Saturday, June 30, 2012

Attorney General Eric Holder: Contempt of Congress or Contempt for Congress?


The House of Representatives voted Thursday to hold Eric Holder, the Attorney General, in contempt of Congress. They voted 255-67 to file a criminal charge against him, and 258-95 for a civil charge. The criminal charge was joined by 17 Democrats, who were either voting for the indictment as a matter of bipartisan respect for the House, or because they represent conservative districts.

Eric Holder becomes the first sitting cabinet official to be held in contempt of Congress.

The criminal charge is going nowhere. A criminal contempt of Congress charge is referred by law to the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. In short, the U.S  Attorney will convene a grand jury to consider indicting the Attorney General. It won’t happen. James Cole, the Deputy Attorney General in the Justice Department on Friday said no charges would be filed against the Attorney General because no crime was committed.

Of course, since the House is interested in possible misconduct by high officials in the Justice Department, it looks like a coverup.

That leaves the civil charges, which the House can pursue on its own, but probably will not be decided by a judge until after the November elections.

The dispute arises out of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives failed “Fast and Furious” Program. The facts are relatively simple, except for the misrepresentations, written and oral, made to Congress and the failure to closure critical facts about the operation. Here are the facts, as we know them.

The Phoenix office decided to start a program that would have American gun dealers legally sell guns to buyers for the drug cartels. The agency would then trace the guns across the border to the cartel bosses in Mexico. That was the theory.

Smaller operations were started during the Bush Administration, but they had been shut down, without losing any of the guns.

The reality is that the agency lost track of the Fast and Furious guns. About 2,000 are still unaccounted for. Over 300 of these guns, mostly AK 47’s, were used in crimes in Mexico and the United States

Mexico was not told of the operation. Mexican officials were irate when the American guns were used in 
killings in Mexico.

The operation blew up when Fast and Furious guns were involved in the killing of two federal agents.
Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila were Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents assigned as advisors in Mexico. They were gunned down in February 2011 on a Mexican highway. Avila survived, but Zapata was killed. The gun that killed Zapata came from the United States.

ICE agent Brian Terry was shot to death in December 2010. Two fast and Furious guns were found at the scene. The facts seemingly indicate terry was killed by a third gun.

Assistant Attorney General Ronald Welch sent a letter to Congress on February 4, 2011 denying that guns were allowed to walk across the border.

Attorney General Holder testified to the House Judiciary Committee on May 3, 2011 that he had first “heard about “Fast and Furious” for the first time over the last few weeks.”

Both statements were false, or in the vernacular of the Nixon Administration “Prior statement inoperative.”

President Obama said on March 23, 2011 that neither he nor the Attorney General authorized Fast and 
furious.

ATF agents started talking to Congress about fast and Furious with numerous documents being leaked to Congressman Darrell Issa, Chair of the House Oversight Committee.

Documents surfacing in October may have indicated that the Attorney General may have been briefed on the operation as early as July 2010.

The Attorney General testified on November 11, 2011 that neither he nor other top officials of the Justice Department were aware gun walking tactics were used.

The Justice Department knew as early as March 2011 that Ronald Welch’s letter was inaccurate, but did not send a correction to Congress for eleven months. At a subsequent hearing Attorney General Holder said it wasn’t days or weeks earlier, but months, when he first heard of Fast and Furious. Some documents indicate that Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer approved 6 wiretap applications for Fast and Furious.

The House wants the documents that answer the Watergate question “What did they know and when did they know it?”

Those are the documents that the Attorney General refuses to turn over.

The Department has turned over 7,000 documents, but they are heavily edited and redacted. It is refusing to turn over an additional 80,000 documents, which it has given to the Department’s Inspector General. The IG’s report is expected in a few weeks.

On Tuesday evening last week AG Holder met with Congressman Issa, purportedly to attempt to resolve the dispute. The AG offered to brief the Congressman and provide additional documents, but only if the Congressman agreed to drop contempt charges before the briefing and and documents disclosure. That shows contempt for The Congressman’s intelligence.

Right before the House Committee met last Wednesday, Deputy Attorney General Cole delivered a letter saying the President was asserting Executive Immunity to block disclosure of the documents. The President was standing by his man, close friend, and advisor on the 40th Anniversary of Watergate.

I’m really reliving Watergate now. The Nixon Administration unsuccessfully claimed Executive Immunity to shield its crimes and misdeeds. The Obama Administration will be equally unsuccessful.

The refusal to disclose the internal facts smells like a coverup.

Conspiracy buffs believe that Fast and Furious was actually a plot by the Obama Administration to build support for gun control by having American guns kill Mexicans in Mexico’s drug wars.

The problem is not contempt of Congress, but contempt for Congress, or at least the Republican House.

When a athlete, like Roger Clemens lies to Congress, it’s perjury and contempt of Congress.

When the Justice department misinforms Congress, it’s contempt for Congress and contempt for the American people.

And when the time came to vote, about 100 Democrats, led by Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Black Caucus, walked out in solidarity with Eric Holder.
That’s contempt for Congress.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Further Reflections on Today's Supreme Court ObamaCare Decision


Further Reflections on Today’s Supreme Court ObamaCare Decision

President Obama won big today. The basis of the Court’s decision is irrelevant for political purposes. The President won.

President Obama admired President Reagan as a transformative President. He too wants to be a transformative president. He succeeded today, placing 1/6 of the nation’s economy under the government’s thumb, scrapping federalism, enlarging the powers of the federal government with states and the people being the big losers, and growing the culture of dependency on the federal government. The almost 4 centuries of American personal freedom are now subordinated to the government.

Having become a transformative president, President Obama should now step aside. If he wins reelection, the next four years will be hell for the President. The 21 tax increases in ObamaCare accompanied by the end of the Bush tax cuts will result in tax increases so high as to possibly send this fragile economy into a depression. Inflation is another risk as the Fed losses the ability to keep interest rates at 0. The market will respond.

If he wins reelection, and the Republicans control both houses of Congress, then he might as well be spending 365 days a year on the golf course.

It is a big loss for the American people and personal freedom.

It is also a major loss for Chief Justice Roberts and the Supreme Court. The majority of five not only rewrote the statute, but more significantly the Constitution. The Chief Justice may have been too clever by half. His opinion limited the reach of the Commerce Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause and the Spending Clause. Such holdings will not hold up if a reelected President Obama replaces 4-5 Justices over the next 4 years.

The health insurers and Pharma believe they won today because of the deals cut. They’re wrong. In the long run, perhaps 5 years, the costs will be so great Congress will have no financial choice but to stick it to the insurers and Pharma because that is where the money is.

The "Affordable Health Care Act" is an oxymoron.

Do you know who the largest employer is in England?

It’s the National Health Service with 1.7 million employees in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. It’s the fifth largest employer in the world, trailing only the Pentagon, the Chinese military, WalMart and McDonald’s. By way of comparison, WalMart employs 2.1 million worldwide, including 200,000 in England.

That is the future.

What about the present?

The Republicans and Governor Romney promise to repeal ObamaCare. Perhaps, if they hold the House, win the Presidency, and reap 60 seats in the Senate to survive a filibuster. The first two are possible, but the election of 13 additional Republican senators would require a landslide of historic proportions.

However, Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion lays out a roadmap. The Mandate cannot stand independently, and is not supported by the Commerce or Necessary and Proper Clauses. It only exists as an alternative to the tax.

If the mandated taxes on individuals and employers are repealed, then the Mandate falls. A Republican Congress can manipulate the votes on taxes, so as to require only a simple majority in the Senate. Thus, the heart of ObamaCare can be carved out.

However, that would not repeal many of the other provisions, including most of the 21 tax increases, mandated coverage, etc.

America lost today, but remember “It’s still the economy, stupid.”

Chief Justices John Roberts and Roger Taney


Calm down; calm down! Maybe it’s not as bad as it seems. Maybe the fine print in Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion may limit the statute.

First thoughts can be dangerous when emotions are involved in reacting to a decision, such as the approval of the individual mandate, without calming down and being objective.

Having said that though, as soon as Chief Justice John Roberts was identified as authoring the majority opinion, Chief Justice Taney popped into mind.

Roger Taney was a close adviser to President Andrew Jackson, who appointed Taney as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to succeed the esteemed John Marshall. Chief Justice Taney served from 1836 until his death in 1864.

He was generally regarded as an able jurist and competent administrator of the Court. He was the first Roman Catholic appointed to the Supreme Court. His law partner was Francis Scott Key.

Yet he is dammed in history because he authored the infamous 7-2 Dred Scott decision. The 1857 decision was not the cause of the Civil War, but it added fuel to the abolitionist fires.

The opinion was outrageous not only for its holding that Congress had no authority to restrict the spread of slavery to federal territories, thereby holding the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional, but also because the decision denied standing to Dred Scott, who argued that he was now a free slave.

Chief Justice Taney held that Dred Scott, as a slave, lacked standing to sue, because slaves were not protected by the Constitution. Indeed, looking to European history and the Founding Fathers, the jurist wrote that African Americans were an “inferior order,” who held no rights the white man was bound to respect.

Dred Scott is rightly regarded as one of the worse Supreme Court decisions of all time.

I submit that Chief Justice Roberts’ opinions in the Arizona and ObamaCare decisions are just as pernicious. They betray the fundamental principles of federalism with the federal government being a government of limited powers.

They fundamentally redefine the powers of the federal government versus the states and the people. Arizona substantially limited the sovereignty of states, increasing the powers of the federal government even when it chooses to not enforce the law.

Today’s decision may have rejected the Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses as the basis for broad Congressional powers, but the Taxation Clause can now be used by Congress to regulate any aspect of personal conduct. Chief Justice Marshall recognized in his famous 1819 McCulloch v. Maryland decision “the power to tax is the power to destroy.”

The Tenth Amendment is now a nullity. It states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Arizona striped the Tenth Amendment from the states and today’s decisions from the people.

Ironically, Justice Kennedy was viewed as the Justice most likely to uphold ObamaCare. He read the dissent arguing the entire statute should be struck down.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Don't come to Charlotte" The New Democratic Campaign Slogan


Avoid Charlotte: The Democrats New Campaign Slogan.

Avoid Charlotte. Do not attend the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Congressman Steve Israel (N.Y.), Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, advised Democratic candidates to avoid Charlotte. He said “If they want to win an election, then they need to be in their districts.”

It’s not a boycott of Charlotte, although some Democratic constituencies would like to boycott the entire state of North Carolina.

Why might Democrats avoid Charlotte?
1)      The state is a right to work state.
2)      State voters voted overwhelmingly to ban gay marriage.
3)      It’s the home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame; Bubba doesn’t vote Democratic.
4)      Charlotte’s the headquarters of the Bank of America.
5)      North Carolina is voting Republican this year.
6)      Charlotte is a wonderful city, but lacks sufficient watering holes downtown.
7)      Jesse Helms used to be a Senator from North Carolina.
8)      None of the above.

The correct answer is none of the above. Being a Democrat, running for election or reelection this year and especially meeting with President Obama, is radioactive in many states and Congressional districts.

It’s a strategic boycott of President Obama.

Candidates may sometimes meet and greet an unpopular President, Democrat or Republican, for fundraising purposes. However, President Obama has told House and Senate candidates they are on their own. His fundraising is just for himself. The President might as well be singing Toby Keith’s “I wanna talk about me.”

So much for party loyalty!                                                                                                             

Among those announcing their absence from Charlotte are Senators Claire McCaskill (D. Mo.), John Tester (D. Mont.) and Joe Machin (D. W. Va.), Governor Earl Ray Tombin (D. W. Va.), and Representatives Nick Rahall (W. Va.), Mark Critz (Pa.),  Kathy Hochul and Bill Owens (N.Y.), Jim Matheson (Utah), and John Barrow (Ga.).

The President’s anti-coal animus is converting the once solid blue state of West Virginia into a red state. Even the United Mine Workers in West Virginia cannot support the President.

The three senators are in difficult reelection campaigns and the two New York representatives are in swing districts.

 The Democrats sense a second Republican landslide in a row.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Initial Thoughts on the Supreme Court and S.B. 1070


Did the Obama Administration finally win a major victory before the Supreme Court this year?

Will the former Constitutional Law lecturer pull out a victory Thursday an Obama Care?

President Obama’s Justice Department has lost a series of cases this term, ranging from freedom of religion to private property rights.

Maybe they’ll pull out the big one on Thursday, but for now the Court’s decision was a win for the Administration and at least a short term defeat for Arizona and the American people.

The Court struck down 5-3 three minor, but controversial, provisions of S.B. 1070, but upheld 8-0 the most critical provision of the Act – the provision that provides that if a law enforcement officer otherwise has probable cause to arrest a person, then the officer can request proof of legal residence in the United States. If the suspect is here illegally, then the agency is to contact ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to take further action, the “Show me your papers” provision.

The response of the Obama Administration was to engage in nullification and intimidation. Secretary Janet Napolitano of Homeland Security announced shortly after the decision that ICE will not respond to calls from Arizona unless it involves a felony. The Administration suspended the agreement between the federal government and Arizona which provided for cooperation on immigration matters through the federal deputizing of local law enforcement officers to enforce the immigration laws, the 287(G) program. The Administration has essentially said “There is no Arizona.”

Remember just a short time ago the Administration announced it would adopt unilaterally aspects of the Dream Act and not deport students between the ages of 16 and 30. It nullified part of the immigration laws of the United States.

More than nullification is involved though. The Justice Department announced the creation of a 800 Hotline or members of the public to report suspected rights violations by Arizona law enforcement officials regarding S.B. 1070. This is a blatant attempt to intimidate Arizona law enforcement officials from enforcing the Arizona law on pain of being criminally prosecuted by an overzealous Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.

The new immigration policy as of Monday night is "Catch and Release." Arizona will catch and the Feds will release.

Note, the Justice Department is willing to proceed against law enforcement officials enforcing the law, but has filed no prosecutions about Fast and Furious officials running guns from Arizona to Mexican cartels. Nor is the Agency willing to comply with Congressional subpoenas asking for explanations of how or why the Agency misrepresented the facts to Congress.

Be sure to read Justice Scalia’s blistering dissent; he was in rare form, basically calling out the President.

On a different note, the 5:3 decision is interesting. Justice Kagan recused herself, leaving 8 voting members of the Court. If we assume Chief Justice Roberts would normally have joined Justices Scalia, Alito, and Thomas, then the vote would have been 4–4. A tie vote results in a summary affirmation of the lower court’s decision. The Ninth Circuit tossed the entire Arizona statute. Therefore, even the “Show me your papers” would fail.

Just a theory.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Trolling for Dollars - The Obama Way


An seemingly infinite means of raising campaign funds exist: Supper Pacs, Pacs, 501©(4)’s, individual, bundled, corporate, union, lotteries, cash, check, credit card, debit card, or in kind, legal or illegal (Think of Vice President Al Gore and the Buddhist Temple), targeted groups, and the sale of ambassadorships. The Obama campaign has now discovered an ingenious way of raising funds.

Hope and Change.

They’re hoping for change, your change. Chump change compared to Bill Maher’s $1 million dollars and George Clooney’s $15 million fundraiser. Still, it all adds up.

You can’t make this one up. The campaign wants to come between you and your family. The Obama for America web site announced on Friday a registry for supporters. Sign up on the Presidential Registry and then ask for a donation to the President “in lieu” of a wedding present, anniversary gift, or birthday gifts: “Instead of another gift card you’ll forget to use, ask your friends and family for something that will go a little further: a donation to Obama for America.”


The campaign’s web site admonishes us to “Let your friends know how important this election is to you.”
We know.

“It’s a great way to support the President on your birthday.”

I’m selfish on my birthday. My birthday is for me. The President is not going to take away from my birthday. 

Is the President going to tell Michelle, Malia, and Sasha that no birthday presents for them because he’s giving to his reelection campaign in their name?

How could the President forget Bar Mitzvahs and Bat Mitzvahs? Imagine the sums that could be raised by diverting the sums earmarked for bar mitzvahs or bat mitzvahs. 

Don’t leave Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy out of the Obama Beneficence Society.

As you hang the stockings for Christmas, make sure to give the money to Obama for America else the Obama for America might stick a lump of coal, that evil fossil fuel, in the stockings.

Your little daughter lost a tooth. As she wakes up the next morning, her hand slips under the pillow searching for cash from the Tooth Fairy. She finds a card from the Tooth Fairy saying “I gave to Obama in your name.”

No eggs or candies from the Easter Bunny – just a hollow shell containing a “Thanks for Giving” from Obama.

Your son expects a radio flyer for his birthday. He gets the “Thanks for Giving” from the President.

Don’t forget to cash in the children’s’ piggy bank. Who needs it more?

Think of it as a teachable moment. Teach your children that the government keeps coming up with new ways to take your hard earned money and redistribute it. Tell your children that the dreaded Kiddie Tax has replaced Santa Claus.

Imagine this conversation with your spouse: “Remember my dear the weekend we’ve planned without the kids – to rekindle the romance – ignite a few flames.  I cancelled it; Obama needs the money more.”
The response will be something along the lines of “You mean you love President Obama more than you love me.”

“No my dear; you need President Obama more than you need me.”

Our wedding vows did not include an oath of fealty to any president, much less President Obama.

As for your anniversary, the President is not going to stand between your spouse and roses, chocolate, fine dinners, jewelry, and travel.

Another choice: “We can save for college tuition or invest in Obama. He’ll do right by us, just like Julia, so let’s contribute the children’s college fund to Obama for America.”

Let’s also short the Church collection to give to the President. We’ll show our support for his position on the Church and Freedom of religion.

Hope for Change.

Friday, June 15, 2012

President Obama and the Power of Incumbency

As Republicans salivate over the prospect of retaking the Presidency and the Senate, they should not underestimate the power of incumbency.

The prime goal of this Administration is reelection, at any cost. President Obama’s reelection campaign is based in Chicago. Hence, Chicago Rules apply. The Obama Administration is using every inch of the President’s incumbency to the fullest.

The first is in campaign costs. The President gets to fly Air Force One from fundraiser to fundraiser at highly discounted charges, such that the tax payers cover most of the expenses. California today, New York tomorrow, Chicago in a few days, San Francisco and Los Angeles in one day, Minneapolis, Seattle, the list goes on. It’s legal, and follows in the shoes of his predecessors, but he’s well past 160 reelection fundraisers, over twice that of President Bush in 2004.

Second is the power of the President to raise campaign funds. President Obama hopes to raise $1 billion for his reelection campaign.

Third is the ability to control the agenda. The President has made lowering interest rates on student loans an objective, thereby appealing to the youth vote.

Fourth is the selective leaking of information favorable to the President, such as the intelligence leaks on the secret operations to cripple Iran’s nuclear operations and the Abbottabad Raid to take down Osama Bin Laden. Of course, if the President
authorizes the information to be released, then is it technically a leak?

Fifth is the power of Cabinet officials to issue directives tailored to constituencies favorable to the Administration. The intent is to rally the base. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sibelius, issued the order requiring the Catholic Church, directly or indirectly, to provide free contraception in its health insurance policies.

Earlier today Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano issued an order which to a substantial extent adopts the Dream Act for illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children. The need to reform our immigration laws is clear, but whether or not the Executive Branch has the power to do so unilaterally by agency directive or Presidential Executive Order is questionable. Congress had rejected the Dream Act so the Administration stepped in to curry favor with Hispanics.

Sixth is the power of the President to make decisions specifically focused on critical constituencies, such as the President’s veto of the Keystone Pipeline from Canada to the United States. Regardless of the cost to the United States, he took a stand for the environmentalists.

Seventh is the power of the Attorney General to selectively prosecute cases on behalf of the United States. Thus, AG Eric Holder has filed suit against Florida and other states to prevent them from enforcing their voter ID laws. The states legitimate goal in preventing voter fraud has been approved by the Supreme Court, but that hasn’t prevented the AG from bringing suits which the government will ultimately lose, but probably not until after the November election.

As Bette Davis said “Fasten your seat belt; it’s going to be an exciting night.”

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Did You Know President Obama delivered A Major Speech on the Economy Today?

President Obama Delivered a Major Economics Speech Today.

Yes, he did; he really did.

What if they give a major speech and no one covers it?

President Obama delivered an economics speech at Cuyahoga Community College today in front of a friendly audience of 1,500. He labeled the speech as a major address on the economy.

His staff put the word out earlier in the week that he would present no new ideas on the economy. Therefore, the purpose of the No New Ideas Speech would be to frame the debate for November. The President would lay out the differences between him and Governor Romney.

What if they gave a speech and no one covered it? The 54 minute speech was so void of new ideas, but so full of standard President Obama talking points, otherwise known as clich├ęs, that it received little coverage in the media, even on the media’s web pages.

He read the words off TOTUS beautifully, as he usually does, but to quote Gertrude Stein’s famous statement about Oakland “There is no there, there.”

The No New Ideas Speech referred to his support and help for the Middle Class.

Immediately after the speech, he flew on Air Force One to New York for a fundraiser with the Top One Percent, headlined by Sarah Jessica Parker and Amy Wintour, editor in chief of Vogue magazine, also known as the role model for Miranda in The Devil Wears Prada. Meryl Streep was also scheduled to be at the fundraiser.

In essence, he has framed a campaign between the failed policies of the past and his vision for the future. To rephrase the issues, it’s a debate between the failed policies of the past (Bush and the Republicans) and the failed policies of the present (Obama and the Democrats).

Which has created more jobs?

What are his no new ideas ideas? Tax increases on the rich, public funding of infrastructure improvements, and increased funding for public employees. His $870 billion Stimulus Bill was sold as “shovel ready jobs,” but he joked in Charlotte, North Carolina last July at a “Jobs Council” that “Shovel-ready wasn’t as shovel-ready as we expected.”

That's not funny.


The good news about the President’s speech is that it wasn’t the standard “Blame Speech.” “Blame Bush, blame ATM’s, blame Bush, blame on-line ticketing, blame Bush, blame Big Oil, blame Bush, blame oil speculators, blame Bush, blame Europe, blame Bush, blame the Fat-Cat bankers, blame Bush, blame bondholders,blame Bush, blame the Chamber of Commerce, blame Bush, blame private equity, blame Bush, blame the Catholic Church, blame Bush, blame the health insurers, blame Bush, blame the drug companies, blame Bush, blame the Republicans, blame Bush, blame Congress, blame Bush, blame partisan gridlock, blame Bush, blame earthquakes, blame Bush, blame the Japanese tsunami, blame Bush, blame Fox News. blame Bush, blame Sean Hannity, blame Bush, blame Rush Limbaugh, blame Bush,blame the Supreme Court, blame Bush.”

He didn't play a broken record this time - just an empty one.

The question for the American voter is “What has he done for you in 3½ years?”

It’s the economy, stupid!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Now We Know - Why President Obama Skipped Wisconsin

Last Tuesday, June 5, was the Wisconsin Recall Election. Republican Governor Scott Walker decisively defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to defeat the recall.

President Obama was AWOL. He was MIA in Wisconsin during the recall election.

Maybe, probably his campaigning in Milwaukee, Madison, Kenosha, Appleton, and Eau Claire would not have made an iota of difference in the final outcome, but his absence betrayed the Labor Movement.

Labor, especially the public sector unions, form the bulwark of the modern Democratic Party. They provide both the fund and ground game for democratic candidates from the school board up to the Presidency.

This premise is not to minimize the importance of African Americans, Hispanics, women, environmentalists, the LGBT community, trial lawyers, the mainstream media, and the academics, all of whom form the broad democratic coalition.

But Labor is the foundation.

President Obama failed to show solidarity with Labor with the most critical election in the recent history of the Labor Movement.

Now we know why. It wasn’t because the Mayor would lose, and the President did not want to be identified with a loser. No, he was too busy.

Earlier today in an interview with WBAY TV of Green Bay Wisconsin, he said he was too busy; he simply didn’t have time to visit Wisconsin. In his words: “The thrust of the matter is that, as president of the United States, I’ve got a lot of responsibilities.”

Here are President Obama’s responsibilities to the people of the United States so far in June.

On Friday June 1 President Obama was excited about spending the night in his Chicago home. Earlier in the day he conducted three fundraisers in Minnesota, raising $1.8 million and then flew to Chicago for three additional fundraisers and $3.5 million. Last time I checked, and I have driven it, Wisconsin lies between Minnesota and Illinois. Stopping off in Milwaukee to campaign for Mayor Barrett, even on the morning of June 2 would have been easy to arrange.

On Monday June 4, the day before the Wisconsin recall, the President was in New York City for three fundraisers raising $3.6 million.

He started June 6, the day after Wisconsin, with fundraisers in San Francisco and then flew Air Force One for two days in Los Angeles. He hobnobbed with Ellen DeGeneres, Cher, Darren Criss, Jane Lynch, Reese Witherspoon, Rob Reiner, and Julia Roberts.

Let’s think about this a minute. He can meet and greet Hollywood celebrities or campaign with Mayor Barrett and the Cheeseheads of Wisconsin. No brainer for the President, who professes to represent the people!

He stopped off in Vegas on the way back from La La Land. Remember Vegas? That’s where the President excoriated bankers in February 2009 for scheduling a meeting in Vegas. A year later on February 2, 2010 in a speech in New Hampshire He said “When time are tough, You don’t go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. “

Then comes the Vegas line “You don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you are trying to save for college. You prioritize; you make tough choices.”

But wait, the prior statement is inoperative because The President told us last Friday “The private economy is doing fine.”

Solidarity; the Labor Movement is based on solidarity.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Trolling for Students

Higher education is a highly competitive business.

Universities compete for faculty, students, donors and grants.

Universities, public, private, and religious, need to maximize tuition revenues. Ads appear in TV, radio, newspapers, professional publications, alternative media, and social media.

Schools have established non- traditional programs for non-traditional students, often at remote off-campus sites.

They also purchase student lists from a variety of sources.

A well respected Southern California university sent letters to my oldest son and myself the past two weeks seeking our enrollment. I will not name the university, except to say that it is not the University of Southern California, from which my son has a masters. Nor is the school's main campus located in Orange County.

I had met the former President of the University Whose Name Shall Not be Mentioned on a WASC accreditation team. He was very impressive. These letters are not.

My letter starts: “What if you could help secure your future just by going back to college and finishing your bachelor’s degree?”

People with bachelor’s degrees earn an extra 46% higher average annual income than those with no college degree.

This university offers an accelerated 24 month program with classes meeting one night a week at the main campus or one of eight remote sites, including one a few miles from my house. The school offers 6 start dates a year.

That’s convenient and attractive.

The sales pitch continues. The program offers up to 30 credits for life experience, such as “military experience, managing a business, or completing a major project at work.”

Do I qualify for the 30 credit hours with 4 college degrees and scores of publications?

How come my bachelor’s degree, 128 units, was not that easy?

I can qualify for a $2,500 scholarship if I apply by June 30.

Then the letter shifts without a segue to the success of the business school alumni.

More questions:

1) Will a new bachelor’s degree help me get a job at age 67 or 68 when the degree is completed?

2) How are their bachelor grads doing in today’s market when half of today’s grads can’t find employment?

3) Am I really going to earn 46% more?

4) What mailing list could they have purchased my name from?

My son received a slightly different letter from the University Whose Name Shall Not be Mentioned.

It offered an MBA in an accelerated 24 month program with classes meeting one day a week with six start dates a year at the same nine locations.

The application process requires neither an application fee nor the GMAT, but also raises the possibility of a $2,000 scholarship with a June 30 deadline. Sounds like an open admissions program.

On the other hand, alumni who received their MBA only saw a 29% salary increase.

Both letters state “It’s Time to Make the Move.”

Why?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Why President Obama Dislikes Press Conferences

Yesterday was an example of why President Obama is not known for giving White House Press Conferences. Even the main stream media panned his performance yesterday. If the media is no longer sugar coating or ignoring the President’s misstatements, then he is in trouble. Several liberal commentators, such as the New York Times Maureen Dowd, are questioning his performance. The patina is wearing off.

It’s been a bad week for the President and Democrats. Governor Walker easily won the recall battle in Wisconsin even though the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee sent over 200 organizers into the state. The Republicans out-organized the Democrats. The Tea Party again showed it is a real political force. The voters’ anger from 2010 carried over into 2012.

The public employee unions received more cold water by voters in San Diego and San Jose, California. Governor Romney raised $77 million in May compared to $60 million for the President. The President’s campaign may be outspent this year.

President Clinton publicly undermined one of President Obama’s class warfare mantra by stating the Bush Tax cuts should be extended. President Clinton later backtracked, but the soundbite is available for the November election.

And then on Thursday the President either seemed out of touch, to quote Governor Romney, or ignorant of the realities of the American economy.

The bad week follows a bad month of May. The President is on a roll.

The problem from the President’s perspective with press conferences is that the President, or in the case of President Obama TOTUS, does not control the questions. His controlled cadence does not work well spontaneously. He tries to somewhat control the conferences by calling on reporters pursuant to a prepared list.

The last President who was a natural in press conferences was JFK. His wit and intelligence made for gentle jousting with the reporters. Every President since has tried to be heavily rehearsed, but even then the President may stray off message, just as candidates often do.

The President misspoke yesterday. He wanted to say that the private sector has shown jobs growth since his Administration began, and that the job loss problem is now with the public sector. Hence, the Republicans should support his proposals for funding police, fire, and teachers.

The last half of that proposition shows President Obama is tone deaf after Tuesday’s elections in California and Wisconsin.

The real problem though was his statement that “The private economy is doing just fine.” Even if that comment is taken slightly out of context, as with Governor Romney’s “I like to fire people,” it sends the message the President is out of touch with reality. He should spend less time fund raising in Hollywood and the Upper East Side and more time learning about real America today.

The next time he flies to California for a fund raiser in Beverly Hills or Brentwood, he should drive past some empty strip malls.

President Obama several hours later explained “It is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine.”

He should check the economy in all 57 states, 56 if you exclude Wisconsin.

It’s the economy, stupid!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Strange Case of Thaddeus McCotter

Thaddeus McCotter has been a Congressman from Michigan for 10 years. The Republican was almost guaranteed reelection since reapportionment gives his District more Republicans than Democrats.

The 46 year old Congressman though has always been unconventional. He’s cool, a guitar player who loves to jam rather than raise campaign funds or engage in the usual party building, solidarity activities.

Congressman McCotter is so cool that he declared himself a candidate for the Republican nomination for President last year. He initially considered running against the Democratic Senator, Debbie Stabenow, but then aimed higher. He discovered in a couple of months why Representatives don’t get the traction of Senators in primary season. James A. Garfield in 1880 was the only Congressman directly elected to the Presidency, and he was assassinated after 6 months in office.

After listening to the Sound of Silence during the early primary season, he decided to run for reelection. Michigan’s qualifying rules for entering a primary, such as for reelection to Congress, are relatively simple; submit between 1,000 to 2,000 valid signatures on original petitions to be verified by the Secretary of State.

That should be a slam dunk for an established incumbent. The staff or county central committee should be able to obtain the requisite signatures in a nanosecond.

His campaign submitted 1,830 signatures, a sufficient margin of error under ordinary circumstances.

However, someone, still unnamed, goofed royally and perhaps criminally.

The Secretary of State threw out all but 244 signatures. The rest were duplicates, on photocopied – not original - petitions, or had dates changed, as if they had been lifted off earlier campaign petitions. The Attorney General’s Office is investigating for voter fraud. Four St. Joseph County Democratic officials in neighboring Indiana were indicted for election fraud last April. They forged signatures in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary to place Senators Obama and Clinton on the ballot.

The only Republican on the ballot is a teacher, who’s also a Tea Party enthusiast, raises reindeer, and plays Santa. The two Democrats on the ballot are a doctor and a Lyndon LaRouche Democrat who wants President Obama impeached.

The Republican primary will now have a number of write-in candidates. Congressman McCotter mulled a write-in campaign, and then announced this week that he would retire from Congress. The once rising star of the republican Party last Saturday said “one can’t clean up a mess multitasking.”

Has his political career been ended by negligence, sloth, or sabotage? Is the damage self-inflicted? Is he the victim of a conspiracy?

It's definitely a unique way to implode a campaign, not as sexy as Anthony Weiner, but more intriguing.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Lessons From Wisconsin, San Diego, San Jose, Central Falls and Providence

The public employee unions are nursing their wounds yesterday from Wisconsin, San Diego, and San Jose. The public employee unions got hammered in Wisconsin yesterday.

They asked for it; they deserved it. Regardless of the union’s anger over the Republican’s union busting statute, they should not have started the recall unless they had a strong chance of winning..

They lost the recall election yesterday in Wisconsin by a decisive margin. Thus the union busting reforms of Wisconsin will remain in effect.

Just as significant voters in San Diego and San Jose, California voted to cut public employee pensions. San Jose is a Democratic city with a Democratic Mayor while San Diego is Republican with a Republican Mayor. Both cities’ budget are essentially broke due to union contracts, especially the underfunded pension plans.

San Jose spent $73 million in pension costs in 2001, but $245 million this year. Pension costs now chew up 27% of the general fund. The city has reduced its work force by 27% over the past ten years. It has built 4 new libraries and one police station, but lacks the personnel to staff them.

San Diego spent $43 million on pensions in 1999. This year the pension costs, $231.2 million, equal 20% of the general fund. It has cut 14% of its employees since 2005.

The joke is that at current rates cities like San Diego, San Jose, and Stockton, which is approaching bankruptcy, will have to shrink their work force to just one employee, whose job will be to administer the benefits.

San Jose approved the cuts with a 70% approval rate, while San Diego was slightly behind with 66%. These votes send a message.

The unions in San Diego and San Jose did not contest the elections, realizing that they would lose. Instead, they prepared law suits, hoping to find a favorable judge who would strike down the new rules.

As compared to Wisconsin, the voters in San Diego and San Jose did not strip the unions of their collective bargaining rights.

Let us now look to the two Rhode Island cities of Central Falls and Providence. Both were approaching bankruptcy due to the benefits and pension liabilities. The unions in Central falls refused to grant concessions, so the city entered bankruptcy, where the unions ran the risk of losing the benefits. They entered into an agreement with Central Falls trustee to cut the health benefits and pensions.

The Providence public employee unions saw the writing on the wall. Last week they entered into an agreement with the city to forgo pension retirees cost of living increases for 11 years, cap pensions payouts at 150% of the state’s median household income, and transfer retirees 65 and over into Medicare.

The unions otherwise retain their collective bargaining rights.

Let us remember that Governor Walker initially approached the unions about contributing to their health insurance and pension plans. The unions, out of the arrogance possessed by many public employee unions, brushed the Governor off. The rest is now history.

The moral of the story is that irrespective of the political power possessed by these unions in recent years, the public fisc is broke and the public knows it.
States like California and Illinois may hold out longer, but the benefits cannot last. The states cannot raise taxes fast enough to cover the escalating pension costs. The states, counties, cities, towns, and school districts are broke.

President Obama is not going to enact another Stimulus Bill to bail out the public sector employees for two years. He simply postponed the day of fiscal reckoning.

The unions have four choices: 1) sit down and meaningfully negotiate cuts, 2) let the voters, perhaps vindictively do it for them, 3) let the legislature do it, or win in the courts through litigation.

The first has the benefit of retaining collective bargaining rights. The alternative in many states will be a replay of Wisconsin.

The union wounds yesterday are not mortal; they should serve as a wakeup call.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Disneyland's New Premium annual Passport

The Godfather: “Make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

Disneyland’s New Annual Passport: “Make them an offer they can’t accept.”

Disneyland just announced its prices for annual passports. It doesn’t want your business.

The price for the premium annual passport, the one with 365 day access to both parks Disneyland and California Adventure), free parking, and dinning and merchandise discounts was increased 30% from $499 to $649, in other words, $2,000 for a family of four. You can obtain 4 annual passes to Knott’s Berry Farm or Universal Studios for less than $600, if you purchase at the right time.

The price was only $199 a few years ago.

For true Disney aficionados you can acquire a super premium pass that grants access to the 2 Disneyland parks and 4 Disney World parks for $850.

The lesser passports, which exclude specific days and periods and do not include parking, were similarly increased in price. The single day passport for one park only went up to $87, not including parking and the overpriced trinkets, food and drink. The daily pass was only $14 in 1984.

Disneyland has been raising prices at a higher rate than college tuition.

Obviously Disneyland is free to charge what it wants and consumers can pay, downgrade, or walk away as they wish. Disney clearly believes in cash flow, so why did it price the annual passports to discourage sales?

Is the current management of Disney trying to convert Walt Disney’s dream of a park open to everybody to one for the Top 1%?

Is Disney trying to recoup the $1.1 billion it just poured into California Adventure as it digs out of Michael Eisner’s failed bean counting adventure to save money?

Are Disney’s managements excessively greedy along the lines of “All the traffic will bear”?

Has Mickey turned into Scrooge?

Or is Disney intentionally trying to turn away business?

Disneyland has become too successful with 16 million guests last year. The roughly 85 acres of actual attractions have a capacity between 75,000 – 85,000 guests, vendors and employees with an additional spillover of 32,000 at California Adventure.

Disney has about 1 million annual passes outstanding. The crazy thing about annual passholders is that they want their moneys worth, so they use the passports, an average of ten visits annually. The premium passholders can use them any day of the year, even in peak summer and Christmas seasons when the visitors flood Disneyland.
The result is that the visitors may be squeezed out of the Happiest Place on Earth.

Disney wants to retain their goodwill although it needs the local Southern California residents during the off seasons. There’s no Magic in the Magic Kingdom when the 85 acres are jammed to capacity, as is increasingly happening. Families that travel 1,000 – 2,000 miles to visit the Happiest Place on Earth are not happy when they are turned away, shunted off to California Adventure, or have to stand in 2 hour lines.

Disney does not like Grumpy guests at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

California's Fraudulent 9/11 License Plates and Tax Increases

Personalized license plates are a large source of revenue for cash-starved states with little expense courtesy of prison factories. For example, California has reaped $250 million from its ten specialty plates. If residents wish to pay extra for such a plate, then that’s a matter of personal choice.

But not when the state markets them through false and misleading statements, that if communicated by a private party or enterprise, could lead to civil or criminal prosecutions or otherwise violate consumer protection statutes.

California’s legislature enacted a specialty license plate after 9/11. An American Flag is partially obscured by clouds and the slogan “We shall never forget.” The personalized plates cost $50 to purchase and then an additional $40/year. California has collected $15 million from these plates over the past decade.

The Department of Motor Vehicle’s web page provided until last week that the plates’ purpose is “to fund scholarships for the children of Californians who died in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks and help California’s law enforcement fight threats of terrorism.”

This published statement was technically true in that 15% of the funds were initially set aside for scholarships.” However, the state’s treasurer cancelled the scholarship program in 2005 after disbursing only $21,381 in scholarships. That barely covers one year of tuition, fees, room and board at a University of California campus.

The continuation of the scholarship purpose is a misrepresentation that could be labeled fraud in the private sector.

40% of the funds have gone to anti-terror training programs, but the remaining funds have been diverted to other purposes, of which the most outrageous is $3 million being “borrowed” by Governors Schwarzenegger and Brown to the general fund.

That California’s politicians would use the American tragedy of 9/11 to fleece California drivers is reprehensible.

Remember Vice president Al Gore in 2000 campaigning on “lock boxes.” Lock boxes do not exist with government funds. Green is green. Revenues are fungible. Monies can be transferred from account to account, so long as the legislature approves.

That brings us to California’s current, recurrent budget crisis. California’s budget deficit is a bottomless pit. The legislature and governors on a bi-partisan basis attempt to paper over the deficits with smoke and mirrors.

Once again this year a “balanced” budget was enacted with excessive enthusiasm. It has once again fallen apart.

With half the budget gone the state was looking at a $9.2 billion deficit in January. The deficit rose to an estimated $16 billion in May, and may reach $19 billion by the end of the year. Income tax revenues fell $3.5 billion short of estimates while spending rose $2.1 billion.

Governor Brown’s proposal is to “temporarily” raise the sales tax to 7.5% and impose a surtax on millionaires. He defines “temporary” as 7 years and millionaires as those earning $250,000 annually since $250,000/year times 4 years equals a million dollars. I hope Yale taught the Governor more than that.

The highest tax rate on millionaires will rise to 13.4%. The current marginal tax rate of 9.3% kicks in at an income of $48,000.

California has a 10.9% unemployment rate, worse than all states except Nevada and Rhode Island. 2 million Californians are unemployed while a net 1.6 million residents have left the state since 2000. Businesses are fleeing the state. The state’s business climate is ranked worse in the nation. Expensive housing, high taxes, excessive bureaucracy, high utility costs are crippling the economy.
48% of the state’s residents do not pay income taxes, so California relies excessively on the so called 1% to carry the state.

12% of the nation’s population resides in the state, but 1/3 of the nation’s welfare recipients are in California.

The Governor’s response is to raise taxes. Instead of trying to broaden the economic base of the state, the Governor’s approach is to squeeze larger amount exactions from a shrinking base – a proven recipe for economic disaster. Governor is acquiring the reputation as the Greece of the United States.

His published agenda is to plug the budget deficit by raising an additional $6-7 billion annually in tax revenues. Unless the revenue increases are approved the higher education systems, the University of California and the California state University Systems will be slashed. The Presidents of UC and Cal State are advocating for the tax increases.

The Governor’s budget plan though calls for an additional $7 billion in expenditures, mostly to cover pension liabilities. The legislature will gladly pass the spending increases, but the expected tax revenues will not come in. The deficit will rise.

In short, Governor Brown is peddling snake oil to the voters. He’s selling tax increases to solve the state’s budget problems, but his purpose is to spend.

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I posted the above on June 3. The Orange County Register had an article yesterday that qualified families were not told of the scholarship fund, or of they applied, were informed they were ineligible.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Mayor Bloomberg Wants the Big Apple to Slim Down

The Big Apple Wants to Slim Down

Mayor Bloomberg of New York City yesterday proposed a ban on sweetened drinks over 16 ounces in size.

Mayor Bloomberg of New York City today issued a proclamation celebrating National Doughnut Day.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Half of adult New Yorkers are overweight and Type 2 diabetes is becoming a problem.

The solution therefore lies in banning Coke and Pepsi, but pigging out on Krispy Kremes.

One problem when Big Brother attempts to legislate conduct is that the resulting restrictions can appear incredibly arbitrary and capricious.

For example, the Mayor’s purported ban only limits the size of the drink – not the number purchased. Thus the vendor could offer a twofer for 2 16 oz beverages instead of one 24oz drink. The extra sugar would be legal. Similarly the proposed ban does ban refills, even unlimited refills.

The proposed restrictions would apply to purveyors regulated by the New York City Board of Health, limiting it to restaurants, movie theatres, sports venues, and street vendors. It does not apply therefore to grocery stores, convenience stores (You can still get a Big Gulp at a 7-11 in the Big Apple), newsstands or vending machines. Look for the specials on 2 liters sodas at the local store.

It excludes dairy based beverages, such as milk shakes or your favorite latte at Starbucks, as long as it’s over 51% dairy. A daily dose of large lattes can add to your waistline very quickly.

Nor does it apply to fruit juices, which can contain large levels of sugar.

It is inapplicable to beer or alcohol. Beer, even light beer, is fattening.

It is therefore legal to start the morning out with a latte, have a shake at lunch, and finish the evening with a few brewskis.

Many of the Big Apple’s pretzel vendors also sell Dove Bar ice creams cones, or competing ice cream products. No limit is imposed on these succulent delights.

Recent studies show that consuming diet drinks in lieu of sugared sodas has no effect on weight gains. The reasons aren’t yet fully understood, but the reality is that diet drinks are not a panacea.

Questions arise: First, why a 16oz limit? Why not 12oz, or some other arbitrary figure?

Second, what’s happened to individual liberty and personal choice?

Third, why do we continue to underestimate the ingenuity of teenagers in seeking out the junk foods of their choice as schools impose restrictions on school lunches and vending machines when the empirical evidence shows these restrictions have been as effective as Prohibition or the War on Drugs?

Fourth, why will these new restrictions be any more successful than earlier bans on Happy Meals, fast food restaurants, and booster activities?

Fifth, will New York City anoint several of New York’s finest as food police?

Sixth, doesn’t New York City have “bigger” problems than the size of sodas?

Politics: The New Spectator Sport in Wisconsin

Wisconsin, once the state of cheeseheads and the Pack, the Badgers and Smash Mouth Football, Marquette and basketball, and Milwaukee and occassionally the Brewers.

Wisconsin, now the state of a blood sport much greater in intensity: politics.

Wisconsin, the state which was once above politics, has discovered raw politics with a vengeance.

Tuesday, June 5 is the next date in a two year saga of conservative primacy in Wisconsin. Liberals see the paradigm loss of Wisconsin, the center of the Progressive Movement for 110 years. The Progressive Magazine has been published in Madison, Wisconsin since 1909. The University of Wisconsin has consistently been one of the most liberal campuses in America. The political fabric of the state had been center-left for a century. Democrats have won Wisconsin in every Presidential election since 1988, with President Obama carrying the state by 14% in 2008.

That was then; this is now.

Will Wisconsin, among the bluest of blue states, turn red?

Just as 2008 witnessed a Democratic landslide nationally, the 2010 backlash gave Republicans control of the House of Representatives, most state houses and governorships. The Midwest was a redout for Republicans.

Governor Walker inherited a $3.6 billion budget deficit and rising taxes. He proved you can balance the budget and lower taxes in two years. He did so by essentially striping the public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights.

The public employee unions initially rejected his proposal that the public employees contribute 5.8% of their salaries to their pensions and 12.6% to health insurance.

They had been contributing nothing.

The governor’s response was a union busting measure guised as fiscal reform. The unions belatedly agreed to the deductions, but it was too late. The legislative proposals included not only these payroll deductions, but a ban on collective bargaining for salary increases that exceed inflation. More significantly, the statute was a limited right to work statute. The state would no longer deduct union dues from a member’s paycheck unless the employee annually agreed to the dues deduction. The statute was strategically designed to exclude police and fire.

The unions “went to the mattresses” on the Republican legislation. They engaged in a sit-in at the capitol, Democratic senators fled to Illinois, unsuccessfully mounted a campaign to deny reelection to a sitting conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court judge, again unsuccessfully attempted to recall Republican state senators, and have now striving to recall Governor Walker.

And they are pleading for a return to “civility” in Wisconsin politics.

The reforms have been effective for Wisconsin government, but the effects of the act have been draconian on public employee union membership and fisc.

Immediate benefits were felt in health insurance costs. Most school districts obtained their health insurance through the WEA Trust, owned by the Wisconsin Education Association. Through the prospect of competitive bidding, Appleton, Wisconsin immediately reaped a $3.1 million savings.

The state balanced its budget. Cities and school districts felt immediate budgetary relief.

Teacher layoffs were minimal, while property tax rates dipped.

Membership in AFSCME fell over 50% from 62,818 to 28,745. Membership in the teachers union dropped from 17,000 to 11,000. Union membership will further decrease as existing contracts expire.

Obviously, the revenue stream to the unions will cripple their political power in future elections. No longer will membership dues decide elections. That is the real issue in Wisconsin.

Governor Walker has crafted a roadmap for busting the public employee unions. If it catches on like a prairie fire, the funding basis of the Democratic Party will collapse, both nationally and at the state and local level. No other source of funds, trial lawyers, Hollywood, George Soros, Wall Street, or Indian tribes, match the combined funds of the unions. Often 1/3 of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention are members of the teachers unions.

The state has been bitterly split as in a civil war. 25 reporters for the Gannett Newspapers signed petitions to recall the governor, thereby dropping the mask of journalistic independence. 29 circuit judges signed similar petitions, also raising the questions of an impartial judiciary. The University of Wisconsin’s President Charles Van Hise in 1904 promulgated the Wisconsin Idea, under which the state university would serve the greater good of the state. Several doctors at the University of Wisconsin Medical School misconstrued the mission. Eleven doctors and 9 residents signed “sick notes” excusing teachers from employment when they staged the capitol sit-ins against the Governor.

Yet, the national response has been interesting. President Obama, an otherwise peripatetic campaigner, has treated Wisconsin as fly-over country, between fund raising trips to California and campaigning in Ohio. The Democratic National Committee has refused to contribute $500,000 to the recall campaign. Conservatives have poured about $30 million into Governor Walker’s campaign. Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee has barely raised $4 million.

The unions can’t win this battle. Even if recall Governor Walker on Tuesday, they cannot win.

They supported Kathleen Falk, former manager of Dane County (Madison) in the Democratic primary with $4.5 million. She was the only major candidate who pledged to repeal the Walker acts. She lost to Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee, who saw the Milwaukee School District save $19 million under the Walker reforms. He instead turned the campaign into “jobs;” Who can bring jobs to Wisconsin. Voters know the answer to that question, looking at job losses in Milwaukee. Wisconsin residents may be cheeseheads, but they are not knuckleheads.

Governor Walker in the uncontested Republican primary received 680,000 votes, which exceeded the total of the top five Democratic candidates.

The unions cannot win because of the economic tide running against their contracts, health insurance, and pension plans. The status quo is economically unsustainable.
Even California at some point will say : “No mas.”

Polls favor Governor Walker, although it will depend on which side getting the vote out. The unions are employing their usual intensive ground campaign, especially in their big city strongholds. It may not be enough.

If the Governor wins big on Tuesday, then Wisconsin will be in play in November. If President Obama loses Wisconsin, the election will be a Romney landslide.

It’s still the economy, stupid.

President Obama's Composite Julia

Julia was a great 1977 movie, winning three Oscars and starring Meryl Streep

Julie and Julia was a wonderful 2009 movie, starring Meryl Streep

Julia 2012 is an Obama video production, featuring a composite Julia, and starring President Obama, but not Meryl Streep. President Obama apparently likes composite women.

The composite Julia is featured at various ages of her life 3, 17, 25, 27, 31, 37, 42, 65, 67

Each slide starts out “Under President Obama …”

Julia at age 3 enters Head Start, ignoring the studies questioning the effectiveness of the program.

“At age 17: Julia takes the SAT and is on track to start her college applications.” Her high school is part of the Race to the Top program implemented by the President. What about high school counselors, SAT prep courses? Did the President take the SAT for Julia?

She enters college at 18, qualifying for the President’s American Opportunity Tax Credit of $10,000 over 4 years. Tax credits existed prior to his administration and are little or no benefit to the economically disadvantaged.

Julia at 22 in college undergoes surgery, covered by ObamaCare which keeps her on her parents’ coverage till 26. Of course, prior to ObamaCare she would have been on her parents’ policy until 25, so ObamaCare doesn’t matter. We are assuming that her parents still have an independent health insurance policy, presumably through work if they still have a job and if the employer offers health insurance. Most colleges offer independent health insurance today, but their numbers may be shrinking as well because of the extra costs of ObamaCare.

Julia at 23 starts her new job as a web designer, benefitting from the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Of course, discrimination in pay based on gender was already illegal, but let’s not get too picky. Take note that the President picked her job for her. She also seems to have spent 5 years in college, perhaps because courses weren’t available due to budget cuts at public universities.

Julia benefits at 25 by lower interest rates on student loans and capping repayment on income-based income levels. Of course, if she’s in the 50% of recent college grads who are unemployed, she doesn’t have to worry about the cost, interest or repayment rates on her student loans.

At 27 Julia has enjoyed 4 years as a web designer and benefits from the mandatory birth control and preventative care of ObamaCare. She could also get birth control pills for $4 at WalMart.

Julia decides at 31 “Under President Obama” to have a child. Who’s daddy – an unnamed father, an unknown sperm donator, the President?

Julia’s son Zachery starts kindergarten when Julia is 37. Isn’t 6 a little old for kindergarten?

Julia starts her own business at 42 courtesy of a Small Business Administration loan, which probably means she did not qualify for a private loan. She supposedly benefits from the President’s tax cuts for small businesses, but wait till she encounters the bureaucracy and high taxes that confront small business.

Julia enrolls at 65 in Medicare, qualifying for the preventative care and prescription drugs she needs. Medicare is bankrupting states today. I’m staying on my employer’s plan as long as I can.

Julia holds off social security until 67 when her monthly benefits “ help her retire comfortably, without worrying that she’ll run out of savings,” which “allows” Julia to volunteer at a community garden. Didn’t she ever buy a house with a garden and lawn of her own? Is there a compost pile at the community garden? Is there no private property “Under President Obama?”

Obama’s Julia is not a liberated woman. She is dependent on a man, the President, for her success in life. No reference is given to her grandfather, father, brother, husband, or significant other.

Is the Life of Julia also devoid of any sense of personal responsibility on the part of Julia?

By way of contrast with a truly inspirational speaker, we have these soaring, uplifting remarks from President Kennedy’s famous inauguration speech in 1960:
“And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

President Obama’s “Julia” illustrates the emerging, ongoing, characteristics of the President – narcissism, his liking composite women, and the emerging cult of personality.

Politically it represents a fundamental transformation in the American spirit, from one of personal independence and self-reliance to formalizing the culture of dependency on the government. He has even outlined the statist’s ultimate goal, weaning a child from her parents and family to the state.