Saturday, 14 May 2011

Rants

Mitch’s Black Thursday

•UPDATED•

On Thursday, the Indiana Supreme Court repealed the 4th Amendment:
Overturning a common law dating back to the English Magna Carta of 1215, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Hoosiers have no right to resist unlawful police entry into their homes.

In a 3-2 decision, Justice Steven David writing for the court said if a police officer wants to enter a home for any reason or no reason at all, a homeowner cannot do anything to block the officer’s entry.

"We believe … a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence,” David said.
More about this abomination anon (after my blood pressure drops), but a note on the (national) political implications.  There are some, because Judge David is a Mitch Daniels appointee.  And if Mitch tries to duck the consequences of this, he’s dead as a presidential candidate.  Because the buck stops at his desk:

If he didn’t know about the guy, black marks for him and his staff. It’s pure incompetence, and Republicans don’t need incompetence in 2012.

If he DID know, but appointed David anyway, then he’s just demonstrated that he’s at best another get-along-go-along Republican of the McCain stripe, and at worst a closet progressive.[1]  We don’t need that in 2012, either.

There are excuses on offer, but I don’t buy them: Yes, being governor means having lots to do.  But we’re not talking about traffic court here; if Daniels wasn’t paying attention he should have been.  And if David was the "best of a bad lot” (that the nominating commmission came up with), then Daniels has demonstrated zero political skill: I refuse to buy the story that a sitting governor is unable to exercise input (formal or informal) in the nominating process.

And the actual circumstances may be worse.  The excuses presume good will, but once you examine the history, it appears that Daniels was, at best, indifferent to the flaws in the nominating process and the red flags among David’s credentials.

So, if Mitch is serious about the presidency, he should call a press conference Monday morning and announce four things:
  1. That he– personally– finds the court’s decision abhorrent and contrary to American values.
  2. That he cannot support any judge so out-of-touch with the American liberties that he would even consider such a decision, and, specifically, that he wants all hoosiers to vote against the retention of Judge David in the 2012 election.
  3. That he will IMMEDIATELY call a special session of the legislature "for the purpose of drafting a state constitutional amendment overturning this decision and affirming 4th Amendment protections within the state of Indiana.”
  4. and that he will encourage and support legislative efforts to impeach ALL THREE judges who voted in the majority.
It has to happen Monday, and it has to be all four.  Anything less is not enough.

But will he do it?  I doubt it.  And thus the end of the abortive Daniels run.


(Expanded from a comment posted at Daily Pundit.)
------
[1] UPDATE (110516 15:35)He’s toast.

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Sunday, 03 April 2011

Rants

“You don’t want to make me come over there!”


Glenn Reynolds quotes Claire Berlinski, on the “Koran burning” murders in Afghanistan:

The premise is that the killers had no moral agency–in other words, that they were, literally, animals.
...and extends the premise:
If there’s no moral agency, then I guess the folks who argued for a return to colonialism after 9/11 were right.  If Muslims aren’t capable of self-control or moral responsibility, then they must be ruled with a firm hand by those who are.
But colonialism requires the cultural confidence that your own society is (overall, by and large) better than the others on offer, the belief that changing other peoples’ lives for the better (by force if necessary) is right and good, and the perseverence to see things through over the long term.  Now, does anyone seriously belive that America’s political class has the beliefs, the guts, and the stamina to engage in such a project?  Certainly our “progressive” community, with its multi-culti-inspired guilt and its hatred for its own country, would be whining all the way, while working both overtly and covertly to sabotage any such project.

But the tiger is still out there.  The threat remains.  Merely exercising our freedoms provokes its violent reactions.  We can’t ignore it, it refuses to “live-and-let-live” with us, accommodation threatens our culture (and our safety) and we have no will to “rule with a firm hand.”  So what do we do?  Cheerfully wait to be eaten?

There remains a less-mentioned alternative.  Ace:
We recognize that the proper response to savagery and terror is savagery and terror, and we drop our illusions about being able to effect a good solution to this problem, and we begin revising our policy about bombing population centers.  And we define a major terrorist attack as being a nuclear-level attack, inviting a nuclear response.
Bill Quick
...Recall what eventually happened, when the British finally decided to confront the Mahdists with the full force of their military power:
...
Sudan:  30,000 dead, wounded or captured.
Britain:  700+ British, Egyptian and Sudanese dead, wounded or captured.
Of course, it took the Brits 13 years to get around to doing this, and that was back when they had both balls and an empire.
It’s not an attractive alternative.  Americans like to think we’re good people, and “good” people don’t go around killing others.  Yet every incident, every atrocity, every outrage makes this less-mentioned alternative more thinkable.  And what was thought outrageous will become more and more mainstream.

Personally, I don’t give a damn about the “Muslim world.”  (Perhaps I should, although perhaps if I did I would have to do something about it, and that way lies colonialism.)  But I’m not ready to exchange my liberties and culture for peace and quiet from Islam.  And increasingly, the whole “Muslim project” is looking like a lousy deal. Along with “Stable Hand,” I’m asking:
Does winning the hearts of minds of Muslims in the ME mean we have to give up our 1st Amendment rights?  Does winning the hearts and minds of Muslims mean our female soldiers have to wear the hijab instead of their helmets?
and conclude
It doesn’t matter what we do.. it will never be enough until other Muslims stand up against radical Muslims who wish to harm them and us.
Which will happen...?

Meanwhile, it’s midnight. I’m tired, and just want some peace and quiet.  But the neighbors next door keep making a racket and won’t go to sleep.  (Except these neighbors are busy arming themselves with nuclear weapons, and will kill me as soon as they think they can get away with it.  And all the cops are on strike.)

“You don’t want to make me come over there!”


Elsewhere:
Hot Air:  Afghan Mob kills at least 12 UN workers in protest over Terry Jones’s Koran-burning
In other words, faced with a choice between pleasing local fundamentalists by publicizing a provocation they were trying to demagogue and alienating the fundies by ignoring it in order to avert a violent backlash, our “allies” decided to cover their own asses by stirring the pot.
Jim Treacher:  The President of the United States bombs a Muslim country, and some nobody in Florida burns a Koran. Guess which one’s to blame for rioting in Afghanistan?
Daily Pundit:  Simple Truth

Related:
-----
Note (110404 18:12):  I made a slight adjustment to the rhetoric in the “colonialsim” paragraph, after Mark Steyn provided exactly the mots justes I’d been searching for.

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Monday, 07 March 2011

Rants

Hell yes, next time I’ll be taking the train!


Amtrak police chief bars Transportation Security Administration from some security operations

By Don Phillips

WASHINGTON — In late February, the Transportation Security Administration took over the Amtrak station in Savannah, Ga., and thoroughly searched every person who entered.  None of the passengers got into trouble, but the TSA certainly did — big time.

Amtrak Police Chief John O’Connor said he first thought a blog posting about the incident was a joke.  When he discovered that the TSA’s VIPR team did at least some of what the blog said, ...[h]e ordered the VIPR teams off Amtrak property, at least until a firm agreement can be drawn up to prevent the TSA from taking actions that the chief said were illegal and clearly contrary to Amtrak policy.
...
O’Connor said the TSA VIPR teams have no right to do more than what Amtrak police do occasionally, which has produced few if any protests and which O’Connor said is clearly within the law and the Constitution.  More than a thousand times, Amtrak teams (sometimes including VIPR) have performed security screenings at Amtrak stations.  These screenings are only occasional and random, and inspect the bags of only about one in 10 passengers.  There is no wanding of passengers and no sterile area. O’Connor said the TSA violated every one of these rules.

A posting in late February to the Transportation Security Administration’s blog... tried to explain why TSA agents took over the Amtrak station in Savannah.  But O’Connor said the “facts” as posted on the TSA blog were incorrect.  He said the blog indicated that Amtrak had approved of the operation, but it had not.  He called the TSA’s posting on blog.tsa.gov “inaccurate and insensitive.”...
Bravo, Chief O’Connor!


(HT:   AoS Top Headlines)

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Saturday, 19 February 2011

Rants

92 reasons for *NOT* donating to the National Republican Congressional Committee


And here they are:
Adams, Sandy, Florida, 24th
Aderholt, Robert, Alabama, 4th
Alexander, Rodney, Louisiana, 5th
Barletta, Lou, Pennsylvania, 11th
Bass, Charles, New Hampshire, 2nd
Berg, Rick, North Dakota, At-Large
Biggert, Judy, Illinois, 13th
Bilbray, Brian P., California, 50th
Bonner, Jo, Alabama, 1stChairman, Standards and Ethics
Calvert, Ken, California, 44th
Camp, Dave, Michigan, 4thChairman, Ways and Means
Cantor, Eric, Virginia, 7th Majority Leader
Capito, Shelley Moore, West Virginia, 2nd
Carter, John, Texas, 31st
Cassidy, William "Bill", Louisiana, 6th
Cole, Tom, Oklahoma, 4th
Cravaack, Chip, Minnesota, 8th
Crawford, Rick, Arkansas, 1st
Crenshaw, Ander, Florida, 4th
Culberson, John, Texas, 7th
Denham, Jeff, California, 19th
Dent, Charles W., Pennsylvania, 15th
Diaz-Balart, Mario, Florida, 21st
Dold, Robert, Illinois, 10th
Dreier, David, California, 26th Chairman, House Rules
Duffy, Sean P., Wisconsin, 7th
Emerson, Jo Ann, Missouri, 8th
Fortenberry, Jeff, Nebraska, 1st
Frelinghuysen, Rodney, New Jersey, 11th
Gibson, Chris, New York, 20th
Gingrey, Phil, Georgia, 11th
Granger, Kay, Texas, 12th
Grimm, Michael, New York, 13th
Hanna, Richard, New York, 24th
Harper, Gregg, Mississippi, 3rd
Hastings, Doc, Washington, 4th Chairman, Natural Resources
Heck, Joe, Nevada, 3rd
Herrera Beutler, Jaime, Washington, 3rd
Issa, Darrell, California, 49thChairman, Oversight & Government Reform
Johnson, Timothy V., Illinois, 15th
Jones, Walter B., North Carolina, 3rd
King, Pete, New York, 3rdChairman, Homeland Security
Kingston, Jack, Georgia, 1st
Kinzinger, Adam, Illinois, 11th
Kline, John, Minnesota, 2ndChairman, Education and the Workforce
Lance, Leonard, New Jersey, 7th
Latham, Tom, Iowa, 4th
Lewis, Jerry, California, 41st
LoBiondo, Frank, New Jersey, 2nd
Lucas, Frank, Oklahoma, 3rd Chairman, Agriculture
Lungren, Daniel E., California, 3rdChairman, House Administration
McCarthy, Kevin, California, 22nd Majority Whip
McKeon, Buck, California, 25thChairman, Armed Services
McKinley, David, West Virginia, 1st
Meehan, Pat, Pennsylvania, 7th
Miller, Candice, Michigan, 10th
Noem, Kristi, South Dakota, At-Large
Nunes, Devin, California, 21st
Nunnelee, Alan, Mississippi, 1st
Olson, Pete, Texas, 22nd
Palazzo, Steven, Mississippi, 4th
Paulsen, Erik, Minnesota, 3rd
Petri, Thomas, Wisconsin, 6th
Posey, Bill, Florida, 15th
Reichert, David G., Washington, 8th
Rivera, David, Florida, 25th
Roby, Martha, Alabama, 2nd
Rogers, Mike, Alabama, 3rd
Rogers, Harold, Kentucky, 5th • Chairman, Appropriations
Rooney, Tom, Florida, 16th
Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana, Florida, 18thChairman, Foreign Affairs
Roskam, Peter J., Illinois, 6th
Runyan, Jon, New Jersey, 3rd
Schilling, Bobby, Illinois, 17th
Schock, Aaron, Illinois, 18th
Sensenbrenner, F. James, Wisconsin, 5th
Shuster, Bill, Pennsylvania, 9th
Simpson, Mike, Idaho, 2nd
Smith, Chris, New Jersey, 4th
Stivers, Steve, Ohio, 15th
Sullivan, John, Oklahoma, 1st
Terry, Lee, Nebraska, 2nd
Thompson, Glenn W., Pennsylvania, 5th
Tipton, Scott, Colorado, 3rd
Upton, Fred, Michigan, 6thChairman, Energy and Commerce
Walden, Greg, Oregon, 2nd
West, Allen, Florida, 22nd
Westmoreland, Lynn A., Georgia, 3rd
Wolf, Frank, Virginia, 10th
Womack, Steve, Arkansas, 3rd
Young, Don, Alaska, At-Large
Young, C.W. Bill, Florida, 10th
source

Related:
Mark Tapscott:
Nearly three out of four likely voters think they are more supportive than politicians in either party of making the kind of deep federal spending cuts that are required to restore economic growth and get the government back on a sound financial footing, according to Rasmussen Reports.
(via Insty)

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Thursday, 20 January 2011

Rants

Whaddaya mean, “we”?


While digging under the rocks over at the CSM, Roberta uncovered an opinion piece by Dr. Anthony Schlaff attaking Republican opposition to Obamacare’s insurance mandate, and containing this lulu:

“...let us not forget that we as a society created our government to make our choices...”
Well, sorta, kinda, maybe.  I mean, government-by-strongman has always been about the rulers “making choices” for the ruled, expressed as “Do what I choose, or I’ll kill you.”  And representative government has always been about unloading the minutiae of administration from the backs of the populace.

But I don’t think that the founders woke up one morning saying, “It’s just what America needs: A government that will make our choices for us, so we don’t have to!”  I always thought that our government was more about backing up the individual citizen on the stuff that might be burdensome or difficult: “...establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty,” and the like.  Nor do I believe that, once created, our government was supposed to go merrily on its way, with the citizens having no right to tell it, “Sorry, you got it wrong.”  (See: Election, 2010.)

Dr. Schlaff must live in a different society than I do.

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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Rants

So now THEY’RE “uncomfortable”?

And the hits just keep on coming!  Dept
On Monday, the Transportation Security Administration briefed House staffers.  It appears the audience didn’t react quite as planned...
“The dumbest part: They did two pat-down demonstrations – male on male, and female on female,” the House staffer said.  And they used a young female TSA volunteer “and in front of a room of 200 people, they touched her breasts and her buttocks.  People were averting their eyes.  The TSA was trying to demonstrate ‘this is not so bad,’ but it made people so uncomfortable to watch, that people were averting their eyes.”
So just watching made spectators “uncomfortable,” huh?  (Sissies!)

Of course, as Politico commenter “MNresident” notes:
How can “The Hill” do anything about this when they EXEMPT themselves from it? [link added - o.g.]  The only thing these idiots will do is exempt themselves even more from it while passing more laws requiring everyone else to be assaulted.

Too true.  So just remember, friends, as you travel this holiday, it’ll be:

Exemptions for the connected...

...The Gloves for the rest of us.

UPDATE:  Coming to a train/boat/metro near you!

Hattips:
Politico link:  Quilly Mammoth, commenting at Ace.
Exemption story via Insty.
TSA Image sighted at Gateway Pundit.

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Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Rants

Security Theater: Hijab carve-out on the way!

Soo-prize, soo-prize!  Dept
Feel safe yet?
CNS News:  On the pat downs, CAIR has recommended that Muslim women wearing hijabs refuse to go through the full body pat downs before boarding planes.  Will you insist that they do go through full body pat downs before boarding planes?

Janet Napolitano:  Look, we have, like I said before, we are doing what we need to do to protect the traveling public and adjustments will be made where they need to be made.  With respect to that particular issue, I think there will be more to come.  But, again, the goal here, you know, we’re not doing this just to do it. We’re doing it because we need to keep powders and gels and liquids off of planes that are unauthorized just as we need to keep metals off of planes.
Wrong.  The answer we’re looking for is, “Yes.”  As in, “Yes, we will require everyone to go through full-body pat-downs before boarding, and if CAIR doesn’t like it, they can get stuffed.”

Napolitano’s unwillingness to even approach the y-word means we can conclude that:
  • There will be a “Muslim exception,” continuing our political establishment’s program of making Muslims the new privileged class.  (And yes, it started with George Bush.)
  • None of this is about security.  Otherwise there would be no talk of “adjustments” that exempt the specific group of people whose members
    ...killed 3,000 innocents on 9/11; tried to detonate a shoe bomb on a flight; attempted to bring down airliners with liquid explosives; created parcel bombs in the hopes that they could rain airliners down on American cities; and also constructed undergarment bombs to slay men, women and children
    etcetera, etcetera...?
  • It’s all about power, and it always has been, so...
  • Shut up, bend over, and take it.
  • (Unless, of course, you’re a Muslim.)
Elsewhere:
Don Surber:  Napolitano must go.
Jay G.:  TSA Security Kabuki...  (via:  M’west Chick)

Previously:

(HT:  Doug Ross)

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Monday, 05 July 2010

Rants

“Cheap” gas, part 2

Propaganda? What propaganda?  Dept

In the latest installment of its you’re-not-paying-enough-taxes campaign, Gannett’s July 2-5 USA Today carried a front-page article headlined “Gas taxes give us a break at the pump,” and (in smaller letters) “Half the 1975 cost, factoring inflation.”[1]

Let’s explore:
When drivers hit the road in large numbers for the Fourth of July holiday, they will have something extra to celebrate - the lowest gasoline taxes since the early days of the automobile.
Wait a minute!  Somebody actually cut taxes while I wasn’t looking?  How come I don’t know about this?
Holiday drivers will pay less than ever at the pump for upkeep of the nation’s roads - just $19 in gas taxes for every 1,000 miles driven...  That’s a new low in inflation-adjusted dollars, half what drivers paid in 1975.
Oh, so the taxes haven’t changed any, it’s inflation making them worth less.  I see...
Another measure of the trend: Americans spent just 46 cents on gas taxes for every $100 of income in the first quarter of 2010...
Ahem.  What’s special about the “first quarter of 2010,” class?  (Hint)
By comparison, Americans spent $1.18 in 1970 in gas taxes out of every
slightly less ravaged by inflation
$100 earned...
So?  There’s a lot of stuff that costs less today than it did in the 70s. I guess this is another case of “You selfish Americans, you.  You’re not paying what we think should be your share.  Give us another 72 cents, and make it snappy!”
...Tax collections are down because today’s vehicles go farther on a gallon of gas
And isn’t this exactly what the elitists have been yammering about since the 60s?  And when the yammering didn’t work fast enough, what did they do?  They convinced congress to make “gas-guzzlers” illegal.  Hey, remember “C.A.F.E.”?
cutting tax collections while increasing wear and tear on highways.
Unstated message:  If you selfish Americans were’t doing all that driving, the roads wouldn’t be falling apart.  You should be riding buses- or bicycles!  (As if driving your lighter, more fuel-efficient car a bit farther is going to make that much difference.)
Drivers are on the track to spend
i.e., PAY
$55.7 billion on federal, state, and local gas taxes in 2010’s first quarter...
(there’s that “first quarter of 2010,” again)
...down from $68.5 billion in 2000 after adjusting for inflation
(But not adjusting for the difference between the pre-9/11 economy and 2010’s funemployment.)
The American Trucking Association, motorist club AAA and others favor higher gas taxes to reduce congestion and a backlog of road repairs.
So might I, if I could be sure that’s what the money would be used for.  But unfortunately...
“The money you pay at the pump doesn’t always find its way to potholes,” says gas tax opponent Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union.
Exactly.  And isn’t it interesting that Sepp’s quote is the article’s only allusion to the Democrats’ continual efforts to shift gas tax revenues from road construction and repair to more “progressive” (and union-employing) mass-transit projects?  I wonder why...?  Guess there just wasn’t enough room.
The nation’s roads are increasingly financed by other taxes and borrowing.
Personally, I view roads as a fundamental part of the infrastructure, something we should be spending tax money on.  (Better spent on roads than on the Department of Education.)  And if you’re saying roads should “pay for themselves,” what about mass transit?
The federal stimulus plan set aside $26.7 billion for roads...
(“See, the stimulus DID work!” Right.)

So let’s summarize.  The headline is a lie: There’s no “gas tax break” this summer.  Whatever “break” we get comes from operating more efficient- and more expensive- cars[2] and inflation.  And the public should feel guilty because we resist road tax increases and suspect politicians will use them for all kinds of stuff besides, em, fixing the roads.  Sorry.

Elsewhere, related:
The Register:  RAC prof:  Road charges can end the ripoff of motorists
(Here’s yet another case where the U.K. is “ahead” of us:  British road users pay £46 billion each year in fuel duty and road tax, of which no more than a third is actually spent on roads.  This expert proposes replacing all present taxes with a toll system with the proceeds firewalled from sticky government fingers.  Fat chance.)
------
[1]  article by Dennis Cauchon, appeared: USA Today, July 2-5, 2010, page 1.  Not found online, but I have a scan.

[2]   Unless your 1970 car was a VW bug and your 2010 “car” is a SUV - but that’s your own fault, isn’t it, you evil polluter you!

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Rants

“Cheap” gas, part 1


A couple of days back, Insty linked a Popular Mechanics story, “Why Is Gas so Cheap Right Now?”

In the week running up to the July 4th weekend, the average price of a regular gallon of gas is $2.75.  The cost of fuel has been on a steady downward slope since May, when the average price was nearly three bucks a gallon.  And if we adjust the price of fuel for inflation, the cost of gas is as cheap as it was five years ago...
The story’s author fumbles for an answer (he cites Paul Krugman, fercryinoutloud), but finally attributes the U.S.’ “low” prices to the current foreign exchange rates:
It has to do with the relative value of the world's currencies, specifically, the euro versus the dollar.  The euro is tied to a host of European nations and, as you have probably heard, some of those countries are in a bit of a debt crisis, and that has led to the value of the euro falling in relation to the dollar.  Crude-oil prices are tied to the dollar so, in simple terms, our stronger currency is simply buying more oil than before.
Well, maybe.  The Euro’s July 2 interbank middle rate was .7968/$, down from .8074/$ on June 25, and down 14% from the first of the year.[1]  But this explanation strikes me as incomplete.  And it specifically fails to account for the lack of volatility of the price at the pump over the last few months.

Because not only has the pump price not increased, it has also been remarkably stable in the face of the sort of external events that used to set it wildly gyrating.  Consider...

We’ve heard rumblings from the middle east (Iran threatens nuclear war on Israel, Turkey (and Iran) stirs up the Palestinians, various “informed sources” raise the possibility of Israel preemptively nuking Iran, etc., etc.).  The oil market? “Ho, hum.”

Then there’s BP’s debacle in the Gulf of Mexico, topped with the president’s on-again-off-again-on-again drilling moratorium.  Reaction? “Z-z-z-z-z-z.”
$2.559/gallon gas in South Carolina on June 30th
In the past, either would have instantly rocketed the price above $3.00 per gallon.

And finally, we’ve seen two holiday weekends go by- Memorial Day and now July 4th- without the typical 5-10¢ “just because we know you’ll need to buy gas this weekend” price blip.  (Particularly noticable to me during last month’s Memorial Weekend trip to South Carolina.)

Meanwhile, what’s been happening upstream?
Oil fell for a fifth straight day Friday...

Crude prices in New York and London settled down about 1%...  On a weekly basis, oil prices were down about 9%.  In the second quarter [April-June], they fell almost 10%.[2]
Can you say “Summer driving season”?  Apparently not this year.

So what’s my explanation?  Simple: Supply and demand.

Gas today in Indianapolis: $2.699.Supply:   I’m prepared to bet that there is more oil floating around out there (ha-ha!) than was typical when we had an expanding world economy.  A lot more.  Enough more that the folks who make their living betting on oil futures aren’t ready to bet that even a months-long shortage would drive the prices up.

Demand:   I’m also prepared to bet that the United States economy is in considerably worse shape than we’re being told, and possibly in even worse shape than the pessimists are saying.  Unemployed people don’t have to drive (as much).  Businesses which are cutting back don’t require as many deliveries. Manufacturing cutbacks reduce the demand for petroleum feedstocks.  All of which pressure prices downward.

Mix them both and presto, we wind up with “unexpectedly” low(er) gasoline prices.  Well, enjoy ’em, if you can pay ’em.

And appreciate the irony:  The mess brought on by our government’s lousy economic policies is shielding it from the consequences of its lousier energy policies.  For the moment, anyway.  After all, there’s always cap-and-trade!

LATER (100707): MaxedOutMama posts an interesting chart of U.S. gasoline deliveries:  1985 levels!

------
[1]  source: Reuters, via The Wall Street Journal: “World Value of the Dollar,” July 3-4, 2010, Page B6.

[2]  source: Reuters, via Investor’s Business Daily: “CRB Suffers Big Loss For the Week as Tumbling Crude Weighs On Index,” July 6, 2010, Page B16.

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Monday, 21 June 2010

Rants

Who are you, and what have you done with the real Mike Pence?

Portrait of a man who’s been TOLD what to say  Dept
Garrison Show, Friday, June 18:
Tom Rose [guest host]:  We’ve been talking today about what happened inside the conservative leadership yesterday that has a lot of “wing nuts” like myself wondering out loud as to how trustworthy– in terms of conservative credentials– you guys are going to be.  Can we be fully confident that, if we are lucky enough to win back the House, you guys are going to have the courage and principle to make the really tough decisions that have got to be made? Of course this is in reference to what happened to Congressman Barton yesterday, when he issued an apology to BP on behalf of the government for extorting money from it, and then was– apparently, according to press reports– uh threatened with having his chairmanship stripped for pointing out that there is no precedent for private deals between the executive branch of our government and private companies.

Congressman Mike Pence:  Well, Tom, let me, let me say that - um - that, uh, I think if you check the-uh the video of-uh Congressman Barton’s statement he, he said he was not speaking for the government; he was speaking for himself...

Rose:  Right.

Pence:  But look.  Uhm-a he’s entitled to his opinion, uh - but I just think Joe Barton was wrong um to apologize to BP. Uh-I really believe that...

Rose:  Fair enough.

Pence:  ...BP has uh- full responsibility uh for uh the breach of this uh-tes, uh well, they have full responsibility for uh the impact on the families, the communities, the environment, and the Gulf, and fortunately uh BP has voluntarily offered to waive protection that they would have under the law– uh this $75 million dollar cap– uh to uh establish a fund that will offset what will be– what will be, Tom, really some extraordinary costs uh to the region on an ongoing [pause] basis.  Um, and so, you know, I, I think uh his statement was regrettable yesterday; I was pleased that Congressman Barton uh withdrew his apology uh to BP and um, um you know I really am-uh, I am uh pleased that we’re establishing a fund, much as we did after September the 11th, that will be independently administered, that will provide resources for the communities, for the families, for the businesses in the region affected by this really unprecedented industrial disaster.

Rose:  Todd Meyer [program producer] now needs to be physically restrained.  Why were the comments “regrettable”?  I mean: Isn’t the only way our system has to handle matters like this– isn’t that the court system?  Isn’t that what the whole purpose of our system is, to prevent uh expansions of power and authority by an executive branch?  Uh, I mean that, isn’t that why we have a court system?

Pence:  Well, you have a court system, Tom, when there’s disagreement between the parties.  Fortunately, uh, for the families and the communities in the Gulf region, BP has never uh said anything other than they “accept full responsibility” for the financial impacts of this spill.  You, you don’t need to go to court when everybody’s willing to agree who’s liable and who’s on the hook.  And, fortunately, BP has never disputed that.  Umm, the recommendation that an escrow fund be established, the recommendation that that fund be administered uh in the same way that we administered the 9/11 victims’ fund I think was prudent, but uh uh, but again, you know, what I was, you know, what I was troubled by yesterday was the, you know, to see a member of the, of congress, especially a Republican member of congress, uh, y’know, apologizing [pause] to BP.  I just, I didn’t think that-uh was in order, given the [pause], given the-uh magnitude of their responsibility here, and-uh given the fact that this is a voluntary [pause] agreement uh-between BP uh-and the United States government, and the-uh and all of the families and states in the region.

Rose:  Do you trust, do you have confidence that President Obama can manage and disburse uh-uh 20 billion dollars impartially and fairly?

Pence:  Well, T-, you know Tom, I just keep going back: The structure here is, is being built...

Rose:  It’s Ken Feinberg!

Pence:  ...along the lines of the 9/11 uh families fund, which has, in the wake of that horrific tragedy, a tragedy that uh, uh-occurred, uh, when I was in my first term in congress, umm, uh it, it, it strikes me that, that, uh, that fund has been um, um, if you can use the word “success” in the aftermath of 9/11, I think that fund uh was a successful effort, uh too, uh mediate the impact of the loss of more than three thousand American lives, and I believe that same individual, Mr. Feinberg, who administered that fund is being-uh uh approached about administering this fund.

Uh, I-I understand the suspicion of families and businesses in the Gulf region about, um um um, about having to go to BP and, and, and-uh with their hat in hand and ask for a disbursement.  I think it makes an awful lot of sense, the way that we took the airlines uh as responsible parties, uh, and government out of the payout role, and we created an independent trust fund.  It makes a lot of sense to have the families in the Gulf, as the families of 9/11, uh be able to go to an independent arbiter who can evaluate the, uh, what their losses are and, to the extent possible, uh, be able to make them whole.  Uh, but-uh, it’s uh, again, this is a voluntary [pause] arrangement.

I, I do think it was a, uh, inappropriate for uh the Attorney General of the United States to be in on the meeting this week, given the fact that the Justice Department was-uh, is involved in a criminal investigation of BP, uh, but, uh, you know, when-uh, the establishment of this fund I think it’s proper.  It is proper that BP has consented uh to make this-uh these funds available, uh, and, uh, uh, y’know, at the end of the day, uh, you know what we ought to be focusing on, Tom, is working the problem.

The financial part of this thing, BP has never really disputed, umm, but, but-uh, you know, this is a mechanism for distributing those dollars.  What, what, what we ought to be doing is workin’ the problem in the Gulf, uh, and I, I still continue to believe [pause] that this administration has failed, and continues to fail, to provide the kind of energetic uh hands-on leadership, um, in working the problem and containing the spill that the American people expect and the law demands.
A couple of points here. Mike Pence is a former radio guy. He doesn’t stumble, stammer, “and-uh,” or “you know.” Usually. Yet he here he is, stumbling and stammering,[1] interspersed with standard political boilerplate phrases...
“...the families, the communities, the environment, and the Gulf...”
“...the communities, for the families, for the businesses in the region”
“...much as we did after September the 11th
“...agreement between BP and the United States government, and all of the families and states in the region.”
“this is a voluntary agreement”
“What we ought to be focusing on... is working the problem”
“...energetic hands-on leadership”
...rattled off as if read from cue cards, all the while being careful not to stray from his talking points.  Altogether a disconcerting performance; not what I was expecting from Indiana’s leading light of conservatism.

It appears that Congressman Joe Barton’s spade-a-spade characterization of the administration’s “voluntary” (as in, “I’ll shoot you, unless you voluntarily give me all your money”) agreement with BP as a “shakedown,” gave the Beltway RINOs such a case of the vapours (probably anticipating  the DSM’s customary balance and objectivity) that they threatened to take his chairmanship away.

And Pence, instead of keeping his mouth shut, agreed to trot out to justify the whole thing.  Unfortunately, his integrity got in the way of doing it convincingly.

The whole episode, of course, does nothing to build my confidence that the Republicans have either the integrity or the guts to do anything to reverse the progressives’ mess, even if they should be restored to power.

Amazingly, their spineless backpedalling may wind up puting the RINOs on the.wrong side.of this issueNot very smart.

But as Glenn said this morning, “Any sentence about the Republican leadership that begins with “if they’re smart” is probably self-finishing . . . .”


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[1]  I included Pence’s stumbles in the transcript (which I wouldn’t have done in the case of a non-professional speaker) to show how uncertain he sounded.  You really need to listen to the segment to get the full effect.

Posted by: Old Grouch in Rants at 19:12:25 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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