Monday, April 26, 2010

1000 Days To Go

Difficult as it may be for leftists to accept, President George W. Bush was not perfect. The criticism leveled at him, for instance, regarding the lack of fiscal discipline during his tenure is certainly valid. Vast new entitlement programs were added, including Medicare Part D and No Child Left Behind. He signed a $300+ billion highway bill, (back when that was real money) after threatening a veto if its cost approached that level. He instituted tariffs on imported steel (though he later removed them). As with all trade protectionist policies, the tariffs increased consumer and business costs, caused job losses, and alienated trade partners, notably Japan, which retaliated with tariffs of its own.

In foreign affairs, he let the situation in Iraq get out of hand, almost to the point of it becoming unsalvagable. He was slow to fire generals (and a Secretary of Defense) who employed failing strategies. He took a heavy carrot, light stick negotiation approach to dealing with North Korea and Iran. The result is that the former now has nukes and the latter soon will.

And, yes, he did not communicate well, at least when speaking extemporaneously. He had difficulty with language - a problem putting ideas into words. I remember him sitting alongside Tony Blair when a reporter asked him to comment on the recent Worldcom scandal. It was excruciating watching him try to formulate a response, which went something like, He wasn't even saying anything of consequence. Blair had to look away.

And his body language while speaking was irritating. He had a way of leaning on a lecturn that looked too casual, too undisciplined. And he shrugged too much.

Much has been made of Bush's mispronunciations and misuse of language (like misunderestimate). That was a minor fault. I know a PhD. chemist who, like Bush, pronounces "nuclear", as "nucular". It's a regional trait. Another very smart person I know says sceniero for scenario and adds a "kt" onto some words ending in "n" for no apparent reason. (This person also pronounces "bowel" like "ball" which leads to some awkward misunderstandings). Pronounciation is an individual quirk, indicative of little. Mr. Articulate himself makes embarrasing faux pas. "Corpsman" became "corpseman" twice in the same speech. And it turns out that a favorite Mexican holiday of Obama's is "Cinco de Quatro." But liberals like to giggle about Bush's usage screwups while ignoring their hero's.

Of all of Bush's communication flaws, his worst was his inability or his disinclination to promote and defend his decisions. He rescinded the State of the Union statement that British intelligence claimed Saddam Hussein was seeking yellowcake uranium from Niger even though every word he spoke about it was true. He never forcefully presented the importance of winning in Iraq and of the disastrous consequences if we didn't (his speech ordering the surge being an exception).

But Bush's positives far outweighed his negatives. He appointed as Secretary of State, the first African-American to ever hold the post and then followed that up with the first African-American woman. These were not token nods to the racial grievance industry but were indicative of a true recognition of racial equality. He cut taxes, ending a recession and initiating a period of more than four years of economic prosperity. Under Bush, federal revenues reached record levels because of, not in spite of, the tax cuts. Bush nominated two brilliant jurists to the Supreme Court. His Justice Department vigorously and successfully prosecuted corporate executives for their roles in the accounting scandals of the Clinton years (e.g. - Enron, Worldcom). He substantially increased U.S. aid to fight the world AIDS epidemic, withdrew from the ABM treaty with Russia which had hampered our efforts to produce an effective missile defense technology, put the dying Kyoto CO2 emissions treaty out of its misery, flipped Pakistan from enemy to ally, strengthened our alliance with the world's largest democracy, India, kept up good relations with China, while holding its leaders accountable for human rights violations (see link to Weiss article below). He was a strong and consistent defender of human rights worldwide.

Bush deposed the Taliban in Afghanistan and severely attrited al-Queda, first in that country and then in Iraq, deposed the world's most dangerous dictator in Iraq and helped plant the seeds of democracy in that country located at the center of the undemocratic Arab - Muslim Middle East, treated friends as friends and enemies as enemies and contrary to liberal mythology, maintained solid relationships with European allies. Probably his most important achievement was constructing the elaborate anti-terrorist apparatus that has kept the homeland free from attack the past 8 1/2 years.

He didn't complain about having to deal with the significant problems he inherited when taking office and despite enduring the most intense, vulgar and hate-filled personal attacks ever heaped upon an American politician, he took it all with a grace that dignified the office of the presidency.

[For the best summation of the Bush legacy, see the Mark Steyn (naturally) link below].

Like the broken clock that's correct twice a day, President Obama has gotten a few things right. He has kept much of the Bush anti-terror apparatus in place, utilizing necessary tools like rendition, wiretaps, tribunals, and intercepts. To the consternation of librarians everywhere, the Patriot Act was renewed. Drone attacks targeting Taliban and al-Queda leaders in the Af-Pak region have been increased dramatically under Obama and were defended by a former critic of Bush anti-terror policies, State Department legal advisor Harold Koh. (Reality bites, Mr. Koh). The terrorist prison at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan, much larger than the one at Guantanamo, is being kept open. Obama has stood relatively firm in Iraq and he's increased our commitment in Afghanistan. He has a good Secretary of Defense in Robert Gates and he made a good decision replacing David McKiernan with Stanley McChrystal as the head general in Afghanistan.
Note that most of the above fall under the category of "What Would Bush Do?"

Now for some of Obama's negatives. By no means is this a comprehensive listing.

He made the terrible choice of nominating the racialist Sonia Sotomayor for Supreme Court justice. His Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, the man in charge of collecting taxes, is an income tax evader. His Attorney General, Eric Holder, the nation's chief law enforcement officer, as Deputy AG, arranged the clemency of 16 terrorists belonging the Puerto Rican separatist group FALN. The 16 had been responsible for over 130 bombings and the murders of innocent Americans.

Obama signed an $800+billion (the cost continues to rise) payoff to friends and benefactors and called it a "stimulus package". Meanwhile he's eliminating a true economic stimulus by allowing many of the Bush tax cuts expire next year. He's removed all restraint from federal spending with the 2010 budget at $3.55 trillion up from $3.1 trillion in 2009, a 15% increase. This is all before the real budget busters kick in - Obamacare, $2.3 trillion /10 years (yeah, right) and, if he can get it, cap and trade - $670 billion. By mid-decade, our total national debt will reach $20 trillion, surpassing our GDP. This is criminal. Generational theft on a massive scale.

Obama has failed to support the Free Trade Agreements that Bush had negotiated with Panama, South Korea and, most importantly, Colombia, the most aggressively anti-Chavista nation in Latin America. Obama has reached out to the world's worst tyrants - Chavez, Ahmadinejad, Assad, Putin while at the same time shunning our allies, Israel, Great Britain, Indonesia, Australia, the Czech Republic, Poland. The Saudi king gets a bow - the Prime Minister of Israel gets tsuris. Iranian dissidents are ignored, their oppressors are treated with respect. When Chavez clone Jose Zelaya was rightly deposed as president by the Honduran government for illegally attempting to extend his reign, Obama considered the act a "coup". His Secretary of State, apropos of nothing, abruptly suggested that our ally Great Britain should consider giving the Falkland Islands back to Argentina. "When you give Texas back to Mexico" would have been an appropriate and justified response from the Brits. Obama betrayed our close Eastern European allies by cancelling plans to base a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. The system was intended to protect Europe from the threat of Iranian missiles. No matter - Russia protested, Obama caved. BBC news noted that the cancellation delighted the Russians who viewed it as the great diplomatic and military victory it was.

Obama's AG Holder wants to provide the terrorists that perpetrated the attacks of 9/11 the world's largest soundboard to preach their message of hate. Granting them full American constitutional rights, he plans to hold civilian trials in the shadow of the site of the atrocity. In an impulsive, thoughtless attempt to distance himself from his predecessor, Obama made the dangerous and (fortunately) unachievable promise to shut down the state of the art terrorist prison facility at Guantanamo. His Justice Department failed to adequately interrogate Farouk Abdulmutullab after he attempted to blow up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day. Fresh from a terrorist training camp in Yemen, the would be bomber could have provided vital life saving intelligence. For Obama, proving that he's the anti-Bush by insisting on civilian trials for foreign born terrorists gets a higher priority than protecting American lives.

In stark contrast to his predecessor, Obama is a whiner. He can't handle criticism, striking back at, among others, Fox News, tea partiers, and Rush Limbaugh. Their crime? Withholding the fawning adulation he's accustomed to receiving from the mainstream media and his buddies in academia and Hollywood. Selling himself during the campaign as a politically moderate, postpartisan, postracial, pragmatic promoter of civility, Obama is none of these things. His rhetoric is inflammatory and confrontational. Far from bringing people together, he's deeply polarizing. And he is dishonest. He tried to sell the health care plan as an economic necesssity, saying it would bring down costs and reduce the deficit while at the same time increasing demand and subsidizing millions of additional beneficiaries.

Obama has his own body language issues. Mark Steyn (among others) has commented about his resemblance to Mussolini - the upraised chin, the haughty manner. (Not to mention the similar statist ideology). His narcissism borders on the pathological. His speeches are notoriously self-referential, repeatedly peppered with "I", "me" and "my". The teleprompter is his security blanket, accompanying him to an elementary school on one occasion. He drones - In a response to a woman's complaint that Obamacare would raise taxes, he responded with a 17 minute, 2500 word harangue which didn't even address the subject. Worst and most irritating of all is his pedanticism. He talks down to his audience, lecturing it. It's a speaking style that just begs for satire. That no impersonators have come along, (or none with talent - that Saturday Night Live guy is no good) says much about the political tilt of today's humor industry. One enduring myth is that of Obama's eloquence. His failure to sway public opinion with incessant speaking appearances reflects his lack of oratory skills. He couldn't convince the IOC to hold the 2016 Olympics in Chicago and got no concessions from developing nations in cutting their CO2 emissions at the Copenhagen conference. Indeed, while there, Obama was treated as the lightweight he his is by China's premier Wen Jiabao, who twice refused to attend meetings with him.

I won't add anything to what I've already posted about the health care debacle. I'll just point out that more than anything, the more than year long crusade confirms that Obama is fundamentally a socialist. He meant it when he described his brief stint in the private sector as "working behind enemy lines". That he doesn't call for total government control of production, (Hayek's definition of socialism), is just a recognition of the political reality he faces. Advocating pure socialist policies would be a certain career ender for Obama and finish the Democrats as a major party. Instead he just pushes the edge of the envelope as much as he thinks he can. As it is, enough of his true ideology has been exposed to drive his approval ratings down to the low forties.

Further cementing his socialist bona fides, Obama has given appointments to left wing radicals - there's no other term that fits - Van Jones, Anita Dunn, Craig Becker, Kevin Jennings, Valerie Jarrett, Mark Lloyd - the list goes on.
He associated closely with anti-American radicals during his ascendancy - the racist ranter Jeremiah Wright, Palestinian propagandist Rashid Khalidi, terrorist bomber Bill Ayers among them. (A bumper sticker I observed recently states it well - "Osama and Obama Both Have Friends That Have Bombed The Pentagon"). That Obama regards this great nation as unexceptional helps to explain his apology fetish. The Heritage Foundation has compiled a list of his top ten apologies. (link below).

One absolutely essential characteristic of any president (I believe) is having a deep, reverential pride in his country.
This photograph alone should have disqualified him from holding the office.

Barack Obama is unfit for his job. Before attaining the presidency he had no executive experience and no significant accomplishments. His deficiency is made apparent by his performance. Let us survive the next 2 1/2 years and then throw the bum out.

As for the question posed by that billboard, an answer is provided by a former Syrian dissident, Ahed Al-Hendi. Hendi was jailed in his country for the crime of browsing pro-democracy websites and was a beneficiary of Bush's strong pro-democracy agenda.
From an op-ed by Bari Weiss in Saturday's WSJ :

Mr. Hendi was one of the lucky ones: He's now living in Maryland as a political refugee where he works for an organization called And this past Monday, he joined other international dissidents at a conference sponsored by the Bush Institute at Southern Methodist University to discuss the way digital tools can be used to resist repressive regimes.

He also got to meet the 43rd president. In a private breakfast hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Bush, Mr. Hendi's message to the former president was simple: "We miss you." There have been "a lot of changes" under the current administration, he added, and not for the better.

By the way - I want that billboard message on a T-shirt.

Obama apology list

Steyn on Bush legacy (if you don't have a NR subscription, shame on you, but I'll send you a copy. It's well worth reading).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Whose Special Interests, Mr. President?

Here's an item that should outrage liberals. The Democrats are desperately trying to pass a bill which will firm up regulation of certain large corporations. This reform is important because without it, those firms will be free to continue to commit enormous sums of money irrespective of the risk involved. The corporations invest in a large and pervasive industry. If they were to collapse, the shockwaves would be felt throughout the entire economy. Unfortunately, Republicans are using their filibuster power to prevent cloture and the bill is being blocked from passing.

Everything about this scenario is true except that the roles of the parties have been reversed. Republicans were pushing for reform and the Democrats were blocking it. The industry was the housing industry and the bill was a 2005 proposal to regulate GSEs like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

A few days ago (4/15), I mentioned the two fundamental factors that caused the crash that pushed the economy into the recession - the Fed's easy money policy in 2003-2004 and the strong Democratic party support of recklessly managed GSEs. Here's part of an op-ed by AEI's Peter Wallison in today's WSJ examining the latter of the two.

[Also - Below is a link to a YouTube video showing a late 2004 House committee hearing showing Republicans pressing for investigations into the GSE scandals and Democrats trying to stop them. Among those featured in the video are Barney (I'd like to throw the dice a little longer) Frank and Maxine (If it aint broke don't fix it) Waters. The video has more than 3.5 million hits].

One chapter in this story took place in July 2005, when the Senate Banking Committee, then controlled by the Republicans, adopted tough regulatory legislation for the GSEs on a party-line vote—all Republicans in favor, all Democrats opposed. The bill would have established a new regulator for Fannie and Freddie and given it authority to ensure that they maintained adequate capital, properly managed their interest rate risk, had adequate liquidity and reserves, and controlled their asset and investment portfolio growth.

These authorities were necessary to control the GSEs' risk-taking, but opposition by Fannie and Freddie—then the most politically powerful firms in the country—had consistently prevented reform.

The date of the Senate Banking Committee's action is important. It was in 2005 that the GSEs—which had been acquiring increasing numbers of subprime and Alt-A loans for many years in order to meet their HUD-imposed affordable housing requirements—accelerated the purchases that led to their 2008 insolvency. If legislation along the lines of the Senate committee's bill had been enacted in that year, many if not all the losses that Fannie and Freddie have suffered, and will suffer in the future, might have been avoided.

Why was there no action in the full Senate? As most Americans know today, it takes 60 votes to cut off debate in the Senate, and the Republicans had only 55. To close debate and proceed to the enactment of the committee-passed bill, the Republicans needed five Democrats to vote with them. But in a 45 member Democratic caucus that included Barack Obama and the current Senate Banking Chairman Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.), these votes could not be found.

Recently, President Obama has taken to accusing others of representing "special interests." In an April radio address he stated that his financial regulatory proposals were struggling in the Senate because "the financial industry and its powerful lobby have opposed modest safeguards against the kinds of reckless risks and bad practices that led to this very crisis."

He should know. As a senator, he was the third largest recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, behind only Sens. Chris Dodd and John Kerry.

YouTube video

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Plan For War - Make Peace (with edits 4/19/10)

"You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war."
Albert Einstein

Einstein was a smart guy and all, but he was wrong about that one. For more than four decades, both the U.S. and the Soviet Union prepared and planned for all out nuclear war against each other. During that period, both nations greatly expanded and improved their arsenals. Their military strategists deliberated countless war scenarios. Not only was nuclear war prevented (admittedly with some close calls), but so was a major "conventional" war, which, considering the lethality of modern non-nuclear weaponry, would have had been far more catastrophic than World War 2, with its 50 million dead and widespread destruction.

In an op-ed in Thursday's WSJ, Warren Kozak explained the strategy and psychology behind our nuclear deterrence policy as understood by Air Force General Curtis LeMay. According to Kozak, LeMay sincerely believed (and helped coin) the Strategic Air Command (SAC) motto, "Peace Is Our Profession".

LeMay believed that the real purpose of having nuclear weapons was not to use them but to threaten to use them. He wanted to so terrify adversaries that they would never even consider a move against the U.S.

...In the Pacific theater during World War II, LeMay leveled scores of Japanese cities with incendiary bombs, and he finished the war by dropping two atomic bombs. The Soviets knew he wouldn't hesitate for a second to bomb them too if necessary. LeMay knew that they knew.

When LeMay took command of SAC in 1948, he transformed it into the most efficient and deadliest military organization the world had ever seen. Huge B-52 bombers were constantly in the air within striking distance of the Soviet Union. Each bomber carried a strike potential many times greater than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima—but the real threat was that the man behind it all was Curtis LeMay.

The logic behind SAC and the entire U.S. nuclear strategy was straight out of the schoolyard—if you try to inflict pain on us, we will inflict 10 times the amount of pain on you. It fit perfectly with LeMay's world view: Always negotiate from a position of strength; do not bother anyone, but if bothered don't be bullied.

Rather than a muscular deterrence policy, President Obama prefers words on paper and the power of conversation to maintain the peace. Witness the fault-ridden new START treaty he just negotiated with the Russians, which actually weakens the Bush-Putin 2002 START deal (link to NRO's analysis below), and the recently concluded Nuclear Security Summit attended by 46 world leaders. Obama is patting himself on the back (as he is prone to do) for arranging meaningless nuclear non-proliferation agreements. Meanwhile, as Mark Steyn points out, millions are being killed in places like Sudan and the Congo with weapons as primitive as machetes. It's not weapons of mass destruction in the hands of reasonable and responsible people that's imperils world peace. Appeasing the deranged and the depraved does the trick quite nicely. And when "psycho nations" (in Steyn's words) acquire WMDs, the danger increases exponentially. North Korea has gone nuclear and Iran is about to, yet Obama's get together failed to address those issues at all.

Charles Krauthammer and Steyn both commented on the announcement of enriched uranium reductions.

Krauthammer -

So what was the major breakthrough announced by Obama at the end of the two-day conference? That Ukraine, Chile, Mexico, and Canada will be getting rid of various amounts of enriched uranium.

What a relief. I don’t know about you, but I lie awake nights worrying about Canadian uranium. I know these people. I grew up there. You have no idea what they’re capable of doing. If Sidney Crosby hadn’t scored that goal to win the Olympic gold medal, there’s no telling what might have ensued.

Steyn -

The Obama Happy Fairyland Security Summit was posited on the principle that there’s no difference between a Swiss nuke and a Syrian nuke. If you believe that, you’ll be thrilled by the big breakthrough agreement of the summit: Canada, Chile, Mexico, and Ukraine have agreed to reduce their stocks of enriched uranium. Peace in our time!

...In a characteristic display of his now famous modesty, President Obama reacted to the hostility of the Tax Day tea parties by saying, “You would think they should be saying ‘thank you’” — for all he’s done for them. Right now, the fellows saying “thank you” are the mullahs, the Politburo, Tsar Putin, and others hostile to U.S. interests who’ve figured out they now have the run of the planet.

And as a confirmation that they do, there's this in Saturday's NY Post.

Two weeks ago, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry visited Damascus to deliver a warning from President Obama that Syria must stop arming terrorist groups like Hezbollah.

Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad promptly sent his reply -- by shipping long-range Scud missiles to the Lebanese Shiite group.

One particularly dangerous and silly policy change was announced by the Obama administration the other week. Krauthammer explains its ramifications.

Under President Obama’s new policy, ...if the state that has just attacked us with biological or chemical weapons is “in compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT),” explained (Defense Secretary Robert) Gates, then “the U.S. pledges not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against it.”

Imagine the scenario: Hundreds of thousands are lying dead in the streets of Boston after a massive anthrax or nerve-gas attack. The president immediately calls in the lawyers to determine whether the attacking state is in compliance with the NPT. If it turns out that the attacker is up to date with its latest IAEA inspections, well, it gets immunity from nuclear retaliation. Our response is then restricted to bullets, bombs, and other conventional munitions.

However, if the lawyers tell the president that the attacking state is NPT noncompliant, we are free to blow the bastards to nuclear kingdom come.

This is quite insane. It’s like saying that if a terrorist deliberately uses his car to mow down a hundred people waiting at a bus stop, the decision as to whether he gets (a) hanged or (b) 100 hours of community service hinges entirely on whether his car had passed emissions inspections.

There are striking similarities between Obama’s policy of engagement with despots today and the reactions of French and British leaders to the growing threat of German fascism in the mid 1930s.

An instructive case in point is Germany’s remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936, an act in violation of the Versailles and Locarno treaties. (Unlike the Versailles treaty which was imposed on Germany, Germany was a signatory to Locarno). British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden had set the stage for the Allies' acquiescence by proposing to address Germany's "grievances" which included renegotiating Locarno. This was, in effect, a concession to an item on Hitler's agenda. When Hitler invaded the Rhineland, Britain could object only as to how the outcome was achieved rather than the outcome itself, to which it had already agreed in principle.

It was believed that reaching out to Hitler, engaging him, would result in a behavior change and improve the prospects for peace. This is precisely the reasoning behind Obama’s current deference towards the likes of Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Not seriously considered is that these tyrants, as did Hitler, have their own goals and values independent of and contrary to those of mainstream civilized nations.

France had financial reasons for not defending its back yard against the Nazis. The cost of mobilizing its military was cited as a primary factor preventing a response. These days liberals decry the high cost of military expeditions as diverting money from, what they believe are, necessary domestic programs. Yet even as major and complex an undertaking as the Iraq war, with its seven year commitment, has cost the country less in its entirety to date (roughly $700 billion) than just one year's (2010) worth of welfare payments under Obama ($888 billion). The Iraq war cost less than the "stimulus" package ($846 billion), which consists mostly of payoffs to Democratic benefactors. Over the next decade welfare payouts will exceed $10 trillion. Spending on defense, one of the few truly legitimate functions of the federal government, consumes only one-fifth of the total budget. And that proportion will certainly fall as the welfare state expands.

Any discussion of the costs of taking military action should include at least some speculation about the cost of not doing so. The financial cost of not stopping Hitler (and Hirohito) early, to the U.S. alone, was $296 billion. This is equivalent to $4.1 trillion in today's dollars. For the U.S. 1945 was the most expensive year of the war. That year 35.8% of GDP went to war spending and 37.5% to total defense spending. By way of comparison, during the most expensive year of the Iraq war (2008) we spent 1% of GDP on the war and 4.2% on total defense. We'll never know if, by taking action against Saddam Hussein in 2003, we prevented that savage from extracting considerably higher costs, both human and material.

There are other parallels between then and now. There was a school of thought that held that Germany had a right to do what it did. That the Rhineland had been historically part of Germany and other nations could not dictate the terms of its reoccupation. (G. B. Shaw, for one, held this view).

There were those who believed that Saddam Hussein was justified in invading Kuwait in 1990 since it and Iraq had been part of the same successive empires for hundreds of years. And that North Korea and Iran (and anyone else) have the right to nukes because we have them. (Obama seems to believe this. That’s one reason he wants to reduce our stockpile).

Following Germany’s action, expressions of outrage were scarce and there were no mass protests. There were, however, widespread “peace” rallies, urging a non-military response from Britain. Any aggression perpetrated by a tyrannical regime today generates an identical reaction from the “antiwar” left.

Had France and Britain intervened militarily when Hitler made his move in the Rhineland, his regime would have collapsed. A German general, Heinz Guderian, said after the war, "If you French had intervened in the Rhineland in 1936 we should have been sunk and Hitler would have fallen". Alas, there was no intervention and the last, best chance to avert the war was lost.

Similarly, we may have squandered our last, best chance at denying Iran nuclear weapons and overthrowing its regime. By “engaging” the mullahocracy instead of supporting the nation’s courageous dissident movement, we granted the former the legitimacy and the respect it craved and the time it needed. As Charles Krauthammer has said, it’s not that we wasted a year, it’s that we wasted this year.

Contrary to Einstein's view, planning and preparing for war is the most effective way for well meaning, civilized nations to prevent it. (Then again, Einstein also said, "If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts." Advice since adopted by "climate change" advocates). Engagement and negotiation with repugnant regimes have their place but only when backed by a credible threat of force. For our sake, it is essential that Obama quickly learns this lesson.


NRO on the START treaty


Krauthammer 1

Krauthammer 2

Wikipedia entry on the Rhineland and Hitler

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tax Day Story

Mike Donahue is a financial adviser in La Jolla, California. To liberals, he's the enemy - hard working, independent, self-reliant, non-unionized, successful - valuable only as a revenue source for their grandiose schemes. To help "spread the wealth" as the president would say. So Donahue's time, intelligence, effort and money are extorted to fund the "stimulus" package's special interest groups, the bureaucratic waste of Obamacare and numerous other projects unworthy of his talents.

In its entirety, here's Donahue's op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal.

I'm in the 32% federal and 10% state income tax brackets. I pay a 1.2% property tax on very expensive California real estate. I am subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax. I am self-employed and subject to a 15% payroll tax on the first $100,000 in income and an 8.75% state sales tax. If I have a gain from investing, I pay a minimum of 15% federal and 10% state tax but can only write off $3,000 per year if I lose.

And now the government wants me to pay more?

As a child I mowed lawns, shoveled snow, had a paper route, sold sandwiches at school, and cut up dead trees and split them for firewood to sell during spring break. I have worked every summer since I turned 14. I took out student loans for college and worked 35 hours a week, at night, to pay for the rest.

Since I graduated in 1983, I have been in straight commission sales and have had many 60- to 70-hour work weeks. No secure salary, no big promotions, no pension—just me profiting through helping others while being subject to the swings of the economic cycle. The first 20 years were tough, but it's finally starting to pay off.

I drive a nicer car (bought used), live in a better neighborhood, have more retirement savings than many. But I am certainly not rich, and every month I find my ever increasing bills (and taxes) tend to match my income. I have more than most only because I've worked harder than most and because I am a saver. It was not easy.

Why then does the government feel so entitled to take my money and give it to others? Why should I have to carry so many people on my back? Call me cruel. I don't care. I give to whom I choose—but since so much is confiscated (and wasted in the process) I have little left I wish to give.

During the 1990 recession I could have qualified for state and federal assistance, but my wife and I managed to get by as she worked nights while we juggled our infant daughter between us. It was hard. However, it never occurred to us to take from others to subsidize our shortage. It's not our way.

Life is hard. You learn when you fail and you make changes when things hurt. Why then is the liberal agenda trying to make sure nobody feels any pain? And why does the government feel so entitled to steal from many in order to give it to others. What has happened to personal responsibility and accountability?

My patience and pocketbook are reaching the breaking point. I am not for equal outcomes regardless of effort. I'm tired of being the mule. Maybe I will quit and live on the dole for awhile. I probably even have enough health issues to join the one in seven adults categorized as disabled. I've been poor and I'm not afraid to go back.

Remember it was social mobility that made America great—the ability to earn and get ahead. If Congress continues to buy votes at the expense of social mobility we will no longer be a great nation. The truly rich will stay that way but many "Henrys" (high earners, not rich yet) like me will quit. We may be only a small percentage of the population but we pay a large portion of the taxes and employ many. If you take the incentives away you will lose Henrys.

Other tax day items in the WSJ.

The Democrats' socialist agenda comes with costs so onerous that even their forthcoming income tax hikes will still leave Greece-like debt problems for the forseeable future. To mitigate that calamity, party leaders want to impose a European style Value Added Tax (VAT). This is an alarming prospect. More than just a sales tax, a VAT infiltrates every segment of the economic chain - production, distribution and sales. It disproportionally burdens middle and lower income earners. Its impact on the general economy is pervasive and oppressive.

From 1982 to 2007, the U.S. created 45 million new jobs, compared to fewer than 10 million in Europe, and U.S. economic growth was more than one-third faster over the last two decades, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As president, George W. Bush inherited (without complaint) an economy facing multiple problems, among them, speculative excess, corporate accounting scandals, the dot-com implosion and an impending recession. The 9/11 attacks worsened the situation significantly, producing a crisis. Bush's initial response was the misguided decision to go along with Congress' first "stimulus" package consisting mostly of tax rebates. When that strategy predictably flopped, Bush then took the serious, solidly effective approach of providing incentives for investment. His 2003 bill cutting top marginal income tax rates and rates on dividends, capital gains and estate taxes gave the country more than four years of uninterrupted growth and job creation. And this despite the bill's modest scale. The tax cut effects were ultimately overcome by the Fed's protracted easy money policy and the Democrats' aggressive support of GSEs, effectively masking the risk of highly risky investments. (In a better world, the Wall Street Journal editors would have won a Pulitzer for their years-long harping on those two themes and accurately predicting the trouble ahead).

Today, Donald S. Luskin writes about the gift that keeps giving - the 2003 Bush tax cuts. Luskin estimates that this year, between $189 billion and $662 billion in unanticipated federal revenues* will be produced by a little known provision in the bill. That provision, the removal of the cap on converting tax deferred accounts to Roth IRAs, will provoke a surge of such conversions. With tax rates set to begin their steep, inexorable climb next year, there's a powerful incentive, especially among the rich, to pay accumulated taxes this year and then be free of them forever. Expect Democrats to take credit for the coming windfall and the resulting decline in the deficit, while they and the media ignore its true architect.

*The original CBO estimate was $8 billion. Luskin explains where that number came from.

How'd they come up with $8 billion? According to an eyewitness who spoke on condition of anonymity, $8 billion was the amount needed to make the budget math work in order to be able to extend the Bush tax cuts under filibuster-proof reconciliation rules—so that's the amount they came up with. The CBO simply adopted that number and is only now beginning to take a closer look.

Here again is that Mark Steyn snippet that I cited a couple of weeks ago.

Incidentally, has the CBO ever run the numbers for projected savings if the entire CBO were laid off and replaced by a children’s magician with an assistant in spangled tights from whose cleavage he plucked entirely random numbers? Just a thought.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

By The Numbers

The following statistics were culled from recent WSJ and National Review articles among other sources.


$85 million - Amount that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) contributed to the 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign, more than any group spent on any candidate.

15% - Proportion of U.S. construction workers that are unionized.

100% - Proportion of federal construction projects exceeding $25 million that will be handled by union contractors, following an executive order from Obama.

85% of construction firms are disqualified for bidding for federal construction projects. How does this affect U.S. taxpayers? Any guesses?

Redistributing the Wealth

31% - Respondents to a survey agreeing with the following statement.

"Government policies should promote fairness by narrowing the gap between rich and poor, spreading the wealth, and making sure that economic outcomes are more equal"

63% - Respondents to (the same) survey agreeing with the following statement.

"Government policies should promote opportunity by fostering job growth, encouraging entrepreneurs, and allowing people to keep more of what they earn."

The disparity of the preceding figures would undoubtedly be greater if not for the following factors.

38% - Proportion of Americans with zero federal income tax liability in 2009.

46% - Proportion of Americans with zero federal income tax liability in 2011 (projected).

40% - Proportion of federal personal income tax paid by the top 1% of earners.

70% - Proportion of federal personal income tax paid by the top 10% of earners.

3% - Proportion of federal personal income tax paid by the bottom 50% of earners.

With upper income tax rates reverting to their pre-2003 levels next year, an even greater burden will fall on high earners (and small businesses). And this is before Obamacare kicks in. And before paying for the "stimulus" packages.

Government Subsidized Health Care

$5000 - Projected average household increase in the federal debt due to Obamacare (2010-2019).

$20,000 (!!) - Projected average household increase in insurance premiums due to Obamacare (2010-2019).

40.2% - Proportion of doctors in 2008 accepting new Medicaid patients.

15-20 million - Estimated number of new Medicaid patients when Obamacare is implemented.

10.5% - GAO estimate of the proportion of improper (fraudulent and otherwise) Medicaid payments in 2008.

20-30% - Malcolm Sparrow's (Harvard) estimate of the proportion of improper Medicaid payments.

<1% - Estimated proportion of improper private health care payments.

Republicans Cleaning Up After Democrats

$800 million - 2005 Indiana budget deficit following 16 years of Democratic governorships.

$1.3 billion - 2009 Indiana budget surplus following 4 years of Republican Mitch Daniels' governorship - achieved during the recession and without tax increases.

Additional 2005-2009 Indiana numbers.

$760 million - Amount repaid by the state to schools and local governments previously appropriated to finance deficit spending.

800 - New child welfare caseworkers hired.
250 - New state troopers hired.

Now to the Garden State.

$10.7 billion - New Jersey budget deficit left by Democrat Jon Corzine to his successor, Republican Chris Christie.

121,000 - New Jersey private sector job losses in 2009.

11,300 - New Jersey municipality and school board job increases in 2009.

$3.3 million - Estimated lifetime pension payments to be collected by an anonymous 49 year old New Jersey state retiree based on his life expectancy.

$500,000 - Estimated lifetime health benefits to be collected by the same retiree.

$124,000 - Total contributions made by that retiree toward his retirement and health benefits. (Nice return on investment - paid for by New Jersey taxpayers).

Top Ten Cities (250,000 or more population) with the Highest Poverty Rate

City, State, % People Below Poverty Level - Last year a Republican served as mayor.

1. Detroit, MI 32.5% - 1957
2. Buffalo, NY 29.9% - 1965
3. Cincinnati, OH 27.8% - 1980 - Nominally a Charterite - a local 3rd party. 1971 was the last year for a full-fledged Republican.
4. Cleveland, OH 27.0% - 1989
5. Miami, FL 26.9% - Elected a Republican 11/2009 for the first time since 1876.
5. St. Louis, MO 26.8% - 1949
7. El Paso, TX 26.4% - Never. One elected in 1889 was disqualified.
8. Milwaukee, WI 26.2% - 1908 (Dem-Rep in 1916).
9. Philadelphia, PA 25.1% - 1952
10. Newark, NJ 24.2% - 1896

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gaming The Census

At one of our dinners, Milton (Friedman) recalled traveling to an Asian country in the 1960s and visiting a worksite where a new canal was being built. He was shocked to see that, instead of modern tractors and earth movers, the workers had shovels. He asked why there were so few machines. The government bureaucrat explained: “You don’t understand. This is a jobs program.” To which Milton replied: “Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it’s jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels.”

From an article by Stephen Moore (WSJ) 5/29/2009.

Profit driven, private enterprises exist for one purpose - to maximize earnings. In a competitive, free market economy, this is best accomplished by efficiently providing products and services that the public needs or wants. Productive companies succeed. Non-productive companies fail.
In contrast, government bureaucracies exist to expand their influence and support those politicians whose patronage keeps them viable. At best, any work provided by bureaucracies is of a secondary concern. At worst, it's an opportunity to expand government with waste and corruption. Michelle Malkin provides a case in point - the 2010 census project.

The Census Bureau anticipates it may add nearly 750,000 workers to its payroll by May. Liberal economist Heidi Shierholz exulted in The Hill: “This is the best-timed census you could ever dream of.” And Team Obama plans to milk it for all it’s worth.

Over the past several weeks, I've received e-mails from census workers across the country describing the directive from their managers to slow down, stall, waste time and stretch out their work unnecessarily. As a counter-public service announcement, I'm reprinting some of their letters:

-- "…I have been working with the census for two weeks, and every day I shake my head at the blatant inefficiency and deliberate misuse of taxpayer money. Specifically, we have been doing enumeration for those who do not have a home, the homeless in shelters, soup kitchens and in targeted non-sheltered outdoor locations, such as parks, subway stations, etc. I personally have been sent to check on shelters that were already determined to be day programs during the preceding round of quality control, yet they pay me the mileage and hourly wage to go back and make sure that they are still only day programs. I walked through parks and parking lots looking for homeless people to enumerate, not even by talking to them, but just by observing their race, sex and approximate age.
"…The way the process has been set up by government bureaucracy is so backward and prevents a person who is industrious and efficient from being able to work freely… This is the first job where I am encouraged to be slow and inefficient."

-- "Last summer I participated in the 'address canvassing' (AC) project. What this entailed was walking around a neighborhood, literally door to door, with a little handheld computer. My job was not to enter addresses so that these people could receive their form, but to make sure that the addresses that the first wave of people put into the system and appeared on the computer were actually there… Mostly, it was me getting paid $15.25/hour plus mileage to take my dog for a walk and push a few buttons.

"In an average suburban neighborhood where the houses are somewhat close to each other, it was no problem to do about 35 to 40 addresses per hour once you learned how to quickly enter data into the computer. The census said that I should be doing about 12 to 15 per hour. My direct bosses told me that I should NOT be doing 35 to 40, because it was making them and other people look bad. So instead of walking at a snail's pace, I just did my 35 to 40/hour and doubled my time when I submitted my hours. Again, sorry for the tax dollar grab, but I was told not to be so darned efficient or else I'd be cut!"

-- "I had the great pleasure of working for the address canvassing last spring. I was hired in early April for a job that was to be completed by the first week of July. I have a military background and a background in human resources, and the whole process left me with blood squirting from my eyes… I worked in the field for four days so that I would know what to do. The remainder of my time was spent sitting in a McDonald's to have a daily progress meeting with each of the enumerators. I was paid from the time I left my house to the time I got home … plus mileage. I was told to pad the time or mileage to cover my McDonald's food, since I was camping in a booth all day. For all that, I was paid $11.75 an hour. …We had a really good crew and were done by the second week of May... Philadelphia was going nuts because our region was getting done so fast, but there was nothing we could do to slow it down another two months.

"… I never saw such a mismanaged outfit in all my life. I just shook my head in total disbelief. Our work could have been done with half the people. We did have those that quit right after training, to the tune of $800 spent on nothing. I earned approximately $3,000. I will say, to be quite honest, it was the easiest money I ever made. On the exit interview, I was asked if I wanted to be called back for further work. I wrote 'NO' in big letters. I didn't want to take any further part in what I saw to be a racket."

And it's a perfect racket for the Democrats. It fulfills their need for a partial offset to their job-killing policies - minimum wage increases (admittedly a bipartisan fiasco), allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, trade protectionism, "stimulus" packages, cap and trade, union card check, perpetual unemployment compensation extensions (also bipartisan), and the biggie, "health" "care" "reform" (with apologies for co-opting Mark Steyn's quotation usage). The census racket artificially inflates employment numbers while creating a new group of workers appreciative of (if not dependent on) government largesse. It also helps to bloat the budget, helping to necessitate future tax increases all in the name of a constitutionally mandated exercise. An excellent example of public sector inefficiency and incompetence made virtuous.

Malkin continues to receive census workers' confessions. Check out her website for the latest.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

He Throws Like A Democrat

Best line about President Obama's opening pitch at the Washington Nationals' opener.

(Jayson Stark, From Bob Costas, to Jimmy Fallon, on Barack Obama's first-pitch shot put in Washington this week:

"I was in St. Louis last year at the All-Star Game when he threw out the first pitch, and it's kind of like the same thing: 48 miles per hour and way outside the strike zone. But the sad part was, immediately afterward, the Mets signed him as their third starter."

"...the kind of country this is."

Following "historian" Howard Zinn's recent death, Roger Kimball in National Review (2/22/2010) wrote of the enduring popularity of Zinn's anti-American screed "A People's History of The United States". Kimball's makes the following analogy to describe the book's slanted vision.

It is as if someone said to you, “Would you like to see Versailles?” and then took you on a tour of a broken shed on the outskirts of the palace grounds. “You see, pretty shabby, isn’t it?”

Aside from its distorted viewpoint, there are the book's outright lies. Kimball quoted a review by the esteemed historian, Harvard University professor Oscar Handlin.

“It simply is not true,” Mr. Handlin noted, that “what Columbus did to the Arawaks of the Bahamas, Cortez did to the Aztecs of Mexico, Pizarro to the Incas of Peru, and the English settlers of Virginia and Massachusetts to the Powhatans and the Pequots.” It simply is not true that the farmers of the Chesapeake colonies in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries avidly desired the importation of black slaves, or that the gap between rich and poor widened in the eighteenth-century colonies. Zinn gulps down as literally true the proven hoax of Polly Baker and the improbable Plough Jogger, and he repeats uncritically the old charge that President Lincoln altered his views to suit his audience. The Geneva assembly of 1954 did not agree on elections in a unified Vietnam; that was simply the hope expressed by the British chairman when the parties concerned could not agree. The United States did not back Batista in 1959; it had ended aid to Cuba and washed its hands of him well before then. “Tet” was not evidence of the unpopularity of the Saigon government, but a resounding rejection of the northern invaders."

Also on the occasion of Zinn's death, John Perazzo in a post on summed up Zinn's book as follows.

At its root, A People’s History is a Marxist tract that paints the United States as the wellspring of earthly evil– a wretched embodiment of sexism, racism, and imperialism and a scourge not only to most of its own population, but also to a vast portion of humanity around the globe.

And Perazzo adds examples of Zinn's mendacity. Among them -

The Pilgrims who came to New England “were coming not to vacant land but to territory inhabited by tribes of Indians,” Zinn explained – portraying those natives essentially as a peaceful network of brothers who had long lived in idyllic harmony with one another, until the fateful moment when white “invaders” (as Zinn put it) first arrived on the shores of North America.

From Zinn’s account, one would never learn that the history of American Indians was replete with inter-tribal conflicts of great violence, or that slave-trafficking played a very significant role in a number of Indian societies. Indeed, long before the first Europeans arrived in the New World, an elaborate slave-trading network had developed among the Indians of the Northwest coast, where slaves constituted as much as 10 to 15 percent of some tribes’ populations. But in Zinn’s version of history, the only slavery that mattered was the white-on-black variety. The vices of nonwhites were deemed insufficiently interesting to merit mention. The lines between good and evil were drawn with clarity and boldness. There were no shades of gray; there was only white wrongdoing on the one hand, and the radiant goodness of nonwhites on the other.

A disturbingly large segment of the American populace has been duped by Zinn's lies and his bitter, distorted take on our country's character and legacy. Thirty years after it was first published, the paperback version of The People's History is ranked 184th on's best seller list. As Perazzo notes, it's required reading "in high schools and colleges across the United States, not only in history classes but also in such fields as economics, political science, literature, and women’s studies". It's one of the "501 Must Read Books", the colorful, glossy volume that ubiquitously occupies Borders' (and other booksellers') bargain bookshelves. That such a fraudulent tract manages to influence so many credulous minds helps explain much about the direction of politics in the country. Many prominent leftists were marinated in and subscribe to the Zinn (Chomsky-Said-Moore-et al) perspective, including our illustrious president.

For an accurate portrayal of our country's true character, read the op-ed in today's WSJ by Dorothy Rabinowitz. Rabinowitz denounces Hollywood types (the latest is Tom Hanks) and those in the media who see widespread anti-Muslim racism as the most notable response of Americans to the 9/11 attacks. Rabinowitz concludes her piece with an encounter she had with a cab driver from Pakistan.

...Five years or so after the terrorists drove their planes and passengers into the twin towers and the Pentagon, a cab driver from Pakistan remarked, as we drove past the rubble where the towers had stood, that he could never pass this place without trying to see them again in his mind. A painful effort, for all that it brought back. What was not painful, he added, was the memory of certain people in his neighborhood—a mixed but mostly white area of Queens, with many Italian-Americans, some Jews, and he thought some Irish. After the attacks, some of the men had come to him.

"My wife doesn't go out without a head cover," he explained. The men had come to tell him that if anyone bothered her, or his family, he must come to them.

"I must tell them and must not be afraid. Do you know," he said, in a voice suddenly sharp, "what would have happened if Americans had done this kind of attack in my country? Every American—every Christian, every non-Muslim—would have been slaughtered, blood would have run in the streets. I know the kind of country this is. Thanks be to God I can give this to my children."

Back to Kimball's article.

As Oscar Handlin observed in his review, “It would be a mistake . . . to regard Zinn as merely anti-American. Brendan Behan once observed that whoever hated America hated mankind, and hatred of humanity is the dominant tone of Zinn’s book."

And the dominant characteristic of America haters everywhere.




Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Medium. And Hold The Ketchup

In today's WSJ, Bret Stephens proposes a contest to predict the next apocalyptic scare. The present one, man made, greenhouse gas induced "climate change" or "global warming" is literally running out of steam. GW is the latest in a long line of contrived, humankind threatening panics. Others have included overpopulation, nuclear winters, ozone holes and global cooling. Stephens outlines the course that these panics generally follow.

...The subject of the panic changes every few years, but the basic ingredients tend to remain fairly constant. A trend, a hypothesis, an invention or a discovery disturbs the sense of global equilibrium. Often the agent of distress is undetectable to the senses, like a malign spirit. A villain—invariably corporate and right-wing—is identified.

Then money begins to flow toward grant-seeking institutions and bureaucracies, which have an interest in raising the level of alarm. Environmentalists counsel their version of virtue, typically some quasi-totalitarian demands on the pattern of human behavior. Politicians assemble expert panels and propose sweeping and expensive legislation. Eventually, the problem vanishes. Few people stop to consider that perhaps it wasn't such a crisis in the first place.

Stephens lists some of the requirements of a new imaginary scourge.

It must involve something ubiquitous, invisible to the naked eye, and preferably mass-produced. And the solution must require taxes, regulation, and other changes to civilization as we know it.

Well, I have a perfect candidate - wireless / microwave radiation. Modern civilization is increasingly dependent on wireless technologies like cell phones and the internet. Meeting Stephens' requirements, wireless radiation is ubiquitous, invisible, and mass produced. The list of malaises attributed to its presence is constantly growing. (see link below). Opposing it will involve the full arsenal of leftist weaponry - taxation, regulation and litigation. A new, global anti-wireless-radiation industry will arise. It will have financial, political and ideological interests in maintaining a high level of public alarm over the potential catastrophic consequences of inaction. Demonized corporate targets will include Verizon, Sprint and AT&T, pushing aside (though not replacing, of course), BP, Shell and Exxon. Greenhouse gas, your time has passed. Wireless radiation is the new hysteria du jour!

The prize for winning Stephens' contest is a beer and a burger, on him, at the 47th Street Pig N' Whistle in NYC. I can see only one obstacle to me claiming the prize - my suggestion is too obvious and several other contestants will have the same idea. How about a party, Bret?


Wireless apocalypse

Monday, April 5, 2010

Obama's Race War

Here is most of Andrew Breitbart's column describing the Democrats' disgraceful race-centric efforts to discredit opponents of their radical agenda.

After 14 months of committing 100% to health care reform, the day after the signing of the Health Care bill was to mark the Democratic Party’s new primary concern: destroy the uprising, annihilate by all means necessary, the Tea Party movement.

The first sign that a plan was in place was the ham-fisted, high-camp posturing of the most controversial members of the Democratic caucus walking through the peaceful but animated “Tea Party” demonstrators on Capitol Hill. There is no reason for these elected officials to walk above ground through the media circus amid their ideological foes. The natural route is the tunnels between the House office buildings and the Capitol. By crafting a highly symbolic walk of the Congressional Black Caucus through the majority white crowd, the Democratic Party was looking to provoke a negative reaction. They didn’t get it. So they made it up.

The proof that the N-word wasn’t said once, let alone 15 times, as Rep. Andre Carson claimed, is that soon thereafter — even though the press dutifully reported it as truth — Nancy Pelosi followed the alleged hate fest, which allegedly included someone spitting, by walking through the crowd with a gavel in hand and a shit-eating grin on her face. Had the incidents reported by the Congressional Black Caucus actually occurred the Capitol Police would have been negligent to allow the least popular person to that crowd – the Speaker – to put herself in harm’s way.

That crowd was a sea of new-media equipment. Not only were tens of thousands people armed with handicams, BlackBerrys and iPods, so also was the mainstream media there, covering every inch of the event. Why did not one mainstream media outlet raise the specter that perhaps a video would exist to prove the events occurred? I am still dealing with the same press telling me we didn’t prove that ACORN was aiding and abetting criminal activity because we “did not provide enough audio and video evidence.” (Insert laugh track.) Is there not a blatant double standard at play here? Nancy Pelosi tipped her hand that race was a central part of her strategy. She invoked the Civil Rights Act and compared it with the universally reviled health care bill. Her caucus is doubling down on the civil-rights rhetoric. There are no coincidences.

Linking the health-care bill, which has nothing to do with black and white, to the divisive civil-rights period, while simultaneously accusing its opponents of being racist, is an evil strategy — literally. Charles Manson would approve.

The Democratic Party is trying to signal to the black community and to progressive media types that the way to push back against the Tea Party and Republicans is to use the reliable race card by provoking a racial incident. The ensuing rhetoric about the bill and about the nature of the Tea Party is based upon repeated talking points. Propaganda. Everyone is on message that Republicans and Tea Partiers are racist — a divisive and dangerous argument, so lacking in any shred of evidence save for the fact that the majority in the Tea Party, as in America itself, is white. This is Duke lacrosse politics at its worst.

Those in the movement who are Hispanic or black are given the Clarence Thomas treatment: mocked, ridiculed and marginalized. The Democratic party cannot afford for minority groups to break from the pack, so they show that apostasy is met with high-grade ridicule. Those willing to withstand vile and hateful un-American taunts are some of America’s greatest patriots.

The press went straight to petrified Republican leaders like John Boehner and Michael Steele over the falsified “N-word” allegations, who dutifully offered apologies that they were not qualified to give. It was a set-up.

I smelled a rat so I offered at first $10k five days after the highly publicized alleged incidents happened. How could we be five full news cycles into this major controversy and not have any evidence? In fact, the existing footage showed the Congressional Black Caucus walking and never once moving their heads toward any “racist outbursts.” Is it conceivable that all of them stoically walked by the N-word as it was hurled 15 times — as they were holding up cameras to convey they were suspicious of the crowd to begin with?

We are now two weeks since the bill was signed and the $10k reward jumped to $20k in a day after it was mentioned on both Hannity and O’Reilly. At the Searchlight Tea Party event last weekend I upped the ante to $100k. So where’s the evidence? Ken Vogel of Politico covered this story and said calls to Rep. John Lewis — one of the originator’s of the N-word storyline – were never returned.

Nancy Pelosi did a great disservice to a great civil rights icon by thrusting him out there to perform this mischievous task. His reputation is now on the line as a result of her desperation to take down the Tea Party movement.

We’ve called their bluff. And they have tried to back off. They realize that this race warfare can backfire, just as it did with the railroaded Duke lacrosse players, as it did with professor Madonna Constantine and her faked noose incident at Columbia and the Sergeant Crowley boner by Barack Obama who stupidly said the white police officer had behaved “stupidly” in handcuffing Skip Gates.

The first Alinsky president is now using surrogates to split this nation into two hostile parties so he can puppeteer the have-nots against the perceived haves. The non-response to my $100k challenge is a tacit acknowledgement that the Congressional Black Caucus and Barack Obama don’t have the stomach for doubling down.

The other part of the strategy that is built into the N-Word Capitol Hill Walk is the strategy to incite. The media is doing their job for them by speaking of an unhinged white Tea Party mob. Absent any evidence other than creatively selected hand-crafted signs from the fringe of the audience that are presented to represent the whole, the media is simply repeating assumptions that Democrats and media elites have against fly-over types. What we have here is hardcore media elitism mixed with politically correct class warfare.

...The Democrats need to kill the Tea Party movement. They need to marginalize and demonize those who would stand up to their hardball, toxic and anti-democratic tactics. Their strategy is to bait and incite the Tea Party and to use whatever they can get to silence the awakening giant. They have failed, epically, and the American people now see these tactics for what they are. At long last, new people every day are beginning to understand the kinds of people we are dealing with here.

Will the media keep falling into the trap? Their business model continues to fail each and every time they are suckered – unless, of course, they are doing it on purpose. The Republican Party failed in its attempt to make good with the Tea Party when its leaders apologized for it. When will the GOP stop playing Charlie Brown to the media’s Lucy? The Democratic party has been exposed as trying to create a Kristallnacht to save the Obama presidency along the fault line of race and the essence of the First Amendment. If the GOP does not have the intestinal fortitude to fight back, a growing number of disenchanted and disenfrachised Tea Party participants will have to do it themselves.

Who is calling the shots here? Is it the White House, by way of Chicago? Or is it Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid? The press refused to tell you the truth about this president. It refused to tell you of his proud adherence to the teachings of the original Chicago “community organizer” Saul Alinsky. We have now entered the first full-fledged Alinsky presidency. The only way to beat Alinsky is with Alinsky. The Democrats and President Obama will not give up this tack. Do you think the GOP will win the day in November and in 2012 if its strategy is to apologize for every manufactured “right wing fringe” outrage?

With President Obama over the last week calling attention to the Tea Parties and their “heated” rhetoric, he has officially connected himself to the civil war his minions have flailingly attempted to inflame. The only good thing to come of this is that we can now officially put to rest the laughable notion that Obama was going to be the first post-racial president.
(My emphasis)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Random Thinking

"Random Thoughts" belongs to the great Thomas Sowell.

The latest Newsweek cover story asks and answers, "What's So Great About The iPad? Everything." And then it proclaims, "How Steve Jobs will revolutionize reading, watching, computing, gaming- and Silicon Valley".
Seems like a remarkable guy, doing all this "good". What federal agency does he work for, anyway? He must command huge quantities of taxpayer funding to feed his success.

Fred Barnes on the Fox News panel a few days ago said that President Obama's recess appointment of labor partisan Craig Becker to the NLRB shows that Obama is going all in with his hard left agenda. Expect to see more aggressive manuevers in the coming months - card check, cap and trade, immigration reform among them. Then next year when the Democrats no longer control Congress, Obama will move toward the middle, beginning his re-election campaign. This resembles the 60s TV show, Run For Your Life in which the main character, played by Ben Gazzara, is told he has only 1-2 years to live (disease not revealed) and tries to live his life to the fullest in the time he has remaining. Obama has about 7 months before his party dies.

One reason James Madison balked at including a Bill of Rights in the Constitution was that it would appear to exclude other rights that were not so defined. I suspect that he never, in his wildest imagination, believed there would ever have been a need for the following:
Congress shall make no law denying the right of the people not to partake in a commercial activity; or mandate any such activity as a requirement of lawful citizenship.

Who says there's no bipartisanship in Washington? True, Obamacare passed without a single Republican vote. But there was certainly bipartisan opposition to the bill as 34 Democrats joined 178 of their GOP colleagues in the House. And now 327 House members (75% of the body) have signed a letter expressing dismay over Obama's hostile turn towards Israel. Obama can now honestly say that he's fulfilling his promise to bring the country together. Against his policies. Note also - It took only 3 days to get those 327 signatures. It took 14 months to cajole 219 Democrats to vote for Obamacare.

Some citizens outraged by the Democrats' radical agenda have suggested fighting it using civil disobedience as a weapon. I wonder what would happen if all blue state conservatives refused to return their census forms and then turned away census workers that showed up at their doors. There is a good chance that the 40%+ reduction in the influence of states like California and New York would guarantee a heavy GOP dominance in the House throughout the next decade. Note that I'm only speculating about a hypothetical situation, not recommending breaking any law. (wink, wink).

Based on a scarce few unsubstantiated incidents, Democrats are spreading the word that all opponents of their agenda are hateful, violence inciting racists - a transparent attempt to delegitimize any criticism. Michelle Malkin quoted Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Chris Van Hollen accusing Republican leaders of "stoking the flames" and Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn accusing the GOP of "aiding and abetting" what he called "terrorism."

In a recent column, John Hawkins listed 15 samples of bilious liberal commentary. Following the Democrats' lead, it should be assumed that these are representative of liberal thought and taste and reflect the views and goals of Democratic party leadership. Thus, the included threats should be taken very seriously. Here are some of the remarks cited by Hawkins. I'm not going to issue an obligatory disclaimer about possible offensiveness as these are mainstream Democratic talking points.

"A spoiled child (Bush) is telling us our Social Security isn't safe anymore, so he is going to fix it for us. Well, here's your answer, you ungrateful whelp: [audio sound of 4 gunshots being fired.] Just try it, you little b*stard. [audio of gun being cocked]." -- A "humor bit" from the Randi Rhodes Show

"F*** God D*mned Joe the God D*mned Motherf*cking plumber! I want Motherf*cking Joe the plumber dead." -- Liberal talk show host Charles Karel Bouley on the air.

"O&A - 'Condoleezza Rice'"
Charlie - "I'd love to f--- that b*tch dude" (laughter)
Charlie - "She's the F---in man"
O&A - "yeah"
Charlie - "I'd F...that b*tch...."
O&A - "I just imagine the horror in Condoleezza Rice's face...."
- "(laughter) ..... as she realizes what's going on"
- " you were just holding her down and F'n her."
Charlie - "punch her all the F'n face, shut the F--- up b*tch"
O&A - "that's exactly what I meant" (laughter in background)
Charlie - "you know F--- it .... and George Bush wife? I'd F--- that b*tch to death" --
"Shock Jocks" Opie & Anthony talk rape & violence with their guest "Homeless Charlie."

"Republicans don't believe in the imagination, partly because so few of them have one, but mostly because it gets in the way of their chosen work, which is to destroy the human race and the planet. Human beings, who have imaginations, can see a recipe for disaster in the making; Republicans, whose goal in life is to profit from disaster and who don't give a hoot about human beings, either can't or won't. Which is why I personally think they should be exterminated before they cause any more harm."
The Village Voice's Michael Feingold, in a theater review of all places.

Among Hawkins' examples is one from Spike Lee and another from Bill Maher, both esteemed liberal personalities. Liberals also hold in high regard that enlightened periodical, The Village Voice. Compare the above VV excerpt, a liberal view of conservatism, with the following, a conservative view of liberalism, by Michael Knox Beran in the latest issue of National Review (4/5/2010). One is informed, intelligent, respectful. The other, not so.

In spite of the challenge posed by the social imagination, the classical element survived in mid-20th-century American liberalism. A political movement, unlike a political theory, does not necessarily suffer from its internal contradictions; the lack of doctrinal purity that degrades a paper philosophy often strengthens a program that aims at practical results. Even as liberals in the last century promoted social policies, the classical countercurrent within liberalism mitigated the hubris that the new social ideal might otherwise have bred in its disciples.

Below, some interesting reading.

Norman Podhoretz in a WSJ op-ed defense of Sarah Palin. Aside from expressing support, he makes some astute observations about the role that class plays in her denigration. Among his deserving targets are pseudo-conservative elitists Christopher Buckley, Kathleen Parker, Peggy Noonan, David Frum and David Brooks. The WSJ previously singled out Frum as the go to guy when the liberal media needs an example of a "conservative" critical of the GOP. Or to make the "conservative" case for some item on the Democrats' wish list.

Bret Stephens, also in the WSJ, examines the true source of radical Islam's anger at the West. And it isn't the building of Israeli settlements. (Hint - Lady Gaga, whoever she is, is a factor).

Sean Trende tells why the repeal of Obamacare has a much better chance of succeeding than most pundits believe.



Humberto Fontova exposes the real Che Guevara as a murderous, cowardly, racist, dull (personality wise) tyrant. He points out the incongruity of Che's true personna and the beliefs of his admirers.—promotes_che_guevara!