Over the past five years, Gutfeld has parlayed his unique brand of off-the-wall political humor into a position of prominence. Some conservatives believe that Gutfeld is our answer to Jon Stewart. But I don’t see much similarity between Stewart’s heavily written, heavily produced corporate comedy and the free-flowing, unforced humor that springs organically from “Red Eye.” Stewart is the stodgy establishment to Gutfeld’s subversive counterculture. Gutfeld is loose, Stewart tightly wound. Stewart is hugely talented and very smart, but not as smart as he thinks he is. Gutfeld, on the other hand, is clearly smarter than the character he often plays on TV. Beneath his clown mask, Gutfeld is quite an insightful commentator who, in my biased conservative opinion, grasps the inherent contradictions of modern liberalism in a way that Stewart can’t.
But the comparison with Stewart is valid in one respect: Stewart has become an important player in the liberal movement, and I believe that Gutfeld is on his way to becoming an important player in the conservative movement. Gutfeld speaks to the dissonance of conservatives, especially young ones, who are avid fans of a popular culture shaped by people who despise conservatives. (That’s why the spectacle of Chris Christie pining after Bruce Springsteen, as pathetic as it is, is also poignant.) Gutfeld, who is as hip to pop culture as they come, uses his hipness and humor as weapons to fight back on our behalf. He turns the comedic tables on the intolerant bullies of the left, helping us laugh at them just as hard as they laugh at us. No one is better at skewering the overfed egos and undernourished intellects of liberal celebrities. In eschewing “coolness” as it’s defined by the guardians of our popular culture, Gutfeld makes it cool to be conservative.
But while Gutfeld has strong appeal with conservatives, his greatest upside lies in his potential to cross over. His irreverent style is pitch-perfect for a younger audience, combining a righteous judgmentalism about people’s hypocrisy with a refreshing lack of judgmentalism about their lifestyles. It’s a style that can resonate not only with (more…)
Obama was permitted by the media to claim, or at least strongly imply, that the painful cuts Romney was talking about (and Obama, the Great Leader, was not talking about) could be averted simply by levying a small tax on the “richest 1%.” It was a lie. It was further a lie the media assisted in. All those Fact Checks and not a single column noting that the central pillar of Barack Obama’s Re-Election Strategy was a baldfaced lie that only the uninformed or innumerate could possibly believe.
The media is strongly complicit in this lie.
If I were someone in power, I would make this connection vigorously, and lay the blame at the feet of the media, and inform the public the media lied to them, and if they’re about to get a unwelcome shock, they should write to ABC, CNN, NBC, and the rest of the clownshow and ask them why they chose not to report the actual numbers.
But I’m sure they won’t, because they’re stupid.*
At any rate, the public does believe this (and why shouldn’t they? The President told them the only fix that was needed was a tax hike on the rich and the media vouched for him).
Time to strip them of that misapprehension and force them to confront the actual choice.
* Also, why the hell didn’t Romney and Ryan pound this? Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Why not… give Obama his tax hike on the rich and the small cuts he’s willing to agree to — and then refuse to raise the debt ceiling any further?
Call him out. “You said you could balance things with these measures. So do so.”
I have no idea what will be happening in the Middle East by the time this article is posted, but it almost doesn’t matter. If there’s a ceasefire, as now seems likely, everyone knows it will merely be a temporary stopgap until Iran supplies the barbarians with more missiles.
What I have found peculiar about events in that part of the world is how predictable they are. We all know that at some point, the Arabs and Muslims will start firing missiles into Israel, will plant bombs in buses and pizza parlors, and the news won’t even make page 27 of the NY Times. Then, after absorbing weeks of attacks and burying their dead, Israel will fight back, and the world media will start harping on Israel’s “disproportionate response” and start publishing photos of some Arab child’s dead body being carted through the streets of Gaza.
In a CNN poll taken after Israel finally got around to retaliating, 57% said that Israel was justified, 25% said they weren’t and 19% claimed not to have an opinion. When the poll was broken down, it seems that the 57% consisted of 74% Republicans, 59% Independents and a mere 40% of Democrats.
One has to wonder about the 26% of Republicans who staked out an anti-Israel position, but when it comes to Democrats, the only shock was that only 60% sided with the rabble.
Speaking of the rabble, I find it a lot more convenient to use that term instead of having to differentiate between Arabs and Muslims, when there really is no difference, as the Arab Spring made perfectly clear.
The same media that loves to play up the victims of Israeli retaliation, even when it turns out that the dead Gazan child who garnered so much early publicity hadn’t been killed by an Israeli bomb, but by a misfired missile, have a difficult time when it comes to covering the other side. For instance, when the Gazans decided that six of their own were Israeli sympathizers, they were dragged into the street where the mobs could kick them and spit on them. When they were dead, one of them was tied to the back of a motorcycle and dragged through the streets for the benefit of the cheering crowds. That happens to be their idea of a parade.
Frankly, those people are fortunate that the Israelis are much nicer than I am. If I possessed a nuclear arsenal, I would have turned Gaza into one huge cemetery by now. If it’s true that these people are all anxious to join Allah in the great beyond, they would find me to be one infidel who would be only too willing to send them on their way.
The good thing about those in the media who are always quick to condemn Israel for using too much force is that it makes anti-Semites so easy to identify. If your neighbor provokes you by showering your nation with missiles for months on end, the only response that’s inappropriate is no response.
Here at home, we’ve had Obama pretending to be Sir Lancelot, insisting that anyone wishing to attack Susan Rice for lying about the Benghazi massacre should pick on him, instead. I’m only too happy to oblige. The first question is, why, of all people, the ambassador to the U.N. would have been sent out to lie on five Sunday news shows when even the administration said she didn’t know anything and was merely regurgitating talking points. Could it possibly be that because she’s both black and female, she is supposed to be above criticism?
The second question is why her boss gave a speech at the U.N. a week later and was still blaming a silly video for the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and the other three Americans. The obvious answer is that with the election coming up quickly, he was still pretending that by giving the order to kill Osama bin Laden, he had singlehandedly destroyed al Qaeda. That was his fairy tale and he and Biden were sticking to it.
No holiday season would be complete without atheists making fools of themselves. In fact, it’s just about the only Christmas tradition that doesn’t seem to be in danger of disappearing anytime soon.
I don’t happen to be a Christian, but at least I understand why people want to be Christians. For the life of me, I can’t imagine why anyone would not only want to be an atheist activist, but join others in an organization. I wouldn’t even think it would be a very good way for guys to meet girls; although, perhaps, a good way to meet other girly men.
Recently, as you may have read, a group of these pinheads got the city of Santa Monica to end its 60-year tradition of erecting crèches in a park overlooking the Pacific.
The problem for Santa Monica and all the other cities and towns that have been bullied into compliance by these self-righteous creeps is that it costs a lot of money to fight back in court, especially when it’s likely that left-wing judges will side with the loons.
I blame the federal government. If they would only pass a law that no case can be filed on the basis that “separation of church and state” exists in the Constitution, Christians could get back to celebrating the birth of their savior any which way they like.
As for atheists, they can believe or not believe whatever they wish. But once they join a group of fellow non-believers and adopt “Bah, Humbug” as their official motto, they might as well carry a sign that says, “I’m a pathetic loser. And, to prove it, I belong to a cult that believes Bill Maher is God.”
Years ago Don Rickles was comically debating Johnny Carson about the merits of being Jewish versus Christian.
Carson: “We have Christmas.”
Rickles: “But we sell you the toys!”
Which brings us to this.
With the “fiscal cliff” looming and no “grand bargain” in sight, talk in Washington has turned to a “down payment” — a package of spending cuts and revenue increases that would help us avoid the cliff and give leaders more time to strike a long-term deal. House Speaker John Boehner says such a mini-deal would serve as “a down payment on — and a catalyst for — major solutions, enacted in 2013, that begin to solve the problem.”
Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Passing a down payment now could very well doom the chances for major tax and spending reforms next year.
Since Republicans are (for the moment) holding firm to their opposition to raising tax rates, the only way to increase revenues in a down payment is to close loopholes and limit or eliminate deductions — something Republicans have expressed a willingness to do as part of a larger deal for tax and spending reform.
As the Wall Street Journal recently pointed out, there’s a lot more revenue here than most people realize. According to the liberal Tax Policy Center, capping all itemized deductions at $50,000 a year would yield $749 billion in extra revenue over 10 years — almost as much as the $823 billion that President Obama’s plan to raise tax rates on top earners would yield in the same period. Moreover, such a cap would soak the rich first. The top one-fifth of income earners would pay more than 96 percent of the higher taxes.
If you lower the cap on deductions even further to $25,000, there’s even more revenue to be found — an additional $1.286 trillion over 10 years. And a $17,000 cap would raise an additional $1.747 trillion in a (more…)
One bright spot of Barack Obama’s re-election was knowing that unemployment rates were about to soar for the precise groups that voted for him — young people, unskilled workers and single women with degrees in gender studies. But now the Democrats are sullying my silver lining by forcing Republicans to block an utterly pointless tax-raising scheme in order to blame the coming economic Armageddon on them.
Democrats are proposing to reinstate the Bush tax cuts for everyone … except “the rich.” (Why do only tax cuts come with an expiration date? Why not tax increases? Why not Obamacare? How about New York City’s “temporary” rent control measures intended for veterans returning from World War II?)
Raising taxes only on the top 2 percent of income earners will do nothing to reduce the deficit. There’s not enough money there — even assuming, contrary to all known history, that the top 2 percent won’t find ways to reduce their taxable income or that the imaginary increased government revenue would be applied to deficit reduction, anyway.
Apart from Obamacare, it’s difficult to think of a more effective method of destroying jobs than raising taxes on “the rich.” This isn’t a wealth tax on useless gigolos like John Kerry — it’s an income tax on people who are currently engaged in some profitable enterprise. Their business profits, which could have been used to hire more employees, will instead be used to pay the government.
But Republicans are over a barrel. Unless Republicans and Democrats reach an agreement, the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year. By pushing to extend the tax cuts for everyone except “the rich,” Democrats get to look like champions of middle class tax cuts and Republicans can be portrayed as caring only about the rich.
And when the economy tanks, the Non-Fox Media will blame Republicans.
The economy will tank because, as you will recall, Obama is still president. Government rules, regulations, restrictions, forms and inspections are about to drown the productive sector. Obamacare is descending on job creators like a fly swatter on a gnat. Obama has already managed to produce the only “recovery” that is worse than the preceding recession since the Great Depression. And he says, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
The coming economic collapse is written in the stars, but if Republicans “obstruct” the Democrats by blocking tax hikes on top income earners, they’re going to take 100 percent of the blame for the Obama economy.
You think not? The Non-Fox Media managed to persuade a majority of voters that the last four years of jobless misery was George W. Bush’s fault, having nothing whatsoever to do with Obama.
The media have also managed to brand Republicans as the party of the rich, even as eight of the 10 richest counties voted for Obama. And that doesn’t include pockets of vast wealth in cities — Nob Hill in San Francisco, the North Shore of Chicago, the (more…)
A top Democrat pressured fellow progressives Tuesday to support – rather than fight – a far-reaching budget deal that includes cuts to entitlement programs after resolving the upcoming fiscal cliff.
“We can’t be so naive to believe that just taxing the rich will solve our problems,” said Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate. “Put everything on the table. Repeat. Everything on the table.”
B…but Obama said if the rich paid their fair share everything would work out.
MATT LAUER, TODAY: So bottom line, would raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans have a chilling effect on hiring in this country?
WARREN BUFFETT: No, and I think would have a great effect in terms of the morale of the middle class, who have seen themselves paying high payroll taxes, income taxes. And then they watch guys like me end up paying a rate that’s below that, you know, paid by the people in my office.
The rich pay high tax rates and an outsized portion of federal income taxes.
Two, you don’t raise taxes on anyone to make someone else feel good.
We’re blind to race here at Attack Machine, but we like the idea of a competent, black woman named Rice as the nation’s next Secretary of State.
So we eagerly endorse Condoleeza Rice for the position.
She has the experience for the job.
She doesn’t tell whoppers on five TV shows (unless you count Michael Moore’s deceitful editing, but that’s him lying, not her.)
She’s an expert on Russia, so she knows that JFK’s early face-to-face with Nikita Khrushchev was a blunder, not a breakthrough, as another Rice believes.
And she loves NFL football.
When you realize how many political careers and reputations have been destroyed because of sex scandals over the past several years, it’s truly mind-boggling. David Petraeus is just the latest in a long line that goes back at least as far as John Kennedy and includes the likes of Gary Hart, Bob Packwood, Wilbur Mills, Ted Kennedy, Mark Sanford, Anthony Weiner, John Edwards and Bill Clinton. Frankly, it’s a wonder that any of these guys ever got any work done.
It’s probably not that much of a shock when you consider that most politicians were formerly lawyers. And if it’s true that the ranks of dentists and psychiatrists are filled with would-be doctors who found they couldn’t stand the sight of blood, it’s probably fair to assume that politicians were lawyers who couldn’t stand the thought of working for a living.
But I think the bigger message we can take away from the rise and fall of Mr. Petraeus is that we would all do well to stop making heroes out of people we don’t really know. It’s bad enough when teenagers glom onto entertainers and athletes, but at least one can hope they’ll eventually grow out of wanting to emulate the likes of Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Michael Vick and Lance Armstrong.
There’s nothing wrong with admiring someone’s accomplishments, but if you’re looking for heroes, you should probably start looking closer to home. Find people whose honesty and character you’re actually in a position to vouch for. Maybe it’s your mom or dad, perhaps even a sibling. If you’re fortunate enough, you might even see one in your mirror.
Just keep in mind that just about everyone you see in the movies, on TV, in the stadium or arena or read about in newspapers and magazines, has a publicity person on salary whose job it is to promote their image. Nobody ever hired a flack to make them look bad. Therefore, when you read about some famous person who finally gets caught misbehaving, it’s safe to assume you don’t know the half of it.
In the aftermath of the election, it has occurred to me that it is foolish to discuss the Catholic vote. When you realize that Obama received the bulk of Hispanic votes in spite of his endorsement of abortion and same-sex marriages, and his war on the Church over birth control pills for Church employees, it’s obvious that religion is a goofy basis upon which to base their identity. It’s just as foolish as believing that religion plays any role in the way that Jews vote. The fact of the matter is that the huge majority of orthodox Jews vote for conservatives. It’s secular Jews who overwhelmingly support liberal candidates. But pollsters continue to group them together and to then refer to the Jewish vote as if it’s monolithic and has anything to do with Judaism.
My jocular response to nutty people who have suggested that I should run for president is that I would except for the dress code. As one who has grown accustomed to running around in tennis shorts, sneakers and Hawaiian shirts, I wouldn’t even consider taking a job that required me to wear a suit and tie. Still and all, I’ll admit that I didn’t like seeing Obama or Romney, for that matter, campaigning in their shirtsleeves. If I had known that a suit and tie were now optional, I just might have thrown my baseball cap in the ring.
If I’m not mistaken, the slide in decorum began, not too surprisingly, with Bill Clinton. Before him, about the most embarrassing things that occurred during presidential campaigns, was seeing the candidates don Indian war bonnets, kissing babies and chowing down on such ethnic, vote-getting, delicacies as pizzas, strudel and knishes. While it’s true that Nixon, generally the stodgiest of politicians, went on “Laugh-In” and in a futile attempt to seem like a regular guy, said “Sock it to me!” it took Clinton going on MTV and telling the world whether he wore jockey shorts or boxers to place the presidential limbo pole at ground level. Monica Lewinsky was merely the inevitable result of electing the horny oaf to the highest office in the land.
Therefore, it was no big surprise to see Obama during the campaign popping up to chitchat with the tawdry likes of Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, Jay Leno, David Letterman and Lazaro Mendez, the radio host who bills himself as the Pimp with a Limp.
Speaking of he who should be back in Chicago, it’s not certain, as I sit here, whether Barack Obama will nominate U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to replace Hillary Clinton as the Secretary of State. My question, though, is: How is it that Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Mrs. Clinton and now, possibly, Ms. Rice, have all been deemed fit for the job?
Just when was it decided that a position that had been held by the likes of Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Martin Van Buren, Daniel Webster, William Jennings Bryan, George Marshall and John Foster Dulles, would become nothing more than the final rung on the ladder of affirmative action?
In 20 short years, it’s gone from being a tough job for tough-minded people to being a really bad joke. Sort of like the presidency, itself, now that I think of it.
Moody’s MCO -0.91% stripped France of its triple-A rating last week, citing “deteriorating economic prospects,” the “long-standing rigidities of its labor, goods and services markets” and “exposure to peripheral Europe.” And it could get worse: “We would downgrade the rating further in the event of an additional material deterioration in France’s economic prospects,” says Dietmar Hornung, Moody’s lead analyst for France.
Don’t think, however, that the French government is unduly alarmed.Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici insisted that the downgrade did not “call into question the economic fundamentals of our country.” We’ve never made a fetish of the opinions of the ratings agencies, which tend to be lagging indicators. Nonetheless, the “fundamentals” Mr. Moscovici points to are worth a closer look.
In 1981, when the Socialist government of Francois Mitterrand took office, France’s national debt amounted to 22% of GDP. In the intervening years France’s economy has grown by an inflation-adjusted 73%, while the national debt—now at 90% of GDP—grew by 609% in real terms. In raw numbers, that comes to about €1.7 trillion in additional debt. At no time in those 31 years did any French government balance a budget, much less run a surplus.
All this amounts to one of the free world’s longest-running experiments in the real-world effects of stimulus spending. If the fabled Keynesian multiplier really existed, all that spending should have translated into robust economic growth for France. Instead, the only thing that’s been multiplied is France’s debt.
President Francois Hollande is now bemoaning the supposed growth-killing effects of the spending cuts being demanded of him by the European Union. Yet if deficit spending could stimulate an economy, France would not be looking over the border with envy at Germany’s growth, debt and unemployment figures. Nor would it again be trying to explain away another debt downgrade.
Who runs the Internet? For now, the answer remains no one, or at least no government, which explains the Web’s success as a new technology. But as of next week, unless the U.S. gets serious, the answer could be the United Nations.
Many of the U.N.’s 193 member states oppose the open, uncontrolled nature of the Internet. Its interconnected global networks ignore national boundaries, making it hard for governments to censor or tax. And so, to send the freewheeling digital world back to the state control of the analog era, China, Russia, Iran and Arab countries are trying to hijack a U.N. agency that has nothing to do with the Internet.
For more than a year, these countries have lobbied an agency called the International Telecommunications Union to take over the rules and workings of the Internet. Created in 1865 as the International Telegraph Union, the ITU last drafted a treaty on communications in 1988, before the commercial Internet, when telecommunications meant voice telephone calls via national telephone monopolies.
Next week the ITU holds a negotiating conference in Dubai, and past months have brought many leaks of proposals for a new treaty. U.S. congressional resolutions and much of the commentary, including in this column, have focused on proposals by authoritarian governments to censor the Internet. Just as objectionable are proposals that ignore how the Internet works, threatening its smooth and open operations.
Having the Internet rewired by bureaucrats would be like handing a Stradivarius to a gorilla. The Internet is made up of 40,000 networks that interconnect among 425,000 global routes, cheaply and efficiently delivering messages and other digital content among more than two billion people around the world, with some 500,000 new users a day.
Many of the engineers and developers who built and operate these networks belong to virtual committees and task forces coordinated by an international nonprofit called the Internet Society. The society is home to the Internet Engineering Task Force (the main provider of global technical standards) and other volunteer groups such as the Internet Architecture Board and the Internet Research Task Force. Another key nongovernmental group is Icann, which assigns Internet addresses and domain names.
The self-regulating Internet means no one has to ask for permission to launch a website, and no government can tell network operators how to do their jobs. The arrangement has made the Internet a rare place of permissionless innovation. As former Federal Communications Commission Chairman William Kennard recently pointed out, 90% of cooperative “peering” agreements among networks are “made on a handshake,” adjusting informally as needs change…
Will the USA stand up to these twerps?
The State Department’s top delegate to the Dubai conference, Terry Kramer, has pledged that the U.S. won’t let the ITU expand its authority to the Internet. But he hedged his warning in a recent presentation in Washington: “We don’t want to come across like we’re preaching to others.”
Preach this: we invented the Internet and gave it away to the world. Hands off.
If the GOP wants to win more black votes, it will need to get a lot more “racist.”
The scare quotes are necessary because I don’t think the Republican Party is racist now (and, historically, has a lot less to answer for than the Democratic Party does).
But that hasn’t stopped people from slandering Republicans as racist for one reason or another.
Right now, many in Washington insist that Republican attacks on UN Ambassador Susan Rice are racist and, yawn, sexist. The basis for this claim is that some Republicans are calling Rice unfit for the job of secretary of state.
More specifically, they’re cross with Rice for what they contend to be her dishonest and incompetent handling of the Benghazi scandal.
And, because Rice is a black woman, well, blah, blah, blah. Racism! Sexism!
Never mind that Republicans haven’t had a white secretary of state since Lawrence Eagleburger concluded his term two decades ago. Never mind that Republicans appointed the first black secretary of state ever (Colin Powell) and the first black female secretary of state ever (Condoleezza Rice).
Also, never mind that Susan Rice’s handling of Benghazi — and several other matters — can quite defensibly be dubbed incompetent.
But that doesn’t stop Democrats or liberals from crying racism.
Just consider some recent examples from over the summer. When Mitt Romney (more…)
There is simply is no way around it: Your taxes are going up on New Year’s Day. Whether you are a wealthy individual who is about to be hit by President Obama’s tax hike on the rich, or one of the millions of working Americans whose payroll taxes will rise, you are about to see government take more from your paycheck. The only question is how much more it will take.
Tax revenue as a percentage of gross domestic product is currently at historic lows. In 2011, the federal government ate up 15.4 percent of the U.S. economy in taxes. That was up from 15.1 percent in both 2010 and 2009, which were post-1950 lows. The reason is that we’re in the weakest economic recovery since World War II. As the economy improves, tax collections will grow, but history indicates there is an upper limit as to how high they will get.
Liberal columnists love to point out that the top marginal rate on personal income was 91 percent in the 1950s and in the early 1960s. But the tax code back then was also chock-full of loopholes and benefits that let top earners escape such stifling tax burdens. As high as top marginal rates were, taxes as a percentage of GDP never rose above 19 percent, and in fact fell as low as 14.5 percent.
In fact, since World War II, federal taxes as a percentage of GDP have never risen above 20.6 percent and have averaged just under 18 percent. This has been consistent, regardless of changes to tax rates.
Spending has always been the main driver of U.S. budget deficits. It has fluctuated far more than taxes, falling as low as 14.2 percent of GDP under President Truman and rising as high as 25.2 percent under Obama. (more…)
Some people were surprised that in their desperation to recover from some of the damage that Romney inflicted on Obama during the Denver debate, the Democrats sprang to the defense of Big Bird. Frankly, I saw it coming as soon as Romney told Jim Lehrer that as much as he liked Big Bird and Lehrer himself, he saw no good reason for the American taxpayer to subsidize Public Broadcasting.
It figured that when recent events in the Middle East confirmed that Obama’s foreign policy is every bit as awful as his fiscal policy, the Great Pretender was going to throw up some silly smokescreen. One time, it was Sandra Fluke and her birth control pills. The next time, it was accusing Romney of being the Grim Reaper where cancer victims are concerned. It stood to reason that David Axelrod would send his hand puppet off to defend the world’s tallest Muppet.
What Obama and his liberal enablers refused to explain is why an outfit as rich as PBS requires a federal subsidy, financed with money borrowed from China. To suggest that PBS is any more educational than the Discovery channel or the History channel or Turner Classic Movies, for that matter, is absurd. The only thing that makes PBS stand out from the crowd is that it is as liberally biased as David Letterman and Joy Behar.
If PBS is so absolutely essential to American culture, I say let the same goofballs who donated hundreds of millions of dollars to Obama’s re-election campaign send their checks to Big Bird, c/o Sesame Street. He can then further feather his extremely plush nest, proving once again that fowls and their money will soon be parted.
What Team Obama didn’t wish to discuss is why they denied additional security to the American consulate in Libya when Ambassador Stevens and others begged for protection leading up to 9/11, and why this administration then spent the weeks after the terrorist attack left the consulate in flames, the ambassador sodomized and murdered, and the al-Qaeda flag flying from the smoldering ruins, lying to the American people.
What is particularly revolting about what occurred in Benghazi is that nobody was actually surprised that the jihadists staged the attack on 9/11. What’s more, it could have been easily averted. If Mrs. Obama had decided to take one of her countless vacations in Libya, instead of in Spain, Manhattan or Martha’s Vineyard, and thrown a celebrity bash at the consulate, I can assure you that the Muslim thugs would never have breached security.
For that matter, is there any question that if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had been in the neighborhood, the mob would not have gotten within a mile of Ambassador Stevens and his three colleagues?
They tell you that America isn’t a monarchy, but don’t you believe it.
For that matter, they also tell you that America is a democracy or, depending on the time of day, that it’s a republic. But in either case, the voice of the majority is supposed to be the trump card. However, that didn’t prevent judges from overturning photo ID laws, although the overwhelming majority of Americans are in favor of anything that prevents voter fraud from corrupting our elections.
Not too long ago, one judge threw out parts of Arizona’s immigration law and another over-ruled Wisconsin’s legislation involving the negotiating rights of public sector unions. Over the past few decades, judges here in California have over-ruled honest elections involving capital punishment, illegal aliens and same-sex marriages.
When judges decide whether something is legitimate not on the basis of the Constitution, but merely on whether it squares with their personal bias, the ultimate victim is respect for the law.
When I and so many other people objected to Obama’s placing people like Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court, it wasn’t because we think a woman’s place is in the home and not on the bench, but because during their hearings, they said they would be wonderful additions to the Court because of such things as their race, their gender and their overriding concern for social justice.
The significance of Lady Justice being blindfolded is because justice is supposed to be race, class and gender, neutral. And as I have written elsewhere, once you start augmenting justice with adjectives such as “social,” you destroy the very thing that made America exceptional. It means that you believe that there should be one sort of “justice” for whites and another for blacks, one sort for the poor and another for the rich, one sort for men and another for women or the sexually bewildered.
Finally, this just in: In news that has stunned the nation’s capital, Barack Obama today announced that the psychiatric staff at Bethesda has determined, to nobody’s surprise, that Joe Biden is suffering from advanced dementia and is therefore unfit to be carry out his duties as Vice President. The surprise came when he named Mr. Biden’s replacement: Big Bird.
In a prepared statement, Mr. Obama said, “My advisors think I’m nuts, but I’ve been hearing from millions of my fellow Americans. The folks are telling me they want the Bird, and I’m just the guy to give it to ‘em.”
Shortly after Nov. 6, Zane Tankel, who runs 40 Applebee’s restaurants in the New York City area, announced that his company was freezing employment and would not build any new restaurants. President Obama’s re-election, Tankel explained, meant that ObamaCare was likely to be fully implemented, costing his company millions of dollars and significantly raising the cost of hiring a worker.
Tankel’s statement prompted outrage and threats of a boycott, but he was far from alone. Already John Schnatter, CEO of Papa John’s Pizza, has announced that he would likely lay off some workers. Earlier, Schnatter said that ObamaCare would cost his business $5 billion to $8 billion annually, forcing him to increase the price of pizzas.
Meanwhile, two other restaurant chains, Olive Garden and Red Lobster, are moving many of their employees from full- to part-time work in order to avoid the law’s mandate that anyone working more than 30 hours must have insurance. An owner of 40 Denny’s in Florida, meanwhile, says he’ll add a 5% surcharge to customer bills in 2014 to cover his increased costs.
While restaurants, with traditionally low profit margins and large numbers of low-skilled, low-wage workers, are exceptionally vulnerable to ObamaCare’s costs, other business are being hit too. For example, Boston Scientific has announced that it will now lay off up to 1,400 workers and shift some jobs to China.
And Dana Holdings, an auto-parts manufacturer with more than 25,000 employees, says it to is exploring ObamaCare-related layoffs.
Look at the upside: the Dems took a wrecking ball to our economy, but they did manage to insure 10 million more Americans (most of whom had health coverage from the government anyway.)
…why couldn’t the clods who wrote the ObamaCare law have figured this out? Answer: too much ideology, not even intelligence.
This is the text of a letter to the KnoxNews.com from D.L. Dillard, Knoxville
When my better half told me that her boss was thinking about cutting all full-time employees to part time in order to avoid the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act insurance requirements (for full-time employees), my initial response was, “Surely the federal government wouldn’t have allowed such a blatantly obvious way of getting out of the requirement.” But that turned out to be false.
In fact, major names in the service/hospitality industry (e.g., Denny’s, Olive Garden, Red Lobster and Longhorn Steakhouse) are already in the process of going to a part-time employee schedule for all employees. Thus, as a very possible consequence of the short-sightedness of the Affordable Care Act legislators, more people will be working two jobs to make ends meet.
Yet acquiring a second part-time job may be an impossibility for a large number of service/hospitality employees. Most part-time employees in this industry do not work full eight-hour shifts in a day. Rather, they work five to six days a week for four to six hours at a time during the busiest hours. Thus, it may not be possible for part-time workers to work more than one job, because the days they will be available to work will have been constrained by the part-time job they are trying to supplement.
The problems, however, may not end there. Because more people will be forced into part-time positions and into working multiple jobs, then less people will have the time to go to college, have benefits like vacation and sick days, and will have little time for rest, relaxation and spending time with family.
The Affordable Care Act was designed to benefit, not burden, millions of Americans without health care. It is mind-boggling that the legislators who worked on this act allowed such a loophole, and equally as mind-boggling that this issue isn’t at the forefront of the news.
THE WASHINGTON POST FANS THE FLAMES OF RACISM AND SECESSION with this execrable editorial on the Susan Rice confirmation battle:
Could it be, as members of the Congressional Black Caucus are charging, that the signatories of the letter are targeting Ms. Rice because she is an African American woman? The signatories deny that, and we can’t know their hearts. What we do know is that more than 80 of the signatories are white males, and nearly half are from states of the former Confederacy.
Could it be that the Editorial Board of the Washington Post is a pack of pathetic political hacks who’ll engage in racial hate speech in order to advance the White House’s agenda?
Apparently, whole swathes of the electorate are illegitimate just because of their birth. If you really believe that, you’re doing more to promote division than anyone who signs a dumb White House petition for secession. Disgraceful.
…Morsi’s decree exempting all his decisions from legal challenge until a new parliament was elected caused fury amongst his opponents on Friday who accused him of being the new Hosni Mubarak and hijacking the revolution.
Morsi’s aides said the decree was to speed up a protracted transition that has been hindered by legal obstacles but Morsi’s rivals were quick to condemn him as a new autocratic pharaoh who wanted to impose his Islamist vision on Egypt.
“Morsi a ‘temporary’ dictator,” was the headline in the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm and hundreds of protesters in Tahrir Square, the heart of the 2011 anti-Mubarak uprising, demanded Morsi quit, accusing him of launching a “coup”.
Buoyed by accolades from around the world for mediating a truce between Hamas and Israel, Morsi on Thursday ordered that an Islamist-dominated assembly writing the new constitution could not be dissolved by legal challenges.
Gawd, accolades for that? Just wait…
…The real story is the story of two unions, the Teamsters and the Bakery union of the AFL-CIO. Here’s where things get interesting.
The Teamsters reluctantly agreed to givebacks to finance the company’s latest turnaround attempt. The bakers rejected any concessions and went out on strike, despite being informed that the result would be the liquidation of the parent company and the loss of 18,500 jobs.
Tsk tsk, went even the liberal media, assuming that union bloody-mindedness must be at work. Think again. As the bakers rightly saw it, they were being asked once more to prop up Teamster jobs that would likely guarantee that any Hostess resurrection would be short-lived.
Start with the fact that Hostess’s bakery operations are relatively efficient, and though the company planned to sell or close some of the plants anyway, the company had the power to do so already under its union contracts.
Under the latest turnaround plan, the sticking point was Hostess’s distribution operations, source of the Hostess horror stories filling the media. Union-imposed work rules stopped drivers from helping to load their trucks. A separate worker, arriving at the store in a separate vehicle, had to be employed to shift goods from a storage area to a retailer’s shelf. Wonder Bread and Twinkies couldn’t ride on the same truck.
Hostess has spent eight of the past 11 years in bankruptcy. As the company explained to its latest judge, the Hostess brands “have not been able to profit from many of their existing delivery stops and have been unable to enter potentially profitable markets, such as dollar stores, vending services and movie theaters.”
If Hostess were able to rationalize or outsource delivery to serve these customers, ready to go are “new products based on its best-selling cake items that have a longer shelf-life and can withstand freezing en route to customers over longer transportation hauls.”
The next presidential election is just four short years away. It seemed like just yesterday that we Republicans envisioned a future of Romney, Ryan and Rubio. Now we have to wonder if we were too quick to laugh when Joe Biden said that this wouldn’t be his last hurrah, and that he would be on the ballot next time. These days, that seems all too possible. After all, if the majority of Americans don’t object to his being a heartbeat away from the Oval Office, why would they object to his actually having the heart that some other Vice President would be monitoring on a daily, if not hourly, basis?
After all, Biden will only be 73 when Obama vacates the White House. No doubt he will have even more hair and whiter teeth by then. Because the Republican Party will have gone the way of the Whigs and the Bull Moose, his only real worry will be whether Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton, who will be 69, but only 10 or 11 in dog years, decides to take him on.
If I’m still around, I’ll probably even vote for him. For one thing, he couldn’t possibly be worse than Obama. For another, I’ll never forget that he recently stated, “There’s never been a day in the last four years that I’ve been proud to be his Vice President.” That sort of candor should be rewarded.
It is a mystery to me, and one that will never be solved to my satisfaction, how it is that the majority of Americans can see what is happening in Greece and still continue to vote for left-wing ideologues like Barack Obama, who subscribe to the belief that the money that the government prints is every bit as good as the money that people earn. The closest I have come to generating a theory is that most people fail to see what is happening in Greece because they’re too busy watching really dumb shows on TV, and couldn’t find Greece on a map even if you printed “Athens” in really big letters.
I regret to admit that I come from a family of Democrats. Being secular Jews who were born in Russia, my parents seemed to suffer from the delusion common to a great many Jews that it was FDR, not Moses, who brought the tablets down from Mount Sinai. It helps explain why so many non-religious Jews regard it as a semi-sacred duty to vote for liberals.
I was so mistaken about the recent election that I actually believed that when the utility workers from Alabama who had come north to New Jersey in order to help the state restore power, and were turned away by the union thugs who demanded that they join the union or go home, it would open the eyes of the voters to how vile Obama’s public sector allies really are. But no such luck.
Aside from the fact that a lot of decent people are left to suffer without electricity, one of the truly despicable things about all this is that these blue collar union guys, who don’t give a damn about anything but saving all the work and overtime for themselves, are the very same schmucks who rail at the guys at the Stock Exchange for being greedy. Perhaps they are, although I have always found it peculiar that greed invariably seems to be a sin that only applies to other people, but at least no 80-year-old is going without heat and light because of those nogootniks on Wall Street.
I was reminded of the newspaper strike that took place in New York City in 1962-63. It killed off several newspapers, costing thousands of newsmen their livelihoods. By the time it ended, the papers had lost $100 million in sales and advertising, while the workers had lost $50 million in wages. But the union leaders were happy. So far as they were concerned, the other side had eventually caved, their own jobs were secure, and that’s all that really mattered.
Those at least were private sector unions. As such things are measured, it was a fair fight. It cost both sides. But in the intervening 50 years, we have seen public sector unions spring up. When these palookas negotiate, it’s with politicians. Therefore, the only side that loses is the one that never has a seat at the table: the taxpayers. The unions get whatever they ask for in terms of salary and pensions, and the politicians get the promise of campaign donations and campaign volunteers. And, most pathetic of all, because these groups include such sacred cows as cops, firemen and teachers, the poor suckers who are being financially bled to death are reluctant to object.
Finally, I’ve been thinking about our military. It seems to me that going back as far as Korea, it has been America’s policy, no matter who happens to be the president, to do everything in our power not to win wars. Apparently, it’s a carryover from the liberal belief that competition is a bad thing and that when kids play games, scores should not be kept, lest the losers wind up feeling like losers.
At some point, Americans began to look at our soldiers and, instead of seeing warriors, began to see Boy Scouts and Brownies. I first became aware of that during Desert Storm when I began reading editorials stating that something needed to be done and done quickly because the chocolate bars being issued to our soldiers were melting in the summer heat of Iraq and Kuwait.
The next thing I knew, Major Hasan was free to murder several Americans at his leisure because it had been decided that an army base, Fort Hood, would be a gun-free zone, except of course, for Muslim jihadists. Fortunately, a pistol-packing policewoman was in the neighborhood and she finally brought him down, ending the bloodbath that came to be referred to by this administration as workplace violence.
Frankly, inasmuch as our military has been singularly devoted for the past few decades to fighting and dying on behalf of one set of Muslims under attack by another equally vile set, I don’t see any real need to maintain a military.
The money saved could be used to pay down the national debt, but I suspect that America’s favorite fun couple would prefer to spend it on White House galas and exotic vacations.
And judging by the recent election, the American voter, who might well turn out to be Time magazine’s Simpleton of the Year, wouldn’t have it any other way.
Sam Farmer in the LAT has a great profile of Manning and how he’s made it back, with a new team and a new approach.
…”Those reminders are good,” said Manning, 36. “You’re in a new place. Let’s keep working hard. Take it slow.”
The Broncos aren’t taking it slow. They’re rolling with their new quarterback, winners of five in a row with a three-game lead in the AFC West. Manning has the AFC’s most passing touchdowns, 24, best completion rate, 68.5%, and top passer rating, 106.2.
The league’s only four-time most valuable player, who sat out the entire 2011 season recovering from four neck procedures, is on course for MVP No. 5.
“What Peyton is doing, in my brain, is not just remarkable, it’s freaking historical,” Broncos CoachJohn Fox said. “To be where he is, off of what he just went through. Just look at it, his life got turned upside down.
“He’s been in one place for 14 years, and he never imagined he’d be anywhere else. To have a real serious injury, where at one point you weren’t real sure you were ever going to throw again. To be where he is right now? He’s doing it in a completely different part of the country, with a completely different organization. I’m loving it, but I think about it and I’m like, ‘This is kind of bizarre.’”
Manning, standing with a reporter in an otherwise empty corridor outside the locker room at the practice facility, detailed his improbable and sometimes uncertain ascent back to the top of the game, and the help he received from an old friend.
That friend was Duke Coach David Cutcliffe, who was Manning’s offensive coordinator at Tennessee and his younger brother Eli’s head coach at Mississippi. Cutcliffe, who a year earlier had worked with Eli during the lockout, was Peyton’s coach of choice during his arduous comeback.
“Going to a private college, where the gates are locked, there’s no spectators, and you can get concentrated work, that was big for me,” said Peyton, who had made at least four trips to Duke last winter before the media caught wind of it.
Manning lived with the Cutcliffe family during those visits. Just another kid in the stately, lodge-like house, with his own room and a pile of laundry every day.
“He and I both really got to go back in time,” Manning said. “I was a junior in college again. He was my coach. He coached the hell out of me. He yelled at me. “Faster! Faster! Faster!” I can remember that same feeling I had in college. I’d get mad at him.
“We’d go at it. It would be intense. But I’d always caught a ride home to his house that night, had dinner with him, and spent the night at his house. So we couldn’t get too mad at each other.”
Cutcliffe, who speaks in a rich Southern drawl, calls himself a “drills maniac” and says that stems from his childhood in Alabama, when he would throw his way through a pasture by “completing” passes to specific limbs of trees.
He had Manning do all the traditional drills, and some different ones, such as Manning making precise throws while equipment managers hammered away at him with heavy bags.
“We call those distraction drills,” Cutcliffe said. “One of the more critical things for a quarterback to prove to you is that his eyes stay downfield. We’re making him make decisions. We’ll have two targets down there and we’ll immediately try to lean toward one of them and make him make an accurate throw to the other target. At (more…)
It’s a gastronomic phenomenon that some call the “dessert shelf”: the remarkable ability of many a Thanksgiving eater to feel completely full after the main course, yet still have room for dessert. Of course, the ability to eat sweets on a full stomach isn’t limited to Thanksgiving, but it’s especially apparent after the holiday feast.
What makes this possible? Scientists have long known that a hormone called ghrelin, which is produced by cells lining the stomach, plays a role in inducing appetite. A counterpart hormone called leptin, which produced in fat cells and other types of tissue, suppresses appetite. When levels of ghrelin in the bloodstream are high, we feel hungry; after eating, ghrelin levels drop off and leptin levels increase, signaling to our brain that we’re full. That, anyway, is how it’s supposed to work…
Over the course of my life, I have occasionally been labeled a know-it-all, but I’m happy to say that those who’ve said it have generally been those who know nothing. The fact is that there are any number of things I can’t begin to fathom. For openers, I am hopeless when it comes to things mechanical and electronic. I just don’t get how things work. I don’t look down on those who do; if anything, I’m in awe of them.
That’s one of the reasons that I wish our educational system made sense. Instead of acknowledging that most young people would be better off learning a trade, they are shuffled off to colleges and universities where they’ll waste four years and a lot of their family’s money as liberal arts majors.
As the story goes, most jobs in the future will require a college degree. That is a load of hooey. What it really means is that employers may demand the sheepskin, but performing the actual job will probably require nothing more than half an hour of instruction.
Although doctors, lawyers, engineers and mathematicians, have their own trade schools, the system dictates that they, too, squander four years running up enormous tuition bills as undergrads. But the truth is that most people are far more grateful when a plumber or an electrician shows up at their front door to solve a problem than when a literature major or a sociology grad drops by for dinner.
As far as academic types go, I recently read a fine description of them in Robert Barnard’s “The Case of the Missing Bronte,” in which he has a Scotland Yard detective observe: “Of course, you could say I don’t as a rule see them at their best; mostly when I’ve met them it has been in connection with some kind of offence or other — thieving from bookshops, mostly; or sexual offences of a slightly ludicrous nature. But I have to admit that they have seemed the most sniveling, self-important scraps of humanity you can imagine, and as windy and whiney a bunch as ever demanded special privileges without doing anything to deserve them.”
Why so many people are dedicated to the notion that a B.A. in any way is a measure of wisdom, intelligence, competence or commonsense, is one of the great mysteries of modern life. Another puzzle is why Fox feels compelled to provide a bully pulpit for so many left-wing ignoramuses. I seriously question the wisdom of constantly airing the cockeyed views of Alan Colmes, Geraldo Rivera, Leslie Marshall, Marc Lamont Hill, Bob Beckel, Kirsten Powers and Juan Williams. I understand that their motto is “Fair and Balanced,” and they want to present both sides of every issue. But do they really imagine that in a media world dominated by the NY Times, the Washington Post, Time magazine, Newsweek, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC, we conservatives aren’t hearing often enough from the other side?
Hell, even in my dreams, I’ve got Juan Williams, Joy Behar and Jay Carney, spinning nonstop on behalf of Barack Obama.
It confounds me that there were millions of Americans just itching to re-elect a guy who owes everything to affirmative action and a gang of thieves and political fixers who crawled out of the Chicago sewers. To me, those voters who happily cast their ballots for any schmuck with a (D) after his name are even more inscrutable than soccer fans. In fact, it’s my guess that there’s a great deal of overlap between those two groups. I mean, who else but a nincompoop could look at a 3-1 outcome and wonder why the winning team felt compelled to run up the score that way?
Baseball, the greatest game ever invented, has no clock. Basketball and football each have a clock, although the final two minutes of a game will often expand to fill half an hour. Then there’s soccer, a sport so boring that instead of a clock, they use a sundial.
The greatest mystery of all is why so many people are still so infatuated with Obama. How does any American relate to the guy? It’s not that he’s black and has an odd name, either. It’s that he throws a baseball like a little girl and that he once bowled a game, which means sending 20 balls down the alley, and only knocked down 39 pins.
Furthermore, in a nation that likes muscle-cars more than hot dogs, he keeps trying to get everyone to drive little kiddy toys that might as well be propelled by foot power. He hates oil and coal the way most of us hate Islamic jihadists and Madonna.
He says nicer things about the religion of our enemies than he has ever said about the one he claims to follow.
His friends, mentors and advisors, people such as Frank Marshall Davis, Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett, are all people that most of us wouldn’t have in our homes. Then, to further show his contempt for us, he selects as his second-in-command, Joe Biden, a world-class goofus we wouldn’t trust to pick out our socks.
Over the course of the years, I have put together three collections of interviews. In the process, I have questioned well over 200 notable figures in a variety of fields. One of my standard questions is to ask them to list any eight people who have ever lived that they would invite to a dinner party, assuming that for this one evening they could all speak English. The person mentioned most often has been Jesus Christ, but running a close second is Winston Churchill.
I’ve never had the opportunity to interview Barack Hussein Obama, but, inasmuch as he attended a racist church for 20 years, I very much doubt if Christ would make his list; and, considering that the first thing he did when he moved into the Oval Office was to remove the bust of Churchill and send it back to the British embassy, it’s obvious that he also doesn’t share America’s affection and respect for our greatest wartime ally.
Obama would have you think that I regard him as unfit to be the commander-in-chief because of his race and his name, but of course that’s not true.
Otherwise, why would I think so highly of a black woman who happens to be named Condoleezza, for crying out loud?!
That chestnut comes to mind reading about Congress creating an agency it cannot govern.
There can be unseemly exposure of the mind as well as of the body, as the progressive mind is exposed in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a creature of the labyrinthine Dodd-Frank legislation. Judicial dismantling of the CFPB would affirm the rule of law and Congress’s constitutional role.
The CFPB’s director, Richard Cordray, was installed by one of Barack Obama’s spurious recess appointmentswhen the Senate was not in recess. Vitiating the Senate’s power to advise and consent to presidential appointments is congruent with the CFPB’s general lawlessness.
The CFPB nullifies Congress’s power to use the power of the purse to control bureaucracies because its funding — “determined by the director” — comes not from congressional appropriations but from the Federal Reserve. Untethered from all three branches of government, unlike anything created since 1789, the CFPB is uniquely sovereign: The president appoints the director for a five-year term — he can stay indefinitely, if no successor is confirmed — and the director can be removed, but not for policy reasons.
One CFPB request for $94 million in Federal Reserve funds was made on a single sheet of paper. Its 2012 budget estimated $130 million for — this is the full explanation — “other services.” So it has been hiring promiscuously and paying its hires lavishly: As of three months ago, approximately 60 percent of its then 958 employees were making more than $100,000 a year. Five percent were making $200,000 or more. (A Cabinet secretary makes $199,700.)
The CFPB’s mission is to prevent practices it is empowered to “declare” are “unfair, deceptive, or abusive.” Law is supposed to give people due notice of what is proscribed or prescribed, and developed law does so concerning “unfair” and “deceptive” practices. Not so, “abusive.”
The term, Cordray concedes, is “a little bit of a puzzle.” An “abusive” practice may not be unfair or deceptive yet nonetheless may be illegal. It is illegal, the law says, if it “interferes with” a consumer’s ability to “understand” a financial product, or takes “unreasonable” advantage of a consumer’s lack of understanding, or exploits “the inability of the consumer to protect” his or her interests regarding a financial product. This fog of indeterminate liabilities is causing some banks to exit the consumer mortgage business.
C. Boyden Gray and Adam J. White, lawyers representing a community bank challenging the constitutionality of the CFPB’s “formation and operation,” note in the Weekly Standard: “By writing new law through case-by-case enforcement, and by asserting ‘exception authority’ to effectively rewrite statutes, the CFPB is substantially increasing bankers’ compliance costs. The absence of clear, simple, up-front rules will force banks to hire ever more lawyers and regulatory compliance officers to keep up with changing laws — an outcome that inherently favors big banks over smaller ones.” This exacerbates the favoritism inherent in the substantial implicit subsidy Dodd-Frank confers on some banks by designating “systemically important financial institutions” that are “too big to fail.”
Even worse, say Gray and White (in their complaint for the community bank), Dodd-Frank “delegates effectively unbounded power to the CFPB, and couples that power with provisions insulating CFPB against meaningful checks” by the other branches of government. This nullifies the checks and balances of the system of separation of powers. Courts are too reluctant to restrict Congress’s power to delegate quasi-legislative powers, but the CFPB is an especially gross violation of the Constitution’s Article I, Section 1: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested” in Congress. By creating a CFPB that floats above the Constitution’s tripartite design of government, Congress did not merely degrade itself, it injured all Americans.
Like the Independent Payment Advisory Board, Obamacare’s health-care rationing panel, the CFPB embodies progressivism’s authoritarianism — removing much policymaking from elected representatives and entrusting it to unaccountable “experts” exercising an unfettered discretion incompatible with the rule of law. Similarly, when Obama allows states to waive work requirements that the 1996 welfare reform law explicitly made non-waivable, he evades the Constitution’s provision conferring a conditional presidential veto power — ignoring the law becomes preferable to a veto Congress can override. And the waivers make a mockery of the Constitution enjoining the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
Philander Knox should be the Obama administration’s patron saint. When Theodore Roosevelt asked Attorney General Knox to concoct a defense for American behavior in acquiring the Panama Canal Zone, Knox replied: “Oh, Mr. President, do not let so great an achievement suffer from any taint of legality.”
The Twinkie, it turns out, was introduced way back in 1930. In our memories, however, the iconic snack will forever be identified with the 1950s, when Hostess popularized the brand by sponsoring “The Howdy Doody Show.” And the demise of Hostess has unleashed a wave of baby boomer nostalgia for a seemingly more innocent time.
Needless to say, it wasn’t really innocent. But the ’50s — the Twinkie Era — do offer lessons that remain relevant in the 21st century. Above all, the success of the postwar American economy demonstrates that, contrary to today’s conservative orthodoxy, you can have prosperity without demeaning workers and coddling the rich.
Not taking from someone is coddling in Krugman’s fevered brain.
Consider the question of tax rates on the wealthy. The modern American right, and much of the alleged center, is obsessed with the notion that low tax rates at the top are essential to growth. Remember that Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, charged with producing a plan to curb deficits, nonetheless somehow ended up listing “lower tax rates” as a “guiding principle.”
Yet in the 1950s incomes in the top bracket faced a marginal tax rate of 91, that’s right, 91 percent, while taxes on corporate profits were twice as large, relative to national income, as in recent years. The best estimates suggest that circa 1960 the top 0.01 percent of Americans paid an effective federal tax rate of more than 70 percent, twice what they pay today.
Here is what Krugman forgets about America’s prosperous 1950s:
- We triumphed economically because Europe and Japan had been flattened during WWII. We had no serious competition.
- The United States had a population eager to get on with life: buying homes, having babies etc. There was massive pent-up demand.
- The USA’s industrial companies, having turned on a dime during the war to produce war materiel, were geared up and ready to go when peace returned.
In brief, the 1950s were a bubble. Intelligent analysis does not take bubbles as examples to prove a rule.
On the just-concluded National Review post-election cruise, I began things with Scott Rasmussen and Ralph Reed, discussing the results of the election; it was obviously pretty depressing. But we followed it up with our panel of economic experts, talking about the outlook for the coming year . . . and then their assessment was depressing. The following day Bing West talked about the state of the world and threats to U.S. national security . . . which was depressing. (West thinks March 2013 is the time period to watch for an Israeli strike on Iran.)
But then we had the panel on media bias . . . which stirred up everyone’s fury, and was depressing. Then we had the traditional “Night Owl” after-dinner session, spotlighting National Review’s funniest voices Jonah Goldberg, Rob Long, illustrator Roman Genn, James Lileks, with Peter Robinson along as the moderator/designated driver, and the opening question was . . . “Are we doomed?”
By this point, we probably sound like the Voyage of the Damned. But the cruise was full of good spirits. And by that, I mean full of rum, vodka, and bourbon.
No, as the week went on, it became clear that life will go on, that the country turned to Obama to rescue it from a seemingly endless recession, and in return for their judgment received additional announcements of layoffs, a steadily sliding stock market, and the death of the Twinkie. As Jonah said quoting Ed Koch, “The voters have made their decision, and now they have to be punished.”
Al Sharpton consulting on fiscal matters? Haaaa!
Recall this from a 2004 Democratic presidential debate.
PETER JENNINGS: Reverend Sharpton, I’d like to ask you a question about domestic policy, if you don’t mind.
If during your term as president, if you become the nominee, and you have the opportunity to nominate someone to be chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, what kind of person would you consider for the job? You can name someone in particular, if you have someone in mind.
And maybe just take a minute or so to give us a little bit about your views on monetary policy.
SHARPTON: I think, first of all, we must have a person at the Monetary Fund that is concerned about growth of all, not setting standards that would, in my judgment, protect some and not elevate those that cannot, in my view, expand and come to the levels of development and the levels of where we need to be.
I think part of my problem with how we’re operating at this point is that the IMF and the policies that are emanating there do not lead to the expansion that is necessary for our country and our global village to rise to levels that underdeveloped countries and those businesses in this country can have the development policies necessary.
JENNINGS: Forgive me, Reverend Sharpton, but the question was actually about the Federal Reserve Board.
SHARPTON: I thought you said IMF, I’m sorry.
JENNINGS: No, I’m sorry, sir. And what you’d be looking for in a chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.
SHARPTON: Oh, in the Federal Reserve Board, I would be looking for someone that would set standards in this country, in terms of our banking, our — in how government regulates the Federal Reserve as we see it under Greenspan, that we would not be protecting the big businesses; we would not be protecting banking interests in a way that would not, in my judgment, lead toward mass employment, mass development and mass production.
I think that — would I replace Greenspan, probably. Do I have a name? No.
Nor did he have a clue. His area of expertise is race baiting.