Calling All Sea People

April 30, 2010

“Sea People, take me away from this crappy goddamn planet full of hippies.”—Cartman, South Park.

H/T: Big Hollywood

Charlie Crist: “Why Settle For Second In A Primary When I Can Be Third In An Election?”

April 28, 2010

Less than one month after telling Fox News in no uncertain terms that he was not going to run for Senate as an Independent, Florida Governor Charlie Crist is having an Emily Litella moment: “Never mind.”

Republican Florida Governor Charlie Crist has decided he will run as an independent in the race to fill the Florida U.S. Senate seat, Crist allies tell Fox News. The official announcement is scheduled for Thursday at 5pm ET in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Senate campaign has been rough and tumble for Crist, he was once the front-runner — but in recent months began trailing his GOP opponent, former Florida State Speaker Marco Rubio.

Crist has said that under no circumstance would he drop out of the race, saying he will do what is best for the voters of Florida. The governor says Republicans in Washington want him to stay in the Republican party but voters in Florida have told him they want him to run as an independent.

What the governor is not telling you is that the Florida voters who want him to run as an Independent are Democrats. Their hope is that Crist and Marco Rubio will split the Republican vote and Democrat Kendrick Meek will get elected. Thank you, Charlie. You’ve taken a surefire conservative Republican gain in the Senate and turned it into a question mark. I hope the third place finish that awaits you is sufficiently humiliating to end your already embarrassing political career for good. Go, Rubio!

Hot Air has more.

How Do You Know She’s A Witch? UPDATED

April 28, 2010

I can’t even pretend to know what all the hubbub regarding Goldman Sachs is about right now. I know they’ve been accused of somehow profiting from the collapse in the housing market but, frankly, my eyes start to glaze over at the word “shorting.” I also know that after ten hours of a Congressional colonoscopy yesterday, it was revealed that to the best of anyone’s knowledge Goldman Sachs didn’t do anything illegal. Maybe immoral…maybe…but nothing against the law.

But while the finer details of this brouhaha are merrily sliding over my only slightly interested head, I’ve seen enough of the world of politics to know a witch hunt when I see one.

Questions have been raised about how neatly the Goldman Sachs affair ties into the Senate’s push for financial reform, and without any insider knowledge, I’m guessing the questions are legitimate. To me it just brings to mind the decision to make a huge fuss over the weapons being housed at a religious nutjob’s compound in Waco, Texas at the same time that the Clinton administration was all over the television talking about the need for stricter gun control. The timing of these events is a little too good to be coincidental. Fortunately, yesterday’s hearing ended only with a metaphorical roasting of the Goldman Sachs representatives.

So really, this is nothing more than bread and circuses for people looking to blame someone, anyone, for the fact that the economy’s been in such a deep recession. The Democrats, not without some justification, have handed the pitchfork and horns to Wall Street while the Republicans, not without a great deal of justification, are placing the blame on Congress…well, on the Democrats in Congress. The Dems are trying to portray the Republicans as being in league with the devils of Wall and Broad, while the Republicans are trying to portray the Democrats as being power hungry bureaucrats looking to regulate and control everything. Kids, kids…you’re both right!

They’re also both wrong. The Democrats are being amazingly disingenuous because, as Michael Franc reveals on NRO, they’re even more beholden to Wall Street than the Republicans are. Barack Obama got nearly a million dollars in campaign contributions from the fine folks at Goldman Sachs, and Goldman Sachs has come out in favor of the Democrat financial reform package. If you need to ask yourself why an industry would be in favor of sweeping new rules, regulations, and oversights from the Feds it’s because that industry stands to benefit enormously, at taxpayer expense, further strengthening the already too-strong bonds between Big Business and Big Government.

For the Republicans, it’s all well and good for them to point out that the biggest culprits in the collapse of the housing market were the government-run Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (both oddly exempted from the financial reform bill), and that government is the real culprit here. But then the Republicans were in charge for years and, aside from occasional lip service, never even attempted to fix a system that was badly broken. Their inaction is just as culpable as the Democrats’ direct action.

For the issue of financial reform, I’m inclined to believe that some type of reform is necessary and will be beneficial. However, I am absolutely opposed to any more sweeping, “comprehensive” reform packages. After the debacle of health care reform, do we really need to pass a 1400-page bill that overhauls our entire financial system, establishes new government agencies, and imposes copious amounts of rules and regulations on business? A 1400-page bill that I’m willing to bet almost nobody in Congress has actually read?

Politically, this is currently a loser for the Republicans. America is looking for a witch and Congress is supplying us with one, even if the only proof turns out to be that Goldman Sachs weighs the same as a duck. The more the Republicans block the financial reform bill from coming up for debate, the more they get painted as obstructionists, fat cat friends of Wall Street, and the Party of No. The Democrats meanwhile get to portray themselves as the champions of the little guy, socking it to those mean old businessmen. It’s all theater, and it’s all pretty absurd.

Having said that, the Republicans are right to filibuster the bill at this time. There are poison pills in the bill (National Review has an excellent editorial about the bill), and health care reform has proven that the Democrats will not let anything stand in their way if they can get the bill onto the Senate floor. The Republicans know that their best chance of changing this bill so that it is less toxic to Main Street is to change it in committee, because any amendments they propose on the Senate floor will be summarily voted down.

Eventually the Republicans will fold on this and a bill will be debated and passed. Politically, there’s too much heat on the Republicans in a too-important election year for them to do the right thing for too long. But that doesn’t mean this bill is worth passing, at least not in its current form.

UPDATE: Well, that didn’t take long. Within a few hours of my writing this the Republicans collapsed like a bunch of broccoli and the bill will now appear before the full Senate for debate. Courage!

Lock Up Your Salters, There’s A New Nanny In Town

April 21, 2010

In case you ever wanted to know why this blog is called The Clampdown and why the tagline is “I’m not working for The Clampdown” the reason is right here in this entry (and also it’s a great Clash song).

Many of us have a sweet tooth…it’s chocolatey goodness we crave. Many of us prefer the sour tastes of the world. While I enjoy both of these tastes on occasion, my weakness is for the salty goods. Pretzels, potato chips…the saltier the better. I put way too much salt in my food, but my blood pressure is good.

So this strikes home: the Food and Drug Administration is launching a ten-year program to cut down the amount of salt in processed foods. They are doing so in the name of health, claiming that lowering sodium intake will result in fewer deaths from hypertension and heart disease.

Sneaky folks that they are, the changes will be slowly phased in so people won’t even be aware of the difference because their taste buds will be slowly acclimated. A little less salt this year, another tiny subtraction next year, and ten years later you won’t even notice that your food is as bland and grey as the bureaucrats who brought you this decision. Like the myth of the frog that will be boiled alive if you turn up the temperature slowly, the FDA is stating that we won’t be able to tell the difference if they just make the changes gradual enough. Unless, of course, you have a memory that extends back eleven years.

This is just the latest and stupidest manifestation of the Nanny Government sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong. It does so “to help,” of course, by regulating business and industry and by forcing you to accept dietary changes that…well, that you’re just not smart enough to understand are for your own benefit.

This new program needs to be fought not just because it represents a massive government intrusion into our lives, but because it is only the tip of the iceberg.

Thanks to the Democrats in Congress and the President of the United States, the government now has a massive stake in the health care industry. This massive stake means that they have a financial interest. A huge financial interest.

What this boils down to is that the government will be getting involved in all manner of things that were previously considered none of its damn business. If it affects your health, it affects their cost.

Over the past 20 or 30 years, whenever Democrats have wanted to increase the size of government, they claimed that they were doing it “for the children.” It was an emotional catchphrase designed to circumvent rational debate. By phrasing it this way—that government intervention in this, that, or the other thing was necessary for the future of America’s youth—they were able to cast anyone opposed to their statist goals as being somehow anti-child. The rallying cry for the next 20 or 30 years is likely to be “for the health of our children.” The government will now be claiming outrageous regulatory powers under the guise of “health care.” It started several years back with the government assault on tobacco companies and laws designed to prevent the “dangers” of second hand smoke by regulating businesses. Then there were the laws passed banning “trans fats” from food. Now in New York they want to add a tax to all sugary drinks: soda, powdered lemonade, etc. The goal is to “combat obesity.”

Today we add the Salt Police of the FDA, trying to save us from ourselves, and spare us the horrors of hypertension even if it means making our food bland and tasteless. And through all of this—secondhand smoke, trans fats, obesity, Coca-Cola, Lay’s Potato Chips—there is never even the acknowledgment that Americans are living longer and healthier lives than ever before. Clearly there are real health problems in America, including obesity, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, etc., but the way to solve these problems is not government regulation of business. The way to solve them is personal responsibility. If the government were to ban salt completely, my guess is that a whole new generation of “sweet tooths” would spring into being. Ban cigarettes, and people will smoke cigars; ban cigars, they’ll switch to pipes. It is a parent’s job to make sure the child doesn’t eat the entire Easter bunny in one sitting; it is not the government’s job.

The health care reform bill that was just signed in to law is a Trojan Horse for a single-payer system, to be sure. But it also carries within its hollow core the meddling busybodies of the Nanny State, now given free rein to regulate our lives right down to the seasoning in our soup.

UPDATE: Hot Air is on this, too and over at the Weekly Standard Mary Katherine Ham weighs in. Mmmm…ham…delicious salty ham…

Stevens Retiring; Let’s Get Ready To Rumble

April 9, 2010

Justice John Paul Stevens has made it official. He’ll be retiring at the end of the current court session in June.

Stevens is the leader of the liberal wing of the Supreme Court, so Obama’s pick to succeed him probably won’t be appreciably worse than Stevens. However, this is yet more evidence that elections have consequences because this will solidify the liberal bloc of the Court for years to come. It’s a good bet that Ruth Bader Ginsburg will also retire sometime before 2012 since she’s getting up in years and suffers from poor health. Hopefully by then there will be a Republican majority in the Senate that can curb Obama’s worst impulses.

But right now that majority does not exist and there is nothing the Republicans can do short of a filibuster to prevent Obama from appointing one of his radical fringe fellow travelers to the highest court in the land.

Sonia Sotomayor was a lousy pick. She was qualified, but the assets that got her the job were her ethnicity and her willingness to legislate the liberal agenda from behind black robes. With the Democratic majority in jeopardy after November, this may be Obama’s last chance to appoint a hardcore radical. It’s a chance he won’t give up. Look to the most radical president this nation has ever had for the most radical nominee ever made to the Supreme Court.

Here’s Michelle Malkin on the retirement, and Hot Air believes this may present problems for the Democrats. We shall see.

Not Knowing When To Hold ‘Em: Obama Tips His Hand On Nukes

April 6, 2010

I can remember back to the 1980s, when America had a President, and the worried talk in the halls of my college was about impending nuclear war.

“I’m worried about Reagan”…”he’s a cowboy”…”there’s going to be a nuclear war…”

Of course, those comments were from the professors. The student body was amazingly fine with Reagan, but then I didn’t go to Harvard. At that time, with visions of mushroom clouds dancing in their fevered heads, there were two schools of thought for the anti-nukes crowd. The first of these was called the Nuclear Freeze Movement, and it essentially was a moratorium on building new nuclear weapons. “We have enough to destroy the world a dozen times over,” they would say. “Why build more?” This involved the dream that the Soviet Union would agree to this, which wasn’t going to happen.

But the Freeze people were downright sane compared to the Unilateral Disarmament folks. These were the people who believed the United States should systematically destroy all of their nuclear weapons immediately. This, it was believed, would set a moral example to the rest of the world and the other nuclear powers would similarly disarm out of a sense of newly found morality. No, really, that’s what they thought. It should be noted that neither of these beliefs won the Cold War, though either might well have lost it.

Lots of words leap to mind, including “stupid” and “naive.” Today, another word leaps to mind: “Obama.”

In a stunning example of naivete, President Obama has announced to the world that we won’t use nuclear weapons, ever, against non-nuclear countries even if they were to hit us with all of the biological and/or chemical weapons at their disposal. Why is he doing this? From the New York Times:

Discussing his approach to nuclear security the day before formally releasing his new strategy, Mr. Obama described his policy as part of a broader effort to edge the world toward making nuclear weapons obsolete, and to create incentives for countries to give up any nuclear ambitions. To set an example, the new strategy renounces the development of any new nuclear weapons, overruling the initial position of his own defense secretary.

That sounds a whole lot like the old Unilateral Disarmament rationale to me. Obama might want to explain to folks how our disarming “provides incentives for countries to give up nuclear ambitions.” A quick look at a world map would lead you to think the opposite.

For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack.

Those threats, Mr. Obama argued, could be deterred with “a series of graded options,” a combination of old and new conventional weapons. “I’m going to preserve all the tools that are necessary in order to make sure that the American people are safe and secure,” he said in the interview in the Oval Office.

Except that’s exactly what you’re not doing, Mr. Obama. You’re not preserving “all the tools that are necessary.” You are, in fact, promising that we will not respond with the biggest trump card we’ve got. And since the United States does not use biological or chemical weapons, you are putting us in the position of responding to such an attack (which theoretically could be as bad as a nuke) with insufficient force. Even a cyberattack could have the effect of destroying the economy, the infrastructure, the financial system.

The new policy tells all tyrants and tyrant wannabes that they can use a chemical weapon in New York City that kills a hundred thousand people and we will not respond by blowing their countries to smithereens. Does such a policy embolden our enemies? You bet it does. Does it weaken our bargaining hand as we enter into diplomacy with truly vile people who seek to harm us? That would also be a yes.

For decades, the stereotype of the Democrats has been that they are soft on foreign policy. President Obama’s “no nukes” policy is just the latest reason that stereotype still rings true.

At Hot Air, Allahpundit raises valid points and questions.

Today’s Lesson In Progressive Politics: Phil Hare

April 2, 2010

The conservative blogosphere is having a “kids on Christmas morning” day today with this video of Illinois Representative Phil Hare summarily dismissing the United States Constitution.

So much has been said on Hot Air. Big Government, Gateway Pundit, and others that there isn’t really all that much left to say.

That’s never stopped me before, though.

What we’ve got here really is nothing short of fascinating. It’s a genuine peek into the Leftist mindset that is usually hidden from prying eyes. Bless the You Tube generation, folks, because there are millions of tiny portable cameras out there ready to catch the Left unguarded.

For a quick history lesson, this is what’s known as the “Supremacy Clause”:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Translated, the United States is a nation of laws, and the U.S. Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land. There can be no laws that circumvent, overrule, or ignore the Constitution and all Senators, Justices, Representatives, and Presidents have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution.

Yet when asked a simple question: “Where does the Constitution give you the power to create this health care bill?” Phil Hare responds: “I don’t worry about the Constitution.”

While this is really not surprising, in many ways it is nothing short of staggering. Rep. Hare goes on to talk about the “right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” as if it were in the Constitution, and when told that this phrase is from the Declaration of Independence (not a legal document), Hare responds, “It doesn’t matter to me.”

This is the mindset of the Left. Specifically enumerated laws are unimportant. Anecdotes about poor children and bankrupt families are worth more than the legal document on which this country was founded. The law is unimportant. Gefühl ist alles, said Goethe. “Feeling is everything.”

There is a very telling line that Hare uses that isn’t getting much play anywhere else: “I’m the dreamer,” he says when asked about his convictions. The unintended consequences, the crippling of business, the enforced mandates on private citizens, the sick engorgement of government, the thousands of pages of new rules and regulations, of taxes and penalties…all of it in the pursuit of a Leftist dream.

Of course, morning arrives as it always must. When those who are awake find that the law and government policy is based on anecdotes, emotion, and the dream of a perfect society, then one realizes that there are no longer any limits on what government can do and the descent into tyranny will be swift and sure. It won’t be the brutal tyranny of a Nazi regime, but it is fascism nonetheless.

And Congressmen like Phil Hare are wearing the jackboots you hear sneaking up behind you under cover of doing something for “the people.”

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