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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #700 on: December 14, 2009, 02:20:45 PM »

Yes, Monkton does. On a related note:

Global Warming: They Will Never Be Convinced
Townhall.com ^ | December 14, 2009 | Bruce Bialosky

The release of some 3,000 emails hacked from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University illuminates the true intent of those in the forefront of one of the most complex scientific and political issues of our times: “Global Warming” (or, if you prefer, “Climate Change”). Never before have a small number of academic elites convinced the global political and media establishment to embrace such a large-scale alteration of our existence. Certainly nobody has ever been brazen enough to attempt this without the fundamental scientific pillars of transparency, informed debate, and consensus.

The fact that these emails became public was itself an anomaly. Releases of this kind always seem to be from the Left; it’s one of the tactics they employ to attack their political enemies. From the time of the Pentagon Papers, publications like the New York Times have reveled in releasing secret information that supposedly exposes the duplicity of the Right. During the Bush Administration, secret CIA documents repeatedly found their way to the front page of the Times, bringing justified concern to an Administration struggling with challenging defense and foreign-policy issues.

Speaker Pelosi’s reaction is to call it “E-mail-Theft-Gate.” The elitist media has refused to print a single word about the controversy as ABC, CBS and NBC have completely skipped the subject despite the suspension of the lead scientist at East Anglia. These are pristine examples of the utter hypocrisy of the Left. When their opponents are “exposed,” they scream about the issue; but when their political allies are exposed, they scream about the process. (You’ll notice the same reaction to the ACORN video clips.)

Yet as devastating as the emails are to the “cause” of global warming, equally troubling are the shameful personal attacks on individuals, mostly dissenting scientists. This has been behavioral norm for the Left. “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” was the rule except when an icon of the Right – William Bennett – could be humiliated. Last-minute campaign attacks, like the one that harmed Bruce Herschensohn in 1992 and placed the leftist Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate for the past 18 years, have become standard behavior for the Left and its allies in the mainstream media.

Those of us who have lived our entire lives with this can relish the fact that the tables have been turned on the Left on an issue they consider not just a cause, but a religion. It is a moment where you just want to grab one of the True Believers of global warming and watch them squirm right before your eyes.

How come I feel so empty though? How come I feel that it is a waste of time? Is it because we’ve all seen this movie before? Having persistently tried to confront the True Believers with contradictory evidence and suffered only indignities, why would this time be different? Facts clearly do not matter to these people.

As we all know, this started with Al Gore and his obsession to suppress all opposition. From his days in the U.S. Senate, through his world tour with The Inconvenient Truth, he has always mocked anyone who could possibly contradict his statements. To his wide-eyed followers, the fact that he repeatedly refuses to debate anyone on the issue does not undermine his integrity one bit. It’s amusing that the conqueror of Ross Perot refuses to get on the same stage with the meager Professor Richard Lindzen from M.I.T.

A couple years back, Australian Dr. David Evans was the first notable individual to flip sides on the issue. Dr. Evans had been the Australian point man back in the late nineties for the Kyoto treaty. Ten years later, he wrote that his scientific research established that not only had the basic principles of global warming been brought into question, but that the earth was actually cooling.

I forwarded this article to some friends and family across the political spectrum, one of whom is a liberal Democrat. He informed me that he was sent articles like this regularly (despite not hobnobbing with Republican types), and that he totally disregarded them. This particular article, dense with scientific facts, was just blithely dismissed out of hand. The resulting (heated) exchanges nearly caused a world war in the family.

In the following days, I received a flurry of emails from him and his allies swearing allegiance to the cause of man-made global warming. Not one of them contested the facts substantiated by this serious scientist. Over and over, I attempted – without any success – to bring them back to the article and asked them to refute specifics. That a significant supporter of man-made global warming was now calling the entire issue into question did not matter. It’s ironic – and a little depressing – that intelligent people who argue that science is on their side refuse to accept the scientific method when the issues are in dispute.

With the release of the emails, which reveal that their scientific icons have been gaming the system and suppressing contradictory evidence, you would think that the True Believers would be calling for heads to roll. By any reasonable measure, they should be screaming about being used and manipulated.

The True Believers have yet to be publishing any comments calling for reconsideration. There is no outcry about the rampant abuse of science that has undermined the creditability of the entire global warming community. Incredibly, the only notable response has been President Obama stating he will fly to the Copenhagen and promise a 17% reduction in U.S. greenhouse gases.

It’s now pretty obvious that re-educating the global warming True Believers would be a fruitless exercise. They want us driving Mini Coopers (or riding bicycles), fueling our houses with $40,000 solar panels, and living in cities where we can walk to work. They want to control every aspect of our lives.

As the elite intelligentsia gather in Copenhagen sleeping in their $900 hotel rooms, driving around in their chauffeured driven limousines shipped in from Germany to accommodate the excessive demand and they wine and dine on OPM (other people’s money), their true essence is exposed in manners never seen. The proletariat has morphed into the bourgeois and now wishes to control the world through a false science that will accomplish their goal of stifling man’s advancement shrouded in a scientific cause.

Our only hope is to convince clear thinking, common sense Americans that these people need to be stopped before they destroy our way of life.

http://townhall.com/columnists/BruceBialosky/2009/12/14/global_warming_they_will_never_be_convinced
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #701 on: December 14, 2009, 10:40:15 PM »

2nd post.

Climategate: ‘Hello,’ the UN Secretary General Lied (Thomas Friedman, Too)
Posted By William M. Briggs On December 13, 2009 @ 12:00 am In . Column1 02, Science, Science & Technology, World News | 48 Comments

Using his best Chuck Schumer imitation, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon jumped in front of some cameras at Copenhagen and assured us that his cause was noble.

His demeanor was serious. Contemplative.

He searched his vocabulary for the precise phrase to convey his deepest conviction … and you could see his eyes sparkle when he hit upon the shim-sham-inducing word, accelerating, to describe what was happening to global warming.

Good Lord! I thought to myself. This is bad! If global warming is accelerating, if it is worse than we have predicted — happening three times [1] faster than any scientist ever feared in his worst nightmare — then, by golly, we sure ought to do something!

But as I was jumping up to write a check to the Sierra Club, I remembered. Hadn’t I heard Ban Ki-moon’s phrase somewhere else before?

I had. And often.

I turned to my trusty archives, and discovered something. At least since the late 1990s [2], and probably before, journalists, “activists,” and even politicians have been claiming: “It’s worse than we thought.”

Only two things can account for the constant use of these words:

(1) It really is, each and every time we turn around, getting hotter by amounts greater than we had predicted.

While this is logically possible, if this rhetoric were consistently true then by now the Earth’s fish would be swimming in water as hot as Tiger Woods is in.

(2) The politicians, etc., have forgotten the definition of accelerating.

This is plausible. It is, after all, a physical term, and most non-scientist global warming activists are demonstrably not well versed in their physics.

There is a third possibility, but knowing how earnest the Copenhagen crowd is, we can scarcely give it any weight.

It is — I hesitate when I write this — that the activists are exaggerating, even (gulp) fibbing.

For our own good, of course. To convince reluctant people to act. Let us hope this third scenario exists only in my fevered imagination.

All that is rotten is not in Denmark. Thomas Friedman, an opinionist at a local paper in New York, had a cuppa with Wolf Blitzer on CNN and assured him that he had looked into this whole global warming thing and discovered that, yes, the blanket of air surrounding the Earth was growing thicker with gas (we can resist the joke, can we not?) and that the only solution to prevent permanent heat stroke was to, so to speak, throw off the covers by buying insurance.

Of the kind underwritten by the ever-trustworthy and always-reliable United Nations.

Friedman’s idea is to take money from individuals who live in a few well-off countries and give it to some bureaucrats on First Avenue. They would then dole this money back out to persons unknown, such that these persons would be able to take the stuffing out of the blanket.

A fine idea, perhaps. Especially given that the UN’s historical stewardship of Other People’s Money has been such a raving success.

But, even if this isn’t so, Mr Friedman’s concern for humanity has gotten the better of him. Just as the activists had forgotten what to accelerate meant, Mr. Friedman has shown us he does not know what to insure means.

It works like this, Thomas. You fear an outcome that, if it happened, would cost X dollars. You don’t have, or wouldn’t like to pay, that much. So you seek an insurer, who estimates the probability X will occur. Using that estimate, the insurer asks you to pay Y dollars, where Y is much less than X. If you toddle along and the outcome never realizes, you are out Y dollars. But if the event happens, the insurer pays you X, and you are happy.

The outcome here is, of course, devastating global warming. The insurer is the United Nations. Problem is, we have been assured that “it’s worse than we thought” and that “the science is settled,” so the probability of the outcome is — by the insurer’s own estimate — certain. To write a policy in this case would be foolish.

That is, since the outcome already arrived, it would be more sensible to spend the money that would have gone for the policy to paying for the effects of the outcome, and thus remove the overhead costs that accompany any contract. And since those effects are local and varied, the money would be better left in the hands of local people and not given to an insurer.

All this changes, and insurance becomes financially viable, if the activists are willing to admit that our future is not assured, that the worst is only possible and not certain, or — how would they swallow this? — that they might be wrong.

Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/climategate-hello-the-un-secretary-general-lied-thomas-friedman-too/

URLs in this post:

[1] three times: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/global-warming-is-three-times-faster-than-worst-predictions-451529.html
[2] the late 1990s: http://www.usatoday.com/weather/news/2000/wgblwrm.htm
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ccp
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« Reply #702 on: December 16, 2009, 11:54:44 AM »

I remember an old college friend telling me in the 70's that Schwartenegger was his idol.  There is no question he was/is a great self promoter and very smart.  He was a great bodybuilder.  He did whatever it took.  He swindled Lou F. and obviously took steroids like the rest of them.  But he also worked hard and built the best body of his day.

He started in laughable movies and overcame that accent to become the biggest Movie draw of his day for a time.  That is remarkable when one thinks that he is not a very good actor.  He did it almost by sheer charisma.  I remember I used to look forward to him a guest on the "tonight " show.  I would wait till the end of the show when Johnny would have him come out and look forward to hearing him talk.  I was never a body builder but I like working out with weights so I had an interest.

I remember how he single handedly took the activity of body building from a looked down upon side show and made it more mainstream and appealable and accepted as  "sport."  Joe Weider could never do that.

Even Johnny Carson told him once on one of his many visits "you are very smart".
This after an idiotic Susan Pleshette questioned the Arnold, "can you tell me any exercises I can do while I am driving".
To which Arnold replied, "why do you want to exerciing while you are driving. When you are driving you should be concentrating on driving" to a laughing and nodding crowd and Johnny C.

I remember another person I met in the 80's who was trying to hit it big in show business tell me that Arnold's reputation in Hollywood was having been one of being considered the greatest self promoter anyone had ever seen.  That's saying a ton when one thinks of the BS artists, cons, and self marketeers in that town.

In my mind there is no question his gigantic narcissm coupled with a sharp, witty, and incredibly focused mind, workaholism, and iron will is together  a genius that got him to where he is.

That all said I don't know what to make of him now.  He looks like a failed governor in a liberal state full of Democrats on the dole, and who is desparately trying to stay relevant.

He states he is for the people and wants to do what is right but he has become increasingly more populist, and falling into the liberal line.  His latest push into the typical climatology-Hollywood-mantra looks phoney and cheap to me.

Perhaps it is the Kennedy influence on him.  I don't know.

I only know I just don't find him likable anymore.

Any thoughts from those in Kollyphornia?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #703 on: December 16, 2009, 12:40:04 PM »

IMHO he never lived up to some key campaign promises, but ever since he lost on his initiatives (e.g. redistricting, challenging state union power, were 2 REALLY good and important ones) he has been utterly pussywhipped by his wife's crowd and his disease to please them.  He IS a Democrat.    No respect left from me.
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ccp
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« Reply #704 on: December 21, 2009, 09:44:36 AM »

And now today he is on Drudge giving Obama an *A*.

And telling him to hang in there, he'll get it all done, etc. 

The Kennedys are that hypnotic???

I don't get it.

He must want to stay relevant and want a job.

there is something pathetic when a once charismatic principled man who lead by example is suddenly completely different with his values.  It just goes to show you he is more about himself then his ideas.  If you can't beat them join them I guess.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #705 on: December 22, 2009, 12:26:47 AM »

"...he has been utterly pussywhipped by his wife's crowd and his disease to please them.  He IS a Democrat.    No respect left from me."

Let this be (another) case study on insecure, happily married men.   In politics they always parade the photogenic family for what it brings in for votes.  We had an R-Senator with Ahnold's problem.  Wife was liberal and he was a moderate R, now called RINO.  On the biggest issues, these selfless men put their family first... unfortunately I would not have voted for the wife.  Most Republican Californians would not have voted for Ted Kennedy's agenda.  Beware of this (for life) while choosing future leaders. 
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DougMacG
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« Reply #706 on: December 22, 2009, 01:04:47 AM »

I now find myself more closely allied politically with Communist China, Russia, Dictatorship of Cuba and the ACLU than I am with the current power within the US government:

a) Communist China has more power than 40 Republican Senators to curb the growth in spending and the increase in government debt.  http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/print.asp?id=423054  "The world does not have so much money to buy more US Treasuries."

b) Russia broke the Climategate story and also is whistlblowing on these pretend-science cleptocrats for tampering with the non-warming temperature data coming out of Russia.  If Russia isn't warming, Antarctica isn't warming and Minnesota isn't warming, then it makes you wonder if the other anecdotal stories are truly global. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100020126/climategate-goes-serial-now-the-russians-confirm-that-uk-climate-scientists-manipulated-data-to-exaggerate-global-warming/  "now the Russians confirm that UK climate scientists manipulated data to exaggerate global warming"

c) Cuba says Obama lied in Copenhagen.  http://apnews.myway.com/article/20091221/D9CO04700.html  "Cuba and other poor nations have refused to recognize the agreement because they weren't permitted to participate in its development."  - an agreement not binding on them is not binding on us??

d) The ACLU has made a better case for privacy in Health Care records than any Republican or conservative: http://action.aclu.org/site/MessageViewer?dlv_id=57541&em_id=56521.0
The ACLU is Against Obama Health Care
Jul 21, 2009 ... If Obama digitizes health care records the ACLU could be all that stands between Pizza Palace and your privacy.
www.thorschrock.com/2009/07/21/aclu-against-obama-health-care/
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ccp
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« Reply #707 on: December 22, 2009, 09:42:47 AM »

 "In politics they always parade the photogenic family for what it brings in for votes"

True.  And in this case we all KNOW why he married Shriver.  It was obviously a designed step towards power from day one.

I wonder if we are finally rid of the Kennedys with the passing of the murderer who got away with it.

I wonder if Ahnold thinks he can be the next chosen one to carry on the Kennedy torch??
Perhaps that is why he is suddenly a gigantic liberal.  It is and always was all about him.  And only about the "people" for as long as that populist facade could garner him votes.

We know he won't go away.  He obviously needs the limelight.





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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #708 on: December 22, 2009, 10:34:07 AM »

Democrats Ensure America Will No Longer Be the Last Best Hope of Earth
Dennis Prager
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

As the passage of the bill that will start the process of nationalizing health care in America becomes almost inevitable, so, too, the process of undoing America's standing as The Last Best Hope of Earth will have begun.

That description of America was not, as more than a few Americans on the left believe, made by some right-wing chauvinist. It was made by President Abraham Lincoln in an address to Congress on Dec. 1, 1862.

The bigger the American government becomes, the more like other countries America becomes. Even a Democrat has to acknowledge the simple logic: America cannot at the same time be the last best hope of earth and increasingly similar to more and more countries.

Either America is unique, in which case it at least has the possibility of uniquely embodying hopes for mankind -- or it is not unique, in which case it is by definition not capable of being the last best hope for humanity -- certainly no more so than, let us say, Sweden or the Netherlands.

Indeed, President Obama acknowledged this in April, when asked by a European reporter if he believes in American exceptionalism. The president's response: "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."

The president was honest. In his view, as in the view of today's Democratic party, America is special only in the same way we parents regard our children as "special." We all say it and we all believe it, but we know that it is meaningless except as an emotional expression of our love for our children. If every is child is equally special, none can be special, in fact. If every country is exceptional, then no country is exceptional, or at least no more so than any other.

With the largest expansion of the American government and state since the New Deal, the Democratic party -- alone -- is ending a key factor in America's uniqueness and greatness: individualism, which is made possible only when there is limited government.

The formula here is not rocket science: The more the government/state does, the less the individual does.

America's uniqueness and greatness has come from a number of sources, two of which are its moral and social value system, which is a unique combination of Enlightenment and Judeo-Christian values, and its emphasis on individual liberty and responsibility.

Just as the left has waged war on America's Judeo-Christian roots, it has waged war on individual liberty and responsibility.

Hillel, the most important rabbi of the Talmud (which, alongside the Hebrew Bible, is Judaism's most important book), summarized the human being's obligations in these famous words: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?"

What does this mean in the present context? It means that before anything else, the human being must first take care of himself. When people who are capable of taking care of themselves start relying on the state to do so, they can easily become morally inferior beings. When people who could take care of their family start relying on the state to do so, they can easily become morally inferior. And when people who could help take care of fellow citizens start relying on the state to do so, the morally coarsening process continues.

There has always been something profoundly ennobling about American individualism and self-reliance. Nothing in life is as rewarding as leading a responsible life in which one has not to depend on others for sustenance. Little, if anything, in life is as rewarding as successfully taking care of oneself, one's family and one's community. That is why America has always had more voluntary associations than any other country.

But as the state and government have gotten bigger, voluntary associations have been dying. Why help others if the state will do it? Indeed, as in Scandinavia, the attitude gradually becomes: why even help myself when the state will do it?

Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are right about one thing -- they are indeed making history. But their legacy will not be what they think. They will be known as the people who led to the end of America as the last best hope of earth.

Lincoln weeps.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.
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ccp
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« Reply #709 on: December 22, 2009, 11:11:23 AM »

"President Obama acknowledged this in April, when asked by a European reporter if he believes in American exceptionalism. The president's response: "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."
 
This is a longer more confusing way to simply say NO, I do not believe in American exceptionalism.

To think our own President would be able to say such a thing.  And get elected to power.  To stay in power.  To have a media that adores him.

It is all so incomprehensible to me.

Lincoln is not the only one weeping.  So do I and many Americans.  Is there enough of us left who care?

Who is the ONE that can save this country from a Manchurian candidate hell bent on destroying it?

The attempt to extend Medicare to those 55 and older, the closing of the "donut" hole is the most cynical disgusting way of trying to bribe back seniors who have been more and more as evidenced by polls dropping support of the ONE.

LIke I learned from my own personal ordeals there just is no one who cannot be bribed.  Even our own countrymen will be most happy to give away our future for a dole.

Not only do my personal travails make me weep, I have to watch the same thing happen to America.

And Obama is NOT honest.  Occasionally he lets slip out his true feelings.  The rest is just a gigantic con.

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ccp
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« Reply #710 on: December 24, 2009, 11:25:50 AM »

Maybe this is why Schwarzenegger is sucking up to history's greatest human being:

Seeks Obama’s Help for Deficit Relief (Update3) Share Business ExchangeTwitterFacebook| Email | Print | A A A
By Michael B. Marois and William Selway

Dec. 24 (Bloomberg) -- California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, anticipating a $21 billion budget deficit, plans to ask President Barack Obama to ease mandates and minimums on social programs to save as much as $8 billion.

The Republican governor plans to seek the relief, according to a California official who asked not to be identified because details haven’t been resolved. Instead of seeking one-time stimulus money or a bailout, the most-populous state wants the U.S. to reduce mandates and waive rules stipulating expenditures on programs such as indigent health care, the official said.

California is among states most affected by the economic recession. It has the lowest credit rating and recorded the nation’s second-highest rate of home foreclosures, trailing only Nevada. Unemployment peaked at 12.5 percent in October amid the loss of 687,700 jobs from the year before, when the jobless figure was 8 percent. Wealth declined as the stock market lost 40 percent of its value in 2008.

The White House is aware of news reports about a request from California but didn’t have any details or comment, said Dan Pfeiffer, Obama’s communications director.

“The problem is that there are no easy solutions left,” said Jean Ross, executive director of the California Budget Project, a Sacramento-based research group concentrating on issues facing the poor. “Where do you go to cut that doesn’t permanently compromise the level of public services that this state needs to remain economically competitive and to have some semblances of a safety net left for vulnerable populations.”

Taxes and Cuts

Schwarzenegger and lawmakers worked to close a record $60 billion gap from February through July with $32 billion in spending cuts, $12.5 billion of temporary tax increases, $8 billion of federal stimulus money and more than $6 billion of other one-time fixes.

California’s deficits show how local governments are being forced to chose between raising taxes or cutting more funding for schools, health care and other programs, even as the economy is emerging from the recession that began in December 2007. The nascent recovery has yet to produce any job gains, a drag on states that rely on income and retail sales taxes.

Nationally, 35 states and Puerto Rico expect to have $56 billion less next year than they will need to pay for all of their programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Nevada, Arizona and New Jersey, the difference amounts to more than one-quarter of their budgets, the conference said. Funds from the $787 billion federal economic stimulus bill enacted in February run out at the end of next year.

Last Chance

Schwarzenegger, 62, will detail his request for help when he delivers his annual State of the State address on Jan. 6 and unveils his budget on Jan. 8, his last chance to reshape California’s fiscal policies before he leaves office in January 2011 after seven years.

This time, Schwarzenegger’s arsenal of one-time accounting maneuvers he and lawmakers have previously used to temporarily paper over parts of the gap -- such as accelerating income-tax collections -- has been mostly depleted, making efforts to erase the latest $21 billion deficit more difficult.

The state also has struggled to implement cost-cutting measures that were part of the $85 billion spending plan approved in July. Courts blocked part of the budget that cut funding for home care for the disabled and another part that borrowed $800 million from an account that sets aside money for local transportation agencies.

‘Low-Hanging Fruit’

An accounting error means the state has to spend almost $1 billion more on schools than budgeted. Officials also underestimated the cost of health care for the poor by $900 million, and lawmakers failed to pass legislation to realize $1 billion less in anticipated prison spending.

Combined, the state faces a $6.3 billion gap in the current year and another $14.4 billion in the next.

“We’ve already gone after the low-hanging fruit and the medium-hanging fruit and the higher-hanging fruit, so it’s going to get tougher and tougher now to balance the budget,” Schwarzenegger told reporters in November.

The governor has said he won’t increase taxes again to close the gap. That means more cuts, complicated by mandated expenditures for programs such as Medicaid health-care for low- income residents. With reductions already made to programs for the poor, additional trims jeopardize those federal funds.

Biggest Issuer

“In terms of programmatic reductions, we have to keep an eye on the fact that in some areas -- be it education or health and human services -- if you run afoul of federal maintenance of efforts requirements, you risk the loss of federal dollars,” said Schwarzenegger’s budget spokesman, H.D. Palmer. “As tough as 2009, these factors are going to make 2010 even more challenging.”

The state was the biggest bond issuer this year, selling $36 billion of debt. It may come to market with at least $5 billion more of public-works obligations in the fiscal year that begins July 1, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer said.

California’s general-obligation debt rating from Moody’s Investors Service is Baa1, the company’s eighth-highest investment grade, and A from Standard & Poor’s, the sixth- highest. By comparison, Greece, the poorest member of the 16- nation euro region, is rated two steps higher at A2 by Moody’s and two lower at BBB+ by S&P.

“California, which is more than three times bigger than Greece, is running out of money,” T.J. Marta, chief market strategist at Marta On The Markets LLC, a financial-research firm in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, told Bloomberg Radio today.

Higher Interest Rates

A Standard & Poor’s/Investortools index of California state and local debt has returned 13.1 percent this year through Dec. 23, about 1.5 percentage points less than the national average.

Investors have demanded higher interest rates from California, compared with other borrowers. The state’s 10-year bonds yielded 4.6 percent by the end of last week, 1.51 percentage points more than top-rated municipal borrowers, according to Bloomberg indexes. Three months ago, that difference was as little as 1.06 percentage points. Greek 10- year bonds yield 5.72 percent, Ireland’s 4.78 percent and Spain’s 3.93 percent.

In California, “it’s never a quick budget, it’s always prolonged and when it’s prolonged the headlines get worse and spreads widen,” said Peter Hayes, who oversees $115 billion in municipal bonds for New York-based BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager.

Opposition to Cuts

Democrats, who control both chambers of the Legislature, are expected to oppose wholesale cuts to health and welfare programs. Such resistance, along with Republican opposition to tax increases, will be exacerbated as election-year politics heightens the partisan divide. Half of the state’s 120 Assembly and Senate seats go before voters in November.

Budgets and tax increases in California must be approved by a two-thirds majority, and Democrats are two votes short in the Senate and six in the Assembly.

“When you are looking at a deficit in the size we have, everything needs to be on the table,” Assembly Speaker Elect John Perez, a Democrat from Los Angeles, told reporters on Dec. 11. “The reality is that the likelihood of passing taxes in this environment is slim, but everything has to be on the table. We have to come up with a resolution to this budget crisis that asks everyone to sacrifice, not just the people that are in the greatest need.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael B. Marois in Sacramento at mmarois@bloomberg.net; William Selway in San Francisco at wselway@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: December 24, 2009 11:49 EST
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SkinnyDevil
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« Reply #711 on: December 27, 2009, 11:59:20 AM »

I wasn't sure where to put this, so...

I liked Ron Paul & I supported Ron Paul. But I said at the time I thought Gary Johnson would be a better candidate (although they disagree on several issues). I just hope he's serious about a run in 2012:

http://ouramericainitiative.com/
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« Reply #712 on: December 28, 2009, 11:34:21 AM »

This is the first time I heard this.  DINO - RINO we have - next is LINO (Libertarian in name only) - AINO - (American in name only) - OREO (we already know this one).

 OPINION: DECLARATIONS DECEMBER 26, 2009 'He Just Does What He Thinks Is Right' By PEGGY NOONAN
 
Cannon to the left of him, cannon to the right of him, cannon in front of him volley and thunder. That's our president's position on the political battlefield now, taking it from all sides. And the odd thing, the unique thing in terms of modern political history, is that no one really defends him, no one holds high his flag. When was the last time you put on the radio or TV and heard someone say "Open line Friday—we're talking about what it is we like best about Barack Obama!" When did you last see a cable talking head say, "The greatness of this man is as obvious as it is unnoticed"?

Is the left out there on the Internet and the airwaves talking about him? Oh, yes. They're calling him a disappointment, a sellout, a DINO—Democratic in name only. He sold out on single-payer health insurance, and then the public option. He'll sell you out on your issue too.

The pundits and columnists, dreadful people that they are, call him cold, weak, aloof, arrogant, entitled.

So let's denounce him again.

Wait—it's Christmas. Let's not. There are people who deeply admire the president, who work with him and believe he's doing right. This week, this column is their forum. They speak not for attribution to avoid the charge of suckupism.

***
We start with a note from an accomplished young man who worked with Mr. Obama on the campaign and in the White House. He reminded me this week of a conversation we'd had shortly before the president's inauguration. "I remember you asked me back in January if I loved my guy. And in light of all that's happened in this first year, I still do. Even more so. And I also have a strong sense—based not just on polls but on a lot of folks I've talked to who don't always pay attention to politics—that he DOES have that base of people who still love him too.

"It's hard to detect, because the part of the 'base' that's represented on cable and on blogs is so vocal (and by vocal I mean shrill), but it's there. I also read it in the letters he gets. Some of them are amazingly poignant and appreciative of what he's done and what he's doing. Some of them are tough—very tough—but still respectful and hopeful that he's doing the right thing. Even if they're unsure right now, they want him to succeed. . ."

He sees them as a kind of quiet majority, or at least quiet-but-large-group-within-the-electorate.

"[T]hey're not going to run out and defend him on the blogs or start screaming back at his detractors, because they know its fruitless and they're sick of all that Washington nonsense anyway." They want him to cut through the mess and "get things done for them. And they're willing to give him that chance. Still."

The president, he suggested, tends toward the long view and the broad view. "Here's what I know about him. He still has this amazing ability to tune out the noise from Washington, read the letters from the people, listen to their concerns, listen to his advisors, hear both sides, absorb all the information, and make the decision that he honestly feels is right for the country."

He does this "without worrying too much about the polls, without worrying too much about being a one-term president. He just does what he thinks is right. And that consumes a lot of his time. Most of it, in fact."

He is aware that Obama is "perceived as alternately too weak and too Chicago, too left and too right, too willing to compromise and too beholden to his majority, too detached and too much meddling in too many things." The administration needs "to do better in resetting the story and telling it the way we want it told." But "the fractured, petty, biased-towards-the-sensational media today makes that more difficult than ever before."

He knows now, he said, "how the Bushes and the Clintons must have felt," and wonders "if that just happens to all White Houses. I don't know. But I do know that we have some very big, very unique problems right now. And we live in a very cynical . . . time where it's difficult to maintain the benefit of the doubt as you're navigating through the storm." They're giving it their best. "Lots of good people are trying. We won't fix it all, but I think we'll succeed (and think that in some cases, we already have!) at fixing a good deal."

***
Another staffer spoke warmly of President Obama's warmth. "He's interested in who you are, and it's not manufactured." He sometimes finds himself briefing the president before events. "I know he's just come out of a meeting on Afghanistan" and maybe the next meeting isn't as important, but he wants to know who they are and where they're from and has a gift for "making them feel important."

"He's a young president, young in terms of youthful." Sometimes people come in to meet him and find "they came for a photo and he gives them a game" of pick-up basketball on the White House court. "Those are the things from a human perspective that make him so accessible. Accessible is the right word. He's emotionally available."

He is appreciative of his staff's efforts. "When you're working hard for your country and you know [he cares] it is huge." How does he show his thanks? "It's a little like a basketball game—'Thanks for that, I know what you did.' It's not a note or a pat or a call, it's a guy-to-guy thank you, 'That's cool, that's good.' You think, 'My coach got that I worked my ass off.'"

"As a person he is just an incredible human being who you can't help but love."

A third Obama staffer spoke of last week's senior staff dinner, at which the president went around the table and told each one individually "what they meant to him, and thanked the spouses for putting up with what they have to put up with." He marks birthdays by marching in with cakes. He'll walk around the White House, pop into offices and tease people for putting their feet on the desk. "Sometimes he puts his feet on the desk." He's concerned about much, but largely unruffled. "He's not taken aback by the challenges he has. He seems more focused than he's ever been. He's like Michael Jordan in that at the big moments everything slows down for him." He's good in the crunch.
I end with a story told to me by an old Reagan hand who, with another former Reagan administration official, was being given a private tour of the White House by Michelle Obama. This was last summer. Mrs. Obama led the two through the halls, and then they stopped by the Lincoln bedroom. They stood in the doorway, and then took a step inside, but went no deeper. Everything looked the same, but something was different. "We don't allow guests to stay in this room anymore," Mrs. Obama explained. She spoke of it as a place of reverence. They keep it apart, it's not for overnights.

Unspoken, but clearly understood by the Reagan hands, was: This is where he signed the Emancipation Proclamation. A true copy of it is here, on the desk. He signed it: "Abraham Lincoln." The Reagan hands were impressed and moved. It is fitting and right that the Lincoln bedroom be held apart. It always should have been. Good, they thought. Good.

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A11
Copyright 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. Distribution and use of this material are governed by our Subscriber Agreement and by copyright law. For non-personal use or to order multiple copies, please contact Dow Jones Reprints at 1-800-843-0008 or visit
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« Reply #713 on: December 28, 2009, 11:56:45 AM »

I used to think quite a lot of Peggy Noonan, but in the last few years she has become captured by Washington , , , or pre-mature senility.
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« Reply #714 on: December 28, 2009, 11:22:53 PM »

Obama responds to the Fruit-of-the-Loom Bomber; White House now officially resembles Naked Gun
Published under Politics

“We will not rest until we find all who were involved and hold them accountable,” Mr. Obama told reporters during a break in his vacation.
He and Michelle then went to “grab a bite to eat.”

Thus, the Obama administration began to resemble a Zucker brothers, Jim Abrahams movie. Our glorious leader’s line was no different than the one used by Lieutenant Frank Drebbin and Captain Ed Hocken from Police Quad, who, in Naked Gun, just told Nordberg’s wife that not one person on the force would rest until Nordberg’s attackers were brought to justice.
Then they went to “grab a bite to eat.”

Even the New York Times (D)—the New York Times (D)—noticed this, and said, “Pictures of passengers enduring tougher security screening at the airport were juxtaposed against images of the president soaking in the sun and surf of this tropical getaway.” Good golly!

In his press conference, before stepping out for lunch, Mr Obama also said: “The American people should be assured that we are doing everything in our power to keep you and your family safe and secure during this busy holiday season.”

They are, in actual fact, doing “everything in their power.” And ain’t that a dirty shame?

Because Janet Napolitano was able to say immediately after the attack—that is, she was heard chanting: “The system worked…The system worked…The system worked.” She was engaged so intently, that the White House press secretary Robert Gibbs thought, at first, that this was to be the official line.

Or maybe Napolitano thought it was her duty to provide the the laugh line. Just like Lt. Drebbin did after a missile had crashed into a fireworks factory, with predicable results. “Nothing to see here. Go about your business. There is nothing to see here.”

Once Napolitano realized that reporters overheard her internal conversation, she was forced to announce, “The system did not work.”

Asked to ’splain herself, she said that what she meant, when she had been mumbling, “The system worked”, was that “Once the incident occurred, the system worked.”

Incidentally, the NY Times called this statement reversal—I am not kidding, folks—a recalibration of her original remarks. The apocalypse is surely nigh.

In recalibrating, Napolitano inadvertently leaked what must be the administration’s secret plan to thwart terrorism (this must have been what she meant when she said “once the incident occurred”): (1) install Dutch tourists on all flights (it was a Dutch man who smacked the terrorist down), and—you heard it here first!— (2) infiltrate terrorist camps and train them to be bumbling instead of efficient.

Because this “incident” was bumbling, Obama, and everybody else, has been calling this a “failed” terrorist attack.

My dear friends: it was not a failed attack. It was an attack, a successful one, just one with a low body count. It’s time to recalibrate the sentiment that “everything’s OK, all is well” simply because a lot of blood was not spilled (as it was in Ft. Hood).

If Abdulmutallab hadn’t peed on his PETN, the bodies, what would have been left of them, would have been stacked beside the runway still. (And Obama would have been forced to end his vacation early, and his golf game would have suffered.)

All is not well and the Obama administration’s system is inept. Abdulmutallab did everything he could to announce his evil intentions before the flight. He didn’t even have a passport! All Abdulmutallab needed to board the plane was his Al Qaeda membership card and a healthy dose of political correctness.

He even wore his “Terrorist” baseball cap—which security made him take off before he went through the metal detector. About the only thing Abdulmutallab didn’t do was to wear a vest of dynamite with an alarm clock attached.

After first crying, “It’s not my fault!” the administration sprang into action and instituted new, stricter rules on passenger behavior. Among these: disallowing extended toilet stays (no more Mile High club initiations for the foreseeable future), forced seating for the last hour of flights, plus no blankets or pillows in that same time.

Ah, the lovely scent of overreaction and misapplied focus. Yes, my dear readers, these actions are idiotic. Unless you believe, as the administration clearly does, that no terrorist would ever figure to set his bomb off before the last hour of a flight. Bin Laden must be fuming in his cave, “Curses! The Great Satan has taken away our ability to blow up its airplanes in the last hour of the flight! However can we restore our terroristic abilities!?”

They are still refusing to consider the one action that would greatly reduce the odds of letting a terrorist board. Because, of course, it might hurt some people’s feelings.

http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=1560
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« Reply #715 on: December 31, 2009, 02:43:42 PM »

Our 2009 Chickens and Their 2010 Roost
A quiet year laid the groundwork for a troublesome one.

By Victor Davis Hanson

In the coming year, plenty of chickens will be coming home to roost.   

Take foreign relations. In 2009, the new administration assumed that George W. Bush was largely responsible for global tensions. As a remedy, we loudly reached out to our foes and those with whom we had uneasy relationships.

But so far these leaders — like Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin — have only interpreted Barack Obama’s serial goodwill gestures as weaknesses to be exploited. They play the part of the pushy class bully, we the whiny nerd.

In the waning days of 2009, Iran announced it has no intention of dismantling its nuclear facilities and ignored the latest Obama deadline to cease. There’s no reason not to expect the theocracy to make significant strides in its nuclear program in 2010, while continuing without rebuke to beat and murder democratic dissidents in its streets.

Russia has announced plans to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons — and scoffed at our polite suggestions that it should pressure Iran to stop its nuclear development.

Venezuela brags of its own similar program to come — which could threaten all the neighboring democracies in the region.

The administration courted China on a much-heralded Asian tour. President Obama even has said he would be our first “Pacific president.”

Unfortunately, China was not impressed. It declined to follow our advice about reducing its carbon footprint and instead reminded Americans that we owe the Chinese people nearly $1 trillion. Expect much more of that hectoring in 2010 as our debt to China grows.

Consider also the threat of Islamic terrorism. In 2009, some in the Obama administration decided “War on Terror” was too provocative a label for what might be better dubbed “overseas contingency operations.” Apparently, they were thinking a kinder, gentler image would discourage terrorists.

Accordingly, the confessed architect of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was promised a civil trial in New York rather than the military tribunal normally accorded to out-of-uniform murderous terrorists. Expect a lot of soapbox speechmaking about America’s sins during his testimony in 2010.

As part of our efforts to break with the Bush antiterrorism past, President Obama also vowed he would close the facility at Guantanamo Bay by Jan. 22, 2010 — another deadline that won’t be met.

But as 2009 ended, we were reminded that radical Islamic terrorists still want to kill us for who we are, and what we represent, rather than any particular thing we do.

Maj. Nidal Hasan, nursed on radical-Islamic doctrine, murdered twelve fellow soldiers and one civilian at Ford Hood, Texas. Five would-be terrorists with U.S. citizenship were arrested in Pakistan on their way to link up with Islamist militant groups. And Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was stopped in flight from Amsterdam before he could blow up an American passenger jet.

Note that all these recent terrorists were not poor, lived in the hospitable West — and cared little that the Obama administration has been critical of the U.S.’s prior War on Terror policies.

So, while we assured the world in 2009 that we wouldn’t be overzealous in our various efforts to stop terrorists, the terrorists proved they most certainly would be in theirs to kill us.

Meanwhile, at home we operated on similar naïve assumptions. The Obama administration inherited a $500 billion deficit and expanded it threefold. Its planned mega-deficits may well grow the aggregate national debt to more than $20 trillion over the next decade

The administration’s 2009 calculations on how to service the growing red ink are based on continued cheap interest. Yet in 2010, it is likely we will see rising inflation, rising interest rates — and rising costs to the continual self-destructive borrowing.

We were given a break on energy prices in 2009. The worldwide recession sent oil down to about $50 a barrel. But America did little during the year’s reprieve to rush into production newly discovered domestic gas and oil fields, to tap existing finds in Alaska, or to license new nuclear plants.

By year’s end, oil was creeping back up to $80. If the economic upswing continues, in 2010 it may near its old high of nearly $150 a barrel. Soon we will wish we had done something concrete in 2009 rather than offering more stale rhetoric about wind and solar power.

In other words, 2009 may seem to have ended relatively quietly. But in our foreign relations, in the war against terror, in our massive borrowing, and in our energy policies, we created chickens that will come home to roost in 2010.

— Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YzFlMGZkZjYxMTU2NDkwOWFhYWQxNGQ1Njk5MDk2YTA=
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« Reply #716 on: January 01, 2010, 10:24:46 AM »

New Year's Resolutions for Washington
Ambitious Republicans should resolve to run for office next year.
By KARL ROVE

President Obama not only left Washington, D.C., for the holidays, but the lower 48 as well. So I thought I'd offer a few New Year's resolutions for him and others to come back to in the coming year.

First, to Mr. Obama's staff: The Norwegian Nobel Committee didn't want to wake the president to tell him about his prize earlier this year, but there shouldn't be any reluctance to reassure the nation after a terrorist attack. Also, why not resolve to have a few less "historic" moments? How many can one president really have, anyway? A little more grace toward his predecessor would help him, as would less TV time. He is wearing out his welcome and his speechwriters—judging by the quality of their work lately.

In 2010, Mr. Obama should work on his habit of leaving a room of people with deeply divided opinions thinking he agrees with all of them. That leads to disagreements over essential issues, like the meaning of his pledge to begin withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2011 and the nature of the new military mission there.

Finally, Mr. Obama should work on meaning what he says. He didn't last year with all those health-care deadlines and tough talk supporting the public option. Now Mr. Obama will pivot to jobs and deficit reduction. As he tries to do that, voters will wonder if it's just a ruse to save Democrats.

Vice President Joe Biden should resolve to speak publicly less. Every time he opens his mouth, the West Wing staff uses him to make the president look good by comparison.

White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers should take a lead from Santa Clause and make her list and check it twice . . . at the White House gates.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano should resolve to take a systems analysis course before she again declares that a system "worked."

The Democratic congressional leadership should resolve to come up with Plan B. After rejecting bipartisanship in 2009, they won't be able to pass bills in 2010 with only Democrats. Too many vulnerable Democrats will flake on big votes.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—who has reportedly let it be known that she is comfortable with losing scores of House seats to pass ObamaCare—might resolve to treat her pet Blue Dogs a little better. As for the Blue Dogs, why not resolve to become Republicans?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid should resolve to strive for a little less unity in his caucus and in the meantime enjoy this term in office. It's likely to be his last unless Nevada Republicans tear themselves apart next year for the privilege of running against him.

Republican congressional leaders should resolve not to sit on their laurels. They're winning the battle for public opinion on health care, cap and trade, and spending, but by next fall, it won't be enough to surf voter dissatisfaction with Mr. Obama and Democrats. Voters will want to know what Republican candidates would do.

A second Contract with America won't suffice. The GOP really won in 1994 by arming candidates with a basket of issues to pick from. Next year, candidates must be fluent in kitchen-table issues from jobs to health care to deficits to spending.

Ambitious Republicans should resolve to run next year. There will be a wave of voter support for GOP positions, but authenticity, passion and conviction matter. Voters can smell them, so bone up on the issues and say what you believe, not what someone tells you to say.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine should resolve not to blame himself for the coming political tsunami that'll hit his party next November. He should press Mr. Obama to raise lots of money to spend on close races in states where Democrats are in charge of redistricting. If not, he'll face a very ugly 2012 congressional election, too.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele had a great year in generating enthusiasm among small donors, but ends 2009 with less cash on hand than he had when he started the year. He should resolve to stop giving paid speeches and instead use his time repairing frayed relationships with major donors, whose support is critical to winning legislatures that will redraw congressional districts in 2011.

Tea Party members should resolve to resist being turned into another partisan political group. The movement's power stems from its ideas, not from any party it supports, and it has been very successful in educating Americans and arousing the country. It should let its members set their own personal course in primaries and fall elections.

As for me, I resolve to speak well of Mr. Obama more frequently, curry favor with liberals by being more critical of my fellow conservatives, and be guided by the words of Mark Twain, who said that the start of a New Year "is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual."

Mr. Rove, the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, is the author of the forthcoming book "Courage and Consequence" (Threshold Editions).

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704152804574628161441708216.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #717 on: January 08, 2010, 11:44:09 AM »

Digest · Friday, January 8, 2010

The Foundation
"Public affairs go on pretty much as usual: perpetual chicanery and rather more personal abuse than there used to be..." --John Adams

Government & Politics
If By 'Transparent' You Mean 'Secret'...


After much bribery and arm-twisting, the Senate managed just before Christmas to pass its version of ObamaCare by a 60-39 vote (amazingly, without a single GOP "aye"). Now, the bill heads for conference deliberation televised by C-SPAN, just as the cable channel offered and Barack Obama promised numerous times.

Or not.

Democrats let slip this week that there would be no typical conference committee on the competing House and Senate versions of the health bill, as "leaders" opted instead for private negotiations with "key" congressmen and senators, none of whom is Republican. Once an agreement is reached, each legislative chamber will vote again and send the unified bill to the president.

Without a conference committee, a rule requiring public access to the conference report for at least 48 hours before a vote would conveniently not apply. That means even more liberty-stealing treachery can be slipped into the bill with little notice. Funny how the "public option" doesn't mean that the public gets to know what's in the bill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) nevertheless had the gall to declare, "There has never been a more open process for any legislation in anyone who's served here's experience." In response, Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto mocked, "Has a more false or awkwardly worded statement ever come out of anyone who has served as speaker of the House's mouth?"

In spite of Democrats' best efforts at "transparency," there are many extra-special things that we actually do know about the bill. For example, on page 1,020, the Senate bill states: "It shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection." In other words, the bill creates an eternal law by prohibiting future elected Congresses from making changes to this subsection.

What's in the subsection in question? The infamous "death panel" -- the Independent Medicare Advisory Board (IMAB), whose objective will be to "reduce the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending" (read: to ration health care).

Meanwhile, the bill contains what amounts to a marriage penalty worth $2,000 or more in insurance premiums each year. The Wall Street Journal explains, "The disparity comes about in part because subsidies for purchasing health insurance under the plan from congressional Democrats are pegged to federal poverty guidelines. That has the effect of limiting subsidies for married couples with a combined income, compared to if the individuals are single."

Finally, Obama signaled this week that he's willing to break another campaign promise: The "no tax increases on the middle class" pledge. He threw his support behind the Senate's tax on higher end "Cadillac" insurance plans, something unions and House Democrats oppose.

The more the public learns about this continuing saga, the more vigorously opposed they become to "reform." No wonder Democrats want the process to remain secret.

The BIG Lies
"We will have a public, uh, process for forming this plan. It'll be televised on C-SPAN.... It will be transparent and accountable to the American people." --Barack Obama, November 2007

"That's what I will do in bringing all parties together, not negotiating behind closed doors, but bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are, because part of what we have to do is enlist the American people in this process." --Barack Obama, January 2008

"[T]hese negotiations will be on C-SPAN..." --Barack Obama, January 2008

"We're gonna do all these negotiations on C-SPAN so the American people will be able to watch these negotiations." --Barack Obama, March 2008

"All this will be done on C-SPAN in front of the public." --Barack Obama, April 2008

"I want the negotiations to be taking place on C-SPAN." --Barack Obama, May 2008

"[W]e'll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who is, who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies." --Barack Obama, August 2008

"We will work on this process publicly. It'll be on C-SPAN. It will be streaming over the Net." --Barack Obama, November 2008

Democrat 'Constitutional Scholars' at It Again
When questioned several weeks back about the constitutional authority for ObamaCare, Obama's publicist, Robert Gibbs, issued this disclaimer: "I don't believe there's a lot of -- I don't believe there's a lot of case law that would demonstrate the veracity" of questions about constitutional authority. Ah, yes, "case law." That's code for amending our Constitution by judicial diktat rather than via its prescribed method as stated in Article V.

This week, Gibbs reiterated, "I do not believe that anybody has legitimate constitutional concerns about the [health care] legislation."

Furthermore, when asked where the authority to mandate that Americans buy health insurance -- that they be forced under penalty of fine or imprisonment to engage in a particular commercial enterprise -- is located in the Constitution, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) answered, "Well, I would assume it would be in the Commerce clause of the Constitution. That's how Congress legislates all kinds of various programs."

Congress too often uses this clause to do whatever it wants to do (the legislative target might, just might, some day engage in interstate commerce, don't you know,) but this incorrect interpretation certainly doesn't make this legislation constitutional.

Quote of the Week
"America's founders intended the federal government to have limited powers and that the states have an independent sovereign place in our system of government. The Obama/Reid/Pelosi legislation to take control of the American health-care system is the most sweeping and intrusive federal program ever devised. If the federal government can do this, then it can do anything, and the limits on government power that our liberty requires will be more myth than reality." --Wall Street Journal op-ed by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Liberty University School of Law professor Kenneth Blackwell and American Civil Rights Union senior legal analyst Kenneth Klukowski
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« Reply #718 on: January 08, 2010, 11:01:01 PM »

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=25400862
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« Reply #719 on: January 11, 2010, 10:41:57 PM »

Cold wars

Brian Micklethwait (London)  Historical views • Media & Journalism • Science & Technology

The weather is cold and snowy in Britain just now - even, now, in central London - but people like Richard North are actually quite enjoying this:

It is global warming here again, and it is getting serious. It is not so much the depth, as the repeated falls. Each layer compacts and freezes which, with fresh global warming on top becomes lethally slippery.
Time was, what with the AGW crowd pretty much completely controlling the agenda, when this kind of elegant mockery would be dismissed as the ignorance of the uninitiated. But the fact is that the present wintry weather is extremely significant in this debate. True, the weather today is not the climate for the next century, but sooner or later weather does turn into climate, and the weather has, from the AGW point of view, been misbehaving for a decade. Their precious Hockey Stick said that the temperature of the globe would disappear off the top right hand corner of the page, right about now. Well it hasn't, has it?

As John Redwood recently asked Ed Miliband in the House of Commons, concerning the present very cold weather:

... which of the climate models had predicted this?
None, it quickly became clear from Mr Miliband's faltering reply, that Mr Miliband has been paying any attention to (although other sorts of models have predicted cold winters rather successfully).

But this is not just about looking out of the window and seeing if global warming is to be observed or not (as Richard North well understands). The other point here is the authority of the people upon whom people like Ed Miliband have been relying. Not only have none of Miliband's "experts" (sneer quotes entirely deliberate) been able to predict the recent succession of colder winters; it goes way beyond that. The point is: these experts assured the world, or allowed their more ignorant followers to assure the world, that these cold winters would not happen, and despite all their protestations now about how weather is not climate, well, shouldn't they have born this in mind when saying, only a few short years ago, and have been repeating ever since, that winter snow in places like Britain would be a thing of the past? Should they not have been more careful about seizing upon any bursts of warm weather, any bursts of weather of any kind, come to that, as evidence of the truth of global warming? Had they truly understood the point that they have been reduced to making now, they would have been a lot more modest in their recent, and in Britain economically disastrous, medium range predictions. See also, John Redwood's follow up posting. Redwood is now talking more sense about the world's climate than the British Met Office.

Forgive me for always banging on about that other Cold War whenever I write about Climategate, but I truly believe that these comparisons are relevant. Much the same people were locked in combat then as are now, and the same economically catastrophic policies are being argued for and against then as now, the big difference being that now it is the entire global economy that is being threatened with economic derangement, which means that the world won't now, as the deranging tendency well knows, be able to make the obvious and damning comparisons that it could make then.

Meanwhile, the AGW debate has arrived at the same position that the Cold War argument had arrived at in or around about 1970 to 1980. An informed minority of pro-economic-progress critics had won the academic argument against the pro-economic-derangement academics, and word of this victory was spreading. And a particular thing that happened then is starting to happen now, which is that even intelligent layman critics of the John Redwood (and Brian Micklethwait) variety are starting to understand the details of the argument better than even the very smartest of the pro-derangement scientists, of the sort who are still advising governments, or who are still receiving and still trying still to believe this advice. It's not that these "experts" were born stupid, nor that they are now ignorant. Nor is Ed Miliband stupid, even if, what with all the other things on his mind, I suspect him of still being fairly ignorant. The climate science "experts" still know far more mere facts about this debate than John Redwood does, or than I do. It is simply that these people have now said - and nailed their egos to - too many stupid things, too many non-facts, and there is now no sensible way out for them. It's what these "experts" still insist on saying they know, but that clearly ain't so, that is hanging them all out to dry. The science, they keep saying, still, is settled. In their dreams.

I remember when I and my fellow anti-Marxists began correcting self-declared Marxists, who suddenly found themselves as a result on the theoretical defensive, about what Karl Marx himself had actually said. Communism is fine in theory, they then said, retreating hurriedly, but it just didn't work quite so well in practice. No, said we, pressing forward some more, a theory that doesn't work "in practice" is called an untrue theory, a bad theory, and anyone who persists in following it is stupid, and by and by: evil. And so on. So it is now with AGW. Okay, I might not now be able to demolish the sinister and preposterous Michael Mann in a television studio, but give me another few months, weeks even, of reading the skeptic blogs and I surely could.

Then as now, the mainstream media were very reluctant to report what had become obvious then, and is gradually becoming obvious now. But despite there being no internet then, the obvious economic inferiority of communism was nevertheless reported and did get around, in the form of capitalist stuff galore and adverts galore for yet more capitalist stuff galore, and nothing but jokes and complaints about the communist stuff. Not even journalists could fail to observe in which direction the Berlin Wall was pointing, and which side built it. Now the word about the fraudulence of the AGW crowd is also getting out, in the form of misbehaving weather, and, despite the best efforts of most of the regular journalists, via the internet.

The next step is to destroy - or at least try to cut down to size - the various Evil Empires that have been erected upon the fraudulent foundations of the AGW argument, as Richard North also well understands.

http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/2010/01/cold_wars.html
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« Reply #720 on: January 13, 2010, 07:49:00 AM »

Brief · Monday, January 11, 2010

The Foundation
"Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve." --Benjamin Franklin

Culture
"The fact is that post-Umar Farouk, post-Richard Reid, and eight years post-9/11, this country is still flying blind when it comes to airline security. Another young male Islamic extremist tries to kill hundreds of innocent people, and the response is the same: Heightened airport security for travelers of all ages, nationalities, and religious backgrounds -- instead of increased focus on those who look, act, worship, and travel like terrorists. Even worse, this is the second major vulnerability revealed inside of a few weeks. Remember the embarrassment of the leaked 93-page TSA Standard Operating Procedures manual? Most reports focused on the fact that the document revealed how certain government or law enforcement credentials looked. Or that only 20 percent of checked bags are given a 'full open-bag search.' Or that disabled individuals' wheelchairs, casts, and orthopedic shoes are potentially exempt from explosives screening. But most frightening to me was that while the leaked document deemed that holders of passports from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Yemen, and Algeria should be subjected to additional screening, no such special attention was given to holders of passports from Saudi Arabia -- the home of 15 of the 9/11 hijackers. And now it's worth noting that the list doesn't include Pakistan or Nigeria -- Umar Farouk's home -- either. At the time of the memo's leak, Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA unit tasked with tracking Osama bin Laden, told me that the federal government 'knows without question that al-Qaeda and its allies pore over the U.S. media for operationally applicable information.' There was 'no chance' that the misstep had gone unnoticed by our enemies, he said. Nor, I suspect, will the fact that in the wake of this latest attempted act of Islamic terrorism, the United States will keep refusing to apply the most invasive screening techniques to travelers with the most in common with the 9/11 attackers." --columnist Michael Smerconish

Re: The Left
"President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- all of whom have in recent years promised unprecedented levels of transparency in government -- are flouting their own words by meeting in secret to write the final version of Obamacare. They are doing this to avoid the public meetings of a bipartisan conference committee representing the Senate and House and the multiple, on-the-record roll call votes required in both chambers on a conference committee report. The most radical expansion of central government power in American history is happening right under journalists' noses, and yet they raise not a peep of protest when the doors close, effectively barring them from doing their jobs at a critical juncture. ... It's time for a sit-down protest by journalists whose first job is to uphold the public's right to know what its government is doing. Invite readers to come join them in demanding open meetings. The last thing Reid and Pelosi want is the spectacle of the Capitol Hill Police dragging protesting journalists away from the closed doors. It's time to show some cojones, people." --The Washington Examiner


Government
"President Obama is a great admirer of the Mayo Clinic. Time and again he has extolled it as an outstanding model of health-care excellence and efficiency. ... They 'offer the highest quality care at costs well below the national norm,' he wrote. 'We need to learn from their successes and replicate those best practices across our country.' On the White House web site, you can find more than a dozen other instances of Obama's esteem. So perhaps the president will give some thought to the Mayo Clinic's recent decision to stop accepting Medicare payments at its primary care facility in Glendale, Ariz. More than 3,000 patients will have to start paying cash if they wish to continue being seen by doctors at the clinic; those unable or unwilling to do so must look for new physicians. For now, Mayo is limiting the change in policy to its Glendale facility. But it may be just a matter of time before it drops Medicare at its other facilities in Arizona, Florida, and Minnesota as well. Why would an institution renowned for providing health care of 'the best quality and the lowest cost' choose to sever its ties with the government's flagship single-payer insurance program? Because the relationship is one it can't afford. Last year, the Mayo Clinic lost $840 million on its Medicare patients. At the Glendale clinic specifically, a spokesman told Bloomberg, Medicare reimbursements covered only 50 percent of the cost of treating elderly primary-care patients. Not even the leanest, most efficient medical organization can keep doing business with a program that compels it to eat half its costs. In breaking away from Medicare, the Mayo Clinic is hardly blazing a trail. Back in 2008, the independent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission reported that 29 percent of Medicare beneficiaries -- more than 1 in 4 -- have trouble finding a primary-care doctor to treat them. A survey by the Texas Medical Association that year found that only 38 percent of that state's primary-care physicians were accepting new Medicare patients. But if you think things are bad now, just wait until Congress enacts the president's health care overhaul." --columnist Jeff Jacoby

For the Record
"For those of you who may have been off the grid over the weekend the big news was an item in a new book by Mullpal Mark Halperin and John Heilemann titled 'Game Change' in which Majority Leader Harry Reid was quoted as using inappropriate language when describing then-Senator Barack Obama. According to the reporting: 'Reid said Obama could fare well nationally as an African-American candidate because he was "light-skinned" and didn't speak with a "Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one."' Ok. The whole double standard thing was duly marinated over the weekend -- if this had been an Republican would Al Sharpton have given him/her a pass as he did to Reid? And so on. ... President Obama issued a statement forgiving Harry Reid before the ink had even dried on the pages of the book. Yet it took him three days to figure out what to say about the guy who tried to blow up that plane on Christmas Day. Second, according to the reporting, Reid made those statements to 'a group of reporters.' Whoa! Check, please! To a group of reporters? None of whom thought this was newsworthy? For whom did those reporters write, 'My Weekly Reader'? If not evidence of a double standard, then it is certainly evidence of journalistic incompetence." --political analyst Rich Galen

Faith & Family
"The secular left -- and some self-described Christians -- criticize Brit Hume, the Fox News commentator, for suggesting that the solution to Tiger Woods' problems is a relationship with Jesus Christ. Hume made his remarks on 'Fox News Sunday.' Disclosure: I also appear on Fox News. Hume said, 'My message to Tiger would be: Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.' That is a message shared for 2,000 years by those who follow Jesus of Nazareth. It apparently continues to escape the secular left that Christians feel compelled to share their faith out of gratitude for what Jesus has done for them (dying in their place on a cross and offering a new life to those who repent and receive Him as savior). In a day when some extremists employ violence to advance their religion, it is curious that many would save their criticism for a truly peace-bringing message such as the one broadcast by Brit Hume. Criticism of Hume has taken two forms. One is that it is hubris to presume the Christian faith is superior to other faiths. The other criticism is that Hume used Fox as a pulpit and if he wants to preach he should resign from the network and go door to door like a Jehovah's Witness. ... Christians like Hume are not trying to impose anything on anyone. They know the difference Jesus has made in their lives and they care enough about others to want to share His message in the hope that other lives will be similarly transformed." --columnist Cal Thomas

Opinion in Brief
"If there is any lesson in the history of ideas, it is that good intentions tell you nothing about the actual consequences. But intellectuals who generate ideas do not have to pay the consequences. Academic intellectuals are shielded by the principles of academic freedom and journalists in democratic societies are shielded by the principle of freedom of the press. Seldom do those who produce or peddle dangerous, or even fatal, ideas have to pay a price, even in a loss of credibility. ... Even political leaders have been judged by how noble their ideas sounded, rather than by how disastrous their consequences were. ... It may seem strange that so many people of great intellect have said and done so many things whose consequences ranged from counterproductive to catastrophic. Yet it is not so surprising when we consider whether anybody has ever had the range of knowledge required to make the sweeping kinds of decisions that so many intellectuals are prone to make, especially when they pay no price for being wrong. Intellectuals and their followers have often been overly impressed by the fact that intellectuals tend, on average, to have more knowledge than other individuals in their society. What they have overlooked is that intellectuals have far less knowledge than the total knowledge possessed by the millions of other people whom they disdain and whose decisions they seek to override. We have had to learn the consequences of elite preemption the hard way -- and many of us have yet to learn that lesson." --economist Thomas Sowell

The Gipper
"Since when do we in America believe that our society is made up of two diametrically opposed classes -- one rich, one poor -- both in a permanent state of conflict and neither able to get ahead except at the expense of the other? Since when do we in America accept this alien and discredited theory of social and class warfare? Since when do we in America endorse the politics of envy and division?" --Ronald Reagan

Political Futures
"A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll taken in mid-December showed that 55 percent of Americans believed the country was headed in the wrong direction. Just 47 percent approved of the job Obama was doing as president. Twenty-two percent approved of the job Congress was doing. And a whopping 35 percent have positive feelings toward the Democratic Party. And yet the public seems to like Republicans even less. Just 28 percent have positive feelings toward the GOP -- a rating lower than poll results just before the party's defeats in 2006 and 2008. You can't make as many mistakes as Republicans did and expect to be forgiven quickly. That could lead to a dilemma for voters next November. Many will be fully ready to vote Democrats out of office but will not be fully ready to vote in Republicans. Faced with an either/or choice, they will weigh whether they want to get rid of Democrats more than they want to stay away from Republicans. That dilemma could have been avoided. A slightly less disastrous end to the Republican reign might well have resulted in one or two additional GOP senators this year. And that, in turn, might have prevented some of the runaway Democratic excesses we've seen. Republicans think about that a lot these days, as Democrats overreach in ways that could burden the country for generations. All GOP lawmakers can do now is to oppose. But in their heart of hearts, they know they share some of the blame." --columnist Byron York

Insight
"Well, there's something known as American conservatism, though it does not even call itself that. It's been calling itself 'voting Republican' or 'not liking the New Deal.' But it is a very American approach to life, and it has to do with knowing that the government is not your master, that America is good, that freedom is good and must be defended, and communism is very, very bad." --National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr. (1925-2008)
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« Reply #721 on: January 24, 2010, 11:04:25 PM »

Dear Conservative Movement: Stop Ruining My Life, by Michael Brendan Dougherty

Dear Conservative Movement,

That was crazy in Massachusetts! Right? I mean, it was like two months ago that liberals were all up in our faces. They said, “NY-23! We beat that Doug Hoffman, teabaggers!” Yeah. They beat a third-party candidate. And then Ted Kennedy’s still-warm seat was just handed to us. They can console themselves with a congressional district, while we strangle the most important liberal reform since the Johnson administration.

So, yeah. We’re supposed to be happy. I know we’re all talking about the glory days of 1994, or 1984. I’m sure there is some mid-level staffer at National Review, trying to conjure the tears of Barry Goldwater on behalf of Scott Brown. But in case you’ve forgotten, even by your own standards, you’re kind of in terrible shape.

First, you’re obsessed with yourself. You try everything in the culture—The Incredibles, Wal-Mart, Crocs—and you ask: Is it conservative? This makes us look like creep socialists from the 1930s, debating endlessly about whether something is sufficiently proletariat. Weren’t we supposed to defend truth, beauty, and goodness (like St. Thomas Aquinas?) You ask us to measure Bill Watterson, Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton by one measure: conservative/not conservative.

You go so far as to encourage people to fabricate their entire identity from the Republican platform. Look at S.E. Cupp. She used to be a person! Now, under your influence, she is one of the lamer Rush Limbaugh monologues from the Clinton era. She’s a copy of a copy of Xerox of a rejected P.J. O’Rourke riff. How can you live with yourself, conservative movement?

You may not know this. But all the smartest people on the Right are basically ashamed to be associated with you. Your “success” in building a set of near-permanent institutions, think-tanks, and magazines to promote your ideals in an uncontaminated environment leaves us with two choices:

1) Sell out to the movement. That is, we may occupy ourselves by explaining that whatever the GOP is promoting—whether it be torture, pre-emptive war, Mutually Assured Destruction, or supply-side economics—is an enduring Western value. If John Boehner is doing it, we're supposed to figure out why Edmund Burke would support it.

Or:

2) Sell out the movement. That is, pitch our articles to liberal audiences. Trash the movement (like I’m doing), and trade our actual conservative convictions for the ephemeral respect of our peers.

If one of us tries to walk a fine line between these two, we’ll be accused of either disloyalty by the hacks or of hackery by the principled and aloof. One way merits a secure gig in the movement's intellectual ghetto. The other may win a few of us a higher status but a more insecure job at a respected outlet.

This situation makes actual arguments difficult, since everyone assumes we are simply enacting long-term branding strategies, rather than stating our views honestly. You’ve made it impossible for us to have a conversation.

Because you’ve made yourself a prostitute for the GOP, a cynical and corrupt organization since Reconstruction, all of your young geniuses are tainted. People don’t respect their ideas, because they can’t assume they are genuinely held, rather than cynical ploys to keep Joe Palinsupporter in line.

And so, young conservatives hate themselves. They live in fear that if they do state their actual views, they’ll be forbidden from any meaningful work in the future outside the movement.

The reason Ross Douthat won’t share his views on gay marriage in detail is simple. He knows gay marriage opponents will be portrayed as the Bull Connors of the near-future. And he wants to keep writing film criticism and noodling theology for educated readers.

How many times did William F. Buckley have his tepid, once-moderate sounding defense of segregation quoted to him? A million times. By liberals, and paleo-conservative racists both. But Buckley was indestructible. Douthat and the rest of us aren’t. We know that for the foreseeable future, liberals have the whip-hand in forming the “prevailing structure of taboos.”

Which brings me to the last point. You’re a failure, and your ambitions are so limited, it makes me cold.

The prelapsarian conservatives of the 30s opposed foreign adventurism and naive Wilsonian internationalism. They wanted to shrink the size of the federal government. In over 70 years, despite massive public spasms of disgust with the federal government, conservatives have only made it larger and stupider.

Let's list how! Eisenhower’s Cold War mobilization, Nixon’s wage and price controls and the EPA, Reagan’s massive expansion of military spending, financed by tax cuts that were sold to the public as “revenue generating.” The process culminated in the hilariously fascist sounding, grant-writing chop shop known as the Department of Homeland Security. So: failure.

Don’t get me started on foreign policy. There we were always at odds. I was a kind of isolationist. Your two unwinnable wars did little to dissuade me on that point.

But then this free market stuff. Live within your means. Fend for yourself. Be responsible. I believed that. But the people you elected didn’t. Bankers, GE, Archers Daniels Midland, military contractors, really all sorts of speculators—they deserved wealth transfers, cheap credit, debt cancellation. These are your welfare queens, conservative movement. Do you know how bad this makes us look, after having attacked poor people and minorities as free-riders?

Anyway, perhaps most grandly, you’ve tried to preserve Christian civilization, in decline since the 60s, or the 20s, or the French Revolution, or since William of Ockham, if you ask Richard Weaver.

Though a minority of us still read and adhere to some hearty theology, Dutch Calvinism, Tractarianism or Latin-Mass Catholicism, you’ve abandoned your charges and America to Jesus-is-my-Boyfriend style mega-churches. If the choice is between listening to the wisdom of Kirk Cameron and singing Jars of Clay songs and pledging our virginity versus going to college, reading Kant and fornicating? I can tell you, categorically, we’ll be going at it like heathens and Democrats.

But perversely, you seem to thrive on this sort of failure. You’ve always accused liberals of creating social ills with government programs, immediately followed by proposing government programs for said social ills. The same is true of you. The more anxiety we have about family breakdown, the more we donate to the Heritage Foundation. Because the cure for deracinated social atomism is obviously a white paper.

The only thing you’re really good at is preserving the conservative movement. And that project bored me to tears.

I will admit it. There was something I found seductive about you. If someone wants to shout "Abortion is disgusting" (it is) or "Taxes suck" (they do) or "Let's defend America First!" (always), they can find a place to do it in the conservative movement. If they are presentable enough to date women, within two years or so, they'll be writing for conservative magazines, appearing on conservative podcasts, maybe even hanging out with elected officials.

It begins with one unshakable intellectual conviction in college, like "Entrepreneurs are awesome!" (a little Randian for me), or "modernity is chaos"—and suddenly someone is a part of a movement staffed with other bright, young, idealistic conservatives who think, drink and talk like they do. Privately, they even complain about you, like I do.

But it doesn’t take long for the nausea to set in. You start teaching us to embrace an inferiority complex, one that makes us feel like rebels, while making us more dependent your largesse.

You've tried to sweet-talk me—to convince me that a Kenyan socialist is sleeping in the same bedroom once occupied by Saint Ronnie, the divorced patron saint of union-busting.

But, we’re done. I tried to “improve you,” from my associate editor perch at a dissenting conservative magazine. Now? I wish you would go away. You’re an obstacle, taking every civic impulse of your audience and turning it into rotten populism. You turn every bit of goodwill and honest anxiety into a sleazy direct-mail fundraiser.

Some of us want to actually conserve what is good about this country. Some of us want to write fiction that has nothing to do with “conservatism,” as you call it. Some of us just can’t swallow our embarrassment anymore.

Regards,

Michael

P.S. Scott Brown is what you used to call a “squish.” So, you’re settling too.



Michael Brendan Dougherty is (still) a contributing editor to The American Conservative. As of this writing S.E. Cupp was one of his Facebook friends.

http://www.theawl.com/2010/01/dear-conservative-movement-stop-ruining-my-life-by-michael-brendan-dougherty
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« Reply #722 on: February 08, 2010, 07:08:12 AM »

Unsustainable the New Normal

By Mark Steyn

 

At the National Prayer Breakfast, Barack Obama singled out for praise Navy Corpsman Christian Bouchard. Or, as the president called him, "Corpseman Bouchard." Twice.



Hey, not a big deal. Throughout his life, the commander in chief has had little contact with the military, and less interest. And, when you give as many speeches as this guy does, there's no time to rehearse or read through: You just gotta fire up the prompter and wing it. But it's revealing that nobody around him in the so-called smartest administration of all time thought to spell it out phonetically for him when the speech got typed up and loaded into the machine. Which suggests that either his minders don't know that he doesn't know that kinda stuff, or they don't know it, either. To put it in Rumsfeldian terms, they don't know what they don't know.



Which is embarrassingly true. Hence, the awful flop speeches, from the Copenhagen Olympics to the Berlin Wall anniversary video to the Martha Coakley rally. The palpable whiff given off by the White House inner circle is that they're the last people on the planet still besotted by Barack Obama, and that they're having such a cool time starring in their own reality-show remake of "The West Wing" they can only conceive of the public – and, indeed, the world – as crowd-scene extras in "The Barack Obama Show." They expect you to cheer and wave flags when the floor manager tells you to, but the notion that, in return, he should be able to persuade you of the merits of his policies seems entirely to have eluded them.



But, since Obama's mispronunciation is a pithier summation of the State of the Union than any of the dreary 90-minute sludge he paid his speechwriters for, let us consider it: Is America a Corpseman walking?



Well, we're getting there. National Review's Jim Geraghty sums up Obama's America thus: "Unsustainable is the new normal." Indeed. The other day, Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, described current deficits as "unsustainable." So let's make them even more so. The president tells us, with a straight face, that his grossly irresponsible profligate wastrel of a predecessor took the federal budget on an eight-year joyride, so the only way his sober, fiscally prudent successor can get things under control is to grab the throttle and crank it up to what Mel Brooks in "Spaceballs" (which seems the appropriate comparison) called "Ludicrous Speed."\



Obama's spending proposes to take the average Bush deficit for the years 2001-08, and double it, all the way to 2020. To get out of the Bush hole, we need to dig a hole twice as deep for one-and-a-half times as long. And that's according to the official projections of his Economics Czar, Ms. Rose Colored-Glasses. By 2015, the actual hole may be so deep that even if you toss every Obama speech down it on double-spaced paper you still won't be able to fill it up. In the spendthrift Bush days, federal spending as a proportion of GDP averaged 19.6 percent. Obama proposes to crank it up to 25 percent as a permanent feature of life.



But, if they're "unsustainable," what happens when they can no longer be sustained? A failure of bond auctions? A downgraded government debt rating? Reduced GDP growth? Total societal collapse? Mad Max on the New Jersey Turnpike?



Testifying to the House Budget Committee, Director Elmendorf attempted to pull back from the wilder shores of "unsustainable": "I think most observers expect that the government will act, that the unsustainability will be resolved through action, not through witnessing some collapse down the road," he said. "If literally nothing is done, then eventually something very, very bad happens. But I think the widespread view is that you and your colleagues will take action."



Dream on, you kinky fantasist. The one thing that can be guaranteed is that a political class led by Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, a handful of reach-across-the-aisle Republican accomodationists and an economically illiterate narcissist in the Oval Office is never going to rein in unsustainable spending in any meaningful sense. That leaves Director Elmendorf's alternative scenario. What was it again? Oh, yeah:



"Some collapse down the road."



Speaking of roads, I see that, according to USA Today, when the economic downturn began the U.S. Department of Transportation had just one employee making over $170,000. A year and a half later, it has 1,690.



Happy days are here again!



Did you get your pay raise this year? What's that, you don't work for the government? Yes, you do, one way or another. Good luck relying on Obama, Pelosi, Frank and the other Emirs of Kleptocristan "taking action" to "resolve" that. In the past month, the cost of insuring Greece's sovereign debt against default has doubled. Spain and Portugal are headed the same way. When you binge-spend at the Greek level in a democratic state, there aren't many easy roads back. The government has introduced an austerity package to rein in spending. In response, Greek tax collectors have walked off the job.



Read that again slowly: To protest government cuts, striking tax collectors are refusing to collect taxes. In a sane world, this would be an hilarious TV comedy sketch. But most of the Western world is no longer sane. It's tough enough to persuade the town drunk to sober up, but when everyone's face down in the moonshine, maybe it's best just to head for the hills. But where to flee? America is choosing to embrace Greece's future when even the Greeks have figured out you can't make it add up. Consider the opening paragraph of Martin Crutsinger, "AP Economics Writer":



"WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama sent Congress a $3.83 trillion budget on Monday that would pour more money into the fight against high unemployment, boost taxes on the wealthy and freeze spending for a wide swath of government programs."



What language is that written in? How can a $3.83 trillion budget "freeze spending"? And where's the president getting all this money to "pour" into his "fight" against high unemployment? Would it perchance be from the same small businesses that might be hiring new workers if the president didn't need so much money to "pour" away? Heigh-ho. Maybe we can all be striking tax collectors. It seems a comfortable life. If unsustainable is the new normal, it should also be the new national anthem. Take it away, Natalie Cole:



"Unsustainable

That's what you are

Unsustainable

Though near or far[/

Like a ton of debt you've dropped on us

How the thought of you has flopped on us

Never before Has someone spent more … ."

It's not the "debt" or the "deficit," it's the spending. And the only way to reduce that is with fewer government agencies, fewer government programs, fewer government employees, lower government salaries.

Instead, all four are rocketing up: We are incentivizing unsustainability, and, when it comes to "some collapse down the road," you'll be surprised how short that road is.
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« Reply #723 on: February 08, 2010, 09:43:31 AM »

"The palpable whiff given off by the White House inner circle is that they're the last people on the planet still besotted by Barack Obama"

Maybe.  But he still gets loads of cover from the MSM.

As pointed out on I think by Hannity about this corpseman stuff, "can anyone imagine if W had made the same mispronounciation?

The endless heckles, the gaffaws, the late night jokes, the parodies parading out of Hollywood.

I didn't notice anyone other than Fox pick up on this.  In fact it it weren't for Fox I doubt anyone other than the few at the speech who would even know our genius professor, the new messiah could not pronounce the word.
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« Reply #724 on: February 11, 2010, 11:38:28 AM »

Obama's Owned — You Can Bank on It
By Ann Coulter

Don't miss the best conservative columnists on The Patriot's opinion page -- the right opinion with NO advertising or annoying pop-ups.


Wall Street gambled, taxpayers foot the billThe New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are bristling with the news that Republicans have decided now is the time to suck up to Wall Street. As the saying goes, there is no truer friend than a Wall Street arbitrageur -- they are the salt-of-the-earth, the most loyal men who ever drew a breath!

What are Republicans thinking? While not every money-manipulator on Wall Street deserves to be treated like a heroin dealer, lots do. Could the Republicans be a little more discriminating in picking up the Democrats' old friends?

The Democrats are acting as if they want to punish everyone in the financial services industry, including the innocent, while the Republicans seem to want to protect everyone on Wall Street, including the guilty.

How about just punishing the guilty? The Democrats can't do that because the list of Wall Street's biggest offenders may turn out to be eerily similar to the list of Obama's biggest campaign contributors.

Employees from Goldman Sachs gave more to the Obama campaign than any other organization except the University of California -- with Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase quickly following in sixth and seventh place.

Whatever Obama has in mind for punishing the financial industry, I promise you, he won't punish his friends. After JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon took a $17 million bonus this week, and Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein got a $9 million bonus, Obama said he didn't begrudge them their bonuses, saying, "I know both those guys."

Obama seems to be hoping that his vague bluster about "obscene profits" will lure Republicans into embracing Wall Street welfare recipients -- thereby losing Americans forever.

Never bet against Republicans being outwitted.

Risk-taking and speculation are good. But the Democrats' crony capitalism is the worst of both worlds: risk-taking without any real risk for the risk-takers. It's like gambling with your rich daddy's money, except we're the rich daddy.

Obama, like the rest of his party, is an ideologue who doesn't understand or particularly like the free market. He fundamentally believes in the efficacy of the welfare state, whether the beneficiary is a layabout single mother or a rich Wall Street banker.

As Peter Schweizer describes in his magnificent book "Architects of Ruin," the Democrats have been bailing out investment houses from their bad bets since the Clinton administration. The bankers got all the profits when their risky bonds were paying -- and then gave massive donations to their Democratic benefactors. But once the bets went bad, it was the taxpayers' problem.

Heavily leveraged securities packages put together by Goldman Sachs and others were the HIV virus that killed the American economy. And the reason investment firms piled leverage on leverage on leverage was that they knew the government would bail them out if their house of cards collapsed.

On one hand, Goldman put together toxic securities packages for their clients, but on the other hand, Goldman knew the mortgage securities being sold on the market were crap, so they also took out lots of insurance with AIG on crappy products being traded on the market.

It would be as if, anticipating a major earthquake, Goldman bought massive insurance policies on every house on the San Andreas fault line.

There's nothing wrong with taking risks and making bets, provided that if you bet wrong or if you bankrupt your betting partner with wild gambles: You lose.

The problem was that Goldman and AIG, among many others, knew they wouldn't lose. Twenty years of Democratic bailouts have led them to understand that when their bets go bad, the taxpayer will save them.

Which is exactly what happened.

When the earthquake hit toxic securities, the insurer, AIG, couldn't pay up. Normally, that would result in the insurer going bankrupt, an orderly proceeding in bankruptcy court to distribute AIG's assets, and Goldman recovering only a portion of the insurance payout on the crappy products.

But instead of AIG going bankrupt and Goldman taking a hit, the U.S. taxpayer made good on AIG's securities insurance. In a deal arranged by former Goldman CEO and current Obama BFF, Hank Paulson, Goldman ended up being paid -- by you -- an astonishing 100 cents on the dollar.

So Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein's boast that his firm didn't want TARP money and has paid it all back is completely irrelevant. Goldman took billions of dollars -- that's millions with a "b" -- of the AIG bailout money. How about paying that back?

It took The New York Times a year and a half to figure out Goldman's jackpot winnings from the AIG bailout -- $12.9 billion, according to the Times -- so the first thing Republicans ought to do is hold hearings to determine who benefited from the Democrats' crony capitalism, and not take their bluster as fact.

The next step should be to get all the bailout money back.

When the government steps in to save the very financial institutions that poisoned the nation's financial system with contaminated securities and derivatives -- all while the bankers get to keep the fees and bonuses on their bad bets -- we are not talking about a free market.

We're talking about regular Americans being forced to foot the bill for the gambling habits of left-wing multimillionaires by buying the malefactors more chips every time they lose.

Republicans should defend any investment houses that never benefited from a government bailout. But anyone who took huge gambles, lost and got bailed out with taxpayer money should be tortured and then shot, miraculously brought back to life, tortured some more, then shot a few more times.

COPYRIGHT 2010 ANN COULTER
DISTRIBUTED BY UNIVERSAL UCLICK
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« Reply #725 on: February 11, 2010, 06:35:24 PM »

http://reason.com/archives/2010/02/11/hurtling-down-the-road-to-serf
Reason Magazine


Hurtling Down the Road to Serfdom

Do we want a culture of takers or makers?

John Stossel | February 11, 2010

Government is taking us a long way down the Road to Serfdom. That doesn't just mean that more of us must work for the government. It means that we are changing from independent, self-responsible people into a submissive flock. The welfare state kills the creative spirit.

F.A. Hayek, an Austrian economist living in Britain, wrote The Road to Serfdom in 1944 as a warning that central economic planning would extinguish freedom. The book was a hit. Reader's Digest produced a condensed version that sold 5 million copies.

Hayek meant that governments can't plan economies without planning people's lives. After all, an economy is just individuals engaging in exchanges. The scientific-sounding language of President Obama's economic planning hides the fact that people must shelve their own plans in favor of government's single plan.

At the beginning of The Road to Serfdom, Hayek acknowledges that mere material wealth is not all that's at stake when the government controls our lives: "The most important change ... is a psychological change, an alteration in the character of the people."

This shouldn't be controversial. If government relieves us of the responsibility of living by bailing us out, character will atrophy. The welfare state, however good its intentions of creating material equality, can't help but make us dependent. That changes the psychology of society.

 I'll explore this tonight on my Fox Business show, 8 p.m. Eastern (rebroadcast Friday at 10 p.m.).

According to the Tax Foundation, 60 percent of the population now gets more in government benefits than it pays in taxes. What does it say about a society in which more than half the people live at the expense of the rest? Worse, the dependent class is growing. The 60 percent will soon be 70 percent.

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin seems to understand the threat: He worries that "more people have a stake in the welfare state than in free enterprise. This is a road that Hayek perfectly described as 'the road to serfdom.'" (Tonight I will ask Ryan why, if he understands this, he voted for TARP and the auto bailouts.)

Kurt Vonnegut understood the threat of government-imposed equality. His short story "Harrison Bergeron" portrays a future in which no one is permitted to have any physical or intellectual advantage over anyone else. A government Handicapper General weighs down the strong and agile, masks the faces of the beautiful, and distracts the smart.

So far, the Handicapper General is just fantasy. But Vice President Joe Biden did shout at the Democratic National Convention: "Everyone is your equal, and everyone is equal to you." If he meant that we're all equal in rights and before the law, fine. If he meant government shouldn't put barriers in the way of opportunity, great. But statists like Biden usually have more in mind: They want government to make results more equal.

Two actual examples of the lunacy:

When colleges innovated by having students use Kindle e-book readers instead of expensive textbooks, the Justice Department sued them, complaining that the Kindle discriminates against blind students. The department also is suing the Massachusetts prison system because it makes prospective prison guards take a physical test. Since women don't do as well as men on that test, Justice claims the test discriminates against women.

Arthur Brooks, who heads the American Enterprise Institute, says statism is becoming the "central organizing power in our economy," and that the battle between free enterprise and statism will shape our futures. He remains optimistic because a recent poll showed that 70 percent of Americans want free enterprise. I'm less sanguine. In that same poll, 54 percent of Americans said government should exert more control over the economy. Brooks discounts that, claiming people forget their "core values" during crises.

But he asks the right question: Do we want a culture of takers or makers? Ryan and Brooks say most people want "the American idea": freedom and self-responsibility. I fear they want a Mommy State to take care of them. What do you think?

The choice is crucial. If we continue down the Road to Serfdom, our destination will be a poorer society, high unemployment, stagnation, and complacency.

John Stossel is host of Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at johnstossel.com.
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Rarick
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« Reply #726 on: February 12, 2010, 07:22:10 AM »

http://reason.com/archives/2010/02/11/hurtling-down-the-road-to-serf
Reason Magazine


Hurtling Down the Road to Serfdom

Do we want a culture of takers or makers?

John Stossel | February 11, 2010

Government is taking us a long way down the Road to Serfdom. That doesn't just mean that more of us must work for the government. It means that we are changing from independent, self-responsible people into a submissive flock. The welfare state kills the creative spirit.

F.A. Hayek, an Austrian economist living in Britain, wrote The Road to Serfdom in 1944 as a warning that central economic planning would extinguish freedom. The book was a hit. Reader's Digest produced a condensed version that sold 5 million copies.

Hayek meant that governments can't plan economies without planning people's lives. After all, an economy is just individuals engaging in exchanges. The scientific-sounding language of President Obama's economic planning hides the fact that people must shelve their own plans in favor of government's single plan.

At the beginning of The Road to Serfdom, Hayek acknowledges that mere material wealth is not all that's at stake when the government controls our lives: "The most important change ... is a psychological change, an alteration in the character of the people."

This shouldn't be controversial. If government relieves us of the responsibility of living by bailing us out, character will atrophy. The welfare state, however good its intentions of creating material equality, can't help but make us dependent. That changes the psychology of society.

 I'll explore this tonight on my Fox Business show, 8 p.m. Eastern (rebroadcast Friday at 10 p.m.).

According to the Tax Foundation, 60 percent of the population now gets more in government benefits than it pays in taxes. What does it say about a society in which more than half the people live at the expense of the rest? Worse, the dependent class is growing. The 60 percent will soon be 70 percent.

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin seems to understand the threat: He worries that "more people have a stake in the welfare state than in free enterprise. This is a road that Hayek perfectly described as 'the road to serfdom.'" (Tonight I will ask Ryan why, if he understands this, he voted for TARP and the auto bailouts.)

Kurt Vonnegut understood the threat of government-imposed equality. His short story "Harrison Bergeron" portrays a future in which no one is permitted to have any physical or intellectual advantage over anyone else. A government Handicapper General weighs down the strong and agile, masks the faces of the beautiful, and distracts the smart.

So far, the Handicapper General is just fantasy. But Vice President Joe Biden did shout at the Democratic National Convention: "Everyone is your equal, and everyone is equal to you." If he meant that we're all equal in rights and before the law, fine. If he meant government shouldn't put barriers in the way of opportunity, great. But statists like Biden usually have more in mind: They want government to make results more equal.

You betcha, there will be a critical point where the producers "opt out" and instead of working, just show up for work like in soviet russia.  Then we will not be able to compete and it will take something like a "criminal revolutionary underground" to break things loose again. 
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« Reply #727 on: February 12, 2010, 10:52:01 AM »

Dear Mr. President: Why We Are Not Hiring

By C. Edmund Wright
Mr. President, did I really hear you say that businesses aren't hiring because they can't get bank loans? Are you kidding me?

Please indulge me for a moment, and we can get to the actual reasons.

But first, I must add that every time you step up to the microphone -- for example, your impromptu presser on Tuesday -- the painful decision to shut down my business of eighteen years is validated by your words. And I should thank you for that.

For the record, that decision was formalized on November 5, 2008. Check your calendar.

Some fifteen months later, I can say that it was the best business decision I have ever made. With your hands on the levers of the government and the economy, I wanted to have as little at risk as possible.

Don't get me wrong -- it was a torturous and gut-wrenching decision that went against every fiber of my being. I had to betray deeply rooted entrepreneurial instincts and set some more mundane material goals. And while it might seem extreme, I think my mindset speaks to the real reason businesses are not hiring now.

So what is that mindset?

It's not complicated. I am neither a swooning David Brooks enamored of your pant crease nor a silver-spoon trust-fund baby like Christopher Buckley. I've simply had some twenty-five entrepreneurial ventures -- with a good number of strikeouts to be honest -- and real-world experience told me exactly who you are and exactly what the business climate under your rule would be like.

And I was exactly right.

Consider: Eighteen years ago, I was statistically in poverty, but I had dreams and plans. At the time, Reaganomics still set the economic tone, and a fired-up Newt Gingrich was forcing conservatism on the Clinton White House. There were actually politicians who praised business-owners and profits.

Against that backdrop, I've beaten some long odds and had a pretty good run. It's been extremely hard, and the move up was not a straight line. There were times I wanted to quit. Without a doubt, though, I am better off than I was eighteen years ago, before I started under Bush 41 -- and ten years ago, when Bush 43 was elected -- and six years ago, when he was reelected. And so are all of the folks who have been on this ride with me.

Having said that, my business is not better off than it was just three years ago.

That's when decades of liberal energy policy came home to roost, and four-dollar gas took several hundred thousand from my bottom line faster than I could possibly react. That same gas price slammed my customers -- and my customers' customers -- forcing our company into a vice of rapidly rising costs and rapidly dropping revenues. Oh, and for fun, there were also slower payments from our customers. Thank you, environmental wackos!

We were not alone.

The fuel price domino nudged the subprime mortgage domino -- itself an outgrowth of liberal lending policies -- and we have all seen the unraveling of a financial system underpinned by real estate values. Those valuations were the basis for any number of derivatives and credit default swaps and so on. Putting the Wall Street talk aside, the net result to business of this massive wealth-destruction is that employees are more desperate for money, and customers are less willing to buy and slower to pay when they do.

This is the Main Street carnage of "unfettered government" on small business and families. It is the destructive fruit of environmental leftists, the Fannie-Freddie cronies in government, and other corrupt liberals and crony capitalists in positions of unmerited influence.

It crushes the bank account and the spirit of the entrepreneur -- and it is all caused by government incompetence from beltway bureaucrats with zero business experience...you know, like you and practically your entire administration.

And sadly, this is also the result of many Republicans giving in to the Democrat liberals all too often. One of the worst, ironically, is John McCain, who was always "reaching across the aisle" to vote against tax cuts and vote for energy restrictions and so on.

I'll admit that the prospect of running a small business under a McCain administration with Reid and Pelosi running Congress was not all that enticing, either. But it was your election that inspired me to pull the plug. After all, I saw how your Illinois buddies refused to let Republic Window even close down on their own terms, so I figured I better get out before your government and some union figured out a way to prevent me from quitting a business that I dreamed up, financed, created, and built from scratch.

You weren't lying when you told that Chicago public radio station in 2001 that the Constitution constrained your vision for government, were you?

Things were getting bad enough with Bush and other Republicans unable or unwilling to fight the encroaching liberal governmental infestation of our lives, but the thought of having a president who believes in that infection -- who would champion it and push it -- just scared the hell out of me. It beat the entrepreneurial spirit out of me, too.

So I decided to sit the risk-reward world of business ownership out for a while. Like many, we are no longer willing to take all of the financial and legal risks and aggravation of owning and running a business...not with even higher taxes, more regulation, more litigation, and more emboldened bureaucrats on the horizon. People who have a dream to build a better life by taking risks and starting a business instinctively know when those principles are under attack.

And with you, Sir, in the White House, these principles are indeed under attack. Why this surprises anyone is a mystery to me. Jeremiah Wright hates these principles. So did Saul Alinsky. So do Van Jones and Bill Ayers and Andy Stern. I don't know any "structural feminists," but I bet they hate them too. And so do you. This is part of the America that you promised to "fundamentally transform."

I knew what that meant. I could sense the bulls-eye on my back. This is who you are.

And since you clearly do not understand business at all, let me give you a short primer:

Any business idea, from the first day it is hatched, is nothing more than a series of cost-benefit analyses that the idea-holder either acts on or passes on. Sometimes the first decision is to forget the idea. Sometimes the first decision is to move ahead and invest some cash.

Perhaps a few million cost-benefit analyses later, you might have Microsoft or Home Depot or ESPN. Or you might have Bill's Plumbing or Johnson's Quality Homes or a café or an electrical wholesaler, and so on. And those businesses still operate on a constant stream of risk-reward decisions. In the business world, there is no neutral gear.

(There: Now you have more useful information than Jamie Gorelick or Franklin Raines got from Harvard.)

And when we have a president and ruling class who are clueless about and hostile towards business, the risk-reward equation shifts dramatically against further investment of time, talent, and capital. And that's where we are today.

I never really doubted my decision. Yet when I see you hold job summits featuring environmentalists and unions, lawyers, and poverty pimps, I am even more thrilled to be out of the game. When I hear you fantasize that the only reason businesses won't hire is that they can't get a loan, my decision is further validated. And when you say that small business is clamoring for you to pass health care, I know that you have taken total leave of your senses.

So again, thank you, Mr. President. Even without your teleprompter, you are convincing. You have convinced me I made the right decision and convinced others not to hire. I only hope and pray that the midterms of 2010 might reverse my decision. That is what every fiber of my being is hoping for.

Until then, don't blame George Bush and the banks. Feel free to blame me -- and all the other "Atlas Shrugged" entrepreneurs -- who are now on the sidelines, hoping Storm Obama will pass.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/dear_mr_president_why_we_are_n.html at February 12, 2010 - 10:50:51 AM CST
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #728 on: February 19, 2010, 10:38:28 AM »

Woof Freki:

I apologize, but after reflection (and perhaps fired up a bit by watching Glenn Beck discuss this very point last night) I have decided to delete the post of the Austin plane killer.  But for what he did, no one would have bothered to finish reading what he wrote. 

Marc

PS: Left unmentioned is that, according to a TV report yesterday, that he set fire to his ex-wife's house with her and their child still inside it and that they were saved by the intervention of neighbors.

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Rarick
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« Reply #729 on: February 19, 2010, 07:29:01 PM »

I missed Glenn Beck?   I thought he expressed what I have heard a lot of people expressing, but they are not at "the wall" yet.
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« Reply #730 on: February 21, 2010, 11:22:53 AM »

The Fraud of Progressive Nobility

By Chuck Rogér
Barack Obama has admitted the need to break his most celebrated campaign promise. Suddenly he is "agnostic" on increasing taxes for people earning less than $250,000. Nine years ago, as an Illinois State Senator, Obama criticized the Supreme Court for not removing a roadblock that forbids Washington to redistribute income. That roadblock is the United States Constitution.

Washington routinely redistributes income within American society. When Joe Taxpayer receives government benefits that exceed what he pays in taxes, the effect is what the Heritage Foundation calls a "distributional deficit." Joe's higher-earning fellow taxpayers must fill that deficit. "Each year, government is involved in a large-scale transfer of resources between different social groups." The very idea that human nature or any natural law would be allowed to control humans or nature nauseates progressives. For example, allowing markets to be free and the weather to do its thing are immoral. So then, government must make people and science play fairly. Steeply graduated taxation for financing that government constitutes noble robbery.

George Mason University economics professor Don Boudreaux, who is also a Café Hayek blogger, explains his acid test for determining the genuineness of someone's nobility.

Desire to help others is noble. It's noble, though, not in and of itself. It's noble only if it's likely to lead to helping others who truly need help. A desire to help others that prompts well-meaning people to address nonexistent problems isn't so much noble as it is misguided and, possibly, dangerous.

Misguided nobility tends to focus people on intent, not results. Forty years of Great Society-inspired welfarism have brought a 70 percent illegitimate birthrate among Blacks-a 218 percent explosion since the LBJ years. The non-Hispanic white illegitimacy rate hovers below 12 percent. Amid a finger-pointing blame fest, "minority advocates" still supply the crutches on which minorities lean. For instance, affirmative action strengthens the haplessness in "protected classes" that motivated liberals to "protect" those classes in the first place.

Interestingly, Johns Hopkins and Syracuse Universities researchers found that immigrant black children attend college at a 25 percent higher rate, and upper echelon schools at a four times higher rate, than multigenerational African-American children. Princeton University and University of Pennsylvania sociologists determined that immigrants comprise 27 percent of Blacks at "selective" colleges and a whopping 41 percent at Ivy League institutions despite immigrants comprising only 13 percent of early college-aged Blacks in general. A black person had to be born into the victimhood peddled by the American progressive in order to fall for that victimhood.

In order to be progressive, one must keep up the appearance of helping the "less fortunate," pay no attention to the effects of said help, and soak up the feel-good one gets when the world praises the wonderfulness of one's intentions.

Professor Boudreaux points out the absurdity of a Macy's department store poster campaign which implies that 38 million Americans routinely go hungry.

...because feeding oneself and one's family is perhaps the most fundamental of all human impulses, if so many Americans were truly "at risk of hunger" on a regular basis, then it is nearly impossible to explain why poor Americans are so richly endowed with goods and services far less necessary to survival than food.

The Heritage Foundation's Ralph Rector observed that the "typical American categorized as ‘poor' by the government" owns a refrigerator, stove, washing machine, home air conditioning, microwave, color TV, VCR, stereo, at least one car, and 30 percent of the time, two cars.

Evidently then, self-anointed noble watchdogs want us to believe that starving poor people, in the throes of fighting off a survival impulse transmitted by their stomachs to their brains, leave air-conditioned homes and drive air-conditioned cars to appliance stores where they buy microwave ovens to reheat nonexistent food that they didn't buy because they couldn't afford it. Such rationale passes for clear thought among progressives who push taxpayer funding for feel-good programs based on flawed science and economics.

If allowed to remain off-leash, where will noble progressives take America?

The Tax Foundation found that President Obama's policies would massively increase income redistribution. Already, 60 percent of Americans are "net ‘receivers' of federal government benefits." Most families earning no more than $86,000 currently pay less federal tax than the dollar-value of government benefits that they collect. The new threshold will grow to $109,000 if Obama gets his way on healthcare, carbon "cap-and-trade," and new taxes on the wealthy. The President's plans would annually take almost $1 trillion from the top-earning 30 percent of families and hand it to the bottom 70 percent. Essentially, three of ten families will pay all federal bills for the remaining seven.

Even before considering Obama's hefty redistributionism, every federal tax dollar paid by America's lowest earners garners for those earners $10.44 in federal benefits. The President's 2012 reelection campaign slogan will be, "Open a progressive savings account. Hold out your hand and I'll double your 1,000 percent interest rate."

Another Tax Foundation study puts a frightening perspective on Obama's grotesque spending. Eliminating the federal deficit could require a 95.2 percent tax rate on the wealthiest Americans. Beatle George Harrison captured his government's arrogance back when he was enduring confiscatory taxation. Harrison wrote, "Should five percent appear too small, be thankful I don't take it all." One wonders who it is that the noble progressives think will create the jobs they keep promising when $952 of every $1,000 earned by small business owners is used to pay unemployment compensation for people who have no job and no intention of getting one as long as the noble progressives have their backs.

Reality-blind progressives like Barack Obama and the left ideologues who inhabit Capital Hill will spend and borrow and tax and spend even as prosperity evaporates. They will "spread the wealth" so thinly that only the super wealthy will have any wealth left to confiscate for spreading. Progressives' tax-the-rich agenda could have the insidious effect of encouraging the wealthy to work less in order to avoid being nobly robbed of more of their wealth. If Barack Obama somehow rams through his prosperity-killing agenda, then John Galt will emerge from the mountains of Colorado to pluck the achievers from society once again.

A physicist and former high tech executive, Chuck Rogér was a columnist for a Phoenix newspaper and now blogs at chuckroger.com. Email: swampcactus@chuckroger.com.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/the_fraud_of_progressive_nobil.html at February 21, 2010 - 11:21:29 AM CST
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« Reply #731 on: February 22, 2010, 08:32:00 AM »



Why the West is going down the drain

By Mark Steyn


News from around the world:

In Britain, it is traditional on Shrove Tuesday to hold pancake races, in which contestants run while flipping a pancake in a frying pan. The appeal of the event depends on the potential pitfalls in attempting simultaneous rapid forward propulsion and pancake tossing. But, in St. Albans, England, competitors were informed by Health & Safety officials that they were "banned from running due to fears they would slip over in the rain." Watching a man walk up the main street with a skillet is not the most riveting event, even in St. Albans. In the heat of the white-knuckle thrills, team captain David Emery momentarily forgot the new rules. "I have been disqualified from a running race for running," he explained afterwards.

In Canada, Karen Selick told readers of The Ottawa Citizen about her winter vacation in Arizona last month: "The resort suite I rented via the Internet promised a private patio with hot tub," she wrote. "Upon arrival, I found the door to my patio bolted shut. 'Entry prohibited by federal law,' read the sign. Hotel management explained that the drains in all the resort's hot tubs had recently been found not to comply with new safety regulations. Compliance costs would be astronomical. Dozens of hot tubs would instead be cemented over permanently." In the meantime, her suite had an attractive view of the federally-prohibited patio.

Anything else? Oh, yeah. In Iran, the self-declared nuclear regime announced that it was now enriching uranium to 20 percent. When President Barack Obama took office, the Islamic Republic had 400 centrifuges enriching up to 3.5 percent. A year later, it has 8,000 centrifuges enriching to 20 percent. The CIA director, Leon Panetta, now cautiously concedes that Iran's nuclear ambitions may have a military purpose. Which is odd, because the lavishly funded geniuses behind America's National Intelligence Estimate told us only two years ago that Tehran had ended its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Is that estimate no longer operative? And, if so, could we taxpayers get a refund?

This is a perfect snapshot of the West at twilight. On the one hand, governments of developed nations microregulate every aspect of your life in the interests of "keeping you safe." If you're minded to flip a pancake at speeds of more than 4 miles per hour, the state will step in and act decisively: It's for your own good. If you're a tourist from Moose Jaw, Washington will take pre-emptive action to shield you from the potential dangers of your patio in Arizona.

On the other hand, when it comes to "keeping you safe" from real threats, such as a millenarian theocracy that claims universal jurisdiction, America and its allies do nothing. There aren't going to be any sanctions, because China and Russia don't want them. That means military action, which would have to be done without U.N. backing – which, as Greg Sheridan of The Australian puts it, "would be foreign to every instinct of the Obama administration." Indeed. Nonetheless, Washington is (altogether now) "losing patience" with the mullahs. The New York Daily News reports the latest get-tough move:

"Secretary of State Clinton dared Iran on Monday to let her hold a town hall meeting in Tehran."

That's telling 'em. If the ayatollahs had a sense of humor, they'd call her bluff.

The average Canadian can survive an Arizona hot tub merely compliant with 2009 safety standards rather than 2010. The average Englishman can survive stumbling with his frying pan: You may get a nasty graze on his kneecap, but rub in some soothing pancake syrup, and you'll soon feel right as rain. Whether they – or at any rate their pampered complacent societies in which hot-tub regulation is the most pressing issue of the day – can survive a nuclear Iran is a more open question.

It is now certain that Tehran will get its nukes, and very soon. This is the biggest abdication of responsibility by the Western powers since the 1930s. It is far worse than Pakistan going nuclear, which, after all, was just another thing the CIA failed to see coming. In this case, the slow-motion nuclearization conducted in full view and through years of tortuous diplomatic charades and endlessly rescheduled looming deadlines is not just a victory for Iran but a decisive defeat for the United States. It confirms the Islamo-Sino-Russo-everybody else diagnosis of Washington as a hollow superpower that no longer has the will or sense of purpose to enforce the global order.

What does it mean? That a year or two down the line Iran will be nuking Israel? Not necessarily, although the destruction of not just the Zionist Entity but the broader West remains an explicit priority. Maybe they mean it. Maybe they don't. Maybe they'll do it directly. Maybe they'll just get one of their terrorist subcontractors to weaponize the St. Albans pancake batter. But, when you've authorized successful mob hits on Salman Rushdie's publishers and translators, when you've blown up Jewish community centers in Buenos Aires, when you've acted extra-territorially to the full extent of your abilities for 30 years, it seems prudent for the rest of us to assume that when your abilities go nuclear you'll be acting to an even fuller extent.

But, even without launching a single missile, Iran will at a stroke have transformed much of the map – and not just in the Middle East, where the Sunni dictatorships face a choice between an unsought nuclear arms race or a future as Iranian client states. In Eastern Europe, a nuclear Iran will vastly advance Russia's plans for a de facto reconstitution of its old empire: In an unstable world, Putin will offer himself as the protection racket you can rely on. And you'd be surprised how far west "Eastern" Europe extends: Moscow's strategic view is of a continent not only energy-dependent on Russia but also security-dependent. And, when every European city is within range of Tehran and other psycho states, there'll be plenty of takers for that when the alternative is an effete and feckless Washington.

It's a mistake to think that the infantilization of once-free peoples represented by the microregulatory Nanny State can be confined to pancakes and hot tubs. Consider, for example, the incisive analysis of Scott Gration, the U.S. special envoy to the mass murderers of Sudan: "We've got to think about giving out cookies," said Gration a few months back. "Kids, countries – they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement."

Actually, there's not a lot of evidence "smiley faces" have much impact on kids in the Bronx, never mind genocidal machete-wielders in Darfur. So much for the sophistication of "soft power," smiling through a hard-faced world.

So, Iran will go nuclear and formally inaugurate the post-American era. The Left and the isolationist Right reckon that's no big deal. They think of the planet as that Arizona patio and America as the hotel room. There may be an incendiary hot tub out there, but you can lock the door and hang a sign, and life will go on, albeit a little more cramped and constrained than before. I think not.

 
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« Reply #732 on: February 22, 2010, 09:34:25 AM »

"The Left and the isolationist Right reckon that's no big deal"

Leading the isolationist Right is Pat Buchanan.  I have to say a recent column of his says it all (with regards to his true feelings about Jews).  According to him the problems we face in the Middle East are essentially the fault of the Jews.  He all but comes out and says it.  As a Jew, like Rachel it is hard not to be seriously offended. 
I've said before I really doubt if push comes to shove that most Americans will be willing to stick up for Israel.  I know some polls say otherwise but I don't believe them.

Of course Israel is trying to sell the concept that this is not just an Israeli problem it is a world problem.  I agree but of course I am biased.

Withou knowing the inside workings of the Bama administration superficially it really appears our fearless leader(s) has accepted a nuclear Iran. Tossed out on the cable talk shows the new strategy appears to be "containment", whatever that means.

All I can think of is John Bolten's warning to all who listened:

If anyone thinks Iran is a problem now just imagine what it will be like with nuclear weapons.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #733 on: February 24, 2010, 10:45:19 AM »



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94lW6Y4tBXs
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ccp
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« Reply #734 on: March 02, 2010, 09:46:48 AM »

At first my reaction to Jim Bunning was one of "what the heck is he thinking".

Now I think he is a hero and right on the money.

This country has to stop the sob stories, the false compassion and the feckless spending for everything under the sun.

We are BROKE.  When is it going to sink in?

We have to stop the dole and people will have to take jobs they don't want.

Today Medicare cuts to providers of 21% kick in.  The Congress passed a 30 day reprieve of this but the Senate has yet to roll this back.  Doctors/hospitals go through this bullying every year.  They gov holds this over our heads and then every time at the last minute act like they are doing us a favor by pushing it out another year.  This is their yearly bargaining chip.

OK, I'll take a pay cut.  But I ain't about to continue paying for everyone else to sit on their rears and collect pay checks while I work like a dog just to watch a large amount confiscated every tax quarter.

My health, auto, malpractice insurances keep going up every year for no reason yet I cannot raise my rates.

I am willing to work till I am 70 or longer, if I can.

I am not willing to pay for the pensions of all these people who retire at 50 and live for another 30 years.

I never agreed to all that.

Jim Bunning is the only one with enough guts to stand up against the madness.  Of course they reported he is retiring.

As Krauthammer said there is no hope otherwise any legislator will follow in his footsteps Rep or Dem.

This country is and should just go in the garbage.

And we have the richest man supporting the HC bill.  I agree we HAVE to do something but a gigantic overhaul with single payer all under the control of liberal academic elites is not the answer.  He is wrong to say that this bill is better than nothing.  Why should we make it worse?  WHy should most Americans suffer for the minority?

I doubt Buffet would agree to HMO medicine.  anymore than our fealess courageous legislators who all will continue to have access to the best care.

I have no prlbem with the President getting first rate care (including CT colonoscopy that was recently NOT approved for payment by Medicare for anyone else)  but Nancy Pelosi?  She is replaceable.
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #735 on: March 02, 2010, 11:02:13 AM »

Woof,
 Senator Bunning and I have worked on a number of issues together over the years and I call him on a regular basis and was very sadden that he announced his retirement and that he would not be running for reelection. Jim is a very principled man and acts (not lip service; he walks the walk), as a man of integrity. He is calling attention to the juxtaposing dynamics of political promises/delusional policy making and reality. Yes, reality sucks, but it sucks even more when you're suddenly faced with it. Jim is showing Obama and the nation what's going to happen down the road with the healthcare reform package when all its mandates kick in; somebody is going to have to pay for it all and there are not enough rich people to tax, to pay for it.
                                            P.C.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2010, 02:30:08 PM by prentice crawford » Logged

ccp
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« Reply #736 on: March 02, 2010, 01:04:01 PM »

Do we know why he is retiring?

Frankly, he is the first and as far as I know the only one who is telling the truth here.  I wonder why he is retiring.  You worked with him?  Wow.

I don't see tax cut alone getting us out of this mess.
Printing funny money will only dig us into this deeper.

We have to wake up Americans and advise them that without sacrifice and hard work we will not get out of this.  We can't have everyone retire when they feel like it and then give less desirable jobs away to people marching into the country having babies, utilizing medicaid, our schools, taking money under the table, or those who come in legally bringing all their relatives inclucing ancietn parents over and putting them honestly or dishonestly on their busines's books for a few years and then qualifying for Medicare while the rest of us spent our whole lives putting into it - print worthless paper money - and expect that this coutnry will not fall apart. 

(Of course if we tax all the liberals in the entertainment/media/academia industries 95% that might help the rest of us.)

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prentice crawford
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« Reply #737 on: March 02, 2010, 02:48:24 PM »

 He's leaving office mainly because of family but Jim is getting up there in age as well. He has his critics in the state, some even from inside the Republican Party that are more moderate have accused him of being obstinate in his positions. In others words he doesn't put Party first. tongue
 And Jim did the work on the issues I had concerns about and I informed him on those issues to help bring it to the attention of the Senate. Mainly, the effect of illegal immigration in Kentucky and gun control issues. Oh, and it's looking like Ron Paul's son, Rand Paul, is a front runner to take his seat. So much for the Party getting put first there. grin
                                       P.C.
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« Reply #738 on: March 03, 2010, 08:18:11 AM »

PC:  I'll be asking you about Rand Paul on the Politics thread.
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« Reply #739 on: March 08, 2010, 09:01:23 AM »

Glenn Harlan Reynolds: Consent of the governed - and the lack thereof

By: Glenn Harlan Reynolds
Sunday Reflections Contributor
March 7, 2010

Our Declaration of Independence observes:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

"Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." This is boilerplate American history, and something that Americans -- and, in particular, America's political class -- have long taken for granted.

But now things are looking a bit dicey. According to a recent Rasmussen Poll , only 21 percent of American voters believe that the federal government enjoys the consent of the governed. On the other hand, Rasmussen notes, a full 63 percent of the "political class" believe that the government enjoys the consent of the governed.

It's tempting to stress the disconnect here, and that disconnect is certainly huge. Unsurprisingly, the political class -- which talks mostly to itself -- thinks that it is far more popular, and legitimate, in the eyes of the country than is in fact the case. In this, as in so many things, America's political class is out of touch with reality.

But forget the views of America -- where, it seems likely, more people believe in alien abductions than in the legitimacy of our rulers -- and look just at the more cheerful view of the political class.

Even among the rulers, only 63 percent -- triple the fraction of the general populace but still less than two-thirds of the political class -- regard the federal government as legitimate by the standards of America's founding document. The remainder, presumably, are comfortable being tyrants.

These numbers should raise deep worries about the future of our republic. A nation whose government does not rest on the consent of the governed is a nation whose government holds sway only by inertia, or by force.

It is a nation vulnerable to political shocks, usurpation, or perhaps even political collapse or civil war. It is a body politic suffering from a serious illness. Those who care about America should be very worried.

But we've had enough political drama in recent years, so I'll go for a more prosaic comparison: The once-heady brew of American freedom has become watery and unsatisfying.

In fact, when I think of the federal government's brand now, I think of Schlitz beer. Schlitz was once a top national brew. But, in search of short-term gains, it began gradually reducing its quality in tiny increments to save money, substituting cheaper malt, fewer hops and "accelerated" brewing for its traditional approach.

Each incremental decline was imperceptible to consumers, but after a few years, people suddenly noticed that the beer was no good anymore. Sales collapsed, and a "Taste My Schlitz" campaign designed to lure beer drinkers back failed when the "improved" brew turned out not to be any better. A brand image that had been accumulated over decades was lost in a few years, and it has never recovered.

The federal government, alas, finds itself in much the same position. The political class sold its legitimacy off in drips and drabs. As "smart politics" has come over the past decades to mean not persuasion but the practice of legerdemain, the use of political deals, cover from a friendly press apparat and taking advantage of voters' rational ignorance, the governing classes have managed to achieve things that would surely have failed had the people known what was going on.

But though each little trick may have slipped by the voters, the voters have nonetheless noticed that the ultimate product isn't what it used to be. The end result, as with Schlitz, is a tarnished brand. And rescuing tarnished brands is hard.

It gets worse. Not long ago, the federal government enjoyed a stellar reputation for honesty and competence. Now, according to a recent CNN poll, three-quarters of Americans think federal officials aren't honest . (There's no separate survey here on what the "political class" thinks, but I suspect that its numbers would be sunnier, but still appalling, as above). So what do we do with a federal government that many voters think is illegitimate and dishonest?

Well, the Declaration of Independence allows for the prospect of altering or abolishing the government we have in order to get a government that's closer to what we want. That needn't involve anything as violent as the American Revolution or the Civil War, but the need for change -- real, structural change as opposed to campaign-slogan "change" -- is becoming more obvious.

In the past, America has managed to reinvent itself without transformations as wrenching as the Civil War or the Revolution. As the legitimacy of our current arrangements becomes increasingly threadbare, it is perhaps worth thinking about how this might be accomplished again. Because when a great beer dies, it's sad. But when a great nation dies, it's tragic.


Examiner contributor Glenn Harlan Reynolds is a law professor at the University of Tennessee. He hosts "Instavision" at PJTV.com, and blogs at Instapundit.com.

 

 
 
Find this article at:
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Sunday_Reflections/Consent-of-the-governed---and-the-lack-thereof-86628027.html
 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #740 on: March 19, 2010, 11:59:24 AM »

Jon Stewart in fine form:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-march-17-2010/in-dodd-we-trust
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Rarick
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« Reply #741 on: March 20, 2010, 05:58:07 AM »

I see a lot of people talking about change, but what should we be changing, and where are we going with it?  It seems NO One is willing to put thes two W'S out there.........

I would suggest 2 changes.  The first would be for both houses of congress.   A 2/3 vote to pass any legislation and a 3/4 vote to overrule veto.  Right now it is something less than that and they are going too fast with tooo many laws time to "derate" the engine.........

The second would be a tax reform.  If we are paying taxes, let us decide what programs we want to fund.  If I want x% of my taxes to fund the Highway system then that is where it goes.  If I choose to leave programs I don't like unfunded, then that is what happens, not a cent of my taxes would go to programs I do not want funded.  Okay my tax form got another 5 pages, but it give a check against a congress that likes throwing money around.   It would also force the various government departments to get efficient too, after all they suddenly are competing on the tax dollar market now aren't they?
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« Reply #742 on: March 20, 2010, 07:32:32 AM »

May I suggest that a discussion of these would fit better on "The Way Forward for the American Creed" thread?
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« Reply #743 on: March 21, 2010, 09:42:28 PM »

ok.
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ccp
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« Reply #744 on: March 22, 2010, 06:08:06 AM »

Are we now going to see:
immigration amnesty (camouflagued (sp?) as reform).
college "entitlement" reform
and of course cap and trade?

Some say we won't see any of this this year.

I predict they are all on the table and ASAP.  In fact these items will be addressed immediately before there is a chance the Dems lose a house in Nov. in my opinion.

My prediction for the present health care policies.  They will only increase costs necessitating progressively more government "fixes" till eventually we are where the radicals want to be - a totally government controlled system with rationed care. 

It is obvious isn't it?


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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #745 on: March 22, 2010, 08:29:22 AM »

Victor Davis Hanson: We’ve Crossed the Rubicon
Pajamas Media ^ | March 21, 2010 | Victor Davis Hanson

President Obama has crossed the Rubicon with the health care vote. The bill was not really about medicine; after all, a moderately priced, relatively small federal program could offer the poorer not now insured, presently not on Medicare or state programs like Medicaid or Medical, a basic medical plan.

We have no interest in stopping trial lawyers from milking the system for billions. And we don’t want to address in any meaningful way the individual’s responsibility in some cases (drink, drugs, violence, dangerous sex, bad diet, sloth, etc.) for costly and chronic health procedures.

No, instead, the bill was about assuming a massive portion of the private sector, hiring tens of thousands of loyal, compliant new employees, staffing new departments with new technocrats, and feeling wonderful that we “are leveling the playing field” and have achieved another Civil Rights landmark law. (NB: do the math: add higher state income taxes in most states; the new Clinton-era federal income tax rates to come; the proposed lifting of limits on income exposed to FICA taxes; and now new health care charges — and I think you can reach in some cases a bite of 65%to 70% of one’s income.)

So we are in revolutionary times in which the government will grow to assume everything from energy use to student loans, while abroad we are a revolutionary sort of power, eager to mend fences with Syria and Iran, more eager still to distance ourselves from old Western allies like Israel and Britain.

There won’t be any more soaring rhetoric from Obama about purple-state America, “reaching across the aisle,” or healing our wounds. That was so 2008. Instead, we are in the most partisan age since Vietnam, ushered into it by the self-acclaimed “non-partisan.” But how could it be anything else?

Partisanship all the time, everywhere

No, Obama has thrown down the gauntlet, and is trying to reify the sloganeering of the 1960s. He apparently reasons along the following lines: that centrist talk was campaign fluff; the voters fell for it, and now it’s his turn to remake America with 51% of the House and 44% of the people. Think Sweden, or, better, Greece as our model at home, and something like America as Brazil in matters of foreign policy. Apparently, Obama figures that people now may not like the present partisanship, but they didn’t like FDR at the time either. Yet whom do they associate their Social Security checks with? Hoover? Coolidge? Harding?

I don’t see why the ram-it-through, health care formula won’t be followed by similar strategies for blanket amnesty, cap and trade, and expansions of the state takeover of cars, banks, student loans, and energy.

Remember, all these will be packaged as “comprehensive” reform — comprehensive health care, comprehensive immigration, comprehensive energy, comprehensive monitoring of even the banal decisions we make. So what does comprehensive really mean, other than all of us are going to get even more official looking letters in the mail, advising us to fill out a form, pay a fine, and be warned that a new regulation or tax is on the way — followed by the usual state/federal representative’s newsletter bragging about some new entitlement that he “won” for us with our borrowed money?

The Logic of Statism

I expect a lot of the following in the next three years.

1) Them!: More Obama soaring speeches about some “historic” crisis that needs “comprehensive” solutions (e.g., more of “this is our moment” banalities). Those introductions will be followed by alternate praise of some heroic individual who lost her health care, struggled to unionize, breathed some sooty air, was deported while cooking the evening meal, etc. These gripping narratives will be mixed in with ‘Them!’ demagoguery (e.g., the health care industry, the big corporations, the polluters, the nativists and racists — all of “Them” are standing in the way of hope and change, and, together, yes, we can! defeat them. Oh yes, there is going to being even more sermonizing, and shriller human interest portraits about “Them” smashing poor five-year-old Billy Jones from Topeka who flew up to DC to find Harry Reid for “help”; or “Them” denying Herlinda Lopez from Fresno her college dreams, who then wrote a letter pleading to Michelle for assistance; or “Them” absolutely crushing the mother of Bobby Smith for no other reason than sheer greed, who then took the Greyhound to Nancy Pelosi’s office!

2) The Fedopus has far more than eight tentacles: More letters in the mail from more state and federal bureaucracies (both broke, and searching for billions of dollars for millions of workers who need to be paid). The official looking stationary letters will be advising us that there is a new fee, surcharge, rule, regulation, etc. — mostly in the context that we have already in some way violated something. (Expect in such writs to see your name misspelled, your address garbled, one letter canceling out the one of the prior month, and semi-threatening language demanding compliance. [Don’t dare call the government number since the U.S. can’t hire more competent answerers from India]). This last month, to name a few, I got IRS friendly reminders, State Board of Equalization new rules, federal agricultural surveys, county assessment questionnaires, and the Census. All in all, about 12 official letters came, and I expect more this month. (My favorites are all the county, state, and federal agricultural questionnaires that usually have a warning like, “Do not write ‘no change from last year!’”—meaning that, even though your vineyard hasn’t gone anywhere in the last twelve months, you must go through a zillion questions, marking “No” to things like “Do you have a billboard on your property?” or “Do you raise gaming horses?”

3) More cynicism: The more Obama talks about the greedy and selfish in society who “take” from others, the more the public will understand that they are in fact the greedy in these crosshairs. Costly health problems that originate with obesity, smoking, alcoholism, unsafe sex, violence, law-breaking, etc. are really due to lack of scheduled office visits. One missed colonoscopy — not 50 extra pounds or 1000 Big Macs over the years — causes cancer. People always ache due to a dearth of medical advisors and outreach counselors — or the diet and prescription drugs pushed on the victim by the profit-mongering corporation. In other words, the old days of a kindly, but tiny government politely advising us about what not to do have now transmogrified into a brave new world in which there is no individual. Instead, there exists only collective responsibility — a creed that assumes those in rehab or on parole or fighting weight-induced diabetes were victims of a system in which those who did not engage in that sort of behavior were culpable in some way and should pony up. Best of all, the system assumes we are greedy, cruel, and selfish for writing things like the above.

4) Pelosism: In our brave new world, expect more of the lurid stories about the secretary of the Treasury not paying his FICA taxes. The multimillionaire Madame Speaker will spend more of the state’s millions on private jet travel as she lectures on carbon footprints and a culture of corruption. We will hear more about the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee hiding his income, or a member of the House Rules Committee bragging that, given the historic importance of health care, they are just making up the rules as they go along — and proud of it. Our guardian class has become the new French aristocracy at Versailles. They will rail about Citation jets for the CEO, and then fly federally-owned Gulfstreams; they will put us in Smart cars but limo in Yukons and Tahoes on “official business.” Our lifestyles will be as monitored as much as those who do the monitoring will not be at all.

5) Greedy and Not-So-Greedy Capitalists: And there are “bad” and “not so bad” capitalists too. The CEOs for GM are trying to help America out with green designs and fair wages — so unlike those at Ford and Toyota. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are the model execs, quite unlike the yokels who run Caterpillar and whine about health care. George Soros is not really a money speculator that ruins banks, but a transferer of capital to progressive causes. In every statist society, large corporations either resist or join. For the latter, the machinery of government reinvents them as part of the solution rather than the problem — in the way that Al Gore really doesn’t really guzzle electricity, or John Edwards never really lived in a mansion. The transition to a Ministry of Industry requires a Ministry of Truth. With the Obama media we are already half there.

6) The Race/Class/Gender Cult: This federal caring creed trumps all religion. We will hear thousands of homophobic, racist, sexist anecdotes (but not those from a Ruth Ginsberg, or Harry Reid, or Joe Biden) that remind us why the government must enforce diversity set-asides and affirmative actions, and fund new sociological studies proving why group X hates group Y, and why government bureau Z is fighting X on behalf of Y for all our benefit. We are in perpetual war with perpetual ologies and –isms and we need far more Van Joneses to win them!

I understand the reasoning behind Obamism and am familiar with the feel-good, this-is-our-moment rhetoric of egalitarianism. But please at least spare us the fictions and simply be honest: Obama wants a state-run America, somewhere to the left of France or Denmark, a United States unexceptional and merely one of many nations at the UN. This vision follows an existing, decades-long encroachment of government. And it requires all sorts of highly credentialed overseers monitoring and at times justifiably attacking the upper middle class for its deplorable treatment of those below it.

This new America is ultimately predicated on the notion that we were born equal and must die absolutely equal as well. And this is entirely within our grasp, if we just understand that individual responsibility, talent, natural endowment, chance, merit, luck, tragedy, and a dozen other variables far too complex for government to imagine, much less solve, in fact, are not the real obstacles to ensuring equality.

Instead, it is simpler than that: greed, selfishness, racism, sexism, classism, and not niceness on the part of a few really are the culprits. Thank God that a few rare souls like Obama fathom that. And thank God, again, that it will take a singular humanitarian and genius like Obama to make us denser folks see it and do something about it.

That’s about where we are.

Subscript: Do Democrats realize that we really have crossed the Rubicon? In the future when the Republicans gain majorities (and they will), the liberal modus operandi will be the model—bare 51% majorities, reconciliation, the nuclear option, talk of deem and pass, not a single Democrat vote—all ends justifying the means in order to radically restructure vast swaths of American economic and social life. Is someone unhinged at the DNC? They just blew up any shred of bipartisan consensus when their President polls below 50%, the Democratically-controlled Congress below 20%, and health care reform less than 50%. Usually unpopular leaders and their unpopular ideas seek the shelter of minority rights and prerogatives. What will they do when they are in the minority—since they’ve entered the arena, boasted “let the games begin” and shouted “by any means necessary”?

http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson/weve-crossed-the-rubicom/?singlepage=true
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ccp
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« Reply #746 on: March 22, 2010, 09:19:23 AM »

Couldn't have said it better.
Except Mr Hanson leaves out the coming immigration amnesty which will bring us 20 million new voters the vast majority are going to vote for, let me see, I couldn't imagine.

Could it be they will vote for the res of us to pay for their benefits -excuse me - entitlements?

I really do believe this is our last stand.
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ccp
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« Reply #747 on: March 22, 2010, 09:45:49 AM »

"6) The Race/Class/Gender Cult: This federal caring creed trumps all religion. We will hear thousands of homophobic, racist, sexist anecdotes (but not those from a Ruth Ginsberg, or Harry Reid, or Joe Biden) that remind us why the government must enforce diversity set-asides and affirmative actions, and fund new sociological studies proving why group X hates group Y, and why government bureau Z is fighting X on behalf of Y for all our benefit. We are in perpetual war with perpetual ologies and –isms and we need far more Van Joneses to win them!"

Yes.  We all heard over the msm how one or two "Tea Party" people called some minorities a bad name.  The "N" word.  The "F" word.
And of course this is really what they want us to think it is about.  Those opposed are just a bunch of racists afterall.

There is no question if there were a thousand protesters the media would interview the ONE or TWO that used the N word (I am even afraid to use it in this context on this board lest my life be ruined) and that would make the news.

I've seen first hand how the MSM do this all the time.  Particularly when it fits a left wing agenda.
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« Reply #748 on: March 24, 2010, 12:51:54 AM »


It's a Civil War: What We Do Now
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
ShareThis
A terrible thing happened to America on Sunday, March 21, 2010.

The country took its biggest step ever down a road diametrically opposed to its original intent of keeping the state small so that the individual can be free and great.

Therefore, in this unprecedented crisis of values, this is what needs to be done:

1. Know and teach America's core values.

We got to this point solely because over the past few generations, Americans have forgotten the values that have made America distinctive and great. Even the "Greatest Generation" failed to communicate them.

In a nutshell, they are what I call the American Trinity: "In God we trust," "Liberty" and "E Pluribus Unum." The left has successfully made war on all three -- substituting secularism for God and religion in as much of American life as possible; substituting equality (of result) for liberty; and multiculturalism is the opposite of "E Pluribus Unum."

People who do not understand American ideals -- especially small government -- now dominate our schools, our entertainment media and our news media.

(My own contribution here is a video titled, "The American Trinity" at prageru.com. Please view it and forward it.)

2. Recognize that we are fighting the left, not liberals.

Conservatives and centrists are no longer fighting liberals. We are fighting the left.

Liberalism believed in American exceptionalism; the left not only does not believe in it, the left opposes it. President Obama, when asked if he believes in American exceptionalism, replied, "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism, and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."

Liberalism believed in creating wealth; the left is interested in redistributing it.

Liberalism believed in a strong defense. The left believes in cutting defense and a strong United Nations.

3. Democrats should be referred to as Social Democrats. This is not meant to be cute, let alone as a slur. But calling Democrats Social Democrats is an effective way of reminding Americans that there is no longer any difference between what is now known as the Democratic Party and the Social Democratic parties of Europe. When the Democratic Party returns to its roots as a liberal, not a left-wing, party, we will happily resume calling the party by its original name. However, since no Democrat can cite a significant difference between the Democratic Party and the SD parties, there is no good reason not to use the more accurate nomenclature.

4. Work tirelessly to repeal the bill.

We must single-mindedly work to repeal the government health plan. We all know that it is difficult to repeal entitlements because they are like drugs and it is very difficult to wean people off drugs. But it is not impossible. We need to warn our fellow Americans that entitlements will do to America what drugs eventually do to addicts.

All Republicans must run for office on the "repeal" issue. Even when they lose, the difference between right and left, between Republicans and Social Democrats will have been made clear; and clarity is our best friend.

5. Our motto: "The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen."

I used this phrase in addressing the Republican members of Congress. It has become widely used, including by Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., on the House floor during the Congressional debate on Sunday. It encapsulates this epic battle of American values versus leftist values. Every movement needs a motto. I nominate this.

6. Do not let other matters distract.

Neither Republicans nor conservatives are united on every issue facing America. Immigration is one example. But we are united on the big government vs. free individual issue, which, more than anything else, has defined America. If we allow any other domestic issue to divide us, we will lose.

And here's why: If Americans forget what America stands for, it won't help us if there is not one illegal immigrant here. And if we do remember what it means to be American, we can handle anything.

7. Acknowledge that we are in a non-violent civil war.

I write the words "civil war" with an ache in my heart. But we are in one.

Thank God this civil war is non-violent. But the fact is that the left and the rest of the country share almost no values. The American value system and the leftist value system are irreconcilable. If the left wins, America's values lose. If American values prevail, the left loses.

After Sunday's vote, for the first time in American history, one could no longer confidently believe that the American system will prevail. And if we don't fight for it, we don't deserve it.
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« Reply #749 on: March 26, 2010, 09:51:33 AM »

Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, Redux
In America, socialism used to be confined within certain boundaries; that was before last Sunday’s vote.
 
We are now beginning to enter the Kansas-Nebraska Act stage of our republic’s socialist crisis. At our constitutional founding, the evil of slavery was crudely evaded. In 1820, the Missouri Compromise, which prohibited the abomination north of 36°30' north latitude (about the middle of Missouri), was enacted.

But with the western push of the frontier, a new compromise was needed. So the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 decreed that the “popular sovereignty” of each territory should decide whether it would be a slave or a free state. Then, adherents of both the abomination and freedom migrated to Kansas to struggle — with their bodily presence — for their respective causes. First came politics. Then the political rhetoric turned violent. Then verbal violence turned to physical violence. Kansas became known as Bleeding Kansas. John Brown was the most famous person to apply unjustified, murderous violence to his righteous cause of ending slavery; he was hanged, but the Civil War ensued, because, as Lincoln sagely explained:

A House divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure; permanently half slave and half free.

I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.

It will become all one thing or all the other.

Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.


Now we enter our history’s second stage in the struggle against the abomination of socialism. Just as slavery had been contained in the South, so entitlement socialism has, until this week, been more or less contained in service to only the poor and the elderly — and even those programs (for the elderly) operate on the principle of beneficiaries paying monthly premiums for the benefits they will later get (Medicare/Social Security). Only the poor, under Medicaid, received benefit without premium payment.

But now, just as the Kansas-Nebraska Act broke through the geographic limit to slave states, the Democratic party’s 2010 health-care law has broken the boundary that limited socialism. Now, the chains of socialism are to be clamped onto the able-bodied middle class — not merely retirees who have paid their insurance premiums and the presumed-helpless poor.

Even the New York Times — after the vote — admits what the bigger goal has been all along. In Wednesday’s edition (“In Health Care Bill, Obama Attacks Wealth Inequality” by David Leonhardt), they point out: “Beyond the health reform’s effect on the medical system, it is the centerpiece of his deliberate effort to end what historians have called the age of Reagan. . . . Speaking to an ebullient audience of Democratic legislators and White House aides at the bill-signing ceremony on Tuesday, Mr. Obama claimed that health reform would ‘mark a new season in America.’ . . . Above all, the central question that both the Reagan and Obama administrations have tried to answer — what is the proper balance between the market and the government? — remains unresolved. But the bill signed on Tuesday certainly shifts our place on that spectrum.”

I thank the New York Times for that honest statement of historic fact.

For example, the new law takes away from insurance companies the right to charge for insurance based on actuarial risk — which is the essence of insurance. Now they will charge what the politicians tell them to charge — and pay such benefits as the politicians order them to pay. They may, for a while, make money, but that will be at the sufferance of the politicians. One may call this mere regulation, but it is regulation to such a degree that it constitutes effective ownership of the insurance company. The former equity holders in such companies are now merely nominal owners. Also, the new law provides for taxes on investment income to pay for socialized health care, sucking out the lifeblood of our economy to the deathbeds of the destitute.

When these intrusions are combined with 1) the nationalization of GM and Chrysler, 2) the partial nationalization of the banks, 3) the establishment of trillion-dollar, taxpayer-funded slush funds (the stimulus package and TARP), and 4) the planned ten-year, $10 trillion expansion of government debt (which steals from our children and grandchildren dollars yet unmade by them to pay foreign debt holders), the center of gravity of our economy moves from the private sector to the public sector.

And just as the free states could not tolerate the spread of slavery into their midst, so, too, free middle-class America — if it still has its historic character — will not tolerate the yoke of socialism being put upon their necks.

First, the unambiguous will of the majority was defied by the vote of Congress last Sunday.

Come November, we shall see whether the system can still turn the popular will of the majority into legislative will. If it can, all will be well and the crisis will end. Rallying the vote between now and November is roughly equivalent to the early stage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act period — people started migrating to Kansas to support their convictions.

But come November, if the majority will — which opposes the socializing of health-care delivery and its associated government intrusions — is denied its expression by the corrupt bargains and constitutional distortions of Washington, then, for the second time in our history, we will enter that dangerous period when the House resolves its temporary division. Let us devoutly pray — and commit to ourselves — that this time freedom shall be reacquired . . . peaceably.

http://article.nationalreview.com/429385/kansas-nebraska-act-of-1854-redux/tony-blankley
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