Recent Posts From Jeremy Kolassa
Question: What’s the difference between conservative foreign policy and liberal foreign policy?
That’s the way it looks to me, noting a few stories in the media. First, US military supplies and troops are going to Turkey:
The United States and Germany are sending Patriot missiles and troops to the Turkish border, a warning to Syria’s besieged President Bashar al-Assad.
The surface-to-air interceptors would be “dealing with threats that come out of Syria,” said U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Threats would include Syrian strikes inside Turkey and fighting between the government and rebels that extends into Turkey.
Errant Syrian artillery shells struck the Turkish border town of Akcakale and killed five Turkish civilians in October.
“We can’t spend a lot of time worrying about whether that pisses off Syria,” said Panetta after signing the order Friday. He spoke after arriving Friday at Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base, a U.S. Air Force installation about 80 miles from Syria’s border.
Despite the prospect of U.S. missiles on Al-Assad’s doorstep and a weakening regime, U.S. intelligence officials said the Syrian leader is showing no signs of giving up.
It is now official: the official blog of POS hipsters everywhere has crossed a line. Gawker blogger Max Read has said, in response to the video of Fox News comedian Steven Crowder being punched in the face by a union thug:
Steven, stop whining, take your licks, and accept that getting hit in the face is a hazard of inserting yourself in the middle of an argument between billionaire-funded know-nothing ideologues and people whose livelihoods and stability are being threatened by the insatiable greed of the super-rich and the blind extremism of their wooden-headed political allies. In exchange, liberals will buy you a band-aid for the cut on your forehead and re-iterate that Punching Is Bad. Sound good? Send your answer on Twitter.
So let me get this straight, Max—because Steven was on the other side, promoting free markets and the right for individuals to choose whether to join a union or not, he should have expected to get punched in the face?
Okay, then, Max. Going by your logic, because you’re on the other side, promoting union thugs forcing people to join their union and pay union dues—you know, kidnapping, stealing, extortion, that sort of thing—you should expect to be punched in the face.
In fact, I say we make this happen. I want to see this Max come out to a protest and get decked in the face. I want to see a meaty fist smash into his precious little nose and see how he likes it. And if he ever bitches about it, he agrees to pay $50 per word in his blog post to United Liberty, and an additional $100 per word to Steven Crowder.
Watching the footage and hearing the stories of what happened in Michigan yesterday was disheartening. Here we have people who are supposedly adults—supposedly, role models to young children out there—turning to violence when then don’t get what they want politically. This is the “grown-up,” “adult” equivalent of a five-year old stamping his feet and pouting when his parents don’t give him the candy he spied on the supermarket shelf.
We’ve seen this violence before. We saw it with the longshoremen during the OWS-type protests last year. LaborUnionReport.com has a entire category of stories of union violence. Heck, even last year ABC News ran a story headlined “How Nasty Can Union Violence Get And Still Be Legal?”
Clearly, a lot. And I think one reason we sadly tolerate this is because, somehow, Americans still think unions are looking out for the poor and downtrodden worker, who is being abused by the big corporate executives. That they’re still American, still with us, we just disagree. But as these and other stories show, they’re not. Unions are not helping America.
They’re fighting a war against us.
I have a new op-ed up on the blaze, the news website of Glenn Beck. In it, I focus on policies that conservatives and libertarians can push for to help out the poor:
Last week, Rep. Paul Ryan visited the Jack Kemp Foundation and gave an amazing speech. It was a speech that appeared aimed at Mitt Romney’s 47 percent remark, which many commentators felt alienated the party from the poor in America. It was a speech about his concern for the “40 percent of all children born into the lowest quintile” who “never rise above it.” It is heartening to hear a Republican say such things. For far too long conservative Republicans have avoided this issue, letting liberals beat them insensate on it. They will always win on emotions to help the poor (versus not helping), yet their poverty programs don’t help the poor; they are always traps. A true free market approach, on the other hand, will bring enormous prosperity to those at the bottom of the ladder, as the 20th century showed. Regrettably, the Republican Party hasn’t always taken a true free market approach.
Can it be done? Can Republicans articulate a strong free market message that simultaneously looks out for the poor? Absolutely. Heres five suggestions:
You didn’t think I was going to post the whole thing here, do you? I have to get people to read it on the site! But I can give you a quick list:
I think I may have finally found the most bothersome, noxious piece of information of all time, thanks to the editors at Townhall.com. The emphasis in the next quote is mine:
It’s official. Taxpayers are no longer simply helping the poor, they’re subsidizing the lives of welfare recipients at a better rate than their own. The Senate Budget Committee has released a report showing households living below the poverty line and receiving welfare payments are raking in the equivalent of $168 per day in benefits which come in the form of food stamps, housing, childcare, healthcare and more. The median household income in 2011 was $50,054, totaling $137.13 per day. The worst part? Welfare payments are equivalent to making $30 per hour for 40 hours a week. The median wage for non-welfare recipients is $25 per hour but because they pay taxes, unlike welfare recipients, the wage is bumped down to $21 per hour.
When I read this, I threw up a bit.
I’m going to be honest with you and tell you a little bit about my personal life, which I don’t typically do in the pages of United Liberty. And I certainly don’t want to start a pity party over me. But here’s the facts: I currently have a paying job, but not a great one. I’m an intern in DC. I make $30 a day. Let me repeat that: I make thirty dollars a day. Yet even though I work hard, create value, and do my damndest to support myself without forcing others to support me, the average welfare recipient receives 5.6 times what I make, paid for with my tax dollars.
If you’ve been sleeping under a rock, Michigan — a heavily unionized state — is about to become the next state to adopt right-to-work laws:
LANSING, Mich. — Michigan, considered the birthplace of the American organized labor movement, was on a fast track Thursday to becoming the nation’s 24th right-to-work state after the state House and Senate approved bills as part of a package to pass the law.
Labor and Democrats were pushing back hard against the Workplace Fairness and Equity Act, but the efforts seemed futile as the controversial measures moved like greased lightning — and without going through committees or public debate — and could land on Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk by next week.
The debate raged across Michigan, and the country, as to whether the legislation would do what proponents say, bring fairness to workers and spark economic growth; or do as opponents claim, lower wages and benefits and destroy the middle class.
“The goal isn’t to divide Michigan, it is to bring Michigan together,” said the governor, who previously had said the issue was not on his agenda.
It should be noted that the law exempts police and firefighter unions, who are perhaps the most powerful unions of all (next to teachers, who from my understanding are not exempt), and also exempts current contracts. The latter doesn’t bother me; those contracts will eventually expire and be up for grabs later. The former does; caving into the police and firefighter unions sets a bad precedent. However, I don’t think it will be a problem in the short run.
The Detroit Free Press does a decent job explaining the law:
Jason has already blogged on how Boehner kicked several freshman conservatives off the Budget and Financial committees. Now, here their side of the story, as Representatives Justin Amash of Michigan and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas came to Heritage Foundation to note what they see as the failures of GOP leadership — namely, they’re not running on their advantage of sane fiscal policy, and they will do anything, even hike taxes, in order to avoid cuts in military spending.
Also on hand was David Williams, president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, who talked about LEED certification, and how it’s a giant racket for the US Green Building Council. The Council is supposedly a nonprofit, but it’s dictated that federal building policy to mandate Gold LEED certification for all government buildings, which nets the Council some $50,000-$200,000 on average per building, on top of taxpayer monies they receive. Nonprofit? I hardly think so.
Over the weekend, the USS Enterprise—the real one, not James T. Kirk’s ship—was retired in Virginia:
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - The world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was retired from active service on Saturday, temporarily reducing the number of carriers in the U.S. fleet to 10 until 2015.
The USS Enterprise ended its notable 51-year career during a ceremony at its home port at Naval Station Norfolk, where thousands of former crew members, ship builders and their families lined a pier to bid farewell to one of the most decorated ships in the Navy.
“It’ll be a special memory. The tour yesterday was a highlight of the last 20 years of my life. I’ve missed the Enterprise since every day I walked off of it,” said Kirk McDonnell, a former interior communications electrician aboard the ship from 1983 to 1987 who now lives in Highmore, S.D.
The Enterprise was the largest ship in the world at the time it was built, earning the nickname “Big E.” It didn’t have to carry conventional fuel tanks for propulsion, allowing it to carry twice as much aircraft fuel and ordnance than conventional carriers at the time. Using nuclear reactors also allowed the ship to set speed records and stay out to sea during a deployment without ever having to refuel, one of the times ships are most vulnerable to attack.
Notice how the story says that the number of aircraft carriers is only “temporarily” reduced to 10 until 2015. That’s because they’re building more of them, and yes, the next one will be named Enterprise:
I’m not a sports guy, so I didn’t find out until this morning, but Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend, then shot himself in front of his coaches.
Naturally, some are calling this an example of why we need gun control. People like…Bob Costas:
You knew it was coming. In the aftermath of the nearly unfathomable events in Kansas City, that most mindless of sports clichés was heard yet again, ‘Something like this really puts it all in perspective.’ Well if so, that sort of perspective has a very short shelf life since we will inevitably hear about the perspective we have supposedly again regained the next time ugly reality intrudes upon our games. Please.
Those who need tragedies to continually recalibrate their sense of proportion about sports, would seem to have little hope of ever truly achieving perspective. You want some actual perspective on this? Well a bit of it comes from the Kansas City-based writer Jason Whitlock, with whom I do not always agree, but, who today, said it so well that we may as well just quote or paraphrase from the end of his article.
Everyone is fearing the fiscal cliff set to hit the country this New Year’s, a point when various tax cuts (including the Bush tax cuts) expire and automatic budget cuts agreed to in last year’s budget deal go into effect. Everyone is—except a growing number of politicians and pundits, who think that going over the fiscal cliff might be a good idea.
Senator Rand Paul, writing in the Wall Street Journal, seems to think so:
Americans are told that they face a “fiscal cliff” if automatic federal spending cuts and tax increases occur at the end of the year. I’m not in favor of jumping off a cliff, but the logic of the supposed threat needs to be questioned.
The fiscal-cliff narrative assumes that spending cuts are bad for the economy. It follows, then, that more spending (and therefore more government debt) are good for the economy.
Didn’t we try that with President Obama’s trillion-dollar deficit-spending spree? You remember the stimulus—the one that created or “saved” American jobs at a cost of $400,000 per job. The one that left the unemployment rate over 8% for 43 consecutive months, the longest span since the Great Depression.
So is it good for the federal government to borrow more and spend more, or is it good for the economy to spend less and borrow less? These questions might need to be addressed before we wring our hands in despair at the possible fiscal cliff.
David Harsanyi also thinks going over the cliff would be better than trying to concot a deal at the last minute, though for him, it’s a bit more on the politics side than anything else: