Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Election 2012, History, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Politics, Progressivism, The United States | Tags: An Obama Op-Ed, Hurricane Sandy, Obama's Political Ploy
When people express their political preferences, at least according to the polls, they identify the Democratic Party as the one that “cares about people like me,” or “cares about little people,” or “ordinary people.”
Republicans are apt to react to that with jaw-dropping astonishment. Isn’t it obvious that they couldn’t care less, that all the caring speech is just a pose? Well, no it isn’t, and that is a problem for Republicans. It’s pure politics.
President Obama had an op-ed in the Las Vegas Sun this weekend that really demonstrates the problem. And it may well be an essay that represents his sincere thinking. Democrats are not inclined to investigate the economics of a policy, nor consider carefully the unintended consequences. Politicians like to describe their ideas in prose that will make what they want to do as appealing as possible, so you can’t tell what Obama really believes by reading what he says.
“Honest work should be rewarded with honest wages” — whatever that means—if anything, sounds good, but just what is an “honest wage?” He continues: “That certainly means that no one who works full-time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.” And that is true. No one who works full-time at the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour qualifies as being “in poverty.” The poverty level for an individual in 2014 is $11,670.
It is meant to be a “starter” wage for a person with no real skills, and that’s why it’s not worth much. The low-skilled need training. The majority get a raise within six months, as they become trained workers who know what they are doing. The federal minimum wage differs from the prevailing minimum wage in some locations, and states too have “minimum wages.” The minimum wage where I live is $9.25 an hour. Seattle is debating raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The president’s proposal would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 by 2016 in three annual steps. Republicans argue that this will kill jobs, because if government boosts the cost of labor, employers will buy less of it, and it will do little to reduce poverty. The CBO estimates that the higher minimum wage would reduce jobs by about 500,000. Wage increases would raise the incomes of families in poverty by about $300 annually.
Robert Samuelson says: “An administration serious about job creation has to sacrifice other priorities to achieve it.” The CBO has estimated that the health insurance subsidies in ObamaCare will discourage people from working resulting in a loss of an estimated 2.5 million full-time workers by 2014. There are choices. For the most part the White House has voted against job creation, a fact that it tries to hide. The proposed increase is much larger than most of the increases that have been studied, and the minimum would be indexed to inflation, rising automatically with prices. Also new.
The minimum wage has a great advantage as a political idea. If employers are forced to pay a “living wage” then no one will live in poverty. Low-information voters and reporters will go for that. Easy.
ObamaCare has been eliminating full-time jobs right and left, and transforming them into part-time jobs. A mandated minimum wage set at a level above what unskilled labor is worth, eliminates jobs. Teenage unemployment is now at 20.7 percent, black teenage unemployment is a horrendous 38 percent. The average family income of minimum wage earners is $48,000 a year. Raising the minimum wage accelerates the trend to automation and robotics.
If you can. go back and read the president’s op-ed and see how appealing it is, and how dishonest. That’s a major problem for Conservatives.
The picture above is Obama’s photo-op comforting Donna Vanzant, whose North Point Marina sustained widespread damage in Hurricane Sandy. Obama promised her “immediate” assistance, help from FEMA, and the photo went viral in the days before the election. Donna Vanzant suffered around $500,000 in damages. After his visit, and promise of help on national television, Donna Vanzant sent an email to President Obama. Many days later, she got a response—a form letter that thanked her for supporting the troops—the only response she ever received. The exit polls after the election showed the vote for Obama’s second term depended mostly on his compassionate response to Hurricane Sandy.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Freedom, History, Media Bias, News, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Politics, Progressivism, The Constitution | Tags: Critical Information Needs?, No Longer a Free Press, Press Freedom Index
As the Obama administration has degraded American and world trust in our institutions, each new downgrade seems more ordinary and unexceptional and less surprising. So it is that Reporters Without Borders released its annual World Press Freedom Index the other day. Those of us who still believe in a strong, independent and above all a free press found it disheartening. Who would be surprised that China, Syria and North Korea inhabit the bottom layer at the rankings of press freedom? One would think that the explosion of new sources, and vast new channels of information would increase freedom.
The United States of America has slipped in the fifth year of Obama’s reign by thirteen spots to 46th in the world — right between Rumania and Haiti. That fall is based largely on the Obama administration’s remarkably determined efforts to curb dissent, to plug and track down leaks, and control the press.
Obama brought with him from Chicago a kind of governance to which we are unaccustomed. The Obama administration leaks profusely with the news they want out. This is normal, all administrations work at getting out that which they want to get out. But no president wants to hear surprises from the media. No administration in memory, however, has gone to such lengths to control the press, control leaks and punish those who are uncooperative.
The Democrats are facing an upcoming election this fall in the looming shadow of the ObamaCare Disaster. The Left is deeply involved, at every level, in pretending that all is well, or will be well — tomorrow. Obama’s signature achievement cannot fail. And they will go to whatever ends they must to make sure that it does work.
The Tea Party is deeply frightening to the Left. Obama told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that the IRS scandal of attempting to intimidate and derail conservative groups as merely some “bone-head decisions” by confused local agents, without even a “smidgen” of corruption. The president portrayed himself as a victim of Fox News’ efforts to harp on the case, to drive its own anti-administration agenda. Nine months back, he denounced the same affair as an outrage, and promised a thorough investigation.
Now that the media is firmly under control, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will launch this Spring a nationwide “study” of newsroom values, priorities and processes to see if they meet a list of government “critical information needs.” This will also involve print media over which the FCC has previously had no authority whatsoever under the Constitution.
The FCC will place “researchers” in U.S. newsrooms, supposedly to learn about how editorial decisions are made. They will invade radio, television and even newspaper newsrooms. It is called the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs.” They’re always good at coming up with innocuous-sounding names. I mean what could be more innocuous than “the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?” And look where that’s gotten us.
Remember when the government seized Associated Press phone records, and tailed the mother of a Fox News reporter? That flared up for a bit, briefly, but there was “nothing to see there, just move along,” and it vanished down the memory hole.
The media has noticed that the administration can be somewhat assertive in waving around the vast power and majesty of the government of the United States of America. The media may not write about it, but they notice when the automobile industry is taken over by the federal government, and when Gibson Guitars is shut down and all their instruments and supplies are removed. Did you think there was pride in a free press? Not much and no courage.
The National Association of Broadcasters said the FCC “should reconsider” “qualitative” sections of its study, it wrote. Um, powerful statement.
Ajit Pai, a commissioner with the FCC, warned in a Wall Street Journal op-ed (pay-wall) that under the rationale of increasing minority representation in newsrooms, the FCC, which has the power to issue or not issue broadcasting licenses would seek “voluntary” compliance about how news stories are decided, as well as “wade into office politics” looking for angry reporters whose story ideas were rejected as evidence of a shutout of minority views. Pai questioned if such a study could really be voluntary given FCC’s conflict of interest.
News agencies ought to be screaming bloody murder, but the boat must not be rocked. The Obama administration has a record of going after its opponents. Race and minority status come in very handy. That’s why our press has dropped 13 places to a disgraceful 46th on the ranking of press freedom.
The Left is still seething over the failure of the defunct Fairness Doctrine. Their goal is to win. It’s that simple. They’ve had a taste of success and they won’t give up.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Liberalism, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Politics | Tags: Corruption At The IRS, Corruption Spreads, Malfeasance and Incompetence
Powerline has today a letter from William Henck who has worked in the IRS Office of the General Counsel as an attorney for over 26 years. Powerline says:
Although it goes over some old ground, we submit the following personal account by Mr. Henck for the consideration of readers in the context of current controversies without further comment. He writes:
I have been an attorney in the IRS Office of Chief Counsel for over 26 years. Over a number of years, I have attempted, largely unsuccessfully, to alert the public to abuse within the IRS. One of my kids suggested that I contact a blog and Power Line has graciously agreed to publish this account.
I do not personally know whether the IRS has targeted conservative groups or individuals, but I do know that the environment within the agency is ripe for such activity and there is nothing to prevent it from occurring. As stated in more detail below, I have personally witnessed improper giveaways of billions of dollars to taxpayers with inside access at the agency, bullying of elderly taxpayers, the cover-up of managerial embezzlement and misappropriation of thousands of dollars in government funds, and a retaliatory audit. I have also heard credible accounts of, among other things, further improper giveaways, blatant sexual harassment, and anti-Semitism. All of these matters have been swept under the rug.
Do read the whole thing. It sheds a bit of light on all the controversy about the IRS targeting of conservative groups. As I’m sure you have heard Mr. Obama say, it is simply a phony controversy, nothing to see here, just move along. The problem is that Ms. Lerner kind of blew that to smithereens with her attempt to plead the Fifth Amendment to avoid incriminating herself.
Corruption in government is no small thing. It spreads. Public sector unions are much to blame. When a miscreant can no longer be fired, government’s ability to have an ethical agency is ended. And the damage goes on from that.
When Rudy Giuliani was Mayor of New York City, he had enormous success with his “broken windows theory” of policing. You take care of the small things like graffiti, turnstile jumping, and the attention to the small things shows that you are going to take care of the bigger ones. He made a big difference in crime in New York.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Intelligence, Middle East, National Security, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Politics, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: al Qaeda In Syria, Attacks At Home, Training Jihadists
You are aware, of course, that al Qaeda has been “decimated and is “on the way to defeat.” Since the Benghazi attack, President Barack Obama has touted al Qaeda’s demise at least 32 times, even though Libyan President Mohamed Yousef El-Magarief, members of Congress, an administration spokesman and several press reports said that al Qaeda played a role in the attack. In Green Bay, Wisconsin, on November 1, Obama said “Thanks to sacrifice and service of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in Iraq is over, the war in Afghanistan is winding down, al Qaeda has been decimated, Osama bin Laden is dead.”
But nobody told the British newspapers. The Telegraph today says that Al Qaeda is training hundreds of British and European jihadis in Syria — and telling them to return home to set up terror cells.
British people fighting in Syria are being trained as “jihadists” and then encouraged to return to the UK to launch attacks on home soil, an al-Qaeda defector and western security sources have told the Telegraph.
In a rare interview on Turkey’s border with Syria, the defector from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) said that recruits from Britain, Europe and the US were being indoctrinated in extremist anti-Western ideology, trained in how to make and detonate car bombs and suicide vests and sent home to start new terror cells.
British security and intelligence agencies believe the threat of would-be terrorists being indoctrinated and directed back to the UK by al Qaeda organizers in Syria is growing. Foreign fighters are proud of 9/11 and the London bombings. A defector from ISIS said of the foreign fighters he met in Syria: “They talked often about terrorist attacks. The British, French and American mujahideen [holy warriors] in the room started talking about places that they wanted to bomb or explode themselves in Europe and the United States. Everyone named a target. The American said he dreamed of blowing up the White House.”
Up to 500 fighters from Britain have joined the struggle against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, many already known to MI5 for their radical sympathies. Some have gone with the intent of fighting the regime but are brainwashed by al Qaeda and urged to return home and launch attacks there instead.
The French interior minister, Manuel Valls, said the possibility of French citizens returning from Syria as hardened jihadists was “the biggest threat that the country faces in the coming years.” France and Europe risk being “overwhelmed” by the phenomenon.
Shiraz Maher, a senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London, estimated last week that up to 50 British fighters have already returned home.
I don’t suppose that anyone here is apt to think of this as a warning about open borders, uncontrolled illegal immigration, amnesty, and the declining rate of real assimilation among new immigrants. Europe may have a rude awakening over their rush to encourage immigration to relieve declining birthrates in Europe, and their inability to assimilate their immigrants. We may have a rude awakening over our administration’s insistence that al Qaeda has been defeated, and is no longer a concern.