Thursday, February 28, 2013
President Obama’s nominee to lead the Treasury Department, Jacob J. Lew, got a $685,000 severance payment when he left a top post at New York University in 2006 to take a job at Citigroup.
The payment, which a university official acknowledged on Monday, is considered unusual by outside experts in benefits and raises questions about why a tax-exempt university would give a large exit bonus to an executive who was departing voluntarily. (NYT, 2/25/2013)
On the eve of the vote for his confirmation, the New York Times writes about funny money paid to nominee Lew, a story which was already old news having been previously reported by others. Of course it was too late to derail Lew - now confirmed - but it does give the Times the ability to check the box that shows that Lew was fully vetted by the Legitimate Media.
So the new Obama administration Treasury Secretary arrives mired in scandal replacing the previous Obama administration Treasury Secretary who - surprise! - also arrived mired in scandal.
And a bonus from the Lew confirmation?:
Investment accounts in the Cayman Islands are no longer evil tax havens. Now they are a form of prudent investor diversification. (WSJ, 2/27/2013)
Obama wants Americans to blame the GOP for this litany of disasters, but Republicans can solve that problem with one simple stroke: Pass a bill giving the president complete authority to allocate the automatic spending cuts as he sees fit. Replace the “meat cleaver” with a scalpel, put it Obama’s hands and tell him: Mr. President, you can’t decide if to cut, but you can decide where and how to cut.
If Obama chooses to cut funding for first-responders and our military while protecting his administration’s corrupt green-energy programs, that will be his choice — and Americans will know it. (Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post, 2/25/2013)
Good point from Thiessen. There's nothing we can cut from the budget BEFORE we lay off cops?
So why this obsession with deficits and debt? There are many factors, but central to it is a widespread elite consensus that this crisis provides a unique opportunity to “fix” — exact benefit cuts from — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, despite the opposition of broad majorities across the political spectrum. (Katrina vanden Heuvel, Washington Post, 2/27/2013)
Dingbat vanden Heuvel rolls out a classic Liberal tactic in analyzing the sequester: make stuff up. Apparently there are "broad majorities across the political spectrum" who do NOT believe that we need entitlement reform. News to us. And who is pushing entitlement reform? Unnamed "elitists."
Less Is Less
Liberals don't become more reasonable in their demands for spending increases when Republicans give them more revenues. They become much less so. (Stephen Moore, WSJ, 2/28/2013)
Sunday, February 24, 2013
At 11:42 a.m. on Feb. 14, a conservative online magazine called The Washington Free Beacon posted a dispatch about a speech Chuck Hagel gave in 2007 in which it said he called the State Department “an adjunct to the Israeli foreign minister’s office.” (NYT, 2/23/2013)
The Times writes an article on Michael Goldfarb from the Free Beacon website which RedStateVT periodically references. In the relatively brief article they manage to use the word "conservative" six times. We also learn that Goldfarb is a "blowtorch" and a "flamethrower." (What's the difference?) He engages in "weaponized journalism." He is a "hawkish magnet." Oh, and he studied "war history" in college.
Just another day of objective journalism at the New York Times.
Next up, a profile of MSNBC host and Obama consigliere, Rev Al Sharpton, in which no mention will be made of Tawana Brawley, Freddie's Fashion Mart or those pesky tax issues.
The idea for sequestration did come from the White House, as news accounts made clear at the time. Jacob J. Lew, then Mr. Obama’s budget director and now his nominee for Treasury secretary, was the main proponent.
“The sequester is not something that I’ve proposed,” he (Obama) said. “It is something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen.” (NYT, 2/23/2013)
So because the public record is irrefutable, the New York Times now admits that sequestration came from Obama. And Obama then denying it means that he is a liar.
Isn't this big news?
Saturday, February 23, 2013
In private meetings and phone calls, Mr. Obama’s aides have made clear that the new organization will rely heavily on a small number of deep-pocketed donors, not unlike the “super PACs” whose influence on political campaigns Mr. Obama once deplored.
“It just smells,” said Bob Edgar, the president of Common Cause, which advocates tighter regulation of campaign money. “The president is setting a very bad model setting up this organization.”
Mr. Obama’s new organization has drawn rebukes in recent days from watchdog groups, which view it as another step away from the tighter campaign regulation Mr. Obama once championed. Over the past two years, he has reversed course on several campaign finance issues, by blessing a super PAC created by former aides and accepting large corporate contributions for his second inauguration. (NYT, 2/22/2013)
And so we add the following to our list of Things That The Legitimate Media Can No Longer Criticize Republicans For Because Obama And The Democrats Do Them Too:
- Take big donations from a handful of wealthy supporters
- Take corporate contributions for a presidential inauguration.
It's a growing list!
A higher gas tax would help fix crumbling highways while also generating money that could help offset the impact on low- and middle-income families. Increasing the tax, as part of a bipartisan budget deal, with a clear explanation to the public of its role in lowering oil imports and improving our air and highways, could be among the most important energy decisions we make. (Valerie J. Karplus, research scientist in the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change at M.I.T., NYT, 2/21/2013)
Yet another Liberal waving the flag for more taxes. Not new news, we admit, but we loved the approach. It just needs to be 'clearly explained' to people! We aren't certain, but we're guessing that most people understand: "Your taxes are going up which means you will have less money." Knowing about how the government wastes their money, people stop listening after that.
Here's a trend you'll be reading more about: part-time "job sharing," not only within firms but across different businesses. It's already happening across the country at fast-food restaurants, as employers try to avoid being punished by the Affordable Care Act. In some cases we've heard about, a local McDonalds has hired employees to operate the cash register or flip burgers for 20 hours a week and then the workers head to the nearby Burger King or Wendy's to log another 20 hours. Other employees take the opposite shifts. (WSJ, 2/22/2013)
The spirit of capitalism is once more alive and well in America. Government imposes ridiculous taxes, rules and regulations and yet again, capitalism adapts!
Friday, February 22, 2013
“You don’t need an AR-15—it’s harder to aim,” he added, “it’s harder to use, and in fact you don’t need 30 rounds to protect yourself. Buy a shotgun! Buy a shotgun!” (Vice President Joe Biden)
Our Vice-President and - fingers crossed - the Democrat nominee for President in 2016.
What - we wonder - would have been the lead story on MSNBC for the month had Dick Cheney said it?
Democrats have nearly perfected the following exercise in cynical electioneering: 1) introduce legislation; 2) title it something that appeals to the vast majority of Americans who have no interest in learning what is actually in the bill, e.g., the “Violence Against Women Act”; 3) make sure it is sufficiently noxious to the GOP that few Republicans will support it; 4) vote, and await headlines such as “[GOP Lawmaker] Votes No On Violence Against Women Act”; 5) clip and use headline in 30-second campaign ad; and 6) repeat.
The strategy is abetted by a compliant press. (Andrew Stiles, Hotair.com, 2/21/2013)
Very very well put!
Repubs should adopt the strategy. We propose the following: the Saving America From Absolute Financial Ruin Act.
Necessary AND Fair
To reduce the deficit in a weak economy, new taxes on high-income Americans are a matter of necessity and fairness; they are also a necessary precondition to what in time will have to be tax increases on the middle class. (New York Times editorial, 2/21/2013)
A shining example of why Liberals can NEVER EVER be trusted on taxes. The Times call for yet more taxes on the wealthy as a precursor to tax hikes on the middle class.
Agencies will have 120 days to implement changes. While those agencies are currently predicting doom, they will in reality face pressure to impose cuts in ways that minimize harm. Government unions won't let agency heads cut employees instead of fancy conference budgets. Moreover, this is a 2.5% cut in spending, not a government shutdown. Americans will continue to get their passports, cash their Social Security checks, and visit national parks.
What has to make the White House a tad nervous are the questions it is beginning to get from the savvier members of the press. Didn't you folks in the White House also agree to $1.2 trillion in sequester cuts? Why are you now changing the goal posts, asking for taxes? Are you really saying you can't find $85 billion in sensible cuts from a $3.8 trillion budget? Why not just ask the GOP for the flexibility to impose the cuts more wisely? (Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, 2/21/2013)
From Day One it has been said, President Obama has been focused on (obsessed with?) his legacy. And yet what we remember most to date are two things: his endless calls for more taxes on the rich and repeated bouts of financial brinkmanship with Republicans over spending. This is not the stuff of which legacies are made.
When he was not diddling the White House interns, Bill Clinton co-opted Republican ideas on trade and welfare reform. Newt Gingrich whined about who should get credit, but who cares if good ideas were adopted? Obama is no Clinton.
Even one-third of Democrats back letting the cuts take effect; Republicans and independents are evenly split on the issue. (NYT, 2/21/2013)
One of those little factoids that slips through, but will only be whispered. (Thirty-three percent of Dems favor sequester....)
Lawmakers in at least half a dozen states, including California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania, have proposed legislation this year that would require gun owners to buy liability insurance — much as car owners are required to buy auto insurance....“I believe that if we get the private sector and insurance companies involved in gun safety, we can help prevent a number of gun tragedies every year,” said David P. Linsky, a Democratic state representative in Massachusetts who wants to require gun owners to buy insurance. He believes it will encourage more responsible behavior and therefore reduce accidental shootings. “Insurance companies are very good at evaluating risk factors and setting their premiums appropriately,” he added. (NYT, 2/21/2013)
A bit of irony here as the same government that wants to squeeze the insurance industry out of health care now wants to foster gun liability insurance. Why not have the government run that too? Single payer gun insurance...we may be on to something here!
And who knew that insurers were so good at measuring risk and charging correctly?
Thursday, February 21, 2013
With the recent comments on rape from a Colorado congressman - this time a Democrat - we have another topic that the Legitimate Media can no longer define as the exclusive domain of Republicans and use as a battering ram against them. Here is a partial list:
- Stupid comments on rape
- How many vacation days the president takes
- How much golf the president plays
- Detention of foreign jihadists
- How many press conferences the president has
- The bad economy
We just finished reading "The Universe Within" by Neil Shubin whose earlier book, "Your Inner Fish", we have also read and enjoyed. A dean at the University of Chicago, Shubin writes science in a manner that makes it entirely accessible and enjoyable for the layman. "The Universe Within" takes the reader on a broad tour of paleontology, biology, evolution, genetics and cosmology. In recounting the history of Earth, Shubin spends a lot of time talking about one of the prime shapers of the planet: climate. We have no idea where Shubin comes down on the issue of climate change as it is currently being argued. He wisely does not discuss it at all. His focus is the long view of how climate shaped the world that we know today. It has long been the opinion of RedStateVT that a better understanding of the historical patterns of climate can both help to educate people and to call into question the validity of the point-in-time focus of McKibben, Gore and the current crowd of climate alarmists. Here are some excerpts worth considering:
For most of its history, Antarctica was a paradise of life. Then, starting 40 million years ago, the entire continent went into the freezer and with it Antarctica witnessed the greatest and most completion extinction of any continent in the history of the planet. (pg. 144)
Volcanoes typically release huge amounts of water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other gases; by some estimates they send over 120 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air each year. (pg. 147)
In times on the order of thousands of years, Earth's orbit will wobble and change, thereby influencing the amount of sunlight that warms the planet. (pg. 164)
Climate at the end of the last glacial period, about 12,500 years ago exemplifies one of the riffs. At this time, when by all accounts things should have continued to warm, there was a dramatic shift to a sharp cold spell that happened in the blink of an eye in geological terms - over decades. The record from pollen, oxygen atoms and other markers implies a climate that changed 15 degrees in as little as a decade. (pg. 174)
Palms trees in the Antarctic, massive carbon dioxide emissions from volcanoes, a wobbly Earth, and a 15 degree temperature change in ten years....all before man showed up! There is a little "science" for the climate chaos crowd who claim to have science on their side.
Fighting The Good Fight
It has been an unnerving time for Senator Robert Menendez, a usually self-assured and even brash politician who prides himself on his long, hard climb through the brutal machine-style politics of New Jersey. (NYT, 2/20/2013)
The New York Times pens a thirty-one paragraph article on Democrat Menendez, the subject of possible ethics violations. We learn that the Senator is "shaken and angry." Not to worry though because he has "survival skills" learned from his "working class" upbringing. A fellow Democrat talks of Menendez's "internal strength." We learn that earlier in his career he ferreted out corruption in New Jersey. Also, he has the ability to "outlast his enemies." Other Dems call him a "diligent worker" and "adept at fighting." Twenty-six paragraphs in we finally get a few details about the nasty things that Menendez might have done. (Minor things like selling his influence...) The article closes with dark hints at the source of the accusations against Menendez: Cuban Communists!
To show our support for this righteous public servant in his fight against the commie scourge, RedStateVT will break with our long-standing policy and accept contributions for Menendez's legal defense fund.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Having first proposed and demanded the sequester, it would make sense that the president lead the effort to replace it. Unfortunately, he has put forth no detailed plan that can pass Congress, and the Senate—controlled by his Democratic allies—hasn't even voted on a solution, let alone passed one. By contrast, House Republicans have twice passed plans to replace the sequester with common-sense cuts and reforms that protect national security. (John Boehner, WSJ, 2/19/2013)
There is a part of us that wonders if sensible Democrats feel the same way about Nancy Pelosi that sensible Republicans feel about John Boehner. Namely, both might prefer a different spokesperson. Boehner is at times awkward and inarticulate and has let Obama get the best of him. Nonetheless, we were thrilled to read his Wall Street Journal piece. No doubt pushed by RedStateVT which has been insistently recycling Charles Krauthammer's reminder that the sequester was Obama's creation, Boehner finally makes this very point. It cannot be said enough as sequester nears.
Voters should scoff at the idea that a $3.6 trillion government can't save one nickel of every dollar that agencies spend. The $85 billion in savings is a mere 2.3% of total spending. The agencies that the White House says can't save 5% received an average increase in their budgets of 17% in the previous five years—not counting their $276 billion stimulus bonus. (WSJ, 2/19/2013)
Truth in numbers.
The shift to tougher penal policies three decades ago was originally credited with helping people in poor neighborhoods by reducing crime. But now that America’s incarceration rate has risen to be the world’s highest, many social scientists find the social benefits to be far outweighed by the costs to those communities.
“Prison has become the new poverty trap,” said Bruce Western, a Harvard sociologist. “It has become a routine event for poor African-American men and their families, creating an enduring disadvantage at the very bottom of American society.” (NYT, 2/18/2013)
Loved this one from the Times. Long prison sentences are a major contributor to poverty. We don't even know where to begin.
Indeed, the same logic that argues for setting a minimum wage also argues for the government setting wage standards more generally. The government could require businesses above a certain size to increase employees’ wages in line with the economy’s productivity increases, for example, exempting those companies that experienced losses the previous year.
That will never happen, of course (and might be a bureaucratic nightmare if it did). But what are more plausible scenarios for jump-starting Americans’ earnings? A better-educated workforce might command more income, but incomes in most professions have been stagnating as well.
If wages are to rise, the only alternative to giving the government wage-setting authority is giving employees the power to bargain. Today, that power has just about vanished. With union membership down to just 6.6 percent of the private-sector workforce, the overwhelming majority of U.S. workers have no power to bargain for their share of company revenue, and those few who do have a weak hand. Reforming labor laws so that workers could join unions or workers’ associations without fear of firing might ultimately compel chief executives to invest some of that $1.7 trillion on hand to training and rewarding their workers, even if it means they can’t buy back as many of their own shares. (Harold Meyerson, Washington Post, 2/19/2013)
Meyerson hops around the Liberal playbook in this column from which we quote extensively. See if you can follow:
--We really need to raise the minimum wage.
--Actually that is such a great idea that the government should be able to force businesses to raise non-minimum wage workers' pay.
--OK, that probably couldn't happen. (But it would be great if it could.)
--Well then workers should at least be able to join unions. (Apparently that is not possible currently.)
Where to begin?
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
In the course of the recent presidential campaign, the media and even the candidates themselves told us that we had a choice between two competing views of government. President Obama presented the view of a benevolent government that plays an active role in righting social wrongs, closely watching over potential malfeasance in the business community, and dialing down the country’s aggressive foreign policy. Candidate Romney stood for a less activist government that promoted individual responsibility, unshackling business from onerous regulation and an unapologetically strong role for America on the world stage. Incessant hammering by the Obama campaign, abetted by a supportive press, was successful in painting Romney as another rich Republican white guy, thereby casting doubts on his message and derailing his bid.
What if there could have been another spokesman for the views that Romney espoused who would allow for a more objective comparison?
Fortunately, the country has been given the gift of just such a comparison. With Dr. Ben Carson's address at the National Prayer Breakfast earlier this month and President Obama's recent State of the Union address we have the clearest picture imaginable of the two predominant visions for America. That the spokesmen are two African Americans, each at the top of their respective professions, should be enough to dispel the notion once and for all that America is a racist country. (It should be, but sadly won't for those whose life's work is beating this drum.) Barack Hussein Obama and Benjamin Solomon Carson (even their middle names give us pause), both raised by single mothers, espousing viewpoints that cannot co-exist. You either believe that more government (or more effective government as Obama clarified) and a collective approach is the answer to America's problems or that the solution is less government and more individual responsibility. The comparison could not have been clearer.
It is impossible to know what Obama was thinking as he listened to Carson speak. It is dangerous to try and read someone's body language, but others have spoken of his clenched jaw and tense appearance. It could not have been an enjoyable twenty-seven minutes. And what next for Carson? Like Clarence Thomas, J.C. Watts, Herman Cain, Allen West and other black conservatives before him, he exposes himself to a potential onslaught by the Liberal media. Fortunately he has a really good day job.
During a search of the Lanza home after the deadly school shootings, police found thousands of dollars worth of graphically violent video games.
If they had found a book by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, or Glenn Beck, I bet we would have heard about it weeks ago with it making headline news across the fruited plain. (Noel Sheppard, Newsbusters.org, 2/18/2013)
The revelation above ("thousands of dollars worth of violent video games") would - in a just and logical world - immediately end all discussion of guns, assault weapons and magazine capacities. Such discussion which would then immediately shift to the role of video games in nurturing violence in society. It won't happen. Liberals just want to rid the country of guns. Newtown is their excuse.
To repeat: We have a mentally ill teenager, a product of a broken home. Who owns and watches thousands of dollars of violent video games. Whose mother inexplicably uses target practice at a local firing range as a way to bond with her troubled child. She does not secure the guns from his reach. And the answer is outlawing some guns and gun clips?
Friday, Feb. 22, 8:00 a.m. Governor Shumlin and RGA Chair Governor Bobby Jindal discuss and debate challenges facing states as part of Politico’s State Solution Conference, 901 K St. NW – 12th floor, Washington D.C. (VTdigger.org, 2/17/2013)
Vermont Governor Shumlin goes toe-to-toe with Louisiana Governor Jindal. We'd pay to see that one! (And put our money on Jindal.)
Monday, February 18, 2013
The back-and-forth was a blunt reminder that Mr. Obama remains a polarizing figure as the two parties seek common ground on an emotional issue that has defied resolution for more than two decades. (NYT, 2/17/2013)
Obama a polarizing figure? How did that get by the censors at the New York Times?
University of California at Irvine economist David Neumark has looked at more than 100 major academic studies on the minimum wage, and he says the White House claim of de minimis job losses "grossly misstates the weight of the evidence." About 85% of the studies "find a negative employment effect on low-skilled workers." (WSJ, 2/15/2013)
Our political mentor - we call him The Master - told us a story years ago that we have never forgot. He grew up in the deep south and once had a job picking cotton. Even at an early age he realized that the only thing standing between his job and automation was a rise in the minimum wage, i.e. if his weekly wages increased, he would be replaced by a machine. The Master is wise indeed.
Some bankers hoped that Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the liberal firebrand who helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, would be subdued in her first term as she learned the ways of the Senate. Warren’s avoidance of the Beltway media appeared to stoke these hopes. Well, forget it.
Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, came out blazing Thursday in her first high-profile appearance as a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, ripping into regulators and starkly suggesting banks may be cooking the books. (POLITICO.com, 2/15/2013)
It will be interesting to see if the banks who supported Obama now run to him demanding that he call off Warren.
Tens of thousands of people converged on the National Mall on Sunday to urge President Barack Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, a project they say will cause irreparable damage to the climate. The rally, which was organized by the Sierra Club, 350.org and the Hip Hop Caucus, was billed as the largest climate rally in American history. Organizers estimated that about 35,000 people participated in the rally. The U.S. Park Police does not give crowd estimates.
“All I ever wanted to see was a movement of people to stop climate change and now I’ve seen it,” Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, said to the crowd of protesters, who traveled to Washington from dozens of states. “I cannot promise you we’re going to win, but I’ve waited a quarter century to find out if we were gonna fight. And today, at the biggest climate rally by far, by far, by far, in U.S. history — today, I know we’re going to fight.” (POLITICO.com, 2/17/2013)
Angry about $4/gallon gasoline? Blame McKibben. America needs the oil and is going to buy it from some country. McKibben's position means that we will buy it from countries that may be hostile to us, rather than a friendly neighbor. This is Liberal Logic.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just released its latest batch of Head Start data, revealing, once again, that its students are receiving far less than a “head start.” The study, which was finally released the weekend before Christmas after more than a year’s delay, examines the third-grade outcomes of two groups of Head Start students: those who began the program at age three and another who began at age four.
In 2010, HHS released a similar report looking at first-grade outcomes. Both studies show similar results: Not only does Head Start have no impact on children’s academic outcomes, but it also has little to no impact on other measures of child well-being and, in some cases, even has some negative impacts. (Rachel Sheffield, Heritage.org, 1/13/2013)
Head Start doesn't work. Which is why Obama (and fellow bloggers) want to see more of it. Also Liberal Logic.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
And it has claimed the political career of an ambitious cabinet minister, Chris Huhne, a Liberal Democrat who resigned his position as energy and climate change secretary in Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition government and his parliamentary seat. (NYT, 2/16/2013)
Britain has a Secretary of Climate Change? Don't tell Liberals in the U.S.!
Watching The Detectives
Sandwiched between two doctors’ offices at a roadside plaza here is the headquarters of a small team of veteran Republican investigators, operating almost as a private detective squad, who since late last year have had a determined goal: bringing down Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey. (NYT, 2/16/2013)
"Inquiry on Senator Started with a Partisan Push" is the headline. Yes, in the end they found some icky stuff on Menendez, but the real story - the Times tell us - is that the inquiry was initiated by Republicans. Never mind that Democrats sent plane loads of lawyers up to Alaska to dig up dirt on Sarah Palin. The Times - you might also remember - is the same newspaper that encouraged readers to pour through the very same Sarah Palin's e-mails and report anything interesting that they find.
German politicians decided it would be nice if 35% of the country's electricity came from renewables by 2020. German politicians, after Fukushima, decided it would be nice to phase out the country's nuclear plants. German politicians decided factories should be protected from any increase in electricity prices. In their home districts, politicians thought "factory" should be extended to cover any large and influential employer.
Now the green future has arrived and German voters are in revolt over rising power prices. "Fuel poverty" has become a buzz term as thousands have been shut off for nonpayment of bills. Politicians have begun trying to claw back subsidies from companies that say the subsidies are the only reason they're in business. A scandal seems to emerge weekly over some big-name company illicitly benefiting from subsidized electricity rates. (Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., WSJ, 2/15/2013)
There is a line of thinking among conservatives depressed about the re-election of Obama and the further implementation of his Liberal agenda that says not to worry, Liberal policies are flawed and they will implode. Be it the rising cost estimates for Obamacare, the moribund domestic economy or worsening relations with Russia, there is plenty of evidence to support this position.
Meanwhile, the German example shows Vermonters what their energy future will be:
The Shumlin administration wants 75 percent of the state’s power to come from renewables by 2032. Electricity from Hydro-Quebec would account for 40 percent of that total. (Vtdigger.org, 5/3/2012)
Saturday, February 16, 2013
It would seem like a Republican fantasy: a famous actress, who has been described by her own grandmother as a Hollywood liberal, is floated as a Senate candidate in one of the country’s most conservative states, where she does not even live.
That is how Republican operatives gleefully seized on reports that the movie star Ashley Judd, who campaigned for President Obama, might challenge Mitch McConnell, the most powerful Republican in the United States Senate, when he is up for re-election next year. (NYT, 2/15/2013)
After Ben Affleck opted out of a political run, we hope that Hollywood's Liberals aren't teasing us again. Run Ashley, run!
Economic growth is in the negative, unemployment is on the rise, Walmart's forecasting a disastrous February for retail sales, poverty's up, gas prices are up, the cost of health care premiums are up, middle class incomes are falling, consumer confidence is at a two year low, our deficit is unsustainable, and Barack Obama has just signed up for private golf lessons with two of the top teachers in the country.
Safely re-elected and with no concerns whatsoever that the media will take issue with his elitist behavior (hell, the media won't even make an issue of the economy), what would certainly be the kind of optics the media would bludgeon a Republican with will likely go unnoticed, because the narrative's been set that Obama can do no wrong. (John Nolte, Breitbart.com, 2/15/2013)
Imagine the outrage if George Bush did this. The Legitimate Media would describe him as "tone-deaf to the pain of struggling Americans." Liberal politicians would call for him to be impeached.
Instead, we get the following from the Legitimate Media:
Befitting a commander-in-chief, Obama will get top-of-the-line golf lessons from former Tiger Woods instructor Butch Harmon and his son, Claude Harmon III. (Huffington Post, 2/15/2013)
It’s ridiculous for critics to charge that Tuesday night’s speech was not sufficiently bipartisan. Repairing the nation’s infrastructure is not a partisan issue; bridges rust at the same rate in Republican-held congressional districts as in Democratic ones. The benefits of universal preschool will accrue in red states as well as blue. Climate change is not deterred by the fact that a majority of the Republican caucus in the House doesn’t believe in it. (Eugene Robinson, Washington Post, 2/14/2013)
A classic case of Liberal Logic from one of the prime offenders. Notice how Robinson assumes that his positions are facts: the bridges need repairing, pre-school works, and climate change is occurring. Then he declares the other side wrong because they don't accept the facts. His "facts."
Once you take up arms against the United States, you become an enemy combatant, thereby forfeiting the privileges of citizenship and the protections of the Constitution, including due process. You retain only the protection of the laws of war — no more and no less than those of your foreign comrades-in-arms.
It’s the jihadists who decided to make the world a battlefield and to wage war in perpetuity. Until they abandon the field, what choice do we have but to carry the fight to them? (Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, 2/14/2013)
Two if our favorite lines from Krauthammer's defense of Obama's drone strategy.
Friday, February 15, 2013
Democrats Behaving Badly
The Justice Department filed fraud and conspiracy charges on Friday against former Representative Jesse L. Jackson Jr., saying that he used about $750,000 in campaign money for personal expenses that included a Michael Jackson fedora and cashmere capes. (NYT, 2/15/2013)
A former mayor of San Diego (Maureen O'Connor) spent the last decade wagering more than a billion dollars at casinos across the country, eventually liquidating her savings, auctioning her belongings, selling off real estate, borrowing from friends and taking more than $2 million from a charity set up by her late husband, a fast-food tycoon. (NYT, 2/14/2013)
A friend of New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and Democratic Party mega-donor Dr. Salomon Melgen may have mistakenly confirmed more details of the senator’s alleged wrongdoing. (Breitbart.com, 2/13/2013)
A Nevada assemblyman has been arrested after allegedly intimidating a fellow state representative with physical violence, KTNV relates. Several reports, including the Las Vegas Sun, say 40-year-old assemblyman Steven Brooks was arrested with a loaded gun after threatening to shoot Democratic Speaker-elect Marilyn Kirkpatrick. (theblaze.com, 1/20/2013)
Former Chelsea Housing Authority chief Michael E. McLaughlin has agreed to plead guilty to four federal charges of deliberately concealing his huge salary from state and federal regulators from 2008 until he resigned in 2011, according to an agreement filed in federal court today. (Boston Globe, 2/13/2013)
At Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, students are perpetually lamenting the fact that their excellent Midwestern school isn’t mentioned more often with Ivy-caliber powerhouses. Well, this story probably isn’t going to help. Campus Reform reports that Wash. U hosted numerous porn stars in its main chapel, in a panel called “A Night With the Stars: Life, Love, and Sex in the Workplace.” It featured presentations from adult film industry stars Tori Black, James Deen and Lance Hart. (DailyCaller.com, 2/15/2013)
So when your Liberal friends bemoan the fact that other countries are doing a better job of educating their citizens and when they demand that more money be spent on education in the U.S., remind them of this. The answer isn't more money. It's taking back schools from the Liberals who run the educational system and allow things like this to take place.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
His supporters will say he is resolute and the Republicans are pigheaded; his opponents (including this column) would reverse the adjectives. A neutral way of describing it is that the two parties' worldviews are irreconcilable. (James Taranto, WSJ, 2/13/2013)
Taranto gets it right: irreconcilable. To which we add the answer to the question: Why won't Republicans compromise? The answer is that they have compromised and they are losing the battle.
- The government is expanding in size and scope.
- Entitlement programs are growing.
- Health care is being nationalized.
- Taxes have been raised.
- Regulation is increasing.
- Abortion is legal.
- Marijuana is legal (in some places).
- Princeton University is now transgender-friendly.
What would compromise look like to Democrats?
On The Road
Coverage of the speech described how he'll now "hit the road to sell his ideas to audiences in North Carolina, Georgia and Illinois." It seems normal until you notice he spends little or no time trying to sell any of this to Congress itself. Most of his past high-visibility proposals have underachieved or disappeared in Congress. He prefers instead the wand of solo executive authority. Even Bill Clinton, no stranger to the admiration of crowds, spent presidential capital building support one-on-one with key members of Congress. Hillary or Joe Biden would have done the same. (Daniel Henninger, WSJ, 2/13/2013)
Henninger nails it again. In private moments, even Democrats have spoken of how Obama has made little effort to engage members of his own party, never mind Republicans. Obsessed with his legacy, Obama will find it diminished due to this. What is to prevent President Rubio in 2016 from undoing Obama's executive orders?
President Obama is a freer man than he has been at any point in his presidency. He is free from the need to save an economy close to collapse, from illusions that Republicans in Congress would work with him readily, from the threat of a rising tea party movement and from the need to win reelection. (E..J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post, 2/13/2013)
Dionne's latest love sonnet to Obama. Did he actually write that Obama is "free from the need to save an economy close to collapse?"
The Obama administration's electric car efforts took another hit on Wednesday after a federal inspection found a South Korean advanced battery maker never scaled up U.S. production despite receiving $142 million in federal grants.
The inspector general said that to avoid layoffs at the factory LG Chem paid idle workers $1.6 million in the third quarter of last year, about half of which was covered by its U.S. grant, even though there was nothing for them to do. The workers played board games, watched movies, and volunteered at local animal shelters during regular work hours, Mr. Friedman said. LG Chem has since paid back the government's share of those charges. (WSJ, 2/13/2013)
Unfortunately this report of the latest Obama green energy debacle has been lost due to the breaking news reported by the Legitimate Media that Senator Marco Rubio took a drink of water.
Mr. Lew seems to have been equally disengaged about his own investments. He said he didn't know why the venture-capital fund in which he had invested was based in the Cayman Islands or whether its location had resulted in any tax benefits. (WSJ, 2/13/2013)
Hypocrisy thy name is Democrat.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Dark Night Of The Soul
Mr. Obama spoke darkly of the consequences of a failure to reach a budget deal, which would set off automatic spending cuts on the military and other programs. “These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness,” he said. (NYT, 2/12/2013)
As Charles Krauthammer has reminded us; the sequester is Obama's invention and military cuts is exactly what Obama and the Dems desire. The 'Legitimate Media' will not, of course, report this.
In another sign of the election’s lingering shadow, Mr. Obama was creating a bipartisan commission to investigate voting irregularities that led to long lines at polling sites in November. Studies indicate that these lines cost Democrats hundreds of thousands of votes. (NYT, 2/12/2013)
Republicans have been talking about voter fraud for years while Democrats have insisted it does not exist. Recent reports from Ohio indicate that there may be truth to the Republican claim. In response, Dems have now created the Next Big Lie which a compliant media will enshrine as fact (see Climate Change). The lie is that "hundreds of thousands" of Democrat voters were disenfranchised; notwithstanding, of course, an Obama victory.
Vermont’s independent child care providers continue to resist efforts by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and a number of state legislators, including Governor Peter Shumlin, to force them into becoming part of a collective bargaining unit under the AFT’s umbrella.
Vermont's Child Care providers are independent small business owners, many of whom chose their profession because of the autonomy if affords them. The concept of a union is antithetical to the core values of many, and they’ve vowed to fight the effort. (TrueNorthReports.com, 2/10/2013)
We had heard a bit about this issue and thought mistakenly that Vermont's child care providers were looking to unionize. Silly us! It's the teachers union that is demanding that they unionize and Vermont's feckless Progressives who are supporting it. It's all about the union dues, of course. It is always about the union dues. A portion of such dues which first go to pay off the union bosses and the balance of which get funneled to Liberal politicians. Vermont's child care workers are no different than other workers who - when given the opportunity to do so - opt out of joining a union.
Over the last decade, as activists started pushing colleges to accommodate transgender students, they first raised only basic issues, like recognizing a name change or deciding who could use which bathrooms. But the front lines have shifted fast, particularly at the nation’s elite colleges, and a growing number are now offering students health insurance plans with coverage for gender reassignment surgery.
Those lists include many of the top American universities — Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, Penn, Emory, Northwestern, the University of California system, Yale, Princeton, M.I.T., Washington University and others.
Princeton says on its Web site that it has been named a “top 10 trans friendly university” and that “recently, we launched an online guide” for transgender students. (NYT, 2/12/2013)
Need more proof that the End of Days is rapidly approaching?
Here it is.
You have been warned.
Mr. Obama's second inaugural was a clarion call to "collective action," as he put it, and Tuesday's speech showed what he thinks that should mean in practice. "The American people don't expect government to solve every problem," he said, while proceeding to offer a new government program to solve every problem. (WSJ, 2/13/2013)
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
The test drew a crescendo of international condemnation Tuesday, with President Obama calling it a “highly provocative act” that demands “swift and credible action by the international community” against North Korea. (NYT, 2/12/2013)
President Obama added that he was organizing a task force to be headed by Vice-President Biden with the goal of developing recommendations on what the heck to do about North Korea to be delivered within three weeks.
The Warm Embrace of Government
On a central philosophical question of the day — the size and scope of the federal government — a clear majority of young people embraces President Obama’s notion that it can be a constructive force, a point he intends to make in his State of the Union address on Tuesday. (NYT, 2/10/2013)
Well of course the young believe in government. They have yet to feel its oppressive hand. High unemployment among the young and newly graduated has masked for some the seminal moment that most experience when they get out of school, find work and get that first paycheck:
How much am I paying in taxes?
Young entrepreneurs will eventually learn what it means to navigate the regulatory hurdles imposed by an interested government. And other young will learn about how the protections put in place for the marginal members of society are abused by free-loaders. Like the 20 year-old described to us recently by a doctor friend who was shopping for a disability diagnosis in order to get yet another government check.
Yes, the young will eventually learn.
Menendez is facing a Senate ethics investigation of two free trips he took in 2010 aboard the private plane of a donor, Salomon Melgen, to a luxury resort in the Dominican Republic. After news of the jaunts became public recently, Menendez reimbursed Melgen $58,500. The senator and his various political entities have received almost $50,000 from Melgen and his family, who also gave $700,000 to a super PAC created to elect Senate Democrats. (Dana Milbank, Washington Post, 2/11/2013)
We finally have an Obama Doctrine. It is not quite the one outlined in various major speeches — Cairo, Berlin or the Greco-Roman one delivered at the 2008 Democratic National Convention — but one that has been ingloriously revealed through news leaks and virtually coerced congressional testimony regarding Syria: In a pinch, look the other way. (Richard Cohen, Washington Post, 2/11/2013)
The way we see it, the Liberal media covered for Obama during his first term. Policy failures were attributable to the continuing effects of Bush's mistakes. Any criticism they directed toward Obama was from the Left. (He hasn't been progressive enough!) During the election they turned mute directing their attention to whether Mitt Romney paid enough taxes or pillaged his way through corporate America. Now with Obama safely re-elected they are free to report occasionally on Democrat peccadilloes or Obama's policy inconsistencies, thus proving their journalistic integrity.
Friday, February 8, 2013
In his opening statement, Mr. Brennan acknowledged “widespread debate” about the administration’s counterterrorism operations but strongly defended them, saying the United States remained “at war with Al Qaeda.”
He said later that when C.I.A. drone strikes accidentally kill civilians, those mistakes should be admitted. “We need to acknowledge it publicly,” he said. “In the interests of transparency, I believe the United States government should acknowledge it.” (NYT, 2/7/2013)
RedStateVT readers know that we support the use of drones to kill the bad guys, even as we regret the death of civilians. Unlike say, Al Qaeda, which does not regret the death of civilians. Knowing they could never defeat the U.S. on a conventional battlefield, Islamic terrorists adapted, resorting to asymmetrical warfare. And the U.S. has adapted as well, utilizing its technological superiority.
As to the transparency issue, this is a shackle that the Left has been trying to place on the military and government in general dating back at least to the Viet Nam War. Mistakes are made in the fog of war and bad things happen. Criminal behavior in the military should be exposed and punished, but more often than not the Left wants to second-guess the decisions made by military commanders trying to prevent U.S. soldiers from being killed. We support more transparency around national defense just as soon as we see more of it from Al Qaeda, Hamas, North Korea, China, and Russia.
Otherwise, Mr. President, there is nothing to discuss. Your sequester — Republicans need to reiterate that the sequester was the president’s idea in the first place — will go ahead. (Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, 2/7/2013)
Good reminder from Charles.
The Virginia Legislature has just passed new voter ID laws severely restricting the number of documents voters can use to prove their identity. Because “voter fraud” is not actually a real problem, Virginia’s Republican legislative majority was free to make the rules as hilariously arbitrary as they wanted. And they honestly couldn't have made their actual intentions — the suppression of undesirable poor/minority votes — more plain. (Alex Pareene, Salon.com, 2/5/2013) (Our emphasis)
Critics of voter ID and other laws cracking down on voter fraud claim they’re unnecessary because fraud is nonexistent. For instance, Brennan Center attorneys Michael Waldman and Justin Levitt claimed last year: “A person casting two votes risks jail time and a fine for minimal gain. Proven voter fraud, statistically, happens about as often as death by lightning strike.”
Well, lightning is suddenly all over Cincinnati, Ohio. The Hamilton County Board of Elections is investigating 19 possible cases of alleged voter fraud that occurred when Ohio was a focal point of the 2012 presidential election. A total of 19 voters and nine witnesses are part of the probe. (John Fund, Nationalreview.com, 2/7/2013) (Thanks to our Massachusetts stringer who braved blizzard conditions to source this story for us.)
How embarrassing for Pareene and Liberals! Why we hear that Rachel Maddow is going to devote an entire show to voter fraud. Just as soon as she finishes her 100 night series on "Disarray in the Republican Party."
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey intervened with federal health officials on two occasions in the last four years in an effort to help a close friend in a billing dispute with Medicare, federal investigators said Wednesday. (NYT, 2/7/2013)
The New York Times finally writes an article about the allegations surrounding Robert Menendez (who we learn seven paragraphs in is a Democrat). Alas, the story focuses on a friend of Menendez who may have had some questionable business dealings. The seventeen paragraph story makes no mention of the other allegations. You know, the ones about Menendez and the underage prostitutes.
In fairness, writing a story about the allegations involving Menendez and underage prostitutes would be akin to....what? Writing a story about allegations that George H.W. Bush had an affair? Or that John McCain had an affair? Or that George W. Bush did not report for his final two weeks of National Guard duty? Or that 50 years ago, Mitt Romney may have bullied a kid in middle school? Those stories would never be written. Just kidding!
"President Barack Obama's speeches have a familiar ring these days--no matter if it's guns, immigration or the budget," Politico reports:
Tout what he's already done. Say the public's in his corner. Demand Congress do something. Lament Washington dysfunction. Lay out his own plan. Avoid details. Urge voters to keep up the pressure. Warn it won't be easy. Bask in the applause.
It's the fill-in-the-blank approach to selling a presidential agenda: same template, just adjusted for the topic. (WSJ, 2/7/2013)
POLITICO? Wow, a deliciously incisive indictment!
The second Obama term is only days old and already the bloom is off the rose. Call it "Obama fatigue."
And what do you know, Chris Dorner, the former-police officer suspected of being behind the murder rampage presently unfolding in Los Angeles, has apparently left behind a manifesto addressed to America that the media's already selectively reporting on to leave out the more inconvenient portions. You see, there's no political upside for the media to reveal the politics of this suspected madman.
What's being reported as Mr. Dorner's manifesto not only endorses Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 and vigorously defends Barack Obama and the Democrats' current gun control push, he also savages the NRA's Wayne LaPierre and expresses all kinds of unabiding for some of the biggest stars in the left-wing media -- by name. (Breitbart.com, 2/7/2013)
It's hard to imagine what we would do without Breitbart. Because of them, we learn that the ex-LA cop wanted for multiple murders is a Liberal. So RedStateVT will now be the first to issue a national warning about the dangers of .... Left Wing Militias. We call upon the Department of Justice to investigate immediately!
Land Of Confusion
Democratic partisans might be confused. They considered Bush a threat to America’s liberty because of his defense of his war powers, yet their hero stands on similar ground. How to resolve the contradiction? Easy. Conclude that they were wrong the first time. (Rich Lowry, POLITICO.com, 2/6/2013)
In an article entitled "Dick Cheney's Revenge" Rich Lowry echoes RedStateVT's recent post about Obama and drone assassinations. Will Liberals take Lowry's advice? Will they say "Cheney was right before as Obama is right now?"
When asked, Liberals responded: "We must do something about the threat of climate change...."
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
At the same time, he is preparing Florida Blue, a nonprofit Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan, for 2014, when most of the requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act go into effect. Insurers will have to offer a policy to anyone who wants one, regardless of their health, and will not be allowed to charge more in premiums to people with expensive medical conditions. The plans the companies offer will be highly regulated through government-run exchanges that are still getting their final regulatory touches. (NYT, 2/5/2013)
Here is an example of someone who cannot be denied coverage. Barney Harold O'Brien (not his real name) is 55 years old and self-employed. Although he knows that he should buy health insurance he has never wanted to spend the money. Money that he says he would rather spend on a new Ford F150 pick-up truck. Barney - never one to work-out - is 5 feet seven inches tall and weighs 250 pounds. For breakfast, he swings by Dunkin Donuts to get a large coffee and three cream-filled donuts. Lunch is either Taco Bell where he enjoys the Grande Loco Supremo Gordo Macho Taco or McDonalds where he likes the 1/4 pounder with cheese. He likes it so much that he orders two along with large fries and a milkshake. On the way home from work, Barney grabs two "hot 'n ready" pizzas at Dominos (or is it Little Caesars?) and a case of Bud Light before settling in to watch MSNBC.
Thankfully, under Obamacare, Barney cannot be denied health insurance and he does not have to pay more than his neighbor who is training for the next marathon.
Who is picking up the cost of the extra medical bills that Barney will generate? You are sucker!
This is not insurance. This is madness.
Mr. Obama, who missed a deadline this week to submit his annual budget to Congress, acknowledged on Tuesday that a broader deficit agreement is unlikely to be reached by the March deadline. He provided no details about the tens of billion of dollars in spending cuts and tax adjustments that he wants Congress to pass quickly. More specifics could come when he delivers his State of the Union address next Tuesday. (NYT, 2/5/2013)
Displaying the same distracted stoner affect first seen in Hawaii with the Choom Squad, Obama blows off his homework again.
Restarting a politically tinged debate, the Senate voted 85 to 8 on Monday evening to take up a renewal of the Violence Against Women Act. (NYT, 2/4/2013)
Here is what you need to know about anything Congress comes up with that includes the name of a minority group in the title. One, it is completely unnecessary. Two, it is a pander to the group. Three, it is an open invitation to tort lawyers to begin suing.
In 2013, we need a Violence Against Women Act? Really? Is violence against women legal now?
Republicans tapped Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a rising star in the Republican party who is frequently mentioned as a 2016 presidential contender, to deliver the Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address next week. (WSJ, 2/6/2013)
Easy prediction: Liberals will seek to demean Rubio in similar fashion to how they seek to demean black conservatives by calling them "house negros." They will coin a new phrase, perhaps calling Rubio the "Republican Party's gardener." This is what Liberals do when confronted with an ethnic politician who they insist belongs in their camp.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Obama administration lawyers have asserted that it would be lawful to kill a United States citizen if “an informed, high-level official” of the government decided that the target was a ranking figure in Al Qaeda who posed “an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States” and if his capture was not feasible, according to a 16-page document made public on Monday.
Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, called the paper “a profoundly disturbing document,” and said: “It’s hard to believe that it was produced in a democracy built on a system of checks and balances. It summarizes in cold legal terms a stunning overreach of executive authority — the claimed power to declare Americans a threat and kill them far from a recognized battlefield and without any judicial involvement.” (NYT, 2/5/2013)
Here's a tip from RedStateVT if you are not certain what position to take on an issue. First, find out what the ACLU thinks. Next, take the opposite position.
One of those rare occasions where RedStateVT and Obama are aligned. It is a dangerous world. We have to kill the bad guys before they kill us.
With Friends Like This
President Obama will visit Israel this spring, his first trip to the country since the start of his presidency, White House officials said Tuesday. (NYT, 2/5/2013)
More than four years later Obama finally gets around to visiting one of America's most stalwart allies. He probably didn't want to get the Palestinians upset.
This is big. And former senior government lawyers I spoke with recently explained why it could get a whole lot bigger:
The leaks clearly came from someone in the president’s inner circle. As The Post explains, “Knowledge of the virus was likely to have been highly compartmentalized and limited to a small set of Americans and Israelis.” Moreover, whoever leaked the information was present when the president discussed this covert action program in the Situation Room. There is a tiny universe of individuals who could have shared the details of President Obama’s personal deliberations on the covert program with the press. (Marc Thiessen, Washington Post, 2/4/2013)
Here is how RedStateVT predicts the White House intelligence leaks scandal will play out. Team Obama will designate someone to be the fall guy. Mr. Fall Guy will be a White House official who was planning to leave his post anyway after the first term. Mr. Fall Guy will be out of town for several months on a long-planned family vacation. Then he will bump his head and be hospitalized for several months. Then in the late summer, Jay Carney - responding to a question from a Fox News reporter - will declare that this is old news and the Obama administration really has nothing new to disclose on the matter. Next!