July 11, 2011

In CA-36 Race, AP Ignores Democrat Hahn’s Gang-Intervention Scandal, Attempted TV Station Intimidation (See LAT-Related and Topside Updates)

Note: Carried to the top for what will probably be the rest of the day.

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TOPSIDE UPDATE: At Pajamas Media, via Zombie — “Craig Huey vs. Janice Hahn: Your CA-36 Special Election Guide”

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The Associated Press finally acknowledged the existence of Tuesday’s competitive CA-36 special congressional election on Sunday afternoon. The winner will replace Democrat Jane Harman, who left Congress in February to head up the Woodrow Wilson Center.

But as anyone who has followed the wire service’s biases would expect, Political Writer Michael R. Blood’s nearly 1000-word write-up (“GOP looks for upset in race for Calif. House seat”) totally ignored a serious controversy and related attempted thuggery involving Democrat Janice Hahn, whose opponent is Republican Craig Huey. It’s fair to ask whether the AP’s Blood withheld the incriminating information against Hahn in hopes of avoiding further harm to an already vulnerable liberal in what was originally supposed to be a cakewalk race. Details follow the jump.

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Quote of the Day — On the ‘Obama Depression’

Filed under: Economy,Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:18 pm

You know it’s bad when the dollar stores are suffering — and they’re starting to suffer:

More stores across the U.S. that offer deeply-discounted products are seeing their sales decline after years of growth amid America’s “Great Recession” — and one analyst said on Monday it’s another sign of even deeper downturn.

While the demand at stores like the 99-Cent Store or Dollar Tree is still relatively high, the biggest chains in the nation have fallen short of Wall Street’s expectations for several months, a trend that may prove even more ominous for the economy at large.

“I think what’s going on in those stores is that we are in a depression for 80 percent of Americans,” top retail analyst Howard Davidowitz told KNX 1070.

… “In those stores, somebody comes in with $12 to do all their shopping,” said Davidowitz. “The person who used to come in with $12 now comes in with $8.”

“In other words, the economy is continuing to be worse, the Obama depression continues to explode,” he added.

Don’t worry: $2 trillion in tax increases will fix that (/sarc).

Pethokoukis: ‘No big budget deal? Blame Obama, not Boehner’

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:11 pm

Boehner-bashers, close your eyes:

President Barack Obama could have done two things that might have saved his Mother of All Budget Deals.

First, he could have embraced market-centered, consumer -focused reforms to Medicare. That was about as likely as him accepting an Obamacare rollback. Second, he could have agreed — as House Speaker John Boehner and Republicans suggested — to sharply reduce tax rates in return for fewer special tax deductions/breaks/loopholes/subsidies. Recall that is what his own debt commission recommended.

Instead, he apparently offered to keep top individual rates where they are, at 35 percent, in exchange for tax reform.

I haven’t copied over James P’s charts, but keeping rates where they are in exchange for “reform” would have meant the following, when using properly framed language of taxation (note that the line for comparison at James P’s post is “2010,” because that’s the current rate structure after last December’s tax deal):

  • the first significant bracket (after the narrowly applied 10%) at 15% instead of 12% — i.e., 25% (15 divided by 12) higher
  • the average of the next two brackets at 27.5% instead of 22% — i.e., 25% (27.5 divided by 22) higher
  • the next bracket at 33% instead of 28% — i.e., 21% (34 divided by 28) higher
  • the highest bracket at 35% instead of 28% — i.e., 25% (35 divided by 28) higher

Without a detailed look I can’t know for sure, but I would expect that “reform” (eliminating deductions for items like charitable deductions and mortgage interest) would affect higher-income returns more than lower-income ones (because they almost always itemize, and because their deductions as a percentage of income are also fairly high), meaning that the overall tax increases in the highest two brackets would likely be 30% or more.

Bottom line: Obama wants taxes to be astronomically higher than even his liberal-stacked fiscal commission recommended.

Back to Pethokoukis:

In short, Obama sees a need for a permanently bigger government and a lot more tax revenue to fund it. Had Obama agreed with his own debt commission and Republicans, a big agreement was possible. Or he could have proposed real reforms to entitlements. But he declined and there wasn’t a mega-deal. Don’t blame Boehner for that.

Boehner-bashers won’t like reading that an agreement could possibly have occurred under the circumstances described, nor am I — if it’s true, which no one can prove or disprove. The fact is that it didn’t happen — or do we also start bashing Boehner for things which never happened just because we can?

Better suggestion: Contact him (e-mail, phone and fax info are here) and your Congresscritter and tell them not to go wobbly.

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UPDATE (posted after Update 2, but moved up for visibility): Matt at Weapons of Mass Discussion, a Boehner constituent, has further thoughts on the Boehner-bashing brouhaha.

UPDATE 2: The latest at Boehner’s blog

White House Insists on Job-Crushing Tax Hikes Amid Jobs Crisis

At his press conference today, President Obama doubled down on his support for job-crushing tax hikes in the middle of what The New York Times calls the “gravest jobs crisis” since FDR was in the White House.  “Lose your job,” the paper notes, “and it will take roughly nine months to find a new one.  That is off the charts.”  According to a new Chamber of Commerce survey, an overwhelming 76 percent of America’s small businesses expect to add no jobs or actually cut workers in the next year. More than half of those surveyed, according to The Wall Street Journal, “cited economic uncertainty as the main reason for holding back on hiring.”

Speaker Boehner reiterated that job-crushing tax hikes are off the table today during an appearance on The Laura Ingraham Show:

“I’ve also made clear that tax hikes have never had a place in this discussion and never will.
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Graph of the Day: Again, What Recovery?

Using a graph found at Calculated Risk, and shamelessly appropriating an idea employed by Alo at Brain Shavings last week, I give you a graph of previous recessions with all employment troughs as their zero points:

EmploymentChartInRecessions0611

Let’s see now, the establishment press thinks that it’s heresy to contend that Barack Obama and his administration didn’t lengthen the recession — yet the amount of time it will take the employment market to recover is an absolute certainty to be the longest of any recession since World War II, and probably by several years.

The press also wants us to think that it’s heresy to contend that Barack Obama and his administration didn’t make the recession worse — yet the dive in employment is by far the furthest of any recession on record, and has gained back only about 20% of the jobs lost (the difference between 6.4% and 5.1% divided by 6.4%) in sixteen long, hard months since the trough.

Both of the above statements are true even if one properly times the beginning of the recession as the end of June 2008 — when the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid economy and the recession as normal people define it began — instead of December 2007, as the National Bureau of Economic Research has erroneously defined it.

Memo to Corbett B. Daly of CBS News, who contends that anyone making either claim just noted is being “factually inaccurate”: Horse manure. You and the rest of the press can take your two-bit intimidation campaign where we supposedly can’t tell the truth about the economy without your approval and shove it. It’s not working here, and it’s not going to work anywhere else in the sensible center-right blogosphere. Two long years after the recession ended, we’re still asking: “Rebound? What Rebound?

Buckeye State Activism Bodes Well For Fall Battles

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:26 am

SOBwtpClercoAs seen at a well-timed activist convention and a packed Tea Party meeting.

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Note: This column went up at Pajamas Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Saturday.

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Ohio, well-known as a key presidential election state, will also be a pivotal battleground this fall.

Judging by what I saw during the first week of July at the We The People Convention in Columbus and at this month’s meeting of the Clermont County Tea Party, those representing the state’s sensible center-right majority will be ready.

They’ll need to be. Two pivotal measures will be on the ballot this fall.

One will attempt to repeal SB5, a commonsense public-sector labor relations measure which became law in March. SB5 prohibits public employee strikes in a state which has seen more than its fair share of learning-disruptive teacher walkouts. Among other things, it also limits the subjects of collective bargaining for public employees, requires public workers to pay at least 15% of their health insurance costs, and prohibits “fair share” payments which force nonunion workers to “contribute” to the costs of union contract negotiation and enforcement.

The repeal initiative will certainly qualify for the fall ballot. Organized labor and other leftist groups plan to spend millions, much of it collected through “a one-time, $54 dues increase,” trying to push it through.

Heavy union turnout should largely be offset by Ohioans aching for a chance to personally do something about Obamacare. That’s because, barring a last-minute setback, the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment, a law which aims “to preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their health care and health care coverage,” including nullifying the financial penalties of Obamacare’s individual mandate, will also be on the ballot.

Given the political backdrop, the July 1-2 We The People Convention could not have come at a better time. Its ambitious mission: “To recruit, educate, and motivate Ohio citizens at the grassroots level to perform their constitutionally defined role in the governance of their townships, municipalities, and counties, as well as in our state and nation, by providing opportunities, knowledge, and training to ensure limited constitutional governance.” Having attended eleven breakout sessions while serving as a panelist in another, I can assure readers that the mission was largely accomplished.

As I wrote at my home blog on July 3: “This year’s event came about because of a recognition that as important as the achievements in last year’s congressional and U.S. Senate races were, it will take ongoing activism at the local, county and state levels to effect genuine long-term change, build an organizational and philosophical bench, and bring about an ultimate return to this country’s constitutional core values.”

We The People was no pep rally, though mealtime speeches featuring Tea Party Patriots National Coordinator Jenny Beth Martin, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund, and presidential candidate Herman Cain certainly energized attendees. Cain also put in an impromptu appearance late Friday afternoon, where he was instantly mobbed by fans and well-wishers.

In my view, the most important of the over 40 breakout modules presented each day — a veritable smorgasbord with so many great entrees the convention could easily have gone four days instead of two — dealt with how to get government to work as it should at the state and local level. Six sessions were devoted to those considering running for office, starting with the decision to take the plunge all the way to the final 72 hours of Get Out The Vote. Aspiring activists learned the nuts and bolts of neighborhood and precinct organizing, the Ohio Open Records Act, and how to start, build and manage patriot groups. Buckeye State-oriented modules focused on what it would take to continue the state’s nascent turnaround. Ex-ACORN insider Anita Moncrief, who received a standing ovation even before she began to speak, gave a tremendous presentation on election integrity. For seekers of the bigger picture, there were modules on various aspects of Obamacare, constitutional core principles, the economy, the Federal Reserve, and the fraudulent “science” of global warming — oops, I meant “climate change.”

Yours truly was privileged to be on a panel with fellow Ohio bloggers Maggie Thurber of Thurber’s Thoughts and Matt Hurley of Weapons of Mass Discussion, with Matt’s co-blogger Mark Garbett pitching in to keep the discussion of blogging and online activism on track. We aim to make the State of Ohio Blogger Alliance at least as potent a force as it was in state politics several years ago, when it can fairly be claimed that we helped save several political offices from being occupied by unacceptable Republicans, unhinged Democrats, or severely conflicted individuals.

We The People organizers are so pleased with the turnout of well over 1,000 and the positive attendee feedback that they’re already beginning to plan next year’s event.

On July 5, I attended the monthly meeting of the Clermont County Tea Party just east of Cincinnati. The group’s guiding principles are simple: “Fiscal Responsibility, Limited Government, and Free Markets.” I was attracted to the meeting by the arrival of the Americans For Prosperity Foundation’s Running on Empty Tour. Apparently, I’m about the only one who had that motivation. Not to knock AFP’s presentation, which was outstanding and important, but the packed meeting room had what I was told is its normal monthly contingent of roughly 300 attendees.

In 75 minutes, in bang-bang fashion, I heard an Ohio Healthcare Freedom update, the AFP’s energy presentation, a trucking company owner’s revelations of how skyrocketing and volatile fuel costs have forced him to stop doing business in distant states, an EPA-driven sewage assessment horror story from next-door Hamilton County, an update on soaring water costs visited on Clermont County residents by a bloated water and sewer district with an edifice complex, and a brief overview of how the Community Reinvestment Act and excessive government intervention in the housing market has ruined what had been a well-functioning industry. Whew. This group is clearly near the top of its activist game, so it should be no surprise that reportedly 30% of the signatures necessary to get the healthcare initiative on the ballot came from Clermont County alone.

That’s the kind of intensity it will take to get the needed results in November, namely preservation of SB5 and voter enactment of the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Act. Both desired results would build further momentum for Tea Party-sympathetic candidates in critical 2012 primaries as well as the general election — just in time to ensure that our Punk President and his Gangster Government fail to get four more years. John Fund summed it up when he employed an old but rarely truer bromide at the end of his We The People speech: “Politics is too important to be left to the politicians.”

Positivity: Beloved Detroit crucifix saved from fire finds new parish home

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From Detroit:

Jul 10, 2011 / 06:52 pm

A 100 year-old crucifix pulled from a devastating Detroit parish fire in the 1960s is being restored and sent to a new church home in Michigan.

“It’s life size,” said Alton James from Detroit’s Good Shepherd parish, where the 13-foot crucifix has been kept safe over the decades.

The cross was the only surviving artifact from a fire – believed but never proved to be set by arsonists – that destroyed Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church on the city’s east side in 1963. Though no one was killed in the disaster, it grieved Detroit’s Belgian Catholic community, which had been attending the parish since its establishment in 1884.

Parish member and 19th-century Belgian immigrant Joannes Emmanuel Verbiest donated the cross, which is made out of fir and a 5-foot plaster corpus, to his church in 1911.

Pastoral associate Alton James told CNA/EWTN News that the spared crucifix was transferred to a nearby parish after the fire, which merged with other parishes over the decades and eventually became Good Shepherd.

But it wasn’t until recently that Mary Lou Schulte, great-granddaughter of Joannes Verbiest, started the effort to have the crucifix restored.

“This is an important piece of Detroit history and of Belgian history,” Schulte told the Detroit News. “It has to be preserved for generations to come. It’s our obligation.”

After inquiries were made at several local parishes, Schulte found the artifact a new home at St. Gerald Catholic Church in Farmington.

Go here for the rest of the story.