December 21, 2011

Epic Fail of the Year

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:54 pm

You might think it’s Solyndra, and LightSquared would probably take the crown if it were to go live before year-end, but for now this one looks like the worst:
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Stop the Presses: Tea Party-Favored Congressman Effusively Praises Boehner

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:22 pm

Correctly:

Rep. Walsh: Boehner Right to Block Senate Payroll Tax Bill

The House of Representatives’ refusal to rubber-stamp a two-month extension to the payroll tax holiday is a victory for House Speaker John Boehner, not a defeat, tea party Rep. Joe Walsh tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview.

The Senate-agreed extension would have placed an unacceptable burden on small businesses throughout the country, the Illinois Republican said, and Boehner’s insistence that Congress remained in session rather than simply accept the compromise showed strong leadership.

“What a courageous leader he is that he has kept his conference here in Washington working. He has kept us meeting, he has listened to us,” said Walsh, who is considered one of the key tea party leaders in Congress. “I give him all the credit in the world.”

… Walsh insisted the House vote should not be read as a “tea party revolt” as the White House has tried to paint it.

“Since I first started running for Congress two years ago, there is a movement of people in this country that is sick of the way Washington does business and they are scared to death with how broke we are. That is labeled the tea party movement.

“I’ll tell you what, it’s bigger than the media knows and it is truthfully bigger than either party knows.

“This movement is people who are out of work, they are suffocating and they are hurting this Christmas. They are hurting because this president doesn’t know the first thing about the economy and, as a result, his policies have destroyed the economy.”

Walsh said business groups have been adamant that a two-month extension would have resulted in a crippling burden of form filling and red tape.

Heritage elaborates:

The trouble with the Senate’s two-month plan is that it leaves so much undone and with so many people hanging. Working Americans will have no idea whether or not they’ll suffer a tax hike when the extension expires. Employers will take on additional costs and have to jump through more hurdles in having to change their payroll systems to keep up with Washington’s policy du jour (and then change them again in Jan. or Feb. — Ed.) — and that will be an even bigger pain in the neck for small businesses who do payroll by hand. In short, it’s terrible policy, and the American people deserve better.

And this is where America finds itself. The House is in one corner. The President is in another. And Senators checked the box and hopped a flight home for the holidays instead of doing the people’s business and reaching a compromise. Though President Obama would like us to believe the onus is on the House, it’s the Senate that has dropped the ball. And for the sake of the American people, they should come back to Washington and get to work on reaching an agreement.

Only an outfit completely out of touch with the real world would pass something as stupid as a two-month payroll tax cut (with Occupy-inspired complexities added which are designed to take the cut away from eeeeeeevil high-income earners), skip town, and say “Take it or leave it.” That perfectly describes Harry Reid and his United States Senate majority.

To be clear, I don’t like the payroll tax holiday at all, but if you’re going to have one, you don’t turn it into an administrative nightmare.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (122111)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:05 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.

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Observation of the day (HT Instapundit) from David French: “… after $16 trillion (spent in the War on Poverty), we have a different kind of more, more, more — more illegitimacy, more citizens in poverty, and more inequality, with growing stickiness at the bottom.”

But, as he notes, all he ever hears from what he calls the Christian Left is that we aren’t spending enough, and need to spend more — as if that will somehow generate different results. Of course, it won’t.

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Add Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey to the list of those calling for Eric Holder to resign. Holder should count himself lucky if that’s the only thing which happens to him — or his boss. 300 people have died as a result of Fast & Furious, which is 300 more than died as a result of Watergate.

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Ever More Dangerous, Damaging, and Immature Occupy Update — Remember that this is the Obama-endorsed (proof hereherehere, and hereOccupy movement (HTs mostly to OWSexposed.com):

  • Dec. 17, at RedState (“SEIU Job Description: Train & Lead Members to Occupy State Buildings & Takeover Banks”) — “The SEIU is advertising on its main site for SEIU Healthcare 775NW in Washington State. Among the job duties listed includes the training of members in civil-disobedience, peaceful resistance (how to get arrested), as well as the occupation and takeover banks and state buildings.” The ad has since been pulled, but RedState has the screen grabs.
  • Dec. 20, at the Washington Times“Hackers post cops’ personal data to avenge Occupy movement.”
  • Dec. 20, from the Associated Press, as carried at Fox News in Boston (“Massachusetts Man Guilty of Conspiring to Help Al Qaeda”) — “A federal jury in Massachusetts convicted Tarek Mehanna on four terror-related charges and three charges of lying to authorities.” The AP “forgot” to note that “Back in October, Boston occupiers held a rally for a then accused terrorist by the name of Tarek Mehanna.”
  • Dec. 20, at BigGovernment.com — “Frances Fox Piven (in the Nation Magazine): #Occupy Movement Must Bring About ‘Upheaval of Historic Dimensions’”
  • Dec. 20, from TV station KWGN“Occupy Denver protesters evicted in fiery clash.”
  • Dec. 13, at the New York Daily News“Milk Street Cafe, FiDi eatery that lost business due to Occupy Wall Street barricades, to close for good.”

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Well-stated at the Mendenhall, regarding Occupy Movement sympathizers who claim to renounce the violence and mayhem, which might as well have been addressed directly to President Obama and other Democratic Party supporters and even the left’s sideline-sitters:

You can no longer close your eyes to the screaming mob before you and assert that you support what they “really” stand for while simultaneously denying that the destruction of the individual is not their goal. You cannot hide behind the thin veil that is the mismatched, contradictory, philosophic chaos of the Occupy Movement and say that not every member stands for the same thing – they do not have to, and nor do you. Your very support pushes the mob forward against the liberty which you claim you love so dearly. You, by your voluntary act of association and assent, are no less culpable than the most ardent nihilistic insurgent at these rallies, and perhaps, even more so.

Exactly.

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Here’s something which might finally get OH-01′s Steve Chabot and others on the House Judiciary Committee who are getting together today to consider the horrid Software Online Piracy Act (which Chabot, incredibly, is cosponsoring) to reconsider (HT Instapundit) –

“All Candidates Should Be Concerned About SOPA”

Here’s a plausible campaign scenario under SOPA. Imagine you are running for Congress in a competitive House district. You give a strong interview to a local morning news show and your campaign posts the clip on your website. When your opponent’s campaign sees the video, it decides to play hardball and sends a notice to your Internet service provider alerting them to what it deems “infringing content.” It doesn’t matter if the content is actually pirated. The ISP has five days to pull down your website and the offending clip or be sued. If you don’t take the video down, even if you believe that the content is protected under fair use, your website goes dark.

Political campaigns and anyone interested in an open political process should be greatly concerned about the regulations SOPA creates and the freedoms it restricts. Online piracy needs to be stopped, but not at the expense of creating a legal wasteland that could restrict the vital flow of candidate and campaign information on the Internet.

Are you paying attention yet, guys and gals? Chabot’s phone number in Washington is 202-225-2216. His email contact form is here.

Updates (HT to Instapundit in each case):

Positivity: Vaclav Havel Crushed Communism By Speaking The Truth

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:58 am

From an Investor’s Business Daily editorial (bolds are mine):

Posted 12/19/2011 06:57 PM ET

Europe’s outpouring of grief over the death of Vaclav Havel, hero of Czechoslovakia’s great Velvet Revolution, says much about its longing for more like him. His honesty and courage liberated Europe.

… Havel died Sunday at age 75 after liberating his country, leading his nation as president from 1989-2003, and voicing his moral authority to scourge lingering tyrants in Cuba, Burma and China.

Havel, a playwright whose health had been weakened by years spent in communist dungeons, was an unlikely and yet perfect leader for leading Eastern Europe’s liberation from communism. He unshackled Europe with the only weapon in his arsenal — words, which he animated and empowered by expressing them truthfully.

In the former Czechoslovakia, the nightmare of communism imposed after World War II was employed with a Nazi-like oppressive intensity, leaving a bleak society whose citizens got by on lies, collaboration, mediocrity and ratlike survival ethics.

“… Only a few of us were able to cry out loud that the powers that be should not be all-powerful,” Havel told his nation after being elected the first president of the restored democracy in December 1989.

Condemned from birth as a “bourgeois element,” Havel was always an outsider who could never become a “new communist man” or a cog in the machine of “progress.” Denied admission to university, denied jobs, denied permission to leave the country, spied on by secret police and refused liberty in prison beginning in 1979, he managed to free his country by standing up for freedom against all odds.

It was an incredible dream then — because right up until the end, no one believed communism would ever fall. Havel’s Velvet Revolution changed that, as first a few thousand, and then a few hundred thousand flooded the streets calling for the regime’s end — and the move spread like wildfire through Europe and eventually hit the gates of Moscow.

Havel’s peaceful revolution, unlike almost any other, left all oppressive regimes — to this very day — uncertain about their self-declared permanence.

… “Humanity will pay the price for communism until such a time as we learn to stand up to it with all political responsibility and decisiveness,” he said, encouraging a group of Cuban civil society organizers in 2006.

It would be utterly negligent not to recognize the importance of Ronald Reagan’s and Bush 41′s steadfast stances with the Kremlin during the previous eight years in enabling Havel to have his message taken to heart by sufficient numbers of emboldened fellow Czechs.

Go here for the rest of the editorial.