Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pockets of Resistance

Weighs, Leaps, Stints
As he weighs whether to leap into the race for mayor this year, Mr. Weiner’s lucrative stint in business could serve as a compelling campaign credential, blunting efforts to portray him as a career politician, even as it raises uncomfortable questions about the speed with which he cashed in on his government connections. (NYT, 4/29/2013)

The New York Times in 2011:  "As he weighs whether to leap into the race for president this year, Mr. Romney's lucrative stint in business could serve as a compelling campaign credential...."

Just kidding!

President Obama on Tuesday said there will be no rush to judgment on escalating U.S. intervention in Syria until there is hard evidence of the use of chemical weapons by the government. 

“We now have evidence that chemical weapons have been used inside of Syria,” he said in a wide-ranging news conference at the White House. “But we don’t know when they were used, how they were used, or who used them [...] If we end up rushing to judgment without hard, effective evidence, then we can find ourselves where we can’t mobilize the international community to support what we do." (Washington Post, 4/30/2013)

The administration will go from arguing that it's too soon to intervene in Syria, to arguing that it's too late.
Mr. Obama will treat evidence of Iran's impending nuclearization the way he has looked at Syria's use of chemical weapons, demanding a standard of proof that will be impossible to meet until it is too late to do much about it.  (Bret Stephens, WSJ, 4/29/2013)

Great prescient column by Stephens which actually faults both Obama and Netanyahu for dithering on Iran. 

When the ghastly news from Boylston Street first hit, there was an immediate divide between those who were sure the attack was a form of Islamic terrorism and those just as convinced that it was organized by domestic, right-wing extremists. April 15 was Tax Day, after all.
My faith in a tolerant, pluralistic America made me worry that hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Muslim citizens could become the victims of our anger — much as Italian Americans were stereotyped in the days of Sacco and Vanzetti.
I also found it disturbing that we have given scant attention to the April 17 explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Tex., that killed 15 people and injured more than 200.

As the labor writer Mike Elk pointed out this week in a Post commentary, industrial accidents are far more common than are acts of terror. We have more control over how we enforce worker-safety laws than we do over random acts of violence. Yet we have allowed the Texas story to be buried beneath all our speculation about the Tsarnaev brothers. (E.J. Dionne Jr, Washington Post, 4/24/2013)

Just getting around to E.J.'s column from last week. And what a column it was! 

First we get the old head fake: "Maybe the Boston bombing was the militias!" Which nobody except E.J. thought for more than four seconds. 

Then we get: "Let's not blame the Muslims..." Turns out it was the Muslims. 

Then - bizarrely - we get: "Don't forget the Texas fertilizer explosion."

It's official, E.J. is now rivaling Charles Blow for the title: Funniest Liberal Columnist.

Consider This
Former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy and Kevin Sabet, President Obama’s previous senior advisor at the Office of National Drug Control and Policy, spoke out Thursday against marijuana deregulation efforts under consideration in the Vermont Legislature. (VTDiggers.org, 4/25/2013)

Even a Kennedy argues against pot. Good for Patrick Kennedy!

Nickle Here, There
Gov. Peter Shumlin on Monday afternoon signed the transportation budget bill that contains a new gas tax, meaning the tax will go into effect Wednesday.  The tax is a net increase of 5.9 cents per gallon.  (Burlington Free Press, 4/29/2013)

On behalf of the plumbers, electricians, contractors, painters, teachers and all other working class people in Vermont: "Thanks for nothing Shummy!

Vote him out.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Qualitative Easing

But anyone tempted to get sentimental should remember the actual record of the man who called himself The Decider. Begin with the indelible stain that one of his worst decisions left on our country’s honor: torture. (Eugene Robinson, Washington Post, 4/25/2013)

He created the entire anti-terror infrastructure that continues to keep us safe. That homage was paid, wordlessly, by Barack Obama, who vilified Bush’s anti-terror policies as a candidate, then continued them as president: indefinite detention, rendition, warrantless wiretaps, special forces and drone warfare, and, most notoriously, Guantanamo, which Obama so ostentatiously denounced — until he found it indispensable. (Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, 4/25/2013)

The columns of Robinson and Krauthammer deserve to be read side-by-side to show how Liberals and Conservatives can see the world in such entirely different ways. What is so utterly frustrating to Conservatives is the disingenuousness of Liberals who will disparage Bush while never admitting that many of them voted for the same policies or, in Obama's case, adopted them wholesale. 

Of course for those at the fringe like Robinson it is all about TORTURE. Yes, the U.S. waterboarded what...two people, maybe three. And it is said, received actionable intelligence that likely saved American lives. Robinson is old school perhaps. He likes the old good cop-bad cop method of interrogation.

Arms manufacturers in at least two states with strict new gun laws are making good on their promise to move their operations -- along with thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenues  -- to locales they deem friendlier to the industry. (Foxnews.com, 4/29/2013)

Capitalism in action! Business migrates to friendlier climes.

Course Correction
According to a new report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Institute (GAI), President Barack Obama has spent over twice as many hours on vacation and golf (976 hours) as he has in economic meetings of any kind (474.4 hours).  The report, “Presidential Calendar: A Time-Based Analysis,” used the official White House calendar, Politico’s comprehensive presidential calendar, and media reports through March 31, 2013 to calculate its results. (Breitbart.com, 4/28/2013)

Bad news: the economy is still limping along. Good news: Obama has sharpened up his short game.

In September 2009, Mr. Grassley thought he had succeeded in doing the same for health care when the Senate Finance Committee approved his amendment to require Members of Congress and staff to obtain insurance via the new ObamaCare exchanges. But when Mr. Reid brought the bill to the floor that December, its language had mysteriously changed to exempt those Congressional aides who work for committees and party leaders.

In March 2010 Mr. Grassley tried again to apply the law to all Congressional personnel and to White House officials. His amendment received every Republican vote but it was defeated with 55 Democrats (plus Socialist Bernie Sanders) voting no. However, thanks to Mr. Grassley's earlier success, the law still covered Members of Congress and some of their aides—hence their latest effort to wiggle out of the ObamaCare mandates. (WSJ, 4/28/2013)

So the next time that you see Colonel Bernie Sanders, ask him why - if Obamacare is so wonderful - he voted himself out of it. 

On Syria, he (Obama) wants a comprehensive U.N. investigation, relying on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the World Health Organization—which have as much chance of conducting a thorough inspection inside Syria as the Israeli national symphony. No doubt we will soon hear calls for International Criminal Court indictments of Assad and his henchmen for crimes against humanity. That, in State Department parlance, would be a "strong signal," probably followed by a "stiff note" to Assad's friends in the Kremlin. How they will tremble in Damascus. (John Bolton, WSJ, 4/28/2013)

We are big fans of Bush U.N. ambassador John Bolton. In our view, he gets it - the world is a dangerous place full of corrupt and dishonest people who resent the U.S.  It is the exact opposite of the Obama worldview that the U.S. needs to apologize to the rest of the world for our wealth, success and various historical wrongdoings. 

It will be interesting to see how Obama wiggles out of the Syria issue. In theory he drew a line in the sand over chemical weapons. Now what?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Deft Dealing

The Heritage Foundation and the Franklin Center presented conservative journalist, commentator, Fox News contributor and entrepreneur Michelle Malkin with the second annual Breitbart Award on Thursday for relentlessly pursuing the truth while empowering citizen journalists to do the same. (Breitbart.com, 4/25/2013)

Congratulations to Michelle Malkin. Loyal readers will recall that in 2011 Malkin was the winner of RedStateVT's coveted Cheney Award. Conservative women are the toughest!

The top legislative leaders in Congress -- Reid, Boehner, McConnell, and Hoyer -- are now "engaged in high level confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Obama's health care overhaul" according to Politico.com. (DickMorris.com, 4/25/2013)

Heard this one? Congress to the American people: Shut up and take your medicine!

In March 2011, the Russian security service sent a stark warning to the F.B.I., reporting that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was “a follower of radical Islam” who had “changed drastically since 2010” and was preparing to travel to Russia’s turbulent Caucasus to connect with underground militant groups. Six months later, Russia sent the same warning to the C.I.A. (NYT, 4/25/2013)

We can only guess what the Russians must think about U.S. counterterrorism efforts.

And while we are on the subject, our outrage is growing at the failures that led to the deaths and mutilations in Boston. Where is the Legitimate Media demanding answers? Where are Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi? 

Response to RedStateVT: We do NOT ask those questions when the president is a Democrat. That is your answer. 

The White House said Thursday that it believes the Syrian government has used chemical weapons in its civil war, an assessment that could test President Obama’s repeated warnings that such an attack could precipitate American intervention in Syria.

The White House, in a letter to Congressional leaders, said the nation’s intelligence agencies assessed “with varying degrees of confidence” that the government of President Bashar al-Assad had used the chemical agent sarin on a small scale.

But it said more conclusive evidence was needed before Mr. Obama would take action, referring obliquely to both the Bush administration’s use of faulty intelligence in the march to war in Iraq and the ramifications of any decision to enter another conflict in the Middle East. (NYT, 4/25/2013)

We wonder if President Obama ever wakes up and thinks: how is it that I get to relive the Bush presidency?  All he wanted to do once elected was enact a single-payer healthcare system, grant citizenship to illegal immigrants and redistribute the wealth of the top 10%. Instead he gets to manage the same issues as W: attacks on U.S. soil and possible WMDs. Let's see how Obama deals with the same intelligence issues that Bush did. Of course, as the Times tell us, Bush used "faulty intelligence" while Obama is using "varying degrees of confidence" intelligence!

And another way that Obama mirrors Bush:

When Bush left office, his approval rating was down in the 20s to low 30s. Now it's at 47%, which is what Obama's is. (Peggy Noonan,WSJ, 4/25/2013)

Once Adopted
Democratic senators, at a caucus meeting with White House officials, expressed concerns on Thursday about how the Obama administration was carrying out the health care law they adopted three years ago.

Democrats in both houses of Congress said some members of their party were getting nervous that they could pay a political price if the rollout of the law was messy or if premiums went up significantly. (NYT, 4/25/2013)

Of course they should pay a price for passing a bill that none of them had read.

But the great policy debate of recent years between Keynesians, who advocate sustaining and, indeed, increasing government spending in a depression, and austerians, who demand immediate spending cuts, comes close — at least in the world of ideas. At this point, the austerian position has imploded; not only have its predictions about the real world failed completely, but the academic research invoked to support that position has turned out to be riddled with errors, omissions and dubious statistics. (Paul Krugman, NYT, 4/25/2013)

Paul Krugman declares victory....again.  After mere months of austerity, Krugman concludes that he was right after all. Austerity doesn't work and countries should begin ramping up the spending as he has long advocated. Here's another idea. How about we give it a bit more time. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Knocking Round the Zoo

Asking the Questions That No One Else Will Ask About the Boston Marathon Bombing

Will Joker Tsarnaev be charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident in connection with the death of brother Timberland Tsarnaev?

If not, why not?

As I have written before, I remember sitting next to Bush when we were in the same residential college at Yale (Davenport -- he graduated a year after me). I recall an evening when a group of us was sitting in the common room outside the college dining hall after dinner and a fellow Yale student walked by who was known to be gay, but in those days was not "out." Someone said some ugly homophobic slurs. I didn't like it, but sat silently. But Bush snapped, saying something like "Hey, knock it off. Why don't you walk in his shoes awhile and feel what he feels?" (Huffington Post, 4/24/2013)

Bush, however, lacks irony ..... or something. Another man in his position might stare at the ceiling at night, seeing the number 4,486 — the number of American dead in Iraq — blinking on and off. The death toll for Iraqis is much less exact — maybe as high as 1 million, maybe as low as about 100,000, still a pretty big number. (Richard Cohen, Washington Post, 4/22/2013)

For example, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid would phone the White House after he had insulted the president—such as in 2005, when he called Mr. Bush "a liar" and "a loser." He said he didn't know that his speechwriters had slipped "loser" into his remarks until he delivered them, so he wanted to apologize for using that word (but not for calling the president a "liar"). Mr. Bush didn't take umbrage. I did. The president felt he had better things to do, starting with handling threats foreign and domestic. (Karl Rove, WSJ, 4/24/2013)

A sampling of comments about W on the occasion of the dedication of his presidential library. Kudos to Democrat Lanny Davis for his gracious comments. A class act, for sure. And then there is WaPo's Richard Cohen who takes us down a different path. We get to hear again about the WMDs that W (and Hillary Clinton) thought were in Iraq. Cohen is mean-spirited and petty. Shame! Rove's anecdote reminds us of two things: 1) how comfortable Bush is in his skin and 2) how Harry Reid is a despicable person. 

Last year California lawmakers approved a "homeowner's bill of rights." Now in the spirit of social and legal equality, Democrats have proposed a "homeless bill of rights."

The bill's Assembly sponsor Tom Ammiano, who hails from San Francisco (also known as the hobo capital of California), says state legislation is needed to stop businesses and local governments from discriminating against poor people merely because they can't afford housing. (WSJ, 4/25/2013)

Have you BEEN to San Francisco?

Never mind the rights of families to walk down the street without being accosted, San Fran Liberals want to protect the bums. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Fog of War

If the Boston Marathon Bombings Had Taken Place During the Bush Presidency

Vermont's Colonel Bernie Sanders would have issued a thirty word statement in which he used the phrase "the failed policies of the Bush administration" three times.

Chuck Schumer would have appeared on every network. Every one.

Barack Obama would have said "it is important to remember that we are not at war with Chechnya." And then he would have said "reset button."

Nancy Pelosi would have said something incomprehensible.

Hillary Clinton would first support Bush, then bump her head and be admitted to the hospital for observation. Upon her release she would be sporting a new hairdo.

Chris Matthews would have blamed Dick Cheney.

Piers Morgan would have interrupted his show about gun control to declare that the marathon bombing clearly demonstrated the need in America for more gun control.

Democrats would have called for a new government agency.

The newly minted "Cambridge Girls" would have appeared on Oprah (she's still on television somewhere, right?) and then in a glossy photo spread in Vanity Fair.

Out of Gas
Barring a last-minute rescue, Fisker is poised to become another DeLorean Motor Co. or Tucker Corp., a symbol of the difficulties of creating entirely new car companies. Unlike those others, it also represents one of the most prominent failures of the government's use of public funds to wean American industry from fossil fuels—and of how that government interest pushed Fisker to reach too far. 
Its biggest single investor was the U.S. In 2009, the Obama administration's interest in cultivating electric cars got the untested Fisker loans totalling $529 million, more than the company had initially requested, and an amount that encouraged private backers to chip in more funds. (WSJ, 4/24/2013)

Key phrase above: "the government's use of public funds."

We are also reminded of the comment: "never mind picking winners and losers, Obama seems to have picked only losers!"

And how about this one? No new taxes until Obama pays taxpayers back the money he wasted on failed green energy projects.

Branching Out
Their purchase offer won’t be buttressed by a record of involvement in or commitment to journalism on their part. But it will come complete with a commitment to journalism as a branch of right-wing ideology. (Harold Meyerson, Washington Post, 4/23/2013)

One of the most endearing traits of Liberals is their outrage whenever a conservative appears in places they consider their exclusive domain. 

A conservative in academia? Why that's an outrage! 

A conservative in Vermont? Also outrageous! 

Now the Koch Brothers want to buy a newspaper or two? It's Armageddon! 

Fast Foward
Dzhokhar was given everything America had to offer, and now he only has one thing in his future to look forward to ... a tenured professorship. (Ann Coulter, 4/24/2013)

Your Coulter-of-the-day!

Devil in the Details
Former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) dropped hints in an interview posted Wednesday that some details surrounding the Twitter scandal that led to his resignation in 2011 may not have been made public at the time. (Huffington Post.com, 4/24/2013)

We can only hope that Weiner is not teasing us....

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Footholds of Influence

After Mr. Tsarnaev’s visit to Dagestan and Chechnya, signs of alienation emerged. One month after he returned to the United States, a YouTube page that appeared to belong to him was created and featured jihadist videos.

Posting such videos alone, without overt threats of violence, should not necessarily sound alarms, some counterterrorism specialists said Monday. (NYT, 4/22/2013)

Because lots of ordinary folks post jihadist videos? 

Maybe some "retraining" of our counterterrorism specialists is in order. 

Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and the chairman of the committee, took issue with conservative commentators and Republican lawmakers who suggested that any debate about an immigration overhaul should take into account that the two suspects in the Boston bombing emigrated to the United States from Kyrgyzstan.

“Last week, opponents of comprehensive immigration reform began to exploit the Boston Marathon bombing,” Mr. Leahy said. “Let no one be so cruel as to try to use the heinous acts of these two young men last week to derail the dreams and futures of millions of hard-working people.” (NYT,4/22/2013)

"Last week, proponents of gun control began to exploit the Newtown massacre. Let no one be so cruel as to try to use the heinous act of one young man last week to impugn the reputations of millions of law-abiding gun owners."

Oh Happy Day!
The trustee overseeing MF Global Holdings Ltd.'s bankruptcy sued former Chief Executive Jon S. Corzine and two other executives for their role in the brokerage's collapse. (WSJ, 4/23/2013)

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren railed at Ben Bernacke recently about the lack of prosecutions of financial executives. Problem solved!  Or was she not thinking about Democrats....

Bumper Crop
Howie Carr noted today that the car hijacked by the Boston bombers had a "COEXIST" bumper sticker. That's too funny!

Monday, April 22, 2013


Stoner Shums
In the hamlet of Essex Junction, Vermont we hear of a backlash against the proposed opening of a smoking accessories shop wherein a variety of smoking-related paraphernalia would be sold. Some call these "head shops." So will Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin - who famously offered to be a spokesperson for NORML - support the beleaguered proprietor? If not, why not? This is what he has wrought after all. 

Laugh Track
Yes, we need to reform Social Security, but the reform should increase, not cut the income support that millions rely on. In an important political blueprint for sensible reform released by the New American Foundation, Michael Lind, Steven Hill, Robert Hiltonsmith and Joshua Freedman call for adding a supplement to Social Security that would guarantee all retirees about 60 percent of their average wage in retirement (similar to that of most other developed nations). (Katrina vanden Heuvel, Washington Post, 4/9/2013)

Why do we do it? We vow to ignore vanden Heuvel and we always break our promise. After considerable reflection (and therapy) we had an epiphany. We return for the yucks. Proving the old maxim about Liberals that if something is not working, double down, vanden Heuvel argues for MORE Social Security. How to pay for it? Tax the rich! We have many dear friends (and loyal readers) who are actuaries and quantitative analysts. We'll call upon them to do the math here. Not to pre-judge the conclusion, but our educated guess is that you could confiscate all the Buffet, Koch and Soros wealth and not fund a 60% social security benefit for more than one month. 

But thanks to vanden Heuvel for the laugh.

The first World Trade Center bombing, in 1993, al Qaeda attacks on American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, on the USS Cole in 2000, the 9/11 attacks, and those in the dozen years since—all were fueled by Islamist hatred for the U.S. and its values.

There are Muslim organizations in this country, such as the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, headed by Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, that speak out bravely against that totalitarian ideology. They receive no shout-out at presidential speeches; no outreach is extended to them. (Michael B. Mukasey, WSJ, 4/21/2013)

Follow-up to yesterday's post about Muslims who speak out against violence. Glad to hear of this organization. Why does Obama not host them at the White House?

Media Mash
Other than financing a few fringe libertarian publications, the Kochs have mostly avoided media investments. Now, Koch Industries, the sprawling private company of which Charles G. Koch serves as chairman and chief executive, is exploring a bid to buy the Tribune Company’s eight regional newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Orlando Sentinel and The Hartford Courant. (NYT, 4/20/2013)

Lots of interest in the Koch brothers media strategy. Next up: an investigative journalism piece from the Times about the media strategy of George Soros. Just kidding!

Anthony Weiner is back on Twitter. The former congressman and potential candidate for mayor  began posting messages Monday on a new account on the social networking site that played a key role in his high-profile downfall two years ago. (WSJ, 4/22/2013)

Weiner will apparently maintain two Twitter accounts. The new account will be geared toward his potential campaign for mayor of NYC. His original Twitter account will remain active and be the one on which he sends pictures of his private parts to women. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Coming to Grips

Muslim leaders in many cities rushed to hold news conferences and preach sermons at mosques denouncing the bombing suspects, mourning the victims and praising the response of law enforcement and the community in Boston. They were eager to dissociate their faith from the Muslim suspects, and to head off a backlash against Muslims in the United States. (NYT, 4/20/2013)

We were absolutely thrilled to read this. Condemnation by Muslims of acts of terrorism committed in the name of Islam must occur more frequently and/or be publicized more widely. 

It began as a stunt intended to prove that hardship and poverty still existed in this small, wealthy country, but it backfired badly. Visit a single mother of two on welfare, a liberal member of Parliament goaded a skeptical political opponent, see for yourself how hard it is.

It turned out, however, that life on welfare was not so hard. The 36-year-old single mother, given the pseudonym “Carina” in the news media, had more money to spend than many of the country’s full-time workers. All told, she was getting about $2,700 a month, and she had been on welfare since she was 16. (NYT, 4/20/2013)

Good piece about how Denmark is being forced to rethink its cradle-to-grave welfare state. The threats are two-fold: the abuse of the system as described above and the aging of the population which means fewer workers supporting a larger group of beneficiaries. Lessons that the U.S. would do well to heed....but won't.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Modest National Security Proposal

RedStateVT proposes that law enforcement officials use the following to help identify potential terror perpetrators. 

1) Based upon previous experience, are future acts of terror most likely to be committed by individuals who are:

a) Young
b) Old

2) Based upon previous experience, are future acts of terror most likely to be committed by individuals who are:

a) Male
b) Female

3) Based upon previous experience, are future acts of terror most likely to be committed by individuals who are:

a) Muslim
b) Christian
c) Jewish

So, for example, if after extensive research it were determined that past terrorism was largely conducted by elderly Jewish women, going forward law enforcement would pay particular attention to this demographic group. (Note: this is hypothetical. See below for our conclusion as to the demographic group most likely to commit acts of terrorism.) While some may call this "profiling" we call it something else.  Good police work...or even common sense. 

(Answer key: Why are you looking here? You know the answers!)

In March, 7.6 million Americans who want more hours were stuck in part-time jobs, about the same as a year earlier and three million more than there were when the recession began at the end of 2007.

These almost invisible underemployed workers do not count toward the standard jobless rate of 7.6 percent.  A broader measure, which includes the involuntary part-timers as well as people who want to work but have stopped looking, stands at 13.8 percent. (NYT, 4/19/2013)

A story that the New York Times buried during the election: 13.8% unemployment. With Obama now safely re-elected they feel comfortable reporting the facts. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What We Know

Republicans armed themselves with disputed talking points from the gun lobby about how a bill to expand background checks and outlaw a national gun registry was instead tantamount to a national gun registry. Turning the dispute from gun safety to gun rights, they took to the Senate floor to denounce the compromise, even arguing with its sponsors, Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, and Patrick Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, two National Rifle Association-blessed lawmakers who could not contain their umbrage. Mr. Obama on Wednesday accused the gun lobby and opposition lawmakers of willfully lying about the measure. (NYT, 4/17/2013)

We'll make three points:

1) We wonder if Democrats armed themselves with "disputed talking points" from Liberal academics and the Obama administration about Obamacare.... Of course, there was no "willful lying" back then.

2) In his remarks, Obama expressed indignation that some on the other side objected to his constant parading of the Newtown parents. Here is how we see it. We are heartbroken for the loss these parents suffered. It is incalculable. Do the parents have a right to speak out? Of course they do. However, we should not reflexively pass legislation that the parents want simply because they have suffered a loss. For one thing, the parents do not speak with one voice. Some Newtown parents have come out against gun legislation. Similarly, anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan was said by some on the Left to speak with "absolute moral authority" against the war because her son had died in Iraq.  Until it was pointed out that some moms of deceased soldiers supported the war! Ann Coulter was excoriated by Liberals for her attacks on the "Jersey Girls." But Coulter's point was that the Jersey Girls had given up their status as apolitical victims of a horrible tragedy to take a political position in opposition to the Bush administration. Once they did, they were subject to the same public scrutiny as any public commentator on their motives and their political views. That's the way it works.

3) If we are beaming today, it's because we were listening to Rush Limbaugh today and heard him repeat a point from yesterday's post. Namely that the failed gun legislation would have done absolutely nothing to prevent the Newtown massacre. Does El Rushbo read RedStateVT?

According to a Unicef report issued last week — “Child Well-Being in Rich Countries” — the United States once again ranked among the worst wealthy countries for children, coming in 26th place of 29 countries included.
According to the report, the United States has the second highest share of children living under the relative poverty line, defined as 50 percent of each country’s median income, and the second largest “child poverty gap” (the distance between the poverty line and the median incomes of those below the line).

The United States ranked 25th out of 29 in the percentage of people 15 to 19 years old who were enrolled in schools and colleges and 23rd in the percentage of people in that cohort not participating in either education, employment or training. (Charles M. Blow, NYT, 4/17/2013)

And yet somehow, despite the abject poverty and abysmal conditions in the U.S., people from other countries will risk everything to come to America. Amazing!

Humor columnist Blow apparently never got....er, never read the memo that notes that other countries report fraudulent data. No country wants to be at the bottom so they game the study. Liberals like Blow just love these studies because they confirm their beliefs that the U.S. is a corrupt country that can only be cured by more spending on entitlements. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Public Struggle

Lynch Pin
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) scheduled a showdown vote for Wednesday, putting the linchpin of Democrats' gun-control efforts on the line even while Democrats appeared short of the votes needed to pass it. The bipartisan proposal, from Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R., Pa.), would broaden background checks to all online and gun-show sales. Currently, only federally licensed dealers are required to conduct checks, which aim to screen for people with criminal and mental-health histories that make them ineligible to buy guns. (WSJ, 4/16/2013)

With respect to proposed gun legislation, the question that must be asked is this: Would this legislation have prevented the Newtown massacre? Given that the answer is no, what is the point? It is just politicians chasing their tails while pretending to be useful.

Here are some questions which might get to the heart of Newtown:

  • Why did a mother use guns in an attempt to bond with her mentally ill son?
  • Why were the guns not locked up?
  • Why was the killer not institutionalized?
  • What was the role of the violent video games found in the killer's basement on his mental health?
  • Would an armed guard at the school have prevented or lessened the tragedy?

Now we are talking. 

Problem is, the Wal-Mart model of employment and service not only reflects but also reinforces the declining economic prospects of the majority of Americans. The nation’s largest private-sector employer has used its market power to impose its low-wage model all along its supply chain, leaving millions of Americans with no shopping option other than the kind of discount, and frustrating, experience that Wal-Mart provides. The U.S. economy that Wal-Mart has built — with plenty of help from Wall Street and the government — is in the shape of a downward spiral, and it will take all our ingenuity, and a mass movement for worker power, to free ourselves from that path. (Harold Meyerson, Washington Post, 4/16/2013)

Read an article - any article - about the ouster of J.C. Penney's CEO and the story is the same: Ron Johnson's ill-fated attempt to move the company away from the cycle of high nominal prices offset by discounts and couponing. Now along comes Liberal Op-ed writer Meyerson to set us straight. The real problem with J.C. Penney, Wal-Mart and other retailers? Not enough workers and low wages to boot! With analytical skills like this, the Washington Post had better make sure that the credit desk at Goldman Sachs doesn't recruit Meyerson away. 

We might have suggested that whatever problems retailers might be having could be tied to the sluggish economy and continuing concerns about the costs to companies of Obamacare. Who knew the answer was simply to hire more workers and pay them more? 

Bury Thee
At Ludgate Circus, close to St. Paul’s, a small group of protesters gathered, some with banners reading: “Now bury Thatcherism.” Some jeered and shouted, “good riddance.” (NYT, 4/17/2013)

Some day former President Jimmy Carter will pass. Whatever our differences with the former president, we will NOT dance on his grave. 

No Show
The official American delegation named by the White House is led by two more former secretaries of state, George P. Shultz and James A. Baker 3d. But some British Conservatives have complained that President Obama did not send a senior serving member of his administration. (NYT, 4/17/2013)

First, he returned the Churchill bust and then he snubs Thatcher. This is how Obama treats our stalwart ally.

Rank and File
Anthony D. Weiner has not yet said whether he will run for mayor of New York. But he already ranks among the leading Democratic candidates in the race, trailing only one other contender, Christine C. Quinn, in a poll of voters released on Tuesday. (NYT, 4/17/2013)

Run Weiner, Run!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

This and That

The marketplaces would intensify competition, she said, adding, “When plans have to compete side by side and it’s very transparent, that in and of itself drives prices down.” (NYT, 4/12/2013)

HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius tries to explain how capitalism works...and gets it wrong.

Capitalism does NOT work when the government gets involved, dictating who insurance companies should cover (everyone, for example), what services they should provide for free (lots of them), and how much they should charge (not too much). 

Chain Chain Chain
First, the proposal — “chained CPI,” a change in the way inflation is measured — is very small. It reduces Social Security by a quarter of a penny on the dollar — a $2,000 check reduced by a five-dollar bill.

Second, the change is merely technical. The White House itself admits that the result is simply a more accurate measure of inflation. It’s not really cutting anything. It merely eliminates an unintended overpayment. (Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, 4/11/2013)

It is always good to quantify things. Here Krauthammer tells us the impact of the chained CPI proposal which will wreak untold havoc on the well being of the poor....according to Liberals. 

Consider out-of-wedlock births. In 1980, about 18 percent of births were to unmarried women; by 2009, the proportion was 41 percent.  (Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post, 4/14/2013)

What shocks you more, dear reader? That the illegitimacy rate is now 41%....or that 30 years ago it was almost 20%?!?!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Divinely Inspired

The Pervs
As he considers a potential mayoral run in the wake of an online sex scandal, former Representative Anthony D. Weiner has won a vote of confidence from a politician who can identify with his predicament: Eliot Spitzer.

Mr. Spitzer, who resigned in 2008 as governor of New York amid revelations that he had solicited prostitutes, said in a radio interview that Mr. Weiner “will make it as a serious candidate if he plunges in, as I think he will.” (NYT, 4/13/2013)

We won't even make this a partisan issue because we would include South Carolina's Mark Sanford: politicians are among the lowest forms of life on the planet. Whore-monger Spitzer endorses Trench-coat flasher Weiner. That is priceless!

Soda Break
It had been building since mid-2011, when the president, in private negotiations with Speaker John A. Boehner, tentatively agreed to the new formula for calculating cost-of-living adjustments in Social Security; economists recommend the formula as more accurate, but it would mean smaller increases for Social Security beneficiaries. Even so, Democrats in Congress and the White House agree that the party would have supported Mr. Obama back then if a compromise deal had come to a vote. (NYT, 4/13/2013)

Here is what the proposed formula tweak for Social Security will do: it will slow the rate of future cost-of-living adjustments. That's it. It won't reduce any current recipient's payment one nickel. That is what has Liberals and Oregon Republican Greg Walden so outraged. 

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama paid $112,214 in federal income taxes for 2012 on adjusted gross income of $608,611, an effective rate of 18.4%, the White House said. (WSJ, 4/12/2013)

We just had an national election which centered almost entirely on Mitt Romney's tax rate (14%). Now we find out that Obama paid 18%. Are Liberals satisfied with that? Is the Legitimate Media outraged?

As federal and state legislators continue to debate gun control and school safety measures in the months after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., communities around the country are wasting little time taking safety issues into their own hands. Some schools have hired armed guards. Others have implemented buzzer systems at their doors. (NYT, 4/14/2013)

At last, some common sense on guns and school safety. Liberals proudly proclaimed their schools as "gun-free zones" thus giving free reign to mass murderers. Let's try it a different way and see what happens.

The article is remiss in not mentioning the many cities (Houston, St. Louis, Los Angeles) where armed security is already in place. 

From the same article we get the following excerpt which reminds coastal Liberals of how things are in the rest of the country:

By the time they are 6, many young boys and girls already have learned how to safely handle a weapon and have shot their first deer. Some live in homes where guns are not under lock and key, or on vast prairies where they shoot skeet with their families. (NYT, 4/14/2013)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Chills and Thrills and Spills

Ten Years After
The last time the differences among intelligence agencies came into such sharp relief was 10 years ago this spring, when the Bush administration sought to explain why it had dismissed the dissenting opinions of parts of the intelligence community over Iraq’s nonconventional weapons. (NYT, 4/12/2013)

This on differing assessments of North Korean capabilities by U.S. intelligence agencies. So let's see, Obama will ultimately have to make national security decisions based on conflicting data. 

Just like Bush did! 

We'll see if the New York Times and others in the Legitimate Media then spend the next ten years examining 'why Obama dismissed dissenting opinions.'

Advocates for better mental health services said that many of them were initially uneasy about seizing on an event as tragic as the Connecticut school shootings to win improvements in care. And many have noted that very few violent crimes are committed by mentally ill people. But they came to believe that the current time was the best opportunity for real change, and that they might not get another one for a while.

“This is our moment,” said Linda Rosenberg, the president of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. “I hate the connection between gun violence and the need for better mental health care, but sometimes you have to take what you can get.” (NYT, 4/12/2013)

Let's review this strange excerpt.

"...uneasy about seizing on an event as tragic as the Connecticut shootings to win improvements in care." 

  • Gun control advocates obviously have no such qualms about seizing on Newtown to push an agenda. 

"...very few violent crimes are committed by mentally ill people."

  • Well that may be true, but EVERY mass killing IS committed by a mentally ill person!

"I hate the connection between gun violence and the need for better mental health care..."

  • Rosenberg may hate it, but she better admit it or there is no doubt that some town will eventually be dealing with another massacre. Liberals apparently do not want to stigmatize the mentally ill, they would rather stigmatize law-abiding gun owners. 

Goofball VEEP Biden was asked about mental illness and gun violence in a roundtable discussion on MSNBC this week. He replied by describing the administration's plan to provide funding to map the human brain. Yeah, that will solve the problem.

We will end the discussion with Coulter:

If liberals had a decent argument for taking guns away from the law-abiding while doing nothing to prevent schizophrenics from getting guns, they'd make it. Manifestly, they don't, so they send out victims to make the argument for them, knowing no one will argue with a person whose child has just been murdered. 

This allows liberals to act as if Republicans' only counter-argument to their idiotic gun control proposals is: We don't mind dead children.  (Ann Coulter, 4/10/2013)

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act, said on Tuesday that the healthcare law, set to go into full effect in less than eight months, is “probably the most complex piece of legislation ever passed by the United States Congress” and “is just beyond comprehension.” Rockefeller said he is concerned that early missteps with implementing the healthcare overhaul may cascade into confusion and chaos. The law, said Rockefeller, is “so complicated and if it isn’t done right the first time, it will just simply get worse.”

Rockefeller’s consternation echoes comments made earlier this week by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who groused that "no one fully anticipated” all the complexities of the federal government's deep penetration into an industry that represents one-fifth of the U.S. economy.  (Breitbart.com, 4/12/2013)

We have been out of town. Did they really say this?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

All Of The Above

Mr. Biden faces a situation unique in the annals of modern American politics. He is the vice president, the highest-ranking member of his party interested in running for president, yet he is not the heir apparent. While every sitting vice president who sought it in the last half-century captured his party’s nomination, Mr. Biden would start as the underdog if he ran against Mrs. Clinton, the former secretary of state. (NYT, 4/8/2013)

The New York Times would not write a story about Dick Cheney's dog without mentioning waterboarding. But here they  write an entire article about Joe Biden's presidential ambitions without once talking about his constant verbal gaffes.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Moral Suasion

Iron Indeed
But by the time she left office, the principles known as Thatcherism — the belief that economic freedom and individual liberty are interdependent, that personal responsibility and hard work are the only ways to national prosperity, and that the free-market democracies must stand firm against aggression — had won many disciples. Even some of her strongest critics accorded her a grudging respect. (NYT, 4/8/2013)

The great Margaret Thatcher. It is a shame that we do not learn from history. 

Piece Meal
The days ahead could be decisive ones for the main pieces of President Obama’s second-term agenda: long-range deficit reduction, gun safety and changes to immigration law. (NYT, 4/7/2013)

First on President Obama's second term agenda: Deficit reduction. But not just any deficit reduction, long-range deficit reduction. In fact, he talks about it all the time. Usually right after higher taxes on the rich, green energy, gun control, immigration reform, marriage equality, more money for education, more money for our crumbling infrastructure and hot AGs. Then, long-range deficit reduction. 

In fact, the real, lived experience of Obamacare is likely to be one of significantly increased individual freedom. For all our talk of being the land of liberty, those holding one of the dwindling number of jobs that carry decent health benefits often feel anything but free, knowing that if they leave or lose their job, for whatever reason, they may not be able to regain the coverage they need. Over time, as people come to realize that affordable coverage is now guaranteed, it will have a powerful liberating effect. (Paul Krugman, NYT, 4/7/2013)

We were going to offer some pointed rebukes to Krugman's column, but as always, it is best to let his own words tell the story. 

We are all going to be freer, thanks to Obamacare.

Well there you go.

Between December 2007, when the recession started, and June 2009, when it ended, the number of Americans receiving federal disability benefits grew to 7.6 million from 7.1 million. Then the rolls swelled, reaching 8.9 million in March, about 5.4% of the civilian workforce ages 25 to 64, according to J.P. Morgan estimates. That compares with 1.7% of the U.S. workforce in 1970. (WSJ, 4/7/2013)

Just to be clear, this is what Republicans are talking about when they argue about entitlement programs.  Not honest payments to deserving seniors or the disabled. It is the millions of deadbeats who are gaming the system. Abetted by Liberals. 

Oh Come, Oh Come
Earlier this year, Mr. Emanuel's administration and leaders of the police sergeant's union reached a preliminary four-year contract with a 9% raise in total. In exchange, union leaders pledged to support efforts at the state level to solve the pension issue by reducing cost-of-living increases for current retirees, raising the retirement age and increasing worker contributions.

Union members rejected the deal by a 6-to-1 margin last month, with rank-and-file officers pushing the sergeants to shoot it down. For some officers, the deal belied the mayor's statements that he wanted to work with unions to resolve the pension shortfall. "To me, being a partner shouldn't mean my way or the highway," said Mike Shields, president of Chicago's largest police union. (WSJ, 4/7/2013)

It was said that only a Cold War warrior like Richard Nixon could open the door to Red China back in the day. We wonder whether it has to be a Democrat like Emanuel who has to break the union pension funds that are slowly killing America's cities. Unfortunately, Emanuel's first run-in, with the Chicago teachers, ended with him caving. Here's hoping. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Finishing Touches

Logged Out
Hillary was an indefatigable secretary of state — she logged 956,733 diplomatic frequent-flier miles — and a star ambassador, especially on women’s issues.  (Maureen Dowd, NYT, 4/6/2013)

Dowd writes an entire column avowing that Hillary Clinton is running for president in 2016. Dowd hits all the issues: Hillary's health, her age, her hair, her outfits, her previous run-in with health care reform, her psyche, her relationship with her father. There is even a brief reference to long ago Clinton-era scandals. 

What is missing? Not a single word - not one - on Benghazi. 

This is journalistic malpractice. 

Hey Good Lookin'
President Obama late Thursday night called Kamala Harris, the California attorney general, and apologized to her for telling a group of wealthy donors that she is the “best-looking attorney general in the country.” (NYT, 4/5/2013)

Is it only RedStateVT that discerns the deeper context behind Obama's comment? 

He has been hanging around Joe Biden too much. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Legendary Fears

Even Though
The state Senate has advanced legislation to allow immigrant workers on Vermont farms to become legal drivers, even though they might be in the country illegally.

The 27-2 vote came nearly 19 months after the Vermont State Police stopped a car containing two passengers who were Mexican immigrant farmworkers in the country illegally and turned them over to the U.S. Border Patrol. (Burlington Free Press, 4/5/2013)

Continuing their laser-like focus on the issues vital to an economically sound and prosperous Vermont, state legislators roll up their sleeves to tackle drivers licenses for illegals.

Yesterday while taking our cat out for a walk, RedStateVT conducted an admittedly informal survey in the neighborhood. We asked: "What is the most pressing issue here in Vermont that we want our legislators to address?" Unanimously, our fellow Vermonters answered "drivers licenses for illegals." 

Well there you go. 

Hard Times
The president could face an even tougher time selling the Social Security change to liberal members of Congress. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., fired off a statement Thursday responding to what was then the rumor that Obama's budget could include the change. "Millions of working people, seniors, disabled veterans, those who have lost a loved one in combat, and women will be extremely disappointed if President Obama caves into the long standing Republican effort to cut Social Security and benefits for disabled veterans and their survivors through a so-called chained CPI," Sanders said. "In 2008, candidate Barack Obama told the American people that he would not cut Social Security.  Having him go back on his word will only add to the rampant political cynicism that our country is experiencing today." (Foxnews.com, 4/5/2013)

Whenever defending or advocating for government entitlements Colonel Bernie Sanders will inevitably provide a laundry list of those who would be affected. Working people, seniors, disabled veterans, those who have lost a loved one in combat, women, those with broken bones, with broken hearts, the tired, the poor, those who yearn, those who once yearned, pet owners, people who lost a pet, seniors who lost a pet, the disabled who lost a pet, the recently deceased, those about to be deceased, etc.

On the other side is a single group: taxpayers. 

Shore Line
“If the president believes these modest entitlement savings are needed to help shore up these programs, there’s no reason they should be held hostage for more tax hikes,” Mr. Boehner said in a statement. “That’s no way to lead and move the country forward.” (NYT, 4/5/2013)

Excellent point by John Boehner who is slowly rehabilitating himself. If President Obama believes in the absolute necessity of entitlement reform in order to ensure the sustainability of these programs for the long term, then why is such reform tied to tax hikes on the rich? The answer, we suspect, is that Obama is not a true believer on such reform.

Story Time
Our favorite anecdote from the tour, however, came when some protesters against Keystone XL chanted outside another rich man's home, "What do we want from the President? No pipeline for the 1%."

These protesters need to have their consciousness raised too. The 1%-ers writing checks to Mr. Obama loathe the pipeline. The folks who need and want it are the 99%. They're the working stiffs who are "struggling to get by" in this economy.... (WSJ, 4/5/2013)

See yesterday's RedStateVT post. More proof that the Wall Street Journal reads RedStateVT?

Hail Hail
The economy created a net 88,000 new jobs, 95,000 in private business. This means that for every unemployed American who found a job in March, about five left the labor force. If the Obama Administration can convince another three million or so Americans to leave the job market, the President will be able to hail "full employment." (WSJ, 4/5/2013)

Our favorite line from a column on the latest unemployment numbers. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

One Nature

Single Note Presidency
As Mr. Obama has before, his budget documents will emphasize that he would support the cost-of-living change, as well as other reductions that Republicans have called for in the popular programs for older Americans, only if Republicans agree to additional taxes on the wealthy and infrastructure investments that the president called for in last year’s offer to Mr. Boehner. (NYT, 4/4/2013)

Having already achieved success in raising taxes on the rich, Obama now wants to raise taxes on the rich again. We eagerly await wealthy Liberals stepping up and declaring that they are once more prepared to pay more taxes. The good news is that Obama may be willing to put entitlement reform on the table, but Republicans would be wise to be wary of a bait-and-switch. 

When the police were able to defuse the traps and search his apartment, they found ammunition and explosives, role-playing computer games and a Batman mask, according to the documents. (NYT, 4/4/2013)

What can we expect from Liberals given this disclosure of the contents of the apartment of mass murderer James Holmes? 

An all-out drive to ban Halloween masks! (And never mind about those video games...)

Wade in the Water
The White House will also wade into the thorny issue of disability- and unemployment-insurance benefits. It will propose barring Americans from collecting unemployment benefits and disability benefits that cover the same period of time. Americans collecting unemployment benefits are supposed to be able to prove they are looking for work, and Americans collecting Social Security disability benefits are supposed to be able to prove they are unable to work. Social Security administrative law judges have complained in recent years that a number of people seeking disability benefits are simultaneously either applying for or collecting unemployment checks. (WSJ, 4/5/2013)

Great news, right?

Well yes, until you realize that this fraud has actually been going on! Then you get very angry.

And Republicans are criticized for talking about entitlement abuse....

Good Neighbors
If the president tells you that fences don’t work, ask him why he has one around the White House. (Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, 4/4/2013)

Best line from Krauthammer column on immigration reform.