The Rise and Fall of Hope and Change

The Rise and Fall of Hope and Change

Alexis de Toqueville

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.
Alexis de Tocqueville

The United States Capitol Building

The United States Capitol Building

The Constitutional Convention

The Constitutional Convention

The Continental Congress

The Continental Congress

George Washington at Valley Forge

George Washington at Valley Forge

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Tipping-Point Is Nearing

From The American Thinker:

February 14, 2011

A Tipping Point Is Nearing

By Jeff T. Allen

We are facing a tipping point. There will soon be a crisis affecting US citizens beyond any experienced since the Great Depression. And it may happen within the year. This past week three awful developments put a dagger into the hope for a growth-led recovery, which held promise of possibly averting a debt and currency implosion crushing the American economy.

The first was a little-noticed, but tragic, series of events in the newly elected House of Representatives. The speaker, Mr. Boehner, had given the task of fashioning the majority's spending cut agenda to Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), a rising conservative star representing the vocal wing of fiscal conservatives in the House. Promising to cut $100 billion of government spending, Mr. Boehner spoke before the elections of the urgency to produce immediately when Republicans took control.

Out of a $3.8 trillion government spending agenda, the wonkish Mr. Ryan, considered by many to be the best hope for fiscal conservatives, revealed proposed cuts of a whopping $74 billion. After some tense meetings, (referred to as a "revolt" by some media) newly elected conservative congressmen convinced the leadership to commit to unspecified cuts of an additional $26 billion. The actual "cuts" from any such legislation will, of course, be less once the appropriate political log rolling and deal-making are done- let's call it $50 billion (while the deficit grows by $26 billion during the week it takes to discuss it). So go the hopes for serious spending restraint from our newly elected wave of rabid, anti-big government Republicans. They may deliver cuts 1.3% of total spending that is itself approximately 90% greater than collected taxes. Let's mark this spending reduction effort as an epic fail, at a time when epic success is almost required for survival.

The second awful development to occur last week was the employment report from the Labor Department, describing employment conditions in the U.S. economy in January, 2011. The report was packed with statistics, all pointing to anemic growth with a modest pickup in manufacturing employment. The little-noticed (not by the bond market) aspect of the report was the "benchmark" revisions, an attempt to get the total picture more accurate each year than simply adding up all the monthly change numbers. This year's benchmark revisions showed two alarming things: a decline from previously reported employment in December 2010 of nearly 500,000 jobs, and a reduction in the workforce of a similar amount.

Coupled with insistence from the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that the Fed intended to continue "quantitative easing" (a euphemism for monetizing the bonded debt of the federal government), the employment data caused bond holders to assume there will be no end to the red ink. Ten-year U.S. bonds lost a full percent of their value, declining a total of 18% since Bernanke announced the acceleration of Fed policy in August 2010. The yield on these bonds has increased from an ultra-low 2.4% in August to 3.65% today, as the Fed repeatedly describes inflation in the U.S. as too low.

In context, a 3.7% yield does not appear high by historical standards. In our current predicament, however, it is heading toward Armageddon. If interest rates on our debt rise by 1% it means our interest payments rise by more than $100 billion dollars annually (not including the interest payments owed to the Social Security Trust Fund--see below). As global liquidity and deficit spending have accelerated, food and commodity prices have skyrocketed, sending many prices up 25-50% worldwide since August. In some countries (Tunisia and Egypt among them) rice prices and cooking oil have doubled. Copper is up 40% in that time. If global inflation expectations take hold with tenacity, as they have many times in past periods of "easy money" by our Fed and Congress, interest rates may easily rise to 5-6%, an event which will blow an additional $300-500 billion hole in a budget already beyond sanity. Can our creditors give the U.S. a nod on $2 trillion of new debt each year without any plan to fix it? Remember, there is plenty of past experience with U.S. debt yielding 7-8%, a potential expenditure on our current debt of nearly 100% of tax receipts to pay interest alone should yields go there.

The third development of the last week which received much less press than the Egyptian crisis is the "new normal" in Social Security. The CBO released a report disclosing that the net cash flow for the Social Security trust fund -- excluding interest received from the book entry bonds it holds in U.S. debt -- will be negative $56 billion in 2011, and for every year hence even more so. This is the train wreck that was supposed to happen in 2020. It is upon us now. Any limp action by conservatives to bring this program into solvency can be expected only to slow the raging river of red ink this behemoth program (along with its twin Godzilla, Medicare) spills on U.S. citizens. With no political will to fix them, these "entitlements" will obligate Americans to borrow more and more money from China--to honor promises we simply refuse to admit we can't keep.

So why do these developments argue for a crisis of Great Depression proportions? Because they speak unequivocally of our pathway to insolvency, and the potential of currency failure via hyperinflation, despite the hopes of conservatives and market participants to see a halt of such direction. Housing prices, the foundation of so much of private citizen debt loads, are destined for stagnation -- not inflation -- as the supply of homes is far greater than the demand -- 11% of the nation's homes stand empty today. When the world begins to recognize that there is no fix for America's borrowings, a fast and brutal exodus from our currency and bonds can send us a shock in mere weeks or months.

Unlike the Great Depression, however, we will enter such a shock in a weakened state, with few producers among us and record mountains of debt. More cataclysmic is the specter of inadequate food, as less than 4% of us farm, and those that do may cease to be as productive or may not accept devalued currency as payment, should the tipping point be crossed. Corn and wheat prices in the U.S. have nearly doubled in less than 12 months, using our rapidly evaporating currency as the medium of exchange.

The time for action has passed, which may only become apparent as the "aid" of easy money becomes seen as the harm that it is. May we all be spared the worst, but I offer no such prayers for those responsible. The harm that comes will be swifter, and more severe, than most of them thought possible.

President Obama's Yawning Heights

From The American Thinker:

March 01, 2011

President Obama's Yawning Heights

By Robert Morrison

Aleksandr Zinoviev wrote a book under the old Soviet Union called The Yawning Heights. He used it to describe, almost obscenely, the speeches of Communist Party boss Leonid Brezhnev. The Russian words for "glistening" and "yawning" are very close and with Comrade Leonid's drunken slurring, "the glistening heights of socialism" to which he was forever summoning his chained peoples came out "yawning heights."

President Obama is surely no drunk. And we are not yet a captive people. But President Obama is also a bore. It's not his fault. It's socialism's fault. Irish poet Oscar Wilde was once asked what he thought of world socialism. Wilde archly replied: "I think it would consume too many evenings." He was right about that.

Socialism politicizes everything -- literature, medicine, science, law, education, culture, religion, sports, all of life. And that ultimately makes socialism a crushing bore. President Obama is finding that tens of millions of Americans have tuned him out as he summons us to the heights. His audience for the State of the Union Address is down 18% this year over his first year.

Part of this is his speechwriter, a 29-year old who seems never to have had any contact with literature, American history, poetry, or the Bible. The speeches he crafts for this president are textbook examples of ennui.

Two million people gathered two years ago on the Mall to hear President Obama take the Oath of Office. It was assuredly an historic moment. But now, barely 25 months later, can anyone-supporter or opponent-recall a single memorable line from Inaugural Address? "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America." He said that?

Mr. Obama has also suffered from the 24/7 news cycle. Franklin Roosevelt "Fireside Chats" were offered sparingly. FDR knew the presidency was a precious national resource and he did not squander it. His major speeches were carefully crafted for maximum effect.

Compare Mr. Obama at Normandy with President Ronald Reagan at the same location twenty-five years earlier. Reagan spoke movingly of "the Boys of Pointe du Hoc"-our heroic Rangers-in cadences that gave echoes of Henry V and Gettysburg.

Mr. Obama was said by Newsweek's Evan Thomas to hover over the nations at Normandy "like a god." Awesome, but what did he say there?

Hand our leader a foreign crisis -- like Libya. What does the president have to say about that? "This violence is unacceptable." We don't need a $400,000-a-year Commander-in-Chief and his $172,000-a-year speechwriter to tell us that.

He's not the only war leader, by the way, with this problem. For all the hoopla about the movie, The King's Speech, I doubt that any ticket-buyers can quote a single line of that much labored over radio address. His Majesty overcomes his stammer, by the Grace of God, but brings forth a rhetorical mouse.

Mr. Obama is still a charismatic figure. He has a deep and sonorous voice. He shares this much with FDR, CBS Newsman Edward R. Murrow, and Hollywood star Humphrey Bogart. Those smokers all had wonderful speaking voices. The way he speaks would be truly marvelous-if he had anything interesting to say.

Because Mr. Obama is boring does not mean he will not be re-elected. The media will do its best to puff anything he says or does. And the GOP is making noises about the "charisma of competence." Read in that "adventures in accounting."

Try to imagine a scintillating evening in the company of Richard Nixon. Listen to those tapes, if you dare. Jerry Ford may have taken the prize as the most boring president, but he came within a whisker of being re-elected in 1976. He was up against Jimmy Carter, however, who is nobody's idea of a stimulating conversationalist.

Gov. Mitch Daniels wants us all to get over Ronald Reagan. Part of Reagan's appeal to Americans in general and to conservatives in particular is that he was a Great Communicator. He modestly said it had been his privilege to communicate great ideas. He quoted the Founders more than any of the four presidents before him. And more than any of the four presidents who came after him. Maybe the reason Reagan was so great is that he didn't think himself great.

When Ted Kennedy toasted Democratic Wise Man, Averell Harriman, the Massachusetts pol said Harriman at ninety was not so old: "Averell, you are only half as old as Ronald Reagan's ideas." All the liberal partygoers roared their approval.

President Reagan graciously responded to the jibe with thanks to the senator. "The Constitution is almost two hundred years old, and that's where I get all my ideas," the president said. Reagan was winsome, witty, and wise. He was never a bore. And we'll never get over our need to such a leader.

Narcissist-In-Chief: Even The Oscars Are Not An Obama-Free Zone

From The American Thinker:

February 28, 2011

Even the Oscars are not an 'Obama-free zone'

Ed Lasky

The One was on our boob tube again last night. Barack Obama made an Oscar cameo appearance at the Academy Awards. Groan.

The Hill:

President Obama made a cameo at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, broadcast on Sunday.

The president appeared in a montage of man-on-the-street interviews, during which participants were asked to name some of their most memorable songs from movies.

Obama appeared in the montage to say that his favorite was "As Time Goes By," the song sung by actor Dooley Wilson in the classic "Casablanca."

This was symbolic on several levels.

Lest we forget, Barack Obama never tires of seeing himself as the world's biggest celebrity so why not show up on one of the most-watched TV shows around the world. In a sense, he scored a second time within a month because he also was interviewed by Bill O'Reilly before the Super Bowl -- also one of the most watched broadcasts on the planet. He truly is the world's biggest celebrity, as the old McCain ads put it in a deservedly mocking way.

He has been the toast of Tinsel Town for years now, always happy to accept millions of dollars and free publicity from Hollywood. He had a direct pipeline to mega agent Ari Emanuel, brother of Rahm Emanuel, his former Chief of Staff and now Mayor of Chicago.

The entertainment industry has adored Barack Obama. Remember, among all the awards he has pocketed was a Grammy merely for talking!

Obama is the political manifestation of Hollywood's talent and skills at their best. Hollywood celebrities -- and Barack Obama -- rose to stardom using the same types of tools and craft: artifice, a willing media, high-technology , public relation machines, posters, teleprompters (or cue cards for stars with short-circuited short-term memories) and the willingness of people to suspend disbelief. Hollywood excels in myth-making, after all.

Clearly, he has a natural affinity for Hollywood folks. Self-absorbed, egotistical celebrities who live the high life while many Americans suffer are his type of pals. They are very different from the rest of us and from, say, those bitter dead-enders in small town America who grasp at God and Guns or people who live in those suburbs that bore him so much. Hollywood, the national capitol of narcissism, is a congenial place for our most narcissistic of politicians.

And of course, many Hollywood celebrities flout the laws and "get away with it", showing the same type of disregard for the public that President Obama has shown on the other coast with far more damaging consequences.

Is Barack Obama's political radar on the fritz? Does he not realize the risk of making light of himself -- or rather the office of the President (not quite as bad as Richard Nixon on Laugh-In) by appearing at the Academy Awards, albeit in a brief video? We may have had enough of him but clearly he has not had enough of himself. That will never happen.

Much of the Middle East is in revolt that has him voting present, unemployment is sky-high in America, the price of a gallon of gas is soaring, and Barack Obama finds time to film a video clip for the Oscars. Does he not realize how this stunt merely reinforces the view of Americans who think he is having a high time in the White House-enjoying pick-up basketball games with NBA superstars, the never-ending musical soirees in the East Room (that he has transformed into a private nightclub); the golfing; the fancy vacations to estates in Hawaii and Martha's Vineyard, the luxury lifestyle of jaunts to Spain. The world is his playpen.

His cameo was so jarring -- mixing it up with "real" people doing on the street type of interviews-that it even made my kids groan. I thought the Oscars might be, finally, an Obama-free zone. Then I realized there is no such a place in America.

Posted at 09:00 AM

Obama's Economy Heads Further South

From The American Thinker:

February 28, 2011

Obama's economy heads further south

Steve McCann

Fannie Mae, the now government owned mortgage finance company, has posted a loss of $2.4 Billion for the 4th Quarter of 2010. They have also requested another $2.6 Billion in aid from the Federal Government. Since 2008 Fannie Mae and its sibling company Freddie Mac have taken over $289 Billion in subsidies from the American taxpayer with no end in sight.

Coincidentally Fannie Mae has released new data from a survey they took in January 2011. As compared to a year ago the American people are more pessimistic about the outlook for housing and the economy.

Fewer Americans predicted that home prices would rise over the next 12 months and more people said buying a home was not a safe investment, compared to a similar survey taken in January 2010.

Per the Financial Times:

Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae's chief economist, said that the downbeat sentiment was particularly striking against the backdrop of government policies designed to help home owners, such as loan modification programs and low interest rates.

He said: "Even with all these policy solutions that have been thrown at the housing market, people's attitudes have not improved".

He added that the survey's findings foreshadowed continued weakness in demand for home purchases.

Some of the results of the survey:

Of 3,401 people polled, 71% said they expected housing prices to stay the same or decline further in 2011 (in the poll taken in January 2010 only 59% thought so).

Only 65% percent of respondents said now would be a good time to buy a house, down from 70% in June 2010.

Perhaps Mr. Duncan and the rest of the bureaucrats in Washington might realize the reason for this pessimism is contained within their own survey. On economic issues beyond housing, 62% said the economy is on the wrong track. Chief among their concerns was a squeeze from stagnant wages and rising expenses. Nearly six in ten said their income had remained flat over the past year, yet 35% said their expenses were significantly higher.

This also mirrors the latest Rasmussen surveys indicating just 26% of Americans believe the country is headed in the right direction.

The public is also acutely aware of the overwhelming debt the country is experiencing and its long term implications as well as the complete lack of any meaningful job creation while daily living costs continue to rise. They also have little faith in those in Washington D.C. (living in their comfortable bubble) who continually propose even more useless and overwhelmingly expensive government programs and are dumfounded when they do not work.

The general public has figured out that these folks do not have a clue on how to fix the nation's problems while being told the economy is on the mend and headed in the right direction. Until confidence begins a major rebound there will be no improvement in the real estate market or the economy as a whole. It is very difficult to believe that will happen with the current people in charge.

Posted at 12:41 PM

Why Liberals Love Trains

From The American Thinker:

February 28, 2011

Why liberals love trains

Thomas Lifson

I enjoyed riding high speed rail the years I lived in Japan. But the Obama administration's ridiculous push to bring a high speed rail network to America is suicidal. Under far more favorable conditions of population density, transit usage, and traffic congestion, only one of the lines in Japan makes money -- the very first line from Tokyo to Osaka. The entire decades-long building binge of a national high speed rail network has been a drag on the Japanese economy, which has performed poorly for 2 decades.

George Will provides the best sumamtion of the real reason Obama and other liberals are fixated on trains:

...the real reason for progressives' passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans' individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.

To progressives, the best thing about railroads is that people riding them are not in automobiles, which are subversive of the deference on which progressivism depends. Automobiles go hither and yon, wherever and whenever the driver desires, without timetables. Automobiles encourage people to think they-unsupervised, untutored, and unscripted-are masters of their fates. The automobile encourages people in delusions of adequacy, which make them resistant to government by experts who know what choices people should make.

Hat tip: Hot Air

Posted at 03:04 PM

Protestors Want Addresses Of The Rich

From Big Government:

Protesting Teacher: Give Us the Billionaires’ Addresses!from Big Government by Kyle OlsonAs government employee unions continue to rally across the country in support of the Wisconsin protesters, they are becoming completely unhinged. (Being surrounded by hygienically-challenged individuals who continuously shout mind-numbing slogans will do that.)

All the protests are understandable. The Democrats and the unions had a very bad election last November. Their only hope of stopping the inevitable demise of collective bargaining privileges for public sector employees is by swaying public opinion. The unions are playing a very weak hand, and the protests are their “ace in the hole.”

But what’s inexcusable is the attempt of some protestors to villanize and make veiled threats against private American citizens (namely “The Rich”).

Last weekend, some 2,500 government workers rallied outside the California state Capitol, to demand that the Golden State does not follow in the footsteps of Wisconsin. True to form, the government employees were spreading the vitriol and intimidation there, too.

For instance, “Melody,” a 1st grade teacher, had this to say about ‘where’s the money in this country’:

“Well, isn’t it in the top 1.5% of people? I think they should start telling us those people’s addresses!”

Ms. First Grade Teacher, who are “they?” SEIU’s Andy Stern? AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka? MSNBC?

And what would you do with the billionaires’ addresses, Ms. First Grade Teacher? Add them to your Christmas card list?

Or do you want to ambush them at home, like the SEIU did last May to Greg Baer, the deputy general counsel for Bank of America? (The SEIU thugs were so intimidating that Baer’s teenage son, who was alone at home, locked himself in the bathroom out of fear.)

Is “Melody” typical of unionized public school teachers? I certainly hope not, but she certainly represents the most vocal wing of the teachers union.

And one final point: isn’t it interesting to see what animates the teacher unions, what gets them protesting in the streets? It’s the money – not the low level of academic achievement – that gets the teacher unions worked up.

Just look at what is going on in Wisconsin. The average teacher compensation package in Milwaukee Public Schools recently topped $100,000. That’s a great deal for the teachers, but less so for the taxpayers who are drowning in red ink. So when Gov. Walker tries to get Wisconsin’s budget under control, the teacher unions go bananas and close down the schools.

But when data shows that two-thirds of Wisconsin 8th graders can’t read proficiently, the teacher unions are strangely silent. Where’s the march on the Capitol over that, teacher union members? (No wonder teacher unions don’t want performance pay. They’d be penniless and in a state of regret.)

The vitriol and feigned outrage going on in Madison and across the country shows that the unions are only concerned with their financial needs. The unions are willing to do whatever they can – even confronting “billionaires” at home – in order to keep the gravy train running on time.

Obama Lectures Governors Not To Denigrate Or Vilify Public Union Members

From Fire Andrea Mitchell:


3:09 PM (9 hours ago)Obama sticks his nose mole in it again! tells Governors not to “denigrated or vilify public union goons”from Fire Andrea Mitchell! by adminNo word from Obama and the nose mole about the violent rhetoric, physical attacks and vulgarity from these same union goons though. Addressing the National Governors Association at the White House today, Obama stuck himself in the middle of the union goon standoff saying

“I don’t think it does anybody any good when public employees are denigrated or vilified or their rights are infringed upon,” Obama said. “As we make these decisions about our budget going forward, though, I believe that everyone should be at the table and that the concept of shared sacrifice should prevail.”

Balance your own budget you fraud Obama! Worry about creating jobs in the country, and your nose and it’s mole out of individual state issues. Your puppet master George Soros can handle the astroturf crowds and issues for you. Go plan your next vacation or something.

Sacrifice: The Obamas Personal Trainer Is Flown In To D.C. From Chicago A Few Times A Week

From Michelle Malkin:

3:33 PM (9 hours ago)Sacrifice: The Obamas Personal Trainer Flies to DC From Chicago a Few Times a Weekfrom Michelle Malkin by Doug Powers

2 people liked this**Written by Doug Powers

Rest assured, Mike Huckabee will aggressively defend this practice ASAP.

From J.P. Freire at the Washington Examiner:

With a schedule as hectic as President Obama’s it must be hard to stick to a training regimen without help — but why does he insist on having his old trainer fly out from Chicago to D.C. regularly when Obama and his wife exhort the rest of us to drive less? And in a recession? According to Ashley Parker at the New York Times, Obama’s fitness czar Cornell McClellan comes out to D.C. every week:

Mr. McClellan grew up practicing martial arts, eventually earning a black belt, and as a college student realized that he had a knack for working with people. He owns Naturally Fit, a personal training and wellness center in Chicago, and now spends part of his week in Washington at Mr. Obama’s request.

“It was an easy sell for me, because I thought of it as kind of a duty, to serve the president,” said Mr. McClellan, who works out with the first couple, often in the early morning, at the gym in the White House residence. Mr. and Mrs. Obama both try to exercise for at least an hour every day, and Mr. McClellan says he usually sees them two to four times a week, depending on their schedules.

Read the rest here.

The “buy local” campaign the White House pushes must be meant for the rest of us — there are dozens and dozens of personal trainers in the DC area.

The White House has expressed a desire to reduce carbon emissions produced by the government, and Obama recently allowed 40,000 federal employees to telecommute for a week to cut down on travel emissions. It seems as if a trainer a thousand miles away could be just as effective appearing in the gym on a big screen TV.

And if all other workout options failed they could play “where’s my purse” to stay in shape as prescribed by Let’s Move — it’d be cheaper and better for the environment than flying a guy to and from DC several times a week.

Update: I’ve gotten a couple of emails that, to make them sound more politely disagreeable than they actually were, said, “if it’s their own money and not taxpayer money paying for it, it’s really none of your business.”

I’d agree wholeheartedly if this wasn’t coming from a slice of America continually telling us that our drives to and from work — not to mention how much we run our lawnmowers and how far our food had to travel before reaching our refrigerators — are killing the planet, but can find nothing wrong with flying in Richard Simmons from Timbuktu three times a week to supervise pilates and sit-ups.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

Arrogant, Lying Obama To National Governors Association: The Stimulus Worked, Whether You Admit It Or Not

From Fire Andrea Mitchell:


Obama to National Governors Association – the porkulus worked whether you admit it or notfrom Fire Andrea Mitchell! by adminNot only did arrogant Obama decide to lecture the governors gathered at the White House for the National Governors Association meeting on the public union thugs. Obama another “i won, you lost” type moment, claiming that the porkulus bill worked, “whether you admit it or not.”

The last time the American people were polled on this disastrous waste of a trillion dollars for progressive liberal pet projects like studying cow farts, three out of every four Americans found the porkulus to be a complete and total waste, “whether you admit it or not.”

Planned Parenthood Spends $200,000 Of Tax-Payer Money To run TV Ads Against De-Funding By Congress

From Fire Andrea Mitchell:


5:10 PM (7 hours ago)Planned Parenthood spends $200,000 of tax payer money to run tv ads against Congress defunding themfrom Fire Andrea Mitchell! by adminWant to know what your tax dollars are buying? How about propaganda from Planned Parenthood tv ads telling Congress and American tax payers not to cut off their funding. It only cost you about $200,000 in tax dollars. What a great use of of our money huh? According to Michelle Malkin, here’s one of the Planned Parenthood propaganda commercials. The female in this ad claims that if it weren’t for Planned Parenthood, she wouldn’t be here today. Can’t say that for the millions of other babies aborted since the existence of Planned Parenthood though.

Governor Scott Walker Schools Clueless Obama In Press Release

From Gateway Pundit:

4:54 PM (7 hours ago)Governor Scott Walker Schools Clueless Obama in Press Releasefrom Gateway Pundit by Jim HoftFor shame…

Walker completely pwned President Obama today in his press release.

JSOnline reported:

Gov. Scott Walker on Monday afternoon responded to comments President Barack Obama made earlier in the day about the protests in Madison:

I’m sure the President knows that most federal employees do not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits while our plan allows it for base pay. And I’m sure the President knows that the average federal worker pays twice as much for health insurance as what we are asking for in Wisconsin. At least I would hope he knows these facts.

Furthermore, I’m sure the President knows that we have repeatedly praised the more than 300,000 government workers who come to work every day in Wisconsin.

I’m sure that President Obama simply misunderstands the issues in Wisconsin, and isn’t acting like the union bosses in saying one thing and doing another.

Once Again...Barack Obama Blames Bush For The Deficit He Tripled In One Year

From Gateway Pundit:

9:20 PM (3 hours ago)Once Again… Barack Obama Blames Bush for The Deficit He Tripled in One Yearfrom Gateway Pundit by Jim HoftDo Republican governors like being lied to?

Do Republican governors always sit on their hands when they’re being lied to?

Do Republican governors really believe the nation is suffering from a deficit and debt crisis?… If so, why do they sit there as Barack Obama continues to play twisted blame games with them concerning the deficit?

Today Barack Obama once again blamed George W. Bush for the deficit he created… and that grows larger by the year.

Barack Obama tripled the national deficit in his first year in office. His second year in office the deficit was at $1.29 Trillion dollars. This year he will top it again.

There’s a reason why the state-run media won’t show you this chart.

This chart was updated to reflect the recent news that the deficit this year will reach $1.6 trillion. (The Captain’s Comments)

Barack Obama blamed Bush today for the national deficit that he just tripled in one year.

Transcript via Shallow Nation:

Making these necessary investments would be hard at any time. But it’s that much harder at a time when resources are scarce. After living through a decade of deficits and a historic recession that made them worse, we can’t afford to kick the can down the road any longer. So the budget debate that we’re having is going to be critical here in Washington. And so far, most of it’s been focused almost entirely on how much of annual domestic spending — what in the parlance we all domestic discretionary spending — that we should cut. There’s no doubt that cuts in discretionary spending have to be a part of the answer for deficit reduction.

Here’s a prediction… Obama will blame Bush after he raises the deficit by another $300 billion this year too.

This is not an honest man.

Winning The Government Shut-Down Fight

From The CATO Institute:

Winning the Government-Shutdown Fight

by Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.

Added to on February 25, 2011

This article appeared on National Review (Online) on February 25, 2011.

PRINT PAGE CITE THIS Sans Serif Serif Share with your friends:

ShareThisWith the GOP-led House and the Democratic Senate and White House far apart on a measure to pay the federal government's bills past March 4, Washington is rumbling toward a repeat of the 1995 government-shutdown fight (actually two shutdown fights, one in mid-November of that year and the other in mid-December).

This makes some Republicans nervous. They think Bill Clinton "won" the blame game that year, and they're afraid they will get the short end of the stick if there is a 1995-type impasse this year.

A timid approach, though, is a recipe for failure. It means that President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can sit on their hands, make zero concessions, and wait for the GOP to surrender any time a deadline approaches.

To put it simply, Republicans need to hold firm and fight hard.

In other words, budget hawks in the House have no choice. They have to fight.

But they can take comfort in the fact that this is not a suicide mission. The conventional wisdom about what happened in November of 1995 is very misleading.

Republicans certainly did not suffer at the polls. They lost only nine House seats, a relatively trivial number after a net gain of 54 in 1994. They actually added to their majority in the Senate, picking up two seats in the 1996 cycle.

More important, they succeeded in dramatically reducing the growth of federal spending. They did not get everything they wanted, to be sure, but government spending grew by just 2.9 percent during the first four years of GOP control, helping to turn a $164 billion deficit in 1995 into a $126 billion surplus in 1999. And they enacted a big tax cut in 1997.

If that's what happens when Republicans are defeated, I hope the GOP loses again this year.

So what actually happened in 1995, and why do Republicans have such unpleasant memories?

The debate that year hinged on some issues that favored the GOP, such as whether the budget should be balanced within seven years, and whether to use scoring from the Congressional Budget Office instead of the executive branch's Office of Management and Budget. But there were also some issues that favored the Clinton administration, such as whether the elderly should pay higher Medicare premiums.

And it's worth pointing out that 1995 was a perfect storm of fiscal-policy conflicts, featuring fights over appropriations (annual spending), reconciliation (taxes and entitlements), and the debt limit. This year's fight — at least at this early stage — is only about appropriations for the rest of 2011.

Also key is that 1995 was a fight between an unstoppable force and an immovable object. Republicans sent legislation to the White House; Bill Clinton used his veto pen. Republicans said Bill Clinton was shutting down the government by vetoing legislation; Bill Clinton said Republicans were shutting down the government by sending him unacceptable proposals.

They eventually struck a deal, of course, with Republicans winning on their issues (balanced budget in seven years with CBO scoring) and Bill Clinton winning on his issues (such as Medicare premiums). But since the polling data favored the White House, Bill Clinton was declared the victor.

But what very few people remember today is how Republicans actually held the upper hand during the shutdown — especially on the issue of appropriations. Let's peruse some news reports from November 14–19, the days the government was closed.

On November 16, the Dallas Morning News published an article remarking that "[Clinton chief of staff Leon] Panetta's remarks reflected Democratic discomfort about being forced to vote against a seven-year time frame for eliminating the deficit." On the same day, the New York Times reported that "privately, Congressional Democrats and White House aides acknowledged that the pressure to pass a temporary spending measure would not abate and that it could quickly become harder to keep Democrats from voting against such a measure simply because it included a promise to balance the budget in seven years."

Indeed, when the Senate approved a temporary spending bill on November 16, 48 of the 51 senators who crossed party lines were Democrats. The next day, the Washington Post reported "signs" that "congressional Democrats are becoming uneasy with Clinton's opposition to a seven-year route to a balanced budget. In the past 48 hours they have started to warn the White House that enough Democrats could abandon their support over the issue that Clinton could lose a veto fight, increasing the urgency for a compromise." Things began to look worse for the Democrats on November 18; according to a Washington Post report:

Although nationwide surveys this week have indicated more public support for the White House position than that of the Republicans, that support appeared to be slipping by yesterday morning as the shutdown continued... . The pressure was compounded when nearly 80 House members — more than half of them Democrats — by late afternoon had signed a letter ... urging passage of a new continuing resolution and instructing the president to work with Congress to develop a seven-year balanced budget "without preconditions."

And on November 19, the New York Times reported that

the White House faced increasing pressure from many moderate and conservative Democrats in Congress who were reluctant to vote against a stopgap spending measure solely on the grounds that it included the goal of balancing the budget in seven years. The consensus on Capitol Hill was that Mr. Clinton would have had a hard time sustaining a veto if Democrats were given another chance to vote on such a proviso, since the last one passed in the House just six-votes short of the two-third margin needed to override a Presidential veto.

On November 20, the Times further explained:

White House aides, led by Vice President Al Gore, spent an anxious night of nose counting, worried that support for the President's position was slipping away. Though public opinion polls continued throughout the weekend to show more Americans blamed Congress than the President for the shutdown, the White House fretted that the Republicans were successfully framing the debate — in the very way Mr. Clinton has sought to avoid for months — as whether the budget should be balanced, not how.

The next day, a Times editorial echoed this analysis in explaining why "President Clinton swallowed hard over the weeked before agreeing to the Republicans' key budget demand — a balanced budget within seven years according to the Congressional Budget Office."

The GOP's relative success was especially impressive considering they had to deal with two political handicaps: Newt Gingrich's complaining about how he was treated on Air Force One (a widely reported controversy at the time) and the never-popular proposal to require seniors to pay higher premiums for their Medicare benefits.

Since a government shutdown this year looks very likely, what are the lessons that the GOP can learn from 1995?

1. First and foremost, Republicans should keep passing bills to reopen the entire government. They should stress that they want the government open and explain that it is only closed because of Harry Reid's obstinate support for big government and/or Barack Obama's use of his veto pen on behalf of special interests.

2. Keep passing bills to reopen the parts of the government that voters actually care about, such as VA hospitals, the Social Security Administration, and national parks. Simply stated, some government workers get classified as "non-essential," but they do things people actually care about. Those are the parts of the government that GOPers should specifically seek to open, while leaving places such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development shuttered (ideally, on a permanent basis).

3. Remember that a government shutdown generally puts more financial pressure on the Left. If there is a lengthy showdown, Democratic constituencies begin to squeal. The establishment press will portray this as a GOP problem, but it really means more pressure on Democrats to find agreement.

4. Speaking of the establishment press, don't let them define the issues. In 1995, Republicans had to deal with a very hostile press corps. There was no Fox News, no Internet as we know it today, and no cadre of talk-radio hosts to augment Rush Limbaugh. So while it is true that CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post will regurgitate Democratic talking points, many voters will have access to conservative news sources, something that was not the case in 1995.

Daniel J. Mitchell is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.

More by Daniel J. MitchellWith Harry Reid in charge of the Senate and Obama in the White House, it is very unlikely that House Republicans will win a clear-cut victory in this battle. But so long as they show real commitment and extract real concessions, they will accomplish three things that are very important.

First, they will slightly reduce the burden of government spending. It will be only a small slice, but after ten years of irresponsible spending by Bush and Obama, that's no trivial achievement.

Second, they will keep faith with the Tea Party activists and other voters who sent them to Washington to limit the size and scope of the federal government. This will keep the conservative base from getting dispirited and tuning out, as happened during the Bush years.

Third, they will set a good tone for future budget battles, including the 2012 budget this spring, the debt-limit fight this summer, and the appropriations fight this fall. A Republican surrender today, by contrast, would make it almost impossible to prevail in any subsequent fights.

To put it simply, Republicans need to hold firm and fight hard. There is no alternative.

Governor Walker Explodes Union Lies On "Meet The Press"

From Newsmax:

Walker Explodes Union Lies on 'Meet the Press'

By Newsmax Wires

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he won't cave in to union and Democratic demands that he compromise on his effort to curb employee benefit programs. He also vows he won't "kick the can down the street" when it comes to dealing with his state's fiscal woes.

Appearing Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" with David Gregory, Walker laid out his plan to save his state from fiscal bankruptcy while destroying several false claims about his legislation, which Senate Democrats are delaying by refusing to appear for a final vote.

Among the significant issues covered during his "Meet the Press" interview, Walker:

Denied he is destroying public employee unions.

His proposed law still allows public employee unions to exist and engage in collective bargaining for their wages. The state denies the unions the use of collective bargaining to seek pension and health benefits.

Claimed that unions are not acting in good faith.

Public employee unions have been claiming they will accept cutbacks in their benefits, but Walker says they can't be trusted and have been rushing through contracts that give their members extravagant benefit packages.

Walker told Gregory: "We [have] seen that actions speak louder than words. For us to balance the $3.6 billion deficit we have — but not only now, but to ensure we can continue to do that in the future so our kids don't inherit these same dire consequences — we've got to have assurances. And over the past two weeks, even after they made those promises, we've seen local union after local union rush to their school boards, their city councils, their technical school boards and rush through contracts in the past two weeks that had no contributions to the pension and no contribution to health care. And, in fact, in one case in Janesville, they actually were pushing through a pay increase. Actions do speak louder than words."

Explained that the law helps local governments curb union demands.

Walker said: "This bill precisely helps local governments, and it's effective once it passes. In fact, we're, we're facing a $3.6 billion deficit. Like nearly every other state across the country, we're going to have to cut more than a billion dollars from our schools and local governments. You know, in New York and California, where there are Democrats for governors, they're doing that. The difference here is, with this budget repair bill, we give those schools and local governments more — almost a billion and a half dollars worth of savings. So the savings they get from our budget repair bill exceed the amount."

Said public employee unions are making unusual demands on taxpayers.

Walker said: "In Wisconsin, a great example of that is, we have, in many of our school districts, a requirement through collective bargaining contracts that they have to buy their health insurance from a company that's owned by our state teacher's union, WA Trust. Because of that, it costs them up to $68 million more than if they could just buy it from the state employee healthcare plan. Those are real costs about putting real money in the classroom instead of into these collective bargaining agreements."

Pointed out his new plan is consistent with how the federal government handles many employees.

Walker explained: "Well, our proposal is less restrictive than the federal government is today. Under Barack Obama, he presides over a federal government where most federal employees do not have collective bargaining for, for benefits, nor for pay. So what we're asking for is something less restrictive than what the federal government has."

Explained why police and firemen are exempt from his new law.

Walker said: "We saw two weeks ago, when this debate first started, teachers here in Madison walked off the job for three days. Now, that was an inconvenience for a lot of parents. I know I've got two public — kids in public school. Anytime you have a disturbance like that, it's an inconvenience. But that, contrasted to the fact that even if there was one jurisdiction across the state where firefighters or police officers weren't on the job in full force, I can't afford to have a fire or crime committed where there's a gap in service. And it ultimately just boils down to public safety."

Walker concluded by telling Gregory that he stands by his statement, "This is our moment, this is our time to change the course of history."

Walker told Gregory: "It's one of those where, for year after year after year, not just the last governor, but governors before, legislatures before, have kicked the can. They've taken one-time fixes to push the budget problems off into the future. We can't do that. We're broke. Like nearly every other state across the country, we're broke. And it's about time somebody stood up and told the truth in this state and said, 'Here's our problem. Here's the solution,' and acted on it. Because, if we don't, we fail to make a commitment to the future. Our children will face even more dire consequences than what we face today."

FBI Investigates Obama's SEIU Terrorist Pals

From Floyd Reports:

FBI Investigates Obama’s SEIU Terrorist Pals

Posted on February 28, 2011 by Kevin "Coach" Collins

by Kevin “Coach” Collins

As we watch the events in Wisconsin and other states unfold, it is instructive to consider who is orchestrating the actions of the unions as they fight to keep their stranglehold on our economy.

Investigated for Terror Ties

Although you might not have gotten it from the old media, last September the FBI raided the homes of several people in the Midwest including those of two current or former Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73 Executive Board members. The FBI is investigating the SEIU’s Chicago local (a Barack Obama-favored union), for its ties to terror organizations bent on the destruction of America and Israel.

The SEIU Board members are Joe Iosbaker and Tom Burke.

Who are Tom Burke and Joe Iosbaker?

While available sources don’t contain much information about former Board member Tom Burke — he is allegedly a “stay at home dad” who liked to travel at union expense — much is known about Iosbaker.

Joe Iosbaker’s ties to America-hating organizations are clear and longstanding.

He has a long history of working to undermine America. He was with the early founders of the New Wave Party which disguised itself as a spinoff political party, but was in fact the incubator for America-haters like Barack Obama.

Iosbaker delivered a speech to the International Communist Seminar in 1998, and he signed a letter supporting unrepentant terrorist William Ayers because he felt Ayers was being “demonized.”

Iosbaker spoke a last December’s annual Communist People’s World banquet (People’s World is the name the old Daily Worker is hiding under these days). His remarks included praise for the Communists who were exposed by Joe McCarthy.

These two highly placed Democrat/SEIU officials are suspected of working with such groups as Hamas the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC.

What happened to America’s labor movement? Is supporting America’s enemies what unionism has become? In the weeks and months to come we will get an answer to these questions, and the indications are the news will be all bad.

Union Thugs gone Wild In Providence, Rhode Island

from Oathkeepers:

February 28th, 2011

Video – Union Thugs Gone Wild

I’m Randy Swanson, acting Rhode Island Oath Keepers Chapter President. I’m also a former member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Union and Rhode Island Council 94, AFSCME, AFL-CIO. These videos are not meant to foster ill will towards any group of people or unions as a whole. We are not anti-union. But we are anti-thug. We will continue to stand up for the truth, free speech, the Constitution and the rule of law. Violence, threats, and attempts at intimidation have no place in a civil society.

On February 22, 2011 at 3:45 p.m. I arrived at the Rhode Island Statehouse to document a rally that was taking place at our state capitol. Things were going pretty well until I saw one of the “alleged” union members (”perpetrator number one,” in red) moving swiftly through the crowd pushing people out of his way to purposely block one gentleman from filming with his video camera. (See my first video below, which shows him talking to his boss first and getting a pat on the back) This went on for a few minutes, I kept one eye on this intentional altercation while continuing to film the speaker at the podium. During this time there was more commotion behind me and a number of other “alleged” union members were repositioning themselves at the back of another individual with a video camera. They were continuously bumping and shoving the individual until at one point the “alleged” union member with the brown coat (perpetrator number two) stuck his fingers in the face of the innocent cameraman. Some words were exchanged. The camera was nowhere near the perpetrators face as the video clearly shows. The “alleged” union member with the brown jacket (”perpetrator two”) said: “I’ll F-ck your mother” “I’ll F-ck your mother” “How is that?” “How is that?” “I’ll F-ck you up the ass you fagot” “You better get away from here” “You better get away from here” He violently lashed out, leaning forward and at full arm’s-length struck the camera and said:”Get that camera out of my face,” “Get that camera out of my F-cking face,” “F-ck you too” “F-ck you too” and “You’re barking up the wrong tree.”

Then the crowd whipped themselves up into a frenzy chanting “hey hey ho ho union busters got to go” over and over again.

I tried to calm the situation down, the Capitol police arrived and escorted one of the perpetrators from the scene along with the innocent victims.

Then the speaker at the podium singled me out and said: (which I immediately interpreted to be a very thinly veiled threat): Hey brother, hey brother, I’m sure there are more than enough union cards out here that we could present to these people to see if they want to join, all right? while others in the crowd were chanting out “Tea bagger”, “Tea bagger”

I continued filming the event. When the event was over I headed down the stairs towards the Capitol police security station, behind me I could hear more threats of “Tea bagger” “Tea bagger” and “we are going to follow you out of here” “I’ll break his f-in legs” “I’ll break his F-in back.” (unfortunately, we can’t hear those threats on the audio at this time, but we are trying to enhance the audio). I told the Capitol police officer at the security station that there are many cameras that captured the assault on the innocent cameraman and asked him for contact information so I could deliver the evidence of the crime that I had on my camera. the officer told me that Chief Little would be the person to get in touch with and wrote down his phone number for me. This is when the individual, the “alleged” union member we will refer to as “perpetrator three,” that was threatening me behind my back, made his first face-to-face confrontation. In front of the Capitol police, he said: “I am here to keep you from lying,” “you didn’t get assaulted” (which shows that he was indeed following me). I tried to calm him down and said “I never said that I was assaulted” and told him that nobody should fear any truth that may have been captured on any of the video cameras. At this point I became concerned for my safety and also protecting the evidence of the crime that was captured on my video recorder. So I headed out the door to try to return to my vehicle.

Knowing that I have already been threatened a number of times, I continued to let the camera run while pointing it behind me. I walked at a very brisk pace down the sidewalk to return to my vehicle. I glanced behind me a number of times to see if any of the people who had threatened me were following me, and sure enough “perpetrator three” was at my heels. I made an abrupt 180° turn back toward the Statehouse to confirm that I was being stalked (by seeing if he turned to follow me) and when I walked by him he mumbled under his breath “I’ll F-ck you up.” Fearing for my safety and not knowing how many accomplices were involved at that time I swiftly walked back to the Capitol police security station inside the Statehouse. As I expected, “perpetrator three” turned and followed at a short distance as I walked back to the Statehouse. On the way back I passed two of the Union leaders and told them that I was getting threatened and followed by one of their guys and asked them to please tell him to stop. (They did nothing as it shows on the video.) I walked by two more union leaders and told them “one of your guys is following and threatening me, can you tell him to stop.” They also did nothing. This is when I placed my first of five calls to 911. I made it back to the Capitol Police security station and “perpetrator three” took up a post right outside the door.

DSCN5622I told Capitol police that he had been stalking and threatening me and that I was on the phone to the 911 emergency center. The Capitol police asked “perpetrator three” what his problem was and if he would move along but he refused. Fearing for my safety and wanting to secure the crime evidence that was stored on my video camera, I asked the Capitol police if they would escort me to my vehicle. While I was walking out of the door with the Capitol police, “perpetrator three” made more threatening gestures and comments. He continued to follow and stalk us all the way to the police vehicle then he stood in front of the vehicle pointing his cell phone at us to take pictures or video. He continued to shout at me through the passenger window as we drove away.

I asked the Capital Police officer if he would mind taking a right out of the driveway so “perpetrator three” and his accomplices could not follow us along the same path they did last time which was to the left. Then I asked the Capitol Police Officer if he could drop me off in front of Borders bookstore (where there would be less chance of being ambushed on the street). He said he would drop me off on the Capitol grounds.

I looked in every direction to see if I could recognize any of the perpetrators stalking me and then I entered Borders bookstore to gain access to my vehicle. I walked through the store and towards the parking garage and there was “perpetrator three” waiting for me in front of the parking garage.

I turned and went back into the Borders bookstore and asked them to call the police (call number two) from their land line and tell the police that this man who had already threatened me a number of times was stalking me and was standing right outside the door, waiting for me at the entrance to the parking garage. I told them that the Capitol police were already aware of the situation, that they had dropped me off and that 911 had already been called. “Perpetrator three” followed me back into the store and continued to harass me in front of 11 witnesses, two clerks, and the store manager. Knowing how persistent he was, and it was obvious now to me that he was intent on getting the evidence of the crime that was stored on my video camera, I called 911 for the third time and also asked the manager of Borders to contact mall security.

“Perpetrator three,” now joined by a number of his accomplices, continued to stand outside the door pointing to me and making threatening gestures. Mall security arrived and began interviewing them. Unfortunately, security wasn’t interested in hearing my side of the story even though I was the one that had called them to the scene). I told mall security that I had been dropped off by the Capitol police. At which point “perpetrator three” said he saw the Capitol police dropped me off across the street. I said, “oh are you stalking me?” These statements are also verified on the video. I called 911 again (call number four) and went to the other door to wait for the Providence Police Department to show up. And then here comes “perpetrator three” stalking me again.

The Providence Police Department showed up and I told them what was going on and that everything had been documented on film. I told them that he had been stalking me and threatening to do physical harm. I told them: “Yes I will press charges.” The police handcuffed “perpetrator three” and I figured the matter was now finally over … but not quite! “Perpetrator three” lied to the police officers, telling them that I was threatening him in spite of all the evidence running onto the video camera continuously for the last hour and a half. I showed the Providence Police Department the video that I had been taking and at 6:35 p.m. I was finally escorted safely to my vehicle so I could find out if anybody was waiting for me outside the parking garage exit. Then I waited for a call from the Providence Police Department detective squad.

On February 23, the victim of the assault and myself presented the video evidence of the attack inside the state capital to Chief Joseph T. Little Jr. from the Capitol Police Department. I also submitted the complete linear/unedited version of the video I took that day that runs from approximately 3:45 p.m. to 6:20 p.m. when I shut the camera down to show Providence Police Department the video evidence. The tape clearly shows the coordinated stalking, threats of physical harm (with intent and ability to carry them out , which I believe constitutes simple assault in Rhode Island), and harassment that occurred after the event.

On February 24 Chief Joseph T. Little Jr. called to tell me that the video evidence has been delivered to the Rhode Island State police.

Randy Swanson

Acting Rhode Island Oath Keepers State Chapter President

It seems that perpetrator three is an experienced hand at trying to intimidate. Below you will see pics of the gentlemen at a tea party rally at the Rhode Island State capitol on April 15th, 2010, wearing a t-shirt with “Tea Bagger” and “Party Crasher” written on it, was quoted at the rally saying:

“I’m here because of ignorance,” said Peter Wilcox, of Warwick. “I’d like to know how many of them are college-educated, or how many people understand the health-care bill.”

7-3-2010 282

A lone counter-protester wearing a black shirt

that read, “Tea Bagger” and “Party Crasher” stood

quietly behind the podium for much of the rally.

While two police officers stood at his side, he was not

forced to move.

Read More Posts

Wisconsin Governor Urges Runaway Lawmakers To Return

From the AP and Yahoo News:

Wis. governor urges runaway lawmakers to return

AP/Andy Manis

Student Labor Action Coalition members demonstrate at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011. More photos »

Wisconsin Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs, right, talks to a protester at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011, after it was a
AP – Wisconsin Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs, right, talks to a protester at the state Capitol in Madison, …

By DINESH RAMDE and DAVID A. LIEB, Associated Press Dinesh Ramde And David A. Lieb, Associated Press – 27 mins ago

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker called for runaway Democratic lawmakers to return to the state by Tuesday and vote on his bill that would end most collective bargaining rights for public employees or else the state stood to lose out on a refinancing plan that would save 1,500 employees their jobs.

Speaking in La Crosse on Monday, Walker said the state faced "dire consequences" unless the 14 state senators return from their nearly two weeks away. His comments came as he planned to deliver his two-year budget plan in the state Assembly chamber Tuesday afternoon. He has said that plan will help make clear why the collective bargaining concessions he is seeking from public employees are necessary to help plug a $3.6 billion shortfall.

Walker has said his budget will include about a $1 billion cut in state aids to schools and local governments. He is also expected to propose dramatic changes to how the University of Wisconsin is organized, make cuts to Medicaid and possibly increase fees to help raise money.

The budget repair bill pending before the Senate calls for refinancing state debt to save $165 million by July 1, but in order to meet a March 16 deadline to get the work done the bill has to pass by Tuesday. Walker's office issued a statement Monday saying "more painful and aggressive spending cuts" will be needed if it doesn't pass.

Walker has also warned that he will start issuing layoff notices to state workers as soon as this week if the bill isn't passed, but he hasn't said who would be targeted. Schools started putting teachers on notice last week that they could be laid off given the uncertainty over the budget.

Also Monday, police said that cleaning of the Capitol was proceeding despite the continued presence of protesters in the building, as were security preparations for Walker's budget speech. But they also denied Capitol access to more protesters and other members of the public because of a dispute with protesters inside over which floor they could occupy.

Police decided not to forcibly remove protesters after thousands ignored a 4 p.m. Sunday deadline to leave so the normally immaculate building could get a thorough cleaning. Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs said no demonstrators will be arrested as long as they continue to obey the law.

"People here have acted lawfully and responsibly," Tubbs said. "There's no reason to consider arrests."

More photos of the Wisconsin protest:

Law enforcement officers try to talk with a protestor ...

Law enforcement officers forcibly remove a protestor ...

Law enforcement officers forcibly remove a protestor ...

A protestor waits for the doors to open as they ...

A protester wakes up as they continue to occupy ...

Wisconsin Governor Walker holds a news conference ...

Protesters continue to occupy the State Capitol ...

Man brings doughnuts to protesters waiting outside ...

A protester continues to occupy the State Capitol ...

A man marches with a flag while protesting outside ...

Demonstrators occupy the state Capitol in protest ...

Torcaso is overcome with emotion as Palanek comforts ...

Protesters continue to occupy the State Capitol ...

A sign-up sheet is filled with names of protestors ...

Reuters/Darren Hauck

The floors where several hundred protesters had slept previous nights looked unusually bare late Sunday as the smaller crowd of people walked around in socks, lounged on blankets and curled up under jackets.

But organizers said they were confident that demonstrators who were persuaded to leave Sunday would return to keep fighting Walker's efforts to strip nearly all public workers of their collective bargaining rights except over wages. Protesters have staged a sit-in that began Feb. 15 and hit its peak Saturday, when more than 70,000 people descended on the Capitol grounds for a rally.

Walker argues that his measure would help close a projected $3.6 billion deficit in the 2011-13 budget. He believes that freeing local governments from having to collectively bargain with public employee unions would give them the flexibility needed to deal with forthcoming budget cuts.

Labor leaders and Democratic lawmakers say the bill is intended to undermine the unions and weaken a key base of Democratic Party voters.

Paul Golueke, 24, a social worker from Milwaukee, said he planned to stay at the Capitol until at least Tuesday's budget address.

"If the budget contains provisions like in this budget-repair bill, I'll stay here as long as it takes," Golueke said. "Scott Walker doesn't understand our passion. The eyes of the nation, of the world, are on us and we can't back down."

The state agency that oversees the Capitol had asked demonstrators to leave by Sunday afternoon, saying the building was in dire need of a cleaning. But it was clear that the estimated 4,000 protesters had no intention of leaving voluntarily.

Tubbs, the police chief, said demonstrators who had occupied all three floors of the Capitol would have to relocate to the ground floor. He said anyone who left the building would not be allowed back in until the morning, although union officials were allowed to deliver food to the protesters during the night.

"It was a victory for peace. It was a victory for democracy," said Kara Randall, 46, a massage therapist from Middleton who had already spent five nights at the Capitol.

Walker's spokesman declined to comment late Sunday on the police decision to keep the Capitol open to demonstrators. In an interview earlier in the day on NBC's "Meet the Press," Walker said the lengthy protests haven't eroded his resolve to push forward with his legislative agenda.

"Year after year, governors and legislators before us have kicked the can down the road," Walker said. "We can't do that. We're broke. It's about time someone stood up and told the truth in our state and said here's our problem, here's the solution and let's do this."

Walker's proposal stalled in the state Senate when its 14 Democrats fled for Illinois, leaving the legislative body one vote short of a quorum. The Democratic senators have vowed to stay away from Wisconsin for as long as it takes. Democrats in Indiana have boycotted their statehouse for the past week to prevent a vote on Republican-backed proposals to introduce a similar bill.

Sen. Jim Holperin, one of the 14 from Wisconsin, said Monday that the Democrats remain united in their intention to stay away until a compromise can be found.

"I just believe there is some middle ground here," Holperin said.

One of the Democrats, Sen. Lena Taylor, sent a tweet to support the protesters that read: "Thank you for exercising your 1st amend right - I'm glad my actions give you opportunity to stand/sit/express yourself!"


Associated Press writer Scott Bauer contributed to this report.

Obama Says He Will Support State Alternatives To ObamaCare, Chastises States Reforming Collective Bargaining Rights

From the AP and Yahoo News:

Obama lends support to states' health alternative

Barack Obama
AP – President Barack Obama speaks during a bi-partisan meeting of governors in the State Dining Room of the …

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar, Associated Press – Mon Feb 28, 12:44 pm ET

WASHINGTON – In a concession over his divisive health care overhaul, President Barack Obama offered Monday to let unhappy states design alternative plans as long as they fulfill the goals of his landmark law.

Addressing the nation's governors, Obama also challenged state chiefs who have sought to balance their budgets through weakening unions and curbing employees' benefits, telling them that they should not demonize workers.

"I don't think it does anybody any good when public employees are denigrated or vilified or their rights are infringed upon. We need to attract the best and the brightest to public service," the president said.

About half the states are suing to overturn Obama's health care law, targeting its unpopular requirement that most Americans carry health insurance or face fines from the IRS. Obama told the governors that if any of them have better ideas, they're welcome to propose it and see if it works.

First they would have to convince Washington that their approach covers at least as many state residents, provides equally affordable and comprehensive benefits, and would not increase the federal deficit.

"If your state can create a plan that can cover as many people as affordably and comprehensively as the Affordable Care Act does, without increasing the deficit, you can implement that plan and we'll work with you to do it," Obama told the governors.

Obama's offer is not as sweeping as it may sound at first. In fact, the law already allows states to propose their own framework for health care. But under the law, states cannot offer their plans until 2017. The president said Monday states could submit their ideas three years earlier, in 2014.

Liberal-leaning states like Vermont would be able to experiment with a coverage-for-all approach similar to Medicare while Republican-leaning states would be able to propose plans that don't rely on a government mandate to buy insurance. One alternative would be to automatically enroll people in health coverage.

The idea to move up the date for state experimentation did not start with Obama. Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown have already proposed it in legislation. But the president gave it a prominent endorsement.

"I think that's a reasonable proposal, I support it," Obama said Monday. "It will give you flexibility more quickly, while still guaranteeing the American people reform."

The health care law's big push to cover the uninsured won't come for another three years. Starting in 2014, many middle-class households will be able to buy taxpayer-subsidized private coverage through new state based insurance markets. And more low-income people would be signed up for Medicaid. The law will expand coverage to more than 30 million now uninsured.

But Obama didn't just offer compromise to Republican governors. He challenged state chiefs over their treatment of unions.

Obama said all stakeholders must have a role in discussions about state budgets and employees should not lose rights as governors look to cut spending. His comments come as Republican governors in Wisconsin and Ohio back bills that would end collective bargaining agreements for public employees.

Obama said he understands the fiscal challenges facing cash-strapped states and says everyone should be prepared "to give something up."

"We're not going to attract the best teachers for our kids, for example, if they make only a fraction of what other professionals make," Obama said. "You're not going to convince the bravest Americans to put their lives on the line as police officers or fire fighters if you don't properly reward their bravery."


Associated Press writers Julie Pace and Philip Elliott contributed to this report.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Entitled Party

From The American Thinker:

February 28, 2011

The Entitled Party

By Karin McQuillan

President Obama and the left wing of the Democratic Party think they are entitled to win. From our narcissistic President to screaming union organizers, they are puffed up with self-righteous zeal. They must have health care to save the sick, they must shut down Louisiana oil rigs to save the planet, they must defend government unions to save the middle class.

Of course, each side thinks they are right. Being right is no excuse. You have to abide by the law, you have to abide by elections, you have to respect the courts and constitutional separation of power, or else we no longer live in a democratic country. In our democracy, no one is entitled to win. If you won't lose, you cannot have democracy.

What you have are the Wisconsin Democrat senators who are unwilling to abide by the election results that put them in a minority. What you have is Reid and Pelosi, ramming Obamacare through by breaking rules of procedure, in order to flout the 2008 election results. What you have is the Obama White House, blocking Congress's right to confirm appointees, and openly ignoring federal courts. What you have is the Justice Department announcing it will no longer defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act in court, as if Obama gets to decide which laws are constitutional. What you have is a Democratic Party run amok, undercutting our democracy in the service of their own power.

The complacency, nay, the vociferous support, from Democrat leaders and the legacy media for this disregard for the rule of law reminds me of the old joke about the psychiatrist. A man is sent by his family to see a shrink because he thinks he's a chicken. After months of treatment, he is still clucking. The family asks the psychiatrist if he's told his patient he is not a chicken. "No," the psychiatrist admits. "Why not!" "Because I like the eggs."

The Democrats like the eggs. They like getting imposing their will, whether it be ObamaCare, or the off-shore drilling moratorium, or the blockage of Wisconsin's elected government. Are they really this short-sighted? Don't they understand the damage to our democratic system by these anti-democratic precedents? Do they really want to change congressional rules so that the House and the Senate version of bills no longer have to be reconciled, as they did to jam ObamaCare through by the fiction it was a finance bill? Do they really want the Interior Department ignoring federal court orders? Do they really want state senators refusing to accept that when you lose an election, the other side gets to pass their agenda?

Obama appointed extremists for important administrative positions, controversial and even creepy people, like Van Jones, whom he knew would not get past Congressional confirmation. The checks and balances between executive and legislative branch were instituted by our founders for this exact purpose. The executive nominates but Congress must confirm -- bedrock principles of American democracy. Obama's answer: flout the law. Call his appointees 'czars' and bypass confirmation. This is not legal and it is not democracy. Do the liberal legacy media and Obama's fellow Democrats want presidents to have this unlimited power? Do they really want to give up the safeguards of congressional confirmation by calling appointees czars?

Czars indeed.

The White House is not only ignoring elections and subverting the power of Congress, it is also willing to disobey federal courts. When the health care bill was challenged in court and the administration lost, Obama ignored the ruling of Justice Roger Vinson of the U.S. District Court in Florida. Judge Vinson declared the entire ObamaCare bill unconstitutional in a ruling that the judge stated was the equivalent of an injunction. The White House has not halted implementation. The White house has not followed normal rules to fast-track the appeal process so the Supreme Court can decide. Our White House seems entirely comfortable to show contempt of court.

In Louisiana, the administration didn't like a court ruling lifting the moratorium on off-shore drilling, so what did the Obama administration do? It ignored the court. In response, on February 2, the U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman held the Department of Interior in contempt. The Administration then adopted a go slow policy and did not issue a single permit. So on February 21, Judge Feldman ordered the Obama administration to act on five deep water drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico within 30 days, calling the delays in issuing new decisions "unreasonable, unacceptable, and unjustified." We have a White House that places its anti-energy policy above the rule of law. This is unacceptable in a democracy.

Democracy is a complex system based on cultural norms and principles as much as institutions. As we see governments topple in the context of resurgent jihadi movements in the Arab world, we are keenly aware that elections alone rarely lead to democracy. George Washington was an almost unique figure in the history of the world, in that he relinquished power. Our founding fathers were political geniuses who gave us a system of checks and balances to curb misuse of power by those who govern. As Americans, we are privileged to witness the recurring, orderly transfer of power from one administration to the next, through which voters get to determine the direction of their government and correct mistakes and imbalances.

We are seeing in both the Obama White House and the Wisconsin Senate that the Democratic Party is unwilling to lose. Over and over in the past two years, we have seen a Democrat administration willing to flout the courts, flout rules and regulations, and flout the voice of the people as expressed in elections.

Disregard for the democratic limits on power is as important as the administration's fiscal irresponsibility that threatens our prosperity, as important as the explosive growth of bureaucracy that threatens our liberties.

Our democracy cannot survive if only the Republican Party cares about it. It is time for centrist Democrats to throw off the power grab by the radical wing of their party and start defending the Constitution, as they have sworn to do.

CMS Official Confirms That Four States Have Been granted ObamaCae Waivers

From The American Spectator:

Feb 16, 2011 9:34 AMCMS Official Confirms That Four States Have Been Granted ObamaCare Waiversfrom The American Spectator and AmSpecBlog by Philip KleinAn Obama administration official on Wednesday confirmed that four states -- including Florida, Tennessee and Ohio -- have been granted waivers from the regulatory requirements of the national health care law.

Steve Larsen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, confirmed the news under questioning from Rep. Cliff Stearns at an oversight hearing for the House Energy and Commerce committee.

According to Larsen, the waivers have been granted to states that have programs allowing or requiring the kind of limited medical coverage plans that would otherwise be prohibited by ObamaCare. He said the waivers are good for one year and would not neccesarily apply to all plans in the states outside the state-based programs.

While he said there was also a fourth state that was granted a waiver, he could not recall off the top of his head which state.

UPDATE: The fourth state is New Jersey.

Awakening Another Sleeping Giant

From The American Thinker:

February 21, 2011

Awakening another sleeping giant

Russ Vaughn

For all their supposed refudiation of martial metaphors, the leftist Democrats and union activists in the Wisconsin rebellion seem to have no reluctance in applying them to their hated enemy, the conservative Republicans leading the fiscal revolution. Angry union demonstrators seem to have no reluctance in referring to the current situation as a war and they hesitate not a moment to liken their opponents to the militaristic Hitler and his Nazis. In keeping with their martial zeal, I would submit that the unions and their minions, with their own fanatic militancy on such open, public display, bring to mind the words of another infamous leader of World War II.

In the closing moments of the movie, Tora! Tora! Tora! a film about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the historically accurate character of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, responds to the praise and congratulations of his staff for the success of the mission with the admonition,

"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."

While there is some question as to this account of the audacious admiral's exact words, there is no question as to their prophetic precision. Yamamoto had spent time in America during his naval career and knew something more of the American fighting spirit than did his celebrating subordinates, many of whom, just like the admiral, would perish as a result of that resolve.

Now here we are once again in a highly volatile situation where an organized force of great might, led by cunning strategists, ruthless tacticians and calculating politicians, has pushed the people of America to the brink of disaster and looming financial ruin while the giant has been slumbering. Until this week that is, when came the surprise attack in Madison against the duly elected governor and the Republican controlled legislature, in effect, an assault on all those Wisconsin voters who had refudiated the big-spending Democrats and their union troops but four short months ago. That vote was seen by conservatives and Republicans as a mandate to halt the incursions on the state treasury by these same union forces now laying siege to the state house.

As affirmed by the writings of others here at American Thinker, the heretofore comatose Colossus of Publicus Americanus is being awakened by this militancy in Madison and the big fellow's waking up grumpy. The decades-long raids the overreaching public service unions have been making on our local, state and national tax bunkers suddenly are being acknowledged with a late-dawning realization that something has been terribly amiss for apparently some time.

Millions of newly-wakened taxpayers are rubbing away the crust of years of soporific inattention and blinking in disbelief at the fact that their state and local governments have been torpedoed by public service unions with their unrealistically high wage demands and blue-sky benefit plans for government employees, be they first responders or bureaucratic non-responders. And it's not enough that these pillaging forays were made on local, state and federal treasuries while the people slept; we are now learning how far too many elected Democrats, supposed guardians of the public weal, sold out the general public for union votes and the campaign funds to stay in power.

And it is even more infuriating that now having been exposed, these plunderers of our nation's rightful expectations refuse to surrender any of their ill-gained wages or unbelievable benefits to help bring fiscal sanity and solvency back to the financially ruined governments that have for far too long over-compensated them.

Do you think perhaps that Admiral Obama and his armada of greedy union freebooters have committed the same terminal error of the doomed admiral of the earlier era? Did they misunderestimate the amount of steel in the spines of conservative, Republican leaders like Scott Walker and Chris Christie? Steel can be pretty tough stuff to contend with; just ask that famous lefty structural engineering expert, Rosie O'Donnell. Is it just possible that Obama and the insatiable public service unions, with their aggressive assaults on our traditional American systems, have awakened yet another sleeping giant and filled it with a terrible resolve?

Posted at 08:48 AM