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

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, April 8, 2011

Liberal Media Spin On Boehner & The GOP As Government Shutdown Looms

Throughout last night and all today, liberal media and even some more moderate outlets, such as the Wall Street Journal, have been crowing about the House GOP's risks, should there be a government shutdown this week.

The continuing theme, as prominently pounded on by CNBC's "Red" John Harwood, and seconded by Harry Reid, is that Boehner & Co. are trapped between Tea Party supporters and the fear of being blamed for any such shutdown.

Wonderboy got into the act yesterday, telling some lies and claiming that a measly $30B of spending cuts is sufficient, so any problems ensuing from the lack of another continuing resolution belong to Republicans. The funniest thing was hearing the First Rookie hypothesize about the disappointment and fiscal damage a family might suffer if they had planned a vacation to a national park. He was grasping at straws to try to imagine what costs might be involved, because he's obviously never done something like that. And at this time of the year, not too many families with young children are traveling, because school is in session.

Take a step back, though, and the Democrats, to me, seem to be in serious trouble. Even Fox News pollster Frank Luntz explained the other evening that Paul Ryan's 2012 budget strikes exactly the right tone with independents concerning excessive government spending. Wonderboy, Reid et.al. are trying to pretend the big deal is whether the federal government endures a partial shutdown for a few weeks.

Everybody outside of Washington sees spending out of control, with no end in sight. The thought of American taxpayers saving a few shekels by having the federal machinery shuttered is no bad thing.

I know it boils down to the question of whether Republicans should extract as much as possible in spending cuts with each small step in the budget process, or risk being blamed for a shutdown while going for more.

But this isn't 1995 or 1996. And Boehner is not Gingrich. Neither is Paul Ryan. This isn't about personalities, egos, or showing anyone who's boss. It's about some principled conservative GOP Congressmen providing spine-stiffening support to otherwise-moderates like Boehner and his older colleagues, to finally get serious about attacking federal spending and deficits.

Sixteen years ago, nobody quoted how much of every federal dollar spent was borrowed from China. Now, we all know it's 40 cents.

That's a huge difference that liberal media pundits just don't get.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Frisco Nan & Steny On Spending Cuts

Frisco Nan's press conference earlier this week displaying her attitude toward any budget cuts was instructive.

Looking shocked and incredulous, she blurted that Paul Ryan's recommended 2011 cuts would affect some tens of millions of dollars for meals delivered to old people. Nan was outraged, claiming this just couldn't be allowed to occur.

It's truly laughable. You'd think that there is really no spending cut Nan could accept. And I think that's actually true.

Then Steny Hoyer was on CNBC yesterday morning spouting his canned lines whenever a budget cut is under debate.

Sputtering unconvincingly, the silver-haired hack began to rant about how Republican tax cuts of trillions of dollars for the wealthy, combined with spending cuts, would drive the economy into another 'worst since Hoover' recession. This was vented with a straight face, as if Hoyer genuinely has forgotten the 25% spending increase in 2009 that the Democratic Congress built in over 2008. Or the largest peacetime surge in spending under Wonderboy during the recent Congressional session.

What's lamentable is that neither Frisco Nan nor her former aide, Hoyer, is capable of saying something along  these lines,

'We agree that, given the current debt and deficit levels, and the strengthening economy, spending can be carefully reduced. Nobody could seriously believe that spending can only be increased, never cut. But we have to carefully assess how to cut so as to cause the least pain and suffering among our poorest citizens.'

I know, it's still pretty nauseating. But this sort of statement would probably seem reasonable to gullible mainstream liberals, and maybe even fool some independents.

But, thankfully, it's just not in Frisco Nan, Steny or Harry Reid to be reasonable. They really believe that spending just has to go up- all the time. Regardless of contexts.

Perhaps the best line was one I heard yesterday attributed to Reid. He apparently complained that he wasn't about to just let the Tea Party determine the federal budget.

Well, look at it this way. If you think the Tea Party had a major influence on last Novemember's elections, then Harry's really out of touch, isn't he? Because if the Tea Party sentiment is as broad as it seems to be, and Reid ignores it, the Democrats will probably lose a few more House seats, and maybe the Senate, in 2012, regardless of what happens to Wonderboy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bernard Lewis On The Mideast, Nukes & The End of Days

A recent Glenn Beck program, about which I wrote here, was brought to mind as I read the last paragraphs of this past weekend's Wall Street Journal interview with Bernard Lewis. Lewis is described as among the most authoritative Western scholars on the Arab world.

Writing about nuclear weapons in Islamist hands, the article stated,

"But the mullahs "are religious fanatics with an apocalyptic mindset. In Islam, as in Christianity and Judaism, there is an end-of-times scenario- and they think it's beginning or has already begun." So "mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent- it's an inducement." "

Scary stuff, isn't it? It completely reinforces Beck's contentions regarding what the Iranians see in the current turbulence in the Mideast.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Curious Reactions To Donald Trump's Interest In The Presidency

As the practical deadline for a presidential campaign nears, Donald Trump is stepping up his public appearances on the topic. Last week he was interviewed by Bill O'Reilly of Fox News, the edited portions of which spanned three evenings on The Factor, O'Reilly's evening program.

Certainly Trump makes waves with his unvarnished opinions and promises of actions, should he be elected president.

But one thing surprises me. So far, all the on-air pundits seem to give Trump a pass, calling him a successful businessman, according him a stipulated track record that qualifies him to be the nation's Chief Executive.

But consider the facts. For example, here's one cite of Trump's company's three- count 'em- bankruptcies.

Yes, Trump's corporate persona has filed for bankruptcy three times. Is that success?

I don't recall, for example, Mort Zuckerman filing for bankruptcy. He also owns US News&World Report.

When I think of Trump, I don't really think of a businessman. I think of a self-promoting real estate developer. Someone who has gambled on economic booms and interest rates, thus requiring court-protected reorganizations over the past few decades.

Moreover, his aggressive, in your face style of negotiation is hardly what major nation diplomacy is about. It may sound tough to say you'll tell the Arab's not to set so high a price on oil. But, unfortunately for The Donald, his economic IQ is deficient in this arena. Oil prices are set via markets. That's not to say that suppliers can't manage their inventories or production. But it's not like OPEC has iron control over oil prices anymore.

If Trump's major claim for being qualified to run for president is his business record, I don't think he has much to show. It's surprising to me that, with his explicit show of interest in running, no major media outlet seems to have done a basic investigation into his business dealings.

I doubt Trump's candidacy, should he decide to run, would survive such a focused examination.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Marco Rubio On The Debt Ceiling

Florida's newly-elected Senator, Marco Rubio, wrote an editorial in last Wednesday's Wall Street Journal explaining Why (He) Won't Vote to Raise the Debt Limit.

There's been a lot of ink spilled by the left on this issue. As I wrote this post on Friday morning, CNBC's political reporter, 'Red' John Harwood, breathlessly explained, after a clip of Indiana Republican Representative Mike Pence, that it looked like the Tea Party-controlled GOP legislators were going to shut down the federal government and imperil the country's credit rating, the economy, peace on earth, etc. In short, the world balances on whether some GOP members of Congress hold fast to demand Democratic agreement to some reasonable spending cuts of only tens of billions, for now.

Treasury Secretary Geithner has been proclaiming that not raising the debt ceiling means defaulting on US obligations, which, of course, is simply untrue. If Tim really believes that, then he's just not smart enough to hold his cabinet position.

Wonderboy's folks even corralled banking crony Jamie Dimon, CEO of Chase, to declare that it was just crazy talk not to raise the debt limit. Good ol' Jamie. Give him a few regulatory breaks and let him visit the Oval office, and he's good for whatever propaganda and scare talk you need from him.

Fact is, though, Rubio and his colleagues who are against raising the debt limit are, I believe, correct this time.

As Rubio notes in his Journal piece, Wonderboy and the Democrats are offering a 2012 budget with a ten-year spending level of $46 trillion. You'd think in this time of serious deficits and excessive spending, the federal government could manage a balanced budget for 2012? No, it can't even do that.

This is Rubio's point. There's no seriousness on the part of Democrats to do anything about spending. They won't discuss any significant cuts. Rubio wrote,

"....instead of simply raising the debt limit, we should reassure job creators by setting a firm statutory cap on our public debt-to-GDP ratio.

Some say we will go into default if we don't increase the debt limit. But if we simply raise it once again, without a real plan to bring spending under control and get our economy growing, America faces the very real danger of a catastrophic economic crisis."

He also notes that in 2006, Senator Wonderboy voted against raising the debt limit to $8.965 trillion, saying at the time,

"Raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure."

Hmm. What's that saying about goose...gander.....well, you get the point.

Having attended a couple of Tea Party events in the past two years, I'm not encouraged by the GOP rolling over on this one. I don't think anyone wants a government shutdown. But if our Congressional branch can't direct Treasury in how to prioritize payments while getting spending reduced in order to either meet the debt limit or credibly nudge it up temporarily, then we're lost on a much larger scale than simply the debt limit.

I guess we'll all see how this develops later this week, won't we?