Eastwood's 'Empty Chair' Speech Gets Under Big Labor's Skin, Provokes Violent Reaction
by Tim Blumer
September 3, 2012
The Politico, in its report on what turned out to be the center-right's "Empty Chair Day," covered the reaction of one prominent member of organized labor to Clint Eastwood's supposedly horrible (if you believe leftist pundits) speech at the Republican National Convention.
If it was really that awful, they would be taking pity on Clint. Instead, they're getting hostile, meaning that the Hollywood Academy Award winner really got under their skin, as seen in an understated report by the online web site's Tim Mak and Juana Summers (bolds are mine througout this post):
AFSCME President Lee Saunders, capping off a fiery speech to the Wisconsin delegation Monday morning, held a conversation with an invisible Eastwood.
An empty chair had been brought on stage before Saunders started speaking, but he ignored it for most of his speech.
“I don’t know if you noticed, but you see this chair? I don’t know if you noticed that he actually walked in with me. He’s invisible, he’s sitting right here. He’s been listening to everything I had to say,” Saunders said. “So I want you to welcome Clint Eastwood.”
“I’ve got a couple of questions. I’ve got a couple of questions I want to ask Clint Eastwood,” Saunders continued as dozens of attendees cracked up. “But first, buddy, what do you have to say for yourself? I didn’t hear you.”
“Clint’s been sitting here for the past hour. He doesn’t have anything to say for himself. Mitt Romney has nothing to say for himself. Paul Ryan has nothing to say for himself,” he said. “We’ve got to make our voices heard. We’ve got to speak loud and clear. If we do that, we will win in November.”
“Dirty Harry, Dirty Harry, make my day,” Saunders yelled, knocking the empty chair off of the stage.Buzzfeed's report by Rosie Gray indicates that Saunders was a bit more over the top than the Politico pair indicated (HT Blue Crab Boulevard via Instapundit):
"Mitt Romney doesn't have anything to say," Saunders continued. "Paul Ryan doesn't have anything to say."
Suddenly, the tone changed: Saunders, finishing his speech, began to kick the chair, threw it, and yelled "Dirty Harry, make my day! We're gonna kick ass in November!"
The crowd was cheering, and the humor had gained a palpable edge.So it appears that Politico may have decided to appoint itself the official language cleaner of organized labor and perhaps the entire Democratic Party.
There appears to be no direct reference to "Empty Chair Day" or Saunders' speech at the Associated Press based on related searches done at about 10:30 PM ET. It would appear that the self-described Essential Global News Network is still waiting for instructions from the Obama administration and/or campaign as to how or even if it should report the chair-related events today.
Read more: http://goo.gl/ZreEH
The Terrifying New Normal
by Victor Davis Hanson
September 3, 2012
The World We Don’t Question
I’ve witnessed two of the most radical developments in my lifetime the last four years — changes far greater than those brought on by the massive new increases in the national debt, the soaring gas costs, the radical decrease in average family income, the insolvent Medicare and Social Security trajectories, or the flat housing market.
One is the fact of less than 1% interest rates on most savings (well below the rate of inflation), and the other is an epidemic of 20-something unemployment. All that is the new normal.
The hallmark advice of retirement planning was always to scrimp, save, and put away enough money to make up for retirement’s lost salary, increasing medical bills, and the supposed good life of the “golden years.” If a couple had saved, say, $300,000 over a lifetime (again, say, putting $500 away each month for 30 years at modest compounded interest), then they might expect a so-so annual return at 5% of about $15,000 a year on their stash, or about $1,250 per month.
In other words, perhaps Mr. and Mrs. Retiree could find enough with Social Security to live okay and pass on the principal to their kids. But well aside from the fact that many Americans have been laid off, taken pay cuts, lost home equity, had their 401(k)s pruned, or had to take care of out-of-work relatives, there is no 5% any more on anything, not even 2% or in most cases 1%. Saving money means nothing really in terms of return, only the realization that inflation eats away the principal each year.
To earn a decent return, the retiree has had to wade into bonds, stocks, and real estate buying and selling, with all their attendant risks that loom larger after 65. The old American idea of receiving a fair so-so interest on a little money in the savings account vanished. And no one seems to care.
The Federal Reserve perhaps had its reasons to keep interest rates low, given the massive spending, 2008 collapse, and the anemic “recovery,” but whatever the purported aims, the policy is not working. Yet cheap money proves to be no stimulus, even at rock-bottom interest rates. Firms don’t seem to think that near-zero interest (and the banks now have a rather scandalous margin between what they charge for ordinary loans and what they pay in interest) balances out the new anxiety over tax hikes, more regulations, and spiking energy costs. (Did Obama believe that employers simply existed to pay ever more taxes for his growing technocracy to redistribute?)
In classical Roman Republican terms, near-zero interest (and calls for “cancellation of debt and redistribution of property”) represented a vast transfer of wealth from those who saved to those who owe. Imagine a contemporary version of Catiline yelling, “If elected, I promise we won’t pay those SOB one-percenters any more than a third of a percent on their not-pay-their-fair-share stashes.” At least that way we might have known what we were dealing with.
The Really Lost Generation
Few seem to note that those who receive nothing on their retirement savings don’t retire so easily. And when they don’t retire, jobs don’t open up — which brings us to my next observation: the lost generation of those between 21 and 30, who at various ages and periods came into the workplace the last four years. Many have 8% plus student loans. I doubt half of those will ever be paid off, given the epidemic of unemployment in this cohort.
Unemployment rates of those 16-24 are now officially over 50%. Even the cohort between 16 and 29 suffers from 45% unemployment. In short, in four years we have become Europeanized: young people with no jobs who are living at home and putting off marriage and child raising — a “lost” generation in “limbo,” etc. etc. They may have a car, borrow their parents’ nicer car for special occasions, watch their parents’ big screen TV, and have pocket change for a cell phone and laptop by enjoying free rent, food, and laundry, but beneath that thinning technological veneer there is really little hope that they will ever be able to maintain that lifestyle on their own in this present day and age. Meanwhile, just like some Middle East tribal society, “contacts,” “networking,” and “pull” are the new gospel, as parents rely on quid pro quos to offer their indebted, unemployed (and aging) children some sort of inside one-upmanship in the cutthroat job market.
Read more: http://goo.gl/MebzU