Sarah Palin and the Haters of American Normal
We are just south of Christmas, and the nation's insiders -- self-proclaimed blue-bloods by birth and/or worldview -- have declared open season on Sarah Palin. Crazed left and sclerotic right have united in common purpose -- "hellbent," as Politico put it -- to rid this nation of the possibility of a presidency that would most assuredly end in "apocalyptic disaster" after which "the survivors will envy the dead" (or so says that fading leftist icon, The New Republic). Stop her now -- or we may end up with a normal American at the helm.
Sarah Palin is just too dumb to understand how lousy it is to be in this materialist and fascist society, this hateful America, the Atlantic tells us. Scorn laces the left as New York Times opinion writers let us know that behind the deceptive Palin smile "lies anger" and an unwillingness to accept the decline that those who know better have visited upon us out of wisdom and necessity. Shut up and bowl (or hunt or fish or tailgate, or any one of the thousands of pursuits those with little culture and no brains participate in), they say, and leave the decisions to us.
Meanwhile on the right, MSNBC's house conservative, Joe Scarborough, says it's time for Republican insiders to "man up and confront Sarah Palin." She's poison for responsible (read: insider) government. Bush consigliere and FOXNews analyst Karl Rove is leading the charge to stop this outsider, whom he regards as "unsuitable" for the presidency, which is a job best left to those who brought us porous borders, intrusive regulation, and exploding government spending. (In some respects, the Obama reign is simply the Bush presidency on steroids.) From left and right, insiders all, the anger is palpable at what James Lewis of American Thinker terms "American exceptionalism in the flesh -- and downright attractive flesh at that."
Why do they hate her? Lewis hits the nail on the head. Sarah Palin is quintessentially American. She is a throwback to the days of the founders, when citizens became politicians because the common good demanded service -- not because political office offered wealth, power, and a pool of Beltway interns ripe for sexual exploitation -- and followed their tenure with a return to private life. But we now live in the age of professional politicians, the self-proclaimed best and brightest who make decisions for an electorate too simple to understand "the facts or the truth." Or so says Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts politician who is to "haughty" what Paris Hilton is to "self-involved."
And so anger and angst bubble over, spilling out as the grandees realize Sarah Palin is just so darned...normal! Lewis describes her as a "beautiful, strong, intelligent, articulate, healthy-looking, truth-telling...gun-totin', sports-lovin', all-American woman." And that "sunny disposition" sets them off, for Sarah Palin is a fiery red poker plunged into the pasty white of the collective metrosexual gut. Elizabeth Wurtzel, the best-selling author who blogs for the Atlantic, howls with pain at the realization that Palin is actually "the most visible working mother and female politician in America, that she is the best exemplar of a woman with an equal marriage, that she has put up with less crap from fewer men than those of us who" are the official feminists within the media and political elites.
That's not fair, Wurtzel screams, admitting that the truth "drives me absolutely bonkers." This mainstay of the New York literati oozes the anger and jealousy so typical of what New York Times columnist David Brooks proudly calls the "educated class." And so they scream and whine and put out milk and cookies in hopes that God and the Santa they've chased from the public space would please, please, please...stop Sarah Palin!
What gives her the right to be happy, asks Wurtzel? Palin, who is "not very thoughtful, not very bright," is so darned ordinary that she doesn't understand the horrors of American life. But Wurtzel does, having first attracted attention with her New York Times bestseller chronicling the depravities visited upon her by the fruits of American exceptionalism. You see, Wurtzel survived the horror of being raised on Manhattan's Upper West Side, the shame of enduring the nation's best private schools, the depravity of having parents who paid for summer camps and Harvard -- small wonder she plunged into "catatonic despair, masochism, and hysterical crying." Doesn't Palin know, Wurtzel cries, that...America sucks? Karl Rove knows, Keith Olbermann and Kathleen Parker and Elliot Spitzer and Barack Obama know -- that's why they're smart.
But Sarah Palin is not Elizabeth Wurtzel smart. Nor is she Karl Rove savvy, Keith Olbermann articulate, or Barack Obama cool. No, Sarah Palin is just plain normal. And not just any normal -- she is American normal, the kind of normal that wrenched a nation away from a calcified European aristocracy and established what Abraham Lincoln described as "a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." It is no coincidence that the United States is the single nation that, for the entirety of its existence, has had immigrants fighting to be included in a community structured upon individual "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," as our Declaration of Independence puts it. And now that normal is being challenged by those who want to control every aspect of American life.
Enter Sarah Palin and American normal. Their reaction, James Lewis notes, is "Oh, Gawwwdd! Is this 'Father Knows Best' or what?" And the only answer is...yes, and "Leave It to Beaver" and "Happy Days," too. It's a basic respect for American values and Judeo-Christian tradition and the belief that each one of us matters. And now throw in a bit of "South Park" and you have a cutting-edge conservative savvy that recognizes that this country, as rude and crude and flawed as it gets, should be admired and preserved.
Sarah Palin for president? The screams of the elites are in a crescendo, and it's not even 2011. The roar is deafening: She's not a Karl Rove or Nancy Pelosi, they cry, a John McCain or a Barack Obama, a Hillary Clinton or a Lindsey Graham. She's not Washington or New York or Manhattan or San Francisco. She's Sarah Palin, and she's Alaska, for Obama's sake!
And your point is...?
Labor Union Employees Find Favor With the Obama Administration
“Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”—Barack Obama, during his remarks when welcoming senior staff and cabinet secretaries, Jan. 21, 2009.
Obviously Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis chose to ignore this part of her boss’s speech.
The Department of Labor has made no effort towards making labor unions more transparent. In fact, it has made them less transparent while holding up transparency laws for private businesses and corporations that choose not to unionize.
Just last week the Department of Labor made another move confirming its labor union favoritism. The department rescinded the T-1 form requiring labor unions to disclose information about their trusts to their members and the general public.
A summary of the Department’s action stated, “the trust reporting required under the rule is overly broad and is not necessary to prevent the circumvention and evasion of the Title II reporting requirements.”
This gives labor unions another way to hide behind their collected member’s money.
“Union employees don’t want their members to know how much they’re making even though the members are the ones paying their salary,” says Don Todd, former Department of Labor official and current research director at Americans for Limited Government (ALG).
While Todd served at the Department of Labor under Secretary Elaine Chao during the Bush Administration, the LM-2 form, which disclose the salaries of union officers and employees, underwent some changes to make them more transparent.
“As it was, union officers had to list their gross incomes, but didn’t have to list any other benefits,” Todd says. “The benefits were listed on the very bottom of a form, but nowhere connected to the union employee’s name.”
The new LM-2 form created under the Bush Administration changed all that and forced employees of labor unions to list all benefits and salaries next to their name. Benefits include such items as disbursements for life insurance, health insurance and pensions. “We ran into one union guy whose benefits contributed more to his salary than his actual gross income amount, but since he only had to list his gross income, union members would have no idea of how much he was making,” Todd says.
The new LM-2 disclosure form was approved and scheduled to go into effect the next fiscal year, which would have been 2009. Obama then took office and delayed the start date of the form and later rescinded it altogether.
This is no hidden pattern by the Obama Administration. It clearly favors unions — not union members — but the employees and officers. Currently the Administration is revisiting conflict of interest reports. “One more step to rolling back transparency forms,” says Nathan Mehrens, former special assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Labor-Management Programs and current ALG counsel.
As labor union dues become more mysterious leaving union members and the America people wondering where the money is going, the true irony of it all resides on the union AFL-CIO’s Web page.
Executive PayWatch, found on the AFL-CIO website, highlights various corporations and their top executive’s salaries. A visitor to the site can search by state, company name, industry, or even see a list of the top 100 highest-paid CEOs. The irony is, while private industries have to retain a high level of transparency, which the AFL-CIO is quick to point out, the union itself gets to hide its top earners and benefits packages from everyone—even those paying their salaries.
Because labor unions have the Obama Administration on their side, Mehrens says misrepresentation of salaries will continue to occur. He remembers seeing the paperwork from one “labor organization that reported on its Form LM-2 total disbursements of $461,971, $460,203, and $244,780 to certain individual officers. This disclosure did not take into account that these same officers and employees also received $181,297, $184,397, and $161,240 respectively as contributions to their employee benefit plans. These benefits payments were disclosed to the IRS but do not appear itemized by officers and employees on the Form LM-2.”
As far as leading by the rule of the law and transparency, it seems Obama spoke too quickly and Secretary Solis somehow knew to not take his comment seriously.
Maybe he should have been more specific and made known to the American people that the transparency laws didn’t apply to his friends.
Red tape must be cut to get Americans back to work
Mark R. Warner
If Washington expects to partner with the private sector to lead the effort toward economic recovery, we must address the regulatory uncertainty felt by many of our small and large businesses.
Britain has been working on regulatory reform since 2005, and officials there have posted some impressive results in developing an inventory of regulations as well as setting ambitious targets for reducing red tape.
Now, no one is seriously questioning the need for common-sense rules of the road to protect American consumers, public health and our environment, especially in the wake of the BP oil-rig blowout in the Gulf of Mexico and the 2008 near-meltdown of several of our nation's leading financial firms.
But our current regulatory framework actually favors those federal agencies that consistently churn out new red tape. In this town, expanded regulatory authority typically is rewarded with additional resources and a higher bureaucratic profile, and there is no process or incentive for an agency to eliminate or clean up old regulations.
As a former CEO, I think the best option is to adopt a regulatory "pay as you go" system. I am drafting legislation that would require federal agencies to identify and eliminate one existing regulation for each new regulation they want to add.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the estimated annual cost of federal regulations in 2008 exceeded $1.75 trillion. The Office of Management and Budget says that the federal government has issued more than 132,000 final rules since 1981, and over 1,200 of those rules have an estimated economic impact of greater than $100 million each.
VA: Federal judge rules ObamaCare mandate unconstitutional: "A Virginia federal judge on Monday found a key part of President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care reform law unconstitutional, setting the stage for a protracted legal struggle likely to wind up in the Supreme Court. U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson struck down the ‘individual mandate’ requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014. The Justice Department is expected to challenge the judge’s findings in a federal appeals court.”
New poll indicates 40% of physicians will retire or find other work under ObamaCare: "When we said nearly half of U.S. doctors might close their practices or retire early rather than live under the Democrats' health overhaul, we were heavily criticized. The critics, though, were wrong. Four in nine doctors responding to an IBD/TIPP poll sent out in August 2009 said they "would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement" if Congress passed what has become known as ObamaCare. That means as many as 360,000 physicians have plans to be doing something other than treating the growing number of patients in this country. The doctors also told us - 67% to 22%, with 11% not responding - that they expected fewer students to apply for medical school in the future if the plan became law"
More disincentives to work, thanks to the federal government and the stimulus package: "Thanks to food stamps, Medicaid, and housing subsidies, and other welfare benefits, many ‘poor’ people have far more disposable income than self-supporting households earning $40,000 to $60,000 a year. Veronique de Rugy points to a finding that ‘a one-parent family of three making $14,500 a year (minimum wage) has more disposable income than a family making $60,000 a year’ — even excluding benefits from Supplemental Security Income. ‘America is now a country which punishes those middle-class people who not only try to work hard, but avoid scamming the system.’”
Communism’s persistent pull: "Even today, when the horrors of communism are known to everyone, social democrats the world over continue to denounce and undermine private property rights and seek to replace them with some form of collectivized property. Since the late nineteenth century, most intellectuals have been hostile to private property rights and have advocated, if not outright communism, at least some ‘third way’ closer to it than to a regime of full-fledged private property.”
Assange tops “Person of the Year” reader poll: "The man behind WikiLeaks has won the most votes in this year’s Person of the Year poll. Readers voted a total of 1,249,425 times, and the favorite was clear. Julian Assange raked in 382,020 votes, giving him an easy first place. He was 148,383 votes over the silver medalist, Recep Tayyip Ergodan, Prime Minister of Turkey. But Assange wasn’t the winner in all aspects — Lady Gaga trounced him on Facebook, receiving 65,417 ‘likes’ on Facebook to Assange’s 45,643.”
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