Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sierra Club Testimony Seems to Burn Under Congressional Scrutiny

Senator Ted Cruz Burns Sierra Club President

Sierra Club President Aaron Mair testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Mair did not seem prepared to answer hostile questions.

Senator Ted Cruz's used this time to drive home the point that satellite data over the last 18 years have not shown global warming. All Mair seemed prepared to say was that 97% of scientists surveyed claim that global warming is due to anthropogenic climate change.

 It was unfortunate for the Sierra Club to have their leader constantly consult with counsel over simple questions.  Mair seemed misinformed about "The Pause" as the Sierra Club chief claimed it was about a phenomenon in the 1940s.  Cruz noted that environmental activists have attributed the 18 year anomaly of no rising global temperatures as "The Pause".

What was telling was when Senator Cruz pressed Mair if he would issue a retraction on behalf of the Sierra Club if the scientific data showed that there was no increase in global temperatures as observed through satellite data over the last 18 years. In response, all the Sierra Club President could do is inanely repeat his talking point about how 97% of scientists surveyed claimed "the debate is over".

The intersection of Big Science and public policy is fraught with danger.  Pope Francis seemed to premise his papal encyclical Laudato Si on the consensus of climate change scientists and urged urgent action during the Paris Global Warming Gathering in December.  It is worrisome when those who want to rule with science ignore contervailing data because it goes against their orthodoxy and simply claim consensus rules.

On Congressional Kabuki Show of Show Votes, Spending Sprees and Shutdowns

Last week, Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) engineered passage of a Continuing Resolution to keep the government funded for the first two months of FY2016.  To prevent the possibility of a shutdown due to riders which might derail cloture, McConnell borrowed a trick from his predecessor Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) and he "filled the tree" by precluding any such amendments to be considered thus a clean CR.  This allowed the must pass legislation to easily achieve a 77-19 majority.

Republican Presidential hopeful Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was truly displeased with not being able to effectively attach a Defund Planned Parenthood Amendment on an otherwise clean CR.  Cruz took to the Senate floor for an hour to educate the public about show votes, spending sprees and shutdown threats.

In today's Washington, there are three kinds of votes. There are, number one, show votes.. Votes that are brought up largely to placate the voters where the outcome is fore –ordained,, where most Republicans will vote one way, Democrats will vote the other, Republicans will lose, and the conservatives who elected Republican majorities in both houses are supposed to be thrilled that they have been patted on the head and given their show vote that was destined to lose. We had a vote like that in recent weeks on Planned Parenthood. Leadership told us: ‘You should be thrilled. We voted on it. What else do you want?’ We voted on it in a context where it would never happen. And indeed it didn't.
 The second kind of vote are votes that simply grow government, that dramatically expand spending, expand corporate welfare, and those votes, Mr. President, those votes pass. Because you get a bipartisan coalition of Republican leadership and Democrats, both of whom are convinced that career politicians will get reelected if they keep growing and growing government, and in particular, handing out corporate welfare to giant corporations. Oh, boy, if you’ve got the lobbyists on K street pushing for something, you can get 60, 70, 80 votes in this chamber because Republican leadership loves it, and Democrats are always willing to grow government.  
And then there's a third kind of vote. Votes on must-pass legislation. In an era when one side, the Democratic Party, is adamantly committed to continuing down this path that is causing so many millions of Americans to hurt, must-pass votes are the only votes that have real consequence in this chamber. They typically fall into one of three categories – either continuing resolution, or an omnibus appropriation bill, or a debt ceiling increase. Each of those three are deemed must-pass votes, and if you actually want to change law, those are the only hopes of doing so. But I mentioned before you have got one side that has preemptively surrendered. Republican leadership has said: ‘We will never, ever, ever shut down the government.’ And suddenly, President Obama understands the easy key to winning every battle. He simply has to utter the word ‘shutdown,’ and Republican leadership runs to the hills.

 Even after this stirring speech which stuck it to the Cocktail Party in the District of Calamity (sic), people not Between the Beltways still have difficulty fathoming this truth.

As  Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is rising in the polls, out come the attack dogs.  One of the charges is that Senator Rubio missed a crucial vote on Cloture, which could have defunded Planned Parenthood.  While Senator Rubio will not get a gold star for his attendance record while in the United States Senate, a clean C.R. precluded serious consideration of defunding Planned Parenthood. The trick was to get  a Defund Planned Parenthood Amendment attached to must pass legislation.

The highway bill in July was one such vehicle.  It would have forced President Obama to stop funding all federal highways to save funding for Planned Parenthood.  But Leader McConnell would never allow the power of the purse to force the hand of this President, so he arranged for a stand alone Defund Planned Parenthood bill, which inevitably could not gain enough votes for cloture, but establishment politicians could claim "We tried but the votes weren't there.".  Hence a show vote.

Now if a Defund Planned Parenthood Amendment were attached to a budget bill, the Byrd Rule quashes cloture so it could pass on a majority vote in the Senate. But that would require Republican leadership to have a backbone.

Senatorial Sasse-iness (sic) on Choice for Speaker

Freshman Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) generated a social media storm as he chimed in on choices for the Speaker of House chair which will be open at the end of October.

It was unclear if Senator Sasse was tweeting tongue in cheek or it was serious Sasse-iness (sic) when he suggested electing American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks for Speaker or if his choice epitomized the qualities of vision, hard work, resolve and wit which Sasse believes is key to be an effective Speaker.

Prior to his social media sharing, Sasse hoped that the Speaker's election would be a transformational debate on the direction of the country, as opposed a discussion as to whether conservatives could be placated.

Sasse did not express any favoritism towards the three announced Speaker candidates: Majority Leader Rep.  Kevin McCarthy (R-CA 23rd) who Speaker Boehner favors; Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL 8th) who first defeated Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL 8th now 9th and running for Senate) and House Government Reform Chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT 3rd).

GOP Candidates for House Speaker McCarthy Webster Chaffetz
[L] Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA 23) [C] Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL 8th) [R] Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT 3rd)

When pressed about what Nebraskan voters thought about the Speaker's race, Sasse candidly quipped:  "You can't really go anywhere in Nebraska where anyone cases about that question. They don't care.  They think Congress sucks."

The House Republican caucus will meet on Thursday October 8th to vote for Speaker.  Rep. McCarthy insists that he has 200 votes for Speaker.  But the anonymity for votes in the Caucus might not yield as much support as the Majority Leader expects.

And if no candidate reaches 218 votes (or a majority if members vote "present" or miss the vote)  when the full House considers the measure, then an interim speaker takes over, which may be the Majority Leader. There is a concern that the two dozen Freedom Caucus members may vote in bloc and block McCarthy from winning.

It is interesting that the GOP Caucus has put off other votes on leadership, like a Majority Leader vote in case Mr. McCarthy is poised to ascend to the Speakership, until the day before current Speaker Boehner resigns. This might allow a candidate who has a plurality but not a majority time to garner more votes.  The timing also may put pressure on members not to invite chaos in the House.

Perhaps then Arthur Brooks in the big chair might not seem like such an outlandish idea.

h/t: Politico

Marco Rubio on Moral Clarity

Senator Marco Rubio on Moral Clarity

David Axelrod on Democrat Primary Politics

David Axelrod on Biden's plan for Democrat Primary Politics

Donald Trump on Success

Donald Trump on Success

Monday, October 5, 2015

Joe Biden on Same-Sex "Stuff"

Joe Biden on Homophobia

Saturday Night Live: Amusement or Agiprop?

SNL Saturday Night Live Hillary Clinton as a Bartender

Saturday Night Live just launched its 41st season on NBC with special guest First Lady Secretary of State Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY).  The appearance by the leading Democrat Presidential hopeful was a sympathetic portrayal of Mrs. Clinton, having the real politico playing a bar keep to a faux Hillary Clinton visiting a Republican bar.  This was a sharp contrast to the SNL satire in the spring which portrayed Hillary as robotic.  It is not surprising that the Not Ready For Prime Time writers would pen comedic softballs for a progressive politician like Hillary Clinton, but the obsequiousness for covering campaign soft spots (slow to support same sex marriage, need to be cool and youthful and the tough task of humanizing her) was egregious.

What was more irksome was a pretty amusing SNL fake ad for Ambilify, a pharmaceutical for politicians suffering from what would best be described as "Potomac Fever".  Such wanna be Presidential candidates have virtually no support but they still continue to campaign.

Perhaps the writers were appealing to Low Information Voters and Potomac Fever would be too Between the Beltways lingo or esoteric.  But slandering these quixotic campaigners as having dementia propels it from the realm of parody into propaganda.

SNL Saturday Night Live fake ad Ambilify for Candidates
Faux Pharamaceutical Ad on Saturay Night Live

WMAL radio host Chris Plante rightly pointed out that the Ambilify fake pharmaceutical only takes aim at Republicans.  There are a couple of Democrats running for President this cycle who have nearly naught support, namely former Senator and  Governor Lincoln Chafee (R-I-D-RI), former Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) and former Governor Martin O'Malley (D-MD).  Strangely, none of those fledgling politicians were satirized as being candidates for Ambilify, even though all of them could have less support than the margin of error in most polls.

As a political junkie, it is fun to see campaigns spoofed on comedy shows.  Knowing the ways of the Lamestream Media, it is unsurprising to see the comedy slanted to the left.  But when a funny fake drug about delusional Presidential aspirants only ribs Republicans, it is not entertainment but agiprop.

Thomas Sowell on News or Propaganda?
Thomas Sowell has urged Americans to be prudent in choosing their news sources. But in an age of infotainment, low information voters often turn to comedy shows to get their fill of the world. Unfortunately, for the last decade youths have been turning to comedy shows, like the Daily Show or the old Colbert Report, to get their news instead satirizing current events. These smug news consumers think that they get they have a good bead on things but they do not realize that they are being played. 

Ben Franklin on Excuses

Ben Franklin on Excuses