September 23, 2010

Mark Levin Tells Off Chris Redfern …

Filed under: Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:34 pm

so I don’t have to (HT RightOhio):

Original video: Chris Redfern Drops an F-Bomb on ObamaCare Opponents (obviously, there’s an F-bomb at the link)

Do the Pledgers Really Mean It? The First Test Is Here (See Updates)

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:01 pm

(Yes, I know the Pledge is a House document. That’s beside the point in this instance.)

______________________________________________

Less than an hour ago, I copied the preamble to the GOP Pledge (full PDF is here) and suggested to its writers and supporting politicians that “Y’all had better mean it.”

If y’all mean it, I would suggest that you do something about this (especially alleged “Young Gun” Eric Cantor):

OpenSecretsGMcontributions2010

(the FEC date should presumably really be September 13)

The “something” you should do is return the money. Now. If GM won’t take it, give it to charity and prove that you did so.

Special note to Rob “How to Make a 20-Point Lead Disappear” Portman: Last week, I wrote –

Rob Portman is campaigning as if he’s entitled to our vote instead of having to earn it. He appears to be on his way to getting away with this strategy with an electoral majority. As of this moment, I won’t be among them. You still have to show me something, pal, and you haven’t.

You have no chance at my vote if this money isn’t returned. None. There is no defense for this.

I suggest that any readers who are upset as I am that a supposedly free enterprise-believing politician has accepted a significant political contribution from a state-owned entity run by statists not vote for Portman unless and until he returns its ill-gotten, corrupt money.

Hey Rob — Let us know when you do the right thing — if that wouldn’t be too much of a career risk. OK?

______________________________________________

UPDATE: I called both of Portman’s numbers (Columbus — 614-824-5513; Cincy — 513-444-4568) and spoke to someone at each number, leyting them know about this post and my current intentions. I suggest others do the same, or e-mail the campaign.

UPDATE 2, September 24: I spoke to a representative at Eric Cantor’s office, who informed me that Mr. Cantor plans to make an announcement about what he plans to do about the GM contirbution. Stay tuned.

‘Write It Down’ Prediction of the Day

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:16 pm

If Jay Townsend loses to Chuckie Schumer, it will be by less than 10 points.

That’s right, I said “if.”

The Pledge

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:07 pm

Nice job (full PDF is here).

Here’s the preamble:

America is more than a country.

America is an idea – an idea that free people can govern themselves, that government’s powers are derived from the consent of the governed, that each of us is endowed by their Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. America is the belief that any man or woman can – given economic, political, and religious liberty – advance themselves, their families, and the common good.

America is an inspiration to those who yearn to be free and have the ability and the dignity to determine their own destiny.

Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute a new governing agenda and set a different course.

These first principles were proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, enshrined in the Constitution, and have endured through hard sacrifice and commitment by generations of Americans.

In a self-governing society, the only bulwark against the power of the state is the consent of the governed, and regarding the policies of the current government, the governed do not consent.

An unchecked executive, a compliant legislature, and an overreaching judiciary have combined to thwart the will of the people and overturn their votes and their values, striking down long- standing laws and institutions and scorning the deepest beliefs of the American people.

An arrogant and out-of-touch government of self-appointed elites makes decisions, issues mandates, and enacts laws without accepting or requesting the input of the many.

Rising joblessness, crushing debt, and a polarizing political environment are fraying the bonds among our people and blurring our sense of national purpose.

Like free peoples of the past, our citizens refuse to accommodate a government that believes it can replace the will of the people with its own. The American people are speaking out, demanding that we realign our country’s compass with its founding principles and apply those principles to solve our common problems for the common good.

The need for urgent action to repair our economy and reclaim our government for the people cannot be overstated.

With this document, we pledge to dedicate ourselves to the task of reconnecting our highest aspirations to the permanent truths of our founding by keeping faith with the values our nation was founded on, the principles we stand for, and the priorities of our people. This is our Pledge to America.

We pledge to honor the Constitution as constructed by its framers and honor the original intent of those precepts that have been consistently ignored – particularly the Tenth Amendment, which grants that all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

We pledge to advance policies that promote greater liberty, wider opportunity, a robust defense, and national economic prosperity.

We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values.

We pledge to make government more transparent in its actions, careful in its stewardship, and honest in its dealings.

We pledge to uphold the purpose and promise of a better America, knowing that to whom much is given, much is expected and that the blessings of our liberty buoy the hopes of mankind.

We make this pledge bearing true faith and allegiance to the people we represent, and we invite fellow citizens and patriots to join us in forming a new governing agenda for America.

Y’all had better mean it.

You Go, Girls

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:28 pm

Link:

Key quotes:

  • Sarah Palin — “I didn’t get into the government to do the safe and easy thing.”
  • Michelle Malkin — “And I think it’s that sense of fierceness that American women have has been reawakened.”
  • Ann Coulter — “The culture has tried to take everything that makes women so strong away from them.”

WEOZ: Boehner’s 100-Seat Optimism Could Be Vindicated

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:17 pm

Note: This item went up at the Washington Examiner’s OpinionZone blog on Tuesday and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Wednesday.
___________________________________

In April, House Republican Leader John Boehner raised a few eyebrows when he made this statement:

When pressed for a number, Boehner said he believed the GOP could win as many as 100 seats in this fall’s elections.

“At least 100 seats,” Boehner said when asked how wide the playing field for districts is. “I do,” the top House Republican answered when asked if he thinks there are 100 seats in the U.S. “that could change hands.”

Of course, the operative word was “could,” and it still is. But the playing field for possible seat changes, which is what Boehner was referencing at the time, didn’t seem nearly as wide as Ohio’s 8th District Congressman claimed (to perhaps stretch Boehner’s defense a bit, some seats currently held by Republicans could “change hands” if won by Democrats).

Now it does it seems to be getting pretty close to Boehner’s three-digit figure — or at least closer to 100 than to 50.

Consider:

  • In Ohio, it’s pretty much a given that six Democrats are vulnerable, but so is the Toledo area’s Marcy Kaptur. A week ago, Kaptur’s Libertarian challenger Joe Jaffe dropped out of the race and threw his support to Republican Rich Lott because “I feel, and a lot of people feel, he has a chance of winning.” Kaptur is fighting the negative impact of connections with the PMA lobbying group and the appearance of a $3.5 billion (that’s right, with a “b”) payoff in return for her support for cap and trade legislation last year.
  • The Associated Press wrote on September 10 that “Dems could lose 8 Empire State seats in US House.”
  • In Michigan, Pollster Steve Mitchell writes that “Democrats are in real trouble in Michigan and could lose up to three Congressional seats.” His list does not include John Dingell, who infamously described how difficult it is to “control the people” and get them to comply with ObamaCare, and over whom the Democrats are openly fretting.
  • About Pennsylvania, Investors Business Daily’s Jed Graham writes: “Having swung from a 12-7 Republican advantage after the 2004 elections to a 12-7 Democratic advantage after 2008, the Pennsylvania House delegation may do a reverse flip in 2010.” Chalk up at least another five seats clearly in play.

That’s 24 seats in only four states (OH-7, NY-8, MI-4, PA-5) with only about 17% of the nation’s population.

It’s still quite a ways to 100, and from here the math gets shakier, but it’s still quite supportable.

Nine seats in states other than the four just mentioned were held by retiring Republicans and then won by Democrats in 2008. Nine seats were lost by Republican incumbents in states other than the four just mentioned. Clearly, given the changes in the political landscape, most if not all of those Democrats should be vulnerable.

If all of these races identified thus far end up going to Republicans, that’s just above the 40 needed for control of the House to change.

Beyond that, I would suggest that any Democrat who won with a margin of less than 10% last time and has a credible challenger should be sweating — profusely. Those who won by 15% and are in competitive races also shouldn’t be sleeping very well. That’s a lot of Democrats.

A more detailed look would be in order further down the road, but when Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank is acting and campaigning as if he’s worried (because he should be), you know there have to be scores of other Democratic incumbents who are concerned about how big their District’s 2010 Tea Party-driven wave will be.

John Boehner’s optimistic April assertion may turn out to have been much more than wishful thinking.

AP-GfK Poll Report Concentrates on Voters’ Emotions, Avoids Dem-Unfriendly Findings

APgfkRoperLogosSo what’s more important: The fact that independents are as “upset” as Republicans, or that Americans’ disapproval of how President Obama is handling the economy is at an all-time high?

Here’s another priority-related question: Is it more important that “independents and Republicans were half as likely as Democrats to be inspired and less prone to be hopeful, excited and proud,” or that Republicans are now more trusted than Democrats in handling the economy, representing a 10-point swing (from -5% to +5%) in just three months?

If you’re the Associated Press’s Alan Fram and Jennifer Agiesta reporting on your own poll — an AP-GfK poll found in full at this link (click on “September 8th – September 13th 2010 – AP-GfK Poll Topline” when you get there) — you would apparently say that the first alternatives in each question are more important, even though terms like “upset,” hopeful,” excited,” and “proud” are subjective, and the items that trigger these emotions will vary widely among survey respondents.

Why, if I didn’t know better (I think I do), I’d say that Agiesta and Fram filtered out the worst of the bad news for Democrats in favor of the touchy-feely stuff.

Here are several paragraphs from the AP pair’s report:

AP-GfK Poll: Independents as upset as Republicans

More bad news for Democrats clinging to control of Congress: Independent voters are nearly as grumpy as Republicans about politics this year.

In an Associated Press-GfK Poll this month, 58 percent of independents and 60 percent of Republicans said politics is making them angry, compared with 31 percent of Democrats who said so. About 7 in 10 independents and Republicans were disgusted, compared with 4 in 10 Democrats, and independents and Republicans were likelier than Democrats to be disappointed, depressed and frustrated.

As for positive emotions, independents and Republicans were half as likely as Democrats to be inspired and less prone to be hopeful, excited and proud.

The figures are the latest cautionary note for Democrats, who face a Nov. 2 Election Day in which the sluggish economy and President Barack Obama’s tepid popularity give Republicans a strong chance to capture control of the House and perhaps the Senate. They also help explain why independents, who can be pivotal in many congressional races, prefer their GOP candidate over the Democrat by 52 percent to 36 percent – which grows to 62 percent to 29 percent among independents considered likeliest to vote.

Well, I guess we should give the two reporters credit for finally getting to something substantive at the end of the fourth paragraph — by which time a number of readers will have tired of the focus on emotions.

Now let’s look at some of the meat Fram and Agiesta chose to ignore.

By a margin of 58-42, respondents disapproved of how President Obama is handling the economy:

APGfK0910ObamaAndEcon

As you can see, that’s up from a virtual tie just six months ago.

By that same 58-42 margin, respondents disapproved of the president’s handling of unemployment, an 18-point swing from six months ago:

APGfK0910ObamaAndUnemp

Perhaps most damning, the majority of those polled who say that Obama “understands the problems of ordinary Americans” is the narrowest ever, and miles lower than it was at the beginning of the year:

APGfK0910ObamaAndAmericans

My guess, based on the timing presented as to when the question has been asked, is that AP-GfK was hoping for a better September result than they got.

After inexplicably narrowing in August, respondents’ net unfavorable impression of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is 23 points:

APGfK0910PelosiApproval

This would seem to explain why congressional candidates are running away from her. Voters should remember that “Dems Deserve No Distance” from Pelosi, Obama, or Harry Reid if they are up for reelection and voted for one of the following: the failed stimulus plan, cap and trade, or ObamaCare.

Finally, Republicans have gained the upper hand in respondents’ trust on handling the economy for the first time since Obama has been president:

APGfK0910DemsVsGOPonEcon

Each one of the five findings I presented is far more important than the deep dive the poll took into nebulous emotions. Readers will surely find several others that would also qualify as more important if they go to the complete poll.

Tellingly in my view, the poll presents no prior information on respondents’ emotions other than for “happy.” I believe that the September poll was the first time most emotion-related questions were asked — which is further evidence that the AP and GfK were looking for any kind of polling “news” that would give them an excuse for not delivering the data readers have a right to expect.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

IBD on GM and Foreign Ownership

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:14 am

From an Investors Business Daily editorial with which I otherwise mostly agree:

General Motors hopes to attract foreign cash at its IPO, set for November. That’s not surprising, given low interest here in the U.S. — a result of government turning the once-mighty company into a political prop.

As GM readies its first IPO since its $49.5 billion federal bailout, one shudders to see the Chinese perhaps lining up to buy a stake. Not that there’s anything wrong with foreign ownership in a company. But GM isn’t really a company — it’s a semi-government entity run by Washington. And its most important output now isn’t cars, but political influence.

From China’s point of view, letting SAIC, its government-owned partner of GM, buy GM stock makes some sense. From their foreign reserves of more than $2 trillion, they can earn 3% to 4% from Treasury bonds — or a comparable amount from GM, with the added kick of political influence in Washington.

I agree that there’s nothing necessarily wrong with “foreign ownership in a company.”

There’s plenty wrong with a foreign government-controlled entity taking ownership of a company.

The foreign government-controlled entity’s goals are likely to be something other than maximizing shareholder value. No one can say for sure what those interests are, but from a strictly economic point of view, any goals that distract from maximizing shareholder value are counterproductive.

Beyond that, there’s a question of possibly hostile motivations. Does the Chinese company, coming from a land where respect for intellectual property rights is weak, want to take GM’s trade secrets so they can be used by other Chinese state-controlled companies to build better cars and stunt GM’s growth in China? Does GM have technology with military applications? Will the Chinese company sell GM state-subsidized parts — or even bring in whole cars — to undermine the US market and steal market share from its competitors?

We don’t know. As was the case with CNOOC’s attempt to buy Unocal five years ago, we shouldn’t find out.

Positivity: Man Donates Bone Marrow, Saves Young Girl’s Life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:13 am

From Berks County, PA (video is at link):

September 16, 2010

A four-year-old girl was on her death bed, until a man from Berks County stepped in and saved her life.

He made an anonymous bone marrow donation to that little girl, never thinking that she or her family would find out who he was.

Then a package came in the mail.

Benito Estrada is a father a three.

Eight years ago he and his wife signed up for the National Bone Marrow Program.

This last time it was urgent and there was no fooling around they called and they said they needed him right away and this little girl he was her only match, her only chance, said his wife, Amanda. They needed to know right away whether he was willing to do it.

After having Emma, their second daughter, they knew they had to help.

The problems that we ran into were minor compared to this and I can’t imagine being in her shoes, said Amanda. I can’t imagine my child’s life being at risk and I can’t imagine if there was one person in the world that could save her, if they wouldn’t do it how I would feel.

In May, Benito received injections for a week before the donation.

Muscle aches, pain on the knees you feel like an old man with arthritis, said Benito. And it was hard to go up and down the steps, but I did it you know.

Benito is humble and down plays what he did to save a 4-year-old little girl’s life. But in September that girl’s mother sent a package expressing her gratitude.

He made a sacrifice for someone he didn’t even know and it’s the greatest gift of all life, said a letter from the girl’s family. …

Go here for the rest of the story.