Thursday, December 15, 2011

XL Pipeline Politics Attached To Middle Class Tax Cuts: House Gives Senate A "Poison Pill"

President Obama has indicated that he will veto any tax bill that has language forcing him to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project. The House has passed legislation to that end, and now the Senate will be forced to deal with the pipeline issue. That's not something Obama or the Senate Dem majority would like to deal with, right now


Look for it to be called a "poison pill" strategy, perpetrated by the House GOP, because they don't want to extend the payroll tax cut. Others, like me, will see it as linking tax cuts to greater employment, and daring the Dems to shoot it down. It's almost 2012, and both sides are pullin' out all the stops!


We'll have to see if Sen. Reid brings it up, but the pressure is enormous. I think it's perfect political Jiu Jitsu, with the GOP calling out the President with his own words... "pass this bill, now!" Remember, Reid didn't act on the President's jobs bill, so it would be a big-ass "cave" if he moves on an issue raised by the House GOP. Too bad, if it happens, because it will just prove that the "political center" has moved somewhat to the right, again. No hard feelings, just cold facts....


Let's see what the Senate does about sustaining this payroll tax cut. Nothing, or Something...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Fast and Furious" and "Solyndra" Show Incompetence, If Not Political Corruption

Two things that may combine to hurt the Obama Administration are the growing "Fast and Furious" scandal, where the US sold guns to the Mexican drug cartels, with no way of arresting anyone. The other is the scandal involving Solyndra, a bankrupt solar panel manufacturer based in California, which cost the US taxpayer around half a Billion dollars. Both are going to be thoroughly investigated in the near future, and the OA doesn't seem to have an adequate response, so far.

These are examples of stories the "in the tank for Obama" media stay away from, until they "have legs," meaning they get too big to ignore. While Solyndra is fading from the fleeting media mentions it got, it will not be the last "green" initiative of the OA's that will be scrutinized (link). Any other one (or more) that was a bad deal may end Obama's political chances at enacting any of that agenda. The Justice Department is investigating, but they can't afford another "cover-up" right now, which leads me to the second scandal...

"Fast and Furious" was an ill-designed operation, which consisted of telling gun shops and dealers to sell weapons illegally, and waiting to find out where they ended up, often after they'd used to kill someone. Eric Holder has yet to give his version of what this operation amounted to, but since he's called the House GOP's investigation "partisan," I'm guessing there's something he's hiding, for political reasons. It's always the coverup that's criminal, and AG Holder is stickin' to his story about only hearing about the operation "a few weeks" before his congressional testimony, on May 3rd. Now, he's claiming that the emails from a year earlier about the operation were not shown to him, or that he didn't read them. In other words, he's pleading ignorance, and incompetence, rather than a corrupt attempt to "cover up" an ill-conceived law enforcement operation (link).

These two scandals are "body blows" that this administration can't afford to let "drag out," but that seems to be their strategy. Right now, Dems seem happy to revel in the "Occupy Wall St (or name your city)" protests, because it is taking the media spotlight off of the OA's predicament. The "Wall St. protesters," and their cacophony of leftist cliches will fade, but these scandals, and the issues they raise about the OA will not go away. I expect Holder to go "under the bus" soon, but it won't look good, in any case.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Wall St. Protesters Agree With TEA Party On Bailouts

Ask any of the Wall St. protesters if they agree with Republicans, or the TEA Party, and they'll say "Hell, NO"! How many of them know that the GOP actually blocked the bailouts, the first time they were voted on. When the bill came up for a second vote, the "moderate" Republicans voted for the bailout, along with all of the Dems. The ones who still opposed them, in the face of withering political pressure, were the TEA Party caucus members. I'd like to see someone ask the protesters what they think about that. They should all support Michelle Bachmann for President.

Bank of America "On the Ropes": Thanks, Sen. DICK!


If there was any doubt that Senate Democrats' attempts at "regulating" US banks is a thinly-veiled attempt at crippling them, Sen. Dick Durbin's latest comments about Bank of America just removed it. On the Senate floor, he suggested that BoA customers pull their money out of their accounts there, and deposit it in another bank. Rush Limbaugh mentioned this today, and how (my) NY Sen. Chuck Shumer's comments caused another "run," on a smaller bank, a while back, which resulted in it not existing anymore. BoA, however, is already a recipient of a taxpayer bailout, so it's doubtful that will happen. There is also the example of Lehman, which the government declined to "bail out." The Dems attitude toward the US banking industry seems to be like a "mob" money collector: "We don't wanna kill you, we're just gonna break your legs."






The point that stands out to me is that "taking your money out of BoA" was the answer in the first place, before Durbin decided to switch debit fees to the banks, who passed it on to their consumers. If he feels the need to tell people that, from the Senate floor, after the "Dodd-Frank" bill, and his "Durbin amendment" passed, why didn't he tell BoA's customers to get out before that law was passed? I see commercials all the time for BoA's competitors, and haven't had an account with BoA since the 1980's, when I was getting 10% on an annual CD (full disclosure). There are plenty of smaller banks that offer better terms on accounts, and none of their personal account business had anything to do with the financial crash of '07, anyway.

Why did the "Durbin amendment" cap "debit transaction" fees? Well, those fees came from "small businesses," and Sen. Dick just wanted to help them out of being screwed by the banks. He didn't think of all the constituents that he would screw over, when BoA reacted to this deprivation of revenue from retailers by transferring the fee to the debit cardholders. Of course, the customers have less political clout than small businesses, who supposedly have less clout than big businesses, like BoA...crap rolls downhill, until it gets recycled by some pol, like Dick Durbin!

The new fees that BoA and the others are imopsing are expected to bring in more revenue than their old fee structure did, even with fewer debit card customers...the only ones getting screwed here are the people who work for Bank of America. Every employee of that bank has to wake up every day wondering how long they'll have a job. They were already planning on laying off tens of thousands of workers, and this won't help.

It's more than Dick Durbin, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank's insane ideology that got this bill signed into law. President Obama buys into it, as well. He signed it, and I was as pissed as I was at Pres. Bush for signing McCain-Feingold! I don't care about party politics or ideology, I don't like legislation that has a bad outcome. He still supports it, with a weak cry that banks should "eat" the lost profit he took away from their debit card transactions...he sounds like Michael Moore, who's out selling his new book on the liberal circuit.

Michael Moore and Obama can rail against outrageous "corporate compensation," and there is a real problem with failure being rewarded. Unfortunately, this is a situation that government regulation created. Attempts to limit "monetary compensation" led to huge "benefits" and "stock option" packages, and indeed caused our whole system of "employer provided health care," as well as "corporate stock options," (which were ironically designed by the market to "regulate" executive compensation). Attempts to tax "medical benefits" led to the issuance of hundreds of waivers to "Obamacare." If Obama gets to raise "capital gains" taxes, expect waivers to be given to every company that any public pension fund invests in, which means all of the "large cap" companies, unless they're "excessive polluters," or something as politically incorrect. BoA is "too big to fail," but may be thrown under the bus, if Obama's radical side takes over!

I'm only being half sarcastic, because the economic problems we face are all to real. Maybe BoA should go under, and all of the other "big banks," as well. How else will we unwind the question of who owns the debt on all of the "underwater" mortgages, at least in the US? OK, we sold those crappy bonds to the rest of the world...so any US housing market devaluation will be a bigger "hit" than the world markets can take right now. If Obama's supporters want to "destroy capitalism," this is the best shot they'll ever get...this is what scares me; if they accept that he'll be a "one termer," will the economy repeat what happened at the end of Bush's second term? Paging George Soros, are you coming back?





Could BoA be the next "Lehman," brothers? Thanks, Senator Dick!


Friday, September 23, 2011

Tax The Millionaires! Again!

Several decades ago, it was discovered that sixteen people with incomes over one million dollars paid no tax on it. The result of this discovery was that the Congress created the "Alternative Minimum Tax." People in the highest tax bracket had to hire an accountant to calculate their taxes under the regular tax code, and the AMT code, and pay whichever amount was greater. The only problem was that the AMT was not pegged to inflation. This has forced successive congresses to pass "patches" to keep it from affecting millions of current-day middle class taxpayers. For some reason, they've never gotten rid of it.


Recently, I read that over one thousand people who earned over one million dollars in income paid no tax on it. I guess that not pegging the AMT to inflation wasn't the only problem with it, after all, if the number of million-dollar earners who paid no tax grew by around 7,000%. I don't know what percentage of all US million-dollar earners those 16 people were all those decades ago, but the thousand or so today make up less than three percent of that population. In fact, the average tax rate on that group today is somewhere between 27 and 29 percent, according to the IRS.


I have to laugh all the farcial presidential rhetoric about "making the rich pay their fair share," especially when he trots out Warren Buffet to say "tax me more"! This is a man whose core business is built on avoiding the payment of taxes! If the President and the Congress want to actually fix the problem of million-dollar earners paying no tax, here's an idea. Have the nice people from the IRS come in and explain which tax "loopholes" these people are using, and close them.


Of course, that's not what happened in the past with the AMT, and not likely to happen today, under this president. Instead, he proposes "carpet bombing" all wealthy Americans with a higher tax burden. Many of these people are the backbone of the US economy, small business owners, and others are senior executives at many mid-sized corporations, and junior executives at most large corporations. Remember, this president is classifying people who make two hundred thousand dollars a year as "millionaires," which is only the least of faults with his plans. Most of these people already pay a higher tax rate than middle class taxpayers, and inflation has made that income bracket "middle class" in places like NYC and parts of California. It's the 1970's all over again, in more ways than one, under this president.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

JIMMY HOFFA's Army Is Smaller Than His Father's...Who's Getting "Taken Out"?

Jimmy Hoffa Jr. claims to represent "working families," but unions represent around 6% of the private workforce, and less than 25% of public employees. If this is his "army," it's dwarfed by the majority of working people, who have to compete for employment based on competence, not seniority in a union. Public sector unions have even less claim to represent "all working people," since they are paid by the much larger group of taxpaying citizens, who don't receive anywhere near the generous benefits they provide for unionized, and elected public employees.




The federal government follows the unions' lead blindly. The Department of Labor has little impact on the majority of Americans who work for small businesses. Most of their policies don't affect companies with less than 50 employees. The Department of Labor has become little more than the unions' enforcement agency.




A perfect example is the Boeing situation. Boeing wants to expand US employment, by opening a new plant in South Carolina. The National Labor Relations Board has bizzarley labelled this "retaliation" against Boeing's union workers in Washington state.




I say "bizzarely" because Boeing isn't closing it's Washington plant, it's just not expanding it. Washington is a "forced union" state, and South Casrolina is a "right to work" state. If you want to work for Boeing in Washington, you have to join the union. In South Carolina, Boeing has to offer competitive wages to attract competent workers, who will not be forced to pay union dues.


Unions are particularly harmful to "lower wage" workers,for several reasons. People in these jobs don't earn enough to provide for the more generous benefits that their higher-wage union "brethren" get, but they still get union dues deducted from their paychecks.




They're also easily replaced, so they have no real bargaining power, even with a union. That's why most large businesses contract out workplace cleaning to smaller, non-union companies. Most of these jobs are not "lifetime careers," but mopre accurately labeled "entry level jobs," which serve the economy by providing for those with little work skills or experience.




Unions give these workers the false belief that they will be "taken care of" in perpetuity, as long as they belong to the union. The truth is that no union, company, or government can "take care of" ANYONE "in perpetuity," in the real world. Does any stockboy in a supermarket really believe this? HELL, NO! The union is a joke to them, and they're moving on to something else, sooner or later!




I don't fault Mr. Hoffa for fighting for the people he does represent. I'm just stating that the people he represents are far from a majority of "working Americans," and the positions he supports are actually harmful to both the American people, and economy, as a whole. President Obama shows his bias against "working Americans" when he appears after this clown. Neither of them gives a crap about us, but the feeling is mutual. I can't believe Hoffa stands by the union that got his father "taken out," but maybe someone's got a gun to his head. Whoever is directing this liberal assault on the "tea party" conservatives, my rhetorical gun is pointed at you...and my army is bigger!

Friday, August 12, 2011

RFK Jr. "Lies on TV" About "Free Electricity" on Smiley's PBS Show


On Teusday night's Tavis Smiley PBS show, the the guest was Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. In the space of five minutes, he went from talking about how Fox News "lies on TV" to saying that a new solar plant would provide "free electricity." He cited no examples of FNC "lying," then went ahead and spouted a huge "whopper" of his own! Noting that "the sun is shooting those protons down here," he twice used the phrase "free electricity," emphatically. Now, I suppose that solar energy may become cheaper than coal for generating electricity, in some areas (like the desert), but it will never be "free." Beside the cost of building the plant, there will be operation and maintenance costs, which will be ongoing. These workers will need health care and pensions, of course, so the electricity will be far from "free."


Of course, Kennedy doesn't see how perfectly he illustrates the typical liberal hypocrisy. Attack your ideological opponents as "lying," while lying in support of your own idealogical goals. Maybe he thinks Smiley's audience is not intelligent enough to see through his bogus claims, but at least this Smiley viewer also watches FNC. What is apparent that if RFK Jr spouted that "free electricity" line on FNC, even one of their news readers would have challenged it. The sad thing is that on many other networks, it would have gone unchallenged, as it did on Smiley's show.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Obama's No Reagan

"I have reached the point where I say enough," Obama said, according to the aide. "Would Ronald Reagan be sitting here? I've reached my limit. This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this."

This is funny, because in the past week, House Majority Leader Boehner was compared to "Reagan at
Reykjavik" in a Reuters blog, when he wouldn't yield on higher taxes. Obama's statement is asinine: Reagan would agree with the GOP position, but Obama seeks to just "transpose" liberal vs. conservative positions as equally valid. He seeks to claim Reagan's "optimism" about the economy, but his policies are the opposite of Reagan's. This quote shows how shameless a political poseur he is, though I suppose every president has to "play the game."

Good luck with that strategy, when they'll be saying "Mourning in America," instead of "Morning in America." Oh, wait, they're already saying that!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Vile Rhetoric: What Would Rep. Giffords Think of Obama's "Gun to the Head" Comment?

Not to belabor the point, but does President Obama remember his own sentiments after the tragic shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords? Or was it just rhetoric, no different from his accusation that the GOP is "holding a gun to the head" of the nation? No excuses, that's vile hypocrisy, and an insight into our president's POV. It's twisted, yet understood by most Americans. When you don't have a better argument to make, call your opponent "the devil." Once again, the President of the USA has done the opposite of his promise to "elevate the political debate." I am more ashamed of President Obama than any liberal could have been ashamed of Pres. Bush...

Did Weiner's Scandal Hasten Spitzer's Ouster?

CNN canned Eliot Spitzer's "In The Arena" show because of low ratings. That is the bottom line, and I don't intend to say otherwise, here. I want to look at the impact that the Anthony Weiner scandal had on an already failing program. This show was seen as the "rehabilitation" of Eliot Spitzer, and it wasn't going well. I think Spitzer would have been given more time to build an audience, had another prominent NY politician (Weiner) not been caught with his pants down.


Giving Spitzer a show was a gamble, and CNN paired him up with the conservative Kathleen Parker, trying to do the basic "left/right" format. Unfortunately, "Parker-Spizer" had low ratings, and there was some animosity between the two. Parker left the show, and the show was renamed "In the Arena, with Eliot Spitzer." It received even lower ratings.


Along comes the Anthony Weiner scandal, and the inevitable jokes about him joining Spitzer on CNN. I never watched the show, but I'll guess that Spitzer had to discuss the Weiner scandal. This is where the gamble backfired, for CNN. Pols like Spitzer and Weiner are electable because they appeal to liberal voters, but their trademark is slandering conservatives as "rich white men" who hate children, the elderly, all other races, the environment, women, the disabled, the poor, and the "middle class," among others. This plays in places like NYC, where liberal interests are entrenched.


On a national stage, though, pols like these don't fare as well, whether in politics, or media. There's a reason I never watched Spitzer on CNN: I watched all of his press conferences as AG and Governor, and I already knew he was a "blow-hard," who overstated every action he took. (The Sheriff of Wall St? - NOT!) Weiner was following "the pattern" for ambitious NY Dems like Spitzer, and his own mentor, Sen, Charles Schumer. In fact, the Weiner scandal took Schumer down a bit, keeping him from any public microphone for several weeks (That's like not having Twitter or FB, for my tech-addict friends...it hurts your "standing" in the community).


Though Spitzer didn't warrant a show on CNN so soon after his disgrace in the first place, Weiner's scandal definitely factored into Spitzer's booting. Weiner has even less chance of re-emerging in the public eye, though I'm sure he'll try, just as Spitzer will. These kind of liberal hacks can't help themselves. Maybe Al Gore and Keith Olbermann will offer them a "Weiner-Spitzer" show on the web? Stranger things have happened, and they'd probably get real media coverage, for a day...


Previous related post: Why Weiner Must Go, But Not Silently!


Saturday, July 02, 2011

Latest Obamacare "Glitch" Is Another Example of Liberal Audacity

Nancy Pelosi famously said that we have to pass Obamacare, to find out what's in it. Well, they did pass it, and we're still not done finding out what's in this law. The latest "glitch" is a provision that expands Medicaid coverage to retired people who are considered "middle class." From AP:


"Up to 3 million more people could qualify for Medicaid in 2014 as a result of the anomaly. That's because, in a major change from today, most of their Social Security benefits would no longer be counted as income for determining eligibility. It might be compared to allowing middle-class people to qualify for food stamps."


I found the food stamp comparison interesting, because many middle class people already qualify for food stamps, in this economy. They used to have ads touting "you may not know you qualify for food stamps." I can imagine an ad, after Obama's re-election, saying the same thing to people who didn't know they qualified for Medicaid under Obamacare. By then, it would be too late to oppose, because they kept it "under the radar" long enough...


AP's story explains that this was a "anomaly" that really bothered the administration, but it seems more like a "hand in the cookie jar" moment. Someone wrote this legislation, and that person(s?) is acting out the liberal agenda of expanding dependency on government assistance. Since it became public knowledge, this "glitch" in Obamacare's effect on Medicaid will get "fixed." Color me skeptical: I think the Obamacare will be overturned entirely before this "glitch" is acted on.


Obama had 2 years of complete Dem control of all three branches of government. He came into office after a financial crisis that rivaled the crash that preceded the Great Depression. He spent a few months dealing with it, pasing two liberal "stimulus" laws that helped few that weren't employed by, or dependent on the government. He abruptly moved on to expanding government dependence by "mandating" individuals to buy health insurance.


Obamacare was a costly political move, that only a progressive liberal would make. It was the straw that broke the camel's back, in the independent voter's mind. If the economy was in a crisis when Obama took office, why did he spend all that political capital passing Obamacare, but settle for less than liberal economists wanted from his economic "stimulus" packages?


American liberals are trying to expand what the government "gives out," but they are hitting the wall of what taxpayers can provide. It seems that at the same time several government entitlement programs are projected to bankrupt the economy, Obama has thrust a new bureaucratic monstrosity on us. I don't think Obamacare will stand, but as long as it does, it will be hanging around the Dems' necks, and twisting the liberal media into knots, as we keep finding out "what's in it."


Friday, June 10, 2011

Why Wiener Must Go, But Not Silently

OK, so Rep. Anthony Weiner has 'fessed up about his "online" fetish, after lying in the national spotlight for a week. He says he's not resigning, and I'm not sure whether to believe him. At best, he's lost his ability to be the TV "face" of the House Dems. At worst, his House ethics investigation will weigh down the national ticket next year, as Charlie Rangel's did in 2010. While Rangel won re-election with 80% in his Harlem district, Weiner's district went 39% GOP last year. In other words, his campaign for re-election will not weather this scandal as well as Rep. Rangel's.


He better forget about becoming Mayor Weiner, as well, with that photo of his weiner out there (Sorry, it was obligatory). As Chris Cuomo reports from ABC:


"On May 18, Broussard received an image from the RockOh77 account that shows a man's erect penis. Two days later, she received a shot of a bare-chested man sitting at an office desk. The man in the photo shares facial features with Weiner, and personal photographs in the background resemble his known aquaintances."


I felt sorry for him, briefly, at his press conference. I admired his straightforward admission of guilt, and eventual apologies to the people who were harmed by his lies. Unfortunately, I still don't know if he's telling the whole truth. I mean, c'mon, has anyone looked into whether he's actually met any of these women? Color me skeptical, recalling Lanny Davis' "limited, modified hangout" theory of scandal containment. Maybe Clinton called him and told him to "say there's only six." There's usually "more" there, in a story like this, and Rep. Wiener's demeanor at the press conference didn't change my opinion.


As a Republican, I hope his exit is noisy, and lasts as long as possible. As a person, I hope he resigns by the end of the week, for his family's sake. There is talk about eliminating his district, in the census-driven downsizing of NY's congressional delegation. Such a move would be a state decision, bringing Gov. Cuomo and the corrupt state legislature into the process. It could happen, but it seems too simple a resolution for NY's political bureaucracy. Having a congressional district on the B'klyn-Queens border become absorbed by the surrounding districts is a "big" thing, with alot of political "juice" at stake. Would Dems, controlling both the statehouse and the assembly, dissolve a long-time Dem held seat over a sex scandal? I don't know.


Sen. Schumer seems to be "circling the wagons" around Rep. Weiner, who is his protoge, first as a former staffer, then winning Schumer's former congressional seat. It also comes the day after NJ Sen. Frank "the lout" Lautenberg criticized Weiner for not showing up at the "Celebrate Israel" parade in NYC. Whatever happens now, expect lots of scrutiny. So far, ABC seems to have thorough reportage, though we'll have to see how far they follow it up, if the political barriers go up.


In any case, I see Rep. Weiner's political "shelf life" as severely limited, whether he chooses to fight or quit. Perhaps he can join Client # 9 on CNN, and call it "Weiner-Spitzer." I bet they'd beat O'Reilly, for a day or two. The unfortunate fact is that Anthony Weiner has been a loudmouth Democratic spokesman, and now he's been muzzled. What will the Dems do? What will the media do? Whatever happens, don't expect silence...from the "new media," if the MSM "clams up" on this story. The only way to end it is Weiner's leaving office, because neither the Dems nor the media are cutting him any slack. They don't want him hanging around their necks after the 2010 fiasco.


The countdown has begun...tick, tock....


Sunday, June 05, 2011

Did "Mediscare" Decide the NY 26 Special Election? "Only In New York, Kiddies." (Apologies and Love to Cyndi Adams)

The DNC is making a big mistake, reading too much into the victory of (D) Kathy Hochul over (R) Jane Corwin. The campaign was successful, but it's no indicator of a "national trend." In fact, if there's any "trend," it might be to the special congressional election in NY23, back in '09, which the Democrat candidate (Dede Scozzafava) also won in a "traditional" GOP district. They boasted about that win, and then came 2010, and the GOP "Wave." What the national parties underestimate is the depth of voter apathy and political indifference throughout NY's electorate. Most of the people who vote are being paid off, one way or another, by the corrupt progressive bureaucracy.


Imagine you're a Republican who voted for the idiot that caused this special election. You were part of that national GOP "wave," and now this guy's made you look a bad judge of character. You don't trust the NYS GOP to put up a "conservative" candidate, and Ms. Corwin lived up (down?) to expectations, withering under an ad campaign against the Ryan budget. In fact, the ad was classic "Mediscare," an almost comical representation of Rep. Ryan (perhaps?) dumping an old lady off a cliff from her wheelchair. Watching this, you're disgusted with both parties, as usual, and decide not to vote.


That's anecdotal, but there were other factors in the NY26 race, as in the '09 23rd special election. In '09, the Tea Party candidate was so popular, the GOP candidate dropped out of the race, and endorsed the Democrat, who won. This time, the "Tea Party" candidate was a rich Dem who spent over $2 Mil to see how much of the "dumbass" vote he could get. He got more than the margin of Ms. Hochul's victory, which means it could've gone either way, if he hadn't entered the race and spent his money so liberally.


Imagine you're a "Tea Party" conservative, and you hate the NYS GOP. You are sick of the bipartisan political corruption that permeates our state. Either you don't vote, or you do what you did in the last election. You vote for the rich "Tea Party" phony, to send a message to the GOP. NY's 26th district is in the Buffalo area, which was Paladino's political base, so it's not surprising that the fake "Tea Party" candidate got 9% of the vote.


Nonetheless, the Dems and their loyal media supporters wasted no time touting this as "the model" for their national 2012 campaign. Most of the nation is not like NYS, and when someone on TV says "a solid GOP district," one has to look at the quality of the NYS GOP. Personally, I'm happy to see my own Sen. Schumer pushing this "Mediscare" tactic. It shows that he's as clueless about the rest of the nation as they are about NYS.


There's a pattern here, but if the Dems want to repeat it, they can only blame themselves. While it's true that Medicare has been one of the "third rails" of politics, it's not the sole reason Jane Corwin lost in NY 26. She lost because she didn't bat the "Mediscare" ad right out of the ballpark, and move the debate to the cost of Obamacare, and the various ineffective "stimulus" plans. Why allow a proposed budget plan to be demonized more than the train wreck Obama has brought upon our economy? Gas prices are up, housing prices are down, and we'll have another year of this "recovery" before the 2012 elections. It's no wonder the Dems are grasping at the same old scare tactics. It's all they can do, trying to distract voters from economic reality. It may work in a NY special election, but it won't work in a national election.

NOTE: I edited these two paragraphs out, but they're worth adding on this post:

Jane Corwin was no Dede Scozzafava, but she didn't forcefully stand up to the critics of the Ryan budget. She could have pointed out that there is no Democratic proposal for Medicare reform, and that Obamacare will do more damage to Medicare than the Dems say Ryan's budget will. It's not a hard argument to make, but I didn't hear it. I have a feeling that most successful GOP candidates in 2012 will be on top of this message, if the Dems try to use it as a "wedge" issue.

This special election showed why NY is considered a "solid blue" state. GOP candidates seen to reflexively flinch at the classic "scare tactics" that Dems use, and a real conservative (Tea Party) candidate, as Ms. Scozzafava's opponent was, got backbit by the state party. It's almost a "no-win" situation, where the GOP is just as bad as the Dems, policy-wise. I have to note that Doug Hoffman, the real conservative in the NY 23 special election, lost the GOP primary in 2010. He then took the Conservative Party nod, only to drop out of the race in less than 2 weeks, according to Wikipedia (link). He was still on the ballot, though, and became the spoiler, taking over 9,500 votes, when the Dem won by less than 4,000 votes.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Anemic GDP Statistics: This Is "Recovery?"

John Crudele has a scathing column in Tuesdays NY Post, which has information not widely reported. "The government said the GDP in the first quarter grew at an "annualized" rate of 1.8 percent. That means you have to divide the 1.8 percent annualized rate by four quarters to see how much the economy really grew in the first three months of the year. The answer? A puny 0.45 percent."


He goes further:


"The problem is, the economy wasn't just slow in the first quarter. The last three months of 2010 were worse if you know how to read the figures.


Here's what you have to understand for any of this to make sense. The GDP numbers reported by theCommerce Department are derived after inflation is deducted from overall output. So, that 1.8 percent annualized first quarter growth was what was left after inflation of 1.9 percent was removed. (Yes, inflation is probably worse than 1.9 percent but that's for another column.)


The much better 3.1 percent annualized growth in the last quarter of 2010 was, at best, a fluke and, at worst, a hoax.


The Commerce Department was only able to come up with the 3.1 percent growth because it claimed there was virtually no inflation in the last three months of 2010. If inflation back then had been reported at 1.9 percent (just like the first quarter) economic growth would have dropped from an annualized 3.1 percent to just 1.2 percent."


Crudele is pessimistic, but my only complaint is that he wrote "virtually no inflation," instead of providing a figure. As a regular reader of Mr. Crudele, I didn't check his numbers, but if they stand, it's bad news for President Obama, more than for the GOP. The economy will be the determining issue in the 2012 elections, and a sitting president gets the responsibility for it, period.


Government stats are revised, as later data come in, but they are also adjusted in ways that are often flawed, before being released. Crudele examines the bureaucratic rules of the "stats" game, with a critical eye. He also informs us that Yanks-Red Sox tickets are selling cheap, in the first half of this column. What can I say? Even Crudele put this story in the second half of his column, and he's in the Post's business pages.


I think this is an "under the radar" story that will be a part of the campaign of whoever runs against Obama. It's not widely reported now because of other events in the news, perhaps, but I doubt many media outlets will continue mentioning this after the "death of Osama Bin Laden" stops dominating the headlines.


There's a long time until next year's elections, and plenty of time for the economic and political situation to change. Still, if you look at the real numbers, on the ground, everything is costing more, and neither the job creation, or the economy as a whole is keeping up with inflation. $4.00 a gallon for gas slows down the economy, however they figure it in the Consumer Price Index. We had a name for this in the '70's: Stagflation. Soon we'll revisit "the misery index," perhaps. If the media treated Obama as they did Carter, we would've, already.


Saturday, April 30, 2011

TRUMP CARD?

Donald Trump is the official "vulgarian" candidate of this election cycle. That he is running as a Republican has some thinking he's a Democrat "plant," which is as good a conspiracy theory as any other, I guess. The President released his real birth certificate to placate Trump's campaign, after the "birther" issue was considered both "fringe" and "dead" by many, myself included.


Here's what I think is in Trump's mind. Reagan had Carter's people "salivating" for him to be the nominee, as Obama's do now for Trump. Trump sees his high negative numbers as similar to Reagan's, and his opponent is close to Jimmy Carter status, economically. After successfully exploiting the "birther" issue, he will feel emboldened.


Reagan was a governor, though, as well as a celeb, and Trump has no government executive experience. This is a real problem, because as a celebrity businessman, he's seen fit to drop "F-bombs" in speeches, something that a presidential candidate has never done before, on purpose. Where Reagan spoke softly and with respect, Trump was loud and vulgar.


I also have to note that both have been tagged as "racist," though I can't find any justification for it, other than the fact that they're Republican. Trump would've saved himself the accusation if he had said "golf course" instead of "basketball court." Of course, he doesn't want to disparage golf courses, because he owns so many of them. This is an example of political stupidity, not racism.


If "the Donald" enters the GOP primary, he will bring out the best in the field to challenge him. If he wins the GOP nod, I'm writing in "Snooki" on my ballot. LOL! Seriously, though, I'd probably vote for him, over Obama, I'm ashamed to say. How much worse can it get? That's his TRUMP CARD.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Obama (Non) Doctrine: Is It A Good or Bad Policy?

The radical upheaval in the Middle East is the greatest challenge the Obama administration has faced, both politically and from an international security standpoint. Their responses in each situation have been both criticized and supported in a bipartisan manner, with strange bedfellows on each side. Behind all of that noise, everyone is looking for a "doctrine" that underlies all of his actions. Some have said there is no doctrine, and I agree. This may be a good thing, or not, but here are the pro's and cons:


Pro: Let's face it, every president muddles through international crises blind, regarding long-term consequences. Following a doctrine that can be read in a sound bite is not responsible foreign policy. The O.A. is taking each situation individually, and not using any "doctrine" to determine our involvement. Libya is an example of the US "limiting" our responsibility in a UN/Nato action. Maybe the President is right to balance all the variables, and choose a course that is different than the historic "military intervention?" This way, we don't make an ongoing committment that we can't fulfill, and don't promise similar support for every "uprising" in the region.


Con: There has to be a coherent and principled doctrine that underlies a nation's foreign policy. The Obama administration's lack of any such overarching policy is distressing to say the least. SecDef Clinton dragged him into action in Libya, and he's been trying to pass it off ever since it started. There actually is a pattern, if not a "doctrine:" Spend as much time as you like analyzing a "crisis," from every angle (national security, economic, geopolitical, partisan political, etc...) before doing anything overt. This often ends up as "doing nothing" (see Syria, Iran). It's also a lame excuse to fall back on when dodging questions about "friendly" autocratic leaders (see Saudi Arabia, Bahrain).


What are your pro's and con's of this administration's ME policy? Is there an "Obama Doctrine," or not, and is it a good or bad thing, either way?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Chavez Says Capitalism Killed Life On Mars!

El Loco, just being who he is...it's hard to take him seriously, which is one of his most scary traits. Still, "Capitalism may have wiped out life on Mars?" Genius!


CARACAS (Reuters) - Capitalism may be to blame for the lack of life on the planet Mars, Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday.


"I have always said, heard, that it would not be strange that there had been civilization on Mars, but maybe capitalism arrived there, imperialism arrived and finished off the planet," Chavez said in speech to mark World Water Day.


...World Water Day? How appropriate!

Puerto Rican Delegate Spends More Than Pelosi

One has to have sympathy for the Puerto Rican representative in Congress. With no voting rights, he likely thinks deserves to spend more money than Nancy Pelosi. According to the AP, "Pierluisi's spokeswoman said Tuesday that the costs reflect that the Pierluisi represents nearly 4 million constituents in the U.S. territory, several times more than are found in any U.S. congressional district." I wonder where he stands on Puerto Rican statehood? Probably against it, because that would diminish his personal power, though it would increase the people of Puerto Rico's power on US policy. Another corruptocrat, milking the "status quo."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Libya, Hillary, and Obama: Living History, Pt. II


If the Politico is to be believed, Secretary of State Clinton is "whimsically looking forward" to leaving public life, and writing another book, among other things. She is also portrayed as pushing hard for a "no-fly zone" in Libya, against the administration's "insiders." I don't know how she'll recount this period in her book, but right now the reality is unflattering for her boss. Her statement, "I’m not here forever" was called "Shermanesque" by the Politico, but what does it mean?


It looks like she's accepting "has-been" status, but that doesn't fit the mold of a person with such a great drive to "change the world." One of the great things about American politics is the resurgence of a candidate that was thought "politically dead." Has her "hawkish" position on Libya been political, or principled? I assume the former, and am interested in how this situation is unfolding.


President Obama has been non-committal, by all accounts, notwithstanding his "tightening the noose" statement, which was bizzarely in contradiction to the reality reported on the ground at the time. Secretary Clinton has existing relationships with many foreign leaders, and may have convinced them (or vice-versa) to lead Obama into committing to use force to help the Libyan rebellion.


The Daily thinks it's too little, too late, and it's driving Clinton "over the edge": "Clinton is said to be especially peeved with the president’s waffling over how to encourage the kinds of Arab uprisings that have recently toppled regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, and in particular his refusal to back a no-fly zone over Libya." She made an appearance in Tunisia, as well, promising jobs, and more: "So we want to know what Tunisia wants. We don't want to come in and say here's what the United States believes... Then we want to work on plans... a plan for health, we want to help do what we can to have a plan for jobs," she said. Will she visit Libya before she leaves office? Only if Khadafy and his family are gone.


Will they meet the same fate as Saddam Hussein, or Mubarak and Ben-Ali (& families)? Saddam's legal proceedings were turned over to "national" authorities, and he was executed. Will the no-fly zone be enough to get Daffy to take the "international" legal process? Who knows? The "no boots on the ground" policy suggests we wouldn't mind a Caucescu-type end to this dictator.


Sec. Clinton again shows why she would've been a better president than Obama. First, it was the health care debate. She had been through it before, and could've used the lessons of her husband's compromise on Welfare reform to do something that might have worked, instead of the divisive Obamacare law. Her foreign policy experience and instincts in a "crisis" are better-honed than the President's, beyond a doubt. Her biggest problem is if Obama's been too "centrist" for the "left-wing base," what chance does she have in a rerun of the last Democratic primary race? It's no wonder she's looking forward to "retirement" from public life, but one more "war" could put Obama in LBJ territory, with that same "left-wing" base that she is too "centrist" for.


I actually wrote this last week, but I think it stands up as commentary of an ongoing situation. She also has a new interview on ABC, with Diane Sawyer. She addresses a few issues mentioned here, so I'll post an update sooner or later. Basically lots of backtracking from the stories referenced here.




Senate to hold hearings on Muslim Women's' rights...NOT

Senate to hold hearings on Muslims' rights


When I saw the headline, I thought this might be an actual hearing about whether Muslims in America were having their civil rights violated, but then I remembered the Dems still control the Senate. Where are the female Senate Democrats, looking into the treatment of Muslim women in this country? Senator Durbin, while trying to counter Rep. King's House hearings, has instead shown the same blindness to women's rights as he has on addressing the "extremist" issue in the Muslim community.

What Do Progressives Say About Detroit?

The population of Detroit has fallen back 100 years.


I feel bad for the people who can't leave Detroit. I almost put this in with my "funny stuff" posts, but if it's a joke, it's on too big a scale to be funny. What is the problem here? A city that got fat off of one industry grew a government that got fat off of that industry. Progressive politics reigned, but the city didn't progress, in the real world. It didn't happen all at once, but the bailouts of GM and Chrysler exposed Detroit as a "basket case" of a city. There was no natural disaster in Detroit. This city's disaster was man-made by politicians, industry leaders, and unions who stood for a "status quo" that peaked over half a century ago.

UK Unions Protest Tax Increases, Unlike Wisconsin Unions

Now the Brits have to show American unions that they know how to do a proper protest? They plan "to protest at deep government spending cuts and tax rises." Well, their cousins in the US unions can't agree with that second part, because most US union members work in the public sector. I also liked the Brit union leader's response to the public threats of violence and vandalism by supporters: "If protests simply lead to a great public debate about police tactics for example, that doesn't seem to me to have advanced the real cause that matters." Way to preemptively deflect blame for your supporters' actions. Wisconsin union leaders could learn something from this guy.



Violence warning as unions plan mass march

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

NO SYMPATHY FOR PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS, HERE...

These guys have got some gaul, OOPS! -I mean gall. Much like the French, and other European mobs (as in Greece), who think that the democratic process involves "revolution," the union thugs in Wisconsin have decided to take up residence in the State Capitol, as their Senate toadies hide in another state.

This would be a bad joke, if most Americans weren't paying into the public sector unions' coffers, only to get endless budget deficits in return. Most of us private sector, non-union workers don't have anything close to what we provide for them. The political power of public sector unions has corrupted the entire political system as much, if not more than "big business" money has.

This is why it's so important that the union stranglehold on Wisconsin is broken. As a NY'er, I can only dream of freedom from this yoke. Gov. Cuomo is not going to touch that issue, but is probably hoping that the events in Wisconsin will give him leverage to get the fiscal concessions here. I'll take whatever he can get, if he really tries. GO, CUOMO!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Random Thoughts on Revolutions, Egypt, Iran, and the U.S.A.

One thing about revolutions, they sometimes come in pairs. How often have "democratic" revolutions turned ugly, within a few weeks, months, or years? This is a hopeful moment, but there may come a time when the military will act against the people. That seems a long way off, if it ever happens. Some say that the military's restraint was because "we (the U.S.A.) own Egypt's military," based on our financial support. We "own" them only as far as our next check clears, and let's remember that they were Soviet clients before they were ours. In the future, they may find China willing to sponsor them, for control of the Suez canal, with less concern for how they treat their citizens. For now, America's investment in Egypt's military seems to be paying off, when they refused to back an unpopular president against the people. You have to be blind not to see another shoe, ready to drop, sooner or later, though...



Q: How widely will this "democratic revolution" spread through the Islamic Middle East? A: It's only going to spread in "tolerant" US-backed regimes, such as Jordan and Yemen, if the Media follows the script. Others will repress it, as Syria and Iran (which justified banning the protests as an anti-Valentine's day edict!) have done "pre-emptively," by arresting or detaining all known opposition leaders. Authoritarian states that are not "US allies" are much better at this kind of repression than our "authoritarian allies" are, for some reason...
 

Egypt's "regime change" came after the Obama Administration cut levels of funding for Egyptian "opposition groups" established under Pres. Bush, and returned "approval" of the list of eligible "opposition" groups to the Mubarak regime. Maybe we should follow a similar policy with all of our "authoritarian" allies. Is the President on to something, or is he just the political beneficiary of world events? Can he take credit for a "fixing" a situation that our nation supported for decades, including his explicit support for the dictator Mubarak? Possibly, if things don't take a turn for the worse...

 

I can't help projecting Mubarak's deposing to Nixon's experience. They both had thousands of protesters screaming for their resignation, and were totally oblivious to the depth of the situation. Very different situations, but both men were overthrown by public opinion, ultimately. The differences are important, as well. We ban our military from acting on American soil, by law, and our Constitution is designed to protect us from government abuse of power. I hope that Egypt will conceive a new constitution with this in mind, and the military will support it. I'm still waiting in vain for our own US government to stay within it's constitutional limits, so I can't really throw stones at Egypt...until/unless the military goes against the people.

Back in the days of the USSR, conservatives like Reagan argued that people behind the "iron curtain" wanted to be free. Others said that these people never had a tradition of "freedom," and that they wouldn't be able to exercise "democracy" correctly, or some such nonsense. I know that the threat we face now is at least as big and bad as Communism or Fascism was, in the "Islamist" ideology. If Egypt is on the forefront of becoming an "enlightened Western democracy," it still has a long way to go. It's not about giving "power to the people," if the people don't believe in equal rights for all. That may be a concept that even the Egyptian military can't stomach, if it is considered "blasphemous" to "decent" Egyptians...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Iran and Egypt: Obama's Different Responses

If I was an Iranian dissident, I'd be pissed off right now. President Obama sided with the opposition to a "friendly" dictator in Egypt much more than he supported the opposition to Ahmedinejad, when a similar uprising occurred in Iran, a while back. This is not criticizing Obama's stance on Egypt: it's OK, for now. I'm criticizing his response to the Iranian uprising.

Friday, January 28, 2011

OBAMA Claims "Sputnik Moment" Too Soon

Our real "Sputnik moment" will be when China puts a man on the moon, which might happen on Obama's watch, if he's a two-termer. He's just "softening us up," by using that phrase now, in another context.

Nothing says "rising world power" better than doing something neither of the "old "world powers can do, today. Meanwhile, President Obama has expanded NASA's mission to "acknowledging Muslim contributions to science," as he cuts their funding. This time, the "Sputnik moment" is quite forseeable, even from as distant a planet as LEAVWORLD.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Why I Support Andrew Cuomo, and All Conservative NY'ers Should


I support Andrew Cuomo. There, I said it. I'm not putting aside my mistrust of an Albany "insider" (read as "liberal"), but I like the game he's talking. His plan to merge the banking and insurance regulatory bureaucracies, along with the much smaller consumer protection division is "outside the box" thinking, for a new Governor. He's also correctly stated that spending has to be cut, rather than raising taxes, to balance the budget. This will cause quite a squeal from the public sector unions, which brings me to the point of this post: If Gov. Andrew Cuomo is really going to take on the public sector unions, and the corrupt bureaucuracy, he's going to need some help. I stand behind my Governor on these and other issues, regardless of what party he belongs to. He talks the talk, let's see if he can walk the walk, as Gov. Christie has, across the river.


As this Newsday article points out, he is socially liberal. This is not a problem in NY, where conservatives are mostly of the libertarian stripe. I believe that if a liberal Democrat NY Governor is embracing fiscally conservative principles, conservative libertarians have to speak out in support of him.


I remember giving Eliot Spitzer the benefit of the doubt, and saw Pa-TAX-i as a "knight in shining armor," for his first few years. I've been suckered by all kinds of politicians, so I retain my pre-election skepticism about Gov. Cuomo. The Senate GOP majority seems to be willing to work with him, which could be a good or bad sign. I may be a Republican, but I don't trust or like the NYS GOP any more than the left wing "insider" political machine. They all play ball together, with the public's tax money and safety at stake.


Gov. Cuomo is asking the people to support him, in this fight against oppressive levels of taxation and regulation, and bureaucratic corruption. Fool me thrice, if it's to be, but I want to be among the first conservatives to stand behind a Democratic governor of NYS.


UPDATE: A reminder of why I'm skeptical: Today's "Inside Albany" column from Fred U. Dicker:


Andy short on specifics of $$ cuts