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Monday, February 28, 2011

Albany's Rally for Collectivism

by Bill Claydon

In the Capital Region of New York, one of the biggest “industries” is government of one form or another. The state is in a fiscal crisis due to decades of nearly limitless spending with no concern for the future. This is a state that would likely give a majority vote to a cartoon character for any statewide office if it had a “D” after its name.

As then candidate Andrew Cuomo said, during the 2010 New York Gubernatorial Candidate Comedy Variety Act Starring Jimmy McMillan and Friends, aka the 2010 New York State Gubernatorial “Debate,” young people leave New York because there is no opportunity. A bloated government which wastes money like it’s going out of style will do that kind of thing. Young people who have nothing holding them to New York leave (they can always visit relatives who are “stuck” here because nobody wants to buy their home on a postage stamp sized lot with $4,000+ in taxes to fund the never satisfied appetite of government). The same is true of the “evil rich” who are in a position to easily get out even if it means taking a substantial loss on their property. Big government supporters never seem to quite get this. There aren’t enough private sector jobs and let’s face it, the government can’t just hire everyone. Despite the easy availability of welfare in New York, some people actually want something more meaningful than that kind of big government enforced hopelessness.

So, when Van Jones had an “emergency” rally (great marketing for everything Van Jones) bringing all the various ultra leftwing groups together doing the best they could do short of building a time machine and taking everyone back to Woodstock, OF COURSE Albany, NY would have a large showing. Liberals cheered as if this is some sort of show of “strength” for collectivist unions. Look, the Capital District is home to gargantuan government that is deep in debt due to decades of wreckless spending. Is it any surprise there would be a huge turnout for this? Some have also pointed out that unionized college professors are getting students interested in supporting unions. If you stand outside in a rain storm, you get wet. And Obama is an “eloquent speaker” if it’s all laid out for him on his teleprompter. He’ll read whatever is there, complete with the dramatic pauses he has perfected oh so well. Do we celebrate the obvious? OF COURSE leftist college professors would promote collectivist unions to students when they’re typically fed all sorts of propaganda about other causes that run the gamut of leftwing activism. Par for the course. This is status quo, hardly anything surprising. Of course, as unions and their collectivist bargaining basically reward mediocrity and status quo the same way they do hard workers (with piddling and pathetic raises spread across the board for everyone), I suppose it’s no surprise that union supporters cheer the obvious.

So, while there may have been a decent number in a state with one of the largest state governments in the country, the numbers were limited elsewhere, according to reports.

I understand that in changing times, liberals want their outdated causes to continue to seem relevant. Unfortunately for them, we are starting to realize the tremendous costs of their whims. People are deciding they do not feel like continuing on this unsustainable path and subjecting themselves and their great grandchildren (the ones not brutally aborted, that is) to unending debt. People do not have the money to support big six figure salary union fatcats who forcibly take money from workers and use it to create multimillion dollar commercials or send it to the Democrat party. Likewise, people will have to closely examine the high costs of other liberal boondoggles.

We are in the midst of a shifting of historical eras. The failed policies of the past simply won’t be able to be sustained, now matter how many teeth are gnashed. The big UAW union got its bailout courtesy the taxpayers. Government employees were “stimulated” for a time, but that (failed) “stimulus” was not going to last forever. People cannot continue to pay for even more public debt. The gravy train is coming to an end.

Ultimately, the more the unions keep this in the news, the more opportunity they give conservative groups to educate people on the many problems associated with collectivist unions, and their ties to the Democrat party. We have needed this conversation for decades. May the next big “sacred cow” liberal institution shine a spotlight on itself as much as the big unions have done. We’ll need a national conversation about that one too.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

FAILED "stimulus" anniversary

by Bill Claydon

Today marks the second anniversary of the failed Obama (or maybe Pelosi?) “stimulus.” No sooner did Obama get nearly coronated after winning what was largely the equivalent of a national popularity or prom king election (complete with near expressionless zombies chanting “Yes we can”) then he started hawking a gargantuan “stimulus.”

Obama wore the hat of “salesman in chief” well while people were still virtually drunk on the hope and change nonsense after his near coronation. But as time went on, he simply became a less charming version of the fictional character Mr. Haney from the 1960s show Green Acres. In fact, looking at Mr. Haney’s Wikipedia entry, I found this quote to be so perfect in describing what Obama tries to sell us:

He often took a piece of junk and called it by some outlandish name, suggesting that it has some use that it clearly does not and that it’s in some way valuable.

We were told that unemployment would go above 8% if we didn’t pass the stimulus IMMEDIATELY! Of course unemployment is hovering around 10% and underemployment is hovering at 20%. But it was so important to pass this thing that nobody in Congress had enough time to fully digest it. In fact, when Obama campaigned, he said that bills would wait for five days until he signed them into law. He broke that promise in just about a month after his near coronation. And despite our nation being in a severe economic crisis, Obama took the liberty of ordering that his taxpayer funded personal private jet be flown to Colorado, dumping untold amounts of carbon into the environment, for an unnecessary signing ceremony. (Cue the kneejerk “What about Bush?” comment. Answer: Obama was supposed to be better than Bush since he campaigned that way against term limited Bush. Further, Bush did not lecture the American people about carbon and global warming/climate change/liberal term du jour. But if it makes you feel better, you can blame Bush for Obama wasting taxpayer money and spewing carbon for his unnecessary Colorado signing ceremony.)

I know some on the left will come up with vague and unprovable figures, saying “If we did not have the stimulus, it would have been worse.” Heck, why not just suggest something equally absurd: “If we did not have the stimulus, the moon would fall into the earth” or something. I mean really, if we want to do the chicken-little-the-sky-is-falling thing, let’s at least be creative with it. Speaking of creativity, HOW many jobs were “saved or created,” including all those short term census jobs that happened as a result of a Constitutionally mandated project every decade since 1790?

Despite the FAILED stimulus shackling future generations (the ones actually not aborted — likely at taxpayer expense that is) to debt to pay off Democrat political interests, it had some interesting side notes. First, party identity challenged FORMER US Senator from Pennsylvania, “Benedict” Arlen Specter (who flipped from D to R and then back to D at the end) voted for this boondoggle. As did the two RINOs from Maine. Without their help, the “Stimulus” never would have been an excuse for Obama’s expensive signing ceremony in Colorado. After criticism, “Benedict” Arlen flip flopped back to his original party and the party that basically represents his voting habits. He knew he couldn’t win a Republican primary after that. (He then was primaried out by another member of the Democrat party, which was perfect.) On the House side, the now shellacked Pelosi wielded her majority to ram this thing through.

But the drama surrounding the votes wasn’t even the most entertaining point. What was really fun were all the phantom congressional districts that supposedly got “stimulus” money. This after a multimillion dollar taxpayer funded project to construct a database to let taxpayers know where their future generations’ money was being wasted, um, I mean, spent. Districts like New Hampshire’s 00th or Arizona’s 84th supposedly received “stimulus” money and/or “saved or created” jobs. Hey, could someone tell me who won the 2010 congressional races in those and all the other phantom districts?

Then we had the millions of dollars of large and expensive signs built which announced that a routine paving project was paid for with “stimulus” (or rather, the lengthy outlandish name they called it) money. Hey why not spend it? It’s not like it was coming from the politicians personally….it’s debt on the shoulders of future generations. Waste, baby waste! I’m not sure if they thought this would garner political points for the 2010 elections, but ultimately it just created a lot of negative publicity.

After having just supported and voted for TARP, Obama turned right around and demanded another 700 billion from future Americans. Enough was enough with DC’s big spending ways and this was not the “hope and change” promised. So, while the tea was brewing with TARP, the whistle on the kettle blew when it came to the FAILED “stimulus.”

Make no mistake. The “stimulus” and ObamaCare were two huge factors in the gigantic shellacking Pelosi received and the reduction in Democrat Senate seats. Outside of solidly Democrat New York, many Democrat held governor seats flipped to Republican. Others in Congress saw the shellacking coming and suddenly remembered after all these years that they had a family and needed to spend time with them.

Had the “stimulus” actually worked, we’d see unemployment at or below 8% like Obama read from his teleprompter. The tea party may have dried up. People would not continue to be losing their homes as much. There wouldn’t be talk about extending unemployment indefinitely. There would be REAL hope. And let’s face it: Pelosi would still be Speaker and people like Andrew Cuomo would not have to at least talk tough. Chris Christie wouldn’t even get a political footnote as he would have been soundly defeated by Jon Corzine. Yes those things are fun to watch, but too bad our power hungry ruling class had to enslave future generations so much to get us there.

Happy anniversary, Obama/Pelosi FAILED “stimulus.”

Friday, February 11, 2011

Jimmy McMillan for President??!!??

by Bill Claydon

Sales of CDs and Jimmy “Rent is too damn high” McMillan dolls must be down. Despite being someone who simply cannot even be classified on the ideological spectrum, he has resurfaced at CPAC! And better yet, he wants to run for president as a Republican! What? Is the “Rent is 2 damn high” party (of one) not big enough for national politics?

As an entertainer whose faux NY gubernatorial campaign focused on one issue — that rent is “too damn high” — he hasn’t really articulated himself on other, more pressing issues. Until now. He has announced (drumroll please) that the DEFICIT is too damn high! I’m not sure there is anyone who can disagree with that.

Fun and games aside, he does make a good point. The youth are strapped down due to the shortsightedness and big spending ways of previous generations. Young people of today and future generations will be forced to pay for the lack of vision espoused by the previous generations who have grown government far beyond its Constitutional limitations. This goes for both major parties. We are simply on an unsustainable path and no amount of whining from big government cheerleaders representing the failed policies of the past is going to change that. The status quo cannot be maintained and we are facing a reckoning.

However, such a reckoning, while upsetting in the short term, is very necessary to bring this nation back to its Constitutional parameters. We have drifted morally and in terms of abiding by the Constitution. The out of control spending by the current and previous presidential administrations just hastened what would have probably come a couple of decades later. Had the tremendous waste merely increased at a slower rate, we would have continued to drift. Things were not right under the Bush years (or those of the last several presidential administrations) and have simply declined faster under Obama. We needed that faster downward spiral to create a wake up call.

The Founders instructed that ordinary people must pay attention to what is happening in government. Most ordinary people were “asleep.” The wake up call has finally begun to get people away from their distractions and more involved. Everything must be examined, considered, and tested as to its constitutionality. And no, the “general welfare” phrase (or as some ignorant types have called it the “good and welfare clause”) in the Constitution is not a catchall for every single big government whim that can be dreamed up so as to further enslave future generations with debt.

These are indeed exciting times and I for one am quite glad this reckoning is happening sooner rather than later. We were on the wrong path….and it will take decades to correct the mess that much of the 20th century created. It's better to get started now than to put off the necessary clean up job.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Andrew Cuomo vs. the special interests

by Bill Claydon

I didn't vote for Andrew Cuomo, but it was a foregone conclusion he was going to win. While there are many positions he has with which I disagree, I must say that I find his economic statements to be interesting. If he means what he says, all I can say is that the special interests are really in a pickle. This is going to be a prize fight to watch, but the stakes are even higher with Cuomo being a Democrat and basically the "figurehead" of New York Democrats. But hey, disgraced ex-NY governor Eliot "the Steamroller" Spitzer told us during the election that Andrew Cuomo has brass knuckles. (Oh and it should be mentioned that Spitzer made this announcement just as his CNN show was about to be launched. A nice contrived political firestorm is always good for ratings.) I'm going to enjoy watching this as a conservative.

Cuomo has already announced that the overly expensive sob story propaganda ads on television put out by the big unions will not deter him. Whenever there is talk about a cut in one program or another, suddenly these ads pop up on television. Gosh, they are expensive. One would think if the various special interests have all this spare money floating around to run television ads, they could just roll that back into the programs near and dear to their hearts.

It almost would have been better for the special interests if Carl Paladino had won. They could have a free for all running numerous ads vilifying him, calling him the scourge of the earth, making him into their virtual punching bag, complaining about Republicans, etc. They could have raised tremendous sums in donations from people just by bandying about Paladino's name. They could have had a field day with a Paladino governorship. Had it been a narrow victory, he would have been a great boogeyman for them.

But, wait, what's this? A liberal Democrat is in office now, a member of New York's political dynasty (his father Mario Cuomo was a three term ultra leftist governor) no less, and he is claiming he is NOT going to play ball with, or be a puppet of, the special interests? How dare he!! For too long, Democrats were basically joined at the hip with the big unions and other massive special interests driving costs in New York out of sight. Where can they go now? 2014 is a long way away. And even so, they can't get behind a Republican. What do they have left? The Green Party and Howie Hawkins? Or perhaps his ideological twin Charles Barron who also had a "tax everything" mentality in the 2010 New York Gubernatorial Comedy Variety Show, aka "Debate"? Hey, speaking of comedy, maybe Jimmy "Rent is too damn high" McMillan could be talked into changing his message a bit? "Cuts are too damn much"?

This is really entertaining. The special interests have to be a bit careful criticizing Andrew Cuomo, being that he is a Democrat afterall. Against the likes of Paladino, they had to support him. Criticizing him too much now would seem hypocritical. And yet he's at least talking about refusing to do their bidding. What can they do?

New York is on an unsustainable path. Too many people are without jobs and too many people continue to leave the state for others with less regulation, more efficient state governments, lower property taxes (that's practically every state other than New York), less welfare, more opportunities, and a host of other reasons. The special interests can get out their violins and spend millions to complain all over television, but fewer and fewer people will buy it. And worst of all, they have to spend this money with an elected liberal Democrat in office! My goodness.

Cuomo would not have to do anything if all he wanted was reelection. He could coast along, be friendly with everyone, do the bidding of the special interests, and win a landslide reelection as a Democrat and a sitting governor. But if he has any higher ambitions in mind for the future (like 2016 or 2020), he must make good on his statements. He cannot buckle. So, I'm going to get some popcorn and enjoy watching the epic battle between New York's entrenched political dynasty and New York's entrenched special interests.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Does Schumer Need a High School Civics Refresher?

by Bill Claydon

Okay, I know some believe in a “living Constitution” which means different things depending on what ends they have in mind on any given day, but this one takes the cake. Since high level big government politicians are never wrong, according to Chucky Schumer, the three branches of government now consist of the House, Senate, and the President. Silly me, I thought there was a Legislative (consisting of the House and Senate), Executive (including the President and his collection of Secretaries and continuously multiplying Czars that write regulations which ultimately reduce the power of the Legislative branch), and the Judicial branch. In Schumer’s (frightening) world, the Judicial branch no longer exists, and the House and Senate are each a separate branch. Wow.

Now, will Kirsten Gillibrand initially deny that Schumer said that, like she did with his little, um…..gaffe involving a flight attendant? I know I’ve complained about her lack of media appearances, but maybe she is the smarter of these two.

Okay, fun time is over. Let’s face it: Schumer misspoke. But doing a quick Google search reveals that the only media which gave this any attention are conservative media and blogs. Can anyone imagine the level of (liberal) mainstream media feeding frenzy if Palin or Bachmann (cue all the nasty, angry statements about these two now that I’ve mentioned their names) said anything like this? It’s amazing to see how the mainstream media is constantly lurking for any gaffe by a conservative woman who does not hold elected office on one hand, or a conservative woman who is a mere US House member from way out in Minnesota on another. Yet, a high ranking ultra liberal Senator from a state with a high population utters a gaffe which gets very little attention by the liberal mainstream media.

On the other hand, maybe Chucky really does want to forget about the Judicial Branch. Afterall, he and his minime, Kirsten Gillibrand, rubber stamped Obama’s power grab over individual rights known as ObamaCare. And now a federal judge has struck that mess down. It will ultimately wind up in the US Supreme Court. There are four liberals, four conservatives, and a lone swing vote justice who happened to be appointed by Ronald Reagan. And that justice, Anthony Kennedy, has said he will not retire in Obama’s first term. Obama’s disrespectful, petty, and totally unprofessional swipe at the Supreme Court during his 2010 State of the Union address probably did not exactly endear him to Justice Kennedy. A 5-4 decision is all it takes…