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

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Where There's Smoke.....

When I first heard reports of the latest woman to accuse Herman Cain of having a sexual relationship, it seemed to long and involved to be true. The woman alleged a 13-year liaison, including sexual encounters.

Then, only hours later, on a Fox News program, it was disclosed that, although the woman was said to have money problems, she did have text messages from Cain, and a copy of one of his books inscribed by him to her personally. Cain admitted knowing the woman for that time period, but categorically insisted there was no 'relationship.'

I thought perhaps he mentored her platonically, and she took a different view of his kindnesses.

Then I heard that she had some 61 text messages from Cain, coming, to cite Sean Hannity, either 'at all hours' or 'at early hours in the morning,' suggesting a clandestine, inappropriate involvement.

Stepping back, you have to wonder by now just what is it about Herman Cain that draws these allegations from multiple women?

In a field of 7-8 other candidates, nobody else has had these issues. We all know about Gingrich's infidelities, so that's different. And you'd think, if Newt had stepped out on his latest wife, we'd have heard about that muy pronto.

Guys like Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman would seem likely candidates for similar allegations, but nothing has surfaced. Not a peep. Nothing for Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann, either.

So just going by the statistics, you have to wonder why only one candidate out of a group of 8 or so has received all the public allegations of prior marital infidelities?

It may seem unfair, but it does give one pause. And make you reconsider Cain as a candidate. His fumbling of the initial accusations, for which he had over a week to consider his response, was unimpressive.

But, now, this 13-year thing, with saved text messages, just seems so odd. It's like he attracts this sort of thing, or has exercised poor judgement in the past in his associations with women.

Whichever it is, whether fair or not, it's almost certainly derailed his candidacy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Barney Frank Announces Retirement!

It was a red letter day yesterday. Longtime liberal Democratic Representative Barney Frank, a major co-architect of the financial crisis of 2007-08, announced his retirement from Congress.

It's an event that should bring joy to conservatives and, for that matter, all taxpayers, since the latter are who have paid for Barney's corruption and demands that Fannie and Freddie guarantee more housing loans to those too poor to actually afford the mortgages they received.

Then there was the abominable Dodd-Frank law, which will continue to burden all Americans with passed-through costs of excessive, largely-pointless over-regulation of the financial sector.

To be sure, all America will be better off with this liberal idiot gone from Congress.

Why do you think he chose this term as his last? Do you think he actually feared a loss of his seat next year? Or perhaps, having enjoyed four years in the majority recently, couldn't stomach continued service as a minority party Representative?

Whichever, let's all rejoice for a tiny step forward for better government as Barney Frank leaves Congress next year.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Fred Siegel on Public Sector Unions Displacing Old-Style Democrait Machines

Here are some key passages from the Wall Street Journal's weekend edition interview. Matthew Kaminski sat down with Fred Siegel, producing the following insights.

Excerpts from the Interview

A former editor of the left-leaning Dissent magazine, Mr. Siegel has written several well-received books on New York, including the 1997 "The Future Once Happened Here." He calls his hometown "the model for cross subsidies" in America. "Wall Street makes money off the bonds that have to be floated to pay the public sector workers in New York."

Born in 1945 and raised in the Bronx, Mr. Siegel got his first political education by listening to feverish debates at home about Bundists and Bolsheviks. His grandfather, a militantly anti-Communist socialist, was vice president of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union and a strong influence on him. In 1972, Mr. Siegel worked on the McGovern campaign—"you shouldn't print that!"—and calls his discussions with the Democratic candidate "enormously consequential" in shifting his world view. "I like to say I was center left before I became center right," he says.

Thanks to union clout, he notes, salaries and benefits for teachers, bus drivers and city secretaries have outgained the private sector during this sluggish economy. "Spending is never ratcheted down. It's unconnected to productivity. That can only be sustained by a boom or these extraordinary subsidies we're getting now from the Federal Reserve. But that's gonna stop at some point. And then what happens?"

And the ground may already be moving. Many American localities are already at the crisis point. Rhode Island's legislature last week sharply cut retirement benefits for current and retired public workers. "A 300% Democratic state!" marvels Mr. Siegel, who was one of the first to sound the warning on the public pensions crisis.

In Mr. Siegel's estimation, only Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has tried the needed fix after last year's elections. "Part of the reason Walker has become such a lightning rod" is that he pushed "straight up, unambiguous structural reform." His move to restrict collective bargaining for state employees isn't as important, says Mr. Siegel, as ending the requirement that state workers pay union dues. On his first day in the governor's mansion in 2005, Indiana's Mitch Daniels also stopped deducting dues automatically; most workers chose not to pay. "The union has a guaranteed flow of income, which they then use to lobby the government," says Mr. Siegel. This reform, he adds, "evens the playing field."

Dues money is the coin of political influence for organized labor. So not surprisingly, it is bankrolling the pushback. Mr. Walker faces a recall campaign. Ohio voters this month overturned Gov. John Kasich's legislation to limit collective bargaining for state workers. Mr. Kasich should have eliminated the dues "check off" instead, according to Mr. Siegel, and worked harder to connect with voters. "Too many Republicans treat workers as if they are their employees," he says. "The virtue of Ronald Reagan is he talked to workers as one of them."

It is often forgotten how many New Deal Democrats were skeptical about public-sector unions. Franklin Delano Roosevelt called the idea of strikes by government workers "unthinkable and intolerable." New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia said, "I do not want any of the pinochle club atmosphere to take hold among city workers." But union organizers would eventually tap into the language of the civil rights movement to present collective bargaining as another overdue "right."

New York Mayor Robert Wagner extended collective-bargaining rights to government employees in 1958. He saw early that, says Mr. Siegel, "public sector unions are displacing political machines as the turnout mechanism for the Democratic Party. They are the new Tammany Hall." Coming off a nail biter of an election, President John F. Kennedy saw this future as well. In 1962, he signed Executive Order 10988 to give federal workers the right to unionize, though not to collectively bargain. By 1980, half of all delegates to the Democratic convention worked for the government. Government-employee rolls kept growing through the Reagan years. During the presidency of George W. Bush, the number of government workers who belong to a union surpassed the number of unionized private workers.

Mr. Siegel observes that public-sector unions have "become a vanguard movement within liberalism. And the reason for that is it's the public sector that comes closest to the statist ideals of McGovern and post-McGovern liberals. And that is, there's no connection between effort and reward. You're guaranteed your job. You're guaranteed your salary increase. There's a kind of bureaucratic equality."

In turn, he continues, "this vanguard becomes in the eyes of many liberals the model for the middle class. Public-sector unions are what all workers should be like. Their benefits are the kind of benefits everyone should get."

Government workers make up a growing share of the middle class. And perversely, says Mr. Siegel, unions can justifiably claim to defend the interests of the middle-class worker. "That's because the costs that they've imposed have driven out the private-sector middle class. They are the disease of which they proclaim themselves the cure."

I've highlighted in red what I consider to be among the most essential comments by Siegel, among others which are also valuable to understand.

Don't you find it chilling to hear, from a former leftist, the straight scoop on just who did what, when, and to whom in this sordid mess?