Tuesday, July 30, 2013
The latest action in the Liberal war on women: Recent scandals find liberal politicians harassing women and embarrassing themselves.
Back during the 2012 election, Democrats were quick to seize on some Republican words -- like Todd Akin's remark about "legitimate rape" and late-term abortion, orRush Limbaugh's calling Sandra Fluke a "slut" for wanting free birth control -- to build the notion of a "war on women."
But if you look past words to actual deeds, most of the action in the war on women seems to be coming from the Democratic front lately. Just consider these cases:
First, Democratic San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. So far seven women have accused him of sexual harassment. According to one report, Filner said, "You'll have to excuse me for what's about to happen. It's your fault," before pinning a woman in a restaurant booth. Other allegations include kissing, grabbing and assorted other inappropriate behavior.
As is usually the case, this stuff was no secret within the world of San Diego Democratic politics, but even though there were complaints, the leadership supported Filner anyway until things went public. And even afterward, until the pressure became too great, Democrats supported him. As with Bill Clinton, and his alleged assaults onPaula Jones, Juanita Broddrick and Kathleen Willey, tribal loyalties to party kin outweighed any concern for women as a group -- or for the accusers as individuals. The accusers were tossed over the side until the publicity became too strong to ignore. Democrats -- like Hillary with Bill -- stood by their man, Tammy Wynette-style.
Then take New York. Please. New York now has the infamous serial sexter Anthony Weiner running for mayor. Unlike Clinton and Filner, the women Weiner was involved with seem to have been entirely consenting. Though the names involved (Weiner's online pseudonym was "Carlos Danger," and one of his virtual paramours -- a formerObama campaign worker and anti-Sarah Palinpetitioner -- went by "Sydney Leathers" though that, shockingly, is her real name) seemed like something from a 1970s porn film, the sexual contact involved seemed voluntary enough. It was just pathetic.
Even more pathetic was the fact that for Weiner this was the second time around, after giving up his congressional seat for, basically, the same thing in 2011. For Weiner, the "War On Women" aspect has more to do with the doormatization (Is that a word? It is now) of his wife, Huma Abedin. Long a star to people on the left, for reasons that Slate's Dave Weigel finds somewhat unclear, Abedin has stood by Weiner throughout, even putting on a rather embarrassing press conferenceappearance.
But now that her stand-by-your-man routine has gone from the possibly noble to the clearly ridiculous, even liberal writers such as The Atlantic's Elspeth Reeve are saying that "Huma has lost her halo." Indeed, even as Huma was delivering quotes for rehabilitative puff-pieces in People and The New York Times, it's now clear that she knew that Weiner hadn't been rehabilitated at all, leaving some to say that she's even worse than he is. People are even starting to ask about how Huma could work for the State Department while consulting for people who dealt with the State Department. Her future political career, previously bright, seems seriously tarnished.
As Gloria Allred's daughter, Democratic attorney Lisa Bloom, notes, Weiner's treatment of Huma could be described as a kind of spousal abuse. Well, whatever it is, it's not indicative of any particular respect for women. Weiner, meanwhile, seems to have been weirdly jealous for an online philanderer. Leathers reports: "Me being hit on by other men really upset him. We were Facebook friends, so he could see if men were commenting on photos of me, or telling me that I was pretty. Really minor things like that really bothered him." Uh huh.
Then there's former New York governor and attorney general Eliot Spitzer, better known as "client #9" for his extensive patronization of call girls. As far as I'm concerned there's nothing wrong with that: These were consenting adults, and if it were up to me, I'd make prostitution legal everywhere the way it is in Nevada. But even while patronizing call girls, Spitzer was also going out of his way, as attorney general, to see that they were prosecuted. It's usually Republicans who are charged with sexual hypocrisy, but this is first-rate phoniness.
The funny thing, though, is that in the press, an isolated remark by a Republican candidate or radio host is treated as representative of the entire party. The behavior of these Democratic officeholders and candidates, on the other hand, is treated as an isolated incident -- and in many of the national media reports regarding Filner, his party affiliation is omitted, or not mentioned until paragraph 12.
But do I think this behavior betrays a special contempt for women on the part of Democrats? Well, not really. I think it demonstrates a contempt for people in general, and especially for voters. But then again, why shouldn't they be contemptuous of voters? Look who elected them.
"Does anybody think it's OK to have 40-year-old trees growing through the roofs of dilapidated houses?" -- Detroit's Emergency ManagerKevyn Orr
"A few years ago, the nonpartisan Bay Area Center for Voting Research rated Detroit as the most liberal city in America." -- Michael Tanner
cities. It was the 4th largest metropolis in America, jobs were plentiful because of the auto industry, and Motown even kept it on the cutting edge musically.
Unfortunately, from 1962 until the present day, the mayor of Detroit has been a Democrat.
Detroit's population has dropped from 1.8 million to just over 700,000, the unemployment rate is over 50% if you count the people who've given up on finding jobs, property values have dropped so much you can buy homes in the crime-ridden city for $500, and Detroit has gone bankrupt.
How did Democrats kill one of the most prosperous cities in America? With the same sort of unfettered liberalism that Democrats like Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi want to foist on the rest of the nation.
1) Unions crippled the auto industry: The Big 3 automakers could afford unions when they practically had a monopoly on auto production in the United States. However, once they started facing real competition from overseas, the unions made them less and less competitive. The unions forced the companies to pay out more than market value for their workers, put stifling work rules in place that made flexibility and innovation difficult, and created generous pension plans that are proving to be unsustainable. This wouldn't have been possible without a symbiotic relationship between the unions and the Democrats in government who tied the hands of the Big 3 automakers and simply wouldn't allow them to get rid of the unions that were slowly strangling them to death. Eventually because of the unions, the Big 3 automakers had to deal with significantly larger costs per car than their overseas competitors and they took it out of the only place they could: the cars. As the quality of their products dropped, their competitors took an ever larger share of their market, and there were fewer jobs to go around. If you want to know why the "Motor City" is up on cinder blocks in Michigan's front yard, this is where it started.
2) White citizens were demonized until they left: Detroit was a heavily segregated city and in 1967, there were black riots. After that, white flight to the suburbs began. This was dramatically exacerbated when Coleman Young became Detroit's first black mayor in 1972. Young was cut from the same cloth as men like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, but unlike the two of them, he actually had power. Young systematically drove white government employees out of their jobs so they could be replaced by blacks, was hostile to the white suburbs, and was generally perceived as anti-white. Naturally, a lot of white people just left, which reduced the population and significantly cut into the tax base. Today, Detroit is a 7.9% white city, and if he were alive and kicking, that would probably suit Coleman Young just fine.
3) Out-of-control crime helped drive much of the black middle class out of the city: Ever heard of "Devil's Night?" It's the night before Halloween and in Detroit, fires are set all over the city. Combine the sort of criminal mentality that produces an unofficial "holiday" like that with a sky high unemployment rate and Draconian laws designed to make it difficult for law abiding citizens to arm themselves, and it's not a surprise that crime is a problem in Detroit. However, the issue goes much deeper than that. In case you haven't noticed, in a conflict between a cop and a criminal, the hearts of liberals almost always seem to bleed for the thug. Combine that with the liberal tendency, when money gets tight, to cut essential programs instead of their perks and the goodies they hand out to their supporters, and you end up with a police department that is both dramatically underfunded and completely incompetent.
"The size of the police force in Detroit has been cut by about 40 percent over the past decade," "it takes (the police) an average of 58 minutes to respond" to a call and the "police solve less than 10 percent of the crimes that are committed in Detroit."
4) Reckless government spending bankrupted the city: Detroit's tax base has been plunging like an anvil dropped into the Marianas Trench and so, in true liberal fashion, liberals have raised taxes to make up for it instead of cutting spending. "The city's per-capita tax burden is the highest in Michigan. Detroit has the country's highest property taxes on homes, the top commercial property tax and the second-highest industrial property tax." Unfortunately for Detroit, you can't get blood from a stone. As jobs and wealth fled the city, there was simply less cash available for big government programs, pensions, and the incredibly generous, but almost completely unfunded union health care program. It's fantastic that the city paid "80 percent to 100 percent of retirees' medical costs," but 99.6% of those costs were unfunded. As Obamacare supporters should have learned by now, it's a lot easier for politicians to make big promises about what they’re going to give you than it is to back them up in the real world.
5) The government is completely incompetent: Ever notice that the bigger government seems to get, the less it does anything well? Citizens of Detroit could tell you all about that. The school system is horrible, which explains why a staggering 47% of the population is illiterate. In addition, 40% of the street lights don't work, only about 1/3 of the ambulances are running, and 2/3 of the parks have been closed since 2008. Just to give you an idea of its priorities, an independent report in 2012 suggested the city fire 80% of the Water and Sewage Department including a horseshoer" that it has on staff even though it has NO HORSES.. How did the union respond to that report? "They don’t have enough people as it is right now. They are just dreaming to think they can operate that plant with less." Detroit may not have enough police, ambulances, or competent teachers, but if you ever need a horseshoe in the Motor City, they've got you covered.
So it turns out the president's home city of Chicago (D-IL) is suffering through a bit of fiscal trouble:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed the books on 2012 with $33.4 million in unallocated cash on hand — down from $167 million the year before — while adding to the mountain of debt piled on Chicago taxpayers, year-end audits show. Last week, Moody’s Investors orderedan unprecedented triple-drop in the city’s bond rating, citing Chicago’s “very large and growing” pension liabilities, “significant” debt service payments, “unrelenting public safety demands” and historic reluctance to raise local taxes that has continued under Emanuel.
Those unprecedented downgrades were delivered despite what the Sun-Timesdescribes as Mayor Rahm Emanuel's "aggressive cost-cutting measures." Long-term unfunded promises and the costs of servicing the city's debt are swamping shorter-term attempts at fiscal restraint. Absent significant reforms, this isAmerica's future, too. More on that eye-opening triple downgrade, directly fromthe credit ratings agency:
Moody's Investors Service has downgraded the City of Chicago's (IL) general obligation (GO) and sales tax ratings to A3 from Aa3; water and sewer senior lien revenue ratings to A1 from Aa2; and water and sewer second lien revenue ratings to A2 from Aa3. Chicago has $7.7 billion of GO debt, $566 million of sales tax debt, $2.0 billion of water revenue debt, and $1.3 billion of sewer revenue debt outstanding. The outlook on all ratings is negative ...The downgrade of the GO rating reflects Chicago's very large and growing pension liabilities and accelerating budget pressures associated with those liabilities. The city's budgetary flexibility is already burdened by high fixed costs, including unrelenting public safety demands and significant debt service payments.
Moody's reference to "unrelenting public safety demands" is in part a euphemism for Chicago's appalling murder and violent crime crisis, which manages to remain alarmingly acute despite the city's strict anti-gun laws. Strange, that. Oh, did I say triple downgrade? I meant quadruple, and this one genuinely hurts The Children:
Chicago's public schools on Wednesday forecast a record $1 billion fiscal 2014 budget deficit despite layoffs of 1,000 teachers and the expected closing of 50 schools, prompting one credit agency to downgrade its debt rating. The nation's third-largest public school district blamed the mounting red ink on an expected sharp rise in annual pension payments for teachers, because the state of Illinois has failed to curb ballooning pension costs.
For years, Illinois teachers unions negotiated unsustainable contracts with their Democratic buddies, who run the city and state -- a vicious cycle that is has begun its inevitable meltdown. The obligations owed to these government employees are consuming the city's budget, prompting desperate bouts of austerity cuts -- which are now unavoidable. To paraphrase one of the city's prominent citizens, Chicago's
Chicago's fiscal recklessness is comin' home to roost. Sadly, today's kids -- especially the city's underprivileged ones -- are bearing much of the brunt of these cuts, which became necessary after chronic irresponsibility from generations of adults. Chicago's woes mirror many of the challenges facing the state of Illinois, which has been battered by recent downgrades from various ratings agencies. Illinois was already in dead last in terms of state credit ratings prior to the additional recent blows. Purely coincidentally, Illinois -- like Chicago -- is run by one political party. Democrats hold the governorship and super-majorities in both chambers of the legislature in Springfield. Major tax increases haven't made a dent in Illinois' mess; the state has struggled to pay its bills for years. By the way, the state in 49th place on this roster of ignominy is California, which also happens to be in the thrall of a particular ideology embodied by the one political party. Thankfully, Chicago is a far cry from Detroit (hey, there's that same party again) at this stage, but continued mismanagement could eventually yield similar decay and collapse. I'm just thinking out loud here, but shouldn't prominent jurisdictions dominated for decades by the party of compassion, fairness and progress be beacons of success by now? Before you click away, be sure to read this piece by CBS News' Major Garrett. He recalls an upbeat 2011 speech the president delivered in Detroit, just two years before its bankruptcy. One choice snippet from Garrett's brutal assessment:
Obama's 2011 speech described a Detroit that can only be described as a myth wrapped in a wish inside a dream. "This is a city that's been to heck and back," Obama said. "And while there are still a lot of challenges here, I see a city that's coming back." Obama referenced "tough choices" made to bail out GM and Fiat-Chrysler and also hailed the birth of a new wave of high-tech employment. "We said American workers could manufacture the best products in the world. So we invested in high-tech manufacturing and we invested in clean energy," he said. "And right now, there's an advanced-battery industry taking root here in Michigan that barely existed before." The biggest factory in this supposed new trend, Massachusetts-based A123 Systems, had plans to employ 5,900 workers nationwide to build lithium-ion batteries. In Detroit, A123 Systems never employed more than 1,000. The Energy Department awarded A123 Systems a $249 million grant to boost production. It filed for bankruptcy in 2012 and was still receiving DOE largesse. A judge approved the bankruptcy in 2013. In other words, the Detroit-area advanced-battery industry Obama said "barely existed before" his 2011 speech now … barely exists.
Obama is on the speech-giving trail again, peddling the same talking points andthe same "solutions" he did two years ago. This time will be different, though; just don't ask him why.
Last week, President Obama expounded upon his latest version of an ultra-recycled, been-there-done-that economic pivot — and it took him well over an hour to do so. Peggy Noonan had some rather pointed thoughts about that on ABC on Sunday, at the 2:05 mark:
When the White House calls it a “pivot” — somebody counted up and said it’s probably the tenth pivot to the economy that the president has done since he came in. I noticed that one of the speeches, it went over an hour, there was a heck of a lot jammed in. That told me something. It said, we’re not sure exactly what to say, so we’re going to say everything — but a speech about everything is a speech about nothing. Beyond that, I think every president, in the intense media environment we have now, certainly ever two-term president, gets to a point where the American people stop listening, stop leaning forward hungrily for information. I think this president got there earlier than most presidents, and I think he’s in that time now.
Ouch. All of President Obama’s grandiose economic pivots have pathetically little to show themselves; as George Will chimed in, our economy has continued to lose jobs during this ongoing “recovery” we’re supposedly in, and our labor force participation rate still hovering around a generational low of 63.5 percent.
Even Obama is cottoning on to the fact that all of the grandiloquence in the world isn’t going to do much to boost the popularity of crowning legislative achievement — but what he has up his sleeve besides more Keynesian-ish initiatives and “Republican obstructionism!”-sideshows is anyone’s guess. They’re still hoping that the law will speak for itself once it’s finally implemented, but the ol’ implementation process hasn’t been going too well so far:
Polls show the healthcare law is unpopular, and its approval ratings are falling. Disapproval topped 50 percent in a CBS News poll last week.Obama said in an interview with The New York Times that the law will gain popularity once key provisions take effect next year and people are able to more easily purchase insurance.“But until then, when we’re getting outspent four to one and people are just uncertain about what all this means for them, we’re going to continue to have some polls like that,” Obama said. “And me just making more speeches explaining it in and of itself won’t do it. The test of this is going to be is it working. And if it works, it will be pretty darn popular.”
In a bankruptcy scenario, one of any entity’s most obvious options for raising some cash with which to pay down debts and obligations is to start selling off assets to the highest bidder. In the case of Detroit, their list of public assets includes 22 square miles of lands, public utilities and infrastructure, as well as collections of art and animals, all of which youmight think sound like pretty reasonable items to include in their pending municipal garage sale — except that, oddly enough, the few assets with which Detroit is actually looking to part ways could in fact just be… well, garages. Via the Financial Times:
Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s emergency manager, says the City is open to public-private partnerships and believes its nine parking garages, two parking lots and 3,404 parking meters should be attractive to outside investors.“It’s one of the easiest assets that someone can underwrite and run more efficiently,” he told the Financial Times.Elsewhere the scope for further sales looks limited, as Mr Orr concentrates on wringing multibillion-dollar concessions from creditors that put the potential receipts from asset disposals into perspective.This is especially the case because many assets are losing value as Detroit’s economy continues to go in reverse, as the population drops, manufacturing declines and joblessness rises. …The city owns 22 square miles of Detroit’s 139 square miles, but much is blighted. “The vast majority has limited current commercial value,” its bankruptcy filings state.Detroit’s most attractive assets include its water and sewage operations. But the city does not plan to put those operations up for sale to the private sector either.Instead, it plans to work with neighbouring, and far wealthier, districts to establish a new unit that would provide services to the city and its environs and that would continue to have access to the capital markets. Such a deal could unlock $50m-$150m, Mr Orr says.
Admittedly, getting involved with many of Detroit’s beleaguered assets probably isn’t that attractive an option for potential investors in plenty of cases, at least not right now; but Detroit has a long way to go to even get close to managing the city’s $18 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities… and yet they somehow have the money for a $400 million hockey arena. Go figure.
And speaking of those unfunded liabilities, more than five billion dollars’ worth are in the form of health care and other retiree benefits for the city’s workers; as I mentioned earlier this month, a bunch of broke cities across America are looking at unloading some of those expensive and long-term political promises onto the incoming ObamaCare system in search of a little financial relief (…and when I say “ObamaCare,” what I really mean, of course, is American taxpayers). Now that Detroit is officially underwater, they’re moving forward — er, “Forward!”? — with that plan, via the NYT:
As Detroit enters the federal bankruptcy process, the city is proposing a controversial plan for paring some of the $5.7 billion it owes in retiree health costs: pushing many of those too young to qualify for Medicare out of city-run coverage and into the new insurance markets that will soon be operating under the Obama health care law.Officials say the plan would be part of a broader effort to save Detroit tens of millions of dollars in health costs each year, a major element in a restructuring package that must be approved by a bankruptcy judge. It is being watched closely by municipal leaders around the nation, many of whom complain of mounting, unsustainable prices for the health care promised to retired city workers. …Unfunded retiree health care costs loom larger than ever for localities across the country, and the health law’s guarantee of federal subsidies to help people with modest incomes afford coverage has made the new insurance markets tantalizing for local governments. A study issued this year by the Pew Charitable Trusts found 61 of the nation’s major cities wrestling with $126 billion in retiree health costs, all but 6 percent of that unfunded.
I suppose it really is a step up from the lengthy, meandering lecture of the latest “economic pivot” for which the president stumped last week, wherein the he took almost seventy minutes to basically complain that “I’m just a bystander in this economy, rabble rabble rabble” and talk up the misguided merits of the many “investments” he wishes he could make if it weren’t for those obtuse Republicans. …But only a small step. CNN reports:
Speaking at an Amazon.com distribution plant in Tennessee Tuesday, President Barack Obama will propose a “grand bargain” with lawmakers on spurring job growth, according to one of his top advisers.“As part of his efforts to focus Washington on the middle class, today in Tennessee the President will call on Washington to work on a grand bargain focused on middle class jobs by pairing reform of the business tax code with a significant investment in middle class jobs,” said Dan Pfeiffer, a senior adviser to the president.Obama will suggest Congress cut corporate tax rates – long a goal of Republicans – while simultaneously making jobs investments, which Democrats and the president have been championing.The White House would not say Tuesday how much each part of the bargain – the tax changes and the investment – would amount to.
Hmm. We’re still waiting on specifics, but I suppose the big attempt at ‘compromise’ here is that he’s for the moment shelving raising taxes and instead offering to allow for some easing up on businesses — but in exchange, of course, we have to make some of those precious Keynesian “investments” in “infrastructure” that he supposes will “create” jobs and help jump-start the economy. If Republicans do refuse to let the government deficit-spend still money on such assuredly fruitless endeavors, of course, the president can then at least say that they just don’t want to do it because he’s the one who proposed it, and my, aren’t they just such spiteful obstructionists?
And I might venture that the decision to propose the whole idea in front of an Amazon plant probably has something to do with the fact that Amazon is going on a hiring spree — as if it’s somehow due to President Obama’s oversight of the economy, and not in spite of it.
Update: Some specifics and immediate reaction, via the Washington Examiner:
Obama wants to cut the corporate tax rate of 35 percent to 28 percent and give manufacturers an even lower rate of 25 percent — a proposal the president floated last year. Rather than link the corporate tax cuts with an overhaul of the individual rate, as he did previously, Obama will instead press for more federal spending on his jobs blueprint. The president will also call for a minimum tax on foreign earnings. …“The president has always supported corporate tax reform,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner. “Republicans want to help families and small businesses, too. This proposal allows President Obama to support President Obama’s position on taxes and President Obama’s position on spending, while leaving small businesses and American families behind.”
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