Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘pelosi’

Spending problem? What spending problem?

Posted by Richard on February 12, 2013

On Fox News Sunday, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who thinks that increasing unemployment benefits is the best way to grow the economy, insisted that we don’t have a spending problem, we merely have a “budget deficit problem.” In other words, the current spending level is just fine, but the federal government needs a lot more revenue. This is apparently the official Socialist Democrat position:

Pelosi’s motion was seconded by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) on NBC’s Meet the Press, where Durbin laughably explained that the sequester was “designed as a budget threat, not as a budget strategy” – and stated that the only approach to solving the budget problem was to raise taxes again.

President Obama himself agreed with that perspective in his weekly online address. The budget sequester he signed off on – the sequester proposal he insisted upon – is now the Republicans’ fault. Obama claims that if the sequester goes through, “firefighters and food inspectors” will bear the brunt of the cuts, as well as cancer research and people with disabilities. It’s the usual liberal demagogic approach to any problem: world to end tomorrow, minorities hit hardest.

Obama’s solution: tax increases. Again. “Congress should pass a similar set of balanced cuts and close more tax loopholes until they can find a way to replace the sequester with a smarter, longer-term solution,” said Obama.

Of course, Obama has been on this “not a spending problem” kick for months. He infamously informed House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) that there is no spending problem back during the fiscal cliff debate.

This morning on CNBC, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer joined the “no spending problem” chorus and, when pressed on the issue, yelled “Bush!”:

“Sir, does the country have a spending problem?” Caruso-Cabrera asked.

“Does the country have a – the country has a paying-for problem,” Hoyer replied. “We haven’t paid for what we’ve bought.”

“Are we promising too much?” Caruso-Cabrera pressed.

“Absolutely,” Hoyer agreed. “If we don’t pay, we shouldn’t buy.”

“How is that different from a spending problem?” She followed up.

“We spent a lot of money when George Bush was President of the United States,” Hoyer replied.

At a press briefing, Hoyer reinforced the “we need more revenue” message:

“It’s not a question of a spending problem. Nobody has a spending problem if they have the resources to pay for what they spend. No family, if they can afford what it buys, has a spending problem. The problem becomes when you spend, buy and don’t pay,” the Maryland Democrat told reporters at a pen-and-pad briefing Tuesday.

Deficits, on the other hand, “are destabilizing to the economy and dangerous for future generations and rob generations,” he added. “When they say we have a spending problem — we have a paying problem.”

Expect to hear the word “invest” on multiple occasions during tonight’s SOTU speech. That’s the President’s code for “spend more, not less.”

The Socialist Democrats aren’t satisfied with a federal budget that’s almost 25% of GDP. They’re shooting for 30%, 40%, … I suspect that to the Socialist Democrats, the lowest acceptable level of federal spending is always more than whatever the current level is.

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The Pelosi approach

Posted by Richard on March 31, 2011

John Gizzi of Human Events is one of the many people who've expressed concern over who the rebels we're backing in Libya are:

On March 1, British Prime Minister David Cameron said it would be a good idea to find out a little more about the Libyan opposition to Muammar Gaddafi before going any further with talk of any kind of military intervention.

Nearly a month later, with Cameron’s Britain one of several countries involved in Operation Odyssey Dawn, which has been key to the rebels' latest advance, we still know very little about those who seek to rule Libya after Gaddafi.

This could be a case of the age-old warning to be careful of what one wishes for.

Filling in for Rush Limbaugh today, "America's undocumented anchorman" Mark Steyn observed that the Obama administration seems to have adopted the Nancy Pelosi approach to liberation movements: we have to arm the rebels in order to find out who they are. [rimshot]

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Blue dogs face tough choice

Posted by Richard on August 14, 2009

With a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate and a 78-seat majority in the House, the Democratic leadership can theoretically pass anything it wants without a single Republican vote. So those of us who oppose government-controlled health care have been looking to the Blue Dog Democrats in the House, along with some other Democrats in vulnerable districts, to stop or slow the Obamacare juggernaut.

The Blue Dogs are supposedly fiscally responsible Democrats, many of whom were first elected in 2006 or 2008 by positioning themselves as center-right candidates. The health care issue would seem to be the perfect place for them to demonstrate their commitment to their campaign promises. But will they?

The Blue Dogs and other vulnerable Democrats are caught between a rock and a hard place. If they go against their party leadership, their lives will be made extremely miserable. But if they toe the party line on an increasingly unpopular measure that has ignited extreme passions, they're likely to be looking for work in a little over a year. 

Pelosi faces no such difficult choice, according to Robert Romano. She just needs to command the loyalty of the troops she's prepared to sacrifice: 

Nancy Pelosi does not care if the passage of ObamaCare costs her seats in the House come 2010. She has already done a head count. And she knows exactly how many Blue Dogs and other vulnerable Democrats in that chamber she can spare in 2010 to fully enact her and Barack Obama’s radical agenda to quickly implement a government takeover the health care system.

Call them the Blue Dog “Forlorn Hope Brigade.” The real Forlorn Hope Brigade was nicknamed after the French army pawns that would always be the first to charge into battle, with little to no hope of survival. They were in essence cannon fodder. But they were told to think of the glory. To know that their sacrifices were for a good cause.

And that’s the position Pelosi and Obama have put the Blue Dogs into. They are now the sacrificial lambs by which to enact an agenda that is almost alien to the American people. They gave the radicals in the Democrat Party the numbers they needed to achieve a majority in 2006.

And if 30 or so of them must now be sacrificed to achieve that end, then that’s just what Pelosi is going to do. They’re expendable.

So the question is: will the Democrats' Forlorn Hope Brigade obediently sacrifice themselves for a cause that by all rights they should oppose? The future of health care in America — maybe even the future of liberty — may depend on the answer. 

And the answer may depend on you, and me, and all our friends and neighbors. The emails, cards, and letters we write, the phone calls we make, the petitions we sign, the rallies and meetings we attend, and the responses we give to pollsters all help shape the mood of the country and affect the decisions of those Blue Dogs.

Let's do everything we can to help them make the right decision.

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Stop Cap-and-Tax

Posted by Richard on June 24, 2009

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats are trying to ram through the Waxman-Markey "Cap and Trade" bill this week. It seems that the more radical, expensive, and consequential a bill is, the less time the Democrats want to allow for consideration and debate. This godawful 1200-page monster that no one has read is projected to cost us $2 trillion in just the next eight years and almost $10 trillion by 2035. More accurately described as "Cap-and-Tax," it would be by far the largest tax increase in the history of the world.

It's debatable which is the more radical and dangerous — this so-called energy bill or the health care reform bill still being drafted. Robert E. Murray says it's Waxman-Markey:

Perhaps the most destructive legislation in our country's history will, as soon as this week, be voted on in the House of Representatives: the Waxman-Markey tax bill in the guise of addressing climate change.

It will have adverse and lingering consequences for every American. It will raise the cost of electricity in our homes, the fuel for our cars and the energy that produces our manufacturing jobs, with little or no environmental benefit.

All Americans in the Midwest, South and Rocky Mountain regions will be most drastically affected because the climate change legislation will destroy the nation's coal industry and the low-cost electricity it has provided to these regions for generations.

Wealth will be transferred away from almost every state to the West Coast and New England.

In other words, from the red states to the blue states. As the Church Lady would say, "How convenient."

The legislation discards coal and low-cost energy with it by setting an unattainable cap on carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, with the first reductions due by 2012.

Reliable estimates show that this bill will cost each American family at least $3,000 more in energy costs each year, notwithstanding the $2 trillion cost to the economy in just eight years. The chief executive of one of the nation's major utilities recently said it best in the Wall Street Journal:

"The 25 states that depend on coal for more than 50% of their electricity . . . will have to shut down and replace the majority of their fossil fuel plants as a result of the climate change legislation."

Supporters of the bill claim that won't happen because of carbon credits it gives to utilities and investments it makes in "carbon capture" technologies. Nonsense (emphasis added): 

But this technology will not be commercially available for at least 15 to 20 years, long after the reductions are required in 2012 and long after our coal plants are shut down and our manufacturing jobs are exported to China, India and other countries.

All these countries have stated that they will not place any restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions. China alone, which has surpassed the United States in carbon dioxide emissions, brings a new 500-megawatt coal-fired power plant on line every week. They will have low-cost electricity, and America will massively export more jobs to them.

Investor's Business Daily called it intense pain for no environmental gain, and said the immediate economic consequences would be disastrous: 

The bill would also cause an additional 1.1 million job losses each year, raise electricity rates 90% after adjusting for inflation, provoke a 74% hike in inflation-adjusted gasoline prices, and add $1,500 to the average family's annual energy bill, says Heritage.

The Congressional Budget Office says the poorest one-fifth of families could see annual energy costs rise $700 — while high-income families could see costs rise $2,200. Harvard economist Martin Feldstein estimates that the average person could pay an extra $1,500 per year for energy. And those are just direct energy costs.

The bill requires CO2 emissions to be cut 83% by 2050, reducing them to the 1908 level. If you're now cheering because you believe the dire predictions of global climatic catastrophe, guess what? It won't make a difference (emphasis added): 

Even worse, the draconian rules would have no detectable benefits, even assuming CO2 does cause climate change. Using global warming alarmists' own computer models, research climatologist Chip Knappenberger calculated that the painful 83% reductions would result in global temperatures rising a mere 0.1 degrees F less by 2050 than doing nothing. That's because Chinese and Indian emissions would quickly dwarf America's job-killing reductions.

Call and/or email your congresscritter today. Or send a letter via the National Taxpayers Union. Go to American Solutions and sign the petition. Contribute to the ad campaign if you can. Let's stop this misbegotten monstrosity.

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Lady sings the news

Posted by Richard on April 30, 2009

Over 900,000 people have watched Anne McKinney's marvelous YouTube video, "Ballad of Timothy Geithner." If you haven't seen it, here's your chance. Enjoy!

"They're writing laws on income tax, but not for me…"

 

Here's McKinney's latest (only 12,000 views so far), "That's Pelosi!"


[YouTube link]

I think I'm in love.

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Iraq news too good to report

Posted by Richard on June 3, 2008

American casualties in Iraq fell to a five-year low in May. Prime Minister al Maliki has united large portions of the population across all ethnic groups. The Iraqi army successfully pulled off al Maliki's bold plan to reclaim Basra from the Mahdi Army. And both al Qaeda and the Iranian-backed Shiite militias are on the run everywhere.

But there aren't many news stories about Iraq these days, and you'd be hard-pressed to find much information about these developments in the mainstream media. When the subject of the surge's success does come up, those invested in our defeat will say just about anything to explain it away. Case in point: Nancy Pelosi, in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, insisted that the positive developments in Iraq aren't due to the surge, but to Iran's "goodwill."

Bless their hearts, the editors of The Washington Post acknowledged the good news in a surprising (to me, at least) editorial Sunday (emphasis added):

THERE'S BEEN a relative lull in news coverage and debate about Iraq in recent weeks — which is odd, because May could turn out to have been one of the most important months of the war. [It's not odd to those of us who suspect there's an agenda behind the relentless coverage of bad news and ignoring of good.] While Washington's attention has been fixed elsewhere, military analysts have watched with astonishment as the Iraqi government and army have gained control for the first time of the port city of Basra and the sprawling Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, routing the Shiite militias that have ruled them for years and sending key militants scurrying to Iran. At the same time, Iraqi and U.S. forces have pushed forward with a long-promised offensive in Mosul, the last urban refuge of al-Qaeda. So many of its leaders have now been captured or killed that U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, renowned for his cautious assessments, said that the terrorists have "never been closer to defeat than they are now."

Iraq passed a turning point last fall when the U.S. counterinsurgency campaign launched in early 2007 produced a dramatic drop in violence and quelled the incipient sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites. Now, another tipping point may be near, one that sees the Iraqi government and army restoring order in almost all of the country, dispersing both rival militias and the Iranian-trained "special groups" that have used them as cover to wage war against Americans. It is — of course — too early to celebrate; though now in disarray, the Mahdi Army of Moqtada al-Sadr could still regroup, and Iran will almost certainly seek to stir up new violence before the U.S. and Iraqi elections this fall. Still, the rapidly improving conditions should allow U.S. commanders to make some welcome adjustments — and it ought to mandate an already-overdue rethinking by the "this-war-is-lost" caucus in Washington, including Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

Read the whole thing

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Democrats declare another failure

Posted by Richard on June 16, 2007

The other day, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi declared the Iraq "surge" a failure even before the troop buildup was complete. Harvey at IMAO came up with the perfect response — a classic IMAO parody entitled "America's Corn Crop a 'Failure', Top Democrats Tell Bush":

WASHINGTON (AP) – Top US congressional Democrats bluntly told President George W. Bush Wednesday that American farmers' spring planting "surge" policy was a failure.

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi challenged the president over this year's corn crop by sending him a letter, ahead of a White House meeting later on Wednesday.

"As many had forseen [sic], the springtime planting of seed corn has failed to produce the intended results," the two leaders wrote.

"The increase in seeds in the ground has yet to produce a single edible ear of corn so far this year.

"Far from fulfilling its promise of putting steaming, buttery ears on every table, this crazy planting scheme has done nothing so far but cost this country's farmers most of last year's profits, as well as causing them to spend all their time coddling these high-maintenance vegetables.

"Clearing the land, plowing, weeding, fertilizing, irrigating, spreading pesticides and herbicides – not to mention the over 1000 farmers that have lost their lives in unnecessary tractor deaths so far this year – when will the madness end?

"And what do we have to show for it? It's already mid-June and not a single plant has borne fruit. In fact, if these trends continue, it's safe to predict a nation-wide corn famine that will bring this country to its knees."

Read the whole thing, including comments. I especially liked "The field was happier before it was plowed!" 

On a more serious note: Reid and Pelosi aren't the only Democrats who have something to say about the situation in Iraq. Sen. Joe Lieberman actually went to Iraq to assess the situation in Iraq, and I strongly encourage you to read his analysis.

 

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Pelosi celebrates Flag Day

Posted by Richard on June 14, 2007

The buildup of 30,000 additional combat troops in Iraq known as the "surge" will be complete tomorrow, and the military said last week that "it could take up to two months for the newly arrived reinforcements to be fully effective." There are certainly signs of improvement, but it would be premature to declare the surge a success.

For the Democrats, however, it's never too early to declare it a failure, and that's just what Senator Reid and Representative Pelosi did yesterday. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that this is how Nancy Pelosi celebrated Flag Day today: 

Pelosi waves white flag

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We win, they lose

Posted by Richard on May 2, 2007

If you share my contempt and disgust for the Democrats' embrace of defeat, if you agree that the war is lost only if we retreat or surrender, if you think America's strategy for dealing with the global Islamofascist movement should be the same strategy that Ronald Reagan adopted toward the Communist bloc — "We win, they lose" — please sign the petition below.

But first, click here to email your friends and urge them to sign it, too.

(NOTE: If you don’t see the petition below, you have JavaScript turned off. Go to We Win, They Lose to sign.)

 

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Embracing defeat

Posted by Richard on April 20, 2007

Any day now, I expect Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Shadow Secretary of State) and Sen. Harry Reid (Shadow Secretary of Defense) to announce that they're heading for an undisclosed location in the Middle East to meet with representatives of Syria, Iran, al Qaeda in Iraq, and the Mahdi Army. Their purpose? To begin negotiating the terms of surrender for the United States.

I think Rob at Say Anything has their number:

So Harry thinks the war is lost.  Today anyway.  But just three days ago Reid was still talking about giving the troops a “strategy for success” and giving the troops “every penny” they need.

Which is it?  Are we going to try to be successful in Iraq or are we just going to give up and come home?

I think the answer for the Democrats is “neither.” They aren’t interested in trying to win the war in Iraq (as evidenced by Harry’s declaration of defeat above) nor are they interested in withdrawing gracefully. …

The Democrats want nothing less than a full-scale defeat and embarrassment for the President in Iraq, because that’s what will help them the most politically.  They want that, and they don’t care how many troops have to die to get it.

Burning Zeal and Judicious Asininity thought along the same lines about the undermining of morale, comparing Reid's declaration of defeat to Tokyo Rose and Lord Haw Haw, respectively.

Engram at Back Talk has a marvelous post entitled "When al Qaeda talks…" You really need to read the whole thing, but I can't resist quoting this gem:

I wish al Qaeda would directly attach puppet strings to Harry Reid so they could make him say these things without having to kill 200 innocent Iraqis every few weeks. It would be much more efficient that way.

You ought to read Jed Babbin's new column, too. For a lighter take, you can always count on ScrappleFace: "Reid Supports the Troops Who Lost the War"

But the best counterpoint to Reid's contemptible claim comes, naturally, from a Milblogger in Iraq, SSG Thul (I'm quoting almost the whole post because it's too good to excerpt; but click the link anyway, check out his blog, and maybe leave a note of thanks in the comments):

This is the creme de la creme of what the Appeal For Courage is all about. The leader of the majority party of the United States Senate has proclaimed to the world that the war in Iraq is lost. Done. Over. So what the heck are we still doing here then? Why isn't he making plans to fly us home tomorrow?

Oh yeah, that's right, because we haven't lost the war. In point of fact, we are winning the war, though you would never know it from what the media reports. Here in my room, I have a small TV that stays perpetually on the AFN news channel. CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, and Fox are all represented. Yet from none of these news sources have I heard even a peep about the fact that the Coalition yesterday announced the transfer of security responsibilities of the 4th Iraqi province to the Iraqi government. Instead we hear about the wave of bombings in Baghdad. Not one of the anchors that are interviewing the 'live from the Green Zone' reporters has apparently taken notice of the fact that the reporters are no longer wearing body armor.

So you might ask how we can be winning the war when all you see on TV news is reports of bombings and death squads and such. The answer is simple. All of those reports come out of Baghdad itself. There are no reporters out here in the provinces. In nearly 13 months, I have seen one reporter here at Al Asad, and that was a gentleman from 60 Minutes who has been following our brigade from training through deployment to Iraq.

The name of this blog comes from the oath I swore when I enlisted in the Army. I will support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. And though I don't consider Sen. Reid an enemy, he surely is not an ally. He is heading a group of politicians who are actively trying to undermine the war effort, and would prefer that we lose the war to further their own political ends. They want to set a timeline for military withdrawal to coincide with the 2008 elections. To further his political career, he is intentionally putting my soldiers and I more at risk.

According to Sen Reid's logic, we would have surrendered to the Germans in December of 1944. During the Battle of the Bulge, the German Army nearly broke the Allied front, and the US suffered one of the highest casualty counts for any battle of the war in Europe. Yet less than 6 months later, the war was over, with Germany surrendering unconditionally.

According to Sen Reid's logic, President Lincoln should have surrendered to the Confederacy in the spring of 1864. The battles of Cold Harbor and the Wilderness, on top of the costly victory at Gettysburg the summer before, were proportionally much worse than the recent suicide bombing campaign in Baghdad. Yet just a year after Cold Harbor, the Confederacy was a footnote in history.

I can only hope that the American people at home will trust the soldiers on the ground instead of the politicians trying to advance their careers. If we can hang on long enough to win the war, it will be a tough time to be a Democrat in America. Stabbing the troops in the back during a war will be hard to live down.

Bravo, Sergeant! Bless your noble heart, stay safe, and know that many here at home support you and your mission and have the utmost admiration for and confidence in our troops.

The Appeal for Courage that the Sergeant mentioned is something I blogged about last month. If you're active duty military, Reserve, or National Guard, please go there and sign up.

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The Wright precedent

Posted by Richard on April 18, 2007

At least one Democrat has already called on his party to dump Nancy Pelosi for its own good. Jerry Zeifman served as House Judiciary Committee counsel for 17 years and was its chief of staff during the Nixon impeachment. He thinks Pelosi is bad for the country and bad for his party (emphasis added):

On April 6, a Washington Post editorial aptly described Mrs. Pelosi's trip to Demascus as a "pratfall," which the dictionary defines as "a fall in which one lands on the buttocks, often regarded as comical or humiliating."

In my view that word was a discrete understatement. As a lifelong Democrat and former congressional chief counsel I regard her conduct as an unconstitutional abuse of power that warrants her removal by our Democratic caucus.

As I previously noted in my NewsMax article of April 7, she persistently fosters what Thomas Jefferson denounced as "tyranny by the majority," and violates House rules that give her the duty to maintain order, civility, and decorum, and to foster "comity" (a word rarely used these days, meaning "mutual respect").

Her trip to Damascus was more than a blunder. In denying President Bush's request as well purporting falsely to Speak for Israel it was a usurpation of presidential power.

As a result of her defiance of the president, Democrat Leon Panetta, the former chief of staff to President Clinton, cautioned in the April 2 New York Times that if the Democrats "go into total confrontation mode on other than [domestic issues] . . . that's a recipe for losing seats in the next election."

Zeifman remembered another failed Democratic Speaker of the House:

The prior history of Democratic Speaker Jim Wright is now being repeated by Nancy Pelosi.

After Wright became speaker, five South American presidents had agreed on a peace plan which the Reagan administration vigorously opposed. Anti-Sandinistas and contra hardliners became incensed when they learned that Speaker Wright had secretly sat in on a meeting between Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo the Catholic leader being asked to mediate the peace. Then House Minority Leader Newt Gingrich began filing numerous accusations in the Ethics Committee of malfeasance by Wright. In the end the House Democratic caucus determined that Wright had lost his effectiveness as speaker and compelled him to resign.

Zeifman may be right about Pelosi reprising the role of Wright. But who's going to play Gingrich's part?

Once again, the lack of real leadership among the Republican leadership is manifest. Decent Democrats like Zeifman have to step forward and take the stands that Republicans lack the courage, will, and sense of purpose to take. Pitiful.

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The enemy

Posted by Richard on April 15, 2007

Joseph Heller is best known for his marvelous novel, Catch-22, which was immensely popular with anti-war types in the 60s and 70s, and is undoubtedly still much-beloved by leftists, at least those of my generation. I recently encountered a great quote from Catch-22: "The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on."

This quote triggered an ironic thought: If Heller's point is valid, one can argue that Nancy Pelosi and her leftist anti-war friends are no longer the loyal opposition, they are now the enemy.

If you're inclined to agree, you might want to join the Center for Individual Freedom in urging the President and the Republican leadership to "get some back-bone" and strongly oppose Pelosi's pursuit of her "alternate" (Chamberlainesque) foreign policy.

Thinking about Catch-22 made me think of an anti-war slogan popular in the 1960s: "What if they gave a war and nobody came?" Today, we need to ask a slightly different question: What if they gave a war and only one side showed up?

The anti-war left is growing louder and completely dominates the Democratic Party. Many short-attention-span Americans are weary of Iraq in particular and the "War on Terror" in general (partly because it was unfortunately named and inadequately explained). Most of the Republican leadership either can't clearly articulate the danger we face and the need to fight, or they're afraid to for pragmatic reasons, or they've become discouraged and given up.

So here's where things stand: A ruthless and growing global Islamofascist movement is waging war against every culture, society, and religion different from itself, and it vows not to stop until all the world has been forced to submit to its 7th-century rule. Only the United States and a handful of allies have recognized the global nature of this conflict and the seriousness of the threat. Now, it seems that our will is failing, and more and more of us are ready to join the Europeans in pretending there is no threat, or believing that some accommodation with the enemy is possible, or insisting that it's all about a handful of fighters in the mountains of Afghanistan and nothing else.

What happens when one side in a war decides to stop fighting, but the other side continues?

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House passes gradual retreat bill

Posted by Richard on March 23, 2007

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership's Gradual Retreat Caucus prevailed today, passing their $124 billion military spending bill by a vote of 218-212. The bill establishes a timetable for withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq by September 2008. It was opposed by Republicans and initially by the Democrats' Immediate Surrender Caucus, which wanted to cut off all funding for the Iraq conflict, presumably supposing that the troops there now could hitch rides home.

The Bush administration wanted $100 billion in military spending authorization. The remaining $24 billion is for pork projects added by the Democratic leadership to buy the Immediate Surrender Caucus votes they needed for passage. Yes, these are the same Democrats who owe their 2006 election success largely to voters' disgust with out-of-control pork-barrel spending, influence peddling, vote buying, …

Someone ought to crunch the numbers and compare the average pork per district needed to enforce party discipline on the Democratic side of the aisle versus the Republicans side. My first thought was that the Democrats' votes can probably be bought more cheaply. But then it occurred to me that Democrats spend tax dollars somewhat more freely, so the pork price might be bid up more easily. Clearly, it's a complex dynamic at work. Maybe some academic can get a government grant to look into it.

 

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Bad news: Congress to work harder

Posted by Richard on January 5, 2007

The Democrats have promised that the new Congress will work much harder than the previous one. No more three-day weeks, no more lengthy recesses. They want to be in session far more days and do far more legislating. Naturally, that sends shivvers down my libertarian spine. If there’s one thing I liked about having the Republicans in charge (and often, there was only one thing), it was that they didn’t get much done. To me, "Do-nothing Congress" isn’t a pejorative, it’s high praise.

According to Andrew Roth at the Club for Growth blog, it’s not just me and a few cranky libertarians that feel that way — it’s investors in general. Roth looked at 2006, comparing a dollar invested in the S&P 500 only on days when Congress was in session versus a dollar invested only when Congress was out of session. At the end of the year, the return on the former was 2.25%, and the return on the latter was 11.56%. The spread was even greater for the NASDAQ Composite Index: if you were invested only when Congress was in session, you lost 5.70%, but if you were invested only when Congress was out of session, you gained 8.19% — almost a 14-point spread.

Roth’s observation isn’t new or unique. He pointed to a nice column from last August by Amy Shlaes. She talked about Peter Singer, who first noticed the "Congressional effect" in 1991 and has now created a hedge fund dedicated to making money from it. Singer has long-term empirical data to back up his thesis:

Choosing the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index as his measure, Singer reviewed 40 years of stock data and government calendars. At least one chamber is in session for more than half of the 250-odd trading days of the year. Yet the index made a greater share of its price gains when Congress was in recess — at least two to three times greater per day.

Economists Michael Ferguson and Douglas Witte reviewed even more data over longer periods, and found the Congressional effect in four different indexes. It was especially pronounced — even flabbergasting — for the Dow Jones Industrial Average:

Since 1897, the year after the Dow was created, an impressive 90 percent of the gains came on days when Congress was out. Their charts show that a dollar invested in 1897 with the strategy of going back to cash every time Congress met was worth $216 by 2000.

But an 1897 dollar invested on the reverse strategy was worth only $2 after a century. The big gap between performances began to show up after World War I, when it became clear that Washington would play a bigger role in the country.

For both philosophical reasons and down-to-earth, bread-and-butter economic reasons, I hope Pelosi’s and Hoyer’s promises of long hours and five-day work weeks turn out to be meaningless posturing, just like their promised "ethics reforms."
 

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Siding with Sheehan

Posted by Richard on January 5, 2007

Since shortly after the election, Cindy Sheehan and her radical anti-war far-left moonbat friends have made their demands clear to Nancy Pelosi and the leadership of the Democratic Party: the next Congress had better be all about hearings, investigations, and impeachment.

Yesterday at an aging feminists’ tea party, complete with Bella Abzug impersonators, Pelosi articulated (if you can call it that) her agenda:

PELOSI: This Congress is going to be about children. When I receive that gavel tomorrow, I will be receiving it on behalf of the children of America.

I became nauseous. I thought long and hard. And I reached a momentous decision: Given a choice between Nancy Pelosi’s agenda for Congress and Cindy Sheehan’s, I’ll take Sheehan’s.

Bring on the endless hearings, the parades of witnesses, the self-important oratory. Sounds like gridlock to me — far better than a bunch of legislation "for the children."
 

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