Saturday, September 05, 2009
Democrats in trouble
Frightened congressmen, who will be returning to Washington all shook up from facing the music of angry and resentful voters back home, are desperate to find a little reassurance. But there is none. Their mantra for September is "slippage," as in, "my prospects for re-election may be slipping away." Going home to look for a job is the congressional fate worse than death.
President Obama, reveling in his reputation as Mr. Cool, is pursued by angry demons of his own, demons mostly called "independents." Everybody's public-opinion polls show the Obama approval numbers among independents -- the crucial percentage in every election -- slipping for the first time below 50 percent. Rasmussen puts it under 40. The dilemma for both the president and his Democrats is that whatever the president does to help himself hurts his congressional allies, whatever the congressmen do to help themselves damages the president.
The president must get something from Congress that he can call "health-care reform," even if it's only a bottle of aspirin for every third family in America. Asking Congress to enact a step toward full government takeover of American medicine is asking congressmen to commit suicide. As popular as this might be with their constituents, it's not likely. The discontent of summer becomes the focused rage of autumn.
When the going gets tough the president always lays a bet on his teleprompter, and Mr. Obama will spend the weekend clearing his throat at Camp David while his aides tune the teleprompter's chips and diodes for the big speech to a joint session of Congress Wednesday night. Such invitations by Congress are usually reserved for declarations of war or a welcome back from an assassination attempt; the last such speech to a joint session was George W. Bush's reassurance to the nation just after 9/11.
This Congress is happy to oblige. Maybe the president and his teleprompter at last have something to say about a rescue. What could be more solemn, more grave and more important than saving a few congressional hides?
With his sinking approval numbers, the president has little standing to ask Congress for much if the members feel the ground slipping away. Most of them, particularly the freshmen, still don't understand what happened. They arrived in town in January with enormous majorities, ready for a cakewalk with a president widely believed capable of delivering "change." No one seemed to care what that "change" actually was. When his critics mocked him as "the messiah" many of his awed admirers in press and tube took the accolade seriously. Maybe he really was divine, sent from heaven or at least from Olympus. How could anyone or anything stop the unstoppable Democratic tide?
How indeed? The Republicans were lost in the swamp, with neither a hero nor a white horse in sight. There was no one there to pick up a falling flag, to sound a message and find a way to make it sing. What happened next was scariest of all for the Democrats. With Republicans looking for the fainting couch and the smelling salts, the public took charge of the debate over health care and started banging hard heads together.
Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi looked over the landscape and, where others saw democracy at work in all its messy glory, saw only hoodlums, brownshirts and swastikas. The more the media derided the protests, the stronger and louder they grew.
Congressmen at bay have always retreated for cover at home. This time they will scramble into Washington looking for relief, like that banged-up Union army racing for cover after a congressional picnic at Manassas. This is the audience waiting for Barack Obama, and the angry public will be listening along with Congress for something new.
The president, still in love with the sound of his voice even if nobody else thrills to it in the same old way, follows a tough act after the smoke and noise of the town halls. Will he get the wingnuts on his left in campaign mode by telling the Republicans to drop dead, as many of his wingnuts demand he do? Will he concede to sanity and common sense, and drop, at least for now, the scheme for government takeover of health care? The days dwindle down to a precious few, and so do his options.
He's Not Jimmy Carter
Conservatives are taking too much solace in the precipitous drop in Barack Obama's approval ratings, and too many of us are overconfident that his administration is merely a replay of the hapless presidency of Jimmy Carter that was easily swept out in a landslide election.
Today's situation is far different, far more conducive to our political adversary's political power, than that which faced Carter. And Obama is an entirely different breed of cat. He's more ruthless, more tactically savvy, and has far more dangerous objectives. A drop in his poll ratings isn't as serious a setback for him as similar occurrences were for the peanut farmer from Plains.
In short, conservatives should beware. The political battle we're in is far more difficult than any the conservative movement has ever faced. It will take all our energy and all our smarts to win it.
First, consider the differences in political circumstances between Obama and Carter. Unlike Carter, Obama does not face a Kennedy-led left wing of his party that despises him. Unlike Carter, Obama did not take office by an incredibly slim majority vote so close that a few thousands votes in two states would have swung the whole election. Unlike Carter, Obama took office in the middle of a crisis he could blame on his predecessor and coming off an unpopular war that he could blame almost entirely on the Republican Party. On the right, Carter faced a conservative movement (even if not a Republican Party) unified and energized by an inspirational leader -- but no similar, single spokesman today galvanizes conservatives like Ronald Reagan did then. Carter also did not have a nationwide movement kept together by a tool like the Internet, and did not have billionaires behind his general aims the way Obama has George Soros.
Finally, Obama has the advantage of a more ethnically diverse nation that has far less of a common culture and less of a common appreciation of shared socio-political history and values. Why is that an advantage? Because it gives him more leeway to make outlandish claims, and still have huge pluralities believe him, than Carter could ever hope for.
Radio Free Rush
If Mark Lloyd has his way, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Marr and Ron Smith may have to broadcast from an offshore Island. Mark Lloyd is the newly appointed Chief Diversity Officer for the Federal Communications Commission. His writings make it clear that he wants to tax and regulate “right wing” radio out of existence.
Liberals understand that talk radio is the major source of conservative grassroots networking and information sharing. It encourages and empowers individuals to have a voice and to use it. When the Congressional switchboards light up it is often because talk radio has admonished their listeners to “call your member of Congress and tell them how you feel”.
With virtually all of the major network and print media parroting the same liberal message, talk radio remains the only powerful obstacle to the passage of the leftist agenda. Case in point, the effort to jam a dismantling of the U.S. health delivery system through, unread and undiscussed. The strategy has foundered because Rush, Hannity, and a litany of local hosts have revealed on a daily basis new outrageous provisions found buried in the House health care bill. They were equally vocal about Cap and Trade and the budget busting deficits. Vermont’s Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders has complained that talk radio is drowning out their message.
The left knows that a frontal assault on talk radio, re-implementing the Fairness Doctrine would set off a firestorm in the United States. So while there are some members of Congress who are calling for it to be revived, the President said during his campaign that he is not in favor of bringing back the Fairness Doctrine. But there is more than one way to skin a cat. The Administration has created a diversity officer position that has never before existed at the FCC and appointed Mark Lloyd, whose stated goals would tax and regulate conservative and Christian radio into bankruptcy and give the proceeds to public radio.
As a senior fellow of the Soros funded Center for American Progress, Lloyd co-authored a report titled “The structural imbalance of political talk radio”. The conclusion is that there is too much conservative programming and not enough liberal talk. It matters not to the authors that radio station owners air Rush and Hannity and Mark Levin because that’s what the public supports and want to listen to, or that Air America could not attract enough listeners to succeed in the marketplace. The report suggests remedies to fix the “imbalance” that would put local and national caps on commercial radio station ownership and ensure greater “accountability” over radio licensing.
Most astonishingly, Mark Lloyd is calling for each private radio station every year to pay a fee (tax) for their broadcast license, equal to their gross operating budget, with the monies going to the liberal public stations, with whom they compete for listeners. This is a clear formula for driving private radio out of business. And just in case any survived, Lloyd would regulate much of the programming on these stations to make sure they focused on “diverse views” and government activities....
People equal policy. In appointing a radical “Diversity Czar”, the Obama administration has placed a leftist into a position to promote policy that will squelch conservative speech.
The attack on the CIA: ""Those who are pushing for legal action against CIA agents may talk about 'upholding the law' but they are doing no such thing. Neither the Constitution of the United States nor the Geneva Convention gives rights to terrorists who operate outside the law. There was a time when everybody understood this. German soldiers who put on American military uniforms, in order to infiltrate American lines during the Battle of the Bulge were simply lined up against a wall and shot -- and nobody wrung their hands over it. Nor did the U.S. Army try to conceal what they had done. The executions were filmed and the film has been shown on the History Channel."
You can't make this stuff up: “The Agriculture Department, in a bid to help the ailing pork industry, said Thursday it will buy an additional $30 million of pork in an effort to boost prices. The USDA already has pledged to purchase $121 million of pork this year for government food-assistance programs, but producers continue to struggle.”
How government investment in business failed to create jobs: "A central belief in Washington and most state capitals nowadays is that government should "invest" in certain businesses—"clean tech," say, or manufacturing—to drive job creation. We hope it all turns out better than it has in Michigan. For the past 14 years, Lansing politicians have offered $3.3 billion in tax credits through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and spent another $1.6 billion in outlays to create and retain jobs. The subsidies have ranged from tax breaks for Hollywood, to money for new industrial plants, to millions for TV ads starring Jeff Daniels and Tim Allen talking about business and tourism in the state. It's one of the largest experiments in smokestack chasing in American history, but one thing it hasn't done is create jobs. An exhaustive new 100-page study by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Michigan think tank, has reviewed where all the money has gone and what came of it. The study finds that for every 100 jobs that were promised with these tax credits over 14 years, only 29 arrived. Dare we call this cash for clunkers?"
Obama's red-hot printing presses spark a flight away from the dollar and into gold: "Gold's rally on safe-haven and alternative-currency buying this week has catapulted the metal out of its range and poised it within inches of $US1000 an ounce. But if gold can't sustain the upward momentum above that psychological benchmark, it would be vulnerable to a fall if participants decide to book profits from the strong rally. Today, most-active December gold futures rose as high as $US999.50 an ounce, taking out the $US993.60 peak set in June and establishing the contract's strongest point since February 24, its last time above $US1000. The December contract settled at $US997.70. More thinly traded contracts into next year breached the $US1000 mark, as longer-dated futures tend to be more expensive because of carrying costs. Gold is often bought as a hedge against economic uncertainty, US dollar weakness and inflation. Although equities were near steady today, recent declines have supported gold."
More Forest Service bungling: "U.S. Forest Service executives were starkly warned just weeks before the California wildfires ignited that they risked losing the ability to fight future blazes by air because they had been unable to devise a politically acceptable plan to replace half-century-old aerial tankers that soon will be unworthy for flight. "If [Forest Service] does not make a convincing case, Congress and [White House Office of Management and Budget] may not give funding support for replacing aging aircraft, which may weaken future firefighting effectiveness and firefighter safety," the Agriculture Department's inspector general told the agency in a July report, which was reviewed by The Washington Times. For decades, the massive aerial tankers have been one of the government's iconic weapons against forest fires, soaring past mountains and though plumes of smoke to drop thousands of gallons of retardant chemicals that suppress the brush-consuming flames. But more than half of the agency's fleet was grounded in 2004 for safety reasons and the remaining 19 tankers are between 40 and 60 years old" [I am guessing that the Forest Service is under heavy Greenie influence]
Stimulus work sends cash flowing out of US: "After winning $2.3 million in federal stimulus money for a sewer project, officials in Auburn, Maine, wrangled another prize from Washington: permission to forgo American-made manhole covers for a design made only at a Canadian foundry. As local governments race to spend stimulus money, many are seeking exemptions from the law’s “Buy American’’ restrictions, which were intended to prevent taxpayer money from ending up in foreign pockets. The administration has granted waivers for goods as varied as steel for public housing projects, high-speed Internet equipment, and Auburn’s manhole covers, which have heavy-duty hinges to help withstand the town’s heavy truck traffic. The Obama administration could not provide a list or amount of waivers granted - which potentially could total billions of dollars - and Vice President Joe Biden’s office, which has responsibility for overseeing the stimulus, did not respond to requests for comment. Local officials and trade groups said that the drive to finish stimulus projects quickly, and the paucity of some American-made products, made the waivers inevitable."
CT: Hartford mayor arrested again; three others charged: “Mayor Eddie Perez on Wednesday surrendered to state police for the second time this year to face corruption charges, this time on allegations he and a former state lawmaker took part in a crooked parking lot deal. Perez, who was charged in January with taking a bribe from a city contractor, and former state Rep. Abraham Giles turned themselves in at the Hartford state police barracks and were charged with attempted extortion and conspiracy. … Two other people, a city councilwoman and a businessman, were also charged Wednesday in connection with the corruption probe that began nearly two years ago.”
Secret US spontaneous human combustion beam tested: “American death-tech goliath Boeing has announced a long-delayed in-flight firing for the smaller of its two aeroplane raygun-cannon prototypes, the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL). The ATL blaster, mounted in a Hercules transport aircraft, apparently ‘defeated’ an unoccupied stationary vehicle.”
Whole Foods: Boycott or buycott?: "John MacKey is that rarest of rare breeds in modern America. Not only is he a purveyor of health foods but a capitalist, and not only a capitalist but a self-described ‘businessman and a free market libertarian.’ … So even as health food fanatics excommunicated him for his heresy his free market capitalist and libertarian acolytes rallied to his defense. Spearheaded by the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition and backed by free speech supporters and local Libertarian Party affiliates, counter boycotts, called ‘buycotts,’ were staged at Whole Food outlets from Connecticut to D.C. to Pittsburg to St. Louis to San Diego to Dallas/Ft. worth.”
Labor’s love lost: “Organized labor has all but given up on what was once its top priority. No, I’m not referring to card check. It’s section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act that’s no longer being targeted by the AFL-CIO. If that provision sounds arcane, it’s not. It allows states to enact right-to-work laws that are the bane of union organizers. They protect the right of workers not to join a union. In effect, these statutes outlaw the ‘closed shop,’ which forces all workers to sign up where a union exists, and the ‘union shop,’ requiring them to pay dues even if they aren’t union members. Repealing 14(b) was labor’s paramount goal for decades. But Rich Trumka, who is slated to become AFL-CIO president later this month, said Wednesday: ‘There’s no active effort right now.’”
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 12:35 AM