Witch’s Will For A January Morning
My Pick Of The Litter Today
Obama’s 99% — Are We Poor or Just Unequal or Both or Neither?
by Victor Davis Hanson
The 2012 campaign is heating up and we can see the outlines of an impending us/them class war. But in our strange 21st-century world, lots of crazy things blur the president’s 1%/99% divide. We watch the super-rich struggle for ever creative ways of blowing their money to distinguish themselves from the rest of us (cf. Johnny Depp’s [$50 million in income last year] hosting of a creepy, expensive costume Halloween party at the White House, in the style of the idle 18th-century French court).
Meanwhile we see the “poor” near rioting over buying the first few pairs of Michael Jordan $200 sneakers, or mobbing for big screen televisions on holiday shopping sale outings. Are we mad that too many are really poor, or that too many are simply unequal, in the sense of not having what “they” enjoy — a “they,” however, that cannot quite figure out how all their money leads to all that much better a life? I am sorry, Mr. Obama, but for all the Vegas-junketeering, no-time-for-profit rhetoric, I simply do not believe the one-seventh on food stamps, or the 48% who pay no income tax, are suffering like the starving 19th-century Norwegian immigrants on the windswept Dakota plains of Ole Rolvaag’s epic Giants in the Earth.
Stories/Articles You Might Find Interesting – or not
Romney wins New Hampshire
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Mitt Romney won the Republican presidential primary in New Hampshire on Tuesday night, giving the former Massachusetts governor a sweep of the first two primary contests.
The victories give him a strong momentum heading into South Carolina, the next state to hold a primary contest. A victory there would make it hard on his rivals to continue their presidential campaigns.
“Americans know that our future is brighter and better than these troubled times,” Romney told his supporters, as applause and cheers interrupted him. “The president has run out of ideas. Now he’s running out of excuses. And tonight, we’re asking the good people of South Carolina to join the good citizens of New Hampshire and make 2012 the year he runs out of time.”
Romney expands appeal to evangelicals, Tea Party in NH
Mitt Romney demonstrated extraordinary reach across the Republican coalition in a sweeping New Hampshire victory Tuesday night that has left his rivals facing a potentially do-or-die stand in South Carolina a week from Saturday.
Romney dominated not only the groups that favored him in Iowa last week, but also several of those that had resisted him there — particularly voters who identified as either evangelical Christians or strong tea party supporters, according to the exit polls reported on CNN.com.
Report no evil on O
By MICHAEL GOODWIN
Like the discovery of gambling in “Casablanca,” the mainstream media is shocked, shocked! to learn there is chaos and back-stabbing in the Obama White House. The media missed the story for the same reason Capt. Renault missed gambling at Rick’s Cafe: They chose to.
A cash kickback did the trick in the film. In real life, the Washington pack turns away from the truth for something less forgivable.
Three years after President Obama took office, much of the national press corps remains remarkably uncurious about what has gone wrong inside the land of Hope & Change. Whether still mesmerized by hypnotic chants of “Yes we can” or afraid to risk access by asking unpleasant questions, the press largely has failed to pierce the secrecy surrounding all the president’s men, their conflicts and policies.
It is a shameful dereliction, given that the Great Recession has left 25 million Americans out of work or looking for a full-time job, and the national debt has reached 100 percent of GDP. To state the obvious, no Republican president ever enjoyed a similar lack of scrutiny during a national emergency.
Something To Think About
Why is it that there’s a big difference between good sound reasons and reasons that sound good?
Under Obama, an emerging global apparatus for drone killing
The rapid expansion of the drone program has blurred long-standing boundaries between the CIA and the military. Lethal operations are increasingly assembled a la carte, piecing together personnel and equipment in ways that allow the White House to toggle between separate legal authorities that govern the use of lethal force.
In Yemen, for instance, the CIA and the military’s Joint Special Operations Command pursue the same adversary with nearly identical aircraft. But they alternate taking the lead on strikes to exploit their separate authorities, and they maintain separate kill lists that overlap but don’t match. CIA and military strikes this fall killed three U.S. citizens, two of whom were suspected al-Qaeda operatives.
The convergence of military and intelligence resources has created blind spots in congressional oversight. Intelligence committees are briefed on CIA operations, and JSOC reports to armed services panels. As a result, no committee has a complete, unobstructed view.
With a year to go in President Obama’s first term, his administration can point to undeniable results: Osama bin Laden is dead, the core al-Qaeda network is near defeat, and members of its regional affiliates scan the sky for metallic glints.
Those results, delivered with unprecedented precision from aircraft that put no American pilots at risk, may help explain why the drone campaign has never attracted as much scrutiny as the detention or interrogation programs of the George W. Bush era. Although human rights advocates and others are increasingly critical of the drone program, the level of public debate remains muted.
Senior Democrats barely blink at the idea that a president from their party has assembled such a highly efficient machine for the targeted killing of suspected terrorists. It is a measure of the extent to which the drone campaign has become an awkward open secret in Washington that even those inclined to express misgivings can only allude to a program that, officially, they are not allowed to discuss.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, described the program with a mixture of awe and concern. Its expansion under Obama was almost inevitable, she said, because of the technology’s growing sophistication. But the pace of its development, she said, makes it hard to predict how it might come to be used.
Good Night For Romney
The foregone conclusion is, well, foregoing tonight. Everyone expected Mitt Romney to win New Hampshire, and he has. It looks like he’ll be in the high 30s, may crack 40 percent but probably not, rendering thoughts of blood in the water as we take this road show to South Carolina moot. Romney will go from the northeast to the south in about as strong a position as he could have hoped for, 2-0 or 1-0-1 if you count Iowa as a statistical tie.
The conservative not-Romneys remain fractured and lagging behind Ron Paul, whose candidacy is drawing support from everything from Obama supporters and occupiers to a kind of paleo conservative strain that probably dates back to one of the earlier of Texas’ six flags. Maybe the French one, given his positions on national security.
By the way, I feast on the hate of Dr. Paul’s more zealous supporters. So have fun.
The fact is, the not-Romneys are and will remain divided and will slug it out in South Carolina. The survivors of that will slug it out in Florida. Or maybe they won’t. The undertow may start to grab underfunded and understaffed candidates down quickly. The undertow does not include Ron Paul.
Whither Jon Huntsman? He’s the only not-Romney who managed to govern to Romney’s right and campaign to his left. He bivouacked in New Hamsphire for months on end, he and Buddy Roemer banking on their presence here generating…something. Roemer looks like he’ll have last place to show for all that, and Huntsman is coming in third well behind Ron Paul, a few points ahead of Newt Gingrich. Huntsman needed better than that. He needed second with a trajectory up to show that he can become relevant. Given where and how he has run, tonight may be his curtain call.
I’m blogging this from Santorum country, by the way. He looks set for a somewhat disappointing fifth, but his campaign played the expectations game well earlier today by claiming they would be lucky to come in third. So, not all that lucky! But not a shock finish either. There are hardly any supporters here at the moment, but a lot of bloggers – Stacy McCain to one side, Amanda Terkel to the other. I’ll probably head out shortly to check the mood at Romney HQ.
Update: Mitt Romney appeared just before 8:30 PM eastern to claim victory, despite the fact that it’s customary to let other candidates speak in the sequence in which they placed, last to first. That might cause some static, but might also persuade most who are paying attention to turn the news off and tend to other things. That might cause attention to the later speakers to flag.
As I write this Romney is delivering an uplifting speech worthy of the moment. The crowd is strongly behind him. He has been planning for this moment for five years. He is training all of his fire on President Obama, as if he is already the Republican nominee. He is a step closer to that tonight, but just a step. South Carolina has never been a state to go along with any other state’s ideas without due consideration and a strong look at its own interests.
The Tables Turned
Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you’ll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?
The sun above the mountain’s head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.
Books! ’tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There’s more of wisdom in it.
And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.
She has a world of ready wealth,
Our minds and hearts to bless–
Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
Truth breathed by cheerfulness.
One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.
Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:–
We murder to dissect.
Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.
Last week we brought you a clip of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz repeating Politifact’s ‘Lie of the Year‘ in Iowa. This week, she is taking comments made by Mitt Romney completely out of context.
Why shouldn’t POS Wasserman-Schultz feel free to cherry-pick and take out of context when the other GOP candidates are doing the same thing. Attacks from the left are coming fast and furious from the right.
DNC whines about Romney win in New Hampshire
They might better be more worried about Obama’s imploding support in New Hampshire than Romney’s win. There are plenty of GOP candidates to attack Romney from the left. The DNC doesn’t need to bother.
Furthermore, the day I find anything Wasserman-Schultz says honest or interesting is the day I apply for a brain transplant!
Mitts next big step on Tax Reform
While so much attention has been turned to Newt Gingrich’s catastrophically mistaken attack on Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital, free-market capitalism, investment, and profits, a potentially much more significant development occurred in the New Hampshire debate Saturday night. For the first time, Mitt Romney embraced a much bolder tax-reform plan.
Under pressure from a number of supply-side conservatives (including me, and most especially the editorial-page folks at the Wall Street Journal), Romney appears to be listening. Here’s his money quote from the debate:
“But I look long term to do just what Jon [Huntsman] indicated, which is to take Bowles-Simpson and to reduce the rates in our tax code, to reduce the number of exemptions, and limit the amount of exceptions that can occur. At the same time, I don’t want to raise capital-gains tax rates, as they do in Bowles-Simpson. But simplifying the code, broadening the base, is the right way to go for our tax code long term.”
So far as I know this is the first time that Governor Romney has endorsed the modified flat tax embodied in Bowles-Simpson. Jon Huntsman, who I think won the Sunday-morning debate in New Hampshire, has endorsed this from day one, with three rates of 8 percent, 14 percent, and 23 percent, plus a corporate tax rate of 25 percent (which Romney shares). The Wall Street Journal labeled this plan “exceptional.” Huntsman would blow out nearly all the deductions and exemptions in the code to properly broaden the base and generate additional revenues along with the revenue-generating growth impact of new incentives.
Up to now, Mitt Romney has been timid on tax reform. His plan has merely been to hold the six-bracket Bush tax plan in place while zeroing out the capital-gains tax for those earning $200,000 or less. Romney’s people have suggested that the former Massachusetts governor would seek real tax reform after he’s elected president. But the Saturday night debate was the first time Mitt actually said it.
I spoke with a Romney insider who confirmed this to me, and felt that Romney has made a big next step toward campaigning on tax reform. I also have learned that Romney speaks every couple of weeks or so to top Republican congressional policy intellectual Paul Ryan, who himself supports a modified flat tax along the lines of Bowles-Simpson, but without any capital-gains tax hike.
What’s Going On In The World?
Gateway pipeline is Canada’s business
While we loved Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid — yes, it was a long time ago — and Leonardo DiCaprio may win an Oscar for channelling J. Edgar Hoover, neither has any business sticking their nose in the Northern Gateway environmental hearings that begin today.
The Gateway pipeline from the oilsands of Alberta to the shores of B.C. is entirely on Canadian soil.
Unlike the Keystone XL, it will not run through the United States to Texas. It will run from Fort McMurray to Kitimat, B.C.
Two American movie stars who emote on cue may draw a crowd, but the Gateway project, to put it bluntly, gives them no role in the script.
It’s Canada’s business, and Canada’s alone.
Our advice would be to take these two liberal outsiders off the insanely long and left-leaning list of 4,500 witnesses, and let them save their sideshow for Keystone.
That piece of theatre, however, won’t hit the stage until after this year’s U.S. presidential election, but it was the commotion over Keystone that put Gateway in motion.
If there was any question that foreign interference is high on the agenda of the left, look no further than the tax return of the billionaire Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the $100,000 it gave to the West Coast Environmental Law activist group that was specifically earmarked to derail the Gateway pipeline.
There are multi-billions of dollars in revenues for generations to come lying in the oilsands of Alberta, and to leave those dollars untapped over doomsday rhetoric would do more harm to Canada than any hypothetical environmental disaster envisioned by left.
Image of the day from the animal kingdom:
Now that’s funny!
The Fed Agency That Paid Out The Most In Stimulus Funds Is…
Should it come as a surprise that the Department of Heath and Human Services (HHS) paid out $115,911,817,301 in stimulus funds, according to a recent report by Recovery.org?
The HHS’s biggest expenditure was $85,958,496,780 in state grants for Medicaid, reports the Washington Examiner’s Charlie Spiering. Other expenditures included multiple grants for income security, social services, and “research.”
And Obamacare hasn’t even been fully implemented yet. Can’t wait til we get the invoice for that!
Election 2012: New Hampshire Republican Primary
New Hampshire: Romney 37%, Paul 17%, Huntsman 15%
Mitt Romney, the former governor of neighboring Massachusetts, remains well ahead of his nearest rival in Rasmussen Reports’ final survey of the New Hampshire Republican Primary race.
Romney earns 37% support, with Texas Congressman Ron Paul a distant second with 17% of the vote in the latest telephone survey of Likely Republican Primary Voters taken Sunday night. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman is now in third with 15%, up slightly from 12%
Only 18% like Iowa – New Hampshire always going first in Presidential process
Very few voters like the fact that Iowa and New Hampshire always go first in the presidential selection process, and most prefer the idea of regional primaries instead.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 18% think it’s good for the presidential nomination process that the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary are first every four years. Thirty-nine percent (39%) think it’s bad for the selection process, but a sizable 43% are not sure.
National Satisfaction Up Slightly at Start of 2012, to 18%
Percentage satisfied is lower than in January of other presidential election years
PRINCETON, NJ — Eighteen percent of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the United States today, a slight improvement from the latter half of 2011, when satisfaction levels ranged from 11% to 16%.
Quote For Today:
Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws. ~ Plato