New Hampshire Perspective Interview with Project Pawsitive
We are joined by the team from Project Pawsitive (http://www.projectpawsitive.com/) as they discuss their mission. Think Extreme Makeover meets animals in need. The team:
Jill Sullivan Grueter, Team Leader
JB Bryne, Project Leader
Drew Davis, Jack of all trades
This was a fun conversation (you are going to love the Celtic wit of Drew) for an extremely worthy cause.
Project Pawsitive Interview: PROJECT PAWSITIVE
The chaos in Libya is just another in a long line of foreign policy failures that President Obama has blunder his way through, and nobody is better at pointing out President Obama’s blunders than Ann Coulter.
Obama Cried, Kids Died
“Humanitarian” seems to be the Democrats’ new word for “absolutely no national interest.”
The Democrats were not so interested in a “humanitarian” intervention against a much more brutal dictator in Iraq. But, of course, taking out Saddam Hussein, a state sponsor of terrorism who harbored one of the perpetrators of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, would make Americans safer.
Democrats are furious whenever American boys (girls and gays) are put in harm’s way — unless the troops are on a mission that has nothing whatsoever to do with defending the United States.
Obama ignored the murder, imprisonment and torture of peaceful Iranian protesters demonstrating against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s theft of an election in 2009. But he was hopping mad about Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak getting rough with a mob in Tahrir Square with less distinct objectives.
We knew what the Iranian students wanted: a stolen election overturned.
What did the Egyptians want? At the time, liberals angrily cited the high unemployment rate in Egypt as proof that Mubarak was a beast who must step down.
Have they, by any chance, seen the recent employment numbers for the U.S.? The only employment sectors showing any growth are Hollywood sober-living coaches and medical marijuana dispensaries. Are we one jobs report away from liberals rioting in the streets?
As The New York Times recently reported, since Mubarak stepped down, the driving force in the new government is the Muslim Brotherhood. America is worse off because Mubarak stepped down, which was Obama’s exact foreign policy objective.
On Monday night, Obama gave a speech intended to explain America’s mission and purpose in our new Libyan adventure. He said: “Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different.”
He forgot to add: “However, the United States of America will be turning a blind eye to atrocities in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, the Ivory Coast and Bahrain.”
One searches in vain for a description of some American interest in supporting the rebels in Libya.
True, Gadhafi was responsible for numerous terrorist acts against Americans in the 1980s, including blowing up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, killing 270 people, including 189 Americans.
Soon after President Bush’s 9/11 speech vowing to go to war not only with terrorists, but those who supported them, Gadhafi accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and paid the victims’ families $8 million apiece.
After Bush invaded Iraq, Gadhafi suspended Libya’s nuclear and chemical weapons program, inviting international inspectors to verify that the programs had been halted.
A few years after that, Gadhafi paid millions of dollars to the victims of other Libyan-sponsored terrorist attacks from the ’80s. In return, President Bush granted Libya immunity from terror-related lawsuits.
Only Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly thinks Obama is intervening in Libya to avenge the Lockerbie bombing.
However far off the mark Gadhafi is from being the Libyan George Washington, he poses no threat to the U.S. — whereas the rebels we are supporting might.
But Democrats couldn’t care less about the interests of their own country. Indeed, if there were the slightest possibility that our intervention in Libya would somehow benefit the United States, they would hysterically oppose it.
When it came to the Iraq War — which actually served America’s security interests — Democrats demanded proof that Saddam Hussein was 10 minutes away from launching a first strike against the U.S. They denounced the Iraq War nonstop, wailing that Saddam hadn’t hit us on 9/11 and that he posed no “imminent threat” to America.
What imminent threat does Libya pose to the U.S.? How will our interests be served by putting the rebels in charge?
Obama didn’t even suggest the possibility that our Libyan intervention serves the nation’s interest. Last weekend, his defense secretary, Robert Gates, said the uprising in Libya “was not a vital national interest to the United States, but it was an interest.” So, not a vital interest, but an interest. Like scrapbooking, surfing or Justin Bieber.
When it came to Iraq, liberals proclaimed that invading a country “only” to produce a regime change was unjustifiable, contrary to international law, and a grievous affront to the peace-loving Europeans.
But they like regime change in Egypt, Libya — and the Balkans. The last military incursion supported by liberals was Clinton’s misadventure in the Balkans — precisely because Slobodan Milosevic posed no conceivable threat to the United States.
Indeed, President Clinton bragged: “This is America at its best. We seek no territorial gain; we seek no political advantage.” Democrats see our voluntary military supported by taxpayer dollars as their personal Salvation Army.
Self-interested behavior, such as deploying troops to serve the nation, is considered boorish in Manhattan salons.
The only just wars, liberals believe, are those in which the United States has no stake. Liberals warm to the idea of deploying expensive, taxpayer-funded military machinery and putting American troops in harm’s way, but only for military incursions that serve absolutely no American interest.
Tim Pawlenty, former Governor of Minnesota, and possible candidate for President, understands the devastation that irresponsible public sector union contracts can gave on a State budget.
In this op-ed, Pawlenty tries to walk a careful line of explaining the facts facing many State budgets (respecting the past good deeds of some unions) and the fact that public sector workers unions have become to powerful at the expense of not only State budgets, but to the detriment of the taxpayer.
And for the most part it is not the union members, it is the union leadership, that puts a public face of irresponsible union activities. Many local unions find themselves in a ‘tail waging the dog’ scenario. Too many union members blindly follow union leadership, failing to realize that it is union leaders that has the most to gain financially and in expanded influence.
Leadership at public sector unions have become insatiable, like a parasites that will feed off its host until the host dies, union leadership is incapably of acting in the public’s (you and I) best interest. If they did, it would mean diminished power, and that is just unacceptable to union leadership.
Government Unions vs. Taxpayers
The moral case for unions—protecting working families from exploitation—does not apply to public employment.
By TIM PAWLENTY
When Americans think of organized labor, they might think of images like I saw growing up in a blue-collar meatpacking town: hard hats, work boots, tough conditions and gritty jobs. While I didn’t work in the slaughterhouses, I did become a union member when I worked at a grocery store to help put myself through school. I was grateful for the paycheck and proud of the work I did.
The rise of the labor movement in the early 20th century was a triumph for America’s working class. In an era of deep economic anxiety, unions stood up for hard-working but vulnerable families, protecting them from physical and economic exploitation.
David Crane, special economic adviser to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, breaks down the numbers.
Much has changed. The majority of union members today no longer work in construction, manufacturing or “strong back” jobs. They work for government, which, thanks to President Obama, has become the only booming “industry” left in our economy. Since January 2008 the private sector has lost nearly eight million jobs while local, state and federal governments added 590,000.
Federal employees receive an average of $123,049 annually in pay and benefits, twice the average of the private sector. And across the country, at every level of government, the pattern is the same: Unionized public employees are making more money, receiving more generous benefits, and enjoying greater job security than the working families forced to pay for it with ever-higher taxes, deficits and debt.
How did this happen? Very quietly. The rise of government unions has been like a silent coup, an inside job engineered by self-interested politicians and fueled by campaign contributions.
Public employee unions contribute mightily to the campaigns of liberal politicians ($91 million in the midterm elections alone) who vote to increase government pay and workers. As more government employees join the unions and pay dues, the union bosses pour ever more money and energy into liberal campaigns. The result is that certain states are now approaching default. Decades of overpromising and fiscal malpractice by state and local officials have created unfunded public employee benefit liabilities of more than $3 trillion.
Over the last eight years in Minnesota, we have taken decisive action to prevent our problems from becoming a state crisis. Public employee unions fought us virtually every step of the way. Mass transit employees, for example, went on strike for 44 days in 2005—because we refused to grant them lifetime health-care benefits after working just 15 years. It was a tough fight, but in the end Minnesota taxpayers won.
We reworked benefits for new hires. We required existing employees to contribute more to their pensions. We reformed our public employee health plan and froze wages.
We proved that even in deep-blue Minnesota, taxpayers can take on big government and big labor, and win. In coming years, that fight will have to be joined throughout the country in city halls, state capitals and in Washington, D.C.
Reformers would be wise to adopt three overriding principles.
First, we need to bring public employee compensation back in line with the private sector and reduce the overall size of the federal civilian work force. Mr. Obama’s proposal to freeze federal pay is a step in the right direction, but it falls well short of shrinking government and eliminating the pay premium enjoyed by federal employees.
Second, get the numbers right. Government should start using the same established accounting standards that private businesses are required to use, so we can accurately assess unfunded liabilities.
Third, we need to end defined-benefit retirement plans for government employees. Defined-benefit systems have created a financial albatross for taxpayers. The private sector dropped them years ago in favor of the clarity and predictability of defined-contribution models such as 401(k) plans. This change alone can save taxpayers trillions of dollars.
The moral case for unions—protecting working families from exploitation—does not apply to public employment. Government employees today are among the most protected, well-paid employees in the country. Ironically, public-sector unions have become the exploiters, and working families once again need someone to stand up for them.
If we’re going to stop the government unions’ silent coup, conservative reformers around the country must fight this challenge head on. The choice between big government and everyday Americans isn’t a hard one.
Mr. Pawlenty, a Republican, former-governor of Minnesota.
As more and more States come to the realization that the irresponsible union contracts and benefits (health-care and retirement) that were negotiated are bankrupting their State, it has become crystal clear that the status-quo cannot continue. But there are several issues that are preventing a common-sense solution from being achieved:
- Failed representation: Politicians, from both sides, either fear or enable the public sector unions, making an appropriate solution nearly impossible to obtain unless the mindset changes.
- Union propaganda: Unions are masters of conveying a message that creates confusion and builds on a mistrust of government (which is humorist in itself, since the public sector unions are in fact government employees) . The union message is simple: it is for the kids, it is about fairness, we are being denied our rights, being a fireman, police officer, teacher (or fill-in the blank) is the most important job.
The unions will portray themselves as the victim, and use a complacence media to their advantage. The unions are also very successful at portraying our elected officials as the enemy, acting independent of the people that elected them, the taxpayers. The taxpayers are the unforgotten entity in this scenario. In our current climate, it is fair to say that our elective officials have been tasked with fixing the dire fiscal crisis almost every State finds themselves in.
- Public empathy: Feeding off of point two, the public does want to seem ungrateful to public sector employees that provide a valuable service. There is almost a degree of guilt by the general public. fueled by an aggressive public relations campaign by the unions. But the reality is that is exactly what the unions are hoping for. Unions make it personal (in a very public way), which makes negotiations very difficult .
The public needs to get involved and understand the whole issue. Do your homework:
- How much do the public sector employee make in totally (salary and benefits, especially retirement package) , and compare that to the private sector.
- Are public sector retirement benefits comparable to the private sector plans, or are the public sector plans excessive compared to the private sector plans?
- Does the collective bargaining agreement allow poor , dangerous or unfit employees to be released immediately? Or are there barriers in place that deny the public control over the work environment they support financially?
- Are public sector employees forced to join the union as a condition of employment? Are dues forcibly collected, and is a government entity serving as the collection agent (payroll deductions)?
- If the public sector employee is not forced to join the union, are they required to pay an administrative fee (also known as a fair share fee)? An administrative fee is a forced fee (pro-rated) for the ‘privilege’ of having the union negotiate on the behalf of an employee who never asked for the union to represent them.
When you take a close look at the facts, and remember the fiscal crisis we asked our elective representatives to fix, it is the unions that are being unreasonable.
California’s Union Lessons
A recent statewide poll in California shows just how much pension scandals involving government workers has shifted the political canvas.
By JOHN FUND
A recent statewide poll in California shows just how much pension scandals involving government workers has shifted the political ground on the issue.
The latest Field poll finds that 46% of Golden State residents believe unions do more good than harm versus only 35% who think the opposite. By a roughly similar margin, respondents also think public employee pensions are too generous, a reversal of how they responded in 2009. But that was before scandals such as the one in Bell, Califorina showed how feckless and even corrupt government officials were rigging the pension game.
When it comes to solutions, the public appears ready to embrace dramatic reforms. A narrow majority supports the recent recommendation of the state’s Little Hoover Commission to reduce pension payout promises for current government employees.
Even normally union-sympathetic Democrats have woken up to the fact that growing pension obligations threaten to crowd out spending for essential government services from police to filling potholes. Field found that 68% of registered Democrats want to establish a ceiling on pension payouts. Two-thirds of Democrats want state and local government employees to pitch in more towards their own retirement.
Even more surprising, 50% of Democrats back the Little Hoover Commission’s proposal to create a 401(k)-type defined contribution plan to go along with a reduction in the current defined benefit plan that government workers currently enjoy. Almost everyone in the private sector now relies on 401(k) plans. Only public sector union workers now routinely enjoy defined benefit plans that guarantee a certain income upon retirement.
But public-sector unions are digging their heels in and opposing any significant pension reforms. Governor Jerry Brown has privately told GOP state legislators he is negotiating with over the budget that the unions will not bend on key issues.
Marcia Fritz, a Democrat who heads the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, says if the impasse continues there is likely to be a ballot measure put before voters to roll back pension promises. “The taxpayer as well as essential government services are being crushed by unsustainable pension obligations,” she told me.
To read more stories like this one, please subscribe to Political Diary.
On Thursday, March 31, 2011 thousands of people will show up in front of the New Hampshire State House. They will be protesting the first step in reclaiming some fiscal sanity in our State. Most will be there for their own selfish motives, and not in the best interest of working families of New Hampshire.
Truth be told, this budget does not cut enough, and leaves in a place a legacy of poor spending choices of the past. But it is a start.
So as you see the news reports about the rally, and see the out of State license plates flooding into our New Hampshire, know that our Representative have also received thousands of calls in support of this budget. Many of these Representative were aware when they got elected, that if they did the right thing,they probably would only be one termers. Their vote will be used against them by the Democrats, but in the end their vote will be a badge of honor. They did the right thing, and they did it for the right reasons. It is what we asked them to do, and they should be proud that they cast a vote to stop the madness of immoral spending and taxing.
These are austere times, and austere times call for austere budgets. Those who say otherwise are fooling themselves.
The state House of Representatives will vote tomorrow on a state budget that spends $279 million less in general funds than does the current budget. When federal funds are included, the House budget spends $742 million less.
People always say they want the government to tighten its belt in tight times. They say they want it to actually shrink in size and scope instead of simply growing year after year after year. Well, that is what the House budget does.
At a time when families are cutting their own budgets to deal with pay cuts, layoffs, home losses, investment losses and other myriad ills of this economy, it would be a brazen insult for the government to raise spending so its employees and beneficiaries could avoid the economic fallout felt by everyone else.
Given how many times the state has been burned by inflated revenue estimates and last-minute tax and fee hikes, this budget is a refreshing dose of realism. That doesn’t make it perfect, though. It is part of an ongoing discussion of state finances that will continue in the Senate, which is where House members should send it.
One of the weakest arguments that public sector unions use is that public sector union members are under paid. A new report disproves this claim.
Center for Union Facts released a new report in the face of data from the Economic Policy Institute (EcPI), a liberal “think tank” , which originally released a series of studies making the counterintuitive claim that public sector employees are underpaid by four percent when compared to those in the private sector.
Redoing the same analysis from EcPI’s study, the Center for Union Facts controlled for two key factors that EcPI improperly accounted for: private sector business size and the treatment of full-time, part-year workers (a category that includes roughly one quarter of all teachers). When those two factors are properly considered, the results reverse themselves: public sector, taxpayer-funded employees actually enjoy a compensation bonus of at least five percent.
Unlike some candidates, Pawlenty seems willing to talk about support on some policies he now regrets. The story did not get as much traction as I am sure Politico was hoping for, so I am not sure what effect an apology will have.
Politico: TPaw apologizes for climate ‘mistake’
By DARREN SAMUELSOHN
Tim Pawlenty argued Monday that his past support for cap-and-trade legislation shouldn’t hinder his presidential bid because nearly all the other Republican White House hopefuls also took the same position.
“Everybody in the race, at least the big names in the race, embraced climate change or cap-and-trade at one point or another, every one of us, so there’s no one who has been in executive position whose name is being bantered in a first or second-tier way who hasn’t embraced it in some way,” the former Minnesota governor said on the “Laura Ingraham Show.”
“The question is in my case, I’ve said, ‘Look, I’ve made a mistake.’ I think cap-and-trade would be a ham-fisted, unhelpful, damaging thing to the economy,” Pawlenty added. “It’s misguided. I made the mistake. I admit it. I’m not trying to be cute about it. I just come out and tell you it was a mistake.”
Pawlenty has been trying for more than a year to distance himself from his work on climate change as governor, including his signature on a 2007 law that forces an 80 percent cut in Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions by midcentury.
But now, with a presidential exploratory committee up and running, Pawlenty’s past views keep coming back to haunt him.
During the interview, Ingraham played a radio commercial that Pawlenty cut for the Environmental Defense Fund with then-Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano where he pleads, “Come on Congress. Let’s get moving. Cap greenhouse gas pollution now.”
“Does that just give you a real stomachache to hear now?” the conservative radio host asked.
Pawlenty responded by acknowledging he’s got “some clunkers” in his record, just like other possible GOP candidates who served as a governor. He didn’t name names, though Pawlenty is clearly referring to the cap-and-trade views taken at various times by several potential Republican candidates, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.
By contrast, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has never endorsed cap-and-trade legislation. As a coal industry lobbyist in early 2001, Barbour actually penned a letter to then-Vice President Dick Cheney questioning the Bush administration’s commitment to a campaign pledge to cap carbon emissions from power plants. Two weeks later, President Bush dropped the pledge.
Ingraham has given a hard time to other Republicans too. She told Pawlenty she teased former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on her radio show for taking part in a pro-cap-and-trade commercial with Nancy Pelosi where they are both seated on a couch outside the Capitol.
“We’re not going to see you go around in like a broccoli-powered bus or anything like Kucinich did?” she asked Pawlenty, referring to the liberal Ohio Democratic congressman who ran for president in 2004 and 2008.
With a laugh, Pawlenty promised he would not be getting behind the wheel of any transportation fueled by green vegetables. “The question is, ‘Is everyone perfect?’ No, they’re not,” he added. “The question is, once you made a mistake, do you recognize it? Do you admit it? Are you willing to come forward? Are you a big enough person to say it was the wrong thing to do? Like everyone else, I’ve made some mistakes and that one is one of mine.”
Likely Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty won’t be joining Donald Trump in his efforts to put birthers back on the political front burner: “I, for one, do not believe we should be raising that issue,” Pawlenty said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “I think President Obama was born in the United States.”
Only mindless, liberal lemmings take Maher seriously, or find him remotely funny. Maher lacks any intellectual wit, and is all about cheap theatrics to get attention, as do most of the guest that appear on his show.
Fox News political analyst Kirsten Powers told Fox’s Greta Van Susteren comic Bill Maher’s jokes about Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin represent an attack on “all women.” Maher, who has made no bones about his comedic high hopes for a Bachmann presidential campaign.
“It degrades all women,” said Powers. “When you do this, you can choose these two women, but it degrades all women…if they’re not being called bimbos, they’re being called these scheming climbers…it’s not a minor thing.”
The people of Wisconsin will get what they deserve if they let ‘mob rule’ prevail in the State. Fueled by greed and revenge, and the infusion of out of state cash and people, the citizens of Wisconsin are about to lose their State. Sadly there are willing allies within the border of the Badger State that are being duped, or far worse are willing participants in the recall facade.
Why the Wisconsin Fight Isn’t Over, And How the Left Could Win
Badger State Democrats and their organized labor overlords are pouring enormous resources into recall efforts against eight Senate Republicans. Similar campaigns against fleebagger Democrats have narrowed from eight to just three because conservatives are getting out-hustled on the ground, perhaps lulled into complacency by their recent legislative triumph:
Both national and Wisconsin-based Republican operatives tell the Huffington Post the party is being dramatically outworked and out-organized by Democrats in the recall campaigns being launched against state Senators.The operatives, who raised their concerns out of hope it would jar the GOP into assertiveness, argue complacency has taken over after Governor Scott Walker successfully shepherded his anti-collective bargaining bill into law. While the Wisconsin Democratic Party, with major assists from progressive groups and unions, has harnessed resentment towards the governor into a full-throttled effort to recall eight GOP Senators, neither the enthusiasm nor organizational acumen exists on the Republican side of the aisle.
As a result, the Wisconsin GOP is intensifying efforts to defend its members who face union-led recall campaigns (although the Republicans don’t appear to be on offense, unlike state Democrats). They’ve launched FrontlineWisconsin.com, which solicits donations to stave off the Left-wing backlash:
In what might prove to be an even higher stakes fight than the recall skirmishes, the Left is also targeting a conservative state Supreme Court justice for defeat. If liberals prevail in next week’s judicial election, the court would shift to a 4-3 liberal majority — which could deal lasting blows to state Republicans’ hard-fought, democratically-enacted budget fixes. NRO’s Robert Costa has an invaluable report on what’s at stake, and the depths to which the Left has sunk to facilitate what he calls a “black-robed coup:”
Pressure is mounting on the seven-member high court to weigh in. If they do, the bill risks being overturned. For the moment, judicial conservatives hold a 4–3 edge. But that could flip come April 5, when incumbent justice David Prosser, a former GOP legislator, battles JoAnne Kloppenburg, an environmental lawyer and veteran state attorney, for a ten-year term.
“This is for all the marbles,” says Charlie Sykes, a prominent conservative talk-radio host in Milwaukee. “Scott Walker could survive losing the state senate. But it would be devastating if he were to lose in the supreme court. If Prosser loses, almost everything that Walker enacted could be overturned.” The high court, he worries, has a long history of activism, especially when liberals hold the majority.
The Greater Wisconsin Committee, a leftist organizing group with deep union ties, has funneled $3 million into anti-Prosser advertising, taking relentlessly to the airwaves. “They are the Left’s biggest political player in the state,” says Brett Healy, the president of the MacIver Institute, a Wisconsin-based think tank. “They run the ads that no one else wants to run.”Indeed. The GWC is airing ads that tie Prosser to the budget bill. “Prosser equals Walker” is the usual theme. But those political attacks are fluff compared with the group’s latest smear, a dimly-lit, creepy spot that casts Prosser as soft on pedophilia. That ad alleges that Prosser, as a local district attorney three decades ago, failed to properly prosecute a Catholic priest accused of molesting several boys. Prosser, according to those who know him, is said to be furious about the ad, angry with its inaccuracies and how it sullies his name.
Read the whole thing. This fight is not over. The Left understands this reality, and the Right needs to wake up — soon.
UPDATE - Verum Serum passes along the uber-sleazy attack ad running against Prosser, which all but accuses him of “protecting sex offenders:”
One of the victims in this case has released a statement pillorying the ad and demanding the GWC stop exploiting his abuse for political purposes:
One of the victims, Troy Merryfield, issued a statement Friday saying he supports Prosser’s decision not to prosecute at the time. In the past, Merryfield has been quoted as being critical of Prosser, but he insists those statements were taken out of context.
“I do not appreciate myself or my case being used for political advantage, especially in today’s climate of dirty politics,” said Merryfield, who now lives in Virginia..
Because of Prosser’s prudence and patience, the molester was ultimately put away:
In 2004, Feeney was convicted of assaulting Merryfield and his brother, Todd. He is serving a 15-year sentence. Prosser’s campaign issued a statement saying that while Prosser was “sympathetic to the victims, (he) believed the evidence wasn’t strong enough to convict the accused.” The statement said evidence discovered later — including additional alleged victims and records from the Diocese of Green Bay — allowed for a belated prosecution of Feeney.
UPDATE II - To the Lefties who are screaming about the GOP’s war on the middle class, may I remind you that Walker’s bill actually saves thousands of middle class, union jobs without raising taxes.