“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, March 27, 2009

Daniel Hannan On YouTube

If you have not yet heard of nor seen EU MEP Danniel Hannan of Southeastern England, here are four YouTube videos will acquaint you with him.

The first clip is the viral one of Hannan's speech castigating Great Britain's PM, Gordon Brown at the EU, which is now circulating globally.

The next two are from his interview on Neil Cavuto's Fox News program, while the last is from the same network's Glenn Beck program. All three of these aired this week.

Peggy Noonan Cracks On Wonderboy

To the utter shock of my business partner and myself, Peggy Noonan actually wrote a cogent, well-reasoned, sensible column in last weekend's Wall Street Journal.

Her ratio of readable/nonsensical pieces is, sadly, still about 1/25, or roughly 2 worthwhile columns each year.

But last weekend's was actually a terrific one.

After spending months glorifying Wonderboy and his new approach to politics, Noonan has finally woken up to the fact that he is foundering desperately.

"The president seems everywhere and nowhere, not fully focused on the matters at hand. He's trying to keep up with the news cycle with less and less to say. "I am angry" about AIG's bonuses. The administration seems buffeted, ad hoc. Policy seems makeshift, provisional. James K. Galbraith captures some of this in The Washington Monthly: "The president has an economic program. But there is, so far, no clear statement of the thinking behind the program."

Mr. Obama likes to say presidents can do more than one thing at a time, but in fact modern presidents are lucky to do one thing at a time, never mind two. Great forces are arrayed against them.

These are the two great issues, the economic crisis and our safety. In the face of them, what strikes one is the weightlessness of the Obama administration, the jumping from issue to issue and venue to venue from day to day. Isaiah Berlin famously suggested a leader is a fox or a hedgehog. The fox knows many things but the hedgehog knows one big thing. In political leadership the hedgehog has certain significant advantages, focus and clarity of vision among them. Most presidents are one or the other. So far Mr. Obama seems neither."

It's noteworthy, at this point, to recall the president for whom Noonan once worked.

The Gipper was so effective because he really only focused on three things during his eight years as US president:

-Cut federal spending, or at least its rate of growth

-Cut tax rates

-Rebuild defense while abetting the fall of the Soviet Union.

He accomplished all three.

Finally, Peggy Noonan has woken up and realized that Wonderboy is way, way overmatched by the job. He's drowning and totally incapable of effectively handling the office he wanted so badly.

By accident, I saw a few seconds of his performance on Jay Leno. It was one time I couldn't get to the television controller to hit the 'mute' button fast enough.

What I heard Wonderboy say was something to the effect of,

'I ran for President because I wanted to change things.'


"Given my success at running the state of Illinois as a two-term Governor, I wanted to bring my skill and expertise to Washington."


"With my background as a successful business executive, I wanted to use my talents and experience to fix things in Washington."

No, it's just,

"Hey, I woke up one day and said, why not run for President? I haven't done anything in my life to remotely qualify me. But I have ideas I'd like implemented."

And now, Peggy Noonan is waking up to this fact. He has no executive nor management skills, nor experience, on which to draw.

And we are evidently stuck with him for almost four more years.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Glenn Beck's New Movement: The 912 Project

Fox News' new hire, Glenn Beck, recently began the 912 Project. Announced last month on his highly-rated 5PM weekday program, it seeks to facilitate individual Americans in returning to pre-911 principles and values. According to the website, the effort currently has about a quarter of a million members.

As I watched a few weeks ago, Beck revealed an ordinary-looking kitchen-type table on his set and began talking with Chuck Norris via video link. Norris, at his ranch, had gathered a large group of individuals to observe and participate.
Hearing Beck describe this next step in his group's development, that of gathering together with like-minded neighbors around kitchen tables, I immediately recalled Frank Capra's famous movie, Meet John Doe.

Here are two YouTube clips about it. The first is the original trailer, and the second is a scene from the movie.

In the film, "John Doe Clubs" are formed across the nation. Beck's 912 Project seems to emulate this, although he's made no mention of the parallel. Nor, to my knowledge, has anyone else. But the similarity is unmistakable.

Unlike the movie, where the character played by Eward Arnold attempts to hijack the movement, I don't think Beck has any intention of leading the project. He genuinely seems to be attempting to provide a skeleton for a self-organizing, truly grassroots citizen movement to retake government at any and all levels. Especially, I would think, Congress.

I've spoken with my partner about this a few times, speculating on what might ultimately result from the Project.

While, as I noted above, I don't expect Glenn Beck to attempt to control the movement, I do expect him, at some point in the near future, to suggest that the local groups consider demanding that candidates for office in 2010 take a pledge to uphold the 912 Project's principles and values, or face opposition from one of the group's members in that locale or district.

Can you imagine what would happen if 40 or 50 sitting, partisan House members were defeated by party-independent members of the 912 Project? It's not hard to envision the group demanding that one of their own be elected Speaker, with the party first succumbing to their demand gaining more representation on various committees.

Further, one could imagine the 40-50 independents being content to leave the House leaderless until their demands are met. It's unlikely that either party would or could compromise around them and select a partisan Speaker in that environment.

Who knows what could happen in the Senate, where an uprising that took, say, 10 seats could cause havoc with Wonderboy's programs.

I remain very interested to see where Beck's efforts at providing support for this type of movement lead.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mark Sanford's Stiff-Arm From Obama

Last weekend's Wall Street Journal featured a revealing editorial by South Carolina governor Mark Sanford.

Governor Sanford made headlines last month when he voiced his opposition to the terms of the so-called Congressional stimulus bill.

Worried, like so many other governors, about being forced to spend money on programs which won't go away when their federal funding does, Sanford spoke out loudly against the tactic. As a result, Democrats in Congress inserted a clause allowing state legislatures to accept the funding over the veto of their state's governor.

However, having been outmaneuvered on this, Sanford tried a different tack. He requested a waiver of spending the stimulus funds as directed by Congress. Instead, he asked to be allowed to pay down some of South Carolina's debt, the interest on which consumes 11% of the state's annual tax revenue.

Sanford reasoned that this is an unarguably good thing to do for the relatively poor state. According to Sanford,

"In fact, paying debt related to education would free up over $162 million in debt service in the first two years and save roughly $125 million in interest payments over the next 13 years- just as paying off a family's mortgage early frees up money for other uses.

Spending stimulus money on ongoing programs would mean 10% of our entire state budget would be paid for with one-time federal funds- the largest recorded level in state history."

Sanford continued his piece, stating,

"Last week, I reached out to the president, asking for a federal waiver from restrictions on stimulus money. I got a most unusual response. Before I even received an acknowledgement of the request from the White House, I got word that the Democratic National Committee was launching campaign-style TV attack-ads branding me for making it.

Is this the new brand of politics we were promised?

Nevertheless, the White House declined my request for a waiver yesterday afternoon."

Governor Sanford's experience is quite revealing about Wonderboy's real purpose in directing spending of the stimulus largess. So much for state's using it for what they think best. Once again, Democrats at the federal level think they know what is best for everyone else, at all lower levels of government....and society.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Chris Dodd's Lies

Last week's furor over how the government mishandled retention bonuses promised, contractually, to AIG personnel, provided a lot of entertainment and some very revealing activity.

Perhaps the most damaged two liberals are Doddering Chris Dodd, Countrywide favor-taking and embattled Democratic Senator from Connecticut, and Treasury Secretary and tax cheat Tim Geithner.

Dodd has now been caught in a flat out lie, as has Geithner.

Here's a video clip from Sean Hannity's Fox News program providing evidence of the lies.

Pretty damning evidence, is it not? Dodd lied about his efforts in a major bill. Geithner lied about what he did and knew, both from his stint as NY Fed President, when he led the government takeover of AIG, and then his recent comments as Treasury Secretary. He apparently intentionally failed to warn his boss of the coming bonus furor for two days last week.

Maybe Tim was too busy stamping parking validations for Treasury visitors at the department's reception desk?

Dodd is now in trouble in his own state, with poll numbers showing him now slightly behind his expected Republican challenger.

It's just incredible that, having either ineptly ignored the bonuses, or deliberately lied about them, Dodd and Geithner are attempting to escape any responsibility whatsoever, now that public furor has been ignited over the relatively minuscule, by Federal spending standards, amount.

You also don't see Congress admitting that most of its members failed to read the bill which they passed that allowed the bonuses.