Thursday, September 23, 2010
The incomparable Pat Condell on the Ground Zero mosque
A good statement of conservative thinking
Australia recently held a federal election in which a small majority of conservative candidates were elected to the lower house. Two of those conservative candidates were however independent conservatives who decided for their own reasons to betray their electorates and join up with the major Leftist party (The Labor Party) and a solitary Green party member to form a government.
The conservative leader, Tony Abbott, is however only mildly perturbed by all that as he foresees the chaotic government that will result. He knows that the new government will blot its copybook so badly that he will be in at the next election (due in 3 years at the latest) for at least a couple of terms. So he recently summarized what he and his party stand for. I think it is a good statement of current conservative thinking in general:
The government thinks it can win the next election by lowering expectations but voters won't be satisfied by spin. During the coming term, they'll expect real tax reform to ease the burden on families and small businesses, serious job creation in viable industries, significant progress on long-term environmental problems such as water, a more assured future for regional towns and overdue infrastructure improvements in outer suburbs. Political management skills won't save the government if it can't address these problems.
For our part, though naturally disappointed, the Coalition accepts the election result as the outcome of a system of government that we profoundly respect. We rededicate ourselves to the task of opposition and are determined to be even more effective in the coming parliament than we were in the last one. Where the government delivers for the Australian people, we will give credit where it's due. Where it fails, we will be unrelenting in holding it to account, because that's what people expect of an opposition.
We are determined to be the party of ideas and of policy innovation against a government that's trapped by its alliance with the Greens and in a fiscal straitjacket because it's incapable of cutting its own spending.
Unlike Labor, the Coalition's instinct is not to see bigger government and more public spending as the answer to every problem. Government's job is to empower individuals and communities, not just to take on more responsibilities itself.
An opposition that's only a couple of by-elections or two independents' change of heart away from government has to be more than just a critic.
The Coalition took strong policies of its own to the election and will outline more in the months ahead. Almost the first task of government is to respect taxpayers' funds; hence our determination is to return to surplus by the high road of reducing wasteful spending rather than the low road of imposing new taxes.
We want direct action to improve the environment rather than new taxes dressed up as environmental benefits. We support community control of schools and hospitals. Above all, we want to foster an opportunity society rather than a welfare state by providing incentives to seniors and young people to move off welfare, and a fair dinkum [genuine] paid parental leave scheme to help families and to keep mothers in the workforce, if that's their choice.
Obamacare laws wipe out health insurance for children only
Major health insurance companies in California and other states have decided to stop selling policies for children rather than comply with a new federal healthcare law that bars them from rejecting youngsters with preexisting medical conditions.
Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna Inc. and others will halt new child-only policies in California, Illinois, Florida, Connecticut and elsewhere as early as Thursday when provisions of the nation's new healthcare law take effect, including a requirement that insurers cover children under age 19 regardless of their health histories.
The action will apply only to new coverage sought for children and not to existing child-only plans, family policies or insurance provided to youngsters through their parents' employers. An estimated 80,000 California children currently without insurance â and as many as 500,000 nationwide â would be affected, according to experts.
Insurers said they were acting because the new federal requirement could create huge and unexpected costs for covering children. They said the rule might prompt parents to buy policies only after their kids became sick, producing a glut of ill youngsters to insure. As a result, they said, many companies would flee the marketplace, leaving behind a handful to shoulder a huge financial burden.
The insurers said they now sell relatively few child-only policies, and thus the changes will have a small effect on families.
"Unfortunately, this has created an un-level competitive environment," Anthem Blue Cross, California's largest for-profit insurer, said in a statement declaring its intention to "suspend the sale of child-only policies" on Thursday, six months after the healthcare overhaul was signed.
The change has angered lawmakers, regulators and healthcare advocates, who say it will force more families to enroll in already strained public insurance programs such as Medi-Cal for the poor in California.
The Delphi Disaster: An Economic Horror Story Obama Won't Tell
The White House believes it can win back depressed and economically stressed voters by turning President Obama into the storyteller-in-chief again. But victims of Obama's Chicago politics don't want to hear any more of his own well-worn tales of struggle and sacrifice. They've got their own tragedies to tell -- heart-wrenching dramas of personal and financial suffering at the very hands of Obama.
Consider the real-life horror story of 20,000 white-collar workers at Delphi, a leading auto parts company spun off from GM a decade ago. As Washington rushed to nationalize the U.S. auto industry with $80 billion in taxpayer "rescue" funds and avoid contested court termination proceedings, the White House auto team schemed with Big Labor bosses to preserve UAW members' costly pension funds by shafting their nonunion counterparts. In addition, the nonunion pensioners lost all of their health and life insurance benefits.
The abused workers -- most from hard-hit northeast Ohio, Michigan and neighboring states -- had devoted decades of their lives as secretaries, technicians, engineers and sales employees at Delphi/GM. Some workers have watched up to 70 percent of their pensions vanish.
John Berent of Marblehead, Ohio, lost one-third of his pension: "I worked as a salaried employee for GM (30 years) and Delphi (10 years). After 40 years of dedicated service, I was forced to retire. Then Delphi terminated my health care, life insurance, vision, dental, then terminated the pension plan. Everything I worked 40 years for was wiped out."
Kelly Fabrizio of Franksville, Wis., saw her pension reduced by 55 percent after working 30 years at Delphi/GM: "I am truly scared for my future. Every day I wake up, shake my head and say out loud -- This Is Not How It Was Supposed To Be."
Roger Hoke of Columbus, Mich., and his wife were both longtime Delphi workers. His pension shrunk by more than 40 percent: "After 33 years with GM and another 10 with Delphi, what did I do wrong to deserve such a fate?"
Paul Dobosz of the Delphi Salaried Retiree Association recounts how they got screwed: "The Auto Task Force knew that the only thing standing in the way of GM getting what they wanted out of Delphi was the already frozen pension obligations." They hatched a plan to dump those pensions on the federally run Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, while at the same time "devising a clever way to make the UAW pensions whole using GM and TARP money to accomplish it. The scheme was documented in sworn depositions (that) revealed ... that some groups of workers were more 'politically sensitive' and would be afforded special treatment (i.e. subsidy using TARP money) while others less politically worthy would be left out."
In other words: Obama's team of auto-crats -- stocked with Big Labor-friendly appointees and self-admitted know-nothings about the car industry -- decided to "cherry pick" (one Obama official's own words) which obligations the new Government Motors company would assume and which they would abandon based on their own political whims and fealty. Due process and equal treatment of union and nonunion workers be damned. Administration officials assert that the Delphi workers' pension fund was underfunded, but two separate actuarial analyses undercut the claim.
The Delphi workers sued the feds and will have a day in court on Sept. 24. They are not asking for a bailout. They are simply asking for fair treatment under the rule of law. Delphi supporters also point out that the very scheme used to "top up" the union workers' pensions with taxpayer subsidies was challenged by the federal government and ruled illegal by the Supreme Court in the 1990s.
A separate investigation by TARP inspector general Neil Barofsky, announced last week, will also probe "whether political considerations played a role in favoring hourly over salaried retirees." It shouldn't take long to unearth the facts. Obama's own former auto czar Steve Rattner admitted in his new memoir that "attacking the union's sacred cow" could "jeopardize" the auto bailout deal.
While Obama conducts his worker empathy tour at staged town halls and rallies across the country, his Treasury Department continues to stonewall and refuses to answer questions about the Delphi disaster. But many workers left out in the cold know the truth: Lip-biting, yarn-spinning Obama doesn't feel their pain. He caused it.
I have put up a fair bit lately on my Paralipomena blog -- including one of the great scenes from British TV comedy. But you may have to "get" British humour to see how utterly mad it is
Obama: US changing battle plan on poverty: "Addressing a global conference on poverty, President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the United States is changing its approach to development and will use diplomacy, trade, investment and other policies to help poorer countries instead of just giving them money. ‘Put simply, the United States is changing the way we do business,’ Obama said as he announced the administration’s new development policy in a speech at the outset of a three-day visit to the United Nations.” [The mid-terms seem to be freaking Obama into occasional flashes of sense]
CIA Afghan paramilitary force hunts militants: "A U.S. official in Washington confirmed reports that the CIA is running an all-Afghan paramilitary group in Afghanistan that has been hunting al-Qaida, Taliban, and other militant targets for the agency. A security professional in Kabul familiar with the operation said the 3,000-strong force was set up in 2002 to capture targets for CIA interrogation. A former U.S. intelligence official said members of the covert Afghan force are used for surveillance and long-range reconnaissance and some have trained at CIA facilities in the United States.”
FL: Appeals court strikes down homosexual adoption ban: "A Florida appeals court Wednesday struck down a state law barring gay men and lesbians from adoption on the basis of equal protection under law. The Florida 3rd District Court of Appeal upheld a trial court ruling that Florida’s explicit ban was unconstitutional, noting that the state’s adoption law required officials to assess potential adoptive parents in ‘the best interests of the child.’”
Federal make-work jobs betray teenagers: "Politicians now pretend that government spending can solve any and all ills. Sloshing out federal funds for local summer job programs exemplifies this delusion. Uncle Sam first began bank-rolling summer jobs for urban teens in 1964. It was decided that government should hire any low-income teen who couldn’t find a job on his own.”
Government is America's growth industry: "Everywhere one looks there is building going on in Washington DC. No vacancies and for rent signs appear on each block the way they do in every other city. The trains going to and from are full at every hour of the day including the 2 am arrival in New York, and all the restaurants are bustling with activity. Scaffolds and cranes seem to surround all the monuments, executive buildings, and lobbying areas. They said that 25% of all the world’s cranes were being used in Dubai 3 years ago, but now they must all have moved to D. C. But this boom can be predicted to last.”
Public employes vs. the public will: "The word is out. It is now mainstream opinion that public employee salaries, benefits, and pensions are crippling state governments from coast to coast. When a group of comedians performed a ‘2010 Public Employee of the Year Awards’ sketch — wherein lumpen freeloaders compete at Harrah’s in Atlantic City for the title of ‘Surliest and Least Cooperative State Employee’ and so on — the performers were not the after-dinner entertainment at FreedomFest but the Not Ready For Prime Time venerables of Saturday Night Live. The sketch died. The rage lives on.”
Hooray, the recession is over!: "Some days, it’s embarrassing to be a professional economist. On Monday, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) officially declared that our recession had ended — 15 months ago. Yes, that’s right, just as more and more analysts are worried about the economy imploding again, the NBER announces that the recession ended back in June 2009. The whole episode underscores the crudity of mainstream economics.”
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 11:14 PM