Sequester? I’ll Take Two, or Three, or …

February 20, 2013

If the automatic budget cuts set in motion back in 2011 – known as the “sequester” – go into effect soon, as will be the case without Congressional action, people will die. At least that is if the level of rhetoric to which President Obama has now lowered himself to bears any actual resemblance to reality. (Let us leave out for now that politics seldom ever really bears any resemblance to reality to begin with.)

Speaking in front of cameras Tuesday – and flanked by uniformed first responders otherwise known to political cynics as ‘prop people’ often used for emotional, rather than rationale, appeals – Obama warned of the following (abbreviated to prevent potential reader nausea):

“Emergency responders … their ability to help communities respond to and recover from disasters will be degraded… FBI agents will be furloughed. Federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go… Hundreds of thousands of Americans will lose access to primary care and preventive care like flu vaccinations and cancer screenings.”

Who, according to Obama, will be to blame for these supposedly outrageous “meat-clever”-type cuts? The usual suspects: “Congress.” Or what he really means: Those evil, rich-loving Republicans who only cater to ‘special interests.’  Never mind the minor detail that the sequester was actually the Obama administration’s idea. In fact, Obama was at one point adamant against backtracking on it. In November of 2011, he warned, “I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts – domestic and defense spending.” He added, “There will be no easy off-ramps on this one.”


But don’t sweat the details, right? Political rhetoric is much more preferred in situations like this. And none is more preferred than the rhetoric that claims this sequester actually represents ‘cuts’ – and the “meat-cleaver” kind at that! Unfortunately, in ‘Washington-speak,’ most references to ‘cuts’ are really just slow-downs in the rate of projected growth. Assuming the sequester takes place, the federal budget will actually still grow by $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years. Translation: We’re still going to spend more, just not as much as we had originally planned. Similar to as if an employee were to get a slightly smaller raise instead of larger raise, only employers usually actually have that money to spare for the slightly smaller raise.

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Con Air

November 28, 2010

A lighter look at the TSA pat downs from

No longer the friendly skies?

Words for the Weekend – 11-26-10

November 26, 2010

“The average American has regular contact with the federal government at three points – the IRS, the post office and the TSA. Start with that fact if you are formulating a unified field theory to explain the public’s current political mood.”

                                              — George Will

Hypocrisy in TSA Debate

November 23, 2010

The controversy over the TSA’s new tactics in screening airline passengers has put the same progressives who were against the violation of civil liberties during the Bush administration into somewhat of a dilemma: Criticize the administration for its invasive pat down and scanning procedures or support it as necessary and look like hypocrites. The latter seems to be the tact most taken.

This has led more ‘progressive’ figures like MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Ed Shultz to support the clear violation of the Fourth Amendment in the name of security. Matthews suggested that the Obama administration had no choice but to implement these measures, because if there were to be another terrorist attack, they would be blamed for not keeping Americans sufficiently safe. Shultz expressed on air the confusing position that resorting to profiling was “trading liberty for security,” but the invasive pat downs are justified because only around two percent of Americans are having to endure it. He even stated it was OK because counter-terrorism experts say it is necessary.

The ‘progressive’ among us have now hypocritically voiced support for a violation of civil liberties all in the name of security — something they would have decried the government for under the previous administration. One can’t help but wonder how conservatives would have behaved had these pat downs taken place under the previous administration. Sadly, they would have more than likely supported them.

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Words for the Weekend – 11-19-10

November 19, 2010

“At the foundation of our civil liberties lies the principle that denies to government officials an exceptional position before the law and which subjects them to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen.”

— Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

Lack of Coordination?

October 14, 2010

A good parody of government inefficiency from Hollywood:

Supreme Court Justice: Right to Burn Koran Not Settled

September 19, 2010

Before the ink could even dry on our Constitution back in the late 1700s, attempts were already made at distorting its meaning or flat-out ignoring it. A prime example was the passage and enforcement of the Alien and Sedition Acts, part of which enabled the federal government to criminalize criticism against government officials. It flatly went in the face of the Bill of Rights, yet many of the same people who had a part in passing the First Amendment also supported the Sedition Act. Perhaps the clear words of the First Amendment sounded good to them at the time, that is until they themselves came to power in government. Then those words became a stumbling block to their agendas.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=stephen+breyer&iid=6650877″ src=”″ width=”156″ height=”201″ /]The plain words of the Constitution have always been misinterpreted, stretched inappropriately or outright ignored over the years by government officials. With this background in mind, it maybe should come as no surprise that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer recently told ABC News that the right of individuals in this country to burn Korans, which has been taken as a given by most in the recent media coverage of the cancelled plan to do so by a Florida pastor, is still something the courts may end up ruling on in the future.

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September 11, 2010

Backing Up Banks … in Afghanistan

September 2, 2010

The phrase “You break it, you own it” takes on new meaning with the following reported suggestion from the brother of Afghanistan’s president:

As depositors thronged branches of Afghanistan’s biggest bank, Mahmoud Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a major shareholder in the beleaguered Kabul Bank, called Thursday for intervention by the United States to head off a financial meltdown. “America should do something,” he said in a telephone interview, suggesting that the Treasury Department guarantee the funds of Kabul Bank’s clients, who number about 1 million and have more than $1 billion on deposit with the bank.

Perhaps he got the idea that the U.S. government could back up these funds from the behavior of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in our country — not to mention the bank bailouts from our own ‘financial meltdown.’ The problem is that we may actually end up doing this. One result of our continued military operation in that country is that we are now vested in seeing it remain stable … even if that means bailing its banks out.

Views on the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’

August 18, 2010

As an exercise in curiosity, below is a poll on the planned ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ in New York. See this article for some background. Also, here is a previous post on the subject.