Oh, by the way, the Business Insider article is all about how to make money off the bubble bursting by short-selling stocks in for-profit colleges (Kaplan, DeVry, etc.) and student loan companies. Scary.
... there is something deeper here than just favor-selling and vote-buying. There is something that almost amounts to a twisted idealism in the Democrats' crusade. They are fighting, not just to preserve their special privileges, but to preserve a social ideal. Or rather, they are fighting to maintain the illusion that their ideal system is benevolent and sustainable.I think that Tracinski has it just right here. Public employment distils the essence of socialism, because it allows supporters to revert to the simplest pseudo-moral posture: the child's expression when anything goes against what they want -- "that's not fair!"
Unionized public-sector employment is the distilled essence of the left's moral ideal. No one has to worry about making a profit. Generous health-care and retirement benefits are provided to everyone by the government. Comfortable pay is mandated by legislative fiat. The work rules are militantly egalitarian: pay, promotion, and job security are almost totally independent of actual job performance. And because everyone works for the government, they never have to worry that their employer will go out of business.
In short, public employment is an idealized socialist economy in miniature...
HH: I was digging into, I’m wondering if America, being such a Western country, is just simply not equipped to understand the Muslim world and the Arab world for these long insurgencies, because we couldn’t anticipate a target like that, whereas after 9/11, we hardened up all of the symbolic targets in my conversations with your colleagues during those years. Do you think we have the ability to actually understand how insurgency will be waged long term and in a Muslim country?
DR: The implication of the question is that it would be waged in a single way. And it seems to me that probably is never going to be the case. The enemy has a brain. They watch what goes on. They adjust to the tactics, techniques and procedures that we put in place. And as they do so, then we have to adjust those tactics, techniques and procedures to adapt to fit the changing nature of the enemy’s approach. And the battlefield is a continually evolving thing. And what happens in one six month period in one area might be notably different from what happens in another six month period in other areas. And I think that’s exactly what took place. The insurgency, well, let’s use that word as a catch-all. Saddam Hussein let 100,000 prisoners loose in his country as he was being thrown out of office. So you had that element. You had a whole lot of Shia conscripts that went home and left, because they didn’t want to be in the Iraqi military in the first place. You ended up with Saddam Hussein calling for jihad, and bringing in terrorists from Iran, and a lot of them through Damascus and Syria, and coming across other borders in the area, people from all across North Africa. You had the Sunni Baathists who wanted to, they created what was called the Party of Return early on, and that was the beginning of the insurgency. I don’t know that you’d call it an insurgency, but it was an attempt by the Baathists and the Saddamists to try to take back the country. And over time, the al Qaeda came, and various other elements became part of what in the aggregate was called the insurgency. There was the Sadr militia, or army, which wasn’t an army. He just had the ability to put maybe 10,000 thugs into the street at his beck and call. So there were all of these mixed elements that came into being as part of what you and I would consider the broader insurgency.By the way, Hewitt, a lawyer and law professor, conducts extraordinarily good interviews on his radio program, and always posts the transcripts on his website. The other person who does really good interviews -- by which I mean interviews that really get into the substance of serious issues -- is Peter Robinson on National Review Online. Here, for instance, is Robinson's recent interview of William Voegeli, the author of Never Enough: America's Limitless Welfare State.
|When you speak, be concise.||35th||Let your Discourse with Men of Business be Short and Comprehensive|
|Do not be quick to believe bad reports about others.||50th||Be not hasty to believe flying Reports to the Disparagement of any.|
|Do not be quick to talk about something when you don't have all the facts.||79th||Be not apt to relate News if you know not the truth thereof. In Discoursing of things you Have heard Name not your Author always A Secret Discover not.|
|Do not speak badly of those who are not present.||89th||Speak not Evil of the absent for it is unjust.|
|Don't allow yourself to become jaded, cynical or calloused.||110th||Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.|
All across the country, Democratic and Republican governors are grappling with inherited budget deficits, skyrocketing pension and benefit costs, and state government cultures which embrace the status quo — no matter how destructive. They are just now coming to terms with the gravity of the situation we understood and responded to last year.
Today, they are standing up and saying just as I did last March, “the problems we have hidden for decades are evident for all to see. The day of reckoning has arrived.”
In New York, a Democratic governor has proposed dramatic reforms to Medicaid, because that program left on autopilot will lead both state and federal governments straight into a crash.
In California, a new Democratic governor has proposed to cut the number and pay of all state employees.
And in Wisconsin and Ohio, they have decided there can no longer be two classes of citizens: one that receives rich health and pension benefits, and all the rest who are left to pay for them.
Democrat or Republican, it doesn’t matter. We are all facing the same problems. These problems are bigger than either political party. The promises of the past are too expensive, and the prospects of the future are too important to stay on the old, failed course.
Across the country, we have come to a moment — the moment for real change and the return to fiscal discipline, which will create real jobs for all New Jerseyans who need them.
Some thought the change might come from the federal government. But that hasn’t been the case. It is spending more than ever. The change is coming from the states, and the charge is being led by New Jersey.
Across the Hudson River, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget also cuts the actual dollars spent by the state — for the first time in 14 years. Why? The reason Governor Cuomo gave is simple. He said, “New York is at a crossroads, and we must seize this opportunity, make hard choices, and set our state on a new path toward prosperity.” The challenge, the change, and even the choice of words are similar to where New Jersey was one year ago.
In Michigan, Republican Governor Rick Snyder has framed the issue the same way. He said, “This is our opportunity to say let’s stop living in the past and start looking toward the future. Many of us are going to have to sacrifice in the short term, but by making these sacrifices, we can all win together in the long term.”
Michigan is taking the road to fiscal discipline paved by New Jersey.
And even in California, Governor Jerry Brown proposed to cut take- home pay for state employees by 8 to 10%, because, in his words, “we have no choice,” and for years, California has had “gimmicks.” Now, he said, California must “return … to fiscal responsibility and get our state on the road to economic recovery and job growth.”
Sound familiar? These ideas are not red or blue; they are the black and white of truth.That last line is a grace note that represents an attitude that could win a big majority, including Republicans, Independents, and Reagan Democrats who are fed up with the status quo.
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 21% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -20 (see trends).
That’s the lowest level of Strong Approval yet recorded for President Obama and the lowest Approval Index rating since November.
For in the end, the images and messages tell the story. The showdown in Madison pits pampered public employees against hard-pressed taxpayers. It portrays union workers as an angry mob against those seeking orderly legislative deliberation. It paints Democratic lawmakers as outlaws on the run, undermining the democratic process. It launched a national debate about the generous salaries and benefits for government workers during a time of economic shortages. And it showcased school teachers who abandoned their children in favor of narrow, partisan political gain.
Union activists in Madison Tuesday spoke apocalyptically of "class war," hinting wildly at general strikes and takeovers of the Capitol. They correctly see their control of the state slipping and must figure that if they bring 13,000 shouting people to Madison, they can overrule the election.
Any worried legislators should keep in mind that Walker drew about five times that many votes in Dane County alone in NovemberExactly so. Newspapers and media often report what they see and use adjectives like "massive" to describe what they see, but they rarely report what they don't see. For example, if you want to get your faces in the paper, get together 10 or 12 students at Marquette University here in Milwaukee and do a pro-choice "protest" outside of Jesu Church on campus. Bring your signs saying things like "Keep Your Rosaries Off My Ovaries," and you'll be certain to get on the local News at Six. But meanwhile there are thousands of students at Marquette (a Jesuit university) who go to Mass at Jesu every week and who, if asked, would give reliably Pro-Life opinions, but who generallly just go about their lives working and studying without feeling the need to publically announce those opinions through something called "protesting." They don't get press, because they aren't doing something that registers within our culture's conceptual biases as "news."
|Washington Post (blog)|
If your brother-in-law was deeply in debt, to the point where you feared from the security of your sister and your nieces and nephews, and yet he was proposing borrowing hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next few years in order to finance some get-rich-quick scheme and to maintain a lavish lifestyle that his income has never been able to support, wouldn't you at some point think it was time for a family intervention? Obama and the Democrats are the profligate children in the American family. It's time for the adults to intervene.$3.73 trillion — total spending this year (25 percent of GDP, highest levels since World War Two).$46 trillion — total spending over the next decade.$8.7 trillion — total new spending over the same period.$26.3 trillion — Total new debt, including entitlement obligations, predicted by 2021.$7.2 trillion — Total deficit predicted by the end of the decade.$1.1 trillion — How much the White House estimates the proposal will reduce the deficit over the next ten years.$4 trillion — How much the president’s deficit commission recommended reducing the deficit over the next ten years to avoid financial catastrophe.$1.6 trillion — The projected annual deficit for 2011 (11 percent of GDP), up from $1.3 trillion in 2010.$2 trillion — Amount the budget will raise taxes on business and upper-income families over the next ten years, which includes letting the Bush-era tax rates expire in 2012 (for incomes $250,000 and up).$50 billion — Amount the administration plans to spend this year on infrastructure and transportation “investments.”$30 billion — Amount dedicated to a “National Infrastructure Bank to invest in projects of regional or national significance to the economy,” including the much-touted high-speed rail initiative.$77.4 billion — Funding allocated for the Department of Education, a 22 percent increase from 2010 levels, and a 35 percent increase from 2008 levels.$29.5 billion — Total spending on the Department of Energy, a 22 percent increase from 2008 levels.$9.9 billion — Funding allocated for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a 30 percent increase from 2008 levels.$150 billion — Total amount the White House plans to spend next year on research and development programs.
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.***
... we are at a crossroads. This is a time for choosing and the choices before us are as clear now as they were in 1964.
Do we still believe in the values that this country was founded on? God-given individual liberties and limited government and free-market capitalism?
Or do we surrender to big government and a corporatism agenda?
Do we believe that we can compete and succeed by individual initiative or do we need government to take care of us and plan for us?
Do we still have the courage and the will to not only endure, but to soar and to succeed?
How we answer will be America’s glory or our shame.
And these are not easy questions because today for many, there is fear in the air. The little guy, the individual American is made to feels ill-equipped and helpless and afraid in the face of our challenges.
First let’s remember, if we do just ask, remember God doesn’t give us that spirit of fear. He gives us a spirit of power and love and a sound mind. Seek that spirit and we can we can have courage and confidence to make sound decisions.
Friends, we are not helpless. Our future is in our own hands. Our success and our greatness lies in the courage and the hard work of individual Americans. We are an exceptional nation because we were built on and we are to affirm those values of freedom and hard work.