April 30, 2014

Oh Crap! China takes top spot.

Everyone had a sense that this was coming.  According to FT, China is set to overtake the United States as the world's largest economy this year.  That`s 5 years ahead of most predictions.  While there are plenty of reasons to question the validity of the unexpected news, it should still serve as a wake up call for a country whose economy has been the world`s largest since 1872.

First the bad news:
The US is on the brink of losing its status as the world’s largest economy, and is likely to slip behind China this year, sooner than widely anticipated, according to the world’s leading statistical agencies.

The US has been the global leader since overtaking the UK in 1872. Most economists previously thought China would pull ahead in 2019.
But there are reasons to doubt the veracity of the numbers. Firsty, the calculation has changed - the goal posts have moved;
After extensive research on the prices of goods and services, the ICP concluded that money goes further in poorer countries than it previously thought, prompting it to increase the relative size of emerging market economies.

The estimates of the real cost of living, known as purchasing power parity or PPPs, are recognised as the best way to compare the size of economies rather than using volatile exchange rates, which rarely reflect the true cost of goods and services: on this measure the IMF put US GDP in 2012 at $16.2tn, and China’s at $8.2tn.

In 2005, the ICP thought China’s economy was less than half the size of the US, accounting for only 43 per cent of America’s total. Because of the new methodology – and the fact that China’s economy has grown much more quickly – the research placed China’s GDP at 87 per cent of the US in 2011.
Dumbing down the numbers by using PPP as a medium doesn`t really reflect the true picture. It`s like saying their economy is bigger because stuff is cheaper there. It does incorporate the idea of wealth vs. money which I applaud, but comparing a middle class or poorer class person in China to a middle class or poorer class person in America is not apples to apples. Poverty in the U.S. is not the same as abject poverty in China. That`s where PPP falls apart as a comparative when it comes to GDP.

But there are other reasons to doubt the strength of the Chinese economy.  For example, China very well could be misreporting its GDP numbers. It could be experiencing it`s own economic bubble.  China  still suffers from infrastructure problems and a communist leadership.  They benefit from a preferred trading partner status and lower than acceptable wages to which internal pressures must eventually force a stop.  And of course they benefit from an exchange rate that is unsustainable.

Nonetheless, the U.S. economy is not where it should be.  Growth is anemic, and it should be robust.  Current trends holding true, China will overtake the U.S. economy.  The United States, in particular its leadership, should not be managing the decline of American preeminence, it should be fostering continued economic might and innovation.  It should be protecting American economic might while fostering capitalism abroad.  The two goals are not mutually exclusive and do not represent a zero sum game.  Both can be accomplished simultaneously.  Not to be overlooked is the prospect of the United Stats becoming an energy exporter rather than an importer.  Increasing domestic energy production would create exports, jobs and boost the GDP of the U.S.

Unfortunately, while the present administration focuses on solar panels and income inequality, the boat is full of leaks that need to be patched.  The usual suspects need to be addressed - business and personal taxation, inappropriate incentives for businesses to outsource or offshore, individual freedom to create, the burden of intrusive government regulation and lack of support for small business are some examples.  Germany, it should be noted, has no minimum wage yet the exploitation of employees is no worse than in overly socialist France.  The progressivist tropes in America have taken everyone's eyes of the economic ball. For now.  Perhaps the reality of China overtaking the U.S. in terms of economic might, will shame America into action.

April 29, 2014

Kerry, Apartheid and his anti-Israel reality

Future host of America's Funniest Home Videos?
Secretary of State John Kerry recently made a comment about Israel that is causing many to call for his resignation.  Kerry now seems to be backing off his statement, but given that the irony of his comment is lost on him, one can't help but wonder whether he really is anti-Israel and therefore, should resign.

Via Breitbart:
On Sunday, The Daily Beast reported that Kerry had told a closed-door meeting of the Trilateral Commission in Washington on Friday that Israel risked becoming an "apartheid state" with two classes of citizens if negotiations to forge a peace deal fail and a two-state solution is not reached.
The Merriam Webster defines Apartheid as:
"a former social system in South Africa in which black people and people from other racial groups did not have the same political and economic rights as white people and were forced to live separately from white people."
Kerry was clearly talking about second class treatment of Palestinians or Arabs in general in Israel. But here's the irony; Israel has been subjected to treatment in the Middle East as not second class, but as not having a right to exist in the eyes of many in the Middle East, since its very inception. In other words, the threat of genocide trumps the threat of apartheid.

April 28, 2014

Racist L.A. Clippers Owner, Democrat

No time to post today but I want to help point out that the media is all too willing to jump all over Cliven Bundy as a racist because he seems like a Tea Party type.  But as soon as a racist comment comes out a high profile rich guy, MBA team owner, who happens to be a Democrat, you have to go to a conservative website like National Review to get the subtext that racism is not a political problem, it's a personal problem.

Via NRO:
L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling, whom commentators have tried to tie to the Republican party after his alleged racist statements, is in fact a Democrat, according to campaign-contribution records.

Sterling is in hot water after TMZ released recordings purporting to be a weird psychosexual rant he directed at girlfriend V. Stiviano, accusing her of publicly associating with black people. The highly offensive comments have drawn condemnation from across the National Basketball Association as well as from many other sources; and inevitably, attempts have been made to link him to the Republican party. These appear to be based on campaign contribution records for a different Sterling, who lives in the state of Texas. Clippers owner Donald Sterling lives in Beverly Hills, has a long history of bigoted behavior in his Los Angeles business dealings, and according to a 2011 RealGM report, was a very occasional Democratic donor in the 1990s...

At the American Power blog, Donald Douglas has an extended discussion of Sterling’s donations to liberal causes and the left-leaning commentators who have lauded him in the past. At the time TMZ released its recording, Sterling was scheduled to receive a lifetime achievement award from the NAACP.
Unfortunately, a Democrat who is a racist goes against the meme that Democrats are the enlightened ones and conservative Republicans are mouth-breathing Neanderthals. Racists can exist in any political stripe. Just as those who oppose gay marriage may have a political issue but they aren't saying vile stuff like Alec Baldwin did. At least the left called Baldwin out on his slurs. But after showing up with the right people at the right event, Baldwin's image will be as right as rain. The same can't be said for anyone on the right. 

Double standards.

April 25, 2014

Pay it Forward Friday - a letter to a new neighbor

A little overdue on the Pay It Forward Friday postings, but here you go.  This was recently posted on SunnySkyz.com.  After moving into a new apartment a woman received a letter from her neighbor.  It was a wonderful gesture.

Click the image to enlarge and read or click the link above to see the original sized article.

A libertarian hit piece on Reagan? Why?

Nick Gillespie at Reason, in support of a statement by Rand Paul has done a hit piece on Ronald Reagan. The rationale behind it is patently unclear despite the subtext in the article itself about the sooner the GOP gets that, the sooner they will actually be for smaller government. Let me preface my critique of Gillespie by saying that I am normally a fan of his opinions, but in this case, I have to disagree with him.

Here's just the start of what Gillespie says:
"Rand Paul: Jimmy Carter was better on the budget than Ronald Reagan" is how the vid begins. It shows the Kentucky senator in a variety of settings between 2007 and 2009 slagging St. Reagan as a spendthrift.

As Mediaite's Andrew Kirell points out, all of Paul's basic statements about spending under Reagan are absolutely true. The short version: Reagan spent like a drunken sailor and skipped out on the bill."
Ouch. But while Gillespie's concern about government expenditures is completely valid, his arguments fall flat on many levels.

1. Winning GOP voters over to libertarianism by attacking Reagan is just a really, really bad way to tackle it. Legend, lore, myth or whatever it is about Reagan is what it is. Reagan is an icon. Trying to tear it down turns your audience against you right from the start. Imagine trying to convert Catholics to Protestantism (an analogy based on the idea of similar basic tenets but disagreements on some issues) by starting with "Let me tell you what Jesus did wrong." It simply won't work.

2. The idea that Reagan went off the rails on military spending is a fair argument, but only if it is observed in a vacuum. At the time, Iran saw the United States as a paper tiger, incapable of effectively stopping rogue nations from doing what they want in violation of international decency. They had held American embassy staff hostage for well over a year. The Soviet Union was on the march, not only in Afghanistan but during the Carter years, also in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, . Ronald Reagan faced an advancing Soviet tide, and the U.S. had clearly lost the lead in the Cold War, with rising defeatism at home. To not do anything to stop the spread of communism and socialism at the time was to admit defeat. The Soviet Union's efforts at hegemony did not stop when Reagan came to power. He understood that they were an evil empire and needed to be stopped. He also understood, unlike the current president that harsh words or tough talk would make no difference unless backed up by muscle. Speak loudly and carry no stick does not work. Military spending growth at the time was dramatically essential. Not only did it force the Soviet Union to curtail at least overt sovereign incursions, it also made economic sense - he spent the Soviet Union into submission - they could not afford to spend like America did because of the significantly smaller size of their economy. Reagan was clearly thinking bigger picture, even economically, by spending on defense to the point where the Soviet system collapsed. After Reagan won the cold war, the spending could then be throttled back to normalized levels.

3. It's the Congress stupid.  The military spending led directly to the era of the 'peace dividend' and balanced budgets which Bill Clinton was only too happy to take credit for during his administration's tenure. Except that didn't happen until the Contract with America ushered in the first Republican Congress in decades. Because Congress is responsible for budgets - not the president. While Reagan pushed for more defense spending, he clearly was not a fan of bigger government. To foist all of that other spending on him, spending pushed by a Democrat Congress, is misleading.

4. The economic malaise that the economy suffered under Carter cannot be overlooked either. While Carter presided over an economy that languished, Reagan`s economy roared back to life with a vengeance. The spin-off of the military spending no doubt played a small part in that return to prosperity (less so than tax changes and economic policies) as companies supplying the military were suddenly flush with demand, and jobs and growth. I categorically do not espouse government spending with economic growth, but unlike Obama`s `shovel-ready projects` there was clearly a spin-off effect.

5. To paint Reagan as a drunken sailor on spending falls into the category of useful idiot of the left. Gillespie's article is likely intended to disaffect Republican supporters on ``traditional`conservatism while pushing them towards a libertarian view on economic matters. I`m not sure it will accomplish either aim (see point #1). But what it does do is provide fodder for the far left to say `see, even these certain people on the right can see that Reagan was a fool.`` (or a spendthrift or whatever other adjective they care to use). President Reagan wasn`t perfect but he did things with specific purposes and he accomplished in the Cold War a defeat of his enemy without requiring a direct shot. The evidence that Reagan`s ideology was for smaller government is evident in his lowered tax rates but higher tax revenues. It is evident in his actions when it came to problems like the Air Traffic Controller`s strike.

Reagan may have spent more than Carter but looking merely at inflation adjusted outlays is not a sufficient view of their respective presidencies. Even the graph that Gillespie references (shared above) shows Reagan`s spending in growth was in line with a historical trend that does not really accelerate until G.W. Bush. By that measure, every president has been more of a drunken sailor than his predecessor - an unfair accusation, even in a vacuum. But again, Reagan was not operating in a vacuum. There were things that needed to be done that he did. He was laying the foundation for a leaner government down the road. If you read Reagan`s writing and listen to his speeches, it`s clear he wanted balanced budgets, smaller government and wiser government spending. Under Reagan it was a question of him doing what he could during his tenure and his successors then taking it further. Had his successors similarly inclined, it might have succeeded.

My point is simple - leave Reagan alone Nick.  Work your argument a different way and you'll get better results.  Otherwise you are just preaching to the libertarian choir and not winning many converts at all.

Friday Musical Interlude - Vitamin String Quartet

Vitamin String Quartet covers modern songs, some older, some current, using only strings (not surprisingly).  They've got some terrific performances.  Today, they're covering Of Monsters and Men's Little Talks.

Enjoy, and check out some of their other covers if you like the concept.  They cover a wide variety of songs brilliantly.

April 24, 2014


Missing: 2.7 million Obamacare enrollees.  To paraphrase Verbal Kint, the greatest trick the president ever played, was to convince the nation the enrollees exist.

Missing:  A decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.  Gone along with it, president Obama's backbone. Pick...A...Side!

Missing:  Harry Reid's integrity.  It's been missing for a long, long time, but it's okay - he's replaced it with money.

Missing: A working laptop for me.  Still.

Missing: A Malaysian 777.  Still.

Missing: A coherent and effective response from the West to Putin's aggression in the Ukraine. That starts at the White House.

Missing: A credible counter to the left's 2016 presidential nominee (be it Clinton, or Warren).

April 23, 2014

I missed Earth Day

Yes, I missed Earth Day this year (again). I know people who sat in their homes with candles as their light source, playing board games to honor earth.  I don't get it.  They use light bulbs the other 364 days of the year.  They may still be heating their homes with natural gas.  Their refrigerators are likely still running.  The truth is we need electricity.  We need oil. That isn't changing any time soon.  If the purpose of Earth Day is about raising awareness of the health of the earth, it's not going to change anyone's hearts and minds.  Look, nobody is in love with pollution.  Nobody wants runaway greenhouse gases.  But just because someone is skeptical about the veracity of the "science", does not mean they are an evil oil-demon.

It's similar to the argument I (and others) have made about the roots of inequality: nobody has a monopoly on compassion, the difference is in the proposed solution.  When it comes to climate issues, conservatives are not less caring about the environment, we simply disagree about the scope of the problem, AND, if there is a problem on the proposed solution.

Conservatives do not believe the government can force faster innovation by subsidizing select players in the energy marketplace and penalizing others.  That distorts the marketplace.  If we have reached peak oil, if the climate is suffering as a result, then innovation will occur because someone sees an opportunity in solving it.  They will work twice as hard at solving the problem than someone who is getting an annual grant from the EPA to expand their solar panel production plant.

But just because I don't agree with you on the scope of the problem, and I don't believe the science is settled, and I propose a different path to a "greener future", don't paint me as an earth hater.  I love nature.  I enjoy the outdoors and clean air, and clean water as much as anyone else.  I do not want those things to go away. To suggest that I do is to assign a motive (incorrectly) to my opinions.

April 21, 2014

The roots of inequality

Many progressives have their hearts in the right place, that is not the problem.  The problem is where they have placed their heads.

Liberals want to stamp out inequality, but so do conservatives.  The difference in how they want to stamp it out stems from what they see as inequality.  It also stems from how they assess the circumstances causing or contributing to the inequality.

With respect to how progressives see inequality versus how conservatives see it, the difference is pretty simple.  Progressives see inequality in terms of outcome.  Conservatives see it in terms of inputs.
For a progressive, inequality is in circumstance.  Someone making $10/hour and living in poverty when there is someone who owns a company and is making millions of dollars a year is not only inequality, it's patently unfair.  They focus on the outcome.  For a conservative, the free market system may have found the equilibrium for these two individuals.  The individual making millions may have spent a lot more time in school, he may have studied a lot rather than partying with friends or dropping out of high school.  In other words, the unfairness that liberals see, may actually be justified.  The inputs - study versus not - may have justified the outcome.  Surely someone who is a doctor and spent almost a  decade in post secondary education, deserves a richer reward for his effort and sacrifice than someone who didn't put the same effort in.

But conservatives can still see inequality in that situation.  The free market rewards effort, but it is merely the most effective way to sort outcomes, not a universally 'fair' one.  Perhaps the person who went to medical school came from a rich family who could afford the university tuition while the person who is working at a minimum wage job may have had the ability to be a highly skilled neurosurgeon but no means to pursue it. That's where conservatives see the roots of inequality - the inequality of opportunity.  That's why conservatives generally favor school vouchers as a way to help level the playing field and create an equality of education, thereby creating an equality of opportunity, rather than a socialistic equality of outcome.

All people deserve an equal opportunity, but not all people are equally skilled at all possible jobs, or even equal at study.  So not all people, given the same opportunity to learn and develop skills will achieve the same results.  Therefore the rewards should not be the same.  Similarly, with the concept of supply and demand, not all professions are equally valued by society.  The best actors make a lot more money than the best garbage men.  I'm sure many liberal elite actors would not want their pay scaled back to level the playing field with a garbage man.  Because society deems some skills more valuable than others, equality of outcome simply isn't possible.  At say $25 per hour as a flattened outcome valuing all professions equally, would the world have seen an Al Pacino, a Mick Jagger, or even a Steve Jobs?  Maybe.  But the likelihood is much smaller.  That's why there is no Chinese band with the worldwide impact impact of a Rolling Stones.

With respect to the circumstances surrounding inequality, there was an interesting article today in the Wall Street Journal about the social aspects of inequality.
...in the current discussions about increased inequality, few researchers, fewer reporters, and no one in the executive branch of government directly addresses what seems to be the strongest statistical correlate of inequality in the United States: the rise of single-parent families during the past half century...

In the past four years, our two academic professional organizations—the American Political Science Association and the American Educational Research Association—have each dedicated annual meetings to inequality, with numerous papers and speeches denouncing free markets, the decline of unions, and "neoliberalism" generally as exacerbating economic inequality. Yet our searches of the groups' conference websites fail to turn up a single paper or panel addressing the effects of family change on inequality.

Why isn't this matter at the center of policy discussions? There are at least three reasons. First, much of politics is less about what you are for than who you are against...intellectual and cultural elites lean to the left. So, quite simply, very few professors or journalists, and fewer still who want foundation grants, want to be seen as siding with social conservatives, even if the evidence leads that way.

Second, family breakup has hit minority communities the hardest. So even bringing up the issue risks being charged with racism, a potential career-killer...

Finally, there is no quick fix. Welfare reform beginning in the mid-1990s offered only modest marriage incentives and has been insufficient to change entrenched cultural practices...

But the first step is to acknowledge the problem.
The roots of inequality it would seem are social issues. To argue that the rich are to blame is to dumb down the debate. To ignore the details, is to ignore the problem.

April 20, 2014

Happy Easter.

A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.
~Mahatma Gandhi

April 19, 2014

Saturday Learning Series - Big Tent Conservatism.

A couple of days ago, I posted a 'primer' from the Heritage Foundation, on the Hundred Years War inside the GOP. This presentation builds on that one in that it discusses Big Tent conservatism and tells the story of the conservative revolution.
The Big Tent offers a panoramic portrait of the intellectual history of the conservative movement. Some of the leading lights of the Right offer an unparalleled introduction to conservative figures and ideas, from the Revolution to William F. Buckley; Barry Goldwater to the Reagan Revolution; Libertarianism to the War on Terror.

April 17, 2014

Thursday Hillary Bash - Bill Tacks Right?

Out - triangulation.  In - New Improved Triangulation with more Bill in Billary.

Hillary Clinton has a problem.  The left doesn't think she's liberal or progressive enough.  Having had a taste of full on progressivism in president Obama, the far left is not likely to want to let it go.  In their eyes Obama did not go far enough, and a Hillary Clinton presidency in 2016 would actually represent a step back towards the center in their view.  The left would rather select an Elizabeth Warren type as their nominee.  So Hillary needs their votes.  But Hillary's problem does not end there.

Hillary has a problem with the right and possibly the center as well. As Karl Rove pointed out on Fox News this morning, She beats out Christie, Jeb Bush and Rand Paul by roughly 50 - 41 each in a poll conducted on the presidential election recently.  Rove suggested that the 50% represents a ceiling for Hillary since she can't seem to surpass it no matter who the opponent is, and in each case, those opponents still have a number of unknowns about them. Hillary on the other hand is a known commodity.  She's at her support ceiling right now.  There's no guarantee she can remain there.

What to do? Bill Clinton perfected triangulation but everyone is onto that trick, so the Clintons may have come up with a newer approach to winning voters that borrows from president Obama's be everything to everyone when campaigning.  It's the 2-for-1 package approach.  The notion is that when you get Hillary, you also get Bill.  They'll argue that when you had Bill, you also had Hillary too.  It's a partnership.

From a campaign perspective, it allows Bill to tack right to pick up voters while Hillary can continue to pander to the left.  Bill can drag voters over from the right and the center. It pushes that potential ceiling upwards from 50% to a more winnable ceiling level.  The Clintons together, can be everything to everyone.

As evidence, Bill Clinton has taken a stand against voter ID laws.
AUSTIN, TEXAS (NNPA) – Former President Bill Clinton praised President Lyndon B. Johnson for signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act into law, but said the progress that stemmed from those landmark measures are being undermined by Republican-led efforts to suppress the vote.

“We’re here because the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act made it possible for Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama to be president of the United States,” Clinton said to loud applause during a speech last Wednesday that was part of a 3-day celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Clinton said 10 states require some form of state-issued ID before allowing voters to cast a ballot. Last year, the U.S. Justice Department sued Texas and North Carolina over their voter ID laws, charging that undercut voter participation by Blacks and Latinos.

...Supporters of the ID laws say they are needed to curb voter fraud. But the Justice Department and civil rights groups said voter fraud is minimal.

...Calling Johnson a “son of the South,” Clinton described him as “a Texan bred with the state’s outsized ambitions (who) saw limitless possibilities in the lives of other people like him, who just happened to have a different color skin.” He said, “Just as Abraham Lincoln stewarded the 13th Amendment through Congress, Johnson’s leadership embodies the power of the presidency to redeem the promise of America,” Clinton said in his speech here.

But that promise took a beating last year when the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the provision that requires states with a history of discrimination to pre-clear any voting-related changes with the Justice Department or a federal court in Washington, D.C. before implementing them.

Clinton criticized the ruling that was decided by the court’s conservative majority.

“Any time you erect a barrier to political participation [by people] … based on their race or their physical capacity or their income … it undermines the spirit of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act,” he said.
Voter ID laws are something a lot of conservatives bristle at because of privacy, especially in light of the NSA scandals of the last year.  Bill's argument about it setting back the civil rights efforts provides cover to Hillary to argue to the left that he means it with respect to civil rights progress.  He's framed his argument that way. But Bill meanwhile can peel off some youthful libertarian support from the GOP that might otherwise support a Rand Paul worldview by tacking to the right in his argument when faced with a different audience.  It won't change the opinions of those concerned with the issue of voter fraud - a predominantly Democrat driven problem - but it doesn't need to do so. It just needs to attract those who are concerned about an overly intrusive government.  A lot of Tea Party supporters can identify with that notion.

The Clintons don't really want to be everything to everyone.  They just want to do enough to win another election.  From that perspective, this new approach to electioneering is brilliant and it isn't yet being countered by the GOP who may not even recognize that the 2-for-1 approach will present a formidable challenge to any GOP nominee.

April 16, 2014

Primer: The Hundred Years War inside the GOP

The Heritage Foundation has put out a couple of really good videos in the last week.  They're worth checking out as a conservative.

The first one I want to share is the one that focuses on the battle for the soul of the GOP as a primer for a couple of the other videos they've produced.  This video focuses on the background behind the Tea Party vs. GOP elite discord.

April 15, 2014

Yellen downloads belt tightening onto banks

Let me get this straight, Quantitative Easing (printing more money) is okay, but big banks should be required to hold more money to weather financial shocks.  Setting aside the notion that stricter reserve requirements for banks run counter to quantitative easing efforts,  is Yellen actually expecting a financial jolt? Is she downloading the belt tightening onto banks?  What's driving this?
...They said it could be a sign that the Fed under Yellen will take a more aggressive stance on bank regulation.

In her speech, Yellen said further actions to address risks, such as requiring firms to hold more capital, would likely apply only to the largest, most complex banks. But she suggested that other requirements could be applied more broadly to medium-size banks and non-bank financial institutions.

Karen Shaw Petrou, an analyst who heads Federal Financial Analytics in Washington, said Yellen also appeared to be signaling a desire to ensure that in tightening rules for big banks, regulators don't just drive risky behavior into less regulated areas of the financial system. These areas are often called the shadow banking system.

"The threat is if all you do is regulate the big banks, the risk will move to the non-banks," Petrou said. "Yellen is signaling that the Fed will seek to address that problem."
It sounds like it might be more about regulation and control as far as the drivers of this thinking goes. But the timing is oddly curious. 

Tax Day Wishes

Warm wishes to all Americans on Tax Day, a day of reflection on how wisely the government uses the funds you provide it with.  That is if you are in the Top 20% of taxable incomes in America.  Otherwise you are paying nothing, or even negative taxes.

Ain't life swell?

April 14, 2014

Sebelius' departure is no victory for conservatives

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, overseer of the disastrous Obamacare roll out, i stepping down from her post.  But this represents no win for the GOP or conservatism.  The ACA, Obamacare is growing roots despite the pitiful roll out so far, and the longer it takes to reverse the law, the less likely it becomes, no matter how badly the program performs.  Its political inertia makes it more entrenched as each day passes.  Sebelius' departure does nothing to change that.

In fact, the departure helps Democrats in the midterms if only modestly.  Obama can argue that despite the flawed roll out, a new team in charge, with fresh energy and ideas will make Obamacare far more successful going forward.  It, like every other Obama excuse is flimsy, but it is probably enough with the help of a compliant media, to convince some voters that the problem isn't the law, just the team that was running its initial implementation.  They can make the case that going forward things are getting better and will get a whole lot smoother still, downstream.

Further, Sebelius is not going to be replaced by a conservative-minded secretary.  Given Obama's record of appointments - from judicial to administrative - an even more liberal replacement is the likeliest scenario.  He's always trying to shift the country to the left, at every possible opportunity.  And while he has an abysmal record of vetting his appointments going back even further than Tim Geithner, he's gotten a pretty easy ride on his appointments for the most part, and a filibuster-proof process working for him as well.

There's no reason to believe that there is any good for conservatives or the GOP coming out of Sebelius' departure.

UPDATED: Nevada Cattle Battle

At first glance, this cattle battle doesn't seem to be the biggest or most important story in the news right now.  But looks can be deceiving.  Having your cattle seized might be seen as a liberty issue.  I don't think it's reached that level of criticality just yet, but it is a story worth keeping an eye on - even though the cattle may now have been released.

One question - where is Nevada senator Harry Reid on this issue? Probably working out a way to blame Republicans.

UPDATE (15/04/14): Harry Reid, who had taken a low profile on this issue, has chimed in, saying "It's not over".

April 11, 2014

Friday Musical Interlude - Cafe Prague

I feel like I'm on a one man mission of late to bring electro-swing into popular culture.  

This week's Friday Musical Interlude is Cafe Prague from Groovejuice. Enjoy.
The second release on 120dB records “CafĂ© Prague” by the very talented DJ Groovejuice will astound you with sounds you’ve never heard in a house track before: A hypnotic jazz-piano and Krupa-styled snare drums will blow your mind and make your feet wanna move!

April 9, 2014

Two Word Opinions - April 2014

I`m busy and with limited internet connectivity today, so just some quick thoughts on the topics of the day.  Very quick.  Two words.

Lois Lerner is  is facing charges of contempt regarding the IRS targeting of Tea Party Groups.  Meanwhile she's apparently looking to get a job with Democrat PAC Organizing for Action. - Not Over.

The crisis is the Ukraine isn't over, unless you happen to be part of the Obama administration or the mainstream media. - Face palm.

Stabbing spree by a student this morning n Pennsylvania didn't involve guns. - Bearing arms?

Obama is still pushing a gender gap agenda ahead of the 2014 midterm elections. - Pure politics.

The GOP is urging the White House to slow down on transferring control of the internet to countries around the world. - About time.

April 8, 2014

Flat Bush

Republicans still seem to believe the path to victory is to ignore their base.  Obama should have strongly disabused them of the notion that catering to your grassroots will negate your chances of winning the White House.

By now the rumors abound about Jeb Bush running for president in 2016.  They almost are not even rumors anymore.  There are articles saying that if Jeb Bush`s last name was anything else, conservatives would be begging him to run.  I doubt that, but that`s neither here nor there.  Jeb Bush should not run.  Here`s why.

It simply comes down to this - his last name IS Bush.  He could be far more conservative than his brother or father.  It isn`t clear that he is mind you, but even if he were, it doesn`t matter.  He could stop making liberalesque decrees that accuse Republicans of being heartless on amnesty as of today.  It won`t matter.

A Jeb Bush nomination for president will ensure a Hillary Clinton presidency after the 2016 election.

Conservatives have had two Bush presidencies filled with domestic liberalism - tax increases, Medicare increases, suspect Supreme Court judicial nominations, softness on immigration and all sorts of other items. It`s true that W. still has a group of conservative supporters when it comes to national defense, but even in that there is no unanimity. Conservatives do not want another liberal Republican as their nominee.  Another Bush will be perceived as another H.W. Bush or a W.Bush or another McCain, Romney, Ford or Bob Dole.  Conservatives, particularly Tea Party conservatives will stay home in droves on election day.

Conversely, the far left are not huge fans of Hillary Clinton because for some reason she is perceived as mainstream by far too many people.  While they may not be too inclined to turn out and vote for her, the dynamic changes completely if she is running against a man with the name Bush, whom they will view as a member of a clan of evil Bush gnomes.  Bush hatred (aka Bush Derangement Syndrome) is not dead, only dormant.

It also should not be overlooked that a Bush win will also convey the message that the disconnect between
Republicans and conservative voters, has become an all out feud - an attempt to suppress the conservatives within the party in order to win in the center (which has already been redefined as far left of the original center by those on the left, and subsequently accepted as the center by the media).  Disenfranchising voters is not a recipe for GOP success.  Meanwhile, the GOP can not expect to win many new voters from the left of center who have been inundated with the message that Republicans are anti-human. 

In short another Bush nominee ensures lower Republican turnout and higher Democrat turnout.  That means not only does Hilary Clinton, a very liberal Democrat wins the presidency, but also a downstream impact in Senate, Congressional, and state offices will be negatively affected for Republicans. If Jeb Bush really wants to help his country, he won`t run in 2016.

April 7, 2014

Laptop failure

I haven't been posting for the last week - I've experienced a serious laptop failure which has affected my ability to post (among other things).  I am hoping that posting will return to normal in the next few days.

April 4, 2014

Friday Musical Interlude - Shoot Him Down

German singer Alice Francis with some jazzy 1920's sounding electro-swing today, in the form of Shoot Him Down. Some clearly not too happy lyrics, but with a catchy beat.

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