The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cartoon by Michael Ramirez (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 2/28/2009 02:52:00 PM | Permalink | |

The Run on Ammunition

So this is why Ammo prices are through the roof (via Bob Owens):
Fears of draconian gun and ammunition restrictions

The 2008 elections that saw the Democratic Party extend their power in both houses of Congress and saw Barack Obama elected president made gun owners very nervous, and with good reason.

We have a president that has favored gun bans and who desires to reinstate the horribly flawed 1994 assault weapons ban authored by our rather dim vice president. We also have radically anti-gun majority leaders in both the House of Representatives and Senate, and a Congress quite willing to pass massive, bloated laws without even bothering to read the contents. Fears of encroachment are certainly warranted.

Economic instability

As economies become unstable and people lose jobs, crime rates go up. It is an economic fact of life. Many people who are worried about an increase in crime arm themselves during economic downturns, leading to an increased demand for firearms and ammunition.

As a result of all of these factors, manufacturers of firearms and ammunition saw demand increase to unprecedented levels as civilians have made a run on the kind of firearms they suspect that gun control advocates presently in charge will try to outlaw.

This includes all handguns, all semi-automatic rifles (especially those targeted by the 1994 assault weapons bill that expired in 2004), and most semi-automatic shotguns.

Matt Reams of Sierra Bullets noted that after the 2008 presidential election demand shot up 50%-100% for bullets used by handguns or rifles in military calibers, and says, “Law enforcement has seemed to increase quite a bit the last year or so. The individuals jumped in after the elections and pushed our orders over the top when we were already running in high gear.”

Federal Premium/ATK is the largest ammunition manufacturer in the world, running the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant for the U.S. military under contract; it also is a major supplier of law enforcement and civilians. In a statement, the company noted “unprecedented demand” for law enforcement ammunition. While other corporations are presently laying off workers and shutting down operations, ATK is in the middle of capital improvements to further increase production capability.

Rick Shoupe of PMC Ammunition, which has a more civilian-focused market for his company’s products, reflected in his explanation:

Shortly before the presidential election the dam broke as far as U.S. gun and ammunition sales are concerned. I believe it is a reaction by the general public because of two main reasons. Number one, the political environment which results from the attitudes about gun control in the majority of Congress and the president himself. They are anti-gun. Number two, the current financial crisis in the U.S. has added to the frenzy, causing again the general public to want some sort of personal protection. Just in case they need it.

We are seeing a bubble in demand like I have never seen before and I have been in this business for 35 years. This demand is in addition to the military and law enforcement that also continues. PMC has expanded production to try and handle as much of the demand as it can before the demand starts to drop. Even so, the first scent of legislation being introduced to Congress will light another candle in the demand for these products. It will not end until the legislation is passed.

Individual shooters are stockpiling thousands of rounds of ammunition because of fears of future punitive taxation or outright bans of certain kinds of ammunition. Law enforcement agencies are also stockpiling ammunition to make sure they have enough on hand to meet training requirements. The shortage we are seeing is the result of both agencies and private citizens hoarding the most sought-after ammunition.

Thus, this shortage is the result of an accordion effect that has developed over the past few years.

Read the whole thing.

DiscerningTexan, 2/28/2009 02:44:00 PM | Permalink | |

Kudlow v. Dodd??

... and speaking of Larry Kudlow:

Will Larry Kudlow run for senate against Chris Dodd? From Steve Moore:

Republicans in Washington think they may have found their man to pick up a Senate seat in Connecticut in 2010: Larry Kudlow, the former Reagan budget advisor, Wall Street economist and now CNBC TV news anchor. The Internet is abuzz with the chatter of a Kudlow for Senate boomlet, which has even hit the Drudge Report.

In an interview yesterday, Mr. Kudlow confirmed to me that he did sit down for dinner with Senate Republican Campaign Committee Chairman John Cornyn “to hear him out on the idea.”

DiscerningTexan, 2/28/2009 02:41:00 PM | Permalink | |

UPDATED/BUMPED Obama's War on Prosperity ... The Virus goes Airborne

Larry Kudlow lowers the boom:
Let me be very clear on the economics of President Obama’s State of the Union speech and his budget.

He is declaring war on investors, entrepreneurs, small businesses, large corporations, and private-equity and venture-capital funds.

That is the meaning of his anti-growth tax-hike proposals, which make absolutely no sense at all — either for this recession or from the standpoint of expanding our economy’s long-run potential to grow.

Raising the marginal tax rate on successful earners, capital, dividends, and all the private funds is a function of Obama’s left-wing social vision, and a repudiation of his economic-recovery statements. Ditto for his sweeping government-planning-and-spending program, which will wind up raising federal outlays as a share of GDP to at least 30 percent, if not more, over the next 10 years.

This is nearly double the government-spending low-point reached during the late 1990s by the Gingrich Congress and the Clinton administration. While not quite as high as spending levels in Western Europe, we regrettably will be gaining on this statist-planning approach.

Study after study over the past several decades has shown how countries that spend more produce less, while nations that tax less produce more. Obama is doing it wrong on both counts.

And as far as middle-class tax cuts are concerned, Obama’s cap-and-trade program will be a huge across-the-board tax increase on blue-collar workers, including unionized workers. Industrial production is plunging, but new carbon taxes will prevent production from ever recovering. While the country wants more fuel and power, cap-and-trade will deliver less.

This is nearly double the government-spending low-point reached during the late 1990s by the Gingrich Congress and the Clinton administration. While not quite as high as spending levels in Western Europe, we regrettably will be gaining on this statist-planning approach.

Study after study over the past several decades has shown how countries that spend more produce less, while nations that tax less produce more. Obama is doing it wrong on both counts.

And as far as middle-class tax cuts are concerned, Obama’s cap-and-trade program will be a huge across-the-board tax increase on blue-collar workers, including unionized workers. Industrial production is plunging, but new carbon taxes will prevent production from ever recovering. While the country wants more fuel and power, cap-and-trade will deliver less.

This is nearly double the government-spending low-point reached during the late 1990s by the Gingrich Congress and the Clinton administration. While not quite as high as spending levels in Western Europe, we regrettably will be gaining on this statist-planning approach.

Study after study over the past several decades has shown how countries that spend more produce less, while nations that tax less produce more. Obama is doing it wrong on both counts.

And as far as middle-class tax cuts are concerned, Obama’s cap-and-trade program will be a huge across-the-board tax increase on blue-collar workers, including unionized workers. Industrial production is plunging, but new carbon taxes will prevent production from ever recovering. While the country wants more fuel and power, cap-and-trade will deliver less.

When does the madness stop?

UPDATE: The Bankers aren't happy either.

UPDATE: A reader writes:
"And as far as middle-class tax cuts are concerned, Obama’s cap-and-trade program will be a huge across-the-board tax increase on blue-collar workers, including unionized workers. Industrial production is plunging, but new carbon taxes will prevent production from ever recovering. While the country wants more fuel and power, cap-and-trade will deliver less."
First, he thinks America is too powerful. That's why the islamonutjobs attacked us. In a lib's twisted view of reality, there is no individual choice, only a reaction to provocation. Saddam was free to walk away from Iraq but chose to stay and we know how that turned out. In the lib's mind, GWB invaded a 'sovereign nation for her oil' (more prosperity). In his mind, if he can stifle economic growth then he'll actually be making the nation 'safer' (by reducing envy).

Secondly, his cap and trade program will help him win euroweenie support that the evil Bush destroyed by his illegal war in Iraq. He will pander to anyone for support because appeasement is the lib's main (sole?) tactic for acquiring power and influence. Every word that spews forth from a lib's mouth is about taking from one (producer) and giving to another (non-producer).

You, being a rational person, already know this.:-)
Unfortunately Reason and Rationality seem to be the biggest casualty of the naked power grab by the Left, which has occurred with unprecedented and dizzying speed.

One wonders if America has seen her last days as the economic engine which (formerly) inspired Global prosperity.

The leftists are leveraging crisis to rig the game in every sense of the word, from the Census to stacking the courts, to unconstitutional representation for DC, to setting up unaccountable "Czars" in the White House who make the decisions and bypass the Cabinet (who is accountable to the Senate for confirmation). This is what Hillary tried to do under the radar for single payer health care in 1992, but Gingrich and the Republicans were there to call her on it.

In the debates, Obama chastised Bush for "doubling the deficit" over the 8 years he was President. What GALL for this man, what shameless crap when he has now just released a budget that would QUADRUPLE that deficit in just ONE year, including his success (and the help/betrayal of two reprehensible "Republicans") in sneaking past the American People and its Representatives a horrendous "Stimulus Bill" (= Trillion dollar payoff to his constituencies), a package that in ONE WEEK which BY ITSELF exceeds ALL of the war costs AND tax cuts combined over the 8 years of Bush.

And now this--a carbon cap and trade that will be a disaster with NO tangible benefit, other than to enrich the Gores of the world.

Another reader quotes the New York Times on this topic:
But the full costs and benefits of controlling greenhouse gas emissions remain unknown, and perhaps unknowable. While there is rough consensus on the science of global warming — with some notable and vocal objectors — there is less agreement on the economics of the problem and very little on the policy prescriptions to address it. And while a cap-and-trade approach bears substantial cost, it also brings a benefit whose value is incalculable — a steady decrease in emissions that scientists say will over time reduce the risk of climate catastrophe.

Mr. Obama’s budget estimates $645 billion in cap-and-trade revenue over the next 10 years that will largely be paid by oil, electric power and heavy industries that produce the majority of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for the warming of the planet. Many of these costs are expected to be passed on to consumers.
the full costs and benefits of controlling greenhouse gas emissions remain unknown, and perhaps unknowable ... these costs are expected to be passed on to consumers.

the full costs and benefits of controlling greenhouse gas emissions remain unknown, and perhaps unknowable ... these costs are expected to be passed on to consumers.

the full costs and benefits of controlling greenhouse gas emissions remain unknown, and perhaps unknowable ... these costs are expected to be passed on to consumers.


But Insanity seems to be norm for this Administration. The "hero-worship" of a charismatic leader promising revolutionary change is nothing new, but this "virus" is exponentially more dangerous today. Today there are nukes everywhere and there are more coming from countries that HATE US. Today--as then--countries and their leaders are desperate to cling to power and are threatened by forces beyond their control. And when backed against such walls, leaders resort to desperate (and often violent) measures.

The Der Führer virus of the 1930's which led to the rise of charismatic "saviors" Hitler and Mussolini--has mutated into something far more dangerous and it has now gone "airborne". This mutation is highly contagious and deadly virus, whose victims already piling up. It strikes first those with no understanding of economics and history, but eventually it infects everyone. Like then the "leaders" used race-baiting hyperbole and serialized blame of their predecessors as scapegoats for all the ills of the world, thus infecting people who feel and emote, but who do not think. They promise justice and prosperity for all--if we will only hand them ALL the power. Anyone who knows history knows what inevitably comes after that happens.

Today's mutation is spreading rapidly with the help of a cheerleading media acting right out of something Joseph Goebbels said on 22 April 1929. Read this letter from the past and compare it to what the Olbermans and Matthews are saying today--or what the covers of TIME and Newsweek proclaim each week. NO DIFFERENCE. I HAVE READ ABOUT THIS STUFF, EXTENSIVELY. We are being led, not by a socialist (although his views are fueled by Marx) but by a National Socialist. Read the book, see for yourselves. Fascism is rearing its ugly head, and that fascism is not coming from the right.

The spread of this disease in the 30's led to the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century. But it is not nearly as dangerous as the virus spreading today in the name of "change", led by another smooth talking leader who can't seem to sabotage our way of life--and the engine that led to American prosperity and power in the 20th century--quickly enough...and to what end??

Like 1930's Germany and Italy, there is a crumbling economy and people are scared. Like then a charismatic leader stepped forward--a leader who mesmerized the masses based on emotions and rhetoric and what the people wanted to hear rather than the truth. And--as then--it is the kind of collective madness which brought their nations to eventual ruin; and the work to the brink of annihilation. Because it convinced the people to confer upon this megalomaniacal "leaders" ALL the power they asked for. Welcome to Germany's nightmare--but today it is ours.

Many still do not see or understand what is happening under their feet--especially the majority of Americans who are clueless about history and economics. But the devastating truth is becoming clear: this cat is out of the bag; people who still believe in our Constitution need to take our country back, and fast. Or it will be gone, history.

America, WAKE UP.
DiscerningTexan, 2/28/2009 12:20:00 PM | Permalink | |
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A: "His Lips are Moving"

(Shouldn't be too hard to discern the Question...)
DiscerningTexan, 2/24/2009 08:30:00 PM | Permalink | |

Let my People Go! (Where's my Parachute?)

It is not merely as bad as it seems--after reading 'A Fatal Trajectory' from the esteemed Thomas Sowell, I am now convinced that it is far worse!

For example:

.... It took only two nuclear bombs to get Japan to surrender--and the Japanese of that era were far tougher than most Americans today. Just one bomb--dropped on New York, Chicago or Los Angeles--might be enough to get us to surrender.

If we are still made of sterner stuff than it looks like, then it might take two or maybe even three or four nuclear bombs, but we will surrender.

It doesn't matter if we retaliate and kill millions of innocent Iranian civilians--at least it will not matter to the fanatics in charge of Iran or the fanatics in charge of the international terrorist organizations that Iran supplies.

Ultimately, it all comes down to who is willing to die and who is not.

How did we get to this point? It was no single thing.

The dumbing down of our education, the undermining of moral values with the fad of "non-judgmental" affectations, the denigration of our nation through poisonous propaganda from the movies to the universities. The list goes on and on.

The trajectory of our course leads to a fate that would fully justify despair. The only saving grace is that even the trajectory of a bullet can be changed by the wind.

We have been saved by miraculous good fortune before in our history. The overwhelming military and naval expedition that Britain sent to New York to annihilate George Washington's army was totally immobilized by a vast impenetrable fog that allowed the Americans to escape. That is how they ended up in Valley Forge.

In the World War II naval battle of Midway, if things had not happened just the way they did, at just the time they did, the American naval force would not only have lost, but could have been wiped out by the far larger Japanese fleet.

Over the years, we have had our share of miraculous deliverances. But that our fate today depends on yet another miracle is what can turn pessimism to despair.

Meanwhile, Victor Davis Hanson makes a good case that our collective plight is no mere coincidence (emphasis mine):

I don't understand why, after Obama's brilliant campaign, some are surprised about his conduct in office. From the Wall Street panic instilled by Obama's gloom and doom rhetoric and Europeanization proposals, to the sloppy nominations of serial tax dodgers, to the surprise that the Bush 'shred the Constitution' protocols — hope and change rhetoric aside — were mostly adopted by Obama, it is as if the professional on the campaign trail is mysteriously stumbling after assuming office.

Two observations: It is a lot easier to serially blame Bush than to conduct governance (raising taxes to new highs in recent memory while serially nominating to high office tax dodgers isn't wise); and, more importantly, the media simply were advocates rather than disinterested journalists. They did us all a disservice by not collating Obama's soaring rhetoric and metamorphoses against his actual record and past statements, giving a pass to a gaffe-prone Biden in a way not true of Palin, and thinking that trashing Bush was synonymous with offering a practical antithesis.

Even if such overt bias did not, in itself, affect the outcome of the election (and I think it did), it proved to be a terrible thing for both us and the future President, since we never really vetted our President. The media gave him the impression that in times of controversy that he can simply go back into campaign mode, do the town meeting thing, and once more hope-and-change his way out of answering tough questions and explaining ideas to those who are deeply skeptical of their utility. Unfortunately, the world's thugs abroad, markets, Wall Street, etc. don't care much for what the American media says, only what they think Obama is really trying to do or not to do.

I think we are going to see a gradual hangover among the journalists from their 2008 binge, followed by a sort of anger on the part of Team Obama that for the first time in its history their in-house media is not so mesmerized as in the past.

(Many well-paid elite journalists, after all, have lost another 10-20% of their portfolios since January 20, and in high-state-tax places like California and New York, along with federal tax rates returning to 39-40%, and FICA caps coming off higher incomes, will soon be looking at ca. 70% of their incomes going to new bites from federal, state, FICA, and Medicare taxes. Journalists can't go the Daschle/Geithner/Rangel route, but perhaps may not be content with the "patriotic" pats from the White House.)

This Obama/press break-up, like all infatuations gone bad, won't be pretty on either side. In the meantime the recepient dêmos seems as happy with Obama's new deal as markets are skittish.

Count me as one person who is not saddened that the serial destruction that the Democrats' cheerleaders in big media have wrought on our Republic is now coming back to haunt them; if ever there was evidence of "what goes around comes around"--big media's collapse would be a perfect ironical ending to years of their ever-intensifying treachery and propagandizing. I won't be losing any sleep over that one.

Speaking of treachery, did you see the story today on Drudge about Washington State sending out 250,000 separate ONE DOLLAR food stamps this week?? All courtesy of the gigantic blank stimulus checks that Obama's catastrophic pork monstrosity issued to irresponsible (i.e. mostly Democrat) State legislatures and Cities. Man, I cannot wait for that new Frisbee golf course in Austin: all $886,000 of it... Woo hoo!

A dollar in food stamps, 250K of them sent out, each with a .40 stamp--now that is "change" you can believe in: pocket change. When Obama ran on a platform of "Hope" at the time even I did not interpret that slogan to mean "Hope for a miracle..." Yet this realistically is where we find ourselves.

President Bush: would you consider an encore performance? If we apologized and begged?

So, yes--tonight I find myself looking for a parachute. But who knows; maybe Bobby Jindal can somehow make some lemonade out of all these lemons. Notwithstanding that in less than one month Mr. Obama has already left us one enormous pile of lemons. And that pile is growing at an unprecedented--unheard of--exponential rate, greater than any spender in all of Presidential history... in fact this one bill had enough pork to have funded the last eight years of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And then some.

What really sent me over the top was listening to Obama the other day talk about "cutting" this massive deficit he "inherited" (this means by raising your taxes)--in a speech where he used the word "crisis" some 46 times in less than 10 minutes.

The facts, naturally are a bit different: if you consider that Obama "inherited" a deficit of $740 billion from Bush, which in less than a month has grown to about 3 trillion (if you count the interest--otherwise it has only doubled in one month to a mere $1.2 trillion -- but with health care "reform" and bank bailouts still to come...). In all, our reality and humility-bereft orator-in-chief has truly done a remarkable job in making that "inheritance" explode...

Jesus was said to have taken a couple of loafs of bread and fed ten thousand people with it. Our current "messiah" seems to be going the other direction: he has taken a loaf of bread and reduced its long-term future value to about one ten-thousandth of what started with--in just 4 weeks! You can almost make book on it: every time he or Geithner open their mouth, the Dow drops another 500 points. The Dow has lost half of its value...since the election.

The markets don't listen to the preaching of the New York Times or MSNBC--they deal with the real world.

At the rate our country is disintegrating, I'll take Pharaoh over this "messiah".

DiscerningTexan, 2/24/2009 07:11:00 PM | Permalink | |

Idea: Just Shut UP

Cartoon by Gary Varvel (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 2/24/2009 07:07:00 PM | Permalink | |
Friday, February 20, 2009

Losing the Free Press...and a whole lot more

The Anchoress is documenting the evaporation of the "free press" in the United States; it isn't pretty (an excerpt):

Some riveting television from Rick Santelli - go here.

You know what makes it riveting?

The man is speaking truth from his heart, and the people around him are spontaneously responding. There is nothing scripted, nothing hedged and over-considered, no punch pulled. This is not an “acceptable narrative” being promulgated by a member of the no-longer-free press. This is not a drone, dutifully mouthing-and-approving today’s talking points from the Leadership. This is fire from the ground, aimed upwards.

It is uncontrolled speech. It is free.

In our politically correct age, where everyone is afraid of giving offense, being misconstrued-and -then-sued, or simply fearful of falling out-of-step with the trendoids, we almost never hear or read anything that is uncontrolled.

But “free speech” cannot be controlled or it is not “free” at all. And we in America have for too long engaged in self-censorship in favor of “niceness.”

Sometimes, you have to lose control and let the words fly, and if you cannot do that, you are not free.


Watching Rick Santelli on CNBC proved the point of that study: he threw out the controls and said what he really thought - and it was liberating for the moment, and certainly great tv.

Now, we’ll have to see if he has a job tomorrow, or if he will be silenced. Will he be “suspended” as David Schuster was, from MSNBC for wondering if Hillary Clinton was “pimping Chelsea” to voters during the primary? Will he be made to apologize and grovel, as Chris Matthews was, when he suggested that Hillary Clinton’s post-White House career has been helped by her husband’s infidelity?

Hey, we’re watching police pull over drivers for sticking stupid (but not yet illegal) signs on their cars.

America has already lost her free press, but that was a free-surrender on the part of the press; the government did not shut the press down - it simply married them, hired them and subsumed them.

That sounds exaggerated? Here, try this little exercise: Google putin warns don’t go socialist and see what it brings up. Blogs covering it - blogs covering this - but not US news agencies. Hit the “News” button on that search and see what you get. You get bupkis.

Okay, show of hands, how many of you were surprised that this story saw the light of day: Dobson students question Obama’s plan

Think of all the stories you have known about but not seen covered by the Mainstream Press, from the robust economy that defined most of Bush’s presidency but was constantly called “recession” to our successes in Iraq to the recent protests of the stimulus bill? If a story does not serve the “established narrative,” it either does not get mentioned, or is quickly buried. The press has betrayed the public trust.

The press is not free, but for a little while we can still live without them. Until the internet and talk radio are regulated into dreary sameness, charged with “hate speech”, and rendered politically impotent, they are our best vehicles for free speech with some reach.

If we lose our freedom to speak out - to opine loudly, to mock, to question, even to demand - then we have lost everything.

And the truth is, we have already - thanks to political correctness and self-censorship - fallen into the mindset that our speech should be controlled, measured and unfree.

And that is why Rick Santelli’s rant today was riveting, and fascinating, and incredibly necessary.

Speak up. This is still America - in this nation, for now, you are free to do so. The more you shut yourself up, the more easily others will shut you up, down the road.


There is more; read the whole thing.

This media has been working tirelessly for 2+ years to put Barack Obama into office. And now that it has gotten its way, it continues to defend the utterly indefensible.

What utter scumbags.

Investor's Business Daily warned us back in October of the existential threat of a "Socialist Tsunami", but no one seemed to care:
The Crash: "Why has the market dropped so much?" everyone asks. What is it about the specter of our first socialist president and the end of capitalism as we know it that they don't understand?

The freeze-up of the financial system — and government's seeming inability to thaw it out — are a main concern, no doubt. But more people are also starting to look across the valley, as they say, at what's in store once this crisis passes.

And right now it looks like the U.S., which built the mightiest, most prosperous economy the world has ever known, is about to turn its back on the free-enterprise system that made it all possible.

It isn't only that the most anti-capitalist politician ever nominated by a major party is favored to take the White House. It's that he'll also have a filibuster-proof Congress led by politicians who are almost as liberal.

Throw in a media establishment dedicated to the implementation of a liberal agenda, and the smothering of dissent wherever it arises, and it's no wonder panic has set in.

What is that agenda? It starts with a tax system right out of Marx: A massive redistribution of income — from each according to his ability, to each according to his need — all in the name of "neighborliness," "patriotism," "fairness" and "justice."

It continues with a call for a new world order that turns its back on free trade, has no problem with government controlling the means of production, imposes global taxes to support continents where our interests are negligible, signs on to climate treaties that will sap billions more in U.S. productivity and wealth, and institutes an authoritarian health care system that will strip Americans' freedoms and run up costs.

All the while, it ensures that nothing — absolutely nothing — will be done to secure a sufficient, terror-proof supply of our economic lifeblood — oil — a resource we'll need much more of in the years ahead.

The businesses that create jobs and generate wealth are already discounting the future based on what they know about Obama's plans to raise income, capital gains, dividend and payroll taxes, and his various other economy-crippling policies. Which helps explain why world stock markets have been so topsy-turvy.

But don't take our word for it. One hundred economists, five Nobel winners among them, have signed a letter noting just that:

"The prospect of such tax-rate increases in 2010 is already a drag on the economy," they wrote, noting that the potential of higher taxes in the next year or two is reducing hiring and investment.

It was "misguided tax hikes and protectionism, enacted when the U.S. economy was weak in the early 1930s," the economists remind us, that "greatly increased the severity of the Great Depression."

We can't afford to repeat these grave errors.

Meanwhile, Candidate Obama told millions watching the debates about the tax cuts he was going to "bestow" on everyone making less than $250K. He spent weeks running away from a "redistribution of wealth" accusation from a guy who was nicknamed Joe the Plumber by a cheerleading, corrupt, in-the-tank media--even as the same media tried to smear this working man, whose only mistake was asking Obama the "wrong" question from his own front yard.

None of this mattered, of course. The number of fools who bought into the whole scripted narrative hook, line, sinker; from the daily lies and reversals of previous positions, to the "disownership" of Wright and Ayers, etc. And like the mindless hypnotized citizens of Orwell's 1984, just enough of these sleepwalking, media-blinded zombies made it to the polls to make the nightmare our reality today.

We didn't listen to the warnings; and just as predicted in IBD and elsewhere, we are now on a fast track to losing it all--all for a "cult hero" who got just 52% of the vote in the middle of a recession.

We are losing our country--the greatest example of altruism and wealth to ever exist on this third rock from the Sun--to style over substance; to cheap, empty slogans like "hope and change", and a to candidate with zero--zilch--executive experience (and it shows). But the man does know his Marx and Engels...and Keynes. That shows too. As does the bankruptcy of their flawed, devoid of reason ideas.

So, loyal readers, I ask you this: who was right? And how can we now slap the collective faces of the suckers who bought into this load of garbage and knock some sense into them before it is too late (if it isn't already...)?

It gives me no great pleasure in having not been fooled--but it is embarassing how many of my fellow citizens were so badly cowed by this charlatan.

UPDATE: James Madison foresaw what could happen, long before IBD. This from Federalist #61:

James Madison, officer in the Continental Army, hero of The American Revolution, diarist of the debate over the U.S. Constitution, author of the Bill of Rights, fourth President of the United States, writing under the pseudonym “Publius” in what we call “The Federalist Papers”:

It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule which is little known, and less fixed?

Is there anything else that could possibly be more eloquently and perfectly stated about what is going on in our country right now? What a black eye Obamaism has been for our politics. What an embarrassment. What a potential, and likely, disaster? Give me Dead White Males, any day of the week.

After many years as a student of history and politics, that’s the one and only quote I have hanging on my wall in the office, a gift from my sister, who knew how much I revered it. I’ve used it many times over the years (most recently, here) , but it’s never seemed more poignant than it does right now, in the era of American citizens who vote for American politicians with the same intensity and depth of thought with which they vote for American Idol contestants. For shame.

Haven’t written much here lately, too busy with other things, and besides, my cynicism is not feeling that amused, right now. I feel like I’m watching a Keystone Kops version of the Wehrmacht—–goose-stepping down Pennsylvania Ave., with a propped-up quisling media corps (aka “the Clown Brigade”) flashing “heil” salutes along the way. We have finally become ridiculous as a polity.
Once upon a time, truly visionary men created something magnificent. Today, we have lost our way, we have let down our allies and friends, and we are being led to our doom by a Marxist rookie egomaniac. Who happens to be half-black (So what?? for the enlightened, this was never about color.)
God help us all.
DiscerningTexan, 2/20/2009 10:26:00 PM | Permalink | |
Thursday, February 19, 2009

What Could Go Wrong?

Cartoon by Michael Ramirez (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 2/19/2009 10:49:00 PM | Permalink | |

Stating the Obvious, Brilliantly

John Hawkins interviews the great Walter Williams, and Williams does not disappoint:

A lot of Americans have been confused about the mortgage crisis. Conservatives tend to blame government interference in the housing market while Democrats tend to blame the free market. Can you give a basic explanation of why we had this housing crisis?

Well, first of all, it's surely not the free market. That is, there was the Community Reinvestment Act in 1977, which was written during the Carter Administration and was given teeth during the Bill Clinton and Bush Administrations.

The Community Reinvestment Act required banks to make high risk loans that they otherwise would not have made and if they did not, the bank examiners would examine their portfolios when they came around to open another branch or a merger and if they were not making these high risk loans -- some people call them "No Doc loans," or "Liar Loans," -- they would not get permission.

In the free market, these bankers would not have given these Subprime mortgages. But, with the coercion by government and also the implicit guarantees of these loans by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, government sponsored enterprises, they would not have done so.

So, the Subprime crisis lies at the feet of Congress and what I find remarkable about my fellow Americans is that Congress caused the problem and they're looking for Congress to get us out of the problem. That's very much like seeing a building on fire and asking the arsonist who set it on fire to come help you put it out.

Is it a good idea for the government to bail out failing companies? Why or why not?

No, in a market economy, failure is just as important to the smooth operating of the market as is success. That is, success is a message to business in a free market that you are doing the right thing, you are pleasing your customers, and you are doing it in the most efficient manner. Failure is a message that you are not pleasing your customers and/or you are not doing it in the most efficient manner.

What a bailout does is it tells a company: continue not pleasing your customers and continue not using resources effectively and we will make up the difference. It's very much like raising a child. If the kid messes up, makes mistakes, and you bail him out every single time, what's he going to do? He's going to continue to mess up.

Read the whole thing.
DiscerningTexan, 2/19/2009 10:27:00 PM | Permalink | |
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day by Day by Chris Muir (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 2/18/2009 11:51:00 PM | Permalink | |

Is Murhta Going Down?

Another day, another corrupt politician.
DiscerningTexan, 2/18/2009 11:41:00 PM | Permalink | |

Rahm Emanuel's Ethics Problems

The Audacity of Transparency and Ethics.
DiscerningTexan, 2/18/2009 03:13:00 PM | Permalink | |
Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Idiot's Guide to the Credit Bubble

Perry De Havilland spells it out; folks, the Obama Administration and their Comrades on Capitol Hill are NOT steering us in the right direction. They are merely working to postpone the inevitable, and in so doing are going to make it worse for everyone. Good luck with that:

Pure genius this is...

Barney Frank, the Democratic chairman of the House Finance Committee, said Mr Geithner should not to repeat the mistakes of his predecessor Hank Paulson, who "lost sight of the rest of the country and pissed them off entirely," with his initial bank bailout.

Frank warned the Treasury Secretary that voters want to see fewer foreclosures and more bank lending to ordinary consumers before they support the rest of the financial rescue plan. "They understand the political need," Mr Frank said.

The plan will help distressed homeowners get modified loans, subsidising lenders who cut interest rates. Mr Frank said the plan would aim ensure that such householders need pay no more than 31 per cent of their income on their mortgage.

Voters want to see fewer foreclosures and more bank lending to ordinary consumers. No doubt they do. I assume they also want more sex, better cars, more holidays and yet another Rocky movie to be made. Or maybe a Caddyshack remake.

This must be read in its entirety to be appreciated.

Meanwhile Kollapsnik over at Club Orlov (who lived through the collapse of the Soviet Union) offers some sage advice for getting through the inevitable "next wave".
DiscerningTexan, 2/17/2009 03:04:00 PM | Permalink | |

Won't Get Fooled Again

Add George Will to the ever-growing list of people who aren't buying the "inevitable" global warming apocalypse.

When talking about the Religion of Anthropogenic Global Warming, it brings back memories of Pete Townsend flying through the air.

Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
And I get on my knees and pray
We won't get fooled again ...

Ah, but they are trying their damnedest, aren't they...

DiscerningTexan, 2/17/2009 10:19:00 AM | Permalink | |
Monday, February 16, 2009

So... Who gets to Decide what the "Public Interest" is??

Cartoon by Wayne Stayskal (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 2/16/2009 11:00:00 PM | Permalink | |

The "Fairness Doctrine" and Hysterical Myopia

Ben Crystal connects repeatedly with his great take on what looks to be a coordinated attempt by the Dems and the American Left to impose censorship (selectively) on talk radio, virtually the only media genre they don't already dominate.

If your only path to power is to squelch all dissent within a "democratic" Republic, then you obviously don't have faith in the power of your ideas. This is a move better suited to Hugo Chavez or Castro. But--as Crystal points out--it works both ways; one day it might be a Republican in office again (more likely IMO if the Dems in fact do try to silence free speech...):

Of course, as a warning to my Democrat friends, I should be FAIR: a Fairness Doctrine requires an attendant Fairness Doctrinaire. All well and good if you’re a Democrat in a democrat-run America. But what happens when the cycle reverses, as it so often does? For every Carter, there was a Reagan. For every Clinton, a Bush (or even two). In 2009, the Fairness Doctrine Czar might be a hyper-liberal flack like the aforementioned Franken, and judging by how unfunny and unlistened-to his talk radio effort was, he could use the work - and with the right mix of fraud and guesswork, he may have found it in the U.S. Senate. But in 2013? Imagine the horror of a Director Rush Limbaugh - or…horrors…Karl Rove.

To wit: Let’s open our papers years hence and see..

Olbermann waits by phone.

Homogenized Press Reports

September 9, 2016

“DNC headquarters erupted in paroxysms of rage today upon learning the New York Times lead editorial consisted of a studied endorsement of school choice, lower income taxes, heightened military strength and the preservation of the 2nd Amendment. Dennis Kucinich, the current DNC chair said ‘we didn’t deliberately obfuscate the obvious lack of President Obama’s quality and qualifications just to see our media turned against us after only 4 years.’

Kucinich’s comments came as the Times, a redoubtable clearinghouse for DNC talking points, was forced to offer the non-liberal editorial following a Fairness Doctrine complaint from conservative watchdog group “CNN Blows“. When asked about the increase in corporate media outlets being hit with Fairness Doctrine rulings, Fairness Czar Karl Rove said ‘look, this has been the law of the land since February of 2009 - the FAIR application thereof does not change with Presidential administrations.’

RNC chairman Eric Cantor said “Hey, turnabout is fair play. They wanted it when Obama got elected and they used it to hamstring talk radio - now President Palin is forcing the corporate media to play by the same rules. Looks like the hypocritical chickens have come home to roost.’

Surprisingly, the left wing appeared to have been caught completely flat-footed by the new aggressiveness of the Director of the Office of National Speech Control Policy. Rove has been extraordinarily active since being appointed to the office by President Sarah Palin in March of 2013. While the 4 years of the Obama Administration saw the new Fairness Doctrine being used essentially to run talk radio out of business and force Fox News to show 2 hours of Randi Rhodes each night, the new direction has been much more even-and heavy- handed.

And the left is - to turn the phrase - bereft. Once-dependably liberal outlets like the Times and CNN have been forced to not only offer Fairness Czar-approved editorials, they are also no longer allowed to read DNC talking points memos as news copy.

The newest developments promise to incite even more ire from the left. Director Rove’s office has indicated interest in the blogosphere. Although no rulings have yet been issued regarding online opinion comment, ONSCP agents have reportedly been scrutinizing postings on such far-left sites as George Soros-backed, with records requests also landing in the offices of, a fringe site run by Al Qaeda supporter Markos Moulitsas. Reached by phone in on vacation in Waziristan, Moulitsas said ‘I talked to Osama and Aym….I mean, my advisers..and we are going to bomb….I mean…sue.’

To add insult to the left wing’s deepening injuries, only last week, MSNBC announced the termination of Keith Olbermann. Olbermann’s ouster came after Director Rove’s office ruled the far-left cable net offer a nighttime host who ‘Isn’t a complete no-talent bloviating partisan hack who wouldn’t know the truth if it bit him on his pansy ass and who doesn’t owe his entire career to the much funnier Dan Patrick and the much more important Bill O’Reilly.’

Unable to find an outlet with a right-wing commentator sufficiently lacking in quality, honesty and talent, Olbermann remains unemployed - and possibly unemployable; an ironic icon of the policy he and the rest of the liberal media once championed.”

A Fair forecast, indeed.

Read the whole thing.

Word is that Obama may try to use the FCC and some of those community organizers at ACORN--who are getting paid $2 Billion of our tax dollars out of the "stimulus" package--to make life miserable at the local level for local radio station owners who choose to put a (popular, ad-selling) Mark Levin or Rush Limbaugh on the air rather than (unpopular, non-revenue generating) Air America zeros. But Crystal is right that this sword cuts both ways. And what goes around could eventually come around to haunt them in places like the print media, MSNBC, CNN, etc.

The Democrats need to figure this out: Politically motivated censorship is not only un-American, it's a stupid idea. For one thing, it would not happen quietly--it would be blatantly transparent to every single media-savvy American and it would electrify the Right like nothing else could.

The Democrats should care about that, even though they obviously don't give a damn about this:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

You would have thought the Democrats had lost the last two elections; right now they are acting more like paranoid Banana Republic dictators than they are acting like a party that the public would otherwise be inclined to support. It is almost as if they are thinking: "uh oh, they are about to find out the truth about us..."

And if they keep up this kind of crap, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

DiscerningTexan, 2/16/2009 09:04:00 PM | Permalink | |

UPDATED Petraeus: Iran helping Taliban in Afghanistan

It is high time that something was done about Iran; and by that, I mean a lot more than mere words or threats of "sanctions".

UPDATE: Is Obama about to drop all sanctions on Iran???
DiscerningTexan, 2/16/2009 08:51:00 PM | Permalink | |

Revisiting that Newsweak Cover

DiscerningTexan, 2/16/2009 08:28:00 PM | Permalink | |
Sunday, February 15, 2009

Get Smart: The Sequel

Day by Day by Chris Muir (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 2/15/2009 03:42:00 PM | Permalink | |

From the 'Subject Matter Expert' Himself... (Heh.)

What a find by MuscleDaddy today!

In the most stark and telling role-reversal, Vladimir Putin understands what America is hurtling toward with the "Stimulus":

"Russian Prime Minister Vladamir Putin has said the US should take a lesson from the pages of Russian history and not exercise “excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state’s omnipotence”.

“In the 20th century, the Soviet Union made the state’s role absolute,” Putin said… “In the long run, this made the Soviet economy totally uncompetitive. This lesson cost us dearly. I am sure nobody wants to see it repeated.”How do you dismiss it as "Fear Mongering" when the former Head of the KGB recognizes this as a giant government over-reach toward Socialism?
What could possibly carry more weight, at this moment, than the current Prime Minister of Russia saying: "Don't do this - We've been where you are - Don't Do This...." ??
I know the answer to this question: it carries more weight in a country when 53% of voters care more about how its politicians say something than it does about what they say. And who, over time, have become numbed to the point of utter stupidity or indifference by the non-stop flow of lies coming out of Washington and over their "elitist approved" media airwaves.

Talk about "The Boy Who Cried Wolf"... They've been crying "wolf" since Vietnam. They can't stop; they have no idea how to govern. Fear mongering is what they do. Everything is "we must have it now or else...catastrophe..."

Hint to Washington: even the brain dead are catching on now... And man will they ever catch on when they wake up and see how their children's future is being frittered away to pay off interest groups and lobbyists.
DiscerningTexan, 2/15/2009 03:14:00 PM | Permalink | |

Cartoon by Michael Ramirez (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 2/15/2009 03:08:00 PM | Permalink | |

DC's Amateur Hour

Mark Steyn comments on Week 4 of the Obamination; the Keystone Cops had nothing on this bunch:
Few pieces of political “wisdom” are more tediously recycled than a well-retailed bon mot of British prime minister Harold Macmillan. Asked what he feared most in the months ahead, he gave an amused Edwardian response: “Events, dear boy, events.” In other words, you can plan all you want but next month, next year, some guy off the radar screen will launch a war, or there’ll be an earthquake, or something. Governments get thrown off course by “events.”

It suggests a perverse kind of genius that the 44th president did not wait for a single “event” to throw him off course. Instead he threw himself off: “Is Obama tanking already?” (Congressional Quarterly); “Has Barack Obama’s presidency already failed?” (the Financial Times). Whether or not it’s “already” failed or tanked, the monthly magazines still gazing out from their newsstands with their glossy inaugural covers of a smiling Barack and Michelle waltzing on the audacity of hope seem like musty historical artifacts from a lost age. The ship didn’t need to hit an iceberg; it stalled halfway down the slipway. This is still the phase before “events” come into play, when an incoming president has nothing to get in the way of his judgment and executive competence. President Obama chose to nominate Tim “Indispensable” Geithner and Tom “Home, James!” Daschle, men whose enthusiasm for the size of the federal budget is in inverse proportion to their urge to contribute to it. He chose to nominate as commerce secretary first the scandal-afflicted Bill Richardson and then the freakishly scandal-free Judd Gregg, and wound up losing both.

To be sure, the present state of the economy is an “event,” and has blown many governments around the world off course. But again: The hideous drooling blob of toxic pustules dignified as “stimulus” is something the incoming Obama had months to prepare for, with oodles of bipartisan goodwill and fawning press coverage to waft him along. Instead he chose to outsource it to Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barney Frank, and the rest of the congressional pork barons. So that too is not an “event” but merely, like his cabinet picks, a matter of judgment and executive competence.

Not to matter. When the going gets tough, the tough go campaigning. So, almost as if he were still running for office rather than actually running an office, the president arranges a photo-op or a town-hall meeting, where, for the moment, the hopeychangey shtick still plays. “I have an urgent need,” a freeborn citizen of the republic (I use the term loosely) beseeched the president in Fort Myers this week. “We need a home, our own kitchen, our own bathroom.”

As Michelle Malkin commented of the urgent needer: “If she had [had] more time, she probably would have remembered to ask Obama to fill up her gas tank, too.” Obama took her name — Henrietta Hughes — and ordered his staff to meet with her. Hopefully, he won’t insult her by dispatching some no-name deputy assistant associate secretary of whatever instead of flying in one of the bigtime tax-avoiding cabinet honchos to nationalize a Florida bank and convert one of its branches into a desirable family residence, with a swing set hanging where the drive-thru ATM used to be. ...
If it wasn't so horrifying and real it really could be a Hollywood sitcom. But it isn't.

It was Steyn's final thought, though, that resonated the most with me today:
America has a choice: It can reacquaint itself with socioeconomic reality, or it can buckle its mandatory seatbelt for the same decline most of the rest of the West embraced a couple of generations back. In 1897, troops from the greatest empire the world had ever seen marched down London’s mall for Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. Seventy years later, Britain had government health care, a government-owned car industry, massive government housing, and it was a shriveled high-unemployment socialist basket-case living off the dwindling cultural capital of its glorious past. In 1945, America emerged from the Second World War as the preeminent power on earth. Seventy years later . . .

Let’s not go there.
Let's not. Read the whole thing.
DiscerningTexan, 2/15/2009 02:49:00 PM | Permalink | |

Report: Burris Lied in Sworn Testimony; Blago solicited Money prior to Appointment

The Chicago Sun-Times has quite an eye-opener:

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s brother solicited U.S. Sen. Roland Burris for up to $10,000 in campaign cash before Blagojevich named Burris to the coveted post — something Burris initially failed to disclose under oath before an Illinois House impeachment panel, records and interviews show.

Burris acknowledges being hit up for the money in a new affidavit he has sent to the head of the House committee that recommended Blagojevich be removed from office.

The affidavit is dated Feb. 5 — three weeks after Burris was sworn in to replace President Obama in the Senate.

Burris — who did not give money to the Blagojevich campaign fund in response to the previously undisclosed solicitation — provided a copy of the sworn statement to the Chicago Sun-Times Friday in response to questions about his contacts with the Blagojevich camp about fund-raising.

Ed Morrissey comments (emphasis mine):
Three weeks after taking office in the US Senate, Burris suddenly discovered that his previous affadavit and testimony were “incomplete”. On January 5th, Burris submitted a sworn statement to the Illinois House panel investigating Blagojevich that he had no contacts at all with the now-removed governor before his appointment in late December. When he testified at the end of January, he amended that to include two other contacts with former Blagojevich aides Lon Monk and John Harris — but he never mentioned Blagojevich’s brother demanding a payment.

There is no possibility that Burris simply “forgot” about such a demand. In the first place, that’s exactly what the House was investigating, a pay-for-play arrangement for the open Senate seat. In fact, one has to question why Burris himself didn’t report such a blatantly corrupt demand to state or federal authorities. He never paid the money, but the demand itself is explicitly illegal, and as a state lawmaker Burris had a higher responsibility than most to report the attempt.

Chris Dodd, Charles Rangel, Barney Frank, William Jefferson, Blagojevich... and now Burris. And the beat goes on...
DiscerningTexan, 2/15/2009 12:15:00 PM | Permalink | |
Saturday, February 14, 2009

"Here I Come to Save the Daaay..."

Cartoon by Glenn McCoy (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 2/14/2009 12:23:00 AM | Permalink | |

Best Moment of the Entire Debate

DiscerningTexan, 2/14/2009 12:08:00 AM | Permalink | |
Friday, February 13, 2009

It's Not As Bad as it Looks--It's Worse

Rick Moran looks into the abyss:

I hate to say it but we have got to find a way to right the ship at the White House. History has reached out and tapped this novice on the shoulder at a time when there is real danger his bungling will result in a catastrophic economic collapse as bad as the worst in our history.

Many historians believe that the Panic of 1837 (a speculative boom to bust combined with an inflationary crisis) was even worse than the Depresssion in the 1930’s. One third of all banks in the US failed. For different reasons, we are looking at a similar crisis today in the financial markets. It is not likely that we will see 1/3 of all banks in the country go under. But unless our unsteady and clueless Treasury Secretary can get his act together – and quickly – the dominoes will begin to topple, starting with giants like Citibank, working its way down to powerful regional banks like Fifth Third.

The idea of building up anticipation for the announcement of a plan to deal with this crisis as the White House did all last weekend and then first, delaying the announcment a day and then sending out Geithner with not much of a plan at all is shocking. Didn’t the bozos at the White House have any clue that the markets were on tenterhooks waiting for this plan? When nothing much materialized, many concluded that the White House and their financial wunderkind Geithner were stymied. They didn’t know how to solve the crisis and were fumbling around in the dark, trying to figure out what to do. The markets reacted accordingly and here we are, three days out from Geithner’s “deer in headlights” appearance before Congress where he was actually laughed at by members and Congressional staffs, and we still haven’t fleshed out many details of how this “plan” is going to work , how much it will cost the taxpayer, which banks will get more cash, which will be lucky enough to have toxic assets removed from their balance sheets, and on and on into the darkness.

We know that bank executives will have their salaries set by the Treasury Department, though so that’s something. Congratulations to Geithner and his boss for concentrating on the real important stuff like playing the class warfare game by sticking it to the rich bankers.

They’ve screwed up monumentally on the big stuff like the “Financial Stability Act” that no one knows how it will work as well as the stimulus bill that even if you believe we need to spend every dime of it, one must be concerned that this 1500 page monster of a bill will never be read in its entirety because the Democrats and the White House refuse to publish it and there isn’t enough time to read it and study it anyway.

The frightening fact that this reveals is that these guys aren’t really that smart after all. For all the talk of a “team of rivals” and the brilliance of our president and his people, the truth is a lot more prosaic; they have proven themselves to be as incompetent and thick headed as Bush ever was. Personnel problems the likes we have never seen with Judd Gregg the latest colossal blunder. Obama’s promise that if the stim bill passes, the head of Caterpillar will rehire some people has been revealed to be a lie or wishful thinking on the part of the president when the CEO - a supporter of the president – contradicted his optimistic rhetoric.

Then there’s the aggrandizing of power within the White House, marginalizing the Secretary of State and the bureaucracy. The last president that tried this? Nixon. And he was roundly criticized when it turned out the State Department never knew what the White House was doing behind its back. This led to some comical foreign policy blunders including the temporary derailment of our rapproachment with China. One could add the politicizing of the census, a tiff with the military over Iraq that had the president retreating from his campaign rhetoric about withdrawal, a rambling, disjointed press conference that resembled a question and answer session between 3rd graders and their teacher, and the general feeling emenating from the administration that no one is in charge.

Read the whole thing. And pray.

DiscerningTexan, 2/13/2009 11:48:00 PM | Permalink | |

Reagan v. Obama

Kudos to Texas Rainmaker for this excellent simulation of a "debate" between Reagan and Obama:

DiscerningTexan, 2/13/2009 10:49:00 PM | Permalink | |

The Numbers Game

More iowahawk excellence. And a very catchy illustration to boot!

DiscerningTexan, 2/13/2009 01:20:00 PM | Permalink | |

An Open Letter to Congress and the President of the United States

Via Edwin Fuelner of the Heritage Foundation (emphasis mine):

For the last 35 years, educators and analysts at The Heritage Foundation have been intimately involved in the nation's great public policy debates. In all that time, we have never encountered legislation with such far-reaching and revolutionary policy implications as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act currently before Congress. And never have we seen a bill more cloaked in secrecy or more withdrawn from open public exposure and honest debate.

In addition to being the single most expensive bill ever proposed, this measure calls for a massive expansion of the federal government's reach into the day-to-day life of virtually every citizen, business and civic organization in the nation. That, in itself, should be the subject of an extensive public conversation and thoughtful debate. Instead, we have seen Congressional leaders schedule snap votes on a 1,434-page bill that no one—repeat, no one—has had a chance to read in its entirety, much less digest and deliberate.

This bill has been advertised as an economic stimulus bill—despite the fact that the Congressional Budget Office estimates it will actually weaken our nation's long-term economic growth. While the stimulative utility of the bill is, at best, questionable, it would unquestionably rewrite the social contract between the American people and their government. For example:

  • The bill reverses the bipartisan and highly successful welfare reforms of 1996 and drastically expands the welfare state. For instance, it will start rewarding states for adding people to their welfare rolls, rather than for helping them find gainful employment. And contrary to long-established practice, it will entitle able-bodied adults without children to receive cash assistance.
  • It does extreme violence to the concept of federalism—bailing out states that have spent irresponsibly at the expense of taxpayers in states that have been fiscally prudent.
  • It greatly shifts the responsibility and power over health care delivery and decision making from individuals to government. Among other things, it would create a new federal health board to decide which medical services are "effective" in America, paving the way for government effectively to overrule the clinical decisions of private physicians.
  • It deliberately censors religious speech and worship on school campuses by prohibiting use of any "stimulus" funds for facilities that are used for sectarian instruction, religious worship, or a school of divinity.

The list goes on. These and similar provisions will mean fundamental changes in our society. In many instances, the bill would establish policies that directly challenge widely held American values.

We are appalled that Congress is even contemplating such profound changes with so little openness and due diligence. In the past, major policy changes in our welfare system, or health care, or trade policies, etc., were always, quite properly, preceded by extensive public conversation and full debate. That is how a democracy should make important decisions.

The failure of Congress and the Administration to allow that debate is damaging to our democracy. Both chambers of Congress suspended their budget rules to push it along. And both the President and the leaders of the House and Senate have violated their solemn promises that the bill would be available for several days of public review prior to voting, so that the American people might have a chance to learn what is in the bill and to make their views known to their elected officials.

This reckless approach to governance can only undermine public faith in our elected officials and our government as a whole. We call on Congress and the Administration to live up to their promises and stated ideals, and give the democratic process a chance to work.

The only thing standing between State Socialism and us are three renegade "Republicans": Arlen Specter (202-224-4254), Susan Collins (202-224-2523), and Olympia Snowe (202-224-5344). Please let them (and your own Senators) hear your voice today.

UPDATED: Another use for all that money (h/t Stephen Green; I won't steal his good line...)
DiscerningTexan, 2/13/2009 12:53:00 PM | Permalink | |
Thursday, February 12, 2009

Aren't you supposed to READ the bill before you VOTE on it?

Hey, it's only our country that is at stake. No biggie...
DiscerningTexan, 2/12/2009 11:57:00 PM | Permalink | |

The Countdown Continues

Via Mark Tapscott in the DC Examiner, Obama is heading at Warp(ed) Factor 10 towards a one term Presidency. Hopefully this Congress won't even last that long:

Well, that didn’t take long.

Less than a month ago, Barack Obama was sworn-in as chief executive amid historic promises of “change we can believe in.” But there won’t be a second Obama term if he doesn’t admit that, no matter how adroitly he wraps himself in Reaganesque rhetoric, Leviathan is no better suited for 2009 than it was in 1933 for FDR.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the New Deal’s Big Government spending failed to end the Great Depression. That is clear to anybody who reads Paul Johnson’s masterful chapter on the New Deal in “Modern Times.”

Or Amity Schlaes’ superb “The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression.” Or the utterly convincing data-driven study by UCLA professors Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian that concluded the New Deal lengthened the Great Depression by at least seven years.

FDR at least had nearly a decade for his Sisyphean labors. Obama won’t get a chance to end the current recession because, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the recovery will have long since started before most of the gargantuan $1 trillion stimulus bill’s spending crosses the Potomac.

But that’s not the main reason Obama’s prospects for gaining a second term in 2012 are already fading faster than a Maine RINO can forget what being a Republican means. Obama is making himself the symbol of what’s wrong with Washington rather than being the agent of change in Washington.

Democratic pols like Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York think voters don’t care about pork in the stimulus bill, but lots of now-former Republican members of Congress know better.

Earmarks are indeed, in Sen. Tom Coburn’s evocative term, “the gateway drug to federal spending addiction” and the basic ingredient of the culture of corruption in Washington that has driven the approval rating of Congress into the single digits.

Growing public awareness of the deeply porkified content of the stimulus package is the chief driver behind the plunge in a mere two weeks from modestly strong initial approval to only a third of those surveyed continuing to support passage.

That awareness is also why Rasmussen Reports this week found a virtual dead heat between the two parties in the generic congressional voting survey, with 40 percent saying they plan to vote Democrat in their congressional balloting and 39 percent going Republican.

I am still counting the hours, minutes and seconds... I would rather watch paint dry than to watch these guys rape our country every single day.
DiscerningTexan, 2/12/2009 05:47:00 PM | Permalink | |
Monday, February 09, 2009

Economic Truth: Walter Williams & Thomas Sowell on Video

I'm blaming some of this on Glenn: his link yesterday to the Milton Friedman video on "Greed" has led to a lot of You Tube exploration. Yesterday I included Glenn's linked video with a couple of other Milton Friedman videos, which taken together make a tremendous case that the economic course which our current Administration and the Democrats in Congress have embarked upon is analogous to the Captain of the Titanic ordering his crew to increase to full speed after he was told there was an iceberg warning. Only in this case, it would be analogous to his having done so knowing in advance what would be the result.

Today: as evidence of the course we should be steering, I add a bit more video from two of my favorite living economists, Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams. Enjoy:

First, here is Dr. Walter E. Williams, snippets taken from one of his lectures:

Next Thomas Sowell and Charlie Rose discuss his "The Vision of the Anointed", in which Sowell discusses his awakening--i.e. when he turned from Marxism to Free Enterprise:

Next Sowell discusses his latest book "Economic Facts and Fallacies":

(Guilty: I must admit that I did have to smile when listening to Sowell's assessment of John McCain..).

Meanwhile, the band played on on the deck of the Titanic... What was that word again? What is it 'the definition of' when one continues to try the same strategy multiple times, yet somehow expects a different result? ...

Ah, yes. Insanity.
DiscerningTexan, 2/09/2009 11:59:00 AM | Permalink | |

Nightmare on Main Street

Stephen Green knows first-hand how bad things can get--and NOT only for American businesses--if the Unions get their way with card check:
My uncle required a police escort to walk the 20 feet from the garage to his car door. He was 17-years-old, a good student living in a well-manicured suburb of St Louis West County. But he was a volunteer campaign worker for “Right to Work” in the summer of ‘76, and there were union goons waiting for him at the end of the driveway. One sunny morning on his way out the door, one of the thugs asked him menacingly, “How’s your little nephew Stevie enjoying day camp?” I was seven at the time and didn’t even know what a union was.

“Nothing personal, just business,” I suppose.

Welcome to the charming world of union intimidation. It could be coming to your workplace, as early as this summer. It might even come to your front door in the dead of night. reports the latest developments on the so-called “employee free-choice”
Read the whole thing...
DiscerningTexan, 2/09/2009 10:15:00 AM | Permalink | |
Sunday, February 08, 2009

Milton Friedman on Capitalism and "Greed" + More! (UPDATED)

Glenn Reynolds has made my day with this post. Were that Friedman were still with us, I would love to have seen him questioned about what is going on today in the name of "economics":


Or there was the Lefty at Cornell who walked right into a Friedman "ambush":

And...after watching that, why not this too?

DiscerningTexan, 2/08/2009 11:26:00 AM | Permalink | |


Cartoon by Glenn McCoy (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 2/08/2009 03:11:00 AM | Permalink | |

White House takeover of Census Unconstitutional?

Samzidata makes an excellent argument--based on the Constitution itself--that Obama cannot do what he is attempting to do. (h/t Glenn Reynolds)
DiscerningTexan, 2/08/2009 03:04:00 AM | Permalink | |
Saturday, February 07, 2009

Mark Steyn on "The One" - Three Weeks In

Yet another Mark Steyn gem; a few highlights:
... Yeah, sure, no previous occupant of the White House has been able to walk on water—your Eisenhowers and Roosevelts, your Chester Arthurs and Grover Clevelands and whatnot. But Barack Obama didn’t run as just another of those squaresville losers. He was gonna heal the planet, and lower the oceans. So, even if he couldn’t walk on water, he should at least be able to paddle in it. “He is a community organizer like Jesus was,” said Susan Sarandon, “and now we’re a community and he can organize us.”

So how’s that going? Jesus took a handful of loaves and two fish and fed 5,000 people. Barack wants to take a trillion pieces of pork and feed it to a handful of Democratic-party interest groups.


I got a little muddled over two adjoining newspaper clippings—one on the stimulus, the other on those octuplets in California—and for a brief moment the two stories converged. Everyone’s hammering that mom—she’s divorced, unemployed, living in a small house with parents who have a million bucks’ worth of debt, and she’s already got six kids. So she has in vitro fertilization to have eight more. But isn’t that exactly what the Feds have done? Last fall, they gave birth to an $850 billion bailout they couldn’t afford and didn’t have enough time to keep an eye on, and now four months later they’re going to do it all over again, but this time they want trillionuplets. Barney and Nancy represent the in vitro fertilization of the federal budget. And it’s the taxpayers who’ll get stuck with the diapers.

Those supporters who were wary of touting Obama as the walk-on-water Messiah did their best to lower expectations by hailing him merely as the new FDR. You remember the old FDR—“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Ha! With the new New Deal, we have everything to fear. As President Obama warned on Tuesday, “A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe.” If you’re of those moonstruck Obammysoxers still driving around with the “HOPE, NOT FEAR” bumper stickers, please note that, due to an unfortunate proofreading error at the printing plant, certain nouns in that phrase may have been accidentally transposed.

As it happens, the best way to ensure catastrophe is to “act now.” It would be nice if the world could all prance along in regimented unison like the Radio City Changettes. But, alas, the foreigners made the mistake of actually reading the “stimulus” bill, and the protectionist measures buried on page 739 sub-section XII(d) ended, instantly, the Obama honeymoon overseas. The European Union has threatened a trade war. Up in Canada, provincial premiers called it “a march to insanity.” Wait a minute: I thought the Obama era was meant to be the retreat from insanity, a blessed return to multilateral transnational harmony?


Maybe it’s time for President Obama to come out and give one of his big hopey-changey speeches. It’s been a few weeks now, and I kinda miss them. You know—“We are the change we’ve been waiting for.” “We have nothing to hope for but hope itself.” “Ask not what your hope can change for you, ask what you can hope for your change.” Etc.

But I wonder if the old songs from last month’s hit parade would play as well today. On Wednesday, Salon headlined a story on Obama: “The New Great Communicator . . . Isn’t.” Oh, dear. It’s early yet, but the gulf between the rhetoric and the reality, between the audacity of hope and the reality of pork, yawns ever wider. Right now, it’s the Obama mythology that urgently needs some stimulus. Some of us never expected him to walk on water. But we didn’t think he’d be all at sea taking on quite so much of it after a mere two weeks.
Read the whole thing.

Week 4, coming up (thanks to Classical Values for the countdown clock code):

DiscerningTexan, 2/07/2009 03:47:00 PM | Permalink | |

Emmanuel Advocates Gun Bans WITHOUT Due Process

Nice: so much for the sanctity of "individual constituional rights"--apparently those "rights" only apply to foreign non-uniformed terrorists who blow up American ships and sailors.
DiscerningTexan, 2/07/2009 01:52:00 PM | Permalink | |

Oh, THIS will keep Costs Down...

Obama approves favoritism to Unions for new construction expenditures.
DiscerningTexan, 2/07/2009 01:24:00 PM | Permalink | |

Breaking News: Fannie Mae to LOOSEN Credit Requirement for Home Mortgages

Pardon me, but isn't this the very thing that got us INTO this mess?

Insanity: trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
DiscerningTexan, 2/07/2009 11:34:00 AM | Permalink | |