Saturday, December 25, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
The Wikileaks scandal has been quite an eye opener, but this week really takes the cake. First, the mainstream media was in a tizzy over the conditions Pfc. Manning was suffering under. Apparently people who become traitors to their country at a time of war deserve better treatment than 1-6 hours of basic cable per day, reading materials and visitors on weekends and holidays. Even his jail cell, at 6'x12', is larger than the average prison cell. Poor baby. This hero of the left stole military and diplomatic secrets during war time and sold them to someone whose sole mission in life seems to be to discredit and damage the United States. Pfc. Manning is a traitor to his country; he has committed acts of treason. The size of his cell and how many hours of cable he gets per day are the least of his worries.
Then there was Julian Assange's arrest and subsequent bail. Media
whore darling and self-appointed mouthpiece of the far left Michael Moore bragged about posting $20,000 of Assange's bail in an article in the New York Times. One wonders if he is rethinking that show of support, considering the very next day Wikileaks released cables from Cuba referring rather unflatteringly, to Moore's movie "Sicko". Moore posted a response on the HuffPo:
So what do you do with about a false "secret" cable, especially one that involves you and your movie? Well, you wait for a responsible newspaper to investigate and shout what it discovers from the rooftops.
But yesterday WikiLeaks gave the 'Sicko' Cuba cable to the media -- and what did they do with it? They ran it as if it were true!
Hmm...so, basically, he got a tiny taste of what the Bush administration got from the media for eight long years. This time, though, instead of cheering for yet another example of the glories of free speech and the patriotism and bravery of the people who exercise it, he is whining about the horrible unfairness of it all and the media malpractice being perpetrated. Wah!
And finally, in the most ironic irony of the year, the lawyers for Assange are moaning and complaining about the nerve of the media to actually release the details of the rape allegations Assange is facing in Sweden. Here's my favorite quote, via the Australian:
"I do not like the idea that Julian may be forced into a trial in the media. And I feel especially concerned that he will be presented with the evidence in his own language for the first time when reading the newspaper. I do not know who has given these documents to the media, but the purpose can only be one thing - trying to make Julian look bad."
It's like the dictionary definition of being "hoisted by your own petard" brought to full, vivid life.
Although his supporters (including Mr. Moore himself) tried to chum the waters with the lie that the women were just complaining about broken condoms, the reality is more creepy and violent than that. What is even worse is that information about the women who brought the charges, namely who they are and where they live have been released to a public eager to attack them. But Assange - Mr. Transparency himself - wants the courts to keep his address and the details of the charges against him secret. This guy is such a dirtbag. His followers, who condone and facilitate this behavior, are as well. "Sex by surprise", indeed.
Karma is a funny thing. Sometimes it takes a while for the karmic boomerang to come back around - years, even. But sometimes, the wrong is so egregious that karma just can't wait to teach it's lesson. Unfortunately, Assange and his merry band of cretins will most likely be oblivious to the karmic thwacking they just received. Sometimes karma has to come a knockin' a few times before it manages to break through the arrogance and self-importance.
But it's a start.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
President Obama enraged his base last night when he announced his plans for a two-year extension of the current tax rates, potentially saving the country from a massive tax hike that it simply cannot afford right now. Hopefully the lame duck congress will see that and support the plan Obama and the GOP hammered out. To all those disappointed lefty millionaires and billionaires who were pushing him to raise their taxes (and everyone else's, too, because misery loves company, doesn't it?), sorry you didn't get your wish - but you can still feel free to put your money where your mouth is and make as large a deficit-reducing donation to the US Treasury as you would like - here's the link to help you out.
Obama's progressive base are beside themselves with outrage. He has betrayed them, he has given in to those eeeeevil republicans (who most likely tied him up and waterboarded him to get him to cave), he has lost his morals, his values...his very soul. No less a lefty luminary than Dan Rather is hinting at the possiblity that his base will primary him for this offense.
There are plenty of righties who are just as angry as the left at the deal that was struck. After all, it includes another 13 months of unfunded unemployment benefits, something the White House is, ironically, touting as "stimulus". Interesting how one president's evil, economy destroying tax cuts are another president's stimulus. Ah, politics.... As for me, I applaud Mr. Obama. I don't agree with him very often, but I agree with this deal, warts and all. Compromise was needed, and compromise was reached.
Mr. Obama and his progressive pals like to blame Bush's tax cuts for the failing economy but in reality, tax revenues increased (as did employment, median income, new wealth, and the stock market) under the cuts. Which means the problem comes down to the policies the administration has pursued over the past two years. If they hadn't spent like a pimp with a week to live, created an anti-business atmosphere of invasive regulation and oversight and the threat of heavy taxation, as well as shackling businesses (although more and more are getting waivers) and the public with the health care "reform" law, we would have bounced back from the recession that ended over the summer of 2009 and jobs would have begun to be created again.
Ultimately, President Obama did what most presidents do - they govern according to what is best for the entire country, not just their hard-core base. But it seems progressives despise anyone who doesn't walk in lockstep with them; even The One, who was practicallly deified two short years ago, is facing their wrath. But while they are busy stomping their feet and having hissy fits, threatening Obama and anyone else who has a commonsense, rational option to the crisis at hand, the grown-ups are trying to right the ship of state and make the hard decisions. Obama has made a first step in abandoning ideology and embracing the realities on the ground. This well may be a watershed moment in his term, but not necessarily in the way his base thinks.
Obama also added in a little bonus goodie for the peons - a reduction in Social Security payroll taxes of 2%. A six-month suspension of federal payroll taxes would have been most welcome, but this will do. Add in the new death tax rate of 35% (as opposed to the 55% it was set to spike to on Jan. 1) that has been agreed on and the whole package seems to have a little something for everyone. No, no one will be completely satisfied, of course - that is the nature of compromise. But at least the country can move forward. A tone has been set - compromise is possible.
As compromises go, this was a pretty good one. Obama gets his unemployment extension, the GOP gets a tax rate extension, businesses get a two-year window of stability which should result in some job creation, families who lose someone don't also lose the lion's share of their inheritance, too, and, most importantly, taxes aren't being raised during an economic downturn.
The progressives need to start understanding that their far-left agenda has been soundly rejected by the rest of the country. The historic losses of last month apparently didn't sink in, or they are actually buying their own lame spin. Hopefully this will do the trick for them. Progressivism is a noble theory, but, like many theories, it fails when put into action. For a large portion of the country that reality was evident from looking at other countries who had gone the progressive route and failed.
The recently revealed Fed documents outlining just how much American taxpayer money went to bail out those failing states illustrates this point. The only reason Europe, in particular, has managed to survive (albeit in genteel poverty) all these years, as opposed to outright collapse, is due to the largesse of the US government. If we follow the same path, who will subsidize our descent into the mediocracy that Europe has enjoyed for decades now on our dime? For that matter, who will pay to allow Europe to continue down the progressive path once we collapse under the weight of excessive regulation, taxation and an ever growing welfare state? China? Could it be that in the 21st century countries will be liquidated and bought out instead of invaded and conquered with military might? A checkbook conquest, if you will. The thought would be laughable, if it weren't for the huge debts we are racking up. How long before we default and China 'forecloses'?
So bravo, Obama and the GOP, for meeting halfway and forging a compromise for the good of the country, if not their respective parties. It would have been nice if Obama hadn't demagogued the issue and accused the GOP of being "hostage takers", but whatever. The two year experiment in progressive social engineering has failed. It's time to start looking at other options. This is a step in the right direction. Our system of free market capitalism is what made us into the global powerhouse we were until recently. It's success is evident in our meteoric rise to world power in the short time (globally speaking) we have existed as a country. Capitalism is the secret to our success; it's failure (and the country's) was due to it having been over regulated, over spent and taxed nearly to death over the past decade or so. It's time for a resurrection.
The progressives are howling right now, forecasting doom for Obama's reelection hopes, but this compromise could well be his first step towards reelection, because it is his first step towards the middle, after two years spent on the far left. Perhaps he realized that appeasing his base, which constitutes less than 20% of the electorate, meant alienating moderates and independents, which constitutes nearly 40% - a substantially larger pool of voters. That was the lesson he learned on Nov. 2nd.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
In a highly successful attempt to put the "lame" in 'lame-duck session', the Senate has illustrated once again why years of service do not necessarily add up to competence.
Yesterday, Senators were patting themselves on the back and touting their latest accomplishment, S510 - the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. They sent out press releases and crowed about the bill practically being of a historic nature (aren't they all, these days?) because it is apparently one of the most major pieces of legislation to pass a lame-duck Senate session evah.
Today, however, the miracle bill has been sent back to chambers as unconstitutional. Ooops! What makes it worse is that they were purposely focusing attention on what was originally an obscure bill so that they could toot their own horns and score a few political points. If it had been allowed to continue unheralded, they could have quietly pulled it back with no egg on their faces.
In Section 107 there is a set of fees, which are classified as revenue raisers. According to Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution, only the House can create tax provisions. The House holds the purse strings, not the Senate, and the Ways and Means Committee is preparting to "blue sheet" the bill, which will block it. It's unclear whether the House will pursue a bill of their own - if they are, they'd better get cracking, because time is running out on the lame-duck session.
Perhaps there should be a requirement that our elected representatives, who swear an oath to uphold the Constitution, are actually familiar with the document. This is Civics 101, for heaven's sake.