years that we will feel similarly embarrassed by the current declinism.

But Mr. Parris is obliquely correct on one matter though:

Mr Obama will have to find a way of being honest with Americans about their country’s fall from predominance. Reading, as I often do, the furiously chauvinistic online reaction from US citizens to any suggestion that their country can be beaten at anything, I quail for him.
(The Times)

The experience of Nixon –pursuing policies to cushion the fall of an America which was just beginning to scale new heights– might suggest that it doesn’t really matter what Obama thinks. But if Americans themselves genuinely started to believe in their impending decline, and shelved their ambitions in favor of the crowded retirement home of great powers, they could actualize the prediction.

As with American greatness in light of her continental scale, vast and growing labor force, enormous capital resources and limitless dreams, a prophecy of American decline is largely contingent on whether or not Americans can be persuaded to self-fulfill it. If they cannot, that faint light on the horizon is another dawn, not an inevitable sunset. After all, the retirement home for the false futurists of American decline is an even more crowded house.

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John Elway for Senate

With Obama tapping Ken Salazar for the Interior Department, rumor has it conservative John Elway may step forward to run for his Senate seat in Colorado. This rumor –similar to one for Mike Ditka in Illinois– has come and gone before. This time however, the tectonically altered political environment makes it more credible. Party political defeats don’t tend to alienate good new candidates, but draw them in, as the rapid transformation of the Democratic Party between 2004, 2006 and 2008 demonstrates.

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The Abolition of Marriage

Having failed to legalize gay marriage almost everywhere by democratic means, a proposed new approach by its advocates is to revoke marriage rights for heterosexuals, in a kind of retaliatory equalization. In effect, the idea is to abolish the legal institution of marriage for all, if it is to be that some are excluded from its benefits.

Jack Balkin and Ann Althouse debate the merits of this and generally agree it’s a fine idea, if potentially constitutionally problematic. A spectator can only marvel at how one couldn’t have picked a stratagem more perfectly designed to infuriate defenders of traditional marriage arrangements, and provoke even further opposition to gay marriage.


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Blagojevich’s Football

I was in no doubt that Rod Blagojevich was a troubled and exceedingly peculiar man. These past few days have seen a flood of revealing details from aides and Democratic Party insiders which cast even his sanity into question (potentially doing him a great legal service). But one of the oddest aspects of the governor that I’ve yet seen reported is his obsession with a plastic hair brush:

And yet, Mr. Blagojevich, 52, rarely turns up for work at his official state office in Chicago, former employees say, is unapologetically late to almost everything, and can treat employees with disdain, cursing and erupting in fury for failings as mundane as neglecting to have at hand at all times his preferred black Paul Mitchell hairbrush. He calls the brush “the football,” an allusion to the “nuclear football,” or the bomb codes never to be out of reach of a president.

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“Worst Waste of the Year” Report

Cato looks at Senator Tom Coburn’s “Worst Waste of the Year” report that was just released (pdf report here). Tad DeHaven on how nauseating it was to read through the projects in the report, including a ” $15,000 in HUD Community Development Block Grants for a voice mail service for the homeless” project. The report is defitely not light-hearted reading during these troublesome times, but we all must strike our own balance between blissful ignorance and jaded pessimism.

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Day Without Pay Unpopular

Looks like the “Day Without a Gay” civil rights protest intended to send a message to the country about the importance of gay employees and consumers…had no effect whatsoever. Thus the congenitally counterproductive leadership of the gay rights movement can notch another embarrassing disaster onto their totem pole of failure.

Why can’t this movement find effective leadership? Flippantly shirking your presumably safe job for political messaging, when people of all sexual orientations are , was no way to inspire national sympathy for the cause. Would it not have been more logical and positive to have a ‘day with twice the gay’? Say, encouraging gay Americans to double their daily purchasing, or work twice as hard?

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Stimulus: Spending vs. Tax Multipliers

Greg Mankiw has a post today look at the real world studies of spending and tax multipliers. Keynesians might be surprised to learn that the tax multiplier appears to be much larger than the spending one. Studies put the Government spending multiplier at or around 1-1.4 while other studies have the tax cut multiplier at or around 3. This means that for ever dollar cut in taxes, we get a 3 dollar increase in GDP.

He ends with some good advise to President Elect Obama:

My advice to Team Obama: Do not be intellectually bound by the textbook Keynesian model. Be prepared to recognize that the world is vastly more complicated than the one we describe in ec 10. In particular, empirical studies that do not impose the restrictions of Keynesian theory suggest that you might get more bang for the buck with tax cuts than spending hikes.

I have a feeling we’re definitely going to see a spending increase though, so I’m not sure whether to hope for a tax cut or not.

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Jon Henke for RNC Communications Director

A good look at how the RNC needs to restructure and how they don’t for the next generation of campaigning. Jon is mentioned as paradigm of what the RNC Communications Director needs to be, I’d agree. You need someone who understands the new media at the top not just a bunch of internet guys stuck on every staff.

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