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The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Archive for February 12th, 2010

The Lobbying Boom – The numbers are in

Posted by iusbvision on February 12, 2010

This is exactly what Barack Obama ran against, and instead he relaxed lobbying rules in the administration and hired them to work in the White House – LINKS – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18,

National Examiner:

Since March, I’ve been looking at lobbying numbers and lobbying filings and detecting a possible lobbying boom under President Obama. Today, the Center for Responsive Politics gives us the hard numbers:

In all, federal lobbyists’ clients spent more than $3.47 billion last year, often driven to Washington, D.C.’s power centers and halls of influence by political issues central to the age: health care reform, financial reform, energy policy.

That figure represents a more than 5 percent increase over $3.3 billion worth of federal lobbying recorded in 2008, the previous all-time annual high for lobbying expenditures. And it comes in a year when a recession persisted, the dollar’s value against major foreign currencies declined and joblessness rates increased….

Last year’s 4th quarter also marked the first quarter in U.S. history that federal lobbying expenditures cracked the $900 million mark — which they did with ample room to space, hitting a record $955.1 million for the quarter, the Center’s research shows….

“Lobbying appears recession proof,” said Sheila Krumholz, the Center’s executive director. “Even when companies are scaling back other operations, many view lobbying as a critical tool in protecting their future interests, particularly when Congress is preparing to take action on issues that could seriously affect their bottom lines.”

I discussed the causes and nature of this boom in my Christmas column, “Barack Obama and The Miracle on K Street,” but I think the Cato Institute’s David Boaz put it best: “Lay out a picnic, you get ants. Hand out more wealth through government, you get lobbyists.”

Posted in 2012, Campaign 2008, Chuck Norton, Obama and Congress Post Inaugration | Leave a Comment »

Is Dan Coats the same man he used to be?

Posted by iusbvision on February 12, 2010

Dan Coats is running for senate again after leaving office to go back to the private sector.

While Evan Bayh has proven to be a disappointment (1, 2, 3) with his “Conserva-Dems” rhetoric proving to just be spin in order to save face with traditional voters, he faces the first competitive race in a long, long time. The result is that many people in the GOP are lining up to replace him. Former Senator Dan Coats, who proved to be a formidable campaigner, wishes to return to office.

When I heard that Senator Coats was running again I was almost ready to vote for him, but as you all know, I don’t support anyone without taking a long, careful look at him/her.

Is Senator Coats the same man we used to know? Has he compromised his values too much in the private sector? The following articles address that very question. Either way, any candidate is going to have to demonstrate to me that he/she is worthy of my vote.

National Examiner (which is an excellent newspaper):

Dan Coats, lobbyist for fat cats, plots Senate return

By: Timothy P. Carney

Examiner Columnist

February 10, 2010 Republicans in 2010 have an opportunity to capitalize politically on popular anger with elites in Washington and Wall Street and with an exploding government that tramples on the little guy in service of the well-connected. But now, in a competitive Senate race, Republicans have tapped a corporate lobbyist who has grown wealthy inside the Beltway by begging for government favors on behalf of the biggest banks, drug companies, automakers, and other leeches in the Washington swamp.

Former Sen. Dan Coats wants to pass through the revolving door again, leaving his plush job at a K Street lobbying firm to challenge two-term Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., for the Senate seat Coats held for a decade before he cashed out.

Democrats have been quick to attack Coats as a lobbyist who has done the bidding of the fattest fat cats. But, ironically, the policies Coats advanced on behalf of his corporate clients are the same bailouts, regulations, and overspending that President Obama has championed in the name of “change.” And Coats’ biggest clients — Google and the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America — have been intimate Obama allies.

Coats represented Bank of America in the third quarter of 2008, when the collapsing bank begged for and received tens of billions of bailout dollars — a bailout that was passed with Obama’s blessing and that enflamed the populist anger that led to the tea-party rebellion of 2009.

For Coats, that was just the beginning. Acting on behalf of Cerberus Capital Management, the hedge fund that owned Chrysler, he lobbied to expand the Wall Street bailout to Detroit, according to the October 2008 lobbying report filed by Coats’ employer, King & Spalding. Presidents Bush and Obama agreed with Coats and Cerberus, and taxpayers soon bailed out Chrysler.

Coats also was on the side of domestic manufacturers who convinced Obama this year to impose tariffs on steel tubing from China. Coats represented the Ad Hoc Coalition for Fair Pipe Imports from China, the group of steel-pipe manufacturers who sued Chinese pipe manufacturers in the World Trade Organization. In January, that group struck gold when Obama announced tariffs on steel pipe from China — consumers and other manufacturers lost with Obama’s big-government action, while labor unions and Coats’ clients won.

Another Coats client was billionaire private-equity mogul Julian Robertson. But Coats wasn’t lobbying on the taxation of private equity managers or regulation of the finance industry. He was lobbying for the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill that would restrict energy use in the name of limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

Robertson was invested in Chinese biofuels and in nuclear power, both of which would benefit from a cap-and-trade scheme, such as the one included in Lieberman-Warner and in the current Waxman-Markey climate bill, that would constrain the use of fossil fuels like coal.

Coats’ other clients include a lineup of subsidy sucklers and regulatory robber barons, many of which spent 2009 at President Obama’s side, fighting for the Democrats’ “reform” agenda. For instance, Google is one of the president’s closest allies — Fortune magazine, for instance, carried a story last October headlined “Obama & Google (A Love Story),” with the thesis, “In Google, the $22-billion-a-year online-advertising Goliath, Obama appears to have found a corporate kindred spirit.” Google is also a Coats client. Lobbying filings show Coats has lobbied on Google’s behalf for “Openness and competition in the online services market,” which presumably means he worked for Google’s coveted “net neutrality” regulation — effectively price controls on networks, to the benefit of Google and other content giants.

Democrats have attacked Coats for representing drug makers Amgen and the Medicines Company as well as PhRMA, the biggest spender of all single-industry lobby groups over the past decade. But it’s the GOP and its conservative base that should be upset about this dossier — PhRMA was an early and enthusiastic backer of Obama’s health care “reform,” which would have profited the industry. And MDCO’s priority for which they hired Coats — a tailor-made five-year extension of MDCO’s monopoly on one drug, Angiomax — was slipped into the final reform bill by Democrats just before Scott Brown’s election torpedoed it.

Populist anger is burning over bailouts, overspending, government growth, and the closed-door Washington collusion between the wealthy and the powerful. This anger has Democrats worried. But if Republicans nominate Coats, a Beltway insider specializing in corporate welfare, the Tea Party might be tarring and feathering the GOP as well.

Timothy P. Carney, The Examiner’s lobbying editor

 

This article is devastating and makes a case that Coats has sold out for cash and his opponents will try to define him early and knock him out.

Politico.com:

The Nuking of Dan Coats

In the week since Dan Coats announced he was preparing to challenge Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, Democrats have launched a withering, no-holds-barred assault on the former Republican senator, throwing him off balance and raising questions about whether his prospective candidacy has suffered lasting damage.

The oppo research mill began cranking up within hours of word last week that he was readying a campaign for his former Senate seat in Indiana. First came a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee statement referring to him as a “federally registered lobbyist whose client lists include banks, private equity firms and defense contractors.”

Then Coats was blasted for being registered to vote in Virginia, rather than Indiana, and for being soft on Osama bin Laden. The takedown continued as a YouTube video surfaced showing Coats telling North Carolina delegates at the 2008 GOP convention that he was planning to retire to their state.

By Monday, less than a week after he floated the idea of a comeback bid for the seat he held for one full term in the 1990s, Democrats had framed the former senator as a carpetbagger, a Washington lobbyist for PhRMA and big banks and a foreign agent with ties to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Yemeni interests — with almost no noticeable pushback until Coats brought on a campaign spokesman at the beginning of this week.

The ferocious barrage — a coordinated effort unleashed by a small core of senior Democratic strategists in Washington, top Bayh political hands and Indiana Democratic Party officials — has partisans on both sides of the aisle wondering not whether Coats has been bruised by the punches but whether he will be able to pick himself up off the canvas.

“We just hit him with a freight train,” one Democratic official familiar with the anti-Coats effort said Monday. “It’s Politics 101: Frame the guy early.”

Indiana Republican Party Chairman Murray Clark said it was “too early to tell” whether the Democratic attacks had inflicted lasting damage on Coats’s campaign.

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton | Leave a Comment »

Dr. Glenn Harlan Reynolds: What I Saw at the Tea Party Convention

Posted by iusbvision on February 12, 2010

Read this carefully.

Reynolds via WSJ:

The attendees want politicians who will deliver on Obama’s promise of clean and open government.

There were promises of transparency and of a new kind of collaborative politics where establishment figures listened to ordinary Americans. We were going to see net spending cuts, tax cuts for nearly all Americans, an end to earmarks, legislation posted online for the public to review before it is signed into law, and a line-by-line review of the federal budget to remove wasteful programs.

These weren’t the tea-party platforms I heard discussed in Nashville last weekend. They were the campaign promises of Barack Obama in 2008.

Mr. Obama made those promises because the ideas they represented were popular with average Americans. So popular, it turns out, that average Americans are organizing themselves in pursuit of the kind of good government Mr. Obama promised, but has not delivered. And that, in a nutshell, was the feel of the National Tea Party Convention. The political elites have failed, and citizens are stepping in to pick up the slack.

Angela McGlowan enters the GOP primary to represent Mississippi’s First District.
Reynolds

 

This response has brought millions of Americans to the streets over the past year, and brought quite a few people to the posh Opryland Resort (with its indoor waterfalls and boat rides, it’s like a casino without the gambling) for the convention.

Pundits claim the tea partiers are angry—and they are—but the most striking thing about the atmosphere in Nashville was how cheerful everyone seemed to be. I spoke with dozens of people, and the responses were surprisingly similar. Hardly any had ever been involved in politics before. Having gotten started, they were finding it to be not just worthwhile, but actually fun. Laughter rang out frequently, and when ne w-media mogul Andrew Breitbart held forth on a TV interview, a crowd gathered and broke into spontaneous applause.

A year ago, many told me, they were depressed about the future of America. Watching television pundits talk about President Obama’s transformative plans for big government, they felt alone, isolated and helpless. That changed when protests, organized by bloggers, met Mr. Obama a year ago in Denver, Colo., Mesa, Ariz., and Seattle, Wash. Then came CNBC talker Rick Santelli’s famous on-air rant on Feb. 19, 2009, which gave the tea-party movement its name.

Tea partiers are still angry at federal deficits, at Washington’s habit of rewarding failure with handouts and punishing success with taxes and regulation, and the general incompetence that has marked the first year of the Obama presidency. But they’re no longer depressed.

Instead, they seem energized. And surprisingly media savvy. William Temple donned colonial dress knowing that it would be an irresistible lure to TV cameras. When the cameras trained on him, he regaled interviewers with well-informed discussion of constitutional history. Other attendees were hawking DVDs, books, and Web sites promoting tea-party ideals, while discussing the use of tools like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for political organizing.

Press attention focused on Sarah Palin’s speech, which was well-received by the crowd. But the attendees I met weren’t looking to her for direction. They were hoping she would move in theirs. Right now, the tea party isn’t looking for leaders so much as leaders are looking to align themselves with the tea party.

It’s easy to see why. A recent Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP poll found that three-fourths of independent voters have a favorable opinion of the tea party. This enthusiasm, however, does not translate into an embrace of establishment Republicanism. One of the less-noted aspects of Mrs. Palin’s speech was her endorsement of primary challenges for incumbent Republicans, something that is already underway. Tea partiers I talked to hope to replace a lot of entrenched time-servers and to throw a scare into others.

One primary challenger is Les Phillip. He is running against Republican Parker Griffith in Alabama’s fifth congressional district. Mr. Phillip, a black businessman and Navy veteran who immigrated with his parents from Trinidad in his youth, got his start in politics speaking at a tea-party protest in Decatur, Ala., last year.

“Somebody had to speak,” he told me, “so I stepped up.” He did well enough that he was invited to speak at another protest in Trussville, Ala., after which things sort of snowballed. Of the tea partiers, he says, “Their values are pretty much mine. I live in a town in North Alabama where there are plenty of blacks driving Mercedes and living in big houses. Only in America can someone come from a little island and live the dream. I’ve liked it, and that’s what I want for my children. [But] I saw the window closing for my own kids.”

Mr. Phillip has gotten tea-party endorsements, as well as one from Mike Huckabee. The Republican establishment is siding with Mr. Griffith, who only recently switched from Democrat to Republican. That support is perhaps understandable as realpolitik, but it’s not the sort of thing that sits well with tea partiers, who think that too much realpolitik is what rendered the Republican Party corrupt and ossified over the past decade.

Mr. Phillip isn’t the only black tea-party candidate in the deep south—Angela McGlowan, who spoke in Nashville, has entered the Republican primary in Mississippi’s first district—and primary challenges aren’t the only way activists are exerting influence. Cincinnati tea-party activists are running candidates for Republican precinct executive in every precinct in their area—if elected, these candidates will help set policy platforms within the GOP and have sway over which candidates the party endorses. Activists in other states are doing the same. Adam Andrzejewski, who ran in the Republican primary for governor in Illinois, told me he will run candidates in each of Illinois’ precincts, and Utah activists are turning that state’s convention-based nominating system into a trial for incumbent Republican Sen. Robert Bennett. Plus, tea-party activists used their convention to launch a political action committee.

If 2009 was the year of taking it to the streets, 2010 is the year of taking it to the polls. With ordinary Americans setting out to reclaim the political process, it’s likely to be a bumpy ride for incumbents of both parties. I suspect the Founding Fathers would approve.

Mr. Reynolds is a law professor at the University of Tennessee.

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton, Economics 101, Energy & Taxes, Obama and Congress Post Inaugration, Palin Truth Squad | Leave a Comment »

Elite leftist pinhead quote of the day

Posted by iusbvision on February 12, 2010

Joe Queenan in the UK Guardian:

The Tea Partyers are mostly pasty-faced middle-Americans, holding the sorts of smallish, grassroots, inbred gatherings that could easily be ignored in the pre-viral era before cable television and the internet. No more. Now 212 angry white people shouting down a rattled congressman in rural Idaho can command as much media attention as a roadside bombing in Iraq. An 18th-century political movement is using 21st-century technology to persuade America to return to its bedrock 19th-century values.

I love it when the progressive secular left outs themselves with a moment of honesty. Usually the far left is trying to fool the voter, trying to make them believe that they are not arch leftists who want to take the country from something that is free to something they can control; much like how Barack Obama couched much of his campaign rhetoric in a Reagan like style and critiquing the government under President Bush for too much government spending only to come to office and raise spending by a factor of eight.

Those who understand the mind of the statist, elitist progressive see that they believe that the ideals that America was founded on are bad ones. They believe that those ideals based on Christianity, scholasticism and those backwards ancient Greeks are nothing more than mysticism. Indeed, 6000 years of human experience and discovery through trial and error mean nothing now that they and their superior self-serving virtues are here to rescue us all. All we have to do to live in their created utopia is surrender our western culture and much of our economic and political freedom to them, our betters.

Queenan went on to say the following:

Democrats have been reluctant to wave the flag and are uncomfortable with anything that evokes the spirit of ’76.

I must say that I am shocked at the honesty of this statement, but then he goes on to say something dishonest in an attempt to mitigate the damage:

Words like “patriot” and “minuteman” unnerve them, not only because they have been co-opted by the right, but because they are used to christen nuclear weapons and vigilante groups along the Mexican border.

So I did a Google search on spirit of 76 and nuclear weapons to find a match and found none, but such a statement is yet another indicator that the progressive secular left, ashamed of American ideals and values, is uncomfortable with the idea of American military superiority; they are much more comfortable with the idea of UN military superiority and in the cold war made it clear that they were more comfortable with Soviet military superiority. As far as vigilante groups, I am not aware of any genuine vigilante groups along the border waving a flag. I am aware of the group that called the police and the border patrol when they saw people committing a crime. Of course it is the nature of the left, when reality doesn’t suit them, to redefine reality and the meaning of simple words to suit themselves when it is convenient. Their postmodernist philosophy embraces such intellectual dishonesty as a virtue.

Of course we live in a day when the New York Times and the rest of the elite media will publish five articles in a single day trashing Sarah Palin, while ignoring her record and demeaning traditionalists, libertarians and conservatives. In such a world the statist progressive feels perfectly comfortable pronouncing the most outrageous denials of reality and trying to make it all sound so good.

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton, Culture War, Leftist Hate in Action, Palin Truth Squad | Leave a Comment »

Progressives Blow It When Attacking Palin Again.

Posted by iusbvision on February 12, 2010

So I saw this tweet from left wing activist Tanya Acker and it pointed to the following blog post.

The Raw Story Blog:

Fact check: Palin’s claims in Tea Party speech debunked.

WASHINGTON — Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin lauded the virtues of the Constitution in her Tea Party Convention speech Saturday, but some of her claims appear markedly flawed. Reports over the weekend also challenged her account of recent history on national security and terrorism.

In her speech, Palin made numerous claims related to Obama, the constitution and terrorism.

“The [constitutional] protections provided,” Palin said, “we’re going to bestow them on a terrorist who hates our Constitution and wants to destroy our Constitution and our country? This makes no sense because we have a choice in how we’re going to deal with the terrorists.”

But a 2008 Supreme Court ruling, Boumediene v. Bush, declared that alleged terrorists who aren’t convicted of a crime — irrespective of their citizenship — have the constitutional right to have their case heard in federal court.

The case declared unconstitutional some of the Bush administration’s decisions to strip rights from those who are designated enemy combatants by the Executive Branch.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said such actions fail to meet “the fundamental procedural protections of habeas corpus” guaranteed in the constitution, as the New York Times reported.

 

Ok and now for the rest of the facts which change everything they just said:

First, President Bush did not decide “to strip rights from those who are designated enemy combatants by the Executive Branch” as The Raw Story claims.

Before the war, the Ahrens case and the Eisentrager case in 1948 (LINK) set the rules for dealing with enemy combatants which stood in line with all American and international precedent that enemy combatants are not entitled to Habeas Corpus during wartime. In short, the President has war powers and enemy combatants are held for security and intelligence reasons, not because we are going to charge them with robbing the local convenience store. No country has ever given enemy combatants access to civilian courts untill now.

So as you can see, Presidnet Bush didn’t “strip the rights” from enemy combatants.

While recent decisions since the war from the court have said that the President himself can no longer deny Habeas Corpus to enemy combatants as was the case in the past, Congress still can as it is an expressed power in the Constitution.

Also, while the decision quoted by The Raw Story can be interpreted to mean that enemy combatants have access to federal courts, there is still this little thing called Article III of the United States Constitution which gives Congress complete control over the juristiction of these matters in the courts. 

AND…

Congress has the ability to make military tribunals federal courts with special rules and juristiction which is exactly what Congress has been doing and this is why the President can still decide to use civilian federal courts or military tribunals at his discresion.

Article III:

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

If progressives weren’t always so concerned with getting around the Constitution and just started reading it they would not make the kind of silly mistakes the blogger above has made.

Bottom line: Palin was right.

The article goes to to quote a few things from Media Matters, I find this amusing because without exception, when a commentor has used Media Matters as a source here in an attempt to refute what was written, the Media Matters claims could not withstand a few minutes of public records searches. I have often pondered who it is that tells more half truths, Media Matters or Alex Jones’ Prison Planet.

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton, Leftist Hate in Action, Obama and Congress Post Inaugration, Palin Truth Squad | Leave a Comment »

Palin: Your Doing It Right in Texas!

Posted by iusbvision on February 12, 2010

Texas has had the most job creation and is the state that has enjoyed some of the best economic performance in these troubled times.

Texas leads in private sector job growth, has the top five housing markets in the country, no government debt and in fact has an 8 billion dollar surplus etc etc etc….

Texas Governor Rick Perry is running for re-election and Sarah Palin is by his side campaigning with him.

I admire Rick Perry, he says what he means and means what he says and is one of the very few politicians who actually meets my ethical standards.

If you need an example of why Sarah Palin can raise money like gangbusters, check out her performance at this campaign stop and you will see why.

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton, Palin Truth Squad | Leave a Comment »

Frugal Hoosier: Evan Bayh Residency Issue?

Posted by iusbvision on February 12, 2010

Follow the LINK.

Posted in Other Links | Leave a Comment »

Governor Palin Tea Party Convention Speech

Posted by iusbvision on February 12, 2010

Q&A:

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton, Culture War, Palin Truth Squad | Leave a Comment »

 
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