Another Write-wing Conspirator

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  • Welcome to The Curmudgeon’s lair

    Welcome to my curmudgeondom. As you’ll soon learn, your reactions to my missives here are likely to range from fear to loathing to tears to outright rage—and I just might even evoke from you an occasional sober nod or two.

    If you see a posting you like and wish to share it with others, by all means feel free to do so. I'd prefer that you send the link to your friends, but you're also welcome to reproduce anything here—as long as you retain my identity on the document. If you have a web site of your own and wish to post a link to this blog (or to a specific post), again, feel free to do so.

    The purpose of this blog is simple: to provide me a vehicle for sounding-off on whatever topic suits me at the moment. While there’s sure to be no shortage of politically-oriented palaver here, it is by no means all (nor necessarily even most) of what will be proffered to your discerning mind. You’ll also find that my personal politics, ethics, morals, and standards are pretty much “all over the map” (according to my mother-in-law)—so, don’t be surprised to see rants regarding, say, the interference of churches in politics, politically-correct anything, “nanny” laws, taxes, the United Nations, Congress, the Commissioner of Baseball, the State of Ohio’s speed limits, steroids, Jesse Jackson, the “mainstream” media, ultra-liberals, ultra-conservatives, the price of cigarettes, Obamarxism, regulating sales of alcohol, gasoline price manipulation, Muslim foot baths, illegal immigration, laws banning the sale of adult sex toys, cell phones, heavy-handed cops, meddlesome politicians, Hillary, Billary, our all-but-self-proclaimed uncrowned Queen Nancy, “W”, eminent domain, freedom of speech, and the designated hitter all in succession. It is, as I said, my curmudgeondom — and I have the credentials and bona fides to lay claim to the title of The Curmudgeon. So, there.

    Some of the postings you'll encounter may seem familiar—especially to those who know me personally. By way of explanation… I once had an ongoing relationship with a local newspaper, and had a number of published opinion pieces—some of which may be posted here. My arrangement was for a feature entitled An Opposing View; given that the editorial staff had a generally liberal, left-of-center view, it stands to reason that my "opposing" view would generally be perceived as coming from the right (in more ways than one, in my own humble opinion). These posts will be annotated as having been previously published.

    Comments, of course, are always welcome. You may agree or disagree with me. Doesn’t matter. Of course, I reserve the right to completely ignore you — but, feel free to let your feelings be known, anyway. And if you don't want to comment directly here, my e-mail address is: jimseeber@gmail.com .

    Oh, and…yes, I can spell. That "Write-wing" is only a play on words. So, there. Again.

    Welcome, once again. Strap in and hang on.

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Posts Tagged ‘Reid’

How Soon They Forget

Posted by The Curmudgeon on December 15, 2010

Congressional amnesia strikes again.

Shortly before the “shellacking” he received last month, Barack Obama suggested that Republicans were pinning their hopes on voters suddenly developing amnesia. In an earlier comment, he also asserted that “elections have consequences.”

For those with short memories (that would apparently include most of Congress), voters overwhelmingly jettisoned Democrats in droves (sixty-three of them, to be precise) — giving Republicans control of the House of Representatives, narrowing the Democrats’ margin of control in the Senate, and delivering an unmistakable message to the Obama regime.

How soon they forget.

Just today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) stood before the Senate and bluntly asked whether all of Congress was “tone-deaf” and stricken with amnesia.

The reason?

A massive, 1.2 trillion-dollar “omnibus” spending measure being rammed-through the lame-duck Congress by soon-to-be departing Democrats apparently intent on looting the nation’s treasury on their way out the door. More than 2400 pages long and delivered to members of Congress only three days ago, it’s apparently been read by absolutely no one (does this sound familiar?) and loaded with “earmarks” and hidden pet projects.

In other words, they (Congress) didn’t learn a damned thing. They heard us, loud and clear—and simply don’t give a damn about what we want or what we have to say.

To be sure, it isn’t just Democrats responsible; indeed, at least two of the leading “earmarkers” are Republicans. That said, the entire effort still is being shepherded by Democrats—many of them lame ducks with nothing to lose.

Similarly, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is intent on ramming-through his backdoor amnesty program (aka “The Dream Act”)—again relying on colleagues with nothing to lose by supporting the measure.

And just to round things out, “always-in-campaign-mode” Obama seems to think he’s still gearing-up for last November’s election, likening Republicans to “hostage-takers” in the ongoing battle of the soon-to-expire Bush era tax cuts. (Ironically, some of his stiffest opposition is yet again within his own party.)

However all this shakes out, everyone needs to keep one thing in mind: Though the lame ducks are already on their way out, they won’t be able to carry it off without help—and those who remain in office will be up for re-election in 2012.

Let’s hope voters hold the culprits accountable just as they did last month; since this batch of crooks obviously didn’t get the message, perhaps their replacements will.

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Posted in budget, congress, corruption, debt, deficit, earmark, economy, election, illegal aliens, immigration reform, income tax, obama, politics, pork barrel spending, Reid | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Prodigal President Soundly Spanked

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 3, 2010

The voters took away his car keys; so…now what?

Shortly after his inauguration, Barack Obama fired-off a few terse comments at Republicans:  “Elections have consequences”…”That’s why we have elections”…and (my personal favorite) “I won.”

Having thus spake, he made clear far in advance that he now knows what to expect in the wake of yesterday’s election debacle.

As Joe Biden might put it: This is a big f– – – – – g deal.

Not as big as Republicans (and sensible voters everywhere) had hoped for—but still big.  Very big.

The message sent to the Obama regime (sent—but not likely to be well-received) was clear: We ain’t happy—and you’re to blame.  It was a repudiation of Obama’s agenda, with scores of Democrat whipping-boys bearing the brunt of the voters’ wrath.  The numbers clearly show voter disapproval of ObamaCare and cap-and-trade.  Had the Democrats been pushing weak candidates, the message might’ve been less concise; however, many longtime incumbent Democrats were sent packing—and those who backed Obama’s unpopular policies fared the worst.  Obama himself suddenly seems about as embraceable as plutonium, and survival-minded Democrats appear to have been prescient in distancing themselves from him during the weeks preceding the election.  Indeed, Obama’s intense campaigning seems to have been ineffective (if not harmful) in most key races; those nine trips he took to Ohio attempting to bolster relatively popular Governor Ted Strickland, for example, became instead an embarrassment as John Kasich won a close contest that many see as a bellwether.

That’s gotta hurt.

Nor could this be seen as merely a reactionary “throw the incumbents out” election, as incumbent Republicans in fact enjoyed widespread success.  Moreover, Republicans fared well in contests for open seats both in Congress and in a record number of gubernatorial contests.  Those two indicators pretty well establish this as more of a “throw the Democrats out” election.

Where does this leave us?

Well, the Republicans captured solid control of the House of Representatives, and the Democrats’ hold on the Senate is now tenuous.  The Democrats’ majority is a slim one, and there’s much doubt as to how many of their “majority” will toe the party line; in particular, their most high-profile victor of this election — Joe Manchin of West Virginia — is seen by many as more of a Republican than many Republicans are, having already denounced both ObamaCare and cap-and-trade.  Moreover, Democrats in both houses who survived the massacre are now faced with re-assessing their own stands on key issues—making Congressional support of Obama’s agenda somewhat less than reliable.  (With twenty Senate Democrats and only ten Republicans up for re-election in 2012, the message delivered via this 2010 election will reverberate for a long time; having had a glimpse of what may be in store for them in two years, who’s likely to drink the Obama Kool-Aid with such a likely fate awaiting?)

The Tea Party contingent played a role (much to the consternation of the Democrat leadership), but it was a mixed message.  Some Tea Party-backed candidates (most notably Senator-elect Rand Paul of Kentucky) ran well, but losses by their highly-publicized candidates in Delaware (Michelle O’Donnell) and Nevada (Sharron Angle) in races that many felt should have been easy pick-ups by Republicans helped Democrats retain Senate control.  (Still, it’s pleasant to visualize soon-to-be former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi choking on Astroturf.)  It’s clear that Republicans need to take seriously their input, and make adjustments to party stances accordingly.  The newly-elected Tea Partiers are likely to exert pressure to control spending and taxes—and the Republican leadership would be well-advised to listen.

The runaway spending has to stop.  Period.  If no other message came across from this election, that one has to.

The Democrats’ ever-expanding dream of an ever-expanding government must also be reined-in.  The people are beyond simply being wary of government intrusion into business, finance, medicine, and (especially) into our everyday private lives.

In short: Less government is better government.

True to form, Democrats are already murmuring about the coming gerrymandering (you know: the gerrymandering that they had planned to control—but that control was largely lost with the ascension of all those Republican governors) of district lines, proving once again that they can get in that first punch ahead of Republicans with disturbing consistency.  (One can only hope that Republicans will eventually learn.  “Get there firstest with the mostest,” counseled Nathan Bedford Forrest—a lesson Democrats long ago embraced.)  With the imminent re-apportioning of congressional seats and the inevitable re-drawing of district lines, GOP governors will be able to influence the political landscape for years to come.

And what of our favorite flagellant—the manchild-in-chief?  Will he take this to heart and mend his ways?

Don’t count on it.  It’s far more likely that he’ll “double down” (in the current parlance) and merely adjust the means by which he tries to force-feed us his agenda.  For now, anyway.  It’s doubtful that his prodigious ego will allow him to do otherwise.  If Republicans have learned nothing else since the 2008 election, they should’ve at least concluded that the only way to do business with Obama is from a position of strength.  They’ll have to ram their agenda down his throat—just as he has force-fed us all since his ascendancy to the White House.  He’ll never play ball unless there’s a gun placed to his head.

With this election, Republicans acquired such a gun.

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Posted in ballot, budget, cap-and-trade, debt, deficit, economy, election, federal bail-out, health care costs, health care reform, illegal aliens, manchild, obama, ObamaCare, opinion, Pelosi, politics, Reid, stimulus, vote | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Who Would REALLY Benefit from Voter “Amnesia”?

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 1, 2010

There’s much that Obama would have us forget, too.

Hip-deep in his perpetual campaigning, Barack Obama derisively pointed out to voters last week that Republicans were pinning their hopes on the electorate’s suddenly developing “amnesia”—then reiterated once again his oft-repeated claim that responsibility for everything currently going awry anywhere in the known universe should be laid at the GOP’s feet.

As usual, there was a modicum of validity to the manchild-in-chief’s assertion; after all, has there ever been a political candidate who didn’t wish the voters would forget about something?

Obama should keep in mind, however, that there’s also much that he would like to erase from the voters’ collective memory. Though not actually running for re-election himself, the imminent midterm election is very much a referendum on his record—and the outcome is crucial to his future plans. To a candidate who won the preceding election owing largely to voter vacuity, the continued cluelessness of the electorate is of inestimable value.

Our manchild-in-chief would much prefer, for example, that we not remember the intense pressure brought to bear by his regime to ram through his unpopular ObamaCare travesty far enough in advance of this election that we wouldn’t remember the promised transparency that turned to occlusion. We’re likewise expected to forget the behind-the-scenes deal-brokering and outright bribery that made his showcase legislation possible, notably the “Cornhusker Kickback” and the “Louisiana Purchase.” It’s supposed to fade from memory that the prohibition on using federal funds for abortions was inexplicably left out of the grand health care reform legislation, a claimed oversight that Obama promised to correct via executive order (the order was in fact issued—but it now seems to have less in the way of teeth than was claimed at the time signed it).

Though Obama has stubbornly clung to his habitual hammering of his predecessor for the nation’s economic woes and rising employment, the simple fact is that his own profligate spending (you remember: the spending that he insisted was necessary to hold unemployment under eight percent) has buried us under a mountain of debt from which we may never recover—and unemployment has now crept perilously close to ten percent.

He would dearly love for us to forget all about the problem of illegal immigration and his own scandalous refusal to secure the nation’s borders. (How very curious…we haven’t heard a word about “comprehensive immigration reform” for a few weeks—have we?) He’d like us all to forget that his response to the chaotic border situation was to sic his Justice Department on the state of Arizona for daring to do what he refused to do. He wants us to forget all about the efforts to secure amnesty for some twelve million future Democrats illegal immigrants.

It’s supposed to slip our minds that our first “post-racial” chief executive has in fact fanned the flames of racism. We’re supposed to no longer recall the specter of New Black Panther Party goons convicted of intimidating voters in Philadelphia—only to be sent on their merry way by Obama’s Justice Departmant, which inexcusably declined to pursue the case. We’re supposed to conveniently forget Obama’s own rash (and obviously incorrect) berating of the Cambridge Police Department and Sgt. James Crowley—who, as it turns out, hadn’t acted so “stupidly” as Obama had claimed. We’re supposed to not notice when he manages to find that “Negro dialect” that Harry Reid said he lacked—when he’s busy whipping-up support among a black crowd by creating an “us-versus-them” atmosphere.

We’re supposed to forget about the steady procession of tax cheats, avowed communists and socialists, and far left-wing whack-jobs he’s welcomed to his regime. We’re supposed to forget the blatant power grabs and attempts to exert direct government control over banking, manufacturing, communications, and the media (it’s telling when Helen Thomas — hardly a conservative icon — criticizes the administration for doing so).

He would like for many of us to forget how badly he needs to emerge from the midterm election with Democrats controlling Congress — though he’s quick to remind those who voted for him in 2008 that it’s essential for them to keep the faith, as he needs that power base “to continue with my agenda”…whatever his agenda may comprise. (His obsession with secrecy and hidden deals leaves us constantly guessing.)

We’re expected to forget all about the vacations, travel, and high living that his regime is enjoying at taxpayer expense while much of the nation struggles just to make ends meet. We’re not supposed to remember the unprecedented arrogance shown by himself and his henchmen. We’re expected to forget the tax that isn’t a tax, then is, then isn’t—depending, it seems, entirely on what our narcissistic dear leader is trying to pull at any given time. He wants us to forget the political thuggery that Democrats have freely exercised from the moment they grasped the reins of government.

Let’s hope enough of us have better memories than he gives us credit for.

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Posted in ballot, border security, budget, corruption, debt, deficit, economy, election, federal bail-out, health care reform, illegal aliens, immigration, immigration reform, manchild, media corruption, national security, obama, ObamaCare, politics, Reid, stimulus, tax, unemployment, vote, waste | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Memo to Conservative Commentators: Shut Up—Before You Ruin Everything

Posted by The Curmudgeon on October 26, 2010

No chickens have yet hatched; now, stop counting.

Recent months have proved very encouraging for Republicans, tea-partiers, conservatives in general, and everyone else who regards the Obama-Reid-Pelosi triumvirate with a level of disdain ordinarily reserved for toenail fungus. Poll results for the Obama regime have been in virtual free-fall, Pelosi is widely viewed as the long-lost twin sister of the Wicked Witch of the West, and opinions are split as to whether Reid should be medicated and escorted to a padded cell or merely voted out to pasture. Indeed, congressional Democrats in general are scurrying for cover with a vigor more commonly observed in cockroaches caught out in the open when the lights are turned on, distancing themselves from their standard-bearer and onetime champion as they frantically seek to preserve careers seemingly doomed by their association with their dear leader.

Not surprisingly, conservative pundits are having a field day, trumpeting daily poll results and confidently predicting a resounding defeat for Democrats in the upcoming mid-term election. They’ve been positively giddy, smugly delighting in the Democrats’ apparent distress, speculating on whether control of one or both houses of Congress will change hands, and even boldly formulating their post-election agenda. Indeed, the GOP euphoria has soared to such a level that prominent commentators seem nearly at a loss for ideas on what to do next.

I have a suggestion for them: Shut the hell up. Now—before you screw everything up.

The grandstanding, chest-beating, and overconfidence are having an undesired effect: They’re now serving to energize the Democrats’ base.

Republican operatives should take particular note of the more subtle indications emerging from those polls. As predicted here months ago, the shake-up in the power structure that seems imminent is not the result of voters falling madly in love with the GOP. Don’t forget that they voted Republicans out not so long ago. As is often the case, this is less a matter of people voting for a party’s agenda and more a matter of voting against another party’s agenda. It’s not that everyone suddenly embraced the philosophy of the Republicans; rather, they’re now at least as disgusted with Democrats—and apparently even more so (for the moment, anyway; voters, however, are notoriously fickle).

If Republicans learned nothing else from political developments of the past several years, at least two clear messages should have sunk in: First, that the strategy they adopted back when they last had control of the government (and lost it) is a proven loser, and second, that the framing of the message is sometimes as important as the message itself. Pundits, power brokers, and voters alike have expressed outright revulsion over the arrogance shown by Democrats—and especially by Obama; for Republicans to now bombard everyone with essentially the same appearance borders on plain stupidity.

Yes, the Democrats have shown a remarkable talent for shooting themselves in the foot. Yes, Obama’s silver tongue seems to have turned to clay (thanks, Jim Croce, for that line). Yes, predictions of the disastrous effects of the Democrats’ actions now appear to have been correct. Yes, the poll numbers have been encouraging.

However…

The single most important variable at the moment is the question of how many people will actually get off their butts and vote this time around. Indications there have been favorable for the much-motivated Republicans, with apathy and complacency among Democrats and uncommitted independents boding well—but, if Republicans aren’t careful at this point, they’ll succeed only in talking their way right out of what seems an almost-certain victory. Would-be Republican voters may note this viewing of the election outcome as a foregone conclusion and not bother to vote, thinking it’s already in the bag. It should also be noted that the grandiose claims of Republican leaders have been seized upon by Democrats, and they’re using that ammunition to whip-up support. (For those who hadn’t noticed…many key Congressional and gubernatorial races have suddenly tightened within the past few days.)

Stop obsessing over polls; the only one that counts is the last one. The rest should be viewed as nothing more than indicators of where support should be bolstered.

Remember that no chickens have yet hatched; you guys haven’t actually won anything. Not yet. Stop acting like the boss—at least, until you actually become the boss.
 

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Posted in economy, election, obama, Pelosi, politics, Reid, vote | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Money Pit: An Old Law Holds True

Posted by The Curmudgeon on August 11, 2010

Parkinson’s Law meets Obama…and Pelosi…and Reid…

In 1955, Cyril Northcote Parkinson first advanced a concept which eventually became known as “Parkinson’s Law.” Though it’s undergone some revisions and refinements (and led to a number of corollaries), its basic premise remains: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

For example, imagine a worker performing a routine task normally requiring sixteen man-hours (nominally, two business days) to complete. Now, imagine that some genius efficiency expert determines that forty hours (one work week) should actually be alloted for this task. According to Parkinson’s maxim, over a period of time our worker will adjust his routine to expend all forty hours alloted for the task—though he’d previously accomplished the same task on numerous occasions within the constraints of the old standard of sixteen hours. (It could also be argued that for a unionized operation there would be an additional demand for overtime—but, that’s fodder for a different rant.)

One popular corollary of this basic premise will sound familiar to most readers: Data expands to fill the space available for storage (i.e., go ahead and buy that humongous hard drive that makes your current drive look puny by comparison—but, you’re still gonna fill it up).

Another corollary is attributed to Parkinson, himself, and is sometimes referred to as “Parkinson’s Second Law”: Expenditures rise to meet income.

Based upon that assertion, one might reasonably deduce that the esteemed Mr. Parkinson must have at some point studied the spending habits of Democrats.

One might also be inclined to pose a hybrid corollary: Congress increases spending to consume whatever money is available—and even spends money that ain’t there.

Most budgets (whether business, military, or household) are intended to establish limits—not goals to attain. Employees are — from the top down — generally encouraged to find ways to reduce spending. Bringing in a project “under budget” is regarded favorably, as doing so makes available previously committed funds to be applied to other projects; should an overly-generous authorization be encountered, it’s not considered acceptable to spend more lavishly in an effort to insure that all alloted funds are exhausted. Exceeding the budget isn’t allowed; when one runs out of alloted funds, there simply isn’t any more money to spend. Work stops. The household has to wait until next month to buy that new television. The Army parks its tanks, trucks, and helicopters because there’s no money to purchase fuel. Plants close. Employees are furloughed.

Conversely, consider recent comments made by Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) to a gathering of his constituents:

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned up here, and I didn’t really need to come up here to learn it, is the only way to get Congress to balance the budget is to give them no choice. The only way to keep them out of the cookie jar is to give them no choice. Which is why, whether its balanced budget acts or pay as you go legislation or any of that—it’s the only thing.” (And now for the best part—with emphasis added…) “If you don’t tie our hands, we’ll keep stealing.”

One scarcely knows whether to be aghast at Perriello’s unexpectedly frank admission or curiously relieved by the refreshing honesty of it; at any rate, it at least confirmed what many already believed. (We’ve been known to sing the praises of an honest crook from time to time.)

Of course, Mr. Perriello overlooks recent history. Obama himself (after racking-up trillions in debt) exhorted Congress to adopt “paygo” to ensure that future expenditures would be deficit-neutral. Congressional Democrats enthusiastically(?) accepted the challenge and shepherded the legislation to passage.

…then began side-stepping their own brand spanking-new rule less than a week later.

More recently, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) cut short Congress’ summer recess, summoning members back to Washington to pass new bail-out legislation, tweeting that “I will be calling the House back into session early next week to save teachers’ jobs and help seniors & children.” (more on that in a moment) The price tag? More than $26 billion added to the staggering deficit (forget actually paying for the measure; all this spending merely adds to the mounting debt—for which there are no funds). Actually, the measure as written assigns the tax debt to U.S. firms operating in overseas markets; however, if these firms respond by simply not shifting funds back home to be taxed, the burden for the resulting shortfall (added to the potential loss of $120 billion in profits that might also be kept overseas) would be transferred to…us.

The latest? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (you know; the federally-financed lenders on which Congress just spent billions upon billions of bail-out dollars it doesn’t have) just crawled back out of the woodwork, hats in hand, to beg for another $3 billion in federal alms. (Don’t breathe a sigh of relief, just yet; this latest request is merely intended to cover the shortfall for the current fiscal quarter. Stay tuned.)

Oh, and (in case it escaped anyone’s attention) there was yet another report released a few days ago showing that the massive “stimulus” package last year had been squandered in large measure on such boondoggles as:

  • $762,000 to create interactive choreography programs at the University of North Carolina
  • $296,000 for a study of dog domestication at Cornell University
  • $2,000,000 to send researchers from the California Academy of Sciences to islands in the Indian Ocean to study exotic ants
  • $500,000 for new windows at the Mt. St. Helens visitors center in Amboy, Washington. (The building has been closed since 2007 and there are no immediate plans to reopen it.)
  • $89,000 to replace sidewalks in Boynton, Oklahoma (The “old” sidewalks had been built only five years before. Moreover, one of them goes nowhere near any houses or businesses and leads directly into a ditch.)
  • $1,200,000 to create a museum in an abandoned train station in Glasboro, NJ

It should be noted that it’s unclear whether this “stimulus” package — intended to create jobs — actually created more than a relative handful.

How does this happen?

No great mystery. Remember the health care reform package? Remember how scandalized we all were to learn that virtually no one in Congress had read it prior to voting on it? It was 1,017 pages long.

This year’s federal budget is 2,450 pages long; how many people do you think have read all of that one? Or last year’s? Or the year before?

Pork-barrel projects are generally concealed very carefully within such spending measures; it’s sometimes nearly impossible to figure out who inserted specific expenditures (if anyone even notices them). In many cases, it’s a matter of “you vote for mine, and I’ll vote for yours.”

And we give these clowns the key to the treasury. Which probably explains why it’s currently empty.

As to Pelosi’s latest effort? Forget saving teachers’ jobs; that’s not what it’s about.

This bail-out is superficially intended to help debt-ridden states (those that refused to rein-in spending…California and New York, for example—blue states, it should be noted) to balance their budgets. The fix will be temporary, as these states have yet to make the necessary cuts in expenditures to ensure long-term viability (last year’s $862 billion “stimulus” package included $145 billion to balance state budgets—and it obviously didn’t last very long). So, Congress will now be voting to decide whether the states that practiced fiscal responsibility are ultimately going to be taxed to bail-out those that refused to.

But, wait; there’s more (R.I.P., Billy Mays). Consider these figures compiled by Americans for Limited Government in a recent newsletter:

Out of the estimated 3.3 million public school teachers nationwide, teachers’ unions were expecting about 160,000 layoffs this year—roughly 4.8 percent of all teachers. Slightly more than 38 percent of those expected layoffs are centered in just three states: 9,000 in New Jersey, 16,000 in New York and 36,000 in California.

About 57 percent of those 160,000 teachers are unionized, with contributions to state and local unions averaging $300 per teacher. Add another $162 per teacher to the National Education Association and $190 per teacher to the American Federation of Teachers (as reported by Education Next), and Congress will in effect be voting to pump no less than $40 million (emphasis mine) into the political coffers of teachers’ unions.*

Quickly, now; which party do you think will be the beneficiary of union contributions?

In other words: If you’re a Republican in a state that has a balanced budget, you can expect to be taxed not only to pay for wasteful spending in California and New York, but also to contribute indirectly to Democrats’ campaign funds.

Not that Queen Nancy (from California—just in case you’ve forgotten) has such thoughts in her mind. She just wants to help teachers and old folks and children. Oh, and cops and firefighters (again, widely unionized). Just ask her.

Just don’t ask her exactly what’s in the measure, nor what it’s actually intended to achieve. (Remember that she once said that Congress “has to pass the legislation in order for you to find out what’s in it.”)

Her mission is, at best, to spend more and more money that we don’t have.

Once again, Parkinson is proven a sage.

So is Congressman Perriello.

Somebody tie Washington’s hands—quickly.

 

 

UPDATE: The $26 billion in spending has been approved by Congress and awaits Obama’s signature.

The watchword now is “BOHICA.” (Bend Over, Here It Comes Again)

* ALG drew heavily from the following sources:

NetRight Daily How 39 Dems and Snowe and Collins Gave $40 Billion to Teachers Unions
EducationNext The Long Reach of Teachers Unions
The Heritage Foundation Teachers Unions Stifle Education Reform

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Posted in budget, corruption, debt, deficit, economy, education, election, federal bail-out, labor, obama, Parkinson's Law, Pelosi, politics, Reid, stimulus, tax, waste | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

“Damaged goods,” obstructionists, and politics as usual

Posted by The Curmudgeon on March 29, 2010

The Theory of Relativitism

 

For those who might’ve slept through the event, the Obama regime announced Saturday the recess appointment of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. (It seems that less-than-popular news is quietly released on Saturday mornings—when it’s presumed that no one’s paying much attention; remember Van Jones?)

Ever on the alert for opportunities to refine the nation’s thinking, Democrats seized on the opportunity to branch out; correcting our poor math skills seems to be their new mission—though not to the exclusion of politics-as-usual relativism.

To refresh readers’ memories…

Relieved at having managed to scrounge-up a sole Republican vote (though it required a lavish bribe—and they subsequently lost it, anyway) when the House initially passed its health care reform package, Democrats smugly pronounced it a “bipartisan” effort. (Note that Democrats at the time considered one (1) vote by the opposition to constitute “bipartisanship”; this is a crucial bit of information.)

Conversely, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) last week blamed the failure to gain Senate confirmation for Craig Becker on “obstructionist” Republicans; similarly, Obama decried the “partisan politics” that forced him to use the back-door approach of recess appointment. Both Reid and Obama neglected to mention that Becker’s nomination was blocked by a similar bipartisan effort; indeed, two (2) Senate Democrats joined Republicans in opposing Becker. (Pop quiz for the New Democrat Math: When is one (1) vote out of 228 House Republicans more “bipartisan” than two (2) votes out of 59 Senate Democrats?)

It should be noted that Obama didn’t seem to consider himself to be of the obstructionist persuasion when he assisted in blocking the confirmation of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations; he did, however, assert that Bolton had to be considered “damaged goods” for having gone on to the U.N. via recess appointment by then-President George W. Bush.

Clearly, he doesn’t consider his own recess appointments to be likewise tainted—and both “bipartisanship” and “obstructionism” similarly come fully-equipped with sliding scales.

Recess appointments are nothing new. Given their controversial natures, both Bolton’s and Becker’s appointments were widely predicted. Any President is well within the bounds of law in making such appointments; it’s implicit, though, that such a tactic will draw criticism—especially from the opposing party.

Nor is there anything new about obstructionist tactics, filibusters, and the rest of the same old, same old: politics as usual. One man’s guardian of the law standing in the breach is another’s obstructionist; it’s all a matter of perspective. It’s all relative.

The big difference? This all centers around a President who vowed to change how Washington does business. It involves a Speaker of the House who vowed to “drain the swamp” and bring a higher level of ethics and accountability to government. Since the Obama regime’s rise to power, the promised “transparency” has taken on the appearance and consistency of granite. And as for listening to the will of the people—

…not unless you’re Big Labor or a Democrat donor with deep pockets.

So-ooooo…how’s that hopey-changey thing workin’ out for ya?

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Posted in corruption, Craig Becker, labor, obama, opinion, Pelosi, politics, recess appointment, Reid, Senate confirmation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Paying the piper

Posted by The Curmudgeon on March 26, 2010

Will Democrats pay the price come election time? Will we?

By hook or by crook (and mostly the latter—from what we can glean, anyway), Obama got his way; his health care/health care insurance/student loan/Gawd-only-knows-what “reform” scheme has been brought to fruition. Congressional Democrats—many no doubt weary of being by turns bribed and bludgeoned into submission—finally gave him what he wanted.

The question now is: At what cost?

Not just in real dollars; we already have an idea how brutal that will be. The real question is whether the political price some believe will be borne by Democrats seeking re-election a little over seven months from now will prove worth it.

Obama, of course, believes so; on the other hand, he’s not a Senator maneuvered into voting for providing erectile-dysfunction drugs to convicted child molesters or taxing wounded veterans for access to proper medical care.

In an excellent piece written by Kimberley A. Strassel for The Wall Street Journal (The Senate Reckoning: Senate Democrats get beat up by their own reconciliation rules), we learn that Senate Republican leaders proved a bit more shrewd than previously thought—and Harry Reid outsmarted himself (no major feat, granted—but noteworthy, nonetheless).

By opting for the “reconciliation” process (necessitated by the loss of their 60-vote “supermajority” with the election of Scott Brown), Reid unwittingly painted himself into a corner—along with his fellow Democrats. Trapped by their own rules, Democrats had to approve the reconciliation measure without amendment; any changes would have triggered another vote (which they likely wouldn’t have won—and risked killing the legislation altogether). Republicans no doubt privately chortled with glee, as any amendment offered would have to be rejected by the Democrats—even if it was something Democrats sincerely wanted—whether the Republicans actually wanted to see it adopted or not. They could’ve offered amendments for everything from providing womb-to-grave free medical care for everyone to taxing the snot out of insurance companies to pay for Obama’s travel bills—and the Democrats would’ve been obliged to oppose them. All of them. And there was no limit on the number of amendments that could be offered. Democrats were forced into the position of voting against each amendment—no matter what it was—and having their votes recorded. It had the potential for being the most fateful moment since George H.W. Bush foolishly uttered: “Read my lips.”

Predictably (as so astutely observed by Ms Strassel), this coming November, Republican candidates can look forward to correctly asserting that the Democrat running for re-election supported supplying Viagra to sexual predators, tried to tax Jerry’s Kids for their wheelchairs and braces, and might even have had a hand in killing Cock Robin—and the voting record proves it.

Obama praised Democrats’ “courage” for casting tough votes; inwardly, they had to be thinking: Thanks, you idiot, for forcing me to support putting Chester the Molester’s perversion into overdrive. Arlen Specter (D-PA) already faced an uphill battle for re-election; now, he’ll have to go home and explain to his constituents how he voted away their chance to opt-out of the whole mess. Oh, and Democrats specifically voted to exempt themselves from this landmark “reform” (a choice the rest of us don’t have—and most of us resent).

From the outset, an arrogant Obama counted on three things: an overwhelming majority in Congress to do his bidding, quick passage of his legislation (designed, of course, to lengthen the interval between passage and the midterm election—hoping we’d have time both to forget it all and to become accustomed to whatever entitlements we might receive), and the sheer immensity of a scheme that kept potentially troublesome provisions deeply hidden.

Instead, the process dragged-on for several months, his own majority proved stubborn, and we already know many of the dirty little secrets he’d have preferred to have kept hidden a bit longer. As the election draws near, passions may not have time to subside to a level to be of value to him; conversely, November is still far enough in the future to permit careful examination of his “masterpiece.” (Burying the devil in the details is a two-edged sword; it lessens the initial impact—but it repeatedly brings the legislation back to the voters’ attention as all those surprises are brought into the daylight a little at a time, thereby preventing its fading from memory prior to the election.)

Appearing in Iowa City shortly after signing the legislation, Obama invited Republicans intent on repealing the measure to “Go for it. Be my guest.” He, too, realizes that people quickly become content with entitlements—and resist having them taken away.

He might be well-advised to be careful what he wishes for; while some provisions took effect immediately, many of them will take years. There’s considerable doubt as to who will benefit from what, and how soon—and what percentage of the vote they will constitute in seven months’ time.

Giving the devil his due, Obama managed to eke-out a political victory when he needed it; again, however, the cost is still undetermined. Flush with his (Pyrrhic?) win, he’s been quick to claim broad acceptance of his plan; he sees it as a shot in the arm to advance his agenda (whatever that is). However, his reliance on strong-arm tactics and blatant bribery belie his campaign promise of “changing the way Washington does business”—or any other kind of change, either. His is the classic machine politics, Chicago-style thuggery on a larger scale. His promised openness and transparency long ago went by the wayside; by now, the criticism of his secret back-room deals has spilled-over from the much-maligned right-wing (and the much-reviled Fox News) into the mainstream. As far back as early January, even CNN had to take note. (See video of Jack Cafferty’s commentary of January 6, 2010.)


The political cost to Democrats? That remains to be seen. As Obama himself said last month during the Blair House tête-à-tête: “That’s what elections are for.”

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Posted in corruption, economy, education, election, health care costs, health care insurance, health care reform, insurance, obama, ObamaCare, politics, Reid, vote | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Could the Political Theater Possibly Get Any More Absurd?

Posted by The Curmudgeon on March 10, 2010

Honest…you can’t make this stuff up.

Political junkies, commentators, and bloggers everywhere are wallowing in an orgiastic embarrassment of riches—thanks in no small measure to the tireless efforts of the triumvirate of Obama, Reid, and Pelosi. Writer’s block became a thing of the past the moment this bunch came to power; with such fertile ground, who could ever be at a loss for ideas?

Consider Pelosi’s latest gem, referring to health care reform: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it away from the fog of controversy.”

Hunh?

Throughout the health care reform saga, we’ve basically been told: “Trust me.” Somewhere in those roughly five thousand pages (between the House and the Senate versions, collectively) of esoteric legislative proposals, we’re supposed to eventually find the justification for all the arm-twisting, political payoffs, sweetheart deals, and secret planning sessions; if one accepts Pelosi’s premise (by the way…there’s a bridge in Brooklyn that may be of interest), she’s on some holy quest to bring this masterpiece to the masses—that they may someday be able to comprehend it and appreciate its beauty…much like all that modern art that we’re all too unsophisticated to grasp (you know; the stuff that looks like it was painted by a heavily medicated pre-schooler). Why, it’s such a wonderful plan that all three members of the aforementioned triumvirate (and all of Congress) expressly exempted themselves from it so that we wouldn’t have to share it with them. How generous and altruistic of them. And knowing that we’re all too stupid to know a good thing when we see it, they’re trying earnestly to spare us the anguish of determining whether to buy a pig in a poke by deciding the matter for us—requiring only that we be left holding the bag.

Reid? Oh, so much potential, there. The one guy in Washington who out-Bidens even Joe Biden with his ill-considered outbursts. One must wonder whether he was given a pass for his infamous “Negro dialect” comment about Obama less for his past record and more because even his associates and supporters know he’s an idiot. When he speaks, the result is most often one of two reactions: viewers must resist mightily the temptation to throw something at the TV—or simply scratch their heads in wonderment.

Obama, of course, surrounds himself with casts of characters that never fail to provide fodder; it’s unclear, however, to what degree their antics are attributable to Obama, himself.

Though (now) former congressman Eric Massa’s bizarre allegations about Rahm Emanuel accosting him in the shower have been pretty much discredited,—…well, it is Rahm Emanuel, after all; there isn’t much that seems over-the-top for him. Congressman Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania claims that the Obama gang (again, it’s unclear which of the miscreants was actually responsible) tried to bribe him with the promise of a job in an attempt to discourage him from opposing Senator Arlen Specter’s re-election bid; while the administration has issued denials, Obama’s track record of buying-off his opponents leads one to wonder. And it’s been fun watching Robert Gibbs hem and haw about the matter during press briefings. Attorney General Eric Holder raised quite a stir with his(?) decision to have the 9/11 trials held in New York City; it seems now that Obama may be leaning toward holding the trials elsewhere—which raises the possibility that the original trial announcement was actually a trial balloon to test the political wind, allowing Obama to transfer the heat to others (at least he didn’t try to employ his favored “Blame Bush” strategy).

And the Head Beagle, Himself? Obama provides virtually unlimited material. From his insistence on making a daily television appearance to his obsession with secrecy to his artful dodging of firm stances on issues, he’s a veritable bottomless font of fodder for pundits (well…for those pundits, at least, who aren’t already in the tank for the guy—which largely excludes the mythical “mainstream media” sources that don’t very accurately reflect mainstream thinking). As is common with megalomaniacs, he feels a need to personally control everything and avoid accountability for anything (though he seems not at all averse to claiming credit when it’s politically advantageous to do so)—which again casts doubt on Holder’s role in deciding where to hold the 9/11 trials; it’s clearly out of character for him to leave such a decision to anyone else—but very much typical of him to shift the blame to his underling in the event the whole plan might go south…which it obviously did.

The only mystery is how such a band of seasoned political pros (which they are—no matter how vigorously some insist that they’re “outsiders” unsullied by typical D.C. politics) could prove so inept. There’s nothing artful about them, no deft touch; they need their supermajorities and sheer brute power to get anything done. Far removed from the art of consensus-building, their over-reliance on bribery, bullying, and brow-beating betray their shortcomings.

It’s no mystery how they came to power—and in that reason one finds the rationale for Pelosi’s empty-headed pronouncement. Voters did buy a pig in the poke when they elected Obama; un-vetted, shrouded in secrecy, he nonetheless won. Queen Nancy apparently figures that since the electorate bought one mystery pig, they’ll quietly accept another.

In other words…since we were already left holding the bag once, we won’t object to a repeat performance.

All of which, ironically, brings an odd happiness to bloggers; we’re never at a loss for ideas, these days.

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Posted in corruption, health care costs, health care insurance, health care reform, obama, ObamaCare, Pelosi, politics, Reid | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »