Let’s break out the irony meter

From the Delaware Liberal, where site owner Jason Scott refuses to allow me to comment because I always show him up1:

Delaware is First in something else not to be proud of….
Filed in National | by Delaware Dem | on January 27, 2015

….and that is in states with the most uneven and unequal economic recovery. According to a new research paper released yesterday by the Economic Policy Institute, in 39 states, the top 1% of wage earners earned at least half of all income gains between 2009 and 2012. In 17 of those states, the top 1% earned all income growth, while everyone else’s wages stayed stagnant or declined.

But where did the 1% gain the most?

You guessed it.

The Great State of Delaware.

In Delaware, between 2009 and 2012, real income growth in all incomes increased by 0.7%. However, when incomes are divided into the top 1% of incomes versus the bottom 99%, things change. Between 2009 and 2012, wages actually decline for the bottom 99% by 1.6%, while increasing during the same time period for the top 1% by…. wait for it….. 15%!

That means the top 1% gets 301% of all income growth over the three years between 2009 and 2012. That means the top 1% earned THREE TIMES THEIR UNFAIR SHARE OF 100% OF ALL INCOME.

And it gets worse. Since 1979, in all economic expansions this state has experienced, the top 1% has captured 110.9% of all income growth. The bottom 99% saw their wages decline by 10.9% during that same time period. Before 1979, the statistic was reversed. 108.1% of all income growth went to the bottom 99% prior to 1979.

So, thank you President Reagan, the murderer of the middle class.

That’s the whole article, and, quite naturally, what Hube refers to as the Liberal Gaggle of Moonbat Bloggers blames it on the Republicans.

But, let’s look at the map that Delaware Dem provided: it seems that in the far-right state of Texas, that which so horrifies Delaware Dem is pretty far down the scale. Mississippi and Kentucky and Indiana and North Dakota and Montana and Alaska, all solidly red states,2 are in the second lowest category, while the lowest category holds West Virginia, another red state which went redder still in the 2014 elections.

As for the more unequal states, your Editor notes that they are dominated by the blue states: California, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, Massachusetts,3 Connecticut, Rhode Island, the District of Columbia, and blue-due-to-heavy-federal-government-employee Virginia.

These aren’t exact comparisons, of course: there are variations by state, as the Carolinas show greater progress by the top producers, and Missouri is just an outlier by almost any standard, while very blue Hawai’i and Vermont are on the lower end of the scale. But if DD is going to complain that his home state is a bastion of inequality, if he were to look at the map he posted, honestly, he’d start to see the same pattern I did.

Could it possibly be that the policies advocated and put in place by more conservative state governments4 have something to do with income growth being shared a bit more than seems to be the case, generally speaking, in the more liberal states?
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  1. This is not something I regard as a great accomplishment; showing up Mr Scott is something a seventh grader could do.
  2. John Hitchcock’s objections beside the point, I accept the “red state” designation for those carried by Republican presidential candidates.
  3. Home of the Delaware Liberals’ favorite Senator, Elizabeth Warren, who tells us that taxes must be raised on the top producers but famously declined to pay a higher state tax rate voluntarily when she had the chance.
  4. Kentucky’s state government is primarily Democratic, but they are more conservative Democrats than we see in the national party.

Rape is rape, and being stupid and drunk does not excuse rape

From the Associated Press:

2 Ex-Vanderbilt Students Convicted of Rape
By The Associated Press | January 27, 2015

Brandon Vandenburg Credit Larry Mccormack/The Tennessean, via Associated Press

NASHVILLE — Two former Vanderbilt football players were convicted on Tuesday of raping a fellow student in 2013 after a jury rejected claims that they were too drunk to know what they were doing and that a college culture of binge drinking and promiscuous sex should be blamed for the attack.The jury deliberated for three hours before announcing its verdict against the two former players, Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey. Mr. Batey was stoic, staring ahead, and Mr. Vandenburg shook his head no, appearing stunned as the verdict was read. His father had an outburst and abruptly left the courtroom.

The victim, who was a 21-year-old neuroscience and economics major at the time of the attack, cried as each guilty verdict was announced.

Both men were convicted of four counts of aggravated rape, one count of attempted aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. They face decades in prison at their sentencing, scheduled for March 6.

Cory Batey Credit Samuel M. Simpkins/The Tennessean, via Associated Press

More at the link. Pandora of the Delaware Liberal has more of the details, and they aren’t pretty.

So, what happened? The victim went out drinking with her boyfriend, one of the two men convicted of raping her, and got so stinking drunk that she was passing out; she does not remember what happened, but her scumbag boyfriend recorded it on his cell phone! The men were intoxicated, but were not so drunk that they couldn’t take conscious action.

The obvious moral of the story: if you are dumb enough to get stinking drunk, you place yourself in a state in which you cannot make reasonable choices, and you cannot defend yourself. Two young men are now going to spend some real hard time because of something that they were too stupid and too drunk to know better than to do, and even after they get out of prison, they’ll be registered sex offenders and convicted felons, and they’ll never be able to find decent jobs. They ruined the rest of their lives because of stupidity and alcohol.

The victim? I have no way of knowing how much harm she has suffered. She doesn’t remember the attack, and according to Pandora’s source, didn’t want to get Mr Vandenberg in trouble; he was her boyfriend at the time. How much psychological harm she bears, we do not know, and I’d guess that only her close friends, over time, will ever know. But, as much as the feminists would hate this, she helped to make herself into a victim, by getting drunk out of her mind, and out of consciousness. That doesn’t take away from the criminal action by her assailants, not in the slightest, but it still turned her into a victim.

This is one of those cases, along with the Steubenville rape case, which ought to be publicized at every college campus, at every freshman orientation meeting, at every fraternity and sorority rush, and at every athletic team orientation, telling college students what they just can’t do, telling them what ought to be just plain obvious, that alcohol and stupidity can get out of hand and become criminal.

Well, perhaps Messrs Vandenberg and Batey can find jobs after they get out of prison, touring the country and telling students just what they did and how ruined their lives have become. That might be all that’s left for them.

It’s about time!

From the Conservative Tribune:

BREAKING: Free Ride Comes to a Screeching Halt for 6,000 Welfare Leeches
Sunday, January 25th, 2015

The State of Maine has given notice to around 6,000 welfare recipients. The gravy train is over.

Gov. Paul LePage is reinstating a law that says any single, able bodied person, between 18 and 50 must either work, volunteer, or enroll in an employment training program for 20 hours per week in order to continue to receive benefits.

“We must continue to do all that we can to eliminate generational poverty and get people back to work,” said the Republican governor. “We must protect our limited resources for those who are truly in need and who are doing all they can to be self-sufficient.”

The law had been suspended in 2008 due to Maine’s high unemployment rate and the poor job market due to the recession. (H/T madworld.com)

The change isn’t sitting well with some recipients, who can’t understand why they have to do something to receive “free” government benefits.

More at the link. National Review‘s Jillian Kay Melchior noted last November that, despite the wholly-expected objections from the Obama Administration, Governor LePage and Department of Health and Human Services commissioner Mary Mayhew have pursued several welfare reforms designed to cut down on welfare fraud:

Maine has already, among other efforts, doubled the number of fraud investigators; required drug tests for beneficiaries with drug-related felonies; tracked and blocked the use of cash benefits at casinos, liquor stores, and casinos; reinstated the work-requirement for long-term food-stamp collection; and put a five-year cap on cash benefits for able-bodied, non-elderly recipients.

To cut back on fraud and deter the trafficking of food-stamp and cash-assistance cards, Maine also launched a program in June to put photo IDs on all electric-benefits transfer (EBT) cards.

You wouldn’t think that any of that would be controversial in the slightest, but if you thought that, you’d be wrong:

The federal government didn’t like that idea from the beginning. Even though New York and Massachusetts already require photo IDs on EBT cards, the Obama administration required Maine to submit extensive paperwork before doing the same. In April, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) asked Maine to delay its program, warning that the state was “at risk” of losing funds and facing litigation.

Maine pushed forward anyway, and today, more than 21,000 EBT holders have volunteered to participate in the photo-ID pilot program. So last week the federal government attacked again, sending a second strongly worded letter to the LePage administration.

According to the Obama administration’s latest screed, requiring photo IDs could have a “chilling effect” on enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and constitutes a possible civil-rights violation. The letter reiterated that the Obama administration may withdraw some federal funding for Maine, though it did not specify an amount.

Now, since the state is issuing the EBT cards in the first place, and since welfare recipients have to come into social services offices to apply for benefits, those recipients will get their new EBT cards, issued by the state, at state expense. They have to have the cards in their possession to use them, which means there can be no excuse why a photographic identification on the cards would be objectionable . . . unless the objection is that it would be more difficult to use them fraudulently.

The Conservative Tribune called this “breaking news,” but it really isn’t: The Portland Press Herald reported on this last September, and the paper stated that Democrats:

question(ed) why the administration is deciding to implement the new policies so close to the November election.

“The timing of all of these things lends one to think that all of this is politically motivated because it’s an election year,” said Rep. Drew Gattine, a Westbrook Democrat.

Well, so, what if it was? It was still the right thing to do, and the bigger problem is that it took the LePage Administration so long to get it done. Governor LePage won re-election with 48.2% of the vote in a three-way race, despite Maine being a mostly Democratic state.

The Wall Street Journal reported that drug testing of welfare applicants hasn’t turned up that many violators, but the article did not tell readers whether total applications declined, something that would be expected as many prospective applicants who use drugs would simply decide not to apply for benefits if they knew they’d fail the tests. The drug testing program in Maine would be limited to applicants with a past drug-related felony conviction, which might make it easier to get around idiotic federal judges.

The newest rules come months after LePage announced that Maine would cut off all funding for a municipal welfare program to cities and towns that continue to provide benefits to immigrants who can’t prove they’re living in the state legally.

Several cities and immigrants are challenging the policy in court, and the drug-testing policy could also be headed for a legal fight.

Oamshri Amarasingham, public policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, which argues that the policy is unconstitutional, said the organization is waiting to see what actions it will take but is committed to ensuring that it doesn’t go into effect.

“We will absolutely be there at every step to oppose it,” she said.

At some point, you have to ask why the left are so opposed to trying to stop ineligible people from receiving welfare benefits. Why would anyone object to making sure that only eligible people receive state welfare benefits, unless they want the state to give welfare dollars to ineligible recipients? Why would the Obama Administration oppose photographic identification on EBT cards unless it really wants to see other people use the cards fraudulently?

€urosclerosis: The Greeks have revolted

From The Wall Street Journal:

The Wall Street Journal, Monday, 26 January 2015 AD

Syriza Victory in Greek Election Roils European Debate Over Austerity
Leftist Party’s Win Is Likely to Embolden Populist Movements Elsewhere in Eurozone
By Marcus Walker | Jan. 25, 2015 8:33 p.m. ET

BERLIN—For five years, Europe’s common-currency bloc has squabbled over whether the solution to its economic crisis lies in slimming the state and deregulating markets, or in more expansionary fiscal and monetary policies.

The battle lines just got messier, the way out even less clear.

Since the start of the eurozone’s debt crisis, the bloc’s wealthier countries—led by Germany—have largely prevailed in pushing economic overhauls, not stimulus, as the main way to nurse indebted nations to financial health. Now, eurozone voters are in open revolt against such fiscal strictures, while the European Central Bank just overthrew German monetary orthodoxy.

Sunday’s historic victory for the radical left-wing Syriza party in Greece’s elections is likely to embolden populist movements in other eurozone countries, including Spain, France and Italy, which reject German-sponsored austerity.

More at the original.

It was the subtitle, “Leftist Party’s Win Is Likely to Embolden Populist Movements Elsewhere in Eurozone,” which caught my attention: the Journal is suggesting that people in democracies all across Europe may decide, well, Hell, why should we pay our bills? It’s the almost inevitable conclusion of the silly Occupy movement, where people who have been living better than their production supported decided that they didn’t want to have to actually pay for past profligacy.

Well, no, the debt is not owed to taxpayers; the debt is owed by taxpayers, who would not have accumulated that debt had they paid enough in taxes to support the spending of the governments they elected. But, had they paid enough in taxes to keep their budgets balanced, then they’d have had less money themselves, and not lived as well. It was the financiers who provided than money for them to live better. That €40 billion gift would be the gift of the taxpayers not having to pay what they owe, but it would be a €40 billion theft from the people who had loaned their hard-earned money to the Greeks.

Of course, for the Occupods, owing money to people who actually earned money, well they’re the evil 1%ers, so it’s just Social Justice not to pay them back!

The sad part is that the austerity program was working for Greece, but the Greeks were apparently not nearly as interested in getting their government and their country on a sounder financial footing than they were in having more money in their wallets. That’s understandable enough, I suppose, but the real result will be that their government will go broke, and they’ll still have to live no better than their own production will support. Anyone who lends the Greeks money after yesterday’s elections is Just Plain Stupid, and deserves any losses he takes.

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Related Stories from The Wall Street Journal:

€urosclerosis: The Greeks are revolting!

From The Wall Street Journal:

Syriza Poised for Victory in Greek Election
Vote Results Could Determine Country’s Future as Eurozone Member
By Nektaria Stamouli and Alkman Granitsas | Updated Jan. 25, 2015 12:25 p.m. ET

ATHENS—Greece’s radical leftist Syriza party was poised to win a historic victory in national elections Sunday as exit polls showed voters rejected a ruling party that had implemented Europe’s harsh austerity medicine.

Syriza appeared to win between 35.5% and 39.5% of the vote, trouncing the incumbent New Democracy party, which managed to secure just 23% to 27% of the vote, according to the exit polls, which were issued immediately after voting booths closed.

If Syriza is able to secure more than 150 seats on its own, it won’t need coalition partners and will have a freer hand in implementing its program—something that could lead to ruptures with Greece’s creditors.

The polls also showed that voters backed a handful of smaller parties—ranging from the extreme-right Golden Dawn party to the centrist To Potami party—making it unclear whether Syriza would win an absolute majority in Greece’s 300 seat legislature. According to the polls, Syriza was projected to secure between 146 to 158 seats, depending on the final outcome.

The elections are expected to have lasting repercussions for both Greece and the eurozone. Syriza, which emerged as the main opposition party in mid-2012 at the depths of the nation’s debt crisis, has promised to tear up the austerity program that Athens pledged in exchange for a €240 billion ($269 billion) bailout from international creditors.

Since first seeking a bailout in 2010, Greece has undertaken a broad sweep of revamps and cutbacks that have helped fix its public finances and nudged the economy back to growth following six years of deep recession. Those cutbacks have come at a cost: Some 25% of Greeks remain jobless, while a quarter of households live close to the poverty line.

Syriza has promised to change all that: pledging immediate relief to the poor, rolling back unpopular taxes and negotiating a debt write-down with the country’s creditors to free up spending on social programs.

There’s more at the link, but this is no surprise: Greece, like most of the democratic European nations, have been living beyond the means supported by their production, for decades. While the PIGS — Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain — are closer to eventual default than the more productive eurozone members, France and Germany have their own problems; France threw out the more sensible government of Nicolas Sarkozy almost two years ago, voting for the Socialist François Hollande, but it turned out that that socialist government hasn’t helped very much.

It’s simple: today’s voters don’t want to pay the bills run up by their parents so that their parents could live better. Once Greece exits the eurozone and reinstates the drachma as its currency, well maybe they won’t go quite as far as did Zimbabwe in trying to get out of debt, but unless the new government does what it has promised not to do, austerity will be forced on Greece, as no one will lend them any more money.

Back in 2012, Standard & Poors raised Greece’s credit rating to junk bond status (CCC), from SD, or selective default.

Would you lend money to a country in which the voters can just decide not to pay you back?

From Around the Blogroll

Yesterday, I used the snow blower for the first time since getting it back from the service people. It started fine, ran for a minute, and then cut off, and I couldn’t restart it. What the heck, I was saying to myself. It acted like it wasn’t getting fuel, and then I realized: the service people had shut off the valve underneath the fuel tank, so once I used up the gasoline in the fuel line, it was out of fuel. I did enjoy putting more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

And if the forecasts are correct, I’ll get a lot of use out of the snow blower over the next couple of days.

Now, on to the blogroll

Rule 5 Blogging: Women in Combat in History

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Uma Thurman in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. This week, a look back on some older photos, because, regardless of how we imagine things, armies have been using women in dangerous roles when they needed women in those roles.

Yugoslav fighters, members of the patriot forces, during training at an Allied camp in Italy on February 29, 1944. Click to enlarge.

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: Women in Combat in History’ »

Democrisy! The Democrats are just terribly upset about Senator Joni Ernst’s shoes.

Thanks to this story from Donald Douglas, I found out that the left are just totally obsessed with the shoes worn by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) for the Republicans’ rebuttal to President Obama’s supposed State of the Union address:

I particularly liked this response:

 

The Republicans, huh? And how long ago was it that the Democrats got their hearts all a’flutter over Wendy Davis pink tennis shoes, and even decided to nominate her to become Governor of Texas over them?

Patterico noted Representative Justin Amash‘s (R-MI 3rd) response:

The essential error of the Obama presidency is an unfounded belief that greater government power—in our pocketbooks, in our private lives—will make America more prosperous and free. President Obama’s faith in concentrated power was on full display in tonight’s State of the Union address.

Working families feel squeezed by higher health care costs and tuition bills. Those fortunate enough to hold steady jobs haven’t seen a raise in years. They worry about their children’s future and their country’s.

The president seems to have only one answer for them: enlarge the size and scope of the federal government. To help middle-class Americans, the president demands more than $300 billion of tax hikes and a new round of stimulus spending. To rein in education costs, the president creates a federal education entitlement, the type of which led to skyrocketing tuition in the first place. To fix our health care system, the president touts the same law that has caused prices to rise and stripped families of access to their doctors. To make the financial system more stable, the president threatens to veto reforms to Dodd-Frank, his law that made banks bigger than ever. And to protect Americans’ privacy, he offers yet another report instead of reining in his own spies.

Higher federal taxes, more federal spending, and greater federal control of our lives haven’t worked over the past six years. Our country is beginning to turn the corner not because of government but in spite of it. Instead of faith in Washington, let’s put faith in Americans to determine their own lives. Let’s give liberty a chance.

Exactly right!