31 July 2012

DHS Newspeak and National Security--Help Big Sis' Out?

Mini-home malquoted doubleplusungood. Dayorder rectify goodthink for prolefeed bellyfull before Two Minute Hate.

There are times that it just seems apropos to use Newspeak from George Orwell’s seminal novel 1984 to cover the security issues in America, particularly regarding the Department of Homeland Security (Mini-home).  In the early days of the Obama Administration, Pentagon officials were warned not to refer to the Long War or the Global War on Terror but instead to bluster bureacratese “Overseas Contingency Operations”.   Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano tried to avoid refering to 9/11 or terrorism but preferred such euphemisms as “Man made disasters.” The Obama Administration considered what  Major Nidal Hasan in the 2009 Fort Hood shootings, where 13 people were killed and 29 injured was not homegrown terrorism or domestic jihad (despite the shooter screaming “Allahu Akbar”) but was a workplace violence incident.

Alas, this “nuanced” approach is not limited to Newspeak.  Just before the tax day protests which launched the Tea Party, HomeSec Secretary Napolitano sent out a nine page warning to Law Enforcement Officials on Rightwing Extremism, which including a sweeping threat assessment:

Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

So Tea Party types, an older skewing demographic which gather in public places to extol elected officials to “Read the bill!” or “Follow the Constitution” are slimed as extremists with the power of the Federal Government.  Yet DHS took a more subdued approach to the Occupy Wall Street movement, despite evidence in a heavily redacted report that there was coordination amongst the anarchists and serious border crimes like human and drug smuggling.

Americans were encouraged by the Obama Administration to follow the successful New York City campaign “If you see something, say something.”   This pro-active approach from citizens thwarted the attempted Times Square bomber, uh I mean man-made disaster, of May 2010. But Obama’s Department of Justice under Eric Holder, is aggressively suing states for enforcing Federal Law on Immigration (ala Arizona) and trying to ensure voter integrity in the election process.  Moreover, President Obama’s ukase to temporarily suspend deporting illegal aliens who may qualify for the proposed DREAM act legislation has the practical consequence that Border Agents will not try to protect the border or engage in deportation cases.  This is especially true considering the DOJ hotline for deportation detainees to rat on their jailors for supposed civil rights violations.

Securing the nation’s borders and defending the nation’s security are two important enumerated responsibilities of the Executive Branch. DHS Secretary Napolitano testified before Congress last week and blithely admitted that terrorists may cross the borders from time to time.

Napolitano claims that the southern borders are heavily staffed., despite the Obama Administration’s new rules of ICE engagement, the toll-free tattle tale line and closing six ICE offices in Texas in Arizona in conjunction with the Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona’s 1070 law.

So to translate the Newspeak slug which lead this piece into Obama era oldspeak “It is really not good that the Department of Homeland Security is quoted on something that is no longer operative. The order of the day is to rectify this by issuing alternative rhetoric which Joe-Six packs will whole-heartedly accept as part of their infotainment before the daily ad hominem attacks against our opponents.

Discerning Civic Values--Chicago Style

After Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy dared to publically express support for the traditional definition of marriage of being one man and one woman, there has been a cacophonic chorus of progressive politicians condemning the chicken restaurant chain.  It is inconsequential that Cathy expressed his personal views on a public policy that is not settled law.  Moreover there is no evidence that Chick-fil-A violates the law and discriminates in their restaurants, liberal leaders are quick to fillet Chick-fil-As.

In fact, Chicago Mayor (and former Obama Administration Chief-of-Staff) Rahm Emanuel (D-Chicago) went so far as to say: "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values. They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.” It is disturbing for an elected official like Emanuel to use his public office to rail against a private business. But he also seems to be applying a civic values test to conduct business in Chicagoland.

Francis Cardinal George, a native Chicagoan who just happens to be Archbishop of Chicago had some thoughts on this Chicago values test purported by Mr. Emanuel.

Recent comments by those who administer our city seem to assume that the city government can decide for everyone what are the “values” that must be held by citizens of Chicago. I was born and raised here, and my understanding of being a Chicagoan never included submitting my value system to the government for approval. Must those whose personal values do not conform to those of the government of the day move from the city? Is the City Council going to set up a “Council Committee on Un-Chicagoan Activities” and call those of us who are suspect to appear before it? I would have argued a few days ago that I believe such a move is, if I can borrow a phrase, “un-Chicagoan.” …

 People who are not Christian or religious at all take for granted that marriage is the union of a man and a woman for the sake of family and, of its nature, for life. The laws of civilizations much older than ours assume this understanding of marriage. This is also what religious leaders of almost all faiths have taught throughout the ages. Jesus affirmed this understanding of marriage when he spoke of “two becoming one flesh” (Mt. 19: 4-6). Was Jesus a bigot? Could Jesus be accepted as a Chicagoan? Would Jesus be more “enlightened” if he had the privilege of living in our society? One is welcome to believe that, of course; but it should not become the official state religion, at least not in a land that still fancies itself free. Surely there must be a way to properly respect people who are gay or lesbian without using civil law to undermine the nature of marriage.

Surely we can find a way not to play off newly invented individual rights to “marriage” against constitutionally protected freedom of religious belief and religious practice. The State’s attempting to redefine marriage has become a defining moment not for marriage, which is what it is, but for our increasingly fragile “civil union” as citizens. 

Mayor Emanuel seems to have selective indignation and criteria for doing business in Chicago.  Earlier in the month, when Mayor Emanuel was asked about the epidemic of gang violence in the Second City, “Rahm-bo” retorted:
We've got two gangbangers, one standing next to a kid. Get away from that kid. Take your stuff away to the alley. Don't touch the children of the city of Chicago. Don't get near them. And it is about values. As I said then, Scott [Pelley of 60 Minutes], who raised you? How were you raised? And I don't buy this case where people say they don't have values. They do have values. They have the wrong values. Don't come near the kids -- don't touch them.

OK, it seems that Emanuel will tolerate the illegal activities of gang bangers (robberies, burglaries, drug dealing), so long as they stay away from the kids.  If Chicago values mean just means to whole heartedly embracing homosexual marriage, then what about President Barack Obama who, up until his supposed evolution in May, had opposed Gay Marriage while supporting their civil rights?

Catholics just celebrated the “Fortnight for Freedom” which was a coordinated nationwide effort of prayer, fasting and instructions to educate Americans on the importance of preserving the sanctity of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution–namely, the right to freedom of speech, assembly and the unfettered exercise of religious beliefs. As this Chick-fil-A attacts show, unbridled government officials (Mayors, Cabinet Secretaries like HHS Chief Sebilius and even Presidents) need to be reminded of this First Freedom.

As Americans discern whether to preserve the traditional understanding of the covenant of marriage, we ought to affirm our tolerance and diversity for individuals of integrity who do not bend to the imposition of values of men rather than divine truths.

h/t: Hot Air

28 July 2012

Reflections on the Restoring Love Rally

 For the last few years, Glenn Beck has embarked on a journey to renew our character. The first non-partisan gathering on 8-28-2010 for Restoring Honor drew 650,000 Americans on the National Mall to celebrate America's heroes and heritage as well as to raise money for the Special Operations Warriors Foundation. 

 Last Summer, Beck organized Restoring Courage at the southern wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to “stand with Israel”. The sojourn also included stops at Auschwitz, Poland to remember the lessons of the Holocaust and stops in South Africa and South America, asking them to stand in defense of Israel, the Jewish people and responsibility. 

Today, at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas, the trilogy culminates in the Restoring Love gathering.

    {"Hold Us Together" by Matt Maher, the theme song for Restoring Love}

 Left leaning critics, whose viewpoints are often informed by the George Soros funded Media Matters, are wont to engage in ad hominem attacks against Beck, charging that he is a huckster or that he is anti-Semite, as he dared to compare the fascistic tendencies of the Obama era with Nazi-ism. The latter charge is pretty laughable, considering the theme, setting and personal risk that Beck took to organize Restoring Courage at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Beck is a comedian as well as a political commentator, so his rodeo clown persona or his messy past (both of which he readily confesses) makes him the target for vitriolic ad hominem attacks. 

However, if skeptics can get beyond the mud slinging, there is much that is commendable to Beck’s efforts. Some say that Beck is only self-promoting and pining for a profit. If that were the case, then why were tickets to the 80,000 seat stadium priced at $10 with free parking? Beck may go $2 million in personal debt underwriting the event, including paying Dallas for the impuned taxes for the parking fee that Mercury One did not charge. 

Look at the action. Restoring Love did not center on a feel good rally. It involved a day of service, where 35,000 people volunteered to do a day’s charity work in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. The message there was it was only a beginning and to bring that spirit home. Although Beck’s libertarian leanings definitely wants to see change in the White House this November, he has been stressing for years that the answer can not be found in Washington or in politics but by individuals restoring love and helping their neighbors.

 Beck’s message does touch upon politics, but not in a partisan sense. Beck spoke before a packed American Airlines Arena in Dallas for FreePac on Thurday night, which gathered activists from around the world interested in spreading freedom and limited government from around the world. 

 The intelligentia loves to note that Beck only took a couple of college classes. I wonder how many elites would have the guts or the pedagogic gumption to read all of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The God of the Copy Book Headings” to make a larger point against collectivism and progressivism. Beck hopes that the Third Great Spiritual Awaking along with inspiring Tea Party types around the world that freedom can be preserved. 

 There is little doubt that the Lamestream Media with either ignore the messages shared for Restoring Love or blindly ridicule what they consider is an easy target. It would be wise for those who preach tolerance and diversity to consider the themes coming from the Restoring Love experience and juxtapose it to their progressive prejudices.

27 July 2012

Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Munich Olympics Massacre

Masked Black September terrorist holding hostages during 1972 Munich Summer Olympics

Forty years ago, the International Olympics movement was stained in blood by terrorism by by one day in September during the second week of the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany.  In the second week of the XX Summer Olympiad, a group of Palestinian terrorists known as Black September killed two Israeli athletes and took nine Olympians hostage.  None of the Israeli hostages returned home alive.

The terrorists demanded that the Israeli government release 234 prisoners. The Palestianian gunmen also demanded that the Federal Republic of Germany release two inmates from their prisons.  To prove their resolve, the Black September terrorists tossed the body of wrestling coach Weinberg out the door (although the coach had been killed during the Palestinian terrorists raid).  

Initially, the games continued during this terrorist hostage situation. Twelve hours after the hostages were taken, Munich Olympic officials suspended the games. Negotiators offered an unlimited amount of money or substituting high ranking Germans but the Palestinian terrorists reply reportedly was "money means nothing to us; our lives mean nothing to us."  

A small squad of German Police tried to slink into the Olympic Village dressed in Olympic sweatsuits and carrying sub-machine guns.  As the redeployed border guards took up positions, the media broadcast the scene, giving the terrorists real time tactical information.  In response, the terrorists threatened to kill two hostages and the police presence disappeared. 

[L] Kehart Schorr [R] Andre Spitzer held hostage
 During the two days of being held hostage, negotiators wanted to have direct contact with the hostages to prove that they were still alive.  Fencing coach Andre Spitzer and shooting coach Kehat Schorr briefly had a dialogue with German officials from the second floor balcony as the Palestinian abductors held guns on them. Spitzer was fluent in German so as he attempted to answer a question, he was clubbed with a butt of an AK-47 machine gun and was pulled away from the window. Shortly afterwards, the German Interior Minister and the Mayor of the Olympic Village briefly spoke with the abducted Olympic athletes.

German officials feigned agreement to demands and convinced the Palestinian terrorists to be evacuated at F├╝rstenfeldbruck NATO airbase. The German military had planned an ambush on the airplane but decided to abort without informing the whole team. The Black September terrorists broke their word as they took the German helicopter pilot hostage as the shuttled their Israeli hostages in staggered groups. When the two lead terrorists realized that it was a trap, they headed back towards the helicopter.  The snipers failed to fell the Black September leader and just grazed the other terrorist. In the ensuing chaos, five of the eight terrorists were killed, a West German policeman died in the firefight but the terrorists tossed a grenade in the helicopter killing the remaining bound Israelis.

During the five hour Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Summer Olympics, they could not find one minute to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Munich Massacre.   Officially, International Olympic Committee Chief Jaques Rogge stated that a moment of silence  for the Munich Massacre: "[W]as not appropriate".  During the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the script was rewritten to commemorate the death of a luger the day of the Opening Ceremonies. What was more likely is that the IOC feared a boycott or withdrawal from the games by Arab countries.  The head of the Palestinian IOC team labeled the Munich Massacre minute of silence campaign as "racism".  

So many of those interested in the Olympics will enthuse about the Olympic ideals and international brotherhood.  The silence of the Olympic movement for not remembering the barbarism which stained the Olympic ideal speaks volumes.

Despite the fecklessness of the IOC and the London Olympics, the dignity of the murdered Israeli Olympians has not been forgotten, nor the barbarism of the terrorists. The silence of the international community shows the true character of the idealism of the Olympics. Moreover, the intolerance displayed by the Palestinian IOC is quite revealing to those who are willing to take off their rose colored glasses.

h/t: One Day In September

24 July 2012

Close the Forward Hatch POTUS!

President Barack Obama has spent over $100 Million in political ads so far to gain re-election.  Some wonks wondered if one of the ads featured the President strolling by some columns, which could have been the Colonnade  by the Rose Garden in the White House. This scene had been the site for many images from President George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign.   Obama’s Forward walk  image was brief file footage and the complaint seemed somewhat picayune.

Apparently, the prospective Republican nominee former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) scored a hit with his ad which featured small businessmen reacting to candidate Obama’s bluster that entrepreneurs did not build their own businesses.  In fact, the Romney campaign has been using the gaffe as a means to sell “I Build This Business, Mr. President” t-shirts as campaign fundraisers.

Thus the Obama campaign rushed out a political ad to respond to what they contend is a misrepresentations by Mitt.  An informed voter can watch the Obama Roanoke clip and decide for yourself if lack of teleprompters was to blame, if it was merely inelegant utterances on the stump or if Obama’s opponents are distorting the record.  The problem is the setting for Mr. Obama’s video response.

Unfortunately, the Obama’s “Always” ad, was recorded in the West Wing.  Jake Tapper recognized that Mr. Obama was seated in his Chief of Staff Jacob Lew’s office.  White House officials confirm the setting.

This would seem to be a de facto violation of the 1939 Hatch Act which, in part, prohibits partisan political activity in government offices.  This would include using official authority to interfere with an election or engage in political activity in a government office.  Congressmen routinely vacate their offices on Capitol Hill to Democrat or Republican Clubs to make campaign calls.

A close viewing of Obama’s “Always” ad begins with a hard cut “Those ads”.  Perhaps editors realized that by naming Romney it would have been an overt violation of the Hatch Act.

Obama supporters have made excuses for their candidate’s actions.  Some cite the fact that the White House is government housing so there is not an easily accessible safe place for candidate Obama to make partisan retorts.  Obama officials noted that prior  Presidents, including Ford, Carter, Reagan and Clinton had shots of them in the Oval Office when proffering partisan propaganda.  Melenie Sloan from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government gives Obama’s actions approbation as it did not involve solicitation, but she noted that Americans like to think of the White House as being sacrosanct and above partisan politics.

Between the politization of the Holder Department of Justice for suing states on Voter ID laws on the flimsiest of grounds and not prosecuting aspects of DOMA or Immigration Law which do not strike their political fancy and this flaunting of the spirit of the Hatch Act, it is hard to avoid an impression that in the Obama regime, there is a blending of partisan politics and governance.

As a political animal who supports the rule of law, I urge Mr. Obama to close the Hatch and adhere to the laws on the books.

22 July 2012

Contact With Scientific Certitude

Recently, I saw a snarky posting from an avowed secular humanism which mocked a Sunday School poster simplistically urging the children to turn to the Bible and listen to divine teachings. Of course such atheists are too cool for Sabbath School and condescendingly surmise that everyone should think for themselves.

 Later, I came across this idealized pedagogic dialogue showing the “subtleness” of the Socratic method in forming young skulls full of mush.

The problem with the latter exchange is that in a classroom a student rarely becomes a master without suffering a failing grade first.

 The fictitious student’s retort reminded me of a wonderful scene in the film adaptation of Carl Sagan’s novel “Contact” (1997). Dr “Ellie” Arroway (Jodie Foster) was set to intellectually eviscerate Christian Philosopher Palmer Joss (Matthew McConnoghey) for proposing that science has been incapable of delivering meaning to the world.

 But instead of Occum’s Razor carrying the day, the SETI scientist was stumped at proving her love for her father.

 Some things, including matters of consequence like love or God, can not be proven by science. Other issues, like worthy “human life”, do not have scientifically probative answers and rely upon ethics and mores.

20 July 2012

Atheists' Umbrage at Obama’s Movie Massacre Prayer

Just hours after to the Midnight Movie Massacre in Aurora, Colorado, President Barack Obama recast his re-election campaign rally into a more somber public appearance. Mr. Obama encourage Americans to put aside politics as he called for a day of prayer and reflection.

President Obama concluded his remarks in Fort Myers, Florida with a brief prayer: “May the Lord bring them comfort and healing in hard days to come.” These temperate remarks to the grieving American public trying to process the 12 people murdered along with 71 others shot seemed quite Presidential.

Unfortunately, atheists expressed at Mr. Obama’s attempts to offer spiritual succor to the nation. The Center for Secular Humanism Tom Flynn opined that Obama bent the rules against the establishment of religion with his remarks. To wit, Obama’s oration excluded Americans who do not worship the “Lord” or those are atheists.

It is no surprise that gun grabbers, like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D-R-I) to quickly jump on this Dark Knight Rises shooting as an excuse to further restrict Second Amendment rights. It took less than six hours for the Lamestream Media to seek to link the tragedy to targets of their ideological agenda. Brian Ross, the supposed chief investigator of ABC News, broke into Good Morning America to report the suspicion that the shooter had links to the Tea Party (which were absolutely off base but where does a wrongly identified person get his reputation back?).

Atheists have been striving to impose their secular creed which imposes freedom from religion in the public square. While it seems that such secularists have a fundamental misunderstanding of the First Amendment establishment clause, it is more unseemly that purveyors of the atheist agenda did not have the decency to wait a day to hang their hook on such a sad news story.

17 July 2012

Is Obamanomics More Like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Evel Knievel?

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a children’s fantasy story written by Ian Fleming later made into a 1968 movie about a junked race car which was transformed by an eccentric inventor into a magical automobile which could sprout wings when it hurled off a cliff.

Evel Knievel

Evel Knievel was a Montana born daredevil who gained national attention from the mid  1960s through the  1970s for his attempts to jump over objects like the fountain at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve 1967, 13 buses at Wembley Stadium and the Snake River Canyon in Idaho.  While Kneival did have some successes in his stunt entertainment career, he also managed to break 433 bones during his career. 

Despite the near rocket power engine of the Skycycle X-2, the drouge parachute deployed early and the prevailing winds dragged it back south into the canyon short of the goal.  Having enough horsepower to make the leap  is not the only factor of success, as Knievel nearly managed to make the 1966 Caesar’s Palace jump and the 1975 Wembley jump but did landed hard and crashed. The problem with being a daredevil is once one engages in risky showmanship then that individual becomes practically uninsurable. 

Unfortunately, Obamanomics and petty partisan showmanship is threatening to thrown the American economy off the financial cliff.  President Obama has fully invested in class warfare by demanding that the rich pay their fair share and demands that Bush era tax rates expire for those making $250,000 or more a year.  The problem is that windfall from such a demogogic economic policy would only raise $40 Billion per annum, which would only fund the Federal government for eight days. Yet the Taxmaggedon  hikes would shrink the economy by 1.3% and cost 710,000.  This is foreseeable as small businesses would be walloped by these proposals.  It sounds compelling to stick it to millionaires (or those who make $250,000 per year), but many of those are S-Corporations, which are small businesses that combine personal and business income for tax reporting purposes.  Small businesses are the job generators in America.

Congressional Democrats has gotten into the high flying daredevil act on the economy.  To gain political leverage for Obama’s class envy policy of raising the rich’s taxes, Senate Democrats are willing to raise everyone’s taxes unless there is a tax hike for the rich.  Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) the prospective Chair of the Senate Banking committee in the 113th Congress, has declared that she will filibuster any lame duck session fix unless Democrats get their way.  This would mean that the Bush Tax rates would expire for everyone and taxes would go up across the board.

Of course, taxes for Obamacare will commence.  The .9% payroll tax on upper income tax payers and the 3.8% tax on “unearned income” will further erode any steam in America’s economic engine.

Super-Committee Protestors on Capitol Hill
Another impediment to economic growth from the District of Calamity is sequestration.  In order for President Obama to be given authority to raise the debt limit by $2.1 Trillion  in August 2011, Obama agreed to the bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011.  Congress agreed to a $900 Billion spending cut and commissioned a Super-Committee to find another $1.5 Trillion in cuts.  Since the Super-Committee was stymied in reaching legislative agreements, a triggering mechanism will activate a series of automatic across the boards cuts split evenly between military and civilian spending.  A Chmura Economics and Analysis report indicates that a staggering 2.1 million jobs will be lost due to willy nilly sequestration. The reality of these cuts on the military side will mean that personnel rather than weapons in development will be slashed.  Lest this report be dismissed because the  Aerospaces Instustries Association sponsored report is looking after its own, the Economic Impact of the Budget Control Act of 2011 notes that 48,059 jobs in healthcare, 98,953 in construction, 473,250 in manufacturing and 617,449 federal jobs are at risk. That will affect the well-to-do economy of federal workers between the beltways, but the prospective layoff notices may not be issued until after election day in November.  How convenient.

Considering that the $837 Billion of Porkulus stimulus spending of 2011 has done nothing to increase jobs vis-a-vis doing nothing, the combination of prevailing winds should further ground prospective economic growth.  We may not have to wait until New Years Eve 2013 to discover that our economy will not soar to Vulgaria like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. But without a parachute  and without significant economic propulsion, the American economy will likely crash after being pushed off the fiscal cliffs just like Evel Knievel on an unlucky jump.

h/t: Dave Grunlund

14 July 2012

Grading Obamanomics on a Curve?

It seems quite remarkable that the Obama 2012 campaign effort has the temerity to argue for re-election with 8.2% unemployment, yet that is one of the few policy arrows in their quiver. Alas, Obama’s economic argument is far off the mark.

 To sway Congress to approve the $837 Billion Stimulus legislation, the Obama Administration vowed that the unemployment rate would not exceed 8.0%. Obviously that Obama promise was inoperative as the official unemployment rate hit 10.1% in the summer of 2009 and currently the U-3 number is 8.2%, but this does not include discouraged workers which is 14.9%

[L] Austan Goolsbee & President Barack Obama

Austan Goolsbee, the Obama Administration’s former Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, has tried to temper any criticism concerning Porkulus.by essentially blaming Bush and claiming that the problem was worse than anyone in the Obama Administration understood in February 2009.  Goolsbee points to the official CEA report from late 2009 which shows that June 2012 unemployment was predicted to be 8.2%, leading people to believe that everything is going according to plan.

The problem with pointing to this revised economic forecast is that the same report anticipated that stimulus spending would vault American economic growth to 4.3% in both 2011 and 2012.  Those rosy scenarios have not panned out and the American economy has significantly underperformed.  In 2011, the GDP grew by only 1.7%.  In the first quarter of 2012, economic growth “skyrocketed” to 1.9%.  Economic analyst anticipate that economic growth with be below 2% in the second quarter of 2012.  Oops.  How is it that Obamanomics can demand an over $800 Billion Keynsian spending spree, garner only half the growth that it promised yet have the same unemployment rate than if Porkulous was not approved?

Playing with the unemployment numbers had mainly been the domain of the Department of Labor.  On Thursday mornings, the DOL would release unemployment numbers which are not as robust as expected, which will be chalked up to holidays or bad weather.  Some weeks, numbers would hint at the right direction and the Lamestream Media along with minions of the White House will crow that the recovery is continuing.  The problem is that unemployment numbers seem to be routinely revised upwards a couple of weeks later, without any fanfare.

The other trick to minimizing employment rates is through workers dropped from the unemployment rolls.    As the ninety nine weeks of  unemployment benefits expire, the people are dropped off the U-3 unemployment rate and such discouraged workers become part of the underreported U-6 roll.  Dropping long term unemployment benefits has accelerated has been accelerated as economic conditions are not as dire in individual states.  So if state unemployment rates does not spike over 10% during a three year period, the long term unemployment benefit disappears.  Since January, over 400,00 people have lost several weeks of the extended unemployment benefits, particularly in key battleground states such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado and North Carolina.

Bill Clinton signing Welfare Reform, 1996
This inconvenient truth about unemployment benefits may have partly inspired the Obama Administration’s ukase which ignores President Bill Clinton’s landmark achievement in "changing welfare as we know it."  The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act required that welfare recipients to work two years after starting to receive assistance, but some states enacted additional requirements to gain wider latitude over the program.

The Obama Administration recently issued “an official policy directive” which HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to wave workfare requirements.  Unfortunately, such flexible authority in Welfare Reform is not authorized in the Public Law, but if the First Amendment did not stop Sebelius or the Obama Administration from threatening the free exercise of religion through the Contraception Mandate, why should the lack of authority in legislation slow them down?

Conservative Constitutional observers opine that it is likely that Obama’s workfare waiver will probably lose in court, adjudicating the infraction will take time and will not be concluded by the election.  If a couple of large “Blue” states, like California, New York and Illinois, avail themselves to the waiver, this regulatory legerdemain will have the serendipitous effect of tempering rising unemployment statistics through the election.

Instead of grading Obamanomics on a curve, maybe the electorate ought to offer a participation ribbon  and send someone “home” to Chicago.

h/t: AEI

12 July 2012

Biden's Bluster Before the NAACP

Vice President Joe Biden at NAACP 2012 Convention  [Photo via AP]

Today, Vice President Joe Biden addressed the NAACP at their annual convention in Houston on behalf of his boss, President Barack Obama. Mr. Obama excused his absence at the NAACP convention due to a scheduling conflict, but CNN reports that aside from his normal closed door meetings and an interview with Charlie Rose, there is nothing else on the President’s schedule. But the Democrat Presidential candidate tried to redeem himself by a video greeting where Obama announced that “I stand on your shoulders.”

Vice President Biden strayed from his typical campaign speech to argue that Republicans are trying to make it harder to vote and not easier. Since Biden was in Texas, he could have consulted with Victoria Rose Rodriguez’s parents, as their daughter just testified that she could not get an official ID to vote as her parents could not drive her to the DMV.

To ingratiate himself to the audience, Biden claimed to be a lifetime member of the NAANCP (sic) and you go home with the one who brung you to the dance.  But what is a Biden public speech without some gaffes.

Still the substance of the speech is an unsubtle attempt to drive a racial wedge  between the black electorate and Republicans.  Presumptive Republican nominee Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) was painted as being stuck in the 1950s when there was a cold war and snubbing civil rights of minorities were countenanced.

The interesting part of the speech was a small throw away line.  Most will be amused to the shout out to “Mouse” in the Delaware delegation.  But what really caused ideological antennas to go up was the homage that Biden gave to meeting with the Reverend Wright and Mouse to desegregate the a couple of theaters.

 To be perfectly fair, this was likely to be a different Reverend Wright than Mr. Obama’s controversial pastor at Trinity United in Chicago, Illinois, but it was a tantalizing morsel.

There was somewhat of a mixed message from the optics of the speech. As the Vice President sought to conclude, he was booed.

 This seems to be because the crowd did not want him to stop. However, amazingly enough there was plenty of empty seats for our National Treasure's NAACP stand up routine. Organizers excused the sea of empty seats due to a torrential rain storm in Houston.  As for excuse, it calls to mind the bromide “Any port in a storm.”

Empty seats for VP Biden's 2012 NAACP speech   [photo via CBS News]

Admiring the Exposed Super-Egos in the DOJ Voter ID Case

Victoria Rose Rodriguez is an 18 year old from San Antonio who is worried that the Texas Voter ID law would disenfranchise her.  So the Eric Holder led Department of Justice used the Texas teen to testify in Washington DC courtroom as a poster child to nullify Texas’s efforts to prevent voter fraud by demanding state issued identification before going to the ballot box.

In March, the Department of Justice blocked implementation of this Texas Voter ID Law as a violation of the Federal Civil Rights Act.  A three judge panel in Washington, DC is adjudicating the case.  Ms. Rodriguez’s testimony came at the end of the second day of testimony and clearly was an attempt by the Department of Justice to put a sympathetic human face to their case.  Attorney General Holder notes that only 8% of whites lack ID cards but that the statistic skyrockets to 25% for minorities.

Ms. Rodriguez testified that she  has limited documentation, which includes a birth certificate, a student ID and a high school transcript.  Rodriguez is currently a registered voter but enforcement of the 2011 Texas Voter ID law would prevent her from voting.

Rodriguez testified that her parents were too busy to take her or her twin sister to get a voter ID card as her dad works all day and her mother is sole caretaker of her grandmother. Moreover, Rodriguez thinks that getting a driver’s license is untenable as her parents can not afford to add her to the family’s auto insurance policy.

Interesting that a legally recognized adult is so dependant on her parents to exercise her duties as a citizen. Sad that A.G. Holder holds Rodriguez’s example as part of his brief that a young voter is so dependent on her parents to go to the DMV to get an ID card in an urban environment.

Curious that a teen whose parents are too busy to take her to the DMV to get a state ID card (not necessarily a driver’s license) had the time to drive her for an estimated 24 hours one way  from San Antonio to the nation’s capital to testify.  Perhaps she flew to the District of Calamity. But if Ms. Rodriguez used an airline ticket, wouldn’t she had to have shown an approved government issued ID? If so, then why was she testifying?  Did the Department of Justice contract for private aviation for their poster child witness so that ID did not have to been shown.  Inquiring minds would like to know.

If anyone in the Lamestream Media would actually do their jobs and ask hard questions, they would have to come to terms with Ms. Rodriguez’s travel disparity that she was presumably able to fly by showing ID to Washington and testify that she would be disenfranchised by having to show valid official ID to exercise her sacred franchise as a citizen. This would expose the Texas teen as a useful idiot who traded her integrity to get a fleeting moment of fame while aiding a partisan policy which she supports. But instead of being responsible, the AP changed their story that Rodriguez’s parents were too busy to take her to that Rodriguez was unable to get the proper ID.

The Super-Ego is a Freudian concept that relates to the conscience.  Without needing to expose her ID, the ego becomes unleashed.  The Lamestream Media’s Super Ego is covered with yellow and  Rodriguez’s Super Ego seems to have no governor. Then again, is there any governor, like the rule of law,  in the Holder Justice Department?

03 July 2012

R.I.P. Andy Griffith

{Andy Griffith [C] with Mayberry Statue, Mt. Airy, NC}
Actor Andy Griffith, made famous for his TV role as the widowed sheriff of the fictional town of Mayberry, NC as well as Matlock, has died at the age of 86.

The Andy Griffith Show was wildly popular during its eight year television run from 1960 to 1968. Griffith left the show with a year left on his contract but served as an executive producer of the spin-off show  Mayberry, R.F.D. and appeared in a handful of episodes in its first year.

Griffith left to pursue a career on the silver screen, with less success than he hoped. Perhaps it was because he could not shake the typecasting.  When he returned to television, he partially embraced that folksy persona in the legal drama Matlock, where he played a widowed country lawyer.

President George W. Bush awarded Griffith the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 "for demonstrating the finest qualities of our country and for a
lifetime of memorable performances that have brought joy to millions of
Americans of all ages." So that gentile down home typecasting might not have been all bad.

While Griffith made his Democrat leanings clear with his avid support of North Carolina Governors Bev Perdue (D-NC) and  Mike Easley (D-NC) as well as a government funded endorsement of Obamacare.

That being said, Griffith never managed to ultimately polarize his public.

Griffith studied for the ministry in his youth.  This is reflected in a couple of Griffith's memorable quotes.

"I was baptized alongside my mother when I was 8 years old. Since then I have tried to walk a Christian life. And now that I'm getting older I realize that I'm walking even closer with my God."

"You know when you're young you think you will always be. As you become more fragile, you reflect and you realize how much comfort can come from the past. Hymns can carry you into the future."

May his soul revel in walking closer to his Maker.