George Bailey: If Potter gets a hold of this Building and Loan, there’ll never be another decent house built in this town. He’s already got charge of the bank. He’s got the bus line. He got the department stores, and now he’s after us. Why? Well, it’s very simple. Because we’re cuttin’ in on his business, that’s why. And because he wants to keep you livin’ in his slums and paying the kind of rent he decides.
It’s a Wonderful Life 1946
Brett Maverick:You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time and those are very good odds. My old pappy said that.
The real problem they are facing is one of media noise and short memories. The tough times under Obama are over a year in the past and the worries of the economy that had been in the forefront of people’s minds and worries are gone, replaced by the noise generated by the MSM coverage of the investigations, the noise of the Stormy Daniels stuff and the noise of every single attack on the administration the GOP needs a message that not only cuts though the noise but reminds the people of the difference between the eight years of Obama Administration and the Trump administration. This can be done by a simple theme summed up in three simple lines:
If you like your Tax Cut you can keep your Tax Cut
If you like your Bonus you can keep your Bonus
If you like your Job you can keep your Job
This is the perfect meme for several reasons:
In one stroke it contrasts the prosperity of the Trump years with the troubles of the Obama years. It reminds them of the tax cuts and bonus’ that the Democrats called crumbs and of the manufacturing jobs that have come back that Obama and the Democrats insisted that we had to resign ourselves to losing. It generates memories like the Jimmy Stewart Speech to stockholders in It’s a Wonderful Life:
Joe, you had one of those Potter houses, didn’t you? Well, have you forgotten? Have you forgotten what he charged you for that broken-down shack? Here, Ed. You know, you remember last year when things weren’t going so well, and you couldn’t make your payments. Well, you didn’t lose your house, did you? You think Potter would have let you keep it?
This hopeful theme cuts though the noise in a format that shows the Democrat for what it is, a message based on generating unfounded panic for the sake of power. Stewart again
Can’t you understand what’s happening here? Don’t you see what’s happening? Potter isn’t selling. Potter’s buying! And why? Because we’re panicky and he’s not. That’s why. He’s pickin’ up some bargains.
I suspect the Trump move in Syria, in contrast to Obama’s words without deeds provided some clarity, this argument would augment it.
This is a simple message, that can be delivered by anyone, an incumbent running for re-election whose faced the voters many times, a green newcomer running for office for the very first time. Either one can deliver this line and make it stick. Now picture it in the hands of a master communicator like President Trump who can deliver it before the cameras and the press, in speeches in front of tens of thousands and in tweets and re-tweets to be seen by millions completely bypassing the press and the left.
In one stroke this changes the argument both justifying the GOP control of the government while forcing the Democrats to justify risking the good economy for the sake of Trump hatred. Do the Democrats deliver have an answer to a message of jobs, bonus’ and prosperity besides “Trump sucks”?
President Trump is the type of man who knows a winning message when he sees it. He’s the type to pick up this banner and charge forward, the question is will GOP candidates have the wits and courage to ignore the MSM offensive and charge with him?
A final note, the: “If you like your job you can keep your job” line was suggested by a reader. The other two I derived from it. I’m ashamed I didn’t think of it first.
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For decades Illinois, Chicago, and many other Land of Lincoln municipalities have been kicking the can down the road in regards to public worker pension obligations.
Harvey, a poverty-stricken southern suburb of Chicago with a long history of corruption, has not just reached the end of the road, it has run off of the cliff, in the manner of Wile E. Coyote. Because Harvey has not been adequately funding its police and fire pension plans for years, a state law–Illinois ironically is guilty of the same sin with its pensions–requires the state treasurer to withhold the city’s portion of sales tax revenue, $1.4 million, to pay into those funds instead of that cash being deposited into the town’s general revenue account. Harvey’s police and fire pensions are funded at only 51 and 22 percent, respectively.
On Friday Harvey laid off half of the employees in its police and fire departments, along with about a dozen other municipal workers.
Ironically two firefighters with 18 years on the job were among those given pink slips, they are two years away from qualifying for their own pensions.
Harvey has had many other brushes with malfeasance, and like Wile E, it has used a bag of tricks from its own version of the Acme Corporation to remain airborne. It purchased Lake Michigan water from Chicago, resold it to neighboring towns and used that revenue for payroll and other expenses. Until Chicago sued Harvey didn’t pay the larger city for that water. Its four-term mayor, Eric J. Kellogg, was fined $10,000 and banned from participating in future bond offerings after Harvey diverted cash from a hotel development plan to other items, including payroll.
The FBI, according to the Chicago Tribune, is investigating bribery allegations involving a consultant of Kellogg, the former mayor of neighboring Dixmoor who is a twice-convicted felon. The case is centered on secret recordings made by Harvey’s comptroller, who committed suicide in 2016, the same year that Fox Chicago, citing reports from experts, said the city is “worse than broke.”
Ah, it’s easy to dismiss Harvey as an aberration even in a state with a national reputation for corruption. In my lifetime four Illinois governors have been sent to federal prison and a fifth faced trial for tax evasion but was found not guilty.
Pension troubles such as the one Harvey is facing can’t come to my Prairie State town, can they?
They sure can.
A researcher from the University of Chicago says there are 74 other police or fire departments with pension funds that are comparably underfunded as those of Harvey. One of those towns in that predicament is Niles, the village west of the Chicago suburb where I live. I have some friends who reside there and they pride themselves on their low–well, low for Illinois–property taxes.
Niles is one of those 74 towns. In 2010 its mayor for nearly five decadesserved a year in prison for his role in a kickback scheme.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is in the process of reacquiring the nickname TAX-achusetts. The Loony Left has come up with a ballot question they have cynically named the “Fair Share Amendment.” This proposed change our state’s Constitution would allow a surtax of 80% on incomes of one million or more. Further language in the amendment ear marks the additional funds be spent on public education, roads and bridges, and public transportation. This is the same graduated income tax that has been rejected by the voters many times before.
The Worcester Tea Party opposes this cynical tax scheme that will drive productive businesses and families from our state. We have created an online petition opposing the “Fair Share Amendment” ballot question.
We will demonstrating against the “Fair Share Amendment” before the start of the GOP State Convention on Saturday April 28th at the DCU Center 50 Foster St, Worcester, MA 01608. We are calling on Governor Baker to make opposition to the “Fair Share Amendment” ballot question part of his reelection campaign. With enough signatures we hope to stop the “Fair Share Amendment” before it ruins our economy.
President Worcester Tea Party
My advice post for the GOP is on hold for a day or two because of events in Syria. Here are 10 thoughts under my fedora on the subject.
I’m really thinking that Putin are falling for MSM propaganda on the president’s weakness. I think the Russians and/or Syrians and/or Iranians wrongly perceived that Trump’s public desire to be out of Syria meant open season to use gas, big mistake (and please don’t insult my intelligence by suggesting that the Syrians might use this gas without the consent of the Russians.
Watching the coverage on CNN was interesting. Because there was no warning that this was coming there was no coordination with Democrats on how to react and since they can’t hit Trump for punishing Syria for gassing innocent people they had to play it straight to a large degree. They really didn’t like that.
Another interesting problem for the MSM was the contrast between Trump doing what he said he would do on Syria and the Obama administrations making threats and red lines that meant nothing. The only bright side for them was contrasting Trump’s previous statements before he was in the White House.
I was wondering how long it would take MSNBC to call this a “wag the dog” scenario. Unfortunately for them there has been a week of talk about Syria and gas which makes that entire argument weak, there is also the help from England and France which is not something you can coordinate in a day or two which really hurts the credibility of the argument, but that won’t stop most “never trumpers” from playing that card.
it’s also worth noting Trump got a lot of credit for getting a coalition together for this attack, even Joe Scarborough who certainly can’t be accused of carrying Trump’s water complemented him on this. I was surprised he was able to get the French, the British were less of a surprise. It’s amazing how nations are more willing to hit your allies when you go around poisoning people on their soil.
A few days ago at work a friend from Haiti was very worried about Putin’s threat to shoot down anything attacking in Syria. I told him not to worry because it was a bluff. Today has confirmed that to be true although that’s not how it will be played in Russia. Every time they play that game Russian and Iranian prestige in the area drops like a rock.
This has got to be a huge worry for Iran, North Korea and China. After all if Trump is willing to go toe to toe with Putin he’s certainly not going to show any restraint on Iran and you had better believe little Kim has noticed this.
Don’t think for one minute the contrasting messages between Trump and his generals to the press is an accident. This president is a big believer in keeping the other side guessing. The conflicting messages are to cause the maximum confusion to the enemy as they decide what to do next.
I’m figuring that by Sunday the MSM and Democrats will have decided on a unified theme to go with here. All of it will depending on the polling they see. If the polling is mixed they’ll go all in with the “wag the dog” business suggesting that all of this was to distract from Comey and Cohen citing a lack of public evidence of Syrian actions while at the same time not demanding any such evidence the administration has be made public so as not to allow Trump to justify his actions. Secondly they will contrast his previous remarks to his current actions to back up the whole “wag the dog” meme. If the polling proves this to be popular they might just decide to get behind it to head off the GOP taking credit.
In terms of politics this is the worst possible thing to happen to the left. Trump leading an international force to confront a country using chemical weapons is very presidential and it comes as his polling is some of the best we’ve seen for him in a while. A foreign policy success combined with a strong economy might just give the GOP enough courage to fight back against the left’s TET offensive, particularly if it’s combined with an effective slogan, but that’s the post I’ve put off till tomorrow.
As The Washington Post’s Saigon bureau chief Peter Braestrup documented in his book The Big Story, reporters systematically used Tet to turn the reality of a U.S. victory into an image of American and South Vietnamese defeat…That campaign of misrepresentation culminated in Walter Cronkite’s half-hour TV special on February 27, 1968, when he told his viewers that Tet had proved that America was “mired in a stalemate.”
In my last post I noted that there are significant differences between the events leading up to the “Big Red Wave” of 2010 and the supposed big blue wave of 2018 the most significant being that despite broken promises on Obamacare repeal, partially corrected by the passage of the Trump Tax bill, there is actually a record of significant achieve on foreign policy, on deregulation and of course on the economic outlook of the country.
The audience the MSM is trying to reach are the republican members of congress and the GOP consultants in the Washington bubble.
You see it doesn’t matter how the economy is doing, how much more the GOP is raising or how much better the public is doing, as long as the MSM aided by social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, can convince the GOP members of congress that defeat in the fall is inevitable and that Trump is the cause, they can cause them (the GOP) to retreat.
It’s Tet all over again, Cronkite and the MSM had an agenda and were the only game in town and thus were able to sell said agenda to the people. as Christopher Harper put it:
“After Tet, American media had assumed a new mission for itself: to shape the nation’s politics by crafting a single coherent narrative, even if it meant omitting certain relevant facts and promoting other false or misleading ones. standing — just as they had convinced them a year earlier that America’s major victory was actually a major defeat.”
It certainly does and their new mission is to reverse the results of the last election and step one is to convince the GOP that election 2018 is already lost and convince them to leave the field and given the GOP’s apparent fear of governing and fighting for the principles they supposedly espouse it’s not a surprise that so far the media and left are doing a pretty good job of selling them this reality.
The GOP needs a shot of courage and a meme to run on. Tomorrow we’ll provide the latter in the hopes of restoring the former.
Update: Instalanche again thanks again Ed. Dear reader I submit and suggest if you want to really annoy the MSM please consider supporting sites like mine as you are the primary source of the money that pays our expenses, our writers (yes I pay them) and myself.
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By now all of you are likely sick of my CPAC 2018 posts so you will be pleased to hear that other than a guest post (that needs integration of the graphics and the text) this post will close out my coverage of CPAC 2018.
My primary goal at CPAC was to answer some questions I had about the conservative movement and its relationship with the Trump administration after year 1. Here is what I found:
CPAC is Donald Trump’s event and will remain so as long as he is President and chooses it to be so:
The biggest difference between CPAC 2018 and CPAC 2017 was the fact that it was clearly a Donald Trump crowd that attended. Last year there were plenty of establishment types supporting different candidates and agendas and it wasn’t hard to find folks who didn’t care for Trump among the attendees. This year was very different, except in media the folks who did not support this president were few and far between or for the most part silent. This was a Trump crowd and as long as the president keeps deciding to show up it will remain primarily a Trump crowd and I suspect CPAC will act accordingly in terms of how it carries itself.
Ted Cruz has replaced the Paul Family as the other big presence at CPAC:
When I first came to CPAC it and the straw polls in it were dominated by the Ron Paul (later Rand Paul) folks who generally came en mass to vote for their hero. With Donald Trump in office, Ron Paul now retired and any Paul for President Campaigns on hold for at least a decade there is no sign that the Paul organization is trying to get young people there. However I seemed to constantly run into Ted Cruz folks. This is not a surprise as Senator Cruz remains one of the most popular speakers at the event but also because while President Trump full fury was directed at Senator Cruz during the campaign he has with a few notable exceptions governed to the priorities of the Ted Cruz Crowd. In fact one might even say President Trump has made the Ted Cruz base his base and while I’m sure the Senator and his supporters (full disclosure like myself) would be delighted to see a president Ted Cruz, as long as he is moving our priorities forward they will stick with him.
The single biggest star for Trump are the Tax Cuts:
While I got a lot of assorted answers on what the folks liked best about Donald Trump the overwhelmingly most popular things about him was the tax bill and the economy. The strong Trump economy which is in evidence is and remains his single biggest selling point among the CPAC activists with one exception from a particular sub group…
Evangelicals and Pro-Lifers are with him all the way:
…and that the Pro-Life voters of which I am one of. Pro-life voters are uniformly ecstatic about Donald Trump and the attention his administration has given to our cause. The religious people I talked to are willing to forget Trump’s past as they would any convert who has “seen the light” so to speak. As for the failure to defund planned Parenthood and repeal Obamacare those I questioned on the subject lay the blame squarely at the feet of the GOP in general and Collins, McCain and Murkowski in particular in fact this keeps with a particular pattern…
The GOP not Trump is taking the hit for any failures:
It’s very clear that when it comes to the blame game the CPAC crowd gives Trump very little of it for the various legislative failures. The GOP get the lions share of this and I suspect this might be a real driver during the midterms in decreasing turnout for the party in an election that they need to win there is one exception to this.
The #1 complaint about Donald Trump are the Tweets (particularly in conservative media):
This is a subject where I depart from the majority of both CPAC attendees and particularly my fellows in conservative media. While I and several Trump partisans think the President’s Tweets are an invaluable tool to bypass the media to get his message out (making them react instead of him reacting to them) most of those I talked to dreaded his tweets. It was considered not only a distraction from his agenda but I got a real sense that supporters in conservative media dreaded him saying something untoward that they might be obligated to defend or discount.
The Democrats should have made a DACA Deal while they could:
I asked people about a DACA deal for the wall. While there was a significant amount of folks who disagreed the clear majority of attendees were more than willing to swap DACA for a wall. Once the president speech was given saying DACA was dead, folks concluded that they could get a wall without DACA and that opinion seemed to harden. The wall remains a sine non qua for the Trump folks and if they get it I suspect it would cover a multitude of sins and it seems to me the President would like to do something for the DACA crowd but it’s clearly the opinion of the crew that they don’t need to give an inch.
The CPAC crowd is more optimistic about the midterms that the party as a whole:
A lot has happened in the intervening two months but at the time of CPAC with the tax cuts starting to kick in the crowd there were feeling pretty good about the midterms. While the President warned about complacency it seems that warning wasn’t enough to get the optimism out of them but if the GOP wants to overcome the energized Democrats they will need more than a vague confidence of victory.
The CPAC crowd wants Trump to continue being Trump:
The final question I asked all there was this: How can President Trump help the GOP win in the midterms, the answer was almost unanimous: Keep doing what you’re doing. Trump votes like the Trump policies and as long as the economy keeps booming and jobs and wages continue to rise there will be voters who will think twice before turning to the party promising to raise their taxes.
The real question is this: Are the Trump voters energized enough to overcome both energized Democrats anxious to vote and Democrat machines that now know where they need to steal said votes? The answer alas wasn’t at CPAC, it’s in the individual districts and I think the it’s going to come down to the warning that the President gave about complacency. Fortunately for the GOP the Democrats are making it very hard to pretend that there are no consequences for defeat.
The second question is this, If the Trump votes aren’t energized enough to hold the house, who will get the blame? The media and the establishment will certainly blame Trump but who would the CPAC activist blame? The answer to that question will determine what CPAC 2019 looks like.
DaTechGuy at CPAC 2018 The story (blogged) so far:
My Camera battery died during the interview but I was also recording audio so to make sure you got his answer so I’m embedding the full audio which I recorded seperately
This is a catch up post I had initially put this soundtrack at the end of the interview with a still image but the sound didn’t sync right and frankly I haven’t had the time to fix it so in the interest of getting this up before my CPAC conclusions posts I offer it here and now.
There will be two more CPAC posts, my conclusion post and a special guest post which will go at a later date.
DaTechGuy at CPAC 2018 The story (blogged) so far:
The CIA has such a lousy record that the country might be better without it.
Let me run through just a few of the examples I know about from years of reporting in the Middle East and the former Soviet Union.
My all-time favorite happened in Lebanon.
The pro-Iranian group Hezbollah identified numerous CIA operatives by staking out a Pizza Hut in Beirut. How did Hezbollah figure out that the CIA was meeting with double agents and informants at Pizza Hut? The CIA decided to use the code word “pizza” when communicating with agents.
The code literally meant to meet at a pizza joint for pizza! Ten agents had their identity revealed, and numerous other informants were discovered—some of whom were executed. The CIA was left essentially blind in Lebanon for several months, having to pull the agents out, because agents were lazy and uncreative with their tradecraft.
No. 2 on my list? Iran.
The CIA had little idea that Islamists were going to overthrow the Shah of Iran in 1979. The religious elements of Iran were gaining power, but the CIA viewed religion as a challenge and threat from another time. There was no way a religious movement could overthrow a powerful, secular leader backed by Western powers, right? Just six months before the revolution, the CIA bluntly stated: “Iran is not in a revolutionary or even a pre-revolutionary situation.”
Tell that to the friends and family of the hostages held for more than a year in the U.S. embassy in Tehran!
Even we journalists had a pretty good idea that something was about to hit the fan. It’s not often that journalists realize that something important is about to happen!
No. 3: The Soviet Union
The CIA missed the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union two years later. The agency failed to catch Aldrich Ames, an analyst who was an agent for the Soviets. Ames was a drunk and a womanizer who was heavily in debt. When the Soviets offered him $50,000 in exchange for information, he sold out.
For years, the CIA was unable to figure out that Ames was the mole giving away assets. The USSR even planted fake information through another mole to throw the CIA off Ames’ trail.
An estimated 100 people were compromised, including at least 10 Americans.
There are many others. The Bag of Pigs and 9/11 come to mind.
I’m certain there are many fine people in the CIA. But a record like the one I document here should bring some pause about the effectiveness of the agency.
“We are a nation that has a government—not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth.”
First presidential inaugural address from Ronald Reagan, who was born in Illinois.
Last summer the Democratic-dominated Illinois General Assembly, overriding a veto from Republican governor Bruce Rauner, slugged Illinoisans with a 32 percent hike in the state income tax.
The Democratic nominee for governor, billionaire JB Pritzker, favors another tax increase. This phony, in a successful ploy to decrease property taxes on his Chicago mansion, purchased a neighboring mansion, disconnected its toilets, then in an assessment appeal, received his tax cut because the palace next door was “uninhabitable.”
Welcome to ILL-inios.
Rauner barely won the Republican nomination in last month’s primary over a little-known and little-funded insurgent conservative, Jeanne Ives, in a thoroughly dishonest campaign. I backed Ives. As for Prtizker, he comes with additional baggage, including embarrassing recordings of FBI-wiretapped phone conversations with now-imprisoned former governor Rod Blagojevich, which is the only reason why he is not the prohibitive favorite to wipe the floor with Rauner in November. Still, it’s likely that a Governor JB is in the future for the Prairie State.
Illinois is broken and broke. It might not have the worst-funded public pension system among the states, but it’s so close to the bottom it doesn’t really matter. Illinois House speaker–“speaker for life”–Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), with some Republican help, transformed Illinois’ pension system into a generous political reward in exchange for support from public-sector unions. Illinois’ budget dedicates 25 percent of spending on state worker pensions. In Wisconsin that amount is 16 percent. Okay, that doesn’t seem like much, but Wisconsin’s pension plan is 100 percent funded, Illinois is at a paltry 35 percent.
Bad times have arrived in Illinois–with worse times coming. For the last three years Illinois has suffered from negative population growth.
It’s hard to see how Illinois won’t be able to avoid some sort of default.
Pritzker favors a “temporary” income tax increase until a graduated tax rate is put in place. But for that to get enacted the state constitution must be amended. That requires three-fifths of both houses of the General Assembly to approve it and a majority of Illinois voters to go along. Even in blue Illinois those are tall hurdles, especially since a “Prtizker amendment” will be viewed, rightly, by voters as a pension bailout amendment.
Of course Pritzker is vague about rates for both that “temporary” tax plan and the graduated one. Of course with the latter one, only “the rich” will pay more.