Date ►►► May 28, 2013
Few people realize how California's San Joaquin Valley (a.k.a. the "great central valley"), which used to be the breadbasket of the Golden State, has been devastated by one of the most inhuman federal rulings in the nation's history: In 2007, the aptly named Judge Oliver Wanger ruled that in order to protect the tiny Delta smelt, the California Aqueduct must be virtually shut down, causing severe water shortages throughout the southern two-thirds of the state... and especially ravaging the central-valley farmlands. It was a classic case of putting "pristine nature" ahead of mere human beings, with jobs and lives and families to support.
Only a tiny fraction of previously contracted water has been allowed to flow down from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta into inland and Southern California. The judicially induced drought resulted in massive agricultural failure, which in turn produced sky-high umemployment, as much as 30% in some districts of the San Joaquin Valley.
Alas, there was nothing those south of Sacramento, the state's capital, could do; for voters had seen fit to install a veto-proof Democratic majority. But following last Tuesday's special election in the 16th state Senate District, an electoral earthquake may be at hand.
It's the first hint of a swing away from liberal monopoly (and eco-insanity), back towards the pluralism that had generally blessed California until the new millennium. For as the Wall Street Journal and other organs have reported, Republican Andy Vidak appears poised to defeat Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez for state senator.
This is a very big deal, and Democrats are starting to panic. The special election was caused by Democrat state Sen. Michael Rubio's unexpected resignation to take a high-paying job lobbying for Chevron. Despite his political party, Rubio has consistently advocated jobs for his constituency, hard hit by the environmentalist nightmare, over the liberal dream of an $80 to $100 billion high-speed railway running through California. (Do liberals expect it to take the place of air travel?)
Retread Gov. Jerry Brown touts the "railway to nowhere" as the savior of the debt-ridden Golden State -- presumably based upon the Obamunist argument that any government spending at all, no matter how useless, foolish, frivolous, or corrupt, is necessarily "stimulative." But Republican Vidak, and his Democrat predecessor Rubio, think it's more important to restore water to the parched central valley than to subsidize empty bullet trains -- or deify a fish the size of a pinky finger.
From the Journal:
Democrats were writing obituaries for California's GOP after winning a supermajority in the state legislature last November, thus gaining veto-proof power to raise taxes. But their legislative lock may have slipped after this week's special election in which Republican farmer Andy Vidak appears to have defeated a Democrat -- in a heavily Democratic senate district -- who had championed high-speed rail and a higher minimum wage.
A high-speed railway to nowhere, plus a higher minimum wage for the job you don't have; can't beat that! Except it appears that Vidak is about to do so. So who is Republican Andy Vidak, and why is he likely to win the runoff election against a Latina running in a heavily Democratic state-senate district with a 60% Hispanic population?
Local farmers and businesses recruited the 47-year-old Mr. Vidak, a third-generation Valley farmer who narrowly lost his challenge to Democratic Rep. Jim Costa in 2010, to run on the Republican ticket. The white, middle-aged man appeared to come straight from the California GOP's central casting, but Mr. Vidak is more salt-of-the-earth than many of his new compatriots in Sacramento.
Mr. Vidak is a farmer and local. He lives there and understand what the local farmers are going through. They want water back to their farms, not a useless railroad tearing through the farmland, wreaking further destruction of jobs and property.
Leticia Perez, however, is about as far from "local" or "salt of the earth" as one can be:
Notwithstanding her Hispanic heritage, Ms. Perez appeared out of touch with Valley voters' values and concerns. She raised twice as much money as Mr. Vidak, but 90% of her contributions came from outside the district.
She spent nearly all her campaign trying to persuade broke and desperate, out-of-work farmers that Brown's Boondoggle will be a golden ticket for the stricken San Joaquin Valley. (She even had to issue a public apology for a campaign flier that implied Perez had gained the endorsement of the Virgin of Guadalupe, last seen in Mexico in 1531.)
By contrast, Vidak focused his underfunded run on more immediate (and secular) relief:
"It's fish versus farmer," [Vidak] says, and liberals are siding with the fish.
Other species-protection policies have removed thousands of acres of land from production, endangering the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers. Meanwhile, California's bullet train, beloved by liberals, will slash through Mr. Vidak's district and raze hundreds of farms, homes and businesses.
"We don't have clean drinking water in some areas of our district," Mr. Vidak says. "And they want to build an $80 billion bullet train!"
Vidak came close to winning outright; he needed 51% of the vote but got only 49.9%. However, he is 6% ahead of Supervisor Perez. The election isn't in the bag; if Perez can pick up every last Democratic and leftist vote, she could squeak into office... but one would have to say that the leader in a runoff is generally favored. The final election will be held July 23rd.
In a rational world, this would not be a Democrat versus Republican issue. The Old Left was as pro-growth, pro-job as Republicans were (and still are); the Labor-Left would unquestionably have sided with the farmers, not the fish!
Restoring flow to the California Aqueduct is a survival issue for California farmers, and indeed to anyone who likes to eat now and again. I hope Democratic voters in the great central valley understand that the Sacramento Democrats are not their friends; they are radicals who care more about raw political power, ruinous spending, and lunatic lefties with quasi-religious yearnings for Gaia Worldmother.
But I also hope that Republicans get it through their thick skulls that a liberal candidate with a Hispanic surname can still lose an election, even in a heavily Democrat-Hispanic district, if the candidate refuses to treat constituents as individual people with local problems -- and instead tramples them underfoot in the name of bigfoot Progressivism and "saving the world."
Date ►►► May 25, 2013
Anent the post below, in which we catch St. Louis television station KMOV -- the Mauve Squad? -- I believe we really need a pithy but accurate term to use for the sort of communications medium that slavishly supports and reports every word from la Casa Blanca ( à la Rive Gauche) as if it were nihil obstat, da?
"It's true because it's true because it's true because it's true...!" And a news medium that severely punishes any intellectual deviant for heresy in the first degree, since none is allowed to contradict, debate, or even question the infallible Progressivist creed. (Is there a doctrine in the house?)
I think I've got just such a term: How about, KMOV is a member in good standing of the plantation media?
I believe that term sums it up nicely. When a freethinking reporter such as Larry Conners attempts to escape from the plantation, the overseer, Simon LaMOV, must drag him back... and flay the skin off his spine. See how this new term perfectly encapsulates the dread reality?
(This would make Barack "B.O." Obama "President Jefferson Davis of the CSA," in our little example.)
So if that isn't disturbing and offputting enough, let's all of you agree to coalesce around the term "plantation media;" you-all supply the ritual repetition and charming chanting, I'll collect the royalties. Everybody's happy!
And speaking of heresy against the god of atheism, my next post...
Date ►►► May 23, 2013
The Fourth Estate (Kinda)
Remember Larry Conners, that local reporter in St. Louis who hammered Barack Obama in an interview and then later found himself with all kinds of IRS troubles? Well, it seems that he's been fired by the station where he worked:
KMOV announced Conners' firing with a statement posted about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday on its website.
"We regret to announce that Larry Conners is no longer a KMOV news reporter," president and general manager Mark Pimentel said in the statement.
Ostensibly, Conners was let go for making political statements in a Facebook post that questioned whether his sudden appearance on the IRS radar might have been punishment for treating the president without kid gloves -- understandable, given recent events. But while it is within KMOV management's rights to hire and fire whomever they please, using this as an excuse to slap the bias label on a reporter is a stretch that would make even Reed Richards think twice.
There was a time when a news outlet would stand by its reporters in the face of political pressure. More than that, they would have been proud to do it, and would make damned sure that the rest of the world knew what was going on. KMOV, however -- in true Soviet fashion -- prepared an apology for Conners to read on air and forced him to read it verbatim. Then they canned him anyway. That's what passes for speaking truth to power these days: I fought the lawless, and the lawless won.
If KMOV management doesn't realize how bad this all looks, I'd venture that they sport about the same level of competence Weird Al Yankovic demonstrated in UHF -- with the exception that Al managed to boost ratings. KMOV, on the other hand, has shown itself to be emblematic of what the rest of the MSM have become: craven, sclerotic shells of their former selves, waxing on about the glory days of Watergate but having no stomach to pursue the Big Story now -- at least not when the scandals land at the feet of "their guys" in Washington. There's nothing quite so sad as a gelding who can't realize he's no longer a stallion.
On the bright side, the IRS can console itself with the knowledge that it isn't alone when it comes to corruption. In that, the MSM are coming up fast: two great fakes that fake great together. Should be interesting to watch them throw down.
Date ►►► May 22, 2013
A Fifth of Lerner
If you'e the kind of person who sits in utter astonishment at the obvious, it might come as a surprise that Lois Lerner -- Overseer and Commissarette of the vaunted IRS Exempt Organizations Unit during the time it was administering free proctological exams to Tea Party groups -- has decided to invoke her Fifth Amendment rights rather than testify truthfully before Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-CA, 92%) committee hearings today. It is Lerner's attorneys, you see, who have advised her not to say anything further, ostensibly because doing so might make her tend to look bad. Otherwise, one imagines she'd be ready to sing like a down-home chanteuse auditioning to be the next American Idol. Right?
Well, in Lerner's defense it is possible that she's giving us the straight dope on her reasons for not testifying; but if this is indeed the case, it opens up some intriguing possibilities. Perhaps Lerner knows a little too much, and would rather not be in a position where she's forced to rat out anybody farther up the food chain. This seems as good an explanation as any, as taking the Fifth would circumvent her having to make the choice of either perjuring herself to protect her bosses or spilling the ugly truth about what's really been going on at the IRS. The takeaway: We've only scratched the surface of those wacky shenanigans. Don't change that dial, because there's lots more to come, folks!
No matter what we find out, though, of one thing we can be very certain: this scandal goes deep, and completely compromises the IRS's ability to act as a fair and impartial collector of taxes. It's more than just a matter of "rogue" employees and supervisors carrying out a political agenda. That this targeting of conservative groups went on for years without anyone at the IRS batting an eye speaks of an entirely corrupted culture at that agency -- something that isn't going to be solved by rounding up the usual suspects and giving them their walking papers.
The way I see it, we have two choices: we can either move over to a flat or FAIR taxing system and disband the IRS as we know it, or we have to completely reorganize the agency -- starting with making it illegal for its employees to be unionized. The National Treasury Employees Union directs over 90% of its political donations to the Democrat Party. So long as that remains the case, how in the hell are the American people supposed to trust the IRS not to resume business as usual once the scandal has passed?
Date ►►► May 18, 2013
Just in case you needed another reason to get all wee-weed up over the burgeoning IRS scandal, consider this: One of the factors often cited in Obama's victorious 2012 re-election bid was his campaign's formidable ground game. His get-out-the-vote efforts were superb, and probably made all the difference in what the polls were indicating would be a very close race. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, was clearly unable to match that effort himself, given that he got fewer votes than John McCain did back in 2008.
So what accounts for that difference?
Conventional wisdom tells us that there was just less enthusiasm for Mitt Romney last time around, and perhaps that's true; but one cannot discount the chilling effect that the IRS harassment of conservative grassroots groups must've had on their own get-out-the-vote efforts. What if these groups had been approved for non-profit status in a timely manner (as their progressive counterparts had), and had been allowed to operate during the election? Might they have mobilized more voters for Mitt Romney? And if they had, would it have made a difference in the outcome of the election?
Obviously, we can't know the answer to that question -- but it certainly is well within the realm of possibility. I think the Obama administration knew that too, which only taints the IRS further and makes their actions even more sinister. That a federal agency could be used by the party in power to suppress the vote of the opposition is beyond scary. It's downright terrifying.
Date ►►► May 15, 2013
Does it seem that the current Power Line line reduces to, "Another terrible scandal in the Obama administration? Good Lord, Republicans are doomed!"
Friend Lee says, "Barack Obama is the most Nixonian president since Franklin Roosevelt."
Yeah. Think about it.
Date ►►► May 14, 2013
Poor Jay Carney has been having a lousy time of it as of late, hasn't he? First he has to deal with the fallout over the Benghazi whistleblower testimony, then that whole business with the IRS targeting conservative groups pops up, and before you know it the AP is out for blood over Eric Holder's Justice Department going through the news giant's phone records like the boys of Delta House going on a panty raid. Carney must've been a naughty boy in a previous life to reap this kind of karma.
What's really interesting, though, isn't the scandals so much; we mouth-breathing conservative Troglodytes have been carping over corruption in the Obama administration since Fast & Furious reared its ugly head, so to us it's nothing new. No, what's fascinating is how the mainstream media are actually starting to treat these developments as, well, the scandals that they are. In that regard, poor Carney reminds me of a guy who hasn't strapped on a pair of sneakers in years suddenly being forced to run a marathon: He just ain't used to taking that kind of abuse -- and from reporters, no less! Morning Joe, say it isn't so!
In their response to all of this, conservatives have reacted pretty much as you would expect, much like gamer geeks who have suddenly discovered that by tuning their TVs just so that the Spice Channel comes in for free. But while I enjoy a good glass of schadenfreude as much as the next guy, I think it might be best if we engaged in a little constructive deconstruction and ask ourselves: Why are the media doing this? After all, they've been Barack Obama's battered girlfriend for the last four years and never said a cross word about him. What would make them go all Jennifer Lopez in Enough on him now?
The answer -- at least partially -- is that the scandals have now come so hard and so fast that they've reached a critical mass. One Benghazi? We can handle that. The IRS thing? By itself, a piece of cake. A little diversion, a little song and dance, and John Q. Public will forget all about that. But when you have the kind of week that Obama has had, there emerges a pattern that even the MSM can no longer ignore. The truth, in spite of all their protestations to the contrary, starts to shine through: These are not nice people.
And it's a terrible thing to lose one's illusions.
That does not, however, mean that the MSM will not happily resume their delusional state if given the right enticement. Obama, after all, is a pretty smooth operator when he wants to be. Like Tiger Woods, he just miscalculated how much he could push his luck before the missus came after him with a golf club. The breaking point probably came over spying on the AP, and right now all those reporters turning the White House press secretary into Carney-kabobs know they have to draw some blood if they wish to retain a sliver of credibility. But in the end, my guess is that the administration will offer to lop off some heads and make some sort of amends, and the press will fall in line once again. It's what they do, and to expect them to behave otherwise is too much to hope for.
The lesson? Don't count on the MSM to take Obama down. They won't do it. And they never will.
Date ►►► May 8, 2013
"What Difference Does It Make!" -- On 2016?
PolitiFact Wisconsin has done us a great service by resurrecting Hillary "Hell to Pay" Clinton's January cri de coeur (rather, hysterical, squeaky, falsetto, voice-cracking, calculated screech) anent the Benghazi terrorism:
Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?
The attack (even the White House now admits it was an al-Qaeda terrorist assault) killed four Americans -- Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, and two embassy security personnel, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. Ten others were wounded in the attack. But a few days after, then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice rushed onto nearly a thousand Sunday talk shows to pitch the rewritten, reelection-friendly talking points of the Obamunists: That the attack was unplanned, not premeditated, and was in fact an out-of-control movie review.
The PolitiFact piece is part of an "occasional feature" called In Context, a.k.a. the lazy man's journalism; it consists of taking some controversial statement, quoting several of the paragraphs surrounding it, and calling it a news story. But it is useful, providing a longer length of rope by which those afflicted by foot in mouth disease, such as Madame Erstwhile Secretary, can hang themselves all the quicker.
In context, Clinton's "What difference at this point does it make!" ejaculation is even worse than what we thought from the video snippet in January. We thought she had simply lost her temper after being badgered, bear-baited, and hogtied by some sneery senator. But the In Context piece shows a very different story: The shriek heard round the world was a planned evasion of a simple but devastating question, one that Clinton would surely know was coming -- but for which she had no good answer.
The questioner who extracted the Scream was Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI, 100%). And he really had only one simple, substantive question: Wouldn't a simple phone call to the survivors and evacuees, even a couple of days after the fact, have told us that there was no "demonstration" or "protest" prior to the assault? Therefore, that it was indeed a planned and executed terrorist attack.
Johnson asks his question several times:
Did anybody in the State Department talk to those folks very shortly afterwards?...
The point I’m making is, a very simple phone call to these individuals, I think, would’ve ascertained immediately that there was no protest prior to this.... Why wasn’t that known?...
But, Madame Secretary, do you disagree with me that a simple phone call to those evacuees to determine what happened wouldn’t have ascertained immediately that there was no protest? That was a piece of information that could have been easily, easily obtained?
But to each attempt to get Clinton to explain why she couldn't have found out almost immediately what really happened -- terrorism, not a spontaneous protest against a YouTube video -- Clinton evades, sidesteps, and tapdances... because she knows very well that, had she made that phone call, she would lose her plausible deniability; she would have owned the Big Lie of her subordinate, Susan Rice. Here are Clinton's "answers":
[O]nce the assault happened, and once we got our people rescued and out, our most immediate concern was, number one, taking care of their injuries.... We did not think it was appropriate for us to talk to them before the FBI conducted their interviews. And we did not -- I think this is accurate, sir -- I certainly did not know of any reports that contradicted the [Intelligence Community] talking points at the time that Ambassador Rice went on the TV shows.... Was information developing? Was the situation fluid? Would we reach conclusions later that weren’t reached initially?... [W]hen you’re in these positions, the last thing you want to do is interfere with any other process going on, number one.... Number two, I would recommend highly you read both what the ARB said about it and the classified ARB because, even today, there are questions being raised. Now, we have no doubt they were terrorists, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed our people. But what was going on and why they were doing what they were doing is still unknown --
Did I miss an actual answer in that pot of message? I mean, something like, "Yes, I could have called them and found out"... or even, "No, I couldn't call them, any of them, even days later, because my boss put the kibosh on any investigation until after he was safely reelected."
At the end, Johnson draws the only conclusion possible:
No, again, we were misled that there were supposedly protests and that something sprang out of that -- an assault sprang out of that -- and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact, and the American people could have known that within days and they didn’t know that.
And that was when she unleashed her staged and rehearsed banshee wail, the silencing scream of the outraged woman under sexist assault by a Republican Fascist:
With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?
Of course she didn't dare answer! The simple and honest response to Johnson's question is, Yes, I could have found out immediately; but if I did, how could I safely send Siouxsie out to lie to the American voters just before President B.O.'s reelection?
Her hands were tied; rather, they were wired firmly over her ears. There are some things Man, or in this case a reasonable facsimile thereof, was not meant to know.
And don't think that Madame can just walk away from it. To paraphrase Josef Mengele in the Boys From Brazil: She betrayed her ambassador; she betrayed her oath of office; she betrayed her country!
If she chooses to run for president again in 2016, I expect her primary opponents won't forget to remember her lies, her multiple betrayals, her treasons, stratagems, and spoils. I stand by my prediction that Hillary Rodham Clinton Rodham will never, ever be the Democrat nominee for president.
Date ►►► May 7, 2013
(The title is a feeble and obscure play on Rubik's Cube. Best I could do -- sorry!)
Theme: Why I think the "comprehensive" immigration "reform" package -- S. 744 (the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013"), currently waist deep in the big Senate muddy -- should not be passed, but should instead be flushed... and this despite the fact that I generally support an extensive reform of our immigration laws, one that would likely admit more and better immigrants than today.
Alas, the "Gang of 8" bill just isn't that reform. Here are several reasons why...
Most of the bill's elements are premature at best
I have belabored you all for many years with my own blueprint for reforming immigration properly and permanently. A proper reform needs the following components in the following order:
- Finishing the physical wall/fence all the way along the southern and northern borders. This is not so much for actual immigration security; as Johh Hinderaker notes, most illegal immigrants are legally admitted but overstay their visas, which could not be prevented by a wall. Nevertheless, the wall is vital in order to get Republicans and blue-dog Dems to support the bill, and also as a show of our resolve, thus to get the American populace on our side. And it certainly wouldn't hurt!
- Transforming our legal immigration agency from its current function -- a welfare program for transnationals and a Mecca for terrorists -- into a systematic gathering into the United States all and only those who are truly American at heart, but had the bad luck to be born in some other country.
- Eliminating in its entirety the so-called "guest worker" visa (H-2a and b): As Mark Steyn points out, the last thing in the world we need is an army of nearly 100,000 foreigners who by definition have no loyalty to the U.S., who are necessarily transient, and who cross the border frequently with impunity: It's an invitation to resentment, America-hatred, criminal activity, and terrorism.
- And only after doing all of the above, finally deciding what to do about the estimated 10 million to 20 million illegal immigrants already here. But as everyone knows, All the wrangling and hair pulling is about the component of immigration reform that should come last of all, not first of all!
But by the very nature of being a "comprehensive" bill, it tries to do everything all at once and out of order: For example, legalization will surely precede real reform of the legal immigration system. On this count alone, the bill should fail; it's more important to do things in the right order than do them right now.
The most important element, reforming the legal immigration system, is a farce in the current bill
The current USCIS immigration laws and procedures are arbitrary, unpredictable, corrupt, and perverse (as were those of its predecessor, the INS):
- Arbitrary -- There is no real standard for admission, it depends upon the mood of the interviewer that day; identically qualified individuals get different outcomes.
- Unpredictable -- An applicant for citizenship or permanent residency has no idea at all, at any stage of the process, whether he is on the right track or about to be rejected; and if rejected, he is never told why or what he can do to improve his chances for next time.
- Corrupt -- Administration officials and legislators at the highest level make immigration decisions in order to import voters for their side or to create an army of guest serfs for companies in favored districts.
- Perverse -- Those same "deciders" also let their ideology drive immigration policy into absurd and dangerous extremes, such as encouraging indigent immigrants to come here and suck up our welfare payments, and welcoming foreign enemies into the U.S. to help the Left promote its America-hatred.
But nothing in the false "reform" of S. 744 fixes any of these problems. We need real reform that is rational (immigration decisions that make sense); predictable (applicants know what they need to do and avoid doing); honest (decisions should not be made on the basis of monetary or political bonanzas for the politicians); and pro-America (supporting and upholding the assets and virtues that made America great, including individual liberty, Capitalism, e pluribus unum-style assimilation, justice, and American exceptionalism).
We may not be able to perfectly distinguish Americans at heart from clever con men, but we ought to devise a system that at least takes a whack at it. At the moment, it seems, if a wannabe immigrant is pro-America, it's the kiss of death for his application!
We need a system that privileges those already halfway assimilated; but this bill does none of that. Scrap it.
S. 744 breaks every rule and promise of representative democracy; it's not a bill, it's a beat down
The bill's history is convoluted, tortuous, and therefore contains many unexploded landmines; worse, it was concocted in secret, which is itself unAmerican. It's the vital essence of a nasty, back-room deal. I'm guessing that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL, not yet rated) finally understands he has an asp by the tail, but he can't figure how to let go without being snakebit.
He may have thought his Democratic partners would negotiate in good faith; but the Devil is in the pudding: He (Rubio, not the Devil) should loudly and publicly withdraw his support, take his lumps, and stop imagining himself as the next President of the United States. Too soon, Marco, too soon!
Further, proponent sayeth not. Just wanted to get this on the record.
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