Monday, February 22, 2010

CPAC: George Will's Outstanding (and often hilarious) Remarks

Will has the crowd bursting out laughing probably more times than all the other speakers combined that day.

The guy has wit, irony and intelligence all rolled into one.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

CPAC: This Ain't Your Daddy's "Conservative" Movement No More

Perhaps another hopeful sign that conservatives, especially young ones, have increasingly had it with pseudo-moral social crusading bigots masquerading their prejudicial ideologies as conservatism:

CPAC crowd boos homophobe off stage

WASHINGTON -- Turns out CPAC isn't quite the place for insane jeremiads against homosexuality.

During a lightning round of two-minute speeches by young activists, Ryan Sorba, of the Young Conservatives of California, decided to bash CPAC organizers for inviting GOProud (a gay Republican group that's splintered from the Log Cabin Republicans) to have a booth at the event.

His rant began:

I'd like to condemn CPAC for bringing GOPride [sic] to this event. Civil rights are grounded in natural rights. Natural rights are grounded in human nature. Human nature is a rational substance in relationship to the intelligible end of the reproductive act of reproduction. Do you understand that?

But then the crowd began to boo, and shout back at him. ("Ron Paul!" was the loudest shout in the part of the ballroom where I'm sitting; he was due to speak not long after the lightning round ended.) And Sorba -- who's the author of a book called "The Born Gay Hoax," and whose speech at Smith College was shut down by protests two years ago -- got angry.

Civil rights when they conflict with natural rights are contrary... Will you sit down? The lesbians at Smith College protest better than you do. The lesbians at Smith College protest better than you do.

One conservative activist, Jeff Frazee of Young Americans for Liberty, shouted something trying to defend GOProud. (UPDATE: Frazee contacted Salon later Friday night to say he never said anything to Sorba, and was just sitting in the second row when Sorba started yelling at him. He says he figured Sorba could see him, and thought he was the source of the boos.) Sorba snapped back:

Guess what? You just made an enemy out of me, buddy.

h/t to Agitator Radley Balko who sums it up:

"So how long until this idiot gets caught in a public bathroom with a male prostitute?"

Saturday, February 20, 2010

CPAC Surprise: Ron Paul Wins Presidential Straw Poll

Ron Paul has ended Mitt Romney's three-year run as conservatives' favorite for president, taking 31 percent of the vote in the Conservative Political Action Conference's annual straw poll.

Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas known for his libertarian views, ran for president in 2008 but was never a serious contender for the GOP nomination.

Romney, former Massachusetts governor and also a 2008 GOP candidate, has won the last three presidential straw polls at the annual conference. This year, he came in second, with 22 percent.

Sarah Palin, who didn't attend the conference, was a distant third in the straw poll, with 7 percent, followed by Tim Pawlenty, the Minnesota governor, and Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana.

Perhaps it's not such a surprise since Congressman Paul represents the type of consistent constitutional conservatism that opposes over-reaching invasive government as much as a tool of religious "right" theocrats and Wilsonian neoconservatives as of social-engineering leftists.

Despite the histrionic flailings of Bushian neocons and the ever-present meddlings of moralizing social "conservatives", the reality is becoming clear that the driving energy and the emerging future of successful popular conservatism lie with conservatives unwilling to bastardize, betray and defile conservatism by ceding it to ideologies and agendas that, at core, are based around control, power and social uniformity.

The neocon/theocrat power nexus, so perfectly embodied in the Bush administration that so turned off the country and nearly destroyed the Republican party, is now looking for illicit redemption by (re-)insinuating its hybrid ideologies into the growing populist revival of true conservatism.

This is the persistent ilk of the mind that "big spending is ok, so long as same-sex unions [for example] aren't".

These are the false "conservatives" who believe that big government is only a problem when it is serving an ideology other than their own.

These are the duplicitous clannish partisans who talk a good game about limited government and liberty in their quest to seize power, only to betray that power itself is their true end game.

These are the ideologues who reveal themselves in such stunts as the Mt. Vernon Statement , going off the rails of constitutional conservatism by attempting to shoehorn justifications for ideological ends into the constitution such as:

  • It supports America’s national interest in advancing freedom and opposing tyranny in the world and prudently considers what we can and should do to that end
[Cue the neocons.]

The constitution neither explicates nor supports global messianism of any sort as the proper role of our national government, nor does it provide for a national interest in advancing global objectives.

The inevitable result of reading such Wilsonian liberal ends into the constitution has been to ignore or reject the unambiguous wisdom expressed by Mt. Vernon's original owner as he departed the presidency with stern warning against foreign entanglements, to any end.

This is not to say that the United States should be ignorant of or mute about tyranny and oppression in foreign lands.

This is not to say the United States should not make common cause with nation-states dedicated to securing the freedom of their people.

This is not to say that the United States should not offer international leadership towards peaceful relations and free commerce with and among all nations.

But the constitution simply does not empower our government to act as the arbiter of freedom and tyranny around the world.

The United States can best be a beacon of liberty by standing as an exemplar of a free society and a free people, not by misusing our national power and resources as an international police force.

  • It informs conservatism’s firm defense of family, neighborhood,
    community, and faith.
[Cue the social "conservatives".]

This bland statement makes little sense other than to interject into conservatism an end so general as to be meaningless, except for what social "conservatives" want it to be.

Such sweeping social "conservative" rhetoric cannot mask the reality that what social "conservatives" really want is their rendition of "defen[ding] family, neighborhood, community, and faith" to inform constitutional interpretation so as to justify using the power of the state to advance their particular social or religious dogma.

Without need of PR stunt re-statements of belief, Ron Paul has successfully made the case for constitutional conservatism without taint of social or other ideologies beyond the elevation of individual choice and personal liberty over the creeping coercion of government-based collectivism.

Paul speaks to libertarians and conservatives who reject those who would add modifiers like "neo" or "social" to mutate conservatism into an expression of ideologies that are anything but conservative.

It is unlikely that the conservatives at CPAC who gave once-GOP-pariah Ron Paul their nod for president and the straw poll win did so because they believe Paul would be the strongest contender or the most adept candidate or the most skillful politician.

Most interestingly about the poll is that 54% of those who participated in the poll were between the ages of 18 and 25 years old. These young people surely don't believe Ron Paul himself is the future of conservatism as a successful grass roots political force.

But just as surely they do believe the ideas and principles that Ron Paul articulates are. As Paul himself often says when asked about the enthusiastic over-capacity crowds he draws on college campuses and with young people: "Well, freedom is popular!". Paul has gotten many young people excited about and engaging in the consonant causes of individual liberty and limited government.

The CPAC poll was a bold statement that not only has Ron Paul been the most consistent, unflappable, principled advocate for liberty and the most tireless champion of our constitution, but moreso that his expression of conservatism rooted in the constitution as a restraint on power rather than its handmaiden, an instrument of liberty rather than a statement of its limits, is what it's really all about.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

News Roundup on the Decline of Union Muscle and the Rise of Its Wreckage

The poor downtrodden unions just can't seem to catch that next break to further burrow themselves into an inordinate undeserved place at the top of the workforce heap, with no other justification than their use of raw political muscle and patronage.

Boo. Hoo.

Now that "card-check" is thankfully a fading memory from early 2009 Democrat unitary government over-reach, the defeat of the union shill Craig Becker to head up the NLRB pretty much closes their backdoor route to this and other power grabs afoot from the union bosses.

Senate stops Craig Becker nomination

Labor lawyer Craig Becker's nomination for a seat on the National Labor Relations Board failed on Tuesday afternoon, as a few Senate Democrats joined a unified Republican front to block a key Obama White House nomination.

The vote was 52-33 — 60 votes were required to proceed on the nomination. The stalled nomination is a blow to labor unions and showed fractures in the Senate Democratic Caucus, which can no longer rely on a 60-vote supermajority.

Becker has been nominated for a seat on the National Labor Relations Board, and he has strong union backing, but Republicans and a few conservative Democrats complained he was too cozy with Big Labor. The failure to get 60 votes on a procedural motion leaves the nomination stalled, and President Barack Obama has threatened to bypass the Senate and make a recess appointment if certain nominees are not confirmed.

The Democrats may yet force a recess appointment of Becker (of the exact type for which they excoriated George W. Bush), but Mr. Becker shouldn't get too cozy in the job. Just ask John Bolton how that works.

The unions' reaction is the expected one: threats.

Only this time the target is their erstwhile political chums, the Democrats.

Unions bash Democrats, warn of political fallout

Labor groups are furious with the Democrats they helped put in office — and are threatening to stay home this fall when Democratic incumbents will need their help fending off Republican challengers.

The Senate’s failure to confirm labor lawyer Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board was just the latest blow, but the frustrations have been building for months.

"Here's labor getting thrown under the bus again," said John Gage, the national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 600,000 workers. "It's really frustrating for labor, and a lot of union people are thinking: We put out big time in money and volunteers and support. And it seems like the little things that could have been aren't being done."

The 52-33 vote on Becker — who needed 60 to be confirmed — really set labor unions on edge, but the list of setbacks is growing.

The so-called “card check” bill that would make it easier to unionize employees has gone nowhere. A pro-union Transportation Security Administration nominee quit before he even got a confirmation vote. And even though unions got a sweetheart deal to keep their health plans tax-free under the Senate health care bill, that bill has collapsed, leaving unions exposed again.

Union leaders warn that the Democrats' lackluster performance in power is sapping the morale of activists going into the midterm elections.

"Right now if we don’t get positive changes to the agenda, we’re going to have a hard time getting members out to work," said United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard, in an interview.

Can I get a big "Whaaaah!!", anyone?

Perhaps Democrats see the writing on the wall about the future of these top-heavy, inherently parasitic organizations that push narrow political agendas far outside the realm of helping working people generally, much less their actual members specifically:

Union Membership Drops 10%

Organized labor lost 10% of its members in the private sector last year, the largest decline in more than 25 years. The drop is on par with the fall in total employment but threatens to significantly limit labor's ability to influence elections and legislation.

On Friday, the Labor Department reported private-sector unions lost 834,000 members, bringing membership down to 7.2% of the private-sector work force, from 7.6% the year before. The broader drop in U.S. employment and a small gain by public-sector unions helped keep the total share of union membership flat at 12.3% in 2009. In the early 1980s, unions represented 20% of workers.

Labor experts said the union-membership losses would have a long-term impact on unions and their finances, because unions wouldn't automatically regain members once the job market rebounded. In many cases, new jobs will be created at nonunion employers or plants.

"The bad news for unions is twofold. When times are bad they lose members, and when times are good they don't recoup those members," said Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.


Unions also suffered a big setback with a Supreme Court decision on campaign financing that removed limits on corporate spending. While unions are also free of certain limits, companies and business groups could outspend labor in the future.

Some labor experts said labor's focus on politics came at the expense of organizing. "It's a year when the labor movement focused its energies on labor-law reform and health care," said Kate Bronfenbrenner, a Cornell University labor expert.

The Democrats also saw a reality that unfolded in Massachusetts, poetic justice for union fatcats pushing job-killing political agendas from lavish dues-coerced perches :

AFL-CIO Poll Shows Union Households Boosted [Massachusetts Republican Scott] Brown

Republican Scott Brown's victory in the Massachusetts Senate race was lifted by strong support from union households, in a sign of trouble for President Barack Obama and Democrats who are counting on union support in the 2010 midterm elections.

A poll conducted on behalf of the AFL-CIO found that 49% of Massachusetts union households supported Mr. Brown in Tuesday's voting, while 46% supported Democrat Martha Coakley. The poll conducted by Hart Research Associates surveyed 810 voters.

The finding, disclosed during an AFL-CIO conference call about the poll, represents a fresh problem for Democrats, who count on union leaders and union members as a pillar of the party's base.

Karen Ackerman, the AFL-CIO's political action director, said the results of the Massachusetts poll indicate "what we call a working-class revolt" in which voters were responding to the fact that no one was addressing their needs or interests. But she played down the support among union household members for Mr. Brown.

"Union voters are like any other voters, and they respond to the environment around them" and who they think will be on their side and fight for them, Ms. Ackerman said. "What happened in Massachusetts is that working families did not see the Democratic candidate as being on their side."

She added that the AFL-CIO has "very good success" reaching out to union voters and did have a union program in Massachusetts in support of the Democratic candidate, state Attorney General Martha Coakley. Still, she said the group does have concerns about the midterm congressional elections in November.

"Clearly, we're taking a serious look at this [working-class revolt] because, frankly, we know that 2010 elections are going to be very difficult," she said, adding that the group plans to move forward with a "very progressive political program."

Indeed. Forge ahead.

I mean, isn't it just self-evident why union households voted Republican : not enough aggressive "progressive" political shams fulfilled...[Yeah. Right. Gotcha.]

Returning from that side trip down lunacy lane, the forces of union corruption and avarice of course always have their last bastion of unperturbed perpetual trough-slopping : government jobs.

The expected results are coming to roost, with a vengeance, most notably in the (no longer so) Golden State.

Public Employee Unions Are Sinking California

Approximately 85% of the state's 235,000 employees (not including higher education employees) are unionized. As the governor noted during his $83 billion budget roll-out, over the past decade pension costs for public employees increased 2,000%. State revenues increased only 24% over the same period. A Schwarzenegger adviser wrote in the San Jose Mercury News in the past few days that, "This year alone, $3 billion was diverted to pension costs from other programs."

There are now more than 15,000 government retirees statewide who receive pensions that exceed $100,000 a year, according to the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility.

Many of these retirees are former police officers, firefighters, and prison guards who can retire at age 50 with a pension that equals 90% of their final year's pay. The pensions for these (and all other retirees) increase each year with inflation and are guaranteed by taxpayers forever—regardless of what happens in the economy or whether the state's pensions funds have been fully funded (which they haven't been).

A 2008 state commission pegged California's unfunded pension liability at $63.5 billion, which will be amortized over several decades. That liability, released before the precipitous drop in stock-market and real-estate values, certainly will soar.
This little horror show is repeated all around the country, almost exclusively in Democrat one-party control urban centers, large and small.

Just look at little 'ol Wilmington, Delaware in which the government couldn't bend the taxpayers over fast enough last year to ensure that the public employee unions were sated. This was the only priority in handling the budget crunch the union-friendly Wilmington pols have created after 10 years of 10% annual growth in the city government.

Forget about Wilmington's decaying sewer system or the millions in public treasure already lost to and still being thrown down the "economic development" ratholes that have fed Democrat-electing non-public-sector union interests.

Gotta make sure those perks, pensions, and patronage positions are all safe and secure.

They'll deal with crumbling infrastructure some other time...

Michael Barone is about as succinct as it gets in his piece:

Public-sector unions bleed taxpayers
Growing up in Michigan in the heyday of the United Auto Workers, I long assumed that labor unions were part of the natural order of things.

That's no longer clear. Last month the Labor Department reported that private-sector unions lost 834,000 members last year and now represent only 7.2 percent of private-sector employees. That's down from the all-time peak of 36 percent in 1953 and '54.

But union membership is still growing in the public sector. Last year 37.4 percent of public-sector employees were union members. That percentage was down near zero in the 1950s. For the first time in history, a majority of union members are government employees.

In my view, the outlook for both private- and public-sector unionism is problematic.

Private-sector unionism is adversarial. Economic studies show that such unions do extract premium wages and benefits from employers. But that puts employers at a competitive disadvantage. Back in the 1950s, the Big Three auto companies dominated the industry and were at the top of the Fortune 500. Last year General Motors and Chrysler went bankrupt and are now owned by the government and the UAW. Ford only barely escaped.

Adversarial unionism tends to produce rigid work rules that retard adaptation and innovation. We have had a three-decade experiment pitting UAW work rules against the flexible management of Japanese- and European-owned nonunion auto firms.

The results are in. Yes, clueless management at the Detroit firms for years ignored problems with product quality and made boneheaded investment mistakes. But adversarial unionism made it much, much harder for Detroit to produce high-quality vehicles than it was for nonunionized companies.

As economist Barry Hirsch points out, nonunion manufacturing employment rose from 12 million to 14 million between 1973 and 2006. In those years, union manufacturing employment dropped from 8 million to 2 million. "Unionism," Hirsch writes, "is a poor fit in a dynamic, competitive economy."

Moreover, federal laws passed since the 1950s now protect workers from racial and sex discrimination, safety hazards and pension failure. They don't need unions to do this anymore.

Public-sector unionism is a very different animal from private-sector unionism. It is not adversarial but collusive. Public-sector unions strive to elect their management, which in turn can extract money from taxpayers to increase wages and benefits -- and can promise pensions that future taxpayers will have to fund.

The results are plain to see. States such as New York, New Jersey and California, where public-sector unions are strong, now face enormous budget deficits and pension liabilities. In such states, the public sector has become a parasite sucking the life out of the private-sector economy. Not surprisingly, Americans have been steadily migrating out of such states and into states like Texas, where public-sector unions are weak and taxes are much lower.

Barack Obama is probably the most union-friendly president since Lyndon Johnson. He has obviously been unable to stop the decline of private-sector unionism. But he is doing his best to increase the power -- and dues income -- of public-sector unions.

One-third of last year's $787 billion stimulus package was aid to state and local governments -- an obvious attempt to bolster public-sector unions. And a successful one: While the private sector has lost 7 million jobs, the number of public-sector jobs has risen. The number of federal government jobs has been increasing by 10,000 a month, and the percentage of federal employees earning over $100,000 has jumped to 19 percent during the recession.

Obama and his party are acting in collusion with unions that contributed something like $400,000,000 to Democrats in the 2008 campaign cycle. Public-sector unionism tends to be a self-perpetuating machine that extracts money from taxpayers and then puts it on a conveyor belt to the Democratic party.

But it may not turn out to be a perpetual motion machine. Public-sector employees are still heavily outnumbered by those who depend on the private sector for their livelihoods. The next Congress may not be as willing as this one has been to bail out state governments dominated by public-sector unions. Voters may bridle at the higher taxes needed to pay for $100,000-plus pensions for public employees who retire in their 50s. Or they may move, as so many have already done, to states like Texas.

Obama's Democrats have used the financial crisis to expand the public sector and the public-sector unions. But voters seem to be saying, "Enough."

It is certainly telling that the Teamsters is still run by a guy named Hoffa. It should be of little surprise to any rational person that these bloated organizations are finding less and less success imposing themselves on savvy 21st century working people, who don't see how they are protected or served by overpaid, overfed leaders' promoting grandiose, ultra-expensive leftist political schemes while bilking public treasuries at every possible turn.

Because, yes, union households pay taxes too.

(But then again, the Obama administration was more than happy to see that they don't).

UPDATE: Perhaps I stand corrected about the back door for "card-check". It appears that the federal contracting process is the next target for illicit union protectionism, with the usual bottom line that the process becomes (further) distorted and taxpayers get screwed.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Liberal Condescension? Whatever couldst though mean??

In the Washington Post Professor Gerard Alexander of the University of Virginia handily breaks down the near-universal phenomenon of liberal condescension and contempt for anyone daring oppose their premises, presumptions, and/or grand designs for us all.

Why Are Liberals So Condescending?

By Gerard Alexander

Sunday, February 7, 2010; B01

Every political community includes some members who insist that their side has all the answers and that their adversaries are idiots. But American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives, appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration. Indeed, all the appeals to bipartisanship notwithstanding, President Obama and other leading liberal voices have joined in a chorus of intellectual condescension.

It's an odd time for liberals to feel smug. But even with Democratic fortunes on the wane, leading liberals insist that they have almost nothing to learn from conservatives. Many Democrats describe their troubles simply as a PR challenge, a combination of conservative misinformation -- as when Obama charges that critics of health-care reform are peddling fake fears of a "Bolshevik plot" -- and the country's failure to grasp great liberal accomplishments. "We were so busy just getting stuff done . . . that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are," the president told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in a recent interview. The benighted public is either uncomprehending or deliberately misinformed (by conservatives).

This condescension is part of a liberal tradition that for generations has impoverished American debates over the economy, society and the functions of government -- and threatens to do so again today, when dialogue would be more valuable than ever.

Liberals have dismissed conservative thinking for decades, a tendency encapsulated by Lionel Trilling's 1950 remark that conservatives do not "express themselves in ideas but only in action or in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas." During the 1950s and '60s, liberals trivialized the nascent conservative movement. Prominent studies and journalistic accounts of right-wing politics at the time stressed paranoia, intolerance and insecurity, rendering conservative thought more a psychiatric disorder than a rival. In 1962, Richard Hofstadter referred to "the Manichaean style of thought, the apocalyptic tendencies, the love of mystification, the intolerance of compromise that are observable in the right-wing mind."

...This attitude comes in the form of four major narratives about who conservatives are and how they think and function.

The first is the "vast right-wing conspiracy," a narrative made famous by Hillary Rodham Clinton but hardly limited to her. This vision maintains that conservatives win elections and policy debates not because they triumph in the open battle of ideas but because they deploy brilliant and sinister campaign tactics...


But, if conservative leaders are crass manipulators, then the rank-and-file Americans who support them must be manipulated at best, or stupid at worst. This is the second variety of liberal condescension, exemplified in Thomas Frank's best-selling 2004 book, "What's the Matter With Kansas?" Frank argued that working-class voters were so distracted by issues such as abortion that they were induced into voting against their own economic interests. Then-Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, later chairman of the Democratic National Committee, echoed that theme in his 2004 presidential run, when he said Republicans had succeeded in getting Southern whites to focus on "guns, God and gays" instead of economic redistribution.

And speaking to a roomful of Democratic donors in 2008, then-presidential candidate Obama offered a similar (and infamous) analysis when he suggested that residents of Rust Belt towns "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations" about job losses. When his comments became public, Obama backed away from their tenor but insisted that "I said something that everybody knows is true.

In this view, we should pay attention to conservative voters' underlying problems but disregard the policy demands they voice; these are illusory, devoid of reason or evidence. This form of liberal condescension implies that conservative masses are in the grip of false consciousness. When they express their views at town hall meetings or "tea party" gatherings, it might be politically prudent for liberals to hear them out, but there is no reason to actually listen.

The third version of liberal condescension points to something more sinister. In his 2008 book, "Nixonland," progressive writer Rick Perlstein argued that Richard Nixon created an enduring Republican strategy of mobilizing the ethnic and other resentments of some Americans against others. Similarly, in their 1992 book, "Chain Reaction," Thomas Byrne Edsall and Mary D. Edsall argued that Nixon and Reagan talked up crime control, low taxes and welfare reform to cloak racial animus and help make it mainstream. It is now an article of faith among many liberals that Republicans win elections because they tap into white prejudice against blacks and immigrants.

Race doubtless played a significant role in the shift of Deep South whites to the Republican Party during and after the 1960s. But the liberal narrative has gone essentially unchanged since then -- recall former president Carter's recent assertion that opposition to Obama reflects racism -- even though survey research has shown a dramatic decline in prejudiced attitudes among white Americans in the intervening decades. Moreover, the candidates and agendas of both parties demonstrate an unfortunate willingness to play on prejudices, whether based on race, region, class, income, or other factors.

Finally, liberals condescend to the rest of us when they say conservatives are driven purely by emotion and anxiety -- including fear of change -- whereas liberals have the harder task of appealing to evidence and logic. Former vice president Al Gore made this case in his 2007 book, "The Assault on Reason," in which he expressed fear that American politics was under siege from a coalition of religious fundamentalists, foreign policy extremists and industry groups opposed to "any reasoning process that threatens their economic goals." This right-wing politics involves a gradual "abandonment of concern for reason or evidence" and relies on propaganda to maintain public support, he wrote.

Prominent liberal academics also propagate these beliefs. George Lakoff, a linguist at the University of California at Berkeley and a consultant to Democratic candidates, says flatly that liberals, unlike conservatives, "still believe in Enlightenment reason," while Drew Westen, an Emory University psychologist and Democratic consultant, argues that the GOP has done a better job of mastering the emotional side of campaigns because Democrats, alas, are just too intellectual. "They like to read and think," Westen wrote. "They thrive on policy debates, arguments, statistics, and getting the facts right."

Markos Moulitsas, publisher of the influential progressive Web site Daily Kos, commissioned a poll, which he released this month, designed to show how many rank-and-file Republicans hold odd or conspiratorial beliefs -- including 23 percent who purportedly believe that their states should secede from the Union. Moulitsas concluded that Republicans are "divorced from reality" and that the results show why "it is impossible for elected Republicans to work with Democrats to improve our country." His condescension is superlative: Of the respondents who favored secession, he wonders, "Can we cram them all into the Texas Panhandle, create the state of Dumb-[expletive]-istan, and build a wall around them to keep them from coming into America illegally?"

I doubt it would take long to design a survey questionnaire that revealed strange, ill-informed and paranoid beliefs among average Democrats. Or does Moulitsas think Jay Leno talked only to conservatives for his "Jaywalking" interviews?

These four liberal narratives not only justify the dismissal of conservative thinking as biased or irrelevant -- they insist on it. By no means do all liberals adhere to them, but they are mainstream in left-of-center thinking. Indeed, when the president met with House Republicans in Baltimore recently, he assured them that he considers their ideas, but he then rejected their motives in virtually the same breath.

Read the rest here.
It is safe to say that those with the pretension to believe they alone have a monopoly on the way things must be, along with the willingness and desire to force it on the rest of us "for our own goods", must condescend to anyone not in line with them 100%. Clearly condescension is pretty much hard-wired into the core of their ideology.

Summed up : "You should be grateful that we the enlightened are saving all you poor misguided fools from your pitiful selves, and f**k you [insert derogation e.g. "racist", "reactionary", "teabagging", "wingnut" ] fools who dare think otherwise!"

Nick Gillespie at Reason has commentary on Alexander's column in his post : "Liberals Wouldn't Have to be So Condescending if The People Who Disagreed With Them Weren't Such Idiots

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Happy Hour With Mike Castle

The campaign for U.S. Senate is now joined. New Castle County Executive Chris Coons has decided to take on Congressman Mike Castle. As an alumnus of Tower Hill School, it is nice to know the Senate seat will go either way to a Hiller. I believe it will be Castle ('57) rather than Coons ('80).

I will be giving every effort I can to the Castle Campaign, which was the first campaign for which I volunteered as a very young person in 1984.

Castle's record of service to Delaware is simply unparalleled.

For those who would attempt to make an issue of age or health in this race, think again. Mike Castle is as mentally sharp and physically spry as I have ever seen him. He is in excellent physical health and, from all I can see, truly fired up for this challenge. He's also only 4 years older than our esteemed Vice-President.

But don't believe me. See for yourself.....please join us in the Young Republicans of Delaware this Friday evening from 6-8 pm at Dead President's on Union Street in Wilmington for a Castle Campaign happy hour.

The guest bartenders will be the guests of honor...the Congressman himself and his lovely and gracious wife Jane.

WHO : Delaware Young Republicans

WHAT : Mike & Jane Castle Guest Bartender Happy Hour

WHERE : Dead President's Pub - 618 North Union Street - Wilmington, DE

WHEN : Friday February 5, 2010 6-8pm


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Obama/Biden's Big Government Crony Capitalism

All those evil capitalists! Except of course for the special ones in the back pocket of Obama and big government Democrats, all giving each other financial back rubs...of course paid for by the public.

John Stossel's got the goods on these self-dealers, hiding behind a masquerade of public interest:

Big Government's Cronies

by John Stossel

Many window-making companies struggle because of the recession's effect on home building. But one little window company, Serious Materials, is "booming," says Fortune. "On a roll," according to Inc. magazine, which put Serious' CEO on its cover, with a story titled: "How to Build a Great Company".

The Minnesota Freedom Foundation tells me that this same little window company also gets serious attention from the most visible people in America.

Vice President Joe Biden appeared at the opening of one of its plants. CEO Kevin Surace thanked him for his "unwavering support." "Without you and the recovery ("stimulus") act, this would not have been possible," Surace said.

Biden returned the compliment: "You are not just churning out windows; you are making some of the most energy-efficient windows in the world. I would argue the most energy-efficient windows in the world."

Gee, other window-makers say their windows are just as energy efficient, but the vice president didn't visit them.

Biden laid it on pretty thick for Serious Materials: "This is a story of how a new economy predicated on innovation and efficiency is not only helping us today but inspiring a better tomorrow."

Serious doesn't just have the vice president in his corner. It's got President Obama himself.

Company board member Paul Holland had the rare of honor of introducing Obama at a "green energy" event. Obama then said: "Serious Materials just reopened ... a manufacturing plant outside of Pittsburgh. These workers will now have a new mission: producing some of the most energy-efficient windows in the world."

How many companies get endorsed by the president of the United States?

When the CEO said that opening his factory wouldn't have been possible without the Obama administration, he may have known something we didn't. Last month, Obama announced a new set of tax credits for so-called green companies. One window company was on the list: Serious Materials. This must be one very special company.

But wait, it gets even more interesting.

On my Fox Business Network show on "crony capitalism", I displayed a picture of administration officials and so-called "energy leaders" taken at the U.S. Department of Energy. Standing front and center was Cathy Zoi, who oversees $16.8 billion in stimulus funds, much of it for weatherization programs that benefit Serious.

The interesting twist is that Zoi happens to be the wife of Robin Roy, who happens to be vice president of "policy" at Serious Windows.

Of all the window companies in America, maybe it's a coincidence that the one which gets presidential and vice presidential attention and a special tax credit is one whose company executives give thousands of dollars to the Obama campaign and where the policy officer spends nights at home with the Energy Department's weatherization boss.

Or maybe not.

There may be nothing illegal about this. Zoi did disclose her marriage and said she would recuse herself from any matter that had a predictable effect on her financial interests.

But it sure looks funny to me, and it's odd that the liberal media have so much interest in this one company. Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, usually not a big promoter of corporate growth, gushed about how Serious Materials is an example of how the "stimulus" is working.

When we asked the company about all this, a spokeswoman said, "We don't comment on the personal lives of our employees." Later she called to say that my story is "full of lies."

But she wouldn't say what those lies are.

On its website, Serious Materials says it did not get a taxpayer subsidy. But that's just playing with terms. What it got was a tax credit, an opportunity that its competitors did not get: to keep money it would have paid in taxes. Let's not be misled. Government is as manipulative with selective tax credits as it is with cash subsidies. It would be more efficient to cut taxes across the board. Why should there be favoritism?

Because politicians like it. Big, complicated government gives them opportunities to do favors for their friends.

I firmly believe that the Clintons in the 1990's finally killed any effective outrage that might arise to do something against blatantly self-serving conflicts of personal and economic interest between those giving and those receiving government largesse or favors.

Those who head up big government are no better than the pigs atop the big corporate and banking piles. It's why they're so cozy in bed together, raping the taxpayers.

I Knew Obama Had at Least One "Jobs Program" That Works

The untold story of this is the excessive Cadillac gorging-at-the-trough-for-life benefits that public employees unions have managed to impose on governments from local to federal. They are bankrupting California as we speak.

The era of big government has returned with a vengeance, in the form of the largest federal work force in modern history.

The Obama administration says the government will grow to 2.15 million employees this year, topping 2 million for the first time since President Clinton declared that "the era of big government is over" and joined forces with a Republican-led Congress in the 1990s to pare back the federal work force.

Most of the increases are on the civilian side, which will grow by 153,000 workers, to 1.43 million people, in fiscal 2010.

The expansion could provide more ammunition to those arguing that the government is trying to do too much under President Obama.


Mr. Obama says the civilian work force will drop by 80,000 next year, mostly because of a reduction in U.S. census workers added in 2010 but then dropped in 2011 after the national population count is finished. That still leaves 1.35 million civilian federal employees on the payroll in 2011.

From 1981 through 2008, the civilian work force remained at about 1.1 million to 1.2 million, with a low of 1.07 million in 1986 and a high of more than 1.2 million in 1993 and in 2008. In 2009, the number jumped to 1.28 million.

Including both the civilian and defense sectors, the federal government will employ 2.15 million people in 2010 and 2.11 million in 2011, excluding Postal Service workers.


Even as the total number of federal employees rises, the ratio of employees to Americans has declined steadily, from one employee for every 78 residents in 1953 to one employee for every 110 residents in 1988 to one employee for every 155 residents in 2008.

The federal work force is older than the private-sector work force, which Mr. Light said raises the possibility of reducing the total number through retirements.

About 31 percent of the private work force is 50 or older, while 46 percent of the federal work force is 50 or older.


The administration has called for federal workers to get a 1.4 percent pay raise next year, which Mr. Orszag said, "frankly, I think to a lot of Americans, sounds pretty good."

The American Federation of Government Employees, the union that represents many government workers, said it was combing through the budget and did not have a comment.

The greed and manipulation of public employees' unions, who unlike in any other enterprise sit on both sides of the "negotiating" table, are making governments around the country frighteningly dysfunctional, operated largely as unaccountable scams to give something-for-nothing lifetime patronage to people with the type of second-rate ability and third-rate sensibility that the real world never rewards.

If you want to be enraged about how these patronage hogs fleece working taxpayers at every turn, without regard to the ultimate consequence that they are making even necessary government a practical and financially-unsustainable impossibility, just read :

Class War

How public servants became our masters

In April 2008, The Orange County Register published a bombshell of an investigation about a license plate program for California government workers and their families. Drivers of nearly 1 million cars and light trucks—out of a total 22 million vehicles registered statewide—were protected by a “shield” in the state records system between their license plate numbers and their home addresses. There were, the newspaper found, great practical benefits to this secrecy.

“Vehicles with protected license plates can run through dozens of intersections controlled by red light cameras with impunity,” the Register’s Jennifer Muir reported. “Parking citations issued to vehicles with protected plates are often dismissed because the process necessary to pierce the shield is too cumbersome. Some patrol officers let drivers with protected plates off with a warning because the plates signal that drivers are ‘one of their own’ or related to someone who is.”

The plate program started in 1978 with the seemingly unobjectionable purpose of protecting the personal addresses of officials who deal directly with criminals. Police argued that the bad guys could call the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), get addresses for officers, and use the information to harm them or their family members. There was no rash of such incidents, only the possibility that they could take place.

So police and their families were granted confidentiality. Then the program expanded from one set of government workers to another. Eventually parole officers, retired parking enforcers, DMV desk clerks, county supervisors, social workers, and other categories of employees from 1,800 state agencies were given the special protections too. Meanwhile, the original intent of the shield had become obsolete: The DMV long ago abandoned the practice of giving out personal information about any driver. What was left was not a protection but a perk.

Yes, rank has its privileges, and it’s clear that government workers have a rank above the rest of us. Ordinarily, if one out of every 22 California drivers had a license to drive any way he chose, there would be demands for more police power to protect Californians from the potential carnage. But until the newspaper series, law enforcement officials and legislators had remained mum. The reason, of course, is that the scofflaws are law enforcement officials and legislators.

Here is how brazen they’ve become: A few days after the newspaper investigation caused a buzz in Sacramento, lawmakers voted to expand the driver record protections to even more government employees. An Assembly committee, on a bipartisan 13-to-0 vote, agreed to extend the program to veterinarians, firefighters, and code officers. “I don’t want to say no to the firefighters and veterinarians that are doing these things that need to be protected,” Assemblyman Mike Duvall (R-Yorba Linda) explained.

Exempting themselves from traffic laws in the name of a threat that no longer exists is bad enough, but what government workers do to the rest of us on a daily basis makes ticket dodging look like child’s play. Often under veils of illegal secrecy, public-sector unions and their political allies are systematically looting the public treasury with gold-plated pensions, jeopardizing the finances of state and local governments around the country, removing themselves from legal accountability, and doing it all in the name of humble working men and women just looking for their fair share. Government employees have turned themselves into a coddled class that lives better than its private-sector counterpart, and with more impunity. The public’s servants have become our masters.

Continued Here.