CONTENTS: Block Hagel; Sarah to CPAC; Hanson – Brave New World; Build Keystone; Shlaes – Coolidge; Rubin – the right to Hagel?; Taranto – Dems & Devil; Gillespie – Millennials angst; Gnat drones; Pot tourists; Krikorian – Borked hawks; NBC/ABC duck; Phillips – Euro libs; Rape – vomit/pee; Guzzardi – PA pensions; Corbett/Rendell; Prisoner’s Unemployment; Erickson – BO’s idea; Gillespie – sequester; Jeffrey – sequester; Rubin – sequester; Tweet after death; Announcements
“The delay of Hagel’s confirmation offers a chance for face-saving compromise: perhaps Hagel ought to be offered Susan Rice’s old UN job, where he would be happier, and do less damage, than at the Pentagon. It would still be a poor appointment, but certainly a better one.” Joel Pollak
“D.C. : “something that our forefathers never envisioned, and they would have sworn their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor to change.” Sarah Palin
1809: The Supreme Court ruled that the power of the federal government is greater than the power of state governments. (emph added, jb)
1839: Congress outlawed dueling in the District of Columbia
1862: Willie Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s son, died at the White House of typhoid fever.
1942: Lt. Edward “Butch” O’Hare became the Navy’s first flying ace of World War II after shooting down five Japanese bombers headed for the USS Lexington.
1962: John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. (Bennett & Cribb, 2010)
Erick Erickson, Red State: Urge Your Senator to Filibuster Chuck Hagel’s Nomination
Tony Lee, Big Govt: Sarah at CPAC
“We are pleased to again welcome Governor Sarah Palin to CPAC in March,” ACU Chairman Al Cardenas said in a statement. “Governor Palin electrified the crowd in 2012 and we are thrilled to welcome her back this year.”
“CPAC 2013 will be held Thursday, March 14 through Saturday, March 16, 2013 at its new location in National Harbor, MD at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.
The non-Washington, D.C. location of this year’s conference is fitting for Palin, who blistered the permanent political class and crony capitalism during her 2012 address last year in the nation’s capital in her first appearance at the conference.
“Last year, she was mobbed in the hallways before her speech. Palin stayed for nearly an hour after speaking, engaging conservatives and supporters who were there to listen to her. Reporters and observers at CPAC noted in 2012 they had not seen anyone who resonated with the conservative base more than Palin. . .”
March 14-16th: CPAC 2013
Victor Davis Hanson, PJM: “Brave New World”
“Sometimes societies just plod along, oblivious that the world is being reinvented right under their noses. In 2000, one never saw pedestrians bumping into themselves as they glued their noses to iPhones. Thirteen years later, it is almost rare to see anyone on the street who is not stumbling about, networking or texting. Yet most of us are scarcely aware of the collective effect of that odd habit repeating itself millions of times over each day, of millions of books not read, of “hellos” not offered, of brains wired to screens rather than the physical world about them. When cars once drifted into your lane, you assumed a DUI; now their drivers are most likely texting.
“. . . At some unspoken moment, we shrugged and silently accepted Ben Bernanke’s world, along with the thousands of ways that his Federal Reserve Board has radically changed our lives. Those at retirement age are not stepping down, not when they have a bad/worse choice of receiving no interest income or putting their life savings in the stock or bond market. Our fathers may have retired at 58; we will be lucky to quit at 70. Is there even such a thing as retirement anymore?
“No wonder that unemployed young people are endlessly circling the airport with nowhere to land, given all of us old planes perpetually taxing around on the crowded runways below. To understand the effect of no, or very low, interest, think of the billions of dollars in cash that are silently transferred from those who have saved to those who have no cash. The former receive little or no interest from the banks. The latter take out mortgages or car loans at historically low interest rates.
“Did the president ever mention this revolution, among his boilerplate of ‘millionaires and billionaires,’ ‘pay your fair share,’ and ‘fat cats’?
“Does it really make all that much difference whether you are a doctor at 70 who religiously put away $1,000 a month for thirty years, compounded at the old interest, and planned to retire on the interest income, or a cashless state employee with a defined benefit pension plan? The one might have over $1 million in his savings account, but the other a bigger and less risky monthly payout. Suddenly the old adult advice to our children — ‘Save and put your money in the bank to receive interest’ — is what? ‘Spend it now or borrow as much as you can at cheap interest’? . . .”
USA Today: “Build the Pipeline”
“More than four years of exhaustive study is enough. Stop the foot-dragging.
“Many controversial issues lend themselves to split-the-difference compromises, but the Keystone XL pipeline isn’t one of them. That puts President Obama in a tough spot as his administration nears a decision on the proposed $7 billion project, which would carry tar-sand oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries.
“For the environmentalists who strongly supported Obama’s re-election, Keystone has become a crucial test of his promises to take climate change seriously. Thousands demonstrated in Washington on Sunday against the project, asserting that the pipeline would unlock so much dirty oil that it would be “game over” for the globe if the project proceeds.
“For Canada, whose government badly wants the pipeline to go forward, the decision is an equally crucial test of the two neighbors’ relationship. And for the United States, the project offers a rare opportunity to create jobs and lessen the nation’s decades-long dependence on oil from unstable or unfriendly suppliers.
“Both sides make strong arguments, but after more than four years of exhaustive study, the right answer on Keystone remains: Build it.
Amity Shlaes, WSJ: “The Coolidge Lesson on Taxes and Spending”
“The 30th president had two lion cubs. Their names? Budget Bureau and Tax Reduction.
“. . . The first advantage was a gift from his predecessor, President Harding: the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921. Theretofore, the president had enjoyed no general oversight of the budget. Bills came to the chief executive’s desk like requests crafted by clever children, hard to turn down. Under the Accounting Act, the executive branch gained the authority to present a unified budget and a research staff in the form of the Budget Bureau, a forerunner to today’s Office of Management and Budget. The executive also had the authority to impound money already appropriated.
“The second advantage was one Coolidge himself supplied: the discipline to use budget tools, new and old. Harding had dramatically cut the budget, still bloated from World War I, but he lacked the stamina to keep up the work. Harding also made bad appointments of profligates or outright criminals, whose corrupt agencies undermined his savings drive. By the time Harding died, Congress was already weary of postwar austerity and confident it could squeeze more spending out of Coolidge, who might only hold office until elections the next year. . .
“. . . Coolidge’s third advantage was insight into what might be called fiscal trust. The president understood that ambitious budget cuts would be accepted if he could “align” them with ambitious tax cuts. The press wondered how two such taciturn men as Coolidge and his Treasury secretary, Andrew Mellon, managed to chat long enough to plot a tax crusade. But the two shared an outlook and “conversed in pauses,” as was written at the time.
“After congressional resistance compromised their first legislation so badly that an editorial in this newspaper assailed lawmakers for “hazing the president,” Coolidge and Mellon redoubled their effort. Finally, in 1926, Coolidge won his 25% tax rate. . .”
Jennifer Rubin, WaPo: “The right to an awful defense secretary?”
“As a preliminary matter, the Constitution does not give the president the sole power of appointment; Congress must give its advice and consent. Unless this is all for show, hearings and confirmation votes have to mean something; in order to mean something, the potential for rejecting unfit nominees must exist. And Gingrich is correct that extracting information from a recalcitrant president is perfectly legitimate in a confirmation hearing.
“In this case there is every reason to flyspeck Hagel’s finances. That 2007 Rutgers speech (at which Hagel is accused of labeling the State Department an “adjunct” of the Israeli government) was, as Bret Stephens points out, “co-sponsored by the university’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, chaired at the time by an Iranian-American academic named Hooshang Amirahmadi. The Middle Eastern Studies department was, in turn, generously funded by the New York-based Alavi Foundation.” The Alavi Foundation? Well, it is peculiar in the extreme that Hagel would have graced that group with his presence . . .”
James Taranto, WSJ: The Devil Made Them Do It
“Senate Democrats try to dodge responsibility for ObamaCare.
“Powerful Democrats” subjected a top Obama administration health-care official “to withering criticism” last week, notes Walter Russell Mead. When Gary Cohen, head of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, appeared before the Senate Finance Committee, chairman Max Baucus of Montana and Sens. Ron Wyden (Ore.), Bill Nelson (Fla.) and Maria Cantwell (Wash.) “tore into him.”
The hearing didn’t attract much journalistic attention; the only stories we could find about it were from a legislative trade publication (the Hill) and a health-policy one (Kaiser Health News). Here’s a summary of the senators’ complaints . . .”
Nick Gillespie, Reason: “Hey Kids: Tonight You’re Young, Tomorrow You’re Unemployed”
“By virtually all indications, today’s youth is a whipped puppy whose spirit has been decisively house-broken. Consider the truly catchy tune that took home “Song of the Year” Grammy: “We Are Young,” by the ironically uncapitalized group called fun. On a superficial level, the undeniably catchy song celebrates a gather-ye-rosebuds-while-ye-may sensibility that the cavalier poet Robert Herrick would totally grok: “We are young/So let’s set the world on fire/We can burn brighter/Than the sun.”
“Yet the lyrics to “We Are Young” actually make the case for something else. “If by the time the bar closes/And you feel like falling down/I’ll carry you home” croons the singer to a lost or near-lost love. He hints at real or psychic scars and adds, “Now I know that I’m not/All that you got.”
“As a generational cri de guerre, this is about as inspiring as the French military effort in the first few weeks of World War II. But it somehow seems perfectly pitched to a generation whose prospects have been fragged by parents and grandparents who have smothered them from birth. . .”
LEADS . . .
Michael Zennie, UK Mail: “U.S. Air Force developing terrifying swarms of tiny unmanned drones that can hover, crawl and even kill targets”
“The U.S. Air Force is developing tiny unmanned drones that will fly in swarms, hover like bees, crawl like spiders and even sneak up on unsuspecting targets and execute them with lethal precision.
“The Air Vehicles Directorate, a research arm of the Air Force, has released a computer-animated video outlining the the future capabilities of Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs). The project promises to revolutionize war by down-sizing the combatants.
‘MAVs will become a vital element in the ever-changing war-fighting environment and will help ensure success on the battlefield of the future,’ the narrator intones.
‘Unobtrusive, pervasive, lethal – Micro Air Vehicles, enhancing the capabilities of the future war fighter.’
Kristen Wyatt, Google: “Pot tourism in Colo.? Marijuana regulators OK idea”
“. . . Colorado’s marijuana task force was assembled to suggest regulations for pot after voters chose to flout federal drug law and allow its use without a doctor’s recommendation. Made up of lawmakers, law enforcement authorities and marijuana activists, the task force agreed Tuesday that the constitutional amendment on marijuana simply says that adults over 21 can use the drug, not just Colorado residents. If lawmakers agree with the recommendation, tourists would be free to buy and smoke marijuana.
“Imposing a residency requirement would almost certainly create a black market for recreational marijuana in the state,” said Rep. Dan Pabon, a Denver Democrat who sits on the task force.
Tourists could see purchasing caps though, possibly as low as an eighth of an ounce per transaction.
Afraid that marijuana tourism could open the door for traffickers to load up and take it across state borders for illegal sale, task force members agreed that non-residents should be able to buy only limited amounts, though a specific amount wasn’t set.
“Marijuana purchased in Colorado must stay in Colorado,” Pabon warned.
Mark Krikorian, NRO: Borking Immigration Hawks
“The pro-amnesty Right is borrowing its views and its tactics from the Left
“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens.
“The high-immigration Right has borrowed not only its immigration-policy views from Ted Kennedy, but now his political tactics as well. Grover Norquist, Linda Chavez, American Conservative Union president Al Cardenas — and Senator Marco Rubio — have launched a campaign to bork those on the right who disagree with President Obama’s immigration plans. . .”
Kyle Drennen, Media Research: “NBC and ABC Avoid Asking Tough Benghazi Questions to White House Chief of Staff”
“While new White House chief of staff Denis McDonough was grilled about the Benghazi terrorist attack on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, NBC Meet the Press moderator David Gregory only lobbed a single softball on the scandal, while fill-in host Jonathan Karl ignored the topic all together on ABC’s This Week. The White House was unwilling to even allow Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace to interview McDonough.
“On Meet the Press, after providing a fawning biographical intro of McDonough, Gregory only briefly touched on Benghazi, hoping the controversy was over: “I’ve talked to Republican senators, they’ve wanted to get additional information about what the President did the night of the attack…Has the President finished on the Benghazi matter? Is there anything else he’s going to say or anything else he’s concluded that should’ve been done that was not done?”
“Not only did Gregory allow McDonough to maneuver around such an open-ended question, but in a contentious interview with Republican Senator John McCain later in the show, the supposedly objective journalist worked to dismiss any notion of a White House cover up on the matter. . .”
Melanie Phillips: “The terminal poison of the European ‘liberal’”
“Hedegaard, President of the Danish Free Press Society and The International Free Press Society, is the nearest thing to a quintessential European liberal. He is a heroic icon of the fight against tyranny. He believes in freedom of expression, life and liberty. He not only detests those who threaten to destroy those things, but has been prepared to stand up and be counted in the fight to defend them.
“As such, he was reported speaking in his own home about child abuse and violence against women in Muslim culture. The day after these remarks were published, he stressed that his opinions were not intended to refer to all Muslims.
“What then happened to him was the kind of nightmare associated with totalitarian regimes, and which I wrote about in 2011 here and here. He was put on trial in Denmark accused of hate speech and racism. He was unable to mount a defence, because under the Orwellian rules of the Danish legal system he was in effect convicted before his trial even took place. After a roller-coaster of a case in which verdicts went first one way and then the other, the Danish Supreme Court finally ruled that he was not guilty after all of hate speech and racism.
“That, however, was not the end of the trials of Lars Hedegaard. Some two weeks ago, he answered his front door to a man in his twenties posing as a postman who fired a gun at his head and missed. Douglas Murray reported that 70-year old Hedegaard punched him in the head; the man dropped the gun, picked it up and fired again. The gun then jammed and the man ran off. According to Hedegaard, he looked like a ‘typical Muslim immigrant’. Hedegaard has had to leave his home for an undisclosed location under police protection. . .”
Connor Sheets, ibtimes: “Colorado College Advises Vomiting Or Urinating To Stop Rapists After Lawmakers Pass Gun Control Bills”
“The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Department of Public Safety has updated an online statement advising female students to consider a variety of unusual actions if they are attacked, including vomiting, urinating and claiming that they are menstruating.
“The advisory was updated Monday evening, just hours after the Colorado state House of Representatives passed a package of gun control bills that includes one that would make it illegal for people with concealed weapons permits to carry guns on the campuses of public universities. The bills still have to go to the state Senate and governor. . .”
Bob Guzzardi: 10 GOP lawmakers forego their Pa. pension
Dan Truitt John Lawrence and Warren Kampf lead by example on pension reform by not taking the pension. There is a very persuasive argument that the defined benefit contribution pension is unconstitutional.
Nice work by Brad Bumsted. FYI just finished John Baer’s very readable book a 25 year overview of Pennsylvania elections and how quickly well funded winners become losers and the big impact of small events.
Note that ALL Leadership of both parties supposedly committed to fiscal responsible pension reform take take the budget busting pension.
Bob Guzzardi: “Corbett Cohen (Rendell) Comcast Billionaires – Ed Rendell’s Third Term”
“What do Democrats think about Cohen (Rendell) Comcast billionaires’ network supporting Tom Corbett?
“I would be interested to know what Liberals, Progressives and Democrats think. This means major Democratic money will fund the Republican! Ed Rendell will campaign publicly for the Democrat but raise little money because his money source is the Cohen / Comcast network of billionaires.
“From my point of view as a Republican, I think this hurts Tom Corbett with Republican primary voters who are weighted outside Southeastern Pennsylvania. The Republican grassroots is deeply disappointed that Republican Corbett, with clear majority in State House and State Senate has accomplished little of the limited government economic worker freedom agenda.
“True, from my point Democrats cannot be trusted with money, but Corbett allied with Union Republicans is only marginally better and his failure to investigate Senate Republicans including the Orie sisters for Bonusgate is indefensible. Of course, the slow rolling three year Sandusky Grand Jury gambit that delayed taking a serial child rapist and molester off the street churns my stomach. Corbett’s explanations are not persuasive.
“It is hard to think that neither Ed Rendell nor Republican establishment donors were unaware.”
John Baer, Philly.com: Cell earnings: Prison inmates collect unemployment
“DID YOU KNOW that Philadelphia prison inmates collected unemployment benefits while sitting in their cells?
“They did: 1,162 of them got an average of $344 a week for, on average, 18 weeks. That’s more than $7 million.
“And many of the 25,500 inmates in other county jails in Pennsylvania did the same.
“We’re talking cash for cons – tens of millions of tax dollars paid by employers and employees fraudulently scammed by incarcerated crooks.
“Makes you want to get up every day, go to work and pay your taxes, right?
“Well, hold on. Before you pick up torches and pitchforks, you should know that the state says such payments are ending under a program put in place by the Corbett administration, and unemployment-compensation payments to 3,000 inmates have stopped, saving up to $18 million a year. . .”
Erick Erickson, Red State: “His Idea: Why Did Barack Obama Propose It?”
“Today, Barack Obama spoke out about the pending sequestration flanked by first responders and others. What he did not mention was that sequestration was President Obama’s idea.
“Today, President Obama said:
Emergency responders like the ones who are here today — their ability to help communities respond to and recover from disasters will be degraded.
Border Patrol agents will see their hours reduced.
Why then did he propose sequestration?
FBI agents will be furloughed.
So, Mr. President, if it is so bad, why did you propose the idea?
Federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go.
Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks, which means more delays at airports across the country.
Why then did you propose it?
Thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off.
Why then did you propose it?
Tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find childcare for their kids.
Why did you propose it if that would happen, Mr. President?
Hundreds of thousands of Americans will lose access to primary care and preventive care like flu vaccinations and cancer screenings.
If all these things would happen, why then did your team propose sequestration? Were you not being serious when you proposed it or are you not being serious now? You got your debt ceiling increase. You got more money to spend. All because you proposed sequestration and now you want to back out of it.
Sorry. You made your bed. Get some sleep.
Nick Gillespie, Reason: “41 Billion Reasons Not to Sweat the Sequester: 2013 Cuts Are $44 Billion, Not $85 Billion”
The first thing to note is that the $85 billion figure that gets bandied about overstates this year’s cuts due to sequestration by about $40 billion. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in its February 2013 report on the budget outlook, “Discretionary outlays will drop by $35 billion and mandatory spending will be reduced by $9 billion this year as a direct result of those procedures [sequestration]; additional reductions in outlays attributable to the cuts in 2013 funding will occur in later years.”
You got that? When President Obama scaremongers about national parks closing and TSA lines getting longer – and when Republicans bitch and moan about the military having to set up bake sales to buy bombers – they are already misstating basic facts. The sequester will slice $44 billion off this year’s budget, not $85 billion.
CBO figures that total spending in FY2013 will come to around $3.55 trillion (see table 1-1), or roughly the same as FY2012, when it came to $3.53 trillion. In 2014, assuming the sequester happens, CBO figures total spending will be $3.6 trillion before it jacks up considerably to $3.8 trillion in 2015 and then up to over $4 trillion in 2016. As Taylor’s chart (above, right) shows, this isn’t that very much different at all than what would happen absent sequestration. . .”
Also: Gretchen Hamel, Investors: “Sequestration Isn’t A Meat Ax—It Requires Cuts Of Just 3%” http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-viewpoint/021513-644708-spending-cuts-of-just-3-would-put-budget-back-on-track.htm?p=full
Terry Jeffrey, CNS: “Having Added Record $5.9T to Debt, Obama Claims He’s Cut Deficit $2.5T”
“(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama claimed today that since he has been president both parties have worked together to cut the federal deficit by $2.5 trillion—despite the fact that the national debt has increased $5.9 trillion during Obama’s presidency, which is more than it increased under all presidents from George Washington through Bill Clinton combined. . .”
Jennifer Rubin, WaPo: “Sequester posturing”
“Liberals seem to have convinced themselves they will wriggle free from the Obama sequester. They see weakness and capitulation from the Republicans around every corner. The Republicans? They aren’t bothering to talk much about it. As far as they are concerned it is a foregone conclusion. What accounts for the gap in perception?
“A good deal of this arises from how the two sides interpreted the fiscal cliff deal. The Democrats concluded that Republicans will always fold, citing the prior aversion to a tax rate hike. They believe the president’s own rhetoric that he is a mighty influential guy. So they may genuinely feel that he is perpetually in command.
“More likely, however, is that the lefty bloggers and pundits are practicing wish fulfillment. They can’t point to any sign of weak-kneedness; to the contrary, Republicans are overwhelmingly copacetic with the sequester. Mike Long, spokesman for House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy told me this morning, ‘The president proposed the sequester with full knowledge of what would happen if it went into effect — and he then worked to undermine the supercommittee from producing any kind of solution. House Republicans have attempted twice to replace the automatic cuts that make up the president’s sequester. The Senate has yet to act, and the president’s demand for more tax increases to replace his cuts is a non-starter.’”
Peter Wehner, Commentary: “Obama’s Threat to the Millennial Generation”
“. . . I don’t doubt that in 2012 Obama won in part by his appeal to younger votes and that he’ll spend his second term trying to lock them in for future elections. But there is a substantive point that needs to be made regarding Obama’s appeal to millennial voters, and it goes something like this: the Democratic Party, because of it’s dogmatic resistance to serious entitlement reform, poses a tremendous risk to the millennial generation.
“Here’s why. The refusal by Democrats to reform entitlement programs in general, and Medicare in particular, means that we will continue to take money from poorer younger people to give it to wealthier older people. . .”
Regis Duvignau, RT: “Ghost writer: New app to keep you tweeting after death”
“A new application will soon allow users to keep posting Twitter updates from beyond the grave, independently using intricate knowledge of your online character to create a virtual continuation of your personality after you die.
“‘When your heart stops beating, you’ll keep tweeting,’ says the new application’s tagline.
“‘LivesOn’ will let users pursue ‘life after death’ on their social media profiles, letting the deceased communicate with loved ones. LivesOn will keep posting after you kick the bucket, following the example of the DeadSocial platform.”