Friday, December 20, 2013

A libertarian case for immigration control

(Most libertarians advocate open borders)

I know a nice libertarian-socialist fellow named Mophery Rurbt. He has a household, let us imagine, consisting of three wives (well, he is a Mormon, and the Supreme Court has legalized polygamy), and four children.

One day at his door he finds a small Bangladeshi child, looking hungry, and saying he is come all the way across the world from Bangladesh, and has no place to stay. Mophery's family all consult together, and decide they can take him in. The little Bangladeshi child is overjoyed and becomes part of the Rurbt household.

One thing he does after joining that household is Facebook message all his friends back in Bangladesh, and tell them about this generous American who will take people in. Well, they Facebook message their friends, and so on, and about a week later...

Mophery wakes up in the morning to find Bangladeshis on his lawn. And beyond his lawn. In fact, as far as the eye can see (and this is pretty far, since Mophery lives on a tall hill) darn Bangladeshis struggling to advance towards his home. He learns that every single one of them expects him to take them in.

He locks his door, and shouts out the window that he will call the police if the horde tries to force its way in.

All, but now his fellow libertarian socialists hate him. "You're telling these people where they can go at the point of a gun."

The problem is that they don't see private property as legitimate, and thus don't see Mophery's efforts to stop his home from being overwhelmed and destroyed as a useful dwelling as legitimate. But Mophery has had a sudden awakening, and realizes that his household, to be a functioning unit, has to be able to control who may or may not join. If those who are not invited to join try to force their way in anyhow, the initial quote aggression" is on their part, not on his household's.

Nation-states, too, are functioning social units. If they are to remain functioning social units, they have to be able to regulate the influx of new members. It takes an ideology to occlude this rather obvious point, and make it look as though a group declining to invite someone in is somehow threatening them "at gunpoint."



How to Get Real and Affordable Health Insurance Without Obamacare

What if we told you there are ways you can buy real health insurance, and more importantly, more affordable health insurance, than you can get from either the federal government's or your state government's health insurance "marketplaces"?

By now, you are likely very well informed about how President Obama's lies andmultiple broken promises have produced an even more broken system for buying individual health insurance coverage. Coverage that has become bothmore costly and of lower quality than what you may have had before because of all the useless bloat that has been added to it by President Obama and his bureaucrats who have put their politics ahead of people.

Sean Parnell, who helped us with the development of our "Obamacare: Should You Pay the Premium or the Tax?" tool, has been working on how to get effective and affordable health insurance coverage without dealing with Obamacare. At all. And best of all, in describing how to opt out of Obamacare, he explains you can get the kind of unbloated coverage that might make the most sense for you:

1. "Join a health care sharing ministry. These are voluntary, charitable membership organizations that agree to share medical bills among the membership. They function similar to insurance, and are probably the best alternative to conventional health insurance. There are four of them, at least that I know of. Three are open only to practicing Christians (Samaritan Ministries, Christian Healthcare Ministries, and Christian Care Ministry***) while a fourth, Liberty HealthShare, is open to anyone who agrees with their ethical commitment to religious liberty. They operate entirely outside of Obamacare’s regulations, and typically offer benefits for about half the cost of similar health insurance. Members are also exempt from having to pay the tax for being uninsured.

2. Buy a short-term health insurance policy. These policies usually last between 1 and 11 months (6 months seem to be standard) and are not regulated under Obamacare, and therefore don’t offer the same high level of benefits that can drive up costs. Deductibles are available that are higher than what is allowed with Obamacare-compliant health insurance, leading to further savings. They can typically be renewed at the end of the policy, although it is a new policy that won’t cover any conditions that occurred under the previous short-term policy. Another limitation is that they often can’t be renewed over and over again, it looks like 3 years of coverage is about the maximum. But they are much less expensive than conventional health insurance, and can be a good option for covering major medical expenses.

3. Buy alternative insurance products like fixed-benefit, critical illness, or accident insurance. These policies pay cash in the event you are diagnosed with cancer, spend a night in the hospital, or need some other medical treatment. They cost a fraction of what health insurance costs under Obamacare, and by giving you cash directly you aren’t locked in to any particular provider network. Another thing to do is to max out your medical and uninsured/underinsured driver coverage amounts under your auto insurance policy, which can pay medical bills if you are hurt in a car accident.

***UPDATE #2: I listed four health care sharing ministries above, including Christian Care Ministry. What I forgot to mention is that they operate under the name Medi-Share, which many of you may be more familiar with."

He also goes on to describe how to get lower cost health care (not just lower cost health care insurance), so you can get more bang for the bucks you do spend on health care, at least as compared to what someone who signs up for an Obamacare policy will get.

The short-term policies are more like traditional health insurance coverage, which makes them ideal for only paying for the kind of unbloated coverage you need. A good portion of your premiums for an Obamacare policy is actually going to pay for out-of-pocket health care expenses that President Obama's political supporters would like to not have to pay for themselves, which is one reason why their premiums are so much higher than what typical premiums were before the law's implementation.

One downside to the short-term policies is that they don't automatically cover pre-existing conditions, so if you develop a condition that requires extended treatment during the term of one of these policies, you may not be able to renew that coverage. A good way to get around that limitation though is to time the coverage period of your short-term policies during the year so that they go through December, where you could have the option to then get Affordable Care Act coverage during its next enrollment period if you do develop a condition that requires extended treatment. You could then drop the expensive Obamacare policy after you no longer need it in favor of the less costly short term policies again, as would be your right as an honest tax-paying American citizen.

If that describes your situation, when you do "opt-in" to Obamacare, it will be to your advantage to select a "Gold" or "Platinum" level plan, where instead of a high deductible that can require you to pay thousands of dollars out of your own pocket before you even get any meaningful benefit for having health insurance coverage, as is the case for both "Bronze" and "Silver"-level plans under the terms of the Affordable Care Act. We have previously found that people with expensive chronic or short-term, but costly health conditions will almost always pay less for their health care by selecting an Obamacare plan with minimal deductibles.

In fact, we could tell if Obamacare has developed an adverse selection problem simply by looking at the percentage of each kind of "metal" plan that its enrollees have selected, which is perhaps a very big reason why the Obama administration has refused to provide that information to date.

The fixed-benefit and accident insurance coverage would be beneficial as gap filling coverage, which is a means of covering thecost gap if you choose a policy that has a high deductible.

Of course, these kinds of policies would also make sense for people who can only afford Bronze or Silver-level health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, but the difference is that those people will also be paying higher premiums, and are therefore less likely to have the money to pay for the kind of insurance that might actually reduce their out-of-pocket costs for health care.



The Collapse: How Many California Democrats Does It Take With It?

Peter Lee is going to need a copy of The Happiest Life, and very soon, because his 2014 looks like it will be miserable, though not as miserable as he will have made the start of the new year for hundreds of thousands of Californians whom Lee has failed.

Lee is the number one guy at what may prove to be the biggest failure of many big failures in the state Obamacare exchanges. He is the executive director of, Obamacare's poster-child for state exchanges which is slowly but surely being exposed as an enormous and costly flop. A year ago, Lee was the Sacramento Business Journal's "executive to watch" in 2013. Now he's hiding from the press and his agency is hunkered down amid a growing storm of bad news, broken promises, and unmet goals.

Exchanges in Oregon, Minnesota and Maryland are getting most of the bad press --with Jim Geraghty noting today that Maryland is getting close to folding its tent and giving up-- but for sheer size of failure given ambitions-not-met and budget-spent, Lee's has got to be number one.

When enrollment opened, came up with a magic number of 487,000 subsidy-eligible enrollees by 4/1/14 as a bare minimum success number. That could only have been a very low bar arbitrarily set to guarantee "success" given that the national goal is 7 million enrollees. Even that low bar is proving too high, though, and sooner or later the real reporters are going to start digging into this epic failure and the man atop it.

The "progress" towards that minimum number of 487,000 subsidized enrollees cannot be known since the exchange's refusal to publish timely updates on enrollment data is pronounced. But we do know that the wizards at have sent out 114,000 error-filled notices to potential enrollees.

This latest snafu comes weeks after the Los Angeles Times reported that "California's health exchange has given insurance agents the names and contact information for tens of thousands of people who went online to check out coverage but didn't ask to be contacted."

Lee's supporters keep hoping the woefully unqualified nice guy somehow manages to turn things around, but this is the easiest part of the process. When small businesses get their coverage cancelled next year and are then thrown on to, the California nightmare will hit stage two,three and beyond --right in the middle of Jerry Brown's re-election campaign, and those of every other state wide official and all of the state's Assembly, half of its State Senate, and more than a few wobbly Democratic Congressional incumbents.

California's insurance commissioner Dave Jones estimated last month that more than a million Californians had had their health insurance cancelled because of Obamacare. Hard to imagine many Democrat votes from among those folks and their family members.

Nor is helping to fill the gap that the Obama-Reid-Pelosi troika created and which Jerry Brown and Peter Lee manage. In October and November, 777,000 applications were begun on the website, according to, but less than 110,000 people actually "enrolled." (And who knows how many will make a payment, even if today's bungled letter-to-enrollees melt down is corrected quickly.) It is a long way from 110,000 to the bare minimum of success at 487,000, and time has all but run-out, which explains the panicky Tweet that issued from CoveredCA,com today urging people to pay attention to the lateness of the hour.



Director of Minnesota's Troubled Obamacare Exchange Resigns Following Tropical Vacation

Guy Benson

A follow-up to a story we mentioned yesterday. Like her failed Obamacare colleague in Maryland, Minnesota's embattled exchange director has stepped down. April Todd-Malmlov decided it would be a good idea to take a lengthy holiday in Costa Rica as the state's new healthcare system -- for which she was responsible -- was still failing many Minnesotans. Until recently, Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton defended Todd-Malmlov's "right" to take this sunny two-week getaway, but public outrage hasn't subsided. She's out:

"MNsure executive director April Todd-Malmlov left her $136,000-a-year post during a closed-door meeting with the program’s executive committee...Todd-Malmlov’s abrupt departure comes as thousands of Minnesotans scramble to enroll in the state’s online insurance marketplace by Jan. 1. The implementation of Minnesota’s program has gone more smoothly than in other states, but it still has been marked by countless technical glitches, delays and frustrated consumers...The outrage over Todd-Malmlov intensified following revelations that she and state Medicaid director James Golden took a nearly two-week tropical vacation late last month, even as the program was swamped with problems. According to Star Tribune records, the two live together and have worked closely on the implementation of the new exchange. Todd-Malmlov did not respond to repeated requests for comment."

These two incompetent lovebirds flitted off to paradise, leaving behind thousands of ordinary people to grapple with the consequences of their failures. That's what being a public servant is all about, dontcha know? The governor's stance, incidentally, has shifted from asserting Todd-Malmlov's "right" to a wildly ill-timed and undeserved vacation, to declaring the whole situation "unacceptable." Smooth work, gov. Here's a nifty companion piece to Todd-Malmlov's departure:

"Minnesota’s health-care exchange is asking about 1,000 applicants to reapply so they can receive insurance premium subsidies. MNsure had issues computing those subsidies earlier; the problem only applies to those who applied for insurance but didn’t enroll and don’t have a family member on a government health program such as Medicaid. The exchange is calling this group to inform them that they must reapply. Meanwhile, the exchange’s website, which recently eliminated a security vulnerability, was down Monday for people applying for new coverage."



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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


Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Scrooge of 2013


All the News That’s Fit to Print

I have met people who believe that we are visited by UFO’s. And I have met people who deny that there is a Leftwing media bias.

The difference between the two is that life could possibly exist on other planets, sufficiently advanced to be able to cross the interstellar void, so that the UFO believers have some basis, no matter how tenuous, to give their belief system some partial and tenuous relation to reality.

The other belief system has none. Did you read about the shooting in Colorado in the news today?

... take a look at the Denver Post’s extraordinary behavior this week after the shooting at Colorado’s Arapahoe High School. In the original story on the event, a student at the school describes his disgraced classmate as “a very opinionated Socialist”; in an updated version of the Post’s story, the shooter was not a socialist, but merely “very opinionated.” Why?

This is not the first time, nor the second, nor the third.

Nice, concise list compiled by Ace I reprint it here as a teaching aid to those who cannot see the pro-Left bias in the media.

* Sept 2009: census-taker Bill Sparkman found hanged in rural Kentucky. Media speculated it was Tea Party. (He killed himself.)

* Feb 2010: Joe Stack flies small plane into an IRS building. Anti-tax TP rhetoric blamed. (He quoted from the Communist Manifesto. Several media outlets simply scrubbed Stack’s quotation from the Communist Manifesto out of their publications of his suicide screed.)

* Feb 2010: Amy Bishop shoots colleagues at University of Alabama faculty meeting. Gun-loving Tea Party suspected. (She was an Obama voter. Dr. Amy Bishop turned out to be a potential serial killer after scrutiny revealed the unusual shotgun killing of her brother decades earlier. She was also a registered Democrat suffering from suicidal thoughts related to her failure to obtain tenure.)

* March 2010: John Patrick Bedell shot two Pentagon security. A right-wing extremist, media asked? (A registered Democrat and 9/11 Truther. To this very day, if you type “John Patrick Bedell” into Google, the very first autofill suggestion is “John Patrick Bedell tea party.” That’s not deliberate malice from Google. The predictive search is based on how often a word or phrase was searched. In other words, folks were so desperate to find out if Bedell was a tea partier, they taught Google to watch for it.)

* May 2010: massive Times Square car bomb found. Bloomberg speculates it’s someone upset about ACA. (Actually, plain vanilla jihadist scum. Mayor Bloomberg, without any information about the bomber at all, decided to speculate that it was someone upset about the new healthcare law. And nobody thought to question him on that.)

* August 2010: Amid GZM debate, Muslim cabbie stabbed in NYC. Media speculates: a RWNJ? (Actually, a Lefty art student off his meds. Even better: the Lefty art student off his meds had actually done some work for the PR firm hired to promote the Ground Zero Mosque.)

* Sept 2010: James Lee takes hostages at Discovery Chan HQ. Media speculates: climate change denier? (An environmentalist who hates humans. Lee was a particularly toxic example of leftwing nutbaggery. He was once convicted for smuggling illegal aliens into the United States. He wrote in his manifesto that he wanted to save the planet by “stopping the human race from breeding any more disgusting human babies!”)

* Dec 2010: Clay Duke shoots at FL school board. Mike Malloy blames Glenn Beck. (Actually, Media Matters among his fav sites.)

* Jan 2011: Jared Lee Loughner shoots up campaign event of Rep. Giffords. Media: TP rhetoric is to blame. (An apolitical conspiracy theorist.)

* July 2012: James Holmes shoots up theater in Aurora, CO. Brian Ross suggests he’s a TPer on live TV. (Just another unmedicated nutter.)

* Aug 2012: Floyd Lee Corkins shoots up @FRCdc based on @SPLCenter’s “target list.” Media: [crickets]. h/t @JammieWF (This was the case of the media that didn’t bark. A politically-motivated shooting in the media’s own backyard. They grudgingly covered the shooting itself, but were curiously quiet about Corkins’ motive in targeting FRC, which he explicitly said was based on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s target list.)

* April 2013: Tsarnaev bros bomb Boston Marathon. Media suggests RWNJ commemorating “Patriot’s Day.” (Actually, just more jihadist scum…. that should have been “Obama-voting jihadist scum.” Good point. The Tsarnaev’s had the whole profile of modern American mass killers: jihadists, leftists, nutters.)

* Oct. 2013: Media retroactively blames right wing for JFK assassination, calling the State of Texas a bastion of rightwing hate. (Actually, Lee Harvey Oswald was a communist defector.)



California Union Pays Only 1.7% of Income in Taxes, Yet Demands Corporations "Pay Their Fair Share"

Are government employee unions any less of a leech on society than corporations?

The malcontents with the California Federation of Teachers apparently think so. As a part of the recent public school “Day of Action” – a milder, more geriatric version of the 1960s “Days of Rage” – unionists in San Francisco staged a shouting protest in front of the Westfield Mall. The chanters demanded the corporations headquartered inside the mall “pay their fair share.”

Watch the video here.

The hypocrisy comes with the fact that they want others to pay more taxes, while they themselves pay so little.

The CFT’s 2013 LM-2 financial report reveals the union received $21,866,549 in “total receipts.” That type of annual revenue is probably on par with a lot of big corporations. And the union certainly acts like a corporation in the manner in which it compensates top employees:

    ·Jeffery Freitas, Secretary-Treasurer - $166,664
    ·Daniel Martin, Executive Director - $150,557
    ·Kenneth Burt, Political Director - $140,102
    ·Fred Glass, Communications Director - $139,456

Yet the union only paid $371,150 in “direct taxes.” Labor unions are categorized as non-profits by IRS rules and therefore are immune from income taxes.

So these numbers reveal the union paid 1.7 percent of its income in “direct taxes.” Does that qualify as its “fair share?”

Us poor folks who comprise the 99 percent would like to know why this super wealthy organization, which wields as much political clout as most private companies, is allowed to skate away without contributing a “fair” amount to the high cost of government, particularly when it constantly lobbies on behalf of expensive and wasteful social programs.



Inequality: Locomotive of Progress


Throughout the history of civilization people have been dreaming about a perfect world: full employment, fair distribution of wealth, full satisfaction of material and intellectual needs, and equality-only to discover, to their disappointment, that this utopian system does not exist on this side of the grave.          

Given President Obama's political persuasion, his obsession with inequality should surprise no one. In numerous speeches he has emphasized the alleged dangers of inequality, including his 2012 State of the Union Address, where he elevated the subject into "the defining issue of our time.... No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important." Or, as he recently declared, "The combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American dream." He has never defined his own interpretation of equality or offered his vision of the American dream.

But to someone who had firsthand experience with Marxism-Leninism and is able to decipher the genuine meaning of the president's words, the message is loud and clear: in order to preserve the American dream we have to take from the rich and give to everybody else. It is that  simple. Unfortunately, Obama's historical memories do not seem to include the lessons of his Soviet ideological predecessors. How did this magic economic formula work out for them?          

To sell the ideology, President Obama and his Democrat supporters insist they have no intention of creating an egalitarian society; they just want to reduce the gap between rich and poor. The elusive meaning of the term "reduce," however, leaves it open to endless interpretation, especially since they have failed to express their concept in numbers. Should the gap be a thousandfold, a hundredfold, tenfold-where does it stop? Furthermore, whether we shrink the gap a thousandfold or tenfold does not change the philosophical argument. The truth is that as long as there is a gap at all, the Left will try to shrink it down to meet its ultimate objective, so unambiguously expressed in the communist slogan of the Soviet Union: "Economic Equality and Justice for All."            

Economic equality and justice sound so appealing that true believers do not even notice they are mutually exclusive because economic equality is in itself an intrinsically unjust concept. The source of all wealth is the product of man's God-given ability to innovate. This ability has not been distributed equally. As Aristotle observed 2,400 years ago, "The worst form of inequality is to make unequal things equal." If society equates the extraordinary contributions of great innovators such as Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs with those of millions of individuals not so gifted and talented, the enormous upward mobility of the last 200 years will immediately cease. Freedom enables people to use their ingenuity to generate wealth, whereas coerced economic equality suppresses the very freedom required to innovate and begets poverty.

This is the reason the magical distribution formula did not work for the Bolsheviks and will not work for the contemporary proponents of the egalitarian dream; liberals, social justice supporters, social democrats, and a few remaining communists, who refused to accept the immutable fact that freedom, inequality, hard work and wealth are interdependent. Capitalism, which embraces all these qualities, created more overall wealth during the last 200 years than was created over the preceding 7,000 years of human civilization. Capitalism elevated the lumpen proletarians (poor laborers), who, according to Karl Marx, had "nothing to lose but their chains," into a bourgeoisie or middle class, and in doing so, materialized the American Dream.          

The president's policies, such as the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd-Frank Act, and new environmental regulations, are supposedly aimed at addressing the "fundamental threat to the American dream." But regardless of the positive spin Obama uses to sell these policies, they are not about freedom and creation of wealth, which is capitalism; they are about suppression of freedom and redistribution of wealth, which is socialism. Passed over by the public and barely debated in the media, "the defining issue of our time" speech was in fact Obama's mission statement declaring his strategic imperative: economic equality via distribution of wealth.          

In his quest for the egalitarian dream the president may choose to ignore the millennia of Aristotle's reality, but he cannot change it. Inequality emanating from free enterprise is the ultimate expression of freedom and is the locomotive of progress. It gives poor, rich, and everyone in between something to strive for.

This powerful locomotive has been pulling our economic wagon from the Industrial Revolution through modern-day free-market capitalism toward what Alexander Hamilton described as "Greater perfection and happiness than mankind has yet seen."          

Paradoxically, the Founding Fathers and President Obama both aspired to equality. The Founding Fathers envisioned equality in liberty, while our president is driving the country into equality in poverty.



Federal Judge Calls Obamacare "Totally Ineffective" While Striking Down Contraception Mandate

Yesterday, Judge Brian Cogan of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, not only struck down Obamacare's contraception mandate as applied to religious non-profit organizations, but also sent a strong signal that federal courts were losing patience with President Obama's many stitches of executive power.

Previous courts had ruled against President Obama's contraception mandate as applied to for-profit entities (see Sebelius v Hobby Lobby), but this was the first court to hold that participating in Obama's scheme to provide free birth control is a substantial burden on the free practice of religion (specifically the Catholic Archdiocese of New York and its affiliate organizations).

Finally, the court also rejected the government's argument that Obama's failure to convince Congress to "fix" Obamacare authorized him to enforce his contraception mandate in the manner he did:...

Considering how often Obama has justified his expansion of executive power on Congress' failure to do his bidding, yesterday's ruling was not only a huge victory for religious liberty, but a huge win for limited government in all spheres as well.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Obamacare: A death panel for the rule of law

Barack Obama is in a box: He repeatedly promised “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan,” but his socialized medicine monstrosity has cost millions of people their coverage. It’s also become painfully clear Obama knew this was going to happen as early as March 2010 — yet kept regurgitating his false promise.

Obamacare also has a bigger problem: As written, the law’s key mechanism for issuing subsidies to state exchanges is legally enforceable in only one third of the country — meaning the only way to pay for its nationwide dependency expansion is new deficit spending. This would clearly violate another oft-repeated Obama promise: That his law would not “add one dime” to the federal deficit (well, beyond the $6.2 trillion identified in this 2013 GAO report).

What’s an administration to do, right?

That’s easy: Change the law.  “As we implement this law, we have and will continue to make changes as needed,” senior administration official Valerie Jarrett wrote this summer.

And so Obama has shredded the Constitution in favor of the “Easy Button,” arbitrarily remaking entire sections of the health care law that deal with its employer mandate, its deductible and co-payment limits, its coverage requirements and — more disturbingly — its power to subsidize health insurance in more than thirty states.

Consider this: Obamacare itself contains 906 pages and approximately 380,000 words. But the regulations promulgated in support of the law total 10,535 pages and approximately 11,588,500 words.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) hit the nail on the head earlier this year in responding to this systematic obliteration of our nation’s constitutionally prescribed separation of powers.  “The president doesn’t get to write legislation, and its illegal and unconstitutional for him to try and change legislation by himself,” Paul told Fox News.

He’s right. Yet sadly this sort of crass usurpation is nothing new for Obama – whose contempt for the rule of law is unprecedented in American history. For example, after multiple Congresses (including a Democratically controlled Congress) refused to enact his proposed energy tax Obama went over their heads.

“If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will,” he said in his 2013 State of the Union address. “I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take.”

Last month he made good on that threat — forming a new Democratic-controlled environmental panel designed to “skirt legislative oversight” and “push a federal agenda on states” as part of a “sweeping overhaul” of American environmental policy, according to one report.

After Congress refused to pass Obama’s DREAM Act in 2011 Obama unilaterally imposed the measure himself — effectively granting legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants.

Without Congressional approval Obama’s administration pledged last month to indefinitely extend America’s failed military intervention in Afghanistan — one of several foreign lands where Central Intelligence Agency operators have conducted extralegal killings (the evidence of which has been kept hidden from taxpayers).

Just as egregiously, Obama’s Internal Revenue Service unfairly discriminated against his political opponents in the years leading up to his reelection — illegally targeting them for “added scrutiny” and then covering up the scandal until after the election.

Last month Obama applauded Sen. Harry Reid’s decision to undo two centuries of democratic tradition in the U.S. Senate — part of a crass effort to further radicalize the federal government by eliminating a critical check on executive overreach (one Obama previously embraced as a member of the U.S. Senate).

And in perhaps the most dangerous example of them all, Obama has empowered his National Security Agency to intercept, store and access billions of phone records, emails, text messages, website histories and online interactions of American citizens in direct contravention of their constitutional protections against warrantless search and seizure.

In each of these actions Obama’s modus operandi is clear: Centralized power, by any means necessary.

America was built on the rule of law — indispensable liberties articulated by the Magna Carta and Anglo-Saxon common law and expanded upon during the American Revolution, the U.S. Civil War and the civil rights movement. Obama’s arrogant disregard for the rule of law is destroying this shared heritage. It is breaking the bonds of civil society — fueling the very distrust and contempt for government Obama professes to abhor.

This alien ideology — which will take generations to erase from our national identity – is the true legacy of the Obama regime. And Obamacare represents its shining “achievement.”



The moral superiority of capitalism

The American Right has yet to fully make the moral case for capitalism.  Too many conservative writers and politicians focus on its practical aspects, but details of order and efficiency do not sway the hearts of voters, compassion does.  Not surprisingly, the party most hostile to our founding economic principles has won the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, in large part, by claiming the moral high ground for wealth redistribution and more centralized power.

Columnist Leonard Pitts recently excoriated Rush Limbaugh for calling out the Pope in the wake of his pronouncements condemning the free market.  Pitts cites the Apostle Paul who writes in 2 Corinthians 8:13-15 that it is wrong for some to live lives of ease while others struggle.  Limbaugh and others, according to Pitts, “are fine with faith as long as it speaks in platitudinous generalities… but scream bloody murder when it imposes specific demands on their personal conscience — or wallet.”

A complete theological rebuttal to Pitts’ twaddle would require space not permitted here.  Certainly God does require His followers to care for the needy.  Rush Limbaugh annually hosts a Leukemia and Lymphoma Cure-a-thon on his radio show and he proudly supports the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, which offers scholarships to the children of fallen heroes.  The dreaded robber barons of the 19th Century gave millions to establish hospitals, universities and charitable foundations.

Still, the point is not that conservatives and capitalists do good things.  The point is that capitalism makes such giving possible.  Furthermore, the moral case for capitalism lies in the fact that it makes life better for everyone every day.  The wonders of capitalism are why people from all over the world flock to our shores by the millions.

The Reagan years, known as the decade of greed, saw average incomes for all Americans increase, according to the Census Bureau, more than 15 percent.  Unemployment was reduced considerably during the Reagan era from Carter Administration levels of more than 10 percent, and, according to surveys, charitable contributions reached an all-time high of over $120 billion.  These are the fruits of a system that should be hailed and not demeaned.

One could remind us that the Pope was merely assailing the excesses of the free market.  Pitts, in fact, began his column by stating that “I like capitalism.”  But the American left has been reining in the supposed extremes of capitalism for much of the last 100 years, and with no real successor to Reagan in over a generation, one has to wonder how many excesses could be left!

Neither Pitts nor the Pope mention that charity has no meaning if not freely given.  What they seem to advocate is wealth redistribution, the results of which, as history has shown, have been mostly disastrous.  Visit most any Democrat-controlled inner city. Statists invest faith in their own bloated vision of the benevolence of the state.  They show little faith in a free people.  Capitalism flourishes on the highest ideals of the average person.  Capitalism thrives on achievements of which the achiever never thought him or herself capable!  Socialism can’t say that.  Now tell us which system best speaks to the innate goodness and potential of the human spirit.

Unfortunately, the face of American capitalism far too often resembles Mr. Potter of It’s a Wonderful Life fame, as opposed to a true hero in the Atlas Shrugged mold.  The business world often has only itself to blame.  And conservatives and Republicans who should be hailing capitalism tend to adopt a defensive posture or promote it solely on pragmatic grounds.

Finally, the Pope above all should hail the moral superiority of a free system that allows the most humble to worship the God of his conscience and not the idol of the omnipotent state.  Statists will cite the Bible for their own purposes but they mask their own messianic worldview.  No doubt, this is not about competing economic theories, this is a moral war.  Let’s not be afraid to call it that.


Obama Agenda Promotes Unfairness


The things that increase the likelihood of improving one's life are the very things the President and his liberal friends fight

When presidents give speeches, the affair is choreographed like a Broadway production. The message is not just the words of the speech, but where it is given and who happens to be the chosen audience.

So it was not by accident that President Barack Obama chose a theater in a poor black neighborhood in Washington, D.C., where the average income is barely half the national average, to speak this week about economic opportunity and fairness.

What exactly was the President trying to achieve by sharing with a low-income black audience that "today's CEO now makes 273 times more" than the average worker?

Did he want to inspire hope that one day they can earn money like this? I don't think so. The point was to create despair and convey that America is not fair.

Even though the president doesn't deny there are many American success stories (he knows -- he raises lots of money from them), he implies that somehow they are the exceptions to the rule. His core message is that average Americans are not getting ahead, and the reason is that America is not fair.

I can't find a word in the President's remarks that would do anything but reinforce the sense of helplessness, meaninglessness, and disenfranchisement that already exists in generous doses in low-income neighborhoods.

Is this leadership?  Is this the message those trying to get their lives together really need to hear?

Maybe they do need to hear it if it is true. But it's not. There are indeed unhealthy trends in America today that undermine opportunity and the chances of many to get ahead.

But they are not the things the president talked about. In fact, the trends that are reducing opportunity are the things that President Obama and his liberal friends love to promote. And the things that increase the likelihood of improving one's life are the very things the President and his liberal friends fight.

There is today reams of data, piles of studies that show that more economically free nations grow faster and create more wealth.

What is economic freedom? It means citizens can run their lives and do their business with minimal government interference. It means keeping taxes, government spending and regulation low. It means more-powerful citizens and less-powerful politicians.
In 2000, the United States was number 2 in the world as measured by the Economic Freedom of the World Index. By 2011 it dropped to number 19.

This dramatic drop in economic freedom in America helps explain today's sluggish economy and slow job creation.

But liberals, like our president, insist that government is the solution rather than the problem. We need more of it, according to them, not less. Then when jobs disappear, they say it's not fair.

What about individual realities?

According to Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution, "Kids in single-parent families are about five times more likely to be poor as children in married-couple families. Yet the share of children in single-parent homes families has been rising for decades."

And liberal government policies have been contributing for decades to marriage breakdown.

Now Obamacare gives Americans a new reason not to get married.
Kaiser Health News reports that two low-income earners -- say one earning $30,000 and one earning $40,000 -- would each qualify for health insurance subsidies. But if they married, their combined $70,000 would disqualify them.

The president told his black audience in Southeast Washington, D.C., that "we need to set aside the belief that government cannot do anything about reducing inequality."

You're right, Mr. President, it can.  Government can start protecting rather than violating our freedoms.

And our leaders can start promoting policies consistent with, rather than in violation of, traditional biblical values like marriage and personal responsibility, so that our citizens will be in good shape to take advantage of their freedom, if we can ever get it back from our government.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Leftist hate is alive and well in Australia too

Andrew Bolt reports (The ABC is Australia's public broadcaster  -- predictably Leftist)

Three examples from the past week shocked me.

Example 1. The ABC's main TV news bulletin in Brisbane last Thursday showed the exterior and street number of the home of Bill Mellor, a decorated former army brigadier, and gave out his suburb.

Mellor's wife was in tears and police rushed in to secure the house.

The reason? As the ABC report pointed out, Mellor was co-ordinating the Queensland Government's war against criminal bikie gangs linked to murder, rape, drug trafficking and extortion.

Why on earth did the ABC show bikies the home of the man overseeing the fight against them that has led to nearly 400 arrests? How could his home be relevant to its report?

There may be an innocent explanation involving extreme stupidity, but Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and others, me included, also suspect bias.

We already know the ABC last month published stolen intelligence on our spying in Indonesia, damaging our national interest without exposing any sin that needed correcting. It seemed the ABC's Leftist culture made it only too keen to rock the Abbott Government. Only too ready to undermine national security.

In the Mellor case, the ABC, an eager critic of Newman's conservative Government, may have been similarly seduced into forgetting its duty even to people with whom it has no political sympathy.

Once, the ABC had little problem with Labor premier Anna Bligh having her husband made a department head or one of her wedding guests made Queensland's top public servant.

But now it's all over Mellor's new job, after Labor shamelessly claimed Premier Newman was "appointing his mates".

"We don't need the military running this state," Labor added.

All piffle, of course. Newman's "mate" was a man he'd served under at Duntroon 31 years ago. Mellor has since commanded the Australian force in Somalia, helped plan our intervention in East Timor and recently served as Queensland's flood recovery co-ordinator.

Nor is he in charge of police work. He heads a team of directors-general and senior officers to ensure government agencies work together against bikie gangs.

In any case, why show where he lives and put him in danger?

Should I now show where ABC managing director Mark Scott lives to illustrate this latest example of an ABC out of control?

Example 2. Last week, Melbourne University's Professor Thomas Reuter wrote in the Jakarta Post to accuse Australia of startling crimes against Indonesia.

Reuter told his Indonesian readers the latest spy allegations were part of our "consistent unneighbourly behaviour" which he claimed included "attempts to assassinate (former president) Sukarno".

He even claimed Australian soldiers were "involved in massacres" of Indonesians during their struggle for independence from the Dutch.

Not mentioned in Reuter's list of our alleged sins was our strong support for Indonesian independence, our yearly aid of $500 million or our $1 billion donation in tsunami relief.

What the hell was Reuter up to? Surely he realised the danger of preaching such anti-Australian poison days after mobs besieged our Jakarta embassy?

Still, someone of the Left may think the more trouble for the Abbott Government, the better.

But most scandalous was that Reuter's stories of Australians massacring Indonesians or trying to kill their president seem figments of imagination - of Reuter's or that of his undeclared sources. Indeed, Reuter has since withdrawn his massacre claim, at least, admitting it "cannot be verified".

So what will Melbourne University - whose vice-chancellor organised the farcical 2020 ideas summit for his friend Kevin Rudd - do about a professor who makes such baseless and dangerous claims?

Example 3. Labor's Joy Burch is Education Minister in the ACT, in charge of children's schooling.

Well, look away, children, because last week your minister fired off tweets attacking federal Education Minister Chris Pyne when she read - and retweeted - one by an abusive Leftist calling Pyne a "c---".

Burch later claimed this was an accident caused by her "poor social media skills", and, true, she soon deleted the tweet.

Yet for more than a day, she failed to apologise to Pyne.

Whatever the truth, the Left's abuse of the Abbott Government is already worse than anything complained of under Julia Gillard.

Tony Abbott has been called a "liar" by the Opposition Leader and pictured hanging from a noose on a poster at a same-sex marriage rally.

Someone operating in the Geelong Trades Hall set up a Facebook page urging Abbott's assassination, and The Age promoted "F--- Abbott" T-shirts sold by an Age columnist.

The hatred now has a dangerously violent tone, and I ask again - what does the Left want?

Bodies in the street?



Truth Slips Away in Public Debate

Suzanne Fields

The political liar has never been regarded as a mythological creature, but lying has recently grown to mythic proportions. The most prominent offender, of course, is a certain president who puts deception to work to achieve his goals, most prominently about his health care scheme.

Jon Stewart, the liberal comedian who usually defends whatever President Obama says and does, rolls out a series of video clips showing the president in numberless versions, one after the other, of repeating his statement that if you like your health insurance, you can keep it. "So, yes," the comic concedes, "the president was somewhat dishonest about the promise of his health care program." Only somewhat?

Ordinarily, quoting a comedian to make a political point is a fool's errand, but useful this time because television comedy shows are where the young and foolish get their "news." Lying can be stretched out on a yardstick, quantified and compared for laughs. According to some surveys, almost a third of Americans under the age of 40, many of whom must sign up for Obamacare to subsidize the older generations, say they get their news from pop TV like the Daily Show, the Colbert Report and Internet sites of suspect reputation.

Frank Gaffney, chairman of the Center for Security Policy, extends his analysis of the president's meretricious statements about what's actually in the Iranian agreement to halt the race to the Islamic bomb. "How do we tell the president is lying?" he asks. "His lips are moving."

A lie, goes the folk wisdom, can travel around the world before the truth gets its boots on. The congressional Democrats, whose leader told them they could find out what was in Obamacare after they passed the legislation, were still trying to tie their shoelaces when they voted for it. The Iranians cheer the lifting of sanctions and say out loud that, under the agreement, they can continue to enrich uranium, and the president says no they can't, that's not in the agreement. Who do we believe?

Lies can be merely wishes, saying what you hope is true, and if President Obama gets the benefit of the doubt he doesn't deserve, his early pledges about keeping the insurance we like may have been wishful thinking, but once the evidence was in and he continued to say it, the "misspeaking" became the willful lie.

The fact checkers at The Washington Post, which grants the president many mulligans, use symbols of Pinocchio to denote lying. This time they gave him the maximum, four Pinocchios.

It's hardly stop-press news that politicians lie, but when lies go viral on the Internet, it's difficult for the truth to survive. Just as the comedy "news" shows are not after truth, the Internet blurs fact and fiction because the gatekeepers, the crusty old city editors who wouldn't let a reporter or columnist get by with fudging facts, are mostly all dead. The new breed insists that "going viral" trumps verification, volume trumps veracity. Incentives work against truth telling in the high tech culture.

"If you throw something up without fact-checking it, and you're the first one to put it up, and you get millions and millions of views, and later it's proved false, you still get those views," Ryan Grim, the Washington bureau chief for the Huffington Post, told The New York Times, conceding that it had posted phony stories. "That's a problem."

The specific stories Huffington posted were fairly harmless. Once, a child's letter to Santa on Twitter with a detailed link to, was actually written by a grown-up comedian. A fight on an airliner that was reported as fact was actually pure fiction. But when truth is continually sacrificed -- whether carelessly or cravenly -- on sites that purport to offer serious news, trustworthiness is sacrificed, and the reader is confused as well as deceived. This is true when presidents do it, too.

The searchers who found the hard-to-spot Pinocchio lizard say the critters, though camouflaged, weren't hard to find "if you knew where to look." The lizard, in fact, was one up on truth in public life.



How Autoworkers Became More Equal Than Others

The Treasury Department has sold the last of its stock in General Motors Co. Even though taxpayers lost $15 billion on the auto bailout (including losses at Chrysler Group LLC and Ally Financial Inc., which offers financing for GM vehicles), the Barack Obama administration put out a statement taking credit for its handling of tax dollars and the Detroit automakers’ success.

Yet the administration shouldn’t be so quick to toot its own horn. The government didn’t need to lose any money on the auto bailout. Had the United Auto Workers not gotten special treatment, taxpayers would have come out ahead.

The administration gave the UAW billions more than bankruptcy law calls for. Typically, bankruptcy reduces union compensation packages to competitive rates. However, GM’s existing union members made few concessions on pay. As the UAW put it, the contract meant “no loss in your base hourly pay, no reduction in your health care, and no reduction in pensions.”

This virtually never happens during bankruptcies at unionized companies, as many unionized airline pilots can attest. As a result, GM still has higher labor costs than every foreign transplant automaker -- almost $60 an hour.

Bankruptcy law further stipulates that all unsecured creditors should recover their debts at the same rate. This, too, didn’t happen. Instead GM’s bondholders recovered less than 30 cents on the dollar; the UAW recovered most of the money owed its retiree health trusts. At Chrysler the UAW recovered a greater proportion of its (unsecured) debt than even secured creditors did.

GM also backstopped the pensions of union workers at Delphi Automotive Plc, its bankrupt parts supplier. New GM had no legal obligation to do this. Nonetheless the company spent $1 billion of bailout funds to preserve their benefits.

These generous subsidies account for more than the entire net cost of the GM and Chrysler bailouts. The excess funds and equity given to the union cost the Treasury $30 billion -- twice what taxpayers lost. Had the administration bailed out the automakers but treated the UAW impartially, taxpayers wouldn’t have lost anything. Instead, the union collected more than the entire U.S. foreign aid budget.

That the union received such a sum is extraordinary. Nonunion workers who were equally worthy of sympathy got far harsher treatment. Delphi’s salaried nonunion employees also had their pensions terminated. Unlike the UAW, they got nothing.

The union’s windfall makes little economic sense. It had no leverage in 2009, and it needed the bailout to survive. A strike would have liquidated the company and eliminated UAW members’ jobs. Like Sheriff Bart in “Blazing Saddles,” the union could only point a gun to its head and threaten to shoot. It had to accept any terms the administration offered.

Further, the government gained nothing from giving the UAW most-favored-special-interest status. Whatever the economic benefits of keeping the automakers afloat, inflating union compensation doesn’t help the economy. Nor did these subsidies reduce welfare costs -- things such as unemployment insurance, Medicaid or food stamps. Only workers who lose their jobs or have very low earnings are eligible for those benefits, not those whose contracts get downgraded but remain well in the middle class. This $30 billion handout provided virtually no public good.

Until recently the administration has ducked responsibility for this largesse, claiming the automakers negotiated these expensive union contracts and the White House simply signed on. To hear the officials tell it, the administration “deferred to General Motors in terms of their business judgment.”

An Inspector General report released last summer shows otherwise. The IG found that GM understood the administration’s auto task force called the shots in the bailout. During negotiations between GM and the UAW, the task force “gave the UAW additional leverage” that enabled it to extract these concessions. The task force made GM restructuring and signing a new union contract within 40 days a condition for future bailout funds. They also informed the UAW of these facts.

As the IG dryly put it: “The UAW understood that GM could not walk away from negotiations and had to reach agreement with it.” Unsurprisingly, the union used this leverage to hold out for as much money as possible.

The UAW rejected GM’s proposals for two days, knowing the company couldn’t walk away, and refused to even discuss modifying its expensive pensions. On the third day, the UAW’s president called the auto task force. The IG reports that President Obama’s auto team “actively negotiated and made the final deal,” which GM subsequently accepted -- a deal that cost taxpayers billions more than necessary to keep the automakers running.

The administration could have avoided losing money in the Detroit bailout. It only had to treat unions impartially. Instead, it gave $30 billion to a politically powerful union. With GM and Chrysler’s recovery, this handout has attracted little attention. But the administration can hardly boast of demanding “responsibility and results.”


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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


Monday, December 16, 2013

Exterminate!  Exterminate! Cry the Daleks of the Left

And their target is Megyn Kelly

Ever wonder why some seemingly meaningless things end up being a big deal in the media while other important ones never get mentioned?

Whether it be the Obama selfie at the Mandela memorial—which revealed the juvenile child residing behind the stern teleprompter lecturer—or Fox News’ Megyn Kelly’s statement that Santa Claus is white.

The Obama situation is obviously too good to pass up given the funny set of pictures, made all the better by Michelle’s obvious anger at his behavior.  In a world where memes and pictures drive messaging on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, Obama’s reaching for the Danish was guaranteed to go viral once it hit the web.

The Megyn Kelly faux controversy over her declaration that Santa is white is something else altogether. Quoting directly from an article by Ben Shapiro on the blog covering the declaration of victory over Fox News by George Soros-funded Media Matters, Shapiro writes about Kelly,

“Media Matters admits that it has been having difficulty targeting Kelly, with new Vice President Angelo Carusone explaining, ‘We deal with reality. She’s not as vitriolic. On the other hand, she is in some ways more pernicious because her credibility has not been completely and totally eroded … so she has the potential to legitimize and validate smears and lies in ways that some of the more disreputable figures on Fox can no longer do, which just presents a new challenge.’”

That is why every left wing publication from Politico to Mother Jones has jumped on the faux Santa is White controversy with the collective intent to sully Ms. Kelly’s reputation and paint her in some way as a racist based upon that remark.

Let’s be clear, while St. Nicholas was a Greek living in Asia Minor in the 4th Century, the guy in the red suit actually originated in Europe and the United States over the past few centuries.  While anyone can choose to depict this character as any race they choose, the character has traditionally been white, and to attack someone for noting this historical fact is just looking for a reason to hate.

However, when you are attempting to diminish a smart, tough, attractive interviewer who challenges guests of all philosophical stripes, in the “ends justify the means” world of the left, creating a controversy and using it to claim racism is perfectly justifiable.

Unfortunately, those who have never even watched Ms. Kelly will assume this false characterization is true, just as those same people believed Tina Fey’s fictional, satirical turn as Sarah Palin was a realistic portrayal even down to thinking the infamous, “I can see Russia from my house” line was actually uttered by Palin.

Right now, Kelly rightfully scares the left far more than a temporarily marginalized Palin with her capacity to build an independent audience of female viewers for FoxNews that reaches well beyond those who tune in to see O’Reilly or Hannity.  And for posing this threat, the left must thoroughly destroy Megyn Kelly—no issue can be too trivial in this pursuit.  So expect to read a lot more about Ms. Kelly in the future, as the misogynists and conjurers of liberal spin will try their best to demonize her using all the powers of fictional depiction at their disposal.



Netanyahu did not bow down to the Mandela whitewash

I was shocked when I read that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not be attending the funeral of Nelson Mandela in South Africa because it was too expensive to travel there. Seriously?

It appears that the real issue was not the expense of the trip but rather the fact that Mr. Mandela had compared the situation of South African blacks under the apartheid system with the situation of Palestinians living in the so-called occupied territories, also praising Yasser Arafat.

In an opinion piece for Al-Jazeerah, Hanna Kawas, Chairperson for the Canada Palestine Association, lamented the loss of Mr. Mandela, praising him as a great friend of the Palestinians. She noted that in 1997 he stated, “But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians,” while in 1990 he said, “I believe that there are many similarities between our struggle and that of the PLO. We live under a unique form of colonialism in South Africa, as well as in Israel, and a lot flows from that.”

In a clip played by Ted Koppel on ABC, Mr. Mandela also stated that, “We identify with the PLO because, just like ourselves, they are fighting for the right of self determination. . . . Arafat is a comrade in arms.”

And in a 1990 interview with Australian media, he said, “We agree with the United Nations that international disputes should be settled by peaceful means. The belligerent attitude which is adopted by the Israeli government is to us unacceptable,” also explaining that his organization, the ANC, does not consider the PLO a terrorist group.”

He added: “If one has to refer to any of the parties as a terrorist state, one might refer to the Israeli government, because they are the people who are slaughtering defenseless and innocent Arabs in the occupied territories, and we don’t regard that as acceptable.”



The third big lie in Obamacare

Jonah Goldberg

"Obamacare was sold on a trinity of lies."

That ornate phrase, more suitable for the Book of Revelations or perhaps the next installment of "Game of Thrones," comes from my National Review colleague Rich Lowry. But I like it. Most people know the first deception in the triumvirate of deceit: "If you like your health insurance you can keep it, period." The second leg in the tripod of deception was "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor."

But the third plank in the triad of disinformation hasn't gotten much attention: Obamacare will save you, me and the country a lot of money. This lie took several forms.

First, Obama promised on numerous occasions that the average family of four will save $2,500 a year in premiums. Where did that number come from? Three Harvard economists wrote a memo in 2007 in which they claimed that then-Sen. Obama's health-care plan would reduce national health-care spending by $200 billion. Then, according to the New York Times, the authors "divided [$200 billion] by the country's population, multiplied for a family of four, and rounded down slightly to a number that was easy to grasp: $2,500."

In September, the Obama administration's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services used far more rigorous methods to predict that Obamacare would increase national health-care spending by $621 billion. Using Obama's own math, that would mean -- according to Chris Conover, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute and Duke University -- each family of four in America will spend an additional $7,450 thanks to Obamacare.

Of course, that methodology is still bogus. But it's probably closer to the truth.

The president and his allies also insisted that all of Obamacare's "free" preventative care would save the country vast amounts of money. As Obama put it in 2012: "As part of the health care reform law that I signed last year, all insurance plans are required to cover preventive care at no cost. That means free check-ups, free mammograms, immunizations and other basic services. We fought for this because it saves lives and it saves money -- for families, for businesses, for government, for everybody."

That's not true either. First of all, you'd think people would understand that there is no such thing as "at no cost." You are paying for "free" mammograms, blood tests and the rest, even if you don't see a line item for them on your bill. And even if you're poor enough that you don't even see a bill, that doesn't mean no one's paying. That's why millions of Americans who've lost their health insurance thanks to Obamacare are discovering that the new plans it offers are either more expensive, have higher deductibles or both.

Also, prevention doesn't necessarily save money. I know that Benjamin Franklin said an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. (People always leave out the fact that he owned an insurance company that ran at a profit.) The idea that prevention saves money is one of these things that intuitively sounds like it has to be true. But think about it.

According to the National Cancer Institute, 12.4 percent of American women will get breast cancer at some point in their lives. So for every positive diagnosis there are seven negative diagnoses. Those tests cost a lot of money. Moreover, of the women who do get it, premature screenings won't necessarily catch it. That in no way means that screenings don't make sense. They do, particularly for women in high-risk groups. But testing everybody isn't a great way to save money. As the Congressional Budget Office reported in August, "The evidence suggests that for most preventive services, expanded utilization leads to higher, not lower, medical spending overall."

When presented with these and other facts, Obamacare's defenders note that the rate of increase in health-care costs has slowed in recent years. "I'm not going to walk away from something that has helped the cost of health care grow at its slowest rate in 50 years," Obama said last month.

This spin doesn't work either. The slowing of health-care costs began a decade ago, and even the administration's own actuaries say the recent drop is mostly attributable to the lousy economy. But even that's too generous to Obama. Costs haven't dropped. The rate of increase in spending has slowed. We're still on course to spend a record $2.9 trillion on health care in 2013.

Obamacare may have been sold on a trinity of lies, but it turns out it's also lies all the way down.



A new IRS outrage

Here's a question: When did it become acceptable for the IRS to be used as a tool to target enemies of the president? Moreover, what article or amendment of the U.S. Constitution authorizes a component of the Executive Branch to be used as a powerful political weapon? The answers to these questions should be obvious to most: “never” and “none,” respectively. But apparently that's not so for Barack Obama.

Fresh from wiping mud off its face for its scandalous behavior in targeting the Left's political enemies, the IRS is proposing new rules that double-down on that egregious behavior. The new rules would restrain the free-speech rights of certain organizations under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code by preventing them from posting officeholder votes and quotes on their websites within two months of an election. These organizations are politically active nonprofits and exist specifically to promote political speech and issue advocacy. (And with the Senate “going nuclear” and allowing Obama to pack the courts – especially the DC Circuit – with leftists, the courts will almost surely uphold these new rules.)

These organizations are not tax exempt, but they have for more than 50 years enjoyed the ability to engage in political activity on behalf of donors who wish to remain anonymous. Now that conservative nonprofits have grown at such a rate that they threaten formerly Democrat strongholds, naturally the Entitled Party wants to quash such activity, either by restricting these groups' rights through unconstitutional rule-making measures or by exposing and harassing conservative donors.

For his part, Obama didn't even pass the first philosophical hurdle – that using the IRS as a political weapon is, well, “wrong.” In a recent interview with Chris “I-felt-this-thrill-going-up-my-leg” Matthews, Obama stated, “You've got an … IRS office … and they've got a list, and suddenly everybody's outraged” – as though being outraged is somehow itself offensive. Well, yes, Mr. President: “Suddenly” – once the despicable act is discovered, that is – everybody is outraged. A better question might be, “Why wouldn't they be?”

As to the original questions concerning the use of the IRS as a political weapon, we would refer readers to the “IRS” acronym itself for answers: Internal Revenue Service – “Internal,” meaning from within the country itself; “Revenue,” meaning federal government income from taxes; and “Service,” meaning an organization that (ostensibly, at least) helps people. Note that none of these terms state or imply an organization that regulates politics or free speech rights. The best solution to this mess is to disengage the IRS from the business of doing political work on behalf of the president and his party. But that solution will never be acceptable to the Left, which knows that it must rely on deceit and unfair tactics to hold power. Sadly, this is simply another thinly veiled attack on Americans' liberty.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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


Sunday, December 15, 2013

The poor should pay more

The top 40 percent of households by before-tax income actually paid 106.2 percent of the nation’s net income taxes in 2010, according to a new study by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

At the same time, households in the bottom 40 percent took in an average of $18,950 in what the CBO called “government transfers” in 2010.

Taxpayers in the top 40 percent of households were able to pay more than 100 percent of net federal income taxes in 2010 because Americans in the bottom 40 percent actually paid negative income taxes, according to the CBO study entitled, “The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, 2010.”

“When refundable tax credits, such as the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit, exceed the other federal tax liabilities of the households in an income group, those households are said to have a negative average tax rate,” said the CBO study.

“In its analysis, CBO measured individual income taxes net of refundable credits,” it said.

In 2010, the CBO determined, American households in the bottom 40 percent paid negative amounts in income-tax dollars and a negative average income-tax rate.

“Much of the progressivity of the federal tax system derives from the individual income tax,” said the report. “In 2010, the lowest quintile’s average rate for the individual income tax was -9.2 percent and the second income quintile’s rate was -2.3 percent.”

“A group can have a negative income tax rate if its refundable tax credits exceed the income tax otherwise owed,” said the CBO report.

The households in the top 20 percent by income paid 92.9 percent of net income tax revenues taken in by the federal government in 2010, said CBO. The households in the fourth quintile paid another 13.3 percent of net income tax revenues. Together, the top 40 percent of households paid 106.2 percent of the federal government’s net income tax revenue.

The third quintile paid another 2.9 percent—bringing the total share of net federal income tax revenues paid by the top 60 percent to 109.1 percent.

That was evened out by the net negative income tax paid by the bottom 40 percent



The Left Learned Wrong Lessons from Nazism

Dennis Prager

The only way to understand what is happening to America in our time -- and for that matter, in Europe since World War II -- is to understand the left.

And one way to understand the left -- and its enormous appeal to many decent people -- is to understand what it learned from World War II and the Nazi experience. The lessons people draw from history go a long way toward explaining how they view the world and how they behave.

Unfortunately, virtually everything the left learned from the unique evil known as Nazism has been wrong.

The first lesson was that the right is evil, not merely wrong. Because Nazism has been successfully labelled "right-wing," virtually every right-wing position and leader has been either cynically or sincerely characterized by the left as a danger to civilization. That is why the right is so often labelled fascist and compared to Nazis. Vast numbers of people in the West truly believe that if the right prevails, fascism will follow.

Of course, Nazism was not right-wing -- certainly not in American terms. How could it be? Right-wing means less government, not more. Nor was it left-wing, even though "Nazism" was an abbreviation for National Socialism.

Nazism was sui generis. It was radical racism combined with totalitarianism; and racism as a doctrine is neither right nor left.

We have no contemporary movement of any major significance that is Nazi-like. The closest thing we have is Islamist hatred of non-Muslims -- but even that is mostly religion- rather than race-based.

The association of Nazism with right-wing is one reason many Jews loathe the right. In the Jewish psyche, to fight the right is to fight incipient Nazism.

The second lesson the left learned is directly related to the first. If the right is so evil that, if allowed to prevail, Nazism will follow, then surely the left must be beautiful and noble. And that, of course, is how the left sees itself -- as inherently beautiful and noble. After all, how can the opposite of Nazism be anything but noble?

The third erroneous lesson is a deep fear and loathing of nationalism. Since the Nazis committed their crimes in the name of nationalism (race-based nationalism, to be precise), nationalism must be curbed. That explains much of the left's contempt for Americans who wave the flag -- indeed, the left has rendered the term "flag-wavers" a pejorative term.

How else to explain the fact that on American national holidays one finds so many more flags displayed in conservative areas than in liberal ones? The trauma of World War I had already killed nationalism in much of Europe. And World War II did that for the left in America.

The left regards any assertion of American national identity -- not merely flag-waving -- as chauvinism bordering on fascism. When the left charges Americans who fear the dilution of American national identity that could follow citizenship for tens of millions of illegal immigrants with "xenophobia," and "racism," it is not only a cynical attempt to cultivate Latino votes for the Democratic Party. It is also a sincere belief that conservative concerns about American national identity are reminiscent of chauvinist bigotry.

The most obvious example of left-wing opposition to American nationalism is its cultivation of "multiculturalism" as a replacement for American national identity. For the left, American citizens are no longer Americans first and foremost; we are African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic- or Latino-Americans, Native-Americans, etc. The left celebrates what precedes the hyphen far more than the "American" that follows it. As a result, America no longer instills traditional American values and an American identity on either those born here or in its immigrants, which is the reason for the right's concern over illegal immigration, not bigotry and xenophobia.

A fourth lesson the left learned from Nazism has been that no judging of cultures is permissible. Because the Nazis deemed Jews and others as inferior, we are no longer allowed to judge other cultures. In the post-World War II world of the left, all cultures are equal. To say that the contemporary Islamic world, or that black inner city culture, has serious moral problems that these cultures need to address is to be labelled dangerously racist -- again reminiscent, for the left, of the Nazis who declared other groups (inherently) defective. For the left, the only cultures one may judge adversely are white American and religious Jewish and Christian.

Fifth and finally, the left has affirmed pacifism as an ideal. One would think that the most obvious moral and rational lesson to be learned from the Nazi experience is the need to fight evil. After all, if decent nations were not as militarily strong as they were, and were not as prepared as they were to use that might, the Nazis would not have been defeated, and many millions more "non-Aryans" would have been enslaved and murdered. But the left, including, sad to say, Germany, did not draw that lesson. Instead of learning to fight evil, the left has learned that fighting is evil -- and it has taught this to two generations of Americans.

To amend Santayana's famous dictum, it is those who learn the wrong lessons from history who are condemned to repeat it.



Four Decades Eroding the Foundation of Liberty

The Supreme Court over the past four decades has issued some decisions that not only defied the Constitution, but imposed changes on our society that go so far as to challenge fundamental principles of our civilization.

For example, our Founding Fathers believed all men are endowed by their creator with an inalienable right to life - a principal derived not only from natural law, but also from the commandment thou shall not kill.

In 1973, the court said that the 14th Amendment, ratified after the Civil War to ensure equal protection of the law to all people in the United States, protected the right of a woman to contract with a doctor to kill an unborn child.

Since then, tens of millions of unborn babies have been denied their right to life.

In 1986, in Bowers v. Hardwick, the Supreme Court turned back a challenge to the Georgia law that prohibited same-sex sodomy.

In a concurring opinion, Chief Justice Warren Burger made a telling point. "I join the court's opinion, but I write separately to underscore my view that, in constitutional terms, there is no such thing as a fundamental right to commit homosexual sodomy," said Burger.

"As the court notes, the proscriptions against sodomy have very 'ancient roots,'" he said. "Decisions of individuals relating to homosexual conduct have been subject to state intervention throughout the history of Western civilization. Condemnation of those practices is firmly rooted in Judeo-Christian moral and ethical standards."

"To hold that the act of homosexual sodomy is somehow protected as a fundamental right would be to cast aside millennia of moral teaching," said Burger.

Seventeen years later, in the case of Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court did just that. It reversed Bowers and declared that same-sex sodomy was indeed a right.

This time, Justice Antonin Scalia, in dissent, pointed to the opinion the court had so recently issued in Bowers - and warned that declaring sodomy a right might be only the beginning.

"State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are likewise sustainable only in light of Bowers' validation of laws based on moral choices," said Scalia.



Why Liberal Ideology Doesn't Work

41% of net new jobs created in November were government jobs. That's not progress, that's alarming. 40% of the population shouldn't be employed by the government unless you live in North Korea.

As a consequence, the unemployment rate dropped, but this is an empty statistic. The government could hire every unemployed person in the U.S. tomorrow, but the government doesn't create wealth, no new added value is made to our nation. In fact the opposite is true, government employees, though clearly many of them are absolutely necessary, have a net negative effect on wealth creation because they have to be paid through the taxes paid from the wealth created by others.

This is precisely why government should remain as limited as possible, because even necessary positions are a drain on the economy and on growth and prosperity.

This is a man that I have had come speak at the Wylie Tea Party before.  I love him because his posts are thoughtful, thought provoking, and accurate. Clearly he does his research.

What he has to say should scare every American to the core.  With the data he provided, let us consider a few simple math facts and consider what they mean:

An astounding 40% of the US population is now employed by the Federal Government

A rather inaccurate 7% are unemployed (and we know this number is closer to 14% because it does not include those who have stopped looking or those who should be employed full time but have only been able to find part time work).

Then we must consider that portion of the US population not working and not considered part of the unemployed.  Retirees represent roughly 13% of the US population according to the US Census reports, and children represent roughly 20%.

If we take all these numbers and add them together, what does this all mean?

It means that 40% of the population are sucking our tax dollars from the system and not creating tax dollars (oh sure they pay taxes on their income, but they are merely putting back a small portion of tax dollars back into the tax pool they sucked it from). These tax suckers are coupled with 7% of the unemployed, and 33% of those not of working age.  This totals to an astounding 80% of the population not working.

That number should scare the living excrement out of you.  The fact is only 20% of the US population are creating any national wealth or contributing to it. That number is insane and most certainly not sustainable, which is one reason why we have an incredible deficit on our hands. We prove every time the Democrats want to increase the debt ceiling that our economy is not sustainable. What I don't understand is just what part of that data Democrats don't understand?  If you are voting with the Democrats then  you are supporting the eventual doom of our country, especially when our policies limit how much of our own resources we sell to other countries.  It is pretty simple math, folks and the big fat negative number continues to grow.

Now imagine if our government focused on creating jobs rather than doling out tax dollars.  Just what sort of wealth might our population create? This is why liberal ideology does not work because it is not sustainable.  This is why our economy is in the condition it is in.

Regardless of whether you appreciate the Tea Party or Constitutional Conservatives, this is why we are right and our way is the only way that will bring our economy back around without putting us further into debt.  Robbing Peter to pay Paul for job creation is a very bad plan and I would challenge every liberal to prove how their plan can possibly work longer-term.



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