'Smart Growth' Group Lobbying AGAINST Roads
As the Democrats take control in Washington, it's just amazing to watch some of the really kooky groups come out of the woodwork and try to impose their ideology on the nation, no matter how much money their ideas would waste or how negative the impact on our quality of life.
Here in California, we continue to suffer from a lack of adequate roads - they need to be wider, and we need more of them. We're a growing state, and no matter how much the coercive utopians wish it were not so, the automobile is, and will continue to be, our primary means of getting from one place to another.
Yet, here comes another group that wants to put ideology ahead of improving people's lives. "Transportation for America" is upset that plans for new spending would actually build roads. According to a story
in The Hill, the group has its own idea of what should be in the transportation bill: “Unlike the lists put forward by state transportation officials, Transportation for America’s is heavy on transit programs and more bike and walk paths
That’s right - just think about how much faster your commute will be once Congress steps in and builds that better bike path for you. 'Smart growth' group lobbies against new road construction
Congressional Republicans Skeptical on Obama Stimulus Package
If overspending was the key to economic prosperity, the American economy would be just humming along right now. That's why it's so encouraging to see Republican Congressional leaders expressing skepticism over Democrat plans to use "stimulus" as an excuse for a trillion dollars in additional
federal spending -- $10,000 for each American who pays income taxes.
From Politico.com:McConnell questions Obama stimulus plan
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voiced skepticism Monday over the massive economic-stimulus package being drafted by Democrats, likening Barack Obama's first major initiative to a "trillion-dollar spending bill" that could leave the country saddled with an unsustainable debt.Full story
Bailout? How Washington Hurts the Auto Industry
As the new Congress convenes in a few weeks, attention will return to the federal bailout of the Big Three American automakers. As our representatives begin to debate the merits of a bailout in the context of the future of the American auto industry, it's worth noting just how the federal government has put this giant American industry at a disadvantage.
If a bailout is to come (it appears likely), should it not be coupled with changes to federal law to do less damage to the industry that is being rescued?
Let's keep in mind that American workers do just fine building cars. If that wasn't the case, then BMW, Toyota, Mercedes, Honda, and other foreign-based companies would not have built manufacturing facilities here.
If the federal government wants to see a prosperous American auto industry, which of course we all do, then let's recognize the role the federal government has played in harming the industry in the first place.
One problem goes all the way back to World War II, when federal wage controls (imagine that, the federal government dictated how much a company could pay a worker) created an incentive for companies to attract new workers through generous benefits packages that were considered outside of the scope of the wage controls. Over time, benefits became so bloated that today GM is paying for the health care of a million people. Think about that.
Meanwhile, the Big Three are struggling to increase productivity despite a labor contract with the Untied Auto Workers Union that can be measured in pounds - 22, to be exact. You can just imagine what kind of silliness is in there.
Speaking of the UAW, it's no coincidence that the foreign automakers prefer to build their plants in states where compulsory unionism is prohibited. Mercedes is in Alabama. BMW is in South Carolina, and so on. Given how union contracts have put the Big Three at such a competitive disadvantage, the foreign manufacturers sought to avoid the same constraints.
On top of union work rules and benefits that are way out of line with their competitors, the auto industry is forced to contend with federal fuel economy standards that too often result in manufacturers building lighter and underpowered cars that are less safe.
Good people can debate the merits of whether the federal government should bail out an industry which it has helped to put at a competitive disadvantage. Yet an important part of that debate should contribute to an understanding of how much damage has been done by federal policy in the first place.
Newt: New Capitol Visitor's Center Gets the History Wrong
I've been consistently impressed with the work our friend Newt Gingrich has done since leaving the Congress. This week, he sent me a copy of a report by his colleague Rick Tyler documenting the long list of historical inaccuracies that can be found at the new Capitol Visitor's Center in Washington. The report is far longer, and more surprising, than I expected when I opened it.
The new Capitol Visitor's Center was designed to accommodate the steady flow of tourists to the Capitol. As the county's population has grown and travel has become less expensive since the building was first designed, the need for added capacity was clear. However, equally clear should be the need to get the history right, and it appears this is where the new Center falls far short of what we should expect.
Although the past doesn't change, history does, as some struggle to redefine and reinterpret major events in order to serve their own political objectives. The nation's Capitol, however, should be free of such battles to redefine the past, so I encourage you to take a few minutes to review the report. You might be surprised with what you find.Capitol Visitor's Center Report
Liberal Media Quotes of the Year
Our friends at the Media Research Center do a great job tracking the best examples of liberal bias in the media, and their year-end awards for the most outrageous examples of this bias are a real treat.
Here are some great examples. Complete listHalf-Baked Alaska Award for Pummeling Palin
"The fact of the matter is, the comparison between her [Sarah Palin] and Hillary Clinton is the comparison between an igloo and the Empire State Building!"MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Hardball, October 14.The Irrelevant Reverend Wright Award
"To see his [Jeremiah Wright's] career completely destroyed by three 20-second soundbites, all of the work he has done, his entire legacy gone down the drain, has been absolutely devastating to me -to him, sorry....We are still a racist country."Washington Post writer Sally Quinn on PBS's Charlie Rose, April 30.From Camelot to Obamalot Award
"Today, the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny....Obama is now an adopted son of Camelot. His candidacy blessed not just by the Lion of the Senate, patriarch of the clan, but by JFK’s daughter."David Wright on ABC's Nightline January 28The Crush Rush Award for Loathing Limbaugh
Author/humorist P.J. O'Rourke: "It's the twilight of the radio loud-mouth, you know? I knew it from the moment the fat guy [Rush Limbaugh] refused to share his drugs...."
Host Bill Maher: "You mean the OxyContin that he was on?...Why couldn't he have croaked from it instead of Heath Ledger?"HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, February 8.Politics of Meaninglessness Award for the Silliest Analysis
"Not doing it [fighting global warming] will be catastrophic. We'll be eight degrees hotter in ten, not ten but 30 or 40 years, and basically none of the crops will grow. Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals."CNN founder Ted Turner on PBS's Charlie Rose, April 1.Madness of King George Award
"When somebody asks you, sir, about the cooked books and faked threats you foisted on a sincere and frightened nation; when somebody asks you, sir, about your gallant, noble, self-abnegating sacrifice of your golf game so as to soothe the families of the war dead; this advice, Mr. Bush: Shut the hell up! Good night and good luck."MSNBC's Keith Olbermann in a "Special Comment" on Countdown, May 14.Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award for Celebrity Vapidity
"If you have a few hundred followers, and you let some of them molest children, they call you a cult leader. If you have a billion, they call you 'Pope.' It's like, if you can't pay your mortgage, you're a deadbeat. But if you can’t pay a million mortgages, you're Bear Stearns and we bail you out. And that is who the Catholic Church is: the Bear Stearns of organized pedophilia."Bill Maher on HBO's Real Time, April 11.Admitting the Obvious Award
"When NBC News first assigned me to the Barack Obama campaign, I must confess my knees quaked a bit....I wondered if I was up to the job. I wondered if I could do the campaign justice."NBC reporter Lee Cowan in an article for NBC's "The Peacock" advertising supplement, March 23-29.
Teachers Union Proposes Big Sales Tax Hike Initiative
Well, it's official. The California Teachers Association union is now officially to the left of the Democrat state legislators.
That's not an easy thing to accomplish, given how way off the deep end that bunch is.
Yet, the CTA has just proposed a statewide ballot measure to increase the state sales tax by $1 for every $100 in purchases and direct that money to the education bureaucracy where presumably a few schools will get what's left over after the bureaucrats take their share.
As for the elected representatives of the people - those who you and I vote for at the ballot box - having any say over how that money is spent, the union has a different idea:
"It's time for stable and independent funding that cannot be cut by the Legislature or diverted for other uses," said the state CTA President.
That's right, we don't want any pesky elected officials to have any say over how tax dollars are spent. The union and bureaucracy will make those decisions, don't you worry. Your job, according to them, is just to vote for the tax increase, and then pay it. Forever.
Governor's Veto of Dem Sham Budget
Governor Schwarzenegger's decision to veto the sham budget the Democrats produced without a single Republican vote in the legislature is absolutely the right thing to do, given how totally unacceptable the package is on so many levels.
The Democrats have consistently thwarted Republican efforts to reform the state's broken system of budgeting and spending which locks in runaway growth in government programs and bureaucracy while making the state particularly susceptible to swings in the economy.
Just as bad, Democrats in the legislature have resisted all Republican efforts to bring some sanity to the state's regulatory system which, together with a punishing tax code, continues to drive jobs, people, and opportunities to neighboring, lower tax states such as Nevada and Arizona.
The Governor and Republican legislators are absolutely right in recognizing the need for some regulatory relief in this challenging economy. The knee-jerk response by our friends on the left is that any -- ANY -- effort to streamline regulations somehow harms workers or the environment. Yet, the reality is often just the opposite. For instance, liberal opposition to connecting a toll road in Orange County with Interstate 5 is causing more traffic to snarl on the freeway, generating more pollutants and degrading the quality of life of people who are sitting in their cars instead of at home with their kids. The examples are endless.
Today we are also suffering as a direct result of the Democrat/union campaign to defeat the Governor's Proposition 76 in 2005. The measure would have placed reasonable limits on the growth of state spending plus a rainy day fund, making today's budget situation far more manageable.
Liberals in the legislature have proven repeatedly that they will fight *any* effort to place *any* limit on the growth of state government, or measures that force the legislature to set spending priorities. Instead, the wide array of interest groups that profit from increasing government largesse happily fund the opposition to any rational budget reforms, leaving taxpayers holding the bag and facing threats of tax increases.
McKeon Leading Efforts to Protect Workers' Secret Ballot
California’s own Congressman Buck McKeon is doing great work in leading the fight against the outrageous campaign by the bosses of organized labor to strip workers of their right to a secret ballot in unionization elections.
The "Employee Free Choice Act" is about as Orwellian a title as we have seen in a long time. instead of promoting "free choice," the act would open the floodgates to coercion and intimidation of workers by eliminating their right to privacy when deciding whether to be represented by a labor union at the workplace.
Today, workers have the right to vote in a secret ballot election to decide whether they want a union. Under the EFCA, an employer is forced to recognize a union if a majority of the workers publicly sign cards. Of course, union organizers then become free to show up at a worker's home, at their car in the parking lot, in the lunch room, or elsewhere to "persuade" them that they should do what the very nice union people want.
Congressman McKeon is the ranking Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, where this monstrosity of a bill will stop on its way to the House floor. He points out today that even Democrat Congressional insiders are split on whether they should move forward with the bill. It's widely understood that the measure would be great for union organizers, but terrible for the economy and workers' rights. Over 80% of Americans support preserving workers' rights to a secret ballot.
Video Explains Why Democrat Stimulus Plans Don't Work
In this video from the Cato Institute, my friend Dan Mitchell does a great job illustrating in seven minutes why Democrat ideas to stimulate the economy through borrow-and-spend policies like those of Herbert Hoover, FDR and Gerald Ford don't work.Keynesian Economics Is Wrong: Bigger Gov't Is Not Stimulus
Republican Legislators Move Budget Process Forward
Working to break the budget deadlock in Sacramento, Republican legislators introduced a comprehensive proposal to narrow the state's gaping budget deficit by $22 billion without raising taxes.
Democrats immediately attacked it as "ideology and posturing," in the words of liberal Democrat Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.
Let's pause for a second to recognize that the most overused trick in Sacramento is to avoid debating something on the merits by classifying it as "ideological." Nothing the Democrats do is "ideological," only what Republicans do - at least, according to liberal spinmeisters in the Capitol.
The Republican plan moves the process forward by putting a compendium of solutions from a wide variety of sources on the table. That is, it includes elements first suggested by Republicans, Democrats, the Governor, the Legislative Analyst, and others.
While some of the other parties in the process may complain about the proposal in one way or another, the reality is that by offering more solutions to increase revenue (without new taxes), and ways to bring spending in line with the real world, the Republican legislators are putting more tools in the toolbox to solve the problem.
The Republican plan also includes measures that will actually help the California economy, which is already at a competitive disadvantage when compared to other western states with lower taxes and more rational regulatory structures. Specifically, Republicans want to return some sanity to a long list of job-killing regulations.
The Democrats just can't help themselves so, as if on cue, they reflexively attack the Republican plan for reviving the economy. Of course, the Democrats' idea of "stimulus" is more government overspending. If overspending was the key to a healthy economy, we’d be roaring ahead right now instead of facing skyrocketing unemployment.
Meanwhile, the party of "change" argues for keeping the status quo instead of embracing the Republican stimulus ideas to lessen the regulatory burdens on the private sector by claiming they're only designed to help "business" and "companies." I don't quote Barney Frank much, but in this case I'll remind the Democrats of what the ultra-liberal member of Congress from Massachusetts told "60 Minutes" this weekend in defending the Big Three baiout: "the world isn't made up of companies, it's made up of people." In other words, measures aimed at helping employers compete help…people - that is, people with jobs who want to keep them, or those who are looking.
Republicans are working to solve the state budget crisis in ways that won't further damage the overburdened California economy, and Democrats should get on board.
Who should choose the next Senator from Illinois?
So who should choose the next Senator from Illinois?
Well, obviously this Blagojevich guy is out of the question. After last week's indictment by U.S. Attorney Peter Fitzgerald, no one would trust this guy with even placing an order at the drive through window without trying to get a bribe in return. Even Democrats.
The answer is obvious : the people should choose for themselves.
Interestingly, the Constitution requires only that U.S. House seats - not Senate seats - be filled by election (as opposed to appointment). The original intent was that the House represents the people directly, and therefore its members should only be chosen by the people.
The Senate, by contrast, was established to represent the interest of states, with its members originally to be chosen by the legislature of each state. Yet, when that practice proved too corrupt (sound familiar?), the Constitution was amended to provide for direct election of Senators by the people.
The lesson is clear: naming someone to such a high position as a U.S. Senate seat by any method other than direct election is begging for trouble, and the Illinois case is just the latest example.
The Republican National Committee has been pounding the Democrats over a myriad of unanswered questions flowing out of the indictment, such as, what conversations did Barack Obama and his political hacks have with Blagojevich and his political hacks concerning the appointment? Watch the video
Obama Honeymoon Over Before It Began
It's been a pretty rough week for the party of "hope" and "change." I suspect that most of the hope going on in the other camp is hoping that next week isn't as bad as this past one.
The national media woke up to the fact that the corrupt Democrat political machine in Chicago that produced Barack Obama is still chruning out corruption like it's going out of style. Then again, the attempt by the Democrat Illinois Governor to sell off Barack Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder was hard to miss, particularly when the charges come from U.S. Attorney Peter Fitzgerland, whom the left praised up and down when he was giving Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff a hard time.
Also this week Republicans won two important runoff House races in Louisiana as Joseph Cao
defeated Democrat William Jefferson to represent central New Orleans. Jefferson is the fellow who had a hard time explaining more than $50K in cash he kept in his freezer.
Meanwhile, here in California Democrats renewed their efforts to make it easier for them to raise taxes, because, hey, the California economy apparently isn't suffering enough. Some day those guys are going to be able to point to a government program (outside of law enforcement and the military) that should be shut down to give taxpayers some kind of break. Now that would be newsworthy.
Issa to Lead Republicans on Key Oversight Committee
We were very pleased this week to see California Republican Congressman Darrel Issa named to the key position of Ranking Member on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is responsible for conducting oversight of the Executive Branch and other parts of the federal government. This is a key post for the San Diego-area Congressman.
In commenting on is appointment, Congressman Issa said, "While objective and bipartisan hearings are a priority for Republicans, the minority will not tolerate inappropriately partisan hearings or investigations...We also stand ready to pro-actively probe any critical failures of government neglected by the Committee majority."
In other words, Issa and his team are ready to ask the difficult questions members of the majority may be reluctant to pose to officials of a Democrat Administration. That's exactly the right message to send.
Illinois Dem Gov Charged with Selling Obama Senate Seat
This is straight out of the "you can't make this stuff up" file. The Democrat Governor of Illinois has been arrested and charged with hanging a "'for sale' sign on the naming of a United States senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism," according to the U.S. Attorney.
Chicago Tribune: "Illinois Gov. Blagojevich, Chief of Staff, Arrested"
Thank You, Dick Cheney
On Thursday night in Washington I had the opportunity to thank the Vice President for his leadership, as well as that of the President, in keeping America safe following 9/11.
It's well known that the Vice President, himself a former Secretary of Defense, took a particular interest in America's security following 9/11. We all remember that in the hours and days that followed, most Amerians were convinced that another attack was imminent.
Numerous major threats against America have been defeated since that Tuesday morning seven years ago, and without question the Bush-Cheney Administration's determination to protect the homeland and put America on offense against terrorist groups has saved countless American lives.
While the Vice President, and the President, have been the targets of loathing of hysterical proportions from many on the extreme left, there are many on the conservative side who would conclude that anyone who draws so much ire from that bunch must be doing something right.
Indeed, we can all be thankful that the Vice Presdient and the President have been so focused and determined to protect Americans and recognize the real nature of the threat that continues to exist from those who would do us harm.
Obama = Bill Clinton's Third Term
So Bill Richardson is heading back into the cabinet. Looking at the people Barack Obama is choosing to make policy in Washington, you would think it was Hillary Clinton who had won the Democrat nomination, not Mr. "Change."
Richardson symbolizes why Barack Obama's talk about "change" in Washington was just so much political hot air. Hillary Clinton is going to run foreign policy. This was the person who wanted to shove everyone in America into a big government-run HMO with Post Office-levels of customer service. Eric Holder is going to run the Justice Department - same guy who was at the center of the highly controversial pardons issued by Bill Clinton in the waning days of his Administration.
And now Bill Richardson, a twenty year Washington Insider (plus a stint as the liberal Governor of New Mexico) is going to run the Commerce Department. This is the same guy whose private sector “experience” included time on the board of Peregine Systems just when that company's executives were defrauding investors and padding the wallets of executives.
Never mind Richardson's tenuran as Clinton's Energy Secretary when his Department couldn't find computer hard drives with highly sensitive national security information for months. This is the kind of leadership America needs running the Commerce Department?
The only “change” we’re seeing in Washington is the transition – from President Bush’s second term to Bill Clinton’s third.
Republicans Strike Back
Republicans scored a major victory last night in the first federal election since Democrats took the White House, putting a filibuster-proof Senate out of the reach of Democrats and giving Republicans a powerful weapon to block extreme legislation from the far left.
In the hotly contested U.S. Senate runoff election in Georgia, Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss trounced his Democrat opponent 60-40. The victory leaves only one Senate race unresolved, the Minnesota contest between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and his liberal opponent Al Franken. A recount is under way, Coleman was in the lead at last count, and Franken has suffered setsbacks in his attempts to force certain votes to be counted over others.The Chambliss victory represents a major defeat for Barack Obama and the Democrats who were hoping the vaunted Obama machine could be turned to elect other Democrat candidates. Last night, it could not.
In California, Democrats similarly failed to win the supermajority in the legislature they were eagerly telling the media was so obtainable before Election Day. While Republicans in the United States Senate will be in a position to use their strength to block egregious Democrat initiatives - like taking away secret ballots in unionization elections - Republicans in Sacramento are in a position to block Democrat tax increases and secure important victories for Californians in order to adopt a state budget