February 28, 2010

Patriot Act Hypocrisy

More hypocrisy from Democrats, this time on The Patriot Act. The amount of all-over-the-place on the issue is bewildering.

While the Patriot Act was passed by a margin of 98-1 in the Senate in 2001, and amongst Democrats in the House, by a margin of 145-62, and the intervening years have seen a big parade of Democrat vilification of the act.

Democrats, in the throes of Bush Derangement Syndrome vehemently opposed the Patriot Act when Bush and Republicans favored it. Now they don't seem to mind it so much.

There is some tricky territory to navigate around the act. It's not really a conservative versus liberal issue, despite how it is portrayed in the media. It's an issue of safety versus privacy and liberty. There are plenty of conservatives on both sides of that equation. As for liberals, frankly, it isn't really clear where they stand. It seems like 'if today is Tuesday, then I must be against it', is the rationale.

From the LA Times in September 2009;
As a senator from Illinois, Barack Obama was a critic of the Patriot Act. Last week, however, the Obama administration asked the House and Senate to extend the three provisions. "The administration is willing to consider . . . ideas [for modifying the law], provided that they do not undermine the effectiveness of these important authorities," Assistant Atty. Gen. Ronald Weich said in a letter to Congress.

Then there's a lot of just anti-Patriot Act sentiment on the left.

No one read it? Then why did you vote on it?

I've spoken before about the fact that it seems pretty logical a place to start is to differentiate between citizens versus non citizens in terms of treatment under the Patriot Act. The act seems to make that distinction, although I certainly haven't read most of the Act because, I have a life. In any case, that's not where Democrat thinking is at. Even though President Obama extended the Patriot Act again, he also wanted a court trial for KSM, instead of a military tribunal. The administration is all over the map. That sort of disconnect comes from the top down.

Irate over Guantanamo, Democrats find that it is still open. Disconnects exist all over the place. That's not universally true. There is one Democrat who has consistently argued against it - progressive Russ Feingold in 2006. Wow. Check out the agenda at 2:13.

And NOW? Where is everyone at?
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has signed a one-year extension of several provisions in the nation's main counter terrorism law, the Patriot Act.

Provisions in the measure would have expired on Sunday without Obama's signature Saturday.

The act, which was adopted in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, expands the government's ability to monitor Americans in the name of national security.

Three sections of the Patriot Act that stay in force will:

-Authorize court-approved roving wiretaps that permit surveillance on multiple phones.

-Allow court-approved seizure of records and property in anti-terrorism operations.

-Permit surveillance against a so-called lone wolf, a non-U.S. citizen engaged in terrorism who may not be part of a recognized terrorist group.

Obama's signature comes after the House voted 315 to 97 Thursday to extend the measure.

Hmmm...315-97 and a Presidential signature over the weekend when people might not notice. Go figure.

END NOTE: Sure, it had to be signed before today to extend the Act. But it couldn't have been done during the news cycle on Friday? Of course not. The President is all about optics, and the substance is either missing or just doesn't match his words. Democrats seem to be continually beguiled by dazzling candidates and never get that style-over-substance leads to bad leadership.

February 27, 2010

Democrats Twisted Views of Reconciliation: Then & Now

Many of you are probably already aware of this, but for those who aren't a little history is in order. Back when the Democrats were not willing to give Bush court nominees a straight up or down vote and did everything they could to not even allow a vote to occur, they were clearly AGAINST the idea of reconciliation.


And NOW?

Some other insight:

DIVIDE AND CONQUER, POLITICS AS USUAL. For Democrats, it's business as usual - flip flop as a matter of convenience, and hope that the division of a few years will make sure people don't see the hypocrisy.

Saturday Learning Series - The Story of English - Part 6

This episode of the Saturday Learning Series is part 6 of the Story of English called Pioneers O Pioneers. It focuses on the development of American English.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Part 7:

February 26, 2010

Top 10 Most Liberalest GOPer's Now Serving

This is worth taking a look at. It's worth remembering. But keep this in mind too; the most moderate all appear to be Democrats, so where is the middle defined?

Friday Musical Interlude - February 26, 2010

Friday Musical Interlude: She Sells Sactuary by the Cult


February 25, 2010

Nancy Pelosi - Officially Insane.

Nancy Pelosi is saying that the health care bill is a jobs bill. She has officially gone insane.

Questions: (1) Which version is she talking about? The Senate's? Hers? The President's? (2) If this were a jobs bill, wouldn't that been the screaming headline for the last 3 months? Wouldn't Scott Brown have lost in Massachusetts? (3) 4 million jobs? 400,000 jobs almost immediately? with 14.8 million unemployed, passing this bill would reduce the unemployment rate, 'almost immediately' to about 9.4%. Why is this just coming up now unless it's complete BULL?

Via Townhall:

Either she's insane and fully believes her own statement, or she is lying through her vast quantity of teeth. You decide.

U.S. Unemployment Worse Than World Average

List of countries with a lower unemployment rate than the United States, according to the CIA World Fact Book. Keep in mind that some of these figures are for prior to 2009 and may be lower than posted. However, there are far too many countries ahead of the U.S. on this list. some notables have been highlighted.

Caveats aside, there's actually some liberal fodder in here. You have to be careful now when talking to a liberal about whether you want the United States to be like nearly bankrupt socialist Greece. Right now that unemployment rate looks better than America's. Yikes.

Also note that it appears the 2009 data would be a yearly average as opposed to a snapshot.

1 Andorra 0.00
2 Monaco 0.00
3 Qatar 0.50
4 Guernsey 0.90
5 Azerbaijan 1.00
6 Uzbekistan 1.10
7 Faroe Is. 1.20
8 Isle Man 1.50
9 Liechtnstn 1.50
10 Belarus 1.60
11 Cuba 1.60
12 Vanuatu 1.70
13 Papua NG 1.80
14 Kiribati 2.00
15 Seychelles 2.00
16 Bermuda 2.10
17 Jersey 2.20
18 Kuwait 2.20
19 Tajikistan 2.30
20 U.A.E. 2.40
21 Laos 2.40
22 Bangladesh 2.50
23 Moldova 2.60
24 Thailand 2.70
25 Mongolia 2.80
26 Gibraltar 3.00
27 Macau 3.00
28 San Marino 3.10
29 Guatemala 3.20
30 Norway 3.20
31 Singapore 3.40
32 Cambodia 3.50
33 Denmark 3.60
34 British VI 3.60
35 Brunei 3.70
36 Swtzrland 3.70
37 Bhutan 4.00
38 S. Korea 4.10
39 Palau 4.20
40 China 4.30
41 Cayman Is. 4.40
42 St.Kitts 4.50
43 Austria 4.70
44 Cyprus 4.80
45 Ukraine 4.80
46 Burma 4.90
47 Nigeria 4.90
48 Malaysia 5.00
49 Namibia 5.00
50 Netherland 5.00
51 Greenland 5.40
52 Japan 5.60
53 Australia 5.70
54 Hong Kong 5.90
55 Nicaragua 5.90
56 Honduras 6.00
57 Malta 6.00
58 Montserrat 6.00
59 Mexico 6.20
60 Virgin Is. 6.20
61 Costa Rica 6.40
62 Taiwan 6.40
63 Vietnam 6.50
64 Luxembourg 6.80
65 Aruba 6.90
66 Sri Lanka 7.00
67 Armenia 7.10
68 Panama 7.10
69 El Salvdr 7.20
70 New Zealnd 7.30
71 Brazil 7.40
72 Botswana 7.50
73 Kazakhstan 7.50
74 Trinidad 7.50
75 Italy 7.50
76 Bahamas 7.60
77 Romania 7.60
78 Fiji 7.60
79 Indonesia 7.70
80 Mauritius 7.80
81 Paraguay 7.90
82 Uruguay 7.90
83 Anguilla 8.00
84 C.Afr. Rep.8.00
85 U.K. 8.00
86 Philippine 8.00
87 Israel 8.00
88 N.Mariana 8.00
89 Belize 8.10
90 Germany 8.20
91 Belgium 8.30
92 Bolivia 8.50
93 Canada 8.50
94 Finland 8.60
95 World 8.70
96 Iceland 8.80
97 Greece 8.90
98 Russia 8.90
99 Peru 9.00
100 Bulgaria 9.10
101 Morocco 9.10
102 Lebanon 9.20
103 Syria 9.20
104 Portugal 9.20
105 Czech Rep. 9.30
106 Sweden 9.30
107 Eur.Union 9.40
108 U.S.A. 9.40

Health Care Summit Straw Man Time For The GOP

The President's favorite oratory tactic is to use a straw man argument or a false choice argument. No doubt it's the approach he's going to take at the waste-of-time-and-money health care summit he's about to have with Republicans. Here's what the GOP should do to counteract this approach.

First, a 'quick' explanation of the two insidious debating techniques. 

The Straw Man argument occurs when a person simply ignores another person's actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position, and then disproves the distortion, rather than the real argument. For example;

President Obama: "a philosophy that says every problem can be solved if only government would step out of the way; that if government were just dismantled, divvied up into tax breaks, and handed out to the wealthiest among us, it would somehow benefit us all. Such knee-jerk disdain for government -- this constant rejection of any common endeavor -- cannot rebuild our levees or our roads or our bridges."

The straw man argument? Karl Rove dissected it perfectly;

During his news conference on Feb. 9, Mr. Obama decried an unnamed faction in the congressional stimulus debate as "a set of folks who -- I don't doubt their sincerity -- who just believe that we should do nothing."

Who were these sincere do-nothings? Every House Republican voted for an alternative stimulus plan, evidence that they wanted to do something. Every Senate Republican -- with the exception of Judd Gregg, who'd just withdrawn his nomination to be Mr. Obama's Commerce secretary and therefore voted "present" -- voted for alternative stimulus proposals.

Well done Mr. Rove.

Next is the False Choice argument, which revolves around the idea of an either-or choice, where other choices beyond A and B exist. president Obama likes to paint the world in terms of extremes - black or white, right or wrong. The world is typically not a binary set of choices.
When two alternatives are presented, they are often, though not always, two extreme points on some spectrum of possibilities. This can lend credence to the larger argument by giving the impression that the options are mutually exclusive, even though they need not be. Furthermore, the options are typically presented as being collectively exhaustive, in which case the fallacy can be overcome, or at least weakened, by considering other possibilities, or perhaps by considering a whole spectrum of possibilities, as in fuzzy logic.

Mark Steyn points out a great example of Obama's false choice approach to political discourse;
Writing in the Chicago Tribune last week, President Obama fell back on one of his favorite rhetorical tics: “But I also know,” he wrote, “that we need not choose between a chaotic and unforgiving capitalism and an oppressive government-run economy. That is a false choice that will not serve our people or any people.”

Really? For the moment, it’s a “false choice” mainly in the sense that he’s not offering it: “a chaotic and unforgiving capitalism” is not on the menu, which leaves “an oppressive government-run economy” as pretty much the only game in town.

Back to the health care summit. President Obama is going to use this summit as a sales pitch and he's going to offer his straw man and false choice arguments to maximum effect for his sound bytes that his still adoring press will spread.

Expect to hear Obama make the following points;

-there has been discord on this health care issue (true, even among Democrats and between the Congress and the Super majority Senate)
-in an effort to break the partisan gridlock, I have come up with a compromise plan (true, in the sense that he supposedly split the difference between differing Democrat proposals. Republicans were still pretty much entirely shut out of the process, until now)
-It's clear that because I split the difference I'm the most post-partisan person in the room (or any room). (I'm not sure how that even remotely qualifies as truth, but it's not really relevant anyway).
-Because I've made this extra-ordinary step and come in to save the day, you all have to support me or else you are clearly against fixing health care. (There's a false choice. If you have a different idea of how to fix it, you are against fixing it? Not true).
-There are some who would prefer we do nothing, some who prefer that the weakest among us go without health care for the sake of corporate health care fat cats - I find that unacceptable. (There's a double! Straw man - 'do nothing' is not the GOP approach. They have offered numerous propositions on fixing health care. And the false choice - do nothing versus Obama's wondrous plan. The fact that he split the difference on two Democrat plans prove there are other choices. Why even have this summit if either one of those were acceptable, signable? Oh yeah, because the Democrat controlled Congress and the Democrat super-majority Senate could not agree on which bill to send to the President.)

Republican Positioning

So what should the GOP do in response? There are reasons to not attend. there are reasons to stir the pot and keep Democrats fighting amongst themselves, exposing their true discord. But I think that because this is going to be a soundbite battle, the GOP has to make sure every possible soundbite that could be used in their own limited exposure (compared to President Obama's), will be used to maximum effect.

Every single Republican speaker should phrase their questions in the way President Obama would. Pose every comment as a question, with a false choice instead or a straw man argument embedded in the comment. And do so in such a way that the media cannot extricate the comment from the false choice. It would turn the President's own methods against him.

Here's a couple of examples.

False Choice

"Mr. President, respectfully, why don't we find cost savings for consumers, instead of by slashing Medicare funding to the bone to pay for new health care benefits, do it directly by allowing insurance competition across state lines?

See how the slashing Medicare is embedded in the middle of the sound bite?

Straw Man

Mr. President you say you want to provide universal access by making health care free for everyone. But is it not true that universal access will mean less doctors per health care consumer, and by the laws of simple supply and demand costs will have to increase?

Okay so that's not completely a straw man argument. I can't help it, I'm a conservative, and I prefer to deal in facts wherever possible. However, the question does not address the cost containment portion of the President's inevitable payment cap for health care providers. So it's not the total picture. So it's a bit of a straw man argument. Behind it though are still facts - if doctors need to see more patients and there aren't more doctors you have to limit access and limit expenditure so there's access caps and there's pay caps. That hurts both supply and demand. But the question makes a great soundbite, and I'd love to hear the President, just once answer a supply and demand question, because it sure seems like hes never heard of the concept.

February 24, 2010

The Fruits of Your Health Care Labors

If you are a Republican, and you supported Pelosi's health care plan - wouldn't or shouldn't you have seen THIS coming???

From the AP:
WASHINGTON (AP) - The lone Republican lawmaker to support Democratic health care legislation has seen his fundraising drop by nearly 40 percent since his vote, and he is quickly burning through a dwindling bank account after resorting to a costly national fundraising operation.

Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, the unlikely congressman from New Orleans, is facing the perils of bipartisanship unlike any other lawmaker in Washington - trying to please a heavily Democratic constituency while relying on core conservatives for money to fuel his campaign.

As you sew, so shall you reap. You made your bed, now lie in it. A whole bunch of sayings apply. But it's just common sense.  Cao might be in a Democratic dsitrict, but how did he plan on funding his campaign. His support had all the foresight of an Arlen Specter.

Meet the New Scapegoat

As Republicans attempt to do their best impression of Gandalf facing the Balrog at the mines of Moria in a last stand against health care, there are other issues that face the country with implications for how voters will see the two parties come November 2010.

Obviously the public has money on its mind - more specifically government out-of-control spending. It's a big part of the health care debate. Set aside the not so small liberty and competition and tort reform issues for the time being and money is only remaining factor. But it may still be the biggest factor. If the government had a $12 trillion surplus do you have the slightest doubt Democrats would be slam dunking the health care debate? Would public opposition be as widespread as it is now? As strident? Yes. As widespread? No.

As the old saying goes, follow the money, which finally brings me to my point. As Ben Bernanke today testifies about the Fed's exit strategy on the stimulus money pumped into the system, with all it's perilous implications, the political picture, unlike the financial future actually becomes a little clearer.

Bernanke may be able to pull off a miraculous exit strategy, but the odds are against him. As a caretaker of the government's monetary matters, Bernanke is like an accountant for someone who refuses to stop spending. The best he can hope to do is to minimize the impact during the decline and hope to prolong the eventually bankruptcy for as long as possible. If the spending continues, in the long run his best efforts will ultimately be to no avail.

The likelihood is that the U.S. economy is heading into some choppy waters as Bernanke figures out how to turn off the taps on spending without causing a recessionary dip, or allowing inflation to creep in, or both. The political machinations for Democrats are undoubtedly underway already. Should Bernanke pull of the improbable, they will of course take fiscal credit for his monetary wizardry – ‘the stimulus saved us’, they will claim. But should he be unable to thread the needle back into normalcy, they’ve got their scapegoat. They will claim they did what they could on the fiscal side to keep the economy humming, but we were let down by bad monetary advice from the Fed. Maybe Bernanke wasn’t the guy we thought he was when we reconfirmed him as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

It wouldn’t be the first person the White House or Democrats have been willing to throw under the bus. Democrats have practically turned that into a sport. It's not new for them and it wouldn't be their first run at Bernanke.  (click each of these unique blame links if you want proof). If they can pull that off and further, tie Bernanke to Bush (not an impossible task, despite re-confirming him), the blame Bush meme by extension becomes the blame Bernanke meme. Meet the new scapegoat – same as the old scapegoat. That's a lot of blame they've been throwing around.  Unscrupulous, yes, but I certainly wouldn’t put it past the Democrats.

And yes, for those who care, I intend on being fully 'geek chic' and not explaining the earlier Gandalf reference.

February 23, 2010

Stunner: Canadian Premier Who Had U.S. Surgery "My heart, my choice"

The Canadian Premier of the province of Newfoundland, Danny Williams, in defending his trip to Miami for routine heart surgery has basically summed up the two biggest problems with Canadian 'free' health care. Americans should take notice of what he said, and be concerned about the Democrats' false agenda on health care.

Williams was quoted as saying "This was my heart, my choice and my health."
"I did not sign away my right to get the best possible health care for myself when I entered politics."
The Best Possible Health Care? In the United States? Wait, what? Canada's free health care isn't on par with U.S. health care? Is it possible that by increasing the availability to health care only increases overall demand without increasing the supply of doctors? Is it possible that in order to contain costs in a free health care universe that doctor compensations have to be limited and doctor supply is actually decreased? And is it possible that increased demand and decreased supply mean increased wait times? And could it even mean rationing of health care? Apparently so.
He said he was told at the time that the problem was "moderate" and that he should come back for a checkup in six months.

Eight months later, in December, his doctors told him the problem had become severe and urged him to get his valve repaired immediately or risk heart failure, he said.

His doctors in Canada presented him with two options - a full or partial sternotomy, both of which would've required breaking bones, he said.

He said he spoke with and provided his medical information to a leading cardiac surgeon in New Jersey who is also from Newfoundland and Labrador. He advised him to seek treatment at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami.

That's where he was treated by Dr. Joseph Lamelas, a cardiac surgeon who has performed more than 8,000 open-heart surgeries.

Williams said Lamelas made an incision under his arm that didn't require any bone breakage.
 That seems pretty convincing to me - he was told there was no rush (rationing) and when he was critical they recommended a less than optimal treatment. Why? Regardless of whether better technology was available or the doctors weren't up-to-par, clearly some sort of shortage (knowledge or facilities) was in play.

Another Williams quote reinforced the shortage issue;
"I would've been criticized if I had stayed in Canada and had been perceived as jumping a line or a wait list. ... I accept that. That's public life," he said.
Jumping the line is a political decision. But the fact that there was a line, despite his apparently urgent condition, and despite free health care is very telling.

In summary: The two biggest problems on free health care in Canada are (1) The best health care, according to a Canadian provincial premier, is in the U.S. and (2) the line ups in Canada make it difficult to get the health care you need, when you need it, despite being 'free'.
Does that sound like a good deal to you? Apparently it still does to President Obama.


Obama still tilting at windmills

And he's still beating a dead horse on health care. The President's new health care plan is still a trillion dollars and not radically different from that of the Senate or Congressional bills that passed. He's not starting over. He's not coming into the summit on health care with Republicans with an open mind. The GOP is right, this summit is going to amount to an infomercial for Obama's plan. Meanwhile his windmill jobs strategy is still full of holes too. But that's not going to stop him from charging ahead on either agenda item. In these two charges he's leading, it has become clear to me what the President's problem really is.

The President's problem is simple. He believes that people see him and his vision as he sees it all himself. In other words, when he was campaigning in vagaries of 'hope and change' (or as it has turned out HYPE and CHANCE), he was indeed campaigning on specific agenda items. These were items that he was cleverly not sharing details on, or dispensing in disconnected moments that wouldn't allow the public to connect the dots. 

While it may have been deliberate on his part, I suspect the ploy was devised by campaign managers like Axelrod and carried out by speech writers. Notice how the President was a bit specific and got caught only in moments like the Joe the Plumber interaction? He may be a good orator, but he's not a good speaker, or talker. So he was kept on a tight script and it worked. As he said to the GOP early on in his Presidency, effectively locking them out of any meaningful discussions on legislation - he won.

But here's his disconnect - he believes he won on his ideas and that the public believed in them. He does not realize that people were projecting their own ideas of him onto him and each was imagining their own specific sets of hope and change. 

As a result, we have a public that is now disillusioned with the actual changes he is talking about, particularly on the stimulus bill and health care. They are also increasingly seeing the light in the global warming fraud and Cap and Trade will become increasingly unpopular as well. 

But President Obama doesn't see it that way. He sees a populace who believes in him and his ideas and has been swayed by a more effective GOP message machine. The President should take a look at CPAC's keynote speech by Glenn Beck. He displayed a distaste for the GOP as nearly as much as the Democrats. The GOP may be getting the Tea Party message in large part, but the Tea Party and many conservatives in general don't seem to be hearing that the GOP is hearing them. So that GOP message machine isn't the 'culprit' in Obama's popularity slide, and the slide in approval for the direction he's taking the country, or the declining hopes for Democrats in the 2010 mid-term elections or losses in New Jersey, Virgina and Massachusetts over the past few months. The fault is that of a far left agenda and lock-step Democrats marching without seeing where they are headed.

The American people in large part have finally seen for themselves the specific change the President was talking about and it's not what they want. The trajectory has 'crash' written all over it. Conservatives should breath a sigh of relief at the prospect of the Democrats plowing ahead. The GOP still have ways of slowing the agenda to a crawl, even if the Democrats resort to reconciliation. more importantly, that stalling gives them a chance to have their actions speak to conservatives, where their words have gone unnoticed or unheeded by a skeptical constituency.

February 22, 2010

The Health Care Monster That Wouldn't Die

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the Capitol - the Jaws of health care are back. Democrats seemingly have convinced themselves that this is either great for the country, great for their chances of re-election or both. Why they think that way is baffling. It's the health care monster that wouldn't die.

Greg Sargent of The Plum Line fame, and clearly liberal bent, had this to say;
In the course of unveiling Obama’s new health reform proposal on a conference call with reporters this morning, White House advisers made it clearer than ever before: If the GOP filibusters health reform, Dems will move forward on their own and pass it via reconciliation.

The assertion, which is likely to spark an angry response from GOP leaders, ups the stakes in advance of the summit by essentially daring Republicans to try to block reform.

“The President expects and believes the American people deserve an up or down vote on health reform,” White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said on the call.

Just like Democrats did with President Bush's court nominees, something that legitimately required a straight up-or-down vote but for many, never occurred? I'm sure Republicans will be more than happy to roll over.

Daring Republicans to block reform. Republicans would be out of their mind NOT to block this reform. Progressives love that word 'reform'. They don't seem to understand that it is not inherently good. For example, reforming a water bed into an ice bed is not so good. So too, this doubling down on a bad idea, as John Boehner points out;

“The President has crippled the credibility of this week’s summit by proposing the same massive government takeover of health care based on a partisan bill the American people have already rejected. This new Democrats-only backroom deal doubles down on the same failed approach that will drive up premiums, destroy jobs, raise taxes, and slash Medicare benefits.

“This week’s summit clearly has all the makings of a Democratic infomercial for continuing on a partisan course that relies on more backroom deals and parliamentary tricks to circumvent the will of the American people and jam through a massive government takeover of health care."
Kinda sends a shudder down your spine, doesn't it? It's not over yet. This distraction from the economy the White House insists upon is going to be their undoing, the country's undoing or both. As an angry town hall citizen, a Tea Partier or just a fed up American, you have to ensure that the GOP do everything in their power to thwart this misguided use of the American government's time and effort and the peoples' money.

February 21, 2010

Important Sunday Readings

Now that's a nonsensible shoe! I wonder if the owner still has them on.

I'm unable to post today as I'm travelling, however, here are some links to some excellent reading material for readers. Enjoy.

Obama's implied health care threat.

Andrew Breitbart's views on the media - and the inspirational implications for conservatives.

Why filibusters matter.

Surprise. Another person on team Obama just doesn't get the War on Terror.

Rasmussen Reports shows Obama is back on the downward trend, and nearing the tipping point I talked about recently.

Right now, gridlock is good.

A fascinating interpretation of Bayh's resignation, but more importantly, the electorate;
“It is mainly the least interested, least informed, and least politically active members of the public who are clustered near the center of the ideological spectrum. The most interested, informed, and active citizens are much more polarized in their political views.”

Scott Brown's first reason to participate in a filibuster won't be on health care it seems.

Lastly, America - it's time to wake up or shut up, because the falsehoods and deceit are crippling the country.

Glenn Beck's Keynote Speech at CPAC

Last year Rush addressed the CPAC convention as the keynote speaker. Despite the negative press coverage, he was the right speaker at the time, and he's a hard act to follow. This year, another great choice - Glenn Beck - manages to once again be the right speaker at the right time.

Videos courtesy of TheRightScoop

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Way to go Glenn!

February 20, 2010

Saturday Learning Series - Bouns - Resource Scarcity

In 1980, Julian Simon and Paul Ehrlich entered into a famous wager, betting on a mutually agreed upon measure of resource scarcity over the decade leading up to 1990. Guess who won.

According to Wikipedia,

Simon had Ehrlich choose five of several commodity metals. Ehrlich chose 5 metals: copper, chromium, nickel, tin, and tungsten. Simon bet that their prices would go down. Ehrlich bet they would go up.

The face-off occurred in the pages of Social Science Quarterly, where Simon challenged Ehrlich to put his money where his mouth was. In response to Ehrlich's published claim that "If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000" — a proposition Simon regarded as too silly to bother with — Simon countered with "a public offer to stake US$10,000 ... on my belief that the cost of non-government-controlled raw materials (including grain and oil) will not rise in the long run." You could name your own terms: select any raw material you wanted — copper, tin, whatever — and select any date in the future, "any date more than a year away," and Simon would bet that the commodity's price on that date would be lower than what it was at the time of the wager... Ehrlich and his colleagues picked five metals that they thought would undergo big price rises: chromium, copper, nickel, tin, and tungsten. Then, on paper, they bought $200 worth of each, for a total bet of $1,000, using the prices on September 29, 1980, as an index. They designated September 29, 1990, 10 years hence, as the payoff date. If the inflation-adjusted prices of the various metals rose in the interim, Simon would pay Ehrlich the combined difference; if the prices fell, Ehrlich et al. would pay Simon... Between 1980 and 1990, the world's population grew by more than 800 million, the largest increase in one decade in all of history. But by September 1990, without a single exception, the price of each of Ehrlich's selected metals had fallen, and in some cases had dropped through the floor. Chrome, which had sold for $3.90 a pound in 1980, was down to $3.70 in 1990. Tin, which was $8.72 a pound in 1980, was down to $3.88 a decade later.

As a result, in October 1990, Paul Ehrlich mailed Julian Simon a check for $576.07 to settle the wager in Simon's favor.

Why did it turn out this way? Simon explained;
More people, and increased income, cause resources to become more scarce in the short run. Heightened scarcity causes prices to rise. The higher prices present opportunity, and prompt inventors and entrepreneurs to search for solutions. Many fail in the search, at cost to themselves. But in a free society, solutions are eventually found. And in the long run the new developments leave us better off than if the problems had not arisen. That is, prices eventually become lower than before the increased scarcity occurred. — Julian Simon

The lesson? The free market works. If you can't figure out why that's true, you need to read my blog (and others) more often. In order to do that you must first remove your head from Obama's...uh, copy of Alinsky's Rules For Radicals.

Saturday Learning Series - Bonus: God's Universe

The Saturday Learning Series bonus called Faster Than The Speed Of Light discusses the creation of the universe 'ex nihilo' (out of nothing). Science that it is worth pointing out, has no specific disconnect with the existence of God.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Alexander Haig - Rest In Peace


Rest in peace.

Conservative Stickers

If you read my blog, you may have noticed on the side bar a link to a site called Secular Stupidest. It's a great site for original conservative stickers, but behind it are some great conservatives that deserve some recognition. And behind the stickers are some strong conservative beliefs that translate into a business model. People building a business based on their passion is what America is all about. As a fellow conservative I'm happy to endorse their designs, and not just because conservatives should support each other. There are other reasons too.

If it's more than just a business, if it's a passion, then it's destined for success by whatever measure you might want to apply. Doing what you believe in is a success in itself. How do I know they are passionate about what they do? There's evidence from their website;
We design and create visual media "with teeth", from a Conservative, Christian, Religious-Humanist, Freedom-Loving perspective. We are religious believers who love the secular. We are religious believers who embrace humanism. We, however, believe the atheistic, secular humanist movement has, in as much as it has embraced "God is dead" philosophy, brought untold misery, death, and destruction upon this earth over the past two centuries, as well as led many souls to eternal destruction.
Their passion extends beyond the business - they blog their ideas as well, and their passion comes across in their free content on their blog, and Youtube channel. We should all be so energized by our ideals.

Before their sticker business began, they were one of the many small business owners plagued by the problems of high taxes and other economic perils associated with everything from illegal immigration to the banking industry problems. One way they chose to deal with it, has been to enjoy helping support the conservative political movement, as well as conservatism in general. They are now reaching a nationwide customer base, mainly through social media. Passion and perseverance equals success. They are prime examples.

Without trying to sound like a commercial for them (and this by the way, is an unsolicited endorsement), please check out their site, their durable, easy-to-read stickers come in a variety of sizes for use anywhere - bumpers, windows, laptops, Rip Stix, bikes, helmets, motorcycles, and anywhere else you can think to put them.

I've connected with them on Twitter and via email, and I can say from personal experience that they really are very nice, caring and genuine people. As true fellow conservatives, they deserve your support.

Saturday Learning Series - Bonus: E =mc^2

Albert Einstein's E=mc^2 formula is profound. ANOTHER Saturday Learning Series BONUS, the 2005 docudrama on the discovery of the formula.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Part 7:

Part 8:

Part 9:

Part 10:

Part 11:

Saturday Learning Series - Bonus: Schrödinger's Cat

Today I'm posting a bunch of one off, Saturday Learning Series bonus items. First up the paradox of Schrödinger's Cat.

Quantum Physics is freaky, and not just the scientists...

Saturday Learning Series - The Story of English - Part 5

The Saturday Learning Series is all about educating ourselves on just about anything, science, history, linguistics - anything. The continuing Story of English is today's focus, entitled Black on White, focuses on Black English and it's influence on today's English.

A timely episode, considering this is Black History Month.

Black on White Part 1:

Black on White Part 2:

Black on White Part 3:

Black on White Part 4:

Black on White Part 5:

Black on White Part 6:

Black on White Part 7:

February 19, 2010

A little Friday oddity

Who was Roman Hruska? A guy with an odd comment and an odd tribute reference that I think came posthumously. That's all.

Roman Hruska a Republican Senator, was rendered semi-immortal in American political history after a 1970 speech he made urging fellow Senators to confirm G. Harrold Carswell to the Supreme Court. Responding to push back over Carswell's mediocrity as a judge, Hruska stated:
"Even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance?"

Sticking up for mediocrity as sticking up for the little guy is a bit odd. But does that make him immortal? No. A line near the end of this twisted little comedy ditty called Dead Puppies does. The reason for his inclusion is completely unclear.

Warning- if you have a soft spot for puppies, you might not appreciate this. However no actual puppies were harmed in the making of this song or this video. It's not real, just weird. Please don't take offense.

Song by Ogden Edsl.

Friday Musical Interlude - February 19, 2010

Friday Musical Interlude: Southern Cross, Crosby Stills & Nash

February 18, 2010

Happy Birthday

To John Travolta, Molly Ringwold, oh, and me...


Stagflation? Not exactly, but as Rick Santelli, he of the modern Tea Party creation points out, inflation is up and unemployment numbers this week aren't very rosy. Staglation could still be coming.

Rick Santelli breaks it down, no job creation and inflation 'unexpectedly' making an appearance.

You can read more here.

2010 elections - the logical outcome of 2008

Democrats are undoubtedly still perplexed at the steadily eroding public support for President Obama. You can see it in their actions. Those who had rushed to support his agenda, from Nancy Pelosi to Blanche Lincoln have either clung desperately (the irony of using that phrase is sweet) to the agenda, tried to come up with their own path or else abandon it (falsely or genuinely) and him entirely. You can see it also in the chattering class - from Jon Stewart taking the occasional and previously unimaginable, shot at the President to those expressing utter dismay at his lack of results, to those clinging to his supposed brilliance by ferociously defending him with the same verve that they had while attacking President Bush.

But the predicament the President, and Democrats in general find themselves in is a, no the, logical outcome of the events of 2008. There was no other way that things could turn out. And there is very little leeway now for Democrats to impact the outcome of the 2010 elections. At this point, it's a little bit like a convicted felon awaiting either a death sentence or life without parole. You know one of the two is going to happen and you make your pitch for the latter but clemency or a pardon is just not coming.

Even Republicans, having been chastised by the public in 2006 and again 2008 were disoriented by the Obama momentum. John McCain wasn't running against Obama - he was running against his pre-ordained myth. After the election for a time Republicans just shut up. Or tried to play along for fear of losing even more in 2010.

A while ago I mentioned detecting a small shift in the public mood and that as a conservative I was suddenly a bit worried about 2010. That feeling of a shift has thankfully passed. But despite the fact that I believe the Democrats are in big trouble there is still the possibility that Republicans can blow it. So the worry is still there. Worry is better than complacency and ironically complacency is one of my biggest worries. But, as is often the case, I digress.

Most would be shocked by where things stand today. Obama's job approval ratings are at or near the underwater mark, depending on the poll. But there are those of us, plenty actually who knew this day would come - that people would wake up to the reality of an Obama Presidency.

The President campaigned in 2008 based on saying a lot of things that would be difficult or impossible to fulfill. He also positioned himself in a way that put him in opposition to himself. Basically, he tried to portray himself as a centrist and as a far left progressive at the same time, depending on what suited the moment or the audience.

Now the public, individually expected him to govern one way or the other, depending on their own personal transference upon him. If they were moderates they believed what they heard when he said he was post-partisan. They believed his words about middle class taxes not going up. They believed he would clean up and change Washington and that he would put Congressional back room dealing out in the open on CSPAN. Some of them heard Afghanistan is the war of necessity.

The far left wing of the party on the other hand, heard "out of Iraq", Cap and Trade, and single payer universal health care. They heard close Guantanamo or they heard student loan forgiveness.

And when candidate Obama talked to Joe the Plumber about spreading the wealth, conservatives felt they had their smoking gun of socialism. Surely the center would abandon him. But they didn't - it was too late. He had become larger than life by campaigning in a way that allowed everyone, including conservatives even, to project upon him their own image of him and his agenda.

Simon and Garfunkel in the song The Boxer (not Barbara by the way) put it best:
"a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest".
No man can possibly deliver on divergent promises. And his promises ARE divergent. As a result it was only natural the Obama's support would erode. It had to - no other outcome was ever possible.

[Note - the remainder of this article is new, replacing what Google / Blogger deleted on me in my original attempt to post on this topic.  This content differs from what was previously written, as that content was lost entirely.  For the record, Google sucks].

So what happens in 2010 because of that?  Look at it from the perspective of Democratic candidates.  Since I wrote this last time (and Blogger swallowed two-thirds of my post into a black hole, stupid Google), Democratic Senator Evan Bayh has become a sterling example of the possibilities.  He has announced he will retire and not seek election.  Democrats have three choices at this point.  They can stick with Obama and the far left agenda (since he doesn't appear to be pulling a Bill Clinton and tacking back to the center).  They can quit.  Or, they can distance themselves from the left wing agenda and try to come off as more centrist in hopes of winning back lost independents.

None of those are a winning strategy in and of themselves. Retirement only works if you are already vilified (are you listening Harry Reid?).  The Evan Bayh retirement was a surprise.  While he was in some trouble, his seat was certainly still very winnable for him (ignore the Kos polling - his race was tight).  His retirement makes little sense.  Blanche Lincoln on the other hand has no chance of climbing back into her Senate race, yet she has decided to appear to tack back to the center on the national security and the KSM trial issues.  Again - it makes no sense.  She should retire and let the Democrats find someone less tied to the Democratic political establishment to try to take on the Republicans.  Then there are those who are the most like Marie Antoinette who are clinging to their Obama religion hoping it will save them from electoral defeat.  They are blinded to the reality of the current electorate and because they are still blinded by the euphoric liberal enthusiasm of last year, enabled by the mainstream media which has the same problem by and large, they can't see the world as it currently is.  They are driving the nation, looking in the rear view mirror instead of looking at the road ahead.  At every turn Democrats seem to be doing the wrong thing.  They have been caught unaware and seem to be (under the surface of course) in full-on panic mode.

The decline of Democrats in 2010 is inevitable, regardless of the fact that they are seemingly REALLY contributing to their own demise.  Michael Barone has a piece today in the Washington Examiner talking about how the GOP has to react to take advantage of the Democrats current crisis. In the specifics, he is quite right;
The architects of Bush’s victory in 2004 and of Obama’s victory in 2008 dreamed of establishing permanent governing majorities for their parties. But as political scientist David Mayhew has argued, and as the events following those victories suggest, a permanent majority is a will o’ the wisp.

Better to put into place public policies that will be enduring as party majorities come and go. This is what the Republican Congress elected in 1946 did: It repealed wartime wage and price controls, it revised labor law to reduce unions’ powers and it provided bipartisan support for Harry Truman’s Cold War policies. Democrats won back congressional majorities in 1948, but Republicans’ policies stayed in place, shaping prosperous postwar America.

Americans have rejected the Europeanizing policies of the Obama Democrats. Republicans may get a chance to put us on a better American path. They need to be prepared to do so.
BINGO.  It's true that it's still a long way to November (8.5 months).  It's true that the GOP needs to be, and to be seen to be, proactive.  But not politically.  They need to focus on what they want to fix and how - what damage they can undo, like the deficit for example.  From a political strategy standpoint, they shouldn't focus too much on anything other than the basics - get candidates, get money to advertise, connect with voters and talk about your ideas.  Other than that, just stay out of the way of the Democrat free fall.

The Democrats who decide to cling to Obama have a potent weapon in his speaking ability.  He is not a superb orator, but he does have the ability to spike his own approval for a few days after a speech and could do so again for others, despite his lack of success in Massachusetts and New Jersey in particular.  But the spike as seen in the Rasmussen graphs are temporally very brief.  Obama is not as ubiquitous as he was last year. because the White House knows that he was getting over-exposed.  They are keeping his powder mostly dry for the 2010 election cycle.  That's a double edged sword for those Obama hangers-on.  They need him to come in and save the day.  But it has to be close to election day.  He cant be in 360 districts and make 360 speeches in one week.  You'd think the Democrats would have a better plan than that, wouldn't you?  If not, we had no business losing to them in the first place.  Ever.

Democrats who retire are a bit of a wild card - in some districts like Dodd's it helps the Democrat chances, in other's like Bayh's it hurts.  It's too early to gauge these individual races.  But for those who have abandon ship Obama, his message to the Democrats as reassurance had been "you've got me" in comparing 2010 to 1994.  for those distancing themselves - they don't want him.  He's like an albatross they can't shake, or a boat anchor tied to their neck.  Or cement shoes.  Pick your metaphor, it's fun.  The problem with this approach is that they have a record of having supported directly or through being bought off, the very items they are now wanting to step away from.  It's pretty transparent and therefore it's not going to help them much.  It might in a few races, but overall, the damage of 2009 has been done.

Emboldened with hubris as a result of the anti-Bush election of 2008, Democrats believed they had an agenda mandate that Americans didn't really give them.  Further, the American political system, by it's very nature of checks and balances, sets politicians up to under-deliver, especially those who over-promise, and boy did the Democrats and Obama ever do that.  Positioning yourself as The One to solve everything, combined with a rhetorical flair to make it seem believable and a broad unspecific platform beyond Hope and Change guarantees you will disappoint a lot of people.  It obviously can get you elected, but it also pretty much also guaranteed the fallout for this year.  Barring a miraculous 2010, and 2011 it has a lot to say for 2012 as well.

Whatever the Democrats and the GOP do now, they are playing at the edges.  The Democrats could lose anywhere from 5 to 10 seats in the Senate and 20-50 seats in Congress.  What both parties are trying to do is work within that range, but only strong economic change will bring about real tilts in those numbers.  Well, that and big blunders by the GOP, though I suspect they may at some point in the next few months shift into the Prevent Defense for the remainder of the cycle and work on consolidating their gains to date. That may or may not be the right strategy - that's worth a discussion of its own.

The course is fundamentally set now.  It was set back in 2008.  My own moment of panic aside, there's no reason not to enjoy the coming months.  That doesn't mean become complacent, it means be positive about the outcome of the November mid-terms, and work towards them in that frame of mind.  You'll enjoy it so much more.

Debate Advice #1

You find yourself in a debate with a liberal progressive over the issue of government not having the rightful authority to limit executive compensation. What do you do?

[Read the following paragraph in an imagined William F. Buckley tone]

You are on a weak footing with the casual political observers listening in to begin with. They hate bankers and corporate greed more than they hate government. And after all the mentions of fat cats, you are in the unenviable position of defending the greedy, rich ponzi-scheming leeches you probably don't even particularly like yourself. Despite your reticence you still understand the importance of liberty in the markets and the whole risk-reward paradigm vis-a-vis socializing failure versus it's pronounced effect on innovation.

[End Buckley]

So what are you to do? You've already tried the 'but athlete make millions every year too' argument, only to be thwarted by the argument that their careers are short and they provide more social value than bankers (a dubious claim at best). It's also a typical straw man ploy.

You've got two arguments to counter with still at your disposal. The simpler, less impacting one is that actors and musicians do not have short careers yet still rake in millions. They are not capped. Should they be capped too? Or is entertainment a more important social function that keeping your savings safe and providing mortgages for home owners? There are not millions of people in these executive positions making multi-million bonuses.

Furthermore, we are in a competitive market. Attracting smart business decision makers requires compensating them at market rates. In order to compete with a Swiss bank in recruiting and keeping top talent, an American bank has to pay the prevailing wage (progressives love that term - turn it on them). If the government cuts that by 60% those smart bankers will look for work with Credit Suisse. They may then steal business away from Bank of America. Lost talent, lost innovation and then lost opportunity. The American 'empire' is next to be lost as that effect snowballs.

Maybe progressives won't care. They often don't seem to care about country. So you have to finish by hitting home.

If they can regulate and cap executive pay, and clearly want to do the same with health care, and therefore doctors' pay, why not rodeo clowns and garage mechanics too? And if they can cap those making say over $250k per year, just like taxes, who is to say it will never be adjusted downward? Who among us is safe? Who is next? No one is immune from the slippery slope.

This may not convince the progressives whose ultimate goal may be communist-style pay equity across everyone, but those listening in are sure to take notice.
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