February 28, 2014

Friday Musical Interlude - Gimme Shelter

The Rolling Stones' Gimme Shelter from 1969's Let It Bleed.

Breaking: Q4 2014 GDP revised to 2.4%

That's a drop from 3.2%  in the original estimate.  2.4% is a weak number and marks a deceleration from Q3 in the U.S.  By contrast the Canadian Q4 GDP revision went up from 2.6% to 2.9%.

February 27, 2014

Thursday Hillary Bash - Cult

Hillary Clinton's cult of personality?  Those who fell under the Obama spell and fell prey to his cult of personality, might possibly not want to do the same thing again.  So claims a prominent South Carolina Democrat.
"Is Hillary ready for Hillary? That's the question," said former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian, who said he plans to support Biden if he runs. "Is it a political organization or a fan club for a boy band? I just don't understand the idea that somehow you've got to encourage her to run. Either people want to run and have a coherent message about why they should be president, or not. She has been around the block. She knows that if she wants to run, she can get in and get the money."

"I think it's a cult, not a political movement," Harpootlian added. "Ready for Hillary compared to who? The field still has to develop."
Now, you have to take anything from a Biden supporter with a grain of salt.  But Ready For Hillary seems to be kinda cultish, or at least a fan club as Harpootlian put it.  With recent polls suggesting a lot of Obama supporters might have buyer's remorse over his election and/or re-election, Harpootlian is smartly laying some groundwork for the approach to derail Hillary's possible quest for the presidency.  To position her as a cult of personality candidate dovetails perfectly with those who feel like they fell for an empty suit in Obama.  The cult of personality is what worked for Obama.  If you feel betrayed by that, having the same thing being tagged to Clinton works in Biden's favor.

February 26, 2014

Dude, are you serious?

The road to nowhere.
President Obama, failing to see the irony in his own actions, has let Republicans out of his trap.  That is, if he even realizes that he had set a trap for them yesterday.  I was quite sure the president wanted to get Republicans on record as opposing budget cuts with Hagel's crazy plan for military cuts earlier this week.  That, in order to prepare for the upcoming midterm elections by having the GOP say no to spending cuts that the GOP insists are necessary to save the republic.

But the president did not give Republicans a chance to vote down his proposed military cuts before he gave the GOP a way out of the trap today.
Just two days after the Pentagon outlined major cuts to the U.S. Army and other military programs, President Obama is calling for a whopping $300 billion commitment for America's roads, bridges and mass transit systems -- though as much as half comes from a tax plan that has bleak prospects on the Hill.

The president talked about the stimulus-style plan during a stop Wednesday afternoon in St. Paul, Minn. Officials say the money, as proposed, largely would come from "pro-growth business tax reform." But aside from the challenges in pushing tax reform, Obama could have a hard time making the sell when his military leaders, just days ago, were complaining about the budget crunch.
I was giving the president too much credit yesterday as a political machinations wizard.  He's just an ideologue, pure and simple.  He just wants less military, and instead more public works jobs that support unions, government spending and really aren't even all that necessary.

Besides the transparent liberal ideology, how exactly is Obama intending to sell this, when juxtaposed with his cutbacks to national defense at a time when that isn't exactly prudent? He isn't going to be successful no matter how hard he tries.  He fails to see the irony in his actions.  He's no political genius, except perhaps when it comes to getting elected (and even that is suspect).  The proof that his political skills are weak came today in the form of a 1-2 punch - the first to Republicans two days ago, today to his own face.  Laughable.

February 25, 2014

Hey America! You and what army?

Chuck your liberal stripes are showing. 

Chuck Hagel, the indefensible Defense Secretary of the United States, realizes that the United States is facing unprecedented international challenges and existential threats.  His solution?  Gut the military.  I mean, really gut it.  Yeah, that'll work.

Saying it was time to "reset" for a new era, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recommended shrinking American forces from 520,000 active duty troops to between 440,000 and 450,000.

In a speech outlining the proposed defense budget, he said Monday that after Iraq and Afghanistan, US military leaders no longer plan to "conduct long and large stability operations."

If approved by Congress, the Pentagon move would reduce the army to its lowest manning levels since 1940, before the American military dramatically expanded after entering World War II.
Don't expect Congress to go along with this. The question though is how Hagel sees the logic in this.  The explanation lies in this bit:
The Pentagon had previously planned to downsize the ground force to about 490,000.

But Hagel warned that to adapt to future threats "the army must accelerate the pace and increase the scale of its post-war drawdown."
There's the problem. Hagel thinks that to face future threats, the army must be weakened. There is no logic in this. The last time America''s military was as small as Hagel wants it to be, what happened? Pearl Harbor happened.

This is not to say that in order to get America's burgeoning debt under control that military spending cuts don't need to play a part, they do. But Hagel is being disingenuous when he says that smaller means stronger. It simply doesn't. Being Secretary of Defense his role is to argue for the strongest, most effective military force possible. He is abdicating his responsibility arguing any other position. Especially when he is doing so in such a transparently ineffective fashion.

All of that without even getting into the economic impact of reducing military personnel, shutting bases, mothballing aircraft etc.  There will be serious consequences if this happens.  my suspicion though is that the Obama administration doesn't want this to happen anyway.  It's all about getting Republican's on record for opposing spending cuts after they have been howling for years about Obama's profligate spending.  With his tried and true approach of throwing it back at Republicans and saying they have offered no alternatives (the same canard he keeps using on Obamacare), he can argue to voters going into the midterm elections that this is proof that Republicans don't mean what they say.  That's a powerful weapon to help stem the tide of a possible electoral bloodbath for Democrats in Congress.  With a complicit media, it might work.

February 24, 2014

Sochi Security holds up, but...

It looks like the Sochi Olympics went off without a hitch as far as security goes.  That's a good thing.  If a police state like the son of the Soviet Union that Russia has become can't stop terror attacks, what chance would we in the West have where searching nuns would be frowned upon (or should be)?

Just asking.

Of course we should have suspected all along that security would not be the issue at the Sochi Olympics. Transparency is another thing.  Graft it seems, was what built the entire venue;
“The Sochi Olympics are an unprecedented thieves’ caper,” says former deputy prime minister and opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. He claims that some $26-billion in phony costs may have been creamed off by contractors, many of whom are Putin cronies.
But it doesn't end there.  There's also the issue of padding Russian results with more or better medals.
When Adelina Sotnikova of Russia won the gold medal in women's figure skating over South Korea's Yuna Kim on Thursday night, it was the signature moment of the Sochi Games for the host nation. For many skating fans, however, it was a serious injustice. With&nbsp accusations of inflated scores for Russian skaters and several judges having  questionable backgrounds, Sotnikova's win has been seen as both the skate of her life and a potential injustice towards Kim.
Is Russia concerned about efforts to overturn the gold medal?  I'm just asking but really, in a rhetorical way this time.

And then there's the issue of Russia's intolerance of gay rights. I guess Putin counted on the protests to quietky disappear once the games got underway.  It turns out, he was right.
...the only really noticeable pro-gay act inside Olympic Park came when Italian Vladimir Luxuria, a transgender gay rights activist, showed up at a women's hockey game in a rainbow skirt after broadcasting that she planned a protest. Police removed her from the park. A day earlier police detained her briefly after she unfurled a "gay is okay" banner outside the park.

So what happened?

"I really have already voiced my opinion and spoken out," said U.S. figure skater Ashley Wagner, responding to questions from reporters. Wagner has been outspoken in her criticism of the Russian laws. "My stand against the LGBT legislation here in Russia is really the most that I can do right now," she said. "I'm here to compete first and foremost."
Is Russia going to be penalized by the international community for this sort of approach the way a politician anywhere else in the world might be?  Just asking.

With all of this going on in a sporting environment, can you imagine what Putin is trying to do behind the scenes with respect to the situation in the Ukraine, no matter what president Obama exhorts Russia to do or not do?

Again, just asking.

February 22, 2014

Saturday Learning Series - The Language of Coins Parts 5-8

The Saturday Learning Series picks up from a couple of weeks ago with parts 5 through 8 of the language of coins series.

Part 5 - Visual Telegraphs.

Part 6 - Electricity.

Part 7 - The battery and electromagnetism

Part 8 - The information age

February 21, 2014

Our FCC Overlords will tell you what the news will be.

Is this Childhood's End come to life?  Liberals took a run at the Second Amendment, and failed.  Now it seems, they want to go after the big prize: the First Amendment. Phrase by phrase if need be. This may be the biggest scandal of the Obama era - government overreach on the part of the FCC that if followed through on, will be the single biggest blow to liberty in the republic, ever. 

The First Amendment, in case you forget, goes something like 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

The FCC perhaps, hasn't read it.  If they did, they would probably want to tell the media how to report on it.

Via WSJ:
...But everyone should agree on this: The government has no place pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories.

Unfortunately, the Federal Communications Commission, where I am a commissioner, does not agree. Last May the FCC proposed an initiative to thrust the federal government into newsrooms across the country. With its "Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs," or CIN, the agency plans to send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run. A field test in Columbia, S.C., is scheduled to begin this spring.

The purpose of the CIN, according to the FCC, is to ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters about "the process by which stories are selected" and how often stations cover "critical information needs," along with "perceived station bias" and "perceived responsiveness to underserved populations."

How does the FCC plan to dig up all that information? First, the agency selected eight categories of "critical information" such as the "environment" and "economic opportunities," that it believes local newscasters should cover.
Piling on the IRS singling out Tea Party groups for special attention, this administration is not only not stopping government bureaucracies from exceeding their  mandates, it is actively encouraging them to do so.  Even if by omission, this is a terrible indictment of a government that is putting politics well ahead of the rights of citizens.

If ever an American government needed to be stopped in its tracks, now is the time.  It will be interesting to see if journalists and news media step up to this and tell it like it is or if they too will place political agendas ahead of their own interests. 

Friday Musical Interlude - Peas and Rice

Swing Republic's re-work of Count Basie's Peas and Rice in an electroswing way. James Rushing's original 1938 vocals with Basie are on the 2011 re-working.


I've also included the original  Basie/Rushing  version for comparison purposes.

February 20, 2014

Free Internet for the entire planet? The Outernet is coming

Welcome the Outernet. The implications of free Internet for the entire planet are vast. Cheaper access from Internet providers is probably more of an immediate impact than change in North Korea, where free is no good because they aren't all exactly walking around with Galaxy tablets.

Nevertheless, this is the type of thing that could have a dramatic impact on situations like the ones in Syria, Egypt and the Ukraine.
If all goes according to plan, North Koreans will soon have free, uncensored Internet provided by satellites the size of toaster ovens.

That's part of a project called Outernet, which hopes to launch hundreds of tiny satellites—known as CubeSats—to provide Internet to every person on Earth. Forty percent of the world's people currently don't have access to the Web. In a little more than a year, Outernet plans to have a fleet of 24 satellites operational and testing to pave the way for a globe-spanning network.

The satellites won't be providing conventional Internet right away. They'll initially be used for one-way communication to provide services like emergency updates, news, crop prices, and educational programs. Users will help determine what content is offered.

The project's backers say knowledge is a human right—one they intend to provide even in countries where dictators have thus far limited access. "We exist to support the flow of independent news, information, and debate that people need to build free, thriving societies," said Peter Whitehead, president of the Media Development Investment Fund, Outernet's backer. "It enables fuller participation in public life, holds the powerful to account and protects the rights of the individual."
I'm not sure what the business model supporting this venture, perhaps it's based on advertising.  If this does materialize, it will most certainly change the dynamic of geo-politics.  Information cannot be contained and controlled, which is a very positive development in many countries.

February 19, 2014

CBO kinda making sense. Doesn't matter to Obama.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has reported that Obamacare will cost jobs.  Now they are saying that raising the minimum wage will cost jobs.  When did the CBO start making sense?  On some level , they are reporting things in a less partisan, premeditated way than when they were offering crutches for Obamacare.  And the president's signature piece, is indeed in need of that crutch.  That's the real reason he's pushing for a minimum wage increase now.

February 18, 2014

The legislative tipping point has officially been passed

When laws become so ubiquitous that the Justice Department can't quantify how many federal laws exist, governance by executive fiat becomes something that goes unchallenged.   According to the Library of Congress blog,
In an example of a failed attempt to tally up the number of laws on a specific subject area, in 1982 the Justice Department tried to determine the total number of criminal laws. In a project that lasted two years, the Department compiled a list of approximately 3,000 criminal offenses. This effort, headed by Ronald Gainer, a Justice Department official, is considered the most exhaustive attempt to count the number of federal criminal laws. In a Wall Street Journal article about this project, “this effort came as part of a long and ultimately failed campaign to persuade Congress to revise the criminal code, which by the 1980s was scattered among 50 titles and 23,000 pages of federal law.” Or as Mr. Gainer characterized this fruitless project: “[y]ou will have died and [been] resurrected three times,” and still not have an answer to this question.
When the Justice Department takes that long to determine the number of criminal laws, just a portion of federal law, exist, a tipping point has been passed.

February 15, 2014

No weekend posts

I will not have access to a computer or internet this weekend, so there will be no posting, and no Saturday Learning series this weekend.

It's also a long weekend here in the Great White North, so no posting until Tuesday probably).  A long weekend? We're celebrating sending America repeated polar vortices this year.  Enjoy them.

February 14, 2014

Friday Musical Interlude - Sultans of Swing

Not particularly Valentine's Day inspired, here's Pink Turtle's cover version of Dire Straits' Sultans of Swing.

February 13, 2014

Thursday Hillary Bash - The forgiveness begins

Earlier this week I made note of the Free Beacon article about Hillary Clinton as ruthless.  Later, I argued that her role as an enabler of Bill Clinton's philandering wouldn't matter vis-à-vis the 2016 election wouldn't matter.  I think liberals have already figured that out and have moved on to defending her ruthlessness.  In a gender-warfare-based defense, it has already started at the Washington Post. And then some.

Kathleen Parker writes:
To some, she is an intelligent woman who has weathered a 20-year assault with relative grace. To others, she’s a pushy broad whose dagger gaze reminds them of a disapproving teacher, or worse. Guess which ones are women and which are men...

What Blair’s papers mostly reveal is that Hillary Clinton is a human being who was deeply hurt and humiliated by the Lewinsky affair — and that she is sometimes profane in private. Men, we admit, are less secretive, often hurling their epithets in public — even sometimes on the Senate floor.

We also learn that Hillary once referred to Lewinsky as a “narcissistic loony toon,” which by most books is a charitable observation.

Perhaps the more apt metaphor for this week’s buzz isn’t a movie after all but double jeopardy. The case of Hillary, Bill and Monica has been prosecuted and then some. Thus all, especially Hillary, have been politically inoculated against further prosecution on this point. Besides, as some apparently need reminding, Hillary was the victim.
She manages to argue both the ruthless meme and uses the victim card to counter the enabler meme all the while playing gender warfare politics in just a few short paragraphs.  As a blogger, I'm jealous of her talent.  But forgiveness isn't really part of what Parker is all about.  She's been defending Hillary for a while.  She clearly doesn't view Hillary as requiring forgiveness.  Rather for her, this is all about a female liberal Democrat winning the next presidential election at all costs.  Pull out all of the stops and sanity be damned.

It's no coincidence that the rush to Hillary's defense is immediate.  It stands as stark contrast to the drubbing Chris Christie took in the media but also from within his own Republican party.  If that contrast does not fill you with trepidation for 2016, it should.  Not only do Democrats have the media on their side, they've got their act together when it comes to politics.  Republicans and conservatives, no longer dependable allies, will get trounced competing against that if they don't smarten up.  It won't even matter if Hillary is the Democratic nominee.

February 12, 2014

Paul Ryan vs Boehner and Cantor

CAVE...Paul Ryan voted against a clean debt ceiling increase for Democrats in the Senate and White House to spend away.  John Boehner and Eric Cantor on the other hand, have conceded the fight. They are seemingly hoping for a temporary suspension of the label "obstructionist, do nothing Congress" in exchange for the free rein on debt for the most spendthrift cabal in the history of the world.

Hillary Clinton as enabler meme won't matter

Just assail her logic instead, okay?
Earlier this week I was quick to note the Free Beacon story about Hillary Clinton's mean-spiritedness.  That meme will be worth holding onto for the 2016 presidential elections.  But the one that confuses me is the notion being played up in some quarters that Hillary Clinton's biggest problem going into 2016 relates to her role as an enabler to Bill Clinton's philandering.  But those circles seem to be over-weighted to Democrats who'd like to see Republicans go after her for that.

February 11, 2014

President Obama is above the law...

...according none other than president Obama:

Ironic that he's meeting with the French president when he made this comment.  It was Louis XIV of France who supposedly claimed "I am the state."

Comment Submission Update

I've changed my comment submission form today to include word verification.  Over the last few weeks I've been getting a sudden surge in attempted spam.  Hundreds of spam comments are now being submitted to my site daily rather than a few spam comments per week.

I've bashed blogger in the past for functionality but I will give them credit for catching all but one of thousands of span comments.

Comments, real ones are still always welcome.

February 10, 2014

CBO analysis of Obamacare in one paragraph

In a summary statement of what the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) John Podhoretz of the NY Post had this to say about Obamacare. Way to put it bluntly (seriously, well put):
The one-two punch: Virtually as many Americans will lack health coverage in 10 years as before the law was passed — but 2 million fewer will be working than if the law hadn't passed.
Now you know.

Thursday Hillary Bash - on Monday?

Normally I wait when I see something on Hillary Clinton, in order to put it in my Thursday Hillary Bash.  It offers consistency for readers and it gives me time to digest the news item and organize my thoughts about it.  But sometimes something is too good to ignore for a few days and this is one of them.  Hillary Clinton apparently, is ruthless.  This could have been put out by those seeking to strengthen her image as being tough - a quality leaders need to posses.  But if that's the case, politically, does this do more damage than good for her?
On May 12, 1992, Stan Greenberg and Celinda Lake, top pollsters for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign, issued a confidential memo. The memo’s subject was “Research on Hillary Clinton.”

Voters admired the strength of the Arkansas first couple, the pollsters wrote. However, “they also fear that only someone too politically ambitious, too strong, and too ruthless could survive such controversy so well.”

Their conclusion: “What voters find slick in Bill Clinton, they find ruthless in Hillary.”

The full memo is one of many previously unpublished documents contained in the archive of one of Hillary Clinton’s best friends and advisers, documents that portray the former first lady, secretary of State, and potential 2016 presidential candidate as a strong, ambitious, and ruthless Democratic operative.

The papers of Diane Blair, a political science professor Hillary Clinton described as her “closest friend” before Blair’s death in 2000, record years of candid conversations with the Clintons on issues ranging from single-payer health care to Monica Lewinsky.

The archive includes correspondence, diaries, interviews, strategy memos, and contemporaneous accounts of conversations with the Clintons ranging from the mid-1970s to the turn of the millennium.

Diane Blair’s husband, Jim Blair, a former chief counsel at Tyson Foods Inc. who was at the center of “Cattlegate,” a 1994 controversy involving the unusually large returns Hillary Clinton made while trading cattle futures contracts in the 1970s, donated his wife’s papers to the University of Arkansas Special Collections library in Fayetteville after her death.

The full contents of the archive, which before 2010 was closed to the public, have not previously been reported on and shed new light on Clinton’s three decades in public life. The records paint a complex portrait of Hillary Clinton, revealing her to be a loyal friend, devoted mother, and a cutthroat strategist who relished revenge against her adversaries and complained in private that nobody in the White House was “tough and mean enough.”
Their conclusions may be incorrect, but there is reason to see sense in what the pollsters found, especially when her alleged comments are considered.  Thee's tough, and there's vindictive.  Voters may like the former but nobody likes the latter.  Politically this may hurt Hillary more with her liberal supporters than with conservatives, who already don't like her and are pretty much locked in against her.  Liberal supporters however, probably like to believe that they are nice, giving and above such things and would expect to see the same in their leaders.  This flies in the face of Obama's attempts to empathize ('the folks are hurting') and even her husband ('I feel your pain').  It also dovetails well as evidence when viewed with the recent disclosure of her enemies list.

This is the sort of thing that needs to have eyeballs on it, particularly liberal, Hillary-supporting eyeballs.

February 8, 2014

Saturday Learning Series - Language of Coins Parts 1 to 4

A new Saturday Learning Series about the topic of What is Information, a brief web series from Art of the Problem.  Told in 16 short parts, I've split the series into groups of four.

Part 1 delves into questions such as what is entropy? a bit? communication? compression?

Part 2: "The origin of pictographic & ideographic writing systems are imagined in the first part of this story (proto-writing). The rebus principle is introduced, setting the stage for the development of an alphabet"

Part 3: The history of the alphabet.

Part 4: Source encoding.

February 7, 2014

Friday Musical Interlude - The Mar-Keys

The first house band for Stax Records, the Mar-Keys included members who would later perform in Booker T & the MGs, and the Blues Brothers.  In 1961 they released Last Night, a song that if you don't know, you will probably recognize anyway.

February 6, 2014

Thursday Hillary Bash - I am not alone in this.

Every Thursday (almost), I've been posting a series called Thursday Hillary Bash, which outlines the Hillary Clinton presidential candidacy, from the perspective that she's exactly qualified to be president.  Of course that didn't stop the current White House resident, but that is all the more reason to capture and compile the reasons in one place (here) that she should not be the next POTUS.  Those reasons range from motives, to policies to political, to many others.  Happily, I have not been alone in posting about her flawed march towards the White House.

Here are some recent posts on Hillary Clinton from other bloggers that are worth reading today.

Legal Insurrection discussed the fact that Hillary Clinton is all machine, and no message.  Style over substance worked for Obama.  Have voters smartened up enough to see the same in her?

Conservative Black Chick 'lamented' the fall of both Clinton and Christie.

Conservative Blogs Central had an article about Clinton's sex scandals a couple of weeks ago.

Conservative Action Alerts raised the "gotcha" in Hillary's recent admission that her biggest regret is what happened in Benghazi.  Guess what Hillary, it's a pretty big regret for a lot of other people too.

Um...the Huffington Post discussed why Hillary might not be "IT" for the Democrats in lengthy detail.  Interesting read from the liberal perspective.  

Are We Aware Yet, recently reminded readers that Hillary Clinton is a wealth re-distributor just like Obama and electing her is simply a call for four more years.

Teri O'Brien wants you to know that Hillary Clinton is an embodiment of the Peter Principle (the notion that people get promoted until they reach their position of incompetence). Well, not exactly.  Teri O'Brien's take is that with every screw up, Hillary has moved up - something worse than the Peter Principle because she wasn't copetent at any level and was rewarded with promotions anyway.

February 5, 2014

The GOP isn't supposed to be slow!

The GOP leadership is still trying to fight for amnesty, against the wishes of its constituency, and more importantly, against common sense.

The machinery of government is slow to move; the bureaucracy makes it so.  Getting things done - good or bad - takes time.  It's not just the bureaucracy, the government itself was designed to move slowly.  The checks and balances built in with three separate but equal branches of government are there for a reason.  The fact that the Senate election cycle differs from the Congress and allows the Senate to avoid bending to mass hysteria and mob rule the way Congress is more wont to do, is a blessing not a curse.

That's not entirely true - the very force that slowed the country's descent into a socialist, welfare state is the very inertial force that helps prevent escaping it. That, combined with a now-entrenched entitlement society enabled by the current government's views on social safety nets, make a shift back to a sensible form of government almost impossible it seems.  All that said, the original intent is still valid when it comes to curbing government excess and over-reach, except when the government decides to ignore the Constitution (Does "I have a pen and a phone..." scare anyone else?).

But what is even more concerning is that the sentiment behind slow government is not supposed to apply to the political parties, and the Republican party seems to have fallen into a slow line of thinking.  It's a line of thinking that will serve not only to dampen their political fortunes (both short and long term), but also enable a continued slide towards more collectivism and further away from what has made the country successful for over two centuries.

The problem, is that the GOP is busy capitulating in a battle that doesn't need to be fought because it's not a top-of-mind issue with voters right now, like it might have been 2 years ago.  Talk about shooting yourself in the foot - repeatedly.

The great Thomas Sowell elucidated a couple of days ago:
Some supporters of President Obama may be worried about how he and the Democrats are going to fare politically, as the problems of Obamacare continue to escalate and it looks like the Republicans have a chance to win a majority in the Senate.

But Democrats may not need to worry so much. Republicans may once again come to the rescue of the Democrats, by discrediting themselves and snatching defeat from the very jaws of victory.

The latest bright idea among Republicans inside the Beltway is a new version of amnesty that is virtually certain to lose votes among the Republican base and is unlikely to gain many votes among the Hispanics the Republican leadership is courting.

One of the enduring political mysteries is how the Republicans can be so successful in winning governorships and control of state legislatures, while failing to make much headway in Washington. Maybe there are just too many clever GOP consultants inside the Beltway.

When it comes to national elections, just what principles do the Republicans stand for? It is hard to think of any, other than their hoping to win elections by converting themselves into Democrats lite. But voters who want what the Democrats offer can vote for the real thing, rather than Johnny-come-lately imitations.

Listening to discussions of immigration laws and proposals to reform them is like listening to something out of “Alice in Wonderland.”

Immigration laws are the only laws that are discussed in terms of how to help people who break them. One of the big problems that those who are pushing “comprehensive immigration reform” want solved is how to help people who came here illegally and are now “living in the shadows” as a result.
The GOP is slow to the table on illegal immigration with bad, enabling ideas at a time when they should just shut up about it and focus on only two things - jobs, and Obamacare.  That this needs to be spelled out for them does not bode well for the 2014  midterm elections.  NOTE to GOP leadership: Speed up, move on and pay attention to what voters are concerned about today.

February 4, 2014

No, Sotomayor, THIS is what's insulting...

According to a CBS report, Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor has stated that labeling illegal immigrants as criminals is insulting.
Sotomayor was asked at a talk at Yale Law School later in the day about her use of the term “undocumented immigrants” rather than the traditional illegal alien. Sotomayor characterized the issue as a regulatory problem and said labeling immigrants criminals seemed insulting to her.

“I think people then paint those individuals as something less than worthy human beings and it changes the conversation,” Sotomayor said.
Firstly, no one is painting them as "less than human". That's a mis-characterization of the opinions of those who oppose illegal immigration.  It's unfair to the point of absurdity.  But that's often the point when liberals talk about conservatives.  Mis-characterize their positions and then ridicule them.  That's right out of the Alinsky playbook (which can still be countered by the way).

Secondly, if I could direct your attention to the dictionary definition of the word criminal:
: involving illegal activity : relating to crime

: relating to laws that describe crimes rather than to laws about a person's rights

: morally wrong
The word illegal is in the definition of criminal. Not unexpectedly, the definition of illegal includes criminal as a synonym, below the definition.
: not allowed by the law : not legal

: not allowed by the rules in a game
Illegal immigration is called illegal because it is being done outside the law. The very definition of illegal indicates criminal activities. It is not the right of a non-American citizen to become one, without due process, and a legal application to become a citizen, or even a visitor.

What is insulting Justice Sotomayor, is that your opinion has been elevated to the level of the Supreme Court - the ultimate arbiter of legal justice in America - when it appears you do not even understand the basic concepts of law (at least, in this instance).

Interestingly, there's an article at PolicyMic that leverages the global warming crowd's tactics of changing the labels and argues that we should stop using the very term illegal immigrant. The points it makes are a likely reflection of Sotomayor's thinking on the issue.
Aside from the fact that the term "illegal immigrant" is not legally accurate, it completely dehumanizes and wrongfully criminalizes millions of people instead of their actions.
The point is their actions are indeed illegal (even in the cases when it is unintentional like it may be with second generation illegal immigrants).  The word, used in conjunction with the word immigrant, is a way to differentiate between illegal and legal immigrants. Period.  We don't say illegal jaywalkers because the fact that it is illegal is implied - there is no 'legal' jaywalking .

The other arguments made in the PolicyMic article by the way, are fatuous and based on the clichéd and ridiculous notion that American immigration laws are "draconian".  That point isn't even worth a counter-argument.  However, if you want one as Forbes noted, the United States is the most legal immigration friendly country in the world in raw numbers.  Without getting into a debate about the right level on a percentage basis (based on infrastructure and the relative ability to absorb more immigrants), the United States ranked in the top 25 of countries around the world.  That's not bad.

Illegal immigration must be addressed, and it must be addressed intelligently.  What the left, including Justice Sotomayor, are doing, is promoting a political advantage for themselves under the guise of acting humanely.  No one is suggesting rolling up in trucks and deporting children back to Cuba by force like Bill Clinton did.  Well, almost nobody.  But letting everyone in with amnesty will be as successful as a one-size-fits-all health care solution.

February 3, 2014

Bill O'Reilly vs Obama: What Bill did wrong

I have already opined about Obama not having an endgame in his interview with Bill O'Reilly yesterday.  But I think Bill O'Reilly made some mistakes too.  There's an old expression, "Give a man enough rope and he'll hang himself."  Bill O'Reilly wanted answers.  His audience wanted answers.  But Bill O'Reilly genuinely seems to believe his audience (who are typically not Obama fans) wants combativeness more than they want to see president Obama say something that he can't take back.

Here are some examples of exchanges where O'Reilly let his audience down.  The reason will be self-evident.
O'REILLY: It's in the past. But isn't that the...

OBAMA: So...

O'REILLY: -- biggest mistake?

OBAMA: Well, I, you know, Bill, as I said...

O'REILLY: You gave your enemies...

OBAMA: You...

O'REILLY: -- a lot of fodder for it.
OBAMA: -- that's an act of terror, which is how I characterized it the day after it happened. So the -- so the question ends up being who, in fact, was attacking us?

O'REILLY: But it's more than that...

OBAMA: And that...

O'REILLY: -- though...

OBAMA: -- well, we...

O'REILLY: -- because of Susan Rice.

OBAMA: No, it...

O'REILLY: It's more than that because if Susan Rice goes out and tells the world that it was a spontaneous demonstration...

OBAMA: Bill...

O'REILLY: -- off a videotape but your...

OBAMA: Bill...
OBAMA: -- by the independent agency...


OBAMA: -- but we also have to make sure that we understand our folks out there are in a hazardous, dangerous situation...

O'REILLY: I think everybody understands that...

OBAMA: -- and we...

O'REILLY: -- Mr. President.

OBAMA: No, but -- but, actually, not everybody does, because what ends up happening...

O'REILLY: I think they do.

OBAMA: -- what ends up happening is we end up creating a political agenda...

O'REILLY: Absolutely...

OBAMA: -- over something...

O'REILLY: -- and that's...


O'REILLY: -- that was my next question.
Oh really, O'Reilly? That's not a debate, that's not a conversation, it's not even an interview. It did nothing. In fact, it reminded me of the Superbowl itself in that way - disappointing.

What was Obama's endgame on his O'Reilly interview?

What was he thinking?  President Obama was on Fox News being interviewed with Bill O'Reilly hours before the Superbowl.  I get why Fox News did it, it helps the prominence of their most prominent and highly successful news talk show, The O'Reilly Factor.  O'Reilly isn't always solidly conservative, but he is at least willing to ask questions that most of the media will avoid with this president.  So Obama going into the interview had to know it was not going to be a softball interview.  So why do it?  Three years ago he did a Superbowl interview with O'Reilly but that was 2011.  Obama had just lost a big election and was trying to damage control and regain credibility/approval with some non-liberal voters who might still be his supporters and who happened to watch Fox News.  It made him seem reasonable.  But this is 2014 and the sides have been chosen.  He wasn't going to likely soften his image amongst his detractors without striking a very conciliatory tone on a number of issues.

But that's not really his style.  Obama doesn't like being questioned, and he doesn't think he's ever wrong, so the interview would not only be challenging, it would be contentious.  Obama had to know that going in. So if he were not to be conciliatory, he'd have to hold himself in check and be gracious.  Not only did that not happen, he went on offense.
O'REILLY: All right.

Was it the biggest mistake of your presidency to tell the nation over and over, if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance?

OBAMA: Oh, Bill, you've got a long list of my mistakes of my presidency...
There was a testy exchange as well on the IRS targeting Tea Party groups:
O'REILLY: OK, so you don't -- you don't recall seeing Shulman, because what some people are saying is that the IRS was used...


O'REILLY: -- at a -- at a local level in Cincinnati, and maybe other places to go after...

OBAMA: Absolutely wrong.

O'REILLY: -- to go after.

OBAMA: Absolutely wrong.

O'REILLY: But how do you know that, because we -- we still don't know what happened there?

OBAMA: Bill, we do -- that's not what happened. They -- folks have, again, had multiple hearings on this. I mean these kinds of things keep on surfacing, in part because you and your TV station will promote them.
When he wasn't going on the offense he seemed, well, annoyed:
O'REILLY: -- I'm just confused.

OBAMA: And I'm -- and I'm trying to explain it to, if you want to listen. The fact of the matter is is that people understood, at the time, something very dangerous was happening, that we were focused on making sure that we did everything we can -- could -- to protect them. In the aftermath, what became clear was that the security was lax, that not all the precautions and -- that needed to be taken were taken and both myself and Secretary Clinton and others indicated as much.
What was Obama's end game taking a combative approach with O'Reilly? To reach out to lost voters  Clearly not, or else his execution was abysmal, even too abysmal for him.  Was it to energize his base - who believe he's been too conciliatory? His base doesn't watch Fox, but even if they catch the excerpts on MSNBC, they aren't going to cheer-lead him for taking a tough stance against a political enemy.  They expect that of him.  Was her trying to win over conservatives? Don't even bother asking that one.  Really, there wasn't an end game with this, which is about par for the Obama course.

Yes, it's become a tradition for Obama to interviewed by the host network on Superbowl Sunday, but it doesn't need to be a carved in stone tradition.  It would have served Obama more to have cancelled the interview.
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