Day: May 13, 2010
Subject: Obama’s “Inherited Deficit”
Subject: Obama’s “Inherited Deficit”
I have seen this explanation before, but it is really important for people to understand. Hope you will pass it on.
The Washington Post babbled again today about Obama inheriting a huge deficit from Bush. Amazingly enough,…… a lot of people swallow this nonsense. So once more, a short civics lesson.
Budgets do not come from the White House. They come from Congress, and the party that controlled Congress since January 2007 is the Democratic Party. They controlled the budget process for FY 2008 and FY 2009, as well as FY 2010 and FY 2011. In that first year, they had to contend with George Bush, which caused them to compromise on spending, when Bush somewhat belatedly got tough on spending increases.
For FY 2009 though, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid bypassed George Bush entirely, passing continuing resolutions to keep government running until Barack Obama could take office. At that time, they passed a massive omnibus spending bill to complete the FY 2009 budgets.
And where was Barack Obama during this time? He was a member of that very Congress that passed all of these massive spending bills, and he signed the omnibus bill as President to complete FY 2009. Let’s remember what the deficits looked like during that period: (below)
If the Democrats inherited any deficit, it was the FY 2007 deficit, the last of the Republican budgets. That deficit was the lowest in five years, and the fourth straight decline in deficit spending. After that, Democrats in Congress took control of spending, and that includes Barack Obama, who voted for the budgets. If Obama inherited anything, he inherited it from himself.
In a nutshell, whatObama is saying is I inherited a deficit that I voted for and then I voted to expand that deficit four-fold since January 20th.
There is no way this will be widely publicized,
Unless each of us sends it on!
This is your chance to make a difference.
Outrage Spreads Over Decision Not to Send Girls’ Basketball Team to Arizona
The outrage over an Illinois school administrator’s decision to cancel a girls’ basketball team’s trip to Arizona has caught fire on the Internet, where a Facebook group has been set up to call for her ouster.
“You send kids to China but your beliefs and values dont align with Arizona? That just proves you have no business working at a school,” reads the Facebook group’s description.
In a statement released Wednesday, the superintendent of District 113 in Illinois, which oversees Highland Park High School, defended Assistant Superintendent Suzan Hebson’s decision not to send the championship team to a tournament in Arizona in December and said it was not a political statement in response to that state’s new immigration law.
“Rather, under long standing constitutional law, all school districts are required to provide an education to all children within the District’s borders regardless of immigration status,” Superintendent George Fornero said in his statement.
No B-Ball in Arizona: The Superintendent Speaks
But that hasn’t stopped the creation of a “Fire Suzan Hebson” Facebook group, which had 19 members as of midday Thursday.
“Tell me it’s because Arizona leads the country in kidnappings not because Arizona is taking a stand to defend itself when the federal goverment will not,” wrote one member of the group.
Attempts to reach the Facebook group’s creator were unsuccessful on Thursday. Messages seeking comment from Hebson were not immediately returned.
The girls’ parents said there was no vote or consultation regarding Hebson’s decision, which they called confusing — especially, they said, because none of the players on the team are illegal immigrants.
“I’m not sure whose values and what values and what beliefs they’re talking about. We were just going to Arizona to play basketball and our daughters were very disappointed to find out the trip had been canceled,” Michael Evans, a father of one of the players, told Fox News.
If a player was worried about her safety, Evans said, she could always opt to stay home from the tournament without forcing the entire team to do the same.
“This tournament was voluntary, so students could decide not to go if they thought they were at some sort of risk of some sort of harm to themselves, but to penalize all the other girls because of some potential risk? I don’t understand it,” he said.
Evans said he also failed to understand why the school allowed so many other trips, but not this one.
“The school has sent children to China, they’ve sent children to South America, they’ve sent children to the Czech Republic, but somehow Arizona is more unsafe for them than those places,” he said. “The beliefs and values of China are apparently aligned, since they approved that trip.”
One player, who said she opposes the Arizona law, told Fox News she didn’t see how the tournament was related.
“It’s ultimately the state’s decision, no matter what I think,” the girl told Fox News. “Not playing basketball in Arizona is not going to change anything.”
The district said in a statement Wednesday that is legally required to provide an education to all children within its border regardless of immigration status and is responsible for their “safety, security and liberty” when they travel.
“The selection of a varsity basketball team for the 2010-2011 winter athletic season will take place in November, 2010,” the statement read. “The team has yet to be selected. We cannot commit at this time to playing at a venue where some of our students’ safety or liberty might be placed at risk because of state immigration law.”
UC Berkeley ends hunger strike over immigration
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
BERKELEY — With the blessings of ceremonial dancers, a group of UC Berkeley students ended a 10-day hunger strike Wednesday while negotiators met with the chancellor over the status of illegal immigrants and student demonstrators.
Soon afterward, students and Chancellor Robert Birgenau announced some modest agreements on undocumented university employees and student discipline.
About 20 hunger strikers, mostly students, had camped out in front of the school’s administration building since May 3. Their initial protest target was Arizona’s new immigration law, which requires police to stop and question anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally.
Birgenau quickly complied with the protesters’ first demand – to denounce the law. But he balked at their proposals to declare the campus a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, rehire laid-off janitors and drop disciplinary charges against students who occupied or vandalized buildings last fall to protest rising fees.
Campus officials had met with strikers four times, without results. Birgenau agreed to an in-person meeting Wednesday if the students would call off the strike. They agreed out of concern for their health, said Horacio Corona, a senior and organizer.
The demonstration ended in a display of Berkeley multiculturalism.
One protester blessed his cohorts’ corn cobs, for their connection to Mother Earth. Four dancers dressed as cornstalks, including one of the strikers, twirled and gestured ceremonially to a percussion beat.
Fifteen strikers then munched on the corn, to the cheers of about 150 supporters. A 16th student, Alejandro Lara-Briseño, who was too weak to stand but told the crowd he would continue fasting until he visits a sister in Arizona next Thursday and gets her approval.
Shortly afterward, negotiators, including another striker, emerged from a two-hour meeting with Birgenau and his aides and said the chancellor had addressed most of their demands.
“We emerged with a much broader understanding of their concerns and a strong commitment to work together,” said Claire Holmes, a university spokeswoman.
Specifically, she said Birgenau agreed that a task force previously established to review concerns of students in the United States illegally would broaden its scope to include campus employees.
While the school could not legally promise not to cooperate with federal immigration officials, Holmes said, the chancellor emphasized that looking into the immigration status of students and workers is “not a priority for our Police Department.”
Birgenau also promised to review UC Berkeley’s code of conduct, the basis for disciplinary charges against dozens of students in last year’s protests, and to consider resolving the charges by requiring community service rather than suspensions or other punishments.
A community service agreement is “what we were aiming for,” said Marco Amaral, a spokesman for the protesters.
Meanwhile, final exams loom, irrespective of protests and even hunger strikes. A third-year history major, who declined to give his name, said he felt light-headed from lack of food but would turn in a 15-page paper today while studying for finals.
“We’re still students,” he said. “We can multitask.”
Hold fire, earn a medal…WTF?
By William H. McMichael
U.S. troops in Afghanistan could soon be awarded a medal for not doing something, a precedent-setting award that would be given for “courageous restraint” for holding fire to save civilian lives.
The proposal is now circulating in the Kabul headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force, a command spokesman confirmed Tuesday.
“The idea is consistent with our approach,” explained Air Force Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis. “Our young men and women display remarkable courage every day, including situations where they refrain from using lethal force, even at risk to themselves, in order to prevent possible harm to civilians. In some situations our forces face in Afghanistan, that restraint is an act of discipline and courage not much different than those seen in combat actions.”
Soldiers are often recognized for non-combat achievement with decorations such as their service’s commendation medal. But most of the highest U.S. military decorations are for valor in combat. A medal to recognize a conscious effort to avoid a combat action would be unique.
Consideration of such an award, first reported by an Associated Press reporter in Afghanistan, doesn’t mean that, if approved, troops would be pressured to prevent such casualties at risk to themselves, Sholtis said.
“We absolutely support the right of our forces to defend themselves,” Sholtis said. “Valuing restraint in a potentially dangerous situation is not the same thing as denying troops the right to employ lethal force when they determine that it is necessary.”
A spokesman for the 2.2 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars, the nation’s largest group of combat veterans, thinks the award would cause confusion among the ranks and send a bad signal.
“The self-protections built into the rules of engagement are clear, and the decision to return fire must be made instantly based on training and the threat,” said Joe Davis, a spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “The enemy already hides among noncombatants, and targets them, too. The creation of such an award will only embolden their actions and put more American and noncombatant lives in jeopardy. Let’s not rush to create something that no one wants to present posthumously.”
Giving a medal for restraint was proposed by British Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, ISAF’s Regional Command South commander, during a recent visit to Kandahar by Army Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Hall, the top U.S. enlisted member in Afghanistan, Sholtis said.
U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the ISAF commander, has placed a premium on preventing civilian deaths, having last year tightened the rules of engagement for air strikes and other combat operations in an effort to prevent fatalities. Such deaths build resentment among a populace the U.S. is trying to win over as part of its counterinsurgency strategy to simultaneously drive out the Taliban and strengthen Afghan government.
According to the United Nations, more than 2,400 civilians were killed last year, although estimates vary widely. From March 21 to April 21, 173 civilians were killed in Afghanistan — a 33 percent increase over the same period the previous year — according to the Associated Press, citing Afghan Interior Ministry figures.
Thousands Sign Petition Protesting Empire State Building’s Snub of Mother Teresa
By Joshua Rhett Miller- FOXNews.com
A nationwide petition has been launched by the Catholic League after the Empire State Building denied a request to commemorate Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday.
Bill Donohue, president of the New York-based Catholic civil rights organization, submitted an application to the Empire State Building Lighting Partners in February to have the skyscraper feature blue and white lights — the colors of Mother Teresa’s congregation — on Aug. 26 to commemorate her centennial. The request was denied without explanation last week, and more than 6,000 people have signed a protest petition in just one day, Donohue told FoxNews.com.
“I’d like to find out what’s driving this,” he said. “But I’m confident it’s just a matter of time before we win on this thing.”
Donohue noted that the iconic building in midtown Manhattan changed its colors to red and yellow last year to honor the 60th anniversary of China’s Communist Revolution.
“Yet under its founder, Mao Zedong, the Communists killed 77 million people,” Donohue said in a statement. “In other words, the greatest mass murderer in history merited the same tribute being denied to Mother Teresa.”
Donohue called on Anthony Malkin, owner of the Empire State Building, to reverse the decision.
“Mother Teresa received 124 awards, including Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Medal of Freedom,” Donohue’s statement continued. “She built hundreds of orphanages, hospitals, hospices, health clinics, homeless shelters, youth shelters and soup kitchens all over the world … Not surprisingly, she was voted the most admired woman in the world three years in a row in the mid-1990s. But she is not good enough to be honored by the Empire State Building.”
A spokeswoman for the building’s public relations firm declined comment Thursday when reached by FoxNews.com.
Mother Teresa, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, died in 1997 at the age of 87. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2003, a step in the path to being declared a saint.
Big Banks, Big Government and Big Labor, Oh My….
by Liberty Chick
The financial reform bill is finally in its home stretch in the Senate, but Americans have yet to fully engage on the issue. In fact, in recent weeks as I’ve worked with various grassroots leaders across the country to discuss the bill, its impacts on our economy and on us as American citizens, I must admit, it’s probably the first time I’ve ever found myself frustrated at the progress of activism.
It’s a complex issue, and let’s face it, not exactly an exciting one either. But that’s precisely what the left is counting on. So, whenever I find myself feeling frustrated that others might not share my same level of fervor on the issue, I remind myself of its complexity and lackluster appeal. And then, I proceed directly to the source – the bill itself.
I hone in on a few key points in three categories that resonate with most activists I know: Big Labor, Big Government, and Big Brother. Put those together in the context of Big Banks, and they spell out big disaster.
As the left goes on demonizing Wall Street and big bankers on one hand, Democratic lawmakers on the other hand are busy making sweetheart backroom deals with them up on Capitol Hill, promoting their legislation to the public as “consumer protection.” But really, such measures are nothing more than payback to the likes of three-way mortgage entitlement partnership stronghold of the Bank of America, Center for Responsible Lending and Fannie Mae.
Meanwhile Democrats and Obama allies like Organizing for America are also using the issue as a shameless fund-raising opportunity.
The banks actually SUPPORT this bill – so don’t let that “Main Street Not Wall Street” message fool you, no matter which side of this issue you’re on.
Once many people learn about some of what’s in the bill, their reaction of immediate remorse followed by outrage is completely understandable. Remorse – for some – for not having engaged their grassroots groups earlier. Outrage over just how much this bill would push the country head first toward socialism. That’s right, I said the “s” word. Let’s stop pretending and just call it for what it is, shall we? Even old school Democrats I talk to feel the same outrage and see the “s” word coming as the result of this bill. Facing down the inevitable is the only way we’re going to be able to tackle what the radical left has snuck into this thing. All the while, they have been counting on the apathy of average citizens on BOTH sides, and on the burnout of Tea Party and other patriot group activists.
The reality is this: If we sit back and allow this bill to pass the Senate in its current form, then we deserve the destruction of our privacy, our liberties and of our free market system that will follow. WE will be the only ones to blame. Because as bad as we all thought the Health Care bill was for our freedoms, the Financial Reform bill makes Health Care pale in comparison. No level of remorse could suffice if we failed to engage every last patriot, every last Paul Revere and Sam Adams , during these final days of the legislation.
I’ve found that one way to help other activists digest this bill has been to put all of the actual financial details aside and focus solely on some of the parts of the bill that demonstrate the erosion of our personal liberties and the free market system as we know it.
Big Labor: Dismantling the Free Market System
Under the American Financial Stability Act of 2010 (S 3217), several provisions tucked away in the bill will give labor bosses unprecedented powers that, especially if abused, could threaten the very structure of our free market system.
* Financial institutions and other covered businesses could be required by law to give labor unions “Proxy Access”, enabling union bosses to potentially abuse the system to force unrelated agenda items, like unionizing the firm’s employees, before the shareholders
* New regulations will control how board of director elections are conducted – at private corporations!
o The SEC would be granted the power to force the names of outside nominees onto the corporate ballot (as reported by Politico)
o Directors running in an uncontested election would now be required to win a majority of votes cast, rather than only by the current plurality(as reported by Politico)
* Similar rules will also determine whether an individual may serve as both the CEO and Chairman of the Board – at a private corporation!
* Government and labor unions will have “say on pay” for the annual salaries and bonus compensation of executives and other employees. Essentially, like Obama himself, they can determine at what point “someone has made enough money”
I don’t think anyone’s against shareholders having their proper say and representation in the corporate management process. But that’s not really what’s behind these pieces of the legislation. We’ve seen how today’s labor bosses are abusing their powers and using the shareholder resolution as a hostage weapon to bully corporations into unionization and special union concessions. Just read my prior post, “SEIU’s Secret Weapon: If Obama’s Plan Fails, Brandish the Shareholder Resolution” for a taste of that tactic.
It’s been known for some time that labor bosses are now organizing on a global scale, and as such, have taken to the Participative Management style common in European workplaces. In the U.S., private corporations might typically achieve a similar democratic process of employee participatory management when the company enters into a direct employee ownership plan. The difference here however is that we’re talking about companies that do not belong to the labor unions – these are companies in which the union might have a pension fund investment, or perhaps some of its workers unionized on premise. These are private companies that the unions attempt to overtake through such smaller connections to earn a place on the board, and then change it from the inside out until a Participative Management environment is achieved. If that achievement were to occur, US corporations would quickly fold and restructure under a more socialist model. Eventually, the free market system would erode away as labor unions take over the boards of once privately owned corporations.
For weeks now, Ive been searching for the resources to help me describe this threat in simple terms, and just as fate would have it, my friend Peter List over at LaborUnionReport and RedState pens the perfect post describing this with clarity and precision, in his post titled “Changing America Forever: Behind the AFL-CIO’s Push for Financial Reform.”
Big Government: Power, Control and Everlasting Entitlements
* A new agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, or CFPA, would serve as massive bureaucracy that would control everything from defining the types of loans consumers may be permitted to purchase, to expanding redlining provisions and subsequent mortgage entitlement programs. (And let’s not forget that the head of this agency would be Eric Stein, who ran the Center for Responsible Lending, and before that worked at Fannie Mae)
* The CFPA’s authority goes far beyond banks or financial institutions. This new bureaucracy would have the power to regulate hundreds of thousands of businesses. Examples of small businesses that would be subject to CFPA oversight (as outlined by the US Chamber of Commerce):
o A nonprofit organization that provides financial literacy education
o A software company that creates products to help consumers manage their money
o An advertising company that provides services relating to financial products
o Utilities companies, retailers and even doctors that extend credit to their customers.
* The Consumer Financial Protection Agency, or CFPA, created in the bill would be housed within the Federal Reserve, an already secretive and unchecked force of power in our financial system that insists on going unaudited
* A government agency will have unlimited executive bailout authority, including the power to pick and choose which companies are saved and which are left to fail. This creates serious potential for abuse, as private corporations could literally live or die based upon political decisions
* This bill contains the same language used by groups like the Center for Responsible Lending in the redlining laws and changes to the Community Reinvestment Act in 1995 for special research centers and programs “that promote awareness and understanding of the access of individuals and communities to financial services, and to identify business and community development needs and opportunities”
And we all know what happened as the result of those redlining laws and subsequent CRA changes in 1995.
Big Banks: Empowered by Big Government, Become Big Brother
Finally, in order to justify all these entitlement programs, all this forced unionization, all this takeover of private companies’ boards of directors, the government needs research. Not to worry, the bill creates vehicles for that, like the “Office of Financial Research” and a national database for the collection of your personal bank account and loan information, and various deposit account data.
Fannie Mae and Bank of America will be so thrilled when this passes the Senate (as will ACORN and SEIU). Thanks, of course, to years of lobbying by organizations like the Center for Responsible Lending. After all, they pioneered the use of banking research to mandate mortgage entitlements. Just imagine all the new entitlements that will be created once they can analyze all of that *new* banking information and data on what we’re purchasing. Someone will find some injustice somewhere in there. You can count on that.
If you haven’t been as interested in all the complex language about things like financial derivatives and credit default swaps in this bill, then all of this above should be plenty for you to be concerned about.
Kagan, Obama, and the Harvard Legacy of Literary Fraud
By Jack Cashill
When Barack Obama’s two faculty mentors at Harvard Law got in trouble for plagiarism, they were rescued by Dean Elena Kagan.
In 1989, Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe hired first-year Harvard law student Barack Obama as his research assistant. After Obama was elected president, Tribe would gush, “His stunning combination of analytical brilliance and personal charisma, openness and maturity, vision and pragmatism, was unmistakable from my very first encounter.”
Obama had one other prominent mentor among the Harvard faculty, Professor Charles Ogletree, an African American. In the run-up to the election, Ogletree would enthuse, “I’m so excited about this candidacy that I just can’t tell you. I’m just overfull with joy.”
In 2004, Tribe and Ogletree both made the news in ways they might wish they had not. And now in 2010, that news has come back to haunt their Law School dean at that time, Elana Kagan, and, if there is any justice in the world, it should eventually suck in Obama himself.
In September 2004, as Obama was cruising to victory in his U.S. Senate race, Tribe was publicly apologizing for plagiarizing — though, of course, he would not use that term — Henry J. Abraham’s 1974 book, Justices and Presidents, to write his own 1985 book, God Save This Honorable Court.
Tribe’s transgression had come to light only after he had publicly defended his colleague Ogletree, who just three weeks earlier had publicly apologized for the unauthorized heist of verbiage from Yale scholar Jack Balkin’s book, What Brown v. Board of Education Should Have Said, and the stashing of it, nearly word-for-word, in his own book, All Deliberate Speed.
Appalled by Tribe’s hypocrisy, an anonymous tipster alerted conservative scholar Joseph Bottum, who penned a damning 5,000 word article for The Weekly Standard, which revealed the extent of Tribe’s theft and resulted in Tribe’s half-hearted mea culpa.
In reviewing the case, Kagan and then Harvard President Larry Summers faced an obvious challenge: Ogletree was a black star on a faculty often criticized for being overly white; even more problematic, Tribe was the superstar of the judicial left.
Had they been a couple of untenured white guys, Summers and Kagan would have promptly ground them into hamburger, but these two were sacred cows. So they duly appointed a three-person committee of Harvard insiders, headed by former and future (replacing Summers after his resignation) Harvard president Derek Bok. After several months of reluctant inquiry, Summers and Kagan chose not to see the obvious and let the miscreants go essentially unpunished.
Given the politics of Ogletree and Tribe, the media had no interest in pursuing the case or pointing out the injustice of their non-punishment.
Kudos here to the one person who did pursue the case, Lawrence Velvel, dean of the University of Massachusetts Law School, an honest liberal who knew academic legerdemain when he saw it. In April 2005, Velvel posted a nearly 10,000-word analysis on his blog that not only explores the extent of the fraud and the depth of Kagan’s complicity, but that also suggests — without intending to — the inspiration for Obama’s own chicanery.
In the way of background, in 2004, after Ogletree’s sins had become public knowledge, Velvel had criticized him on line, and Tribe had come to Ogletrees’s defense. Tribe conceded that the problem of prominent people, “office seekers” among them, “passing off the work of others as their own” had become “a phenomenon of some significance.” In the next sentence, however, Tribe chastised Velvel for going public on issues “about which your knowledge is necessarily limited.”
Velvel responded to Tribe that if decency prevented outsiders from challenging a story already in the public sphere, “wouldn’t we have to depend for criticisms on those who are closest to the situation, who have the most reason not to discuss it lest they or their institution be harmed, and who are least likely to publicly discuss or criticize?”
Comparably, my understanding that Bill Ayers helped Obama write Dreams From My Father is “limited,” but how could it not be? In my own challenge of Obama’s authorship, I have faced the same response Velvel got from Tribe and responded much as Velvel did: “What do you expect Obama’s editor and publisher to say, let alone Obama himself?”
Velvel’s fears were fully grounded. Summers and Kagan let months pass before even announcing that they had appointed a committee composed of Bok and two other Harvard honchos. In April 2005, the committee reported its findings to the pair, although the report itself, if even written, was not released.
Not surprisingly, Summers and Kagan concluded of Tribe’s transgression that it had happened twenty years earlier, that it was the “product of inadvertence,” and they now “consider the matter closed.” Writes Velvel of their conclusion, “it is a travesty. Its language is misleading, its logic miserable, and its spirit corrupt.”
What troubled Velvel most is this: Ogletree and Tribe could claim “inadvertence” because they both almost assuredly allowed their research assistants to write major stretches of the book for them. Writes Velvel, “Ghostwriting, horribly enough, has become all too prevalent in academia as a general matter.”
The fact that Ogletree used ghostwriters, says Velvel, is “widely accepted.” The case against Tribe is nearly as strong. The instances of “copycatting,” including one identical 19-word pilfering, “seem to be more like what one would expect of a student than of a Tribe.” What is more, as Velvel points out, a 1993 article in a Washington law newspaper, called Legal Times, addressed the claim of a former Tribe assistant, Ron Klain, that he had written large sections of Tribe’s God Save This Honorable Court.
“That Harvard is setting a very bad example, with all too much of the bad stuff centered in its law school, is all too evident,” writes Velvel. One unfortunate consequence of this phenomenon is that the young are watching and learning from the masters. Here is how Velvel imagines their thought process might go.
On balance, it is well worth it, for on the one side lies fame and fortune, and on the other lies only a slap on the wrist. And, especially if I can hide my misdeeds for years (as seems usually to occur), and in the meanwhile have become a big deal, I am virtually assured of suffering nothing other than a minor slap on the wrist if and when I am finally caught.
Did Obama take his cue from Tribe and/or Ogletree. When pressed by his contractual demands, and unable to finish his book, did one or the other of his academic mentors whisper in his ear, “Have someone else write it. We do this all the time.” If so, his appointment of Kagan makes sense. She has a history of whitewashing the sins of those more powerful than she.
Velvel wanted to see Kagan fired. “So, in my view, Kagan too should go,” he writes. The result of her complicity with a corrupt faculty leads Velvel to an inescapable conclusion:
Since it is now known that Harvard professors have plagiarized, copycatted, and pretty certainly have had stuff ghostwritten for them, the bona fides and reputations of nearly everyone at Harvard is called into question, especially people in the law school.
I could not agree more.
Jack Cashill’s latest book is Popes and Bankers.
Will the GOP Wake Up and Smell the Tea?
By J.R. Dunn
It’s a painful thing to imagine Robert Bennett over the past few days, sitting alone in a darkened room, staring off into space wondering what hit him and whistling Nick Cave’s “There She Goes My Beautiful World” over and over again.
It happened quickly. Events in politics aren’t supposed to happen that quickly. It came out of nowhere, with next to no warning at all. Even a few weeks ago, there was little sign that Bennett was in trouble. Then the spirit of 2010 suddenly rose out the darkness and took him down.
It also wrong-footed the chattering classes, most of whom have echoed that master of analysis David Brooks in sputtering, “It’s an outrage.” From a certain point of view, perhaps so. But outrages don’t occur for no reason. After Bennett, three things can be said with certainty:
That the Tea Party movement is in no way a partisan phenomenon.
That it is not a minor event, one of those weird little upheavals common to democracies such as the Perotista uproar of the 90s, which appeared, wreaked havoc, and then vanished leaving no measurable effect on national politics.
That it is not simply a revolt. As the Duc de la Rochefoucauld explained to Louis XVI one fine July morning: “No sire, it is a revolution.”
The Tea Parties were well named. Like the Committees of Correspondence of the 1770s, they are the leading edge of a revolutionary change in American politics, one that has been gathering force for decades. This is the third wave foreshadowed by the Reagan Revolution of the 80s and the Gingrich Revolution of the mid-90s. It is a widespread national revolt against managerialism, administrative government, liberal paternalism, and the policies they embody.
The Reagan and Gingrich revolutions were aimed at the same targets. Other similarities exist as well, but the differences are just as profound. The previous movements were limited by party; as the Bennett ambush reveals, this one is not. They were doctrinal in basis; this one based almost purely on principle. They were only partially successful. And this one…?
Neither party yet grasps any of this. The Dems are in the position of a chicken in the middle of a thruway gazing bladly at an oncoming eighteen-wheeler. The only question is who will brush the feathers off the road?
The Republican stance is more complicated and problematic. The GOP is eagerly counting up the possible gains in the midterms (the number, according to Jim Geraghty, is now up to 90 seats in the House). It appears that the GOP is set to take over the House and make dramatic gains in the Senate. This is all well and good, but the problem with the Republicans is that, as usual, they are giving little or no thought as to what such a victory will be all about.
The ’94 revolution failed in large part due to the flakiness of its leader (“The mayor of Sominex City,” as Dame L. put it last weekend.) but also thanks to institutional pressures inherent in both the GOP and Congress itself. Within a short time, the fire kindled in ’94 was extinguished amid the damp chill of business as usual and a pathetically limited post-Gingrich leadership, to be replaced by seat-counting, earmark-trading, and open corruption. This led to 2006, to 2008, and, in due time, to the Tea Parties.
The question arises as to whether the GOP understands this course of events. The signs are not encouraging. Shortly after the passage of ObamaCare, Sen. John Cornyn, one of the party’s old bulls, announced that the party would make no effort to repeal the bill. He was echoed by Sen. Bob Corker and several House members — a nonentity named Richard Burr, and one or two others whose names slip my mind. No clear rationale was given, and none was required. ObamaCare will be embraced by the GOP mainstream because it represents a return to the status quo ante 2006 –` it represents a mammoth opportunity to practice what George Washington Plunkitt called “honest graft”: trading earmarks, placing US HealthCare installations in your district, and, not the least, guaranteeing that your supporters get to jump the line after rationing starts.
Voters? They get to do what they’re told.
But of course, they’re not doing what they’re told. And since Cornyn is insulated from the voters’ wrath this year, they instead turned the phaser banks on poor Robert Bennett.
It can be argued that Bennett didn’t deserve to be let down so harshly, that he was a conservative of sorts, and that we shouldn’t batter members of our own team. All good points. But none of them will play this year. Because, quite apart from all that, Bennett had sold out, and more publicly and completely than many. There was the broken pledge not to serve more than two terms, the vote for TARP (some form of bailout might have been necessary, but not that one), and his “bipartisan” health-care bill, of which the best that can be said is the fact that it went nowhere. Bennett was much the same as Bob Dole, and George H.W. Bush, and today’s Newt Gingrich: a member of the managerial elite. Somebody who, apart from the rhetoric, is simply another cog in the legislative machinery (or like Newt, would like to be once again). Arguing that Bennett was no worse than anyone else was not going to save him, not in 2010. And it won’t save anyone else either.
Will the Republicans get the message? That remains to be seen. It often appears that Republicans are not a message-getting species. 2006… 2008… ObamaCare… the dominos fall and make no impression in the elephantine mind. They still believe they can continue playing the numbers game, rewarding each other with earmarks, making deals across the aisle, and playing both ends against the middle. The voters will never notice.
Well, the Utah voters sure noticed.
To avoid Robert Bennett’s fate, the GOP must do things. ObamaCare must either be repealed or emasculated (if a veto-proof majority cannot be put together). The illegals problem must be solved firmly and quickly. The southern border must be secured before it explodes. The plague of PC that has overwhelmed political decision-making in this country since the first Bush administration must be ended. These only comprise a start. What people are demanding is a rollback. They will get it, or the politicians who stand in their way will wind up on the same ashheap as Bennett.
It happens that what the people are calling for matches the platform of the GOP almost point for point. The Republicans can prevail simply by being themselves, living up to their own standards and rhetoric. But we should never underestimate the Republican capacity for blowing a two-foot putt. Remember Dede Scozzafava, for one example.
If the Republicans drop the ball this time, if they toss aside their principles, break their promises, lose themselves in deals, Bennett’s downfall will expand to the level of massacre. 2012 will become the year of the third party, a serious third party, not the vanity productions of Ross Perot, but something we haven’t seen since 1912. And more than likely led by a populist crank of the Ron Paul variety. The last such upsurge by the Perotistas gave us Bill Clinton. And the next one…?
The GOP is being given that rarity in politics, a second chance. There will not be a third. Learn the lesson of Robert Bennett, or go to the wall.
J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker and editor of the forthcoming Military Thinker.
Do as the IRS says, not as it does
Important government documents are often shielded from Freedom of Information Act requests because of an exemption in the law that allows federal departments and agencies to withhold materials created before the issuance of an official policy. It’s known as the “internal deliberative process” exemption and it enables officials to withhold virtually all memoranda, e-mails, studies, or other documents created by agency employees or contractors as part of the policymaking process. With hundreds of thousands of FOIA requests being submitted to the government every year, the “internal deliberative process” exemption is among the most frequently cited exemptions used by federal officials to keep documents out of the view of taxpayers.
But don’t expect the government to extend the same privilege it demands for itself to private companies. The Internal Revenue Service is in the final stages of implementing a new proposal in which it asserts the right to require every business in America with $10 million or more in annual revenues to turn over to the government reams of heretofore private internal documents analyzing the company’s potential worst-case tax liabilities. Prudent businesses continually assess their potential tax bills to account for contingent liabilities. But company officials and the independent tax experts and accountants they often use don’t always agree on whether this deduction is sound or that one is justified. Such discussions are aired in the very company documents the IRS is now going after.As St. John’s University business professor Anthony Sabino told the New York Post recently, what the IRS wants is “an easy road map full of red flags to tell examiners where to go inside a corporation in search of any areas it might want to dispute to collect new levies.”
Besides adding new regulatory compliance costs on businesses, this proposal is loaded with legal pitfalls. In effect, the IRS is requiring companies to provide documents the government can then use as incriminating evidence for tax avoidance charges. After all, what’s to stop IRS agents from simply using the documents to induce businesses to pay a maximum tax liability without regard to the merits of a particular deduction or tax credit, secure in the knowledge that it’s often cheaper just to go ahead and write the big check rather than incur the expense of fighting the government? And how long before the IRS decides to impose the same requirement on small businesses or to make individual taxpayers submit detailed records concerning tax advice they receive?
Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/Do-as-the-IRS-says_-not-as-it-does-93583734.html#ixzz0npGRa6ao