The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Saturday, January 31, 2009
(Not so Super)
Cartoon by Michael Ramirez (click to enlarge)
Steyn on the Stimulus: "Where Nations Go to Die"
The more interviews Speaker Pelosi gives explaining how vital the STD industry is to restarting the U.S. economy, the more I find myself hearing “syphilis” every time she says “stimulus.” In late September, America was showing the first signs of “primary stimulus”—a few billion lesions popping up on the rarely glimpsed naughty bits of the economy: the subprime mortgage racket, the leverage kings. Now, the condition has metastasized in a mere four months into the advanced stages of “tertiary stimulus,” with trillions of hideous, ever more inflamed pustules sprouting in every nook and cranny as the central nervous system of the body politic crumbles into total insanity—until it seems entirely normal for the second-in-line of presidential succession to be on TV gibbering away about how vital the federalization of condom distribution is to economic recovery.
The rules in this new “post-partisan” era are pretty simple: If the Democratic party wants it, it’s “stimulus.” If the Republican party opposes it, it’s “politics”—as in headlines like this: “Obama Urges GOP To Keep Politics To A Minimum On Stimulus.” These are serious times: As the president says, it’s the worst economic crisis since the Thirties. So politicians need to put politics behind them and immediately lavish $4.19 billion on his community-organizing pals at the highly inventive “voter registration” group ACORN for “neighborhood stabilization activities.”
“Neighborhood stabilization activities.” That sounds like a line item from the Baath-party budget when Saddam sends the lads in to gas the Kurds. What does it mean in a non-totalitarian sense? Do you need a federally subsidized condom to do it? If so, will a pathetic $4.19 billion be enough?
“Stimulus” comes from the verb stimulare, which is Latin for “transfer massive sums of money from what remains of the dynamic sector of the economy to the special interests of the Democratic party.” No, hang on, my mistake. Stimulare means “to goad.” And, on that front, the Democrats are doing an excellent job. They’ve managed to goad 58 percent of the American people into opposing the “stimulus” package. They’ve managed to goad all 177 Republicans in the House into unpacking their mothballed cojones and voting against the bill. And they’ve managed to goad the rest of the world into ending the Obama honeymoon in nothing flat. Headline from the London Daily Telegraph: “US-EU Trade War Looms As Barack Obama Bill Urges ‘Buy American.’ ”
That would be the provision in the Senate bill prohibiting any foreign-made goods from being used in “stimulus” projects. So, if you own a rubber plantation in Malaysia and you’re hoping for a piece of Nancy Pelosi’s condom action, forget it. The EU trade commissioner is outraged at the swaggering cowboy Obama shooting from the hip and unilaterally banning European goods from American soil. But so are American companies such as General Electric. Bill Lane, an executive honcho with Caterpillar (the tenth biggest U.S. investor in the United Kingdom), says, “We are students of history. A major reason a very deep recession turned into the Great Depression was the fact that countries turned inward.” Ah, yes. The Buy American Act of 1933. How’d that work out?
Even without Speaker Pelosi talking STD on the evening news, there is danger here for the new administration. Setting aside the more messianic effusions (“We needed him. And out of that great need,” gushed Maya Angelou, “Barack Obama came.”) as unbecoming to the freeborn citizens of a constitutional republic, it seems clear that large numbers of people voted for this president because they wanted something different, something other than “politics as usual.” Not just something pseudo-different like the dreary maverickiness of John McCain “reaching across the aisle” (one of those dead phrases no one outside the Beltway gives a hoot about), but something really different. But the “stimulus” package is just politics as usual with a few extra zeroes on the end. Will you notice anything? No. Don’t get your hopes up. If you’re broke now, you’ll be broke in October. The Congressional Budget Office estimates only 25 percent of it will be spent by early next year. The other 75 percent is as stimulating as the gal in the Nancy Pelosi Pussycat Lounge telling you she had such a good time she’s penciled in a second date for spring 2010. A third of all the spending won’t come until after 2011.
In a media age, politics is a battle of language, and “stimulus” is too good a word to cede to porked-up statist hacks. “Stimulus” has to stimulate—i.e., it’s short-term, like, say, an immediate cut in payroll taxes that will put real actual money in your pocket in next month’s paycheck. That way, you don’t need to wait for ACORN: You can start “stabilizing” your own “neighborhood” right now.
Don't miss your chance to read the entire article. Sometimes wit and metaphor can draw out the utter insanity of an idea much more effectively than pure reason (just ask Rush Limbaugh). In Steyn's case, that's almost a money-back guarantee.
More Dead in Kentucky Ice Storm; 5 days after Emergency Declared, FEMA STILL a No-Show
And because the media was so successful at getting Bush's numbers to tank after Katrina; from that point forward, every time there was a tornado or a hurricane watch, or even a gust of wind, the media sent chartered jets full of reporters and cameramen--just in case they could catch the President being a bit slow on the draw, and twist that dagger a bit more. The people who actually suffered in these tragedies became "bit players", mere background noise to these vipers.
Well now we are in the Obama Administration. And unfortunately, another tragedy has befallen people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time; a real tragedy with people dying. And believe it or not, FEMA has failed to respond in a timely manner. But--like a tree falling in the forest--if there is no news media there to hear it, the news is muffled to say the least. And to everyone's shock, shock--the media (for some unknown reason...) doesn't seem to be around this time to call attention to the lack of federal response. Go figure!
Today you would literally have to dig to find this story in the MSM--even though it has been five days since the Governor of Kentucky declared an Emergency after an ice storm (caused by AGW, no doubt) knocked out power for over a million people, and many started freezing to death. The Governor did activate the entire Kentucky National Guard--who of course are doing the best they can. But as people continue to die of exposure (42 so far), FEMA is still nowhere to be found. Nor is Anderson Cooper, for that matter. What a difference 3 years makes!
Rick Moran comments on this "juxtaposition", with heavy but highly justifiable irony (read the whole thing):
So... where IS FEMA? And where IS the MSM? Where is a tearful Anderson Cooper? Is Sean Penn being airlifted in to rescue the freezing? Not that I miss all that--truthfully I do not miss any of them. But the contrast is stark to say the least.
With nearly 1.5 million people in the mid-west without power during a cold snap, what other possible reason is there that this new “competent” administration and FEMA would be failing so spectacularly in helping in this natural disaster?
IT’S GOT TO BE THAT OBAMA HATES WHITE PEOPLE AND WANTS THEM TO DIE!
Of course, I am just aping what lefty blogs were saying about Bush less than 24 hours after Katrina’s hurricane winds stopped blowing. But AP is reporting that Midwest disaster relief people are none too pleased with our new president’s FEMA.
In Kentucky’s Grayson County, there are 25 National Guardsmen there to help – but no chain saws to cut away fallen limbs and trees. EM Director Randell Smith is quoted as saying, “We’ve got people out in some areas we haven’t even visited yet,” Smith said. “We don’t even know that they’re alive.”
Smith is also quoted as saying that FEMA is a “no show.”
And then there’s this:FEMA spokeswoman Mary Hudak said some agency workers had begun working Friday in Kentucky and more help was on the way. Hudak said FEMA also has shipped 50 to 100 generators to the state to supply electricity to such facilities as hospitals, nursing homes and .Gee – you mean the conditions of the roads has something to do with FEMA’s response time? Now, don’t you wonder what the roads near New Orleans looked like after a Category 4 storm made landfall? If you listened to all the screaming coming from the left about FEMA inaction, you would have to believe that those roads were as clean as a whistle, just like driving down the Interstate on a summer day. The only reason FEMA failed was because George Bush HATED BLACK PEOPLE AND WANTED THEM TO DIE! And in this case, FEMA is being stopped by a few trees, not roads made impassable due to flooding and other debris.
“We have plenty of folks ready to go, but there are some limitations with roads closed and icy conditions,” she noted.
Here we are, 5 days after the storm ended and STILL NO FEMA? I demand a Congressional investigation. And let’s get all the anchors and media people down here pronto. People’s lives are at stake. For all we know, there are babies being eaten and people jumping off their roofs committing suicide because FEMA is nowhere to be found.
More from Jawa.
Obama calls for 10% CUT at Pentagon as Iran calls him "Weak"
Meanwhile it is good to see that the "no preconditions" policy of Our Lord and Savior Barack Obama--for negotiating with the #1 state sponsor of terror on Earth--is working so well.
Report: Obama Caves to Putin
McKittrick at Closing Velocity said it best: "Moscow Rolls Obama, Euro Missile Defense Apparently Shelved." He refers to Russia's recent announcement that it will not deploy nuclear-capable ballistic missiles to the Kaliningrad region, near the Polish border. In that location, the Russian missiles could have targeted U.S. interceptor missiles, scheduled to be based in Poland.Read the rest; the shining "city on a hill" that was an inspiration to so many in Eastern Europe seems to have gone a bit dim since January 20.
And what caused Moscow's sudden change of heart? According to the U.K. Telegraph, the Obama Administration has signaled that it "will not prioritize" Bush Administration plans for ballistic missile defenses in eastern Europe. Plans for the shield were accelerated last year, after the conflict between Russia and Georgia.
The proposed defensive system was the culmination of years of careful diplomacy and technological development. Bush Administration officials carefully lobbied their counterparts in Poland and the Czech Republic, winning their approval for a warning radar in Czech territory and the interceptor missiles on Polish soil. The system is aimed at protecting Europe from a missile attack from a rogue state.
Russia viewed the deployment as a military threat--never mind that the interceptors perform a purely defensive function, as compared to the strike mission of the Iskander missiles, which Moscow threatened to station in Kaliningrad.
President Bush steadfastly resisted Russian bluster and arm-twisting. They also stepped up military aid to the Czech Republic and Poland, rewarding those countries for their courageous stand.
Now, leaders in Warsaw and Prague must be shaking their heads. Years of promises and assurances from the U.S. were undone by the Obama Administration in its first week in office. And don't think that Washington's little ploy has gone unnoticed in the other capitals of eastern Europe--nations that looked to the U.S. for security and leadership in countering the latest threat from Moscow.
Meanwhile, I guess the mullahs are feeling a bit better about their chances to launch a nuke in our (or Europe's) direction.
And it has only been one week...
Some Excellent Advice from Michael Steele ...
These would be good things for all of us to keep in mind...
Cartoon by Eric Beeler (click to enlarge)
Friday, January 30, 2009
Driver for said car? Free.
Amended return after being named HHS Secretary? $100,000.
Spot-on post about the Democrats' cabinet scandal du jour at Ace of Spades HQ??? :
Tom Daschle, Obama's pick to run the Department of Health And Human Services (and co-ordinate health care reform at the White House), kinda, sorta didn't pay all his taxes, accidentally of course.
FOX News confirmed that Daschle alerted the Senate Finance Committee, which will oversee his confirmation hearing, that the matter involves more than $100,000 in back taxes and interest for a car and driver that was provided to him for four years by Leo Hindery, a wealthy Democratic donor and longtime friend of Daschle's.
Daschle incorrectly assumed the use of the car and driver was not subject to taxation. But the White House says he discovered the error during preparation for his confirmation and filed amended tax returns with the proper payment and interest.
Of course since Daschle is a former Senator and more importantly a registered Democrat, none of this will matter.
It's almost laughable the idea that Obama is putting together this incredible all star team to run the government when a bunch of them can't quite seem to manage their own finances.
Yesterday VP Joe Biden (D-SCRANTON!!11!!) said this about execs who recieved bonuses he found excessive.
Vice President Joe Biden also chimed in, saying the level of bonuses "offends the sensibilities."
"I mean, I'd like to throw these guys in the brig," Biden said in an interview with CNBC.
What would you like to do with Daschle, Mr. Vice President?
Like I said: Priceless.
Obama pronounces Wall Street "shameful" and the "height of irresponsibility." Certainly there are irresponsible actors on Wall Street. But I think the heights have already been scaled by Washington, as Ben Stein points out.
Only ten per cent of the "stimulus" to be spent on 2009.
Close to half goes to entities that sponsor or employ or both members of the Service Employees International Union, federal, state, and municipal employee unions, or other Democrat-controlled unions.
This bill is sent to Congress after Obama has been in office for seven days. It is 680 pages long. According to my calculations, not one member of Congress read the entire bill before this vote. Obviously, it would have been impossible, given his schedule, for President Obama to have read the entire bill.
For the amount spent we could have given every unemployed person in the United States roughly $75,000.
We could give every person who had lost a job and is now passing through long-term unemployment of six months or longer roughly $300,000.
Read the whole thing.
It's awful when the financial sector gives its employees $18.4 billion in bonuses. It's inexcusable when Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain spends $1 million to redecorate his office. And when CitiGroup wants to buy a $50 million corporate jet, they must be stopped.
$400 million for HIV and chlamydia testing, $20 million for off-road trail maintenance and restoration, $600 million for new Federal government cars, $527 million to the Coast Guard to create 1235 new construction and acquisition jobs (that's $460,000 per job), $75 million for smoking cessation programs (how will we pay for SCHIP then?), $7 billion to modernize Federal buildings and other facilities ... that's all perfectly okay. Just your tax dollars at work.
As our own Baron von Ottomatic recently explained, the Federal Budget has nothing on Monty Python's infamous Mr. Creosote.
I'm not going to defend the bosses in the financial sector who recklessly loaned money and bet the bank (literally) that the stock and real estate markets would always be up. They blew it big time, and their greed destroyed tens of thousands of jobs in the banking sector and cost the American people trillions of dollars in lost savings.
But what business does the Federal Government have telling banks how to spend their money? Oh, that's right -- the banks are now being propped up by the government, so all of the sudden they've got to be "responsible."
Yet when the government wastes money on pork, who's going to stop them? From what experts say, at least $54 billion of our "stimulus" money is going to programs deemed ineffective or unable to pass basic financial audits by the OMB. Responsible? No, but it keeps the folks in DC smiling. After all, employees of mismanaged, inefficient, or ineffectual government agencies should never lose their jobs or bonuses, should they?
If you want to know the true value of those evil financial industry bonuses, just as the city government of New York, which is in full panic mode right now in anticipation of a catastrophic multi-billion dollar budget shortfall in the wake of the carnage on Wall Street this past year. As Rush Limbaugh correctly pointed out, even the $1 million Merrill Lynch extreme makeover* put money into the pockets of interior designers, furniture manufacturers, and precious blue collar transportation and construction workers. Further, how many pilots, maintenance personnel, and facilities workers lost contracts or jobs because CitiGroup won't be buying that jet?
Maybe it's time for government bureaucrats to do a little navel gazing and ask some serious questions, namely whether or not their insatiable appetite for pork might be one of the root causes of the painful series of market bubbles and meltdowns that have crippled us financially during the last ten years.
Anthroprogenic Global Warming: THE Greatest Fraud In History?
The fraud that is being perpetuated on us in the name of "saving the planet" simply MUST be understood by the masses, before we really do engender a catastrophe--and chaos.
And, as Lewis himself states, enormous damage is being done in the name of Science that has nothing whatsoever to do with real science, and the people's faith in "science" may never recover from what is being peddled to the clueless in its name (emphasis is my own):
Like famished swine shoving each other aside to get to the trough, self-proclaimed scientists and real politicians are again launching headline upon headline to claim yet another disaster in the name of utterly unproven global warming. Did you know that the flock of geese that flew into US Airways jet engines this month in New York City were put there by global warming? And that London fogs, or rather their absence, are making global warming worse?Read the whole thing.
Yep. It’s right there in the paper, Maud.
As scientific skeptics are finally discovering the courage to speak out, the hype machine is faltering just a little.
But President Obama just appointed a True Believer to be science czar in the White House. So we can expect the politicians to keep hammering on this little piggy bank until the last golden coin drops out. You’ll be paying for the biggest false alarm in history for years to come.
But what worries me most is that the credibility of science may never recover — and perhaps it shouldn’t. Credibility has to be earned, and once it’s squandered may never be recovered. By now far too many scientists have knowingly colluded in an historic fraud, one that would put Bernie Madoff to shame. We are seeing political larceny here on a truly planetary scale.
Why should scientists who’ve gambled their own reputations on this fakery ever be trusted again? They shouldn’t. Would you entrust your life savings to Bernie Madoff? Right.
I’m not a climatologist. Like most scientists I rarely judge what others do in their fields. And yet it’s been flamingly obvious for years now that the hypothesis of human-caused global warming violates all the basic rules and safeguards that protect the integrity of normal, healthy science. That’s why AGW (anthropogenic global warming) looks like a massive fraud, the biggest fraud ever in the history of science.
If that’s true, anybody who cares about science should be outraged. Even if you don’t care about that ask yourself if you want your next medical exam to be honest. Or the next time you drive across a traffic bridge, do you want the engineering tests to be falsified? If scientific corruption becomes endemic, we risk losing one of the great jewels of our culture.
So here are some fundamental violations of scientific integrity that any thoughtful person should recognize. I’m not going to touch on climatology — the case against the warming hypothesis has already been made very well by experts. I just want to talk scientific common sense.
Threatening the skeptics.
Scientists get seduced by enticing ideas and bits of evidence all the time. That’s why every scientist I’ve ever known is a thorough-going skeptic, even about his or her own data. Especially about one’s own data, because one’s career is on the line if it doesn’t check out. So we need skepticism in ourselves and others. Good science honors the rational skeptic.
Which is why it’s beyond outrageous that AGW believers are publicly attacking thoughtful skeptics – not on the facts, but on their sheer temerity in doubting their precious orthodoxy.
According to the Guardian:
James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.
That is Stalinism; it is never, ever done in real science. Stalin shot real scientists and promoted scientific frauds who helped to kill Soviet food production. Right there we know we’re looking at political corruption and not real science.
Albert Einstein and Nils Bohr spent decades debating quantum mechanics. Neither side tried to criminalize the other. Einstein’s stubborn skepticism actually led to spectacular new findings. Skepticism turned out to be one of his great gifts to the world.
Today’s public attack on skeptics should trigger loud alarm bells in the minds of scientists. It is indecent as well as dangerous.
Pop media hype.
AGW is heavily promoted through the popular media. But the pop media are utterly incompetent when it comes to any scientific or technical question. An English or journalism degree just doesn’t prepare you; nor do news editors want you to tell the truth. In the media a good story always beats out technical facts.
But in reputable science nothing is published without careful peer review, and the more spectacular the hypothesis, the more intensive the reviews are going to be. That’s why peer-reviewed journals are so vital to a healthy science, and why the constant evasion of peer review by global warming fanatics is a sign of their scientific weakness. If the evidence was solid, they would not have to run to the nearest headline-hunting journalist.
Bad data without apology.
In AGW bad data has been very widespread, and judging by past performance, it may still be endemic. Thermometers are placed in hot areas in the cities, and the data is shamelessly generalized to the whole world. The infamous “hockey stick” temperature diagram has been exposed. James Hansen has brought NASA to its lowest point ever by repeatedly endorsing false data.
In any healthy field of science, that disastrous empirical record would have discredited the hypothesis. But while the data seems to crash periodically, the models don’t change in their catastrophism.[.....]
Scientists are as corruptible as anybody else. Good scientists do have a conscience, but it’s the double-checking mechanisms of science that makes it trustworthy. We routinely see corrupt accountants and clergy in the news, and the news business itself is deeply corrupted and untrustworthy. The question is, do you build in checks and balances? Reporters are always rushed and deadline-driven, and they always trade off their integrity against the daily pressure for headlines.
All this affects you personally. Don’t doubt that your life and mine depend upon healthy science and medicine, and yes, even on honest journalism.[.....]
AGW therefore looks to be the biggest fraud in the history of science. The AGW hype machine may signal the worst breakdown ever in the normal, healthy process of open debate and endless testing that makes for good science. It’s pathological science — which is not science at all.
What’s happening today is very dangerous. It can infect other parts of the sciences, medicine, and technology. If honest scientists cannot stand up to the pressure we are in deep, deep trouble as a society. Bad science kills people.
More on the corruption of science, environmentalism as religion, and the overhype of AGW--all from the late Michael Crichton: here (video of lecture), here and here.
AGW--the science therein--debunked thoroughly here (also Crichton), here and here (astoundingly good video). And more is coming soon.
Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls: you are being sold a bill of goods by politicians who depend heavily on the multi-billion dollar environmental lobby to get elected and/or rich. That's Multi-billion. And then you have snake-oil salesmen like Al Gore (who is has earned hundreds of millions himself from the very misinformation and fear he is spreading).
With all that is going on, with our economy on the brink, we are witnessing this week in the halls of Congress the largest proposed RAPE of the taxpayer in US history. They are selling us a "stimulus" package which has nothing to do with stimulus whatsoever, and which amounts to a 30% increase over our already out of control budget.
The thing that I find to be most troubling about this: the Socialists "leading" us are now openly advocating "taxation without representation"-- i.e. by proposing that taxpayers in fiscally responsible, growth-oriented States subsidize with their own money the fiscal corruption, irresponsibility, utter failure and bankruptcy of States where high-taxation, free-spending, pro-union, big-government "leaders" have caused financial ruin (e.g. Michigan, New Jersey, New York and California...and 9 other States asking for a Federal bailout).
Have you been to Detroit lately? I have...
The policies by these power-hungry Governors/Legislatures have caused private business to flee those particular states like rats from a sinking ship. Yet they seem to have convinced the United States Congress that taxpayers in States like Texas--people that elected representatives who DID handle their affairs responsibly; and people that have had NO say or voice whatsoever in selecting who governs the irresponsible states which are going belly-up.
This not only IS "taxation without representation"--it encourages the irresponsible States to continue to be irresponsible!
And THAT my friends, is the very same dynamic that led the American Colonials of the 1770's to decide that enough is enough.
Back in those days they dumped Tea into Boston Harbor--and risked execution by doing so.
Today things are not so dire--not yet, anyway... Today we can at least start pushing back by working tirelessly to overload the switchboards of Congress and the Senate until this abominable "stimulus" is killed. And we must give as much time, money and energy as we possibly can to rebuilding a nation where reason, the basic principles of market economics and common sense are allowed to prevail over tyranny, Marxist ideologues, cronyism, pork-hogging politicians and other rogue elements which are actively working to destroy our economy and society.
Read the Declaration of Independence. Read the Constitution. Understand how and why both came about. And then look me in the eyes and try selling me with a straight face tell me that these apparatchiks in Washington are any more morally justified in their proposed THEFT of our private property to bail out their cronies in failing States (i.e. the fruits of our labor) than were the British of the 18th century in levying heavy taxes on Colonies which had no vote in Parliament.
Here is the sad truth: Barack Obama is in his first real job that carries with it any responsibility in his entire life--and it as President of the United States! Yes he is bright, charismatic symbol--and he is a good communicator. But he is also a green, inexperienced, untested Marxist ideologue who from all indications does not have a clue to the extent of damage this "stimulus" can do, or even the damage his clumsy handling of Gitmo, Iran, etc., has already done.
It is up to We the People to stop this runaway train, before Stalinists who want to crush dissent try to silence us and those who speak for us. This is not merely a "cult of personality"--it is a real cult. And so far, Americans seem all too willing to drink the Kool-Aid. Get on your phones and get those emails humming: tell your Senator that if he/she votes for this bill you will do everything in your power to see them defeated when they come up for election again. And mean it.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Trust me, it is hard to do manual labor like that while resisting the urge to throw up:
Warning: the actual truth will not only set you free; it will make you mad...
Power duo Al Gore and John Kerry take their global warming show to snowbound Washington, DC:
“The Science is screaming at us,” said Kerry, who, like Gore is a former Democratic Presidential candidate. Kerry also has his own tome on the threat of global warming.
“To the naysayers and the deniers out there, let me make it clear the little snow in Washington does nothing to diminish the reality of the crisis that we face,” Kerry said.
Note that “Science” is now a proper noun. Like “Jesus”. Meanwhile … owls.
UPDATE. Dave S. emails:
A winter storm has socked about half the US the past couple of days, affecting Arkansas, Kentucky, the southern plains, Michigan, New England, etc etc., in an arc from the Deep South to the extreme North.
Al Gore was in D.C. to give an address to Congress today on the dangers of global warming. I mean, climate change. Wait, he actually said “the climate crisis”, which I guess is what you use for cold weather that (A) isn’t warm, that (B) occurs in winter, so it’s not very changey, but (C) does cause some actual crisis, if temporary power outages and icy roads are a “crisis”.
Anyhoo, if we take a string and put one end on D.C., then stretch it to Arkansas, and then move that end in a northerly arc encompassing Michigan to Maine, we can conclusively demonstrate the range of the Gore Effect as a radius of well over one thousand miles. That’s a pretty impressive swath of inconvenience.You may recall that previous Gore Effects were fairly localized. I posit a tentative theorem that the intensity of the Gore Effect rises exponentially with his size. We’re about fifty triple cheeseburgers from worldwide apocalypse.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Is Dissent Still "Patriotic"?
Day by Day by Chris Muir (click to enlarge)
All you need to know about the Stimulus Package
Listen to the whole thing.
"Emergency" and "Crisis" Losing their Meaning
Is the new Obama administration taking cues from the Bush administration to get Congress to act? It certainly seemed that way to, South Carolina’s junior Republican senator, Jim DeMint.He has a point; we've already had over two years of "emergency stimulus" packages with very little apparent effect, and there seems to be no end in sight. It's pretty clear that the only thing that current "stimulus" package being debated is likely to stimulate is the sense that we are in a "crisis". Of course, eventually--if someone doesn't stop the madness--it will become a self-fulfulling prophecy; we will be in a genuine existential crisis...
DeMint, speaking Jan. 27 at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., explained the Obama administration will “create crisis and widespread panic” just like its predecessor in order to get Congress to act expeditiously.
“I’ve been around long enough to know whenever someone tells me I have to make a decision right now, my response is no,” DeMint said. “That clears it up right away and I think more and more the Bush administration and now this administration knows that they’re not going to get a quick reaction out of Congress unless they create crisis and widespread panic. And that’s going to be their M.O. to get Congress to act.”
A perfect example of this genre is the haste which the Left is telling us we must act in order to solve the so-called "threat to our Planet" from man-made Global Warning (Hoax of the century? Yes.)--which of course will require hundreds of billions of YOUR dollars to address the problem "before it's too late" and we all melt... (personally I could use an extra coat right now...).
And the beat goes on.
After enough doom and gloom; after much more of this we-are-in-a-crisis-and-the-sky-will-fall-if-we-don't-act-now meme--as any child who has read The Boy Who Cried Wolf understands--then if and when our country encounters a genuine National crisis (i.e. a REAL emergency), the public will be largely apathetic to the appeal for action now "or else". The result could be a too-slow reaction with Katrina-like consequences. But it won't be the people's fault; it will be the fault of our so-called "leaders". We will have been numbed into complacency by non-stop "emergency" responses that have had little effect other than to deepen our economic woes, our sense of helplessness and our strenghtening conviction that our Government is not only inefficient and inept; it has been lying to us for a long, long time.
That seems like a long and difficult road to the truth.
Report: Reid promises Card Check by Summer
Some advice for any non-management full-time employees in the private sector: Find a good headhunter and get ready to go ready to be a contrator for the rest of your life. Trust me--many American companies won't take the risk: they will either send the jobs offshore or use contractors for all non-management positions.
Update those resumes, folks.
$4.19 Billion in "Stimulus" Money....for ACORN???
Somebody please slap me and wake me up; this can't be real....can it?
So riddle me this, Batman: how do billions of dollars earmarked for a "non-profit"--particularly one that is so blindly and blatantly partisan--and has which has been under Federal investigation for election fraud in states from sea to shining sea--create new jobs for our troubled economy?
Tax Advice from Tim and Charley
Sunday, January 25, 2009
A Second "Cultural Revolution"?
Printed in a size that easily fits into pocket or purse, this book is an anthology of quotations borrowed from Barack Obama's speeches and writings. POCKET OBAMA serves as a reminder of the amazing power of oratory and the remarkable ability of this man to move people with his words. His superb and captivating oratory style has earned comparisons to John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and this historic collection presents words that catapulted his remarkable rise to the American Presidency. It is an unofficial requirement for every citizen to own, to read, and to carry this book at all times.Now that's just scary. (h/t to Rob at Say Anything)
The little blue book includes themes of democracy, politics, war, terrorism, race, community, jurisprudence, faith, personal responsibility, national identity, and above all, his hoped-for vision of a new America. POCKET OBAMA is a portable, everyday primer for readers who want to examine the substance of his thought and reflect on the next great chapter in the American story.
Prequel to "The Lost World"?
Cartoon by Glenn Foden (click to enlarge)
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Time to put a "Hold" on Holder
Good day, Senators-
I write to you today to insist that you make all possible effort to put a HOLD on the potential nomination of Eric Holder to the critical position of Attorney General.
I cannot stress enough the importance of this - Holder is a Clinton-era holdover that brings with him a demonstrable history of anti-freedom policies and behaviors.
Some Holder History
- As a Federal Prosecutor, Holder refused to prosecute FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi or any of his superiors for the murder of Vicky Weaver at Ruby Ridge.
- As Deputy Attorney General under Janet Reno, Holder was in charge of defending and covering up for the government in the Waco Massacre.
- Holder was the official in charge of the Elian Gonzales affair and ordered the pre-dawn SWAT raid to seize the 6-year old Cuban refugee from the home of relatives who had legal custody of the boy.
- After the terrorist attacks of 9-11, in which the terrorists used box-knives and airplanes as their weapons, Holder called for new restrictions on firearms sales and transfers.
- In the Heller case, Holder signed on to an amicus brief arguing in support of the DC gun ban and the “collective right” theory of the Second Amendment.
- Holder has called for federal investigation of every firearm transfer – even between relatives – and the registration and licensing of all firearm and firearm owners.
- Holder has called for federal restrictions and controls on the internet and limits on internet speech and privacy as well.
- Holder handled Clinton’s pardon of a group of Puerto Rican terrorists who murdered a number of people in New York City as well as the pardon of billionaire tax evader Marc Rich (the man who created the petroleum “spot market” – the system which recently drove gas prices over $5.00 a gallon.)
- Holder has been an outspoken advocate of stricter gun control, greater government control, and more police powers.
The recent election results are not, as some would believe, a mandate for “change” with no checks and balances. My understanding of civics is that the Senate (along with the House) has a duty to balance out the overall power of the Federal government, not to rubber-stamp every bad idea that comes from the office of the Executive.
Make no mistake; the nomination of Eric Holder is a bad idea. It would bring back an unfortunate piece of the Clinton “legacy” that freedom-loving citizens in Texas and elsewhere were more than happy to be rid of in 2000. In particular, Eric Holder’s lack of respect for the 2nd Amendment (and his erroneous opinion of the 2nd as a “collective right,” which has been disproven) lets me know that he does not respect or trust law-abiding citizens - it really does make for a good litmus test for civil rights as a whole. Firearms ownership is an individual’s civil right, as enumerated in our Constitution and as upheld recently by the Supreme Court in the Heller decision.
I am urging you, as my voice in the Senate, to put a hold, block, reject, and even ask for a withdrawal of the nomination of Eric Holder for Attorney General. I mean this respectfully but unequivocally.
Thank you for your time.
But even the bullet points listed above don't do justice to Holder's role in some of these travesties of justice. A lot more detail here. But the one that still gets under my skin is this one (emphasis mine):
Earlier this year, Eric Holder--along with Janet Reno and several other former officials from the Clinton Department of Justice--co-signed an amicus brief in District of Columbia v. Heller. The brief was filed in support of DC's ban on all handguns, and ban on the use of any firearm for self-defense in the home. The brief argued that the Second Amendment is a "collective" right, not an individual one, and asserted that belief in the collective right had been the consistent policy of the U.S. Department of Justice since the FDR administration. A brief filed by some other former DOJ officials (including several Attorneys General, and Stuart Gerson, who was Acting Attorney General until Janet Reno was confirmed)took issue with the Reno-Holder brief's characterization of DOJ's viewpoint.
A "collective" right? Uh, not so much:
On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court affirmed, in a 5-4 decision, the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Parker v. District of Columbia (re-cast as District of Columbia v. Heller before the Supreme Court), that the Second Amendment protects a pre-existing, private, individually-held right, to keep arms and to bear arms, without regard to a person’s relationship to a militia. The Court held that the Second Amendment does not (as the District argued) protect a right to possess arms only while in service in a militia or (as others have argued) a “state’s right” to maintain a militia. (No dissenting justice endorsed the “state’s right” theory, putting an end to it once and for all, one can only hope.)
Maybe it was too much exposure to Marx (and especially to Marxists in college), but I shudder when I hear that word "collective". It's right up there with "proletariat"...
If Holder thought that the Constitution doesn't apply in that case--if "the people" (text of Second Amendment) does not in his opinion translate to "the individual", where else would he--as Attorney General--issue legal opinions that "individual" rights specifically enumerated in the Constitution to "the People" do not apply?? Speech? Dissent? Criticism of the Dear Leader? Search and Seizure?
Does it only apply when Holder and Pelosi and Obama say it does?
Scalia brilliantly raises this point at the very outset of his Majority Opinion (p.5):
1. Operative Clause.
a. “Right of the People.” The first salient feature of the operative clause is that it codifies a “right of the people.” The unamended Constitution and the Bill of Rights use the phrase “right of the people” two other times, in the First Amendment’s Assembly-and-Petition Clause and in the Fourth Amendment’s Search-and-Seizure Clause. The Ninth Amendment uses very similar terminology (“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”). All three of these instances unambiguously refer to individual rights, not “collective” rights, or rights that may be exercised only through participation in some corporate body.
(as an aside, that Scalia opinion is one of the more coherent and well argued opinions I have read in years on this topic...)
So here then is why this all bothers me so much: When the head law enforcement official in the United States writes a brief that the Constitution does not say what it does say, all because of a pre-conceived result he wants to achieve for political purposes--then we have a real problem, folks.
And then there is this:
Match Obama’s “Stop the Smears” operation with this. In May of 1999, Obama AG appointee said:
“The court has really struck down every government effort to try to regulate it [Internet]. We tried with regard to pornography. It is gonna be a difficult thing, but it seems to me that if we can come up with reasonable restrictions, reasonable regulations in how people interact on the Internet, that is something that the Supreme Court and the courts ought to favorably look at.”
First exterminating people for religious views, then snatching kids from their family in the dark of night. Now your freedom to surf the net.
Sorry for all you sunshine pumpers out there, but I think it is just to risky to put a guy who believes all these things in the most powerful law enforcement post in the land--especially given his track record. The Republicans really do need to hold serve on stopping this particular appointment--but it won't happen unless enough of us get involved and get those email and switchboards humming ASAP.
Do not forget: the Democrats spent the last eight years holding up almost every "controversial" (read: "too conservative") appointment that Bush made. Many of them never made it to the floor of the Senate, where confirmation was certain--while their lives were on hold for over two years. Turnabout is fair play; not disproportionate turnabout--but in this case there is far too much at stake to let this slide without a fight.
Realizing that Republicans cannot expend too much political capital--i.e. it would be unwise politicaly to try and hold up all of the Cabinet nominees (even those who lie in their testimony)--the GOP nevertheless needs to man up in this case; stopping the Holder nomination will demonstrate that there will be a price to pay for the Democrats' eight years of blind partisanship and serial obstructionism. One would almost expect Obama to trot out Rodney King any day now with half of Hollywood standing behind him reprising "why can't we all just get along?"
Well, for one thing, because the President has already set a pretty arrogant tone, especially considering we are just five days in. Thus, a not-so-subtle message needs to be sent: that Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are not going to be able to get anything they want without working with Republicans; there needs to be an understanding that a party representing 55 million voters who voted against Obama are not just going to just lay down and allow a runaway Socialist train to destroy what scraps are left of our freedoms and our economy. (if I am wrong about this--if we are going to perform the American equivalent of surrender and marching like sheep to the cattle cars; if we are incapable of making any kind of stand whatsoever for what we all know to be right, then we deserve every bit of misery that will result from our inaction. Personally, I find that "give up" attitude reprehensible and inexcusable.
It is up to We the People to provide the "courage" our politicians seem to find so fleeting these days. Let us remind them who put them in office in the first place--and who can easily send them home in two years.We did not elect a dictator. We have three co-equal branches of Government, two of which are supposed to answer to us, not the other way around. In the words of Captain Picard, let us "make it so".
"Bringing America Together"??
Barack Obama in a display of post-partisanship went to House Republicans and listened to their concerns and responded with a post-partisan/healing/bring us altogether response that we expect from our new President:
During his private meeting with congressional Democrats and Republicans on Friday, President Obama ended a philosophical debate over tax policy with the simple declaration that his opinion prevailed because "I won."
Democrats called it a light-hearted moment that drew laughs around the table. Republicans said there was laughter but couldn't recall if any of it came from their ranks.
Guys, could anyone imagine George W. Bush saying something like to Democrats in 2005? I can't. It's arrogance illustrated. And Keith Olbermann would name Bush "The Worst Person in the World" for it.
Also, Barack Obama had some interest in advising the GOP on their listening habits if they wanted good relations with the White House:
WASHINGTON -- President Obama warned Republicans on Capitol Hill today that they need to quit listening to radio king Rush Limbaugh if they want to get along with Democrats and the new administration.
"You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.
Thus we're beginning to see Barack Obama's big problem when it comes to bi-partisanship. He doesn't know where to begin. He has never worked with Republicans on substantive matters. During the year Republicans controlled the Illinois legislature, Obama was an irrelevant backbencher. In the Senate, the one issue he worked a Republican on was relatively minor (earmark transparency.) Comments like today's won't help. If Obama can't get serious Republican support for his stimulus plan, it could get it delayed, while vulnerable Democrats seek cover. If it doesn't work, Democrats could left holding the bag if it goes wrong.
At this rate, the honeymoon will be over very, very quickly--that is if the GOP can keep its own team unified.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
"Paging KSH--your transportation has arrived..."
Cartoon by Lisa Benson (click to enlarge)
Summing up Day Three of the Second Coming
Read the whole thing here. Turbo Tax background here.
... It certainly hasn’t stopped the press from piling on the hero worship and granting our new president Hall of Fame status before even throwing his first Major League pitch. Imbuing a politician – even a good one – with superhuman qualities is not a healthy thing in a republic. As this video shows, some even have taken to pledging to be a “servant” to The One. I think supporting Obama is just fine, a truly patriotic thing to do in this crisis to be sure. But I think it is unamerican to kneel in service to anyone – especially a politician and most especially a politician who has only been in office two days.
Two freaking days! Already the press is swooning. “HE’S DIFFERENT!” Oh my God, he’s working in his SHIRTSLEEVES in the Oval Office! He’s already “overturned the entire architecture of the Bush Torture Regime.” Democracy has been restored! Good has triumphed over evil!
Meanwhile, his tax dodging Treausry Secretary (Turbo Tax has denied he could have possibly missed not paying the taxes he owed) is elevated to the status of Wizard. He is Gandolf the Green, Holy Arbiter of the Sacred Scrolls of Bernanke, High Priest of the Bailout. Depending on which genuflecting senator you talk to, he is either “irreplaceable,” or “uniquely qualified.”
I don’t care if he’s an alchemist who can turn pork into gold, just give me an honest public servant please. Or are we to use crooks and liars to get us out of this morass? If that’s the case, get me Michael Milkin on the double! Anyone who can sell the crappy paper he ended up dumping on the unsuspecting rich twits on Wall Street is the kind of guy we need running this bailout thingy. I bet he has the economy humming along in no time.
Meanwhile Joe Biden continues to show why he may be the loosest Vice Presidential cannon in US history. (video here) It never ceases to amaze me how successful the smear campaign was against an eminently more qualified Sarah Palin, whereas the Obama acolytes in the media turned the blindest of eyes to a clearly inferior Biden. The Democrats are already on their collective knees praying that nothing happens to the President, because the thought of Biden inhabiting that office in not only frightening as an alternative--he would almost guarantee a Republican win in 2012. This guy makes Dan Quayle look like Churchill.
Second Coming? More like Purgatory...
You will want to read the entire thing. What's next--Ulysses?
Book the First: A question for the Muse
Speak to me, O Muse, of this resourceful man
who strides so boldly upon the golden shrine of Potomac,
Between Ionic plywood columns, to the kleig light altar.
Fair Obamacles, favored of the gods, ascends to Olympus
Amidst lusty tributes and the strumming lyres of Media;
Their mounted skyboxes echo with the singing of his name
While Olbermos and Mattheus in their greasy togas wrassle
For first honor of basking in their hero's reflected glory.
Who is this man, so bronzed in countenance,
So skilled of TelePrompter, clean and articulate
whose ears like a stately urn's protrude?
So now, daughter of Zeus, tell us his story.
And just the Cliff Notes if you don't mind,
We don't have all day.
Said the Muse:
I will tell the story of Obamacles through my scribe Iowahawk.
But this poem is copyrighted, so reproduce at your peril.
Reich Argues against Stimulus Money to "White Males" and "Skilled Professionals"
REICH: …”I am concerned, as I’m sure many of you are, that these jobs not simply go to high-skilled people who are already professionals or to white male construction workers…I have nothing against white male construction workers, I’m just saying there are other people who have needs as well.”
Yes, God forbid the jobs go to people with track records and experience. God forbid we judge stimulus recipients on the content of their resumes as opposed to the color of their skin.
There are other people who have needs as well.
Indeed. They didn't seem to have an issue throwing away billions of dollars to help the Bank of America... last time I checked there were "white professionals" working there.
Welcome to the Animal Farm.
Uh Oh--Human to Human transmission of Bird Flu reported in China
Wow. First Al Qaeda screws up while playing around with the Plague...and now this??
Be careful out there folks--and wash your hands.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Oops! Geithner Falls into Turbo Tax Trap
Read the whole thing.
TurboTax Doesn't Prompt Users to Pay Self-Employment Taxes? Or Just Geithner's Copy of the Software?
In today's confirmation hearing, Treasury Secretary nominee Tim Geithner said he used TurboTax to prepare his returns for the years in question where he failed to pay self-employment taxes — even though he collected reimbursement from his employer, the International Monetary Fund.
Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, asked, "Did the software prompt you to pay those taxes?"
"Not to my recollection," Geithner answered.
Do any TurboTax users know otherwise from experience?
UPDATE: A reader responds, "I assure you that Turbotax asks very specifically if you got a 1099 or a W2 from your employer. I know it, you know it, the American people know it!"
Geithner added that the error is his, not the software's, but again, if the software that he used to prepare his taxes reminded him of this provision of the tax code, and he still didn't pay, it looks worse, and tougher and tougher to believe that they were "completely unintentional" as he said in his opening statement.
Maybe this isn't worth voting against his confirmation for, maybe it is. But it increasingly looks like Geithner had several reminders, didn't pay the taxes, and then collected the reimbursement — and this is aside from deducting the summer-camp expenses as child care, etc. It's disturbing to see a guy universally regarded as smart and having good judgment repeatedly evading tax laws and making increasingly implausible claims that it was a simple oversight — and perhaps more disturbing to see most lawmakers shrugging their shoulders at it and insisting it's no big deal.
Despite these developments, and not necessarily because of the unity of the partisan Democrats, it is more likely that the weak-kneed Senate Republicans will not want to be seen as having taken down an Obama nominee this early--especially not this nominee, who many Republicans consider to be both qualified and ideologically tolerable. Thus, unless this Turbo Tax episode gets especially embarrasing for Obama and Democrats in the next couple of days--embarrasing enough that a number of Democrats would vote "no"--I'm guessing Geithner probably will be confirmed, despite his having been caught in a lie to the panel. He wouldn't be the first Democrat to get away with lying under oath...
UPDATED -- Are we allowed to question the "Will of Landru"?
Maybe the day when we are required to be within the "Body of Landru" (or else...) is not as far off in the future as the producers of Star Trek surmised.
One wonders--given the tone of yesterday's Inaugural address and the "follow the pied piper" vibe which seems to be suddenly virulent in our culture--whether the collective energy of "hope" that President Obama will be successful has not engendered willful blindness in many ordinary Americans.
Sure I can understand it--we have been here before. Take the 1930's: Economy in the tank. Not a lot of hope on the horizon. Trouble spots in the world. And people looking for someone, anyone want to put their faith in. In Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Soviet Union men stepped forward to fill that "role".
So how did that work out?
Yet despite a long sordid history of what can (and inevitably does) happen when the masses put too much of their hope and faith into one figurehead, our irresponsible news media seems bound and determined to transform a two term State Senator with no executive experience into God Almighty himself. Hell the guy hasn't even raised a finger yet and yesterday Brokaw was comparing him to Vaclev Havel! Perhaps they should wait until he actually does something besides showing up for a speech.
Thus I spent much of the day yesterday in stark horror--not necessarily because of anything Obama said or did not say--but because of the sheer over-the-top hubris, exaltation and sickening glorification emanating from the televised media yesterday; their fawning went well beyond cheerleading to the point of idolatry. Allow me to be the first to coin a term for the psychological affliction which seems to be spreading amongst long-suffering BDS victims: let's call it ODS--Obama Deification Syndrome.
Meanwhile, (in just one day!) objectivity, criticism and dissent seem to have become so....passé:
Yesterday Obama in his speech almost seemed to be suggesting that there can only be one point of view, one theory of economics, one faith in the ability of government to solve problems. The time for disagreement must now yield to lock-step conformity. And then the media uttered its collective Hallelujah.
Do all Americans truly have a yearning to fundamentally "remake" our nation? There must be a subversive minority out there that still believes the United States — even with its imperfections and sporadic recessions — is, in context, still a wildly prosperous and free country worth preserving.
Some of you must still believe that politicians are meant to serve rather than be worshiped. And there must be someone out there who considers partisanship a healthy, organic reflection of our differences rather than something to be surrendered in the name of so- called unity — which is, after all, untenable, subjective and utterly counterproductive.
How about those who praised dissent for the past eight years?
Is there anyone who still believes the Constitution was created to ensure each citizen liberty and the ability to pursue happiness rather than a guarantee of happiness — and a retirement fund, health care, a job, an education, a house ... ?
Yes, two important historical events transpired Tuesday: The first was the peaceful transfer of power from one freely elected politician to another (an uninterrupted streak we often take for granted). Then there was the first presidency of an African-American, which proves we can transcend our unsightly past.
After that, what we had was just another election. We conduct one every four years. For those of you not shouting hosannas, it might have occurred to you that we are suffering from a rampant sickness in American life that casts government as the author of your dreams and an Illinois politician the linchpin of your hopes.
Haven't we been here before? Is there not anyone left who lived through the 30's and 40's?
If allowed to run unchecked; if people don't start to get a grip on reality soon, this is the kind of collective insanity that can quickly lead to tyranny. Of course I too want the country to move forward, but not with blinders on. And what I saw yesterday was truly Orwellian.
Welcome to the "Body of Landru"; Beam me up Scotty.
UPDATE: With that said, David Horowitz does manage to find a few rays of sunshine in all this idolatry (emphasis mine):
All over the country Americans have invested their hopes in Obama's ability to pull his country together to face its challenges. Among these Americans are millions -- most likely tens of millions -- who have never identified with their government before, who felt "outside" the system they regarded as run by elites, who ascribed its economic troubles to the greedy rich, who bought the Jackson-Sharpton canard that America was a racist society and they were locked out, who would have scorned the term "patriot" as a compromise with such evils, and who turned their backs on America's wars.
But today celebrating their new president are millions of Americans who never would have dreamed of celebrating their president before. Millions of Americans -- visible in all their racial and ethnic variety at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday -- have begun to feel a patriotic stirring because they see in this First Family a reflection of themselves.
The change is still symbolic and may not last. A lot depends on what President Obama will do, which is not a small question given how little is still known about this man and how little tested he remains. Some of this patriotism may be of the sunshine variety -- in for a day or a season, when the costs are not great. Or more cynically: in to show that their hatred for America is really just another form of political “dissent.” Yet whatever the nature of these changes they cannot for now be discounted. Consider: When President Obama commits this nation to war against the Islamic terrorists, as he already has in Afghanistan, he will take millions of previously alienated and disaffected Americans with him, and they will support our troops in a way that most of his party has refused to support them until now. When another liberal, Bill Clinton went to war from the air, there was no anti-war movement in the streets or in his party’s ranks to oppose him. That is an encouraging fact for us in the dangerous world we confront.
If it seems unfair that Barack Obama should be the source of a new patriotism -- albeit of untested mettle -- life is unfair. If the Obama future is uncertain and fraught with unseen perils, conservatives can deal with those perils as they come. What matters today is that many Americans have begun to join their country's cause, and conservatives should celebrate that fact and encourage it. What matters now is that the American dream with its enormous power to inspire at home and abroad is back in business. What it means is that the race card has been played out and America can once again see itself -- and be seen -- for what it is: a land of incomparable opportunity, incomparable tolerance, and justice for all. Conservative values -- individual responsibility, equal opportunity, racial and ethnic pluralism, and family -- are now symbolically embedded in the American White House. As a result, a great dimension of American power has been restored. Will these values be supported, strengthened, put into practice? It is up to us to see that they are.
Points taken--many who have long felt left out of the process may indeed be more encouraged to get involved, and might even in some cases end up supporting certain policies that Obama's predecessor authored and/or supported. Some of those policies may correspond to our belief in strength through power, free markets and trade, etc. But this will not happen if the current media madness continues unchecked.
Even if we accept as a given that many more Americans will take interest in Government (not necessarily a bad thing), more than involvement for involvement's sake, they need objectivity and real debate about what our core values really are: on how our country should face down the threats that endanger us abroad; about whether free markets...or government creates/destroys our standard of living; about whether government is justified in confiscating private property from the productive for the sake of the non-productive; about whether borders and American citizenship--and all the responsibilities citizenship entail--are worth protecting or not; about whether We the People are responsible to the Government or if the Government is responsible to US; about why our Constitution is WORTH preserving and protecting.
THESE are the questions for which the masses' collective ignorance--combined with the media-fanned flames of pop-culture fads (Political Correctness, "Green Correctness", and now the new speak-no-evil "Obama Correctness"...)--have led to our current plight.
Unfortunately our current media culture in no way encourages legitimate discussion on these extremely powerful and important questions; the fact of the matter is that our media "news" entities have become mere propagandistic Party organs rather than legitimate policy discussion forums. This is not what the Founders had in mind with a free press; and this must change if we are to survive as the United States of America they envisioned, and which we know to be possible. If voices of dissent can no longer be heard then our First Amendment is not worth the paper it is written on. And at that point we've lost.
From my perspective, yesterday horrific coverage of the Inauguration was not an encouraging step in the right direction.
Via Taxing Tennessee (click to enlarge)
Monday, January 19, 2009
Thank You Mr. President
There are not many people I know who think that President Bush has had a flawless Presidency. Then again there is not a President dead or alive who I think has had a flawless Presidency.
I saw the President speak the other night and I was very moved by the speech. Then I saw this great, unapologetic defense of the Bush Presidency. And you know what? I found myself agreeing with almost everything that AJ Strata had to say. Below is a decent excerpt but there is a lot more. Read it ALL:
Strata also points us to this superb retrospective by Andrew Roberts which is a must read. Just a small example:
...this led to something else President Bush did in his 8 years. He destroyed the concept of fringe politics. As much as the far left thinks they won (just as the news media gleefully celebrates a Pyrrhic victory over a retiring President Bush), the fact is the fringes are frowned upon. President Obama won because the nation wanted to hear about some fantasy solutions to hard times. He won on touting moderation and centrist platitudes (where Bush has been pilloried for actually making them happen on various fronts). Apparently America wanted a nice fiction wrapped up in a made for TV media spin. After years of having to minimally sacrifice the nation wants to run back to their fictional existences where all is well. They neglected to note Bush won many of his scars by being able to bridge the partisan gap.
Obama’s fiction won’t last. Our problems are very tough and still growing. Obama and the Dems have very little in their arsenal, and none of their ideas will do anything but makes matters worse. And their fringe will rise up just like the far right did under Bush. It will be interesting to watch them scream “Global Warming!” as we chatter our way through the next four years of cooling (this is predicted even by experts inside the global warming camp).
But for me, I will remember a more poignant image of America. That of George Bush holding a devastated young girl after 9-11. President Bush was not lavishing us with ridiculous promises of ‘no worries!’ He was not promising an easy road. He simply promised we would get through it all and succeed. And we did.
Sadly, most of us our too petty to give the man his due for making good on his promises. If you want to see America succeed, just look back to the Bush years. We took on a world war on two fronts, we rose like a phoenix out of the ashes of 9-11, we changed the world’s view of America from a complacent easy target to an ally that can be as dangerous as it is generous.
We took steps to integrate the private market and federal programs to make our elders’ final years a lot better. We reduced the tax burden on families and businesses so they could afford to go after their vision of the American dream. And we avoided becoming the funding source for the massive industrial murder of human embryos for profits. We succeeded, and we screwed up. But in the end we came out ahead.
Are we better off 8 years later? Is al Qaeda fading as a power in the world? Is Islamo Fascism the future of Islam or the enemy if Islam? Anyone can focus on what was not done. All those zero-sum captains of incompetence can cheer their efforts to destroy even modest progress on the false promise of perfection. But I dare anyone to achieve as much in as short a time as President Bush. Kennedy, Clinton, Carter didn’t. Neither did Reaqan or Nixon.
I have a simple example of how easy it is to destroy verses create. Anyone who thinks they are hot stuff can play along. First, grab a tissue and firmly and with great force tear it up. That is destruction. People spent years perfecting the product, it takes a second to destroy. However, to show superiority requires not destruction - it requires creation. To prove to me they are superior all those who tore up the tissue now need to produce one, from scratch, of the same quality as the one they destroyed. No buying a new one.
That is the difference between true success and false success. All the naysayers have not achieved anything. President Bush has accomplished an incredible amount of tangible change. Naysayers have not produced anything. Obama has not won a thing yet, because he has not done anything of value yet. If his first act is to free the terrorists in GITMO, then that is a sign his administration will be a failure. It will be a failure because the man has no vision, no principles and no backbone. It is a sign Obama acts out of a need to be liked or supported, not out of principles. Bush was just the opposite. He infuriated people because if they were in opposition to his goals they couldn’t deter him. It drove many to madness. Which is not a sign of something wrong with Bush!
President-Elect Obama, if you want to know how to succeed, study President Bush. Study how he was able to rack up an incredible number of challenging changes to a massive bureaucracy which has powerful inherent antibodies to any change. You need to study how he did it. You have incredible clout coming into office, don’t waste it placating the fringes. Bush never did.
And to President Bush, you have my thanks and my admiration. It will take a long time for those massive egos to understand their impotence and your accomplishments. It will take a long time for the Democrats to learn that having power doesn’t mean you know how to use it. You used your time in office well. You enacted long lasting and fundamental changes to our fabric of society. You set examples that will take years to appreciate, before they begin to be used as models to make changes we can be proud of (and believe in). You kept us safe, made us feared and respected, and you kept your word. So few politicians can even come close to making similar claims.
Update: Gateway Pundit has some impressive statistics on how well American fighting forces did under President Bush. Another lesson to be learned by Democrats.
When I am long gone, President Bush will one day be regarded as a decent, steadfast, moral man who, like Churchill and Lincoln had to make extremely difficult choices against the strong but misled (by the partisan media...) tide of public opinion. More importantly: more times than not they turned out to be the right decisions.
When Abu Ghraib is mentioned, history will remind us that it was the Bush Administration that imprisoned those responsible for the horrors. When water-boarding is brought up, we will see that it was only used on three suspects, one of whom was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, al-Qaeda's chief of operational planning, who divulged vast amounts of information that saved hundreds of innocent lives. When extraordinary renditions are queried, historians will ask how else the world's most dangerous terrorists should have been transported. On scheduled flights?
The credit crunch, brought on by the Democrats in Congress insisting upon home ownership for credit-unworthy people, will initially be blamed on Bush, but the perspective of time will show that the problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac started with the deregulation of the Clinton era. Instead Bush's very un-ideological but vast rescue package of $700 billion (£480 billion) might well be seen as lessening the impact of the squeeze, and putting America in position to be the first country out of recession, helped along by his huge tax-cut packages since 2000.
Sneered at for being "simplistic" in his reaction to 9/11, Bush's visceral responses to the attacks of a fascistic, totalitarian death cult will be seen as having been substantially the right ones.
Mistakes are made in every war, but when virtually the entire military, diplomatic and political establishment in the West opposed it, Bush insisted on the surge in Iraq that has been seen to have brought the war around, and set Iraq on the right path. Today its GDP is 30 per cent higher than under Saddam, and it is free of a brutal dictator and his rapist sons.
The number of American troops killed during the eight years of the War against Terror has been fewer than those slain capturing two islands in the Second World War, and in Britain we have lost fewer soldiers than on a normal weekend on the Western Front. As for civilians, there have been fewer Iraqis killed since the invasion than in 20 conflicts since the Second World War.
Iraq has been a victory for the US-led coalition, a fact that the Bush-haters will have to deal with when perspective finally – perhaps years from now – lends objectivity to this fine man's record.
That's good enough for me; the fact is--and conventional wisdom be damned--there are some big shoes for Barack Obama to fill, beginning at 12:01 ET tomorrow. (Good luck with that one.)
Mr. President: Thank you. Thank you for your service and for your loyalty to our country and what it stands for. Know that there are many, many of us who are grateful for what you have done for us, and who will never forget it.
We'll see you back in Texas.