Evan Coyne Maloney puts the left's calls for civility and their accusations of racism and radicalism of the right in perspective.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Dare I ask it - should we look a gift jack-ass in the mouth?
What has possessed Obama to suddenly - and unexpectely - open up a small but respectable portion of our offshore areas to drilling? Because that is what he just did. This from the NYT:
The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday.
The proposal — a compromise that will please oil companies and domestic drilling advocates but anger some residents of affected states and many environmental organizations — would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.
Under the plan, the coastline from New Jersey northward would remain closed to all oil and gas activity. So would the Pacific Coast, from Mexico to the Canadian border.
The environmentally sensitive Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska would be protected and no drilling would be allowed under the plan, officials said. But large tracts in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska — nearly 130 million acres — would be eligible for exploration and drilling after extensive studies.
The proposal is to be announced by President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Wednesday, but administration officials agreed to preview the details on the condition that they not be identified.
The proposal is intended to reduce dependence on oil imports, generate revenue from the sale of offshore leases . . . .
Lord knows, this is welcome news indeed. We likely have massive reserves off of our coast, over half of our trade deficit comes from the daily purchase of 70% of our oil needs from foreign suppliers, and the laws of supply and demand are still in play (though Pelosi made a valiant effort to repeal those laws in 2007), meaning that oil and gas prices will, if supply is not increased, rise substantially as we and the rest of the world recover from this recession.
There are criticisms. For one, it is a foregone conclusion that green organizations are circling the court houses as we speak, waiting to file their first among endless complaints under the various environmental acts to stop this all in its tracks. Unfortunately, Obama's announcement does nothing to indicate that he intends to lessen that burden. House Minority Leader John Boehner, at twitter, excoriates Obama for going nowhere near far enough in opening up areas to exploration. Moreover, it may well be that this new plan has some real devils in the details, such as allowing to states to ban drilling while refusing to allow states to share in revenues, thus giving states only downside risks that they would be insane to allow. If that turns out to be true, then this really will be a vast bit of smoke and mirrors from Obama.
But what about Obama's motivation to make this announcement now. There is no question that Obama just really upset his environmental base, so it certainly wasn't to keep his base happy. The move makes emininent sense from an economic perspective - so, assuming this is not smoke and mirrors, it may be a way of trying to change the national discourse and deflect some of the massive outrage against the left with Obamacare. Could this be, as Hot Air speculates. a way to try and grease the skids as a way to pass Obama's Cap & Trade plan? If so, Obama has given away perhaps his biggest bargaining chip - though there is nothing that could possibly justify voting for cap and trade under any scenario.
We will have to see how this one plays out. It seems positive news at this point, but time will tell.
Heh. "Bullshit Bingo" looks like lots of fun. And I can believe some of the testimonials:
Testimonials from past satisfied "Bullshit Bingo" players:
"I had been listening to the speech for only five minutes when I won." - Jack W., Boston
"My attention span during speeches has improved dramatically." - David D., Florida
"What a gas! Speeches will never be the same for me after my first win." - Bill R., New York City
"The atmosphere was tense in the last speech as 14 of us waited for the fifth box." - Ben G., Denver
You will find the full set of rules for this exciting new game at No Oil For Pacifists. Enjoy.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Meteorologist Joe Bistrardi, a vocal and articulate critic of antrhopogenic (man-made) global warming (AGW), has done a recent video (see here - unfortunately cannot embed it) wherein he points to a fundamental disconnect between Goddard's map showing massive warming in the polar regions this past winter while other measurments show a significant rise in polar sea ice. As Bastardi points out, those two events are mutually exclusive and, thus, the people at Goddard are making adjustments to the polar temperature data that logically cannot be true.
That leads in to a NYT article today, Among Weathercasters, Doubt on Warming. The NYT admits that there may not be quite a consensus on anthropogenic global warming [AGW], particularly among meteorologists, a very significant number of whom openly describe AGW as a "scam." That said, the NYT does nothing to hide its own bias, and in the end, quotes from several anthropogenic global warming [AGW] proponents who assure us that it is all a simple case of misunderstanding, nothing that a few months in reeducation camps for dissident meteorologists won't solve.
This from the NYT:
The debate over global warming has created . . . tensions between two groups that might be expected to agree on the issue: climate scientists and meteorologists, especially those who serve as television weather forecasters.
Climatologists, who study weather patterns over time, almost universally endorse the view that the earth is warming and that humans have contributed to climate change. There is less of a consensus among meteorologists, who predict short-term weather patterns.
That last paragraph is incredibly misleading. One, as to a generalized warming trend over the past two centuries, not a single meteorologist would contest that. We have been slowly warming up since the last Little Ice Age. The seminal issue is whether the warming is part of a natural cycle and, if not, then to what extent it is being driven by man. Two, meteorologists looking at the unadjusted temperatures over the last decade can clearly see that temperatures have gotten a bit cooler. They are in good company. Some of the top members of the AGW community happen to have admitted to the same thing. Three, this grossly overstates the "consensus" in AGW among climate scientists. To continue from the NYT:
. . . Joe Bastardi, for example, a senior forecaster and meteorologist with AccuWeather, maintains that it is more likely that the planet is cooling, and he distrusts the data put forward by climate scientists as evidence for rising global temperatures.
“There is a great deal of consternation among a lot of us over the readjustment of data that is going on and some of the portrayals that we are seeing,” Mr. Bastardi said in a video segment posted recently on AccuWeather’s Web site.
Such skepticism appears to be widespread among TV forecasters, about half of whom have a degree in meteorology.
A study released on Monday by researchers at George Mason University and the University of Texas at Austin found that only about half of the 571 television weathercasters surveyed believed that global warming was occurring and fewer than a third believed that climate change was “caused mostly by human activities.”
More than a quarter of the weathercasters in the survey agreed with the statement “Global warming is a scam,” the researchers found.
The NYT fails to note an important fact. Unlike academics competing for grants or the vast enviro-industrial complex - i.e., all of those from Al Gore to GE to Goldman Sachs and others who stand to reap a windfall from government mandates concerning AGW - meteorologists are unique in having no vested interest in either proving or disproving AGW theory.
. . . climate scientists use very different scientific methods from the meteorologists. Heidi Cullen, a climatologist who straddled the two worlds when she worked at the Weather Channel, noted that meteorologists used models that were intensely sensitive to small changes in the atmosphere but had little accuracy more than seven days out. Dr. Cullen said meteorologists are often dubious about the work of climate scientists, who use complex models to estimate the effects of climate trends decades in the future.
But the cynicism, said Dr. Cullen, who now works for Climate Central, a nonprofit group that works to bring the science of climate change to the public, is in her opinion unwarranted.
“They are not trying to predict the weather for 2050, just generally say that it will be hotter,” Dr. Cullen said of climatologists. “And just like I can predict August will be warmer than January, I can predict that.”
To the NYT credit, they do point out later in the article that Cullen is the radical who advocated that the Meteorological Society withhold accreditation from any meteorologist who did not first swear fealty to AGW theory. But the NYT quoted Cullen without challenging any of her ridiculous assertions. The Times authors fail to note that all of the "complex models" that the AGW theorists relied upon to show catastrophe in 50 to 100 years predict that temperatures will rise in concert with and because of increases in carbon dioxide. Not a single one of these "complex models" predicted the last decade of cooling, even as humans pumped ever more CO2 into the atmosphere. In other words, the computer models are fatally flawed and of no predictive value. And for the NYT to let Cullen get away with saying she can predict that it will be hotter in 2050 than today with the same assurance that she can predict warmer weather in August than January is just jaw dropping. That is utterly ridiulous.
Resentment may also play a role in the divide. Climatologists are almost always affiliated with universities or research institutions where a doctoral degree is required. Most meteorologists, however, can get jobs as weather forecasters with a college degree.
Ahhh, here we go. The problem is one of [a] degree, so to speak. Climatoligists should be believed because they, as a group, are smarter than meteorologists, who as a group are also driven by jealousy and envy.
The problem with that theory is you do not have to have a PhD in climatology to be able to evaluate the work produced by the AGW proponents. There are many intelligent people from other walks of life who can look at the work of climate scientists and say, whoa, wait a minute, that doesn't make any sense. There are more that can understand that there is a problem when the IPCC substitutes peer review in place of the scientific method as the gold standard for reliability. And all people should be able to understand that there is a problem when the IPCC does not even live up to that standard - relying on non-peer reviewed sources for claims of oncomoing and inevitable doom from global warming.
As to meteorologist angst with global warming, a classic example is the link at the top of this post, with Accuweather meteorologist Joe Bastardi pointing out the disconnect between adjusted temperature data showing torid temperatures in the poles while other data shows the growth in polar sea ice. Sceptical meteorologists like Bastardi and Anthony Watts key on unjustifiable adjustments being made to raw data and an even more fundamental concern about how the raw data is collected.
For Steve McIntyre, a retired mining engineer, his problems with AGW theory have come from looking at the methodology and statistics used by Climatologists - when he could get the data. Much of the stonewalling of climate scientists over the past decade has been their refusal to provide their raw data and methodology to Mr. McIntyre. For example, it was only recently that McIntyre finally got a hold of Kevin Briffa's dataset for Yamal - after a decade of stone-walling - and pointed out that Briffa manipulated his findings by using tree rings from a single outlier.
For historians, their problems are with the AGW alarmists who claim that the earth today is the hottest in history. We know that it was hotter at other times, including most recently during the Medieval Warm Period (MWP). Parts of Greenland today frozen over were being farmed during the MWP, and the British had a thriving wine industry as far north as Hadrian's Wall. In other words, claims that we are in an unprecedented cycle of warming simply because we are in a general warming trend do not flow from the historical record. That coupled with ridiculous efforts of Michael Mann and the IPCC to wipe the MWP and the Little Ice Age from the historical record have left many of us with the firm conviction that climate scientists are advocates, not scientists, and indeed, the worst sort of scam artists.
And then of course there are numerous other scientists who are agnostic as to AGW, but who, in the wake of Climategate, look at how the scientific method has been bastardized by AGW proponents to produce a "consensus." These scientists recoil in disgust of their own.
The NYT blithely ignores all of that, expounding ever more on their hypothesis that the only reason for the split between climate scientists and meteorologists is because the latter simply don't understand. Thus, the NYT tells us, meteorologists themselves need to be reeducated. This is arrogance unbound. It is of an ilk displayed by Obama and the left when telling us that the only reason we don't support Obamacare is because we don't understand it. It is rather breath-taking - but not surprising.
Congress has heard testimony estimating that more than two-thirds of all births in Los Angeles public hospitals, and more than half of all births in that city, and nearly 10 percent of all births in the nation in recent years, have been to illegal immigrant mothers.
George F. Will, A Birthright? Mabye Not, Townhall.com, 28 March 2010
While I am a strong proponent of a very liberal immigration policy, we have a real problem with illegal immigration that will require a change to our Constitutional interpretation to fix. As it is now, the 14th Amendment is being interpreted to provide that anyone born in America is automatically an American citizen, irrespective of whether they are born to people in this country legally. This provides a peverse incentive for pregnant illegals to enter America to give birth. And it is the subject of George Will's most recent columnn.
A simple reform would drain some scalding steam from immigration arguments that may soon again be at a roiling boil. It would bring the interpretation of the 14th Amendment into conformity with what the authors of its text intended, and with common sense, thereby removing an incentive for illegal immigration.
To end the practice of "birthright citizenship," all that is required is to correct the misinterpretation of that amendment's first sentence: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside." From these words has flowed the practice of conferring citizenship on children born here to illegal immigrants.
A parent from a poor country, writes professor Lino Graglia of the University of Texas law school, "can hardly do more for a child than make him or her an American citizen, entitled to all the advantages of the American welfare state." Therefore, "It is difficult to imagine a more irrational and self-defeating legal system than one which makes unauthorized entry into this country a criminal offense and simultaneously provides perhaps the greatest possible inducement to illegal entry." . . .
If those who wrote and ratified the 14th Amendment had imagined laws restricting immigration -- and had anticipated huge waves of illegal immigration -- is it reasonable to presume they would have wanted to provide the reward of citizenship to the children of the violators of those laws? Surely not.
. . . [T]here is no constitutional impediment to Congress ending the granting of birthright citizenship to persons whose presence here is "not only without the government's consent but in violation of its law."
Will's point is a very good one indeed. It should be the starting point for immigration reform. But it would seem that Obama's answer will be simply to offer complete amnesty to all illegals, the position supported by SEIU and La Raza.
Drudge completely fooled me. Here is the first line of the Drudge headline:
OBAMA PLANS SPRING OFFENSIVE:
Given that Obama is in Afghanistan and we are at war there, I immediately clicked the link to see if we were about to launch a new front against the Taliban and al Qaeda. Surprise, surprise - I should have read the next line of the link:
TARGETS WALL STREET, SCHOOLS, CAMPAIGN FINANCE, ENERGY...
What irony. I should have known. Al Qaeda and the Taliban are mere distractions. Obama's war is on America itself.
Someone combing through RNC's records found a $2,000 bill for entertainment at a lesbian BDSM nightclub in LA. Apparently, this was the final stop of an evening in which some RNC employees targeted big - and young - donors, taking them for a night out on the town. This is being played up - ridiculously - as some sort of scandal. Not every one in the Republican party is a social conservative and the mere fact that this place was themed for the lesbian leather crowd - well, so what. Having spent many a night in a gay bar (closest place to the Univ. library to walk to and get a beer - always a polite crowd) and a huge BDSM themed bar (cheap drinks, very - very eclectic crowd, and far less risque than one would imagine - taken there for my birthday and became a regular) my experience with them is that they are relatively innocuous. Indeed, it is all far less risque than a strip club or many a comedy show to which I've been. At any rate, this is being far overblown. Whoever is upset at this really needs to get a life.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Over the weekend, Obama used his power to make recess appointments to appoint Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. This is an incredibly radical appointment as Becker, former counsel for the AFL-CIO and the SEIU is pro-union to a degree that would make an old Soviet proud. As the Washington Examiner explains some of his more radical positions:
Craig Becker . . . claims management should be barred from National Labor Relations Board hearings on labor-management disputes, and he is a strong advocate of Card Check, the union bosses' proposal to do away with secret ballots in workplace representation elections. . . .
So why is President Obama using his power of recess appointments -- the right of a president to put somebody in an executive branch position until the next Congress convenes, which in the present case will be January 2011 -- to install Becker as the deciding vote on the NLRB? The answer to that question, of course, starts with what the five-member NLRB does, which is oversee the administration of the National Labor Relations Act, the basic rule book for labor-management relations since it was signed by FDR in 1935. There is also the fact that last month Becker's nomination fell eight votes short of the 60 needed to defeat a threatened Republican filibuster in the Senate, which left a recess appointment as the only way Obama could get his man on the NLRB.
Expect Becker to come on like a man possessed once he is ensconced at the NLRB because nobody expects the next Congress to be any more receptive to his appointment than the current one. But nine months of Becker on the NLRB is better than nothing, especially because the Senate has been markedly unsympathetic to Card Check, despite it being the union bosses' No. 1 legislative priority.
This insane appointment is one that could well damage our already weak economy - changing the relationship between employers and unions in fundamental ways - and all outside the ballot box.
Of course, this is far from Obama's only appointment of radical individuals far outside the mainstream. Let's go down a short list:
Andy Stern - as head of the SEIU, represents numerous public sector union employees - the scourge of state and local budgets across America. Public sector unions operate outside of market forces and have every reason to seek bigger government and higher taxes. Obama appointed Stern to his deficit reduction commission which is to do the job of Congress and the President in deciding how to direct the future of taxes and spending in America.
Kevin Jennings - a radical homosexual who advocates sexualizing our children beginning at Kindergarden and, in the past, has taught "fisting" to students as young as fourteen years old. This man has no business being allowed near a single child, yet he was given an appointment outside of Congressional purview as Obama's Safe Schools Czar.
David Axelrod - Obama's counterpart to Karl Rove; is a purely political advisor with no experience in the military or in intelligence. What makes Axelrod a radical choice is that Obama includes him not merely in political decision making, but in all aspects of Presidential decision making, including military and intelligence decisions. That is a radical change from prior Presidents and marks the fact that Obama sees everything, including our national security, as subordinate to political concerns.
John Holdren - Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. He has in the past advocated for forced abortions and the use of sterilizing agents in drinking water in order to control America’s population. He believes that a baby may only ultimately become a human being if given the proper resources during the early years after birth. He is also a ridgid advocate of Global Warming who has dismissed Climategate out of hand as meaningless.
David Ogden - appointed by Obama to the post of Deputy Attorney General. He has in the past taken positions supporting abortion on demand, child pornography, and come out in opposition to parental notification laws on abortion.
Leon Panetta - this appointment was a purely political appointment to head our nation's major intelligence agency in time of war. Panetta had zero experience in intelligence. It is impossible to know how bad a job he has done since virtually all that the CIA does is shrouded in secrecy. Whatever may be the case, the appointment of a neophyte to this agency during two wars and an omnipresent terrorist threat was radical indeed. It marked Obama as elevating politics over national security.
Dawn Johnsen - Obama nominated her for, but has yet to appoint her to, the position of heading the Office of Legal Council. That is a critical a position that requires the occupant to, among other things, provide opinions of legality of proposed operations by the CIA. She is a doctranaire leftist idealogue whose previously articulated positions would virtually tie the hands of our government in dealing with terrorists.
Melody Barnes - appointed by Obama to the Head of Domestic Policy Council. She is a radical, progressive femenist who supports unrestricted access to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand. She also see capitalism as a "flawed economic philosophy."
Harold Koh - a lawyer who adheres to the radical position that international law should play a central role in interpreting our Constitution, essentially rendering the terms of our Constition meaningless and amenable to any personal policy preferences of five justices on the Supreme Court. It would substitute the policy preferences of unelected justices for the legislature. Moreover, Koh has led an attack on the first amendment right to free speech, finding it too liberal and advocating that court's interpret it more restrictively. And he has advocated allowing for use of Sharia law to be applied in appropriate cases in U.S. courts.
Van Jones - formerly appointed by Obama as the Special Advisor of Green Jobs to the White House, Jones was a self-described communist and a 9-11 truther.
Mark Lloyd - Obama's appointment to Diversity Officer for the FCC. Lloyd is sort of the Rev. Wright of the FCC. He would subordinate concerns with "freedom of speech and the press" to racial and other policies. His biggest concern as diversity officer is getting rid of whites. "We have to be conscious of the need to put more people of color, gays, and other people in the positions of power that white people currently hold. We're in a position where you have to say who is going to step down so someone else can have power." He is, not surprisingly, a big supporter of the Fairness Doctrine as a means of silencing conservative opinion.
Chai Feldblum - appointed by Obama as Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Feldblum is a radical advocate of gay lesbian transgender rights in America and does not advocate merely equality for the LGBT community, but would seemingly support advocating for an LBGT lifestyle as the new norm in American society. Indeed, Feldblum would evlevate LGBT rights above the conscious of Christians and others who do not wish to accept the LGBT lifestyle on religious grounds. Some of his recent comments on this topic: “[F]or all my sympathy for the evangelical Christian couple who may wish to run a bed and breakfast from which they can exclude unmarried straight couples and all gay couples, this is a point where I believe the “zero sum” nature of the game inevitably comes into play. . . . Government should “not tolerate private beliefs about sexual orientation and gender identity that adversely affect LGBT people. . . . “[I]t is essential that we not privilege moral beliefs that are religiously based over other sincerely held core, moral beliefs” about homosexuality."
I could go on and on, but am tired of writing and linking at this point. There are many other radical "progressives" Obama has appointed to positions of power. And indeed, they will clearly effect our nation in fundamental ways. The job of the next President will not be merely to roll back all the damaging legislation put in place by Obama and Crazy Nancy, but to undo the destructive influence of the radical progressives Obama has put in positions of power virtually throughout the government.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
It is clear that the left thinks that conservatives are winning the national argument on Obamacare. Exhibit One is how the left is throwing race cards with wild abandon in an attempt to stop further debate and delegitimize those protesting Obamacare. On a related note, there is the DNC's incredibly hypocritical bit of political theatre - an offer to Michael Steele to sign a joint statement of "civility" - designed both to highlight a supposed lack of civility on the right and to set the right up for a beating on this issue in the future.
The picture at the top of the page is Jesse Jackson, Jr holding a flip-open cam-corder. Rep. Clyburn and others of the Congressional Black Caucus marched through the protests in an effort to solicit any sort of racial remarks. Jackson was one of two members of their little group recording every second of their march. And yet not a single one of the fifteen claimed racial epitaphs were recorded, nor was anything resembling an intentional spitting. Indeed, not a shred of evidence has been produced from any source supporting the claims.
That has not stopped veteran race card tosser Colbert King of the Washington Post, whose editorial, In the faces of Tea Party shouters, images of hate and history, is as scurrilous a piece as I've ever read. King tells us that "[t]he angry faces at Tea Party rallies are eerily familiar," then draws direct parallels between the racist yahoos protesting against civil rights in the 50's and 60's to those protesting Obamacare today. His logic is impeccable, at least by progressive standards:
People attacking civil rights protestors in the 50's had angry white faces = racism.
People attacking civil rights protestors in the 60's had angry white faces = racism.
People protesting Obamacare at the Capitol had angry white faces = racism.
Besides his fatuous logic, King also demonstrates intermittent memory loss. King, fails to mention that the incidents in the 50's and 60's involved angry white DEMOCRATS. His memory returns when he mentions David Duke prominently as a Republican, but it fails him again when he speaks of association with the KKK. Sure, he remembers that Duke was a former member of the KKK, but he completely forgets that the only former member of the KKK in office today is a Democrat. He also forgets that George Wallace was a Democrat.
Eventually, Mr. King gives his assessment as to why there were all of the "angry white faces" at the Capitol Hill. Not surprisingly, Mr. King tells us that it had nothing to do with concern over the massive growth of government and spending our nation into penury:
Tea Party members, as with their forerunners who showed up at the University of Alabama and Central High School, behave as they do because they have been culturally conditioned to believe they are entitled to do whatever they want, and to whomever they want, because they are the "real Americans," while all who don't think or look like them are not.
And they are consequential. Without folks like them, there would be no Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity or Pat Buchanan. There would never have been a George Corley Wallace, the Alabama governor dubbed by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Diane McWhorter in a 2008 Slate article as "the godfather, avatar of a national uprising against the three G's of government, Godlessness, and gun control."
Hence, an explanation for the familiarity of faces: today's Tea Party adherents are George Wallace legacies.
They, like Wallace's followers, smolder with anger. They fear they are being driven from their rightful place in America.
Rightful place in America? Is King too blinded by his vile reverse racism to see that what the Tea Partiers fear is that America itself is being driven from its rightful place? That has nothing to do with racism - and indeed, it is hardly just whites who feel that way. But that is a debate that Mr. King clearly has no desire in which to engage. Indeed, it is one he wants to prevent from occurring. I look forward to the day when scurrilous race baiters like King are scourged and driven from the public square by public outcry. There is no reason King should not be treated precisely like Don Imus was for his racially charged remarks a few years ago. King should be out on his ass looking for a job more appropriate to his level of intellectual honesty and sophistication, perhaps as an unpaid diarist for Kos.
Leonard Pitts, Jr., another race baiter, has written similarly at Freep. You can read his piece here - and an exceptional reply from BlogProf here.
On a related note, the DNC made a highly publicized offer to the RNC chairman, Michael Steele, to sign a joint statement of "civility." Steele refused to do so - which was the right response. But he did so without comment, which was absolutely the wrong thing to do. Steele's should have responded with something akin to:
I can't sign your joint statement of civility because everything I have seen over the past several years leads me to believe that you are making your offer in bad faith. Now I could be wrong about that and, thus, let me make a proposal. In order for me to believe that you are making your offer in good faith, I need to see you first demonstrate it by denouncing the many acts of uncivil behavior you have ignored in the past few years, including specifically:
- The mob who vandalized GOP headquarters in North Carolina in 2004 and who left behind numerous obscenities scrawled across the walls.
- The drive by shooting of Bush Cheney headquarters in Knoxville, TN in 2004
- The seemingly omnipresent calls for the death of President Bush and comparisons of him to Hitler at virtually every left wing rally from 2004 to 2008.
- The matter of voter intimidation by the New Black Panthers. Even if the Obama Justice Dept. refuses to prosecute the case, you can and should denounce it.
- The beating of Kenneth Gladney by union goons who also called him a "nigger."
And on that topic, there is of course no place for racism or sexism in America today on either the right - nor the left. In order to restore civility, it is equally as important that you, in good faith, first denounce:
- Rev. Jerimiah Wright for his vile reverse racism.
- All of those on the left who have slimed Clarence Thomas because of his skin color, including most recently the authors and editors of The Root, who nominated Justice Thomas as one of the twenty "Black Folks We'd Like To Remove From Black History," along with a rogues gallery of cannibals and criminals. And, surprise, the editor in Chief of the Root is Henry Louis Gates, Jr. who also needs to be denounced for creating a racial incident out of a police response to reports of a burglary at his house.
- All who make scurrilous attempts to delegitimize policy arguments by playing the race card, including Colbert King for his attempt to smear the entire Tea Party movement as racists in the Washington Post today.
- All attempts by the left to label speech they disagree with as "hate speech," despite the lack of any identifiable "hatred" in such speech. Indeed, I think you need to accompany this acknowledgment with an apology to Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter.
- All efforts by the left to silence opposing speech, particularly on campuses across America.
- The horrendous sexism aimed at Sarah Palin that has been on-going since she appeared on the national scene two years ago.
- The ridiculous claims, repeated by the DNC, that the RNC was soliciting violence with their "fire Pelosi" campaign and a chart that showed Pelosi against a background of fire. Or likewise, Sarah Palin's chart showing gun targets over those jurisdictions that she thinks the right should target in the upcoming elections. This is incredibly disingenuous twisting.
To sum up, DNC, I will be more than happy to sign your joint statement of civility, if you will merely first play catch-up and prove your good faith by denouncing, individually, each of the uncivil acts above. My concern is, based on all of your prior acts, that you would apply an extreme double standard as to what constitutes civility on our relative parts - making your current request to sign a joint statement on "civility" not but the most hypocritical of ploys. But I look forward to be proven wrong. Indeed, can we set up a joint press conference for you to make your denunciations, after which we can hold a signing ceremony?
That is what Mr. Steele should have said. It is time to put these low rent, intellectually dishonest bastards on the defensive and keep them there.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Each week, the members of the Watcher's Council nominate one of their own posts and a second from outside the Council for consideration by other council members in a contest for best post. The Watcher publishes the results each Friday. And the results of this weeks voting are in:
This weeks winner was Bookworm Room for her post, Tom Hanks shows stunning ignorance when he claims Americans were engaged in racial genocide against the Japanese during WWII. Ms. BWR speaks eloquently on the subject generally, and is also able to impart some family stories, her mother having spent WWII in a Japapnese POW camp. Coming in second place was The Razor with Scorched Earth, discussing, of course, the new era of bipartisanship ushered in by Obama and Pelosi. And as the Razor astutely notes, "Unfortunately Obama and his crew are as supine and weak when it comes to American enemies abroad as they are ruthless and tough domestically."
In the non-Council category, the winner was Abe Greenwald of Contentions, Outsmarting history Submitted by Bookworm Room. Coming in second place was Megan McArdle of The Atlantic for 8 Predictions for Health Care Submitted by The Glittering Eye.
There were some great entries this week. You can find them all, as well as the full results of the voting at the Watcher's site.
As Gerard Van der Luen opined the other day, we are, quite possibly, the first generation of Americans who can expect to see our children lead smaller lives. It is wholly self-imposed.
The CBO reports that Obama's FY 2011 budget has our nation on a path to a national debt equal to 90% of GDP by 2020. In other words, Obama is directing our nation to ruin, in which the only ways out are confiscatory taxes on a level never before seen in our country, and / or hyper-inflation. Obama and the progressive left are spending us into a banana-republic status.
According to Charles Krauthammer, in his article yesterday at the Washington Post, Obama in fact has a plan - adding a Value Added Tax (VAT), essentially a national sales tax, on top of the income tax. This from Krauthammer:
As the night follows the day, VAT follows health-care reform.
With the passage of Obamacare, creating a vast new middle-class entitlement, a national sales tax of the kind near-universal in Europe is inevitable.
We are now $8 trillion in debt [Krauthammer has his numbers transposed - we are $12+ trillion in debt today]. The Congressional Budget Office projects that $12 trillion will be added over the next decade. Obamacare, when stripped of its budgetary gimmicks -- the unfunded $200 billion-plus "doctor fix," the double counting of Medicare cuts, the 10-6 sleight-of-hand (counting 10 years of revenue and only six years of outflows) -- is at minimum a $2 trillion new entitlement.
It will vastly increase the debt. But even if it were revenue-neutral, Obamacare preempts and appropriates for itself the best and easiest means of reducing the existing deficit. Obamacare's $500 billion of cuts in Medicare and $600 billion in tax hikes are no longer available for deficit reduction. They are siphoned off for the new entitlement of insuring the uninsured.
This is fiscally disastrous because, as President Obama himself explained last year in unveiling his grand transformational policies, our unsustainable fiscal path requires control of entitlement spending, the most ruinous of which is out-of-control health-care costs.
Obamacare was sold on the premise that, as Nancy Pelosi put it, "health-care reform is entitlement reform. Our budget cannot take this upward spiral of cost." But the bill enacted on Tuesday accelerates the spiral: It radically expands Medicaid (adding 15 million recipients/dependents) and shamelessly raids Medicare by spending on a new entitlement the $500 billion in cuts and the yield from the Medicare tax hikes.
Obama knows that the debt bomb is looming, that Moody's is warning that the Treasury's AAA rating is in jeopardy, that we are headed for a run on the dollar and/or hyperinflation if nothing is done.
Hence his deficit-reduction commission. It will report (surprise!) after the November elections.
What will it recommend? What can it recommend? Sure, Social Security can be trimmed by raising the retirement age, introducing means testing and changing the indexing formula from wage growth to price inflation.
But this won't be nearly enough. As Obama has repeatedly insisted, the real money is in health-care costs -- which are locked in place by the new Obamacare mandates.
That's where the value-added tax comes in. For the politician, it has the virtue of expediency: People are used to sales taxes, and this one produces a river of revenue. Every 1 percent of VAT would yield up to $1 trillion a decade (depending on what you exclude -- if you exempt food, for example, the yield would be more like $900 billion).
It's the ultimate cash cow. Obama will need it. By introducing universal health care, he has pulled off the largest expansion of the welfare state in four decades. And the most expensive. Which is why all of the European Union has the VAT. Huge VATs. Germany: 19 percent. France and Italy: 20 percent. Most of Scandinavia: 25 percent. . . .
It is not merely the national debt that Obama threatens. In the aftermath of the passage of Obamacare, the costs to major businesses has become immediately apparent. This from Powerline:
Caterpillar, which said Obamacare will cost it an additional $100 million in the first year; Medtronic, which warned that the new tax on its products "could force it to lay off a thousand workers;" and Verizon, which has told its employees that it "will likely have to cut healthcare benefits to offset the new costs."
Here's one more:
AT&T on Friday said it will record a $1 billion non-cash expense in the first quarter related to the newly passed health-care law, joining a growing list of large U.S. companies. ...
Among its many changes, the new health-care law eliminated a tax deduction that companies used to cut the cost of drug-benefit programs for retired workers. ... companies that still offer retiree drug benefits, mostly older industrial concerns or those with unionized employees, say the end of the deduction could force them to alter their benefit plans. In other words, they might curtail or even cancel them.
"As a result of this legislation, including the additional tax burden, AT&T will be evaluating prospective changes to the active and retiree health care benefits offered by the company," AT&T said in a filing with the government on Friday.
Hot Air also points to John Deere, which is taking a $150 million dollar hit for Obamacare this quarter. With an economy reeling, this is all nothing short of insanity. How long before the manufacturing sector - and to the extent they can, the service sector - begins to move ever more jobs overseas in an effort to stay competitive.
Bill Clinton ran the meme "its the economy" to success in 1994. Republicans need to take their cue from Bill as we head into the mid-terms and then into 2012, when the fate of our nation hangs on not merely throwing Obama and the left out of office, but consigning their legislative legacy and "progressive" ideology to the dustbin of history. This really is a second civil war.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
George Lakoff, apparently a modern day phrenologist, argues that it is the abnormal brain function of conservatives that makes them unable to acknowledge the settled science of global warming. Moreover, it apparently makes these same drooling idiots believe in free markets. Who knew?
This from CNS News:
Proponents of human-caused global warming claim that "cognitive" brain function prevents conservatives from accepting the science that says "climate change" is an imminent threat to planet Earth and its inhabitants.
George Lakoff, a professor of cognitive science and linguistics at the University of California-Berkeley and author of the book "The Political Mind: A Cognitive Scientist's Guide to Your Brain and Its Politics," says his scientific research shows that how one perceives the world depends on one’s bodily experience and how one functions in the everyday world. Reason is shaped by the body, he says.
Lakoff told CNSNews.com that “metaphors” shape a person's understanding of the world, along with one’s values and political beliefs -- including what they think about global warming.
"It relates directly (to global warming) because conservatives tend to feel that the free market should be unregulated and (that) environmental regulations are immoral and wrong," Lakoff said.
"And what they try to do is show that the science is wrong and that the argument is wrong, based on the science. So when it comes back to science, they try to debunk the science," Lakoff said.
On the other hand, he added, liberals' cognitive process allows them to be "open-minded."
"Liberals say, 'Look seriously at the science and look at whether people are going to be harmed or not and whether the world is going to be harmed,’" Lakoff said.
In a Feb. 23 report on National Public Radio, reporter Christopher Joyce began his story by stating that recent polls show that fewer Americans believe humans are making the planet dangerously warmer, despite "a raft" of contradictory reports.
"This puzzles many climate scientists, but not social scientists, whose research suggests that facts may not be as important as one's beliefs," Joyce said.
. . . Lakoff, however, said that "99.999 percent of the science is final" on global warming and, in fact, the term "climate change" should be changed to "climate crisis" to more accurately describe the phenomenon.
"Climate crisis says we had something to do with it and we better act fast because that's the reality," Lakoff said
. . . In a February article on The Huffington Post, Lakoff praised recent media reports on the physiological and conceptual roots of political beliefs. He credited some of the movement to his 1996 book "Moral Politics," where he claims that these beliefs are rooted in the "two profoundly different models of the ideal family, a strict father family for conservatives and a nurturant family for liberals."
Lakoff writes, "In the ideal strict father family, the world is seen as a dangerous place and the father functions as protector from ‘others’ and the parent who teaches children absolute right from wrong by punishing them physically (painful spanking or worse) when they do wrong. The father is the ultimate authority, children are to obey, and immoral practices are seen as disgusting.
"Ideal liberal families are based on nurturance, which breaks down into empathy, responsibility (for oneself and others) and excellence -- doing well as one can to make oneself and one's family and community better." . . .
And this screaming idiot is a tenured professor? God help us but academia needs a high colonic - with a fire hose.
It would appear that the Obama economy drove an unemployed die-hard Philly fan to resort to the age old barter system.
This is one of those posts that anything I could add would both be inappropriate for this blog and mark me as a pig of the worst sort . . . . sigh.
[T]he dark and personal tone of the final stages of the health fight could complicate Republican efforts to maintain their attacks on the legislation if they are seen as inciting an undue level of outrage and, conversely, could bolster Democrats if opponents of the measure are seen as breaching the boundaries of civility.
The reports of threats, coming after a tense weekend when protesters hurled racial and homophobic slurs at Democrats and spit on one congressman, left many Democrats shaken.
NYT, After Healthcare Vote, Threats On Lawmakers, 25 March 2010.
Dislike of our imperious progressive overlords and opposition to Obamacare is quite real. As to the latter, the latest poll from CBS shows a significant majority - 62% - want the Republicans to work to repeal Obamacare. The breakdown of that vote is telling: 89% of Republicans, 66% of Independents, and even 41% of Democrats.
So what is the left to do? The NYT article quoted above answers the question. They are now making a concerted effort, helped by an equally "progressive" MSM, to portray that there is some new level of violence, racism and homophobia in America, and further, that this violence, racism and homophobia is synonymous with the Tea Party movement who protested Obamacare at the capitol over the weekend. There is no doubt that this is a collateral attack on all of those who protest the passage of Obamacare and an attempt to delegitimize them. It is also just so incredibly hypocritical as to be jaw dropping.
As to politically motivated violence itself, John Hinderaker at Powerline states:
We condemn political violence in virtually all circumstances; certainly in all circumstances that could arise in our democracy
I certainly agree with that as the general rule, though as to what "could" foreseeably arise, I am much less sanguine. But that aside, the reality is, as John points out:
Threats of violence, sadly, are not uncommon in politics; let alone "harassment." Even insignificant conservatives like us have been threatened with violence on several occasions, and the linked article notes that Jim Bunning received threats after he temporarily held up the extension of unemployment benefits a few weeks ago.
Actually, the hypocrisy of this sudden expression of fear of violence on the left is pretty jaw dropping, given their virtual silence on the political violence of the past few years by the left directed against the right. John at Powerline points to:
The fact is that, unlike conservatives, modern liberals have had little quarrel with political violence. This is best demonstrated by their support for card check legislation, the entire point of which it to abolish the secret ballot so that union goons can use the threat of violence to extend union power and thereby enrich the Democratic Party. (If you doubt the truth of that proposition, try to think of another reason why the Democrats want to eliminate the secret ballot in union elections.) The beating of Kenneth Gladrey by union goons--more specifically, the lack of any interest in it by anyone in the Democratic Party, the media, or on the Left generally--shows how hypocritical the Democrats' current pacifism is. If the day ever comes when conservative groups start hiring goons, we can take the liberals' purported fears of violence more seriously.
To that, Instapundit adds:
REMEMBERING WHEN G.O.P. Offices Were Vandalized: “An apparent mob of vandals attacked the North Carolina Republican Party headquarters, causing minor smoke damage, breaking windows and leaving vulgar messages, police said.” I don’t remember a national panic over this, or over the bullet-riddled Bush/Cheney headquarters.
Then there was this episode. And, of course, this: “A group of protestors stormed and then ransacked a Bush-Cheney headquarters building in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, according to Local 6 News.”
But those represented the righteous indignation of oppressed lefties, rather than the dangerous violence of nasty righties.
As I recall, the left gave critical acclaim to several works that advocated or showed the assassination of President Bush. And indeed, a blogger at Bin's Corner documents the many calls for the murder of Bush common at left-wing rallies. At any rate, I will not, for the purposes of this post, contest that current threats against Democratic law makers are real. But regardless, there is no question that this is being played up and blown out of proportion by the Dems in Congress and their MSM lapdogs in order to delegitimize the opposition to Obamacare. Moreover, the DNC is using these charges of racism and threats of political violence in their mailings to solicit donations.
And on a related matter of the Tea Party protests on Capitol Hill, all of the charges of racism, homophobia and spitting on Rep. Clyburn, made over the weekend, still lack a single scintilla of evidentiary support, despite the plethora of people using audio and visual recording devices at the event. And indeed, as to the charge of someone spitting on Rep. Clyburn, Instapundit goes to the videotape and runs that charge to ground - it appears that Rep. Clyburn was gilding the lilly (shades of Seinfeld). Yet how is the MSM playing this - I refer you to how the NYT, in their article quoted at the top of this post, so blithely describes the crowd of 40,000 people protesting Obamacare on Capitol Hill over the weekend: "The reports of threats, coming after a tense weekend when protesters hurled racial and homophobic slurs at Democrats and spit on one congressman, . . ."
These people are scurillous. As I posted below, we are in an ideological war in the U.S. today, and if conservatives are to win, we must find a way to effectively respond in such a way that everyone who reads or hears the left wing meme also hears the conservative response. With the MSM virtually in the pocket of the progressive left, it is a challenge.
Update: Eric Cantor hits the nail on the head in a statement today:
Update: One of the charges lodged by Politico this morning on the threats against Democrats came from a spokesman for Dem. Rep. Russ Carnahan who told Politico that "a coffin was placed in front of a [Carnahan's] house , another in a string of incidents against lawmakers after their vote Sunday on a health care overhaul." That certainly sounds threatening - until you hear the whole story.
Update: Andrew Breitbart at Big Government has an exceptional essay, 2010 A Race Odyssey, on the efforts by Clyburn and others to create a racist incident over the weekend, as well as a summary of the evidence that the charges lodged by the left are lies. As he opines, "If we let them get away with Saturday’s stunt — using the imagery of the Civil Rights era and hurtful lies to cast aspersions upon the tea party whole — then they really will have won the day." A similar sentiment is expressed at The Right Coast: "This latest Dem hysteria over the scariness of tea partiers is just beneath contempt."
Powerline also has a short post on the central figure in this latest Kabuki racial theatre, Rep. James Clyburn, who has doubled down on the his racism charges and now accuses the Republicans of aiding and abetting "terrorism."
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Charles Krauthammer is now forecasting that the Obama administration will soon be seeking the imposition of a Value Added Tax (VAT) (sort of a national sales tax) in order to pay for the massive costs of Obamacare and his other profligate spending. Krauthammer expects that to be the recommendation of Obama's deficit reduction commission that reports after the next election. Such a tax would hit particularly hard on the poor and the middle class.
(H/T Hot Air)
Let me ask, if Obama's goal was to reduce us from a superpower status and reduce our standard of living, what would he be doing any differently?
. . . The Boston Herald for trying to tie their eupohoric victory lap over the passing of Obamacare with a supposed right wing backlash to the election of Scott Brown to the Kennedy's ancestral Senate seat, since he didn't kill Obamacare. These left wing authors show the same degree of grace and intellectual honesty in victory that the left displays at all other times. And in this case, the lefties at the Herald don't simply stretch logic, they murder it:
Republicans feeling blue as Scott Brown win backfires
By Jessica Van Sack and Hillary Chabot
Republican folk hero Sen. Scott Brown is being taunted by triumphant Democrats - and slammed by irked conservatives - after the historic health-care bill he was elected to kill was signed into law by President Obama yesterday.
“If he were a milk carton, he would be expired,” said Massachusetts Democratic Party chairman John Walsh.
Brown’s backers from the insurgent Tea Party movement want to know if they’ve been had. . . .
Given that Brown never had a chance to vote on the healthcare bill being rammed down our throat, why would - or could - anyone possibly make the leap in logic to lay the blame for that on Scott Brown. But Brown is the 41st vote - and the bottom line is that the left's ability to radically remake our country beyond the insanity of Obamacare is now very much at issue.
Each week, the members of the Watcher's Council nominate one of their own posts and a second from outside the Council for consideration by other council members in a contest for best post. The Watcher publishes the results each Friday morning.
If you would like to participate in the Council's activites, while there is no opening on the council at the moment, we invite you take part by submitting your own best post of the week through "link whorage." You can find out how at the Watcher's site.
As always, this week's nominations present an eclectic mix of thought-provoking reading.
Do enjoy them all:
Mere Rhetoric – Mearsheimer: Let’s Mainstream Anti-Israel Lies So “Support For The Jewish State” Will “Evaporate
The Colossus of Rhodey – Does anyone recall the nets and papers headlining the worst of anti-war protests?
Bookworm Room – Tom Hanks shows stunning ignorance when he claims Americans were engaged in racial genocide against the Japanese during WWII
The Provocateur – Health Care Reform a State’s Rights Issue
Right Truth – Justified
The Razor – Scorched Earth
American Digest - Goodbye to the Way We Were
Rhmes with Right – Secret Service Engages In Jackboot Tactics During Outing By President’s Spouse And Spawn
The Glittering Eye – The Bell
JoshuaPundit – Obama’s War On Israel
Wolf Howling – Obama Leads The Progressive Left Across The Rubicon
Rick Richman / Contentions - Flunking Foreign Policy 101 Submitted by Mere Rhetoric
Common Sense Political Thought - This Ain’t Over Submitted by Colossus of Rhodey
Abe Greenwald / Contentions – Outsmarting history Submitted by Bookworm Room
Michael Yon Online – Warthog Submitted by The Provocateur
Gates of Vienna - Fighting the Taliban With Pencil and Paper Submitted by Right Truth
Big Government – Dana Loesch – The Socialists Won a Battle; Now It Is Our Turn Submitted by The Razor and JoshuaPundit
Jaded Heaven - Cut My Throat If It Feeds Your Need Submitted by American Digest
Houston’s Clear Thinkers – Thoughts on health care finance reform Submitted by Rhymes with Right
Megan McArdle/The Atlantic Online – 8 Predictions for Health Care Submitted by The Glittering Eye
The Strata-sphere - Health Care Bill Small Business Killer submitted by Wolf Howling
Elder of Ziyon – Obama the actor Submitted by The Watcher
If you listen to the left long enough, you will hear members of the left slip-up and admit that their policies are ultimately aimed at garnering seemingly limitless power over people's lives.
Pelosi did it in China when she said that any "response" to "global warming" would require that government subject "every aspect of our lives" to an "inventory."
Just the other day, Dem. Rep. Tom Perriello made a plea for help, saying that Congress needed to be stopped or its members would "steal" ever more.
And today we have John Dingell making admissions about the heath care bill:
And on a related note, here is the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. When asked what part of the Constitution authorizes the government to require people to purchase health insurance as part of Obamacare, this Constitutional scholar cites to the "Good and Welfare" clause.
This is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee? To think this man holds a position of great power overseeing our Courts is simply jaw-dropping. There is no "good and welfare" clause in the Constitution.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
We The Government indeed. Cartoonist Michael Ramirez is certainly one of the most perceptive individuals of our generation. The only thing he missed was the signature block, with Obama's name written in the size of John Hancock's.
Is there anyone on the right who does not realize we are in a zero sum ideological war in America today? It is not only against the progressive left in Congress, but equally against a MSM in the pocket of the progressive left. For instance, this today from MSNBC:
[I]n a week when Democrats are celebrating the passage of a historic piece of legislation, Republicans find themselves again being portrayed as the party of no, associated with being on the losing side of an often acrid debate and failing to offer a persuasive alternative agenda.
The party of "No?" You have got to be kidding me. Republicans were virtually shut out of the health care negotiations. They made attempt after attempt to influence health care legislation, only to be rebuffed.
If you want to see a "party of no," take a look at the left. When Bush attempted to fix a Social Security system clearly destined to fail, changing it from a ponzi scheme to essentially a personally owned, government administered 401k, the Democrats utterly refused to engage in any sort of dialogue or to offer any alternative plans. Everytime someone says the party of no, we should be replaying:
There is your party of "NO."
And this bit about "failing to offer a persuasive alternative agenda" is almost as offensive. Rep. Paul Ryan did precisely that in his "roadmap" for America, posted on line in November. So ignored was it by the MSM that three days before the "healthcare summit" in February, Obama and Gibbs were quoted as calling on Republicans to post something online. It was outrageous.
But it also makes my point - that Republicans are utterly failing at communications. The three biggest things Republicans can do to help their chances are, one, to develop a far more effective communications apparatus, recognizing that the MSM is, but for Fox and the Wall St. Journal, an ideological enemy that will do them no favors. The second thing they need to do is to challenge major misstatements or spin in the press, pointing out the bias and hypocrisy of the press itself. The press likes to pretend to objectivity, so they may not like it, but they will have to run the criticism. Three, stop worrying about decorum and start accurately expressing emotion. If the President is lying to the American people - then damn it, use the word "lie," use it with passion, and then explain why. The left operates to a large degree on pure emotion while the right is far more restrained in expressing it. That has to change if the right is ever going to get its message across and make it stick with the electorate on a visceral level. I am not arguing for adopting the pure emotion and intellectual dishonesty that are the hallmark of today's progressive left, but rather marrying intellectual honesty with emotion.
It is not enough to stop the progressives at this point - to have a static trench warfare, to use military terminology. This is a new Cold War. And as were their socialist progenitors, our modern progressives must be fully delegitimized, defeated and sent to the dustbin of history.
Update: Having looked at Doug Ross's blog, perhaps it would be better to call this a newly hot war - as a civil war graveyard tells us that Democrats have been at war with our country for a very long time.
Welcome: Smart Girl Politics readers.
From Matt Welch at Reason:
What to do with all these "structural deficits" popping up all over? Get used to it, kids, if you haven't already: Politicians will look for each and every "revenue opportunity" possible to soak their subjects rather than exact any concessions to the public sector unions that are gobbling up ever-larger shares of government budgets. The latest example comes from labor leader-turned Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa . . .
Do read the whole post. Welch quotes from an NPR interview with Villaraigosa wherein the LA Mayor discusses all of his machinations to soak LA taxpayors for more money, yet virtually ignores the public unions that are driving LA - and California itself - into bankruptcy.
As I wrote here, public sector unions are a cancer in our body politic. Unlike private sector unions, which are subject to market forces, public sector unions operate outside of market forces and with every motivation to grow government and taxation. At the federal, state and local level they need to be decertified or stripped of their right to engage in collective bargaining.
- Public Sector Unions: A Toxin, A Crisis & An Opportunity
- Read'n, Writ'n & Unioniz'n
- What, Marx Or Lenin Weren't Available?
- Gov. Chris Christie, What Leadership Looks Like
- California: From Riches To Public Sector Unions To Ruin
- Detroit's Public School System, School Board & Teachers' Union
- Unions & Teachers: The Alpha & Omega
A bit of catch up blogging. Talk about your admission against interest - not that it was anything we didn't know already.
In one sense, this is a bipartisan message. Certainly our cast of Republicans in Congress spent our money like drunken sailors when they controlled the purse strings, and its why their base let them hang in 2006. But they aren't even in the same league as Democrats, who make any analogy to drunken sailors grossly inaccurate in as much as it does not begin to capture their capacity for profligacy.
It is also a full and complete explanation of how Obama and the left could pass Obamacare in the face of a massive fiscal crisis and a national debt that threatens the stability of our nation. They simply choose to ignore it and keep rooting at the trough.
This also means that there is a fundamental and systemic failure in our body politic that, if not fixed, bodes an ill wind indeed for the future of our country.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
Sir Winston Churchill, Speech in November 1942
President Obama has crossed the Rubicon with the health care vote. The bill was not really about medicine; after all, a moderately priced, relatively small federal program could offer the poorer not now insured, presently not on Medicare or state programs like Medicaid or Medical, a basic medical plan.
We have no interest in stopping trial lawyers from milking the system for billions. And we don’t want to address in any meaningful way the individual’s responsibility in some cases (drink, drugs, violence, dangerous sex, bad diet, sloth, etc.) for costly and chronic health procedures.
No, instead, the bill was about assuming a massive portion of the private sector, hiring tens of thousands of loyal, compliant new employees, staffing new departments with new technocrats, and feeling wonderful that we “are leveling the playing field” and have achieved another Civil Rights landmark law . . .
Victor Davis Hanson, We've Crossed The Rubicon, PJM, 21 March, 2010
On Saturday night, we were a nation in deep trouble. We had a national debt of $12,676,374,186,522.00 - and were hemorrhaging billions in red ink daily. Unemployment/underemployment was well over 16% and was not forecast to get better during the coming year. We were still in the midst of the worst recession in our nation since the Great Depression - a recession itself brought on by Democrat social engineering of lending standards and a massive market distortion caused by Fannie and Freddie. (Update: The WSJ reports today that personal incomes contracted in the past year) Social Security, run as a ponzi scheme by a rapacious Congress for years and protected at all costs by Democrats, faced a huge problem of solvency (Update: with the insolvency starting this year) - dwarfed only by the massive unfunded liabilities looming in Medicare/Medicaid. And our ability to borrow to finance Obama's world record spending spree was rapidly deteriorating. Not only was our AAA rating for government securities in danger, but the market had already weighed in. "Two-year notes sold by the . . . Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in February yield 3.5 basis points less than Treasuries of similar maturity." Indeed, so serious are our economic woes that the "latest Fox News poll finds that 79 percent of voters think it’s possible the economy could collapse, including large majorities of Democrats (72 percent), Republicans (84 percent) and independents (80 percent)." Moreover, the same poll finds that three times as many individuals, some 64%, see our national debt as a greater threat to our nation than terrorism. In short, we were, on Saturday night, in a very bad situation. And then, Sunday night, Obama and the progressive left managed to make a bad situation exponentially worse.
On Sunday night, the progressive pulled out all of the stops to pass Obamacare, taking over, directly and indirectly, one sixth of our economy (voting roll here). Instead of addressing the looming disaster of Social Security and Medicare - indeed, instead of addressing unemployment and an economy in deep distress - Obama added on top of our failing entitlement programs the biggest entitlement program of them all. And Obamacare comes replete with massive new taxes, including taxes on investment income, unfunded state mandates that will mean higher state taxes, and the assurance of skyrocketing insurance premiums. As to our national debt, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former head of the CBO, explained the massive additions to our debt that we can expect as a result of this bill's passage.
The IRS will now expand massively as the designated arm of the state to enforce Obamacare. They will shortly begin hiring the 16,000 new agents needed to enforce the mandatory purchase of health insurance by all Americans. Over one hundred new bureaucratic offices are about to be created, all to oversee our Obamacare. As summed up by NRO, the vote last night “will increase taxes, increase premiums, and increase debt, while decreasing economic growth, job growth, and the quality of health care.” And the people are not fooled. When polled by CBS as to whether the health care plan pushed by Obama and the left was motivated by political concerns or actual concerns with health care - the majority, and even a majority of Democrats, 57%, answered that it was motivated by politics.
It is not enough to now simply say that our government runs our health care system. To give full credit where it is due, the Democrats now own it. Let's never let anyone forget that salient fact.
It looked for awhile like Bart Stupak and a handful of pro-life Democrats might hold out against language in the Senate bill that was so crafted as to allow for federal financing of abortions. Ultimately, Stupak caved in under intense pressure and with the promise that Obama would sign an executive order directing that no financing would go for abortions. An executive order does not trump the plain language of Congressional legislation. Indeed, a Court interpreting the law would likely only acknowledge the executive order in a footnote to its decision, if at all. You can bet your bottom dollar that, when the mandates become operative in a few years, there will be a law suit forcing the issue - and a court with any intellectual integrity will require that the government provide federal funding of abortion. The reality is that federal funding of abortion through Obamacare is now virtually inevitable.
Obama stated in remarks after the vote:
This is what change looks like. . . . We proved that this government — a government of the people and by the people — still works for the people.
Is Orwell now Obama's speechwriter? Health care played no role in causing our economic downturn - yet Obama pretended that it was at the heart of the problem. The plan designed by the progressive left does nothing to bend down the inflation of health care costs - yet it was sold on the basis of sound fiscal policy (Update: James Pethokoukis of Reuters no less calls it Faith Based Deficit Reduction; see also the post above, wherein Krauthammer forecasts an Obama attempt to impose a regressive VAT tax in order to fund Obamacare). Not a single poll showed that a majority of the people wanted this monstrosity - yet Obama claims a popular mandate. This was not a bill passed on its merits - it was progressive sausage made with toxic, backroom deals. All that last night proved was that the progressive left are power hungry statists willing to say and do anything in order to amass power. This is not a government that works for the people - it's a political elite that wants to control the people and punish wealth creation.
Megan McArdle, herself a throwback to old times - an intellectually honest, if a bit misguided, Democrat - summed up her thoughts at the Atlantic:
What I hope is that the Democrats take a beating at the ballot box and rethink their contempt for those mouth-breathing illiterates in the electorate. I hope Obama gets his wish to be a one-term president who passed health care. Not because I think I will like his opponent--I very much doubt that I will support much of anything Obama's opponent says. But because politicians shouldn't feel that the best route to electoral success is to lie to the voters, and then ignore them.
As Bill Kristol points out, this is by no means over, even now. Republicans are planning a series of parliamentary procedural moves that may yet impact final passage of proposed changes to the bill. But the real challenge lays in the upcoming elections. "[W]hat Republicans have to do is to make the 2010 and the 2012 elections referenda on Obamacare, win those elections, and then repeal Obamacare." Truer words were never spoken.
James Fallows, on the other hand, writing at the Atlantic thinks that "this will not seem anywhere near as poisonous seven months from now as it does today." He is living in a dream world if he thinks, after the election of Brown to Kennedy's seat in blue Mass., after the birth of the Tea Party movement so maligned out of fear by the left, this will all blow over. At the Politico, they speculate as to which Democrat seats are now in danger as a result of their vote last night on health care. No need to speculate. The answer is every damn one of them.
Even John McCain has put the left on notice that they should not expect any cooperation in Congress from the right after their actions of the past year:
"There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year," McCain said during an interview Monday on an Arizona radio affiliate. "They have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it."
No, they didn't just poison the well, they urinated in it. And we really should go one further than McCain. If you hear anyone mention the word "bipartisan" again, in any suggesting that the Republicans should cooperate with the Obama administration, the only appropriate response is a swift and powerful kick to the groin. Repeat as necessary until the person expressing this obscenity has undergone a complete and permanent attitude adjustment.
While it will be several years before the full weight of Obamacare will be felt, some of the provisions, including ones directly attacking the health insurance industry, kick in immediately. One is a change to the acceptable ratio of payments to benefits that has long been the health insurance industry standard. The health care plan signed into law changes the acceptable ratio from 65/35 to to 85/15. In a stroke, Obama has destroyed the ability of health insurance companies to pay overhead, salaries and make a modicum of profit. In addition, the new health care bill includes a 40% rise in taxes on health insurance companies - which also must be paid from the 15. The net effect of this war on our health insurance industry will be a massive increase in premiums next January, when most plans renew, and a massive contraction of the health insurance industry as many, if not all, medium and small insurers, are forced from the market. This from a transcript of Rush Limbaugh's show on Tuesday, wherein a health insurance employee highlighted the impact of the newly passed bill:
. . .
CALLER: Okay. For time immemorial, both state and federal regulation -- and also just the industry standard -- has been a 65-45 percentage arrangement: 65 in claims payment and 45 for administration and claims expense. Withholding that you store for, you know, a major catastrophe or something.
RUSH: This is to pay your claims?
CALLER: No, 65% is to pay the claims. Thirty-five percent is for everything else.
RUSH: That means 35% is salaries, administration costs, and the offices, all the paperwork, that kind of thing?
CALLER: It's that as well as, you know, we are required to keep a certain amount of cash on hand as a percentage of our claims exposure to pay claims. . . .
RUSH: Now, I just want to make sure I understand here. State and federal regulations set those percentages?
CALLER: State and federal regulations, yes.
RUSH: So if you wanted to have 85% set aside for claims, you couldn't. You had to go at 65%?
RUSH: If you wanted 30% set aside for claims and the rest were administration, you couldn't do it. It had to be 65%.
CALLER: That's illegal, yes. It has to be 65-35, and there's a couple of percentage either way, but generally when an insurance company falls outside of those guidelines, they are considered financially unstable.
RUSH: Well, who audits you all to make sure you are within the ratio?
CALLER: We're audited by the state insurance departments, primarily. There are some plans that are audited both state and federally, and then you have your private auditors who will come in as part of the stock market and that kind of thing. So we're audited often.
. . .
CALLER: . . . So what Obama just did an hour and a half ago is make every insurance company in the country financially unstable. Remember, the 15% that we are left has not only to pay salaries, maintenance, upkeep of buildings; it also has to pay the 40% increased taxes that we've got. I mean, there's just no way. You can't do it.
RUSH: Well, you're getting a little bit ahead of me here. What did Obama sign that changes this 65-45 split? In what way did Obama now sign you into permanent instability?
CALLER: The provision in the Senate bill requires that all insurance companies pay 85% of premiums collected every year in claims.
RUSH: So the 65 is now 85?
CALLER: Exactly. It doesn't matter how much we increase the premium, it won't matter.
. . .
Rush: . . . You originally thought that your industry would survive. You're speaking industry or just your particular company?
CALLER: I would say 99% of all insurance companies, health insurance companies in the country.
RUSH: Okay. So you originally thought you might have three to five years to stay in business under Obama. Now you said it's two to three. Why?
CALLER: Because of the 85-15. Plus the additional expenses were going to incur. Additionally, the mandates, what people don't understand when CMS (which is the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare) push a mandate down on insurance companies, we have to pay to complement those mandates. We don't know how many of those are in this monstrosity. So we can have our mandate budget doubled, our taxes already up 40% or whatever it is, and our cash flow immediately cut.
RUSH: Well, how can you know in advance of paying any claims? Because they've now shifted to 65% that you have to set aside for claims to 85%. How in the world can anybody know in advance of paying claims that it's going to amount to 85%?
CALLER: Well --
RUSH: Of course 65%? It seems to be like this is a ridiculous dictate made by people that have no clue how your business works.
CALLER: Well, they don't have a clue. But the way that that amount of money is calculated is you look at the past year, past five years, past ten years, and you see what your claims expense have been those years. Then based on your enrollment and your demographics you project forward into what you expect to be paying in the future, in the next year and the next five years. So you can do that. It's not precise to a dollar, but you usually get pretty close. What he's done is by saying, for example, the preventative services now --
RUSH: Those are free. Those are, quote, unquote, "free."
CALLER: Yeah, exactly.
RUSH: What the hell is a preventative service covered by an insurance company anyway?
CALLER: Well, that would be your colonoscopies, your mammograms, your yearly physicals, your lab work.
RUSH: Oh, so those are free now! So if I want to go get a colonoscopy today and I have an insurance policy, I'm not going to pay for it?
RUSH: But you will.
CALLER: Well, we will. We'll pay out the nose for it.
RUSH: (laughing) Well...
CALLER: I know, bad analogy. I'm sorry.
RUSH: It is Christmas!
CALLER: But, Rush --
RUSH: Well, no, I don't look at a colonoscopy as Christmas. Don't misunderstand. . . . But it is Christmas in the sense that I'm not paying for it. I don't know how you can stay in business even two to three years with this kind of thing happening to you this year alone.
CALLER: I don't think we will and that's why I am seriously considering leaving this industry. I'm updating my resume. You know, people who I work with -- even people who voted for Obama and thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread -- are shell-shocked.
RUSH: That just frustrates the hell out of me. Anybody with a brain has no reason to be shell-shocked about who this guy is, but it is what it is.
. . .
CALLER: And you know how many people are going to die in the interim, Rush? I say that in all sincerity, because come January 1st you're going to see 200, 300% increases in premiums and people are going to drop their coverage. So you've got the woman who isn't going to go get the mammogram or the man who's not going to get the prostate exam.
RUSH: Wait a minute!
CALLER: People are going to die.
RUSH: I thought the mammogram was free.
CALLER: Not when you drop the coverage because you can't afford three times the premium. Remember, the premiums are going up because of the government, and jobs are being lost because of the government. If you can't pay it, you can't pay it. So people are going to drop it. They're going to drop their insurance before they drop their mortgage.
RUSH: They're going to be clamoring to the government to fix the mean-spirited insurance companies for raising the prices so high and that's where Obama's going to step in and say, "You know what? We have no choice here but than to do it ourselves," and then you get dumped on again first and foremost with Obama portraying the government as the savior. . . .
Read the entire transcript.
When Julius Caseser crossed the Rubicon river in 49 B.C., entering into Roman territory, it marked both a crossing of the point of no return and a declaration of war on the Republic. The end result was ultimately the destruction of Rome's Republican form of government. I think the analogy here is apt. Obama has so polarized politics in our government, it is questionable when or if we will see a return to rational, measured politics until either conservatism or progressivism wins out and the other is pushed into the dustbin of history. We are, as I blogged here, in a zero sum ideological war today. Never in history has the political system been so manipulated and in such a highly partisan fashion. Its provisions, mandating each person purchase health insurance, if upheld, will represent a vast expansion of the government's power to control and direct our lives. But even beyond all of that, this bill threatens not merely our health care system, but it also poses a clear and present danger to the fiscal viability of our nation.
In the end, the right must not merely repeal Obamacare, but it must present a better alternative. In that respect, Paul Ryan may in fact have the answer to Obamacare, as well as the problems of Medicare and Social Security. His "Roadmap" is a very serious attempt to address the actual problems we face. Here is hoping that Congressman Ryan is a player in 2012.