Sunday, February 28, 2010

When You're in a Hole, Stop Digging!

US decline is not inevitable, but neither is continued progress

"The combination of debt, dollar devaluation, delusion, and depletion will make this crisis the most challenging and dangerous in US history."
The United States is reaching a point where some painful decisions must be taken in order to avoid an even more painful crash.  It's time to stop blaming dead people (FDR, Reagan) and start gathering facts. 

Bigger government and more spending won't get us out of the historic hole Democrats and Republicans have dug for us.  It will take a hundred years of bitter medicine to save this country.  Jim Quinn at Minyanville paints a very scary picture of what we are facing.  (all quotes from Minyanville - Jim Quinn)
Politicians have voted for bailouts of criminal banks run by Boomers, voted for hundreds of billions of dollars in pork projects for their corporate constituents ... and have deferred the critical cuts that must be made to entitlement promises they’ve made to the American public in order to get elected.

These politicians have doubled the national debt of the United States to $12.4 trillion in less than eight years.
And they will double it again in the next eight years.
We’ve sold out America for cheap Chinese hair dryers, inexpensive Mexican apparel, economy packs of Fruit of the Loom from Indonesia, and yellow smiley face stickers for our kids.

As reward for gutting the American economy by shipping jobs overseas, American CEOs have enriched themselves at a rate 500 times higher than the average worker’s pay.
Heads they win, Tails we Lose
Wall Street bankers were paying close attention to how corporate CEOs were able to reap ungodly profits while socializing the costs.
"Socializing the costs" is a euphemism for sticking the taxpayer with big business losses (think AIG, Goldman Sachs, the GM government bailout.)  George Bush and Congress bailed out Wall Street and told Main Street to go to hell (after they got done looting it to pay the banksters' gambling debts).  Obama and the Pelosicrats give us more of the same.

President Obama didn't start this fire, but he sure is fanning the flames. 

Quinn's article may be overly pessimistic.  He believes in peak oil and he easily discounts the effects of future technological gains.  Strong, sustained economic growth could also delay our nation's date with the grim reaper.  Still, the article is full of facts and it is a gripping wake up call.

Related Article:  For one man's view of how to get out of this mess, go here

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Vast Confederacy of Fools...

Great quote. Too bad we don't know who wrote it....

The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the presidency. 

It will be easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to an electorate willing to have such a man for their president. 

The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails us. 

Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The republic can survive a Barack Obama. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.” 
-- Author Unknown

HT to a patriot serving in Afghanistan

Friday, February 26, 2010

Intellectual Morons

I just finished reading Intellectual Morons by Daniel J. Flynn and I highly recommend it. The title is unfortunate, suggesting a Coulteresque screed instead of the scholarly but breezy read that it is.
"ideology acts as a mental straitjacket. It blinds adherents to reality, breeds fanaticism, and rationalizes dishonesty. It makes smart people stupid."
Flynn covers much of the same ground Jack Cashill covers in Hoodwinked, but from a slightly different angle, making both books essential reading. What distinguishes this book is the treatment of ideology: Flynn leads off with a thought-provoking chapter on the subject, and it is a thread that runs through the book.

Do You Use Ideology as a Crutch?

Ideology can be a mental framework to make sense of what's going on around you, but Flynn sees it is more as a crutch for those too lazy to think for themselves.  Reading the opening chapter slowly and thoughtfully can provide a good intellectual self-examination.
The main idea behind Intellectual Morons is that ideology acts as a mental straitjacket. It blinds adherents to reality, breeds fanaticism, and rationalizes dishonesty. It makes smart people stupid.

It doesn’t matter how intelligent you are if you don’t use your brain. Intelligent people aren’t necessarily rigorous thinkers. In fact, many of them are mentally lazy. Ideology provides a way for lazy people to respond to issues, ideas, people, and events without thinking.

For the ideologue, ideology is the Rosetta Stone of everything. Why think when the system provides all the answers? Ideology is attractive to smart people because it flatters them by suggesting that a single idea from the mind of an intellectual has the power of explaining all of history or ordering the affairs of whole nations. No person is that smart; no idea that good. (Front Page - Interview)
My conservative friends are nodding their heads, thinking "oh yeah!"

But wait!  He goes after Ayn Rand, Objectivism, and those dreaded neocons as well, attacking not so much the adherents as the intellectual authors. It doesn't offend me because I am a fan of neither ideology, but even so, it is healthy to hear some reasoned criticism of one's sacred cows.

Neocons and Randites can still find much to love in the book.  He saves the vast majority of his firepower for the likes of Planned Parenthood, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, PETA, radical environmentalists and postmodernists.

Intellectual Morons is a storehouse of of ammo for those who enjoy arguing with liberals.  More importantly, it is a useful springboard to an intellectual self-examination.  

Are you an ideologue or an independent thinker?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Penny for your thoughts...

The US Mint has changed the design on the reverse of the 2010 Lincoln cent, the new coin having entered circulation on Feb 11, 2010.

Not all that of an unusual occurance and it is not the design of the new cent that I take exception to but the US Mints own description of that design:

"The 13 vertical stripes of the shield represent the states joined in one compact union to support the federal government"

US Mint Press Release

Seems to me that they got this one backasswards in a big way, is not the constitutional purpose and existence of the federal government to protect and serve the states? Did not the states form the federal government to establish justice, domestic tranquility, common defence, general welfare, blessings of liberty...and so on and so forth?

The official description approved by the 1782 congress is a simple:

Paleways of thirteen pieces Argent and Gules: A Chief, Azure.

However the designer Charles Thomson commented on the symbolism of the design and it is considered the only 'official' explanation offered about the meaning of the Union Shield that appears on the Great Seal.

"The shield is composed of thirteen stripes that represent the several states joined into one solid compact, supporting the chief which unites the whole and represents Congress. The stripes are kept closely united by the chief and the chief depends upon that union and the strength resulting from it.

A far cry from "the states joined in one compact union to support the federal government".

Well those are my thoughts...yours?


Crony Capitalism

"The stereotype of Wall Street being Republican is decades out of date."
Oso, a liberal commenter (a thinking liberal), recently observed here that from his perspective, Obama so far looks a lot like Bush.  I had to agree.  Both men are statists, freely mingling government and business in an orgy of money and special favors.

Big Business has no Ideology but Profit

Michael Barone writes about how crony capitalism has thrived under the Obama administration, continuing and expanding the unholy business-government embrace of the Bush administration.

Lobbyists, reports the Center for Responsive Politics, had a record 2009 in Barack Obama's Washington. Despite candidate Obama's promises to shun them, they raked in $3,470,000,000.

Goldman employee contributions to Democrats in 2008 ranked second only to those employed by the University of California. JPMorgan Chase's employees ranked No. 7. The stereotype of Wall Street being Republican is decades out of date.
Barone Describes Crony Capitalism in a Nutshell:
The government and the United Auto Workers own General Motors and Chrysler, which aren't likely to pay back their billions in TARP money any time soon, if ever. Meanwhile the government tells Americans to stop driving Toyotas.

Big Business has been busy lobbying Big Government for "reforms" that serve big companies' interests. Wal-Mart backs a health care mandate, Philip Morris shapes tobacco regulation, General Electric is setting up a joint venture to trade carbon offsets (wasn't that Enron's line of work back in the day?).
Statism is a disease that strikes both Democratic and Republican governments, and crony capitalism is a bipartisan sport. Until their is bipartisan voter anger, the games will continue to bleed us dry.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

We're All Criminals Now

In a nation of hammers, every problem looks like a nail...

In a government ruled by lawyers, every citizen looks like a criminal, and every problem can be solved by one more law...

Gene Healy at CATO writes about a case before the supreme court arguing a law "criminalizing schemes to "deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.""

Yes, it's as ridiculous as it sounds.  Justice Breyer observed, to the government lawyer defending the broad criminal statute...
"Of some 150 million workers in the United States, I think possibly 140 million of them would flunk your test."
Healy points out that the founders would in no way approve of the dense tangle of criminal law our busy barristers have spun out over these many years:
It's for good reason that our Constitution mentions only three federal crimes (treason, piracy, and counterfeiting).

At one point on Tuesday, Breyer protested: "I thought there was a principle that a citizen is supposed to be able to understand the criminal law."
Good luck with that.
More Laws Than We Can Count
There are now more than 4,000 federal crimes, spread out through some 27,000 pages of the U.S. Code.

Some years ago, analysts at the Congressional Research Service tried to count the number of separate offenses on the books, and gave up, lacking the resources to get the job done.

If teams of legal researchers can't make sense of the federal criminal code, obviously, ordinary citizens don't stand a chance.

You can serve federal time for [...] misappropriating the likeness of Woodsy Owl and his associated slogan, "Give a hoot, don't pollute." ("What are you in for, kid?" your new cellmate growls.)
... And every week Ray Lahood or some other liberal Obama apparatchik marches out and announces another new writ from the emperor.  Does it make you feel safer knowing that if you unwittingly break one of these laws you could go to jail?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Progressives Unbalanced

Progressive Constitutional Abuse
The enumerated powers of Congress are detailed in Article 1, section 8. Governmental abuse of two clauses in particular cause much mischief:  The Commerce Clause and the General Welfare Clause. 

Progressives have been on a Long March over the past 100 years to stretch these two clauses so out of shape that anything whatsoever they dream up may be justified by one or the other.  These two abused clauses are now so capacious that they can hold the weighty and dubious notion that the federal government can compel you to buy health care.  Why not make us all buy a new car or fall out of calisthenics every morning? 
Restoring Balance Will Not Be Easy

GOP Senatorial hopeful Ken Buck recently lamented the encroachment of the Federal government upon the rights of the states and the people.  He easily ticked off various examples, but he added that it would not be easy to restore balance after so many years of abuse. 

We Can't Just Yank it Back
If conservatives were to regain control, we cannot simply yank the steering wheel back to the right.  Liberals just tried yanking things their way, with disastrous results.

You've got to logically and intellectually make your case to the American people.  We resisted being herded to the left.  But a high-handed stampede to the right will also end in failure, with many rightist rustlers sliding over a cliff while voters scramble for the safety of the middle ground.

It's an intellectual battle
Liberals have failed to explain their programs, specifically health care.  They hysterically accuse conservatives of blaring disinformation from the right wing noise machine and scream about Republicans being in cahoots with "big pharma" and "big"insurance."  Nevermind that Obama has cut deals with both groups. 

Liberal columnists throw up their hands, "The average voter is just too stupid to realize a good thing when he sees it!"

That is the problem.  Instead of logically and intellectually explaining what's in the 2,000 pages, they get impatient and call names.  Once you do that, you're done.

If you're trying to sell me something, the burden is on you to convince me to part with my money.  If I'm too stupid to realize just how good a deal this is, then you need to talk slower and explain it better. 

If I can't understand the benefit, I'm not parting with my money.  That's a basic conservative principle that even liberals practice in their own private lives.

Monday, February 22, 2010

What's Wrong With American Politics?

Hypocrisy Too Late

Purple-faced liberals are screaming about GOP hypocrisy.  It's really inconsistency, but they do have a point.  Republicans were all for irresponsible spending before they were against it.  David Paul Kuhn, no liberal, observes:
Many of the Republicans who backed the historic big government bill are shamelessly sanctimonious about spending today. 

Fiscal conservative hypocrisy is so rampant we take it for granted. This is Eric Cantor, a Republican House leader, at a press conference two months ago: "Once again we see the Democrats asking to incur more debt at the same time they are claiming to be fiscally responsible; another day where it is more of, ‘Do as I say, not as I do.'"
The author then reminds us Cantor voted for Bush's grossly expensive Medicare drug plan (which the GOP gets no props for, btw.)  He continues on, pointing out some Democratic hypocrisy, but Republicans bear the brunt of his fact-filled assault. 

In the GOP's defense, spending as a percentage of GDP was "only" around 65% when they were in power.  Since they lost congress it has climbed sharply to over 90%.  We're damn near to the tipping point.  If there were a time for big spenders to repent and turn hypocrite, it is now.

One-Size-Fits-All Statism
America’s political structure was designed to make legislation at the federal level difficult, not easy. Its founders believed that a country the size of America is best governed locally, not nationally. (The Economist)
Exactly.  Obama and the Pelosicrats must relinquish their utopian dreams and let each state sort it out.  We are too big, too diverse, and too modern for one-size-fits-all Politburo-style solutions from a gang of creaky, out of touch elitists.

The System Works
There's nothing wrong with American politics.  They system is working.  Too bad we didn't hit gridlock about 80 years ago.  It would have prevented FDR from launching us upon this greased rail to fiscal hell.   

Afterword:  Hypocrisy is a Tired Charge
The charge of hypocrisy in the political arena is a tired one.  I have leveled it only a handful of times in this blog.  Adding to the confusion, it is now commonly conflated with inconsistency.  Ramesh Ponnuru wrote a good essay on the subject back in 2005.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Balad Burn Pit

I came back from my year in the desert with a persistent cough.  (Yes, only one year.  I was just an Air Force comm troop after all).  After awhile you start to wonder what's going on (Gulf War Syndrome? Nile River Virus? Hammurabi Flu?)

Turns out I had developed some kind of allergy-like symptoms easily taken care of by an over the counter Claritin when needed.

Then I read about this guy and others who say they have debilitating symptoms because of Balad's burn pit. (Balad is northwest of Baghdad, for those who've never had the pleasure taking that blackhawk ride up the Tigris.)

Breathing smoke as a Fobbit is nothing compared to what the combat troops go through, but I can sympathize. I had my own encounters with the Balad Burn pit.  Here's a picture I took, I don't know why...

I can vouch that it really stunk, but so does cordite from a mortar attack when your tent's air handling unit sucks it in as the sirens are going off... There were days when it swept across the base, but usually it just plumed up into the sky...


Here's a picture of us putting up an antenna at the Balad tower.  Nothing but blue skies that day!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Age of Radical Transparency

Radical Transparency, what a concept!  
The Global Warming scammers at CRU learned it the hard way.  Nothing stays hidden for long nowadays, and that's a good thing.  Tiger couldn't hide his affairs and the warmists couldn't hide the decline.  Meanwhile, radical transparency still has not uncovered Bush's 9/11 plot or Cheney's Halliburton war profiteering.  Hmmm...

Anyway, props to Benjamen Wright, commenting on an article in the Financial Times about how Secrecy in Science is a Corrosive Force:
20. Benjamin Wright | November 30 2:23pm | Permalink
Information technology (Internet, email records,, data-mining) is imposing radical transparency on all publicly accountable organizations, be they scientific units or county governments in South Carolina. Argument:
This is Digital Democracy!
Digital democracy.  We have access to all the data and we have a vote.
No politician, regardless of party or ideology should be given a free pass.  If she can't explain herself:  Thumbs down!

If it's an incomprehensible mishmash of bureaucratic sludge and the politicians can't explain it:  Thumbs Down!

If they're trying to rush it through or hide important details under cover of darkness:  Thumbs Down!

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Thumbs down!

Government should not be funding dubious enterprises.  What is a dubious enterprise?  Anything that they can't logically explain.  THUMBS DOWN!!!

Solution?  Government should not be funding any of it.  It should instead confine itself to the duties enumerated in The Constitution and leave the rest to the free market of capital and ideas.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Good RINO Hunting

Republicanism is not Conservatism
We all have our own ideologies.  When they broadly overlap with others we make common cause via a political movement or party.  Our two major political parties only imperfectly concord with ideology.  Rather, they are the two vessels, right and left, that carry candidates to victory or defeat.  They are the two big tents. 

Given this True or False question, the only right answer for a conservative is the GOP.

I think we criticize politicians too much for not matching our ideology perfectly, for not being pure.  Meanwhile, we fail to criticize them for their serial constitutional infidelities.

Scott Brown is a GOP hero for wrenching the "Ted Kennedy" seat from the liberals' grimy clutches, but he wouldn't play well in Texas.  The south has many fine conservative congressmen and senators who proudly put Christianity and family values first, but Christian credentials don't carry you too far here in the Mountain West. 

Congressmen and Senators Serve Their States
If you believe in federalism, where the federal government restricts itself to its constitutional duties and leaves the heavy lifting to state and local governments, you cannot argue that Meg Whitman is too liberal to be the GOP nominee for governor of California, or that Carly Fiorina is too liberal to be the GOP senate candidate from that same state.  Senators and congressmen serve their states, and their politics will reflect the sentiments of those who elect them. 

The ACU Ratings:  Who are the True Conservatives?

The American Conservative Union publishes the gold standard of conservative measurements, ranking every congressman and senator based upon how each voted. 

Barbra Boxer is a zero (in more ways than one), and constitutional conservative Jim DeMint is around 98%.  The much hated Lindsay Graham scored a perfect 100% in 2008.  I don't believe he should be banned from the club because he has strayed on the one issue of global warming.

RINO Safari

The lifetime scores of Senators Snow and Collins of Maine both hover around the low side of 50%, in a state where the two liberal Democrat congressmen score a 6% and 12%.  These good women are walking a political tightrope, but they're on our side (Dems have heavily courted them).  If they both were Democrats, Obama and Harry Reid would still have a a 61 vote supermajority in the Senate.   

It's time we cut fellow Republicans some slack
Yes, conservatives, you're Republicans.  Who else are you going to vote for?  Politics is about gaining power so you can implement your ideas.  You do that by winning elections, not by "making a statement" with your independent party that steals 8% of the vote and throws the election to the Democrat (Bill Clinton never got 50% of the vote thanks to third-partiers).

The primaries are the arena to fight it out.  Proof:  Marco Rubio is now beating squishy moderate Charlie Crist. 

We need to hold the feet to the fire of those we elect.  We must invade the GOP and insist it stand for constitutional conservatism.  We also need robust internal debate, but let's save our outraged cries of "RINO!" for the rare Scozzafava, and stop anathematizing each other. 

Do you want the power to make the changes our nation needs?  Or do you want the smug satisfaction of being a pure but powerless minority?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Republican Advantage: Liberalism is Too Expensive

A burgeoning national debt looms over the political environment

We may be able to go on five more years like this, or even 10 or 20.  But we are certain to one day hit the tipping point where our government bonds are considered junk, driving interest rates into the stratosphere and making the dollar good only for toilet paper.

These are not feverish Pat Buchanan rants or Glenn Beck apocalyptic nightmares.  Read respected economists and commentators like Steve Forbes, Robert Samuelson, or anybody writing in finance magazines.  They all agree the situation is not pretty and that we can't continue on like this forever.  Even uber lib Matthew Yglesias says we can't afford more government.  Sooner or later, The Crash will come, dumping us into the third world toilet.

A stunning admission from the New York Times detailing just how dire our fiscal situation has become:
Unless miraculous growth, or miraculous political compromises, creates some unforeseen change over the next decade, there is virtually no room for new domestic initiatives for Mr. Obama or his successors.
Bribing Voters with Free Stuff is Expensive
Think about it.  Everything on the Democratic menu costs money:  Health care, college tuition assistance, food stamps, welfare...  Or it relies on economy-crushing taxing and regulating (taxes on "the rich," cap and trade).  They get elected by promising people free stuff and then robbing innocent citizens to pay for what they can't borrow.  In fairness, Republicans have abandoned conservative principles and eagerly jumped on this shameful vote-buying bandwagon.

Conservatism Costs Nothing

Conservatism steeped in the more libertarian philosophy of our founders costs nothing.  And Americans are hungy for it.  A rugged individualism backed by our traditional generosity towards charities could win elections in the country.  Separating traditional banking from Wall Street casinos would gain independents.  Telling Wall Street to shove it, that we won't pay off their gambling debts anymore, will pick off many working class traditional values democrats.

People are not stupid:  We know we can't keep running deficits forever
America is ready to hear the truth about our fiscal cancer that threatens to destroy us.  John McCain missed his chance to crap in the punchbowl back in 2008.  He was just the crabby old man to do deliver the message that the federal government must be slashed.  

Can the GOP man up and deliver the message in 2010?  We'll see...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

From "the more things change..." department:

You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.
Charles Austin Beard US historian (1874 - 1948)

Bush Voters: Repent and Be Saved!

Now is the time for all good conservatives to crucify George Bush for the good of the country (metaphorically) .

I am not mocking Christianity or Our Savior, so I hope I don't offend anyone.  We're in Lent now, so bear with me...

The Wall Street Journal observes that the hit song, "Blame Bush" by Obama and the Pelosicrats  is falling fast on the Hot 100 chart.  Voters of all stripes are tired of hearing it.

Nonetheless, we conservatives are guilty of silently assenting to his sinful eight-year spending spree, and tea partiers were the first to fess up:
Looking back, the way a lot of them see it is that Bush laid the foundation for worse things to follow.

"It started with the Republicans and with Bush," James Spangler, the insurance agent, told me.  "I mean, I'm a George Bush guy, but it started with him at the end, with Bernanke and Paulson -- those guys screwed up big time, and they opened the door for those people who are in there now to just go crazy, which is what they're doing." (Examiner - Byron York)

Now, deficits that troubled them a few years ago have tripled. 
Republican candidates who assert a small-government, constitutional conservatism will have to put some distance between themselves and the former president.  Indeed, we all must make a clean break in order to move forward:
Party strategists have long acknowledged that the presidency of George W. Bush badly damaged the Republican brand in the eyes of voters...

The danger ... is that there remains a significant segment within the Republican base who still supports Bush and many of the policies he put into place. Those same conservatives have an outsized say in determining the presidential nominee of their party as they tend to be the most engaged and passionate voters. (The Fix - Tim Pawlenty)
As Jesus took the sins of the world upon himself, so must we hang the sins of the Republican party, along with George Bush, upon a cross of intellectual honesty:
* His Compassionate Conservative crap merely fed the liberal trope that conservatives are by nature not compassionate

* His administration jailed jihadis without taking the time to construct a coherent legal framework.  Because of this, we are still arguing over what to do with them.  Add to that the hastily slapped together Patriot Act, and the perception is they didn't care about the constitution

* His very un-conservative out of control spending included a big fat prescription drug benefit and No Child Left Behind.  Both of which are continually attacked by Democrats.

* His coup de grace was the bailout.  Dirty Hank Paulson and his gang of bandits breached the walls of The Treasury, and the Wall Street Banksters went on a looting spree.  We are trillions poorer thanks to President Bush and the gang of pirates he was in bed with. 

If you're not into the Christian thing, then try out this Hollywood analogy:  Like Batman, he is bound to run because we are bound to chase him.  No good deed goes unpunished.

Repent and be saved, Conservatives!  

You can say Bush is a good man.  You can say he kept us safe after 9/11.  But you can't defend Bush's presidency and also call yourself an anti-progressive,  small-government, constitutional conservative.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Liberal View: Voters are Childish and Ignorant

Liberal government nannyism encourages childishness, so it's no wonder liberals compare us to children

Jacob Weisberg at Slate has written an article calling American voters childish and ignorant.  Read the article and it's clear he's tacitly hurling the charge at rightwing tea partiers.  We rail against Big Government while we collect our Social Security checks.  Oh, the hypocrisy!

Meanwhile, the Global Warming Fairy Tale Continues to Unravel...
Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.(Daily Mail)
Get that?  The arrogant "scientist" who powered the entire global warming scam, including the hockey stick, has just admitted that there has been no global warming in the past 15 years. 

Add to that the Himalaya Glacier Fraud, Chinese temperature stations fraud, and countless other international swindles stacked upon this junk science dung heap.  Regardless, liberals in this country refuse to let go of the myth. 

So tell me again who the childish and ignorant are?

Big Government: Overpromised, Undersold

The End of Big Government

It's not just us.  Governments around the world have overpromised and undersold.  They had dreams of wiping away every tear, free health care for all, generous old age pensions...  The only thing they completely accomplished was racking up trillions of dollars of debt.

Liberals call it noble, trying to take care of everybody by forced redistribution; spreading it around, as President Obama would say...  But the scheme has collapsed.  There's no way to continue paying for it.  Bernard Palmer sums it up nicely:
Feb 11th 2010 4:21 GMT
World wide Socialism is really dying. We should get ready to celebrate and say goodbye to the huge governments and their armies of parasites who have fed themselves fat for so very long. Hopefully Copenhagen was their last big romp.
It's the Economic Uncertainty, Stupid!
The Economist, a highly-respected British magazine, is an excellent source of dispassionate, unbiased news.  Studiously apolitical, they are a trusted source around the world.  They don't go quite as far as Bernard Palmer in condemning big government, but the solution they proffer looks a lot like Reaganism:
That points to a renewed focus on freeing trade, cutting spending rather than raising taxes and agreeing on new financial regulations.

Some of today’s nervousness comes from “policy risk”. Nobody—neither firms, banks nor individuals—is quite sure where government policy is going. The more that governments can do to reduce such uncertainty, the stronger the recovery is likely to be.
If the Federal Government merely froze spending and announced a moratorium on government regulation and taxes, our economy would grow as a result.  Uncertainty is killing us.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Evan Bayh: The Man Who Refused to Sell His Soul

We are looking at one of the few politicians who values his soul more than power

God bless Evan Bayh.  The man refused to eat the crap sandwich that is the Obama Agenda.  Six more years of trying to defend the indefensible?  Six years defending socialism that he doesn't agree with anyway?  Forget it.  He's gone.  Another sensible Democrat run off by the Chicago Syndicate.

Bayh reminds me of a young Senator named Al Gore.  Before Gore hooked up with the Clintons he was pro-life, pro-gun, pro-tobacco, and a defense hawk.  Had he won the 1988 Democratic nomination I would have voted for him over George H.W. Bush.

I'm glad I didn't because his U-turn on so many core issues was frightening.  Then he went on to lose the 2000 election, while trying to suppress the military vote, became completely unhinged and the rest is a tawdry tale of an enviro-evangelist...

Anyway, Congratulations Senator Bayh!  You are still too liberal for me, but you're a principled man, and that is rare for a politician nowadays.

Europe's Slow, Painful Suicide

Watching Europe's decline at the hands of modern-day Vandals and Visigoths is sickening.  The worst part is that Europeans have done it to themselves.  It's like watching a dear friend slowly kill himself with drugs...
MILAN (Reuters) - Dozens of immigrants from North Africa rioted during the night in a multi-ethnic district of Milan, smashing shop windows and overturning cars to protest at the knifing death of an Egyptian...

The rioting began on Saturday evening after a 19-year-old Egyptian man, identified by police as Hamed Mamoud El Fayed Adou, was killed, apparently by a group of immigrants from South America.
Diversity is Perversity...

... When guilty liberals use it to promote cultural dysfunction.  Is a culture that circumcises little girls and kills young women for looking at a boy really equivalent to Italy's rich cultural tradition?

Is allowing newcomers to form criminal gangs and snuff the natives' traditional way of life a form of cultural outreach?

Europe is Dying

This saddens me, because I love Europe.  I have lived there and traveled to many countries on the continent.  This is what happens when a morally flaccid people can't sustain themselves by having enough children.  They have to import troublemakers in the hopes that the noisome newcomers will sustain the social programs that the aging nation depends upon.

I hate to say it, but a country that becomes ashamed of its culture and unable to sustain itself has earned its decline...

Arrivederci, auf wiedersehen, cheerio...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Healthy Discussion

Paul Ryan has some specific plans for controlling government spending  
Liberal Ezra Klein has a civil give and take with Paul Ryan about health care.  If you want to understand the issue, Read This Article.  If you want to see a model of intelligent, productive conversation between a liberal and a conservative, Read This Article.

Keeping America's Edge

Jim Manzi has written a thought-provoking article on the social and economic transformations our nation must go through if we want to survive and thrive in the 21st Century.

That chart says much.  America's manufacturing output, as a percentage of GDP, has not changed, but it now requires less than half the workforce it did in 1947.  Productivity increases mean many factory workers have to go find a job somewhere else.

Creative Destruction is a bracing shock to cities, families and individuals as well as whole industries, but we're better off for it in the end.  I expected to follow Papa Silverfiddle into the factory after high school, but economic upheaval wrecked my plans.  I'm not from Pennsylvania, but Billy Joel's "Allentown" explains it all. I went into the Air Force instead and I'm a better man for it.

Innovation, as always is the key
Our success owes much to our dynamism and innovation.  We now need to throw it into hyper-drive.  This involves putting slow-thinking, sclerotic government on a diet and getting it out of the way, of manufacturing, technology innovation, and education.

I recommend you go read this piece.  It is long but interesting.  Thankfully, the author avoids partisan left-right arguments while challenging us to think in new ways.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Gays in the Military: Another View

A hilarious missive from Scooter's Report:

WASHINGTON (SR) - President Barack Obama has directed the Pentagon to replace the "don't ask, don't tell" policy with one that will allow openly gay men and women to serve in the military.

Go read it all at Scooter's Report

Thanks for the e-mail, Larry!


At least when Post-Impressionists deconstructed bourgeoisie reality, they produced something interesting to replace it. (Post Impressionist Artwork)

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Deficit of Knowledge

Carrying debt is not bad if it remains a manageable percentage of your income

Think of your fixed 20 or 30 year mortgage.  It looks big and scary when you sign the papers, but as the years go by it shrinks in comparison to your (hopefully) rising income. 

But imagine if your debt were growing faster than your income.  At some point, total yearly spending will overtake your income, driving you to bankruptcy.

That is what is happening to the US:  Debt is Growing Faster than GDP
We've had debt since the 1800's.  It's ballooned in war time and gone down in flush times.  But over the past decades (yes, it is partially Bush's fault), it's been growing faster than our economy.

Are Liberals Economically Stupid, Purposefully Dishonest or Willfully Ignorant?
Surf over to ultra-lib Salon and you'll quickly see why most liberals are economically ignorant.  Michael Lind has written a extremely stupid article, even by liberal standards.  He starts with the standard Keynesian argument that you can't cut government spending during a recession, blithely unaware that there is no empirical data to back this up

He then poo poos those who compare the national budget to a household budget:
This folksy metaphor is repeated so often that its absurdity is rarely noticed. In reality, households and businesses do not balance their budgets every month, or even every year. Both households and businesses take out loans and pay them down over many years.

Do deficit hawks understand that real households and businesses do not follow the "pay-go" rules that they advocate for the government — on the supposed model of households and businesses? Are deficit hawks really deficit dodos?
Dishonesty:  The favorite liberal tool
This is bald-faced dishonesty.  Nobody is advocating "paygo" except blue dog democrats.    Americans are not protesting judicious borrowing; almost all households do it. Few of us have the money laying around to pay cash for a car or a house.  But we are alarmed by a federal debt that that is increasing much faster than GDP. 

Bottom Line:  Attacking deficit spending attacks threatens liberalism.  The heart of liberalism is bribing people with free stuff stolen from the taxpayer.  Take away the money and the liberal agenda collapses like the rotten edifice it is.

He then goes on to denigrate deficit hawks as "deficit dodos," continuing to rail against this fictitious conservative straw man he has created.  He is either extremely stupid or a crafty propagandist.  

For the antidote to this progressive plouffian poppycock, go read the short and informative article, What Every American Should Know About The National Debt.

There is no easy way out of this fiscal nightmare.  More food for thought:
The Budget's a Sham
The Debt Bomb

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bureaucratic Terrorism

I always thought the whole Terrorism threat level system, with its Christmas tree colors, was nonsense.

What's my 85 year old granny supposed to do with this alarming information blared out by the government? 

What am I supposed to do with it?  Go out and start shooting suspicious looking people?  I wonder how many paranoiacs and chronic worriers this stupid systems has pushed over the edge...

Congressional Testimony Nonsense

Ronald Baily at Reason points to the uselessness of congressional testimony involving intelligence officials telling us that bad people are out there and they want to kill us...
OK, here's my problem. Of what possible use is this kind of testimony? It does no good for public safety because doesn't tell Americans what kind of attack they should be looking out for; it just sows generalized angst. Now why would federal security bureaucrats want to increase public anxiety?

(1) Call me cynical, but one possibility is that the heads of the various security agencies are trying to protect their budgets by scaring senators and public. More fear = more money.

(2) Or it's a cover-their-behinds move
What We Really Need
I want an anonymous, silent intelligence Agency That Shall Not Be Named.  A combination of Mossad competency and cold-blooded KGB brutality.  I want an agency full of Odd Jobs who can cut the head off of a statue with a steel-brimmed bowler hat.

Mullah Killed by Exploding Kebab

Forget the niceties.  Did intel find something actionable, but prosecuting the perps will be tricky?  Kill them.  I want to see suspicious people around the world dying from mysterious poisonings, exploding cigarettes and unexplained car crashes.

"The World" can point its grubby little fingers our way all it wants, we'll just shrug our shoulders and go "meh." 

So let's get to work terrorizing the terrorists, and stop scaring granny with red alerts...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Another Stupid PSA: Come to the Forest!

Public Service Announcements really chap my hide!  They are nothing more than the feral government using our tax dollars to propagandize us

I'm not just bellyaching. My solution is at the bottom of this post.

Aggressive texting is bad...  Ask questions to protect yourself from predatory lenders...  Don't post naked pictures of yourself on the internet...  Bla bla bla.  Are we really so stupid we need to be told these things by a government that can't even balance its checkbook?

Come to the Forest!
I really hate that Come to the Forest PSA!  In one version, some booger slug that sounds like a bad droopy dog imitation tells this kid to come back to the forest where he can hug bugs and visit his friends the rocks and the trees. 

As if that weren't gay enough, another version features bright cheery people luring you to the forest for who knows what nefarious purpose.  The fruity background music sounds like something Barney Frank listens to when he's trolling in his lollipop mobile.

Back in my day, they would have used a Davy Crockett or Daniel Boone theme.  Maybe cowboys, or WW II soldiers killing huns in the Ardennes.  Something heroic that hearkens back to our American frontier spirit.  But nowadays it's all tree hugging and Pocahontas PC circle of life crap.

It ain't a proper Forest Service commercial unless it upsets liberals!  How about some Sara Palin and Uncle Ted?  

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Daddy Gone Crazy

The irresponsible, spoiled teenagers of the world love criticizing Daddy America.  They rage tearfully at him, throw self-righteous tantrums and stomp off to slam the door of their rooms.  America is so unfair!

We elected the enlightened candidate, but nothing's changed
Now, the spoiled brats are suddenly worried that daddy's gone crazy.  What if he won't give me the keys to the car anymore?  Who will pay my visa bills and protect me from the bad guys, all the while putting up with my whiny self-absorbed angst?

We're Making the Davos Crowd Nervous
Thomas Friedman, Millionaire Citizen of The World, writes about how the chattering global intelligentsia at Davos, who wallow luxuriously in their criticism of America, are starting to worry about us...
Mind you, people at international conferences love to criticize America, poke fun at America and complain about America. It is the only global sport more popular than soccer.

But in the past, it was always done knowing that America was this global bedrock that could always be counted upon to lead. But this year is different. This year, Asians and Europeans, in particular, pull you aside and ask you some version of: “Tell me, what’s going on in your country?”

We’re making people nervous.

You can understand why foreigners are uneasy. They look at America and see a president elected by a solid majority, coming into office riding a wave of optimism, controlling both the House and the Senate. Yet, a year later, he can’t win passage of his top legislative priority: health care.
Global Atheists are Upset We've Rejected the Messiah

Friedman puts his finger on the problem:
“Our two-party political system is broken just when everything needs major repair, not minor repair,” said K.R. Sridhar, the founder of Bloom Energy, a fuel cell company in Silicon Valley, who is attending the forum.
This is not surprising, coming from a man who admires the Chinese Communist dictators for making the trains run on time

Our two-party system is working just as the founders envisioned!  One faction cannot easily hijack the government and impose its will on the rest of us, and thank God for that.

The rest of the article just gets stupider, lamenting how if there were only more moderate Republicans ready to meet Obama in the middle...  In the middle!  Obama is so far left, he's left over half the country!  Friedman's brain is ate up with liberal globalism, or global liberalism, whatever.  It's clear his obama fever is still in triple digits.

Gerald Seib tells us that we should really be worried about are the national security implications of our rampant debt.

What Mark Steyn Calls "Tin Eared Plonkers"
It hasn't occurred to people like Sir Thomas that the Obama agenda has gone flaccid because we just ain't that liberal!  If even a bare majority of us wanted what these progressive goomers were peddling, it would all be passed into law by now.

Have you seen the polling?  Schmucky Schumer is below 50%!  May the March of the Tin Eared Plonkers continue.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The "Real" Tea Party

Who's got the real tea party?

Who cares?  That was my answer to a commenter in a thread over at Feed Your ADHD who asked me which tea party faction I belonged to.  I don't even know what the factions are.  Then Snarky and the other posters dogpiled her for asking such a stupid question.

Controversy Sells
David Paul Kuhn writes about current tea party controversies, including the convention and all those factions and claimants to the tea party name.  Every movement has its pretenders to power, camp followers, hangers-on and crafty opportunists trying to cash in. 

Every successful movement will also be fought over and franchised by the power-hungry.  This makes good theater for the lefty nutball, Marxists Spouting Nothing But Crap crowd, but ordinary people just shrug it off.  I'm not going to refuse to vote because the tea party convention charged $500 for people to get in.  I also wouldn't care if they paid Palin a million dollars to speak.  It's not my money.

The tea party movement could explode into a thousand little bits of tea leaves and it still wouldn't matter.  Conservatives will vote for the more conservative candidate, and we don't need community organizers plying us with booze and cigarettes and free bus rides to do it.   

Astroturf Schmastroturf
Sure, Dick Armey, God bless him, gets the event permits and foots the bill, but people show up of their own volition, some crossing the country to do it.  You call it astroturf because those hundreds of thousands didn't just all show up spontaneously with no prior coordination?  Hah!  When has that ever happened?   

In the end, you gotta pick a team, and "tea partiers" sure won't be pulling the lever for Democrats.

We Are Conservative, We don't need leaders to tell us what to think

Liz Sidoti sums up the zeitgeist well:
This is pure people-driven politics facilitated by the Internet. This is an ideological mix of libertarianism and conservatism with the common denominator being lower spending and smaller government. This is a loose collection of citizen groups with no leader but many voices.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Palin's Tea Party Speech

I didn't see the speech.  Although I think she is a fine woman and probably as genuine as a politician can get, I have not been gripped by Palin Mania.  I do admire her ability to give progressives the raging  conniption fits.  

I read a review of her speech in The Hill, and a few things jumped out at me.

She tossed generous slabs of anti-Obama red meat, but it was the other stuff I found interesting:

She forcefully endorsed contested primaries, like Florida's, where Marco Rubio is now kicking governor Charlie Crist's moderate butt.  
“Competition is good, it makes us work harder and produce more,” Palin said. "Despite what the pundits want you to think, contested primaries aren't civil war, they are democracy at work and that's beautiful."
She also slyly attempted to herd the tea partiers into the Republican corral.  I agree with her on this.  A third party will just split the conservative vote, making Liberal Democrats our permanent progressive overlords:
Asked in a pre-screened questioned-and-answer session after the speech if the movement should become an independent party or join the GOP, Palin said, “The Republican Party would be very smart to absorb as much of the Tea Party movement as possible.”
The rest was pretty much predictable boilerplate.  When the convention hubub has died down, those who cruised and those who didn't, those who paid 500 bucks to see it live and those who watched on TV, those who are Republicans and those who identify as tea partiers will all join and vote this November.  And they won't be voting Democrat.  I can't wait

Foreign Aid: "For God's sake, please just stop!"

Foreign aid does more harm than good, argues Brett Stephens:
The (World) Bank noted that "Haiti has dysfunctional budgetary, financial or procurement systems, making financial and aid management impossible."

It observed that "the government did not exhibit ownership by taking the initiative for formulating and implementing [its] assistance program."

Tellingly, it also acknowledged the "total mismatch between levels of foreign aid and government capacity to absorb it," another way of saying that the more foreign donors spent on Haiti, the more the funds went astray
.  (WSJ - Brett Stephens)
And it's not just Haiti.  That description fits many third-world basket cases.  Of course we should continue to give to help the country dig itself out of the disaster and alleviate suffering.  The problem is with structural development aid:
But this still fails to get at the real problem of aid to Haiti, which has less to do with Haiti than it does with the effects of aid itself.

"The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape," James Shikwati, a Kenyan economist, told Der Spiegel in 2005. "For God's sake, please just stop.
Attempts to defend these dysfunctional governments easily slide into a benign, paternalistic racism (They don't know how to take care of themselves or govern properly).  Please...  Haiti has an educated class.  It just walls itself off from the rest of society.

Give! Give till it hurt because people are suffering in the aftermath of a natural disaster.  It's the Christian thing to do.

But when it comes to foreign assistance, we must open our eyes and honestly admit that some forms of help are no help at all.

The Religious Right

There's a tension between cultural conservatives and their more secular libertarian cousins  

I think the NY Times and other liberal founts of inanity make too much of tea party splits, and differences between social conservatives and their more libertarian cousins.  They want us at each others' throats.  

God is Great
I don't want my elected officials to stand up and shout "God is great!"  I want them to stand up for the constitution and shout "The First Amendment is great!"

My Dogma is better than Your Dogma
We have been bullied by activist judges and liberal loudmouth lawyers into shutting up in the public marketplace of ideas.  They put issues like immigration, God and gay marriage beyond the pale of acceptable discourse.  If you are not on their side, you are a bigot, or worse, you may run afoul of hate speech codes.

This is wrong.  A high school valedictorian has the right to invoke Jesus in her speech, and others have a right to not listen.  This does not constitute the state coercing anyone into believing anything.  Christian moralists have a right to publicly oppose homosexual marriage, just as others have the right to rail against what they perceive as religious bigotry.

Keep Your Politicians out of My Family Values
I'm all for "Family Values."  My family and I live them on a daily basis; I don't need politicians blabbering on about them.  I merely want my elected officials to defend the constitution.

If you love God and love your country, a vigorous defense of The Constitution is the best you can hope for from your government.  Indeed if you believe in the constitution, you would want it no other way.

The Constitution does not mandate a religious morality.  It does restate our God given right to speak, worship and otherwise express ourselves in the public square.  If our Judeo-Christian morality is a good thing (and I believe it is) it can withstand public scrutiny and criticism in the free market place of ideas.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Laugh to Keep from Crying


Q:    What's the real problem with Barack Obama jokes?
A:    His followers don't think they're funny and everyone else doesn't think they're jokes.

Courtesy of OD...


Bush Uncensored

I know, the hip innerwebs surfers have already seen this one. I have it on my computer at work and I play it whenever I need a good laugh. WARNING: Dirty language!

Climate Change is a Religion

Reverend Al Gore, Church of Gaia, is not pleased...

Climate change is a religion.  I've said this before, but Michael Barone says it so much better.  Maybe that's why, unlike me, he gets paid to write stuff...
The secular religion of global warming has all the elements of a religious faith: original sin (we are polluting the planet), ritual (separate your waste for recycling), redemption (renounce economic growth) and the sale of indulgences (carbon offsets).

We are told that we must have faith (all argument must end, as Al Gore likes to say) and must persecute heretics (global warming skeptics are like Holocaust deniers, we are told).  (Michael Barone - RCP)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Here in the Real World, Science is a Workhorse, not a Fetish

Another day brings more exposure of the scientific fudgery by the East Anglia gang...

David Holland, a private citizen with an electrical engineering degree, has been filing Freedom of Information requests, and the East Anglia gangsters have been violating the law by snubbing him.  They've also been hiding or destroying data, which is really illegal. (Source:  Telegraph)
A grandfather with a training in electrical engineering dating back more than 40 years emerged from the leaked emails as a leading climate sceptic trying to bring down the scientific establishment on global warming.

David Holland, who describes himself as a David taking on the Goliath that is the prevailing scientific consensus, is seeking prosecutions against some of Britain's most eminent academics for allegedly holding back information in breach of disclosure laws.
How did these ivory tower "scientists" view Mr. Holland's requests?
In one email dated May 28, 2008, one academic writes to a colleague having received Mr Holland's request: "Oh MAN! Will this crap ever end??"
Mr. Holland, with his humble bachelors degree and 40 years of real-world experience, has a better understanding of scientific methods than these charlatans do:
"These guys called climate scientists have not done any more physics or chemistry than I did. A lifetime in engineering gives you a very good antenna.

It also cures people of any self belief they cannot be wrong. You clear up a lot of messes during a lifetime in engineering.

I could be wrong on global warming – I know that – but the guys on the other side don't believe they can ever be wrong."
How true.  In the real world, you solve real problems--or you don't.  In the rarefied air of theoretical academe, you spin tales for your financial benefactors, especially when they are guilty, rich Westerners with a science fetish:

Himalaya Glaciers Melting?  Follow the money!
It can be revealed that The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), whose director is Rajendra Pachauri, the chair of the IPCC, was awarded a portion of two grants, which were worth a total of almost £3 million for research on the glaciers after the inaccurate claims were published. (Telegraph)
This is why free speech is so important.