#MTsen: Who does John Walsh think he is? Joe Biden?

July 23, 2014
Cheater?

Cheater?

Well, this is embarrassing. The Democratic nominee for the seat once held by Max Baucus (D – Train Wreck), who is now Ambassador to China, has been called out by no less than that arch-conservative rag The New York Times for plagiarizing his Army War College master’s thesis:

Democrats were thrilled when John Walsh of Montana was appointed to the United States Senate in February. A decorated veteran of the Iraq war and former adjutant general of his state’s National Guard, Mr. Walsh offered the Democratic Party something it frequently lacks: a seasoned military man.

On the campaign trail this year, Mr. Walsh, 53, has made his military service a main selling point. Still wearing his hair close-cropped, he notes he was targeted for killing by Iraqi militants and says his time in uniform informs his views on a range of issues.

But one of the highest-profile credentials of Mr. Walsh’s 33-year military career appears to have been improperly attained. An examination of the final paper required for Mr. Walsh’s master’s degree from the United States Army War College indicates the senator appropriated at least a quarter of his thesis on American Middle East policy from other authors’ works, with no attribution.

Mr. Walsh completed the paper, what the War College calls a “strategy research project,” to earn his degree in 2007, when he was 46. The sources of the material he presents as his own include academic papers, policy journal essays and books that are almost all available online.

Read the rest; it’s pretty damning stuff, as in wholesale cutting-and-pasting from publicly available think-tank reports. For example:

Mr. Walsh writes: “Democracy promoters need to engage as much as possible in a dialogue with a wide cross section of influential elites: mainstream academics, journalists, moderate Islamists, and members of the professional associations who play a political role in some Arab countries, rather than only the narrow world of westernized democracy and human rights advocates.”

The same exact sentence appears on the sixth page of a 2002 Carnegie paper written by four scholars at the research institute. In all, Mr. Walsh’s recommendations section runs to more than 800 words, nearly all of it taken verbatim from the Carnegie paper, without any footnote or reference to it.

As we used to say in school, “bus-TED!”

Naturally, the Democrats will immediately call on Senator Walsh to withdraw from the race, if not resign, so… Wait. I’m sorry, I’m mixing that up with what the Democrats would do if a Republican were the miscreant. In Walsh’s case, he fits right in with the party’s leaders.

Walsh is fighting to keep this seat for the Democrats against Republican challenger Rep. Steve Daines. Daines has been doing well in the polls, and this scandal isn’t likely to help Senator Walsh, but this is no time to get comfortable. You’ll find Steve Daines’ web site here. If you can, send him some money.

Because every seat counts.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) apparently has trouble with the Constitution

July 13, 2014

dunce_cap

So, I’m enjoying a quiet morning and reading an article on the reactions of the various candidates for the US Senate from Alaska to the Hobby Lobby decision, when I come across this howler from the incumbent, Mark Begich:

“I believe people, not corporations, have a right to practice their constitutional right to freedom of religion, but not at the expense of others,” said Begich.

Sigh.

It’s tough to decide whether Senator Begich, whose seat is not secure, is just ignorant of what the Supreme Court decided, the Constitution, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or if he’s a desperate hack just reciting DNC talking points. Of course, both could be true. But the key to that quote above is the senator’s odd belief that, upon forming a corporation, individuals somehow give up their natural rights.

Senator Begich, meet the First Amendment. First Amendment, meet Senator Begich:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The right to peaceably assemble has been held to include the right to freely associate. See, for example, NAACP v. Alabama (1958), which held, in effect, that individuals do not give up their rights when they form an association (1). And a corporation is an association of individuals with rights and inherits those rights:

Corporations have rights because natural persons have rights. It is sometimes said that corporations are “creations of the state,” but that’s not really true. Corporations are created by people — they are merely recognized by the state. 

To deny the rights of a “legal person,” such as a corporation, is no different than denying those rights to the individuals who own that corporation. Perhaps the newspaper editors of Senator Begich’s home state would like to ask him if their papers, in his view, lack the rights of free speech and freedom of the press, also recognized by the First Amendment, simply because they’re incorporated businesses. The answer should be interesting.

PS: Democrats sure have a problem with that whole freedom and democracy thing, don’t they? Why, yes. Yes they do.

Footnote:
(1) In short, the state of Alabama demanded the NAACP surrender its membership lists. The NAACP argued –correctly, given the times– that this loss of their members’ privacy would have a chilling affect on their members rights of free speech and free association.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


What about *your* gaffes, Hillary?

July 3, 2014

Yes, my friends, it’s time once again for one of our favorite games, “If it had been a Republican…”

Remember, how, back in the 2012 campaign, the press and the Democrat support groups (redundant, I know) hounded Republican nominee Mitt Romney over supposed misstatements and gaffes while on a foreign tour? I can recall one incident in particular, when Romney was in Poland and his campaign wanted to deal US foreign policy issues, a reporter chased after him shouting “What about your gaffes??” The purpose, of course, was to plant the idea with the public that Mitt’s minor faux pas showed he wasn’t qualified to be president.

In which case, I eagerly await Hillary being pestered about her foot-in-mouth moments:

The former Secretary of State, who’s been heavily promoting her new book “Hard Choices” in a likely precursor to running for president in 2016, appeared to state the Conservative and Tory Parties in Britain were rival political parties during a BBC interview.

“Tory” is in fact another name for the Conservative Party in Britain.

Asked by the host what she thought of the “Special Relationship” between the U.S. and Great Britain, Clinton declared it was “very special between our countries.”

“There’s not just a common language, but a common set of values that we can fall back on,” she said. “It doesn’t matter in our country whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat or frankly, in your country, whether it’s a Conservative or a Tory. There is a level of trust and understanding. That doesn’t mean we always agree because, of course, we don’t.”

As the article points out, Hillary was our Secretary of State, who had to deal with our close allies in the UK on a nearly daily basis, and yet she didn’t know “Tory” and “Conservative” were synonyms? It reminds me of the recent Obama ambassadorial appointee who didn’t know his soon-to-be host country, Norway, has a king and not a president.

For supposedly being so much smarter than everyone else and for all their claiming to know what’s best for us, progressives sure are ignorant of the wider world, no?

Of course, it could easily have been a simple slip of the tongue on Hillary’s part, saying “Conservative and Tory” when she meant “Conservative and Labor,” the kind of mental backfire we’re all subject to from time to time.

But not all of us are (probably) running for president, an office that has almost sole control over US foreign affairs, including relations with one of our closest allies.

And so I expect the MSM to grill Hillary mercilessly over this gaffe, hounding her incessantly with questions about her competence and knowledge

Just as soon as she becomes a Republican.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Did Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) threaten a presidential coup d’etat?

June 27, 2014
Lackey

Lackey

The topic was immigration, both the current crisis at the border and the Democrats’ desperate desire to have the House pass the comprehensive amnesty bill already approved in the Senate. You can read the whole thing at PJM, but I think the senior senator at Illinois might want to walk this part back:

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) piled on. Noting that a year has passed since the Senate passed a sweeping immigration reform bill with broad bipartisan support, he urged House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to bring a similar bill to the floor.

“I don’t know how much more time he thinks he needs, but I hope that Speaker Boehner will speak up today,” Durbin said. “And if he does not, the president will borrow the power that is needed to solve the problems of immigration.”

“Borrow the power,” Dick? Pray, under what authority would the president, to whom the Constitution assigns no lawmaking power (that’s your job, Dickie-boy), “borrow” the power to “solve the problem,” that is, to make law? What you mean is that he would unilaterally seize the power and abuse his administrative authority and prosecutorial discretion (even more than he already has) to create a new immigration reality (and millions of new Democratic voters, you hope) by fiat. By ukase. By his will, alone.

You call it “borrowing power,” Dick.

A rational person, on the other hand, and not some fawning courtier of a liberal fascist, calls it what it is: dictatorship.

Resign, Dick. You’re a disgrace to your oath of office.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Hillary Clinton does not want to be compared to Mitt Romney

June 26, 2014

800px-Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_crop

Lady Macbeth sure stuck her foot in it when she claimed she and Bill were “broke” when they left the White House — just before moving into a multi-million dollar home in Chappaqua, New York, that is. Now even liberal PBS is giving her a Spockian raised eyebrow at her claims to know what it’s like to struggle financially, to be one with the middle class. Hot Air has the video, but I want to call your attention to this bit:

“I shouldn’t have said the five or so words that I said, but my inartful use of those few words doesn’t change who I am,” Clinton told PBS NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill on Wednesday, referring to comments she made that she and her husband Bill were “dead broke” when they left the White House. She later tried to clarify her comments by saying the couple was different from others who are “truly well off” and don’t pay “ordinary income tax.”

In the interview, Clinton accused others of taking her comments out of context or trying to “create some caricature.” When Ifill noted that such a strategy “sticks sometimes—ask Mitt Romney,” Clinton emphatically rebuked the connection.

“That’s a false equivalency,” Clinton said. “People can judge me for what I’ve done. And I think when somebody’s out in the public eye, that’s what they do. So I’m fully comfortable with who I am, what I stand for and what I’ve always stood for.”

She’s right, it is a false equivalency. Mitt Romney, after all, made his wealth the Evil Way(tm)(1): he earned it by starting his own business, working long hours, taking risks until he found himself a multi-millionaire, at which point he turned himself toward public service.

Hillary, on the other hand, earned her money the Good Way(tm)(2): by marrying herself to a rising star of a politician, perhaps the most skillful of his age, and sticking with him through thick and thin — ignoring that he was a randy old goat of a serial philanderer who humiliated her publicly and, per Christopher Hitchens, may be a rapist — until she reached the White House. After some nondescript years in the Senate, she got her next big break, becoming Secretary of State… by the grace of the man who beat her in the 2008 primaries. Over all these years, from wife of a governor to wife of a president to chief diplomat for another president, any fortune she’s made and power she’s accumulated has been based on her dependence on men.

Yep, it is wrong to draw an equivalency between Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney.

And unfair to Mitt.

PS: Yes, this was mean of me, but her faux-feminism, her hypocrisy about wealth, and her ludicrous “woman of the people” act makes me ill.

Footnote:
(1) If you’re a progressive.
(2) See above.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) #Benghazi — why it matters

June 19, 2014

Aside from owing a true accounting to the memories of the dead lost there and their survivors, the truth about the Benghazi massacre matters because of two words: “competence” and “character.”  Bill Whittle explains:

Remember, one of the two top American officials mentioned in the video plainly desires to be President of the United States. Ignore the faux-outrage of her supporters; questions about Hillary Clinton’s conduct, competence, and character before, during, and after the attack are absolutely appropriate.

And the answers should disqualify her from office.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Efficient as ever, Hillary Clinton attacks 1st and 2nd amendments in one sentence

June 18, 2014

liberal tolerance

Hey, why only gut one amendment in the Bill of Rights when you can trash two at the same time? It’s a progressive win-win!

During a televised town hall, Hillary Clinton was asked about guns, and said that the viewpoint held by gun-rights advocates “terrorizes” the majority of Americans.

The town hall, broadcast live on CNN on Tuesday, closely resembled a commercial for Clinton’s new memoir, “Hard Choices.”

(…)

“We cannot let a minority of people – and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people – hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people,” said Clinton.

Get that? Not only are you allowed to own firearms only at the sufferance of the State, but you are not even allowed to hold a point of view that differs from the majority opinion, presumably as long as that majority happens to agree with the progressive statist position.

And “terrorizes?” Really, Hillary? I’m not allowed to hold the opinion that the natural right to self-defense allows me and all other Americans to arm ourselves and that the Bill of Rights recognizes that unalienable right against government power, because said opinion might make your neighbors in Chappaqua get the vapors? How weird. In all my reading about the American Founding and our constitutional settlement, I never ran across the part that talked about how we have free speech as long as it isn’t scary. I don’t recall Voltaire saying “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it, as long as it does not offend the majority.”

Hey, Hillary? What about other minorities? Blacks in the 1950s and 1960s were of the opinion that they held the same natural and civil rights as other Americans and loudly demonstrated to demand those rights be honored. That surely scared the majority Whites at the time, so should Blacks have not been allowed to hold those opinions? I’m curious for your thoughts on the matter.

File this away for 2016, folks, should Lady Macbeth decide to run: it is the opinion of a leading candidate for President of the United States, who swears an oath to uphold, protect, and defend the Constitution –including the Bill of Rights– that you are only allowed to express your own opinions as long as most people are comfortable with them.

Comforting, isn’t it?

h/t Bryan Preston

PS: Hillary is no outlier for her party: just the other day, President Obama was praising Australia’s draconian gun confiscation law. The simple truth is that the Left approves of the Constitution only when it is convenient to them.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Pelosi channels Whoopie Goldberg on the #VAscandal: It’s not really a scandal-scandal…

May 29, 2014

Oh, brother.

While her minions race to the microphones to denounce VA Secretary Shinseki before the voters take out their wrath on them, House Minority Leader (1) Nancy Pelosi took the softball question lobbed to her by Vox’s Ezra Klein (2) and explained that, yes, the poor treatment of veterans was scandalous, but she wasn’t sure if it really was a “scandal:”

Gee, Nancy, it sure seems to me that VA administrators and employees manipulating federal records to hide the poor treatment of veterans and win themselves some bonuses amounts to a scandal. Maybe even a criminal matter. What else do you need? Oh, wait. I know.

An (R) after the president’s name.

via The Right Scoop

Footnote:
(1) And a person very much responsible for creating that minority. Thanks, Nancy!
(2) He who thinks the Constitution is too old to understand.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Opposition to #Obamacare is racist, and why Democrats love the race card

May 25, 2014

Liberal tolerance racist

Oh, brother. If we needed any more convincing that it was well-past time for Senator Jay Rockfeller (D-WV) to retire and never be heard from again, this clip of him not just playing the race card, but slamming it on the table and dancing around it should do the trick:

(h/t David Freddoso)

Apparently the senator’s “analysis” was aimed at Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), who was at the hearing. Naturally, Johnson took offense:

“My opposition to health care has nothing to do with the race of President Obama,” Johnson said. “I objected to this because it’s an assault on our freedom. … I found it very offensive that you would basically imply that I’m a racist because I oppose this health care law.”

“You’re evidently satisfied with a lot of people not having health insurance,” Rockefeller responded.

“I am not. Quit making those assumptions. Quit saying I’m satisfied with that. I’m not. There’s another way of doing this,” Johnson said. “Please, don’t assume, don’t make implications of what I’m thinking and what I would really support. You have no idea.”

“I actually do,” Rockefeller said. “God help you.”

“No senator, God help you for implying I’m a racist,” Johnson replied.

Thankfully, Senator Rockefeller (D-RaceBaiter) will retire in January, hopefully to be replaced by Republican Shelley Moore Capito.

But the senator from West Virginia didn’t just slam his colleague from Wisconsin; he cavalierly insulted all of us who oppose the Affordable Care Act. While I can’t speak for others, let me recapitulate the reasons I oppose it:

Political Philosophy: By placing the State in charge of people’s healthcare, you fundamentally alter the relationship between citizen and State, turning free people into dependent wards of a Leviathan-like government and taking away their control over a crucial part of their own lives. To a conservative/classical liberal like me, this is a bad thing.

Constitutionalism: Congress has no authority –none!– to force a citizen to buy a private product under penalty of law. This is an abominable legislative usurpation and a trammeling of individual liberty. It tortures the Commerce Clause until it begs for mercy. It goes against the spirit and intent of our founding documents, and the Supreme Court, in the worst decision since Korematsu, was wrong to uphold the law.

Bad Law: I’ll be more charitable than Senator Rockefeller and stipulate that most voting for this law thought they were doing good and helping people. But that doesn’t justify defending a law that just isn’t working. It’s not even meeting its basic goals: healthcare premiums are still skyrocketing; millions have lost the insurance they liked; millions have lost access to the doctors they liked; and, even when you have insurance, you may not be able to find a physician who will take you. (Really. Watch that one.) When a law performs as poorly as this, is it any wonder people hate it? Are they all racists, Jay?

Somehow, looking over those reasons, I think it’s safe to say the President’s ancestry doesn’t matter to me and my opposition to his miserable law. In fact, I can quite honestly say I couldn’t give a rat’s rear end about President Obama’s race.

But I don’t expect you to get that, Senator.

PS: On a lighter note, I’m happy to say Andrew Klavan is back at last making satirical political videos. Longtime readers will recall my love for his “Klavan on the Culture” series. Now he’s returned, producing them for Truth Revolt. (He also still works with PJMedia and PJTV) In this video, he explains what we’ve all wondered: Just why do Democrats call us racist? Enjoy.

Welcome back, Andrew! smiley dance

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Democrats’ anti-constitutional constitutional amendment. Updated

May 19, 2014
"Senate Grinch"

Hates free speech

Upset by court rulings that, in effect, declare that “free speech” really means free speech, Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) introduced a constitutional amendment granting Congress sweeping powers to regulate campaign expenditures, both monetary and “in kind.” This amendment has the full support of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV):

“The shadowy Koch brothers are attempting… a hostile takeover of American democracy,” Reid charged Thursday. “No one should be able to pump unlimited funds into a political campaign.”

Reid urged his fellow lawmakers to support a proposed constitutional amendment, written by Democratic Sen. Tom Udall and co-sponsored by 40 of the Senate’s 55 Democrats, that would give Congress the right to regulate all political contributions and all spending of any kind in all federal elections. (It would also give states the power to do the same in state elections.) The Supreme Court has held such far-reaching restrictions to be unconstitutional, which is why Reid wants to take the extreme step of changing the nation’s founding document.

“Amending our Constitution is not something we take lightly,” Reid said. “But the flood of special interest money into our American democracy is one of the greatest threats our system of government has ever faced.”

You know, I fully expect Reid to soon start ranting about strawberries. But, back to the Left’s latest assault on free speech, here’s the key excerpt from the proposed amendment:

Congress shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to federal elections, including setting limits on (1) the amount of contributions to candidates for nomination for election to, or for election to, federal office, and (2) the amount of funds that may be spent by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.

Byron York is right, of course: this amendment has no chance of passing the Senate and House, where two-thirds votes are needed, nor has it any chance of being approved by three-fourths of the state legislatures. It’s another attempt to find an issue that will get their base voters excited for the coming election and distract from the rolling Obamacare disaster by invoking two great liberal demons — the Koch brothers (1) and the Citizens United decision.

What is disturbing, however, is Reid and the Democrats’ willingness to put themselves on record as willing to curb our fundamental freedoms, free speech being a natural, unalienable right, in pursuit of short-term electoral goals. It’s emblematic of progressivism, which sees the Constitution as obsolete, and of the Democrats’ predilection for putting their narrow electoral interests ahead of the nation’s well-being — for instance, undercutting American forces even before they enter battle in order to oppose a Republican president. It’s not new, however; we’ve seen plenty of examples in recent years of anti-democratic Democrats, such as former Governor Perdue of North Carolina suggesting that congressional elections be delayed, something not even done during the Civil War, largely because her party was set to do poorly.

It’s not that this amendment would be unconstitutional –by the nature of the process, ratification would make it part of the Constitution and therefore “constitutional”– but its very nature is profoundly and disturbingly anti-constitutional, striking at the concepts of natural rights that are foundational to the Republic. Political speech must be free to have any meaning at all, and that includes expressing your political opinions by donating money and time or other property to further a cause or support a candidate. That the Democrats would think of attacking this fundamental freedom in order to excite their base speaks of a deep rot within their party (2), something that should concern us all.

PS: Take a look at this list of the biggest donors since 1989, and note a couple of things: first, 11 of the top 16 at least lean Democratic. You don’t find one that leans Republican until number 17. And the evil Koch brothers, whom Harry Reid denounces daily like Cato demanding the destruction of Carthage, only place 59th on the list. That alone reveals the vile cynicism of his bleatings: the Majority Leader of the United States Senate by name demagoguing against two American citizens, regardless of the truth. Second, the proposed amendment would require statutes passed by Congress to be implemented. Take a good look again at that donor list: unions and other groups have donated tens of millions to the Democrats, with unions also providing invaluable in-kind donations in the form of campaign volunteers. Does anyone think the Democrats, given half a chance, wouldn’t write implementing legislation that somehow allowed these groups to keep right on helping Democrats? If so, raise your hand; I have a bridge to sell you.

Footnotes:
(1) A pair of libertarian billionaires who are apparently plotting to take over the government with the horrifying goal of leaving us alone. Where do I sign up?
(2) Not that I wholly excuse Republicans. John McCain’s sponsorship of the hateful McCain-Feingold bill revealed him as a constitutional lightweight.

UPDATE: National Review’s Charles Cooke wrote about this a few days and had the following to say:

The move is the final act of a contrived and hamfisted morality play, whose purpose is to cast the Democratic party and its allies as champions of the people and the Kochs as a proxy for all that ails America. Lofty as its broader goal may seek to be, the whole endeavor nevertheless carries with it the ugly smack of the Bill of Attainder — of a change to the nation’s constitutional settlement that serves largely to punish two people that the man with the gavel disdains. Rambling in the general direction of a BuzzFeed reporter earlier this week, Reid inadvertently revealed something about his motivations. His reelection to the Senate in 1998, he griped, “was awful”: “I won it, but just barely. I felt it was corrupting, all this corporate money.” Translation: I almost lost my seat once, so I need the supreme law to protect me. Corruption, schmorruption. This is about power.

Do read the whole thing.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Democrats’ rationale for boycotting the #Benghazi committee just died

May 13, 2014
American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

Oh, they might still try it, though I think they’d be dumb to do so (1), especially when Obama’s former Secretary of Defense and Deputy Director of the CIA say they welcome it:

But Panetta and Morell, noting the attack has been subject to many investigations already, said they welcome the latest one in the House.

“If you look at the polling numbers a not insignificant percentage of the American people still have questions,” Morell said.

Morell, who said he already has testified four times about Benghazi, said he is 100 percent confident the upcoming investigation will show that allegations “the intelligence community politicized its analysis” are false.

Panetta, a former Central Coast congressman and Democratic Party stalwart, said there needs to be an investigation to lay out the full story to the public. “The problem has been sometimes bits and pieces of information keep coming out” that raise more questions, he said.

“Obviously there is a concern whether it’s going to be a political effort to target an issue for a campaign,” Panetta said. “I hope Democrats participate, and it really is a legitimate effort.”

Spoken like two men who have nothing to hide, or at least think they can come through the hearings relatively unscathed. It also makes it very difficult for the White House and State to continue to denounce the committee as a farce or a political stunt (2) when two key former officials say “fine by me.” Given the questions about Obama and Clinton’s actions (or non-actions) with regard to Benghazi, continued resistance may well convince more and more people that there really is something to hide.

One other thing to bear in mind: there’s been friction between the White House (and to a lesser extent State) and the intelligence and military communities for years. One has to wonder if the latter aren’t relishing the opportunity for a little payback.

via Power Line

Footnote:
(1) Come on, if you were Hillary Clinton or Susan Rice or Tommy “Dude” Vietor, among others, would you want to go before this committee with no allies there to at least try to cover for you? And, if you’re the Democrats, do you really want to leave the field to the Republicans, who smell blood?
(2) Of course it’s political — this is what Opposition parties do. But the key is that it is not solely political, and there are indeed very serious questions to answer.

PS: It would help if I put the update on the right post. smiley headbang wall

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Slow-Motion Train Wreck of Entitlement Programs

May 8, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Another of the definitions of insanity: refusal to change policies and programs that are clearly headed for disaster. Also, progressives.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

The Census Bureau just released a report on America’s aging population.

The big takeaway is that our population will be getting much older between now and 2050.

And since I’m a baby boomer, I very much like the fact that we’re expected to live longer.

But as a public finance economist, I’m not nearly as happy.

As I explain in this interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Digital Network (and as confirmed by BIS, OECD, and IMF data), the United States is going to get deluged by a tsunami of entitlement spending.

I mentioned that it’s important to focus on the ratio of workers to retirees. This “dependency ratio” matters because economic output largely is a function of an economy’s working-age population.

To cite my famous cartoons, you need a sufficient number of people pulling the wagon to support those riding in the wagon.

Here’s a chart…

View original 251 more words


#Benghazi: State Dept. knew within hours that it was a terrorist attack

May 5, 2014
American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

And not a demonstration. I don’t know how I missed this over the weekend (1), but the administration’s favorite investigative reporter, Sharyl Attkisson, posted this little bombshell to her site back on the 1st (via Hot Air):

Internal Emails: State Dept. Immediately Attributed Benghazi Attacks to Terrorist Group

A newly-released government email indicates that within hours of the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya; the State Department had already concluded with certainty that the Islamic militia terrorist group Ansar al Sharia was to blame.

The private, internal communication directly contradicts the message that President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice and White House press secretary Jay Carney repeated publicly over the course of the next several weeks. They often maintained that an anti-Islamic YouTube video inspired a spontaneous demonstration that escalated into violence.

The email is entitled “Libya update from Beth Jones. ” Jones was then-Assistant Secretary of State to Hillary Clinton. According to the email, Jones spoke to Libya’s Ambassador at 9:45am on Sept. 12, 2012 following the attacks.

“When [the Libyan Ambassador] said his government suspected that former Qaddafi regime elements carried out the attacks, I told him the group that conducted the attacks—Ansar Al Sharia—is affiliated with Islamic extremists,” Jones reports in the email.

There is no uncertainty assigned to the assessment, which does not mention a video or a protest. The State Department provided the email to Congress in Aug. of 2013 under special conditions that it not be publicly released at that time. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sought and received permission to release it Thursday.

“If the video was a cause, why did Beth Jones of the State Department tell the Libyan Ambassador that Ansar Al Sharia was responsible for the attack?” said Chaffetz.

Gosh, that’s a darned good question Rep. Chaffetz asks. Do you think the forthcoming House special investigative committee on the Benghazi massacre might want to ask that of Ms. Jones, too?

There’s much more in the article about the origin of the controversial “talking points” and the subsequent effort to push the false narrative about a video being the goad for the attack, but I want to draw your attention to the routing of Jones’ email. These are the people copied in:

Among those copied on the emails: Deputy Secretary William Burns; Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman; Jake Sullivan, then-Deputy Chief of Staff (now promoted to national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden); Under Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy; Cheryl Mills, then-Secretary Clinton’s Chief of Staff (now on the board of directors of the global investment firm BlackRock); and Victoria Nuland, then-State Dept. spokesperson (now promoted to Asst. Secretary of State). 

Note particularly the name of Cheryl Mills. We’ve met her before, a couple of times. A longtime Clintonista, she has the reputation of being “Hillary’s fixer.” She was also, as Attkisson reminds us, the Secretary’s chief of staff. If Mills had this information, not to mention the other bigwigs on that list, then it is inconceivable that Hillary herself did not know that it was her department’s firm opinion that the attack was caused by Ansar al Sharia. Add this to the fact that she spoke with the Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya that night  and then think about her promising the bereaved relatives of the victims, just a few days later and as their bodies were being delivered home, that the US would get the video maker. (2)

This wasn’t a case of honestly believing something that turned out to be false. Hillary Clinton was lying to heartbroken people and knew she was lying.

I can’t wait for these hearings to get started. Hillary is going to find out that, at this point, the truth still makes a difference.

RELATED: More Attkisson – Did Tommy “Dude” Vietor contradict the sworn testimony of White House officials? Must-read: Andy McCarthy on the AWOL President. More McCarthy: “Why I should not be the select committee’s special counsel.” Jonah Goldberg: “Benghazi made simple.”

UPDATE: Changed the headline to be a bit more accurate.

Footnote:
(1) Sharyl really needs to get an RSS feed going for her site.
(2) In fact, the very evening of the attack, she put out a press release blaming the video, after she had talked with President Obama, a conversation the contents of which we still do not know.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obama’s economic recovery: the chart tells the story

May 4, 2014

Power Line presents three charts that show what a failure Obama’s statist economic policies have been. Here’s the one that really struck me:

BudgetChart03

(Click the image for the full-sized version.)

This chart from the US Senate Budget Committee compares the trend in the labor force participation rate, roughly the percentage of the working age population that is either employed or looking for work, during the recovery from recession under both President Reagan and President Obama. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2007 recession began in December of that year. Obama entered office roughly 13 months later. Now, go to that point on both the Reagan (red) and Obama (blue) lines and trace their progress. This shows clearly that Obama’s economic policies have been a nightmare for working people, with hundreds of thousands, at least, just giving up looking for work.

Why on Earth, then, should any responsible citizen wish to vote for any candidate that promises to continue those same devastating policies?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Democrats’ “Look it’s Elvis!” strategy not playing on Main Street?

April 14, 2014
"Don't get distracted"

“Don’t get distracted”

The Democrats would really rather you talk about anything other than Obamacare, which has become a huge millstone around the neck of their political fortunes (1). To distract you from this anti-constitutional monstrosity and rally their base voters, they’re desperately deploying the weapons that have served them so well in the past, such as the Race Card.

Another weapon is the “War on Women,” the accusation that, in short, Republicans and conservatives want women barefoot, pregnant, and underpaid, shouting that women only earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. (2) There’s no denying that the “Sexism Card” was effective in the 2012 election, but how is it working for them, now?

If a Pittsburgh waitress is any indicator, not so good:

She gave a dramatic eye-roll in reaction to all of the fuss that Democrats and the president attempted to create over equal pay for women last week.

A Democrat herself, she said she has carved out a decent, comfortable life for her family over the years as a waitress at a local restaurant.

“I am in many ways my own boss,” she explained. “It is up to me to get the order right, treat people well, and use my personal skills to increase my wages.”

And she is “sick and tired of my party treating me like a victim. This is not 1970, and it’s insulting.”

Her last remark is telling. Progressives have long dreamed of instituting nationalized health care in the US, but the ACA’s passage was controversial (to say the least), the bill has never been popular, and it’s rollout to date has been a train wreck. Now faced with an electoral shellacking potentially worse than 2010′s, they’ve gone back to their happy place in the 1960s and whipped out the magic fetishes that have always saved them before: cries of racism, sexism, and class warfare.

Only, as the astute waitress observed, what worked 40-50 years ago doesn’t necessarily work now. American society has made enormous progress on issues of unfair treatment based on gender or race, and only an ideologue or a charlatan –or a desperate pol (or, in this case, all three)– would claim otherwise.

Remember what Lincoln said?

“You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”

The Democrats have been able to fool enough of the people, but, at some point, people get tired of being taken for fools. They notice how dog-eared those cards in the Democrats’ deck have become from being played so often and they’re not impressed anymore. In fact, as our waitress noted, they’re insulted. And insulted people take their business (and votes) elsewhere.

More from the article:

Barack Obama has divided this country since the beginning of his presidency. He has not been transformative; instead, he has indulged one special-interest group after another — women in this case, but also blacks, young people, the lesbian-gay-transgender community and Hispanics in earlier instances.

He has governed by sliced-and-diced division, fear, secrecy and resentment, all accented with toothless executive orders used as political weapons.

This is definitely not the transparent and compassionate administration that he promised.

Maybe this is what happens when you over-promise, or maybe this is who Barack Obama is.

Or the answer is “C,” both. Obama and the Democrats clearly over-promised to win over a public tired by war and frightened by an economic crisis, but it is also who Obama is: a political “slice-and-dicer.” Remember that Obama got his start and his education in retail politics as a community organizer, a profession invented by Saul Alinsky. The whole point of community organizing is not to unite or build bridges, but to divide communities into “us and them” and then organize your faction to achieve your goal by setting them against the other guys. Thus no one should be surprised that Obama has operated this way over the course of his presidency.

It’s who he is and all he knows.

PS: The article’s author, Salena Zito, is a great reporter who looks at politics from a “Main St.” perspective, the point of view of the people the Beltway often forgets exist. You should add her to your reading list.

RELATED: John Fund on the race card as a losing game.

Footnotes:
(1) And deservedly so.
(2) And even though even the White House admitted that was wrong.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Today’s progressive hypocrisy: Dick Durbin’s (D-IL) war on women

April 8, 2014
Dick Durbin

Hypocrite

Continuing their quest to find something, anything at all, to distract people from the failures of Obamacare and to rally their increasingly dispirited base, Democrats and the MSM have turned to harping on “pay equality,” the idea that women are paid less than men for comparable work. A recent news article propaganda piece in The Huffington Post reported that a study showed women earning 77 cents for every dollar a man earned. Even though this study has been shown to be shoddy and tendentious, and even though the White House admitted the 77-cent figure is wrong, loyal troops such as Dick Durbin have gone onto the Senate floor to loudly proclaim the need for a “Paycheck Fairness Act” to address this horrific discrimination.

Maybe Senator Durbin should start with his own staff:

Durbin took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to preach on the importance of passing legislation aimed at solving the gender pay gap.

“How serious is equal pay for equal work to working people across America?” said Durbin, “I think it’s critical.”

The average female salary is $11,505 lower than the average male salary in Durbin’s office, according to an analysis of Senate salary data from fiscal year 2013 that showed that more than two-thirds of Democratic Senate offices pay men more than women.

Four of the five highest paid staffers on Durbin’s staff are men, according to the analysis.

Of course, it’s hard to gain access to that pay, when women don’t have access to the higher-paying  jobs, themselves. As the Free Beacon points out, none of the Senate Democratic leadership has a female chief of staff.

Why do Dick Durbin and Harry Reid hate women?

PS: To be clear, Durbin and his colleagues couldn’t give a rat’s rear end about “paycheck equality” or any of the other “Look! It’s Elvis!!” issues they’ve been throwing against the wall. But they’ve seen the electoral train wreck headed their way, thanks to Obamacare, and they’re looking for anything that might soften the blow. Hence, too, Harry Reid’s “Koch conspiracy” insanity. It’s pathetic, really.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Survey shows elderly voters fleeing Democrats

March 31, 2014

Fail

This news from Gallup probably has staff of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reaching for a bottle:

U.S seniors — those aged 65 and older — have moved from a reliably Democratic group to a reliably Republican one over the past two decades. From 1992 through 2006, seniors had been solidly Democratic and significantly more Democratic than younger Americans. Over the last seven years, seniors have become less Democratic, and have shown an outright preference for the Republican Party since 2010.

In 1992, 53% of senior citizens, on average, identified as Democrats or said they were independents but leaned Democratic, while 39% identified as Republicans or leaned Republican, resulting in a 14-percentage-point Democratic advantage in seniors’ party affiliation. Last year, 48% of seniors identified as or leaned Republican, and 45% Democratic, a three-point Republican advantage.

It’s a truism of American politics that older, retired voters tend to turn out for elections more than other demographic groups. In a midterm election, such a self-motivated group can have an outsized influence because other groups often aren’t as enthusiastic to vote when the election lacks the drama of a presidential race.

The Democrats remember what happened in the last midterm election, which was a slaughter for them at both the federal and state levels. Without the Obama of 2008 or even 2012 at the top of their ticket (1), that eager-to-vote “senior bloc” could again make a serious difference.

Gallup goes into a long analysis of the influence ethnic factors might have on the elderly shifting toward Republicans (they tend to be more White as a group), and it’s an interesting read. But, I’ll offer another explanation which I, without doing any polling, think plays a much larger roll:

People don’t like being lied to.

That’s what Obama and the Democratic Party did when they promised a) if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor; b) if you like your insurance plan, you can keep your insurance plan; and c) we won’t touch Medicare.

Lie. Lie. Lie.

That last is especially galling to seniors, because the Medicare Advantage program is very popular and Obamacare just guts it. Perhaps there’s a general unhappiness among the elderly with the administration and the direction of the nation (I’d be surprised if there weren’t), but the cuts to Medicare and the interference in the doctor-patient relationship is very immediate, very personal and very probably frightening for many of these people. They’ve been lied to, they’ve been played for suckers, and no one I know likes that feeling, or the persons who made them feel that way.

And that’s why this poll has to have Harry Reid retreating to his Happy Place, because it looks very much like payback for those lies is coming soon.

via Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt

Footnote:
(1) They’re probably grateful the Obama of 2014 isn’t, either.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#HSR: Jerry Brown’s high-speed choo-choo not so high-speed

March 28, 2014
Boondoggle

Boondoggle

Via The American Interest, the LA Times reports that California’s high-speed rail project may not be able to meet its promised travel times — shocker!

Regularly scheduled service on California’s bullet train system will not meet anticipated trip times of two hours and 40 minutes between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and are likely to take nearly a half-hour longer, a state Senate committee was told Thursday.

The faster trips were held out to voters in 2008 when they approved $9 billion in borrowing to help pay for the project. Since then, a series of political compromises and planning changes designed to keep the $68-billion line moving ahead have created slower track zones in urban areas.

But Louis Thompson, chairman of the High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group, a state-sanctioned panel of outside experts, testified that “real world engineering issues” will cause schedules for regular service to exceed the target of two hours and 40 minutes. The state might be able to demonstrate a train that could make the trip that fast, but not on scheduled service, he told lawmakers. If public demand for the service supports additional investments, travel times could be improved after the currently planned system is built, he said.

Critics of the project have long disputed whether travel times between the Bay Area and Los Angeles will meet the mark of two hours and 40 minutes. Projected trip times for the bullet train are a point of contention in a court fight that could block the state’s access to the voter-approved bond funds.

So we have huge cost overruns, property seized to make way for the train, and now the revelation that it won’t even be all that “high-speed.” Genius. Future generations of dictionaries will include the California high-speed rail authority’s logo in their definition of “boondoggle.”

The puzzling thing is, neither the bullet train fiasco, the ongoing corruption saga, nor the fact that the state is bleeding jobs and businesses is making a dent in Governor Brown and the Democratic Party’s control over the state. But then it becomes not so puzzling when you think about it. As the author at TAI writes:

While Democrats face some internal wrangling over the project, it’s the state’s total absence of an organized political opposition that helps keep ideas like the high speed train alive. As a BuzzFeed article points out, Brown is not suffering in the polls whatsoever from his beloved project—a boondoggle that a majority of Californians now oppose. Similarly, the Golden State’s status as nation-wide leader in job losses isn’t expected to affect the Democrats’ legislative supermajority. In the last three months, three Democratic state senators have been convicted (1) on federal corruption charges including voter fraud, perjury, bribes in exchange for legislation, and weapons and drug trafficking to pay off campaign debts. That’s a list that would make Boss Tweed blush, but it doesn’t seem to be hurting the Democrats’ dominance in Sacramento.

It’s the job of the opposition to oppose, yet the California Republican Party is limp. As I wrote to friends the other day after the Leland Yee scandal broke:

“Which isn’t to excuse the CRP for being flaccid. Last night, several of us on Twitter were ripping them for being milquetoast in the wake of the Leland Yee scandal (and Wright and Calderon). The Republican Party in California is already a rump; why not make some noise, go on offense, and demand to know why the Democratic Party tolerates corruption in its ranks? Call press conferences, get ads out, get all candidates on the same message. Run on a populist clean government and prosperity platform.  We really have nothing to lose and we might peel off enough voters to make a difference.”

Otherwise, we’re just leaving the state to the people running it into the ground.

Footnote:
(1) Actually, one convicted and two indicted. The error has been pointed out at TAI in the comments section.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#CApolitics: Third state senator (D) arrested on corruption charges

March 26, 2014
Not smiling now, I bet.

Not smiling now, I bet.

Earth-shaking news in California politics broke this morning with word of the arrest of State Senator Leland Yee (D, SD-8) on charges of public corruption, including soliciting donations beyond the allowed limits in return for legislative services and –ahem!– firearms trafficking. You can read the indictment (PDF) via the NBC BayArea site (1). From their article on the arrest:

California state Sen. Leland Yee was arrested on public corruption charges as part of several arrests made by the FBI Wednesday morning during a massive FBI sting, the FBI told NBC Bay Area.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California said that Yee and current Chee Kung Tong leader Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow were among 26 defendants charged in a federal criminal complaint.

Yee and Chow were arraigned before Federal Magistrate Judge Nathaniel Cousins in San Francisco this afternoon.

The federal criminal complaint, filed on March 24, was unsealed in San Francisco Wednesday, charging the defendants with firearms trafficking, money laundering, murder-for-hire, drug distribution, trafficking in contraband cigarettes and honest services fraud, announced Haagm FBI special agent David Johnson and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez.

Yee was charged with conspiracy to traffic in firearms without a license, and to illegally import firearms as well as a scheme to defraud citizens of honest services.

Chow’s charges include money laundering and conspiracy to trafficking contraband cigarettes.

From what I gather from skimming the indictment, Yee stands accused of soliciting bribes both to retire his debt from his failed mayoral run in San Francisco and to fund his current campaign for Secretary of State. He is also accused of offering to facilitate an arms deal through New Jersey between a dealer Yee knew and “UCE 4599,” an unidentified FBI undercover agent… in return for a “donation.”

The connection between Senator Yee and “Shrimp Boy” Chow seems to be Keith Jackson, a well-known Bay Area political consultant and associate of Yee. Chow, who has a long record and has been under investigation for years, introduced UCE 4599 to Jackson, who then apparently started supplying weapons for UCE 4599′s “associates” to guard their (imaginary) marijuana farms in Northern California. Jackson and others also apparently ran their own drug ring and even attempted to solicit murder-for-hire. Jackson was also Yee’s money-maker for the illegal donations.

There is no accusation that Senator Yee had anything to do with drugs or murder-for-hire, but, still, he sure keeps nice company.

Aside from the organized crime drama and political corruption, this has serious implications for the Democrats in California. Yee is the third state senator (2), all Democrats, to be indicted or convicted in the last several months. Senator Roderick Wright was convicted of felony voter fraud in January, while Senator Ron Calderon was indicted for corruption in February.

Since the 2012 election, Democrats have held a supermajority in the California legislature, controlling both chambers with two-thirds majorities. Under the state constitution, that gave them the power to do pretty much whatever they wanted: pass irresponsible budgets, fund wasteful programs to their heart’s content, you name it. The Republicans were bystanders, and it didn’t look like they’d have any power any time soon.

Then the majority started crumbling in the state senate. First came Andy Vidak’s (R-SD26) surprise victory in a 2013 special election, then the conviction of Wright and the indictment of Calderon. That last broke the supermajority in the senate, and now Yee’s troubles (3) deepens the hole they’re in. Now, at least, the Democrats have to actually deal with the Republican senate caucus, if they want to get anything done. This means Proposition 13, the measure that protects homeowners from exorbitant property taxes and mandates a 2/3rds majority to raise taxes, making it a prime Democrat target, is safe for a while. The Democrats are likely to regain those seats, given the districts, but a smart Republican or independent candidate might make some populist hay running on a clean government platform. We’ll see.

From a larger view, this is what happens in a state when a party overwhelmingly dominates for too long: without credible opposition, legislators and other government officials come to feel entitled, become complacent, and think of themselves as rulers, not employees subject to the audit of the people. Corruption sets in. California has long been dominated by the Democrats (in the legislature, for decades), but a conservative friend in a long-time Red state has voiced similar complaints. It shows the problems that can set in when a strong two-party system withers to one.

One hopes that revelations such as Senator Yee’s purported activities will lead to soul-searching among the Democrats (4) and the rise of good conservative candidates in more areas to help redress the balance.

For the sake of California’s political health, we need both.

RELATED: More from the San Jose Mercury News.

PS: Did you know Yee once sponsored a measure to require state buildings to be designed according to Chinese Feng Shui principles? There’s a reason we’re called “Crazyfornia.”

Footnotes:
(1) And kudos to them for linking to a primary source. Too few online MSM outlets do that.
(2) But not the last, I bet.
(3) Because Senate President Steinberg (D) is desperate to keep those seats in Democrat hands, rather than risk a special election, Wright and Calderon have been allowed to go on “paid leave,” rather than being expelled. Yes, they still draw a salary, but at least they can’t vote. I’m sure Yee will be shown the same “courtesy.”
(4) Oh, stop laughing. It could happen. Maybe.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


At last, someone has found the best strategy for @TheDemocrats

March 14, 2014
Not trolling

Concern troll

Examining the utterly brutal numbers (PDF) for the Democrats in a poll conducted jointly by The Wall St. Journal and NBC, David Freddoso offered this advice:

So anyway, the ideal campaign for Democrats would send President Obama to Hawaii for a few months, run ads against the health care law they all voted for (they’re already all over this one), send Bill Clinton out to stump in as many races as possible, and hope for the best.

I’d accuse David of concern-trolling, but he’s too nice  guy for that.  Me, on the other hand…

Still don’t get why Bill Clinton is so popular, though.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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