Dead Cats: Sequester?, 03/01/13, (8)25: James Brody

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CONTENTS: PS teach the Bible; Hanson – US recessional; Henninger – BO’s universe; Rottweiler to Yorkie; Rand explains; Phillips – BO’s Mutt & Jeff; Folmer’s memo; Millennials Health $; Boehm – University secrets; Guzzardi – GOP web;  Lies – tchrs & illegals; Tobin – SCOTUS racism!; Jack Lew disaster; Palin – DC ammo; Black colleges fail; Rats mind reading; SEQUESTER – Friday CYA; BO won’t fudge cuts; Rushbo – unnoticed cuts; Carroll – Bombast incoming; York – BO helpless?; York – Ho Hum; Gun mags a target; Rubin – Kerry’s ignorance; BO+Neocons $ to Syria; Announcements

“Is the United States about to become a laughing-stock to the rest of the world? It seems to have accrued a Defence Secretary who is the toast of Iran, and a Secretary of State who is a blithering idiot.” Melanie Phillips

“I do think the White House is gonna take care of Woodward with a death panel down the road.  That’s how they’re gonna deal with this.  We’ll never know.” Rushbo

March 1st

1781: The Articles of Confederation went into effect.

1803: Ohio became the seventeenth state.

1845: President Tyler signed a Congressional resolution annexing the Republic of Texas.

1867: Nebraska became the thirty-seventh state.

1872: Yellowstone became the world’s first national park.

1932: Charles and Anne Lindbergh’s infant son was kidnapped from their home near Hopewell, New Jersey. (Bennett & Cribb, 2010)

Downey & Burnett, WSJ: “Why Public Schools Should Teach the Bible”

“. . . The Bible has affected the world for centuries in innumerable ways, including art, literature, philosophy, government, philanthropy, education, social justice and humanitarianism. One would think that a text of such significance would be taught regularly in schools. Not so. That is because of the “stumbling block” (the Bible again) that is posed by the powers that be in America.

“It’s time to change that, for the sake of the nation’s children. It’s time to encourage, perhaps even mandate, the teaching of the Bible in public schools as a primary document of Western civilization.

“We know firsthand of its educational value, having grown up in Europe—Mark in England, Roma in Ireland—where Bible teaching was viewed as foundational to a well-rounded education. Now that we are naturalized U.S. citizens, we want to encourage public schools in America to give young people the same opportunity.

“This is one of the reasons we created “The Bible,” a 10-part miniseries premiering March 3 on the History Channel that dramatizes key stories from Scriptures . . .”

Victor Davis Hanson, NRO: “American Recessional”

“. . . The president’s nomination of Chuck Hagel for defense secretary was a sort of Zen-like way of having a Republican combat veteran orchestrate a reduced military. In fact, Barack Obama has nurtured a broad and diverse constituency for his neo-isolationist vision. Budget hawks concede that defense must suffer its fair share of cuts. Libertarians want their republic back and hate the big-government baggage that comes along with a big military’s involvement overseas. Leftists agree, adding that the U.S. has neither the moral authority nor the wherewithal to arrange events overseas. For liberals, a scaled-back military presence abroad means more entitlements at home. For each F-22 Raptor not built, about another 20,000 families could receive food stamps for a year.

“The American public — exhausted by Iraq and Afghanistan — is receptive to all the above arguments. If our poorer grandparents thought 70 percent of the annual U.S. budget devoted to defense after the Korean War was about right, we, the more affluent, insist that even the present 20 percent is far too costly.

“The result is that, while we lead from behind in Libya, France leads from the front in Mali. Syria and Iran shrug off Obama’s periodic sermons to behave. Our reset with Russia was abruptly reset by Russia. American policy in the Middle East could be summed up as “whatever” — as we become only mildly miffed that distasteful authoritarian allies are replaced by more distasteful Islamist enemies.

“In his first major speech as secretary of state, John Kerry did not worry about radical Islam. Nor did he warn Americans of a rogue North Korea, a soon-to-be-nuclear Iran, or China’s bullying in the Pacific and cyber-hacking the U.S. Instead, he spoke mostly of the need for collective efforts to address climate change. . .”

Daniel Henninger, WSJ: “The Obamaian Universe”

Magnificent stuff!

“. . . Mr. Obama likes to convey the impression that he doesn’t think or do business like other presidents. It’s time to take him at his word. If Washington is starting to look like an alternative universe, that’s because the president is creating an alternative universe, the Obamaian Universe. (Obamaian is pronounced Oh-buh-mayan, as in the recently famous calendar.)

“. . . Economic thinkers since at least the time of, well Copernicus, have understood that national well-being derived from private individuals going out into the private world to produce goods and trade goods, an activity that for centuries has created wealth for many nations. No longer. Mr. Obama and his circle divide the economy into separate parts. In the Obamaian universe, the units of the private economy—companies large or small—are satellites orbiting the great fixed planet of public spending. All material and economic life in the Obamaian model radiates outward from a central source of public spending. This is why spending in the Obama presidency abruptly jumped as high as 25% of GDP from a 40-year average of 20% of GDP.

“In ‘Star Trek,’ as I recall, its genius creator Gene Roddenberry routinely made clear that people living in an alternative universe always needed a ‘life force’ unique to their planet. Something that kept the people on the planet going, like a magical green ooze.

In the Obamaian universe, the life force is a fairly weird contraption known as the Keynesian Multiplier. As explained by its adherents, for every $1 of public spending, the whole economy will rise by $1.50 or even $2.

“As life forces go, the Keynesian Multiplier would be really remarkable. Alas, Copernican economists such as Robert Barro have been asking repeatedly the past four years for the evidence that all this spending in Mr. Obama’s public universe has been expanding the economy at this rate. Indeed, the Congressional Budget Office just said that in 2013, which will be the fifth year of Obama budgets that spend about $3.5 trillion annually, the economy is only going to grow 1.4%. . .”

REPLAY – Paul Rahe, Hillsdale: Rottweiler to Yorkie

Thx Bill Bennett,

(Tuesday, 2/26/13) Rahe described our transition from a republic to progressivism when, during FDR’s terms, Congress gave the force of law to agency regulations. We now struggle with “laws” issued for health care, education, environment, fuel, guns, housing, educational loans, marriage, and immigration. And we struggle with taxes that transfer our assets to Washington elites who, for votes, redistribute them to slackers. As Machiavelli advised, to stay popular, make everyone else needy. The descendants of Pilgrims, Quakers, Royalists, and even of Highlander herders have become slaves. And Congress, intended by our Founders to be a Rottweiler, became a quivering Yorkie.

Register for Rahe’s course:

The Blaze: Why Rand Voted for Hagel

““We beg you, help us understand your decision to vote for Hagel,” Glenn said to Rand.

“I hope I can,” the Senator responded. “You know, a lot of people have been confused by this. I’ll try the best I can to try to explain it to you.

“First of all I was the deciding vote to filibuster him.  The only way to defeat him was filibuster. The only way to delay him was through filibuster. The only way to get information on him was through filibuster. So we had 41 votes.  I was called and lobbied hard from the other side to change the 41. I was the 41st vote to keep the filibuster going.

“Within three days many Republicans announced they weren’t going to filibuster anymore, yet we didn’t get any information, which is why we have filibustering.  We never had 51 votes to defeat him, but we had 41 for a while.

We come back the next week and I vote again to filibuster him — i was one of 27, but that’s when the game was over. There was no stopping him when 27 voted. 14 people bailed on us, and that’s when Hagel was nominated.

“On the final passage I did vote to allow him to go through, mainly because I said all along that the way I treat political appointees is that for the most part I give deference to the President.  I will fight tooth and nail to get information and to get information in advance. But, in this case, I decided that no information came forward that would have eventually disqualified him.”

Melanie Phillips: “The Mutt and Jeff of the Obama administration”

“It was hard to imagine that the new guy at State, John Kerry, could make himself look even more stupid than he has done by his science-denying belief that the planet is about to fry through man-made climate change. Well, he has indeed now exceeded such expectations.

“First, he invented a new country. In trying to praise diplomats who were working on behalf of the United States in the Central Asian region, he thanked them for their work in ‘Kyrzakhstan,’ according to various media reports, and credited their efforts in ‘support [of] democratic institutions in Kyrzakhstan and Georgia’ – apparently muddling up America’s major ally in the war on terrorism, Kyrgyzstan with its neighbor to the north, Kazakhstan. . .

“Then there’s Chuck Hagel, now confirmed as Secretary for Defence thanks to brain-dead or spineless Republicans who failed to block his appointment. This despite Hagel’s opposition to sanctions against Iran; his refusal to call Iran’s Republican Guards or Hezbollah terrorist organisations; his animus towards Israel and his claim that the ‘Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here’; his questionable comments about homosexuals ;and his stunningly inept and incompetent performance at his confirmation hearing, where he first said

‘I support the president’s strong position on containment’

PA .  .  .

Mike Folmer’s Memo

Appropriations Hearings Continue
The Senate Appropriations Committee continues public hearings this week on the Governor’s proposed spending plan. The Pennsylvania Department of Education will be the focus Monday, March 4, at 9:30 a.m., and the State System of Higher Education hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, March 5, at 1 p.m. Both hearings will be held in Hearing Room 1, North Office Building. They can also be viewed live on my website.”

Eric Boehm, PA Independent: “Young, healthy people will pay more for health insurance”

“HARRISBURG – Young people in Pennsylvania might be surprised to learn that the federal Affordable Care Act may have been named ironically.

Michael Consedine, Pennsylvania’s Insurance Commissioner, told lawmakers in the state House on Thursday that the cost of health insurance for young, mostly healthy people may double in coming years as the provision of the federal health reform law take effect.

“Consedine said the state Department of Insurance is expecting the next year to be a ‘disruptive’ one because individuals who expect their rates to go down as the federal law kicks in may be a bit surprised.

From Capitolwire’s Chris Comisac, who covered the hearing (paywall):

Consedine explained the shock will likely be felt most by “young, healthy individuals who right now are getting the benefit of being young and healthy” because the current insurance underwriting process allows their health and other demographics to be considered and reflected in their premiums.

“That rating methodology goes away with the Affordable Care Act, and as a result we’re hearing from companies that based on this mandated rating formulas, that rates are going to go up, at least in the short term, for significant segments of the population.”

“Full disclosure: yours truly is a young, mostly healthy person who lives in Pennsylvania, pays for his own health insurance and is none too excited about the prospect of that cost doubling in a few years. .  .”

Eric Boehm, PA Independent: “University officials: No need to know how we spend $500 million”

“HARRISBURG – They don’t need no stinkin’ transparency.

The heads of Pennsylvania’s four largest taxpayer-funded universities told members of the state Senate on Thursday they see no reason for their institutions to fall completely under Pennsylvania’s open records laws.

The four state-related schools – Penn State, Pittsburgh, Temple and Lincoln universities – have a special exemption in the state’s right-to-know law that allows them to dodge requests for records of employees’ salaries, vendor contracts and other spending information. Transparency advocates in Pennsylvania and nationally have criticized the loophole.

Bob Guzzardi: “The Harrisburg Spider Web”

The Rewards of Hackery…Chester County Republican Skip Brion (Andy Dinniman says thanks for Carole Aichele’s candidacy) to LCB and now Dauphin County Republican County Chair (and loser) John McNally to Gaming Control Board…State control of liquor and gambling is a haven for patronage for the insider network.

Republican Smith Smiles and  the rewards of power fall on John McNally . Even when they lose, they win.

 John McNally’s appointment by House Speaker Sam Smith was announced today, after McNally had cleared all relevant background checks required for membership on the board that regulates the state’s casino gaming industry, the Gaming (Gambling) Control Board. Thank you, Stan Rapp and Greenlee Partners

Pgh Tribune: “More sequester lies – Teachers & illegals”

“. .  . the simple fact of the matter is that an extraordinarily small percentage of teachers would be affected (if at all). To wit, the “carnage” in Pennsylvania would be just under one-quarter of 1 percent over 10 years.

“Then came word Tuesday that in advance of Friday’s sequestration deadline, the Department of Homeland Security, citing “the current fiscal climate,” has released hundreds of illegal aliens.

“The local gendarmes in Arizona say their understanding is that DHS plans to release 10,000 illegals.

“It’s a trumped-up action, purely in pursuit of fueling public outrage, all the while blaming Republicans for refusing to allow the federal government to dive deeper into taxpayers’ pockets. Again, it’s spurious action taken in advance of 10 years of phased-in cuts.

“Obama & Co. keep redefining the word “despicable.”


LEADS . . .

Jonathan Tobin, Commentary: “Cries of Racism Cloud Real Issues in Court

“Liberals are jumping all over Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s comment yesterday during an oral hearing in which he asked whether continuing the special enforcement provisions of the Voting Rights Act in some states was a ‘perpetuation of racial entitlement.’ Many, including his court colleague Justice Sonia Sotomayor, seemed to interpret it as questioning whether the right to vote is itself a ‘racial entitlement.’ For his pains, Scalia was branded a racist. What is left of the aging remnants of the once-vital civil rights movement are hoping that outrage about that remark can galvanize public pressure not just for the continuation of the Voting Rights Act as it currently stands, but against both voter integrity laws and the system of racial majority districts. . .”

Also: Dana  Millbank, WaPo:

Sen. Jeff Sessions, RCP: “Why Jack Lew Is a Disaster for Our Country”

“During my remarks today I have exhaustively documented the case against the confirmation of Mr. Lew. I have detailed his disastrous budget plans, rebuked by editorial boards across the country and unanimously rejected by Congress.

“I have discussed his repeated, knowing, and deliberately false statements about those budget plans—most notoriously his claim that ‘Our budget will get us, over the next several years, to the point where we can look the American people in the eye and say we’re not adding to the debt anymore; we’re spending money that we have each year, and then we can work on bringing down our national debt.’

“As I close my remarks, I would appeal to my colleagues to oppose Mr. Lew.  .  .”

Garth Kant, WND: Palin – “Washington buying bullets for us”

“Imagine the worst-case scenario if the sequester goes through. The market nosedives. “The economy implodes. Empty shelves. Riots. The feds hit the streets in force to restore order in a “national emergency.”

“Sounds like something in a Third World country or Greece. It could never happen here, right? Think again, says Sarah Palin.

“The former Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential nominee believes the federal government is ‘stockpiling bullets in case of civil unrest.’

“Palin says the feds are afraid of what might happen if the sequester goes into effect.

“She writes on her Facebook page: “If we are going to wet our proverbial pants over 0.3% in annual spending cuts when we’re running up trillion dollar annual deficits, then we’re done. Put a fork in us.

Brendan Thomas, Daily Caller: “Historically black colleges and universities flunk Obama’s College Scorecard”

“In his State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama said the Department of Education’s newly released College Scorecard would help parents and students ‘compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.’

“According to the latest statistics, America’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) consistently fail to meet that [sic!] ‘criteria.’

“A Wall Street Journal analysis of the Scorecard puts HBCUs next to for-profit art schools when it comes to leaving students with high amounts of debt and degrees written in ‘red ink.’”

Jason Koebler, US News: “Implant Makes Mind Reading Possible in Rats”

“. .  . In the experiment, two rats that could not see each other were trained to press certain levers in exchange for a food pellet. The first rat was given a visual cue that told it which of two levers to push, which corresponded to a lever in the other rat’s chamber. The other rat did not receive a visual cue but instead received brain waves (transmitted through arrays of electrodes between the rats’ brains) that informed it which lever to push.

“If the second rat pressed the correct lever, the first ‘encoder’ rat would receive an additional reward, giving the rats incentive to work together. The second rat pressed the correct lever 70 percent of the time. . .”


Dave Boyer, Washington Times: “Friday’s sequester meeting to provide cover for Obama, lawmakers”

“It’s the kind of risky procrastination that any teenager facing a book-report deadline would recognize.

“With $85 billion in mandatory budget cuts due to start kicking in at midnight, President Obama will sit down with congressional leaders at the White House on Friday morning to discuss ways to avoid those cuts. It will be their first face-to-face meeting on the subject, although they’ve known for two months that the deadline was approaching.

Neither side holds out much hope that the meeting will produce a solution. But neither can the participants — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker John A. Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — afford the political backlash of failing to meet. . .”

Mike Flynn, Big Govt: “Obama Rejects Power to Prioritize Sequester Cuts”

“Senate Republicans are promoting legislation that would temporarily suspend the sequester for a week and give President Obama the authority to direct where specific spending cuts should be made. Rather than each Agency or program bearing an equal share of the cuts, Obama could minimize or even eliminate the cuts in some areas while increasing the cuts in others. This afternoon, the White House released a strong statement threatening a swift veto if the measure were to become law. .  .”

Rushbo: “Obama Gets Cold Feet: On Second Thought, You Might Not Notice the Sequester”

“RUSH: Now, the sequester, it’s gonna cut, they’re saying, $85 billion.  We actually know it’s 22.  But we’ll go with their 85.  We’re gonna cut $85 billion this year, light?  Look at this story.  Wall Street Journal today.  Secretary of state John Kerry, who served in Vietnam, said that the United States is preparing for the first time to directly provide nonlethal assistance to rebel Syrian fighters as part of a bid to change president Bashar al-Assad’s calculations and to expedite his removal from office.

“Meaning, we’re gonna pay freedom fighters in Syria some money to get rid of Bashar Assad.  You know how much?  Sixty million.  Sixty million in assistance. No, it’s just chump change.  It’s $60 million here. . .”

Matt Drudge: Soup to Nuts (3/01/13)

Dems offer to add $7.2 billion to deficit...
Senate fails last-ditch effort...
Deadline midnight...
IRS Furloughs to Begin AFTER Tax Season...
Federal workers vent anger at politicians...
Obama gives Republicans a meeting -- for 7 minutes?
Maxine Waters predicts 'over 170 million' jobs lost...
United States of austerity...

Conn Carroll, Washington Examiner: Bombast on the way

“. . . Now newspapers across the country are all running stories directly refuting Obama’s ‘sky is falling’ Chicken Little act. The Associated Press reported yesterday that, ‘President Barack Obama and his officials are doing their best to drum up public concern over the shock wave of spending cuts that could strike the government in just days. So it’s a good time to be alert for sky-is-falling hype.’ And Reuters reports today, ‘The actual amount of savings is much less – $43 billion in the current fiscal year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That’s because federal agencies don’t spend all of the money they are allocated in any given fiscal year. A $1 billion aircraft carrier, for example, may take years to build.”

“When the sun rises on Saturday morning and House Republicans will still have not agreed to new tax hikes, Obama will be forced to step up his sequestration pressure campaign. He will do everything possible to maximize the pain caused by the sequester and dramatize the efforts. Thanks to Duncan, Republicans now have a strong response: the White House is lying about the sequester and Obama’s ability to minimize sequestration’s effects. . .”

Byron York, Washington Examiner: “Does Obama have power to avoid painful cuts? Does Congress really need to give him more?”

“One of the most vexing questions of sequestration is this: Do President Obama and cabinet heads have the leeway to shape budget cuts so that they will inflict a minimum of pain, or do the president and his aides, as the White House claims, have so little flexibility in the matter that they can only stand by while devastating cuts take effect?

“The remarkable thing about the current debate is that few people know the answer, or even whether there really is a clear answer.  But a good case can be made that the president has more authority than he has acknowledged.  Cabinet heads might well have considerable leeway to move money around to minimize the effects of cuts, and at the very least could do so after asking Congress for permission (which would likely be quickly granted).  .  .  “

Byron York, Washington Examiner: ‘Twas the night before sequestration”

“The much-discussed slowdown in the rate of growth of federal spending called sequestration goes into effect when the clock turns to March 1, so I decided to ask a number of people on Capitol Hill what is actually going on in the last few hours before the super-controversial spending measure becomes a reality.  Are people frantically trying to avoid what the administration claims will be devastating cuts?  Are they negotiating?  Are they yelling at each other?  Hiding under their desks?

Answer: None of the above.  In fact, nothing much is going on, because sequestration really is about to become a reality.  And on the Hill, that means business as usual.

“Seems pretty standard,” says one House aide of Thursday night at the Capitol.

“Nothing to report from here,” says a Senate aide.  “Wish I had a good story to share.”

“Nope,” says another Senate aide.  “No votes until next week.”

“I suspect most folks will be flying home tonight,” says still another.  “You probably noticed there’s a meeting of congressional leaders with the president at the White House tomorrow.  Don’t expect anything but a photo-op .  . .”


Jamie Weinstein, Daily Caller: “Does Obama want to take away your gun … magazine?”

““Employees of Obama donor Leo Hindery Jr.’s media conglomerate Intermedia Partners, which now owns most of the top gun-culture media outlets in the country, believe that Hindery plans to gut and destroy all of them as part of a business plan that has already led to numerous layoffs and the virtual shuttering of prominent television production facilities in Minnesota and Montana. Hindery, an Obama donor who was considered for the secretary of commerce job in the Obama administration, is managing partner of Intermedia Partners. The New York-based media private equity fund owns Intermedia Outdoor Holdings,  which publishes 17 hunting, fishing, and shooting magazines, including Guns & Ammo, Handguns, Gun Dog, Rifle Shooter and Shooting Times.”


Barry Rubin, PJM: “What Secretary of State Kerry Doesn’t Know About Democracy or Islam…Would Fill a Book

“In practically his first outing as secretary of state abroad, John Kerry made some remarkable statements in a meeting with young Germans. The main thing being widely quoted is this:

“In America, you have a right to be stupid if you want to be,” he said. “And we tolerate it. We somehow make it through that. Now, I think that’s a virtue. I think that’s something worth fighting for.”

“Of course there’s a right to be stupid in America! Indeed, just this week it’s been expanded into being the right to be simultaneously stupid and secretary of defense!

“To be fair, Kerry’s statement was in the context of defending, albeit not very well, freedom of speech in America. (Kerry was obviously referencing President Barack Obama’s UN speech in his own talking points.) How Kerry defends it is what’s scary and dysfunctional.

“He was basically saying: Yeah, we know that all these dumb people who don’t agree with us are wrong but we let them talk anyway because it works out okay in the end since nobody listens to them anyway.  .  .”

Matthew Feeney, Reason: “Obama and Neocons Seem Aligned in Pushing for Problematic Syrian Involvement”

“Shift in policy expected despite rise of Jihadist influences in the conflict.

“The Obama Administration could soon announce a change in its policy toward Syria, the Washington Post reports. That change would likely include providing arms to some of President Basher Assad’s opposition.

“We knew something like this might be coming. While President Barack Obama had said he opposed plans–backed by then-CIA director David Petraeus, then-secretary of defense Leon Panetta, and then-secretary of state Hilary Clinton–to directly arm Syrian rebels, The New York Times reported earlier this month that the president was reconsidering that stance. If Obama commits the U.S. to arming Syrian rebels, it will be the latest example of Obama thinking and acting like a neoconservative. . .”

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