Witch’s Will For A February Morning
My Pick of the Litter Today
Prophets and Losses
by Thomas Sowell
Now that the federal government is playing an ever larger role in the economy, a look at Washington’s track record seems to be long overdue.
The recent release of the Federal Reserve Board’s transcripts of its deliberations back in 2007 shows that their economic prophecies were way off. How much faith should we put in their prophecies today — or the policies based on those prophecies?
Even after the housing market began its collapse in 2006, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in 2007, “The impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained.”
It turned out that financial disasters in the housing market were not “contained,” but spread out to affect the whole American economy and economies overseas. Then Chairman Bernanke said: “It is an interesting question why what looks like $100 billion or so of credit losses in the subprime market has been reflected in multiple trillions of dollars of losses in paper wealth.”
What is an even more interesting question is why we should put such faith and such power in the hands of a man and an institution that have been so wrong before.
This is not just a question of a bad guess by Ben Bernanke. The previous chairman of the Federal Reserve System, Alan Greenspan, likewise misjudged the consequences of the housing boom and bust. Nor was the Federal Reserve’s staff any more accurate in its prophecies. According to the New York Times, “The Fed’s own staff still forecast that the economy would avoid a recession.”
Today, the economy has not yet fully recovered from the recession that the Federal Reserve System’s staff and chairmen thought we would avoid.
We all make mistakes. But we don’t all have the enormous and growing power of the Federal Reserve System — or the seemingly boundless confidence that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke still shows as he intervenes in the economy on a massive scale.
Not only does the Federal Reserve System control the money supply and regulate banks, the Fed’s willingness to keep buying hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of government bonds makes it easier for the Obama administration to keep engaging in massive deficit spending that runs up a record-breaking national debt.
First Comes Honor
A nation without honor is a nation without a future. Today the United States finds itself in a quagmire of ever-increasing self-doubt and foreboding. Chief among the factors that have brought America to this point has been the abandonment of a sense of what is right, just and true as it relates to the duty imposed by conscience. Honor is being abandoned and replaced by duplicity, avarice, self-aggrandizement, cowardice, and an unbridled lust for power and notoriety.
These characteristics are symptomatic of the bulk of the American governing class that has increasingly adopted, as their sacrosanct tenet, the concept that the end justifies the means. In their position atop the societal pyramid they have been devastatingly influential in undermining the morality and integrity of the citizenry. As Herbert Hoover once observed: “When there is a lack of honor in government, the morals of the whole people are poisoned.”
As the greatest fear of the founding fathers comes to pass — an overwhelmingly powerful central government — the base nature of the human race comes increasingly to the fore. This evolutionary process, while underway for some time, has thoroughly permeated society as the nation is now reaching the tipping point.
Whether in the various state capitols or the once hallowed halls of Congress or the now tarnished grandeur of the White House, the acquisition and retention of political power by any means necessary, and the attendant access to ever larger sums of money, either borrowed, created out of whole cloth or coerced from the taxpayers, has become firmly entrenched in the nation’s political psyche. Party identity notwithstanding, in order to achieve this end, nothing is beyond the pale — be it fraud, corruption, outright lies, or immorality.
Old fashioned word honor. Don’t hear it much anymore.
Don’t see it much either. At least not in the leadership or the voters of this
Sandy Hook Father: My Child Is Safer at Home Where I am Armed
by Katie Pavlich
During a recent gun violence prevention public hearing in Washington D.C. Bill Stevens, a father of a Sandy Hook student who survived the massacre that took place in December, testified. Stevens explained why his daughter is safer at home than she is at school because “911″ and “lockdown” are not enough to protect her from an evil person. Stevens also defended the right to bear arms which is not only written in the Second Amendment, but in the Connecticut constitution as well. He argued gun owners shouldn’t be turned into suspects no matter how many firearms or rounds of ammunition they may choose to have and that politicians have no right to take away one’s ability to defend themselves and their family.
“You want to take my rights are away, lets go to court,” Steven’s said. “But criminals and tyrants, tyrants especially, beware. Lockdown is not an option at the Stevens residence and 911 will be dialed after the security of my home has been established. Why is that same security my daughter enjoys at home with her dad not available at school in Newtown? That is what you should be considering, not making her dad a criminal. Charlton Heston made the phrase ‘from my cold dead hands famous’ and I will tell you here today, you will take my ability to protect my Victoria from my cold dead hands.”
As the Media Research Center points out, NBC must have been too busy editing video to fit their anti-gun narrative last week to notice this father’s testimony.
Just last week the Newtown Board of Education moved to put more armed security in their schools after it was heavily requested by parents.
5 Reasons 2/23/2013 is Going to Be a Day of Resistance
by John Hawkins
Last year, when a Republican candidate should have waltzed to victory, Mitt Romney got his teeth knocked in by a man who could fairly be called the single least competent American President in history. This beating had very real consequences.
1) Barack Obama feels empowered: Liberals are always vulgar in defeat and hubristic in victory, but Barack Obama has become so toweringly arrogant that it wouldn’t be a surprise if he were getting himself fitted for a crown. He’s acting as if he expects to have anything and everything he wants handed to him on a silver platter and if anything gets in his way, he’ll simply shred the Constitution, ignore the law, or issue an executive order and dare the Republican Party to do something about it.
2) The Republicans In Congress have lost their nerve: Republicans on the Hill have turned into a pack of cringing dogs since the election. They’ve lost the will to fight on spending cuts, they’re seriously considering an amnesty for illegal aliens and Karl Rove and his establishment pals at American Crossroads are now planning to target conservatives in Republican primaries. There’s not a single issue where you can trust the Republicans in Congress to hold the line because they’ve lost confidence in themselves, the people who elected them, and conservatism.
3) The conservative grassroots is demoralized: Conservatives haven’t lost faith in their principles, but they’ve started to wonder if the country has passed a tipping point. Do we have too many takers and not enough makers? Is the Republican Party so hopelessly incompetent that it’s time to give in? What’s the point of fighting to help the country when the Republicans we have in office are just going to let us down yet again? Are we fiscally doomed no matter what we do?
What’s Up With the Democrats?
Reid tries to unite Senate Dem caucus
Senate Democrats will huddle behind closed doors on Tuesday and Wednesday as they seek to mend divisions within their caucus on gun control, immigration reform and taxes.
The retreat at the Westin Annapolis comes at a critical time, with Senate Democrats preparing to do battle on issues that have splintered them in the past. They will meet with President Obama on Wednesday to coordinate strategy.
Why is this necessary since the media assures us, constantly, that only the GOP is in disarray?
What Up With Republicans?
Republicans seize on Obama’s blown 2014 budget deadline
Congressional Republicans are seizing on the White House’s failure to meet the Feb. 4 legal deadline to produce an annual budget as a gift that will help them recover from months of political beatings.
The White House on Monday declined to say when President Obama’s delayed 2014 budget will come out.
“President Obama missed a great opportunity today to help our economy. This was supposed to be the day he submitted his budget to the Congress. But it’s not coming. It’s going to be late. Some reports say it could be a month late,” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on the House floor.
“I’m disappointed the president has missed his deadline. But I’m not surprised,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement. “In four of the last five years, he’s failed to submit his budget on time.”
The blown deadline allows the GOP to be on the offensive and continue to shift the political conversation back to fiscal restraint, aides say.
On Wednesday, the House will vote on a bill to require the president to submit a budget that eventually balances — something Obama’s 2013 budget never did.
SOMETHING TO SMILE ABOUT…
Aging gracefully is about enjoying life. There is always a lot to be thankful for, if you take the time to look.
For example, I’m sitting here thinking how nice it is that wrinkles don’t hurt.
Agatha Christie knew about aging gracefully when she said: “An archeologist is the best husband any woman can have: the older she gets, the more interested he is in her.”
Just remember, growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.
And they have a plan for ’16. They’ll run an immigration friendly candidate like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio to win the Latino vote. Sure, Rubio lost the non-Cuban Latino vote in Florida, and unless the entire population of Cuba gets imported to the United States and legalized between now and ’16, he’ll only win, at best, as much of the Latino vote as Bush did, or as Rick Perry did, which isn’t enough to win an election, especially once you’ve legalized the 10 percent of Mexico that lives north of the Rio Grande. But after they blow that one, the geniuses will step up to the plate and blame the Tea Party for a loss by another of their perfect candidates because during the primaries Rubio or Bush was forced to disavow Amnesty II or Amnesty III.
The Republican Party of ’12 looks a lot like the Democratic Party of ’88. It’s outdated and running on fumes. All its slogans are tired and its leaders seem completely out of touch. Even the most unfair attacks stick to it, because it has no momentum. It isn’t going anywhere because it’s enclosed in a shell of outdated ideas and tired figures from its past who prevent anyone from coming to the fore. That same state of affairs led to the unlikely candidacy of Bill Clinton among the Democrats, but assuming that an obscure southern governor will battle his way through the Republican primaries to reveal a talent for national politics may be hoping for too much. And if he did, the establishment would spend their cash reserves to crush him in favor of a reliable choice like Paul Tsongas.
It didn’t have to be this way. The Tea Party gave the GOP a shot in the arm. Suddenly it was acting and thinking like a revolutionary party. There were ideas in the air, energy on the ground and anger coalescing into action. And then it all got shut down for four months of infomercials about Staples because the establishment had gotten what it wanted and decided to play it safe before the big game.
The Republican Party has no ideas. Its only ideas involve deciding which liberal platform to “evolve” its way up to and how to sell that “evolution” to the base. And a lack of ideas comes from a lack of beliefs.
Barack Obama, Straight Shooter?
A dubious publicity photo and journalism’s Jed Clampetts.
By James Taranto
Just seven weeks after a massacre at an American elementary school, the White House released a photo of the president firing a gun. Strangely, no one seems to think this is in atrocious taste. We imagine the reaction would be quite different if it were, say, George W. Bush.
But a lot of people, including this columnist, doubt that the photo depicts what it purports to show. The White House distributed the pic in response to widespread skepticism of President Obama’s assertion, in an interview with a liberal editor and a former campaign coordinator, that “up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time.” The man who infamously said that rural Pennsylvanians and Midwesterners “cling to guns” had never before publicly indicated any interest in shooting sports.
The photo, purportedly shot last Aug. 4 (which happens to be the president’s birthday), shows Obama holding a shotgun. The barrel is smoking, indicating that the gun has just been fired. What’s odd about it is that the president is aiming straight ahead, as if he were firing a rifle at a stationary target.
But in skeet shooting, the target, a disk known as a clay pigeon, is moving. It is launched from one of two “houses” and travels in a parabolic trajectory across the field. In order to hit it, one has to move the gun so as to follow the path of the clay. It’s not impossible that one would fire at shoulder level, as Obama is doing in the photo, but it’s unlikely. We therefore surmise that the picture is the product of a photo shoot, not a skeet shoot.
Expressions of dubiety about the photo have prompted some weirdly intense reactions from Obama partisans. Our old pal John Avlon lashes out at “Republican conspiracy nuts” who are “partakers of the paranoid style in American politics” and have succumbed to “the unhinged, hate-fueled impulse” toward “disrespect and near-dehumanization of this president.”
My Break With the Democrats
by Michelle Rhee
As a lifelong Democrat, controversial education reformer Michelle Rhee never thought she’d support school vouchers. Until she did. In Radical, she details her transformation.
When I began my stint with the D.C. public schools, I had strong ideas about what education reform should look like and what it shouldn’t look like. I believed wholeheartedly that we had to have a very strong focus on teacher quality. I was also a believer in charter schools. I had seen their value when I served for a couple of years on the board of the St. HOPE Public Schools. I guess that was my first break with Democratic dogma. I knew that charter schools were anathema to teachers’ unions. I also knew the best ones could serve children extraordinarily well.
Need Proof That Joe Biden Is Running for President? Look At His Staff.
Not since President Bush declined to pardon Scooter Libby has Washington chatter projected so much disappointment onto the vice president. But it was hard not to sympathize with Joe Biden—and his inchoate 2016 campaign—after the president’s hagiographic joint appearance on 60 Minutes with outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Biden, of course, made nothing of it. For the cameras, he is voluble and spry, trotting across Pennsylvania Avenue to mug and shake hands during the inaugural parade. The man who came on board as ballot ballast (wizened, steeped in foreign policy, noticeably white) has become an odd and perhaps enviable creature in the political firmament: a pop-culture totem and a sitcom punch line, yet somehow a senior statesman, too. But inside the White House, Biden is playing a quieter game, nudging into place the pieces he would need should he decide to run in 2016—Steve Kroft be damned.
Maybe the culture really has been lost. Maybe it’s hopeless. Pop culture, at least, is so crass, so vile, so lacking decency or restraint, as to appear irredeemable. And the Super Bowl, the grand pageant of Emperor-with-no-clothes Roger Goodell, provided crowning evidence of the culture’s pungent rot.
It wasn’t the game itself that offended — the game was well played and thrilling — but rather the halftime show and the commercials and so much else of the trash that surrounded the game itself like a Superfund site bordering a family park. Indeed, this is the third straight year that the halftime show featured artists known for tastelessness or offensiveness performing hyper-sexualized songs while writhing in various stages of Bacchanalian undress.
Really, does the NFL need to be booming “Bootylicious” into the homes of 100 million people? (“I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly… ’cause my body’s too bootylicious for you, baby.”) In fact, the full lyrics for almost every song from Beyoncé’s set list are full of raw, over-the-top sex — lyrical soft porn, if you will —while the writhing on stage had little more decency than a Roman orgy.
Slate’s Matt Yglesias Sings the Blue Model Blues
Slate’s Matt Ygelsias is trying to start a small business by renting out a condo, and he’s finding out just how hard the blue model is on entrepreneurs. After detailing his personal battle with the DC bureaucracy for a single basic business license, travelling from office to office, filling out form after form, and losing precious time and money, Ygelsias reflects more broadly on the harms of red-tape hoop jumping:
Not that I expect your pity. I don’t even pity myself. Going through the process, I mostly felt lucky to be a fluent-English-speaking college graduate with a flexible work schedule. But the presence of a stray pamphlet offering translation into Spanish, Chinese, or Amharic seemed like it would be only marginally useful to an immigrant entrepreneur. A person who needs to be at her day job from 9 to 5 would have a huge problem even getting to these offices while they’re open …
Red tape, long lines, inconvenient office hours, and other logistical hassles probably won’t stop tomorrow’s super-genius from launching the next great billion-dollar company. But it’s a large and needless deterrent to the formation of the humble workaday firms that for many people are a path to autonomy and prosperity.
Here the liberal columnist encounters some basic truths we keep pounding home at VM. Heavy regulation plus bad governance hurts the poor and prevents jobs from being created in big blue cities where so many immigrants and minorities live. Those are exactly the people who most need the freedom to start businesses, and those are the businesses our existing blue model cities do so much to crush.
It’s almost like unions are capitalism killers.
Nobody Wants to Talk About CNN’s ‘Ethnic’ Problem
Last week, a bomb went off in the news media. But the media’s own version of the Blue Wall of Silence held together again, which allowed the media to pretend nothing happened. Some in conservative media noticed and reported on the blast. But because the media protects one another almost as fiercely (and dishonestly) as it protects Barack Obama, a report that an executive vice president at CNN complained about the “ethnicity” of Soledad O’Brien’s “Starting Point” audience has been memory-holed as though it never happened.
Betsy Rothstein at FishBowlDC first reported the incident. In the middle of a lengthy piece about the ongoing shake-up at CNN, Rothstein dropped this:
Many staffers were stunned when [Executive VP Bart] Feder constantly complained that the viewership of “Early Start” and “Starting Point” was “too ethnic,” based on the high concentration of minority viewers. This common complaint worked itself up through the company, to CNN’s Diversity Committee, and to other staffers, who were mortified that a CNN executive was squabbling over attracting minority viewers.
Later in the day, Rothstein added this update:
To clarify, Feder’s issue with “Starting Point” was that the audience was too small and happened to be predominately comprised of minorities. A source close to the show insists that the ethnicity of the audience was never the issue, it was the size. Feder in no way meant to imply that the audience was too ethnic.
So in the original report, we’re told Feder “constantly” complained that O’Brien’s audience was “too ethnic,” and that this complaint eventually made its way to something called the “Diversity Committee.” We also learned that “other staffers” were “mortified” over this.
Then an update is added that says never mind.
Because FishBowl issued an update and not a correction, this tells me that they have a source or sources who told them one thing, but that after the “too ethnic” bombshell became public, someone else from CNN tried to put the toothpaste back in the tube.
But how does CNN think it can go from “Diversity Committee” and “mortified staffers,” to never mind? The two statements are contradictory, and the update in no way clears up the stink of a charge that claims a top CNN exec isn’t interested in a viewing audience he defines as “too ethnic” (and isn’t that a form of racial profiling?)
In a lengthy column today — but I do suggest you Read the Whole Thing™ — Liz Mair identifies the five things wrong with the GOP today:
First, a lot of bad candidates have been fielded, and a lot of crappy campaigns have been run. And no, I don’t just mean that candidate whose name immediately popped into your head there.
Second, and tied in with this, we have too many less-than-cutting-edge and insufficiently creative and/or out-of-date consultants making a lot of money off of said crappy campaigns.
Third, our technology sucks in comparison to what Democrats have.
Fourth, growing portions of the electorate—Hispanic-Americans and Asian-Americans—either loathe us or just don’t like us.
Fifth, the party seems to have forgotten that it’s supposed to stand for something—by which I mean actual principles of some sort, and not just, say, the general bumper sticker concept that “OBAMA = BAD.”
Let’s tackle these in the same order Liz did, because I think there’s a logic to how she’s organized her (totally valid) complaints.
• The first and most obvious problem is of course the candidates. In politics, it’s said the “personnel is policy.” That is, no matter what an executive says he might do, the people he appoints to do the doing are the real test. You can talk like Teddy Roosevelt, but it won’t matter if you appoint Chuck Hagel. Similarly, the candidates a party fields are the party. They’re the ones voters see on the news and on their ballots. So you can’t nominate a Todd Akin while claiming you’re not the Stupid Party any more, and you can’t nominate Christine O’Donnell while telling everyone you’re the voice of sanity. There’s either something wrong with the GOP nominating process or with the candidates it attracts. Or both. This isn’t an intractable problem, but it’s one on which the GOP rank and file need to do some very deep soul-searching.
• Solving the consultant problem is easy: Stop hiring expensive losers. Hire young, hire hungry. Let Karl Rove go back to head-counting in strategic Ohio counties on his own time.
• The tech problem is no different, really, than the consultant problem. The solution is the same, too: Hire young, hire hungry.
The last two items are intertwined to such a degree that they might just be two sides of the same coin.
• Why do America’s fastest-growing minority groups have such disdain for the GOP? Part of the reason is self-inflicted. There is a small-but-vocal anti-immigrant wing of the party. Immigrants — unexpectedly! — are turned off. Hispanics especially so, since the worrisome border is the one we share with our Spanish-speaking neighbors in Mexico. It becomes very easy for the Democrats to paint the entire party as secretly (or not-so-secretly) racist. That the Democrats have done so with such effectiveness shouldn’t surprise anyone who has watched the Left play its identity-politics game. Immigrants and minorities dovetail very nicely into one democratically delivered verdict: The GOP hates us.
Worth a Read:
A revolution in the works?
Global Economy Living Off Fed’s Gravy Train
Friday’s Unemployment Report: Our Economic Nightmare Continues
Nonsense, Obama and the obamamedia assure us that things are doing just fine. Except for that “we are broke” and millions are still unemployed thing.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
The french phrase ” plus ça change, plus c’est la même
chose”, meaning the more things change the more they stay the same, seems to
Time passes and faces change and the corruptiton and lack of
competence remains the same. As well as the stupidity of the voters who see only
party affiliation instead of character, integrity and competence. How very sad.