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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Obama's speech on Iraq

Those of you who are regular readers of this blog know that I am not a fan of Barack Obama. Despite that, I have to say that parts of his speech this evening were truly outstanding. In particular, it was wonderful to hear the president's moving tribute to those who serve in the armed forces of this country. His appreciation of the dangers that these men and women have faced unflinchingly and cognizant of the great danger before them was quite apparent. It was particularly satisfying to hear such words come from a president who has rarely uttered them in the past.

On the other hand, I found it troubling to hear Obama tell us that withdrawal from Afghanistan would be dictated by events on the ground there and then in the next sentence reaffirm the date for withdrawal from that country. It was as if he could not make up his mind on that issue. What if events on the ground dictate the need to stay on the date set for withdrawal? Obama told us none of what could change that date. I also thought his hat tip to fromer president George Bush seemed very much the left handed compliment. Obama said in essence that no one can question Bush's patriotism or his love of country. But Obama said nothing about Bush's steadfast support for the troops and their mission including the surge that enabled the US forces to leave now in victory (or at least not in defeat). It would have been extremely presidential for Obama to show magnanimity now towards his predecessor.

Then there were the parts of the speech that were at best strange and at worst appalling. An incongruous section in which he discussed the US economy seemed to have been stuck on after the main text of the speech had been written. It was like a bowl of mush that was spilled on a problem. Many words were spoken, but no ideas were expressed other than we need to make the economy better. Nearly two years into his presidency, if Obama wants to discuss the economy with the American people, they deserve more than the hollow platitudes that he voiced this evening. Similarly, Obama's discussion of veterans' benefits seemed oddly out of place. Much of that section dealt with Obama listing various budget increases for veterans' programs that had been previously pushed through Congress. I felt like saying "so?" to the president at that point.

What was really missing, in my opinion, was an overall outlook for where we go both in Iraq and Afghanistan. Oh sure, there were discussions of tactics and strategies, but the goal was never stated. What is the goal in Afghanistan? Is it the destruction of Al Qaeda? Is it the destruction of the Taliban? Is it the establishment of a functioning Afghan army? Is it...well you get the picture. And what will we be doing now iin Iraq? Would we send forces back if conditions deteriorate? this is an important question but Obama was silent on it.

Overall, the speech was better than I expected. Nevertheless, it left much to be desired.

Foley-Malloy -- labor support

While I normally do not reprint press releases, this one from the Foley campaign says it all:


Foley: Malloy is Too Cozy With the Unions. Malloy: Yeah? So What?

Ken Dixon’s Blog-o-rama – August 30, 2010

With this response to Tom Foley’s criticism of Dannel Malloy’s endorsement by big labor, the Malloy campaign has demonstrated the fundamental flaw behind Dannel’s candidacy.

• He is too close to the problem to understand the solution.

• He does not know a conflict of interest when he sees one.

• He cannot bargain effectively on behalf of Connecticut taxpayers if he is already in the pocket of state employee labor unions.

On primary day, Dannel Malloy was on a picket line with members of a healthcare union demonstrating against a group of nursing homes. This as some of the top state employee labor unions helped deliver him a resounding victory over former union favorite Ned Lamont. A few days later, Malloy picked up the endorsement of the state AFL-CIO.

As governor, Dannel Malloy would have to bargain with state employee union leadership on behalf of Connecticut taxpayers. But how can he do so effectively if he owes his political success to that same group?

Mayor Malloy’s dismissive response to this question only serves to prove that he is so close to the unions he cannot see the inherent conflict of interest their support of his campaign has created.

The question still remains:

What promise did Dannel Malloy make to win the union endorsement? No cut-backs? No reduction in benefits? No salary freeze? Further job killing mandates on employers? How much will union support for Dan Malloy cost Connecticut’s citizens?

There are two reasons why pat buchanan is on MSNBC

Pat Buchanan, Richard Nixon's old speech writer and erstwhile presidential candidate himself, is a frequent guest on MSNBC. On that network, he is truly the face of the Republican party. There are many reasons why MSNBC has chosen Buchanan; his experiece and identity as a Republican come to mind immediately. Nevertheless, there are two overarching reasons for the choice. First, Buchanana is a scary guy. He frequently has says things that many see as intolerant. He is unforgiving in his assessments of others. He has no problem slamming those of his party on TV. For MSNBC, this is a bonanze, a scary guy who can be put forward as the face of the GOP, something all seven of their viewers will like. the second reason is that Buchanan is basically a strong pessimist. He never exudes hope; it is something more like a combination of anger and despair tht oozes out from him. Today, he is out with a column that is the epitome of this mindset. Pat is lamenting that the Tea Party will not be able to cur federal spending and that this will be the demise of that movement. So, after the Democrats wrongly decided that the Tea Party was nothing more than a puff of smoke that would disappear before the election, now Pat buchanan is deciding that it will disappear after the election. What condescending nonsense. Buchanan does not and cannot know the future. Perhaps it would be best if he were to spare us all his predictions, or else to make those predictions on MSNBC so that no sane person will have to listen to them.

Will Obama take sides?

There is a dispute raging in Getysburg Pennsylvania about the merits of building a casino not far from the edge of the site of the famous battle of 1863. Proponents of the casino talk about the jobs and economic development it will bring, while opponents talk about the propriety of locating a casino right next to the site of the most important battle of the Civil War. In keeping with his views on the Ground Zero Mosque, Obama should come out in favor of constructing the casino. After all, the developer has rights to use his property as he sees fit. I assume that Obama will see those opposed to the development as trampling the Constitutional rights of the developers.

Don't hold your breath waiting for Obama to weigh in. After all, the developer of the casino in Gettysburg has no claim to victim status like the Muslims who want to put the mosque at ground zero. That alone would keep Obama from mixing in. Besides, were Obama to get involved with this dispute, he would have to acknowledge that people can oppose the construction of a building (here casino) which they believe does not comport with the necessary dignity and purity of the site where it is being built.

Hamas Fundraising at Florida Mosque

There is a video out this week documenting the activities of various front organizations in the US that are raising funds for Hamas, a designated terrorist organization. It is a must see for everyone concerned about terrorism. It can be accessed by clicking on the title to this post.

Dumb even by Eleanor Clift's standards

Eleanor Clift is a long time apologit for anything Obama or the Obamacrats do. everything is the fault of the GOP, even the weather (after all, they did not go along with cap and trade.) In a media world populated by knee-jerk liberals, Clift's knees move so much and so often that she must find it difficult to walk. Today, however, she reached a new low, even for her. In a piece in Newsweek, now expressly the journal of liberal thought, Clift faults Obama for the current plight of the Democrats by climing that he was "spending far too much time chasing a bipartisan consensus that turned out to be a mirage created on the campaign trail." It makes one wonder where Clift has been since January of 2009. She could not have been in Washington. Obama first pushed a stimulus bill that Republicans were not allowed to draft or even see before the vote went forward (Did Obama spend even 5 minutes looking for bi-partisan support for that bill? No.) Next Obama came forward with a budget that balooned the deficit to unheard of numbers, even after the stimulus. Again, were Republicans consulted? No. Next came healthcare. Has Clift forgotten that Republicans were not even told what the bill would contain until it was finally put forward for a vote? There was a so-called healthcare summit with Republicans that was held after the Democrats had spent about a year and passed different bills in the House and Senate. Indeed, the only reason Obama held that event was that Scott Brown had taken the Democrats unbeatable majority away from the Obamacrats earlier this year. After spending the afternoon discussing the healthcare proposal of the Republicans, not a single change was made to the Senate bill and it was passed by the House. OK, so Obama spent and afternoon trying to give the impression that he was bipaartisan, but no one other than Clift was fooled by this. Clift's idea of a bipartisan consensus is that Republicans must abandon their positions and agree on the position of the Obamacrats. That is surrender, not bipartisanship. Then there is cap and trade. In the House, the bill was strictly the view of the Democrats without any GOP involvement. Pelosi and her troops crammed that one through. In the Senate, however, there were many discussions about climate change legislation. Nothing passed, however, because both Republicans and Democrats refused to vote for Obama's bill. That is not bipartisanship; it is called defeat for Obama.

So Clift is lamenting that Obama was not enough of a pure Democrat to allow his positions to succeed and wow the American public. In truth, obama got enough of his positions through that the American public recognized that neither obama nor the Democrats had any ideas that were actually good for this country.

I am thinking of starting afund to help Eleanor defray the costs of her upcoming therapy sessions where she seeks to learn to recognize reality.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Another Ethics fiasco for the Democrats

Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas has been discovered to have given out scholarships to her own family members in violation of the rules against self dealing set for their distribution. The Texas Democrat was allowed to award sixteen scholarships to deserving students, but the rules governing the award specified that she could not award the grants to family members or those of her staff. Johnson just ignored those rules and took the scholarships for her own family members as well as some for her staff members. As far as I am concerned this is very wrong. Johnson should be expelled from Congress. this makes three high profile Democrat congressmen under ethical clouds at this time. Charlie Rangel of NY "forgot" to pay taxes on a bunch of income, forgot to disclose his holdings on various congressional filings and -- well you get the picture. Representative Maxine Waters of California made appeals for help to be provided to a bank in which her husband had an ownership interest as well as his being a director of that bank. Now we get Johnson taking scholarships for her own use. Where do these people get off thinking that they can do whatever they want. Why do they think that the rules do not apply to them?

I think nancy Pelosi has drowned in the swamp she said she would drain.

Obama is supporting the Ground Zero mosque again

While I am not sure if this is a flip or a flop, Obama has come out again in favor of the ground zero mosque. Remember, first it was a local matter, then it had to be supported for constitutional reasons, then he was not commenting on the wisdom of the mosque location and now he thinks that the mosque should be built there. Obama claimed that when he was elected he would end partisan battles. It is strange to think that he has been so unsuccessful in that regard that he is now having partisan battles with himself.

Why can't they understand it?

I happened to see a portion of "The Situation Room" on CNN as well as of "The Ed Show" on MSNBC tonight. Both of these segments dealt in part with Glenn Beck's rally of last Saturday. Both were very troubling. On CNN, the rally was described by the reported to Wolf Blizter as ostensibly being about restoring a belief in God in America, but the reporter said that it was clear that something else was going on. After some further discussion, the reporter (sorry I do not mention his name, but he was the typical CNN non-entity) said that he had no idea what Beck's true message was or what was really happening. It was amazing; Beck had said during his rally exactly what he was espousing. It was non-political and pro-American. Apparently, the leftist media is so sure that no one could believe in God or espouse that belief that there has to be some other motive at work here. How sad.

On the Ed Show, there were clips of Ed Shultz speaking at the rally organized by Al Sharpton to coincide with the Beck rally. Shultz got the crowd of nearly 200 who showed up pretty worked up. Unfortunately for Shultz, the crowd at the Beck rally was at least 2500 times bigger. One wag has said that Sharpton turned the Million Man March into the Hundred Dude Dud. On his show, Ed then went on to discuss how Beck had called at the rally for the curtailment of unemployment benefits and why this was wrong and evil. There is a substantial problem with Ed's position, however, it is a lie. Unemployment benefits were not discussed at Beck's rally. Even Shultz knows this, but it seems that he is not one to be limited by the truth. In fact, although Shultz's audience is remarkably small, I bet that most of them know that he was not telling the truth. Shultz apparently believes that they will not care about this.

Stock of the month -- BDN

The stock of the month for September is Brandywine Reality (symbol BDN). It is a real estate investment trust that trades on the NYSE. It closed today at $10.93. It pays a divident of about 5.5%. It also has options which can provide an additional return.

The main reason for purchasing Brandywine, however, is not its immediate position, but rather where it is likely to go in the next few years. Brandywine is involved in a series of developments in Philadelphia along the west bank of the Schuylkill river south of Market Street and adjacent to the University of Pennsylvania. The first of these, redevelopment of the old Post Office at 30th street has just been completed. This building was redone at a cost of about 200 million dollars and it is now fully leased to the IRS for 20 years. I do not know all of the details of this lease, but I have to assume that the 20 year lease is on favorable terms since it predates the real estate collapse of the last few years. The project also includes a garage across the street from the main building which has some retail space that is almot fully rented as well.

Beyond the post office/IRS building, however, there is also nearly half a square mile of land along the river which will be developed by both Penn and BDN. Some portion will be athletic fields and other university facilities which will have nothing to do with BDN, but there will be substantial development that will be done in partnership between the university and Brandywine. this is a location ready made for success. The prospect for more winning projects is great.

BDN has also recently acquired some other major projects in Philadelphia. these include the former Bell Atlantic Tower that it acquired from the Blackstone group (which simultaneously took a large ownership interest in BDN. They also include a 25% limited partnership interest in Commerce Square at 20th and Market. While Philadelhia is far from the hotest of real markets in good times, it is currently one of the most stable markets in the country. Brandywine seems to be using the current climate to get a much bigger position in this market which will lead to continuing profits in the next few years.

Even at the moment, a current purchase of the stock at 10.93 while writing the January 12.5 calls for 45 cents yields a current cash return of about nearly 20% until option expiration.


I saw the word Oikophobia today in an article, and it was new to me. Still, after looking it up (ok I did it online), I was pleased to find a word that is totally appropriate to describe the views of many of the self-named cultural elites of this country. Oikophobia is a dislike or fear of the virtues and beliefs of one's own society. If this is a Judeo-Christian society, then, to an oikophobe anything that smacks of either Judaism or Christianity is looked down on and must be quashed. If America has been built on equality of opportunity and the American dream, then we need to restructure society so that the individual opportunity to get ahead is blocked, success is limited and all outcomes are equal. If the society is based upon free speech, then we need to stop those outside the elite group from expressing their views by marginalizing them as racist, homophobes, or religious nuts. sound familiar? It should. I just described the ideological position of most of the Obamacrats.

More Success for obama with Chrysler

Earlier today I wrote about the inability of Democrats to see the auto bailouts as a failure. Now, this afternoon, comes news of another great success for the bailouts. Chrysler is going to start selling Fiat minicars in the US. This will mark the return to the US market for Fiat which left in the 1980s after big problems with quality control. Fiat was given a big chunk of the new Chrysler in exchange for its small car knowledge and technology. Of course, with the import of the Fiat minicars, there will be no need for Chrysler to use that new knowledge to actually build these cars here in the US. Instead, Chrysler will import fiat designed cars from the plant in Mexico where they will be built.

Congratulations to Obama and the Obamacrats for shipping more jobs to the Mexicans. Maybe Obama will tout this as a measure to get illegal immigration under control. After all, if things are better in Mexico than they are in the USA, there will be less likelihood of illegals crossing the borders to get here.

A failure of understanding

Al Hunt, a long time avid supporter of the Democrats, writes today that despite the "conventional wisdom" the Democrats majority in both houses of Congress is in play. Strangely, despite his view that the Democrats could lose, he then writes a paragraph that shows that he does not understand why that is. Hunt writes:

"The economy is killing Democrats even in states doing comparatively well. The economic stimulus and bailout of the auto companies -- successes in the eyes of most detached analysts -- are unpopular"

Successes????? So we are now to believe that there are detached analysts who think that the auto bailouts were a success? What are they detached from? Reality???
The purported goal of the auto bailouts was to preserve the American auto industry and the countless jobs that rely on that industry. Was that accomplished? Not really. First, nearly half of the GM and Chrysler dealerships were put out of business -- tens of thousands of jobs destroyed. Second, Chrysler was given to Fiat and the UAW. Much of the company was shut down with executives, wage earners, and employees of parts companies out of work. Bondholders of Chrysler were also hit with massive losses on the debt. All of the American owners were replaced, so that Chrysler is now controlled from Italy. Third, GM had to go through a bankruptcy that was not allowed to attack the main problem that the company had. The union benefits and pensions were not substantially reduced. This leaves the resulting company still under pressure to pay the long term costs of past bad labor deals. Like Chrysler, many thousands lost their jobs and all prior owners and debt holders were wiped out.

But GM and Chrysler are still here, so, one may ask, is this not a success? suppose that there had been no bailout. What would have happened? GM and Chrysler would have gone through bankruptcy reorganization (just like what happened). People whose interests were the long term likelihood of survival of each company rather than the maintenance of pensions and benefits for the workers would have been in control. The chance for vibrant car companies emerging from the bankruptcy would have been much greater. Products that had a true chance to sell would have been produced rather than cars like the Chevy Volt, a car that meets the Democrats political desires for the industry but which is not going to sell much. In short, over the long term there would have been more jobs and more economic activity here in the USA. To me, that makes the bailouts a failure, not a success.

Those detached analysts who see the stimulus as a success must have detached retinas that prevent them from seeing anything. Fairly considered, the stimulus provided a short term, one time boost to economic activity at a very great cost. The long term cost of the stimulus is greater than any benefit which came from that cost. The structure of the stimulus spending was designed to benefit Democrat core constituencies rather than the growth of the economy. No one in his right mind could call this a success.

Hunt's inability to see reality in this regard shows why the Democrats are in such a poor position. The American people recognize this stuff as failures because that is what it is. Unless Hunt and his Democrat friends wake up to this fact, they will just continue to sink in the polls.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

AP covers the Beck rally

Last night I posted about the coverage by the NY Times of the rally organized by Glenn Beck; it estimated the crowd at half a million while NBC said only 300,000. The AP is now out with an article discussing why this rally is such trouble for the Democrats. The AP says that "tens of thousands" attended the rally. Isn't it funny that AP has to cut the estimate substantially. Even when explaining why this is bad news for Democrats, AP feels that it must cushion the blow.

The truth is that for a crowd of between one quarter and one half million people to turn out in Washington for this event is extraordinary. AP, however, is wrong in its analysis. The showing is not bad for the Democrats, rather, it is good for America. So long as the Democrats move to embrace the essence of America rather than seeking to destroy it, it will be fine for them too.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The NY times covers the Washington rallies

I just read the coverage of the NY Times of the rallies held in Washington today, one organized by glenn Beck and the other by Rev. Al Sharpton. While the Times is usually slanted in its coverage, it seemed pretty even handed today in covering the Beck rally. According to the Times, there were close to half a million people in attendance(although the times notes that NBC said there were only 300,000 -- ONLY 300,000!!!!) The Times notes the non-political nature of most of the rally; it describes the atmosphere as being like a church picnic. The point of the march is to look at what is right with America and to restore faith in God and the America of the founders. The Times also notes that the Sharpton rally drew several hundred people. The Sharpton rally does get a fair amount of coverage, even though Beck's rally was close to a thousand times larger. Still, I do commend the Times for actually reporting on the content of the Beck rally.

Poor Syria

An article in today's Jeruisalem Post discusses urgent requests by the US to Syria for it to refrain from undermining the talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that start next week. Syria, instead, is talking about intelligence that Israel is preparing to attack Syria. Last week it was Lebanon, a country under the control of Syria, that was talking about an imminent Israeli attack. Translated into English, these statements make clear that Syria is not going to cooperate towards achieving peace.

Glenn Beck's rally and the media

Today, Glenn Beck is hosting a rally in Washington that is billed as one to restore honor in America. It has been advertised as a non-partisan rally, whose date and location were not picked to grab the mantle of Martin Luther King jr. Nevertheless, the coverage from the main stream media has been relentlessly negative.

I decided to look in on the coverage this morning. On CNN, they were openly indredulous while speaking of Beck's claim that this was non-political. When coverage from the reporters on site said that neither Beck nor Sarah Palin spoke about politics, the anchor seemed visibly disappointed. There were interviews with people in the crowd who agreed that the rally was non-political. Again, the reporter seemed disappointed. Eventually, the reporter got to the point of saying that he had heard two men earlier in the day say that they were hoping to win in November. That was the big news; the reference to November from two people in the enormous crowd "obviously" was to the elections, so the rally actually was "political". In other words, CNN tried very hard to have the rally meet their preconceived notions of what it was, and this was all they could come up with.

Over at MSNBC, the coverage was what you expect. Most of it consisted of interviews with rally opponents. Since MSNBC seems to be all DNC talking points, all the time, this is not surprising. Nevertheless, it would have been nice to hear at least a portion of what was being said at the rally so that we could make up our own mind about it rather than simply having it used as a backdrop for talking heads regurgitating talking points.

I did not bother to watch the FNC coverage since I assume that Beck would get special treatment as an FNC host.

What would help the economy?

At this point, it is clear that the American economy is not doing well. After a severe recession, we usually have a strong bounce back to growth. The return to growth began last fall, but it never had great strength and it is getting weaker with each new statistic that is released. So far, we have had a recession without any substantial recovery. Unless the trends change, we may find the economy back in recession before the end of the year. So, here is the big question: how do we get ourselves out of this mess?

There are all the usual answers: Obama and most of the Obamacrats think that more government spending to "prime the pump" is the answer. Many Republicans think tax cuts will do the trick. Others have cures that range from a return of the gold standard to more nationalization of major industries. It seems to me that it is time to take a pragmatic approach and look for what has worked and jettison what has not worked.

First, we need to recognize that monetary policy has taken us about as far as it can. Since the beginning of the recession, the Fed has cut interest rates to record lows. Short term rates are close to zero. Long term rates are also amazingly low. I think it is safe to say that no one is refraining from economic activity because of the high cost of money. There is also a more than adequate money supply. In the first part of the recession, the Fed raised the money supply at very high rates. While that has stopped, there is no dearth of cash. Indeed, the money supply is so large that there has been substantial fear that once the economy gets going again, this could lead to rampant inflation. There are other moves that the fed can make that could affect segments of the economy; one example is the purchase of mortgage backed agency debt that the Fed undertook and from which it is now exiting. This prevented the lockup of the mortgage market, but that work is essentially completed.

Second, fiscal policy has not been very successful thus far. The main engine in fiscal policy since Obama took office has been a great increase in government spending. Both the stimulus and the federal budget have shoveled money out to all sorts of projects and groups. There was a kick to the economy from just that cash flowing into it, but the cost has been enormous and the kick very small. Now that the flow is ebbing, the debt burden remains, but the increase to the economy is disappearing. It seems a fair conclusion that under the Obama methodology, any increase to the economy can be maintained only by pour out money from the federal government on a continuous and unsustainable basis. The few bright spots in the dismal history of the Obama efforts have been programs like Cash for Clunkers that drew hundreds of thousands of buyers into the car market to take advantage of the deals. The tax credit for home buyers is a similar program. Both of these programs, however, have had little effect on continuing results in the relevant markets. The auto industry saw a marked fall off after the expiration of the Clunkers program; it seems that most of the sales which the program inspired were simply ones brought forward from later months to coincide with the program dates. Home sales have also plunged once the tax credit expired. In short, the Obama programs have not worked.

Third, the question remains what would work? To determine this, one needs to look at where the economy is weak. Consumer spending is a major driver of the economy. It has not been strong, but it has not plunged. Buyers are not on strike; they are just being more careful, more frugal. Necessities are being purchased at normal levels; it is the big ticket items that are weak. This is the direct result of the weak economy. Home purchases require consumers to have more than just a bigger paycheck; they require the buyer to feel secure enough about the future that they are willing to undertake the ongoing burden of a thirty year mortgage. Even auto purchases require the buyer to feel secure enough to undertake a five year car loan. With high unemployment and the dearth of new jobs, many folks simply cannot consider these purchases at this time. That hesitancy reverberates through the economy.

So how do we restore hope to the people? Curiously, to get hope, we need change. There has to be a change that will lead the folks to believe again that better days are coming. Even with no change other than one of perceptions, we could get an increase in home sales as well as increase for other big ticket items. The ripples from thos purchases would join to form a wave of progress for the economy.

To improve confidence, we need to attack unemployment. This more than most is an indicator that affects people's behavior. So job creation is the priority.

Job creation is best done in the private sector. Additional government employees do not produce anything; they are simply additional mouths that the economy must feed from its excess.

Private sector jobs are best created by increased investment. A new plant or a new piece of equipment requires workers to operate it. It lasts for years and those new jobs remain in place during that time. A billion dollars invested in equipment means job creation for twenty years. A billion dollars given to government workers means jobs in place until that money runs out. further, the multiplier for investment is much higher than it is for an item like a government worker. Each dollar spent on buying new equipment means that another firm is selling that equipment and still another is installing it. Those companies may need further investment to be able to carry out this work. In other words, If each dollar of government salary leads to another 25 cents of economic activity, each dollar of investment leads to something like two dollars more of further activity. (These numbers are for illustration purposes only -- the actual numbers are the subject of enormous debate. It is beyond reasonable debate, however, that investment has a higher multiplier that government payrolls.) So increasing investment is the best way to go.

Has Obama done anything so far to affect investment? The answer is clearly yes, but, on balance, he has done more to stifle investment than to increase it. First, Obama has increase uncertainty with his myriad of radical proposals. The Cap and Trade bill that passed the House is a good example. Were that bill to become law, energy prices across the economy would soar. Right now, however, no one knows by how much or in what way that cost increase would occur; there is no version of the bill that the White House has adopted, but conflicting versions in Congress. A rise in energy prices makes many potential investments less profitable and therefore less likely. When the rise in energy prices is expected but the extent unknown, it makes such investments even more risky -- after all, a change in the law or regulations could render a seemingly profitable investment into a loser, and the company making the investment would have no control whatsoever over the outcome. that is a good reason to hold up on investing. Obamacare and the Wall Street "reform" bill are two other examples of this phenomenon. Every business has to concern itself with health insurance costs for workers. Even now, after the passage of Obamacare, no one seems to have any understanding of what the final cost will be. We will first need to see the thousands of pages of regulations that have yet to be written. The cost for a new employee could soar on this alone. Again, this halts many marginal investments since the uncertainty makes them less likely to succeed.

Second, Obama has promoted many measures that are unfriendly to business. His position of the tax rates for next year is one which will suck billion of dollars out of the economy, disproportionately from small business owners. With a higher tax burden to consider, a small business owner may find his proposed investment less likely to be profitable and therefore less likely to proceed. Obama has also promoted measures like card check, a boon to unionization of currently non-union workplaces. Here again, this is a measure to raise costs and difficulties for all business, large and small. More uncertainty and fear is the result.

So how does one help investment if the Obama methods do not work. Two obvious proposals come to mind: first, one blocks the Obama proposals once and for all. This will be achieved if, in November, the GOP takes control of one house of Congress. If the Republicans remain true to their professed principles after that election, none of the remaining Obama programs will have a chance. Business owners know this and will have much more certainty as we move forward into the future. Second, there need to be proposals that push business investment. These include the following: 1) Targeted federal tax cuts that promote investment. Examples include investment tax credits for new plant and equipment which is purchase in the US and used in the US. These credits should not be wasted on purchases from other countries or for investments abroad. A two year special 25% investment tax credit would do more for jobs than the entire Obama stimulus at a small fraction of the cost. 2) Extension of the Bush tax cuts. The key here is not to have just some of these extended. 3) Reorganization of parts of the tax code. First, the alternative minimum tax needs to go. It was passed to get less than two hundred taxpayers into the system over thirty years ago; it now affects tens of millions each year. It also costs billions of dollars each year for taxpayers to attempt to deal with its intricacies. One possible outcome would be to set the AMT minimum at 1 million dollars; that would restore it to its original purpose of hitting only the ultra rich. the million dollar cut off should be indexed for inflation as well, and there should be language that no one with gross income of less than one million dollars need show any effort to comply with the tax (thereby avoiding the bulk of the costs imposed on taxpayers to try to comply with the AMT.) Second, tax provisions that allow deductions against income in the US for activity outside the US should be removed. If companies want to move jobs overseas, that is there right, but US taxpayers should not subsidize those moves. There are many other changes needed in the tax code as well. 4) Obamacare needs to be repealed and replaced with plans that allow private efforts to control costs. Healthcare costs are out of control, a situation made much worse by Obamacare. US businesses should not be facing the uncertainty and enormous costs that obamacare is thrusting onto them. A replacement system should be one that requires the existence of plans that cover preexisting conditions (although not requiring that of every plan), allows for competition among carriers to get lower prices, reduces the level of unnecessry testing and procedures caused by the legal system, subsidizes those US citizens who have difficulty paying for coverage, and removes the waste and fraud out of the Medicare and Medicaid system.

All of this sounds like something much more than it really is. It is something that can actually be achieved if congress and the president would work together to try to achieve it. My guess is that we need a new Congress and President, however, before that day will come.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A new low

Reuters is reporting this evening that the proposed mosque at ground zero could be financed with 70 million dollars of tax free bonds issued through the City of New York. The comptroler of the city has spoken favorably of the possibility. So the liberals who say that the ground zero mosque issue is one of the first amendment are now moving to have the governmnet finance the mosque. Just imagine their reaction if the religious institution being financed were a church or a synagogue. This proves that they are not concerned with the first amendment or any other part of the constitution. The issue for them is that Muslims are victims of evil Americans and need to be helped. In other words, there folks are delusional.

Worth repeating --2

Ed Morrissey writing on Hot Air blog about Obama's silence on the economy.

"The weeks-long delay in responding to the numbers is quite easy to explain. Obama doesn’t want to address the fact that his extremely expensive stimulus plan has failed, and he doesn’t have a Plan B to unveil to American voters. Instead, it’s just easier to let people slowly realize that the White House is rudderless while the President eats his shrimp and finds new ways to talk about George Bush."

Worth repeating

Charles Krauthammer in his column today in the WaPo:

"It is a measure of the corruption of liberal thought and the collapse of its self-confidence that, finding itself so widely repudiated, it resorts reflexively to the cheapest race-baiting (in a colorful variety of forms). Indeed, how can one reason with a nation of pitchfork-wielding mobs brimming with "antipathy toward people who aren't like them" -- blacks, Hispanics, gays and Muslims -- a nation that is, as Michelle Obama once put it succinctly, "just downright mean"?

The Democrats are going to get beaten badly in November. Not just because the economy is ailing. And not just because Obama over-read his mandate in governing too far left. But because a comeuppance is due the arrogant elites whose undisguised contempt for the great unwashed prevents them from conceding a modicum of serious thought to those who dare oppose them."

8-28 and the Media

Glenn Beck has organized a rally in Washington for tomorrow which is billed as a march to restore honor to the country. It is intended to be non-political. Attendees are asked not to bring signs and no politician in office will speak. Sarah Palin will speak, however, so the non-political nature of the event is not complete, although to be fair, she does not hold any office at the moment. And obviously, a Glenn Beck led rally will not be there to promote progressivism; it will promote conservative patriotic values. Also speaking at the rally will be the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King.

The media coverage of the rally, however, seems to come right out of the talking points of the DNC. The least inflammatory of the claims is that Beck is appropriating the legacy of Martin Luther King because it is the 47th anniversary of King's "I have a dream" speech at the same location. This is nonsense. Did these people ever bother to read that speech? Dr. King would be all in favor of people peacefully coming together to pray for guidance for the country. Perhaps the worst of the coverage calls Beck a master manipulator of white fears of minorities. this is not a talking point, it is an out and out lie. Again, I assume that those who castigate Beck in this manner do not bother to watch his show. He is about as far from a racist as one can get. He has a distinct political point of view which could best be described as the traditional American one that each man is endowed by his creator with certain inalienable rights among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He is against the grab by the government of powers that go beyond those in the constitution. He is aganst any move to take God out of the public discourse. He is in favor of individual rights. None of this is racist. Beck does, however, expose a lot of liberal/progressive hypocracy. For example, Beck talks about progressive icon Margaret Sanger as a proponent of eugenics, the true basis for the founding of Planned Parenthood.

In any event, it will be interesting to see how many folks show up in Washington to Beck's rally. Hopefully, there will not be any disruptions from the crazies on the left.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The party trend?

Dick Morris, the pollster and political adviser who is a fixture on Fox News, is out with a new column in which he discusses the "party trend". This is a movement of voters who only pay attention to the elections in the last week or two before election day. According to Morris, polls tend to move in a more straight line fashion until mid-october and then they start to move strongly one way or the other. He expects this party trend to kick in strongly in October for the Republicans. Morris says that the party trend generally goes the same way as the trend in the rest of the electorate 9which this year is towards the Republicans).

If Morris is correct, then many races that now register as being close will move strongly toward the GOP as these undecideds move that way.

Don't they realize????

the news is out that the feds have dropped all charges against Robert Blagojevich, brother of former governor Rod Blagojevich and his co-defendant during the recent trial. the US attorney said the move was made in the interests of justice and the press has dutifully reported this. I suppose that it is too much to ask the media to realize that Robert will now be called as a witness by the feds. While he was a defendant, he had a right to avoid testifying. Now, since he will not be asked to incriminate himself, he will be fair game. My guess is that the prosecutors think that this will enable them to finally get this case across the goal line.

Chris Christie -- speaking truth to idiocy

The left always uses the adage of "speaking truth to power", although usually the folks who say it are themselves quite powerful. Yesterday, however, there was a moment at the press conference of Governor Christie of New Jersey that could best be described as speaking truth to idiocy. New Jersey's application for race to the top funds was denied by the federal government because one page ina 1000 page application was put in erroneously by a clerk. The decision cost NJ over 400 million dollars in federal funds. Christie's response to a question about this is worth listening to both for what it shows about Christie and also for what it shows about the Obama administration. Just click on the title to this post to get to the video.

More intolerance from the Israelis

In today's news comes word that Muslims in Jerusalem have rioted and burned cars in the face of a clear provocation from certain religious Israelis. According to news reports, the Israelis were trying to reach a spring that is mentioned in the Bible and they walked through a courtyard that is adjacent to a mosque in Jerusalem. It is not surprising that the Muslims thought that this was a provocation worthy of buning seven cars and other acts of violence.

It is hard to write such things even as satire. These are the people who the left portrays as victims of the Israelis. Followers of the "religion of peace". What a joke. It is an interesting comparison to look at the reaction of the left to American opposition to a mosque at ground zero, opposition that expresses itself peacefully and respectfully and contrast that to the opposition expressed violently by the Muslims in Jerusalem to Israelis walking through a courtyard next to a mosque.

Do you really think so?

Lori Montgomery in the Washington Post: "A rapidly weakening economy threatens to undermine President Obama's assertion that he has set the nation on a path to prosperity."

I just nominated this for understatement of the year. I cannot believe that she actually says that it only threatens to undermine obama's assertion and cannot even bring herself to admit that the failing economy actually undermines Obama's phony propaganda.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

But controling the border is racist!

News comes tonight of the discovery by mexican police of the bodies of 72 people killed by Mexican drug cartels as they attempted to cross into the US from Mexico. Apparently, these folks were crossing at a point used by the drug cartel to get its products into the US, and they did not want the company. These drug cartel thugs are getting into the US relatively unhindered because the Obama administration has chosen not to enforce the border. Nevertheless, when Arizona wants to stop these murderers from entering the country and catching those who do come in, it is called racism by the Obamacrats. If there was ever anything that showed clearly how out of touch with reality the obamacrats are, this is it!

Where's Rodney King when you need him?

I like to read sites like which can best be describe as the home page for much of the far left group in the Democrat party. These folks, however, have a major problem with anger management. For example, after last night's victory by a tea party candidate in the Alaska primary for the Republican senate nomination, the commentary included reference to the "tea bagger, redneck, hillbilly racists" in Alaska. I posted a comment calling on people to tone it down with regard to a candidate that they do not even know anything about and there were multiple responses basically calling me names and telling me to shut up. I don't care -- it is only cost free cyber ink, but still, it does show the basic world view from the lefties: Either you agree with them, always and forever, or you are a worthless piece of scum. Not exactly the first amendment rights that they are currently pretending to endorse!

A very important statistic

In a column from the Los Angeles Times, Jonah Goldberg discusses the purported wave of anti-Muslim bigotry that has supposedly swept America since 9-11. The column is an eye-opener. Goldberg reports that according to the FBI statistics, hate crimes against Muslims have declined from a high of 481 in 2001, the year of the 9-11 attacks to the area of 150 per year in each year since then. For comparison, there were about six times as many hate crimes in each of the years from 2002-2009 against Jews compared to Muslims. These statistics show that there is no wave of anti-Muslim hysteria or bigotry that has swept the USA. Indeed, there seems to be just a few crackpots out there who fit the description of anti-Muslim bigot. but that has not stopped either the press or the left (I guess that is the same thing) from describing the enormous outpouring of anti-Muslim bigotry which is supposedly represented by the raising of voices to oppose the ground zero mosque.

It would be nice if the left and the media could just for once give credit to the two thirds of the country who have expressed opposition to the mosque as being rational and unbiased. Since they have no answer to the complaints of the vast majority, however, they fall back on their usual poly of claiming bigotry. They take racialism to a new height.

It's right in front of their noses

In the Book of Jeremiah it is written: "Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not." (Jer 5:21). This line has been updated into modern English as the proverb, "There are none so blind as those who will not see."

I was reminded of these lines by a series of news stories over the last few days. Last night, I happened to flip by MSNBC a few times and each time they were coveraing a story about the Koch brothers. These are two billionaires who, according to MSNBC, are "funding" the tea parties. Aha! Nancy Pelosi was right when she called the Tea Parties "Astroturf". It was strange indeed to see the glee with which the stories were reported. It seemed as if those reporting the story actually believed that the tea parties were just a creation of the Koch brothers.

This morning, I turned on my computer to be greeted by an AP story "Primaries reveal Tea party Weaknesses". The story was how badly Joh McCain had damaged himself in easily winning the Arizona Republican primary. According to the story, because of tea party pressure, McCain had changed his views on immigration and was no longer a maverick who would buck his party's position. This had "cost him dearly" according to the article.

I also saw another article that screamed "US Stimulus boosted growth by up to 4.5%". Of course, in reading the article, I learned that the story refered to a study that said the stimulus boosted growth by somewhere between 1.7 and 4.5% on an annualized rate during the second quarter of this year when the stimulus impact was at its height. So it was actually a discussion of the stimulus causing additional growth in the economy of between 0.4% and 1.1% during the second quarter.

Each of these stories seem to be an example of the reporter denying reality. (I apologize for using the term reporter and MSNBC in the same thought, maybe they should be called "groupthink moderators.") It was wishful thinking by the left. The Koch brothers have donated funds to the Tea Parties. So? there is not one tea parties; there are a great many across the USA. Their strength lies in that fact. Would the groupthink moderators accept the idea that George Soros created the lefties as astroturf? I doubt it, but he gives more to the left than the Koch brothers gave to the tea parties. Indeed, this is not even a telling attack on the tea parties. Instead it seems to be a sigh of relief for the left that things really are not as bad for them as they seem. Blind by choice!

The story on McCain was the funniest of the lot. the contrast according to the reporter was between McCain's principled stand in 2006 and his current stand of "Build the danged fence". Obviously, the reporter must have missed the 2008 presidential election when McCain's line was "I heard you! We need to get control of the border first." That is the same position as today, but it predates the existence of the Tea Party. Why bother with the facts? Blind by choice!

The economic story is about the findings of the Congressional Budget Office. They used certain macroeconomic predictive models to ascertain the effect of the stimulus. For just under a trillion dollars in expenditures, we got growth during the best quarter of between 0.4% and 1.1%. The US GNP is 14.7 Trillion dollars currently. That means that we spent 5% of our GNP to create extra growth of between o.4% and 1.1%. Clearly, the effect was spread across other quarters as well, but this was the best one. Even if the total effect was three times as much as that during the quarter in question, we spent 5% to get between 1.2% and 3.3% increase. That is a losing proposition under any calculus. but the reporter chooses to ignore the bad news and proclaim it a success! Blind by choice!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The SEC Behaving Badly

While the SEC has not gone sufficiently crazy to start circulating videos of its staffers flashing the cameras, they do seem to have lost it in a big way. Last week, the SEC announced the settlement of a claim that it had against the state of New Jersey. According to the SEC, New Jersey sold billions of dollars of municipal bonds during the administration of governors Corzine and McGreavy without fully disclosing that the state could not fully fund its pension obligations without raising taxes. For its part, New Jersey agreed to settle the claim with a promise not to do it again.

This claim and settlement is a complete waste of taxpayers' money. The idea that anyone would buy or not buy minicipal bonds due to the underfunding of pension liabilities which could only be discovered through disclousre in prospectus is laughable. Anyone who has ever waded through the very lengthy prospectus issued at the time that the bonds are sold understands that most of what gets written in that document never, never gets read by anyone other than the proof reader. Further, one does wonder why the SEC thinks that only tax increases could lead to the ability to fund pensions. What about cost cutting. Governor Christie just cut the NJ budget from 39 billion to 28 billion. That is a reduction of close to 30%. Under the prevailing view at the Obama SEC, however, the only way to balance the budget is to raise taxes.

The truth is that we have just seen a great many public employees spend countless hours laboring to bring forth nothing more important than a cigarette butt. Great job SEC!

You can't trust the internet

Someone named Jonathan Strong (at least that's the name he uses) writes at the Daily Caller that half of all political bloggers are being paid by politicians for their support. Of course, this is just the sort of statistic that no one could know. Indeed, there is no proof that payments from candidates to bloggers are anything other than an extremely rare event. No one has ever paid me for support (or to oppose them). Admittedly, this is far from the largest blog out there, but there are not all that many blogs that deal with Connecticut politics. Given the amounts being spent this year in the Nutmeg State on the election, one would think someone would have approached me for my support by now if the buying of blog support was really happening. This strikes me as jost another of the phony stories of the "vast rightwing conspiracy" at work.

Why is no one covering this?

In a little noticed story today, the AP reports about a study led by Terry Hazen at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The study found the presence of massive amounts of a newly-discovered oil eating microbe in the Gulf of Mexico. Further, the microbe eats the oil without reducing the oxygen content of the water, a side effect feared by many scientists.

So, After all the oil got spilled into the Gulf, nature is taking care of the cleanup by these microbes' eating it. This is big news and explains why no one can account for where most of the oil went -- it was dinner for the microbes.

Of what did they persuade Israel

Jed Babbin, former Undersecretary of Defense, writes today on Real Clear Politics about the recent storyline that the obama Administration has used US intelligence to persuade Israel not to attack Iran for the time being. That story was conveniently leaked to the NY Times late last week by the Obamacrats. It is meant to show that Obama is both concerned for Israel but seeking to head off any armed conflict in the Middle East. In reality, however, as Babbin skillfully points out, there is a basic problem with the story: US intelligence agenicies have no reliable info on the actual state of the Iranian nuclear program. There is no way that obama could convince the Israelis with non-existent information that the threat was further away than thought. If anything was accomplished, according to Babbin, it was to further convince the Israelis that they cannot rely on the US under Obama to deal in a realistic manner with the Iranian nuclear threat. Babbin thinks that it makes an attack by israel more rather than less likely.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Taking the Kool-ade intravenously

I just read a piece by Antohny Coley that appeared on CNN Opinion. Coley's thesis is that Obama has done a wonderful job on the economy. Here, in essence, is how he states his point:

"The president and Democrats in Congress can point to many victories, including an $800 billion cash infusion of cash and tax cuts to jump start the economy and prevent a second Great Depression; tough legislation that eradicates Wall Street's riskiest financial practices and enacts comprehensive consumer protections; and a historic health reform law that lowers cost, enhances choice and extends quality, affordable health care to 32 million uninsured Americans."

As I read this, I thought that Coley must be a true believer. Then I saw that he is the former chief spokesman and communications director for the late Senator Kennedy and former governor Corzine of New Jersey. So Coley's great communications skills helped the Democrats lose the seats of both his employers just in the last year. Even so, the litany of nonsense that Coley puts forth is amazing to me (even coming from a Kool-ade drinker like Coley).

First, Coley points to the stimulus as something that jump started the economy. What BS. There is not any evidence that the economy is any better today than it would have been but for the stimulus, and that is wholly apart from the 800 billion dollars of debt added to the national burden on the future. The drop in production was the result of a financial crisis that was stopped by the TARP program. The recovery so far has been the normal bounce back from the plunge. the slow nature of the recovery has been due in part to the drag placed on investment by the new regulations, taxes and nationalizations that have scared away investment that would grow the economy. Obama promised that the stimulus would keep unemployment from breaking above 8%; instead, we are way above that and seem to be stuck in the 10% range. In short, Coley is just spouting garbage on this point.

Second, Coley talks about "tough" legislation that eradicates Wall Street's riskiest practices. Again, this is complete nonsense. The so-called reform bill does increase the number of agencies which are "supervising" Wall Street. the added costs of compliance will make it much harder for smaller, more nimble banks and brokerages to compete with the big guys on Wall Street. Less competition and fewer competitors makes things riskier, not less risky. Then there is the issue of the prearranged authority for future bailouts that the "reform" bill includes. Inother words, the big banks now know that there is a bail out waiting if they get close to failure. Once again, this increases risk; it does not lessen it. Coley must be bathing in the Kool-ade.

Finally, Coley touts Obamacare as lowering costs, enhancing choice and extending coverage to 32 million new folks. Well let's look at this howler. Lower costs? The Democrats got to lower costs by taking out about a quarter of a billion dollars of costs in the so-called doctors' fix and putting it in a separate bill. They also got to lower costs by promising to reduce the cost of medicare by half a trillion dollars through removal of waste and fraud. Many months later, have you heard even one story about how the Dems or the new agencies have reduced waste and fraud? Neither have I. These are phony savings that the Democrats conjured up to justify the increased costs of Obamacare. Coley actually thinks that Americans are dumb enough to believe this. Well how about enhanced choice? After the bill was signed into law we learned that over half of all health insurance plans fail to meet the requirements of Obamacare and will have to be terminated. That will leave about 45% of the previous plans out there from which to choose. sounds like less choice to me, not more. But there is always extended coverage. Maybe Coley can explain the news item today out of New Jersey; the new program out of Obamacare designed to provide coverage for the previously uninsured with pre-existing conditions has drawn the remarkable increase in coverage of two families. That's right -- two families signed up for this new coverage in the Garden State even though the federal government gave Jersey 141 million dollars to subsidize these policies. That comes to iver seventy million dollars for each additional policy.

the truth is that Obama has been a disaster for the economy. Essentially every move he has made has had the impact of reducing rather than increasing job growth. If he is not careful, Coley may drown in the Kool-Ade.

Maybe it's because it's late August

Every year in the period right before Labor Day, there seems to be a period when people's minds stray from their normal objectivity. This morning, for example, I had a long conversation with a normally rational individual who thought that it was an open question whether or not Obama is a Muslim. His argument was that under sharia law, Obama is a Muslim since his father was one. Further, since Obama has never come forward with any proof of his conversion to Christianity, he remains a Muslim. Nothing I said could shake this person's view regarding Obama's religion.

It is sad indeed when people of reasonable intelligence and insight get so far misled by the twists and turns of what can best be called pure sophistry. Obama is a Christian because he tells us he is a Christian. Enough said.

Ahmadnutjob makes things perfectly clear

Today's Jerusalem Post picks up this quote from the president of Iran which speaks volumes as to his sanity:

"On Sunday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad introduced an unmanned drone bomber which he dubbed the 'ambassador of death.' Speaking to a group of officials Ahmadinejad said, 'The jet, as well as being an ambassador of death for the enemies of humanity, has a main message of peace and friendship.'"

So there you have it: peace and friendship though death. This guy is barking mad.

The Powers that be (unfortunately)

Kirsten Powers is a well spoken, intelligent liberal who seems reasonable enough on her TV appearances and in her column in the NY Post. Today, however, she has a column in the Daily Beast that begins like this:

"Welcome to the summer of hate.

These dog days have brought a veritable festival of racial demagoguery, from a phony “New Black Panther” controversy to Arizona’s draconian illegal-immigrant crackdown to the most recent “ground zero mosque” hysteria."

Kirsten should and does know better. The New Black Panther case is "phony". Really? The United States Justice Department brought an action against members of that party for standing outside a polling place in Philadelphia in 2008, holding a club and threatening whites who came to vote. After the case was won, but before the penalty was announced by the court, the case was dropped by the Obama Justice Department under Eric Holder. Then the DOJ lawyer for the case comes forward to announce that he was told that it was now DOJ policy not to prosecute voter intimidation cases if the perpetrators were black and the victims white. This is anything but phony. Powers says that this is not as bad as the KKK used to be. So? Car theft is not as bad as murder; does that make it unimportant? Powers also says that it was but one precinct and there was but one weapon being held. When did the crime of voter intimidation become one requiring group participation? That is not what the law says. Indeed, the time to stop intimidation is when it is before it is widespread, not after. And, of course, Powers conveniently fails to mention the race based policy of DOJ with regard to enforcement.

Next Powers talks about Arizona's draconian immigration law. I know that Powers has read that law; I used to think that she understood it as well. Obviously not! While portions of the law have been struck down by a lower court, the reason is not because the law was draconian. Rather, the reason was a purported interference with the ability of the federal authorities to order their own enforcement efforts. To call this law draconian is ridiculous. The Arizona law is nothing more than a state effort to enforce the existing federal law, something that the feds seem to have suspended. If Murder on federal land is a federal crime, does Powers think it draconian if the states pass laws allowing them to have their police also look for the perpetrators of that federal crime? Apparently so!

Powers then goes on the the recent ground zero mosque hysteria. Strange, isn't it. The only hysteria comes from the liberals who feel a reflexive need to scream racism. The anti mosque group's position can best be summed up by this: the mosque developers have a right to build in this location, but it would be thoughtful and more appropriate were they to move the facility a few blocks further away. How racist! How Hysterical! What utter BS from Powers. I will wait to see the column where Powers castigates Harry Reid for his racism since he has announced his agreement with the antimosque position.

The saddest thing about all of this is that there seem to be fewer and fewer liberals who are willing to discuss facts rather than ideology. they are obviously getting more and more desperate at the prospect of losing much of their power base in Washington. Still, for the good of the country, they need to stop these crazy attacks and get back to basics.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Worth Reading

Democratic pollster Doug Schoen has a piece in the Daily Beast today that is well worth reading. Schoen reviews the success and failure of Obama's stimulus package.

I recommend it. Click on the title to this post to reach it.

Behind the mask of hypocracy

During the 1930's, the Democrat party announced itself to be the party of the common man against the plutocrats of Big Business. Democrats saiud that they represented the poor and the middle class whose voices were not heard by the system. over the years, this self description of the Democrats has remained in place. Rich people were Republicans, we were told, but those of modest means had their champions among the Democrats. And this was not just a theme of the party; the media bought into it without reservation. Even once the Republicans returned to pre-eminence, at least in presidential politics, the Democrats theme remained the same. I remember reading countless stories about rich folks who backed Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan, but very few similar ones about Carter or Clinton. George W. Bush, of course, was the purported representative of Texas oil millionaires and other big oil interests.

The time has come, however, for this story line to be put to death once and for all. The Democrats have made clear that they not only do not champion the common man, they have contempt for the views of such people. Just look at the record. Obamacare was opposed by large majorities of common people. The only big pockets of support for that bill came from big phama that made a deal with Obama to support it, the insurance companies who made similar deals, and the true believing leftist base of the Democrats. Despite the strong opposition from those who they profess to represent, the Democrats passed it anyway, and, in addition, attacked those who opposed it a racists, know nothings and homophobes. Or look at the Ground Zero mosque. The large majority of the American people clearly do not want it built. so what is the Democrat response? Not an attempt to convince the folks of the projects merits, but an attack on those who oppose it. They are bigots and haters who seek to undermine the Constitution. Pelosi even wants to investigate them for unamerican activities. So the supposed beneficiary of the Democrats wants no part of the mosque and the Democrats attack them in response.

This kind of thing happens all too frequently with the Democrats. They are simply unprepared to listen to the desires of the American people; the Democrats are sure that they know better. The Democrats have a nucleus of highly paid government employees, university professors, Hollywood liberals and the like (also known as reich folks) who are certain that they and only they know what is good for America. Imagine the temerity of those common folks in fly-over states who are expressing views in opposition to these Democrat opinion leaders. why they must be bigots, racists, and whatever vile accusation can be ginned up next. Democrats do not seem to care one bit about the opinions of the common folk except during elections when they pretend to listen. In between election campaigns, the Democrats govern more like autocrats than democrats.

The last two years have been the first time that there has been a sufficiently large and free portion of the press to disclose the hypocracy of the Dems. Hopefully, come November, the Democrats will reap what they sow. They can have the votes of their ruling elites. It is the votes of the common folks that I hope go for the Republicans. At that point, it will be up to the Republicans to weild power honestly and properly, in harmony with the folks and not in opposition.

There he goes again

Connecticut Attorney General and Democrat Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal is again in the news for "misspeaking", the polite word for lying. As you may recall, Blumenthal got into hot water in the Spring when the New York Times revealed that his repeated claims to have served in Vietnam during the war were phony. Now, Blumenthal has been caught lying about whether or not he would take money from special interests. On the day he announced his candidacy for the senate, he was interviewed on friendly MSNBC and proudly stated that he had not and would never take money from PACs or special interests. Blumenthal said that he would raise his funds from ordinary citizens, a "very grass roots" campaign. That, it appears, was another lie. since that time, Blumenthal has accepted nearly half a million dollars in contributions from PACs. His opponent Linda McMahon has also unearthed $17,000 that he accepted from special interests years earlier when he was running for the legislature. Blumenthal's response has been to claim that he was only speaking about his campaigns for attorney general (so the legislative campaign does not count), and that in the senate campaign he was only limiting himself to those who did business with or had matters before the AG's office. while he clearly did not say that, even Blumenthal's new definition of special interest fails him. For example, he took $10,000 from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers even though the AG's office and Blumenthal have been in court in 2010 seeking an injunction against certain jobs for those workers being moved out of the state.

I never expected that Linda McMahon could defeat Blumenthal. I have to say that I have changed my view. Blumenthal turns out to be just another politician who will say anything to get elected and who will not be constrained by the truth in that effort. Connecticut deserves better than Richard Blumenthal.

Going Mad in Herds -- or just in ones

Today's column by Maureen Dowd in the NY Times is entitled "Going Mad in Herds". the title refers to the increase in the number of Americans who identify Obama as a Muslim; the number went from 12% when he ran for president to 18% in the latest poll. According to MoDo, that means that the country is going crazy. Actually, I think it is MoDo who is going crazy. First, let's look at her contention: the Pew Research poll in question has a margin of error of +/- 3%. That means that in 2008, the number who thought Obama was Muslim was between 9 and 15%. In the Latest poll, that number is between 15 and 21%. In other words, it well may be that the number has not changed at all, but has stayed at 15% even according to the poll itself. A difference that is not even statistically significant is hardly the reason to call the country mad. Beyond that a change of a few percent either way is not a big deal. Obama has not been overt in his Christianity. I cannot recall any image of him leaving or entering church. I cannot recall him ever mentioning his Christian beliefs since he has been president. That is not to say that it has not happened, but events of that sort, if they occurred, have not been publicized. In a country used to presidents who clearly announce their Christianity, it is no surprise that Obama's failure to do so lead some to think he is not a Christian.

The truth is that MoDo is actually lamenting the demise of the false image of Obama that was created by the media and his campaign in 2008. Indeed, she admits this much when she says:

"Obama is the victim of the elevated expectations he so skillfully created in 2008.

He came as a redeemer and then — tied up in W.’s Gordian knots, dragged down by an economy leeched by wars and Wall Street charlatans — didn’t redeem. And nothing bums out a nation that blows with the wind like a self-appointed messiah who disappoints."

Where she goes wrong is her line that the nation "blows with the wind". The truth is that nothing bothers any nation like someone who falsely claims certain talents and views only to be found out as a faker. It may sound like Sean Hannity doing one of his lists, but here is the litany: Obama promised to be post-racial; he is not. Rather he is the most intensely racial president since Woodrow Wilson. Obama promised to be post-partisan; he is not. There has been less bipartisanship in this administration than in any I can remember, and Obama set the tone. In his first moves as president, Obama had the stimulus bill drafted by congressional Democrats with no input allowed from the Republicans. Then he again froze the Republicans out of the budget process. That was followed by freezing the Republicans out of the healthcare negotiations in the House. In response, the Republicans voted against the bills. since then, the partisan wrangling has only gotten worse. Obama promised that he would close Guantanamo; it is still open. This is something that everyone knows he could do. He just has not done it. Obama promised that the stimulus bill would keep unemployment below 8%; we went to 10% insteaad and millions lost their jobs. Obama promised that he would end "too big to fail" and then signed into law a bill that enshrines the concept into the future. He promised that he would bring a new life to dealings with Iran; there would be negotiations with no preconditions. The Iranians are still laughing at that one and at him. he promised that he would stand with the Israelis as an ally; then he did everything he could to gin up confrontations with that country. He promised that he would pursue the Afghan war with great vigor. Then he tried to prevent a request for more troops from being made and sat on the decision about those troops for nearly half a year before finally going along with most of it. The list goes on, but the point is that obama revealed himself to be an inexperienced, tone deaf ideologue who seems to live in a fantasy world. He has no successes. Even his great legislative accomplishments like obamacare are greatly hated by the people.

This truth about Obama seems to be more than MoDo can stand. She realizes that the blame for much of the failure is Obama's but she cannot bring herself to accept that she was part of the group that brought this loser into power. Instead she has to castigate the American people as crazy to deal with her own pain and denial. The NY Times should have recognized this and not run the column. No one needs to see MoDo psycholgical deterioration. She should be spared that embarrassment.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Intolerance by the supposedly Tolerant

There is another article from the AP out today on the Ground Zero Mosque controversy entitled "Mosque Flap Tests Limits of US tolerance". The thesis of the article is that those who oppose the mosque are intolerant. Alan Breed, the author of the piece, interviews people who have been the victims of intolerance like holocaust survivors as well as the head of something called the Tolerance Museum to show the results of intolerance. In truth, the article itself is a remarkable display of intolerance from someone supposedly promoting tolerance. Opposition to the mosque at ground zero is not intolerance. It is not even close to intolerance. It is simply an expression of support for keeping the area free from symbols of those who committed mass murder.

Strangely, those who support construction have changed the language of the dispute from whether or not it is appropriate to build a mosque at that site into the question of whether or not the developers have the right to build there. Then they go into rants about religious freedom and tolerance. By this change, the supporters try to change the opponents from reasonable thoughtful people into mindless bigots who are trying to deny Muslims the freedom of religion. This tactic of villification of those who oppose the mosque is a commonly used tactic of the left. If people oppose Obamacare, it is racism. If the Tea Party wants to stop runaway spending by the federal government, they are bigoted, homophobic kooks. If one wants proof of global warming other than the bogus numbers from East Anglia University that are questionable at best, one is a flat earther, a know nothing, a luddite. This attempt to change the debate seeks victory for the mosque supporters by delegitimizing the position of the opponents, not by the superior logic of the promosque group.

For far too long, the left has used personal attacks as the method to get their way. In the last few years, they have been astounded as these attacks have failed to work as in the past. The tea party did not disappear even though the media went crazy with articles about the racist, homophobic, and misogynous nature of the group. Fortunately, there was enough video and audio and alternative media out there for the truth to get out. This has, however, only resulted in the left stepping up the level of its attacks of this sort.

It is time for the media to stop this nonsense. Imagine the uproar if those opposing the mosque were to come forward and accuse the supporters of promoting terrorism. Mayor Bloomberg would be horrified. President Obama would probably give a national speech. But when the supporters say that the opponents are anti Muslim bigots, not a whisper is heard from these folks. Indeed, it is clear that Bloomberg and Obama believe that to be the case. They are so out of touch that it amazes me.

Revisionism run Amok

An article by lefty talk show host David Sirota was posted on and got picked up by Real Clear Politics. In the article, Sirota asks the question: "Why are we so willing to repeat history's mistakes?" He then points to examples that only Sirota or someone delusional could choose. My favorite one is "America experienced its most storied growth under the New Deal's aggressive financial regulation." What utter BS; that is not history, it is fantasy. The agressive financial regulation to which Sirota refers was enacted in 1933 and early 1934. For the next seven years, America languished in the Depression. Indeed, in 1937, there was a drop so steep in GDP that some at the time called it the second depression. A double dip, but into depression not recession. It is the only time in our history that we had a double dip depression. For the next six years (1940-1946), the whole country was moved into a command economy to maximize output for World War 2. sure there was growth, but it had nothing to do with the financial regulations. After the war, growth was the result of millions of men returning home, starting families and needing homes, cars, and the like. This was about a decade of pent up demand that hit the market all at once. It propelled growth. financial regulation had nothing to do with it. So when was the storied growth to which Sirota refers? Was it in the 1960's when Kennedy's tax cuts took over? The late sixties when the Vietnam war spending was the engine of growth? The seventies when the economy went through the Carter stagflation? Certainly, he is not refering to the 1980's under Reagan. By then, the regulation to which he refers was being modified. In short, there was no great period of growth that had anything to do with the regulations he so admires from an ideological perch.

Another of Sirota's howlers is "Ronald Reagan proved the failure of trickle-down tax cuts to spread prosperity before George W. Bush proved the same thing." After the Reagan tax cut, the US had a period of enormous growth. The economy produced over 25 million new jobs. What could be better proof of spreading prosperity than all those new jobs? And the Bush tax cuts? For years, we heard ad nauseum from the lefties like Sirota that the new jobs they created were just as hamburger flippers. it is strange to think that there were suddenly ten million more people serving fast food, but that was the mantra. The point, however, is this: How many Americans are happier with the Obama years where we lost eight million jobs? Even a bad job would beat no job, and most of the jobs from the Bush years were not bad ones.

The truth is that Sirota's article should really be entitled "Why are Americans willing to ignore the failed ideology of the left?"

Friday, August 20, 2010

Another big success for Obama

The main program established by the Obamacrats to help those in danger of losing their homes has just passed a major milestone. The program has now lost 50% of all its participants without providing them any help. The idea of the program was to enable those on shaky ground to renegotiate their mortgages and reduce their payments. Only a small portion of all those who could lose their homes qualified for the program, and total enrollment was just over 2 million people. Only about a third of those people have received any benefit from the program, however. About a half of them were just dropped from the program by the government. The remaining sixth are still being processed. So the obamacrats pass this program with a great cheer about how they will be helping all those who might lose their homes. In reality, though, less than ten percent of those who were in danger got any help at all. A few more "successes" like this, and the country can declare bankruptcy.

Who would have thought...

Reid Wilson at Hotline on Call writes the following: "A prominent Democratic pollster is circulating a survey that shows George W. Bush is 6 points more popular than President Obama in 'Frontline' districts -- seats held by Democrats that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sees as most vulnerable to Republican takeover. That Bush is more popular than Obama in Democratic-held seats is cause for outright fear."

Who would ever have thought we would see this day. It is about time!

A decision too important for politics

In the next few months, congress will have to decide if it will let the Bush Tax cuts expire. Failure to act will raise the taxes of nearly everyone in the US who pays any tax. Millions will be moved back onto the tax rolls. billions will be removed from the economy at a point when we are slipping back into recession. Nothing good will come from this. Indeed, if the tax rise causes the economy to decline, the higher rates will not even bring in more revenue to the government.

The use of this issue for demagoguery is increasing day by day. The class warfare cries of the Democrats are surfacing with regularity. "No tax cuts for the rich" is the cry, even if it means that they harm the economy. The republicans seem to be in favor of every tax cut that anyone mentions, even if these cuts will not help with growth but will decrease revenues. Few people even mention the need for spending cuts to reduce the deficit that are needed in concert with the tax cuts (Paul Ryan is the main exception).

Wouldn't it be nice if Congress could actually consider what needed to be done to help the country get back on the way to strong economic growth. Imagine, 535 people devoted to getting things moving again rather than to their own re-election. While this is clearly never going to happen, it would be nice if we could find that half of Congress acted in this way. Unfortunately, even half is an exteremly unlikely goal to reach.

Some Times you just have to take a break

Today President Obama is on Matha's Vineyard as part of his latest vacation. He needed the time off in order to recover from all the golf games, other vacations, parties and campaigning. There is also an unconfirmed rumor that he did some work for a few minutes the other day, but no one at the White House will comment on it.

Obama the Muslim

The big story splashed around the media for the last day has been the poll in which 20% of Americans said that Obama was a Muslim. The uproar from this has been major. Writers at the Washington Post lamented how stupid Americans are. the White House spokesman has commented on this. Well, you get the picture.

None of this is very surprising, however. Has anyone ever commented on the poll results when people are asked to identify people like Joe Biden? Do you know how many people in this country cannot identify who Biden is? (For those of you who are in that group, he is the Vice president of the United States, and one would think that his identity would be better known than Obama's religion.) The last polls results I saw had 16% of respondents did not know who Biden is.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Obama finally achieves something that no one thought could be done

The recent Pew Research poll shows aremarkable shift in party identification among Jewish Americans. In 2008, Jews identified themselves as Democrats over Republicans by 64 - 20%. Now, one and a half years in the Obama Administration, the numbers have shifted to 57-33%. That is a reduction of 20% in the margin held by the Democrats. the late Senator Moynihan famously said that "Jews live like Episcopalians but vote like Puerto Ricans." the connection between the Democrats and the Jews in American seemed impossible to break. Now Obama has finally done it. Clearly, the break is not total yet, but the movement is enormous. Congratulations to President Obama froa job well done.


I just returned from getting a haircut. When it came time to pay for the haircut, i was charged about 20% less than usual. That seemed odd, so I asked why it was less. The barber told me it was because there was not much to take off the top. I guess that is a nice way to say that I have lost much of my hair over the years. Still, it was the first time that I ever got a "lack of volume discount".

Back at 500,000

The number of new unemployment claims rose to 500,000 in the numbers released this morning. This is truly bad news. While one week's results are nothing but another dot on the graph, the rise into the 500,000 range is disheartening. There is a big psychological difference between 490,000 and 500,000. those who follow these numbers cannot be inspired with confidence in a brighter future for the economy. Let's hope this is a temporary spike. People have suffered enough in this economy; they do not need more pain.

David Broder -- deep thoughts

Years ago on SNL, there used to be a feature called "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy". The screen would display a rolling text which would be read in rounded tones as if it were very important and very philosophical, but the content was actually ridiculous. Washngton Post columnist David Broder seems to be channeling Jack Handy these days. Today, Broder has a column called "Our Dysfunctional Politics" in which he takes both the Democrats and Republicans to task.

The Democrats are feckless vacillators since they are not backing the ground zero mosque, and according to Broder the opposition is "almost racist." While there is no question that Obama has flipped and flopped on this issue in the space of just 48 hours, not all the Democrats are vacillating. Nancy Pelosi wants to investigate those who oppose the mosque and Harry Reid is against it. I will enjoy watching Nancy investigate Harry. The opposition, however, is not racist, almost racist, or tainted in any way by racial or ethnic discrimination. No mainstream opponent wants to stop construction of the mosque; rather, they want to stop construction at that particular site. It is the juxtaposition of the mosque with the site where 3000 were killed in the name of Allah that is wholly inappropriate. David Broder obviously does not have a clue as to propriety.

Republicans get special condemnation from Broder. They are "a party that claims to deserve political rewards for almost unbroken and increasingly debilitating across-the-board opposition to common-sense measures in the national interest." And to what does Broder cite? They almost unanimously opposed the stimulus bill which was needed to save the economy. That is almost funny, but Broder is actually serious. Republicans were excluded from drafting that bill; it was done by Pelosi and Reic behind closed doors. When it was unveiled, it was called a stimulus, but it was not stimulative. Instead, it was a massive payoff to Democrat allies at the cost of a major increase in the national debt of the USA. Here we are 18 months later and it is clear that the so-called stimulus did not work. Next Broder cites to cap and trade and the failure to pass that. It is funny that he blames Republicans for this. The bill passed the House, but it got stuck in the Senate. For about half a year after the House passed the bill, the Dems had 60 votes in the Senate, but it is the Republicans who Broder blames. Perhaps he should look to his liberal allies and ask them why they did not pass that bill. He might also consider the reaction to learning that the basic data on which the predictions of global warming are based were phonied up by the East Anglia research team. Maybe he should be calling for a new and comprehensive and transparent bit of research that could determine past temperatures once and for all. Wouldn't it make more sense for us to actually know if the global warming theories are correct before we hamper the economy to solve a problem that may not even exist. Al Gore may tell us that the debate is over, but I doubt that there are too many Americans who want to give up their jobs, especially today, for an unproven theory.
In short, Broder writes nicely. The problem is that he is spewing nonsense and he does not even understand that.

Just plain weird

Today, the Drudge Report has an article headlined: "TWO DEM CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES GO ON HUNGER STRIKE -- ONE GETS ENEMA... " Even for Drudge, that is a weird headline. I read the article, however, and it is a fair summary of its contents. It seems that in a Republican District in California, the Democrat and the Libertarian are trying a hunger strike to get the sitting congressman to agree to debates earlier than October. So they are starving themselves to change the timing of the debates. I am not a political consultant, but I would think that any adviser would tell them that a stunt like this is not likely to get them too many votes. What will the Bumper stickers say? How about "Vote for _____ or he will kill himself." It is like the old ads (in many variants) that said "buy this magazine or we will kill this puppy." I think those ads were for Mad Magazine, but this congressional race seems to fit right in there.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tone Deaf/Brain dead -2

Earlier today, I wrote about the statement by Nancy Pelosi calling for an investigation of those who oppose the construction of the mosque at ground zero, particularly where they get funds to oppose the construction. My take on this was that it was both proof that Pelosi has no understanding of the views of the American people and that it also proved how idiotic she really is. Since then, however, I have seen much coverage of this issue in which people talk about the "threat" made by Pelosi. Many serious people take the talk of "investigation" as a ploy by Pelosi to intimidate the opposition to the mosque.

I find it hard to believe that anyone would be intimidated by Pelosi's threat of investigation. What is going to be investigated? I oppose the mosque. Will someone investigate how I pay for my internet connection? It is just so much BS.

The truth is that Pelosi needs to retire and have her family send her to nice home for those with incipient dementia.

The Worm Turns

The latest conversion on the eve of the election: Barney Frank, the Democrat Congressman who has done more to push low cost and question free mortgages for the poor than anyone else in the country, suddenly now thinks that it is a bad idea.
In an interview on Fox Business Frank denounced givernment policy that promoted homeownership at any cost. According to Frank, the government should not guarantee mortgages.

"There were people in this society who for economic and, frankly, social reasons can't and shouldn't be homeowners," Frank said. "I think we should, particularly, stop this assumption that you put everybody into homeownership...Public policy has been too much to try to push people into homeownership."

One of two things is true: either 1) Frank has come to his senses and now realizes that the Progressives' push to get the poor into homes at the cost of others will not work; or 2) this is more of the usual pre-election BS from Frank which he will completely ignore once re-elected. I vote for the second alternative. Hopefully, Frank will be voted out of office. While the likelihood of such a result is slim at best, it would still be a wonderful thing for the country to get him out of Congress.

MoDo and W

In the NY Times today, Maureen Dowd asks George W Bush to speak out on the Ground Zero mosque in order to provide moral guidance to the country. That has to be the most bizarre column she has ever written, and that is saying a lot. MoDo, as Dodd is known, first castigates Obama for his on again off again support or non-support for the mosque project. She points out also that Bill Clinton does not have any moral authority to sway the American people. Such authority and indeed such duty belongs to George W. Bush. Since MoDo is on of the most vicious of Bush haters, it is comical to see her call on Bush to use his moral authority in this instance. MoDo's chosen one, Obama, has failed her; he has not continued to blast away at those who quite properly oppose the mosque and speak out about it. Obama, instead, has fled from the field after taking back everything he had said. So while Obama looks like a child fleeing from his responsibilities, MoDo thinks that Bush has an obligation to speak out.

My guess, however, is that were Bush to speak out he would say something like this: There is no question that the developers of this mosque have every right to build at their site near ground zero provided that they comply with local laws and ordinances. The fact that the site was actually hit by parts of the plane on 9-11 does not change this. But that is not the main inquiry here. there is also a question of propriety and decency. The developers say that they are trying to bring folks together through this project. I ask that they bring folks together before begining construction. The developers should sit down with the representatives of the 9-11 families and discuss this matter. These are folks who have the right to speak just as the developers do. Their loss and pain is what makes this site so important. If it would lessen that pain to move the project, then the government should do what it can to assist in that endeavor. I am sure that reasonable people speaking to each other can work this all out.

MoDo would hate this. After all, it does not recognize the Muslims as victims, and it puts the 9-11 families into the category of victims as well. In other words, it is contrary to everything that she stands for. That is why her column is so bizarre.

Tone deaf? -- no Brain dead? yes

the Washington Times picks up the statement made by Nancy Pelosi on KCBS yesterday:

"There is no question there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some. And I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque being funded," she said. "How is this being ginned up that here we are talking about Treasure Island, something we've been working on for decades, something of great interest to our community as we go forward to an election about the future of our country and two of the first three questions are about a zoning issue in New York City."

It is very telling that Pelosi calls the opposition to the mosque "ginned up". That was her first line of attack on the Tea Parties as well. Remember when she called them Astroturf? In other words, the Tea Parties were not real, but a front created by someone to put ideas out into the public arena that no one supported. Now, the opposition to the mosque, which polls something around three quarters of all Americans, is a phony movement created to distract from the real issues.

Pelosi will be no more successful with this garbage than she was with her attack on the Tea Party. The important thing here, however, is that the Speaker of the House, a national leader, is so far out of touch that she does not understand the opposition to the mosque. Alternatively, she is so dumb that she thinks she can bamboozle Americans into believing that to be the case.

Pelosi, at least, will be gone as speaker in November. She can do much less damage as the nut job from San Francisco that she can do as Speaker.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wow! Is she wrong

Katerina Vanden Heuvel is a pompous and condescending member of the journalistic elite of Washington. She writes for both the Nation and the Washington Post. she is frequently off base with her views, but today she penned a column that can only be called extraordinary. Kate (if I may be so bold as to address Ms. Vanden Heuvel by her first name, something she usually reserves for the maids and butlers.) opines today that democrats need to set forth a clear progressive vision for the economy in order to win in November. She bases this view on a poll take for which, not surprisingly, got results that show that its own views are overwhelmingly supported by the public. Single payer healthcare -- the public is dying for it (literally). Confiscatory tax rates for the rich so as to support redistributionist plans -- again the public can hardly wait to see these enacted. The list goes on, but you get the picture. In Kate's perfect world, no one but she would be rich. Everyone would just do what she says.

The truth is that America does not want and will not accept the progressive vision put forth by Kate. Too many folks want to make it or fail on the basis of their own merit and their own work, not the decision made by some government bureaucrat who is supposedly fair, but actually favors cousin lou and his friends. Americans want the chance to move way up the economic ladder, not the right to live just above the poverty line while knowing that everyone else is in the same boat.

In short, I hope the Democrats follow the advice of the Iconic Ms. VandenHeuvel. Not only will they lose, they will lose badly. the time for "progressive" solutions that bring socialism rather than progress has passed. The days when rhetoric will bamboozle the voters is also gone. We have all seen the promises of 2008 morph into the realities of 2010. We all know that nothing that comes from the Obamacrats can be taken at face value. remember obama the first post partisan president? Maybe it was just a hearing problem, but he is the most partisan president. Remember obama the first post racial president? here too, the Obamacrats have been race baiting (those bigoted tea partiers), and relying on race to push an agenda that cannot win on its inherent merit. Remember the promises regarding healthcare (it will save money, cut the deficit and you can all keep your plans at the current cost.) it was all a lie. How about the promise to close Gitmo? I did not see the need for it, but Obama made it a solemn promise. Now, like the old Emily Litella character of Gilda Radner, Obama can only say "nevermind!" How about stopping the Iranian nuclear program by open negotiations with no preconditions. Well, those went by the boards when the Iranians laughed at the idea. Obam, of course, did not change course, since he lives in a fantasy world where what he says defines reality. So we wait for the news of the Iranian A-bomb and the president goes on vacation. how about the promise of competence? The oil spill showed that to be a lie. How about the ethical, transparent administration. Ask Joe Sestak, Andrew Romanoff, the various secret czars and Rahm Emmanuel about that. How about the promise to go through the federal budget line by line to find things to cut? a year and a hlaf later, the budget is trillions of dollars higher, not lower and nothing has been cut. How about the promise that the stimulus bill would keep unemployment below 8%. Now we look at 8% unemployment as the good old days.

I do not want to belabor this, but there is essentially nothing that Obama promised that he kept. Thereis nothing that he said that was true. There was no hope he offered that he has not dashed. And why? Because Obama has done just what kate wants now for all the Democrats, a progressive agenda.