The Misnamed Blog Carnival

The latest Carnival of Space is up.

For anyone interested, I’ve never participated in this, primarily because in my experience, they’re not really carnivals of space — they’re carnivals of space science, a subject in which I have little more interest in than other kinds, except to the degree that it provides knowledge of how to develop and settle it. This is a specific instance of a more general irk — when many people learn that I’m an expert on space policy and technology, or I do a radio interview, they assume that I’m both an expert on and interested in space science and astronomy and (even more annoyingly) UFOs. It’s the same kind of general public level of (lack of) knowledge that leads to phrases such as “rocket scientist.”

Michele Bachmann

…and the politics of Minnesota:

Like Palin, she paints with broad strokes, which makes her opponents deeply concerned about the level of rhetoric in this troubled land. Rep. Alan Grayson can say Republicans want Americans to die, and Howard Dean can say the GOP doesn’t care whether kids go to bed hungry at night — these are regarded as piquant phrasings of an essential truth. Bachmann calls scooping up the health-care system into the arms of the government “socialism,” and she’s a shrieking know-nothing. For some, Bachmann is regarded as Palin’s Mini-Me, minus the high-powered weaponry. She’s one of those inauthentic women who has not realized that the possession of ovaries requires one to fight for social justice and greater regulation of everything except the Department of Regulations.

Go read the whole thing, from the best writer in Minnesota, if not the country.

Roundup From Madison

Glenn has pictures and links. And this comment from Jim Treacher:

Joe the Plumber was the canary in the coal mine, wasn’t he? That whole mess was the first sign that Obama was willing to roll over average people to get what he wants. If only he had as much contempt for America’s enemies as he does for Americans who stand in his way.

Which reminds me of something I’ve been meaning to post for a few days. When I had the press conference in DC a couple weeks ago, Keith Cowing asked me a question that was a non sequitur. It was something to the effect that since I had stated on my blog that the president was a liar, how could I support his space policy. Ignoring the illogic, Bill O’Reilly actually did catch the president out in a lie in his pre-Superbowl interview, though he didn’t pick up on it or challenge him, Bill O’Reilly not generally being that quick on the uptake:

O’REILLY: Here’s what the Wall Street Journal said, I want you to react to this. Mr. Obama is a determined man of the left whose goal is to redistribute much larger levels of income across society. He may give tactical ground when he has to, as he did on taxes to avoid a middle class tax increase, but he will resist to his last day any major changes to Obamacare and the other load-bearing walls of the entitlement state.

This is The Wall Street Journal you know painting you as pretty left-wing guy. Are you going to go along?

OBAMA: Well, the Wall Street Journal probably would paint you as a left-wing guy. I mean, if you’re talking about the Wall Street Journal editorial page…

O’REILLY: I’ve got to tell you, that’s what this is.

OBAMA: You know, that’s like quoting the New York Times editorial…

O’REILLY: Do you deny the assessment? Do you deny that you are a man who wants to redistribute wealth.

OBAMA: Absolutely.

O’REILLY: You deny that?

OBAMA: Absolutely. I didn’t raise taxes once, I lowered taxes over the last two years.

Note, I left the entire final response in so no one will accuse me of removing context, even though it’s a complete non sequitur, since the question wasn’t about taxes, it was about his desire to redistribute wealth. Note the contrast with what he told Joe the Plumber when he accidentally let the mask slip during the campaign:

“My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. If you’ve got a plumbing business, you’re gonna be better off if you’re gonna be better off if you’ve got a whole bunch of customers who can afford to hire you, and right now everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody and I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

“I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

Now, compare that to “I absolutely deny that I’m a man who wants to redistribute wealth,” to only slightly paraphrase what he told O’Reilly.

So here are the possibilities.

a) He doesn’t think that “spreading the wealth around” is semantically equivalent to redistributing it.
b) He thinks that “it’s good for everybody”, but he has no actual desire to do it (certainly an unprecedented mode of thought for him — is there any other instance where he has not had a desire to do something that he thinks is good for everybody, do-gooder that he flatters himself to be?).
c) He changed his political philosophy between the time he talked to Joe the Plumber and Bill O’Reilly.
d) He lied to Joe the Plumber or…
e) He lied to Bill O’Reilly.

My money’s on (e). So make what you will of that, Keith. I still think we should have competition for NASA’s crew services.

[Update a few minutes later]

Glenn has more pics and links.

Who’s Been Overreaching, Again?

Jen Rubin takes E. J. Dionne to school:

Overreach would be choosing extra-legislative means (flight) to prevent the voters’ elected representatives from working their will. Overreach would be threatening Republican officials in their homes. Overreach would be a flurry of Hitlerian imagery (good for the National Jewish Democratic Council in denouncing the widespread signage, but where is the George Soros-backed Jewish Funds for Justice and the anti-Glenn Beck crowd when you need them?) Overreach would be a massive sick-out, in essence a dishonest strike. (The schools should dock pay for anyone not actually ill who didn’t show up.)

So, yes, Walker is seeking a revamping of the state’s relationship with its public employee unions. It’s about time.

And Professor Bainbridge explains why public-employee unions are so inimical to public finance, and should be universally abolished. Even Franklin Roosevelt was opposed to them, with good reason:

In effect, public sector unionism thus means that representatives of the union will often be on both sides of the collective bargaining table. On the one side, the de jure union leaders. On the other side, the bought and paid for politicians. No wonder public sector union wages and benefits are breaking the back of state budgets. They are bargaining with themselves rather than with an arms’-length opponent.

Basically, they’ve wrecked the California economy, and in Madison, they’ve created Greece with snow, and are on the verge of granting Frances Fox Piven her violent and anti-democratic wish.

[Update a few minutes later]

Who is polarizing America?

I argue in Radical-in-Chief that Obama’s long-term hope is to divide America along class lines (roughly speaking, tax payers versus tax beneficiaries). Obama’s attack on the Supreme Court at his 2010 State of the Union address, his offensive against the Chamber of Commerce, his exhortation to Hispanics to punish their enemies, and several similar moves were all efforts to jump-start a populist movement of the left. Like his socialist organizing mentors, Obama believes that a country polarized along class lines will eventually realign American politics sharply to the left. Yet the entire strategy is based on the need for an activated, populist movement of the left. So far, Obama has failed to create such a movement. His expensive economic agenda has provoked a populist counter-movement of the right instead: Obama’s nightmare.

Now, however, Obama may belatedly be getting his wish. The very success of the Tea Party is calling forth an opposing movement of the left. Obama’s exhortations may have failed to polarize the country along class lines, but his policies have finally provoked the long-sought battle. The once-dormant legions of Obama’s group, Organizing for America, have now been activated. This is the moment they were created for.

In Radical-in-Chief, I describe the “inside/outside” or “good cop/bad cop” strategy favored by Obama and his organizing mentors. The idea is that a seemingly moderate “good cop” politician works on the inside of government, while coordinating his moves with nasty Alinskyite “bad cops” on the outside. Reports that Obama’s own organizers helped put together the Madison protests fit the model. That coordination is necessary to achieve Obama’s real goal: kicking off a national grassroots movement of the left that he can quietly manage, while keeping his distance when necessary.

And Steven Hayward says it may be time to really start brewing some tea, while these thugs are still in the minority.

[Update a few minutes later]

The AP as union mouthpiece:

“Protesters clogged the hallway outside the Senate chamber, beating on drums, holding signs deriding Walker and pleading for lawmakers to kill the bill.”

“Beating on drums”? Beating on drums? These were public-school teachers, right? In any case, they were public employees. Beating on things is what little kids do when they’re not getting their way, or demanding something. Of course, the beating of drums is meant to menace and intimidate too.

America’s liberals must be very proud. Mobbing the legislature and beating on drums! Bear in mind that the Left is the thinking, sophisticated, and humane party in America.

The AP story — and remember that this is supposed to be a news report from a wire service — contains the line, “Elsewhere in the Statehouse, Democrats showed up in the state Assembly chamber wearing orange T-shirts that proclaimed their support for working families.”

“Working families,” huh? What do you call the families with taxpayers who support what Governor Walker and the Republicans are trying to do, and oppose the unions and their thuggish tactics? Non-working families?

It’s who they are. It’s what they do.

[Update late morning]

Here’s more:

Someone wrote me that the “public employees” in Wisconsin reminded her of Chávez and his goons in Venezuela. Actually, they remind me of Cuba. There, the dictatorship sends its loyalists to the homes of those suspected of not being loyalists. They scream, beat on things, denounce, and threaten. The idea is, the “disloyal” Cubans are supposed to quake in their homes, and they do. These tactics are called actos de repudio — “acts of repudiation.” They are a mainstay of the regime.

Sadly, they’re not the only regime of which they are a mainstay. Remember this the next time someone tells you how “moderate” and “centrist” the president is.

[Update a while later]

Is this how a president should act?

Just think–there once was a time (for more than a century, actually), when the president of the United States thought it too imperious to deliver the State of the Union via a speech to a joint session of Congress, since that would smack of telling a co-equal branch of government what to do. Now we have a president not just taking rhetorical sides in a state issue, but actively mobilizing his political organization to affect the outcome(s), even though (to my knowledge) nothing that Gov. Walker or any other belated statehouse cost-cutter is doing has a damned thing to do with federal law.

I have written in the past about how libertarians are pretty lonely in the political scheme of things in terms of constantly being challenged to defend themselves against the “logical conclusion” of their philosophy. But I think it’s time to amend that. We are witnessing the logical conclusion of the Democratic Party’s philosophy, and it is this: Your tax dollars exist to make public sector unions happy.

When this president acts presidential, it’s the exception, not the rule.

[Afternoon update]

The AWOL Democrat state senators have a new hideout. Hey, it’s the Chicago way.

[Update a few minutes later]

A first-hand blogging report from a law professor in Madison. I’m thinking (and hoping) that this generates a huge anti-union backlash, especially for public-employee unions. I think that people have had enough.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!

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