Thursday, December 31, 2009

"The system worked"


As a Catholic, that's all I have to say about this post by the pseudonymous Diogenes over at Catholic Culture.

Talking about the federal government's foolish and ridiculous response to the underwear bomber (i.e. inconveniencing all travelers instead of using the existing system to focus on actual security threats), Diogenes says,

It’s an absurd reaction. It would be comical if it weren’t so infuriating. It’s almost as if the US bishops, having allowed known molesters to work with children for years, decided that the most appropriate remedy was to force parents to undergo background checks before serving as playground monitors.

Can you imagine that happening? Funny, I can.

I wish I couldn't. Boy does the truth hurt.

Hopefully one day men of integrity will once again comprise a majority of US Bishops. That hasn't been the case for decades, but I pray I will see that day.

Obama is greater than Jesus

Wow. I just at a loss for words over this in the Danish newspaper Politiken.
Obama is, of course, greater than Jesus – if we have to play that absurd Christmas game. But it is probably more meaningful to insist that with [the passage of health care reform], that he has already assured himself a place in the history books – a space he has good chances of expanding considerably in coming years.
I can't even parody it, it's so absurd.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The underwear bomber shows that the Emperor has no clothes

On Christmas Day, a Muslim fanatic attempted to butcher hundreds of Christians (dead Jews would've been a bonus). Our response? Have airport security analyze the contents of grandma's mini-bottle of shampoo -- we don't want to "discriminate."

With our lies, self-deception and self-flagellation, we're terror's little helpers.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Christian Case for Temple Prostitution

Erin Manning has a great post over at Crunchy Con relaying a Swiftian case for Temple Prostitution.
What are the biggest problems, practical and theological, that ... churches in America face today? I would submit the following:

--Inability to retain or reach out to young, single people, especially men. Think about it--on a typical Sunday in a typical Lutheran church, how many 28-year-old single men are sitting in the pews? How might we draw them in? What are their felt needs? [...]

--Declining revenue. Especially in a tough economy, we need new and creative ways to raise money if we're adequately going to fund critical ministries such as feeding the hungry or blanketing Africa with condoms. [...]

Now imagine all those problems solved with one simple innovation. The answer: temple prostitution.

I know, I know. Outrageous and offensive. I can hear readers already dismissing the idea out of hand. And I admit that we may not be ready for it quite yet. But please hear me out on this.

First off, let's address the common objections. Sure, there are a handful of Bible verses that might seem to condemn the practice. But all the condemnation of temple prostitution involves pagan practices or worship of false gods. The objectionable thing is the idolatry, not the physical act itself. Sanctified, faithful prostitution in service of the true God is a new thing. The Biblical writers never foresaw or contemplated sanctified, faithful, God-pleasing prostitution in the churches and thus never wrote about it. Attempts to find a Biblical injunction against the practice therefore fall short.

Secondly, let's not cherry-pick verses selectively. We don't stone disobedient children to death. We don't refrain from pork or sodomy merely because this or that verse says we should. We have to look at the whole Biblical witness in light of the freedom we have in Christ. For example, God ordered Hosea to marry a prostitute. Such Biblical precedent offers interpretive nuance to seemingly black-and-white prohibitions.
Funny stuff. Then comes the kicker:
[T]he things said by the writer about temple prostitution are exactly the things progressive Christians often say about things like cohabitation, homosexual acts, fornication and the like--that these things aren't sins, that traditional Christianity has gotten this wrong for the last couple of thousand years, and that really, if we understood Jesus as we should, we would realize that He approves of all consensual sex except perhaps adultery [...]

However we moderns ... may view divorce and contraception, the truth is that for the vast centuries of Christianity a Christian would have found the notion that any fellow Christian would ever approve of either, or insist that either was consistent with living a Christian life, to be every bit as funny as some of us today find the idea that a Christian church might approve of Temple prostitution. And there's a lesson there: we can't hope to strengthen and protect Christian marriage without getting back to the basics of Christian sexual morality, which means that we need to be as willing to examine our own favorite "exceptions" to this body of teaching as we are to focus on the exceptions that other people are insisting on creating.
Good point, Erin. Very good point.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Absolute Paradox

Kierkegaard called the Incarnation "The Absolute Paradox", the joining of the seemingly irreconcilable, mutually exclusive categories of the infinite and the finite. We in the West, especially those of us who are the heirs of Christendom, have heard this mystery spoken of so much that it has lost its grandeur.

This is a short video that gives us a better idea of how majestic the finite is -- and therefore how unspeakably great the infinite must be.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad bill

Something the Dems should have mentioned -- if, you know, they were really interested in reforming America's health care system, and not just breaking it in preparation for creating a single-payer system.

Speaking about the Senate bill's likely effect on insurers, the head of Harvard Pilgrim in MA laid out the likely results of the "reform" that passed today:

From the look of the finished product, most of the deals involved were unrelated to health reform, since the changes to the bill itself were marginal. The individual requirement to purchase has been tweaked, but still fails to ensure that individuals cannot delay buying coverage until they need it. ...

The flawed structure of the bill is therefore retained, which means that expansion of eligibility and other reforms are largely delayed to 2014, but changes having the effect of increasing health insurance premiums will take effect prior to 2014. ...

It is a shame that the bill has to be structured in this way, but it is a direct result of expanding eligibility and benefits, imposing health system taxes to pay for it, and ignoring the health care cost problem. ...

Imagine how this plays in Massachusetts, where the insurance market is already reformed, the cost of health insurance is already high, and the major health plans are
not-for-profits. The impact of federal health reform will be little more than higher premiums.
So, to recap:
  • The bill foists new costs upon already bankrupt systems without meaningful ways of paying for them. (The cuts in Medicare will not be made, certainly not at the levels required to actually pay for the Senate bill's expansion.)
  • The bill requires insurers to cover everyone, but effectively allows individuals to not buy health insurance until they're sick, thereby driving up insurance costs exponentially.
  • The bill provides for subsidies for "low-income" individuals (defined as "people who aren't really poor, but will be once they have to pay all the taxes to cover this health care expansion") to buy insurance, subsidies which will cost everyone more money in the form of higher taxes.
  • The bill does absolutely nothing to contain rising health care costs: THE #1 REASON WHY PEOPLE LACK INSURANCE.


Excellent. Really -- well done, Democrats.

If you don't piss off voters so much that they actually force their representatives to repeal this horrible bill, you'll have all-but-guaranteed that the US will have single-payer health care in less than a generation. By then, the system will be so profoundly broken by the madness within this bill -- the expansions of already bankrupt programs (Medicare and Medicaid) foisted upon a system with endemic runaway costs -- that people will likely turn to single-payer as the only solution.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Democracy at work! Yay!

Um, not so much.

This is truly frightening.

The Senate insurance company pork giveaway -- er, health care reform -- bill, talking about the elderly care advisory panels (a.k.a. "death panels") says:
"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."
What? Future Congresses can never repeal that part of this bill? Is that even constitutional? If so, how is it not, in the words of one commenter, "a one-way street with no U-turn into socialism"?

The bare-knuckled intimidation and whoring about this bill has been ridiculous, even for Congress. I thought the Bushies were bad with the flagrantly unprincipled tactics they used to pass Part D, but Obama, Emmanuel, and the Gang have proven more than up to the task of one-upping Rove and Cheney in this area.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Once again, TMQ says it best

From Gregg Easterbrook's latest Tuesday Morning Quarterback column:

Heads of State Pause Their Limos at Their Personal Jets to Denounce Fossil Fuel Use:

As the Copenhagen climate summit grinds on with -- big surprise! -- nothing specific agreed upon, here's my summary of what you need to know about the global warming issue, bearing in mind yours truly is the author of an 800-page book about environmental policy (that book was so fast-paced, it only seemed like 700 pages):

• There is indeed a strong scientific consensus regarding climate change. The deniers simply aren't honest about this.

• The consensus is that in the last century, air has warmed by about one degree Fahrenheit while the oceans have warmed a little and become slightly acidic; rainfall patterns have changed in some places, and most though not all ice melting has accelerated.

• That consensus is significant, but hardly means there is a crisis. Glaciers and sea ice, for example, have been in a melting cycle for thousands of years, while air warming has so far been good for farm yields. The doomsayers simply aren't honest about how mild the science consensus is.

• Predictions of global devastation -- climate change is a "profound emergency" that will "ravage our planet" -- are absurd exaggerations, usually motivated by political or fund-raising agendas.

• Climate change has serious possible negative consequences, especially if rainfall shifts away from agricultural regions.

• Global poverty, disease, dirty air and lack of clean water in developing world cities and lack of education are far higher priorities than greenhouse gas emissions.

• Smog and acid rain turned out to be far cheaper to control than predicted; the same may happen with greenhouse gases.

• The United States must regulate greenhouse gases in order to bring American brainpower, in engineering and in business, to bear on the problem.

• A carbon tax, not some super-complex cap-and-trade scheme that mainly creates jobs for bureaucrats and lawyers, would be the best approach.

• If the United States invents technology to control greenhouse gases, no super-complex international treaty will be needed. Nations will adopt greenhouse controls on their own, because it will be in their self-interest to do so. Smog and acid rain are declining almost everywhere, though are not governed by any international treaty; nations have decided to regulate smog and acid rain emissions on their own, because it is in their self-interest to do so.

As for the e-mails hacked from a greenhouse research center in the United Kingdom, e-mails are private correspondence. Copying them without permission is at the least unethical, and perhaps a crime. If you saw private letters on someone's desk, photocopied them and posted them on the Web, you would be considered a person of low character. Whoever hacked the climate e-mails is at the very least an unethical person of low character, and one should be wary of the agendas of unethical people.

That said, many climate scientists are rigidly ideological and believe dissent must be shouted down. This is partly because of money and privilege. The United States and European Union spend about $6 billion annually on climate change research, and every penny goes to alarmism, because it can be used to justify government expansion. Being a climate doomsayer is a path to cash and tenure -- even to celebrity, as making wildly exaggerated claims got Al Gore a Noble Prize plus stock in companies now winning government subsidies triggered by alarmism. The doomsayers are lauded by foundations, go to parties with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and attend taxpayer-subsidized conferences in Nice. They've formed a guild with intense focus on maintaining guild structure. The 1962 Thomas Kuhn book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" is best-known for introducing the "paradigm shift" concept. Kuhn's larger argument was that science is not an abstract truth-seeking realm, rather, subject to fads and what is now called political correctness, and one in which many scientists are concerned foremost with safeguarding their sinecure by toeing the line.

Plus the alarmists need to divert attention from the inconvenient truth that 20 years ago, Gore and James Hansen of NASA began to say that without immediate drastic action against greenhouse gases, there would soon be global calamities. Nothing was done -- and no problem so far. That is no reason to be complacent -- warming-caused problems may be in store. But for the self-interested alarmists, this is a reason to shout down their critics.

Footnote: John Siemieniec of West Dundee, Ill., was among many readers to note the 140 private jets and 1,200 limos at the climate summit. World leaders and celebrities rode in comfort to a conference to wag their fingers about how somebody else should stop wasting fossil fuel.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Laszewski's post title says it all

Title: The Medicare Buy-In is Dead: Liberals are Now the Swing Votes in Health Care
The Medicare buy-in idea is dead. After Democratic Congressman Weiner's candid comment, “Never mind the camel’s nose, we’ve got his head and neck in the tent," no senator from the likes of Arkansas or Indiana is going to vote for this. ...

So it is no longer the moderate Dems who are the swing votes.

It is all of those liberals in the Senate and House who said they would not vote for a health bill that did not have a public option. True, the latest version in the Reid and Pelosi bill was nothing more than the neutered variety but at least the liberals had some political cover. Now they will have none. ...

Democrats have kept rolling toward a health care bill even with poll approval rates in the high high 30s and low 40s because they know they cannot offend their base by failing to produce a health care bill. They know they have already lost lots of swing voters but it would be worse for them next November if they also lost that critical base.

The base wanted a public option and is rabidly mad about what is going on.

So, your garden variety liberal now has a big decision to make.

Vote yes for a bill that just pumps $850 billion into pretty much the same system we already have--insurance companies and all--or do what they said they were going to do if they did not get a public option--ditch a health care bill.

It's not the moderates I will be watching the next few days--it will be all of those liberals who said they would never do what their President is about to call on them to do.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Why won't they get it? Part 2

"No discrimination" means ... well ... no discrimination.

So many people signed onto the idea of non-discrimination as a matter of public policy and then are shocked -- shocked! -- when it finally becomes clear to them that their flavor of discrimination (a Webster's definition of discriminate: "to make a difference in treatment or favor on a basis other than individual merit") is no longer allowed. They really don't think -- they have never really thought -- that the discriminationistas mean what they say.

Case #513: the British Catholic Church.
The Catholic bishops of England and Wales said they could be at risk of prosecution under a proposed law unless they accept women, sexually active gays and transsexuals as candidates to the priesthood. ...

The bishops said the bill defines priests as employees rather than officeholders. Under the terms of the bill, the church would be immune from prosecution only if priests spend more than 51 percent of their time in worship or explaining doctrine.

According to the briefing, a copy of which was obtained by Catholic News Service Dec. 8, the government definition will, in effect, make it "unlawful to require a Catholic priest to be male, unmarried or not in a civil partnership, etc., since no priest would be able to demonstrate that their time was wholly or mainly spent either leading liturgy or promoting and explaining doctrine."
The bishops were originally assured that this type of outcome was they stuff of dystopian fantasy. And, to be fair, the definition in the article is the bishops' worried (and certainly biased) reading. But the House of Commons has already thrown the gauntlet down on homosexuals adopting children, revoking the exception Catholic agencies had enjoyed in that area. The trend in this area is increasingly clear: "no discrimination" means "no discrimination". (Except against Conservatives, but that's another story.)

But the bishops' main objections demonstrate that they really haven't grasped this point.
"The bill fails to reflect the time priests spend in pastoral work, private prayer and study, administration, building maintenance, etc."
Really? The problem is that the bill doesn't exempt your particular group, not that the law itself is totalitarian and immoral?

Apparently so. We're left with the clear implication that, were the UK Church still exempted from the requirements of the Equality Act (if priests were defined as "office holders" instead of "employees"), they would be fine with it.

As the saying goes, "There are none so blind as those who will not see."

Friday, December 4, 2009

More butter = less guns

It's a simple concept, really. The more we spend domestically on entitlements and social concerns ("butter") the less we can spend on defense ("guns").

I hear a lot about how successful the health care regimes in Western Europe and Canada are. Leave out the rising tide of red ink those countries are increasingly swimming in due to their massive welfare states. A major reason why they can devote that kind of money to health care is that they don't spend much on their militaries.

To date, Europe has been able to get away with this kind of irresponsibility because America foolishly took up the mantle of world policeman 60 years ago. Given the massive entitlement spending of the current and former American Presidents, however, the days of Europe's free lunch are rapidly drawing to a close.
Among the Western Europeans, only France and the U.K. spend more than 2% of GDP on defense, supposedly the NATO-mandated minimum. Nearly everyone else is below that. Germany, the continent's largest economy, stands at 1.3%. U.S. defense spending has been above 4% of GDP since 2004, having fallen to 3% after the Cold War ended. ...

Most European countries also commit more than half of what little they do spend on defense to soldier salaries and benefits. Equipment and training are shortchanged. Belgium devotes 74% to personnel; the U.S. 30.6%. Europeans lack cargo planes and helicopters to enable troops to get to, and move within, far-off conflict zones. In 2007, the U.S. deployed 14% of its troops in overseas operations, Europe 4%.

Such relative strategic weakness has made the Europeans more dependent on the American security umbrella, even as they resent it. But it also makes Europeans more disposed to avoid confrontation with adversaries like Saddam Hussein or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As Henry Kissinger has put it, European leaders are no longer able to ask their people to make major sacrifices. ...

The tragic irony of this year is that Democrats are rushing the U.S. down this same primrose entitlement path. ...

Add the stimulus, ObamaCare, a new entitlement for college and other Democratic plans, and the defense squeeze will only tighten. Higher taxes and borrowing may allow guns and butter to co-exist for a while. But over time, the welfare state will defeat the Pentagon here, as it has in Europe.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Why don't they get it?

Same-sex "marriage" isn't a winner -- not even in Liberal New York State.

Everywhere same-sex "marriage" has been up for a popular vote in the US -- EVERYWHERE -- it's lost. New York is the 35th state (I believe) to refuse to support it. Yet the pro-gay "marriage" folks still claim that proponents of real -- that is, heterosexual -- marriage are the ones somehow forcing their views on others.

In the wake of the movement's most unanticipated defeat yet, NY governor David Patterson said, "I think that there were political forces that in some respects intimidated some of those who voted. I think if there’d actually been a conscience vote we’d be celebrating marriage equality right now."

Now, there are two factors that make that statement delusional:
  1. The proposition that real marriage proponents generally voted their conscience doesn't seem to have entered Gov. Patterson's mind. As it doesn't generally seem to enter the minds of gay "marriage" proponents. In their minds, pro-gay "marriage" supporters are conscientious and pro-real marriage proponents are bigots (or, at best, confused). The condescension is amazing.
  2. The pro-gay "marriage" crowd has lately been quite thuggish: engaging in moral bullying, intimidation, and violent retribution against those who disagree with them. The aftermath of Proposition 8's passage in California, wherein the Mormon Church has been targeted like German Jews in kristalnacht for its prominence in working for Prop. 8, speaks volumes about the ugliness among many proponents of gay "marriage".
But if you want more evidence that Gov. Patterson is wildly off in his analysis, read just a little further in the same article:
It is rare for legislation to reach the floor in Albany when passage is not all but assured. ...

[But Democrats brought the bill to a vote] in part because gay rights groups, which have become major financial players in state politics, wanted to know which senators they should back in the future and which ones to target for defeat.

Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, New York’s largest gay rights group, hinted that senators who voted against the bill on Wednesday could face repercussions.

On Wednesday, as news of the vote made its way to demonstrators standing outside the Senate chamber, some erupted in angry chants of “Equal rights!” and surrounded a senator who opposed the measure.
How enlightened of them.

Monday, November 23, 2009

ObamaCare rationing


Wait, you're not surprised? Ah, I see. You must be rational, so you understand that this just does have to be part of any national health care scheme:
Page 25, Subsection (h)(2): "If the Secretary estimates for any fiscal year that the aggregate amounts available for payment of expenses of the high-risk pool will be less than the amount of the expenses, the Secretary shall make such adjustments as are necessary to eliminate such deficit including reducing benefits, increasing premiums or establishing wait lists." [emphasis supplied]
Benefit reductions. Premium increases. Waiting lists. We already have these things, but the Democrats want to make them EVEN BETTER!
  • More benefit reductions!
  • Larger premium increases!
  • Longer waiting lists!
That must be what they mean when they say they want to improve the health care system -- because the bills they've proposed won't really change anything related to health care costs. Not just more of the same -- WAY more of the same.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stimulus vs. Common Sense, Round 3

I didn't notice this.

Primarily because, if Keith Hennessey's right, pretty much no one reported on it.

It's the President's announcement of a 3rd stimulus bill. THIRD!! The first one's been fairly ineffective. The second one promises to be even more so. What good, other than looking like we're addressing the problem (as opposed to actually addressing it), can a third stimulus bill do?

Has Hennessey says, "With the unemployment rate above 10%, near-zero interest rates, enormous budget deficits, and the low-hanging stimulus fruit already plucked, there are few good options. This could get a bit ugly."

Indeed. It already has.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Love for Limbaugh

I'm not a big Rush Limbaugh fan. He's on the Right, which is nice, but he's a blowhard and a hack who carried W's water for way too long.

That said, the way he's been blackballed by the NFL and kept from being part of a group set to by the St. Louis Rams -- after he'd received assurances from the ownership group that his participation was kosher with the league -- has been disgraceful. Supposedly, it was for "racist" comments he's made.

Racist comments? Limbaugh made one pretty tame (and fairly accurate) comment on Monday Night Football about folks in the media liking black QBs under center and one comment about wanting Obama's agenda to fail. Um, that's it. Nothing compared to the racist comments that have made Al Sharpton and Jeremiah Wright icons on the Left.

Oh, but Limbaugh's a conservative. So ganging up on him's alright, I suppose.

Give me a freaking break. These people are either dupes (90%) or shameless liars (10%).

"Deficit-neutral" health care reform now **OFFICIALLY** a lie

Congressional Democrats are trying to buy off the physicians lobby by shelling out a quarter-trillion dollars to make up for scheduled cuts in Medicare. That $250 billion isn't in the health care reform budget, though. Hence, any bill that comes out adds $250 billion to the deficit before it does anything else. Excellent.

Bob Laszewski sums it up quite well:
How many times have you heard the President say that any health care bill must be "deficit neutral?" How many times have you heard conservative and moderate Democrats say they won't vote for a health bill that isn't paid for?

What are the Democrats about to try?

Peeling out one of the biggest components of health care and quickly spending $245 billion to bolster physician fees over the next ten years, doing it separate from the "deficit neutral" health bill, and just adding the $245 billion cost of this to the deficit!
We always knew that Obama's claims about any bill he signs being deficit-neutral -- that is, not adding a penny to the deficit -- were lies. Now it's pretty much official.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Baucus bill, or "How government action makes bad things worse"

One of my favorite demotivator posters -- the cynical, pessimistic posters that mock motivational posters -- is the one for meetings. It's a picture of a bunch of hands put into a circle (sort of like what you'd do before a sports game), with a phrase below it that says, "None of us is as dumb as all of us."

I can't think of a more perfect description of most government planning: all of the bad ideas, few of the good ones.

That's the situation with Max Baucus's health care bill. He tries to split the difference between socialist-style bills like the ones in the House and bills put forth by the GOP. The result is a potential clusterf*ck of epic proportions. It would lead to the end of private insurance by 2025.

The House bill was terrible, but it was a bit more intellectually consistent. It required insurers to take everyone, regardless of health status, but it also required everyone to guy insurance or face stiff penalties of $1,500 per adult in the first year. With everyone in the system, the healthy would subsidize the unhealthy. Insurers weren't happy with having to take everyone, but they accepted the deal because everyone would have to buy their products.

Many people -- inside and outside Congress -- didn't like the idea of a hard mandate, though, so in his bill Senator Max Baucus, chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, ratcheted down the penalties for not buying insurance to $400 after 8 years. That's a huge difference. It also sets the stage for the kind of massive problems Massachusetts is having with their "leaky" mandate.

People over at Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan have said that people are gaming the system like crazy. They face a $900 fine for not buying insurance, but they can buy -- and cancel -- policies whenever they want. Usually, in the individual market, folks have to wait at least 6 months to get coverage for big-ticket items like pregnancy or cancer treatment to make sure that people can't just buy coverage when they need it and then drop it.

In Massachusetts, though, insurers have found that people buy coverage for less than 5 months on average, and cost the system 600% more than they would otherwise. That kind of situation is simply unsustainable. After too long, insurers will have to shut their doors; they simply won't be able to stay in business.

That's bad enough for one state. Senator Baucus wants to bring that scenario to the whole country, though. Besides driving insurers out of business, it would jack up the taxes that we pay to massive levels, and jack up the out-of-pocket expenses we'd pay on health care to 3 or 4 times what we currently pay in just 12 years.

The response from the Left has been pretty uninspiring (though quite revealing). They haven't denied that this would be the case. They've just claimed that it won't be such a big deal.

But it will be a big deal. A very big deal, indeed. God help us if this horrible bill becomes law.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Conversation About Race

This hour-long film by Colorado filmmaker Craig Bodecker is must-see viewing material. In it, he interviews about a dozen people trying to get at the definition and nature of "racism".

The point that shines through more than anything is that almost everyone who uses the term "racism" has no clear understanding of what racism really is, except that it's something that white people do. Some hilarious, and hilariously sad, comments in that hour of footage.

Definitely check it out.

Friday, October 9, 2009

If you look up "ridiculous" in the dictionary ...

You'll find this front-and-center:

Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize in Surprise Pick

President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, in a surprise pick from the Norwegian Nobel Committee that cited the president's creation of a "new climate in international politics" and his work on nuclear disarmament.
As if we needed more evidence that the Nobel Peace Prize was a meaningless piece of masturbatory Liberal self-congratulation, now we have the award given to a president who's done almost literally nothing to deserve it.

Obama hasn't done anything meaningful when it comes to nuclear disarmament. The only actions he's taken in his limited time in the White House have emboldened aspiring nuclear powers like Iran.

Even if he had taken decisive action that hadn't made the situation worse, he's been President less than a year. It would be hard for anything a US President does in his first year to be known to have had the lasting positive impact on world events that the Nobel Peace Prize used to be known for. Hence the Nobel Committee's vacuous statement that Obama's achievement has been the establishing of "a new climate in international politics", not anything concrete or empirically verifiable.

What a joke. Martin Luther King's Peace Prize just became less meaningful because of this nonsense.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fair & Balanced

Because it's necessary to remain open to criticism, posts like this are quite helpful:
Follies and lies of the MCM (mainstream conservative media)

About ten days ago I saw an episode of Sean Hannity's television program that was entirely devoted to Hannity's and his guests' responses to the speech President Obama had delivered to the UN General Assembly earlier that day. Unfortunately, one could not call it a discussion. It was a nonstop, high-intensity attack on Obama for his supposed put-downs of America, culminating in Hannity's long colloquy with Michelle Malkin in which the two of them, with an effortlessness obviously borne of long practice, skillfully fed off each other's animus against the president, each statement topping the last. I was struck by the way these conservative stars had become like the liberal media they despise--experts at generating endless amounts of furious moral indignation against the object of their dislike. The show was also frustrating, because, notwithstanding Hannity's and Malkin's roundhouse condemnations of Obama for his anti-Americanism, they provided almost no quotations from his speech to back up the charge. The exchange consisted almost entirely of overheated adjectives, not facts. The fact that Obama, like all leftist Democrats, believes that America has too much power relative to other countries does not automatically mean that every time he opens his mouth he is tearing down America. It is necessary to show that he is tearing down America.

There was however one passage from the speech that Hannity did quote, consisting of Obama's remark that "on certain critical issues, America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others." Hannity, backed by Malkin, must have repeated this line three or four times. And I had to agree with them, that was certainly an egregious thing for the president of the U.S. to have said.

Except, as I found our later that evening when I looked up the speech on the Web, Obama hadn't said it.

Here is the entire passage:

I took office at a time when many around the world had come to view America with skepticism and distrust. Part of this was due to misperceptions and misinformation about my country. Part of this was due to opposition to specific policies, and a belief that on certain critical issues, America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others. This has fed an almost reflexive anti-Americanism, which too often has served as an excuse for our collective inaction.

So, when Obama stated that "America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others," he was pointedly not expressing his own view, but describing the view of other people, a view that he associated with "an almost reflexive anti-Americanism" which he said has damaged international cooperation.

Either Hannity (with Malkin's energetic assistance) told a scurrilous lie about Obama, or he is so stupid that he can't tell the difference between Obama stating his own views and Obama discussing (and criticizing) other people's views.

While this episode of Hannity's program was especially bad, it was not unique. To a disturbing degree the mainstream conservative media have become a mirror image of the liberal media, a generator of vitriol without facts.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A legend in his own mind

Steve McCann over at American Thinker may have uncovered the explanation of much of Obama's naive and thoughtless behavior as President.
President Obama apparently wants to do only half of his job -- the part that is the most fun. ...

It appears that Barack Obama views himself as the head of state only. As such he cannot be bothered with the day to day responsibility of governance. He is, in his narcissistic world, above all that; thus he delegates the writing of the Stimulus, health care and other major bills to Nancy Pelosi, puts off any decisions on Iran and Afghanistan, appoints czars with power to spend and set policy and prefers to spend his time on television speaking to the huddled masses.

His responsibilities as the head of government have been assigned to others, who in many cases are not answerable to the American people. This has created untold chaos in Congress and apprehension among the citizenry. Yet the President appears not to care, as his interests lie elsewhere. ...

Notwithstanding the determination of the founding fathers to avoid having a monarch, we now have one, at least in his own mind.

Amateur hour at the U.N.

I didn't know it was this bad. I truly didn't.

According to Charles Krauthammer Obama deliberately didn't talk about Iran while he was at the Security Council meeting -- despite pleas by France and Britain to do so. Why? To not spoil his image as global reconciler. Seriously. As Krauthammer explains:

Don't take it from me. Take it from Sarkozy, who could not conceal his astonishment at Obama's naivete. On Sept. 24, Obama ostentatiously presided over the Security Council. With 14 heads of state (or government) at the table, with an American president at the chair for the first time ever, with every news camera in the world trained on the meeting, it would garner unprecedented worldwide attention.

Unknown to the world, Obama had in his pocket explosive revelations about an illegal uranium enrichment facility that the Iranians had been hiding near Qom. The French and the British were urging him to use this most dramatic of settings to stun the world with the revelation and to call for immediate action.

Obama refused. Not only did he say nothing about it, but, reports the Wall Street Journal (citing Le Monde), Sarkozy was forced to scrap the Qom section of his speech. Obama held the news until a day later -- in Pittsburgh. I've got nothing against Pittsburgh (site of the G-20 summit), but a stacked-with-world-leaders Security Council chamber it is not.

Why forgo the opportunity? Because Obama wanted the Security Council meeting to be about his own dream of a nuclear-free world. The president, reports the New York Times citing "White House officials," did not want to "dilute" his disarmament resolution "by diverting to Iran."

Diversion? It's the most serious security issue in the world. A diversion from what? From a worthless U.N. disarmament resolution?

Yes. And from Obama's star turn as planetary visionary: "The administration told the French," reports the Wall Street Journal, "that it didn't want to 'spoil the image of success' for Mr. Obama's debut at the U.N."

I continue to be stunned by this Second Coming of Carter. I honestly don't know what to say.

I won't go the Bush Derangement route that the Left went the last 8 years and say "He isn't my President!" Because he clearly is. I'm a US citizen and he's the legitimately elected US President.

All I can say is that I am flabbergasted and ashamed by my President. He is truly doing real harm to the country. And, as Krauthammer shows, to the world.

Politicizing the EPA

One of the really infuriating things about the Left is how they really perpetrate the crimes that they blame on others.

For example, Fascism is an inherently Leftist phenomenon because it is an openly statist phenomenon. There is nothing conservative (in the sense of American conservatism -- not neo-conservatism, which is just Right-Liberalism) about Fascism. The common understanding of Fascism, however, is that it is inherently conservative -- and this is because the Left has spread this lie for the past 60 years. The Left created Fascism and openly promoted it for a generation. Then, when the Nazis made Fascism politically radioactive, the Left started a blatantly revisionist campaign to distort the popular understanding of Fascism. The Left did it, but they blamed it on conservatism.

Another example of this phenomenon is the "politicization of science". It came out last week that much of the data on which several key studies claiming to prove the reality of anthropogenic (that is, human-caused) global warming (AGW) was fudged. Tree ring data from Siberia (played up because it tracks the changes in global climate over tens of thousands of years) indicating that modern temperatures were much higher than the have been in millions of years were blatantly cherry-picked from a much larger data set. The scientists who had this data were, in a stunning failure of the peer-review process, never asked to disclose their data so that other scientists could test it.

The IPCC (the UN commission studying climate change), made up almost entirely of Leftists, based its recommendations in large part on these flawed studies, but apparently didn't even question whether they were legitimate. Why? Because the studies reinforced their own political beliefs. In other words, because they had no problem politicizing the relevant science -- a frequent accusation by the Left about conservatives. Again, the Left did it, but they blamed it on conservatism.

Now comes word from the Journal that the EPA is working in concert with Democrats to twist the arms of big business to promote the Left's "cap-and-trade" program currently up for debate in Congress.

"How else," says the Journal,
to explain the coordinated release on Wednesday of the EPA's new rules that make carbon a dangerous pollutant and John Kerry's cap-and-trade bill? Ms. Jackson is issuing a political ultimatum to business, as well as to Midwestern and rural Democrats: Support the Kerry-Obama climate tax agenda—or we'll punish your utilities and consumers without your vote.
Even better, the EPA is ignoring the plain meaning of laws like the Clean Air Act (CAA) to focus its partisan ire on larger companies.

The CAA was clearly not meant to regulate CO2, a fact that Democrats and Obama's EPA are ignoring. Their ignoring that fact puts them in trouble, though, because the CAA requires that the EPA regulate any entity emitting more than 250 tons of any hazardous gasses covered by the act. This would require the EPA to directly regulate tens of thousands of businesses, though, from major factories to your local Starbucks. The EPA only wants to target the major factories, however, so it's issued a new rule that only entities that emit 25,000 tons of CO2 will be affected -- something it has no statutory authority to do.

This is about as blatantly partisan as a regulatory agency can get, folks.
  • The EPA intends to regulate CO2 because of Leftist ideology, not sound science.
  • So, even though it doesn't have authority to do so absent an act of Congress, it issues a revisionist interpretation of the Clean Air Act to include CO2 (which was intentionally left out of the Clean Air Act, both in 1970 and when it was revised in 1990).
  • Then, when its revisionist interpretation would lead to an impracticable policy situation because of the plain language of the CAA, the EPA ignores that plain language and comes up with its own standards.
And yet, in true Leftist fashion, the EPA is blaming politicization of the EPA on conservatives.

Just last week the EPA chief, Linda Jackson, gave a speech in San Francisco where she said, "In recent years, many Americans have had cause to wonder whether decisions made at EPA were guided by science and the law, or whether those principles had been trumped by politics."

We can answer that question for Obama's EPA very easily. Those principles have been trumped by politics. Such is the case with the Left.

Cash for Clunkers: official 2009 entrant for Bad Ideas Hall of Fame

Observing that automobile sales have fallen off a cliff since the "Cash for Clunkers" program stopped, a development predicted by that program's critics, the Journal gets right to the heart of the issue:

The basic fallacy of cash for clunkers is that you can somehow create wealth by destroying existing assets that are still productive, in this case cars that still work. Under the program, auto dealers were required to destroy the car engines of trade-ins with a sodium silicate solution, then smash them and send them to the junk yard. As the journalist Henry Hazlitt wrote in his classic, "Economics in One Lesson," you can't raise living standards by breaking windows so some people can get jobs repairing them.

In the category of all-time dumb ideas, cash for clunkers rivals the New Deal brainstorm to slaughter pigs to raise pork prices.
That would be the same New Deal that so many Liberals are calling for a return to. Will the Left ever learn? (Sorry for the rhetorical question.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Does Obama know he's President?

Richard Cohen doesn't think so. A Liberal op-ed writer, Coehn's not the sort to nail a guy like Obama for the fallout from his permanent campaign-style. But man, he sure tells it like it is today.
Sooner or later it is going to occur to Barack Obama that he is the president of the United States. As of yet, though, he does not act that way, appearing promiscuously on television and granting interviews like the presidential candidate he no longer is. The election has been held, but the campaign goes on and on. The candidate has yet to become commander in chief. ...

The trouble with Obama is that he gets into the moment and means what he says for that moment only. He meant what he said when he called Afghanistan a "war of necessity" -- and now is not necessarily so sure. He meant what he said about the public option in his health-care plan -- and then again maybe not. He would not prosecute CIA agents for getting rough with detainees -- and then again maybe he would.

Most tellingly, he gave Congress an August deadline for passage of health-care legislation -- "Now, if there are no deadlines, nothing gets done in this town . . . " -- and then let it pass. It seemed not to occur to Obama that a deadline comes with a consequence -- meet it or else.

Obama lost credibility with his deadline-that-never-was, and now he threatens to lose some more with his posturing toward Iran. ...

Obama's the president. Time he understood that.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Even folks on the Left notice that Obama looks like he's flailing

People are starting to realize that the Emperor has no clothes. The intro to the article says it all.

It is lovely to feature in other people's dreams. The problem comes when they wake up. Barack Obama is an eloquent, brainy and likeable man with a fascinating biography. He is not George Bush. Those are great qualities. But they are not enough to lead America, let alone the world.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Well, at least they cleaned it up faster than they did at Duke

An 18-year old Hofstra freshman girl had group sex with five guys. Then she lied to her boyfriend about it and said that she was raped to keep him from thinking that she was easy. (This seems like Bill Clinton lying so that people wouldn't think he was dishonest. I don't know this girl personally, so I can't say that she's a slut. I can say that she apparently had no problems acting like a slut with these five guys, though.) Her accusations led them to their imprisonment on rape charges. When new evidence came to light that clearly showed that this girl was a willing participant, the charges were dropped and the men released

At least the folks at Hofstra aren't as slavishly PC and morally deficient as the folks at Duke are, though. Unlike with Duke's response to the accusations against members of their lacrosse team, when it became clear that this freshman's story was totally false the people at Hofstra immediately acted to rectify the situation. The five male students' suspensions were rescinded, and the accuser was suspended. Refreshing to see justice done like that in this kind of situation.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Wisdom from an unlikely source

Walter Russell Mead is a stone-cold Liberal, not the type of person one would expect to hear sensible talk about Obama and the Democrats from. Well, life is full of surprises.
But there is, I think, a cold dark fact at the heart of [popular opposition to the agenda of Obama and the Democrats] that means trouble for incumbents of all kinds, but especially for Democrats. The fact is that the liberal society we've built since the New Deal looks less and less capable of honoring its promises. It's not just Medicare and Social Security; there are a lot of state governments out there that have no way of paying for all the pensions they've promised their workers over the years -- and no way to pay for all the services they've promised the voters. Private sector labor unions seem to drive jobs overseas or to saddle their employers with unpayable costs. Public sector unions drive state and local governments into fiscal dead ends as well. People look at public schools and the postal system and they don't see much sign that the old institutions work very well. (I'm not saying this is all 100% true -- only that it looks that way to a lot of people.)

Most voters wish this wasn't true. They would like to vote themselves higher wages, free health care, and higher pensions that kick in at younger ages. Many, perhaps most voters are nostalgic for the time when one breadwinner working 9 to 5 at a secure factory job could keep a family of four in the heart of the middle class. But more and more people think those days are long gone and that there's no going back. And if liberal society can no longer deliver the goods, people don't want to pay its bills.

It's not just the money and it's not just liberals who need to worry. As the promises of the liberal society look increasingly shaky, the experts and the professionals and the think tanks seem less and less worthy of respect. The 'experts' -- including me -- generally supported the war in Iraq. 'Experts' were confident about the New Economy being fail safe and bust-proof. Other 'experts' say that we can handle budget deficits of a trillion plus, that a new health care entitlement will cut costs without trimming services to Medicare patients, that a cap-and-trade bill won't cost jobs, that enlightened immigration reform will work and so on and so on.

It isn't a liberal or a conservative thing in the end. It's that the American people are losing faith not only in the promises of the liberal society but in the experts and the professionals who design, administer and explain it. Increasingly, the lower middle class and the middle middle class want to fire the snooty upper middle class know it alls who collectively have gotten the country into such a mess.

Hope for the Dead Island?

Maybe Britain isn't all-dead after all. Maybe Britain is like the mostly-dead Wesley. If so, Peter Davies, newly elected mayor of Doncaster, has officially auditioned for the role of Miracle Max.

In his first week in office [Davies] cut his own salary from £73,000 to £30,000 ... He also scrapped the mayoral limousine. ... He intends now to reduce (that’s right, reduce) council tax by 3 per cent this year.

The “diversity” portfolio has been abolished from the council’s cabinet. From next year no more funding will be given to the town’s “Gay Pride” event, on the grounds that people do not need to parade their sexuality, whatever it may be, at taxpayers’ expense. Black History Month, International Women’s Day and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month are similarly destined to become history.

Council funding of translation services for immigrants has been scrapped because he believes incomers should take the trouble to learn English. ... He is taking advice from the Taxpayers’ Alliance and the Campaign Against Political Correctness. ...

He has asked the Electoral Commission to reduce the number of Doncaster’s councillors from 63 to 21 (“If Pittsburgh can manage with nine councillors, why do we need 63?”). ...

The establishment is moving heaven and earth to discredit and obstruct Davies. He is that ultimate embarrassment: the boy who reveals that the Emperor has no clothes. If it is good enough for Doncaster, it is good enough for Britain. Our effete, corrupt, politically correct politicians must be compelled to follow suit.

Amen. Lord, in the words of Jean-Luc Piccard, "Make it so."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Obama gives America the bird

I admire people who have a way with words. I like to write, and I enjoy things that are well written. "Well written" is a broad phrase, though. There's "Cormac McCarthy/Mark Twain/C.S. Lewis" well written and then there's "eye-catching, good PR" well written.

This synopsis of the President's speech on health care last week definitely falls in the latter category.
President Barack Obama showed [Americans critical of health care reform] the policy equivalent of the middle finger Wednesday night. If there was anything bipartisan about the speech it was that he embraced every bad big-government idea from both sides. ...

Obama lambasted the critics who claim his reform plan amounts to a government takeover of the health care system. But the plan he laid out Wednesday night will control every aspect of the medical transaction. It will tell patients when, what and how much coverage they must buy; it will tell sellers when, what and how much coverage they must sell. This is not a government takeover of health care? Then Tony Soprano is just a decent, hard-working businessman.

ACORN: A Criminal Organization, Radical and Nefarious

At least that's what ACORN should stand for.

Don't take my word for it. Take theirs.

Two people, posing as a prostitute and a guy running for office, used a hidden camera to expose ACORN workers breaking the law without hesitation. And not in ways that people don't often care about (like teaching people how to break into their foreclosed homes). They openly asked the ACORN workers to help them traffic 13 under-age El Salvadoran girls into Baltimore to be prostitutes, to help them evade taxes on the "income" that those girls would generate, and then to launder their prostitution money into the man's campaign funds.

The ACORN workers agreed without so much as blinking.

Check out the video of this terrible stuff, and then ponder the words on the screen at the end of the video: "ACORN has received $53,000,000 in federal government, and now stands to receive billions in stimulus money." Then ponder the extent to which Obama & Co. praise the work of ACORN.

Part 1

Part 2

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Joe Wilson: Hero or Zero?

Everyone's talking about Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) today, because of this:

Was Wilson right to call Obama out as a liar? Yes, I definitely think so. Was it appropriate for him to do so in that context? Probably not. Hence, Wilson's apology afterwords.

This isn't the House of Commons. It was inappropriate for him to say what he said. Understandable? Absolutely. Appropriate? Probably not.

But was it fair for him to call Obama out as a liar? In a word, yes.

Obama had just called anyone who claims that "advisory" end-of-life commissions will lead to rationing end-of-life care liars. "This is a lie, plain and simple," were the President's words about that charge. Well, fair is fair. You're calling us liars when we speak the truth, Mr. President, we'll call you a liar when you speak untruths.

Take the claim that preceded Wilson's outburst, that the program Obama proposes won't insure illegal immigrants. It's literally true, but will become false in practice. Democrats have ensured this. Members of the House tried repeatedly to amend the health care reform bills in the House to require insurers to verify the citizenship of recipients of their aid. Those amendments were voted down on party-line votes every time. So, does any of the bills currently in Congress directly give health insurance to illegal immigrants? No. Will any of them end up giving health insurance to illegal immigrants? Almost certainly. Assuming the President isn't a moron, he has to know this. His assurances to the contrary in last night's speech were, then, lies.

So Rep. Wilson was right. Given the vituperatives the man was forced to endure from the President, his response was understandable. Given the President's penchant for pillorying his opponents and calling them liars, Wilson's response was fair. Given the setting, however, his remark was probably inappropriate.

So, is he a hero for calling the President out on his dishonesty, or a zero for trying to turn a Joint Session of Congress into the House of Commons?

To me, he's clearly a hero. I'd rather have a truth-teller who can't keep his mouth shut than a man who is so circumspect he becomes a milquetoast.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What one person can do

Kaleb Eulls is a star defensive end on his high school football team in Mississippi. He's now a local hero because he acted decisively in a dangerous situation.

A girl got on the school bus he and his sisters were on, pulled out a pistol and began threatening everyone. Eulls distracted her and then tackled her, wresting the gun from her hand. Problem solved. What a kid.

One statement in the article stands out to me from the rest, though. It's a statement from the town sheriff: "[Eulls] made the statement to one of my deputies that if she was going to shoot anyone, he would rather she shoot him." That statement shows what one person can do in a situation like that. One person who is willing to risk his life to save others can do tremendous good.

This is something that Liberals, especially Liberals in favor of strict gun control laws, just don't seem to understand.

Take, for example, the "news" program 20/20's anti-gun episode, If I Only Had a Gun. The whole point of If I Only Had a Gun is that guns are too dangerous for anyone to ever use responsibly, so only police should use them. No one else should even try. Over and over again the 20/20 crew presents evidence that using a gun is dangerous and that facing someone with a gun is even more dangerous. And they are right. Their failure to really present the opposite realities, that respect for the dangerous potential of a gun and proper training can ensure that a gun owner is of danger only to criminals, lays bare their anti-gun agenda.

One of other the messages that Dianne Sawyer and the 20/20 crew go out of their way to get across is the utter helplessness of anyone facing gun violence. "You can't do anything to save yourself or anyone else," they basically say. "Run, hide, and wait for the police to save you." But this is just not correct. In fact, it's often the worst thing you can do. Taking charge and attacking one's assailant is often the most effective means of thwarting him. You might not be unscathed; you might die. But everyone else will be saved.

This is why we don't praise the actions of the people of American Airlines Flights 11 and 77, or United Flight 175 on September 11th. We remember and mourn them, yes, but we don't praise them. They, to our knowledge, didn't fight back. They submitted to evil; they didn't try to stop it. The people on United Flight 93, on the other hand, did fight back. They're no less dead than the people on the other three flights, but they ensured that the terrorists on their flight failed. So we "praise them with great praise" as Tolkien would say.

And so we also praise Kaleb Eulls. He showed what one person can do when he disregards deadly Liberal propaganda and acts like a man.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Democrats and authority

In the '60s, so I'm told, some popular slogans of the Leftist counter-culture were "Question authority!" and "Never trust anyone over 30." As the ever-spot-on Camille Pagilla notes, however, those days are loooong gone.

Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans? Though they claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers ... They see no danger in expanding government authority and intrusive, wasteful bureaucracy. This is, I submit, a stunning turn away from the anti-authority and anti-establishment principles of authentic 1960s leftism.

But affluent middle-class Democrats now seem to be complacently servile toward authority and automatically believe everything party leaders tell them. Why? Is it because the new professional class is a glossy product of generically institutionalized learning? Independent thought and logical analysis of argument are no longer taught. Elite education in the U.S. has become a frenetic assembly line of competitive college application to schools where ideological brainwashing is so pandemic that it's invisible. The top schools, from the Ivy League on down, promote "critical thinking," which sounds good but is in fact just a style of rote regurgitation of hackneyed approved terms ("racism, sexism, homophobia") when confronted with any social issue. The Democratic brain has been marinating so long in those clichés that it's positively pickled.
That last line, "The Democratic brain has been marinating so long in those clichés that it's positively pickled," is probably the most succinct description of what Alan Bloom observed 20 years ago in The Closing of the American Mind. It's not an exclusive phenomenon of the Left, of course. (I've spent time talking about Creationism and evolution with conservative Christians who would give the Leftist dittoheads a real run for their money in terms of closed-minded ignorant prattle.) But it is explicitly institutionalized on the Left.

This is a point Jonah Goldberg vaguely hints at in his excellent Liberal Fascism. The Right has been forced for the past 50 years to publicly wrestle with the dark aspects of its past. Conservatives who defend states' rights have had to identify the legitimate aspects of that position, apart from the racist arguments state autonomy from Washington was used to justify for generations. This has made conservatism much richer and much deeper as time has gone on, just as a person who's forced to defend (and therefore, to understand) positions he holds will have a much deeper, more mature understanding of those positions as time goes on.

Liberals, as Jonah meticulously points out, have a distressing amount of baggage of their own that one would think they'd feel the need to justify. Instead, however, the Left has avoided doing this precisely by blaming all the baggage of the early-20th century Left on conservatives. Fascism, a distinctly Liberal phenomenon if ever there was one, has been labeled a conservative movement for many years. The evidence that this is not so has stared so many of us in the face for 70 years -- How could a National Socialist Party be anything other than Liberal? -- but many of us didn't see it because we were blinded by the brazen lies of the Left. Liberals today still promote many of the policies that the Fascists of yesterday promoted, but they haven't been called to account for them.

As Camille Pagilla points out, most of them can't account for them. Most of them feel no need, even when the point is painstakingly pointed out to them, to even attempt to account for them. This is sad, but understandably inevitable. The Left as a movement is based on the denial of objective Truth. All that matters in a world of subjective truths is power -- the power to enforce your view of the world on others. Thus Liberals have been conditioned to unquestioningly accept as legitimate the imposition of Leftist worldviews. This is their new worship -- the worship of power. It has rotted their brains.

Monday, September 7, 2009

VDH nails it

I'm not usually a defender of Victor Hanson. He's a neo-con of the rankest kind, and I'm no fan of the neo-cons (who are just Liberals who want to use government power for allegedly conservative ends, instead of for Liberal ends).

He really nails it when talking about the broader implications of the Van Jones scandal for Obama:
The Jones mess brings up a larger issue. Americans were assured that with the ascendance of Barack Obama we would evolve beyond race. Yet in the last ninth months it is almost as if precisely the opposite has occurred — but with a strange twist. The country has been serially lectured about race from some of the most privileged Americans in the country. Columbia law grad elite Eric Holder accused the country of cowardice for its reluctance to speak about race. Harvard-law alum Barack Obama accused the Cambridge police of profiling and acting stupidly in taking elite Harvard professor Skip Gates down to the station after his screaming invective episode. Harvard-law educated Michelle Obama explained Justice Sotomayor’s unease at Princeton by comparing her own ordeal there. Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee Charles Rangel who had serially dodged his tax obligations claims that white angst explains his IRS problems. New York governor David Paterson blames his sinking polls on white racism, more prominent than ever in the age of Obama. Now Yale law graduate Van Jones claims smears did him in. The list could be easily expanded. ...

Worse still, we are only in month nine of this new age of Obama — with more than three years to go in his first term — and the country is already tired of the blame-gaming and whining, when officials like Rangel and Jones start to defame others for their own lack of ethics and judgment. This is all very unfortunate, but I predict it will only intensify given the example at the top, and sadly probably result in a polarization that we have not seen in generations.
"[W]e are only in month nine of this new age of Obama ... and the country is already tired of the blame-gaming and whining." A sobering thought, that.

It's going to be a very long 3+ years., that's for sure.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The best diagnosis of what ails America's health care system I've seen

Written by David Goldhill, a businessman in New York City whose father was killed by medical negligence. His death drove Goldhill to figure out what is really wrong with America's health care system. His conclusion, a 6-page article in The Atlantic, is well worth your time. Well worth your time.

I can't say I agree with all of his recommendations at the end of the article, but his diagnosis of the problems ailing America's health care system is the clearest, most comprehensive, most reasonable effort I have ever seen.

Read the whole thing.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ted Kennedy's funeral: another Catholic scandal

This is Phil Lawler's position, anyway, and I'm strongly inclined to agree.

The great, unanswered question hanging over the congregation in Mission Church, and in the minds of the millions who watched the funeral Mass on television, was how the Catholic Church could arrange such a highly public tribute to a man who, over the years, was arguably the most powerful political opponent of the Catholic position on the central moral issue of our time: the battle to protect human life.

Boston's archdiocesan newspaper, The Pilot, muddled that point in its coverage of Kennedy's death. The Pilot story began:

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who died late Aug. 25 at the age of 77, stood firmly on the side of the Catholic Church on a wide range of issues from immigration reform to the minimum wage during his 47 years as a U.S. senator from Massachusetts.

But the youngest son of one of the nation's most famous Catholic families ran into criticism from leaders of the U.S. Catholic Church for his stand on abortion.

That story is misleading in two important respects. First, there is no single Catholic position on questions like immigration reform and the minimum wage; these are issues on which loyal Catholics can and do differ. Second, regarding the clear moral issue of abortion, the Pilot story does not forthrightly say that Kennedy's stand was tragically wrong, but only that he "ran into criticism." Thus the archdiocesan newspaper almost trivialized the problem. But the millions of observers who watched the funeral did not make the same mistake. All America saw that the Catholic Church was prepared to honor a politician who flouted clear, direct, and repeated public statements from the hierarchy.

"All America saw that the Catholic Church was prepared to honor a politician who flouted clear, direct, and repeated public statements from the hierarchy. " What a damning assessment. How can any faithful Catholic support it?

As Lawler points out in his follow up to this article, this is the sort of moral capitulation that provides ammunition to cynics and convinces people to leave the Church. Given the massive moral failings of the Church over the past 50 years, it hardly needs to give its critics more ammunition.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Feds to slash Medicare for heart patients by $1.4 billion

The federal government already controls Medicare and (to a lesser extent) Medicaid. Doctor reimbursements for those programs are abysmally low, and fewer providers are accepting Medicare/Medicaid patients.

Now it turns out that the Feds are set to make Medicare an even worse deal for cardiac doctors, by slashing $1.4 billion in reimbursement. This is the stuff that state-run health care is made of, folks. The private sector can always create wealth, but the state has a fixed amount of money to work with. State monies are always zero-sum.

This kind of thing will happen more and more, regardless of whether ObamaCare is passed, so long as the government runs or funds health care. That's just a fact.

Mussolini, eat your heart out.

Social media sites are trying to drum up support for Obama.

The language is creepy: "I pledge to serve Barack Obama." Isn't he supposed to serve us? He's our president, after all. That would be like my boss taking a pledge to serve me. It only works if you buy into the Obama personality cult.

Well, a fascist state needs a strongman to idolize. The US long ago became comfortably ensconced within the boundaries of fascism. We had FDR as a strongman. Kennedy auditioned for the role. Now folks on the Left are trying to give us the Great (half) White Hope as strongman.

My guess is there's been nary a peep about this in the MSM. Can you imagine the howling there'd be if someone tried to extol the virtues of being mindless dittohead for W.?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Hampshire is officially dead

A 10-year old New Hampshire girl has been ordered to stop being home-schooled and to attend public school, for no other reason than that the court disapproved of her mother's inclusion of Christian faith in her education. Seriously.
Although the marital master making recommendations to the court agreed the child is “well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising, and intellectually at or superior to grade level” and that “it is clear that the home schooling...has more than kept up with the academic requirements of the...public school system,” he nonetheless proposed that the Christian girl be ordered into a government-run school after considering “the impact of [her religious] beliefs on her interaction with others.” The court approved the order.
In other words, "Even though we can't find any legitimate academic or school-related reason to keep this girl from being home-schooled, we're ordering her to go to the public schools anyway." Is there any honest justification for this decision, apart from anti-religious sentiments?

I can't believe it. I'm serious. I could believe that something like this could have happened in a Leftist regime like Massachusetts, or California, or New York. But New Hampshire? New Hampshire?! The "Live free or die" state?

I'm despondent right now. I grew up in New Hampshire. In my late 20s, after I began to escape the haze of Leftist thought I'd spent the previous 7-8 years in, I came to really appreciate my home state's historically libertarian bent. New Hampshire has no sales tax or income tax. It has no paid legislature. It has no seat belt laws or helmet laws. It has, hands down, the greatest state motto ever -- Live free or die -- and for at least 200 years, it lived up to that motto.

Then, in the late 70s, southern New Hampshire started to become a bedroom community for Boston. By the late 80s, it seemed like close to half of the people living in southern New Hampshire worked in Massachusetts. By that time, many people from Massachusetts had started moving to New Hampshire -- bringing with them their Massachusetts sensibilities and values, which, in the proper role of government, often clashed with New Hampshire values. Now it seems that they've begun to tip the balance. This court decision would have been unthinkable in New Hampshire even 10 years ago.

What happened to the state I grew up in -- the one where people actually appreciated and understood freedom? It seems to have died.

This is a very sad day.

Friday, August 21, 2009

"Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!"

The ObamaCare debacle is in danger of becoming a full-fledged train wreck. Charlie Cook, a moderate Democrat described by some to be one of the best political handicappers in the business, has a shrill note of warning for Obama & Co. (as reported by Politico):
Reviewing recent polling and the 2010 election landscape, Cook can envision a scenario in which Democratic House losses could exceed 20 seats.

"These data confirm anecdotal evidence, and our own view, that the situation this summer has slipped completely out of control for President Obama and Congressional Democrats. Today, The Cook Political Report’s Congressional election model, based on individual races, is pointing toward a net Democratic loss of between six and 12 seats, but our sense, factoring in macro-political dynamics is that this is far too low," he wrote.
That's a big deal. 20 seats wouldn't be enough to take control of the House from the Dems, but it would make it almost impossible for them to shove Liberal legislation through like they have this year. The Blue Dogs would have much greater influence, which would probably mean that legislation coming from the Left would tend to be less Leftist. That would be a very good thing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mindless nonsense, and the people who follow it

One of the biggest drums the Left is beating these days concerning health care reform is that the entrenched interests -- Big Pharma, insurance companies, doctors, and hospitals -- all oppose it, with only the saintly government left to work on behalf of the people. It seems to just be assumed by nearly all Liberals that this is the case.

Not surprisingly, it's completely wrong.

Case in point: I was debating this very issue with a Liberal friend of a friend earlier today. He insisted that the above-stated interests obviously and inveterately oppose reform. He even sent me this Washington Post article on the issue as unanswerable proof of his argument. Not only that, but he playfully lambasted me for getting my (obviously biased) facts from Fox News (a curse word among Liberals, but it's the only remotely honest news network left these days).

The funny thing was, the article he sent me supported absolutely none of his arguments. In fact, it explicitly supported mine. I stood in awe of his obliviousness, and could only respond with the very words of the article he linked to. Here was my response:
"Of the $52 million spent so far [on ads regarding health care reform], [Campaign Media Analysis Group] calculates that the largest share -- $23 million -- has come from groups advertising broadly in favor of overhauling the health-care system".

"The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America organization has joined the nonprofit group Families USA to spend about $4 million airing an updated version of the iconic 'Harry and Louise' ads, but this time the couple is calling for passage of reform. The drug industry group has more advertising planned for this month."

"America's Health Insurance Plans, a trade group representing insurance companies, is running ... [an] ad ... 'supporting bipartisan reforms that Congress can build on.' ... Karen Ignagni, AHIP's president and chief executive, said ... AHIP will remain focused on spreading the message -- via the existing ad campaign and other efforts -- that the group supports reform."

Yep, sure sounds like they oppose reform to me.
I mean, think about it. How blindly sold-out to a position must you be to use an article that offers clear evidence disproving your argument, and not be joking? (I suppose this guy could be joking. I hadn't thought of that -- though, from our conversations it seems very unlikely. That would at least make him a reasonable human being, instead of a Liberal dittohead automaton.)

The fact is that just about all of the relevant special interests have bought into the general framework of the health care reform bills in Congress:
  • Insurance companies (whom Obama double-crossed by vilifying them after promising to play nice) get a mandate that everyone must buy their product. (Sure, they have to cover everyone, but so what? It would be like the government requiring GM to cap their car prices at $15,000, but then ordering everyone to buy a GM car. The company would make out like gangbusters.)
  • Big Pharma ensure that drug prices aren't cut.
  • Hospitals and the AMA (and other professional associations) ensure that the current care provision and payment dynamics will pretty much stay the same.
  • The ABA ensures that massive malpractices suits won't be limited.
All this to say that the rhetoric about special interests orchestrating opposition to ObamaCare is -- for anyone who cares to actually look into this issue -- spectacularly, obviously wrong.

As an aside, the above conclusion also puts the lie to the Left's condemnations of "Astroturf" opposition. The opposition to ObamaCare is Of the People and By the People, because all the entrenched interests on on the side of ObamaCare. There's no one left on the Right to install the Astroturf: they're all to busy tending the grass or laying down sod.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gone too Favre this time.

So Brett Favre's officially a Viking. Most of the football talking head universe is rejoicing. Minnesota fans seem to be generally hopeful.

I'm disgusted. Brett Favre? Gag me with a spoon.

The man is the biggest freaking prima donna behind center today. He's well past his prime. Talking heads who worship the ground he walks on have in their minds the Brett Favre of 8-9 years ago: the 30 year-old Brett Favre who was one of the 5 best QBs of all time. Unfortunately, this Brett Favre is the 39 year-old version, and he's a washed up journeyman living off of his past glory. He's almost like the Kevin Costner of the NFL.

I suppose that comparison is a bit unfair to Favre, a 3-time MVP and the all-time leader in touchdowns and passing yards (and interceptions). Costner made a few good films (The Untouchables, Field of Dreams, and [if you have trouble distinguishing a chick flick from a sports film] Bull Durham), one excellent film (Dances With Wolves) ... and that's it. He followed that up with a series of clunkers, but somehow his name was always bandied about with the Pacinos and DeNiros during the 90s.

Similarly, Favre put up 7 decent or good years ('92, '94, '98, '01, '03-'04 '07), 3 excellent years ('95-'97), and 8 sub-par or crappy years ('93, '99-'00, '02, '05-'06, '08). He was personally responsible for killing his team's chances at least twice in the postseason (his 6-pick game against St. Louis in '01 and his inexcusably lame duck overtime interception against NY in '08), he lost at least a dozen games over the past 8 years or so by gambling on throws, and he single-handedly killed the NY Jets' '09 season (part of the reason they only kept him for 1 year). As time has gone on, his gambling has gotten worse -- along with his skills. His ego, however, has never been bigger.

Members of the Jets have gone on record saying that Favre's oversized ego and prima donna habits sabotaged last year's team. Members of the Packers have described Favre's anti-team habits (like requiring his own private dressing room) and the negative effect they had on the team over the years. We've seen how his increasingly shoddy play lost games for Green Bay and the Jets.

Despite all this, Favre is still largely lionized by the sports media. John Madden had a massive man-crush on him (which he partially transferred to Tom Brady towards the end of his career). Most color commentators and sports casters do too. Favre can do no wrong for them.

Witness ESPN's Keven Seifert, who praises the Viking's signing of a washed-up Favre by saying that the model Minnesota was pursuing -- a hellacious defense, a superior running game, and a game-managing QB -- doesn't win championships. Someone should tell the 2000 Ravens, the 2002 Bucs, the 2006 Steelers, and the 2008 Giants about that -- I don't think any of them got that memo. (This is the kind of nonsense that Favre-worship leads otherwise-intelligent-and-competent reporters to engage in.)

Unfortunately -- despite the hero-worship of the Kevin Seiferts of the world, Favre will do a lot of wrong for the Vikings. Minnesota needa a competent QB who knows his limitations and will work within the system to succeed. Favre fulfills the first condition, but manifestly fails the last two. The one thing we know about Favre is that he doesn't -- that he can't -- work within any system that doesn't allow him to gamble. We saw that in Green Bay under Mike McCarthy and Mike Sherman. We saw that in New York last year. We will see that in Minnesota this year. Count on it.