Patterico's Pontifications


Attacking Tea Partiers: Not Good for Republicans Generally

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:53 am

So you’re not persuaded by my arguments that Ted Cruz style truth-telling is a good thing and damn the consequences? OK, then here’s Instapundit on the possible political fallout from going after Tea Partiers:

MILT WOLF PHOTOS OF GUNSHOT VICTIMS’ X-RAYS: Scandal, or tempest in a teacup? I note that on twitter the NRSC is clearly hoping it’s enough to knock Wolf out of the race and save incumbent Pat Roberts.

UPDATE: Okay, by NRSC, I really mean the NRSC’s Brad Dayspring. I follow him, and I like his tweets. But he’s been hammering this all day and it’s a dreadful, dreadful mistake. I accept his claim that he’s just interested in making sure the seat goes GOP. But when the NRSC gets out and attacks a Tea Party challenger — and that, make no mistake, is what’s going on — it poisons the well. There’s basically no trust for the GOP establishment among the base. If they stay home in 2014 like they did in 2012 because they feel betrayed by the establishment, what should be a wave election won’t be. Given the importance, in particular, of a GOP Senate in the event of a Supreme Court vacancy, doing anything to foster such a state of events is criminal incompetence.

The blogger you’re reading used to be one of those people, like you still are, who worried about Republican electoral prospects. Now, the blogger you’re reading just wants people like Ted Cruz standing tall. But I might still vote for Republicans in particular races — might, I said — if I think they will promote the principles of limited government, the free market, putting people back to work, and reining in spending to minimize the immediate damage of the coming fiscal collapse.

My vote is no longer automatic. I used to describe myself as an independent who almost always votes Republican — which, let’s face it, is really a Republican. Now, I am an independent, period. I am no longer a Republican.

If the GOP attacks Tea Party candidates, that does not make me more excited about voting for a Republican party that I have already departed.

I am not alone, I guarantee you that. There are a lot more people like me, boys. Keep that in mind.

Michael Hiltzik on the Awful Intimidation by of the United Auto Workers

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:46 am

Michael Hiltzik:

Good for the United Auto Workers. The union has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board over the flagrant interference in its recent election at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant. The workers voted narrowly against affiliating with the UAW.

Whether the UAW complaint will result in the NLRB calling a new election, or whether another election would lead to a UAW victory, is impossible to gauge. Erik Loomis of the University of Rhode Island and the Lawyers, Guns & Money blog thinks both are long shots, but agrees that the NLRB complaint is the right thing to do.

The details in the UAW filing are damning. The Tennessee Republicans’ conduct was nothing sort of shameful. As some 1,500 VW workers were preparing to vote, Gov. Bill Haslam, an assortment of GOP state regulators and Sen. Bob Corker staged a “coordinated and widely-publicized campaign” to interfere with the union representation vote, which under the law must take place “free of coercion, intimidation, threats, and interference.”

As it turns out, there has been deception and intimidation in Chattanooga . . . but you won’t be too shocked to learn that it is the union doing the deceiving and intimidating:

Volkswagen (VW) workers are claiming that the United Auto Workers (UAW) union used “misleading tactics” in its push to unionize a plant in right-to-work Tennessee.

UAW regional director Gary Casteel said on Sept. 12 that a majority of 2,500 workers at VW’s Chattanooga, Tenn. plant signed cards endorsing union organization. Workers came out less than two weeks later alleging that UAW organizers misled employees about what they were signing, according to a complaint filed to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Turns out that the cards they were signing trumpeted the fact that VW was seeking to establish a German-style “works council” — an organization comprising representatives of management and labor. Buried in the fine print: oh, yeah, and also we get to be your union.

The card check scheme also left employees vulnerable to intimidation. The complaint said that employees who changed their minds over the course of 18 months could only rescind their signature by personally visiting union officials.

“Despite making it so easy to sign union ‘cards’ at the workplace, UAW union officials are now demanding workers to go to the union office to exercise their right to reclaim their cards,” National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation president Mark Mix said in a statement. “This case underscores how card check unionization schemes make it ‘easy to check in, but impossible to check out.’”

Rep. Phil Roe (R., Tenn.) said that UAW’s tactics in his backyard highlight the need for the Secret Ballot Protection Act, legislation that he proposed over the summer to guarantee workers secret elections.

“Without secret ballots, workers are susceptible to intimidation, harassment, pressure and potentially threats to vote in a certain way,” Roe said in a statement. “Card check causes a high pressure and one-sided sales pitch.”

So, politicians fight to keep workers from being intimidated, and in the process get accused of intimidation. But UAW would never intimidate. No, sir. There’s no history of that at all.

If there’s one thing I know about the UAW, it’s that they always try to handle their business without any coercion, intimidation, or threats.

UAW, 1997, General Motors:

SPRING HILL, Tenn. March 7 — In a major embarrassment to United Auto Workers (UAW) union brass, Right to Work attorneys today announced their success in garnering an unfair labor practice complaint from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the UAW union after organized labor officials used illegal threats in an attempt to coerce and intimidate General Motors workers at the Saturn plant.

The labor board complaint, which names both the UAW International Union and Local 1853, results from a charge, filed by attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation on behalf of a class of Saturn workers who are victims of an ongoing smear and intimidation campaign launched by
Local 1853 officials
. For targeting workers who dared to dissent, UAW officials will face a trial before a federal labor judge on July 2.

1954, UAW, Kohler strike:

Six years of sporadic violence ensued between strikers and strike breakers. In time, the company would charge opponents with more than a thousand acts of vandalism. At one point, more than 300 people were arrested. Calls for a national boycott of Kohler products were vociferous and sometimes effective. Strikers were able to continue their often violent activities because of some $12 million provided by the UAW.

UAW, 2012, Nissan:

What does UAW bullying look like? In 2011, Mr. King threatened that he would label automakers that resisted his card check scheme as human rights violators. Thus, plants who attempt to protect the privacy of their workers through secret ballots face unwarranted attacks on their reputations for disregarding UAW’s Principles for Fair Union Elections.

When the bullies dishonestly whine about being bullied, it needs to be pointed out. Thanks to Dana for pointing this out and doing the research to do so.


Piers Morgan Gets the Axe

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:54 pm

Politico is reporting:

CNN President Jeff Zucker has decided to bring an end to Piers Morgan’s low-rated primetime show, network sources told POLITICO on Sunday. “Piers Morgan Live” could end as early as next month, though Morgan may stay with the network in another role.

Morgan, a former British tabloid editor, replaced Larry King in the 9 p.m. hour three years ago, prior to Zucker’s tenure as president. His show earned consistently low ratings, registering as few as 50,000 viewers in the 25-to-54 year-old demographic earlier this week.

Where will I go to get my fix of insufferable smugness with a British accent?

Video of Ted Cruz Making Insane Statement: We Should Actually Do What We Tell Voters We Will Do

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:10 am

This crazy guy actually thinks elected representatives should do what they told their constituents they were going to do:

I think last week actually is a perfect illustration of everything that’s wrong with Washington. What Republican leadership said is: “We want this to pass.” But if every Republican senator affirmatively consents to doing it on 51 votes, then we can all cast a vote “no” and we can go home to our constituents and say: “We opposed it.” And, listen, that sort of show vote, that sort of trickery to the constituents is why Congress has a 13 percent approval rating. In my view, we need to be honest with our constituents, and last week, what it was all about was truth and transparency. I think all 45 Republicans should have stood together and said: “Of course not!”

. . . .

What I said at the outset was: I am not going to affirmatively consent to giving Harry Reid the authority to do this, because it’s irresponsible. It is selling our nation’s future down the road. And, you know, you go back to those Senate lunches. I won’t identify anything, but I’ll tell you, several people raised a question just like you did there. “Why are you trying to throw five Republicans under the bus and make them vote for raising the debt ceiling?” And I’ll tell you my response. My response is: “I don’t want to throw any Republicans under the bus.” I would like to see all 45 Republicans stand together and actually do what we tell our constituents. I mean, the funny thing is, what I told the voters of Texas, I guarantee you all 45 of those Republican senators tell the voters of their states the same thing, which is: they’re going to lead the fight to stop the spending, to stop the debt. And if 45 Republicans had stood together, nobody gets thrown under the bus. We actually just stand together and say: “What we say at home when we campaign, we actually mean.” The result would have been Harry Reid would have been stopped from raising the debt ceiling and we would have used it as leverage, as we’ve done over and over and over again, to force meaningful spending reform.

Excuse me for a few moments while I give this a standing ovation.

. . . .

. . . .

. . . .

Beautiful. Brutal honesty. It’s not an attack on Republicans; it’s an attack on dishonesty and trickery. If Republicans happen to come within the line of fire, well, they have the ability to step out of it. Put simply: if Republicans don’t want to be derided as charlatans, perhaps they should stop acting like charlatans.

People keep asking me (and are asking Cruz, more importantly): what’s the plan? Well, guess what? There is no plan that will save us from financial disaster. The writing is on the wall. This crash is going to happen. It’s going to happen regardless of any “plan” that Republicans come up with. We’re past the point of no return. The economy is going to come crashing down and in my judgment there is absolutely nothing anyone can do to stop it. And even if there were, any such solution would be politically impossible.

The only possible optimism these days lies not in plans to avoid the crash, but in planning for the aftermath. I have started to read Rollback: Repealing Big Government Before the Coming Fiscal Collapse. This book was written by super-duper libertarian Tom Woods, who argues that the crash we are facing is a good thing. This is probably worth a separate post, so I will just give you the thumbnail in this paragraph. Woods agrees that the economy is certain to crash, and that nobody who takes a sober look at the numbers can deny it. His argument is that when the federal government crashes and burns, it can be replaced with a smaller government more in line with what the Founders intended. There will be pain in the interim, but the outcome will be good in the long run. I am skeptical, but I am going to read the book because I would like to be optimistic. I’ll let you know more after I’m done.

But a plan to avoid all this? No such plan exists.

So, if the crash is inevitable, let’s try telling the truth, in the most straightforward fashion possible. Let’s take a stand, regardless of the risks. Will it work out politically? Almost certainly not! The American public has been told they can have low taxes, endless government handouts, and ever-increasing debt — and if you try to tell them anything different, they will run you out of town on a rail. So what are we supposed to do, then? Meekly accept the political realities? Tinker gently with the newly created apparatus of federal oppression? Fashion positions that are two degrees to the right of anything Obama and Harry Reid tell the country is an acceptable way of thinking?

I say no. Tell the truth. That’s what Ted Cruz is doing. It’s remarkable that Washington D.C. actually has a Republican willing to tell these truths, and able to do it so well. As long as Cruz keeps doing this, he has my unwavering support.

Susan Rice: I Have No Regrets Over Benghazi Statements

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:19 am

Of course not:

National Security Adviser Susan Rice said Sunday that she has no regrets about comments she made in 2012 about the Benghazi attacks that killed two U.S. diplomats, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens.

Rice, who was then the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said during numerous talk-show interviews after the incidents that an inflammatory anti-Muslim video appeared to have sparked the violence.

Speaking on “Meet the Press,” Rice acknowledged her statements turned out “not to be 100 percent correct,” but she said the mistake was not intentional and that the Obama administration did not try to mislead the American people.

She said that her Benghazi comments had not been a planned attempt to mislead, but a “spontaneous reaction” to a video of Mitt Romney criticizing the president. She closed by saying that if you like your doctor, you really can keep him — as people will soon see, now that Obama is ending the “era of austerity” that has dogged his presidency. (This entire paragraph is made up, but it could be real and nobody would blink.)

Everybody knows that she lied, and is lying about whether she lied. I think everyone knows the proof, but if you have forgotten, I laid it out at this link.

If you want to see video of David Gregory laying into Rice and dismantling her denial with a point-by-point rebuttal, crushing her arguments with a simple recitation of undeniable facts, you may view that video here.


Sowell on Cruz, Part III: Forget the Alamo!!!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:45 pm

Thomas Sowell has a new column in National Review Online that essentially serves as the third entry in his trilogy about the terrible threat that Ted Cruz’s integrity poses to the establishment Republican Party. I covered Parts One and Two in previous posts (my response to Part One and my response to Part Two).

In Part One, Sowell furnished readers with a rambling and nonspecific criticism of Cruz, which ended with a whispered acknowledgement that, well, OK, establishment Republicans seem to lack principles nowadays. In Part Two, Sowell criticized Cruz for jeopardizing Republicans’ electoral prospects, but then (schizophrenically) Sowell chronicled why Republicans don’t deserve to be elected. In my post in response, I expressed hope that Sowell was starting to see the light.

I was wrong. Sowell’s latest piece doubles down against Cruz, arguing that one does not fight unwinnable battles in a war:

In a war, you do not fight battles that you are certain to lose, if only because you will need your troops to fight later in battles you can win. The British troops who escaped from Dunkirk came back to France four years later, as part of the massive invasion forces that stormed the beaches at Normandy, liberated France, and pushed on into Germany for the final defeat of the Nazi regime.

In politics, as in war, you need power to win, and you don’t dissipate your forces fighting battles that you are sure to lose. Symbolism and emotional self-indulgence are just not worth it.

I have three words for Thomas Sowell:


Screen Shot 2014-02-22 at 12.41.36 PM
Above: Thomas Sowell has forgotten

Tomorrow marks the 178th anniversary of the beginning of the siege of the Alamo. Every Texas schoolchild knows the apocryphal story wherein William Travis drew a line in the dirt and gave his men a choice: turn tail and run, or step across the line to indicate a willingness to stay and fight. The story goes that Jim Bowie (of “Bowie knife” fame) was sick in a cot, and asked other men to carry his cot across the line, to show he was ready to do battle.

Whether that particular story is true or not, the fact remains that Bowie, Travis, Davy Crockett, and almost 180 other brave souls fought to the death at the Alamo, killing 400-600 of Santa Anna’s soldiers in the process. The battle was “lost” — but it was the turning point in the war. Santa Anna thought that the massacre would keep Texans from fighting back, but it had the opposite effect. Men joined Sam Houston’s army in droves. At the decisive battle, the Battle of San Jacinto, Texan soldiers, were heard to cry: “Remember the Alamo!”

Thomas Sowell has forgotten what so many Texans remember, and will never forget.

It seems fitting that many of the folks on this site who intuitively understand how Sowell is getting this wrong are Texans. (The rest of you can be honorary Texans!) Indeed, it is especially fitting that the primary target of Sowell’s broadside is the junior Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz.

Even battles that end in victory sometimes look daunting before the fighting is joined. I had the privilege of visiting the D-Day beaches last summer, and I can tell you this: anyone who thought the Allies knew this plan was certain to succeed simply does not know the history. A previous attempt to invade the continent had ended in disaster, and poor weather could easily have turned the second attempt into a similar slaughter and Nazi victory.

The men who stormed the beaches at Normandy did not know that they would live, and they did not know that their side would prevail. They knew only one thing: this battle was necessary. And so, they fought it.

We’re at a turning point in this country. It is painfully obvious that we can’t continue on the present course, or anything like it, without facing certain financial disaster. Careful tinkering, fretting about polling, and handwringing concern about how voters will react to the slightest show of courage — that is the way of the estalishment Republicans, and it will not get the job done. We need men who are willing to fight to save this country, even if it means risk to themselves.

Ted Cruz is drawing a line in the dirt. I am stepping over it. Thomas Sowell is staying put. Whose side will you be on?


Great News Comrades! WaPo Says Obama Seeks An End to Our Long National Nightmare of . . . Austerity

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:48 am

Austerity?? Yes, “austerity”:

With 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to era of austerity

President Obama’s forthcoming budget request will seek tens of billions of dollars in fresh spending for domestic priorities while abandoning a compromise proposal to tame the national debt in part by trimming Social Security benefits.

With the 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to the era of austerity that has dogged much of his presidency and to his efforts to find common ground with Republicans. Instead, the president will focus on pumping new cash into job training, early-childhood education and other programs aimed at bolstering the middle class, providing Democrats with a policy blueprint heading into the midterm election

This is why we love Big Media. They just report any lie as if it were true.

Another Problem with ObamaCare in California: People Can’t See a Doctor

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 am

I recently debunked the idea that California is doing great on health care insurance. Not so, despite announcements that an enrollment target had supposedly been met. Here’s another issue: just because you’re enrolled doesn’t mean you get to see a doctor.

One viewer said she did months of research before picking the plan that Blue Cross recommended. But it’s still been a nightmare.

Katherine Cadman says her emails and calls aren’t getting anywhere. She says she signed up for an Anthem Blue Cross Plan, but doctors keep refusing to see her.

“It’s just not right,” she said. “It does make you feel like you’re a second-class citizen.”

See, doctors don’t like the reimbursement rates, so many refuse to see ObamaCare patients (just like they refused to see Medicare patients). The government has not forced doctors to see these patients.


Ed Morrissey says:

The laws of supply and demand, and cost and pricing, do not get wished away or legislated out of existence.



Thomas Sowell Gets It Wrong on Cruz, Part II: Is He Starting to Come Around?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:33 am

The peerless Thomas Sowell is better at articulating principles of economics and freedom than he is at analyzing politics, and I probably share that failure with him. I’m about to criticize him again, but my intent is not to dump on this great man . . . and I hope I am starting to notice hints that Sowell “gets it,” at least in part.

Sowell’s latest column starts weak and ends strong, but the strong part undermines the arguments of the weak part so badly that the reader is left asking: so, aren’t you wrong after all, then? The overall impression is one of a column written by a bipolar person, who swings from one pole to the other during the course of writing the piece.

Sowell begins the column by attacking Cruz, putting some predictable meat on the bone of his complaints that crazy Ted Cruz is undermining the electoral prospects of Republicans. Cruz’s sins? 1) Filibustering against ObamaCare and 2) insisting that Republicans attach their names to a vote to continue the suspension of the debt ceiling:

Senator Cruz’s filibuster last year got the Republicans blamed for shutting down the government — and his threatened filibuster this year forced several Republican Senators to jeopardize their own reelection prospects by voting to impose cloture, to prevent Cruz from repeating his self-serving grandstand play of last year.

Basically, Sowell is saying that Cruz done wrong by 1) taking a stand against ObamaCare at some political risk to himself and Republicans, and 2) insisting that Republicans be accountable for their votes on the issue of whether to rein in our insane debt. Those things sound good to me, but Sowell has a reason (if a poor one, in my opinion) for complaining about them: we are putting at risk the re-election of Republicans to the Senate and White House.

But then, Sowell spends the second half of his column explaining why these Republicans don’t really deserve to be re-elected. He doesn’t put it in these terms, of course, but the attack on the GOP establishment is fairly pointed. It starts off with Sowell’s criticism of Republicans’ unwillingness to articulate their principles:

One of their most maddening qualities has for decades been their can’t-be-bothered attitude when it comes to explaining their positions to the American people in language people can understand. A classic example was Speaker of the House John Boehner’s performance when he emerged from a meeting at the White House a while back. There, with masses of television news cameras pointed at him, and a bank of microphones crowded together, he simply expressed his disgust at the Obama administration, turned and walked on away.

Here was a golden opportunity to cut through the Obama administration rhetoric and set the record straight on the issues at hand. But apparently Speaker Boehner couldn’t be bothered to have a prepared, and previously thought out, statement to present, conveying something more than his disgust.

Indeed. The opposite of walking away from the podium and failing to make an argument, by the way, is to stand up and make your argument in a very public way, designed to grip the public’s attention. Something like, oh, say . . . a filibuster. (Or, if you can’t achieve that, a staged quasi-filibuster that resembles the real thing closely enough for government work.) Something like what Ted Cruz did, Dr. Sowell, that you are blaming him for.

At the very end, almost as an afterthought, Sowell says that maybe the problem isn’t just messaging, but a lack of principle:

The Republican establishment has more than a tactical deficiency, however. They seem to have no principle that they offer or follow with any consistency. Their lack of articulation may be just a reflection of that lack of principle. It is hard to get to the point when you have no point to get to.

Ted Cruz filled a void. But the Republican establishment created the void.

Well, yeah. Isn’t that kind of the point?

Here’s the thing. Sowell’s strategy is to get us in control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency, so we can pass a repeal of ObamaCare. But this is not going to be easy. Millions of Americans are being given subsidies as part of the ObamaCare travesty. Electing enough Republicans to control Congress and the White House is necessary to repeal ObamaCare, but it is not sufficient. We also need those Republicans to have spines. As I pointed out in my last post criticizing Sowell, we did not reform entitlement programs during the period when we controlled these two branches of government last decade. Why would it be different now??

If we have a GOP establishment that is too scared to stand up and make a speech about ObamaCare; if we have a GOP establishment that is too scared to either impose the debt ceiling or say why we shouldn’t . . . then we have a GOP establishment that is going to be too scared to repeal a program that gives Americans huge handouts.

I have been right there with Sowell in the past arguing that we have to face some practical realities to get Republicans elected. But my attitude has changed as I watched the re-election of this President, the implementation of this disastrous program, and the constant stream of lies, unconstitutional power-grabs, and thuggery against enemies that we have seen from this administration. At this point, Christine O’Donnell could fly into Washington D.C. on a broomstick and I would cheer her on as long as she voted reliably for my policies.

I’m surprised and a disheartened that Sowell is unwilling to champion Ted Cruz, one of the few people in politics who seems to be standing up for the principles Sowell has spent his professional life arguing for, simply because there might be some short-term political risk inherent in Cruz’s actions. Making a stand despite the politics is what we want in a leader. Holding politicians accountable for their votes is what we want in a leader. Standing up to Barack Obama’s oppressive policies is what we want in a leader.

I hope there is a “Cruz Control Part III” that expands on the end of Sowell’s column — the GOP establishment’s lack of principle — and comes around to the notion that we need people like Ted Cruz.


Perennially Dishonest L.A. Times Writer Michael Hiltzik: The CBO Report Saying 500,000 People Will Lose Jobs From an Increase in the Minimum Wage Is a Slam Dunk for Increasing the Minimum Wage

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:25 pm

Typical dishonesty from a dishonest writer. Here’s Hiltzik:

Here are the main points. See if you can guess which one has gotten the most headline play in the news.
1. Wages would rise for 16.5 million workers.
2. Income for families living below the poverty line would rise by a combined $5 billion, and by $12 billion for those earning less than three times the poverty level.
3. About 900,000 people would be moved out of poverty.
4. The raise would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers.

Those are the main points? How about I quote, in its entirety, the summary at the head of the report:

Increasing the minimum wage would have two principal effects on low-wage workers. Most of them would receive higher pay that would increase their family’s income, and some of those families would see their income rise above the federal poverty threshold. But some jobs for low-wage workers would probably be eliminated, the income of most workers who became jobless would fall substantially, and the share of low-wage workers who were employed would probably fall slightly.

The way Hiltzik explains it, there is only one “main point” that is negative — yet the full summary I just quoted notes not only that half a million people would likely be out of work, but that (duh) their incomes would “fall substantially” and that the general effect on employment for low-wage workers would be bad.

The report also notes near the top:

Moreover, the increased earnings for some workers would be accompanied by reductions in real (inflation-adjusted) income for the people who became jobless because of the minimum-wage increase, for business owners, and for consumers facing higher prices.

Funny, I don’t see higher prices for consumers among Hiltzik’s “main points.” Nor do I see lower income for business owners among Hiltzik’ “main points.”

And while Hiltzik is happy to tell us about the $5 billion increase in income for those in so-called “poverty” and the $12 billion increase in income for some relatively less well-off people, the report actually lists three different effects on income in one place, and four in another. Hiltzik gives us the two rosiest income effects, but fails to mention this one:

Real income would decrease, on net, by $17 billion for families whose income would otherwise have been six times the poverty threshold or more, lowering their average family income by 0.4 percent.

Funny how increases in income for some are among the reports “main points” — but decreases in income for others are . . . not.

After a while, it starts to look like Hiltzik’s “main points” have been cherry picked by a reporter with a history of dishonesty and sneakiness, who wants to sell readers his partisan and slanted view of the report’s findings.


Thanks to Dana.

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