Tuesday, October 30, 2007
See the video here.
He posted the video on our neighborhood listserv and apparently they have tracked one of the kids to the local elementary school.
The latest shady dealings are now up on O'Malley Watch.
Secretary of General Services Alvin Collins sent an email to all potential state contractors urging them to lobby for O'Gov's tax increases. Oh, Collins is the man who decides who gets state contracts.
Our good friend Senator Andy Harris sent a letter to the governor informing him that he has alerted Assistant AG Robert Zarnoch. Don't hold your breath Zarnoch is on deck awaiting a judgeship from O'Malley.
DNR Secretary John Griffin gave a Power Point presentation to DNR employees detailing who would be fired if the governor was forced to implement his "Cost of Delay" budget. Hint: If you value your job, call your representatives and tell them to raise your taxes.
Also check out O'Malley touting his tax increases in a closed door speech to select UMBC students, then getting state paid UMBC president Freeman Hrabowski to use the UMBC email system to urge students to support tax increases that will only harm them.
A very nice Martin Watcher from the Eastern Shore. He told me he has no compunction about moving two miles across the border to Delaware.
I was wating for this guy to ingnite his torch light
A powerful message in any language.
Another math lesson for the C student. That's Gonzaga high school for you.
El Diablo, save yourself!
A good shot of the crowd
The Martin Watchers were out in force.
The Annapolis Tea/Tax Party.
Since O'Malley only goes before pliant and captive audiences of left wing special interest groups who already agree with this tax proposals, now he can hear from the people he has ignored: those who will have to foot the bill.Email O'Gov directly at email@example.com
Martin Watcher applies one strict rule to emailing the governor:
An important rule for the email: Please be respectful in your email and
donot make personal threats – rudeness and crass language only makes our
Friday, October 26, 2007
The proposed tax increases for the upcoming special session give us a chance to turn that argument back on the cosmopolitan progressives, and tilt it on its head. Now the question is are the progressive Montgomery County delegates and senators going to vote their “progressive values” against their own economic interests. In other words, turning a popular progressive idiom on its head, is the political, personal?
Montgomery County will bear the brunt of the tax increases. Blair Lee noted that:
Montgomery County is the home of 41 percent of Maryland’s families with incomes over $250,000, Montgomery will generate 81 percent of the new state revenues. That’s right, Montgomery County — with 16.5 percent of the state’s population — will pay 81 percent of the state’s $163 million income tax increase. Baltimore city and Prince George’s County taxpayers will actually pay less than they’re currently paying.
Lee is of the opinion that MoCo will vote its progressive values, and play the part of O’Malley’s fellow travelers continuing to provide us with its greatest export, “moral superiority.” Lee writes, “Montgomery’s state lawmakers support the governor’s income tax plan because it’s ‘‘progressive,” it taxes the wealthy who mostly live in Montgomery. So, as usual, our representatives place principle over politics. Taxing ourselves more is the right thing to do, they say. How can you argue against fairness, they ask?
My Red Maryland colleague streiff thinks differently. He believes that there is already a great deal of local pressure bearing on the MoCo delegation to oppose O’Malley’s massive tax hikes.
It will be interesting to track the MoCo delegation during the special session to see which way they vote. If they vote their values and go along with O’Gov, they would at least have the courage of their convictions, however misguided those convictions are. However, if they vote against O’Malley, then we will have to wonder what it says about the strength of so- called “progressive values;” if progressives abandon them when their own personal economic interests are at stake.
All credit for Ron's laugh at the end goes to my Red Maryland colleague, streiff. I borrowed his post headline. It was just too good a line to pass up at the moment.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Just a reminder (the first of many) about the anti-tax rally Monday Oct. 29 at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis. The MDGOP site has all the details. My Red Maryland colleague Brian Gill has more info, especially a list of key Democratic senators to pressure to vote against the tax increases.Stop by SmartGov.net and sign up to be a part of the movement.
O'Malley Watch is keeping a a legislative score card for all GA members
The key committees that will deal with O'Malley's tax proposals are:
House Appropriations Committee
House Ways and Means Committee
Senate Budget and Taxation Committee
Senate Finance Committee
Click on the links to contact each member of those committees.
I highly recommend his book The Keys to the White House. The book is an analytical forecasting system that has successfully predicted the winner of the popular vote in presidential elections. He predicted Bush’s win in 2004, and not only that his keys system works for every presidential election since 1860.
Having said that, professor Lichtman and I are as far apart politically as the Yankees fans and Red Sox fans are on baseball. He is as Ron Smith calls him an über-liberal or progressive, and I am …well if I have to tell you about me, stop reading now.
I took umbrage with a few points Lichtman made in his Montgomery Gazette column about the upcoming special session.
Just as medical authorities tell us that shedding pounds requires only a four-word prescription — eat less, exercise more — the same holds true for shedding deficits — spend less, tax more. And don’t for a moment think that legalizing slots doesn’t count as taxation. We know that slot machine gambling is one of the most regressive ways to extract revenue from our residents. That’s why Sean Dobson, the head of Progressive Maryland, says that his group — the state’s conscience on progressive taxation — firmly opposes legalized slot machine gambling in our state.
Spend less (good idea). Tax more? How does taxing more lead to shedding a deficit? Oh sure technically you would balance the budget or maybe even get a surplus. However, that would require a governor and legislators who don’t spend our money like an heiress out for a day on Rodeo Drive. In the reality that is the Maryland General Assembly, spend less, tax more ends up becoming tax more; spend even more than that.
I would hardly call Progressive Maryland the “state’s conscience on progressive taxation.” How much conscience does an organization really have when they resort to pulling stunts like their childish push poll to foist the fallacy that Marylanders actually want more and higher taxes?
More Lichtman on progressive taxation:
Governor O’Malley is on track by relying on progressive forms of taxation to generate more revenue for the state. The General Assembly needs to resist the pressure of lobbyists who will be swarming around Annapolis and close our state’s egregious tax loopholes for big corporations. It should mostly increase the corporate tax rate and make sure that any sales tax increase covers such services as property management and health clubs used primarily by the affluent.
A real study of O’Malley’s tax plan by Ernst & Young details the economic impact of increasing the corporate tax and adopting combined reporting. Both would cost 36 jobs for every $10 million in revenue. 17.5 jobs lost for every $10 million in revenue from the corporate tax increase, 18.3 jobs lost for every $10 million in revenue from combined reporting.
The EY report also shows similarly drastic job losses due to the sales tax increase
• The static sales tax changes would decrease Maryland employment, including government jobs, by -8,334 jobs in 2012; job losses will increase to -9,274 by 2017.
• The largest job reductions in 2012 are in wholesale and retail trade (-2,341), and accommodation and food services (-1,238).
• Comparing the decrease in jobs to the amount of the static increase in state sales taxes from the rate increase, the tax rate increase will result in 9.5 jobs lost per $1 million of tax increases in 2012.
• The decreases in employment also reduce the personal income received by Maryland
residents by $461 million in 2012 and $655 million in 2017.
• In addition to reductions in jobs and incomes, the sales tax increases are projected to decrease real investment in business machinery, equipment, structures and other capital assets. The reduction reaches $152 million by 2017.
• Section II of Table 2.2 shows that Maryland’s weaker economy will reduce state tax collections by an estimated $45 million in 2017. This will partially offset the static revenue increase in sales taxes shown in Table 2.1. In addition, local governments’ taxes will be reduced by $33 million in 2017.
The sectors of the economy that will lose the most jobs will be wholesale and retail trade, and Accommodation and food services a net loss of 3,647 jobs in these sectors alone. Jobs usually occupied by the people progressives claim to champion.
Tax more, lose jobs. How progressive!
The General Assembly should endorse the governor’s plan to make the state income tax more progressive by raising the rates for high-income earners. The amount paid by those within the upper tax brackets will be only a fraction of the tax
windfalls they have already reaped from federal tax cuts that President Bush pushed through Congress during this last term.
If you ever wanted to see the philosophical differences between conservatives and progressives in its starkest form that was it. A windfall? A tax cut is not a windfall. It is government allowing its citizens to keep the money they earned.
As Rick Moran noted "That money is the taxpayer’s. It is already in his pocket. A tax cut is nothing more than a law preventing the government from reaching into the taxpayer’s pocket and taking away his property… In short, the money “given back” to taxpayers is really the government’s money to begin with, theirs to do with as they see fit."
Only a progressive could see the government keeping its hands outof its citizens' pockets as a “windfall”.
W&M has instituted a new bias reporting process that allows students "who have been affected by incidents involving bias related to race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or other protected conditions" to report the incident either openly or confidentially to the Bias Reporting Team.
What is truly disturbing is that this system sets up a series protocols for the Bias Reporting Team to secretly investigate so called instances of "bias" and keep the college president informed at all stages of the process.
Furthermore, "The Chair or a delegate from the Bias Reporting Team will be charged with maintaining a database of reported incidents. The Team will decide how that data is to be handled, who should have access, and to whom it should be reported."
Secret files, secret investigations, have the diversicrats gone so far off the deep end, that they have to take their totalitarian ideas to the point of emulating the practices a communist secret police organization. What's next, airbrushing photos!
To top it all off the Bias Reporting Team is charged with three main responsibilities one of which is to "To use whatever happens as a teachable moment." Somebody please send some copies of The Great Terror down to Williamsburg for this crew, it looks like that "teachable moment" has arrived far sooner than they expected.
Uh oh I hear a knock on my door.
John Derbyshire weighs in:
I hate the verminous parasites who staff these "diversity" rackets. I really hate the prissy, puritanical, puffed-up, self-admiring, totalitarian, thought-crushing, witch-hunting, nail-biting creeps.
Someone report me, please.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
First, Will is correct on constitutional principles:
But were a president empowered to cancel provisions of legislation, what he would be doing would be indistinguishable from legislating. He would be making, rather than executing, laws, and the separation of powers would be violated.
Furthermore, when presidents truncated bills by removing items, they often would vitiate the will of Congress. Frequently, congressional majorities could not have been cobbled together for bills if they had not included some provisions that presidents later removed.
The line-item veto expresses liberalism's faith in top-down government and the watery Caesarism that has produced today's inflated presidency. Liberalism assumes that executive branch experts, free from parochial constituencies, know, as Congress does not, what is good for the nation "as a whole." This is contrary to the public philosophy of James Madison's "extensive" republic with its many regions and myriad interests.
Second, my reason for initially supporting the line-item was flawed in that I only thought of it as being used for a single purpose, cutting pork, by executives in the mold of what Plato called "philosopher kings." That is I saw the line-item through rose colored glasses. Will throws the cold water on my daydream.
If Romney thinks a line-item veto would be a major force for federal frugality, he is mistaken. Gov. Reagan used his line-item veto to trim, on average, only about 2 percent from California's budgets. And much larger proportions of state budgets than of the federal budget are susceptible to such vetoes. Sixty-one percent of the federal budget goes to entitlements and to interest payments on government borrowing, neither of which can be vetoed. An additional 21 percent goes to defense and homeland security. Realistically, the line-item veto probably would be pertinent to less than 20 percent of the budget.
And the line-item veto might result in increased spending. Legislators would have even less conscience about packing the budget with pork, because they could get credit for putting in what presidents would be responsible for taking out. Presidents, however, might use the pork for bargaining, saying to individual legislators: If you support me on this and that, I will not veto the bike path you named for your Aunt Emma.
After a century of the growth of presidential power and after eight years of especially aggressive assertions of presidential prerogatives, it would be unseemly to intensify this tendency with a line-item veto. Conservatives used to be the designated worriers about the evolution of the presidency into the engine of grandiose government. They should visit the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom in the National Archives building on Constitution Avenue. There the Constitution is displayed under four large glass plates. Almost half of the glass is required to cover just Article One. That concerns the legislative branch, which is the government's "first branch" for a reason.
While the line-item veto, on its face sounds nice, especially to conservatives for its capability to cut pork, waste and spending, it offends constitutional principles and blurs the rightful duties of the legislative and executive branches.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I will be discussing the special session, slots, and of course the huge, honking tax increases.
Also, don't forget the anti-tax rally in Annapolis on Monday October, 29 from 4-6pm at Lawyers Mall.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
There has been talk of a few fixes, including firing key NRCC staffers and returning to old fundraising programs. These steps may help, but House Minority Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio) should consider another idea worth millions of dollars all on its own: Prune the dead branches in the caucus now.
Had the Republicans edged out folks like Bob Ney, Mark Foley, Charles Taylor, Curt Weldon, the NRCC could have saved nearly $10 million wasted on losing campaigns.
Right now Reps Don Young (R., Alaska) and John Doolittle (R., Calif.) provide Boehner and the NRCC the opportunity to clean house.
Both Young and Doolittle are currently subjects of federal investigations. Neither shows any indication he will step aside, and both are likely to lose their seats if they run for reelection. The feds raided Doolittle’s Virginia home earlier this year in connection with his ties to imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Unless defeated in a primary, he will almost certainly lose a 61-percent Bush district — about as safe a Republican House seat as there is.
Young, the powerful author of the 2006 transportation bill, is far more formidable for his seniority. He was responsible for earmarking funds in the 2005 Transportation Bill for the Knik Arm Bridge (also known as “Don Young’s Way”), which if built could massively boost his son-in law’s property value. Young is accused of altering another earmark in that bill after it passed Congress and before it was signed by President Bush. The illicit change, now opposed by the Florida congressman it was supposed to benefit, would help a major Florida contributor to Young’s campaign. Watchdog groups are trying, probably in vain, to make the House Ethics committee open an investigation.
That may seem like enough to sink Young, but the federal investigation into his dealings comes on top of that. It pertains to an Alaskan contractor whose employees have given Young $180,000 in campaign cash since 1993. The CEO of that firm, Veco, has pleaded guilty to bribing Alaska state legislators and testified that his company “donated” labor for Sen. Ted Stevens’s (R) home-remodeling project.
One of the reasons for the "thumpin" last year was that Republicans strayed from conservative principles and acted like Democrats. Republicans forget this lesson at their own peril.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I have made this same argument here, here, and here. However, it appears that I no longer need to make the argument myself. Indeed, why should I when progressives will prove my argument for me (bless you Isaac). Continuing the SCHIP “debate”, (not that there ever was one) as per the script, Isaac Smith cites Think Progress’ “analysis” of the “predictable” conservative reaction to the Frosts and the left’s new human shield the Wilkerson’s. Think Progress’ modus operandi fits Trilling’s description, “irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas,” to a tee. Using Orwell’s analysis from Politics and the English Language, Think Progress really should be called, Shriek Inanity, but I digress. In any case Think Progress’ “analysis” of conservative commentary was all wrong and riddled with errors a sixth grader wouldn’t make.
The point at hand is that Isaac Smith and Think Progress still have not engaged in any substantive debate. Then again, you knew there really wasn’t going to be one in the first place when the Democrats drafted Graeme Frost as political human shield. So what happens after the Democrat charade of Manipulated Child Syndrome is revealed? They go out and find another child to hide behind. Then, surprise, surprise, the nutroots emerge, hurling the same charges of “smear campaigns,” and “harassment.”
Thanks again for making my point for me.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
MDE approval is just one part of the approval process.
Mauricio Tamargo, founder of the Freedom and Historic Preservation Foundation continues to oppose the reservoir . He plans to fight Carroll county at the federal level.
Reservoir construction is a highly regulated process and takes decades to complete.
Donations may be sent to:
Freedom and Historic Preservation Foundation
P.O. Box 284
Burke VA 22009
Monday, October 15, 2007
Here are a couple of excerpts, but the whole piece is a must read on the the intellectual devolution of the progressive left from the once imposing thinkers like Charles Beard and John Dewey to Kos and Move On.org.
Twice during the past half century, the Democratic party has faced a challenge from its left wing. In the late 1960s, it was the mass movement of the New Left that rose up to defy the party's liberal-progressive core. Following a contest of ideas and of wills, the liberal center collapsed and briefly yielded control to its radical critics. The struggle today is strikingly different in tone, with the party's mainstream being bullied by a network of techno-thugs, spearheaded by MoveOn.org. Nothing remotely resembling an idea or a sustained argument has surfaced in this conflict, and there is no danger that one ever will.
Today, the Democratic party mainstream has its values, its instincts, and, as usual, more than its share of 10-point programs. It even has its "isms," represented by its leading troika: the pragmatism of Hillary Clinton, the idealism of Barack Obama, and the populism of John Edwards. Yet its intellectual reservoir has shown itself to be lacking in depth and confidence. Today's Democratic mainstream is no more willing or able to stand up to the party's present leftist insurgency than the older mainstream was to stand up to the New Left. The tenor of the current left is best captured by something Lionel Trilling said in 1949 about conservatives: They do not "express themselves in ideas but only in action or in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas."
Sunday, October 14, 2007
The Nobel will be one more quiver in Gore’s arsenal of intransigent moral authority by which he refuses to debate any aspect of the subject and declares the entire matter “settled.” It’s never a good sign when politicians declare a scientific matter settled; we all remember how well that worked out for the Vatican when they told Galileo 400 years ago that astronomy was settled. It is even more problematic to suggest that climate change is not a political issue, but a moral issue, but then to demand massive political interventions in the economy to fix the problem.
The Wall Street Journal lists candidates who actually deserved the award.
Rodricks writes, "This is not simply a difference of opinion. It's a difference between relevancy and cluelessness." Witness once again, the old "false consciousness" trick. Rodricks writes, "Gore and An Inconvenient Truth might provoke younger Americans to vote in greater numbers in the next presidential election, and that could be the crest of the new wave that pushes the world's last superpower to a state of greener consciousness." Since we do not subscribe to the left's policy prescriptions we must be "clueless."
"But in this country, there isn't an issue that hasn't been politicized, and the GOP and talk radio count on that. So, we hear plenty from the junk-science crowd and those who seem to enjoy taking shots at anyone, like Gore, who gets passionate about a cause for the public good. Talk, talk, talk - that's all some people do, and most of them seem to be over on the Rush Limbaugh side of things."
This passage is laughable on so many levels. Of course climate change is politicized, it should be. The policy prescriptions on both sides should be decided in the political arena. However, Rodricks and the greens don't see it this way, its their policy so it must be right and good. Anyone questioning it is clueless, or a shill for big business. Second, it is really choice for Rodricks to talk about global warming skeptics as the "junk-science crowd", when a British government climate expert revealed, in a court of law, the HUGE, GAPING, FALSEHOODS in An Inconvenient Truth, which torpedo Gore's whole thesis. But why let facts get in the way of instituting economy crushing, freedom curtailing policies that subvert our sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable foreign body. Rodricks is so contemptuous of opposing talk he must duck Ron Smith in the halls of WBAL.
Lost in his cognitive dissonance Rodricks overlooks the very salient fact that Gore and IPCC won the Nobel prize for peace, not for science, joining the ranks of Jimmy Carter and Yasser Arafat, right where he belongs.
When the Sun management starts to look for the source of its dwindling subscriber base and lost revenues they will find it in some of their in-house columnists who are divorced from reality.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
The current SCHIP battle is not simply about reauthorizing SCHIP, but rather a political and philosophical battle over the ridiculous expansion of SCHIP, beyond the program’s original intent.
The original SCHIP legislation passed in 1997 created a modest program designed to help children whose families made too much to qualify for Medicaid, and were too poor o purchase private health insurance. A worthy goal backed by a majority of Republicans at the time.
A lot of the left’s rhetoric deliberately distorts the conservative position as against reauthorization, which is patently false. In fact the president strongly favors reauthorization of SCHIP, just not the absurd expansion proposed by the Democrats. Bush has offered a sensible and reasonable compromise. His proposal is an expansion of $5 billion a year increase over the next five years. Apparently, this is not enough for the left.
Here are the problems with the expansion plan. The Democrat expansion plan includes middle class families that can well afford private insurance on their own, illegal immigrants, “children” as old as 25. As Deroy Murdock noted, it depends on what the meaning of the word “children” is.
The Democrat plan would expand the program by $12 billion a year over the next five years. The eligibility threshold would increase to 400% the federal poverty line. By this standard a family making over $80,000 per year, able to afford private insurance, would be eligible for SCHIP, and not just their young children, but any childless adult children as well. What is more absurd is that this means these families are simultaneously poor and high income because they also get hit by the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). This SCHIP expansion shifts welfare away from the truly poor and extends it to the middle class.
The main funding mechanism of the bill is a massive increase, 156%, in the cigarette tax, from 39 cents to $1 per pack. So in order for SCHIP to be fully funded the program would need nearly 22 million smokers to light up. As has been argued ad infinitum, a cigarette tax becomes a decreasing source of revenue. So when their expected revenue fails to materialize, non-smoking taxpayers will get the bill in the form of another tax.
The SCHIP bill also contains sneaky provisions that extend temporary Medicare provisions, increase doctor payments in 2008-2009, then drastically reduces them in 2010-2011, all of which are intended to mask the true cost of the expansion. The expansion also claims to have some cost offsets, but these offsets are from the president’s budget intended as cost savings for Medicare, not for an increase in additional spending. In addition to all the hidden costs, the bill would increase federal deficits by $73 billion over the next 10 years.
This massive expansion beyond helping poor children is nothing more than the first incremental step towards socialized medicine as first discussed by Hillary’s Healthcare Task force back in 1993. So there is a lot a weight behind the conservative argument that SCHIP expansion is a precursor to universal healthcare. I will give Andrew Kujan credit, at least he admits that progressive demogoguing of the issue is really about achieving socialized medicine.
A great deal of spittle-flecked liberal “outrage” at conservative meanies and hypocrites reveals a great deal about the philosophical differences between liberals and conservatives about the nature and functions of government.
For example, EJ Dionne in his zeal to slap the hypocrite label on conservatives writes,
"The left is accused of all manner of sins related to covetousness and envy whenever it raises questions about who benefits from Bush's tax cuts and mentions the yachts such folks might buy or the mansions they might own. But here is a family with modest possessions doing everything conservatives tell people they should do, and the right trashes them for getting help to buy health insurance for their children.”
You can’t compare a tax cut with an entitlement program. They are very different things, which highlight the philosophical differences. Dionne sees tax cuts as government largesse, because in the progressive view of government, this is merely daddy government doing its job by giving us a boost in our income in order to boost the economy or as with SCHIP, fulfilling its role of mothering the citizenry.
As Rick Moran notes in his flaying of Ezra Klein’s doltish argument, similar to Dionne’s:
“tax cuts have nothing to do with government and everything to do with personal property. That money is the taxpayer’s. It is already in his pocket. A tax cut is nothing more than a law preventing the government from reaching into the taxpayer’s pocket and taking away his property. It is not a gift or a favor or even a responsibility of government. A tax cut has everything to do with expanding personal liberty and nothing whatsoever to do with government being nice to taxpayers.
This simple, basic, liberty loving concept has been forgotten by liberals like Klein who see tax cuts as part of a government “plan” for the economy hence, monies that the government will forgo collecting in order to modify or encourage some kind of economic activity. In short, the money “given back” to taxpayers is really the government’s money to begin with, theirs to do with as they see fit.
To not see how that concept turns the idea of freedom on its head reveals a moral blindness that makes it easy to posit that all property is subject to government approval and control. It justifies eminent domain and host of other egregious threats to human liberty that used to be a concern of liberals but is now seen as an impediment to government management of most every facet of people’s lives.”
The Democrats and the progressive left were never willing to debate either the substance of the policy or the philosophical issues. Their policy prescriptions are tired old retreads that they know are losers, Hence their use of Graeme Frost as a human shield to deflect any criticism of the real issues. Why deal with conservative arguments when you can hide your own flawed arguments behind a 12-year old boy and label your opponents as smear artists and hypocrites to effectively shut down real debate on the issue.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Caveat: I am not apologizing for some of the intemperate vicious remarks by some conservative bloggers and the harassment of the Frost family.
However, the oft cited Michelle Malkin and Mark Steyn do not fit into this category. That they are used as pardon the pun, “poster children,” for the “conservative slime machine” shows just how desperate the left is in keeping this tripe going. In fact, Malkin has asked anyone to point out where she slimed or wrote one “negative, ad hominem word about the Frost children.” The silence is deafening. Oh and if you want to see smear attacks on children, the left has a few skeletons in its closet in that regard. Remember 9 year-old Noah McCullough from Bush’s campaign to reform social security in 2005? The left had no qualms about attacking him calling him a “budding young fascist,” and “in desperate need of a good ass-kicking,” for the unprintable stuff see the always reliable Democratic Underground. Respect for innocent children, for left anyway, is determined by whose ox is gored.
Indeed, mainstream columnists like EJ Dionne at the Washington Post, and Jean Marbella at the Baltimore Sun have gone in for this conservatives are meanies schtick castigating those of us who have criticized this boy and his family who “dared to speak out”.
This is just another example that the vaunted progressive reverence for dissent only applies to their side. There only mode of argument is to shut down argument.
Megan McArdle at The Atlantic sums it all up.
"But a number of people seem to believe that the very act of questioning whether Graeme Frost really needed the state to pay for his health care is somehow tantamount to accusing him of mopery while simultaneously suggesting that he be chopped up into small pieces and served flambeed to a party of laughing Republicans…The reason that Democrats put him up on the radio in the first place is that they thought Graeme Frost's need was a better argument for S-Chip than any boring old policy discussion. Well, if you make Graeme Frost's needs the measure of the program's success, then you can expect the program's opponents to question Graeme Frost's needs."
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
As I noted earlier, the real reason why people like Isaac Smith"can't refrain from cursing" about this, is because he knows that this once again exposes the left's lack of intellectual and policy heft, and that all they can do is engage in ad-hominem attacks.
Rick Moran slices through lefty "outrage" and shows how they distract from the real policy and philosophical issue about SCHIP expansion:
The struggle here is not over little Graeme Frost who no one has criticized or smeared. The ideological battle over “need” and “want” is what is at issue. Of course the middle class wants SCHIP. Why not? It’s free, isn’t it? But no one is asking if there is a better way to insure those who don’t make a million dollars a year. No one is asking if this expansion of federal largess at the expense of other taxpayers is a good thing or not – certainly no one has queried those taxpayers who are going to foot the bill for families like the Frosts whose situation, while complicated, is not desperate or hopeless where no one would begrudge them the benefit.
But if the left can’t see this fundamental issue as one of taxpayer fairness I don’t hold out much hope for entitlement reform and indeed, see a wild expansion of government programs in the future that would benefit families who aren’t needy but simply don’t want to make the sacrifices other families willingly make in order to get insurance, or send their kids to college, or go on a European vacation for that matter – something I have no doubt the left would use government to subsidize if they thought they could get away with it.
The whole problem with SCHIP and other entitlements is that we have confused “need” and “want” to the point that there is no longer any difference between the two. It is the difference between freedom and capitalism and dependence and socialism...
But I’m not going to sit here and be accused of “smearing” a family when the Democrats believe it is perfectly legitimate political discourse to use the Frosts as a poster family for what is good about SCHIP while not allowing me to use them in the exact same political context to show what is wrong with the program.
Captain Ed puts the lie to left's strawman:
Most Republicans supported the modest expansion of S-CHIP that the White House originally proposed. No Republican officeholders have, to my knowledge, proposed eliminating S-CHIP or scaling it back in any way. The GOP has argued that the expansion of the program to 400% of the poverty line would damage private health coverage and create a subsidy for families that can afford to make the choice for health coverage already.
The Frosts, the family at the center of the storm, came to personify the issue because Democrats had them use themselves as an argument for the expansion of the program. This turns out to be rather dishonest, because the Frosts qualified for S-CHIP without the expansion, as Herszenhorn reports. Their income levels fell below the existing 200% qualifying range for S-CHIP and they have used the program -- as they would have been able to continue to do so with the White House proposal.
That didn't stop the Democrats from demagoguing the debate by using the 12-year-old boy to make their political argument for them, then screaming about how heartless it was for Republicans to question the Frost's qualifications for government assistance. Like it or not, means testing is part of S-CHIP; in fact, it's the entire debate. That puts questions like assets, real income, and personal choices on the table. It's rather strange to consider someone who owns over $200,000 in home equity (not $400,000 as reported before) and commercial real estate as someone in need of government assistance. It's doubly strange when the children of the family attend private schools, even on scholarship. That calls into question whether the family has made choices to be without health coverage, or really have no resources to get it for themselves.
I've been meaning to establish a new blogging homepage for some time, since the "Burkean" in Burkean Reflections (my original blog), no longer reflects my fundamental political orientation. The fact is, when I started blogging I had just finished teaching a new course, Introduction to Political Theory. More so than other political philosophies covered in the class, I was drawn to Burkean thought for its emphasis on custom and tradition. I especially liked Burke's emphasis on continuity in culture - on prescriptive authority found in a nation's historical associations and traditions, and how such bases of authority formed a bulwark against revolutionary movements, and the rise of authoritarian leadership. I thus thought Burkean conservatism would provide excellent foundations for a traditionalist's analyisis of poltics and world affairs.
Yet I've become increasingly distressed under a Burkean identity of classical conservatism. While Burke will remain a key pillar of my thinking on the best social order, my forward orientation on America power and U.S. foreign policy diverges substantially from orthodox conceptions of Burkean restraint in foreign affairs. What's more, I've been disgusted, frankly, by some of the uses of Burke among some old-guard conservatives, who've championed Burke in a program of outright American isolationism and reactionary race doctrines.
Sorry Andrew and Isaac, flashcards and hand puppets are not available for this lesson.
All through the debate over expanding SCHIP, the president and conservatives made the argument that the expansion would go far beyond helping those who really need it and cover those families who could afford to purchase private insurance. In fact, Bush has offered a proposal to expand the program by $5 billion a year, with overall spending limited to $30 billion.
What did the Democrats do after the veto? They rolled out a 12-year old, with a speech prepared by Senate Democrats, as the poster child for their argument that Bush is an evil meanie. What was the intimidating, harassing smear campaign by conservative bloggers? Pointing out that this poster child represented the very conservative argument against SCHIP! Leave it to the Democrats to provide the very example that proves the flaw in their plan.
As Mark Steyn pointed out, “The Democrats chose to outsource their airtime to a Seventh Grader. If a political party is desperate enough to send a boy to do a man's job, then the boy is fair game…. anytime I send my seven-year-old out to argue policy you're welcome to clobber him, too. The alternative is a world in which genuine debate is ended and, as happened with Master Frost, politics dwindles down to professional staffers writing scripts to be mouthed by Equity moppets…
So executive vice-presidents' families are now the new new poor? I support lower taxes for the Frosts, increased child credits for the Frosts, an end to the "death tax" and other encroachments on transgenerational wealth transfer, and even severe catastrophic medical-emergency aid of one form or other. But there is no reason to put more and more middle-class families on the government teat, and doing so is deeply corrosive of liberty.
And, if the Democrats don't like me saying that, next time put up someone in long pants to make your case.
The Democrats made the Frost family fair game by putting them in the political arena. It is entirely right and legitimate for conservative bloggers to bring forth the facts of their situation. All the leftists faux outrage over this is not any genuine concern for the Frost family but outrage at the fact that conservative bloggers exposed, for all to see, their disingenuous brand of politics, and lack of a real argument.
Having said that, there are conservative bloggers who went beyond legitimate criticism, and strayed into Kos-like bile, like this one at Red State. As intemperate and vile as this post is, it is not typical of conservative blogging on this subject. However, mainstream journalists have no compunction about framing it as such.
Sun reporter Matthew Hay Brown used this Red State post as the centerpiece of his follow-up article in the Baltimore Sun. Brown’s article paints that particular Red State post as typical of all conservative criticism, it is not and Brown knows this. Indeed, it was his shallow reporting and aping of Democrat talking points that in part, led conservative bloggers to reveal the Frost’s true financial circumstances. Brown’s follow-up piece is a blatant attempt to cover his ass.
If Democrats and the left want to use children as canon fodder to distract from their flawed positions, fine. However, it is entirely dishonest for the Democrats and the lefty bloggers to cry foul when they are called on it. Free speech is not an entitlement for your positions go unchallenged. Accusing your political opponents of harassment and intimidation for responding is even more dishonest, and they know it.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Katyn could be up for best foreign film at the Academy Awards this year. Should it get nominated it would will have a good chance at winning. A win for Katyn would be the sign of a welcome trend in Hollywood. Last year's best foreign film winner The Lives of Others, detailed the crimes of the Stasi, communist East Germany's secret police. Instead of covering up for its own history of sympathy for Stalin and the crimes of communism, the film colony might be ready to seriously deal with the evil that communism was and still is.
Friday, October 5, 2007
The real issue here is, as Jonah Goldberg notes, is that the “questioning our patriotism” pablum is a red herring used by left and Democrats to deflect from legitimate criticisms of their positions and statements. It is really quite dishonest coming from the folks who constantly whine about George W. Bush and the right wing stifling “dissent.”
liberals routinely and righteously condemn the “questioning” of anyone’s patriotism — until they have a chance to do it themselves. For example, in the debates over the formation of the Department of Homeland Security and the passage of Patriot Act, Democrats accused George Bush and the GOP leadership of questioning Democrats’ patriotism. But they never did any such thing. Rather, Democrats asserted that Republican criticism of their opposition was tantamount to questioning their patriotism…
John Kerry was the all-time champ of this sort of thing. He routinely insinuated that criticisms of his positions on national defense were tantamount to McCarthyism. Indeed, like Johnny Carson’s Carnac the Magnificent, Kerry could psychically predict the reaction before it happened. Addressing the Council on Foreign Relations, he prophesied, “I know what the Bush apologists will say to this — that it is unpatriotic to question, to criticize and to call for change.”…
Howard Dean, the nearly invisible chairman of the Democratic National Committee, used to get himself into those I’m-turning-into-the-Hulk rages over the merest hint that Republicans questioned the patriotism of Democrats. But he saw nothing wrong with righteously proclaiming that John Ashcroft “is no patriot. He’s a direct descendant of Joseph McCarthy.”…
Now, the fact that no serious person actually thinks Limbaugh really or intentionally called soldiers dissenting on the war “phony” doesn’t matter to the Democrats. Rather, they’re just gleeful to play the pot to Limbaugh’s kettle. Never mind that it’s unfair and dishonest, never mind that what they’re doing is far closer to the McCarthyism they routinely denounce, never mind that such Limbaugh-lynching Democratic senators as John Kerry and Dick Durbin have suggested, respectively, that American troops are “terrorizing kids” in Iraq and are akin to the torture masters of Nazi Germany or Pol Pot’s “mad regime.”
Then again, I should just keep quiet; someone might yank this out of context and accuse me of McCarthyism.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Strong criticism of business as usual, corrupt one-party Democratic rule in Baltimore and in Maryland
The futility of the drug war
Elected School Boards
However, for a party that claims it is for the people, some its stated policy objectives as embodied in Maria Allwine’s candidacy for President of the Baltimore City Council would harm the people they ostensibly seek to help. Green polices would do nothing more than trade one bad set of policies and ineffective government bureaucracy for another, and stifle both economic growth and job growth.
Allwine wants to “Marylandize” BGE, that is make it a publicly owned and operated utility. This is a nice pie in the sky idea however, Allwine does not go into the specifics of how this would happen or how this new entity would be operated. She cites Hagerstown and Austin TX as examples of successful municipally owned utility services. However, Hagerstown and Austin are not Baltimore. Is there any reason to believe that a city owned and operated utility would be any better? Baltimore can’t even run a decent trash pick-up service let alone a power utility. This plan would replace, an albeit troubled private service with an even more troubled and ineffective government bureaucracy. Citizens of Baltimore have enough trouble getting a voice in the current government agencies as it is, imagine one given the task of supplying power to the over 600,000 residents.
Instead of the Keiffer Mitchell proposed BGE city tax rebate that would return $30 a year to consumers and $30.8 million to the city; Allwine wants to keep collecting the tax and “create a Baltimore Alternative Energy program.” The BAE would use that money “to begin "solarization" of Baltimore city homes or use it to pay the legal fees to achieve a public takeover of BGE."
Allwine’s proposal is nothing more than a coercive government mandate on how you should power your home. She wants to trade a privately owned monopoly for government owned monopoly.
Allwine’s proposal for a government power grab of utilities would fulfill the Green’s wish to make Baltimore “a proud leader in the fight against global warming.” Now we come to it. Under Allwine’s plan of forced solarization we would be forces to choose how and we power our homes and how much energy we use. Allwine, in her campaign flyer wants to stop the “Enroning of Maryland.” That is a choice statement coming from a champion of global warming alarmism, given that Enron was the chief lobby on the Clinton administration to sign the Kyoto treaty. Funny how that "inconvenient truth" is never mentioned.
Green is the new Red. Allwine’s proposals for publicly owned utilities and government mandates on individual decisions regarding energy use is nothing more than a backdoor to socialism masked in do-gooder environmentalism.
Economic and Tax Policy
Typical of the Greens, Allwine’s economic and tax proposals drip with rank class warfare rhetoric.
Allwine wants to require a city wide, “livable/minimum wage of $12/hour for companies with 10 or more employees.” Typical of such socialist twaddle, it lacks the concrete understanding that such livable wages actually creates unemployment. Allwine would create high wages for jobs that would no longer exist.
Allwine wants to “restructure corporate taxes”, and “stop sweetheart deals,” which is newspeak for raising taxes and “soaking the rich”. Allwine says:
“Why should any CEO make millions while the workers eke by on wages that no longer allow them to afford to rent, much less buy, no longer cover their rising BGE bills and prescription drugs, no longer allow them to send their children to college? Corporations receive enormous hidden subsidies (such as Payment In Lieu of Taxes programs and obscene tax breaks that ensure they pay little or no corporate state income taxes) from our lawmakers.”
Allwine’s solution, make the tax climate even more oppressive further reducing economic growth and employment opportunities for the middle-class folks she purports to speak for.
Baltimore’s tax burden on both businesses and private property is oppressive for growth as it is. Why do you think the city makes such deals in the first place to attract business and residents? Lost on Allwine, is the fact that higher taxes creates lower tax receipts, this is the folly of the cigarette tax funding healthcare coverage. Lower taxes creates a favorable climate for business and economic growth, and actually increases overall tax receipts. Then you could close all the tax loopholes and use the revenue fund all the warm and fuzzy things Allwine and the Greens want like public works programs.
Allwine wants to create “a new public works program to provide well--paying jobs in our city, train our unemployed and underemployed city residents in new trades and skills, and repair our crumbling roads, bridges and infrastructure.” This program would obviously be funded through new taxes. But Allwine wants to tax businesses out Baltimore. So where would the money come from? It would come from taxes on you, me and all the other middle class folks Allwine wants to help.
If the Greens are the so-called “alternative” to business as usual, business as usual doesn’t sound so bad.
People ask me all the time why I seem to dislike Maryland’s current governor so much. Is it because he defeated my friend, Bob Ehrlich, last year? Uh, no.
Is it because Martin O’Malley is a crazed tax-grabber who seems to think the public goose can be further plucked without too much hissing taking place? Well, that’s some of it.
There are those who swoon over MOM because of his good looks and bulging biceps, and they are certainly entitled to admire whomever they choose, and I have nothing against good looks or muscularity in a man. So, that’s not it.
Examining my visceral aversion to O’Malley and his political style – which I dislike even more than his leftwing substance – I am forced to admit what bothers me more than any other thing is the sheer sanctimony of his public utterances.
It’s reminiscent of preachers in their pulpits, so pious, so filled with certitude, so saturated with palpable distaste for those whose beliefs are different from their own. Either you believe what they believe or hellfire and damnation will be your lot for all eternity. (This has always seemed to me to be a disproportionate penalty to pay for being skeptical of some dogma, but maybe that’s just me).
Of course, as we know, a lot of preachers and priests and rabbis fall prey to behaving in ways contrary to their professed piety and god-kissed personas. The same is true in spades for political office holders. Talking about God doesn’t make one godly, and talking about compassion doesn’t make one compassionate.
So when the governor takes off on one of his flowery little lectures about fairness and working families and how Maryland has to do more – fork over more dollars to the rulers – because it’s such a rich state, and makes dismissive comments about “aberrant” Republicans who aren’t in synch with his tax grab, well, I just get shivers up and down my spine.
We know what power is all about. We know what rulers do. And when the game at hand is disguised as something noble and selfless, we are just amazed that great numbers of the public seem unable to see through it all.
Monday, October 1, 2007
Q How would you distinguish Johns Hopkins for prospective students?
A Johns Hopkins is like a small liberal arts college in the middle of the world’s largest research institution. It’s for self-starters, so there’s not a lot of defined curriculum. If you’re looking for a lot of structure, you should probably look somewhere else. We’re looking for students who want to get passionate about something, who want to get involved. We don’t train people for a specific career or a specific job, though they may be ready for it. Many people will have three, four or five different careers. In real life, you need to absorb what’s all around you and solve problems that haven’t been proposed. About 80 percent of our undergrads have some sort of independent study as part of their curriculum. I would like that to be 100 percent.
With leaders like Brody setting the academic course, is it any wonder why Hopkins students scored dead last on the 2006 version of the ISI civics quiz I mentioned last month. According to the ISI Hopkins actually showed "negative learning." What do you expect from an history department that has no set core curriculum.
As evidenced by his own words Brody is not interested in educating young people to be good citizens rather he is interested in attracting passionate activists, presumably to take part in his new initiative to make Johns Hopkins a central location in the fight against catastrophic, man-made global warming.
The Sources of Klingon Conduct
This is an excerpt from a classic essay first drafted as a memo to Federation Headquarters by an anonymous Vulcan diplomat and published in Interstellar Affairs in its Stardate 1114.3 issue. The essay had an enormous impact on the decision to pursue a confrontational policy toward the Klingons. Its author was later revealed to be Kennok, who would spend the balance of his career disavowing much of the intragalactic policy that was made partly as a result of it.
There can no longer be any doubt that the aggressive conduct of the Klingon Empire is irredentist in nature, its purpose to spread its sphere of influence beyond the Neutral Zone. This presents a new kind of threat to the galactic order, as the Klingon conduct does not comport with classic models of planetary self-interest. Rather, their intent is ideological in nature. They seek not to influence but to convert, not to find an atmospheric cushion but to create a gravitational pull toward a set of beliefs. Their evangel is by definition destabilizing and dangerous, since it postulates its own superiority, a superiority that will be demonstrated by conquest….
[O]ur goal must be to contain the menace through a series of means that will reveal the hollowness of a society which seeks its own perpetuation only through expansion. If we can contain the Klingons by restricting their sphere of influence to the planets immediately on their borders and sealed within the contours of the Neutral Zone boundary, eventually it will collapse of its own internal contradictions…The thoughtful observer of Federation-Klingon relations will experience a certain gratitude for a Providence which, by providing the peoples of the Federation with this implacable challenge, has made their entire security as a planetary alliance dependent on their pulling themselves together and accepting the responsibilities of moral and political leadership that history plainly intended them to bear.
Obviously this is a huge inside baseball parody that most people would not get without much explanation. This is sad because Kennan's article formed the basis of US foreign policy (with some tweaking by NSC-68) toward the Soviet Union throughout most of the Cold War: containment.
Ask a high-school student, or even a college senior who George Kennan was, and why he was important, and a blank stare will be your most common response. This type of history is rarely taught anymore, and if it is, it is to twist the real significance of Kennan's influence to portray the United States as the aggressor in the Cold War.