Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Wrong Stuff

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HelicoptersValuing our credibility, we resist hearing the distinctive “thup-thup-thup” of black helicopters in our imagination, but it seems every corner of the federal government, now bizarrely including NASA, is making this harder to do.

Just this past week, we’ve run across four new and distinct incidents that may prompt reasonable people to conclude the transformative president is transforming every sector of the bureaucracy into an instrument of political control.

The Internal Revenue Service has been the obvious example ever since the May 2012 revelation of its coordinated harassment of conservative groups. But with that scandal well known, you might expect some small measure of contrition; some effort to restore trust. Instead, you find a publication no less mainstream than The Hill reporting that endangered Senate Democrats are openly seeking more IRS help in silencing Conservatives leading up to this fall’s elections.

It’s also unsurprising that the Environmental Protection Agency is politicized up to its eyeballs, but it might surprise you to know that it’s effectively conducting opposition research on behalf of Democrats seeking federal office.  Your tax dollars at work.

Democrats’ global warming agenda will be literally forced down people’s throats as nutrition standards applicable in federal programs such as school lunches and feeding the military will now be built around global warming doctrine.

But the most incredible episode of all—this week, anyway—was the announcement from NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration—that civilization’s future viability depends on income redistribution!  Explore Mars? Return to the moon? Slip the surly bonds of Earth? Naaaah!  NASA’s now apparently in the resource redistribution business.

Of course NASA’s inventory undoubtedly includes helicopters. Thup-thup-thup…

Democrats and Racism

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Avalance AreaLast week we analyzed State Senator Tim Carpenter accusing fellow Senator Mary Lazich of racism on the hysterical grounds that Lazich supports greater uniformity for early voting at the local clerk’s office.

This week finds Congressman Paul Ryan digging out from under the avalanche of accusations because he had the audacity to state the obvious. Ending the cycle of urban poverty depends on solving a cultural problem of successive generations failing to obtain gainful employment.

Liberals swarmed to attack Ryan as a racist for the crime of noticing the painful reality that’s existed for decades. George Will applied his customary insight in Sunday’s Washington Post.

We are unprepared to believe skin color or ethnicity is the reason. Systematically absolved as a matter of public policy from all expectations of personal responsibility, any human being can be taught to accept idleness and dependency.

What Will calls “the intergenerational transmission of poverty” is in fact a political transaction. Democrats approach a constituency with the offer—usually implicit but readily understood—to place off limits any criticism of behaviors by those constituencies in exchange for their vote. But to any rule, there are always exceptions. What notorious racist said the following:

“In troubled neighborhoods all across this country—many of them heavily African American—too few of our citizens have role models to guide them.”

“We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households…. We know the statistics—that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of school and twenty times more likely to end up in prison.”

“We know young black men are twice as likely as young white men to be ‘disconnected’—not in school, not working.”

Mitt Romney, Rush Limbaugh or John Boehner?

Actually it was President Barrack Obama, on more than one occasion. Apparently racism is relative to what party you belong to.

Mary Burke and Poor Kids

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onepercentOne of life’s little ironies is the spectacle of Democrats winning elective office by playing class warfare games. They ooze empathy for the poor and denounce the selfish “one percent”—and then immediately set to work abolishing opportunities for the poor and reclassifying the income of middle-class taxpayers as the one percent.

Mary Burke has seemingly reversed the sequence of events: Democrats ordinarily get elected first, then pull the rug out from under the poor who helped elect them.

Let’s start with Burke’s unapologetic statement last week that if elected governor, she would undo the statewide expansion of school choice.  Apparently  case she missed a key detail, school choice is not a program designed primarily to benefit the well-off. It’s an opportunity for children in families living below the poverty line to get out of failing schools.

That Burke would be hostile to Wisconsin’s voucher program is predictable.  Her sole previous foray into electoral politics is as a member of the Madison school board.  The prerequisite for membership in that august body, firmly established over decades, is absolute support for the public school monopoly and contempt for any questions from the taxpayers who sustain it.

What’s so surprising is that Burke has no reluctance to declare herself a foe of school choice, yet she frets over what to do about the Holy Grail of Wisconsin’s Left, repeal of Act 10.

Not surprising is the lack of enthusiasm among Democrats for her candidacy. They apparently understand she’ll throw any of them under the bus to get elected. Staring with poor children in failing school districts.

Third World Democrats

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next generation LED light bulbWe obsess about energy.

Here’s why:
Inexpensive energy is on a surprisingly short list of things that differentiate the United States from, say, Zimbabwe. Don’t dismiss English common law or the Federalist Papers, but their limitations are apparent if you can’t heat homes or power industry—and Washington, D.C. swarms with people bent on eradicating the energy sources that make those things affordable.

The implications far exceed mandates to buy stupid-looking light bulbs.

Exports of American liquefied natural gas are being cited as an effective, non-military response to the first armed seizure of sovereign European territory since 1938. The topic is pertinent partly because to please its green constituency, the Obama administration is dragging its feet on permits to build export terminals, so Ukraine stays hostage to Russian gas.

This month, the administration is expected to decide on adding more than 750 species to the endangered species list by 2018, the better to bring vast new swathes of Western land under federal control and block fossil fuel production, to please the greens. Uncounted American jobs may stay uncounted forever.

Again last week, 28 people who think you are idiots stayed up all night in the U.S. Senate, pretending they won’t rest until there’s action against global warming and hoping you’ve forgotten they control the Senate, could bring up global warming legislation any time they’d like to, and haven’t.

All to advance a political agenda the Gallup Poll identifies as a non-starter. With Democrats staking their 2014 election hopes on climate-change scaremongering, this month Gallup found the issue ranks virtually dead last among Americans’ concerns.

The top-ranked concerns—economic issues and health care—Democrats need to avoid.  Climate scares are a desperate distraction; affordable energy becomes a scapegoat.

They’ll settle for a third-world country, if they can rule it.

Now you see it…

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obamacare ahead warning conceptual postJust when warnings about the insidious nature of Obamacare began seeming redundant, Obamacare’s insidiousness exceeds our worst fears.

The individual mandate to buy health insurance—the essential mandate without which Obamacare is all but nonexistent—has been postponed for two years.

Rather than announce this favor to its key constituency of healthy 20-somethings, the administration denied it had happened at all. Evidently intended to pass unnoticed in order that suckers would go ahead and purchase unwanted coverage, the delay, hidden three months ago in an altogether different rule-making, was discovered by happenstance.

And so the whole enterprise grows more sinister: Revisions have rendered the program a cipher with few immediate consequences but immense ones for the unknowable future when the regime decides the moment is right for the massive imposition.

Leftists will hold back as long as necessary, but clearly intend to spring this monstrosity on a bemused nation the minute they believe they can get away with it. When will that minute arrive? It depends on what Republicans accomplish in the 2014 and 2016 elections.

Racism Alert

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keepleftArguably the most damaging accusation in today’s America is the charge of racial bigotry; hence it is the vilest accusation when made falsely, and doubly vile when hurled by someone who parades himself as a champion of tolerance.

Last Tuesday night State Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) soiled a state senate debate by saying in plain English that State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) “hates the Blacks and Latinos.”

Carpenter’s evidence? Lazich supports legislation establishing more uniform hours for voting in Wisconsin elections.  Not strictly uniform, but prescribing that early voters casting in-person absentee ballots at the clerk’s office may do so between eight a.m. and seven p.m. on weekdays, for two weeks before Election Day. That’s how Tim Carpenter defines racial hatred.

Urban Democrats will retain an advantage in staffing clerks’ offices for extended hours; rural towns and counties will still find this difficult. What’s ended is the increasingly common tactic of soliciting absentee votes from Democrats bused in from who-knows-where, for three weeks prior to an election, at all hours of the night and through the weekends.

Let any Republican lawmaker yell a defamatory accusation of racism at a Democrat, and every smarmy editorial page in the state will scream for his resignation and beat the drum for a civil suit. Here, though, a web search failed to locate the word “resign” anywhere near “Carpenter” except in a 2011 letter from Carpenter, demanding Governor Walker resign because the Governor had a phone conversation with a jackass reporter falsely representing himself to be one of the Koch brothers.

In a perverse way, the senator has performed a service: Battling to continue the Left’s abuse of election law, Carpenter stupidly illuminates what both the Democratic Party and Wisconsin’s “mainstream” media have willingly made of themselves.

Global Warmists Jump the (Hybrid) Shark

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springthawAnalytically-minded fans of the 1970s-‘80s sitcom “Happy Days” trace its irreversible decline to a scene halfway through its ten-year run in which a water-skiing but leather-jacketed Fonzie jumps over a shark.

If it’s true that irreversible decline is foretold by preposterous stunts, then the pernicious global warming hysteria looks to be running its course. Leaders of the cult are making ever-more-fantastic claims to distract us from the long, bitter winter and the 17-year absence of any identifiable global warming trend.

Thus, in the whole vast ocean of nonsense that is climate politics, it now appears no shark will be allowed to go un-jumped.  Two weeks ago, warmists rolled out a claim that climate change will trigger more frequent sexual assault.

In case the threat of more rapes didn’t scare you into supporting a hefty tax on your carbon footprint, last week the warmists floated warnings of something really unthinkable: a guacamole shortage.

True believers have grown unmistakably thin-skinned. More than 100,000 recently petitioned the New York Times to dump columnist Charles Krauthammer. His offense? The unpardonable suggestion that humans may or may not affect Earth’s climate.

This past weekend, Senate Democrats said—“threatened” might be more apt—they would stay up all night Tuesday talking about global warming, flattering themselves with the unfounded assumption that someone might listen.

More people will likely listen to an independent commission’s report telling the German Parliament there is “no justification”—not economic, not technology-related, not for rescuing the climate—for continued subsidies to “green” energy producers. Even climate-alarmist Reuters reported it.

So maybe it’s almost over. In shark-jumping terms, the signs were plain to see more than two years ago.

Watch for the spring thaw to be seized on as cause for a general panic.

It’s a start…

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe highest priority in preserving the integrity of elections is not necessarily to reform election laws, though reforms are surely needed. Rather, the highest priority is to demonstrate seriousness about enforcing the laws that exist.  Absent such seriousness, needed reforms will be robbed of meaning.

So it was good news last week when the Republican Party of Wisconsin moved to hold accountable the state AFL-CIO for its actions in a special legislative election last December, evidently heedless of lawful disclosure requirements.

Democrats parachuted Milwaukee Liberal activist Elizabeth Coppola into a South Milwaukee district just in time to campaign for a vacant Assembly seat, and she got right down to business making deceptive statements such as, “I am not a special interest backed candidate who has to answer to out-of-state donors.” It takes a special kind of chutzpah to say that in a flyer paid for by the AFL-CIO which, last we heard, was not known for deviating from the party line spelled out by national unions—but that’s not even the issue here.

The issue, according to the GOP’s complaint to the Government Accountability Board, is that the AFL-CIO bankrolled multiple activities on behalf of Coppola’s failed campaign, and simply ignored its disclosure obligations.

This is important on more than on level.  During the winter 2011 Siege of Madison, national unions took up half the parking spaces around the Capitol Square for days on end with mobile command posts.  Unions are known to be planning hundreds of millions in spending to turn this year’s elections. And new IRS rules designed to gag Conservative organizations leave Big Labor free to conduct its big money operations with impunity.

Accountability for one union group at the state level won’t be decisive, but it’s a necessary start in breaking up a rigged game.

45, the new 70

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slowThe more we observe contemporary Liberalism in action, the more it looks like a Gordon Lightfoot songbook: interchangeable sets of lyrics assigned nominally different titles in hopes that no one will notice they consist of the same few tunes draped over the same few rhythms, repeated with maddening predictability in the same whiny key.

So if, against all odds, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett gets his way and manages to cut the speed limit to 45 miles per hour on sections of Interstate 90-94, it might not be a coincidence if you find yourself unconsciously humming “The Edmund  Fitzgerald” to while away the additional commuting time.

Proffered as a way to mitigate needed expansion of the overburdened expressway, the mayor’s latest transportation-related brainstorm has at least one thing in common with all the other numbers in the songbook. It goes precisely nowhere unless more obviously sensible alternatives are made to appear too expensive or otherwise unacceptable.

So mass transit begins to look reasonable because driving your own car is more emotionally stressful when you know you should be traveling half again as fast.

High-speed rail that averages 38 miles per hour becomes relatively less sluggish, if only by decree.

Want a non-transportation example? How about the fantasy that expensive, whimsically-operational “renewable” energy is cost-competitive, an illusion contrived by saddling dependable, inexpensive energy sources with the costs of arbitrary regulation.

The advancement of Liberal priorities never any longer involves effort to improve the Liberal product, but only to destroy the alternatives. A rule of thumb that will seldom fail to predict Liberal preferences is that they can be counted on to reject anything that works, because the inevitable comparison will make their own ideas look bad.

Mandate or Mirage?

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OasisRecently we pointed out, referring to the dozens of impromptu “revisions” to Obamacare, that despite the administration and even some of its critics carelessly saying the president has “changed the law,” he can’t.

A major concern is that even if Barack Obama says this or that portion of the law—any law—isn’t being enforced, that doesn’t mean he or someone else won’t show up the day after tomorrow  ready to enforce it.  As we said February 19, the problem with Obama’s attempts to rule by decree is that “Those who bow to today’s decree must know they may be told tomorrow to bow to its opposite.”

Welcome to tomorrow.

The Internal Revenue Service, last seen refining its techniques for intimidating citizens who might harbor thoughts of criticizing the government, made it known that amid all the delays of Obamacare deadlines, one won’t be delayed at all: You have to buy health insurance this year or pay a penalty when you file next year’s income tax return.

It’s understandable if you’re confused, but don’t try pleading confusion to the IRS. Obama has decreed that the black-letter law of the Affordable Care Act, as the comparatively beneficent-appearing Nixon administration used to say, is “inoperative” where mandated coverage by employers is concerned. Nothing was said about the mandate for individual consumers. Translation: Business groups have lobbyists; you don’t.

You do, however, have the House Republicans. They were planning this week to do by lawful means what Obama might have done illegally, if he gave a hoot in Hades what happens to Americans victimized by his crowning achievement.

There isn’t the slightest chance Harry Reid’s Senate will take up the House bill. All the better, with an election eight months ahead.