Archive for November, 2010

There is a Hole in the Bucket, Dear Liza

Obama Managing Wikileaks

TITLE 18 PART I CHAPTER 37 § 793
§ 793. Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information

(a) Whoever, for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation, goes upon, enters, flies over, or otherwise obtains information concerning any vessel, aircraft, work of defense, navy yard, naval station, submarine base, fueling station, fort, battery, torpedo station, dockyard, canal, railroad, arsenal, camp, factory, mine, telegraph, telephone, wireless, or signal station, building, office, research laboratory or station or other place connected with the national defense owned or constructed, or in progress of construction by the United States or under the control of the United States, or of any of its officers, departments, or agencies, or within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, or any place in which any vessel, aircraft, arms, munitions, or other materials or instruments for use in time of war are being made, prepared, repaired, stored, or are the subject of research or development, under any contract or agreement with the United States, or any department or agency thereof, or with any person on behalf of the United States, or otherwise on behalf of the United States, or any prohibited place so designated by the President by proclamation in time of war or in case of national emergency in which anything for the use of the Army, Navy, or Air Force is being prepared or constructed or stored, information as to which prohibited place the President has determined would be prejudicial to the national defense; or

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

TITLE 18, PART I, CHAPTER 37, § 794
§ 794. Gathering or delivering defense information to aid foreign government

(a) Whoever, with intent or reason to believe that it is to be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation, communicates, delivers, or transmits, or attempts to communicate, deliver, or transmit, to any foreign government, or to any faction or party or military or naval force within a foreign country, whether recognized or unrecognized by the United States, or to any representative, officer, agent, employee, subject, or citizen thereof, either directly or indirectly, any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, note, instrument, appliance, or information relating to the national defense, shall be punished by death or by imprisonment for any term of years or for life, except that the sentence of death shall not be imposed unless the jury or, if there is no jury, the court, further finds that the offense resulted in the identification by a foreign power (as defined in section 101(a) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978) of an individual acting as an agent of the United States and consequently in the death of that individual, or directly concerned nuclear weaponry, military spacecraft or satellites, early warning systems, or other means of defense or retaliation against large-scale attack; war plans; communications intelligence or cryptographic information; or any other major weapons system or major element of defense strategy. shall be punished by death or by imprisonment for any term of years or for life.

(b) Whoever, in time of war, with intent that the same shall be communicated to the enemy, collects, records, publishes, or communicates, or attempts to elicit any information with respect to the movement, numbers, description, condition, or disposition of any of the Armed Forces, ships, aircraft, or war materials of the United States, or with respect to the plans or conduct, or supposed plans or conduct of any naval or military operations, or with respect to any works or measures undertaken for or connected with, or intended for the fortification or defense of any place, or any other information relating to the public defense, which might be useful to the enemy,

TITLE 18, PART I, CHAPTER 37, § 798
§ 798. Disclosure of classified information

(a) Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, or publishes, or uses in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States or for the benefit of any foreign government to the detriment of the United States any classified information—
(1) concerning the nature, preparation, or use of any code, cipher, or cryptographic system of the United States or any foreign government; or
(2) concerning the design, construction, use, maintenance, or repair of any device, apparatus, or appliance used or prepared or planned for use by the United States or any foreign government for cryptographic or communication intelligence purposes; or
(3) concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government; or
(4) obtained by the processes of communication intelligence from the communications of any foreign government, knowing the same to have been obtained by such processes—

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

TITLE 18, PART I, CHAPTER 45, § 952
§ 952. Diplomatic codes and correspondence

Whoever, by virtue of his employment by the United States, obtains from another or has or has had custody of or access to, any official diplomatic code or any matter prepared in any such code, or which purports to have been prepared in any such code, and without authorization or competent authority, willfully publishes or furnishes to another any such code or matter, or any matter which was obtained while in the process of transmission between any foreign government and its diplomatic mission in the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

The Good
Bradley Manning

This guy is screwed. Based on the volume of classified documents leaked and the enduring revelation of more and more documents, it would not be surprising to see Manning made an example. He won’t be executed, but he may very well spend the rest of his life in a federal prison; hopefully, breaking big rocks into little rocks.

There has been a lot made of how this person could have had access to this volume of information. Well, it is called collaboration. Those who have been involved in national security know that different components of government focus on different issues, but all of these issues are inter-related. State Department officials need to know about military operations or threats in the area just as much as military personnel need to know about State Department officials efforts to rebuild an area or train locals on governance; both are critical issues in providing security.

Another point raised has been the age of Manning: how can a 22 year-old private have access to Ambassadorial correspondence. It’s simple really, because 22 year-olds do a lot of the analytical work for military units. Keep in mind, a lot of these folks have been serving for 2-4 years by the time they are 22, they’ve been to specialized training for long periods of time on intelligence analysis and most importantly, they’ve had extensive background investigations to gain access to the information. The system, writ large, didn’t fail here; he did. He betrayed the trust that was placed upon him, he betrayed the oath of service he took, and he is the one who has- more than anyone else- put the lives of those in the field at risk.

He deserves to be prosecuted at the fullest extent of the law, and if/when someone is killed as a result of this leaked data, he should be charged for that too.

The Bad

SCOTUS

In 1971, the US Supreme Court found in The New York Times Co. v. United States that once classified information was presented to the media, the first amendment superseded the Executives privileges to secure the data. An argument for this has been that the Judiciary and the Legislature have minimal checks and balances against the Executive on foreign policy and as such, the media in educating the populace may be the best and only real counter.

This means that while we may hate the New York Times and other media outlets for publishing the classified documents, there is little that can be done.

 

 

The Ugly

Wikileaks

Is this a media outlet?

Wikileaks claims to be an international non-profit media organization. Its intent is to secure the privacy of leakers submitting documents of political, diplomatic, historical or ethical interest. Bottom line, the organization doesn’t believe in secrecy and thinks that they have the right to tell anyone anything they want.

This is an ultra-liberal, border-line anarchist organization that lives by a host of double standards. Wikileaks won’t reveal its donors and its editorial board- if you could call it that- is dominated by the whims of one man, Julian Assange. They refuse to open up about their internal structure, or the transparency of the business aspect of the site. And really, how can one in all seriousness make the claim that it is important to maintain the secrecy of the leaker who is leaking classified documents that the government needed to keep secret with a straight face. The organization is the epitome of hypocrisy.

And what about Assange? Here is the jewel of a man who has no problem exposing the dirty laundry of everyone else, but when asked a legitimate question about CRIMINAL CHARGES, well, he walks out in protest. I tell you what, if it wasn’t for double standards, liberals would have no standards at all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yzs5kECxXjg

The Fallout

The Dynamic Duo

The Obama Administration has loudly condemned the release of the documents, and Attorney General Holder has even gone so far to say that the Department of Justice is investigating the leaks. The world trembles I’m sure.

Whether or not any prosecutions come from the leaks, the damage done to US foreign policy and diplomatic relations will be significant. Senior leaders around the world will be reluctant to share confidential information with the US, and State Department interactions and engagement will come to a relative halt.

Part of diplomacy is the pomp and circumstance that comes with state level engagement, but the real meat of diplomatic engagement is behind closed doors and is done in secret. A good example of this is the recent revelation that the President Saleh in Yemen claimed the aerial bombardment that US forces were conducting against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. Why was this little deception important? Well, Yemen doesn’t have the technology or forces to effectively hunt down AQAP, but more importantly, the presence of US forces in Yemen would be incredibly unpopular and Saleh would require the secrecy to protect his support of US forces.

What is gained by popular knowledge of Saleh’s support? Nothing, but the consequences could be significant. Now, AQAP knows that it was the US- not Yemeni forces- targeting them and that allows them to fan popular anger at the presence of US forces, which further destabilizes an already shaky government, and will surely be seized upon by AQAP for recruitment. There is hardly an upside to this.

The Administration is going to have to put more than lip service to this. Assange is already threatening that another release of documents is pending. If the damage from this release is any indication of what is to come, then stopping that release is imperative.

UPDATE 1 1 December 2010

WikiLeaks: Interpol issues wanted notice for Julian Assange

 Interpol Arrest Warrant

Assange’s details were also added to Interpol’s worldwide wanted list. Dated 30 November, the entry reads: “sex crimes” and says the warrant has been issued by the international public prosecution office in Gothenburg, Sweden.

UPDATE 2 1 December 2010

From an Investor Business Daily editorial.

10 Wikileaks Questions for Obama

1. Attorney General Eric Holder says he’s weighing charges against Assange and WikiLeaks under the Espionage Act. What has taken him so long? Assange has been working loudly against America for 18 months, releasing stolen documents on Iraq and Afghanistan for more than a year, amid reports of repercussions against U.S. allies. Shouldn’t Holder have done something long ago?

2. Chased out of Europe, Assange moved his server to Amazon.com. Explain again why a U.S. company is facilitating this sleazy trafficker in stolen secret data without a court order to shut it down? Last week, the White House shut Web sites trafficking fake Prada handbags. Why does it do nothing here?

3. A private hacker called the “Jester” claims he’s successfully enacted a denial of service attack against WikiLeaks. But with all its resources, why hasn’t the United States government blown WikiLeaks and all its mirror sites off the air instead? America’s ally Colombia has destroyed FARC terrorist Web sites, taking info-terror as seriously as it takes jungle warfare. A Colombian embassy spokesperson told IBD the country has an unofficial military unit just for the purpose. And we don’t?

4. The New York Times, the U.K.’s Guardian, Spain’s El Pais and Germany’s Der Spiegel are working hand-in-hand with Assange, publishing his stolen documents, effectively serving as a backup to disseminate the documents even if WikiLeaks gets shut down. Why aren’t these beneficiaries of freedom of the press who turn on its chief defender being prosecuted? News organizations such as CNN recognized this criminality for what it was and, unlike the Times, wouldn’t touch the story.

5. Sweden has an open book of unrelated rape charges against Assange, who is Australian. And to its credit, it has denied him asylum. But why was he sheltered there for so long? And why hasn’t the Obama administration been able to get him extradited?

6. After Hillary Clinton showered Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s anti-American president, with praise and kisses this year, that country has offered Assange asylum. Where is the U.S. muscle, along with a hard threat to pull Ecuador’s trade privileges and Federal Reserve support for its dollarization regime?

7. Assange’s initial collaborator was a troubled 22-year-old Army intelligence analyst, Private Bradley Manning. Who put him in his position and did political correctness about his gay orientation keep him there, much as it did with the crazed Islamofascist who shot up Fort Hood? Why was he permitted to see secret data?

8. Why are there 3 million other people with security clearances who can not only see diplomatic cables but also download them?

9. Where is the cooperation from other countries to bring Assange to justice? We thought President Obama would repair relations with so-called allies. Any slacking here ought to bring sanctions.

10. Where, for that matter, is president himself? Amid a 9/11-grade attack on U.S. diplomacy, the WikiLeaks debacle calls for strong statements signaling that America will take actions to punish this determined enemy. But beyond bland boilerplate, and at a time that calls for resolve and action, Obama has said and done nothing.

Go Left Young Man

Mike Malloy

I have a solution, I have a solution…Barack Obama ought to call a press conference later on this week, another one, ought to be prime time on at night. And he ought to come out after channeling Lyndon Baines Johnson from March 31,1968, and uh – and I’ll share what LBJ said with you back then. Obama should come out and say to the American public, ‘OK, I get it. Now let me tell you something – everybody – I made the history books!

I’m the first African-American, real African-American – father African, mother American – eh eh! I am the first African American President! I understand that that has really irritated an awful lot of people in this country, because so many people in this country still can’t get over the fact that a black man is leading them. So I tell you what I am going to do, here’s what I’m going to do – I’m going to tell you right now, I’m in the history books, you cannot take that away. But I willl NOT seek nor will I accept the nomination of the Democratic Party for a second term! I’m finished! I understand the President should say what’s going to happen in the next two years. I understand that the Presidential sweepstakes started last night, as soon as the returns were in, and everybody was SURE of what the balance of power was going to be. I understand, because I’ve listened to BONER…I’ve listened to McConnell… I’ve listened to Pence…I’ve listened to uh, uh Cornyn…. I’ve listened to all of these guys and they are NOT going to work with me! OK! You got it!

I am not going to seek and I will not ACCEPT the nomination of my party for a second term. But here is what I am going to do….I am going to kick all of your asses! I am going to tell the TRUTH about what these right-wing capitalists are doing! I’m going to tell the truth about how the media is screwing you people to the ground! I’m going to tell the truth about every single one of these filthy Republicans that are destroying the country! In other words, Mr. and Mrs. America, I’m going to give you something you haven’t had in a long ass time – the TRUTH! And you can’t handle the truth! That’s all Mr. Obama has to do. And then after making an announcement like that…and after uh, uh Chris…who’s the guy on MSNBC….Chris Matthews and uh all the people over at the Fox sewer hole and uh uh David Gergen and Wolf Blitzer and – and-and- and -(laughs) go right down the list! After all of them pick their asses up off the floor and go OH MY GOD! All of a sudden, their whole reason for existing, these media thugs and punks, for the next two years, is GONE! GONE! No more contest! No more who’s going to – uh – Obama is going to fight against! No more speculation! It’s gone! And then Obama can work as a progressive, a real liberal, to continue the efforts that were started 80 years ago to make this a just society and he can tell the Republicans to kiss his black ass! – Mike Malloy, Liberal Talk Radio Host 11/3/10

Since Democrat losses on November 2nd, there have been two competing messages going to President Obama. One has been to move to the center, similar to that of President Clinton following the 1994 mid-term losses, and the other has been to go far to the left. The later, surprisingly, has been the loudest and most fervent, Malloy’s comments being a prime example of such. He’s not alone of course, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz had this to say the day after the election:

Mr. Vanilla?

Malloy, and Schultz echo’s this, want a far more aggressive Obama. Malloy continues: “Take this lame-duck session after you make your announcement, and jam everything home that you possibly can….they are not going to re-elect you, they are not going to respect you..they are not going to work with you….for Christ’s sake! Stop pretending that they will! Stop begging! Be a man! Stand up! You are dealing with midgets, racists, and pigs. Why -why are you getting down to their level after they kicked your ass? Even now, after they kicked your ass? For two years! Fight back, Mr. President, the only way you can. KILL THEM! KILL THEM!

With the base making these kinds of calls- and make no doubt, Schultz and Malloy represent Obama’s ideological base- it is no wonder that liberally distilled House Democrats selected Nancy Pelosi as their leader. Donna Brazil had this to say about Pelosi’s leadership election:

Pelosi is still standing. Moreover, the House Democrats are ready to re-elect her, despite some hesitation from the so-called Blue Dog or moderate to conservative Democrats. As Pelosi has stated many times during the 111th session of Congress, it was not about her, it was about her members. And she never deviated from that script.

Many a pundit looked at the Dems following the election and concluded that the party was confused and dazed by the results. I don’t think so, as Lawrence O’Donnell so aptly explains:

This makes the Lame Duck session of Congress all that more important. The left recognizes this as possibly the last real chance for some years to be able to push through their agenda. With the passing of this Congress, the only real strength the Dems, or more specifically- though there is little difference anymore- the left, will have is the White House. They will be ever more dependent on Obama’s veto and more sinisterly, his executive powers. John Podesta of the Center for American Progress:

Concentrating on executive powers presents a real opportunity for the Obama administration to turn its focus away from a divided Congress and the unappetizing process of making legislative sausage. Instead, the administration can focus on the president’s ability to deliver results for the American people on the things that matter most to them…

One could make the argument that they are not hearing the call of the American people from the election. On the contrary, I think they hear it just fine, but are choosing to ignore the calls. This is inherently a decision on the part of the left to rule over the people, rather than to govern by the consent of the people.

Well, if November 2nd is any indicator, those chickens are coming home to roost.

A Pox Upon Your House

For those who fight in the War on Terror, there is nothing feared more than a liberal lawyer. This fear is not rooted in their ability to intimidate, but in their sheer ideological stupidity. Society has been burned repeatedly by the legal scum of the left for many years as they have inflicted pain after pain on any semblance of just social order; typically in the name of naming less than “freedom”. Well, we have been blessed with yet another example of why society should not despise the left, no, it should hold nothing less than odious contempt for ideological technicians bent on destroying this nation.

After deliberating for five days, a jury found Ahmed Ghailani, guilty of conspiracy to damage or destroy U.S. property but acquitted him of more than 284 charges, which included 224 counts for murder, for his role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa.

One would have anticipated a more sober response from an administration that said “failure is not an option” when it comes to the terror trials, but alas, we’re all reminded that sobriety is not in the cards for this bunch of assclowns. Robert Gibbs, the face of this failure of an organization, responded to reporters as such:

“In the case of Mr. Ghailani, there was a guilty verdict, a minimum sentence of 20 years that incapacitated somebody that has committed a terrorist act and because of that incapacitation is not going to threaten American lives.” Robert “Goebbels” Gibbs

Except that he wasn’t convicted of terrorism, he was convicted of property damage. Someone please riddle me this, how the hell do you get convicted of property damage, but not of the murder of the people who died as a result of the property damage? IS this a case in which the prosecution, i.e. Attorney General Eric Holder should have maybe included a manslaughter option? Ooops.

Of course, insult to injury is the lefts complete disassociation with the publics disgust with this verdict. Left-wing legal group, Center for Constitutional Rights, had this to say about the verdict:

CCR questions the ability of anyone who is Muslim to receive a truly fair trial in any American judicial forum post-9/11.

Well, they had more to say than that, but really, what does it matter once you utter this nonsense.

 

A fellow blogger, Rutherford Lawson, had this to say about the verdict:

“the dude will go away for 20 to life. If I were a betting man, I’d wager the sentence will be closer to life. It’s kinda like dating … you don’t need to fall in love with every girl you date, you just need to find that one special one. They got him on one count …. and that’s all they needed. The rest is just symbolic.” – Rutherford

 

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised about the foolishness of the endeavor to try these cases in civilian courts, nor should we be surprised at the travesty of justice that is resulting from such. Holder worked many hours, free of charge, to defend those that are incapacitated at Guantanamo Bay, and when he was selected as AG by Obama, he brought some of the neophytes from Covington & Burling with him. One might have questioned the potential conflict of interest that might arise from this, but this administration has never been slow in ignoring the potential for a conflict in interest. C&B advised its former troglodytes who crawled under the legal rock this administration operates from this tidbit of guidance: Lawyers from the firm who have become administration officials have been advised by ethics officials to recuse themselves in matters involving detainees represented by their former firms, but not from policy issues where they were not personally and substantially involved.

Frankly, this verdict clearly shows the ideological intent of the Administration- it isn’t about justice and it isn’t about security; its about cramming the ideological clothe of this President down the throats of every single American citizens, repercussions be damned.

We’re already hearing the cries from the GOP on this, as they’ve been the loudest opponents to civilian trials. We’ve even heard Congressional members call for Holder’s resignation. While find it highly unlikely Holder will bless this country with his resignation, I can rest assured knowing that the odds of Holder testifying before the House on this travesty are almost certain.

 

I don’t care how the insanity stops, but this has got to stop before more people are killed.

 

Beware *blank*flation

There has been a lot said over the last couple of years about inflation, deflation and a little bit of conflation. Most have paid little attention to the rhetoric because they’ve been a little more concerned with basic survival in this tuff economic time. However, the *flations are important and deserve a little bit of attention, especially with the Federal Reserve’s recent debt purchase plan.

The Myth of Deflation

Most don’t even know what deflation is, as it is an economic term and phenomenon that rarely occurs in the West. Deflation is simply a fall in the general price level. Deflation is usually caused by falling demand and lower growth. The U.S.’s worst period of deflation was during the Great Depression of the 1930s. It is damaging because:

Lower Spending. When prices are falling, there is an incentive to delay purchases. Why buy a house now, when it will be cheaper in 6-12 months? Look at how the housing market is suffering because of falling prices. Nobody wants to buy with falling house prices; this is why property transactions have slumped and of course causes further falls in prices.

Liquidity Trap. A liquidity trap occurs when lower interest rates fail to stimulate spending. If prices are falling by 2%, it can be more attractive to save money in cash then spend. Therefore, cutting interest rates to 0% may be ineffective in increasing demand. In fact, this is a prime reason in why banks aren’t lending. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 authorized the Federal Reserve to begin paying interest on excess reserves, or bank reserves beyond what the Fed requires the bank to maintain. Normally, banks don’t get interest for this money, so they lend it because it is more profitable to do so. However, with the Fed paying interest on these funds, the banks can make money and not put those funds in jeopardy in a poor economy.

Increasing Burden of Debt. If you take out a mortgage and make mortgage payments, inflation will progressively reduce the real value of your mortgage interest payments. High inflation thus makes a mortgage more attractive, over time, it increases the disposable income of mortgage owners. However, with deflation, mortgage payments become a larger percentage of disposable income. In deflation, debt becomes an increasing burden reducing spending and economic growth, so national and personal debt during deflation becomes very damaging for an economy.

Rising Real Wages. Workers will look to prevent a cut in their wages. Therefore, with deflation, real wages rise as deflation drops prices. This can lead to real wage unemployment as the cost of production eventually exceeds the market. We’ve all seen microcosms of this; i.e. U.S. industry. The cost of making things in the U.S. has been exceeding the market price for those things for some time now. The auto industry is probably one of the best examples.

Right now, there is about $1.3 Trillion worth of private enterprise funds sitting on the sidelines. This money is on the sidelines not because of economic contraction, but because of economic uncertainty in the future cost of business:

What is going to happen with the Bush Tax cuts

What does Obamacare really cost

How is financial reform going to impact economic transactions

What Cap & Trade- whether through legislation or dictation- is going to do to energy costs

How an extremely pro-Union White House pushes Card Check

Etc, etc, etc

There is not an expectation of production costs deflating. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Commodity prices right now are surging. Coming to a grocery store near you, soon breakfast cereal, dairy, grains, fruit will all cost more. So will the cost of gas as you drive the more expensive car made from more expensive steel to the grocery store to buy more expensive food. Commodity prices are inflating, not deflating, which then brings us rudely to the importance of inflation.

The Threat of Inflation

Four factors contribute to inflation:

The supply of money goes up

The supply of goods goes down

Demand for money goes down

Demand for goods goes up

Inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a certain period of time. When the general price level rises, money buys fewer goods and services; consequently, inflation is also an erosion in the purchasing power of money, or a loss of real value in the internal medium of exchange and unit of account in the economy.

The weakening of the dollar is a huge issue as it drives down the demand for the dollar. Massive debt and spending are huge issues as they increase the supply of money. As globalization has amply demonstrated, the demand for resources is ever increasing and as places like China, India, Brazil and the rest of the third world develop, the demand for those goods rise while the supply of those same goods decreases.

Conflation

Conflation is becoming one of the biggest risks to our economic system. When I say conflation, I’m talking about the expanding interference- yes, interference- of the government into private enterprise. By far, the best example of the dangers of public/private conflation was seen in late 2008 as the housing market collapsed, bringing down the U.S. economy. In fact, one is hard pressed to find any example of a publicly managed enterprise in the economy being success. Postal Service? No. Fannie Mae and/or Freddie Mac? Hell no. It is even difficult to find examples of active public management rescuing private economic activity. “Stimulus” spending hasn’t worked and a study by UCLA found that government intervention by FDR actually extended the Great Depression by seven years.

There is a point at which those in leadership positions have to stop doing what they want to do and start doing what they need to do. The current debt situation is critical, the strength of the dollar is extremely important and the people have voiced their displeasure at the Administration’s failure to address both. Germany is standing as a great economic model right now. It is doing so by spending less, not more.

Yes, we need to beware *blank*flation. We need to be critical of calls of deflation and watch for the increasing signs of inflation, but most importantly, we must ward against conflation. Government micromanagement hurts, not helps, our economy and our nation.

Update: Thursday, 11 Nov 2010

A new pricing survey of products sold at the world’s largest retailer Walmart showed a 0.6 percent price increase in just the last two months, according to MKM Partners. At that rate, prices would be close to four percent higher a year from now, double the Fed’s mandate.

With a Bow on Top!!!

Poor Taste…

So I was reading the editorial page of the San Francisco Chronicle as it laid the case for why it is good for Nancy Pelosi to pursue the leadership of her party in the minority. The money quote was this:

Pelosi is widely recognized as one of the most effective speakers of the House in modern history. There is no one on Capitol Hill who can match her prowess as a fundraiser or as a party leader. Even those who disagree with her policies can’t deny the skill she’s exhibited over the last four years at marching the often-fractious Democratic caucus through one tough vote after another. She has unmatched credibility with the caucus, especially the liberal members.

This was the unapologetic justification for why:

This will be a disappointment to the remaining House Democrats [Obama’s expected movement to the center]- it’s a more liberal caucus now that so many moderates lost their seats. It’s hard to imagine anyone else in the House who will be able to persuade the Democratic members to support the president’s new agenda the way that Pelosi will.

Now, this sounds like compounding the problem to me, but hey, it’s not my problem. In fact, this is quite possibly one of the greatest things the Dems could have done for the GOP. Pelosi’s favorability is 29%. Her unfavorability is 56%. Four years ago, opinions of her stood at 44% in favor and just 22% against. How time does tell.

Couple this with the likely persistence of Harry Reid as the Dem Senate Majority leader, whose public opinion polls stand similar to Pelosi’s at 29% in favor and 54% against. Toss in the President who, on a good day, may break even at best but is typically upside down in the polls as well and we have the perfect trifecta of personalities that define the liberal agenda. This is very important because the GOP just ran a VERY successful House election campaign based largely on tying every Dem to Obama-Reid-Pelosi. And what do we see happening now? Obama-Reid-Pelosi lives on!!!

Consider:
More than $65 million was spent on 161,203 ads that targeted Pelosi from January 1 through last week’s election, according to a new analysis of TV ads for CNN by Campaign Media Analysis Group.

A draft letter being drafted by House Dems says that the defeated members “fear that Republicans will further demonize you [Pelosi], and in so doing, they will scare potential candidates out. The prospect of having to run against their own party leadership, in addition to their Republican opponent is simply too daunting.”

We could point out many the poll that pointed to the popular dissatisfaction with the direction of the country as ordained by the trifecta, but I prefer the most important poll of all- the electorate. Michael Barone does a fine job in articulating just what the electorate said:

Republicans look to have a bigger advantage in this redistricting cycle than they’ve ever had before. It appears that in the states that will have more than five districts (you can make only limited partisan difference in smaller states), Republicans will control redistricting in 13 states with a total of 165 House districts and Democrats will have control in only four states with a total of 40 districts. You can add Minnesota (seven or eight districts) to the first list if the final count gives Republicans the governorship and New York (27 or 28 districts) to the second list if the final count gives Democrats the state Senate.

When the tea party movement first made itself heard, Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed it as “Astroturf,” a phony organization financed by a few millionaires. She may have been projecting — those union demonstrators you see at Democratic events or heckling Republicans are often paid by the hour.

In any case, the depth and the breadth of Republican victories in state legislative races, even more than their gain of 60-plus seats in the U.S. House and six seats in the Senate, shows that the tea party movement was a genuine popular upheaval of vast dimensions. Particularly in traditional blue-collar areas, voters rejected longtime Democrats or abandoned lifelong partisan allegiances and elected Republicans.

Obama once famously, if not arrogantly, said “I won.”

Well, not anymore.

Saying Yes to the Party of No

The results are in and the people have spoken- America has said Yes to the Party of No.

In the words of the President, he took a shellacking last night, and rightfully so. The exit polls reflected significant anger by the people towards the Administration and the Congress. Obama approval/disapproval at the exit polls was 45/54. 37% of voters were sending a message in opposition to Obama and 52% think that his policies will hurt the nation in the long term. Congress’s complicity in the Obama Agenda was also reflected in the votes last night as 73% disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job.

This is having an impact on the perception the American people have on the direction of the country. 87% are worried about the direction of the country, 89% view the state of the national economy as poor and 41% say that they are worse off today than they were two years ago, versus 14% who claim their lot has improved. Most folks polled, 38%, expect the life of the next generation to be worse off than it is today.

This Congress, and especially this Administration, is not inspiring confidence in the voters, nor is it properly addressing the concerns and needs of the people. The question is, will the President change direction?

Having just listened to the President’s press conference following last night’s election results, I have to wonder if he will change. He sounded humble, he sounded contrite, but he didn’t sound like he got the message from the people. Pat Caddell reported from his own exit polling that 36% of Dems against Obamacare  voted for the GOP. 86% of Independents against Obamacare voted GOP. The agenda of this Administration is in direct conflict with the people, and it is paying a price. I don’t think Obama will change course in what he wants to accomplish. White House insiders have stated off the record that Clinton’s Triangulation following the 1994 GOP election win in not in the cards with this Administration. Obama will stay the course.

With that, let us look to the results.

Senate

Contrary to what most might think, I’m actually glad the GOP did not take the Senate last night. This isn’t because I agree with the way that Harry Reid and the Dems are running the Chamber but because I don’t want the Administration to triangulate against the new GOP controlled Congress. This is, admittedly, Machiavellian thinking, but my view has not been on 2010.

Incumbents continue to be heavily entrenched, and regardless of party, they are very difficult to remove. The bulk of the GOP gains in the Senate came from open seats, though a couple important incumbent losses include Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. As of this writing, we’re still waiting to hear on Alaska, Washington and Colorado, of which Washington would be an incumbent change if the GOP takes it.

There are some interesting stories to the Senate races though. For instance, more media attention was paid to the Delaware Senate race than any other political race, and by far, most of the attention was biased against Christine O’Donnell. What’s more, this was the first time I’ve ever heard of a media “forgetting” to run a paid political ad, not once, but twice. I’d like to see this investigated, because if there ever was an instance of election fraud, this could be it. This isn’t to say that I think O’Donnell would have won, because I never did, but the “objective” journalistic media is quickly going down the slippery slope of propaganda. Regardless, I’m glad O’Donnell ran against Coons. Huh? Yeah, I’d rather purify the party than elect a Republican In Name Only (RINO).

Then we had Nevada, where the Dem Senate Majority leader escaped defeat. I was actually happy to see Reid survive his challenge and I hope to see him continue in his role as Dem Senate Majority leader. Yep, that’s what I said, but why? Well, for starters, the perception of everything that is wrong with this country right now is Obama-Reid-Pelosi. Well, Pelosi is going, going, gone as Speaker of the House, but since the Dems kept the Senate, the country kept Reid as a poster child for Senatorial corruption.

Another reason I was pleased to see Reid keep his seat is that, had he lost, we would have likely seen either Chuck Schumer or Dick Durbin replace him as leader. My money would have been on Schumer, who certainly qualifies as a liberal blowhard, who is at least a somewhat articulate liberal blowhard. I prefer Reid’s gift of gab as an example to all.

Overall, the Dems will continue to be responsible for what does- or doesn’t- happen in the Senate. This allows the GOP some room to maneuver House legislation through the Senate. Dem Senators, namely Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who will be up for re-election in 2012. Depending on how he votes, he could easily be another GOP pickup in two years, which also means he is malleable in a red-state, aqnti-Obama constituent environment.

House

The GOP made its money in the House. Approximately 65 seats- a couple are still pending final outcomes- were won by the Republicans. Of the 129 Tea Party Candidates that ran for a House seat, 113 won- that’s an 88% success rate.

The House is the most important of the Chambers for fiscal issues- all spending must originate in the House. This is the first step in stopping the Obamacare legislation as the House can simply starve the legislation of funding. Of the 20 Congressmen who voted for Obamacare, 15 were defeated Tuesday. The economy was the fuel to the popular discontent of the electorate, but Obamacare was the spark that ignited the entire populace into action. Obamacare fueled the Tea Party, daring it to act, challenging it show its face. Obamacare refined general frustration into a determined anger.

We also look forward to the investigation bound to begin that will once again hold the executive accountable.

The States

These races got very little attention, but they were just as important to the direction of the country as the Congressional races were. The GOP picked up 680 seats in the state legislatures- a new record. They gained majorities in at least 14 state house chambers and have unified control- both chambers- of 26 state legislatures. In 16 states, the GOP controls both chambers of the state legislature (Nebraska has a unicameral legislature) and the governorship. These include: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Ohio, Nebraska and North Carolina.

This was probably the worst year that this could happen for Dems, since these legislatures will address redistricting. So in places like North Carolina, one of the most gerrymandered states in benefit of the Dems, will see significant changes to the districts. Florida, South Carolina, Utah, Georgia and Texas are likely to gain seats from the census, while Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan are projected to lose at least one seat.

Then there were the governor races. Ohio incumbent Dem Ted Strickland lost to John Kasich, Connecticut looks to have elected Republican Tom Foley, much to the chagrin of my friend Rutherford.  Pennsylvania, Florida, New Mexico, Nevada, Michigan- all important states that can and will have a large impact on the 2012 elections.

The Road Ahead

Conservatives have been forced, over the last two years, to play defense. Not anymore. Now, the offense begins, and that offense comes in the form of legislation. The GOP has been forced to react to the Dems in the face of an exceedingly hostile environment. Now it is time for the GOP to send legislation to the Senate, and eventually the President. The Senate Dems are shell shocked right now, and as long as the economy remains depressed and as long as the President stays to the far left, it will be much easier to pull Dems onboard Conservative legislation. That means it goes to the President and it makes him either sign it, or veto it. It is very difficult to triangulate off of a veto. Make the President veto spending cuts, tax cuts, limitations on government power- everything that the electorate is looking for right now.

Focus on Conservative values, and the rest will come in spades.