Saturday, August 15, 2009

An instructive cartoon


RIP, Obamamania

By John Lillpop

Barack Obama’s falling star is NOT entirely his fault. Yes it is true that the man has an ego the size of Mt. Rushmore. He is without question the most narcissistic, egotistical, and arrogant president to have ever occupied the White House. It is also true that he is an unapologetic Marxist, a man who believes that he has been blessed with the only truth that matters. Only by following his way can America survive and grow, or so he thinks.

However, it was an unhealthy alliance between the mainstream media and vengeful liberals that actually allowed the Barack Obama myth to grow completely out of control. That alliance turned an extraordinarily bright and charming man of limited achievement into a combination Messiah and Rock Star who was capable of smiting all of the thorny problems badgering weary Americans.

He would solve the economic crisis quickly and fairly, put desperate Americans back to work, end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, bring the troops home, act to stop global warming from inflicting further harm on Mother Earth, keep people from losing their homes to foreclosure, fix the automobile crisis, and heal the wounds resulting from hundreds of years of racial divide and stress.

When needed, he could even take to the national airwaves to recite bedtime stories full of Hope and more Hope to comfort anguished Americans during difficult times. According to the mythmakers, Barack Obama was all things to all people. A one-stop Nanny solution to all of life’s challenges and setbacks. The only problem is that the myth was lacking in transparency and viability. Like most of the president’s policies and actions, the Obama myth was little more than wishful thinking.

Concerned about 46 million uninsured people? Solution: Cross your fingers, close your eyes and wish for health care reform and PRESTO! you have added 46 million to the ranks of the insured AND reduced costs in the process!

Concerned about terrorism and American homeland security? Solution: Simply delete the terms “global war on terror” and “Jihad” from the vernacular, and PRESTO! the war on terror is no more!

Concerned about the exploding national debt? Solution: Spend another few trillion dollars on unneeded programs and PRESTO! you have bought a way off the debt- begets- debt -begets- debt treadmill and are headed to prosperity and greener grass on the other side, forever!

So it was that the Obama Myth grew and grew, sort of at the same time and pace as the Mexican Swine flu as it were. Unlike the Mexican flu, however, the Obama myth was without substance. As someone famous once said about Oakland, California, “There is no there there!” With Barack Obama, there is no there there, either.

That reality has started to resonate with millions of Americans who finally realize that the promised Messiah is actually a community organizer and Robin Hood wannabe who does not grasp the laws of supply and demand. A Robin Hood who spreads poverty rather than wealth!

Barack Obama, it turns out, is just another privileged malcontent with a chip on his shoulder, but without a clue about how to manage the complex and massive issues confronting a nation of three hundred million people. Again, it is not entirely Obama’s fault. We allowed him to hoodwink both himself and we the people at the same time!



Right-Wing Extremists Descend Upon Town Halls Nationwide

Patriotic Americans nationwide have descended upon town halls and Congressional district offices for the past two weeks to express their displeasure with Barack Obama’s monocratic health care takeover. And for their efforts, they have been condemned and ridiculed by their own elected representatives as “un-American,” “political terrorists,” “uncivilized,” and “Brown Shirts.” Not to mention, “rightwing extremists”.

The fact is, these despicable comments—made by members of Congress referring to passionate constituents who rightly want their representatives to listen to them for a change—are nothing short of an all-out assault on the American people. And they are being orchestrated by Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack “Punch Back” Obama.

Unfortunately, they are not without precedent. Comparisons have even been made by one Congressman to domestic terrorists. Congressman Brian Baird (WA-CD3) said, referring to ObamaCare opponents, “Some of the rhetoric that we’re hearing is… eerily reminiscent of the kind of things that drove Tim McVeigh to bomb the federal building in Oklahoma.” Simply stunning.

But again, not without precedent. In fact, some of the rabid rhetoric to which Americans are being subjected—from members of Congress—is eerily reminiscent of a so-called “threat” assessment issued by the Department of Homeland Security back in April. Remember, this was the same memo that defined “rightwing extremist” as “groups, movements, and adherents… that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority” and “groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.” Hmm, kind of like those “Brown Shirts” (to use Brian Baird’s term) descending upon town halls nationwide.

Of course, this is the same memo that has now been discredited. After filing a Freedom of Information Act Request with the Department of Homeland Security into the methodology used, Americans for Limited Government has learned that no intelligence sources were utilized. No crime data or statistics. In short, no evidence of any planned attacks or active recruitment by groups known to have planned attacks....

As it turns out, the data, studies, and reports used by DHS were largely gathered from hard left groups like the fund-raising front Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and even one crackpot “news service” that once reported that a U.S. scientist had destroyed a “radio to God.”

William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration said it was no coincidence that the SPLC was cited as top sources by DHS. “It’s been very clear to us that the SPLC, ADL, and now unfortunately, DHS are interested in politicizing American law enforcement in a way that hasn’t happened since Germany and the Soviet Union in the 1930’s and ‘40’s,” Gheen said in an exclusive interview with ALG News.

Gheen said that he believed the same individuals who were responsible for drafting the controversial “rightwing extremism” memo were also responsible for a very similar threat assessment issued by the Missouri Information Analysis Center, a so-called federal fusion center, in February entitled “The Modern Militia Movement.”....

Much like the DHS memo, SPLC was cited as a top source of information. And much like the DHS memo, it was withdrawn by the agency that put it forward, followed by public apologies from government officials. Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder (R-MO) even asked that Missouri Public Safety Director John Britt be placed on administrative leave. What is disquieting, however, is that in both cases, two governments—the state of Missouri and the federal government—unleashed police nationwide to go after “rightwing extremists” with an overly broad mandate to view about half of the population as possible “suspects.”

What if members of law enforcement had not leaked and made available to the people of Missouri the February “threat” assessment? What if great scrutiny had not been given to the DHS memo when it surfaced in April? How, then, would law enforcement be treating participants in the town hall meetings of August? Probably the same way Congressman Brian Baird wants to. And Nancy Pelosi. And Barack Obama. Like Timothy McVeigh. Like enemies of the state. Like anything but the patriotic Americans they actually are.



Fact, Fiction, and the Laffer Curve

Obama's Higher Tax Rates May Raise Revenue, but Far Less than Politicians Expect

The Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation (CF&P) today released a new paper analyzing how movements in tax rates lead to behavioral changes that cause significant shifts in the amount of income reported to tax authorities.

The new paper, entitled "The Laffer Curve: Understanding the Relationship Between Tax Rates, Taxable Income, and Tax Revenue," reviews the theory and evidence for "Laffer Curve" effects and discusses how the Joint Committee on Taxation's revenue-estimating process is based on the absurd theory that changes in tax policy - even dramatic reforms such as a flat tax - do not affect economic growth. Because of congressional budget rules, this leads to a bias for tax increases and against tax cuts.

"When you tax something, you get less of it, and that applies to income. When taxable income goes down, this at least somewhat offsets the impact of higher tax rates," explained CF&P President Andrew Quinlan. "As politicians in Washington seek to expand the burden of government, they need to understand that higher tax rates ultimately becomes a self-defeating policy," he continued.

More here



There's a HUGE coverage of the healthcare debate on SOCIALIZED MEDICINE today.

Voters Now Trust Republicans More than Dems with their Health: "In the midst of a tumultuous healthcare debate—including Congressional town hall meetings that end in punching matches—U.S. voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats on the handling of the healthcare issue. For the first time in two years of polling, the Rasmussen Report national telephone survey shows that voters favor the COP on the issue 44 percent to 41 percent. The new numbers come at time of rampant skepticism, particularly among older, white voters, of President Obama's healthcare agenda. This skepticism has manifested in the form of false rumors, intense protests and even vandalism and blatant racism, reports NPR. Experts say the intensity is growing in a shattered economy. "I've never seen as angry an electorate as this one," said Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist, in an interview with NPR. Lehane is a California-based pollster who routinely conducts swing-voter focus groups. "They're as scared as I've ever seen them, and that manifests into anger. There is a general fear that the American dream is not going to be there for them or their children. There is concern about trust broken between government and the people."

Evil Ezekiel downplays the need for rationing but still targets "unnecessary care": "Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, the White House official targeted by Sarah Palin and other conservatives as an advocate for health care rationing and "death panels," said Thursday his "thinking has evolved" on the need to decide who gets treated and who does not. "When I began working in the health policy area about 20 years ago ... I thought we would definitely have to ration care, that there was a need to make a decision and deny people care," said Dr. Emanuel, a health care adviser to President Obama in the Office of Management and Budget, during a phone interview. "I think that over the last five to seven years ... I've come to the conclusion that in our system we are spending way more money than we need to, a lot of it on unnecessary care," he said. "If we got rid of that care we would have absolutely no reason to even consider rationing except in a few cases."

Obama’s Potemkin Village: “President Obama seems to be a congenital liar, and perhaps a little more stupid than his fans thought. A product of a long process of social promotion and congenial B studenthood, perhaps. (If he would release his transcripts we would know.) Faced with dropping poll numbers and nationwide protests by angry voters, President Obama conducted a Potemkin Village town hall in New Hampshire, much like Stalin created fake Russian villages with fake prosperity and villagers ordered to smile and answer correctly to Western journalists. The New Hampshire Potemkin town hall was pathetic.”

Four arguments against socialism, including Medicare: “Senior citizens are frightened over the possibility that President Obama’s health-care plan will adversely affect their Medicare coverage. Their attitude reflects how socialistic programs have converted a once-proud, strong, and independent people into weak, frightened, dependent wards of the state. The first argument against any socialist program, however, is the moral one — that it’s wrong to take what doesn’t belong to you. Moreover, the immorality of an act cannot be converted into something good or moral simply because the state is doing it on your behalf.”

The public option: "The key ingredients of President Obama’s election victory were technocratic competence and a therapeutic populism — his Ivy League intellect would be the key to solving our average-Joe problems. Nevertheless, it’s not at all clear that the technocratic conception of politics is compatible with a robust deliberative democracy. And Obama’s technocratic side is winning out. Obama’s populism is based on the satisfaction of the will of the people — he decries, however insincerely or inconsistently, the undermining of general consent by the overrepresentation of special interests or of the wealthy. However, Obama’s conception of techno-politics is based on the embrace of a kind of techno-aristocracy — hyper-educated elites with specialized political or scientific expertise are singled out to manage the benighted rest of us. The conspicuous contradiction embedded within Obama’s political program is between his populist embrace of consent and his technocratic dismissal of it: The former presumes the prudence of common sense; the latter rejects it as radically untutored.”

More Muslim barbarism: "A man has been charged with shooting dead his pregnant sister for marrying without family permission, after luring her to another brother's wedding in a conspiracy with him, police say. "The 30-year-old suspect shot his 23-year-old pregnant sister, who worked as a nurse, four times in the head and other parts of her body on Wednesday, while she was attending the wedding of another brother," a police spokesman told AFP on Thursday. "The mother of a baby boy got married two years ago without the family's permission after she ran away from home" in Madaba, south of the capital Amman, he said. Police added that the woman's brothers "agreed to kill her in revenge". "The men assured their sister that she would not be hurt and lured her to attend the wedding. The suspect killed her there, while her other two brothers severely beat the husband," the source added."

Pennsylvania earthquake: Toomey more popular than Specter: "I’m not aware that Pennsylvania has ever been struck by a major natural earthquake. But the state has evidently been the scene of a major political earthquake over this past month. Pollster Scott Rasmussen reports that Pennsylvania voters now prefer Republican Pat Toomey over Democrat Arlen Specter for the Senate seat Specter has held for 29 years by a 48%-36% margin. Last month Rasmussen showed Specter leading 50%-39%."

Cash for Clunkers, Moscow Edition: "The numbers seven and eleven are very lucky if you are shooting dice at the craps table in Las Vegas. However, for Russia’s missile industry and strategic nuclear forces these two numbers are at present associated with rather a rather unpleasant string of misfortunes. Last month on July 15 the eleventh test launch of the Bulava (SS-NX-30) advanced submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) failed, the seventh such failure since 2006. Bulava is designed to be the primary SLBM for several decades, which makes it one of the key linchpins in Russia’s nuclear force–the other two elements being the Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers and the fleet of land-based ICBMs. If its design flaws cannot be corrected (which appears increasingly likely) planners for the Russian ballistic missile submarine force, which is the most potent leg of the Russian nuclear triad, will be facing a bit of a sticky wicket.”

After 12 years of Leftist government, Britain has a real modern-day Gestapo: Two people have been successfully prosecuted for refusing to provide authorities with their encryption keys, resulting in landmark convictions that may have carried jail sentences of up to five years. The government said today it does not know their fate. The power to force people to unscramble their data was granted to authorities in October 2007. Between 1 April, 2008 and 31 March this year the first two convictions were obtained. The disclosure was made by Sir Christopher Rose, the government's Chief Surveillance Commissioner, in his recent annual report. [Are Americans looking forward to getting a "Chief Surveillance Commissioner"? It's your turn next if America's Leftists stay in complete control for long. Note that the trial appears to have been held in secret and the names and prison sentences (if any) of the "offenders", plus what they were originally suspected of are all secret. Even the Gestapo could not do better secrecy than that]

Why British parents should oppose vetting: “If we understand and appreciate the vital role played by other adults that makes raising a family something more than a thankless chore, we should be very clear about the destructive consequences of Britain’s national vetting scheme. This scheme subjects all adults whose paid or voluntary work is seen to give them the opportunity to develop a relationship of trust with other people’s children to a criminal record check, and puts their details into a gigantic database that will constantly ‘monitor’ their status.The purported aim of this scheme is to prevent convicted child abusers from gaining access to kids. The consequence is a systematic poisoning of the relationship between generations.”


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


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)


Friday, August 14, 2009

The Coming Health Care Titanic

By Justin Williams

Trade offs are a part of every economic decision whether someone is going to the grocery store or deciding on health care treatments. And in a previous article called “The ‘Invisible Hand’… or the Hand of Death?,” we looked at how the lack of a trade-off mechanism in the past caused health care costs to soar. Now it’s time to seriously consider what will happen when the decision is taken away from patient and put in the hands of an already heavily debt-burdened, bankrupt government.

In a market, the private ownership of the medicine, tests, and services is supposed to allow exchange and trade on the basis of supply and demand. Now, with the current Obama Administration to eliminate private ownership as the means of production, the patients will simply have no choice but to be entirely subservient to a rationing or “control” board that places government demands above personal needs.

Economically, there is no other way to organize the system then through rationing when the mechanism of prices is abolished altogether. Even leftist Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post correctly writes “It is not illogical for skeptics to suspect that if millions of people are going to be newly covered by health insurances, either costs are going to skyrocket or services are going to be curtailed.”

In most government programs, the American taxpayer is unlucky enough to get both. Americans have already seen with the lack of a price system that costs have skyrocketed in the medical community, just as they have in the postal service, AMTRAK, the education system and every other arena where the government hegemony has wreaked havoc. Now, instead of allowing a fair price system, the Obama Administration plans on curtailing services.

Barack Obama himself inadvertently revealed the first signs of curtailing services when he said, “Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that’s out there. … The doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, ‘You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid’s tonsils out.’” The solution to this would be to engage a price system, putting supply and demand in the patients’ hands. Instead, the Obama Administration has chose to let a government bureaucrat decide whether or not you should have your tonsils taken out.

So the government is going to have to make trade offs on limiting critical medical services to the population as a whole. But somehow Mr. Robinson, along with many other liberals does not see how this reform could ever possibly create “death panels.”

It’s simple. The American health care system will be more like the Titanic than an unhampered private system with a healthy price mechanism. American patients will have to line up: women and children first, arranged youngest to oldest; the elderly last – if at all.

This government is already sinking fast into debt and running out of ways to raise funds. Health care reform will only accelerate this further. But, yet, increased government spending with reduced quality is the government’s only “solution” to today’s health care problems.

While the ship sinks and the people line up in a deadly queue, the one thing that truly distinguishes the Titanic from the health care debate will become clear: on the Titanic, the captain went down with the ship. It is doubtful that you will see Barack Obama standing in the back of any line -- because, after all, the politicians in Washington have their own non-government health-care program protecting them from the “public option.” So much for all men being created equal.



Medicare For All Isn't The Answer

My company ran a hospital in London. We don't want to go the government route.... A single-payer system may appear attractive to some. But as someone with more than 30 years of experience running a leading hospital company with international operations, I have firsthand knowledge of the hidden costs.

Medicare reimbursements to hospitals fail to cover the actual cost of providing services. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), an independent congressional advisory agency, says hospitals received only 94.1 cents for every dollar they spent treating Medicare patients in 2007. MedPAC projects that number to decline to 93.1 cents per dollar spent in 2009, for an operating shortfall of 7%. Medicare works because hospitals subsidize the care they provide with revenue received from patients who have commercial insurance. Without that revenue, hospitals could not afford to care for those covered by Medicare. In effect, everyone with insurance is subsidizing the Medicare shortfall, which is growing larger every year.

If hospitals had to rely solely on Medicare reimbursements for operating revenue, as would occur under a single-payer system, many hospitals would be forced to eliminate services, cut investments in advanced medical technology, reduce the number of nurses and other employees, and provide less care for the patients they serve. And with the government in control, Americans eventually will see rationing, the denial of high-priced drugs and sophisticated procedures, and long waits for care.

My company's experience with health care in the United Kingdom illustrates the point. In the 1980s, we opened The London Independent Hospital to serve the private medical market in the U.K. The hospital had not been open long when representatives of a 1,000-bed government-run hospital located a short distance away approached us to borrow high-tech equipment and instruments. Because people were ill and needed procedures the government hospital could not provide, we provided that hospital with the help it needed. But that experience convinced me that under a single-payer system hospitals do not receive the money required to purchase advanced technology or provide quality care.

Advocates of a single-payer system say that hospitals would survive if they learned to operate more efficiently. While we are always looking for ways to improve efficiency, the economic conditions of the past few years have already forced most institutions to reduce expenses and increase efficiency as much as possible.

The reality is that Americans have come to expect the best health care in the world, and to provide that, hospitals must continue to invest in advanced medical technology, salaries for well-trained nurses and technicians, and state-of-the-art facilities. If hospitals were required to operate solely on revenue from a single-payer system, they could no longer afford to provide the care that Americans deserve.



Megan McArdle on government health-care rationing

Robert Wright notes that "we already ration health care; we just let the market do the rationing." This is a true point made by the proponents of health care reform. But I'm not sure why it's supposed to be so interesting. You could make this statement about any good:

"We already ration food; we just let the market do the rationing."

"We already ration gasoline; we just let the market do the rationing."

"We already ration cigarettes; we just let the market do the rationing."

And indeed, this was an argument that was made in favor of socialism. (No, okay, I'm not calling you socialists!) And yet, most of us realize that there are huge differences between price rationing and government rationing, and that the latter is usually much worse for everyone. This is one of the things that most puzzles me about the health care debate: statements that would strike almost anyone as stupid in the context of any other good suddenly become dazzling insights when they're applied to hip replacements and otitis media.

The rationing is, first of all, simply worse on a practical level: goods rationed by fiat rather than price have a tendency to disappear, decline in quality, etc. Government tends to prefer queues to prices. This makes most people worse off, since their time is worth much more than the price they would pay for the good. Providers of fiat-rationed goods have little incentive to innovate, or even produce adequate supplies.

More here

Also, even if you are prepared to go without other things (e.g. sell your house) in order to get the best care, you just cannot under government-controlled medicine. THEY say what you can have, and it is rarely the best -- as we have repeatedly seen in Britain and Canada. See SOCIALIZED MEDICINE for more articles in the debate plus several reports about the ongoing British disaster -- JR



Federal spending tops $3 trillion: "Federal spending surpassed the $3 trillion mark for the first time in history during July, and the record-shattering fiscal year still has two months to go. The U.S. government spent more money last month - $332 billion - than in any other month in history, the Treasury Department reported Wednesday. Outlays were more than double tax receipts in July, generating a monthly deficit of $181 billion. For the first 10 months of fiscal 2009, which ends Sept. 30, the budget deficit totaled $1.27 trillion, nearly three times last year's record annual deficit of $459 billion."

Town hall face-offs erode health support: "Public support for the Obama administration's sweeping government health care reforms is declining as opponents continue to pack congressional town-hall meetings with some analysts suggesting the president may have to settle for more modest legislation. Public-policy analysts say that nearly two weeks of intense and often angry town-hall debate back home during August recess has thrown the White House on the defensive and turned its hopes for a full-blown overhaul of the health care system into a steeper climb. "Publicity attached to town halls has kept the administration from framing the debate to its advantage. They have their work cut out for the rest of the month," said Thomas E. Mann, senior analyst in governance studies at the liberal Brookings Institution"

Maryland health forum draws overflow crowd: "An overflow crowd of about 450 packed a community college auditorium on Wednesday afternoon to hear Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin discuss health care reform, while more than that were turned away at the door. The meeting, the Maryland Democrat's second town-hall event on the contentious subject this week, also drew pockets of protesters that lined the streets of a busy intersection two miles from the Hagerstown Community College campus so as to be visible to approaching vehicle traffic. The groups shouted and held signs, including some that portrayed President Obama alongside Nazi imagery. About 200 people inside the auditorium stood in lines to ask the senator questions from behind two microphones placed in the aisles after Mr. Cardin delivered a brief opening statement. Those opposing Mr. Obama's plans to reform health care clearly outnumbered those in support of changing the system. While the roughly 20 questioners who queried the senator were cordial, the loud -- and at times confrontational -- crowd often interrupted his answers with boos and jeers"

Obama still all hot air: "Political candidates are notorious for promising voters the moon to get elected. But once in office, we expect our elected officials to stop campaigning and start doing the business of the people, governing. This is especially true for the leader of the Free World, who is responsible for a $3.6 trillion budget, commanding the world's most powerful military and promoting the welfare of the American people. The presidential election is over. President Obama, however, never ended his campaign. His administration's domestic and foreign initiatives have not been the detailed and carefully crafted policy proposals needed to govern. We continue to see and hear campaign speeches offering only vague promises, slogans and attacks on his predecessor, but no plans on how to execute his proposals.

'A Recovery Only a Statistician Can Love': "The pile of economic data indicating that the worst of the recession is over just keeps growing. In the past few weeks, the government has reported that businesses last month shed the smallest number of jobs in nearly a year. The savings rate, after rising rapidly, held steady at levels not seen in at least five years. And from April to June, productivity surged to a six-year high. But the same data also explain why any recovery isn't going to feel like one anytime soon for millions of Americans. Its existence will be confirmed by statistics, but, over at least the next year, the benefits are unlikely to materialize in the form of higher wages or tax receipts or more jobs."

Motores del Gubierno: GM's $1.2B investment in Mexico: "General Motors Co. plans to invest $1.2 billion in Mexico this year to 2011, the nation’s Economy Ministry said today in an e-mailed statement." There are no more specifics yet, and I haven't gotten my hands on the emailed statement, but this certainly could be your tax dollars are creating jobs south of the border while GM lays off American workers. This gets us back to the problem of government ownership of companies. GM needs to seek profit, and offshoring U.S. jobs is a good way to cut costs. But this is taxpayer-subsidized offshoring. There are no good answers here, as with GM's lobbying and public relations spending".

Stimulus cash for weatherization still unspent: “Jackie Harpst expected a busy summer at her nonprofit housing agency, as work crews backed by Nebraska’s share of $5 billion in federal stimulus money headed out to seal windows and spread insulation. Months after she thought work would begin, not a single window has been caulked. And she’s still not sure if her team will be able to get to work adding insulation before the summer heat passes — or even before the winter’s chill sets in.”

If Feds add “cookies” will privacy crumble?: “This isn’t a cookie-cutter administration. The Office of Management and Budget is considering reversing a nine-year ban on using ‘cookies’ to track users’ preferences and interests on federal Web sites. The shift in policy is being billed as a way for government to enter the 21st century and for federal agencies to use the same technology utilized on news sites, retail sites and social media networks. … But some privacy advocates say changing the policy for federal Web sites is troubling. If you check out the FBI’s Most Wanted List, they say, the government would know. If you want information from the CDC about pregnancy or AIDS, the government would know. Big Brother could quite literally be watching you.”

It can happen here: "“England’s Daily Express reported on August 4 that ‘thousands of the worst families in England are to be put in ’sin bins’ in a bid to change their bad behavior.’ Ed Balls, the Children’s Secretary, has announced a 400 million pound plan to put Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras in 20,000 homes in Britain, says the Express, ‘to ensure that children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals.’ This ’sin bin’ program already operates in many parts of the country, and about 2,000 families are presently under observation by their betters in the local bureaucracy. But Balls wants the program to be universal.”

The worst is ahead of us: "“The news that the jobless rate in this country has gone from 9.5 percent in June to 9.4 percent last month has led President Obama to declare that his policies have ’saved the U.S. economy from catastrophe’ and have led to another rally in the stock market. While I wish I could agree with the President — I really do wish that — I cannot do so, and I must say, ‘Not so fast, Mr. Obama.’ In fact, not only have Obama’s policies made this downturn worse, the policies have not yet begun to run their full course, and that means we have further to go before we hit bottom.”


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


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)


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why U.S. Diplomacy Will Fail With Iran

The Ayatollah Khameini needs anti-Americanism. He won't let Obama take it away

Long before his inauguration, Barack Obama lucidly explained how he would deal with Iran. During the campaign he said he would "engage" its leaders by offering talks without preconditions—without even asking them to stop chanting "death to America" when concluding their speeches...

There was only one more step before "engagement" could begin: Mr. Obama's June 4 Cairo speech in which he apologized for the August 1953 overthrow of Iran's Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq. "In the middle of the Cold War," he said, "the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government." The CIA was certainly involved, but the cringing was quite unnecessary. By August 1953 Mosaddeq had dismissed Iran's parliament and was ruling undemocratically by personal decree. When angry mobs converged on his residence, he fled to a U.S. aid office next door trusting that the Americans would save his life. They did.

As it happened, Mr. Obama's apology and his offer of unconditional talks backfired. With Iran's presidential selection of June 12 coming up, the all-powerful Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had his opportunity to replace the thoroughly unpresentable, loudly extremist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a more plausible negotiating partner for Mr. Obama... Evidently, Mr. Khamenei rejected the option of choosing a moderate. Instead he awarded Ahmadinejad a "divine" win with wildly improbable majorities—even in the home towns of his rivals.

Mr. Obama's problem is that Mr. Khamenei could only have chosen Ahmadinejad because he does not want friendly talks with the U.S. He evidently calculates that without the ideology of "anti-Americanism" the regime would collapse. He is right.

Certainly religious support cannot be enough anymore. Too many high-ranking clerics, including Grand Ayatollahs Hosssein Ali Montazeri and Yusef Saanei, now publicly oppose the regime. Nor can Persian nationalism serve as the prop: Its chief target is the despised Arabs, which is problematic, as the regime keeps trying to be more Arab than the Arabs in its hostility to Israel. Yet this hostility is itself a problem internally because the regime's generous funding of Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad is extremely unpopular in Iran. Only anti-Americanism is left, and Mr. Khamenei will not let Mr. Obama take it away.



Israeli Merkava IV tank to be equipped with active protection system

Israel is ahead of America in military technology but U.S. defence chiefs are too proud to just buy it

After a series of successful tests, the Israeli Ministry of Defense announced that it will equip their Merkava IV main battle tanks (MBTs) with the Trophy anti-missile system. UPI reported yesterday, that Israeli army chiefs have been pushing for the system since 22 Merkavas were damaged by Russian Kornet anti-tank guided missiles during the war with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon in the summer of 2006.

Designed to supplement the armor of both light and heavy armored fighting vehicles, the active protection system (APS) was collaborative developed by Rafael Armament Development Authority and Israel Aircraft Industries' Elta Group. The system combines a 360 degree radar to detect incoming ATGMs and rocket-propelled grenades with a computer system that directs launchers that fire a cloud of metal projectiles in the manner of a shotgun blast. Israeli defense officials told the Jerusalem Post that Trophy had intercepted all the incoming missiles in last week's tests.

The Pentagon tested Trophy in March 2006. One of the testers told NBC that it "worked in every case. … According to our test criteria the system was 30 for 30." The U.S.-based Institute for Defense Analyses has compared 15 active protection anti-missile systems and ranked Trophy at the top.

The system adds about a ton to a tank's weight and costs about $350,000 per vehicle, UPI reported. It can operate from both a stationary and a moving tank and can engage several threats at the same time.

It is currently installed on several tanks in the 401st Armored Brigade and will equip a full armored battalion by 2010. In addition it will be installed on all new Merkava IVs as part of the production line by the end of the year.

Several foreign military representatives were present at last week's tests, according to the Jerusalem Post. Rafael believes it has good prospects of selling the system to other militaries. The U.S. Department of Defense has a contract with Raytheon to develop an equivalent active protection system, known as Quick Kill. A prototype is supposed to be ready this year for installation on current armored vehicles. The U.S. Army resisted proposals to battle test the Trophy system in Iraq in 2007.



Recycling the contempt

By Wesley Pruden

Recycling is so popular that even our congressmen, unaccustomed as they are to practicing what they preach, do it. They're reaching back into the dark past to recycle contempt. Never waste a crisis, even if you have to manufacture the crisis.

Democrats from the cosseted life in the House and Senate, accustomed to getting the deference at home so often denied in Washington, are suddenly having to deal with inconvenient old folks at home. President Obama insists that the War on Terror is over, ended by his ultimate weapon, the Apology Bomb. But to listen to delicate congressmen whose feelings are hurt, al Qaeda has merely moved terror operations to their congressional districts.

Angry lynch mobs (to hear House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her sidekick Steny Hoyer tell it) of elderly gents on walking sticks and little blue-haired ladies in their 80s have descended on congressmen at town meetings across the country - in California, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Maryland, Ohio, Georgia and other places. They're taking out their anger and frustration at the Obama health care "reform" in the robust American way, but Mrs. Pelosi professes to see "reform" adrift on a turbulent sea of Nazi swastikas. Rep. Brian Baird of Washington sees a blur of Brown Shirts. Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas calls the dissenters "un-American." She later remembered where she was and said she didn't mean to call them that. Her contempt for Arkansas folks just popped out. In Georgia, Rep. David Scott tried to calm a town meeting with a plea to "calm down and take a deep breath," then took a deep breath and scolded everyone with a hysterical screed about the "hijacking" of his meeting.

Rep. Steve Cohen treated his Memphis constituents with similar contempt: "Take two aspirin and come back in the morning." Rep. Russ Carnahan told livid St. Louis constituents, naive yokels in his view, that they had been "mobilized [by] special interests in Washington."

The frightened Democratic reaction to robust debate - "the conversation" that "progressives" are so eager to have with those who disagree with them - recycles the insults and epithets last heard in confrontations over civil rights and the war in Vietnam. The protests are "organized," the work of "outside agitators." Martin Luther King, by Democratic reckoning, was an outside agitator. The marches against the Vietnam war were marvels of organization, true, but ... umm, well ... that was different. Mr. Obama should recognize outside agitation when he sees it, given his career in outside agitation in Chicago. He was taught by Saul Alinsky, "the father of American radicalism," that the left-wing strategy for achieving an unpopular goal is to "pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

We're almost there. The Democrats are trying to impose rationed government health care (the target) quickly, before the public wakes up from entertaining distractions (the freeze), making villains of all who oppose (personalizing it) and creating a chaotic controversy (polarizing it) that can be effectively exploited. Mr. Obama once taught Saul Alinsky workshops in Chicago, so he was ready when he thought he heard opportunity knocking.

But the president and his congressional accomplices forgot that timing is everything. The public-opinion polls show that bare majorities think there's a health care crisis, but bigger majorities are satisfied with their own coverage. The majority can smell government medicine and the confiscatory taxes on the way. The president further miscalculated when he agreed to the insertion of a scheme, hidden in the thousand pages of the House legislation, to "offer" counseling to the aged about how they want to die. Nothing there about the "how" and "when." That comes later.

When he confronts mortality, a man is suspicious of boodlers with smooth tongues. Roger Fakes, 70, a retired businessman, showed up at the Memphis "town hall" in neither Brown Shirt nor swastika (he's actually a Presbyterian elder). His congressman's insistence that Obamacare would not disturb his private insurance moved him to his feet with polite but pointed questions and observations: "There are some of us old gray-haired folks who don't want the government involved in any of our business." And not just the gray-haired folks. Congressmen are learning the hard way they sometimes have to listen, like it or not.




ALG Finds Details on "Right-Wing" Threat Assessment: "Americans for Limited Government, which is the parent group of NetRight Nation, had it's Research Department do some digging on the right-wing threat assessment released from the Homeland Security Department. What they turned up was very interesting. The sources for the potential threats were actually from websites as well as some blogs. Essentially, this Homeland Security threat assessment was not based on any intelligence but on what someone found in doing some Google searches"

Soaring deficit may defy forecasts: "Stagnant unemployment, shrinking tax revenue and a struggling economy threaten to quadruple the size of last year's federal budget deficit, raising more questions about the timing of costly proposals to overhaul health care. As the White House and Congressional Budget Office (CBO) prepare to release new deficit estimates this month, several economists say the news is likely to be as bad as or worse than forecasts".

GA: Swastika painted outside Congressman’s office: “The debate over health care took an ugly turn Tuesday morning after a swastika was found painted outside of Congressman David Scott’s Smyrna office. The incident follows national coverage of Scott’s encounter with a citizen opposed to heath care reform at a recent town hall in Douglasville. That forum’s topic was not health care, but reconstruction of Ga. 92. Since then the 13th district representative’s two local offices have been flooded with angry phone calls, faxes and e-mails.”

Foreclosure levels unlikely to fall: “Why have efforts of President Barack Obama’s administration to reduce foreclosures had so little impact? In response to this embarrassment, the Obama administration has called the largest mortgage servicers to Washington, and Congress has held at least three hearings over the last few weeks. Undoubtedly, pressure will be applied to the lenders to do more. However, these efforts will largely be fruitless until the administration recognizes the true driving forces behind mortgage foreclosures.”

The truth about town hall meetings: "“Yesterday, the Obama administration distanced itself from some of the more outrageous comments made by congressional Democrats, including one made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) which labeled some critics of a government takeover of health care as ’simply un-American.’ Speaker Pelosi was specifically referring to those opponents who have been attending health care congressional town hall meetings, claiming that ‘disruptive’ actions are perverting our democratic system and preventing a real dialogue between Congress and constituents. … Who goes to town hall meetings for fun? Of course the people crashing the events have an agenda. That’s the point!”

Muslim Teen Who Converted to Christianity Says Family Threatened to Kill Her: "An Ohio teenager says she ran away from home to Florida because her family threatened to kill her for converting from Islam to Christianity, local media reported. Rifqa Bary, 17, testified Monday at a custody hearing in Orlando that she'd recently changed religions and is worried her relatives will do something drastic, according to WFTV in Orlando and Central Florida News 13. "They have to kill me because I'm a Christian. It's an honor (issue)," the girl told WFTV. Such threats are common, even in the United States, her attorney, Rosa Gonzalez, told News 13. "She says her life is in danger and she could be killed in an honor killing," Gonzalez said after the hearing — which was held because the teenager's parents are trying to regain custody of her. Rifqa, a non-citizen whose parents are from Sri Lanka, has for several weeks been staying with an Orlando couple who are pastors of a new Christian church there. She met them on a Facebook prayer group. Her father denied his daughter's allegations to NBC 4 in Orlando, saying he never threatened to kill his daughter because she rejected Islam. He was in Florida for a court hearing, but was reportedly traveling back to Ohio Tuesday. The Florida Department of Children and Families currently has custody of her, but ultimately, Ohio authorities will decide where the teen should live."

Afghanistan: US Marines assault Dahaneh: "U.S. Marines have mounted a helicopter assault to seize the Taliban-held town of Dahaneh in southern Afghanistan and are fighting gain control of the area ahead of next week’s presidential elections. The assault began before dawn Wednesday, with Marines entering the town as others battled militants in the surrounding mountains. Associated Press journalists traveling with the first wave say Marines were met with small arms, mortar and rocket propelled grenade fire. Fighting is still under way hours later, with U.S. Marine Harrier jets streaking over the town and dropping flares in a show of force.”

Expert forges “unforgeable” British ID card in 12 minutes: “Adam Laurie is no ordinary hacker. In the world of computing, he is considered a genius — a man whose talents are used by government departments and blue-chip companies to guard against terrorists and cyber-criminals. … Embedded inside the card for foreigners is a microchip …. the vital security measure that, so the Government believes, will make identity cards ‘unforgeable.’ But as I watch, Laurie picks up a mobile phone and, using just the handset and a laptop computer, electronically copies the ID card microchip and all its information in a matter of minutes. He then creates a cloned card, and with a little help from another technology expert, he changes all the information the card contains — the physical details of the bearer, name, fingerprints and so on. And he doesn’t stop there.”

Britain: Are you being watched?: "The latest report by the Interception of Communications Commissioner reveals that government authorities monitored citizens’ telephone calls and emails more than 500,000 times last year. This ‘Use of Communications Data’ is permitted under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, which has introduced a system of governmental surveillance on a scale unprecedented in Britain, and internationally unrivalled. Of course, the police and the security services need the means to investigate serious crimes and prevent acts of terrorism, but these demands must always be balanced against the protection of privacy; both because our privacy is inherently valuable, and because a system of surveillance inevitably risks abuse by rogue employees or government itself.”

A maximum wage for Britain?: “In Friday’s Guardian, Andrew Simms resurrects the idea of a maximum wage to ‘tackle inequality.’ The actual consequence: employers would no longer be able to attract the best workers by offering them higher salaries, so would instead offer them more perks and less hours. That is, the most productive workers (not just bankers, but doctors, business owners, and Guardian editors) would work less. Many others would move abroad. All it would achieve is a fall in the level of economic activity, and a corresponding fall in tax revenue and trickle-down spending. This is the nonsense of equality by levelling down: dragging down the rich, out of sheer envy, to the detriment of everyone.”


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


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)


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Rise of the Obama Police State —An Early Demonstration?

“We don’t want interacting,” said the police officer, to the shock of the conservative activist holding the camera. She was in Baton Rouge, LA, filming a demonstration by ACORN in favor of Barack Obama’s proposed government-run health care. And what she had just witnessed, as the officer led the offending man away who had dared speak to the activist, was nothing short of the disruption of free speech, of the press, and of the right to assemble—by the police.

As reported by the Examiner, “Things took a surprising and dangerous turn when a police officer, clearly sympathetic to the ACORN rally, attempts to shut down the opposition. At one point, during a very civil discussion between an opponent and a supporter of the president’s plan, the police officer returned and actually told the individuals opposing the president’s plan they were not allowed to speak. The man in blue shirt, a supporter of the president’s plan, later returns and attempts to defend the free speech rights of the counter protesters.”

For all intents and purposes, she was reporting on the demonstration. And yet, every time she attempted to converse with opponents of ObamaCare, the police intervened. Not exactly what one would call the protection of unalienable rights. It looks more like a police state—in its infancy.

On Wikipedia, a police state is described, “The inhabitants of a police state experience restrictions on their mobility, and on their freedom to express or communicate political or other views, which are subject to police monitoring or enforcement.” Exactly what was seen in Baton Rouge.

In this case, nobody was arrested. But it is troubling, to say the least, that the police were apparently ordered to disrupt any interaction between supporters and opponents of ObamaCare, even ones that were perfectly willing to debate.

“We disagree. We can have a civil conversation and talk while we walk. We disagree. It’s fine,” said one ObamaCare supporter, who too was disgusted by the police action.

Really, the ones who had obviously expressed a desire to avoid even civil discourse of their views were the ACORN demonstrators. Of course, there is no such thing as freedom from speech, or debate. But if one does not like what is being said, they can simply move to the other side of the street.

But since they were protesting, wasn’t the point to defend their views? When they put themselves out there, as members of a self-described public interest organization, they actually are public figures—a part of the national political debate. That makes the views expressed by the organization subject to public scrutiny by press or citizen journalists alike.

Instead, in Omerica, apparently there is the stunning emergence of a political elite. They are beyond reproach and criticism. And the police will see to that, as can be seen in this appalling display.



Charles Krauthammer on Obama

Krauthammer is a psychiatrist

1. Mr. Obama is a very intellectual, charming individual. He is not to be underestimated. He is a cool customer who doesn’t show his emotions. It’s very hard to know what’s behind the mask. The taking down of the Clinton dynasty from a political neophyte was an amazing accomplishment. The Clintons still do not understand what hit them. Obama was in the perfect place at the perfect time.

2. Obama has political skills comparable to Reagan and Clinton. He has a way of making you think he’s on your side, agreeing with your position, while doing the opposite. Pay no attention to what he SAYS; rather, watch what he DOES!

3. Obama has a ruthless quest for power. He did not come to Washington to make something out of himself, but rather to change everything, including dismantling capitalism. He cannot be straightforward on his ambitions as the public would not go along. He has a heavy hand, and wants to level the playing field with income redistribution and punishment to the achievers in our society. He would like to model the USA to Great Britain or Canada .

4. His three main goals are to control ENERGY, PUBLIC EDUCATION, & NATIONAL HEALTHCARE by the Federal government. He doesn’t care about the auto or financial services industries, but he got them as an early bonus. The cap and trade will add costs to EVERYTHING and stifle growth. Paying for FREE college education is his goal. Most scary is his healthcare program, because if you make it FREE and add 46,000,000 people to a Medicare-type single-payer system, the costs will go through the roof. The only way to control costs is with massive RATIONING of services, like in Canada God forbid.

5. He’s surrounded himself with mostly far-left academic types. No one around him has ever even run a candy store. But they are going to try and run the auto, financial, banking and other industries. This obviously can’t work in the long run. Obama’s not a socialist; rather he’s a far-left secular progressive bent on nothing short of revolution. He ran as a moderate, but is governing from the hard left. WATCH WHAT HE DOES, NOT WHAT HE SAYS.

6. Obama doesn’t really see himself as President of the United States , but more as a ruler over the world. He sees himself above it all, trying to orchestrate &coordinate various countries and their agendas. He sees moral equivalency in all cultures. His apology tour in Germany and England was a prime example of how he sees America , as an imperialist nation that has been arrogant, rather than a great noble nation that has at times made errors. This is the first President ever who has chastised our allies and appeased our enemies.

7. He’s now handing out goodies. He hopes that the bill (and pain) will not come due until after he’s reelected in 2012. He would like to blame all problems on Bush from the past, and hopefully his successor in the future. He has a huge ego, and Mr. Krauthammer believes he is a supreme narcissist.

8. Republicans are in the wilderness for a while, but will emerge strong. We’re pining for another Reagan but there will never be another like him. Krauthammer believes Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty & Bobby Jindahl (except for his terrible speech in February) are the future of the party. Newt Gingrich is brilliant, but has too much baggage.. Sarah Palin is sincere and intelligent, but needs to really be seriously boning up on facts and info if she’s to be a serious candidate in the future. We need to return to the party of lower taxes, smaller government, personal responsibility, strong national defense, and states rights.

9. The current level of spending is irresponsible and outrageous. We’re spending trillions that we don’t have. This could lead to hyperinflation, depression or worse. No country has ever spent themselves into prosperity. The liberal media is giving Obama, Reid and Pelosi a pass because they love their agenda. But eventually the bill will come due and people will realize the huge bailouts didn’t work, nor will the stimulus package. These were trillion-dollar payoffs to Obama’s allies, unions and the Congress to placate the left, so he can get support for #4 above..

10. The election was over in mid-September when Lehman brothers failed, fear and panic swept in. We had an unpopular President and the war was grinding on indefinitely without a clear outcome. The mantra of change caused people to act emotionally. ANY Democrat could have won this election; it was surprising it was as close as it was.

11. In 2012, if the unemployment rate is over 10%, Republicans will be swept back into power. If it’s under 8%, Dems will continue to roll If it’s between 8-10%, it will be a dogfight. It will all be about the economy. Hopefully this gets you really thinking about what’s happening in Washington and Congress. There’s a left-wing revolution going on, according to Krauthammer. He encourages us to keep the faith and join the loyal resistance. The work will be hard, but we’re on the right side of the issues and can reclaim our country, before it’s far too late.




There's a big roundup of healthcare news and views on my SOCIALIZED MEDICINE blog today.

Panel sees race bias in health care bill: "The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says some little-noticed provisions in the House health care bill are racially discriminatory, and it intends to ask President Obama and Congress to rewrite sections that factor in race when awarding billions in contracts, scholarships and grants. The commission also fears the programs, which are designed to improve health care in underserved areas, will not be effective. In a draft of a letter the commission approved Friday, the group raises constitutional questions about giving preferential treatment to minority students for scholarships, and about favoring medical schools and organizations that have a record of sending graduates to areas with inadequate health care services."

Donk Congressmen in hiding: "Stung by howling protesters and losing ground in the public relations battle over health care, members of Congress this summer are ditching traditional town-hall meetings and using less confrontational methods of meeting constituents as they try to persuade a wary public to back the Democrats' overhaul plans. For Rep. Ed Perlmutter, Colorado Democrat, that meant holding court outside the King Soopers grocery store here Saturday behind a 6-foot wall of bottled water, blocked from view of roughly 400 voters in a parking lot. "He's in there hiding," said John Frantum of Denver, who opposes the proposed expansion of government-provided health care. "He should have been out here with a bullhorn once he saw the writing on the wall."

Congress drops plan to spend $550 million on new jets: “U.S. House leaders have dropped plans to spend $550 million in the Air Force budget on passenger jets used by lawmakers and senior government officials, officials said on Monday. The House of Representatives reversed the move to upgrade the executive jet fleet after public criticism, opposition from other lawmakers and the Defense Department had said it did not need more planes that it had requested.”

Senate report: Obama regime’s strategy includes assassination list: “In a dramatic change of policy ordered by the Obama administration, the U.S. military has been given approval to ‘kill or capture’ 50 Taliban-connected drug lords whose names are on a classified ‘kill list’ being circulated to commanders, according to a report prepared for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and obtained by Military officials expressed anger today that the ‘classified program’ had been revealed in the Senate report.”

What goes around …: "It was a Democrat, Hilary Clinton in 2003, who said that Americans have the right to disagree and to debate with any administration. Now, it is another Democrat, Barack Obama who disagrees with that view. No one, it seems, has the right to disagree with him, which may well be why he told his supporters to ‘get in the faces’ of critics during his election campaign. Why is this happening? Why are some people supporting his anti-first amendment stance? Probably because many Democrats believed that they had overwhelming popular support for their agenda. As such, they were unprepared for organized opposition. They also quite probably did not believe that such opposition would materialize. They did not believe that people would organize themselves when provoked. Now, they are panicking and resorting to force, instead of accepting the fact that they don’t have a mandate. What goes around comes around.”

Temper, temper!: " US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton showed a rare flash of public anger on a trip to Africa today as a student asked for her husband's views, putting him in his place by saying she is the United States' top diplomat. At an open forum with young people in Kinshasa, a university student took the microphone and asked about the involvement of China and the World Bank in the Democratic Republic of Congo. "What does Mr Clinton think about it?" he said to the befuddlement of the crowd. Ms Clinton replied in a forceful voice: "You want to know what my husband thinks?" "My husband is not the secretary of state, I am. You ask my opinion, I will tell you my opinion. I'm not going to channel my husband." Bill Clinton has mostly stayed out of the spotlight as his wife represents the United States overseas, although last week he travelled to North Korea to negotiate the release of two detained US journalists. Former president Clinton, who has actively promoted African development since leaving the White House, is not joining his wife for any part of her seven-nation tour of the continent."

Too much is never enough: “I was going to argue that California public employee unions are delusional — given that they keep demanding higher pay and pensions and other perquisites even as the state’s unemployment rate tops 11 percent, as average Californians struggle with fewer jobs, higher taxes and a particularly brutal recession, and as governments at all levels struggle with dramatic decreases in revenue. But these unions really aren’t crazy. In fact, they understand reality better than the rest of us, who still hold to the quaint belief that public employees serve us. The unions know the truth: that the public servants are now the public’s masters.”

What is this “free market” we keep hearing about?: “As President Obama and his pet Congress continue their crusade to expand the reach of government into our lives, ‘conventional wisdom’ continues to tell us that socialized medicine, rampant wealth redistribution, and government control over one industry after another is ‘necessary’ because of the supposed failure of the free market to adequately address the needs of society. The way the ‘free market’ is characterized by politicians and media pundits, it is not surprising that most Americans seem to regard it as some sort of special interest group (Mr. Undersecretary, the gentlemen from the free market are here to see you).”

Us versus them: “We are for freedom, they are for coercion. We are for personal choice when other lives aren’t at stake. They are for choice only when the choice involves other lives being snuffed out. We are for personal responsibility enforced by self-restraint and social norms. They are for responsibility imposed from without by government bureaucrats. We conservatives are for the ideals that make America America. They, the liberals, are for transforming America into an imagined utopia enforced by command and control, based on values alien to the great American tradition.”

The folly of workplace regulations: “In an effort to provide workers with a better environment, the government has instituted numerous workplace regulations, such as requiring ergonomically correct work stations with proper chairs and lighting, which businesses are forced to follow. Since these improvements cannot be made at little or no expense to the employer, they increase costs of production, and reduce the amount of labor that the employer can afford to hire. Such improvements have the same effect as a mandatory increase in wages: The employer has less money available to hire more workers. In fact, in certain marginal cases, he may be forced to lay off some of his workers, or even to go out of businesses if he cannot meet his expenses. This is especially true for small businesses just getting started. But it applies to larger businesses as well.”

Another U.S. airline nightmare: "Passengers have revealed their horror at being confined all night in a small, "smelly" plane in the US after a series of problems. The ExpressJet Airlines flight 2816 from Houston, US, to the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-Saint Paul) on Friday, should have taken approximately three hours. Instead storms caused the flight’s diversion to Rochester, where the 47 passengers then spent around nine hours overnight trapped inside the small plane, with complaints of screaming babies and foul over-used toilets. Passenger Link Christin told the US's Star Tribune that he couldn’t believe the airline was unable to figure out an alternative besides keeping the passengers on the plane for such a long time. “It's not like you're on a (Boeing) 747 and you can walk around,'' Mr Christin said. “This was a sardine can… It was a nightmare.” ExpressJet spokesperson Kristy Nicholas said the flight suffered a series of problems. The crew reached their maximum work hours in the air, forcing another crew to be flown in. Adding to the troubles, passengers were not allowed into the airport as the security screeners had gone home [That was a lie]. Mr Christin said that the passengers received no food, except for an earlier bag of pretzels, and had to put up with a smelly toilet and babies. The passengers were sent back on the same plane, which had no functioning restroom by this time, and arrived in Twin Cities at 11am, roughly 11 hours late." [Let's hope the SoBs get prosecuted over it. In Europe they would be hit with stiff government penalties but Congress is too busy spending money to worry about such things]


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


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)


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Wicked Thoughts" has moved house

From the Wicked Thoughts mirror site:

OK. I have had enough of Google/blogspot. They have had my blogspot blog blocked for a week now and still have not told me why. So I am transferring operations to Wordpress. Whether they will be any better remains to be seen of course but this is the new site: Wicked Thoughts. Be sure to keep a bookmark to this mirror site, however, in case Wordpress go strange on me too.

One annoyance is that all my archives (past posts) are blocked at the moment too. I have therefore posted the July archive on this site. See below. All of my posts for this month are up on the new site so go there now and have a look.

The postings for July are here. I keep copies of everything I post so I may post archives for previous months in due course too.


Spontaneous opposition to tyranny still lives in America

In the early 1830s, when Alexis de Tocqueville visited Jacksonian America, he was taken aback by much of what he encountered. Nothing impressed him more, however, than the demonstrated capacity of the Americans to form private associations for public purposes.

This phenomenon - illegal in Tocqueville's France and rare on the continent of Europe, even today - amazed him. He was particularly struck by the political consequences of the Americans' confident practice of what he called "the art of association." For, as he discovered, opposition had sprung up to the so-called Tariff of Abominations outside the existing political parties.

This opposition was especially emphatic in the South. But, in a fashion that seemed spontaneous, organizations had been independently formed in every district of the country, and then they had joined together in a great network to bring pressure upon Congress.

Tocqueville did not express an opinion regarding the justice or wisdom of this movement. What interested and excited him was simply its existence. For it proved that, in a great commercial democracy established in an extended territory, civic agency was a genuine possibility. It proved that the residents of the United States of America were citizens, not subjects, and it demonstrated that the condition that he called "soft despotism" was not the only possibility afforded by liberal democracy.

Tocqueville's ruminations deserve attention for one simple reason. We are today witnessing a reawakening of the American spirit that so strongly impressed him.

In earlier posts on Power Line, I have discussed the tyrannical ambitions of the Obama administration (here), the danger a consolidation of government poses for the people of the United States (here), the psychological disposition that makes democratic peoples vulnerable to servile temptation (here), the institutions that once in some measure shielded Americans from these propensities (here), the gradual disappearance of that shield (here), and some of the reasons why I think it now possible for us to recover the liberty that once was ours (here and here).

Here I simply want to add an appreciative word regarding Barack Obama. Our President has told us that he has a gift, and he is undoubtedly right. But he misconceives the nature of his gift. He thinks that his skills in oratory will enable him to fool all of the people all of the time. In his Presidential campaign, he did wonders - hinting at radical intentions while speaking always in a moderate tone. And thanks to the blunders of George W. Bush in office and to the ineptitude of John McCain, who had made a career of betraying his own side, Obama managed to win.

Soon, however, the Democratic Party will be reminded that, in German, "Gift" is a word for poison. For one cannot fool the American people for long, and the real effect of the effort made by Obama and by figures such as Rahm Emanuel will be to unmask the Democratic Party as a conspiracy on the part of a would-be aristocracy of do-gooders hostile to very idea of self-government in the United States.

This we are witnessing now, for everything is now done in secret and behind closed doors. The so-called "stimulus bill" was passed in both the House and the Senate in a manner suggestive of tyranny. It was written in camera with the help of a legion of lobbyists, and it was presented and shoved through before anyone in Congress even had a chance to read it, much less think about it.

The fact that there was no time allowed for public discussion and debate aroused suspicion nationwide; and when it became evident that the bill was a fraud - that its real purpose was to reward favored party constituencies and that the sum spent will grossly inflate the national deficit in the short run and require massive tax increases down the road - Americans in astonishing numbers took to the streets in every corner of the land.

The passage of the cap-and-trade bill in the House - again without adequate public discussion and debate - only reinforced the wariness of the general public, and the same can be said for the efforts of the Obama administration to push through a scheme aimed at putting us on the road to socialized medicine.

Behind closed doors, in secrecy, a deal was done to reward the United Auto Workers and to defraud the bondholders of Chrysler and General Motors. And behind closed doors, without any species of accountability, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner is reorganizing our financial system.

Now, as citizens flock to town meetings all over the country to confront their Senators and Congressmen, we can see the consequences. And the White House and the Democratic Party have responded to the spontaneous organization of opposition to their endeavors in a manner that is reminiscent of the governments in Tocqueville's France - by insulting their fellow citizens, by charging them with conspiracy, by locking citizens out of putatively public meetings, by bringing in union toughs to intimidate the opposition, and by illegally collecting the names and contact information of those who have exercised their First Amendment rights in a manner unfriendly to the proposals advanced by the current administration - apparently with an eye to future retribution.

We should be grateful to Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Rahm Emanuel. For, in their audacity, they have done what their predecessors feared to do; and, in the process, they have made the tyrannical propensities inherent within the progressive impulse visible to anyone who cares to take notice. What Franklin Delano Roosevelt falsely charged in 1936 is visibly true today. "A small group" is intent on concentrating "into their own hands an almost complete control over other people's property, other people's money, other people's labor - other people's lives."

The only question is whether the Republicans have the wit to take full advantage of the opportunity that Barack Obama has handed them.



Conservative community organizing not allowed

by Jeff Jacoby

DEMOCRATS ARE OUTRAGED that conservatives have been showing up at town-hall meetings with members of Congress to noisily protest the health-care "reform" bills pending on Capitol Hill. In a statement last week, the Democratic National Committee spokesman slammed "Republicans and their allied groups," charging them with "inciting angry mobs of . . . rabid right-wing extremists . . . to disrupt thoughtful discussions about the future of health care in America." A new DNC video, meanwhile, blasts "the right wing extremist Republican base" and says that GOP leaders "called out the mob."

Now, there is no excuse for the ugly rhetoric and behavior of a few of these protesters, like the ones in Maryland who hanged Representative Frank Kratovil in effigy, or the Massachusetts voter who compared Representative James McGovern to the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. It was disgusting when left-wingers spewed such venom during the Bush years. It is disgusting when right-wingers do so today.

Barack Obama, 2008: 'I want you to argue with them and get in their face.'

But surely Democrats don't object to energetic grassroots activism, not after they spent so much of 2008 extolling the virtues of "community organizing." And surely they aren't offended by citizens going toe to toe with those they disagree with politically, not after Barack Obama urged his followers last year to remonstrate with friends and neighbors "whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face," Obama said then.

Democrats may differ with their opponents on health care, but they can hardly fault them for taking a page from the Obama political playbook.

SOURCE (See the original for links)



Michigan crowd vents health care fury: "There were no buses, no swastikas, not a piece of Astroturf in sight. But there was name-calling, jeering, red faces and finger-pointing as Michigan residents shot back with fury at a congressional town-hall meeting geared to explaining President Obama's health care plan. Rep. John D. Dingell, a Democrat and a lead author of health care legislation in the House, did his best to remain composed, even as many constituents and other residents argued that the plan is socialized medicine and rained down fury against a smaller group of supporters for the plan. "You're a fraud, you have not read the bill," screamed Mike Sola, who got directly in the lawmaker's face in furious confrontation, wheeling his 36-year-old son, Scott, who has cerebral palsy, directly to the podium before police stepped in and encouraged the Milan, Mich., man to leave. He asserted that the bill would not help his disabled child. "Fascist America," Mr. Sola screamed on his way out. Mr. Dingell, 83, who has championed universal health care reform since 1957, joined the fray with many of his Democratic congressional colleagues, who are caught in an angry backlash as they attempt, during the August recess, to sell the president's health care reform plans in their home districts."

Drooping polls undercut scripted protest claims: "The White House's claim that large and boisterous protests against health care reform over the past week have been scripted performances, underwritten by industry lobbyists and the Republican Party, continues to run into a stubborn reality check: public polling on the matter. For more than two weeks, polls have consistently shown growing resistance to President Obama's reform proposals, largely because of concerns about the nation's deficit and debt. "There are a number of statistically valid public opinion polls that show that there has been a dramatic increase in public concern about escalating deficits and debt levels and our nation's increased reliance on foreign lenders," said David Walker, the nation's former comptroller general. Mr. Walker, who as president of the nonpartisan Peter G. Peterson Foundation since 2008 has spearheaded an effort to raise public awareness about the country's long-term fiscal problems, said that the American people are "ahead of their elected officials" in understanding the need to rein in spending before expanding health care coverage. "They get it," he said. "Costs are out of control, and they threaten the future of this country. And you cannot reduce cost by expanding coverage. That's an oxymoron."

Abuse is always the Leftist fallback: "Stepping up the rhetoric from mockery to pure hatred, and absent any evidence, Mr. Olbermann has called the president's public protesters "worse than racists." Political activist and comedian Janeane Garofalo colored them "racist rednecks who hate blacks." And at the somewhat higher end of the food chain, liberal economist Paul Krugman in the New York Times wrote last week that they were motivated by "cultural and racial fear." ... Tea Party attendees and health care town-hall protesters share the common belief that the extravagant spending of President Obama and the Democratic Party -- absent any checks and balances -- will eventually lead more people into government dependency, higher taxes and, perhaps, our country's financial ruin. These are legitimate fears felt by millions of Americans. That's why the media and the Democratic Party are scared and are throwing outrageous and hateful accusations at everyday Americans -- hoping that people stay home out of fear.

Democracy, when I like the outcome: “Many moons ago California had a referendum, as only California can have them, promoted by the Democratic operative Bill Press, urging huge taxes on oil company incomes and profits, just about when the massive oil spill occurred in the Santa Barbara Channel. (I think it was immediately following the spill that Press imagined he could get the voters to lay in on Big Oil!) Alas, the voters went against Press’s people and for Big Oil, but, of course, Mr. Press & Co., immediately cried foul. Clearly democracy was only a valid method for reaching public policy decisions when it favored what Mr. Press & Co., the Democrats, in other words, wanted. Anything else had to be corrupt, not bona fide democracy. We are these days witnessing the same thing across the country.”

Democratic Jews Break with Obama on Israel: "Jews who identify themselves as Democrats strongly agree with the Israeli position and disagree with President Obama's on issues such as a Palestinian state, settlement construction, and trading land for peace. A telephone survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center of 500 American Jews who say they are Democrats found broad disagreement with the Obama Middle East foreign policy."

America's unconstitutional census: "Next year’s census will determine the apportionment of House members and Electoral College votes for each state. To accomplish these vital constitutional purposes, the enumeration should count only citizens and persons who are legal, permanent residents. But it won’t. Instead, the U.S. Census Bureau is set to count all persons physically present in the country—including large numbers who are here illegally. The result will unconstitutionally increase the number of representatives in some states and deprive some other states of their rightful political representation. Citizens of “loser” states should be outraged. Yet few are even aware of what’s going on".

Privatized policing in Britain: "“Residents in a leafy suburb of Southampton have clubbed together to purchase security from a private firm. The ‘local’ police force have failed to protect the community and left people feeling unsafe. Thus, with an opening in the market place a private company is now giving the residents peace of mind by protecting them from crime. Atraks offers a ‘first response’ to crime and is independent of the police and local councils, and is cheap at just £3.15 per week. This country has reached the point where the police force has become a centralized, uniformed arm of the state, directed by government not for the people’s benefit but for their own.”

New fears over the rising tide of jobless in Britain: “In a week when ministers are bracing themselves for another steep rise in unemployment and possible downgrades in the Bank of England’s growth forecasts, senior analysts at two organisations warn today that a huge ’second wave’ of public-sector redundancies threatens to extinguish any near-term economic recovery.In their latest Labour Market Outlook, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and accountants KPMG say that the pace of deterioration in UK job prospects is starting to slow this summer, as private-sector demand for staff begins to stabilise following the surge of redundancies that took effect earlier in the year.”

Another faulty Airbus: "A Vietnam Airlines (VNA) Airbus 320 burst two tyres upon landing in southern Vietnam on Friday, the company said, adding all 164 passengers and crew members were safe. Crew discovered abnormal signs in the craft's hydraulic system, forcing the pilot to use the emergency brake on landing at Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat international airport, bursting two rear tyres, VNA said in a statement. The national flag carrier said it was working with relevant agencies to investigate what caused the problem on the flight from coastal Nha Trang city.


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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)