Sunday, February 28, 2010

Caleeforniya dreamin'

After mentioning the financial condition of Greece in the previous post, I ran across a story in the London Telegraph.
Here's the lead:
"Jamie Dimon, chairman of JP Morgan Chase, has warned American investors should be more worried about the risk of default of the state of California than of Greece's current debt woes."
California politicians long have thought you can have whatever you want, regardless the cost.
Their attitude is that if they drag the state into bankruptcy, the other 49 states will bail them out.
We may soon find out if they are right.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

There may never be another Maggie

One of the wisest statesmen of the 20th century was Margaret Thatcher.
One of her pearls of wisdom is this: "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money."
That is precisely what is happening in Greece.
Mark Steyn explains the problem, and why it is a problem for the United States, here.
OPM, or other people's money, is the Euro of socialism/liberalism/communism/fascism.
It is plentiful but not inexhaustible.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Liberal trickery on display

One bit of trickery at the health care summit was noticeable to anyone paying attention.
When one Republican asked the relevant question, "Does Washington know better" than an insurance buyer what he needs, President Obama bristled.
He suggested that using such loaded language was unfair because "everyone is mad at Washington right now."
Yet, repeatedly, Democrats assailed the evil insurance companies they hate for making profits.
Not once were they remonstrated by Obama for using loaded language.
There were other examples, such as the Republican disclosure of the trickery Democrats had used to lower the apparent cost of their health plan.
But you had to be watching and listening closely. For most people, the political showmanship was just too much, even though the end result will affect their lives directly, in a major way.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

More spin

Everyone is going to put his own spin on the health summit.
Liberals saw one thing, conservatives another.
What I saw was a meeting dominated by Democrats, who used up most of the time and expressed no real interest in considering Republican ideas.
Democrats did their best to paint Republicans as intransigent. They were aided by the airhead Shepard Smith on Fox News, who raged at Sen. John Thune about the Republicans not being willing to compromise.
Here's the problem. Liberals want to go in one direction and conservatives want to go in the other. Compromise as envisioned by liberals and Smith means conservatives should go halfway in the direction liberals want to go.
That is not compromise. That is surrender. And conservatives should not surrender because they are right.
Polls show the American people agree on that point.

Much ado and nothing adone

I have no problem with the fact that some people would like other people to pay their medical bills for them.
Just don't tell me that someone else has a moral obligation to do so.
I work out in the gym three days a week and I don't eat cheeseburgers and French fries. I never have had a cigarette in my mouth.
To tell me I have an obligation to pay the doctor bills for someone who smokes, drinks, stuffs himself with greasy food and never exercises is sheer lunacy.
No one has a right to free medical care. If you do, then you have a right to free food.
Neither is free anyway. As P.J. O'Rourke said, "If you think health care is expensive now, just wait until it's free."
Rational calculations indicate the Obama plan will cost $2.5 trillion and up over the next 10 years, with relatively little benefit.
With such facts on the table, the Republicans and Democrats are getting nowhere arguing about how to give everyone unlimited health care at no cost.
The best thing they could do is call a truce, drop the subject, and go find ways to help the private sector get the economy moving again.
That's what the people want. Remember them?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Prep for the dog and pony show

Let's hope the socialists in the White House read TimesOnline.
Here's the lead from a story it just published about Britain's National Health Service.
"Patients were routinely neglected or left “sobbing and humiliated” by staff at an NHS trust where at least 400 deaths have been linked to appalling care."
That's socialized medicine.
Sure, everyone is covered.
But does everyone get health care?
Why did a top politician in Canada, where everyone is covered, go to the United States for his own treatment?
If Republicans insist on meeting with President Obama tomorrow to talk about health care, those are the questions they should ask.
Obama called the meeting to get input from the GOP on their ideas about health care. But Monday he unveiled his own plan, at last, without GOP input. Furthermore, congressional leaders are planning to ram the plan through Congress by ignoring rules they called fair just a few years ago -- if they can.
And, if that video makes you applaud liberals for their high principles, see this one for how they actually do business.
The liberals' problem is that Democrats don't like the plan either. Nor does the American public.
Republicans will be used as props by the president but they have the better plan. Just don't plan on the media spinning the story that way.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Believe it or not

Democrats in Congress are bringing back segregation.
In addition, they are establishing a monarchy.
What's next? Taking up my suggestion to make native Hawaiian Barack Obama an emperor?
I was just kidding, fellas!

Running out of time

President Nero fiddled for a year while Iran was burning with a desire to exterminate Jews. The result of his "engagement" is that Iran now claims to have the means to fulfill its desire, with nuclear weapons.
But, Barack Obama is prepared to step it up. His next move will be stern talk.
Meanwhile, the potential victims are acting to reduce terrorist threats.
Israel, apparently, managed to assassinate the top official of Hamas.
While some are expecting Israel to do what it did once before -- bomb a nuclear threat to rubble -- it may not have the capability.
Israel does not have B-2 Stealth bombers and bunker-buster bombs that can reach underground nuclear plants.
America does, but will it use them before it is too late for Israel?
The top military official is expressing reservations about using military power against Iran. He seems to favor spy operations such as getting homing devices into Iranian nuclear plant equipment and infecting Iran's computers with viruses.
But that requires an effective spy operation.
That's two abilities Israel has that the United States lacks. It can keep state secrets and it can run a spy operation that works.

Focusing on the wrong issue

Years ago, I was a reporter for a local newspaper that had crusaded to bring about consolidation of the city and county governments.
Assigned to cover local government, I thought the paper was obligated to follow up that crusade with stories about how consolidation was working. Therefore, I often wrote about the city budget.
But, I reasoned, homeowners care more about their total costs than just taxes. And various cities provide services that elsewhere are provided by the private sector, making true comparisons difficult unless they are included.
So annually I would do a comparison of typical costs to homeowners in Jacksonville and other cities, including the costs of electricity, water and sewer and garbage collection.
Consolidated Jacksonville usually fared well in such comparisons, as it did in comparisons I did of the local tax rate over time, factoring in population growth and inflation.
City officials picked up the idea and now use both comparisons in the annual city budget.
But the current mayor has a strange take on the numbers. Like liberal politicians and addled editorial writers at liberal papers, he uses the argument that Jacksonville residents pay too little taxes.
He certainly has done his part by raising taxes but the idea is flawed.
Should Wal-mart run ads saying "Don't shop here! Our prices are too low!"
Public schoolteacher union bosses use similar arguments. We need to spend more money on schools because other states do.
Most consumers know that if you are getting the same or better product at lower cost, you are better off because you are getting more value. Politicians can't seem to grasp this concept.
What taxpayers should focus on is the value of local government. They should not be fretting about the fact that they may be getting a better deal than taxpayers in other cities.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Newspapers against free speech

An important victory for the First Amendment in the U.S. Supreme Court is being treated by the left-wing media as just the reverse.
Corporations can spend money on political campaigns, the court said in the Citizens United case.
Makes sense. The law says corporations are persons. You can tax them. Why shouldn't they be allowed to help decide who will tax them?
Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, claimed ‘With a stroke of the pen, five Justices wiped out a century of American history devoted to preventing corporate corruption of our democracy."
Nonsense. It was in 1990 that the Supreme Court said politicians could squelch free speech by corporations and unions. That led to the McCain-Feingold law purporting to do just that. Citizens United corrected the 1990 error, just as the Brown case in 1954 corrected the earlier Plessy v. Ferguson error.
Still, anti-business politicians were quick to chime in. "The bottom line is, the Supreme Court has just predetermined the winners of next November’s election. It won’t be the Republican or the Democrats and it won’t be the American people; it will be Corporate America," Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D–N.Y., said.
What Schumer, the New York Times and the rest of the liberal world wants, of course, is taxpayer-funded elections. Or, as such legislation might rightly be called, the Incumbent Tenure Act.
The Times also fears anyone else being able to rebut its endorsements and editorials with facts.
Lberals in the media hate free speech for corporations for the same reason they hate and revile lobbyists.
They are competition.
Newspapers want to tell people, including politicians, what to think. Lobbyists provide valuable information to politicians. Ergo, lobbyists are evil.
Each year Florida newspapers engage in a unified lobbying effort to attempt to influence legislation that might protect people's right to privacy and lessen the press's right to pry.
They never call it lobbying, of course. They call it "protecting the people's right to know."
Newspapers constantly bill themselves as the champions of the First Amendment. Turns out you need to read the fine print.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

How to govern

Follow the new liberal narrative closely.
Their Pravda machine spells it out clearly: "America is ungovernable," the headlines shriek.
It is ungovernable, as they see it, because the stupid masses don't know what is good for them.
Since they are so stupid, the elites plan to ignore them. Rather than following the Constitution and 225 years of precedent, they are going to do as they please.
For example, the takeover of the health care industry. Americans don't want it and it cannot be passed in Congress under normal procedures. So, the left plans to simply pass it into law anyway.
There's an easier way. Why not just name Barack Obama emperor?
Send Congress home and let him rule by decree. He can dismiss the Supreme Court, which a president does not have the authority to do, and name his own to declare all his actions constitutional.
Then, America will be governable again.
I'm waiting for the New York Times editorial proposing this solution.

Friday, February 19, 2010

How to succeed in politics

It looked for a while like Charlie Crist was going to cruise into the U.S. Senate.
Then along came Marco Rubio.
Crist hugs President Obama. Rubio says things like this: "America already has a Democrat party, it doesn't need two Democrat parties."
That kind of statement is exactly what dissatisfied conservatives want to hear from Republicans.
Rubio has surged ahead of Crist and could win the seat, leaving Florida with a liberal Democrat and conservative Republican in the Senate.
Although the GOP has momentum, thanks to the disastrous first year of the Obama administration, there is no guarantee it will win back Congress in the fall.
It is still tainted by the less-than-stellar record of the previous GOP majority in Congress and the Bush administration's rep, earned and unearned.
It has to offer a choice, not an echo. To get moderates, Tea Partiers and others needed to stop the slide toward socialism, it has to return to American principles. Like the 1994 movement, it should offer America hope. Like the 1994 Republicans, it should take the country back to a balanced budget and begin trimming the outrageous growth in government and alleviate the concomitant loss of liberty.
That's the winning combination. Rubio was right.

Distracting facts

The master of distraction was heading for Las Vegas, a town that is very unhappy with him and Harry Reid. To soothe some feelings in advance, he threw $1.5 billion in "housing assistance" at five states, including Nevada and Florida.
Out of his petty cash fund, no doubt.
President Obama's crafty move may prevent people from asking about jobs. The government has shut down the Yucca Mountain nuclear storage waste facility. Without that safe and secure site, nuclear waste will continue to be stored around the country in less safe and less secure sites.
But, of course, he has a "jobs" bill.
The jobs bill is another stimulus bill but for the name and will have the same effect: none.
No one can get a handle on the number of jobs "created or saved" by the stimulus to date, except that it is certain only government jobs are involved in either category.
But the master of distraction's real aim in talking about jobs is to get attention away from his effort to ram through a takeover of the health care industry, which may begin as early as Monday. He and Nancy Pelosi will prevent a filibuster, made possible by Massachusetts voters, simply by using a trick that will let them pass the measure with 51 votes.
Their theory is that Democrats in Congress will fare better with Democrat voters in November by passing the bill than by not passing the bill. The fact that 58 percent of the people in America oppose the measure is not factored into the calculation.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Who knew?

President Obama has just discovered that the national debt has "exploded."
He is calling upon us to live within our means.
I'm speechless.
Obama's socialist policies are the cause of the debt explosion and his solution is more socialist policies.
Recently, his admirers have been saying that the only reason the public hates Obama's policies is that the public is stupid.
Are they stupid enough to believe this current line? Now, that would be a stupid record.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Penetrating question

Question of the day, by Betsy McCaughey in the Wall Street Journal:
"Would you rather make your own car payments instead of bailing out the auto industry or funding National Public Radio?"
That is what Congress should be asking citizens, she said.
Do we want to pay our medical bills, send our kids to college, put away for retirement -- or keep throwing money at Amtrak and the Postal Service? (Both are monopolies yet manage to consistently lose money; a difficult task.)
We have to remember. Our children and grandchildren will be paying for all this liberal frivolity for a long, long time.

Science vs. hype

With the "settled science" collapsing all around the global warming alarmists, I'd like to note the four-step logic test I proposed 3 1/2 years ago.
Not even the first step was taken. Phil Jones, the climate guru at the heart of the controversy, who has resigned and said he had contemplated suicide, said in an interview recently that there has been no global warming in the past 15 years.
Yet, as everyone knows, the alarmists have been claiming for 15 years that the Earth was doomed, no question about it, unless they controlled the world's economy.
So, with the media's bleating approval, we bought expensive light bulbs, subsidized corn growers, put untold millions of dollars into research and considered surrendering our sovereignty to the criminal organization called the United Nations.
It would be fascinating to see how the history books record all this a thousand years from now. But of course that will depend on who is writing them, not what actually happened.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Change you can believe in

As we learned recently, the head of the Internal Revenue Service does not fill out his own income tax return. It is too complex.
There is a way to help this poor man. Abolish the income tax.
While we're at it, let's get rid of the payroll tax as well.
Replace them both with the Fair Tax.
This idea has been around for years. But now, with the nation groaning under debt and the current tax code so onerous that even the head of the IRS can't figure it out, it is an idea whose time has come.
Legions of accountants may have to be added to the millions already unemployed, but that is a small price to pay.
With the Fair Tax, there is no tax code, no tax return, no deductions from your paycheck. You keep what you earn. When you spend it, you pay the Fair Tax. Rebates make it progressive. Billions lost now on compliance costs and fraud are saved.
If you have questions, the answers are at the Fair Tax Web site.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bad ideas never die

On Easter, socialized medicine will arise from the grave.
So says Nancy Pelosi's number one boy on health care, Wendell Primus.
At a National Health Care Policy Conference, Primus revealed the "trick" liberals will play on the American people, and said it should be done deal by Easter. It was published in Congress Daily, a subscription service, and reported on a number of blogs, including Politico.
Socialized medicine is just too important to the socialists who are running the federal government.
In effect, they are willing to commit hari-kari politically by passing the health care takeover bill in the face of overwhelming public opposition.
President Obama assures everyone that they will be thrilled with the result and happy to pay the cost.

Krugman then and now

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is the liberal's delight. An economist who hates free markets. But Krugman's economic views are, shall we say, malleable?
Economist Don Luskin is a frequent critic of Krugman, often catching Krugman in errors a first-term economics student would not make.
Luskin also has caught Krugman in this flip-flop:

New York Times, March 29, 2005: "...the big step by extremists will be an attempt to eliminate the filibuster, so that the courts can be packed with judges less committed to upholding the law than Mr. Greer. We can't count on restraint from people like Mr. DeLay..."
New York Times, February 8, 2010: "Senators themselves should recognize this fact and push through changes in those rules, including eliminating or at least limiting the filibuster. This is something they could and should do, by majority vote, on the first day of the next Senate session."

Columnist Larry Elder has another dandy pirouette from Krugman:
He found that Krugman hated deficits in 2004, saying, " "We have a world-class budget deficit, not just as in absolute terms, of course -- it's the biggest budget deficit in the history of the world -- but it's a budget deficit that, as a share of GDP, is right up there." But six years later, when the deficit compared to GDP is nearly three times at large, Krugman says it isn't so bad. The only problem is that it isn't high enough!
When people threw old newspapers in the garbage, liberals could get away with that kind of thing. No wonder liberals hate the Internet, where your words and dishonesty live forever.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

He's got the whole world in his hands

President Obama, expressing shock and surprise that the madman heading Iran does not love him as much as the New York Times does, says he might ask the United Nations to impose sanctions on Iran.
There's a tough, gritty decision. Imagine: it could lead to 19 resolutions over the next few years from the UN "demanding" that Iran stop trying to build a nuclear weapon. By then, Tel Aviv could be a parking lot and al-Qaeda could be stuffing a 2-kiloton device in a suitcase bound for New York.
Obama says he has bent over backwards trying to hold "constructive dialogue" with the nut case. He is dismayed that he failed to charm Iran's leader, who has played Obama like a fiddle.
Liberals already are laying the groundwork for excusing Obama for what happens next, saying that he is "handcuffed" by circumstances.
Some also ask: So what is it our business if Israel is wiped out by Islamofascists?
They secretly hope that Israel will do the job for him by attacking Iran's weapons plants, whereupon they will roundly condemn Israel for "perpetuating the cycle of violence" by not waiting until Israelis are obliterated.
Presumably, John F. Kennedy was perpetuating the cycle of violence by blockading Russian ships delivering weapons to Cuba, and thereby inviting nuclear war.
Perhaps if Obama literally had bowed down to Iran's leader, as he did to a number of heads of state (and also to Tampa's mayor!) he might have gotten compliance.
But at least we know how it is going to end. No matter what happens -- other than Iran standing down -- it will be Bush's fault.

Progress, from progressives?

Two startling events have occurred.
One is that the New York Times has written a news story that is almost objective.
It begins:
"When Republicans take President Obama up on his invitation to hash out their differences over health care this month, they will carry with them a fairly well-developed set of ideas intended to make health insurance more widely available and affordable, by emphasizing tax incentives and state innovations, with no new federal mandates and only a modest expansion of the federal safety net."
Thus, the Times -- home of Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman and Frank Rich, who favor a government takeover of the health insurance industry -- acknowledges that the conservative party has viable ideas about improving health care.
Then, President Obama says he will consider some of those ideas.
According to Fox News, Obama said
he is open to "starting from scratch" as long as three major goals are met: reducing costs, curbing insurance company practices such as coverage denials, and expanding coverage to millions of people who buy their own policies or work for a small employer.
"I will be open to any ideas that help promote these goals," Obama said.
Americans know by now that what he says is not what he does, but just for the words to come out of his mouth is a change from the Chicago-style "my way or the highway" attitude of the past year.
Meanwhile, Sen. Chris Dodd acknowledges that Democrats already know what the GOP would like to do to improve health care, which makes Obama's proposed "summit" on the subject moot.
In fact, the Wall Street Journal today offers a piece by Newt Gingrich and John Goodman outlining solid, workable ideas that would help do what Obama says he wants to do.
The ball is in the liberal court.

Monday, February 8, 2010


The wacky theory that humans in their SUVs are causing the planet to get unbearably hot seems to be going down in flames itself.
Since the Warmergate affair broke, revealing emails that showed how much of the theory relies upon junk science, other reports have followed one after another.
The most recent, from Fox News: The United Nations report advancing the theory is being criticized by one of its own scientists, who told the London Times he can't find evidence to support claims of a North African food shortage caused by global warming.
The claim was made in a 2007 report to the U.N., and asserts that by 2020 yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50 percent in some African countries thanks to climate change, Fox said.
Before that, the IPCC was forced to retract a claim in the report that glaciers in the Himalayas would melt by 2035.
India is pulling out of the IPCC and setting up its own global warming study. The Dutch are miffed because the IPCC -- erroneously -- asserted that 55 percent of the Netherlands is below sea level.
In addition, the London Telegraph has found a number of other factual errors in the 2007 IPCC report. It also learned some of the "science" came from college student papers, two of which had not even been published.
Looks like the British newspapers are doing their job. What is the American media doing?
Except for Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, the media watchdogs are doing precious little. The leftwing media, in fact, is continuing to push the theory. I guess they found some sixth grader's homework supporting their claims.
Peer-reviewed, no doubt.

Touchdown, Timmy

It is so easy to make fools out of liberals that it is like shooting fish in a barrel.
Tim Tebow's parents let it be known they were going to be in a Super Bowl ad sponsored by Focus on the Family.
Libs went nuts. They assumed it would be an ad suggesting that women choose not kill their babies before the infants are born. This is anathema to the left.
Instead, it was a short, warm message. But it directed the millions of viewers to this link, which is the real Tebow story.
How many more viewers saw the ad because of the left's foaming at the mouth is subject to speculation, but it had to be substantial.
Tebow is a phenomenon. In addition to being one of the greatest football players ever, he is one of the best role models a young person could have. His family made the right decision.

One that got away

Before I could get it written, NRO beat me to the punch.
Since I mentioned this idea to a golfing buddy two weeks ago, I can prove it was original. But if I wrote it now, some fool might accuse me of plagiarism anyway. I've never plagiarised anything and I'm not going to start now, hence the link.
In any case, Henry Olsen hit it on the head. Republicans better wake up, or find themselves in the history books. Or, given that liberals write the history books these days, just gone and forgotten.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

PC news from Britain

In British schools, mention of the Holocaust is being dropped from history classes because of fear that it might offend Muslims, the Daily Mail reports.
In Britain, the Muslim population is growing rapidly, from immigration and from a higher birth rate among Muslims. Meanwhile, the non-Muslim British are having fewer children. There is talk of the possibility that England will be a majority Muslim nation in the not-too-distant future.
Another trend in schooling is that mention of the Crusades is being downplayed, for the same reason. The British version differs from what is taught in the mosques.
This, in the nation that once encircled the world, invented parliamentary rule and gave birth to the Magna Carta. What the Spanish Armada and Nazi hordes could not accomplish is being done by tolerance for intolerance, and political correctness.

A disheartening tale

Danny Williams, the premier of a Canadian province, is going to the United States to have heart surgery.
Canada's "free" health care is the envy of U.S. liberals who want socialized medicine here.
A story in the Toronto Sun said Williams could have had his surgery in Canada. "You just have to wait a bit longer, and the accommodations aren't as nice."
If you're facing heart surgery, wouldn't you want to do it soon, in "nice" facilities?
Canadian doctors quickly insisted that Williams could have gotten the surgery in Canada and that heart surgery in Canada is as good as, and sometimes better than, that in the U.S.
The Fraser Institute said 41,000 Canadians sought treatment in the U.S. last year.
Meanwhile, this headline from CBC in Canada: A 12-year-old boy is in a vegetative state after having his tonsils removed at the Winnipeg Children's Hospital.

An expert on fake news speaks up

There is something slightly hilarious about Dan Rather's latest blather.
He told the Aspen Daily News, “A truly free and independent press is the red beating heart of democracy and freedom. This is not something just for journalists to be concerned about, and the loss of jobs and the loss of newspapers, and the diminution of the American press’ traditional role of being the watchdog on power. This is something every citizen should be concerned about.”
So what does he want? Rather wants the government to save the newspapers.
The watchdogs over the government want to be owned by the government? Pravda was all over those Kremlin boys all the time, wasn't it?
Actually, Dan might know if he kept up with the news, Fox News and the Wall Street Journal are doing just fine. They provide their customers with both sides of the news, unlike Rather's old haunts, CBS.
At CBS, Katie Couric is facing the terrible threat of having her $14 million salary cut, according to the Drudge Report. CBS is having to cut its budget because people don't want to watch the liberal version of the news. That's the same reason Air America just went bankrupt and why Keith Olbermann is likely to get sacked, with his ratings down 44 percent in the past year and Bill O'Reilly kicking his hiney.
No wonder they don't like free markets

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Taking off

Here it is:
This is the Obama version of spending restraint.
His PR flack actually used the words "fiscal conservatism" to describe the direction Obama is going (in an attempt to distract from the left's ongoing effort to takeover health care).
The crest on the left is the debt that resulted from winning World War II and preserving freedom. The crest on the right is the cost of diminishing that hard-won freedom.
Looks like a hockey stick, doesn't it? Except the global warming hockey stick was a myth.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Back to the drawing board

Government nannies have had a setback in their campaign against the cell phone.
Anytime new technology comes along, the nannies try to use scare tactics to justify new regulations that will give them the control they so desperately want to have over the rest of us.
Cell phones are supposed to fry your brain and cause you to crash your car.
But, the Highway Loss Data Institute has just done a study of four states that banned the use of phones while driving.
Bans were supposed to reduce crashes. They didn't.
No one has ever explained the difference between talking to someone on the phone and talking to your spouse seated next to you, and I never heard a nanny propose a Shut up Your Spouse bill.
When using a hands free device there is exactly no difference.
The truth is, some people are careless and they would be careless tuning their radio or doing anything else if they didn't have a cell phone.