Friday, December 31, 2010

BO Death Panel of Liberty

Charles Krauthammer - Government by regulation. Shhh.: "Sign"

Having the MSM on your side remains remarkably helpful -- BO will now feign a move toward centrism to secure re-election in 2102, meanwhile the liberty and economy killing lurch of unpredictable regulation by fiat will grind inexorably onward in the depths of the massive federal bureaucracy to the very quiet cheers of the MSM.

"Net Neutralization" ought to be added to to this sorry litany.

Good outing by Charles.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Freezing Due to Warming

Bundle Up, It’s Global Warming - NYTimes.com

I'd long predicted it, but in case you were not a believer, here it is. To a Global Warming (GW) true believer, you can be out freezing in record cold and snows -- and the problem is STILL GW! Not just for a year mind you -- for the better part of a decade.
How can we reconcile this? The not-so-obvious short answer is that the overall warming of the atmosphere is actually creating cold-weather extremes. Last winter, too, was exceptionally snowy and cold across the Eastern United States and Eurasia, as were seven of the previous nine winters.
Got that? Not just THIS years really cold and snowy weather, but 7 of the previous nine winters! Do you suspect at all that if 7 of the last 9 winters had been very WARM that the MSM would be showing similar restraint and being careful to point out that "7 of 9" is insufficient for climate change?

What we heard for a number of years -- "it's one of the warmest years ever". Which is no doubt true via some data and some assumptions on measurement. We also hear that "weather is not climate". Yes, again, very very true -- neither is a few decades of temperature, or arguably close to 1000 years. The "Little Ice Age (LIA)" is generally recognized to be from 1250-1850, or about 600 years, but that is not called "climate change", merely "cold weather". It is also not talked of much at all in GW circles, since it was preceded by the "Medieval Warm Period (MWP)" of 950-1250 that among other things was the period when the Vikings lived comfortably in GREENland -- successfully raising crops.

Those especially nasty independent thinkers might notice another slight problem -- if the MWP was 300 years and the LIA was 600 years, we could well have entered another "3-6 HUNDRED year warming period post LIA, which would mean that we might until say "2150" before we settled back into some version of a LIA. Since the LAST MWP was warm enough to make some decent hunks of Greenland suitable for farming, I'm certain that while flying around in their jets, some of the Change Gurus will have no doubt purchased some great Greenland farmland, since given GW, it will certainly get warmer there than last time, and we can only expect that the warm period will be longer.

The article takes a nice turn to explain all these current temps away due to "more snow in Siberia". What I especially enjoyed is the following:
That is why the Eastern United States, Northern Europe and East Asia have experienced extraordinarily snowy and cold winters since the turn of this century. Most forecasts have failed to predict these colder winters, however, because the primary drivers in their models are the oceans, which have been warming even as winters have grown chillier. They have ignored the snow in Siberia.
There you have it -- the WEATHER Models are wrong! Oh, but the CLIMATE Models??? Clearly, not a snowballs chance in hell that those could be wrong according to the "Climate Change" industry!

Short "looking back" supplement to those interested. This quote is from the 2001 Time magazine that had a frying egg on the cover and a major section devoted to the "truth" of GW and a good deal of W Bush bashing. They say that "science" is about "predictions" -- take note that the IPCC "fixed their models" and said that "GW should accelerate" -- as late as Katrina, they were CERTAIN that we would see "more and higher severity hurricanes in the US" ... we have not, Katrina was the last big one to hit the US.

That is one reason the latest IPCC predictions for temperature increase are higher than they were five years ago. Back in the mid-1990s, climate models didn't include the effects of the El Chichon and Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruptions, which threw enough dust into the air to block out some sunlight and slow down the rate of warming. That effect has dissipated, and the heating should start to accelerate. Moreover, the IPCC noted, many countries have begun to reduce their emissions of sulfur dioxide in order to fight acid rain. But sulfur dioxide particles, too, reflect sunlight; without this shield, temperatures should go up even faster.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,999630-3,00.html#ixzz19MOtc37J

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Killing the American Dream

Who Killed the Disneyland Dream? - NYTimes.com

Rich is happily hammering nails in the coffin of the American Dream, all the time say "who dunit", and then snidely pointing to "the rich". It is just too funny that his last name is "Rich".

The idea that the American Dream is dead is as old as liberalism -- my family certainly preached that gospel as I was growing up in the 60's and early 70's and going off to college in the late '70s. "Gotta have connections, the big guys are all in cahoots, no way for a little guy to get ahead ....". The preaching of hopelessness and free passes from personal responsibility due to "race, creed, class, connections, geography ... what have you" is as old as the hills.

What happened since the '50's? Guys like Rich have gotten a lot more airplay and a lot more followers, so more people have been lulled into thinking "I don't have a shot at improving my lot in life". I really don't feel like going and hunting down the stat, but I have a very hard time believing that a much larger percentage of Americans can afford a trip to Disney today than could afford it in the 50's.

If that is true, does it REALLY matter what % of the income the top 400 or top 1% or top 10% or whatever gets? If everyone is better off, when what is REALLY the concern here?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Why "Bipartisanship" is Stupid for Republicans

Obama And The 111th Congress: Not So Lame After All | The New Republic

The American people speak about as clearly as they possibly can in an off-year election, and then what do the Republicans do? Hand the momentum right to BO and the Democrats -- who are justifiably quick to crow about how great they and BO are.

Is there any credit to Republicans in the media for this capitulation!! NO, of course not!! but they would have to be complete idiots to expect any. Let me recap:

-- Democrat that crosses party lines ala Lieberman? Turncoat, insane, pariah -- a couple of curses his way and he disappears.

-- Republican that crosses lines? ala McCain at times, Susan Collins, Olympia Snow, Murkowski,etc? They are PERSONALLY given a TON of credit in this for being "smart, correct, wise, etc", BUT, that is short lived, and as we saw with McCain, those accolades are ONLY while you are doing the bidding of the MSM and the Dems -- all the long term credit goes to the Democrats, and of course to BO, for being "a leader".

The Democrats are obviously completely thrilled, and they ought to be. The Tea Party sorts will now be more energized than ever agains the Republican establishment, which could well sow the seeds of more direct challenges to Republican candidates from the right in 2012. Meanwhile, the Democrat base is heartened -- big stimulus $$, a plum for gays, a piece of political theatre in the case of the 9-11 responders that the Democrats clearly set up the Republicans so they could beat them with it when they wanted to do tax policy.

Raising taxes in a recession is plain dumb, and Americans understood that -- as did BO, he was going to deal. The Republicans OUGHT to have gotten a MUCH better deal than they got, and then very loudly said "Merry Christmas" !!! Instead, they got completely stupid and rejuvinaed a BO whose stench was starting to become slightly more muted -- the pungency is back, thanks a lot Republicans!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Marxist Neutrality

John Fund: The Net Neutrality Coup - WSJ.com

In case the idea of "Net Neutrality" is somewhat vague to you and you wonder why folks like Al Franken are wildly in favor of it, read the next paragraph and then read the linked column. As I've said more than a few times, we are STILL in grave danger from BO -- it is a stench that will not be covered up with one election!

A year earlier, Mr. McChesney wrote in the Marxist journal Monthly Review that "any serious effort to reform the media system would have to necessarily be part of a revolutionary program to overthrow the capitalist system itself." Mr. McChesney told me in an interview that some of his comments have been "taken out of context." He acknowledged that he is a socialist and said he was "hesitant to say I'm not a Marxist."





Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Purpose of Debate

Reflections on the Passing Scene - Thomas Sowell - Townhall Conservative

I was struck by the wisdom of this particular comment in the column:
More disturbing than any of the issues of our time are the many people who debate those issues as contests in talking points, rather than as attempts to get at the truth. Too many people debate as if the point is to show who is smarter, rather than which conclusion is correct.
I think Sowell is on to something here. The purpose of NFL football games is to entertain -- and that is gained by the teams doing what it takes to win, which ALWAYS involves pushing at the edges of the rules and using them to your advantage. As an offensive lineman, you are taught how to "hold correctly" with your hands on the jersey or pads inside and your elbows outside. Receivers regularly discreetly push off, the edges of the field are used with amazing gymnastic moves to put the ball where only your receiver can catch it -- and get two feet down. The list could go on and on -- it's a game, and it is meant to be entertaining, and I for one find that it usually is.

Debate is also played as a game in High School and I assume college -- not so much for entertainment, but under strict rules of evidence and time, and judged by a known set of criteria. It is an excellent mechanism for the debaters to understand the topic, because they must have arguments set up so they can debate either side (one could only wish for this to be more common for Americans). The purpose isn't necessarily to get to "a right answer", but to understand the formation of rational arguments.

Shout show cable, and really all of our news media are "shows to make money" -- with more in common with football than debate. Some of the media folks of all stripes are seeking to win converts for a given political position, but the coin of the realm is ratings and money -- the very best, most reasonable, well thought out, well delivered arguments for a point are completely useless if they don't bring people to the set, the radio, the web page, the newspaper or what have you.

None of this is about truth. The vast majority of people look for evidence that supports the world view they already have, and the big change in the modern information buffet is how much it is to do just that. There are a number of great arguments that can be made for things that are widely accepted to be false -- people go through life with all sorts of "stories" for northern lights, "heat lightning", inflation, unemployment, dry skin, terrorism, the price of stocks, gold, oil, coffee, snoring ... the list is infinite, and often what is being searched for is not "the truth" per say, but a "reasonable story" that "feels right" and fits well with whatever set of other stories make up our world view.

My view is that most people DON'T debate -- they want to share their stories and they mostly want others to listen to them and generally agree. If the other person has a similar story, they might like listening so they can improve their story, but the incidence of actual debate, where new information might enter in and stories could be changed is VERY rare.

"Should" it be different? I might personally enjoy it if it was, but I've been around long enough to know that view is very rare. My belief is that the best way to change the general mind is through "improved story quality", and finding ways to increase the factual content of stories while still having them be palatable to a broad set of people. It is something much more excelled at by the more "liberal" in our world, and it is an area that those that want to preserve liberty will need to much improve in order to save the remaining liberty we have.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Samuel Johnson, A Life, By David Nokes

I've been going to read more about Johnson for some time. The standard text to read on him is "The Life of Samuel Johnson" by James Boswell, sometimes called the most famous biographical work written in English, which I will no doubt have to get to. Why exactly I picked this book up, I can't entirely recall, but Johnson is a large enough topic for a couple of views.

His "Dictionary of the English Language", published in 1755 was the standard for over 150 years, and that alone gives him enormous standing in the English speaking world. The book however is more attuned to the attempt of understanding what Johnson's life and thoughts were really about, and he was quite an interesting person.

Born sickly, possibly with Tourette syndrome, to a father deeply in debt for most of his life, Samuel's life had many difficulties. He was large and apparently quite homely, but also when not depressed or ill, quite vigorous. He was a devout man, but like all mankind, subject to temptations of sloth, excess and lust. Since he was a man of letters, diaries, written prayers as well as pamphlets books and plays as well as the subject of a number of biographies, we have a good deal of insight into his private life.

There seems little doubt that he was a genius of literature, able to read, comprehend, editorialize, and maybe most famously, produce the short pithy quotation:
Almost every man wastes part of his life attempting to display qualities which he does not possess.

Bachelors have consciences, married men have wives.

Dictionaries are like watches, the worst is better than none, and the best cannot be expected to go quite true.

Every man is rich or poor according to the proportion between his desires and his enjoyments.
One could go on forever with such quotes, he was a master of insight and language.

In 1763, he formed "a Club", a social group that included his friends Reynolds, Burke, Garrick, Goldsmith and eventually Adam Smith and Edward Gibbon. They met Mondays at a pub called the Turk's Head in Soho ... a most august group of men of the era, and a testament to the intellectual standing of Johnson.

While brilliant, given his infirmities and difficulties with love and money, his life was a more or less constant challenge -- but to some degree, it does the heart good to listen to all his difficulty and realize he still lived to a ripe old age, and accomplished a good deal in that life.

Knowledge of Samuel Johnson is pretty much a requirement for a person minimally educated in English literature -- I'm not learned enough to say if this work is a decent competitor to "The Life", but I found it well done, and Mr Nokes reputation precedes him.

Conservatize Me

"A lifelong lefty's attempt to love God, Guns, Reagan and Toby Keith", by John Moe.

This book was (hopefully) intended to be 90% humor, with maybe 10% something worthwhile. I'm thinking that if one was a liberal (clearly the intended audience), it might be quite humorous. I read it primarily as part of my quest to understand the liberal mind.

The premise of the book is that Moe, a Public Radio broadcaster from Seattle, is going to take "one month" to "live like a conservative" and maybe understand how this (to him) very strange breed of humanity thinks, feels and lives. In what strikes me more as a potential way to make a buck than anything else ( NOT that there is anything wrong with that!), he gets the idea a bit from the "Supersize Me" guy -- yes, the overtones of conservatism kind of being like "junk food" would fit right in with the spirit of the book.

Again, since I believe that this book is vastly more about humor than truth, I'm not at all certain which parts of the actions he took were intended to actually shed any light, or were merely designed to create laughs.

He for example gets "a suit" to see all the big wig conservatives in DC and NYC -- but of course very few of them are wearing suits. He also gets a whole bunch of Wal-Mart based patriotic, NASCAR and cheap clothing, so he can look like the "average Joes" that at least an NPR guy would be convinced are standard in red state America.

Likewise, he must listen to only Country Music -- and for rather lamely constructed reasons, Kid Rock, on his iPod, get his news from all conservative outlets -- Fox, Talk Radio, NRO, Weekly Standard.

He talks to Rich Lowry, Jonah Goldberg and Bill Kristol and is surprised that they seem to be reasonably intelligent and he can actually understand (or thinks he does) how they think. He stops at the Family Research Institute and spends an inordinate amount of text on his visit to a College Republican Convention. During these last two, his fixation on his perceived vast mistreatment of "The Gay" by conservatives and Republicans becomes clear.

Apparently, in Moe' mind, not being in favor gay marriage is exactly the same as being anti-gay. It comes down to a world view issue -- does everyone have "tendencies", and "free will" about what we make of the raw material of our bodies, brains, and some of us believe "spirits", or is it true that "we are what we are" -- gay, straight, pedophile, alcoholic, gamblers, moral zealots, liberals, conservatives .... whatever, and our only real task in life is somehow "getting in touch" with our "true nature". Moe doesn't actually get to actually try to understand anything here -- he is just clearly fixated on "how could conservatives be against The Gay", and of course, since the people he is talking to aren't as fixated on the issue as he is, he never gets anywhere in understanding how one might be against gay marriage since "it isn't any threat to HIS MARRIAGE". (I kept wondering if he was as perplexed how one could be against genocide in Rawanda even though nobody killing anyone there was a threat to us?)

Again, it is could be that all "The Gay" stuff was really just about getting liberal yuks at the expense of us religious dummy conservatives who don't support gay marriage.

There are a number of other vignettes -- driving a SUV, Reagan library, Nixon library (he liked Nixon, didn't like Reagan), Rexburg Idaho (voted 92% for Bush), and a Toby Keith concert in Indiana, but the big themes are how conservatives supposedly dress, how they are supposedly all pro-war (yet none of the examples he interviewed in '05 were gung ho on the war in Iraq), how they are anti-gay, and how they are kind of "simple minded" ... again, although many of the ones he talked to were actually counter examples.

To try to capture a bit of what may be his actual non-humorous thinking:

Clarity is not always an easy commodity to come by when you life on the left. Much of liberalism is built on the idea of uncertainty. Irag was opposed on the left because something could go wrong, tax cut programs are opposed because they could further harm the economy, the Patriot Act is opposed because it could lead to a police state. Not to say that liberals are wrong on any of those things, but they were all at least initially based on speculation. Conservatism begins with the permise that the reasoning and the outcome are not matters of conjecture and guesswork, but are rather certainties.

I'd say that liberalism being built on uncertainty and conservatism on certainly is a bit of a stretch. "Something could go wrong" would pretty much support opposing anything, if tax CUTS could harm the economy, then could tax increases help it -- and is that a speculation? Again, I'm not sure if he is really serious because that paragraph ends with "Now if I could only find a way to open my heart and let Ronald Reagan, or someone like him, be my personal lord and savior". He is very lucky that Christians aren't Muslims -- or that sort of treatment of faith would be a swift path to eternity without your head!

Pretty hard to recommend the book to anyone but a really committed lefty -- I suspect if one is solidly in that world view, much of this would be honestly funny and probably comforting a shallow sort of political porn way.

The List In our Pocket

NationalJournal.com - A Christmas Wish - Thursday, December 16, 2010

A column on the inherent complexity of life, but short and worth a read. I do believe that along with not being able to sit in a quiet room alone with our thoughts (Pascal), modern man is worsened by our reduced time at graveside. Having just read a biography of Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), the vast set of ailments that resulted in death at any age, and the rather common death of young children allowed people in the vast history of mankind to much better realize the fragility of their lives while yet alive. Eternity is so very much longer than the human span.

Dowd's (no relative of Maureen) younger sister, apparently a drug abuser, died of an overdose, and Dowd is struck by the poignancy of "a Christmas list in her pocket". We all have some form of such lists, and the thought of exiting with them unfinished from whatever cause is indeed poignant. Dowd has been something of a policial operative for both sides, and laments the quick and easy labels that we apply to each other and of course to politicians -- generally lamenting those of "our side", but feeling them nearly 100% justified as applied to the other. Apparently, thoughts of the ultimate turn his mind to politics -- especially in this season, I'm uncertain that reaches the meaning he is grasping after.

Death makes us look in the souls mirror and realize that we are all too human -- not nearly as super intelligent, wonderful in character, lovable, wise, and "godlike" as we might believe. Some more quite thought might bring realization that ALL the lists -- of politics past and future, goals, desires, hopes, expectations and "truths"(firmly identified by man) look awfully insignificant from graveside, staring eternity in the face. We, and all we love, live but one heartbeat away from being no more.

Perhaps it would be more worthy to look to the manger, then to the cross and realize that SOME "sound bites" and "labels" are very short and simple, yet crucial. Christian -- knowing personally the gift of the manger and the cross, and the humility to accept his grace and however weakly, to follow him. The truth of us all having a Christmas list in our pocket, nor any other truth, save the real meaning of Christmas, will make this, and most critically, the next world better.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Labels ARE the Problem

RealClearPolitics - Labels Aren't the Problem

At least when we don't agree on what labels mean.

From the founding up until the 30's, "Left" meant "Control" -- Monarchy, socialism, dictatorship, communism ... "statism". Leviathan run amok.

"Right" meant "chaos" -- extreme liberty, anarchy, "Solitary, nasty, brutish and short".

America was founded as "center right" meaning to the traditional measure of "liberal" as being rooted in "liberty", purposely slightly more toward chaos than control, realizing the natural tendency of control (power) to continue to aggrandize itself and corrupt.

So ...
The No Labelers are also right to be repulsed by the replacement of real argument with a vicious brand of name-calling. When a president of the United States is attacked simultaneously as an "extreme liberal liar" and a "Nazi," there is a sick irrationality at work in our discourse.
It's only "sick and irrational" if one doesn't realize that the term "liberal" has been corrupted to mean "left", when it's real meaning is "right", and the Nazi's were "National Socialists" -- and socialism is part of the left. Given today's definition of liberal as left and socialism as being part of the left, it makes PERFECT sense to tie "liberal and Nazi together" -- all be it that it makes the corruption of the language relative to "liberal and liberty" very plain.
The basic difficulty arises from a false equivalence they make between our current "left" and our current "right." The truth is that the American right is much farther from anything that can fairly be described as "the center" than is the left.
This is proof that we have moved so far left after TR, Wilson, FDR, LBJ and W that our left can't really figure out how to go farther. The"right" is so far left of center that our founding fathers wouldn't even see it as "right" at all. It is "right" only compared to today's left -- compared to an objective view of left/right, both are parties are parties of the left.

He has also been mugged by reality -- EJ would like to see some lefties that don't believe in markets, but once the USSR fell and even China does it's best to support markets, it is as hard as finding a flat earther after spaceflight. Reagan, Thatcher, the fall of the USSR, the rise of India and China due to market based reforms -- now even SWEDEN following market reforms ought to be the economic equivalent of orbital spaceflight to a flat earther.

So EJ has a few problems. He doesn't understand what left and right is, the world has moved so far left he can't find anything to the left of it, and the obvious fact of markets (that could not even be stamped out by the USSR) has forced nearly everyone (EJ must be holding out) to realize that outlawing markets is like outlawing gravity -- it may sound nice to some ears, but "reality bites".

The problem of the left is that they have actually "achieved" more than is achievable -- and now it is clear that the bill for the unachievable of Social Security, Medicare, Health Care, etc can't be paid. We have run into the left wall and what EJ sees as "something missing" is merely the left bouncing off reality.






Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Even Sweden Gets It?

RealClearPolitics - The Brighter Europe

I've heard snippets of this elsewhere, but one can imagine that the MSM would be awfully quiet on it. Sweden has been the poster child for "socialism that works" for as long as I can remember -- to have that be a myth would be nearly as painful for the MSM and left in this country as the fall of the Berlin Wall. How can it be?? It just seems so cruel for our leftward elite to learn such harsh lessons as "there is no free lunch", "working hard and being responsible is the way to a good life", and "socialism only works until you run out of other people's money".

Man, if it keeps going this way, the next thing the liberals are going to have to find out is that Santa is a myth!

Monday, December 13, 2010

BO Explains Tax Deal

This actually looks about as close to the truth as one could get I think.

Bush Smiles, Media Weeps

Why George W. Bush must be smiling - CNN.com

CNN and the rest of the left remain in a tizzy over BO considering "extending the Bush tax cuts" -- a euphemism for "not doing a tax increase in a recession".

A major part of their consternation is that they believe their own marketing lies on the tax cuts:
The tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 provided relief for middle- and upper-income Americas with much of the benefits going toward wealthier citizens, which they argued would accelerate economic growth. The tax cuts reduced rates cross the board on income, dividends and capital gains. They also slashed the estate tax while lowering the tax obligations of married and working poor Americans.
Much as "global warming" is now "climate change", they HAVE changed from merely always saying "tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans" to the slightly more truthful "much of the benefits going toward wealthier". The original ratios were the same as what we have just been discussing: $3 TRILLION for those less than $250K a year income, $700 Billion for those over $25K over a 10 year period. That is over 4x the benefit for those making less than $250K, thus showing the lie of that commonly uttered statement "tax cuts for the rich". In fact, it is really more dishonest that that number, because the folks over $250K are paying over 95% of the taxes.

Much of what Bush did was "reality based", so as reality on things like Gitmo, Patriot Act, jobs creation, etc, so much to the chagrin of the MSM and the far left, as BO is faced with reality rather than political campaign rhetoric, he is forced to bow to reality. It is possible that makes Bush smile, I don't know -- but to the reality based, it really isn't any sort of surprise at all. My guess is that Bush smiles when things are going well for America -- the exceptional America of limited government and personal liberty, while the media weeps for things going well for that America. The America they want is "US Europe" -- just like Greece, "free" only as in "free from religion, morality and patriotism".

Nor is the fact that the left continues to rail against reality surprising -- the only way they can actually "have their way" is a totalitarian regime, and while most of them don't realize that, it would be the ultimate result of their efforts. Thus, our founders wisely tried to make it difficult to have unlimited government ... the scourge of BO has yet again been an example of their wisdom.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Don't Put Down Lewis

Power Line

Apparently even Chris Mathews knows to not sell C.S. Lewis short -- I've loved everything my him that I've ever read, and I have a number of items that I still would like to get to.

BO Alienates the Middle

From Audacity to Animosity - WSJ.com:

Good Peggy Noonan. BO pretty much managed to alienate everyone on the tax deal -- which I'd argue isn't all that surprising for an anti-colonialist in a colonizing nation.

A failed Community Organizer isn't going to know how to be President, so up to now, he let Nancy and Harry drive. It is now clear they politically drove him in a ditch, so now he has decided to drive -- but of course he has never driven anything, not even a lemonade stand, so it is unsurprising that his lack of driving skills is painfully obvious to all sides!

The president must have thought that distancing himself from left and right would make him more attractive to the center. But you get credit for going to the center only if you say the centrist position you've just embraced is right. If you suggest, as the president did, that the seemingly moderate plan you agreed to is awful and you'll try to rescind it in two years, you won't leave the center thinking, "He's our guy!" You'll leave them thinking, "Note to self: Remove Obama in two years."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ideology Loses

Charles Krauthammer - Swindle of the year

Good Krauthammer, worth the short read. My view of the basics of what is happening here:

1. The left doesn't REALLY see tax cuts as "stimulus" -- they only see federally controlled SPENDING as "stimulus", it is essentially a code word for paying off their cronies. Any effect on the economy of what they have called stimulus is just a side effect -- their disdain over tax cuts pretty much proves it.

2. The left has lost their way so badly that they ACTUALLY believe that Tax Cuts = Spending. At one time I think they realized it was just a stupid marketing ploy to make tax cuts sound less desirable, but now they have fallen in to believe their own lies and can't tell the difference.

3. At the end of the day, the ONLY thing Democrats care about is increased federal power and "punishment of their enemies" -- which they see as "Rich people that refuse to vote Democrat" in particular, and Republicans and "the dummy electorate" in general. Their hatred is consuming, because as Charles points out, even when their leader has obtained something that is politically (to help them in 2012) and economically (in their world view) wonderful beyond their wildest dreams, they just can't go for it because it doesn't attack the rich, and they see it as a "deal with their sworn enemy -- which ought to pretty much give the lie to what Democrats ACTUALLY think of "bi-partisanship".

Most of politics is simple theater, but has the left now gone so far that even their minions in the media can't understand what BO is doing?

Hence that news-conference attack on what the administration calls the "professional left" for its combination of sanctimony and myopia. It was Obama's Sister Souljah moment. It had a prickly, irritated sincerity - their ideological stupidity and inability to see the "long game" really do get under Obama's skin - but a decidedly calculated quality, too. Where, after all, does the left go? Stay home on Election Day 2012? Vote Republican?
Unless one is blind with rage against people that make over $250K, it is hard to imagine how BO's deal wasn't a huge victory politically and economically for Democrats, BUT, they don't see it. From a Republican view, the issue really is HOW different is avoiding a tax increase during a recession from government deficit spending? My view is VERY different, but the biggest problem is the "two years" -- that is added uncertainty, which is exactly the same problem as increasing troops in Afghanistan and then promising to pull them out in "two years" (now this coming summer). Humans react BOTH to what is and what will be -- in fact, "future sense" is a gigantic part of what makes us human.

What we need to do is to FIX SPENDING -- keeping a couple of bottles of revenue booze away from the Federal spendaholic is better in my mind than letting him get them, so he develops a thirst for even more, but "the deal" did absolutely nothing to deal with what we need to deal with ... SPENDING!!!


Monday, December 06, 2010

Reagan's War

"The Epic Story of His Forty-Year Struggle and Final Triumph Over Communism", by Peter Schweizer.

One needs to have a strong interest in history, Reagan, the Cold War, or all of the above to really enjoy this book--fortunately, I do.

We live in a very unique part of history because of the fall of the Soviet Union and the release of it's client states has allowed those that are interested in truth vs ideology to get access to to the files of the once evil empire and to find out the facts behind the myth that the media and the Democrats often spew about the fall of communism. The simple version of that myth is: "Everyone knew that communism was failing, Reagan probably slowed the final demise by his bellicose rhetoric and huge arms buildup".

Like most of what you hear from the MSM or their friends the Democrats, it is verifiably false, and this book points to a good deal of that verification.

The book is chocked full of quotes from the left on the validity of the communist approach, constant derision of the "simple mindedness" of Reagan's concept that we could "win the Cold War", along with Reagan's quotes plus inside documentation from the USSR of how they played those attempting "detente" for suckers and used the opening to blow open the arms race in their favor, build huge underground facilites so their elite could survive a nuclear conflagration and the story of how they used the Carter years in particular to advance in Nicaragua, Grenada and a number of African countries before they moved into Afghanistan, and Carter, finally, got at least slightly wise. Again, all backed up with quotes from the archives of the USSR, Poland, East Germany and others.

In case anyone wants to claim that "they were trying to help their people, they just had bad luck -- or were hampered by the west, or excuse # 10,000 ---Walter Ulbricht, head of East Germany in the 1960's secretly wrote to Khrushchev in the early '60s:
"The experience of the last years have proven that it is not possible for a socialist country, such as the GDR to cary out peaceful competition with an imperialist country such as West Germany with open borders". 
One might think that Obama, Pelosi and others would find that quote worth a read! The point in this book however is that Reagan had figured the same thing out and was saying it from podiums around the nation -- and being called "old fashioned and simple minded" for doing so, while the elite behind the Iron Curtain KNEW that they were damaging their people by their system, but flat out didn't care!

There are a series of quotes relative to Reagan's "evil empire speech", for example, Anthony Lewis of the NYTimes said it was "simplistic and sectarian", but it is now documented that the folks in the gulag and in Solidarity and other similar group eventually found out about it and found it to be a gigantic source of strength -- an American president was FINALLY on their side!

One of the most effective weapons he enabled was a huge improvement in the Voice of America in technology, programming and broadcast power. As Reagan said: "The truth is mankind's best hope for a better world, that's why in times like these, few assets are more important than The Voice of America and Radio Liberty".  The Carter administration had allowed VoA to be used on occasion to broadcast SOVIET messages as an example of "good will". Imagine yourself trapped behind the Iron Curtain and hearing the radio station financed by the only reasonable adversary to your captors allowing YOUR CAPTORS to broadcast their propaganda -- as if you don't already hear enough of that!

Here is Andropov from the archives:
"The 1970's were the years of further growth of power and influence in the socialist commonwealth. We were able to achieve the military pairity with the West. This gave us an opportunity to deal with them on an equal basis. Our dynamic policy of detente led to substantial positive shifts in international relations."
Our enemy loved detente! But they HATED Reagan -- almost as much as the American media and the Democrats! In 1980, Carter himself sent Armand Hammer to the Soviet Embassy to offer assistance to the USSR if they could help his election prospects through the release of political prisoners or ams concessions. They considered the offer, but had hopes that Reagan would turn out to be like Nixon -- willing to bluster to gain support with the hawks, but anxious to find agreement to gain votes for that second term. It was a miscalculation that thankfully turned out to be fatal.

Those of us of my age had the wonderful privilege of living through a moment in history that our teachers, media elite and government had assured us would never happen. In fact, we had been raised to believe that socialism and communism were certainly very valid approaches to government, and it was highly questionable if Democracy and Capitalism were actually superior! I'll close with the words of Reagan, given to the Soviet elite students in Moscow on his final visit there:
"Even as we explore the the most advanced reaches of science, we are returning to age-old wisdom of our culture, a wisdom contained in the Book of Genesis in the Bible. In the beginning was the spirit, and it wa from this spirit that the material abundance of creation issued forth. But progress is not foreordained. The key is freedom--freedom of thought, freedom of information, freedom of communication". 
There will never be another Reagan, but Lord, PLEASE send us the best available SOON!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Palin's reckless views on obesity - CNN.com

Palin's reckless views on obesity - CNN.com

Why we don't all get along.

  • The clearest meaning of this column is that Martin has a severe case of Palin Derangement Syndrome -- an irrational fear and loathing of all things Palin.
  • If you read what Sarah said, and then read what Martin said, one wonders how one can really be as much in hatred of someone and still hold a position at a news outlet that some would like to recognize as something other that just an arm of the Democrat party. Apparently, CNN doesn't care.
  •  Sarah happens to feel that Michelle and Barack Obama tend to see every problem as having a government solution. She said NOTHING relative to the severity of the obesity problem.
  • It is MARTIN that is of the view that "Severe = need for massive government involvement". He certainly has a right to that view, but it absolutely isn't what America has traditionally been about, nor is there any proof whatsoever that every time the government dives into a problem it has vastly better results than other means.

In short, this column is nothing more than an excuse for simple name-calling:


  • "It's clear that we can't go 24 hours without Sarah Palin saying something so stupid that it defies logic" (having a different view than Martin is "stupid")
  • "the Kim Kardashian of politics"
  • "Palin took dead aim" ( a warlike metaphor used to make Palin seem "warlike" ... she didn't say it, he did)"
  • "Maybe someone should kick Sarah Palin" (man the Democrats get incensed if ANYTHING like this is said about their folks --- incitement to violence and all that)
  • "latest broadside by Palin shows how reckless and ridiculous she is."
  • "Any Republican with common sense should see that Sarah Palin poses an immediate threat to the future of this country. She proves that every time she opens her mouth."

I love the last one ... anyone that doesn't buy into the thinking that government is the answer to EVERYTHING, including what we weigh is "an immediate threat to the future of this country".

This is CNN -- not a blogger, not HuffPo. The "Tea Party" is "shrill"? Oh, give me a break!



Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Roots of Obama's Rage

Solid effort by Dinesh D'souza, a naturalized American of Indian (as in Indian)  decent who I find to have a unique perspective on the value of America as an exceptional nation.

The thesis of the book is quite simple; By the proper reading of Obama's "Dreams FROM my Father", plus some extra research, it is clear that the core motivation of Obama is that of an anti-colonialist, the "colonialist"  role somewhat nonsensically assigned to America as a result of her ties to Europe, super power status, and such events as the "taking" of the Southwest from Mexico, the Philippines, Hawaii, and other activities seen as having "taken over the colonial mantle".

The following from BO's "Dreams":
When my tears were finally spent, I felt a calmness wash over me. I felt the circle finally close. I realized who I was, what I cared about, was no more just a matter of intellect or obligation, no longer a construct of words. I saw that my life in America -- the black life, the white life, the sense of abandonment I'd felt as a boy, the frustration and hope I'd witnessed in Chicago--all of this was connected with this small plot of earth an ocean away, connected by more than the accident of a name or the color of my skin. The pain that I felt was my fathers pain.
This quote follows rather long segment where BO talks of his father -- the "imaginary father", the "great man" that abandoned BO at age two ad visited him for a week when BO was 12. The real father went back to Africa, had a number of wives, sired a number of children, took care of none, drank heavily, crashed his car and lost his legs in a major drunken accident. Continued to drink and eventually died in another drunken crash. But both the imaginary and real father were staunchly "anti-colonial" -- as is BO in the books thesis.
Obama is a man on a mission, and he is obsessed with executing that mission. He is like the lead character in a movie who has come home to find his whole family wiped out. The incident brings forth an outpouring of grief and rage, but in time the emotions settle, leaving behind a more controlled anger combined with steely resolve. From that point, the man's course is set; the rest of his life is dedicated to a campaign of revenge. In Obama's case the villans are dead, sot he rage takes a different form and settles on a different target. Rather than focus on the specific people who wronged his family, Obama is on a systematic campaign against the colonial system that destroyed his fathers dreams. With a kind of suppressed fury, he is committed to keep going until he has brought that system down. And according to his father's anti colonial ideology, which Obama has internalized for himself, that system is the military and economic power of the United States of America.
Does Dinesh "prove" the thesis? No, of course not -- the inner motivations of characters are only known in novels, in the the real world, typically only even marginally to the person themselves.

I am struck however how often the MSM would engage in negative armchair psychology over Bush or Reagan though. W of course being motivated to attack Iraq because "Saddam tried to kill his father" ... or motivated to attack because "HW not finishing the job" in '91 cost the election. Or he was motivated to be president in order to "measure up" after a being a long term frat-boy disappointment to the family. Reagan was often just "nuts" ... "acting on the basis of some script of movie, motivated by some fantasy that never was or would be", "or just a puppet, driven by his handlers".

In short, the MSM often finds the motivations of the right to be "dark ... disturbing ... difficult to understand ... questionable". All the while, the motivations of Democrats are so OBVIOUS, they really don't need coverage at all -- doing "intelligent things for good", "peace", "children" ... "caring". The motivations of the left are amazingly clear to the left -- if only because the assumed motivations are simply projections of the goodness that the folks on the left believe they see in themselves.

The book is an easy, quick and very scary read. If you don't want to read "Dreams from My Father", which is a not very well written, hard to maintain interest, but very surprising and maybe even more scary if you can get through it book, this is an excellent alternative. As I have said before, as long as this guy is in the WH we are in GRAVE danger!

Of course, reading my excellent review of "Dreams", followed by "Rage", would also be a fine approach ;-)

Friday, December 03, 2010

End of World? 2012 CME?

I, Cringely » Blog Archive » Any Port in a Storm - Cringely on technology

We know the Mayan calendar ends in 2012, maybe this is the reason! ;-)

Seriously, a large Coronal Mass Ejection ala the 1859 edition talked about here would probably put the world essentially without power and communication for MANY months! That might not be "the end", but it would certainly wake a lot of folks up to technology dependence ... and maybe wake up just a small shred of the idea that "Man is not REALLY the Measure!"

CME’s come in various sizes and velocities. CME’s aren’t intrinsically aimed at the Earth and could just as easily dissipate into empty space. Many CME’s don’t even make it as far as the Earth. But if conditions are right, CME’s can do a lot of damage. A CME hit Quebec in 1989 causing a nine-hour blackout and $4.3 billion in damages to the Canadian power grid. The mother of all CME’s in 1859 took down every telegraph in the world, causing arcing, fires, and melted wires in the equipment. Imagine what something like that would do to your PC or cellphone!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bush Derangement Forever

RealClearPolitics - WikiLeaks Shows Bush in Fantasy World

Since the Saudi leader thinks that "the Iraq war gave Iraq to Iran on a silver platter...", it shows Bush lives in a fantasy world? When exactly WAS Iraq delivered to Iran? In the future? Who is in a fantasy world? Cohen, Abdullah, myself, and the Man in the Moon can ALL have our opinions about the future -- until it gets here, all those opinions are precisely FANTASY.

Bush thinks the world is better off without Saddam -- and Cohen does not, ergo, Bush is "Peter Pan". I wonder if Cohen would feel the same way if he was an Iraqi today? I hear precious little pining away for the plastic shredders from that quarter at this point. Come to think of it, I wonder what the odds of "Cohen" surviving in ANY Muslim nation would be? Note though, it is BUSH who is "out of touch".
This is the world George Bush left us. It exists everywhere but in his book, where facts are either omitted or rearranged so that the war in Iraq seems the product of pure reason.
But wait, these Wikileaks date from 2004, and low and behold, Arabs are telling us to attack Iran! Does that mean that if we had Wikileaks from '01-'03 there would be no calls from the region to attack Saddam? Maybe so, but it seems unlikely given that as long as Slick Willie was in power there were PLENTY of calls for attacks of all sorts on Saddam, from leading Democrats and the MSM -- especially when some new "Presidential Emission" was being reported.

Bush left us a world with leaders that are very nearly all screwed up, disingenuous, venal, feckless, arrogant, two-faced, cowardly and borderline insane? Uh, no ... he found it that way AND he left it that way. So it has been and ever will be.

What is scary is that guys like Richard Cohen STILL don't seem to understand that, but they are CERTAIN that it is others whose view of the world is "fantasy".

Proper Leaking

The Fragile Community - NYTimes.com

It is interesting to see all the folks now concerned about the ability to maintain secrecy. Apparently, with BO in the WH, the threshold for what ought be kept secret is suddenly quite high. The Pentagon Papers, the Watergate Tapes, Clarence Thomas's movie rental list, the countries that were assisting the US in dealing with terrorist prisoners, the photos from Abu Ghraib, secret wiretapping of calls from US to known terrorist cell numbers in other countries, Jack Ryan's sealed divorce records (he was running against BO for Senate) ... the list is pretty much endless, apparently our "community" wasn't "fragile" then.

Seems pretty much like leaking ought to simply be gated on the political party of the president -- Republican, leak everything! National secrets, information that can instantly cause soldiers or others to lose their lives -- no limit as long as there is any chance of making life harder for whatever Republican cad managed to steal the WH.

Democrat President? Each and every leak ought to be reviewed for who is being injured -- "big business"? Hammer them. A republican or possibly even a less than perfectly liberal Democrat? (say Lieberman), go ahead and make their life difficult! If there is any chance however that a leak might damage America's stature and thus make life difficult for a Democrat president however, REMEMBER "our community is fragile".

I suppose there is some level of truth here -- when you have a president as incompetent as BO, there really isn't any room for added difficulty, so our community is indeed very fragile.

My opinion? BO sat in the pew at Jeremiah Wright's "God da*n America" Church for 20 years ... he probably gave the guy the information! We put the weasel in CHARGE of the hen house and now we are surprised to see chickens dying???

Monday, November 29, 2010

Exceptional Epistemic Closure

The "American Exceptionalism" Smear And Epistemic Closure | The New Republic

Beware of liberals bearing big words -- translation; "having a closed mind" (or at least a closed information flow). It is an area where they know of what they speak!

So, what is the problem? Well, the now infamous BO statement on "American Exceptionalism" (or the lack thereof) is supposedly "out of context". Tsk, Tsk. Naturally Dan Quayle misspelling "potato", Bush saying "misunderestimated" or "heck of a job Brownie", or even "British intelligence says ..." ... or "Bring Em On" ... or whatever has NEVER been "taken out of context" or repeated to death. Liberals, and the MSM certainly would NEVER do that!

We are supposed to be able to read the rest of the paragraph and decide that "anyone with an open mind" (as assured by Mr Chait) would see that BO really is "very nearly" arguing FOR American Exceptionalism -- he just started with a misdirection to his point for some odd reason. To NOT see that, and to continue to repeat his own words "out of context" is either "closed minded" or "dishonest". Take your pick.

So what IS this "clear Exceptionalism" to the illustrious BO? Lots of sacrifice in WWII? Largest economy? Lots of current military capability? "Core set of values in our constitution"? We have laws? We have democracy? ... "free speech"? ... oh wait, he SAYS that although "imperfect", they ARE "exceptional". Really? Nobody else has any of these things? What if China surpasses our economy and our military, will we be no longer be "exceptional" at that point??

UNALIENABLE individual liberty. Limited Government. THAT is what makes the US exceptional! Nobody else has those -- but they ARE NOT things that BO likes about America and would like to maintain.

Last I checked, BO was also a "progressive" which means that there isn't much of anything in our Constitution or body of law that he would not be perfectly happy to CHANGE!

Hugging Soldiers

Rees Lloyd -- Why no Salute by Obama at Medal of Honor Ceremony?

Naturally, the MSM has no problem with this -- to discuss it would be "petty". We can all remember what their standards for "petty" during the Bush administration were, can we not? Any example of ANYTHING relative to words being mixed, something seen as awkward, something that could somehow be taken as a slight or insult to any group -- all had to be covered in the worst possible light -- just take "Heck of a job Brownie" for example. Take a sentence uttered at one meeting out of context and make it somehow into a stinging rebuke of an Administration for a natural disaster at New Orleans where the local and state governments set 3rd world standards for competency.

"Rules for Radicals" would be proud. The military is one of the key institutions that needs to be subverted to destroy a nation, so that it can be rebuilt in a new corrupted form as was done by Hitler in Germany and Stalin in the USSR. The love of country and honor of military tradition has to be subverted to allegiance to a specific leader and rigid ideology.

Appears that Rees Lloyd has it completely understood.
Why? Is it naught but petty carping of poor President Obama? I think not. He is the “Commander-in-Chief” who has in his power the lives of those who serve in defense of the country, which he himself did not deign to do. It is pointing out that this man, this professional politician, repeatedly evidences contempt for America, for America’s traditions, and for Americans who respect those traditions.
We need to work hard so that a LARGE majority of Americans "Get's it" prior to 2012. The future of our nation depends on it.

Ten Books That Screwed Up The World

and 4 others that didn't help, by Benjamin Wiker

This is a book that I HIGHLY recommend as "cliff notes" on some very important thought errors that entered Western civilization (mostly quite recently) that anyone who thinks deeply needs to understand and learn how to deal with. The ten books are:
  1. The Manifesto of the Communist Party (Marx/Engels) 
  2. Utilitarianism (Mill) 
  3. The Descent of Man (Darwin)
  4. Beyond Good and Evil (Nietzsche)
  5. The State and Revolution (Lenin) 
  6. The Pivot of Civilization (Sanger)
  7. Mein Kampf (Hitler) 
  8. The Future of an Illusion (Freud) 
  9. Coming of Age in Samoa (Mead)
  10. Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (Kinsey)
and the 4 that didn't help:
  1. The Prince (Machiavelli)
  2. Discourse on Method ( Descartes)
  3. Leviathan (Hobbes) 
  4. Discourse on the the Origins and Foundations of Inequality Among Men (Rousseau) 

I'll dispense with anything like the "cliff notes on the cliff notes", but rather share what I see to be the clear overall message gained from all the books that Wiker ( and I ) see as "in error".

The core error is "there is no God". While we know that nobody is going to be able to prove in this life that there IS a God, the primary effect of throwing him out is to make man into god -- with somewhat variable, but uniformly disastrous results.

If man is god, we need "a new creation myth". For Hobbes it is "every man has a right to everything ...". Since there is no god, there is no morality beyond "if it feels good, do it", which leads to a state of perpetual war with everyone, or a life that is now famously "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short".

While our education system loves telling the impressionable young minds that "The Bible is just a Myth", what they don't say is that the Hobbesian, Lockean, Darwinian, Meadan, Freudian, etc views of the past and future are DEFINITELY myths. We even know for certain who made up those particular myths. Are any of the more recently created myths "better"? More realistic? Helpful to life?

Now Rousseau and Mead of course have a different rather idyllic view of our "basic nature" as being non-competitive, free love hippy sorts -- sharing everyone and everything with complete ease until some guy got jealous and wanted to keep one of the best females all for his own -- after which civilization got created and things went downhill ever since.  Man is wonderful, civilization is evil.

The bottom line is that all these books either start from creating the myth from pure imagination, or build on a previous error to make determinations about the problems with our present and predict some joyous better future that will approach "heaven on earth" if their nostrums are followed. Two of the visions; Marx and Hitler, pretty much got implemented, but the resemblance was to the place with the brimstone rather than Heaven.

Lot's of Kinsey's vision has come true as well -- lots of abortion, AIDs, child molestation, sexually transmitted disease and generally broken lives. In many of the cases. Kinsey being the most extreme, there is somehow the idea that "natural is good" -- as if once the higher functions of the spirit and the search for God and the eternal has been put behind us, the way to nirvana is through sex driven by all the morality found in the brain stem. The basic philosophy of utilitarianism -- which is essentially socialism, is "philosophy for pigs" ... if the most people enjoy it, then it must be good. Get more folks to enjoy more of it and see if we can avoid pain. End of story.

Nietzsche dumped god, crapped all over utilitarianism, and pretty much decided on on the philosophy of "no pain, no gain" -- we need to get better, but better in the "natural way", so like Darwin and Sanger, he wanted solid competition for "the best race", leadership of"the best of the best" -- meaning greatest will to power in that best race, and wala -- we get Hitler. Maybe not exactly what the "natural selection crowd" thought of as the ultimate goal of evolution, but one never really knows where a random process that arose randomly will end up.

The bottom line would seem to be that Pogo had it right. "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Thus, we would be very very wise to accept the reality of an all powerful God sending a Savior to die for us, or at least make it as close to reality as our faith will allow. "Myth or Truth"?, there are no purely human created world views that have any hope at all of being anything but myth, that is a certainty. Is the Christian world view divine? It is at least plausible opposed to any of the above.

If it isn't there were a set of disciples that died as martyrs for what they knew to be a lie.  There is a GIANT gulf between that and a terrorist dying for what he wants to believe to be the truth -- he has no real evidence for or against his belief.  If Christ really didn't rise from the dead, St Peter  ... and all the other disciples  save John died horrible deaths for what they would have known was a lie.

Does that "prove Christianity"? Unfortunately, no -- God said "by faith", and he meant it.  However I think 100's of millions of dead due to the failed utopia ideas of man might at least give us a bit of pause as to what is BEST?

The book is actually pretty short, and it is PACKED with information -- his style is a bit "chippy" for my taste in a book of this sort, but some may find it entertaining. In any case, the book has merit -- go for it!

WikiLeaks: I See Change

Obama administration is weak in the face of WikiLeaks

Remember the courageous "whistle blowers" that fingered the countries where terrorists were being interrogated? Remember the heroic announcements of the "top secret" cell phone and other snooping for calls/messages to certain terrorist numbers? (a very light perusal of the "Christmas Tree Bomber" story seems to show it is still happening)

"Leaking" used to be a very courageous and supremely positive activity, worthy of lots of NY Times coverage and accolades on how those leaking top secret information were doing our nation a tremendous favor.

What happened? Why when Climate-Gate information was "obtained illegally", the NY Times wouldn't even cover the story at all? Pretty easy to understand -- it was damaging to the Climate Scam industry, an industry much like the racial shakedown industry deserves 100% MSM protection.

I personally think that it is important for there to be laws on protection of information, including national secrets, BUT, either there is a policy that says that outlets NEVER cover information obtained illegally, OR they cover it no matter whose ox is getting gored.

This selective umbrage is really ridiculous.

The European Canary is Dying

RealClearPolitics - Europe's Ominous Reckoning

Miners used to take a canary into the coal mine in hopes that if the canary croaked from poisonous gases, they would be able to escape before they followed suit.

We were long lambasted by the left in this country to "follow Europe", and much to our peril, we have followed significantly. Now, the European "canary" is choking and sputtering, while BO is working hard to lead us farther into the noxious mine of unsupportable entitlements plus massive taxes and regulation to restrict our ability to breath at all. WILL WE HEED THE OBVIOUS WARNING!!!

"... easy money, unsustainable social spending and big budget deficits." HELLOOOOO !!!!!

So now the reckoning. In Ireland, the burst housing bubble left a massive budget deficit and lifted unemployment to 14 percent. Most European economies suffer from the ill effects of some combination of easy money, unsustainable social spending and big budget deficits. Countries are interconnected, so there are spillover effects. European banks -- led by British, German, French and Belgian banks -- have $500 billion in loans and investments in Ireland, reports the Financial Times. Large losses could snowball into a broader banking crisis.

Europe's challenge is no longer just economic. It's also social and political. Cherished values and ideals are under assault. The euro, intended to nurture unity, has bred discord, as countries assign blame and argue over sharing costs. The social contract is being rewritten, with government benefits and protections being cut. In Ireland, the governing coalition seems doomed; one minority party has withdrawn its support.

Desperately Helping BO

What Obama Can Learn From Chris Christie - Newsweek

It is almost enough to make one feel sorry for the MSM. Their disdain for Christie, Reagan, and Republicans in general boils to the surface from time to time, and yet ... and yet, they see where their precious BO is failing, and they want to help him so much they will even try to give him "combat lessons".

I really like this one:
But in the weeks and months ahead, Republicans will undoubtedly indulge in a little hypocrisy—by calling for tax cuts estimated to add $700 billion to the deficit over 10 years, for example, then refusing to raise the debt ceiling. The president shouldn’t be afraid to isolate, ridicule, and conquer.
Isn't it just A LITTLE bit similar to be pushing for $3 TRILLION in debt while calling the Republicans pushing for the extra $700 Billion for "the rich" (>$250K income) "hypocrites"? Does ANYONE not recognize the cheer leading from the MSM on "the president shouldn't be afraid"??? The MSM is obviously MORE than anxious to engage in great gobs of what they hope is hidden hypocrisy relative to taking on Trillions in debt to hopefully buy some more votes, along with any abuse they can possibly heap on the Republicans for attempts to get the runaway train of government at least under a tiny bit of control!!

Our lack of "truth in labeling" for our MSM is one of the things that messes up our ability to govern ourselves. As unbelieveable as it seems, I'm convinced that broad swaths of people still don't see the bulk of our MSM as far more biased than Fox.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanks for the Good Life

The Good Life is Found in Jesus Christ - Ken Connor - Townhall Conservative
They also understood that the chief end of man was to worship God and enjoy Him forever. Contentment was to be found in Christ, not in their circumstances.
Excellent little column, the short answer to what once made America exceptional. We were a people that was humble in the right way -- before God; not before the State, nor the Monarch, nor other nations, nor non-Christian religion. People had the right to PURSUE happiness, but the vast majority of the nation understood that happiness was to be found only in Jesus Christ.

The state was just not going to force a state church between you and God. The idea that once people were free of the tyranny of a state church that a significant number would forget about God entirely, or choose what the founders would have clearly recognized as pagan religions would somehow achieve equivalent standing with Christianity and Judaism was beyond their imagination.

I wish it were beyond ours.



Friday, November 26, 2010

Why So Compartmentalized?

The Real Threat to America - NYTimes.com

Back during the Bush administration, the fish rotted from the head, and every piece if even imaginary invasion of privacy was a clear example of "the radical loss of freedom and rights due to fear mongering intended for Bush to hold power ... maybe forever". Isn't it interesting that "Hope and Grope", and "Bend Over: Here Comes Change" are nowhere to be found as the indignities of the TSA roll out. It is all completely fire-walled in TSA, not a hint of blame rolls up to the office of the President. Cool

Think a bit more deeply about what we are experiencing however and what is even included in this article:
What is not in doubt is an old rule: Give a bureaucrat a big stick and a big budget, allow said bureaucrat to trade in the limitless currency of human anxiety, and the masses will soon be intimidated by the Department of Fear.
I agree -- with the NY Times no less. Why do they believe that this "old rule" is isolated? Give a bureaucrat a big stick to deal with Corporate America ... and ??? Of course the NYT doesn't like Corporate America. How about give a bureaucrat a big stick to deal with health care in America ... and??? Guess what, just what the Tea Party says -- power is STILL going to corrupt!!!

Why exactly do folks on the left believe that what has happened at the TSA hasn't and isn't happening a the IRS, Czar dejour, and will happen in every case where we allow the government to bloat??

There is NO REASON AT ALL ... in fact, since more people travel than get sick, there is MORE scrutiny by the travelling public!! It is enough for the NYT to take an anti-government position (all be it carefully compartmentalized).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Visions, Conflict, American Decline

Hiding From Reality - NYTimes.com

I'm willing to suffer the pain of reading Bob Herbert to attempt to understand how the elite looks at America. The fact that I "agree" with his last paragraph shows the importance of shared premises:
"America will never get its act together until we recognize how much trouble we’re really in, and how much effort and shared sacrifice is needed to stop the decline. Only then will we be able to begin resuscitating the dream."
A favorite joke on shared premises problems is from Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar (it's better in the book, but this is shorter):
"An old cowboy goes into a bar and orders a drink. As he sits there sipping his whiskey, a young lady sits down next to him. ... She says, 'I'm a lesbian. I spend my whole day thinking about women. ...' A little while later, a couple sits down next to the old cowboy and asks him, 'Are you a real cowboy?' He replies, 'I always thought I was, but I just found out I'm a lesbian.'"
My view of the problems with America today is that Bob and I don't agree on WHAT the trouble we are in is, who and what the shared sacrifice is, the definition of decline, nor the definition of the American Dream. Bob doesn't even know what my definition is (or care) -- even though I think I pretty much understand his.

His definition is massively higher taxes on earners, massively larger amounts of government spending, regulation and intrusion into the daily lives of more and more Americans. Bob saw the "peak" of America in maybe "1975" ... or maybe even '79, but since Reagan, we have "been in decline". He saw Democrats being elected in '06 and BO in '08 as "the right direction", and he is now depressed because he sees any reduction in the march toward larger government as "hiding from reality". He sees no other positive future reality other than "The United States of Sweden for 300 million people".

Bob and my realities don't match. My America was founded in 1776, not 1932 with FDR ... or maybe 1900 with TR. My America was exceptional -- it had no interest in being "like Sweden, Germany or France". There already is a Sweden, Germany and a France -- and even a Cuba and a Venezuela. There is no reason to build another. If you want one of those, you can just move there.

My America has been in decline since at least 1900 and in some ways since the Civil War. The measures that usurped states rights for secession were probably legitimate for the special case of a group of states withdrawing to protect the institution of slavery, but much like the draft only being instituted when required for national emergency, the rights of the states and the people should have been returned once the conflict was ended.

Arizona defending it's borders, states deciding against BOcare, or even states deciding to legalize drugs -- or prohibit alcohol, or a host of other "difficult things" are the kinds problems that liberty entails. We have mortgaged broad swaths of our liberty to the federal government for supposed security, convenience and order. Bob sees that as "progress" (thus the term "progressive"), and I see it as decline -- and thus my term "REgressive". I see the transfer and rapid increase of centralized government power as a LOSS of liberty, and therefore movement toward tyranny that the country was founded to LIMIT!

I could go on and on ... I see the massive unions of teachers and other public workers as the one of the key killers of our ability to innovate, compete and improve -- in education and in broad swaths of modern life. Bob sees any threat to the salaries and benefits of the public workers now 2x the standard private sector jobs as "decline". I see the cozy relationship between the government and public workers as corruption, heavily contributing to our decline -- Bob sees it as something we ought to increase.

**THE** major problem with left and right is just that. "A conflict of visions". We disagree on the premises -- what the current reality is, and what the objectives are. Bob thinks that "progressivism" is "settled social science", just like Anthropogenic (human caused) Global Warming -- AGW. Bob see's the government taking and controlling pretty much "half" of everything as "half full" -- with the objective being more toward full! I see it as "too full already", with the objective being "15-20% or so", **NOT ZERO** as Bob would tell you anyone who disagrees with him believes.

While my America has been declining a lot, it has had long moments of relative sunshine -- the '80's with Reagan, even the '90s with Clinton triangulating to the reality of a Republican congress and at least paying lip service to the idea that "the era of big government was over". Bush was way too progressive -- prescription drugs were bad, the level of deficit, even taking 9-11 into consideration was too high.  Post '96 however, with the Democrat takeover of congress and then BO, it has been nothing short of disaster.

Our task in America is very large because Bob and I can't agree on the most basics of basics -- what ARE the unique and special principles of America? Are we really the same as a host of other countries now in existence? What is the American dream? Is risk involved, or is it all about security? Again, this list could go on -- something like 20% of the country--  Bob, the elites, the hard left have one vision, and something like 60% of the country quietly believes roughly what I do, but the elites are rapidly shifting that by buying votes hand over fist and running all the media.

In my mind, the CORE problem is that Bob and his 20% are the chattering classes, and they refuse to be honest with the 80% about what their goals really are. If they were, their power would dwindle to nearly nothing because it would be very clear that their values were NOT American values -- in the sense of 1776, liberty having priority over security, etc. They are slicker than that however -- they intend to keep chipping at those liberties in the name of progress and security until enough feel that they are too dependent on the government behemoth to risk having an alternate opinion.

And then my America will die and Bob will continue to complain of all the "damage" that is caused by the last vestiges that fail to succumb to his vision. The free speech of the liberals means your right to yell the old "7 dirty words" at the top of your lungs in any forum you desire. Freedom to espouse your ideas that are not in agreement with them? They believe you have no freedom of that sort whatsoever!



Friday, November 19, 2010

A Tale of Two States

California Suggests Suicide; Texas Asks: Can I Lend You a Knife? - Joel Kotkin - New Geographer - Forbes

The idea of the US was for our states to be very autonomous -- much more like the European Economic Union than like the current situation where the "Commerce Clause" has been stretched to cover nearly everything. No matter, difference still shows through, and TX and CA are nearly as good a study in what works and what doesn't as the old East and West Germany comparison used to be.

Don't expect liberals to take notice of easy to glean facts however -- if they couldn't understand the difference between East and West Germany, they are very unlikely to understand the difference between current TX and CA, but it certainly isn't because the evidence would even allow one to come to the wrong conclusions if there was any interest in looking.

Just read it. Short, sweet and very clear.

Buried Failure

Landmark terrorism trial ends in acquittal on all but 1 count - CNN.com

Remember when any sort of ruling that allowed any terrorists to get extra rights and potentially make the justice department and of course BUSH look bad was paraded from the front page and top story of every MSM outlet in the land? Well, those days are officially gone. You have to dig to the very bottom of CNN politics and even then, other than the "Landmark" designation -- the media doesn't want to be up front with how you ought to think about a "landmark case" in terror jurisprudence ending with acquittal on all but one count. This is a defendant that CONFESSED to getting the explosives that killed 224 people!!!

Couldn't he just slip on the soap in the shower "accidentally" or something? How "mass" does mass murder really need to be these days?

I'll give you a clue. If they can't spin it as some sort of "victory" for the hapless BO and his merry band of misfits, then they want you to try to figure it out yourself, and most likely in these times of short attention spans, you won't even find the article.

That is good, because if too many folks find this sort of thing, people will realize that BO makes Jimmuh look like a super competent great man, and even though we have some control on him now with a Republican Congress, there is truly no cure for malfeasance and incompetence at the BO level.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The White Vote

Hey, Michael Moore! Clinton, Gore and Kerry Lost the 'White Vote,' Too - Larry Elder - Townhall Conservative

Lots of talk about racism being a primary reason for people "turning against" BO. Larry is black, so he is allowed to talk about race in the current America. From the way it has been reported in the MSM, it is somewhat surprising that no Democrat running for President has won the "white vote" since '64 ... and Kerry lost it by more than BO.

Seems to me like Elder makes a pretty good case that there could be significant ideas causing people to make different voting decisions other than race.

Gee, I wonder what those might be? Maybe spending, entitlements, taxes, national security, jobs ...

Calling someone a racist is far easier than going into those however!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Obama Zombies, Jason Mattera

Read this little ditty on the cruise. Light stuff, the reason I bought it was the fact that it was written by a "20 something"-- somebody pretty pissed off because of the way his generation had become in his words "Obama Zombies".  He writes in the somewhat cute idiom of his generation:
"Evidence, logic, thinking--those are liberalism's gravest threats."
"Wouldn't it make more sense to invest your energy in, say, core values, not a man? Isn't that after all the American way?"

Very very true, and one of the cores of my beef with BO. We used to be a nation of ideas and laws, not of men. It is one of the big things that keeps us from being taken over by the "fearless leader type" -- we are supposed to have a strong sense of angst over the demagogue. What the heck happened to vast swaths of our country, and especially our youth in '08? Yes, yes, it looks like we have woken up the AM after and said "I'm never falling for hope and change again", but it is just plain scary to see a nation fall for the kind of clear Bozo that BO was right from the start.
"Diversity is, um, irrelevant. The best thing about multiculturalism is the food."
Profound! We are a country where all were supposed to be EQUAL -- that was one of our "exceptional things"!
JFK dreamed of putting a man on the moon. 
Ronald Reagan dreamed of a world without the Berlin Wall. 
Barack Obama and his minions dream of .... a world built with straw homes?
Honestly he goes into a Global Warming handbook that sounds pretty wacko, but his point is that the policies espoused by BO are "regressive" -- they seek to move us not forward, but backward.
The late, great economist Milton Friedman had this axion: Nobody spends somebody else' money as wisely or frugally as he spends his own. Only in Disney movies does redistribution of wealth work. 
Well, it CAN be moved ... the problem is that what one ends up with is less wealth for all.
Look, if government spending were a magic bullet, the Soviet Union would never have fallen; it would have been an economic juggernaut, a model for our success. Moreover, Cuba, Venezuela, and every other socialist tyranny around the world would be be economic nirvanas. 
Indeed.

Very easy read, not really deep enough to convince very many of his truth, but an entertaining work that may reach some of the young who sorely need it. Sometimes the message has to fit the right tone or it just isn't going to get across.

Learning from Japan

RealClearPolitics - Learning From Japan's Mistakes

Just as I indicated in the '80s when EVERYONE wanted to "be like Japan" that the US is NOT Japan, that advice still holds. One need not completely ignore examples however. I especially like the last paragraph ... some truth is universal, and I think that private firms, making economic decisions with a minimum of government interference or creation of uncertainty is a the base of any successful economic policy.

Economic success ultimately depends on private firms. The American economy is more resilient and flexible than Japan's. But that's a low standard. Neither the White House nor Congress seems to understand that growing regulatory burdens and policy uncertainties undermine business confidence and the willingness to expand. Unless that changes, our mediocre recovery may mimic Japan's.




Bringing on Class Warfare

Who Will Stand Up to the Superrich? - NYTimes.com

As I read through this I'm very struck with the fact that both greed and envy are deadly sins. For those more concerned with morality than money, they would even be very equivalent.

I can't imagine that Rich makes less than the entry price to what he calls "super rich". News at 11, $250K in INCOME today's world is a LOONNNNG way from "super rich". For many in that class, it is much closer to "paycheck to paycheck". Why? When you add the CURRENT (Rich thinks much too low) tax rates for Fed, State, FICA, etc, that $250K couple pays something north of $100K in taxes, plus, a dollar is not worth what it used to be -- in fact, it has lost 90% of it's value since 1900. $150K today is like someone making $15K in 1900! Not precisely "Super Rich".

Rich certainly knows this ... I suspect he is far richer than that, with maybe a few million in ASSETS. Now if one has say $2-4 Million in assets, PLUS an income in excess of $250K, we are getting to what is actually the "doorway to basic wealth", the point at which one no longer NEEDS to work to support their life. I guess once you have yours, trying to cut out any of the other riffraff from getting in must be good sport.

Seriously, I think what is afoot here is a more sinister version of  the end of the Cold War problem. There certainly were a lot of Cold-warrior conservatives that cast about a bit for something to do. If the left was rational, then looking at the "poor" in America today vs 1900 would tell them "the war on poverty is over, and we won". They would be wrong of course -- free market capitalism, or at least a still tiny bit free capitalism "won" it the old fashioned, but hated by liberals way; "trickle down and raising all boats". 

What we see the truth in however is liberals hate the rich and really don't care about the poor. They want to tear down the wealthy because they are the example of what is possible in America, and not nearly so much in other systems -- the person that has a special skill, idea, drive or vision and makes good. A person that exemplifies a basic goodness inherent in the American psyche, that is anathema to the liberal collectivist leveling view of nirvana.

Somehow Frank seems to think that anything bad that has happened to poverty, income growth, or employment is BECAUSE of whatever happens at the $250K+ level. Causality is always difficult to even reasonably postulate, let along prove, so a lot of the assertions in this column must be based on that old fixed economic pie view (if they are based on anything at all) -- the pie is only so big, what the "rich" are getting is something that is "taken away" from someone else. So patently not so that a C student in economics 101 understands that is completely false.

Unless one is simply insane, is dedicated to the destruction of the country, a congenital liar, or some combo of all and who knows what other malady, it seems impossible that lefty after lefty pundit could keep talking of $700 Billion in "cost" while utterly ignoring the $3 Trillion "cost" that holding on to the rest of the Bush cuts entails. Whatever the reason, they keep doing it and doing it.

Does Frank REALLY think that allowing people to keep a bit more of what they earn is the equivalent to them "grabbing everything that isn't nailed down?"?

We used to have GROWTH in our economy. GROWTH is what you need -- it is the magic genie that makes a bright economic future possible. So do the roots complain of the "cost" of the corn stalk growing? Do the leaves bitch about the "expense" of the tassel or the ear? Is it "fair" how high that tassel gets to be while those poor roots are stuck in the dirt? Perhaps they should go on strike -- or force the tassel to donate to the fund to allow the corn stalk to be uprooted and planted tassel down to "make it fair".

Somehow, I think that is basically what Rich has in mind. Even if the economy must be utterly destroyed to arrive at what is "fair", it could not happen too soon for his taste!