…So, this Thanksgiving, let us join hands as I offer my list of reasons to give thanks for the good work being done by our government to bring us prosperity, health and peace.
At Thanksgiving 2008, the American economy was on the brink of collapse.
A collapse caused in large part by government meddling in the mortgage market.
This Thanksgiving unemployment is 5.8 percent, the lowest it has been since the Great Recession. The recovery is slow but it keeps going and going. Federal investment in the stimulus, the auto industry bailout, the “Cash-for Clunkers” program and the Wall Street bailout all worked.
In other words, the best Obama could do in six years was get to 5.8 unemployment while having the lowest workforce participation rate in decades. Way to go!
Not only that, but income tax rates for most families are lower today than “at any time since the 1950s,” according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Thank you, George W. Bush! (And isn’t it amusing that we owe gratitude to the government for letting us keep more of our own money?)
Thanksgiving 2014 arrives with Wall Street investors collecting record levels of profit. Since February of 2010, nearly a million blue-collar, manufacturing jobs have come to America. The consumer confidence index, a critical indicator, is at its highest level since July 2007. The current national average price for a gallon of gasoline is the lowest it has been in four years.
Gasoline is cheaper because the private sector perfected fracking. Meanwhile, many Democrats want the government to curtail fracking.
“During the bleakest days of the financial crisis, it seemed the economy would never bounce back…” Business Insider magazine recently wrote in a report on the latest forecast from the financial consultants at JP Morgan. “But six years later…the economy has actually flourished…Five out of six indicators [corporate profits, stock prices, household net worth, GDP, and business investment] have not only reached their pre-crisis highs, but they have actually surpassed them.”
And yet Democrats were just swept out of office en mass.
Even the much-maligned government program to boost America’s alternative energy industry, including the loan to solar panel company Solyndra, has been a success. Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize-winning economist and columnist for The New York Times, recently wrote that the energy program has returned $5 billion in profit for loans from the American people.
One last note on the new American prosperity: When President Obama took office in 2009 the deficit was $1.2 trillion. Today it is projected to be $483 billion. It has gone from 9.8 percent of the GDP to 2.8 percent, an incredible 71 percent reduction.
Here’s another reason to be thankful: The success of the Affordable Care Act.
Off the deep end…
Sure, soccer has its moments. And yes, watching David Beckham hit a curve into the net is a joy to watch.
But nothing beats American football for the sheer variety of athletic moves, such as this three fingered catch by Odell Beckham last Sunday. That he was wearing sticky fingered gloves by Nike (league approved) takes away nothing.
Friends, family and hundreds of supporters of Michael Brown gathered last night to review the full report of the Grand Jury looking into the shooting death of their son.
After receiving complete transcripts of the 3-month investigation into the incident, everyone in the group repaired to chair in an auditorium to carefully read the findings. As the evening wore on, one could hear murmurs of “I didn’t know that” and “Hmm, maybe we were being manipulated by race baiters.”
After that, they sadly filed out the doors and went home.
If you’ve been watching Fox recently, you would think Prof. Jonathan Gruber had been given his own show. He’s been on more often than Juan Williams. While normally that would be a good thing, Gruber is no improvement over Obama’s house black.
In case you only watch the major networks, you wouldn’t even know that Gruber existed, let alone that, after helping to create the Affordable Care Act, he spent years bragging about how he helped the Democrats peddle chicken poop to the American people by calling it chicken fricassee.
What fooled me when I first heard about Prof. Gruber was that he was connected to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In my mind, I connect MIT to very brainy people who know all about science, math and engineering; namely, the college classes you can’t bluff your way through by regurgitating left-wing pap. But then I found out he was a professor of economics, and it all made sense. Economics is to actual science what sausage links are to haute cuisine.
Gruber was paid $390,000 by this administration to provide “impartial” testimony on behalf of ObamaCare to Congress, the Federal Budget Bureau and the media, and millions more for consulting on state exchanges. Inasmuch as he freely admitted that he lied and lied and then lied some more, the arrogant elitist definitely earned his money, while sacrificing his soul.
I’m not sure if he got paid extra to say that Barack Obama’s own series of lies about people being able to keep their doctors and their health plans under the ACA “constituted a profile in courage.” But I would have thought it was worth at least an extra fifty grand, especially as Obama was using our tax dollars.
All in all, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that it has to be more than mere coincidence that “Gruber” sounds like “goober” and that Adolf Hitler’s birth name happened to have been Schicklgruber.
The irony is that he did his job so well that in a very real sense, he is one of the people most responsible for the GOP’s taking back control of the House and Senate. If not for all the work Gruber did promoting ObamaCare, Republicans might have been forced to spend the next 40 years wandering in the wilderness.
Ironically, when Gruber repeatedly said Americans are stupid, he was only referring to Democrats. For their part, Republicans, both in and out of Congress, knew from the start that ObamaCare was one huge pile of socialist manure.
Gruber reminds me of every schlemiel in junior high who was convinced he was the smartest kid in school, and based that belief on the fact he was the only boy who didn’t know how to throw a football. It’s now been about 35 years since he was last pantsed and shoved head first into a trashcan. I believe it’s time once again.
Trey Gowdy, one of the shining jewels of the House, in referring to such enormous, power-grabbing pieces of legislation as Dodd Frank, the Affordable Care Act and Obama’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform, suggested that “Comprehensive is Latin for full of bad stuff.”
Speaking of immigration, being American should never be the end result of sneaking across our border in order to give birth. Sneaking in is against the law, and in no other circumstance are people permitted to benefit from the commission of a crime. If that’s too complicated for Obama and the self-righteous members of the Congressional Latino Caucus to grasp, it would be tantamount to an illegal alien robbing a bank and his family getting to keep the money.
What’s more, in 2011, Obama told an audience that he lacked the constitutional authority to grant any form of immunity to illegals. Although he’s done his best to ignore the fact, the Constitution hasn’t changed over the past three years.
Although Chris Christie is one of a very few Republican governors I wouldn’t wish to see on the GOP ticket in 2016, I do appreciate that he did yeoman’s work in helping several of his colleagues get elected or re-elected in the midterms. In appreciation of his service, I will offer him a piece of free advice. While it comes as a breath of fresh air when a politician reacts to hecklers like a normal human being, you should ask some stand-up comic to provide you with a better line than “Sit down and shut up!”
What plays in New Jersey doesn’t work so well on the national stage. So while coming on like a street thug will get you face time on TV, it will not get you to the White House, except as a member of a tour group.
In other news, the FDA has announced it’s lifting its ban on homosexuals donating blood because of what it refers to as “an infinitesimal” chance of the blood being contaminated with the HIV virus. Far be it from me to question their definition of infinitesimal, but is it asking too much that the blood be clearly labeled and only used to transfuse gays and those straights who agree to sign a waiver?
Finally, Barack Obama’s net-neutrality is, as usual, a benign-sounding term to disguise a program intended to squelch conservative twitters. According to Michelle Malkin, while urging the FCC to “keep the Internet free and open,” Obama paid a million dollars to some professor named Filippo Menczer to develop a twitter-snooping database. (Am I the only person who feels a chill run down his spine every time I come across some hooker with a Ph.D servicing this administration?)
Although Prof. Menczer claims he only wishes to eliminate hate speech from the twitter universe, he has proclaimed his support for such left-wing purveyors of hate as Barack Obama’s Organizing for Action, Moveon.org, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Amnesty International and True Majority.
Clearly, Prof. Menczer is as politically neutral as Lois Lerner and every bit as fair-minded as George Orwell’s Big Brother.
It sounds to me like we need another trashcan.
Be sure to catch Burt’s weekly hour-long webcast on Wednesdays, at noon, Pacific Coast Time. The show is accessed at K4HD.com. The call-in number is (818) 570-5443.
‘We just know for a fact that if you can always get more money, you will look to the money rather than to alternative spending practices,” California Gov. Jerry Brown explained two years ago in an interview with University of California students. This inadvertent moment of candor occurred while the governor was campaigning for a giant tax hike (Prop. 30) that has now put him in a jam.
To get out the college vote for the 2012 tax initiative, Mr. Brown threatened to slash state funding for the University of California’s 10 campuses if his referendum failed. The UC Board of Regents warned that the cuts would compel them to jack up tuition by $2,400—about 20%—at midyear. The tax hike sailed through in no small part because of this double-teaming.
Yet now the governor’s former UC allies are unhappy with their sliver of the revenue spoils. So they’ve revived the tuition-increase threat, hoping to extract more tax dollars from the state. Prodded by UC President Janet Napolitano, the regents on Thursday voted to raise tuition by up to 5% annually for the next five years if the state doesn’t pony up more cash.
All this has politicians and the regents quarreling like a married couple that just won the lottery. Herein is a parable in the conflicting values and priorities of liberal governance.
In last year’s budget, Mr. Brown agreed to boost state funding for the UC schools by 4% to 5% annually in return for a four-year tuition freeze. The governor also proposed a host of reforms intended to make the state universities more efficient, including increasing online education, requiring professors to teach more classes and cutting pay for administrators.
“I’ve got a whole book showing how the university is spending money it doesn’t have to,” the governor said in 2013. “Certain kinds of research, sports, gardeners, a lot of things.”
After university executives and professors squawked—they claimed that Mr. Brown was nosing around where he had no business—the governor backed off the reforms and increased the UC budget allowance as promised. While Mr. Brown has offered the schools a fillip of $120 million more for 2015, Ms. Napolitano claims that they need and are entitled to even more.
Entitled is the word. Educrat pigs gorging at the public trough.
According to university budget documents, the UCs’ spending from “core funds”—principally, tuition and state funding—has increased by about $1.7 billion since 2009. Yet the regents claim that more money is needed to fund “high-priority investments”—namely, employee pay and benefits.
A PowerPoint presentation on the budget by the regents shows that the UCs this year needed to spend an additional $73 million on pensions, $30 million on faculty bonuses, $24 million on health benefits and $16 million on collectively bargained pay increases. The regents project that they will require $250 million more next year to finance increased compensation and benefit costs.
Ms. Napolitano says that the UCs have cut their budgets to the bone, yet her own office includes nearly 2,000 employees—a quarter of whom make six-figure salaries. An associate vice president of federal government relations earns $273,375 a year, plus $55,857 in retirement and health benefits, according to the state controller’s office. Thirty professors at UC Santa Cruz rake in more than $200,000 in pay, and most faculty can retire at 60 and receive a pension equal to 75% of their final salary. More than 2,100 retirees in the university retirement system collected six-figure pensions in 2011.
Meanwhile, students and their parents struggle to pay for college. The Feds enable it all by making easy loans, hobbling graduates with hobbling debt.
Janet Napalitano, who had no educrat experience, gets:
- $570,000 annual salary
- $8916 annually for car expenses (that’s $743/month so she can ride in style)
- $9,950 a month for housing
Two highly qualified Google engineers who have spent years studying and trying to improve renewable energy technology have stated quite bluntly that renewables will never permit the human race to cut CO2 emissions to the levels demanded by climate activists. Whatever the future holds, it is not a renewables-powered civilisation: such a thing is impossible.
Both men are Stanford PhDs, Ross Koningstein having trained in aerospace engineering and David Fork in applied physics. These aren’t guys who fiddle about with websites or data analytics or “technology” of that sort: they are real engineers who understand difficult maths and physics, and top-bracket even among that distinguished company. The duo were employed at Google on the RE<C project, which sought to enhance renewable technology to the point where it could produce energy more cheaply than coal.RE<C was a failure, and Google closed it down after four years. Now, Koningstein and Fork have explained the conclusions they came to after a lengthy period of applying their considerable technological expertise to renewables, in an article posted at IEEE Spectrum.
The two men write:
At the start of RE<C, we had shared the attitude of many stalwart environmentalists: We felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change. We now know that to be a false hope …
Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.
One should note that RE<C didn’t restrict itself to conventional renewable ideas like solar PV, windfarms, tidal, hydro etc. It also looked extensively into more radical notions such as solar-thermal, geothermal, “self-assembling” wind towers and so on and so forth. There’s no get-out clause for renewables believers here.
Koningstein and Fork aren’t alone. Whenever somebody with a decent grasp of maths and physics looks into the idea of a fully renewables-powered civilised future for the human race with a reasonably open mind, they normally come to the conclusion that it simply isn’t feasible. Merely generating the relatively small proportion of our energy that we consume today in the form of electricity is already an insuperably difficult task for renewables: generating huge amounts more on top to carry out the tasks we do today using fossil-fuelled heat isn’t even vaguely plausible.
Even if one were to electrify all of transport, industry, heating and so on, so much renewable generation and balancing/storage equipment would be needed to power it that astronomical new requirements for steel, concrete, copper, glass, carbon fibre, neodymium, shipping and haulage etc etc would appear. All these things are made using mammoth amounts of energy: far from achieving massive energy savings, which most plans for a renewables future rely on implicitly, we would wind up needing far more energy, which would mean even more vast renewables farms – and even more materials and energy to make and maintain them and so on. The scale of the building would be like nothing ever attempted by the human race.
Pre-ObamaCare, Americans often disparaged their health insurers because they behaved like the government: bureaucratic, expensive, opaque and often arrogant. But at least we had a choice of firing one and using another. Which is why single payer (government monopoly) never made much sense.
Much has been made of the fact that ObamaCare “didn’t take over” American health care because the various insurers are still in business.
But they overlook the fact that now the insurers dance to a federal tune, reminding us that one need not own something to control it.
WASHINGTON — As Americans shop in the health insurance marketplace for a second year, President Obama is depending more than ever on the insurance companies that five years ago he accused of padding profits and canceling coverage for the sick.
Those same insurers have long viewed government as an unreliable business partner that imposed taxes, fees and countless regulations and had the power to cut payment rates and cap profit margins.
But since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, the relationship between the Obama administration and insurers has evolved into a powerful, mutually beneficial partnership that has been a boon to the nation’s largest private health plans and led to a profitable surge in their Medicaid enrollment.
The insurers in turn have provided crucial support to Mr. Obama in court battles over the health care law, including a case now before the Supreme Court challenging the federal subsidies paid to insurance companies on behalf of low- and moderate-income consumers. Last fall, a unit of one of the nation’s largest insurers, United Health Group, helped the administration repair the HealthCare.gov website after it crashed in the opening days of enrollment.
“Insurers and the government have developed a symbiotic relationship, nurtured by tens of billions of dollars that flow from the federal Treasury to insurers each year,” said Michael F. Cannon, director of health policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute.
So much so, in fact, that insurers may soon be on a collision course with the Republican majority in the new Congress. Insurers, often aligned with Republicans in the past, have built their business plans around the law and will strenuously resist Republican efforts to dismantle it. Since Mr. Obama signed the law, share prices for four of the major insurance companies — Aetna, Cigna, Humana and UnitedHealth — have more than doubled, while the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index has increased about 70 percent.
“These companies all look at government programs as growth markets,” said Michael J. Tuffin, a former executive vice president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the main lobby for the industry. “There will be nearly $2 trillion of subsidized coverage through insurance exchanges and Medicaid over the next 10 years. These are pragmatic companies. They will follow the customer.”
The relationship is expected only to deepen as the two sides grow more intertwined.
Consumers are already hearing the same messages from insurance companies and the government urging them to sign up for health plans during the three-month enrollment period. Federal law requires most Americans to have coverage, insurers provide it, and the government subsidizes it.
“We are in this together,” Kevin J. Counihan, the chief executive of the federal insurance marketplace, told insurers at a recent conference in Washington. “You have been our partners,” and for that, he said, “we are very grateful.”
Yes, we are all touched. Read the whole thing.
Lesson in how the administration attempts to manipulate the press and news coverage: Fast and Furious email to Attorney General Eric Holder from a communications adviser, Oct. 5, 2011 [emphasis added below]. (President Obama withheld this email under executive privilege but it was recently released as a result of a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the Justice Department).
Matthew Miller to Attorney General Holder:
1. Send a letter to the Hill explaining what happened. Put in context the amount of information you get every week, say that you don’t recall reading those bullets or being aware of Fast and Furious at any time before early this year, but in any event, you certainly weren’t aware of the gun walking aspect of it until the news broke earlier this year (at which point you took immediate steps to have the IG investigate, etc.). This needs to happen tomorrow. In fact, it should’ve happened today. The last time your credibility was directly questioned was whether you had disclosed all of your amicus briefs — the story started to break on a Thursday night, and we made people stay up all night compiling information so we could get a response out by 1 pm or so on Friday.
2. Find a way for you to get in front of a reporter or two about this. You don’t want to call a press conference on this because it will blow things out perspective, but if you have any events in the next few days (preferably tomorrow), you could find a way to take two or three questions on it afterwards. Or if that’s not easily doable, you could find a way to “run into” a couple of reporters on your way to something. Maybe Pete Williams, Carrie, Pete Yost — that
part can be managed. Most important is that you’re in front of a camera in a relaxed manner giving a response you have rehearsed…It would be ideal if those two things happened in the same day so you didn’t have two news cycles of responding — you want to do it all at once. There may be things you need to do to go on offense as well, but I think most important right now is that you answer the charge about covering this up. Then you can move to offense.
[Note: Pete Yost of AP wrote article on Bush-era gunwalking case that seemed to so impress Holder, he wrote ” WOW!” p. 539 AP presented the story as if it were “new” although I had published on the case, Wide Receiver, months earlier, with an exclusive interview with a confidential informant from the case.]
Read the whole thing.
Most progressives think transgender is normal. But genetically modifying food to feed more? Dangerous!
Robert Zeigler is an environmentalist, but he is also a plant scientist. And that has led him to question the motives of an environmental movement that opposes genetically modified crops despite overwhelming evidence that they are safe.
As director general of the International Rice Research Institute, Mr. Zeigler is pushing the development of “golden rice,” a genetically modified variety that began in the lab about two decades ago. Geneticists inserted a gene into the rice plant that allows it to produce beta carotene, which makes its grains yellow.
Because the human body converts beta carotene to vitamin A, golden rice has the potential to dramatically improve the lives of millions of people around the world, particularly in Africa and Southeast Asia, where vitamin A deficiency is an especially common malady that can cause blindness and increases the risk of death from disease. Children are particularly vulnerable: “An estimated 250,000 to 500,000 vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year, half of them dying within 12 months of losing their sight,” according to the U.N. World Health Organization.
Golden rice thus sounds like a godsend—but don’t tell that to activists opposed to anything that falls in the category of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. In August 2013, anti-GMO vandals broke into the International Rice Research Institute’s research facilities and destroyed field trials of golden rice.
The attack set back the program by only a few months, and Mr. Zeigler still hopes to bring the new variety to market in the next two to three years. But the episode was a reminder that environmental groups will campaign hard to put political obstacles in his way, and try to scare farmers and consumers off the yellow rice.
Greenpeace is petitioning the Philippine government to ban GMOs and promote organic farming. The organization says that vitamin A deficiency can be tackled with more balanced nutrition and calls golden rice a “Trojan horse” designed to overcome public resistance to a dangerous technology.
More than just golden rice is at stake. Total rice production is stagnant but populations are growing. Asia badly needs a second “green revolution” of increased yields—Mr. Zeigler estimates that the harvest must increase to 550,000 tons of milled rice a year by 2035 from 450,000 tons today.
One important way to achieve that is through genetic modifications that will produce higher-yielding varieties, and the International Rice Research Institute will be central to that effort. Founded in 1960 with funding from governments and the Ford and Rockefeller foundations, the IRRI was one of the leading institutions in the original green revolution of the ’60s and ’70s. Transgenic technology is becoming an important part of its research arsenal.
A certain segment of progressive feminists seem born to be perturbed, humorless and preachy. For years they’ve attacked Barbie dolls for supposedly giving young girls destructive ideas of the perfect female body.
I doubt very few women become self-loathing compulsive dieters because of their childhood toys.
And what of boys who sometimes play dolls with their sisters? The Ken doll has no junk. Does that mean they’ll become transgender?
Jonah Goldberg, from his G-File yesterday:
…One of the great themes of the Obama presidency is the progressives’ faith in capital-H History as a real force in our political life. I mean this in all the obvious ways. Every president is of historic consequence, even the relatively inconsequential presidents. But the first black president is historic for reasons we can all understand, even celebrate to one extent or another.
But Obama’s relationship with history is something different. I’ve written many times about this administration’s almost religious obsession with the idea that they are on the “right side of history.” As I wrote for the magazine last month:
We’ve heard a great deal lately about the “wrong side of history.” It is one of the president’s favorite ways to describe whatever side he isn’t on, and it’s been a phrase on the lips of progressives for quite a while. Among the myriad problems with the notion of a “wrong side of history,” as many critics (including me) have long argued, is that in the domestic sphere it is a call for one’s opponents to surrender to the inevitability of defeat, and in the international sphere it is deployed rhetorically to avoid deploying anything real.
So, for example, on the home front, liberals insist that opponents of same-sex marriage should give up now because they are sure to lose eventually. And on the international stage, when Barack Obama castigates Vladimir Putin for being on the wrong side of history, what he’s really saying is, “Don’t worry, we don’t need to do anything, History and her long moral arc will do the heavy lifting for us.” No wonder the British historian Robert Conquest complained that the phrase has a “Marxist twang.”
While I think partisan motivations are a powerful driver of what Obama is doing, he clearly has an ideological framework that helps him justify it. And that framework is not the Constitution. It is History.
Obama is starting from the proposition that immigration reform must happen. Not should, must. Water must seek its level. Objects must fall when dropped. The State must bring these people “out of the shadows.” Hence the GOP’s refusal to play along isn’t simply obstructionism or a disagreement about policy. (The House has in fact passed many immigration-related bills, just not the ones Obama wants.) The GOP is refusing to bend to Obama’s beloved moral arc of the universe. They are standing athwart History, yelling Stop. As a result, the president is merely hastening the inevitable, doing what History requires of him.
As I’ve written many times before, the story of the progressive movement can best be understood as activists going wherever the field is open. If the people are on your side, expand democracy. If the people are against you, use the courts. If the courts are against you, run down the field with the bureaucrats, or the Congress, or the presidency. Procedural niceties — the filibuster, precedent, the law, custom, the Constitution, truth — only matter if they can be enlisted to advance the cause. If they can’t, they suddenly become outdated, irrelevant, vestigial organs of racism, elitism, sexism, whatever. Obstruction, or even inconvenience in the path of progressive ends is prima facieproof of illegitimacy. The river of history must carry forward. If History hits a rock, the rock must be swept up with the current or be circumvented. Nothing can hold back the Hegelian tide, no one may Stand Athwart History. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. This is theliberal gleichschaltung; get with the program or be flattened by it.
Barack Obama’s leapfrog over the Constitution is perfectly consistent with Woodrow Wilson’s hatred of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. It is of a piece with FDR’s “Second Bill of Rights.” It is the latest chapter in the progressive cult of History in which they — and only they — know what the universe requires and no mortal authority, and certainly not any old piece of paper, can stand in the way. Why? Because History is their co-pilot.
Pop quiz time. Who said the following?
Number one: “There’s no denying that many blacks share the same anxieties as many whites about the wave of illegal immigration flooding our Southern border — a sense that what’s happening now is fundamentally different from what has gone on before. Not all of these fears are irrational.”
Number two: “Taxpayers simply cannot continue to sustain new populations the size of San Diego or the state of Nevada every year.”
Number three: “If this huge influx of mostly low-skill workers provides some benefits to the economy … it also threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already over-burdened safety net.”
Number four: “Americans have sat freely around a bountiful dinner table. The table is becoming overcrowded. People are squeezing in and elbowing each other to get what they want. Unless changes are made, our dinner table eventually will collapse, and no one will have security and opportunity.”
Number five: “Native-born Americans suspect that it is they, and not the immigrant, who are being forced to adapt.”
The answers are: Barack Obama, numbers 1, 3 and 5. Harry Reid, 2 and 4.
But that was then (in Barack’s case 2006, in Reid’s 1994) and this is now. And these illegal aliens are willing to do the work that Americans will no longer do — namely, vote Democrat. Even in Oregon, voters on Nov. 4 approved a ballot question nixing drivers’ licenses for illegal aliens, 2-1.
So a new electorate must be imported. And damn the consequences, which are already disastrous, if you believe the Democrats’ own public statements.
It doesn’t matter. The Constitution doesn’t give Obama the right to unilaterally enact legislation he can’t get through Congress. It specifically forbids it. He’s said as much himself, publicly, more than 20 times. You could look it up.
But dammit, the Democrats need to import a new welfare-dependent underclass to keep themselves in power. And this morning the illegals are all singing those lyrics from “West Side Story”: “Everything free in America!” Stephen Sondheim didn’t know how prophetic he was, back in 1957.
The New York Times gleefully endorsed this calamity yesterday, with this caveat: “Details have not been announced, but it seems …”
I guess Obama will have to issue the executive order to see what’s in it. What could possibly go wrong — right, Nancy Pelosi?
In his book, Obama (or his ghostwriter) referred to illegals “flooding” the border. How do you solve a problem with a policy of tacitly encouraging millions more “problems” to come into a country already reeling from “the burdens of millions of new people every year,” as Harry Reid put it in his 1994 LA Times op-ed piece?
But the great thing about being a Democrat is never having to say you’re sorry, or wrong. Nothing to see here, comrades, move along. Press 2 for English.
Some people collect stamps, others collect sea shells, and I collect notions. Unfortunately, unlike those others, I can’t just stick mine in albums or glass jars. I have to stick them in my articles.
First up is illegal immigration. Before Obama or Congress gets around to pulling any stunts, they should enforce the laws already on the books. Nobody is entitled to sneak into our country any more than they have the right to sneak into your house. Anyone caught sneaking in should only be deported after serving a six month stretch in one of those Tent City prisons overseen by Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Nobody lacking a green card should ever be hired. Anyone caught hiring illegals should be sentenced to the same six month term as illegal aliens, giving them ample time to consider the error of their ways.
Every president of a nation south of our border should be compelled to get the word out to his people that the gravy train has been put in mothballs, and anyone caught trying to sneak into Los Estados Unidos will be shot. If they refuse to get the word out, all future aid from the U.S. will be stopped.
As you may have noticed, in his post-election press conference, Obama announced that our mission in the Middle East is to forge a border between Syria and Iraq, thus once again establishing Iraq’s sovereignty. It’s a shame that he is so much more concerned with Iraq’s sovereignty than he is with our own.
As we saw on November 4th, the Democrats’ attempt to divide the electorate along racial and gender lines didn’t work nearly as well as it has in the past. This is not only a good sign for the GOP, but a better one for America.
When I read that Albert Camus once wrote that “Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity,” I immediately thought of billionaires like Bill Gates, Ted Turner and Warren Buffet, who set up foundations in order to fund left-wing causes, but never consider bestowing huge bonuses on the people whose labor has provided them with their wealth.
I have often had similar thoughts regarding Hollywood big wigs. Some actor who is paid $10 or $20 million to appear in a movie will turn around and, one, condemn capitalism and, two, attend a $35,000-a-plate fundraiser for Barack Obama. What he won’t do is donate a couple of million to the members of the crew, blue collar workers to whom $25,000 would be a massive windfall.
Speaking of actors, I don’t really have a problem with them taking advantage of their First Amendment rights to sound off on things they know nothing about. However, the hypocrisy of people who make more money in a single year than most folks will earn in a lifetime promoting socialism is extremely annoying, as is the parroting of Al Gore’s claptrap about global warming by knuckleheads who never even took high school science. But the First Amendment doesn’t distinguish between the wise and the foolish. On the other hand, as John Kindseth recently reminded me, in 1927, when Jack Warner suggested that Warner Brothers finance “The Jazz Singer,” promoting it as the first sound movie, his brother Harry very sensibly asked: “Who would want to hear actors talk?”
In the wake of the recent elections, my friend Steve Maikoski asked me who came up with the idea of calling liberal states blue and conservative states red when, historically, red was not only the color closely associated with the Soviet Union, but communists and socialists, alike, were commonly referred to as Reds. It took a while, but then I recalled it was the late Tim Russert, who mis-colored the states during the 2000 election. At the time, I assumed he was colorblind, but perhaps he was merely mischievous or stupid.
Will Rogers was regarded as something of a homespun sage when it came to political commentary. Part of the reason is because, like Bob Hope in the 40s and 50s, he was seen as non-partisan, taking good-natured swipes at both parties. In 2014, those innocent days seem as distant as Mars. America has become so polarized over the past few decades, the differences between Democrats and Republicans are wider and deeper than the Grand Canyon. And, sadly, anyone who says he votes for the man and not the party just sounds like a drooling idiot.
Still I believe that something Will Rogers said back then clearly delineates the difference between the two parties. “I would rather,” he said, “be the man who bought the Brooklyn Bridge than the man who sold it.” From my perspective, the Democrats are always trying to sell someone a bridge they don’t own and, too often, Republicans are the ones pulling out their checkbooks.
Finally, I’d like to pay my respects to Tom Magliozzi, who recently died at the age of 77. For years, he and his brother Ray hosted a radio show I loved called “Car Talk.” What made this rather extraordinary is, one, the show was on NPR, the home of everything left-wing and, two, the show consisted of people calling in seeking advice about their cars. Considering that I hate everything associated with the Left and that my disinterest in cars is rivaled only by my disinterest in golf, Brittany Spears and the accordion, my having been a fan astonishes even me.
But the Magliozzis never talked politics, at least not while I was listening, and they were very funny. From personal experience, I know it’s pretty easy to get laughs when your subject is Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, or when you’re writing dialogue for Hawkeye Pierce or Lou Grant, but being able to get laughs about cars is a rare gift.
But there were times when Tom would expand his subject matter, as when he disclosed the secret of his successful marriage: “I know I’m always right, but it’s more important to be happy. So whenever my wife and I disagree, I tell her she’s right. As a result, she thinks I’m a big dummy, but she loves me anyway. So I’m happy.”
I’ll miss Tom, but at least now God will know whom to turn to the next time He needs a good laugh or has trouble with His carburetor.
Be sure to catch Burt’s weekly hour-long webcast on Wednesdays, at noon, Pacific Coast Time. The show is accessed at K4HD.com. The call-in number is (818) 570-5443.
For a long time, free-market advocates in big cities lamented the state-run monopolies that dominated their taxicab business. These advocates denounced high fares, poorly justified surcharges, lousy cars, way-too-cozy relationships with city officials, and so on. Conservatives railed against the situation, they offered practical reforms — but rarely if ever did they succeed in breaking up a city’s government-sanctioned monopoly.
Then along came Uber.
Uber did not set out to force a change on the basis of ideology. Its founders probably don’t even think of themselves as conservative or free-market or libertarian. They just had an idea for a business and pursued it, and, in the process, they have ended the state-enforced monopoly of taxis. They just went around it.
Americans have a lot of problems right now. One of the biggest is broad-based economic uncertainty. In the past two decades (and particularly since the Great Recession) the white-collar middle class has been experiencing what the blue-collar middle class experienced in the 1970s and 1980s: The rules of the game changed without warning. Two generations ago, an American could go from high school to the factory floor and make a decent living. After that unwritten deal was broken, Americans were told: Do well in high school, go to college, and go into whatever debt is necessary to get your degree, because you’ll make it back later in higher wages.
In both cases, there was an implicit promise: Enter the education system and you will emerge capable of finding work quickly, succeeding in your job, earning promotions, and living the good life.
The 2016 Republican presidential nominee needs to speak explicitly about that broken promise. And his platform has to call for completely overhauling our education system on a grand scale and at a rapid pace.
We need an Uber for failing schools.
In his new book, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and invester Peter Thiel observed:
We teach every young person the same subjects in the same ways, irrespective of individual talents and preferences. Students who don’t learn best by sitting at a desk are made to feel somehow inferior, while children who excel on conventional measures like tests and assignments end up defining their identities in terms of this weirdly contrived academic parallel reality.
And it gets worse as students ascend to higher levels of the tournament. Elite students climb confidently until they reach a level of competition sufficiently intense to beat their dreams out of them. Higher education is the place where people who had big plans in high school get stuck in fierce rivalries with equally smart peers over conventional careers like management consulting and investment banking. For the privilege of bring turned into conformists, students (or their families) pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in skyrocketing tuition that continues to outpace inflation. Why are we doing this to ourselves?
The 2016 nominee needs to include in his platform a couple of policies that will promote the needed overhaul of an education system that fails to prepare young people to make a living:
1. School choice everywhere. Any parent, in any community, should be able to send his or her child to any school that will accept that child. Period. Yes, some might say this is Washington forcing a change on the states. Too bad. We don’t run our education system for the benefit of state and local education officials — or at least we shouldn’t. We do it for kids and parents. Any administrator who wants to deny parents the right to send their children to the school of their choice can get the hell out of the education system.
2. Trade schools, trade schools, trade schools. Our leaders have to drive a stake into the heart of the attitude that all American children need to go to a four-year college or university. Not every American kid needs a degree, but every American kid needs a skill. This is a cultural fight as much as a policy fight.
Mike Rowe, formerly host of the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs, summarized it perfectly: “We are lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist. That’s nuts.”
Read it all.
Jim Geraghty, paraphrasing Jonah Goldberg
…the motto of progressives when it comes to political power is that they always run for daylight — whatever avenue to enacting their desired policies is the proper one. If they can get what they want through a referendum, they’ll tout that as the most natural expression of the popular will. If they can get what they want through legislation, they’ll do it legislatively. If they can get what they want through a president’s executive orders, they’ll do it that way. If all of those avenues are blocked, they’ll try to do it through the courts. If none of those work, they’ll do it through bureaucratic regulations.
Watching Obama tease out his BIG, BIG
announcement pronouncement about immigration new Latino Democrat voters tonight, it strikes me that this is an egotist’s way of demanding attention.
Why, he’s gonna talk to us on teevee!
Consider that he was shunned by most candidates in the 2014 midterms like Ebola. That must’ve bruised his enormous ego. Then the news was all about the GOP and their sweeping electoral wave, and its repudiation of his policies (which he said were on the ballot).
So now he must get the focus back where it belongs, on him. Let’s just tune him out.
There are some important voices that have been starkly absent as President Obama gets ready to issue an executive order that would usurp federal immigration law in the coming days.
“We’re all pretty much ticked,” a Border Patrol source told me shortly after details of the president’s plans hit the press last week.
Obama has claimed inaction from Congress has given him no choice in issuing executive action on this matter immediately, but the little praise he has given Congress went to the Senate after it passed the Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration bill in summer 2013. The problem? That legislation failed to take into consideration the very people on the ground dealing with the issue and risking their lives in the process.
“When Washington discusses immigration reform it seems like business and advocacy groups are closely involved while professional immigration agents with real world experience, training and knowledge regarding the immigration matters facing our nation are not heard,” former Marine and National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council President Chris Crane wrote in a letter to Gang of Eight members in March 2013. “Fundamentally, I would implore you to consider this issue from the perspective of our officers who risk their lives everyday in a constant uphill climb to uphold the laws of the land.”
A separate letter with similar language was sent to Obama during the same time period.
As the legislation was being written, considered and debated in Washington, multiple requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to meet with Obama at the White House and with Gang of Eight members on Capitol Hill to discuss the issue were rejected. Meanwhile, requests from illegal immigrants to meet with the president in the Oval Office were streamlined and promoted to the media. ICE and Border Patrol agents were ignored then, and they’re being ignored now as Obama readies his pen.
Concerns of local law enforcement, specifically sheriffs’ departments across the country, are also being dismissed despite issuing dire warnings about the consequences of executive action while the border remains unsecure.
“We are going to see what I’m seeing here on the border in larger and large numbers, which is a huge increase in illegal immigration coming across our border. An amnesty order is going to create [for] more people an incentive to come into the U.S.,” Hidalgo County Texas Sheriff Eddie Guerra said just two weeks ago. “The drug cartel will exploit any opportunity to come into the United States, and this will create the cover for them to continue exploiting our porous border. This will create the opportunity for kidnapping, trafficking, sexual abuse, prostitution, and smuggling. These smugglers have no regard for human life. They destroy private property. They have no respect for law enforcement. They circumvent US checkpoints. It’s a terrible situation.”
Why environmentalists defend the wealthy against the poor
A confession: I voted for the Green Party in 1979 – one of less than 40,000 people in the whole country who did so. It was then called the Ecology Party and I knew the local candidate in Oxford, which is some excuse. But mainly I wanted to save the planet, and thought the greater good should trump self interest. I was definitely on the moral high ground. Or was I? Hold that thought.
The latest opinion polls show that the Green Party is doing to the Liberal Democrats what UKIP is doing to the Conservatives, and could even relegate the LibDems to fifth place in next year’s general election in terms of vote share. Peter Kellner of Yougov has analysed today’s typical Green voter and found that she is almost a mirror image of the UKIP voter. Where UKIP voters are older, maler, more working class, less educated and more religious than the average voter, Green voters are younger, femaler, posher, much better educated and less religious than the average voter.
In Downton Abbey terms, Greens are a lady upstairs in the dining room, kippers are a footman downstairs in the scullery. Indeed, my experience of fanatical greens at conferences and anti-fracking demos is that many are often very grand indeed, disproportionately hailing (when male) from Eton, Stowe and Westminster, shopping (especially when female) at the most expensive of organic shops, and speaking (when of either sex) in the countiest of accents. (A bit like me, in fact.)
Despite these social and economic advantages, eco-toffs put their self interest to one side and campaign selflessly for the greater Gaian good, worry about the effect that climate change will have on future generations and yearn for a more holistic version economic growth.
But is greenery really quite so selfless? Take climate change. The “synthesis report” of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warns of an increased “likelihood” of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts if emissions continue. But when you cut through the spin, what the IPCC is actually saying is that there is a range of possibilities, from no net harm at all (scenario RCP2.6) through two middling scenarios to one where gathering harm from mid century culminates in potentially dire consequences by 2100 (scenario RCP8.5).
This latter scenario makes wildly unrealistic assumptions about coal use, trade, methane emissions and other things; RCP2.6 is equally unrealistic in the other direction. So let’s focus on the two middle scenarios, known as RCP4.5 and RCP6. In these more realistic projections, if you use thelatest and best estimates of the climate’s “sensitivity” to carbon dioxide (somewhat lower than the out-of-date ones still used by the IPCC), the most probable outcome is that world will be respectively just 0.8 and 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than today by the last two decades of this century.
Here is David Rutledge on the RCP8.5:
In the IPCC’s business-as-usual scenario, Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5, coal accounts for half of future carbon-dioxide emissions through 2100, and two-thirds of the emissions through 2500. The IPCC’s coal burn is enormous, twice the world reserves by 2100, and seven times reserves by 2500. Coal so dominates that it is not an exaggeration to say that the IPCC and climate-change research programs depend on this massive coal burn for their existence. Without the threat of coal, the IPCC could close up shop and the research program funding would drop to a small fraction of what is spent on research in weather forecasting.
Most of that warming will be at night, in winter and in northern latitudes, so tropical daytime warming will be less. Again, on the best evidence available, it is unlikely that this amount of warming, especially if it is slow, will have done more harm than good. The chances are, therefore, that climate change will not cause significant harm in the lives of our children and grandchildren.
So far as I’m concerned, the Republicans received a mandate, not to plow ahead with some hastily cobbled programs, but to try to undo what Obama has done over the past half dozen years. I realize that “Can Undo!” doesn’t compare with “Can Do!” as a call to arms, but it’s what’s most needed at this time.
Besides, until 2016, when some Republican or other will teach Hillary Clinton one final political lesson, there isn’t a great deal of legislation that the Republicans could get past Obama’s veto.
There are those who believe that the GOP tsunami will work to Hillary’s advantage because she will be able to base her campaign on opposition to a Republican House and Senate. That will be quite a trick because it would involve siding with Obama, which she has gone to great lengths to avoid doing.
The truth is that Hillary is in an untenable position. On the one hand, she was Obama’s hand maiden for four years and apparently never differed with him on foreign policy; at least not to the extent that led her to resign on principle. Also, she lied about Benghazi, which makes her an accomplice in the cover-up of four American deaths.
On the other hand, if she voices her disagreement with the way Obama has handled things, she risks offending the 40% of the people, which translates to 80% of Democrats, who still think he’s been doing a swell job. She also risks having Obama swing his support to, say, Elizabeth Warren, who happens to be younger, more attractive, a better speaker, and a far more pleasant and intelligent version of Hillary. Warren is equally loony in her politics, but she carries a lot less baggage than Hillary, who, by this time, carries more than a team of bellhops.
At this point, aside from the dyed-in-the-wool Progressives, everyone else in America is convinced Obama is radioactive. That’s why even his most ardent fans in the Senate didn’t want him campaigning on their behalf. The conditions aren’t identical, but in 1974, in the midst of the Watergate scandal, Barry Goldwater paid a visit to the White House and told Richard Nixon that, for the good of the nation and of the Republican Party, it was time for him to vacate the premises.
Far be it from me to give the Democrats advice, but if I were someone like Chuck Schumer or even Harry Reid, I would pay Barack Obama just such a visit. I’m not suggesting that Obama, whose narcissism is as legendary as his arrogance, would agree to pack up, but desperate times call for desperate measures. And for a Democrat, I can’t imagine things could be more desperate than they are at this very minute.
The irony of the recent elections was that they finally fulfilled Obama’s promise in 2008 to be the Great Uniter. Although as he said, he wasn’t on the ballot, his policies were. And they served to unite Americans in a way I had no longer thought possible.
I know that the Democrats have tried to draw comfort from the fact that it was only a midterm election when many people elected to stay home. They were claiming that as a result, a huge portion of their base – the silent two-thirds Obama referred to in his post-election press conference – didn’t turn out. But even that turned out to be another lie. According to the postmortems, the percent of black and female votes was only one percentage point less than the turnout in 2012.
To me, the biggest mystery to come out of the midterms took place in Minnesota, where, in 2008, Al Franken wound up pulling ballots out of his butt in order to become the state’s junior senator. But this time around, he cruised to victory, crushing Mike McFadden by 200,000 votes. I know it gets cold in Minnesota, but did a million people simultaneously suffer a brain-freeze?
What we did see was that once again, those who support third parties, while insisting that the two major parties are identical, exist only to remind us of the thin line that divides sanity from lunacy. If everyone just tried a little harder to find Republicans or Democrats to vote for, we’d all be a lot better off.
Third party supporters like to say they’re sending a message to one party or the other; but it’s generally the GOP. And whether they’re voting for Maness in Louisiana or Sarvis in Virginia, their sole role is as spoiler and, therefore, the only message that’s coming through loud and clear is: “We’re a bunch of dopes.”
In Virginia’s 2013 gubernatorial election, Libertarian Robert Sarvis sucked up 6.52% of the vote, enabling Terry McAuliffe (D) to defeat Ken Cuccinelli (R) 47.76% to 45.23%. This year, he only managed to receive 2.45%, but even that was enough to ensure victory for Democrat Mark Warner, 49.05% over Republican Ed Gillespie 48.50%.
In conclusion, I’ll remind you that Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909), publisher, minister and blood kin to both Nathan Hale and Helen Keller, when asked if he prayed for U.S. Senators, said, “No, I look at U.S. Senators and pray for the country.”
Be sure to catch Burt’s weekly hour-long webcast on Wednesdays, at noon, Pacific Coast Time. The show is accessed at K4HD.com. The call-in number is (818) 570-5443.
Voters wanted more Republicans in office. Period.
All else is conjecture and spin.
…when thousands of American citizens, many of whom had been reading the ObamaCare bill as it was being created, descended on Congressional townhall meetings to vent their anger.
Testy crowds were overflowing and a few Reps refused to show up.
Gruber called American voters stupid. Well, listen to Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson try to explain the Constitutional authority for ObamaCare and decide who is stupid.
Here is another wild meeting, this time in Petaluma
Watch Bret Baier’s excellent summary of how Jon Gruber earned big money as a consultant on the ACA, published supposedly objective op-eds in major media outlets, then had those stories quoted by key journalists writing about ObamaCare.