Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Americans Get Stupid Again

Moody Blues -

If one listens to the left, the average intelligence and maturity of the American voter can swing quite wildly. Just a year ago, US voters had a ton of intelligence and maturity, but in barely a 12 month period, they have lost all semblance if intellectual capacity and has been reduced to a bunch of pouting and stomping 2-year olds, even in a formerly brilliant and wise blue state haven like Massachusetts.

Taranto does a good job of covering some specific examples of our leftward punditry heaping praise on the decision 14 months ago, and disdain on the blue state of MA voters now. Clearly "stopping an unpopular healthcare bill" is far more vacuous than "hope and change".

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

BO Picks Up Budget Hatchet

BO Ridicules McCain on budget freeze.

Be interesting to see if the MSM has any memory. BO thought McCain was completely wrong to call for a freeze. McCain has now supported the BO call for a freeze. BO said it was a "hatchet rather than a scalpel". Suppose it is racist to point out what he said in the past.

Didin't BO used to be some sort of a great leader and political genius?

The Lesson of Slick

William McGurn: Bill Clinton's Revenge -
In the process, he learned one thing: In a nation where roughly 20% describe themselves as liberal, 40% as conservative, and 40% as moderate, there's not a high price for shutting out the left. As for history, Mr. Clinton went on to become the only Democrat since FDR to win and serve two full terms as president.
Exactly! Of course, there never has and we pray never will be anyone as disingenuous as Slick Willy in the WH, but he did understand that key fact that the MSM works night and day to hide! Hopefully BO will stick to his guns and do "what he thinks is right", and the American people will assign this sorry chapter to a one year leftward sprint, a 3 year stall, and finally move on to start to deal with reality!

Even CNN Understanding Pelosi?

 CNN used to be "Clinton News Network". Apparently Queen Nancy is pushing things a bit too far for even them!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Airial Refuel Over Iraq

Extremely cool!

The Base

RealClearPolitics - Rock on the Health Care Road

al Qaeda is loosely translated as "The Base". Christ is my "base", but close to next in scale of import is the principle of "unalienable rights". That some rights come from God (or transcendence if you really must persist in atheism), NOT from "the people". America is NOT a "democracy", it is a constitutional republic. The MSM and the left in this country want to tear that down so they can more rapidly accelerate our decent into some form of collectivist socialist "utoptia" where the the ability of the "majority" to impose whatever their whim de jour on individuals is unfettered. A utopia very likely to resemble hell.

Read the whole thing. Will does a good job of pointing out the sinister way in which the forces of the left seek to entice us to their supposed eden. I've pulled a couple highlights:

Would it be constitutional for the government to legislate compulsory calisthenics for all Americans? If not, why not? If it would be, in what sense does the nation still have constitutional, meaning limited, government?
Opponents of the mandate say: Unless the Commerce Clause is infinitely elastic -- in which case, Congress can do anything -- it does not authorize Congress to forbid the inactivity of not making a commercial transaction, of not purchasing a product (health insurance) from a private provider.
If the Senate health care bill is constitutional, then Congress can do anything. That is absolutely true, and it ought to srike enough fear into the hearts of anyone with a shred of understanding of the peril of mob rule into opposition of this bill.

The mendacious and the unaware are the only supporters this bill can have.

The following puts it very well. The primary purpose of the government is to protect the pre-existing rights of the individual.

More truly conservative conservatives take their bearings from the proposition that government's primary purpose is not to organize the fulfillment of majority preferences but to protect pre-existing rights of the individual -- basically, liberty. These conservatives favor judicial activism understood as unflinching performance of the courts' role in that protection.

New Yorker On BO Year 1

One Year: Beware of Sudden Downdrafts: Hendrik Hertzberg : The New Yorker

 Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Today's internet affords us an excellent opportunity to read the words of those to whom think in the exact opposite terms, to understand what is on their minds. What is on the minds of this New Yorker columnist is the destruction of the constitution and the the creation of a European style parliamentary system that would allow our quicker decent into socialism and the loss of "American exceptionalism",  a noxious term for those of the left. He is pretty direct about his desire to somehow dispense with the horror of "Republicans", we can be thankful he has spared us the gory details of just how.
Thanks to my longstanding obsession with the obsolescence of our eighteenth-century political and electoral hydraulics (such as the separation of powers and the lack of a single government accountable to a national electorate) and this sclerotic system’s sadomasochistic twentieth-century refinements (such as the institutionalization of the filibuster), I am not astonished that Obama has had trouble “getting things done.” Absent only the filibuster—even while leaving untouched all the other monkey wrenches (committee chairs, corrupt campaign money, safe districts, Republicans, etc.)—Obama by now would have signed landmark bills addressing health care, global warming, and financial regulation, and a larger, better-designed stimulus package, too.

Boston Tea Party

Scott Brown Beats Martha Coakley -
Massachusetts passed a prototype of the Obama plan in 2006, and residents have since watched as their insurance premiums have risen to the highest in the nation, budget costs have soared, and bureaucrats are planning far more draconian regulation of medical practice. Mr. Brown accurately said the national sequel would be too expensive and reduce the quality of care, and that it would be a "raw deal" forcing Massachusetts taxpayers to subsidize all other states.
Why do I need to read this buried in an article only AFTER the special election? I've certainly been aware of what the MA plan has caused because I'm the kind of idiot that wastes my time running off and finding such things. What I just don't get is why ANY news outlet that actually cares about outcomes for the country would NOT want to look into what has been wrought by a plan that even far lefties have identified as being "very much like the moderate Senate bill". (See Paul Krugman)

The fact is that the Senate bill is a centrist document, which moderate Republicans should find entirely acceptable. In fact, it’s very similar to the plan Mitt Romney introduced in Massachusetts just a few years ago.
The voters of a state that PASSED something very equivalent to the MOST CONSERVATIVE version of what is being shoved down our throats now have resoundingly spoken on what they think of essentially the health care bill that they now have EXPERIENCE with going national, and NOBODY CARES? Having STATES pass new laws that are controversial and then observing the outcomes is exactly what the US was supposed to be about. Our Founding Fathers unerstood the principles of "Agile Development" over 200 years before it became the rage in software.

How can we possibly govern ourselves if we are not reality and outcome based?

Friday, January 22, 2010

NYT Officially Against Free Speech

Editorial - The Court’s Blow to Democracy -

I wonder what status quo the NYT thinks ought to be protected?  Try this. In 2008, one has to get to the 39th group on the list before one hits a group that is "strongly Republican" (Club for Growth). Number 23 (National Car Dealers) "leans Republican". Out of the top 100, 3 lean R, 2 are solid R, and 1 is "strongly" R.

How about D? 3 are "Solid", including #1, ActBlue, a PAC that hides god knows what shenanigans and contributed $24 Million, over 3x #2, which is Goldman Sachs, "strongly D". 30 are "Strongly D", and 10 "lean D". The current advantage in this list alone is many 10s of millions, and we know in the last cycle, BO alone had an advantage approaching $500 Million.

Is it any wonder the NYT wants this state of affairs protected? We well know how campaign finance laws are enforced. Republicans are scrutinized and prosecuted if they or their contributors step out of line. Democrats are rarely looked at, and even if they are -- as in Slick and the Goracle in the '90s when they got caught with their hands in the cookie jar on all sorts of campaign irregularities, including taking foreign funds, the answer is "well, we had to do it because it looked like the Republicans might win". That is always a good enough emergency to justify ANYTHING to the MSM.

As the NYT understands, in a big country where media costs money, freedom of speech means freedom to raise money to speak. While the NYT will defend anyone's right to agree with them (as will all good liberals), they aren't so sure that those that DISagree with them ought to be able to raise money, so we have a HUGE crisis here from their POV.
In dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens warned that the ruling not only threatens democracy but “will, I fear, do damage to this institution.” History is, indeed, likely to look harshly not only on the decision but the court that delivered it. The Citizens United ruling is likely to be viewed as a shameful bookend to Bush v. Gore. With one 5-to-4 decision, the court’s conservative majority stopped valid votes from being counted to ensure the election of a conservative president. Now a similar conservative majority has distorted the political system to ensure that Republican candidates will be at an enormous advantage in future elections.
In the interest of "even handedness", the NYT didn't find a google search to point to who has the advantage today to be worth a couple minutes of their time. They apparently found Democrats skirting the law on every front and coming up with 100s of millions in advantage in the last election cycle to be completely  unthreatening to democracy. While we listened to them prattle constantly post '94 of the "dangers" of the Republicans having control of ANY branch of government, the 2008 election and talk about the "end of the Republican party" was a sign that America had finally "woke up". One party rule is apparently "democratic" as long as it is the party that you agree with!

Freedom of speech for Republicans. The end of Democracy!

Let Them Sleep

RealClearPolitics - The Meaning of Brown

A particularly cogent one from Charles. Hopefully the Democrats will find some delusions that allow them to continue to sleep peacefully.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thanks To BO!

RealClearPolitics - The Public Has Spoken on ObamaCare

By any measure, the upset in MA is one of the grandest political coups in US history. To have John Edwards admit to fathering a love-child in the same week makes one wonder if the Kennedy Foundation admitting that he murdered Mary Jo Kopechne is soon to follow. It really ISN'T "The Kennedy Seat", it belongs to the people of MA.

This is a great paragraph from Will:
With one piece of legislation, Obama and his congressional allies have done in one year what it took President Lyndon Johnson and his allies two years to do in 1965 and 1966 -- revive conservatism. Today conservatism is rising on the stepping stones of liberal excesses.
With just one year in power, BO and his total control of Congress has managed to awake the 40% of Americans that have always identified themselves as conservative from their stupor. A year ago, this seemed impossible, but while the capacity of the human race for the positive is sadly limited, the capacity for arrogance, narcissism, mendacity, elitism, and incompetence is completely unbounded. BO, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have just proven the known yet again.

The following paragraph from George summarizes my thoughts far better than I am able. One of the very essences of modern "liberalism" is that; "The masses are too stupid to know what is best for them, they ought to be thankful we brilliant liberals are here to take care of them". Modern liberalism has left behind the very core of what makes this country special. The faith that the intelligence, hard work and common sense of the MANY exceeds the supposed brilliance of the few by a WIDE margin! God Bless the America of the COMMON People! Together, we can be far more UNcommon and even EXCEPTIONAL -- with no need for BO to apologize for us to anyone!
The 2008 elections gave liberals the curse of opportunity, and they have used it to reveal themselves ruinously. The protracted health care debacle has highlighted this fact: Some liberals consider the legislation's unpopularity a reason to redouble their efforts to inflict it on Americans who, such liberals think, are too benighted to understand that their betters know best. The essence of contemporary liberalism is the illiberal conviction that Americans, in their comprehensive incompetence, need minute supervision by government, which liberals believe exists to spare citizens the torture of thinking and choosing.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A United Nations World

Security concerns cause doctors to leave hospital, quake victims -

The UN orders Doctors to leave patients behind and leave, and they do -- except for a Doctor with an American News Corporation. When collectivism gets to the level of "World Government", of which the UN is the "best" example we have today. We are told every day that individual rights and resolve are bad, collective command and control are good, corporations are bad, government and Non-profit NGOs are good. How long can people keep truth alive in the daily drumbeat of false messages?

The people of Haiti have been "wards of the world" basically forever, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. On the other end of the island, The Dominican Republic has built itself into the 2nd largest economy in the Caribbean and a major tourist destination. Why? Seems like something worth some study.

It is heart wrenching whenever there is a disaster, but it is impossible to look at Haiti and not be reminded of New Orleans and that feeling of people with the attitude that "life is something that happens TO them and it is entirely under the control of others and "fate"". Otherwise healthy people can somehow stand, wait for help, and complain, while feeling no responsibility to help either themselves or their fellow man.

Will the once strong spirit of America have to be reduced to people wandering about while the bodies of their  neighbors rot in the street and lamenting "where is help"? Obviously, such disasters are not the "fault" of the people to which they happen, but they show a fundamental difference between the largely self-motivated and self-sufficient and those that have decided to be dependent. It is said that disasters and trying times "bring out the best", and for functional, independent people, that is true. It is also true that for those that are dependent, such things bring out the worst; looting, rioting, crime and even more total despair.

New Orleans showed that the spirit of dependence already has taken hold in parts of this country, and like a plague, it can spread easily. Worse in many ways, the MSM decided that New Orleans was a great opportunity to "blame Bush" rather than point out that a half million people with days of warning failed to evacuate, leaving among other things, 500 buses to be flooded in a parking lot.  Not only did they fail to evacuate, they failed to get a few days supply of bottled water and non-perishable foodstuffs. Saying such things is currently "not PC", it is called "blaming the victim".

The idea that humans should ignore that sodden feeling in the pit of our stomach when we see the wages of dependence and despondency, NOT the disaster, but the inability of a community of people to do anything but beg ... even those completely uninjured by the event. To turn that off, and to somehow blame relief efforts for being "too slow", "not sufficient" or otherwise ignore the core problem is to walk the road that eventually leads to the despair of Haiti or New Orleans.

Let us lift our eyes and get off this road!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Secret Ballot in MA?

Democrat Coakley Fights for Massachusetts Senate Seat - TIME

Were you aware that a week from today voters in MA will decide the fate of Teddy Ks old seat and it is still in doubt if their candidate will win? You have to be somewhat of a news hound to know it. Just imagine for a second if say John McCain had died and his seat was up with the Republicans having a 60 vote Senate majority and the President being a Republican. Suppose there would be any talk of "the need for balance"? Would we hear anything about the "arrogance" of a party that has jammed through legislation without a single "Democrat" (remember, opposite world) vote, often late at night and on weekends with nobody having much of an idea what is in the bill?

Let's face it, were the roles reversed, there is no way the MA election could be could be a "win" for the incumbent party.  If they won, it would be by too little, and if they lost, it would obviously be a "repudiation of the President and his policies", a "mandate to filibuster" to prevent the "unpopular and ill advised policies foisted on Americans by this misguided party". We don't even have to imagine it ... we heard much the same in elections in '04 and '06 as the MSM harangued Bush and the Republicans who had far less than 60 votes in the Senate. They were "on message" in '04 and failed with much weeping and gnashing of teeth mixed with promises to "leave the country". Many of the Dems and MSM were "embarrassed for their country".

Well, in '06, the heavens opened and the donkeys brayed their way to big majorities in the House and Senate running on that platform of "Change" -- that was one campaign promise that the Dems finally kept. Things certainly have CHANGED since they took over congress in '07!

Unfortunately, nobody from the Republican side seems willing to do more than the Democrats did for a platform in '06 and '08. It ought to come so somebodies attention that "I'm not W", "I'm not BO", or "Change" aren't platforms. They are barely even slogans, and they are just as stupid used by Republicans as Democrats!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

PC Police As Political Force -- and Farce

Power Line - Race and Racism: What's the Connection?

Assertion #1: Race, Sexual Harassment, and Hate Crimes are all "crimes" that need no evidence, not corroboration, and are 100% in the eye of the "victim". Any male is only free of having a criminal record today by the grace of no woman having taken the time to say "he inappropriately touched me". If a woman is willing to make this assertion, even with no evidence or other corroboration, all it takes for a male to be a "criminal" is her word in court.

Assertion #2: At the political level, these "crimes" have become a simple way to "purge the undesirables", meaning Republicans. Since the "crime" is controlled by the "victim" rather than the state, the "victim" can decide to provided forgiveness and thus absolution to the supposed "perpetrator", because they "know their heart".

The specific link is to BO accepting the apology of Harry Reid, but Slick Willie and Monica Lewinski is another example. What Harry Reid said was not in my opinion racist at all, but neither was what Trent Lott said. What Harry said is something that BO said in his own book -- he is light skinned and able to talk without a  "black accent" -- he said it himself, and it has the advantage of being true.

What Lott said is only racist if you assume the worst and are certain you know his heart -- the actual words had no racist content at all. The old coot Thurmond ran for President a long time ago, Lott just said "we'd probably be better off if he had won" -- most likely appropo of nothing at all, other than humoring an old man at his birthday. To make it racist, you would have to ASSSUME that what he was refering to was the racial aspects Thurmond's candidacy -- which is a pretty big assumption.

Never the less, Lott lost his position in the Senate, and Reid got an apology accepted and that is the end of it. Naturally, Lott's heart was deemed wrong" -- he is a Republican after all. The party of Lincoln, vs a Democrat -- the party of George Wallace, Robert Byrd ( recruiter for the KKK), and thousands of politicians that supported Jim Crow for 100 years and fillibustered the voting rights act in the Senate while a majority of Republicans voted for it.

We have handed "minorities" (even those that are a MAJORITY (females)) social power that is used to enforce a set of beliefs about the "hearts" of leaders and the ma in the street. The "heart" of a country that stoops this low is stained to a black that contains no light at all.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Glenn Beck, Arguing With Idiots

I've never actually watched Glenn Beck on TV, only seen a few YouTubes of him and this is the first book of his I've read. Basically, if you read this Blog frequently, you've seen all this stuff more than once. He has a very odd style of discourse that doesn't appeal to me, but I was actually surprised that the book wasn't nearly has confrontational as both the title and the MSM would lead you to believe.

He defends capitalism, the 2nd amendment, covers education, energy, unions, immigration, the nanny state, home ownership, basic economics, how progressive all our presidents have been since 1900, universal health care, and the constitution. He does generally a good job. He points out what he sees as the most common liberal arguments and then debunks them.

I found his view on home ownership to be interesting. He uses some good statistics to point out that homes are historically not that great an investment. In some places and times -- CA from say the 60's on, etc they have been, but on average, especially without government largess of one sort or another (FHA, mortgage deductions, sub-prime loans, etc).

If you like Glenn and his writing style, there is nothing wrong with the book, read it. If you haven't read a lot of the background books, it may be a good "catch up".

Robinson On Cheney

RealClearPolitics - Cheney in Winter

Robinson Says:
"As I've watched the events of the last few days it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war," Cheney begins.
Flat-out untrue.
Washington Post, March '09 Says:
'Global War On Terror' Is Given New Name -

In a memo e-mailed this week to Pentagon staff members, the Defense Department's office of security review noted that "this administration prefers to avoid using the term 'Long War' or 'Global War on Terror' [GWOT.] Please use 'Overseas Contingency Operation.' "
So BO renamed GWOT to "Overseas Contingency Operation". We also know that they are trying KSM, the mastermind behind 9-11 as a criminal, not a terrorist in a military tribunal. What does "flat out untrue" mean in the context of these facts? It seems pretty reasonable to me that BO is trying to treat terrorism as a criminal vs a military operation, and the efforts that Robinson points to relative to Iraq and Afghanistan are simply "getting out as fast as he can".

Robinson says:
Cheney knows this. But he goes on to use the big lie -- that Obama is "trying to pretend we are not at war" -- to bludgeon the new administration on a host of specific issues. Here is the one that jumps out at me: The president, Cheney claims, "seems to think that if he closes Guantanamo and releases the hard-core al-Qaeda-trained terrorists still there, we won't be at war."
He goes on to point out that some of the folks released BY BUSH have already become terrorists again. What he doesn't point out is that Robinson, many Democrats in congress and some judges were pushing to have Gitmo closed, and the Bush administration was forced to release people that were there. Robinson and others have been DEMANDING that Gitmo be closed for a LONG time. What did they expect to be done with these people?

I could do on, but the point is that what the left tends to do is to simply lie over and over and assume that nobody will call you on it.

Saturday AM American Musings

 I woke up this AM after a nice relaxing evening at home watching "The Battle of the Bulge" off Netflix, having some pizza and doing some reading. I have 100's of things I ought to be doing, but I'm moving slow, drinking coffee and surfing the web.

A lot of folks seem extremely confused about "what happened to America"  from all sorts of angles, so I decided to write down some thoughts.

First, there is no "right to jobs", "right to some wage", or "right to a standard of living". All of it has to be EARNED in a world where competition is a fact for weeds and crops in fields, NFL teams in playoffs, and yes businesses, employers and even governments on the world stage. SOME of what is earned can be "re-distributed", but when a nation gets to the point where the top 10% of the folks are paying for 40% of the total budget, robbing Peter to pay Paul starts to get shaky.

California used to be close to the #1 state in the country for just about everything positive -- now it has a $20 Billion deficit and is losing 1,500 taxpayers a week and is ranked 40th in the Forbes ranking.  Detroit in the late 50's was a model for the nation, now vast sections of it look like a 3rd world country and MI is 47th. Meanwhile, Texas, the Dakotas and Utah are examples of states that are improving their rankings even in the current economic climate -- Texas is essentially the new CA now ranked 9th.

Most of the reasons ARE known -- strong property rights including low taxes, reasonable levels of regulation, stable/predictable tax/regulatory environment, well educated work force with minimal unionization and increasingly a university system that fosters innovation for new business creation make winners, the opposite makes losers.

There are some GREAT opportunities to understand what works and what doesn't:

  • Virginia is #1, W Virginia is #50 -- right next to each other, the best and the worst!
  • MN #11, IL #35, WI #40 -- these are states right around where I live. It is easy to put the rules for success from above against them and see why they are where they are, and what direction they seem to be going.
Essentially, our top 25 states ARE competitive on the world stage, but our bottom 25 are not. What has happened is that increasingly (with FL and TX as shining counter examples), our most populous states have slipped from the top 25 to the bottom 25, so nationally, we are worse off.

This isn't rocket science, it has pretty much been known since Genesis and the requirement for "the sweat of our brow". Policies that encourage education excellence, work, thrift and prudent risk taking and discourage the counter behaviors create growth. However, we seem intent on rewarding massive unionization and slipping results in education, increasing regulation and costs for employers, higher taxation for those that save and invest, and rewards (bail outs) for those that take IMPRUDENT risk, while trying to pay for those bail outs from the people that took prudent risks and created and retained some level of value.

I guess it is like my waistline -- I certainly KNOW that I need to eat less, but eating more "seems too good at the time".  I think we all basically know the answers to economics, we just "wish they were different". It would be wonderful if everyone could have a great standard of living, super jobs, lots of free entitlements, all without much in the way of hard classes, stress, long hours etc, and somebody would pay for it "somehow".

We have been going along thinking that some growing population of kids in the distant future was going to provide our wishes -- basically since the '30s. Sadly, nobody had enough kids, people lived too long, and the rest of the world didn't sit by and do nothing. The IOUs are coming due, and it appears we needed to have one last big national debt tantrum before we either get down to business, or decide on a standard of living that is more like the bottom half of the nations on the planet than what we currently have.

I guess that wisdom motivated me enough to at least LOOK at my work list. We will see how much it does from there!

Friday, January 08, 2010

American Progressivism, A Reader

The subject book, edited by Ronald Pestritto and William Atto provides a sampling of some of the key speeches and writings of key American "progressives". It is a sobering book.

"We today who stand fore the Progressive movement here in the United States are not wedded to any particular kind of machinery, save solely as means to the end desired. Our aim is to secure the real and not nominal rule of the people. With this purpose in view, we propose to do away with whatever in our government tends to secure privilege ..." (TR)

There you have it. Yes, it DOES include doing away with private property and the constitution as we know it, and the subjugation of any individual. The end is mob rule -- any means needed to get there is justified!

 "Living political constitutions must be Darwinian in structure and in practice. Society is a living organism and must obey the laws of life, not of mechanics; it must develop."

"By tyranny, as we no fight it, we mean control of the law, of legislation and adjudication, by organizations which to not represent the people, by means which are private and selfish."
 Those quotes are from Woodrow Wilson. What is the problem? The rule of law. Everything ought to "evolve" to what "the people want". As if life did not "obey" the laws of physics (mechanics). At the core of progressivism is simple wishful thinking -- we can have what we want by voting for what we want and telling others to give it to us. It is a movement dedicated to the ends somehow not only justifying the means, but somehow creating the means.
"Now that mines are great social undertakings, and their products are sold at monopoly prices, has private ownership any basis is reason or ethics?" (Walter Rauschenbusch, theologian, social gospel movement"
Private property is obviously the root of American freedom and economic success, but it is the bane of those who are primarily driven by envy rather than productivity as progressives are. If a thing has value, then a progressive believes that everyone ought own it collectively -- which as we know from the USSR, means that the value is destroyed and everyone loses. No matter to the progressive -- better that all should starve than a few are able to earn their way to wealth through their efforts and at the same time save any from starving. The burning anger in the breast of the progressive for the success of that one person is worth the deaths of any number of people required so that his success can be "leveled".

While the book is useful and contains a lot of good material, I hesitate to recommend anyone but an academic or those hopelessly dedicated to looking at both sides reading it. There are no surprises here, "progressive" is synonomous with "anti-American" if America means anything different from "A standard European socialist state". If it doesn't, then why should there even BE an America?

Gitmo Obsession

RealClearPolitics - The Gitmo Obsession

This a slightly long quote, but worthy. The idea that closing Gitmo is going to have any effect on al-Qaeda recruitment has no connection to reality. It is either just a cynical political ploy (likely for BO), or complete blindness to the facts (common to many on the left).
Obama also sensibly suspended all transfers of Yemenis from Guantanamo. Nonetheless, Obama insisted on repeating his determination to close the prison, invoking his usual rationale of eliminating a rallying cry and recruiting tool for al-Qaeda.

Imagine that Guantanamo were to disappear tomorrow, swallowed in a giant tsunami. Do you think there'd be any less recruiting for al-Qaeda in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, London?

Jihadism's list of grievances against the West is not only self-replenishing but endlessly creative. Osama bin Laden's 1998 fatwa commanding universal jihad against America cited as its two top grievances our stationing of troops in Saudi Arabia and Iraqi suffering under anti-Saddam sanctions.

Today, there are virtually no U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia. And the sanctions regime against Iraq was abolished years ago. Has al-Qaeda stopped recruiting? Ayman al-Zawahiri often invokes Andalusia in his speeches. For those not steeped in the multivolume lexicon of Islamist grievances, Andalusia refers to Iberia, lost by Islam to Christendom -- in 1492.

This is a fanatical religious sect dedicated to establishing the most oppressive medieval theocracy and therefore committed to unending war with America not just because it is infidel but because it represents modernity with its individual liberty, social equality (especially for women) and profound tolerance (religious, sexual, philosophical). You going to change that by evacuating Guantanamo?

Nevertheless, Obama will not change his determination to close Guantanamo. He is too politically committed. The only hope is that perhaps now he is offering his "recruiting" rationale out of political expediency rather than real belief. With suicide bombers in the air, cynicism is far less dangerous to the country than naivete.


Finished the subject book by Antony Beevor last night. Incredible book that brings to stark light "how bad it can get". Very well written, very academic, even handed, historical and non-sensational. But even with a clinical description, the horror of having two totalitarian regimes in conflict is very instructive. It is impossible to convey the grinding destruction, cold, hunger, lice, pain, death and just flat out despair. The total military dead was nearly a million German, far more than that for USSR. Soviet civilian casualties ran into the millions as well.

I'm not going to try to pick out specific anecdotes, since there are just too many -- the descriptions of the cold, the fighting, the hunger, the desolate steppe and a myriad of other things will likely stay with me for a long time, but given the three winters of struggle, it is the context that really brings it all home.

Some thoughts:

  • The fact that "central government control is the problem" is really brought home here. Communist, Fascist, it really makes no difference -- BOTH demand that the individual be subordinated to the state and that is the only way this level of disaster is possible. "LEFT wing" is ANY form of state control and loss of individual rights. Communist / Fascist / Socialist / Monarchy / etc ... FREEDOM only exists in the "middle right". "Libertarian Republic" -- what the USA used to be! 
  • BOTH sides were rife with "political officers" -- SS / NKVD, whose job it was to propogandize and "insure loyalty". Both sides in some situations had "2nd fronts" to shoot deserters from the main front. Worse for the USSR, but problem for both. 
  • Generals needing to get orders from the top to do obvious things or risk being shot, and the fact that providing real information to either Stalin or Hitler could easily result in people being shot made both sides make gigantic errors. 
  • Once you let the government take over there are ample numbers of folks to "do the bidding" of whomever, and their "morals" are simply about supporting the regime since it supports them.
Highly recommended, a warning for the age of BOism!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Good Year for Ayn

A Clunker of a Year - George F. Will -

What was stimulated, aside from bookkeeping nonsense, was demand for Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged, a hymn to unfettered capitalism. Sales exceeded 400,000, double the total in any of the 52 years since it was published.

Praise be to God (and Ayn would HATE that comment), somehow people always seem drawn to truth in the middle of maelstrom of insanity!

Apparently it is going to take the gulag to fully derail America's sense of reality.

A Tea Party Future?

Op-Ed Columnist - The Tea Party Teens -

The tea party movement is mostly famous for its flamboyant fringe. But it is now more popular than either major party. According to the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 41 percent of Americans have a positive view of the tea party movement. Only 35 percent of Americans have a positive view of the Democrats and only 28 percent have a positive view of the Republican Party.

Imagine a movement that is universally derided and peppered with sexual slurs by the MSM and the Democrats for the better part of the year, but STILL is up to a 41% positive in polling! One has to wonder about a political party and media that find it intelligent to deride 41% of the electorate.

BOcare and Mayo

Medicare and the Mayo Clinic - The Boston Globe

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a branch of the US Department of Health and Human Services, estimated last month that the Senate bill would squeeze $493 billion out of Medicare over the next 10 years. As a result, it cautioned, “providers for whom Medicare constitutes a substantive portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable and . . . might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries).’’ In short, the Democratic understanding of health care reform - more government power to set prices, combined with reduced freedom for individuals - will make medical care harder to come by: an Economics 101 lesson in the pitfalls of price controls.

Just imagine the howls of protest if the Republicans were trying to squeeze $500 Billion out of "needy seniors"!! Oh the horror that would be trumpeted from every front page and coffee shop. Since it is BO and the Dems, we hear barely a whisper.

Mayo has stopped taking Medicare patients in Arizona. BO held up Mayo as the shining example of "doing it right", but the stench of BOcare has sent them retching for the door.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Ahead of His Time

Op-Ed Columnist - That 1937 Feeling -

Gee Paul, how did we get to '37? FDR took over in '33, BO took over in '09. Isn't this "'34"? I'd expect more destruction before 2011, and THEN of course BO like FDR will HAVE to declare his programs a raging success to be re-elected the next year in 2012 as FDR was in '38. Most likely, had it not been for WWII on the horizon, FDR would have lost in '38 and the US would have been a better place.

Will BO have the "luck" of a major terrorist attack in '12 to assist in "BO II, The Final Solution"?

I suppose the lefties are already hoping.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Fighting Over Scraps of Nothing

RealClearPolitics - Fighting Over the Squandered Decade

EJ is a nice well respected far lefty, and I think he does a good job of laying out the false choices of the supposed "left / right" dichotomy that I increasingly reject. Both Democrats and Republicans of today are very far to the left in terms of the America of 1900. We have been on the "wrong track" for essentially 100 years and part of how it shows is that most of our arguments are so false that we don't even realize what they are about.
I'm afraid that the past 10 years will be seen as a time when the United States badly lost its way by using our military power carelessly, misunderstanding the real challenges to our long-term security, and pursuing domestic policies that constrained our options for the future while needlessly threatening our prosperity.
"Afraid"? Don't you mean that you "fervently hope"? Later in the article he is going to hold up the 60's and the 30's as exemplary -- the 30's involved ignoring the rising threat of Fascism and a world war that followed, the 60's brought us Vietnam and the 70's economic collapse that followed (EJ fails to remember the existence of the 70's). EJ fervently hopes that Bush is seen as "the cause" of what he probably realizes will be the disastrous decade of the teens given the policies that BO has already embarked on. What are the actual drivers of the deficis? FICA, Medicare and other entitlements -- policies of the 30's and 60's. Dionne has a nice sleight of hand.

Domestically, Obama inherited an economic catastrophe. Dealing with the wreckage required a large expenditure of public funds that increased a deficit already bloated by the previous president's decision to fight two wars and to cut taxes at the same time. Bush's defenders, preferring to focus attention away from this earlier period of irresponsibility, act as if the world began on Jan. 20, 2009, by way of saddling Obama with the blame for everything that now ails us. But the previous eight years cannot be wished away.

I certainly hope that Democrats are in complete agreement that who controls congress is meaningless. They took over in '07, and it was obvious that they were going to do so in '06. If the Republican's could manage to wrest control in '10, I'm sure that EJ would never blame any subsequent problems on them. It must be a tidy world that is split into "Bush defenders" and "reasonable people". Did deficits start with Bush? Other than '69 and '99, we have always had deficits since the '30s. The major false choice here is that there is somehow a big difference between W and BO -- W created a medicare drug benefit that is about as big a bloat as something like half of BOcare. Over even the medium term, that alone is more costly than the "two wars". It is always interesting to me how the liberal retrospectives of the decade somehow tend to ignore 9-11. Were BOTH wars optional? Should Bush have raised taxes into the teeth of the recession that he was handed from the Clinton administration after the dot com crash and the 9-11 shock?
It should not surprise us that the battle for the future will be shaped by struggles over the past. How often over the last 40 years have conservatives defended their policies in the name of rolling back "the excesses of the '60s"? For even longer, liberals were charged with being locked into "the New Deal approaches of the 1930s." Liberals, in turn, pointed proudly to both eras as times of unparalleled social advance. 
As for the 1980s, they remain a positive reference point for conservatives even as progressives condemn the Age of Reagan for opening the way to the deregulatory excesses that led to the recent downturn.
I'd say that the core difference is really there -- the 30's and the 60's gave us a host of entitlements and expansion of government that have saddled us with ever increasing debt, unfunded liabilities, and loss of the sense of individual responsibility to save to provide for ones own retirement. Both eras also gave us significant wars -- WWII and Vietnam. If Iraq was a "war of convenience", then Vietnam was even more so -- NOBODY attacked us. It is very interesting to try to claim that the subprime bubble is a product of "Reagan deregulatory excess". There is plenty of blame to go around, but the key element in sub-prime was the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977 that forces lenders down the path of finding ways to loan money to people that actually didn't qualify for loans. It simply got out of hand.

BOTH parties have been giving away the store for 100 years. The original "progressives" were led by Teddy Roosevelt, supposedly a Republican. Wilson, FDR, Johnson, Nixon and Carter moved the "progressive" ball farther -- Nixon was big on the environment, lots of government controls and big government in general. Yes, Reagan did away with enough of the excesses of 80 years of government fattening to ignite the best period of economic growth in our history, but he did NOTHING to fix the entitlements mess, and in fact did the biggest tax INCREASE in history with the FICA/Medicare bill that increased the rate and allowed the caps to keep rising.

We need a MASSIVE entitlement REDUCTION -- but we are getting the exact opposite!