give a little to get a lot...
Not that this would come as a shock to anyone who pays any attention whatsoever to government, but....
A study by two economists at the University of Michigan demonstrates that banks with better political connections got more bailout money from the TARP program.
Among the more interesting (though unsurprising) findings:
- Just one standard deviation in terms of political contributions equaled an increase of almost 15 million in bailout money.
- A standard deviation in spending on lobbying was associated with an increase of over 10 million.
- And (surprise) banks that had headquarters in districts represented by members of the House Financial Services Committee had a 26% better chance of getting bailout funds at all.
Like they say, it's not what you know, but who you know.
I've spent a good bit of time in the past few years working to create a type of self-help "how to" resource for those who want to learn the basics of how to be effective when it comes to conservative political grassroots activism. And now, at long last, it's done.
The "it" in question is "Grassroots 101: Grassroots Training Series". Grassroots "101", as in the first in a series of resources and ebooks that will focus on "the fundamentals of political success", and "Grassroots Training Series", as in a series of three manuals that take you step by through the basics of political activism for beginners, intermediate and advanced activists.
Grassroots activism works
Conservative grassroots activism can change policy and influence decisions from the local school boards all the way to Washington, DC - but it depends on how diligent you are. If we are going to be successful, we have to commit to doing what Ronald Reagan called "the hard work of freedom". And that work includes community, social and political action. And effective activism begins with knowledge.
The purpose of the Grassroots Training Series is not to be exhaustive, (that's another book!), but to cover the highlights and break down the complexities of the political system and give a basic understanding of some of the more fundamental techniques that can help you achieve success. read more »
The ability to obstruct is an important thing. Especially if you're in a minority and don't want to get run over by a majority.
Gene Healy has a good column out today looking at the importance of the Senate filibuster, which is made all the more obvious in the current fight over Obamacare.
He points out that a number of liberals are beside themselves about the ability of Republicans to influence and/or slow down the health care debate.
Our entire constitutional architecture is based on the idea that it should be hard to do big things. As Hamilton put it in Federalist 73, "the injury which may possibly be done by defeating a few good laws, will be amply compensated by the advantage of preventing a number of bad ones."
Krugman points out that the 60-vote requirement for cloture "appears nowhere in the Constitution." While he's got the document out, maybe he can enlighten the Times' readers as to where Congress finds the power to force all Americans to buy health insurance.
Instead of getting upset that the opposition doesn't lay down when they try to ram something through, maybe liberals should be more concerned with the fact that the majority of the American public (as opposed to a minority in Congress) don't agree with their plans for health care.
And that majority gets to vote in eleven months.
It’s been said that when life gives you lemons you make lemonade. So it is with politics.
The GOP’s 2008 election defeat planted and watered the seeds of what the party has been in need of for a long time – a real conservative revolution.
The good news is that Barack Obama is making it all possible. He and the Democrat leadership are providing Americans with a vivid reminder of everything they don’t like about liberalism.
As White House Chief of Staff Rham Emanuel was credited with saying after Obama took office, ”a crisis is a terrible thing to waste”. Well, just ten months in to his term, Americans are sensing a crisis. Specifically, the crisis represented by Obama’s brand of liberalism, and they’re in the mood for a revolt. read more »
everyone's a crook
Over-criminalization. It's an issue that doesn't get the attention that it deserves.
What's it all about? The fact that we have more criminal laws on the books (especially over the federal variety) that, essentially, puts everyone in jeopardy of being guilty of a felony and doing federal time. Meaning more people in more federal prisons. Taking up space where violent offenders should be. This as opposed to a better use of civil penalties.
Gene Healy has an excellent column over at the Examiner today on the issue. He notes the following:
There are now more than 4,000 federal crimes, spread out through some 27,000 pages of the U.S. Code. Some years ago, analysts at the Congressional Research Service tried to count the number of separate offenses on the books, and gave up, lacking the resources to get the job done. If teams of legal researchers can't make sense of the federal criminal code, obviously, ordinary citizens don't stand a chance.
He points out that the Founding Fathers....you know, those guys who actually established our government...wrote the document that outlined what the federal government could and couldn't do, etc...that they only listed three federal crimes in the Constitution. Yes, three. Treason, counterfeiting and piracy. But OUR federal officials are SO much smarter than those guys, right?
This isn't to say nothing else should be against the law. But it's a question of felony crimes vs. civil penalties...and a question of whether or not the long list of current "crimes" are any of the federal government's business vs. that of the states. read more »
Bad news for Dems...
We've had plenty of time to observe Obama's slowly but surely declining national poll numbers over the course of this year, as well as the generic congressional ballot numbers that are consistently showing Republicans with a big advantage over Democrats in the "which party woud you vote for" question, (currently up by 7%). But today we've got a few interesting state polls to take a look at...
Bad news in the KeyStone State
Despite the fact that he won Pennsylvania by ten points last year (after campaigning there 45 times), Barack Obama is finding the state to be a little less hospitable lately. The latest poll from that state shows Obama with only a 40% approval rating. Longtime Senator (and newly minted, up-for-re-election Democrat) Arlen Specter is at an amazingly low 29%, (66% say it's time for a new senator). It should also be noted that the Keystone State's unemployment numbers (at 8.4%) are two full points LOWER than the national average. read more »
In what should come as a shock to absolutely nobody in this country, a look at the details of the latest version of Obamacare demonstrates that it's still a sweet deal for the millions of illegal (soon to be given amnesty) aliens in this country.
A report from the Center for Immigration Studies took a look at the fine print of both the current House and Senate versions of health care "reform", (all 4,000 plus pages) and finds that, surprise, illegals will indeed get access to taxpayer funded health care benefits.
- HR 3962 ensures illegal alien access to the exchange and public option. HR 3590 states illegal immigrants are excluded from these.
- Both bills ostensibly bar illegal aliens from receiving the premium subsidy, and both bills use some form of eligibility verification for the subsidy.
- Both bills expand Medicaid eligibility. Both bills lack verification requirements based on citizenship or immigrant status. Both contain serious loopholes to enroll illegal aliens easily into Medicaid. HR 3962 automatically covers anchor babies.
- The eligibility verification process in each bill falls woefully short of protecting taxpayer liability to cover or subsidize people living unlawfully in the United States. Both the House and Senate bills’ verification processes will encourage large-scale fraud and abuse.
- The Senate bill exempts illegal aliens from the mandate that everyone have health insurance or else face a tax penalty. This perverse exemption treats illegal aliens better than the bill treats American citizens.
As Gomer would say: "surprise, surprise, surprise!"
As Gomer would say: "surprise, surprise, surprise!"read more »
The Washington Examiner has done a great service by starting an interactive map (using Google maps) to give taxpayers an overview of all of those bogus stimulus jobs.
The total so far is getting close to 80,000. And of course, look to see the total go up, not down.
Pass a link to this map on to any of your "buddies" who might be under any Joe Bidenesque illusions about the much vaunted "stimulus" bill.
You can click the push-pins and get the details on each case.
View Bogus jobs 'created or saved' by the Stimulus in a larger map
From the Examiner...
Most of the new pins on our interactive map represent such un-started, un-funded contracts, according to data taken from Recovery.gov. Because the Obama administration has been using its inflated claim of 640,000 jobs "created or saved" to make projections for future stimulus job creation, these un-started, un-funded projects really should not be part of the total. Moreover, the administration itself has asked contractors not to make "projections" but to report jobs as they are "created or saved," according to news reports.
...but nobody cares what she thinks?
Despite all the eyebrow raising in the media about her book deal, the market for her book, or the content of her book, Palin blew the doors off by selling over 300,000 copies on its first day of availability.
It's number one on Amazon's list today, and if the first day is any indication, it will be for some time now.
The Daily Beast calls her book a "$25.6 million dollar economic stimulus package", (figuring up the value of the books, as well as the value of the media coverage and events it has generated).
In the meantime, the folks over at the AP have assigned eleven staffers to "fact check" her book. Eleven. And the number of staffers they have assigned to reviewing the health care bill? Two.
That's the "mainstream media" for you. And they get offended and wonder why we refer to them as the joke they are.
In the meantime, you can get Sarah Palin's Going Rogue for yourself here.
There are two groups of people that have reason to be scared over Tuesday's election results: moderate Democrats and Republican leadership.
Why any Democrat should be concerned is obvious. They're the current majority party and they're in control of Congress and the White House. Off year elections are normally bad for the party in the White House, but Tuesday's election results point to something big next year.
In Virginia, a state Obama carried by five percent, the Republican candidate for Governor wins by eighteen percent - a twenty-three point swing.
In deep blue New Jersey, a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by two to one; where the Democrat incumbent outspent the Republican by three to one; where Obama himself won by fifteen points and made multiple campaign stops, the Republican wins by four points - a nineteen point swing. read more »