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Archive for September 21st, 2011

I haven’t paid too much attention to the Solyndra scandal, except to note that waste, corruption and job losses are the inevitable consequences of big government and crony capitalism.

But if you want a withering indictment of the sleaziness of the whole enterprise, a trip to Chicago is very illuminating.

Here’s some of what John Kass of the Chicago Tribune wrote about the “Chicago smell” of this issue.

The Solyndra scandal cost at least a half-billion public dollars. It is plaguing PresidentBarack Obama. And it’s being billed as a Washington story. But back in Obama’s political hometown, those of us familiar with the Chicago Way can see something else in Solyndra — something that the Washington crowd calls “optics.” In fact, it’s not just a Washington saga — it has all the elements of a Chicago City Hall story, except with more zeros. …did you really believe it when the White House mouthpieces — who are also Chicago City Hall mouthpieces — promised they were bringing a new kind of politics to Washington? This is not a new kind of politics. It’s the old kind. The Chicago kind. And now the Tribune Washington Bureau has reported that the U.S. Department of Energyemployee who helped monitor the Solyndra loan guarantee was one of Obama’s top fundraisers. Fundraising? Contracts? Imagine that. …it’s the same old politics, the same kind practiced in Washington and Chicago and anywhere else where appetites are satisfied by politicians. When the government picks winners and losers, who’s the loser? Just look in the mirror, hold that thought, and tell me later.

Kass does a great job of describing how these legal forms of corruption take place.

In Solyndra, like any proper City Hall political scandal, there are similar archetypes. There are the guys who count. The guys who bring the cash. They count because they do the counting. They have leverage. They’re always there at the fundraisers. And so they’re the ones who are allowed to gorge at the public trough. The bureaucrats are the fulcrum so the guys with the leverage can lift great weight without too much effort. And while they might whine privately among themselves, they don’t hold news conferences to blow the whistle. They keep their mouths shut until the deal is done. If anyone gets caught and the problem becomes public, at least they’ve got email to cover their behinds. And they’re doing a good job covering. But there’s one group that doesn’t get their behinds covered. Instead, their behinds are right out there, suspended foolishly, and waiting to get kicked. We’re the taxpayers — in Illinois we call ourselves chumbolones because we’re the ones who stupidly end up covering all the losses. As in the Solyndra mess.

His last point is most important. Taxpayers always wind up with the short end of the stick. Meanwhile, all the politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists, and interest groups simply shrug their shoulders and move on to the next scam.

That’s why the only solution to this sleaze is smaller government.

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I don’t mean jokes about the Slovenian political system, though I’m sure it would be a target-rich environment since politicians all over the world are easy to mock.

Instead, I happen to be in Slovenia and it’s time to share the best political jokes from America’s late-night talk shows (something I do periodically, as you can see here, here, and here).

Jay Leno

  • Astronomers have discovered a planet that has two suns. That solar company Solyndra went bankrupt on that planet too.
  • President Obama says his new jobs bill will create over 1.9 million jobs — and up to 50 of them will be right here in America.
  • I had a horrible nightmare. My cat was sick and the only vet in town was Ron Paul, and I didn’t have my pet insurance card.
  • President Obama is more popular overseas than here. Then again, he’s created more jobs over there than here.
  • Congress is investigating why the Obama administration invested over $500 million in a solar panel company called Solyndra, which filed for bankruptcy. Only the White House could pick a solar panel company that goes broke in California in the summer.
  • The Democrats lost a seat they’ve held in New York since the 1920s. The White House said, “At least President Obama created one new job.”
  • Dick Cheney was grilled by the women of “The View.” So apparently he’s willing to undergo torture himself to prove a point.
  • After saying the jobs bill is paid for, President Obama now says that it will be paid for by raising taxes over 10 years. I can’t figure out if he’s the kind of guy who makes infomercials, or the kind of guy who falls for infomercials.
  • Threatening messages were posted on the White House Facebook page. Secret Service takes this very seriously and they’re warning that whoever is responsible runs the risk of being unfriended.
  • According to the latest poll, a record 73 percent of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction. But the good news: Gas is so expensive that we’ll never get there.
  • President Obama’s uncle has been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. Remember when the most embarrassing person in the president’s life was Joe Biden?
  • How sad is it for the uncle? He got thrown in jail and the only relative he could call for bail money is $14 trillion in debt.
  • Hurricane Irene wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was downgraded to a tropical storm. Even our hurricanes are getting downgraded.

Conan

  • President Obama has proposed a new tax increase called the “Buffett rule.” At first, Newt Gingrich was for it because he thought it was the “buffet rule.”
  • President Obama’s re-election campaign is doing a contest where contributors can win a chance to have dinner with the president. Or, if you come in 2nd place, a mid-afternoon Hot Pocket with Joe Biden.
  • President Obama described himself as an eternal optimist. He then explained that he’s the kind of person that sees the country as “half employed.”
  • A man wearing an Obama mask robbed a bank. Either that or Obama has an exciting new plan to reduce the deficit.
  • It’s being reported that Rick Perry met his wife when they were in elementary school. There was another boy that liked her too but Perry had him executed.
  • According to a report, the post office could go out of business this winter. On the bright side, the post office won’t receive the report in the mail for another two years.
  • Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman announced that he received the endorsement of Jeb Bush Jr., who is the son of the brother of the former president. Analysts say he’s sewn up the crucial “guy you didn’t know existed” vote.

Jimmy Kimmel

  • The University of Chicago is hosting an academic conference called “Jersey Shore Studies.” Meanwhile in Korea, students are learning something called “math.”
  • President Obama is determined to help the unemployed because it’s looking increasingly likely that in a year, he’ll be one of them.
  • President Obama’s approval rating is very low. But then again, his disapproval rating is very high, so there’s a silver lining.
  • This is the first debate Rick Perry has participated in since he announced his candidacy. Perry is a mix between George W. Bush and Yosemite W. Sam.

David Letterman

  • I love autumn in New York City: The yellows, the browns, and the rust — and that’s just the drinking water. (not political, but I thought it was funny enough to share)
  • Labor Day is the day that Americans take three days off from looking for work.

Jimmy Fallon

  • Last night in the Rose Garden, President Obama had a beer with a Medal of Honor winner. Not to be outdone, Joe Biden had a beer with a “World of Warcraft” winner.
  • According to a new poll, only 55 percent of Americans think President Obama is intelligent. Yeah, that may not sound impressive, but it’s up 55 percent over the last president.

Speaking of political humor, this cartoon is my most-viewed blog post of all time.

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