No wonder they call him ‘moonbeam’ – California Governor Jerry Brown claims Global Warming causes extreme cold

March 23, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

Ah, I wish we knew what sin we had committed as a state to deserve a governor like Jerry. Scary thing is, for those who don’t know California, is that he’s one of the sane(r) Democrats in Sacramento.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Remember this eye roller from Brown where he claimed LAX was at risk from sea level rise, only to have to walkback the claim the next day after it was pointed out on WUWT that LAX is well above sea level?

Brown_LAX_SLR He’s at it again. Eric Worrall writes:

California Governor Jerry Brown has declared senator Ted Cruz is “unfit for office”, because Cruz doesn’t believe that global warming is the cause of the extreme cold in America’s North East.

According to CNN;

“What he said is absolutely false,” Brown said. “Over 90% of the scientists who deal with climate are absolutely convinced that the humans’ activity, industrial activity … are building up in the atmosphere, they’re heat trapping, and they’re causing not just one drought in California but severe storms and cold on the East Coast.”

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/03/22/politics/ted-cruz-2016-election-global-warming-jerry-brown/

What can I say – without experts like Jerry to explain the…

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#RaiseTheWage – In which Seattle Leftists gets a needed lesson in economics

March 16, 2015
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we raised the minimum wage!”

It must be nice to be a progressive; you never have to worry about the real-world consequences of your actions. Fighting for social justice? Great! Let’s raise that minimum wage in the interests of (all bow) fairness. Surely those petit bourgeois small business owners can afford it — they’re probably making more money than they should, anyway. It’s time to spread the wealth around. You, the city councilors and progressive voters of Seattle know better than any shop owner what he can afford to pay!

Strangest thing about choices: they have consequences.

Seattle’s $15 minimum wage law goes into effect on April 1, 2015. As that date approaches, restaurants across the city are making the financial decision to close shop. The Washington Policy Center writes that “closings have occurred across the city, from Grub in the upscale Queen Anne Hill neighborhood, to Little Uncle in gritty Pioneer Square, to the Boat Street Cafe on Western Avenue near the waterfront.”

Of course, restaurants close for a variety of reasons. But, according to Seattle Magazine, the “impending minimum wage hike to $15 per hour” is playing a “major factor.” That’s not surprising, considering “about 36% of restaurant earnings go to paying labor costs.” Seattle Magazine,

“Washington Restaurant Association’s Anthony Anton puts it this way: “It’s not a political problem; it’s a math problem.”

“He estimates that a common budget breakdown among sustaining Seattle restaurants so far has been the following: 36 percent of funds are devoted to labor, 30 percent to food costs and 30 percent go to everything else (all other operational costs). The remaining 4 percent has been the profit margin, and as a result, in a $700,000 restaurant, he estimates that the average restauranteur in Seattle has been making $28,000 a year.

“With the minimum wage spike, however, he says that if restaurant owners made no changes, the labor cost in quick service restaurants would rise to 42 percent and in full service restaurants to 47 percent.”

Restaurant owners, expecting to operate on thinner margins, have tried to adapt in several ways including “higher menu prices, cheaper, lower-quality ingredients, reduced opening times, and cutting work hours and firing workers,” according to The Seattle Times and Seattle Eater magazine. As the Washington Policy Center points out, when these strategies are not enough, businesses close, “workers lose their jobs and the neighborhood loses a prized amenity.”

I imagine reaction of residents must be like that of fans of a beloved local bookstore were shocked when it closed after The Special City raised its minimum wage — they cry “I had no idea!”.

Damn straight. It’s also called “magical thinking,” in which you get to do whatever you want with no blow-back. Then you wake up and realize it was all a dream.

Like I’ve written many times before, there are basic rules of economics our economically illiterate progressive compatriots need to hear. Again:

Labor is a cost, because the business owner has to provide wages and, often, benefits that cost him more money. When a government mandate increases that cost, the business owner has three choices: pass the cost along to the customer, who may decide it’s too much and stop shopping there; cut employee hours and stop hiring to save on labor costs, thus costing potential jobs and putting a burden on workers still employed; and, finally, just decide it’s not worth it anymore and close up shop. In the low-margin bookseller business, Borderlands’ owner chose the last course as the only one viable.

Do recall this mandated wage increase comes on top of any additional expenses required under Obamacare. No wonder owners in the thin-margin restaurant business are calling it quits!

Dan Mitchell calls it “Destroying Jobs with Innumerate Compassion.” Perfect.

Of course, this won’t stop the progressives who run the LA city council from making a similar mistake, here, because… magical thinking.

Via Rick Moran, who also quotes a great explanation from Reason about the connection between the value of labor and the minimum wage.

RELATED: Earlier posts on Seattle and the minimum wage.


Kamala Harris for president? @JimGeraghty is trying to scare me to death. UPDATE: Fake confessions are okay!

March 12, 2015
President Harris?

Ready for Kamala?

It’s been said that the Democratic “bench” in the upcoming presidential race is weak. Desolate, even. A toxic combination of assuming the nomination belongs to Hillary Clinton and the decimation of the Democratic Party at the state and federal levels in the 2010 and 2014 elections have left them with few other choices. Senator Elizabeth Warren, the fake Native American? The Democratic base would love her, but I doubt her act would play well outside of New England and the West Coast. Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley? Who? New York Governor Mario Cuomo? Nah, he’ll probably be too busy with his campaign to stay out of federal court. Jim Webb? Maybe, but the champion of the “White working class” voter is going to have a hard time winning the enthusiasm of the modern Democratic Party.

So, really, all they have is Hillary. And yet, with scandals already piling up and considering Clinton’s poor political skills (did you see that press conference of hers at the UN, yesterday?), it’s not inconceivable that Lady Macbeth won’t be the nominee.

But if not her, then who?

Enter California’s Attorney General and likely next federal senator, Kamala Harris. Jim Geraghty gives her qualifications:

How about California state attorney general Kamala Harris? Yes, she’s running for the Senate right now. Part African-American, part Asian-American; first female state attorney general of California; vocal proponent of gun control; tough on those “predatory” banks; she tried to fight evictions of people who stopped paying their mortgages; opposes the death penalty; eager prosecutor of hate crimes; created an “Environmental Justice Unit” in the San Francisco DA’s office, and of course, enthusiastic supporter of EMILY’s List…

Tell me she isn’t the kind of candidate who would have progressive activists doing cartwheels. She’s the “tough D.A.” figure who goes after all of the liberals’ perceived enemies.

Some of you know I’m a lifelong Californian. Having grown up in Northern California, I still have an interest in San Francisco’s affairs, even though I now live in the south part of the state. And there’s something about the politics of the “Special City” that make one want to follow its wacky antics, much the way one can’t stop watching a slow-motion train wreck. Hence I know a little bit about Harris’ career. While everything Jim says above is true, consider the following few points that should have moderates and conservatives reaching for the Pepto:

  • Harris is a dogmatic opponent of the death penalty. While to her credit she defended California’s law (1), as San Francisco’s DA she notoriously refused to seek death for a cop-killer in 2004, an action almost unprecedented in California. Federal law enforcement, President Harris will have your back.
  • She has in the past shown questionable managerial skills and judgment, at best. In 2010, a district judge ripped Harris for her office’s concealment of evidence from defense attorneys in a scandal involving the SF crime lab and shrugging her shoulders over accountability.
  • She hates the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms in self-defense. She sought to intervene in a case in San Diego against the local sheriff’s restrictions on gun permits, even though no state law was challenged and the sheriff said he wouldn’t appeal. The only reasonable explanation is that she is so opposed to gun rights that she will stretch her office’s powers beyond their limits to fight them. Imagine the DoJ and BATF under her control.

Could Hillary’s weaknesses create room for another obscure state-level official who’s only recently come to national attention? Who knows?

But, if she does become president, it’s Geraghty’s fault.

Footnote:
(1) Before anyone says that shows she’s really a moderate, defending that law is her job as AG (2). The LA Times praising her for that is like praising the janitor for taking out the trash — that’s what he’s supposed to do.
(2) Though not doing so is an alarming trend among Democrat state AGs.

UPDATE: I’d forgotten about this one. To make a long story short, a prosecutor in Kern county (Bakersfield and environs) attached a fake confession to the transcript of an interview with a defendant, apparently hoping to coerce a plea deal or score a win in court. He was found out, the judge rightfully dismissed the case, and Kamala Harris appealed the dismissal:

Incredibly, the State of California, via Attorney General Kamala Harris, decided to appeal the case. The state’s key argument: That putting a fake confession in the transcript wasn’t “outrageous” because it didn’t involve physical brutality, like chaining someone to a radiator and beating him with a hose.

Forget a mostly joking reference to Harris running for president; she has no business being in the Senate or holding any office whatsoever. (h/t Crosspatch)


Respectfully disagreeing: the Republican letter on Iran was proper and needed

March 10, 2015

Turn almost anywhere in D.C. and you’ll find someone screaming in outrage about something: taxes, health care, regulations of one sort or another, the secret Lizard People conspiracy to control our government, whatever. The latest chorus of outrage has arisen because of an open letter to the Iranian government written by Senator Cotton (R-AR) and 46 others among his Republican colleagues. The senators wanted to remind Iran that the US Senate has a constitutional role to play regarding any treaty with Tehran and that no agreement would be lasting without the Senate’s consent. You can read the letter here, but below is a key excerpt:

First, under our Constitution, while the president negotiates international agreements, Congress plays the significant role of ratifying them. In the case of a treaty, the Senate must ratify it by a two-thirds vote. A so-called congressional-executive agreement requires a majority vote in both the House and the Senate (which, because of procedural rules, effectively means a three-fifths vote in the Senate). Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement.

Second, the offices of our Constitution have different characteristics. For example, the president may serve only two 4-year terms, whereas senators may serve an unlimited number of 6-year terms. As applied today, for instance, President Obama will leave office in January 2017, while most of us will remain in office well beyond then—perhaps decades.

In other words, “there’s no real deal unless it contains provisions we approve of.”

This started a firestorm of criticism from the Left, with perhaps the most shrill, hysteria-laden attack coming on the cover of the New York Daily News:

Hyperbole much?

Hyperbole much?

Graphic via Hot Air

(Aside: “treason” is a word thrown around far too easily in recent years. By the Left and the Right.)

And the reaction from the White House and their allies in Congress wasn’t much farther behind:

Congressional Democrats joined the White House in denouncing the letter, with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) calling it “a cynical effort by Republican Senators to undermine sensitive international negotiations — it weakens America’s hand and highlights our political divisions to the rest of the world.”

(…)

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, accused Republicans of trying to “sabotage” the nuclear talks.

“This bizarre, inappropriate letter is a desperate ploy to scuttle a comprehensive agreement and the chance for a peaceful resolution, which is in the best interests of the United States, Israel and the world,” Boxer said in a statement.

Well, if anyone understands “bizarre,” it’s Barbara Boxer.

I’ll leave it to Noah Rothman to deal with the rank hypocrisy of the Democrats’ statements (here’s one huge example from The Federalist), but there were criticisms, or at least sad regret, from some on the Right, too. First, while Byron York at the Washington Examiner acknowledges that Obama started this mess, he still sees little good in the issuance of the Cotton letter:

It should go without saying that the reason Republicans are doing these things is because they are deeply concerned about a possible Iran deal. But another reason they’re acting is because they can. On Iran and before that on immigration, healthcare, and other matters, Obama has pushed his executive authority beyond its proper limits, on the flimsy pretense that he is entitled to act unilaterally if Congress does not pass bills he wants. Could anyone fail to anticipate that in response Congress would stretch its own authority, too?

(…)

Of course, it is still a bad thing. It is not good to invite a foreign leader to address Congress in a campaign against the U.S. president. It is not good to undermine the president’s authority to conduct foreign policy. But it’s not a good thing to undermine Congress’ authority to make laws, either. And to threaten even more undermining in the future, as Obama has done.

Meanwhile, at Hot Air, my friend Jazz Shaw thinks the letter is too much, too soon:

The whole point is that the system seems to be breaking down, and this letter is yet another example of the United States airing its dirty laundry for the rest of the world to see. Under ideal conditions, this would all be hammered out in private between Obama and the Congress and he could then send Kerry to negotiate something they could all live with. That didn’t happen either, so this is clearly not a case of all the fault being on one side of the aisle. In fact, when the President turned around and said this wasn’t really a treaty so he could do what he liked, that was possibly an even worse sin than what Tom Cotton and his cosigners have done. Trying to change the nature of a major deal between nations by calling it an agreement rather than a treaty is just a dodge, and not a particularly artful one at that.

Still, I find myself disagreeing with Tom Cotton (who I admire very much, and have since I interviewed him during the election) and wishing that this letter hadn’t been written. If there had to be an official response, a resolution of disapproval of the negotiations (or later, of the deal itself) could have been passed on the Senate floor. That would have at least kept the communications in house, rather than having the Legislative branch dive directly into the mix with Iran. The system of how things need to work to keep Washington functional continues to break down, and this letter did nothing to help with that challenge.

Both writers express an understandable wish for comity between the parties and branches when facing a dangerous foe. And many of us are old enough to remember when such a period existed when politics (mostly) “stopped at the water’s edge” — that era from World War II to the fall of the USSR when  there was a general consensus on foreign affairs between the parties in the face of threats from first the Nazis and then the Communists.

But that period slowly came to an end with two developments: first the rise of the anti-war socialist and communist-sympathizing Left and their liberal dupes to domination of the Democratic Party after 1968. They simply did not and do not share the foreign policy assumptions of the older, New Deal liberals who formed half of the consensus.

The other event was the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union.  With the deadly enemy gone, the pressure to unite against the outsider was lifted. Hence it became easier to take politics beyond the water’s edge.

And, while I opened this by saying I respectfully disagree, York and Shaw (and others) have a valid point: It *is* regrettable that there is no consensus anymore on our foreign affairs (1), and it is a shame that oru squabbles have to be carried out in public. Ours is a largely informal system in which policy makers would (should) come to a consensus based on agreement on broad principles.

But, for now at least, that agreement is gone, and one side pushes so far beyond the bounds of what has been acceptable that the other feels forced to retaliate.

Yet I still disagree that Senator Cotton and his colleagues should not have done this. As York himself notes, the administration and congressional  Democrats have shown little but contempt for constitutional norms and bounds since Obama was inaugurated. And in the face of the many slights against the American settlement perpetrated by the Obama White House and colluded in by the congressional Democrats, congressional Republicans have been nearly supine. The latest, the failure to stop Obama’s illegal, unconstitutional amnesty plan via the DHS budget, was a humiliating disgrace that could well encourage other adventures in petty tyranny on the president’s part. And it was just one moment, albeit egregious, in the long march of Congress surrendering more and more of its authority to the Executive since progressivism took hold.

Congress needed to push back to start reclaiming its role in our system, and this letter represents a good start. And it was better to do it now, while the agreement is still being worked out, than wait until it could be presented as “take it or leave it, and the consequences of rejection be on your shoulders.” Far from interfering in foreign affairs, this represents the Senate majority asserting its proper constitutional role and demanding it be honored. If Senator Cotton is representative of the newer generation of senators, then I have hope some balance will be restored.

While it’s regrettable that the fight has taken public, it’s much more heartening to see the legislature assert itself as Madison intended, jealously guarding its interest.

Footnote:
(1) Kind of hard to have one when one side still believes in a muscular, exceptional America as a force for good in the world, and the other sees American power as the problem and chooses national decline.

 


Rahm screams at mental health activists, “YOU’RE GONNA RESPECT ME!”

March 5, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

Oh, my. Mayor Rahm is not happy. Probably sees his reelection chances breathing their last gasp. And the people who confronted him should check their mail in the next few days for a dead fish

Originally posted on Fred Klonsky:

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 6.44.58 AM

Photo montage of Rahm at Wicker Park incident: Kenzo Shibata.

- By Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle as posted on the Mental Health Movement’s Facebook page.

Mental Health Movement members Debbie Delgado and Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle just confronted Rahm face-to-face about his mental health clinic closures. Rahm was about to address a small room of developers and residents at the Wicker Park field-house. 3 years after he closed half of Chicago’s public mental health clinics, he may have thought the issue had gone away. But then Debbie, sitting in the front row, a few feet from the mayor, stood up to tell her story. She told of losing her son to gun violence.

She told him how her other son was holding him as he died. She told about how the city’s Northwest Mental Health Clinic in Logan Square saved their lives, helped her and her son deal with the PTSD and depression.

Then…

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Test at Tonopah solar project ignites hundreds of birds in mid-air

March 2, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

Well done, Green Movement, well done.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Uh, oh. From NatureWorldNews

crescent-01[1]

“It’s no secret that solar power is hot right now, with innovators and big name companies alike putting a great deal of time, money, and effort into improving these amazing sources of renewable energy. Still, the last thing you’d likely expect is for a new experimental array to literally light nearly 130 birds in mid-flight on fire.

And yet, that’s exactly what happened near Tonopah, Nevada last month during tests of the 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project.”

“According to Rudy Evenson, Deputy Chief of Communications for Nevada Bureau of Land Management (NBLM) in Reno, as reported by Re Wire, a third of the newly constructed plant was put into action on the morning of Jan. 14, redirecting concentrated solar energy to a point 1,200 feet above the ground.”

“Unfortunately, about two hours into the test, engineers and biologists on site started…

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l’Affaire Giuliani, or, “Does Obama love America?” No, and yes.

February 22, 2015
x

He loves one of these Americas

So, late last Wednesday, the MSM and the Left (I know, I’m repeating myself), exploded in outrage at comments made by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani at a dinner for likely presidential candidate Scott Walker at New York City’s “21 Club.”Speaking before the assembled guests, Giuliani stated with no equivocation that President Obama does not love America:

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said during the dinner at the 21 Club, a former Prohibition-era speakeasy in midtown Manhattan. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

With Walker sitting just a few seats away, Giuliani continued by saying that “with all our flaws we’re the most exceptional country in the world. I’m looking for a presidential candidate who can express that, do that and carry it out.”

“And if it’s you Scott, I’ll endorse you,” he added. “And if it’s somebody else, I’ll support somebody else.”

Naturally, the airwaves exploded as Obama’s defenders rushed to express outrage: “How dare he question Obama’s patriotism?” (Conveniently forgetting that Obama did just that to George W. Bush) There were demands for apologies and, of course, cries of “racism!” I’m only surprised no one screamed “lèse–majesté” and demanded Rudy’s head.

But, enjoying the furor he caused, Giuliani refused to back down. The next day on “Fox and Friends,” he went there again:

“I do hear him criticize America much more often than other American presidents. And when it’s not in the context of an overwhelming number of statements about the exceptionalism of America, it sounds like he’s more of a critic than he is a supporter,” Giuliani said. “You can be a patriotic American and be a critic, but then you’re not expressing that kind of love that we’re used to from a president.”

Here’s video courtesy of Nice Deb:

If I understand that last sentence right, it sounds like Giuliani saying that a president cannot be critical of America and still love her. If so, then I respectfully disagree.

On the other hand, I think his general argument should be uncontroversial, when understood in a certain way: Barack Obama does not love America as she is. He does not love Americans as they are.

Bear with me for a bit.

To understand how it can be true that the President of the United States does not love the United States, we have to keep in mind his intellectual background:

  • His grandparents were very much on the Left (1), and his mother had a very left-wing education at her high school. She later married the Kenyan Barack Obama, the president’s father, who was himself on the far Left.
  • His mentor in Hawaii was Frank Marshall Davis, a card-carrying member of the Communist Party USA and a devout Stalinist who was savagely critical of America and its leaders. Davis was important to Obama, as one can see in his memoir “Dreams From My Father.”
  • As an undergraduate at Occidental College, we know from people who knew him that Obama was a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist.
  • Transferring to Columbia, and though his records are sealed, researcher Stanley Kurtz has made a strong case that Obama remained on the far Left, perhaps there first learning of community organizing, the profession created by “small c” communist Saul Alinsky, and becoming acquainted with James Cone and Black Liberation Theology.
  • In Chicago as a community organizer, again per Kurtz, Obama’s professional associations, direct and indirect, were all on the Socialist left: the crypto-Socialist Midwest Academy; his work with Socialist/communist community organizing groups ACORN and UNO of Chicago; his membership in the Socialist New Party; his close association –professional and personal– with former “small c” communist terrorist Bill Ayers; and the fact that he willingly sat for 20 years in the church of Reverend Jeremiah “God damn America!” Wright, a follower of Cone and Black Liberation Theology.
  • During his return to school at Harvard for a law degree, he was influenced by Professor Derrick Bell, the author of Critical Race Theory.
  • On his return to Chicago, he entered politics by running for the state senate seat of the retiring incumbent, Alice Palmer, a Socialist/Communist who was a great fan of the USSR. Palmer initially gave Obama her warm endorsement.

One could go on, but I think you the pattern: From the beginning of his life through his professional career to today, Obama’s intellectual and emotional world has been almost wholly on the “America stinks” Left, and there is no evidence that I know of that he has ever moderated or rejected those views, other than to go from revolutionary Marxism-Leninism to a vague democratic socialism or corporatism.

With that kind of background –strongly Socialist and racialist– why would anyone expect Obama to love a nation founded on principles of limited government, free markets, capitalism, and the sanctity of property rights? All  our strengths he sees as flaws, and our wrongs as our main legacy. Ace puts it nicely:

…our weaknesses are footnotes (and footnotes worth reading, as footnotes usually are) to our accomplishments.

Obama doesn’t see our failings as footnotes. He sees them as the main text. He sees America doing a few good things here and there (most importantly: electing him) as the footnotes.

A president who loves the “America that is” accepts her for what she is, acknowledging her faults but seeing her good works, her greatness, and her exceptionalism as far outweighing the bad, marking her as indeed something special in the family of nations.

Obama, on the other hand, loves an America, but it’s not the same America most of us know and love. You don’t really love something or someone you want to “fundamentally transform.”

Barack Obama loves the America of his leftist dreams: statist and corporatist, where equality of result is guaranteed through the pervasive intervention of the only real arbiter of fairness, the government. A nation wherein people are treated as members of groups, not as individuals.

So, the answer to the question “Does President Obama love America,” is both “no” and “yes.”

The president we should look for is the one who simply and honestly answers “yes.”

RELATED: Moe Lane on why the Left is really upset. Kevin Williamson, who says Obama not only doesn’t love America, he doesn’t even like it.

Footnote:
(1) Kengor, “The Communist,” p. 229, Kindle location 4412. And, before someone accuses me of picking on his family, their potential influence on his future views is very much germane.


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