Witch’s Will For A Sunday In February

Thought For A Sunday Morning:

For Best Article This Morning:

The Non-Existent Spending Cuts Wrought By The ‘Devastating’ Sequester

In a city known for its perpetual evasion of responsibility and chronic shifting of blame, Washington D.C.’s sequester debate is more of the same – albeit with an interesting twist.

Ordinarily spending debates in our nation’s capital can be scripted long before they unfold: Democrats accused Republicans of “divisive,” harsh” and “burdensome” cuts, while Republicans stride hurriedly past television cameras with not-so-bright looks on their faces.

Meanwhile the legacy press goes into overdrive exaggerating the impact of these “cuts” – demonizing any politician who dares to support them as the equivalent of a puppy murderer. At this point Republicans invariably cave under the pressure – and the burden of both parties’ bad decisions gets shifted even further onto future generations of taxpayers.

Sound familiar?

“Members of Congress who would otherwise like to cut spending know they’re going to take a beating from the media and special interests,” concludes The Cato Institute’s Tad DeHaven. “Few politicians are willing to take that heat. Fewer still can even articulate why spending cuts and smaller government are good.”

This basic storyline – played out time and time again – is directly responsible for our nation’s $16.5 trillion debt, its soaring deficits, its unfunded liabilities and its inability to sustain anything resembling a real economic recovery. In fact the $630 billion tax hike associated with the recent “fiscal cliff” deal is the latest example of our economy paying the price for politicians’ refusal to rein in spending.


Other Interesting Articles

  The Bating Game: Obama Doubles Down 

By Clarice  Feldman

By  law, on Friday the executive must begin to cut $85 billion from federal  spending. Though, as is his wont, the president is blaming the Republicans for  what he claims is a draconian measure. No less a Washington chronicler of events  than Bob Woodward of the Washington Post considers that a  gross distortion of the truth

[T]he automatic spending cuts were initiated by the  White House and were the brainchild of [Treasury Secretary nominee Jack] Lew and  White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors — probably the foremost  experts on budget issues in the senior ranks of the federal  government.

Obama personally approved of the plan for Lew and  Nabors to propose the sequester to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).  They did so at 2:30 p.m. July 27, 2011, according to interviews with two senior  White House aides who were directly involved.

Lying about who’s responsible is only part of the  story; the president, with the connivance of the press, is trying to scare the  public about the effects of the necessary cuts and proposes yet another  expensive, pointless program.  characterizes the scare effort as threatening: “Dead babies in the water,  poisoned milk, catburgers at Mickey Dee’s — anything is possible.” That  wisecrack’s not far off the mark. Here’s Debbie Wasserman-Schultz,  chair of the DNC.

Well, everything is — everything would be delayed.  You’re going to have massive indiscriminate cuts to education, to health care  research, you’re going to have research  grants that won’t get funded. I mean, the decisions that we make now,  letting the sequester kick in, have short-term effects that affect people’s  daily lives, but they also have significant long-term effects. If a university  isn’t able to hire a researcher or — because the grant doesn’t come through —  that researcher never does groundbreaking work that could save thousands of  lives later on down the road. I mean, this is dramatically irresponsible. It’s  irresponsible for our economy and the  impact on it. It’s irresponsible to, in terms of the impact it would leave on  the middle class and working families. The only ones who get protected are the  wealthiest, most fortunate Americans. But that appears to be the Republicans’  goal. And it’s just baffling. How could they possibly continue to only care  about people who are already doing really well who are the only ones that would  be shielded from the impact of sequester cuts?

It’s  not as if the trillions in debt racked up by the administration have  accomplished much more than feeding Obama’s cronies and buying him  political support with our money. The examples are too numerous to do the topic  justice in this space. Let’s review some that even the media has not been able  to fully erase from the short-lived memories of a significant number of voters,  so that Republicans who need to make a more forceful case for necessary cuts can  credibly note the monumental waste.

In  August of last year, Investor’s Business Dailyreported on the cost to taxpayers of the unprecedented bailout of Chrysler and General Motors:

Washington not only used taxpayer money to buy  control of General Motors and Chrysler, but it also rewrote the rules on the  treatment of creditors.

Superficially at least, the intervention worked, but  it hasn’t been cheap. GM is back to making a profit, though it is struggling in  Europe and once again has lost its No. 1 market share to Toyota. And the  perennial problem child Chrysler is now in Fiat’s lap.

The administration sold its interest in Chrysler in  July 2011, racking up a loss of $1.3 billion. It still holds 26% of GM and is  riding the stock price down. With GM shares  trading at just over $20, the taxpayer’s paper losses are at least $16  billion.

Moreover,  for no good reason, the administration coupled wiping out legitimate claims of  GM investors and creditors with eliminating thousands of jobs at car  dealerships. The National Automobile Dealers Association said this action alone threatened more than 100,000  jobs.


‘Gun Control Laws Have Racist Origin’

A number of African-American activists are spoke out against gun control laws currently being proposed. They explain the direct correlation betweeen “gun control and black people control.”

What Our Leaders Wrought: Boehner Cries and Obama Lies

John Ransom by John Ransom

twfox wrote: Jan. 24,2013 – Bobby Jindal urges the GOP to “stop being the stupid party”—hmmmm. And now you knuckle draggers want to call the Presidents supporters stupid? Good luck with that!The Big, Big Government Push

Dear Comrade Fox,

You apparently don’t know the context in which Jindal was talking about “stop being the stupid party.”

What Jindal is referring to are the candidates who made bizarre comments during the election, like Todd Akin the Missouri Republican, who said this about the odds of getting pregnant from rape: “From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Ok, whatever Todd.

But it’s not like the GOP has monopoly on: 1) Supporters saying stupid things about the other side on message boards; or 2) Elected officials or candidates who make dumb comments.

Witness for example Colorado State Rep Joe Salazar who said that women shouldn’t be allowed to carry guns on college campuses because they might shoot someone in the confusion about whether they were being raped or not: “And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped,” said Salazar in a debate in the House on restricting a woman’s right to choose to be armed, “or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop a round at somebody.”

Or let’s take Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. who just admitted that he lived for years off of his campaign money despite the fact that he and his wife make over $250,000 a year.

“For years I lived off my campaign,” Jackson said at his sentencing for fraud, according to a report by the New York Times. “I used money I shouldn’t have used for personal purposes.”

I’d rather be Todd Akin than Jesse Jackson Jr.


Josh Groban sings “You Raise Me Up”

Here are the lyrics:

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart  burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come  and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on  mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am  on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise  me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy  seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more  than I can be.

There is no life – no life without its hunger;
Each  restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, so I  can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am  strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can  be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to  walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise  me up: To more than I can be.

  Calvin Coolidge, Dr. Benjamin Carson, and Us

Coolidge’s ideals still resonate, as reflected by Carson’s much-loved recent speech.

In Coolidge, her elegant and engrossing biography of the 30th president, Amity Shlaes writes that perhaps the deepest reason for Coolidge’s recent obscurity is that he “spoke a different economic language from ours”:

He did not say “money supply”; he said “credit.” … He did not say “private sector”; he said “commerce.” He did not say “savings”; he said “thrift” or “economy.” … Coolidge at the end of his life spoke anxiously about the “importance of the obvious.” Perseverance, property rights, contract, civility to one’s opponents, silence, smaller government, trust, certainty, restraint, respect for faith, federalism, economy, and thrift: these Coolidge ideals intrigue us today as well.

Coolidge spoke in concise language about character, culture, and religion, all of which he considered we needed more than bigger government:

We do not need more intellectual power, we need more moral power. We do not need more knowledge, we need more character. We do not need more government, we need more culture. We do not need more law, we need more religion. We do not need more the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are not seen.

Back in 1924, when the first biography of Coolidge appeared, it was prominently reviewed in the New York Times Book Review. The reviewer thought the author’s claim that Coolidge’s speech to the Massachusetts Senate as its president had been quoted as often as any in American history other than Lincoln’s Gettysburg address was an exaggeration; but that “if the speech has not been quoted as often as [the author] thinks it has, it deserves to be.” Parts of that speech, he wrote, “ought to be in every American citizen’s Bible.” He singled out this paragraph:

Do the day’s work. If it be to protect the rights of the weak, whoever objects, do it. If it be to help a powerful corporation better to serve the people, whatever the opposition, do that. Expect to be called a standpatter, but don’t be a standpatter. Expect to be called a demagogue, but don’t be a demagogue. Don’t hesitate to be as revolutionary as science. Don’t hesitate to be as reactionary as the multiplication table. Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong.

Fast forward nearly a century, to the February 17, 2013 review of Coolidge in the New York Times Book Review, which treated the book as part of an attempt to “resurrect” Coolidge as a “prophet” of an “austere doctrine” of “Republican Calvinism,” with a “liturgy” based on Coolidge’s belief that the federal government should shrink, not grow.

The use of the religious imagery was not intended as complimentary. The reviewer asserted that Coolidge’s “actual record” shows he was “an extraordinarily blinkered and foolish and complacent leader” who is “no model for the present,” but rather “a bleak omen from the past.”

Coolidge’s “actual record”: he inherited a national debt of $28 billion and reduced it to less than $18 billion; he cut the top income tax rate to 25% while balancing the budget and producing surpluses each year; and unemployment was reduced from 5.7 million at the beginning of the decade to 1.8 million when he left office. The economy became popularly known as the “Coolidge prosperity.”

As actual records go, that is not too bad — particularly compared to more recent ones.

The last four years have shown that “stimulus” (which Coolidge would have called “spending”) and “investments” (which Coolidge would have called “spending”) are not panaceas, but rather part of the problem. We have also learned that it is extraordinarily blinkered and foolish for a government that already has unsustainable financial obligations for existing “entitlements” (which Coolidge would have called “spending”) to enact not only a record “stimulus” and huge new “investments” but also a massive new “entitlement,” relying on borrowed funds and no budget.


The manufactured crisis of sequester

  by George Will

Even during this desultory economic recovery, one industry thrives — the manufacture of synthetic hysteria. It is, however, inaccurate to accuse the Hysteric in Chief of crying “Wolf!” about spending cuts under the sequester. He is actually crying “Hamster!”

As in: Batten down the hatches — the sequester will cut $85 billion from this year’s $3.6 trillion budget! Or: Head for the storm cellar — spending will be cut 2.3 percent! Or: Washington chain-saw massacre — we must scrape by on 97.7 percent of current spending!

Or: Chaos is coming because the sequester will cut a sum $25 billion larger than was just shoveled out the door (supposedly, but not actually) for victims of Hurricane Sandy! Or: Heaven forfend, the sequester will cut 47 percent as much as was spent on the AIG bailout! Or: Famine, pestilence and locusts will come when the sequester causes federal spending over 10 years to plummet from $46 trillion all the way down to $44.8 trillion! Or: Grass will grow in the streets of America’s cities if the domestic agencies whose budgets have increased 17 percent under President Obama must endure a 5 percent cut!


‘Mad’ vision of doomsayer O

  by Michael Goodwin

Planes crash, schools close, houses burn, criminals run free.

Welcome to the “Mad Max” world that President Obama envisions if the federal budget is reduced by 2.3 percent. It’s a scenario designed to provoke rage and hopelessness, and it certainly does, though not for the reasons Obama intends.

Instead, his claim that the $3.6 trillion budget can’t be trimmed by $85 billion without the country collapsing reveals the utter futility of believing he will ever save America from financial disaster. The nation is headed for ruin unless it cuts spending, but the president refuses to do anything about it. In fact, he argues we don’t spend enough, that we must “invest” more.

Consider that 40 cents of every dollar Washington already spends is borrowed or printed by the Federal Reserve. But rejecting any and all ways to do with less, Obama resorts to scare tactics and smears.

Republicans, he charged on Al Sharpton’s radio show, believe “nothing is important enough to raise taxes on wealthy individuals or corporations.” It’s a tired, false attack, and you have to wonder how he continues to say it with a straight face. Yet our president is unrestrained by truth or facts.

To believe his scenario on the impacts of the $85 billion in cuts, you have to believe the federal government is 100 percent efficient; that any penny cut from spending would damage the daily life of every American.

To see how preposterous the claim is, imagine a smaller example — a family with a weekly budget of $100. Under Obama’s math, cutting $2.30 a week would mean the family would have to give up its home, car and food.

It sounds crazy because it is, especially because Obama proposed these cuts in the first place. He knows he’s blowing smoke, so why does he do it?

There are several possible motives, none appealing. The most obvious is that he’s trying to put pressure on Republicans to support another round of tax hikes. He believes the government needs more money and that many Americans should pay more taxes or, as he puts it, “their fair share.”

But it’s folly. The tax hikes he got at the beginning of the year already have been spent. The $60 billion in revenues from higher income-tax rates on the top 1 percent were instantly pledged to Superstorm Sandy victims, without offsetting cuts elsewhere. The net added expense means the new taxes will not yield a dime of deficit reduction this year.


   The pension bomb

At first glance, the Postal Service’s decision to drop Saturday delivery might seem completely unrelated to Henrico County’s push for a meals tax or municipal elections in San Diego. But the issues have similar roots.

Despite cutting its workforce 28 percent and slashing costs, The Postal Service is hemorrhaging red ink. But while shifting mailing patterns account for some of the problem, by far the biggest cause is retiree benefits. In 2006, Congress passed a law forcing the Postal Service to set aside billions of dollars every year to pay for future retiree medical costs. The mandate accounts for every cent of the Postal Service’s losses last year and 80 percent of its losses this year. The service has to find the money to meet the mandate – and Saturday delivery is the route it has chosen.

So what does this have to do with Henrico officials’ desire to impose a meals tax? Like the Postal Service, the county is facing an unfunded pension mandate. New accounting standards that will go into effect in 2014 mean localities will have to assume the entire burden of teacher pension liabilities. For Henrico, that puts another half-billion dollars on the debt side of the ledger. (Other localities face the same problem.) This means that, like the Postal Service, they have to do something to offset that big red smear – either by cutting services, or raising revenue.

Henrico’s problems are nothing compared with those of, say, California. As Steven Malanga details in a recent article for City Journal, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CALPERS), which for decades operated as a “model of restraint,” has in the past 30 years or so metastasized into a gigantic fiscal disaster. Pushed by union reps and the politicians beholden to them, the state vastly expanded benefits. It dug itself into such a deep hole that it adopted a two-tier system: one for existing employees and one for newcomers. (Virginia has since done the same.)

Blowback forced the state to repeal that change, driving costs up just as investment returns began to falter. So the state forced localities to chip in bigger sums to compensate. Glendale saw its annual pension payment skyrocket from $1.3 million to almost $14 million in just four years. San Bernadino’s obligation rose from $5 million in 2000 to $26 million last year. The state itself saw its annual budget obligation jump from $611 million to $3.5 billion in the span of nine years. And Stockton was driven to bankruptcy. As Governing magazine explained last year: “Stockton faces an avalanche of obligations that it cannot meet. Foremost among them are contributions to public employee pensions, as well as debt service on bonds earlier sold to fund its pension contributions.”

Virginia has managed its own retirement system more soberly – although “better than California” is not exactly a ringing endorsement. The professional staff at the Virginia Retirement System has done a good job and earns high marks for management; it also has incorporated assumptions about investment returns more modest than most. (Many states have used inflated expectations about future growth as a trick to avoid making bigger annual contributions now.) Unfortunately, the General Assembly has behaved less responsibly. In four out of five years over the past couple of decades, it has allocated less to the VRS than fund managers recommended. In the current fiscal cycle, the state is paying only 70 percent of what VRS needs. Thanks to that and depressed stock-market returns, the system’s unfunded liability has been growing.


Citigroup’s Man Goes to the Treasury Department

Jack Lew is the nominee for Treasury secretary whose own bonus as an investment banker was bailed out by the Treasury Department when it rescued Citigroup Inc. (C) in 2008. He owes much to America’s taxpayers. He should also be grateful to Citigroup for agreeing to let him rejoin the government without suffering much for it financially.

An intriguing revelation from Lew’s Senate confirmation hearing last week was that he stood to be paid handsomely by Citigroup if he left the company for a top U.S. government job, under his 2006 employment agreement with the bank. The wording of the pay provisions made it seem, at least to me, as if Citigroup might have agreed to pay Lew some sort of a bounty to seek out, and be appointed to, such a position.


Media Malpractice:

Attn. Chuck Todd and Establishment Press: Bob Woodward Insists That  Sequestration Was Obama Admin’s Idea, Because It Was

In yesterday’s  Washington Post, Bob Woodward repeated what the essence of what he wrote  about sequestration in his book, “The Price of Politics.”

Why? Because leftist media stooges like MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, who is upset that  conservatives and Republicans are “begging the media to say it’s Obama that  started the sequester, not them” (well, in general, Chuck, we’d like to see you  tell the truth, but we’ve long since given up expecting it, let alone begging  for it) insist on claiming that it was a Republican idea. It wasn’t. Woodward  re-elaborates (internal links are in original; bolds are mine):


Worth a Read:

Long past time to give Keystone XL project the green light


Cruz: Obama’s ‘lasting legacy’ will be creating Republican leaders


Teacher settles claim over forced union dues payment


 Dictatorship of Hypocrites: The Media’s Crusade Against Cruz

The liberal media have their knives out for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) after his textbook cross-examination of Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel at the latter’s confirmation hearing Jan. 31. Jane Mayer of the New Yorker seized on a speech Cruz gave three years ago in which he asserted that when he was at Harvard Law School, shortly after Barack Obama, there were twelve Marxists on the faculty and one Republican.

That, Mayer alleges, is evidence of Cruz’s innate McCarthyism–and hence, she implies, ought to discredit Cruz’s inquiries into Hagel’s beliefs and financial backing. That’s rich coming from the New Yorker’s resident Koch-obsessive, who launched a McCarthyist assault on the Tea Party in 2010, asserting it was mere Astroturf for the “billionaire Koch brothers’ war against Obama,” and demanding more scrutiny of the Kochs’ ties to it.

Her current campaign against Cruz is a pure political vendetta–a fact she does not even try to deny. In her latest offering, she defends her sudden interest in the 2010 speech as follows: “…Cruz’s hostile questioning of Obama’s nominee for Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, and insinuations about Hagel’s loyalties had provided a fresh context for looking more closely at the nature of the accusations he has leveled at political opponents.”

In terms of accusations against one’s opponents, it’s hard to top Mayer’s suggestion that millions of conservative Americans are paid stooges–or Obama’s numerous attacks on opponents using false accusations and innuendo. Remember the doctors who cut out kids’ tonsils for no reason except greed? The Republican presidential nominee who just might be a felon, and may have killed a man’s wife? Few complaints from Mayer there.


Quote For A Sunday Morning:

 It’s  far easier to forgive an enemy after you’ve got even with him. ~ Olin  Miller

Wrong attitude I know. And not what I learned in church. But it just seems so right…

2 thoughts on “SUNDAY MOURNING

  1. After reading the article on Jesse Jackson’s admittance of his crimes, I thought, there is no hope for us with crass politicians like this who don’t show any remorse, and don’t really think what they have done is outside the norm. I thought, this country is going to hell in a bread basket and there is nothing we can do about it.

    THEN —

    The next article is the video of Josh Groban ——- “You Raise Me UP” ——– Perfect!

    I don’t know if you planned the sequence of these two articles, but I do know that it did it for me. From the depths of disgust and despair over politicians like Jackson, and the uplifting lyrics of Groban’s song, (along with the visuals), my hope and faith in the future of our country doesn’t look as dismal as it did. We must never let the turkeys get us down to the point where we lose faith. IMO, everybody has something, or someone, to pin their hopes on. To each his own, but without that glimmer of light, life would be much harder to deal with, and the turkeys would win. We can’t let that happen.

    • The juxtapostion of Josh Groban and Jackson was accidental. Somewhat. I just knew that I needed something to wash the taste and feeling of Jesse Jackson out of my brain. I am also encouraged by knowing that Josh Groban is so popular in a world that seems filled with half-naked starlets and vile raps music. Josh Groban truly “lifts” me up. And just FYI I didn’t know anything about Josh Groban until I watched the season finale of CSI New York last week. He was featured and I googled and then youtubed him. I listen to him a lot now. So nice to know that someone who can actually sing, not just chant can be a hit these days. The remarks from so many in the media about how “sad” it is about Jackson disgusts me. Sad? Really? How about revealing of the venality of him and his party when they say he still has a promising future. Sad for his children? How about if he had thought about them when he was stealing money to buy himself a fur cape? I feel no sympathy for him or his wife. They made their choices and because they were caught they will have to pay a price. But I suspect this POS will rise again. Because he’s black, and that’s fashionable right now, and because he’s from a racist and corrupt district in Illinois. Oh and I do feel sorry for his children. What role models their parents have provided! I feel sorry for every child who has a parent or parents like that. Because they are all too apt to end the same way. Why wouldn’t they in a world wheresome thieves are celebrated?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s