In an otherwise thoughtful and insightful post about what he saw on the Mall last weekend, Nick Gillespie makes the odd assertion that, despite being “in some ways… proto-libertarian” “[t]he organizers and the attendees are not part of the Leave Us Alone coalition.”
The term “Leave Us Alone coalition” was coined by Grover Norquist as a discription of the coalitional structure of the right. The idea is that gun owners, economic conservatives, homeschoolers and so forth can support one another’s goals because the common strand is a desire to have less government intervention in their lives, whereas the left is structured around a “Takings coalition” that seeks to divide up government resources amongst themselves.
Norquist has long argued that contemporary social conservatism emerged out of Leave Us Alone instincts:
The pro-family, traditional-values conservatives are an important part of the “Leave Us Alone” coalition. The so-called Religious Right did not organize in the wake-of the Supreme Court decision banning school prayer, or even after Roe v. Wade. The development of a national grassroots conservative activism grew out of a self-defensive response to threats from the Carter Administration to regulate Christian radio stations and remove the tax-exempt status of Christian private schools.
I’ve heard Norquist argue that social conservatism has been most successful when its goals meshed with the Leave Us Alone ethos, for example when objecting to publicly-funded art that is offensive to Christians, and least successful when their goals deviate from it, for example with the push for a school prayer amendment. He argues that the right is divided on issues like immigration or abortion or foreign policy precisely because they don’t fit easily into the Leave Us Alone formula.
Nick seems to assume that a desire for public religiosity necessarily implies government intervention, but that’s far from clear. James Poulos teases this out:
Gillespie goes off track in thinking that religion links up with this basket of broadly shared interests in a self-contradictory way. Beck’s folks, he writes,
worry about an undocumented fall in morals, and they are emphatic that genuine religiosity should be a feature of the public square. Which is to say, like most American voters, they may well want from government precisely the things that it really can’t deliver.
A secular libertarian would confuse a longing for a public air of genuine religiosity with ‘more religion in government’. But this, too, I think, badly misses the mark. The Americans who came out in droves for Beck’s rally don’t think the purpose of government is to hand you the good life. Why would they think the purpose of government is to hand you the right morals? As Gillespie himself puts it :”In some sense, the rally was a giant AA meeting (I don’t mean this snarkily), flush with the notion that whatever else is going on in the world, you can control some portion of your own life.”
The religious convictions of Beck’s fans, and the fact that they’re not calling for explicit government intervention, suggests a reinvigoration the traditionalist-libertarian alliance, which became badly frayed in the past decade as Bush Republicans pushed “Big Government Conservatism” and social conservatism was increasingly driven by the explicit anti-libertarianism of people like Mike Huckabee. In some ways this is a natural consequence of the left taking the reins of government and the prominence of economic policy arguments — it’s easier in many ways to hold a political coalition together in opposition — but it’s a tendency that should be encouraging rather than off-putting to libertarians.
Many whacks have been taken by now at Peter Beinart’s essay “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment” including in this space (here’s Phil, here’s me), in which Beinart wrung his hands over young American Jews turning away from supporting the Jewish state (a wildly overstated premise, by the way). But Andy Ferguson’s devastating takedown of Beinart, tracing his career trajectory over more than a decade, cannot be improved upon. I won’t even excerpt it; it’s fairly short, so read the whole thing and enjoy.
Josh Shahryar has a good write-up at Pajamas Media on how Quds Day played out in Iran. The anti-Israel rallies were much smaller than they’d been in previous years, but opposition groups opted not to stage demonstrations given the government’s show of force (mentioned in this space the other day). There was some violence in Shiraz, though:
Clashes broke out in this southern city when security forces attacked Ghoba Mosque, the main seat of Ayatollah Dastegheyb, a respected cleric and supporter of the opposition movement. Hundreds of Basijis entered the mosque and beat up the cleric’s students who’d gathered there. Mosque officials were told not to hold any gatherings, and the establishment was already surrounded by security forces before the attack.
The siege on Mehdi Karroubi’s house continued, and at least a dozen people (probably many more) were arrested.
The Thomas Nelson company sent me AmSpec alumnus Jeremy Lott’s William F. Buckley. I will write a full review later, but I have just begun the book and can already tell that Lott is going to bring attention to some underappreciated territory.
His hook is that Bill Buckley was more or less a prophet. His aim is to show how Buckley’s faith influenced his life and his politics.
Only nine pages in I have been treated to the following quote by JFK in response to a Harvard speaker who crowed that the school had never graduated either an Alger Hiss or a McCarthy. JFK roared, “How dare you couple the name of a great American patriot with the name of a traitor!” (Whatever happened to the Kennedy’s?)
Of course, the book is not about JFK, but about WFB, and I am sure from what I have read so far that the effort will be a worthy one.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Labor Day weekend this year is to Republican panic what Haight-Ashbury in summer 1967 was to “flower power.” Here I am off on the other side of the continent to cover Joe Miller’s upset of Lisa Murkowski, while everybody back east has suddenly gone zonkers over the Delaware GOP Senate primary.
Mellow out, dudes.
Five weeks ago, I spent a couple of days shadowing Christine O’Donnell and her campaign team at the Right Online Conference and even did a brief video interview with her. She struck me as a perfectly plausible candidate. She’s much more conservative — and incomparably more telegenic — than Mike Castle. What’s not to like?
Yet behold the hysteria she’s generated among Republicans who are running amok on the Internet, shouting at the top of their lungs that O’Donnell is the worst thing to happen to the GOP since Spiro Agnew.
Really? Is she that bad? Could anyone be as bad as Mike Castle’s supporters say O’Donnell is?
The fundamental problem seems to be two-fold: First, O’Donnell has made some influential enemies over the years, and second, the Castle campaign has lots of hired guns to spread their oppo-research on O’Donnell.
Add to that two recent developments: First, the Tea Party Express, fresh from knocking off Murkowski here in Alaska, has committed serious money to defeating Castle in Delaware and, second, Republicans now think they’ve got a better-than-even shot at recapturing control of the Senate in November.
All this reminds me of something a Republican operative told me in May 2009, when I was trying to understand why John Cornyn and the NRSC had prematurely endorsed Charlie Crist in Florida. Quoth the operative: “All they care about is getting their chairmanships back, and they don’t care how they get there.” The various “ranking minority members” of the Senate GOP caucus want their power and they want it now, and they think Mike Castle is their ticket to getting it.
Ergo, to the GOP powers that be, Christine O’Donnell is a problem to be eliminated By Any Means Necessary.
One of two outcomes is possible: Mike Castle wins on Sept. 14, in which case all this psychotic raving about Christine the Dangerous Right-Wing Catastrophe will appear unseemly in retrospect; or O’Donnell wins on Sept. 14, and Democrats will then congratulate themselves that Republicans have already done their dirty work for them.
Mellow out. And stay away from the brown acid.
The Michigan View’s Henry Payne tells of the ironic misfortune that befell Jesse Jackson, who led a “Jobs, Justice and Peace” rally with the United Auto Workers last weekend that promoted “green” jobs. Afterward the Cadillac Escalade SUV he was chauffeured in was stolen and stripped of its wheels:
Add Jesse to the Al Gore-Tom Friedman-Barack Obama School of Environmental Hypocrisy. While preaching to Americans that they need to cram their families into hybrid Priuses to go shopping for compact fluorescent light bulbs to save the planet, they themselves continue to live large.
“We need an economy that creates employment that can’t be shipped overseas,” the Green Rev wrote for CNN about the march. “Home-grown American labor will be installing windmills and solar panels. A green economy is not an abstract concept.”
Let us remember where policies promoted by the likes of Jackson and the unions have brought Detroit.
I’d say James’ take is 50%-75% right. 50% right off the bat because we know a Castle victory would prove at best meaningless, by his being the third lady from Maine, adding “bipartisan” cover to all manner of statist mischief even probably sometimes where the Maine gals refused to budge. Like cap-and-trade.
He has assured us that this will be the case. That he won’t even temper, e.g., his support for that energy rationing scheme that’s been a disaster where it was tried in the admitted model, Europe, shows he’s a) impervious to reconsidering his dogma or, b) given that the proposal in the name of the climate would, according to no one, have any detectable imapct on the climate, he continues to hold on to that rationale for the agenda (one that even Lindsey Graham famously, hilariously ditched), he has a listening or comprehension problem. These aren’t mutually exclusive and in fact might be complementary troubles.
He knows what he knows and that’s all he needs to know. Elect him, and you will affirm and elevate that approach. What the heck. Arrogance of politicians isn’t an issue this year…
I think O’Donnell is trying but has yet to provide similar proof-in-advance about the other proposition, that she is not electable. Experience is that wave elections generally wash back out around six years later because all sorts of otherwise “unelectable” nominees are elected.
A month or so ago Sharron Angle wasn’t electable either. She’s in a dead heat with the Majority Leader. O’Donnell’s baggage troubles me more than Angle’s did at this point in my hearing it tossed about. But the truth is that, about that, we just don’t know.
But we do know about Castle. It’s not complicated.
I’d be happy to be proven wrong on either or both points, but the Delaware Republican primary seems to me to be a contest between a candidate who can’t win in November and a candidate so liberal his victory would be meaningless.
From reading various online sites, the contest in Delaware to replace Joe Biden’s seat-warmer Ted Kaufman in the U.S. Senate is beginning to take on a feel like the Spanish Civil War must have as of about November 1936. Or at least the feel of November 2008. That is to say, it’s hard to find someone to root for.
That’s in part inevitable what with the formidable establishment, RINO, and other knives out for Christine O’Donnell — aided by certain O’Donnell, erm, indelicacies…none of which, I’m relieved to say, have threatened or do threaten to harm the economy or our security, ahem — just as they were out for Sharron Angle (the whispering campaign against whom I felt when visiting Nevada a short while back, but whose numbers rebounded when voters, seeing she was indeed the nominee, recalled what’s at stake).
If Mike Castle’s Senate Doppelganger John McCain* had won in 2008, even with coattails for other Republicans, in addition to other big-government transgressions seen since then we would without a doubt also have cap-and-trade and quite possibly what is euphemized as “comprehensive immigration reform”. But although Franco at least deprived Stalin of another satellite, Obama — for all of the various, largely reparable harms he has caused — is not Stalin, and his radicalism that many of us were willing to see two years ago has revived millions of apathetic citizens; his embrace has ensured that what McCain would have enacted through cap-and-trade and immigration (leaving them therefore still viewed as presumptively “not enough”), is not law but viewed as presumptively extreme by a critical mass of the awakened electorate.
So the best thing I can say about the Delaware race is that Mike Castle, in one elected office or another since 1966 and who most recently stood by his vote as one of eight Republicans providing Nancy Pelosi’s margin of victory in passing (and giving some, if not enough, political cover for) the Left’s anti-energy ambitions manifested in cap-and-trade, will probably cast at least one meaingful vote I’m comfortable with.
Unfortunately the odds are good that the last time will be his first vote, for majority leader. After that, I’m afraid, we will be reduced to clearing our throats to politely inform him that Maine’s two Senate seats are already taken.
*This is somewhat unfair to McCain who, when confronting strong opposition among his base did modify his unpopular stances; for example, when given the chance to walk back his years-long cap-and-trade fervor, he did just that, however sincerely.
UPDATE: Oh, dear. I forgot about that instant-seating quirk attached to at least two of the seats up in November. I suppose the fruits of this exercise in winning-for-the-sake-of-winning won’t take long to harvest.
O’Donnell is taking flak for this or that, this alleged misstatement or that bad radio interview. Including from this piece over at NRO by the estimable Jim Geraghty. And, just posted, is this from my wonderful TAS friend and colleague Quin Hillyer.
Taking flak from good conservatives or, as Mark Levin puts it, conservatives who are more Republican than conservative. Not, as Seinfeld might say, that there’s anything wrong with that! And quite specifically let me make sure we understand Quin Hillyer is not included in my estimation of who is not really conservative. Anyone who knows Quin knows in an earlier life he told Edmund Burke to get on the stick with that French Revolution book, not to mention he still grouses about Wendell Willkie. Mr. Hillyer is many things….short on conservatism is not one of those things.
If I may say respectfully, this kind of thing is both terminally old when it comes to attacks on conservatives and, frustratingly, enduringly typical from — yes — some on the right.
Somewhere it always seems there’s a need to refresh on the savage attacks on Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan or, to be current and with no need to refresh, today’s Sarah Palin. Heck, why limit this to running for office? Attacks by conservatives on more prominent conservatives occur these days with the same certainty as the attraction of gin to tonic. Google names like…oh…say…Limbaugh, Rush and you’ll get the idea.
These attacks are so utterly, utterly predictable although I’m sure that a Palin or O’Donnell still finds the sensation amazing as the arrow enters between their shoulder blades.
So let’s take a second to see just how deeply normal if crazy this business has been over the decades.
The conservative is accused by his or her fellows of being: unstable (Goldwater), an extremist (Goldwater, Reagan, William F. Buckley, Jr., Palin), an un-informed lightweight (Reagan, Palin), personally irresponsible with finances (Reagan and O’Donnell), saying something utterly stupid in this interview or that public appearance (all of the above) — and don’t forget the ever dependable cry of racist/race-baiter or race something-or — other (all of the above plus pick-your-favorite talk radio host).
Until the Delaware primary, it is now Christine O’Donnell’s turn to feel that startling arrow-in-the-back sensation that comes with this.
Conservatism is not a candidate. It’s a movement. Based on a set of rock-solid principles. The fight always is to move the ball forward. The quarterback of the moment is…Fox News Alert….always flawed in some fashion. We could and can pick endlessly at the quarterback who is on the field. The real question is …now and always….are we moving the ball? Elections will be won. They will be lost. The objective is to move the ball.
Christine O’Donnell has the ball. Mike Castle plays for the other side wearing the Republican jersey. Which is why he wants the ball. This confuses many — as it is designed to do.
But Riehlworld and Levin have both gotten it right. Not, alas, Brothers Geraghty and Hillyer, the latter of whom will doubtless soak my head in the nearest gin-and-tonic come holiday season when we share our traditional TAS glass.
These moments bring to mind that scene from the 1987 film Moonstruck where Cher smacks the smitten Nicholas Cage across the face and bellows: “Snap out of it!”
I’ve never actually confused Levin with Cher before, but under the circumstances….
I concur with most of Chris Horner’s take on the odd column by the Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf. Actually, I’m still not even sure what Friedersdorf is saying…. other than that “reforming” conservatism must START WITH, but go well beyond, criticizing Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh, etc.
Well, I too am all for reforming conservatism. And most of the time that means that we start with LISTENING to Levin and Limbaugh. They’re usually right.
Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, already under fire for a sketchy history with personal finances and a number of other odd actions (including suing the stalwart conservative publishing house, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute), now is really turning into an embarrassment. Her unnamed opponents are hiding in her bushes! And her close associates are making absolutely slanderous claims about her GOP opponent, U.S. Rep. Mike Castle, while O’Donnell herself can barely raise herself to denounce the slander — only while repeating it numerous times.
Yet TEA Partiers, with whose causes I almost always gladly associate, are working hard to make O’Donnell the next Joe Miller, pulling an upset win over the GOP establishment.
I make no endorsement of Mike Castle’s leftward drift over the years. I make no endorsement in the race. I love a lot of what O’Donnell says. I would still be at least tempted to vote for her if I lived in Delaware. But if I were a political consultant telling TEA Partiers and conservative leaders in general what their best purely political action would be, long term, what I would say is this: Go to Mike Castle and get pledges from him to move back rightward.
Politicians as experienced as Castle know the importance of honoring their word to other political actors. (Sort of like “honor among thieves,” except that most politicians really are NOT thieves.) Conservative leaders can go to him, perfectly legally, and say, look, you saw what happened to Lisa Murkowski in Alaska and to Bob Bennett in Utah. You see the polls that have you just five points up on O’Donnell. You know you are at least at some risk of failing to win the nomination. But we can call off the dogs of war. We can stop ginning up the organizational fervor that could propel O’Donnell to victory. What we ask from you is that you keep your door open to us once you are in the Senate; that you sign at least a two-year version of Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge; that you agree in writing that you will not switch parties if elected and that you would resign rather than do so….. that sort of thing. The pledges don’t even need to be public. They can’t mention any specific legislation, and they can’t be couched in terms of a quid pro quo. But they still can be binding on an honorable man, and Castle is an honorable man.
Here’s why: Mike Castle would be a heavy favorite in a general election. O’Donnell — unlike Miller in Alaska — would be an almost unwinnable underdog. And the Senate majority could very well hang in the balance with this race. With the Senate majority comes subpoena power to keep the Obama administration in check, and all sorts of other advantages that make it worthwhile for conservatives to have even a liberal Republican like Castle in office rather than an even more liberal Democrat. If conservatives are practical, these are the sorts of considerations that would enter their minds and govern their actions.
After all, conservative leaders otherwise could be left wondering what else might be hiding in O’Donnell’s bushes.
The Washington Post reported this morning that the White House is considering a payroll tax cut and an extension of the research and development tax credit, with the intention of aiding small businesses.
It’s a sign that the Obama economic team is worried enough about the sluggishness of the recovery and the possibility of a double-dip recession to act on Republicans’ terms. The only fiscal stimulus bill the Democrats could pass would be one composed of tax cuts. Republicans would block any sizable spending measures, as they have been doing.
The Post suggests that the bill would be introduced before the midterm elections. The article quotes William Galston of the Brookings Institution explaining that the timing proves that the decision wouldn’t be motivated by fears about the midterms: “Substantively, there is nothing they could do between now and Election Day that would have any measurable effect on the economy. Nothing.”
If the idea is to make it easier for companies to hire new workers in an attempt to revive the weak labor market, a payroll tax cut would be a good first step. The administration, however, is also toying with a few other policies that would undermine the effect of the payroll tax cut. For example, if the Democrats do allow the Bush tax cuts for top individual earners to expire, the burden will fall onto small business owners — counteracting the effect of the payroll tax cuts mere months after they’re implemented.
Kevin Hassett and Alan Viard had a good explanation of this argument in today’s Wall Street Journal:
The numbers are clear. According to IRS data, fully 48% of the net income of sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations reported on tax returns went to households with incomes above $200,000 in 2007….
It’s clear that business income for large and small firms will be hit by the higher tax rates. And in point of fact, firms of all sizes contribute to the nation’s prosperity. So it’s a mistake to focus only on the impact of increased tax rates on small business. But will the higher rates actually cause a significant reduction in business activity?
Economic research supports a large impact. A pair of papers by economists Robert Carroll, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Harvey Rosen and Mark Rider that were published in 1998 and 2000 by the National Bureau of Economic Research analyzed tax return data and uncovered high responsiveness of sole proprietors’ business activity to tax rates. Their estimates imply that increasing the top rate to 40.8% from 35% (an official rate of 39.6% plus another 1.2 percentage points from the restoration of a stealth provision that phases out deductions), as in Mr. Obama’s plan, would reduce gross receipts by more than 7% for sole proprietors subject to the higher rate.
These results imply a similar effect on proprietors’ investment expenditures. A paper published by R. Glenn Hubbard of Columbia University and William M. Gentry of Williams College in the American Economic Review in 2000 also found that increasing progressivity of the tax code discourages entrepreneurs from starting new businesses.
Because marginal tax rate increases impede long-run growth, they should be avoided in good times and bad. But now is a particularly inopportune time to raise rates, as small businesses are still struggling from the recession.
Channeling Pauline Kael, someone over at The Atlantic says movement conservatism — a “deeply unserious and corrupt political coalition” — is teetering at the precipice because he spoke to some other guy who says he no longer considers himself a conservative because he supported Obamacare.
While on this basis I tend to share the latter’s self-assessment, we’re to be very worried because you see that case-study is a natural recruit for conservatism being a married father who pays his bills and doesn’t think Washington should tell everyone what to do (a rather amusing hat tip and inadvertent swipe at the Left).
Maybe. Or maybe not, what with that little factor like supporting Obamacare. Unlike even liberal Oregon Senator and “aye” vote Ron Wyden — who by now has had a chance to read some of that bill and find out what’s in it.
This persuasive anecdote rises to the level of what my Danish in-laws would call a prut in a hurricane; you might have encountered in your lives other, rather different tales of average, apolitical citizens stirring to awareness and activism in outrage over the health care and other Obama Power Grabs.
But, hey, he knows a guy… Then comes the claim made in closing and without even such an anecdote to explain it, that it’s just so “strange” how “calling out” what the Left finds “the least acceptable” speech of Rush, Mark Levin and Glenn Beck is “so verbotten”.
No. It isn’t “verbotten”. That’s a bit like Tim Robbins carping at the Press Club that private citizens disagreeing with his moonbattery constitute a violation of his right to free speech. The words you were looking for were “so…MSNBC” and “so Air America”. Or “unmeasured, often unhinged and extremely tough for married fathers who pay their bills to watch or listen to especially if their kids are around and therefore unpopular”. I know because a guy told me…
The economy lost 54,000 jobs in August and the unemployment rate creeped back up to 9.6 percent, but the numbers were better than expected and the job losses could be attributed to the expiration of temporary Census jobs, according to a report released this morning by the Department of Labor.
During the month, there were 114,000 jobs lost because of the Census, while the private sector added 67,000 jobs. According to a Reuters survey, economists were expecting overall employment dropping by 100,000 and private sector hiring up 41,000.
There were also 1.1 million discouraged workers who are not reflected in the unemployment rate because they have stopped looking for work, believing that no jobs are available to them.
While the numbers may have been better than expected, they still aren’t great. Politically speaking, they won’t do anything to change voter perceptions that the economy is weak and that the Democrats’ spending measures have been a failure. Keep in mind, too, that there is only one more jobs report due out before the election, so Democrats are running out of opportunities to demonstrate sufficient progress.
Quds Day, the last Friday of Ramadan, is a holiday invented by Ayatollah Khomeini to protest the existence of Israel. Funny thing, though: While the Islamic Republic is ostensibly preparing for the usual anti-Zionist festivities, they seem to be awfully worried about what kind of protest might erupt tomorrow. Green Movement leader Mehdi Karroubi finds his house under siege. Encrypted internet transmissions are being blocked (as are Gmail and Yahoo). Riot police are out in force in Tehran. The Iranian people have a bigger problem with the thugs running the country than they do with Israel, and the thugs know it.
And as the conflict simmers between the Iranian government and its own people, President Obama remains shamefully silent, refusing to voice support for the opposition that represents the biggest threat to a regime that is a serious threat to American interests.
As Jim argues, preventive wars don’t fit neatly into the traditional understanding of just wars. The complication, though, that right-wing preventative war supporters would bring up is that the traditional understanding of wars doesn’t necessarily apply to today’s conflicts.
Specifically, in the times when just war theory was developed, wars were generally fought by nations that declared war on each other and sent conventional armies into the field against declared combatants. Today the combatants are “terrorists” and “insurgents” who aren’t necessarily associated with a nation and don’t have a unified command. Also, they don’t have a centralized location and could launch a devastating stealth attack anywhere — so we “fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here.”
Clearly the concept of a just war has to be updated to accommodate the reality of terrorism. For instance, it seems to be settled that the invasion of Afghanistan was justified under a modern just war theory, even though the nation of Afghanistan itself posed almost no threat to the U.S., because that’s where the terrorists were.
But stretching just war theory to fit today’s warfare is not easy. The evidence that it’s been stretched too far, as Jim mentions, is that, in hindsight at least, our ability to speculate about the threats posed by terrorists and their sponsors is limited. And, when an updated just war theory is invoked to justify tactics that were deplorable under the old just war definitions, it should be cause for concern.
HHS announced this week that 2,000 “groups” are eligible to receive money for “reinsuring” their retiree health programs. Only a third (32%) are private businesses, the rest are state and local governments (26%), unions (22%), “education” (I guess public universities) (14%), and non-profits (5%).
For years these organizations have been giving in to union demands for generous retirement benefits, but they haven’t been funding their promises. Hmmmm. What to do? What to do? I KNOW! We’ll have the Feds bail us out. They’ve got plenty of money!
So, ObamaCare appropriated $5 billion to offset some of the costs for a few selected organizations. The Feds will pay 80% of the claims costs for expenses between $15,000 and $90,000 for retirees between the ages of 55 and 65. But only if the groups “have in place programs and procedures that generate or have the potential to generate cost savings for participants with chronic and high-cost conditions.” In other words, only if the group is pleasing to the Administration.
In explaining the program, HHS noted that –
“The percentage of large firms providing workers with retiree health coverage dropped from 66 percent in 1988 to 29 percent in 2009. Many Americans who retire before they are eligible for Medicare without employer-sponsored health coverage see their life savings disappear because of medical bills and exorbitant rates in the individual health insurance market. Health insurance premiums for older Americans are over four times more expensive than those for young adults, and the deductible these enrollees pay is, on average, almost four times that in a typical employer-sponsored insurance plan.”
Of course, this program does absolutely nothing for any of those folks. Instead it gives extra money to the fat cat unions and giant employers that are currently enjoying very rich benefits.
Mark Tooley and John Keown have had an interesting exchange about whether the American Revolution was a just war. Tooley correctly argues that many people, especially on the religious left, employ Just War theory to effectively oppose any war. Some wars are definitely just (I would argue Afghanistan was such a war). But Just War theory is properly intended to restrain the use of force rather than to come up with elaborate justifications for its use.
That’s what those of us who subscribe to Just War theory find so troubling about the right’s recent embrace of preventive war. While preemptive wars can be just, it is difficult if not impossible for preventive wars to satisfy the criteria of Just War theory. Why? Because they tend to deal with speculative and hypothetical evils rather than actual, verifiable evils. In addition to muddying the concept of who is the aggressor, preventive wars cannot establish that the damage inflicted by the target is lasting, grave, and certain; it also becomes hard to establish that the evils resolved by the use of arms are in fact greater than those unleashed by the use of force.
Consider David Frum’s recent defense of the Iraq war in hindsight. Nearly every argument he makes for it is speculative. While some of his speculation is perfectly plausible and reasonable, the fact is we don’t know if he is right about all the evils he believes the war prevented or eliminated. We do know for sure what evils the war unleashed — massive sectarian violence in Iraq, ethnic cleansing, the persecution of Iraqi Christians, an increase in the Iranian government’s regional influence, not to mention the lives of thousands of brave Americans. Not everybody on the right believes Just War theory is adequate to deal with today’s security threats in an age of terrorism. But when the logic of preventive war seems to counsel more war, it might be worth revisiting.
Copenhagen - Four Greenpeace activists who had clung to an oil rig off western Greenland with rock-climbing gear were arrested on Thursday after an Arctic storm forced them to abandon their environmental protest.
Police spokesperson Morten Nielsen said the four men - from the US, Finland, Poland and Germany - faced preliminary charges of violating a 500m security perimeter around the Stena Don rig and trespassing by climbing onto the installation.
The activists had been suspended under the rig since Tuesday to protest Scottish company Cairn Energy PLC’s deepwater drilling in the area, saying it could spark an oil rush in sensitive Arctic waters….
“We stopped this rig drilling for oil for two days but the campaign is far from over,” Greenpeace spokesperson Jon Burgwald said by telephone from the ship Esperanza, which is anchored off Greenland.
“Our activists hung there for more than 40 hours but last night, a freezing storm and high waves made them decide it was too risky. So we contacted the police to say we were stopping the action,” he said.
My former colleague Richard Morrison articulates matters very well elsewhere on AmSpec, here, but in the wake of yesterday’s terrorism outside Washington, DC by Discovery-network hostage-taker James J. Lee, let’s consider the position articulated by, say, radio host Glenn Beck to not attribute responsibility to Al Gore’s eco-ranting. The latter is of course larded with assurances of a certain eco-catastrophe brought about by dark forces impeding salvation, and disturbing utterances like “the tide in this battle will turn only when the majority of people in the world become sufficiently aroused by a shared sense of urgent danger to join in an all-out effort.” (Earth in the Balance, p. 269)
Any sane person knows that such exhortations for an all-out effort to stop urgent danger are merely calls to get involved, say with direct mail campaigns and bake sales.
Now, both Fox News and CNN have reported that Lee attributed his radicalism to the writings of two men — Daniel Quinn and Al Gore. The Washington Post carried a fairly lengthy article exploring the former, who dismisses any connection. That piece and the main news feature are both silent on the deceased’s giving equal credit to Gore (although a pop-up ad for China’s solar industry does accompany one of them). This is true of the Wall Street Journal’s coverage, among others.
Beck’s (somewhat backhanded, I understand) rationale for exculpating Gore of partial responsibility is that the terrorist was sick. Yep. But the two — culpability by Gore and other radical green imams, and acting out by mentally unstable members of their targeted demographic — aren’t mutually exclusive. We know that individuals bear responsibility for reasonably foreseeable consequences of their actions, both the instigator and the instigated.
One might not like the connection, what with environmentalism being as chic as a Che Guevara handbag, but you can’t deny it. Take the quiz, “Did Al Gore say it? Or was it the Unabomber?”. I dare you to score better than 50%. That should make you uncomfortable. Then read Lee’s manifesto, and really squirm at the similarities.
This isn’t Jody Foster somehow recklessly taunting John Hinkley. Al Gore dressed up quite nicely to stand on a stage and…show a near-term swamping of much of America, with massive loss of life, unless people are stopped. He vows there is no disagreement of this “truth” except for a few crazies and those in the pay of the oil industry causing the planetary crisis, what Gore calls “the most serious threat that we have ever faced,”[ (EITB, p. 40). Gosh. What could possibly go wrong?
I made the connection on Washington, DC’s WMAL morning radio show this morning, to the distress of one of the hosts who responded with the obvious counter that, erm, the Tea Party used the word “target” in their rhetoric accompanied by a scope-sight in graphics showing targeted races. Ah. I suppose that reasonable minds can differ whether assassination is a logical or reasonably foreseeable consequence of this repetition of the long-standing use of “target” in the political context. No rash of actions has borne this out, however.
But yesterday’s hostage-taking is just the latest “isolated incident” of eco-nuts engaging in “all-out efforts” that “we must make the environment the central organizing principle for civilization.” (Gore, EITB) And it is the logical, foreseeable consequence of the green movement’s perspective and rhetoric.
In my first book “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming (and Environmentalism)”, I serially lay out quotes by establishment greens reflecting Lee’s eco-driven revulsion at population (as always, the peril of this mostly white, middle class movement is other people being born, other people building homes, other people getting wealthy, etc.), and a whatever-means-necessary attitude.
These remarks are too numerous to cherry-pick one or two. In short, environmentalists think people are pollution. And they must be stopped. Just like Lee writes in his manifesto.
Also difficult to ignore are the examples cited backing up the title of my second book, “Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed”: attempts and threats on the lives of those who…dare disagree, and oppose the eco-agenda.
There is a reason an astrophysicist who oddly suggested the sun might have a somewhat larger influence on the Earth’s climate than Man should be subjected to having her picture circulated with the accompanying charge “Mass Murderer”. Again, what could possibly go wrong? Possibly the same thing in mind — or, negligently not considered — when Greenpeace widely posted a picture of me, with bold letters convicting me for their followers’ knowledge as “Climate Criminal”. Why they want people to know what I look like, I can only speculate. But it did lead to them even finding and staking out my house, taking my trash on a weekly basis while they were there. I got off lucky.
Environmental rhetoric regularly consists of gross exaggeration, claiming certainty about looming catastrophe, calling for radical campaigns to stop those dark forces assuring our destruction. As I write in RHL:
“But as global warming alarmism continues not merely to spin further into the land of the rabid it is actually encouraged in its mania by the establishment media and politicians. Barbara Boxer, senator and chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, employed on the Senate floor employed a variant on Al Gore’s protect-the-baby metaphor at about the same time as [a murder in Australia by a man angered over another’s thoughtless eco-waste: watering his lawn], ‘We would never leave a child alone in a hot, locked car, and I believe the [committee] will not leave this issue of global warming burning for another generation to address.’ As one commenter noted, ‘When the notion takes hold that humans are little more than scavengers and parasites on Mother Earth, we shouldn’t be surprised when a fanatic weighs the life an old man against a little water, and finds the former to be of less value.’” (citations omitted).
Sound familiar? If not, read yesterday’s terrorist’s manifesto.
Politics hates uncertainty, and the “global warming” agenda in particular demands so many privations and sacrifices of liberty that it cannot withstand scrutiny. So it, and its proponents, relies upon wild exaggeration of knowledge and catastrophe as a means to avoid debate. It’s past time we recognize this and shame those who shriek of catastrophe to advance a political agenda. At minimum, you are taking advantage of and encouraging those of sensitive, tenuous dispositions, with proven dangerous consequences. As I also detail in RHL, they are particularly terrorizing children, leading even to psychiatric commitment.
Eco-terrorism is terrorism. Stop waving it away as a different kind of terrorism, each incident in the pattern of behavior merely an isolated one. Willful or not, these incidents are the logical consequence of the doomsday rhetoric.
Environmental radicalism has been mainstreamed, the latest poisonous “radical chic”. But there are consequences to this indulgence. Stop Gang Green before they harm again.
We know it is expensive and unreliable.
But a new study from the Heritage Foundation also shows that wind power could be more dangerous to worker safety than traditional energy sources. The tragic explosions in Massey’s Upper Big Branch coal mine and the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig have very appropriately focused attention on workplace hazards. But it would be a mistake to presume that switching away from fossil fuels to renewable energy would reduce fatalities, David Kreutzer, a senior policy analyst in energy economics and climate change explains.
It is important to understand that the current low number of total deaths in the wind-power industry is largely a result of the very low amount of power generated by wind, Kreutzer points out in his study. To properly project the potential consequences of switching to wind from coal, it is necessary to calculate the mortality rate per megawatt-hour.
“On a million-megawatt-hour basis, the wind-energy industry has averaged 0.0220 deaths compared with 0.0147 for coal over the years 2003-2008,” the study says. “Even adding coal’s share of fatalities in the power-generation industry, which brings the rate up to 0.0164, still leaves wind power with a 34 percent higher mortality rate. For the record, the workplace fatality rate for wind also exceeds that for oil and gas on an equivalent-energy basis.”
The 20 percent renewable energy standard included as part of the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill would require swapping about 800 million megawatt-hours of coal generated with current with 800 million megawatt-hours of wind power, Kreutzer notes. The end result here gives good reason for pause.
“Using the recent mortality rates as a guide, we would expect there to be 4-5 more workplace fatalities per year than if there were no wind power at all,” he wrote. “Even this comparison ignores the fatalities we could expect from the additional power lines needed for so much remote wind power.”
Kreutzer’s study calls attention to an unexplored dimension of the energy debate. The Obama Administration’s pursuit of so-called renewable energy could have unexpected and highly damaging consequences over time.
(This post clarifies some earlier points)
President Obama’s labor board is now positioned to overturn the landmark 2007 Dana Corp. decision that allows workers to vote out via secret ballot a union that was recognized through the card check process.
This week the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced it has merged two cases, which involve union lawyers with the USW and UFCW who are seeking to overturn Dana ruling that allowed for employees to demand a secret ballot election within 45 days after a union obtained monopoly bargaining status through a card check campaign.
In the USW case, the same Foundation attorneys who originally won the landmark Dana case are providing free legal assistance to Mike Lopez, an employee of Lamons Gasket Company in Houston, Texas, who filed the decertification petition when at least 30 percent of employees in the bargaining unit support the election. Consequently, there is good reason to doubt that the card check vote accurately reflected workers’ support of the union.
Workers have already used the Dana precedent to demand secret ballot votes and kicked out unwanted unions. Here’s a video report about some Dana Corp. employees in Albion, Indiana who did just that.
Many of the workers say they only signed the cards in response to union organizers visiting their homes not out of a genuine sense of conviction.
“While President Obama and members of Congress continue to push for a federal bill that would end the secret ballot in workplace unionization drives, an obscure federal agency stacked with union lawyers is poised to eliminate the private vote for workers who have been subjected to unreliable and coercive card check campaigns,” Foundation President Mark Mix said.
One of the lawyers who agreed to review Dana is Craig Becker, a controversial recess appointee who is also former legal counsel to the SEIU and AFL-CIO. As a lawyer with the AFL-CIO, Becker cosigned a joint AFL-CIO/UAW brief in the original Dana case; yet he is now in a position on the quasi-judicial agency to overturn that very decision.
A similar challenge by union lawyers to Dana that has NOT been consolidated into this review involves Service Workers United, an SEIU affiliate. Earlier this year, Foundation attorneys asked Becker to recuse himself from cases involving SEIU local affiliate unions. Becker responded that he must only recuse himself from cases involving the national union. The Foundation’s vice president and legal director Raymond LaJeunesse, Jr. sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder in August asking him to investigate whether Becker is in violation of his Obama Administration ethics pledge for participating in cases involving SEIU affiliates.
While that question remains unsettled, it appears Becker and the two other former union lawyers currently comprising a majority on Obama’s labor board designed the review of Dana to exclude the pending SEIU case so Becker could avoid the ethics problem and still rule to overturn Dana.
It’s also worth noting that it would be quite rare for the Board to decide important cases like this without at least three votes in the majority. If Becker were to actually recuse himself from the Dana review, the vote to overturn Dana would likely be 2-1 . This would explain why it’s important for the union lawyer majority on the Board to keep Becker on the case.
Where in the world would James Jay Lee, the Global Warmabomber, have gotten the radical idea that the number of humans must be reduced, if not eradicated, to accomplish environmental goals? Richard Morrison provides some answers at the main site today. Here are some other deep-pocketed promoters who link population control (aka abortion or “reproductive” rights) and saving the environment (aka “sustainability”):
That’s billions of dollars to spread the humans-are-pollution message around, and only the few found with a couple of basic Google searches. Feel free to add your discoveries in the comments (I’m sure I’m missing obvious ones).
And then there are the talk radio hatemongers on the Left and the alarmists who wish harm or death on global warming realists…
The Drudge Report has the ratings out for cable news. In 1,2, 3 order the winners are Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck. No wonder MSNBC hates these people.
FOXNEWS O’REILLY 3,977,000
FOXNEWS HANNITY 2,645,000
FOXNEWS BECK 2,600,000
FOXNEWS BAIER 2,097,000
FOXNEWS SHEP 1,858,000
FOXNEWS GRETA 1,856,000
MSNBC OLBERMANN 1,078,000
MSNBC MADDOW 1,027,000
MSNBC SHULTZ 699,000
CNN SANCHEZ 676,000
CNN KING 620,000
MSNBC HARDBALL 620,000
CNNHN GRACE 586,000
CNN COOPER 581,000
If there was ever an indication of the political hurricane that’s about to hit America in November, this is certainly a real-time look at what’s coming.
Imagine this. Almost 4 million for O’Reilly, over 2.6 million for Hannity, 2.6 even for Beck and so on. These people are clobbering the competition. Wiping the floor with them.
There are political tea leaves to be seen here, and not just those of the Tea Party.
MEMO FOR THE MOVEMENT
LABOR DAY 2010:
Excessive influence of BIG LABOR on Obama Administration and Congress has been disastrous for American workers and the Nation’s economy
RE: The tremendous amount of power & influence that officials of organized labor have over this administration & congress is adding to the growth of government and makes no sense given that only 7% of the private sector workforce and 12% of the overall workforce are members of a labor union. Last year, for the first time in history, the majority of union members in the country were working for the government-not the private sector. The Obama administration & Congress’ decision making disregards the 93% of the private sector workforce in order to payback Big Labor bosses for previous campaign support-much coming from the dues money collected from workers who are subject to compulsory unionism.Continue reading…
So look at the swings away from the Democratic party: a 38-point swing on health care, a 27-point swing on the economy, a 26-point swing on handling corruption in government, a 29-point swing on combating terrorism. All the progress Democrats had made on those issues during the Bush years has gone away. Is it any wonder Democratic strategists are approaching this November’s elections in a state of panic?
The only issue on which Democrats retain a statistically significant advantage over Republicans is the environment. And November is getting closer.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has set up a website to help people request refunds of their donations to Charlie Crist’s Senate campaign in Florida. Crist isn’t proactively returning donations made while he was still a Republican — “People gave to a good cause,” he said, “and we’re going to spend it on a good cause” — though you can get your money back by request.
We do know of at least one donor who really needed his money back and got it: former Florida Republican Party head Jim Greer, who was refunded his $9,600 in Crist contributions so he could spend it on his legal defense fund.
The Daily Caller tells us that “labor leaders, liberal religious leaders and the NAACP” have called a rally on the Mall in Washington as a response to the Glenn Beck and Tea Party rally.
The rally is scheduled for October 2.
This is political, and don’t believe for a second the religious business. To the extent there will be “religious leaders” involved it will be the same old, same old. Left-wing types like Jim Wallis who in fact have no mass following to speak of because in fact they have repeatedly presented themselves as politicians and not clergy.
Beck had somewhere in the neighborhood of 500,000 people at his rally. A crowd of solid Americans who were, by all accounts, acting like they were at a church picnic. Wow. Now there’s radical!
What will happen in October? If five people show up, the crowd will be said to have quadrupled Beck’s. And the mainstream media will call it a victory for Obama and the left.
Anything else we need to know?
Governor Tim Pawlenty still hasn’t announced his 2012 Presidential plans, but one thing’s for sure: He doesn’t want to see Obama’s healthcare plan set foot in Minnesota. AP reports yesterday he ordered state agencies to decline “discretionary” involvement with the federal law “unless otherwise required by law or approved by the Governor’s office.”
Pawlenty’s long been vehemently opposed to the President’s plan and in this op-ed in the Washington Post, laid out his suggestions for the nation, modeled after, you guessed it: Minnesota. They include incentives, pay for performance, and liability reform.
Of course, some are saying this is just his way of projecting himself into the national spotlight for a 2012 race, so he could, in theory, go head to head with Governor Mitt Romney.
Time will tell.
We have already seen how a little inquiry can expose the grandest of claims about the fashionable if fading new label for central planning, the “green economy”. When President Obama was outed on his claims about Spain - as in serially calling on us to “think about what’s happening in countries like Spain, Germany and Japan” — he simply transitioned to “Denmark and Germany”. Well, Denmark (like Germany) was also exposed. Then Japan’s scheme turned out to be no more than the same Spanish and German program of raising consumer energy costs to transfer the wealth to “green economy” interests, according to its own government.
As a result, Obama no longer points to anywhere his model has worked.
Today I see this from the MacIver Institute in Wisconsin, giving a quick if persistent pressure test to their governor’s claims about the supposed “green economy” that already exists, Exhibit A in the argument that so much more is possible if only the public acquiesce to a particular agenda.
As you see, the claims are wholly unsupportable and apparently cut from whole cloth.
When your ticket to the dance is exaggeration, puffery and…well, worse…your demands ought not advance one inch until you’re forced to come clean. After this, an open and honest debate must ensue. So far that is what the “green jobs” crowd desperately seek to avoid.
Yet such a basic principle applies more than anywhere to the “green economy” agenda given that it also means “necessarily skyrocketing” energy prices (according to a candid Obama moment).
Politicians continue to seek to rob Peter to pay Paul, making absurd claims that do not withstand scrutiny. Thank goodness there remain watchdogs to call the bluff.
While we are “turning the page” on the Iraq war, let us not forget the 50,000 troops that will remain and the expected doubling of security contractors in the coming months. Veronique de Rugy wonders how all this will be accounted for in the budgets prepared by this most transparent administration.
On the heels of a tremendous success for Glenn Beck, a half million Americans attending a rally that was his idea from start to finish, somebody is being terribly ungracious to Sean Hannity.
This story has suddenly popped up over at Mediaite. The gist: that Hannity in some fit of … what, professional jealousy? pettiness? … didn’t cover the Beck rally on his show last night.
As somebody who watches both Beck and Hannity with regularity (and yes, for the record, has been on the old Hannity and Colmes and Hannity’s radio show), this is both professionally unfair to Hannity and…well…just a petty…make that lousy…thing to do. If designed by some publicity whizbang unknown to hurt Hannity they will hopefully learn this stuff only backfires. If that whizbang is in Beck’s orbit, he or she should be taken to the woodshed for making Beck look like something he clearly is not: small. It would be astounding if after something this big and this important the end result is some dope running around saying the whole reason for it was a better time slot at Fox. Not to mention that this surfaces the same day Beck announces a new website. Is this somebody’s idea of how to get good PR?
Hannity and Beck have very different shows. They are…newsflash…very different people. Hello? Beck has justifiably gotten tons of favorable coverage for this rally…as well he should. Nearby you can find my own piece on this, with the mildest of concern expressed about the sharpness of Beck’s message. Make no mistake…I think Beck and the Tea Party folks and all those involved did a fabulous thing here. I’ve been hearing from Beck fans all day and they are thrilled, as am I.
The criticism in this Mediaite story is that Hannity didn’t hand over his show to Beck to reprise the rally for the umpteenth time yesterday. Just as a viewer, I would have to ask…why would he? Beck was on at 5 and O’Reilly had him on at 8. Hannity did in fact have Sarah Palin on his show. If we’re headed down that road, then the question has to be why did Fox viewers have to watch the rally on C-SPAN instead of live on Fox? Was Roger Ailes caught up in some super-secret move to zap Beck? Why doesn’t Beck feature Hannity talking about the latest round of 8 years of Freedom Concerts where Hannity has honored the troops, the Goldstar families — and raised millions — say again — millions of dollars for scholarships for kids who have lost a parent in the military? Where’s the segment on Beck devoted to Mark Levin’s book? Why isn’t this person or that person or that person’s grandma on Beck? Yada yada yada.
There is a lot going on in this country. After decades of being trapped in the Mainstream Media cocoon, at last Americans have Fox and talk radio to turn to and finally get real news and real conservative viewpoints. They love watching Beck be Beck, and they love watching Hannity be Hannity.
There’s a story now out in Forbes that Beck is adding to his “empire” with a new website.
He has hired Scott Baker from Breitbart to run this. As it happens, I’ve been on Scott’s web TV show a couple times. He’s a very nice guy. I find it hard to believe he’d waste his time doing something like this…it just seems totally out of character.
But Scott, if there’s some idiot of an underling out there trying to score points with you or the Boss by doing this, tell them there is such a thing as stepping on your own message or story. Millions of people are watching Beck and Hannity. They want to see the story of The Cause unfold every night. Not Backstage Gossip that can only wind up hurting two extremely talented people who have separately done an immense amount of good for a lot of people. Both of whom have a tremendous following and do a lot of good in this world every time they sit down in front of a microphone or camera.
Congratulations on your new job, Scott. Well, deserved. I don’t for a second think this was you. But you’re there now and somebody needs to say this is just plain ungracious — and coming on the heels of a rally featuring “charity” — it is distinctly uncharitable.
Somebody owes Sean Hannity an apology.
Is all I’m sayin’.
According to the latest Gallup poll, Republicans now lead by ten points in the generic ballot — 51 percent to 41 percent. That is the largest lead Republicans have ever had in sixty years of polling on this question by Gallup. Much smaller leads, such as in 1994 and 2002, have translated into significant Republican gains.
Yet as one Robert Stacy McCain recently reminded us, polls are not campaigns. The Republican ground game is nowhere near the level of the Democrats in 2008 or the Bush-era GOP in 2004. There is no evidence the Tea Party has compensated for this. Many Republican challengers in key swing districts remain underfunded. The Republicans’ national campaign committees are generally at a disadvantage to their Democratic counterparts and it has shown in most of the recent House special elections. Quin mentions some other factors cutting strongly against Republicans here.
Then again, I’ll repeat the same thing I was saying to Republican dead-enders in 2006: If your base is disenchanted, the other side’s base is fired up, and swing voters hate you, you are going to lose elections. We are seeing Republican primary turnout in states like Colorado and Washington exceed Democratic turnout. In Colorado, the losing Republican Senate candidate, Jane Norton, got more votes than the Democratic winner, incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet.
Republican complacency could still blow the midterms elections. I fully expect Republicans to lose some races that they would have won in either 1994 or 2002. But there does come a point where the national mood is so powerful that not even the Republicans can bungle it. Take a look at the rare special election victory for Republicans, Scott Brown in Massachusetts: it came in a case where the swing voters were fed up, the Democratic candidate was a walking turnout-depresser, and the national GOP got involved too late to screw things up. Whether that happens on a massive enough scale to flip a house of Congress remains to be seen. But the proper Republican mood at this point is neither triumphalism nor despair.
Cross Posted from The Water Cooler at the Washington Times:
BP still can’t get it right. Writing at First Things, Rob Bluey of the Heritage Foundation reports that BP is funneling aid money through government rather than through charities that do a better job with it.
By embracing government bureaucracy over private efficiency, the company is forcing charities struggling to respond to the enormous human needs—needs created by BP’s catastrophic spill—to rely on government to deliver the funding they must have to continue their crucial and irreplaceable work…. Private charities have a history of providing superior services to government. They are “mediating institutions,” as Peter Berger and Richard John Neuhaus called them in their book, To Empower People, able to understand, engage, and help people precisely because they are closer to them and more personally engaged with them than a government agency can ever be.
Bluey’s piece is really important stuff, well targeted at real problems. It also notes that the Obama administration is making things far worse with its moratorium on deep-water drilling. Bluey has done good work on moratorium-related issues for months now. Our own Frank Perley had a great piece on this last week as well.
Christian Adams and the Washington Times both have the latest on the Obama administration’s apparent failure to ensure the voting rights of military personnel stationed abroad. Adams notes that Wisconsin is both particularly problematic and particularly important because its Senate race and three House races are all very close, so that military votes could well make the difference. The question is, are Michael Steele and his RNC staff taking any time from their chartered jets in order to pay attention to this and do something about it? How about the House and Senate leadership? At least the head of the Republican senatorial committee, John Cornyn, also is the author of the law that requires protection of military votes, and he has been a stalwart voice on this, very much to his credit. Fox News has done a wonderful job highlighting this issue, especially Shannon Bream. (They also have put me on the air three times to talk about it.) Megyn Kelly and James Rosen also have covered the issue for Fox. Eric Eversole, a former DoJ official who now serves as the executive director for the non-profit Military Voter Protection (MVP) Project, first blew the whistle on this at the Washington Times, and followed up here.It’s also worth noting that everybody I have spoken to has had good words for the Pentagon folks — Bob Carey and Clifford Stanley in particular — who are in charge of this issue from DoD’s end — but the problem appears to be with the Justice Department.
Why isn’t the rest of the media paying attention? And why aren’t more other elected officials doing so?
USA Today is reporting that the number of Americans relying on federal antipoverty programs has reached record levels:
More than 40 million people get food stamps, an increase of nearly 50% during the economic downturn, according to government data through May. The program has grown steadily for three years….
More than 4.4 million people are on welfare, an 18% increase during the recession. The program has grown slower than others, causing Brookings Institution expert Ron Haskins to question its effectiveness in the recession.
As caseloads for all the programs have soared, so have costs. The federal price tag for Medicaid has jumped 36% in two years, to $273 billion. Jobless benefits have soared from $43 billion to $160 billion. The food stamps program has risen 80%, to $70 billion. Welfare is up 24%, to $22 billion. Taken together, they cost more than Medicare.
In addition to the recession, caseloads have increased as Congress and the Obama administration have loosened eligibility requirements.
President Obama will give a speech tomorrow marking the end of combat operations in Iraq. This is of course leading to lots of contemplation over the meaning of the past seven years of war. Anne Applebaum assesses the costs of the war to America, which she argues are underappreciated, while David Frum contemplates what the cost of not overthrowing Saddam Hussein might have been. I’d recommend reading both pieces for a balanced perspective. To the extent that Applebaum is attributing the geopolitical effects of rising oil prices to the Iraq War, she is overstating things; as Frum points out, rising oil prices in the past decade were driven mostly by Chinese and Indian demand, which absent the US invasion would have enriched Saddam Hussein and made him more dangerous.
Last week Daily Caller reporter Chris Moody interviewed AEI fellow Tim Sullivan, Hudson Institute president Herbert London, and (for some reason) me on this topic. The consensus, which Applebaum and Frum echo, is that it’s too soon to fully assess the wisdom of the invasion. London and I both emphasize that the role of Iran in Iraq’s future remains the central open question. I’m sure I’ll write about this more in the future, but for now suffice it to say that allowing the Islamic Republic to become a nuclear power would be a fantastic way to ensure failure in Iraq (and Afghanistan, for that matter).
So the National Rifle Association won’t endorse Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for re-election this fall (they apparently won’t endorse his Republican challenger, Sharron Angle, either). It is notable that Reid’s efforts to confirm Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, rather than his numerous anti-gun votes, are being cited as the reason. When I wrote about this and other controversies within the NRA for the September print issue, Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America — a rival Second Amendment group — told me that even if Reid didn’t get the NRA endorsement, the damage had already been done.
“I don’t know if he needs a piece of paper saying, ‘We hereby officially endorse you,’” Pratt said. “They’ve already said more than enough that Reid could send out in targeted mailings to gun owners if he wanted to.” An example? Wayne LaPierre at the Clark County Shooting Park ribbon cutting: “I also want to thank you, Senator, for your support every day for the Second Amendment and for the rights of American gun owners.”
In light of the weekend’s dueling Al Sharpton and Glenn Beck rallies, it may be time to revisit Steve Sailer’s proposal that Martin Luther King Day be moved from King’s birthday to the anniversary of the “I Have A Dream” speech.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?