Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: August 11, 2011

Republican Debate Liveblog

Well, CoverItLive completely crapped out. So I guess the live bit is down to me manually updating the liveblog, like some kind of animal.

1917: Ron Paul says we need to mind our own business. Iran is a problem because we overthrew Mossadegh and installed the Shah.

1919: Ron Paul now seems to be saying we have to try terrorists, and not reject the rule of law. Not just say someone is a terrorist and then shoot ‘em.

1921: Yeah, I’m sure Rick Santorum is extremely concerned that Iran’s mullahs violate the rights of gays. Paul: That’s war propaganda.

1922: Ron Paul is quite the isolationist. I get Paul’s stance, but I certainly worry that ignoring the world will result in another Pearl Harbor. Although, having said that, we spent several years ticking the Japanese off prior to Pearl.

1929: The Lovely Christine thinks Herman Cain is weak. “Go back to selling pizzas.”

1931: Romney wants a Federal Marriage amendment to the Constitution to ban gay marriage. Jon Huntsman, on the other hand, loves him some Civil Unions for gays. Ron Paul could care less. Rick Santorum doesn’t like it all. Doesn’t think much of abortion, either. Even in cases of rape.

1939: Romney wants personal unemployment accounts, rather than unemployment benefits.

1942: Huntsman wants to end the EPA’s regulatory power, and have more industry in the US.

1943: Bachmann: This increase in debt and the debt ceiling is madness, and the S&P downgrade proves it.

1945: Cain: Cap gains tax to 0%. Tax breaks to companies that bring profits back to the US.

1947: The Fed needs more transparency, according to Gingrich, and needs a sound money policy. But we still need it. Paul is happy that the issue of the Fed is getting some traction.

1949: Santorum thinks the Fed should be audited, but Ron Paul is a crank. Pot. Kettle.

1954: Huntsman says No Child Left behind should be scrapped. Cain says the federal Govermne t should be out of the business of micro-managing education.

1959: Closing statements of any interest: Ron Paul: Liberty is my chief value. Perhaps the only candidate for which that’s true. Romney: Obama is an economic incompetent. Huntsman: This nation is hurting and it’s bankrupt. Debt is killing us. Gingrich: The election is 15 months away. This country is in crisis now. We need leadership.

So, that was it. No one really grabbed me. Did anyone grab you?

Still not getting it – - Democratic Rep to introduce “Progressive” jobs bill

It might come as a surprise to some, but the bill Democrat Representative Jan Schakowsky (IL) plans to introduce as a jobs bill is long on borrowing money we don’t have and funneling that money through ineffective government programs.  Apparently they still don’t get it.

The member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus would spend $227 billion dollars and, best case, create 2.2 million jobs (or, again best case, a little over $108,000 a dollar a job).  Her plan reads like something from the Franklin Roosevelt administration:

Under her plan, the following policies would be implemented:

  • The School Improvement Corps would create 400,000 construction and 250,000 maintenance jobs by funding positions created by public school districts to do needed school rehabilitation improvements.
  • The Park Improvement Corps would create 100,000 jobs for youth between the ages of 16 and 25 through new funding to the Department of the Interior and the USDA Forest Service’s Public Lands Corps Act. Young people would work on conservation projects on public lands including the restoration and rehabilitation of natural, cultural, and historic resources.
  • The Student Jobs Corps would create 250,000 more part-time work study jobs for eligible college students through new funding for the Federal Work Study Program.
  • The Neighborhood Heroes Corps would hire 300,000 new teachers, 40,000 new police officers and 12,000 new firefighters.
  • The Health Corps would hire at least 40,000 health care providers, including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, and health care workers to expand access in underserved rural and urban areas.
  • The Child Care Corps would create 100,000 jobs in early childhood care and education through additional funding for Early Head Start.
  • The Community Corps would hire 750,000 individuals to do needed work in communities, including housing rehab, weatherization, recycling, and rural conservation.

Perusing the list, there’s absolutely no possible threat of waste, fraud and abuse, is there?  750,000 people hired to “work in the community” doing “recycling” and “rural conservation?”   “Weatherization”?  Nope, no chance of waste, fraud and abuse, none at all.

Of course, nowhere in there other than initially, is there any mechanism to fund the “jobs” created in the future.  They’d last as long as the $227 billion did and then the jobs would go away.   That would include the teachers, police officers and firefighters.  Those are simply in the plan to make it sound more acceptable.  If the localities who will get the teachers, police and firefighters funded by this boondoggle can’t afford to hire them now, chances are very good they won’t be able to keep them when the money runs out.

The jobs listed are also mostly make work jobs on make work projects that might be nice to have done, but aren’t going to contribute to the private economy (the actual engine of the economy) in any meaningful way.   Nothing is really “produced”, no wealth is created, no revenue – other than salaries – is taxable.

And finally, which health care providers is “Health Corps” going to hire?  There’s a shortage of health care providers in the private market.   Why in the world would they leave that to work for government in “underserved rural and urban areas?”

It is clear with Rep. Schakowsky’s proposal that the Progressive side of the aisle still don’t get it.   How much louder do the American people have to shout to be heard?

Cut spending.  Make government smaller.  Make government less costly.

Rep. Schakowsky and the Progressives are still stuck in the 20th century. We’re already living the Raw Deal thanks to spendthrifts like her.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Furor–Obama ignores rules for a photo op at Dover ceremony for dead SEALS

The military community is not happy and it has good reason not to be. What was feared by many has indeed come to pass. For years, the military did not allow pictures to be taken by the media when the bodies of the dead killed in battle were repatriated through Dover AFB, DE. It was, many considered, a private affair within the military. Held with the utmost solemnity, these ceremonies gave due honors to those who had made the ultimate sacrifice.

But the critics made the case that Americans should see the result of wars, the human cost and eventually they won the day.   However warnings that such events could be used for political purposes as well seemed to fall on deaf ears.   In the end, it was agreed that only if the families of the dead agreed would any media picture taking be allowed.

As you might imagine, no media was allowed to cover the solemn homecoming for those killed in the horrific helicopter incident in Afghanistan this past week.  AP tells us why:

Under a Pentagon policy set in 2009, media coverage at the Dover base is allowed only when family members of the war dead approve. In the case of multiple sets of remains returning as a group, photographers take pictures of those approved caskets only and are ushered away before the remains of any troops whose families declined coverage are brought out of the plane.

The Pentagon said that in this case no family could give permission because any given case could contain the remains of troops whose families did not want coverage. The Pentagon said that during initial notification of next of kin, 19 of the 30 families said they did not want media coverage.

The AP and other media organizations argued that images could be taken of the tarmac, plane or dignitaries that would depict the occasion without showing a casket.

End of story, right?  Wrong.

An official White House photo of a saluting Obama was distributed to news media and published widely. It also was posted on the White House website as the "Photo of the Day." It showed Obama and other officials in silhouette and did not depict caskets.

Doug Wilson, head of public affairs at the Pentagon, said the department did not know the White House photographer was present and had no idea a photo of the event was being released until it became public. He said the photographers who routinely travel with the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were not allowed to go to the event, and no official Pentagon photos were taken or released.

Argument for doing so?

When asked about the photo Wednesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the picture was carefully taken so that it did not show the cases containing remains.

"The White House routinely releases photos taken by the White House photographers in specific circumstances where it would be inappropriate to include members of the media," Carney said. "In this case, the White House released the photo, in the interests of transparency, so that the American people could have as much insight as possible into this historic and sobering event."

Or, to heck with policy and the wants of the families, i.e. no media coverage, this “historic and sobering event” was just too much of an opportunity for Obama to bask in the reflected glory of men better than him to pass up.  Jay Carney had to go into overdrive to try to spin this in a positive way.   Transparency has become an excuse, not a goal, for when Obama wants to ignore the rules and do something most would deem inappropriate – like this.

This has caused a minor furor in the blogosphere.   Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive, perhaps the premier milblog, vents his feelings:

Anyone with an dime’s worth of decency would have known better than to use such an event, but that is simply part of Obama’s lack of character. He couldn’t just attend, he had top make sure that all the voting public knew he was there. It is sad to watch such a complete tool use the military, and worse our war dead, to attempt to create an image of a serious Commander in Chief. I don’t doubt that on some level Obama cares about the dead troops, but just a whole lot less than he cares about himself.

Jimbo also reacts to Carney’s spin:

No sentient being believes that one of the least transparent administrations in our history was making sure we had insight. This was another pathetic example of our Campaigner in Chief doing the only thing he is even marginally competent at, promoting himself. I didn’t believe it was possible for Obama to debase himself and show his complete self-absorption any more than he already had. I was wrong.

Jonn Lilyea at “This Ain’t Hell” sums it up best:

So the White House doesn’t follow it’s own rules and doesn’t see a need to comply with the wishes of the family…especially when a great photo opportunity presents itself. When was the last time that the President went to Dover, anyway? I think it was when they first allowed photographers to snap pictures of the returning victims of war, wasn’t it?

I see the President still doesn’t know to salute properly, either.

He’s right – it actually looks like he’s preparing to thumb his nose.  And in fact, he did just that to the 19 families that wanted no coverage.

If you want to see the photo, you’ll have to chase it down.  I’m not posting it here.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Indicators — Will a disappointed left turn out for Obama in 2012?

There are any number of indicators that point out that perhaps the left is both dispirited and disappointed with Obama.   That may translate into low turnout in 2012.  And while many will argue his campaign money machine will overcome that, we’ve seen examples where money was lavished on campaigns but the results of elections were less than expected.

Take the recent Wisconsin recall election for example.   Unions and outside liberal interests pumped in more than $35 million dollars to opposed 6 Republican Senators.  The goal, despite the spine the left is now trying to establish, was to oust enough to take back the majority in the Senate and block Governor Walker’s agenda.  The result was the recall of 2 and allowing the GOP to keep their Senate majority.  The $35 million spent on these 6 elections was almost double the $19 million spent on all 115 recent Wisconsin legislative elections and just a couple million short of the governor’s election total.

What that indicates is an inability, in a reliably liberal state and despite the money spent, to motivate enough voters to go to the polls and turn out the Republican.  We’re repeatedly told that polls indicate Republicans are exceedingly unpopular, but the only poll that counts – this time in Wisconsin – doesn’t bear that out.

If the union machine can’t reliably turn out voters in a mostly liberal state for an election like this, what does that portend for Obama?

Gov. Scott Walker faces a recall election soon and polls are claiming it will be close.  Maybe.  But here’s a little clinker for the left.  It appears his “agenda” is working and doing what it is supposed to do.

Indicator two:   Talk of a primary opponent for Obama.   I’m not sure it will happen, but it does indicate deep dissatisfaction with the incumbent.  The Daily Beast reports this anecdote:

At a New York political event last week, Republican and Democratic office-holders were all bemoaning President Obama’s handling of the debt-ceiling crisis when someone said, “Hillary would have been a better president.”

“Every single person nodded, including the Republicans,” reported one observer.

The entire point of the article was to highlight the 18 million Hillary supporters saying “I told you so”.  They weren’t particularly enthusiastic about voting for Obama last election.  How enthusiastic will they be in 2012?

Indicator three:  Town Hall meetings.  In 2010 they were the venue in which the Tea Party’s anger was vented.   And we saw a wave election follow.  This year, indications are that the Town Halls may be dominated by dispirited and complaining liberals, if what Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) experienced becomes common.

On Tuesday night, McCollum’s fellow Democrats packed a music recital hall at St. Catherine University to give the six-term congresswoman an earful about their disappointment with Obama and his economic and military policies.

The crowd of about 150 was largely friendly and civil, but they were passionate about their opposition to the conservative policies flowing from the Republican-controlled Congress and what they consider an all-too-conciliatory White House.

John from St. Paul wanted to know why Obama has moved to the right. "Whose side is he on?" he asked. "What are progressives telling him?"

Just what Democratic members of Congress want to have to do, defend an increasingly unpopular president’s record.   Just ask the GOP how well that works.  What one can expect to see is an attempt by many Democrats to distance themselves from Obama if they feel he is a liability come election time.   Oh, and a little clue as to the major issue in this next election (as if anyone paying attention really needs a clue) came out during the question and answer session:

While liberals dominated the question-and-answer session, a woman who identified herself as a fiscal conservative received a warm ovation when she told the congresswoman, "You’ve got to look for ways to live within your means."

She bottom-lined it for them.   Now liberals in Congress have got to find a way to do what the woman said while trying to save their favorite welfare programs. 

These indicators, all preliminary at this point, give a picture of an incumbent president in trouble.  His base is dissatisfied and dispirited.  Even in an election which the left raised to national prominence and spent lavishly on, they were unsuccessful in accomplishing their goal.  The 18 million Hillary supporters who loyally pulled the lever for him last time aren’t at all happy with him and may not show up to vote for him this time around.  And liberals in general are expressing their dissatisfaction with his performance.

Worst of all, Barack Obama has to actually run on a record for the first time in his life.  And that record is certainly nothing to brag about.   2012 should be a very interesting election season.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO