Unable to be a halfway decent President, Barack Hussein Obama reverts to what he does best: campaign.

The tasks of running for President and actually being a good President are two very different things, and Barack Obama has shown us, very clearly, that being very good at the former doesn’t mean that a person will be any good at the latter. From The Wall Street Journal:

Obama to Propose Tax Increases on Investments, Inherited Property
President Expected to Outline Tax Measures in State of the Union Address
By Carol E Lee, Colleen McCain Nelson and John D McKinnon | 

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama will call on the new Republican-led Congress to raise taxes on investments and inherited property and to create or expand a range of tax breaks for middle-income families, laying out an opening position in a debate over taxation that both parties see as a potential area of compromise.

Mr. Obama will outline the measures in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. He will propose using revenue generated from the tax increases—which would fall mainly on high-income households—to pay for a raft of new breaks aimed at boosting stagnant incomes for low- and middle-income households.

Those initiatives include tripling the child-care tax credit and creating a new credit for families in which both spouses work, senior administration officials said on Saturday.

The administration plans to consolidate and expand education tax breaks. It would also make retirement savings programs available to many more people, for example by requiring many employers that don’t currently offer workers a retirement plan to enroll them automatically in an individual retirement account. The administration says its proposals would make retirement saving programs available to 30 million additional people at the workplace.

More at the link.

This is nothing more than a campaign document, because the chances of the Congress passing a tax increase on the most productive Americans are vanishingly small. William Teach asked why the President didn’t propose these things while the Democrats still controlled the Senate, and part of the answer is that all revenue bills must originate in the House of Representatives, but the other part is that he didn’t want o make things any rougher on Democratic candidates in conservative states than necessary; even as election day approached in 2014, the Democrats had some hopes of retaining the Senate, and never anticipate the real butt kicking that they received.

So, why, if the President is seeking any compromise at all, as he supposedly is, would he push a plan which won’t make it out of the House Ways and Means Committee?  The answer is that he isn’t really seeking compromise, nor is he going to make any serious attempts at leading by any means other than executive orders and judicial nominations. Rather, he wants to give Democratic candidates in 2016 some talking points, trying to somehow revive the silly Occupy movement and class warfare.

But even a cursory look at what the President is supposedly going to propose tells us that it’s not even being advertised truthfully. It is, supposedly, supposed to benefit the middle class, but extending the earned income tax credits to families without children doesn’t benefit the middle class in the slightest; it is a benefit solely to lower-income people. Increasing the child care tax credit could help some middle-income families, but there is no reason at all to provide welfare for the middle-class. Two years of “free” community college tuition? What we need are stronger training programs in high school, and a greater push for them; Michael Bloomberg noted that becoming a plumber1 is probably a wiser career choice for most people coming out of high school.2 But nothing is free; education costs money, and has to be paid for somehow.3

The President does not expect any of these proposals to ever be passed, and I would certainly hope that they are not; the last hing we need is to add to the complexity of the tax code or to take more money from people who have earned it to give to those who have not.
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  1. Mr Bloomberg used plumbing as an example, but his reasoning would hold just as true for electricians and carpenters and other skilled tradesmen.
  2. The Editor’s wife is a registered nurse, who earned her Associates in Science in Nursing at a community college.
  3. Thanks to the complete ineptness of the Carbon County tax collector, who told my mortgage company that my property taxes were up to date, leading my mortgage company not to pay them on time, I had to pay, personally, $2,008.63 in school district taxes on December 22nd, giving your Editor a very good lesson in just how free free public education really is.

Rule 5 Blogging: Swiss Misses

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 Kaley Cuoco 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. Today: Soldiers from neutral Switzerland.


Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: Swiss Misses’ »

From Around the Blogroll

In the most important news of the day, the University of Kentucky Wildcats stayed undefeated, with a 70-48 thrashing of the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa:

Kentucky rises to 17-0 with 70-48 romp at Alabama
By Jerry Tipton | January 17, 2015

Kentucky Wildcats center Dakari Johnson (44) went in for a dunk as #1 Kentucky played Alabama on Saturday January 17, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, AL. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — For those who believe needing extra time to subdue Ole Miss and Texas A&M served more to entertain than alarm, Kentucky strengthened that argument Saturday.Kentucky overwhelmed Alabama 70-48 to cement its status as the best team in the Southeastern Conference.

Alabama, which had won 14 straight home games dating to last season, suffered the most lopsided loss in Coach Anthony Grant’s six seasons as coach (previous worst was a 21-point loss at Missouri last season).

Grant became the eighth opposing coach to take a record beating as Kentucky improved to 17-0. As the only unbeaten team in SEC play, UK improved to 4-0.

Continuing his hot shooting, Devin Booker led UK with 13 points. He made four of seven shots (three of six from three-point range) to make him 30 of 50 (20 of 28) in the last seven games.

Tyler Ulis and Dakari Johnson chipped in 11 points each.

Alabama (12-5 overall, 2-2 SEC) got 13 points from Levi Randolph and 10 from Rodney Cooper.

Kentucky dominated the first half with size and skill. The Cats led 35-17 at halftime.

Read more here.

And now, on to the blogroll:

  • Karen on The Lonely Conservative: Ferguson Inspired Protests Funded By George Soros The best thing about Mr Soros is that he’s 84 years old, and it can’t be too much longer before he goes to his eternal reward.
  • Kim Quade on The Victory Girls: Does Pope Francis Stand for Freedom of Speech? We have to remember: freedom of speech as it is practiced in the United States is almost unique to our county; the rest of the world, including the other democracies, all have more restrictions placed on speech.
  • John Hitchcock on Truth Before Dishonor: “I’m An Israeli Soldier, Proud To Be” No, Mr Hitchcock, a United States Marine Corps veteran, is not claiming that he is an Israeli soldier, but is presenting a video from one.
  • Hube on the Colossus of Rhodey: Don’t be too hard on President Lemon
  • Perry on Bridging the Gap: nothing new in over a month now!
  • Donald Douglas on American Power: 2014 Wasn’t the Warmest Year Ever I’ve heard so much on global warming, much of it contradictory, and I’m not about to say that it either is or is not happening. But I will say that if it is occurring, it is better to adapt as the climate changes than to impoverish ourselves trying to prevent it.
  • Robert Stacey Stacy McCain on The Other McCain: Rapists rape and rape again
  • William Teach at The Pirate’s Cove: ISIS Throws Gay Men From Rooftop, Stones Woman
  • The much better-looking Dana on Patterico’s Pontifications: Execution in Oklahoma If we are going to have capital punishment, then damn it, we should have capital punishment: murderers should be hanged, with the executions open to the public. If people think that capital punishment is some sort of deterrent to crime — and I do not, or Texas would have the lowest murder rate of any state — then whatever deterrent effect there is is weakened by the way in which we do it. If we are going to have capital punishment, then we damned sure shouldn’t be squeamish about it; we ought to proclaim it proudly, and do it publicly, so that every citizen has the opportunity to see what is being done in his name.

#JeSuisCharlie : Don’t think that the #CharlieHebdo attacks suddenly made the French support freedom of speech

Stolen, in it’s entirety, from Donald Douglas:

In Wake of #CharlieHebdo March, France Cracks Down on Hate Speech. Wait. What?

It was a nice march, but pessimists sure didn’t have to wait long to be proved correct.

At the BBC, “Paris attacks: Dieudonne held as France tackles hate speech,” and the Guardian, “Dieudonné arrested over Facebook post on Paris gunman.”

Video here, “French Comic Dieudonne Faces 7 Years in Prison for Paris Attack Facebook Post.

Also, from Neo-Neocon, at Legal Insurrection, “France is cracking down on “hate speech”.”

And don’t miss civil liberties drama queen Glenn Greenwald, at the Intercept, FRANCE ARRESTS A COMEDIAN FOR HIS FACEBOOK COMMENTS, SHOWING THE SHAM OF THE WEST’S “FREE SPEECH” CELEBRATION.”

As they say, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Which brings us to this, from The Wall Street Journal:

French Jews Face Hate They Left Africa to Escape
France Was Supposed to Be a Safe Haven for Jews Fleeing North Africa Decades Ago
By Yaroslav Trofimov,Ruth Bender and Jason Chow |

PARIS—Every Friday, Johanna Bettach, a pregnant mother of two, stocks up on weekend supplies at the Hyper Cacher supermarket. Last week, just before she was getting ready to shop, an Islamist militant gunned down four Jewish customers at the kosher store and took many others hostage.

The Hyper Cacher attack, one of the deadliest against France’s Jewish community since World War II, spurred outrage across the country. It was by no means isolated, coming against a backdrop of acts of violence and intimidation.

Just three months earlier, Ms. Bettach said, she found her mezuzah—a box containing a parchment of Torah verses that religious Jews attach to their doors—torn off and thrown out.

“It is going from bad to worse in France, and we know that it is not going to stop,” said Ms. Bettach, 33 years old. “I can’t sleep at night anymore. All day when my kids are at school, I worry. I just don’t see any future for my children in this country.”

More at the original.

The good European socialism that the American left sees as so very, very good — after all, they’ve got free1 health care! — is something that the left wouldn’t really recognize. It seems as though der Führer didn’t have to work all that hard to get the French to turn over their Jews; anti-Semitism has along and strong history amongst the supposedly Christian Europeans.

From The Washington Post:

The biggest threat to French free speech isn’t terrorism. It’s the government.
The murders at Charlie Hebdo, while tragic, aren’t the problem.
By Jonathan Turley2 | January 8, 2015
Within an hour of the massacre at the headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper, thousands of Parisians spontaneously gathered at the Place de la Republique. Rallying beneath the monumental statues representing Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, they chanted “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) and “Charlie! Liberty!” It was a rare moment of French unity that was touching and genuine.

Yet one could fairly ask what they were rallying around. The greatest threat to liberty in France has come not from the terrorists who committed such horrific acts this past week but from the French themselves, who have been leading the Western world in a crackdown on free speech.

Indeed, if the French want to memorialize those killed at Charlie Hebdo, they could start by rescinding their laws criminalizing speech that insults, defames or incites hatred, discrimination or violence on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, sex or sexual orientation. These laws have been used to harass the satirical newspaper and threaten its staff for years. Speech has been conditioned on being used “responsibly” in France, suggesting that it is more of a privilege than a right for those who hold controversial views.

In 2006, after Charlie Hebdo reprinted controversial cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that first appeared in a Danish newspaper, French President Jacques Chirac condemned the publication and warned against such “obvious provocations.”

“Anything that can hurt the convictions of someone else, in particular religious convictions, should be avoided,” he said. “Freedom of expression should be exercised in a spirit of responsibility.”
The Paris Grand Mosque and the Union of French Islamic Organizations sued the newspaper for insulting Muslims — a crime that carries a fine of up to 22,500 euros or six months’ imprisonment. French courts ultimately ruled in Charlie Hebdo’s favor. But France’s appetite for speech control has only grown since then.

There’s more at the original.

But perhaps I was giving the American left too much credit; it was just last year that the Democrats were tying to pass a constitutional amendment to limit he freedom of speech,3 not for something repugnant like child pornography or internet spam, things the Framers couldn’t really imagine, but political speech, the speech most on the Framers’ minds when the First Amendment was written. It was more of a campaign stunt than anything, and the Republicans blocked it via the filibuster, but hey should have let the Democrats have their vote, and put their names on record as being against freedom of speech.4 And the left try to shout down any opposition by screaming that it’s raaaaacist, but that, at least, is private action, and the First Amendment limits only the government.

France might be one of the worst offenders among the democracies, but it’s hardly the only one; in Canada, and all across Europe, the government can, and will, take action for speech considered offensive by some Accredited Victim Group. It looks like our Framers, those old 18th Century men, were pretty darned smart in giving us absolute protection from those who would take away liberty for what they believe to be the common good.

  1. Free at point of service, maybe, but they pay for it anyway with hideously high taxes; nothing in life is free!
  2. Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University.
  3. I chose to link to a leftist site, to make the point that it was the left who supported this.
  4. It wouldn’t have passed anyway; a constitutional amendment originating in Congress requires a 2/3 majority in both Houses of Congress to advance to the states for ratification, and it would not have come close to the 67 votes needed in the Senate to send the proposed amendment to the House.

The Democrats seem determined to throw away the votes of white Americans

We have mentioned the Democrats’ loss of the white working class1 voter previously, but this article, via Donald Douglas, shows just how bad it has become:

White-Out: Where Democrats Lost the House
In 2009, 76 Democrats represented primarily white working-class congressional districts. Just 15 of them are still in the House today.
By Ronald Brownstein

January 13, 2015 Republicans have surged to their largest majority in the House of Representatives since before the Great Depression by blunting the Democratic advantage in districts being reshaped by growing racial diversity and consolidating a decisive hold over the seats that are not.

Compared with 2009 and 2010, when Democrats last controlled the House, the Republican majority that takes office this week has essentially held its ground in districts where minorities exceed their share of the national population, a Next America analysis has found. Aided by their control of redistricting after the 2010 census, Republicans over the past three elections have simultaneously established an overwhelming 3-1 advantage in districts where whites exceed their national presence, the analysis shows. Those white-leaning districts split between the parties almost equally during the 111th Congress, in 2009-10.

A majority of the GOP gains since then have come from the Democrats’ near-total collapse in one set of districts: the largely blue-collar places in which the white share of the population exceeds the national average, and the portion of whites with at least a four-year college degree is less that the national average. While Republicans held a 20-seat lead in the districts that fit that description in the 111th Congress, the party has swelled that advantage to a crushing 125 seats today. That 105-seat expansion of the GOP margin in these districts by itself accounts for about three-quarters of the 136-seat swing from the Democrats’ 77-seat majority in 2009 to the 59-seat majority Republicans enjoy in the Congress convening now.

The GOP dominance in these predominantly white working-class districts underscores the structural challenge facing Democrats: While the party has repeatedly captured the White House despite big deficits among the working-class white voters who once anchored its electoral coalition, these results show how difficult it will be to recapture the House without improving on that performance. “The question is: Are we at rock bottom here?” says Tom Bonier, CEO of the Democratic voter targeting firm TargetSmart Communications.

These trends present Republicans with a mirror-image challenge. The vast majority of their House members can thrive without devising an agenda on issues—such as immigration reform—that attract the minority voters whose growing numbers nationally have helped Democrats win the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections. “When you can go out screaming ‘amnesty’ and not get any pushback in your districts, you are more prone to scream ‘amnesty,'” says veteran GOP pollster Whit Ayres. “It leads to an attitude of: ‘problem, what problem?'”

There’s more at the original.

In one regard, the article is taking off from a very poor starting point, with the comparison of majority white working class districts held by the Democrats in the 111th Congress. The Democrats had recaptured the Congress in the 2006 elections, spurred in significant part with the Republicans’ disgust that a majority Republican Congress, with a Republican President, was spending so much money. Then, with the economic collapse in 2008 being blamed on the GOP, the Democrats soared to huge victories in the 2008 elections. Mr Brownstein, the author, is taking as his starting point a Democratic representation level that was abnormally high; his point is essentially correct, but by using the 111th Congress as his starting point, he is using inflated numbers to overstate the change.

Continue reading ‘The Democrats seem determined to throw away the votes of white Americans’ »

  1. Investopedia defines “working class” as “A socioeconomic term used to describe persons in a social class marked by jobs that provide low pay, require limited skill and/or physical labor, and have reduced education requirements.” It continues to state that “Unemployed persons or those supported by a social welfare program are often included in this group,” but The First Street Journal holds that there is a difference between working class and non-working class. Other definitions can be found, but they are fairly unified on the concept that the working class are, primarily, those without higher education, who rely on manual labor to provide an income. Your Editor disagrees: he defines working class as those people who have to work for a living, and takes no distinction based upon the kind of work that they do, because he holds that all (legal) work is honorable and praiseworthy.

I guess that the French couldn’t guarantee him a good tee time!

This is from Slate, of all places:

More Than 40 World Leaders Head Up Massive Paris March
By Daniel Politi

World leaders and dignitaries attend a mass unity rally on Jan. 11, 2015, following the recent Paris terrorist attacks. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Leaders from across the world, including some countries with less-than-stellar freedom of expression records, linked arms and headed up a massive unity rally through the streets of Paris on Sunday to pay tribute to the 17 people killed in France by Islamist terrorists this past week. More than 1 million are expected to take part in what could very well be the largest march through the streets of Paris in modern times, notes Reuters.

“Paris is today the capital of the world. Our entire country will rise up and show its best side,” French President François Hollande said.

Families of the victims also joined the front of the march that included Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Other leaders included Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, details CNN.

More text and pictures at the original. But your Editor noted with some wry amusement that Mr Politi, the author, managed to name some of the important world leaders who made their way to Paris for this, but there isn’t a single word about the fact that President Obama chose not to go, and did not send Vice President Biden either. The absence of our President and Vice President was apparent only by omission, were Mr Politi’s article your only source for news. Given Slate’s leftist leanings, I am not too terribly surprised that the author didn’t want to note anything bad about our President. Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder was the United States’ representative for this, something Mr Politi did not mention.

There will be some on the right who will note the absence of President Obama and conclude that it is because he secretly sympathizes with the Islamists, but your Editor disagrees: President Obama chose not to attend because he really just didn’t want to be bothered.

Kathleen Kane: Pennsylvania’s clown Attorney General

We have mentioned the problems of Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D-PA) previously:

Lawyer: Kane won’t quit if charged

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane

Craig R McCoy, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer | LAST UPDATED: Saturday, January 10, 2015, 5:25 PM | POSTED: Saturday, January 10, 2015, 2:34 PM

A lawyer for embattled Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said Saturday that she would not resign her office if charged with leaking confidential grand jury information to a newspaper.

Lanny J. Davis, a former special counsel to President Bill Clinton, said Kane was being subjected to a “one-sided, biased investigation.”

“This railroad train seems to me to be driven by some men with grudges, men who are bitter and angry at being exposed and professionally embarrassed – men who have political agendas to railroad Kathleen Kane out of office and destroy her career,” he said.

Davis said any suggestion that she illegally leaked confidential information was “completely false.”

At a news conference in Philadelphia, Davis rejected any suggestion that Kane had committed perjury before a grand jury. “She was truthful at all times,” he said.

People familiar with the grand jury investigation say the panel has recommended that Kane, 48, be charged criminally for leaking secret material in a bid to embarrass a political foe by planting an article in the Philadelphia Daily News.

Sources have said she could face perjury and contempt of court charges.

Read more here.

Well, no, we didn’t expect Mrs Kane to resign if she is indicted, as a grand jury recommended that she should be. Pennsylvania law requires that a state official charged with a crime leave office only after convicted and sentenced, so she is under no legal obligation to resign until then. And there is some irony involve: the grand jury (supposedly) recommended that Mrs Kane be indicted for leaking secret grand jury information for political purposes, but for us to have heard this story, secret grand jury information had to have been leaked. :) The First Street Journal does not suggest that Mrs Kane ought to resign because she may be indicted; we suggest that she ought to resign because she is just plain incompetent.

Alas! Incompetency isn’t a crime. If it were, every Democrat in the state — and, unfortunately, not a few Republicans — would be in jail!
Related stories:

Rule 5 Blogging: French gendarmerie

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 Charlotte di Calypso 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, we look at the French gendarmerie! Click any photo to enlarge

PARIS, FRANCE – JULY 2011 – Two young Roma women are questioned and searched by French police after being suspected of theft in Montmartre.

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: French gendarmerie’ »

From Around the Blogroll

A nail-biter for the Cats!

Kentucky basketball escapes Texas A&M 70-64 in double OT
By Jerry Tipton | jtipton@herald-leader.com | January 10, 2015

Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein (15) and Texas A&M’s Tavario Miller (4) battled for the ball in the second half of the Kentucky at Texas A&M men’s basketball game at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas, on Jan. 10, 2015. Kentucky beat the Aggies 70-64. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff — Lexington Herald-Leader

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Kentucky, the No. 1-ranked team all season, had inspired comparisons to John Wooden’s dynasty at UCLA. Yet, an oddly subdued atmosphere filled Reed Arena on Saturday as Texas A&M tried to play giant killer.Kentucky’s play was also wildly out of character. The Cats got crushed in the paint against an A&M team playing without its best player, Jalen Jones. UK was also strangely passive with its signature offensive weapon — offensive rebounding — for much of the first half.

Kentucky prevailed 70-64 in double overtime, the first time any UK team had been extended to more than one extra period since a 2008 double-overtime win over Vanderbilt.

Tyler Ulis’ only basket of the game — a three-pointer — put Kentucky ahead 66-63 with 1:25 left in the second overtime.

Dakari Johnson, a 57.1-percent free throw shooter this season, clinched it with two foul shots with 14.7 seconds left. That completed his 6-for-8 game from the foul line.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2015/01/10/3633964_live-game-blog-kentucky-basketball.html?sp=/99/322/&rh=1#storylink=cpy

I’m guessing that all of the talk about UK going undefeated this season is going to fade away. They’d have lost to Ole Miss had guard Stefan Moody, who was playing out of his mind, hadn’t cramped up at the end, and UK would have lost to A&M if the Aggies had hit a decent percentage of their free throws.

And now, on to theblogroll!